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September 11, 2012 - September 4, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


9/11 + 11

That's right. Eleven years on, we're still relying on CGI for a peek at the
solemn, triumphant, and substantial memorial our governments promised.

ONE MORE YEAR. In one of life's little ironies, the mayorsatrap of New York has banned politicians from this year's memorial ceremonies. Perhaps because if they were present, they might be asked why it is taking forever, at prodigious taxpayer expense, to complete our national response to the greatest attack on U.S. soil ever executed by a foreign enemy.

How many of you are familiar with this history of graft, corruption, greed, union fixes, insider deals, and every other form of rotten politics?

Yeah. Kennedy. She used to be an MTV VJ. Some kids grow up.

Is there still a chance to honor the day as it should be honored? Yes. But the window is closing, inch by inch. The participation of the divine is becoming reality TV kitsch...

The woman and the rustling trees... Look it up. She's no ditz.

...and everyone, especially those urbane New Yorkers (right?), is free to interpret meaning in his own way. Even the president omits any mention of God in his remembrance this year. He wants us to do "community service" instead of praying for the dead and their families. Why? Perhaps because he agrees with this guy.

This smug, fatuous, pseudo-intellectual doesn't even know how to count bodies.
What total does he assign to smart atheists like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Hitler?

Still. There are those of of us who will not forget that on the American side, the day was not about hatred but love and duty and courage and  sacrifice. Conflating the muslim god of death with the Christian love that built the world's kindest and most altruistic nation is a mistake we will never make. Why we will close, once again, on a sacred note.

Here. Read the provenance. You can find better audio.

Athene was a goddess of wisdom and justice, both of which are imperiled in the new now of government in charge of everything. Maybe 9/11 should become a reminder that the people in charge are the ones who run into risk and danger when everyone else is in need of a way out.
P.S. A memorial that didn't cost a billion in union payoffs and kickbacks.


Meaning, thank you. And most of us do remember. We will never forget.

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Disconnect:
Time for a Recap

AN OLD CAUTIONARY NOTE. So the conventions are done and the campaign begins in earnest. Personally, I'm most struck by a sense of disconnect. There's no way this race should be close. I think maybe it isn't, but then I'm assailed by the fear that it's my own wishful thinking which makes me believe we're headed for another 1980. Help me out. I'll show you my reasons for suspecting an electoral landslide, and you show me why I'm wrong. Fair enough?

1. Lies Everyone Tells.

Obama is so likeable he has a deep, probably incontrovertible advantage.

Actually there's nothing likeable about him. He may be virtuous in pedestrian ways, but so was Cromwell. Doesn't mean anybody ever wanted to hang out with Cromwell. Read this from the Sunday New York Times, no less. A highlight being:

Mr. Obama’s fixation on prowess can get him into trouble. Not everyone wants to be graded by him, certainly not Republicans. Mr. Dowd, the former Bush adviser, said he admired Mr. Obama, but added, “Nobody likes to be in the room with someone who thinks they’re the smartest person in the room.”

Even some Democrats in Washington say they have been irritated by his tips on topics ranging from the best way to shake hands on the trail (really look voters in the eye, he has instructed) to writing well (“You have to think three or four sentences ahead,” he told one reluctant pupil).

For another, he may not always be as good at everything as he thinks, including politics. While Mr. Obama has given himself high grades for his tenure in the White House — including a “solid B-plus” for his first year — many voters don’t agree, citing everything from his handling of the economy to his unfulfilled pledge that he would be able to unite Washington to his claim that he would achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. 

 Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Yeah. Any of us would want to hang around with this sanctimonious little self-absorbed prick. Right.

Obama is a truly gifted political orator. He's just magical with words somehow.

Nonsense. This man has given more speeches than perpetual master of ceremonies George Jessel. If he were actually good at it, he'd have convinced us long ere now that the Stimulus worked and ObamaCare is the best American law since the Constitution itself. Instead, he has bored everybody to death, to the point that no one even remembers what he said about any of it. Which may be the point, but it hardly qualifies as oratory. It's overwhelming white noise that everyone has learned to tune out.

Name me one eloquent nugget of Obama speechifying that you will carry with you to your grave. And don't say, "Yes we can." That's a bumper sticker. It's hardly "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" or "Don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes." He's a con man whose snake oil is finally putting people in the hospital or the ground.

