Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You dress ‘em up, send ‘em to the finest schools, and they rip the covers off the books every time.

Dan Kennedy of Media Nation has a post praising Mark Lilla’s anti Palin Screed at WSJ. La Palin must be the most powerful person in Dan’s world as he seems obsessed by her. I’m not above schadenfreude so I take a certain pleasure in your man’s discomfiture. Dan’s called Mr. Lilla’s column “brilliant.” Moi, I found it shallow.

Lilla posits a lumpen Republican America that hates “intellectuals.” He sees it as a problem that they don’t look to their betters. He has no problem that a lot of Republicans stayed home on John because they saw him as betraying the tradition of small government while Black Americans voted in vast numbers for his opponent and wherever they could, voted against same sex marriage. Now voting against ssm is considered fundamentalist yahooism. The spin in Cali is that it was the Mormons that deep sixed it. It is not the done thing to accuse our African American citizenry of being anything but enlightened.

So just what is it that makes someone an intellectual. True to my deficient character, I took the easy way out and went to for a definition:

a person of superior intellect.
a person who places a high value on or pursues things of interest to the intellect or the more complex forms and fields of knowledge, as aesthetic or philosophical matters, esp. on an abstract and general level.
an extremely rational person; a person who relies on intellect rather than on emotions or feelings.
a person professionally engaged in mental labor, as a writer or teacher.

Gee, doesn’t say anything about attending the Kennedy School or being a professor at Columbia or a journalism teacher at a middling school in the Athens of America.

Anyway, Dan quoted this paragraph,

They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.

Maybe Dan nodded his head as he read it as he closely reads the advice of Nobel Prize winners in economics, but it has not been uniformly good. If his personal economic gurus had been the two that had guided LTCM he would have looked horribly foolish.

As to that praise of plumbers and builders, well I don’t think anyone was suggesting Joe be Treasury Secretary, but he did have his folk hero minute and he did not do so badly in his brief fame when he was confronted by Obama.

I’m not a Republican so I don’t know who Lilla is talking about for the journalists. He does not give instances of the exact ridicule that was dished out to diplomats so we can’t tell if it is warranted. I hope ambassadors are not above critique unless the critic speaks another dialect.

He embarrasses himself with the shock jock stuff. Imus is a shock jock but no Repub and ditto Stern. I’m not a Limbaugh or Hannity fan, but to call them shock jocks is buffoonery.

He mentions Buckley with reverence, but does not mention WFB’s judgement of the better government. Bill preferred the unwashed out of the phone book to the Harvard Faculty.

Moi, I kinda like the judgment of an intellectual, Camille Paglia,

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

C’est vous, Dan.

If the cool people don’t want to accept Camille, maybe they would be okay with George Orwell’s take on intellectuals of his time,

These people look towards the U.S.S.R. and see in it, or think they see, a system which eliminates the upper class, keeps the working class in its place, and hands unlimited power to people very similar to themselves. It was only after the Soviet régime became unmistakably totalitarian that English intellectuals, in large numbers, began to show an interest in it.*

The situation is different now, but not so different that the bullying of Sarah is not despicable.

Maybe not all intellectuals, but there is no lack of shoddy practitioners. As a class they are not due homage. Only so far as he profers something of real value is a professor’s opinion of worth.

All in all Mr. Lilla gave us a faux intellectual rant. When you have fundamentalism of the left, it oft comes with a Ph.D. attached.

*Orwell, The Dollected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 4, In Front of Your Nose 1945-1950. Page 212, James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

So we have Clinton retread Holder at Justice.

La Pasionara herself at State.

Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago neocon hack as Chief of Staff.

Now, Obama and the Dem leadership have made peace with Department of Fatherland Security Committee Chairman Lieberman. Notice they did not take away the chairmanship of the committee where he can be as neoconnish as he likes.

So now exposed for the world to see is the meaning of change, Obama style. It is not in the sense of the management of a losing ball team firing the coach and obtaining different players. No, it is change in the sense of the purchase of new and more stylish uniforms for the same sad team.

Yes we can get ready for the Bush-Obama Administration.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Case for Optimism

Over at Parapundit there is a doom and gloom post that a new depression is starting. True, the tone is depressing, but I take only solace.

All the people quoted as saying the end is nigh are the from companies that were wrong in their business decisions before the current debacle so what should one expect from that track record.

People quoted:

Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO
Former Goldman Sachs Chairman
JP Morgan Chase CEO
A survey of economists
A Goldman Sachs economist

There was one discordant note. The chief of Britain's Central Bank saw nothing worse than what happened thirty years ago, whatever that was. Still, as most of the old rosy scenario crowd are now down in the mouth, I'm thinking only happy thoughts.

Unfortunately, I shall be hors de combat in the coming prosperity. As the Polish American Major who was my instructor at intel school used to say, "I have all my money in cash." In my case, change cash to coins jingling in my pocket.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

That didn't last long.

The Obama Revolution is over. Instead of vast change, there will be management of the ongoing enterprise and a few big ticket cosmetic papering overs. Maybe a few new minority friendly scholarships or some other bauble.

the voice of humility believes this is the way of big movements anyway. In our Short Dictionary of Politics we defined Revolution as

A method by which one elite manipulates the masses to transfer power from another elite due to real or perceived oppression. The success or failure of the revolutionary party, once the ancien regime is overthrown, depends on how well they manage their transition from belief in ideology to practical management of the entity they have stolen.

Now, I'm not sure this was a revolution at all, maybe just a different lineup for the same team, but no matter. The Obama transition is distancing itself from its agenda.

How do we know this. The vaunted involuntary servitude national service proposals have lost the stick and the carrot has been enhanced.

I was actually shocked at the quick abandonment of the force aspect of the proposal. That was nothing compared to the disappearance of the whole agenda as reported by Veritas over at Daily Burkeman1. Obama's website's agenda items have all been removed and just a two paragraph statement saying how cool the changes are gonna be remains. It's worth a trip over to the Daily Burkeman1 to check it out.


*New Boss Same As Old Boss.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's Over

and I'm glad.

My usual saying on the day after is the good news is one of them lost, the bad, one of them won. In truth, I was a little less scared of Obama than the bomber. Of course, I voted third party.

I think anyone would have to be crazy to want to be president now. Coming into office in the current situation of an endless war and a broke country does not augur well for the newly anointed. Obama's messiah message also is a problem. To date, no one has seen him walk on water. It's easier to advertise yourself as a god than be one. Let down time in the real world.

Still, I wish the President-elect good fortune if only because I wish it for myself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What will redistribution mean?

So segments of the press are atwitter with statements by Obama that suggest he wants to take the earnings of people who make a few pesos more and scatter them amongst the folks who make less. The polls seem to imply the fear mongering is not working.

It does appear from the evidence that the great Himself once annointed would love to give a few farthings to his constituency. Nothing new there, it is warmed over New Deal which the children of light think to be change.

I suppose one should quake with fear, but as a man who believes everything reduces to its absurd in government, I've long thought the tension in the springs of the machine would eventually snap. I do not know the day nor the hour. And for all of my poor powers of cognition, the president apparent may even usher in a golden age.

Of course, this is the Democratic Party we're talking about here. They are ruthless about attaining power. Once in, they can be a bit incompetent about its exercise. I suspect a redistribution program will go something like this: