Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Perhaps the most ill-chosen sports metaphor of all time ...

'Bama Football coach compares team's 21-14 loss to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. I kid you not:


Saban says 'Bama loss a 'catastrophic event'
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's latest loss has coach Nick Saban searching for ways to motivate his team.

Citing the 9-11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor, Saban said Monday his team must rebound like America did from a "catastrophic event."
In this case, that would be an embarrassing 21-14 loss Saturday to Louisiana-Monroe.

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."

Alabama's just getting ready to face No. 25 Auburn, its biggest rival, on Saturday.

A Saban spokesman said the coach chose the 9-11 and Pearl Harbor references to illustrate the challenges facing his team.

"What Coach Saban said did not correlate losing a football game with tragedy; everyone needs to understand that. He was not equating losing football games to those catastrophic events," football spokesman Jeff Purington said in a statement to The Associated Press. "The message was that true spirit and unity become evident in the most difficult of times. Those were two tremendous examples that everyone can identify with."

Sorry, Mr. Spokesman, but your flexible P.R. skills are not going to save Saban from his flagrant arrogance. Keep in mind Saban is this same conceited f*ckwit head coach at the Miami Dolphins who assured his team and bosses that he wasn't leaving for Alabama, while at the same time arranging for the press to cover his departure (via a 'Bama booster's private jet) for the announcement of his acceptance of helm of the Crimson Tide.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gore's Nobel No Boost to Presidential Bid

Well this must take the gilt off the Nobel Peace Prize for the former Veep.

Despite winning the exceedingly misnamed gong, Al Gore has seen no boost in the number of people who think he ought to run for President. The Gallup Organization, which skews consistently Left in its polling, claims the following results:

Asked if they would like to see the former vice president run for president in 2008, people said no by a 54 percent to 41 percent margin, according to a Gallup Poll. That was about the same as last March, when people opposed his running 57 percent to 38 percent. Even among Democrats there was no visible surge of interest in Gore. In the new survey, 48 percent said they would like him to run and 43 percent said they would not. Last March, Democrats were in favor of him entering the race 54 percent to 41 percent -- statistically the same as the new poll. Gore, who won the prize last Friday for his work raising awareness of global warming, has not said he is a candidate for the White House but has never definitively ruled it out -- including for a race in the future.
The second bolded point is especially telling: even among Democrats there was no visible surge of interest in Gore. That has to be devastating to Gore, who has never given up the ideal of the Presidency, the role for which his parents prepared him from childhood. His energy in all things "Climate Change" comes from the desire to vindicate his lost bid for the presidency, and you can bet your child's college fund that he wanted the Oscar (which he did not win, BTW) and the Nobel to propel him into the White House.

I wonder if this will mean he re-doubles his efforts toward ratification of Kyoto or if he will draw down to lick his wounds?


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mexico pays to educate Mexicans in the U.S.: won't do so at home

From the W-T-F? Department: http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_091907_education_mexican_curriculum_.ede64566.html

Some Oregon schools adopting Mexican curriculum

Some Oregon high schools are adopting Mexico's public school curriculum to help educate Spanish-speaking students with textbooks, an online Web site, DVDs and CDs provided free by Mexico to teach math, science and even U.S. history.

The Oregon Department of Education and Mexico's Secretariat of Public Education are discussing aligning their curricula so courses will be valid in both countries. Similar ventures are under way in Yakima, Wash., San Diego, Calif., and Austin, Texas.

"Students come to us with such complex issues," said Tim King, director of Clackamas Middle College and Clackamas Web Academy, where a virtual course using Mexico's learning materials got started this week.

"We've had to change in order to fit into each school scene, become more complex and open ourselves up to new situations." (Editor's Note: Is Oprah in charge?) Oregon officials say the approach is intended as a supplement to keep students learning in Spanish while also gaining English skills. Until now, Oregon school districts generally have relied on bilingual aides or used Spanish material different from the English material others are studying.

"That's not enough," said Patrick Burk, chief policy officer with the superintendent's office of the Oregon Department of Education. He said the idea is minimal disruption for immigrant Latinos.

