OLD SUMMER DRUM. It's everywhere in conservative ranks at the
moment. Gretchen Carlson was typical on Fox & Friends this
morning. She was alarmed by the clip above of Obama spinning net job
losses into million job gains and ongoing economic improvement.
She's in awe of the president's ability to claim credit for progress
in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, and she's terrified
that the Romney campaign is doing so little to refute the lies.
(Sidekicks Doocy and Kilmeade seemed just as spooked, but they
Miss Americas and Stanford grads, so screw'em.) Though
Gretchen is hardly the only one. Drudge had weekend headlines
highlighting USA Today's report that Obama's negative ads against
Romney as an "outsourcer" are winning over voters in swing states,
which are now (horrors!) in a statistical dead heat. Hotair is in a
tizzy about a dumb statement by Boehner that nobody but other
Mormons will ever actually love Romney. Allahpundit continues to
moan about every MSM poll showing Obama slightly ascendant. Laura
Ingraham, who has taken off two or three of her last four
broadcasts, seems gravely concerned that Romney just doesn't know
how to take it to Obama or propose a positive alternative of his
own. I mean, he certainly hasn't done it yet, and every minute that
goes by in which Obama gets to characterize his opponent without
rebuttal becomes an ineradicable stamp that gets harder and harder
If Laura were really that concerned, she wouldn't be off larking
around. If Fox News were really that concerned, Steve Doocy wouldn't
have been on vacation last week and they wouldn't have filled Chris
Wallace's chair on Fox News Sunday with empty suit John Roberts.
Here's the only
punditry I've read since recovering from days without power
that means a damn thing:
Obamaís Goose Is Cooked
By Larry Kudlow
Obama needed a filet mignon in the June employment report. Instead
he got a rubber chicken.
Only 80,000 new jobs were created last month, way below Wall
Street expectations. Itís the fourth consecutive monthly
disappointment. For a few months last winter, jobs were rising at
an average of 225,000 a month. But that has sloped way down to
only 75,000. The unemployment rate continues at 8.2 percent, which
is the forty-first straight month above 8 percent. The U6
unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers, is just
under 15 percent.
As voters finalize their election impressions this summer, all of
this is bad news for the Chicago incumbent.
At a campaign stop in Ohio on Friday, Obama actually said weíre
still ďheading in the right direction.Ē Is he kidding? As a
stagnant GDP drops below 2 percent, employment falters, retail
sales decline, and the ISM index for manufacturing drops below 50
(signaling contraction)? No objective observer can deny that the
economy is headed in the wrong direction.
I donít like playing the pessimist, but the numbers are the
numbers. This is exactly what former Clinton advisers James
Carville, Doug Schoen, and Stanley Greenberg have been warning
Obama about. People just donít believe the economy is getting
better. So heís gotta change his message.
But what change? Taxing rich people wonít create jobs. Neither
will bashing Bain Capital. Obama is surrounded by leftist campaign
advisers. And itís hard to see them shifting gears to something
constructive like making a summer deal to extend the Bush tax cuts
for a year, or heaven forbid backing off the 20-some-odd tax hikes
embodied in Obamacare.
In other words, Obamaís goose may already be cooked.
The Joint Economic Committee (JEC), spearheaded by Texas
congressman Kevin Brady, put out a report saying that the Obama
recovery now ranks dead last in modern times. Thatís a real
milestone in the post-WWII era. Itís ten out of ten for both jobs
and economic growth. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis,
real GDP has expanded only 6.7 percent over the eleven-quarter
recovery since the recession ended. The Reagan recovery at the
same stage had increased by 17.6 percent. The Clinton recovery by
As for jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the
number of private-sector jobs has grown by only 4.1 percent since
the cyclical low point. Reaganís record was 10.7 percent.
So much for Obamanomics. Didnít work. Still isnít working. As the
JEC put it, spending stimulus, housing bailouts, auto bailouts,
financial bailouts, cash for clunkers, cash for caulkers, and $5
trillion in deficit spending left the Obama recovery dead last in
I know, I know. Conservatives fear the MSM so much that they believe
the Big Lie will be successful even in the face of contravening
reality. We'll see about that. Maybe they're right, in which case
the United States will deserve what it gets. But the more likely
outcome is that the MSM, despite all its best intentions, is doing
Obama no favors. People know from their own direct experience
whether the president's spin strikes them as true or false. It
doesn't matter whether the carefully screened audiences at the
president's campaign appearances cheer or not. What matters is how
many likely voters are out of work, know people who are of work,
know (other) people who have lost their homes, know how truly bad
the economy really is in their own communities and states. There
aren't enough dropped g's in the universe to con people in pain into
believing another smoothly incantational pitch for the same old
snake oil. Sooner or later, they stop listening. I believe Obama's
idol, Abraham Lincoln, had some choice words on the subject his
putative heir should but won't learn from.
