April 14, 2007 - April 7, 2007
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Contest: Rewrite the
. Our story thus far... A Washington Post cartoonist
named Toles took a slap at Rumsfeld and in doing so failed to realize
that his depiction of a soldier wihout arms and legs might be offensive
to American troops. Then all six
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a letter of protest to the editor of
the Post, probably the first time they have all agreed on anything.
Michelle Malkin has the details
including the original cartoon and the letter. The paper responded today
it doesn't see anything wrong with the cartoon and doesn't feel any
apology is necessary.
So we're sponsoring a little contest. Above you'll find the inoffensive
image from the original cartoon stripped of its names, labels, and
words. We invite you to fill them in however you think appropriate. You
can copy the image and Photoshop it yourself, or you can email
InstaPunk with the text content you want. We will choose a winner
sometime next week and publish the best versions. (You can Bush-bash if
you want, but we'll throw your stuff away...) We'll even do the
Photoshopping of the best ones if the contestants can't. After we've
published the worst you can do, we will fail to apologize for any
offense taken by your targets. How's that for a prize?
Just to clarify what we're proposing, here's a sample reworking of our
Here's hoping we can get a little help from you and our blogger
colleagues in promoting our bit of fun. Thanks for letting everyone
know, and thanks for submitting an entry.
Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link
just to make sure everyone understands, both jpeg files and text
entries can be emailed to the address shown on this page. You can also
enter informally via the Comments section, but please
keep the format simple and
And thanks to Glenn
, too. More thanks to Ace of Spades
You'll find the contest results here
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Poster Child: Maryscott O'Connor, Center of the Universe
. Yesterday, Hugh
reported on the response of the "KosKids
(NSFW) to the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court
of the United States.
For those not in the know, Hugh was referring to the contributors and
commenters at the Daily Kos, brainchild of Markos
, who has become such a luminary of the Democratic Party
that even the august Teddy Kennedy is making entries
The leader of the Kos response was a woman named Maryscott O'Connor.
Here's an excerpt from her sophisticated reaction to the defeat of the
Dem's crazed filibuster attempt (asterisks mine):
The original text is blockquoted below, but it seems cruelly, viciously
ironic to keep it up right now.
What I want is a complete list of every Vichy Democratic Senator who
voted for Cloture. That's what I want.
The Vichy Democrats: Akaka, Inouye,
Cantwell, Rockefeller. Byrd, Bingaman, Lieberman, Nelson (FL), Nelson
(NE), Baucus, T. Johnson, Dorgan, B. Lincoln, Salazar, Conrad,
Landrieu, Pryor, Carper, Kohl
I don't know what to DO with this list, not yet -- but I know for
GODDAMNED sure I won't be VOTING for any of them, lt alone sending them
any goddamned MONEY.
Frankly, right now I'd like nothing better than to torpedo the entire
lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY
I got nothin', folks. Don't look over here if you want comfort or a
nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech.
I'M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me.
Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last
motherf***ing one of them, I'm DONE with them.
I'm registering Independent tomorrow. You're welcome to join me.
I guess she's telling us that she doesn't have enough words in her
vocabulary to express her chagrin, hence her tendency to rev over the
redline into the ignoramus zone of all-caps and F-words. This isn't a
new phenomenon, obviously, and she isn't even the first woman cited at
InstaPunk in the last week or so who thinks it's somehow persuasive to
curse like a 14-year-old boy. A "lady" named Jane
recently got just as exercised about Kate O'Beirne's book
criticizing feminist politics.
What is a little different, and therefore illuminating, is the amount of
personal information Ms. O'Connor provides in the bio portion of her
website, which is called My Left Wing
. Here is the beginning of her
My name is Maryscott O'Connor. (MSOC
for short.) I am 37, married (to Adam Crocker) with a 5.5 year old son
I am also an orphan of Vietnam.
My father, Lieutenant Terence Raymond Roach, Jr. of the Third Marine
Division, was killed on February 8, 1968 at Khe Sanh, during the Tet
Offensive. I was born 3 months later, on April 29, 1968.