"The availability of resources is astounding," said Burk, who flew to Mexico with Oregon curriculum officials in August to discuss making equivalency standards official. "We're able to serve the students so much better if we're working together."

Why are American schools seemingly the last to understand what we all know: that the greatest capacity human beings have for the acquisition of language is when we are children? Immersion is the best way for these youngsters to learn English, and yet Oregon, Washington, California and Texas are not only putting English on the back-burner, but are subverting their own curriculum in favor of Mexico's. Mexico's!

Ah, but the author saves the best for last ...

Mexico has made its national curriculum available to communities across the U.S. since 2001 to encourage Mexican adults and youths to continue an education often abandoned back home due to limited resources. (Emphasis Mine)

Mexico is spending money educating Mexican and Latinos in the U.S., but they won't guarantee educating students in Mexico??? Outsourcing at the expense of their own children??? Viva Mexico!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jesse Jackson is a race-baiting scumbag

Yes, I said it.

Anyone who "attends" here regularly (and I really do wish you'd comment!) knows I am no fan of Senator Barack Obama. I think his candidacy is a "Cult of Personality", as his statements on both foreign policy and domestic issues betray his not being ready to assume the mantle of the President of The United States. A lesser quibble of mine is his lamentable tendency to play the race card, and I believe he has embraced his African-American ethnicity at the expense of his multiracial heritage.

Perhaps the irony is too rich here. I do not, however, take any pleasure in the following headline:


Jackson criticises Obama for "acting too White".

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Tuesday on Democrats seeking the 2008 nomination for president to give S.C. voters “something to vote for” when they go to the polls in January ... Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white” in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles’ arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

“If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said after an hour-long speech at Columbia’s historically black Benedict College. “Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,” said the iconic civil rights figure, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1965 Selma civil rights movement and was with King at his 1968 assassination.

Later, Jackson said he did not recall making the “acting like he’s white” comment about Obama, stressing he only wanted to point out the candidates had not seized on an opportunity to highlight the disproportionate criminal punishments black youths too often face.

Jackson also said Obama, who consistently has placed second in state and national polls behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, must be “bolder” in his political positions if he is to erase Clinton’s lead. Langtry's Note: "Bolder" equals "Anti-White".

Jackson is the only African-American ever to carry South Carolina in a presidential primary election.

Jealous much, Jesse?

Granted, the moment one recognizes their political fortunes have 'played out' has to be humiliating, especially when one has entertained lifelong delusions of grandeur and attempted to acquire them, in the most literal way, by any means necessary (read "Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson" by Kenneth Timmerman:
http://www.amazon.com/Shakedown-Exposing-Real-Jesse-Jackson/dp/0895261081/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/105-9290247-2395630?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190228282&sr=8-2 )

That doesn't excuse emphasizing the tired, frankly dangerous fable that to achieve, excel and 'represent' is to be "White". It's time for the media to stop embracing Jackson as the nations's most prominent civil rights leady, and their complicity in helping to perpetuate Race Fictions must stop. Yesterday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

If September's Vogue is 840 pages, and 727 pages are adverts ...

shouldn't the magazine be sold at a discount?

I love how the cover says 840 pages of fearless fashion (see here http://holycandy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/siennamiller-vogue.jpg ) ** thanks to Candy @ www.holycandy.com ** when, in fact, I'm getting exactly 113 pages of content created by something other than their advertizers (how much of that is Table of Contents, Editor's Note, and Contributors?). Seriously: I'll bet that that's less than the editorial content of the average issue, and yet the September issue costs more!

And sorry, Anna Wintour, but the issue is boring. Staid, knit-witted (the section on handknit pieces is hilarious, and not in a good way), and dull.

Friday, August 03, 2007

James Lileks on the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist (and eminent Blogger) James Lileks has a continuously updated column that's a must-read for anyone who is interested in the Minneapolis I-35 Bridge collapse from a local perspective. I have mixed feelings about this story: I don't, for example, believe that the United States is living on borrowed time with regards to its road and bridges infrastructure. Some bridges need repair now, to be sure: but to conflate one incident with a imminent nationwide danger is exaggeration at best, fear-mongering irresponsibility at worst.

