Archive for May 19th, 2009

May 19, 2009

Steele’s speech on GOP future

Allah is surprised by the excellence:

I remind you that this is Yet Another Invitation I Didn’t Get.

May 19, 2009

Why He’s Ace of Spades, No. 483

Genetic tests show Mia Washington’s twin sons have different fathers. Cue the Ace:

Scientists believe the strange situation is best explained by the fact that Mia Washington is a dirty, dirty whore.

Not the nine of spades or the jack of spades. He’s the freakin’ Ace.

May 19, 2009

My high school history teacher

I’m not kidding, OK? John Siegel is a much-beloved history teacher at Lithia Springs (Ga.) High School, and why the alumni administrator of his Facebook fan group chose this photo for the profile, I’m not quite sure. The “Siegel = Sieg Heil” joke was already stale when we used it more than 30 years ago.

At any rate, Ginny at Obi’s Sister lives in Lithia Springs, where her son is enrolled in Der Fuhrer’s AP European history class — final exam essay question: “Slavic untermenschen: Threat or menace?” — and Ginny told me that Our Supreme Aryan Leader had this Facebook page.

Oh, just wait until the Southern Poverty Law Center finds out. “Links and ties,” you know . . .
May 19, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Young GOP girl naked!

My confidential sources report via Twitter that veteran GOP New Media strategist Jon Henke was seen yesterday with a naked underage girl . . . when he became the father of a newborn daughter, Jordan Shannon Henke, who was born Monday at 1:45 p.m.

Sources close to this controversial development report that the young beauty weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds, 10 ounces, when she was born naked. If these reports are true, the underage Republican girl is one day old as of this minute. We await release of the shocking photos.

Hearty congratulations to Jon and to Mrs. Henke who, sources say, did all the hard work in this sex scandal.

May 19, 2009

Scandal for Steele at RNC?

Ralph Z. Hallow reports today on accusations of favoritism in hiring at the Republican National Committee. At the American Spectator blog, I write:

This is potentially devastating. There are too many out-of-work Republican operatives for the RNC chief to be awarding six-figure salaries under circumstances that invite accusations of favoritism. I’ve been a Michael Steele fan for years, but he must keep in mind those 77 votes for Katon Dawson on the sixth ballot.

It’s already a Memeorandum thread, and we can expect some pretty acrimonious reaction from Steele’s Republican critics.

As with so many previous problems afflicting the GOP, take note that this is not about ideology, it’s about the “jobs for the boys” mentality of Beltway operatives. You’ve got no idea how many ex-RNC employees and unemployed former Bush administration staffers one meets at D.C. cocktail parties nowadays. This Hallow story will not ease their pain, and Steele could be destroyed by a toxic sea of grassroots discontent fed by Republican political professionals.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder is dismissive of Hallow’s scoop, but talks of Steele’s opposition inside RNC:

A good number of long-time members can’t accept the fact that Steele controls the party. They don’t like the people he’s put in place, but they can’t find any egregious internal missteps, aside from perhaps the faux pas of paying some of his aides a generous salary. Steele has opened up many RNC contracts to competitive bidding, even though he has been criticized for smaller financial decisions. (Emphasis added.)

I’m sorry, but paying $180,000 to an “outreach director” is a bit more than a faux pas, especially with so many GOP operatives out of work. My friend Tara Setmayer is communication director for Dana Rohrabacher for about $90,000 a year. Wanna bet Tara would have taken that “outreach director” job for $100,000?

UPDATE II: Saul Anuzis is live-Twittering Steele’s lunchtime “future of the GOP” speech, Yet Another Invitation I Didn’t Get. Longtime readers will note the pattern: The more important the event, the more likely it is to be Yet Another Invitation I Didn’t Get.

Occasionally I do cover important events, not because I’m invited, but because somebody accidentally lets me find out about it so that I can B.S. my way past security. past security is a vital skill for The Least Important Journalist in Washington.

May 19, 2009

They Can Have My Gas Guzzler When They Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers!

Not just no, but “hell no!”

Obama on Tuesday planned to announce the first-ever national emissions limits for cars and trucks, as well as require a 35.5 miles per gallon standard. Consumers should expect to pay an extra $1,300 per vehicle by the time the plan is complete in 2016, officials said.

Michelle Malkin: “It’s a $1,300 car tax. On the working class. On the middle class.”

