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July 7, 2006 - June 30, 2006

Monday, April 25, 2005


There Will Be Things
An article in The Charlotte Observer (Source Archive) last week seemed to conjure images of our reading this week in Adam.48. The favorite? The virtual girlfriend named, Vivienne. And, so it goes.





Lots of Really Big Casualties
Ninety years ago a battle began that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers in one of Britain's worst military disasters -- Gallipoli.

Twenty thousand people turned out today for a memorial service.

It is said, that at the height of the fighting, the waters around the peninsula were reddened with blood as far as 50 metres from the shore. We didn't want you to forget.




Sunday, April 24, 2005


Big Fisherman, Alias the Pope

"Cardinal Ratzinger's writings, which are full of intellectual nuance and shadings of meaning, show a ready acknowledgement of the changes in the church's positions over the years -for example, turning away from the idea that it is a sin to enjoy sex, or that woman are inferior."

The NY Times seems to specialize in incredibly empty-headed statements like this, although the article is generally interesting and seems somewhat fair and accurate . . . although they made need to upgrade their editor.

Speaking of editors, I've been sending in just a ton of exceptional material to you guys, why such sporadic use of my brilliance?




Friday, April 22, 2005


The Smoking Gun!

A certain German archbishop at a recent private party.

SCOOP. Initially, we were a bit skeptical about all the mainstream media interest in the new pope's Nazi connections. Weren't these the same networks and newspapers who continually held up France and Germany as the models of moral foreign and social policy during the run-up and aftermath to the Iraq war? Why weren't they interested then in the possibility that eminent German decisionmakers might still be tainted by the fact that at one time they had to accommodate the Nazis or be killed by them? And hasn't it been the big media position for years now that accommodation is exactly the right policy for dealing with a murderous dictatorship?

That's why we concluded that the whole story was really nothing but a way to tar the image of a man who didn't reflect the kind of secular liberalism smart people are wise enough to want for the Roman Catholic Church. The way they've got it worked out, it's nothing but pure dumb luck that the Church has survived for almost 2,000 years without their help. If they're a bit frantic and underhanded about how they try to provide their assistance, the day-to-day maneuvers may appear a bit sordid, but at least one can appreciate their sense of urgency. They might, after all, be sincere in their motives if not honest in their tactics.

So we held back for a while... until we remembered that we are journalists, and it is our abiding mission to get at the truth, whatever it is. And being journalists, it came naturally to us to start connecting the dots. Was it a coincidence that two of the greatest journalists of all time, Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, had recently dropped out of sight ? Why would CBS have abandoned them for such slight cause? Most importantly, what were they doing right now?

After a quick check of prevailing journalistic ethics, we leaped into action, hunted down the secret Texas office where Dan and Mary had gone to ground, and invited ourselves in with the help of a cordless drill. In a file labeled "60 Minutes Super-Special: Nazi Ratzi," we found the photograph above, as well as the following incredibly damning images:


Joseph Ratzinger smiling with a pair of Wehrmacht pals


Joseph Ratzinger participating in a corrupt business
deal with a war profiteer and a Wehrmacht officer.

There was also a short film clip in a cannister marked "1944," which is reproduced below:



Is it our imagination, or is he helping to instruct a young SS officer in performing a proper Nazi salute? And then we found the most shocking evidence of all, a letter written by the young man himself in the critical year 1941. The image below is an exact photocopy of the original we found in that 60 Minutes file.



We were so shocked by this discovery that we almost didn't hear Dan and Mary returning to the office, laughing and giving each other high-fives. We grabbed what we could and ran, which means that we still don't have some of their no-doubt conclusive authenticating documents. Still, we did what research we could. Through lab tests and asking around, we were able to determine that the signature is a typically German blue, of a garishness not found in other civilized European countries. Moreover, the dimensions of the coffee ring correspond exactly to the size mug that might have been used by a gruppenfuehrer of the period.  Thus, we are compelled to admit that the CBS undercover team has in all probability got the goods on the new pope.

We are saddened, but the news is the news, and it's our job to bring it to you.

12:06 p.m.
 
UPDATE. It has been brought to our attention that various “bloggers” in the “blogosphere” are disputing, in the Comments section, the authenticity of the Ratzinger letter which XOFF News, in accordance with the highest journalistic standards, stole from Dan Rather and published at InstaPunk.
 

