Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vulgar and wily

From his "nation of cowards" remark to the preacher's quatation he carried around for years about the sense of race-based kinship he feels with other Americans who are black, to overseeing the hands-off approach to voter intimidation, to the deliberate hiring of radical lawyers for the DOJ, to his refusal to use the term "radical Islam" when asked about it by Rep. Lamar Smith during his House judiciary committee testimony on the Times Square bomber to his feigned ignorance of Fast and Furious, we've long held that Eric Holder is arguably the most horrid member of the MEC's cabinet.

Latest substantiation for this: his war on voter ID laws.

It's been rough in the most literal sense of the word, let alone in more figurative ways

I guess you wouldn't come to a blog called Late in the Day looking for hefty doses of sunshine. Frankly, besides hardcore statists, who have the momentum of the tide of events on their side, do you know anyone who is, here in late December 2011, sashaying through his daily life on a gust of everything-is-going-to-be-dandy-ism? If so, do him or her the kindness of passing along the phone number of a competent therapist.

There are several levels on which we can mark the steady, continued deterioration of Western civilization throughout 2011, and most of them are regularly monitored by specialists in those areas. For the cultural rot that continues unabated, there is Brent Bozell at the Media Research Center. For the hair-raising level of indebtedness and profligate government spending which assures a future worse than that of Greece, there is Mark Steyn and Mike Shedlock. For the advanced stage of the encroachment of sharia and jihad, there's Andrew McCarthy and Pam Geller. For the continued astronomically costly obsession among far too many in our society with the non-existent trouble that "the planet" is in, there is Climate Depot.

What is left that LITD might focus on and in the course of so doing offer some kind of fresh insight?

For all the above aspects of our current juncture, I'd say that a clear sociocultural theme that emerges when one surveys 2011 is a plain breakdown in basic public order.

There was the rash of fast-food-restaurant beat-downs early in the year. There was the near-riot at an Alabama amusement park in June over a reduced-admission promotion. There were the flash-mob robberies of convenience stores. There was the Independence Day riot at a Peoria housing project when some residents decided to put on a large-scale fireworks display and when police moved in to to tell them to knock it off, got the fireworks turned on them. There was the clearly-racially-motivated riot at the Wisconsin State Fair, There was the unrest outside a George Clinton concert in Cleveland. More recently, there was the melee at Minnesota's Mall of America when rumors of Lil Wayne's presence spread throughout a crowd of hooligans.

And that's just the outbreaks of a general kind (although, as I say, some of these situations did indeed have racial overtones).

There were also labor-union conflagrations. The most noteworthy of these was the sit-in at the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison by teacher-union activists that went on for weeks. What a fine example these erudite educators were setting for their young charges by screaming for government largesse that, as Governor Walker tried to explain pretty much every day, simply wasn't there, due to the state's deficit, camping out in the capitol rotunda, and getting forged doctor slips. There was also the shutdown of the Longview, Washington shipping port in September by longshoremen's union thugs.
If one wants to expand the examination of this phenomenon to the West in general, the riots in Athens and London provide ample material.

Then, of course, there is the Occupy Wall Street movement, which brings together a number of elements present in much of the year's mayhem: spoiled white college kids (ironically, there was very little participation by blacks or other ethnic minorities), the dreadlock-tie-dye-bong-and-drum-circle crowd looking for a party, determined socialist operatives who were orchestrating matters behind the scenes, Jew-hating jihadists, and garden-variety drifters who were mainly looking for free meals and girls to molest.

Look back over all the above-enumerated developments (including the ones for which I've included specialists' links) and then ask yourself if the slip in our level of civilization is a mere hiccup - an unfortunate but momentary lowering of our expectations of ourselves as citizens of an advanced society. Is that what it really looks like to you? Or is the re-attainment of the heights we achieved in the middle of the last century less than likely?

I'm not without at least a faint glimmer of optimism. That residual reserve is not based on any evidence that would justify it. It's just that a human being without any hope that some solution to a dilemma he's facing would shut down and collapse in a heap of inertia. Not me. Apparently I'm not there yet, because I can readily say there is a lot of stuff I want to accomplish in 2012.

That said, I'm not operating under any illusions. I - and everyone else with intentions, ambitions, goals and dreams - will be conducting my affairs in an atmosphere best described as accelerated entropy in the year ahead.

