Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Partisan at Politico

While chuckling over a Politico story about James Sensenbrenner's intention to take over the House "global warming" committee and turn its investigative cannons around by 180 degrees, I ran across this tidbit:

Sensenbrenner’s remarks foretell a power struggle among top Republicans primed to lead other investigatory committees, namely, Rep. Darrell Issa, the media-hungry Californian who would like to comb through Obama’s policies as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Well, now. I thought to myself, "Self, I wonder if Politico has ever referred to Democratic politicians as 'media-hungry.'" So I went to Google, and searched politico.com for "Henry Waxman" and "media-hungry". The result was a single link, to an opinion column in which "media-hungry" refers to (wait for it) Levi Johnson.

Could be a coincidence, though. Let's try another infamous Democratic camera-hound, Chuckie Schumer:

Your search - "Charles Schumer media-hungry" site:politico.com - did not match any documents.

Please feel free to try your own selections. I doubt you'll turn much up, though. A search on "Democrat" and "media-hungry" at politico.com turns up zero references to actual media-hungry Democrats; most of the references are to one John McCain.

NOTE: Blogger doesn't seem to want to correctly link the Google searches referenced above, so here are the links written out, if you care to cut-and-paste:




Friday, September 24, 2010

Na na na na, na na na na...

Jonahthan Klein, CNN's president of U.S. operations and in 2004, the originator of the infamous line, "It's an important moment, because you couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances, and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks," has finally been canned.

(Klein's famous "pajamas" sneer was, of course, in defense of Dan Rather's fake-documents hit piece; Klein is also a former CBS executive.)

Given the gross mismanagement that led to now-barely-watched CNN's precipitous plunge into irrelevance, the only wonder is that it took this long for Klein to get the boot.

But hey, Jon--if you're hard up, drop me a line. I do have some contacts at Pajamas Media.

UPDATE: In full gloat mode (not that there's anything wrong with that!) from his new perch at Newsweek, Mickey Kaus observes, "The pajamists won that battle, and now they've won the war."

UPDATE UPDATE: Man, talk about a short honeymoon. Mickey's first commenter says, "I don't understand your problem with opinion-driven journalism, Newsweek had been at the forefront of that movement for over 20 years. Newsweek is a paper blog, with few visitors."

I mean, ouch.

Recommended Reading

Reid Wilson at Hotline writes:

Because of a fertile landscape and poor fundraising performances by key national party committees, outside Republican groups have taken over operations typically run by the Republican National Committee. American Crossroads and other organizations are stepping in to help fund turnout operations across the nation. Though many of those outside groups are run by top operatives, even some who held senior positions at the RNC, the fact is that turnout operations are being run outside the traditional structures. Even the Tea Party Express has spent more money on direct advocacy television ads than the national party committees.

In times of upheaval, voter sentiment shifts from one party to another rapidly. But for the better part of a decade, one thing has been clear: Voter and activist sentiment has been shifting away from Washington and back to the states. Even as the economy recovers, the advent of social media and the excitement of two national bases that can quickly organize will mean the balance of political power is shifting away from the hub, and toward the spokes. This will be remembered as the year control of politics finally left Washington.

There's quite a bit more, including a rundown of how the 2008 Obama campaign performed a similar end-around the Democratic apparatus in D.C. Regardless of your partisan and/or ideological leanings, you should read the whole thing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do I Amuse You?

GQ has a long, outstanding interview with the cast and crew of Goodfellas, celebrating the twenty year anniversary of the movie's release. Among many, many great bits, there's this revelation that many of the extras and bit parts were, um, typecast:

[Writer Nicholas] Pileggi: We'd put the word out [to the Mob guys]: "Anybody who wants to be in the movie, come." [Director Martin Scorsese] must have hired like half a dozen guys, maybe more, out of the joint.

[Ray] Liotta: During dessert, it was like they started auditioning. "I knew a guy who beat somebody up." "I knew a guy who stole this, who stole that." They seemed to be talking about themselves, and they kept topping each other.

Ellen Lewis (casting director): We were told I could consider some of them for the film, but others were a little too hot to be considered: "That guy can't be in front of a camera." It was actually the least likely-looking guys.

Pileggi: Warner Bros. now had to put them on the payroll, and they wanted their Social Security numbers. The wiseguys said, "1,2,6, uh, 6,7,8, uh, 4,3,2,1,7,8—" "No, that's more numbers than you need!" They just kept reciting numbers until they were over. Nobody ever figured out where that money went or who cashed the checks.
It's ten pages long, but if you've ever seen the movie, I dare you not to read the whole thing.