This is a sad thing (although the word orphan in my experience applies to children who have lost both parents). One might be tempted to feel sorry for her if
she hadn't elaborated to an unattractively revealing degree:
I consider Vietnam to be the defining
feature of my life. Had it not been for that unjust war, I would have
grown up with a father and a happy mother. Had she not been widowed, my
childhood would have been very different; I cannot imagine it would
have been worse (that's a lie: I can
imagine Terry Roach coming home with PTSD and providing me an even MORE
f***ed up childhood than the one I had -- but I choose NOT to imagine
it that way). It ought not surprise anyone that I have an
extreme sensitivity to needless war. [emphasis and asterisks mine]
Bear in mind that this woman is 37 and has a 5.5 (?!) year old son, yet
she still expresses herself like a teenage girl in the throes of a
self-induced anxiety attack. We are all supposed to give her plenty of
leeway about her "extreme sensitivity" because she was a victim of the
Vietnam War. It's hard not to gain the impression that of all the dark
consequences of Vietnam, this is the one that matters most, because it
happened to Maryscott. Even the alternative universe in which her father survives Vietnam is stained with potential disaster. She doesn't miss him; she weeps only for herself. From her very first breath on, she has been a
victim, acting out in every conceivable way, taking her revenge against
every possible accomplice in her misery, however tangential: the
federal government (especially those who advocate a strong national
defense), the military, capitalism, authority of any kind, men, and,
probably, the United States of America.
Think I'm overstating? Here's her chosen epithet for herself:
Radical Leftist Liberal Socialist Commie Feminist Pinko from Hell
I have always been politically aware, a
Democrat and a liberal. In 2000 I became a political activist. The
national shame of that sham election spurred me to contribute to John
Kerry, to volunteer for the Kerry campaign and to become involved to a
degree I never imagined possible for me, by joining a liberal blog
(Daily Kos) and interacting with thousands of people who felt as I do –
that George W. Bush is the worst thing that has ever happened to the
United States and that we must do everything in our power to elect John
Kerry and John Edwards.
Of course it's her style to exaggerate for effect, but when a
conservative describes himself as being "to the right of Attila the
Hun," his exaggeration is nevertheless informative. So, too, with
There are millions of us out there in
the world, and, like me (as I have discovered to be true), many
American liberals have spent the past 5 years feeling as if they
wandered in a wilderness, bereft of companionship, solace or
sustenance. Once having found communities like Daily Kos, we also found
our voices again. We discovered that, contrary to the claims of the
Vast Right Wing Corporate Propaganda Machine, we liberals are legion.
What if all our voices, cacophonous as they might sound to the
uninitiated, are actually the harmonic, symphonic key to saving
democracy, saving the Democratic Party – and by extension, saving our
beloved nation and the world from the heretofore deafening and
meretricious roar of the Radical Right Wing?
So I say to you now: WE are the messengers of truth. WE hold in our
hands the power to change the world. WE hold the high ground, my
How hard is it to imagine her experience of life as she would see it? Who
would require more data (more, say, than the vision of wandering "in a
wilderness, bereft of companionship, solace or sustenance") to
delineate a story of unending ordeals, obstacles, injustices, and
unfair accidents as she might tell it? The fact that she does tell it
would be superfluous if it didn't also reveal her self-obsessed
unawareness that all lives exhibit these attributes, whether we're all
in perpetual mourning for a person we never met or not. Here's an
excerpt from the section titled About Me.
I WAS a professional actress, before I
simultaneously became OBSESSED with politics and realized I would
never, EVER be able to do and be what it takes to make a successful
acting career here in Los Angeles.
I am not one for false modesty; talent-wise, I happen to be a gifted
actress. That's no more to my credit than the colour of my eyes -- I
was born with it. Also not a half-bad singer.
