Archive for May 25th, 2009

May 25, 2009

Why I’m not blogging much today

No, I’m not chillin’ by the lake today. I’m on deadline for a column. Sample sentence:

When a guy begins a fight by slamming a barstool into the back of your head, the Marquis of Queensbury rules do not apply. If you respond by ripping open his carotid artery with the jagged edge of a broken beer bottle, whose fault is that? (“He needed killing,” as Texans like to say.)*

So regular readers checking in for their daily prescription of insane commentary on contemporary events — “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” as the man said — may not get the full dose today.

However, I will direct you to The Most Important Blog Post Ever Written. Other than that, check Memeorandum or sample the blogroll.

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: Just finished the column, and the cited passage (*) has been altered to reflect changes to the draft. Writing is re-writing, as my teachers always reminded me.

May 25, 2009

Emergency: We Need Fireworks!

My friends know I’m a serious fireworks freak. Click here for video and photos of my 2007 fireworks show at Camp Fubar on Lake Weiss in Alabama — 3,145 aerial shots in a five-minute show.

Smitty and I are concocting plans for a show this year. These plans are quite fluid and I’m also talking with Stephen Gordon of the Liberty Papers about doing this in conjunction with a 4th of July Tea Party event. However the plans finally work out, one thing is certain: WE MUST BUY FIREWORKS SOON.

A major wholesale fireworks vendor is having a 20% off sale that ends Friday, so we could buy caseloads of the stuff at discount prices if our readers will do their patriotic duty and give generously now.

Graphic: Carol at No Sheeples Here.

May 25, 2009

Ever want to laugh and puke at the same time?

by Smitty (h/t Lucianne)

  Andrew Breitbart in the Washington Times brought me to the state of dueling reflexes:

BREITBART: How Sean Penn won the war

Mr. Penn has spent a generation portraying his public self as a narcissistic, petulant, pugilistic and insufferable left-winger, but in fact he is a rational, even-keeled gentleman and a devoted teetotaling devotee of family values.
What makes his secret life all the more remarkable is that he didn’t learn these skills at Langley, Va. – CIA Headquarters USA. He is an auto-didact – a self-taught master of disguise. He’s not just a method actor, but a method spy as well.

  The tattooed hand recalls another intellectual heavy-weight:

May 25, 2009

On the need for clear communications

by Smitty (h/t HoEr)

  It starts off looking very bad, but do sit through it fully:

  A more extended example is found here. He may have meant “the red pen is your friend”.

May 25, 2009

Rod Dreher: Truman Capote Con

The Bearded Church Lady speaketh:

If you have to descend to the level of trash-talking vulgarian to prove your bona fides with the Common Man, then fine, in the aristocracy of character, I’ll keep working toward being an elitist. It is hard to imagine the conservatives I admire the most, and wish to emulate — men like Wendell Berry and Russell Kirk — being very impressed with Mark Levin’s crude shtick. Or Robert Stacy McCain’s, whose perpetual blunderbuss brings to mind the inner life of a failed oyster: a constant irritation, with no resulting pearl.
(I stole that oyster dig from Truman Capote, but boy, does it ever apply here!)

What is relevant here:

  • Wendell Berry? WTF? Since when is Wendell Berry an icon in the conservative pantheon?
  • Russell Kirk was not a wienerhead. Rod Dreher is.

Russell Kirk once said, in a lecture at the Heritage Foundation, no less: “Not seldom has it seemed as if some eminent Neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States.” Only a real troublemaker, a mixer, would have said such a thing. Kirk was a cultural eccentric, a man who cherished his status as an outsider, an anachronism, disdaining all things modern and “mass.”

Among those thinkers whom Kirk examined in his landmark study, The Conservative Mind, was John C. Calhoun. Having long ago read the entirety of Calhoun’s Disquisition on Government, I’m sure I would have noticed if Dreher had ever found occasion to reference Calhoun’s most important insight:

The necessary result, then, of the unequal fiscal action of the government is, to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who, in reality, pay the taxes, and, of course, bear exclusively the burthen of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into taxpayers and tax-consumers.

But this sturdy thought appears nowhere in Crunchy Cons, where instead we find the economic mysticism of E.F. Schumacher. And, as I’ve said before, I am aware of no evidence that Dreher has ever read Mises and Hayek. If he did, he evidently gained nothing from it.

Ultimately, it comes back to my critique of the Politics of Niceness:

So when Rod Dreher gets sniffy about Mark Levin or people act horrified by an implied slur in an RNC video, I just want to pound those weenies on the head and scream: “Wake the f— up, you clueless dingbats! The Democrats are eating Republican babies for breakfast, bankrupting our grandchildren, and giving major industrial corporations as gift-wrapped presents to their labor goon buddies! If you want to award gold stars for ‘plays well with others,’ go be a kindergarten teacher and leave politics the hell alone!”
Maybe when the grown-ups are through beating the Democrats, then we’ll have time to mind our manners like we were eating watercress-and-endive finger sandwiches at the Ladies Cotillion Society luncheon.

