April 21, 2009 - April 14, 2009
. One minute they were there, the next they were
gone. Maybe it was something we said. They're from South Carolina,
where the chain gang profession is so old it has acquired a culture and
mystique all its own. Quite independent. Or so I'm told.
All we know for sure is that the old homestead seems kind of empty
without them. No one else could have come up with the perfect bromide
for all the most egregious sins of our selfish age. No one else called
election ahead of time with such deadly and scathing certainty. And
no one else in the entire blogosphere
ever gave a moment's attention to what Mrs. Bill
O'Reilly might be thinking about anything at all.
So. If you happen to come across some wandering troop of shackled prisoners who have as one of their number a displaced Canadian hockey player, tell them to call home. We've got ALL NEW locks and chains and uniforms for them, plus brand new admin support in the form of helpful "prisoners' aides." See?
It wouldn't do to keep her waiting. Just last night she said she was
feeling "kind of restless." We don't know what that means, but it
doesn't sound entirely good.
Are these headlines worth even electronic column inches? You be the
Politician Lies Like Hell.
Palestinian Conflict has Ebb, Flow.
Come to think of it, "Ebb, Flow" is apropos.
I imagine a kid dashing around a sunny beach, wearing his father's jacket as a trenchcoat, introducing himself as "Cub Reporter" to all and sundry. He spends the entire vacation assaulting adults with questions from his little notebook, declaiming "dispatches from the front" via his driftwood microphone, reporting on anything and everything that's going on. "The Drudge family had pork chops for dinner." "We are going (BEAT) back to the beach tomorrow morning at 9." "The lady with the really big top was staring at the lifeguard all afternoon." Even when he's on the verge of sunstroke, he can dig new scoops from the soggy sand: "That last tide was bigger than the three before. The weird-looking guy on the jetty is thinking we're in for it. You heard it here first" Always in that child's clumsy imitation of a "Last Chopper Out of Saigon" intonation. The boy journalist version of the Steven Spielberg kid from hell we'd all like to clock with a huge jagged (nerf) rock on that STOOPID hat. [The Boss made me put in the parenthetical. But you know what I mean and, what's more, you agree with me. Enough said.]
Yes, I'm busting Matt's balls harder than necessary. I love me some wicked, rumor-dripping, anonymously sourced, WTF-is-he-up-to-now Drudge Report, same as you. Thing is, the only criticism ever directed toward the guy is of the "he's a footsoldier in the vast right-wing conspiracy" variety (and the attendant ad-hominem slander). Doesn't take a thick skin to brush off that brand of crazy. Recognizing his Hindenberg-sized sense of self-importance as being in place well before he even dreamed of having political convictions... that's an Indian Burn of a different color. I encourage you all to parrot it verbatim.
Okay. I admit it. Even I was
embarassed by what Drudge did to Prince
Harry, the Ginger Wizard of the Windsors. And the thought that
right now Matt the Mug is hugging himself with glee over it is more
than I can stand. It makes you want to bulldoze Walter Winchell
his unsanctified grave, stuff the soulless remains into the Drudge url
stick of dynamite, and blow his yellow journalist ass UP, spraying his
rotten innerds all over the scummy walls of the Internet. All right.
Now I'm hyperventilating. Where's my bag?
Don't be alarmed. Keep on keeping on. Anything that sounds like
laughing here is cognitive dissonance. Yours. Not mine.
. Global Warming fans were stunned this week when Daily
Tech reported the following:
Leading climatologists were quick to respond, however, proving with
PowerPoint charts and abundant hand gestures that the sudden drop in
global temperatures does not indicate any error in the unanimous
worldwide scientific consensus that the earth is being mugged by human
CO2 emissions. Noted biochemist Leonardo di Caprio said, "There's
nothing whatever wrong with the science we've been making up on the
climate change question. In fact, what we're seeing in the new data is
that our efforts to halt Global Warming through human lifestyle changes
have been sensationally successful."
Di Caprio showed spectacular graphics created by Industrial Light and Magic which traced plummeting temperatures to a dangerous bubble in the burgeoning carbon credits market. In particular, he explained, heavy investments by celebrity carbon consumers in buying offsets for their private jet travel, mansions, and vast entourages have created a dramatic surplus in the market, thus precipitating an exorbitantly excessive decrease in energy usage worldwide.
A related phenomenon, called "doubling down", has further exacerbated the market crisis. For example, superior citizens of Earth like Nobel Prize-winning climate expert Al Gore used to buy carbon credits while continuing to consume 20 to 30 times the energy used by the ordinary and unknown people they were proselytizing to save the planet. But due to the unscrupulous pressure of right-wing climate-change deniers, many celebrities actually began to make modest reductions in their own carbon consumption. Al Gore, whose lifestyle habits were nobody's business, nevertheless "doubled down" by reducing the energy drain caused by his Christmas tree:
"Once again," said di Caprio, "Vicious Republican hate-mongers have pushed the world to a new tipping point, one that will require even more drastic globally enforced controls on the economies and personal lives of citizens around the world."
Asked "Huh?" by the assembled press, di Caprio responded that the planet's climate is obviously far more sensitive to its interactions with the human "disease" than even the most brilliantly gloomy of scientists had estimated. This means that for the foreseeable future, every particle of energy usage by ordinary people must be monitored, regulated, and where necessary punished to the maximum by the people who know more than average people do about everything. Almost all national governments, for example, will have to be replaced by committees of scientists and celebrities who can talk like scientists. "We have no choice," di Caprio said. "Time has obviously already run out. 'The Day After Tomorrow' is now."
In terms of weathering the current crisis, di Caprio was somewhat more optimistic. "We can reverse the present overcorrection through a few well considered 'tweaks'," he assured reporters. "For the short term, all that's needed is for celebrities to resume their old carbon-consuming lifestyles and, perhaps, to suspend participation in the carbon credits market. I'm trying to set a leadership example myself by trading my Prius in for a V-10 Dodge Viper convertible and quitting my old affectation of taking commercial flights rather than hitching rides on one of Travolta's two dozen jets."
What should ordinary folks do? "Stay the course," di Caprio said. "We
can't possibly afford a return to the apocalyptic energy usage levels
that precipitated Global Warming in the first place. If you're some 40K
a year jerk in Sheboygan and you've been recycling and driving the
brood around in a 30 mpg Jap tin can, keep on doing that. We're
counting on you. And we'll let you know immediately if there are more
sacrifices we need you to make.
"Remember," he intoned, "Earth itself is hanging in the balance."
That's what we've heard anyway.
. Somebody has to talk about
what's happening here and what it means. We're in the process of seeing
the canniest pair of politicians in American history reduced to
humiliated ruin at their own game, by a rank newcomer, after starting
their campaign with a gigantic lead. So far, all the leading lights are
still discussing this startling outcome in terms of the campaign only.
For example, WAPO media
critic Howard Kurtz is groping
his way through the subject, thus:
I've previously stated my own belief that America is ready for a black president.
I've also said that race is a three-edged
sword, which I explained, like the rest of the herd, in campaign
But those who have been observing a related phenomenon called the Bradley Effect are
concluding that so far at least, it's not nearly the hindrance we might
Yes, what happens in the campaign, and why, is interesting and
but what nobody is yet contemplating is the effect such matters might
have on a presidency -- you know, the thing that comes after a presidential campaign. I
guess I'm elected.
I'll start by returning to the subject of the Clintons. I know I had Clinton fatigue long before the Democrats did. When Hillary was still riding high in the polls, I asked:
Hillary's stock has plunged like Victoria Falls since then, but note
that nothing I cited ever became an issue in the campaign. There were
plenty of murmurs, of course, but only in the righty blogs, who have
always been part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" the Clintons
succeeded in pinning Bill's, uh, troubles on in the past. None of it
stopped the party establishment from regarding the controversial,
of an impeached ex-president as the "inevitable" heir to the Democrat
nomination for the presidency of the United States. Despite the
continuous, unending reams of scandals, large and small, the political
pundits saw Hillary as formidable and probably unstoppable. Certainly,
they expressed no early interest in stopping her themselves.
Now, though, the Conventional Wisdom is that Hillary ran a bad campaign, that she was a bad candidate, that the fabled Clinton magic had, like the Fonz of Happy Days, somehow "jumped the shark" and lost its mystical feel for the heart of the American electorate. Poor Hillary is suddenly a sad female hammerhead whose latest jump was a bridge too far. Isn't that the new narrative?
It's bunk. All of it. Make no mistake. The Clintons, both of them, are master politicians, whatever the weaknesses of their ethics, ambitions, and policies. In a curiously American way, the nakedness of their Machiavellian maneuverings was always part of their allure. That's why Bill was deemed the first black president. You could see the game he was playing every step of the way, but he was so damned good at it, and charming to boot, that you let him take you in. Because he also knew that you knew, and he counted on you understanding that he was half sincere and half self-serving rogue.Which is to say that he was a pure politician and purely American -- in that he was never claiming to be better than you in absolute terms, but only at working the system on his AND your behalf. That's how he skated through the Lewinsky scandal and kept his approval ratings higher than all those dully virtuous presidents who didn't enter the Oval Office and see it as a stationary exoticar pussy-magnet.
