Archive for February 2nd, 2009

February 2, 2009

‘It is easy to mock . . .’

“. . . white-supremacist views as pathetic and to assume that nativism in the age of Obama is on the way out. But racism has a nasty habit of never going away, no matter how much we may want it to, and thus the perpetual need for vigilance. And it takes only a cursory look at a worsening economic climate and grim national mood to realize that history is always threatening to repeat itself.”
New York Times editorial

What the Times is huffing about is a press conference with Bay Buchanan, Jim Pinkerton, Peter Brimelow and Marcus Epstein which I covered last week. The report prepared by Epstein is available online, and any reader can assess the extent to which the slurs “white supremacist,” “nativism” and “racism” are applicable. (I only skimmed the report, but it certainly didn’t look like something Willis Carto or J.B. Stoner would publish.) The Times is to be congratulated for their effort, which I’m told got Bay Buchanan booked tonight on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Based on a superficial familiarity with the Epstein report, and with the discussion at the (lightly attended) press conference, I am left to wonder if there is any person, organization, publication or event aimed at discussing immigration as policy and politics from a border-enforcement perspective, that would not be denounced by the Times. in more or less the same manner as they’ve denounced Buchanan, et al.

Ah, but it seems like only yesterday that “dissent” was patriotic and we could not criticize Code Pink, CAIR, Ward Churchill, Cindy Sheehan or International ANSWER without being accused of totalitarian impulses. Some animals are more equal than others.

Perhaps we’ll soon have a directive telling us exactly which forms of dissent, and on which issues, are still considered patriotic. Obama should order Secretary Dodd and the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows to look into this.

UPDATE: Behold, the face of white supremacy! (What would Lothrop Stoddard say?)

February 2, 2009

Obama names new Cabinet post

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama yesterday announced that he would ask Congress to create a new federal department to help implement key elements of his ambitious agenda.

“Too long, the dreams of Americans have been denied, too long our nation’s promises have gone unfulfilled,” the president said during a White House news conference, in a nationally-televised speech that left several reporters wiping away tears at the unprecendented historic signficance of the moment. “No longer will we watch our children grow cynical with disappointment, nor see our senior citizens despairing of hope.”
Flanked by congressional leaders — including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who was visibly moved with emotion — the tall young president gestured dramatically as he declared: “America will wait no more. We must act now. For we the people, are the people, whose time, at last, has come.”
After a standing ovation from the assembled journalists, President Obama went on to say that congressional leaders had agreed to “initiate an expedited agenda” in order to approve by next Tueday emergency legislation creating and funding the new department, its fiscal-year 2010 budget projected at “eleventy kazillion dollars,” according to a senior administration official who spoke at a subsequent briefing.
Describing the new department’s mission as “pursuing world peace . . . ensuring social justice and . . .restoring America’s image abroad, an image tarnished by eight dark years of neglect,” the president named veteran Connecticut statesman Sen. Christopher Dodd as secretary-designate with Cabinet rank.
As Secretary of the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows, Dodd will face “daunting challenges in this time of crisis,” the president said, referring to the distinguished silver-haired senator as “one of our nation’s most visionary leaders.” . . .


February 2, 2009

PJM revenue model analyzed

I’m sure it’s all very simple, if you’re an accountant. But I’m not an accountant, and I don’t even know whether those calculations are based on the real contract terms or are just someone’s speculation.

If I had been good at math, I wouldn’t have become a journalist, OK? (It’s a career field occupied almost entirely by the math-deficient.) But the rock star gig didn’t work out, so . . . I was driving a forklift in 1986 before somebody offered me a newspaper job for $4.50 an hour, and a year ago, I walked away from The Washington Times after 10 years as an assistant national editor. People said I was crazy, and I won’t argue with ’em, but it was like God said, “Go,” so I went.

As I keep reminding you people, I write for money. Fee-for-service. An honest proposition:

  • If you can hire somebody else cheaper and get satisfactory results, go for it.
  • If somebody else offers me more money to do the same job, I’ll go for that.
  • If you don’t like what I turn in, I’ll pitch it somewhere else.
  • And if I start feeling I’m not being treated right, I can find my way to the door.

