Category: Life & Culture

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2015

For eight years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:

2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez

2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden

2009: Mike Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.

2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters.

2011: Nancy Pelosi, Republican Presidential Field, Occupy Wall Street, Anthony Weiner, the Eurozone.

2012: The Culture Warriors, Unions, The Poll Unskewers, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, MSNBC

2013:, the Platinum Coin, the Shutdown Caucus, the National Park Service, Fiscal Cliff Panic Mongers.

2014: Jonathan Gruber, Lamenting Democrats, Barack Obama, Jim Ardis, Paul Krugman

For This Year:

The Presidential Field: Here are your candidates for 2016:

On the Democratic side, a 68-year old political insider with a 30-year track record of deception, vindictiveness and blame evasion, running on her record of having unleashed chaos in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Then there’s the 74-year-old socialist, rejected because his views on gun control are insufficiently pure. Then there’s the “young” guy running on his horrible track record as mayor of a failed city and governor of a failed state. And, because things weren’t surreal enough, there was the former senator who looked like he’d gotten baked on his yacht and accidentally wandered into a Presidential debate.

On the Republican side, you have the reality TV show star with narcissistic personality disorder who has an iffy relationship with the truth and seems determined to insult every demographic he can. You have the brilliant brain surgeon who is clueless on policy and has crackpot ideas about history. You have the asshole Texas senator. You have the President of a nearly collapsed company running on her record as a businesswoman. You have the worst Bush yet, somehow managing to piss away the complete support of the establishment. And then you have a bunch of little guys vying to get 3% support so they can stay in the big debate.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Coolidge, Reagan, Bush I … and one of these guys. Ay, caramba.

So far, the only ones who impressed me are Webb and Rubio (see below). One is out and the other is still in fourth place.

College Students: Have you guys seen Life of Brian? In that movie, the anti-Roman guerrillas spend way more time fighting each other than fighting the Romans. This was modeled on 1970’s left-wing radical who hated the government but hated each other more for “splitting” the movement and being insufficiently ideologically pure. This process is happening with political correctness as they slowly turn on each other.

Think of what we’ve been seeing. Who are college students forcing out of positions of power? Who are they screaming at in public squares? Who are they banning from bringing cameras into their “safe spaces”? This ire is directed against people who agree with them on 95% of the issues. Occasionally, there are real issues. But all too much of the anger is because lectures on European history are too European, because there aren’t enough tenured professors of women’s studies, because someone suggested, maybe, that it wasn’t the university’s job to tell grown men and women what Halloween costumes to wear.

Previous generations of college students protested against wars, against vicious racism and against in loco parentis. This generation is protesting against offenses so trivial they are literally called “microgggressions”.

The Election Media: It’s a little under a year until the election and I’m already exhausted. They’ve pronounced Trump dead at least eight times. They’re bending over backward to not criticize Clinton. And they’re doing nothing to illuminate the issues with their focus on the horse race.

Rolling Stone: Last year, they published a horrifying tale of a campus rape that turned out to be a fiction. The blame laid squarely on them. They didn’t bother to call the fraternity in question. They didn’t bother to talk to the supposed victim’s friends. They didn’t bother to read the rather famous (in Charlottesville) book about a rape that the victim took her story from. That’s horrible. What moves them into mockery land is their refusal to take responsibility. No one was fired. They blamed it on the victim for being a good liar. And now they’re being sued for millions.

(And it would seem the lesson has not been learned. The Hunting Ground, a new and much-praised, documentary about campus rape, has an equally problematic relationship with the truth.)

Barack Obama: He pronounced ISIS contained days before they attacked Paris. His Obamacare is seeing double-digit rate increases and companies leaving because they’re hemorrhaging money. His Iran deal is … dubious. The Democratic nominees are trying to pretend that Republicans have secretly been President for the last eight years. His attempts to gin up support for Syrian refugees infuriated half the country.

Maybe he needs to appear between two ferns again.

Dishonorable Mention: Kim Davis, Jeremy Corbyn, Vox, Everytown USA, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Vox, Bill deBlasio, the NFL, the anti-vaxxers, Sepp Blatter, Greece, Volkswagen, Putin.

Now the Golden Drumsticks, awarded to those who best exemplified what is right with the world. Here are the past awards, the first round from West Virginia Rebel.

