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Ed Driscoll

Blogging since 2002, affiliated with PJM since 2005, where he is currently a columnist, San Jose Editor, and founder of PJM’s Lifestyle blog. Over the past 15 years, Ed has contributed articles to National Review Online, the Weekly Standard.com, Right Wing News, the New Individualist, Blogcritics, Modernism, Videomaker, Servo, Audio/Video Interiors, Electronic House, PC World, Computer Music, Vintage Guitar, and Guitar World.

Peggy’s Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

[Candidate Obama] shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make.

—Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2008.

[President Obama's] essential problem is that he has very poor judgment.

—Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, yesterday.

As juxtaposed by the Hot Air commenters last night.

The Beltway and Park Ave. chattering classes gave us Barack Obama because he flattered them first, and in the case of formerly stalwart GOP types such as Noonan and Christopher Buckley, and the Axis of Davids (RINOs Gergen, Brooks and Frum), because they didn’t want to lose their place at the endless cocktail party when it was obvious by mid-October of 2008 that Obama would be the likely winner thanks to McCain’s disastrous “suspending his campaign” tactic late in the previous month. It will be fascinating to watch their prognostications going forward into 2016.

Posted at 11:43 am on September 21st, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

This is Why California Can’t Have Nice Things

“Castro Valley Winery to Government: Crush Grapes, Not Vintners,” Debra Saunders writes at Townhall:

“You’ll never meet anyone who says, ‘I want to be a millionaire. I think I’ll start a winery,’” owner Bill Smyth tells me from his small office over the tasting room of Westover Vineyards, nestled in Palomares Canyon. Smyth has worked in a number of fields. He made some money. He bought the vineyard property when he was young. His ex-wife bought him a kit to make wine, and his labor of love turned into a small business.

Now, thanks to heavy-handed California regulators, he’s selling off his ports and boutique wines and turning his winery back into a home.

In July, California Department of Industrial Relations officials showed up at Westover Vineyards and slapped Smyth with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties. His bad: Like many other East Bay wineries, Westover benefits from the labor of volunteers to help with winemaking and pouring. Smyth offers a free course in winemaking; he says participants are free to help out or not. He has a legal form for volunteers. It reads: “I am donating my labor free by choice.”

We’re not talking about teens being pressed into grueling labor in hot fields. As one who enjoys the fruit and neighborhood feel of Livermore Valley wineries, I’ve met both volunteers and employees who started as volunteers. They tend to be middle-aged professionals who want a piece of the oenology dream.

California entrepreneurs pride themselves on the can-do spirit that allowed Hewlett and Packard and Jobs and Woz start their businesses in their garages — and then consistently vote for socialists who would make a kid’s lemonade stand illegal, let alone a winery or home business. And then they wonder why the state, with its gorgeous weather (at least near the coast) and tremendous natural resources has a net outflow of citizens. As the Manhattan Institute noted in 2012, “For the past two decades, California has been sending more people to other American states than it receives from them. Since 1990, the state has lost nearly 3.4 million residents through this migration.”

Related: Meanwhile, in Illinois, “I hate to see the Democratic Party continually demonize Americans that are successful. What? Should we all be failures?”

Posted at 9:37 am on September 21st, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Margaret Sanger: The War Years

While Hitler, Tojo, Stalin and Mussolini were inflicting their various flavors of totalitarian socialist nihilism upon the rest of the world, Margaret Sanger,  pioneering eugenicist, Klan and Nazi aficionado, and founder of Planned Parenthood was doing her bit as well to undermine civilization here in America. Or as blogger “Dalrock” grimly quips, “No hiatus for solipsism during World War II.”

Sanger gave a radio speech in which she described a young mother she had recently met who was jealous and bemoaning the fact that her husband, drafted into American military service, got to experience the “excitement” and exotic lands of World War II (aka, blood-caked and landmine strewn battlefields), while was she stuck home with the baby and the house. (In the comments to his link to the post, one of Glenn Reynolds’ readers notes that the GI was obviously trying to cheer up his young wife by downplaying the hellish risks he was facing on a daily basis.) I don’t want to block-quote Sanger’s speech here, because I don’t want to steal too much of Dalrock’s post without sending you over to read it, but Dalrock does question its timing:

The date of the program was July 19, 1944.  This was just a little over a month after D Day and before the Normandy breakout.  World War II was very much still raging in Europe, and American men were still fighting and dying there.  Yet at this very time we had (if we believe the story), a woman complaining to strangers on a train about the exciting adventures her husband was enjoying in the European theater (most likely as a result of being drafted).  Moreover, this was a story Sanger felt perfectly comfortable sharing on the radio at home to the wives and mothers of US servicemen, as those men continued to fight and die overseas.

Of course, immediately after World War II, Sanger, here being interviewed by England’s Pathé newsreel service under her married name of Margaret Slee, was some piece of work as well:

As I noted in April, when Pathé uploaded this clip as part of a  huge cache of their archives to YouTube, as with her D-Day speech, Sanger’s timing is astonishing. The above clip dates from 1947. Just two years prior, a minor event, the aforementioned World War II had been concluded, which Wikipedia notes killed 60 million people.

And it had been immediately preceded by the Soviet terror famine, the Depression, and World War I.

And Margaret Sanger is calling for “no more babies” for a decade.

