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Ed Driscoll

The New, New Journalism

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“Breitbart News says IRS targeted company for audit,” Glenn Reynolds notes today adding, “Who could have seen this one coming,” Glenn adds. “And who could hear this without laughing?”

The agency said in a statement: “Federal privacy laws prohibit the IRS from commenting on specific taxpayer situations. The IRS stresses that audits are based on the information related to tax returns and the underlying tax law — nothing else. Audits are handled by career, non-partisan civil servants, and the IRS has safeguards in place to protect the exam process.”

As Glenn notes, “Nobody believes this anymore. Which is, as I warned it would be, a real loss.” That post went up at 8:00 AM eastern today at Instapundit. It makes for quite a juxtaposition with the opening paragraphs of this post timestamped 1:53 PM EDT today at the establishment left blog on Congress, The Hill

During another grueling hearing on the ObamaCare rollout, the head of the Internal Revenue Service tried to offer lawmakers an assurance about the soon-to-open enrollment period.

“Whenever we can, we follow the law,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health on Wednesday.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who leads the subcommittee, immediately expressed his concern with the remarks.“I encourage you to follow the law in all instances,” Brady said.

Nobody believes they do anymore. Which is indeed a real loss.

If the attitude of those in power — when in the national spotlight, under oath, being grilled by Congress — is “whenever we can, we follow the law,” why should they expect everyone else to hold a different attitude? Or to put it another way, “You cannot have a viable society where the backbone of the country thinks that following the rules and the law is for suckers and chumps. “

Which is exactly what the head of the IRS, his predecessor, and their boss on Pennsylvania Ave. are saying about — and to — the American public.

Vercotti Brothers

“The company that runs the conservative Breitbart.com news site says the IRS has selected the network for an audit, in a move company executives suggest is politically motivated,” Fox News reports:

A copy of the IRS notice to Breitbart News, obtained by FoxNews.com, asked about the company’s financial information for calendar year 2012.

The IRS asked for a litany of documents, including logs of its receipts and expenses, but also its partnership agreement and a “written narrative” of the business.

Larry Solov, president and CEO of Breitbart News Network said: “We stand ready to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service on its audit of our company, but this will not deter us in the least from continuing our aggressive coverage of this president or his administration.”

The company was founded by the late media entrepreneur and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.

The main website, Breitbart.com, houses a number of offshoot sites including Big Hollywood and Big Journalism. The website played a key role in breaking the scandal over former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner sharing sexually explicit photos on Twitter.

I’m sure the Economist, which this week is running a cover story on “The Criminalization of American Business,” Bloomberg News and other agencies largely staffed by Democrat operatives with bylines would chalk all of the above up as occurring  “unexpectedly,” despite the fact that Mr. Obama “joked” about siccing the IRS on his political enemies in 2009.

Related: “A senior communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder seemingly called House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa’s staff by accident and asked for their help spinning new revelations about the IRS scandal, Issa said in a September 8 letter to Holder.”

How the Blogosphere was Won

August 8th, 2014 - 1:10 pm

Congrats to Professor Reynolds for helping to kick off a revolution in journalism. Of course, for purely selfish reasons, my favorite early Insta-post occurred a few weeks after the initial Insta-launch, on September 2nd, 2001

Happy 14th Blog-versary to Kaithy Shaidle!

July 24th, 2014 - 2:05 pm

Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit began in August of 2001. Pushback against the MSM’s formula coverage of 9/11 resulted in the first wave of new blogs arriving shortly thereafter. But a year prior, Kathy Shaidle began her first blog, and has been going strong p***ing off all the right left people strong ever since:

After writing about crazy evil Muslims 24/7 since 9/11, I decided to (mostly) leave that topic to my husband.

Life is too long to read and write about their bullshit anymore unless I feel so inclined.

It’s like how I (mostly) gave up blogging about religion, and turned the original site, RelapsedCatholic, into FiveFeetOfFury.

I can’t foresee what I’ll be blogging about 14 days or weeks or years from now, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still be here (despite the “Death of the Blog” that I’ve been hearing about since, well, about three years after I started…)

Thanks again for sticking around, for reading my stuff at other sites, like Taki’s and PJMedia, and for reading my books (and saying nice things about them.)

Your support amazes me.

