Instapun*** Archive Listing

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January 18, 2011 - January 11, 2011

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Obama the Antichrist?


Democrat Race-Baiting:
An Alternate Explanation

Some things really can take you all the way down.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?  There's been something of a Cheshire Cat grin about the various conservative responses to the Democrats' playing of the race card the way they have over the past few days. They're pretty unanimous, and smug, about declaring it stupid. A few samples. First, Krauthammer on Special Report, sitting next to an obviously defensive Juan WIlliams:

Look, this charge is so stupid. It is also so offensive, and it's [so] lacking in any evidence of any kind that…this only helps the Republicans. And that's why the White House is not playing into it.

National Review's Jonah Goldberg was witty and withering:

[W]hen it became clear that Carter had turned this “debate” from mere fraud to farce, it suddenly dawned on some Democrats, including those in the White House, that smearing millions of constituents and swing voters (many of whom voted for Obama) as racists isn’t the best politics. So one cheer for those who objected to this idiocy too little and far too late.

But others just won’t let go. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times hears Rep. Joe Wilson shout, “You lie!” And her instinctive response is: “Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”

It’s the “fair or not” that gives Dowd away. She admits to hearing racism whether or not it’s warranted. That’s called prejudice. And unlike Wilson’s foolish outburst, Dowd’s was carefully considered. Dowd, Carter and Sharpton can’t grasp that conservatives are less hung up on race than they are and that we can get past Obama’s skin color. “Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it,” writes Dowd. She’s right. She’s one of them.

The Green Room's Karl was similarly triumphalist:

For Carter to be correct, we would have to assume that a large portion of the population was unaware in late 2008 and early 2009 that Barack Obama is a person of color, or that an increasing portion of the public is turning racist. Occam’s Razor suggests the correct answer is that Carter is an unhinged, race-baiting demagogue....

The picture that emerges may not be that of clever, biased journalists highlighting extremism on the Right and whitewashing it on the Left. The picture may be of intellectually lazy, incurious, knee-jerk liberal journalists for whom the extremism of the Left does not register as all that extreme, and for whom the concerns of half the population do not even register as legitimate subjects of news coverage.

In short, we may be looking at a case for Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” Of course, I would not want to engage in the same sort of gross generalizations discussed above. Life is just too complex for that. Accordingly, we could also employ Heinlein’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”

I could go on, but that's the gist. I don't know about you, but I always get nervous when conservatives turn their back on the supposedly vanquished enemy and start taking bows. In my experience, that's usually the time to be especially vigilant, if not for a knife in the back then for a missed opportunity.

InstaPunk has a Razor of his own: Never attribute to sheer malice or stupidity that which can be explained by mortal fear.

I don't think this sudden racist offensive is even primarily about opposition to Obama's healthcare plan and other socialist policies. That's the supreme misdirection the lefties are trying to get away with. It's a desperate gambit to be sure, with a ton of potential downside consequences, but what if those consequences are more acceptable than what they're really afraid of?

While they're all pointing fingers at a handful of Washington Tea Party signs that feature inflammatory racial imagery, let's not forget that this is also the week in which the sprawling ACORN edifice has been dealt a shockingly unexpected knockdown blow. Is it coincidence that this is also the week that Time Magazine has -- responding with quite impressive speed -- assembled a hatchet job cover story on former radio-talk flyweight Glenn Beck?

LOOK! A Time cover without an Obama on it.

Think about it. Why increase Beck's celebrity by attacking him if he really is only the fringe "madman" we're supposed to think he is? What if the truth is that he's sitting on so much dynamite that he has to be discredited before he can do more damage, regardless of the downside risk that publicity will increase his viewership and his power? That begins to seem like panic.

Everyone's expecting Obama's whirlwind tour of the Sunday news shows to put an end to the racial discussion. Maybe it will. But I'm not so sure. I think there's a good chance he'll be bland in his dismissals without actually insisting that such apparently suicidal charges stop. He may, as is his custom, vote 'present' on being aware of the issues but refuse to denounce and demand an end to the tactics of his rabid defenders. Which means tacit permission for them to continue. That's certainly consistent with the way the White House has handled the firestorm thus far: sure, Obama doesn't believe it's racial, and he would deeply regret it if it were, but his job is to let all the political distractions sort themselves out while he does the people's business... (and where have we heard that line before?)

If that's how it shakes out, the motivation of the Democrats and the media is stark terror about the looming possibility of an ACORN scandal that can't be contained. The most interesting thing about the votes in the Senate and House to suspend certain parts of ACORN funding isn't the senators and congressmen who voted to stop their funding; it's the 8 senators and 75 congressmen who voted to continue that funding. If they're all in so deep that they couldn't not vote for ACORN, that would be the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the U.S. Congress. If this is the real problem, the lefty racism offensive is not a last ditch attempt to salvage the health care and cap-and-trade bills, but a preemptive strike intended to provide cover against the sordid facts any real investigation of ACORN might tie to 15 percent or more members of congress and the President of the United States.

Two key facts that must not be overlooked. ACORN cannot be separated from the racial makeup of its membership. And any intensive investigation of ACORN will eliminate any possibility of separating Barack Obama from the activities of ACORN.

I'm not going to quote from it at all, but sound investigative work has already been done on the relationship between Obama and ACORN. Its author was the recipient of some of the most nakedly demagogic tactics employed during the Obama presidential campaign (which is saying something). The work was done by Stanley Kurtz, one of whose carefully researched articles is here.

Read it. (Yes, I mean you too, the one who never follows the links from InstaPunk because it's simpler to get the lowdown from the post itself. This time you have to read it all the way through.)

It could be that the facts are so scandalous that the only hope the Dems have left is to be able to claim that even starting an investigation is a malignant proof that all the president's opponents are hardcore racists.

Should conservatives be dancing in the end zone, jeering at Dem stupidity? Or should they be paying very close attention in the huddle, mapping the game-winning drive? You tell me.

btw, acorns are not by nature insignificant, isolated things. In case you forgot.

From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow.

Good seeds produce good trees. What do bad seeds produce?

Lots on the line. And don't overlook this. Phony mortgages are trying to make another comeback. Wile E. Coyote always made a comeback too. Why the Roadrunner had to keep running....


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Althouse Syndrome

Mainstream Mama: "None so blind..."

INSTAPUNDIT'S OTHER WOMAN. What's not to like about Ann Althouse? She's highly intelligent, a law professor, attractive, a decent writer, and marvelously even tempered, especially by the admittedly chaotic standards here. As a devout moderate (whom we've commented on before in that regard, and here and here), she's a kind of litmus test of what's going on with the so-called 'Independents' right now. Her blog also attracts some talented commenters, which we'll have more to say about later. Here's what she has to say about all the charges of racism that are flying around at the moment:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jimmy Carter says "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president"... and asserts that Joe Wilson's "You lie!" was "based on racism."

Lots of people who voted for Obama believed that his election would reflect the extent to which Americans had moved beyond racism. That was part of why some people voted for him. Little did we realize that it would turn every criticism of the President into an occasion to make an accusation of racism. Racism is revolting, but so is the notion that we aren't allowed to criticize a President!

Jimmy Carter's supremely sleazy accusation requires a solid, sound rebuke. It is an effort to place the President of the United States beyond criticism.

Imagine if, before last year's election, someone had argued: If a black man becomes President, anyone who dares to criticize him will be called a racist.