Of course, who is doing the fear-mongering?

National media is guilty first and foremost, with local media in cities other than Minneapolis following a close second. Quite simply, there is no reason for Chirs Cuomo to reporting live from Minneapolis, and even less reason for Chicago's local NBC-5 station to be sending their investigative reporter to do live feeds from the scene. I understand that there is ever-increasing pressure to fill newscasts with stories, whether they come from publicists hawking studies and celebrities or the NTSB.

What Lileks points out is the key query: "At what point is the story news, and at what point is it just Disaster P*rn****phy?"

The following excerpt says it all (http://buzz.mn/?q=node/2176)

10:22 AM Headline over at KSTP:

“Hear the screams from inside the bus.”

You know what? I don’t want to hear the screams from inside the bus. I don’t want to hear someone’s kid shrieking in panic, begging her mom to come save her. Why would I?

This is the point in the story where we start to debate what’s news, and what’s just disaster-pr0n. I’m not making the comparison here, because they’re different events in every way. But nothing about 9/11 hit me as hard as the memorial wall on Grand Central Station, a collection of all the fliers and MISSING posters people had stuck up at the site after the Twin Towers were destroyed. They were mute, handmade pleas, and believe it or not, they didn’t need a voice over that said “for now the family sits and waits, wondering what the news will be” or whatever generic tag gets slapped at the end of the grieving-survivor boilerplate story.

I understand why they do those stories, but I have a hard time watchng them. I don’t want to wonder if the cameraman’s wondering how close he should go on the face to get the tears, because on one hand this person is experiencing great private grief, but on the other hand the light is hitting that teardrop just perfectly. Mostly I want them to leave the people alone. I don’t need to be told what they’re feeing. I can guess.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Question about "Racial Profiling"

Drudge linked to an article in Yahoo! News about pressure being put on Maricopa Country, Arizona Sheriff Arpaio to end a phone hotline for reporting information about illegal immigrants. Latino "leaders" anf "faith-based" groups are angry, saying such a hotline is an exercise in "Racial Profiling".

PHOENIX - Latino leaders and faith-based organizations want Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to disconnect the hotline he created for people to report information about undocumented immigrants, saying it raises the chance of racial profiling.

But Arpaio said Wednesday that he won't disconnect the hotline and stressed that deputies would investigate people only if authorities had probable cause.

The hotline began last Friday and has received about 300 messages, which include tips about family and friends, employment, day laborers, drop houses and crank calls.

Arpaio said officials are analyzing the tips and officials have not acted on any of the calls.

"There's nothing unconstitutional about putting up a hotline," Arpaio said, pointing out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have similar hotlines.

Here's where my question comes in ...

Isn't "Racial Profiling" when you profile someone solely on the basis of race when no crime is, in fact, taking place? Since when did "Racial Profiling" come to encompass reporting law-breakers who happen to be primarily, but not exclusively, members of a particular ethnic group?

Has "Racial Profiling" become yet another ruse employed by Leftwing groups to eliminate not just courses of action available to law enforcement, but discussion of of issues where race has a a subordinate role?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"It's A Different World"

Granted, my blogging has been less than light lately. What brings me out of semi-retirement? The alternative universe lives in by John Forbes Kerry.

Via Breitbart.com http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=3274, comes the amazing perspective of Sen. Kerry on South Vietnam post-U.S. pullout:

There was never a bloodbath after the U.S. left.

I kid you f**king not.

Sen. John Kerry said during a C-Span appearance that fears of a bloodbath after the US withdrawal from Vietnam never materialized. He says he's met survivors of the "reeducation camps" who are thriving in modern Vietnam.

An award-winning investigation by the Orange County Register concludes that at least 165,000 people perished in the camps.