To paraphrase Dalrock’s headline, solipsism, nihilism, and Malthusianism never sleep.

Posted at 8:15 pm on September 20th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Gray Lady Down! Times Journalist Describes Fellow Leftist as ‘Angry Black Woman’

As journalist Bill McGowen noted in Gray Lady Down, his excellent history of the Times in the Pinch Sulzberger era, under Sulzberger’s watch, mirroring the worldview of its publisher, his newspaper has descended into intertwining obsessions with the trivialities of pop culture, with political correctness, and the often toxic brew of leftwing identity politics.  Pinch’s own take on his paper was summed up when he was quoted in New York magazine in 1992 as saying that “alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.’”

As with Spinal Tap and their increasingly “selective” audience, these days, the Times’ efforts at alienation are expanding in scope; it’s a blue on blue circular firing squad today, as the Huffington Post explores “How The Internet Reacted To The NY Times Calling Shonda Rhimes An ‘Angry Black Woman:’”

Note that the HuffPo flatters its own readers with the assumption in the headline that they should know who Shonda Rhimes is, without mentioning her profession in the headline. In today’s increasingly fractured media culture, that’s a rather unwarranted hypothesis. Then there’s the assumption in the headline that “the Times” itself called Rhimes an “Angry Black Woman,” and not a specific journalist there. But considering that the Times prides itself on its layers and layers of fact checkers and editors, that’s a somewhat more reasonable take:

Allesandra Stanley’s article from Thursday takes a stab at Rhimes’ new series “How To Get Away With Murder,” opening her piece with: “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.’” Ouch. Stanley goes on to discuss Rhimes’ supposed “set of heroines who flout ingrained television conventions and preconceived notions about the depiction of diversity” and other black women on TV.

Let’s just say, Rhimes wasn’t too pleased with it and shared some of her thoughts over Twitter:

Click over the inevitable venting of spleens in 140-character bursts from Rhimes (a prominent Democrat operative, like many at the HuffPo and the Times) and her co-workers. As the HuffPo goes on to note:

Willa Paskin over at Slate quickly jumped to defend Rhimes’ many achievements when it comes to television and black female characters. “Rhimes is no more the ‘angry black woman’ than her characters,” Paskin writes, “who are angry the way that a bird is bipedal: It’s not false, but it’s not to the point.” The critic went on break down Rhimes’ female characters and praise how the creator has “re-framed the stereotype of the ‘angry black woman’” by carving out a space for black females on TV.

At Vox, Alex Abad-Santos calls to light that Stanley constantly refers to Rhimes when discussing “HTGAWM” in her essay — Rhimes isn’t even the creator of the new series, she’s one of the executive producers. Abad-Santos writes, “the piece refers to Rhimes 19 times and has only one mention of [Pete] Nowalk,” creator of “HTGAWM.”

The London Daily Mail adds that Stanley is no stranger to controversy — but she and history may not be on the best of terms:

The paper in 2009 had to issue a correction for six different items in a piece Stanley wrote about Walter Cronkite’s career — including the day that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, according to the Columbia Journalism Review.She also once mistakenly wrote that the Iraq War began in 2002 and that the sitcom ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ — at the time a hugely popular series — was called ‘All About Raymond,’ according to Gawker.

In 2009, former PJM editor Gerard Van der Leun dubbed her “Error slut Alessandra Stanley.” Gerard quoted a CJR writer who noted that Stanley was quite the one-woman correction industry during the naughts:

Stanley has been responsible for nine corrections so far this year. By my count in Nexis, she had fourteen corrections in 2008, twelve in 2007, and fifteen in 2006. Averaging just over a correction a month is not something to be proud of. But that’s still better than before she attracted so much attention. Stanley had twenty-three corrections in 2005, the year everyone noticed her predilection for error, and twenty-six in 2004. Perhaps the decline in corrections between 2005 and 2006 was in part due to the attention focused on her.

No word yet if Stanley knows what a Shylock is. Between Stanley’s latest gaffe, her colleague taking to Twitter earlier this week to ask if anybody was unfamiliar with the S-word, the open warfare between former editor Jill Abramson and the paper after she was fired (also over identity politics) and Maureen Dowd the butt of jokes for her ravenous cannabis and chocolate consumption, and the paper’s general descent into a far left student newspaper, it’s been quite a tumultuous period for the once-elite paper. Gray Lady Down, indeed.

Posted at 3:07 pm on September 20th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Oh, Those Democrat Operatives with Bylines

“Whistleblower cop in Scott Walker accusations paying a heavy price,” Jazz Shaw rites at Hot Air. Note this detail:

They found their guy, in the person of Michael Lutz, a decorated and disabled-in-the-line-of-duty police officer who worked with John Chisholm, first as a police officer and later in the district attorney’s office. One “journalist” at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got rather personal in rooting out the source.

The feared retaliation was not long in coming. The Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice, whose “political watchdog” column is titled “No Quarter,” appeared after dark at the source’s home on Sept. 11. Bice’s persistent door-bell ringing and heavy knocks awakened and frightened the source’s sleeping 12-year-old daughter, he said. The noise was so loud that a neighbor came out to investigate the din, he said.

