Saturday, January 24, 2009
.(H/T: Hot Air.) You really have to ask yourself why the media-strategy geniuses of the Bush administration never thought of doing the weekly radio address via YouTube. Meanwhile, note the new president's justification of his plan:
"I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan. . . . We won't just throw money at our problems - we'll invest in what works.""What works"? Apparently not highway construction. Despite all the yadda-yadda-yadda about fixing America's infrastructure, only 3% of the stimulus is targeted for roads and bridges.
A bait-and-switch you can believe in!
(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)
UPDATE: Donald Douglas calls attention to Harvard economics professor Robert J. Barro's skepticism:
What's the flaw? The theory (a simple Keynesian macroeconomic model) implicitly assumes that the government is better than the private market at marshaling idle resources to produce useful stuff. Unemployed labor and capital can be utilized at essentially zero social cost, but the private market is somehow unable to figure any of this out. In other words, there is something wrong with the price system.As I've said, it's neo-Keynesianism: The basic misconceptions of Keynes, sprinkled with the magic pixie dust of Hope. My hope is that ordinary Americans are capable of understanding why it won't work.
This recession is not a failure of market economics. It is a reassertion of market economics after a decade in which we paid ourselves more than we were producing, and funded it precariously and temporarily by complicated credit instruments that it took a while for the market to rumble. Now a prosperity that always baffled ordinary citizens has collapsed. The collapse of confidence is not irrational; it's the correction to a long run of irrational confidence.Or, as Michelle Malkin put it back in September, the fundamentals suck. Parris rightly warns against heeding those who promise a "new economic model." As for the neo-Keynesian reaction, Glenn Reynolds says:
This is not so much a stimulus, as a massive transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected.Mark Steyn has more. You know what I'm tired of? I'm tired of St. Hopey telling me that "the creation of a clean energy economy" is going to mean X-number of new jobs. OK, Mr. Harvard Law, riddle me this: "Who's buying?"
An economy implies supply and demand, so where is the demand side of this equation? There isn't any. Except for nuclear power, none of those "alternative sources of energy" you keep yammering about is commercially viable in the marketplace. Build all the wind farms and ethanol plants you want, they still produce energy less efficiently than coal or petroleum, and if it weren't for subsidies and regulations, nobody would even bother with that crap. But you and your buddy Al Gore and the other green freaks have ginned up a phony "crisis" that supposedly justifies all this, and you're deaf to reason.
"Investments," my ass. It's a goddamned swindle, is what it is. In the midst of a desperate economic situation, you're going to throw away billions and billions of dollars of borrowed money to subsidize non-efficient rackets -- and subsidize them permanently, since there is no way they could ever be fully viable in a market economy. It's an entitlement, in other words -- corporate welfare -- and if you ever told the truth about it, nobody would support it.
Borrowing money to subsidize the production of goods and services that nobody actually wants -- or at least, that they don't want enough to pay for themselves -- is a "clean energy economy" only if you count bullshit as a biofuel. It won't work.
Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa, whose hands and feet were amputated in a bid to save her from a deadly and little-known illness, died early Saturday, two friends of the model told CNN. . . .(Via Ann Althouse.)
Da Costa, 20, had fought a pernicious disease that has ravaged her body and forced doctors to perform the amputations and extract part of her stomach as well as both kidneys. . . .
Da Costa suffered from necrosis, or the fast deadening of tissue, caused by septicemia. Septicemia, triggered by a bacterial infection, causes insufficient blood flow that can lead to organ failure.
It’s not like prices have outrun inflation because of easy credit that people can’t afford anymore. That’s what it takes to have a bubble. So, no worries.Will UT Law suffer in the meltdown? To some extent, I'm sure, although you're unlikely to spot Professor Reynolds standing by a freeway interchange with a cardboard sign, "Will Blog for Food." Expect that a drop in enrollment will cause state schools to cut back on adjuncts, institute pay and hiring freezes, offer some early retirements, and scale back their incidental budgets. But tenure is tenure, and the flagship state schools are likely to weather the storm with relatively minor damage, as are the elite private schools -- the Ivys, Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, etc.
Where will the meltdown hit hardest? The smaller private liberal arts colleges will get the worst of it. Kenyon, Colby, Wheaton -- I cite them as examples of a category, without knowing anything about their enrollments or financial situations, so please no angry e-mails from Colby administrators proclaiming how rosy the scenario is. I'm just saying that this general category of school -- private, relatively expensive, but not Princeton/Stanford in terms of national prestige -- is likely to suffer the most from a deteriorating financial picture for higher education.
Another category likely to be hard-hit will be second-tier state schools. Unlike the flagship state universities, the second-tier state schools (and my own alma mater, Jacksonville (Ala.) State University, fits this category) don't have the same level of alumni support as the flagships. JSU graduates are more likely to become teachers or middle managers than heart surgeons or Fortune 500 CEOs. And the second-tier schools are also underrepresented in state legislatures, so when it's time to tighten the belts, the pain is going to be felt more at JSU than at Auburn.
But you know who's really going to suffer in this crunch? The commercial trade schools. This week I noted a story in Forbes about how Sallie Mae had been hurt by making student loans to "kids and parents with poor credit who are at the wrong schools." Even if Obama's "stimulus" includes more money for education, it's unlikely SLMA will continue doling out cash to prop up enrollment at fly-by-night schools that don't provide marketable credentials.
The Forbes story was also blogged by Marc Scheer, author of No Sucker Left Behind: Avoiding the Great College Rip-Off, a book that he says "blows the lid off colleges' scandalous price-gouging schemes."
