What passes for theater and theater reviews amongst New York’s self-styled finest

Ruby-Rae-Spiegel-200x282America’s upper classes are now and have always been insecure. Lacking a hereditary nobility, social strivers have had to work hard to distinguish themselves from the masses when the only distinguishing feature, really, is cash. In the 19th Century, worried rich people formed “the Four Hundred” to distinguish the social “in-crowd” from the hoi polloi. America’s nervous upper class, distinguished now, as it was then, by money, not heredity, is still trying desperately to distinguish itself from those gun and God lovin’ American masses upon whom Obama heaped such scorn.

Our social “betters” go to Ivy League schools where earnest (and wealthy) Marxist professors assure them that only they and designated minorities (admired only at arm’s length, of course) are worthy, while the remainder of America’s citizens are crude, thrusting, greedy, and uncultured.  Once having graduated from their expensive, precious academic incubators, they buy lavish apartments in select neighborhoods in big cities, or sprawling homes on large estates in lush suburbs.  Their children’s elementary and high schools cost just as much annually as a year at a decent college.  The wives, if they choose not to have a job, do charitable work for two different types of causes: (a) social issue causes (climate change and environmentalism, mostly) or (b) for poor people overseas.  Apparently American poor are undeserving of their largess.

Oh, and one other thing:  They all read the New York Times, subscribing proudly to its complicated and often clashing mixture of social Progressivism, ardent (yet always geographically distant) support for people of color, and support for extreme wealth.

Had America’s modern-day Four Hundred been reading the Times last Friday, they would have seen a review that is a perfect distillation of everything that America’s self-identified elite stands for, and I don’t say that as a compliment.  The play, Dry Land, takes place in a Florida high school locker room after swim practice, as two young teens cement an unexpected friendship when the one asks the other to beat the living fetus out of her.  And no, “fetus” is not my coy substitution for the “F” word.  It is, instead, the baby that one carries within her.  This is a play about a violent DIY abortion in a state that requires parental consent before an abortion can be performed on a minor.  The playwright is a 21 year-old Yale senior.

Let me say this again:  A graduate of one of America’s finest universities has a play off-Broadway, the plot of which involves one girl physically abusing another, pregnant girl, resulting in a deep friendship.  Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

Certainly the New York Times saw nothing wrong about the play.  Ben Brantley, the Times’ chief theater critic, wrote an excited, loving, almost completely incoherent review, lauding it as one of the best plays in New York.  It did not surprise me to learn that Brantley is gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that . . . although I can’t help believing that his Progessive gayness (as opposed to, for example, a conservative gayness) informs his passion for a disturbing play focused upon an act that, in any other context than a Broadway stage, would justify arrest for assault with intent to cause bodily harm.

Or maybe it’s not incoherent at all.  Maybe it’s just my rigid, conservative, hate-filled, gun-lovin’ mind that had me scratching my head when faced with this prose:

The two girls don’t know the protocol for sitting on someone’s stomach for medical reasons. So they improvise, awkwardly and goofily, with one planting her rump on the midsection of the other, which leads to both of them convulsing into giggles. The girl being sat upon laughs so hard that she wets herself.

They’re having a good if uncomfortable time. Most likely, so are you. Until the girls remember that what they’re trying to achieve is a do-it-yourself abortion. Even then, the giggles linger, though with a clammy, premonitory chill.

[snip]

For, yes, “Dry Land,” a Colt Coeur production directed with rippling fluidness by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, is about abortion. No, that’s not correct. It’s about the complexities of friendship and the fears of the future that grip kids arriving at the threshold of adulthood. It is not — repeat not — an Abortion Play in capital letters, in the solemn, soapy manner of many a made-for-TV movie.

“Punch me.” Those are the first words you hear in “Dry Land.” The speaker is Amy (Sarah Mezzanotte), who wears a flashy bathing suit and a matching skintight air of worldly insolence.

She’s talking to Ester (Tina Ivlev), a ganglier, more callow type, who does her best to oblige by hitting Amy in the stomach. But it is not an easy assignment. It feels like kind of a joke, doesn’t it, or the manifestation of a hostility that Ester, a recent and still unsettled transfer student, surely doesn’t want to show.

The review goes on in this vein.  The only real takeaway I had is that Brantley thinks it’s tremendously exciting that a 21-year-old Yalie wrote about teenagers punching at and peeing upon each other.  (FYI, the New York Post reviewer also liked the play, in part because of its pro-abortion message.  The review is less shrill, more intelligible, and still leaves me feeling that this play may be clever, but it’s also grotesque.)

I may be hypersensitive to Brantley’s arch and meaningless language because I recently completed another back-to-school night at my kids’ high school. After four years of these things, I’ve discovered that it’s always the English class that gets my hackles up.  (The rest of the of the school is delightful.) These English teachers, many of whom like to boast to their students about their past drug and alcohol use, freely acknowledge that they don’t bother to teach English grammar.  Maybe that’s a principled stand (“the kids should have learned grammar before they came to my class”) or maybe it has to do with the fact that their own own semi-literate screeds too often come complete with run-on sentences that encompass entire paragraphs; vicious cat-fights between subject and verb that go beyond mere disagreement; infinitives so split they practically sound like German verbs; and enough ambiguities to delight any litigator’s heart.

