Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
August 23, 2011 - August 16, 2011

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Enhanced Administration Techniques


BUSY BUSY BUSY. Thank God we have a president who knows when to put his foot down. It's all BP's fault, all BP's responsibility, and all BP's problem. Except for the taking credit part. Which the president is happy to do if the "damn hole" in the Gulf has finally been plugged. But who's going to plug the damn hole in the president's head?

Just asking.

Should I analyze more, explain more, comment more, draw inferences and conclusions? uh, no. It's all exactly what it looks like: Idiots in Charge all round.

P.S. I realize some of you don't take the initial links on IP posts. This time, I'm thinking I'd better show you what's behind the "Busy Busy Busy." Here it is:

This morning, President Obama will meet with the NCAA men’s basketball champion Duke Blue Devils at the White House to honor their 2009-2010 championship season in the Rose Garden.

Keeping up the sports theme, the president and the vice president will take a photo with the U.S. World Cup soccer team and former President Bill Clinton, who is chairing the 2018 World Cup bid, on the North Portico. The White House has previously announced that Vice President Biden and Jill Biden will attend the World Cup in South Africa next month.

Afterward, the president will a private have lunch with President Clinton in the Private Dining Room.

In the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks on the BP oil spill and the conclusions of his ordered 30-day safety review and hold a press conference in the East Room.

The president will announce standards to strengthen oversight of the industry and enhance safety, a first step in a process that the independent Presidential Commission will continue, a White House official says.

In the meantime, the moratorium on permits to drill new deepwater wells will continue for a period of six months. In addition, the planned exploration off the coast of Alaska in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas will be delayed pending the Comissions review and the August lease sale in the Western Gulf will be cancelled. The lease sale off the coast of Virginia will also be cancelled due to environmental concerns and concerns raised by the Defense Department.

After taking questions from press, the President will then receive a briefing in the Situation Room on the 2010 hurricane season forecast and an overview of the federal government’s national hurricane preparedness. The briefing will be led by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, as well as five FEMA Regional Administrators.

In the afternoon, Mr. Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in the Oval Office.

Later in the afternoon, the President, the Vice President and First Lady Michelle Obama will host a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room.

Afterward, in the evening, the First Family will travel to Chicago, Illinois for a four-day Memorial Day weekend vacation. The Obamas have not been back to their hometown all together as a family for more than a year.

Awwww. Let's hope they have enough quiet time to enjoy all their old friends in Chicago and that there's enough machine oil to power the barbecue. If there isn't, they could probably have some flown up from Louisiana.

Occupied Nation

WHO WAS E. B.? A commenter on a recent post -- one Eric Blair, presumptuously enough -- suggested this site was using the word 'war' without fully understanding the meaning of the word. Well, we do understand the meaning of the word and we are using it with deliberate gravity. Here's an excerpt from the post he entirely failed to understand:

This is not a game. It's not a college debate. It's not an Olympic fencing match. It's a war. What are the sides?

The answer to that is daunting if not downright terrifying. It's us -- the common sense American conservatives -- against an Islamic fascism that can't be named, a European cultural and moral exhaustion that can't be forestalled, a burgeoning population of tin-pot, appeasement-emboldened dictators around the world, a secular know-it-all nihilism that can't be out-shouted, an increasingly supine population of government dependents and self-styled victims in the industrial world, and a traitorous, self-hating elite in our own country that has somehow appropriated the media, the academy, science, the public school system, the entire federal and state bureaucracy, and even a significant mindshare of organized Christian churches into a cult of anti-American sedition.

I'd have thought that was a clear statement of casus belli. Apparently not. So now I'm moved to provide an example that even a dead twentieth century Brit might appreciate. The smart ones are contemptuous of resistance to a plan to build a mosque next to Ground Zero and hold the opening festivities on Seprember 11, 2011. Any reason to be disgruntled about that? No:

Ground zero mosque touches off right-wing panic

By Gabriel Winant

AP: Traffic passes a building in lower Manhattan that once housed a Burlington Coat Factory store. A 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center is planned to replace the building that was damaged by airplane debris on Sept. 11, 2001

The way Sarah Palin and the Tea Party populists bash East Coast big city elites, you'd think they might care a little bit less about neighborhood development in lower Manhattan. Maybe I'm old-fashioned that way, but that kind of thing just seems more like an issue for the neighborhood association than for Fox News.

Of course, I'm kidding around. What they care about is treating the place where New Yorkers live, work and worship as a battlefield against a massive, faceless enemy. That enemy, of course, is Islam, writ large.

What's happening: The community board in lower Manhattan has endorsed, by a 29-to-1 vote, a plan to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center about two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center. Predictably, outrage has erupted. If you type "mosque" into Google, the first suggestion is "mosque at ground zero," which gives a sense of how quickly this has moved into the popular consciousness.

The imam in charge, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is consciously moderate, and has described combating radicalism as his personal mission. Nor is he jumping on the chance to get in the neighborhood to make some point: The mosque is already just a few blocks away, in Tribeca, but has overgrown its current space. Rauf says that he hopes that having a moderate mosque so near ground zero can send a message of tolerance and peace.

But this is something the right wing just can't pass up. These people, and this neighborhood, can't just be people in a neighborhood. They've been conscripted for a larger war...

Mark Williams, a Tea Party leader and Fox News commentator, wrote on his blog, "The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists' monkey-god." He added, "In the meantime I have a wonderful idea along the same lines as that mosque at Ground Zero thing… a nice, shiny new U.S. Military Base on the smoldering ruins of Mecca. Works for me!"

At WorldNetDaily, the Birther Web publication popular on the conservative fringe, an article, written in classic WND style, begins by acting like a straight report -- albeit laced with purple prose about "that fateful day when time stood still." Then author Chelsea Schilling moves on to ominously noting that building inspectors had trouble investigating construction complaints -- almost as if somebody was hiding something. She finishes up by quoting a random selection of racist blog commenters: "Muslims are doing this only to see if they get away with it. It's the way Islam spreads in every country these days, like a cancer -- through incremental totalitarianism," writes one. Another writes, "This is not different than allowing the Nazis to establish their headquarters and propaganda office in NYC in 1938. How come people could tell right from wrong then and not now?"

Lest you think it’s just anonymous trolls producing this stuff, though, check out Pamela Geller, the head of the group "Stop Islamization of America," talking to Joy Behar on CNN. According to Geller, instead of a mosque, the site should be host to a monument to the "victims of hundreds of millions of years of jihadi wars, land enslavements, cultural annihilations and mass slaughter."

You’d think someone who runs a group with "Islam" right in its name might know that the religion is about 1,400 years old -- not "hundreds of millions." I know that all that desert stuff seems super-ancient -- "sands of time" and and all that -- but honestly. "Hundreds of millions"? That’s way, way older than homo sapiens as a species. (Maybe that explains Williams' "monkey god" reference?)

Then there's Andy McCarthy, National Review writer and recent author of a book arguing that liberals are consciously conspiring to betray America to the ravenous Muslim horde. McCarthy recently pointed out on Fox News that there are 2,300 mosques in America, but no churches or synagogues in Muslim holy cities Mecca and Medina.

First of all, I think this fairly puts to rest any notion that the more militant strain of anti-Islamist hawkishness is anything other than full-scale, civilizational hatred. After this eruption, it's going to be a stretch to take seriously claims that the interest of the right-wing base in armed conflict in the Middle East is about anything but an active desire for full-on race war. (I've taken some heat in the past for using this term, but I stand by it. The occurrence of the phrase "monkey god," I think, makes my point rather neatly.) Moreover, it's penetrated quite far into the mainstream of the right, with the flowering of a sub-literature that treats migration patterns and labor markets in Europe like they’re the secret plan for the conquest of Christendom.

