» The Perfect Storm

Ed Driscoll

The Perfect Storm


“Williams is stepping away from NBC Nightly News for a number of days,” according to the Hollywood Reporter:

The anchor sent a note to the show’s staff, announcing that Lester Holt is replacing him for an unspecified amount of time. The news comes as Williams is embroiled in a scandal surrounding his story about being a passenger in a helicopter that took fire in Iraq in 2003.

On Jan. 30, an NBC Nightly News clip was posted to Facebook in which Williams repeated a story he had told previously about having been in the helicopter that was hit and went down during the Iraq invasion. After the story was questioned, Williams apologized on Wednesday’s Nightly News, saying that his helicopter was following the one that was hit.

“I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp,” Williams wrote on Facebook.

In a memo to staff on Friday, NBC News Deborah Turness wrote that a team of people was working to “make sense” of the incident.

In a statement that I’ve not made since Maureen Dowd wrote her William Burroughs-esque yarn last year, about totally tripping balls on a cannabis-infused chocolate bar in Denver, Maureen Dowd makes some interesting observations today — in this case, about what led to Williams’ downfall (link safe, goes to John Nolte at Big Journalism):

His was a bomb that had been ticking for a while.

NBC executives were warned a year ago that Brian Williams was constantly inflating his biography. They were flummoxed over why the leading network anchor felt that he needed Hemingwayesque, bullets-whizzing-by flourishes to puff himself up, sometimes to the point where it was a joke in the news division.

But the caustic media big shots who once roamed the land were gone, and “there was no one around to pull his chain when he got too over-the-top,” as one NBC News reporter put it.

It seemed pathological because Williams already had the premier job, so why engage in résumé inflation? And you don’t get those jobs because of your derring-do.

Ahh, but you do get those jobs because of your derring-do; as we mentioned yesterday, it’s part of the process of building the B-Roll and backstory that leads to your becoming a network anchorman ever since the days of Walter Cronkite.

But if you overdo those tales, or. worse, you make them and get caught as a serial lair, your brand is badly tarnished. And that’s very bad — because the goal for a TV anchorman is to be as blank a slate as possible. The big three TV networks, apparently because of the inertia of a corporate me-too culture whose roots date back to the first nationwide radio networks in the 1920s, believe that they’re providing the 6:30 news as a public service to their elderly core audience, which is why the nightly news anchor should be a man in his late 40s or older, with great hair, perfect teeth, a bespoke suit, excellent diction, an ability to emote when reading particularly dramatic news — and as little baggage as possible. He shouldn’t be an Olbermann-esque raver; he shouldn’t have a background as a Mencken-esque journalistic blowhard, and his politics should be those of a cypher. Comcast has MSNBC for those folks; but that’s now who you want as the face of your entire broadcast news division.

Instead, what the networks really want is someone with as few encumbrances on his reputation as possible to read material culled from the New York Times and the AP wire and programmed into a teleprompter, in-between ten minutes of commercials for Viagra, Depends, prostate medications and other material aimed at the dwindling number of grizzled low-information voters who become positively sick to their stomach just contemplating the aura of the penumbra of the notion of logging onto the Internet.*

Whether or not such a man has actually done anything before he clips on his network lavaliere and gets to sit in the big chair is really irrelevant, so long as it does not taint the network brand.**

Brian Williams fit that bill perfectly until this week.

In his weekly G-File (now online), Jonah Goldberg wrote that Williams’ self-made debacle isn’t as bad as Dan Rather’s spectacular anchor-da-fé in 2004, when Rather recklessly gambled it all on destroying President Bush and wound up immolating himself instead. But given NBC’s visceral hatred of the right ever since Jeff Zucker, Steve Capus, and Phil Griffin were running the show in the post-9/11 era, NBC has brought much of the damage upon themselves. Griffin is still in charge (or not, as the case may be) at MSNBC, and that spinoff channel in particular wrecked NBC’s reputation with half the country. Which is why many on the right dug in and searched through Williams’ every public utterance, as John Nolte tweeted today:


So what happens next? NBC’s very likely still trying to sort that out; Williams’ “voluntary” leave of absence is the network’s modified limited hangout, as the staffers for Dan Rather’s original bête noir would say. A way to buy some time. And a way to try out Lester Holt and see how the public responds. (As Jazz Shaw wrote this afternoon at Hot Air, “For some reason, I feel rather bad for Holt at this point. The headhunters have been smelling blood in the water for a while now, and it’s hard to turn off that appetite once it gets going. I imagine that somebody will be combing through all of Holt’s work for the rest of the weekend and looking for any questionable stories and such.”)

Can Williams return? Depends on how many cases of Vienna sausages he has to barter with, I suppose…

More seriously though, as Nolte forecasts, “there is simply no way back for Williams”:

It can get worse but it won’t get better.

In the good old days for the media, the days when an elite few controlled distribution of information, Williams could pay his penance and slip back to work after an Elite Few decided it was time. The world today is completely different. The New Media Brian Williams so despises has created legions of citizen journalists with access to instant distribution through the Internet.

It was a guy who calls himself SooperMexican who found most of the Katrina stories, not some credentialed “journalism”organization.

The elite gatekeepers won’t decide when this scandal is past; the American people will.

