Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01


I gotta like this guy.

The New Jersey Assemblyman criticized for posing in front of a Confederate flag in a photo he posted to his Facebook page apparently has something just as offensive up his sleeve — a tattoo of the Stars and Bars on his left arm.

The tattoo appears in multiple photos of Assemblyman Parker Space posted on a Sussex County-based blog called Skylands Patriot.

In the snaps, Parker wears short sleeved shirts that show the flag on his left inner bicep.

Last week, Space posted on his Facebook page a photo of himself and his wife standing in front of a Confederate flag superimposed with the face of country singer Hank Williams Jr. The flag included this Williams lyric: “If the South would’ve won, we would’ve had it made.”

Being the proud bearer of a Battle Flag tattoo myself, I obviously have no problem with that. And the “Confederate flag” they’re talking about is actually one of those novelty deals featuring Hank Jr’s face superimposed on the center of it, framed by the tag line and title from an old song of his. The lyrics are actually kind of funny, lighthearted and tongue in cheek if kind of awkwardly phrased in spots, clearly not intended to give offense. I can’t imagine many folks in the Northeast having just a whole lot of warm regard for the line on Space’s flag just the same.

We had a flag very like it, with Elvis in a cowboy hat instead of Bocephus and minus any song lyrics, hanging in the living room of my old NYC apartment. That grand old flag belonged to one of my roommates, a longtime New Yorker who was originally from…uhh, Chicago(?!?) and remains a dear friend of mine to this day. I only wish I had kept the flag myself; I’ve looked for another one since, but never have seen one. Which tells me that American truckstops and flea markets, particularly here in the South, just ain’t what they used to be.

That said, Space’s forced explanation is kind of weaselly, frankly. I don’t doubt his political career is now over, however fair or unfair anybody might think that to be. It’s kind of mind-boggling that the guy—anybody, really, much less a politician—was oblivious to what posting such things on Facebook was going to get him. It doesn’t speak at all well of his astuteness regarding political realities and the current cultural state of play, particularly in the Northeast. And this is even worse:

“Hope no one is offended! LOL!” Space captioned the photo — later removing the “LOL.”

Dude. “Hope no one is offended”? SERIOUSLY? I mean, just…DUDE.

By the way, this post is an example of GAB paying off, seeing as how I found it in one of my new followers’ posts, which I’d link to here if I knew how. So, y’know, there’s that.


Tocsin, ringing

Nobody nails it like Codevilla.

At least half of Americans sense that their country has been taken from them. In 2016, they voted for Donald Trump despite obvious reasons not to: churchgoers, despite his lack of religiosity; women, despite his womanizing, small business people, despite his big business identity; advocates of civility, despite his plain incivilities, and so on. They voted for protection against government, big business, the media, the educational and even the religious establishments, which wage a cold civil war to push them and their “deplorable” way of life to society’s margins.

But the election’s aftermath confirmed fears that mere voting cannot reestablish traditional American priorities. It has done and can do little to lessen the ruling class’s relentless pressures on how we live our lives. How to save a way of life while avoiding surrender, or a hot civil war, is the subject of anguish, and much debate.

In principle, the solution is simple, sufficient, and deeply rooted in American history: what some call “subsidiarity,” previously practiced in America as federalism. As culturally diverse people sort themselves out over a vast land, only despotism can force each part to live in ways repugnant to its majority. Hence, I suggested in 2017 that just as people on the Right should be content with the majority of Californians’ decision to be a “sanctuary” from national immigration laws, those on the Left should be just as tolerant of Texans or North Dakotans deciding to make their states “sanctuaries” from Federal Court decisions concerning abortion or a bunch of other things.

But avoiding civil war on this basis is inconceivable now because the Left believes it has the right, duty, and power to force universal adherence to its dictates’ utmost details. Nor can surrender purchase peace, because the Left’s dictates do not and cannot have a final form. Endlessly evolving, they are less about what is being imposed on America than about inflicting righteous punishment on inferiors—the appetite and power for which increase with every success.

That is why the prescriptions of “conservative reformers”—for example, Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic—deny reality. They suppose that economics, ever the ground of compromise, is the dividing line between Right and Left. Hence they posit that the American Left is amenable to retreat from confrontation, to live-and-let-live.

But money has never been the point.

As with every other word the man utters, I dare you not to read all of it. There simply is no more insightful, eloquent, and unflinching commentator around.


Hey, it’s SCIENCE!

Hoist by his own petard.

Disney and Netflix officials said Friday they’re not sure why references to chromosomes and gender were removed from a 21-year-old episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” which is available now for online streaming.

The 1996 episode, “Probability,” originally featured a cast member saying, “I’m a girl. Could have just as easily been a boy, though, because the probability of becoming a girl is always 1 in 2.”

“See, inside each of our cells are these things called chromosomes, and they control whether we become a boy or a girl,” she added. “See, there are only two possibilities: XX, a girl, or XY, a boy.”

That segment has since been removed, and it is not available in the version that is now streaming on Netflix, the Washington Free Beacon was first to report.

Nye’s new program, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” which is exclusive to Netflix, departs from his old television show’s position on gender.

“Gender is like sex, it’s on the spectrum,” Nye said in one of his newer episodes.

News that Nye’s old television program has been edited for Netflix comes on the heels of the premiere of his new online show, which takes a very progressive approach to a number of issues, including climate change, world population and gender.

Well, nothing says “science” more than hiding the facts to fit whatever political narrative is currently popular and maintain the approval of your fellow Progressivists, right?

Hey, balance the ball on your nose now, Science Guy, and clap your flippers together; maybe the libtards will throw you another fish. MJ has a couple of pertinently impertinent questions:

Shower thought: Doesn’t discussion of the wage gap assume someone’s gender?

Shower thought II: Does the B in LGBT assume there are only two genders?

Gee, I dunno. Maybe we could get a real scientist, instead of a PC douchebag like Bill Nye, to address those sometime.


It’s a wonderful life

One of my all-time favorite movies, but I had no idea at all about any of this.

The man was A.P. Giannini who was said to be who Capra modeled the character of George Bailey as well as the bank president in Capra’s 1932 movie, American Madness, after. At the age of 14, Giannini left school and began working with his step father, Lorenzo Scatena, in the produce industry as a produce broker. By the time he was 31, he was able to sell much of his interest in this company to his employees and had planned to retire. However, one year later, he was asked to join the Columbus Savings & Loan Society, which was a small bank in North Beach, California.

Once he joined up, he found that almost nobody at the Savings & Loan, nor other banks, were willing to give loans to anyone but the rich or those owning businesses. At first, Giannini attempted to convince the other directors at the Savings & Loan to start lending to working class citizens, to give them home and auto loans, among other things. He felt that working class citizens, though lacking in assets to guarantee the loan against, were generally honest and would pay back their loans when they could. Further, by loaning them money, it would allow working class citizens to better themselves in ways they would not have been able to do without the money lent to them, such as being able to buy a home or to start a new business. He was never able to convince the other directors to begin lending to the working class.