It’s always fascinating to go back to what was being written in the late 1990s, 2000, and pre-9/11 2001 to remember how simpler and much more optimistic things seemed back then. (James Lileks’ first Bleats should be placed in a time capsule for what day-to-day life in the late 1990s was like.) Of course, it helped that there was still optimism over how the then-still nascent World Wide Web would transform, well, if not the world, at least how we got our news and pop culture.

Of course, what we didn’t know is that the nightmares that would haunt us in the coming decade were even then being crafted, both internationally:

And domestically:

Not to mention another topic that would dominate the news cycle of the past decade:

Because pop culture had started to fracture thanks to the initial breakup of mass media in the 1990s, that decade never had the feeling of a unified overculture that the 1980s had, and while we were living it, the nineties seemed remarkably chaotic. But today, it’s obvious that 1990s-era nostalgia is rapidly growing. It will be fascinating to watch Hillary Clinton attempt to profit from it, even as she denounces all of the ways her husband’s policies — either on his own, or attempting to steal the GOP’s lunch — made it happen.

Free Salondotcom!

July 16th, 2014 - 7:46 pm

“Twitter Shuts Down Hilarious Salon Parody Account,” Robby Soave writes at Reason’s “Hit & Run” blog:

At approximately 5:50 P.M. EST, it became known that Twitter had shut down @Salondotcom, a hilarious parody of Salon run by The Daily Caller’s opinion editor, Jordan Bloom, and his roommate, Rob Mariani. @Salondotcom constantly tweeted fake headlines that perfectly aped Salon‘s everyone-is-racist-and-Republicans-are-worse-than-Hitler shtick.

Found via Glenn Reynolds — who had his own run-in with the Kafka-esque labyrinthine nature of the Twitter gulag a couple of years ago, and who, despite having over 31,000 Twitter followers and arguably inventing micro-blogging 13 years ago, still doesn’t have a Twitter-verified account.

“In late 2009, Screenwriter Roger L. Simon and filmmaker Lionel Chetwynd sat down with legendary director Paul Mazursky to discuss Hollywood’s penchant for stereotyped portrayals of Jews,” as a segment on PJTV’s Poliwood.

Seeing ‘em Jump

May 20th, 2014 - 6:33 pm

What motivates a person to enter politics? In the midst of an interesting breakdown of his landmark 1970 article “Radical Chic,” as part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard’s “Annotation Tuesday” series, Tom Wolfe explains one big reason. But first, early in the liner notes, Wolfe first mentions his theory of “Information Compulsion:”

[T]his is my one contribution to psychology: There’s something called “information compulsion,” which makes you feel good when you supply information to someone. You got a few little status points because that person needed what you knew, and you gave it to him. On the other hand, if you’re asked something that you can’t answer, you think, What are you coming to me for?

And with that as background, much later in the interview, interviewer Elon Green asks Wolfe, “Do you think that’s why powerful people, despite it not being in their best interest, will talk to journalists?”

Yeah, I think so. I remember talking once to Abe Ribicoff. When I was a graduate student, they have these weeks where distinguished people come and make themselves available to all kinds of student organizations. We had a little thing called the American Studies Club. During the course of the week, Abe Ribicoff agreed to come. I asked him, very naively, “What is it that motivates politicians? Is it the money, the power? What is it? The publicity?” And he said, “Well, it’s certainly not the publicity. You get so used to it that you just expect it.” And then he said, “Unless you’re an idiot, it’s not the money.” And he says, “You find out that even at the federal level, you don’t really have that much power. There are very few people who you can point to, and say, ‘You do this and you do that.’” But, he said, “The real kick is seeing them jump.” I said, “Seeing them jump?” “Yeah,” he said. “You come into a room and everybody jumps up! Everyone offers you whatever seat you want. If you even hint that you might be hungry, 10 people want to go out and get you something from the restaurant.” He said, “Seeing ’em jump. That’s what it’s all about.” Of course, this was a student organization, and there was no one there with even an interest in publishing it. But he was really letting you in on something there, and you could really get a kick out of your own sophistication, if you say something like that.

Which sums up quite a bit about today’s politicians, and perhaps even our bloated and ever-expanding class of permanent bureaucracy, and their sheer paranoid bug-eyed terror in response to anyone who wished to take that frisson of joy of “seeing ‘em jump” away from them.

Read the whole thing, which in addition to the above conversational detour is quite fascinating, considering the impact of that period on today’s politics is still being felt. Far from divesting themselves of radical chic, Democrats have wallowed in it, to the point where the New York Times runs fawning profiles of former Weatherman Bill Ayers and his kin, former matinee idol Robert Redford recently directed a film in defense of the radical chic, Ayers helped birth Obama’s political career, and the Black Panthers’ namesake successors advertised on Obama’s Website in 2008, and were tacitly defended by his attorney general. And share some fascinating interconnections:

(Part two of that video is here.)

