Friday, February 13, 2015

Elizabeth Warren's Business Buddies

The hat tip goes to Washington Examiner for this Politico piece on Warren's pork habits. Excerpt:

Warren has fought to stop the Army from shifting funds away from a Massachusetts-built communications network to pay for unanticipated costs associated with the war in Afghanistan. She’s lobbied for problem-plagued General Dynamics-made tactical radios. And she’s pledged to protect Westover Air Reserve Base from the budget ax — all while saying she supports “targeted” cuts elsewhere.

It’s a delicate dance in a state where defense giant Raytheon is one of the largest employers and brings in billions of dollars each year in federal contracts.

The freshman Democrat from Massachusetts insists she’s not running for president, despite a movement to draft her. But if she did — and took on front-runner Hillary Clinton — she’d likely face scrutiny over the way she’s balanced her populist views with her sometimes-penchant for pursuing the well-worn practice of pork-barrel politics.

Warren didn’t respond to questions as she walked to a vote in the Capitol, and an aide referred POLITICO to the senator’s spokeswoman, Lacey Rose, who also didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment. But the half-dozen industry insiders who were interviewed painted a picture of a senator who’s willing to advocate for local defense firms but has no relationship with the industry on a national level.

Hmmmm... Raytheon named their popular missile after a native American weapon. So maybe that is the attraction for Fauxcahontas?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Let's all be educated

Speaking of conflation, Brian Williams's new favorite word, here's the text from an email I received from Act! for America. Act! is a great organization for educating people (who want to be educated) about Islamic jihad and it's prevalence in the world.

At ACT for America it is no secret that we have not been in agreement with President Obama’s national security policies, but have always been respectful of the office which he holds.

Unfortunately, President Obama has not always been respectful of others and perhaps the worst example of disrespect came on Thursday at, of all events, the National Prayer Breakfast.

It was in that setting that President Obama delivered remarks comparing the actions of the Islamic State to things done “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Among those things according to President Obama: slavery.

He then cited the Crusades.

Not only were his remarks inappropriate for the occasion and insulting to peace loving Christians everywhere, they were historically inaccurate.

In terms of slavery, while it is true that Christians owned slaves, slavery is not an integral part of Christian doctrine. Jesus did not own slaves. The same cannot be said of Islam. Mohammed owned many slaves and even shared concubines with his warriors. There are today forty different words in Arabic to describe slaves; that’s how prominent slavery has been in the Islamic world. The slave trade in Africa was largely run by Muslims. And when Western nations finally abolished the evil practice of slavery, that slave trade in Africa persisted without them. Remember, Saudi Arabia, the site of Islam’s holiest sites, did not outlaw slavery until the 1960s. Moreover, slavery is still practiced today in parts of Islamic Africa, notably Sudan.

But Obama’s biggest dose of disinformation came in the form of his remarks on the Crusades.

There is a myth that the Crusades were nothing but an aggressive series of wars in which Christendom attacked the Muslim world and committed atrocities.

The reality is somewhat different.

The Crusades actually began after centuries of Islamic jihad invading, pillaging and conquering Christian lands in present-day North Africa and parts of Europe.

After 400 years of systematic genocide of Christians at the hands of Islamic jihadists, Pope Urban II, acting on a plea from the Byzantine emperor whose people had been attacked by Muslim hoards, finally called on “Christ’s heralds” to sound the call for help for the Christians in the east and free the Holy Land.

So, the first Crusade was a defensive action in response to Islamic jihad.

This is an historical fact that our president unfortunately left out of his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.

So this is good to note about Islam and slavery, emphasis mine. There was never an Islamic movement to speak of to abolish slavery like there has been in Christianity. In America we fought a bloody war over slavery, but in Islam they are for the most part fine with it.

Catholic Radio coming to Cleveland in April 2015

Oh yeah, man! I've been meaning to post this. Some really good guys put this together and made it happen; I know one of them personally. EWTN Programming and a 24/7 Catholic talk radio station. So congratulations to them, and hurray for us!