But… I do not have the single-minded drive and willingness to subjugate
all else to my aspirations to a career as an actress. If I could go
back in time and change one decision, it would be this: I'd have
finished college and then turned LEFT out of Ann Arbor instead of
right. New York. I should have known that the stage was my proper
milieu. But I had a man to follow to Los Angeles, and out-of-whack
delusions and expectations of a film career. The lure of fame and money
and love was irresistible to my vanity and self-aggrandizing
self-image. Thus did vanity contribute to my seemingly irresistible
(though certainly subconscious) drive to f*** up my life for at least a
But such is life; had I made different choices, I certainly would have
had a very different life... but I'm actually sort of ENJOYING the life
I lead today.
Yeah. We noticed. But in case we don't believe her, she gives us more
details in a section titled Minutiae about Me:
If you’ve made it this far into my
logorrheic self-obsessed biography, Congratulations! Have some trivia:
• I’m a recovering alcoholic. Haven’t had a drink
since November 22, 1996.
• I’m a smoker. And serial quitter. One day, I swear,
I WILL defeat this ***ing addiction.
• I am on disability, due to an immune disorder that
causes chronic pain and fatigue (fibromyalgia – what a bullshit
diagnosis). Adam used to make a living as a photographer, but
Bush’s fabulous economy forced him to go back to work in the film
• My husband and I are college educated people
(though I dropped out of the University of Michigan to move to
California with my first husband and royally f*** up my life for a
solid decade). Adam's parents were wealthy and my mother was solidly
middle class. Our combined income now puts us somewhere on the edge
between middle and lower-middle class. Before I became disabled, my son
and I already qualified for MediCal and Medicare because our income had
become sufficiently low. However, as our income stagnated over the past
four years, my MediCal benefits were cut and my share of cost increased
to the point where we could not afford to avail ourselves of medical
Fortunately, last year Adam became eligible for health insurance
through his union (though continuing with that coverage depends on his
working at least 300 hours on union jobs, which are scarce). It came
just in the nick of time, too – shortly after getting the healthcare
benefits, I had to undergo testing for uterine and ovarian cancer. I
might have been tested and treated months earlier, but opted not to
seek yearly physicals because of the increased share of cost through
MediCal. However, should the worst diagnosis have come to pass, I was
more worried, frankly, about our share of the expenses than I was about
dying. Twenty percent of a medical crisis is enough to bury us. It
turned out to be a problem easily remedied with a D&C and birth
control pills, incidentally. Two treatments I'm sure the Radical Right
Wing Neocon Christofascist Zombie Brigade would love to make virtually
impossible to receive...
If you've waded through all this and are still here, you've probably
had a gestalt by now. How utterly
perfect this woman is as a symbol and archetype of the contemporary
She's a victim, she's a victim, let us count the
ways: war orphan (sorta), exploited and duped out of college by a MAN, substance abuser, a
sufferer from chronic fatigue (Is this the syndrome nicknamed "The Yuppie
Disease"?), perpetually under the thumb of the healthcare bureaucracy
(and apparently an expert in the Byzantine intricacies of health
insurance, MediCal, and other freebie programs), and throughout, of
course, a victim of the endless machinations of the "Radical Right Wing
Neocon Christofascist Zombie Brigade."
The only sense of personal responsibility she demonstrates is the cant
of 12-step recovery programs for victims of this and that. But
fundamentally, she appears to take no real responsibility for anything
because her life was ruined by the President of the United States
before she was born. No one has ever prospered without having a father.
You already know what they are, but here's an abbreviated list of her
• I am pro-choice.
• I oppose the death penalty.
• I support gay marriage.
• I oppose school vouchers.
• I believe public education should be funded on a
per-student basis equally throughout the nation.
• I support the legalization of marijuana (and,
frankly, all narcotics)
• However, for as long as drugs are illegal (and I
realize my views on decriminalizing drugs are not shared by most
people), I believe that non-violent drug offenders ought to be put in
treatment – not prison.
• I believe that “three strikes” laws and mandatory
minimums must be eradicated.