American higher education has become horribly bloated over the past three or four decades, operating on a growth strategy fueled by hyping the idea that almost anyone can benefit from attending college. The result is that you have lots of mediocre students enrolling as freshmen who have no real possibility of making it past their sophomore years. (The eye-opening account of "Professor X" is worth reading, if you don't understand this phenomenon.)
What we have now is a cargo-cult of credentialization -- a "Doctor of Thinkology" for the Scarecrow in Oz -- that has been made possible by government subsidies in one form or another. And if a global financial crisis can force educators to re-examine their naive faith in the transformative power of education qua education, thank God for the crisis.
I had neither planned nor expected to cry.While I don't claim to speak for all zombies, I'm reminded of Matthew Archbold's comment on Stephanopoulos: "[W]e're supposed to believe that he's objective. I'm not sure I can get there unless he cried when Clarence Thomas was sworn onto the Supreme Court."
I was amazed at how many times, watching the all-day spectacle, I lost it. . . .
"Historic" and "historic moment" and "historic day" were repeated mercilessly, but remained true. Only a zombie could fail to feel the truth of it.
Hey, BTW, Dick, does it bother you that Pinch Sulzberger is rumored to be schtupping Caroline Kennedy?
I was one of thousands of people who did not make it in to the Inauguration despite the fact that we were holding tickets -- well-made, embossed, beautiful tickets, complete with a little map on the back telling us where to go (in theory).Heh. I could have told you where to go, Andrew. But I think Obama will get us there soon enough.
Meanwhile, Mariah Carey's complaining that her VIP seat wasn't VIP enough. Well, when every narcissistic celebrity on the planet wants a ticket, what's a diva to do?
Barack Obama is many things to many people. Among the groups claiming a special resonance with him are mothers like me. . . . Obama says that his mother "was the single constant in my life" and that "what is best in me I owe to her." She brought him up largely on her own.Excuse me, how did Washington lawyer Susan Benda become a mother? Have police apprehended and prosecuted the rapist? Or did Benda's husband die tragically? Because she writes as if the "invisible burden" of fatherlessness on her son's "little shoulders" was the result of her being victimized in some way. Benda (a former ACLU lawyer) omits from her narrative any reference to the circumstances that resulted in her son's fatherless, but if we may assume that she is neither a rape victim nor a widow -- surely she would have mentioned that -- then she was in some way responsible for her son's plight.
This is significant for me as an unmarried mother of a preteen son, and it surely resonates for other mothers raising their children without dads. Growing up without a father, my son has at times struggled to feel "normal." . . .
For my son, the issue is fatherlessness. Not having a father has been an impediment to "fitting in." . . . [I]n some intangible way he carries an invisible burden on his little shoulders. . . .
For these young people, the election to the presidency of a man who grew up without a dad signifies a seismic shift. . . . For my son, Obama's inauguration this week felt like a personal embrace.
Benda avoids any discussion of why her son is fatherless, because once you raise that question, it destroys the image she wants to create of herself as the heroic single mother. This is the very point that Ann Coulter makes in the second chapter of her new book, Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America. Even if Benda consciously chose fatherlessness for her son (by artificial insemination), she would still insist on being seen as heroic. "Single mother" is a category that automatically confers heroic victimhood, as Coulter shows. Look at this bizarre passage in Benda's column:
For example, my son's tae kwon do teacher had the habit of talking to the students about their "moms and dads." I took him aside one day and suggested that the term "parents" might do the trick, with no child left behind. But there is a limit to how much a mother can protect her son from the word "dad." A mother can repeat to her child that there is no model "normal" family, but the world reflected and projected by television tells another story.The very word "dad" is a menace from which Benda feels obligated to "protect" the boy? And note the hostility to tradition evidenced by her scare-quotes around "normal." Contrary to Benda's assertion, there very much is a "model 'normal' family," a father, mother and their children having been recognized as such throughout human history, no matter how much modern revisionists try to tell us otherwise.
Regardless of exactly how Benda acquired her son (adoption? artificial insemination?) she cannot avoid the reality that fatherlessness is a bad thing. And so she seizes on the Obama presidency as validation, with Obama as the national father who can fill the role-model void in her son's life. And if you see it otherwise, you're just a hater!
UPDATE: Coulter's point about liberal "victims" could have been extended to include a couple of other "mascot" groups: The homeless and gays. But I'm guessing her publisher figured that one category of saints was enough for her to attack.
President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.I remember when Bill Clinton used to try this tactic of demonizing Limbaugh. It doesn't work. Given the choice of listening to Obama or listening to Rush, any Republican in Congress who needs to think twice is useless and doomed.
"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.
"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."
"Hey, maybe he can get an Air America gig if this president thing doesn't work out." As they say, "Heh."
UPDATE: Kathy Shaidle on "Teleprompter Jesus." MacsMind: "Obama ain't worthy to tie Rush Limbaugh's shoes."
Meanwhile, Ann Althouse visits the (nearly empty) Obama bookstore shrine.
It will be the second daughter and first son for Ringwald, 40, and husband Panio Gianopoulos, 33. They have a 5-year-old daughter Mathilda Ereni. The babies are due in August.Ah, Molly! Going back to 1985, when I attended a sneak-preview showing of The Breakfast Club, there was something about her stuck-up ice-princess character that was . . . well, it was hot. Generally speaking, when it comes to Brat Pack chicks, guys name Demi Moore or Diane Lane as their favorites, but there was something about Claire Standish that spoke to my inner John Bender:
Secret Life's second season airs on Monday nights on ABC Family. A spokeswoman for the show says Ringwald's pregnancy will be written into the storyline.
