September 2014

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The Ultra-Shepherd

The Ultra-Shepherd

When it comes to German Shepherds, the best of the best are the ones who are silver and black. I know I talk too much about Raebert, but he had a predecessor who was as difficult and intelligent as he is. Her name was Kristie.

She was a terrible puppy. Way worse than Psmith or Raebert. But Mrs. IP always says, go with the boys not the girls. The girls are awful. Kristie was. Her ears took forever to stand up. My dad despaired of them. Then they stood up and she got her gumption up at the same time. She completely destroyed a couch my mother had sewn the slipcover for. She was forgiven. My mother had just enough fabric left for a remake. Which Kristie destroyed within the week.

My dad, having watched my mother piece together the remnants of the first crime and then witnessed the aftermath of the second, threw her bodily out of the house. They went to bed. I let her back in. I thought she understood when I told her she couldn’t do that again.

You have to understand that the picture above is not Kristie. Her ears were taller. Her nose was sharper. She was the ultimate German Shepherd. Too beautiful to be believed. I could forgive her anything. So could we all. I remember, for example, Kristie accidentally catching a squirrel. That’s how quick she was. She let it go. She also caught a groundhog and killed it. It was a reflex. She nosed it afterwards. Sorry, I think.

Not as fast as a greyhound but quick, quick on the draw.

Not as fast as a greyhound but lightning on the draw.

You’ve heard stories about how many words a dog can learn. Kristie knew more than the average. A lot more. She became my dad’s constant companion, his shadow, his spirit.

She grew old in his service. As an ultra-shepherd, she became obvious prey to the hip displacement curse. At the end, he took her upstairs with a belt under her loins. Without that, you could hear her hip bones grinding. But she never complained.

She was gorgeous. She was brilliant. She was beatific. Hope I’ll see her again. Someday.

Not her color. But the eyes have her luster.

Not her color. But the eyes have her luster.

MY Theme Song

Yeah, I’ve been sandbagging. Here’s my all time theme song. Always and forever.

I am still Instapunk.

Had a nice picture of Raebert and Elliott. This is the only one that came up.

Had a sweet picture of Raebert and Elliott. This came up instead.

Beautiful, companionable pic on the iPhone. Then this when I went to add it to the post.

Somehow I can’t get pictures from iPhone to iPad anymore. No software reason anymore. Just some Raebert something in the way. Can’t say I disapprove his choices, but how can a deerhound accomplish such things?

Damned if I know.

Oh. NOW he consents. His publicist is cackling.

Oh. NOW he consents. His publicist is cackling.

As I said, he seems to be okay. Same old same old. Now, if she’d only stop calling…

I almost feel sorry for him. It doesn’t matter what’s going to happen in the next six to twelve months.

He’s ultimately going down. Maybe five years from now (not likely), but in 10, 20, or 50 years definitely. Not in his lifetime but in the record.

There will still be some locus of human liberty in future days, perhaps not in the U.S., but the history will still be written of the cataclysmic downfall of the United States of America.

Of an administration that embraced the nation’s most determined and mortal enemies and refused even to name them.

Of an administration that treated the most successful political document in the history of history as toilet paper.

Of a leader who managed to fool everyone, including his most adamant opponents, that he did not desire what he most obviously and persistently did desire — the annihilation of the nation he had sworn to serve.

When it comes to Eric Holder, I’m reminded of the works of a 20th century historical novelist named Kenneth Roberts. His most persistent theme was the danger and and wreckage caused by small men in high places.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Barack Obama is not a small man in a high place. He is a big man of small education and small intelligence. Why, in future years, the unforgivable comparisons to Hitler and Stalin will eventually be made.

I won’t live to see it. You probably won’t either. No matter. The record will speak for itself. It will finally be deduced that his intention all along was the destruction, utter and humiliating, of the United States of America. Revenge is a dish best served cold. And Obama has done that with an extraordinary degree of finesse. Golf and Hollywood fund raisers and basketball brackets are actually a triumph of satiric leadership. He’s been laughing at us the whole time.

Someday, they will be comparing him to Caligula, Hitler, and Dracula.

The historians will eventually stumble onto the hypothesis that the earliest days of the 21st century were a kind of national nervous breakdown, a mass suicide impulse that against all odds succeeded. He will be identified as a Great Villain, a kind of hypnotist whose bombastic rhetoric fooled all the intelligentsia in the same way the Third Reich’s fuehrer did.

