Friday, March 27, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thank Heaven For Bullshit....

.....without it what would little boys do?

"Cities Deal With Surge In Shantytowns"
shrieks the NY Times headline.

Guess they don't get out that much on the Upper West Side these days, or wherever Times reporters live until they lose their jobs. Tulsa, of course, has had a, um, thriving "Tent City" for about 15 years now, and we ain't even ground zero. That's some timely journalism there, boys.

Hey! Just wondering....what's that Macarena thing all about?

My Etonian Problem....And Ours

A little sanctimonious gibberish from Andrew Sullivan.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Goure on Israel

Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute has quite an amusing post which speaks body bags about the blinkered world-view and unfounded assumptions which define the thinking of the Israeli Lobby and their fellow travelers. Actually, Goure appears to doubt the existence of an Israeli Lobby in something of the same way that J. Edgar Hoover once claimed to doubt the existence of the Mafia.

At any rate, here is Goude describing his beatific vision of a glorious future in which Israel and the U.S. walk hand in hand through a common adventure in reshaping the Middle East:

The reality is that no so-called Israel lobby is necessary to impact U.S. Middle East policy because our interests and those of Israel are largely congruent. Whether it is the natural affinity of democracies; our shared political and social modernity; the common opposition to Soviet expansionism during the Cold War; the sharing of intelligence; technology cooperation; equal distance, politically speaking, from the internecine political warfare that consumes the Arab world; a mutual determination to defeat terrorism; or a shared culture…Israel and America are in accord. What is the basis for our strategic relationship with the Arab nations? The answer is one word, oil. Absent oil, Israel alone would continue to hold our interest in the region. If the Obama Administration is successful in weaning the U.S. from its addiction to oil, Israel alone will be of strategic interest to this country. At least that will be the case until democracy and representative governance takes hold elsewhere in the region.

Of course, many of us would vastly prefer that "absent oil" the United States have no strategic interests of any kind in the Middle East....perhaps we could station a cultural attache there, but beyond that, nothing at all. Absent oil, we would have little need for a forward military base and none at all for any entangling alliances. Let the Saudi Royal Family and the Knesset paddle their own canoes. Unfortunately the oil reserves will not run dry all at once and, as they get scarcer and more expensive, it is more likely than not that all the great powers will deal themselves a hand in a bloody contest that will make The Great Game look like a round of pinochle. Imagine a world without struggles for control of the Crimea, without Suez Crises, without future 9/11s. It seems to me to be a pretty picture for Americans. For Israel it may look a bit different.

I feel very little concern little concern for what I feel is Israel's increasingly tenuous relationship with representative democracy. Further, in light of Israel's irksome tendency to spy on the United States, to mention the "sharing of intelligence" seems a trifle ironic. I do not perceive that America is at war with the tactic of terrorism, no matter how deplorable it is - this kind of sentimental claptrap is a residue of the bankrupt Wilsonism of the Bush administration. As to representative government taking hold in the region, let's wait for it to take a good,firm hold in Israel first, shall we?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Gibberish From Arlen Specter....This Time On AIG Contracts

Once upon a time, when we all lived in the forest, a man we will call Arlen Specter worked as a DA.

Since that time he has traded in this morsel of history, much as Jake Spoon in Lonesome Dove , to establish a wholly undeserved reputation as a legal thinker worthy of some deference. For those who don't recall the inglorious facts, this tendency reached it's apogee when, during the Clinton impeachment trial, Specter voted "Not Proven" as opposed to "not guilty" or "guilty" archaic verdict form (sometimes known as; "not guilty, and don't do it again") once prevalent in Scottish law and, to the best of my knowledge, nowhere else. If nothing else, this alone should cement Specter's already well-deserved reputation as tiresome pedant and coward.

Now, normally, I don't trash Specter - I leave that to the long-suffering Republicans. However, this afternoon, I find that he is all over the TV asserting that the AIG retention bonus contracts are not unenforceable . This is not true. This is a lie. Specter knows that it is a lie. Arlen Specter is a liar.

In support of his ludicrous position Specter claims that the contracts are void "as a matter of public policy" and cites to the Restatement Of Contracts to buttress this argument. More specifically, Specter avers that the contracts are void ab initio in the same way a contact for the sale of heroin, for the sale of a human slave, or for the personal service of prostitution would be. Of course, those contracts are void because the subject matter of the hypotyhetical contracts are in and of themselves criminal. Citing "Public Policy" and appealing to the Restatement Of Contracts is lawyerspeak for "I have no statutory or case law in support of my position".

And, in fact, the stimulus and TARP legislation in question specifically allow for these bonus payouts, provided that they accrue to the recipients for services rendered predating the passage of the legislation.

Personally, I am, for the first and hopefully last time in my life, wholly in agreement with Sen. Grassley's recommendation that the AIG crew commit ritual seppuku. But the only thing worse than letting AIG get the money is having our legislature ignore the laws that they themselves are responsible for.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zero-Sum Revisited

The shrieking of fools like James Glassman and Larry Kudlow temporarily made the whole idea of zero-sum economic games rather unfashionable. Here is a very good article explaining it's continung relevance and why, in reality, it ends up being a little worse than zero-sum. Oh, by the way, this guy actually makes his clients some do-re-mi. Talk about unfashionable.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Marty Peretz: Sometimes It Takes A Shill

There is little to say about the public flogging of Jim Cramer at the capable hands of Jon Stewart that has not been said already. But Marty Peretz's defense of Cramer represents such a perfect apex of hackery that it merits some notice. I guess if you have spent a few years as the lapdog for Likud, shilling for a buddy and former business partner presents no problem at all....particularly if, like Perez, you long ago lost any claim to journalistic credibility you may ever have possessed.

The short version of Peretz's defense is that, though Jim Fallows and Edward R. Murrow are over-rated, self-righteous cockatoos, Jim Cramer is an under-appreciated egalitarian journeyman tilling away in the vineyards of the Lord. Cramer is merely getting the rough treatment because he is one of us little guys, tooling up to the CNBC parking lot in his two year old KIA with it's dented fender while Jon Stewart is presumably sipping champagne with Axl Rose and getting BJs from his Filipino houseboy.

Lastly, and most ludicrously, Peretz claims that the stratospheric ratings for the Cramer episode of The Daily Show are simply because Jim Cramer has an Elvis-like ability to pack in a crowd. This is so deluded that....well, if he actually believes this, maybe we've finally found a buyer for those GM shares.

I hope that this doesn't end Cramer's career. It probably won't because this is America and, with notable exceptions like O.J. Simpson and Bernie Madoff, we don't do public tragedy that much. It can't help though because Cramer did the one thing Americans really won't put up with. He came out looking small.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Justice System At Work


MUSKOGEE — A 44-year-old Muskogee man is being given probation after pleading guilty to raping a 6-year-old girl.

Vincent Martin LeCompte was given a 20-year suspended sentence Thursday as part of a plea deal on the first-degree rape charge.

Assistant District Attorney Shannon Otteson says prosecutors agreed to the deal because the victim already has testified three times.

Clearly a great defense attorney. Clearly a nauseating result.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

If He Plays, We Must Praise

Purty writing can never be lauded too highly. Here is a very nice, tender and compassionate piece by James Matthew Wilson. Sample:
We marched in support of the foundation of charity at the root of any Christian society; we marched in declaring the liberty of the Catholic Church to feed its flock no matter where that flock might be, and no matter what its circumstances. We did not march in complacent favor of the destructive effects of illegal immigration on American society, in support of “redistributing” income from the poorest Americans to the poorest foreigners, or in scorn of the rule of law exercised within its constitutional limits.

No one would know why we marched that day, however, just to look at us. And few persons trouble themselves to recognize how the advocates of rampant, open, and unregulated immigration into this country are pleased to pit the interests of the poor against the poor. Those same advocates-ever ready to put a knife to the throat of the Catholic Church, when it proclaims its gospel of justice and charity regarding the dignity of the unborn, the importance of private property and free association, and the sovereignty of the family-were doubtless happy that day to take advantage of that Church to swell the crowds and defeat any meaningful effort to slow the economic and cultural dissolution of our country.

Concern respecting immigration isn't always a dog whistle for bigotry. I wish that more spokesmen were this articulate. I further wish that this could be distributed to every Parish in the country.

Ten People That I Would LIke To Talk To

1. Leo Tolstoy
2. Richard Nixon
3. Carol Lynley
4. Ron Paul
5. RuPaul
6. Pope Benedict
7. Sammy Davis Jr.
8. Ursula LeGuin
9. W.M. Thackeray
10. Jane Austen

Wouldn't it be fascinating and revealing to play Boswell to them? To ask "What do you think of Britney Spears last disc?" and "Oh, really, why is that".

Rush Limbaugh - What A Very Small Man

Speaking of penises:
"Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill"

The Blue Penis Post

Is he hung? Listen punk,
He's got radioactive spunk

Phoebe Connelly points out that the furor over Dr. Manhattan's Olympic-sized indigo dong is indicative of our culture's discomfort with the penis. She is right. I'm even uncomfortable in the presence of my own penis, never mind someone else's blue and radioactive one.
I used to go out with a lady who worked at the nuthouse in Concord, NH. One of her "clients" was frightened by his own erections.....if he got a hard-on he would take out running, as though he could somehow flee from the damn thing. I think I have felt much the same way myself. Seems like there is a metaphor there, somewhere.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

GOP And Business -The Honeymoon Is Over

Well, I predicted something like this:
he fight over President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan shined a light on the growing gap between Big Business and the GOP. While House Republicans voted unanimously against the legislation — twice — the vast majority of major business groups lobbied hard for it.

Eric Gomez Crawls Back Down

As if to emphasize the appropriate nature of the group's name, as well as demonstrating his uncertain grasp of First Amendment jurisprudence in the defamation area, City Councilor Eric Gomez initially threatened to sue community organizer Julie Hall and the organization Who Owns Tulsa for this allegedly defamatory statement:
"And, that has been a pattern that we've seen with him and his voting, when his constituents voice their concerns, he votes the other way,"

Now it would appear that Gomez has abandoned the notion of litigation and is willing to "settle for an apology". Actually, an apology from the City Council to the residents of the regrettably named White City neighborhood would be far more in order.
The Council has done a first-rate job of portraying the White City protest as a simple NIMBY problem, and one must concede that there is some of that involved. But then one remembers that the construction/development interests downtown want the YMCA relocated because it interferes with their backyard, and specifically with their misguided and phantasmal vision of a revitalized downtown (I've lived through at least four of these doomed schemes already and I've come to know a boondoggle when I see one). The White City residents noted that Tulsa has a much more appropriate setting for the mental patients and alcoholics living at the "Y" - a location boasting excellent proximity to high-quality medical care and good access to the public transportation lines which would connect the new neighbors to the social services and blood banks downtown. Yeah, you got it....Utica Square would be the perfect new location for the "Y" and would permit the downtown Mob an opportunity to develop their nascent egalitarian impulse. Maybe some of the Cascia hall moms could swap their prescription Somas for a little crank or junk with the new arrivals to the community.

Who owns Tulsa? We already know the answer to that one, and it ain't us. But Julie Hall and her friends deserve a salute for fighting the good fight, anyway.