February 16, 2011 - February 9, 2011
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Announcement: Spin-Off Blog
The real reason Muhammad didn't want his likeness shown: He's a pig-girl.
A hot one, too. Who refused to wear a burka. Excuse me a moment.
Why wait a month? Muhammad sucks now.
Kurt Westergaard, who drew the now-classic bomb-turban Muhammad, best gives voice to our proper outrage.
Many of the immigrants who came to Denmark, they had nothing. We gave them everything - money, apartments, their own schools, free university, health care. In return, we asked one thing - respect for democratic values, including free speech. Do they agree? This is my simple test.
Of course, too many of them fail this test. One day's not gonna be enough to smack some gratitude into these idiots. Insulting Muhammad needs to be a way of life. It needs to be a part of everybody's
everyday routine, like checking email, or putting dishes in the sink. We need to carve out a few minutes as a matter of habit
each day to let these idiots know we do not bow to thugs and losers. No matter how sharp their curved swords, nor how loud their foreign-sounding jibber-jabber.
To this end, we've started a little spin-off blog. Daily Muhammad
will mock the worst world religion once a day, every day, until a suicide bomber makes a wrong turn at Albuquerque and nukes Mecca. And a few days after that, too.
Stand up. If anything matters to you, stand up. And stay on your feet.
Friday, April 23, 2010
is how it feels when your team wins the big
FULL PARTISAN DISCLOSURE
. I wrote a couple of days ago about the
need for a "humor
," but perhaps I should have broadened it to a "life
resistance," because laughter is not the only medicine for what ails
us. I also noted, just yesterday
that I was glad to see George Will had returned to the fight with
considerably less snootiness than he was displaying a year ago. I was
pleased that he compared NJ governor Chris Christie to a "burly
baseball catcher." His metaphor seemed positively homespun.
But I was unprepared for what I heard this morning on Philadelphia
SportsTalk radio (WIP). Host Angelo Cataldi had an interview with --
surprise! -- George Will, whose baseball book Men at Work
has just been
rereleased ten years after its initial publication. I've written before
about the leftwing
bias that seeps into WIP commentary
, and so I was
surprised again when Cataldi praised not just Will's baseball writings
but his political punditry. Then I found out other things I didn't know
. Men at Work
is the bestselling
baseball book ever written, surpassing the success of Roger Kahn and
Roger Angell (E.B. White's son), who both wrote lyrically and
brilliantly about the national pastime in the days before the NFL
became the 800-pound gorilla of American sports. I knew George Will was
an accomplished student of the game, but I guess his blind allegiance
to the pitiful Cubs blinded me
to his greater allegiance to the game itself. My bad.
I'll get back to Will a bit later, but I have to describe the
additional shocker that was the catalyst for this post. Just a few
minutes after I heard the WIP interview, I stumbled across Charles
Krauthammer's latest WAPO column. It's about -- drumroll, please --
baseball. Specifically, the great man's love
of the hapless Washington Nationals
. There is something wistful and
determinedly self-therapeutic about his fondness for baseball's worst
I’m a former Red Sox fan, now fully
rehabilitated. No, I don’t go to games to steel my spine, perfect my
character, or journey into the dark night of the soul. I get that in my
day job watching the Obama administration in action.
I go for relief. For the fun, for the craft (beautifully elucidated in
George Will’s just-reissued classic, Men at Work), and for the sweet,
easy cheer at Nationals Park.
You get there and the twilight’s gleaming, the popcorn’s popping, the
kids are romping, and everyone’s happy. The joy of losing consists in
this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment. In
Tuesday night’s game, our starting pitcher couldn’t get out of the
third inning. Gave up four straight hits, six earned runs, and as he
came off the mound, actually got a few scattered rounds of applause.
Applause! In New York he’d have been booed mercilessly. In Philly, he’d
have found his car on blocks and missing a headlight.
No one’s happy to lose, and the fans cheer lustily when the Nats win.
But as starters blow up and base runners get picked off, there is none
of the agitation, the angry, screaming, beer-spilling, red-faced
ranting you get at football or basketball games.