The biggest Big Lie is the one that saps your own conviction because
you believe the Big Lie always works. It doesn't. The more the MSM
promote and publicize Obama's fraudulent spin on reality, the more
they are turning him into Baghdad Bob.
Or don't you remember him?
If you don't, time you did. And all the other lachrymose
conservative defeatists as well.
Steady your nerves. Man up. Police your spot in the trenchline. Lock
and load. Prepare to go over the top. But wait for the artillery to
open fire before you do. And much as I hate to quote the bastard my
father and grandfather damned as "That Man," sometimes a sound bite
is apt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Now I'm going to wash my mouth out with soap and hunker down in the
trench. I'd advise you all to do the same. What happens in the next
few months won't be pretty. It involves incinerating a silly,
vicious goose long past his sell-by date. (I promise not to try to
sell you on the name Baghdad Bobama.)
Ernest Borgnine is dead. Really didn't like the FNS zipper about his death this morning. Yes,
they remembered he won an Oscar for Marty, but they said he was most famous for McHale's Navy. Not true even
for my senescent generation. Yes, they replayed a clip of him being
sweet and engaging in his 90s on their own morning show but he did so much more
than they bothered to remember. From Wiki:
McHale's Navy? Really?
Those of us who are still alive remember his TV work best from Airwolf, the show about a shrieking killer whale
of a helicopter. Loved that show. Sorry. The nostalgia about
someone's passing is not generic. It's specific. I choose not to
remember him as the buffoon of McHale's Navy. He had been, after
all, a 20 year Navy vet. Airwolf
was probably closer to who he really was.
Oh, that's right. He wasn't good looking. Forget it.
Friday, July 06, 2012
ever look like they have compound fractures...
TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK. So it's been hot, and this household was
without power for nearly five days and nights. It wasn't the heat
that did us in; it was the derecho, a recurring
phenomenon that usually strikes in the midwest more than the
midatlantic. Thunderstorms that act like hurricanes of
thunderstorms. We took pictures you probably don't want to see, so
they're not here. I've asked Lake to explain what all this doesn't
have to do with Global Warming, and he has promised to find some
time in his fully committed schedule to do so. I thank him for that,
as well as for filling in like lightning (pun intended) with a post
I couldn't key myself but only describe on my iPhone on the porch.
Kudos to Brizoni for posting it promptly and flawlessly.
Another big thank you to the tireless soldiers of the Atlantic City
Electric Company. Somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 South Jersey
residents were shut down by the derecho storms. From the first, the
trucks kept going by on their way to trying to fix the catastrophe.
Unlike their Con-Ed counterparts in New York, they didn't seize the
occasion to threaten a strike. They did everything possible to
rescue us from the isolation, darkness, dread, and dry plumbing that
accompanied the 98 degree, un-air-conditioned heat. I was never mad
at them once. I saw their trucks everywhere in our shut-down town,
and I knew it would take longer to hunt down the demons and gremlins
that complicated the rural blackouts.
My only victory was convincing my wife to decamp to safer ground. I
grew up with heat as bad as this, on exactly this same terrain. She
hasn't the constitution for it. Heat punishes her more than it does
me, and I feared for her life. I stayed because we presently have no
means of conveying all the dogs in one vehicle at one time. The
State of New Jersey has just made it illegal at a thousand bucks a
pop to transport dogs without "dog safety belts," which in the case
of sighthounds can result in hanged dogs. For the same reason that
you can't give them leads attached to stakes in the ground. Their
explosive acceleration breaks their necks.
So it was me and the dogs and cats and the heat and the darkness. More than
that, the stillness. Opening windows doesn't help. There is no
breeze when the air is a heavy, oppressive blanket. I had my iPhone
and a car to charge it with, a battery-powered radio, and the
experience of being a marsh rat native. I laughed off the help
offered by my/our friends and my wife's family up north, who were
concerned about me. I chuckled when one of the wittier among them
observed the irony of being powerless less than three miles from a
nuclear power plant whose plume of steam we watch every day. I
thought I was prepared for the vigil.
But I wasn't really. When you're truly married, parsimonious,
battery-saving texting isn't enough. When the iPhone is no longer
hooked to wifi, it gets slow and suddenly there's only one bar,
which makes distance somehow a killer. Conversations with my wife
broke up. Texting was the only recourse. I drained my entire battery
trying to send one picture of my Bengal cat to a friend in Ohio who
was trying to kid me into a better mood. Worse, the home that is
your chief comfort becomes a gray memory of itself. All its life
functions have stopped. It does not tick, hum, illuminate, or warm.
