February 27, 2011 - February 20, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
feet tall. Stalinist sculpture, you think? Nah. FDR-inspired, at the
Something about the divine wings of
government 'cause well-meaning bureaucracies
are, you know, divine. Because they, you know, love us so darn
much or something.
HE PRETTY MUCH HATED DEMOCRATS. SAID HE KNEW WHERE IT WAS ALL LEADING
Now that I seem to be moving into full-blown pneumonia, I have a
confession to make. Toward the end of his life in 1999, my dad -- pushing 80 -- started
doing the then equivalent of blogging, which is to say writing letters
to the editor of his local newspaper. He annoyed me no end by
recapitulating arguments I had made to him in terms of growing federal
totalitarianism almost word for word except that he kept substitutiing
the word "socialist" for my more accurate "totalitarian." It didn't
help that his letters came after discussions between us in which he had
bitterly objected to views that were subsequently transformed by his magic
Well. You know. What's a little plagiarism among family members? And in
the broadest American sense he was right. He had never forgotten the
FDR source of the enervating idea that government could somehow replace
individual effort, aspiration, and meaning.
Okay, Dad. We were both right. Today, everyone is flinging around the
word 'socialism' the way you did, including me at times, which makes
you right in your ear for idiom, but I'm the one who's right about
what's really been going on all this time. It's not really about
politics. It's about philosophy, our consensus understanding of what a
human being is. You were an Episcopalian, as was I when there was
Episcopalian theology. It's taken me a long time to understand that
this unique denomination never used to require irrational declarations
or acts. Its principal purpose in this country was to embody the
separation of church and state simply by being there, a respected
institution that was not
government, science, or the acolytes of either. After almost 50 years
of watching my dad close up, I still could not swear in a court of law
whether or not he believed in God, the Nicene Creed, or life after
death. What he believed at base was that government might have
authority to limit your actions and require certain kinds of obedience.
but what went on in your head and heart were entirely up to you. On
these latter points, the Episcopal Church was for him more fortress
Which means that he also had an instinctive skepticism about
rationality. Yeah, he was a chemical engineer, and a good one, but he
also knew that the real danger of science is what are called the social
sciences, that peculiar process by which those who think they know
better than everyone else reduce the definition of humanity to "Chimps
Plus," so that they can get the job of running the monkey cage. The old
Episcopal Church could never have countenanced "Chimps Plus." The new
Episcopal Church has not only assimilated the idea but moved on to a
much more self-destructive and totalitarian conception we could call
Chimps Minus? We're physical creatures, don't you know. What we like
to think of as mental activity is merely a physical reaction of the
brain that has no more meaning than chimp grooming behavior or, for
matter, a gorilla fart. It's just activity
Agree or disagree, you're probably thinking, it doesn't actually
matter to our form of government, does it?
uh, yeah it does
Federal Judge Rules Congress
"Mental Activity" Under Commerce Clause
By Philip Klein
A federal judge has upheld the national health care law, making it the
fifth ruling on the merits of the legal challenges to the individual
The ruling by the Clinton appointee, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys
Kessler of the District of Columbia continues the pattern of
Democratic-appointed judges siding with the Obama administration and
Republican judges siding with the plaintiffs in ruling the mandate
unconstitutional. Kessler's ruling comes in a case brought by
individual plaintiffs, where as the two decisions striking down the
mandate have come in cases brought by 27 states, based in Virginia and
Like the other decisions upholding the law, the logic of Kessler's
ruling demonstrates how broadly one has to interpret congressional
powers to find the mandate constitutional. In something right out of
Harrison Bergeron, Kessler notes that Washington has the authority to
regulate "mental activity":
As previous Commerce Clause cases have
all involved physical activity, as opposed to mental activity, i.e.
decision-making, there is little judicial guidance on whether the
latter falls within Congress's power...However, this Court finds the
distinction, which Plaintiffs rely on heavily, to be of little
significance. It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who
makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not "acting," especially
given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every
individual of that choice. Making a choice is an affirmative action,
whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two
sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.
Since I'm slip-sliding away toward being genuinely ill, I'll skip the
whole Naked Woman
about the amendment that gave women the vote. But humor me in one
particular respect. Who the
hell wants women to be lawyers and judges, given that they start with
the answer they want and work their way back to an argument that just
rational? No, I'm not
being sexist. That's exactly how
always done it myself
. But I
had the good judgment not to go to law
school. And I certainly never aspired to be a justice
on the Supreme Court. Because I know exactly HOW tyranny comes to be in the first place.