Everyone knows the self ordained cognoscenti are the easiest dupes. David Brooks of the New York Times was seduced by his trouser crease. Peggy Noonan wanted to have sex with him, practically panting over his every banal utterance. Christopher Buckley fell in love with his magnificent temperament. And that’s just the so-called conservatives. All the libs and progressives and environmentalists and college radicals and civil rights activists saw in him whatever they most wanted to see.

The downfall of Obama will be written about, but those who opened their eyes late will be tempted to think there must have been some greatness there, or they wouldn’t have been so thoroughly fooled.

None of this helps Holder. When the destruction of constitutional government in the U.S. is finally written about, the arguments will be legion. Was he, and his DOJ, a Goebbels or an Eichmann? (Actually, I think the MSM have the Goebbels title locked up.)

Or, more figuratively, was he merely a Renfield to Obama’s Dracula? Eating flies while his master played midnight golf?

Caligula had all his able advisers killed off. Who he was. With all the DOJ scandals finally hitting the fan at once, will Obama come to Renfield’s rescue? Or will he simply vanish to the nearest tee for another round of golf?


But in the long run, O won’t escape either. The drip in the water that created the most horrifying ripples still came from the Great Prevaricator’s mouth. The only lifeboat Holder has.

Not that he should count on it.

Not that he should count on it.

In the judgment of history, he’s going to be a Quisling or a Marshal Petain. Or, more properly, a lowly bureaucratic order-taker like Eichmann. No hope for him.

Oh well. I don’t feel that sorry for him. It’s the usual peril of being a small man in a high place. Quelle dommage.

Smart ladies are much in demand.

Smart ladies are much in demand.

I know I did a first impression kind of post, but now that I know more about what the show is trying to do, I think I’m ready to weigh in more weightily.

Today’s lineup features Sandra Brown, Harris Faulkner, Andrea Tantaros, and former MTV VJ Kennedy. And some token guy.

Starting from the left, what is Sandra Brown wearing? A red tent? She has really nice breasts but you can barely see them. Her legs are good, though, and her skirt is short. My wife adds, “Very.”

Harris Faulkner has great legs too, but her eyebrows have grown into a major distraction. My wife agrees that she long ago plucked them out of existence and now they’re merely drawn on, an arch imitation of what might once have been attraction.

Andrea Tantaros has the best breasts obviously — meaning big and round — and good legs too. Her hair needs work, though, and she talks too much. Maybe way too much.

Kennedy is not ready for Fox News prime time. Those monster glasses may have been cute on MTV (they weren’t), but now they make her look like she wishes she were an NBA hipster. Fail. And those legs! White whales. Has she ever heard of pantyhose? A nice nude color would become her at least a little. She talks fast. Which is better than too much. Although she does that too.

Where is Kirsten Powers? She always looks great. I don’t think this show is going to make it in the long run without Kirsten Powers. Sorry. I’d put in a glamor shot of Kirsten, but then you’d all say I was being sexist, which I’m definitely not being.

Also, I’m having flashes about IQ today for some reason. Anybody I can see, I know. The women across the board have the same IQ, 120. Except for Kennedy, who’s 140. But with those raw white legs, she comes across as a lowly 110. She should show her breasts more, I think. I don’t know about the guy. Didn’t really see him.

He’s like me. His theme song changes. Here’s his current one.

But the funny thing is, his link was denied on iPad. The one that popped up first was by my oldest friend.

What price coincidence?

Keep them coming, folks.

Fake tits, fake class, fake everything else.

Fake tits, fake class, fake everything else.

Should have known. Melissa Rivers thinks Kathie Griffin is the heir to Fashion Police.

Melissa has always been handicapped by not actually having a sense of humor. Griffin has always been handicapped by not actually having a brain, taste, or even political intelligence.

Turning off fifty percent of your potential audience is just stupid. But Griffin will do it with a vengeance. She has a tic that requires her to make Palin jokes.

She doesn’t know how to dress. Joan did. Why should the chief cop of Fashion Police be a total slob or slag? No reason. But for Melissa’s desire to keep the money machine rolling.

Count us out.

Kathie Griffin. Post to come. Guaranteed she won’t like it.

Never had the need to take her apart. Now I will. Too bad, baby. Too bad, Melissa. Worst possible decision.

