Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ed Driscoll

The Future and its Enemies

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:

“The first goal of every novice candidate is to make an impression on voters,” Allahpundit writes at Hot Air. Watch this spot from Monica Wehby, via the Examiner, and tell me how she did:”

She’s running uphill as a Republican in Oregon but she’s got a few things working for her. One: It’s hard to follow ye olde “war on women” playbook against a candidate like this, especially after watching this ad. Two: Wehby’s a centrist on some issues, including abortion, which might help her play better in a blue state. Three: Her first ad (which you’ll also find below) was a critique of ObamaCare, which sounds risky in a Democratic stronghold until you remember that Oregon’s O-Care exchange was a flaming bag of shinola even more so than Healthcare.gov was. If there’s any state in the country where centrist Democrats might be willing to cast a protest vote against ObamaCare — especially for a doctor — it’s Oregon.

For the right candidate, that’s an absolutely brilliant template for an ad. More — and faster, please.

Curmudgeon v. Thought Police

April 22nd, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Charles Murray pens “An open letter to the students of Azusa Pacific University” at the American Enterprise Institute Website:

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” and was looking forward to it. But it has been “postponed.” Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.” This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of “hurting our faculty and students of color.”

You’re at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right? Okay, then do it. Don’t be satisfied with links to websites that specialize in libeling people. Lose the secondary sources. Explore for yourself the “full range” of my scholarship and find out what it is that I’ve written or said that would hurt your faculty or students of color. It’s not hard. In fact, you can do it without moving from your chair if you’re in front of your computer.

You don’t have to buy my books. Instead, go to my web page at AEI. There you will find the full texts of dozens of articles I’ve written for the last quarter-century. Browse through them. Will you find anything that is controversial? That people disagree with? Yes, because (hang on to your hats) scholarship usually means writing about things on which people disagree.

Read the rest at the AEI Institute’s Website. As it happens, I interviewed Murray today regarding The Curmudgeon’s Guide, which I loved; and having read his open letter this morning, I asked him about being censored by Azusa Pacific. Here’s a quick transcription of that portion of the interview:

DRISCOLL: As I was prepping for this interview, I came across your “open letter to the students of Azusa Pacific University.” Could you discuss what happened there?

MURRAY: I was going to go speak to them tomorrow; actually going to being talking about Curmudgeon’s Guide. This has been in my calendar for a couple of months, and I have discovered as of yesterday afternoon, that they have decided my appearance should be “postponed,” on account of needing more time to for a “review” of my “full scholarship.”

Well.

The Thought Police have struck again. So I decided that I would vent a little bit regarding that. So I did an open letter that I posted on AEI’s Ideas Page, it’s blog. I had a lot of fun writing it, by the way.

DRISCOLL: Do you think that “postponement” is a euphemism for cancelled?

MURRAY: [Laughs.] Yeah. It is definitely is, and I will also say that they may think that they’ve postponed it, but I certainly don’t look at it that way. I think that the administration behaved in that kind of way which most irritates me.

Ed, the degree of cowardice, just plain, simple cowardice in academia is unbelievable.

Look for the rest of my interview with Charles Murray in about a week or so with audio and transcript. In the meantime, the incident he describes dovetails perfectly with Glenn Reynolds’ latest USA Today column, titled, “Toss out abusive college administrators:”

Like most professors, I hate doing administrative work. And since somebody has to do it, universities have increasingly built up a corps of full-time administrators. That’s fine, but lately, the administrative class has grown too numerous and too heavy-handed. As colleges and universities increasingly face financial pressures, it’s time to rethink.

Full-time administrators now outnumber full-time faculty. And when times get tough, schools have a disturbing tendency to shrink faculty numbers while keeping administrators on the payroll. Teaching gets done by low-paid, nontenured adjuncts, but nobody ever heard of an “adjunct administrator.”

But it’s not just the fat that is worrisome. It’s administrators’ obsession with — and all too often, abuse of — security that raises serious concerns. At the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Clyde W. Barrow, a leading professor, has just quit, complaining of an administration that isolates itself from students and faculty behind keypads and security doors.

Read the whole thing, to coin an Insta-phrase.

Earlier: Punks, Meet the Godfather.

“Over the past decade, Americans have clustered into three broad groups on global warming. The largest, currently describing 39% of U.S. adults, are what can be termed ‘Concerned Believers’ — those who attribute global warming to human actions and are worried about it. This is followed by the ‘Mixed Middle,’ at 36%. And one in four Americans — the ‘Cool Skeptics’ — are not worried about global warming much or at all,” Gallup reports.

Isn’t everyone skeptical of global warming? Barry and Kerry can’t take it too seriously when they’re jetting everywhere on Boeing 747s, and Al Gore declared the movement over when he sold out to Big Oil-fueled Qatar. The EPA can’t take it too seriously, since they’re similarly jetting their staffers all around the country. NBC can’t take it too seriously, since they pay to run NASCAR races. CBS can’t take it too seriously, since they run shows devoted to the joys of high-carbon ’60s muscle cars. ABC can’t take it too seriously: parent company Disney makes its money in non-essential amusement parks and the merchandising of oil-based polystyrene toys. (Not the least of which are oil-based polystyrene toys devoted to the joys of oil-based high carbon vehicles.) Sister channel ESPN regularly devotes coverage to NASCAR and other high-carbon leisure time activities. Hollywood can’t take it too seriously because they haven’t ended their industry to help save the planet. (Not to mention the grossly hypocritical lifestyle of the wealthiest celebrities who feign an eco-obsession to assuage their guilt.) Time-Warner-CNN-HBO can’t worried much about global warming at all, if they send Kate Upton up in a jet aircraft — the “Vomit Comet,” as NASA calls it — just to take a few photos of her in zero-gravity.