In recent years, liberals have become fond of pointing out that this kind of belligerent overreaction to the terrorist threat is exactly what makes terrorism effective. It plays into the hands of Osama bin Laden to treat Islam like our foe in a global, apocalyptic struggle. That's exactly how he sees it, and joining him in this fantasy endorses al-Qaida's ideology.

This is a true and important point, pragmatically. But there's something even worse going on here. It's not just that Gellar, McCarthy, Williams and the rest in the War-with-Islam group are inadvertently playing into the hands of Islamic extremists. They are, exactly, their analogue within our own society. The same things that benefit Islamic radicals benefit anti-Islamic militants. Both groups feed off conflict, and prosper when violence erupts. Their only break from accusing Islam of guilt in wars and mass violence seems to come when they call for wars and mass violence against Muslims.

It's notable how McCarthy seems to think that, in pointing out that the United States has many mosques, but the holy cities of Saudi Arabia have no churches, he's making an appropriate comparison. It's almost as if he demands that we behave just like a theocratically tinged authoritarian monarchy. The hatred these people have for the Muslim world conceals a noticeable yearning -- an envy for its ability to carry out the undemocratic, anti-pluralist, and puritanical measures that the United States has long since abandoned. [boldface mine]

Sigh. New York City. You know the horror movie where the girl is repeatedly warned by her terrified boyfriend on the phone to get out of the house but she refuses to listen because she's a girl who never listens? What happens to her? She gets her throat cut. That's New York City. She always knows better, right up to the moment when the bogeyman grabs her from behind.

In truth, it is a horror movie. New York is our national allegory, the population with the biggest bullseye on its back and the biggest case of denial in the history of western civilization. They condescend to everyone, unfailingly, and they make no bones about the fact that they're superior to all the rest of us, the flyover commoners who gawk up when we're in town and don't know where to buy diamonds and fashions at the right price, or worse the right diamonds and fashions at any price.

Maybe we shouldn't care. They are, after all, pricks of the first order. Except that we know what they don't, which is that they are made possible by the rest of us and are, regardless of their arrogant myopia, part of us and freed by the rest of us to hold their idiotic parochial views of what's going on in the world as if they really were a race apart and above. Which they're most definitely not.

They constitute the capital of Occupied America. They're the new and improved Warsaw Ghetto, improved because sublimely unaware of the trains that are waiting to ship them into a hellish past of persecution, rape, torture, and death. They can't see past their camelhair overcoats and glossy intellectualism to the naked blades that await them. Everything they do, say, and believe increases their attractiveness to the killer in the hockey mask who doesn't think but merely stalks and kills. They're a ten million strong version of the promiscuous counselors at Crystal Lake.

Here's what they refuse to perceive in their 29-1 approval of a mosque aimed like a dagger at their heart:

Is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — founder of the hugely controversial Ground Zero mosque — lying to the American public and his fellow New Yorkers?

We have uncovered extraordinary contradictions between what he says in English and what he says in Arabic that raise serious questions about his true intentions in the construction of the mosque.

On May 25, 2010, Abdul Rauf wrote an article for the New York Daily News insisting:

My colleagues and I are the anti-terrorists. We are the people who want to embolden the vast majority of Muslims who hate terrorism to stand up to the radical rhetoric. Our purpose is to interweave America’s Muslim population into the mainstream society. [emphasis added]

Oh, really?

Only two months before, on March 24, 2010, Abdul Rauf is quoted in an article in Arabic for the website Rights4All entitled “The Most Prominent Imam in New York: ‘I Do Not Believe in Religious Dialogue.’”

Yes, you read that correctly and, yes, that is an accurate translation of Abdul Rauf. And Right4All is not an obscure blog, but the website of the media department of Cairo University, the leading educational institution of the Arabic-speaking world.

In the article, the imam said the following of the “religious dialogue” and “interweaving into the mainstream society” that he so solemnly seems to advocate in the Daily News and elsewhere:

This phrase is inaccurate. Religious dialogue as customarily understood is a set of events with discussions in large hotels that result in nothing. Religions do not dialogue and dialogue is not present in the attitudes of the followers, regardless of being Muslim or Christian. The image of Muslims in the West is complex which needs to be remedied.

But that was two months ago. More recently — in fact on May 26, one day after his Daily News column –  Abdul Rauf appeared on the popular Islamic website Hadiyul-Islam with even more disturbing opinions. That’s the same website where, ironically enough, a fatwa was simultaneously being issued forbidding a Muslim to sell land to a Christian, because the Christian wanted to build a church on it.

In his interview on Hadiyul-Islam by Sa’da Abdul Maksoud, Abdul Rauf was asked his views on Sharia (Islamic religious law) and the Islamic state. He responded:

Throughout my discussions with contemporary Muslim theologians, it is clear an Islamic state can be established in more than just a single form or mold. It can be established through a kingdom or a democracy. The important issue is to establish the general fundamentals of Sharia that are required to govern. It is known that there are sets of standards that are accepted by [Muslim] scholars to organize the relationships between government and the governed. [emphasis added]

When questioned about this, Abdul Rauf continued: “Current governments are unjust and do not follow Islamic laws.” He added:

New laws were permitted after the death of Muhammad, so long of course that these laws do not contradict the Quran or the Deeds of Muhammad … so they create institutions that assure no conflicts with Sharia. [emphasis in translation]

In yet plainer English, forget the separation of church and state.  Abdul Rauf’s goal is the imposition of Shariah law — in every country, even democratic ones like the U.S.

But these attitudes are nothing new for the (alas, few) people who have been paying attention.  Way back on September 30, 2001, Feisal Abdul Rauf was interviewed on 60 Minutes by host Ed Bradley.  Their verbatim  dialogue from this CBS News transcript concluded:

BRADLEY: Are — are — are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserved what happened?

Imam ABDUL RAUF: I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.

BRADLEY: OK. You say that we’re an accessory?



Imam ABDUL RAUF: Because we have been an accessory to a lot of — of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, it — in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.

This is the “anti-terrorist” of the Daily News article?

The Feisal Abdul Rauf who spoke to 60 Minutes in 2001 is the same Abdul Rauf who, in the last couple of months, espoused the spread of Sharia law on Arabic websites and said the opposite in the pages of the Daily News.  He is the man New York City authorities are about to allow to build a mosque on Ground Zero.

Caveat emptor. Meanwhile, perhaps some enterprising reporter should ask Abdul Rauf his opinion of that fatwa forbidding Muslims from selling land to Christians who intend to build a church on it.

Jeez. Here's the thing. I actually do love New York. I've always known that New Yorkers were completely crazy -- I mean, full-grown 40-year-old men who can't drive a car? -- but I don't want them to die. I prefer them to live in the Oz they have created for themselves, even if they don't have the least understanding of the fact that all their financial shenanigans wouldn't mean a thing if there weren't factories and farms and technologies they've had no hand in creating or maintaining. They're like, well, a spoiled daughter, who really thinks the world revolves around her. She's beautiful, she's ours, and who's going to tell her she's more parasite than goddess?

Nobody wants Paris Hilton to be a terrorist victim. Yes, she's a moron, but she looks really fine in her best fashions, doesn't she? Enough, even, that most of us can even overlook it when she forgets her panties getting out of a Rolls Royce.

