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Ed Driscoll

Democracy In America

RIP, James Garner

July 21st, 2014 - 1:27 pm

As Mark Steyn writes, “James Garner was one of those actors who was watchable in almost anything, even commercials:”

He had great sexual chemistry, which is why his leading ladies loved working with him. For my money, when it comes to Sixties sex comedies, he was better with Doris Day than Rock Hudson was, and not just for the obvious reason. In Move Over, Darling, Doris and Polly Bergen crank it up a tad too much too soon, and it’s Garner dialing it back and reeling it in who keeps the picture’s contrivances from getting too much. Over a third of a century, he made three movies with Julie Andrews, and made her seem desirable, which is a trick not every leading man could pull off. And, of course, he and Mariette Hartley turned those Seventies/Eighties Polaroid commercials into such mini-masterpieces of effortless charm that most viewers assumed the relationship had to be real. The chemistry was so good Miss Hartley began going around in a T-shirt proclaiming “I am NOT Mrs James Garner.”

He was also one of the few Hollywood leading men of the 1960s to survive and prosper in the awful decade that followed, in which American coastal elites in New York, Washington, and Hollywood all lost their way, producing horrid results for the rest of us. (Talk about déjà vu.) Somehow though, with the Rockford Files, as John Nolte writes in “A Tribute to The Mighty James Garner” at Big Hollywood, Garner, producer Roy Huggins, writer Stephen J. Cannell. and Universal TV managed to capture “lightening in a bottle,” and in an odd way, the 1970s middle American zeitgeist as well.

While he had nothing in common with the character he played, my dad loved James Garner on Rockford, and it’s easy to see why. During that period, when Hollywood was still in its post-Easy Rider “youth phase,” the cool leading men of the 1950s and ‘60s were in short supply: Cary Grant had retired, Sean Connery seemed to vanish in his early post-Bond years, and Steve McQueen’s career was in that fallow period that had begun with the dark grotesqueries of Papillon, and arguably never recovered. You respected Charles Bronson’s characters for their macho toughness and steely brass balls, but no guy really wanted to be Charles Bronson. Which left Garner, who made looking cool easy, unlike McQueen and Paul Newman, each with an ice cold veneer which masked an venomous anger just under the surface. (Arguably in real life, as well.)

As John Nolte – who once featured Rockford’s business card  on his Twitter homepage — adds, “Amiable, broad-shouldered, and handsome, Garner spent a half-century easily moving back and forth between television and film roles, a feat very few lead actors have successfully pulled off. Garner was the rare leading man who could spend countless hours in our living rooms without losing the quality that made him a movie star.”

In a phrase that’s applicable less and less to those in show business, James Garner was truly a class act. RIP.

Update: In his obit for Garner, Andrew Klavan writes that no men like the beach bum private eye characters portrayed in the mid-’70s by both Garner and David Janssen in ABC’s then-concurrent Harry O series exist on TV these days. “I don’t say that out of nostalgic grumpiness but as a matter of fact. You cannot pitch a private eye show to the networks. I’ve tried it. You can’t even get in the door.”

“I began by saying that the Obama presidency is unraveling, and that it was a creation of the culture,” Drew adds. “Part of what the culture did to help create this disaster was to lose its faith in the man alone, and put its trust in princes and principalities.”

Offstage, Garner was a cast-in-the-mold Hollywood liberal seeking — whether he knew it consciously or not — authoritarianism, collectivism, and big government. But he was smart enough to portray characters who fought against that authoritarianism, sometimes won along the way, and retained their heart and individuality in the process. And compared to today’s smarmy and chestless Hollywood actors, that was more than enough.

…But only in an attempt to bludgeon it into submission. “It’s time for progressives to reclaim the Constitution,” Dionne writes in the Washington Post, but it’s an entirely disingenuous proposition, making his article a piece with previous recent examples of the left fantasizing about discarding the Constitution.  Or as I wrote in January of last year:

“CBS Runs Segment Called ‘Let’s Give Up On The Constitution,’” Big Journalism reports today (warning, link goes to auto-play Charles Osgood video). They’re simply the latest branch of the Obama-media to drop the mask in recent years. “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution,” blared a headline in the New York Times on December 30th, atop a column written by Louis Seidman, the same man featured in CBS’s segment today, who professes to “teach” Constitutional Law at Georgetown University.

Ten days later, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokesman Morton Downey Morgan Jr. sneeringly described the Constitution as “your little book,” when handed a copy by guest Ben Shapiro.

Back in January of 2011, when the GOP took back control of the House, the New York Times ran an earlier assault on the Constitution, leading Power Line’s John Hinderaker to ask, “Are Liberals Coming Out of the Closet on the Constitution?” 

That was around the same time the Washington’s Post’s Young Ezra Klein admitted on MSNBC that in his opinion, because the Constitution was written “more than 100 years ago,” it was all so confusing to understand.

On July 4th 2011, the cover of Time magazine featured a shredded Constitution and a headline that asked, “Does It Still Matter?”


And as Thomas Friedman infamously wrote in the pages of the Times back in September of 2009:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

In February of 2013, Glenn Reynolds was interviewed by Russ Roberts, economics professor at George Mason University. Roberts reiterated some of the arguments by Louis Michael Seidman, the author of the Times article positing the jettisoning of the Constitution. When asked if the left’s argument is that “we already ignore the Constitution; it’s not really much of a binding document,” as Roberts paraphrased Seidman, Glenn responded:

REYNOLDS: Oh, well, then I’m free to do whatever I want!  And actually, that is a damning admission, because what that really says is: If you believe Seidman’s argument; if you believe that we already ignore the Constitution anyway, then in fact, the government rules by sheer naked force, and nothing else. And if that’s what you believe, then all of this talk of revolution suddenly doesn’t seem so crazy, it seems almost mandatory.

ROBERTS: Well, he would say – well, I won’t speak for him, but some would say that, well, there’s a social contract, we’ve all agreed to kind of play by these rules…

REYNOLDS: Oh really?!

ROBERTS: …of electing officials, and…

REYNOLDS: Well, the rules I agreed to electing these officials are the Constitution. I thought we were going to ignore that. That’s my social contract.

It’s tough for “Progressives” to reclaim something they’ve spent the better part of five years openly attempting to jettison. Let’s give the final word to the man whose billboard is atop this post, a man of a few very carefully words, Calvin Coolidge on July 5th, 1926:

One of Coolidge’s greatest speeches was on the occasion of the Declaration’s 150th anniversary (his 54th birthday). Silent about himself, Coolidge praised the Declaration’s words on human equality, natural rights, and consent of the governed. America was the first nation founded on those principles. July 4, 1776, the day when they were formally expressed, “has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history” and “an incomparable event in the history of government.”

For Coolidge, these principles spelled security. They were final. “No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions,” he said. To deny the self-evident truths of the Declaration would take America “backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.”

These principles provided the foundation for all Americans, whatever their policy preferences or partisan alignments. “Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics,” Coolidge said, “every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken.”

Coolidge’s speech was made when the first serious attempts by “Progressives” to turn back the clock on the Constitution were made by America’s original Liberal Fascist, Woodrow Wilson, was still within the memory of Americans who suffered under his excesses during World War I.

As Wilson attempted a century ago, E.J. Dionne, Young Ezra Klein, Piers Morgan, and Louis Michael Seidman — along with their man in the White House and his Attorney General — are doing everything they can to similarly cast America into the abyss of nihilism as well.

Update: At Power Line, Steve Hayward deconstructs “Dionne Again, Naturally:”

Unfortunately I don’t have time for a complete fisking of Dionne’s article just at the moment (busy day starting . . . now), but I’ll just bring your attention to its biggest howler.  (You’ll want to put down your coffee first and spare the risk to your keyboard.)  Dionne quotes Joseph R. Fishkin and William E. Forbath of the University of Texas School of Law:

“Extreme concentrations of economic and political power undermine equal opportunity and equal citizenship,” they write. “In this way, oligarchy is incompatible with, and a threat to, the American constitutional scheme.”

Let’s see: where’s the greatest concentration of economic and political power these days?  Yes, that’s right—the Washington Beltway.  It’s sucking wealth and power from every other corner of the country.  Dionne and his pals are just fine with that.  It makes him an oligarch of sorts.  And that’s exactly the problem.

