Archive for March 6th, 2009

March 6, 2009

Recognize this guy?

Guitar legend Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame with a 1958 Gibson Les Paul sunburst. Ed Driscoll sent out a Twitter last night directing me to this photo in a guitar-junkie forum. My 16-year-old twin boys both play guitar. One of them has the total ax obsession necessary to look at that photo and, rather than thinking, “Hey, Jimmy Page is aging gracefully,” instead think, “What kind of pickups has he got in that thing?”

Here’s “Kashmir” live:

by Smitty
Commentor Serr8d alluded to Fast Times…, triggering a Rule 5 requirement to decorate the post with a bit of Phoebe-age:

March 6, 2009

Attention, Evan Ramsey McLaren

You’re 24 years old, OK? I’ve got ties older than you. When I was your age (groan) I was working as a nightclub DJ, driving a forklift during the day, and camping out weekends for Rod Stewart tickets (we part-time scalpers used to acquire our commodity in such manner). So excuse me for raising an eyebrow at this kind of rant:

The Republican Party, the conservative movement — these are our enemies, we kept muttering amid the sad CPAC gathering of GOP robots and clowns. This petty hierarchy of shills, time servers, and girlish men (and boys) is supposed to represent a movement of principle — of people — and embody real opposition to established power arrangements and to the Left? What a bunch of unadulterated hooey.
The difference between Us and Them is not philosophical or intellectual. It is much more basic. Besides our heightened sense that the conservative movement is a top-to-bottom failure, we simply have too much backbone to function as obedient servants in their crummy, impotent army. . . .

Blah, blah, blah. Young Turks know everything, and nobody else knows anything. As much as I share the Young Turks’ disgust with the creaky infrastructure of the GOP, I’ve got no taste for being lectured by a spoiled rich punk (Kenyon College tuition: $38K/yr) whose chief contributions to conservatism to date consist of editing a student newspaper

Were there any justice in the world, Evan, you’d be bagging groceries at Safeway and living in your mother’s basement. And given the ongoing economic gotterdammerung, justice might be a lot closer than you think. I was also impossibly arrogant when I was your age, kid — I’m pretty damned arrogant still — but there was no Internet whereby I could embarrass myself by parading my arrogance for all the world to see.
Now shut up and get me a cup of coffee, punk. Don’t make me get rough with you.
UPDATE: Kleinheider links. This McLaren kid is not worse than a lot of other 20-somethings in the political world. He just happened to wander into my crosshairs, a target of opportunity. I’ve done this rant before in various forms, and I suppose at some point it needs to be distilled into a carefully reasoned article, but let me recap a few of my basic points.
One of the problems with this whole “conservative youth movement” business is that “youth” today are used to being kowtowed to and petted by their elders — the Gold Star Syndrome. They get all puffed up and think they know everything because they’re praised to high heaven for any little thing they do. 
They’re never rebuked, never assigned to do grunt-work and told that if they don’t like it, “there’s the door.” They become ungrateful and disgruntled because they’re not compelled to pay their dues. This has always been my beef with Ross Douthat, who graduated from Harvard and immediately landed a contract to write a book about . . . what it’s like to attend Harvard.
Well, f— you, Ross Douthat. Nobody ever offered me a contract to write a book about what it’s like to attend Jacksonville (Ala.) State University, although that book would be a heckuva lot more entertaining than your ponderously earnest tome.
I’ve worked a lot with the Young America’s Foundation, and at least Ron Robinson and his crew make kids work to deserve whatever recognition they get. (Not to give away any trade secrets, but let me advise kids: If you attend a YAF event, be assured that you will be observed and evaluated. They’re looking for leadership qualities and organizational ability, and if you show up acting like a doofus, this will be noticed.) 
YAF honors students who can do the basic work of organizing: Raising money, scheduling events, coordinating travel, etc. And if you meet one of their best trainees — name out of a hat, Matt Sauvage of GWU — you recognize what the program accomplishes. And they push their trainees toward work of real political value.
Developing young conservative journalists, on the other hand, has become problematic in the age of cable punditry and a blogospheric environment where every 24-year-old who can compose a paragraph thinks he’s the second coming of William F. Buckley Jr.
American Spectator managing editor J.P. Freire, whom I mean to praise highly when I say he’s one of the least obnoxious of the Young Turks, is fond of saying that what we need is fewer Bill Buckleys and more Bob Novaks. We need fewer kids who want to lecture us about what Russell Kirk really meant, and more kids who don’t mind getting their hands dirty doing the basic business of reporting the news.
So when I just happened to come across the McLaren kid denouncing CPAC as a “gathering of GOP robots and clowns” — grrrrrr! My God, I could have introduced the boy to the legendary M. Stanton Evans, who is certainly not anybody’s robot or clown. Evans was sitting outside the lobby bar all but unrecognized by the hordes of callow punks strolling past.
Exactly what has Evan Ramsey McLaren accomplished that he should dismiss so arrogantly these eminences gris of conservatism? Must seniority and estimable service plead for recognition from the likes of McLaren? Where is there in this young man’s attitude anything of the chivalry that Burke celebrated?
Well . . . I could write a book. But I’m getting pretty damned tired of the outrageous displays of arrogance by these young writers who, by all rights, ought to be compiling “community briefs” at some small-town newspaper rather than lecturing their elders about “true conservatism.”
March 6, 2009

