Showing posts with label culture war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture war. Show all posts

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hunter & Hunted: CA Dems Seek To Remove Fish & Game Comm'n President

One of the few Republicans in a CA political office is Fish & Game president Dan Richards (no, I'd never heard of him before this week, either). CA lawmakers are now seeking to remove him from office for, get this, shooting a cougar in Idaho. (illegal in CA, but perfectly legal everywhere else) Calls for his resignation started from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome (insert "he only knows one type of cougar" joke here), but have gotten more serious as Assembly Dems are drafting legislation to remove Richards from office. Dan Waters gets to the nub of the matter

So Richards appears to be guilty only of offending the sensibilities of the Legislature, whatever they may be. 
This is the same Legislature that offends the sensibilities of most Californians, according to a recent Field Poll, because lawmakers habitually ignore important issues, carry bills of self-serving trivia, help special interests, and manipulate their schedules to maximize their incomes. 
This is the same Legislature that didn't react when one of its members was caught by police with a prostitute in his car, parked alongside a busy Los Angeles highway, or when another crashed her state-issued car while driving recklessly, injuring two people. 
More recently, this is the same Legislature that didn't respond when a member was nailed for shoplifting, or when another carried a loaded pistol into an airport security checkpoint. 
As for Newsom, a politician who had an affair with his top campaign aide's wife shouldn't moralize.

Read more here:

Waters might have mentioned San Francisco sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, presently on trial on a DV charge; and Alameda Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, presently embroiled in a crazy sex & drugs scandal. Also I will point out that most of the above worthies represent districts in the Bay Area, which kind of belies any progressive claims about their supposed sophistication. I mean, how dumb would you have to be to vote for Nadia Lockyer?

This is nothing more than a Democrat-MSM (but I repeat myself) "furor" that is good for just one thing: generating headlines and holding a political rival up for ridicule. Richards is standing his ground, and more power to him. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moving Targets: A Sea Change In San Francisco Planning

Five years ago, if a (hiss) "big box" retailer had dared to seek to open a super-center in the City & County of San Francisco, the anti-business elements in the City would have detonated a thermonuclear level of smug parochialism on the shop's Planning Department application. Today, San Francisco has approved the opening of not one, but two Target stores:

Once more unto the San Francisco breach comes Target.

This time, to help fill the dead space - or "ghost town," as it's often referred to - in the geographical heart of the city where Mervyn's and Sears used to be.

Last week, the Planning Commission gave its initial go-ahead for the Minneapolis retail chain to move into the 106,000-square-foot Mervyn's space, with an option to occupy an additional 15,000 square feet in the largely deserted City Center shopping complex on the corner of Geary Boulevard and Masonic Street.

Opening date: Spring 2013.

"We've long been interested in coming to the center of San Francisco, and we know we have a lot of supporters here," said Sarah Bakken, a Target spokeswoman.

San Francisco's second Target store will be looking for 200 full-time employees, said Bakken. Construction, which could begin as early as next spring, will employ about the same number of construction workers.

Work on San Francisco's first "City Target" - the centerpiece of the downtown Metreon's overhaul - is well under way, and on track to be done by fall 2012.

"Things are moving smoothly," said Bakken.

The obvious reason for this turn-around is financial. These stores will be leasing space that has been open or under-utilized for nearly a decade. But, this is also a sign of a cultural change in progressive San Francisco. Hard as it may seem to be, there are actually fewer smug a**holes in The City, and those are the people who would start whining any time a Wal-Mart or Target had previously tried to enter the Special City. But, for all the self-righteous blather about mom & pop stores in the "neighborhoods," you can't escape the fact that the towns that ring San Francisco are packed with big-box stores, and the parking lots are filled with San Francisco residents buying everything you could imagine and loading them into their zip cars for a quick trip north. After a few trips like that, I am sure the pure fire of progressive rage against the machine fades in the glow of everyday low prices.

Whoda thunk that a bad economy would change San Francisco's righteous attitudes towards grubby retailers.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crashing The Sheen-kansen: Two & A Half Men Canceled

If Charlie Sheen hasn't hit bottom, he's almost there. After making another round of obnoxious comments on Alex Jones' radio show, the suits at CBS have placed Two And A Half Men on hiatus, with little prospect for the top rated show to ever return.
By halting production on the eighth season of "Two and a Half Men," CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. are turning away from a proven hit with both viewers and advertisers

Outbursts from star Charlie Sheen led the media companies to cut off production of TV's most-watched comedy, potentially ending a program that helped lead a revival in TV sitcoms.

New episodes of "Men" on CBS average 14.7 million viewers. Reruns on CBS rake in nearly three quarters of the audience, and it is also popular in nightly syndication on local TV stations.

It's now unclear whether new episodes will ever be made, however, according to people familiar with the matter.

CBS' and Warner Bros.' decision Thursday came less than six hours after Mr. Sheen went on an erratic rant in a radio interview against topics as varied as Alcoholics Anonymous, Thomas Jefferson, and "Men" co-creator Chuck Lorre.

