Sunday, September 27, 2009

NY Times Public Editor does what he is paid to do

I.e. he flacks for his employer when they mess up.

Tuning in too late

Don Surber:

The column was a weak attempt to sweep the institutional bias under the rug.

No surprise there. It's a feature not a bug:

Public editors

What is the true function of a public editor?

Media criticism and corralled rebellion

Michelle Malkin:

So, get this: The Times has now assigned an anonymous editor to “monitor opinion media” so the effete journalists don’t get caught flat-footed again. But they won’t identify the editor because they don’t him or her getting e-mails from the public (heaven forfend) and they don’t want him or her getting feedback, criticism, or tips from the blogosphere (the MSM must be shielded from the angry mob).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pirate Ownership Should Hand Out Awards To Fans Who Tough It Out At PNC Park

by The Last Hollywood Star

Wednesday night at PNC Park I saw major league baseball at its worst.

Consider this: in the top of the ninth inning Cincinnati Reds second string catcher Corky Millier (.149) hit a bloop single off Pirates mop up man Virgil Vasquez (2-5; 6.20 ERA) to score Adam Rosales (.204)

Miller’s RBI put the score at Reds 10 Pirates 2

The Reds twice more before the game mercifully ended (3:10) in a 12-2 rout when Pirate second baseman Luis Cruz (.167) nubbed a ground out.

Even after September calls ups, none of these players belong in the big leagues.

Pirate owner Bob Nutting should consider one of two options after disasters like these.

One, he could take a page from San Francisco Giant history by issuing certificates of achievement to fans who endure nine innings of Pirate baseball.

The Giants once handed out Croix de Candlestick pins (see it here) to fans who stuck it out to the end when their faithful braved nine innings of freezing temperatures and bitter cold winds at Candlestick Park. Read the pin: Veni, Vedi, Vexi (“I came, I saw, I survived)

Nutting wouldn’t even have to print many certificates up. By my count only about 250 diehards remained last night when Cruz dribbled his grounder.

Or better yet, as former San Diego Padre owner Ray Kroc did after a series of embarrassing losses, Nutting could grab the microphone to say: “People of Pittsburgh, I have never seen such stupid ball playing in all my life.”

The Pirates are 3-18 for September and have lost 23 of the last 26 games.

Hard truths come from grouchy old men

Commissioning memoirs by 20-somethings ought to be against the law, with few exceptions. It's an invitation to self-indulgence to permit a person that young to write about himself. You want a book deal before you turn age 30? OK, then either lead the league in RBIs or win the Medal of Honor.

Who else?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Call me Cassandra

A few years back i wrote this as the Duke lacrosse case first broke into the news:

The Brain only knew half of it

Pro wrestling manager Bobby Heenan once said that there were only two things that scared him about wrestling fans: "they can vote and they can breed." Heenan's quip also fits all the Court TV/Nancy Grace/ Rita Cosby fans out there. But I would add two points:

There are so many of them

They can sit on juries

This tweet is from a reporter covering a murder trial in Knoxville:

Nancy Grace fan proves her case as fair potential juror

UPDATE: Same trial, different potential juror.

Uh-oh Nancy Grace fan may be busted for lying. Said she didn't join facebook pg for Channon, defense has copy

The 2010 Clock Is Already Ticking

By The Last Hollywood Star

After last night’s humiliating 10-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, General Manager Neal Huntington somehow managed to put a positive spin on the Pirates dismal 3-21 record over the last 24 games.

According to Huntington, the Pirates need to add “pieces” to the existing squad which will he claims be better next year because they have learned tough lessons in 2009.

Happy talk is what Huntington has to say. Few from the fan base believe him. And for all I know, Huntington himself may not believe it.

But one way or the other, what the final lousy weeks mean is that come Opening Day 2010, the Pirates’ margin for error will be thin indeed.

The Pirates will need to get out of the gate fast. If April produces more of the sloppy, ugly play we’ve seen for the last two months, what little reservoir of good will Pirate management may have will quickly vanish.

Worse for Huntington, the stands will be as empty in the spring as they are in September.

Another good one from Hot Air

Darkness at High Noon: the UnAmericanism of an American Icon

A must read

Strangling Democracy and the Rule of Law in Honduras

When "democracy" collides with constitutional government, the Obama administration is willing to trash the constitution. At least in Honduras.

A reasonable question

Can't all conservatives at least agree that Glenn Beck is not the enemy?

Underlying this MSM obsession with Beck, Limbaugh, etc. is the old idea that conservatives are stupid, ignorant, and easily led.

If we watch Beck we must believe everything he says and agree with every position he takes.

I don't like Beck. I actually blogged about how much i disliked him over four years ago. But i DVR his program everyday now. Not because i am a 100% fan but because he has been "breaking" news or at least pushing important matters out to a wider audience.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pirates Only “AA” Level?

by The Last Hollywood Star

On his Sunday pre-game show Steve Blass interviewed former Pittsburgh Pirate General Manager Ted Simmons.

During their exchange, Simmons mentioned that many major league players are brought up from the minors too soon. According to Simmons, they belong in “AA”

To think, all along I’ve been too generous in my assessment of the Pirates as a mediocre “AAA” team!

Simmons didn’t pinpoint the Pirates. But he didn’t need to.

In last night’s 11-6 loss to the San Diego Padres, the Pirates showed staggering ineptitude in all aspects of baseball: hitting, hitting with men on base, fielding, throwing, base running, starting and relief pitching

In what passes in Pirate Land for a decent performance, starter Daniel McCutchen’s line: 6IP, 8H;1 BB; 3ER, season ERA 5.25

Since August 28th, the Pirates are playing at a .150 clip that translates, if it continues over the last 14 games, to 58-104 for the season.

Fact-checking Speaker Pelosi

Still Lying

Flynn shows that NFMS about history can be useful to some types of politicians.

Hope, change.... and contempt?

Obama Cabinet official: Americans are children

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin

Chu spanks Americans who dissent from global warming hysteria

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sadly, true

It struck me that we could extend the concept and say that we are suffering from a generalized national false memory syndrome about our history and the history of the world, aided and abetted by the press and academia.

More here.

GWB: The Other McCain weighs in

Bushism and Latimerism

I'm not sure about this point, though.

Nevertheless, Bush 43 had that same New England WASP Republican commitment to "respectability" -- the Politics of Niceness -- which was the intrinsic flaw of his father's politics, and which is why New England WASP Republicans are a dying breed.

I argued here that behind the niceness there lurked an astounding arrogance:

Hmmm, jealous of its prerogatives yet indolent in governing. That sounds more like a decadent monarchy than a vigorous Jacksonian chief executive. I think the Right got Bush wrong. Today, he seems more like G.W. Bush II of Connecticut than he does the forceful W from west Texas.

Kaus also argued that the arrogance slid into grandiosity. I think he may have had a point. (See here.)

The Sell-out of Poland

Hard words of truth from one of the greatest men of our time:

Americans have always cared only about their interests, and all other [countries] have been used for their purposes. This is another example... [Poles] need to review our view of America, we must first of all take care of our business...

I could tell from what I saw, what kind of policies President Obama cultivates. I simply don’t like this policy, not because this shield was required, but [because of] the way we were treated

Looks like GE is getting a return from MSNBC after all.

Obama helps strengthen General Electric-Putin ties

GE CEO Jeff Immelt sits on Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and GE owns MSNBC, the network famously friendly to Obama.

Drip, drip, drip

Andrew Breitbart promised us more scandals in the wake of ACORN:

Big Hollywood now has a big story that hits both the NEA and the White House.

EXPLOSIVE NEW AUDIO Reveals White House Using NEA to Push Partisan Agenda

The Greatest San Diego Padre Ever: Ted Williams

By The Last Hollywood Star

The Los Angeles that I grew up in during the 1950s was a place so beautiful that I can hardly believe it ever existed.

So few people lived in Los Angeles that it could easily be called a small town. The beaches were unspoiled and empty. Slightly inland, orange grove and eucalyptus trees were everywhere.

Today Los Angeles is ruined, killed by too many people and too much cement.

But back then, as beautiful as Los Angeles was, when my family wanted to vacation in a truly magnificent spot, we went to San Diego.

