Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
March 10, 2012 - March 3, 2012

Friday, March 09, 2012

Dark Optimism

That's not Limbaugh. That's me.

LET'S GET DISTRACTED. It's easy to get depressed when you see how easily the propagandists of the left -- and their faithful storm troopers in the mass media -- can divert the national discussion from major issues to trivial backwaters of cultural disagreement. Conservatives seem like the most gullible and inveterate of fools when they get sucked into a debate about contraception they never had in mind until the political class tempted them into dumb pronouncements and posturings they weren't even contemplating a few weeks ago. The contraception mess isn't an exception. It's part of a pattern. It will happen again and again and again in the coming months. It's lefty misdirection, and it will always work.The bad news is that the new media, with all its supposed sophistication, is no better at preventing such irrelevant clusterf**cks than the conservative deans of the old media. Wave a red flag and the "elite" conservatives in every realm will come charging like blood-crazed bulls -- Hannity, the National Review Online, Rush Limbaugh, hundreds of righty bloggers led by Ed and Allah and Ace, and all our numbskull toupee-wearing politicians. (Why do all Republican members of congress have hairpieces? Somebody explain that to me, please.)

Are we doomed on this account? I mean, when it comes to politics, they are completely smarter than we are. We're the country mice and they're the city mice, always two steps ahead.

The short-term answer is yes. The long-term answer is no. What this post is about.

I'm sure some of you are already objecting to the phrase "trivial backwaters of cultural disagreement." This is a key part of my diagnosis. Why conservatives will always get suckered into self-destructive debates they can't win. This will keep happening until they realize they've accepted the grand liberal assumption that the most important thing in the country is what the federal government does. It isn't. Which is the good news.

When we got caught up in discussions about whether the Obama administration is socialist, communist, fascist, a thugocracy, a racialist Manchurian conspiracy, or a technocratic totalitarian movement, we are missing the point. It doesn't matter which of these it is. All that matters is that it represents a belief that the best path to the future lies with gigantic and increasingly invasive centralized government. Labels like liberal, progressive, etc, are irrelevant. The only question that matters is why they are so devoted to government power and control and whether history and the state of the human condition in the 21st century makes them right or wrong.

In the first place, they are wrong. How can I be so sure? Because 20th century history is so utterly against them. And because their belief rests on two pillars that are fatally in conflict with one another. I'll talk about these in reverse order since the philosophical failure underlies the historical failure.

The rise of rationalism in the Age of Enlightenment led to unprecedented specialization and ultimately to extreme compartmentalization of human belief systems and capabilities. A self-ordained elect pronounced themselves superior to all prior human experience and embraced their own intellectual attainments as superior to those of commoners and the gods of common faith. They became secular priests. But priests don't do carpentry, plumbing, mechanics, or any of the jobs that keep civilization working. They were, despite all their rational constructs, the reversionary equivalent of pharaoh's ministers, useless for anything BUT the crafting of edicts, decrees, and speeches. Their particular mission was power.

As priests in the modern age, they came to believe that gifted people such as themselves could fix everything wrong in the world as long as they could gather enough power to right all the wrongs nobody but they could understand. Of course, they haven't always agreed on what those wrongs are and what the solutions are. Robespierre wanted to kill all the aristocrats. Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals. Stalin wanted to kill everybody who disagreed with him. And Mao wanted to kill everybody who treasured China's past. What they all agreed on was that they knew better than the people they ruled.

What's interesting.The consistent pattern is that as reality becomes more unpredictable, the desire for control of such big government devotees increases. Fear is what drives them crazy. And fear is their constant companion. Because in their heart of hearts, they know that they cannot control the chaos of people reacting to unspeakable disasters. But they have no other talents. When it all starts going south, their natural impulse is to increase government power, and government force, as if they can squelch the survival instinct in the common man which has ensured the survival of the species for 250,000 years. They come to believe, or wish at least, that they can outsmart nature. Wrong.

Which brings us to the contemporary left in America and the western world. At the same time that they continue to entertain utopian notions of ultimate social justice and absolute equality of human outcomes, they are also the prisoners of their own fears about all the ways humanity can be crushed and returned to a new stone age. In which they would be the least useful people in the surviving pods of human communities. They can't rewire a lamp. But they can plan our future energy strategy and enforce it through the force of their power.