The problem comes when she forgets her panties with people who want to kill the rest of us. When is it exactly that we decide to stop spoiling her? And shave her head. And turn her out in the public square as a traitor. Thing is, it's not just Paris and the cafe set. It's all the ones we called out before, who also live in and rule New York City. The ones who think they're smart enough, clever enough, and wise enough to live their platinum lives in support or in spite of... Islamic fascism that can't be named, a European cultural and moral exhaustion that can't be forestalled, a burgeoning population of tin-pot, appeasement-emboldened dictators around the world, a secular know-it-all nihilism that can't be out-shouted, an increasingly supine population of government dependents and self-styled victims in the industrial world, and a traitorous, self-hating elite in our own country that has somehow appropriated the media, the academy, science, the public school system, the entire federal and state bureaucracy, and even a significant mindshare of organized Christian churches into a cult of anti-American sedition.

When their skyline looks like this, it won't be just their business any longer. It will be all our business, and we'll all be in deep shit.

What they don't realize is that the bubble they live in is and has has always been at our sufferance, protected by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, no matter how superior they feel at the theater. When can we, and should we, lower the boom?

What does it take to make us realize that we are an Occupied Nation stuffed to the gills with collaborators? Would that put you on a war footing?

It has me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Good versus Evil

ECHOES. I don't know anything about Robert E. Howard, and I've lost all my faith in the Brits, but this still sounds like a movie worth seeing, whenever it's released in the U.S.

From a review at Big Hollywood.

This is not the lame rip off that Van Helsing was, this is a faithful adaption of Howard with no tongue-in-cheek, campy scenes. Here’s a hero who’s fighting evil in the name of God, something you don’t see much anymore. And he’s not afraid of taking on whatever comes his way, no matter how terrifying it may be. He’s fierce and unwavering and even demons from hell better think twice about pissing him off. My kind of character.

I saw the film and I can tell you that it’s way better than you’d expect. Excellent music, effects, acting. A top notch supporting cast which includes Max Von Sydow and Pete Postlethwaite, but even better, a great leading man in the title role, James Purefoy. Purefoy rocked Rome as Marc Antony and is perfect here. Purefoy does Howard’s character right.

Yes, it’s got demons, witches, and warlocks in it. It’s full on, unapologetic pulp fantasy and it’s definitely on point. Most fantasy films fail to pull it off because they don’t understand the rules. They either let some actors chew scenery or they throw in attempts at humor that undermine the suspense of disbelief needed to keep you with the story. Writer/director Michael J. Bassett knows how to do fantasy. The film is solidly entertaining from start to finish.

Maybe some of you know more about the author and the book than I do. Feel free to educate me. But I really like the pilgrim hat. And the swords and guns and savage killing.

The Ministry of Truth
in operation

Prep school star. Kewl. Like what's-his-name in baseball.

BLACK HOLE. First, let me be clear what I'm not saying. I'm not saying President Obama isn't a sports fan. He is. But I'm taking exception to this little nugget of propaganda from a venerable sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times who should know better:

The First Fan, with his support of the White Sox and Bulls, shares our passion for sports, unlike any president before him and in ways that only true sports nuts will understand. [italics mine]

Sure he's a Bulls fan, but a White Sox fan? Judge for yourself:

"I'm a South-side kid and I've got to make sure that (White Sox chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't get too angry with me," Obama said afterward on the air with Nationals broadcasters Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble.

The president has never held in words of affection for the White Sox. So it seemed natural when Dibble asked Obama to name one of his favorite White Sox players growing up.

"You know, uh, I thought that, uh, you know, the truth is that a lot of the Cubs I liked, too, but I did not become a Sox fan until I moved to Chicago," Obama said. "I was growing up in Hawaii and so I ended up actually being an Oakland A's fan. But when I moved to Chicago, I was living close to what was then Cominskey Park and went to a couple games and just fell in love."

Yes, he said Cominskey Park, similar to the "Cominskey Field" he praised over the summer during an interview with MLB Network's Bob Costas.

During the MLB Network interview, Costas repeated "the Old Comiskey Park" back to him a few moments later. Carpenter and Dibble just let the president go, and he took a mild shot at Cubs fans.

"And the nice thing about the Sox is it's real blue-collar baseball," Obama said. "We always tease about the Cubs, they, you know, they're up at Wrigley sipping wine …"

A few points. The president was never a "South-side kid," as the picture up top should demonstrate. He was a Hawaiian kid. He didn't name a single White Sox player in the interview. And he has repeated a previous interview error that the namesake of the White Sox ballpark was "Cominskey." Hard not to draw the inference that what he likes about the White Sox is chiefly their blue-collar (proletariat) identity versus the white collar (bourgeoisie) identity of the Cubs.

Granted, it's incumbent on presidents to like all sports, which is unfair since hardly anyone ever does, but that's not what I'm concerned with here. I'm concerned about a flat-out lie whose teller confidently expects to be believed because he simply declares it so. That's more than a bit Orwellian. In fact, it's a lot Orwellian, given the particular circumstances of this lie. It's so Orwellian that it's not really about sports but the old Newspeak definitions of "truth" and "non-person."

But I'll start the discussion a little farther afield because it will make the ultimate point easier to understand. There's no doubt that Obama has a strong affiliation with basketball. He likes to play it...

And he likes to talk about it...

And pontificate about it...

Pretty convincing, no? But have you noticed anything in common among these demonstrations of presidential fandom? They're all one-on-one. The president -- in a rigged format -- is more or less showing off. Is that really sport, or fan behavior, or love of the game? I've got two problems with these proofs of Obama's love of sports. First, it all looks like ego. "Hey, not only am I brilliant, I'm also a cool jock." He just talks too much, on the court and off.

Second, in celebrating basketball, he is reinforcing what I personally believe is the single most annihilating lie believed by black people in America -- the notion that being good at basketball is some kind of ticket to economic independence or cultural emancipation in the United States. It isn't. It's the most ignorantly seductive of dead-ends. Rather than posturing about brackets, I'd expect a president who played prep school basketball and went no further to insist that young people should get an education like he got, not harbor infantile delusions about sacrificing everything for one of 500 jobs that seem to parcel out as much prison time as they do millions of dollars. Should a president of the United States endorse Powerball (with a downside of Attica) as an example of the American dream?

But maybe that's just me. Except that our president seems far less comfortable with sports circumstances that involve mere fun or community, national, or expressly patriotic emotions. Take bowling:

As opposed to this:

Oops. Who brought HIM up? Do we even know who HE is anymore? What do they mean 'president'? Who? Him? Huh? Well, the sports department of the Los Angeles Times has no recollection of him. Maybe they remember this instead:

Awww. So it's actually Clinton who's responsible for this slight embarrassment of the all time 'First Fan:'

Always the way, isn't it? In the age of celebrity and blanketing media, the opportunities for stepping on your own dick are legion. We understand. No problem. No harm, no foul.

The only thing we're having a hard time assimilating is who this guy might be. If you have any idea, let us know. Some of the old YouTube relicts would have it that he was a president at some point too. Frankly, we don't remember him. It couldn't possibly be possible that he was both a president and a sports fan -- and athlete -- at a level beyond what the Los Angeles Times has thought fit to acknowledge. Could it?

Whoever he was -- who knows? -- he must have liked baseball. But a president has to like more than one sport, the way, say, Obama likes the White Sox of Cominskey Field. Right, Bill Plaschke?