With the Padres in Pittsburgh, this fan associates the team not with the current version but with the San Diego team that played in the old Pacific Coast League and challenged my beloved Hollywood Stars.

Ted Williams was the premier Padre.

In his contribution to a wonderful collection of essays published 1995 by the Journal of San Diego History, Williams shared his recollections about the early days of his career as a Padre from 1936-1937 before he was called up by the Boston Red Sox:

I remember my first at-bat for the Padres. The manager, Frank Shellenback, sent me in to pinch hit and I took three strikes right down the middle. Didn't even swing. Then he sent me in to pitch one night and I got hit like I was throwing batting practice. But that first time I pitched I also hit -- and I hit a double, I pitched two innings, and the next time up I hit a double. And then I was in the lineup. I went over to Lefty O'Doul one day and I said, ‘What do I have to do to be a good hitter?’ He said, ‘Kid, don't ever let anybody change you.’

That 1937 team was a good composite team: young, old, former big league players, good leadership under Frank Shellenback (the nicest man I ever met in baseball). Why we didn't win it I don't know. There was no friction. Did we win the playoffs in '37? [Yes! -Ed.]

Lane Field was an old wooden ballpark, nice park for a lefthanded hitter, and the ball carried pretty good. We played a lot of day games. I enjoyed guys like Herm Pillette (the old pitcher), Howard Craghead, Jimmy Kerr (the catcher), George Myatt, Bobby Doerr . . .

There was no particular pressure on me playing in San Diego. I didn't know what pressure was. I was nervous--not because I was born there, but because it was a whole new experience playing before crowds, professional baseball. San Diego was the nicest little town in the world. How the hell was I to know it was the nicest town in the world? I'd never been anyplace

O’Doul was a great hitter His career stats included a .349 BA, .383 OBP, .525 SLG and .925 OPS.

And Pirate fans should note that Williams’ called the Padres “a good composite team” made up of young, old, experienced and inexperienced players.

The flailing 2009 Pirates (105 losses?) are young, inexperienced and possibly without a meaningful future in major league baseball.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Despite What Manager John Russell Says, Avoiding 100 Losses Is Critical for the Pirates

by The Last Hollywood Star

Well, the weather was beautiful. And I got a nice Pirate cap at the gate.

Yesterday afternoon the Pirates put their most anemic line up yet on the field that included Neal Walker (.143), Steve Pearce, (.210), Brian Bixler, (.222) and Ryan Doumit, (.237) Those four plus the remaining Pirates scratched out five singles and scored the team’s solitary run on a sacrifice fly in its 2-1 loss to the equally hapless San Diego Padres.

The Pirates’ fielding was terrible too. The official scorekeepers charged only one error (on Bixler) but there were at least three others: a grounder that Walker muffed and errant throws by Bixler and Doumit who debuted unsuccessfully in right field.

Official scoring is so bad that only weakly hit, dropped balls right at fielders are charged as errors. Any ball that involves moving a few steps or is sharply hit become a base hit.

Earlier this week, manager John Russell said that whether the Pirates lose 99 or 101 games doesn’t really matter and that it’s all perception.

But sometimes perception is reality. That’s why managers try to get their starters’ win totals up from 19 to the magical mark of 20 or their hitters above the Mario Mendoza line of .199 (named appropriately after the former Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop)

Russell may not own up to it but losing 100 games makes it tougher to bring back fans next year.

In 2010, the Pirates have to show at least modest improvement in the standings and by 2011, the team must be in the middle of the National League Central race if management expects to have any credibility with its fan base about its “long term” plan.

If not, that will put the Pirates into 2012 or what possibly would be the 20th consecutive year of sub-.500 baseball.

Always good advice

Steve Sailer

If you want to understand ACORN ...

read Tom Wolfe's 1970 classic Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Just more evidence for a point made here:

But Wolfe has this going for him: if the mark of greatness is having something to say about "where we are and where we are going", he trumps everybody on the list. Does anyone in Denver look up from her Sunday paper and say "this sounds just like a John Updike novel"? How many people turn on the cable news programs and think "Is Philip Roth scripting this"? Yet from Tawana Brawley to the Duke Lacrosse case, Tom Wolfe scouted the territory before anyone else.


Remember, Media Matters’ sole reason for existence is to give journalists who are already hopelessly deep in the tank a certain degree of comfort in their already-held views. So it’s not about convincing anyone who pays actual attention..... Instapundit

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends

It's time once again for another chapter of Other McCainiacs on Display.

Forgot Mah John's Really ACORN

Notice how brazen they are with their linkage.

Hill And Kerrigan Going? That’s More Bad News

by The Last Hollywood Star

I may be completely mistaken about the Pirates. Maybe, as management claims, the long range philosophy is coming together as proven by Lynchburg’s Carolina League championship.

Really, what do I know? I’m just a fan and the Pirate brass are the professionals.

But the likely 2010 departure of coaches Perry Hill and Joe Kerrigan cannot be taken as a good sign.

All summer, the Pirates top baseball men have promised that their scouts and coaches will mold the new players---draft choices and those who came in trades---into quality major leagues.

Now two of the best of them are leaving.

If the future looks so rosy, wouldn’t Hill and Kerrigan want to stay around to enjoy the fruits of their labor?

And if, in fact Kerrigan leaves, that means the Pirates will have to hire their fifth pitching coach in six years? That’s bad for the pitchers and the team behind them

A healthy skepticism about the Pirates is fully warranted. Let’s just leave it that seeing is believing. When the Pirates turn the corner, I’ll be more than happy to admit that I was wrong all along.

Irving Kristol, RIP

I think one of the most courageous things he ever wrote was this article from 1952:

“Civil Liberties,” 1952—A Study in Confusion:
Do We Defend Our Rights by Protecting Communists?

This is the passage for which he became infamous among leftists:

Perhaps it is a calamitous error to believe that because a vulgar demagogue lashes out at both Communism and liberalism as identical, it is necessary to protect Communism in order to defend liberalism. This way of putting the matter will surely shock liberals, who are convinced that it is only they who truly understand Communism and who thoughtfully oppose it. They are nonetheless mistaken, and it is a mistake on which McCarthyism waxes fat. For there is one thing that the American people know about Senator McCarthy: he, like them, is unequivocally anti-Communist. About the spokesmen for American liberalism, they feel they know no such thing. And with some justification.

Glenn Beck is a genius

and Time magazine is run by idiots.

On his TV show Beck has a great time skewering the MSM for the refusal to cover scandals like Van Jones and ACORN. He knows he has them over a barrel. If they jump on the stories he brings to light, they ratify his credibility. But if they ignore them, then the MSM looks clueless and biased when Van Jones is forced to resign or the Senate votes to defund ACORN.

Tough position. But now Time commits an unforced blunder.

TIME Mag Photog Purposely Makes Glenn Beck Look Bad... Like She Did John McCain Last Year

Photog Says She Purposely Made Glenn Beck Look Bad On Time Cover

It’s an interesting choice. Greenberg is known for her liberal views – and she’s being very upfront about her use of this opportunity to take revenge on those who attacked her.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Social justice for rent

Just another one of ACORN's moneymakers.

ACORN and wealthy developers vs. hipsters and firemen

Cincinnati Reds Soar Past Buccos

by The Last Hollywood Star

On August 25, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds were locked in a virtual tie for fifth place in the National League Central.

Since then, the teams have gone in the polar opposite direction.

As of September 19, the Pirates have sole possession of last, 28.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds have pulled away and trail the Cards by “only” 17 games.

The Reds have won 14 of their last 18 games; the Pirates have won two of 18.

The Reds and Pirates, both fielding minor league call ups and marginal major leaguers, played a meaningless double header in Cincinnati on August 31. The Reds swept both games and the series.

What does it mean when the second worst team in the Central Division (the Reds) is dramatically outplaying the worst team (the Pirates)?

Draw your own conclusions but as far as I can see the road ahead will be long and hard for the Bucs.

No wonder newspapers are dying

An inside baseball kind of “scandal” at the Washington Post.