Not to be dissuaded, he then set out to start his own bank. With $150,000 raised from various friends and family, Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in 1904, which would be a bank specializing in loaning money to the common man. The first Bank of Italy branch was in a converted saloon across the street from the Savings & Loan he had formerly been a member of. The assistant teller at the Bank of Italy was the former bartender of that very saloon.

Mr Martini, a teller at George’s bank? How odd and…UNEXPECTED! Okay, sorry. Onwards.

He then went about educating the working class on what a bank does and how one could help them. He then made a practice of not offering loans based on how much money or equity a person had, but based primarily on how he judged their character. Within a year, Bank of Italy had over $700,000 in deposits from these working class individuals, which is somewhere around $15-$20 million today. By the middle of the 1920s, it had become the third largest bank in the United States.

I’ve always said that in order to get a loan from a bank, you first have to conclusively prove to them that you don’t need one. Much, much more fascinating stuff here, including this:

During his time with Bank of Italy and eventually Bank of America, as it became, he instituted a variety of practices that are standard among nearly all banks today. He also was a key figure in making California what it is today, including: being an integral part of the California wine industry getting started; providing numerous loans to various entities in Hollywood in its early days, by starting the motion-picture loan division, which provided loans to many budding Hollywood groups and individuals including funding Walt Disney’s Snow White, when it had gone $2 million over budget; and funded the United Artists, which was founded by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith.

He also loaned money to the founders of HP, William Hewlett and David Packard, to start their business. More significantly, he had his bank purchase the necessary bonds to fund the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. And, of course, the aforementioned integral role in financing much of the rebuilding of San Francisco directly after the earthquake of 1906, among other things.

By 1930, Giannini had retired once again and this time moved to Europe. However, his successor began running the bank like traditional banks of the day, only lending to the wealthy and businesses and the like. Because of this, Giannini came back to the United States and rallied various employees and depositors to him, with them buying shares in the bank until they owned the controlling interest. He eventually accumulated enough shares owned by working class citizens, who backed him, to allow him to regain control of the bank, at which point, he returned it to its former ways of lending to the “little man”. He did not retire again.

Much like the fictitious George Bailey, Giannini kept little for himself through all this. Despite that fact that the bank he started was worth billions at the time of his death, Giannini’s entire estate was valued at only $500,000 when he died at the age of 79 in 1949. He avoided acquiring great wealth as he felt it would cause him to lose touch with the working class. For much of his career, he refused pay for his work and when the board attempted to give him $1.5 million as a bonus one year, he gave it all away to the University of California stating “Money itch is a bad thing. I never had that trouble.”

Turns out his bank was the originator of the VISA card too, and there’s loads more yet. All in all, it’s a truly remarkable story about a truly remarkable man, and a downright riveting read. Don’t miss it, including the “fun facts” that follow the actual article.

(Via Debby Witt)


“I will therefore content myself with the observation that no better Constitution was ever better written in English”

No wonder Obama sent his bust back.

No one can think clearly or sensibly about this vast and burning topic without in the first instance making up his mind upon the fundamental issue. Does he value the State above the citizen, or the citizen above the State? Does a government exist for the individual, or do individuals exist for the government?

In the United States, also, economic crisis has led to an extension of the activities of the Executive and to the pillorying, by irresponsible agitators, of certain groups and sections of the population as enemies of the rest. There have been efforts to exalt the power of the central government and to limit the rights of individuals. It has been sought to mobilize behind this reversal of the American tradition, at once the selfishness of the pensioners, or would-be pensioners, of Washington, and the patriotism of all who wish to see their country prosperous once more.

It is when passions and cupidities are thus unleashed and, at the same time, the sense of public duty rides high in the hearts of all men and women of good will that the handcuffs can be slipped upon the citizens and they can be brought into entire subjugation to the executive government. Then they are led to believe that, if they will only yield themselves, body, mind and soul, to the State, and obey unquestioningly its injunctions, some dazzling future of riches and power will open to them…

I take the opposite view. I hold that governments are meant to be, and must remain, the servants of the citizens; that states and federations only come into existence and can only by justified by preserving the ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in the homes and families of individuals. The true right and power rest in the individual. He gives of his right and power to the State, expecting and requiring thereby in return to receive certain advantages and guarantees. I do not admit that an economic crisis can ever truly be compared with the kind of struggle for existence by races constantly under primordial conditions. I do not think that modern nations in time of peace ought to regard themselves as if they were the inhabitants of besieged cities, liable to be put to the sword or led into slavery if they cannot make good their defense.

Socialism or overweening State life, whether in peace or war, is only sharing miseries and not blessings. Every self-respecting citizen in every country must be on his guard lest the rulers demand of him in time of peace sacrifices only tolerable in a period of war for national self-preservation.

I judge the civilization of any community by simple tests. What is the degree of freedom possessed by the citizen or subject? Can he think, speak and act freely under well-established, well-known laws? Can he criticize the executive government? Can he sue the State if it has infringed his rights? Are there also great processes for changing the law to meet new conditions?

It’s the great Winston Churchill, of course. The man was a visionary and a genius. Hs words are plain but eloquent, and beautifully direct; the wisdom expressed by them is beyond argument. That some arrogant-in-ignorance little pipsqueak like the Current Occupant would dare presume to offer him any conceivable insult is incomprehensibly offensive. Churchill in his prescience had something to say to present-day advocates for the Constitution as a “living document,” too:

And here we must note a dangerous misuse of terminology. ‘Taking the rigidity out of the American Constitution’ means, and is intended to mean, new gigantic accessions of power to the dominating centre of government and giving it the means to make new fundamental laws enforceable upon all American citizens.

And so it has turned out. It didn’t happen by accident, either. He would no doubt be sick to his core at what both our nation and his own have become. And he’d be right about that, too.

(Via Weird Dave and Constitution Daily)


In defense of the electoral college—AGAIN

A republic. If you can keep it.

The Nation alerted its readers that “Republican nominee will become president with less popular support than a number of major-party candidates who lost races for the presidency.” (The Nation conveniently ignores the fact that Bill Clinton won his first race with just 43% of the popular vote.)

California Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill to eliminate the Electoral College, calling it an “undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society that.”

The feelings among those who supported Hillary Clinton is understandable. After all, as it stands, Trump currently has 46.78% of the vote, compared with Clinton’s 47.69%. And as votes continue to be counted, her margin has increased, according to data from US Election Atlas.

But a closer look at the election returns show that Hillary’s lead in the popular vote is entirely due to her oversized margin of victory in uber-liberal California.

Read all of it—and thank God every minute of every day for the genius of our Founding Fathers, who knew exactly what they were doing right down the line. The electoral college might have been the very best of their many great and forward-looking ideas. They knew very well that sooner or later, a political faction would come along which would represent precisely the kind of tyranny they loathed and feared. It has, in our time, and it’s called the Democratic Party. Bottom line:

Yes, the Electoral College occasionally produces the odd outcome where the popular vote winner is the election night loser. But without the Electoral College, abnormally partisan states like California could permanently dominate the nation’s politics.

It’s unlikely people in “flyover” country would consider that fair, or even democratic.

