Ed Driscoll
  
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Ed Driscoll

Clinton Versus Clinton

March 30th, 2015 - 11:50 am

Shot:

Chaser:

  I just don’t understand how someone could support a presidential candidate whose husband signed such a monstrous law. Speaking of which:

And I look forward to ESPN weighing in this:

All of which is why:

Or as Glenn Reynolds Insta-writes, “Here’s the deal: (1) Indiana has gone from a swing state to a red state, so it’s fair game; and (2) Dems need something to agitate the base so it doesn’t pay attention to Iranian nukes, trashed email servers, and an overall culture of corruption. Those who join in are willing enablers.” Indeed. Read the whole thing.™

Ted Cruz Destroys CNN Hack!

March 30th, 2015 - 11:38 am

“This is the most hilarious interview with Ted Cruz I’ve seen thus far. Thank you CNN, for delivering this epic bit of blowback,” Michael van der Galien writes at Tatler; hence my BuzzFeed/Jon Stewart-style over-the-top headline. But this is a fun clip:

[CNN's Dana Bash] tried to smack Cruz around by comparing him to Obama (funny, she didn’t have a problem with the current president having no executive or much political experience when he ran for the White House in 2008), hoping it would silence and embarrass the senator from Texas.

She got a healthy dose of “you’ve got to be kidding” me instead.

Can Cruz win? It’s early, and a strong, crowded GOP field. But unlike the even-more-accomplished Scott Walker, who’s been somewhat tentative in dealing with media, Cruz does appear to understand that before he can have a shot at the Democrat nominee, he’s got to deal with that party’s operatives with bylines — and so far, seems prepared to do battle.

This has to be yet another troll by the Troller-in-Chief, right? In addition to paying back Teddy, who helped launch Obama’s presidential bid by declaring him 2008′s second coming of JFK*:

President Barack Obama paid tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy at the dedication of his political institute in Boston on Monday, praising the Democratic lawmaker’s legacy and that of his brother as “alive as ever.”

“No one made the Senate come alive like Ted Kennedy,” Obama told a crowd of Massachusetts dignitaries. “It was one of the great pleasures of my life to hear Ted Kennedy deliver one of his stemwinders on the floor.”

“What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy? What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?” Obama asked.

“Carried ourselves” like Ted Kennedy? Say what you will about the man, but one of Obama’s virtues is that he doesn’t appear to make half-gallons of Chivas Regal disappear in a single gulp. But as far as Obama and working the senate, this is of course the man who typically voted “present” in the Illinois state legislature, and who made “less than a quarter of Senate votes” in 2007, as CNN reported, before perfecting the art of using Air Force One to commute to the links.

Since her name isn’t mentioned in the above Politico article, it’s always worth flashing back to the infamous 2003 passage from Charles Pierce, now with Esquire, on Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne:

“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

—Charles Pierce in a January 5, 2003 Boston Globe Magazine article. Kopechne drowned while trapped in Kennedy’s submerged car off Chappaquiddick Island in July 1969, an accident Kennedy did not report for several hours.

(Kennedy himself was said to enjoy Kopechne jokes in his dotage.) And speaking of Kennedy’s relationship with women after her:

* There’s one in every Democrat presidential crowd. This year’s nominee? Martin O’Malley. Funny  though, with the arguable exception of Bill Clinton (and only after he had a GOP Congress), they never govern like JFK if they actually win.

The Burning Johnson

March 29th, 2015 - 7:37 pm

Everything you ever wanted to know about LBJ’s shower habits — and far, far more:

LBJ, well, he comes off as a monster. He harassed residence staff for years to construct him a specialized shower to replicate the one he had at his private Washington home, with “water charging out of multiple nozzles in every direction with needlelike intensity and a hugely powerful force.”

“One nozzle was pointed directly at the president’s penis, which he nicknamed ‘Jumbo.’ Another shot right up his rear,” Brower writes. Johnson, who traveled with his own special shower nozzle, wanted the water pressure at the White House to be “the equivalent of a fire hose, and he wanted a simple switch to change the temperature from hot to cold immediately. Never warm.”

Johnson harangued the staff when they explained to him that they would have to lay new pipe, install multiple new pumps and increase the size of the water lines to the White House to create this shower contraption.

“If I can move 10,000 troops in a day, you can certainly fix the bathroom any way I want it!” Johnson yelled at the staff, according to Brower.

Reds Arrington, the plumbing foreman at the White House, spent five years trying to perfect the project, and at one point was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown. The staff went through five different replacement shower models. LBJ eventually got something like what he wanted, sort of. The water temperature was so hot that the steam it emitted “regularly set off the fire alarm,” Brower writes.

Near the end of his presidency, LBJ told Arrington that the shower was his “delight.”

Not long after, Nixon took over the White House. He took one look at LBJ’s elaborate shower setup and muttered, “Get rid of this stuff.”

Heh. And don’t get Johnson started on the topic of trousers, either:

(Found via Mark Hemingway, who tweets, “Every time I think I can’t be surprised by learning more about LBJ…”)

Quotes of the Day

March 28th, 2015 - 5:01 pm

A friend of mine was in Las Vegas a week or two ago. He talked to a number of people there about Reid’s accident, and didn’t find anyone who believed the elastic exercise band story. The common assumption was that the incident resulted, in some fashion, from Reid’s relationship with organized crime. The principal rumor my friend heard was that Reid had promised to obtain some benefit for a group of mobsters. He met with them on New Year’s Day, and broke the bad news that he hadn’t been able to deliver what he promised. When the mobsters complained, Reid (according to the rumor) made a comment that they considered disrespectful, and one of them beat him up.