Post Magazine Killed 'Depressing' Story

Katharine Weymouth Steps in It Again

The Post, like most dead tree media, is losing readers and advertising dollars. The publisher wants to reverse this trend. The journalistic guild reacts with horror and outrage.

Liberals often pretend that big media is right wing because the owners are Republican. This story puts the lie to that lame old saw. Katherine Weymouth is media royalty. Her grandmother was Katherine “I stared down Nixon” Graham. Yet, when she so much as voices an opinion about the content of her paper, the guild goes nuclear.

Owners and publishers, it seems, must do one thing only--sign the paychecks.

Too bad, because she seems to understand something her employees ignore: People do not have to buy the Post and advertisers do not have to buy ads. The guild ignores that and concentrates on their prerogatives (editorial “independence”). Then they whine about job cuts and dwindling budgets.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What's the matter with California?

Just a crime story, or is this the next project for citizen journalists?

Former SEIU President Sentenced to 25 Years For Child Molestation

OK, so Jaime Enrique Feliciano is a pervert and scumbag. End of story, right?

Or maybe not.

He was twice convicted of serious crimes (in 1993 and 2006). Yet at the time of his arrest he worked for the state of California in the Department of Insurance. He even had child porn on his state computer.

He was president of his Distric Labor Council of the Service Employees International Union.

Question: Does the SEIU protect the rights of convicted child molesters and other criminals to work for the state?

Maybe an unfair question.

On the other hand, John Floyd Thomas also worked for the state (in at the State Compensation Insurance Fund) even though he was convicted of rape in 1978. He worked there until his arrest for murder. He stands accused as the "The Westside Rapist" and may be the most prolific serial killer in LA history.

The other lesson of the ACORN story

Joseph Lawler:

James O'Keefe and Guerilla Reporting

James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles show that conservatives possess both the talent and initiative to produce important investigative journalism.

Wonder if Jack Shafer wants to revise and extend his remarks on the essential and beneficial role that left-wing paranoia plays in investigative journalism?

POWIP explains it all to you

And he is dead on target:

We knew the card game, and now recognize the dealer.

UPDATE: Hotair has collecting some of the MSM's "greatest hits."

Our paranoid, race-baiting media

Quote of the day

I think what bothers me the most about this still-developing story is that we have a fake prostitute trying to expose the truth, while the real prostitutes in the media are trying to sandbag the story as much as possible.

Found here.

Using the Big Lie

Jimmy Carter Repeats MSNBC’s “Bury Obama With Kennedy” Lie

Chris Matthews Blames Right Wingers For Kennedy Assassination

UPDATE: Does Chris Matthews take his talking points from Media Matters?

Media Matters: This right-wing frenzy is reminiscent of Dallas 1963

Tone deaf diplomacy

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. That's not such a great time to cancel the missile defense shield for Europe. Especially since it was to include Poland and the cancellation is seen as a capitulation to Putin.

Happy 70th anniversary of Soviet invasion

Even worse is that this happens just a couple of weeks after we snubbed the Poles at the commemoration of the start of World War Two.

President Obama sends his regrets

See also:

UPDATE: Good posts from Neo-neocon and Fausta's blog:

Obama’s second Polish joke: the Obama Doctrine

US capitulates to Putin, drops missile shield

UPDATE2: Great article from The Weekly Standard:
Remembering Polish Heroes of the Battle of Britain, and pondering the course of U.S.-Polish relations in the Age of Obama.

Explained: Why Adam LaRoche Failed As A Pirate But Succeeds In Atlanta

by The Last Hollywood Star

Yesterday, I wrote that I sympathized with Pirate pitcher Kevin Hart who must have felt chills go up his spine when he learned that he had been traded in July from the then-competitive Chicago Cubs to the hapless Bucs.

Imagine on the other hand the surge of joy that Adam LaRoche experienced when, after a half-season of being maligned, he was reunited with former teammate Jason Bay on the Red Sox and then sent off to the Atlanta Braves to hook up with Nate McClouth.

La Roche’s new surroundings agree with him. Compare his Pirate to his Brave stats.

For the Pirates: .247 with 12 home runs in 87 games.

For the Braves: .351 with 12 home runs in 40 games.

I have two comments.

First, when fans bad mouth a player long enough and when management makes widely known that he’s on the trading block, both of which happened in LaRoche’s case, production drops.

Second, the Pirates misjudged the kind of player LaRoche is. Too much was expected of him. LaRoche is not going to carry a team. He’s a laid back, Southern California guy who is a complementary player.

On the Braves, LaRoche is surrounded by quality players. On the Pirates, he was not.

How the Pirates misjudged LaRoche’s role brings again into question management’s ability to evaluate players.

David Frum is losing his grip

His attacks on Glenn Beck grow more strident, but the invective is a smokescreen for an inconvenient truth: Frum is playing fast and loose with the facts.

Poor Frum is driven to distraction by Beck’s criticism of his old teacher Cass Sunstein.

GOP Surrenders to Beck’s Mob Rule

Two points of note. Frum accuses Beck of “reckless defamation” for distorting Sunstein’s record. Second, Frum never actually quotes Beck to show that he did any such thing.

Frum writes that Beck “relies instead on an argument of pure assertions” against Sunstein. That is funny because Frum does exactly the same thing to Beck.

The plain fact is that Beck is right about about Sunstein’s views on animal rights and hunting.

This piece in Slate is pro-Sunstein. But the author is honest enough to quote the man’s writings.

Sunstein on hunting:

"We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun," he says in his 2007 lecture. "That should be against the law. It's time now."

Sunstein on the rights of rats:
"If rats are able to sufferand no one really doubts that they arethen their interests are relevant to the question how, and perhaps even whether, they can be expelled from houses," Sunstein writes. "At the very least, people should kill rats in a way that minimizes suffering. And if possible, people should try to expel rats in a way that does not harm them at all."

Clearly, Beck is right about Sunstein’s radical animal rights views. That little phrase, “perhaps even whether they can be expelled from houses”, tells us all we need to know.

That, in turn, tells us a great deal about Frum.

Poor Mr. New Majority. He wants so much to be a Republican leader. Unfortunately, his only hope of ascending the greasy pole is for conservatives to remain disheartened, unpopular, and directionless. No wonder he hates Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, and Levin. They rallied the Right and rendered Frum superfluous.

Even more worrisome is their refusal to kowtow to Republicans who matter. At heart, I think, Frum is less offended by what they say than that they dare speak up at all.

Classic McCain

Andrew Jackson's mother advises this response to Charles Johnson's lies

RTWT. You'll be glad you did.

Every picture tells a story

At Gateway Pundit

GWB: The man in full

We don't have a complete portrait yet, but he is coming into focus.

Questions about Bush's conservative principles

I think this is telling:
"Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say," the president said, "but I redefined the Republican Party."

It's pretty clear that Bush and conservatives shared one thing: a basic failure to understand each other.

I wrote this three years ago:

Congressional Republicans and the right in general, have been trapped by an odd set of historical circumstances. Even before 9/11 we over-committed to Bush because he was in a peculiarly weak position. Remember, he was a minority president who needed a Supreme Court decision to confirm his victory. A few months into his term, his party lost control of the Senate. There was a very real danger of a Jimmy Carter type of failed presidency.

It was understandable that we rallied to the only leader we had. It was even more understandable that we rallied to a war president after we were attacked.

Unfortunately, in Bush we had a weak political leader who was also an
energetic, self-confident CEO . He pursued his own course with little concern for the domestic coalition he led. Worst of all, he does not recognize that political loyalty is reciprocal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Am I Too Hard On Kevin Hart?

by The Last Hollywood Star

In two earlier blogs, I wrote critically about Pirate pitcher Kevin Hart. The first lamented his deliberate (as in painfully slow) pitching style. And my second noted that since arriving from the Chicago Cubs, Hart has regressed.

But then I put myself in Hart’s shoes and suddenly felt for him.

On July 31, Hart’s Cub record was 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA. For the Pirates, Hart is 1-5 with a 6.46 ERA.

More importantly, at the time of Hart’s trade, the Cubs were only .5 game out of first place and a game behind in the wild card race. The Cubs were certainly anticipating playing in the post-season and possibly getting to the World Series.