To paraphrase the Insta-professor, more people might take the rantings of radical environmentalists more seriously, if the people who preach radical environmentalism first lived the lifestyle they espouse for the rest of us. Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious that their goal is to further what James Delingpole of Ricochet and Breitbart UK, whom I recently interviewed, dubs “The Drawbridge Effect.” Leftwing wealthy elitists have theirs; they want to dramatically reduce the odds that anyone else will succeed on a similar level. Or as Daniel Shuchman of the Wall Street Journal notes in his review of Thomas Piketty’s Marxist update, “An 80% tax rate on incomes above $500,000 is not meant to bring in money for education or benefits, but ‘to put an end to such incomes.’”

The Gross Domestic Pissants

April 22nd, 2014 - 12:15 pm

“There is, as every petty official knows, a great deal of pleasure to be had from the obstruction of others, especially if they appear to be more fortunate, better placed, richer, or more intelligent than oneself,” Theodore Dalrymple notes:

There is a pleasure in naysaying, all the greater if the naysayer is able to disguise from the victim the fact that he is not only doing his duty but gratifying himself. Indeed, there are many jobs, meaningless in themselves, in which the power to say no is the only non-monetary reward.

More to be feared even than the secret sadist, however, is the person who genuinely believes in the intrinsic value and even indispensability of his absurd task. He is as dangerous as any true believer. In my hospital, I saw many such people, scurrying like the White Rabbit in Alice from one meeting to another—meetings which medical staff were required to attend, thus diverting them from the main purpose of having medical staff in the first place. A friend of mine who had waited all day for a minor but potentially life-preserving operation was told at the last minute that his operation had been postponed because the surgeon had been called to attend a meeting. Only a credible threat by my friend of dire consequences for the hospital if the operation were not performed as planned diverted the surgeon from his pseudo- to his real work.

I am obliged by law to charge some of the publications for which I write Value Added Tax, which I then have to forward to the Treasury. The publications, however, are permitted to claim back from the Treasury the Value Added Tax with which they have been charged. No doubt most of this to-ing and fro-ing is done by computer, but it must involve some human labor, which clearly constitutes activity rather than work.

How many people, I wonder, are laboring hard to reduce the economic output of their country? In total it must be many millions.

Or as we like to call them in California, Sacramento.

See also, the Federal Government in Washington DC, where those who have labored particularly hard to reduce the economic output of their country look forward to the day when they become the subjects of fawning documentaries:

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

When Frank announced his (long overdue) retirement, “The media will undoubtedly lionize Frank, who has served 16 terms in the House,” Bryan Preston warned last year:

He doesn’t deserve it. He deserves to be considered a corrupt creature of Washington who helped usher in the Great Recession. Frank was among the Democrats who prevented scrutiny and reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when it could have prevented the economic collapse. Republicans at the time wanted more oversight and regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Frank and many of his fellow Democrats stood in the way.

As Jonah Goldberg added back then, “As with all bullies, [Frank] rationalizes his behavior by telling himself that the victims deserve it and the applause is for his courage. But you can tell from that occasional smile at the discomfiture of his targets, that there’s something more primal at work.” Which dovetails remarkably well with the quote at the top of this post from Britain’s Good Dr. Dalrymple.

Related: “Ever get the feeling that the entire government, at every level, is just trolling you?”

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

Humble Pie, Served Good and Hard

April 21st, 2014 - 12:35 pm

“Kate Humble: We don’t value food because it’s not expensive enough,” screamed a headline at the far left UK Guardian, which was catnip to the Drudge Report. I know nothing of Humble’s politics, as I had never heard of her before the Drudge link. But I’m assuming if the Guardian is writing favorably about her, and she’s employed as a show host by the far left and equally reactionary BBC, she shares their worldview, while staring out upon, as the Guardian notes, “her 117-acre former council farm in Trellech, Monmouth, which she runs with her TV director husband Ludo Graham.”

In response to her Guardian profile, blogger Christopher Fountain writes, “I’m not exactly sure of the value of 117 acres of farmland in England, nor what the combined salaries of a TV director and a ‘television personality’ amount to, but I’m fairly certain that Miss Humble doesn’t live on the same income as the great unwashed she demands pay up. Isn’t it always that way?”

Yes indeed. And she’s about to get her way, at least in the US. “Alert shoppers are accustomed to watching food prices go up and down. But a string of forces—from droughts to diseases—is raising the cost of a trip to the grocery store at a rapid clip,” CNBC reported on Saturday, adding that “it looks like it will be a while before the price pressure eases:”

Consumers are also coping with higher costs beyond their supermarket shopping cart. After a brutal winter in much of the country kept shoppers home, a pickup in demand has sent clothing and used car prices higher in March.

Rents are also going up in most of the country, up 2.7 percent in the latest 12-months, a pace not seen since the housing market collapsed in 2007. Medical costs are also rising.

Because food prices are typically more volatile than other consumer costs, economists and policy makers at the Federal Reserve usually ignore them when looking at the so-called “core rate” of inflation. But after a long period of inflation running less than 2 percent a year, the latest surge in prices bears closer watching, according to Capital Insight senior economist Paul Dales.

“We suspect that core inflation will rise to 2 percent this year and beyond it next year, which would catch the Fed off guard,” he wrote in a recent note to clients.