Is that what really happened? I have no idea, but it is a more likely story than the elastic exercise band yarn.

“What Really Happened to Harry Reid? Part 2,” John Hinderaker, Power Line, today.

“As Harry Reid leaves government, we wish him good health and long life. It will give him the opportunity to reflect on his career in politics and, perhaps, to find a way to atone for it.”

“The Pugilist at Rest,” National Review.com, yesterday.

“The co-pilot who investigators believe crashed a passenger jet into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, worried ‘health problems’ would dash his dreams and vowed one day to do something to ‘change the whole system’, an ex-girlfriend told a German newspaper,” Agence France-Presse reports:

The 26-year-old woman, identified only as Maria W., recalled in an interview with the mass-circulation Bild daily how Andreas Lubitz told her: “One day I’m going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember.”

“I never knew what he meant by that but now it makes sense,” it quoted the “shocked” flight attendant as saying.

The black box voice recorder indicates that Lubitz, 27, locked the captain out of the cockpit of the Germanwings jet and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside as the more senior pilot tried desperately to reopen the door during its eight-minute descent, French officials say.

As investigators race to build up a picture of Lubitz and any possible motives, new media reports emerged saying he had suffered from vision problems, adding to earlier reports he was severely depressed.

The London Daily Mail adds additional details:

[Lubitz] is said to have sought help over his vision as recently as March 10, amid fears his eye problems may have jeopardised his ability to continue working as a pilot.

It came as police revealed that evidence found at his home suggested he was suffering from a ‘serious psychosomatic illness’. Officers reportedly found a variety of drugs used to treat mental illness at his flat in Dusseldorf, appearing to substantiate claims he was severely depressed.

And a former partner described him as a tormented, erratic man who was a master of hiding his darkest thoughts and would wake up from nightmares screaming ‘we’re going down’.

“‘During conversations he’d suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me,’ [Maria] said. ‘I was afraid. He even once locked me in the bathroom for a long time,” the Daily Mail chillingly reports.

The Two Minutes Hate at Lincoln Center

March 28th, 2015 - 12:01 pm

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Thursday night, “the New York Philharmonic premiered a work by John Adams. Adams is probably the most famous and important composer in the world (classical composer). His new work is Scheherazade.2, a ‘dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra,’” Jay Nordlinger, who attended the performance writes at the Corner. But first, Adams took time out to instruct his audience to insult an AM radio host:

Before the performance, Adams himself took a microphone and spoke to the audience about the work. He described how it came about. He had seen an exhibition in Paris about Scheherazade. Then he read Arabian Nights, and was appalled by the “casual brutality toward women” depicted therein. At the same time, he was reading of brutality toward women around the world: in Egypt, Afghanistan, and India, for example.

But we were not to think we Americans were exempt from this brutality. For example, you can “find it on Rush Limbaugh.” (Rush equals the Taliban or the Muslim Brotherhood, you see.)

To this remark, the audience responded with sustained and robust applause. In 1984, Orwell writes of the two-minute hate. The applause in Avery Fisher Hall did not last for two minutes, but it went on long enough.

Obviously, John Adams knows nothing about Rush Limbaugh. It’s a good bet he has never listened to Rush’s show or read an article by him. The same must be true of the audience members who applauded. But Rush is a hate figure on the left, a bogeyman. His name has almost magical power. And Adams must have known that if he invoked it, in the way he did, he would get agreement and applause from a New York audience.

This is a sick and twisted culture. It features that toxic combination of ignorance and hate.

Rush himself is amused at becoming “the official bogey man of the left:”

[Nordlinger and I] had a little back-and-forth exchange today, and I told him, I said, “No, this stuff? I long ago ceased being bothered by this.  In fact, I’ve had to learn how to take this as a measure and sign of success,” and it clearly is.  So, anyway, that’s what I was talking about at the open of the program as being the one who inspires the most hate among people on the left who are already engaged in hate.

One of his listeners, who attended the performance estimates that there was about a thousand people in the audience:

CALLER:  It was packed and the majority of people clapping were in the front and whooping it up.  I don’t believe that Jay heard me, but I was outraged.  It ruined my entire evening.

RUSH:  I think you and –

CALLER:  I was just stunned. I’m sorry to interrupt you.  I was just so stunned, and I’m still very upset about it.  It was completely inappropriate and completely out of context.

RUSH:  Well, I appreciate your sentiments.  I really do.  You and Jay must have been the only two people in there.

CALLER:  Well, my friend Trish was with me, and she absolutely was outraged as well.  The reason that I called you is I just wanted to let you know that someone in addition to Jay and my friend Trish in Manhattan, in the land of leftist loons, has your back.

RUSH:  Well, I appreciate that more than you know.  I really… I don’t know how to thank you for that, because there’s no way I can tell people how much that means.  It’s just no way I can convey that to people.

CALLER:  Rush, I heard you come and speak in New York City.  I’m a huge fan and a huge listener, and you are right on, everything you say and everything that you do for us conservatives.  You can be anything in New York City.  You can be a murderer, a thief, a liar, but don’t you dare be a conservative.