Nobody’s forcing me to write, and nobody’s forcing you to hire me. It’s called “capitalism” and “freedom,” and nobody’s taking advantage of anyone else. To be a capitalist worker — that is to say, a labor entrepreneur — you must be prepared to ask yourself some tough questions:

  • If you let somebody take advantage of you, whose fault is that?
  • If your employer does not treat you with courtesy and respect, whose fault is that?
  • If other employees seem to get favorable treatment, why don’t you?

. . . and perhaps most importantly . . .

  • If you are so damned mistreated and underpaid, why is it you can’t find somebody to pay you more and treat you better?

If you can’t accept responsibility for your own shortcomings and failures, if you want to wallow in self-pity, and sit around whining and grumbling and destroying morale because you think the world owes you a living, well . . . There’s 6 billion people on this planet, pal, and there’s no shortage of losers.

One day, when I was working as a sports editor for the notorious Otis Brumby (ask any journalist in Georgia about Otis’s reputation), I found myself visiting the office of a high school basketball coach, who was called away from our interview to deal with school business. And as I sat there waiting, I started reading a little Xeroxed poster on the wall:

If you work for a man, in heaven’s name, work for him!
If he pays you wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him, speak well of him, think well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution he represents.
I think if I worked for a man I would work for him. I would not work for him a part of the time, and the rest of the time work against him. I would give an undivided service or none. If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.

This I took to heart and from that day forward, as long as I worked for Otis Brumby, I worked for Otis Brumby. About another four months was all I could stand, and then I went back to driving a forklift, playing in rock-and-roll bands and even, for a while, working as a disc jockey in a gentlemen’s club (fired for “fraternization,” but I was a bachelor and a Democrat back then).

Two months later, I got hired to work for Burgett Mooney, who once stood by me when he had every reason to fire me. It wasn’t pity or friendship, but he thought I was a good writer, so he kept me on. And I worked for him as long as I could afford to, then got hired by The Washington Times. There, too, there were occasions when they had every reason to fire me, but they thought I was a good writer, so they kept me on, until finally it was time to go.

Regrets? Well, it’s unfortunate I missed the opportunity to work for Jeffrey “Real Journalistic Standards” Birnbaum, but you roll the dice and take your chances, eh? How I envy those who’ve had that good fortune . . .

Now, I’m seeing all the fallout and recriminations from the dissolution of the PJM network, just like I watched Culture11 do its Hindenburg-at-Lakehurst thing, and this morning I feel oddly earnest about these phenomena. (Conor Friedersdorf, take note.)

James Wolcott is amused. It is never a good thing when that asshole is amused, especially when so many people seem so eager to give him cause for amusement. By any reasonable estimate, the folks at Culture11 got chumped far worse than any PJM network member could claim to have gotten chumped. And yet I cannot help but notice that the folks who got played by Culture11 all seem eager to sing the praises of their doomed enterprise and their erstwhile employers, while some of the soon-to-be-former PJM networkers appear on the verge of drowning in the quicksand of bitterness.

So, before one of these Young Turks of the intellectual Right again accuses me of being a “tedious nothing,” let me try to find a conclusion. No amount of ability can guarantee success. One of the most talented rock singers I ever knew turned 40 working as a bartender in Roswell, Ga. Loyalty and hard work are not always rewarded, and sometimes good people get screwed over through no fault of their own. Even the most virtuous people can fall victim to the malice or incompetence of others.

Yet as tragic as those sorts of failures might seem, a man can fail in this world and still retain his honor, so long as others can look at his life and say, “He did what he believed was right, and did it as best as he could.”

The real tragedy is the man who was offered a chance at success — the kind of chance many others had worked and prayed for — but gave less than his best, then sought scapegoats to blame for the failure that was entirely his own fault.

Failure may be but a temporary detour on the road to success. Dishonor leaves a permanent stain.