As you might expect, these teachers also don’t teach anything about the beauty of the English language. Instead, as I’ve written before, they go for cheap pop psychology and, always, Catcher in the Rye tops the list. I don’t remember whether CITR is well-written or not. I simply remember from my own high school days finding the author’s and the teacher’s obsession with sex almost as unpleasant as Holden Caufield himself. CITR is taught so that English teachers can have deep psychological discussions about their sexual feelings. That may be a worthy goal, but it doesn’t teach American students to read, write, or think.

Things used to be different.  Once upon a time, English speakers had a shared culture based on the eternal wisdom of the Bible and Shakespeare. When writing his classic The Great War and Modern Memory, Paul Fussell was much struck by the sophisticated way in which all classes in that war used the English language:

Looking back on a bad day spent worrying over a forthcoming night attack, Captain Oliver Lyttelton, educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge, says: “Well, that day dawdled away. Ovid and his mistress would not have addressed the gods that day: O lente , lente currtte noctis equi.

Remembering going up the line in a crowded third-class railway car, Private Stephen Graham, hardly educated at all, says:

Huddled up in a dark corner of the carriage a-thinking of many such occasions in life when I have parted for the unknown, listening to the soldiers’ tales, it recalled the mood of Clarence’s dream when he was pacing on the hatches of the ship at night with the Duke of Gloucester, talking of the Wars of the Roses [an allusion to Shakespeare's Richard III, describing a horrible nautical nightmare].

[snip]

An allusion more proper to a sailor than a soldier, we may think, but still very pointed and effective , and certainly astonishing in view of the circumstances and the insecure idiom of the first half of Private Graham’s sentence. Indeed , not the least interesting thing about his statement is the impression it gives of having been written by two different people: a virtual illiterate, who conducts the proceedings down to recalled; and a man of letters, who, because Shakespeare is now the focus, takes over at that point with impressive accuracy and economy.

Equally striking is General Sir Ian Hamilton’s literary behavior at Gallipoli. He has been expecting four crucial French divisions to arrive in the autumn of 1915. Told that they will be postponed a month, he is shattered. The terrible word postponed keeps sounding in his ear, and he thinks of Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” and of

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell.

Aware that this postponement will very likely mean the death of the Gallipoli expedition, he turns to his diary and writes: “Postponed! the word is like a knell.” It is a gesture which, together with Captain Lyttelton’s and Private Graham’s, suggests the unparalleled literariness of all ranks who fought the Great War.

[snip]

By 1914, it was possible for soldiers to be not merely literate but vigorously literary , for the Great War occurred at a special historical moment when two “liberal” forces were powerfully coinciding in England. On the one hand, the belief in the educative powers of classical and English literature was still extremely strong. On the other , the appeal of popular education and “self-improvement” was at its peak, and such education was still conceived largely in humanistic terms.

[snip]

There were few of any rank who had not been assured that the greatest of modern literatures was the English and who did not feel an appropriate pleasure in that assurance. (Fussell, Paul, The Great War and Modern Memory (pp. 155-157). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.)

Fussell readily acknowledged that America has never had such a self-conscious regard for the English language, but it used, at least, to have a reverence for English well taught and beautifully used. Now, it’s self-styled elite rave about precocious playwrights writing about Southern teens bonding over fetal bludgeoning.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/2/2014 Quick, Down, & Dirty edition

Woman writingI’ve got about 30 tabs open. They’re memory hogs, so I want to share their contents with you as quickly as possible so that I can shut them down and look for more stuff. Hold onto your hats, ’cause this is going to be quick:

Voices inside administration challenge Obama’s finger-pointing and feigned ignorance re ISIS

It’s old news already that Obama has no strategy for dealing with ISIS, despite its speedy metastases. The way he puts it, he was kind of taken by surprise by this JV team’s breakout growth and, anyway, everybody else in his administration is giving him trouble.

Funnily enough, that’s not what everyone else in the administration says. According to those paying attention and not playing golf, ISIS’s growth was foreseeable and predictable. Moreover, the military, which will have to clean up the mess (and it will be messy) is “apoplectic” about Obama’s refusal to deal with the issue.

Benny Avni explains that Obama’s fundamental problem may be that he refuses to acknowledge that ISIS is genuinely evil.

Obama may not be strategy-free; he may just be other-focused

As did many others, Daniel Greenfield took note of Obama’s disgraceful weak-horse announcement that he hasn’t come up with a strategy yet for ISIS, despite the fact that ISIS has undone all of America’s work in Iraq; that it killed and dispossessed thousands of Christians; that it killed James Foley (and has since killed Steven Sotloff; and that it has declared war on America. Greenfield, however, doesn’t think Obama is without a strategy. His theory is that Obama just isn’t that into American (or even civilized) interests abroad. Where it counts — race relations, golf scores, etc. — Obama is totally in control.

And no wonder Obama feels comfortable focusing solely on the issues that matter to him, rather than those that matter to the nation. After all, as David Harsanyi explains, if you’re a Democrat, there’s nothing Obama can’t do – Constitution be damned!

Obama’s narrow focus may explain why, even as ISIS beheads Americans abroad and promises to do so at home (a reasonable threat given Obama’s open border policy), Obama’s FBI can issue its annual threat assessment and forgets to include Islamic terrorism.