As Rush responds:

My name epitomizes and encapsulates all of their hatred for conservatism.  But, see, the point is this guy’s standing up there, and he realizes what he’s doing.  He’s telling people that his inspiration… He has been inspired to write this piece on the basis he was so appalled at the way women are treated in various parts of the world.

But then, as a good liberal, he had to say something to let everybody know that America’s no better.  So he says, “And, by the way, you can find it here on Rush Limbaugh,” and that’s when the audience started their nearly two-minute applause.  None of ‘em listen to the program like you, Melanie.  None of them have the slightest idea what happens here.  It doesn’t matter.  They know what happens here because they watch The Daily Show or because they ready Media Matters or basically whatever sewer on Twitter they happen to visit. That’s how they know what happens on this program.  They wouldn’t dare tune in here like you do.

As we noted a week and a half ago, during Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz’s heavy-handed attempt to pour a toxic blend of racialism into his company’s products, Nordlinger has noted in several posts and articles over the years since Mr. Obama came to power, the number of politics-free “safe zones” is continually shrinking in America. Classical music used to be one such zone, but as with Germany in the first half of the 20th century, apparently that’s no longer the case.

Breaking News from 1976

March 27th, 2015 - 6:44 pm

“Is California Gov. Jerry Brown becoming the Jerry Falwell of the left?” asks Claremont’s Jack Pitney at the Christian Science Monitor:

As you may recall, the late Reverend Falwell was one of the founders of the contemporary religious right. In 1979, with conservative activist Paul Weyrich, he created the Moral Majority, an organization that mobilized religious people on issues such as abortion and school prayer. Falwell quickly became notorious for proclaiming certain issue positions as Christian and suggesting that those with other viewpoints were immoral or un-Christian.

Lately, Governor Brown has been doing the same thing. During a visit to Washington, he said that GOP opposition to President Obama’s immigration actions is “at best is troglodyte and at worst is un-Christian.” He used similar language to condemn Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s fight against carbon pollution regulations. “President Obama is taking some important steps,” Brown said on “Meet the Press.” “And to fight that, it borders on immoral.” On the same program, he said that Sen. Ted Cruz’s stance on climate change renders him “absolutely unfit to be running for office.”

“Before keeping up the insults, the governor might ponder what happened to the reverend,” who eventually “even alienated conservative Republicans,” Pitney adds.

While Brown may have gotten nastier and even more useless in the ensuing decades, the underlying premise of Pitney’s thesis regarding Brown’s streak of religious fundamentalism is nothing new. Under the subhead “The Holy Roll” of his ’70s-defining New York magazine essay “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening” from 1976, Tom Wolfe placed Brown into context with another Democrat who was paying lip service to the born-again Christianity so popular in the 1970s:

The two most popular new figures in the 1976 campaign, Jimmy Carter and Jerry Brown, are men who rose up from state politics . . . absolutely aglow with mystical religious streaks. Carter turned out to be an evangelical Baptist who had recently been “born again” and “saved,” who had “accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior”—i.e., he was of the Missionary lectern-pounding amen ten-finger C-major-chord Sister-Martha-at-the-Yamaha-keyboard loblolly piny-woods Baptist faith in which the members of the congregation stand up and “give witness” and “share it. Brother” and “share it, Sister” and “Praise God!” during the service.* Jerry Brown turned out to be the Zen Jesuit, a former Jesuit seminarian who went about like a hair-shirt Catholic monk, but one who happened to believe also in the Gautama Buddha, and who got off koans in an offhand but confident manner, even on political issues, as to how it is not the right answer that matters but the right question, and so forth.

Newspaper columnists and newsmagazine writers continually referred to the two men’s “enigmatic appeal.” Which is to say, they couldn’t explain it. Nevertheless, they tried. They theorized that the war in Vietnam, Watergate, the FBI and CIA scandals, had left the electorate shell-shocked and disillusioned and that in their despair the citizens were groping no longer for specific remedies but for sheer faith, something, anything (even holy rolling), to believe in. This was in keeping with the current fashion of interpreting all new political phenomena in terms of recent disasters, frustration, protest, the decline of civilization . . . the Grim Slide. But when the New York Times and CBS employed a polling organization to try to find out just what great gusher of “frustration” and “protest” Carter had hit, the results were baffling. A Harvard political scientist, William Schneider, concluded for the L.A. Times that “the Carter protest” was a new kind of protest, “a protest of good feelings.” That was a new kind, sure enough—a protest that wasn’t a protest.

In fact, both Carter and Brown had stumbled upon a fabulous terrain for which there are no words in current political language. A couple of politicians had finally wandered into the Me Decade.

And of course, Carter would go on to define the box canyon thinking of the left both then and now with his infamous malaise speech. Brown’s worldview would also never leave the 1970s; how long will the state of California as a whole remain trapped in the echo of that horrible decade?

“Barack Obama faces a slew of Middle East crises that some call the worst in a generation, as new chaos from Yemen to Iraq — along with deteriorating U.S.-Israeli relations — is confounding the president’s efforts to stabilize the region and strike a nuclear deal with Iran,” the Politico reports. That lede from the Obama house organ presupposes that he wants to stabilize the region — and of course, it doesn’t say what kind of nuclear deal Obama wants with the mullahs, but still:

“If there’s one lesson this administration has learned, from President Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech through the Arab Spring, it’s that when it comes to this region, nothing happens in a linear way — and precious little is actually about us, which is a hard reality to accept,” said a senior State Department official.Not everyone is so forgiving. “We’re in a goddamn free fall here,” said James Jeffrey, who served as Obama’s ambassador to Iraq and was a top national security aide in the George W. Bush White House.