And while Williams’ lying in Iraq is what began his downfall, if Williams is indeed out, it’s rather appropriate that it was his fables regarding New Orleans that finished the job, considering that as with Dan Rather in 2004, the MSM as a whole threw everything into conflating Katrina into a second Iraq the following year, to pave the way for the Democrats’ return to both houses of Congress in 2006 and Obama winning the White House two years later. Like Rather before him, I wonder if Williams thinks his role in making it happen was worth the price he’s paying today.

* Or as Iowahawk tweeted today, “I used to quietly laugh at my grandma for believing pro wrestling. Now I quietly laugh at my mom for believing the network news.” I wish my own parents were alive to get their immediate take on Williams’ disaster, particularly since we watched NBC’s news shows the most when I was a kid.

** Why yes, that was intended to remind readers of the Obama bragging to his fellow Democrats before running for the presidency that “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” And both serial liars have now been revealed as mannequins for expensive clothes with no emperors inside them.

Report: Tom Brokaw Wants Brian Williams Fired

February 5th, 2015 - 9:17 pm

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

It’s all fun and games in the ozone layer of the elite media until the public catches you cooking the books.

“You know you’re in trouble when Tom Brokaw is out for your blood.” The New York Post’s Page Six on the man who coined the phrase “The Greatest Generation” versus his successor, who’s been living out B. G. Burkett’s Stolen Valor meme for the past decade:

NBC’s most revered journalist is furious that Brian Williams is still in the anchor chair after he sheepishly admitted he hadn’t traveled on a helicopter hit by enemy fire.

“Brokaw wants Williams’ head on a platter,” an NBC source said. “He is making a lot of noise at NBC that a lesser journalist or producer would have been immediately fired or suspended for a false report.”

On Wednesday, Williams, 55, acknowledged that he had repeatedly said he was aboard a chopper that had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during a 2003 reporting trip to Iraq, when he was actually safely traveling in a different aircraft.

Brokaw, 74, was still the “Nightly News” anchor when Williams came back from his Iraq expedition — and an insider said he knew the story Williams later spouted was bunk.

“Tom Brokaw and [former NBC News President] Steve Capus knew this was a false story for a long time and have been extremely uncomfortable with it,” the source said.

NBC News execs had counseled him to stop telling the tale.

Williams still took the anchor’s seat for his “Nightly News” broadcast Thursday evening — and was working at 30 Rock all day despite calls for his dismissal. He didn’t address the issue during the broadcast.

Assuming the Post’s report is accurate, this isn’t the first time that someone who passes for a Wise Old Man of TV news has wanted his (comparatively) younger successor fired after he got caught screwing the pooch. Douglas Brinkley’s often hagiographic 2012 biography of Walter Cronkite contains this damning passage regarding Uncle Walter’s bumbling successor:

Determined to be the new Murrow, a crusader for social justice in the twenty-first century, Rather had inadvertently become the Soupy Sales of TV news gathering. When Mike Wallace bumped into Rather in a CBS bathroom in the 60 Minutes offices, a nasty verbal clash erupted between the men. Wallace called Rather, to his face, a shameless creep, a public disgrace, who instead of manning up for Memogate, allowed the fine talents of Mapes*, Howard, Murphy, and West to suffer humiliation. Was that Rather’s idea of courage? “We know it as the battle of the bathroom,” longtime executive producer of 60 Minutes Jeff Fager explained. “It’s never been reported, but it was bad.”

It was then-NBC president Jeff Zucker who chose Williams to replace Brokaw in 2004 and promoted him as the man with the finger on the pulse of America’s Red States, or “NASCAR Nation” as Zucker dubbed them back then. The book Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV explores how Warren Littlefield replaced Brandon Tartikoff as the head of NBC and missed few beats in the 1990s. But how Zucker, Littlefield’s successor, began to wreck the NBC brand starting in 2000, before moving on to work his “magic” with CNN these days will make for quite a history — one that’s still playing out in real time this week.

* No, I don’t think he meant that ironically. Brinkley, like the late Mike Wallace, is likely really only sorry that Rather got caught.

Related: “NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ comments about dead bodies, Hurricane Katrina starting to gain attention, draw scrutiny,” the New Orleans Advocate reports today.

As Mickey Kaus noted in 2005, the MSM saw Katrina as a way to (ultimately successfully, given the results in the midterms the following year) pummel President Bush over Iraq without sounding unpatriotic. Considering how insane the MSM’s coverage quickly became, there could well be plenty of invented stories to go around.

Possibly like this one.

Update: And when you’ve lost Arianna — you’ve likely lost a lot of NBC executives who read her site daily:

More: The left-leaning Daily Beast also senses blood in the water at 30 Rock: “Brian Williams’s NBC News Bosses Are ‘Hanging Him Out to Dry,’” screams the headline there tonight. “The countdown begins,” Ace adds.

Scenes from The Dark Knight Rises

January 26th, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Huh. The reporting out of Bill de Blasio’s New York turned into a Batman movie a lot sooner than even I expected when I Photoshopped him into Bane a year ago:


By the way, the doomsday “reporting” on CNN tonight was hilarious: Don Lemon leaves his usual search for airplane-sized black holes to stand under slushy snow coming down in midtown Manhattan, while other CNN anchors stand and drive in snow down Park Ave. and Boston. They covered no other news, and there wasn’t even a ticker at the bottom on the screen reporting on news elsewhere in the US and around the world. And the Chryon described “‘Historic’ Snow Falls,” complete with unnecessary quotation marks around “Historic” for extra-added postmodern irony. Dave Barry’s tweet sums up the tone perfectly:

And speaking of wintery movie tie-ins:

But hey, news mastermind Jeff Zucker always knows what he’s doing, right?