Here's the programming philosophy:

St. Peter the Rock Media is a lay apostolate that declares absolute faithfulness to the Holy Father and the Bishops. We are bound to accurately and fully transmit the Faith as proposed by the Teaching Authority of the Church. We bind our broadcasting message to the standard of Holy Scripture and Catechism of the Catholic Church, the vehicles Christ has given us for knowledge, content and clarity. This commitment shapes our service to the faithful in the diocese in which we serve as well as our obedience to our local bishop, and our assistance to local priests and religious.

We are committed to the conviction that our programming must be primarily catechetical, devotional, and inspirational. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality Catholic programming that is upbeat, positive and inspires conversion of heart and a deepening of the faith, with humility, charity and respect, while offering an enriching message from our Catholic heritage for all believers and non-believers.

St. Peter the Rock Media seeks to connect and serve the people, parishes, schools, and lay apostolates within the communities we serve by spreading goodwill and providing the platform for sharing news, events, and stories that show how the Holy Spirit is working within our community.

Bishop Lennon is in full support--here's his letter.

Fun Experiment

Of course fossil fuels are a good thing; it's just idiocy to claim otherwise, and I don't think anyone really believes it. Well other than brainwash college graduates. I wonder if Reverend Jim Antal heats his 375 Massachusetts churches in the winter with solar and wind power. Excerpt:

For example, Rev. Jim Antal, responsible for the 375 United Church of Christ congregations in Massachusetts, is quoted on the Green America website: “The reason [fossil fuel companies] are profitable is because they’re destroying the earth. That’s what the church needs to be shouting … It’s real simple. They’re making a profit because we are letting them destroy God’s creation.” Antal goes on to celebrate divestment from fossil fuels as an inherent moral good: “When people call on their pension funds or schools to divest, they are not only pressuring the institution to change, they are forcing the leaders of the institution and the members of the board to grapple with a moral question.”

Where, in Rev. Antal’s reasoning, do we see concern for the real needs of developing countries struggling to lift their people out of dire poverty and furnish them with living standards that, compared to what we enjoy in the West, are barely adequate? No one questions that we all are called – Divinely and otherwise – to conduct ourselves as good stewards of our Earth. It is that same charitable imperative that also calls us to endeavor in the best interests of the least among us.

Insanity. The reason fossil fuel companies are profitable is that they are supplying goods to fill people's demand. People who think the modern-day environmentalist movement has anything to do with Christian teaching are either fooled or playacting.

This would be a good experiment. Start a 501c3 non-profit which specifically targets Muslims to try to get their investment funds to divest funds from fossil fuel companies and invest in alternative energy start-ups. That should go over really well.

(Note: I realize there are green Muslims; I'm talking about the middle-class mainstream. Go to the most Muslim heavy suburbs on Cleveland's west-side; they're all driving SUVs.)

Rod Dreher's Guilt, Implication, and The Emperor's New Clothes

I want to round out today's trifecta on what I'm going to be calling from now on Rod Dreher's signature "emperorography" by expanding on something Diane, Pik and I were discussing in the comments here, "emperorography" (because imperiography already means something different) now meaning that nebulous rhetorical gas Dreher frequently produces for marketing to credulous commenters who fear appearing stupid or uneducated by questioning him too closely about whether he actually said anything at all.

The title of the post, of course, already tips you off to the term's source.

This archetypal example of Dreherian emperorography began today in this tweet

originally hawking this post by Dreher disingenuously attempting to suggestively equate the brutality of ISIS with historically bad treatment of blacks in the American South in order to skim off his cut of discussion controversy first generated by President Obama in his recent prayer breakfast remarks.

When Regulus started poking too deeply, Dreher tried to buy him off with the "guilt v. implication" legerdemain - do you see the difference?

Frankly, no I didn't, but the suggestive effort itself immediately reminded me of this classic rhetorical grift:

"Isn't it a beautiful piece of goods?" the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

"I know I'm not stupid," the man thought, "so it must be that I'm unworthy of my good office. That's strange. I mustn't let anyone find it out, though." So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, "It held me spellbound."

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

"Magnificent," said the two officials already duped. "Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!" They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

What colors! What a design! And, true to our tale, the weaving continued long into the day. Keep in mind that, as with the insatiable need for cowbell, the only cure for that Dreherian emperorography fever is more Dreherian emperorography.