We have reviewed the sundry charges and discussed them with our document examiner Fred, who says they’re all “hooey.” We therefore stand by our reporting on this, because we didn’t even need the letter in the first place: a picture is still worth a thousand words, which means we have at least 4,000 words worth of good evidence against maybe 100 words of not-quite-completely-perfect evidence. Besides, just look at him. You can see he’s a Nazi. Of course, we will continue to monitor the story, and if anyone can prove beyond the tiniest shadow of a doubt that we’ve committed fraud or something, we’ll consider an ambiguously worded partial retraction at that time. Until then, we remain supremely confident that all this ruckus is little more than a conspiracy by shady political operatives to damage our credibility.

P.S. They did so have a superscript “th” on German typewriters in the 1940s. The Germans have always been good at all that scientific and mechanical stuff. Ask anyone.




Thursday, April 21, 2005


Homework
When we read InstaPunk's entry about Harry Shearer, Noam Chomsky, NPR, and Air America yesterday, we knew we were going to be asked if we had followed his detailed directions regarding listening to NPR's Le Show. We haven't listened to the government radio station since the first Gulf War where Daniel Schorr was giddily hoping that Sadaam (remember him?) had something up his sleeve to annihilate the entire U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. We turned the radio off and that was that. Never again. And, we do mean never.

So, knowing the question was coming we thought about our answer. Should we lie? "Yea, we heard it -- you really nailed it, great post!" Or, "Yes, indeed, we did listen to it. What's on your mind?"

But, we opted for the truth. "No. We knew you were going to ask us that question." Knowing what was coming next we agreed to listen and make a post.

Just finished listening. Convinced now more than ever of our wisdom during the first Gulf War over ten years ago. After two minutes and 51 seconds, one of us thought it was over and went for the OFF button -- the rest shouted, "No, we must listen to seven or eight minutes."

At 6:24, three more joined around the computer to insist we turn it off NOW. We perservered until seven minutes and twenty-one seconds where, by concensus, we turned it off.

In the silence, with the echo of ". . . they can dream of voting . . ." still hazing the air, in unison we shouted -- "STAIRS!"

We then realized we needed to complete our work in progress -- TODAY.





The Far Side of the Charles River
Of all the wretched things at Harvard, I cannot be alone in thinking that Lawrence Tribe is the worst. Perhaps, in charity, we can hope that his left-wing crusades have been as phoney as his pretensions to respectable scholarship, and that he's always been committed to whatever he does just for the money . . .





Sentencing Guidelines:  STAIRS!
This is what will henceforth be referred to as, "STAIRS!" It is a treatment option many of us have prescribed for wayward GenX-ers beginning in the mid to late 90's as these kids started to wonder what they wanted to be when they grew up -- preferably to be administered by their fathers. Come here, let me tell you something . . . It was designed to be a bracing wake up call to real life and help the recipient focus on things that are important. Something that particular generation was finding hard to do amidst all the whining and complaining.

We have now come to believe that this treatment should become part of the penal code and be administered in an overwhelming number of cases to offenders of all ages. It is important that this sentence be executed properly to have its full effect. Accordingly, a bald, muscular man should be chosen to impose the sentence. White pants, white T-shirt, black S.W.A.T. boots, and -- most importantly -- no hood; the recipient must be able to see his grin as he gently walks him to the head of the stairway.

The stairway should be long and unforgiving -- although shorter stairs with landings may be appropriate in some cases where multiple tosses may be viewed to have greater therapeutic value along with the sound of the S.W.A.T. boots coming slowly down the steps to the landing for the next treatment. In such cases, there should be no less than two landings and three stairways of at least fifteen steps.

The administrator then says to the offender in a kindly voice, "Come here, I want to tell you something," as he guides the offender to the head of the stairs; he then places his hand squarely between his shoulder blades, grins (extremely important) and gives a sudden, manly thrust. This thrust requires great skill. It must give the body the proper velocity so that any wild flinging of the arms in an attempt to halt the body's descent of the stairway will only result in a broken wrist or some other injury. The recipient must make it all the way down the stairway -- ass over tin cup, if you will.

A smaller administrator may find it necessary to use two hands. If this is the case, the administrator stands on the left hand side of the recipient, firmly grasps the belt of the recipient with the right hand, places the left hand firmly between the recipient's shoulder blades and then, with a swift lifting thrust propels the recipient down the steps. The left leg may be used to kick the legs of the recipient out from under him as he performs this motion if necessary.

If properly administered, the offender will have a new appreciation for life -- and walking down steps. His cares will be narrowed to those things essential to life and he will henceforth limit his whining and complaining to things worthy of such attention. In many cases, whining will be eliminated entirely.