Yes, I said warm. Stifling, airless heat is not warmth. It's a kind
of arrest. The animals sense it. They hunker down in hushed alarm.
They know something is wrong, most of all with you. Because they
realize, maybe more than you do, that the physical ability to
withstand such conditions is not entirely about experience. They
know, they see, they smell that your stamina is not what it needs to
be. They can feel your batteries fading too fast.
This isn't resentment or self-pity. It's context. Driving home the
fact that I'm getting old. This was nothing like the ordeals of
those who man the outposts in Afghanistan or Iraq. They're brave,
resolved, and heroic. I was just experiencing a solemn, and too
utterly still, confrontation with my own mortality. Despite all the
lies you tell yourself about what kind of man you still are, you
might not actually be up to this middling ordeal.
What did I do? I listened to SportsTalk radio in Philadelphia.
Continuously. All day long, all night long, even when I was
nominally sleeping. What can I tell you? Karl Marx was wrong.
Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Sports is. While the
Mainstream Media and the New Media were relentlessly chewing over
the SCOTUS decision on ObamaCare, SportsTalk was even more
relentless in chewing over the sorry plight of the Philadelphia
Phillies. At times I thought it was such madness that I mulled
turning off the radio, but the illusion of connectedness has become
our new cultural mania, and I am as afflicted with that as I have
always been with all the sins of my age. I did not want to endure
the silence of no voice
talking at me in the darkness.
So much of what goes on anymore is talking for the sake of talking,
listening for the sake of not feeling utterly alone. The truth
behind Facebook and Twitter and texting and the vulgar chatter of
sitcoms and romcons and reality TV and 24/7 cable news.
Lowpoints. I listened to the ultimate radio whore Michael Smerconish
waxing irate about Penn State, even though I know his whole mind
would fit in my vest pocket. He's a man of isolated obsessions --
the Mumia case, killing bin Laden (which caused him to endorse Obama
over McCain after a career as a Republican functionary and become,
since, a leftist apologist in an endlessly disgraceful process of
self-justification), and now Penn State. I read on my Kindle, while
it lasted, almost half a novel by one Michael Walsh, co-founder
apparently of of Breitbart's Big Journalism site, with the result
that I have experienced in the past week every conceivable (and I
must say repellent) sin
against good writing by someone who is supposedly on my side
politically. I discovered that the iPod, which I belatedly
discovered was fully charged, brought no comfort of any kind; when
there was decent FM radio, the real thrill was sharing the
experience of listening to music you liked with all those others in
the radio audience. It's hollow when it's only you and you know it.
Then the power came back on and I emerged from the prison of
semi-solitary confinement. My thoughts.
I love my wife.
I love George, Dave, Marge, Sue, Jay, Mike, Lake, and all the
others who cared about what might be going on down in this sorry
neck of the woods for the past six or seven days.
Ignore all the political crap being published in any venue this
week. It's a vacation/ordeal week (depending on whether you have
electric or not), the conservatives will eventually stop bickering
about Chief Justice Roberts, who is an asshole, and it's perfectly okay for
Romney to keep his powder dry for the time being.
All's well that ends well. The dogs and cats are over their fears,
and life resumes.
If we don't defeat Obama in the fall, life as we all used to think
we knew it is definitely, absolutely, completely over.
ALL the media suck. Even the part that's supposed to be on our
One more thing. Night always HAS pushed up day. It's possible I'll
have more thoughts later. Why I'm not as popular as I think I ought
Time to let the
professionals have their say, don't you think?
It's summer here in the US, and the only thing hotter than the
day outside is the air emanating from rabid environmentalists.
That's right, who do we have to blame for these soaring
temperatures? Ourselves, of course.
The whole Anthropogenic Global Warming cause has been on the
ropes over the past two years, so much so that they needed to
rename it Climate Change. Why? Because while the rate of
production of that evil trace gas, CO2 -- at about 0.04% of the
atmosphere's composition -- has continued to rise unabated (thank the Chinese), the so-called
global temperature has leveled off. On top of that, the second
round of Climategate emails showing the truly appalling scientific
practices of certain dendrochronologists and IPCC authors have
made the public rightly distrustful of these activist scientists.
But when a hot summer rolls around, the global warming meme
surges forth once again. Recently, the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln issued a press release about this being
the worst drought on record...in its 12 year data set. With a bit
of historical perspective from the NOAA itself, one can see just
how much worse it was in 1934, long before we supposedly wrought
such global destruction.
[Images: Come back to these. Editor's office still too hot for the html needed to show them AS images. Can't guarantee your safe return to the post from the links. But they ARE the goods.]