The matter of Charlie Sheen's fate was apparently decided at the highest levels of CBS management:

CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves learned of the radio rant while at a party the company was hosting for investors in midtown Manhattan, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Moonves spoke by telephone with Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, the person said. Together, the two men decided to pull the plug.

"Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of 'Two and a Half Men' for the remainder of the season," the companies said.

Geez. Back in Ye Olden Days (the Seventies) when a sit-com lost its key player, the producers would find some doppelganger to play the departed character's "cousin" or some such, and soldier on. But, I seem to recall reading somewhere that Sheen's contract lacks a morals clause (D'Oh!) so they can't outright fire him. Still, Charlie Sheen must have achieved epic levels of management alienation to make them turn their backs on ready money.

And, no one's mentioned this, but Charlie Sheen is not the only guy who's out of a job. His co-stars and the dozens of people in the production company for Men have lost their jobs too. They didn't even get to have a hookers 'n' blow lost weekend before being shown the door.

Elsewhere, Eva St. Marie describes a night out with Cary Grant and shows how much Hollywood stars have lost their way:
When she was on location in Chicago shooting Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller, North by Northwest, her co-star, Cary Grant, took her to see a show. “A buzz went up in the audience the moment he was recognized. It was like a wave of adulation rolling round the theater. I found it overwhelming and a little scary. I was thrown by it. And I asked him, ‘How do you handle this, because I know I couldn’t?’ It was almost as if he were talking about someone else when he said, ‘They’ll tell their friends tomorrow that they saw Cary Grant. It makes them happy!’”
Hey, where's the sense of entitlement?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Untold Stories: What You Won't See On the Evening News

Did you know that there are doctors attending the pro-union protests in Madison, WI? And that they are writing "doctor's notes" to teachers? Presumably so teachers who have called in sick will have an excuse, and be able to collect sick pay? Althouse has the video, featuring smug, scruffy (must be abortionists) liberal MD's.

Did you know that, while unions have been busing people to Madison en masse (with gas and expenses paid for, at least indirectly, by the taxpayers), thousands of Tea Partiers showed up on 24 hours notice for a protest in support of Gov. Walker?

Did you know that China is trying to suppress a "Jasmine Revolution?"

Did you know that the Libyan regime has killed at least 100 protesters to the sound of absolutely no world-wide outrage (at least as compared to the outrage that follows Israeli attempts to build housing)?

Did you know that you don't have to believe in God in order to be a social conservative (a good post from Dan Rhiel. Read the whole thing)?

Did you know that an Islamist cleric gave a fire-breathing anti-Israeli speech to the masses in Tahrir Square in Cairo? Yeah, you might have heard that. But did you know that "martyred" (but he's still alive!) Google executive Wael Ghonin - the western face of the demonstrators - tried to make a speech too, but was prevented from doing so by the cleric's security team? William Jacobson puts it well: the Yuppie Revolution in Egypt is over. The Islamist Revolution has begun.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Lone Voice Crying In The Wilderness

Joe Queenan, alas, does not like The King's Speech:

The King's Speech" is a heartwarming, "Masterpiece Theatre"-type affair about King George VI, who conquered a serious speech impediment and, with the able assistance of a saucy Aussie therapist, taught himself to address his countrymen in public during their finest hour. This is a very nice story, and even though the film fudges the facts—Edward VIII and his Nazi-loving wife get off pretty easily—it definitely achieves what it sets out to accomplish. The performances are very good, the dialogue is crackling (except when the king stutters) and the lighting could not be better. Moreover, the way Helena Bonham Carter jauntily cocks her stylish chapeaux is enough to convince you that the Queen Mother herself has generously returned from the dead to do a nice little cameo.

That said, "The King's Speech" is basically a film about what positively smashing folks the royals are. It's a film that's infatuated by those awfully swell people up at Balmoral who wear kilts and shoot foxes. Americans used to turn up their noses at this sort of stuff. But that was before "Upstairs, Downstairs" and Merchant & Ivory intoxicated the entire republic with the rustle of crinoline and the shimmer of lace. "The King's Speech" is not, after all, a film about a Welsh coal miner who overcomes a speech impediment. It is not a film about an Aussie doughboy trapped on the beach at Gallipoli who overcomes a speech impediment. It is a film about spiffing chaps and the spiffing folks who help them to be even more spiffing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fully Committed: Left Wing Activist Arrested For Making Death Threats

I thought I was done writing about Jared Loughner, the Tuscon shooing rampage and the bogus "debate" over Tea Party rhetoric, but not quite. A liberal activist who was wounded in the attack, and who alone among the victims has blamed right wing "vitriol" for his injuries, has been arrested for ... making death threats against a Tea Party leader. It's amazing how quickly things move from tragedy to farce in the age of the internet.

A Tucson mass shooting victim was taken into custody Saturday after yelling "you're dead" at a Tea Party spokesman during the taping of an ABC-TV town hall event hosted by Christianne Amanpour.

The Pima County Sheriff's Office said J. Eric Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed to an undisclosed medical facility, NBC News reported. The Associated Press said he was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

He faces charges of threats and intimidation and disorderly conduct, according to Tucson TV station KGUN.

