Archive for March 9th, 2009

March 9, 2009

Note to self

Never make Kathy Shaidle angry. I haven’t been following this thing with the Canadian “human rights” nonsense so I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but I am 100% sure I would hate to be that idiot liberal blogger who crossed her.

Don’t worry, Kathy: Keep it up until they deport you. You’re too good to be Canadian. In my book, Canadians are not actually human and therefore have no rights — a principle known down home as “The Neil Young Rule.” Cue the theme song:

South Park – Blame Canada – video powered by Metacafe

UPDATED: To fix broken link.

March 9, 2009

A Missed Point About Unions

by Smitty
Gary Gross over at Let Freedom Ring points to a NYT article about unions being less than united about health care reform:

Two labor unions have pulled out of a broad coalition seeking agreement on major changes in the health care system.
The action, by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union, shows the seeds of discord behind the optimistic talk at a White House conference on health care this week.

Unions had value, many decades ago when workers were exploited. At what point did they morph into de facto temp agencies, rationing workers to companies under the mistaken impression that they still have employees?

March 9, 2009

Meghan and ‘progressive Republicans’

Meghan McCain announces she’s a “progressive Republican,” prompting Jimmie at Sundries Shack to say that a “cute caboose” is the only difference between David Frum and Crazy Cousin John’s daughter.

As I told Jimmie, I’ve never actually seen Meghan’s caboose, so he’s probably giving her too much credit. And Donald Douglas writes:

I’m waiting to hear back from Robert Stacy McCain about all of this. McCain’s been making the case that Barack Obama’s economic policies will fail, and Republicans will be positioned sooner rather than later for a return to power, in Congress and perhaps the executive. But a lasting Republican electoral model needs to be more than about protecting the interests of “economic man.” The roots of conservatism are found in traditions and institutions that limit governmental power and unlock the potential of the individual.

I disagree with the entire premise of “progressive Republicanism,” since it is nothing but a shadow cast by liberalism. I believe it was M. Stanton Evans who said that if the Democrats proposed to burn down the Capitol tomorrow, liberal Republicans would agree to compromise by burning down half of it next Thursday.

Having quit the Democrats about 15 years ago, I’m not going to let some halfwit milquetoast moderate like Meghan McCain lead me back into endorsing 60% of the idiot agenda that I opposed even when I was still a loyal Democrat. Compromising with evil may sometimes be necessary, but it is not a virtue, as the “progressive Republicans” would have you believe.

I may come back to update with more thoughts later. But there is a reason I didn’t jump on this earlier. Meghan just trashed Ann Coulter and if I know Ann like I think I know Ann, after she publishes her column Wednesday. there will be nothing but a radioactive crater where Meghan McCain’s credibility as a Republican used to be.

UPDATE: OK, so let me address Dr. Douglas’s comment about conservatism and the electoral necessity of the Republican Party mounting more than an appeal to homo economicus. This is true, but what is that “something else” we all agree on? And given that Obamanomics is driving the nation to ruin — It Won’t Work — why is that “something else” so important that we must agree on it now?

The argument for economic liberty has the tremendous merit of being true. We know that, ceteris parabus, a free economy is a more prosperous economy in the same way that we know the force of gravity to be 32 feet per second squared. This is a fact, and all effort to convince us otherwise is therefore a lie, and anyone who prefers lies to facts is a fool.

So when David Brooks conjured up his “National Greatness” nonsense, trying to convince Republicans congressional leaders that their idea of limiting government for the sake of economic freedom was a bad thing — “Oh, those horrid anti-government populists!” — the conclusion that any honest and informed person should have reached was: David Brooks is either a liar or a fool.

From the day I first laid eyes on “National Greatness,” I knew it was wrong, and I developed an instant distrust of David Brooks. He is an elegant writer; no one can deny that. His “Bobos in Paradise” was a delight to read. But the man’s political judgment is fundamentally unsound, and by presenting himself as a conservative — or “moderate conservative,” or whatever he’s calling himself this week — he has done more harm to the cause of liberty than any other intellectual now living, including Ward Churchill. He is certainly fully deserving of his most recent award.

