Chris Matthews is obsessed with Michele Bachmann. Fixating upon the Minnesota Congresswoman in his broadcasts last week, the MSNBC yakker took Bachmann to task for inflating the role the Founding Fathers had in ending slavery. Fair enough, but in highlighting Bachmann's errors, as I write in my column @ Human Events, Matthews made several of his own. Ridicule Michele Bachmann? Okay. Mock the Founding Fathers? No thanks.
What made Keith Olbermann's Countdown so unintentionally special? The Special Comment, of course. The Special Comment was bad television, but so unlike the bad television that surrounded on MSNBC. Whereas, say, The Ed Show is as mediocre as its name implies, Special Comment imagined itself as grandiose only to come off as embarrassingly amateurish. It failed memorably because it failed with pretensions. Read my FrontPageMag special comment on The Special Comment.
I woke up to snow again today. This afternoon we get a welcome respite from the falling white flakes. But it comes back tomorrow--and the next day. Four of the next five days, in fact, have snow in the forecast. I have gone sledding a few times this winter. I have gone shovelling a few more times. My back hurts.
That's the way we roll in the northeast. I suppose snowy and twenty-five degrees is preferable to windy and minus nine. That was the low in my locale yesterday. I don't know if I have ever experienced minus nine before. The mercury during the infamous Survival Pub Crawl from Krakow even didn't reach so low. There is no let up: the longterm forecast doesn't feature a single high above freezing in the next ten days.
There's always the indoors, where I keep my thermostat at a balmy fifty-nine degrees. At night, it shifts to fifty-six. I wear sweatshirts a lot. Stocking caps are practically obligatory. Why pay the gas company thousands of dollars when you can buy a blanket for ten bucks at Target?
I also have a fireplace. But my profligate use of firewood early this winter has turned me into a bit of a Scrooge lately. My stock of wood is nearly gone, and there is a big issue with buying more. Where does the cash-money forester dump it? My property is covered in snow. If he unloaded wood near my garage, it would be close to a covered structure but would be sunk in several feet of snow. If he unloaded the wood in the shovelled part of my driveway, the wood wouldn't be buried but it would be a hassle trudging it from there to a covered location. There just isn't an easy solution.
Then there is the issue of my windows. Inhabitants of my abode other than me, including an energetic child, have broken two windows. For now, some storm windows and cellophane-type material from Home Depot works as a weak bulwark against the Arctic air. We consulted with a company about window replacement, but I decided that the money invested in such a job would be better used going towards a college education for my kids or purchasing a small island in the Indian Ocean. A local handyman has agreed to cut some glass (or plexiglass) to fit the old, distorted window frames, but it requires fifty-degrees or above for the glazing to mold right in the window frame. This made me feel like Reed Rothchild demanding the demo tapes from the producer unwilling to give them up until he got his fee. "Look, we cannot pay for the tapes, unless we take the tapes to the record company, and get paid." It's so cold that I need the new windows. But I can't get the new windows until it is warm when I won't really need them. I guess that's an MP and not a YP.
Unsurprisingly, I began exhibiting symptoms of a cold at the Patriots-Jets game on December 6. At the Patriots-Jets game over a week ago, I still exhibited symptoms of that cold. I coped by wearing foot-warmer inserts and drinking heavily. This seemed more rational than the steps taken by the football players, many of whom didn't bother to pack an undershirt for the game. I guess they didn't check the weather forecast.
I would go to a doctor, but I am afraid he would diagnose me with the disease of living in New England. The common cold arrives in December and leaves in early April. Every year I say to myself, "Wow, this cold has really lasted a long time." Then I remember that this happens every year: the common cold coincides with the uncommon cold.
The only known remedy for what ails me is a move to Florida, or Nevada (or that small island in the Indian Ocean perhaps). Thousands of New Englanders take such migration medicine every year. I am afraid that's a cure that's worse than the disease. What could I take joy in complaining about when winter means seventy-five and sunny?
Peter Singer writes in Time that America's incivility may have been a possible impetus for Jared Lee Loughner's killing spree. I write in Human Events that Peter Singer's intellectual defense of infanticide is a far more likely intellectual antecedent for an accused serial killer in Philadelphia than any Tea Partier was for Jared Lee Loughner's mass murder in Tucson.
One would hope the ghoulish partisanship in the immediate aftermath of the Tuscon mass murder had something to do with MSNBC parting ways with Keith Olbermann. That is perhaps overrating the decency of television executives. After all, MSNBC has given a podium for Olbermann's sixty-minute hate for almost a decade. The idiot box makes an idiot of those on both sides of the screen. Viewers and broadcasters award television personalities an undeserved authority. Sure, television exposes talent. But mainly it just exposes, which is enough to command attention in the celebrity-driven age. Keith Olbermann had an audience because of TV. Now he has Rick Sanchez and Aaron Brown's audience.
I lived in Washington, DC for more than a decade, so its ranking as Travel & Leisure's fifth rudest city comes as a bit of a surprise. Did they confine their observations to the Greyhound bus station? I lived in the Greater Boston area for several decades, so its ranking outside of the top five--it's the sixth rudest city--comes as an even greater surprise. Following our nation's capital, Miami, Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles, in that order, round out the top five. My advice to Travel & Leisure? Next time accidentally bump into people on purpose (yes, I just said that); count the four-letter words used at sporting events; try to change lanes; go undercover as a waiter or waitress; ask for directions--observe all this in various cities and you'll get a more accurate list. What's the rudest city you have ever been to?