Alabama Tea Party plans

As some of you may have noticed in the sidebar, plans are being sketched in for the Alabama Tea Party, part of the big April 15 nationwide event. This is my trip to Alabama I first mentioned a few days ago, and for which I’m now trying to raise money. (Thanks to everyone who’s hit the tip jar so far.)

In telephone discussions with one of the organizers, I get the idea that a whole series of events is planned April 15-19. Huntsville, Birmingham and Montgomery have been mentioned. Also, there is an event in Atlanta that I’ll be attending during that week. So get in touch and mark your calenders. And if you don’t want to hit the tip jar (although you should), you can at least buy a T-shirt with this design:

The slogan on the design (incorporating the Alabama state flag) is something I’ve been saying about Ordinary Americans, that what America needs most now is the common sense of common people. Click on the logo to purchase the shirts. Proceeds from sales go to help your favorite greedy capitalist blogger. WOLVERINES!

March 6, 2009

On G. Gordon Liddy

I’ll be appearing on the G. Gordon Liddy Show about 10:30 a.m. today. Among the topics I hope to discuss with the G-Man are my new economic plan, the Foreclose and Evict the Deadbeat Scum (FEDS) Program.

If you can’t find the G-Man on your local radio, you can listen live online or, if you miss it, download the podcast.

March 6, 2009

Karl Rove: ‘It Won’t Work’

A few days before CPAC, I learned that Karl Rove was following my Twitter feed, and the scary thing about that — even more than the possibility of Karl researching all the nasty crap I’ve said about him before we became BFFs — was that I might become “influential.” So imagine my horror when Jennifer Rubin blogged the latest Rove column:

Eloquent words and “spin” work better in a campaign than they do while governing. And as Mr. Obama is discovering, the laws of economics won’t change, even for him.

OK, here’s me, Feb. 15, at AmSpecBlog:

The fiscal fantasies of Hope are about to slam head-on into the economic realities of the bond market. Economic reality is an unmovable object, and liberals are about to discover that Hope is not an irresistible force.
Or, in fewer words: It Won’t Work.

No specialized knowledge or advanced education is needed to understand why Obamanomics won’t work. All you need is two eyes, a brain, and the common sense of common people. Ignore the polls. Ordinary Americans who are watching their hard-earned retirement savings evaporate in the stock-market meltdown caused by Obamanomics are beginning to realize that Hope is a poor substitute for basic economics.

As bad as the stock-market slide has been, try to imagine the crisis that could ensue if the bond market gets the jitters. Associated Press on Wednesday reported:

Analysts are anticipating that the Treasury Department on Thursday will announce plans [to] auction $60 billion in notes next week. The government has been issuing debt this year at a record pace to finance its bailouts.
So far, auctions have been met with solid demand. But investors have gotten warier about buying Treasurys, particularly long-term ones.

No sign yet of a doomsday scenario, but these massive deficit-spending schemes piled one atop each other are placing unprecedented pressure on capital markets already ratcheted drum-tight by the bursting of the housing bubble and related financial fallout. Obama’s budget is a fantasy, and while bonds tend to go up when stocks go down (people shifting capital from risk to security), we’re now on such shaky ground — fiscal, financial and monetary policy all going where no policies have gone before — that the future is beyond prediction, certainly for a mere amateur like me.

People are scared. People are angry. They’re “going Galt.” They’re planning a National Tea Party April 15.

Good-bye, Hope and Change. Hello, Fear and Loathing. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

March 6, 2009

‘Morning Joe’ vs. ‘Fox & Friends’

This morning, I happened to be awake at 6 a.m. — did I mention I love my wife? — and while Mrs. Other McCain was in the shower getting ready for work, I relaxed contentedly by toggling back and forth between “Fox & Friends” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Fox fans can crucify me for saying this, but “Morning Joe” is the better program, and the superiority of the MSNBC show was blindingly evident today. While “Fox & Friends” had on Geraldo Rivera to talk about Rhianna (allegedly) getting beat up by her boyfriend, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle, Pat Buchanan and Mika Brzrzbuyavowelski were talking about real news — especially the economic meltdown and the inability of Congress or the Obama administration to do anything to stop it.