UPDATE: Wall Street Journal:

Disclosure of the agreement is expected Tuesday, with executives from several large auto companies, including General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Frederick “Fritz” Henderson, as well as United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, expected to participate, people familiar with the matter said.

Right. Feds help UAW take over GM, now Gettelfinger Motors is stooging for Obama’s greenshirt fascism.

Got up early this morning, so I’m running ahead of Memeorandum on this aggregation.

UPDATE II: Washington Post:

The measures are significant steps forward for the administration’s energy agenda by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change and by easing U.S. dependence on oil, most of which is imported.

(Please note that flat assertion of antropogenic global warming as fact.)

The administration is embracing standards stringent enough to satisfy the state of California, which has been fighting for a waiver from federal law so that it could set its own guidelines, sources said. Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and Jennifer M. Granholm (D-Mich.) will be among a variety of state and industry officials who plan to attend an announcement today, according to sources close to the administration.

Of course, Arnold will support this. Him and all The Republicans Who Really Matter.

UPDATE III: Via Hot Air Headlines, a very timely New Republic feature:

Sometime after the release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, environmentalism crossed from political movement to cultural moment. Fortune 500 companies pledged to go carbon neutral. Seemingly every magazine in the country, including Sports Illustrated, released a special green issue. Paris dimmed the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Solar investments became hot, even for oil companies. Evangelical ministers preached the gospel of “creation care.” Even archconservative Newt Gingrich published a book demanding action on global warming.

Which reminds me, BTW, of why I am such a staunch disbeliever in AGW (anthropogenic global warming). This trendy nonsense is so similar to, and is promoted by the same kind of “scientific consensus” argument, as the “Population Bomb” idiocy of 40 years ago. Idolators at the bloody altar of Science never seem to learn from their mistakes, do they?

UPDATE IV: Hyscience:

The costs to every American for having Barack Obama in the White House are adding up fast(and we haven’t even gotten to his universal health care plan yet) – and not just for those making over $250K. The middle class and the poor are going to be the hardest hit.

Auto regulation always works this way. I lived in Maryland, which requires state vehicle safety inspection, compelling poor people to (a) pay for inspections, and (b) make costly repairs to older vehicles that are otherwise demonstrably road-worthy. State inspectors have been known to flag old junkers for body rust that has nothing to do with safety.

This kind of pre-emptive regulation — that is to say, pushing people through an inspection process, rather than merely authorizing cops to ticket people for driving with a busted tail-light — imposes no burden on the affluent, who can afford new cars. It is the poor guy, trying to get by driving a third-hand jalopy with 150,000 miles on the odometer, who is hurt by such regulatory mania.

UPDATE V: William Teach at Right Wing News:

When you go to the auto lot starting in 2012, expect your choices to be golf cart sized vehicles.

“RIP useful, roomy vehicles.”

UPDATE VI: MSNBC’s Mark Murray notes that Obama’s doing Schwarzenegger a favor by sharing his aura of approval with Arnold, who’s less popular than syphilis in California.

Murray wonders, “Is California ungovernable?” They wondered the same thing before Reagan was elected governor in 1966. What it takes is leadership with balls. Unfortunately, scientists say long-term steroid use leads to testicular atrophy, to say nothing of the inevitable side-effects of marrying Maria Shriver.

Michelle Malkin is no fan of the micro-testicled muscle-bound “Taxinator.” Also see Ed Driscoll on the “Golden State Mobius Loop,” and my thoughts on “California: Zimbabwe, U.S.A.”

UPDATE VII: Cato’s Dan Mitchell says Obama is “simultaneously destroying and subsidzing the auto industry,” which reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s description of liberal economic policy: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.”

As Carol Platt Liebau observes:

These are hidden taxes, but they are taxes all the same. The American people are smart to be suspicious — as most of them are — about the President’s claims that he will cut their taxes.

We are on The Road to Weimar America.

May 19, 2009

MoDoGate: By God, Fire Somebody!

Slate’s Jack Shafer tries to defend Maureen Dowd:

Many a plagiarist in the past has blamed his theft on over-work, a sick child at home, alcohol use, mental illness, workplace harassment, or a dying parent in the hospice. Others have blamed the sticky cut-and-paste function of their word processors or claimed the words that they copied weren’t that unique, so what’s the big deal? Or they’ve appealed for a get-out-of-pillory-free card because they didn’t deliberately copy that passage.
Dowd isn’t offering any of these cop-outs. I hope I’m not reading too much into her fragmentary responses, but she appears to understand that neither carelessness nor intent constitutes a plagiarism defense.

