Like most people, I probably give the most thought to 9-11 when I’m in an airport. Shortly after the original event, I boarded a plane in a nearly abandoned airport with soldiers holding machine guns standing in the background. We bought bagels and were not allowed to have any implement of any kind with which to spread the cream cheese. Today, I sat with my wife and child in an airport TGI Fridays waiting for a flight to Atlanta. I lifted my fork to my mouth and realized it was plastic.
It was just another reminder how much things have changed. Using a plastic fork at a restaurant that serves food that actually requires real utensils, made me realize that it’s the little things that indicate you’ve lost something. The plastic fork is a bit like the bolt locks we all feel required to have on our doors at home. Barbarism takes back a little space from the civilized world. I don’t trust John Kerry to be the guy who’s going to turn things around.
The simultaneous release of the 60 Minutes Bush National Guard story and the DNC’s “Operation Fortunate Son” ad campaign looked bad. The subsequent revelation of badly forged documents and a CBS producer putting a source in contact with the Kerry campaign was worse. Surprisingly, the establishment media appears completely unchastened. On the same day the NYT publishes a two year old story about missing explosives in Iraq, Kerry unveils a new section of his stump speech incorporating the material. You don’t suppose he had advance notice, do you? Then , the next day Kerry has a new ad criticizing Bush for blowing it with regard to securing the explosives before they could be vanished. Just how quickly can you have an ad put together, anyway?
These events smack of coordination between Kerry, the DNC, and the establishment media in a way that is going to be studied and commented upon for a long time. The days of big, supposedly objective media are way over. We’re moving back to openly ideologically driven news, just like in the days when every town had a couple of papers, one for each party. It’s just more honest that way.
Recent reports claim Bush is polling at 18% with African-Americans. Several months ago, yours truly predicted something like this might happen. Click here to see what I mean. The title of this tale is “The Straw that Broke the Donkey’s Back.”
The prospect, even the small prospect, of a Kerry presidency brings out inexplicable longings for Bill Clinton. Although Clinton was out to lunch on abortion (was there ever any statement as bogus as the whole “safe, legal, and rare” thing?) and had lady trouble, one sensed that he was realistic about the role of government. Okay, okay, there was that whole attempt to nationalize about 12% of the economy, but this is a rose-colored exercise! But seriously, wouldn’t all of us be happier if we were facing a choice between Bush and Lieberman instead of Bush v. Kerry? I’d certainly have a less apocalyptic view of the near term.
Bill Maher recently told Canadian Broadcasting that he believes religion is a neurological disorder, something you would tell a psychiatrist about and he would give you a pill to make it go away. His remarks got my attention, not because I have a thin skin about such things, but because I’ve often had the same thought in a different direction. I’ve considered the notion that some people are “wired” for religious belief and others are not and concluded that being incapable of believing in God would be a lot like being an animal, a clever, calculating, rationalizing animal, but an animal nonetheless.
I balanced off my order of “Supersize Me!” this weekend with a viewing of “Fahrenhype 9-11.” I can sincerely report that it is an excellent piece of work. There are several cuts that could easily be made into dynamite Bush campaign ads. The African-American teacher of the students with whom President Bush was reading “My Pet Goat” comes across as a sincere admirer of the President and the way he carried himself that day. Ed Koch, Dick Morris, and Ron Silver do quite a bit of damage, as well.
What may prove more important than the video itself is the promotion of it. While watching ESPN at various intervals, I caught the ads offering “Fahrenhype” for sale. They function as defenses of Bush against Moore without qualifying as anyone’s campaign money.
Ideologically-based for profit business is going to be absolutely huge in the near future. Get ready for regular visits to your cineplex of “documentaries” of the Moore style in both left and right varieties.
The latest Kerry prevarication story is out and I’m suitably impressed. He claimed to meet with all the members of the United Nations Security Council prior to casting his vote in 2002. A little journalistic checking by Joel Mowbray at the Washington Times reveals that Kerry fabricated the story. This is a pretty big deal. National Review’s Jim Geraghty, who writes the often excellent “Kerry Spot”declares the story a “Yawn.” What does Mr. Geraghty want? Kerry’s claims to be the better-connected master internationalist is the foundation of his campaign. If he lies about his international/diplomatic activities, he risks a drop in the polls. This is a legitimate and interesting story, certainly more so than the Tur-A-za-Laura Bush gaffe.
Last night I gave in to curiosity and saw the Morgan Spurlock film “Supersize Me!” Before I give any reaction to the film, I feel duty bound to report that I just consumed a Double Quarter Pound Value Meal that was, in fact, supersized. When Mr. Spurlock ordered the same meal in the film, he ended up harfing out the window of his car. The combination of calories and suspect ingredients apparently overwhelmed him. After taking down my order (identical, except that I’m a Diet Coke man), I toyed with the idea of adding a soft serve. Of course, I’ve been poisoning myself for years. Maybe I, like the hero of “The Princess Bride,” have immunized myself against fast food toxins. Mr. Spurlock, on the other hand, lives with a woman described as a “vegan chef.” He was like a Baptist teetotaler who decided to break his alcohol fast with a fifth of Old Grand Dad.