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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!)

I never posted anything to mark the 12th anniversary of my blog last month, but this Tweet by Rob Nebbell, aka N.Z. Bear, found by Moe Green, sure brings back memories. I’m there at about nine o’clock on the above chart. As for how I made it into the Blogosphere, well, an article I wrote on the nascent Blogosphere, based on interviews with a few of the same folks in the above chart — and written almost the same time as  Rob’s was crafting it — has you covered.

And while my blog is positively paleolithic, if you really want to feel old, just watch:

As I posted in the comments at Ricochet in response to the above video, if you really want to blow the minds of these impressionable tykes, hand ‘em a 12-inch laser disc.

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“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:

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(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.

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RIP Noel Sheppard, 53

March 29th, 2014 - 11:05 am

Noel Sheppard was with Newsbusters at its start in 2005, becoming its associate editor. “It must be said that no blogger here was more prolific and more popular. We’ll have more to say in the coming days,” Brent Bozell writes:

Our Noel Sheppard passed away yesterday (Friday) morning at about 5:00 AM. Say a prayer for the soul of a man we’ll all miss professionally, and many, many of us will miss personally as well. Noel was not just a force of nature, he was a very good man.

How quickly this all happened. Just two months ago, Noel wrote about suddenly getting cancer at 53 called “Cancer’s Ray of Hope.” Nine days ago, he wrote us and said he was interested in writing about his “progress” — and he put “progress” in quotes. We were all wishing for better news, and really couldn’t imagine this was a battle that would end this way.

Noel,  a fellow financial planner turned new media maven, lived about an hour from me in Northern California, and stopped by my house once in the fall of 2008 to record a segment for PJTV during its rough-and-tumble very early days. The following year, when Walter Cronkite passed away, we recorded this segment of my Silicon Graffiti video blog together, with Noel appearing via Web camera:

That was in 2009. Never in a million years did I think I would be blogging about Noel’s passing as well, or so quickly afterwards. RIP to a great blogger and media critic.

Update: Much more from Noel’s friends and colleagues at Twitchy.

More: A tribute to Noel from Matthew Sheffield, the creator of Newsbusters.

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.

Infighting on the Pages of the Washington Post

February 16th, 2014 - 2:42 pm

A staple rule of journalism is “Don’t **** where you eat.” (You can fill in the asterisks with whatever four-letter word you like.) At the New York Times, Maureen Dowd isn’t going to disagree with Paul Krugman, who isn’t going to disagree with Thomas Friedman. It just isn’t done, both out of professional courtesy, and basic survival instinct. The same is true in television journalism — when conservatives pointed out that Dan Rather had cooked the books during the scandal known as Rathergate, his then-fellow over-the-air nightly news anchors Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings both circled the wagons to defend their fellow dino-journalist from those whom they perceived as rabble conservative upstarts.

Last year at the Washington Post, Ezra Klein and his fellow Juicebox Mafiosos at the Post and Slate — still owned by the Post at the time — did attack superstar journalist Bob Woodward on his home turf. The reason was that Woodward dared to point out that the Sequester was the Obama administration’s idea, thereby destroying a key leftwing talking point: that rightwing bomb throwers wanted to shut down the government.  (Only inside the Beltway and on the JournoList is shutting down the government seen as a bad thing.)

But even with that precedent at the Washington Post set by the left, it’s still rather surprising to see the libertarian-themed Volokh Conspiracy blog, having only recently taken the Boeing to become ensconced at the Post, attacking another longtime Post grandee, E.J. Dionne, in a post titled “Dionne v. Hayek,” by Volokh conspirator Todd Zywicki:

Last week, E.J. Dionne Jr. penned a column in the Washington Post that blamed adherence to the tenets of the Austrian school of economics for gridlock in Washington. Well, sort of. He seemed to say that Austrian economics simultaneously was an obscure set of ideas of which no one has heard (except Ron Paul) and is yet powerful enough to provide the rallying cry for the Republican Party in Washington. More important, he says that Austrian economics is troublesome as a practical matter by blocking activist-government Keynesian-style interventions and deficit spending that would spur the economy and bring about greater wealth redistribution, but Austrian economics is wrong as a theoretical and historical matter. (As an aside, listening to the recording of Ron Paul’s speech, it doesn’t sound like he says “We’re all Austrians now.”  He says, “I’m waiting for the day when we can say ‘We’re all Austrians now.’”).