Kerry's delusion is clearly in service of his party, as the Democrats' political fortunes are tied in to its ability to force a U.S. withdrawl from Iraq. But if you look at the C-Span video (featured in the Britbart link), he seems perfectly sincere, and completely unaware of what peoples' reaction is going to be to that assertion:

"Is he out of his f**king mind?!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fred Thompson Delivers a Lethal Smackdown to Michael Moore!

Thompson to Moore from breitbarttv on Vimeo

Over at Wizbang I came upon the story of Fred Thompson's response to Michael Moore's challenge to a debate (a a damn shame it is that Fred doesn't have time for it ... I'd pay Barbra Streisand concert ticket prices to see Fred mop the floor with Michael!). The challenge came after Thompson wrote a rebuttal to Michael Moore's newest Mock-umentary, "Sicko", which purports to show how superior Cuba's Hollywood-lauded healthcare system is to that of the United States. The National Review piece can be found here . Perhaps it's this quote, among all the other equally lethal comeuppances that got Moore's goat:

You might have read the stories about filmmaker Michael Moore taking ailing workers from Ground Zero in Manhattan to Cuba for free medical treatments. According to reports, he filmed the trip for a new movie that bashes America for not having government-provided health care.

Now, I have no expectation that Moore is going to tell the truth about Cuba or health care. I defend his right to do what he does, but Moore’s talent for clever falsehoods has been too well documented. Simply calling his movies documentaries rather than works of fiction, I think, may be the biggest fiction of all.

While this p.r. stunt has obviously been successful — here I am talking about it — Moore’s a piker compared to Fidel Castro and his regime. Moore just parrots the story they created — one of the most successful public-relations coups in history. This is the story of free, high quality Cuban health care.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Does anyone in DC remember the Marielitos?

Kim Priestap has a great post over at WizBangBlog regarding a proposal to detain the Guantanamo Bay facility and replace it with a US-based detention facility at Quantico, Virginia. As Kim states:

Democrat: Bring Guantanamo Detainees to the US

What a stunningly bad idea. James D. Moran (D-VA) wants to bring the worst, most dangerous terrorists this world has ever known, whose goals are to kill as many Americans as possible, to America. Some of these detainees are still in Gitmo because they are so dangerous that their own countries don't want them back. Yet, Moran thinks it would be a great idea to hold the Gitmo detainees in Quantico.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

A Virginia Democrat seeking to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would favor bringing detainees to secure East Coast locations, including Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Rep. James P. Moran, D-8th, said yesterday that he favors bringing Guantanamo detainees who have been charged with offenses to military brigs in the jurisdiction of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"That's the most conservative circuit court" in the nation, said Moran, a senior member of the House defense appropriations subcommittee. "So nobody can charge [the detainees] won't get a speedy and disciplined trial."

The ideas he floated provoked attacks from Virginia Reps. Eric I. Cantor, R-7th, the chief deputy GOP whip, and Jo Ann Davis, R-1st, whose district includes Quantico.

Virginians are not happy with Moran's idea, either, and I don't blame them one bit:

However, some residents near Quantico were taken aback by the possibility. "Nobody wants that kind of stuff here. Would you? Leave them where they are," said John Rogojan of Stafford County. His home along state Route 610 in northern Stafford is across the road from the Marine base's border,. The base includes land in Stafford and neighboring Prince William County.

It doesn't matter how secure Quantico is.The whole concept of having terrorists like those at Guantanamo who want to murder Americans on a massive scale here in our country is scary and dangerous.

House Republican Eric Cantor responded to Moran's idea:

"Virginians neither want nor need hundreds of terrorists with connections to 9/11 groups like al-Qaida in our commonwealth," Cantor said.

"This shocking lack of judgment demonstrates that liberal Democrats do not understand that these terrorists want to kill Americans and destroy our way of life. These dangerous, terrible people should not be allowed into our country."

He's absolutely right. Not only do the the Democrats not understand the terrorism threat, but I really question if they believe there is a terrorism threat.