The kind of development that sheds light on why the Most Equal Comrade never uses the term "victory" in relation to our struggle against jihad

The MEC has enlisted the Muslim Brotherhood's Qaradawi to mediate secret talks between the US and the Taliban.

That MEC - a real national-security kind of guy.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Elmer Gantry on the deck of the cruise ship

In the course of poking around the Web, I came across a fantastic blog I highly recommend to anyone for whom New Age "spirituality" is a teeth-grinder.

The blogmistress is a delightfully sharp and astringent writer who calls herself - in what should be obvious irony - Cosmic Connie. Her main thrust is exposing the charlatans who take millions of dollars of Americans' money dispensing the most infantile and obvious-to-anyone-who-is-not-desperate-to-find-a-way-out-of-the-consequences-of-their-bad-life-choices hooey and build personality cults on the premise that it is not about them - no, sir, he or she is just the person behind the podium in the hotel ballroom through whom the "entity" comes - but rather about "source energy." Never mind the rock-star adulation pulsating through the room.

Among the other ills that are currently besetting America, perhaps the most alarming is gullability. We are willing to swallow the notion that "channeled entities" - or "received beings," if you'd rather - have some kind of profound gems of insight to hand to us, much like we are willing to believe that Manhattan will be submerged in ten years if we don't switch en masse to electric cars and solar panels, or that food stamps and unemployment benefits stimulate the economy.

As I say, her writing style is funny and provocative, and she does her homework. Check in often, if thsi is an area of interest to you.

Freedom-hatred at the hootenany

Ron Radosh, a former New Left radical who converted to conservatism decades ago, on some aspects of Woody Guthrie's life that are coming to light as we approach the Dust Bowl troubadour's 100th birth anniversary. Specifically, some new substantiation of Guthrie's communist ideology.

Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax - all Communists.

One fact I didn't see in Radosh's piece, but that I knew from my research as a popular music historian, was that Guthrie wrote a column for the Daily Worker in the late 30s called "Woody Sez."

One interesting new bit of information I did get from the piece, though, was that Radosh took banjo lessons from Pete Seeger in the 1950s.

Lurching toward socialism - today's edition

Fred Wszolek at Townhall has a column today on the radicalization of the National Labor Relations Board that puts the lie to any lip service the Most Equal Comrade gives to wanting to see businesses prosper.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's this kind of thing that has put a damper on any hope I have about Western civilization's prospects

As I've said before, Newt Gingrich is problematic in the extreme. For every time he has given a rousing speech full of all the right cadences and forthright expressions of conservative principle, nailing the urgency of the task at hand, he has made wacko moves of the most unsettling kind.

Such as this. I feel like I know a fair amount about his life, but maybe I need to learn more about how his overall worldview was formed. For a guy who professes to be the embodiment of conservatism, he behaves more like a technocratic pragmatist, pulling "American solutions" from whatever corner if they have some sort of wonky appeal for him. Yet most pragmatists don't swaddle their mishmash of policy recommendations in the kind of grandiosity he imparts to most everything. I mean, to say that Romneycare had "the tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system."?

I realize the Iowa caucus is just days away now, and more primaries come on its heels. One of the second-tier candidates (that would be Bachmann, Santorum or Perry) absolutely must make an irreparable dent in the double-digit lock that the three absolutely horrible candidates (Gingrich, Romney and Paul) have on the first tier.

The United States of America cannot survive another hold-our-noses Republican presidential candidate, even if the election produces solid conservative majorities in the House and Senate. The DNC and the MEC machine are well aware of any fresh signs of vulnerability, such as the above-linked item about Gingrich. The MEC cannot run on his record, but he's not particularly worried about it. If, during campaign stops or particularly during one-on-one debates, he has a dossier on his opponent brimming with examples of inconsistency and Reasonable Gentleman Syndrome, he can draw the blood necessary to ensure four more years of "fundamental transformation."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The LITD Christmas Eve post