The blanket, knowing forgiveness that gave Bill his two terms was also extended to his wife -- whose personal travails we all understood without her ever coming clean about them. As a people, we accepted her marriage of convenience and saw it as the dues she had paid to become just as pure a politician as her rapscallion husband. Despite her seeming lack of humor, that was the joke the members of her party were willing to share with her without forcing the punchline to be uttered out loud.
So now it's all over. A long, deeply committed relationship axed via text message, What can do that? Only an infatuation. All the durable lovers have deserted them -- blacks, feminists, poor single mothers dying for another chance to be betrayed by yet another sweet-talking user, and even the unionists who have always known their cause depended absolutely on smiling corruption. Momentarily at least, they have all forgotten that American politics is about finding the best politicians who are willing to be on your side for a price you can both agree on without spoiling the pleasure between the sheets at least one of you is counting on. They've forgotten everything, including the basic nature of the transaction.
You see, Hillary was never a femme fatale. That's the role Obama has stolen. He's the mysterious, alluring, elusive siren, arousing, intoxicatingly seductive, remote but poetic, blade strong yet easily wounded and possessed of myriad vulnerablilities, all of which must be observed, placated, avoided, kow-towed to, and appeased. He is running for the position of national Greta Garbo.
A romance made in heaven, to be sure, the stuff of dreams. But what if, underneath it all, he too is a politician. What if he should turn out to be simply a different kind of manipulator than the Clintons -- not the jolly whore of our egalitarian tradition but a greedy mistress with a grievance and a murderous grudge?
Down to earth. If the Clintons can't make a dent in the campaign of a coolly ambitious, non-African-American, Ivy League Chicago machine politician, what will any of of us be able to do if he turns out to be inept, short-sighted, vengeful, corrupt, or actively seditious? If some clumsy American politician accidentally says something to offend his 300K-a-year Princetonian executive wife, for example, will we all have to apologize -- or pay in some other coin? If he violates his vow to uphold the Constitution, will we have the recourse we would have with mere politicians? Or will every voice -- in politics and the press -- fall silent, because raising an objection of any kind is tantamount to a hate crime?
What stories will not be pursued by the already horrifyingly cowardly PC media? What legitimate policy objections will not be posed by senators and congressmen who are already living in daily fear that their most inadvertent verbal slip will bring down 400 years worth of resentment on their heads?
Think about it. If the "First Black President" has already been made to look a bigot for daring to promote his wife's candidacy over Obama's, what chance do the rest of us have in the next four or eight years if we start to see in Obama a Carter, a Ferrakhan, or Quisling? No matter what he does, he could never be impeached. It's debatable whether he could ever be criticized. Let alone mauled and mocked and belittled day after day like a Bush or a, uh, Bush.
The first black President must be a politican, not a messiah. We've already seen what happens when teflon meets a halo. The halo wins. Without even being responsive. The truth is -- and this is not racist, but statistically valid -- that the first black president really can't coast unexamined into office; he has an absolute moral obligation to demonstrate with full candor and understanding that he isn't Marion Barry, Alcee Hastings, William Jefferson, Ray Nagin, or all the mayors of Newark, Detroit, and Philadelphia who have ridden the horse of jury nullification into sinecures of power only to abuse that power in systematic ways while branding all who objected to their corruption as bigots.
What we cannot afford at this time in our history is a sainted Jimmy Carter, a well educated Huey Long, or a closet Castro..
Inquire of yourselves -- again and again -- how did a neophyte take down the Clintons?
This weekend, read ALL of the following pieces and then ask, how well do you really know this obviously clever and oh-so-ambitious man?
Obama's Women Reveal His Secret.
What You Didn't Know About Obama and Rezko.
More on That Canadian Television Story about Obama and NAFTA.
Walking on Eggshells.
Granted, it's a lot of reading. But you've got all weekend. Unless Brizoni gets off his ass and contributes something more amusing.
A final thought. If you forgave the Clintons because at least we always knew the game they were playing, how sure ARE you you know the game the Obamas are playing. Me, I don't have a clue.
The eulogies are all over the web, and they are well worth reading. All
I will add is that too many of them make it sound as if we have lost
William F. Buckley. We haven't. Thanks to his writings and the vast
electronic memory of the media age we live in -- which he helped create
-- we have more than a monument to his memory. We have his wit, his
intelligence, his personal warmth and rhetorical fire, his inconography
as a giant who transcended his own caricature of himself, and we even
have the twinkle in his eye at the touch of a button. It is not mere
metaphor to say that he is still out there sailing his beloved ocean,
grinning as he looks back at us through the spray of the waves.
Bon voyage, Mr. Buckley.