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March 15, 2013 - March 7, 2013

Friday, December 16, 2011

Egotistical senile old fool?

Took this self-portrait with my iPhone and the Camera+ App!
With the edit function I was able to minimize the forehead
wrinkles and bulging eyes. What do you think? Handsome?

TOUCHED A NERVE IN THE COMMENTS. Apparently, our formerly courteous Chevalier ("Still one of the best blogs on the web, period. At least when the Punkfather is flat out wrong, he argues his case with grace and style.") has had a major change of heart:

You egotistical senile old fool.

The rest of us were watching Gingrich when he was booted from Congress on multiple ethics charges [ED. NOT TRUE] by Conservatives, when his multiple ex-wives say not just that they don't like him because of the divorce but that he's a lying, evil SOB [GOSSIP], when he was buddying up with Liberal Democrats for the past decade plus [UNLIKE PERRY, ROMNEY & HUNTSMAN], supporting all of the LibDem causes [ALL? REALLY?], and when he was getting million-dollar payoffs from LibDem pet institutions [NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT ONE EITHER. ANYMORE THAN I AM ABOUT ROMNEYCARE OR PAULISTA DISARMAMENT]. Where the heck were you? [RIGHT HERE, PAL. LONG BEFORE YOU. I ALSO SAW HIM DEMOLISH BILL BUCKLEY IN A FORMAL DEBATE ABOUT THE PANAMA CANAL TREATY. WHERE WERE YOU? DIDN'T SEE YOU.][HE'S A FUCKING POLITICIAN. NEVER DENIED IT.]

You must be losing your mind. And apparently so willing to swallow a big load of Newt that you're citing Newt's own boy as "proof" that Newt is a conservative who can get things done. That's a real comfort, one lying, unethical SOB on the payroll of another lying, unethical SOB. Great!

"We've never seen a Republican campaign like this before?" Are you freaking kidding me? We saw this campaign in 2008! And Obama beat the squishy "friends across the aisle" RINO that time, too!

When you're ready to pull your head out of your behind and present an argument based on reality, maybe I'll come back here. But until then, goodbye. It's too bad you're so ready to sell out all of your principles and good sense because Newt jammed some lingo down your throat. Go buy some Vaseline buddy, you're about to get plowed. [A CONCLUDING QUESTION: YOU SEEM PREOCCUPIED WITH HOMOSEXUAL IMAGERY. HAVE YOU SHARED THIS WITH THE OTHER 'CHEVALIERS' IN YOUR TROUPE? MAYBE IT WOULD REDUCE THE LEVEL OF YOUR HYSTERIA...? JUST A THOUGHT.]

Egotistical. Senile. Old. Fool. Hmmmm. I'm thinking about it............ uh, no. Except for the egotistical part, which all writers have to be if you think about it. We do tend to place some stock in what we have to say. Mostly, what I said in the offending post was 1) Since everyone's piling on Newt, maybe you should expose yourselves to a dissenting view, and 2) Watch the most significant debate yet and make up your own minds. I even encouraged readers to disregard the personal opinions I'd expressed. If that's enough to drive anybody away, so be it. You've made up your mind. Maybe that's a good thing even if I don't think it's the right thing. Go in peace. (I may have a little more to say about this comment later, but all in good time, though I'll note that it is possible to forfeit the "grace and style" privilege here. You wouldn't enjoy it if I got really angry.)

Now for the comment that may deserve some specific response. Skinny Devil responded:

RL said:

"Everyone for Bachmann, Perry, Paul, or Santorum is already conceding the election. Everyone for Romney is making a totally irrational bet that he will perform better as president than he did as governor of Massachusetts."

I must have missed that. Exactly what Bachmann, Perry, Paul, & Santorum supporters think their guy will lose to Obama?

My 2 cents (which won't even buy a cup of coffee anymore, so...) is that Santorum would get killed by Obama, Perry might lose to Obama, but Bachmann or Paul (or even the sadly forgotten Huntsman) would destroy Obama.

Obama is one-term unless republicans TOTALLY drop the ball.

Skinny's two cents may be as good as mine, but it's not as if I haven't shared my reasoning about the "Little Four" before. (Do a name search.) Still, I'm willing to update it based on current information, including last night's debate. Which I'll do after I address Skinny's final sentence.