When the source, a decorated and disabled-in-the-line-of-duty police officer, Michael Lutz, came to the door, he opened it a crack to hear Bice demand to know if he was the person quoted in the story. He did not deny it and speaks exclusively on the record in this story for the first time.

Lutz states that he only came forward under protection as an anonymous source because Chisholm had demonstrated what he called a “hyper-partisan” bias against Walker. Since leaving the police force he had obtained his law degree and gone into private practice. The retaliation he feared was that the influence of Chisholm and his allies could affect his new career.

Read the whole thing. As William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection adds in a post titled “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter accused of harassing “John Doe” whistleblower,” “When I first read Bice’s column, the two things struck me:”

First, Bice seemed more concerned with outing Taylor’s confidential source than exploring the alleged bias behind the Walker “John Doe” proceedings. That would be consistent with the Journal Sentinel’s cheerleading for the John Doe investigations of Walker to continue.

It’s not unheard of for reporters to try to out other reporter’s confidential sources — think of all the attempts to identify “Deep Throat” in the Washington Post’s Watergate coverage. But considering that the Journal Sentinel has relied on confidential leaks from the prosecutor’s office for its coverage of the John Doe cases, it seems more than a bit odd for the Journal Sentinel to be so heavily focused on identifying other reporter’s confidential sources.

Second, the attack on the confidential source seemed unusually personal, digging up long-ago all`ged personal problems in the source’s police career including a shooting he was involved in for which the source was exonerated of wrongdoing.

And as someone in the comments at Hot Air adds:

If you think that reporter was evil, just imagine the reaction the Praetorian Press will have if someone blew the whistle on Obama’s carefully hidden past, for example, his college transcripts, papers, etc.

A cynical person might start to believe that it’s as if many in the MSM are merely Democrat operatives with bylines or something. Too bad that so many actions today’s MSM take do little to ameliorate this suspicion. both big (see above) and (in comparison with above) small.

Posted at 11:36 am on September 20th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Barack Obama, Empire Builder (Update: Scotland Votes ‘No’ to Independence)

Update (12:14 AM PDT): “Scottish referendum: Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence,” the BBC reports; scroll to bottom of post for update.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. “Obama Personally Tweets Opposition to Scottish Independence,” Jeryl Bier of the Weekly Standard noted yesterday:

Though he didn’t say it in so many words, President Obama came out today personally opposed to Scottish independence, which is set to go to a vote tomorrow. Wednesday afternoon, the president took to Twitter with this message:

The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 17, 2014

Tweets sent out on the White House Twitter account that include the president’s initials indicate that the president himself personally posted the message. The White House has previously indicated a preference that Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom.

Bier goes on to write that White House press secretary Josh Earnest additionally said, “We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about the — along these lines.  But as the President himself said, we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”

Huh. Back in March of 2009, after Mr. Obama, then-newly ensconced in the White House, churlishly returned a bust of Winston Churchill to Britain that had sat in President Bush’s Oval Office since shortly after September 11th, blogger and longtime friend of PJM Juliette Akinyi (aka “Baldilocks”) noted, “Many observers seem puzzled.  I’m not and neither is the UK press.  It’s about Kenya”:

If you recall, before Kenya became Kenya (1963) it was a British colony known as British East Africa.  Between 1952 and 1960, there was this little “difference of opinion” between the UK and the natives of British East Africa—primarily from the Kikuyu tribe.  That conflict is known as the Mau Mau Uprising.  There were tens of thousands of African civilians killed and, according to Wiki, seven to ten thousand Africans interned by the British colonial masters.  In Dreams from My Father, President Obama says that his grandfather was tortured by the British during the conflict, though he was not a Kikuyu but a Luo.  Guess which prime minister ordered the Mau Mau insurgency to be put down.

Mystery solved.  It seems that the president is seeking to humiliate the progeny of those who humiliated his ancestors.  Revenge isn’t that complicated a motive.

However, a question remains.  Is this any way for a President of the United States to behave?

Flash-forward to the present day, which sees, as is his wont on virtually every issue, former President Obama reversing course on the issue of England maintaining the empire. Of course, some see a more Machiavellian reasoning to Mr. Obama’s tweet; as Greg Pollowitz of Twitchy writes, “Hey Scotland: vote Yes bc Obama wants you to vote No.”

Others wish the former president would return to his golf game and late night bull sessions with rock stars and film directors:

Heh. And still others looks to the more mysterious to discern their take on how to vote:

loch_ness_monster_scottish_independence_9-18-14

Of course for most Americans, the question of what to think about Scottish independence all boils down to one exceedingly important issue.

Update: Realizing the immense negative power of his influence, Paul Krugman also subtly comes out in favor of Scottish independence:

Sometimes you simply have to consider your initial impulses, and then Costanza them:

Watch this palindromic ad all the way through — it’s only a matter of time before an American political consultant rips it off.

Update (12:14 AM PDT): “Scottish referendum: Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence,” the BBC reports tonight:

With 31 out of the country’s 32 council areas having declared after Thursday’s vote, the ‘No’ side has an unassailable lead of 1,914,187 votes to 1,539,920.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond called for unity and the unionist parties to deliver on more powers.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted the UK would remain together and called for national unity.

Mr Cameron said the three main unionist parties at Westminster would now follow through with their pledge to deliver more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

“We will ensure that those commitments are honoured in full,” he said.

