Archive for ‘New York Times’

March 14, 2009

The re-education of David Brooks

P.J. Gladnick at Newsbusters has the story of how the White House dispatched a team of four operatives to persuade David Brooks to back off his threat to lead an army of moderates to oppose the Obama agenda. Gladnick observes:

So either the four overseers of the White House were masters of manipulation or they had extremely pliable material to work with . . .

Indeed. And now the useless idiot has returned with a new column singing paeans to Obama’s education “reform” plan. The Toady-in-Chief’s latest column includes this:

Thanks in part to No Child Left Behind, we’re a lot better at measuring each student’s progress. . . .
Most districts don’t use data to reward good teachers. States have watered down their proficiency standards so parents think their own schools are much better than they are.
As Education Secretary Arne Duncan told me, “We’ve seen a race to the bottom. States are lying to children. They are lying to parents. They’re ignoring failure, and that’s unacceptable. We have to be fierce.”

Oh, those “fierce” reformers! Like President Clinton before him, President Obama sends his kids to private schools. Public schools are for Other People’s Children, and the endless promises of “reform” have never been fulfilled, nor will they ever. America’s schools are arguably worse now than they were when No Child Left Behind was passed in 2001, and they are certainly no better.

Obama’s “reform” plan will not improve the schools, either. To a Democrat, the policy object of school “reform” is full employment and higher pay for members of the teachers’ unions. Hire more teachers, pay them more money — it’s a constituent-service model of policy. The Democrat who says anything else is lying, and yet Brooks takes Obama’s professions of “caring” at face value:

The Obama approach would make it more likely that young Americans grow up in relationships with teaching adults. It would expand nurse visits to disorganized homes. It would improve early education. It would extend the school year. Most important, it would increase merit pay for good teachers (the ones who develop emotional bonds with students) and dismiss bad teachers (the ones who treat students like cattle to be processed).

Of course, “merit pay for good teachers” is just code meaning, “higher pay, period.” Whatever standards are used to measure “merit” will be manipulated by administrators to reward their favorites. Just as the chief result of the student-testing requirements of No Child Left Behind was wholesale fraud in standardized testing, so will the lure of “merit pay” result in bogus attempts to fake “merit.”

One wonders if the White House’s favorite columnist even believes what he writes anymore. Certainly no one familiar with the bureaucratic reality of how American schools actually operate can believe Obama’s plan will produce genuine “reform.”

Becoming one of The Republicans Who Really Matter — of whom Brooks is a leading example — requires acceptance of a fundamentally false premise, namely, that Democratic politicians act in good faith. This is the Big Lie to which all other liberal lies are ancillary.

The Democratic Party is a conspiracy whereby liars advance the cause of evil with the assistance of fools. Republicans who “reach across the aisle” to cooperate in the implementation of the Democratic agenda are therefore agents of evil. (Whether Republican enthusiasts for “bipartisan compromise” are conscious of their agency in the cause of evil is moot, but they don’t call them The Stupid Party for nothing.)

The reason David Brooks is the White House’s favorite columnist is because, by the fraudulent pretense that he is a “conservative,” Brooks provides key assistance in the Democrats’ most essential mission: Obscuring truth.

Hit the tip jar.

UPDATE: Let’s have a contest: Describe the Democratic Party in 20 Words or Less.

UPDATE II: A ‘Lanche this way comes. Thank you, Professor, and welcome Instapundit readers. While you’re here, feel free to poke around and check out the links — it’s Full Metal Jacket Saturday, and Monique Stuart would appreciate your traffic. You can also add me on Twitter or Facebook or your RSS feed. And, of course, your generous contributions to the David Brooks Fisking Fund are deeply appreciated. (It’s For The Children!)

UPDATE III: When it rains, it pours: Also linked at RedState RedHot, Liberty Papers, Right, Wing Nut, Tom Maguire at Just One Minute, Ed Drisoll, Little Miss Attila and Moe Lane. Welcome all! And please give generously to the David Brooks Fisking Fund, because I don’t know how much longer the ACORN protesters can keep the repo man away from my 2004 KIA.