All the demographic trends favor him -- youth, women, Hispanics, blacks, union members, the unemployed receiving benefits, and old people afraid of losing their medicare.

uh, no. He needed all these groups to get elected in the first place. He's lost a lot or some in every category. Young people aren't registering to vote and they're not much more than a few points in his favor this time around. Hispanics aren't all illegal immigrants; U.S. citizens aren't happy about being out of work. Blacks are experiencing a 14% unemployment rate and they're neither in favor of gay marriage or willing to break their necks getting to the polls. There aren't that many union members in the private sector and they're starting to resent the public sector employees who take no risk and still get kingly benefits, especially if they're degreed folk like teachers and government social workers. The unemployed would rather be employed than get another 99 weeks of unemployment checks. And old people are smarter than the con that they'll be cut loose for the hell of it by any party. Who did I forget? Women. A lot of them are not fond of the "Sluts Vote" initiative. Trust me. If you don't trust me, here's inveterate hardcore lefty Margaret Carlson expressing reservations:

Why has the Democratic Party removed the sentence "Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare" from its platform? It was in the 2004 document but not in 2008's or this year's. Can't Democrats just throw a crumb to the many millions who are pro-choice but not pro-abortion?...

Votes by former Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama — the votes Gingrich cited on "Meet the Press" — sound shocking when presented without constitutional or practical context. Yet Obama and many other Democrats have opposed a ban on partial-birth abortion on the slim reed that its only exception is to protect the life and health of the mother. They say the procedure is exceedingly rare. But the health of the mother exception is vast, encompassing age, emotional, familial and state-of-mind factors broad enough to include virtually any woman in any circumstances.

It's a terrible thing to force a 12-year-old who lives in chaos and hopelessness, with a boyfriend who has disappeared or an abusive uncle who hasn't, to have a baby. But it's worse to let her abort it after she waits so long for help that the only difference between the baby being born alive or dead is a gruesome procedure that the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said approximated "infanticide."

He is a political genius, the most gifted since Bill Clinton himself.

Pure crap. He's a ruthless, take no prisoners campaigner. That's all. Having failed to accomplish any improvement in American life since his election, he has reverted to the vicious ad-hominem campaigning of his Chicago origins. Who is it exactly who assumes that voters can't see what a dirty player he is? Only the people who have never seen anything else -- the inside the beltway crowd.

If he knew anything about politics, he'd have made some political deals with Republicans to help the country through this economic mess. Simple answer. He doesn't care about anyone but himself, the country be hanged. That's not political genius. It's political suicide.

2. The Supine Conservative Elite.

I make it a practice not to read the National Review anymore. They're like Dickens whelps, waiting to be whipped. I took a look today and guess what I saw:

Parting Shots
By Daniel Foster

For the past few days I have been feeling like Super Man under a red sun. I think it’s partially due to the drain of slogging straight through 20-hour days in Tampa to — I’ll be fair -- 18-hour days in Charlotte. I know, I know, cry me a river, Foster. But it’s also due in part to thinking that the Democratic convention was more effective than the Republican. I certainly felt that way over the first two nights here and was seriously pondering Jay’s question: How do we ever win?

Give me a break. Just how elitely brilliant and out of touch do you have to be to watch a convention that talks about virtually nothing but abortion, contraception, and LGBT rights and feel doomed? Even the 2008 traitor Peggy Noonan saw what happened last night:

Barack Obama is deeply overexposed and often boring. He never seems to be saying what he's thinking. His speech Thursday was weirdly anticlimactic. There's too much buildup, the crowd was tired, it all felt flat. He was somber, and his message was essentially banal: We've done better than you think. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

There were many straw men. There were phrases like "the shadow of a shuttered steel mill," which he considers writerly. But they sound empty and practiced now, like something you've heard in a commercial or an advertising campaign.

It was stale and empty. He's out of juice.

But they keep coming with their doom and gloom scenarios, don't they? Screw'em, I say. Don't listen anymore.

3. It's the Incompetence, Stupid.

The real nexus of The Disconnect. This president hasn't ever done anything right. Why do we keep pretending that we're watching something other than a grand theater of the absurd being perpetrated on the American people? Carter was an inestimably better president, and he was a pure disaster. Electing Barack Obama was a lot like (er, exactly like) picking some back-bench state legislator to the most powerful position in the world and then watching him crash the entire world in a matter of three years. A lesson. The people who get the lesson are the ones who earn credibility. The ones who pretend that this is all business as usual, politics, policy, etc, are never to be trusted again. We have a president who:

Doesn't work. He plays golf, raises money, and has meetings with celebrities from Hollywood and professional sports.

