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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The Best Commercial Ever Made?
The Middle East According to AFP
Agence France-Presse (AFP) is one of the world's most biased news agencies, especially where the Middle East is concerned. Today AFP published this helpful guide to the "key events in 2008" relating to Gaza, Hamas and Israel:
Read the rest.
Contraception, abortion, and the eugenics movement.
A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugenics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey.
One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.
Sanger’s genius was to advance Ross’s campaign for social control by hitching the racist-eugenic campaign to sexual pleasure and female liberation. In her “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” published in 1934, she decreed that “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit...no permit shall be valid for more than one child.”47 But Sanger couched this fascistic agenda in the argument that “liberated” women wouldn’t mind such measures because they don’t really want large families in the first place. In a trope that would be echoed by later feminists such as Betty Friedan, she argued that motherhood itself was a socially imposed constraint on the liberty of women. It was a form of what Marxists called false consciousness to want a large family.
Inventing Kennedy's Qualifications
Amid all the recent buzz about Caroline Kennedy's bid for a U.S. Senate seat, there has been a great deal of talk about her connections, her power, her wealth. But the way I see it, if you strip away the glamour, the name and the money, then Caroline is . . . me.
Strip away the money and the glamour, the connections and the power, and the fact that he's dead, I'm exactly like John Wayne.
A Media Morality Tale
..the real embarrassment proves to be the media itself that apparently can't see this weird unfolding self-incriminating morality tale: It is not just that Palin is conservative, Kennedy politically-correct (e.g., pro-abortion, gun control, gay marriage, etc), or Palin a newcomer to public attention, Kennedy a celebrity since childhood. Rather it is the aristocratic value system of most NY-DC journalists themselves who apparently still assume that old money, status, and an Ivy-League pedigree are reliable barometers of talent and sobriety, suggesting that the upper-East Side Kennedy's public ineptness is an aberration, a bad day, a minor distraction, while Palin's charisma and ease are superficial and a natural reflection of her Idaho sports journalism degree.
TEACHING DEMOCRATS NEW TRICKS
But liberals cannot learn that the Aug. 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S." had not a speck of what we call "useful information."
I described the Aug. 6 PDB in detail in my 2006 book "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." The memo read like a fifth-grader's book report that he left to the last minute and had to quickly cobble together with old information on Google. The only "warnings" of future actions by al-Qaida were completely wrong -- for example, suggesting that terrorists might be planning an attack "with explosives" or preparing to attack "federal buildings in New York."
But liberals cite the Aug. 6 PDB as if it were a clarion warning of the 9/11 attacks.
In fact, if Bush had directed all members of the executive branch to drop everything and jump on the "warnings" in the Aug. 6 PDB, bomb-sniffing dogs would have been prowling the nation and police lookouts would have been stationed at federal buildings in New York City -- as planes smashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Monday, December 29, 2008
World's largest gigapixel picture.
How did they do that?
Isn’t an economic depression good for the environment? Won’t it end global warming?
It Doesn't Compute... [Victor Davis Hanson]
I'm very puzzled by the nexus between the current downturn and concern about global warming. Given that we were told we had to immediately cut back on carbon emissions (even before sustainable alternative energies are in place), largely by curbing our lavish energy-dependent lifestyles, why then all the concern about stimuli and global depression? Surely, the world right now is sort of what the radical Gorists wanted to see, since the current cutback in gasoline usage, and general economic slowdown are radically restricting the burning of fossil fuels in a manner that even the most optimistic green utopian could hardly have envisioned just few years ago? In other words, in the booming 2004-6 years, radical suggested scale-backs would have probably led to something akin to what we are experiencing now? So why the gloom instead of headlines blaring—"The Planet Continues to Green—as Archaic Consumption Practices Erode Further!"
FIRE and the story of Keith John Sampson
Roundup of the fighting in Gaza
IAF aircraft bombed the Islamic University and government compound in Gaza City early Monday morning, both centers of Hamas power. Witnesses saw fire and smoke at the university, counting six separate air strikes there just after midnight.
IDF continues airstrike on the Gaza Strip, attacks prison, homes of Hamas field commanders
Two laboratories in the university, which served as research and development centers for Hamas's military wing, were targeted. The development of explosives was done under the auspices of university professors.
University buildings were also used for meetings of senior Hamas officials.
The IDF said rockets and explosives were stored in the buildings.
Palestinian reporters focus on the "war weary Gazans." Note the adjectives. This is how propaganda is done.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Terrified prisoners fled a Gaza City jail bombed by Israeli warplanes on Sunday, their faces white with dust and red with blood as they stumbled over huge piles of rubble.
Across the territory, grieving families pitched traditional mourning tents of green tarp outside the homes. Yet the rows of chairs inside these tents remained largely empty, as residents cowered indoors for fear of new Israeli strikes. Plumes of gray smoke rising into the sky marked the site of the latest Israeli attacks.
Even for war-weary Gazans, who've lived through countless Israeli incursions, air attacks and months of bitter Palestinian infighting, the latest surprise Israeli air offensive was unusually traumatic. In all, more than 290 people - most of them Hamas policemen, but also 20 children - were killed in some 300 Israeli air attacks over two days.
On Saturday, shortly after Israel unleashed the deadliest-ever offensive against Hamas and its rocket squads, hospital morgues quickly overflowed. In the initial chaos, the dead were wrapped in blankets and lined up on the ground, as frantic relatives searched for their loved ones.
On Sunday, 25 unclaimed bodies still lay in the morgue of Gaza's largest hospital, Shifa, their faces disfigured beyond identification. In the southern town of Rafah, residents held a mass funeral for 14 people, including two brothers, and a father and son, all of them members of the Hamas security forces.
The shelling began at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, a work day in Gaza, just as children returned home from school, women shopped in local markets and police directed traffic.
At that moment, Israeli warplanes unleashed scores of bombs and missiles simultaneously at Hamas security installations. Residents described a veil of dust, smoke and rubble covering one world, and lifting to reveal another filled with horror. Women were running, carrying their children, uniformed students screamed and cars crashed into each other as panicked drivers tried to get away.
Iran offers what it can: words.
TEHRAN, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Leader issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks "in any way possible", state television reported.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also declared Monday a day of public mourning in Iran after Israel killed more than 280 Palestinians in two days of air strikes on Gaza.
"All Palestinian combatants and all the Islamic world's pious people are obliged to defend the defenceless women, children and people in Gaza in any way possible," Khamenei said.
"Whoever is killed in this legitimate defence, is considered a martyr," he said in a statement.
In Israel, areas within missile range take action:
ASHKELON, Israel – The largest hospital on Israel's southern coast has gone underground.
Wary of a missile strike against it from the nearby Gaza Strip, Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital has moved its most essential departments into an underground bomb shelter.
In Roman times barbarian hordes massed against Roman troops and were slaughtered, time and time again.
The hordes of Islam have not progressed either politically or emotionally from those days. That makes them deadly, but also pitiful. They are barbarians who would kill you rather than look at you, but when it comes to a stand-up fight they are sheep to be slaughtered, hiding among women and children.
The answer to their existence may take us back to Roman times when sensibilities were vastly different.
Or the sensibilities of General Sherman, during our own Civil War.
"You might as well appeal against the thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war."
-- Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, Sept. 12, 1864
Sherman's sober words about the "terrible hardships of war" were written to the mayor of Atlanta, who had complained about the cruelty of the Union commander's order for the evacuation of the civilian population of the city. Sherman's merciless attitude was motivated by his belief that the South bore responsibility for starting the war, and thus had no legitimate grounds to complain about the consequences of war. Sherman furthermore believed that by devastating the interior of the Confederacy, destroying its infrastructure and resources, he would hasten the end of the war and thereby end its attendant misery:We must have peace , not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies . . .
Understand that I am a native of Atlanta, taught from the cradle to hate Sherman as a wicked instrument of the War of Northern Aggression. Nevertheless, he had a point: Those who inaugurate war must be prepared to accept the consequences. Hamas decided to begin bombarding Israel, and continued that bombardment despite warnings. Surely Hamas has no right to complain of the predictable consequences.
Israeli jet destroys rocket launching pad purposely located in residential area...
Starburst in a Dwarf Irregular Galaxy (What Hath God Wrought)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Life At New Animal Farm Won’t Be All That Bad
By July, we will come to feel that 2009 will be one of the most upbeat years in our history, as what used to be the news media∗ begins to get behind America and report on all the mysteriously wonderful things that are suddenly taking place.
All the campaign talk of the Great Depression, a Vietnam-like war, and our shredded Constitution will now thankfully subside as the Obama administration assumes office and solves problems with conciliation, dialogue, and multilateral wisdom, rather than shrillness, unilateralism, preemption, and my-way-or-the-highway dogmatism. We will hear that, by historical levels, unemployment is still not that bad, that GDP growth is not historically all that low, and that deficits, inflation, interest rates, and housing starts are all within manageable parameters. “Depression” will transmogrify into “recession” which in turn by July will be a “downturn” and by year next an “upswing” on its way to boom times.
Indeed, almost supernaturally crises will be solved with the departure of the hated Bush: no more flooding streets from cracked water mains that were a result of a President’s neglect of infrastructure, and no more spontaneous crashes of Mississippi River bridges due to diversions of critical federal aid from cash-strapped states to Iraq. And when the temperatures rise or drop, the wind howls, the clouds burst forth or go away, the snow melts or piles up, it will be, well, nature that caused the havoc, not the current occupant of the White House who failed to sign Kyoto.
As we watch the innocent die from natural mayhem, it will be due to the breakdown of local responders who now suddenly kill people, not federal inaction—except perhaps for an occasional few Bush federal holdovers that have not yet been rooted out.
So all that will change for now will be the sudden absence of shrill complaints that we live in an America without a Constitution. Static, same-old, same-old government policy will, of course, be said to have altered radically (”hoped and changed”), but it will also be refashioned in the media as “sober” and “judicious”, as the administration moves “in circumspect fashion” to probe and explore “complex” and often “paradoxical” matters of national security that “indeed at the end of the day have no easy answers”.
The Left will once again see the U.S. as the last, best hope for mankind, a flawed, often errant nation that nevertheless in its heart always showed the world what was right in the end. “Diversity” and “progressive” themes will replace Bush’s hokey old-time patriotism, as we return to a more nuanced and sophisticated love of country that at last “came home.”
In other words, one can also at last enjoy that nice wood-floored study, tastefully granite-countered kitchen, with plenty of stainless steel appliances, in a mostly un-diverse neighborhood, still send your kids to a mostly predetermined racially-appropriate school, and still make a pretty good salary, drive a comfortably large car (though please—preferably a Volvo or Mercedes SUV rather than a Tahoe or Yukon), and feel like you are out there on the barricades of radical environmental, cultural, and political change (and hope too!).
Read the rest. I'm buying stock after 1/20.
Front Page Pilot Editorial and Good Bye to Its Public Editor
The headline in the Virginian Pilot (dead tree edition) was an editorial. It read:
Hamas rockets prompt fierce reply.
"Fierce?" Beware of adjectives; they reflect the writer’s attitude.
The article continued:
“The Waves of Israeli airstrikes rained more than 100 tons of bombs on security installations in Hamas-ruled Gaza on Saturday in a crushing response to the group’s rocket fire. The attack killed at least 230 – the highest one-day toll in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades.”
"Rained" "100 tons" "crushing" "highest one-day toll" are all editorial comments that are intended to elicit the appropriate response. We are supposed to consider the Israelis as a steamroller destroying their hapless victims.
After that beginning we would expect to see pictures of destroyed security installations (that being the stated target), but we are painfully aware that this will not be the case because that’s not really the theme of the story.
The theme is in the picture that accompanies the story.
The caption read: “A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli missile strike…”
This picture reminded me of the propaganda photo shoots that accompanied the Israeli incursion into Lebanon in 2006.
We can expect to see "Green Helmet Guy" all over again, or perhaps another fake photo like the one by Tyler Hicks. And who can forget the infamous photo of the ambulance with a hole dead-center in its roof - supposed to be proof of Israeli atrocities but actually the place where the rooftop flashing light was removed. Trust me, that scam was so successful that it will be run again.
We are informed “What started it.”
“A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas collapsed a week ago, leading to rocket attacks in large numbers against Israel and isolated Israeli operations.”
A cease fire collapsed? A man can collapse and a wall can collapse, but a cease fire can’t collapse all by itself. Some act of aggression must take place before a cease-fire is known to have collapsed. But we are led to understand that the mysterious collapse of a cease-fire was the act “leading to rocket attacks.”
This was not a news story. It was an editorial and a human interest story with the war as the hook. The byline was by Tagreed El-Khodary and Ethan Bronner, and was reprinted from the NY Times.
Have I mentioned that the Times is selling off assets to stay afloat a while longer? Why yes, I did. And this is one reason why.
Which leads me to the swan song of the Virginian Pilot’s “Public Editor” Joyce Hoffman. She has been “right sized,” but as her farewell she sings the praises of her bosses at the paper and the billionaire Batten family that owns the paper (and has tried to sell it, so far with no success).
The terminal decline of the newspaper business is due in large part to two concurring trends. Both of them are the results of the Internet.
The first is the proliferation of news sources that are more current than daily newspapers: radio, 24/7 news channels as well as the Internet.
The second is that newspapers have not understood their unique strengths, which is the gathering of information. This, as numerous observers have pointed out, is expensive but hard to replace. Instead, newspapers have cut back on fact gathering in favor of opinion writing. In newspaper speak “interpreting the news.” The problem is, that is something virtually anyone can do. Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one. I don’t need a newspaper “reporter” telling me what to think about an issue.
Glenn Reynolds has it right when he says that as money gets tighter, newspapers will try to cut the high priced talent in favor of the cheap opinion writer.
The problem is that most big organizations have cut back on newsgathering, treating news as a commodity product to be obtained from wire services while eliminating foreign and regional bureaus. Instead, Big Media organizations decided some years ago that they would focus on “news analysis” and punditry. That’s, well, because you can opine without leaving your computer, while reporting hard news is hard work. (And expensive).
Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked out very well. The move to analysis and punditry was driven, in no small part, by corporate pressures to cut costs, pressures that accompanied the consolidation and corporatization of the news media. . . . But actual information about what’s happening is still mostly the province of professional journalism, and that’s less likely to change.
That was written in 2002. Since then we have seen more and more independent reporting including (but certainly not limited to) JD Johannes.