Related: Andrew Klavan on the media, decades of their zany global warming predictions, and “All of the Leftists, All of the Time.”

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

Entirely related!

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



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

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

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

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

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

Update: One Twitter user squares the circle:

Tweet of the Day

November 7th, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Oof, indeed. Let’s look at Landrieu’s tweet in slow-motion:


Yes, I felt the earthquake in Northern California last night. We live about 60 miles south of the epicenter, and at about 3:20 AM, while I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed (yes, I tend to live Keith Richards-style hours), I noticed the glass shower doors had begun to vibrate together — and then the entire room began slide around for about 20 or 30 seconds, Inception-style.

And then it was over. Assuming you’re not at the epicenter of a major one, earthquakes in California are interesting phenomenon — usually less than a minute of actual activity, followed by hours and hours of talking heads on TV droning on about the topic, and asking vox populi-style questions to the man in the street whether he felt the quake, the sort of thing that Monty Python used to love parodying, 45 years ago. (“I’m not a man, silly!”, one woman would reply. “I’m not in the street, ya fairy!”, shouts a man working on his roof, etc.)

At 3:30 AM though, none of the local stations interrupted their late night infomercials; only one channel (the CBS affiliate, I believe) had put up a Chyron on top of the infomercial to report that a 6.1 magnitude earthquake had occurred. My wife put on KCBS, the local 24-hours news radio channel, in which the late night newsreader took calls from local residents on how severe it felt. But even they resumed prerecorded programming, if I’m remembering correctly, after about 20 minutes or so.

During which time, Twitter was certainly abuzz; I retweeted numerous earthquake-related tweets last night, as my timeline indicates. There was certainly some major local damage in the epicenter; this London Daily Mail article has several AP photos of a three story property in NAPA with some serious damage, and local shops had their inventories splattered across their floors. A mobile home park had a serious fire likely caused by a gas main break, and the Daily Mail reports that a local hospital has treated 89 people, “At least three injuries are described as ‘major.’”

But out here, 60 miles south, only some shaking was felt, thank God.

And in keeping with our recurring references to British-themed media, even the BBC inadvertently gets what it’s like living in California:

This debate is merely a matter of time:

And finally, exit question:

So yes, for those us not in the epicenter of the quake who are veterans of these sorts of things, the switchover from “ZOMG, EARTHQUAKE!!!!” To, “Well, the power is still on, and everyone’s OK,” to “Let’s laugh about surviving another one,” occurs pretty quickly. Apologies to those in the epicenter who suffered major losses; if you’re one of them reading this, hopefully you’ll understand that black humor is a coping mechanism.

Filed under: The Perfect Storm

Yes, Next Question

July 28th, 2014 - 11:35 pm

“Is the Obama administration losing touch with reality?”, Mark Tapscott asks at the Washington Examiner. Considering that Barack Obama alternated posing next to Styrofoam Roman columns and uttering quotes such as, ”We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth,” during his in 2008 presidential bid, this administration and reality were never on very good terms to begin with. But as Tapscott writes, their relationship is much more strained these days:

There is an air of unreality about the Obama crew these days that became starkly evident last week with a letter to Congress from National Security Advisor Susan Rice seeking repeal of the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq and White House press secretary Josh Earnest claiming Republicans are seriously seeking to impeach his boss.

House Speaker John Boehner and every other top GOP leader has denied it, but that didn’t stop Earnest and the Democratic fundraising machine from insisting that impeachment is “part of their agenda.”

Similarly, Rice claimed repealing the 2002 law is needed to “give Americans confidence” that U.S. “ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq” even though House GOPers were preparing to approve a resolution saying U.S. ground forces should not be sent back to Iraq.

But then seeing the Obama administration publicly weaving such fantasies isn’t really surprising, considering they’ve argued for years that one half of one-third of the federal government is responsible for all of America’s problems.

Aaron Hanscom, our lead editor and textual master of ceremonies on the PJM homepage asked me the other day if any president had checked out as dramatically from current events in my lifetime. I told that while it’s a little before my time, the closest analogy that comes to mind is the Wilson Administration, which attempted to maintain the fiction that its namesake was still running the show after Wilson’s devastating stroke in October of 1919, exhausting himself while attempting to pass the League of Nations. Wilson would linger on in office until being mercifully relieved by Republican Warren Harding in February of 1924 as a shell of a man; even Wikipedia notes:

[Post-stroke, Wilson] was insulated by his wife, who screened matters for his attention and delegating others to his cabinet heads. Eventually, Wilson resumed his attendance at cabinet meetings, but his input there was perfunctory. By February 1920 the President’s true condition was public. Nearly every major newspaper expressed qualms about Wilson’s fitness for the presidency at a time when the League fight was reaching a climax, and domestic issues such as strikes, unemployment, inflation and the threat of Communism were ablaze. Neither his wife nor his physician nor personal assistant were willing to assume authority to take upon themselves the certification required by the Constitution to declare his “inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office”. This complex case became an inducement for passage of the 25th Amendment.

It took a stroke to effectively end the Wilson presidency; it simply took Obama discovering that the world and the Beltway are mean places full of mean people who keep saying no to him — to  him! — the ‘Bam Who Would be King for Wright’s sake! — for him to take his golf ball and go home.