Suddenly, once Hart got the call that he had been banished to Pittsburgh, all that vanished.

“You’ve been traded to Pittsburgh.”

Imagine the chill those words would send through a young player on a competitive team.

Instead of looking forward to playing in October, Hart got the rude awakening that he was joining a team with a 17 year record of uninterrupted losing that has every possibility of reaching 20.

How low can the NY Times go?

And how long can they control the "explanation space" for the rest of the MSM?

No one can hear you because I have my ears covered

Current example:
Conservatives Draw Blood From Acorn, Favored Foe

Dissected by Michelle Malkin:
What’s missing from the New York Times coverage of ACORN

The greatest of their generation

Two must reads:

Meeting Connie

Good luck premature detonation

The essential Andrew Sullivan

Patterico has the chapter and verse on Excitable Andy's history of hypocrisy

Andrew Sullivan: One Standard for Me, and Another for Thee

Blogger does MSM's job

E. L. Core was at the 9/12 march in Washington. Check out his pictures here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

As always, he leaves out the most interesting points

David Brooks does what he does best--superficial sociological analysis that never grapples with the serious issues or interesting questions.

High-Five Nation

There was a mass hunger for a public style that was understated, self-abnegating, modest and spare. Bing Crosby expressed it perfectly on “Command Performance,” as Gregory Peck, Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall would come to express it in public life.

And there was something else. When you look from today back to 1945, you are looking into a different cultural epoch, across a sort of narcissism line

Brooks is careful to neither decry nor explain this transition from a public style that valued humility and self-effacement to the “expressive individualism” that prevails today.

The passive voice is telling:

But that humility came under attack in the ensuing decades. Self-effacement became identified with conformity and self-repression. A different ethos came to the fore, which the sociologists call “expressive individualism.” Instead of being humble before God and history, moral salvation could be found through intimate contact with oneself and by exposing the beauty, the power and the divinity within.

Contra-Brooks, America did not drift across the “narcissism line”; she was pushed. The intellectual, activist, and media classes waged a thirty-year war on decorum, religion, tradition, patriotism, duty, and self-sacrifice.

The brilliant David Gelernter explored this theme in two books:

1939: The Lost World of the Fair

Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber

Sadly, both are out of print, but they are well worth searching for a copy.

Just One Minute busts Brooks on another telling oversight.

Brooks wrote:
Baseball and football games are now so routinely interrupted by self-celebration, you don’t even notice it anymore.
JOM replies:
"Baseball and football games"? I take it he has tuned out from NBA and its "Enough about my last slam-dunk, let's talk about my jumper before that" knuckleheads.

Brooks left out another telling point about football. The media, most especially ESPN, fueled this bad behavior. They made celebrities out of the miscreants and rewarded misconduct with attention.

Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are a fixture on the WWL. This despite the fact that neither has ever played on a championship team. By rights, Troy Brown should be the most famous wide receiver of this era. But ESPN finds it easier to cover the antics of the self-obsessed than the contributions of the greatest big game player of his generation.

Why does ESPN love sports rebels? Because they provide cheap and easy content. That may be why the whole MSM loves celebrities and self-promotion. It pads the bottom line.

Red Sox Roll The Dice On Dice-K

by The Last Hollywood Star

Tonight, the dismal failure that is Diasuke Matsuzaka takes to the mound for the Boston Red Sox.

You will remember that Matsuzaka arrived on the scene in 2007 to enormous hoopla.

Management, fans and sports writers were convinced that Matsuzaka was worth every dime of the Red Sox $100 million dollar investment.

According to reports, Matsuzaka had not only the usual repertoire of pitches but he had two kinds of sliders, a fork ball and the never-before-seen gyro-ball that was, admirers claimed, certain to baffle every hitter in the league.

Matsuzaka madness included a CD titled “Music from the Mound” that included as the first cut, “Gyro Ball, Dice-K” If for some inexplicable reason you want to add the disc to your music collection, you’re out of luck. It was pulled from the shelves when batters started knocking Matsuzaka’s gyro ball all over the park.

Fast forward to today when Matsuzaka is coming off the disabled list where he was sent for the various reasons of being overweight, insubordinate, disliked by his teammates but mostly for being ineffective. The official cause, according to manager Terry Francona, is “shoulder weakness”

Matsuzaka, who faces the Los Angeles Angels tonight, is 1-5 with a 8.23 ERA. I doubt if that what the Red Sox want in their quest to secure the American League wild card spot. But that’s what they’ve got. (SABERmetricians see here.)

The truth about Dice-K is hard for many Sox fans both here and in Japan to come to grips with.

Here it is from ESPN announcer and Hall of Fame great Joe Morgan.

Two years ago while I was listening to the World Series, Morgan in a moment of unusual candor said this about Matsuzaka:

He’s not as good as the Red Sox thought he was.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I like his headline better

The LA Times ran a scare story in the wake of the 9/12 march on Washington:

Some fear GOP is being carried to the extreme

The Republican establishment hopes cooler heads will prevail over strongly anti-Obama parts of the conservative base.

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack sums it all up for you:

David Frum is a Whiny Baby, Reports LA Times

UPDATE: MSM whistles, Rick Moran comes running.

A cause i endorse 100%

Boot Olbermann from NFL show

Max Blumenthal: The apple does not fall far from the tree

Blumethal: Know Who Is Responsible for Satanism and Mass Shootings? Jesus.

As Part of Her Fine, Make Serena Watch Chris Evert’s Old Matches

by The Last Hollywood Star

On the morning after a rare Pirate win (2-1 versus the sub-.500 Houston Astros), I congratulate the team from breaking its 13 game road losing streak.

But today I’m writing about something more important: friendship and sportsmanship.

Serena William’s profane, racquet wielding explosion against a linesman confirmed, a thousand times over, what I noted in my blog last week, Now a Little Something About Tennis. The players, with their fist pumping, grunting and finger pointing toward heaven, are unbearably boorish.

They’re not entirely to blame. Apparently no one along their path to tennis success taught them good manners or what true sportsmanship means.

During one of the interminable rain delays, the Tennis Channel played an interview of Chris Evert by Marina Navratalova. And within that interview were dozens of lessons that today’s players should learn

For the fifteen years that their careers overlapped, Evert and Navratalova played each other 80 times with Martina holding a slight edge, 43-37.

Their intense professional rivalry remains one of the best in history. Yet throughout it all, despite their vastly different backgrounds, the two were always friends.

Evert is an all-American, conservative, Roman Catholic, straight young woman from sunny Florida. On the other hand, Navratilova is Czechoslovakian-born, liberal, loud and gay.

While Chris and Martina were talking, the Tennis Channel played clips from Evert’s historic matches against Billie Jean King.

In light of Williams’ tirade, the way Evert conducted herself was a pleasure to behold and should serve as the model for every player and in every sport.

At the end of each point, win or lose, Evert dropped her eyes to the ground and, expressionless, moved to begin the next point. No one looking at Evert could tell whether she was pleased or disgusted. (See examples here.)

And Evert had a fascinating way of challenging calls that she thought went unfairly against her. Instead of berating the linesman, Evert simply looked at the spot where the ball landed for a few extra seconds.

Evert never engaged in any histrionics or over demonstrations of emotion. But no competitor questioned her resolve.

I have one more gripe. To listen to the broadcasters gushing about Kim Clijsters’ comeback after having a baby, you would think that she was returning from a Vietnamese torture camp.

Clijsters is a 25 year old woman, a former world number one professional tennis player, who had a baby!

In preparation for the U.S. Open, Clijsters played four times a week for six hours a day with coaches and trainers evaluating her every shot.

Imagine how the insufferable trio of Mary Jo Fernandez, Mary Carillo and Pam Shriver would have carried on back in 1971 when Australian Margaret Court lost the Wimbledon singles final to Evonne Goolagong Cawley while pregnant with her first child

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PuffHo editor shows his true colors

Editor of HuffPo's Health Unit Mocks Death of Cornell Student

Friday, September 11, 2009, a 20 year old student at Cornell University, Warren Schor, pictured left, died of complications from the swine flu. IvyGate Blog chose the tragedy as an occasion for mockery and silliness.