All of the UK press are reporting similar initial results, based on this lineup of tweets from their early editions rounded up by Twitchy.

Posted at 11:59 pm on September 18th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

This is CNN

After a few drams of Balvenie:

 

Posted at 2:45 pm on September 18th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

It’s Real, And It’s Spectacular

Upside: Maureen Dowd has written her first column since the Lewinsky era that anyone remembers. Downside: She made the after-effects of eating a candy bar laced with grass sound like something out of a William Burroughs novel. A reminder that “Consume Responsibly” is also excellent advice for those remaining New York Times readers as well.

Posted at 1:21 am on September 18th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Barack Obama Transformed into Lyndon Johnson So Slowly, I Hardly Even Noticed

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

I have been in the White House on a number of occasions when military operations are launched and once the decisions are made and the orders have been issued the people in the White House from the President on down are really out of the action, at least is they are smart. And President Bush was especially good as was President Reagan of giving the military their mission, their orders and staying the hell out of the way. And not trying to micro-manage the conflicts, so you don’t have a Lyndon Johnson going down the situation room picking targets as he did in Vietnam. Bush and Reagan stayed out of the way, so when the land war started we were basically in the receive mode, just waiting for information to be past in the Presidents case from either Powell or Cheney and in our case the same way, about how things were going and the only information we really had after the beginning of the ground war was simply that it was going well and that the units had broken through the lines very fast.

– Robert Gates, then-Deputy National Security Advisor, quoted by PBS’s Frontline as part of their “Oral History of the [1990-1991] Gulf War. Flash-forward to the present day:

“The U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Obama to exert a high degree of personal control over the campaign, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential sign-off for any strike in Syrian territory,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The requirement for the Syrian strikes will be far more stringent than those in Iraq, at least at first, to assure the Syrian air campaign remains strictly limited, in an attempt to mitigate the threat that the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the conflict, according to the U.S. officials.”

“Obama to Personally Control Strikes in Syria,” Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, yesterday.

As Moe Lane writes in the headline of his blog post linking to the above story, “Attention, whoever in the White House monitors this site. Google ‘Lyndon Johnson micromanagement Vietnam’ — Google that RIGHT NOW:”

Speaking dispassionately, you can understand – sort of – why LBJ and Richard Nixon both were very bad about trying to run the Vietnam War by themselves: it was probably the first real war we had where a President could, in something approximating real time.  And it obviously was a major temptation, given the way that both men and their staffs succumbed to it.  But also note that Presidents since have largely learned from that particular set of catastrophic mistakes and tried to keep their oversight restricted to strategic goals, not tactical ones.  Largely.  Most of the time.  Good faith efforts were made.

Alas, nobody explained any of this to Barack Obama.  Or, more likely? Somebody did, but he didn’t bother to listen, because whoever was doing the explaining wasn’t Barack Obama.

After the New York Times reported the other day that the recently retired president was offering freelance consulting advice over the transom to ISIS, Iowahawk tweeted:

And now he thinks he’s a better strategist than his generals. And speaking of whom: “Remember When Democrats Were Saying ‘Listen to the Generals?’”

Related: At Ricochet, Jon Gabriel posits, somewhat conspiratorially, “Obama Can’t Afford to Win in Iraq:”

The only reason that Obama acted at all is politics. Polls showed that midterm voters demanded a military response to ISIS’ beheading of American journalists and repeated threats to our homeland. Drones, air strikes and military advisors are merely a PR campaign to assuage moderates that their Democratic president is “doing something.”

Obama does not want to win his new Iraq war. He can’t afford to. If the projection of American military power successfully solved the problem of Islamic terrorism, it would shatter Obama’s entire worldview.

Well, so far, the recently retired president is doing everything he can to live up to that impression.

Posted at 12:32 am on September 18th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

‘It’s the Libertarian Left Behind’

ayn-rand-as-che-10-3-09-2

I read many skeptical reviews of the first Atlas Shrugged movie in 2011, went in to the theater with absolutely zero expectations, and as I wrote here on the blog, I was mildly surprised at how watchable it was. Anthony Sacramone of the Intercollegiate Review says much the same about his response to the first two Atlas movies, before running absolutely roughshod over the latest edition, asking along the way, “This Is John Galt?”

There’s a reason why Atlas Shrugged is rife with railways and natural resources and raw materials. It’s a bombastic prose poem to the original Industrial Age, when great men built a nation out of what they could pull from the earth and refine and refashion. It’s primal. It’s passionate. It’s as real as the car you drive or the building you live in.

And even though I am no Randian today, having long ago come to terms with the many contingencies and interdependencies of life, I nevertheless understand the appeal, the excitement, engendered by the author’s ideas and lust for life. And the 1949 film adaptation of The Fountainhead was pretty good, with a screenplay by Rand herself, direction by King Vidor, and performances by Patricia Neal and the one and only Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, the visionary and uncompromising architect.

Which is why I think, dare I say it, that the original Atlas, for all its flaws, deserved better than this film. My libertarian friends deserved better. My eyeballs deserved better. That Native American who appeared in those anti-littering commercials back in the 1970s with a tear rolling down his cheek deserved better and I don’t even know why. He wasn’t even Native American—he was Italian.