John Bender: I like those earrings, Claire.Back in 2007, I reviewed Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes:
Claire Standish: Shut up.
John Bender: Are those real diamonds, Claire?
Claire Standish: Shut up.
John Bender: I bet they are. Did you work for the money to buy those earrings?
Claire Standish: Shut your mouth.
John Bender: Or did your Daddy buy those for you?
Claire Standish: Shut up!
John Bender: I'll bet he bought those for you. I bet those were a Christmas gift. You know what I got for Christmas? Oh, it was a banner f***ing year at the old Bender family. I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said, "Hey, smoke up Johnny." All right? So go home and cry to your Daddy. Don't cry here, OK?
The cliques and geeks, the jocks and princesses, the stoners, loners and losers -- did anyone ever capture the cultural essence of high-school the way writer/director John Hughes did in his 1980s teen films?There is an uncanny timeless quality to those films. When our daughter turned 16, one of the things we did to celebrate the occasion was to watch Sixteen Candles together. It's odd how, despite two decades of changes in fashion and music, she could completely relate to the movie.
Though widely dismissed two decades ago as shallow, commercial multiplex fodder, Hughes' films are now viewed as coming-of-age classics by Gen Xers who grew up relating to the Reagan-era teen misfits in "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Some Kind of Wonderful."
So now, Molly is famous as a TV mom who, in real life, is expecting twins. Damn, I'm getting old. But it beats the alternative, I guess.
I think a threshold or tipping point exists in the ratio between the political power of those who pay taxes and those who consume taxes directly. After that tipping point is reached, those who pay taxes become the economic slaves of those who consume taxes. . . .(H/T: Instapundit.) Another hat-tip is due:
Tax consumers now control the [California] state government and can vote themselves almost any level of personal income and benefits they wish while taxpayers cannot muster the political capital to defend themselves.
The necessary result, then, of the unequal fiscal action of the government is, to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who, in reality, pay the taxes, and, of course, bear exclusively the burthen of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into tax-payers and tax-consumers.Ah, if only they had listened . . .
"She would call McCall up and go, 'Can you come and sit with me? I'm cold,' " she said. "She would drag him on the set and then pout and they'd fight. Mainly, it was her needing something from him: 'Can you say you love me?' "Not only a liberal ditz, but a needy and immature liberal ditz. Or is that redundant?
By a vote of 289 to 139, with 40 Republicans joining the majority, the House, in the process of reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program, doubled the funding, thereby transforming it through "mission creep." SCHIP's purpose, when it was enacted by a Republican-controlled Congress in 1997, was to subsidize state governments as they subsidize health care for families too affluent to be eligible for Medicaid but not affluent enough to afford health insurance. Because any measure acquires momentum when it is identified as for "the children," SCHIP was said to be for "poor children" or children of "the working poor." . . .Welcome to the Obama Age: Massive budget-busting giveaways, and nobody notices or cares.
The new expansion, which is vengeance for Bush's  veto [of a proposed $35 billion increase in the program], is mission gallop: It will make it much easier for some states to extend SCHIP eligibility to children from families earning up to $84,800. Furthermore, to make "poor" an extremely elastic concept, generous "income disregards" are allowed. Families can, depending on their state's policies, subtract from their income calculation what they spend on rent or mortgage or heating or food or transportation or some combination of these. So children in some families with incomes well over $100,000 will be eligible.
"From The OC to The Gilmore Girls, and all the countless other television shows in between, we've watched teens lose it in prime time. While the morality of the moment has been treated in a variety of ways, one thing has remained constant: it is always part of a 'very special episode.' "
But look what Natalie Dylan learned in college:
College opened my eyes.You see? Feminist dogma is so immune to challenge on American campuses this kind of ahistorical absurdity is now taught as gospel in every college "women's studies" program. I'm sure "Natalie Dylan" (it's a pseudonym) actually believes this stuff -- a sort of "creation myth" of the sisterhood, a feminist equivalent of the bizarre racialist fictions of Leonard Jeffries and the Afrocentrists.
Like most little girls, I was raised to believe that virginity is a sacred gift a woman should reserve for just the right man. But college taught me that this concept is just a tool to keep the status quo intact. Deflowering is historically oppressive -- early European marriages began with a dowry, in which a father would sell his virginal daughter to the man whose family could offer the most agricultural wealth. Dads were basically their daughters' pimps.
When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place.
"One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool."
-- George Orwell
Ace of Spades on Dylan's self-justifying column: "This is why people don't pay whores to run think tanks."
Friday, January 23, 2009
The recent proposal distributed by congressional Democrats will provide only an additional $15 billion in 2009 and 2010 for road construction and repair. And of that $30 billion total provided, some funds are earmarked for narrow uses such as technology training or construction of roads on Indian reservations and in national parks.
According to those calculations, that’s just a little more than 3 percent meant to be spent on actual road and bridge construction.
In a conference call on Jan. 23, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor and [Texas Rep. Jeb] Hensarling pointed out some of the more egregious spending provisions in the House Democrat proposal:
"How any of this fits under the banner of economic stimulus is beyond me," Hensarling said. "I think it would prove to be beyond the American people as well."
- For every dollar that is spent for small business tax relief, $4 are being spent for the maintenance and new grass in Washington, D.C.
- $360 million for sexually transmitted disease education
- $50 million for the National Endowment of Arts
- $726 million for an afterschool snack program
- Office furniture for the public health service
- More money for Amtrak
. . . and in the final analysis I don’t see where there’s much difference whether the talking head is malicious, or whether it is simply a fool.Split the difference: He's a malicious fool.