I'll overlook the Philly libel (although I'll have more to say about it
anon), because he has a larger point which he articulates eloquently:
Baseball is a slow, boring, complex,
cerebral game that doesn’t lend itself to histrionics. You “take in” a
baseball game, something odd to say about a football or basketball
game, with the clock running and the bodies flying.
And for a losing baseball team, the calm is even more profound. I’ve
never been to a park where the people are more relaxed, tolerant, and
appreciative of any small, even moral, victory. Sure, you root, root,
root for the home team, but if they don’t win, “it’s a shame” — not a
calamity. Can you imagine arm-linked fans swaying to such a sweetly
corny song of early-20th-century innocence — as long gone as the manual
typewriter and the 20-game winner — at the two-minute warning?
I think he's groping toward several points here, which is why he seems
to contradict himself fatally in the space of a couple paragraphs. If
baseball isn't about "red-faced ranting," why the slams against
baseball fans in New York and Philadelphia? His attraction to the
Nationals is a kind of nostalgia, as if he's watching some team from
the innocent American past play against the win-at-all-costs present.
He's found a personal refuge from the vicious politics in which he's
immersed every day in the nation's capital. And he's actually afraid of
what will happen if the Nationals start to get good:
But now I fear for my bliss. Hope, of a
sort, is on the way — in the form of Stephen Strasburg, the greatest
pitching prospect in living memory. His fastball clocks 103 mph and his
slider, says Tom Boswell, breaks so sharply it looks like it hit a bird
in midair... I
I’m worried. Even before Strasburg has arrived from the minor leagues,
the Nats are actually doing well. They’re playing .500 ball for the
first time in five years...
They might soon be, gasp, a contender. In the race deep into September.
Good enough to give you hope. And break your heart.
Where does one then go for respite?
Answer? Baseball. At some level, he knows that, else why reference the
anachronistic ritual of thousands of fans singing "Take Me Out to the
Ball Game" during every seventh inning stretch. He's on the verge of
remembering something he needs to remember but that is hard to remember
because of where he lives and what he does. Baseball fans are the
closest thing there is to the Tea Party phenomenon, and they suffer
from the same mostly unfair slanders, some of which Krauthammer has
thoughtlessly repeated. Permit me to use Philadelphia as an example.
Yes, there are boo-birds. But they are a tiny percentage of the fans
who follow the team. Something like the few glunks who show up at tea
party rallies with racist signs. They cannot compare to the outpouring
that followed the death of broadcaster icon Harry
, who filled the ballpark with mourners. He was ours
and no one threw beer or
punches. Time for some math, which is especially relevant in
Philadelphia's case because the past few years have reminded even WIP
sports analysts that their city is, and always has been, a baseball
town as much as a football town. The Eagles always sell out their
seats, which at eight games per year, amounts to less than half a
million well-heeled asses in the stadium. The Phillies, on the other
hand, sold out 72 of 81 home games last year, for a total of about 3
million in season attendance or six
what the Eagles get each year.
And, as has been abundantly pointed out elsewhere, the
Philadelphia Phillies have lost more games than any professional sports
team in history
, over 10,000. The truth is that baseball loyalties
run very very deep and are local in a way that the NFL can only envy.
WIP hosts experience a constant stream of Philly residents who root for
other NFL teams, most notably the more successful Steelers and the
hated Dallas Cowboys, and they have a practice of hanging up on them
with formulaic epithets. This is not the case with baseball. On the
contrary -- and I've observed this in early games this season in
Washington, Florida, and Atlanta -- the transplanted Philadelphians in
these cities are so numerous in their jerseys and caps that their
cheering for the Phillies sometimes rivals that of the home team's fans.