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When Religions Collide

February 12th, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Will there be a leftwing sucker punch aimed at unsuspecting conservative audiences who attend Paramount’s upcoming big screen tale of Noah and his ark? It’s Hollywood — of course there will be one.

“Report: ‘Noah’ Fixated on ‘Overpopulation and Environmental Degradation,’” Christian Toto today writes at Big Hollywood:

The Hollywood Reporter’s new feature on the film, set for a March 28 release, details the behind-the-scenes wrangling between the film’s director and the studio, all with an eye on the people of faith curious to see the story on the big screen. Test screenings haven’t softened worries that spiritual audiences may not embrace what they see.

Further, THR spoke with several people who saw an early test screening in Southern California’s Orange County and who identified themselves as religious. One viewer, who declined to give his name because Paramount required him to sign a nondisclosure agreement, echoed the sentiments of others by criticizing the depiction of Noah as a “crazy, irrational, religious nut” who is fixated on modern-day problems like overpopulation and environmental degradation.

Charles Krauthammer once quipped that radical environmentalism posits itself as the successor religion to Christianity. And as the late Michael Crichton observed in 2003, “I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form.”

Is Paramount rooting for the flood? If so, it’s yet another example of what Fred Siegel described in 2010 as “Progressives against Progress.” No word yet if John Holdren, Mr. Obama’s “Science” “Czar” has signed off on the overpopulation theme of Paramount’s new film. Hopefully though, the upcoming film will at least have better special effects than the last time Paramount broached that particular eternal hobbyhorse of the far left.

They can’t be any worse, of course.

“Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin found guilty of corruption charges,” CNN reports. I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am.

Curiously though, hitting Control-F on the above Webpage detects no use of the word “Democrat” in the actual article; merely in the comments section from readers. As Ace notes today, “They simply refuse to offer party affiliations for convicted Democrats. They flat-out refuse. They just will not do it.” I think it was last month that he suggested a modest proposal to prevent such “unexpected” “accidental” oversights from occurring: append the style guide (such as AP’s version) that news agencies issue to their journalists to require naming the party when an official is found guilty of corruption charges. (I can’t find the exact post; feel free to paste the URL in the comments if you do, and I’ll add an update.)

But they never will — for reasons which are obvious. (Which is why, as Geoffrey Dickens noted last month at Newsbusters, “Don’t Know the Party of a Politician Caught in a Scandal? He’s Probably a Democrat.”)

Oh, and just a reminder, last year, despite what CNN reported in 2005 to gin-up the anti-GOP narrative, DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile reminded their audience, “Bush came through on Katrina” — all the more remarkable after the “Mayor Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool” remained stalled due to its namesake’s incompetence.

Almond Killjoy

January 26th, 2014 - 12:42 pm


But of course: “Effete New York Times Asks: ‘Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?’”, as spotted by Tim Graham of Newsbusters:

The New York Times has a very strange sense of morality. Abortion at any time for any reason is never savage. When the Kermit Gosnell case erupted, the Times could only editorialize it was irrelevant: “What does the trial of a Philadelphia doctor who is accused of performing illegal late-term abortions by inducing labor and then killing viable fetuses have to do with the debate over legal abortion?”

But on Sunday, the Times Magazine published a column titled “Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?” Writer Steve Almond, best known previously for resigning an adjunct professorship at Boston College because Condoleezza Rice was picked for commencement speaker, argued that sending men to the NFL was like sending our underclass soldiers off to war in Afghanistan (don’t miss the part about the late Pat Tillman):

After ranting on about professional sports being “monetized arenas for hypermasculinity,” (an accusation that Pinch’s Eloi-staffed New York Times need never worry about receiving) and football as “a distraction from the moral incoherence of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq” — well, that’s one way to criticize President Obama’s feckless Middle East policy, I suppose — Almond goes on to write:

No single episode speaks to this twisted dynamic more pointedly than the death of Pat Tillman, an idealistic N.F.L. star who enlisted in the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2004, Tillman was killed by friendly fire in a bungled ambush in Afghanistan. His superiors orchestrated an elaborate cover-up that included burning his uniform and recast the circumstances of his death as a heroic charge into enemy territory.

But suppose Tillman had survived, returned to play in the N.F.L. and wound up with brain damage at age 50. Would we see him as a victim of friendly fire? Would we acknowledge our role in his demise? Or would we construct our own personal cover-ups?

The N.F.L. and the bloated media cult that feeds off it rely on fans not to connect the dots between our consumption of football and brain-damaged human beings.

Oh how I pity the person hosting a Super Bowl party next week to which Almond — or anybody who’s read his column to use as cocktail party talking points — shows up.

One person who did read Almond’s column is Ann Althouse, who’s having lots of fun with it:

The question-asker is Steve Almond. Am I supposed to know who he is? (Is it immoral not to know?) There’s no note about the author on the page and the name isn’t a hot link. What’s his moral authority?

Perhaps he wants his ideas judged by the strength of this one text, like an anonymous pamphleteer, but I Google his name and see that he’s a short-story writer and that he was an adjunct professor in creative writing at Boston College who resigned in protest when Condoleezza Rice was brought in to do the school’s commencement address. Moral authority noted.

Here’s a picture of Almond wearing a brown shirt that says “chocolate boy.” Lest you take that the wrong way, his website is called stevealmondjoy.com and he wrote a nonfiction book called “Candyfreak,” about his love for candy and his search for the stories of “the small candy companies that are persevering in a marketplace where big corporations dominate.”

