April 10, 2008 - April 3, 2008
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
DC Chumps of the
Semper fi, anyone?
Obviously, this could be a weekly feature, but it's more fun to hold it
in reserve for special occasions. Like now.
You marines may get upset, but as all of you would probably admit -- at
least over drinks -- there are
marines who are bullies and self-centered pricks. That's evidently the
case with Senator James Webb of Virginia. His public tantrum about
wanting to punch the President for inquiring about Webb junior's
welfare in Iraq was an alarm signal. So was his haughty and needlessly
bellicose interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. He also
suffers from the unfortunate facial anomaly that at rest, his mouth
defaults to a sullen sneer. I won't mention the Nixonian eyes. All this
admittedly sketchy evidence made me suspect that he might be wrapped
too tight and not quite as admirable in person as his resume would
Now we know. He's a crumb. Not for carrying loaded weapons around, but
for throwing a faithful friend overboard in his hour of need. The gun
Webb has not yet officially admitted he owns landed longtime aide and
fellow vet Philip Thompson in a DC jail overnight. Where was the former
marine officer with loads of DC clout to show up at the police station,
roust a judge out of bed for a bail hearing, and get his buddy back
home where he belonged? Not there. At the very moment his friend was
being arraigned on felony charges in court the next day, Webb was
giving a guarded, self-serving press conference at the Capitol building.
I don't need to know any more about James Webb than that.
There's less to say about Chuck Hagel. He just conspired with the
congessional Democrats in their desperately urgent attempt to lose the
war in Iraq before the President, Petraeus, and the U.S. military can
bring off the unexpected disaster of victory. I've noted previously
that Republicans are stupid
but this Hagel character has to be the stupidest of all. He actually
thinks he has a shot at the Republican presidential nomination. Let me
repeat that. He actually thinks he
has a shot at the Republican presidential nomination.
After single-handedly torpedoing his President's most crucial war-time
policy stance -- not giving the enemy a U.S. surrender date -- he
shouldn't be able to win the senate primary in his own state, and he
certainly won't budge the needle off zero in any Republican
He's a stone loser, in every sense of the term, and if Nebraska
Republicans had any character they'd mount an immediate petition drive
for a recall election. They won't do it, of course, but if Hagel reads
his email today, I expect he'll still get the drift.
Check that. He's too damn dumb to get anything ever.
CALLING ALL COMPUTER
It's just art -- see
. At the end of February, I proposed a challenge
to the more skilled searchers of the Internet to measure the difference
between the use of cursewords in blogs by lefties and righties. I
offered criteria -- Carlin's seven dirty words -- I believed amenable
to search engines. Those who remember or review my original
challenge will be aware that the catalyst was not cursewords per se,
but the flood of lefty blog posts and comments wishing a swift and
painful death on Vice President Cheney after his last health crisis.
(There was a precedent case for this: the lefty response to Laura
.) I didn't think at the time that this sort of
human indecency could be measured on the Internet, so I proposed a
substitute in the belief that extreme rhetoric in a tangible,
measurable area might also inform us about the incidence of extreme
rhetoric in intangible areas such as the response to a political
opponent's ill health. The response
to that challenge was quick and overwhelming:. the left is
quantitatively more foul-mouthed
than the right.
Since then, I've observed that some perseverant lefties continue
seeking ways of chipping away at the findings of those who answered my
challenge. I haven't kept the links (sorry!) but enough
additional searches have been performed by now for the purpose of
defending the Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, et al, that I must
conclude they were bothered by the initial findings. Still, all they've
managed to date is to build dubious arguments for reducing the ratio by
which lefty cussing exceeds righty cussing, not for reversing the
In recent days, a lot of new evidence has become available on the
original prompt for my curiosity. The Elizabeth Edwards announcement.