Sorry: me, Keith, are a monkey with the mind of a child, and I just don't see no difference between guilt and implication, Rod. Unless of course you're only implying there's a difference without actually being guilty of claiming one.

What I do see, what Dreherian emperorography raises to a high art, is the sort of vapid, content-free lyrical writing typically found in fables about seagulls, Hallmark cards, and your random internet meme-generator:

"All of us are readers...but not all of us can read. See the difference?"

Nice work if you can get it.

Remember, credulous townfolk, "How Emperorography Can Save Your Life" (or something similar) will be available for your squinting, unworthy eyes the day before your taxes are due.

Oh - or, if not, why not a similar self-help tome from the same esteemed publisher?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How water saved my life

and why you should expect Rod Dreher's forthcoming Dante book to have exactly the same placebo effect if you buy it. Or just catch any 3 AM infomercial for any given whiz-bang nostrum if you need moving pictures to understand this classic hustle.

You see, not many people know this, but a little while back I was as much as 20 pounds overweight.

Then water saved my life!

Yes, in addition to strictly reducing my carbohydrate intake and taking up a strenuous daily exercise regimen, I also began drinking water. Plain water!

And so water saved my life! And it can save yours, too!

So when Rod claims that if you buy his forthcoming product you can learn how "Dante saved my life, and can save yours too", you should think of it as the water in the equation above, an age-old medicine show example of correlation suggestively implying causation.

Now, once you have parted with your money and already bought the forthcoming book, Rod will almost certainly tell you there what he's already blogged about here and here, that the actual drivers of his "salvation" have been intense, clinical, still ongoing psychological therapy and an intense Russian Orthodox prayer regimen - salvation, though, that has thankfully finally left him free of a lifelong compulsive need to try to control anything and everything anyone but himself says about him.

What about you, though? Will drinking water alone or buying a book about Rod telling you how Dante saved his life actually save yours?

Unfortunately, unless you also do exactly the same other, probably far more important things in exactly the same conjunction - nope, whole-body baptism or earnest confession can't be substituted for the genuine ROCOR article, not to mention the regular therapy sessions you probably can't afford anyway (watching Dr. Oz just won't cut it) - the odds of success for you leap off a cliff and into the abyss like an alpha lemming leading the charge.

But you already knew that, didn't you, chump. That copper bracelet in the back of your dresser drawer reminds you of it, embarrassingly, every time you dig for that last pair of clean socks.

But you'll buy the book anyway, hoping your life is somehow miraculously saved by an invocation of the decidedly erudite Medieval Italian poet Dante.

Because that's just how you roll.

Rod Dreher burns his conservative card, annoints his forehead with its ashes

When ISIS Ran the American South

There are only a few plausible explanations for this bizarre attempt to out-Obama Barack Obama in morally equating the behavior of ISIS today with Western, particularly U. S. Western historical events, the least charitable being that what they say about black men is true and that Dreher simply could not accomplish his goal directly, on his knees.

However the more likely is also the more pragmatic. Because of the dismal sales of his last book about his sister, Dreher's current Dante book was born out of wedlock, with neither advance nor even publicity tour; the secrecy surrounding the publisher even suggesting Dreher himself may be among the investors foisting it on the unsuspecting public this year.

Accordingly, so as not to end up eating cat food in his twilight years, its author desperately needs every living creature on God's green earth which (unlike his family) doesn't already loathe and despise him to be primed and available to purchase whatever he happens to discharge in life from here on out, a population which logically includes every politically and sexually progressive mammal left of Ted Cruz, but in particular his employer TAC's target audience, the devout NPR listener and contributor.

The clue that Dreher has finally jettisoned any conservative testicular fragment still undescended to become an overt, eager NPR flack is the uniquely shameful blog post linked above itself, because it doesn't just casually reiterate Obama's shameful "high horse" rhetoric in passing but instead dives headlong into one of NPR's signature and most virulent themes: that only progressives born elsewhere or correctly schooled by them are keeping the U. S. South from imminently collapsing into its congenital norm, brutal racist savagery, why, yes, exactly like that practiced by ISIS right now.

But, miraculously if one is to believe it, such historical tragedies occurred nowhere else in America. This is the specific DNA signature of both the NPR meme and Dreher's self- and place-loathing embrace of it.