I’d embed the photo, but the photographer, who seems to have just snapped a pic when Almond spoke at a high school in Minnesota, put lots of “not in the public domain” language around it when he uploaded it to Wikipedia. How boring! That photographer lacks moral authority in this world of creative commons. It’s a picture of somebody else, and that someone else was nice enough to show up and allow photographs.

But the photo at the end of Althouse’s post, after an assist from Camille Paglia, definitely makes up for it.

I certainly hope everyone at MSNBC reads Almond’s column on the air and brings in Bob Costas to ask him if it’s immoral to broadcast the NFL, if you believe that the sky is falling so quickly, we all must do this:

Last year’s Super Bowl was broadcast by CBS, whose nightly news anchor Scott Pelley once compared global warming skeptics to ‘Holocaust deniers.’ I wonder if anyone will ask him about the immorality about his network having lavished so much attention on the event?

Speaking of which, the NFL has talked about rescheduling the game next week if sufficient quantities of severe global warming risks negatively impacting the fans in the Meadowlands. (Pete  Rozelle, who invented the notion of the Super Bowl to played in warm weather stadiums as essentially a giant annual press junket for the nation’s sports reporters, must be looking down and laughing his head off over his successors’ decision to hold the game there.)  The league has only one hope for the Super Bowl to air on schedule next weekend: It must keep Al Gore as far away from the stadium — possibly the entire Northeast Corridor — as humanly possible.

Earlier: Interview: Daniel J. Flynn Fights Back Against The War On Football.


“‘It was exactly what we predicted!’ Al Roker lashes out at de Blasio’s ‘class war’ snow failures after the new mayor claims storm was a surprise and then DEFENDS response,” the London Daily Mail reports.

“Today Show weatherman Al Roker tore into Bill de Blasio’s response to the snowstorm which caused traffic chaos across the Big Apple –  after the New York Mayor claimed the city was caught by surprise,” the Daily Mail adds:

Roker said that he feared that de Blasio, who has only been in office less than a month, had made a huge mistake by not being on top of their response to the storm.

He then made an ominous reference to former New York Mayor John Lindsay, who never shook off his reaction to the February 1969 nor’easter which left 14 people dead and 68 injured.

Lindsay was seen to only care about how the snow plows dealt with Manhattan and when he visited Queens a week after the storm — was told, ‘Get away, you bum’, by a resident disgusted he had the gall to visit when there was still snow on the ground.

“There is a rich history of people in leadership positions dealing with weather crisis,” the article goes on to quote de Blasio as saying. “My attitude is to lead from the front and to be out leading from the front.”

Leading from the front? He’ll never get the Democrat nomination for president that way.

The Daily Mail notes, “de Blasio was accused of a class war against the rich of Manhattan for not voting for him after residents claimed the streets of the affluent Upper East Side were not plowed for snow:”

Admitting that if there was any part of the Upper East Side that needed snow relief, de Blasio said he would be there ‘right away’ — although that failed to answer the gathered reporters questions of why the area was not serviced the day or evening before.

The answer is quite simple, actually. Back in early 2011, when New York City was hip deep in a foot and a half or more of white powdery global warming and snow removal was spotty at best and nonexistent at worst, Victor Davis Hanson coined “The Bloomberg Syndrome:”

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

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

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

Insert obligatory “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard” Mencken quote here. And Bill de Bane (as Jonah Goldberg dubbed him) is just the man to give it to Gothamites, who forgot what the city was like prior to Rudy Giuliani’s massive CTL-ALT-DLT reboot of its government’s hidebound Lindsay-era leftwing groupthink.

Related: Of course, de Blasio is far from the only punitive Democrat in New York State; Michelle Malkin dubs Andrew Cuomo the “Shove Guv.”

Coupled with the president, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, both New York politicians are yet another reminder, as Troy Senik wrote at Ricochet in October, “Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People.”


Bruce Wayne, call your office. Preferably on that red phone with a single white button inside the clear glass cake cover.

Kanye West Hates Jewish People

November 30th, 2013 - 11:35 pm


“Why Kanye West Is an Antisemite,”  as explored by David Swindle, at the PJ Lifestyle blog:

Newsbusters does some of the best work online in finding objectionable examples of media bias. This exchange from a radio interview Kanye West gave last week is an important discovery for those wanting to understand one of the most popular entertainers today:

KANYE WEST: We don’t got it like that. When I tell you only seven black billionaires, look at marginalization, and we feel like we happy because me and Rick Ross got it made, or I got a spread outside, a couple of us, or they put a black president.

Man, let me tell you something about George Bush and oil money and Obama and no money. People want to say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing. That’s because he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don’t have the same connection as oil people.

You know we don’t know nobody that got a nice house. You know we don’t know nobody with paper like that we can go to when we down. You know they can just put us back or put us in a corporation. You know we ain’t in situation. Can you guarantee that your daughter can get a job at this radio station? But if you own this radio station, you could guarantee that. That’s what I’m talking about.

Given that Newsbusters is such a great resource and there are some wonderful people working there, it breaks my heart when they fall prey to my primary grievance with movement conservatism today: an inability to recognize antisemitism, call it by name, and make fighting it a primary priority.