Thing is, in extremis, all power structures break down. A government can acquire more and more official power and less and less ability to enforce that power. Where the left is today.

Break the basic human contract between governors and governed, and you get black markets, which are successful to the degree that technology permits. And our technology is exploding. We have entered a new realm of human existence. You can try to kill American exceptionalism, but the genie is out of the bottle. American exceptionalism in the form of American technology and its imperative to spread individual liberty to every other culture on the globe is rampaging freely. Every cellphone is an individuating experience. There are two billion toothbrushes in the world and five billion cellphones. You're not going to control all those people.

What's obsolete is authoritarian governments, bankrupt welfare states, and dictator-centric plutocracies. Governments have gotten so big they can't NOT fail. People don't need them to be that big and can't afford them that big. The whole world is becoming American. Leave us alone. We can make our own way. I can make my own fortune without a nanny state telling me what to do. You see it mostly in Asia, and we're so Euro-centric we miss the import.

The oddest of alliances result. Leftist Americans with the Luddite despots of the Arab Spring. Hatred of the opposition as a cause worth persecuting the commoners for. One speculates that they want a disaster -- Global Warming, tsunami, nuclear war -- to resuscitate dependence on government.  But it cannot be. Major breakdowns in civil society only expose the inability of government to do anything but inflict punishment or collapse in impotent bureaucracy.

Because the ultimate reason for Dark Optimism is this. If worse should come to worst, and the whole system comes crashing down, who is better poised to survive and come back strong? The American political class who are still trying to stage-manage their utopian fantasies in the face of their apocalyptic fears of astronomical or meteorological Armageddon? Or the ordinary Americans who self-organize on the fly in the face of disaster? To put it more baldly -- the big government model of disaster response is New Orleans; the ordinary American response is what happens in every small town after a killer tornado flattens everything. uh, they rebuild in record time.

Over the long term, we win. We have families, values, faith, and hope that isn't tied to government programs but to ourselves.

In the short term, a few tips. Forget contraception. The election issues are the economy (duh), energy (i.e., gas prices), immigration, foreign policy (Iranian nuclear weapons? Really?), and a degree of corruption in the president's administration -- from DOJ on Fast & Furious to Solyndra -- we haven't seen since Lyndon Johnson.

Ignore the misdirections. Only the smart people are taken in by them.

An Open Letter
to Maureen Dowd

Or, "Bigfoot Debunked."

TAKING OUT THE TRASH. Dear Mzzzzz. Dowd;

I finally read your Sunday column. Didn't see it sooner because I only saw it in the Featured sidebar on Google News yesterday morning. Like all sensible readers, I don't seek out Maureen Dowd columns. Life comes front-loaded with enough retardation as it is.

But your title got my attention: "Have You No Shame, Rush?" I've been following the latest Rush Limbaugh controversy closely. I've been ¬fascinated by the stridently selective liberal narrative, and the utter self-confidence-- or is it lack of self-consciousness?-- with which it's been promulgated.

To hear you people (do you mind if I call you people "you people"? Good.) tell it, there's no question what Rush did and what the moral person's reaction to it should be, nor is there any question as to the character of Sandra Fluke or the factual and ethical validity of her testimony that provoked Limbaugh's comments. The science, so to speak, is settled.

My mentor thinks the contraception flap is a distraction. In the long term, he's right. In the short term, I think there's something to learn from it, or at least remember. I think your column, specifically, is the reminder.

I know a prestigious columnist like you holds her work to the highest standard. Reading your column, I noticed a few... inaccuracies you may want to correct or retract. A few inconsistencies in your narrative you may have completely innocently overlooked, with absolutely no malfeasance intended whatever in the slightest to any degree.

In this letter, I'll include about twice as many line breaks as real paragraphs would call for. Figure I'll try to speak to you in a language you'll understand. As far as understanding is possible for you.

Let's begin.