1. I would have viewed that argument itself as racist. If that is really true, I would have said, then it means that we have to vote against the candidate because he is black, since it is not acceptable to have a President who can't be criticized.

2. I would also have said: It is racist to say that it's racist to criticize a black President, because you are being patronizing and you are saying that a black person needs to be coddled and protected in some special way that doesn't apply to white people.

Jimmy Carter is doing something that, before the election, he would not have revealed that he planned to do. It is a low and despicable political move that he should be ashamed of.

And since demanding apologies is all the rage, let me say that I would like the wizened old husk of a former President to beg our forgiveness.

Hold your fire, everyone. What's really important about this post is the response of her commenters, most of whom are her regulars, the ones who keep coming back because they like a lot of what she has to say. She is, after all, smart and articulate and routinely makes shrewd points when her principal devotions are not on the line. What I'm asking you IP readers to do is read her commenters, some hundred of them on this post, generally polite and well spoken but amazingly in agreement on a few basic points. Keep reading as long as you can. You might feel better about the national political atmosphere.

You're free, even encouraged, to cherry-pick your favorites and cite them in your own comments here. Some are gems of concise wit and wisdom. I'll start the ball rolling with my own favorite so far, by a commenter named "Lucid" (How cool is that?)

The culture of affirmative action is a major part of the reason we are hearing the nonsense that criticisms of Obama are motivated by racism.

Affirmative action policies displace fairness with unfair preferences for "protected" groups. Beneficiaries of affirmative... action have a strong vested interest in its continuation -- ask any appplicant to a competitive college, law, or medical school.

But the continuation of affirmative action policies requires a victim and an oppressor. Thus, the continuation of affirmative action requires not an end to racism, but its perpetuation in the myths and narratives of the culture. And one of the best ways to do this is by accusing white folks of racism.

Those who benefit from affirmative action literally cannot afford to not accuse others of a pervasive racism. And at this point in our history, the truth is that racism among blacks against whites is much, much more extensive than white racism about blacks. Blacks often don't even recognize it. This is why Obama could sit for 20 years listening to Jeremiah Wright's racist rants and think it was no big deal. Because in the black community, it is no big deal.

The advantage of the discussion we are having now--and of Obama's election as president--is that it opens up the secret, hermetically sealed racism of the black community, and its unwarranted sense of special entitlements and dispensations, to the frictive and dissolving effects of free speech. But expect the beneficiaries of affirmative action and of the mythos of racism to scream bloody murder.

Jeez. Reminds me of some of you...

If you don't understand why I'm linking this or if you want more of my thinking on what it all means, ask your questions. I'll do an early update if one seems appropriate.

Not the ACORN I knew...

(Graphic stolen from NRO and slightly enhanced.)

LONG TIME IN THE MAKING. What impresses me time and again in the new administration is the way that hysterical charges endlessly repeated against George W. Bush are actually true of the Obama regime. As if, with some eerie prescience, the Democrats knew what they'd be guilty of when they regained power and made sure to cuisinart future, more accurate accusations into gray mush before those accusations came true for real. I feel it every time I try to write about the political crisis we're now in. Obama is the biggest liar I've ever witnessed in the presidency. He's the closest thing to a pure power-hungry authoritarian I've ever seen. He really does seem to be conspiring actively against the nation and ordinary civil liberties. He really does seem to be in league with foreign powers who want to use the United States government in the interests of oil oligarchs, currency speculators, and a handful of friendly special-interest dictators and billionaires. He really does seem to be partnering, in some insane way, with Osama bin Laden. He really does seem to see the power of the executive as a way to punish demographics he doesn't like and enrich the demographics he does.

All of these were charges levied by the left against George W. Bush. And every time Obama is obviously guilty of some similar transgression, the lefties come out to yell that "Bush lied us into war," "Bush destroyed our rights with the Patriot Act,"  "Bush went to war for his cronies in Big Oil," "Bush knew about or even planned 9/11, with or without bin Laden," and "Bush used Katrina to commit genocide against African-Americans." That's right. Bush was a stone racist on top of everything else.

This is what's particularly scary to me right now. There are so many parallels between the empty rhetoric surrounding Bush and the reality of Obama that it causes me to wonder just how extreme the leftist agenda all that earlier spate of accusations was laying the groundwork for. I won't venture into the field of paranoid speculations that I now believe are entirely justified. Instead, I'll go back to the first thing.

The first thing is an incredibly important thing. Obama is a liar. Not just occasionally, haphazardly, ignorantly. He is a dedicated, pathological liar. All of these are from before the election. The lies he's told since then are even more outrageous.

All Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them.

By popular demand, the list of expired Obama statements...

Consumers should be aware that promises, pledged, and soul-healing rhetoric are only effective for a limited time; upon expiration they become "just words."


STATEMENT: “Based on the conversations we’ve had internally as well as external reports, we believe that you can get one to two brigades out a month. At that pace, the forces would be out in approximately 16 months from the time that we began. That would be the time frame that I would be setting up,” Obama to the New York Times, November 1, 2007

EXPIRATION DATE: March 7, 2008: Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power, to the BBC: “You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”

Also: July 3, 2008: "My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything I've said, was always premised on making sure our troops were safe," Obama told reporters as his campaign plane landed in North Dakota. "And my guiding approach continues to be that we've got to make sure that our troops are safe, and that Iraq is stable. And I'm going to continue to gather information to find out whether those conditions still hold."

STATEMENT: On June 14, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice called the RNC’s argument that Obama needed to go to Iraq to get a firsthand look "complete garbage."

EXPIRATION DATE: On June 16, Obama announced he would go to Iraq and Afghanistan “so he can see first hand the progress of the wars he would inherit if he's elected president.”


STATEMENT: May 16, 2008: "If John McCain wants to meet me, anywhere, anytime to have a debate about our respective policies in Iraq, Iran, the Middle East or around the world that is a conversation I’m happy to have."

EXPIRATION DATE: June 13, 2008: Obama campaign manager David Plouffe: “Barack Obama offered to meet John McCain at five joint appearances between now and Election Day—the three traditional debates plus a joint town hall on the economy in July [on the Fourth of July] and an in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”


STATEMENT: “We can, then, more effectively deal with what I consider to be one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and world peace, and that is Iran,” Obama speaking to American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago, March 5, 2007

EXPIRATION DATE:  “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny...They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.” – May 20, 2008

STATEMENT: Question at the YouTube debate, as the video depicted leaders of the countries, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?....."

"I would," Obama answered. July 27, 2007

EXPIRATION DATE: May 10, 2008: Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate: “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”


STATEMENT: "I could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I could disown my own grandmother."

—Barack Obama, March 18, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE: on April 28, 2008, cut all ties to Wright, declaring, “based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought.”

STATEMENT: Obama said that his church, “Trinity United "embodies the black community in its entirety" and that his church was being caricatured on March 18, 2008.

EXPIRATION DATE: On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership at Trinity United Church.


STATEMENT: Criticism of running mate vetter Jim Johnson loan from Countrywide was "a game" and that his vice-presidential vetting team “aren’t folks who are working for me.” June 10, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE: June 11, 2008, when Obama accepted Johnson's resignation.


STATEMENT: Obama spokesman Bill Burton on October 24, 2007: “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

EXPIRATION DATE: June 20, 2008: “Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor the program.”