Obama is incompetent at everything but winning elections. But don't ever discount how good he is at that. He'll have about a billion dollars to spend distorting, smearing, destroying the credentials of his Republican opponent. He'll have the mainstream media on his side from first to last, and even the mounting scandals of his administration will not be brought to light by the major media outlets. The major network debate formats will be designed to make him look presidential and his opponent insignificant or worse. Many polls currently show that a plurality of voters still blame George W. Bush and the Republicans more than they blame Obama for the continuing economic morass, other polls show that the MSM's smear job on the Tea Party has been effective, and all MSM coverage from now on should be considered Obama campaign publicity: From August to November 2012, daily headlines from Europe and the middle east can and will be spun to make him seem the victim of forces beyond anyone's control, no matter what terrible things happen. (In the 1980 election, the Dem line was that the presidency was too hard a job for anyone, hence all the putrid results; it might have worked except that the media hated Carter's smug Christian self-righteousness.) Scare the voters enough and they will reelect Obama in self-defense.

Obama is not Carter. He starts somewhere between 10 and 12 points ahead at the ballot box, which is like starting a football game for the national championship up by two touchdowns. It's absolutely not true that "Obama is one-term unless republicans TOTALLY drop the ball." On the contrary, Republicans have to do everything right to boot Obama out of office.

Where does that leave us with the "Little Four"? I'm sympathetic to the argument that a true conservative could win, but it would take a Reagan, and not one of these candidates is a Reagan or anywhere near it.

Bachmann. She's smart, attractive, and at times articulate. She also got in some good shots against Gingrich last night (until she overplayed her hand). But she has weaknesses that will be used like hammers against her in a general election, and she has a tendency to start playing the sexism card when hammers are flying around. ("I'm a serious candidate! Stop dissing me!") Not good. Her staff is second-rate; they prepare her with scripted talking points (frequently dumb) that she lacks the spontaneity to make seem her own and doesn't know when to let go of -- the "Newt Romney" bit, for example. But they do not prepare her with sound information. She made the mistake last night of citing "Politifact" as proof that her charges against Newt in the prior debate were accurate. Politifact responded with an immediate denial, citing her well under .500 batting average on facts they'd previously researched from her and her campaign. The Oral Roberts degree is a problem. Her insistence on making abortion opposition a major part of her campaign is a problem. The laugh potential of a husband who believes homosexuality can be "cured" is a problem. The fact that so much of her base and financial support comes from the Tea Party is a problem.

I grant you her supporters may think she can win. But imagine all the ways Obama will run against her. Against Sarah Palin Lite. Against Oral Roberts University. Against her mechanical public performances (Stepford wife?). Against her probably closeted-and-denying-it gay husband. Against that racist Tea Party connection. Against her weak grasp of the facts on any given subject. And there will come a time when she will wilt under a kind of pressure she hasn't yet had the wit to foresee, or we'd have heard her real voice emerge from the rote campaign rhetoric as we have with Palin.

Santorum. Even you concede he's toast. So apparently it doesn't matter all that much to you if a candidate's supporters think he can win...

Paul. Michelle Bachmann absolutely cleaned his clock in last night's debate. He was left spluttering and unable to finish his own sentences during their exchange on Iran. Look up the clip. Speaking of "egotistical senile old fools..." No Republican can win the presidency without the support of old-fashioned national security Republicans. They will stay home. Discount me all you will on this. But they're a population of mature and older voters who remember the Cold War and the dangers of the world, and whom the Republican Party absolutely counts on to vote. If they stay home, all is lost: that's the two touchdowns the Republicans won't be able to make up.

Worse, Paul's supporters are his own worst enemy, which would become clear if he actually became the candidate. They torch every criticism, every expression of opposition, and they can mount internet campaigns against their targets that are guaranteed to turn off casual supporters by revealing the lockstep fanaticism of their, uh, movement. And btw, if the MSM is presently downplaying or omitting reportage of Paul's past newsletters, which flirt with everything from anti-semitism to Trutherism to racism, do NOT expect that not to become the centerpiece of an Obama campaign against him. They'd looooove to run against Ron Paul because he makes Obama's troubled relations with Israel and Jewish voters look good by comparison.