A constitutionally limited government is either right or wrong. If limited government is right, then unconstitutional interventions in the economy are wrong. Brooks’s arguments for “Hamiltonian conservatism” (cue eye rolls) are arguments in favor of a constitution that the Founders did not draft, and which the states would not have approved. When Hamilton attempted, via his influence in the administration of John Adams, to impose his more expansive view of federal power, it sparked a backlash that led to the creation of the Democratic Party, an accursed wrong turn in American history that is with us to this day.

The term “neoconservative” has been wrenched out of context and turned into a meaningless epithet, but the allegation that neocons are “Straussian” involves the accusation that they are dishonest in argument, preferring Platonic “noble lies” to the blunt truth. Whatever label you slap on Brooks, he is a first-class peddler of “noble lies,” who labors tirelessly to create a myth of American political history that exactly suits his purpose. And he has exactly one purpose: The advancement and promotion of David Brooks.

Brooks’s obsession with “respectability” — a trait he shares with all “moderate Republicans” who express horror at Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin or any other genuinely popular conservative — is the hallmark of selfishness.

An unselfish and honest man — that is to say, a real man — does not give a damn whether other people think his opinions are “respectable.” He believes what he believes, he stays true to his beliefs, and if he changes his mind about something, he will begin by admitting that he was formerly wrong, and with that admission begin to convince those with whom he formerly agreed that they must now change their minds, too.

Brooks does not do this. He was a cheerleader for Bushism, then a cheerleader for McCainism, until he became a cheerleader for Obamaism, and he thinks that ordinary Americans are too stupid to notice that he’s just drifting wherever the winds of lucrative “respectability” lead him.

And, of course, Brooks suffers the ironic fate of all who make “respectability” their lodestar: NOBODY RESPECTS HIM.

In sum, then, Brooks is both a cause of, and a metaphor for, the sorry state of the Republican Party. And the Meghan McCains of the GOP, who think that there is something to be gained by further betrayals of the bedrock principles of economic liberty and limited government, are merely proposing to take Republicans from irrelevance to extinction.

UPDATE II: Excuse me for that digression into Brooks-bashing. As I explained today to my novelist friend Tito Perdue, I’ve become concerned for the health of my spleen.

Moderate Republicanism has a horrible effect on my spleen, causing the production of excess bile. The bile starts building up in my spleen, next thing you know, the ducts become blocked, it backs up into my bloodstream and I get the overwhelming urge to smack around some pathetic 24-year-old Kenyon College grad just for sport. So let’s actually quote little Miss Meghan:

To make matters worse, certain individuals continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about Republicans.

(You mean the “negative stereotype” that Republicans are short, clueless old bald guys?)

Especially Republican women. Who do I feel is the biggest culprit? Ann Coulter.

(Note that she does not say, “Elaine Chao” or “Elizabeth Dole” or some other Republican woman less famous and popular than Coulter. You’re not going to get a Daily Beast column by announcing that the biggest problem with the Republican Party is Olympia Snowe.)

I straight up don’t understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time.

(Funny, I said three of those things about your father. He was never radical. Crazy, yes. Radical, no.)

I consider myself a progressive Republican, but here is what I don’t get about Coulter: Is she for real or not?

(She is real, and she is spectacular. She is also funny. So that’s something else you don’t have in common with her. Say, Meghan, how about I set you up with a guy. He’s perfect for you. He didn’t much care for CPAC, either. Kid’s name is Evan Ramsey McLaren. Don’t say I never did you any favors.)

UPDATE III: Hot girl-on-girl action, as Monique jumps into the Jello pit with Meghan:

I’m waiting to see you on an episode of Maury ten years from now where you bring back the boy who wouldn’t kiss you to tell him how over it you are. Except, you’re obviously not over it because if you were you wouldn’t be concerned with bringing the guy on Maury and telling him about it.

Let’s go to the super-slow-motion video replay . . .

March 9, 2009

‘Big Sexy’ vs. Charles Rangel

Jason Mattera confronts the Most Ethical Democrat Evah, eliciting the carefully argued response: “Why don’t you mind your goddamned business?”

BTW, both Moe Unique Hits and Clever S. Logan are in love with Mattera, whom Logan nicknamed “Big Sexy.” A couple of years ago, I jokingly suggested to Big Sexy that he should marry Moe and, when he refused to act on my suggestion — I was joking, but Moe really was in love with the boy — I sicced Logan on him, so he would know how a broken heart feels. I’m evil like that.