STATEMENT: “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.” Barack Obama, December 30, 2007

EXPIRATION DATE: The above statement actually was the expiration date for his previous position, “I actually think we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix,” expressed on July 23, 2007; the above statement expired when he told Democratic governors he thought it is “worth investigating its further development” on June 20, 2008.


STATEMENT:  Tim Russert:: Senator Obama . . .  Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, "This has not worked for us; we are out"?

Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.” February 23, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE:  June 18, 2008, Fortune magazine: “Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.

"I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally," Obama said. "I'm a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can make this work for all people."


STATEMENT: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” Also, a Common Cause questionnaire dated November 27, 2007, asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”, Obama checked, “Yes.”

EXPIRATION DATE: June 19, 2008: Obama announced he would not participate in the presidential public financing system.


STATEMENT: “What I’ve said is, at the point where I'm the nominee, at the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that works for everybody.”Obama to Tim Russert, Febuary 27.

EXPIRATION DATE: When Obama announced his decision to break his public financing pledge June 19, no meeting between the Democratic nominee and McCain had occurred.


STATEMENT: “I probably would not have supported the federal legislation [to overhaul welfare], because I think it had some problems." Obama on the floor of the Illinois Senate, May 31, 1997

EXPIRATION DATE: April 11, 2008: Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996 law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for signing” it. Obama to the New York Times.


STATEMENT: "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.” – campaign spokesman, May 5, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE: June 29, 2008: “I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states… Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.” — letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club


STATEMENT: "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term." – Interview with Relevant magazine, July 1, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE: July 5, 2008: “"My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases.” statement to reporters.


STATEMENT: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." — speech before AIPAC, June 4, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE: June 6, 2008: "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with." – an Obama adviser clarifying his remarks to the Jerusalem Post.

We can't believe what he says about anything. Although we might be forgiven for believing that what he says in the first place is more true than what he says in the second place. For example, here's what he said to (and about) ACORN.

Just campaign rhetoric? Sure. Now he'll throw them under the bus, where they'll join the bloodiest vehicular undercarriage splatter CSI ever had to explain away under their blue blue lights.

When will Americans start learning they can't trust this man? How egregious will his sins have to become before people start to reengage with the awful meaning of the words that were reduced to nonsense by all the spurious accusations against Bush?

You tell me. Only after that will it be possible for us to consider the ramifications of the rest of the Democrats' preemptive propaganda strike. How bad is it going to get? How seriously afraid should we be?

It begins, though, with the first step of recognizing that our president is an inveterate liar.

Think about that.

The Mission of the Czars

All that love for the common man is just so, uh, touching...

'CAUSE REAL LIFE SUCKS. You gotta wonder don't you, what they have at Harvard and Yale Law School and Columbia Journalism School that makes all the czars so much better than us. You know, more able to discern what we need and should do and pay, as opposed to the crappy crap we want to do with our own time and money and, well, lives.

It starts with having nice suits. And expensive haircuts. And never getting laid once in their whole pitiful lives. That's what leads to the impulse to become Josh Blank, Deputy Chief of Staff in the West Wing.

They'll be happer when we're all in the hole
while they pretend they know the way out.

If only we could all be like them, the world would be a better place, eh? In fact, they even asked Josh about it recently.

He didn't want to say, but the answer to everything is the head-bop. It slams your brain into a state of knowing everything about everyone else. Kewl. Shame that it costs fifty grand to learn it in the Ivy League...

P.S. Secret decoder ring message for the Metalkort crowd. Yeah, it's a sock puppet job. By me, InstaPunk, emperor of punks.

P.P.S. btw, here's what the crowd looked like in DC on Saturday. You see, the crowd that was too small for the Washington Post to cover. The name that comes to mind is Pravda. Start writing, people.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who will be watching
the watchdogs? Guess.

"The War on Watchdogs"

H/T TO THE GREEN ROOM. Just an intro to an article everyone should read at the American Spectator. A key excerpt::

IN JUNE, THE HOUSE PASSED the Improved Financial and Commodity Markets Oversight and Accountability Act, which would give the president authority to dismiss and replace inspectors general at five financial regulatory agencies. . . . The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), who argued that making these IGs presidential appointees would make them more “independent” and “ensure better performance from government agencies.” The IGs themselves strongly disagreed, testifying in opposition to the bill. . . . The Larson bill was also criticized by Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which tracks government watchdogs. “I think you can be more independent reporting to a bipartisan board than being at the mercy of the president’s good graces,” Brian told the Washington Post.

Quis custodes custodiet? The Custodis-in-Chief apparently.

Who Knew?

What's that on his lapel?

LATE'S COMING EARLIER. One of our favorite new sites is Big Hollywood, which features all kinds of subversive content -- show biz conservative bloggers, movie reviews that dare to acknowledge political agendas, and retro stuff like the best TCM (and other) old Hollywood pictures to watch this week. It's the brainchild of new media lion Andrew Breitbart, who's behind the oh-so-uncomfortable-for-lefties ACORN videos that have been surfacing for the last week or so. Today, though, we were genuinely surprised to find an acerbic defense of Jay Leno and his new show, which to be honest, we didn't watch and probably won't.  Nothing against Leno per se; it's just that talk-variety shows of this sort have some of the numbest, dullest, least spontaneous interviews one could ever imagine, and it's gotten truly depressing to watch actors one sort of likes demonstrating what shallow, lunatic boors they are in person.

Nevertheless. This piece about Leno includes a wholly earned takedown of David Letterman and a refreshing "critique the critics" (especially NPR) component that makes it irresistible. A sample:

Jay Leno scored 18 million viewers yesterday. Letterman draws around 4 million on a good night. If you like your television personalities too cool for school that’s got to be troubling – if you prefer those with a hold on the popular culture five nights a week not parade around with a United States flag (unless it’s on fire), today you’ve got to be a little frustrated. First ACORN, now this... What’s happening to my Amerika?!?!

Even worse, those five hours Jay’s eating up could’ve otherwise been used to trash Christians and Republicans on “Law & Order: God We Love Obama.”

You have to wonder if it will ever happen… If the coastal critics and their ilk will ever figure out that today they are the establishment … they are The Man … and that the only real accomplishment of the cruel little needy Letterman who bounces at the end of their string is tarnishing a long history of sell outs.

We knew Leno had his good points. He loves cars and motorcycles. He seems to have an extraordinary work ethic. Yeah, he's a liberal, but aren't they all? Maybe not a CRAZY liberal. Right now we're pleased that he has the guts to wear that little pin on national TV while working for NBC.

Maybe he deserves a look? Dunno. Up to you.


Maybe the artist thinks this is flattering. I don't.
He looks like the kind of growth that sends you
running in headlong panic to your dermatologist.

THAT FIXED & SICKENING GRIN. Has there ever been a president of the United States who was actually evil? I know the reflexive answer is Nixon, the currently popular answer George W. Bush, and the up-to-the-moment conservative answer Barack Obama. But I believe the only correct answer thus far is Jimmy Carter. Obama still has an opportunity to rise above error, arrogance, ideology, prejudice, and ignorance to become president of more than his blindly adoring worshippers. Carter, on the other hand, has repeatedly proven himself a kind of slowly devouring cancer of the soul, which is a thing he has come to resemble even physically. A sort of walking, talking melanoma. Hats off to Ed Morrissey for taking this stand:

If Jimmy Carter believes that the “overwhelming” portion of criticism towards Barack Obama is due to racism, does he also believe that the overwhelming portion of criticism towards Israel is anti-Semitic?  Wouldn’t that apply to a man who hangs out with people who target Israeli citizens for terrorist attacks?  After all, Hamas regularly issues anti-Semitic harangues and smears, and yet Carter has no problem cozying up to them and claiming that their criticism of Israel is legitimate.