Bye bye Blackbird
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
All the Wrong
Lara Logan. The continuing disconnect
between liberal iconography and reality.
THE PROBLEM IS NOT
WITH OUR STARS BUT OURSELVES. UNLESS IT'S THE STARS INSTEAD.
Everybody in South Jersey has been down with very bad colds for the
past week, some suffering, some nursing, and then vice versa. Anything
that may seem like silence over the past seven days is merely a barely
audible sniffling and mute resentment about loss of appetite coupled
with an admittedly irrational resentment at the world's failure to
amuse the sick or their equally petulant caregivers.
Why I'm inclined to sulk past most of the stories that are
obsessing the 24/7 news cycle. The Wisconsin tantrum? Just stop it.
You're out of money. Even featherbedders (look it up) eventually sleep
on cots at the shelter when the tornado hits. The danger of a federal
government shutdown ("Dyn-jah, dyn-jah, dyn-jah," as Steve Irwin used
to say). Oh shut up. They'll squish together a way of spending less
money without shutting down the government or addressing the real
problem, which is why it's the individual states who are suddenly
having to take responsibility. The pan-mideastern democracy movement?
Don't make me laugh. Except in Israel and (much more remotely) Iraq,
democracy isn't on the table and never has been in the contemporary
Dark Age we call the Arab World. The president is unable to find
anything beyond platitudes and bland nostrums about human rights to say
while the house of cards that comprises the richest muslim-dominated
governments in the world collapses virtually overnight? So what else is
new? He's never had anything but platitudes and bland nostrums to
offer, except when he's interjecting his wildly inflated estimation of
his own importance into public occasions like his Nobel acceptance
speech for a peace he's done more to dynamite (Ah! Nobel!) than anyone since
Jimmy Carter and his no doubt heartfelt desire to legitimize muslim
hatred of the United States and Israel by apologizing for the express
policies that have kept Arab nations from the meltdown we are presently
with those who are
criticizing Obama for being AWOL in the current crisis. Since
everything he says has a habit of making things worse, I say, "Shut the
fuck up." Sometimes silence is at least copper if it isn't golden or
even silver.. Yeah, we'd be better served by having an actual
president, but since we don't, go play golf, talk calories with your
wife, fill in your March Madness card, and make speeches about the
glory of labor unions in places where people are myopic enough not to
notice how much you've already done to destroy our country and cripple
the stability and economic resilience of the world.
But there's one thing about the mideast disaster I am interested by. I
think it's important even though
it doesn't involve heads of state, regime change, or the constant,
continuing perfidy of Israel which even the MSM thought important
enough to cover with respect to Ambassador Sally Rice's quavering,
apologetic veto of the U.N. Security Council's determination to condemn
Israel for illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Is this disgust? Or is it just Mucinex? You decide.
Let me back you up to September
, when I was one of the first reviewers of Katie Couric after
she took over Dan Rather's anchor chair at CBS News. [Here's some
constructive advice I offered subsequently 1
And here's an excerpt I quoted from WAPO media critic Tom Shales in my
original review on the subject of what female journalists were facing
in a male-dominated world:
Couric occupied a chair that once
belonged to Walter Cronkite and, later, Dan Rather, both of whom did
newscasts that were much, much newsier. Yesterday, though, was
apparently a no-news day in the opinion of Executive Producer Rome
Hartman, the staff and Couric herself, since the half-hour began with a
"60 Minutes"-style piece on the resurgence of the Taliban in
The real purpose of this report was to show off Lara Logan, the
intensely telegenic reporter who serves as foreign correspondent. She
went undercover in Afghanistan, much as Rather had done many many years
ago. But as a woman, Logan said, her Taliban hosts "insisted I cover
everything but my eyes."
The story was in fact largely about her -- about how dangerous it was
to do the story, about what a big, "unprecedented" exclusive it was
(Brian Ross seemed to have much the same story on ABC's "World News
Tonight" with Charles Gibson) and how she had to tippy-toe away from
the camp through a minefield, led by a guide.
I think MSNBC's Ashley Banfield had a similar experience, confined to a
protected perimeter while male journalists were allowed to embed with
troops and get shot at, blown up, and killed just like real troops.
Some did. Like Daniel
, who had his head cut off on camera and broadcast to the
entire world. And ABC's Bob Woodruff
received a grievous brain injury from an IED and courageously
demonstrated the steps of his recovery to national audiences. (Please
take all the links in this
piece. They're all important.)