In response to Kanye’s latest rant, one of Glenn Reynolds’ commenters noted:

LOL. Yes, that’s Obama’s problem: he doesn’t have enough “connections” in business or in Hollywood. Those bankers at Goldman Sachs, those techie tycoons like Zuckerberg, and those high-profile Hollywood actresses won’t even return Barry’s calls. Hahahahahahahaha.

Kanye West, thanks for proving yet again that you’re a blithering idiot. You should get down on your knees and thank G-d you’re an American, because only in America could a person as ignorant, tactless, and talentless as you become a multi-millionaire celebrity.

Perhaps Kanye is upset that a magazine now owned by the successors of the brothers Warner declared him to be “The smartest man in pop music” on its cover, shortly before he self-immolated on a TV network founded by David Sarnoff, attacking a pro-Israel president popular with American neoconservatives:

In any case, I’m sure it’s all a conspiracy in his remarkably addled mind; as Glenn himself quipped, “Is it possible to be too dumb to be married to a Kardashian?”

Potemkin Villages All the Way Down

November 15th, 2013 - 12:37 pm

Since Katrina and the waves of protests the left ginned up against the Iraq war resulted in first the GOP losing control of both houses of Congress in 2006, and then the White House in 2008, it’s worth juxtaposing a few video clips from that era and beyond.

First up, here’s former Democrat Congressman Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, who lost his reelection bid during the Tea Party-led GOP wave in 2010, telling his constituents in 2008 this his party lied to take back Congress in 2006:

“I’ll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we…the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn’t say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government would know that wasn’t true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts…and people ate it up.”

Which was built upon attacking a war which Democrats (including Kanjorski, for what it’s worth) initially supported:

And once the left recaptured the White House, here’s President Obama saying over and over again (36 times in the clip below), “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” knowing full well he was lying…and true believers ate it up:

And here’s Hillary in 2007 making the same boast for the plan she would enact, if she was elected president:

As Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner asked last year, in a headline that inspired a running theme at Instapundit, “What if the Left is just one Potemkin Village after another?”

One of the left’s favorite buzzwords is “sustainability.” How long can a worldview that sells itself to the American people with one lie built upon another sustain itself?

Exit quote: “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.”

Then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), March 30, 2007.

Hurricane ObamaCare

November 15th, 2013 - 11:58 am

Noting that “Hurricane Katrina was the turning point of the George W. Bush administration,” at Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin explores how Katrina (or more precise, the media spin on Katrina) was President Bush’s swan song as an effective president, and how the Obamacare debacle is a similar inflection point for his tyro successor. Read the whole thing; here’s the conclusion:

President Obama has often defied the rules of political gravity but this may be the point where the rules of physics kick in. No second term incumbent has ever recovered his popularity once he sunk to the levels that Obama has now reached. Moreover, contrary to Democratic hopes, the health care boondoggle promises only to get worse in the coming year as the government’s intervention into one-sixth of the nation’s economy increases the pain felt by millions. The measure by which he had hoped to remembered in history may yet serve to do so but not for good. Much to his surprise, the Affordable Care Act is his hurricane and it is sinking his second term. Like Bush and others who crashed and burned once they had been re-elected, Obama has lost the confidence of the American people. His presidency isn’t over and he has three years to either do further damage — as he appears intent on doing with his rush to appease Iran — but the era in which he could count on his unique status to protect him against failure and scandals has come to an end.

Oh, I suspect there will be plenty more damage to come. If your worldview is hardcore punitive leftism and you’re a lame duck, might as well go full scorched earth in your final years.

But let’s look back on those first two years of the Obama administration, when the world was young, and all things were possible, including the goal of the happy shinny young socialists, of finally bringing Otto von Bismark’s 1881-era nationalized health insurance to America.

As Byron York writes at the Washington Examiner, the Obamacare cramdown inflicted upon the American public was made worse by Mr. Obama and the Dems keeping mum on the plan’s downsides:

All during the debate, Democratic officeholders, aides, policy wonks, advocates and sympathetic journalists all knew coverage cancellations would be coming as part of Obamacare. Of course, the president knew, too. When Obama made the keep-your-coverage promise, over and over, those Washington insiders accepted the untruth as a necessary part of the process, something Democrats had to do to pass their bill.

But millions of Americans didn’t get the memo and took Obama at his word. And now that the promise has been proven false, the president is trying to recover his credibility — his desire to do so was painfully evident at his long and sometimes rambling news conference Thursday — and his party is searching for cover.

There won’t be any. In coming days, Republicans, who voted unanimously against Obamacare, will be happy to remind the public of what Democrats promised. On Thursday afternoon, for example, the House GOP leadership published a list of quotes from 61 House Democrats pledging that if Americans liked their health coverage they could keep it. And for those vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, the accountability could be quite painful indeed.

The situation could become infinitely worse if problems now plaguing the individual insurance market begin to infect employer-based insurance, which covers by far the largest number of Americans.

In response, Democrats will no doubt talk a lot about various measures to “fix” this or that part of Obamacare. But voters will know that those Democrats are just seeking to clean up a mess they made in the first place. The political price to be paid could be very, very high.

As well there should be. And plenty of panic and flop sweat along the way, including this classic moment today:



“NY Times: Rollout Failure is Obama’s Katrina.”

— Today’s Times story, as paraphrased by Breitbart.com’s John Sexton.


“Bush came through on Katrina.”

— Donna Brazile, Democratic National Committee vice chairwoman, writing at CNN on April 25, 2013.