Perry. The N-Word rock. The N-Word rock. The N-Word rock. 24/7 on every TV station in the country. Was there anything else? Oh, yeah, maybe a few more things. Another Texas governor. Oh how Obama would love to run against George W. Bush one more time. And all the better if the latest incarnation of GW is the kind of Texas oaf who thinks the United States was founded in the 1600s. And, me, I can't help thinking -- and dreading -- the world-shattering October Surprise that's probably already safely under lock-and-key.

Huntsman. Good luck with that. I've nothing much against him but the fact that nobody knows who he is. Maybe he's great. Didn't show me much last night... I guess he better get going if he's going to be president.

Why I think Romney and Gingrich have the best chance to win. And I do think we can win.

I'll close by circling back to the Chevalier's scorn about my characterization of this election. He said:

"We've never seen a Republican campaign like this before?" Are you freaking kidding me? We saw this campaign in 2008! And Obama beat the squishy "friends across the aisle" RINO that time, too!

No. I'm not freaking kidding you. It's not 2008 because Obama is an incumbent, for one thing. And for another thing, the fact that Independents are looking for a good excuse to vote against Obama this time when last time they were already in the bag before the campaign ever started. Yet, in the face of this, the off-putting internecine nastiness on our side of the fence, long before the first primary vote has occurred, is striking. Interestingly, the National Review's Jonah Goldberg felt compelled today to respond to some "chevaliers" who launched bitter attacks against the NR editorial which conspicuously did NOT endorse Gingrich yesterday. I'm going to quote him some and let you be the judge of any relevance it has to our discussions here:

I recognize that feelings are running hot about NR’s editorial. I have no desire to lend support to some of the overheated charges being hurled at NR — including from some of our longtime friends. So I will simply say that I don’t see perfectly eye-to-eye with it myself. But that’s often the case with NR editorials. Indeed, it’s the nature of editorials. Perhaps because I know and respect my colleagues, I see no need to attack their motives nor would it occur to me to question their commitment to conservative principles. Did we get this one wrong? It’s perfectly reasonable for some to think so. It’s certainly happened before. Indeed some of the criticisms strike me as entirely fair — why not just endorse Romney if it’s a two man race? Why even consider Huntsman? etc — and there are fair rebuttals to them as well. I will let the editorial speak for itself in that regard.

Now on to some of the unfair, hyperbolic and just plain weird charges.

First of all, what is with this complaint that we are trying to “dictate” who people vote for? I don’t get it. We are, as always, an opinion magazine sharing our opinion. It is not binding... In 1980, WFB kept the magazine from endorsing Reagan (Bill loved the Gipper but had grave concerns about his age). We endorsed Mitt Romney in 2008, for many of the same reasons some of our biggest detractors today did — to stop John McCain.

As I suggested above, some critics of our editorial fault us for not outright endorsing Romney, others complain that we endorse him too much. If you’re a committed opponent of Romney — or a committed fan –  those are all fair gripes. But some of our friends should at least consider the possibility that such nuances reflect both internal differences as well as the messiness of political reality. A conservative,  James Burnham argued in the debates over endorsing Nixon in 1960, “has to set his course within the frame of reality.” Burnham supported endorsing Nixon on the grounds that the real enemies were supporters of Kennedy. Frank Meyer, meanwhile,  argued that endorsing Nixon would be a surrender to the Eisenhower liberalism the magazine had been criticizing for years. Bill found arguments on both sides compelling. So what did he do? He punted, endorsing no one.  “National Review,” he wrote, “was not founded to make practical politics. Our job is to think, and write.”...

Bill Buckley, like the magazine he founded, has always tried to balance the ideal with the practical, the perfect with the doable. I do not speak for my colleagues, but I’m confident than none of them believe the current crop of candidates is ideal. If we did, we would have written a very different editorial. All of us — you, me, everybody — are trying to chart our way through rougher waters than we would like, with candidates for the captain’s chair that leave us unsure.

When have I suggested here that you not make up your own minds? I just like to add grist to the mill. And if that fills you with bile, then I'd ask why. Because like Jonah, I'm equally concerned about "candidates for the captain’s chair that leave us unsure." And like the rest of you, I'm just trying to navigate my way through it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So WATCH the
debate tonight...

Obama awaits...

IF I'M SO WRONG, PROVE IT... Do you want it to be about TV ads and smears and contextless sound bites and snarky personal accusations? There aren't many professional politicians I'd want to associate with. My dad once dreamed that he was back in Hurricane Hazel, which bowed the front door of his house, and then there was a knock on that door. It was Harry Truman seeking sanctuary. In the dream my dad didn't let him in.