Congressman Moran is on Fox and Friends now and is explaining how important it is to provide these evil, murderous terrorists due process. That's really his biggest concern? He thinks providing these terrorists due process is more important than protecting Americans from these terrorists by keeping them out of this country? He also said the jihadists use Guantanamo as a recruiting tool, but that's complete bunk. There weren't any Islamic terrorists in Guantanamo prior to 9/11, yet Khalid Sheik Muhammad had no problem recruiting hijackers for the 9/11 attacks. Nor were there any terrorists in Guantanamo when terrorists struck World Trade Center the first time. Or when they attacked our embassies in Africa. Or when they struck the USS Cole.

As for myself, I see a clear correllation between this idea and the situation the U.S. found itself in 23 years ago. It's funny how this asshat (Congressman Moran / ed.'s note: change that "a" to an "o" and the irony is perfect!) doesn't remember the riots caused by disenchanted (& imprisoned) Cuban Marielitos.

For those of you who don't recall, in 1984 Fidel Castro opened up the Cuban port at Mariel, and told everyone who wanted to leave to, essentially, "get out while the gettin's good." Not just political dissendents were allowed to leave: Fidel opened the doors of the prisons and institutions for the criminally insane as well. Those who weren't convicted felons or (violently) mentally ill were allowed to stay in the U.S., but the doors that had been opened by Castro closed as soon as the boats left Mariel, and the U.S. was left to deal with those who were denied immigration status yet could not be sent back to Cuba.

Need I tell you that riots ensued in the institutions (in Louisiana and Georgia) where the disallowed Marielitos were housed, and that these same people had to be housed in Level 4 prisons on 23-hour lockdown? Need I also tell you how expensive this has been?

Let's face it: Guantanamo is cost efficient, legal and the conditions are probably superior to where these detainees will be housed once in the U.S., Quantico included.

In the end, I do believe Guantanamo will be closed as a political statement. With that in mind, I will enjoy hearing the Dems explain why they are spending ten times the amount of money to house these detainees here the U.S. they spent to keep them in Guantanamo.

I also eagerly await their excuses when the burden of this "humanitarian gesture" is to be shared by the municipalities in which these detainees are imprisoned (and I believe it will be in multiple locations, not just in Virginia). Imagine the uproar as those same Dem's contituents realize how there is now less money to go to them.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Project(RED) is a Failure

According to this article in Advertising Age, the celebrity-centered Project Red is a miserable failure (http://adage.com/article?article_id=115287).

As author Mya Frazier notes:

It's been a year since the first Red T-shirts hit Gap shelves in London, and a parade of celebrity-splashed events has followeed: Steven Spielberg smiling down from billboards in San Francisco; Christy Turlington striking a yoga pose in a New Yorker ad; Bono cruising Chicago's Michigan Avenue with Oprah Winfrey, eagerly snapping up Red products; Chris Rock appearing in Motorola TV spots ("Use Red, nobody's dead"); and the Red room at the Grammy Awards. So you'd expect the money raised to be, well, big, right? Maybe $50 million, or even $100 million.

Try again: The tally raised worldwide is $18 million.
There are many reasons for the failure of the Project(RED) campaign. Inferior-quality products selling at a premium over Gap's price point was the key issue in the clothing retailer's soft sales. Over-focus on celebrity instead of the charity's beneficiaries was also a large part of the problem: could anyone say what Project(RED) was actually about? No. But they could tell you it had something to do with Bono and Oprah, and maybe Gwyneth, too. Let's not even get started on the idiocy of American Express' "I am an African" campaign staring Giselle Bundchen and the aforementioned Ms. Paltrow (my cynicism about that campaign transcends rationality).

Motorola and Apple comprised the remaining Members of the Project(RED) quadrille: the former as a way of reviving its sagging RAZR sales amid the absence of new products, esp. in comparison to its closest competitor, high-end cell phone manufacturer Nokia. Apple, IMO, recognized early on that its Project(RED) contibution, the limited edition red Nano, was underperforming (a "fire sale" at it's Michigan Avenue store revealed many of them for resale, the reason for which was labelled as ((and I love this)) "Remorse") and put their participation on the back-burner. Smart move.