Now he’s brutalizing a poised, wholesome-looking 30-year-old Georgetown law student as a "slut," "a prostitute" and "round-heeled" simply for testifying to lawmakers about wanting the school to amend its health insurance to cover contraception.

No, no, no, stupid bitch. Do you mind if I call you "stupid bitch"? Awesome.

Rush called Sandra Fluke a prostitute because she wants to be paid to have sex. On top of that (pardon the pun), she thinks she's ENTITLED to be paid to have sex. Even if it takes the government to force someone to pay involuntarily.

That makes her not only a prostitute, but worse-- a thief. Poise and wholesome looks don't justify theft advocacy, Ms. Dowd.

Right away, you've botched a few facts that were not difficult to understand correctly¬. Therefore, you are either a) too stupid to understand them, or b) pretending to be stupid to make a stupid point.

I lean towards option b). Which doesn't exclude option a) entirely. To want to make stupid points, one has to be at least a little stupid.

You admit you understand the actual crux of Limbaugh's argument in paragraph 8: "Limbaugh leeringly suggested that were taxpayers to be stuck with the bill..." And since, unlike most of your fellow pundits, you seem to have read Limbaugh's actual comments, you know he recanted the "slut" comment moments after he made it. His exact goddamn words: "OK, so she’s not a slut."

The very next sentence is when he said "round-heeled," so you must have read the retraction. You can't be so stupid that you couldn't retain the information in your mind. A goldfish has better reading comprehension than that.

Here's what you did. You thought you had a juicy chance to hue and cry at the wickedness of a particularly reviled political opponent. Some of the facts added up to a lovely indictment. Other facts got in the way of your fun. Those facts are nowhere to be seen in your faux-authoritative history.

What I want to know is this: Do you know you're leaving out the parts you don't like? Or, having done it for so long, does your brain filter them out automatically? Not that it matters in the long run. I'm just morbidly curious. Do inconvenient facts reach your conscious awareness?

It's a lot like another lie you people love to tell. It should go without saying, but sadly can't, that there was no real "leering" in Rush's quip. The man was speaking facetiously. Duh. DUH. No leftist villainy is so transparent as when, to maintain a pretense of outrage, you people pretend not to recognize jocularity.

But do you know you're pretending?

On some level, you must know. Contrast this next paragraph with the first I quoted. At first, you pretended not to understand Limbaugh's argument. Here, you admit you understand it, but try to debunk it. There's an old quote about cake that applies here.

Sandra Fluke “goes before a Congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her?” Limbaugh coarsely ranted. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps. The johns.”

Isn’t this the last guy who should be pointing fingers and accusing others of taking pills for recreational purposes?

I've read Rush's quote literally ten times. He never mentioned pills, sweetie. Not once. Only to the quote in your imagination was that a witty riposte. The quote you wish he'd said.

I understand you writing something this stupid, but how did it get past your editor? How was this published? Doesn't the New York Times have a reputation to uphold? Of some sort?

How does your career exist?

He said insuring contraception would represent another “welfare entitlement,” which is wrong — tax dollars would not provide the benefit, employers and insurance companies would.

As long as I personally am not being stolen from, I ought to have no problem with it? I'm thinking of another quote, this one from Martin Luther King: "Injustice anywhere else but here is someone else's problem." I know it goes something like that.

And women would not be getting paid just “to have sex.” They’d be getting insurance coverage toward the roughly $1,000 annual expense of trying to avoid unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and to control other health conditions. This is something men and conservatives should want too, and not just because those outcomes actually do cost taxpayers money.

All elements of the liberal narrative of this controversy have been discredited (can't stress that enough), but none more than Fluke's $1,000 figure. NRO and Alexa Shrugged, as well as anyone who's managed to pay for their own birth control without first- or third-party theft, have conclusively debunked this nonsense.

For the sake of argument, let's break this down. On average, abortions run about 300 bucks a pop. How many abortions a year can a woman safely have?

I kid. Pardon the pun.

And in what fantasy world do men never buy their own condoms? Same fantasy world where Rush mentioned pills?

He branded the reaction of Limbaugh and some other commentators as “misogynistic, vitriolic and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.” Given this season’s lava spill of hate...