Hmmm. Somebody emailed us that this mysterious nonperson was named Bush. Doesn't ring a bell, but we did find this strange article on the internet:

...George W. Bush playfully kicked a football and presided over the pre-game coin toss on Saturday as he basked in the pageantry of the annual Army-Navy game, one of the sport's most storied rivalries.

The crowd at Lincoln Financial Field let out hearty cheers of "USA, USA" as Bush made his way to midfield for the ceremonial coin toss, which Army won. At about the 30 yard-line he saw a football on tee from the warm-ups, took a few steps and just gave it a boot, almost 15 yards worth. He later shook hands with the players and game officials.

He told CBS from the sidelines that he appreciated the chance "to come and be with people who will be joining the finest military in the history of the world." Asked what he would miss most about being president, Bush mentioned treasuring his role as commander in chief "of men and women of courage and character and decency."

Both teams heard pep talks from Bush before taking the field. "I wish you all the best today. Play hard, I'm proud of you," he said in the Navy locker room. To the Army squad, he said, "Have fun out there."

It was Bush's third time at the Army-Navy game, considered one of the most intense and passionate yearly rivalries, regardless of the records of the teams. The Army players wore camouflage helmets and pants; the backs of their jerseys had the words "Duty, Honor, Country"... Bush also attended the game in 2004, when he was asked on the field who he thought would win and responded: "The United States of America." His first Army-Navy game as president was in 2001, less than three months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

'First Fan' Barack Obama was busy during last year's Army-Navy game, but Obama is the President of the United States. (If you doubt it, watch the "POTUS" basketball game above. See?) Truth is, we can't find out much about the guy who threw a strike at Yankee Stadium and then kicked a football at the Army-Navy game. Although he seems to be a jogger too.

And his wife insists that he likes watching baseball as much as he enjoys putting on airs in flak jackets about it:

It's a mystery. Seems like we should have heard of this guy, but frankly, we just can't place him. Have you ever had that feeling that there's something at the tip of your tongue, or the back of your mind, that you just can't quite put your finger on?

I mean, do you ever.................................. uh, excuse us. It's time for the two-minute hate. REPUBLICANS SUCK!!! We'll be back at you later. With more about the unrivalled  'First Fan.' Unlike any president we remember before him.

P.S. Struggling with that other phrase about presidential sports fans: "ways that only true sports nuts will understand." uh, I'm a sports nut. Have to admit it means something unique to me when I think of it in a presidential context. Something other than "My analysis of brackets is very intelligent." More along the lines, if I'm being honest, of what it is about sports that binds the nation together and represents some kind of shared belief system. I admit I do think about the Army-Navy game, of contests as preparations for great moral challenges, not dubiously paid for freak shows. And I think, as I always have, of the one position in organized sports I always fantasized about more than any other. Not quarterback. Even on the offense, his first step is almost always a step back. For him, immediate retreat is the fullest expression of doing the job right. Not goalie. Same sense of shield rather than spear.

Pitcher. Even old guys go to sleep with sports fantasies. I am, in my waning moments at night, Sandy Koufax, ultimate predator on the mound. Fastball, curveball, changeup. Unhittable. And pardon me if I think it's the purest presidential metaphor sports has to offer. The pitcher sets the pace of the game. He stands above all on the mound. He hurls each pitch like an idea. which can be ignored, damned, or turned terribly against him. But he is always the hero of the piece -- conquering or tragic. He never wins with a single crushing blow. He wins by remaining on the mound, overcoming his opposition, enduring the innings, surviving the waves of opposition, striking out the most fearsome of his opponents. In all of sports, there is no position more like a priest, more completely alone, simultaneously pro-active and vulnerable and defending against the awfullest thing imaginable with (sometimes superlatively) positive action.

Which is maybe why I respond more strongly than I should (maybe) to the image of a president who took the mound like the western world's closer in its darkest ninth inning ever. And threw a strike that thrilled a nation. Whoever that closer was.

Now that I've made a fool of myself, I'm thinking, "Only true sports nuts will understand."

In my dreams. But you're all too young to understand my dreams.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Speakers of Truth, Part II:

The Importance of Reason

Melanie Phillips. I'm going to give you two opportunities to
watch her C-span video because it's so crucial that you do.
I ask 16 minutes worth of watching. They'll be the best spent
16 minutes you've spent on internet video this year. My word.

IS INSTAPUNK MEAN? I'll begin by citing one of our commenters on the previous related post, JS:

The problems the Left has caused do not need book length explanations or solutions. They are simple to see and simple to solve. They are easy to recognize and easy to fix, as they are in direct opposition to everything this country was founded on. But all I ever read is "We can't say that! We'll get in trouble!"

I know JS thinks I'm occasionally guilty of this as well, but he should draw heart from the fact that I think he is 98 percent right. That's my second opportunity for asking all of you to watch 16 minutes (at least) of the Melanie Phillips video. In that time, she effectively demolishes the argument for global warming, the "Bush lied, people died" argument against the war in Iraq, the victimization of Israel as the source of oppression in the Middle East, and the arrogant irrationalism of Dawkins and company in promoting atheism as the 'reasonable' antidote to malignant religious faith. She also expressly confirms the validity of common sense in opposition to the anti-rational nonsense promulgated by the intelligentsia. That's a lot of ground to cover in 16 minutes.

I'll wait while you watch. (Feel free to watch longer. She covers a lot more territority with a lot more specificity if you have the patience. If you hang on through the Q&A session, you'll also experience the unique cultural tic known as the "Oxford stutter.")

Without quoting word for word, I'll paraphrase a few of the more memorable points of the video for those who are, well, impatient. They are, interestingly, all points which have been made explicitly here at InstaPunk over the years (Lake? Eduardo? Care to fisk this post with IP links? If you have the time... I understand if not), except possibly for the first one, which we have only speculated on:  in America, we have cultural wars; in Britain they have cultural collapse. Others? Science has itself become a religious faith, admitting of no dissension that is dealt with factually or by any means other than ad-hominem attack. The assault on formal religion by secularists is specific to Judeo-Christian religion and is purposed overwhelmingly toward the repeal of Genesis, because it is the moral order represented by an absolutist creator god which is most unacceptable in an age which bases its moral relativism on the absence of any objective truth.

Continuing... Ironically, what unites the supposed rationalists of secular evangelism is an apocalyptic 'millenarianism' derived directly from the Old Testament concept of Original Sin. In short, man must be punished. But not for sins against God. Because it's western civilization itself which must be punished in particular for sins against minorities, the earth, and, presumably, the universe. All of which is, in the aggregate, insane, irrational, and disposed against civilization in favor of barbarism. One questioner pointed out that usage of the word 'civilization' was never plural till the middle of the 19th century. Its historically singular form was an ideal expressly opposed to barbarism. The idea that all human organization above the level of hunter-gatherer subsistence represented some variety of civilization was the beginning of multi-culturalism -- and moral relativism.

She also made another point repeated here almost ad-nauseam. That the age of reason and science was almost purely a product of Judeo-Christian believers -- uh, the people who invented reason in the first place and still practice it -- which means that the concerted attempt we see today to synonymize faith with irrational superstition, resistance to science, and unthinking (conservative) stupidity is both malicious and false (i.e., The World Upside Down). Which led somehow to the metaphor of the choir. Phillips says at one point she realized that the admonition against preaching to the choir was wrong. The choir needs to be motivated to keep singing, because all the most highly 'educated' voices are telling it to remain silent.

