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Ed Driscoll

Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

We’ll get to the above 1972 video of Walter Cronkite in just a moment, but first, let’s set stage. Return with us now to the end of the 1960s and the dawning of the craptacular ’70s. As Power Line’s Steve Hayward wrote in the first volume of The Age of Reagan, environmentalism — then simply called “ecology” — became an obsession of the left shortly after President Nixon took office, eclipsing both anti-Vietnam war and pro-civil rights protests:

Writing in Science magazine, Amitai Etzioni of Columbia University dismissed ecology as a “fad,” and thought that “the newly found environmental dangers are being vastly exaggerated.” Even if not exaggerated, Etzioni thought the environment was the wrong priority: “Fighting hunger, malnutrition, and rats should be given priority over saving wildlife, and improving our schools over constructing waste disposal systems.”

This criticism was mild compared to the blasts that came from black civil rights leaders. The most bitter attack came from Richard Hatcher, the black mayor of Gary, Indiana: “The nation’s concern for the environment has done what George Wallace was unable to do—distract the nation from the human problems of black and brown Americans.” Whitney Young of the National Urban League was equally distressed: “The war on pollution is one that should be waged after the war on poverty is won. Common sense calls for reasonable national priorities and not for inventing new causes whose main appeal seems to be in their potential for copping out and ignoring the most dangerous and pressing of our problems.”

And being a good doctrinaire liberal, CBS’s Walter Cronkite was quick to move with the times and ride the fad. As left-leaning historian Douglas Brinkley noted in his 2012 biography of Cronkite:

A CBS Reports segment in September 1962 had Eric Sevareid famously interviewing the literary biologist Rachel Carson about the perils of the insecticide DDT at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Cronkite, at the time, had been focused on the Earth-orbiting flight of the second Mercury launch. But now that Neil Armstrong had walked on the Moon, Cronkite sensed that ecology would soon replace space exploration as the national obsession. CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight. “ It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘God damn it, we’ve got to get on this environmental story,’ ” Bonn recalled. “When Walter said ‘God damn it,’ things happened.”

What could go wrong?

Cronkite pulled Bonn from nearly all other CBS duties for eight weeks so he could investigate environmental degradation. He wanted a whole new regular series on the CBS Evening News—inspired by Silent Spring, the philosophy of René Dubos, and those amazing photos of Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts. The CBS Evening News segments were to be called “Can the World Be Saved?” “We wanted to grapple first with air pollution, the unbreathable air,” Bonn recalled. “But then we wanted to deal with the primary underlying problem, which was overpopulation.”

So, eugenics, then. And then a quick detour into global cooling. As Julia Seymour writes today at NewsBusters, “And That’s the Way It Was: In 1972, Cronkite Warned of ‘New Ice Age:’”

The late Cronkite is considered a “legendary journalist” and a pioneer in the field, which is why Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, said this footage was so important. Morano is a former staff member of U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and producer of the upcoming global warming documentary Climate Hustle, set for release later in 2015.

“Global warming activists have claimed for years that the 1970s global cooling scare never existed. They have tried to erase the inconvenient history which ironically blamed extreme weather like tornadoes, droughts, record cold and blizzards on global cooling,” said Morano.

Morano told MRC Business, “But now — unearthed from bowels of media archives — comes none other than Walter Cronkite reporting on fears of a coming ice age in 1972. Having Cronkite’s image and face discussing global cooling fears reveals the fickleness of the climate change claims.”

“Climate fear promoters switched effortlessly from global cooling fears in the 1970s to global warming fears in the 1980s. In the present day, the phrase ‘global warming’ has lost favor in favor of ‘climate change’ or ‘global climate disruption’ or even ‘global weirding,’ Morano added. “’Settled science’ has never seemed so unsettled.”

By the way, let’s end with this inadvertently telling paragraph from Brinkley (his book, meant to celebrate Cronkite, raised many questions about the man who spent much of his career posing as Mr. Objective):

In January 1970, the promise of a new environmentalism brought about the end of [Cronkite’s future-themed series] The Twenty-First Century (which had succeeded The Twentieth Century in June 1967). No longer would Cronkite tolerate Union Carbide (a major polluter) as a sponsor. The Texas-based Fortune 500 company was the enemy of “Earthrise,” he told Bonn. At Cronkite’s insistence, CBS canceled The Twenty-First Century to coincide with the debut of the “Can the World Be Saved?” segments.

Yes, the crank science of the 1970s brought an end to the heroic phase of Kennedy and Johnson’s space program and its dalliance with embracing the 21st century a few decades early. And along with the collapse of the Great Society, which disillusioned the left when it tried to be all things to all voters, the optimism of the postwar 1950s and the first half of the 1960s would fade away, replaced by a grim nihilistic permanent malaise.

Exit question: Scott Pelley, the current incarnation of Cronkite on CBS has publicly likened those who question the “settled science” of global warming to Holocaust deniers, asking, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

What would he say if he ran into the 1972 iteration of Walter Cronkite?

‘Preparing for China’s Collapse’

March 3rd, 2015 - 12:58 pm

P.J. O’Rourke was interviewed by Peter Robinson of Ricochet and the Hoover Institute last month, and near the end of their wide-ranging conversation, Robinson asked O’Rourke about those of us in California who’ve given up on trying to reform the sclerotic dinosaur that is Sacramento. O’Rourke began his reply with this great anecdote referencing an even bigger and more dangerous ancient socialist government:

I remember going around China with a friend of mine who owned some steel foundries and a pelletized iron ore plant. He’s an American, but he lives in Hong Kong. Anyway, we’re wandering around mainland China, and I remember saying that I hadn’t heard any political discussions. Is it because people are afraid to talk about politics? He said, “no, they’re not afraid to [talk about politics]. You get ‘em started, and they’ll go on. But you’ve got understand the fundamental Chinese attitude toward government is ‘shhhhhhh….don’t wake it up when it’s sleeping.’” And I think our Millennials have a little bit of that same attitude. Fortunately, what they would wake up would not be as terrifying as [China’s cultural revolution.]