Around the time of the campaign's extravagant launch, I read an interview with one of the founders of Project(RED). He stated that creating a conduit for charity funding wasn't his real goal. Rather, (*and I paraphrase*), he wanted to engender a new business model whereby people were motivated to spend money by the cassociation of an item with a charitable cause (no matter how tangential the connection).

Project(RED)'s manifesto (see here: http://www.joinred.com/manifesto.asp ) bears this out:

RED is not a charity. It is a business model. You buy RED stuff. We get the money. Buy the pills and distribute them. They take the pills, stay alive and continue to take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities.

If they don't get the pills, they die. We don't want them to die. We want to give them the pills. And we can. And you can. It's easy.

All you have to do is upgrade your choice.

While the founders of Project(RED) may think consumers weren't tuned into the blatant cynicism of such a statement, it would appear that in this, too, they underestimated their consumer.

So what do the charities think about endeavors such as this?

Non-profits are in fact quite concerned about what Project(RED) represents for the future of traditional giving, and whether such enterprises are a short-term or long-term trend:

Mark Rosenman, a longtime activist in the nonprofit sector and a public-service professor at the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, said the disparity between the marketing outlay and the money raised by Red is illustrative of some of the biggest fears of nonprofits in the U.S.

"There is a broadening concern that business is taking on the patina of philanthropy and crowding out philanthropic activity and even substituting for it," he said. "It benefits the for-profit partners much more than the charitable causes."

High minded as RED may have seen itself, I think consumers saw through the "raising awareness" ploy. After all, 'awareness raising' seems to be all about a consumer experience, whether it is buying a pair of jeans or walking the Avon 3-Day Walk Against Breast Cancer. People are finding out that very little of the money they spend (or raise, as in the case of Avon) is actually seeing it's way to the charity, and they are getting hip to the fact that this may be just a high-minded appeal to conspicuous consumption.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Good News from the Anti-Celebrity Front

My friends know that I am offended by the degree to which our culture worships celebrity, followed closely by its worship of "celebrities". Yes, there is a distinction: we take fame to be the greatest of life's achievements. If it is we ourselves who are famous, all the better, but we'll gladly follow those who have it if we ourselves aren't the possessors of its elusive charms.

The hallmark of our veneration of celebrities (and, let's admit it: celebrity transcends actors, musicians, and sportsmen and now includes businessmen and entrepreneurs as well) has been the rise of the celebrity tabloid. People (an Enquirer in glossy, magazine form), In Touch, Us, OK!, Hello, In Style, Star, Enquirer, Vogue, etc. have enjoyed booming circulations, and most new title launches of the last ten-to-twenty years have been devoted (primarily) to actors and other entertainers.

That trend appears to be at an end. As this New York Post illustrates: "MAGS' CIRC SAGS" http://www.nypost.com/seven/02182007/business/mags_circ_sags_business_paul_tharp.htm.
The largest drops in circulation are amongst the oldest names in the biz, including Readers' Digest, down nearly 20% in circulation, followed closely by Woman's Day and Redbook. Each are relics of a 1950's sensibility, to be sure: however, once venerated titles such as Vogue (down 6%) are also in major trouble.

The most volatile segment is celebrity titles. Once the trend among new magazine launches, celebrity magazines are clearly in a downward cycle:
Bonnie Fuller, a high-profile editor who's reigned for years over a declining Star, could face fallout over the magazine's 15.9 percent plunge in newsstand sales in the second half this year from a year ago. Newsstand sales account for about half the Star's 1.5 million circulation, and its hands-on editor, Joe Dolce, already walked the plank this week, replaced by Candace Trunzo, from sister title Enquirer. Fuller is editorial director of the Star.
The biggest winners in the changing marketplace:
Among the winners, Meredith's Better Homes & Gardens saw circulation rise 6.8 percent, BusinessWeek was ahead 25.4 percent, CondeNast Traveler gained 19.9 percent, and Time Inc.'s Cooking Light advanced 8.9 percent.
In other words, home decor, travel and cooking, and the corresponding appeal to appreciating what we have is winning out over living vicariously through actors and celebrities and the corresponding desire for elusive things that won't make us feel happy or fulfilled within the construct of our real lives.

