Sunday morning open thread and book post

Today wasn’t a bad day (at all), but it was a very, very tiring day.  I meant to post this afternoon, but I simply dropped in my tracks when I got home.  If I get a break from family tomorrow, I’ll be back in business.  Until then, here’s a post that’s both an Open Thread and an opportunity for you to tell me what you’re reading.

To start the book theme off, I’m reading Frank: The Voice.  It’s well written, but Frank Sinatra is a difficult personality and it’s actually hard to read more than a chapter or so at a sitting.  It doesn’t help that, try as I will, I simply don’t “get” Sinatra.  I adore music from his era, but I don’t adore him.

Watcher’s Council results for 4/29/11

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t flattered by this week’s results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Totalitarian revolutions always end up eating their own *UPDATED*

One of the hallmarks of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Nazi Revolution (because, although the ballot was used in 1932, it was a revolution), the Hussein Iraq takeover (which was also a form of revolution), and other totalitarian takeovers is that the paranoid leadership style inherent in totalitarianism invariably means that the revolution starts to eat its own.  At a certain point, the person or cabal that scrabbles to power starts fearing the people who created that leadership position, and sets out to destroy them.

Sadie alerted me to the fact that the Obama Administration, which has worked a sea change in government, is beginning to turn against the journalists that put it there.  The story I’m thinking of today is that of Carla Marinucci, a San Francisco Chronicle political reporter.  Both she and the newspaper have been in Obama’s corner from the beginning, and are consistently hostile to (and often, at least through omission) dishonest about Obama’s opponents, both at high political levels and at the grass roots level.

Mere sycophancy, however, isn’t good enough for the new regime.  Keeping in mind the dictum that “I made you and I can break you,” the regime is doing a bit of purging:

The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights.

White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.

The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci – who, like many contemporary reporters, has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times – pulled out a small video camera last week and shot some protesters interrupting an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel.

She was part of a “print pool” – a limited number of journalists at an event who represent their bigger hoard colleagues – which White House press officials still refer to quaintly as “pen and pad” reporting.

But that’s a pretty Flintstones concept of journalism for an administration that presents itself as the Jetsons. Video is every bit a part of any journalist’s tool kit these days as a functioning pen that doesn’t leak through your pocket.


The President and his staffers deftly used social media like Twitter and Facebook in his election campaign and continue to extol the virtues and value. Except, apparently, when it comes to the press.

So what’s up with the White House? We can’t say because neither Press Secretary Jay Carney nor anyone from his staff would speak on the record.

Other sources confirmed that Carla was vanquished, including Chronicle editor Ward Bushee, who said he was “informed that Carla was removed as a pool reporter.” Which shouldn’t be a secret in any case because it’s a fact that affects the newsgathering of our largest regional paper (and sfgate)and how local citizens get their information.

What’s worse: more than a few journalists familiar with this story are aware of some implied threats from the White House of additional and wider punishment if Carla’s spanking became public. Really? That’s a heavy hand usually reserved for places other than the land of the free.

The folks at the Chronicle are very surprised.  I’m not.  I saw this coming a long time ago and suspect (although I’m too lazy to check right now) that I blogged on precisely this same point at some time in the past.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  Check out Ed Driscoll’s much more complete post on the subject.

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land,
available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon or Smashwords.

Watcher’s Council submissions this week

As always, good stuff:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Is it a forgery? *UPDATED*

Gateway Pundit has amassed a fair amount of evidence that the birth certificate is a manipulated document.

If the information Gateway Pundit has collected is correct, it seems to be a peculiarly inartfully done forgery.  Within minutes of looking at the document, people familiar with pdfs and Photoshop and illustrator programs were able to unmask various layers that would not exist in a straight scan, but that would exist in a document that had data added, deleted or moved around.

Which leads to the big question:  Why?  Why would Obama do a cheesy forgery?

Thomas Lifson thinks, and I agree, that this is another Obama head fake.  He’ll let people froth themselves into a frenzy, and then produce an actual hard copy that comports in all particulars with this manipulated pdf.  No one will remember that he produced a forged (or manipulated) document in the first instance.  Instead, the media will play up the fact that Obama’s opponents are racist, paranoid loonies, as evidenced by the fact that they doubted a document that was, in fact, the real deal.

I want to address here jj’s point that the birth certificate, fake or not, shows conclusively that Obama, even though born in the U.S., was not a citizen insofar as the Constitution demanded.  The reason was that, at the time Obama was born, his father’s alien status and his mother’s immaturity meant he did not rank as “natural born citizen.”  Technically speaking, jj is absolutely right.  But there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell that any court, let alone the Supreme Court, is going to let a legal technicality stand in the way of the fact that a purportedly true long form birth certificate shows that the man was born on American soil.  I’m therefore not going to let myself get emotionally invested in that argument, correct though it may be.

UPDATE:  I Own The World weighs in on the crude document manipulation involved.  Again, it’s the crudity more than the forgery that’s interesting.  It’s impossible to believe that the Obama crew cannot do better.  That they didn’t is deliberate.  We’re being played, although sometimes one has to play out a hand regardless of a known set-up.

(Please note that, per I Own The World, which refers, without a link, to NRO, some of the anomalies can be explained by running the original PDF through an optical character recognition mode.  That explanation, however, does not explain all anomalies, which just deepens the mystery.)

UPDATE II:  Fascinating video:

Honest to God, I feel as if I’m being gaslighted, but I don’t know by whom (Obama or the Birthers).  I’m disinclined to trust the Obama crowd but, if the Birthers really are monomaniacs, I’m scared to be sucked into their delusion.

The two things, though, that we know with certainty are that Obama lies often and is a lousy, lousy president.