Humble’s quote about food not being “expensive enough” sums up the 21st century state of the increasingly paradoxically named ideology that calls itself “Progressivism” rather well.

As Fred Siegel wrote in his new book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’ Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, ‘and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected.’”

But those politicians who espoused liberal and progressive values in the first 65 years of the 20th century at least knew enough that if they wanted to get elected, they needed to pay lip service to ideas that would benefit the working man and in theory, make his life easier. Sure, it was mostly nonsense, but at least, unlike “progressive” intellectuals, they weren’t overtly punitive towards the working class. Today, their modern counterparts publicly espouse the notion of driving up prices. Barack Obama, running for the presidency in January of 2008, blurted out to the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wanted to bankrupt coal companies and “under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Well gee, thanks for that one, Barry.

At the end of 2008, at the peak of his popularity, comfortably ensconced in the command chair of the mighty Office of the President Elect, Mr. Obama deigned to grant an interview with Tom Brokaw of NBC. Brokaw begged the president elect to increase gas taxes, driving those prices up as well. (Gee, thanks for looking out for us, Tom.)  And “unexpectedly” moving in unison, as if in lockstep (paranoid folly, I know), the New York Times, the Washington Post and eventually CNN all agreed!  Why yes, it would be a good thing if the American people paid more for their gasoline. Perhaps these scrappy, populist hardscrabble journalists were simply echoing the thoughts of Steven Chu, who would become Obama’s “energy” secretary who gave the game away to the Wall Street Journal in September of that year, when he openly told them that “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

(more…)

Specifically, CBS is too “‘ideologically entrenched’ to air stories critical of the Obama administration,” Ed Morrissey paraphrases at Hot Air:

CNN’s Brian Stelter broadcast a two-part interview with former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson to review her accusations of political bias at CBS News — and to take on the critics she has acquired over the last year or so. Attkisson told the Reliable Sources host that the departure of top executives in the wake of Katie Couric’s flop brought in “ideologically entrenched” managers who resented her investigative reporting on the Obama administration (via Jim Hoft):

TELTER: Let me read this from “The Washington Post.” This is in March 10th, right around the time you were resigning from CBS. And Erik Wimple wrote, according to a CBS News source you felt you were being kept off “CBS Evening News” because of political considerations. Did you feel that way? I mean, were there political considerations at times?

ATTKISSON: You know, it’s fairly well discussed inside CBS News that there are some managers recently who have been so ideologically entrenched that there is a feeling and discussion that some of them, certainly not all of them, have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value.

As I noted last month, that ideological entrenchment certainly dates back a long, long time:

(more…)

delingpole_eco_fascism_cover_3-18-14-2

“I’m not a scientist and actually given what I’ve seen of scientists in my experiences following the global warming scam, I’m glad I’m not a scientist because a lot of these guys are basically shysters and crooks. They’re not some kind of white-coated elite with a special hotline to the truth. In fact, they’re just ordinary guys and girls trying to earn a living like the rest of us but slightly more dodgily than the rest of us in the one or two egregious cases,” James Delingpole of Ricochet.com, the UK Spectator and the executive editor the newly launched Breitbart London tells me in our latest interview. And that’s one of the kinder things that the author of The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism:  The Left’s Plan to Frighten Your Kids, Drive Up Energy Costs, and Hike Your Taxes has to say on the subject. He’ll also discuss:

● If Mark Steyn loses his lawsuit to Michael Mann, who gets the top bunk in their cell at the Global Warming Stalag, James or Mark?

● The concept of the “Friendly Lawsuit,” and how it helps to explain that the left is nothing but Potemkin Villages, all the way down.

● Prying open “The Drawbridge Effect” to see what’s inside Al Gore’s and Thomas Friedman’s mansions.

● How can the media alternately tell us the world is coming to an end in five years if we don’t radically change our lifestyles, then cheerfully promote high-carbon footprint pro sports, such as the NFL and NASCAR?

● What’s the background behind the big “Climategate” scandal of 2009, and where does it stands today?

● How James both discovered American politics while living in England and joined the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

And much more. Click here to listen:

(more…)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | 7 Comments bullet bullet

Through a Google Glass, Darkly

April 17th, 2014 - 11:52 pm

1984-not-a-users-guide

In the mid-1960s, George Plimpton signed an insurance waiver, donned an NFL helmet and uniform, went through training camp, and played a few downs of preseason football for the Detroit Lions to describe what it was like to see the world through the eyes of an NFL quarterback. In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, Matt Labash plunks down $1,500 (“$1,633.12 with tax,” he adds) to be a beta tester for Google, and describe what it’s like to see the world through Google Glass, the first device since the Segway that simultaneously places its user both on the cutting edge of 21st century technology, and makes him appear as a dork ripe for satire.*

Along the way, Labash encounters several creepy moments — such as Google contacting him out of the blue, perhaps based on their examining the material he’s been compiling via his Google Glass, and then this moment inside a “hillbilly bar” in Rockville Maryland, the sort of place where where Labash can wear his “futuristic face computer into these bastions of the past and report the results:”

We order a pitcher of beer, and after two glasses of lubricant, I lunge into the crowd, taping people, telling them I’m taping them, basically being a Glasshole, just trying to get a rise.

I can’t seem to agitate anybody. One guy asks me, “Can we put it on?!!!” Another tough guy wants to know, “How do you scroll?” Others take pictures of me with their iPhones. Everybody’s so used to being Instagrammed, Tweeted, and Facebooked​—​what’s one more on the dogpile? Most of them, I’m told, work for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, just down the road. (“Montgomery County is totally being taken over by government drones,” Eddie says.)