As I wrote to a friend of mine wondering what it will take for Americans to view ISIS as a direct threat to themselves, “Let’s just say that, on my ‘real me Facebook page, the same Progressive friends who went Facebook-ballistic about the possibility that women would have to continue to pay for their own birth control (just as they have always had to do), have been utterly silent about ISIS. They know what their priorities are, and an existential Islamist threat doesn’t even get on the list, let alone make it to the top ten.”

ISIS puts the lie to the meme that Islamists are oppressed Third Worlders

One of the problems for the Obama administration this time around is that the jihadists refused to conform to the Leftist stereotype.  You know that stereotype.  It’s the one that assures us that all America-haters have a valid right to hold that position because they’re American-oppressed, poverty-stricken residents of the Third World.  After all, who can forget Michael Moore’s post-9/11 claim that al Qaeda is precisely the same as the Minutemen who fought in the American Revolution. This time, though, we know in advance who the Muslim terrorists are — and they are affluent, spoiled, thrill-seeking brats created at the nexus between Islamic and Western culture who revel in violence, blood, and perversion.

In Belgium, Muslims are preparing for a takeover

Belgium, once an artistic center of Christian, European culture, and now the center of the European Union, is being readied for a Muslim takeover.

Not all Muslims want to get with the sharia program

Some Muslims are recognizing that there is a problem with their faith, but few of them speak out. Glenn Mohammed, though, is one of the few and the brave. An Australian attorney, he was sufficiently disturbed by the Muslim community’s opposition to Australia’s proposed new anti-terrorism laws to write an opinion piece calling for Islam to reform:

The Muslim community is quick to stand up and use its democratic right to protest against being singled out. It feels under attack by the government. Maybe it is, maybe it is not, but the government is able to explain and justify the proposed legislation.

When will the Muslim community see the other side of this argument and realise that yes, we are under attack. Our faith is under attack. Our faith is being eaten up from within by fundamentalist elements around the world who twist it to suit their political agendas and interpret it to make their case. To them it’s nothing but a tool to control people. They justify their actions through our faith.

When will Muslims stand up and accept that yes we have problems within our faith. Maybe a few more problems than other faiths, but sure, we have problems. They don’t just affect us as Muslims, they affect our friends, their families and our neighbours. They affect a society that welcomes us here, treats us as equals and gives us the opportunity to live a decent and dignified life. Democratic Australia gives us a voice and tries its best not to judge us.

The issues that we face within our religion range widely from individuals brutally beheading people in the name of establishing an Islamic Caliphate to, at a local level, female genital mutilation.

Muslims need to be able to discuss these issues openly and denounce barbaric behaviour. Instead, we choose to remain silent and then criticise a government that tries to make Australia safer. We use democratic values such as the right to equality, to claim the existence of discrimination, racism and Islamophobia.

How fitting:  OJ Simpson set to become a Muslim

OJ is a violent and angry man. OJ is a murderer. OJ is in prison. All of these are perfect ingredients for a prison conversion to Islam. Let me remind you, once again, what my cousin, the former prison chaplain had to say on the subject:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

Winston Churchill on Islam

Filipino forces probably saved their own lives by ignoring UN commands to surrender

When Filipino UN forces found themselves surrounded by Syrian Islamists, the UN issued a clear command: Surrender!

The Philippine government countered that command and, instead, Filipino troops fought their way out. By doing so, they undoubtedly spared themselves a horrific, possibly deadly, captivity; showed just how craven the UN is; and showed that trained troops can take on the Islamists, who’s greatest strength is their fanaticism, not their military prowess.

The Parents of a slain Navy SEAL call on Obama to resign

It’s always a tragedy when a vital, dynamic, competent, powerful, incredibly well-trained, patriotic young man dies in battle. It’s an even greater tragedy when his death occurs under the command of a leader who has nothing but disdain for such warriors, and one moreover who, whether because of a traitorous affinity for the enemy, ignorance, carelessness, or ennui, engages in policies that make each such death a waste, achieving nothing for our nation’s benefit. No wonder, then, that slain Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn’s parents have written a viral letter demanding Obama’s resignation:

After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.

Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.

That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.

As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.

Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.

Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.

But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.

I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.

Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is also on your shoulders.

You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.

And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.

You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.

America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road.

Obama’s not just a bump in the road; he’s a genuine failure

Charles Kesler remembers when people were calling for Barack Obama to be added to Mt. Rushmore. In a wonderfully written article, he explains that problems with Obama’s presidency militate against that type of elevation.

Political correctness and the refusal to see evil

You’ve probably already heard about the scandal in Rotherham, England.  In that Yorkshire town, social services allowed well over a thousand British children to become sex slaves for the town’s Muslim sex trade. Why? Because these government employees were scared that they’d be charged with racism if they protested against the men of the “Asian” community. (For “Asian,” read: “Pakistani Muslim.”) Allison Pearson writes a scathing editorial about political correctness that’s become an accomplice to evil.

We’re not immune, of course. The Washington Post published an op-ed in which an African-American studies professor says that Ferguson isn’t about black rage. Instead, it’s all about angry white people, such as the judge who had the temerity to tell the jury to apply the law in determining whether George Zimmerman acted in self-defense when Trayvon Martin tried to pound him to death on a pavement.  (And keep in mind that this was a judge who was very hostile to Zimmerman.)