To borrow a phrase from Martha Stewart: That's a good thing!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ellen Goodman: Denying Global Warming = Denying The Holocaust

I wish I could say that I was shocked by the extent to which people will politicize Global Warming into something that no longer bears any resemblance to reality.

I wish I could say Ellen Goodman was an intelligent woman, and not a tool.

Her latest, in the Boston Globe, is among the most astonishing examples of moral equivalence I've ever seen: in this essay, Goodman equates denying Global Warming to denying the Holocaust.

Frankly, Goodman's metaphor makes more sense turned on its head than it does on its own merits:

  • Across the country, anyone who disagrees with the Global Warming (GW) "Mission Statement" (that man alone is responsible for any and all climate issues) is hounded out of university and municipal positions, made subject to slander and libel, and their reputations destroyed.
  • U.S. and European climatologists who say "the jury is still out on human-caused GW" are removed from their posts by politicians who knowledge of the issue is anything but scientific.
  • In the National Socialist Party of the 1930's Germany, anyone who disagreed with tactics of the party leadership and the SS were removed from their positions, denied the right to practice their trade, exiled, and, in many cases, sent on to forced labor in death camps: the Nazis regularly shut down debate, ostracized those who would disagree with them, and in many cases killed them because they wouldn't abide by the party line.

I grew up in Skokie, Illinois, where many of my schoolmates didn't have great-grandparents, and in many case grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, because the Nazis had exterminated them. Goodman's sloppy, self-righteous attempt (see 2nd paragraph references to ownership of a Prius, saintly purchase of environmentally-friendly lightbulbs, and cliched use of the 'carbon footprint' canard) to save her pet issue by making such a grave equivocation offends me in the greatest possible way.

By The Way: Did you know that the world's worst polluters (China, India, Russia & former Soviet Socialist Rebuplics) are exempt from any and all restrictions on their own emissions, and "negative emissions" countries like Iceland are allowed to increase their emissions b/c their emissions don't yet equal that of other nations currently operating at an "emissions parity"?

Do you still think GW isn't about politics and economic redistribution 1st, and the environment 2nd?

Of course, Hurricane Katrina and its devastation of New Orleans (a Category 1 storm ((the weakest level of hurricane strength)) when it reached NOLA) is employed herein as a product of Global Warming, and not the failure of its improperly built and poorly maintained system of levees.

I hope Goodman catches hell for this not only making an insane, fallacious and offensive analogy. The fact that it is couched in such inane, self-aggrandizing papp should embarass the author, as well as other Lefties who are quick to use the same twisted logic in pleading their case.


No change in political climate (Boston Globe, February 9, 2007)

On the day that the latest report on global warming was released, I went out and bought a light bulb. OK, an environmentally friendly, compact fluorescent light bulb.

No, I do not think that if everyone lit just one little compact fluorescent light bulb, what a bright world this would be. Even the Prius in our driveway doesn't do a whole lot to reduce my carbon footprint, which is roughly the size of the Yeti lurking in the (melting) Himalayas.

But it was either buying a light bulb or pulling the covers over my head. And it was too early in the day to reach for that kind of comforter.

By every measure, the U N 's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. The fact of global warming is "unequivocal." The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. Which is about as certain as scientists ever get.

I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

But light bulbs aside -- I now have three and counting -- I don't expect that this report will set off some vast political uprising. The sorry fact is that the rising world thermometer hasn't translated into political climate change in America.


Ellen Goodman's e-mail address is goodman@globe.com.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is Barack Obama a 'Cult of Personality' phenomenon?

Here in Chicago, Sen. Barack Obama has been The Celebrity Politician for a several years.