Following November's debacle, the president has announced in the Wall Street Journal a review of regulations that impede growth, compromised with Republicans on maintaining current tax rates, and delivered a measured response to the Tucson tragedy. Quietly, he's injected federally-funded end-of-life counselling into the Federal Register, imposed "net neutrality" through the FCC, and circumvented Congress's rejection of cap-and-trade through EPA regulation. As I write @ FrontPageMag, the lesson the president seems to have learned from November 2 is to loudly make symbolic gestures toward the center while quietly imposing the same left-wing agenda by any means, fair or foul, available.
Have you taken ISI's Civic Literacy Exam? I did, and scored 94 percent. This is better than the average Joe, who scores 54 percent. What's remarkable is that the average Joe scored better than elected officials (49 percent) who took the 33-question quiz. About half of elected officials could not name the three branches of government or what branch the Constitution grants the power to declare war. Everything starts to make a whole lot of sense after stumbling across this pathetic news.
How might Sarah Palin's reputation have fared if she had compared Jared Lee Loughner to Martin Luther King and described him as "a man of the highest character"? Probably not as well as the reputations of the liberal politicians who heaped these superlatives upon Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones. Read my column @ Human Events on the who's who of the American Left who aided and abetted the rise of the murderer of an American Congressman.
Capitalism and racism can't long peacefully coexist. Businessmen motivated by racial solidarity rather than profits won't stay in business. Read my Martin Luther King Day column @ Human Events on how the free market undermines racial discrimination.
Terrorist Mohamed Atta's driver's license headshot became one of the world's most viewed images. The picture showed a hard, steely-eyed, malevolent figure. Jared Lee Loughner's mug shot has been nearly as ubiquitous. It reveals a vacant-eyed, awkwardly-smiling killer, whose eyebrows and hair have, a la The Wall's 'Pink,' gone missing along with his mind. The former is the face of evil; the latter, the picture of crazy. Yet, as I write in my article @ FrontPageMag, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton equated the act of a lunatic with the decades-long campaign of jihadists on Arab television.
The easiest way to become a left-wing hero is to kill somebody. It worked for John Brown, Joe Hill, Huey Newton, and Leonard Peltier. The Left's history of venerating murderers makes its current stand against "violent rhetoric" comically self-serving. As I ask in my column @ Human Events, where's the Right's Sacco and Vanzetti?
Don't let the facts get in the way of your narrative, Sherriff Clarence Dupnik. In the wake of the horrific mass murder in Tucson, Arizona, Pima County's top lawman set off a wave of wild speculation blaming the tragedy on conservative rhetoric. As I write @ FrontPageMag.com, accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner not only is described as a left-wing radical by people who knew him, but, far more importantly, is crazy.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has offended the guardians of PC once again. This time, his reading that the 14th Amendment does not grant protections against discrimination to women has sent his critics into a fit. But as I write in my column @ Human Events, the feminist heroes of Scalia's critics shared his interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
Why do funnymen lead such sad lives? Is political correctness a gift to or the death of comedy? Do jokes have sell-by-dates? Read my review of Paul Johnson's Humorists @ City Journal that tackles these and other questions.
The New York Times reports on several new surveys that claim that people who drink exercise more than people who abstain. These studies come in the wake of a study that found that drinkers tended to be smarter and posess more advanced degrees than teetotalers. There you have it: Drinking makes you fit and smart! Peppermint Schnaps can have that life-changing effect on you too. Start today.
"Don't ask, don't tell" is history. So the ROTC ban should follow, right? Wrong. As I write in my article @ FrontPageMag, academia's war on students serving their country predated the controversy over gays in the military. At some campuses, that war will continue.
Busch 20-packs have been my favorite recession beer. At $10.59, $10.19, and even $9.99, the price couldn't be beat. I also don't regard Busch as a rightful inhabitant of the ghetto end of the beer cooler. It's a poor man's Bud, even if the guy who stocks the liquor-store refrigerator thinks it a confederate of MeisterBrau and Milwaukee's Best. I drank Busch cans quite a bit coming up, so to drink it in bottles years later was a delicacy--and an affordable one at that. Even the absorbtion of Anheuser-Busch by a foreign behemoth couldn't shake my habit. So, I nearly had the wind knocked out of me when I stumbled upon the Busch 18-pack recently. Where had the 20-pack gone? "Discontinued," I was informed. The packaging was more rectangular than the boxy 20-pack, but the price was the same. In these tough economic times, corporations have to get creative to squeeze an extra buck out of the consumer. Raising the price, InBev's marketing geniuses deduced, might have scared away cost-conscious customers (like me!). So, why not keep the price tag identical and take away two of their beers. They'll never notice. I noticed. Like a sucker, I also bought.
The 112th Congress opens today with a reading of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. Members should pay special attention to Article 1, which outlines the powers entrusted to Congress that Congress has outsourced. From the Fed to the EPA to the FCC, the Obama Administration has bypassed Congress, and the Constitution, to impose its increasingly unpopular agenda. But as I write in my column @ Human Events, the powers a lazy and masochistic Congress has given away were not theirs to give.