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Friday, January 29, 2010

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Byron York in the Washington Examiner:
[Majority Leader Harry Reid] invited Obama to his office for a talk. "You're not going to go anyplace here," Reid told Obama. "I know that you don't like it, doing what you're doing." Reid suggested Obama run for president. Obama had been a senator for all of 18 months at the time. Soon after, he was off and running.

What drove Obama was not just ambition, although he is certainly ambitious. As he became frustrated in each job, Obama concluded that the problem was not having the power to do the things he wanted to do. So he sought a more powerful position.

[snip]

In the State of the Union address, Obama declared, "I don't quit." And of course, there's no danger he would just up and quit the presidency. But throughout his life, his reaction to frustration has been to look for a bigger job. What does he do now?
Assuming York is right and Obama doesn't quit, the only option remaining for him, since he already holds the most powerful job on earth, is to invest even more power into his present situation. That is most worrisome.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sacrilege

J. D. Salinger has died at the age of 91.

Three times in my life I attempted to read The Catcher in the Rye: in my teens, in my twenties and in my thirties. Three times I found the book so paralyzingly dull I gave up on it.

I shall not try again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The '68 Nixon Redux

The President will give his State of the Union address tonight and the consensus among the punditry is that after an absolutely disastrous year, he will attempt to re-brand himself; rasa the tabula, you might say; hit the reset button. Over 42 years ago another political train wreck, Richard Nixon, also attempted a remake, in anticipation of another stab at the presidency, and referred to himself as the "the new Nixon."

Naturally the critics had a field day with "the new Nixon," including none other than pop-folksinger John Denver, who crafted this mock commercial jingle.

Hi there voters, how do you feel?
Tired of the same old vote appeal?
Well look who's back with a brand new style
A brand new look and a brand new smile!

It's the '68 Nixon, everything's new
A brand new image just created for you
A dozen different finishes and so much finesse
He's got a brand new doggy, not Checkers but Chess.

Now the Reagan can ramble, the Rocky can race
But Dick can jump from left to right and not lose his place
His '56 production was loaded with spite
His '60 was a copy of the '58 Ike
The third time's the charm and if it's charm that you like

You'll like the '68 Nixon, he's different this year
The '68 Nixon is here and he is liberal and conservative
He's humble and he's proud
He's more than just a candidate, he's a crowd.

Yes, he's the '68 Nixon, a brother to men
So run and see him quick before he changes again
In every town and hamlet he is soon to appear
The '68 Nixon, he's different this year
The '68 Nixon, guaranteed not to smear
The '68 Nixon is here!

The preceding was paid political denouncement.
Go to this excellent site to hear it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Upside to Living in Detroit

There are things you can do there you can't do anywhere else.

Like pushing a dump truck out the window.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Life Imitates the Onion

With the prospect of facing a tough and savvy audience of sixth-graders, our President, wisely electing to leave nothing to chance, brought along his TelePrompter.



We may assume he also brought a backup machine, following the near-disaster at the White House recently when his TelePrompter failed without warning; a close call indeed.


Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

Friday, January 22, 2010

Knowing Her Place

Recovering Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter suffered an apparent relapse during a recent radio debate with Republican Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. According to to Daniel Malloy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Bachmann
detailed a list of fiscal changes: cutting the effective income tax rate to 22 percent, dashing capital gains taxes and eliminating the estate tax will stimulate the economy plenty, she said, as opposed to the overreach of the Obama administration with the stimulus and health care legislation. As Mr. Specter started to respond, Ms. Bachmann interjected to try to reinforce her point. Mr. Specter, clearly, did not appreciate the interruption.

"I'm going to treat you like a lady," Mr. Specter shot back. "Now act like one."

Ms. Bachmann replied, "I am a lady."

The two continued to spar and Mr. Specter later again asked Ms. Bachmann to "act like a lady" when things got heated.
Senator Specter later denied this Kinky Friedman classic is his absolute favoritest song.