Joyce Hoffman missed the forest for the trees. As Public Editor she focused on things like errors in grammar, the paper's format and the mix-ups that happen in any news report. But that’s not the terminal disease that has the Virginian Pilot in its grip. It’s the fact that its pages are filled with opinions; and poorly written opinions at that. Written with an arrogance and condescension that has the effect of pissing off more than half of its potential customers.
But I suspect that Ms. Hoffman was not chosen to guide that policy. As someone famously said, that’s above her pay grade.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved
Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph.Read the whole thing.
The first, on May 21, headed "Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts" , reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed "The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" , reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".
Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.
First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.
Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free – as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.
Fox Fur, a Unicorn, and a Christmas Tree
Crab Pulsar Wind Nebula
Things my sister sent me. Caroline Kennedy.
I saw a small clip of an interview with Caroline Kennedy this morning.
I was amazed at the interviewer. He asked really tough questions like, how would your mother and brother feel about your taking on this seat.
There was no Charlie Gibson/Sarah Palin moment that I noticed. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
I wonder if it’s only the Cuomo’s that are really ticked off about this.
I did not see the interview so I Googled it. All I got back was a summary of some of her responses to an AP interview which did not include any of the actual questions.
From the AP: Excerpts from interview with Caroline Kennedy on Friday:
[paraphrase of the question] Why she wants to be a senator:
"When I think back, there's really been two sort of major moments that have kind of changed the direction of my life ... The first was 9/11. ... After that, we all felt part of this incredible sense of community and being in this together. ... Then last year when I got involved with the Barack Obama campaign, I ... got this real sense that people want something different, and obviously change, in our government and the way things are going in this country."
[paraphrase of the question]Criticism she hasn't done anything to earn the job:
"There are many qualified people in this. And so, I am an unconventional choice. I understand that. I haven't pursued the traditional path. But I think that in our public life today, we're starting to see there are many ways into public life and public service. All of our institutions are less hierarchical than they used to be."Do you notice a pattern here?
Then the "tough" NY press corps provided 30 minutes to have Caroline strut her stuff. You can watch and hear the interview HERE.
I was most interested in the questions because the answers were predictable. Here is a synopsis:
That's it. No questions about the solution to the financial crisis, energy policy, environmental policy, race relations, war, foreign policy, or any of the problems facing America - and the Senate - in 2009.
The interviewer asked her: "...what would be your top priority? "
Caroline professed to have education as a top priority. Her answer was much longer than this but it was no more specific than her final comment:
"We need to do a better job with our schools."
To folks who may say that she’s not qualified she responded that Uncle Teddy is in the Senate. It’s not about her. She brings a lifetime of experience to public service, she’s a lawyer, she has connections in Washington.
Interviewer harped on the fact that there were no pre-existing conditions to her interview. Are pre-conditions usual in these interviews? Who knew?
Interviewer asks her if she’s going to visit all 62 New York counties and she answers that she will.
Interviewer asked about Ted Kennedy’s health. This gave her a chance to brag on “Uncle Teddy.”
Interviewer asked if the Kennedy mantle has been passed to Caroline Kennedy.
Interviewer asked the ages of her kids.
Interviewer asked about her desire for higher office beyond senate. A national ticket?
Interviewer made a major point of the fact that there were no pre-existing conditions to her interview.
Interviewer asked about the frequency of her talks with Governor Patterson.
Interviewer asked about the importance of her last name of Kennedy.
Interviewer asked if there had been tough moments for Caroline over the years.
Interviewer harped on the fact that there were no pre-existing conditions to her interview. Repeated this at least 3 times.
There was not one question about the biggest problem facing New York: the massive layoffs in the financial services sector that will decimate NY's finances in the coming years.
It was surreal, the anointing of a socialite and dilettante to one of the most important posts in government. And the questions are about her name and fame.
Scientific illiteracy all the rage among the glitterati
The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.
Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate," said President-elect Obama. "Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it," he said.
His words were echoed by Mr McCain. "It's indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it," he said. "There's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in the vaccines."
Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Liberal Journaljizzmer Accidentally Speaks the Truth
More importantly, we’re happy to see that liberal journaljizzmers have finally come to the realization that most Americans with an IQ above lettuce arrived at shortly after they watched their first five minutes of C-SPAN coverage, namely that the U.S. Senate is the most ridiculously overpriced nursing home for terminally mentally deficient old folks who never could hack it in a real job and therefore had to turn to politics for their daily bread.
What we continue to be baffled about is how those very same journaljizzmers could come to the conclusion that a lady with years’ worth of experience as a CEO of the largest state of the Union was dangerously inexperienced compared to a ticket made up of two of aforementioned imbeciles of the Senator class, one of whom hadn’t even been one for any measurable amount of time.
But he did, admittedly, have some experience as a Chicago ward heeler in his CV.
It’s funny how perspectives change depending on the letter after a name, isn’t it?
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) made the rounds on Today and Morning Joe, where on the latter he made no bones about his interest in running for the Senate seat in 2010. He made an interesting revelation about Caroline’s much-vaunted work at an educational non-profit. She apparently toiled to the tune of an average of . . . one-to-two hours a week.
Highlights of '08: Time to Think the Unthinkable
Grant Clelland at Financial Times believes that here are any number of ways that the economy can be stimulated including:
- Invading Mars
- Building Pyramids, or
- Tunneling to Australia
Plus some ideas that are not as creative and probably not as effective.
I believe at least one of these ideas was stolen from Frank J at IMAO who first proposed
A Realistic Plan for World Peace
Nuke the Moon
But hey, that was back in 2002 and deserves to be resurrected. And invading Mars is way different.
Obama Nation Stays Mum
Hugh Hewitt prints some comments from a former Assistant US Attorney:
Obama is in Hawaii until Jan. 2 with no public events planned where he might be asked questions. Emanuel is in Africa where he is out of contact on a long planned family vacation.
Consider that again -- the incoming WH Chief of Staff, in a "change of parties" transition from one Presidency to the next which is less than 4 weeks away -- and he's in Africa??????
NY Times Selling Assets to Survive
The Detroit auto makers which, in more prosperous times, bought stakes in other brands, is selling them off in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. Ford has sold its stake in Mazda, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover. It is trying to sell Volvo.
General Motors has spun off many of its former divisions, tried to sell its light truck business to Navistar and is trying to sell Saab, the Swedish car maker.
Of course we all know that the Detroit auto giants are headed for the ash heap of history. The other industry in precipitous decline is the newspaper business. And the General Motors of newspapers is the NY Times who just announced that ad sales skidded 20.9% in November. That is not as bad as auto sales (down 37%) but much, much worse than virtually every other industry, including retail sales.
So I am pleased to report that the NY Times company is also selling assets to survive. Its 17.5% stake in the Boston Red sox is up for sale. With revenue plunging and no end in sight, we are confident that the Pinch Sulzberger will be as successful as GM’s management in avoiding bankruptcy.
Perhaps a merger with PBS?
Or perhaps it can be rescued by Pajamas Media.
Jonah Goldberg: What do we call this strange decade, anyway?
Does anyone know what we're supposed to call this decade? Is it the 2000s? The twenty-ohs? We're coming up on the last year of it, and I still have no idea. Personally, I always liked the "oughts," as in, "Back in ought-six, I ate a brick of cheddar cheese in one sitting."
But perhaps the best reason to call it the oughts is that one is left with the sense that this decade ought to have been about something, and yet it really doesn't feel that way.
I disagree. Looking back (that's always how times are remembered) this decade will be about the war against Islamofascism. The war in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. The era - when kids talk to their parents about it - will be about the question "what did you do in the war, daddy?"