Finally, a whiskered older gent in a blue-crab-adorned Maryland sweatshirt that reads “Don’t bother me, I’m crabby” squares up to me. It seems he’s been eavesdropping on my conversations, and I’m guessing he’s about to tell me where I can put my Glass, which is still rolling. His name is Charles Wilhelm, a retiree who used to work for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Just so he’s clear, I inform Wilhelm that I’m taping him with my face. Then, I prepare to take my medicine.

“It doesn’t matter,” he says. Huh? “Because you’ll find in this society, we’re all subject to videotaping.” But, I point out to him, I’m a private citizen, taping another private citizen for no compelling reason. Just because I can. What if he were here with his girlfriend instead of his wife, and I posted it on the Internet? “So?” he shrugs. “Really, so that’s it?” I ask him. “Yes,” he says, nonchalantly. “Why?” I ask. “Because I’m a follower of George Orwell’s 1984, and so I’m a believer in the concept of community observation.” I point out that I’m fairly certain Orwell was trying to make the opposite point, that his was a critique, not an endorsement, of a surveillance society.

“I disagree,” he replies, obstinately. “Because in my view, you would have less terrorism if you had more observation by the state.” I wave my hand at the surrounding khakis, pointing out that I’m fairly certain I’m not recording any terrorists in Hank Dietle’s. “That’s irrelevant,” huffs Wilhelm. “You can still explode a fairly good device.”

“And maybe this is it,” I say, pointing to my Glass.

“So what’s your point?” he asks. I tell him I’m just giving him a hard time. “Have a good evening, sir,” Wilhelm says brusquely, stomping off.

I trudge back to my table, defeated, relaying the conversation to Eddie, who is gobsmacked. “So he read [1984] as utopia instead of dystopia?” Seemingly, he did​. ​I give up.

That’s just a taste of Labash’s 10,000 word article; definitely port the whole thing into your cerebellum through whichever downloading technique you prefer. (Those not yet retrofitted with bioports for instant media assimilation will have to simply read the article.)

Of course, even in San Francisco, whose city government — and presumably, a pretty good chunk of the electorate who vote for them — similarly view 1984 as a how-to guide to better living through totalitarian oligarchies, Google Glasses are despised. Earlier in Labash’s article, he retells the story of the women who had her Google Glass smashed in a San Francisco punk rock bar in February — funny how people in bars don’t really like being recorded, eh? Particularly by someone who goes in shouting of “I want to get this white trash on tape!” and flipping the bird to your fellow tipplers, while wearing a Star Trek prop on her face.

In a recent post at the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher (who makes a few snarky cameos via Twitter and Instant Messenger in Labash’s article) Describes another incident involving Google Glass in happy, peaceful, tolerant San Francisco:

Sometimes a theft is just a theft. But not when the item being stolen is Google Glass, and especially not when the victim is a tech writer in San Francisco.

Kyle Russell, Business Insider:

On Friday night, I was assaulted while walking down the sidewalk in the Mission District of San Francisco.

A colleague and I had just finished covering a march in protest of a Google employee who had recently evicted several tenants after buying and moving into a home in the area…

The aforementioned colleague and I were on our way to the 16th Street BART station — I’ll note that I wasn’t using any device at the time — when a person put their hand on my face and yelled, “Glass!”

In an instant the person was sprinting away, Google Glass in hand.

I ran after, through traffic, to the corner of the opposite block. The person pivoted, shifting their weight to put all of their momentum into an overhand swing. The Google Glass smashed into the ground, and they ran in another direction.

The thief and vandal hasn’t been caught. And to young Mr. Russells’s surprise, people on Twitter haven’t been very nice about it:

Wow, if you can’t Start From Zero and reprogram basic human emotions in San Francisco, where can you reprogram them?

* I haven’t tried Google Glass yet, but I can vouch firsthand for the simultaneous bleeding edge/endorkening effect of riding a Segway, as this February 2002 blackmail photo shot inside the offices of Segway’s PR firm for a magazine article illustrates.

Conservatives in the Mist, Yet Again

April 16th, 2014 - 3:03 pm

Sally Kohn explains “What I learned as a liberal talking head on Fox News” to the Christian Science Monitor:

My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet – and even now that I’ve parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they’re personable and kind and human. Just like me.

It’s strange to suggest that a seemingly simple realization such as that is in fact a profound revelation, but in our hyperpartisan era, when we often vilify the other side as being less-than-human, it is.

Which sounds almost exactly like what liberal Fox pundit Kirsten Powers said to Real Clear Politics’ Carl Cannon a couple of months ago:

Cannon began by asking Powers how she is treated by her Fox colleagues. He recalled that New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks was not well-received when he first started writing for the Times and asked if Powers had encountered a similar experience.

“People are really nice at Fox,” Powers revealed. “It’s been good for because I – before that, I lived in a real liberal bubble.”

“All my friends were liberals and I grew up in a really liberal family,” she continued. “I had a lot of ideas about conservatives and then I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”

As I noted back then, Kirsten Powers was living out Krauthammer’s Law:

I realize she’s speaking glibly and off-the-cuff, but the inference is that on some level, Powers actually did believe that all conservatives are evil, thus butting up against fellow Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer’s law of politics from over a decade ago. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Krauthammer wrote in 2002.

Similarly, in response to Kohn’s article, Warner Todd Huston writes in the comments at Hot Air today:

You DO realize that there is a MAJOR admission in that op ed, right? She is essentially admitting that through most of her adult life she thought conservatives were evil… until, well into her late 30s, she finally MET SOME!