The really remarkable thing is that this scum sucking dirtbag is actually part of Huffington's much touted foray into serious journalism. Yep, Adam Clark Estes is an associate editor at the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.

Howard Kurtz: Back to his old tricks

Well, I guess the take down of Vanity Fair and Levi Johnson was a momentary aberration.

This week's "Reliable Sources" went back to bashing conservatives and flacking for the MSM.

First there was the obligatory segment about deranged conservatives and their crazy attacks of President Obama's speech to students.
Now, there's also a presidential speech this week on education to the nation's schoolchildren. Let's take a look at what some of the pundits said criticizing this thing before we even knew what it was going to look like and what Obama actually said….

He hit the DNC talking points perfectly:
this whole pre-emptive strike against things troubles me.

Of course, he carefully avoided dealing with the issue that really lit the candle: the lesson guides that encouraged kids to "help the president."

He used a snippet of a clip of Michelle Malkin but he ignored her explanation and refutation of his lame (second-hand) lament about "pre-emptive attacks". (See MM here and here.)

Next he and his panel went into the Glenn Beck/Van Jones story. Once again, he presented an incomplete picture of the issues associated with Jones and then he let his liberal guest distort the truth.

KURTZ: The guy signed a truther petition.

COX: That he was deceived about.

KURTZ: How do you know that?

COX: Because I -- maybe the mainstream media may not have been following this -- but there was plenty of information on blogs and everywhere

COX is the one and only Original Wonkette-Ana Marie Cox.

I do have to admit that I was secretly pleased that Kurtz had her on his show as an arbiter of serious journalism. It just goes to show that I got it right when I wrote this:

How does that re-virgining process work again?

Well said

Charles Johnson and Robert Stacy McCain

And that is the point. If you want to ruin someone's reputation, just keep posting the words "racist" in close proximity to their name on the internet so that web search engines associate the person and the accusation. That is what some people tried to do to Glenn Beck recently by making accusations of past criminal conduct in the form of a question for the very purpose of influencing Google and other search engines.

The false accusation of racism is a despicable tactic. It damages the person against whom it is made and the victims of true racism



Robert Stacy McCain: I Know Him Better Than Charles Johnson Does

Stacy McCain a Racist? Yeah, Like I’m a Slender Reed.

With Ohlendorf Out of the Pirates Rotation, Count on 100 Losses

by The Last Hollywood Star

Have Pirate pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and manager John Russell ever heard of Nolan Ryan?

I ask because Pirates’ pitching ace Ross Ohlendorf is about to be “shut down” for the season. Through last night’s 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros, Ohlendorf’s innings are at 169 2/3 and the Pirates want to cut him off when he reaches 170-180. That translates to one more 2009 start despite 22 games remaining on the schedule.

Last week, in a pre-game interview with Steve Blass, Kerrigan justified the move by claiming that it’s a proven that once young pitchers go over a certain number of innings, their likelihood of injury increases dramatically.

“Shutting down” is the kind of abject nonsense that extends out of the 100 pitch count limit. Pirate greats Bob Friend and Elroy Face have told me directly that they consider the pitch count foolish. Bob Feller, Tim McCarver and other pitchers and catchers with impeccable credentials say the same. By the way, when Feller was Ohlendorf’s exact age of 27, he pitched 372 innings and won 26 games with a 2.18 ERA.

Like Ryan, Ohlendorf is a big, Texas-born cattle rancher. Ohlendorf is 235 pound, 6’4”, slightly taller and heavier than the 6’2”, 195 pound Ryan.

In his 26 year career, Ryan averaged 262 innings per year. In 19 of those years, Ryan exceeded Ohlendorf’s projected 170-180 “shut down” total. At 44, Ryan pitched 173 innings (and compiled a 12-6, 2.61 ERA season).

My guess is that Ryan and Feller would tell Russell and Kerrigan to follow Friend, Face, Feller and McCarver’s advice: Let pitchers pitch.

Whether protecting Ohlendorf will help him in the long run remains to be seen.

But taking Ohlendort out of the rotation and replacing him with, variously, Virgil Vasquez, Donnie Veal and Jeff Karstens assures the Pirates a 100 loss season.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reflections on the 9-12-01 mindset

The gauzy myth of 9/11 says that all of America was united after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The myth is often invoked to decry the rancorous, divided state we find ourselves in today.

To tell the truth, that is not how I remember it. The issues that divide us today appeared within days of the attack. The country was united only in horror and sadness. Once we moved beyond that initial shock, old worldviews returned quickly.

I remember walking into a discussion at work a few days after the attack. A fellow manager was lecturing a couple of secretaries on the grim road ahead in Afghanistan. He was absolutely certain that the Taliban and al Qaeda were going to win. They were better prepared for war, were better fighters, and were more committed to their cause. He expressed only contempt for the U. S. military. In his view (which he was eager to spell out in detail) the armed services were made up of those too poor, too dumb, and too lazy to make something of themselves in civilian life.

It was Bobo patriotism and was out of synch with the United We Stand spirit we remember. Yet, he was proud of his insight into the military situation and he was willing to share it with anyone who would listen.

When he did so, his certainty was apparent to all. Yet, it was hard to determine where the confidence came from. He had never served nor had any members of his family. His education was in business, not history or foreign affairs. Before 9/11 I had never heard his express any interest in military affairs or demonstrate any serious reading in geopolitics.

It was my first post-9/11 exposure to Michael Kelly’s “knowingness”.

In the jittery days after the attacks, I was struck by numerous stories in the MSM warning of a violent, irrational backlash against American Muslims. Even after it was clear that 9/11 had triggered few hate crimes, newspapers still fretted about the coming backlash.

This obsession with a nonexistent problem said something about the elite media’s view of their fellow citizens. The MSM could not disguise the fact that they looked at much of America with a mixtures of fear and contempt.

Within days of the attacks, it became clear that our sense of solidarity was deep but narrow. We were united in grief and feelings of compassion for the victims. Old divisions reappeared as soon as we moved toward action against those who launched the attacks.

Unity could only be purchased with passivity.

As we prepared to overthrow the Taliban and rout al-Qaeda, the ‘war is not the answer’ crowd made their predictable appearance. Not far behind was the Vietnam-besotted MSM looking for a new quagmire in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Fisking, after all, became a blog sport within weeks of the 9/11 attacks and it was triggered by clueless anti-war reporting.

Suddenly, we were remembering Pearl Harbor again.
Even here, the analogy was frequently used as a reminder of how bad America could be: the Japanese internment was invoked repeatedly to warn against “ethnic profiling” in any shape or form. Even Bush’s Secretary of Transportation got into the act.

As time passed it was clear that the Bush White House was not going to follow FDR’s playbook. The united people would not be rallied for any significant purpose. The Pentagon would go to war, the nation was told to go shopping.

It felt wrong then, and supremely wrong now. It blurred the boundaries between war and peace. It squandered the nation’s resolve and ensured that the military action would soon be consigned to the media’s back burner.

FDR drew a bright line in public between pre-war and wartime. Dr. Win-the-War replaced Dr. New Deal. The nation benefited from the clarity.

Bush and Rove left us disoriented. The shift from “let’s roll” to “shop till you drop” was baffling.

A few days after pearl Harbor FDR replaced the Army and Navy commanders at Pearl Harbor. The action might have been “unfair” to Gen. Short and Adm. Kimmel since they were not the only parties to blame for the disaster. Fairness is not the paramount value in choosing a high commander in wartime. New men meant the Pacific theater started with a clean slate. Its commanders did not have to justify past actions while they made plans for the future. (It also put Adm. Nimitz in command of the Pacific fleet which was a supremely correct decision by FDR.)

There was no shake-up after 9/11. We created the Department of Homeland Security, which seemed only to crowd more players into an already crowded space.

It is easy to forget now, just what an inspiring performance Sec. Rumsfeld delivered that fall. He showed us what leadership, confident leadership, could do for the nation’s moral. Whatever his later mistakes in Iraq, he turned in a tour de force in the fall of 2001.