This era will be remembered and divided between the volunteers and their sdupporters who fought a violent, deadly, cruel ideology driven by religious hatred. On the other side were those for whom living was the highest good. Whose moral “gland” was missing and who substituted for that a legalistic scrupulousness that demanded submission.
How did I survive without nanny's advice?
Have you noticed how you don't really hear the phrase “nanny state” any more? It seems to have fallen out of fashion. This could be mainly due to a very deliberate shift in Tory cultural linguistics (Dave and Sam, of course, would only ever talk about au pairs) but I fear that there is something altogether more insidious going on. We don't talk about the nanny state because the nanny state has won. It has seeped in.
I notice this most when abroad. For example, on recent trips to both India and Russia, I have found myself laughing - laughing - at the lack of fire escapes on minibuses. We're talking actual, genuine, incredulous amusement here. “Ho, ho, ho, they don't have any fire escapes.” And me, allegedly, a humorist. I'm not proud.
Now nanny is telling you not to hurt yourself over Christmas. Chances are, you weren't really planning to, anyway. Chances are, moreover, that you probably thought you were quite well equipped to avoid hurting yourself at Christmas all by yourself.
But nanny disagrees. Nanny doesn't think that you are up to it. And, in time, you'll probably start to believe her. In time, as a result, you will grow to consider your wellbeing at Christmas not to be your own problem at all, but to be nanny's problem entirely. And that's nuts.
In other words, you used to have a duty not to burn down your house and slaughter your entire family. Now, because nanny has taken on that duty, you have a right not to burn down your house and slaughter your entire family. Needless to say, this makes no sense at all.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Hallelujah, Christ is Born To Take Away the Sins of the World. And the Lord Omnipotent Will Reign for Ever and Ever. King of Kings and Lord of Lords
May God, who loved us enough to sacrifice his son for us, give you joy and peace this Christmas Season.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The Laughter is Getting Louder
Team Obama exonerated itself two evenings before Christmas, with Obama in Hawaii and Emanuel in Africa, and neither one answering questions. Team Obama is hoping the furor will die. The press are torn. They like a juicy story, but they like Obama more. You can bet that editors are not going to send investigative teams out to pursue this story now that the self examination has shown that Obama is still a virgin.The MSM and Lefty bloggers are valiantly carrying Team Obama’s water but the rest of the blogosphere is laughing its head off. Even the LA Times blog is in on it with this great headline: Obama team probe of Obama team finds no Obama team impropriety.
The Barack Obama presidential transition office today finally released its own report on its own internal investigation of its own contacts with legally challenged Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. And you'll be comforted to know the Obama folks found no impropriety whatsoever by Obama folks.
So go back to wrapping holiday presents or pretending you're working at your desk and checking out Obama's important abs. All is well with the coming World of Change.
The incredulity rivals that of Rathergate, without the smoking gun of the Microsoft generated document. The Huffington Post is dutifully carrying Team “O’s” water, as is the AP and the NY Times. The rest of us are not buying it.
Here's a roundup of recent comments. USA Today
"Obama's own five-page report, released Tuesday afternoon, clears the
president-elect and his staff."
The AP give us a video:
The Houston Chronicle
"...contact with governor was proper"
Christian Science Monitor
The NY Times regurgitates the Gregg Craig memo and asks no questions about its internal inconsistencies.
The report concluded that Mr. Emanuel had as many as six conversations with the governor’s office about the Senate vacancy, but that Mr. Obama had none, and that neither Mr. Emanuel, Ms. Jarrett, nor any other Obama associates had any talks about a deal in which Mr. Blagojevich would benefit from appointing someone to the Senate seat.Move on folks, nothing to see.
Forbes.com parses some of the memo's language:Blagojevich, Obama And No 'Personal' Benefit
Team Obama absolved the Obama Team in a report late Tuesday. Written by the man chosen to be White House counsel, Greg Craig...
That's why Craig did his own investigation. Here are the results: Any inappropriate contact with Gov. Blagojevich or his staff? Nope, not any evidence there. No quid, no quo. Considering the author of the report and the steady drip of suggestions that this would be the conclusion, no surprise there.
There is one curious word, though, and it is in the report seven times. It points to the possibility that something interesting may have been discussed. The word is personal, as in Rahm Emanuel remembers "no mention of efforts by the Governor or his staff to extract a personal benefit in return for filling the Senate vacancy."
If Emanuel knew the governor expected a campaign donation in exchange for a Senate appointment, would that be a "personal" benefit or -- maybe -- a "political" benefit? Is Craig, who was Bill Clinton's lawyer during his impeachment, squeezing individual words a bit too hard?
Jennifer Rubin at Pajamas Media starts thus:
If only Scooter Libby had thought of this: conduct an internal report, exonerate himself, and release it during Christmas week when he and every other percipient witness were at an inaccessible holiday location. Well, it wouldn’t have worked because the MSM would have regarded such a stunt coming from a Republican official as laughable. Indeed it only would have spurred the press to gin up its own investigation into potential wrongdoing, if only to prove the self-exonerator wrong.
But the rules aren’t the same for the Democrats. When Rahm Emanuel and the other Obama transition team members get a clean bill of health on Blago-gate from their own colleagues, the MSM pronounces itself satisfied
And of course Glenn Reynolds has his comments which, as usual win the "pithy" prize.
GEE, DO YOU THINK? Analysis: Obama Inquiry Has Closed Loop Quality.
UPDATE: “Smells Like Team Spirit.”
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Caroline and the Grey Lady
How is it that, in an age where a mixed-race man from a broken home, the product of international upbringing and no inherited fortune, can be elected president, we are still talking about the fucking Kennedys?
It seems that even assholes like Michael Weiss haveno use for Caroline.
Cheney, Congress and Warrantless Eavesdropping
Dick Cheney spoke with Chris Wallace and, among other things, was emphatic that Congressional leaders had been briefed on the warrantless eavesdropping program:CHENEY: Well, let me tell you a story about the terror surveillance program. We did brief the Congress. And we brought in....
WALLACE: Well, you briefed a few members.
CHENEY: We brought in the chairman and the ranking member, House and Senate, and briefed them a number of times up until — this was — be from late '01 up until '04 when there was additional controversy concerning the program.
At that point, we brought in what I describe as the big nine — not only the intel people but also the speaker, the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate, and brought them into the situation room in the basement of the White House.
I presided over the meeting. We briefed them on the program, and what we'd achieved, and how it worked, and asked them, "Should we continue the program?" They were unanimous, Republican and Democrat alike. All agreed — absolutely essential to continue the program.
I then said, "Do we need to come to the Congress and get additional legislative authorization to continue what we're doing?" They said, "Absolutely not. Don't do it, because it will reveal to the enemy how it is we're reading their mail."
That happened. We did consult. We did keep them involved. We ultimately ended up having to go to the Congress after the New York Times decided they were going to make the judge to review all of — or make all of this available, obviously, when they reacted to a specific leak.
But it was a program that we briefed on repeatedly. We did these briefings in my office. I presided over them. We went to the key people in the House and Senate intel committees and ultimately the entirely leadership and sought their advice and counsel, and they agreed we should not come back to the Congress
The Pelosi GTxi SS/RT
The Iowahawk video showing you the car of the future ... today!
Here's the original version: LEMON
If Obama Team Lied Would Fitzgerald Have the Guts to Contradict?