This is not debate club. The Democrats are not interested in “civil discourse,” and your fearful hand-wringing is worse than useless in the present situation.

UPDATE: Rumblepak writes:

The problem reveals itself immediately when we look at the left, its heroes and media spokespeople. The average person under 40 indulges in heavy doses of Jon Stewart, Adult Swim, Bill Maher, et al, and none of these guys are particularly nice or civil. They are pretty darn “mean,” in fact.

Exactly. It is one thing to condemn harsh rhetoric, per se. It is something else entirely to say that Republicans are losing elections because Rush said “I hope he fails” or because Levin told a caller to take a flying leap. There are two sides of this argument, and we don’t see disgusted ex-GOP voters switching their radios from Michael Savage to “All Things Considered.” Democrats are not attracting votes because Rahm Emanuel reduced his f-bombs to once every other sentence.

How many votes did the GOP lose because Ann Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot”? And how many votes did the GOP lose because John McCain endorsed the Bush bailout?

May 25, 2009

The Gay Elephant in the NRSC’s Room

Over the past week, I have repeatedly heard from Republicans troubled by the rumors that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s choice in the 2010 Senate primary, is gay.

At age 52, Crist had never wed until he married Florida businesswoman Christine Rome two weeks before Christmas last year. Those who profess concern about “civility” would say — or at least, should say — that the rumors are thereby disproven. But . . .

Let me share with you a message I received yesterday from someone I don’t know, and who wishes to remain anonymous:

I have no interest in creating a fuss for you or us. Just asking some questions, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
How are you/we/they going to handle the persistent rumors that Charlie Crist is gay? The first conservative blog to raise this issue is going to be slammed by the MSM, the Democrats and Crist’s Republican supporters for rumor mongering and the politics of personal destruction. But these rumors ain’t going away. LGBT groups have already raised the specter of hypocrisy about Crist being safely in the closet while denying gays access to marriage.
If Crist is gay and had sex with a man, what are the odds we are going to hear about it? If so, I would wager that any revelations will come out after he has won the nomination.
If Crist is gay but has been celibate his entire life, until, you know, he married a woman, what impact will the rumors have on conservative voters in Florida?
If Crist is not gay but the rumors persist, again, impact on conservative voters?
Mark Foley Redux?
On the other hand, what negative impact will a public discussion of the topic by conservatives have on the Rubio campaign?

Well, there you go. If I am “going to be slammed by the MSM, the Democrats and Crist’s Republican supporters,” let the slamming begin.

This message, as I said, came to me from someone I don’t know, but people I do know have said much the same thing: No matter what the poll numbers show, no matter how much money Charlie Crist can raise, no matter what the probability that Crist could win the general election, these widespread rumors indicate potentially serious trouble.

And don’t think that liberals haven’t noticed. My tipster forwarded a link to this Huffington Post story:

Crist’s increasing shift to the right on social policy may be canceled out by the documentary film, Outrage, which reports on persistent rumors that Crist is a closeted gay man — even as he states positions against marriage rights for LGBT people and his support for Florida’s ban on adoption by LGBT folks. (Florida’s law is the only such adoption ban in the country; some 4,000 adoptable Florida children languish in foster care.) As shown in Outrage, which opened nationwide just days before Crist announced his Senate bid, the allegations of Crist’s accusers are likely to rankle not only the right, but stand to alienate voters who may not care whether their governor is gay or straight, but who do care about his veracity and integrity — or lack thereof.

The tipster also sent me this Miami Herald story:

Outrage dares to name names, alleging that politicians of various degrees of power — including Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig, California Rep. David Dreier and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist — have supported bans on gay marriage, gay adoption and AIDS-support bills from the relatively safety of their closets.

OK, this is not a story that really interests me, either politically or personally. But as my tipster says, you can bet good money that it’s a story the MSM are going to be very interested in — if and when Crist gets the Republican nomination.

The Huffington Post story references the reporting of Broward-Palm Beach New Times columnist Bob Norman. (Who seems to be turning “Is Charlie Crist gay?” into a career.) Critics will say that Norman repeats second-hand gossip, but (a) the gossip is very specific, and (b) Norman at least had the decency to call Crist and give him the opportunity to deny the gossip.

Norman names two people, one a Republican staffer who reportedly claimed to have had sex with Crist, the other rumored to have been Crist’s male partner. Norman then linked to a Miami Herald story reporting that the alleged partner was a convicted thief who had worked on Katherine Harris’s 2006 Senate campaign.

All of which may mean absolutely nothing and is irrelevant to the more fundamental problem of the NRSC trying to pre-empt an open-seat GOP primary by crushing the hopes of the notoriously studly Marco Rubio. But . . .

Did NRSC chairman John Cornyn and Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer take any of this into consideration before endorsing Crist? Surely, Greer must have been aware that these rumors had been dogging Crist for years.

If these rumors had not already been publicly aired by the Huffington Post and Florida media, I would have disregarded the anonymous tip. But the story is out there, and to have ignored it under these circumstances would have been a disservice to Republican readers concerned about the Florida Senate race.