Then I introduced Moe to Logan, and got them both into blogging, and now Big Sexy is mad at me, alleging that I broke the Guy Code. I’m evil like that, too. But really, Jason, man, it’s for your own good. Until you send Logan that box of Godiva chocolates you promised, you’re in that zone of injustice where you’re not allowed to invoke the Guy Code.

UPDATE: Jason Mattera is a racist who hates Asians (as I’m sure Michelle Malkin would gladly testify.)

March 9, 2009

Idiot liberal guy: ‘I take it back, because she’s a hottie’

“Clearly, a perceived sexual orientation bias by someone else is akin to blasphemy, but blatant sexism when they’re the ones dishing it out? Well, that’s just par for the liberal course.”

Clever S. Logan, in response to an idiot who rescinded his condemnation of her alleged “homophobia” after seeing her photo

(See, this is my fundamental career problem. I’m too ugly to merit an apology from anyone.)

UPDATE: William Jacobson has decided to help mentor the Minions of Evil. Which means he also must give some Rule 2 to Moe Unique Hits. They come as a pair, Bill. (I can never resist a double-entendre.) It’s OK to employ the Rule 5 effect with Logan, but don’t deny Moe her FMJRA.

March 9, 2009

David Brooks rumored for book deal: ‘How to Lose Influence and Alienate People’

He’s at the bottom of a deep hole, but refuses to stop digging, and Kazoolist calls him out for his violation of three principles — Equality, Liberty and Justice:

David Brooks doesn’t share a common outlook on these three American values with conservatives. He’s willing to do away with the conservative push for Justice and Liberty for a little Equality. That’s not the balance of a conservative, it’s the balance of a liberal. Now if only the mainstream media would bring Brooks on their programs under the right label.

Since becoming an ex-Democrat some 15 years ago, I am naturally suspicious of any tribute paid to Equality, since the pursuit of Equality tends to become a totalitarian impulse that obliterates all other values. One can accept the premise that “all men are create equal” only in the sense that Jefferson intended it, but that sense long ago evaporated, replaced with the radical egalitarianism that conceives of people having a right to housing, a right to health care, and so forth.

At any rate, I’m grateful to Kazoolist for his contribution to the cause, nearly as much as I am grateful to those who have contributed to The David Brooks Fisking Fund. Give now: It’s For The Children!

March 9, 2009

Congratulations, Rich Miniter!

E-mail press release:

Richard Miniter Appointed as Washington Times Editorial Page Editor
Washington, DC: Richard Miniter, a best-selling author, award-winning investigative journalist and former Wall Street Journal editorial writer, has been named Editor of the Editorial Pages and Vice President of Opinion by the Washington Times.
Mr, Miniter, who wrote two New York Times bestselling books, and won awards for investigative reporting at the Sunday Times of London, is a former editorial writer and columnist for the Wall Street Journal Europe and His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal as well as The Atlantic Monthly, Reader’s Digest, National Review and The New Republic. He is a regular commentator on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, C-Span, and CNBC and many nationally syndicated radio programs.
The role of Vice President of Opinion is new, encompassing the editorial page, the op-ed page, and commentary pages. (Since the paper’s founding in 1982, Editorial and Commentary pages were managed separately.) The new Vice President of Opinion will also oversee all online opinion, the opinion component of the new Washington Times wire service that distributes to more than 90 newspapers and other new products to be unveiled in the coming months.
Appointing Mr. Miniter is the latest in a series of bold moves designed to remake The Times, Washington Times President and Publisher Thomas P. McDevitt said. “After an extensive nationwide search, we are extremely pleased to find Richard Miniter, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a bestselling author.”
The editorial pages will remain true to conservative values, while reaching out for independent-minded and thoughtful writers of op-eds, Mr. McDevitt said. “We’ve been listening to our readers and they tell us they want sharp, fact-based analysis that challenges the conventional wisdom in Washington. Expect us to be more distinctive, contrarian, authoritative and conservative on our opinion pages. The challenges we face in this nation demand the very best opinion, analysis and a forum for solution-oriented debate. Rich Miniter and the team we are assembling at The Times are committed to providing that for our readers every day.”
The Opinion pages will feature a new design in its print editions, starting on Wednesday, and the online Opinion pages will boast a new, easier-to-navigate design later this Spring. “While many of our readers’ favorite syndicated columnists will continue to appear on, the mix on our print pages will emphasize original, news-breaking and exclusive content,” Mr. Miniter said. “We value the reader’s time and they want the very best insights as well as the finest selection of their favorite writers.”
Mr. Miniter was a member of the award-winning investigative team of the Sunday Times (of London) in 2001 and 2002. Reporting from Darfur, Mr. Miniter was the first to publish an interview with a Janjaweed warlord in the field.
His New York Times bestselling book “Losing bin Laden” was a groundbreaking investigation that drew on dozens of senior Clinton Administration sources to reveal that the threat posed by bin Laden was known long before the September 11 attacks–and too little was done.
Mr. Miniter’s second New York Times bestseller “Shadow War,” based on war-zone reporting from Iraq, North Africa and Southeast Asia, was among the first to contend that the U.S. is winning the war on terror. Mr. Miniter’s first book, “The Myth of Market Share,” was published by Random House and was hailed by The Washington Post as a “must read for business executives.”
Mr. Miniter is as comfortable in a newsroom as he is with U.S. Marines in Iraq, with rebels in war zones in Uganda, Sudan and Burma, and along smugglers’ routes in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, interviewing everybody from warlords and prime ministers to diplomats, soldiers and spies.
The Opinion pages will have a new operating philosophy while remaining faithful to its signature conservative values. “The Internet has transformed the environment for opinion writing,” Mr. Miniter said. “Every blogger has an opinion and the market for pure opinion is saturated. We are going to be different. Readers want editorials, op-eds and columns based on reporting and news. We expect our editorial writers to act like reporters and then add insight and perspective to explain what it all means. And we will respond at blog speed.”
“Though our two departments operate separately, I’m thrilled to have our opinion pages under the stewardship of such an accomplished journalist as Rich,” said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon. “I know Rich will honor The Washington Times’ extraordinary editorial tradition built on the shoulder of giants like Tony Snow and Tony Blankley while transforming our print and online opinion for the 21st century with the same deep reporting and insight he has demonstrated through his career as an editorial writer, reporter and best-selling author.” (Emphasis added)

Congratulations, Rich.

UPDATE: Over at AmSpecBlog, I call attention to Miniter’s quote about how the blogosphere has revolutionized journalism, a point I’ve tried to make for years:

The privileged positions within the newspaper industry enjoyed by op-ed columnists like David Brooks have been rendered obsolete by the rise of the blogosphere. Were there any justice in the world, the New York Times would have axed overpaid opinionators like Brooks and Maureen Dowd rather than eviscerating its news-reporting operation.
Good to see that finally someone in the newspaper business gets it.

I cannot be accused of sucking up to Miniter with any ulterior motive. I put in a decade at The Washington Times and walked away in January 2008. The timing of my exit was consciously chosen so as to assure that I left on good terms, and could not be accused of burning a bridge. And then Tom McDevitt made the mistake of hiring Jeff Birnbaum, who went on C-SPAN to proclaim that, until he was hired, the newspaper had lacked “real journalistic standards.”

Rule 4 went into effect at that moment. Birnbaum can do nothing to repair the damage caused by his vicious insult to the men and women who have devoted their careers to making The Washington Times one of the world’s most important news organizations.

The vile creature who would do such a thing — to disparage his own employer and the professional journalists with whom he worked on a daily basis — is unworthy of the respect that should be accorded to the lowliest clerk in the newsroom. Frankly, I was astonished that Birnbaum was not immediately terminated for making that statement, which seriously undermined morale in the newsroom.

During CPAC, I chatted briefly with former reporter Amanda Carpenter, and congratulated her on recently having been hired by The Washington Times. As is my habit when speaking to bloggers, I gave her the old “you haven’t been linking me enough lately” patter. (Nobody can ever link me enough. My slogan is, “All Your Links R Belong 2 Us.”)

Amanda responded, “Stacy, I can’t link you as long as you’re badmouthing Birnbaum. . . . He’s my boss.”

More’s the pity, eh? That a fine journalist like Amanda should be required to report to a contemptible worm like Birnbaum is one of those cosmic injustices that breaks your heart.

Nevertheless, as I assured Amanda, I will be happy to link her work, just as I am happy to link Andrew Breitbart’s column and the other excellent work produced by the good people of The Washington Times, who now include Rich Miniter. It would be unjust to hold against these good people their misfortune of being associated with The Worm, which is not their fault and which they are powerless to remedy.