Ace of Spades comments:
Obama's lawyer Gregory Craig (remember him?) says prosecutors interviewed Obama.
President-elect Barack Obama and two of his top advisers were interviewed last week by federal prosecutors probing Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's alleged bid to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat, according to a report issued today by an Obama lawyer. The lawyer, Gregory Craig, concluded that Obama and his aides engaged in no improper conduct in connection with the Senate opening.
Problematic? I don't believe that Obama would care enough about the Senate seat to risk his own neck engaging in bribery. However, I also think that Obama and Emanuel knew how the Chicago game was played and would not react with righteous indignation to the solicitation of a bribe -- they might steer Blago away from such a thing towards safer waters, but would not outright rebuke him.
So the problem comes if Obama's team's statements to Blago were more nuanced when it comes to improper solicitations than they're admitting. And their statements to prosecutors about their discussions had better be accurate, or else they risk an obstruction of justice charge.
Fitzgerald wouldn't have the guts for that. But it will be interesting to see how his information and Obama's claims match up.
Fred Barnes had a similar reaction on Fox News this evening. Team Obama exonerated itself two evenings before Christmas, with Obama in Hawaii and Emanuel in Africa, and neither one answering questions. Team Obama is hoping the furor will die. The press are torn. They like a juicy story, but they like Obama more. You can bet that editors are not going to send investigative teams out to pursue this story now that the self examination has shown that Obama is still a virgin.
John Hinderaker has doubts: Obama Absolves Himself
Barack Obama's campaign has investigated itself, and has found itself to be beyond reproach. Bernie Madoff can only envy the press relations that allow Obama's self-exoneration to be reported straight.
Darleen at Protein Wisdom has a screen shot of the MSM's reaction:
Jim Lindgren at Volokh says: Obama’s Report Does Not Mention the Two Corrupt Contacts Alleged To Have been Ordered by Blagojevich.
The Report released Tuesday by the Barack Obama camp discloses, not only direct contacts between the Obama staff and Governor Blagojevich and his staff, but two other specific indirect contacts. It does not, however, disclose the only two contacts mentioned in the U.S. Attorney’s complaint and affidavit by which Blagojevich directed intermediaries to convey his corrupt bargain to the Obama camp.
Perhaps they occurred; perhaps they didn't. Obama's Report never says.
Obama’s Report does not purport to be a complete list of all the contacts between his staff and emissaries for Blagojevich, only of direct contacts between the two staffs, plus two specifically disclosed indirect contacts. The Report does not indicate one way or the other whether the two contacts mentioned in the government’s affidavit by which Blagojevich intended to have his desire for a lucrative job conveyed to the Obama camp ever took place. It mentions the contacts made by people who had not (at the time of the conversations) been directed to shake down Obama, but fails to mention the two contacts (if they occurred) by people who had (according to the Government’s affidavit) been recently directed to contact Obama staffers to discuss simultaneously the Senate seat and Blagojevich’s desire for a job.
DRJ at Patterico ...
The AP’s first summary of the report says “no one close to Obama suspected that the governor might be trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat as prosecutors allege.” It also states that Emanuel and Jarrett have been interviewed in connection with the investigation.
“We were clueless” is not what I was hoping to hear.
Here's the memo
Joe the Plumber Laughs at CNN Anchor Who Insists He's Fair, He's Not Pro-Obama
Just before 8 am Eastern time on the Tuesday edition of CNN’s American Morning, anchor John Roberts interview Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, and something unusual happened. After a battery of questions from Roberts suggesting Joe was throwing John McCain "under the bus," Joe shot back that the media does that to candidates it supports. Roberts took offense, since "I’m a journalist," and Joe laughed at that.
Come on John, you're out there in the arena. You should expect people to take shots, right?
Don't Forget To Remember The Truth
Busted: AP Caught Consciously, Deliberately Stripping Party ID of Disgraced Dems Out of the Original Local Reports They Put on the Wires
The AP's style guide insists that party ID should be provided when relevant. As it always is in politics.
So why is their editing of local stories chiefly concerned with removing valuable information from them?
Spying on Fiji
Speaking at a press conference last night, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum lashed out at locals employed at the High Commissions in Fiji alleging that they are acting as spies against their own country.
The Fiji Menace?
“Hey, remember that time Sarah Palin thought she was talking on the phone with Nicolas Sarkozy?
THE SECOND TIME AS FARCE: “At least it wasn’t on the front page.”
UPDATE: Heh: “Hey, remember that time Sarah Palin thought she was talking on the phone with Nicolas Sarkozy? The NYT presented that mistake as ‘one of the last straws’ that convinced McCain advisors that Palin didn’t have what it takes . . . Fake French — it’s so obvious. Except when it isn’t.”
It appears that the NY Time printed a “letter to the editor” that was supposedly sent by the mayor of Paris, but was a hoax.
If you get a phone call from someone with a French accent and you are the candidate for Vice President and the caller identified himself as the President of France, you can be excused for taking the call at face value.
When you are the NY Times and you get a letter via e-mail from someone claiming to be the mayor of Paris slamming Caroline Kennedy, and publish it without checking it out, you are incredibly stupid.
Via Roger Simon
This time the paper has outdone itself by publishing a putative letter from the mayor of Paris, attacking the potential elevation of Caroline Kennedy to the US Senate:The Gray Lady is apprently in her dotage.To the Editor:
As mayor of Paris, I find Caroline Kennedy’s bid for the seat of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton both surprising and not very democratic, to say the least. What title has Ms. Kennedy to pretend to Hillary Clinton’s seat? We French can only see a dynastic move of the vanishing Kennedy clan in the very country of the Bill of Rights. It is both surprising and appalling.
With all the respect and admiration I have for Ms. Kennedy’s late father, I find her bid in very poor taste, and, after reading “Kennedy, Touring Upstate, Gets Less and Less Low-Key” (news article, Dec. 18), in my opinion she has no qualification whatsoever to bid for Senator Clinton’s seat…
It goes on a bit, but I hadn’t gotten this far when I already suspected the letter was a put-on - and I’m the gullible type who is the last to get the joke at parties.
James Howard Kunstler argues that the current Crisis — for want of a better word — has undermined trust and therefore legtimacy in American institutions. It isn’t that people don’t see the problems, it is that they don’t see the solutions.
Let us pray that this is not the case.. But he provides us with some very nice music to enter the fray.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Astronomy Picture II
The Large Cloud of Magellan
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Labtayt Sulci on Saturn's Enceladus
Colonel Thorsness flew 92 Wild Weasel missions over North Vietnam. He earned the Medal of Honor for a Wild Weasel mission he flew on April 19, 1967, 11 days before being shot down. His Medal of Honor citation tells the story, but the Air Force account of his heroics makes a somewhat more readable narrative:
Unbelievably, the heroics that earned Colonel Thorsness the Medal of Honor were followed by further displays of heroism that approximate the valor he displayed on this mission. When he was shot down by an air to air missile in late April 1967, he ejected from his exploding fighter doing more than 600 miles per hour, injuring both knees and sustaining multiple fractures of his back. Like John McCain, he was "tied up" for the next six years. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton and several other North Vietnamese hellholes, including the one known as Camp Punishment, reserved for especially "difficult" cases.
It should be a good read because it has it's share of humor...