Reading the op-ed is like reading Alice Through the Looking-Glass, only without the charm. This is quite obviously a women who has never traveled outside the US. Had she left American shores, she would have realized that America is probably the least racist country in the world.  I think she could benefit from some time spent reading Keith Richburg’s Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa.

Will the California drought affect California politics?

One of the pressing issues for years in California’s Central Valley, once the produce capitol of the world, has been water rights. Farmers in the valley kind of want that water to grow crops so that they can both feed their families and feed the world. Democrats in California want to keep the water away from farmers in order to ensure a healthy population of Delta Smelt, a teeny, undistinguished, but nevertheless environmentally threatened fish.

Historically, Hispanics in the Central Valley, because of identity politics, have hewed Democrat. The Delta Smelt battle, however, puts them on the same side as the farmers because the Hispanics are also seeing their livelihoods threatened.

The battle between environmentalists and those who make their living off the land is heating up as California experiences one of its terrible cyclical droughts (they happen every 30 years or so, and this is a bad one). One Hispanic California Assemblyman has spelled it out:

Rep. David Valadao (R-Bakersfield) lashed out at Democrats, including congressional opponent Amanda Renteria, on California’s urgent drought problem, saying Democrat policies will fail to provide relief for millions of Central Valley residents living with severe water shortages.

“Our forefathers expected droughts, we went through droughts, and we always prepared for the next one because there was always another one coming,” Valadao told The Hill this week. “And that’s why we built the infrastructure, the reservoirs, the canals, and all those types of things.”

“Since the ’80s, they’ve started making it harder and harder to use that infrastructure and to send the water out into the ocean instead of allowing it to come down here and help these communities survive, and that’s where the change is,” he continued. “We can’t make it rain, but it wouldn’t have been as bad if we’d been allowed to pump water and put it in storage… they’re saying fish are more important than the people who live here.”

One wonders if Hispanics in the Central Valley will be able to look at their knee-jerk Democrat affiliation, realize that it harms them, and rejigger their political orientation. I did just that and I feel better for having done so.

The climate change con continues to unravel

I guess it would probably help if the same Hispanic farm workers could be brought to understand that climate change is a scam. Indeed, as the Daily Mail trumpeted, the Arctic Ice cap, ignoring Al Gore’s apocalyptic (and, for him, profitable) predictions about vanishing ice, covers a vast territory and is extremely thick.

We are most certainly stewards for our environment, and we owe it to ourselves and our children to avoid pollution.  Climate change has nothing to do with those laudable goals.   Inside, it’s about population and capital control. One hopes that, as more and more data backs up the righteousness of the position held by “deniers,” perhaps the environmentalists’ power will wane. I certainly hope it wanes in the courtroom when Michael Mann’s case against Mark Steyn is finally heard. Mark Steyn has the facts so, in a just world, he should win on the law.

Another Jew abandons the New York Times

As you know, more than a decade ago, I realized there was something wrong with the mainstream media when I found myself sitting in my car, screaming at my radio as NPR misreported stories about Israel . . . and always with an anti-Israel slant. A reform rabbi who was, of course, a lifetime New York Times reader finally hit his end-of-tolerance moment with the Times biased coverage of Operation Protective Edge.

Rabbi Richard Block gives chapter and verse about the Times’ disgracefully biased coverage. Every Jew should read it.

The Jews’ secret weapon of mass destruction

Maybe I shouldn’t say “secret weapon of mass destruction.”  Maybe I should say that the Jews have developed “a secret weapon to unleash mass hysteria” . . . and Daniel Greenfield knows what that weapon is: A hammer, some nails, a bit of wood, a little stucco, etc. Yes, it’s the dreaded “Killer Israeli House.

Two excellent articles from Richard Baehr

Richard Baehr, who co-founded American Thinker, is one of the most astute political analysts around. That’s why it’s a great day when he has two articles published:

Hillary Is In No Rush, about Hillary’s decision to delay any official announcement of a presidential candidacy.

War on Jews: Europe and now America, about the Democrat Party’s carefully cultivated war against Jews in America, something that should concern all good people. We’re about a decade behind Europe when it comes to anti-Jewish malevolence, but are gaining ground fast.

I urge you to read both.

A new feature from the Watcher’s Council

The Watcher’s Council actually has a full name: Watcher’s of Weasels. We weasel watchers have decided that we should start voting for a weasel of the week:

Hello and welcome to the Watcher’s Council’s new feature, ‘Weasel Of The Week’ feature, where we award the golden plastic Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be publicly slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

And while we’re talking about the Watcher’s Council, be sure to check out the forum, which discusses favorite and least favorite sports. I was so crazy busy this weekend, I forgot to participate. Had I done so, I would have said my favorite is martial arts, because it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done (and never mind the skeletal damage I’ve sustained), and that my least favorite is baseball, because I find it about as exciting as watching grass grow . . . in a drought.

Federal agents with dirty minds; or, to a hammer, everything is a nail

In New Jersey, every year, a father has taken pictures of his two adopted daughters hugging each other as they travel on a ferry. It’s for one of those family albums where you see the kids grow up in the same pose year after year.