But the Oxford journalist is trumped in some respects by JS. And I think she'd agree. "The problems the Left has caused do not need book length explanations or solutions. They are simple to see and simple to solve. They are easy to recognize and easy to fix." That's her point, made so much more laboriously, about common sense, which transcends pure reason because it seamlessly encompasses human wisdom as well as history and nature. A point I think we made here at less than book length.

Which has always been our bottom line at IP. It's the real reason we get into such big fights with the sophisticated folks who become mesmerized by the ins and outs of Washington politics, who's up, who's down, who's got a point this time, who's not phrasing or packaging things right, and who might have the better argument in the current political environment.

It's all bullshit. Common sense is still what matters. Big organizations are soul-destroying, the more so the bigger they get. It's a corollary of the clichee about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Our government is too big and getting bigger. Hell, General Motors was too big, which is why it failed. AT&T was too big, which is why breaking it up created a technological explosion whose shrapnel you all carry so happily in your pockets and purses. Big is Jabba the Hut. It fattens, wallows, crushes freedom and creativity. No big deal. Simple human math.

Which is why human math does contain absolutes. Lots of things don't have to be nitpicked, refuted, argued codicil by codicil or misrepresentation by lie into the weeds. They're just wrong. Flat wrong. From the beginning. Like the healthcare bill. Too big, too voracious, too squashing, too sprawling in its inevitable unintended consequences.

Which is where the New Media have a tough call. We've been exceptionally tough (and some would say mean) to the ones who choose to follow the details for us, so that we can fight like The 300 at the last stand in the halls of congress. But details are their own monster. They're what old-time fighter pilots called target-fascination. You bore in so single-mindedly on the bullseye that you wind up flying into the ground. Alternatively, you begin to believe that being adept at target practice is a substitute for killing the enemy.

Note that the choice of metaphor here is key. We are fighting a war. The enemy is every bit as ruthless as the Pacific foe in WWII that thought nothing of smearing the brains of Philippine babies across the walls of Manila hospitals. If you get it into your head that you're better at gunning down training targets than they are, you're not there when they get out of their planes and hit the newborn wards. That's why we're mean.

This is not a game. It's not a college debate. It's not an Olympic fencing match. It's a war. What are the sides?

The answer to that is daunting if not downright terrifying. It's us -- the common sense American conservatives -- against an Islamic fascism that can't be named, a European cultural and moral exhaustion that can't be forestalled, a burgeoning population of tin-pot, appeasement-emboldened dictators around the world, a secular know-it-all nihilism that can't be out-shouted, an increasingly supine population of government dependents and self-styled victims in the industrial world, and a traitorous, self-hating elite in our own country that has somehow appropriated the media, the academy, science, the public school system, the entire federal and state bureaucracy, and even a significant mindshare of organized Christian churches into a cult of anti-American sedition.

In these circumstances, it doesn't matter that we are technically the majority, as we are and have always been. It matters that we have let them gather unto themselves all the reins of power.

To the extent that we consent to dance with them employing all their tools of distraction -- wit, rhetoric, charge-and-counter-charge -- and gull ourselves with the delusion they're 'playing' the same way, we lose. Everything they do is aimed, always, exclusively, at our throats. They're trying to kill us. And while we struggle to be civil and 'fair-minded,' they're succeeding.

That's why I'm mean to AllahPundit and Ed Morrissey and InstaPundit and Ace of Spades and Protein Wisdom and every other conservative site that thinks it's competing for mindshare in an open market of ideas. It's not an open market. It's a war. I don't want any internet accolades or conservative trophies. I want to defeat the enemy. Utterly. Devastatingly. Forever.

This is a war for survival. We'll win or we'll lose. Which is a way of saying that I'm not being unreasonable at all. I have been scrupulously reasonable throughout the history of InstaPunk. Which is to say that I employ reason to destroy the enemy, not to persuade the enemy that I'm a reasonable guy. And, just as importantly, not to persuade my more genteel (thanks, Diogenes) allies that I am 'reasonable enough' to belong in their company. If they're not here to destroy the enemy, they may as well be Tokyo Rose or Lord Haw Haw. I have no use for them. Which is why I don't, and won't, play nice in the "New Media" circle-jerk.

By every precept of reason I know, giving equal time to enemy propagandists who have never been rational is not a function of reason. It's how Austria became part of the Third Reich. Look up the Anschluss.

Flyers Crush Habs.

PAYBACK. We win. Off to the finals. Something about the number three. You'll have to ask Mrs. CP. Or maybe Puck Punk can explain. If you can't root for us against Obama's home team, there's something wrong with you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Speakers of Truth

People who speak the truth in this regime are regarded as rats.

H/T NRO. What better proof can you have of gangster politics -- more kindly, the "Chicago Machine" -- than the fact that its minions are so terrified of pissing off the don that they're prepared to make utter fools of themselves in public by denying even the most obvious of truths?

But who keeps scurrying for the corners like a trapped rodent?
That's why I want to give full marks to Doctor Zero for identifying the real bottom-line cause of the Tea Partiers:

The American people tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being defrauded. We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them. We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough. We know the romance of the State is a lie. The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

He's right. That's the part of the Tea Party phenomenon that is Obama-centric, though it has nothing whatever to do with race. The man is 100 percent committed to lying. Not just the convenient political lies and evasions we were able to correct for with Bill Clinton, but massive, soul-deep lies about his intentions, his relation to the country he leads, and to the world beyond our borders that simultaneously loves, hates, fears, and (historically) depends upon the United States. Sure, he tells low political lies, every damn day, but what has people in the streets are the vastly bigger whoppers that he is the president of all of us, that he loves America, that he's a capitalist in good standing, and that he is committed to defending both the Constitution and American citizens from all threats foreign and domestic. His stock in trade is the BIG LIE, taken to a scale that trivializes even the standard liberal Big Lies Democrats have used to demonize Republicans since the 1960s.

More than we've ever needed them before, we need speakers of truth who aren't frightened into silence by the spreading shadow of Obamordor.

When he maunders on about social justice, redistributing wealth, and taxing the rich "who got us into this mess," we need blunt counterweights like Chris Christie, who this week threw down a heavy gauntlet of truth.

Do not mess with the Fat Man, you silly Democrats. In what may be the fastest veto in recorded history, it took New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a reported two minutes to veto a new tax grab by an incoherent Democrat State Senate that clearly hasn't realized their rubber-stamp puppet Jonny the Beard is no longer in office.

It took about two minutes from the time Senate President Steve Sweeney certified the passage of the millionaires tax package for Gov. Chris Christie to veto the bills at his desk.

"While I have little doubt that the sponsors and supporters of this bill sincerely believe that the state can tax its way out of this financial crisis, I believe that this bill does nothing more than repeat the failed, irresponsible and unsustainable fiscal policies of the past," wrote Christie in his veto statement. "Now is not the time for more of the same. Ultimately, another tax increase will punish the state’s struggling small businesses and set our economy further back from recovery."

Of course cutting taxes would help stimulate our economy but Democrats have never been known to pay attention to reality.

After the state Senate passed the bill, which had already passed the Assembly, Sweeney walked the bills down the hallways of the Statehouse, from the state Senate chambers to the governor's office. Once inside, he handed the bills to Christie, who was waiting.

"What took you so long ?" asked Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak.

Christie sat at a wooden desk emblazoned with the seal of the state of New Jersey and swiftly signed vetoes.