2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks

2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama

2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush

2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers

2011: Seal Team Six, Mark Kelly, The Arab Spring, the Technicians at Fukushima

2012: Down Ballots, The Sandy Responders, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, Mathew Inman

2013: Francis I, Edward Snowden, Rand Paul, The American Military, The Institute for Justice

2014: Ebola Responders, Francis I, Rand Paul, David Brat, The Supreme Court

For 2015:

New Horizons and Dawn: It was another banner year for science, headlined by New Horizons stunning visit to Pluto and Dawn‘s visit to Ceres. The Philae lander also revived and began providing more data from a sublimating comet. In other science news, rubella has been rendered extinct in North America and polio is on the run.

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler: These are the three men who stopped a would-be terrorist on a French train. Stone came home … where he got stabbed protecting a friend. As Charles Cooke said, we’re a few news cycles away from finding out this guy is Batman.

Amnesty International: In the face of withering criticism and a rising intense moral panic about sex trafficking, they did the right thing: called for the complete decriminalization of sex work for both providers and clients.

Video and Body Cameras: There are legitimate civil liberties concerns when it comes to cops always carrying cameras on them, especially with our culture’s tendency to exploit and shame people doing things on tape. But they are making a huge difference. They not only show when cops do bad things (such as recent horrific shootings in Chicago and Marksville), they exonerate cops who’ve been falsely accused of brutality or sexual harassment. For cities that have implemented them, complaints about police brutality and abuse are way down, both because cops are acting better and because people find it harder to make false claims. There are still issue to work out about when and how footage becomes public. But I think this is a big help on the way to criminal justice reform.

The Non-Crazy Presidential Candidates: Marco Rubio may not get the nomination and Rand Paul definitely won’t. But they’ve injected some much-needed sanity and real debate into the Republican primary. Jim Webb gets a shout-out here too for trying (and failing) to find a moderate stream of Democrat.

Honorable Mention: USA women’s soccer team, the American military, France, Francis I.

Put your nominees in the comments. And have a great Thanksgiving.

No Laughing Matter

A constant truism exhibited over the years by the left is their inability or unwillingness to deal with criticism. Probably from lack of practice, but when your megaphone, the bought and paid for MSM, suddenly forgets their lines and challenges previously held protocols for decorum, the flummoxed are at a loss, not knowing whether to scratch their watch or wind their ass. Ditto with that ever elusive concept known as free speech. “Free” seems to be a conditional term, like free for me but not for thee,”We will stand up and protect your right to express yourself, as long as we agree with that expression”. From calls to fire Rush to Obama’s war with Foxnews, the thin skinned absolutely refuse to tolerate that with they deem intolerant. Enter Miss Pantsuit;

In what appears to be a first for a serious presidential contender, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going after five comedians who made fun of the former Secretary of State in standup skits at a popular Hollywood comedy club.

A video of the short performance, which is less than three minutes, is posted on the website of the renowned club, Laugh Factory, and the Clinton campaign has tried to censor it. Besides demanding that the video be taken down, the Clinton campaign has demanded the personal contact information of the performers that appear in the recording. This is no laughing matter for club owner Jamie Masada, a comedy guru who opened Laugh Factory more than three decades ago and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many famous comics. “They threatened me,” Masada told Judicial Watch. “I have received complains before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.”

No one should dismiss the reach and power of the Clintons (Vince Foster) or poo poo this guy’s concerns about his own personal safety.

We have seen Obama’s short fuse when it comes to the press not towing the party line. When Hollywood wanders off the reservation, even minutely, it can throw them for a loop. The left gets special reverence right up there with Muslims. Rip a Christian or a Jew, they can handle it, no worries on your end, but say something unflattering about a Muslim and those damn blasphemy laws kick in, and you better go into witness protection.

Talk Like a Pundit!

Because we need some comic relief, here’s PJ with a guide to Punditspeak, translating terms you’ll hear in the punditsphere into English. Viz:

highly placed source—anyone dumb enough to answer my emails or phone calls.

highly placed source speaking on condition of anonymity because—because they’re dumb but not suicidal.

on background—the highly placed source is pulling this out of his ass.

on deep background—the highly placed source is pulling this out of somebody else’s ass.

studies show—I’m pulling this out of my own ass.