UPDATE II: I hadn't noticed this until Stop the ACLU pointed it out:
Matthews repeated his suggestion that Palin could not write the book later in the show. "The question is who actually will write the Palin book," he said. "The only politician I know who can write is Barack Obama."Perhaps it is time that Authors Against Obama issues its first official press release . . .
Despite the Republican National Committee's promise to donate Sarah Palin's $180,000 campaign wardrobe to charity, word has it the Alaska governor's clothes remain stuffed in trash bags at RNC headquarters, NewMajority has learned.Gee, how does Moira Bagley get her tips?
The Kentucky native with porcelain skin came to Washington as a journalist but joined the Republican National Committee (RNC) after realizing "I couldn't hide my light under a bushel anymore," she said.
Before becoming an RNC press secretary, Bagley was a copy editor at Roll Call, where she once had a run-in with the IT department for using 80 percent of the office's Internet bandwidth to watch the National Zoo's Web cam of its newborn pandas.
The left within the Republican Party has launched a full scale assault against the conservative base.Erick lives in Georgia, where Sarah Palin recently helped save Saxby Chambliss's Senate seat. Whose Senate seat has Moira Bagley saved lately? If the Republican elite wants to start a war with the Republican base, my money is on the base.
Mac is back -- back to his moral preening about how bipartisan he is, back to his reflexive demonization of his own party, back to his refusal to recognize any legitimate concerns raised by those who disagree with him. If we're going to have Democratic agenda enacted, better it be by a Democrat than a Republican obsessed with avoiding the "partisan" label in the White House.
"Two foundations that had heavily backed the ACLU were wiped out by fraudulent hedge-fund manager Bernard Madoff. . . .
"Another major ACLU donor, Peter Lewis, has also been pounded by the economic crisis. Lewis' centrality to the funding of progressive organizations is hard to overstate. The name of the ACLU's Washington office is 'The Peter B Lewis Center for Civil Liberties.'"
In Cincinnati, Ohio, you had a thug who was shot to death by a white police officer, and there was a boycott of the whole city by black middle-class people. And then there was police nullification; the white police said, well, since we’re going to get accused of racism, we're not going to make any more arrests in that community. The murder rate went up 800 percent in that community. But it was not the sons and daughters of those pastors or those civil rights leaders who were killed, because they don’t live there. And this is what we have to be able to confront if we're going to change the rules of the game and move toward a post-racial America. We should not allow people to come in and build their careers on mobilizing people to protest when the perpetrator of evil wears a white face. It redounds against the interests of poor people -- and that's what I hope Obama’s election will help us move beyond -- race.The grievance-mongering approach of self-serving "leaders" who swoop in, make headlines, then fly off to the next "incident" tends to destroy the basic foundation of society: good will.
Alas, too many of these "rebuilding" enterprises share a misguided focus that's also bound to be the seed of their own undoing: that is, an obsession with "winning elections."Shaidle (who blogs at Five Feet of Fury) somewhat inflates Schlafly's role in the '64 Goldwater movement -- which was built by Young Americans for Freedom, Cliff White, William Middendorf, Bill Buckley and many others -- although there is no doubt that "A Choice Not an Echo" was a major factor in galvanizing grassroots support. As to the larger point, Kathy's correct that the GOP in recent years has tended toward a top-down method of operation that drained enthusiasm from the grassroots.
NewMajority's slogan, for example, is "Building a conservatism that can win again."
But what good is "winning" if the "conservatism" that "wins" is faddish, unprincipled and unmoored from traditional American, Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism?
[B]ack in the early sixties, it was grassroots activist and housewife Phyllis Schlafly's self-published, million-selling anti-GOP Establishment book, A Choice Not An Echo, that led to Goldwater, who led to Reagan.
Not bad for a small-town mom running an accidental movement from her kitchen table, without email, the web -- or any support from Party bigshots.
Unless the "new GOP" is run bottom up, by the grass/net roots, it is doomed to fail.
(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)
Go to the 30:58 mark, where he says:
If Time magazine, tomorrow, said to me, you know, "Hey, would love for you to come and write for our magazine, and we'll quadruple what you're being paid now, and we'll give you all kinds of promotional value, and get behind you that way." Unless they were willing to say to me, "You can come and write about anything you want, exactly the way you want to write about it," I would never ever do it. Why? Because I do want to do the kind of journalism that Time isn't doing, and I know that if I went and became a reporter or a pundit for Time, I would have to do the kind of things that they talk about, and not the kind of things that I talk about.
Wow. Is what Greenwald does really so important that he'd turn down a quadrupling of his income rather than to answer to the corporate suits at Time? Methinks not.
His hypothesis is completely detached from the reality of what goes on at Time -- or Newsweek or Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone. Assuming that they were in the market for someone like Greenwald, they would hire him to do something a lot like what he's already doing. "Send clips and resume": They see your stuff, they like your stuff, they make you an offer. They're not going to hire you on the basis of, "Hey, what you're doing is crap, but we'll hire you anyway, so long as you agree to do it our way."
On the other hand, if Greenwald were hired as a "pundit" -- by which he means, "columnist" -- then he'd be expected to file 750 words a week, and there would be some kind of expectation that he'd be writing for a general audience. And this is where his posture as the Gibraltar of journalistic integrity becomes ridiculous, because Greenwald never has written for a general audience and I'm not sure he could if he wanted to.
Greenwald is a niche writer, whose ouevre is the allegation of heinous misconduct by the Bush administration, by the U.S. military, by our intelligence agencies, and by Republicans in general. Well, OK, fine. Let the connoisseurs of such things debate the merits of his work. I claim no expertise, but will gladly stipulate that Greenwald is to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act what George Noory is to UFOs and the paranormal, which is to say he is the past master of his niche.
Which brings us back around to the original subject Greenwald and McArdle were arguing about in April. Greenwald asserted that the media were ignoring the John Yoo memo (which had been recently made public) because they were fixated on "mindless, stupid, vapid chatter" about . . . the Democratic presidential primary.
Full stop. Given that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were then in the midst of a titanic struggle likely to decide who the next president would be, it does not even remotely surprise me that Greenwald would find Nexis database searches clogged with references to "Obama+Wright," "Obama+bowling," et cetera. However "mindless" those stories might be, this was during the Pennsylvania primary. Obama had a bad photo-op at a bowling alley and the rantings of Jeremiah Wright had become a big issue.
A presidential election is always big news, and people want to read about it. The release of a seven-year-old Justice Department memo . . . eh, not so much. If it had occurred to some of the reporters on the campaign trail to ask Barack Obama about the Yoo memo, or if Obama himself (who is a Harvard Law grad, after all) had decided to make a major issue of it, well, there would have been a lot more Nexis hits for "Yoo+torture."
Why did neither Obama nor the political press corps want to talk about the Yoo memo during the Pennsylvania primary campaign? I could speculate, but the point is that it was up to Obama whether he did a bowling-alley photo-op or gave a press conference to denounce the Yoo memo, and he decided to go bowling. If Greenwald wants to question that decision, he can take it up with David Axelrod.
A presidential campaign is important, per se. The news-consuming public is not to be blamed for wanting to read about the campaign, and journalists are not to be condemned for covering the campaign, even if -- in the finite time and space available for news -- this means that other important events get less coverage than they would under normal circumstances. A general audience cannot be expected to react to a Justice Department memo the way that Greenwald does, for several reasons:
- Almost none of them want to read through a 13,000-word legal document;
- The issues raised by the memo are difficult to boil down into terms that non-specialists can understand; and
- A lot of people (including many Pennsylvania Democrats) fully agree with Yoo that, when faced with the kind of threat revealed by 9/11, the president has, and ought to have, very broad powers to meet the threat.
Greenwald can no more understand that some Americans disagree with his view of presidential wartime authority than he can understand why the editors of Time magazine considered the Pennsylvania primary more important than the Yoo memo. As Greenwald wrote in April:
Needless to say, these serious and accomplished political journalists are only focusing on these stupid and trivial matters because this is what the Regular Folk care about. . . . Our nation's coddled, insulated journalist class reaches these conclusions about what Regular Folk think using the most self-referential, self-absorbed thought process imaginable.Pot. Kettle. Black. Who's being "self-referential" and "self-absorbed" here? The constitutional lawyer who wants the news to dwell on his own speciality, or the editors and reporters who think that whatever Obama does during the Pennsylvania campaign -- even a photo-op at a bowling alley -- is important news?
Megan McArdle's reaction to Greenwald back in April was dead on-target:
Americans care more about [Obama] than John Yoo because, well, John Yoo isn't running for president. Indeed, if one in ten Americans had even heard of John Yoo, I would be shocked, because most people don't care about minor government functionaries, no matter how pivotal their role may be in screwing up the world. . . .Right. So tough noogies for Greenwald who (self-referentially, you might say) was trying to promote his book in April, and obviously would have loved to be all over TV talking about the Yoo memo, but instead everybody wanted news about the Pennsylvania primary.
But voters can't do much about John Yoo now, other than choose a different type of president.
"More a partisan screed than a reasoned argument meant to persuade undecided readers, this repetitive text frequently devolves into personal attacks and vast generalizations."You don't say! "Coddled" and "insulated" though they may be, most journalists understand that the money's where the action is. And being the George Noory of Guantanamo Bay ain't it.
-- Publisher's Weekly, reviewing Glenn Greenwald's book, Great American Hypocrites
You've got to pick your fights, but you can't win if you never fight, and so far it looks like Senate Republicans have no stomach (or other organs) for a fight. Jimmie at Sundries Shack lists the five committee Republicans who voted yes:
It might be a kamikaze mission, but the Club for Growth ought to support primary challengers against some of these go-along Republicans. What's the point of voting Republican if they're not going to fight? If the NRSC is looking for a fund-raising idea, maybe they can sell Republican doormats.
Here are the five who need to be looking over their shoulders for the re-election challengers:
- Orrin Hatch (UT)
- John Ensign (NV)
- Olympia Snowe (ME)
- Mike Crapo (ID)
- John Cornyn (TX)
The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the inauguration on Tuesday came from the instruments of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two colleagues. But what the millions on the Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along.Maybe they should have tried that with the oath.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Well, having blogged the living crap out of the inauguration reaction, et cetera, now I notice this New York Post story:
Kennedy was "mired in some potentially embarrassing personal issues," the source said, citing tax liabilities and worker compensation liabilities connected to the employment of a nanny.Hmmm. First of all, why can't these rich people hire a personal manager to deal with things like making sure all the paperwork is in order for their nannies? I mean, low six figures, say about $200,000 a year, to have a good accounting firm on contract to handle all that kind of stuff, soup to nuts. She's a freaking Kennedy, and she can't do that?
The source also said the state of her marriage may have presented a problem as well. "She has a tax problem that came up in the vetting and a potential nanny issue," the source said. "And reporters are starting to look at her marriage more closely," the source continued, refusing to provide any specifics.