You may feel free to try this with your children or grandchildren especially if they have been ordered to seek counseling or have been given a prescription for psychotropic medications. You will thank us and so will your kids.

UPDATE: Instalanche underway -- thanks Glenn and welcome to InstaPundit visitors -- if you'd like to know how all this got started, see HERE and HERE.




Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Instapunk041905

Anniversaries

Rita says there are still Unanswered Questions.

PSOMETHINGS.12 AND 17. Everyone who watches TV will already have been reminded that today is the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.  Those who watch cable news programs may know that today is also the 12th anniversary of the David Koresh debacle in Waco, Texas.

A very few may remember that this is the 230th anniversary of what has been called "the shot heard round the world."

Almost no one will be observing all these other April 19 anniversaries.

And here's yet another anniversary we regard as significant.

There are obvious connections between a couple of these events, but are there deeper patterns of which we should be aware? Some say a date is only a date, and some aren't so sure that we see much of anything but the surface of an extraordinarily complex reality. It may be that our national memory of 9/11 has increased the population of Americans who believe there are profound meanings in numbers. What do you think?

UPDATE. The first comment added by one of our readers is quite interesting and instructive. It prompted us to reference the Book of Harrier Brayer's readings for this week. You can find them here (upper left) and here (Week 41, in context). All we can say is, the punks anticipated much, and planned much.





E.U. Consti-TOO!
We're out traveling and you read different things when you are away from your normal routine. While reading one of these odd sources, there was a phrase that stopped us dead in our tracks -- "the proposed E.U. Constitution, some 450+ pages long." We just stopped. 450 pages? 450 pages! What the hell?

We really don't like Europe so we don't pay all that much attention to what they're up to -- we did hear they were attempting to ratify a Constitution, but we're pretty sure that we never heard a page count like that. So, we took a look.

Turns out that is understated -- you can download it all right HERE. The first link, "TEXT OF EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION," is only 30 pages. Be sure to get the rest of it, including:
  The Constitution's Fundamental Provisions -- 64 pages
  Charter of Fundamental Rights -- 27 pages
  The Union's Policies -- 247 pages
  The Final Clauses -- 14 pages
  Protocols and Annexes I and II -- 382 pages
  Declarations -- 121 pages

That is a total of 885 pages. To form a union. Take a look at the Constitution of the United States and make note of its brevity. And, note too that the next democratic republic to rule Europe for 228 years will be the first. Be sure to remind yourself of this little exercise the next time someone starts off with the phrase, "Well, you know, in Europe they . . . "





The Liberals We Love

Swarthmorons.PS.16-19: You'll learn a few simple tips about
 how to dress for success in the intellectual community, such as
 Tip No. 1, which is to dress like a Kensingtonian and then just
add a beard and a corduroy jacket for that little extra je ne sais
quoi which makes all the difference. And that's not all you'll get
for your ten dollars...

THE WAY OF HARRY. Why is it that the people who call themselves progressives are so predictable and reactionary that their intellectual output is the verbal equivalent of Nembutal? Since we can't explain it, we might as well celebrate it and spotlight the outstanding performers every so often. Today we'll look at two peas who might seem to arise from different pods -- but no, it's somehow always the same pod. First up, Harry Shearer.

He's most famous as the voice of most of the characters on The Simpsons. He also did an extended turn as a writer on Saturday Night Live, to which he contributed some of the moments that were genuinely funny in between all the moments that weren't funny. (You see, we're trying to be fair here.) But he is also the writer and sole performer of a weekly program on NPR called "Le Show," which I mentioned in passing a few entries ago. To save you some digging, I said:

One more thing. I also listened to a few minutes of NPR yesterday and chanced to hear the most recent Harry Shearer vehicle called "Le Show." It's banned. Permanently. There's nothing worse than a comic who's traded his sense of humor for dull, repetitive sectarian sniping. Adios, Harry.

Afterwards, a variety of people contacted me to ask what the heck I was talking about. They'd never heard of Le Show, didn't know anybody who did, and why? Why was I publicizing it if it was so bad, why did I bother ever listening to it, and why, by the way, was I still listening to NPR?