Which dovetails perfectly with Bill Whittle’s latest Afterburner, a visit to “Obamadelphia, DC, the New U.S. Capital:”

 

Quote of the Day

July 4th, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Fourth of July taught the Baby Boom an important lesson (albeit one we’ve frequently ignored). It’s a given that the stuff of life will blow up in your face, just try not to set it all off at once.

— From P.J. O’Rourke’s new book, The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again).

Many more quotes from O’Rourke’s fun new book here. And for my interview with O’Rourke on The Baby Boom, click here.

(Originally posted January 17, 2014.)

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4th, 2014 - 11:24 am
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Suicide Girls, the early years.

Pardon the hate speech in the above headline, but our surveys show that 99 percent of our core audience enjoys the Fourth of July; it is for that small majority that this post is written.

Roger L. Simon, our beneficent Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus wonders, “Is America in a Pre-Revolutionary State this July 4th?”

As we approach July 4, 2013, is America in a pre-revolutionary state? Are we headed for a Tahrir Square of our own with the attendant mammoth social turmoil, possibly even violence.

Could it happen here?

We are two-thirds of the way into the most incompetent presidency in our history. People everywhere are fed up. Even many of the so-called liberals who propelled Barack Obama into office have stopped defending him in the face of an unprecedented number of scandals coming at us one after the other like hideous monsters in some non-stop computer game.

And now looming is the monster of monsters, ObamaCare, the healthcare reform almost no one wanted and fewer understood.

It will be administered by the Internal Revenue Service, an organization that has been revealed to be a kind of post-modern American Gestapo, asking not just to examine our accounting books but the books we read. What could be more totalitarian than that?

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal warns the costs of ObamaCare are close to tripling what were promised, and the number of doctors in our country is rapidly diminishing. No more “My son, the doctor!” It doesn’t pay.

And young people most of all will not be able to afford escalating health insurance costs and will end up paying the fine to the IRS, simultaneously bankrupting the health system and enhancing the brutal power of the IRS — all this while unemployment numbers remain near historical highs.

No one knows how many have given up looking for work while crony capitalist friends of the administration enrich themselves on mythological clean-energy projects.

In fact, everywhere we look on this July Fourth sees a great civilization in decline. And much of that decline can be laid at the foot of the incumbent. Especially his own people, African Americans, have suffered. Their unemployment numbers are catastrophic, their real needs ignored while hustlers like Sharpton, Jackson, and, sadly, even the president fan the flames of non-existent racism.

Tahrir Square anyone?

Ironically, if our society enters a revolutionary phase, liberals will find themselves in the role of the Islamists, defending a shopworn and reactionary ideology on religious grounds, because it is only their faith that holds their ideas together at this point.

Hollywood actress and singer Bette Midler is so reactionary these days, she wishes she was a subject of the crown:

Many celebrities are celebrating the Fourth of July by wishing their country a very happy birthday. It’s a day where partisanship is pushed aside for good ol’ fashioned patriotism.

Bette Midler is taking a different approach.

The Parental Guidance star imagines a world in which the U.S. lost the war for its independence, but it’s not like that’s a bad thing. After all, she argues, that would mean we’d finally have socialized medicine.

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Wow, who knew after making millions in Hollywood and as a recording artist, Bette Midler had no health insurance?

In contrast to those such as Bette who wish to go backwards; as Julia Shaw writes at NRO, “America’s birthday is also Calvin Coolidge’s. It’s a fitting coincidence, as the 30th president was one of the most eloquent defenders of America’s principles:”

Coolidge was for economic prosperity. His tax cuts and budgetary restraint enabled robust economic growth in America. “The chief business of the American people is business,” Coolidge said in an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He understood, though, that material success wasn’t the most important goal for the American people. While we “make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth,” Coolidge explained, “there are many other things that we want very much more. We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization.”

Coolidge encouraged Americans to prioritize the spiritual over the material, to “cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which [our Founders] showed.” This meant a reverence for America’s principles.

Coolidge said yes to America’s principles, and the Declaration of Independence is the clearest articulation of them — it’s the mission statement of America. One of Coolidge’s greatest speeches was on the occasion of the Declaration’s 150th anniversary (his 54th birthday). Silent about himself, Coolidge praised the Declaration’s words on human equality, natural rights, and consent of the governed. America was the first nation founded on those principles. July 4, 1776, the day when they were formally expressed, “has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history” and “an incomparable event in the history of government.”