Get Your Biscuits In the Oven & Your Buns In the Bed - Watch the top videos of the week here

(Props to Christopher Johnson)

Absolvo Te

The crack editorialists at the New York Times demonstrate once again why that organization is no no longer a newspaper; this time with their petulant denial of the obvious.
There are many theories about the import of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the race for Edward Kennedy’s former Senate seat. To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform...
You almost feel sorry for those poor souls; "To our minds..." brings to mind the exquisite line from P.G. Wodehouse's short story Uncle Fred Flits By: "If he had a mind there was something on it." Brown's election is not "remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama's presidency"? Not even just a teensy-weensy little bit?

Such staggering ignorance is rare indeed, approaching that the Catholic Church deems "invincible," which is of such magnitude one is forgiven a sinful act if it is committed in that state. While I certainly wouldn't accuse Gail Collins and her fellow editorialists at the Times of committing a sin for their mind-numbingly stupid opinion, for them to call themselves "journalists," as they no doubt do, would have to be considered a sin, alas, and a mortal one at that: lying; forgivable, perhaps, owing to their invincible ignorance.

(h/t Wannabe Anglican)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scientific Socialism

From the Business Insider:
Russia Today is reporting that Venezuelan dictator Huge [sic] Chavez claims the recent earthquakes in Haiti were caused by the United States.

More specifically, he claims the U.S. Navy used a weapon that was powerful enough to induce earthquakes.

(h/t For What It's Worth)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Purely Idle Speculation

The victory tonight of Scott Brown over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts (strike three for the President) suggests things will be getting pretty rough for the Democrats these next three years. I wonder, should the Democrats get trounced in the House elections this November, if the President will decide he's simply had enough, the job's no fun anymore and just quits?

President Biden couldn't be that much worse, could he?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Empirical Reasoning



Went to High Mass (Extraordinary Form) this morning at St. Mary's Church, Norwalk, CT. Never I have heard so many squealing kids in a church (and to this ex-Episcopalian there is no more gratifying and delightful a sound) nor seen so many young parents and young people in general, both in the pews and serving in the sanctuary.

It seems to me if Holy Church really wants to attract more young people to Mass, she should jettison all innovations of the past forty years intended to attract more young people to Mass.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Usurpation

Years ago your Bloviator served a term working as a paralegal for a "white shoe" Wall Street law firm. During a particularly heated stretch of litigation involving a hostile takeover, I received constant requests from associates and partners for a copy of the "Nowicki Memorandum," a seven-inch-thick velo-bound collection of briefs, opinions, exhibits and the like.

Curiosity one day got the best of me (which can be fatal to paralegal) and I asked the only associate on the team I considered a friend, a brilliant if jaded lawyer (who naturally didn't make partner) why this fat stack paper was called the "Nowicki Memorandum." My friend explained: Nowicki was the senior associate on the case. The partner one day asked him to oversee the compilation of useful documents to assist the team in its prosecution of the lawsuit. That Nowicki did, farming it out to lower ranking associates who did all the research, finding the needed documents, copying them and sending them over to Mr. Nowicki. He composed a one-sentence memo to the partner stating (essentially):" Here is the collection of documents you asked for" and placed that one-page memo on top of the seven-inch stack of documents. He then, as my friend put it, laconically and with marvelous precision, "put a big staple through it;" hence the "Nowicki Memorandum."

That less than enthralling incident came to mind when I learned this morning the United Nations intends planting its blue and white flag in shattered Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Readers will recall after the 2004 Asian tsunami President Bush, even before the waters had subsided, ordered in the military, which quietly but swiftly did a spectacular job helping to bring relief to the millions of suffering. In contrast, a week later the United Nations announced it would hold a worldwide "emergency conference" far from the scene, to which bureaucratic hacks would jet in, stay in first-class hotels and discuss the matter. After a few days of jabber the UN proudly announced relief was on the way and pointed to the efforts our military as an example of it; claiming credit for it, stamping their name on it. At the same time, statements were released excoriating Mr. Bush for his niggardly response to the disaster (we can be confident our present President will escape such horsewhipping).