It takes a while for Sacramone to get going, but his review is well worth your time; definitely read the whole thing. Or as Mark Hemingway tweets:

Posted at 6:35 pm on September 17th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

‘Democrats Turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz’

With a headline like that in Democrat house organ The Politico, you know DWS is in hot water with BHO and the rest of the DNC:

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most.

Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two recent public flubs: criticizing the White House’s handling of the border crisis and comparing the tea party to wife beaters.

The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda.

She’s become a liability to the DNC, and even to her own prospects, critics say.

As anyone whose seen her TV performances can attest — even in scripted, DNC-friendly environments such as MSNBC — Debbie Downer has always been her own worst liability, as these juicy details spotlight:

In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago.

She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop. (Jarrett said she does not recall that conversation.) One more time, according to independent sources with direct knowledge of the conversations, she tried again, asking for the DNC to buy clothing for the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Debbie denies the charges of course; no word yet if she told Politico that they’ve been “Myzled” regarding her. But in any case, to sum up the new article:

As Dan Riehl adds, “At this point it seems fair to speculate that she’s either going to be gone soon, or this is only going to get worse for her, as well as more ugly.”

With the midterms less than two months out, the timing of this new hit piece is fascinating. There’s plenty of talk recently about the Republicans blowing their chances to recapture the Senate in November. But the Politico hitting DWS from the left indicates a lot of disarray in the Democrats’ camp this fall.

Update: Pile on!

Posted at 4:51 pm on September 17th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

In the Clearing Stands Two Boxers In One

“Corker’s Kerry Critique Leaves Boxer ‘Shaking and Trembling,’” Breitbart TV notes, complete with (autoplay, alas) video of the far left San Francisco Democrat* in action:

Wednesday at the Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on U.S. strategy for combating ISIS, after Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) criticized Secretary of State John Kerry, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was left “shaking and trembling” in shock.

Boxer said, “I think it is shocking and a sad state of affairs that we heard just now, such angry comments aimed at you, Mr. Secretary, and through you, at our president instead of at ISIS, a savage group who decapitated two Americans and have warned, and I quote, that their thirst for more American blood is right out there.”

“I think it’s shocking,” she continued. “I’m actually shaking and trembling. This is not the time to show anger at the people who are working night and day, whether you agree with them or not, to protect our people.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want to show anger at someone working day or night, whether you agree with them or not, to protect Americans from Islamic terrorism:

At the time, Boxer defended her tirade by using the phrase “speaking truth to power,” a phrase whose origins date back to a mid-’50s pamphlet written by the American Quakers as a form of moral equivalence at the height of the Cold War. As we noted at the time:

Attempting to defend her much-publicized attack on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice due to Rice’s lack of children Thursday, Barbara Boxer invoked one of the hoariest clichés in the political lexicon:

Asked if her exchange with Rice was, as some suggest, a personal attack, Boxer insisted it was not.“I spoke the truth to power,’’ she said. “Condi Rice is in the room when George Bush decides to send 20,000 more of our beautiful men and women into the middle of a civil war.

“And I’m not going to apologize for making an extremely clear point,’’ she said.

As Allahpundit writes in response:

What bugs me is the self-congratulation. If one of the most powerful pols from the most powerful state in the most powerful country on earth can assume the mantle of “speaking truth to power,” then what’s left of “power”? Is that just a synonym for “Bush” now?

Isn’t it always?

Last week, the Washington Examiner speculated that the 73-year old Boxer may be retiring in 2016. Given her increasingly frail nerves, her shaking and trembling, and Claude Rains-esque level of shock, perhaps it’s time.

Related: “Gee, if only that Obama fellow showed the concern for constitutional niceties on warmaking that George W. Bush did.”

* As Jean Kirkpatrick would say.

Posted at 3:34 pm on September 17th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

3 Incidents of Democrat Bigotry In 3 Weeks, Media Mum

“Shylock & Wongs*: 3 Incidents of Democrat Bigotry In 3 Weeks — Media Mum,” as spotted by John Nolte at Big Journalism:

Wednesday, no less than Vice President Joe Biden used the widely-known Jewish slur “shylock.”

Just last week, a white male Democrat gubernatorial running against incumbent Republican Susana Martinez claimed the Hispanic Governor “does not have a Latino [sic] heart.

Only a few weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made two racist Asian “jokes” in front of a predominantly Asian crowd.

This isn’t the first time Reid and Biden have been caught expressing their bigoted, backwards views.

In 2010, Harry Reid said “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK.” In 2008, Reid said that Obama, was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”

In 2006, while campaigning for the presidency, Biden said, “In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”

High-ranking Democrats who have a history of bigotry just keep hurling it without paying any sort of political price in the unbiased, objective, not-at-all liberal media.

Democrats sure got it good.

Why, it’s almost as if those covering them — and covering for them — in the MSM are actually Democrat operatives with bylines themselves.

* Shylock & Wongs should not be confused with Ginsberg & Wong’s, which fused Chinese and deli food and were located in the lobbies of Hyatt House hotels, and used to have the best, greasiest, giant-sized cheddar cheese hamburgers and corned beef & pastrami sandwiches in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Posted at 1:11 pm on September 17th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Report: ISIS Using Rockets with Chlorine Gas Warheads

Perhaps ISIS needs OSHA, as a workplace accident resulted in 14 deaths and seven injuries, according to this report by India’s Business Standard yesterday:

Baghdad, Sep 16 (IANS/EFE) At least 14 members of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group were killed Tuesday near Baghdad when a rocket whose warhead they were filling with chlorine gas exploded.