For Coolidge, these principles spelled security. They were final. “No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions,” he said. To deny the self-evident truths of the Declaration would take America “backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.”

These principles provided the foundation for all Americans, whatever their policy preferences or partisan alignments. “Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics,” Coolidge said, “every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken.”

I wish that last sentence was still true today.

Related: For my interview with Amity Shlaes on her recent biography of the great Silent Cal, click here.

(Originally posted last year; photo atop post by Shutterstock.com.)

RIP, Paul Mazursky, 84

July 1st, 2014 - 10:47 am

Roger L. Simon is reporting that legendary director Paul Mazursky, whose career stretches back to working with Stanley Kubrick on Kubrick’s earliest ultra-DIY productions, has passed away. Roger writes:

There are tears in my eyes as I write this because no man had as great a professional effect on me — a professional effect that was deeply personal as well, because collaborating with Paul, as I did on several screenplays, was always an adventure of the most intimate sort, sharing endless stories and emotions that would go into our scripts.

I had seen Paul only yesterday in his hospital bed at Cedars Sinai. (I am grateful to our mutual friend David Freeman for informing me he was there.) He did not look good and I wondered if he would ever get out. I tried to engage him in conversation. It was difficult. Paul, normally the most garrulous of men, could barely talk. But we chatted a bit about Enemies, A Love Story – the most successful movie we co-wrote and he directed — and he reminded me that Isaac Singer, the author of the novel, had liked the film. We also talked of the trip we took together with some friends, trekking in the Himalayas to get as far as we could from the premiere of Scenes from a Mall, a less successful effort.

Paul, of course, made over a dozen fine movies, including Next Stop Greenwich Village, Harry and Tonto, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. We all have our favorites. But at a time like this I choose to remember Paul the man, not the auteur who has been called, reductively I think, the “West Coast Woody Allen.”

I remember especially the many breakfasts we all had together — writers, directors, what we used to call “visiting firemen” — at L.A.’s Farmers Market. “The table,” as it was also called, became something of minor legend, even making it into a BBC documentary on Hollywood in the 1990s. But it would have been nothing without Paul. He was the star attraction, the major domo. This was because of Paul’s fame but also because he was an all-time great storyteller, regaling us with tales of the comedy writers’ room in the early days of television, of great artists he had worked with like Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers.

Often he would repeat his stories — as the  best storytellers often do — and we would roll our eyes. But the truth is we wanted to hear them again. They became something of a ritual. I want to hear them again now, more than ever.

PJTV subscribers can watch Roger and his video sparring partner Lionel Chetwynd share some of the old stories with Mazursky in this 2009 edition of Poliwood.

Update: Mark Horowitz, of Medium tweets, “If you’re too young to know the films of Paul Mazursky, here’s a useful intro to his career” by John Podhoretz.

Noah Rothman at Hot Air on the Left’s meltdown over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision:

I imagine the horrified shrieks that rose from the streets outside the Supreme Court on Monday as the decision in the Hobby Lobby case began to filter out into the crowd of liberal observers was reminiscent of those poor souls who watched helplessly as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire claimed the lives of 146 young, female garment workers.

In fact, the similarities are eerie. It seems that liberal commentators have convinced themselves that, just as was the case in 1911, the courts and the country have deemed women to be of lesser value than their male counterparts. The distinction between these two eras, of course, is that while that argument could be supported in 1911, it exists only in the heads of progressives in 2014.

Read on for former VH-1 VJ John Fugelsang to tweet that “Scalia Law is a lot like Sharia Law” and MSNBC-Comcast spokesman Jimmy Williams to add, “What Hobby Lobby means is there are now two separate classes of women in America: those who work for privately-owned corps and everyone else.” [Update: Nice rhyme from a former VJ, but as Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon tweets in response, "Alito wrote the decision."]

And note this, at Twitchy:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom to resist the Obamacare contraceptive coverage mandate upheld the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

RFRA passed in 1993 with overwhelming bipartisan support. It was sponsored by Democrat N.Y. Sen. Charles Schumer and earned the votes of leading lib dinosaurs including Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, and Barbara Boxer.