Dionne’s column is problematic in two ways.  First, he completely misrepresents the central argument of Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, which seems to be his central target. Second, he fails to accurately reflect the debate over the historical record of Keynesianism during the Great Depression and in particular the “stagflation” episode of the 1970s, which shattered the Nixon-era consensus on the wisdom of Keynesian economics.

Read the whole thing, if only to get to what is perhaps the most damning sentence in Zywicki’s blogpost. As he notes, “it isn’t evident from the column that Dionne has actually read The Road to Serfdom itself, as opposed to just reading commentators on the book who have also fundamentally misunderstood the book.”

As Stacy McCain quips in response, “Liberals Hate Books They Don’t Read:”

Margaret Thatcher famously remarked that the problem with socialism is that, “sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money”. However, we might add, liberals never run out of bad arguments for failed policies.

Meanwhile, Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek wonders what Dionne has been smoking:

I guess he forget that $820 billion “stimulus” spending. That spending somehow got through the political system despite the obsession conservatives have with Austrian economics. Keynes is dead but somehow, between 2009 and 2012, federal deficits were over a $1 trillion every year. We’ll see about 2013, it may be less. That government spending as a percentage of GDP was only 25% in 2009 and above 24% in 2010 and 2011–the highest levels since WWII–was evidently due to lawmakers being in thrall to Austrian thinking.

If only it were so.

And as Glenn Reynolds adds, “Even with Hayek dead for decades, Dionne is still overmatched.” But what would Hayek himself think about all this? Perhaps his 1975 comments (found via Ace) on leftwing dashboard saint John Maynard Keynes and his ignorance of basic economic principles help to answer that question:

And what does Dionne think about being attacked in his own (virtual) pages? I have no idea, but I think we can all picture the steam shooting out of his ears. But assuming the Volokh Conspiracy aren’t ejected from the Boeing, congrats to new owner Jeff Bezos on allowing actual debate at what once a largely closed-loop system.

I Approve of This Krony Capitalism

February 1st, 2014 - 12:37 pm

Andrew Wilkow of The Blaze interviews veteran TV producer John Papola, the creator of the brilliant “Kronies” video and toys, who previously produced the Keynes vs. Hayek rap videos you may have seen as well. As Papola tells Wilkow, “May these reach more people than kids who have The Road to Serfdom on their desk.” They also suggest that more videos are on the way, with possibly a GI Joe-style cartoon series running on Beck’s The Blaze channel, and/or a follow-up that explores corruption in local government, “The Muni Kronies.”

Papola tells Beck himself in another interview that the goal with the Kronies was to send a message that transcends the canyon-sized left-right divide: “Whatever you think the role of government should be, you certainly don’t want it to be corrupt. The question is, and the center of the debate is, what’s the source of that corruption?”

forgotten_man_graphic_novel_2-1-14-2Speaking of subversive ways to inculcate radical, way out there, lunatic ideas into, as Rush would say, “the yoot of America,” — i.e., freedom, democracy, and small government, Amity Shlaes really buries the the lede in her recent post at Ricochet. It’s titled “The Condescension of Paul Krugman,” but about 12-paragpraphs in, she offhandedly writes:

Despite the anxiety it produced in the private sector, the authorities seemed to relish playing with power. A feud over Dr. Krugman’s favorite area, monetary policy, illustrates this.

Marriner Eccles, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, preached looser monetary policy. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, by contrast, favored budget-tightening. The Eccles-Morgenthau row infuriated their fellow officials, as artist Paul Rivoche shows in the drawing here, a cartoon picture from our forthcoming illustrated version of my own history of the era, The Forgotten Man (Click on the photograph to see a larger version). The two officials, especially Morgenthau, were more concerned with putting each other down than with what transpired outside Washington as a result of their squabble.

I haven’t read a comic book since I sold off my Batman collection at age 13 (I know, a fortune p***ed away, to borrow an ’80s-era Elayne Boosler leitmotif), but a comic book — sorry, graphic novel edition of The Forgotten Man? Count me in. (To bring this post full circle, after World War II, General Motors once distributed a comic edition of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom — and then a quarter century later, completely forgot the advice they once proffered.)