Iraqi security officials said seven more IS militants were injured in the incident, which occurred near the town of al-Dhuluiya, about 90 km north of Baghdad.

Al-Dhuluiya was also where four members of the Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen suffered symptoms of asphyxiation after inhaling chlorine gas released by two improvised explosive devices.

It was the first time that chlorine has been used as a weapon in Iraq, although it is not uncommon in neighbouring Syria, where the regime’s use of it has been denounced by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

At Breitbart.com’s Big Peace Website today, Frances Martel adds:

The use of chemical weapons has not been confirmed by other sources, as Dhuluyia, 90 miles north of Baghdad, is remote for many media sources. However, if confirmed, it would be the first official use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State in Iraq. The Islamic State has been suspected of possessing chemical weapons for months. On July 9, reports began to surface that the Islamic State had captured a chemical weapons plant northwest of Baghdad, which still contained some degraded, but nonetheless, active chemical rockets. By July 15, Kurdish Peshmerga forces began to warn that they had seen evidence of the use of chemical weapons, including “thermal missiles of USA,” by the Islamic State terrorists.

Exit quote:

Posted at 12:59 pm on September 17th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Gray Lady Down: NYT Reporter Doesn’t Know What a Shylock Is

nyt_shylock_tweet_9-17-14

I’m not sure which is worse, if New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro is lying that he doesn’t know what a Shylock is to protect Joe Biden — or if he really didn’t know what the term meant when he wrote above tweet. In any case, as this unsigned article at the Washington Free Beacon notes:

New York Times political reporter Michael Barbaro took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his confusion over a recent controversy in which Vice President Joe Biden employed the anti-Semitic term “shylock” in a speech.

“Raise your hand if you were not familiar with the word ‘Shylock’ before it became a controversy in past 24 hours?” Barbaro tweeted to his followers, prompting much ridicule.

Biden employed the historically offensive and anti-Semitic word in a speech Tuesday. He was forced to apologize early Wednesday after he came under criticism from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and others.

Barbaro, purportedly a trained journalist and political expert, had apparently never heard the word before or come across it in literature. Twitter users immediately ridiculed the reporter for his ignorance. “And you admit that?” tweeted author Ben Cohen.

The Beacon claims their paper mailed Barbaro a hard copy edition of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice “for his further edification.”

Assuming that Barbaro was telling the truth (which is less and less the default position with the MSM, as they are self-admitting with increasing frequency), his admission dovetails remarkably well with another recent article at his place of employment. When I wrote my post on Monday on the Times’ culpability in regards to what Barbaro’s fellow Timesman Roger Cohen dubbed America and the world’s “Great Unraveling,” I wondered if Cohen’s reference to Kipling at the end of his article would go past many New York Times readers, given how PC modern education has become. Did Barbaro, age 34 or 35, who graduated from Connecticut’s Hamden Hall Country Day School in 1998 and Yale in 2002, miss the classes on Shakespeare, or was he no longer taught in high school by the mid-1990s?

We know the Bard is being taught less and less in the 21st century, as Andrew Klavan noted at the start of the year:

City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald is one of the best reporters in the country, one of our most courageous writers and a consistently moral voice. Last year, she gave the Manhattan Institute’s prestigious Wriston Lecture and last Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published an adaptation of that lecture under the headline “The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity.” A fuller version of this brilliant piece will be in CJ’s Winter number. Get your hands on it. Read it.

Heather Mac begins by noting that the leftist academic buffoons at UCLA no longer require that the university’s English majors read Shakespeare, Chaucer or Milton. They do, however, require these students take courses in leftist theories on gender, race, ethnicity and other meaningless subjects whose names I slept through.

In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton or Shakespeare, but the department was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”

In still other words, the people tasked with teaching our young about the past have drowned out the voices of the past with their own voices. Their own whiny, unwise, small-minded and bitter voices.

Read on for how today’s low state of American elite culture was anticipated by England’s similar cultural collapse under socialist rule after World War II. In his 1999 book The Abolition of Britain Peter Hitchens wrote, “Just as Evelyn Waugh had once suggested that the Labour government of 1945 was similar to living under foreign occupation, [novelist Kingsley Amis] suggested that the trashing of our culture and literacy were so severe that only a ruthless foreign invader could possibly make them worse:”

A real occupation would almost certainly have produced a resistance, the circulation of banned texts and the holding of secret religious services. But a country which ploughs under its own culture, without violence or open suppression, has no such resistance. The objects of the attack are unaware that they are under attack, and there are no martyrs, no persecution to bring resistance into being.

Incidentally, I like the black sunglasses that Barbaro wears in his Twitter profile — they project the requisite “I’m in the media, screw you” vibe, and simultaneously illustrate how much information is blocked before it reaches yet another exquisitely-cocooned Timesman.