The gathering for "After the Tragedy: An American Conversation Continued," to be shown as a special edition of "This Week" Sunday, included witnesses, first responders, victims and heroes of the Jan. 8 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Local officials and others also packed St. Odilia's Catholic Church in northwest Tucson, where the show was taped.

KGUN reported that Fuller took exception to comments by Republican state Rep. Terri Proud and Tucson Tea Party spokesman Trent Humphries.

Fuller was in the front row and apparently became upset when Humphries suggested that any conversations about gun control should be delayed until all the dead were buried, KGUN reported.

Fuller took a picture of Humphries and shouted, “You’re dead.”

I think it's wholly appropriate that all of this took place at one of those lame televised town halls that the MSM has been oddly enamored with since the 1992 presidential campaign. It's even better that Eric Fuller, in addition to being a left-wing activist - his business card says he's a professional signature gatherer - had been designated the day before as having instant credibility for blaming BeckPalinRushTeaParty for the shooting because he was (1) a "veteran" (big deal, so was Howard Zinn) and (2) had been wounded in the Tuscon shooting. As it turned out, he was a nut and a fool, although not on the level of Laughner. The media's Absolute Moral Authority figures really do have feet of clay.

As macabrely funny as this all is, what's not funny is realizing that virtually the entire media and intellectual apparatus of the Democratic Party has been engaged in a week-long effort to smear Tea Party activists and prominent conservatives as being some sort of Hezbollah-style militia movement ready to do violence against their fellow Americans. And Eric Fuller is the sort balanced, thoughtful personality to whom much of modern progressive "thought" (hah!) is designed to appeal. Not saying that Paul Krugman et al. are guilty of pushing eliminationalist rhetoric or anything, but they do rely on the sort of factual selectivity, lies by omission and leaps of logic that has resulted in an America where roughly a third of the population believes Bush caused 9/11, that Sarah Palin caused a crazy kid to go on a killing spree and progressive health care reform will "bend the cost curve."

There is a lot of dangerous rhetoric out there. But the danger isn't from political violence, but from the violence done to logic and reality.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Parallax View: the Gifford Shooting

As shocking as the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a number of other innocents was, there was a dull predictability to the aftermath which saw law enforcement looking for a (probably phantasmical) "second shooter" and progressives searching for Tea Party boogie-men. Even without that, however, this is still a disquieting moment:

A gunman targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents outside a busy supermarket Saturday, wounding the Democrat and killing Arizona's chief federal judge and five others in an attack that left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed the suspect over the edge.

The assassination attempt left the three-term congresswoman in critical condition after a bullet passed through her head. A shaken President Barack Obama called the attack "a tragedy for our entire country."

Giffords, 40, is a moderate Democrat who narrowly won re-election in November against a tea party candidate who sought to throw her from office over her support of the health care law. Anger over her position became violent at times, with her Tucson office vandalized after the House passed the overhaul last March and someone showing up at a recent gathering with a weapon.

Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly.

His motivation was not immediately known, but Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described him as mentally unstable and possibly acting with an accomplice.

As the shooter was a declared admirer of the Communist Manifesto and had a thing for flag burning, I think it's safe to say that he's not a right winger. Still, just as there has been a rush to judgment against "us," there has also been rush to judge this guy as little more than crazy. Sorry, but this was an attempted political assassination by a guy who went through a certain amount of effort to position himself to do maximum damage. God knows why he would target an inoffensive moderate like Gifford. Then again, moderates often take it on the chin in immoderate times. Mr. Manifesto also managed to kill a federal judge, a 9-year old girl and three bystanders in their seventies. In ways both large and small, America really is under assault.

I'm not going to point to one person on the right or the left and say that their "rhetoric" caused this. But, I will say that the last 10 years have seen a mounting fury first on the Left against the supposed war crimes of George Bush and then on the Right (and among many independents) who suddenly saw the country veer crazily from a financial crisis to a pell mell socialization of the banking, automotive and health care industries. And now, we have a resurgent Republican Party that is taking on to itself the task of dismantling at least a portion of the sprawling federal government, something you can expect will be fought tooth and nail by the people who earn their livelihoods from it.

We can only hope that violence remains a matter of rhetoric and hyperbole, but after today, I can only say: let's be careful out there.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Get In the Van: Selling Mini-vans To Gen X

Steve Chapman offers the latest salvo in the seemingly never-ending war over the "meaning" of the mini-van. Lame-o-mobile or Swagger Wagon? You decide (h/t Instapundit):

Sales are up, new models are appearing, and the woman who once did the blog "Rage Against the Minivan" has fallen in love with one. "In marketing campaigns featuring heavy-metal theme songs, rapping parents, secret agents in cat masks, pyrotechnics and even Godzilla, minivan makers are trying to recast the much-ridiculed mom-mobile as something that parents can be proud—or at least unashamed—of driving," reports The New York Times.