This year, though, the father got a little bit of a surprise when a random agent from Homeland Security, who just happened to be on the ferry too, suggested that he watch himself because it looked as if he was engaged in sex trafficking with teenage Asian girls. Either the man’s family dynamics with his adopted daughters were really peculiar (and I did once see a man at a swim meet who kept stroking his 14-year-old daughter, which was creepy), or our federal government is getting carried away with its oversight of American citizens. Tell me what you think.

Read the College Boards’ Leftist framework

Stanley Kurtz has been sounding the alarm about a total Leftist takeover of American history studies in high school. Go here, and get links to learn more about what’s happening. As he says, the more people who know about this travesty, the harder it will be for the Leftists in charge of AP history to make it happen.

Marriage help is on the way

All of you here know my friend Earl Aagaard, who has written a thousand smart comments, written too few wonderful guest posts and, unbeknownst to you, provides me with invaluable editing and content help behind the scenes. His daughter, Laura, and her husband, who are fairly young marrieds with young children, have started up a regular podcast about married life, called Marriage Startup. In their most recent podcast, they interview Earl and his wife, Gail, who have been married for 45 years. You can believe me when I say it’s good stuff from people who understand love, respect, and commitment.

Obama is so not funny

Although Kyle Smith’s article is about Obama, it’s not about politics but is, instead, about culture, which is why I placed it near the end of this round-up. Smith tackles the fact that comedy writers have been unable to find any humor in Obama, not because he’s a pathetic, narcissistic, vicious, cowardly little man set on destroying America, but because he’s too perfect for them to touch.

Bob Hope is one great little dancer

Friday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesGood stuff today. Really good stuff. Here goes:

Kevin D. Williamson says that the IRS scandal is the worst scandal ever in American politics, since it fundamentally undermines our form of government. I’m inclined to agree with him and would even go so far as to wonder whether he’s been reading my blog.

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And while I’m on the subject of destroying our form of government, Barack Obama is again investigating whether the power to issue executive orders is actually the power to re-write entirely federal legislation to suit his own political purposes. The administration claims it’s contemplating this exercise of power because the current program is controversial — but it’s only controversial because there are a lot of people who want to grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants. Here’s the deal in America as it once was: if you didn’t like the law, you changed it through the legislative process. Only in banana republics do you let the Dear Leader ignore the law and do it his way.

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Even if common core works perfectly in some pristine education program on an Ivy League campus, it’s a disaster in real life. H

Here’s a squirrely idea from me: One of the things that totalitarian governments do is separate children from the parents, either physically or emotionally. (Remember that Hitler’s Youth would turn in their own parents for infractions.) To the extent that common core makes it impossible for parents to help elementary school aged children with what used to be basic math problems, you have to wonder if a goal, or a pleasant by-product, of the Common Core program is that it makes children see their parents as stupid, unhelpful, and unreliable.

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Hillary lies again, this time about Iran. You’d think Hillary would eventually wise up to the fact that, in an internet age, it takes minutes, not years, to expose blatant lies. Of course, she’s counting on the media to shelter her. That’s naive too. In 2008, the media dropped her in a New York minute when Barack came along last time around. It even seems as if Bill’s dropping her, and Keith Koffler amusingly ponders why that’s so.

Career overseas civil servants should also think about dumping Hillary. The DiploMad explains that she (and her whole State Department) broke the special bond between America and her employees overseas.

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More and more people are catching on to the fact that the Left is entirely adolescent in its approach to itself and to world governance. Matthew Continetti applies that adolescent theory to the New York Times, which is caught up in a firestorm made up of allegations that it fired Jill Abrahamson, its first female executive because she complained about wage discrimination. (And isn’t that irony lovely from a paper that carries the Democrats’ water on the wage discrimination campaign issue?)

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Everything you need to know about life in Obama’s America: The same Pentagon that is actively or passively responsible for the VA program that intentionally killed veterans through neglect is working hard to get a sex change operation for convicted traitor Bradley Manning.

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Meanwhile, the insanity on America’s college campuses continues. This time, a college is dropping “hump day,” because the camel theme (complete with a camel petting zoo) is seen as disrespectful to Arab culture.

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What it’s like to be a voter in Chicago.

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And finally, a look into the ugly heart of ProgressiveLand:

Benghazi is not news at the Times; Michael Sam’s sexuality is

Michael SamI know this is a politically incorrect thing for me to say, but I couldn’t care less about Michael Sam’s sexuality.  If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be news at all, or it would be at the bottom of page three in the sports section. I’m not homophobic; I’m homo-disinterested.  Peculiarly enough (nowadays), I measure people by attributions other than their sexual orientation.

The New York Times, however, considers Sam’s announcement that he is gay to be major news, not non-news, and has given him lavish coverage (which I haven’t bothered to read, because I really don’t care).  As far as the Times is concerned, a gay college football player is front page news:

New York Times on Michael Sam

Think about this:  in the world of the New York Times, it’s minimally newsworthy that (a) the Secretary of State failed to provided necessary security for an Ambassador in a tremendously dangerous region, where he and three others subsequently died; (b) that the Secretary of State and the President both seem to have been AWOL while the Ambassador and three others were dying; (c) that the Secretary of State, the President, and the entire administration lied about events leading up to and including these four deaths; and (d) that the Secretary of State loudly proclaimed that none of this mattered.  The New York Times also thinks this same Secretary of State would make a stellar president.  (And maybe that’s true, if you like your presidents to be utterly unprincipled and un-accomplished.)