But what happens when China’s government does wake from its slumber? Steve Green writes today that the results won’t be pretty:

If a collapse should come, there is something we need to think about very seriously whether or not Washington ever heeds Mattis’s advice: The huge economic disruptions. China does in manufacturing today what America used to do, which is to move fast and scale up even faster. China moves workers and material in amounts and at speeds which are a legal and regulatory impossibility in 21st Century America. Between worker regs and the EPA, it simply isn’t possible for the US to replace China’s manufacturing ability — and there’s no other country besides us big enough and skilled enough to even try.

China’s collapse would cut a whole leg off of the global economy, with no anesthetic and no way to stop the bleeding. The loss of physical capital and manufacturing know-how would make a second Great Depression all but certain.

We need to have a plan in place to lift an awful lot of regulations, immediately, so that American business can go back to doing the kinds of things it used to do — and could do again if Big Fat Washington weren’t sitting on its chest.

In the early days of WWII, FDR asked for the impossible — that American industry build 50,000 warplanes in the first year, and 50,000 more every year after that. Nothing like it had ever been tried. But American business saw the profit potential, and FDR (for once) mostly got Washington out of the way. Sure enough, he got his airplanes.

We could do this, and avoid a global depression. The only thing stopping us is us.

I’m tempted to say “insert the Pogo quote here,” but given its origins during the rise of the American environmentalist left in the early 1970s, it was designed to stop us as well.

Related Exit Quote, via William F. Buckley: “Every ten years I quote the same adage from the late Austrian analyst Willi Schlamm, and I hope that ten years from now someone will remember to quote it in my memory. It goes, ‘The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.’”

Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past

March 2nd, 2015 - 10:37 am


Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Good Morning America anchors and reporters effusively lauded Al Gore on Friday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Diane Sawyer opened the program by breathlessly declaring, “Former Vice President Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping awaken the world to global warming. Now is it time to run for president again?” In her introduction to a piece on the subject, Sawyer gushed that the ex-VP is receiving the award for “for educating the world.”

“ABC Gushes Over Al Gore Nobel Win; He’s ‘Educating the World,’” the Media Research Center, October 15, 2007.

Good Morning America news reader Amy Robach on Friday mocked Republican James Inhofe as “bizarre” for a global warming speech he gave on the Senate floor. Robach described, “And a bizarre scene in Washington. One senator used the recent snow to bolster his argument about climate change.”

Inhofe held up a snowball to note the unusually cold February that the east cost has suffered through. Tossing the snowball, he joked, “Here, Mr. President. Catch this.” ABC has a history with condescending coverage on this issue. On April 23, 2012, reporter Bill Blakemore derided climate change skeptics as “denialists” and called for more alarmist advocacy.

“ABC Hits Senator Inhofe’s Climate Speech as ‘Bizarre,’” NewsBusters, February 27, 2015.

(Headline via the London Independent in 2000. The New York Times was running similar headlines as recently as last year; anti-vaccine crank Bobby Kennedy Jr. was specifically warning of no more snow in DC in 2008.)

Update: “Continue to Remind the Alarmists that It’s Cold Out. They Deserve It,” Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon writes, in-between digging his car out from seven degree weather. We’re doing our part!

Another day, another hit piece on Walker, this time from Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air; I’m not rewarding attack articles with extra traffic):

Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter.

“I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”

Walker contended that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.

“It sent a message not only across America, it sent a message around the world,” Walker said. America’s allies and foes alike became convinced that Reagan was serious enough to take action and that “we weren’t to be messed with,” he said.

According to Politico, Rucker was the guy who whined, “What about your gaaaaaaaffffffes!!!!!!” to Mitt Romney in 2012; but what about Rucker’s gaffes, specifically, his lack of knowledge of history? Specifically, history that happened likely before the young Democrat operative with a byline was even born. Rucker’s article is headlined “Scott Walker calls Reagan’s bust of air traffic controller strike ‘most significant foreign policy decision,’” but that’s not a bad summation of how those events played out.

Return with us now to the early 1980s. In his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote:

Smashing the air traffic controllers union has loomed large in populist lore ever since as a “signal” to private sector management that it was now okay to squeeze unions, but this is too simple. (If Reagan had really wanted to send an anti-union message, he would have proposed privatizing air traffic control.) Generally polls showed that public esteem for organized labor was at an all-time low by the time of PATCO’s ill-considered gambit. Labor was getting the message. A Wall Street Journal headline a month later told the story: “Economic Gloom Cuts Labor Union Demands for Big 1982 Contracts.” Fed chairman Paul Volcker later said that Reagan’s firing of the PATCO strikers was the single most important anti-inflationary step Reagan took.

There was one unanticipated audience that paid close attention to Reagan’s manhandling of the strike: the Soviet Politburo. Since taking office the administration had been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate in some concrete ways its toughness toward the Soviet Union. As is often the case, the most effective opportunity came in an unexpected way and from an unlooked-for place. The White House realized it had gotten Moscow’s attention when the Soviet news agency TASS decried Reagan’s “brutal repression” of the air traffic controllers.

For the American news media, Reagan’s handling of the strike became the opening for a new line of criticism. During the budget fight, the dominant line of criticism was that while Reagan’s policies might be cruel and uncaring, he himself was a kindly man. Having wondered whether Reagan was too “nice,” Haynes Johnson now wrote: “A glimmer of a harsher Reagan emerges…. For the first time as president, he has displayed another, less attractive side. Firmness is fine in a president; indeed, it is desirable. But something else came through last week—a harsh, unyielding, almost vengeful and mean-spirited air of crushing opponents. It makes you wonder how he will respond if faced with a direct, and dangerous, foreign challenge, one requiring the most delicate and skillful combination of strength and diplomacy.”

Gee, ask Secretary Gorbachev how that worked out.

In her 2003 book about Reagan,  Peggy Noonan quoted the Gipper’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who called it:

“One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made”. It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.