In 1993, the left still had majority control of the White House, the Senate, and Congress, before losing the latter two houses the following year as part of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America revolution.

“The left loses their minds over Hobby Lobby decision,’ Noah Rothman wrote in his headline at Hot Air; to be fair, he really only needed the first five words of his sentence, as the left loses its minds and gets itself into a collective rage every day about something — that’s simply what it does. Or as Glenn Reynolds wrote today on the Hobby Lobby decision, “They must always have a Great Evil to crusade against, because only crusading against a Great Evil can excuse their own actions. Meanwhile, here’s a debunking of the Hobby Lobby talking points, from Ann Althouse.”

Althouse writes:

Which is why — however you feel about birth control, religious objections to it, and for-profit corporations that find a way to be religious — it’s not bad for Hobby Lobby to win.

But if it does, the “worst decision” will instantly plunge us into war-on-women, election-year politics.   

Why can’t I just plunge into my 4th-of-July swimming pool?, you might ask.

No. The internet will never allow you to go back to your summer holiday week as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

Heh — nice Michelle O. callback.

In 2010, P.J. O’Rourke wrote, “This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order.” We’ll need another one against the left this fall as well, as their anger will once again ratchet up exponentially between now and November.

Update:

 

“Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died Friday night at his home. He was 82,” AP reports:

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner said Noll died of natural causes.

Noll transformed the Steelers from a long-standing joke into one of the NFL’s pre-eminent powers, becoming the only coach to win four Super Bowls. He was a demanding figure who did not make close friends with his players, yet was a successful and motivating leader.

The Steelers won the four Super Bowls over six seasons (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979), an unprecedented run that made Pittsburgh one of the NFL’s marquee franchises, one that breathed life into a struggling, blue-collar city.

”He was one of the great coaches of the game,” Steelers owner Dan Rooney once said. ”He ranks up there with (George) Halas, (Tom) Landry and (Curly) Lambeau.”

In 1974, Noll’s Steelers assembled what was arguably “The greatest draft class in NFL history,” when they added in one fell swoop, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster. All four would become NFL Hall of Famers and household names among NFL fans, as Noll’s Steelers became the dominant team of the 1970s.

RIP, Chuck Noll.

Airbrush Alert

June 10th, 2014 - 11:31 pm

The question in this race is how large Cantor’s margin of victory will be. If he wins by more than 20 points, it will likely quell rumblings about his popularity back home. If Brat falls within 10 points of the seven-term congressman, it could stoke them.

—The Washington Post, 11:10 AM before being tossed down the Memory Hole sometime tonight.

Likely, very early tonight.

But then, as John Podhoretz writes at Commentary, “Interesting things can happen in politics. Very interesting things. Right now the only sure thing, supposedly, is that Hillary Clinton will sail through the Democratic primaries unopposed. The would-be candidate we all saw last night embarrassing herself in an interview with Diane Sawyer should not be considered an inevitability. Eric Cantor’s reelection was an inevitability too.”

“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor loses GOP primary to tea party challenger Dave Brat in Va.,” AP is reporting at ABC News.

“Cantor internal poll claims 34-point lead over primary opponent Brat,” the Washington Post reported on Friday.

PJM’s new one-stop primary Website, The Grid notes that AP has called VA for Brat and adds, “This is a shock, and must be chalked up primarily to Cantor showing unreliability on comprehensive immigration reform. He lost the trust of the voters in VA-07. And he has paid for it.”

Kudos to my fellow PJM colleague David Steinberg, who spotted Cantor’s woes early and often over the past several months. Click over to David’s column at PJM for flashbacks.

A very different AP — Allahpundit — breaks out the legendary Hot Air Humpbot to celebrate Brat’s win over the pro-amnesty Cantor. And speaking of celebrating:

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Rand Simberg, frequent contributor to PJ Media.com and a former project manager at Rockwell International Corporation, stops by today to discuss his recent book, Safe Is Not An Option: Overcoming The Futile Obsession With Getting Everyone Back Alive That Is Killing Our Expansion Into Space.