This is known as reinventing the wheel. Minivans became popular in the 1980s because they offered so many things—abundant seating, ease of entry for young children, decent fuel economy, and cargo space without excessive bulk. For a generation in its fertile years, they were the solution to every need.

Except one: the perennial urge of many baby boomers to believe they are cool. Our parents knew better than to expect hipness to coexist with diapers and PTA meetings. But the postwar generation is the one advertisers asked, seductively: "Who says you can't have it all?"

Apparently, though, the urge to be awesome has carried over to Generation X. That explains why automakers are trying so hard to convince them that basic, functional transportation is not a fate worse than fiery death.

Toyota is selling the Sienna as a "Swagger Wagon" after hearing consumers lament, "I don't like being the soccer-mom joke or feeling like I've given up all trace of my identity to be a parent," according to marketing manager Richard Bame.

Jesus, if it's that important to you, slap a Circle Jerks sticker on the back. I promise to think you are cool.

I'm on the side of people buying the vehicle that best fits their lifestyle, not trying to impress the folks at the New Yorker. A car is, fundamentally, a tool and you should buy the best one for the job. If you are going to go into the business of having two or more kids, then a mini-van has to be part of the "what sort of car should we buy?" conversation. They do carry a lot of stuff. They do transport everyone comfortably (that's the downfall of many sedans). Turn your back on that and you're turning your back on your family's comfort and convenience. There'll be blowback from that, believe me.

The Free Will brother has long been a mini-van evangelist. Riding in his MV was like being on a freaking plane. Each of his kids had their own captain's chair, their own DVD player (!), and their own TV screen. Kind of put our family driving vacations - when we would go on 7-hour drives to Connecticut in our Mom's Vista Cruiser with little more than a Rubik's Cube for entertainment - into a whole new perspective, that perspective being it sucked even more than we realized at the time. So, yeah, if you need a mini-van, go for it.

Of course, a mini-van fan like Chapman can't talk about his favored wheels without dissing - get ready for it - SUVs. You see, (chortle-chortle) people buy SUVs because they think it makes them look like bad-ass outdoorsmen when really (guffaw) they never see terrain more treacherous than the parking lot at Safeway. Spare me. Remember when I said your car is fundamentally a tool? Well, an SUV can have its uses. I'd much rather tackle a snowbank in an SUV than in anything else, for example. If you are going into the mountains here in California, an SUV is good insurance against getting stuck in some pretty out-of-the-way places. And SUVs can be a riot. I was once on a driving vacation on the Central Coast, where they open some of the beaches to motor vehicles. Let me tell you, my Lexus ES seemed pretty lame right then, especially when I could see Jeeps and Range Rovers heading confidently towards the dunes, the kids in the backseat no doubt cheering as they went.

So, SUVs have a point, which is why Detroit sells so many of them. Why a member of a downtrodden sect like mini-van owners would try to puff himself up with some frankly clichéd comments about "stoopid" SUV owners is beyond me. Can't we all get along?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Further Adventures of THAT WOMAN: Sarah Palin in the News

Sarah Palin is, I wouldn't say back in the news, but she is involved in some unusual news stories today.

First, the on-line gossip/news site Gawker managed to acquire 21 page proofs from Palin's new book, and published them on its website, along with the expected snarky commentary. Palin is unique in inspiring this behavior in her political adversaries, even when said "adversaries" are journalists working for a site known for posting sex videos of the rich and famous. (Gawker also published the hacked Palin emails, which resulted in the recent prison sentence for the college age hacker).

As is usual for this sort of thing, when Palin tweeted that this was not legal, some Gawker mouthpiece sniffed and lectured the governor on "fair use." Which makes total sense. It's why you always see unauthorized leaks of heavily anticipated books before their publication date that are put up on the 'Net with impunity. Oh, wait, no you don't. Gawker probably thought it was enough of a defense to insult Palin's intelligence, but Palin's publisher wasn't convinced. They have sued for copyright violations:

The publisher of Sarah Palin's forthcoming book filed a lawsuit against Gawker Media on Friday for leaking pages of "America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag" before its release next week.

The legal complaint was filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan, said a spokeswoman for HarperCollins Publishers. The filing came two days after Gawker published images of 21 of the book's pages and its dedication page. In response, Palin tweeted, "Isn't that illegal?"

Her publisher contends it is. The lawsuit asks that Gawker be banned from what it terms "further copyright infringement" and that Gawker deliver the source material to the publisher so it can be destroyed. HarperCollins is also seeking financial damages.

Gawker did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment Friday evening, but an item published the day before and titled "Sarah Palin Is Mad at Us for Leaking Pages From Her Book" defended the blog's actions and linked to websites defining the fair use doctrine of copyright law.

Where's your fair use now, Gawker? Oh, and a judge has already issued a temporary restraining order directing Gawker to take the pages down.

The other bit of Palin news is daughter Bristol's miracle run on Dancing With the Stars, which has resulted in accusations of voter fraud, tea party conspiracy, TV rage, and now the inevitable discovery of an envelope filled with white powder that was mailed to DWTS production company.