It’s even more unlikely that they’d put up with it for very long. This election represented a giant middle finger waved in the Democrat Socialists’ faces, along with a heartfelt “fuck you!” for good measure. But nobody needs to think for a moment that it will be the last time we’ll need to do it. Thankfully, the Founders provided us with a means for doing exactly that, in a way that actually matters.

(Via Insty)

The root of the problem update! Repeal the 17th. Period, full stop, end of story.

The citizens’ representatives in the federal government were called—well, Representatives—and they made up the House of Representatives. The Representatives were chosen directly by the voters, apportioned by population. The House was given the power of the purse—which the Founders’ generation understood to be paramount (“no taxation without representation”)—and which meant every Representative had to face the voters with frequency and regularity.

Each state got two electoral votes by virtue of its two Senators, and one vote for each Representative. Please note that under the original Constitution each state government was treated perfectly equally. Each state government got two Senators. No disparity there! Only when the progressives overthrew this system by means of the Seventeenth Amendment did a kind of disparity appear. The 17th Amendment instituted the direct election of Senators, the system we now have. It took away from the states the power to appoint the Senators who were to represent them in the federal government and to oversee federal execution of the responsibilities the states had delegated to the federal government. The result was a diminishing of the power of the states and the growth of the gargantuan central government we have today.

The 17th Amendment reneged on a deal honorably entered into by honorable men, and approved by the voters of the Founders’ generation. The method of election so perfectly suited to choosing the Representatives, and so imperfect for the function of the Senate, was imposed on the Senate by the progressive “reform.” Today, Progressives use the disparity which resulted from what they did as a reason to go even further—and abolish the Electoral College.

That’s why they are called Progressives; they never stop their assaults on the Constitution.

We may ask: did the Constitution fail America or did Americans fail the Constitution? The question answers itself. The generation which ratified the Seventeenth Amendment failed in its primary responsibility as citizens, its responsibility to understand and defend the Constitution. We are living with the consequences of their failure—a federal Leviathan operating in an increasingly post-Constitutional America.

One can legitimately take hope from this election in which the Electoral College may have again saved the Constitution—or at least given us another chance to save it.

May we prove worthy of this opportunity.

Indeed. Frankly, I think any push for this would have to come from someplace other than Trump himself; it’s not the sort of thing I can imagine him being much interested in. Although wouldn’t it be great to find out I was wrong about that assumption?


In defense of the electoral college

JC Dodge takes the long view:

Tuesday’s election results have given normal people (it’s just like firearms magazines, a 30 round rifle mag is normal capacity not “high” capacity, just like being conservative is normal thinking not “extreme” thinking) some breathing room. How long this “breathing room” will last is anyone’s guess. We are seeing protests and riots across the country based on what the sore losers feel was “their win”.

Facts are funny things. Fact #1, those who are protesting now didn’t seem to have an issue with the “unfair” electoral college till it slapped them in their “collective” (literal and figurative) faces.

Actually, that’s not really so; the Left has been bitching about the electoral college for about as long as I can remember, and no wonder: it’s one of the only things that stands between us and the absolute tyranny they’re so eager to set up. It was one of the Founders’ most brilliant ideas, and it needs to be defended by anyone not interested in having their home state run like New York, Chicago, or LA. Thus:

Former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who lost to George H.W. Bush in 1988, re-upped his call to abolish the Electoral College after Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump on Tuesday.

“Hillary won this election, and when the votes are all counted, by what will likely be more than a million votes. So how come she isn’t going to the White House in January? Because of an anachronistic Electoral College system which should have been abolished 150 years ago,” he wrote Sunday in an email to POLITICO.

Or, more accurately, because of one of the very fundamentals of the system of government bequeathed to us by some of the most prescient statesmen who ever walked the earth. But then, liberals don’t much like the Constitution, either. In truth, they’re not happy with most of the other aspects of the way this nation was set up, and much prefer the Eurosocialist model. So why would anybody expect them to feel any different about the electoral college?

The former Massachusetts governor’s call echoes a sentiment expressed by none other than Trump himself in 2012. When it briefly looked like Mitt Romney had won the popular vote, he tweeted, “The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy.”

Trump was wrong. Sure, it’s a disaster for democracy—but we aren’t a democracy. We’re a republic, and the electoral college is the lone bulwark that ensures we benighted, racist, xenophobic bigots in less populous states still have a say in our own governance.

Which, y’know, no wonder they don’t like it.

And, during the 2000 recount, Clinton herself called for its abolishment.

“I believe strongly that in democracy we should respect the will of the people, and to me that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president,” she said at the time, shortly after her own election to the Senate.

Yeah, well, screw you, and everybody who thinks like you. This ain’t no democracy; it never was, and it was never supposed to be. All of us in flyover country can thank God for that, and hope that it never will be.



I gotta say it: this show sounds absolutely fantastic, and my hat is off to the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda for conceiving and creating it. I saw a 60 Minutes report (transcript here, video here) on it back when it first aired in November, and although my first thought on the whole idea of “hip-hop Founding Fathers” was, umm, profanely uncharitable, let’s say, the more I read and hear about it, the more I realize what a wonderful idea the whole production was.

Burr really has two roles in the show: the omniscient narrator, and himself in the present moment. In the affecting finale, as he recounts the moments that led up to his and Hamilton’s fateful, fatal conflict, Odom’s voice takes on a note of barely disguised panic. As the keeper of the narrative, he knows what is coming yet is powerless to stop it.

Odom has said in interviews that he lets himself be shocked by the ending every night, lets himself believe it can be avoided until it can’t. He is a miraculous actor, one whom you can watch thinking, a rare and impressive skill. As he takes his position in the final duel, his eyes wide with fear, you can feel every inevitable step that led to this. Burr’s last “present-moment” word, as he’s shooting Hamilton, is “Wait!” in a terrifyingly sad recollection of his earlier catchphrase, which was the watchword of his ambitions—now to be dashed.

This leads to his all-too-knowing coda to the duel: “History obliterates—in every picture it paints, it paints me in all my mistakes…Now I’m the villain in your history. I was too young and blind to see—I should have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.” (That last is something the real Burr actually said before his own death at 80.) Odom weeps as he sings this, both out of regret and out of catharsis for all the pent-up frustration he’s been holding in the entire show.

If you’re in NYC, you probably ought to consider making a beeline to this one as soon as you can. Miranda has done the nation a real service by bringing American history–too much of it forgotten by too many of us–to glorious life for modern audiences, and he deserves all the credit in the world for it.


Happy birthday!

To my all-time favorite composer.

EFFREY BROWN: Welcome, Rob Kapilow.

Let’s start by acknowledging this is one of the world’s great musical geniuses, right?

ROB KAPILOW: So true. I mean, just, whenever you think of musical prodigy, who do you think of but Mozart? Writing simple keyboard pieces at 5, violin sonatas and orchestral music at 6 and 7, first symphony at 9. It’s really disgusting, if you’re a composer like me. You just don’t even want to think about Mozart’s birthday.

Follows, some conversation about his Symphony Number 40, which has never been one of my favorites, actually–I’ll take the Jupiter any day, just to name one. But then we get some good analysis of the thing:

ROB KAPILOW: The whole universe in three notes, a cosmic essence.