Yesterday, Noonan added at the Wall Street Journal:

What Reagan did not speak about was an aspect of the story that had big foreign-policy implications.

Air traffic controllers in effect controlled the skies, and American AWACS planes were patrolling those skies every day. Drew Lewis: “The issue was not only that it was an illegal strike. . . . It was also that a strike had real national-security implications—the AWACS couldn’t have gone up.” It is likely that even though the public and the press didn’t fully know of this aspect of the strike’s effects, the heads of the union did. That’s why they thought Reagan would back down. “This hasn’t come up,” said Lewis, “but the Soviets and others in the world understood the implications of the strike.”

Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.

However, I’m not at all surprised that the newspaper whose then-subsidiary magazine declared “We Are Socialists Now” upon Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009 would not be all that familiar with the history of the final years of the Cold War.

And speaking of Reagan:

Exit quote:


The pile continues to grow.

Update: “Arrogant Media Elites Mock Middle America,”  Salena Zito writes today at Real Clear Politics:

As consumers of news, most Americans want an honest look at the potential presidential candidates and where they stand on serious issues.

Reporters mock those news-consumers when they mock candidates who aren’t like the reporters themselves — but who are very much like normal Americans.

It is unforgivably arrogant for anyone in the media to think that the rest of the country thinks like they do.

“A reporter’s job is to report the news, not to drive it or to create it. A reporter’s audience is not just an echo chamber, not just D.C. friends, rivals, partisans and followers on social media. (Remember: Only 8 percent of Americans get their news through Twitter.),” Zito writes.

Don’t think of the DC media as reporters, as Glenn Reynolds recently noted:

The press sees itself first and foremost as political allies of Democrat-dominated institutions, which most emphatically includes universities, a major source of funding, foot-soldiers, and ideological suport for Democrats. When outsiders want information that might hurt Democrat-dominated institutions — see, e.g., ClimateGate — they are always portrayed by the press as partisans, malcontents, and evil. That is because the press today functions largely as a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines.

And the successful pushback against government unions by Walker — like Reagan before him — explains much of the subtext driving Rucker’s ahistoric ruckus.

kfc_edible_cup_2-25-15-1

Good news! “KFC Now Has A Coffee Cup You Can Eat,” reports BuzzFeed (who better to break this story?) Bad news — it’s only available in England right now:

This edible coffee cup was invented in a partnership with food scientists at The Robin Collective to coincide with the launch of KFC’s Seattle’s Best Coffee across its UK branches. The cup itself is made of biscuit, which has been wrapped in sugar paper and then lined with a layer of white chocolate, which melts over time, softening the biscuit enough to melt in your mouth.

On top of that delicious blend, a spokesperson for The Robin Collective told the Telegraph that the cups are also infused with a selection of “mood improving aromas,” like ‘coconut sun cream,’ ‘freshly cut grass’ and ‘wild flowers,’ which “evoke the positive memories we associate with warm weather, sunshine and summer holidays.”

Of course it does. The only charitable explanation given the involvement of companies with the names Kentucky Fried Chicken and Seattle’s Best Coffee is that perhaps they’re merely working out the product’s kinks out of town before it debuts in America. I will be charitable and assume that’s the case.

Because America is waiting, as David Byrne and Brian Eno would say.

‘Rahm-a-Lama-Ding-Dong’

February 25th, 2015 - 11:49 am

Rahm Emanuel, “Ex-Obama Aide Forced into Chicago Runoff,” John Fund reports. Couldn’t happen to a nicer party hack:

Illinois, the nation’s fiscal basket case, has been full of political surprises lately. Yesterday, Chicago, the home of the political machine that nurtured Barack Obama’s career, saw Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into an April runoff against Councilman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Emanuel, Obama’s first White House chief of staff, had every advantage in the race: $7 million in TV ads, a personal visit from his former boss, and the backing of a business community that’s been able to make special side deals with “da Mayor.” But Garcia showed the muscle of two powerful forces in the city’s politics: its growing Hispanic population and the Chicago Teachers Union, furious at Emanuel’s closing of 50 public schools. Two years ago, Emanuel retreated after a brief teacher’s strike and signed a new, generous contract with the union hoping to buy peace. That never works, and now the union is out to get him.

At Bloomberg, Dave Weigel explains why his fellow ‘Progressives’ “Celebrate Rahm Emanuel’s Surprise Setback in Chicago:”

Why did progressives–why do progressives–want to humble Emanuel? The answer’s been blaring from magazines like In These Times and Rolling Stone and the Nation for months. In the election-month cover story of In These Times, for example, progressive historian Rick Perlstein explained why the deal Emanuel cut with a company to remake the city’s transit cards never stopped hurting him.

The transit cards can double as debit cards, you see, promoted as a boon for Chicago’s un- and under-banked. But dig the customer fees hidden in the 1,000-page contract the city signed with Cubic: $1.50 every time customers withdraw cash from an ATM, $2.95 every time they add money to their online debit account with a personal credit card, $2 for every call with a service representative and an “account research fee” of $10 an hour for further inquiries, $2 for a paper copy of their account information, and, if you decide you’ve had enough, a $6 “balance refund fee.” [Gee, wait'll they discover ObamaCare -- Ed] This all makes mincemeat of the pro-privatization argument that “the marketplace” is more transparent than a government bureaucracy. The city might have been able to anticipate this before inking the deal had they paid attention to the fact that Money Network, the payment processing company partnering with Cubic, had received the lowest possible grade from the Better Business Bureau, and that another partner, MetaBank, was fined $5.2 million by federal regulators for a scheme to issue debit cards funded by tax refund loans at interest rates of up to 650 percent.

Emanuel was elected in the nadir of the first Obama term. While the White House adapted to Democratic politics, and while economic progressives took back a leading intellectual role in the party, Emanuel governed as a neoliberal. He’s still got plenty of advantages over Garcia, but he’s the first Chicago mayor to be forced into a runoff since the runoff system was created. Progressives wanted not just to humble Emanuel but to make a point about what sort of politics could no longer define the Democratic Party. And they’ve done that.