Michelle Malkin has a must read:

Special report: How Obama cronyism threatens rail security

Steyn on 9/11

One of the best 9/11 pieces i've ever read:


Mad, bad and dangerous to know

The latest round-up of McCain groupies is up. Click at your own risk.

Flaming Morons Just Redirect Attention

The Pittsburgh Pirates Week In Review: A Summary of Previous Blog Observations

by The Last Hollywood Star

In my blogs during the week, I’ve commented on

Sean Burnett’s remark that the Pirates are the “laughing stock of baseball

ESPN, who had plenty to say to back Burnett up when the Bucs officially reached seventeen consecutive losing seasons, continued to pile it on the Pirates.

On Friday Jay Marioti, a panelist on Around the Horn, said that he went to the Steeler-Titan game on Thursday and witnessed what he called one of the greatest spectacles in sports---a Steeler home game in front of 65,000 rapid towel-waving fans.

Marioti complimented Pittsburgh as a great sports town where fans can watch Super Bowl and Stanley Cup world champions as well as take in a “AAA baseball game.”

Kent Tekulve’s post-game observation that the middle innings determine the outcome of most baseball games.

Sure enough, the Pirates blew at least two games during disastrous late innings. In Wednesday’s 8-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Pirate relief pitchers Jeff Karstens and Denny Bautista gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

According to my math, without giving up those four runs the Pirates win 5-4.

On Saturday, during a 9-1 loss to the Houston Astros, in the seventh inning alone Joel Hanrahan and Jesse Chavez were belted for three hits, three walks and six runs. Not that the Pirates would have won the game without the seventh inning collapse but those six runs put it totally out of reach.

• The Pirates’ non-existent offense makes it impossible for the team to recover from any early inning deficit.

In the last eleven games, the Pirates have been outscored 22-1 in the first inning. Not only is that a mountain too high regarding the game’s outcome but it also results in thousands of television sets and radios being turned off.

Within Pittsburgh, the Pirates are about the tenth story on the sport pages behind local events like the Steelers, Panthers and Penguins, regional teams like the West Virginia and Penn State, national stories such as the U.S. Open, Derek Jeter, U.S.C-Ohio State to name but a few.

The only feel-good story from the Pirates this week was announcer Steve Blass’ two holes-in-one during a single round.

In addition to being a 1-in- 67 million long shot, Blass’ accomplishment gives his fellow announcers Tim Neverette and Bob Walk something fun to talk about instead of all the dreary Pirate realities.

Siege of Vienna

First posted 12 September 2003

In the summer of 1683 the Ottoman Turks advanced up the Danube, occupied Hungary, and, in July, laid siege to Vienna. They had 200,00 men and over 300 cannon. The defenders of the city numbered less than 22,000 only 6,000 of whom were regular soldiers; the remainder were civilians pressed into service at the start of the siege.

The relief of the city was complicated by European politics. Louis XIV of France hoped to gain German territory on the Rhine while the Hapsburgs were occupied in the east. To that end, he worked to create am anti-Hapsburg alliance with Hungary and Poland which would deny Austria aid against the Turks. (Incidentally, the Ottoman artillery were commanded by a Frenchman, a former Capuchin no less).

By September, conditions were desperate inside the city- low supplies, disease, and weakening defenses. The Hapsburgs had raised a relief army of only 21,000. But, fortunately, Poland had spurned Louis's maneuvers and sent an army of 24,000 under their King John Sobieski.

On September 12, the two relief armies and the forces inside the city attacked the besiegers. The critical moment came in mid-afternoon when Sobieski sent his cavalry into the heart of the Ottoman camp. The battle became a rout. The next day the Polish king wrote his wife: "the Vizer took such hurried flight that he had time to escape with only one horse."

He also noted the Turks "left behind a mass of innocent Austrian people, particularly women; but they butchered as many as they could." Separate from that slaughter, the Ottomans had sent 67,000 Austrians east as slaves and 14,000 girls to the harems of Constantinople.

Sobieski's troops captured the Ottoman battle flag ("The green standard of the Prophet") in the fighting. This he sent to the Pope with the message "Veni vidi, Deus Vicit" ("I came, I saw, God conquered").

The lifting of the siege is usually marked as the turning point for the Ottoman empire. For centuries they had advanced against Europe, conquering the Byzantium empire, capturing lands in the Balkans and islands in the Mediterranean. After 1683 they began 250 years of retreat. (Funny how many of these critical turning points find the Poles fighting on the right side).

Today is the 326th anniversary of the lifting of the siege.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sobering Thoughts on the Pirates

by The Last Hollywood Star

I was one of the 65,000 fans at Heinz Field last night who watched the Steelers celebrate its Super Bowl championship with 13-10 win over the tough Tennessee Titans.

And I was also one of the 6,500 hundred at PNC Park Wednesday watching the Pirates lose to the Chicago Cubs 8-5 and confirm that they are one of the majors’ worst teams.

I wonder how many of the 65,000 give the Pirates even a passing thought. Last night: none!

The insignificant Pirates are reduced now to hyping Pedro Alvarez and sundry other minor leaguers as part of the new wave of players who management promises will soon lift the team to competitive levels.

Who knows? Alvarez and others may be the answer to the Pirates’ prayers.

But here’s two questions that are depressing to ponder: How many of the Pirates current roster could break into the starting line up of the top major league teams like the Yankees, Cardinals or Phillies? Or, even more sobering, how many of them would even make those teams?

Here’s something else to consider. Through 138 games, manager John Russell has fielded 110 different starting lineups.

One of the key ingredients in baseball success is consistency.
A different lineup every day dooms the team. And when the lineup includes below average players at most positions, then you can expect the worst.

And that’s exactly what the Pirates have produced for seventeen years: the worst team in baseball.


Fun fact: Only two Pirates played for managers Danny Murtaugh, Chuck Tanner and Jim Leyland. They are John Candelaria, (177-122, ERA 3.33) and Jerry Reuss, (220-191; 3.92 ERA)


I posted this two years ago:

9-11-01: Remembrance

Make sure you check out Michelle Malkin:

Eight years later: Remembrance and resolve

and Photon Courier:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another Painful Day At PNC Park!

by The Last Hollywood Star

Here’s why, briefly, Pirate management has trouble convincing fans that it knows what it is doing.

Every time that a prospect is acquired in a trade for an established player, Manager John Russell and General Manager Neal Huntington tell the press that Pirate scouts, coaches and its “baseball people” see “something” in the newly arrived player that they can develop and thereby make him into a quality producer.

But there’s little evidence to support that claim.

Look at Kevin Hart who has gone backward as a Buc.

Hart is 1-5 with a 6.46 ERA since coming from Chicago in the John Grabow/Tom Gorzelanny trade, statistics that got worse with his line yesterday of four runs, six hits and six walks over five innings. And he needed 108 pitches to get that far.

With the Cubs, Hart was 3-1, 2.60 ERA.

Hart pitches from behind in every count. Worse, he pitches slowly. I was at PNC yesterday and the fans moaned about his deliberate pitching style.

From the broadcaster’s booth, an exasperated Steve Blass urged Hart to just throw the ball over the plate to “see what happens”.

What happened was that the Cubs banged the ball all over the park.

To make matters slightly worse, Grabow filled his role as a left-handed middle relief pitcher to perfection, tossing a hitless seventh inning. Grabow’s ERA since arriving in Chicago is 1.72

The most frustrating of all might have been Russell’s post game interview where he said Hart’s performance “encouraged” him.

Right now, the Grabow/Gorzelanny for Hart trade resulted in the net loss of a quality left-handed middle relief pitcher---a commodity tough to come by in the major leagues and one the Pirates will need if the team expects to reach .500

The Pirates can’t even fall back on one of their favorite excuses: “he’s young” In December, Hart will be 27.

The Pirates may avoid 100 losses. But as a fan sitting close to me yesterday asked, “What difference does it make if it’s 99 or 101? The team is painful to watch and not on the verge of getting better.”

And by the way, the announced attendance of 10,990 was grossly overstated. The actual “fannies in the seats” count was about 5,000

All hail the King

Arnold Palmer is 80.