"We'll be back, governor," said Sweeney.

"All right. We'll see," said Christie.

I love JammieWearingFool's locution, "The Fat Man." It's surreptitiously Shakespearean, recalling the line from Julius Caesar, "Yon Cassius hath a lean and hungry look." As Obama most definitely does. I can see the bumper stickers now: I'M FOR THE FAT MAN IN 2012. Something about prosperity and gruff candor, as opposed to plots and weaseling grudges.

When Obama bows and scrapes to our enemies and brushes off our friends and ignores the slaps and sleights and outrages committed daily against the country he's sworn to protect, we need unblinking truthtellers like Charles Krauthammer. You have to read the whole thing if you don't take any other link here. It's that important. I'm not bottom-lining it here. Can't be done. I'm just showing him off:

The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

That picture -- a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam -- is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.

They've watched President Obama's humiliating attempts to appease Iran, as every rejected overture is met with abjectly renewed U.S. negotiating offers. American acquiescence reached such a point that the president was late, hesitant and flaccid in expressing even rhetorical support for democracy demonstrators who were being brutally suppressed and whose call for regime change offered the potential for the most significant U.S. strategic advance in the region in 30 years.

As with the Fat Man we can also join The Hammer to our legion of plain-speaking superheroes.

But we need more than superheroes. We need people in all walks of life to be proof against 'well-intentioned' (i.e., pusillanimous) compromise.

When powerful men like Eric Holder go around Robin's Hood barn to defend the indefensible, we also need less powerful men of good conscience to stand up against absurdity (and atrocity) whenever and wherever it appears. Here's one important example:

In recent days, some of us have been ranting about the American Academy of Pediatrics, and its softening on FGM, or female genital mutilation — more modern and “sensitive” types call it FGC, for “female genital cutting.” The AAP has a rival, apparently: the ACP, or American College of Pediatricians. The latter group has just come out with a strong, unequivocal statement against FGM, FGC, whatever — a nasty practice, which Americans should think twice before tolerating. For the ACP’s press release, go here.

Three cheers for the ACP.

And three cheers withdrawn for the whole "Draw Muhammed Day" debacle. Check your courage before you throw your hat into the ring of fire. That's another important lesson. AllahPundit got snotty with me when I pointed out that I'd notified him of this post well before he linked to the "Draw Muhammed Day" exercise in sheep warfare (whose original proposer has since retreated in an ebb tide of apology and fear). Of course, what happened on May 20 was what I figured would happen. People had enough time to think about it, get scared, and toss up a cloud of posturing bullshit demonstrating the rank, stinking cowardice of journalists and bloggers in the west. (Hi, Allah!) Here's Reason Magazine's courageous protest drawing:

Note, too, that Hotair -- which also didn't participate, brave souls they -- called this, "…clever. A bit of a cop out, but clever."

Yeah. When extortion with the threat of deadly violence is on the table, the best possible response is, uh, "clever."

The InstaPunk image the fearless bloggers of Hotair assured me they never saw and so couldn't link:


"I wouldn't belong to any religion I made up.
Because "Whatever it is, I'm against it."

Here's what I'm asking of you. Find the brave ones. The speakers of truth wherever they are. Not the ranters or bomb-throwers. The ones who, as Howard Cosell used to say, tell it like it is. You find me the heroes, and I'll give the readers here the links.

P.S. Something else that doesn't pass muster in the 'courage' or 'truth' department. Linking people who truly don't give a shit about Islamic extortion while you continue to hide behind wry platitudes. Hotair just linked this from Iowahawk. Like they get to borrow his brazen while they hide inside their newfound "journalistic objectivity." Kewl. Sick-making. If Hotair runs that one Muhammed cartoon its author has already paid for one more time as proof of their publishing fearlessness, I promise you I'm going to invent a way to throw up through the intertubes on a website of my choosing.

Is anybody else getting sick of the NEW mainstream media? Podcasts and contracts and cable news gigs and seeing both sides and patriotic moderation and pure C-O-W-A-R-D-I-C-E when there's really something important on the line. Like, say, the First Amendment. Which is when "clever" is enough. Really, Ed? Really, Allah? So 'clever' of you.

ADDENDUM. I like the way libs are thinking they've trounced the Tea Partiers because Rand Paul won his primary. But their only power is misdirection. They don't understand the problem they're facing. They think they've found an emblematic victim. All they've found is an outlier who may yet win. It can't turn back the tide, which is pitilessly against them:

Yes, the Pauls seem clothed in mithril. (We suspect they have curly feet to go with their curly toupees.) And they're fucking crazy. But they've served admirably as the distractions we need to storm the supreme Obama soviet.The more they make the Pauls the face of the Tea Partiers, the more time we have to make the real argument: No traitor should be president of the United States. We don't need a Sauron.

Not now. Not ever.

UPDATE. Got a response from Doc Zero, but there's no sign he was aware of the slam at his host website (or my PS or Addendum). He's not responsible for my piling on. I am. So he shouldn't be punished at Hotair for saying this on my email:

Nicely done!  Nothing baffles me more about the average, middle-of-the-road Democrat voter than their perpetual surprise at being lied to... which often manifests as a frenzied hatred of anyone who exposes the lies of their leadership.  I've seen decent, generally affable people reduced to shivering rage while trying to process the latest Obama scam.

Both politicians and private citizens may see advantages from committing fraud, but the politician is far more likely to get away with it.  How many private entities are still going concerns after decades of being caught repeatedly lying to the public, on a massive scale... let alone larger and more powerful than ever?

This whole rotten system of political hacks dodging responsibility for disasters they never saw coming will fall apart on the day we either refuse to be hoodwinked, or no longer have anything worth stealing.

Though I suspect he will be punished. Let's hope not. I apologize if I've compromised his New Media credentials. Everybody: pretend you didn't see the Doc Zero part. The best outcome will be that we never hear from him again. He'll learn that InstaPunk is persona non grata in the mainstream blog revolt against the mainstream media. With any luck, we'll see him soon on Fox & Friends. Unless he's who we think he really is, namely, an honest man.

UPDATE 2. AllahPundit is angry. I sent him a link to this post, and he sent me this:

I'm not going to harrumph at you about anything.  Here are the facts: You've been endlessly and needlessly antagonistic towards me for months.  You ripped me to shreds in one post and I was enough of a good sport about it to actually link it in Headlines.  Then you sent me a tip about a post which I never saw and you instantly presumed bad faith about that.  Now you're calling me a coward for not participating in Everybody Draw Mohammed Day even though Ed and I both repeatedly use thumbnails of the super-incendiary Mohammed cartoons to illustrate our posts about it.  And then you claim that both Ed and I have gotten "carried away" with our careers, which means ... I'm not even sure what.  That I'm a phony and you're real.  Or rather, "REAL."

You have some sort of chip on your shoulder about me, which is perfectly fine -- there are others who do too -- but you're the only one who seems to feel compelled to e-mail me to tell me just how little you think of me.  I get it, okay?  You're REAL and Ed and I aren't.  Loud and clear.  And incidentally, since you're ripping on Ed, don't you think he should be cc'd on these harangues?

So I replied thus.

Glad to hear from you. You and Ed are in business. I have no problem with that. I'm a curmudgeon. I don't think you should have a problem with that. I tend to assume, perhaps wrongly, that when I send you something you find volatile, Ed will hear about it. And vice versa. I'm thinking I do a much better job of letting people I criticize know that I've criticized them than others do, but perhaps you can enlighten me about that.