We hear Mozart think out loud. What I can do? And he says what if I just…

JEFFREY BROWN: Even those three notes, what…

ROB KAPILOW: Yes, what can I do with these three notes?

And it’s not much. Right? This is not great. He says, what if I just take the ending and put it down here in the flute and oboe, and overlap like this? Try it up higher, even higher.

Trying to find out, what does the idea mean? And then the ultimate final step is, we reduce the whole thing to nothing but the first three notes. Who would dream that this could be the topic for an entire piece?

JEFFREY BROWN: We started, though, this conversation about genius. Your case is that that is sort of the essence of it, is taking something simple, creating a whole universe in a sense.


There’s that quote from Ezra Pound, genius is the capacity to see 10 things where the ordinary man sees one. We just hear that opening idea, but he sees, as you have just heard, at least 20 things in an idea that we never could have imagined.

A great Mark Twain quote: “There never was yet an uninteresting life.”

Inside the dullest exterior, there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy. And Mozart heard the drama, comedy, and tragedy in all of us, and turned it into music.

That he most certainly did, with a scope, depth, and passion found just about nowhere else–except, ironically enough (or perhaps not, given the profundity of Mozart’s influence on him), Beethoven.

I’ve said many times in conversation with friends of mine that I can’t for the life of me see how anyone could be a truly serious musician without believing in God, or at the very least some undefinable power higher than ourselves, on a plane of existence only very occasionally and fleetingly reachable by us mere mortals. Mozart is a perfect example of why that is so; without at least a nod in the direction of the Almighty, there can be no explaining or understanding him, and even then only in the crudest and most incomplete of ways. Anybody who can hear some of his best work, some of it dating to his childhood, and then scoff at the notion of a higher intelligence far beyond our own and basically incomprehensible to us as the inspiration and wellspring of that work–and the insuperable mystery underpinning it–is not talking about anything I’ll ever understand. And has probably never written a note of listenable music in his life…and never will.

Which is not to say that there aren’t any good musicians who aren’t atheists themselves, mind. I’m sure there are–some insist that Beethoven himself was, although that science is far from settled, to coin a phrase. But I think they either are laboring under the influence of an overpowering arrogance and conceit, or are simply not interested in delving into the “why” of it at all. But hey, your mileage may vary on that one. I can only say that, while I’ve written hundreds of songs myself, a small handful of which were decent and I was actually proud of, I never wrote a single one of them by myself. They all came from someplace else entirely, exactly as if they were handed down to me very nearly whole from there, and you can refer to that place by whatever name you want to.

Composers–other than a lot of modern ones whose work is mostly reductionist, a sort of tinkering with simple mathematics and little more–have a voice in their head that sings to them instead of just talking, and they can then capture snatches of that melody and put it down for the rest of us to hear, using their own talent, training, experience, and personality to filter it. You can call that whatever you like, too. But if you know what you’re about, you can’t call it Nothing, or say it isn’t there. Or so I believe, anyway.


Sees the light

Political correctness eats itself. And everything else.

A former equality chief has branded his years working to stamp out racial discrimination as ‘utterly wrong’.

Writer and broadcaster Trevor Phillips said efforts made under the Blair government turned anti-racism into an ‘ugly new doctrine’.

Mr Phillips is the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and has waged a 30-year campaign to tackle issues around discrimination and equality.

In an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, called Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, he says attempts to stop prejudice instead encouraged abuse and endangered lives as well as contributed to the rise of parties like Ukip. 

He explains: ‘It was my job to to make sure that different racial and religious groups got on.

‘Campaigners like me seriously believed that if we could prevent people expressing prejudiced ideas then eventually they would stop thinking them. 

‘But now I’m convinced we were utterly wrong.’

Mr Phillips, a Labour party member, says anti-racism began with good intentions but turned into ‘thought control’. 

But Mr Phillips insists people should be free to use racial stereotypes, such as that many Jews are rich or that black people are more likely to be convicted for robbery, because they are true.

Explaining the issue, he said: ‘The dividing lines of race, religion and culture are probably the most dangerous flashpoints in Britain today, but they’re also the ones we find hardest to talk about in public.

Of course they are, you fool. That was the whole point of what you were doing. You were attempting to rein in free expression; who but a damned liberal-fascist SUPERGENIUS!! could possibly consider that anything other than “thought control”? You try to eliminate unpopular or even downright ugly opinions by government coercion and then act surprised that it becomes “difficult to talk about” them? That it became “thought control,” when it was never anything but precisely that in the first place?

Thought control was the goal. Making it “hard to talk about” unpleasant opinions–illegal to talk about them, in fact–was the mechanism by which you hoped to achieve that goal. It wasn’t some surprising “unintended consequence”; it was the whole fucking point of what you were doing.

And now we all have to sit back and watch you laboriously pick that profound intellectual lintwad out of your friggin’ navel, and pat you on the head for your courageous, honest genius after you’re done?


(Via Insty)


Cool Cal

In praise of a truly great President. Y’know, as opposed to the neo-Marxist trainwreck of a dictator we have now.

Reagan inherited President Jimmy Carter’s anemic economy. He cut taxes and with Paul Volcker as his guide cut inflation. He put the economy on a growth curve for years thereafter. Yet, as Shlaes points out, he failed to reduce the deficit — though he did reduce it as a percentage of GDP — and he failed to cut the federal budget.

Coolidge did. In fact, he cut the top income tax rate to 25 percent, three percentage points lower than Reagan’s historic 1986 tax cuts, and the economy grew. Coolidge reduced the national debt from $28 billion to $17.65 billion with a combination of economies and tax cuts. He actually balanced the budget. When, in 1929, he returned to his Massachusetts home he left the federal budget smaller than it was when he had arrived in 1921. Of equal importance, the economy was now solidly growing.

The unemployment rate that was at 5.7 million in July 1921 had dropped to 1.8 million. Manufacturing had climbed by a third since 1921 and iron and steel production had doubled. Finally, the revenue acts of 1921, 1924, and 1928 represented strong growth despite tax reduction. Something was working.

Funny how that mysterious, inexplicable “something” has worked every single time it’s been tried. Which is more than you’ll ever be able to say about Ogabe’s schoolboy socialism. Thus:

Coolidge’s secretary of the treasury, Andrew Mellon, called it “scientific taxation.” Today we would call his tax plan supply-side economics. By cutting marginal tax rates Coolidge and Mellon goaded economic activity and raised tax revenue. Yet through all the years of his presidency Coolidge along with his secretary of the treasury Mellon had to fight off big spenders, not only the Democrats but also those Republicans infected with a kind of influenza for Big Government called progressivism. There were great projects such as the hydroelectric project called Muscle Shoals and there were noble gestures such as the veterans’ pensions that kept the pressure on the Administration to spend and tax and burst the budget.

Cal resisted most of these impulses with his pocket veto and fifty vetoes, but it wore him down. In 1927 he cryptically signed a message to the world, “I do not choose to run for President in Nineteen Twenty-Eight.” Hoover ran and returned the progressive impulse to Washington.

And that was the beginning of the long, dreary end for America That Was.