For years, members of the Obama team have grappled with the chaotic aftermath of the Arab Spring. But of late they have been repeatedly caught off-guard, raising new questions about America’s ability to manage the dangerous region.

Free fall you say? Roger L. Simon takes that metaphor to its ultimate conclusion:

Obama and his minions are huddled wherever they’re huddled, busy destroying the Western World with their bizarre policies and eagerness to make a deal with Iran that is so desperate it makes the word pathetic seem pathetic. The results of this desperation have been wretched, a fascistic new Persian Empire emerging from Libya to Yemen with Obama auditioning for the role of Cyrus the Great – or is it Ahmadinejad Junior? Whatever the case, it’s horrible  Even those same Democrats know it.  They’re embarrassed – and they should be.  But for the most part they don’t have the guts to say anything. This is the kind of administration that exchanges a creepy sociopath like Bergdahl for five Islamic homicidal maniacs and expects praise for being humanitarian.  And everyone walks away shaking their heads.

It’s hard to know why Obama is doing it all.  I know it sounds like a rude overstatement but in a way he reminds me of that crazy German pilot flying that plane into that alpine cliff, only the plane is us (America and the West).  Does he hate us all that much – or is it just Netanyahu?  Whatever the explanation, it’s mighty peculiar.  At this point almost no one  in the Congress appears to be backing him up – and yet he continues.  Who knows what will happen next?

How bad has it gotten? This Iowahawk tweet sums up the hash Mr. Obama and company have made of the region:

And it gets worse:

What a sad joke has been inflicted upon the American people. And in the Middle East, Israel will have to single-handedly deal with the fallout — which apparently unlike those in the Obama administration, I hope remains purely metaphoric.

Peggy Noonan, Then and Now

March 27th, 2015 - 1:08 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Mr. Cruz knows his reputation as the angry, surly face of the dark side of conservatism. He’s the government-shutdown artist*, the living answer to the question “What if Joe McCarthy went to Harvard Law?” He says it’s a caricature.**

He once noted to me in conversation that when people on TV call him angry and snarling, they never show video to illustrate the point. He says there is no angry, snarling video because he isn’t angry and doesn’t snarl. He never throws mud, he says, and won’t. He sees himself as a happy warrior.

I don’t think the snarling image thing is his main problem. He has two others.

One is much remarked upon. He is 44 and a first-term senator. He entered the national stage less than three years ago, though it seems like longer because he made himself so famous so fast. He talks about Reagan, but Reagan in 1980 had been a union president, two-term governor of a huge state, candidate for the GOP nomination in 1976, and longtime leader of modern conservatism. He had been an executive; he had run things; his accomplishments could be measured.

Mr. Cruz here is not like Reagan. He’s like a first-term senator named Barack Obama, 45 when he announced.

This prompts a major 2016 question: Did Mr. Obama permanently lower the bar? Did his winning and holding the presidency with such limited experience, and his governing in many eyes so unsuccessfully, leave a whole generation of politicians thinking “I can do that!” and “Even I can do better than that!” Or, after Mr. Obama, will there be among Republicans voters a hunger for deeper biography? Is the country in the mood for more on-the-job presidential training?

I don’t know — some Washington insiders see first-term senators engaging in seemingly quixotic presidential bids as awfully inspirational, even in-spite of the on-the-job presidential training they might eventually require:

He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make. We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice.

“The case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes,” Peggy Noonan, October 31, 2008.

Oh and by the way, “Nearly two-thirds of Iowa Republican insiders believe Cruz can win the caucuses,” Politico’s James Hohmann writes, after first declaring Cruz “unelectable.” As NewsBusters’ P.J. Gladnick quips, “After you switch to a more highly caffeinated coffee to make you aware of what you later write, Hohmann, you might want to hit a highly fortified bottle of bourbon to make yourself forget how laughably you completely contradict yourself.”

*Yeah, that government shutdown sure worked out terribly for the GOP.

** But one that Noonan herself is willing to pander to. That’s really a cheap shot from someone who once held herself out as a conservative.

Dog Bites Manischewitz

March 27th, 2015 - 12:33 pm

“I find it inconceivable that The New Yorker would have run this piece if it didn’t have Lena Dunham or some other bold-face-name in the byline. Titled, ‘Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?’ it’s a pop-quiz for the reader to guess whether she’s talking about her dog or, that’s right, her Jewish boyfriend,” Jonah Goldberg writes:

The folks at Truth Revolt are in high dudgeon about its anti-Semitism. And it’s true that Jew/dog comparisons are often best avoided. I mean did she need to make jokes about how Jews and/or dogs don’t tip? Get it? Jews are famously cheap and dogs don’t use currency for goods and services! Ha! Also male Jews and/or dogs are hairy. Drop the mic on that one, girl.Still, I don’t think she was going for anti-Semitism, though she’ll happily pocket the edginess that accusation brings. Rather, like so much of what Dunham does, it reeks of self-indulgence. She clearly think it’s very clever. But as a piece of writing it’s remarkably un-clever. It’s not terrible. It’s more like a solid B in a college-writing seminar.

It’s also, as the follower of Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon commented on Twitter, a rip-off, unintentional or not of a Big Bang Theory skit:

As Tony Roberts’ character said in Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, “Homage? No, we just stole the idea outright!”