Good questions all. I listen to NPR the way a kid who's losing a baby molar worries it in his jaw, to experience a pain that is in some curious way exquisitely uniform. It's a pain that rarely rises to the level of agony, and somehow its constant tingling potentiality of hitting that one thrumming chord cannot be ignored. NPR is there. Millions of people lap up its dreary and oh-so-polite editorializing-without-ever-coming-right-out-and-saying-it style of propaganda, and it's impossible to ignore all those highbrows listening sagely in their Bimmers and plowing their way through the ready-made reading lists that fall out of the not-so-Fresh Air of Terry Gross's interviews with the cognoscenti. The tone of it all -- from Terry to Garrison Keillor to 'What Do You Know?' to 'Morning Edition' to 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me' to 'BBC World' to 'All Things Considered' to Tavis Smiley -- varies within the same range as that moribund molar, which is to say hardly at all. Whether the intention is to be informative, thoughtful or humorous, the demeanor is almost constantly knowing, a bit weary, pretentiously allusive, and ostentatiously soft-spoken and indirect, as if we all -- NPR listeners, that is -- share such a huge set of common convictions and esthetic preferences that almost nothing in the way of straightforward comment is needed.

I listen to Le Show as part of this experience, and I can't let it go without comment for the same reasons that I can't stop listening to NPR. It seems like evidence of a clear sort, although evidence of exactly what is harder to pin down. Le Show may be ignored by almost everybody, but it does have a website, which characterizes the program as:

A weekly, hour-long romp through the worlds of media, politics, sports and show business, leavened with an eclectic mix of mysterious music, hosted by Harry Shearer.

Why should a 'romp' need to be leavened by, of all things, an "eclectic mix of mysterious music"? That's one of the reasons I encourage people to give it a listen, which is also made possible by the website. I can save you some time in this exercise. Here are my instructions, if you have the nerve: 1) Click on Le Show for Sunday, April 10th; 2) find the 'forward' button on your media player and hold it down while watching the minute count; 3) release the button when it reaches Minute 20:00 and listen for just seven to eight minutes. (You can listen longer if you want to discover the mysterious music, which generally lasts about five minutes between Shearer's various segments.)

What will you get for your seven to eight minute investment? Mostly, a carefully selected series of news items read by Harry, interspersed with brief comments that run the gamut from arch to snide, which we are meant to consume as a very sophisticated form of satire -- sophisticated in the sense that we are expected to infer both the context and the punchline from the author's drolly minimalist setups. During the particular excerpt I've highlighted here, we hear unmade jokes about the missing WMDs, the Abu Ghraib scandal, a U.N. press release predicting that contractor fraud in Iraq will "dwarf" the Oil-for-Food scandal (N.B. Halliburton and Cheney aren't actually mentioned), a dire innuendo that Kurds in the Iraqi government may speak Kurdish, a study by somebody claiming that the number of malnourished children in Iraq has doubled since the invasion, complaints about lack of bulletproof glass in military vehicles by an Arkansas National Guardsman, and a report that in Britain there are still "concerns" about the poor quality of intelligence prior to the war. You'll find that all the missing punchlines are easier to find than the eggs you hide for your children at Easter. Context? Forget it. There's no room in Le Show for anything like the item recently linked by Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit. It involved a rather startling poll taken in Iraq, followed by this comment:

"Most of us read, heard and saw the media's report of the April 9th demonstrations in Baghdad. Most of the U.S. media portrayed it as a massive anti American demonstration in the streets of Iraq. I noticed, however, from Iraqi Arabic newspapers that most the demonstrations were against terrorism & calling for Saddam’s trial & hanging (all these signs were in Arabic). I called my father in Baghdad to confirm this and he confirmed it. My father then confirmed that Al Sadr had asked his followers to demonstrate for the withdrawal of foreign troops, he also said that this group was very small and almost insignificant compared to the rest who were calling for Saddam’s trial & hanging and those against terrorism. My father said the Iraqi media reported the number like this 'about 200,000 demonstrators of which 8,000-10,000 were Al-Sadr & Sunni supporters' (strange bed fellows). He also said that when he listened to the Iraqi elected officials (on live T.V.) in the assembly, that every one (every one including those Sunnis initially opposed to the elections), every man and woman assembly member, reiterated the importance of foreign and specifically U.S. troops staying in Iraq till Iraq is ready to take over its own security. Most of them expressed their thanks for the troops being there and freeing Iraqis from Saddam. This I did not read, hear or see in any U.S. mainstream media outlet.

"These are the people Iraq elected, asking us to stay and thanking us. The poll shows only 12% want us to leave at once. This makes a complete mockery of the mainstream media coverage of the demonstrations.

Just as Le Monde would never report such a story, never would (or will) Le Show. When you think about it, it really is breathtaking. Perhaps I'm wrong in thinking that people who don't expose themselves to this mentality on a regular basis are in danger of fooling themselves that in some way, at some level, liberals really are engaging in a process of reason. I hope I'm wrong.




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