And of course it enables Ray Dreher, Jr. to take one more passive-aggressive smack at his father, Ray Dreher, Sr., an active, formative citizen of the "ISIS" South that Dreher urinates on about, without the risk that the frail old man still might have the strength to pop him one for such temerity.

Sadly, such is the risk, Mr. Dreher, Sr., when your son escapes, effeminate, resentful, and consumed with lifetime passive-aggressive revenge on you and yours in his heart. Surely you and your land deserve better. At least you still have the memory of Ruthie, the one good and undeformed child you managed to raise, the woman whose life's work as a dedicated teacher of children, unlike the narcissistic pursuits of her more notorious brother, represented the true moral values of the American South

If you don't believe me, read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Since we're on the topic...

Since we are on the topic of Dreher's twitter account, I thought I'd post this which has got to be one of the funniest postings of all times.

More hilarity in the comments, I promise you.

"Brian Williams didn’t kill anyone."

Awww, poor Brian. No one is going to bat for him because he's not opinionated enough. Excerpt:

“​The problem for Brian is that unlike an opinionated cable news host who might have an army of like-minded supporters prepared to fight the social media war, a network news anchor’s support these days is inevitably going to be far less passionate, even for Brian. They may like and appreciate him but few are going to be prepared to do ‘battle’ for him and so it’s hardly surprising that he is generally being skewered by the social media masses.”

In other words, he has no real friends because he's window-dressing.

Piers Morgan offers the best defense of Brian Williams to date: "Brian Williams didn’t kill anyone."

“We surely need to get a collective grip and gain some perspective on all this. Brian Williams didn’t kill anyone. He skewed a story about his experience in Iraq which made him sound a bit closer to the action and therefore more heroic than he actually was. It was untrue, and wrong of him to do it, but why should it be terminally so?”

Yes, that's really the only way you can lose your job: commit a murder. Nobody ever lost their job over anything less. And people who lose their jobs suffer the stigma of everyone thinking they are murderers. Please.

R and S

This should take care of both R and S.

Here's the DVD that this is from. Might buy it sometime.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mark Steyn on Obsolete Format of the TV News

The hat tip goes to Kathy Shaidle who is around my age, I think. I remember someone smuggling that Billy Idol EP Don't Stop to Summer Camp in 1984 and she was actually mentioned in that B-side interview with Martha Quinn. I guess he actually knew her; they had gone to the prom or something.

Anyway, the reason I mention her being the same age is that I think that as conservative Gen-X-ers we share a similar derision for the network TV news which is shared by a slightly older guy, Mark Steyn. I'll excerpt a slightly larger bit:

I would wager, even as Williams read his line, that most everyone who mattered on the show knew it wasn't true. And maybe one or two of them looked nervously at each other in the control room, but let it go. Hey, he's the star, right? NBC Nightly News with Walter Mitty reporting.

Hardly anything on TV at the Bryan Williams level is accidental. That riveting account of death-defying derring-do with Letterman would have been worked out during the pre-interview for the show - in other words, the misremembering was painstakingly rehearsed. Maybe Williams is delusional. Maybe he is to anchors as Anthony Weiner is to wankers - a guy so cocksure he figures he can push it a little further each time.

Thirty years ago, it would be difficult to imagine a liar or fantasist surviving in a job that supposedly depends on one's trustworthiness. Yet today Brian Williams' survival is the way to bet - because the obsolete format of Big Three "network news" is a dinner-theatre exercise that now bears so little relation to real news that Williams' ability to project the aura of authority and integrity trumps the reality that he doesn't actually have any. If you get your news from old-school "network news", you're not actually getting any news, you're watching a guy 'cause he has great hair. So getting it from a delusional narcissist is only taking it to the next level.

As I write, NBC has announced an internal investigation into Williams. We'll see. He was on the bird, he was on the bird behind the bird, but no one at NBC is gonna give him the bird.

Italics around the good stuff, bold italics around my favorite line. Nothing on TV is unscripted, and especially nothing on the TV news. Of course, I've been around people who thought the Rats and Snakes speech from the original Survivor series was, aside from being one of the great moments in human history, made up directly on the spot by Susan Hawk like she was ordering a pizza, as well as a few members of the sorry lot who claim to know that pro-wrestling is "real". So it shouldn't surprise me that most Americans don't find the TV news to be an insult to their intelligence and their credulity, not to mention their sex-drive.