Click over to Amity’s post at Ricochet to see a page from the upcoming book. For my interview last year with her on Coolidge, her “prequel” to The Forgotten Man, click here to listen.

And finally, if you missed it last week, here’s the original “Kronies” video. Each character also has his own video, online here:

(Via RD Brewer at  Ace of Spades.)

The Ewoks Get Shirts!

December 30th, 2013 - 9:32 pm

Congratulations to ten years in the Blogosphere to Ace of Spades. As Stacy McCain writes:

Back when I was working the national desk at the Washington Times, I’d read Ace of Spades and say, “Wow. That looks like fun. He’s writing about politics and making dirty jokes. I could do that.”

So after I actually quit my job and started blogging, Ace’s inspiration was alway there. R.D. Brewer takes us on a trip via the Wayback Machine to the AOSHQ Primitive Era, before he got all respectable and shit.

George W. Bush was in the White House, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, Howard Dean was running around Iowa as if he were a Serious Contender, and it was safe to ridicule Democrats while making masturbation jokes.

Good times, my friends, good times.

Alas, Karl Rove’s Permanent Republican Majority proved to be not quite so permanent, and the Era of Grim Seriousness has overtaken us. Ace still manages to crack a joke now and then, but we’ll probably never return to the carefree days of yore.

Read the whole thing, and then drop by Ace’s blog to congratulate him for ten years of Blogospheric awesomeness. That’s just the f***ing way it is.

Monster Chiller ObamaCare Theater

October 31st, 2013 - 12:42 pm

Unlike most of what Count Floyd proffered to Melonville and tri-city area viewers on SCTV, the future under Obamacare really is berrrry, berrry scary, boys and girls. (Just ask those living in Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing’s country.) In the meantime, this video from Remy of Reason TV is an exceptionally well-done Halloween treat.

To paraphrase Daniel Greenfield, government is magic — black magic.

(Saul Alinsky, who dedicated his best-known book to Ol’ Scratch would agree, right?)

9/11: A Look Back

September 11th, 2013 - 11:42 am

Street view of Ground Zero after Islamofascist terrorist attack, 9/18/2001. (Photo by Larry Bruce / Shutterstock.com.)

12 years ago today, at about 6:45 AM pacific time, my wife and I were awoken by a phone call from a friend in England, who told us, “Turn on the TV!”

“Huh? What channel?” My wife asked blearily asked.

“Any channel.”

As I wrote in 2005 (link goes to Wayback machine; even so, linkrot is a definite possibility with any of the following links):

That’s how the day began for my wife and I–and quite possibly, you too. In a Blogosphere retrospective, Lorie Byrd of PoliPundit was kind enough to include this post from the year after, which collects a bunch of items I wrote about 9/11. (When I saw her link, I updated it with a couple of more items, and replaced a couple of previously expired hyperlinks.)

If a writer as great as Virginia Postrel can look back on March 11, 2002 and conclude, “Much of what I wrote on this site six months ago, now seems banal or confused, although I can’t say I’d take anything back”, then keep similar thoughts in mind when reading my work about that day.

PoliPundit also has a look back on what has changed since that terrible day, and Orrin Judd links to what has become one of the most important and iconic photographs of the day, entirely because of the Blogosphere and other grass roots Websites–and equally entirely despite the best efforts of the legacy media to block it. (The PJ Media homepage has a retrospective slideshow of many additional photos. The simple fact that the Blogosphere exists is itself a testiment to 9/11, of course.)

Not everything has changed though. In his speech about the event nine days later, President Bush said, “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”. On October 1st, Rudy Giuliani added:

On one side is democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human life; on the other is tyranny, arbitrary executions, and mass murder.We’re right and they’re wrong. It’s as simple as that.

And by that I mean that America and its allies are right about democracy, about religious, political, and economic freedom.

The terrorists are wrong, and in fact evil, in their mass destruction of human life in the name of addressing alleged injustices.

For many Americans, 9/11 was the end of much moral equivalency when it comes to dealing with evil–but as Roger L. Simon notes, sadly, there’s still a fair amount of what Paul Johnson, in Modern Times called moral relativismleft in many who should know better.

Update: Speaking of moral relativism, events such as this and this, happening so closely to the anniversary of 9/11, help to define exactly what the term means.

Sharply contrasting the meaning is a decision by Alex Tabarrok.