I'm tempted to cite the many, many instances of liberal hypocrisy on this issue. I'd bring up incidents like Olbermann calling Michelle Malkin a mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick and Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingram a-- hey, what do you know-- slut, and Montell Williams asking Michelle Bachman to kill herself. But there's no point.

In an essay almost as old as the Constitution itself, my mentor provided the key to all liberal critical thought. Reviewing Al Franken's book The Truth, Robert Laird cracked the code of liberal hypocrisy.

Again, I've kindly chopped up the original adult-length paragraphs into newspaper column size. No need to thank me.

...We have all the pieces spread out before us. Lies are disgusting, revolting, repellent things. Republicans tell long lists of lies, ranging from errors of fact to misinterpretations of complex issues. Their immorality in such matters makes it fair to pile abuse upon their motives, their characters, and even their physical shortcomings and defects.

It is even fair to condemn them for piling abuse of a similar kind upon Democrats and to deliver such condemnations with all the self righteousness one would expect from a writer who has never engaged in such low practices.

Is there some key we can use to unlock the ‘right description’ at the heart of the book? Perhaps there is. At one point Franken pillories Ann Coulter for using end notes rather than footnotes in specifying the charges she makes against Democrats. Is it a coincidence that Franken employs the very same device to document his own charges?

It is not a coincidence. Indeed, all the available evidence points in the same direction. In this book Al Franken is cleaving the world in two, and different standards are to be applied to the two halves. Here is the only ‘right description’ which is consistent with all the content and all the ‘wrongs’ he attacks. The truth is what Democrats and liberals are. Lies are what Republicans and conservatives are.

It is therefore appropriate to demonstrate what Republicans and conservatives are by enumerating instances in which they lie or can be accused of lying. Significantly, it is not appropriate to use documented lies to demonstrate what Democrats and liberals are, because such an exercise is entirely irrelevant to their unassailable definition as truth.... the same token, it is perfectly fine and appropriate for Democrats to make the kinds of statements and representations that would be lies if they were uttered by Republicans or conservatives, because everything done or said by Democrats and liberals is fair, by definition, because it is right, since they are truth.

This is how, for example your colleague Paul Krugman can blame general Republican "hate" for the shooting of Gabby Giffords and call for a civility, then only a month later basically call for war against Republicans. It's how blame for the shooting could be laid at Sarah Palin's feet for a graphic that depicted a target on Giffords' district, while almost identical MoveOn and Daily Kos graphics received no criticism at all from the left.

And it's why, in the liberal mind, no abuse is out of bounds when aimed at conservative women.

Every right-leaning outlet took great pains to document the hypocrisy at play, as though it would spark some shame or even recognition in the left. I took some of those pains myself. And liberal self-regard didn't take a single dent.

But a lack of conscience is, at bottom, a lack of awareness. That's your weakness.

We not only know what you do, but how you do it, and why you do it. We not only know that you're sick, but how you're sick.

We know where you can't bear to look. That's where we'll be. That's where we'll strike.

I'm telling you this because it won't do you any good. Your politics are purely a function of fashion. They are accoutrement, no different than a necklace or an arm full of gold bracelets. To perceive any more of the real world than you do now would require dangerous critical self-reflection, as well as a focus on the external would that would take away time from contemplating all the great things about Maureen Dowd.

In closing, I'd like to point out that you are very old and physically unappealing, and that your twat flaps like the mouth of a balloon when you let it go without tying it, and everyone knows it.

Cheap and vulgar? You bet your wrinkled old ass. But I'll never be so cheap and so vulgar that I try to hide my cheapness or my vulgarity.

Sincerely, go fuck yourself.

P.S. Tell you what. You stop acting like a stupid bitch, I'll stop calling you a stupid bitch. Happily.

But I'm not waiting by the phone for that call.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Somebody, start a petition:
It's time to fire Imus again.

Just one more vicious old Lesbian with prostate cancer.

PEOPLE HAVE SHORT MEMORIES. Here's what Mediaite is reporting:

Don Imus On Rush Limbaugh: ‘He’s A Fat, Gutless, Pill-Popping Loser’

During Monday’s news updates on Fox Business Network’s Imus In The Morning, host Don Imus went off on Rush Limbaugh‘s weekend apology to Sandra Fluke, calling Limbaugh a “fat, gutless, pill-popping loser.”