From now on, using Carter’s own logic, we should note each of his remarks on the Middle East by saying they come from “Jimmy Carter, known anti-Semite.”  Two can play this game.

Points, too, to Mark Steyn (and his demurrer) for a single perfect bullseye:

Quote of the day so far comes from Mark Steyn on Bill Bennett's radio show this morning: "dissent is the highest form of racism."

And, in line with our usual modesty, a reminder that we have been onto this vicious little creep for a long long time.

[And a graphic flashback because we just couldn't resist. It seems so, well, appropriate.


Truthfully, Charles Laughton looks sweeter...]

Brizoni, where are you? Do we have to wait for him to, uh, you know, before you weigh in with the Teddy Kennedy treatment?

I hope not. I really do.

Dexter Season 3

BACK IN THE DAY. We here at Instapunk have taken some criticism in the past for giving a good review and then changing our minds later (scroll) without alerting the IP readership. This post is therefore an update in re the third season of the Showtime series Dexter. The first review elicited the following from Thomas Jackson, an upright member of the site's commenting community:

I realize television has become a race to see who can get to the bottom of the cesspool quickest. Most shows lack wit, plot, or anything worthy of the term entertainment, substituting the attractions that the brain-dead find interesting. These include filth, gore, sex, and anything you were taught was unacceptable behavior in kindergarten.

I would note the same people who condemn shows that do not feature these attractions as boring are the same people who react most violently against any production code, action against Janet Jackson and her ilk, or allowing consumers to have a selection of channels on cable rather than... the gerbil dressed in lederhosen humping Janet Jackson...

The reason for this is clear; while most consumers will take some channels they have little interest in, most[ly] niche channels. Bravo had to change when they [went] all queer... attracted Barney Frank and no one else. But we still get it rammed down our throats.

Dexter being on showtime means we are spared having to see it unless, like other cable channels, we get a schedule of one horrific program rebroadcast forever.

Original programming need not be torn from the mouth of the Jerry Springer show. Most of these will pass away unmourned and unnoticed while the great programs go on forever.

Talent used to mean something in television. Now sensationalism matters. And we are poorer for it.

Yeah. Okay. And all that. Probably right. We stand rebuked by those who know without having been tempted. Hats off to your virtue, Thomas, and nobody feels worse than I do about having to concede that Season 3 is absolutely FANTASTIC. Mrs. CP and I just finished the seventh episode and we immediately agreed that it may have been the best single series television episode we'd ever seen. A cold-blooded serial killer asked to perform a mercy killing. Something about life and love and the incredible complexities of moral responsibility. Something unexpected. Something very moving in a totally antiseptic and artificially rational way that comes down, as these things do -- for you and me and the children who will have this power over us one day -- to a coldly delivered soul instinct, but this time presented to us inside out. Everything we thought Dexter was about it is about. There's an easy epithet here that would go a long way toward rebutting the Thomas Jackson type dismissals, but it won't be uttered here. Easy answers are rarely easy in the learning of them.

The most seriously philosophical and, yes, ultimately religious, series ever made. And the most discomfiting. The fact that Michael C. Hall hasn't won an Emmy as the ethical but admittedly evil Nemesis we only hope could one day, as a Miami forensic technician, deal (uh, you know) with David Caruso on CSI Miami is a scandal.

A glimpse:

Rent Season 3 at the earliest possible opportunity. You won't regret it. Even Jimmy Smits is finally acting...

The real HotAir is cold.

CHILBLAINS. Once again, from the Green Room Ghetto at HotAir, we bring you Doctor Zero:

The two-party system probably isn’t going anywhere, although one of the parties could radically change in character, or give birth to a truly viable third party, which eventually devours it. There is too much power to be gained from unity of purpose, and for all the factional squabbling and single-issue jousting matches, the division between the parties has become increasingly clear… at least to everyone except the more clueless Republican politicians. The past nine months have fast-forwarded us to a point we would otherwise have reached in ten or twenty years, when the old game of saddling free-market taxpayers with the bill for socialist programs could no longer be played. Before we can move any further to the Left, the essential character of our nation must be forever changed. In a process that began with TARP bailouts and auto-company takeovers, and is meant to continue through the destruction of the health insurance industry, those markets will no longer be “free” in even a rhetorical sense. To grow any larger, the government requires serfs, not sugar daddies.

The choice now is between liberty and tyranny. It always was, but like a used car, tyranny can be made to sound like an attractive purchase: loaded with good intentions, and financed with no money down and low, low payments. That deal is no longer on the table, and never will be again. The restlessness of the Blue Dog Democrats is the queasiness of people who aren’t sure they stand on the right side of the battle lines, when the morning fog melts away and lances are lowered.

uh, shouldn't they promote him to the main page, given that he writes and thinks better than everyone else associated with the site?

Cute thing about "The Green Room." They don't even tell you who wrote what. Like, who cares, huh? It wouldn't do if he upstaged the scrupulous moderate, the shallow beta-male cynical atheist, or the airbrushed media superstar of the whole shebang, would it?

Only one point we're making here. Go to HotAir every day, look at the right hand column, scrolling down till you find the un-highlighted Green Room section, and click on everything till you find Doctor Zero.

If he's reading or watching, or if you know how to reach him, he should know that he has fans who admire and seek out what he has to say. We'd love to talk to him and exchange views. We're even prepared to pretend that HotAir isn't mostly hot air. Because his cold air illuminates.

Work on it.

Fun Stuff.

SAID IT ALREADY. Enjoy. (Sorry about the lack of centering. Jon Stewart seems to hew relentlessly to the left, even when it comes to HTML code. Sorry.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The MSM are now actually sawing
at their own throats with the knife
they put there in the '08 campaign.

Howard Kurtz, Media Bore, and Maureen Dowd, Media Whore.
Or is it really the other way around? Dunno.
Either way works.

DOWD IS A STUD. I've never understood why so many conservatives keep giving Howard Kurtz the benefit of the doubt, as if he's actually thoughtful, fair, and decent. I suppose he's good at posing as all these things, but that's about it. His latest columns are proof positive of what I say, but before I dig into the manure pile, I have to remind those who might stumble in here by accident that this website has long anticipated the bind the mainstream media now find themselves in. Back in July 2008, InstaPunk tried to give them some friendly advice:

Continue being the same adoring cheerleaders you've been so far -- through the inevitable crises and missteps and blunders and failures -- and the already tottering structure of the MSM will collapse in cataclysmic ruin. You will bore your dwindling audience absolutely to death, and they will begin seeking honest news reporting elsewhere. (As they have been, btw, for some time now; how's NYT stock doing these days, kemo sabe?)

The nature of your bet thus far is idiotic -- that Obama really is the absolute answer to everyone's prayers you so want him to be. He isn't. He's a flesh-and-blood man who will stumble and err and make some truly awful decisions. When that happens, your extravagantly uncritical support for his rise to power will make you accountable to many Americans before you cover the first act of his administration. And when he does take office, the fact that you have let him rewrite all the rules of what is and is not fair coverage in political reporting will do you in no matter what course you choose. Criticize him and be branded with some of the worst labels available in these United States. (The New Yorker is anti-muslim? Anyone? Please.) Suck up to him and go rapidly out of business -- not to mention lose all the power you have so jealously acquired and used so self-righteously in the last hundred years.