The book is also shot through wth the black humor that Thorsness and his fellow prisoners directed at their captivity. The black humor appears regularly throughout the book, but In this respect I especially commend chapters 13 ("Boredom"), 17 ("The Home Front") and 18 ("Prison Talk").
Even wives, girlfriends and the families left behind at home could become the subject of such humor. When the prisoners of war finally are allowed to receive brief letters from home, for example, they not only reread them as long as they are allowed to hold onto them, they turn them into a group activity. Thorsness recalls from memory the worst-ever letter from home received by one of his fellow prisoners, a particulary tough middle American farmboy who had survived his original captivity in Laos and deserved better:Dear Raymond, this has been a bad year. Hail took our crops -- no insurance. Your brother-in-law borrowed your speedboat, hit a rock, it sank. Aunt Clarice died suddenly last August. Dad tipped the tractor but only broke his leg. Your 4-H heifer grew up, became a cow, but she died calving -- calf too. We think of you often. Mom and Dad.
"There was dead silence for perhaps a minute," Thorsness relates, as the assembled POWs absorbed the letter:Finally, someone said, "Ray, read it again, maybe there's a hidden meaning." He shook his head. After more encouragement, he read it again. When he got to the part "your speedboat sank," a POW in the back could no longer hold his muffled laugh. When Ray read, "she died calving," the snickers turned into open, uncontrolled laugter.
In six years of prison, there was never a more genuine slap-your-thighs, roll-on-your-side laughter. We were in stitches and couldn't stop. Ray, bless him, realized how ridiculous, how totally inappropriate it was for family to write that letter to someone in prison. He joined in the hilarity.
Now, THAT's funny.
Cinderella vs. the Barracuda
But the comparison is nonetheless revealing. Palin’s selection triggered troughs of bile, vomited up from nearly every respectable liberal quarter. A Florida congressman, and Obama surrogate, insinuated that Palin was a “Nazi sympathizer” and anti-Semite (she’s not, but Caroline Kennedy’s grandfather was). Her by-the-bootstraps story was ridiculed by nearly every ex-debutante newsreader and avowed “feminist” in America.
Meanwhile, Caroline, with a resume perfectly suited to being a Kennedy and little else, is a Cinderella who deserves a Senate seat because, well, she just does.
The Navy's Fighter-Plane-Size UAV, the X-47B, Is Unveiled in California
This is neat. Our military is moving into the future with lightning speed. Consider the evolution of armies.
Beginning with armed mobs,
Then came disciplined armies moving in formation as a single unit.
Then came gunpowder.
Then came aircraf and tanks.
But all of these were masses of men putting their lives on the line.
Now we have unmanned weapons replacing humans on the front lines. And beam weapons replacing impact weapons. Science fiction comes science fact.
The Navy's latest, biggest and baddest unmanned aerial vehicle has just been unveiled. Yesterday in California, Northrup Grumman showed off a completed X-47B Navy Unmanned Combat Air System, the first of two fighter-plane-size UAVs that the company will produce for the U.S. Navy. The second will follow in 2009. The Navy hopes to start flying the X-47Bs next year. The UAV is expected to have the ability to take off from and land on an aircraft carrier, and the Navy plans to start those trials in 2011.
The X-47 was designed to be adept at long-range surveillance because of its large range and high flight ceiling. And despite being a beast—it will have a 62-ft wingspan and weigh around 45,000 pounds at takeoff—the X-47B is designed for stealth. This aircraft shows the Navy's growing embrace of unmanned technology, including both unmanned underwater vehicles and aerial vehicles. But the X-47B would be a technological step forward—besides carrying stealth features, it is supposed to have the ability to execute some maneuvers, such as refueling in midflight, autonomously.
Bleeding Heart Tightwads
It won't work.
Liberals are stingy with their own money for ideological reasons. This is a corollary from the Liberal belief that the answer to any problem is a government program. If there are poor people, people in need, Liberals demand that the government needs to help. And so the existence of government is a reason for not reaching into their own pockets.
But Kristoff is wrong when he says:
Of course, given the economic pinch these days, charity isn’t on the top of anyone’s agenda. Yet the financial ability to contribute to charity, and the willingness to do so, are strikingly unrelated. Amazingly, the working poor, who have the least resources, somehow manage to be more generous as a percentage of income than the middle class.
The fact is that contributions to the poor and needy by conservatives has remained steady during this downturn. Every Salvation Army kettle I pass gets a contribution from me. My contributionto my church this year was larger, and is going to help those in need, not the building fund.
Give generously when times are bad, that's when it's most needed.
General George S. Patton was assassinated to silence his criticism of allied war leaders claims new book
The newly unearthed diaries of a colourful assassin for the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, reveal that American spy chiefs wanted Patton dead because he was threatening to expose allied collusion with the Russians that cost American lives.
The death of General Patton in December 1945, is one of the enduring mysteries of the war era. Although he had suffered serious injuries in a car crash in Manheim, he was thought to be recovering and was on the verge of flying home.
But after a decade-long investigation, military historian Robert Wilcox claims that OSS head General "Wild Bill" Donovan ordered a highly decorated marksman called Douglas Bazata to silence Patton, who gloried in the nickname "Old Blood and Guts".
His book, "Target Patton", contains interviews with Mr Bazata, who died in 1999, and extracts from his diaries, detailing how he staged the car crash by getting a troop truck to plough into Patton's Cadillac and then shot the general with a low-velocity projectile, which broke his neck while his fellow passengers escaped without a scratch.
Mr Bazata also suggested that when Patton began to recover from his injuries, US officials turned a blind eye as agents of the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB, poisoned the general.
Mr Wilcox told The Sunday Telegraph that when he spoke to Mr Bazata: "He was struggling with himself, all these killings he had done. He confessed to me that he had caused the accident, that he was ordered to do so by Wild Bill Donovan.
"Donovan told him: 'We've got a terrible situation with this great patriot, he's out of control and we must save him from himself and from ruining everything the allies have done.' I believe Douglas Bazata. He's a sterling guy."
Patton's injuries and death at the close of WW 2 has been a suject of conjecture ever since. No one else was injured in the crash. Patton was recovering when he died.
Mr Wilcox also tracked down and interviewed Stephen Skubik, an officer in the Counter-Intelligence Corps of the US Army, who said he learnt that Patton was on Stalin's death list. Skubik repeatedly alerted Donovan, who simply had him sent back to the US.
"You have two strong witnesses here," Mr Wilcox said. "The evidence is that the Russians finished the job."
The scenario sounds far fetched but Mr Wilcox has assembled a compelling case that US officials had something to hide. At least five documents relating to the car accident have been removed from US archives.
The driver of the truck was whisked away to London before he could be questioned and no autopsy was performed on Patton's body.
With the help of a Cadillac expert from Detroit, Mr Wilcox has proved that the car on display in the Patton museum at Fort Knox is not the one Patton was driving.
Perhaps enough time has elapsed and some of the truth hidden about WW 2 can now come to light.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
3 Russian warships visit Cold War ally Cuba
Cheney Mocks Biden, Defends Rumsfeld in 'FOX News Sunday' Interview
In a blunt, unapologetic interview on "FOX News Sunday," Cheney fired back at Biden for declaring in October that "Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history."
"He also said that all the powers and responsibilities of the executive branch are laid out in Article I of the Constitution," Cheney said in a interview that was conducted on Friday. "Well, they're not. Article I of the Constitution is the one on the legislative branch."