Excuse me for thinking that gotterdammerung on Wall Street is more important than a domestic-violence case involving two second-rate pop stars that no one over 30 ever heard of until Chris Brown (allegedly) beat Rhianna to a bloody pulp.

OK, there may be some kind of “counterprogramming” rationale behind Fox producers going with celebrity tabloid news at 6 a.m., but there is a word for that rationale: Wrong. Most of those who get up at 6 a.m. and switch to the early news are essentially serious people. They’re in a hurry, getting ready to go to work, and they want to hear about news that makes a difference in their lives, which doesn’t include the obnoxious Geraldo sharing gossip about two pop singers.

Furthermore — and Steve Doocy’s my Facebook friend, so I want to be careful how I say this — the “Fox & Friends” crew seems too lightweight. The “Morning Joe” crew is anchored by a former congressman and features a veteran political adviser in Buchanan. Barnicle doesn’t impress me much, but Brzrzbuyavowelski, though hopelessly liberal, is at least a smart, serious liberal.

To employ an overused word, the implicit gravitas of the MSNBC crew gives them more leeway to joke around amiably like a bunch of buddies just talkin’ news, whereas Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade lack that sort of heft (Doocy wasn’t on the show this morning). My impression is that Kilmeade is a hometown favorite in the New York market, so Fox isn’t going to pull him from the show, and I wouldn’t want them to pull my buddy Doocy, which makes Carlson the prime candidate for replacement, if the executives want to tinker with the formula.

Bay Buchanan? Kate Obenshain? I don’t know. They need somebody with a credible government/politics background. They need to change something. The whole mood of the Fox show is wrong for the current economic and political climate.

Any serious news junkie toggling back and forth between Fox and MSNBC in the mornings — and this isn’t the first time I’ve done this in recent weeks — can’t help but notice the difference. “Fox & Friends” feels too fake perky-cheery like “Good Morning, Orlando” or something, whereas “Morning Joe” exudes a vibe that is simultaneously confident, smart, and relaxed.

Roger Ailes needs to be paying attention, because whatever the total Nielsen numbers, he’s losing “the eyes of the influentials,” to borrow a phrase from Jon Henke.

UPDATE: I’m getting some push-back in the comments, which is OK, but Hyscience agrees with me. To those who only watch Fox, you should try toggling between “F&F” and “MJ” some mornings. Maybe it’s me, but the Joe show is less show-biz, more laidback, and I like that — even if Barnicle and Brzrzbuyavowelski aren’t to my taste.

March 6, 2009

You’re welcome, Rush

“I’m going to leave some others out, but there have been a lot of people stepping up here, and I just want all of you who have to know I noted it and I appreciate it, and I thank you more than you could possibly ever know.”
Rush Limbaugh

Sorry I couldn’t have been in the green room with you and Erick Erickson, but I was busy hanging out with your man in Fairway No. 1. Ronald Reagan once said that you can accomplish anything, so long as you don’t care who gets the credit. I’m no T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, but I do what I can.

March 6, 2009

Where Did the Pleasant Cthulhu Go?

by Smitty
The poor wee Cramer:

I also made it clear in a New York magazine article that I favored Obama over McCain because I thought Obama to be a middle-of-the-road Democrat, exactly the kind I have supported all my adult life, although I will admit to being far more left-wing during my teenage years and early 20s.
To be totally out of the closet, I actually embrace every part of Obama’s agenda, right down to the increase on personal taxes and the mortgage deduction. I am a fierce environmentalist who has donated multiple acres to the state of New Jersey to keep forever wild. I believe in cap and trade. I favor playing hardball with drug companies that hold up the U.S. government with me-too products.

Oh, it must have been pleasant in that closet, Mr. Cramer. Not that we’re the least bit interested in the rituals. Now, however, you can reap the whirlwind with the rest of us:

So I will fight the fight against that agenda. I will stand up for what I believe and for what I have always believed: Every person has a right to be rich in this country and I want to help them get there. And when they get there, if times are good, we can have them give back or pay higher taxes. Until they get there, I don’t want them shackled or scared or paralyzed. That’s what I see now.
If that makes me an enemy of the White House, then call me a general of an army that Obama may not even know exists — tens of millions of people who live in fear of having no money saved when they need it and who get poorer by the day.

No, Cramer, the truth about world-class evil is that it can afford to devour the worshippers as well, knowing that there will always be a supply of useful idiots, until humanity itself is gone, which is the other big win. Your consolation prize was also eaten, but here is a free clip upon which to ruminate:

UPDATE (RSM): Dang, Smitty’s got the blog-fu goin’ on, don’t he? Give the man kudos. And he got ‘Lanched!