Take your pick.

Well, they have taken their pick of the options available, and in the words of the guardian of the grail, they "chose poorly."

Sorry. Couldn't resist the little plastic stop-motion figures. Kind of how I think of the NYT and WAPO folks anymore... You plumb the various degradations of the metaphor; I'm busy.

Now the Pew organization, hardly a bastion of conservative propaganda, informs us that nine months (?!) into the Obama administration, MSM coverage of the liberal Christ child's administration has resulted in, well, disaster:

September 13, 2009
Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low
Public Evaluations of the News Media: 1985-2009

Similarly, only about a quarter (26%) now say that news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased, compared with 60% who say news organizations are politically biased. And the percentages saying that news organizations are independent of powerful people and organizations (20%) or are willing to admit their mistakes (21%) now also match all-time lows.

Republicans continue to be highly critical of the news media in nearly all respects. However, much of the growth in negative attitudes toward the news media over the last two years is driven by increasingly unfavorable evaluations by Democrats. On several measures, Democratic criticism of the news media has grown by double-digits since 2007. Today, most Democrats (59%) say that the reports of news organizations are often inaccurate; just 43% said this two years ago. Democrats are also now more likely than they were in 2007 to identify favoritism in the media: Two-thirds (67%) say the press tends to favor one side rather than to treat all sides fairly, up from 54%. And while just a third of Democrats (33%) say news organizations are “too critical of America,” that reflects a 10-point increase since 2007. [boldface added]

Which brings us all the way up to the past couple weeks, which I submit are among the worst in the tawdry history of the mainstream media in the last half century. The self-promoting "Paper of Record" failed to cover the Van Jones controversy until after he'd resigned. MSNBC chose to honor 9/11 by focusing on the muslim victims of the attack by fanatics of their religion on Americans. The 9-12 protests in Washington were too small to merit serious coverage by the MSM. You know, not enough people in attendance to displace real stories: [scroll for Sunday, 9/13. Tippy-Top Story -- "Americans easily win third straight Walker Cup." Cool.]

Or something like that. And the ACORN scandal doesn't boast nearly enough sex, corruption, and federal tie-ins to merit any kind of in-depth coverage, excepting the possibility that the City of Baltimore might prosecute the undercover journalists involved.

And so to bed. (For all you flyover dittoheads, that's a reference to the diaries of Samuel Pepys. Look it up lunkheads.) Except maybe not quite to bed yet. There's still the nagging matter of how the MSM explains to itself the brand new mission of committing journalism by not covering stories they don't approve of. That's where Howard Kurtz comes in. His job, officially, is to comment on media stuff for the junior paper of record, the Washington Post.

We have to admit, he's dutiful. He dealt with the Van Jones omission on Monday and then with the 9-12 protests on Tuesday. Maybe his unblinking, nose-to-the-grindstone shamelessness is the source of the respect he's accorded for no other reason.

On Van Jones, his position was that, uh, maybe the press should have covered the controversy. But only after he had spent the first half of his two page entry blasting the temerity of a nobody called Glenn Beck:

It has become a familiar chain reaction: Talk-show hosts whip up a noisy controversy, which hits higher decibels as it spreads to the establishment media, which costs some unfortunate soul his job.

But now the middleman -- the journalistic gatekeepers of yore -- may no longer be necessary.

By the time White House environmental adviser Van Jones resigned over Labor Day weekend, the New York Times had not run a single story. Neither had USA Today, which also didn't cover the resignation. The Washington Post had done one piece, on the day before he quit. The Los Angeles Times had carried a short article the previous week questioning Glenn Beck's assault on the White House aide. There had been nothing on the network newscasts.

"Where is the press on this?" Beck asked in late August during one of several rants against Jones. But it turned out the Fox News host didn't need the big news organizations to claim his scalp.

Beck's rhetoric may have been over the top as he denounced Jones as a "black nationalist" and "avowed communist" (Jones embraced communism in the 1990s but said he later changed his views). Yet Beck also trumpeted information that forced Jones to issue two public apologies within days. The first was for calling Republicans "a--holes" in a February speech, video of which was posted online by Beck backers. The second, more serious offense was that he had signed a 2004 petition charging "that people within the current administration may indeed have allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext to war." Jones said he didn't agree with that view, but his signature was on the "truther" document.

Although he began firing at his target earlier, Beck intensified his assault after a group co-founded by Jones, Color of Change, launched a boycott campaign that has led dozens of advertisers to withdraw from his television show -- a detail that Beck neglected to tell viewers.

As a proponent of creating "green" jobs, Jones was a respected figure within the environmental movement. But he was sufficiently obscure as a special adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality that major news organizations basically ignored him. Only The Post ran a profile, in December, and a story last month on his government work... [boldface added}

And blah, blah, blah. That Beck. What a creep. That Van Jones. What a visionary. Note the boldfaced paragraph. I just loved the phrase, "a detail that Beck neglected to tell viewers." So the proper journalistic response would have been to, uh, what? Quit pursuing the story in light of the fact that the target was retaliating undercover? Or prejudice the bare facts by preaching to the audience about a suspicion that an unprovable retaliation might be underway? Yet the closing thought (always put the most important element, the one you really want them to remember, at the end of the sentence, junior journalists!) is an imputation of wrongdoing by Glenn Beck.

But this piece was just a warmup for the real exercise in journalistic integrity published today. By Howard Kurtz. The conscience of The Washington Post (er, the American League Champion of newspapers for you dimwit Middle Americans...) In this multi-page gem, Howie tackles the question of the 9-12 demonstrations his newspaper could hardly bear to report on. (WAPO actually ran an AP account in its pages rather than its own; the in-house DC staff were too busy with, like, the Walker Cup.) But forget the facts. What really matters is what it all meant. And about that we can do no better than consult the ultimate experts on America, the elite pseudo-intellectuals who reference each other's finest insights about what the Morlocks outside the Beltway are up to today:

A Black-and-White Question
By Howard Kurtz

Is it racial?

Are the protesters, tea-partiers, birthers, deathers, doomsayers and hecklers motivated, at least in part, by a distinct discomfort with the country's first black president?

Or is that a smear against disgruntled Americans who have every right to express their dissent?

There is no definitive answer, of course, since we are talking about millions of people, from Joe Wilson, the disrespectful congressman who's now raised $700,000 for his "you lie" outburst, to the woman who told Arlen Specter that Obama is trying to transform the US of A "into Russia, into a socialist country."

But I began to suspect that race was a factor for at least some critics when I heard them shouting about "the Constitution" and "taking our country back." Maybe Obama's health-care plan is an awful idea and his budget is way too big, but how exactly is any of this unconstitutional? Clearly, for some folks, there's a deeper rage at the man occupying the White House.

I do think we all need to be careful about tarring the critics with a broad brush. Dissent is an essential element of America's DNA. Civil rights protesters transformed the country. Protesters helped turn the country against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. The majority of those digging in against Obama's policies sincerely believe that he is moving the country in the wrong direction.