Baseball allegiance is a lot like patriotism. Its intensity may ebb and
flow, but it is always there, an inviolable component of personal
identity. Philadelphia has been so vilified as a locus of thug fans
that no Philadelphia team will ever become America's team. The Phillies
fans who sometimes outnumber National fans in the National ballpark are
Philadelphia born if no longer resident there. They "cling" to their
team because they cannot do otherwise, like all the armchair ladies
with their cigarette coughs who watch (or listen to) every inning of
every game all season long, year after year, win or lose. They call
into WIP, too, and they know their baseball. They worry, and they may
criticize, sometimes harshly, but they never give up rooting for their
Interestingly, George Will knows this too. In his WIP interview he
reminisced about his stint in graduate school at Princeton, where he
used what free time he had to attend games at the Polo Grounds in New
York and Connie Mack stadium in Philadelphia. He stressed that the
element he found most inspiring was this very localness, the sense that
the team was of
the city and
its neighborhoods, a family affair. His words resonated with me because
the first major league baseball game I ever saw was at Connie Mack
stadium, a complicated and antique structure that made it hard for a
kid to see what was going on for all the pillars and overhangs in the
way. But I saw Dick Stewart (also affectionately/derisively known as
"Dr. Strangeglove") blast a titanic grand-slam homerun to win the game.
Which is why the clip from "The Natural" above is like an instantaneous
wormhole to my childhood. Dick Stewart was a Phillie. I was a Phillie
fan, born and bred. We
was there. That slicing line
drive into the right field stands was part of my
destiny. I was a kid.
You see, there's a huge difference between baseball and football. I've
written before about the
role football plays in the seasoning and
toughening of American youth
, which is a great secret strength of
country, but baseball has other, perhaps more important virtues.
Krauthammer is flat wrong to call it a "boring" game. It's slow,
complex, and cerebral all right, but it's not boring. It is, rather,
like life itself. You get out of it what you put into it. Its
complexity is infinite, and despite what contemporary NFL advocates
claim, its complexity is an order of magnitude beyond football's.
Football is, like the military, all about building an intricate machine
in which perfection is defined as human cogs executing perfectly under
fire. Only one quarterback in the NFL has the freedom to call his own
plays. Baseball's complexity, like the game itself, is an artistic
synthesis of individuals serving the team with individual knowledge,
skill, and, yes, wisdom. Every fielder on a baseball team is
responsible for calling his own response to the batter's response to a
pitch. Every baserunner the same; if his judgment fails, no first or
third-base coach can save him. Every batter the same; when he gets a
green light, he's on his own when it comes to guessing the pitch and
avoiding a strikeout or double play. A great baseball team is never a machine. It's a
hybrid -- much like America -- of separate persons who come together by
taking advantage of and compensating for the strengths and weaknesses
of its members.
Every pitch is an infinity of possibilities. There is no clock. There
is no need for any game ever to end. That all games do
end in the major leagues (little
leagues have a mercy rule) is a testament of competence the NFL does
not require. In football, the clock ticks down mercifully to an
Krauthammer is afraid of what happens to his peace of mind if the
Nationals become a contender. He's been in Washington too long.
Baseball is American life. That's why he's drawn to it, whether he
knows it or not. It can be jovial and easy and tolerant as he is
presently finding so healing with his Nationals, or it can be a slow,
chesslike war, with ordinary fans playing their part with startling
effectiveness, as when the despised Phillies fans turned the at-bat of
pitcher Brett Myers into a series
against ace C.C. Sabathia in the World Championship 2008 season. The supposedly neanderthal Philadelphia fans knew that making the infallible Sabathia waste countless pitches on a pitcher might break his spirit. When Myers drew a walk, the fans reacted as if it were a homerun. Which in a way it was. It's a phenomenon called baseball.
Something like a Tea Party. The time comes when it's not enough to be
an audience or a bystander. The masses suddenly have their part to play
and they play it, intelligently and effectively.
One final point before I go. The NFL keeps advancing and changing
itself, so that the game today resembles the game of yesteryear not at
all. Baseball, on the other hand, is cyclical, like the American
spirit. (The clinching reason I wanted to do this post.) Right now, the
Phillies have the hottest pitcher in baseball. (Current ERA,
Zero-point-something ) Last week, after win No. 3, WIP began soliciting
nicknames for their brand new star, Roy Halladay. Callers were pretty
fond of the obvious "Doc Holladay." Hosts were skeptical and kept
advancing reminders of pitchers past like Steve Carlton, resulting in a
bid for "Ace Holladay."