The whole thing is pretty funny.

The Obligatory Star Wars Trailer Post

I have no idea if the film will be any good or not. Like the prequels (which I enjoyed more than most) it has a towering legacy to live up to. And I’m not sure I trust JJ Abrams. That having been said, the trailer pushes all the right buttons. For two minutes, I felt like I was a 11 years old again.

You can also watch John Boyega and his family react to the trailer. Boyega, like all the cast, is under strict edict not to disclose any details (he famously tweeted that his dad was making him wash all the dishes as punishment). So his reaction to the reveal of him holding a light saber is priceless.

I bring this up not just for Star Wars. I bring it up because of Lee. For those of you who don’t know, Lee worked in special effects. One of the films he worked on was Attack of the Clones. I think Jim may know the details, but Lee had a moment when he too realized his name was on a Star Wars movie. And I imagine his reaction was quite similar, whatever one thinks of the quality of the movie.

Star Wars is the closet the USA has come to creating a complete universe like Middle Earth or Narnia. It’s more fantasy world than sci-fi world. Let’s hope that Abrams is worthy of the legacy.

I Stand With Nikki

We Americans, we don’t like foreigners sticking their noses into our affairs. Ditto times two state’s rights. We have been known, out of sheer obstanacy at times, to push back against those that not only don’t understand our peculiarities but rail against them under the pretense of some superiority, fools. And no where is this more prevalent or timely than the latest kerfuffle over the Confederate flag flying at the war memorial right next to the Capital building in Charleston, looks like that is about to change;

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is set to join those calling on state lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from a war memorial on the state Capitol grounds.

Up until now I have been apathetic about the controversy. Much like hunting, I don’t do it and don’t get the appeal, but understand that many do so I leave them do it, not being a Southerner (especially from SC, more on that in a bit) I don’t understand the loyalty or deference shown to an archaic symbol of a time not really worth lionizing. But, some folks see this an an issue worth fighting over, especially in South Carolina.

Since the country’s (separate states pledging themselves to the collective of one nation) inception, SC has been notable in their singularity, some say single handedly bringing the Civil War to fruition. Folks like John C. Calhoun and Preston Brooks had been arguing succession for years, but it was Lincoln’s election that pushed them over the edge, Fort Sumter soon followed.

A few words about Nikki Haley. I was a big fan before the shooting, expecting her to turn down a VP request from whoever gets the nomination, she doesn’t need it. But the day after the shooting I was sitting in my doctor’s office with CNN on (I know, commies) when Nikki was speaking. As she choked up, so did I (surreptitiously looking around to make sure no one was watching me) clearly here was a leader who understood their role in a crisis, so unlike Obama.

So now Nikki is calling for the permanent removal of the Confederate Flag. Normally after a tragedy like this ,politicians go all knee jerk (Obama, cough cough) and get on their soap box about gun control. This was different. A sufficient time period had lapsed. Buoyed by Tim Scott (another stud GOP up and comer) Nikki is saying it is time, South Carolinians are saying ,”It’s time”. Who am I to argue?

OT……………………. The USA/Columbia match starts in about 5 minutes, I’m stoked.

Faking It

What on Earth?

There is another controversy over the veracity of representations of minority status in Washington. We previously discussed the controversy raised by the allegedly false claims of Senator Elizabeth Warren that she is a Native American. In this case, however, the accused is the head of a NAACP chapter and she is being accused of lying by her own mother. Worse yet, some have suggested that Rachel Dolezal is the head of the NAACP’s chapter in Spokane planted hate mail at her office.

Dolezal has claimed to be black, but there are pictures of her as a blonde girl and pictures of her in between as a woman with frizzy hair who has apparently tanned a lot to try to look partially black. There’s also good reason to believe she faked at least racist incidents she experienced.

I have no deep thoughts on this. She’s clearly got issues. But … damn.

RIP Beau Biden

Breaking news that Beau Biden, the Vice President’s 46-year-old son has died of brain cancer. I’ve taken my shot at the Veep, but this is terrible news. Joe is no stranger to tragedy, having lost his daughter and first wife to a car accident. RIP and thoughts and prayers for the Biden family.