A look back at some our 9/11-related posts over the years:

And finally, Joe Biden describes 9/11 as “bittersweet.” To paraphrase JWF’s response, I remember vividly the first half of the word — what exactly were the “sweet” aspects of the day? Elsewhere, Moe Lane compares and contrasts the first Tweets of the day today from the two presidential candidates, Joel B. Pollak of Big Government explores “9/11: A Clinton Legacy,” and John Yoo asks the unthinkable: “What If Obama Had Been President on 9/11?”

(Originally posted last year; date of anniversary updated in lede.)

When I first saw the above Tweet, I had assumed that the blacked out logo on the crashed passenger jet was some sort of crude redaction done in Photoshop or one of its cheaper knock-off imitation programs. Nope, it’s a 1/1 scale 3D redaction, done by the airline itself in a misguided effort aimed at avoiding bad publicity:

Thai Airways President Sorajak Kasemsuvan said that “the matter is under investigation,” NBC reported.

He also said, “The captain took control of the aircraft until it came to a complete stop, and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft emergency exits.”

The passengers who were injured were sent to area hospitals for treatment. The airline reported that their injuries occurred mostly during evacuation from the aircraft.

In an effort to protect the company’s image, workers blacked out the Thai Airways logo on the tail and body of the plane, The Huffington Post reported.

Thai Airways official Samud Poom-On said that covering up the logo was a normal practice for the airline after an accident. The official initially said the practice was mandated by Star Alliance, but the global airline group said it had no such policy, The Huffington Post said.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said it was too early to comment on what caused the accident, The Huffington Post reported.

It was the second mishap in less than two weeks for Thailand’s national carrier, according to The Huffington Post.

Has Barbra Streisand ever flown Thai Aiways? Because whether they know the phrase or not, the airline is becoming intimately familiar with what’s commonly called “the Streisand Effect,” and how it exponentially magnifies bad or inconvenient news.

kennedy_mtv_book_cover_8-26-13-1

If you were a red-blooded American teenager in the 1980s, chances are at some point, you not only wanted your MTV, you wanted to work there, either behind, or ideally in front of the cameras. Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, better known simply as “Kennedy,” was someone who lived the dream, becoming part of the second wave of VJs to arrive at the television network, when it was still (usually) showing rock videos.

However, Kennedy had an at times bruising run there, when it was discovered that she was – gasp! – a conservative. As she mentions in her new and thoroughly enjoyable book, The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses. Things got particularly grim at the 1994 MTV Video Awards:

[Roseanne’s] joke that Kennedy was backstage performing oral sex on Rush Limbaugh sparked Kennedy’s mock fellatio performance on a microphone while standing next to New York City Rudy Giuliani. Later, when fellow VJ Bill Bellamy asked her if she wanted to say anything to Roseanne, she responded: “Roseanne, ease up on the Prozac, and by the way, Rush Limbaugh says you give [much better oral sex].” Roseanne later wrote Kennedy a letter saying she was one of the few people that had ever stood up to her “and she had a lot of respect for me,” Kennedy said in an interview. “It was such a nice letter, one of those kind moments that taught me a lot about class and supporting a lot of women.” Although the incident almost got her fired, Kennedy points out that MTV had approved Roseanne’s joke because it appeared on the teleprompter.

Fortunately, though, she survived Roseanne’s disgusting sucker punch (and Roseanne would only go downhill from there), and left the network in 1997 on her own terms. She’s now a DJ at L.A.’s ALT 98.7, creates videos for Reason TV, and contributes to John Stossel’s show on the Fox Business Channel. And she’s still on great terms with her fellow VJs from the period, as well as MTV News host Kurt Loder, who also contributes to Reason.

During our interview, we’ll discuss:

● How Roger Ailes gave a surprising assist to her early MTV days.

● How she was able to smuggle her conservatism into the perilously liberal world of MTV.

● How Kurt Loder helped her make the transition from conservative to libertarian.

● The confining worldview of many left-wing rock artists.

● Why “Zappa Family Values” aren’t an oxymoron.

● Why so many musicians suffer from what Keith Richards calls LVS – “Lead Vocalist Syndrome.”

● Young people and libertarianism in 2013.

●How the media world today differs from the MTV era.

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(17 and a half minutes long; 15.9 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 4.79 MB lo-fi edition.)

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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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He Chose…Poorly

August 22nd, 2013 - 7:11 pm

“So Some Numbskull is Trying to Get Stacy McCain’s Blog Shut Down?”, Bryan Preston asks at the PJ Tatler. “By trying to shut Stacy down, his enemies have only drawn more traffic to his site.”