I'm amused by all the expert observers who know more about Newt than I do. Thing is, I was paying close attention when he was Speaker of the House. Guess what. He did more for our side than anyone else in the current list of candidates has ever done. The score isn't even close. But the true believers know better, of course. Here's something for you to consider before tonight: what one of his House staffers, Tony Blankley, has to say:

Almost all political commentators agree on one thing: The Republican presidential campaign is unlike any we have experienced. It is not a campaign of steady trends and continuities, but rather of emotional reversals and discontinuities. Perhaps this is so because the past three or four years have been a shocking time of discontinuities and reversals for America. Really, America has been bewildered, shocked and disoriented since Sept. 11, 2001. The economic collapse and the unprecedentedly statist policies of the past three years have just compounded the anxiety. The rise of China, the fall of Europe and the chaos in the Middle East has been startling in their swiftness - and the lack of American leadership as these dramatic events unfold is sending a shudder throughout the world.

We don’t know what to make of events. We have not been convinced that either President George W. Bush or incumbent President Obama have had a clue about how to make things right.

The GOP primary voters reflect this helter-skelter search for leadership. I predict that when the general electorate is engaged in the election campaign next year, the independents and some Democrats will reflect the same desperate confusion and search for the right kind of leadership for these treacherous times. But what kind of candidate is most likely to be able to make sense of the terrible events and forces that weigh down our country, be capable of vividly describing our plight and what needs to be done and convince the public that he has the intelligence, courage, experience and sheer will to force events favorably to America’s historic interests and needs?

As I have chosen to phrase that question, the question answers itself. It is the GOP candidate currently at the top of the polls, my former boss, Newt Gingrich.

But most Washington politicians don’t see it that way. They see a conventional close election - not a bold, historic lunge by the voters to save the country. They suggest Mitt Romney may be best positioned to stitch together a safe campaign that noses out President Obama by a point or two, or comes up short by a point or two. He might be that candidate.

Thus, Mr. Romney received the endorsement of the GOP political types - congressmen and former congressmen. Now they are doubling down on their early bet and are out telling reporters that Newt was never much of a leader and never got much done.

Curious. I remember most of them enthusiastically following his leadership year after year as Republican whip from 1989 to 1994. It was the most successful congressional opposition movement since Benjamin Disraeli formed the modern Conservative Party in Britain in the mid-19th century. And after the GOP took back the House for the first time in 40 years (and the Senate, too, by the way), Newt’s four years as speaker proved to be the most productive, legislative congressional years since at least 1965 to 67, and they were led by Lyndon B. Johnson from the White House. Working against - and with - Democratic President Bill Clinton, we passed into law most of the Contract With America, welfare reform, telecommunications reform (which ushered in the modern cellphone and Internet age) and the first balanced budget since before the Vietnam War, and we cut taxes and lowered unemployment to less than 5 percent.

Just who the heck do all these professional political wizards think managed all that?

There's more. Read it.

Then think about the contradictions in your own positions. Everyone for Bachmann, Perry, Paul, or Santorum is already conceding the election. Everyone for Romney is making a totally irrational bet that he will perform better as president than he did as governor of Massachussetts. Bad bet. It's the only major elected office he's ever held, but not for want of trying. How long has he been running for president?

You can't have it both ways. If you're determined to lose, then go with the guy who won't look like a monotone marionette (Bachmann), a (way) dumbed-down version of GW, a hectoring old woman who can't ever look anybody straight in the eyes (Paul), or a defeated senator who has been successfully caricatured as paranoid about outbreaks of polygamy and bestiality. Go with the guy who can at least make a fight of it and bloody his opponent even if the decision goes against him..

If you're determined to win, you have another bet to make -- between the tortoise and the hare. Romney is the tortoise, and maybe safer if things were normal, but will the electorate really punch a ballot for Bill Slowsky when the whole world is disintegrating?

Yeah, they've been married for a long time... I'm impressed.