TMZ is reporting that someone sent “white powder” later determined to be Talcum powder to the offices of Dancing with the Stars:

Cops and other emergency responders raced to CBS Television City studio late Friday after a white powder substance was discovered by a member of the “Dancing with the Stars” staff … and sources tell us Bristol Palin may have been the intended target.

This is the second deranged response to the show in the last week. Just a few days ago a man shot his television when Bristol Palin made it to the finals. Police were called and there was an actual stand off for several hours until he surrendered.

Bristol, along with the rest of the Palin family, has been the subject of endless insults and worse from the highest levels of the Democratic Party and their allies in the media and entertainment worlds. They obviously can't stand the fact that this 20 year old woman might succeed at anything, even a televised dance competition.

The problem seems to have been building each week as Bristol managed to hang in there as her supposedly more worthy rivals dropped out one by one. But, things exploded after the semi-final, when Bristol beat out the heavily favored Brandy. Brandy, you see, is a professional entertainer while Bristol know. Excuse me, but I thought the point of DWTS was to pair celebrities with "real" dancers; but in the case of Brandy and the other semi-finalist Jennifer Grey (daughter of Joel Grey. Did you know that?), we seem to have some ringers, and people often don't like ringers, which is how the votes came out. Anyway, what's so great about Brandy? Didn't she kill someone?

Just another day in the media, where "dumb" conservatives must fend off the endlessly absurd attacks of the party of "facts and reason and science."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Red State Avatars: Dispatches From the Culture Wars

The good guys won a couple battles in the Culture War today. First, little Cody Alicea - he's the kid whose principal told him to take his American flag off his bike because it was causing racial tension - was escorted to school by hundreds of flag waving bikers:

Really, that's pretty inspirational stuff. Middle school's hard enough without having your principal take the side of race-baiting thugs in the lunchroom. I hope (but doubt) he learned something today.

Second, the Westboro "church" (they're the "God Hates F*gs" people) found trouble at its latest funeral. Someone slashed the tires on their mini-van and when they went looking for a mechanic to help them, no one in town would lift a finger. Aw.

First, let’s start with the serious stuff first. Earlier this month, Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey died for his country in Afghanistan. Freedom Remembered tells us that “[h]e died at age 26 at Zarghun Shahr, Mohammed Agha district, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.” May God bless and keep you, Sgt. McCluskey.

So his funeral was apparently last Saturyday, and the Westboro Baptist @$$holes went to protest this soldier’s funeral. They apparently think that if you serve with a gay person you get their gay cooties and therefore go to hell. But when they went back to their minivan, they discovered that someone had slashed two of their tires

Everyone's talking about the slashed tires with Patterico barging into his co-blogger's post to sniff and say "I do not approve of criminal acts in response to speech acts, no matter how heinous the speech act in question." I'll get back to this in a second.

What's more remarkable is what the Westboro folks were faced with when they tried to "protest" another Marine's funeral in Maryland.

This morning in La Plata, Md., the hate group's parade of absurdity received quite a response: More than a thousand counter-demonstrators showed up early, established themselves on the rights-of-way around the church, and prevented the "God Hates Fags" crowd from getting anywhere near the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt.

A few minutes ago, I called Holly Smith, one of the organizers of the counter-demonstration. I was surprised to hear no shouting or noise in the background. "American flags as far as the eye can see," she told me. And the Westboro crowd? "They are up at a gas station probably a mile up the road, because they couldn't get any closer," she said. "We're in the shoulder for probably ten deep for at least 300 yards."

Now, that belongs in a movie. And, while those folks and the Cody Alicea's bikers may or may not be Tea Partiers, they are definitely acting in the same spirit: standing up to the forces that are tearing the country down, whether through politically correct rules that always seem to protect the sensibilities of the unpatriotic and unassimilated or media-savvy activists trolling for "civil rights violations." Is there any doubt that, were Cody to burn his flag that the principal would not have stood in the way? Is there any doubt that many on the Left love that the Westboro people are probably paving the way for a free speech right to protest at Marine funerals?

And I really have to question Patterico's high falutin' claim that he "doesn't approve" of criminal acts in response to speech. First off, how much of a crime is slashing a couple tires, especially when you compare it to the crimes that the Westboro people commit? 10, 20 years ago they would have been fighting off multiple complaints for disturbing the peace, inciting violence, and trespassing. But now? Everyone, even prosecutors like Patterico, stands around shrugging their shoulders saying there's nothing they can do. (Hey, they got permits! Permits, I tell you!) Well, I don't remember the day when it was decided that justice and the American Constitution demand that Fred Phelps be able to show up uninvited at military funerals and yell "God Hates F*gs!" I think a lot of people don't remember that happening. But, happen it did. And I think a lot of people don't like that (1) it happened and (2) the government and law enforcement are making a big show of not being able to do anything about it.