I'll be honest in that I've always found some of the public regard for him to border on prejudice, and that hasn't altered with Obama's growing public profile. In fact, I think it's gotten worse: witness Joe Biden's controversial (and inherently, condescendingly biased) endorsement of Obama as a "clean, articulate black man", especially when compared to previous African-American presidential candidates.

I also am bothered by the fact that the most common refrain of Obama supporters is that he will, quote-unquote, "bring the country together".

Seriously, what does that sentiment really mean?

After all, are not dictators popular because they "bring their countries together" (albeit by force)? And please don't take that to mean that I am comparing Obama to a dictator. Rather, I am pointing out that someone who possesses a "Cult of Personality" is likely to be seen as being the savior of a country/culture that many of its citizens see as "adrift", or in need of a unifying cause. The fact that such a unifying cause is to be found in one person should be of instant concern: this is how dictators such as Napoleon, Hitler, Franco, Mao, etc. come to and maintain their power.

Here's just few reasons why I am a skeptic:

Exhibit A: Obama's 'returning king'-like visit to Kenya. I'll excuse him the photo op visit to Robben Island, but the manufactured, 'second coming of The Messiah' coverage of his visit to his Father's long-left-behind village was bizare and disturbing. "Who does that Brother think he is?" was something I heard from a number of my friends.

Exhibit B: His appeal to Hollywood, and his need for their approval. Hollywood is a place in which a presidential candidate must be a "Star": in other words, a "Cult of Personality" is necessary to capture their meandering attentions. This will not go over well with middle class Americans, who inherently distrust Hollywood on anything other than their ability to entertain them: "Tell me a story, but keep your political views to yourself, please!"

Exhibit C: The media, first and foremost here in Chicago, has granted Obama carte blanche. The Chicago Sun-Times Washington correspondent, Lynn Sweet, writes Tiger Beat-style mash notes about the junior senator from Illinois. This is the case with nearly every other correspondent, both in print and broadcast media. One day after accounts of Obama's sweetheart real estate deal with indicted Blagojevich svengali Tony Resko appeared, the story was swept under the rug. The fix is clearly in, and no one (at least until the Democrat nominee is chosen at the convention) will subject Obama to the type of scrutiny that is de rigeur for presidential candidates. Instead, we get correspondents like the aforementioned Sweet gushing about how locker room talk at the East Bank Club confirms that Obama has "almost zero body fat."

I have never liked the way Obama tries to play it both ways, exaggerating his African-American heritage and, for all effect and purpose, disavowing his white mother. In focusing solely on his ethnicity as a black man, he makes himself vulnerable to condescending, patronizing adoration as exhibited by Democrats like Biden, (Edward) Kennedy, etc., two men whose circles never interract with a black man or woman outside of a pre-arranged political event. Sorry, but their comments betray them as people who have ideas about African-Americans but no actual relationships with any. As with most of their political bent, theory (what you would ideally like something to be) has no correllation to reality. People are, as Oprah would say, what you would envision them to be.

IMO, Obama's two best-selling books are both helping and hindering his larger goals. I've heard seemingly independent commentators express cynicism about his other career, and whether or not his presidential aspirations are really about his lucrative publishing contracts. It isn't just Conservatives saying ...

"Barack Obama. Saving the world one multi-million dollar book deal at a time."

I think the "Cult of Personality' surrounding Obama is perhaps best evinced by how much adoration has been given over freely to him without examination or reflection, especially by celebrity Democrats (Oprah, George Clooney, Halle Berry, etc.).

Then there is The Speech.

Obama's keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004 is routinely cited as evidence of his JFK-esque personnae. And yet that speech is nearly three years old! I know a couple who have listened to Obama speak in more personal, less scipted situations and they were disapointed. He seems uncomfortable in more intimate gatherings and, they said "the 'magic' just wasn't there." And yet, people so want Obama to be "The Perfect Black Man, "the Perfect African-American Presidential Candidate", that they willfully dismiss any evidence contrary to the Cult.

So what is your opinion? Is Obama's embrace of the "Cult of Personality" something that bodes well for his presidential aspirations, or is this something that will ultimately relegate his run to that of historical anecdote?