Here's the rub. Things are going to get worse. Europe is imploding, the middle east is tipping into chaos, and even the Chinese economy is slowing down. There is going to be another recession. Is Slowsky the answer? Maybe. But none of the so-called remaining conservative candidates is. Ron Paul doesn't even acknowledge the relevance of Europe and the middle east. Bachmann can't speak without a canned set of talking points from her handlers. Perry doesn't know when the constitution was signed or what it says. And Santorum can't ever blip the polls above zero.

The situation in 2012 may very well be ripe for the sudden turn of opinion that put Reagan in office, whatever the polls say now. Does anyone in the heartland know or care about the definition of the words "nimble" and "agile"? If you don't, maybe you should.

But when it came to fundamental conservative principles and the political strategies necessary to protect them, Newt saw the threats to them and never wavered. I was amused to see Gov. John Sununu, President George H. W. Bush’s chief of staff and a current Romney supporter, criticize Newt last week.

I remember back in 1990, just after Newt had become GOP whip, when Mr. Bush, urged on by Mr. Sununu, was about to break his campaign pledge and raise taxes, which eventually cost him his re-election bid against Mr. Clinton. It was Newt who opposed it. In fact, Marlin Fitzwater, the loyal and shrewd White House press secretary, and no fan of Newt’s at the time, later wrote in his memoirs, “As it turned out, one of the few people on the Republican team who understood this trap [the Democrats demanded Bush raise taxes as the political price to reduce the deficit] was Newt Gingrich. … Newt had … recommended a different course of action: Abandon the budget negotiations [with Democrats], keep the tax pledge, insist that Congress cut spending, and make a political fight out of it. It’s clear now that we should have followed his advice.”

But forget all that. Whoever goes up against Obama really should be able to make the other Republican candidates look lesser. So watch the damn debate.

I promise I will. Brett Baer will be there. Neil Cavuto. Megyn Kelley. and Chris Wallace. I'm thinking they won't be throwing softballs.

And then comes the general election.

Who do you cast in the role of Bugs Bunny against the Obama coyote genius? Are you sure?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Bowl Season

This doesn't have anything to do with the post. It's just a better
 game than you're likely to see in the next month or two. Word.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Golly. Ohio State will be playing in the Potato Bowl. Not making that up. Don't trust anything I say next. Some of it's true, some of it isn't. But can you tell which is which?

USC isn't bowl eligible. Why they're playing in the Allstate Allmost Bowl. Does anyone remember when bowl games weren't preceded by some brand name?

Here's a frightening fact. Every Division I team with a .500 record is bowl eligible. Ohio State's great rival, Michigan, is playing in the Perrier Water Bowl. Against Hawaii Southern if memory serves. Penn State is playing in the Ticket City Bowl against the Ticket City Junior Varsity High School team, excepting only those players who have reached puberty by game day.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is playing Florida State Technological Seminary in the Tyson's Chicken Burrito Bowl, in Mexico. Free tostitos to all customers who arrive by game time. Alabama is playing LSU in the Brent Musberger Chivolet Been There Done That Bowl sometime next year, where Obama will change sides at the half and shoot a few baskets en route. Then there's the Preparation H Bowl, which will be held as usual in El Paso, Texas, between SMU and the University of Chicago. South Carolina is playing itself in the Buddy's Smoked Mirrors Bowl, Notre Dame is playing the Massed Archangels of Heaven in the FritoLay God Bowl in Godforsaken, Alabama, and Temple is playing Wyoming in the Mopar Some Goddam Bowl, somewhere west of East Jesusville, Oklahoma. I swear.

I'm tempted here to spill the beans about other schools I know some of you have been to. Rutgers. The Citadel. Villanova. Et cetera. But maybe you should tell me. Which one of you has a secret ticket to the Washington Post Insider Bowl? Or the Starbuck's Catholic Atheist Bowl in South Bend, Indiana? Come clean. Where are your teams playing?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Amateur Annotations:
Psayings 5Y: The Big Finish

PART THREE. Haven't read the comments on my last post yet. I trust they were all laudatory.

Here she is. The last 20 or so dates from Psayings 5Y in one big blowout.

33. 1788. Constitution was ratified and Washington became President in 1789, so...

A bunch of states ratify the Constitution. Mozarts dashes off his last three symphonies in the span of a few months (don't let those older Encyclopedia Britannica boys bully you into saying "antepenultimate," Wikipedia. "Third-to-last" is just fine). The money event has to be The Great New Orleans Fire, which "kills 25% of the population and destroys 856 buildings, including St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, leaving most of the town in ruins." Holy hell.