As a member of the zero-tolerance school, I’m certainly not prone to forgive Maureen Dowd for this, especially because:

  • A. She lifted an entire freaking paragraph. You could perhaps cut her slack for a bit of parallel construction, a similarity of phrasing, but she just outright stole a 43-word sentence that she used as the penultimate paragraph of her column. Ben Domenech was publicly flayed for less.
  • B. She is a columnist. Look, I spent many years in the newspaper business. A reporter rushing to beat a deadline on a hard-breaking story can be let off with a reprimand if caught carelessly omitting an attribution (e.g., “the Associated Press reported”) on B-matter he cribbed from the wires. But Dowd is only required to file twice a week, and she is a senior staffer writing for the op-ed page. For her to be cutting-and-pasting from her IM window straight into her column is simply not acceptable.

Again, I make reference to the Domenech affair. What got Domenech canned at the WaPo was not anything he’d done at the WaPo, but rather the discovery that he had plagiarized in stuff he’d previously written elsewhere. And the damning thing, at least to me, was that Domenech had done this in film reviews and other feature-type stuff — for example, his NRO take on Britney that transparently borrowed (“Lip Smackers . . . Catholic schoolgirl uniform . . . midriff”) from a Salon article.

Most of Domenech’s borrowing, however, was student writing and at least he had the excuse of youth, a mere lad of 18 at the time of his Britney article. This requires me to digress and reiterate my Grumpy Old Newspaper Guy complaint — “I’ve got ties older than you, kid!” — against the Wunderkind Syndrome in modern journalism.

Kids are being permitted to run before they have been taught to walk. It’s all fine and good for student journalists to do ignorant opinion pieces and puerile features in campus papers. (I got my start doing rock-music reviews for the JSU Chanticleer, forgotten wretchedness I hope never again sees the light of day.) But when they get into real-world jobs, they ought not be indulged in their arrogant belief that they’re the Second Coming of Lionel Trilling or Lester Bangs or H.L. Mencken.

The job of a beginning journalist’s first editor is to pound some humility into the kid’s soul. Make him pay his dues by reporting crappy little stories where it’s all drudgery and no glory. Hand him a stack of press releases and have him compile the “community briefs” column that runs on Page B2. On the sports desk, the junior staffers are generally required to put together the round-up of box scores and league standings that run in agate type on Page C4, hence the phrase “agate maggot” for the low man on the sports-section totem pole.

Maureen Dowd was never an agate maggot, but you can’t say she didn’t pay her dues. She started with the old Washington Star, worked at Time magazine, did a stint on the metro beat for the New York Times and was a mature 33 before she became the paper’s Washington correspondent. It took her nine years from there to get onto the op-ed page (where, as many victims of her A1 “reporting” insisted, she should have been assigned long before).

MoDo is no Ross Douthat — the boy is twenty-freaking-nine! — and therefore she should know better than to stick a paragraph of unknown provenance into her column. I said when this was first reported that the mysterious “friend” who gave her that paragraph was probably her editorial assistant. If my hunch is right, the assistant should be fired.

Whatever the backstory, somebody must be fired. My God, the brilliant Rick Bragg got fired from the New York Times merely for relying on a hired stringer to help him with a “toe-touch” byline. (Trust me, folks: If a “toe-touch” byline is a firing offense, we need to discuss how many White House correspondents ever filed a Bush-at-the-Texas-ranch story from Waco with a Crawford dateline, which is to say, all of them as far as I know.)

“Even reading and watching all the news, there is no way to know the truth — except to be there.”
Hunter S. Thompson,
Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

More even than her plagiarism, this is really the indictment of Dowd, an indictment that could be extended to many others in the commentariat: They’re not doing any original reporting.

I always recommend Robert Novak’s The Prince Of Darkness to anyone who wants to understand how real reporters get their scoops. As Thompson said, you have to be there, or at least pick up the phone and talk to the people who were. For some reason, it seldom occurs to these op-ed divas to go out to the scene — a congressional hearing on Gitmo detainees, for example — and report what they actually see and hear themselves.

What? Sulzberger wouldn’t pay MoDo’s cab fare to Capitol Hill? Leon Panetta wouldn’t return the call if his secretary handed him the message that Maureen Dowd of the New York Times had requested an interview?

By God, fire somebody!

UPDATE: What part of “fuck you, Steve Benen” is so hard to understand? Benen asserts without evidence that liberal blogs are better, citing liberal blogger Nate Silver for corroboration — because that really proves it, you see?