Update: Scott Johnson of Power Line asks, “Hath not a Timesman cultural literacy?” Heh.™

Posted at 12:20 pm on September 17th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Report: CNN’s Crossfire Begins Dumping Staff

Man, I’m going to miss seeing Pat Buchanan and  Michael Kinsley trading barbs on a TV show together.

Oh wait, that was back in the early 1990s, the last time I actually watched Crossfire on a voluntary basis (as opposed to being forced to watch CNN in an airport departure lounge or while riding a gym treadmill). And since nobody else has watched its recent reboot either, Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller writes that Crossfire will soon be extinguished:

A publicist from CNN describes it like this: “The program is on extended hiatus.”

Most importantly, sources say staffers from “Crossfire” are being absorbed into “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” In fact, CNN personnel from other shows are making room for staffers from “Crossfire.”

Behind the scenes, CNN is allegedly saying the show may make yet another comeback.

Quick question for CNN: If you no longer have a dedicated staff for a show, how is that still a show?

CNN’s “Crossfire” took an eight-year hiatus but resurfaced in September, 2013 with Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter and Van Jones. But the show has never caught on. During the missing Malaysian airliner coverage, the program was routinely dropped for news for lengthy periods of time.

So a show with a former(?) 9/11 Truther was replaced by a show whose host speculated on-air that Flight 370 may have disappeared into a black hole. Killer journalism there, fellas.

And since we’re discussing CNN, let’s check in on how an alumnus of its spin-off network Headline News is riding out his “pariah” status these days:

Despite his pariah status, Beck still has enough loyal disciples to launch a book, Oprah-style, to the top of the charts. In addition to his 6.75 million radio listeners, 400,000 subscribers fork over $99.95 a year to watch his TV channel.

That was spotted by Glenn Reynolds yesterday in the establishment left National Journal — which no doubt wishes it had the same level of “pariah” status as Beck — not to mention his $80 million annual earnings.

Posted at 4:52 pm on September 16th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

The Space Pen is Mightier than the Bollocksed Anecdote

Another Neil deGrasse Tyson bollocksed up science anecdote, as emailed to me by PJM’s own David Steinberg:

“During the heat of the space race in the 1960s, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ballpoint pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of approximately $1 million US. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth. The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.”

Neil deGrasse TysonSpace Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

It certainly sounds like Tyson is implying that NASA put US taxpayers on the hook for [insert Dr. Evil voice] one meeeeeeelion dollars rather than using a cheap, simple pencil. Except that according to Tyson’s fellow leftists at Snopes.com, the Fisher company designed their famous Space Pen with a pressurized ink cartridge (that once found itself a running gag in a classic Seinfeld episode) entirely on their own, and then presented it to NASA, which the space agency then purchased from Fisher at a small fee per pen. And as Snopes notes, it’s not necessarily a good thing to be using a pencil in the confined space of a zero-G space capsule in the first place:

Both U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts initially used pencils on space flights, but those writing instruments were not ideal: pencil tips can flake and break off, and having such objects floating around space capsules in near-zero gravity posed a potential harm to astronauts and equipment. (As well, after the fatal Apollo 1 fire in 1967, NASA was anxious to avoid having astronauts carry flammable objects such as pencils onboard with them.)When the solution of providing astronauts with a ballpoint pen that would work under weightless conditions and extreme temperatures came about, though, it wasn’t because NASA had thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars (inflated to $12 billion in the latest iterations of this tale) in research and development money at the problem. The “space pen” that has since become famous through its use by astronauts was developed independently by Paul C. Fisher of the Fisher Pen Co., who spent his own money on the project and, once he perfected his AG-7 “Anti-Gravity” Space Pen, offered it to NASA. After that agency tested and approved the pen’s suitability for use in space flights, they purchased a number of the instruments from Fisher for a modest price.

Click over to Snopes for the Fisher company’s own telling of the story, which notes that it was Fisher who spent one million, not NASA. “In December 1967 he sold 400 Fisher Space Pens to NASA for $2.95 each,” equaling $1180 of taxpayer money, not a million.

(And yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve purchased a few Space Pens myself over the years, mostly from the Museum of Modern Art gift store in New York. OK, I’m slightly ashamed. Don’t judge me!)

Earlier: ‘Another Day, Another Quote Fabricated By Neil deGrasse Tyson’

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)
Posted at 3:36 pm on September 16th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

Sandy Berger Could Not Be Reached For Comment

Did a Clinton aide remove damaging evidence to help Hillary’s election chances? In addition to, and more recently than Sandy Berger, that is:

Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, writing in the Daily Signal, tells the story of former State Department official Raymond Maxwell, a well-respected 21-year diplomat who personally contributed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Mr. Maxwell has told lawmakers that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s closest aides–including her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan–privately removed politically damaging documents before turning over files to the Accountability Review Board, the independent board investigating the Benghazi terror attack.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz confirmed to Fox News that last year, in a private interview, Maxwell told him and other lawmakers that Hillary Clinton’s aides oversaw the operation, which allegedly took place on a weekend in a basement office of the State Department.