How it’s done

It was so when I started blogging, and it still is today: nobody does it quite like Lileks.

Yes, James, I mean that as a compliment. Highest praise, in fact.

Ever opened a menu, looked at it up and down, and thought: there’s not a damned thing here that strikes my fancy. Oh, there’s a hamburger, but it’s off to the side in a box, which tells you that they’ll make it if they must, but really. You came here. For a hamburger. I mean, I recognized everything – chicken, for example; I clung to that as a lifeline. If all else fails there’s chicken – but you’d find a word that had promise, like Ravioli, and it would be immediately followed by “gourd” or or “braised okra,” and you realized that everything here was going to be subtle. The menu was proud to announce that all the foods were locally produced, which really isn’t the first thing I look for when I’m dining out. No one ever takes a bite of steak and says “man, you can really taste the proximity.”

The beef dish – which had no price; it was Market Price, the fluctuations in the daily beef market being so volatile they can’t commit – was described in a way that failed to suggest the form or shape or type of beef, only that it was beef, and there was okra, and perhaps artisanal potatoes. There was fondue for appetizers, but we were assured it wasn’t Seventies fondue.

“Although fondue in the Seventies could be awesome,” said the waiter, who was born around the time Prince started disappointing the casual fan. When it came I noticed that the forks were from the 50s or 60s, a rather staid design. This meant were supposed to consume the fondue without irony. If they’d come with long orange skewers we would have to be self-conscious about how they were reinventing a long-maligned dish, and how the period forks were putting a kitschy gloss on the experience to justify ordering the fondue.

Eating as a pastime is more work than you’d think.

Nice. And man, I hate those precious, pretentious places myself. Fortunately, they tend not to survive too long. Immediately followed by: Kelvinators, Rockolas, and how you do a feature story. Naturally.


The campus radical finally gets a look at reality

It takes an “intellectual” to be this stupid.

After squinting through binoculars into a nation frozen in time, US President Barack Obama reeled off a contempt-laden and startlingly frank indictment of North Korea.

The Stalinist remnant of the Cold War was, in Obama’s eyes, nothing but a nation which cannot make “anything of any use”, “doesn’t work”, and even its vaunted weapons exports were hardly state of the art.

“It is like you are in a time warp,” Obama said Sunday, after he toured a rocky border post in the demilitarised buffer zone that has split the Korean peninsular for longer than he has been alive.

“It is like you are looking across 50 years into a country that has missed 40 years or 50 years of progress,” Obama marvelled later, after taking a helicopter back to teeming, prosperous Seoul, just 25 miles (40 kilometres) away.

Incredible as it may seem (even for him), he really doesn’t seem to have known all this until just now. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take them at their word when you go crawling to the bargaining table to make some meaningless agreement or other with them though, does it, Perfesser? Nor does it mean we should fail to pay proper respect to their system of governance and ideology, or pass judgment on them as being somehow “inferior” to our own. That just wouldn’t do.

And lest we kid ourselves for a moment that His Royal Majesty was ever actually in any danger of learning something, there’s the blinding irony of this sentence ever leaving his lying yap:

“There are certain things that just don’t work and what they are doing doesn’t work.”

Pretty fuckin’ rich coming from a socialist, innit? Further droning calls for more of the same tired Leftist “solutions” from the useless tool just as soon as his handlers have him safely re-inserted into his warm, cozy cocoon back at the Imperial Palace.


Moron is as moron duhs

I never did understand why anyone took such an obvious dolt as Matthew Yglesias seriously. Might as well concede that his fellow Juice Box Mafia consigliere Ezra Klein is a Constitutional scholar too and call it a day.

Here’s Matthew Yglesias with a quick history of American news media:

The Grand Old Days of American journalism were characterized first and foremost by severely curtailed competition. There were three television networks, and outside of New York each city had basically one newspaper.

At first I thought this couldn’t be serious. I understand that the days when there were only three broadcast networks are before Yglesias’s time–but it isn’t exactly ancient history. There are lots of people who were around then. Some of them even work at Slate. You would think that, if he couldn’t be bothered to research the period, Yglesias might have queried one of them.

For instance, when I was a kid growing up outside Philadelphia, we had: the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and the Philadelphia Journal. That is, in addition to the two local dailies, the Gloucester County Times and the Courier-Post.

Without thinking too hard, Boston had the Herald and the Globe (that’s off the top of my head, they may have had more); Seattle had the Seattle Times, the News-Tribune, and the Post Intelligencer; St. Louis had the Globe-Democrat and the Post-Dispatch.

You get the idea. Back in the Grand Old Days most cities had at least two newspapers. (And that’s just counting the major papers–there were tons of smaller ethnic and alternative papers.) I know it’s hard to believe, but once upon a time the major American cities actually had morning and afternoon newspapers. And many of these cities had papers competing even within those time slots!

I know. It sounds crazy. And really, who can be expected to know about stuff that happened way back in the age of rotary dials. I don’t blame Yglesias. It would have taken him 30, maybe even 45 minutes of research to find this out because since most of these papers disappeared before the digital age it’s hard to find them mentioned on the internet.

And really, you can’t blame a journalist for not knowing something if it isn’t in Wikipedia or on Google’s first three results pages. I mean what–do you want journalists to have to read books just so they understand stupid details about what the world was like before iPhones and Twitter?

Perish the thought. Liberal idiots like Yglesias don’t have to actually know anything at all to know they’re smarter than you and me, duuuh. Jonathan kindly throws in a couple of other links to previous posts demonstrating the absolute superiority of this paragon of Lefty erudition’s mental process. Follow the links and snicker away, folks; you don’t get self-beclownment this toothsome every day, you know.

Well, okay, you do. But still.

Duhpdate! Shut up and dance, fluffmuffin.


General Principles for Removing Principal Generals


No; McClellan:

“…[A]lthough McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these attributes may have hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign in 1862 ended in failure, with retreats from attacks by General Robert E. Lee’s smaller army and an unfulfilled plan to seize the Confederate capital of Richmond. His performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam blunted Lee’s invasion of Maryland, but allowed Lee to eke out a precarious tactical draw and avoid destruction, despite being outnumbered. As a result, McClellan’s leadership skills during battles were questioned by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command, first as general-in-chief, then from the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was famously quoted as saying, “If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.”


General George McClellan appointed Allan Pinkerton to employ his agents to spy on the Confederate Army. His reports exaggerated the size of the enemy and McClellan was unwilling to launch an attack until he had more soldiers available. …

…Lincoln ordered George McClellan to appear before a committee investigating the way the war was being fought. On 15th January, 1862, McClellan had to face the hostile questioning of Benjamin Wade and Zachariah Chandler. Wade asked McClellan why he was refusing to attack the Confederate Army. He replied that he had to prepare the proper routes of retreat. Chandler then said: “General McClellan, if I understand you correctly, before you strike at the rebels you want to be sure of plenty of room so that you can run in case they strike back.” Wade added “Or in case you get scared”. After McClellan left the room, Wade and Chandler came to the conclusion that McClellan was guilty of “infernal, unmitigated cowardice”.