Imus expressed anger over Limbaugh’s apology, pointing out that it was done on his website and not in person.

“A lame apology on his website, in which he says he didn’t mean to personally attack her,” Imus said, “is gutless.” Imus took issue with Limbaugh’s “sustained, vile, personal attack” on Fluke over three days, and said that if he’s going to apologize, you have to “go sit down with her” and apologize.

“He’s a fat, gutless loser,” Imus added, “and if I’m running a radio station, he’s not on it… until he does that.”

Later in the show, during another news report, Imus added a few nuggets to his argument. He re-iterated his belief that Limbaugh needed to apologize to Fluke personally, again calling him gutless.

“It’s the worst kind of cowardice,” Imus said. “Maybe he’s still jacked up on the Oxycontin, or whatever it is, but you can’t say stuff about somebody and not, 1) own up to it, and, 2) have guts enough to go sit down with her and say, ‘Look, I’m sorry and I won’t do this again.’ But no, he’s a punk.”

This is the same Imus who was a cokehead alcoholic and the tone-deaf idiot who called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's." Against all odds, he came back from that, which was by no means his only sin:

But his supposedly new, cleaned-up act isn't funny anymore, as I've been pointing out for quite a while now, most explicitly here:

Don't know why I watch Imus. He's a ninety year old nine year old, self-obsessed, lewd, nasty, sharp as a bottle of liquid soap, and he's now clearly dying, his jowls growing day by day on new medication while he coughs helplessly, silently into the cough button. Is it vengeance I'm after? Or curiosity to see how low a human being can go without realizing he's not going to the Promised Land because his trophy wife funds a cancer ranch? And who is his beautiful, crazy helpmeet sleeping with? (Hopefully, everybody. Share the misery. And is she genuinely psychotic enough to constitute the hell we all want for him (maybe!)?). He alternates kissing ass with lefties -- regular guests like brain-damaged Tom Friedman of the NYT, too smart for all our own good Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, and prissy little sporty guy Mike Lupica (ugh) of Boston Pravda (Oh Sauxxx, my, my) -- and kissing the ass of somewhat saner people like Kinky Friedman, Chris Christie, and DJ Michael Graham of The Boston John Birch Society. And Chris Wallace, the far and away dumbest anchor-son-of-anchor in all of television network news. (I could explain how a Harvard political science major never has to take a course in economics, but you wouldn't believe me, so I won't)  Imus's questions are almost invariably about himself, except when he screws up. Which he did the other morning. He chanced to ask ABC News White House Correspondent Jake Tapper about Barack Obama's reelection prospects. Why I listen, I guess.

It only took about two minutes, despite Imus's distracting, self-absorbed interruptions. I've made you pay to get this far because I had to pay to hear the best, briefest, most cogent analysis of the 2012 campaign I've yet heard. (I'm nothing if not petty.)

And more recently, here:

[The day after Whitney Houston died] Jennifer Hudson stepped up bravely (and I mean that sincerely) to the challenge of singing I Will Always Love You to the Grammy audience. The next day, Imus, who needs to be forcibly retired from his tired repetitive shtick of celebrating Levon Helm above all other musicians and trashing every Republican candidate in exactly the same terms every single day, damned her with faint praise. Jennifer Hudson is good, he allowed, but she's no Whitney Houston. As if she shouldn't have sung the song. (Why do I still watch Imus, you ask? Because of Connell McShane's increasingly open contempt for the old hag host, who still thinks it's a running gag like Charles McCord's erstwhile stylized rants; only it isn't. Connell honestly despises Imus. As everyone should.) He couldn't have been more wrong. Hudson sang the song as a lamentation, deliberately eschewing the high sustained notes of Houston's rendition because they embody a kind of triumphant vitality that is now, suddenly, gone. Instead, she chose to sing minor-key harmony with our shared memory of Whitney Houston's recording. It was a masterful, deeply moving performance, a duet with the ghost of her idol. She's a magnificent talent, and I'd bet Imus's hairsprayed head on the likelihood that if she wanted to compete with rather than mourn Whitney, Jennifer Hudson could belt out a version of the song that would make the question of who's best a toss-up. She's a class act.