As Peter Wehner concludes at Commentary, “if the details of the Benghazi story were identical but it had happened in the Bush, Reagan, or Nixon administration, there would be a fierce, relentless, around-the-clock investigation led by the major media outlets:”

But not in this case. Not with the Obama administration. Not with Hillary Clinton. Because many in the elite media have a narrative–the truth about what happened about Benghazi doesn’t really matter–and they’re sticking to it. Some reporters may go through the motions now and again, but that’s all. There’s no driving ambition to get to the bottom of this story. They would really rather not know. And the fact that they would really rather not know tells you a very great deal of what’s wrong with American journalism today. Elite journalists are as infected by ideology and motivated reasoning–in this case, by motivated reporting–as members of the DNC or the Obama White House.

Missed it by that much, as the MSM largely are Democrat operatives with bylines, and in some cases self-admitted members of the “non-official campaign” to elect Obama, ever-eager to airbrush the narrative, on the air in real-time if necessary:

Speaking of which, as Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker noted in April, “Attkisson charges Media Matters helps produce news reports for CBS.”

Posted at 3:11 pm on September 16th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

But Hygiene is an Outmoded Reactionary Bourgeois Concept, Anyhow

Science! “Conservatives and liberals smell different,” The Week claims:

A new study from the American Journal of Political Science indicates that different political affiliations may actually correspond with different body odors.

The researchers, led by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott, found that conservatives and liberals smell dissimilar. While the difference is small, it is apparently significant enough that we subconsciously prefer the scent of those who vote like we do. “It appears nature stacks the deck to make politically similar partners more attractive to each other in unconscious ways,” the researchers wrote.

Conservatives and liberals smell different? I just can’t see it smell it myself:

Posted at 2:43 pm on September 16th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll

‘A Bridge Too Far’

Jacob Weisberg of Slate reviews The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by self-admitted “European-style Social Democrat” Rick Perlstein, in Democracy Journal:

If he were willing to look more critically at the left, the way he does at the right, Perlstein might give more weight to the visible bridge of Reagan’s stated views. By the mid-1970s, the failures of Great Society liberalism were evident: Despite some popular and meaningful accomplishments like Medicaid, the poorly thought-out War on Poverty was arguably doing more harm than good. Broken welfare and public housing systems were not liberating the urban poor, but trapping a new underclass in a new kind of poverty. Crime, bad schools, and the threat of busing were driving the middle class away from America’s cities. With a top marginal rate of 70 percent kicking in at just over $100,000 for individuals (or around $275,000 in adjusted terms), income taxes were both too high and, with as many as 25 brackets, gratuitously complex. Few people paid 70 percent, of course, but the pursuit of shelters and loopholes was creating pervasive distortion in economic behavior. Delegated regulatory authority empowered unaccountable bureaucrats not only to ignore the economic cost of greater safety, but to set prices for everything from airline tickets to long-distance phone calls. Liberal government had arrived at an impasse that an interest-group-dominated Democratic Party was unable to address.

In the international sphere, similarly, Reagan’s critique of Henry Kissinger’s amoral realpolitik and detente with the Soviet Union was far from preposterous or the worldview of a simpleton. The anger of both conservatives and anti-Communist liberals over Ford’s refusal to meet with Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the summer of 1975 was fully justified—even if they were ultimately proven wrong in their negative view of the Helsinki Accords. Perlstein’s understanding of Reagan is constrained by his tendency to see conservatives as either frightening wackos or cynical manipulators. The one thing he doesn’t do in his new book, infuriatingly, is take conservative political ideas—and, by extension, the people who voted for them—seriously.

An alternative thesis is the one Perlstein seemed to be framing up with his first, shorter, and better book: that the crucial bridge in modern Republican politics was the one leading from Barry Goldwater to Reagan. Nixon was the last important President of the New Deal Era, in the same way that Bill Clinton is best subsumed under the rubric of the Reagan Era. Constraining the federal government was not a significant component of Nixon’s political rhetoric, and he left it bigger, more expensive, and more powerful than he found it. Reagan did not ultimately reduce the size of the federal government in any meaningful sense, but he did diminish its scope and ambitions in ways that continue to resonate and define contemporary Republican politics.

Beyond the plagiarism charges circulating around Perlstein over this book raised initially by Craig Shirley, the conservative author of earlier works on Reagan that Perlstein, to say the least, apparently leaned on rather heavily, Orrin Judd had the best short critique of it. Dubbing him “The Accidental Hagiographer,” Orrin writes:

As you can see here, the premise of this volume is not only hilarious but inflates Ronald Reagan into a mythical hero far moreso than any of the fawning texts we on the right produce : the gnostic reality, known only to the Left, is that America is nothing special and, for one brief shining moment, in the 70s everyone was about to realize that, but Reagan, through the exercise of little more than his personal will, restores the delusion that America is more important than other states.

If Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh had given Reagan that much credit for reshaping the world around himself, they’d be dismissed as overenthusiastic cultists.  But Reagan looms so large in the mind of the Left that Friend Perlstein can’t see he’s gone far beyond any Reagan fanboy of the right in his claims for the greatness (let’s say we use the term in its value neutral sense) of the Gipper.

Of course, as great as the Gipper ultimately was (and his ghost is still living rent free in Obama’s addled mind) he couldn’t have done it without the left making a complete hash of America in the 1970s, as Weisberg notes above. To paraphrase an old line by P.J. O’Rourke, that’s the one and only reason we should always be grateful to Jimmy Carter.

(Via John Podhoretz.)

Posted at 1:09 pm on September 16th, 2014 by Ed Driscoll