But I'm an old guy and so I thought once again of the video up top. The
man's given name is "Roy." He's an old-time ballplayer. He can't stand
to lose. He arrives at the ballpark before anyone else and leaves after
everyone else. Unlike some of the current enthusiasts, I
don't expect him to be untouchable all year
. But it's clear he will
fight to win every game he's in. I'm thinking of him, atavistically, as
"The Natural." Roy Hobbes, after all, started out as a pitcher until he
got derailed by a bizarre maniac.
I'm also thinking here of the difference between the book and the
movie. In Bernard Malamud's novel, Roy Hobbes threw the pivotal game
(not as in pitching it but deliberately losing it). In the movie, he
won the pivotal game. Something about a difference in worldviews? We're
seeing a difference in worldviews right now. The difference Krauthammer
is trying to deal with. Maybe he should abandon the easy comfort of not
caring about winning and start rooting for, well, the roots of
America's pastime: the beauty of loyalty and principle represented by a
community force that refuses to surrender to all the temptations to
I've said some mean things about George
. Now I'm asking you to read his
. Why? Because he knows we need something more than politics to get us through this season of crap. Which makes him a wiser man than I gave him credit for. And he knows a lot more about baseball too, including some things sublime. Uncharacteristically, Charles Krauthammer is fumbling in the dark. But quite properly, he's looking for hope of the un-Obama kind. We're just trying to help. If anyone can see the light, he can.
. I appreciate The
because Mrs. CP loves it so.
But nothing can ever really compare to The Baseball. For those of us who
grew up as fans and felt the supreme American-ness at its core. Forgive
Supporting South Park:
I have an idea...
The Prophet Mohammed. Cute, ain't he?
WHATEVER CAN WE DO (WRINGING OF HANDS)?
Let's ALL do it. Face
it. It's pretty easy to take sides in the South Park-Comedy Central
fracas. Some people are congratulating them on their bravery. Easy.
Some people are damning the cowardice of Comedy Central. Easy. Others
are saying let's stand up and support
Matt Stone and Trey Parker. By, uh, saying we support them and maybe signing a petition. Easy.
Has it occurred to anybody that this vast thing called the Internet is
the automatic answer? If we believe so much in free speech and not
being intimidated by muslim thugs, we have it absolutely in our power
to turn the tide. Uh, We
the World. If every "brave" proponent of free speech in the United
States posted his own image of Mohammed, thousands and thousands of
them, there would be too many of us to kill. We'd be an avalanche that
would make their sorry jihadist threats puny by comparison. They can't kill us all
Want to show your support for Matt Stone and Trey Parker? This is
exactly how easy it is. Well, you've got to have some minimal PhotoShop
skills, but other than that it's just a balls call.
So here you go, Hotair. Here you go, InstaPundit. Here you go, Ace of
Spades. Here you go, Big Hollywood. Here you go, NRO. Here you go, all
you free speech advocates, all you irate columnists and bloggers on the
right who ache for the dead Dutchman and wish there were something, anything,
you could do to prove
your courageous solidarity with the two flippant assholes who are South
It really is this
realize that? Maybe it's a punk thing.
idea how to contact
other sites except for Hotair.com. Anybody who knows how is urged to do
so. I'm deadly serious about this, but my ability to execute is almost
zero. Check in, as you can, to let us know whom you've contacted...
To be crystal clear, I'm asking all of you to contact the whole world, not just the sites I've named here, although they're the first priority. Whether we agree with them or not, the Stone and Parker newens are still punks, and they are putting their lives on the line. I'm sure some of you can cite the chapter and verse in the Punk Testament which makes that OUR business as well. Please get to work.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Up the Down
CATEGORY: ALWAYS RIGHT
. Just over a year ago, I posted the video
above and predicted that conservatives who kept bucking the admittedly
overwhelming Obama tide would eventually catch the ear of the American
people. How's that prediction working out for me -- and you? I think
it's time for a snapshot view of what conservatives are talking about
right now, which I offer with the suggestion that you try to remember
how likely or unlikely such conversations would have seemed early in
April 2009. Remember: back then, even conservatives were in retreat,
wondering if their ideas had been slain in the Obama wave and just how
much compromise would be necessary to retain a voice in future
For example, everyone here knows I generally like The Corner at The National Review
. But it seems
to me that I was the only conservative who got his dander up at Corner
poster Jim Manzi, who's an archetype of the super-intellectual,
nominally conservative appeaser of liberal elites and their
technocratic causes. I specifically took issue with his pompous stands
which were riding high even in conservative circles back then. In fact,
I called him a dolt in two posts directly related to the 'escalator'
post referenced above.