As Rand explains, the culture of NASA is much more sclerotic than its 1960s-vintage “Right Stuff” era, in which the feats that put Man on the Moon in the space of a decade could never be repeated today. These days, as Rand notes, instead of treating astronauts like the military test pilots being assigned to orbit the earth, NASA considers them as being akin to “national treasures,” as science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle once wrote.

Will commercial manned spaceflight pick up where NASA has left off? In contrast to moribund NASA, Simberg describes commercial spaceflight as “fairly vibrant.” And considering the saber rattling going on from Russia, who are threatening to cut off access to the International Space Station via their ancient Soyuz rockets, that’s a good thing.

In the meantime, as Rand notes at his book’s Website, “Safety Cannot Be The Highest Priority In NASA Spaceflight,” if you agree, visit his site and sign his petition “to send Congress a message and try to fix the NASA authorization bill.”

But first, check out our 11 minute interview, during which Rand will discuss:

● His forecast for the next decade of human spaceflight, from both the private and government sectors.

● The final post-mortem on the now-retired Space Shuttle.

● Is NASA making a mistake with its proposed successor?

● When did NASA win the Space Race? (Hint, it wasn’t Apollo 11.)

● Do today’s NASA staffers see the agency as being superior to current private space efforts?

● What’s going on with Michael Mann’s lawsuit against him?

● How will the public and U.S. government react when the first person is killed during a commercial spaceflight?

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(11 minutes, 21 seconds long; 10.4 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 3.25 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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Starting in 2009, Google began running the above 80X70 pixel image on their homepage. As I wrote at this time last year, try not to be blown away by the majesty and the power of what the finest team of design artists, working for the most powerful Website on the planet have at last unveiled, particularly since that’s it above, full size, on Google’s splashpage today.

It took a while for the image to finally appear; it wasn’t visible before 9:30 to 10:30 or so this morning Pacific time. At the start of the day, Google was simply had its usual workaday minimalist splash screen, as Jim Hoft noted early this morning at Gateway Pundit:

Google frequently decorates its logo to celebrate various holidays and special events.
Last year Google honored Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday.
Last week Google celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube.

But Memorial Day this year drew a blank.

As Jim notes, in sharp contradistinction to Google’s tiny postage-stamp sized patriotism, Bing had the following handsome, yet appropriately somber image today:

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“I’m a professor at the Citadel; it’s a military college in South Carolina, which is a very conservative college to begin with.  And my students had no idea what conservatism was.  Some thought it was being religious; others thought it was being a member of the Republican Party; and I can go on from there,” author, professor, and Fox News contributor Mallory Factor tells me during our latest interview. “So I decided on putting together a course on what conservatism is, where it came from, how it came about, what are its pillars.  And I found out that I knew very little about it.”

However, Factor knew 17 people, all of whom had lectured on conservatism at the Citadel, who knew quite a bit about the topic, and asked them to contribute the essays that make up the new book, Big Tent: The Story of the Conservative Revolution–As Told by the Thinkers and Doers Who Made It Happen. Such people who make conservatism happen as Michael Barone, Newt Gingrich, Ed Meese, Rand Paul, Donald Rumsfeld, frequent PJTV contributor Yaron Brook, Phyllis Schlafly, and others.

During our interview, Mallory will discuss:

● How the philosophy of conservatism was born.

● How William F. Buckley crafted a post-World War II, Cold War vision of conservatism.

● How neoconservatism began.

● How do the various strains of social conservatism, neoconservatism and libertarian conservatism coexist?

● Which vision of conservatism will ultimately prevail for the foreseeable future?

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(13 minutes, 9 seconds long; 12 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 3.76 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

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Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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Gauntlet Thrown—and Caught

April 23rd, 2014 - 7:26 pm

“Republicans should be winning by acclimation for every position from dog catcher to president,” Roger L. Simon writes today in his PJM column:

But they’re  not.  And you don’t need Strother Martin to tell you why – it’s a failure to communicate.

And that’s not just the so-called establishment or the so-called Tea Party — it’s both.  Both are doing an atrocious job of taking their message to the people. The establishment remains super cautious, equivocating and boring while the Tea Party walks around pretending as if wearing a three-cornered hat and waving the Constitution (great as it is) is going to impress a culture the vast number of whom (incorrectly!) associate that Constitution with geriatric white slave holders in jodhpurs.  Also, you have to be at least as sophisticated as your high school sons and daughters.  We do live in 2014. (If you’re not, what you get is a clueless Sharron Angle losing to that hideous mafioso Harry Reid.)