Not only that, I think a lot of people look at the Phelps clan and see a modern version of Madeline Murray O'Hare. You know: someone who makes a lot of noise about the Constitution and freedom, but is really just another leftist/fellow traveler (you know Phelps is a Democrat and a disbarred civil rights lawyer, don't you?) trying to tear down America a little piece at a time. The bizarre nasties on the Left end up on the news, always wearing the cloak of "idealist" or "free speech warrior," while real warriors like Sgt. McCulskey are ignored, and seventh graders need a motorcade escort just to ride a bike with a flag on it. If all Fred Phelps has to deal with are a couple slashed tires, he'll be getting off easy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

PC Re-runs: Clarence Thomas, Redux

Batten down the hatches, boys. The Washington Post "Style" section is reporting that Lillian McEwen is "breaking her silence" and is finally prepared to tell her story...

Whatddaya mean, who's Lillian McEwen?? Now I know who I don't want on my team for Anita Hill Trivia Night at the Old Ebbit Grill:
For nearly two decades, Lillian McEwen has been silent -- a part of history, yet absent from it.

When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Thomas vehemently denied the allegations and his handlers cited his steady relationship with another woman in an effort to deflect Hill's allegations.

Lillian McEwen was that woman.

At the time, she was on good terms with Thomas. The former assistant U.S. attorney and Senate Judiciary Committee counsel had dated him for years, even attending a March 1985 White House state dinner as his guest. She had worked on the Hill and was wary of entering the political cauldron of the hearings. She was never asked to testify, as then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who headed the committee, limited witnesses to women who had a "professional relationship" with Thomas.

Now, she says that Thomas often said inappropriate things about women he met at work -- and that she could have added her voice to the others, but didn't.

Spare me the crap about McEwen being a "part of history." She slept with a guy who was later appointed to the Supreme Court. But for that, no one would give two sh*ts about her, even if she went to law school, worked for Joe Biden, and did all sorts of other fabulous things.

Nobody, least of all Clarence Thomas, has ever claimed that he was a paragon of virtue. But all anyone seems to want to talk about is a controversy that is nearly 20(!) years old, yet seems like yesterday because the "tolerant" Left just can't seem to let go. But you know what?

Clarence Thomas never got blowjobs from an intern young enough to be his daughter.

He never made a waitress sandwich with one of his debauched drinking buddies.

He never managed to get himself photographed on a yacht with a young woman not his wife.

He didn't treat his office as a means of having as much sex as possible, whether with movie stars or with the secretarial pool.

He didn't crash his car in a river and then abandon a young woman to her fate.

He didn't patronize a $10,000/night prostitute.

He never had a stripper girlfriend who jumped into the Tidal Basin.

He wasn't videotaped smoking crack with his skanky mistress.

He didn't father an illegitimate child with his mistress, who also worked for him.

He didn't have an affair with an intern and then, when the young woman disappeared, refused to assist the police in finding her.

I know this because if Clarence Thomas had done any of these things, we would have heard about it. Instead, all we get are prissy former employees who were his ideological opposites and couldn't countenance some crude talk that was nothing compared to the crude behavior of their preferred "leaders."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Islamophobe: Obama Reaches The Limits of Multiculturalism

Jake Tapper has a report that President Obama will not be visiting the Sikh's Golden Temple on his India trip because, get this, he is afraid he will "look Muslim" on account of the Golden Temple's dress code (which requires that he cover his head). We have a very lame President:
On an upcoming trip to India, President Obama will skip visiting one of the country’s most sacred shrines out of fear that wearing the requisite headgear might make him appear Muslim, according to reports from the United States and India.

The New York Times, citing an unnamed American official involved in the trip’s planning, reports that the president will not stop at the Golden Temple, a Sikh holy site and one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, because visitors typically wear headscarves, turbans or Muslim caps.

Obama was to visit the sprawling golden complex in Amritsar, "but the plan appears to have foundered on the thorny question of how Mr. Obama would cover his head, as Sikh tradition requires, while visiting the temple," wrote the Times.

"To come to golden temple he needs to cover his head," Dalmegh Singh, secretary of the committee that runs the temple told the paper. "That is our tradition. It is their problem to cover the head with a Christian hat or a Muslim cap."
I am hearing a George Carlin voice in my head saying, "In football you wear a helmet, in baseball you wear a cap!"

Still, President Obama? Sensitive much? You can't walk into a holy site without wondering how it will reflect on you? It's one of the few places in the world that's meant to remind you that there are greater things in this world than your fabulous self. Maybe that's the real problem.

As for the Obama = Muslim problem, come on. If the President had any confidence, this wouldn't be an issue. Laura Bush was able to travel the Middle East with her head covered. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Golden Temple with his head covered. But, Obama would rather hide behind the supposed bigotry of his countrymen (led by his fellow Democrats who first raised the issue) than do his duty as a statesman.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grim Reality: Where To Go To Survive A Mine Disaster

One of the less edifying outcomes from the rescue of the Chilean miners has been the cry from left-liberals that, A-HA!, the rescue "proves" that we need Big Government because only BG could have saved the miners. This not only ignores the efforts of private enterprise, which developed the technology that extracted the miners, (and operated the machinery), but also harsh reality in the mining industry of one the biggest of Big Government nations:

Rescue workers were struggling Sunday to reach 11 coal miners missing underground after an accident that has triggered anguished comments on the Internet comparing China's woeful mine-safety record with the concern for human life displayed by the rescue of 33 miners in Chile.