The most careful of the green bloggers and journalists are
treating this one a bit more†subtly. Of the large volume of
articles I've skimmed, I've noticed many of them doing something
sneaky. They're saying things like, "This is what global warming looks
like." They're not coming right out and saying that this
heat IS global warming, just that this is what the catastrophic
effects of AGW would look like. Why be subtle? Because they can be
turned aside by a single phrase, one that we should all
incorporate into any debate about global warming:
Weather is not climate.
It's as easy as that. They've been screwed before by equating
bad weather to climate change when blizzard conditions follow
(strikethrough: Al Gore's) ManBearPig's climate summits and
various IPCC conferences. They know how bad the press can be when
the wholly unpredictable weather doesn't match their chosen
narrative. So now they're trying to use bad conditions (hot or
cold, stormy or fiery) to simulate their dire predictions about
the end of life as we know it.
The large scale variations in climate over decades and
millennia simply have nothing to do with the day to day highs and
lows. Weather is chaotic, truly unpredictable, and sensitive to
the smallest of initial conditions. Climate is stable,
oscillating, and affected by things like volcanic eruptions, the
precession of the poles, the activity cycle of the sun, and
(believe it or not) distant supernovae. In the long term, yes, the
climate is warming -- that's what planets do after an ice age.
Frankly, I've been happy to hear 'global warming' come up
recently when referencing the weather. Why? More and more
frequently, the person mentioning it is joking: "How about this
global warming, eh?" in the summer and "So much for global
warming" in the winter. Writing this on my back porch under
absolutely perfect summer conditions makes me take a deep breath
and smile. The crazy green movement is spinning its wheels, the
hard science is falsifying their predictions every season,and the
seasons keep marching on.
[ED NOTE: I thought Lake was too young to remember when summer was
hot and it made everything sexier. Video was his choice, not
ADDENDUM: The missus came home, full of reminders that
heat and volatile summer weather and sex are nothing new but in
fact eternal. Some examples:
Well, it goes on and on. And on. But the new Occupy the Millennium
dream is different, isn't it? Lots of copulating and no babies and
no passion -- er, no heat.
Let's all be as cool as the surgical instruments used to extract
the unfortunate by-products of what prior generations might have
called romance and you call "hooking up." Good luck to you with that.
Global Warming? I hardly think so. Global Freezer Burn is more
The earth you kids will inherit isn't worth inheriting. Whatever
Fahrenheit you choose to measure.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
After the Archduke
This is Lake, posting by proxy for RL. He called me this afternoon and described Friday's storm as the worst he'd even seen, and now his power, water, everything are out until at least this Friday. Mrs. RL consented to staying with a relative, so RL is now sitting in the hot darkness, getting scowled at by sighthounds and thinking about the Supreme Court decision.
Thank God for the iPhone, which he can charge in his car. He's not completely cut off, so he was able to relay the outline of this post to me. It's an extended metaphor, an apt analogy for the current stakes in the coming battle for nothing less than the future of civilization.
The year was 1914, 98 years ago last week. Archduke Ferdinand's assassination causes European diplomacy to fall to hell, and the stage is set for The Great War (before we knew enough to number them, as the saying goes). Two countries, France and Germany, with two plans. France's Plan XVII set out to strike a dagger into Alsace and Lorraine, leaving Paris undefended. Germany, meanwhile, enacted the Schlieffen Plan (which Hitler later plagiarized with devastating results). They sliced through Belgium to approach Paris from the North and West. Within weeks, the French were repelled and back where they started. As the Germans hit the Belgian border to sweep into France, they were met by seven French armies and some British divisions. With Britain's later full support, Paris came to be defended and the battle lines were drawn from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
Thus, the Western Front, one of the most horrific battlegrounds in history. Generals with 19th century battle plans and a knowledge of the US Civil War were armed with 20th century weapons -- machine guns, tanks, mustard gas. 15 million lives were chewed up in the war that neither side wanted to continue. Of course, we now know it as the preliminary movements leading to World War II, Hitler, the Bomb, all of it.
As RL painted the picture for me, reminding me of this history as my high school teachers never could, he referenced Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, a detailed description of the events and a deep analysis of the "misconceptions, miscalculations, and mistakes" that wrought the atrocious war. The Wiki page is detailed and serves as an excellent primer.
So this is the analogy. The Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare touched off powder kegs on both sides, with each claiming some kind of victory. Obama popped his head up to acknowledge the "win," but he must see that he's in deep trouble over this when it comes to the election. Battle lines are being drawn, and this is one we *can't* afford to lose, much like the Allies in the trenches of the Western Front.
What InstaPunk has been saying right here for the last four years.