So Rahm has been transformed into the local government equivalent of Joe Lieberman, whom the Kos Kiddies hung out to dry as a loyalty test in 2006? That was also Hillary’s fate in 2007 — and possibly yet again if Elizabeth Warren is serious about running.

It’s a mindset that’s catching on the other side of the aisle: at Red State today, Leon Wolf has some thoughts “On the Value of Shooting Cowards.”

(Headline via NRO’s Twitter account. Note the photo atop it, which will get loads of play should Emanuel lose his runoff against Garcia.)


Yes, you never know when a once-trusted financial advisor can turn a investment or insurance plan you thought was running on autopilot into dust, all the while promising you repeatedly…

Much more at Twitchy; presumably, this is a set-up for further shakedowns from the trial lawyers, one of the semi-retired president’s favorite constituencies, or for additional regulations. Or both.

“De Blasio and Obama’s lack of experience” is explored my Michael Goodwin in the New York Post, beginning with a great quip in the opening:

A liberal friend pained over the rampant failures of liberal government makes an observation: “Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio are both learning to shave on our whiskers.”

The image is priceless, the insight wise. Their lack of experience in how the world works, and their ignorance of such basic knowledge as meeting a payroll, are proving to be fatal flaws for our president and mayor.

* * * * * * * *

Another telling example is Obama’s latest outrage — his effort to draw a moral equivalency between Christianity and Islamic State barbarism.

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said at the National Prayer Breakfast. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

The statement reflects his abiding disapproval of Western history and his fetish that Americans are always this close to mass ­Islamophobia — two topics where he’s far, far outside the mainstream. Instead of building a bridge, he throws a stick of ­dynamite.

Having failed over six years to convince the nation that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, he drags up ancient Christian history to silence his critics. He’s moving the goal posts, which is another way of saying, “Shut up, I’m right.”

When Obama gave that shocking utterance at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, it was made all the more disgusting by ISIS having released their latest snuff film the day before of burning a man alive in a cage. And as the New York Times reports — and I think we can trust them on this one — Obama’s PC hectoring to three quarters of America wasn’t boilerplate written by his often bumbling speechwriters — the president says he wrote those words himself:

President Obama personally added a reference to the Crusades in his speech this week at the National Prayer Breakfast, aides said, hoping to add context and nuance to his condemnation of Islamic terrorists by noting that people also “committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

But by purposely drawing the fraught historical comparison on Thursday, Mr. Obama ignited a firestorm on television and social media about the validity of his observations and the roots of religious conflicts that raged more than 800 years ago.

And one entirely of his own making. But then hey, this is the guy who said, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Well, you walked right into this latest disaster all by yourself then, champ.

As Jonah Goldberg noted in his latest G-File, “The Islamic State is crucifying people right now. Romans crucified people over 2,000 years ago. Does this mean that Italians can’t criticize them? How is it that the sins of Christianity are eternal but the sins of Muslim fanatics right now aren’t even Muslim? The Islamic State is enslaving people right now. America had slaves 150 years ago:”

Forget the Inquisition and the Crusades for a moment. Take slavery. It was an evil institution. It will always remain a stain on America’s honor.

But here’s the thing. America put an end to it at an enormous price. Moreover, slavery was a constant on every continent for thousands of years. Looking at America in the context of the great tide of human events, the remarkable thing isn’t that we had slaves, it’s that we ended slavery. We ended slavery because deep in the founding principles of this country were deeply Christian — or, if you prefer, Judeo-Christian — principles that eventually couldn’t be reconciled with slavery.

Obviously, the better example is Britain. The British had slaves, as did countless other societies and civilizations stretching off to the dawn of man. What is remarkable is that, thanks to a Christian renaissance, they decided to not only abolish slavery in their own lands, but to impose their values on others. The British got on a very high horse, thank God, and they had the courage to act on their sense of moral superiority.

As should we. It’s entirely fair to argue that we shouldn’t get on a high horse with regard to how the French or the Canadians do things, no matter how much fun it may be. But the Islamic State? The Mullahs of Iran? Boko Haram? Please, we’re so much better than them by any objective moral or intellectual standard, it’s insulting to be asked to make the case. That doesn’t mean we don’t have faults, but it does mean our faults are entirely irrelevant and one should not bring up such irrelevancies for fear that reasonable people will hear false equivalencies.

Unless, of course, you’re the kind of person who isn’t comfortable with the idea that America or the West can be wholly, completely, unapologetically on the right side of a major question of human affairs, particularly when that conviction gives you license to kill evil people. Such confidence makes some people very uncomfortable, and so they start scanning the horizon for a topic they can drag into their comfort zone. “Enough about how bad they are,” they seem to be saying. “Can’t we get back to how bad we are? Where’s Joe McCarthy when we need him!?”

The Horse Equivocator

One last thing about this high horse. There’s a kind of Escher drawing pas de deux of asininity here because Obama is telling people not to get on a high horse from the saddle of a much higher horse. I mean is there a man in public life who preaches from a higher equine altitude than this guy? This is the guy who explained that Hillary Clinton’s supporters in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania were backward yokels bitterly clinging to their sky god and boom sticks.

What offends Obama isn’t sanctimony, judgmentalism, or arrogance; it’s competition. What rankles him is when people refuse to genuflect to the trite pieties he unspools as if they were spun from gold.

In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR, looking towards both how the postwar era would shape up and his own upcoming reelection bid that November, smeared millions of small-government laissez-faire-minded Americans when he thundered, “if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called ‘normalcy’ of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.”

Just to review: FDR considered those oppose socialism in America to be National Socialists themselves. George Orwell, call your office.

Similarly, the man whom Time magazine anointed as the next FDR in 2008, knowing that the clock is ticking on his administration, smears three quarters of the country as crypto-terrorist slave-owners. And the man hired a decade ago by the New York Times to be their token conservative tells NBC’s Meet the Press today that he’s “totally pro-Obama on this.” Hey, those pants won’t crease themselves.

