Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nonsense Lyrics

Many folks believe that the Beatles were the greatest musical group of all time. Whether they were or not is debatable, but without question they were certainly among the greatest writers of nonsense lyrics.

As in:
Here come Ol' Flat Top,
he come groovin' up slowly,
he got juju eyeball,
he one holy roller...

I'm not sure I'd know a juju eyeball if one were to reach out and lash me.
Hello, hello!
I don't know why you say goodbye,
I say hello!

Is that what Obama told Hillary when he needed a Secretary of State?
I am the egg man,
they are the egg men,
I am the walrus,
goo goo g'joob!

When I was a kid, we actually had an egg man who delivered fresh eggs every week from a local farm. Perhaps that's how they did it in Liverpool back in the day, I don't know. But I'm fairly certain that they weren't laid by a walrus.
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
Actually, that makes even less sense when you read it than when you hear it. I understood perfectly well what was going on when I thought the words were, "A girl with colitis goes by." Unlike Ol' Flat Top, she was probably going by pretty quickly.

These are just a few examples; their entire oeuvre is spackled with them. Our boys John, Paul, George, and Ringo weren't too concerned with whether their lyrics parsed. They wrote what they thought sounded good whether the meaning was clear or not, or indeed whether there was any discernible meaning at all. It's the sonority, stupid. Such an approach is not at all without artistic merit -- who said poetry needs to make sense? Still, it's amazing how profound even baby-talk can sound when the whole world is calling you a genius, and you're tripping like a long-haired hippie freak.

Since we're talking about the performance arts here, on a related subject: Paul Mirengoff (by the way, not the same Paul) at Power Line has thoroughly analyzed Obama's UN speech, so you and I don't have to. Paul is just a little bewildered, or perhaps disgusted, at what he perceives to be the meaninglessness of Obama's text.

Obama:"In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War."

Mirengoff has several amusing and dyspeptic remarks about all this. Some of my favorites:

"'[P]ower is no longer a zero-sum game.' What does this mean? Has every situation in the world magically become win-win? Or was this always the case and it simply took Obama to understand it?"
"'No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.' The 'should' part goes without saying and Obama looks embarrassingly naive saying it. The 'can' part is demonstrably false, and Obama looks embarrassingly stupid saying it. A nation can dominate another nation by conquering it or, in some cases, by credibly threatening to conquer it."
"'The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War' ...Is the internet really that powerful?"

I think Mirengoff's analytical skills are performing admirably here, but it's the wrong venue. The problem is he's expecting to hear the prosaic homilies and earnest syllogisms of a statesman, when instead he should be listening for the lilting cadences and stimulating tropes of a lyricist. It's the sonority, stupid. Obama's goal isn't to make sense, but to inspire his liberal base and his claque of major media sycophants to swoon and scream like the young girls at the Beatles concerts did, back in the halcyon days of funny-looking cigarettes and even funnier-looking hair-dos and clothes (about which, I'm something of an expert).

Now, try again to hear this in your head as if it's set to music, and Obama is on stage in psychedelic garb, strumming a guitar and gyrating his hips to an audience of giddy liberals:
"In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game..." [Scream!!!!! Swoon!!!!!]

"No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." [Shriek!!!!! Faint!!!!!]

Got to be a joker, he just do what he please.

There will be more, much more, nonsense lyrics for the fainting, and colitis for the faint of stomach, before this long and winding road is done.

Goo goo g'joob.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Now President Bush Tells Us"

The Wall Street Journal's John Fund wrote an article this week entitled, "The GOP, C'est Moi," finally giving conservatives an admission straight from the horse's mouth that, yes, it's true: George W. Bush never considered himself to be "one of us", a conservative. The article is subtitled, "Now President Bush tells us."

Mr. Bush is quoted as having said, "Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say, but I redefined the Republican Party."

Mr. Fund poses the final rhetorical question: "That may have been true, but how well did that work out for the Republican Party?"


As in, Mr. Bush did indeed change the Republican Party -- from "in power" to "out of power." Neither Bush -- father or son -- ever seemed to understand the importance of cultivating their own power base. The energy and drive of a political party comes from those who embrace the ideas upon which the party is based -- the "ideologues", if you will. Most ideologues are savvy enough about politics to know that you can't win every engagement -- that you have to give as well as take. But when it starts to look like your champion is playing for the other team, it demoralizes them. And when they are demoralized, they stay home. They do not contribute money. They do not get out and vote. There is no one to man the booths, to place the phone calls, to solicit the checks.