This is the first Christmas for this blog. (For any new visitors here, let me quickly brief you: my old blog of five years, Bent Notes, just up and disappeared and no amount of Wordpress support could bring it back.) At Bent Notes, I customarily wrote a Christmas Eve Post.
I don't know that they were anything close to my best stuff as a writer. I generally wound up harping on the remaining doctrinal sticking points in my quest to really understand, and thereby embrace, Christian faith. I do wish I had the entire collection of the BN posts in the "religion and spirituality" category, because there were some nuggets of genuine hard-won insight, and some sincerely grappled-with and precisely articulated points that were still hanging me up.
I think what strikes me most as I compose the first LITD Christmas Eve post is the challenge for someone for whom spiritual inquiry is at the forefront of life's concerns, yet who is untrained in theology, to write credibly about something so big.
I finally get it that Jesus is the only begotten son of the Most High. For years during adolescence and well into adulthood I tidily deemed the Nazarene a "wayshower," in the parlance of the New Thought denominations. Now, after years of approaching the apologetics of C.S. Lewis with the respect and humility that allows for the possibility that he is exactly right, I see that we are talking about a miraculous birth here, not only because of the mother's virginity, but because of who the father was.
It widens one's perspective on the gospels to remember that Jesus, as dvinity incrnate, knew everything. Even when he was kind of playing games with people such as the woman at the well, or various disciples, or even Pharisees, he asked question of others not because he lacked any information, but because he wanted them to see something they hadn't previously seen.
No one else knows everything about you, not your spouse, closest work associate, oldest childhood friend, or dearest sibling. Some of those people do indeed know you very well, and look compassionately on your shortcomings to the degree that they have cultivated a sublime and mature love.
Still, there are recesses of your mind and heart - places where traces of foul, unsavory indulgences of greed, lust, envy and resentment thrive with little or no sunlight - that these people will never know. You know them; you visit them in those stark middle-of-the-night moments after you've run through the next day's to-do list and the week's bills. You and God.
How are you supposed to react in the presence of someone who knows you completely? Before long, you have to ask that someone, out loud or at least mentally, how could you love someone like me?
The only way that someone could indeed love you is to create a way for you in your totality, dark recesses and all, to be okay.
That's what's really going on in the conception, birth, life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's another thing I find myself doing when discussing Christmas the older I get. The whole thing is of a piece. Implicit in the birth are all the other significant aspects of His earthly existence. The cross and the empty tomb can be seen from the manger.
After all, he was God. Right there in three dimensions, tender and mild.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another one of those scenarios that encapsulates the whole MEC regime's blight on America

Michelle Malkin beckons us to take a look at the federally subsidized switch to trendy health foods in the cafeterias of the Los Angeles school district. Upshot: 21,000 uneaten meals are getting tossed each day. The kids want their corn dogs back; they're just not into lentil-and-brown-rice patties and quinoa salad. This story has all the elements we've seen over and over again since this regime gripped America's throat three years ago: fluffy notions of what people would really want to consume if they were exposed to an alternative to the bitter-clinger fare they've always consumed, nanny-state intrusion into American's lives, rampant waste, and sops to organized labor.

This may be madness, but it's where we are.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Regardless of whether the North Korean missile test had anything to do with Kim Jong-il's death . . .

. . . it was pretty clearly a signal to the U.S envoys who attended the China-brokered bilateral talks with NK last week that that business about a moratorium on missile tests was not to be taken literally.

What really happened to the music

I have signed on to a management role at a music website for which I've been a contributing writer since 1999. Its founding was actually an act of prescience; the editors / owners foresaw the tipping of the music industry's balance away from the record label / radio / fan infrastructure including a press establishment / all-purpose management agency model to that of the DIY approach, in which a musical act must be a business organization and a publicity agency as well.

As a writer during this whole period (dating as it does back to the Clinton era), I've seen predictions and forecasts come true and fall flat. I've seen sub-sub-genres come and go. I've seen new models for all the components of the biz - radio, labels, touring, recording, distribution - prove their efficacy and / or fizzle.

Fifteen years ago, such modern-day music-biz conventions as street teams and album release parties were in their infancy. Musical acts still regarded signing with a major label as the pinnacle of their careers. Radio, increasingly in the hands of big congomerates that kept excruciatingly precise data on the consuming behavior of every imaginable demographic comrpising the American - indeed, world - public, was still the arbiter of which music was going to herald current paradigms and stake a rightful claim in the pantheon of timeless classics.