Births and deaths: Wilhelmine Reichard, the first German female balloonist. And David G. Burnet, who went on to become President of the Republic of Texas. Tough to imagine a cooler entry on a résumé. I pine for the days when politicians looked and carried themselves like this, and make politics seem like an adventure fit for only the rugged and intrepid. (I said "seem." Teddy Roosevelt's Croly-loving ass was just as statist as FDR.)

34. 1898. Sounds familiar? I might recognize it when I see it.

Oh. Spanish-American War. That one.

Annie Oakley offers McKinley "the services of a company of 50 'lady sharpshooters' who would provide their own arms and ammunition should war break out with Spain." He turned her down. What a dunce. Bet he could have used one of those lady sharpshooters at his side in 1901, amirite?

Assassination jokes, everybody!

35. Zero. Birth of whatshisname. Technically, there is no year zero.

36. 1984. The book.

37. "Four thousand and some B.C.". What? Guess I'll search 4000 BC?

Domestication of horses? One of the early human cultures? Boss, little help!

38. 1919. All these WWI-era dates blur together for me. Lusitania? No, that's what got us in the war. '19 must be Versailles?

Yup. Even spelled it right from memory. Damn French with their decorative consonants. How poncy can you get? I'm no fan of the Nazis, but when the History Channel covers 1940, I have a tough time rooting for the Third Republic. The fact that they rolled over and played dead proved they weren't playing. Done as a culture. Not just decadent, but dead. Finito. Kaput. Marshall should have left them out of his Plan.

39. 1944. Battle of the Bulge. And other stuff, but that's the big one and I don't know any of the other stuff. I could probably tell you any notable Batman comics that came out that year.

40. 1836. Piss. No clue.

Hey, the Alamo. Neat. The only reason I know that was a defeat for America was thanks to Married With Children, of all things. Al declares war on some emasculating domesticity or another and invokes the Alamo. Peg fires back "Al, we lost at the Alamo." Al: "Come on, Peg, no one remembers that!" Roars of laughter, as usual for that show-- was crudeness on TV really
so revelatory back then?-- but this time the writers earned it. This was when "Remember the Alamo" was still an active and known phrase in the culture. I don't think I've heard it used since the end of the '80s.

41. 399 BC. Dunno.

­Socrates dies. They know the exact year?

42. 1564. That one's gotta be from a random number generator. ...maybe not.

"Conquistadors cross the Atlantic." Now that they mention it, I think I did a report on Conquistadors back in 5th grade. Guess I can't blame the school system for this lapse.

43. 33. The Crucifixion.

44. 1871. Derp.

"First ever photographs of Yellowstone National Park region taken by the photographer William Henry Jackson." Bully for William Henry Jackson. "The abolition of the han system is carried out in Japan." And to think, that sentence would have made me glaze over in my teenage years.

I bet it's that the first MLB game ever is played. I've got some tender feelings toward Dave the Dad for knowing the exact date. Whoever came up with Dave's list is a pretty good writer.

45. 337. Fall of Rome? Did we have that one already?

Kind of. Turns out Constantine's heirs divvy up the Roman Empire into three parts. Like Alexander's kids.

46. 1848. OK, I know this one, and it's complicated. I used to own an old book called Revolutions of 1848 that talked about revolts and uprisings happening all over the world. Looking it up­ to refresh my memory, I find revolutions in France, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Italy (the "Italian states" back then), Hungary, Switzerland(!), Belgium, Ireland, "Greater Poland," some made-up faerie land called Wallachia, some made-up Tolkein fifedom called the Habsburg Empire, and even effing Brazil.

The most potent revolution? Karl Marx publishes the faggoty Communist Manifesto. Thanks, dick.

47. 1896. More 19th century. In my mind, the era tastes like licking the side of a dirty old train. You know what I mean? Dunno what the hell supposedly happened this year.

Utah becomes a state. There's a quote I loved in my Mormon days that I can't find now, so I'll paraphrase. It's from a "gentile" outsider astounded and grudgingly impressed at the Mormons' intransigence on the polygamy issue. "The entire weight of the United States was brought to bear on this people. Their homes were broken up. Their leaders were arrested and driven into hiding. And they would not budge. But one word from their prophet [ending plural marriage], and they stop." Always loved that.

Also this year: The first modern Olympics. Ford makes its first car. Sousa writes Stars and Stripes Forever on Christmas. "The shortest war in recorded history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War, starts at 9 in the morning and lasts for 45 minutes of shelling." But I'm pretty sure the event in question is Plessy v. Ferguson.

48. 323 BC. Shrug.

Alexander dies, his kids divvy up Babylon. See, I knew of it. I knew it happened one of those years, in the past there.

Deaths: Diogenes. Ha.

49. 1452. Don't know.

Looked it up. Still don't know. Birth of da Vinci? I need the official word on this one too.

50. 1789. Constitution ratified. Washington becomes first President.

51. 1760. Stamp Act of the French and Indians? Dunno.

George II dies. I don't care what else happened this year. Since I am a cruel and purile 14-year-old boy at heart, I love the story of George II's death. From The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin:

George's death, when it came, was in its own unexalted way similarly indicative of the hazards of ruling-class life. The rich diet of the rich in eighteenth-century England led to gout and other maladies, including constipation. On October 25, 1760, George II awakened at Kensington Palace to his usual cup of chocolate, after which he retired to the royal water closet for his morning effort. The effort proved too much for the royal blood vessels; a critical one burst and killed the king.

Love, love, love, that story. Will never stop loving it. Always chuckle imaging the king drinking a whole cup of melted chocolate every morning and it seals him up like it's pure cement. I know medical science wasn't then what it is now, but did no one guess that a cup of chocolate every morning might back a dude up? Was chocolate that new to the white man's diet?

I know I'm a bad person. No need to remind me.

Wait, it's 1660? Shit.

51. 1660. Cromwell beheads Charles the 1st. Or hangs him. I know it's one of those.

52. 1763. Stamp Act. For real this time.

53. 1849. Last one. Let's see if I can finish strong. 1849. 1849. What the hell happened 1849. It's the year after 1848.... I got nothing. Gonna have to look it up.

...and I still don't know. I'm too ignorant to see anything here that could make Dave's list. Hungary splits from Austria, ooh, big shit. Zach Taylor sworn in as President. So? What the hell was the New Roman Republic? In the 19th century? Sounds like a serious non-starter. Let's click and see what it was. Blah blah blah Pope blah blah blah Catholic Church YAWWWN, back to 1849. Fourth year of the Irish Potato Famine? No. "Denmark becomes a constitutional monarchy"? No. "The United States Department of the Interior is established"? Doubt it. How about this one: "James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, the Governor General of Canada, signs the Rebellion Losses Bill, outraging Montreal's English population and triggering the Montreal Riots." Canadian history! It's its own punchline! Because it happened in CANADA!

So much for finishing strong. I break the tape with a cloud of question marks over my head.

That's my little history lesson. Only took me three weeks to squeeze it out in four posts. Dust off your Boomer Bible if it's been a while for you. Good shit in there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Now Now Now

Sorry for the dinosaur rock clip. But I'm a dinosaur.

BACK OFF, BOZOS. I'm being assailed because all I want at the moment is to defeat Obama. Peter claims I never talk about the issues. Skinny Devil says if the Republican candidates can't solve the economic problem, it doesn't matter who wins. Helk promises that his own love of chickens is proof of the greatness of HIS generation. Douglas Rain insists that the millennials are smarter than I give them credit for.

Phooey. They're all idiots. Why? Because their whole consciousness consists of me, me, me in the now, now, now timeframe. I've written hundreds of thousands of words about the real issues. They're not going to be fixed in 2012. People keep hammering me about the "Greatest Generation," a term I didn't dream up and never subscribed to. They weren't smarter or braver than the generations that came after. They failed completely as parents. Because their chief virtue was one that can't be passed along, can't be taught. Patience.

They had a different sense of time. The Depression, The War. Horrible events that ingrained in them a willingness to keep working for an outcome that would be decades in the making.

I, too, have a different sense of time. Odd, given that I'm working for what may not transpire until long after I've shuffled off this mortal coil. But that's one of the few blessings age can bestow on you. Patience.

This time -- 2012 -- all we can do is stanch the bleeding. Defeat Obama. None of our candidates is any good. No matter which one you back, the only consistent credential is "not Obama." I didn't make that state of affairs. It just is.