Both Presidents Bush were famous for being "pragmatic" rather than ideological. But pragmatism is not a philosophy. The word pragmatism has no meaning unless there are policy goals that one is forced to be pragmatic about. Policies "that work" are only desirable if they are working toward a goal that is deemed desirable by some set of ideals.

In the case of both Presidents Bush, there was never any philosophy behind the compromises, and there was never any pro quo in return for the quid. A compromise under such constraints looks more like a surrender -- and elicits a "What a chump I've been!" moment for anyone who gave blood, sweat, tears, money, and votes for their champion.

In the case of the elder Bush, that moment arrived when he broke the only substantive promise he had made during the 1988 campaign: "Read my lips -- no new taxes." The "compromise"? Bush would sign drastic new tax measures (in the midst of a recession, yet) in return for...? A promise by the Democrats not to use breaking his tax promise against him in the election. (Of course, the Democrats broke that promise, and I don't blame them one bit. As W. C. Fields said, "Never give a sucker an even break.")

In Bush the Younger's case, the moment arrived when he nominated his crony, Harriet Miers, as his first Supreme Court nominee. Why her? Because she was on then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's short list of nominees who would not be filibustered by the Democrats. In other words: Bush wanted to avoid a fight. It was that simple.

Problem is, it was a fight conservatives had been spoiling for. For many years.

Conservatives volunteered in record numbers for the Bush campaign in 2004. It's not that they loved Bush. What they wanted was a chance to appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice. By 2004, we already knew we couldn't expect much from Bush in terms of conservative policy or dealing with a fiscally incontinent Congress. But, man, we wanted those conservatives on the court. That was the prize. That was our compromise.

But there was nothing in Miers' record to indicate that she would have been a particularly conservative justice -- and indeed, some reason to suggest otherwise. (She had been a registered Democrat, for example.) After the disastrous Republican nominations of liberal stalwart Justice Souter and the intellectually flighty O'Connor, they wanted more assurance than a wink from the President that she would fit in fine with conservative expectations. They wanted a bona fide conservative, with an unambiguous judicial track record and a trail of outraged liberals to prove it. The worst part of the whole deal was the kowtowing to Senator Reid. If the Republican Party was unwilling to fight for a conservative nominee with a 55-seat majority in the Senate, when would they ever fight? Bush reluctantly backed down and, to his credit, did under duress nominate Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito -- but only after being pushed back against a wall by his own supporters.

Later in his second term, George W. Bush did it again by supporting an illegal immigrant amnesty bill. Even worse, when conservatives grumbled, he wheeled on them and called them "bigots." At the time, these same conservatives were the only ones left who were still speaking up for Mr. Bush.

That's funny: Bush liked conservatives just fine when they were voting for him.

And did this betrayal of the conservative agenda make the liberals like him any better?

This is the award-winning recipe for leaving office with historically-low approval ratings: make your friends as well as your enemies angry at you. When you're in a fight, it can be fatal not to know who your friends are. Thus should read President George W. Bush's political epitaph. A Republican cannot succeed by pandering to liberals, as they feel entitled to it. The opposite of entitled is grateful.

The resulting political fallout forced the amnesty bill's demise, but conservatives got an even clearer look at the man they had supported in two elections.

So the revelation contained in Mr. Fund's article comes as no surprise at least to this conservative.

Republicans have never figured out that they can't make liberals like them better by doing liberal things. However, they can make conservatives hate them. Voting for Benedict Arnold because, "After all, he's less of a monarchist than King George III" eventually loses its allure.

There's another way to increase the size of the party's base that doesn't require selling out its ideals: argue your case. Republicans should try it sometime. Stop playing "prevent defense" and play instead to win. When Ronald Reagan won the Presidency, he ran as a conservative, and won by comfortable majorities (by a landslide in 1984). If Reagan could have run for a third term, he would have won that election as well. But Reagan could defend his ideals and was willing to take the time and trouble to do so.

One of George W. Bush's unquestionable accomplishments is that, once and for all, he has ruined the "lesser of two liberals" strategy for future Republican campaigns. If Republicans wish to become relevant again, they will need to embrace their inner conservative. And mean it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Restoration by DRS FantomWorks

I had my venerable old 1982 Checker Marathon restored this summer. Dan Short, the fellow who owns and operates DRS FantomWorks, did a fantastic job of the restoration. I sent him the following blurb as an appreciation for the job he did. I will append pictures at the end.