Much literature about the industry's convulsions has been published over that time. While it would be too broad of a brush stroke to declare mass consensus among these numerous books, a theme does emerge to some extent. Authors inquiring into all this generally believe that it is somehow the greed, and resultant short-sightedness of those at the top of these huge recording / concert-promotion / radio organizations that did the old model in, and that the indie model is democratizing everything for both music-maker and listener, and that much exciting artistic activity is taking place even as uncertainty reigns over the whole field.

While the shift from old-line ways to DIY is undeniably dramatic and full of exciting stories such as rock groups suing websites such as Napster, and interim models such as My Space rising and falling in the space of, really, mere months, there is much that hasn't changed at all.

Think about what a beginning musical act needs to consider. It needs to play some shows in the biggest venues possible, give those who become acquainted with it some reason to become familiar with it, and even become fans, and it needs to get some professional recordings made and get those played on appropriate radio stations. Twenty, fifty, seventy years ago, acts delegated much of this to others who specialized in these areas, but the checklist of what needs to be accomplished remains the same.

A lot of how-to articles on sites catering to the indie / DIY sector exhort musical acts to build a fan base with street teams and social-network contact lists and the like. Much of that kind of activity passes on the exhortation in the form of slogans like "Support local music."

Well, just what kind of person in our modern society is really that interested in going out and consuming live music on a regular basis? Who are the die-hard fans of the handful of acts that comprise the music scene in any given city? For that matter, who goes to all these festivals and showcase conferences one sees advertised on indie sites? Is the mortgage-apying parent of three with a demanding career more or less likely to seek out live music on a frequent, regular basis than, say, a single person in his or her early 20s living alone or with friends in an apartment?

I'm aware, given that in my role as an adjunct university instructor in popular-music history I research this stuff, that some of the richest treasures in American music came out of the clubs and ballrooms of Harlem, Beale Street and Watts, the honky-tonks of Texas, the auditoriums and tent shows of the gospel circuit, and the festivals at Newport, Montreux and Monterrey. Furthermore, I'm aware that the venue owners, booking agents and even musicians themselves that made for that era's greatness were often as driven by greed and hedonistic impulses as their modern counterparts.

What was different about that earlier time is really pretty simple: the music was better. Even the most raucous of the R&B or the most rural of the honky-tonk music expressed an implicit awareness that a listener expected basic human dignity to be conveyed in the art being made.

I'm not saying the greed of those clawing their way to the tops of big corporations wasn't a factor. It most certainly was. What happened was that that greed reached a critical mass at exactly the same time that the boomer generation, which made the consumption of music into some kind of statement of self-importance, basically overdosed on the sheer amount of product that was out there. this would have been about the mid-70s, when the market for contemporary musc fragmented and each demographic wore "its" music like a badge. If you were into, say, southern rock, or disco, or heavy metal, or straight-ahead jazz, or fusion jazz, or introspective singer-songwriter music, the industry's infrastructure was there to affirm your keen aesthetic discernment and bolster your sense of self-worth.

Maybe it goes back a little farther. I think of how EMI producer George Martin sweat bullets in the winter of 1966-67 as he acted as the go-between for the record company and The Beatles as that group ran up huge budget overruns and insisted that the Abbey Road studio be available to them at all hours of the day and night. They had arrived, you see. They sat atop the worldwide entertainment field and could basically snap their fingers and get whatever they wanted. At the same time, they were following a pseudo-spiritual charlatan (the Maharishi) and indulging any whim they harbored so much as momentarily.

That's really the story of the whole music business from about then to about 2000 in microcosm. The industry was awash in gravy, and everybody was mainly concerned with self-gratification.

It made for a jaded bunch of people. How were the heads of Warner Music or EMI or Sony in any position to hear - and recognize - something that was of true musica value, that is to say, ennobling, deeply, sonically rich, expressive of recognizable human passions? They weren't. They were too loaded.

So I don't put much stock in those studies of the whole thing that go back, say, thirty years and, because that allows for a discussion of big hits and phenomena such as MTV, Madonna, Prince or Michael Jackson, assert that that was such a different era as to really characterize a different music industry. The fact is, that by that time, the music was nearly all awful. Michael Jackson was awful. Madonna was (and is) awful. Ditto Prince, Metallica, Garth Brooks, whoever. These people rpovided the soundtrack to the arrested development of every living generation of Western civilization.