The state-controlled Xinhua news agency said 26 miners were killed Saturday in an avalanche of coal dust triggered by a gas explosion at a mine in central Henan province.

It was the second deadly accident at the pit, owned by a consortium of companies including state-run China Power Investment, Corp.

And, China's "life is cheap" approach to mining has spread to the nations where China has been buying up natural resources and apparently treating the locals as well as they treat their fellow Chinese:

Zambian locals rioted and blocked a road leading to Chinese-owned Collum Coal Mine Ltd. on Saturday to protest the shooting of at least 11 miners, allegedly by Chinese supervisors during a protest over low wages, police officials said Sunday.

On Friday, miners at Collum Coal Mine, in the Sinazongwe District of southern Zambia, demonstrated against low pay and poor working conditions. Gunshots followed, allegedly fired by two Chinese supervisors, wounding 11 miners, two of them critically, according to Zambian police and government officials. They were taken to a hospital.

Zambian police arrested the two Chinese supervisors allegedly involved.

(as an aside, can we agree that European colonialists were not unique in their depredations in Africa?)

The boring truth is not that government was the only thing standing between the miners and a Darwinian struggle for survival - never mind that the miners were discovered living peacefully together 17 days after becoming trapped (everyone seems to have forgotten this) - but that government and private industry had to work together the save the miners. And, the main role of government, acting through Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, was to provide cash and "cut through red tape;" in other words, to get out of the way.

More important, what saved the miners was a social ethic which said, we will do what it takes to save these men. I think we can assume that the same ethic would prevail in an American mining disaster, even if the Interior Secretary might brag about having his boot on the neck of the mining company. But, the drive to protect the lives and safety of men doing the hard work to keep an economy going is not a universal one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sesame Street XXX: Katy Perry Video Too Racy

Via Tigerhawk, today's dumb media controversy is the "racy" Elmo-Katy Perry video that Sesame Street producers pulled on account, apparently, of Perry's outfit.

I don't know how you can watch that and not think that's the cutest thing you'll see all day. Perry isn't much of an actress, but she has a winning attitude, and a fantastic voice. She's practically tailor made for singing the sort of bouncy pop music that is her stock in trade (plus she comes from a Christian music background, although more from the Bristol Palin side of things, if you catch my drift). If you're tired of Lady Gaga's dark arts, Perry might be next in the queue.

As for the video, the reason to pull the video is that the song - especially Elmo's parts - is not easy for kids to sing. That's become a bit of a pet peeve of mine: contemporary kids songs where the lyrics are either too bland or too complicated to sing along with.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Truce or Surrender: The GOP and Social Conservatives

Indiana governor and presidential prospect Mitch Daniels caused a stir - complete with broken crockery and multiple spit takes - when he suggested that the GOP should declare a truce in the culture war until we have resolved the survival issues confronting the US (those being the Little Depression and the War on Terror). The guys at Powerline took a look at the prospects of such a "truce:" Truce or Consequences

PAUL:Daniels is pitching the notion that we may need a truce in divisive culture war controversies in order to deal with "survival issues" such as terrorism and debt. But Michael Gerson argues that Daniels is being naïve here. He asks: "Just how would avoiding fights on unrelated social issues make Democratic legislators more likely to vote for broad budget cuts and drastic entitlement reforms?"

Clearly, avoiding such fights would not produce that result. But it might well enable Republicans to become and remain more popular with moderate voters. And this, in turn, might give Republicans the majorities necessary to implement budget cuts and entitlement reforms.

JOHN: his is an interesting political question, I think. Over the last couple of decades, countless media/political voices have urged Republicans to abandon social conservatism on political grounds, i.e., the need to appeal to upscale suburbanites. This has always struck me as odd, since the social issues have consistently represented a net gain for Republicans--which is why, I assume, liberal commentators are so anxious for Republicans to abandon them. So in the past, my view has always been that Republican and conservative politicians should keep the social issues as one leg of the proverbial three-legged stool.

The present moment, however, represents a departure. It may well be that a consensus exists in favor of reduced federal spending and economic power that dwarfs any plurality on the social issues. So should conservative candidates forget about abortion, gay marriage and so on? The answer depends, obviously, on the particular district in question.

SCOTT: The Republican Party was founded in opposition to "those twin relics of barbarism -- Polygamy, and Slavery." Emmer's response may or may not be good politics, but serious concern with what John refers to as "the social issues" is deeply embedded in the principles and the history of the Republican Party.

I think Scott's last point - that the GOP has always had a strong moral component - is a good one, as John's point that the only people really pushing for a lowered emphasis on social issues are liberals who hate being on the wrong end of cultural questions. And, it's hard to imagine the GOP going into an election without strong support from social conservatives. Would Democrats try to win an election without unions or the urban poor or illegal immigrants? Of course not.