The New York Times is right in one aspect — today is when the levee broke for President Obama and the left. But perhaps a better analogy, at least based on reaction today, is the American public’s reaction to how Jimmy Carter’s policies and his effete New Left worldview led to both the Iranian hostage crisis and America’s protracted hamstrung flaccid response. The result was a discrediting of what was then called “liberalism” for a generation, to the point where, as Ann Coulter wrote in 2003, all politicians running for the White House, must pose as a Republican, lest they be seem as the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

Erstwhile former Obama supporter Megan McArdle wrote this past summer, long before Obama’s debacle in recent weeks, “Why I Think the GOP Will Have Control in 2017.” There’s a lot of road to be traveled over the next three years, but 2014 in particular starts today — as does the 2016 presidential bid, just as the left piggybacked on Bush and Katrina to recapture both houses of Congress in 2006.

Speaking of which:


Why the Rest of the Country Hates California

October 27th, 2013 - 6:08 pm


I know, I know, longest blog post ever written. This is but one reason why. On Saturday, the temperatures in San Jose were in the mid-70s; this morning when I awoke, I noticed a SEVERE WEATHER ALERT on my My.Yahoo homepage.

The SEVERE WEATHER ALERT was to inform local residents that temperatures were dropping. From the mid-70s to low-60s. At the end of October:







Yes, look at that temperature swing:

The horror.

After a particularly vicious snowstorm, Minneapolis’s James Lileks tweeted in February, “News report of East Coasters stocking up on bread, milk and toilet paper. So snowstorm = French toast and dysentery.”

I’m sure this fellow speaks for hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents upon seeing the SEVERE WEATHER ALERT this morning:

Of course, the real problem for the average California weatherman, and for the rest of us, is that while temperatures and precipitation in state are almost entirely predictable, another element — earthquakes — aren’t. Which can lead to some very interesting differences in East Coat and West Coast business cultures, as Virginia Postrel wrote in a memorable 1997 Forbes column.

“It’s North West! Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter’s name is confirmed as birth certificate is leaked,” according to the London Daily Mail:

TMZ witnessed a signed birth certificate with the name North West signed by Kim, 32, and Kanye, 36, at Cedars-Sinai hospital.

People magazine confirmed the news with a source close to the Kardashian family.

And a source told UsWeekly that the couple have already given their daughter a nickname — she will be ‘Nori for short’.

They added that the child has no middle name.

The name North had previously been suggested as a possibility for the child, although many Kardashian fans had dismissed the idea as a joke.

Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock could not be reached for comment.

Incidentally, since I’ve been meaning to post a link to this all week, this is as good a place as any to post a reminder that when it comes to pop “music,” Time magazine sure can pick ‘em: In August of 2005, a Time magazine cover story dubbed West (Kanye, not Adam or Leslie) “Hip-Hop’s Class Act…Why he’s the smartest man in pop music.” The following month, West would prove he’s neither of those traits, as he dynamited an NBC fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims with his racist rant against then-President George W. Bush, despite the fact, as DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile recently noted in CNN, “Bush came through on Katrina.”

Three years later, Time would run a story titled “Lil Wayne: The Best Rapper Alive.” This week, as Breitbart News noted, “Lil’ Wayne Stomps on U.S. Flag, Calls Country ‘Godless America.’”

We should have seen it coming; though perhaps we can predict future pop culture self-immolations. Who else has Time dubbed the best/smartest/classiest in their pop culture genres? Their implosion is likely just a matter of time.

The Gray Lady has a narrative, and she’s not going to deviate from it, no matter how incorrect it’s been proven to be. Check out the questions that music writer Jon Caramonica of the New York Times asks rapper Kanye West about his infamous racialist politicization of an NBC fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as spotted by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center in his latest column:

Egotistical musicians often exaggerate their political influence, none moreso than the nattering, narcissistic rapper Kanye West. He has compared himself in global stature to Apple founder Steve Jobs, and has titled his latest album “Yeesus.”

Rolling Stone magazine has posted part of a West song titled “I Am a God,” where West raps that Jesus is the “Most High,” but he’s a “close high.”

Now it’s the New York Times pandering to West’s colossal self-regard – and it’s downright embarrassing. Mouth-breathing Times writer/superfan Jon Caramonica stooped to telling West that “what I find probably the most moving thing that you’ve ever done, which is calling out President Bush at the Hurricane Katrina telethon. To me, that moment is actually the peak of putting a message in a pop format.” West agreed, designating it as “a very pop moment of a lifetime or generation.”

Do you remember this? Does anyone? Let me remind you of that generation-shaping moment. In the middle of an NBC telethon, as celebrities somberly asked for donations to the Red Cross, West lashed, for no reason, and stupidly, arrogantly, and rudely declared that President Bush “doesn’t care about black people.” [Video here -- Ed] He proceeded to add black people were smeared as looters and “now they’ve given them [police?] permission to go down and shoot us.”

Lyndon LaRouche is more rational than this idiot.

Caramonica thought this burp of hate was brilliant. “Were you conscious that that’s what you were doing, or was it totally just instinct?” West replied “it was pretty bugged out. When you think about it, I was wearing like, a Juicy Couture men’s polo shirt. We weren’t there, like, ready for war.”

In addition to President Bush’s efforts to fight AIDS and malaria in Africa, as even Donna Brazile, a chairwoman for the DNC and manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000 wrote for CNN this past April, “Bush came through on Katrina:”

Bush understood the need for civility. I joined him despite my frustration because the need was too great for finger-pointing and blame-making. He flew to New Orleans and addressed the nation: “Tonight I also offer this pledge to the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives.”