As a result of this meeting Abraham Lincoln decided he must find a way to force McClellan into action. On 31st January he issued General War Order Number One. This ordered McClellan to begin the offensive against the enemy before the 22nd February. Lincoln also insisted on being consulted about McClellan’s military plans. Lincoln disagreed with McClellan’s desire to attack Richmond from the east. Lincoln only gave in when the division commanders voted 8 to 4 in favour of McClellan’s strategy. However, Lincoln no longer had confidence in McClellan and removed him from supreme command of the Union Army

McChrystal is not like McClellan…but Obama is, despite fancying himself the New Lincoln.

Big Government:

“…[T]here are only 20 skimmer boats off the coast of Florida out of 2,000 available skimmer boats in the United States. Lemieux says that Obama is afraid to move them to Florida because there won’t be any in place in case there is an oil leak somewhere else.”

Like McClellan, Obama has the troops–but he’s afraid to commit them, while victory slips farther away…


The Kinsley Retort


Ace pens a minor novel Full-Frontal Fisking.
Instapunk contributes a Semi-Fisking.
Doc Zero even prescribes legibly.

They’re talking about this:

My Country, Tis of Me: There’s nothing patriotic about the Tea Party Patriots. By Michael Kinsley

I guess it’s okay to “question the Patriotism” again, kids!

Good–cos’ I was getting a little tired of the old-“We’ll bash America on foreign soil, undermine her economy, dissolve her borders and work ceaselessly to see her lose her wars–and then pretend we’re just as patriotic as you!”-paradigm.

Do they know what they are supporting, or opposing?

Well, they’re free to choose their foreign policy from among these options:

Republicans: “Confront the threat.”
Libertarians: “There is no threat.”
Democrats: “The threat is America.”

Tea Party Patriots reveal a fondness for procedural gimmicks (like a ban on congressional earmarks), constitutional amendments (term limits, balanced budget), and similar magic tricks or shortcuts to salvation.

A constitutional amendment enacted by a vast supermajority is some kind of parlor trick…but one cooked up by five liberal justices is sacrosanct and inviolable!

Apart from a general funk, though, the one common theme espoused by TPPs is the monstrous danger of Big Government.

Except for Bootsy, I don’t know a General Funk. But General Washington & Co. espoused common themes such as

* “Congress shall make no law”
* ‘the right of the people shall not be infringed’
* rights are ‘retained by the people’
* rights are ‘reserved to the States or to the people’

In short, the Founders foresaw “the monstrous danger of Big Government”, even if Kinsley’s pet frogs are mindlessly enjoying a leisurely swim around his quickly-warming hot tub. That’s why the Bill of Rights is a catalog of limitations on government power.

Second, although the 1960s ultimately spread their tentacles throughout the culture and around the world, politically there was just one big issue: ending the war in Vietnam for Hanoi.

Tea Partiers want to End the War, too…The War on Prosperity.

And Micheal Kinsley is AWOL–Absent While Obliviously Liberal.


Sitting on a Powder Kagan: Of Courts and Courtliness


In her 1983 Oxford thesis, Elena Kagan blasted the Warren Court…but not for liberal activism.

The precocious young student of Nanny State U. was mad because they were sloppy about it. Her message: ‘If you’re going to stand the Constitution on its head to coddle criminals, please dot all the “i”s and cross all the “t”s, so that criminal-coddling might endure for the Ages.’

Mary Poppins was right again: “If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious.”

Eva Rodriguez at The Compost:

As an example, Kagan analyzes the Warren Court’s opinions on the exclusionary rule, which prohibits law enforcement officers from using evidence obtained illegally. She notes that many of the court’s opinions were shabbily crafted, lacking clear and strong legal foundations. These failings made the decisions easy pickings for future, more conservative incarnations of the court.

“Future courts attempting to effect long-term change would do well not to repeat such a serious error,” Kagan wrote.

Except that “courts attempting to effect long-term change” is the serious error.

The Court has become a Super-Senate and Tony Blankley votes “Nay”:

In life, generally, honorable people play by the rules. This is particularly true in the United States Senate, which has historically defined itself by its adherence to its unique rules…

The current rules are obsolete, having come into being at a time when the federal courts had not yet been consciously politicized. Today, liberal presidents attempt to use their appointments with the intent to systematically undermine — not uphold — the Constitution. And they do so because their vision of an ever-more-statist America is inconsistent with the Constitution’s fundamental purpose: to limit the size and scope of government.

And note, this is not a case of “both sides do it,” although it is true that conservative presidents look for nominees who will support original intent, strict construction or other methods of trying to adhere to the Constitution.

Both sides don’t do it. That’s the point. That is why you cannot name a famous recent case of conservative activism, but dozens and dozens of liberal cases spring to mind.

But — and this is paramount — because liberal justices tend to seek to undermine the clear intent of the Constitution while conservative justices try to hold the line: The result is an inexorable march toward undermining the Constitution, with conservative appointments functioning as mere temporary holding actions.

As a conservative, I respect Republican senators who wish to venerate well-established traditions. But now, in the fateful spring of 2010, those senators need to consider which of conflicting traditions they intend to venerate. They can either venerate the traditional rules of confirmation or they can venerate the United States Constitution — but not both.

I introduce, as Exhibit A on behalf of this choice, the provision in Obamacare that requires every American citizen to buy a health insurance policy. When the case challenging the constitutionality of that provision reaches the Supreme Court (as about 20 state attorneys general are currently attempting to accomplish by litigation), the government will argue that it is permitted under the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.

They will be forced to argue that the mere inaction of an individual American citizen is an act of interstate commerce worthy of regulation. If that proposition is upheld by the Supreme Court — then we no longer have a limited government. The government would then have the power to outlaw and punish (by fine or prison term) any American’s decision not to exercise, not to vote, not to eat four servings of vegetables a day — any human inaction would be sanctionable under the Interstate Commerce Clause — and then adios liberty.

Blankley ends with a warning:

If senators continue to honor the rules of confirmation, then they are choosing to continue the march toward the end of constitutional, limited government and will deserve whatever demise the people have in store for them. There’s a doozy of a storm brewing — and not only Democratic ships are vulnerable to sinking.

Perhaps the Righteous Brothers said it best; “You’ve lost that sinking feeling…” And that’s the problem we must fix.


Liberals Propose Internal Passport Controls For USA, Detain Illinois Girls’ Basketball Team


Even as Eric Holder’s Gringo Gestapo are demanding “Papers, please!” from Faisal Shazad’s immigration-violator accomplices in Massachusetts, liberals in Illinois are detaining students without probable cause, banning them from exercising their Universal Human Right to immigrate to Arizona.

Fox News:

“The Highland Park High School varsity basketball team has been selling cookies for months to raise money for a tournament in Arizona..

Now, after winning their first conference title in 26 years, the girls are being denied the opportunity to play in the tournament over safety concerns and because the trip “would not be aligned” with the school’s “beliefs and values,” Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson told the Chicago Tribune.

Hebson said Arizona is off-limits…”

I think they should sneak in anyway.

Parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding the decision, which they called confusing, especially since they say no players on the team are illegal immigrants.

Votes? Votes mean nothing–the Arizona legislature voted, didn’t they? Voting with Your Feet While Foreign is sacrosanct, though.