The problem for fiscal conservatives like Daniels is that they are not comfortable discussing social issues. Does anyone really care what Mitch Daniels thinks of gay marriage? I don't. Most people simply don't want to have to worry about that stuff, and would just as soon not have the government involved in social issues at all (or, at least, as little as possible). But, too many prominent social conservatives are too happy to give ready ammunition to those who would say the GOP wants to pass meddling legislation rather than grant them their freedom to live as they choose.

Here's a quick look at a set of the most prominent political social cons from the last 10 years (talk radio guys and cultural conservatives are not really part of this group). Is there a word that comes to mind when you look at these guys?

Dr. James Dobson

Gary Bauer

Randall Terry

Pat Robertson

Ralph Reed

Can I hear a "Yuck!" from the congregation?

Now, this is not a call to denigrate these gentlemen. They've all done good work in support of their various causes. Dobson and Robertson, especially, have real fund-raising clout, have built impressive organizations and are (well, in Robertson's case "were") media-savvy operators. They paid for their microphones and, by gar they've used 'em.

But, you know what? Sometimes these fellows, and some of their cohort, have gone out of their way to court controvery, to point fingers, to declare that this or that group is the laltest cause of the decline and fall of civilization. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, except it can be a real turn off for the millions of people out there who, in addition to not wanting the government in their pocketbooks, would also like the government to stay out of their bedrooms. And, too many political social conservatives have given every indication of being a little too interested in what is going on behind closed doors.

Now, I know what people are going to say. The MSM unfairly portrays social cons as grim visaged Puritains. Yes, that's true and yes that's damn unfair, it a surprise? I hope not. So why play into the worst stereotypes available by cosntatntly pushing forward the same grumpy old men as your spokesmen? Why resort to frankly embarrassing statements such as parsing out which Telle-tubbie is gay?

I also know that the Left's endless reliance upon the courts to put across social change that would never be accepted without a court order is deeply unfair and a betrayal of constitutional government. But, why must we reduce every Supreme Court nomination and GOP presidential campaign to
Roe v Wade? We've had decades of GOP politicians dutifully learning the ins and outs of Roe, Casey, and Cathcart. To what end? Republicans have put so much intellectual and political energy into its social conservatism that everything else has been at least partially crowded out. And many GOP politicos have been needlessly hurt by the strict emphasis on social issues. Did a tortured soul like Larry Craig really have to go on the record with those gay marriage votes, which he had to have known would come back to bite him someday? Did the Northeastern fiscal conservatives who were blown out of office in 2006 really have to take so many hard votes just to satisfy social con voters who denigrated them as RINOs anyway?

Moreover, social conservatives have not exactly acted as helpful members of the GOP coalition. Look at what happened to George W Bush. Social conservatives never had a president who gave them so much of what they demanded. W was a real pro-lifer who always spoke out in favor of pro-life causes. He took the hard road and declined to allow federal funding for new stem cell lines, earning him the unfair sobriquet of being "anti-science." He used his faith-based initiatives to bring religious non-profits into the government grant sphere. There was no stronger friend to Israel. There was no Republican president who appointed better judges and justices to all levels of the federal courts. No one took the role of comforter-in-chief more seriously. No president ever spoke more sincerely about his faith and the continued strength he drew from the Bible. And, I truly believe he was doing God's work when he led the doomed political effort to save Terry Schiaivo from the legal system that abetted her death.

And what happened?

Everyone threw a fit when he nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, something Obama's allies would never do against the mediocre Sotomayor or Kagen. Worse, when W tried to move forward on agenda items important to fiscal conservatives - I'm thinking of FreddieMac/FannieMae reform, Social Security reform, vetoing S-Chip - W took a lot of heat and received absolutely no help from the social conservatives to whom he had offered so much. If you are a Bushie like Daniels, is it any wonder if you look at social conservatives and see an interest group that demands total obeisance without offering support to their allies when their policies are up for a vote?

The Anchoress has often asked her readers "how do you receive a good?" The question is a good one, and more difficult to answer than many would like to think. Bush gave social conservatives a lot, and they repaid him with an increased stridency that - along with the out-of-control spending by many in the GOP caucus - helped end the majorities in the House and Senate. Remember, it was the fiscal conservatives who were hurt most in 2006 and 2008, but it is fiscal conservatism that has brought people out to Tea Parties and reinvigorated the GOP, which was flailing in the early months of Hope&Change.

The GOP is ultimately a party of limited government. That means not just limited in financial scope, but also limited in social scope as well. Too many social conservative leaders have gotten too used to the idea of approaching each election with a to-do list and then bemoaning any failure to check off all of their little boxes. How the hell does it help the party or the country when we are facing, once again, the question of whether or not Mitt Romney's Mormonism will prevent him from getting out of the primaries? Why do we need to know what Mitch Daniels - a guy who has succeeded in governance by doing the exact opposite of what the Democrats have done, maybe there's a lesson there? - thinks of abortion? Why don't we simply commit to reaffirming the Establishment Clause and promise to get government
out of the social issue business? I don't know, seems a lot simpler than what we have now.

Maybe we don't need a truce, but we certainly need a break from Big Social Conservatism as much as we need a break from Big Government.