Update: “Is Lena Dunham upset that the only Jewish men ever attracted to her might have had glaucoma?” Heh.

“The captain of the doomed Germanwings plane reportedly used an axe to break down the cockpit door in the final moments before his co-pilot ‘intentionally’ descended the plane, German media has suggested,” according to the London Independent:

Evidence from the cockpit voice recorder suggested the captain of the Airbus A320, who The Independent understands is named Patrick Sondenheimer, left the flightdeck mid-journey, presumably to go to the toilet. Prosecutors say he returned to find his co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had barricaded himself inside and had sent the plane into descent over the French Alps.

French investigators said the captain can be heard asking “several times” for access after identifying himself, but received no response. He then banged on the door before trying to forcefully gain entry, with one investigator telling The New York Times: “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

Meanwhile, CBS reports that Lubitz “appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employers:”

Prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf said they seized medical documents from the home of Andreas Lubitz that indicate “an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment.”

Prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement Friday that torn-up sick notes for the day of the crash “support the current preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and colleagues.”

He said the search of Lubitz’s home revealed no suicide note or evidence of any political or religious motivation for his actions.

The prosecutor did not elaborate on what type of illness they believe Lubitz was hiding, but reports in the German press suggested the young man could have suffered a “serious depressive episode” during his training.

And finally, from our own Roger L. Simon, the Lubitz-inspired metaphor of the week, given the highly questionable dealings with the Iranian mullahs of America’s pilot in chief: “Obama the Crazy Pilot.”

Update: “Networks Air Ridiculous Animations of Pilot Knocking.” I can’t wait to see the Jack Torrance-style animations of the pilot taking an axe to the cockpit door.

Harry Reid to Retire in 2016

March 27th, 2015 - 10:00 am

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Ed Morrissey does not mince words:

The worst part of the next eighteen months or so will be the valedictions offered to Reid for his service. By any objective measure, Reid has been a blight on the Senate and on Congress. He declared the Iraq war “lost” while Americans were still fighting there, and he derailed a budget process that had worked well before his ascent into leadership. He stripped the Senate of one of its debate functions after sabotaging the amendment process, [See nuclear Harry above -- Ed] and nearly destroyed regular order. On top of that, Reid used his post to commit McCarthyite character assassination of Mitt Romney, claiming to have inside knowledge that Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years, a smear that turned out to be utterly false. He has been a malevolent force for years in American politics, and nothing he did in Washington will improve the place as much as his leaving it.

Goodbye, Harry, and good riddance.

Amen. Joe Cunningham of Red State has some fun with the soon to-be-former senator “recently-turned-blues-musician…Seriously. Those sunglasses. You can catch Reid in a Vegas piano bar working for tips after his retirement:”

The really interesting thing here is that Reid is a representative of the Democratic Party politicians as a whole right now: older, white, male, and if they aren’t rich when they get into office, they get rich through questionable means. What happens next determines the party’s success in the next couple of years. Do they seek younger representation, and maybe some more diversity? Or do they stick to the wealthy, white folks who suffer so much white guilt that they are completely fixated on diversity issues instead of good governance?

Moe Lane adds, “Nevada just shot up the rankings on the Big Board: and if Governor Brian Sandoval decides to run for Senate, it pretty much goes off of the Big Board completely.” And as Glenn Reynolds notes, given Reid and his fellow Democrats’ craven love of pure fascistic power for its own sake, “It doesn’t suggest huge enthusiasm for 2016.”

Update:


Wow. I wonder if we’ll ever know the real story on how his “exercise equipment” rearranged his face?

And just as a reminder, as CNN reported, prior to his nomination in 2008, Reid referred to Barack Obama, his then fellow Democrat senator as “a light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’” and later in 2008 had equally kind words for the voters at large:

The Survivor Class, Then and Now

March 26th, 2015 - 12:32 pm

“The average of soldiers in the Allied divisions poised to cross the Channel” and storm the beaches on D-Day “was 25,” according to this book.

Flash-forward 70 years — to what Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner ironically calls “The survivor class.” What happens when they graduate from the brutal front lines of college and enter the workforce?

In another recent example, New York Times opinion writer Judith Shulevitz described a special “safe space” at Brown University, a room with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.”

Why is such infantilization of grown college students necessary? Because the students couldn’t handle hearing the opinions of writer Wendy McElroy, who was speaking on campus and criticizing the concept of “rape culture.” (McElroy’s views are not that far off from those of feminist former judge Nancy Gertner, I might add.)

The problem here is that these students are so unable to handle other views or adversity that they must be babied, whether that means mandatory hand-shaking or drawing with crayons.

* * * * * * *

This Survivor Class will be bringing their special brand of anxiety and demands into the workplace. One might joke that those likely outraged by things reasonable people would find mundane are also those most likely to major in Women’s Studies, but one cannot assume.