Hello, fellow antique car enthusiasts!

I love vintage cars. Not that I don't respect the modern automobiles. Many of them are very reliable, very fuel-efficient and comfortable. But I just don't see them as real cars; they're more like appliances. You don't fall in love with an appliance; you just use it until it wears out. Same with these new-fangled motor vehicles. Sufficient substance, but no style. Lots of engineering, but no soul. I have trouble with the whole concept of "planned obsolescence" -- I just don't like it when, before the car's even assembled, the engineers have already calculated the number of years before the junkyard beckons. It just seems wrong. I prefer cars that are modern enough to perform well and be comfortable, but simple enough to be fixed and sturdy enough to last.

After many years of using my beloved 1982 Checker Marathon as a daily driver, it really began to show some serious age: faded paint; leaky windshield; holes behind the rear window; crummy carpet; bent hood; dreary, delapidated headliner. It's hard watching your "loved ones" get old.

I wanted to consider restoring the Checker, and interviewed several people who were in that line of work. They seemed nice enough, and all of them could probably have sold me a half-decent paint job. But then all I would have is a thirty-year-old car with fresh paint -- and who knows, underneath the new, glossy paint, how much of the car would consist of body putty instead of welded metal? Or even how long the paint job would continue to look glossy and new?

Well, after agonizing over the decision for a few months, a buddy of mine turned me on to DRS Automotive FantomWorks. I met with Dan Short, owner/manager, and he took me on a tour of his facilities. My first impression was how clean and well-organized his shop is -- it's very reassuring to take your car to a shop that does not reflect chaos and a crisis-management style. I knew within five minutes of talking to Dan that I could trust him to do a great job on my Checker. Dan is very well-educated and extremely smart. He understands, apparently, everything about cars -- historically, mechanically, and stylistically. He understands systems -- which impressed my inner computer geek very much. Best of all, Dan understands the needs of the customer (me), and assured me that I would be driving (so to speak) this entire process myself, from beginning to end. Dan would make recommendations and provide enough information for me to make well-informed decisions, in my personal search for the best trade-off between the ideal restoration and the limitations of the pocketbook.

Dan told me the job would be finished in about six weeks to two months. I harbored some doubts about that because one of the restoration shops I had interviewed gave me an estimate of seven months. (!) But Dan was as good as his word. I was able to visit the car each week during the process and witness the progress myself, every step of the way -- from disassembly, to sanding it down to bare metal, to priming and painting, and re-assembly. Dan also gave me a guided tour of my own car -- more of a lecture, really -- showing the good and maybe some of the not-so-good features in its engineering, and making recommendations on mechanical repairs. Not that Dan is the type of guy who sells unnecessary repairs -- far from it! On two or three occasions, I even pointed out something extra he might want to do while the car was disassembled; his usual response was, "There's no advantage to doing that now, just wait until you need that done." Dan does not waste his time, or your money, on things that aren't necessary or desirable.

I also found Dan's staff to be very helpful, pleasant, and knowledgeable. Everyone seemed to be enjoying his work, and were forthcoming about the parts of the restoration that fell within their own area of expertise. Dan himself is a whirling dervish of purposeful activity -- working on a car, on the phone, ordering parts, helping you with your color selection, explaining the latest engineering feature he noticed in your car, taking people for test drives. Best of all, Dan is honest -- unfashionably, ridiculously, even shoot-himself-in-the-foot honest. If Dan gives you two or three alternatives and asks you to decide, you simply have to ask him, "If this were your car, what would you do?" He will tell you, even if you just know he would have made more money by telling you something else.

It's not just a living to these guys: they love what they do.

And what they do is very much worth doing: they make the world a less humdrum, more lovely place. They resurrect old cars and make them young and beautiful again. And they want you to love the results. I certainly have. In a world of four-wheeled rolling jellybeans, I have a car that stands out and says, "I'm not a throwaway appliance; I'm a real car! I'm history!" Everywhere I drive, people turn, stare, smile, and give me the thumbs-up. FantomWorks deserves all the credit for that. Anyone who has an older car that he would love to see restored to its former glory desperately needs to take it to FantomWorks. Give Dan and the gang an opportunity to perform their special magic on your car.