UPDATE: It’s like an omen or something: Byron York — one of the genuinely nice guys in conservative journalism — gets hired away from National Review by the Washington Examiner. I hear they pay well, but the Examiner is notorious as the Bermuda Triangle for Washington journalists. The next time you see Byron’s name in print, it will be on a milk carton: MISSING! DISAPPEARED FEBRUARY 2009. IF YOU KNOW WHERE BYRON IS, PLEASE CALL 1-800……

UPDATE II: The Mystery Freelancer e-mails:

I have been increasingly frustrated by the petulant nature of the fallout from the event. I mean using PJM as your only source of income? Talk of betrayal? Anyway you wrote a piece that echoes my sentiments to a letter (though different experience). The freelance writing game is not exactly for the faint-hearted. It sucks to lose a source of income, but you just got to pick yourself up and get on with it. And two months warning? Hell, I have had freelance gigs where it was less than a week. No doubt you have too.

Heh. Try this: Friday night, I go cover a high-school football game for a weekly that publishes every Tuesday. About 10 o’clock Saturday morning, I get a call telling me not to bother writing up the story. The paper’s going out of business immediately, and could I please come get my final check before they lock up the office at noon?

February 2, 2009

The evil rich and the sainted poor

It’s all a fiendish profit scheme, and bankers are only it for the money:

The left is angry at banks for not managing their credit risks well enough, loaning money to people who couldn’t pay it back. The implication is often that this was all some sort of scheme to get working stiffs into debt slavery. Now it looks like American Express may be cracking down on credit risks, and Kevin Drum is mad . . .

“Mad” is used here, I believe, in the same sense as “Mad Hatter” or “Mad Scientist” . . . or “Mad Magazine.”

Thanks to Smitty for the mad tip.

February 2, 2009

Obama: Jessica Simpson’s SO FAT . . .

. . . when she sits around the house, she really sits around the house. That’s what he seems to be saying, anyway. Will the Obese-American lobby bust him for his fatphobic hate mongering?

Don’t worry, Jessica: You’ve just got more to love. A little cushion for the pushin’ — it’s all good. Sure, that Nick dude dumped you because of your huge cellulite-covered rump and Tony Romo cheated because your chunky thighs turned him off. But don’t let that make you self-conscious about your pear-shaped, bell-bottomed figure. Your body-image issues are all in your mind, you Big Beautiful Woman, you!

Wait! Did you hear that? What’s that sound? It’s coming from your freezer, Jessica. It’s that family-sized Stouffer’s lasagna, with all that rich, cheesy goodness. And it’s calling you . . .

UPDATE: Dang, looks like she’s already answered the call.

February 2, 2009

Steele and the dreaded M-word

My latest at Pajamas Media:

You knew the contest to become chairman of the Republican National Committee was getting ugly when they started throwing around nasty slurs like “moderate.”
Michael Steele got tagged with the dreaded M-word as part of a vicious guilt-by-association smear. He sustained more damage from his acquaintance with RINOs like Christie Todd Whitman than Barack Obama suffered for hanging out with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers.
After Steele survived a bruising six-ballot battle Friday for the GOP chairmanship, Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press made sure to cast the election in ideological terms, dubbing the former Maryland lieutenant governor “the most moderate candidate in the field.”
In truth, Steele is a committed pro-life Catholic who proudly calls himself a “Reagan Republican,” and ideological differences had relatively little impact on the RNC’s choice. . . .

You should read the whole thing.

February 2, 2009

‘Fundamentally nasty and mean-spirited’

Yeah, you know Sonny Bunch is talking about me. But he means that as a compliment:

We see a lesser example at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen today, in which Freddie de Boer describes Robert Stacy McCain as a “tedious nothing.” Now, I have plenty of disagreements with McCain — including on the topic Freddie, McCain, and Schwenkler are going back and forth on — but what does this sort of invective accomplish? And really, where does Freddie get off? Say what you will about McCain, but he’s a good enough writer to have provided for himself and his family for years with little more than his skill with words and reporting acumen.

There’s also my famous good looks and irresistible charm, not to mention my humility, modesty and tremendous personal dignity. But after years of praise from so many admirers, you stop noticing unintentional compliments like being called “tedious” by Freddie de Boer. It’s almost as flattering as being denounced by Glenn Greenwald.