That you chose this moment to blast me tells me you might be feeling guilty. You posted the Draw Muhammed Day post and ignored my post. Maybe it was a mistake. Fine.

I don't think the sun rises and sets on what I do. But I know that I consistently write better stuff than what you post in your Green Room. If I'm crabby, you're arrogant. I volunteered to debate you about your constant, deadeningly dull atheist pose, which I'd do fairly and rationally, but you choose to ignore me. I've complimented you every bit as much as I've criticized you, and I hat-tip you both all the time, but you and Ed both have an "I'm a star now" complex which I understand but feel free to call out. I'm part of your audience, the part that sends you readers regularly, a cut above your typical commenters, who don't spell, think, or write well.

Here's the deal. I don't need your approval. I'm a writer in my own right. I have no desire to have podcasts, book contracts, or FNS interviews. I was on the Internet before you, writing a blog before there was even a name for it:

I'd actually like to be your friend. But you've been pretty much of a  jerk to me. As has Ed.

I'd be happy to start over. The only thing I want is the occasional link when I write a good post, which I do at least as often as those you favor.

The Muhammed deal was especially galling to me. You have used the same cartoon for months as if it were bravery, but it isn't. And you know it isn't. You're hedging your bets. I understand that. Nobody wants to die. At first I thought Allah is trying to protect me: it's suicide to depict Muhammed as, of all things, a Jew, let alone Groucho Marx. Your email disabused me of that.

I'm not here to become famous. I'm here to fight for my country. AND to fight for the Jews, so there won't be a second holocaust. Do a search at Instapunk for the terms  Jews, holocaust, genocide, israel. Hell, do a search at instapunk for any and every great issue of the day. I think you'll find I've written  more diligently and thoughtfully on any issue you could name than you or Ed have.

I'm NOT your enemy. But I'm weary of the celebrity game. Which you ARE playing, whether you admit it or or not. Ace of Spades is a lot nastier and more profane than I am. He just doesn't criticize prominent right-wing blogs. I do. Who's edgier in that respect?

So. Here I am. Humbling myself. I ask only that you give me the even break of reading my stuff in the way that MacLeod and Doc Zero do. In return I promise to stop criticizing your writing, Ed's writing, though not your logic or lack of it. All I I'm asking for is a voice in the fight. And I DO have something to bring to that fight.

And so it goes.

UPDATE 3. So now Allah is really really pissed:

"I can't decide if you don't realize how insulting you are, if you do realize it and simply enjoy being insulting, or if you think that being insulting is proof somehow that you're a "straight shooter" who won't kiss the ass of a self-styled "celebrity" like me.  But since we're not getting anywhere with these back and forths, this will be my last response to you." [It goes on like this for a while.]

And here's my response:

Fine. You're right. I'm insulting. Sorry. I was fighting this fight long before you got your first keyboard. I knew the war we're fighting now was coming 40 years ago. What pisses me off is how weak our side is. Why do the libs laugh at us and demean us? Because our side can't write a goddam sentence without making some dumb basic error. I'm older than you, I've spent a lifetime writing, and it all matters to me. You can dance all you want around the "celebrity" label, but you're making a living doing this. I'm not. I'm doing it because I can't not do it with so much at stake.

I apologize for noticing that I can't read a single post by you or Ed without wanting to rewrite it. Do you know what that's like? No. Of course not. I chastised Jonah Goldberg for a consistent error he was making, and he apologized within the hour. I'm not saying you don't have good ideas and decent insights. But you're an embarrassment. And poses you assume, like your atheism and beta male identity, are worse than embarrassing. They're just dumb.

If you ever bothered to read InstaPunk, you'd see that it's the most thoughtful and LIVING conservative blog on the Internet. We talk about everything from hummingbirds to movies to family travails to physics to sports, before we even approach politics, which we do in a way no one else does.

But you never have bothered to read InstaPunk. Which is how I know who you are. If someone "insulted" me, I can assure you I'd read everything they wrote to find out why and from where they dared to do so.

I'm sorriest about the fact that you're exactly who I feared you were. I don't need Hotair. But you need an elder who doesn't tolerate your fakery and posturing. I'm 56 years old. I'd bet a bunch you don't don't know anything more about me than that. Which is your loss. Big time. If you wanted to learn to write, I could teach you. But I'm thinking you don't. That's too bad. Not a tragedy or my secret revenge. Just too bad. Because our country needs people like you to know how to write.


The Comebacks

AS I SAY: BELIEVE. In the case of you do not know about that picture, it is from the crush of the InstaPunk Phyler make by my Montreal Candians in Thursday night.  In that picture, I think it is when the Phyler goalie start to cry about all the goal that are score to him.  But I must make the digression. I do not come to make offend on the fan of the Phyler here.  I already say that I know my Habs win the Stanley Cup this year and I am sorry about the sadness of the Philadelphia persons.  Instead I come to address two issue.

First, I need say the Punks tell me they are happy to hear the new writtings from me, but about the fact checkings maybe I am not so careful when I write. They say the post before have many error about things that are not so true. I try to take a note while they tell me all these things for make a corrections, but I already am go to the liquor store for the evening and find it hard to hear everything what they say. One note that I do take on my sheet is about the mistake with who the Philadelphia football team make a trade on. I say they trade the Michael McVick, but they actually trade his brother, Donovan. But still Michael McVick is the one who kill the dogs, and I am many anger about that. Which prove a rule about why you should not trust the persons of Irish.

There are other mistake, too, but you see I am not serious journalist of the big times, like your Keith Onothermann. I am only Puck Punk, with knowledge and love of the hockey, which I try to tell you about because so many American miss this wonderful sport. So I start to think maybe American does not care about the hockey because you do not have the understandings. Even InstaPunk say he is l'confuze about the rule in the hockey. So I decide I must explain to my foreign friends about some important things and then we all will love the hockey.

1. Offsides - Always I am watch a game of the hockey when the offsides is call and my American friends say, "Huh? What happen?" or as the internet American say, "WTF?" Then I explain about how is so simple.

A field of the hockey.

As you see above, there is the big red line in middle of the ice. Then the two blue line on each side of red middle line, and the space after the blue line with the goal make the offend zone. No man is allow to be all the way across the blue on the offend unless the puck go across first. If the defenses get the puck back all the way past their blue line, then the offend players must all touch the blue before they can go back to the offend zone, and when they go back the puck again must go before any offend player. If the rule is break, then the offsides is call and a faceoff happen.

I try to make the explain of this to my American friends, but I make only half through my talking when a glaze come on their eyes and they yawn, then they tell me the hockey is so hard to understand and they ask for me to stop the talking. But when we watch the anyfell football and I ask a question like, "Why is this team allow to advance the ball just because their ball kicker falls down?" they only answer me, "Shhhh! I try to watch game!"

And at least the hockey offside only makes a faceoff. In the anyfell the offside make the ball move more close and close to the In Zone, where the goal happen. Why? No one can explain this. And still my American friends say they are confuse about why players in the hockey some time will not cross the blue line and some time will, or why it is l'import for the defenses to push the puck across the blue line, for then all players on the offend must skate away, then skate back in, and they can get tired. So during this times of the frustrate, I only grab another Molson and try to enjoy the game to myself.

2. Power Play - when a penalty happen, there is the power play. This mean the one who make the penalty must sit in the penalty box for 2 minute and his team is short the one man. The other team now have advantage of one man and if they score the penalty is over. The most a team can be down at one time is two man.