Still, there is an ugly undercurrent out there. Yes, some on the right tried to delegitimize Bill Clinton as well -- remember the garbage linking him to drug trafficking and murder? -- but this is dark and personal in a much more unsettling way. What other president -- with a Hawaii birth certificate, no less -- would be subjected to conspiratorial doubts about whether he was born in this country?

There was a hopeful moment after Obama's election when the country -- even many of those who had voted against him -- seemed proud of itself for having broken a racial barrier. Maybe we were all being naive. Maybe prejudice is not so easily drained from the swamp.

The subject got a major boost in visibility from Maureen Dowd, who began with the shout-out from the South Carolina congressman who was a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans:

"Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!"


"I've been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer -- the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids -- had much to do with race. . . .

"But Wilson's shocking disrespect for the office of the president -- no Democrat ever shouted 'liar' at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq -- convinced me: Some people just can't believe a black man is president and will never accept it. . .

"For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both."

Ouch indeed. [Excuse me. I've just had a tweet from TruePunk. He asks me to inform you that he's got a post on the way that will make you all cheer after you're done weeping over this one. Asshole.]

Anyway. How perfect does it get? An inside-the-beltway clown-journalist actually believes that citing an inside-the-beltway clown-skagop-ed writer represents some kind of verification of his own off-the-top-of-the-head assumption.

Let's all take a Brizoni moment. Throbbing, pulsating, can't-think-a-thought-for-all-the-thoughtlike-insanities-that-are-flashing-through-my-head-just-now EXPLOSIONS of furious contempt I'm feeling...]

Now. Deep breath. Start over. Three simple points I want to make here. Just three.

One. (another deep breath)

Only people who don't really care about the Constitution could see mentioning it as a code word for racism in the current environment. This administration has assumed authority in areas never before envisioned by a presidential administration. The right of the executive to fire private sector CEOs. The right of the executive to set pay for anyone in the private sector. The right of the executive to take over private sector corporations. The right of the executive to bypass congressional advice and consent  in order to name "czars" with responsibilities overlapping and sometimes displacing cabinet responsibilities with no oversight other than the president of the United States. The right of the executive to create out of thin air a "right to health care" and to require uninsured private citizens to pay for health insurance they don't want. There isn't one word in the Constitution authorizing any of this. So people who start to feel the Constitution is being shoved to the side in favor of executive authoritarianism are therefore racist? Huh? WTF? The people who find this sinister would be in the streets today if the president overseeing it were a pink aaardvark.


ALL the talk about race that has occurred since this administration took office has come from the Obama administration itself. It's really nothing more than the permanent "get out of jail free" card we warned about here almost a year ago. Maybe the MSM is afraid to criticize the administration because they accepted rules they shouldn't have in their orgasmic rush to elect a black president, but the American people don't care what color the president is. They want a president who regards himself as president of all Americans, not just the politically correct ones. Last week's healthcare speech by President Obama is easily the nastiest, most partisan and divisive address ever delivered by a president to a joint session of congress. (Look it up, you beltway intellectuals.) It was the moment when the president made it indisputably clear that he is the president of those who agree with him and no one else.

[btw, Dowdy one (and the Howie one), the crack about adding "boy" to someone's statement is one of the oldest and lamest jokes in the world. Let's see. Try adding "bitch" to everything ever said by anyone to Hillary. "Fat, drunken murderer" to everything ever uttered to Teddy Kennedy. "MISTER Snopes" to everything said to Harry Reid. "Plastic Medusa" to every retort to the wit and wisdom of Nancy Pelosi. One difference, I guess. Doing it to a congressman from South Carolina seems to smack of racial and geographical profiling. Doesn't it? You bet your tight (non-homophobic) liberal asses it does...]


The behavior of the Obama administration in the face of protest from ordinary Americans who have never before been known to take to the streets in defense of their liberties against the federal government is despicable. The behavior of the press, however, is not only despicable but almost incomprehensibly suicidal. In the age of the Internet, NOT covering stories you don't like is more than professional malpractice. It's fucking lunacy.


What part of this fact of life do you not get? And in case you haven't figured out the corollary either, allow me to point out that inside-the-beltway prejudices are easily recognized in Kansas, Idaho, and New Jersey as pretentious snobbery. You do not get to tell us what's important and what our concerns imply about who we are. We get to do that.

Yet the patronizing, sanctimonious apologists for a dead autocracy continue to roll out their rationalizations, excuses, judgments, and cocktail-party wisdom to the world at large as if  -- AS IF -- in some sense they still speak for us. They don't.



The opposition to Obama is not racial. It's MSM support for Obama that's racial. The man is trying to kill the United States. The importance of the Washington protests is not whether they numbered 70,000 or 700,000. It's that people who have never protested in the streets before in their lives -- unlike the generation of lefties who have lived in the streets without ever earning a dime -- are showing up there now. That's the biggest story in a hundred years. These people, the ones who are protesting now, didn't even show up to oppose the ugly treason of the Vietnam War protests. Why are they on the streets now?

The MSM can't see a story in that other than racism? No. They can't. Which is the ultimate bind. Because they're going to die if they continue to interpret journalism as not covering stories that make Obama look bad. And the more they beat the racism drum, the more impossible they'll find it to criticize him when they finally feel thermselves slipping under the waves for the third and final (drowning) time. Hah. Really. That's the first laugh. The last laugh you'll hear will sound like something from the bottom of a well. But, well, that's where you'll be when you hear it.

Your whole journalistic business enterprise is fucking done. Guaranteed.

And Howard Kurtz? I denounce you as an unprincipled whore. (um, were you ever upset about this? Naaaah.) Too bad you can't make up the income differential by donning a pair of red spiked heels and peddling your saggy ass in Georgetown. No one would want it.

Maureen? You go, girl. One word of advice: Mandingo.

P.S. If anyone liked the poster in the top graphic, here is the full-scale version:

Yeah, I kind of like it, too.

UPDATE. An outstanding column today by Victor Davis Hanson called The Rise of the Uncouth. He fearlessly connects in print some outlier dots we've been connecting quietly in our heads. A flavorful morsel:

[T]wo tropes appeared after January 20th of this year:

One—cannot we all get along? We deplore this resort to barbarism and crudity.

Two—if you dare sound off like we just did, then you are now a racist.

Not So Fast

The problem is that the public is not really stupid and has a long memory. It hates hypocrisy as much as it does crudity. Part of Obama’s decline is precisely because of this sudden disingenuousness in which one rises to the top on hardball, Chicago politics and playing identity politics (remember Rev. Wright, Ayers, “typical white people”, clingers, etc.), and then of course wants an end to the crudity (like hoping the music stops only when you have grabbed that last chair).

Or so Obama said that he wanted a sort of end to the acrimony. But once he was elected, we got Eric Holder slurring the nation, the President slurring the police, the environmental jobs czar slurring almost everyone, and a host of satellites like Charles Rangel and Diane Watson leveling charges of racism.

So where do go from here?

The standards of civility, torn down during the 1960s, were obliterated completely after 9/11 (hours after, actually, when Michael Moore (Jimmy Carter’s hero) wished a red-state had been hit instead). We have no more “Wise Men” in Washington and New York, but rather graying children of the Sixties, aging badly. A large segment of the left—from Code Pink and to Acorn and the unions—believe that they really can smear and defame and then retreat to mythical standards of decency when they are now on the receiving end.

You should read it all, obviously.