Besides, if there were illegal immigrants on the team, the School District would be in violation of it’s own policies…it would be restricting the freedom of illegal immigrants to travel freely! Evidently, Internal Passport restrictions are for Americans only. Layers of irony…

Evans said he also failed to understand why the school allowed so many other trips, but not this one.

“The school has sent children to China…The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned, since they approved that trip.”

They certainly are aligned, you Mao-Mao-ing RACIST!

Teachers, leave those traveling twelfth-graders alone, you communist control freaks.

UPDATE: Good for Gov. Palin, who is exploring fund-raising to get these athletes released from liberal custody and allow them to immigrate.

The girls themselves object to being used as political pawns by leftist educators, which has become a habit with them. Don’t the Geneva Conventions prohibit using child detainees for political propaganda?

Make no mistake: This is exactly the sort of disunity and strife that Divide-and-Conquer Democrats thrive on.

Turning Americans against Americans, pitting race against race, provoking state against state, dividing citizen against citizen; this is Obama’s Vision for America.


Pride and Prejudice: How Obama Pre-Picks Pre-Judges


Ed Whelan took a look at Obama’s “Empathy Standard”:

Obama has explicitly declared: “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old–and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges.”

In other words, he wants a prejudiced judiciary, judges that have already pre-judged the case in favor of the people he likes. A nation of men, not laws.

Obama claims to

“…appreciate the temptation on the part of Justice Scalia and others to assume our democracy should be treated as fixed and unwavering; the fundamentalist faith that if the original understanding of the Constitution is followed without question or deviation, and if we remain true to the rules that the Founders set forth, as they intended, then we will be rewarded and all good will flow.”

But Obama’s “fundamentalist” name-calling is misplaced. Originalists understand the Constitution–not “our democracy”–to be “fixed and unwavering” (apart from the amendment process it provides, of course). They recognize that, precisely because the Constitution leaves the broad bulk of policy decisions to legislators in Congress and in the states, there is lots of room to pursue and adapt different courses through the democratic processes. No originalist believes that judicial respect for the operations of representative government will guarantee that “we will be rewarded and all good will flow.” This is a straw man. The virtue of originalism lies foremost in protecting the democratic decisionmaking authority that the Constitution provides. Our legislators will be sure to mess up plenty, but at least citizens will have the ability to influence them–and replace them.

Obama finds himself compelled “to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution–that it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.” But no one disputes that the Constitution “must be read,” and applied, “in the context of an ever-changing world.” The central question of the last several decades is, rather, whether it is legitimate for judges to alter the Constitution’s meaning willy-nilly–in particular, whether judges have unconstrained authority to invent new constitutional rights to suit their views of what changing times require. The cliché invoked by Obama of a “living” Constitution disguises the fact that the entrenchment of leftist policy preferences as constitutional rights deprives the political processes of the very adaptability that Breyer and company pretend to favor. As Scalia has put it, “the reality of the matter is that, generally speaking, devotees of The Living Constitution do not seek to facilitate social change but to prevent it.”

That is, when a majority of the People try to shake off yet another liberal idiocy that has been imposed on them, the courts are too often there to make sure the chains stay fastened securely in place.

Here, the Bench Memos team takes on an new op-ed by heroic ‘Nam vet Walter Mitty Scholar Joseph Ellis:

Ellis’s third and last argument, which he plainly thinks is just awfully clever, is to quote Jefferson apparently rejecting the tenets of originalism, in an 1816 letter to Samuel Kercheval.

(“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did beyond amendment. . . . Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs . . . Each generation is as independent of the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before.”)

But Ellis takes the lines he quotes out of context. The letter is about the reform of the Virginia state constitution, and while the passage from which Ellis lifts his quotation ruminates more generally about the need for periodic change in constitutional forms, Jefferson is not talking at all about interpretation. He is taking the view that each generation should not shy away from making necessary formal changes in the text of a constitution—lest they become trapped by the strictures of a document that no longer suits their situation. But unless he believed that people are really governed by a constitution’s original meaning, he would never think to make this argument. In other words, Jefferson was recommending an openness to constitutional change because he was an originalist. Why Professor Ellis—who is generally thought to know a thing or two about Jefferson—cannot see this is beyond my comprehension.

It boils down to this: Do you get to amend the Constitution in the old-fashioned way that the Founders set up…or do liberal judges get to amend it anytime they can cobble together five votes?


Deep Space None: Mission to Marx!

“We can’t expect to be number one in everything indefinitely.” –Top administration science adviser Dr. John P. Holdren, to students at the American Association for the Advancement Prevention of Science (AAAPS).

Robert Costa:

“I just have to say, pretty bluntly here, that we’ve been [to the moon] before,” Obama declared in front of an eerily quiet NASA audience. “There is a lot more of space to explore.”

We’ve been to Delaware before, too–but that didn’t stop you from going back there and funding Joe Biden’s Private Amtrak smoker.

“No one is more committed to manned spaceflight, to the human exploration of space, than I am,” Obama said. “But we’ve got to do it in a smart way. We can’t keep doing the same, old things.”

Unless it’s the Russian Revolution of 1917.

When he spoke at the Kennedy Space Center during the run-up to the 2008 election, Obama vowed to protect the jobs of the facility’s workers before an audience that included them; not a single space worker was invited to attend yesterday’s speech.

But he promised that about one/tenth of those fired would eventually get their jobs back. And if you can’t trust an Obama Promise(tm), what can you trust?

NASA shouldn’t be a jobs program, but does everything he touches have to turn into an Anti-Jobs Program?

As for the future of manned space exploration — to which he’s “100 percent” committed — Obama announced plans to develop a “heavy lift rocket” to be our means of reaching deep space, a rocket that will take years to develop. He wants the design completed by 2015. By 2025, he wants to have a manned crew mission into deep space, then maybe a trip or two to an asteroid.

Barack the Cosmonaut wouldn’t know an asteroid from his hemorrhoids. Hit it, Sammy:

Fly me to a ‘roid
Let me Stimulus the stars
Let me Tax and Regulate from Jupiter to Mars
In other words, to Marx, be true
In other words, America’s through!

You could almost hear the yawns in the NASA hangar. Without a clear vision from the president, just an urge to “research,” the weary spacecrats know little will happen.

Obama’s is a stunted vision, and one that deliberately scales back the horizon for Western man, leaving the Chinese and Russians as de facto kings of the cosmos. Though the president believes that he’s smartly tossing a cumbersome program into the bin, along with its cowboy ethos, he forgets that astronauts are more than overpaid automatons of the state — they’re heroes, men whose adventures are an instrumental part of America’s own.

The president looks at moondust and sees dirt.

Actually, he likes dirt. It’s America he keeps trying to wash right out of his hair.


This sounds more like a bid to hold down electoral losses in Florida this year.

Says the job cuts are result of decisions made 6 years ago, not 6 months to retire the shuttle. True but he cut the replacement program that people would have segued into. Nice try by the Blamer in Chief.