Once, I contemplated vengeance against someone who had done me wrong, but was wisely counseled by my older brother, “Stacy, just let it go. Bad things happen to bad people. That a–hole who f—ed with you will keep f—ing around until he f—s with the wrong person, and that will be the end of him.”

Wise advice, bro. And so it will be with The Worm. When the hammer falls on him, it will not be because of anything I’ve said or done, but because of his own evil. He will be the author of his own destruction, which will descend on him suddenly and from some unexpected source. I’ve seen this happen to many others who have thought they could deal unjustly with impunity.

Knowing this — that The Worm’s evil will destroy him — I cheerfully told Amanda Carpenter to be careful. She should conduct herself at The Washington Times in such a manner that when the hammer comes down to smash The Worm, none of the slime splashes on her.

Thus, no one can doubt the sincerity of my hearty congratulations to Richard Miniter, as my avowed enmity toward The Worm means that my friend Rich cannot do me any favors, nor even admit that he is my friend.

Yesterday, I swore a vow not to bash Ross Douthat again until after Easter, a vow undertaken to please a friend who advised me that by bashing Douthat, I was undermining my standing with certain conservative intellectuals who are friends with Douthat. My friend could not understand why I would do this, despite my explanation of the sturdy principle involved. (Namely, when a 23-year-old Harvard graduate accepts a contract to write a book about what it’s like to attend Harvard, he has participated in an act of injustice that requires atonement.)

Nearly everyone in Washington political circles is motivated by two factors: Career ambition and partisan ideology. At times, it’s hard to distinguish the influence of these two factors, since advancement is usually accorded to those who successfully advance partisan interests. As a result, people in Washington avert their eyes to injustices — the backstabbing betrayals, the self-serving cynicism — rather than risk antagonizing the friends of the enemies they might make.

However, this is in itself an injustice, even to one’s “enemies.” I’ve got more than all the enemies a man could ever want. By nature I am a gregarious, cheerful, fun-loving person and, if it were up to me, the world would be filled with 6 billion of my personal friends. So if anyone considers himself my enemy, this is his choice and not mine.

When I see someone acting unjustly, which is the proper course of action as a Christian: To remain silent, or to admonish them? So when I see Evan McLaren disparage the entirety of CPAC as a convocation of time-serving cowards, the Punk-Smacking Heard ‘Round the World is not an act of vengeance against McLaren. Rather, I am doing him a favor for which he should be grateful.

Rule 4 works that way. If I were concerned only with my own personal short-term benefit, I would have remained silent about Birnbaum’s viciousness, and when Miniter was elevated to his new position — a plan that has been in the works for several months — I might have profited thereby. But that’s not how I roll.

I write for money, but there are limits to my shamelessness in the pursuit of a dollar. If Birnbaum had insulted me by name, it would be the act of a Christian to turn the other cheek. But he purposely insulted people of goodwill — excellent journalists whose wastebaskets he is not fit to empty — and for this grievous wrong he has not even begun to atone.

How could I stand to see my face in the mirror if I let such an act as Birnbaum’s pass without comment? Never mind the fine journalists, both living and dead, whose erstwhile worthy services to the Times were the intended objects of The Worm’s insult. There are good, decent, hard-working people now in the newsroom of The Washington Times who suffer daily because of Birnbaum’s continued employment at the newspaper, who carry the additional burden of being unable to mention the ignominy of being required to work for him.

They cannot speak out, but I can, and I will. Given the cosmic principle that my older brother expressed to me years ago — Bad things happen to bad people — when The Worm goes down, it will likely have nothing to do with anything I have said about him. Rather, it will be a natural consequence of his own evil.

Grateful as I am for the honor at having been associated with The Washington Times, how should that gratitude rightly be expressed? It would be distinctly ungrateful if I were ever to say anything nice about Jeff Birnbaum. And such are the circumstances of modern “employment rights” law that, no matter how deeply Tom McDevitt regrets hiring Birnbaum, he can’t fire him now without inviting a lawsuit and a firestorm of bad publicity.

The Worm has ’em by the short hairs, and he knows it, and he thinks himself invulnerable. Nevertheless, the hammer will inevitably fall.

Congratulations again, Rich. And like I told Amanda, watch out that none of that splashing slime hits you.