A Simple Solution

LOCOPUNK IS SUCH A DOWNER You all get so wrought up. Here's the simplest answer to what's ailing the country. Let's make Washington, DC, a separate nation. Or to put it less nicely, let's kick them out of the damn country. Think about it. Pretty perfect, huh? They can keep their congress, their bureaucrats, their experts, their taxes, their unions, their trial lawyers, their social programs, their Barney Franks, their Patrick Leahys, their Nancy Pelosis, their Harry Reids, their czars, their sullen First Lady, and their Narcisssist-in-Chief. Just imagine what a paradise on earth they can have for themselves...

What do we get? Everything else. We get to keep the Constitution of the United States. All the job-creating businesses, the greatest military in the history of life on earth, all the doctors and hospitals, all the brilliant scientists, engineers, and technologists. All the cities, towns, and fields where real work is done and real life is lived day after day. All the churches, skyscrapers, bridges, farms, siloes, and winding roads and turnpikes. All the oil, coal, and natural gas. All the factories, all the stores, all the  homes and schools where people make their lives. All the other resources, too, from trees to mountains rich in minerals and natural beauty. Of course, we'll have to have a new capital, which, in my opinion, should be located -- like all the state capitals -- in the center of the sovereign domain. Looks like somewhere in Kansas. Okay with you? Okay with me. Actually, it seems like in the day and age of terror a centrally located capital might be, you know, safer.

There will be some transition issues. We'll need to elect an all new House of Representatives and Senate. We'll need a new Supreme Court, which means, obviously, we'll need a new President to make some nominations.

Anybody feel that's beyond our poor yokel power to accomplish? Didn't think so.

If you think it's a good idea, pass it on. Let's go viral. And please let me know where exactly in Kansas the new capital will be located. I'd like to invest in some real estate. Sorry. Old capitalist instincts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Beating a Dead Horse

Hero Worship is Kewl.

VICK IS, UH, REFORMED. I was going to let this one go. I really was. Even though Mrs. CP abruptly announced to me that she could no longer support Ohio State football even if it was one of the abiding sentimental legacies of my late mother. I understood her:

In Saturday’s game against Navy, [Ohio State quarterback] Terrelle Pryor put the word “Vick” on his eye black (”Mika” is his sister’s nickname).  As far as I know, he still had it on in the second half.  He had a very questionable quote after the game, saying “Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world.  I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.  I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will.”

She was further upset by early reporting that OSU Coach Jim Tressel's first response was evasive and even flippant. I looked up the record and Tressel seemed more protective and guarded than casual:

Reporter: He's a kid, but he had to perhaps expect that this could be controversial.

Tressel: I think that's probably -- you would think, but on the other hand, Terrelle's of the opinion that, you know what, I'm not any big deal, I haven't done anything, and like anything else, whether it was a coverage read or a defensive guy not playing a gap or whatever, these are all moments that we can learn from, but again, I guess I would refer back to the fact that you have -- you would have to know him the way I know him to understand that he didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, to be insensitive to something that someone feels strongly about, that's just not him.

If there's ever anyone that feels bad about something or downtrodden about something, he's the first one there with his arms around them, that's just the way he is. So as they say, it is what it is and you learn from what you learn from and it's -- to go back to your original question, I don't know the answer to that because if someone came in and wanted to put "Mom" on their eye patch or their wrist, I've got a tough time questioning that.

And so that's part of life and I'm sure Terrelle -- he's one of those guys that he feels terrible about anything that's not just right. And I know he doesn't feel good that that disappointed someone. And his intention would never be to make anyone disappointed about something and that's just his nature and we all sometimes miss the mark, but as I say, teachable, learnable moment.

Well, "Mom" and "Mika Vick" aren't exactly the same kind of entry on an eyepatch, but what a coach says in public and what he says to his team in private can be two different things, and I also don't believe that Terrrelle Pryor is actually endorsing killing people or killing dogs. He took plenty of heat for what he said in Columbus, and he's taking plenty of heat for it from Mrs. CP. Michael Vick is nobody to look up to. Who would hide this fact from a dumb, naive kid? But it's easy enough to give the kid a second chance, at least until he smashes his girlfriend's face or beats his dog to death.

As I said. I was going to let it go. Until I read Michael Wilbon's column. Which rubbed me the wrong way. A lot. Here it is:

The folks in the Buckeye State like it when Terrelle Pryor is throwing or running for touchdowns, when he's playing quarterback for them. But if he feels something they don't feel, if he keeps his own opinions and not theirs, specifically on the subject of Michael Vick, they don't like the 20-year-old college sophomore so much. Some of them dislike Pryor intensely because he likes Vick and had the nerve to say so publicly by putting "Vick" on an eye-black strip during Saturday's game. You can read the columns, the Buckeye message boards and see how many think he's dumb, or stupid, or a disgrace to his team and his school.

This is the world we live in, where it's not enough to have your own feelings; you have to pound everybody else until they believe exactly what you do. It's too bad Pryor isn't eloquent enough to express himself any better than he did following Saturday's game, when he said in defense of supporting Vick, "Not everybody is the perfect person in the world. Everyone does ... kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me. I just feel that people need to give him a chance."

It's an almost incoherent defense, really, the suggestion that "everybody murders or steals." Then again, we're talking about a college sophomore who, not surprisingly, plays football better than he speaks. I deal with enough college students, not all of them athletes, who increasingly are numbingly inarticulate, which isn't the same thing as being stupid. While Pryor ought to be able to express himself with a little more clarity, he also ought to be able to like or dislike pretty much whomever he wants without having outrage directed his way.

When Pryor walks onto a football field or into a college classroom, where disagreement was encouraged once upon a time, and declares how much he likes Vick, groupthink (or more precisely, nothink) kicks in. Fans have taken the partisan politics of Washington to other areas and overrun the internet with pitchforks. Heaven forbid a player or coach expresses an opinion or anything that anyone anywhere disagrees with. If Pryor weren't so talented, well, they might even call for him to be benched this week against Southern California.

What Pryor said that isn't offensive, to me anyway, is "I always looked up to Mike Vick and I always will because I still think he is one of the best quarterbacks." People want to pass a law now making it illegal to say anything that isn't hateful about Michael Vick? Last I checked, he served nearly two years in prison for his crimes. Move on.

The level of intolerance that people so boldly express now is stunning and even worse, quietly accepted. Same thing was evident in Kentucky where John Calipari sent a team jersey to President Obama (which he filmed for his Facebook page) and came under such heat for it that the post had to be deleted. Don't think for a minute that race under the guise of conservatism has nothing to do with this.

I've never been a Mike Vick fan, particularly, and thought he deserved jail time for his heinous crimes. But the sanctimonious criticism directed at anybody who suggests that Vick should have a second chance or that people should simply let him be, has become ugly. And if young Pryor is bold enough to take the heat for simply speaking his mind, even if the sentiment is unpopular, some of us ought to be bold enough to stand with him. [boldface added]

Michael Wilbon should know better than to conflate morality with "feelings." Before he went to Northwestern University's School of Journalism, Wilbon attended St. Ignatius Prep, where, presumably, he gained an education in Christian moral doctrine. His insistence on further confusing moral outrage with political and racial prejudice is downright repellent. There's a whole catalogue of hypocrisies he's committed here, and I am going to call him on them.