George W. Bush was good as his word. He visited the Gulf states 17 times; went 13 times to New Orleans. Laura Bush made 24 trips. Bush saw that $126 billion in aid was sent to the Gulf’s residents, as some members of his own party in Congress balked.

Bush put a special emphasis on rebuilding schools and universities. He didn’t forget African-Americans: Bush provided $400 million to the historically black colleges, now integrated, that remain a pride, and magnet for African-American students. Laura Bush, a librarian, saw to it that thousands of books ruined by the floods were replaced. To this day, there are many local libraries with tributes devoted to her efforts.

It was a team effort. I’m glad to report the commission I served on went out-of-business in 2010. I’m also grateful and proud to report that President Bush was one of the leaders, and a very important member, of that team. Our recovery can be credited to the civility and tireless efforts of President Bush and other Americans, who united and worked together to help rebuild the Gulf and the place of my birth, New Orleans.

Kudos to Brazile for writing that, particularly in CNN. Glenn Reynolds responded at Instapundit, “Boy, talk about a narrative-buster.”

I don’t know — it didn’t have enough force to penetrate the bunker that houses the New York Times’ editorial bullpen, but with walls — and minds — that thick, what can?

Then: in 2000,  the New York Times sniffed, “it does not take a scientist to size up the effects of snowless winters on the children too young to remember the record-setting blizzards of 1996. For them, the pleasures of sledding and snowball fights are as out-of-date as hoop-rolling, and the delight of a snow day off from school is unknown.”

Now: “‘Winter’ — maybe even snow — to return for Memorial Day weekend,” according to NBC today. “And weather.com said it could even get cold enough to see snow at higher altitudes in northern New York, northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northern Maine.”

Maybe turning a few lights on in the house might warm things up a little.

(Headline via a unintentionally classic 2000 headline from the London Independent.)

Politico Politicizes Oklahoma Tornado

May 23rd, 2013 - 1:10 pm

“At Least 91 Killed by Oklahoma Tornado, Politico ‘Reporter’ Rushes to Score Cheap Political Points,” blogger JammieWearingFool notes:

The scenes of destruction were unthinkable as this monster tornado swept up everything in its path, leaving twisted ruins and mounds of rubble. Yet as with all disasters, brave Americans rushed to the scene,  doing anything they could to help find the wounded. Such selflessness is instinctive, a goodness that lies in most people.

Sadly, punks like Politico “reporter” Glenn Thrush and a cadre of his fellow travelers aren’t most people. They’re simply evil. Bodies haven’t even been recovered and here this schmuck is looking to score some cheap political points at the expense of Oklahoma Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe. You see, Inhofe doesn’t buy the so-called “climate change” nonsense that has become a religion to the Thrushes of the world and Coburn dares to express the desire for accountability with government spending. So off to the races:


As JWF notes:

What the hell is a spending skeptic? Someone who doesn’t want to bankrupt the country? Well, golly, he deserves a natural disaster killing his constituents, including at least 24 schoolchildren. That ought to teach him. And that Inhofe, why he doesn’t buy the global warming scam. Forget the fact the planet isn’t warming, tornados have to be a result of climate change!

This isn’t the first time that a leftwing “journalist” attempted to use the aegis of the Politico to advance his own “global warming” agenda; recall this infamous run-in from early 2011 between professional climate alarmist Mark Hertsgaard, who claimed he was employed by the Politico, when he simply had contributed a few articles there as a freelancer, and Sen. Jim Inhofe. (Note that the California-based Hertsgaard must have flown across the country to ambush Inhofe, perhaps slaughtering countless polar bears in the process. Or at least making them cranky and wanting a nice hot cup of Ovaltine.)

How badly did the encounter with a doomsday environmentalist go for Inhofe? So badly that Inhofe himself uploaded the video of the encounter, and his pushback to his Senate webpage:

The embarrassed Politico, already tainted by the JournoList scandal, then quickly disavowed any official connection with Hertsgaard, telling the Daily Caller that, “Mr. Hertsgaard is not a POLITICO reporter or employee and we have asked him not to portray himself as one.” But still, if the Politico takes his theories and Thrush’s activism, they should follow Ann Althouse’s advice on the topic:

3. Free time should be spent sitting or lying still without using electricity. Don’t run the television or music playing device. Reading, done by sunlight is the best way to pass free time. After dark, why not have a pleasant conversation with friends or family? Word games or board games should replace sports or video games.

4. Get up at sunrise. Don’t waste the natural light. Try never to turn on the electric lights in your house or workplace. Put compact fluorescent bulbs in all your light fixtures. The glow is so ugly that it will reduce the temptation to turn them on.

5. Restrict your use of transportation. Do not assume that walking or biking is less productive of carbon emissions than using a highly efficient small car. Do not go anywhere you don’t have to go. When there is no food in the house to make dinner, instead of hopping in the car to go to the grocery store or a restaurant, take it as a cue to fast. As noted above, your weight should be at the low end of normal, and opportunities to reach or stay there should be greeted with a happy spirit.

And of course, set an example for the rest of us, and shut down your own Website. If you actually believe that “global warming” is so severe that we must all rearrange our lives, and you’re not simply trying to score cheap political points, what makes your use of air-conditioned server farms and their environmental impact so special?