Benen boast about readership, slagging Michelle Malkin (8 million visits per month) and Hot Air (17 million/mo.), when anybody can plainly see that Benen’s own blog gets 1/10 the traffic of Hot Air. And yet Benen would have us believe that MSM journalists are more likely to read liberal blogs simply because liberal blogs are more popular.

Also note that, whereas Michelle Malkin comes from a journalism background, Benen has never been anything except a professional liberal/Democrat shill: Clinton White House speechwriter, Democratic direct mail writer, congressional campaign flack, spokesbot for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

You’re a damned two-faced liar, Benen, and no real journalist could ever possibly respect a two-bit political hack like you.

May 19, 2009

Lind: your article is a crock

by Smitty
Michael Lind has an article in Salon accusing the right of “scare tactics” on the topic of Social Security. If common sense is scare tactics, then I’m too ss-sshaaakey to type.

Let’s ignore FDR’s non-command of Article 5, and Amendment 10 when he decided to re-jigger the direction of the country with a shiny, new Bill of Lefty Rights. As ideas go, they’re actually not bad. They even have the weight of decades of implementation to back them up. Just two problems:

  • Even a casual glance at the Constitution doesn’t support federal interference with individuals on this scale, modulo income tax, no thanks to Amendment 16.
  • The empirical track record of FDR’s ideas could be characterized as “craptacular”.

Back to Lind, whose article seems to be about what bad, handwringers people on the right are. We’re told:

Any number of relatively minor changes, from lifting the cap on the Social Security payroll tax to infusing general revenues, could preserve the program in its present form into the 22nd century without insolvency or harm to the U.S. economy.

Possibly you could help, Mr. Lind, by addressing some CBO figures as served up by Mr. Perot. Perot’s whole site is dedicated to showing how your apparently rose-colored glasses are, rather, tinted brown. My personal un-favorite is this specimen,

An eyeball-regression will tell you that, like rust, the mandatory federal spending is creeping over the budget, and will make it seize up in, oh, a decade or two. And the bi-partisan budgetary gymnastics parade will do what? And the wisdom of the Framers didn’t forsee these kind of shenanigans, and preclude them? Listen to you pooh-pooh the argument:

Another deficit hawk pressure group that has been campaigning for cuts in Social Security for years, the Concord Coalition, chaired by Pete Peterson, issued a press release that expressed predictable alarm at the results of the trustees’ report.

Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, trotted out the bogus “intergenerational equity” argument that somehow today’s retirees are robbing their children and grandchildren by burdening them with crippling debts to pay: “Today’s report documents a failure of generational stewardship. We should not be content that Social Security and Medicare are affordable for today’s beneficiaries when they are not sustainable for future generations.” Note that Bixby, like many deficit hawks, lumps Social Security together with Medicare. Given the good shape that Social Security is in for generations to come, it is hard to raise alarms about it without treating it as part of a larger “entitlement” problem.

Hard to raise alarms?

But according to the trustees, even when the trust fund runs out (in 2037 or 2041 or whenever) and Social Security becomes a pure pay-as-you-go system, in which working-age Americans finance retirees, Social Security minus other changes would pay about three-quarters of what it owes.

So, you admit that it’s unsustainable, that people are paying as they go anyway, so why should they run their retirement cash through the federal pyramid scheme? Listen, Pharaoh, if the system is broke, why not just release the Israelites? Keeping them seems a trifle peevish.

In other words, the contract between elderly Americans and the rest can be honored in half a century by slightly higher taxes that would fall chiefly on much richer Americans in a much richer America.

This is a sweet lie. I’d like a copy of this famous contract, which I have never signed, for possible use in performing bodily functions. This Country Exists to Support Individual Freedom, not Bind People to the Government in this Foul Manner. I’ll honor my father and mother, and love my neighbor as myself for the proper reasons, not via government proxy, thank you.
P.S. If you think all this Socialist claptrap is permissible under the Necessary and Proper Clause, your attention is drawn to this podcast.