Now I want to remind you of a story that made barely a ripple in the
world press because its source (uh, CBS
) wanted to bury it on
Female news correspondent
sexually assaulted, beaten in Cairo
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was
reporting on the protests in Egypt Friday when she was separated from
her crew and attacked. She is currently recovering in a U.S. hospital,
having been sexually assaulted and beaten.
Judith Matloff is a Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of
Journalism and has known Logan since 1992. She says Logan's story is
unusual not because it happened, but because the public is hearing
What's mentioned in the video
but not in the abbreviated release is the term "sustained sexual
assault." After which, CBS brings down the curtain and tells us she is
recovering with family and friends, and there will be no further
Problems I have with this network
Multiple. Nothing I'm asking you to judge Lara Logan for. Just things
I'm just asking you all to think about.
1. A network news correspondent who
deliberately puts herself in harm's way is not a random rape victim.
What happens to her, by virtue of her job and assignment, is also news,
not a thing to be covered up. It's indicative of the cultures of the
nations and peoples American mass media propose to be covering on our
behalf. When that coverage precipitates savage, violent, sexual crime,
does Logan's right to privacy trump the story her employers are
purporting to report to us?
2. It's outrageous to suggest, as CBS's suppressive treatment of this
story does, that only instances of penetration of women are sexual
crimes, demanding of anonymity or the cloister of "privacy."
Decapitation is the severing of a human head from the human body. Just
because it invariably results in death, how is it not equally
an act of sexual violation,
neutering, and abject gender humiliation? Surely, that's it's whole
purpose in a religion which equates the male principle with godhood and
has developed dozens of perverted means of enforcing male will on women
(& boys and infidel men) through such sanctioned customs as honor
3. The U.S. Military continues to be the automatic villain of the MSM
in all coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. If they aren't succeeding in
that aim, how do you explain the disgraceful performance at Columbia
earlier this week? We're supposed to feel that the benighted military
is oppressing Lara Logan back in 2006 when the story was about "how
dangerous it was to do the story, about what a big,
"unprecedented" exclusive it was... and how
she had to tippy-toe away from the camp through a minefield, led by a
guide." All that seems clear now is that her protective contingent in
Afghanistan wasn't there when she ventured into the streets of Cairo. What, pray tell, is she wishing now?
4. Will there ever be a moment when American women -- oh, yes, devout,
lefty feminists all -- awake to the fact that there are fatal
contradictions in their monolithic demands of the 'paternalistic'
establishment? That maybe women who don't believe in combat in the
first place should give up demanding equal participation in combat by
women? That they should maybe, just possibly, quit defending cultures
which enslave women even though they also hate Jews the way all
(presently) highly educated women do? You know what? Fuck'em. Go ahead.
Love your Palestinians, students of Barnard, Wellesley, Radcliffe, and
Smith. When the day comes, they will cut your throat without a single
thought of your brilliant performance on the Verbal SAT. Or your
Q-Rating on the local or network news. But if they can stick you in a
back alley of Cairo, Tripoli, or Tehhran, well, at least they're not
fucking Zionists. Right?
Or is it time for true American feminists to admit that rape by muslim
fanatics is their last chance to get laid by the distorted fantasy they
regard as real men with beards, daggers, housecoats, and ferociously
bad body odor?
Okay. Mucinex. I admit it. I sill feel like shit.
Not going to pull it together. Fed up. I'm fed up. Principally because
there are no men left.
Condolences to Lara Logan. I am
sorry for what happened to you. But it's really not worse than
what happened to thousands of others who took up arms against
barbarians and are now recovering a sexuality permanently damaged by
lost limbs, damaged faces, and imperiled minds.
Just saying. If women are going to be equal in our
world, then it's time for women
to concede that penetration isn't the only unforgivable sin our enemies
seek to exact.
Consider this: If we use our fear of irrational Islamic hatreds as an excuse for concealing the crimes visited on our women from dangers the intelligentsia insist on projecting to everyone else -- Damn you, Sarah Palin! -- without ever acknowledging that the real danger to the world at large is irrational Islamic hatreds of the kind that are presently immolating the middle east, then there is no9thing intelligent about our analysis or response. We're just fucking idiots, waiting in line to have our throats cut. But at least we'll be able to watch our wives, mothers and sisters raped to death first.
Listen to the Columbia audio again. Don't you just love that raucous female laugh when the vet declares that bad men are trying to kill her?
My old friend from Columbia hasn't the slightest idea why I'm mad at him. He's nothing like this. Honestly. He's just, you know, better than everybody west of Rhode Island...
Which, truth to tell, makes me think he's spent a lifetime learning all the wrong lessons.
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