Considering that the New York Times styles itself the paper of record, wouldn’t you love to ask the petty, squabbling, arrogant staff there, “Just what record are you talking about there?”

Monday morning mash-up — and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of laundry to fold, but that doesn’t mean I can’t highlight a few things that caught my eye.

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Until our relatives moved away from Los Angeles, twice a year we used to make the trek from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and then back up again.  In the early years, when we hit the central valley, we went through productive farmland as far as the eye could see.  In the last few years — including the Bush years — we often found ourselves driving through a barren Dust Bowl.  It wasn’t a natural drought (which we in California are suffering through this year).  Instead, it was a government-created drought, brought about by rabid environmentalists who have successfully insisted that saving a very small fish is more important than feeding a nation.  Charles C. W. Cooke has more.

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The Military must view troops by the content of their character and their commitment to the United States, instead of just looking at beards and turbans.  Standards are certainly necessary for military discipline and cohesion, but it’s a stupid military that turns away the best people because of minor deviations from the uniform.

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The New York Times has always been a Leftist mouthpiece, but it prided itself on being a dignified Leftist mouthpiece.  Back in the day, it was “the Gray Lady” rather than the “wide-eyed, stoned conspiracy theorist.”  At PowerLine, in one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject, John Hinderaker goes into full lawyer mode to analyze and destroy the Times over-the-top anti-Koch editorial — an editorial that seemed to have emerged without editing from the bowels of The Daily Kos.  I should add that, while Hinderaker’s demolition job is masterful, it’s going out to the choir.  The people who should be listening to him . . . won’t.

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While we’re on the subject of the far Left Times, P. David Hornik correctly identifies the Times’ Thomas Friedman as one of America’s worst purveyors of old-fashioned, “Elders of Zion” type antisemitism.

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From the Proving The Point Department comes an Atlantic blog comment elaborating on Rand Paul’s pointed remarks about Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior regarding women.  Adam Chandler starts by quoting Rand Paul’s comments, and then analyzes them briefly in the context of whether Hillary should be forced to pay for Bill’s sins.  He then quotes from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban, who vociferously defends Hillary.  Chandler wraps up with a paragraph meant to point out that Bill didn’t really get a pass for his sexual misconduct:

Other yet might contend that President Clinton is hardly the recipient of a free pass with regard to l’affaire Lewinsky, even all these years later. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press controversially incorporated the affair in a fact-check it conducted of Bill Clinton’s convention speech. And, as we mentioned, when Bill Clinton was named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council just a few weeks back, radio silence was hard to come by.

One has to wonder if Chandler read what he wrote.  If Bill really didn’t get a pass for his sexual misconduct, which ranged from affairs, to sexual harassment, to rape, to predatory behavior against young girls in the work place, then he wouldn’t be speaking at the 2012 Democrat National Convention or be named “Father of the Year.”  He wouldn’t be the dynamo who fronted much of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Democrats wouldn’t be excited about the fact that a Hillary presidency gives them a Bill Clinton repeat.  Of course he got a free pass.  The fact that a few articles rake up his significant misdemeanors means nothing when the Democrat establishment still embraces enthusiastically this old lech.  Bill Clinton — a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st Century.

The New York Times’ dirty history regarding the Holocaust

She’s a high school senior, but damn! if she doesn’t give a stunningly good talk about the way in which the New York Times, despite knowing about the Holocaust, not only downplayed it, but effectively kept American policy away from helping Europe’s besieged Jewish population:

There is no anti-Semite worse than a Jew.  (See als0 Liberty Spirit’s J’Accuse!)

Hat tip:  Richard Baehr

The Big Lie is already making the truth irrelevant; or, Republicans are once again waiting for the manure shower

Biff manureA friend sent me a very funny email.  I don’t know if the numbers are precisely accurate, but I do know that they’re accurate enough to serve a larger truth, namely America’s overwhelming turn in 1942 from a peacetime nation into a fully armed, fully operational wartime nation. In this way, the facts stated distinguish themselves from the Progressive concept of “truthiness,” which means “fake, but [God alone knows how] accurate”:

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.

To me, living in my  head as I do, a head filled with news and political commentary, the above is both funny and devastating.  It puts into perspective the pathetic disaster that was the Obamacare exchange launch and should remind everyone that a government this bad at one thing is almost certainly also a government incapable of performing the most basic functions . . . such as protecting us from our declared enemies.

Immediately after getting the above email, I read that the New York Times is working hard to re-write the Benghazi slaughter so as to clean up both Hillary’s and Barack’s reputations. And I know, and you know, that even though the New York Times is losing subscribers like mad, that fact is kind of irrelevant, because the Times still the news source for all sorts of other newspapers across America.  Go ahead.  Check out your morning local rag.  You’ll see that at least one story comes direct from the Times or from the Washington Post or from the Associated Press.  As Conan proved in a funny, fluffy video, no matter the outlet, the story’s always the same.

The Obama administration is now boasting that one million people signed up for Obamacare in December.  Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s not.  The two things we know with certainty are (1) that the media won’t press for the truth and (2) that the media will work as one in the coming months to shill for Obamacare.  The glitches are over; the wonders are on their way.

Yes, we who have not drunk the Kool Aid know that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t matter.  All that the media hustlers need to do is keep those plates spinning until the day after the November 2014 election.  After that, they’re home free no matter what happens.