Crushing Of Dissent at UGA

This dustup at the University of Georgia has to be the lamest thing I've come across in months:

When student Jacob Lovell submitted an email to the UGA Parking Services, he was then threatened with charges of “disorderly conduct” and “disruption” by the associate dean of students, Kimberly Ellis.

“Specifically, it is alleged that Mr. Lovell engaged in disorderly conduct and disrupted parking services when he sent an email to them that was threatening.”

The email was sent to “parking@uga.edu,” which solicits comments from patrons “both positive and negative.”

Here’s the email he sent:

Subject: Scooter parking
Message: To: parking@uga.edu

Why isn’t there any scooter parking near Aderhold, according to your parking map? There’s like a billion places to park on north campus and over by the Georgia center, but nothing anywhere close to Aderhold. What the hell? Did you guys just throw darts at a map to decide where to put scooter corrals? Can I expect you guys to get off your asses and put in a corral near there some point before I [bleeping] graduate and/or the sun runs out of hydrogen?

Thanks for nothing, ever,


To which the easily irked Parking@uga.edu replied:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: UGA Parking Services
Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: Your Parking Services Request – Case 000000000016711

Your e-mail was sent to student judiciary.

To which Lovell awesomely replied:

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Jacob Lovell [REDACTED]
Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: Your Parking Services Request – Case 000000000016711
To: UGA Parking Services

So that’s a no?

J.P. Friere of the Washington Examiner called up Ellis to ask what the heck was going on here, and was told that Lovell must submit to a 'disciplinary appointment,' or he won't be allowed to register for future classes.

Lame. Lovell's email was obviously sophomoric--but then again, he's probably a sophomore.

Most large universities make tons of money off of overzealously-enforced parking tickets, and the administrators and campus cops really hate it when the deficiencies in their 'master parking plans' are pointed out. But they put out the feedback email address themselves, and don't have any business griping when they get genuine--and genuinely non-threatening--responses.

The only thing Lovell threatened with that email was some officious campus bureaucrat's ego. Georgia deserves to get a big black eye for this one.

UPDATE: Commenter "The Monk" notes that UGA backed down on disciplining Lovell last week, as laid out in this press release from FIRE that was released yesterday. I doubt very much that would have happened if Lovell hadn't gone to FIRE for help, and subesquently had this whole ridiculous affair publicized.

Bureaucrats, like cockroaches, hate daylight.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I clicked on this Slashdot story, titled "Why Are Terrorists Often Engineers?" entirely because I knew the humor content in the comments would be off the scale--at least if you're an engineer. Which, full disclosure, I am.

One of my faves is in answer to the (huffy) comment, "There are millions of engineers in this country that aren't going around blowing stuff up and killing people."

The reply: "right. that's management's job."

Also, "Just look at Faisal Shazad, the guy from Connecticut who tried to blow up Times Square. He tried to build his bomb with a toy clock and M80 firecrackers. He had a business degree."

Reply: "In all fairness, it was a very economical bomb."

There's plenty more really funny (as well as some insightful) stuff in there.

Broken Clock Chronicles: Chris Matthews

I stopped watching Chris Matthews once he went all-in for Al Gore back in 2000. By all accounts since, Matthews reverted to his previous job as Tip O'Neill's chief of staff, and devolved into a full-on Democratic shill during MSNBC's descent into all-moonbattery-all-the-time.

But apparently even a shill can read the writing on the wall if the letters are large enough:

I have waited all my adult life for an election in which voters have the fire to reach up and burn those who have been running the show for decades. But I didn`t know it would come from the right and center.

2010 could be the first year in modern times when being in office in Washington and part of Washington is the worst possible credential when facing voters. I don't know how far the fire will burn. Based upon last night's returns, I expect it has a long way to go. It could topple the House and, yes, the U.S. Senate. It could bring the defeat of people who feel even now they are not endangered. It could produce an election night spectacle of name brand politicians standing before stance supporters saying their careers are kaput.

Why is this happening? Because this economic system is failing to produce the security and opportunity people have come to expect in this country. In this middle-class country, the middle class are scared and when people are scared, they get angry. They sense a rot at the top and are ready to chop it off.

If the plan of those in power to raise a ton of cash and run nasty TV ads saying you can`t vote for this new person, that he or she is flawed -- I expect the voter will say, "Are you telling me I have no choice but to vote for you? Are you saying that I, this little voter out there, dare not take a chance on someone who has not yet let me down as you have? If that is what you're telling me, that I have no choice, well, Mr. Big Stuff, you just have to wait -- stay up late election night and see what I have done."