But first the Survivor Class will have prepare themselves for their job interviews. In 1953, British novelist L.P. Hartley wrote “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” But even he had no idea how radically a culture could transform itself in just a few decades. Trigger warning; James Lileks spots a highly problematic “Pathé doc on the means by which oily beatniks were scrubbed down and converted into civilized women again” from 1963. “Amusing comment on the YouTube page: ‘We’re the beatniks looked down upon?’ It’s as if people think that ‘counterculture’” was admired and revered in its time. No:”

This video would be considered a hate crime in today’s culture on both sides of the Atlantic. (Or perhaps not; after all, the Guardian is deeply concerned that “straight women who wear less-than-feminine clothing are ‘appropriating’ lesbian culture and making it too hard for lesbians to tell who the other lesbians are.”) Though given that in her formative state the girl in the video looks a bit like she’s auditing classes in the Chrissie Hynde school of grooming, it brings to mind this great headline found at Kathy Shaidle’s blog: ‘Punk Scientists Discover Fourth Chord.’

Serious question though: The TV series Mad Men gave us a look (albeit one that was flawed and often inaccurate) at what goes through the minds of 1960s Madison Avenue ad executives. American Sniper took us inside the mind of a crack 21st soldier. Between trigger warnings, privilege checking, jazz hands, uptwinkles, the Bletchley Park-level detections of racism, sexism, gender-ism, -ism, -ism, -ism everywhere, and a hundred other densely packed layers of carbonized horsesh*t, is there a book that takes us inside the worldview of contemporary college students and how they acquired their bizarre and often self-destructive worldview?

Update: And to bring this post full-circle:

“As its long downward ratings spiral accelerates, MSNBC is facing another problem that has plagued the news network for years: cleaning up after a highly incendiary comment by its on-air talent,” Eddie Scarry of the Washington Examiner notes:

The Lean Forward network’s rapid response Wednesday to an attack on country music by Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux suggests MSNBC would like to dial back some of the full-bore leftism that has consistently failed to find an audience.

During an appearance on the talk show “Now,” Lemieux reacted to a statement by presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who recently said his appreciation for country grew after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Nothing says ‘Let’s go kill some Muslims’ like country music,” said Lemieux, who was sitting on the MSNBC panel as a guest.

In a change from previous incidents, which saw MSNBC respond only after furious reactions from other media, guest host Ari Melber, substituting for Alex Wagner, frowned at Lemieux and quickly defended the popular musical genre. Shortly afterward, Melber disavowed Lemieux’s comment on behalf of the network.

“A few minutes ago on this program, a guest made a comment about country music that was not appropriate,” Melber said on the air, “and we want to be clear this network does not condone it.”

That’s nice. Why should we believe you?

Entirely unrelated: “Chris Hayes Scores Worst Ratings In Decade, Still Beats CNN” — it’s a Red Queen’s Race to the bottom.

As Always, Life Imitates Arthur C. Clarke

March 25th, 2015 - 7:29 pm

paul_walker_digital_thespian_3-25-15-1

“DAWN OF THE DIGITAL ACTOR — STUDIOS SCAN BODIES,” the headline atop the Drudge Report screamed this morning, linking to this Hollywood Reporter article on Fast & Furious 7, and the filmmakers’ efforts to digitally replace star Paul Walker, who died (in grimly ironic fashion, alas) in a sports car accident midway during the production of the film:

No actor is indispensable. That is the blunt lesson from the fact that Universal Pictures was able to complete its April 3 tentpole, Furious 7, following star Paul Walker’s death in a November 2013 car accident about halfway through the shoot. Beyond saying that brothers Cody and Caleb stood in for Walker and that director James Wan culled footage of Walker from the earlier films, Universal declines to discuss which tricks were employed to breathe life into Walker’s character. But sources say Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital was asked to complete the sensitive and arduous task of reanimating Walker for Furious 7, and its cutting-edge work points toward a future where most actors can be re-created seam­lessly if needed. (The company declined to com­ment on its specific contributions.)

Read on in the Hollywood Reporter for additional examples of Hollywood reanimating deceased actors. One man who wouldn’t be at all surprised at these techniques is the late Arthur C. Clarke, as we’ll explore right after the digital page break.

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Ride the Left-Wing ISIS Mobius Loop!

March 25th, 2015 - 6:20 pm

“My ISIS is the police,” Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers said during a hearing on Friday, Ashe Schow reports at the Washington Examiner. Chambers “added that if he carried a weapon, he’d use it on a cop:”

“I wouldn’t go to Syria, I wouldn’t go to Iraq, I wouldn’t go to Afghanistan, I wouldn’t go to Yemen, I wouldn’t go to Tunisia, I wouldn’t go to Lebanon, I wouldn’t go to Jordan, I would do it right here,” he added. “Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do us daily.”

Nebraska Watchdog recorded the lawmaker’s statements and uploaded the audio to their website.

Chambers wasn’t done ranting at that point. He added that if he carried a firearm, he would shoot a cop.

“If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn’t be against you, it wouldn’t be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with. Mine would be for the police,” Chambers said. “And if I carried a gun I’d want to shoot him first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do.”

But to the dean of Cornell, ISIS are lovable pussycats whom he’d welcome on campus, the New York Post reports:

This guy is either the dumbest Ivy League bigwig ever or politically correct to a fault — for welcoming offers to bring ISIS and Hamas to Cornell University.

A video sting operation shows Cornell’s assistant dean for students, Joseph Scaffido, agreeing to everything suggested by an undercover muckraker posing as a Moroccan student.

Scaffido casually endorses inviting an ISIS “freedom fighter’’ to conduct a “training camp” for students at the upstate Ithaca campus — bizarrely likening the activity to a sports camp.

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting.

Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists — “care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.”

Click over for O’Keefe’s video, although the sadly at this point, the underlying story isn’t all surprising; to paraphrase William F. Buckley, recall the stories of God and Taliban man at Yale, summarized in 2006 by Linda Chavez at Townhall:

I thought I’d lost the ability to be shocked by anything that happened on an American university campus — that is until I read the New York Times magazine this weekend.

In an article entitled, simply, “The Freshman,” author Chip Brown describes a charming tale of a young man come to study at one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the country. He might more aptly have titled his piece “God, Country, and Yale.” Only in this telling, God is the vengeful Allah of Islamist fanatics, and the country to which this student once pledged his allegiance is the Taliban’s Afghanistan, for the first-year Yalie profiled is none other than the former “ambassador-at-large” of the Taliban regime, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi.

Yes, Yale has decided to welcome into its fold a man whose previous visit to the New Haven, Conn., campus in March 2001 was as an official apologist for the misogynistic government that had just blown up the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan, the giant 1,500-year-old statues long considered among the most important ancient sculptures in the world.

This might be just another tale of multiculturalism run amok on campus were it not for the 3,000 dead Americans buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and the more than 200 Americans who died fighting to liberate Afghanistan from Rahmatullah’s former paymasters. As it is, this story raises serious questions not just about what’s happening on America’s campuses but whether the student visa program that gave us Mohammed Atta and his murderous accomplices continues to pose threats to American security.

Mark Steyn ran into a spot of bother from the Australian equivalent of Media Matters in 2005 for writing that “With hindsight, the defining encounter of the age was not between Mohammed Atta’s jet and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but that between Mohammed Atta and Johnelle Bryant a year earlier,” but Mark was certainly onto something. “Bryant is an official with the US Department of Agriculture in Florida, and the late Atta had gone to see her about getting a $US650,000 government loan to convert a plane into the world’s largest crop-duster. A novel idea:”

The meeting got off to a rocky start when Atta refused to deal with Bryant because she was but a woman. But, after this unpleasantness had been smoothed out, things went swimmingly. When it was explained to him that, alas, he wouldn’t get the 650 grand in cash that day, Atta threatened to cut Bryant’s throat. He then pointed to a picture behind her desk showing an aerial view of downtown Washington – the White House, the Pentagon et al – and asked: “How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?”

Fortunately, Bryant’s been on the training course and knows an opportunity for multicultural outreach when she sees one. “I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from,” she recalled. “I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could.”

15 years later, as the clueless multiculti-meets-PC-meets-elitist-bureaucracy mindset that drives such encounters continues to roll on, Bryant is, alas, far from alone.

The Woody and Bill Show

March 25th, 2015 - 12:20 pm

In “The Cosby Mysteries” at Commentary, TV producer and Ricochet.com frontman Rob Long, whose show business debut involved being a producer on the other big NBC Thursday night comedy series, has a fun review of Mark Whitaker’s hagiographic profile of Bill Cosby, which apparently went to the printers just as numerous allegations concerning its subject were beginning to hit the fan. Rob begins his review by placing himself in the hot tub of a zillionare fellow TV producer, and proceeds from there:

The reason we were in the hot tub in the first place was that we had all gone for a chilly swim in the Pacific Ocean just steps away from the bleached-wood deck that abutted the sprawling mansion the man owned. And the reason he owned that multimillion dollar piece of real estate was that his method for getting very rich running television comedies was foolproof.

Except for this: The trick to making a lot of money in television comedy is, first, your show has to be a hit. Nothing pays quite as well as a hit comedy. And the trick to comedy, as everyone knows, is timing.

For most of his astonishingly successful half-century in show business, Bill Cosby was in the right place at the right time. He emerged onto the comedy scene in the early 1960s, when the audience taste in comedy was moving from the tuxedo’ed nightclub comic to the storytelling style Cosby pioneered. By the middle of the decade, when American television audiences were eager for racially integrated casts, he co-starred with Robert Culp in a hit action-adventure show, I Spy. In the 1970s, he reaped a financial bonanza as one of the most sought-after commercial pitchmen in the country. And, in 1984, The Cosby Show premiered on the last-place television network, NBC, to ratings so celestial that they actually saved the network from collapse. In comedy, in business, in the culture, Bill Cosby was a master of timing.

Not so lucky, though, is his official biographer, Mark Whitaker, whose Cosby: His Life and Times was published last autumn directly into the teeth of the more than 30 rape accusations that have dogged the 77-year-old comedian. The book is a tedious and mostly slavish rehash of the ups and downs of Cosby’s amazing and trailblazing career in show business. We get snapshots of his early life, his teachers, his first halting experiments with stand-up comedy. We get endlessly detailed—and eye-glazingly boring—anecdotes about his early television series. We are told stories, pointlessly, about which hotel he and Culp, his I Spy co-star, decamped to in Tokyo during a trip to Japan. We are told stories about ponderous lectures he gave to his friends, his imperial (though always civilized) interactions with the writers and producers of his hit television shows, his struggles with fatherhood, his devotion to his wife.

When the sticky issue of Cosby’s infidelity forces its way into the narrative, it’s always cast in the past tense. He and his wife, Camille, are forever “working harder on their marriage.” They are said to have “moved on.” Cosby is described many times as “cutting back on his womanizing ways.” When he is accused, publicly, of fathering a child out of wedlock, his wife says: “All personal negative issues between Bill and me were resolved years ago. We are a united couple.”