March 11, 2009

‘Ever get the feeling . . .’

“. . . the world exists just to annoy you personally?” Thomas J. Marier writes in an e-mail, sending along happy news that Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times sent to his staff:

Folks:
Some exciting news. We’ve hired Ross Douthat, currently of Atlantic. Ross will be joining the Times staff in mid-April and will be based in the Washington bureau. He will start out primarily online, but will soon be writing with increasing frequency, and then regularity, on the Op-Ed page, in the Monday slot opposite Paul. At some point, he’ll also resume his work as a blogger, which I highly recommend.
If you don’t know Ross, you’ll find him funny and smart and sharp. He’s going to be a great addition to our team. I know you’ll make him welcome.
Andy

(Gritted teeth.) Congratulation, Ross! We’re all so excited for you!

Now excuse me while I go swallow a bottle of sleeping pills, wash it down with a quart of Chlorox, slash my wrists, get in the car, drive to the Bay Bridge, shoot myself through the head, and crash through the guard-rail to the water below.

How long until Easter?

UPDATE: Rod Dreher is giddy like a schoolgirl.

March 10, 2009

It’s David Brooks Fisking Day!

“If one does not read enough economic illiteracy from Paul Krugman’s Monday column in the New York Times, there always is David Brook’s Tuesday column, which presents the neo-con (emphasis on ‘con’) view of the world. One must remember that the editorial writers at the Times actually believe that Brooks is a free-market guy.”
Bill Anderson, LewRockwell.com

OK, here he is, the useless idiot who needs no introduction, David Brooks:

Republicans have decided to demand a rigid fiscal straitjacket at the one moment in the past 70 years when it is completely inappropriate. . . .
The G.O.P. leaders have adopted a posture that allows the Democrats to make all the proposals while all the Republicans can say is “no.”
Republicans could offer the public a realistic appraisal of the health of capitalism. Global capitalism is an innovative force, they could argue, but we have been reminded of its shortcomings. When exogenous forces like the rise of China and a flood of easy money hit the global marketplace, they can throw the entire system of out of whack, leading to a cascade of imbalances: higher debt, a grossly enlarged financial sector and unsustainable bubbles.
If the free market party doesn’t offer the public an honest appraisal of capitalism’s weaknesses, the public will never trust it to address them. Power will inevitably slide over to those who believe this crisis is a repudiation of global capitalism as a whole.

Oh, my aching spleen! Where to start? How about a joke?

A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job. And a recovery begins when David Brooks loses his job.

The “weaknesses” of capitalism are not what this crisis is about. Economies expand, economies contract. Old businesses go bankrupt, new businesses are launched. “Economic stability” is (a) an impossible Keynesian fantasy that can never be achieved, and (b) arguably a bad thing. We don’t want “stability,” we want dynamism — innovation, creativity, new businesses being launched, new technologies developed, new markets emerging, etc.

What Brooks cannot be made to see is the weaknesses of government — the utter inability of the federal behemoth to competently manage or regulate the economy. To argue that “capitalism’s weaknesses” require government intervention, one must first suppose that there is something useful or helpful that government can actually do that it is not already doing, or that it can do a better job of the job it has done so badly in recent years.

There is no evidence for the Brooksian view. We have no reason to believe that future government interventions will be more competent or effective than previous interventions — It Won’t Work — and we have many reasons to believe that the severity of the current crisis is a direct consequence of misguided interventions in the past.

Brooks is not interested in evidence. He is interested in being thought clever. He knows even less about economics than he knows about politics, and he knows precious little about that. He is a menace, an enemy of common sense and sound policy. He must be fisked!

UPDATE 1 p.m.: He hasn’t been fisked enough yet. Let me reiterate something that cannot be emphasized enough: Being articulate is not the same as being right.

No one can deny that David Brooks is a skillful writer. As a prose stylist, he is excellent. If the New York Times sent him to cover the infield scene at the Talladega 500, Brooks would come back with a brilliant, funny story — and he would come back with fewer teeth, because some redneck would be unable to resist the urge to knock that arrogant smirk off his face.

Brooks is a classic example of The Writerly Delusion: The journalistic belief that one’s aptitude for written articulation is the same thing as being knowledgeable about a subject. A truck driver might not be able to write a coherent narrative of how to drive a truck, but he can in fact drive it. David Brooks can write about economics without actually knowing anything useful about economics.

If Brooks were actually right about anything, his elegant prose would be a weapon on the side of truth. Because what he believes about economics and politics is wrong, however, his eloquence is a force for evil. He must be fisked, fisked brutally, and the fisking must be continued vigorously until he is converted to the cause of truth or shamed into silence.

UPDATE II: Linked by Dave at Point of a Gun, by Jimmie Bise at Sundries Shack and by Dan Riehl at Riehl World Views. Everybody join in and let’s give Brooks the vicious gang-fisking he deserves.

UPDATE III: The question is asked, “What is an appropriate gift for David Brooks Fisking Day?” The answer, of course, is a Rule 2 FMJRA, such as this one from TrogloPundit.

March 10, 2009

Short demonstration of the pathetic inadequacy of Meghan McCain

New York Times Q&A Ann Coulter:

Q: Do you consider yourself as speaking for the conservative movement, or just someone who has attracted many conservative fans? Something else?
A
: I think I speak for all Americans who think newspaper editors who print the details of top-secret anti-terrorist intelligence gathering programs on page one in wartime should be executed for treason.

You know, just when I start to feel a tiny bit guilty over my relentless punk-smacking of David Brooks, here comes Ann to remind me that I haven’t really done enough. Yet.

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 7, 2009

Where do feminists learn to write so badly?

Clicking through from Ann Althouse, I wasn’t sure what to think of this Judith Warner column in the New York Times. I wasn’t sure what to think because Warner is so damnably foggy as to what it is she wants to say except maybe, “I am a woman. And a mother. And life is sometimes inconvenient. Hear me roar.”

I take it that Warner is some kind of feminist, and perhaps the sister-in-law, niece or college roommate of someone very important at The New York Times Co., because I can’t imagine why anyone would want to read such useless drivel as this:

. . . I saw this very clearly the other day, in a chance email exchange with my friend D.
She had written me to share some anxieties about the recession. They were very real and very pressing, and in the past, I would have responded with very pertinent examples of how things were much worse for me.
This time, however, tapping into great human reserves of calm and centeredness, I tried instead to lead her into staying with her feelings.
“Hang in there. Things will be O.K.,” I wrote. . . .

She gets paid to write that crap. A “chance email exhange”? As opposed to what? A carefully orchestrated email exchange?

Then you notice her thumbnail bio, which tells you that Warner was the author of a 2005 New York Times bestseller. And yet “things are much worse for” her?

At which point, you struggle to resist the hope that she invested her money — all of it — with Bernie Madoff. You struggle, but you don’t struggle too hard.

UPDATE: A woman whose blog title I greatly admire has some thoughts.

March 7, 2009

URGENT! David Brooks of the NY Times Wins Prestigious Journalism Award!

Normally, the committee waits until April to name the winner of this coveted prize, but he was so far ahead on points . . .

March 3, 2009

‘Those of us who consider ourselves moderates . . .’

“. . . are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.”
David Brooks, New York Times

Meanwhile, those of us who consider David Brooks a useless son of a bitch are forced to confront the reality that the New York Times is still paying him $300,000 a year to annoy us with idiotic self-promoting drivel like this:

Those of us in the moderate tradition — the Hamiltonian tradition that believes in limited but energetic government — thus find ourselves facing a void. We moderates are going to have to assert ourselves. We’re going to have to take a centrist tendency that has been politically feckless and intellectually vapid and turn it into an influential force.
The first task will be to block the excesses of unchecked liberalism. In the past weeks, Democrats have legislated provisions to dilute welfare reform, restrict the inflow of skilled immigrants and gut a voucher program designed for poor students. It will be up to moderates to raise the alarms against these ideological outrages.

Smitty, Dave and an army of Internet commenters can fisk Brooks point-by-point. I’m just pissed off that I got up this morning with the idea of blogging some real news and instead found myself confronted by another David Brooks column. Eight hundred and fourteen words, exhibiting no apparent effort at reporting. Let the reader calculate the cost-per-word of Brooks’s annual output. Compare and contrast.

With American newspapers in meltdown mode — my old boss at the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, Pierre-Rene Noth, was recently put out to the pasture of semi-retirement — why is Brooks still on the NYT payroll?

Because he’s a stylish writer? Stylish writers are a dime a dozen. Because he brings to bear incisive reporting? Make me laugh. Given access to the resources and awesome prestige of one of the world’s most important news-gathering organizations — please don’t accuse me of succumbing to Tucker Carlson Syndrome — Brooks adamantly refuses to gather any news, opting instead for the posture of the Platonic archon, deciding which “noble lies” are acceptable for utterance by those who aspire to lead the ignorant masses.

The New York Times continues to pay Brooks to produce his elaborate nonsense, and the idiot (he is not even a useful idiot) doesn’t realize that there are people among the readership who remember his past idiocies and are capable of doing a quick compare-and-contrast that exposes him for the posturing sham he is. Ladies and gentlemen, liberal blogger John Cole:

Moderate? What happened to worshiping Edmund Burke and Hayek and Oakeshott and all those other guys? What happened to kicking it in Gstaad with William F. Buckley?
What concerns me most is the very real possibility that Brooks will now dig up some long forgotten hero of moderation and begin quoting him as if we all were supposed to know who he was. Are there any moderate intellectual writers I should start boning up on right now?

If there is one thing that the blogosphere has accomplished, or will eventually accomplish, it is to expose the likes of David Brooks as vestiges of the golden age of journalistic excess, a Darwinian remnant of an obsolute appendage, a luxury that newspapers could arguably afford when ad revenues were growing and newsrooms were crowded.

Those days are over, and now ad revenue losses are requiring news organizations to excise the bone and sinew of their core news-gathering operations. Lean-and-mean will be the newsroom of the future, and the day is soon coming — not soon enough, but nevertheless soon — when the city editor of the New York Times will be told he’ll have to lay off another reporter. And there will be an angry shouting match in someone’s office at 620 Eighth Avenue:

Hell, no! Why the f— should I lay off a reporter when that g–d— piece of s— David Brooks is collecting $300,000 a year to produce two columns of nothingness a week? You can fire me if you want to, or I’ll just quit right here and now, because I’ll be g–d—-d if I’ll lay off one more reporter as long as that useless motherf—-r David Brook is on the payroll!

It is possible to argue that Brooks never should have been hired for that job in the first place. He is the Chauncey Gardner of American journalism, a man elevated by circumstance to a position beyond his aptitude or capacity.

Brooks reminds me very much of a couple of staff writers I encountered in 1987 after I was hired as sports editor of the Douglas County (Ga.) Neighbor. One spring afternoon, in transit from an afternoon track meet to a night baseball game, I stopped by the office to get film for my camera (I did most of my own photography) and overheard these two guys talking amongst themselves. One of them was overjoyed that the local amateur theatre outfit had agreed to produce his one-act play, which prompted congratulations from the other writer, who complained that his latest poem had been rejected by whatever literary magazine he’d sent it to.

That overheard conversation has stuck in my mind for more than two decades. As I hopped back in my ’84 Chevette that afternoon, I cussed a storm and peeled out of the parking lot. Here I was, wearing out my tires and clutch en route from one event to another, working the phones late at night to get complete results for events I couldn’t cover in person, writing into the wee hours, doing my own photography, layout and paste-up. And there were those two useless sons of bitches, required to contribute a mere eight bylines a week, and using their ample leisure to write poems and plays.

“F— them,” I said to myself. Oh, I had my own original ambitions, but the rock-star thing wasn’t working out, so I was happy to get a job as a sports editor, even if it did take everything I had to keep up with the pace, as I was required to produce not only the sports pages of the Douglas County Neighbor, but also the geographically adjacent Paulding County Neighbor.

I vowed that day never to become one of those useless sons of bitches. Wherever I worked, I’d work — I would produce, over and above the minimum requirements — and when I finally got pissed off enough to walk out the door, my absence would be felt. Curious minds may inquire of Pierre-Rene Noth if I made good on that ancient vow, and if my talents were missed after the day in 1997 I left the Rome News-Tribune.

Yesterday, a blog reader sent me an e-mail alleging shady doings at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The e-mail, including transcripts of testimony before a congressional committee, ran to 10 pages. I was too brain-fogged from Post-CPAC Syndrome to make heads or tales of what it was the tipster was alleging, and I got up this morning at 6:30 with the intent of finding out, or at least trying to blog about some actual news.

Instead, I found myself noticing (via Memeorandum, Rule 3) this ridiculous ode to moderation by David Brooks. So I’ve wasted time telling my few hundred regular readers what they already know, that David Brooks is a useless son of a bitch. And in recompense for my labors, I pray for only one thing: That someone will call this to the attention of the city editor of the New York Times, so as to hasten that angry shouting match at 620 Eighth Avenue.

ADDENDUM: OK, so I lied. Additional recompense is always welcome, if anyone wants to hit the tip jar. It’s a long way from the occasional Google Adsense check to $300,000 a year, and every $20 helps.

UPDATE: I would be remiss if I failed to link Russ Smith’s farewell to the Rocky Mountain News. When venerable newspapers like the Rocky are going belly-up and hard-working journalists everywhere are dreading the next round of newsroom pink slips, the continued employment of a useless SOB like David Brooks reeks to high heaven as an insult to the profession.

If you’re one of the New York Times employees reading this via the electronic water cooler (SiteMeter sees all), allow me to offer a suggestion: Somebody compose a small note, with four words in red 72-point Arial Bold:

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!

Let these notes begin to appear inconspicuously in your newsroom cubicles, so that you will know who your comrades are. John Galt. Tyler Durden. You get the idea.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin:

What an unbelievable waste of time and real estate is David Brooks. It’s profane. Which is why Robert Stacy McCain’s expletive-filled smackdown is the only appropriate and satisfying response.

Glad you enjoyed it, ma’am. I always aim to please.

March 1, 2009

Attention, New York Times

Ailing G.O.P. Risks Losing a Generation
NY Times headline, Feb. 28

Which party has the strongest youth movement, full of America’s most promising young people? To answer that question, let’s take a look at a few photos of young conservatives taken during the three days of CPAC 2009:

No captions. I’ll leave it to the geniuses at the New York Times to figure out which one of the many young faces in the several photos above is:

OK, probably anybody can guess that last one, even the employees of the New York Times. For myself, I have no doubt that young conservative promise a hopeful tomorrow. Look at those kids — their future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades.

(Attention: “Rule 5 Sunday” will start this afternoon. First, I must have some sleep.)

February 18, 2009

‘Expert’ advice

This guy is actually a Harvard economics professor:

If You’ve Got Money, It’s Time to Spend Some
. . . Despite the strength of the economic logic urging spending during a downturn, powerful psychological forces push in the opposite direction. . . .
How should upper income Americans balance the economic imperative to spend with the social benefits of restraint? . . .
Second, consider becoming a more generous gift-giver. . . .
For the rest of us, let’s let envy take a holiday. Encourage your wealthy neighbors to buy new Cadillacs. Each car they buy will mean a little less bailout money that we’ll have to come up with. President Obama is right about the need for more responsibility, but for those of you who have been responsible, this is the time to disregard those puritanical whispers and buy something fun.

If that isn’t the most moronic thing ever written by an economist . . . wait a minute, I almost forgot Paul Krugman has been writing for years. OK, then: If that isn’t about the 1,114th most moronic thing ever written by an economist . . .