Monday, September 13, 2010


I freely admit that I haven't been paying much attention to the in-state campaigns here in Georgia. The GOP field in the governor's race struck me as all-around weak (I voted in the Democratic primary, just so I'll get to mark two ballots against "Representative" David Scott), and based on an apparently-endless supply of glowing reports from the local media, I'd figured ex-governor "King Roy" Barnes was going to ooze his way back into the mansion on West Paces Ferry in January.

Not so much, per this report:

Based on the poll, Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal is set to block Democrat Roy Barnes' bid for a second run as governor with a margin of 49 percent to 38 percent.

I won't be shocked if Deal beats Barnes; the ex-gov burned plenty of bridges during his previous term--but an eleven-point margin is pretty stunning. Deal isn't a particularly strong candidate, and Barnes has him beat cold in money, name recognition and "pull" with a lot of big interests in Georgia (Barnes has the unions and trial lawyers in his pocket).

If King Roy can't even get within 10 points, Georgia is looking at a complete wipeout for the Democrats. The poll linked above has GOP candidates comfortably leading every statewide race. The only survivors will be pols with major double-digit-margin safe seats--and even some of them will be in big trouble come 2012, thanks to GOP-controlled redistricting.

H/T: Geraghty

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Just The Age

I think it's safe to say at this point--particularly after checking the headline on his Thursday column--that James Taranto is a Rush fan.

Circumstances, indeed...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brave Old World

While catching up on Ed Driscoll's ridiculously-prolific posting from over the weekend, I ran across this gem from CBS's Harry Smith, who asked in a guest-host stint on Sunday, "What about, say, something like a new WPA?"

I'm still waiting for somebody to notice that this suggestion, a favorite of the FDR Cargo Cultists, essentially calls for the government to break out of the recession by funding a lot of... manual labor.

Yeah, that's a great solution for a 21st Century economy. Let's get everybody out there digging some new ditches! That'll show the Chinese!

Hell, even in the Thirties it was a dumb idea. Mediot conventional-wisdom drones like Harry Smith haven't read enough history to know that outside of D.C., "WPA" was universally known at the time to stand for "We Piddle Around." Even in the midst of the Depression, Americans were smart enough to understand that make-work government jobs were good for a get-by paycheck, but not much else.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Where Were You...?"

After reading a brief blurb about NRO writer Yuval Levin's recent dissertation defense, I emailed the following story to Jonah Goldberg. Jonah liked it enough to post it to The Corner, here.

My dad is a dentist, and took the honors option in dental school, which entailed a final dissertation. The school (UAB medical) invited a group of distinguished professors from Tufts down to Birmingham to judge his dissertation. Well into the verbal defense, questioning from the Tufts profs had Dad and his research partner sweating things pretty hard, and according to Dad, they weren’t exactly sure whether they were going to get out of there with a passing grade.

Right at that moment, the door to the auditorium burst open. A student ran in, exclaiming, “Oh my God, oh my God, the President’s been killed!”

The date: November 22, 1963.

Complete chaos broke out; being from Boston, the visiting Tufts professors were even more stunned than everybody else. Dad and his partner stood there on the stage, wondering what the hell they were supposed to do next. Finally, one of the judges noticed them, yelled, “You passed!”, and led the rest of the Tufts contingent out of the room

100% true story. Dad is still practicing today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recommended Reading

Michael Barone has a great column today, even by his standards. A sample:

In the 1930s Americans supposedly lost faith in markets and rallied to government. But if you go back and look at public opinion polling then, you find something rather different. You find majorities grumbling about Big Government, scorning Big Business and opposing Big Labor.

The 1940s were different. Facing the threat of total war, Franklin Roosevelt transformed himself from "Dr. New Deal" to "Dr. Win the War." He fostered cooperation between Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor. Roosevelt was brilliant at selecting, from all these sources, the best men (and women) for jobs he considered important.

The result was a war effort that was brilliantly successful. America was the arsenal of democracy, vanquishing its enemies and inventing the atomic bomb. Big Unit governance gained enormous prestige and held onto it for a generation after the war.

The result was prosperity but also stasis. The Big Government of 1970 looked a lot like the Big Government of the 1940s. The same Big Businesses that dominated the Fortune 500 list in 1940 did so in 1970. The list of Big Labor unions remained pretty much the same.

About 1970, these Big Units lost their edge. Big Government got mired in wars on poverty and in Vietnam. Big Business got hidebound and bureaucratic. Big Labor started to shrink.

Read the whole thing.