The show can't be helping the fledgling Fox Business Network at this point. Imus is just mean senile these days. He talks constantly about his own failing health, invites his various doctors on as guests, and more and more his nutjob wife, who rants about organic food the way Imus rants about his prostate cancer and his hair. He has a small population of guests, scheduled in such rigid fashion that the adept know, for example, to avoid the first hour of Monday mornings because old Bo Dietl is always there doing his numbingly tired impersonation of long-dead malapropist Norm Crosby. The two in-house comics do their own repetitive impersonations of celebrities old, older, and dead -- ranging from Larry King to Jesse Jackson, Charles Rangel, the weeping (when was that last funny?) John Boehner, Fat Elvis, and (yes) Fat Limbaugh. Imus's own patter is equally moribund. He repeats his half-assed political views almost daily, each time as if it were the first time -- "I like Obama. He's a brilliant man. He's just not a good president." "I support gay marriage. I'm an ordained minister and I have two gay friends I'm going to preside over their wedding someday." "Newt Gingrich is a disgusting fat creep, a worthless human being." "Rich Santorum is a disgusting phony." "Sarah Palin is an idiot." "Michelle Bachmann is an idiot." "Herman Cain is..."

His musical pontifications are just as drearily repetitive. He likes just two genres -- country and old-time black blues. He's more tiresome about the latter than the former, because when he's in blues mode, he makes it clear that no white performer has the rhythm or timing to be worth listening to. Until one of his country idols, say, Delbert McClinton, appears on the show. Which is oddly similar to the way he can kiss ass equally with his tiny coterie of left-wing and right-wing political guests. He sees no contradictions. Because he's a malignant narcissist? Yes. Because he's declining into senile dementia? Yes.

He's absent from the studio for large stretches of time, including all summer and every even slightly recognized holiday, so that the schedule for the Imus show just barely outnumbers the schedule for the "Best of Imus" fill-ins.

It really is time for a petition to the Fox Business Network. I'm serious. He may have given them a ratings boost for a time when they needed one, but now he's just poisoning the well. I'd much rather see a FBN morning show featuring Dagen McDowell, Connell McShane, Charles Payne, and Eric Bolling than Imus -- or for that matter, Fox & Friends.

America needs a smart and clever morning show. It doesn't have one. But it has the possibility of one. If Imus can be sent to the oblivion where he belongs.

St. Andrew's Day!

The weirdest, fiercest people on earth. They should get a day too.

YUP. IT'S REAL. Two weeks was not enough notice to secure the company of my oh-so-American daughter on St. Patrick's Day. Is anybody else getting tired of the "We're all Irish on St. Patrick's Day" hallucination? My wife is Irish on St. Patrick's Day -- and every other day besides. Most of the rest of you? Not so much. You're no more Irish than you are Scottish.

Hmmmm. Well, there's an idea. I'm Scottish. I go along with the St. Patrick's Day malarkey because I'm a good sport and besides there's no St. Andrew's Day, is there?

uh, yeah. There is. But I'm not going to get all fuzzy and sentimental about this. I want to promote an American St. Andrew's Day because I want to spend it with my daughter. The day is November 30. I'm thinking that's enough notice, even for a certified babe like Monica.

Here's how St. Andrew's Day will unfold when it finally gets the recognition it deserves. People all over the country will get on a bus and hopscotch the Scottish restaurants that dot the land, sampling haggis recipes and single malt scotch distilleries for a half hour or until they pass out.

Oh. Well, KFC is good, uh better than good really, and then the bus can go to the Angus Cinema in Hoboken, where there's a continuous run of Tunes of Glory, Braveheart, and, uh, Tunes of Glory. You know. Scottish filmic masterpieces. All of them. Plenty of popcorn and our famous bottom shelf scotch, which doesn't taste good but leaves you with a deadly Scottish hangover. In other word, it's all good.