Sally Kohn lived in a liberal bubble for nearly all her life until 2 years ago she finally met some conservatives and discovered *gasp* they aren’t all like little Hitlers.

I’m glad that Kohn and Powers have granted those on the right are, as Kohn notes, “personable and kind and human. Just like me.” But why did it take working among them to make the epoch-shattering discovery* that half the country are actual flesh-and-blood humans and not The Other?

Pages: 1 2 | 49 Comments bullet bullet

Workers Versus Takers

April 16th, 2014 - 11:49 am

“86M Full-Time Private-Sector Workers Sustain 148M Benefit Takers,” Terence P. Jeffrey writes at CNS News.com:

All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who “received benefits from one or more programs” in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.

The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1.

How much more can the 86,429,000 endure?

As more baby boomers retire, and as Obamacare comes fully online — with its expanded Medicaid rolls and federally subsidized health insurance for anyone earning less than 400 percent of the poverty level — the number of takers will inevitably expand. And the number of full-time private-sector workers might also contract.

Eventually, there will be too few carrying too many, and America will break.

Something that can’t go on forever won’t, to coin a phrase.

diet_koch_can_2-24-11-2

In response to self-hating Democrats discovering themselves awash in Koch Brothers money, as Thomas Lifson writes at the American Thinker, “Glenn Reynolds realized the electoral gold. He suggested (in his trademark all-caps):”

“I SUGGEST RUNNING THIRD-PARTY ATTACK ADS TO ENCOURAGE DEM VOTERS TO STAY HOME.”

As Lifson writes, “Brilliant! The ads practically write themselves:”

Mary Landrieu’s Majority Leader says the Koch Brothers are un-American. embedded by Embedded Video
Download Video . So why did Mary accept $11,000 from Koch employees? Louisiana voters deserve better.

Rick Moran points out that Democrats used this tactic to great effect in 2012, driving down GOP turnout by 3 million.

Best of all, this sort of ad can be funded by 510 c 4 organizations, as voter education. No need to advocate a specific candidate. So, potentially, the Koch Brothers could  write the checks to blanket states and districts with vulnerable Dems.

Via Truth Revolt and the Weasel Zippers, here’s the list of potential candidates to target:

koch_to_dems_4-14-14

 

Pompeii With Jet Packs

April 15th, 2014 - 11:48 am

“From the Ford Mustang to colonies on the moon: Predictions that the 1964 World’s Fair got right… and what it got very wrong,” offered up by the London Daily Mail. Though I’m not sure I agree with all of their choices for what the 1964 World’s Fair got right:

At the Bell System pavilion, engineers touted a ‘picturephone’ that allowed callers to see who they were talking to, a concept that lives on in modern-day apps such as Skype and FaceTime.

At the time, though, picture phones didn’t take off, said Lori Walters, history professor at the University of Central Florida.

She attributed that to high setup costs that made them accessible to relatively few.

And at a time when many men attended the fair in coat and tie and women in dresses, people weren’t quite ready to be seen on the phone at any hour, in their pajamas or worse.

‘We were still a little more of a formal society,’ Walters said.

Yes, just a little more.

The concept of the Picturephone eventually arrived as an option in the last decade for those who want to see the person on the other end, thanks to the Internet, Skype, and business video conferencing. But the original notion was that the Picturephone would entirely replace the phone in much the same way that television supplanted radio. (A medium, that come to think of it, is also still doing rather well.)

But what really makes these photos fascinating is that they visualize the last gasp of optimism in the overculture, arriving six months after JFK was assassinated and a year or so before LBJ believed that the government could do anything — and worse, everything — simultaneously: manned moon landings, Vietnam, Medicare, and end poverty simultaneously. When his Texas Sized rehash of the New Deal failed, and chaos reined from 1967 through 1968 and beyond, distraught liberals and the angry punitive New Left decided to take it out on the rest of us, resulting in the cynicism and doomsaying that would dominate the late ’60s and much of the 1970s. Just compare the tone of the ’64 World’s Fair and its audience of cool early Mad Men-styled men and women in the photos at the London Daily Mail with the tone of the collapsed overculture of the following decade:

(Via 5′F)

Update: Gee, this wasn’t the Kennedy-era headline I had been hoping to see repeated in 2014.

Oh, that punitive liberalism:

Under California law, the Franchise Tax Board has the “presumption of correctness,” meaning that the onus always is on Hyatt to disprove what the tax officials say. And, he argues, they keep changing their stories and their allegations, thus resulting in more years of legal expenses and disputes.

“It’s ruined my life. They keep coming up with these intensive positions, many hundreds of pages of allegations and such that we have to try and disprove decades later and it’s just very consuming,” Hyatt told me in an interview last week. “The FTB is out to get taxpayers’ money and it will go to extreme ends to get money whether it is entitled to it or not….”

The state controller’s office has yet to review the newly filed lawsuit. But former Board of Equalization member Bill Leonard, a former Republican Assemblyman, believes the state government is abusing rules designed to give taxpayers every opportunity to appeal a judgment to drag out a case against a taxpayer. The Legislature could fix the problem with a law granting a right to speedy trial on tax matters, he added.

It’s hard not to conclude that California’s tax agency is out of line as it continues to run up administrative and legal fees — not to mention risking potential multimillion-dollar liabilities — to pursue a decades-old dispute over where a taxpayer lived for six months. There’s a troubling lesson here for wannabe entrepreneurs, who might want to think carefully about their residency before they hit the big time.