And please don’t look to the Republican Party for help.  It’s so busy trying to take out the Tea Party (it’s bad for business, doncha’ know?) that it’s ignoring the most wondrous political opportunity handed to it since . . . well, since never before.  Rick Moran sounds the warning, but don’t expect the money guys in the GOP to hear that tocsin:

Are Republicans smart enough to counter this propaganda with nightmare stories about sky-high premiums, the cancellation of perfectly good insurance policies, website errors, and other tragic experiences that ordinary people have had with Obamacare? Democrats couldn’t accuse them of cherry picking bad news when they’re cherry picking good news.

This is a long-term war to be played out over the coming years. What I don’t see yet is a commitment from the national Republican Party to engage the resources necessary to counter the Democrats move for move. There doesn’t appear to be a plan in place which means they’ll be improvising on the fly. That just won’t cut it.

With the Obamacare website now largely operational, the first phase of the battle is over. But unless the GOP stays on its toes, they are likely to be buried by the administration PR machine.

The Leftist PR machine is gearing up hard.  Moreover, with this video as a graphic illustration, please remember that the agile Democrats are already on the move, while the Republicans are the ones sitting in the car:

Andrew Breitbart was right about the culture

My daughter went to our local library this weekend and brought home a bunch of the library’s recent acquisitions for teens.  The inside jacket blurb describes them as fantasy or high school relationship books.  My daughter said to me, “I don’t know why it is, Mom, but they all turn out to be about lesbians.”  Since she’s neither L or G or B or T or Q, I’m not concerned that these books will “turn” her.  Certainly, though, they’re creating an intellectual dynamic that tells teenage girls where to look for real romance.

I had that in mind when I looked at the New York Times’ movie review page today.  I don’t read reviews anymore, and I never go to movies, and I seldom watch movies, but I occasionally glance at the review page to see what’s going on.  I was much struck by the page’s content:

1 2 3 4 5

One gets the feeling that filmmakers and the New York Times are advancing an agenda.

Andrew Breitbart was right that, because of media’s far reach, culture and politics flow downhill from it, with downhill being the operative word.

I may have to revisit my opinion about Banksy, since he’s challenged the craven New York Times

My post title is somewhat misleading, because I actually don’t have an opinion about the artist Banksy.  You can’t revisit what never existed.  Up until about ten minutes ago, I didn’t care about him one way or the other, neither to like nor to dislike; nor to respect nor to revile.  For me, his name is familiar; everything else about him has, in the past, fallen into the “whatever” category.

However, Banksy’s opinion about the building rising at Ground Zero in New York suggests that he’s more than a “whatever.”  It’s not just that the piece demands that the City itself not cry craven at Ground Zero but, instead, bravely assert itself in the wake of 9/11 (never mind that it’s taken 12 years even to start building something).  What really makes Banksy’s latest move unusual is that he calls out The New York Times for its own craven behavior when it comes to an opinion piece demanding better for New York.

Banksky printed at his personal blog an editorial that the NYT refused to run.  Why?  One can guess.  Banksy just states the facts. “Today’s piece was going to be an op-ed column in the New York Times. But they declined to publish what I supplied. Which was this…”

Banksy's banned New York Times opinion piece

In the same post, Banksy includes some new art work illustrating censorship:

Banksy censorship illustration

Our suspicion is that the Times wants desperately to pretend that 9/11 never happened because it is an invitation to cognitive dissonance.  Islam is not a religion of piece, al Qaeda is not gone, and Barack Obama hasn’t made America more safe.  An op-ed demanding that the new tower trumpet America’s triumph over a foul ideology is simply unacceptable to a media institution drowning in dhimmitude.

So, when it comes to Banksy, there’s definitely more there than has met my eye. I I’m prepared to respect any society darling who has the decency to attack The New York Times.  Most people in society desperately crave the Times’ approval, so it’s very rare indeed for an insider to speak out.

Barack Obama and the new world of the permanent campaign

I wasn’t paying attention, but it seems that the New York Times now has a dedicated Hillary reporter, even though the elections is more than three years away.  Does this mean that we can finally abandon the pretense of media impartiality?  This far in advance, having that kind of round-the-clock, individualized coverage from what many still consider (Gawd knows why) the premier paper in America, amounts to three years worth of non-cash campaign contributions.

Here’s one question for you, though:  Do you think that a dedicated reporter will be able, not just to cover, but to cover for Hillary for an entire three years?  It’s almost impossible to believe that, considering their own actions, their cronies’ actions, and their Foundation’s financial shenanigans, Hillary will be able to keep her nose clean.

And I haven’t forgotten that the National Enquirer, which doesn’t lie anymore about famous figures since the Carol Burnett lawsuit, claims that she’s working on a tell-all biography in which she finally admits that she’s been lying to Americans for decades by pretending she’s not a lesbian.  In that regard, it’s not the lesbianism that I mind, it’s the lying.  More than that, having her hold such a potentially embarrassing secret while she was First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, raises the distinct possibility that unfriendly world players, such as Russia, have been able to blackmail her, her husband, and her political allies, over the years.

By the way, Seth Mandel has a much deeper, and more thoughtful, post about the ramifications of the Times’ decision.