The Tony Snow announcement. And less known but even more sadly, the fact
of conservative blogger Cathy
Seipp's death from cancer. Not as dire but just as disturbing has been
the experience of an apparently nonpolitical blogger named Kathy
Sierra, who is now living in fear because of death threats over the
Internet. (I remember but won't reference the equally scary instance of
Protein Wisdom's Jeff Goldstein with an Internet stalker who threatened
his children because of Goldstein's conservative views.)
My challenge to the technically superior in these matters is to find
some means of assessing the left vs. right responses to the past
month's news about Elizabeth Edwards, Tony Snow, Cathy Seipp, and Kathy
Here are some links and info to jump-start your research:
: My own post
critical of John Edwards, supplemented with a round-up
linked by a commenter
at this site who apparently thought I hadn't done my research.
. The first word I
heard after the announcement itself was that the Huffington Post had a priori
disabled comments on its
announcement of the recurrence of his disease. (Why? Huh.) Then came this
from Little Green Footballs.
. To his credit,
Glenn Reynolds has used his talent for terseness to maximum effect in this entry
. If anyone
understands Internet threats and abuse (sexual & physical), it's Michelle Malkin the Brave. She
proves it again here
but with some qualifications.
The lefties who criticized the first challenge tried first to disprove
the quantitative findings. Then they fell back on the argument that
there's nothing wrong with using foul language in the pursuit of
passionate political convictions. What would they fall back on if the
obvious fact can be proved -- that they, in all their enlightened
tolerance, wish death and suffering upon their opponents far more than
heartless conservatives ever do?
Are you curious? Then find a way to prove it, dammit.
Yet again, thanks to the incomparable Wuzzadem for the link. Even if
you have nothing to contribute to this challenge, you have
to go see what Mr. and Mrs.
Wuzzadem are up to right now, including their entries on the pet
, plus the solid-gold discovery
of a conservative voice so brilliant that it recalls the history-making
speech Ronald Reagan made on behalf of the Goldwater presidential
campaign. In fact, Evan Sayet is so astonishingly on-target that we'll devote a post strictly to him when we've assembled the necessary,
relevant links to our own past meditations on the state of the
contemporary liberal mind. It's possible we'll be nominating Mr. Sayet
to run for President. He's that good.
Here's our honest assessment. If you had to choose between InstaPunk
and the blog of Mr. and Mrs. Wuzzadem, in all good conscience we'd have
to tell you to pick Wuzzadem. They rule.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I Dunno, LaShawn
Paradise by a Dashboard Jesus.
Barber is a highly intelligent and perceptive lady of great religious
faith, and ordinarily I find much plain-spoken wisdom in her
commentaries. Today, though, I found myself instinctively recoiling
from this little vision
she posted at her blog:
Have you ever wanted to retreat from
the world? Just go someplace where there are no stupid or mean people,
where everyone is selfless and thoughtful?
I daydream about living in a gated community town of nice, thoughtful,
kind, and smart Bible-believing Christians. We have our own grocery and
office supply stores. Christians run and work in the utility companies
and gas stations and the DMV. School administrators and teachers are
all Christians. The movie theaters, owned and operated by Christians,
show Christian-friendly movies. The few people in town who own
televisions watch Christian-friendly shows and documentaries that don’t
distort the history of Christianity or feature so-called Christian
scholars hostile to Christian doctrine and the Bible.
And no unbeliever would be able to enter through the gate.
You see what I’m getting at? I know Christians have their faults. We’re
still sinners, after all. But I think about how much better life would
be if everyone I met, everyone I heard, everyone I worked with, every
writer I read…was a Christian.
When I shared this gated-community-of-Christians fantasy with my
sister, she said something like, “You’re not talking about a gated
community, Shawn. You’re talking about heaven.”
Indeed! That’s what I want…
Before I even got to the level of philosophical objections to this --
and there are a few -- my first, instantaneous reaction was:
"B-o-o-o-o-ring! I'd go mad in such a place."