More, more, more, more...

More, more, more, more… Or I’ll bury you.

I have enormous respect for National Review correspondent Mona Charen. Today was a low point. I’m not writing this to jump ugly on her but to point out some common cheap shots and shortcuts in the whole discussion of parents and their choice to spank their children.

Here’s her post at National Review. I reproduce all of it, so I won’t be accused of taking things out of context. Key passages are highlighted by me.

Is It Ever Okay to Spank?

Why would anyone defend using violence to teach children right from wrong?

The image of Adrian Peterson’s son’s legs has ignited a welcome cultural conversation. This is unusual. Most of these contrived “conversations” are efforts to take one headline and shoehorn it into a narrative that liberals want to advance, usually about race and racism. Those “conversations” are never truthful.

But the discussion of a four-year-old boy’s wounds has elicited some brutally honest commentary.

Writing on, Steven Holmes blasted what he regards as excessive tolerance for spanking and child abuse in the black community. He dispatches the “I was whipped and I turned out all right” excuse. Holmes cites the abundant research showing that “spanking inhibits the learning process . . . It leads to anger, depression, violence and alcohol and drug abuse. It breeds hostility toward authority . . . and spawns other antisocial behaviors.” Physical punishment, he continues “is associated with legions of sullen, angry, violence-prone boys . . . ”

Peterson advanced the “mean streets” argument. “I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents . . . ” Holmes replies: “This may have been true for Peterson. But what also could be true is that the streets may not have been so mean if they were not populated by so many kids who are angry at the world because, among other things, they were spanked.”

Physical punishment is almost as common among whites. Some conservatives defend spanking because they see critics as liberals who seek to undermine authority across the board. Doubtless, some are — and some liberal parenting approaches are enough to make you want to take a switch to the adult! (“Dylan, how would you feel if someone cut your fingers with scissors?”)

But to quote Mother Teresa on the subject of abortion, “Don’t resort to violence.” Of course there’s a difference between a swat on the bottom and a beating with a tree branch or electrical wire. But, frankly, why would anyone defend using violence to teach children right from wrong? We don’t do it with puppies and kittens anymore, for heaven’s sake.

Some research suggests that 66 percent of parents admit to striking their children, and 30 percent of those say they’ve spanked children as young as one year old. Picture a 1-year-old; just struggling to get to his feet; wobbling between the coffee table and the sofa. Is there no way, other than violence, to teach him not to pull the cat’s tail?

This is not to deny that kids can be extremely provoking, and that they are in dire need of limit setting. There is no harder job. When one of our sons was having behavior problems, we enrolled in a course for parents of children with autistic-spectrum disorders. We thought we had tried everything (except hitting of course). We hadn’t. Kids with this condition, we were told, don’t distinguish between good attention and bad attention. Acting out gets the notice they crave, even if it’s in the form of a reprimand or a time out.

One way to cope was to “catch them being good “ and then praise them lavishly. Their need for attention would be filled up with approval. Working toward rewards (tokens for clearing their place, making their beds, putting their shoes in the mud room) that could later be cashed in for prizes helped them plan for the future, delay gratification, and receive positive feedback. Did it work 100 percent of the time? Of course not. Did we sometimes resent having to establish these elaborate rituals for tasks that ought to be simple? Yes. But if we had hit the boy, his already fragile ego might never have recovered.

Studies have also shown that verbal abuse can be as damaging as physical violence. Children who are ridiculed or belittled by their parents, dismissed as “stupid” or “idiotic” just for doing childish things, are as prone to negative outcomes as those who are physically assaulted.

Some parents are abusive because they’re bad people. But many well-meaning parents may be harming their children in the misguided belief that hitting or insulting them instills important virtues, or at least does no harm. They might want to think again.

The first outrage in this piece, abundantly illustrated by the highlighted portions, is making “spanking” synonymous with “hitting,” “whipping,” and “abuse.” They are not synonymous.

I was spanked as a child. As a small child. Simple explanation? My dad told me, “I stopped spanking you as soon as I could see in your eyes that what you had done was wrong. There was no more need for spanking.”

Here’s how the process went. Though I’m sure there were occasional casual disciplinary swats to the bottom when I was a toddler, spankings became official when I could speak and comprehend parental instructions. The first time I defied something I had been told not to do, I was told not to do it again or there would be a spanking. The next time I did it was usually when my dad was at work. (My mother was a notorious “rat.” Wait till your father gets home, she’d say.) We didn’t have elaborate rituals. We had elemental justice. Simple as could be.