Rather than dealing with these realities, both sides — establishment and Tea Party — spend their time aiming fusillades at each other. How infantile and suicidal.

Yes, the media and Hollywood and the academy are against us and millions of Americans are on the dole (therefore bought)… blablabla.  But the facts remain — at public relations, the right sucks.  The proof is, again, that on almost every issue — with the possible exception of same-sex marriage, and in that instance the GOP libertarian wing is an asset — the right has not just the upper hand, but the wildly superior upper hand with the public.  Liberal ideology is not only dead, it’s decomposed.  Nevertheless, even though Republicans have a good possibility with the Senate (they should have every seat), Hillary seems poised for the White House.

Time to wake up, n’est-ce pas?  But how to do it?

Exactly like this:

(more…)

The Passing Parade Grows Larger

April 23rd, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Ezra Levant of Canada’s Sun News calls it “a riveting collection of stories chronicling the lives of the men and women who helped shape the 20th century,” and he’s right. For a perfect snapshot of what life was like among the overculture – in the media, in pop culture, and in politics in the last and first decade of the new and old millennium, simply read the profiles Steyn has crafted for his Passing Parade. The book is an anthology of his obits, written for National Review, the Spectator (both its UK and American incarnations), the London Telegraph, and until 2007, a monthly staple of the Atlantic. That the Atlantic traded Steyn for a multi-year dalliance with leftwing former Brit Andrew Sullivan is a classic example of ideologically-driven managerial incompetence. The following year, Excitable Andrew assumed the role of America’s Foremost Uterine Detective, and the Atlantic, even after Sullivan left in 2011 for first the Daily Beast and then (at the moment at least) a solo career last year, seemed doomed to live out the epic 86-year old curse of the Boston Red Sox after they discarded Babe Ruth in 1919.

And at the moment, not even Xenu can save them.

For everyone else, check out Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade, finally on Kindle, and updated with numerous obits added since its initial publication in 2006 on dead tree, ranging from Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Eugene McCarthy, to Bob Hope and Alistair Cooke, to Evel Knievel and Tupac Shakur. (The last pair are joined by the leitmotif of Mark quoting the lyrics of Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen.” Coincidence? You be the judge!)

‘Let’s Do Some Damage’

March 26th, 2014 - 8:42 pm

No doubt, Paul Krugman and the gang at MSNBC will get a serious case of the vapors over this new ad by Will Brooke (R-AL), but just because they banged up and down on their high chairs about gun-related metaphors in early 2011, doesn’t mean that they get to decide which ads will play well in various local markets. And they broke the ceasefire on their own calls for an era of new civility almost as quickly as they called for it anyhow.

As Breitbart TV notes:

In YouTube ad published on Wednesday, Will Brooke, a Republican Alabama congressional hopeful, managed to combine two hot-button for conservatives: guns and a disdain for ObamaCare. The video shows Brooke shooting at a paper copy of the Affordable Care Act with various firearms.

Brooke is looking to fill the seat to be vacated by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who announced his retirement last fall.

I suspect Brooke will be happy for the free publicity from the left his ad is sure to garner.

And it doesn’t mention castration, so it’s got that going for it as well.

Americans Push Back Against the Ruling Class

February 23rd, 2014 - 3:47 pm

In his latest USA Today column, Glenn Reynolds looks at the FCC backing off plans to “monitor,” Soviet “Zampolit” style, American newsrooms, the Department of Homeland Security cancelling plans to build a nationwide license plate database, and on the state level, well-deserved pushback in the form of civil disobedience from Connecticut’s gun registration scheme and writes:

This is more “Irish Democracy,” passive resistance to government overreach. The Hartford (Conn.) Courant is demanding that the state use background-check records to prosecute those who haven’t registered, but the state doesn’t have the resources and it’s doubtful juries would convict ordinary, law-abiding people for failure to file some paperwork.

Though people have taken to the streets from Egypt, to Ukraine, to Venezuela to Thailand, many have wondered whether Americans would ever resist the increasing encroachments on their freedom. I think they’ve begun.