As Goldberg writes in his G-File:

What Obama shares with the collective authors of the liberal narrative is a deep and abiding suspicion that the American people are bigots, that they don’t understand their self-interest as well as liberal elites do, that America/Americans has/have no right to judge others given our own sins, and that we should never overreact to anything that makes liberals feel uncomfortable. Oh, you can overreact as much as you want to whatever liberals are overreacting to. In fact, that is encouraged. But if you get excited about something the folks at MSNBC think is weird or scary or could lead to the McCarthy poltergeist will-o’-the-wisping through the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Park Slope, then it’s a scary time here in America.

No wonder Obama is much more concerned with waging war against his domestic opponents than doing anything meaningful to fight ISIS.

On the other hand, a journalist at The Week squares the circle:

“Trickle-down economics is a Leftist lie,” British conservative Daniel Hannan politician writes:

In a 2012 paper for the Hoover Institute, the brilliant American writer Thomas Sowell showed that phrase was first used by FDR’s speech writer, Samuel Rosenman, who attacked “the philosophy that had prevailed in Washington since 1921, that the object of government was to provide prosperity for those who lived and worked at the top of the economic pyramid, in the belief that prosperity would trickle down to the bottom of the heap and benefit all.”

* * * * * * *

What free-marketeers in fact advocate is not trickle-down, but trickle-up. The way to become rich, in a competitive economy, is to offer a service to the broad mass of consumers. I am typing these words using software that I bought from Bill Gates. The transaction enriched him – adding fractionally to his net wealth – but it also enriched me, making my life more convenient. Bill Gates became wealthy, in other words, by persuading a great many poorer people to buy something from him. In doing so, he made us considerably better off, too. Trickle-up, you see.

Trickle-down, by contrast, would represent the precise opposite of an open market system. It would involve handing wads of cash to the undeserving rich in the hope that their affluence would somehow transfer itself to the rest of us. Now such transfers do occasionally happen. The bank bailouts were the most notorious example: they shifted a great deal of money, through coercive taxation, from people on low and medium incomes to wealthy bankers and bondholders. The Common Agricultural Policy is another instance: its cost falls disproportionately on the poor, who spend a relatively high percentage of their income on food, and its benefits go overwhelmingly to big landowners. Likewise the alternative energy boondoggles that force the general population to subsidise those same landowners through higher fuel bills.

In other words, the whole mindset of crony socialism that market the early days of the Obama administration, and can be summed up in a single, damning word: Solyndra (or Tesla. Or Government Motors, but that’s two words.) In the early 1920s, the American left began to use the traditionally conservative word “liberalism” to separate themselves from the failed “Progressive” (read: totalitarian) policies of Woodrow Wilson. Over the next 15 years they would go on (as FDR and Truman both did) to Orwellianly denounce Coolidge’s laissez-faire worldview as “fascist.” Similarly, the next GOP presidential candidate could have lots of fun driving his interviewers absolutely insane calling for a permanent end to the trickle-down economics of Barack Obama and his fellow leftists.

The left steals bases all the time. Why can’t we?

Related: In his weekly USA Today column, Glenn Reynolds offers a troika of additional ways “to ‘do something’ about poverty.”

The Biden 2016 campaign is certainly steaming along nicely, no?

At an event this morning, Vice President Joe Biden told Democrats that, “To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country.”

“And they’ve been really tough for our party. Just ask [former DCCC chair] Steve [Israel]. They’ve been really tough for our party. And together we made some really, really tough decisions — decisions that weren’t at all popular, hard to explain,” said Biden.

At the end of 2000 election, Slate noted, “In the wake of a successful centrist presidency and the best economy in memory, Gore adopted an angry populism as the tone of his campaign. Michael Kinsley aptly characterized this stance as ‘You’ve never had it so good, and I’m mad as hell about it.’”

Biden has reversed this formula: “To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country. And they’ve been really tough for our party.” So vote for me for four more years!

As for where things stand with the suddenly Romney-less GOP field, Tom Blumer has you covered over at the PJM homepage, along with one of my Photoshops for “George Stephanopoulos, Democrat Sniper.”

Related: Tanned, rested, and ready!

FDR had breadlines for as long as the eye could see. Bill de Blasio has…

Entirely related!

And of course, as with FDR and the Depression, de Blasio and Cuomo are doing everything they can to make a bad situation worse, because, power: 

 

 


A few years ago when New York was pounded by many inches of global warming despite the Times predicting in 2000 that snowfalls would be a thing of the past, Victor Davis Hanson warned of “The Bloomberg Syndrome:”

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.

The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

The names of the players have changed — and going from Bloomberg to de Blasio, the players themselves have gotten worse. But the political disease lingers on.

Update: One Twitter user squares the circle:

That’s what Glenn Reynolds argues, linking to Megan McArdle’s article at Bloomberg News on Obama’s trolling State of the Union address. “This is a win-win: He gets the blame, or he vetoes it,” Glenn writes.

The problem though is that Obama might not get the blame.

As with Democrats talking George H.W. Bush into raising taxes in 1990, one huge danger to this sort of game is that Democrats will play along in 2015 and then run ads like the above the following year directed towards the individual GOP senators and congressmen who raised taxes:

They would also receive a very painful, albeit well-deserved reminder from one of Senator Blutarsky’s colleagues.

“Anyone reading this knows where he was on September 11, 2001. A diminishing number remember where they were on January 30, 1965—the day we said farewell to Winston Churchill. (He died fifty years ago, January 24, 1965.),” Richard Langworth writes at the Weekly Standard:

For me it was a life-changing experience. Suddenly, unforgettably, on my flickering, black and white TV screen in New York City, the huge void of Westminster Abbey filled with The Battle Hymn of the Republic. He was, we were reminded, half-American, an honorary citizen by Act of Congress.

That day was the start of my 50-year career in search of Churchill—of what his greatest biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, calls, “labouring in the vineyard.”