Cindie Crosby of the Pittburg takes the penalty while losing to my Habs.

If it is a very bad penalty, like making the hate crime, then the time in the box will be for 5 minute no matter even if the team score. This is many rare, and l'especial in the playoff, because it is a big hurt for a team to make defend of the power play for 5 minute.

3. Icing - Another thing that every body always question to me about. But it is very easy to make the understandings of it! Remember the big red line on middle of the ice? Well there is a smaller red line on each side of ice that cross the goal, near of the wall. If a player on the offend shoot the puck to other side and it is not yet cross the big line in middle, then it cross the small red line near the goal, and the puck is first touch by a player of the defend team, then it makes the icing and a faceoff must happen back on other side of the ice of the team that shoot the puck.

This rule happen so a team can not score only one goal, then only throw the puck away across ice for rest of game while on the defend. There is one exception of this: if a team is defend on the power play, they are allowed to shoot puck out because they are down of persons.

This is where the strategy happen for playing the hockey.

4. Cross-Checking - Very most simple: this is when you take both hands on the hockey stick, then push them out to hit the oppose player with the middle part of the stick. Like this:

The cross check can make any body into the monster.

So there are good explaination of the most confuse rule in the hockey. Now we all are watching this weekend, yes? You are many welcome.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Birthday Coincidence

The holocaust angle? Just one more personal 'coincidence.'

SERENDICITY. Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He'd be 88 if he hadn't died more than ten years ago. It was also a day when Mrs. IP had jury duty and was staying home till court convened, so I dallied longer in the morning before getting to work. Over one cup of coffee too many, I stumbled on a NatGeo documentary about a P-47 that went down in an Austrian lake on the last day of the war in Europe. The P-47 was my dad's plane, 88 missions worth. An international team was determined to raise it from the lake bottom and restore it. I was hooked. The lake waters were ice cold and short on oxygen, which meant that the wreck was probably well preserved. As proved to be the case. The plexiglass cowling was intact, the cockpit dials were remarkably legible, and even the lacquered aluminum skin of the fuselage retained all its old stencilled numbers, lettering, and American star insignia. It came up upside down but in far better condition that it looks to the naked eye

The ailerons still worked freely.

Closeups showed the instruments muddy but with unbroken lenses.

The .50 caliber machine guns were loaded;
the shells gleamed again after a light hosing.

The experts proclaimed that this plane will fly again.

I was struck by the fact that this is not my first P-47 coincidence. I just happened to be living in Dayton, Ohio, when Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (in Dayton) dedicated a memorial to the Twelfth Air Force my dad served in. He flew out (commercial) for the ceremony and that day I had my first look at a P-47 in the Wright-Patt museum, with him there. He hadn't laid eyes on one since 1946 or thereabouts. I also got to shake hands with a few of his surviving fellow pilots. Seeing the old men and the plane on which their lives depended was a strange experience. It's at such a long remove from actual events, so evidently mothballed and still, that it seems simultaneously unreal and hyper-real, as if the vivid past really can bump the prosaic present into a roaring, screaming, rat-a-tat hell if you close your eyes for just a moment. It's awkward to shake their hands. There's nothing you can say. They know something you'll never know and even trying to put that into words would be sacrilege. You wind up wishing you weren't young and your clothes didn't fit.

More coincidence. A few years later I was serving as a consultant to Whirlpool Corporation, which had an air-conditioner manufacturing plant in Evansville, Indiana. I went there to conduct training and help coordinate labor management communications. That's when I learned that the huge brick facility with its serpentine connecting bays had been built in the first place to assemble P-47 fighter planes. The plant was dark and logistically difficult in terms of modern manufacturing requirements, filled with U-turns and cul de sacs that only made sense when you imagined their original purpose. How odd that this Jersey motorhead would somehow get to see the plant (and descendants of the people) that built the plane that kept his father alive so that I could be sired after the war. No, it's not all about me. It's about the chain of events, including U-turns and cul de sacs, that occur by apparent happenstance to give you a fuller picture of the continuum of which you are only the wagging tail. I was supposed to be seeing Just-in-Time appliance manufacturing. Mostly, all I could see was P-47s creeping though darkness to the skies of Europe.

And then one more. My dad was from southern New Jersey and he took his flight training at Thunderbird in Arizona, but it's also perversely the case that one of the premier P-47 training bases during WWII was in Millville, NJ, less than 20 miles from where he, and I, were born and grew up. Millville has never forgotten this important moment of its history, which is why the annual Millville Air Show is one of the biggest and best attended in the nation. Which I'd never attended until my Navy-loving wife (I could tell you why but then I'd have to kill you) made us go see it back in 2007. Where I saw my first P-47 outside of a museum, prepped and ready to go on the flightline

And then, by God, flying.

My dad was dead by then. but not that day, not for me.

Life is a curious thing. I never consciously sought out any of these encounters with the past. He tried more and more over the years to make his life story about something other than the war, which he had every right to do. He had many accomplishments of his own, and he suffered from the survivor's guilt we've all seen in veterans who can't be convinced that the best and bravest  didn't die in their place. But my own life keeps bringing me back to this aspect of his experience, which I know, as a son knows his father, both hurt him grievously and annealed him to the ordinary hurts of so-called real life. He may have wanted to turn his back on so much fear and pain and testing ordeals, but I can't. I feel the phantom every time I mount a motorcycle. If I screw up or get unlucky, I could die today. But nobody's shooting at me when I ride. And I'm not shooting at them. A way to stay humble as the wagging tail of the continuum.

Almost done. But one final 'coincidence' in yesterday's accidental television rendezvous. The pilot whose plane went down in the Austrian lake survived. He appeared in the show and recollected his rescue. Ditching a P-47 in the water is an incredibly tricky thing. The huge engine almost immediately plunges from the surface in a water dive. The waters that day were brutally cold. He sank ten feet or so three times in heavy pilot gear and fought his way back to the surface but didn't think he'd survive a fourth dunking. But Austrian civilians saw him in the water, and two boats raced to his aid. In fact, two women outdistanced a surviving male (a teenager at the time) who was rowing toward the downed pilot and plucked him from the water.

Which was eerily reminiscent of my dad's closest call in the war. He strafed a German ship in Naples harbor, got away with it, and decided to attempt a second pass. They blew him out of the sky and he had to ditch in the water. Same crisis. P-47 diving nose first toward the bottom and an over-clothed pilot struggling to stay afloat with one leg full of shrapnel. He got rescued by a Navy PT boat, which braved all kinds of enemy fire to salvage my dad from what he called "the stupidest thing I've ever done." He never regarded the Purple Heart he received as anything but a dunce cap. 

I can see his point. That's how he was. Surprised and mortified when he wasn't entirely sensible. But it's not sensible to volunteer for what you've coldly determined is the most dangerous role in the war, is it? That part he never successfully explained away.

Happy birthday, Dad.

Tired, Hot, and Ready for the Nasty

MOWING. Today I mowed half the grass. One acre down, one to go. Not as young as I used to be. The cut above struck me just right. I think one of the younger commenters told me I needed to hear the Zac Brown Band to avoid being an old fart. Done! I like it. But maybe I'm the only one who remembers the Marshall Tucker Band. Come to think of it, I want to go play pool in a no-good dive bar. I know the perfect one. They'll have this on the jukebox:

And I'll beat the locals at 8-ball. Like a drum. Like I always do. There's good. And then there's better. Life is a great big pitcher of cold beer.

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