Here's the "before" shot, taken this past May:

...and here's the "after" shot, taken in August:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Selective Outrage

When I was in the Air Force, it was a routine complaint that the venerable Airman Proficiency Report (APR) system was inflated -- not unlike the "grade inflation" at many colleges. Intended to be an objective evaluation of each individual airman, the typical APR was anything but objective. Generally, they were "firewalled" -- that is, on a scale of 1 through 9, straight 9's were usually awarded in the various categories. Now, Garrison Keillor likes to remark that Lake Woebegone is a place where everyone is "just a little bit above average," but the truism of the matter is that half of the population is below average. Regression toward the mean: it's the law. There were an awful lot of officially "excellent" airmen walking around who were merely good, or average, or even below average. I ought to know.

And, as nobody was fooled, expectations adjusted themselves accordingly: anyone earning less than straight 9's was considered a poor performer even if the APR contained only one 8, or 7 (which technically was still "excellent"). It didn't matter that, every year, the junior officers and NCOs were admonished to give "objective" ratings to their men and women. Very few bit on it. The stigma of earning a less-than-stellar APR would have to give way before anyone would inflict that on their good people.

It didn't stop some of them from trying, however. In our band squadron, Sergeant Ken ran the APR system. Ken was a career NCO, an extremely feisty one, not a particularly good musician but a capable NCO nonetheless. He was an interesting choice for that position, however, as he had been "busted" (i.e., stripped of one or more stripes) several times. The fatal flaw in Ken's approach to his own military career is that liked to get into bar fights. His trophies from these, er, athletic events took the form of missing teeth; when he grinned, he looked like Liberace's piano keyboard. Ken didn't like me very much (which hardly distinguished him -- I had that effect on a lot of people), and during an interview, he let me know that our squadron was going to do things differently henceforth. Looking me right in the eye, Ken announced, "We're going to start giving realistic APRs from now on, so you'd better prepare yourself."

But I was pretty feisty myself in those days, and though Sergeant Ken had many more years in service than I did, he did not outrank me -- or if he did, not by much. So, I stared straight back at him and said, "You can go ahead and start your 'reform movement' if you want, but I'm telling you here and now: you're not going to start it with me." Fortunately, Sergeant Ken blinked, maybe the only time I ever saw him back down. And so my evaluation was once again spangled with straight 9's which, along with almost everyone else who got them, I didn't deserve.

And therefore, with great interest, I have been watching the brand new reform movement currently being championed by the press and liberal circles (but I repeat myself) -- something about 'decorum', and 'not calling the President a liar.' I can see their point, same as I could see Sergeant Ken's point almost thirty years ago. I too want to live in a country where the President of the United States can deliver a speech without an opponent rudely calling names and coarsening the public debate. I too want to live in a country where the news media holds people accountable for such rude outbursts.

But why start now?

As Victor Davis Hanson points out:

...sadly, I put no credence in liberal outrage. Dozens of Democrats booed Bush during his State of the Union address in 2005; an unhinged Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) called him a liar from the House floor. The currently outraged, like Maureen Down and E.J. Dionne, said little about the 2005 interruption of the President of the United States with catcalls. Congressional efforts at censure failed. Stark, for all I know, remains not an albatross, but an icon of the Left.

President Obama called for more civility on 60 Minutes the other night. A noble effort, all would agree. But he has himself been serially accusing his opponents of disinformation and lying about his health care plan—even as his own accounts of how many are currently uninsured, the status of illegal aliens under his plan, or the nature of his end of life counseling programs seem to change weekly.

The President in his calls for moderation, of course, said nothing about Van Jones’s profanity and racism—or his czar’s charging Bush with planning the deaths of 3,000, charging whites with being mass killers in the schools, and polluters, and on and on....

The Left is now furious that, as the new establishment, the rules of discourse are not more polite. But from 2002-8, they (Who are “they”? Try everyone from Al Gore to John Glen to Robert Byrd to Sen. Durbin), employed every Nazi/brown shirt slur they could conjure up.

So is the Right supposed to be "bigger" than the Left, and do the right thing -- be civil, be civilized, be respectful -- knowing that, not only will their efforts go unnoticed by the media, but also that the Left will interpret any sign of humility and civility as weakness?

I don't know. Maybe there are worse things than calling someone who lies a liar. Certainly the Left agreed with me enough to leave eight years of "Bush Lied, People Died!" still ringing in my ears.

Let's start the reform movement later. Sometime after the mainstream media can bring themselves to give conservatives an even break. Or sometime after they all go out of business. Whichever comes sooner. Either way works for me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Big One

This is it. The big one.

We now have ourselves a trade war. That has been the missing piece. The current recession had been looking a lot like the Great Depression, until now.

Now it looks exactly like the Great Depression.