May 19, 2009

TMI, Smitty Edition

by Smitty (I was insufficiently favored to be tagged by S.Logan, but, what do you expect, I’m not exactly available)

1) I’m the son of a son of a sailor. Served on three ships out of San Dog.
2) Favorite verse of the Bible is the counter-intuitive “Consider the work of God: for who can make [that] straight, which he hath made crooked?–Eccl 7:13”. In fact, that inspired a 4,000 word novella “Thorgun the Crooked” that I wrote as an undergrad. Historical-piece-cum-spleen-dump after being dumped my junior year in college. It was only mildly mysogynist.
3) Sports are not my thing at all, but I will crush anyone in a game of cribbage.
4) I can spell piobaireachd though my lips fail and my left hand goes to sleep trying to play the couple I’ve studied. However, I did move Mt. Fuji
5) My first date with my wife was Joe Satriani, on his Engines of Creation Tour. Here is a gorgeous groove off that. (Can’t wait to hear him on Chickenfoot).
6) I used to collect comic books, but got bored. I used to drink, but got bored. I was just in Las Vegas, and the thought of gambling made me bored. Got my bumpers on at The Pinball Hall of Fame, though.
7) I completed the San Diego Marathon, once (2000). Highlight was giving a shout out to my classmate, The Toolbox.
8) Created my own poetic form, haiku sonnet. Art is better than I can do, for a given medium.

If this doesn’t dispel the rumor that I’m some sock puppet of Stacy’s (bonus facts: he’s ten years and a day my senior, and I have a sister named Stacey) I don’t know what will.

May 19, 2009

TMI, Paco

“Also around the age of six, for a brief while, I had this great desire to own a tea plantation. I had seen a movie featuring a plantation owner, and he was wearing a white linen suit and a pith helmet. . . . Learning that I had to go to India or some such place to be a tea grower extinguished the urge.”

Yeah, I also got tagged in the “eight random things about yourself” blog-cootie game but . . . man, I’ve got too many enemies out there in need of punk-smacking to be playing around like that. I didn’t even have time to notice the execrable James Wolcott today, and there’s always Daniel Larison.

Besides which, I routinely reveal so many random things about myself that there’s really nothing interesting left to tell. I mean, yeah, I once owned a pair of skin-tight, black, seamless, polyester bell-bottom disco pants and I drove a ’72 Dodge Dart for a while, so what?

Paco the colonial grandee — complete with pith helmet! — man, there are some childhood dreams you should keep to yourself, bwana.

But then, damn, Brindle tagged me, too. So, eight random things:

1. My desk is always a mess. When I worked at The Washington Times, I was once ordered to clean up my desk after the Fire Marshal came through for an inspection. I am not joking.

2. In middle-school, my ambition was to be a criminal mastermind. For a while, I wanted to be a Godfather-style mobster, so I could wear those pin-striped suits and drive around in a ’29 Packard. Then I saw “The Cross and the Switchblade” and decided it would also be cool to be a leather-jacket greaser and shoot guys with a zip gun. Then, later, I contemplated becoming a Manson-style cult leader with legions of lovestruck hippie girls to do my bidding.

3. My criminal ambitions were replaced by rock-star dreams. After bouncing around from garage band to talent-contest band to pool-party band, I finally led my own band called Strange Talk.

4. From 1986-97, I had a mullet. Not just any mullet, mind you, but the cool Patrick Swayze mullet, with (naturally curly) ringlets in the back. Chicks went crazy for that mullet.

5. I worked three seasons (1976, ’78, ’81) in food service at Six Flag Over Georgia. It was a really cool job, because after work and on your off-days, you could get in the park fre and ride the rides as much as you wanted. And pick up chicks.

6. My camera is pink. My friends dubbed it the “Barbie Cam.” What happened was that I finally decided that digital cameras had become cheap enough for me to buy one. So I went to Wal-Mart with my family, went to the electronics department and pointed to the $99 Kodak on display, which was a metalic silver color. The clerk opened the case and handed me a box. We checked out, got in the car to drive home, and I told my twin teenage sons — riding in the back seat — to open the camera and set it up. (Teenage sons know how to handle all newfangled technological gizmos.) And then my sons started laughing: “Dad’s got a pink camera!” Hell, I didn’t even know the things came in different colors. But the Barbie Cam has done admirable service, and now I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

7. I’ve never really cared for pro football. This is because I grew up in Atlanta when the Falcons sucked. To me, “football” always means college football, which means the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. My dad was Class of ’50 at Tuscaloosa, and I was raised on the Tide.

8. I smoke cigarettes but am not brand-loyal. I used to smoke only Marlboro Lights, but by the ’90s, had switched to either Doral or Basic ultra-lights. Nowadays I look for the 2-for-1 deals. Whatever’s cheap. I figure, if the damned things are going to kill you, there’s no sense paying premium prices.