Read the whole thing.

So in-between shaking down entrepreneurs and inventors, how’s California doing managing its own money?

Calpers also notes that “the economic impact of CalPERS benefits far exceed initial taxpayer contributions.” Lo, the fund claims to return $10.85 in “economic activity” for every dollar taxpayers contribute, which would make public pensions the best government stimulus of all time.

Their crude economic calculation is something to behold. The fund estimates that employer contributions account for 22% of every dollar in pension benefits, which would equate to $2.8 billion for the fiscal year 2011. Calpers then contrives a 2.39 “multiplier” from a “Social Accounting Matrix” to compute that its $12.7 billion in annual retiree payments generated $30.4 billion in economic activity and 113,664 jobs—more than a third of the state’s employment growth that year.

Note: White House economists used a multiplier of a mere 1.5 to arrive at their off-the-wall estimate that the stimulus program would create 3.7 million jobs.

Here’s a more honest accounting of Calpers’s economic “impact.” California taxpayers have sunk about $70 billion into Calpers over the last decade, which they otherwise could have spent on more productive enterprises or pursuits. For every one dollar workers contribute to their retirement, taxpayers are investing two. Local sales and property taxes have risen to pay for increasing pension payments. Public workers have also been laid off and infrastructure delayed—all of which has depressed economic growth.

Why, it’s as if Sacramento is absolutely determined to transform the formerly Golden State into the next Detroit.

Related: “Republican National Committee Marks Tax Day by Suing IRS,” Bridget Johnson writes at the PJ Tatler.

Breaking News From 1977

April 14th, 2014 - 10:50 pm

“Glow-in-the-dark roads make debut in Netherlands,” Wired magazine’s UK branch reports:

Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced streetlights on a 500m stretch of highway in the Netherlands.

Studio Roosegaarde  promised us the design back in 2012, and after cutting through rather a lot of government red tape we can finally see the finished product.

One Netherlands   news report said, ”It looks like you are driving through a fairytale,” which pretty much sums up this extraordinary project. The design studio like to bring technology and design to the real world, with practical and beautiful results.

Back in October 2012, Daan Roosegaarde, the studio’s founder and lead designer, told us: “One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave. I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.”

Huh. I started imaging the HO scale slot car set in my basement from 1977:

The real-life glow-in-the-dark road certainly looks cool, in a cross between Tron and the above Tyco slot car set. But I can imagine plenty of unintended consequences with the streetlights gone from the highways:

What’s your take on this experiment? Would you want to see it replicated on a highway you regularly traverse?

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” Mr. Obama said at least 36 times. You remember, right? If not, just click on the  video flashback atop this post.

Even Politifact, the leftwing “fact” “checking” organization, grudgingly awarded Obama their “Lie of the Year” last year in the face of this reality.

Guess who proofed at least some of those speeches for the Obama administration, in-between taking credit for shutting down the government last fall? “Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie,”  Marc Thiessen suggests in the Washington Post:

When speechwriters finish a draft presidential address, it is circulated to the White House senior staff and top cabinet officials in what is known as the “staffing process.” As part of that process, nonpartisan career policy experts at OMB review the speech and are responsible for attesting to the factual accuracy of everything the president says.

So thanks to Burwell’s nomination, Americans may finally get to the bottom of how the biggest presidential lie in recent memory made it though OMB’s fact-checking process — not once but dozens of times.

The first time the lie surfaced — when Obama told the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what” — it wasn’t on Burwell’s watch.

But Burwell was OMB director when Obama declared on Sept. 26, 2013: “Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health-care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.”

Burwell should explain to Congress and the American people how her office allowed blatant falsehoods to get into presidential speeches, including whether political aides overruled career policy advisers who warned that the president’s claims were untrue.

Sadly, “Burwell will still get confirmed,” predicts Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler, “only this time there will be harder questions and maybe a handful of votes against her.” And perhaps some excellent fodder for ads in September.

Oh, and regarding Burwell’s hapless predecessor, “Sebelius Misspells Successor’s Name in Farewell Email,” to conclude her hapless Washington career.

By the way, where does Sebelius go next?

“Kathleen Sebelius may have a future in the private sector but her public office service is over,” said Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold. “Voters in Kansas have never supported the idea of Obamacare and having Sebelius as CEO of it has turned Kansans away for any support for her.”

All too often unfortunately, disastrous failures in government are often rewarded with lucrative private sector contracts — just ask an earlier and equally spectacular Democrat “Mistress of Disaster,” Jamie Gorelick.

Update: And thus, the circle is complete: “Sylvia Mathews Burwell Proved Her Loyalty by Digging Through Vince Foster’s Trash.”

eric_holder_race_card_big-6-6-12

A meme-worthy moment from George Will yesterday on Fox News Sunday, as spotted by Jeffrey Meyer of Newsbusters:

CHRIS WALLACE: We asked you for questions from the panel, for the panel, rather. And we got this on Twitter from Michael Daigeaun. Why is it that if you oppose their position and you’re white, you’re branded a racist? Both Attorney General Holder and POTUS race bait. George is that what’s going on here?

GEORGE WILL: Sure. Look, liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days. It’s just constantly saying the word racism and racist. It’s an old saying in the law; if you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have neither, pound the table. This is pounding the table. There’s a kind of intellectual poverty now. Liberalism hasn’t had a new idea since the 1960s except ObamaCare and the country doesn’t like it. Foreign policy is a shambles from Russia to Iran to Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the recovery is unprecedentedly bad. So what do you do? You say anyone criticizes us is a racist. It’s become a joke among young people. You go to a campus where this kind of political correctness reigns and some young person will say looks like it’s going to rain. The person looks and says, you’re a racist. I mean it’s so inappropriate. The constant implication of this is that I think it is becoming a national mirth.