The UN, which is pleading for 560 million bucks in donations, will no doubt attempt a similar scam in Haiti, claiming the credit while charities and the military to all the work. Whereas Mr. Nowicki had at least earned the right to coast a little, having put in several years as an overworked associate, there is no disaster relief effort I can recall in my life in which the United Nations distinguished itself and to which it may legitimately claim responsibility for any success.

Friday, January 15, 2010

When Liberals are Hoist with Their Own Petard...

They get cranky, just like us conservatives:
Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that President Obama's plan to slap a tax on banks is aimed squarely at the city's lifeblood and could turn Manhattan into a crumbling wreck like Detroit.

Bloomberg warned that the plan could bring about the collapse of the city's financial sector and starve New York of revenue it needs to provide basic services.

"The way we pay our cops, firefighters and everybody else in the city is from tax revenues," Bloomberg said.

Maximizing Your Gift

Kudos from your Bloviator to a seemingly unlikely recipient, the Huffington Post; which yesterday reported credit card companies stand to reap bonanzas in fees generated from those making donations to Haitian relief organizations (with one notable exception: Capital One Bank).
As a massive human tragedy unfolds in Haiti, relief organizations are soliciting credit-card donations through their hotlines and websites. About 97 percent of these donations will actually make it to the designated organizations -- but the other 3 percent will be skimmed off by banks and credit card companies to cover their "transaction costs."
Credit card companies must have felt the heat because today, according to the New York Times,
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover — announced that they would waive fees for some contributions aimed at aiding Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake. So more of the money you donate will find its way to the organizations providing relief.
Far be it from this blog to spew leftist verbiage on the "evil, greedy corporations" but it does strike one as mean-spirited for companies to profit handsomely from such a terrible disaster. Read the Times piece to learn the extent each credit card company will waive its fees. Should you still have doubts, and want to get maximum bang for your buck, all legitimate charities will post somewhere on their websites a mailing address to which you may send a check; and do give, it's a blessing to do so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Heard a Voice in a Dream Last Night

...and that voice said to me: "You best renew your Popular Mechanics subscription but for one year." I heeded that voice and boy howdy, I'm glad I did (from SFGate):
Harold Camping lets out a hearty chuckle when he considers the people who believe the world will end in 2012.

"That date has not one stitch of biblical authority," Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. "It's like a fairy tale."

The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011...
(h/t John J. O'Sullivan™)

Monday, January 11, 2010

They're Just Wild About Harry

Democrats of all colors are falling over themselves in their rush to forgive Senator Harry Reid for his patronizing description, recently revealed, of Barack Obama as "light skinned" with "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one" (Reid has since apologized, saying he could have used "a better poor choice of words," leading to risible speculation just what those better choices might have been).

Stalwarts of Democratic party leadership, from the President on down, along with such paragons of racial neutrality as the Rev'd [sic] Al Sharpton and Attorney General Holder, have assured the dim-witted Majority Leader he's okay with them; proving once again that modern Democratic pols will forgive their comrades seventy times seven just about any sin, so long as their commitment to the articles of their faith: abortion, globalism and redistributionism, remain firm.

Reid will probably thus survive, at least until November, when his Nebraska Nevada (oops!) constituents, who seem to be growing increasingly weary of him, turn him out of office; or, more likely, he choses not to run.

UPDATE: Instapundit posts an offensive language flow chart (click to enlarge):

Friday, January 08, 2010

Catholic-Schmatholic

Not to be outdone by the Archdiocese of Boston's elaborate funeral for abortion supporter Edward M. Kennedy, Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna last month gave permission for a funeral mass to be celebrated at St. Stephen's Cathedral (where Mozart's funeral was held) for the Austrian artist Alfred Hrdlicka, an unrepentant and self-described "Stalinist."
This Sunday an Austrian state-artist, Stalinist, blasphemer and pornographer Alfred Hrdlicka was buried in Vienna.

The media hungry vienese Cathedral Priest Anton Faber provided a Catholic burial for the blasphemous artist.