It's important to mention the confluence of the extolling of informality as a virtue with the collectivist ideological impulse, and to trace the development of that, we may have to go back farther still. The folk boom of the 50s and 60s really just brought what Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax and their associates had been doing for a while to mainstream America's attention. Rock and roll came along at this time as well, and the notion that music need only be a matter of a small vocabulary of chords and melodies played on highly portable instruments such as guitars, took hold on a mass scale. The notion that one ought to be at least rudimentarily familiar with the way musical principles had been codified into notation and theory was going by the wayside. I remember a few years ago doing a phone interview with Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls - for the very site I'm now getting more involved with. I asked her about what, during a given day, motivates her to pick up her guitar. "Do you run through some scales to warm up?" I asked. She said she didn't and muttered something about not really beeing a great guitar player. That exchange spoke, and speaks, volumes about the place aesthetic standards has, or doesn't have, in our culture now.

Couple that with the notion that the "folk" ethos, broadly understood, contributed a sense that it was appropriate for popular music to be "topical," to address societal ills. Again, we are back to the late 30s, when the Communist party members and fellow travelers congregating in the Greenwich Village hub of that world were playing labor rallies, and when Communist high-school teacher Abe Meeropol wrote "Strange Fruit" for Billie Holiday. Cut to the present, when politics seems to permeate every note of what musicians - both indie and big-shot - play.

So it doesn't matter that now we have Spotify instead of Columbia Records. When you hear the term "music" or see the little icon for it on the toolbar of your web browser, it has the same dreary set of connotations it has had for decades now.

Shifting business models and changing technology are not the core issue. What we should look at squarely, since it's facing us squarely, is a culture in which even something that had, until about forty years ago, been one of the most sublime realms of the human experience, has become a mere orgy of infantile self-congratulation.

Now, I have to scour the music sites for some hot news and trends.

Kim Jong Il, dead tyrant

When an evil person dies of basically natural causes and has been living a life of unimaginable splendor and luxury right up to his passing, it forces us to revisit age-old spiritual questions about a moral balance to the universe and cosmic come-uppance. Does faith, as it's understood by the conventional Judeo-Christian worldview, include as one of its aspects a certainty that eternity is having its justice on such a figure? And is such certainty categorically different from a revenge wish, a fervent desire that that be so?

Of course, there is also the plethora of earthly questions that this event puts before us: smooth succession to Kim's youngest son, or factions within the military having other ideas? Less or greater regional stability? Continuity of North Korea's membership in the worldwide axis of terror and chaos-foment?

And, are the news reports about the entire citizenry of NK being in tears today accurate, or does the regime have a handy bunch of cryers it can trot out for international consumption?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The normal-people light bulb gets a nine-month extension of its legality

Gotta hand it to those congressional Pubs. They're finding some clever ways lately to legislatively strike blows for freedom.

Let's hope there's still room for a non-problematic rightie

I didn't get to watch last night's Pub prez candidate debate in Iowa (out having 21st anniversary dinner with the Lovely and Talented Mrs. LITD), but I'm glad to hear that Bachmann and Perry turned in good performances. I can't stand the thought that in mid-December 2011 the race has winnowed down to you-know-who and you-know-who.

Balancing the perfect with the doable

A most thoughtful NRO The Corner piece by Jonah Goldberg on National Review's editorial taking the unequivocal position that Newt is not the one. He delves into the matter of individual members of an opinion magazine's editorila staff taking positions that may differ from those collectively expressed under the publication's banner. He has some interesting examples from NR's history that show that this is not a new phenomenon.

Christoper Hitchens, R.I.P.

At age 62, from esophageal cancer.

He was one of those prickly public intellectuals whose love of drink and sensual living matched his passion for words and an insistence on squarely looking at history's lessons for our species. He was more often than not caustic in his writing, but personal friends recount ample evidence of his graciousness and loyalty. As he grew older, he became increasingly difficult to categorize. He remained steadfastly atheist, but was staunchly pro-life. His writings were less likely to appear in The Nation and moreso in publications like the Weekly Standard. He supported the invasion of Iraq.