After the funeral I picked up The Gathering Storm, the first volume of his World War II memoirs. I was snared by what Robert Pilpel called his “roast beef and pewter phrases.” It’s biased, as he admitted—“This is not history; this is my case.” But it is so ordered as to put you at his side for the “great climacterics” that made us what we are today.

Churchill’s life spanned sixty years of prominence, unmatched in recent history. Of course, he insisted, “nothing surpasses 1940.” That was the year Britain and the Commonwealth—“the old lion with her lion cubs,” as he put it, “stood alone against hunters who are armed with deadly weapons” until “those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready.”

But I soon learned there was more to Churchill than 1940. Martin Gilbert wrote: “As I open file after file of Churchill’s archive, from his entry into Government in 1905 to his retirement in 1955, I am continually surprised by the truth of his assertions, the modernity of his thought, the originality of his mind, the constructiveness of his proposals, his humanity, and, most remarkable of all, his foresight.”

Sadly, England as a whole lacked Churchill’s foresight; at MercatorNet, Alun Wyburn-Powell explains “How Winston Churchill lost the 1945 election:”

Among the excuses the Conservatives offered after their defeat was that the Army Bureau of Current Affairs had indoctrinated service personnel to vote Labour. This excuse was at least plausible in principle, but it was pretty flimsy stuff.

There were some more obvious reasons for Churchill’s humiliation. Ultimately, the Conservatives had simply lost the electoral “ground war”.

In contrast to the other parties, the Conservatives had stuck rigidly to the spirit and the letter of the wartime electoral truce, only holding one party conference during the war and putting little effort into policy development and constituency organisation. The result was that the party machine was in a terrible state, with a greatly depleted band of agents and volunteers.

The party was also still carrying the blame for the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s, for which it had been excoriated by the 1940 book Guilty Men.

Public memory was also against the Tories for another reason: the travails of David Lloyd George, who died in 1945. While still credited as the man who won World War I, Lloyd George’s record as prime minister after the war was dismal, marked by broken promises, unemployment, industrial unrest and threats to start another war. His dire tenure created a popular consensus was that good war leaders do not necessarily make good peacetime leaders.

Meanwhile, British society had changed during the war. Voters had become less class-bound; the evacuation of urban children to rural areas, service of all classes in the armed forces, and civilians sharing bomb shelters with strangers, had facilitated social mixing on an entirely new scale.

That in turn helped create a whole new political atmosphere. After World War I, many people had wanted a return to life as it had been – but after World War II, most people wanted a complete break with the past. In that climate, Labour’s forward-looking election slogan, “Let us face the future”, was far more appealing the Conservatives’ plea to let Churchill “Finish the job”.

Everyone should watch the 26-part World at War series released in 1973 by Thames Television, available on DVD from Amazon, and pretty easily found in streaming format on the Web. As I’ve written before, it was produced at exactly the right moment — when television was technically sophisticated enough to undertake a project of this scope, and while many of the major players were still alive and many still relatively young, and while Laurence Olivier was alive to narrate the series with the gravitas it deserved.

But perhaps most importantly, before the excoriating impact of political correctness would begin to tarnish how we view World War II, which unless we really have reached what Robert Tracinski of the Federalist calls “Peak Leftism,” will likely only get worse in coming decades. Political correctness is a disease that advanced slowly before fully metastasizing; but its roots were already present among 1930s British leftwing elites, who vowed would “in no circumstances fight for king and country,” and feared Churchill more than they feared Hitler (plus ça change). And as the 15th-episode of the World at War, titled “Home Fires” notes, even as England was on the verge of defeating National Socialism in Germany, it was about to institute an ever-increasing peacetime amount of nationalization and socialism at home:

That’s an excerpt from that episode; watch the whole thing here.

As to how Labour would radically reshape the people who inhabited postwar Britian, Peter Hitchens, the Tory-leaning brother of the late leftist Christopher Hitchens, does a remarkable job of highlighting the transformation of his country in his 2000 book, the The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana. (Please, somebody release this book in Kindle format). As the book’s title suggests, Hitchens begins by comparing the British people who turned out with stiff upper lips for the 1965 funeral of the Man Who Won World War II, and 30 years later, ululated en masse over the demise of Princess Diana, who was largely famous for being famous and for being a wannabe pop star and fashion icon. In other words, for purely aesthetic reasons.

“Wouldn’t it be simpler,” socialist playwrite Bertolt Brecht famously wrote, if the government dissolved the people and elected another?”

It took a few decades, with a timeout of sorts during the Thatcher years, but mission accomplished in postwar, post-Churchill England.

Speaking of political correctness, the transformation of a people, and Margaret Thatcher, Mr. Obama couldn’t be bothered to attend her funeral in 2013. Presumably, he wouldn’t have made time for Churchill’s either, right?

Update: At Power Line, Steve Hayward is more optimistic about the West’s future than I am, dubbing Churchill “Not the Last Lion:”

Manchester wrote in 1983 (in National Review, surprisingly enough) that “If there is a high office in the United States to which Winston Churchill could be elected today, it is unknown to me.”

The irony is that pre-war Churchill thought very much the same thing: see his remarkable essay from around 1930 entitled “Mass Effects in Modern Life,” which is in the must-have collection, Thoughts and Adventures. “Modern conditions do not lend themselves to the production of the heroic or superdominant type,” he wrote.  This was, Harry Jaffa pointed out in a splendid essay entitled “Can There Be Another Churchill?,” an instance of Churchill being wrong:

In 1939, Winston Churchill did not think so. But, as so often in his life, he was mistaken. Let us take comfort in that.

And in response to my post, Kathy Shaidle proffers excellent advice:

“In-Flight Catalog SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy,” the Wall Street Journal reports:

“With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog,” Mr. Wiley said.

The increase in the number of airlines providing Internet access “resulted in additional competition from e-commerce retailers and additional competition for the attention of passengers, all of which further negatively impacted SkyMall’s catalog sales,” he added.

The SkyMall business had revenue of about $33.7 million in 2013, but only $15.8 million for the nine months ended September 28, 2014.