What followed was a cabaret act where many of Vienna's leftist politicians came to mourn in the presence of unappealing bronze statues where Father Faber in his solemn black cope read the blessing for the unrepentant Communist and blessed him with holy water as his red lacquered casket was lowered into the ground with a hammer and chisel atop it in place of the traditional crucifix; meanwhile a gypsy choir sang Communist songs predicting the victory of the Red Revolution...
In the case of the late Senator Kennedy, it has been rightly pointed out he may well have repented of his sins on his deathbed, particularly of his support for abortion, let us hope, and thus received absolution; we will never know, of course, but at least Teddy considered himself Catholic.

Not so with Comrade Hrdlicka, who was an Old Catholic, a nineteenth-century breakaway sect formed by German Catholics upset over papal infallibility, and not in communion with Rome. Since only Catholics may receive Catholic burial rites (duh) we have to wonder how Cardinal Schönborn could possibly have seen his way to approving a Catholic funeral for a non-Catholic--and an atheist-communist to boot. Unless, of course, Hrdlicka not only repented of his sins on his deathbed but was then received into the Holy Catholic Church. I have my doubts.

Thanks to Augustine.

How Great Thou Art

The Jesuits at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, burdened with a bunch of very unused confession boxes along the church's eastern wall, have yanked them out and converted the space to better use, they say: an art gallery.

Well, why not? In this enlightened age of the self, with sin so gratifyingly disappearing (with the good denizens of the City of San Francisco leading the way), negative relics of the past like confession boxes really do seem out of place and anachronistic. Something more life-affirming, something more representative of the love of God for his creatures and their love for him returned, is certainly more in order. Here is what a reporter for the California Catholic, who stopped by to take a look, found on display at the new art gallery in St. Ignatius Church.
The current exhibition is “The Arts of Java and Bali: Objects of Belief, Ritual and Performance.” One of the pieces in the show is an hermaphroditic wooden figurine, with female breasts and a male erection. Another is a hairy demonic figure with a women’s face protruding from its mouth. Another is a brightly colored, scaled, demonic figure.
If by any chance you're confused (I confess I was at first!), don't be. The Jesuits can explain it all. Says the Rev'd James R. Blaettler, S.J., Associate Pastor of St. Ignatius:
In keeping with Ignatius’ understanding that his Constitutions or governing rules for Jesuits would include old principles and new ones, the gallery’s philosophy is to include both traditional religious works and contemporary art in a series of changing exhibitions. Commissioned pieces will enhance the dialogue that take places on a larger scale within the ritual space of the church.
Got that? If pagan images sporting erect penises "enhance the dialogue that take places on a larger scale within the ritual space of the church," thanks be to God! We have it on the authority of St. Ignatius himself...well, Fr. Blaettler, anyway.


Jesus loves me! This I know...

(Thanks be to Banished Child of Eve.)

Dashed Dreams

D.B. Grady in the Atlantic:
After the attack, President Obama remained in Hawaii and enjoyed a Christmas vacation on the golf course. After the attack, National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter took a six-day skiing holiday. After the attack, CIA director Leon Panetta remained in beautiful Monterey, California. The nation, the administration claims, can be governed from afar, and that's probably true. But when terrorists attempt a major strike on U.S. soil, isn't it a good idea to have someone in the White House situation room above the rank of janitor?

Read it all. My only disagreement with Grady's assessment is that the janitor would do a better job. When Barack Obama declared his candidacy three years ago the economy was still roaring and domestic terrorism seemed to be on the wane. With socialistic globalist sugarplums dancing in his head, it must have seemed to him all he must do was elbow George Bush out of the Oval Office, breezily enact his Utopian schemes then bask in the adoring thanks of a grateful world.

Unfortunately, by the time he moved into the White House ugly reality had protruded; which has not only revealed Barack Obama for the foolish dreamer he is but also as an extraordinarily little man, flailing about piteously while wrestling with events utterly beyond his control. How disappointing for him. God, he must hate this job.