A force to be contended with by thinkers of all stripes, and one whose contributions will be the subject of debate for years to come.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LITD likes this - today's edition

Elections do indeed have consequences. I'm not sure that, prior to the 2010 shellacking of the Freedom-Haters, one would have seen the likes of this: the Congressional Pubs saying, by way of their vote on a piece of legislation, "Your payroll taxs holiday is actually a decent idea. Tell you what; we'll go for it as long as you sign onto the Keysone XL pipeline and thereby bust loose 20,000 jobs and bring us closer to energy self-sufficiency. Whaddya say, Chief?"

To the MEC and his remaining handful of true believers, this sort of thing makes him look like an enlightened being

. . . but to normal people, "asking for [the drone spy plane that Iran shot down] back" looks like weakness and incompetence that is guaranteed to elcit the mullahs' contempt in response.

The distinctly modern keenness to try to "fix" suffering

Worldviews from Christianity to Buddhism assert the inevitability of suffering. Why does the modern human being search for the elixir that will supposedly eradicate it forever? Michael Knox Beran at NRO looks at what happened to our species's perspective once it had begun to make some material progress, and its suffering was of a different order from what it had been when squalor was a given.

It's not the private sector that has the American public spooked

Per Gallup, the sense that big government is the greatest threat to the nation's well-being is one percentage point shy of the record - and almost half of Democrats feel that way.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How blatant do they have to get?

In case any of you are still being told that it's over the top to call the Most Equal Comrade a revolutionary socialist, the latest bit of evidence you can include in your arsenal of substantiation is his announcement of the formation of an Office of Manufacturing Policy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

College students with a clue

John Mearsheimer's own University of Chicago students call, in an editorial in the campus newpaper, for the anti-Israel Jew-hater to resign from the school's faculty.

The EPA has an objection to hydraulic fracking

So much so, in fact, that it is willing to release a draft of a paper that hasn't even been peer-reviewed and is full of "mays" and "probablys."

If your nose detects the odor of an agenda, you have a fine nose.

The high cost of propping up bad ideas

The latest deal to try to save the Eurozone is a classic example of the futility of laws, rules and policies that merely reiterate already-existing laws, rules and policies. ("Hate crimes" legislation here in America is another example of this.) A policy of "All you debt-ridden countries get your budgets balanced or else!" isn't going to do a stinkin' thing to turn Greece or Portugal into viable economies.

The Eurozone was a bad idea from the get-go.

HT: Sense of Events

The thunderous truth, plainly spoken

Representative Allen West R-FL on the MEC's obsesssion with "fairness."

An encouraging development

Bachmann and Perry are the latest Pub prez contenders to take a pass on the December 27 debate to be moderated by The Donald.

Here's the LITD take on the whole matter: Donald Trump is a vulgar, solipcistic huckster utterly lacking in a core set of principles beyond what he sees as the value of going through life in as hard-nosed a way as possible. He can't utter five sentences without promoting himself and talking about how fantastic and successful his empire is. He has no understanding of what really makes America great. He is the exception to the rule that allows leftists to trot out an Exhibit A example of a "greedy businessman." And the Republican party should avoid him like e boli.

Nihilism dolled up as unicorns and rainbows

Matthew Hennessey at First Things has penned a marvelously written and spot-on insightful essay on the darkness at the core of John Lennon's spirituality.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here's how you deal with FHers

Darrell Issa puts Eric Holder on the hot seat and sears his tail end good and proper.

It's the whole way the Consumer Protection Financial Agency was fashioned that is the problem

And that's why Pubs gave a thumbs-down to Richard Cordray today.

The thunderous truth, plainly spoken

Representative Allen West R-FL on the MEC's obsesssion with "fairness."

How's this for chilling? - today's edition

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, ostensibly an impartial enforcement agency within the Department of Justice, ostensibly an impartial cabinet-level arm of the executive branch of the federal government, was, according to documents obtained by CBS (that Sheryl Atkisson is doing a heroic job of bringing all this to light), using Fast and Furious as a tool to sway Congressional and public opinion to favor a new gun regulation called Demand Letter 3.

The excitement level for this seems to be pretty much at the bottom of the graph

Tomorrow's EU summit to try to save Europe from economic collapse, that is. Merkel is dampening expectations, and Cameron is saying, "If you people want us to sign on to big changes, we will insist on a quid pro quo that will be outside your comfort zone." (My paraphrasing.)