"Joe's been chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a member of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate for 36 years, teaches constitutional law back in Delaware, and can't keep straight which article of the Constitution provides for the legislature and which provides for the executive. So I think I'd write that off as campaign rhetoric. I don't take it seriously."
A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media
Via Hot Air's Ed Morrissey
In the Bleak Midwinter
I was unable to attend church services today - friends, plans, etc. - so I was not able to hear the choir sing a cantata. This may be a brief substitute. I hope you enjoy.
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.
-- Christina Rossetti, written before 1872, incorporated into The English Hymnal, 1906.
Music: Gustav Holst
Doctors are some of the lousiest investors
But I digress. Doctors are a pain in the ass because they have delusions of superiority.
Many years ago when I was into flying, I read an article about accidents in light planes. At the time, the Beechcraft Bonanza was the Mercedes of private planes. It was fast, it was roomy and it was expensive. It also had a habit of crashing into things … especially in bad weather.
It had nothing to do with the plane. It had to do with the pilot.
Doctors were drawn to it just as doctors are drawn to Mercedes and Lexus cars. Because they can afford them. So your local doctor would buy a Bonanza and go out flying. But because he was a doctor, and doctors are smarter than everybody, he would fly into weather conditions that mere mortals would avoid. And so another Bonanza would end up as scrap metal on the side of a mountain or augur into the ground.
I have dealt with a few doctors in my business as a financial advisor. They always knew my business better than I did. They were relentless readers of tip sheets and financial newsletters. Despite the fact that their income was so high that they could invest their money very conservatively, they were always chasing the “hot dot,” the next big thing. They were suckers for promises of high returns in exotic investments.
Want to find the money to put up a bunch of ethanol plants? Just promise a group of doctors 50% per year and you’ll have all the money you need.
So I was not surprised to find out that a Fairfield, CT medical practice had invested its entire retirement plan with Bernie Madoff.
The Orthopaedic Specialty Group, a Fairfield surgeons' group with 130 doctors and employees, lost its retirement savings when Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme came tumbling down. The group had invested its entire retirement fund with Madoff, according to a report Wednesday in the Connecticut Post.
"For some of us, it's an entire career's worth of work," Dr. Robert Dawe told the Post. Some of the group's doctors had been paying into the retirement fund for 40 years, he said, and were now left worrying about the future.
"I'm not an expert on finance," Dawe told the newspaper. "I'm an expert in orthopedic surgery."
That's what they say now. Back when they decided to invest with Madoff, they were financial Masters of the Universe.
Take Back Barak
My God, you can almost see the dew of desire glimmer on their tattoos and drip from their facial piercings as they think back on all the times their fevered fantasies of the New Jerusalem were titillated. They can still feel and hear that moist tele-prompted tongue rim the inside of their ears and then jab straight into the pleasure centers of their brains. I'm sure Jeff can remember the stirrings in his loins as clearly as DiDi can recall the thrills running up her legs again, and again, and again. As the Obamalations and strokings continued without let up all through those long months, it must have seemed to Jeff and Didi, as it did to Yeats, that:
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
Alas, it is clear -- at least for the moment -- that not only is there not going to be a Second Coming, there's not going to be a First. Instead Jeff and Didi have been hit with a huge case of Barakus Interruptus. They're all fired up with no place to let go.
Good writing. There's more...
Jeff and Didi and their cohort have "done it all" for the O-Man. He'd be nothing without them. Nothing! It doesn't seem to occur to them that all the time they thought they were using Obama as a way to get their soulless sensibilities into power, Obama was using them. Every step of the way. Just as Obama has always used people -- every step of the way until they become inconvenient and then... off to the magic land that lies under the bus.
With progressives Obama has always played his best game. He's the apotheosis of Shelby Steele's black bargainer. As Steele notes in The Obama Bargain,"Though he likes to claim that his race was a liability to be overcome, he also surely knew that his race could give him just the edge he needed -- an edge that would never be available to a white, not even a white woman..
How to turn one's blackness to advantage?
The answer is that one "bargains." Bargaining is a mask that blacks can wear in the American mainstream, one that enables them to put whites at their ease. This mask diffuses the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society. Bargainers make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America's history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer's race against him. And whites love this bargain -- and feel affection for the bargainer -- because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist. So the bargainer presents himself as an opportunity for whites to experience racial innocence.
This is how Mr. Obama has turned his blackness into his great political advantage, and also into a kind of personal charisma. Bargainers are conduits of white innocence, and they are as popular as the need for white innocence is strong. Mr. Obama's extraordinary dash to the forefront of American politics is less a measure of the man than of the hunger in white America for racial innocence
Is the "O" Man too right or too left?
I fear Obama because I believe that his real "plan" is no plan at all. After all, that's the record he ran on, and that's what his campaign was about. Seinfeldian at all points, it was a campaign about nothing. It seems to me that, as he always has, Obama's just making it up as he goes along.
Obama short on Southerners in Cabinet appointments
THE YEAR OF LIVING SCANDALOUSLY
It was an historic moment in the nation's history - a year when old barriers fell.
It was a year when one word filled the air - change.
It was a year Democrats came to believe in the audacity of hope.
Or maybe just plain audacity.
One governor was caught with his pants (but not his socks) off, hooking up with an aspiring singer who preferred cash payments and called customers by their numbers. Another was discovered trying to sell a Senate seat in language not allowed on HBO mob shows (and anyway, viewers would have dismissed the plot as too preposterous).
In a year when Republicans were out-spent and out-voted in the election, they were also out-corrupted at every turn. Sure, some valiantly tried to keep the GOP end up - Ted Stevens, former senator from Alaska, insisted the chair given to him as a gift wasn't really his, even if it was sitting in his living room. And Vito Fossella went for that old chestnut, the second family on the side.
But these trifles pale in comparison to Kwame Kilpatrick, mayor of Detroit, who used the city's credit cards for his own pimpin' lifestyle, which included inviting strippers over to his official residence. When his wife unexpectedly arrived home, she proceeded to beat up one of the exotic dancers. Since his term had officially become an episode of "Flavor of Love," Kilpatrick upped the ante - exchanging 14,000 text messages with his chief of staff Christine Beatty. Some were about business, exposing a "Friends and Family plan" of preferential granting of city contracts. Most, however, were about whether they wanted the double suite at the Days Inn. Or the fact that Kilpatrick text messages like a 16-year-old girl: "I need you soooo bad." Can I get a woot woot?
New York's congressional delegation included Charlie Rangel, who brushed away weekly accusations of tax evasion, housing chicanery, bad beach fashions and favors for his favorite donors with a boastful, "go ahead! Investigate me!" Knowing full well that any investigation would declare him innocent, no matter the evidence; Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised him.
Defiance, in fact, is the default mood among the corrupt. This week, Rod Blagojevich said he refuses to resign as governor of Illinois. And why would he? Having lived through decades of scandal, those who are caught seemed shocked to realize that they must pay a price. Didn't my predecessors sell Senate seats, or my peers hand them out as goodwill gestures to new presidents (looking at you, David Paterson)? This is the way the Democratic Party operates - why are they changing the rules on me?
It would be comical to watch if it wasn't so depressing - or so important to our future.