Things Wilbon is dissimulating about, to the detriment of those he pretends to care about:

1. Professional athletes have to care what people think of them. Like all entertainers. If he cares about Terrelle Pryor, he should make it clear that making enemies in the audience is a very bad idea, economically and professionally.

2. "It's too bad Pryor isn't eloquent enough to express himself any better than he did following Saturday's game." Too bad? How about tragic, pitiful, fatal? Yes, people are inclined to be forgiving about the missteps of youth, but we're not exactly innocent about the implications of what young people say anymore. Hell, the whole popular culture is designed to rub old noses in the grime of youthful relativism, isn't it? You can expect all you want that post-adolescent parents and grandparents will accept whatever whims young idiots have latched onto for the moment, but you cannot demand that we accept what we regard as unacceptable because the faces who spit in ours are young, unmarked, and education free. In case Wilbon can't see it, let me make it clear for him. People are entirely free to write off Terrelle Pryor as a person of no interest without even trying to "pound everybody else until they believe exactly what you do."

3. "I deal with enough college students, not all of them athletes, who increasingly are numbingly inarticulate, which isn't the same thing as being stupid."  Excuse me? Not the same thing? Ever heard the phrase "distinction without a difference"? Is that what they taught you at St. Ignatius and Northwestern? That having a moral conviction, a story, some demonstrable facts were all that mattered? That if you couldn't find some way to extract them from your skull in a form understandable by other people they were still Pulitzer worthy?

4. "What Pryor said that isn't offensive, to me anyway, is 'I always looked up to Mike Vick and I always will because I still think he is one of the best quarterbacks.'" I'll come back to this one.

5. "The level of intolerance that people so boldly express now is stunning and even worse, quietly accepted." Intolerance has to do with things like fashion, hygiene, and manners. It's an idiotic word when you apply it to to matters of fundamental human behavior. Can I be "tolerant" of wifebeating? Pedophilia? Killing? Animal cruelty? As long as they act sorry afterwards? Sorry, Michael. (Whichever one answers...)

6. "Don't think for a minute that race under the guise of conservatism has nothing to do with this." I'll come back to this one, too.

7. "But the sanctimonious criticism directed at anybody who suggests that Vick should have a second chance or that people should simply let him be, has become ugly. And if young Pryor is bold enough to take the heat for simply speaking his mind, even if the sentiment is unpopular, some of us ought to be bold enough to stand with him." By all means stand with him. As long as you're still standing with him when his career goes nowhere and he's tending bar in Dublin, Ohio, 25 dreary improverished years from now.

But you won't be there, will you Michael Wilbon? You're just using Terrelle Pryor for your own expedient political purposes. Because there are a whole lot of things you'd be more forthcoming about if you really cared about Terrelle, or race, or young people, or even all your political ideals. But you don't really care about those things. You're just another hypocritical liberal mass media parasite.

Name calling? Yup. But I can prove it all. You make your living in and from the world of professional sports. You know -- not kidding, you KNOW -- that the mysterious difference between the dazzling college stars who fizzle in the pros and the Hall of Fame all stars in every professional sport is almost always disciplined intelligence, an ability to work as hard and productively at the mental aspects of the game as the physical. You also know that reading, writing, and 'rithmetic figure strongly in this hidden part of the excellence equation. No, they don't have to be scholars, but being a person with the attributes of a scholar is indispensable.

That's why the speeches at the Hall of Fame inductions are usually so moving. Outfielders, point guards, goalies, offensive linemen, and murderous linebackers step up to that podium and wow us because they have a sense of history, personal humility, emotional memory, family, language, and character that makes them momentarily eloquent and usually overcome. Illiterate, narcissistic psychopaths need not apply. When brutes do creep into the mix on the basis of pure physical skills, they are, well, embarrassments, and they may have made fortunes but they don't rest comfortably in the eternity of the game. Yeah, it's probable that O.J. Simpson was the greatest NFL running back who ever lived, better than Brown, Sayers, and Payton. But whose story would you rather repeat to your children? And would you still defend Terrelle Pryor if he put O.J. on his eyeblack because he was "the greatest back ever"?

But you choose to defend stupidity on behalf of stardom and high draft status while overlooking the one supreme service you could provide to the people of your race you are so hypersensitive about. You could, not to put too fine point on it, tell young people the truth. What's that?

What IS that, kemo sabe?


I understand you pitched a one-hitter when you were a high-schooler, Michael. Did you ever think you were going to be in the White Sox starting rotation? No? Why not?

Because you weren't an idiot. At St. Ignatius you also paid attention in math class and you knew that there are only about 10,000 jobs in professional baseball, most of which pay almost nothing. Compared to jobs for smart well educated people, which amount to maybe 50 million. Which are far FAR greater odds than any that exist for making a living at professional basketball. How many NBA jobs? 500? If you care as you say you do, how can you not stump the country, night and day, imploring kids to learn everything they can in school, as opposed to offhandedly reporting that college students of all kinds are "numbingly inarticulate"? Oh. That's right. You have a career to look after, WAPO savant...

YOU MAKE ME COMPLETELY SICK. The only hope for young people who have athletic talent and less than stellar academic talent is to find a sport in which they might earn a scholarship for the purpose of getting a real education that could lead to a job, graduate school, or other knowledge-based opportunity. Swimming, diving, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, etc, etc. Which mean run like hell from both basketball and football, the worst dead ends in terms of college opportunity there are. Less than one percent make the pros. The other 99 percent have no time to go to class and finish as 7-11 clerks with lifelong physical disabilities well after they've had their 48 minutes on national TV.

What do YOU do? You comment in your cultured, sanctimonious way about only the most high visibility sports, and you make excuses for the total illiterates who are exploited by the American collegiate athletic system and discarded afterwards, except for the celebrated one percent who get to be privileged thugs, given endless second chances, by you, in the professional marketplace. Because they give you something to talk about. And patronize the rest of us about. On air. Screw you.

Terrelle Pryor will be a non-story in the professional ranks. He's an athlete. But he's as doomed as Michael Vick. Whose inexplicable failure to be a great NFL quarterback is easily explicated by the fact that he's -- barring some unlikely intervention by wise, stern men who care -- a fantastically athletic but narcissistic, semi-literate, psychopathic punk  Just like Vince Young. He'll never look like a living statue at the Canton induction ceremony, applauded by his physician, professorial, and otherwise professional children and his beloved wife of 30 or 40 years. Take my bet: Vick (and Pryor after him if the cycle isn't broken) will spend more time in prison than delivering motivational speeches. Just like O.J.

Still objecting, Wilbon? What would you tell Terrelle in private if you weren't defending him from the fancied army of intolerant white people who actually have moral standards? You'd tell him to grow up. You'd tell him to get an education. Like YOU did. You'd tell him to watch and learn from the dignity of men like Jamie Dukes.

You should have seen his lesson on NFL Gameday Scoreboard to
 his co-hosts about being "the face of the franchise."  Impressive.

Yeah, I know who he is. He puts you to shame in terms of pure character stature, Wilbon. Even if he didn't go to private Catholic school. He's actually learned something from his Florida State education.

Being a man isn't about race. It's about, uh, well, being a man. Something Terrelle Pryor will never learn if he reads your columns.

BONUS. Top points for the first person who can document the tongue lashing Michael Vick administered to Terrelle Pryor for having picked the wrong NFL idol... and extra credit for the substitute idols he suggested to the very fine young man who worships the ground he walks on...

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