SkyMall filed to preserve their assets by seeking “to achieve a sale of their assets and complete an orderly wind-down of their affairs,” said Mr. Wiley.

Is nothing sacred? 2015 is certainly starting off on a consolidating note as first Radio Shack, and now SkyMall as the mighty buzzsaw of Amazon continues to devour the rest of the retail world. I’m not sure if I can face living in a world without SkyMall, but how will Barney Stinson survive?

And where will the rest of us get our backyard-enhancing products made from “quality designer resin,” eh?

 

“NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver accused of $4 million bribery and kickback scheme, Dems continue to support him.” Kudos to the New York Daily News for not playing the “name that party” game with Silver; it’s tacitly right in the headline and explicitly stated six paragraphs in, which for a left-leaning publication is likely as good as transparency gets when a newspaper is reporting bad news concerning one of its own party members:

“I am confident that after a full hearing and due process, I will be vindicated of these charges,” a relaxed Silver announced after his release on $200,000 bond following a Manhattan Federal Court hearing.

Silver, spied earlier taking an uncomfortable ride to the courthouse alongside an FBI agent, made his brief appearance after U.S. Attorney Preet Bhahara blasted him as the epitome of a corrupt politician.

“For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question, ‘How could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents?’” said Bharara.

“Today we provide the answer: He didn’t.”

The stunning five-count criminal complaint accused the Manhattan Democrat, an Albany power broker for decades, with pocketing millions in bribes and kickbacks in return for wielding his massive influence.

Much more from Michael Walsh at the PJ Tatler:

New York state is essentially an organized crime racket, one that for many years was stable in its distribution of the swag. The upstate-controlled Senate was in the hands of the GOP under Joe Bruno, while the assembly lay under the thumb of the weaselly Silver. But somebody broke the peace back in 2008, when Bruno abruptly resigned his leadership positions and announced he wouldn’t be running again; in January 2009 he was indicted on eight corruption counts, and later convicted of two of them. The convictions were overturned on appeal and Bruno was subsequently found not guilty at a retrial last year. He’s been itching for payback ever since. This is it.

Exit quotes from John Podhoretz (channeling Hyman Roth) and Iowahawk (channeling the performer Time magazine once dubbed “The smartest man in pop music”):


Speaking of which, exit question via Michael Walsh: “Is Andrew Cuomo Next?”

Tweets of the Day

January 20th, 2015 - 8:03 pm

Writing in the Atlantic, David Frum may be on to something here, a sentence that I don’t believe I’ve uttered in the last six or so years. As Frum writes, “Neither Reagan nor Clinton tried to hem in their party’s likely next nominees in the way that President Obama is hemming in Hillary Clinton. Why the difference?”

Obama strongly opposed George W. Bush, but when he was defining himself as a national figure, it was Bill Clinton against whom he defined himself. Clinton politics were petty and personal. “In the back and forth between Clinton and Gingrich,” he wrote, in The Audacity of Hope, “and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation—a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago—played out on the national stage.”

In 1995 Bill Clinton announced to both houses of Congress that the era of big government had ended. In 2009, Obama, speaking from the same rostrum, warned that “the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little.” At some deep level, Obama’s entire project has been a reply, not to Republican conservatism but to Democratic neoliberalism. Now, as his presidency nears its close, the wife, heir, and namesake of the leader of the neoliberals has emerged as the overwhelming favorite to lead the Democratic Party in 2016.

Almost as much as a Republican victory, a Clinton succession would punctuate the Obama presidency with a question mark. Obama’s highest priority over the next two years seems to be to convert that question mark into an exclamation point, to force Hillary Clinton to campaign and govern on his terms. Whatever happens after that, he can at least say that it was his kind of Democratic Party—not Bill Clinton’s—that won a third consecutive mandate, after having twice done what Clinton never did: win an outright majority of the presidential ballots cast.

Of course, Hillary Clinton can see all this, too. So can Bill Clinton, perhaps even more acutely. The next fascinating question is: what will they do about it?

Read the whole thing. And between all of the material produced by Obama and his operatives in the MSM to attack Hillary in 2007 and 2008, and Obama’s apparently still ice-cold relationship with the Clintons, whatever happens in November of 2016, it will be fun to watch Hillary traverse the many landmines in her path to the White House.

As for tonight, Steve Green, our friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit, is scheduled to drunkblog Obama State of the Union speech in less than an hour on the PJM homepage. I hope he and his liver are up to the daunting task ahead:

Update: Allahpundit wonders if Mr. Obama, our “Semi-retired troll ready to bring his troll A-game” will also be trolling Elizabeth Warren as well tonight.

Roles of a Lifetime

January 13th, 2015 - 9:38 pm

Neo-Neocon quotes from Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democrat convention, his first appearance on the national stage, and one in which he would return triumphantly four years later, backed by styrofoam columns almost as phony as the man in front of them. In 2004 though, his rhetoric sure sounded good, but as Neo writes:

I didn’t listen to Obama’s 2004 speech, or much of either convention that year; I’m not a big fan of speeches in general. But reading it now I could almost weep, because it is so deceptive, so unlike the Barack Obama we’ve come to know so well. If the guy portrayed in that speech had won an election, the result probably wouldn’t have been half bad. But that guy never existed; he was an actor reading his lines. 2004 was his first performance on the national stage, and he ought to have won an Oscar for it.

Reading Neo’s post, I was reminded of the other actor armed with stirring rhetoric at the other national political convention that summer, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed that in 1968 he was listening to Hubert Humphrey’s Great Society-style proposals shortly after arriving in the US:

Everything about America seemed so big to me, so open, so possible.I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.

The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

SCHWARZENEGGER: But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.

(APPLAUSE)

Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?”

My friend said, “He’s a Republican.”

I said, “Then I am a Republican.”