Golfer Arnold Palmer, 80, remains a game-changer

Palmer's popularity lifted the Masters, which he won four times, into elite status. He revived the British Open, a tournament most American pros used to skip because of its small purse and the high cost of travel. Palmer was captivated by its history, however, and after he won the British Open in 1961 and '62, other top American players followed him there each summer.

He became the first athlete to earn millions each year from endorsements, and had his own golf equipment and apparel line

In some ways Palmer and Mark McCormack invented the modern sports superstar/celebrity. Unfortunately, too many of the athletes have forgotten one big lesson from Palmer:

Years ago, at the German Open, he was swarmed by autograph seekers. Bob Hammel told Golf Digest, "A member of his entourage came in to say that his private plane was ready to take off and they had to go. Arnie did not bat an eye but said, 'Have the plane wait; these are the people who pay for that plane.' "

Looks like an interesting book

Steve Sailer reviews Paul Gottfried's memoir Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The incomparable Thomas Sowell

If more Washington reporters read him, they would look less stupid.

What Obama Says vs. What He Does

One plain fact should outweigh all the words of Barack Obama and all the impressive trappings of the setting in which he says them: He tried to rush Congress into passing a massive government takeover of the nation's medical care before the August recess-- for a program that would not take effect until 2013!

Whatever President Obama is, he is not stupid. If the urgency to pass the medical care legislation was to deal with a problem immediately, then why postpone the date when the legislation goes into effect for years-- more specifically, until the year after the next Presidential election?

If this is such an urgently needed program, why wait for years to put it into effect? And if the public is going to benefit from this, why not let them experience those benefits before the next Presidential election?

If it is not urgent that the legislation goes into effect immediately, then why don't we have time to go through the normal process of holding Congressional hearings on the pros and cons, accompanied by public discussions of its innumerable provisions? What sense does it make to "hurry up and wait" on something that is literally a matter of life and death?

If we do not believe that the President is stupid, then what do we believe? The only reasonable alternative seems to be that he wanted to get this massive government takeover of medical care passed into law before the public understood what was in it

So it turns out that the Obama brain trust was more realistic than Republicans and many conservatives. They understood that Michael Barone was correct: the US remains a center-right nation. While many Republican “strategists” thought the public had rejected all things conservative, the new administration recognized that their agenda lacked popular support.

Hence, their cynical desire to “not let a crisis go to waste.” The administration hoped that they could lock in their programs while the public was stunned by the financial meltdown and the Obama honeymoon.

A key tactic for the White House is to divert attention. They wanted the media to focus on Rush Limabaugh, Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, etc. instead of the details of their plan.

Up to a point, this worked. Their media lapdogs covered stories promoted by the White House rather than the issues that most concerned their readers. When the media moved away from the WH’s message of the day, the president’s poll numbers dropped like a rock.

The people around Obama were probably naive about the MSM bias in his favor and/or unrealistic about the long-term influence of the media. They mistook glowing press accounts with popular support. They thought the friendly media could dominate the news cycle long enough to push their programs through congress.

In the heat of the campaign and in the first hundred days, the MSM could promote and protect their favorite. Over the long haul, however, dissident voices will be heard. Buried stories will eventually see the light of day. The tea parties, the town hall protests, talk radioall of these provide rallying points for the center-right majority. Heck, Sarah Palin changed the debate with a Facebook post.

Now, a Little Something about Tennis

by The Last Hollywood Star

Because I like Zach Duke and am sure he’d be a 15 game winner on most teams, I’m going to leave the lowly Pirates alone for the next two days to focus on the U.S. Open and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On Thursday, I’ll be going to my first Steeler game since the team played in Pitt Stadium in the early 1960s and Bobby Layne was the quarterback. (Note to readers: I left Pittsburgh after graduating from Pitt in 1965 and returned last year after an absence of some 45 years.)

As the U.S. Open goes into its final week end, it pains me to say that I find the whole event a crashing bore.

The last American male got knocked out on Monday. The Williams sisters, the greatest sibling athletes in sports’ history and Georgia teenager Melanie Oudin are terrific stories but not compelling enough to carry a two week event.

I’ve rooted for Serena and Venus since they first came onto the tennis scene. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I find their on-court grunting and fist pumping as well as their off-court alter egos as designers and actors tedious.

As for Oudin, I’d like her more if I heard less about her.

Tennis and I go back a long way. I grew up in Los Angeles playing on the Beverly Hills High School cement courts. When my family moved to Puerto Rico, I took my first professional lesson from Welby Van Horn who once lost in the U.S. Open finals but also at one point in his career beat one of the best tennis players who ever lived Bill Tilden, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1.

During my Pitt undergraduate years, I played varsity tennis on one of the weakest teams in organized college athletics.

I’ve watched in person great U.S. Open matches dating from the 1970s when the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills hosted a draw of thirty-two players and the matches were on grass.

I’m not pleased that the tournament is so tedious. I’m retired, have a flat screen television and plenty of time on my hands to watch the nonstop coverage on the Tennis Channel and ESPN.

Why has it all gone so wrong?

First, the color commentary is overbearing and rarely, except for John McEnroe, provides any insight into tennis strategy. As a lifelong player whose skills peaked years ago, I wouldn’t mind picking up a few tips about proper execution.

On the women’s side, the trio of Mary Carillo, Mary Jo Fernandez and Pam Shriver emphasize to excess players’ injury history and how it limits their mobility, even though the player in question is darting around the court like a rabbit.

As old axiom in sports goes, if you’re playing, you’re not injured. Alternatively, if you’re injured, don’t play.

Second, I don’t understand why no one comes into the net. What’s the point of having a 140 MPH serve like Andy Roddick if you don’t come in behind it occasionally? If nothing else, a net rush would break up the tedium of watching the competitors slug it out endlessly from the base line. As legend Pancho Gonzales might have observed, mixing up the style of play is an important strategic element.

Second, I can’t relate to the players. I’m sure this is linked to my vigorous resistance to globalism. But seriously, as gifted as they all are, I can readily identify only the handful of consistent winners like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

I’m comforted to know that Serena has the same problem. Recently, commenting on all the Russian women on the tour, Williams wrote on her Twitter page that she doesn’t “really recognize anyone,” and is so swamped by Eastern bloc-sounding names that she has started considering herself Russian.

Williams said: “Sometimes I think I’m from Russia, too. I feel like, you know, OK, all these new-ovas. I don’t know anyone. I don’t really recognize anyone. You know, that’s just how it is. I think my name must be Williamsova.”

Third, I miss the charisma of the players from earlier generations. Nadal, Federer and the Williams sisters may be better than McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong but they’re not as colorful.

To the extent possible, I avoid writing about how much better things were decades ago since it gives the impression that I am irretrievably locked in a time warp. That indeed may be the case since plenty of evidence exists to that effect.

Yet here I am throwing out obscure names like Van Horn from seventy-five years ago to make my point.

I’ll tune in to the Sunday final match but by using my NBA approach (last two minutes only) and limit my viewing to the last couple of games. I can’t justify spending nearly four hours including commercial interruptions to watch the players slug it out from the baseline.

After all, I have paint I can watch dry.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Angelo M. Codevilla explains it all to you

What the new governing style means and where it came from:

From Citizens to "Stakeholders": The New American Constitution

Obama Arrangement Syndrome or why Kathleen Parker will always stand by her man

Neo-neocon poses one of the most interesting questions of our time:

Why is Obama Arrangement Syndrome so prevalent, and why are people so inclined to make excuses for him?

OAS is a newly discovered malady:

The syndrome requires that people interpret or ignore events in a manner that reinforces their preconceived, and rigid, notions about Obama.

Neo-neocon suggests several causes for this disorder. Some are rooted in Obama’s persona (youth, likeability, and attractiveness), while others spring from the psyche of the sufferer. Those afflicted may recover as they gain more information and overcome their own mental tics:

It takes quite a while to reach a tipping point, but then other perceptions, previously blocked, can be allowed to enter consciousness. After all, a mind is a difficult thing to change . But a mind is not an impossible thing to change.

This is probably true, especially for non-pundits. I have my doubts, though, about Parker, Brooks, and Frum. I do not expect any of them to write that they were wrong about candidate Obama.