THEN we go to funerals. What Scots do best. Police. Fire. Military. Why we invented bagpipes. Kilts and somnolent, lugubrious eyes. Who needs restaurants and singing and celebration when your eyes know the knowledge of death by sword, fire, and other peculiar forms of English slaughter?

And afterwards, back to that dark place in the woods, where there's more scotch and the music of crickets and the wailing wind and nothing to still the soul but the memory of the English and the need for blood and the merest possibility of a scheme for money.

If you're a Scot, money is good. But not as good as blood or rampaging domination of everyone everywhere. Why the greatest cathedral on earth specializes in the abject humiliation of all supplicants.

The only cathedral, actually, that charges and makes money openly for a religious experience guaranteed to make you certain that God hates you and won't ever let you out of the bunker you were born to. So St. Andrew's Day has always to end with golf. At night. With cheap clubs and more balls than brains.

Happy St. Andrew's Day. You're bound to love it more than that green shite. They love the environment. We are the environment. Shite.

How about it, Monica? Do we have a date?

P.S. My wife, despite being Irish, has a soft spot for my Scottish roots, and she suggests that I might have inadvertently done a disservice to the cause of St. Andrew's Day by seeming to stress the mercenary nature of my people at the expense of their more soulful nature. Which is more soulful than mercenary. Well, you should hear her explain it. It's very convincing the way she puts it. Golden Irish tongues, don't you know. Why she criticized me for not quoting from the Wiki entry on St. Andrew's Day. I "failed to persuade." Apparently, my version detracts from the well of mythic lore the Scottish people have built up over the aeons about this magical day, and I should just get out of the way and let my tribe speak for itself. Okay. What Scots do for St. Andrew's Day. Behold the majestic tradition:

Traditions and celebrations in Scotland

In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed the St. Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007,[2] which designated the Day as an official bank holiday. If 30 November falls on a weekend, the next Monday is a bank holiday instead.

The notion that the day should be an official bank holiday was first proposed by Dennis Canavan, Independent Member of the Scottish Parliament for Falkirk West in 2003.[3] However, the Bill he introduced to the Parliament was initially rejected as the Executive did not support it. A compromise deal was reached whereby the holiday would not be an additional entitlement. Then First Minister, Jack McConnell, stated that he believed that employers and employees should mark the day with a holiday, but that this should be as a substitute for an existing local holiday, rather than an additional one.[4]

Although it is a bank holiday, banks are not required to close and employers are not required to give their employees the day off as a holiday. St Andrew's Day is an official flag day in Scotland. The Scottish Government's flag-flying regulations state that the Flag of Scotland (the Saltire or Saint Andrew's Cross) shall fly on all its buildings with a flagpole.[5] The Union Flag is also flown if the building has more than one flagpole. The arrangements for the United Kingdom Government in Scotland are the opposite. They fly the Union Flag, and will only fly the Saltire if there is more than one flagpole.[6]

The flying of the Saltire on St Andrew's Day is a recent development. Prior to 2002, the Scottish Government followed the UK Government's flag days and would only fly the Union Flag on St Andrew's Day. This led to Members of the Scottish Parliament complaining that Scotland was the only country in the world that could not fly its national flag on its national day. The regulations were updated to state that the Union Flag would be removed and replaced by the Saltire on buildings with only one flagpole.[7]

The flying of the Union Flag from Edinburgh Castle on all days, including St Andrew's Day causes anger among some Scottish National Party politicians who have argued that the Saltire should fly on 30 November instead.[8] However, the Union Flag is flown by the British Army at the Castle as it still is an official British Army flag flying station, and all Army installations fly the Union Flag at ratio 3:5. Historic Scotland, a Scottish Government agency, lease part of the Castle to the British Army. The British Army has been criticised for refusing to fly the Saltire above Edinburgh Castle, but dropping the Union Flag in its recruitment campaigns in Scotland instead preferring the Saltire, a decision branded hypocritical by SNP politicians.

The University of St Andrews gives the day for all the students as a free holiday.

Cool. A free holiday. Now we just have to goose it up a bit. I think my wife is on the right track. Don't you? We Scots can be as cool as the Irish, right? Are you feeling the vibe? I knew you would. Cool. Can't wait for November 30. It's going to be so cool. Right?