My next impression was visual, an unfair one perhaps, but one inspired
by what seems her desire for uniformity, agreement, and utter
acceptance. I see empty, smiling, well scrubbed faces at her grocery
store and DMV and movie theaters, a kind of Stepford community of the
"Bible-believing," with nary a hint of rowdy Irish Catholics (or
Catholics of any variety for that matter), poets who are failed priests
struggling with tides of faith and
doubt, or scholars who dig through layers of ancient languages, layers
of silt and stone, and layers of evolving scientific theory to
reconcile faith with our continually expanding universe.
Yes, we all have dreams of escape, but this depiction of a gated
community is especially alarming. It's as far as can be from a vision
of real peace and serenity, which can withstand much mere human turmoil
if they are nourished by the real treasures of creation -- the songbirds, trees, flowers, and streams of the land and its seasons,
including the transcendent wheel of the stars and their galaxies above.
The one is an infinite source of beauty and unfolding meaning. The
other is a drab and sterile hiding place, a prison of stasis.
LaShawn's post sounds like the old plaint, "Stop the world. I want to
get off." And perhaps that's so. It's all that turning and turning of
things that created the protestant fundamentalists in the first place.
They have always wanted the text of the Bible to stop moving around, to
become a million word version of the original stone commandments. They
want the ideas of man to stop complexifying into dangerous opposites of
their origins, thus creating endless new categories of sin. They want
the universe itself to return to the immanence of Genesis, with no
uncomfortable infusions from the Hubble telescope, Darwin's perceptions
of change, or Einstein's bastard spawn of quantum physics. They have
even wanted to amputate the 1500 years of Christian history between
Christ and the protestant fixers who would finally paralyze the whole
mess inside a concrete totem of Jesus himself, cut loose from Judaism,
historical ambiguity, and even the generations of non-persons who
assembled their infallible, unquestionable [American English] Bible
book by book.
, courtesy of Boortz(!),
is the physical universe that corresponds to LaShawn Barber's gated
community. It's modestly titled "The Earth Is Not Moving." Like her
vision, this is a closed world that's small, well contained, black and
white, and wearing the fixed smile of the unthinking cultist.
I'd like to suggest that it's not just the secularized and corrupted
Christian traditionalists who have to find their way back to the basis
of their faith if our nation is to survive the test of fanatical
Islamic jihad. It's also the arrogant, overly certain exclusionists of
the fundamentalist denominations who have to rediscover the infinite
variety and vitality of a faith they seem determined to reduce to a
Maybe that's not what LaShawn means by her post. But it sure sounds
that way to me. And I dare say I've been a "Christian" longer than she
has. But if I ever passed through those gates of hers, it would be
kicking like a mule and screaming bloody murder. I like to imagine
heaven as a bit more colorful and exciting.
How about you?
It's even worse than I thought. LaShawn has now posted the following
Loyal readers! I’m not “back” two
hours, and people already are intentionally misreading a post. Gee
whiz. I know such a place doesn’t exist on earth, and it’s not meant to
exist on earth. The Bible teaches that my place as a believer is in the
world, allowing God to work through me to reach the lost. I’m simply
sharing a fantasy, for crying out loud. I have this longing for heaven,
and every cell in my body cries out, “Come, Lord Jesus!” And he said he
Then again, I suppose I invite
contrary-just-for-the-sake-of-being-contrary comments whenever I open a
post, so there you go.
"contrary-just-for-the-sake-of-being-contrary." It was a response to
the red flag she's raised about herself. Her addendum adds fuel to the
fire. She actually believes what I feared -- that her gated community is
heaven itself, the place she will spend eternity after God is finished
working "through (her) to reach the lost."
She's not just in retreat. She's in full flight. What an impoverished
existence she is likely to lead from here on if she doesn't pull her
mind and soul out of this "Praise Jesus" coma. Sad. Very sad. Chances
are, very very few of the "lost" are going to see any appeal in her
vision of heaven. Not many people want to join a hideously strict
club nobody interesting is allowed into. The members probably won't
have any difficulty getting great tee times at the golf course, though.
Small consolation, you say? Exactly what she's offering from the sound