Also, just to anticipate the envy objection, I think that everyone can agree that Mark Steyn has great hair for a fifty-something, so no need to go revisit the Purgatorio on that point.

Blocked but not Shocked

This morning J-Carp alerted me to this laughable post with the short and apropos quip "This is rich." I noticed this post was being pimped on Twitter, so I decided to weigh in.

First this happened:

Then this happened:

So I've been "blocked from following @roddreher and viewing @roddreher's tweets." Oh, misery. Too bad I don't have more than one email and more than one Twitter account ever again. That way I'd be able to see and respond to his wonderful Tweets. Oh, wait....

I'll let others find and post links to Dreher's gleeful bashing of Rush Limbaugh for his scandals and high-horse posing about Dan Rather and Memo-gate. We get "now-now-but-for-the-grace-of-God-there-go-we" whenever a journalist is caught with his pants around his ankles telling outright lies and "Ha! What a horrible hypocrite!" when a Catholic bishop or mainstream conservative blunders in any way, shape or form.

But I want to point out two things. First, there is a lot of projection going on here with this accusation of envy being the big explanation as to why people are goofing all over Brian Williams. I'm a sinful man who is by no means immune to the sin of envy, but I'm sorry—the objects of my covetousness are people who are wayyy cooler than some news guy named Brian Williams. I mean, I can imagine that if my calling in life was to be a second rate blogger for a paleocon rag with a small cult following I might be envious of the smooth talking, good looking anchorman with an enormous megaphone, national name recognition and a matching salary.

The second thing is that it would appear that Mr. Dreher is in somewhat of a quandary with regard to using Twitter. He needs to use it in order to pimp posts and be a part of the modern media universe, but he has to relinquish his normal control in order to do so. Yes, he blocked me and I can't comment anymore under my normal email/Twitter account, too bad so sad. On the other hand, it doesn't appear that he can delete (de-Tweet?) my Tweet which is still there for anyone who wants to see the replies.

The obvious solution for this would be a Benedict Option version of where you could pimp your worthy commentary but there would be a central moderator—a Benedictator—who would delete unworthy Tweets so as not to harsh the mellow of your brilliance. Or point out obvious inconsistencies.

UPDATE: Check this out. I can still comment/reply on @roddreher tweets. I simply just pull them up under a different account in a different browser then cut-and-paste the address to the browser where my @estquodest account is logged in. Twitter allows me to reply to posts that way. Security hole? Maybe. Next move for OWB: report @estquodest for "cyber-stalking".


It was hard finding a seventies rock band beginning with Q which I felt like posting. This list isn't about the ballet, you know.

Here's what you need to know about this video before investing 20 minutes to watch it. The first part is a hard-rocking version of Bo Diddley's classic Who Do You Love. So if your short on time, you might want to end around the 6 minute mark. If you aren't in the mood for for any exploratory psychedelic stuff, then I wouldn't watch beyond that. And if you hate the Grateful Dead or the whole jam band/freak-out "experience", I wouldn't watch beyond 8 minutes. There is a complete freak-out at the end where everyone goes nuts, including the guy working the zoom lens behind one of the drummers. To me it's hilarious and worth watching just for the laugh.

It's impossible not to compare Quicksilver Messenger Service to the Grateful Dead. Both bands formed in San Francisco in 1965. And... two drummers and a percussionist? Well, all three were probably doing a drum circle out on the sidewalk when the band first formed. The chick in the long white dress doing the acid hand dance probably ended up following the dead and some point. Her clones have become psychedelic jam band staples. In my opinion, after watching this video, all of the guitarists in QMS are better than Jerry Garcia. When they aren't doing the free form thing, they're tight.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Day That Brian Was There

Or someone. Well, it would meet NBC standards, wouldn't it?

Let this be a warning to us all. Unless we put a stop to this jeez-you-know-my-resume-could-really-use-a-shot-of-testosterone journalism, all we may be left with is this

Well okay then. If we must.