The more the MEC doubles down on the freedom-hatred . . .

. . . the more America resists it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's not an "extraneous measure"; it's very much of a piece with the payroll tax cut extension

That extension, and inking the deal on the Keystone XL pipeline are both economy-boosting moves, and it makes perfect sense to have them in the same bill.

Now, Congressional Pubs, stick to that position. Do not waver. This is the perfect fight to pick with the MEC and the Freedom-Haters.

The MEC has no serious interest in preserving Western civilization

When the Senate was ready to go with some sanctions against Iran that actually had some teeth, he backed away.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Worth pondering - except that, if you basically come from a LITD-type point of view, it will depress you

Yuval Levin, at NRO's Corner, says that the choice between Newt and Romney is not an ideological one, that they are both moderates - in LITD lingo, Reasonable Gentlemen - and that the way for Pub voters to decide between them is on the basis of temprament.

Yuk. I want a principled rightie. Western civilization is done for with anything less.

How's this for chilling?

This whole nation - left, right and center - was so alarmed by 9/11/01 that it went along with the creation of a new cabinet-level department to address homeland security, in spite of the largely-borne-out misgivings about ponderous bureaucracy, silly procedural doo-dah, outright invasion of privacy of citizens who come nowhere near meeting the profile of a radical Muslim terrorist, and, of course, cost. We wanted to be safe against this new breed of fiercely determined, wily, ever-flexible, hate-filled Muslim terrorist plotting against us.

Well, check this out: under the MEC regime, it is reviewing procedures to see how they fare when measured against "environmental justice" criteria.

These people have dog vomit where their hearts and brains should be.

For that last remaining few of you who think it's over the top to say we have a revolutionary socialist for our current president

Exhibit A: The Most Equal Comrade's speech today in Kansas.

Because the MEC regime wants to be sure of the support of this particular voting bloc . . .

. . . it will grandstand on the world stage, via the State Department's singling out of gay, lesbian, bisexual (I've always wondered how a person could determine he or she was in this category without having multiple intimate relationships, either simultaneously or serially, to see if her or she liked them equally) or "transgendered" (Notice how rapidly this awkward, recently-fabricated term has made it into the mainstream of our lexicon, and created a whole demographic out of people who "just feel like they are the other gender") as a beleagured minority whose treatment it will police the world wide. As the linked article points out, shall we anticipate that it will be so vigorous in pursuing respectful treatment of Coptic Christians and Jews?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Back to the damned table" to discuss what and with whom?

Leon Panetta has picked a strange juncture in the unfolding of events in the Middle east to demand that Israel exhibit an even more appeasing attitude toward those bent on its destruction.

One less contender

So the Hermanator makes it official.

As I said in my most recent post about him, he is at least guilty of really poor judgement. Several people who know him well still refuse to believe he has ever engaged in sexual shenanigans, and I'd still like to believe that that's the case. His story is that of someone who knows how to summon the highest levels of character, and has done so on a regualr basis. It's also obvious that he really embraces, and has a zeal for defending, the principles of conservatism. Of course, as we've seen more than once, a person's - particularly a man's - libido can operate concurrently to a fealty to principles and win out in a contest for the person's willpower.

He's not done as a public figure. I'm sure he has books, columns, and probably a resumed radio-host gig in his future.

What's going to be sad and disgusting in the extreme is the sewage flood of vitriolic gloating that will inevitably stink up Facebook and the comment threads at just about any column, article or blog post about the man. That's just where we are as a society.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When you hear someone singing the praises of a planned economy, check your ammo supply

I gave some thought to taking on Andy Stern's WSJ column on the Chinese economic model, but Bookworm Room has administered a smackdown at least as effective as any I could have come up with.

Staying one step ahead of the Freedom-Haters

McDonald's came up with an impressive end-run around the Happy Meal ban in San Francisco: tack an extra dime on the price, so that the toy is a purchased item, not a gift.

Of course, the food totalitarians are outraged, saying that "the point was not for corporations to find more clever ways to circumvent the law."

These people never stop until they are defeated.

It doesn't increase the sum total of productivity anywhere in the world by one tiny bit

Kevin Williamson at NRO says that the Fed's move yesterday - lowering the dollar-financing costs to European banks - still does not satisfy the first law of economics: the money has to come from somewhere.