In other words, Whitaker’s book manages to make sex and infidelity uninteresting, which is in its way quite an accomplishment—especially because in the wake of allegations that Cosby drugged and then raped more than two dozen women since the late 1960s, it’s fair to say that sex and infidelity are very big parts of Cosby’s Life and Times.

It’s impossible to know whether Whittaker’s humorless and respectful biography would hold any interest at all were it not for the reader’s own constant interpolation of the rape allegations, of which more seem to emerge every day. From the moment I started reading the book until a few days later when I reached the final page, at least two more women had announced to the press that Cosby had lured them to a private space—usually with the offer of career help or acting lessons—drugged them senseless, and then raped them.

The timing of Whittaker’s book reminds me very much of the timing of Eric Lax’s hagiography of Woody Allen, which was debuted in 1991; and to help promote the tome, a lengthy excerpt was featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine section, along with a photo of Woody and Mia on the cover. The combined effect seemed to confirm Woody and Mia’s status as the King and Queen of Manhattan glitterati. But note the excerpt’s lede:

“It’s no accomplishment to have or raise kids,” Woody Allen often used to say. “Any fool can do it.”

Shortly thereafter, the words Soon-Yi became just as big of a household name. Much more on Woody making the headlines (via Mariel Hemingway) after the page break.

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Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion

March 25th, 2015 - 11:36 am

“American soldier and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion for allegedly walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, Bergdahl’s attorney told ABC News today,” Yahoo reports:

President Obama called it a “good day” when Bergdahl was freed, but critics, including some high-ranking Republicans, loudly denounced the deal, likening it to negotiating with terrorists. Also, lawmakers complained that Congress had not been consulted about the exchange, as they said the law requires.

After Bergdahl’s dramatic return to the U.S., the Army launched an investigation into whether the soldier willfully left his post in Afghanistan before he was taken by the Taliban in 2009, as some Afghan war veterans alleged.

As we noted back at the time, the MSM performed quite a hatchet job on Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers when they came forward with details of his alleged desertion, reverting to Vietnam-era smear-the-troops form. In the Washington Examiner, Byron York wrote that all of these leftwing attacks could have been avoided, if the Obama White House had simply been straight with the American public for once:

So why did the White House send National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the Sunday shows to claim that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction”?

It wasn’t necessary. Rice, speaking for the White House, could have said something to the effect that “Bowe Bergdahl is a troubled young man who made a terrible mistake. Nevertheless, he is an American soldier, and the United States wants him back. The president had a difficult decision to make in balancing the release of the Taliban detainees with this country’s longstanding policy of not leaving U.S. forces behind in a war zone, no matter the circumstances.”

That would not have quieted the controversy over the Taliban trade; critics would still maintain it was a terrible precedent and will increase the danger to America and its allies around the world. And it would not have quieted the controversy over the administration’s decision not to inform Congress about the Taliban release, as specifically required by law. Lawmakers — including some in the president’s party — would still complain about that.

But it would have denied the administration’s critics a devastatingly effective argument. First, President Obama himself appeared with Bergdahl’s parents in rare Saturday remarks in the White House Rose Garden. And then Rice — who had been asked specifically about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance — said, “He served the United States with honor and distinction.”

In another Sunday appearance, on CNN, Rice suggested Bergdahl had been “captured … on the battlefield” — a claim backed up by none of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers with him the night he disappeared. The military fully investigated the Bergdahl case in the months after he disappeared in 2009. The investigation reportedly concluded that he had willfully abandoned his post.

And today’s news appears to very strongly confirm those allegations.

By the way, at the risk of playing the “I question the timing” game, the right shouldn’t let the reappearance of Bergdahl in the headlines allow them to take their eyes off of more current news at the intersection of the Obama White House and the Middle East, specifically, the collapse of Yemen and the looming horrific “deal” with Iran.

Update: As Allahpundit writes at Hot Air, “The deeper point of the Bergdahl swap, as Sean Davis reminds us, was to create a pretext for starting to empty Gitmo:”

Anyway, exit question: What are the odds that Obama will pardon Bergdahl? Seems hard to believe he’d take even more heat over this fiasco by letting him go free after he’s been credibly accused by so many soldiers not only of deserting but of indirectly costing several troops their lives during the ensuing search. But then, we already know that O’s in the “WGAF” phase of his presidency; letting Bergdahl go will anger people, but he can spin it with some nonsense about how poor Bowe’s suffered enough, how it’s time to move on, etc. Which, for the White House, it is. The sooner they can put this clusterfark behind them and move on to the next clusterfark, the better.

And with an administration insane enough to “negotiate” with Iran, there will be loads more of those to come.

Insta-Power, Baby!

March 25th, 2015 - 11:00 am

Who’s Number One atop Newsmax’s list of Top 50 Conservative Blogs? PJM’s own Instapundit:

1. Instapundit — University of Tennessee law professor and hawkish libertarian Glenn Reynolds’ nearly decade-and-a-half-old powerhouse often causes “Instalanches” of Web traffic to sites to which it links articles. Reynolds posts relentlessly and the brevity and wryness of his often all-caps comments are famous, like a recent link to a Popular Mechanics report on Iran exploding a fake U.S. aircraft carrier to flex its muscles during nuclear talks. Blogged Reynolds, “WHY DON’T WE ONE-UP THEM BY BLOWING UP A REAL IRANIAN NUCLEAR RESEARCH FACILITY?”

And to think, I knew him when.