So imagine my surprise at reading this
at The Corner today:
Real Epistemic Closure [Andy McCarthy]
The most appalling thing about Jim Manzi's attack on Mark Levin's
Liberty & Tyranny is its pompous invocation of "epistemic closure"
as a cudgel to beat the side of the climate debate arguing for
epistemic openness — and trying to make that argument against
transnational scientific elites who desperately seek to enforce
ontological closure in a most unscientific manner.
Timely, then, that we should be treated to an Earth Day essay in the
Wall Street Journal from MIT's Richard Lindzen, who manages to meet the
Manzi standard of "very serious climate scientist" despite having been
cited by Levin. Prof. Lindzen is appropriately chagrined. Global
warming alarmists, he concludes, have been discredited over the past
several months by the scandalous disclosures about their decades-long
shenanigans, yet, you'd never know it. Why? Because purportedly serious
people are ignoring, discounting, and suppressing the evidence, as well
as resorting to the old stand-by of ad hominem attack against critics —
"suffused," Lindzen recounts, "by illogic, nastiness and outright
dishonesty." (He doesn't mention whether he's picked this up by reading
the Corner in the last day or so.)
Lindzen disparages "the official scientific community" — a group that
mirrors what Manzi reverentially calls the "global scientific
establishment" — for its transcontinental conspiracy. He accuses it of
colluding in an effort to wait until the current controversy dies down
before "reasserting" unsupported claims of "climate catastrophe" to
government policy makers and funding agencies. He powerfully suggests
that scientific elites are (to borrow a phrase Manzi uses in ridicule
mode) "too trapped by their assumptions to incorporate [contradictory]
Remarkable to read Lindzen spout such wingnuttery when, as Jim points
out, none less than the national science academy of Mexico itself has
not rejected the notion of man-made global warming. I'm ashamed to
admit, though, that to me, Lindzen doesn't seem like a kook who
probably thinks the Queen of England and the Trilateral Commission are
in on a farcical global science scam. But what do I know? I don't even
have a Ph.D.
My my. Do I detect a near punk
tone of voice in the April 2010 edition of The Corner?
Are moderate rationalists and intellectual conservatives beginning to
discover a need to start climbing that down escalator? Well, maybe.
Here are a few links you'll have to look up and read for yourselves.
They aren't all by former or temporary apostates. But they're all
indicative of a new ballsiness, a refreshing confidence that the war
being waged against us might actually be won and that it's less
important to bash the so-called 'dummies' amongst us than to focus on
the catastrophe being inflicted on us by the self-anointed smart ones.
A year ago, George Will was spending an inordinate amount of time
looking down his nose at Sarah Palin. Today he's touting
the promise of NJ Governor Chris Christie
, who suddenly doesn't
look so much like a Sopranos plug-ugly as a "burly baseball catcher"
who's playing hardball in the most heavily taxed state in the union.
He's even celebrating the big man's new monicker, The Trenton Thunder.
He's right and I'm glad to have George Will back on our side.
The folks over at Hotair have been merciless with everyone they
consider a "Birther." But today they had the grace or fairness or
epiphany, or whatever it was, to link this very
of the Obama birth certificate mystery. I will not
carp at past excesses. I congratulate them instead for acknowledging
that even conservative positions can have, uh, nuances.
also surprised me today. I've been wondering since the inauguration how
long it would take our best and brightest to realize, finally, that
Barack Obama isn't
likeable guy, but an arrogant
. Something so obvious generally takes the best educated among
us a lifetime to perceive. They've done it in less than a year
and a half. (I forgive the unnecessary slap at Palin; they can't help
themselves when it comes to Ivy League snobbery.)
Now Mona Charen has always been made of sterner stuff. But read this
and ask yourselves if you thought you'd be reading something like it a
year after Obama's first Roman spring.