Homer Hickam:

Quite honestly, at this point, I don’t much care what they announce and pronounce. I do not think any of them are capable of organizing a DAR scrap drive. The most important events of this spring or early summer isn’t anything President Obama is going to say or propose. It is:

— The launch of the X-37, a prototype space plane by the United States Air Force.

— The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

The moon is the obvious destination for spacefarers with our present technology. So much can be done there. I’ve said my piece on this, both in my blogs and in my novel Back to the Moon . I’m not trying to convince anybody at this point. Read them if you wish. Or opt for Mars. Good luck on that. Let me know how you made out.

It’s not you. I just need some space.


Student Loans?


…if by “student loans”, you mean having the law schools loan half their students to the medical schools so we have doctors chasing ambulances instead of lawyers.

Although I’m pretty sure Glenn Reynolds would disagree. heh. indeed.

Overlawyered might agree, though.

Anyway, Former Education Secretary Lamar Alexander is upset that Obama is going to run the entire student loan program now:

“This is a case of corporate welfare, a giveaway to bankers and to Sallie Mae,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Then what are Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, senator?

Alexander doesn’t like the Gumment borrowing money at 2% and loaning it to students at 6 or 8%, and using the profit to fund ControlCare:

The bill would see $61 billion in savings over 10 years from the switch to direct government lending. It would pay for Pell Grants and provide more than $4 billion to community colleges and historically black colleges. It also would direct about $19 billion to reducing the deficit and offsetting expenses in the health care legislation.

I would have sworn they put “$61 billion in savings” in the same sentence as “direct government lending”. Naw, I must have imagined it. They certainly are.

Even though the guys who run Sallie Mae gave politicians zillions, it looks the bottom of the bus for them. I bet they regret making the Obamas repay their student loans now.

At the risk of sounding crazy, why is the Gumment even in the loan business, directly or indirectly? I mean, besides the fact that they’re control freaks with money-printing powers? Oh. That’s why.

Every good idea must be a government program. And most of the bad ones, too. Besides, I thought college was a “right”–isn’t everything now?

I saw a cartoon the other day. It showed Obama as a schoolkid at the chalkboard answering questions. Whether it was a math problem, history, geography or science, the answer was always the same: “government”.

Have you ever heard the phrase “the clean, well-lit prison of One Idea”?

Whether its loans or health care or tattoo removal or a glut in the mohair markets or the make-up of ashtrays or apple orchards, the supposedly Smarterest-People-in-the-Whole-Widest-World have but One-Answer-That-Fits-All: government.

I’m not all that smart, but that sounds like a cult to me.


Government Bikers: Let A Thousand Pedals Bloom

“Pity the poor American car when Congress and the White House get through with it — a light-weight vehicle with a small carbon footprint, using alternative energy and renewable resources to operate in a sustainable way. When I was a kid we called it a Schwinn.”–P.J. O’Rourke, Driving Like Crazy

You shouldn’t joke like that, P.J.; this administration has a habit of legislating the punchlines.

Our beloved government has just solved the Unintended Acceleration Crisis.

Also the Obesity Crisis, the Crowded Highway Crisis, the Parking Crisis and Tom Friedman’s “We’re Not Enough Like China”-Crisis. Not to mention the “We’ve Just Got Too Many Darn Jobs!”-Crisis.

Let’s kick the tires and look under LaHood:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

From Shopfloor, the blog of those evil businessmen who want to impose jobs on all of us the National Association of Manufacturers:

Treating bicycles and other non-motorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe. If put into effect, the policy would more than undermine any effort the Obama Administration has made toward jobs. You can’t have jobs without the efficient movement of freight.

Pedicabs will not overcome those bottlenecks.

Now normally here we’d put in a statement about how bicycles are great, we need to fund infrastructure for bikes, federal support, blah, blah, blah. And, sure, more power to them. But c’mon! A great nation and modern industrial economy cannot operate if executive branch agencies are incapable of making a distinction between bicycles and trucks.

Obama has seen the future–and it looks like a weird mixture of Leave It To Beaver’s neighborhood and 1970’s China.

Those vaunted Green Jobs of the Future? Rickshaw drivers and newspaper delivery boys.

(This will be helpful when the government takes over the newspaper industry, too. Officially, I mean.)

Look at from their point of view; there are just too many car and truck-makers anyway.

Clearly, the government is poised to take over the bicycle companies on behalf of the United Bike Workers union. So when the inevitable wheel-rationing begins, I’ll be ready–I’m learning to ride a unicycle now.

UPDATE: One of the bicycle’s many bonuses: they’re not susceptible to unintended acceleration takeovers caused by cosmic rays. Except for takeovers caused by “Cosmic” Ray LaHood, naturally.


Over the Counterfeit


The Washington Examiner:

A Wichita, Kan., man was beaten by drug dealers after he paid for crack cocaine with Monopoly money.

The man, who was bleeding from the head when police pulled him over, said he had bought the crack weeks before and that the dealer was only now taking revenge.

The man refused to identify his attackers, but police spokesman Gordon Bassham said officers were still investigating.

“That was not a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Bassham said.

Sorry, Pablo, but only the Feds can use funny money.

Do not pass ‘Go’. Or Health Care.


I haven’t liked Wilson


“Cast Away”. I think Wilson’s the one who is filling Tom Hank’s head with nonsense.

What’s that? No, not Wilson the anthropomorphic volleyball; George Will must mean Woodrow Wilson:

Progressives are forever longing to replace the governance of people by the administration of things. Because they are entirely public-spirited, progressives volunteer to be the administrators, and to be as disinterested as the dickens.

How gripped was Wilson by what Beinart calls “the hubris of reason”? Beinart writes:

“He even recommended to his wife that they draft a constitution for their marriage. Let’s write down the basic rules, he suggested; ‘then we can make bylaws at our leisure as they become necessary.’ It was an early warning sign, a hint that perhaps the earnest young rationalizer did not understand that there were spheres where abstract principles didn’t get you very far, where reason could never be king.”

Professor Obama, who will seek re-election on the 100th anniversary of Wilson’s 1912 election, understands, which makes him melancholy. Speaking to Katie Couric on Feb. 7, Obama said:

“I would have loved nothing better than to simply come up with some very elegant, academically approved approach to health care, and didn’t have any kinds of legislative fingerprints on it, and just go ahead and have that passed. But that’s not how it works in our democracy. Unfortunately, what we end up having to do is to do a lot of negotiations with a lot of different people.”

If only real people wouldn’t gum up the Progressive Dream, these experts could accomplish so much!

You, the “Masses”, are square pegs that must be pounded into their round holes. For the sake of “Progress”, naturally.

Wilson was the first president to criticize the Founding Fathers. He faulted them for designing a government too susceptible to factions that impede disinterested experts from getting on with government undistracted. Like Princeton’s former president, Obama’s grievance is with the greatest Princetonian, the “father of the Constitution,” James Madison, class of 1771.

Obama the student:

“… the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.”

In 2001, he went on to criticize the Constitution as a “charter of negative liberties”, meaning it shamefully doesn’t list all the wonderful free stuff the government can take from other people and give to you.

Barack Obama thinks he’s smarter than the Founders. He’ll be lucky if he can outsmart Wilson the Volleyball.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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