It’s entirely possible to invert Lionel Trilling’s famous 1950 dismissal of conservatism in its exhausted pre-William F. Buckley form to describe the current dissipated state of the left, circa 2014:  the leftwing impulse and the progressive impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.

QED. (Dittos this and this.)

But Will’s noting that “liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days” is a marvelous shorthand way of saying the same thing. I hope it catches on as a rejoinder, wherever leftwing Tourette’s Syndrome flares up next.

Update: “Cynical Race-Baiting Will Fail to Save the Democrats.”

Related: Heh.™

And After All They Did for New York City…

April 13th, 2014 - 7:26 pm

occupy_wall_street_time_magazine_parody_12-10-11

New York Court Struggles To Find Jurors Who Don’t Hate The Occupy Movement,” notes the American Glob blog, linking to the London Guardian:

It is the most important question being asked of dozens of New Yorkers lined up as potential jurors for the trial of Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist accused of assaulting a police officer: what do you think of her protest movement?

Unfortunately for those keen on the swift procession of justice, a series of Manhattan residents who presented themselves at the criminal courthouse this week declared that they strongly disagreed with it – and could not promise to be impartial about one of its members.

“I’m involved in Wall Street things. I’m on the Wall Street side, not their side,” George Yih, one of a group of prospective jurors whose names were plucked from a tombola by the clerk, said under questioning from Judge Ronald Zweibel on Wednesday. “They can protest all they want, but they can’t brainwash my mind.”

Which seems rather odd — considering that the Occupy Wall Street crowd were in many ways a continuous outdoor performance art coming attraction for the de Blasio administration — when the two groups weren’t interconnected, that is.

(Time magazine parody atop post from the earlier, funnier period of OWS’s existence.)

The War on Dangerous Men

April 12th, 2014 - 10:30 pm

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.

—T.E. Lawrence, (a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”), The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1922.

NEW WAR ON CHILDHOOD: Medicate Kids Who Daydream.

—Headline, Instapundit.com, today. The juxtapositions in this earlier Insta-post

HOW DOUCHEBAGS are created.

Related: More Young Women Choosing Dogs Over Motherhood.

…also seem rather related.

Barry Eat World

April 12th, 2014 - 7:19 pm

“Liberalism Is Eating Itself,” Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet, adding that it’s alwaysa grand time sticking it to The Man until the moment when The Man is you:”

As President Obama assumed power, his Alinskyite past served as the template for a renewed politics of envy, personal grievance and payback. The One Percent must be punished for their wealth. Traditional marriage supporters are hateful bigots on the wrong side of history. Mitt Romney gave old women cancer and locked the younger ones in binders. “The Cambridge police acted stupidly” and “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

As one blogger notes, “Barack Obama thinks his job is to lead the mob, not the country.”

But as is often the case with politics, the Left’s success bore the seeds of its own destruction. Any ideology that stokes anger and  neo-Jacobin tactics is innately unsuited to popular governance. It’s a grand time sticking it to The Man until the moment when The Man is you.

And The Man isn’t only in charge of the White House and Senate. He owns a controlling interest in the television industry and movies and technology and classrooms and music and art and sports. What’s a self-styled revolutionary to do once he has eliminated his most prominent enemies?

Create new enemies, of course.

Read the whole thing; I believe it’s outside the Ricochet 2.0 paywall.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Democrats devoured themselves and took plenty of innocent bystanders with them in the process. With the exception of Barry Goldwater’s stillborn candidacy in 1964, virtually all of America’s internal conflicts in the 1960s were Blue Versus Blue, starting with the Vietnam War and its later discontents, as David Gelernter wrote in his 2012 book America-Lite:

That the liberal establishment came to oppose the war bitterly makes it hard to remember that America in Vietnam was a liberal idea—especially the militarily disastrous first phase, before Abrams replaced Westmoreland in command and Nixon replaced Johnson as president. But more than that, America in Vietnam represented just the same kind of heedless intervention by intellectuals in real life that was vigorously pursued by left-liberal intellectuals at home.

And as Gelernter wrote elsewhere in America-Lite, the antiwar movement actually preceded Johnson’s escalation; it was a creation of the nascent new left, about to devour the staid old left, which birthed the New Deal and Great Society:

What caused the American mood to crumble [in the period between the mid 1960s through the 1970s]? The civil rights struggle couldn’t be the answer; for one thing, it united rather than divided the country, except for the segregationist Old South. Maybe the bitter split over the war in Vietnam explains it. But that can’t be right; can’t be the whole truth. Antiwar protests were powered by the New Left and “the Movement,” which originated in Tom Hayden’s “Port Huron Statement” of 1962, before the nation had ever heard of Vietnam. And the New Left picked up speed at Berkeley in the Free Speech Movement of 1964 and early ’65, before the explosion of Vietnam. Bitterness toward America was an evil spirit shopping for a body when Vietnam started to throb during 1965.

The ’60s was leftism at war with itself all the way down: The Civil Rights movement was the New Left versus Democratic National Committeeman Bull Connor. Center-left JFK was assassinated by Communist true believer Oswald. Bobby Kennedy ran ads in 1968 repudiating his brother’s New Frontier optimism before he in turn was assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist. The riots in Detroit happened on the watch of Democrat mayor and Kennedy acolyte Jerome Cavanagh; the riots at the Chicago Democrat National Convention were, again, the New Left versus the last gasps of the New Dealers.