Kennedy denied any issue over her marriage in an interview with The Post last month.
Second, what is this with the Post reporting opaquely on "the state of her marriage"? The Post reporter is quoting an anonymous source to insinuate that either Caroline or her husband is cheatting. Maybe both. For crying out loud, she withdrew her name from consideration!
It's over, so what is the point in dumping this bit of anonymous dirt on her now? Because it was in your notebook and you figured you wanted to get the maximum mileage out of your little tidbit of gossip before Caroline faded from the headlines? Leave that crap to Page Six. True or untrue, it's just wrong to dump it like this, based on an anonymous source and without citing any evidence, now that it's irrelevant.
My wife then reminded me that, some 15 years ago, when we lived in Rome, Ga., she worked as a home health aide. She came home one day and told me about one of her patients, who was old and very ill, who had been an official photographer for Jimmy Carter. "I wonder," said my wife, "if there is any way we could get in touch with Mr. Carter and let him know" about the old man's illness.
I mentioned that Carter's former aide and longtime supporter, Bert Lance, lived in Calhoun, about 25 miles away, where we'd lived before we moved to Rome. So my wife gets out the phone book, looks up Lance's home number (which was listed) and calls him. She got the answering machine, and left a message, but didn't really expect to hear back.
And then the phone rang, and it was Lance, who said he knew the photographer very well and was sad to hear of his illness. He said Carter was about to leave on a trip to Africa, but would try to get word to the former president.
Well, Lance personally visited my wife's patient and Carter made a personal phone call. And from that day forward my wife -- who is an Ohio-born Republican -- has always defended Carter as being a decent, Christian man.
Somehow, I just felt the need to share that story.
You know, Keith, this country is not as monarchical as it sometimes seems to the outsiders. I was at the shoe store the other day to get my shoes fixed, and sitting next to me -- standing next to me at the cobbler was Jane Roberts, the wife of the Supreme Court justice. I was at a Georgetown game the other day, watching them beat Providence, and sitting next to me is the chief justice. I keep saying to myself, That's the chief justice of the United States sitting there next to me. He's a sports fan. There is some measure of democracy that comes to mind here.OK, and your point would be . . .? I mean, if you hang around D.C. enough, you're going to bump into famous people from time to time. But does the fact that Justice Roberts likes basketball and Jane Roberts sometimes needs to get a broken heel repaired really illustrate "some measure of democracy," as Matthews suggests? Or is he just bumping his gums and filling the airwaves with random idiocy?
Somewhere, there is a retired NBC executive -- the guy who originally hired Matthews -- who cringes every time he flips over and sees Matthews chattering away like a meth-addicted chimpanzee. And you know that former NBC executive says to himself: "What have I done? My God, what I have I done?"
-- Claudia Rosett at PJM
UPDATE: You knew Ace couldn't resist:
The word "p***y-whipped" wasn't invented out of thin air. It describes a real condition.Is it a word or a phrase? The hyphen makes me think of it as a phrase, but maybe that's just me. After all, I'm a moron.
UPDATE II: Jules gets the 'Lanche.
-- Glenn Greenwald
Such temptation is especially difficult to resist when the object of Greenwald's ire is not, say, Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney, but rather the mild-mannered libertarian blogger, Megan McArdle, whose Crimes Against Humanity are (a) to ask a very sensible question about Gitmo detainees, and (b) to get linked by Instapundit for doing so. (Reynolds is to Greenwald as Moriarity was to Holmes.)
UPDATE III: In the comments, someone calling themselves "Glenn Greenwald" writes:
[P]lease identify a single instance where, either in that video or anywhere else, I've ever advocated that the state impose obligations on journalists. I don't and haven't.All righty, then. I don't want to transcribe the entire video, but here are a couple of sentences of what Greenwald said to Megan about "public interest" in journalism:
"I see journalism as a profession like the medical profession or the legal profession, where going into work every day and thinking about, 'How do I maximize my profits? How do I feed my readers whatever they want so I can charge as much as I want for commercials?' is not the only concern. There are other concerns that conflict with that, and I think the law gives privileges, special privileges, to journalism, to journalists, in every single possible realm that's based upon the assumption, the premise that journalism owes a duty to the public interest besides maximizing profit."OK, the medical and legal professions are both licensed by the state, correct? Not just anyone can hang up a shingle and declare himself a surgeon. And what, pray tell, are these "special privileges . . . in every possible realm" accorded to journalists? If I get a speeding ticket on my way to an assignment (it happens), can I go to court and say, "Your honor, I am a journalist," and expect the charge to be dismissed? No.
Greenwald seems to imply -- excuse me if I don't fully grasp his entire argument -- that the legal privileges (he says are) accorded to journalists might be made contingent on their acting in "the public interest." Well, who is to be the judge of "the public interest"? Me? Megan? Glenn?
If Greenwald feels that the press corps as a whole is not doing a bang-up job, he's got a lot of company (including the editors of most newspapers and magazines). But when he compares the practice of journalism to law and medicine (both state-licensed professions), and speaks disparagingly of the profit motive, excuse my paranoia in discerning the implied threat of a Federal Bureau of Journalism looking over my shoulder.
I've got no more "privileges" than Greenwald has, and I'm sure that his affiliation with Salon would be plenty enough to get credentialed as a reporter, if that's what he wants to do. He can go and do all the eat-your-vegetables journalism he wants -- or at least as much as Salon is willing to pay for.