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Dregs of Winter

Wait for the one right moment. In November.

OBAMATRIX. February and the beginning of March. Never been good times for me. If I'm going to be sick or depressed or misanthropic, this is when. The sun is always pale and without warmth or life. The soil is dead. It's the annual equivalent of three o'clock in the morning, the hour when hope succumbs to fear and dread.

I thought it was just me. Right now, it seems to be the whole conservative constituency. George Will has given up already on winning the presidency. Rush Limbaugh has made a tactical retreat from an excellent truth. One of our foremost champions is suddenly dead. The skewed, made up polls showing Obama as favored for reelection continue to flow from every corrupt vein of the MSM, including Fox News, which seems equally dedicated to demonstrating conservative illiteracy in a constant bleed from the zippers written by its Bible college interns who can't spell, read, or understand anything. While a former weatherman conducts interviews with political newsmakers and responds to their responses with "exactly" and "absolutely," as if he has been somehow entrusted with passing judgment on what right-thinking people say. And the Fox News equivalent of Christiane Ammanpour, who shows up everywhere around the world with her revealed truth, is the weatherman's son, who graduated from Villanova two weeks ago. Rick Santorum talks about wanting to throw up. He doesn't know the half of it.

They ALL want us to lose. Even our so-called allies.The most important and pernicious part of the fabric called 24/7 news is its nowness. Something happened today. The vultures of right and left will descend to tear into the carcass of today because every carcass is like every other carcass, something to be chewed and digested and regurgitated as if all dead bodies everywhere are always the same. We can masticate it all equally, deliberately, rationally, cleverly, insightfully, and never mind the stink.

24/7 hides time itself. 2012 is vastly different from 2008. Our country is plummeting like a rock. Four years ago, millions upon millions of people were not demanding to be bailed out of every unfortunate happenstance they encountered. Now there is no unfortunate happenstance that does not incite a demand for a bailout. Limbaugh was right. If you can't afford to pay for your own sex life and think the taxpayers owe you a bailout simply because you have appetites you don't choose to moderate, you are a kind of prostitute and the United States is dead. If the MSM can seriously pretend that this economy is turning around when effectively 15 percent of us are unemployed and that that somehow favors Democrats because there are more lower income people now who appreciate government largesse, the people have become parasites and the United States is dead.

Stop. Imagine that someone had told you this would be the national discussion four years ago. You would have laughed.

How far we have fallen.

What happens when there is no president. Dozens of people died yesterday in tornadoes in the midwest. Is Barack Obama there? No. Is the MSM asking why not? No. Not his job. Nobody expects it anymore. Anymore than they expect him to stop the ongoing implosion of the middle east, whose barbarian hordes are disintegrating into an Armageddon the United States once held valorously at bay. What's different? The United States is playing golf and celebrity venues. While the world burns. The leftist dream. When all prosperity dies, we can all share equally in the misery of social justice -- knives, bombs, rapes, murders, and perfect moral relativism. And a leader with a Mussolini jaw. They didn't vet him four years ago, and four years in, they atill aren't. It's criminal. But infinitely worse in 2012 than in 2008. Who the fuck is this guy? They owe us an answer to that question and it has never once occurred to them that it's their journalistic responsibility to answer that question. There is no longer any such thing thing as a profession of journalism in the United States. Another reason the United States is dead.

But spring is coming. I haven't been watching the news, not even Fox News Sunday. I hate all the Republican candidates. I'd tell that to any pollster who called. But when November comes, well, that's what I'm waiting for. I don't care if Romney is a phony. I don't care if Gingrich is a beast. I don't care if Santorum is a nut. I will get to the polls if I have to crawl there on my hands and knees. To vote this idiot pipsqueak out of office.

I don't care how ugly it gets. And it will get incomprehensibly ugly.

In the interim, you can keep all your punditry and polls and pontifications. I know I'm not alone. The smart ones are all talking, talking, talking, as if it mattered. I'm just waiting.

To cast my vote against the man who would not be president.

That's when winter ends.

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