I say this for several reasons.

First, it is difficult for any one to change their minds and admit a mistake. It is even harder for those, like MSM pundits, who stake out positions in public.

I discussed the MSM’s problem here during Rathergate:

A few months ago I wrote a review of Changing Minds by Howard Gardner for Strategy and Leadership.. He is especially pessimistic on our capacity to change our own minds. We do not, on the whole, accept new facts and revise our theories. Rather, we interpret or disregard the new information to make it fit our theories. This is not a matter of IQ or lack of education. He points out that intellectuals are "particularly susceptible" to removing cognitive dissonance by "reinterpreting" the facts.

Among the forces that exacerbate this tendency to lock-in a theory are emotional commitment, public commitment (pride makes it hard to climb down when everyone is watching), and an absolutist personality

I think this applicable to the Obamacons.

They dug themselves in even deeper during the 2008 campaign. They were not willing simply to extol Obama over McCain. They chose to castigate those who supported the Republic ticket as resentful,know-nothings who hated smart people.

Hence, their current problem. If they acknowledge that they were wrong about Obama, then they admit (at least tacitly) that the know-nothings were right. Parker, Brooks, and Frum baited Palin supporters for a year and reveled in their sense of superiority. They know, deep inside, that a forthright admission of of error comes with a large serving of crow.

Of course, it might be possible to engineer a careful, measured retreat. As Neo-neocon notes, Peggy Noonan is testing the waters. That might work, but I doubt that most Obamacons will go that route. They are held on the MSM reservation by both carrot and stick.

The stick is the knowledge that they are no longer popular with the majority of conservatives. (The underwhelming traffic at Frum’s site is clear evidence of this.)

The carrot is the usual mess of pottage doled out to resercons. Conservatives who support liberals are always welcome in the MSM. It creates perfect balance on the op-ed pages and at those journalist round tables.

Andrew Sullivan has blazed the path for the more adventurous. He is still labeled a conservative by journalists and editors no matter how many liberal positions he adopts. Only the right side of blogosphere seems to notice the contradictions between the Sullivan of 2009 and the Sullivan of 2003.

The Sullivan playbook will work perfectly for the Obamacons. When Sully veered left he justified his move by accusing Bush and Cheney of war crimes. Parker, Frum, and Brooks can do the same by obsessing about anti-intellectualism of the conservative base. They need never admit they were wrong about Obama as long as they bash Sarah Palin and her supporters.

Sean Burnett Was Right! Pirates Are A “Laughing Stock”

By The Last Hollywood Star

After the Pirates traded Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals, the left-handed relief pitcher said that his former team is the “laughing stock of baseball.”

Several days later, Burnett watered his comment down somewhat but insisted that his original evaluation was on target.

Whether the Pirates are a joke throughout major league baseball may be debatable. Chicago Cub manager Lou Pinella had encouraging words to say before beating the Pirates 4-2 and holding the Bucs to two hits.

But the Buccos certainly are the target of ESPN’s Mike and Mike’s jabs.

The Pirates rarely get a mention on ESPN unless it is about their 17 year losing record. After the Bucs traded Jack Wilson, Freddie Sanchez, etc, ESPN talking heads were unanimously critical.

Today, Mike and Mike took after the Pirates calling the team pitiful and pathetic.

To help viewers grasp how long 17 years is Mike and Mike pointed out that when the streak began, U.S. Open tennis sensation Melanie Oudin and pop singer Miley Cyrus had not been born yet.

But as depressing as it is to be the butt of jokes, the Pirates have a more pressing problem. As I wrote yesterday, the team is insignificant. ESPN has not included the Pirates in one of its nationally televised games in recent memory.

Even if Pirate management is correct in its glowing evaluation of the current minor league prospects, a winning season is at least three years away. Remember this year the Pirates will finish about 35 games below .500

But if management is wrong and the prospects fail, then a winning season will be nowhere in sight.


Jayson Stark, senior ESPN baseball writer, joining in at 8:30 with Mike and Mike for more laughs at the Pirates expense, asked: Who is the only player on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster from the last winning season in 1992 who is still active?

Answer: Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield who has won 175 games since being released by the Pirates.

Two, three, many Van Joneses

From The American Spectator:

The White House shouldn't expect the furor over Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality Van Jones to go away just because he's resigned, says a former Obama Administration transition team member, because "the same problems that they created with Jones's hiring are there for others and they don't seem to care about the political damage these people may inflict."

Monday, September 07, 2009

Public editors

Colby Cosh:

Once again, Cosh's Law of Newspaper Ombudsmen holds true: we are supposed to believe they exist to defend the interests of the reader against those of the newspaper, but their actual job is precisely the opposite.

See also:

What is the true function of a public editor?

Media criticism and corralled rebellion

Steve Blass Looks Ahead

By The Last Hollywood Star

During his weekend broadcasts of the Pittsburgh Pirates-St. Louis Cardinals’ series, Fox Sports Network announcer and former Bucco great Steve Blass said two thing that weary fans should keep in mind as the season ends.

• Getting to the major leagues and performing in the major leagues are two different things.

• At some point, the Pirates must produce.

Blass’ two observations are at the heart of the Pirates’ problems.

Without naming names the Bucs have several players, perhaps even as many as fifteen, who are major leaguers in name only. Wearing a Pirate uniform does not qualify them as quality major league performers.

Blass’ second comment was indirectly aimed at General Manager Neal Huntington.

During their banter, fellow announcer Tim Neverett told Blass that Huntington hosted a brunch for season ticket holders and that most expressed understanding and satisfaction with the long-term goals outlined by Pirate management.

Whether the fans were simply being polite or were among the minority that endorse the perpetual policy of trading established stars for prospects, we can’t be sure.

What we do know is that Blass is on the money. The Pirates are on the verge of total insignificance in Pittsburgh. Considering the players acquired to date in various major trades, fans have no compelling reason to trust the baseball opinions of the men who make the decisions.

The Jason Bay trade to the Boston Red Sox is the best example. While Bay has performed at an All Star level, the players acquired in return have been at best mediocre or totally ineffective; pitchers Craig Hansen, Bryan Morris, Andy La Roche and Brandon Moss.

When a one for four trade nets zero, that’s as bad as it gets.

But faith is what Huntington wants from us. Before Sunday’s game, Greg Brown interviewed Huntington who repeatedly insisted that the Pirates are on the right course, that his scouts are the best in the business and that positive results will be forthcoming soon. Huntington specifically refused to predict whether the Pirates would be winning by 2010, 2012 or 2015.

As far as fans are concerned, time is up. To maintain the few shreds of credibility that remain among the small pocket of devoted fans, the Pirates will need to produce at a .500 winning percentage on the field before mid-season 2010

David Frum and the delicate art of the political obituary

R. S. McCain’s favorite neocon wrote a typically self-aggrandizing piece on the Sen. Edward Kennedy. I’m not surprised that he said nice things about the senator. Decent people try to say nice things about the recent dead.

What was nauseating about Frum’s comments was the preening, boastful attempt to show that David Frum is better than us.

Is there a more inappropriate place for name dropping than in an obituary?

Frum also chose to praise Kennedy in an odd way. He disdained the politics and praised the man’s inner character:
Not all chapters of his life revealed it equally, but the senator was a big soul, and in his last years, he lived his bigness fully.

Really. A big soul. The kind of big soul that liked Chappaquiddick jokes?

Steyn is the only corrective for such bilge.

We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead. But, when an entire nation or, at any rate, its “mainstream” media culture declines to speak the truth about the dead, we are certainly entitled to speak ill of such false eulogists.

As I said, I have no problem with trying to say nice things about the dead. Frum, however, is not always so generous. While he strained to praise Kennedy, he was notably ambivalent about the conservative Jesse Helms.

I have been thinking a great deal about the North Carolinian since his death, and like many conservatives, my thoughts toward him are mixed. He was on the wrong side of the greatest domestic moral challenge of the past half century - and on the right side of the greatest international challenge: a Paul Robeson in reverse.

Apparently, Jesse Helms did not have a big soul. Or maybe Jesse just isn’t the kind of name you drop when you want to impress David Frum’s friends.