Saturday, April 14, 2007

McCain Unable; Newt Nought

I am sorry to admit I cannot share the admiration my beloved coblogger TVD harbors for John McCain. The man gives me the pip. Always has. Believe me, I would have been happy, during the interminable and depressing 1999-2000 campaign season, to have been presented with some plausible alternative to the coronation of Dauphin Bush. Pulling the lever for his father in 1992 damn near gave me a cerebral aneurysm. But the exhaust from the "Straight Talk Express" always smelled like manure to me, and the thing was sewed up by the time the Minnesota primary rolled around anyway.

I have been convinced for at least two years that McCain had no chance in 2008. Back before Patrick Ruffini went to work for Guiliani, he ran a blog where he gave away the kind of political and polling analysis for which Rudy is probably paying through the nose now. A feature of that blog was a rolling presidential candidate straw poll crosstabbed by state. And you saw the usual 'favorite son' dynamic at work there -- Virginians supported George Allen (that'll give you a clue about how many political tectonic plates have shifted since then), Massachusetts went for Mitt Romney, Minnesotans voted for Tim Pawlenty, etc. The glaring exception was McCain. For the many months I tracked this poll, Arizonans supported McCain at about half the level he polled among respondents as a whole. When the people who know you best dislike you twice as much as complete strangers do, the intense scrutiny of a national campaign is not going to trend your way. And the YouToobification of political discourse will ensure that every temper tantrum, every irritable outburst, and every pissy self-righteous arrogant expression that crosses his face when he can't help himself will be broadbanded around the world while Terry Nelson's still tying his shoes.

Granted that dynamic, I am a bit surprised that this YouTube offering hasn't received more attention. As far as I can tell, it marks the complete and utter disintegration of Newt Gingrich's chances to ever be elected to any office again.

Look, I understand what he was trying to say, and I thought he got a bad rap over the original comments. I admire Newt's intellect and accomplishments, and although I don't think he would be a very good presidential candidate, and is probably not presidential timber, he would be a valuable asset to any conservative administration that was intelligent enough to appreciate his virtues and patient enough to overlook his flaws. But if Newt emerges as a serious primary contender, there is no way this Muy Dorko Gringo thing stays off the urban airwaves. Good grief, he sounds like an extra from a Spanish class scene in a Napoleon Dynamite movie.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Homnick & Hutchins on a Roll

See below.

Imus In Mourning

Never eat in a bar or drink in a restaurant: this advice, tendered by a sage elder, has served me well over the decades. Applying its wisdom to another sphere, I never listen to television shows over the radio or watch radio broadcasts on TV. Here in Miami you can pick up NBC TV on 87.7 FM, but the thought of processing Kelly Ripa’s vapid vaporings without visual aids fills me with dread. By the reverse token, if I want to catch the Imus Show, my only access is by tuning in to MSNBC on cable; it has no radio home in Miami. Or had, before its plugs were pulled. The upshot is I have not heard the show since leaving Cincinnati in 2000, save the periodic New York visit.

Now they tell me I will never hear it again, nor will you or the 2.75 million people who habitually did in the past. CBS has asked the I-Man to take his creaky, oft-broken old bones and shuffle off in his absurdly tacky cowboy boots for parts unknown, following MSNBC’s snappier dismissal. This in the wake of his describing the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, Cinderella finalists against Tennessee for the NCAA championship, as a group of “nappy-headed hos”.

The singular of that is “ho”, listed in Homnick’s Dictionary of Modern Slang as: 1. a soothing Hawaiian lounge singer with fifty or so kids. 2. half a cylindrical, frosted, cream-filled cake manufactured by Hostess. 3. a third of a holiday greeting by Santa Claus. 4. the unnamed female protagonist in rap songs who needs to get the **** over here and engage in various sordid activities involving large quantities of asterisks. Short, one presumes, for the more Biblical “whore”, a word used variously to describe a woman either loose or commercial in her sexual proclivities. And, of course, Mr. Imus has now encountered the last definition: 5. (with heave-) the unceremonious process of being evicted or fired; the bum’s rush.

Is the I-Man’s career over? I think not. He will not be satisfied to let his 40-year run finish in unrelieved ignominy. Either he will sign with a lesser network for much less money or he will follow his mortal nemesis, Howard Stern, to satellite radio. His corporate sponsors like Procter & Gamble will give way to the sleazy ads endemic to the medium: baldness cures, get-rich-quick home business packages and virility aids. And most of his big-name guests will scurry for cover into taller grass.

It could not have happened to a less nice guy. Imus is to Dale Carnegie as Al Sharpton is to Emily Post. He may have been a Marine, but his buddies are none too proud of his simpering for a fee. If I rise to defend him, I do it with nose firmly held. He can make me laugh but he can never make me smile. (This is not to minimize his considerable acts of charity. But writing a check does not whitewash a disreputable personage.)

Am I the first guy to notice this is neither a racist nor a sexist slur? A slur, I should think, impugns the character in some way. Racist means attributing some debility or unwholesome behavior to members of a particular genetic group. Sexist – vile word! – indicates a presumption of inferior human fiber on the part of one gender (an intrinsically absurd notion, since every human being has one father and one mother). Now find me that, any of that in Imus’ gibbering.

Was he disparaging these girls’ chastity? Of course not. Was he trying to asperse their style of dress? Ridiculous: all college basketball players wear a uniform outfit, differentiated only by team colors. Was he saying they must be whores because they are black? Ludicrous; Rutgers is no blacker than other college teams. Was he saying all women are whores? Gimme a break.