That's just it, however: Somebody's got to pay for all this reporting, and as long as the bill is paid by publishers dependent on ad revenue, the incentives of the market will prevail. From all the baleful headlines I see about the newspaper industry, it certainly doesn't appear to me that publishers are guilty of paying excessive attention to market demand. If a newspaper doesn't make a profit, it won't do much good to demand they serve "the public interest" once they're bankrupt and out of business.
UPDATE IV: The Case of the Tortured Analogy, wherein I find myself accused of likening Glenn Greenwald to Sherlock Holmes. What I intended, of course, was to suggest that (in the Greenwaldian mind) Professor Reynolds is a shadowy menace like Moriarity, the evidence of whose evil handiwork is . . . everywhere.
The Doyle reader will recall how relentlessly Holmes pursues Moriarity. This relentlessness occurred to mind as I pondered how Greenwald can't go two days without lashing out at his nemesis Reynolds -- which I think is just hunky-dory, BTW, since I end up getting 'Lanched for posts mocking Greenwald. (How do I maximize my profits?)
Let's put Jamie Kirchick in the time machine:
- 1965: Give Up the Losing Fight on Communism, GOP
- 1977: Give Up the Losing Fight on Taxes, GOP
- 1993: Give Up the Losing Fight on Guns, GOP
- 2007: Give Up the Losing Fight on Terrorism, GOP
I know Jamie and consider him a friend, but he's just dug into the bunker on this issue, and there's no point arguing with him. But if the gay-marriage constituency doesn't amount to a majority in California, what exactly is the electoral calculus by which being pro-gay-marriage is a winner for the GOP?
Special pleading aside, Kirchick's argument here is much like the argument that Republicans should support amnesty for illegal aliens. Even though polls consistently show that amnesty is unpopular, we are told that the GOP simply must support it or risk losing a key constituency. But the electoral calculus makes no sense.
This is one of those things where perception is the real problem. The Left frames the issue as one of "rights" and "tolerance," then depict opponents of their agenda as intolerant oppressors. It's like Stan in "The Life of Brian," demanding to be called Loretta: "Don't you oppress me!"
Excuse me for not playing nicely with others.
UPDATE: Ed Whelan suggests that Kirchick mischaracterizes the discussion at last month's National Review Institute.
UPDATE II: Another party I wasn't invited to.
In some [Washington, D.C. area] schools, adult enthusiasm for the new president has come perilously close to indoctrination.I'm not deranged, honest I'm not.
That's what a friend of mine encountered at the private elementary school her child attends. Stopping by the school one day not long ago, she happened to run into the music teacher.
"I'm so excited," the teacher bubbled, “I've just composed a song for the children!" The purpose of the song, the teacher explained, was to celebrate the results of a school wide mock election in which – surprise! -- Barack Obama had come out victorious.
"And the chorus goes, 'Yes We Can!' " the teacher enthused. My friend was stunned. What was the school thinking, getting children to sing political campaign slogans?
She took her concerns to the school principal, fearful that her objections would be taken the wrong way. . . .
In the principal’s office, my friend gently pointed out that when we see schoolchildren in foreign countries chanting government slogans we call it political indoctrination.
-- Nicolle Wallace, alleged Republican
Life is good.
UPDATE: Interesting discussion developing in the comments, thanks to my friend Victor, a/k/a Cinecon, the Right-Wing Film Geek, over the question of ad hominem arguments about novelist Richard Yates.
Yates, as Victor points out, wasn't a "pussy." He was, however, an intellectual, and the intellectual's instinctive hatred of "rural idiocy"/bourgeois conformity/small-town Babbitry is so nearly universal that it's neither a cliche nor a stereotype, it is merely a fact.
Intellectuals love the city life, except when they're engaged in noble-savage fantasies about far-away primitivism. The intellectual can simultaneously romanticize the aboriginal tribesmen he sees in National Geographic while denouncing as hopelessly backward the people of Brentwood, Tenn., or Cumming, Ga. -- and he never even notices the contradiction, because there is no one in his urban intellectual coterie who thinks differently.
It's a free country, and you are free to hate suburbia and suburbanites, if that makes you happy. But your hatred of suburbia does not make you superior, and it is the intellectual's sense of superiority that informs his anti-suburban prejudice.
-- two white guys at HuffPo
First of all, it is "descent," not "decent," and Michelle is not merely descended from Asians, she's the daughter of Filipino immigrants, so she is Asian. (To help the quota-minded: She's twice as much Asian-American as Obama is African-American.)
Second, at least as far back as her college days at Oberlin, Michelle declared war on the identity-politics idea that, because she's (a) Asian and (b) female, therefore she must adhere to and advocate various left-wing beliefs. She hates that crap, and thank God.
Third, notice how Obama is used as a weapon to provide Complete Moral Authority to these two white guys, so that they feel they have impunity to call a married mother of two a "whore."
This gleeful deployment of second-hand entitlement -- the narcissistic self-congratulation of those who think their political affiliation makes them superior to everyone else -- is a rope with which our progressive friends are welcome to go hang themselves. I mean, really: Do you clowns think the American people are so stupid that they will never see through your little trick?
Just keep it up, assholes.
Not for NPR intern Cate Edwards, however. Cate's got her own $1.3 million place in Georgetown, courtesy of her dad, former Sen. John Edwards.
Shawn McComber quips: "It is so amazing to see what the daughter of a son of a mill worker can achieve in the dawning Age of Obama!"
Istook announced yesterday that the group has added five new target states -- Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and North Dakota -- to its list, which already included Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada and Utah.Please read the rest. Istook has also written a column about the issue at Human Events.
SOS Ballot aims to take the issue to voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, asking approval for state constitutional amendments that would read: "The right of individuals to vote by secret ballot is fundamental. Where state or federal law requires elections for public office or public votes on initiatives or referenda, or designations or authorizations of employee representation, the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot shall be guaranteed."
Why did I do that post? Because the Obama inauguration was virtually the only thing anyone was blogging about and it occurred to me that there might be some reader interest in the reaction. Keen deductive powers.
Furthermore, the astute reader may have noticed that first item linked in that round-up was Philip Klein's American Spectator report on the inauguration. Phil writes for the Spectator. I write for the Spectator. Ergo, I was promoting a colleague's work -- and what excellent work it was!
This is consistent with what I call the Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around (FMJRA) Theory of Blogging. I write for various online publications, and when my articles are published, I generally link those articles here at the blog. And I also link articles that my friends publish. You might be surprised at how effective deployment of the FMJRA Theory can reduce, or even entirely eliminate, the cost of refreshments at the National Press Club or other fine establishments in our nation's capital. The Blogger Ethics Commission has not yet specifically condemned the FMJRA Theory and next time I'm in D.C., Phil's buying.
My little roundup post sat there in relative obscurity for 7 hours and 39 minutes, until it was linked by the perspicacious Professor Reynolds, at which time it began to generate comments, some declaring that I had maliciously distorted the meaning of Gregg Levin's Firedoglake post entitled "Worst. Inauguration. Ever."
Truth? I never read Gregg's post. I just saw the title at Memeorandum and thought, "Heh." So I linked it, with the common-sense assumption that what Gregg meant was, the inauguration sucked. Excuse the misunderstanding.
Then, last night, commenter Wayne Fontes suggested I "might be coming down with a case of Obama Derangement Syndrome." Ah . . . no. Let me see if I can clear this up.
As I once tried to explain to Rod Dreher, I write for money. Writing is a commercial enterprise, and blogging is a form of writing, and the whole point of this blog is to make money. Or, at least, as a sort of marketing venture auxilliary to, and supportive of, other forms of writing for money.
This is not to say that I don't enjoy blogging, or that I don't have meaningful insights to offer. Rather, it is to say that if someone wanted to pay me not to blog, I'd consider the offer. And if someone wanted to pay me to blog about a certain topic -- say, for example, to blog about the top-quality, low-priced consumer fireworks available at Wild Wilma's Fireworks in East Tennessee -- I'd consider that offer, too.
See, I am a capitalist writer. To me, capitalism is not merely a theory, but a daily practice. And here at The Other McCain, the theory is put into practice as I try -- brace yourselves -- to write stuff that people want to read. Because if nobody wants to read it, there's no traffic, and if there's no traffic, why bother blogging at all?
Which brings us back to the accusation of "Obama Derangement Syndrome." The guy happens to be the President of the United States -- as you may have noticed -- and is therefore a personality whom people want to read about. (Kind of like Christina Hendricks, except less attractive.) So if I blog about Obama, it's because I think people want to read about Obama.
I don't hate the guy, I have no fear and loathing of the guy -- in fact, as I said back in April, I think it's pretty cool that he's a cigarette smoker -- and I'm not deranged by him. He is a liberal Democrat, as are several of my cousins (hello, Pepper!), but since none of them are Leader of the Free World, there is neither money nor purpose in denouncing my cousins' liberal agenda.
Some of our progressive friends, who've spent the past eight years imagining that the White House had been stolen in a coup masterminded by Dick Cheney, Halliburton and the Mossad, would dearly like to believe that conservatives have been driven similarly bonkers by the Obama presidency. While I can't speak for anyone else, I'm no more bonkers than I've ever been, which isn't saying that I'm entirely sane -- no one who knows me would make that argument -- only that whatever bizarre dementia I'm suffering, Obama has nothing to do with it.
So . . . we now return you to the regularly scheduled shameless capitalist blogging. And remember, when you want low, low prices on the highest quality consumer fireworks, go to Wild Wilma's, just off I-81 at exit 44. Tell 'em I sent ya.
UPDATE: "Obama Worship: Flip Side of Bush Hatred." Hmmm. I've got my own issues with Bush, but that hasn't made me prone to Obamamania. In fact, since becoming disillusioned with Clinton circa 1994, I've been very cynical about politicians in general. The one thing you can't deny about Bush is, he drove the Left nuts, which is always good. But the wild enthusiasm for Obama reminds me of Fred Barnes's insultingly hagiographic Bush book, Rebel in Chief.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
-- Sen. Joe Lieberman
Obama challenges Americans to have "a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves." So if you find massive concentrated power in Washington a turn-on, you've found your higher purpose. . . .Dave, man, you need to take inspiration from Kathleen Parker. Puddles of hope!
To require such fealty to power in the name of patriotism was once repugnant to the left. Now, with the right guy in charge, apparently it can once again be embraced.
DON’T use the word “divisive.” At this point, all that word means is “You disagree with me,” and the English language gets mangled enough these days.Lots more where that came from at Big Hollywood.
DON’T use the phrase “speaking truth to power.” EVER.
DON’T move to Canada.
For awe is the truest word to describe what transpired and what was inspired.If you want to know where she was during the inauguration, just look for the puddles. Puddles of Hope.
It is not only awe for Obama's meteoric rise to the highest human power. It is not only that so many trekked so far to be present for the moment. It is not even awe for the peaceful transfer of power for which Americans are deservedly proud.
It is awe for what is, in fact, not change, but the natural, if difficult, progression of an ideal that is true and good and transcendent through time. Barack Obama's presidency isn't a change from, but a continuation of the American experiment toward its hoped-for destination.