• In addition to sentencing reform, I believe in the
necessity of massive prison reform in this country.
• I believe in strong government regulation of
• I support the concept of Fair Trade, as opposed to
• I believe in universal health care.
• I believe in that most basic tenet of every
reputable religion and philosophy that ever existed: Love thy neighbour.
• To that end, I do believe in humanitarian and
sometimes military intervention by the United States and every
civilized nation when it comes to genocide (see: Sudan), brutal
dictatorships and the systematic abuse of human rights.
That last one's interesting. In case you had any doubt, Saddam does NOT
qualify as a brutal dictator: none of his victims was named Maryscott
O'Connor. But I'm only kidding. You knew that already.
Overall, the picture is pretty clear. Life's hardships and inequalities
should be eliminated by the government, and anything and everything
that anyone wants to do is fine and dandy, although if they slip up and
really hurt someone else, they should get free and caring treatment
from the government. The only freedoms that are truly dangerous and
need to be suppressed are free trade, free competition in the
marketplace, and the freedom to choose a different school for your
children than the one in your immediate neighborhood.
This is what she calls the high ground, and on this basis she claims to
be the possessor of TRUTH. But I'll bet she doesn't recognize the
freedom of other people -- that is, people who hold different views
from hers -- to regard their own convictions as truth. In fact, I don't
think she could even understand the argument. Why? Because she lives in
a Universe of One. (see the picture above.) Regardless of her talk
about the people, there is only one person whose experience means a
thing to her, and that person is trapped in a solipsistic nightmare
that will last to the day of her death, no matter how many
opportunities to learn life affords her. That's why her anger is so
utter and so unquenchable. Vietnam slew her in the womb, and so every
day, every challenge, every issue is Vietnam, an unwinnable ordeal
inflicted malevolently upon her so damagingly that it bleeds away all
rage, her last pitiful connection to the humanity that is otherwise
"dead" to her. Whose death is she really talking about? And how many
other dead are out there blogging for vengeance against the author of
all calamity, George W. Bush. The mind boggles.
It's hard to take voices like this seriously, but we have to because
there are so many of them and they dwell so permanently outside the
bounds of rational discourse. My own first inclination was to feel sorry
for her, but this is a dangerous temptation. Maryscott feels sorry
enough for herself to let the rest of us off the hook. What we need to
do is understand that all the most outrageous loons of the left are
likely to have quite similar life stories. What they share is not
politics per se, but a view that life is something that is happening to
them. Since there is no chance that we can teach them to live their own
lives and accept responsibility for both the good and the bad they
experience, we are forced to battle them at one remove from their real
grievance. There is no chance to change political views that are merely
symptoms of an inside-out perspective on life. All we can hope to do --
and therefore must commit ourselves to do -- is win the debate where it
counts, in the voting booths of our nation.
That said, I do sincerely hope that Maryscott experiences a miracle and
discovers the joy of trading in her politics for a fulfilling life in
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Kerry and Kennedy counting up votes against cloture yesterday.
You think it's easy being this stupid
The attempted filibuster was more
symbolic than serious from the start, as Alito's opponents realized
they were almost certain to lose yesterday's "cloture" vote...
Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry of Massachusetts
took up the liberal cause last week, forcing Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-Tenn.) to schedule yesterday's cloture vote so that today's
confirmation vote could take place.
The debate was largely unremarkable until Kennedy delivered a
thundering, ad-libbed speech in which he warned that the Alito vote "is
going to have echoes for years and years to come."
"If you are concerned and you want a justice that is going to stand for
the working men and women in this country, it's not going to be Judge
Alito," Kennedy roared as tourists in the visitors' gallery leaned
forward for a better view.
Yes, two of the richest men in the Senate, neither of whom has ever
performed a day's worth of physical labor in his life, are the only
ones in the country who know what "working men and women" need.
It reminds us of one of the great old comedy acts. We can't think which
one. Maybe it'll come to us.