What he was saying, in silly street language coined by black wastrels, is that these girls projected a kind of tough street persona, a court sensibility that tells an opponent: you can’t hurt me anymore than I have been out there in the big bad world, and I’ll keep clawing until I have your crown. In fact, if you have been around sports long enough, you know that some teams cultivate that sort of image to intimidate opponents. Whether or not they have a valedictorian and a musical genius in their ranks.

Irony of ironies. What he said was offensive, but only on grounds of generalized crudity. He did not insult the Rutgers girls or blacks at large or women in general, he only insulted a standard of decorum most of his listeners would deem effete. Think about it… then laugh at the foolishness… and cry at our national idiocy.

Right Said Fred

I'm not sure what's up with the "All Fred All the Time" teasers on the right sidebar, but since they're there I figured this was fair game. Best fake bumper sticker of the nascent 2008 campaign, courtesy of Vodkapundit:

An explanation is available here for those allergic to Tom Clancy.

Speaking of Fred, I was a little confused when I came across's John Dickerson slagging a candidate with:
an undistinguished eight years in the Senate, an acting career, and a youthful turn as co-counsel in the Watergate hearings

'Cause I didn't think liberals would be so upfront about Hillary Clinton's First Lady years being a stage performance. But then I realized he was talking about Fred.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Wretch Wrenches a Wretch

Actor Ed O'Neil's wife was once in Mrs. TVD's theatre group, and he was persuaded to lend his marquee value to a fund-raiser with them. They would read from a book of theatre stories, but one in particular, something about sending a famous lech a diseased chorus boy, raised Ed's eyebrows a little.

It was agreed that maybe they shouldn't do that one, and Ed noted that they were really in trouble if Al Bundy was their arbiter of taste.

Which brings us to Al Sharpton volunteering himself to head America's new Legion of Public Decency. We're in trouble, folks. When Sharpton began his own career of public speaking, people died. He followed that with libeling a New York assistant DA, charging him with rape in the Tawana Brawley case. (Stephen Pagones was innocent.)

"Reverend" Al never even said he was sorry. Don Imus did, but Sharpton refused to forgive him, and instead marched into CBS Radio headquarters today and had Imus' scalp delivered unto him.

There is a book that Brother Sharpton putatively holds to be gospel truth. One passage goes something like this:

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

It's a very good book, Mister Sharpton. Word up.

The Very-Friendly Toilets

So, apparently, the bathrooms of the Atlanta airport are quite the hook-up joints for a certain cast of characters and the Atlanta police (on the lookout for luggage thieves) have arrested a number of folks recently, including the director of MARTA, Atlanta's metro. Pretty icky. But the funny part of the story was the quote the reporter was able to wheedle out of some professor at Hunter College in NYC:

"Police have far better things to do with their time than to arrest people for this," said Kenneth Sherrill, professor at Hunter College of The City University of New York. "Being 'sex police' in bathrooms strikes me as a perversion of rational law enforcement activities."

I wonder if the reporter giggled when he typed in that quote. Perversion, indeed....

Iraq and Walter Cronkite

(Hugh Hewitt's full-time guest blogger, the exquisite Dean Barnett, provides a link to Fox News' Shepard Smith going a bit Cronkite on the Iraq War. I was moved to post a fragment of my thoughts about it there, and did, but this was the whole of them:)

Dean, well observed. Such things will happen as each of our hearts grow fainter.

Paul Harvey's opening today was nothing but bad news on the Iraq butchery front as well, bad news on re-enlistments and bad news that the administration asked three retired 4-star generals to return to active duty and help straighten out this mess. (They declined.)

If there's a Cronkite still around, wouldn't it be Paul Harvey?

Most of our nation has lost faith in President Bush, let's face it. So be it. If one consumes only mainstream news, and most folks do, no other opinion is possible.

But I think what's beginning to happen is that the decent people in the United States are losing their faith that there is still a critical mass of decent people left in Iraq. We're growing disgusted. Day by day, person by person, Americans stand up for themselves. The Iraqi people are not.

So we're starting to question whether we should continue to support and encourage our brave military men and women who are willing to risk their lives to save theirs.

Did I say brave? No, that's too faint of praise. Heroic, and we weaker folk should never stand in the way of heroes.

The moment I perceive that these heroes have come to see themselves as the unwilling led by the incompetent to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful, as they put it in the days of the Vietnam War, conscience requires us all to pull a Cronkite, too.

The "incompetent" part has support virtually across the left-right board. We shoulda done this (more troops), shouldna done that (disband the Ba'athist army). Can't say the criticism is off---there's always more incompetence than brilliance in any war. That's how human events tend to work.

But the "ungrateful" part is getting more plausible by the day. And should America's first heroes of the 21st Century become unwilling, the unnecessary part will become moot. You can't give anyone a gift they don't want, whether it's their freedom or even their lives. (I mean you can, but they'll return it, stick it in a closet, or simply throw it away.)

I'll continue to listen as best as I can hear, and trust their judgment. I'm having a great moral dilemma about abandoning the good people in Iraq to the butchers, and our heroes are, too.


Apologies, all. Had the crud that's been going around out here in LA. Didn't want to commit an Imus in my weakened mental state---I sign my real name to things, and one attempted witticism can result in a career death sentence. I've still got a family to feed.

These are perilous times, shorn of all frivolity.

Perhaps that's a good thing in light of the current situation, but one jokes at his own peril, and that's a drag. I don't know how Homnick does it.