Doesn't submit a federal budget -- in four years -- that can be taken seriously by even one member of his own party in congress. Not one.

Doesn't meet with members of the congress, not even the leaders of his own senate and house caucuses

Doesn't involve himself with pending legislation, its words, terms, or consequences.

Doesn't consult with his own cabinet.

Doesn't pay the slightest attention to the recommendations of his own augustly commissioned committees.

Doesn't show the slightest interest in the suffering of people who pay the price for his narrowly conceived and ideologically rigid prejudices.

Doesn't disguise his naked preference for racially skewed definitions of justice, as enacted by his DOJ.

Doesn't love his own country enough to avoid bowing and apologizing to its many enemies.

Doesn't keep his promises about truth, transparency, and financial honesty.

Doesn't have the integrity to reveal his own records of education, health, and past associates.

DOES have the temerity to rule by executive decree when it's a way around congress and the Constitution of the United States.

All he really needs is a Nelson Eddy operetta-military uniform. Pop dictator. Such a rush. No wonder Hollywood loves him But what does anyone really know about him? We know George Bush's SAT scores and grades at Yale. Four years in, we don't anything Barack Obama. Not SAT or GPA scores, not his major at Occidental or Columbia, not his transcript from Harvard Law. And he's carping about Romney's tax returns.

Business as usual? The guy is a total catastrophe. But here we are, debating whether or not he should be reelected. Why? Just to see how much ludicrous bubngling the United States can survive? uh, not this much.

4. Polls. Forget the Bradley Effect. It's the Obama Effect.

Anyone who thinks the ambiance of the nation hasn't changed in four years is lying to himself. In 2008, the mass media went all out to put this guy in office. That was corrupt. But what's been happening this year is worse. Last time, they could ride the rhetoric and sneer only obliquely at McCain and Palin (well, yeah, worse at her. An exception?). That's passive corruption. This time, they've had to be actively corrupt. And they have been.

From first to last, they've misrepresented everything. While pretending to be their usual objective selves. But there ARE tradeoffs. The more biased the media get, the more polls begin to reflect the distortion. We keep hearing that the polls were accurate last time. I'm thinking they're less accurate this time. What's changed? An increased sense that we're all being watched. That an overtly political DOJ can come hunting for people on very slight grounds. "Do you like Obama?" "Sure I do. Love him to death."

Concern about this issue has caused people to discuss the Bradley Effect, the notion that racist feelings are hidden when a pollster calls. As it happens, the Bradley Effect has been refuted. We're not that racist. But the Obama Effect isn't about race. It's about Hugo Chavez, the growing sense that we're surveilled and may be targeted for retaliation because we're perceived as some kind of threat. I know I feel it. Paranoia? You tell me. When they call, what do you say?

What I know is that this guy doesn't want to lose. Not ever. And he will do ANYTHING not to. Ask Gallup.

5. Where is Murrow?

Not actually part of my argument. Just wondering. The U.S. news media have been taking credit for Edward R. Murrow's belated slam at Joe McCarthy for more than 50 years. When TV news earned its stripes, so so to speak. What I'm waiting for. Some TV news star from CBS, ABC, or NBC to blow the whistle on this fraudulent, idiot, fake of a president and tell us it's okay to elect a replacement.

Not going to happen. Is it Arbus?

I know. We win and maybe save the country. Or we lose and lose absolutely everything. So be it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Why I Feel Like
Throwing Up...

Even more likeable than her husband...? Really?

SOME WOMEN ARE COOL. Had to turn off Laura Ingraham this morning. Conservatives all have their heads up their asses about this likeability issue. Let me say it straight and plain. Nobody likes Barack Obama or his sour, ungrateful, freeloading wife. Why do conservatives keep pretending this isn't so? So the First Bitch gave a speech and everybody, including all the whores of Fox News but Krauthammer, were charmed. The exact moment when I vomited in the bucket. This is actually my biggest reason for doubting the polls this time around. They may have been accurate in election cycles past. This time, people are lying to the pollsters. They don't want to be accused of racism because they can recognize trailer trash in the White House. As usual, I've written about this before:

Still trying to be fair, but I'm not seeing the Camelot charm here. I'm unable to say that Michelle is gazing fondly or ever really quite looking at her husband in any of these photos. She seems forced in her few smiles, pained, frazzled, tired, or just plain physically distant from her husband. I'll leave the girls out of it. (But is that an Obama football he's carrying in his romp with the dog who bears his initials? He looks happier with Bo than... well, enough said.) Truth is, the family pics are vastly outnumbered by arty pics of "Obama Alone," which I won't reproduce here but which also suggest a deliberate MSM attempt to identify him with the famous images of JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

So was her speech really so great if she actually can't stand the guy? And why do all the conservatives give her a pass? She's the last person in the room I'd ever want to talk to. And Laura Ingraham and company couldn't look me in the eye and say otherwise. Absolutely everybody, even other black women, knows she's a walking nightmare, spoiled, selfish, sullen, nasty, and probably not even good in bed. Why does the whole nation have to pretend otherwise?

That's racism, my friends. The only time I feel sorry for Barack Obama is when I contemplate his life with Michelle. Am I really the only one who knows that Michelle is the Fisherman's Wife of the fable?

Conservatives: Fucking grow up. A harridan is a witch is a cunt in every race. Take the gloves off. I'm tired of throwing up in a bucket.

Convention Inoculation:
Midsomer Madness.

DATA. Granted, it's not a problem tonight. The NFL season begins on NBC(?!). Cowboys versus Giants. Who's going to be watching Dems bashing Mitt when the NFC East is back in action? But tomorrow is more problematic. Why I have a suggestion.

The best long-running TV series ever. Midsomer Murders. Available on Netflix streaming and DVD. In fact, I just saw the best ever episode, called "The Creeper," which starred a Scottish deerhound and a hellacious blonde.

No, you're not going to find that episode. Not easily anyway. But all the others are almost as good. Fifteen years worth. Midsomer is a fictional county in the south of England. Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby gets to solve the murders there -- tons and tons (and tons) of murders, usually three to four an episode. He's no Sherlock Holmes but he's dogged. And the scriptwriters are so clever it scarcely matters how quickly you beat Barnaby to the truth.

The scenery is terrific, the cars range from fine to outstanding, and every single script is a tongue-in-cheek exercise in Brit light comedy. Except that people keep winding up dead -- harpooned, bludgeoned, poisoned, shot, smothered, crushed by falling monuments, pierced by arrows, run down by Bentleys and Jags, and even occasionally blown up.

It's so good I can't believe I haven't suggested it before. I must have been saving it for a special occasion. Like the 2012 Democratic Convention.

It's your best bet to avoid hearing how much lefty women are obsessed with their vaginas. Which is what the convention is all about this year. Apparently.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Impromptu Empty Cher Day

Sit. You know she wants to sit. But there's no chair. Ahhh. Obama.

Reviewing the comments from my Clint Eastwood post, I realized many of you may not be aware that Clint's performance at the RNC might have represented a turning point in this election. Some of you are glum about the prospects for his legacy. And truthfully, even some media conservatives who should know better continue to repeat the nonsense that he was "rambling" and somehow "off point." Nonsense. (Don't worry. I'll get to Cher. But at least I got your attention from the gitgo, didn't I?.)

Yesterday there was a largely spontaneous twitter phenomenon called "Impromptu Empty Chair Day," inspired of course by Eastwood's masterful production at the convention. Production? Yes. Read this acute analysis by Karl from Hotair's Green Room, where all that site's wisdom lurks. After years of ineffective grappling with the left's refusal to acknowledge that Obama even can be mocked, at a single blow Eastwood -- oh so disingenuously -- delivered the perfect metaphor for this perfectly ridiculous presidency. The empty chair says it all. What Eastwood didn't have to spell out. The golf. The many jetset vacations. The constant fundraising. The schmoozing with Hollywood celebs. The hands-off approach to the delegated particulars of disastrous legislation. The constant speechifying with no attempt to meet or talk with the opposition, members of his own cabinet, his own congressional leaders, or even his own appointed commissions. A presidency of nothing but style executed almost purely in absentia. One can imagine cobwebs forming in the Oval Office but for the machinery of White House cleaning regimens.

Shortsighted Republican power brokers were embarrassed that he ignored official party positions and spoke to a broader electorate. Democrat power brokers went totally bipolar. Some depicted him as a senile embarrassment to his own career. Others were so aware of how deeply he had struck the general electorate that they felt compelled to assault a national icon. BIG mistake.

You see, I remember the exact moment when Clint Eastwood became a movie superstar. It was in 1967, when his trio of spaghetti westerns hit American theaters. In the space of a few months he became the ultimate American western antihero, and paradoxically he was adored by both John Wayne fans and student revolutionaries. His screen persona was fearless, deadly, and a symbol of (incredibly) rough justice. He was also entrepreneurial (er, mercenary), anti-authority, beholden to no flag, and idiosyncratically subjective about matters of right and wrong. Evidence suggests that he had some idea what he was doing even then:

Eastwood later spoke of the transition from a television western to A Fistful of Dollars: "In Rawhide I did get awfully tired of playing the conventional white hat. The hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody. I decided it was time to be an anti-hero." Eastwood was instrumental in creating the Man with No Name character's distinctive visual style and, although a non-smoker, Leone insisted Eastwood smoke cigars as an essential ingredient of the "mask" he was attempting to create for the loner character.

"I wanted to play it with an economy of words," [Eastwood said at the time] "and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement. It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past. It came about after the frustration of doing Rawhide for so long. I felt the less he said, the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience."

A Fistful of Dollars proved a landmark in the development of spaghetti westerns, with Leone depicting a more lawless and desolate world than traditional westerns, and challenging American stereotypes of a western hero with a morally ambiguous antihero. The film's success made Eastwood a major star in Italy[50] and he was re-hired to star in For a Few Dollars More (1965), the second of the trilogy. Through the efforts of screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni, the rights to For a Few Dollars More and the final film of the trilogy (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) were sold to United Artists for about $900,000.

The rest, as they say, is history. Clint Eastwood went on to become the biggest box office star of his time. He could have become the John Wayne of his generation, perpetual western hero tailor-made for his generation. But he aspired higher. He became a highly effective director too.

Which is where Cher comes in. Yes, I'm going to surprise you. The two of them really are comparable. Both came from working class families with no special connections. Both had surprising talents, perseverance, and little formal education. Clint Eastwood went to a technical high school. Cher became a high school dropout afflicted with severe dyslexia. Both succeeded in one highly competitive arena, then went on to win praise and awards in multiple others. Cher is the only person to win a Grammy, an Emmy, an Oscar, and multiple Golden Globes in acting. Clint Eastwood is the only top box office star to become an Oscar winning director and, well, go look for yourself.

Neither is a personal saint. Cher's personal life has always been a mess. Eastwood's  has hardly been better.

But the fact that they're comparable is instructive. I can't forget Clint Eastwood because he gave me the Man with No Name, his own permutations of High Noon and Shane, a paean to country music in Honkytonk Man, an elegy to jazz in Bird, and what I regarded as a betrayal in Unforgiven.

Truth is, Clint Eastwood has used his latter directing years to explore humanity entire, from Invictus to Gran Torino, from Million Dollar Baby to J. Edgar, from Flags of Iwo Jima to Letters from Iwo Jima.

In years to come, he will be regarded as a latter day John Ford. He sees and understands the American drama without rejecting the American experience. He knows he's a product of American exceptionalism. You don't get to be a movie star, director, producer, jazz musician, composer, and father of jazz composer and movie director children without appreciating American opportunity.

On the other hand, here's the lefty response to American success:

The Tweets of Cher. [Look. By all means look and click to subsequent pages too. She's a Lamia.] But I congratulate Cher on the first ever bottomless video. Despite all her laurels, the first time I iever saw a woman show off her private parts to an army of navy men. I congratulate them for their restraint.

Awwww. So Cher was half Armenian, meaning a member of one of the most orthodox Christian communities in history. Anybody with me in wondering how many of the celebrity haters are terrified of their Christian roots? If there's an afterlife, they're sunk.

Clint? Well, his hair is fluffed up. Must mean he's out of control.

My hair is fluffed up too. I'm out of control. Ask anybody. I'm sitting in a chair right now. You're way wrong if you think Clint Eastwood knows nothing about chairs:

After a lifetime, he knows about doing in the villains...

Sorry, Bill.

Sorry, Cher, as well. I know how much sitting down hard and harder and again means to you. But you were never Clint Eastwood. Maybe why you've been so all-fired pissed all these years. There's talent. And then there's vision. The difference always tends to show itself. The first tends to look like a fluke (Fluke?), the second like a warning from beyond. So sad to be an old broad whose greatest legacy is the first panty made of dental floss.

Now. Can someone please fill up that sad empty Cher?

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