Here is economist Thomas Sowell on the Smoot-Hawley tariff and its aftermath:

Let's start at square one, with the stock market crash in October 1929. Was this what led to massive unemployment?

Official government statistics suggest otherwise. So do new statistics on unemployment by two current scholars, Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, in their book "Out of Work."

...They put the unemployment rate at 5 percent in November 1929, a month after the stock market crash. It hit 9 percent in December-- but then began a generally downward trend, subsiding to 6.3 percent in June 1930.

That was when the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were passed, against the advice of economists across the country, who warned of dire consequences.

Five months after the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, the unemployment rate hit double digits for the first time in the 1930s.

This was more than a year after the stock market crash. Moreover, the unemployment rate rose to even higher levels under both Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of whom intervened in the economy on an unprecedented scale.

Before the Great Depression, it was not considered to be the business of the federal government to try to get the economy out of a depression. But the Smoot-Hawley tariff-- designed to save American jobs by restricting imports-- was one of Hoover's interventions, followed by even bigger interventions by FDR.

The rise in unemployment after the stock market crash of 1929 was a blip on the screen compared to the soaring unemployment rates reached later, after a series of government interventions. For nearly three consecutive years, beginning in February 1932, the unemployment rate never fell below 20 percent for any month before January 1935, when it fell to 19.3 percent, according to the Vedder and Gallaway statistics.

In other words, the evidence suggests that it was not the "problem" of the financial crisis in 1929 that caused massive unemployment but politicians' attempted "solutions." Is that the history that we seem to be ready to repeat?

So if disaster comes to pass because of Obama's actions, does it mean we will vote him out of office? Not necessarily. Sowell continues:

Politically, however, Franklin D. Roosevelt could not have been more successful. After all, he was the only President of the United States elected four times in a row. He was a master of political rhetoric.

Who else do we know who is a master of political rhetoric?

On economic matters, the image the government likes to cultivate is that of a wise and shrewd doctor, complete with white jacket, stethoscope, and a wink, who can diagnose the problems in the blink of an eye and have us back on our feet in no time. That's the image. The reality is this: picture a Boeing jumbo jet flying 600 mph at 30,000 feet, with a four-year-old boy at the controls grinning like a fiend and possessing no sense of his own limitations -- and pushing buttons and pulling levers as fast as he can. He's having a great time, but the passengers are screaming.

As Rahm Emmanuel said, never let a good crisis go to waste. What he didn't say is, if you need a good crisis, you can always make one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Republican Leadership and Other Oxymorons

It seems like it ought to be an anomaly that, in the midst of the most unambiguously left-wing American government at least since Carter and arguably since LBJ, or even FDR, the Right is finally getting its act together, showing fire and fight and even some unity.

It doesn't seem possible, does it?

Particularly since there haven't been any squeaks out of the Republican Party that could possibly be construed as leadership -- at least, not by anyone who isn't a soldier in the French Army. [Correction: except for Sarah Palin, who has withstood withering assaults in the press and the popular culture and still manages to stand tall in a stiff wind.]

Well, to me it's not a surprise at all. I can't say I was expecting this, but I was certainly hoping for it.

A friend of a friend, a nice fellow, a student of philosophy I knew in passing many years ago once made a statement that was relayed to me; I have never forgotten it: "I believe in the Republican principles of government; the problem is finding Republicans who believe in them." Small, limited government; strict Constitutional construction; private property; low taxes; equality before the law; free enterprise. That's the ticket. Problem is, nobody's selling it.

Except for the Reagan interregnum, the Republican Party during my lifetime has been little more than the Democratic Party's junior partner in the creeping socialization of America. They have been instrumental in consolidating liberal gains. Republicans have stood by dumbly while conservatives have lost ground on every issue they ever cared about. And finally, it cost them the presidency, as the GOP actually joined hands with liberals on immigration "reform" and forgot how to defend fighting a war of their own choosing.

The plummeting of Bush's poll numbers, from about 70% early in his presidency, to about 25% in his last year of office, seems phenomenal. If you're going to accomplish a drop of such magnitude, it requires not just polarizing your enemies but also infuriating your erstwhile friends.

It was a familiar dance for years. Betrayal after betrayal of conservative principles by the GOP would be practiced diligently until election season, by which time the only credible approach to campaigning was for Republicans to demonize their opponents as "too liberal." There's a joke about two guys out in the woods, discussing what they would do if they encountered a grizzly bear. One guy said, "I'd run." The other guy said, "That's silly, you can't outrun a grizzly." To which the first guy responded, "I don't have to outrun him; I only have to outrun you." Republicans figured they didn't actually have to be conservative; they only had to be more conservative than their Democratic opponents.

