Archive for January 17th, 2009

January 17, 2009

Hate or hysteria?

A CNN story recycling the increasingly tiresome “assassination watch” meme gets the ridicule it deserves from Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee:

[Obama] stands for nothing, and represents nothing. The simple fact of the matter is that until he’s actually sworn into his first-ever leadership position on Tuesday and had time to flail and make a series of horribly stupid mistakes, there isn’t anything he’s done to make him worth an effort on his life.

The CNN white-supremacist-assassin scare story, frankly, overlooks the possibility that Klan wackos are rational enough to realize that an assassination would be bad for business. If having a black president gins up interest in KuKluxism, Obama’s good for business. So why would they want to bump off their No. 1 recruiter?

Furthermore, Obama is taking office in the midst of an economic meltdown that his policy agenda will almost certainly make much worse. Insofar as Obama is perceived as a symbol of blackness, then, his presidency will likely damage the image of black people as much as the Bush administration has damaged the image of Texans. So I’m having a hard time seeing the motivation of the Klan assassins CNN is so worried about.

Notice, however, that CNN and the “experts” they consult seem completely oblivious to the scenario of an al-Qaeda terrorist attack on the president of the Great Satan. That’s because al-Qaeda is Muslim, and fostering fearfulness of Muslims is “hate.” The media want you to worry about a relative handful of tinfoil hat kooks, rather than about the bloodthirsty terrorist enemies who want to kill us all.

UPDATE: Greeting TPM readers, who’ve been told what an awful person I am. My advice: Don’t worship in the Church of Morris Dees.

UPDATE II: The real danger to Obama? He might get hugged to death by Frank Rich.

January 17, 2009

‘Blogging is not journalism’

(H/T: Extreme Mortman vis Instapundit.) Mike Barnicle, who was forced to resign from the Boston Globe in a plagiarism scandal, presumes to lecture Sarah Palin about what is and is not journalism:

BARNICLE: [S]omeone ought to tell governor Palin that there’s a distinction between blogging and what she refers to as journalism. Blogging –
MIKA: Is not journalism!
BARNICLE: I would say 95%; maybe 99% of blogging is basically therapy for the blogger.
MIKA: And it’s anonymous, isn’t it?
BARNICLE: Yeah. You know.

Matthew Yglesias rightly notes that the people who most furiously insist on the distinction between blogging and journalism are commentators — including columnists like Mike Barnicle — since, let’s face it, the blogosphere has really eaten the commentariat’s lunch over the past five years.

On the way to making that good point, however, Yglesias hops back aboard his hobby horse of derogating the value of on-the-scene campaign coverage, a criticism that puts Yglesias into the therapeutic mode. As much as I dislike “pack journalism” — the competitive scrum where everyone’s covering the same story — it inarguably has value. Everybody’s filing 700 words about the same rally in Bumblyburg, Ohio, but everybody’s not filing the same 700 words, and in the multiplicity of stories, you can find The Big Picture.

Yglesias also uses the term “crack investigative reporter” in a way that suggests he doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about. It’s the Woodward and Bernstein Syndrome, the mythology of an “investigative reporter” as something separate and distinct from, say, a cops-and-courts reporter who gets a big scoop.

Cover your beat, work the phones, develop your sources, look for an exclusive and follow up — that’s investigative reporting and every good reporter does it, whether they’re covering sports or the Pentagon. Thinking of investigative journalism as a function separate from regular reporting is a luxury that developed during the era of overcrowded newsrooms, and which won’t survive in the lean-and-mean times ahead for the news business.

January 17, 2009

A ‘green’ boondoggle . . .

. . . is still a boondoggle:

The U.S. economy has gone from bad to worse to worst over the past year. The current unemployment rate of 7.2 percent is the highest in 15 years, with more layoffs likely. Major companies have declared bankruptcy, while others teeter on the brink. Outgoing President George W. Bush opposed all but the barest economic stimulus measures, leaving the new Obama administration and 111th Congress to clean up the mess.
Thankfully, the days of inertia and inaction are over. As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to ascend to the nation’s highest office, he travels today to Bedford Heights, Ohio. There he will visit a wind turbine factory to urge Congress to promptly enact an $850 billion economic stimulus and recovery plan, which includes an unprecedented $77 billion for clean energy programs.

That’s from the woefully misnamed Center for American Progress, where nobody is sufficiently curious to ask: Does “clean energy” have some special economic value?

I mean, suppose that the same $77 billion were spent on — oh, I don’t know — let’s say, health care. Why is the provision of health care less worthy of $77 billion in taxpayer dollars than the development of “clean energy”?

At least we know that there is an actual market demand for health care, whereas “clean energy” is so inherently inefficient that nobody will pay what it costs to produce. If it weren’t for government subsidies and mandates, we wouldn’t be putting ethanol in our gas or building wind farms.

No, it’s not enough that idiot liberals want to pour out $850 billion in money we don’t have in order to try a neo-Keynesian solution to a financial problem that can’t possibly be fixed by such interventionist “pump priming.” (It won’t work!) The Center for American Progress is excitedly celebrating the fact that nearly a tenth of the “stimulus” package will be spent on the most economically inefficient uses imaginable.

Maybe for $77 billion dollars, some of these idiots could buy what they really need: A clue.

Oh, look! Yet another uneconomic stimulus: More money for mass transit projects that will never recoup their costs and require constant additional injections of taxpayer funds merely to meet operation and maintenance costs.

Ron Paul speaks economic truth to idiotic power:

We are at an economic dead-end and those in power are in denial. The truth is our economic problems are due to loose monetary policy, central economic planning, and the parasitic expenses of government. Unless we assess these problems honestly, we unfortunately have a long way to go until, like the junkie, we hit rock bottom.

Weimar America, here we come!

January 17, 2009

Tom Hanks calls you un-American

If you live in one of the 49 states where gay marriage is still illegal, he questions your patriotism:

There are a lot of people who feel that [opposition to gay rights] is un-American and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here’s what happens now.

With the sole exception of Massachusetts, we are all living under tyrannical un-American oppression. And we never even realized it until Tom Hanks told us so.