A bad day for Democrats

I mentioned that the only news I get here comes from the New York Times digest that’s handed out to interested passengers. I don’t have a copy at hand, but if my memory serves me, this is what I read:

1. House Republicans are standing firm against the President’s effort to spend his way out of the endless recession. The NYT thinks this is a bad thing. I think it’s great except that Senate Democrats will not agree to any of these cuts. Stalemate awaits us at summer’s end. The media will ensure that the public blames the Republicans for trying to stop a spendthrift president from bankrupting America.

2. Al Qaeda is resurgent in Iraq, the country that Obama abandoned after our troops spilled their blood there to achieve victory. Obama purports to love Lincoln so much, but I believe that Lincoln would have taken one look at Obama and understood immediately that Obama is the type of leader who snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. What Lincoln would not have understood is that this doesn’t come about because of incompetence. Instead, defeat is Obama’s ultimate goal.

3. The Democrats’ best minds are trying to overcome the fact that America’s young people, many of whom are under employed or unemployed have no intention of finding ObamaCare by buying overpriced health insurance that they don’t think they need (especially because a large percentage of them get to extend their adolescence through to 26, before they’re kicked off of Mom’s and Dad’s policies. Without them, of course, ObamaCare is a shell.

Incidentally, the NYT frames the problem as a risk to Obama’s “legacy” (the NYT’s word, not mine). Whether this situation creates a risk to America itself doesn’t seem to matter to the hyper-partisan Times.

4. Recent revelations about Anthony Weiner’s latest round of sexcapades have made him so toxic that even the NYT has been forced to disown him as a viable mayoral candidate. Weiner’s current stance is that he will not retire from the contest. I’m left wondering if this creates an opening for the Republican mayoral candidate in New York. Heh.

5. This isn’t about the NYT, but it occurred to me that, if Obama wants to emulate Norway’s virtually free health care and its absolutely free higher education, he should follow the Norwegian example and “drill, baby, drill.” Americans might be more amenable to the Norway’s “socialism” if we too were floating away on seas of black gold.

Reading the paper left me feeling that Democrats are not having a good time of it right now. I’d like to gloat, but because Democrats hold two of three levers of power (White House and Senate), with a Supreme Court resting in Roberts’ damaged hands and Kennedy’s unprincipled ones, the current situation means that, whether Democrats win or lose for the next couple of years, our nation still suffers.

Sigh. . . .

The New York Times touts a flawed study on ageism

I may have mentioned that just about the only news I have access to on this trip is the New York Times. I have Internet, but it’s so expensive that I write things offline (such as emails to family or posts to the blog) and then sign on just long enough to email or post. No leisurely online reading for me.

What the cruise ship does provide though is a six page leaflet that can be described as “the best of the day’s New York Times.” (Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the “moron” part?).

In today’s “best of,” the New York Times reported on a Princeton sociology study that purported to show age discrimination. The deal was that three different actors representing three different age sets (young adult, middle aged, and old) were each given two identical scripts and videotaped performing those scripts. In half the scripts, the men compliantly said they’d share their wealth with relatives; in the other scripts, the three actors assertively said that they would not share their wealth.

The researchers than showed the various videos to 137 undergraduates (that is, there were six different videos of three different actors that were shown to 137 people under 22). At the end, the researchers proved to themselves that most of the people were neutral about the young and middle-aged men whether they were compliant or assertive, but didn’t like the old guy being assertive. The researchers’ conclusion, which they’ve bravely announced to the world is that ageism means nobody likes a mouthy old guy. Age discrimination is REAL.

My conclusion is that this research once again shows that there’s nothing scientific about either “social science” or university level psychology. Can you spot what’s wrong with the study? I can count a bunch of problems.

First, the study has too many variables. The study thinks that because the three actors spoke off of identical scripts, the only variable is age. In fact, the researchers completely discounted the fact that different people are more likable than others. The mere fact that they relied upon three actors, rather than putting aging makeup on one actor, means that the study doesn’t just have age variables. It also has personality variables. You only have to watch Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet and Kenneth Branaugh’s (spelling?) to realize that the same words make a very different impression depending on who speaks them.

Second, the sample is too small. As best I can tell without either a calculator or scratch paper (and based upon the NYT’s slightly muddled description of the study) an average of slightly more than 21 people saw each of the six videos. That means that the study reached its ageism conclusion based upon only twenty people’s opinions of the assertive old guy.

Finally, the study didn’t get the reactions of hundreds of people of varying ages. Instead, it was looking at UNDERGRADUATES. These are the same kids who, in the 1960 chanted “Never trust anybody over 30.” In other words, in a culture that a general matter doesn’t explicitly value age (unlike, say, traditional Asian cultures), this is a population that is very specifically predisposed to view old people somewhat negatively.

Ultimately, this study proves nothing about ageism in the workplace. All it proves is that, if you’re a 70 something guy in a roomful of 20-somethings, they’re probably not going to be your best buds. I could have told you that for free, without the need for an expensive Ivy League study.

I’m not claiming ageism doesn’t exist. For example, in a heavily computerized environment, it’s reasonable to believe that the old guy or gal who just can’t master the computer is going to be viewed negatively. I’m just saying that this stupid little study, boldly touted in a newspaper always looking for fresh victims in need of newly created government “rights,” is a testament to foolishness, credulity, and institutional bias, not to mention lousy science.