Donald Douglas notes “a special obnoxiousness to Freddie’s long-winded puffery.” And Ramrocks at Conservatives4Palin announces that I have inspired Palinites to dub themselves “Ordinary Barbarians.”

Question: Why do the heathen rage? Answer: There is something infuriating about a man of no discernible ability succeeding with no discernible effort, looking disaster in the face and laughing as he strolls merrily to the next inexplicable triumph. What could possibly be the source of such mysterious confidence? How is that they, favored with every gift the world esteems, are nonetheless so miserable, while that skinny old hillbilly is so cheerful?

Ah, but have you seen the wife God blessed me with? She’s still hot, too, and why should I complain about being old and ugly now, when I was blessed to be so sexy once. Once was plenty enough, you see.

There are no atheists in foxholes. And I’ve being killing ’em with double entendres since grade school.

UPDATE: Perhaps related, in a sort of bizarre gestalt way: Via Dan Riehl, here’s Donald Douglas with a post about Ann Althouse’s nipples. NTTAWWT. And no, I’m not making this up. If conservative bloggers are acting kinda wacky lately, blame Obama Derangement Syndrome. Maybe we can get ODS disability checks in the “stimulus” package.

UPDATE II: Speaking of the package . . . To the anonymous commenter whose wife wants the phone number of that sexy dude in the striped Speedo: First of all, she’ll need a time machine to go back to 1990, when that dude swam laps every morning and evening before and after work and had a 29-inch waist. Once she gets to back 1990, your wife should tell that dude three things: 1. Avoid politics. 2. Stay away from Washington, D.C. and 3. Start flossing.

Oh, one more thing: Tell her to watch out for that dude’s wife, who has always been mighty jealous. Very sweet, but you wouldn’t want to see her angry.

February 2, 2009

Old weirdo interviews Michael Steele

The night before the RNC chairmanship election, some loser hanging out in Michael Steele’s hospitality suite decided to ask him about the repeated violations of Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment. Kerry Picket’s camera captured the moment:

February 2, 2009

For want of a nail . . .

Nothing so frustrates conservatives as watching how the Republican Party repeatedly throws away opportunities for important victories. Andrew Breitbart talks about one squandered chance:

Back in 2004, a smart, good-looking moderate Republican Hispanic ran for Congress. At the time Victor Elizalde was just under 40 years old and working as an executive at a big-time Hollywood studio. As an ethnic minority, a family man and a rare open conservative in an industry dominated by liberals, Mr. Elizalde represented hope and change for the Republican Party.
Yet because he was running for Henry A. Waxman´s safe seat, Mr. Elizalde got no support from the Republican Party . In fact, no one in the party´s leadership took notice of him. As a result Mr. Waxman trounced Mr. Elizalde with 71 percent of the vote.

Amen, Brother Andrew! I saw them do the same exact thing this past year with Lt. Col. Allen West. His supporters were bitterly disappointed that the NRCC — after trying desperately to recruit any other Republican to run in FL22 – wouldn’t lift a finger or spend a cent to support an Iraq war veteran’s campaign.

The “cretinous b*stards” who run the Republican Party will gladly throw away millions to support useless RINOs like Lincoln Chafee, but let a real conservative fight to win a primary, and watch how those overpaid geniuses at the GOPHQ “cocktail party” treat him like a leper.

If Michael Steele changes nothing else as RNC chairman, he must change this. No more “Mavericks,” no more wasting money on Chafees, and no more running away from a fight leaving conservatives to die on the political battlefield.

February 2, 2009

Guilty: Of Dissing Me

Despite repeated requests, I have been unable to get an interview with Ann Coulter. “She doesn’t do phone interviews,” says the publicist. “Send your questions by e-mail.”

Yet Bernard Chapin can get an interview for Pajamas Media?

Hey, I write for PJM, too. Why him and not me? He’s good enough to interview Ann, but I’m not.

It hurts. It hurts bad. But I guess it just goes to prove what I always say: If you volunteer to be a doormat, don’t complain about the footprints on your back.