The good news is that there are potential reformers in the wings. People who can do what needs doing. Bobby Jindal. Marco Rubio. Sarah Palin. Chris Christie. Paul Ryan. Eric Cantor. And (if you must) Rand Paul. But they're not ready yet. They need experience, they need to grow into the role we will ask them to play. They are the future. Note that they're not repeats of the past. Only one fat old white guy among them. The others include an Indian, an Hispanic, a woman, and a semi-orthodox Jew, as well as a young midwestern white guy and the obligatory crazy white guy.

I'm not telling you who to back in that future race. The basis for my hope -- as opposed to all of you in the "it's fucking over" crowd -- is that there are no young Democrats boasting equivalent credentials. In other words, if we can survive the current crisis, we can absolutely save the country we love.

Four more years. Time for the Millennials to learn something about life, others, and the need for balls. Unlike most of my critics, I'm not talking End of the World here. I'm talking triage.

We can still be the shining city on a hill. But it's going to take time. And it's important to remember The Mission. Which for the moment is throwing Obama out of the White House. Sorry if that's too small an objective for the more grandiose among you.

Sorry. I've said that a lot in this post. Except that I'm not. Not sorry at all. I'm what you need to hear. Whether you know it or not. Because I'm smart. And patient.

Learn or lose. The first option is a lot more fun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Idiocy

We'll be doing this to you for the next two decades.

  The so-called Greatest Generation is gone. Their direct heirs are the Boomers, which you kids should really refer to as the Biggest Generation. They're getting old now, but they're not going to go quietly. Occupy Wall Street? Hell. If you knew anything, you'd Occupy the Senior Lobby. But you've been had. They've done to you and you haven't a clue. They're smarter and far better educated than you, which they engineered in the name of bolstering your self-esteem, and they absolutely will not surrender their Social Security benefits, their Medicare reimbursements, their outrageously inflated union pensions, or their ultimate Parthian shot -- the contempt they feel for the fools who imitate their worst moments at a time when the "beloved kids" should be fighting like hell for their own lives and the lives of their children. They're laughing at you.

Ha ha.

Ha ha ha.

And they vote. Yes, they have an attention span longer than a text message, and they will make you pay for every minute of the incredibly long life spans they inherited from the last generation that did any actual work. Dirty secret, though. Baby Boomers are just as smart as their parents, if not as productive. The question you have to ask yourselves is, why aren't you? Because as far as they're concerned, you were never more than accessories in their lives. Like a trendy handbag. Which can be thrown away when it ceases to be fashionable. Awww.

They will suck you dry. Madison Avenue already knows the score. The large demographic of old people with government benefits and pensions to spend on themselves is already showing up on the airwaves. As the Biggest Generation, they have enormous economic clout. Hell, they buy top-of-the-line Audis...

We'll keep running out on you the way we always have...

...and retro Camaros.

... because we're still teenage assholes ourselves, hee hee.

And they're still running their games on you.

The ones who convince you that your enemy is Harvard MBAs who want to make money as opposed to the $15 trillion in unfunded debt represented by "promises we can't break" to a generation that never gave much of a shit about the country -- or you, their kids.

The ones who convince you that your artificially created and ignorant solipsism is an argument for isolationism in a world that has never been more interconnected by a technology whose global interconnectedness you otherwise take for granted. Imagine just how much work has gone into legitimizing the fantasy that the whole world will conform itself to your sociopathically narcissistic delusion that anything inconvenient to you personally won't be allowed to happen. Here's your trophy. You were present in the 21st century. When it all fell apart as you watched in high dudgeon and angry incomprehension. Congratulations. Killing the Federal Reserve and canonizing Ayn Rand restoreth the libertarian atheist soul.


I feel sorry for you. The way I feel sorry for a "mentally challenged" teenager sentenced to death for a crime he was guilty of but didn't entirely understand as he was committing it. The crime? Imitating the behaviors and verbiage -- Revolution! Freedom! Bumper Stickers! -- of the precise set of people who have doomed your lives to nullity in the mistaken belief that you were acting like the idealists they never were. How big a fool can you possibly be?

Sorry. For you. All you Occupy Wall Streeters. All you Paulistas. Bunch of idiots.

I did try to tell you. Warn you. But you've got the arrogance of the terminally, suicidally ignorant. You're convinced you're smarter than everything you don't know and have never experienced.

Why I lose my temper.

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