And ask yourselves if you'd have believed that an ordinary citizen
would rise up and smack an MSM columnist in quite this dismissive
Then plow through all four segments of this annihilation
of anti-capitalist propaganda
being promulgated in the public
schools. This rebuttal video has succeeded
in getting its target ejected in multiple public school curricula.
Keep walking up the down escalator, my friends. I'm thinking that's
what Hugh Hewitt had in mind with this appearance on MSNBC.
But I question his judgment nonetheless. I think, like the rest of us,
he has to learn that this is a war, not a college debate.
Right now, though, I'm feeling hopeful. Maybe even Hugh Hewitt can join
us at the barricades with a cutlass in his teeth. Eventually.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
FRANKLIN INSTITUTE IS COOL
. The times we live in. Mrs. CP found
this, no doubt because we have a red-tailed hawk family that nests in our
year after year. We watch them fly in with the nest makings
for days every spring, but we never get to see what's showing on the
Internet now -- the live 24/7 process of hatching eggs and caring for
People talk a lot about the downside of technology's virtual thrills,
but that's only part of the story. I'm amazed that this supposedly
unreal and soul-destroying electronic universe can leap the gap between
our bay window and the natural drama unfolding invisibly a hundred yards away.
The race of mankind has its faults, to be sure, but it is also capable
of extraordinary wonders.
SNIP OF THE GIPP
. You've probably seen this already since it's
featured on several sites. (My own hat tip goes to Jonah Goldberg.) But
I'm struck by the contrasts no one seems to want to notice. It's
actually a live performance. Reagan is out of breath at the end because
he's just finished the climactic action scene. What do I notice? James
Dean -- the "rebel without a cause" who made self-destruction a
generational fad -- seems like a squeaky shrimp next to Reagan, and (if
you're fair) he's the lesser actor in the piece, or more accurately,
the over-actor in the piece. There can't be too many acting gigs harder
than live teleplays, which are an impossibly contradictory combination
of stage acting (live and broad) and film acting (small and detail
intensive). Dean is regarded as the vanguard of antihero film actors,
but here he's too broad for the venue, while Reagan is, well, the one I
keep looking at. Odd, eh?
I'm NOT saying that Reagan had more acting talent than Dean. I'm saying
that when I hit "play" I expected to cringe at Reagan in such a
challenging circumstance and found myself cringing at Dean instead --
actually having to look away at times. Reagan, on the other hand, looks
like a, uh, pro. And surprisingly good looking. He's the one who looks
like a movie star. He was 43 when this was made. Maybe that was the
peak of his cinematic attractiveness.
Reagan as a pro. That's what's interesting. As I look at Obama, I keep
thinking "amateur." I'm not the only one. Ed Morrissey at Hotair has a
feature called "Obamateurism of the Day." But who isn't an amateur at
being president? It's not like there's anyplace where you can learn the
job ahead of time by being a "practice president." But there are
presidents who seem to know,
instinctively, how to do the job. In the twentieth century, I know of
three: FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan. Of these, the one with the fewest
unforced errors (er, dumb screw-ups) was Reagan.
And James Dean was long dead and buried before Reagan took on his
biggest role. What is talent, who has it, and how do we measure it?
Just some thoughts on a snippet of show biz errata.
Our perennial prodigal checked in via email to insist that you
all drink in this exercise in French statecraft. Or, in a typical tour de force
understatement rendered word for word:
Apropos of nothing, maybe you can do
something with this
the Frenchiest Frenchness I've ever seen. Clips of what look like
Godard's home movies cut to a Serge Gainsbourg song sung by the actual
French First Lady. That it's in English only makes it Frenchier--
totally magnifies the hip ennui. It's like Galactus ripped France off
the continent and, twisting it mightily, wrung a few drops of pure
concentrated Frenchitude into... Charlemagne's goblet, or something.
How are they the ones banning the burkha
I'm tempted to cheer, but conscience compels me to acknowledge that
this past weekend, I subjected the stepdaughter to the following Edith
Piaf song because I believed she was losing her native sense of
romance. Which would be an XY-gen tragedy. Love is still the wine that
drinks our souls and savors their flavor.
You know. Full disclosure. I hate the French but I love them more.
C'est la guerre.
Even though Brizoni's absolutely right on this one.