The GOP’s Richard Nixon understandably became synonymous with the words “Law and Order” that year, but again, upon election, in terms of domestic policy, governed as a continuation of FDR and LBJ’s alphabet soup bureaucratic-birthing New Deal and Great Society. Under his administration, the EPA, OSHA, the DEA, CPSC, and Amtrak were all spawned, and Nixon would attempt to curb inflation by — disastrously — attempting to institute wage and price controls, and was quoted as proclaiming ”I am now a Keynesian in economics.”  (Hence the recent, albeit grudging reappraisal of RMN by those who once hated his very existence, such as uber-Keynesian Paul Krugman, in-between calling for alien invasions and a rerun of World War II.)

Twenty years after the birth of the Great Society, as President Reagan liked to say, “In the sixties we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.” And since then, we’ve recorded numerous doomsday global final countdowns having expired without the sky falling. But what happens when so many leftwing policies all come a cropper at the same time? That’s the topic — after a lengthy warm-up referencing the dreaded word “diverticulitis” (I feel your pain, brother), Jonah Goldberg explores in his latest G-File, titled, “When Liberalism Fails:”

I read some reviews of Jody Bottum’s new book (which I’ve now ordered). In, An Anxious Age: The Post Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, Bottum argues that today’s liberal elites are the same liberal elites that we’ve always had. They come from the ranks of mainline Protestants that have run this country for generations (with some fellow-travelling Jews and Catholics, to be sure). But there’s a hitch. They champion a

social gospel, without the gospel. For all of them, the sole proof of redemption is the holding of a proper sense of social ills. The only available confidence about their salvation, as something superadded to experience, is the self-esteem that comes with feeling they oppose the social evils of bigotry and power and the groupthink of the mob.

This strikes me as pretty close to exactly right. They’re still elitist moralizers but without the religious doctrine. In place of religious experience, they take their spiritual sustenance from self-satisfaction, often smug self-satisfaction.

One problem with most (but not all) political religions is that they tend to convince themselves that their one true faith is simply the Truth. Marxists believed in “scientific socialism” and all that jazz. Liberalism is still convinced that it is the sole legitimate worldview of the “reality-based community.”

There’s a second problem with political religions, though. When reality stops cooperating with the faith, someone must get the blame, and it can never be the faith itself. And this is where the hunt for heretics within and without begins.

Think about what connects so many of the controversies today: Mozilla’s defenestration of Brendan Eich, Brandeis’ disinviting of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the IRS scandal, Hobby Lobby, Sisters of Mercy, the notion climate skeptics should be put in cages, the obsession with the Koch brothers, not to mention the metronomic succession of assclownery on college campuses. They’re all about either the hunting of heretics and dissidents or the desire to force adherence to the One True Faith.

It’s worth noting that the increase in these sorts of incidents is not necessarily a sign of liberalism’s strength. They’re arguably the result of a crisis of confidence.

Which brings us to the other story of the week that’s been making the rounds, particularly on the Drudge Report: the Federal government siccing 200 armed agents on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. As to where that stands now, Rick Moran has you covered at the PJ Tatler.

Apparently, this front in the left’s ongoing Cold Civil War deescalated before becoming hot, but if so, do you get the feeling it’s only because the Obama administration (or perhaps Harry Reid) is having flashbacks to Ruby Ridge and Waco as distinct mile markers on the road to the GOP controlling both houses of Congress in 1994, and they want to avoid firing up a Republican base even more, one that’s already pressed to crawl over broken glass in November?

Pages: 1 2 | 24 Comments bullet bullet

shaidle_confessions_failed_slut_cover_4-9-14-2

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you,” Flannery O’Connor famously said was her motto, and certainly Kathy Shaidle’s writing lives up to that ideal. As she told me during our new interview, “I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, being born in the ‘60s, and in those days, it was all about free love and women should be able to have sex just like men and casual sex is great.  And let’s all read Cosmo’s sex tips and ‑‑ and sort of recreate Sex and the City in our actual lives,” the author of the popular Five Feet of Fury Blog, and a frequent contributor to PJ Media, Taki’s Magazine, and other Websites says.

Kathy’s new book, Confessions of A Failed Slut, an anthology of several of her related articles, “is my story of having tried and failed to live up to these social messages that were just everywhere when I was growing up, and finding that deep down, I wasn’t really temperamentally or morally, shall we say, cut out for a life of nonstop, no-fault, casual sex, and just sleeping around and pretending not to care, and doing the walk of shame and all that stuff.”

During our 29-minute interview, Kathy will explore:

● How the Love Boat, that weekly video voyage of the Hollywood damned, caused Kathy to begin seeing the world is “though a Gen-X filter of self-defensive snark.”

● Why Glen Close’s character in Fatal Attraction is “one of the most misunderstood females on film.”

● Why today’s women in rock and pop make the first generation of women in punk rock seem positively chaste by comparison.

● How TV’s Dr. Phil caused a Twitter storm when his show tweeted, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?”

● In a pop culture obsessed with sex, why does it seem like the male metrosexual is so…asexual?

● Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean somebody of the opposite sex isn’t out to meet you: Going undercover in the 9/11-“Truther”-themed InfoWars Internet dating site.

● How to break free of the Nanny State’s crushing group hug.

And much more. Click here to listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(29 minutes and 7 seconds long; 26.6 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 8.32 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.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | 13 Comments bullet bullet