Well, it sounded good at the time. But in the coming months, faced with the opportunity of being Scott Walker before Scott Walker and reforming Sacramento’s union-dominated out of control spending and regulation, Arnold quickly revealed himself to be a political girlie man, and a pampered actor who’d rather have the perks of office than fighting for lasting accomplishments:

And then there was the man who was the focus of both conventions, the stiff and effete John Kerry, now Obama’s Orwellian sidekick posing as Secretary of State.

Just as a reminder though, as Mark Steyn wrote in early 2008, there was another politician who actually was a straight shooter in 2004:

Two months into the new regime, no less an authority than Anthony Lewis of the New York Times assured us that “George W. Bush and his people are driven by right-wing ideology to an extent not remotely touched by even the Reagan Administration.” In those heady days of spring 2001, it was easy to take Señor Compasión at the Left’s estimation of him. Do you remember some of the “controversies” around back then? Arsenic in the water supply? I didn’t even know I was in favor of that until Bush started doing it.

But it turned out the compassionate conservative did mean it — on immigration, education, and much else. And, whatever we feel about those policies, we cannot say that we were betrayed — for few candidates have ever been so admirably upfront. Indeed, it is a peculiar injustice that the 43rd presidency’s most obvious contender for a Bartlett’s entry should be “Bush lied, people died.” The activists who most assiduously promoted the line are now having to adjust to the news that their own beloved “anti-war” candidate’s commitment to bring home every last soldier within 16 months has been “revised” into a plan for some 30,000–70,000 troops to remain in Iraq after 2011. On Fox News the other night, I found myself talking to a nice lady from Code Pink who was trying to grapple with the fact that Henry Kissinger and Karl Rove are more enthusiastic about Obama’s national-security team than she is. Many other Obama policies now turn out to be inoperative, and we haven’t even had the coronation. I don’t know about my Code Pink friend, but I already miss Bush’s straightforwardness. He spoke a language all but extinct in the upper echelons of electoral politics. “Bush lied”? Here he is in Crawford, early in 2002, being interviewed by Trevor McDonald of Britain’s ITN:

“I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go,” said Bush.

“And, of course, if the logic of the War on Terror means anything,” Sir Trevor responded, relentlessly forensic in his determination not to let Bush get away with these shifty evasions, “then Saddam must go?”

“That’s what I just said,” said the president. “The policy of my government is that he goes.”

“So you’re going to go after him?” pressed Sir Trevor, reluctant to take yes for an answer.

“As I told you,” said the president, “the policy of my government is that Saddam Hussein not be in power.”

Etc. George W. Bush is who he is, and he never pretended to be anything but. Do you know how rare that is? If you don’t, you surely will after six months of Barack Obama’s enigmatic cool.

Will the American voters prefer a return to more honest president in 2016 after their eight year tour of Obama’s postmodern Fantasyland is concluded? We’ll find out soon enough.

Will it be titled “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Hitting on High School Girls?”

OK, sorry about that. But presumably, Jeff Bezos was prepared for plenty of bad jokes about the Woodman’s rather complex reputation these days. “Amazon Makes a Risky Bet on Woody Allen’s Tarnished Prestige,” David Sims writes at the Atlantic (a Website that’s no stranger to hiring names with tarnished prestige themselves):

Will the viewer boost outweigh whatever hit Amazon’s prestige might take? It’s hard to say. Thinkpieces will undoubtedly flood the Internet, but despite the chilling nature of Dylan Farrow’s public letter, when actors who worked with Allen were asked about it, they mostly referred to the matter as a complicated family issue too sensitive to wade into, and the furor eventually died down. Other networks have worked with unappealing creative personnel without really harming their brand—FX gave accused serial domestic abuser Charlie Sheen 100 episodes of Anger Management in 2012, but remains best-known for highly praised original programming like Louie, The Americans and Justified.

The even bigger question is whether Allen will produce anything remotely watchable. He won an Oscar just three years ago for writing the breezy Midnight in Paris, and within the past decade Blue Jasmine and Vicky Christina Barcelona have both won high praise for their performers. But Allen’s output has been undoubtedly scattershot since the mid-‘90s, with a series of duds usually surrounding every mild-to-moderate hit.

While I understand that the man needs to keep his cashflow up to live in New York (see also: subplot of Manhattan, a film whose gorgeous cinematography helped to make its creepy themes go down that much smoother with unassuming late-’70s audiences), as Sims writes, I’m not at all sure how Amazon benefits from this deal, other than, as United Artists and Orion bet in the ’70s and ’80s, Amazon hopes that Allen’s name will bring in younger, hotter directors looking to establish themselves.

A warning to Amazon: partially thanks to Allen’s increasing number of box office busts starting in his post-Annie Hall period, UA and Orion ultimately each lost that bet. And note that Allen is once again employing his self-deprecating shtick to discuss this new project:

Amazon Studios vice president Roy Price spoke of the decision in a statement, saying, “Woody Allen is a visionary creator who has made some of the greatest films of all-time, and it’s an honor to be working with him on his first television series.” He finished: “From Annie Hall to Blue Jasmine, Woody has been at the creative forefront of American cinema and we couldn’t be more excited to premiere his first TV series exclusively on Prime Instant Video next year.”

Allen also spoke of the opportunity, adding: “I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this.”

That routine was charming when Allen was at the apex of career as a comedic cinema auteur with Annie Hall and Manhattan. These days, Amazon might want to take him at his word.

In the meantime though, might want to buy plenty of shares of whichever company produces the Windsor type font. Just to be able to short it in a few months.

Given the Allahpundit-esque headline this post started with, we might as go out with another of his trademarks. Exit quote:

More Good News from the Times

January 6th, 2015 - 6:02 pm

The Times, which over the years has railed against air conditioning, refrigeration, toilet paper, consumerism, brunch, the automobile, and the entire Midwest should be pretty thrilled about an increasing amount of American acreage returning to their feral state, right?

Besides, less malls means more room for golf courses, right?

Update: Forget malls. “Why do liberals hate highways?”

It’s a safe bet that the further to the left a city or state is, the more it punishes motorists. (See also: Manhattan, Seattle, California, etc.)