In retrospect, it’s surprising the film was such a success. When one watches Spurlock go through his traumatic month of McDonald’s only and hears about his weight gain and terrible health effects, a few words and concepts float through the brain, things like “control group” and “adequate number of subjects” and “statistical outliers.” The film makes this point itself, actually. We are introduced to Don Gorske, who has eaten some 19,000 Big Macs in his lifetime, averaging about two or three a day. He’s trim, pink of cheek, and has a very full head of hair. So, Spurlock lists while Gorske thrives. What does any of it prove? Probably the importance of genetics.
I’m glad to hear WSJ has a piece dealing with John Stewart. I have now complained so much about my wife watching “The Daily Show,” I think she has given it up. She is not a very political person, but really enjoys the show. I can’t count the number of times I moaned in anguish, “Can’t you see that this guy is fully invested in advancing the liberal project?” She always looked at me very much as my cats would have if I said it to one of them.
How anybody could have seen Stewart as some sort of comic independent is beyond me. When liberals come on the show, you can feel the love and the “you’re safe here” attitude. When conservatives appear, you feel the friction beneath the surface. Jonah Goldberg increased my already strong respect for him when he took a seat and dominated with humor and charm, very much the way Ronald Reagan might have done it.
When Theresa Heinz-Kerry dangerously doubted that Laura Bush had ever held a real job, everyone knew she had spoken injudiciously and exposed a coarseness of her own character. What is regrettable is that conservatives have felt such a giant need to call her to account for it. As was demonstrated by the Rush Limbaugh-Donovan McNabb controversy(here and here), we have developed a terrible pattern of attempting to destroy people for slightly intemperate remarks. This constant game of “GOTCHA” is no substitute for a genuine discourse.
Lest anyone call me a hypocrite because I called out Maureen Dowd for her constant references to “extra-chromosome conservatives,” I hasten to point out that she has embraced that awful label and taken a bath in it.
Democrats have become incredibly tone-deaf in matters of religious belief. The Mary Cheney thing is one example, but there are others. Consider the hiring of a religion adviser to the Kerry campaign. Their choice was a female clergy-person who was strongly pro-choice and probably wrote her thesis on the work of Shelby Spong. Not exactly the person to help you touch base with those crazy evangelicals. The same dynamic holds with “the Rev.” Barry Lynn from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Just because he has some sort of professional religious affiliation, we’re supposed to buy into his theory of strict separation. When you listen to him talk, it seems quite clear he doesn’t even like Christians. You wonder whether his mother made him attend divinity school.
Yankees fans will have to forgive me. I was raised from a sperm to hate two professional teams: the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. No nonsense, tell it straight Bill Parcells has mitigated my hatred of “America’s Team” somewhat, but the Yankee penchant for outspending the rest of the league and adding prime free agents every year amplified the impulse implanted within me by my father. Strike a blow for the power of nurture!
Every Christian and most conservatives should be paying attention to recent events at Baylor University. Christianity and Classics are decidedly back in on campus and not everybody is happy about it. Notably, many older faculty have only the Enlightenment string on their philosophical violins. Others complain the curriculum, which recently received top rankings from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, is too eurocentric. Gasp! Naysayers have done everything they can to topple the University’s President Robert Sloan. Rumor has it they’ll even try to interfere with homecoming this week. For those who want more background on the Baylor story, go here.
Living a mere 90 or so miles from Austin as I do, I fully concur with the Weekly Standard’s take on the “Keep Austin Weird” crowd. There is just not much in this world as disagreeable as a Texas liberal. How you can live in the former Republic, so full of raw energy, entrepeneurial spirit and patriotism, and not have a deep appreciation of Cowboy George W., I don’t know. The guy’s not perfect, but he fits Texas like a glove. There’s a reason he stays in Crawford instead of Kennebunkport.
Throughout the campaign, Democrats have pummelled the President for not creating a single net job. Let’s leave aside the problem with the view that the President (i.e. the government) is charged with the task of creating jobs. Has anyone considered the fact that Bush came into office with a ridiculously low unemployment rate? For years, it was believed full employment would look like a 5% unemployment figure. With the dot com boom, we witnessed unemployment well below 5%. It would have been anomalous in the extreme if Bush had been able to cook up a magical policy to improve on the fantasy land of life in the tech bubble. His tax credits are the only thing that prevented the bottom from falling out in a big way after the twin disasters of a stock market collapse that wiped out trillions of paper wealth and the far more serious terror attacks.
And by the way, why do we only speak of the World Trade Center when we talk about 9-11? I got lost driving around Washington, D.C. shortly after the attacks and looked up to see the ruin of the Pentagon through the glass of my passenger side window. They hit us right in the heart of our national defense.