It's a losing strategy. A political party must fear its base. The argument that you're better off with half a loaf than none presumes that your guy actually wants you to have that half a loaf. Under Bush (both Bushes, actually), the GOP was more likely to seek common cause with Democrats on how best to take our half-loaf away. The GOP became not a supporter of conservatism, but a subverter of conservatism.

So the Republican Party shambled toward the 2008 election with all of its enemies and half of its friends angry at them. How did all that bipartisan blather work out for you, Senator McCain?

And now, with the GOP out of the way, conservatives and libertarians know they have no friends at all in Washington. Rather than rely on their sissified Republican champions, they flexed their own muscle -- and have managed to push the Obama agenda back on its heels. Considering the odds against them -- the Presidency, Congress, and the media all arrayed against them, with their long knives out -- they have accomplished quite a lot. In spite of no help from Republicans. Maybe because of it.

We're not out of the woods yet, and in fact may not prevail in this battle. But at least once in my life, I have been fortunate enough to witness what a ragtag group of ordinary schlubs can accomplish when their dander is up and there's no one else to do the job but themselves.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stupefyin' Jones

If you happened to depend on the mainstream news media for your news, you might miss a lot of stories. For example, you might have missed the story about a man named Jones -- Van Jones -- who happens to have been (until today) Obama's "green czar" (not a position I remember from high school civics). It seems that Mr. Jones has been under attack by conservatives for the past week or two for various reasons. If you watch Glenn Beck, you would have known all about this controversy. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, you would have heard all about it. If you watch Fox News, you have heard all about it. If you read conservative-oriented blogs such as the Drudge Report, Michelle Malkin, and PowerLine, you would have read all about it.

But the gatekeepers for our mainstream media? Hardly a peep, prompting the Washington Examiner's Byron York to start keeping score. As of two days ago (present writing), this past Friday, Sep 4, here's York's scorecard:
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the New York Times: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the Washington Post: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on NBC Nightly News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on ABC World News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on CBS Evening News: 0.
As of yesterday, York reported that CBS and the Washington Post had broken silence, but the others held firm. The Post's headline is rather comical: "White House Says Little on Embattled Jones." Now, that's chutzpah. The White House says little? Apparently, so do its friends in the media. Of course, now WaPo has to explain why, by the time of their first mention of the controversy, the situation had already reached the "embattled" stage.

How did they not know about it earlier?

Or did they know about it earlier, and just decided it wasn't news?

If so, what exactly isn't newsworthy about an Obama "czar" who is a self-proclaimed communist and had signed a "truther" petition? (For those blissfully out of the know, "truthers" are the crackpots who believe the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks).

To put this into perspective: what if a Bush had hired a policymaker who was an avowed Nazi and signed a petition claiming the Clinton Administration had been complicit in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole? Do you think Dan Rather might have found a few minutes for it to occupy in the CBS Evening News' busy docket?

My guess is it's really very simple. If it's good for Obama, it's news. If it's bad for Obama, it's spiked.

Well, good luck on your job search, Mr. Jones. I hear there may be some policymaking openings in Cuba soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teddy Bear

Hat tip: PowerLine blog.

Here's a little item (link) that has somehow been overlooked, what with all the fawning accolades, blown kisses and handkerchiefs waved tearfully in the direction of Sen. Edward Kennedy's bier as it recedes in the general direction of Valhalla's liberal wing.

Hate to ruin a good wake, but here's the gist: a KGB memorandum from 1983 implicates Sen. Kennedy in an attempt to cut a deal with Yuri Andropov, who was then the leader of the Soviet Union.

The money graf:
"Kennedy's message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. 'The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,' the memorandum stated. 'These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign."

Read the whole article.

Funny how winning liberalism's lifetime achievement award can render our inquisitive news media so uninquisitive on so many unpleasant subjects. If the phony Bush/Air National Guard memo was worth a breathless feature on '60 Minutes,' this issue deserves its own 24-hour cable news channel.

But nonetheless, Kennedy exits, stage left, a hero, to the applause of the claques of hacks festooning our mainstream media news rooms like e. coli at a fertilizer plant.

In other news, the Obama administration wants to investigate CIA agents for pulling information out of terrorists that has saved American lives.

Hey, what do you know? The same people are applauding.