Faster, Please, as my PJM colleague Michael Ledeen would say.

And speaking of gun control, even Variety, rarely a font of conservatism, asks if his obsession on the topic has dropped Morton Downey Jr.-wannabe Piers Morgan’s ratings into the cellar. “#3 with a bullet,” Jim Treacher quips in response, noting that “Over ten times more people follow Morgan on Twitter than watch his show, which is on CNN, a former cable news network.”

As James Lileks likes to say, joyless monomania kills a blog, and it doesn’t do much for a talk show either. At least the avuncular Larry King never sneered at his guests.

Raaaaaacism Straight Up!

February 17th, 2014 - 7:57 pm

Or the lack thereof, as “Liberals Can’t Name Single Example Of Tea Party Racism” in the above video:

Know why? Because there isn’t one.

In the video [above], liberals are asked if the Tea Party is racist. All of them say yes.

When they’re asked a follow up question to name a specific example, none of them can do it.

Seems rather odd that a protest movement that has supported Herman Cain, Mia Love, Allen West, and Tim Scott, and who are extremely conversant in the works of black pundits such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and PJTV’s own Alfonzo Rachel would be racist, but the media will never ask anyone a specific question to quantify their vague claims. (My favorite is the woman who when pressed sputters that the tea party is racist towards women because of the pro-life stance of many Tea Party members.)

Somewhere, the late Andrew Breitbart, who loved to ask protestors to get specific in their charges, is enjoying the above video, which is reminiscent of his 2010 pushback against the Purple People Beaters of the SEIU:

Presumably, Andrew is also enjoying the expansion of his sprawling namesake Website with yesterday’s editions of “Breitbart Texas” and “Breitbart London.” I wish they’d also launch some version of “Big Education,” which Andrew talked about bringing to fruition in the months before he passed away. Attacking media bias is one thing, but to truly change the culture, the source of the elites’ dominant ideology should be targeted for criticism and pushback as well.

Related: “WHITE SUPREMACIST BACKFIRE – SPLC Needs to Apologize for Anti-O’Keefe Smear,” from Hating Breitbart director (and PJM alumnus) Andrew Marcus today at Gateway Pundit.

Quote of the Day

February 17th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Anger is not an agenda. And outrage, as a habit, is not even conservative. Outrage, resentment, and intolerance are gargoyles of the Left. For us, optimism is not just a message — it’s a principle. American conservatism, at its core, is about gratitude, and cooperation, and trust, and above all hope.

It is also about inclusion. Successful political movements are about identifying converts, not heretics. This, too, is part of the challenge before us.

—Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) as quoted by Peter Wehner of Commentary today in “The Tea Party’s Gift to American Politics.”

Video of the Day

February 14th, 2014 - 7:33 pm

Pro Tip: Do NOT giggle at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I don’t think any of our readers would need to be reminded of that basic courtesy, but the ill-mannered folks in the background of this video unfortunately did:

(Via Conservative Videos.com)

Ted Cruz is Winning

February 14th, 2014 - 2:57 pm

“Like it or not, it’s his party now,” David Harsanyi writes at the Federalist:

At some point, Tea Party types may accept that tactical victories are often more important than empty, feel-good stands. At some point, they may accept that one of most effective weapons in policymaking — one that the Left uses with great success — is incrementalism. Fair or not, though, the problem with today’s Republican Party is that the only incrementalism people see is incremental surrender. Like the surrender they saw on the debt ceiling. And if the establishment doesn’t turn that perception around in a hurry, they won’t be the establishment for much longer.

And as Harsanyi adds:

Yes, the establishment works tirelessly within the political realities of the day. Cruz, it seems, is more interested in changing the reality of his situation. Forcing a 60-vote threshold on the debt ceiling wasn’t only about the debt ceiling (which Cruz surely understood would be hiked), and it wasn’t only about his presidential ambitions (which he surely has), but about helping bring a bunch [of] Matt Bevins into the Senate and solidify his position.

Faster please. As great as Cruz personally is, his actual value will become apparent if he really can change the culture in DC. As Milton Friedman once said, “It’s nice to elect the right people, but that’s not the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.”

Related: Could it be Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney dueling for the GOP nomination in 2016? Hugh Hewitt seems to think so.