When Eliot Spitzer proved that he couldn't be satisfied with a beautiful wife and the top job in the state, the seat fell to the woeful Paterson, who opened his term by confessing to everything from drug use to adultery. When "Saturday Night Live" claimed his life was an actual Richard Pryor movie, it wasn't comedy, it was documentary. If New Yorkers hadn't been so exhausted with Client No. 9, would they have had the patience for a governor whose chief aide then said he hadn't paid taxes in five years because he didn't feel like it?
Instead we're left with an administration whose imaginative solution to the fiscal crisis is 137 new taxes, forcing us to pay more for everything from beer to music to cabs. The middle class will be driven out of New York, and our city's destiny will have been mortgaged on a hooker from New Jersey.
Some will argue that all politics corrupts all politicians. Maybe so. But this year's avalanche of distractions came primarily from the left side of the aisle. The amount, the breadth and the ridiculousness of the scandals is depressing, all the more so because this is the party to which America just handed all the seats of power.
Barack Obama's victory did make this year a historic one. But he can make 2009 a historic one as well - by bringing "change" to his own house first.
And veteran Chicago politician Obama has not even been sworn in yet!
PETER WALLISON: THE ROOTS OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
"Government isn't the solution to the problem, government is the problem."
Conason: What's Obama Hiding? According to Conason: Nothing!
Well I can’t speak for everyone in the press, but if I can use Joe Conason as a bellwether, every story begins with the assumption that Obama and his team did nothing wrong. In fact, Conason goes even father, claiming that Obama has been “exonerated.”
While the Blagojevich scandal so far has exonerated rather than implicated Barack Obama and his staff, the president-elect's camp has made some unnecessary mistakes in response. Inflated and distorted by hostile critics, those mistakes have risked creating public suspicion where there need be none.
So it seems that the only problem Obama has is one that he has created for himself; his failure to respond “properly.” I firmly predict that this will be the theme of virtually all the MSM’s reports on this issue: the virginal Obama drawn into a tawdry scandal by poor staff work.
It all depends on the meaning of words.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The MSM Much More Understanding of Corruption When It Involves Democrats
David Gregory explains all:
Some of these quotes minimizing Chicago corruption are jaw-dropping. Especially given the media's conniptions about the so-called "Republican Culture of Corruption." (And bear in mind -- Republicans have institutional corruption; Democrats merely have a few bad apples who strayed from the One True Faith.)
Here's David Gregory, urging us all to take chill-pill about government corruption, and stop being such babies about it:"(A)t the heart of all politics is pay to play. Yes. There's a thin line between expectations and shakedown. But do any of us really believe that the people who raise huge sums of money for a particular political candidate aren't expecting something for their efforts? Do we really believe that a person who is vested with the power to give away a Senate seat isn't going to give it to the person who will somehow do him or her the most good?"Challenge to lefties: Dig up an equivalent quote by Gregory "contextualizing" and minimizing, say, the Abramoff scandal, or Enron, or Mark Foley.
When It's the Democrats, the Media Falls Silent
At Newsbusters What About the Democrats’ 'Culture of Corruption?'
We are now a week into the wall-to-wall coverage of the tape recorded fall of Senate seat auctioneer and sometime Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. But there has always been a distinctly different tenor from the media in stories involving scandalized Democrats compared to their reports on corrupt Republicans.
During the 2006 mid-term elections, the news world was saturated with talk of a GOP "Culture of Corruption," a Democratic slogan repeated incessantly by the traditional media. The press cast three bad Congressmen and a single scamming lobbyist as representative of an entire Party gone bad, and their incessant drumbeat helped drive the GOP out of power.
Meanwhile, one prominent Democrat after another has been tinged with scandal, but the media has yet to stamp their Party as "Culturally Corrupt."
Last election cycle, we had the theme-busting story of Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson indicted on sixteen counts of bribery after $90,000 turned up in his freezer. Also breaking the mold was West Virginia Democratic Congressman Alan Mollohan, who spent the better part of the decade earmarking himself from rags to riches.
And let's not forget
New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel has been accused of preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company whose chief executive had pledged $1 million to a school of public service named for him, illegally holding four New York City rent-controlled properties, failing to claim rental income on his place in the Dominican Republic and expensing to us taxpayers a leased Mercedes, amongst other acts of malfeasance.
And Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Dodd got a sweet deal on his Countrywide home mortgage in exchange for helping oppose Republican attempts at oversight of the collapsing lender. There have been others.
But all of this somehow fails to rise to the media's "Culture of Corruption" standard.
And that's just the Donkeys in Washington. There was also New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer and his penchant for really expensive prostitutes. And Detroit Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, ousted from office after pleading guilty to charges of obstruction of justice and perjury. (For added Culture we have his mother, Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.)
And if ever there was a distilled-to-its-essence "Culture of Corruption," Chicago's Machine is it. And Blago is the latest and perhaps greatest example of how the Toddling Town does business.
With all this going on, the MSM keeps insisting that there is a virgin in this whorehouse...
CBS asserted that GOP attempts to tie Obama to Blagojevich were "a tough sell," and that:"Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich have both been leaders in Illinois Democratic politics for years, but long-time observers say that's about as far as the connection goes."
Reuters gave us the dismissive headline and story "Obama seen untouched by Illinois governor charges."
NBC's Lee Cowan appeared to be not just indifferent to Chicago's Corruption Culture, but accepting of it. And asserted that Blago's fraudulence was in fact not of his doing, but was inexorably preordained due to his hailing from the Windy City."Governor Rod Blagojevich is just the latest squeaky wheel in Chicago's political machine. Although he promised to be different, he fell victim, prosecutors allege, to history."
Cowan's NBC colleague -- and newly minted Meet the Press moderator -- David Gregory was equally understanding of all things politics being dirty. A "courtesy" he certainly did not extend to the Republicans in 2006."(A)t the heart of all politics is pay to play. Yes. There's a thin line between expectations and shakedown. But do any of us really believe that the people who raise huge sums of money for a particular political candidate aren't expecting something for their efforts? Do we really believe that a person who is vested with the power to give away a Senate seat isn't going to give it to the person who will somehow do him or her the most good?"
While Cowan and Gregory found the Chicago political morass to be inevitably corrupting, Newsweek's Howard Fineman insisted that Obama had emerged from it unscathed. And that it was his inexperience that saved him."Among Obama's many gifts are luck-and a knack for not staying long enough in any one place to be corrupted by the local culture... Obama managed to be allied with, but not really captured by, a host of Chicago and Illinois factions."
Fineman admits the Obama-Blago Nexis is strong, but ultimately unaffecting of the President-to be."Yes, Obama was an early supporter and adviser in 2002, when Blago first ran for governor and Obama was positioning himself to run for U.S. Senate in 2004. Yes, Obama allies Rahm Emanuel and David Wilhelm (but not David Axelrod) did work on that campaign. But Obama had the sense to keep his distance-and he essentially got out of town before Blago went wild."
The Washington Post's Eli Saslow was just as sure as Fineman of Obama's spotlessness in his piece entitled "Obama Worked to Distance Self from Blagojevich Early On."
And PBS's Jim Lehrer nicely summed it all up for media men and women everywhere, asking of the 76-page indictment of a sitting Governor "What's the big deal here?"
Nope, no culture of curruption here, just a few misled boys, the party of good government, and the virgin.
GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE
Powerful winter storm cuts power, disrupts travel...
Races from Midwest to Northeast...
WATCH: NYC May Get 8 Inches...
CHICAGO: Do Not Drive, Public Told...
BOSTON: State Workers Kept Home...
Dangerous Cold Sweeps into East...