He’d come home, there would be a hushed conversation, and then he’d march me up to the bathroom. He wasn’t angry. He was stern. As if he had his judge’s robes on. He’d remind me that I had been told not to play games with the plumbing or whatever it was (once stuffed towels in the upstairs sink, turned on the water, and sent a waterfall through the ceiling) and that he now had to administer a spanking. He always said it hurt him more than it did me, but he was inexorable. He sat down on the closed lid of the toilet and bent me over his lap. He never pulled my pants down. The point was not humiliation. It was the carrying out of a sentence. He gave me three or four stiff spanks. They hurt, but not to the point of actual pain. They stung. There were never any marks. There was no need to look for any.

What there was was sense memory and a conscious memory of the tiny but intensely unpleasant drama a spanking represented. Afterwards, depending on the severity of the offense, the session might conclude with me being sent to my room for a time or a serious faced hug from a loving dad. “There, it’s done. Be good. Okay?” My parents were never shy about praising us. No more than they were shy of making us behave. Discipline is not all punishment. It’s molding. My dad and I were okay in those years.

Okay. Meaning we loved one another despite his occasional disappointments in me. But he was the first one who suspected I was a writer. He read a fourth grade essay of mine describing a calendar picture and he said it was beautiful. Something he couldn’t have done. But he could also do things I couldn’t. He was an artist, a portrait painter, but he didn’t believe in himself. He demanded that I believe in myself. Perhaps too much.

As I said, we were okay back when I was a tadpole.

[btw forget the attempt to pass discipline questions on to cat and dog analogies. In my experience, cats let children do terrible things to them with no retaliation. Up to human parents to stop. Dogs are a different story. Like cats, they never punish children, but I’ve also never known a puppy who didn’t get swatted on the behind when you could catch him in the act. That’s not violence. Like parental yelling, it’s a form of communication. Without it, dogs would never learn to do their business outdoors. The only transferable rule is, don’t use an implement. Only your hand. The hand that both loves and objects. No newspaper swats. The newspaper is never a symbol of love. My dad’s reasoning. Why he scorned belts and switches as well as newspapers. Don’t make young’uns cringe at the sight of newspapers or willow trees. The hand that chastises you should also be the hand that tousles your hair or pets your head. And cats have to be protected from their own perverse behaviors…]

As a tadpole, there were also times when I had to sit in a corner. My mother and the more reliable babysitters were confident in exacting that sentence because the penalty if I attempted escape would be a spanking.

All in all, I doubt if I ever had more than a dozen spankings. And I don’t recall feeling resentful. Before sentence was passed, I always got my say. And my dad listened to the excuses dutifully. But the law is the law, and the rule is the rule. (He really did listen. He told me later he had had a couple of fake spankings based on dubious testimony from my dad’s older sister. You smack the toilet lid and the kid cries out. I never got this dispensation. Always guilty as charged.)

My sister got spanked just one time as I recall. For kicking me in the stomach. But she responded earlier than I did to the idea of right and wrong. And she could cry at a whipstitch.

Does any of this sound like “hitting?” Of course not. To be honest, my dad did hit me once, in anger, when I was long past the age of being spanked. I was maybe eight or nine, and my sister and I had ignored my mother’s deflections about the two or three beers my parents enjoyed of a weekend afternoon in a conversation with my paternal grandmother, who was something of a rigid Episcopalian prig. We laughed and made jokes about opening another beer, which seemed like a lot to us because our Coca Cola rations were normally a single bottle. When my dad got home, he was furious, embarrassed, and completely unfair. Nothing in our experience had informed us that there was anything wrong about adult beverages. Our parents were good people who took care of us every single day. I can still remember him locking me between his knees and staring angrily into my eyes. “Why would you do that?” he asked. I had no answer. Then he punched me in the jaw.

It wasn’t a hard punch. I’ve been clocked harder by sixth grade classmates. But it was his knuckles against my face and I have never held it against him. Not even in the moment. It was a breakthrough moment. My dad is human, vulnerable, not perfect, and what I do can hurt him. I hurt him. I saw it in his eyes. My ego was never fragile. It grew when I knew I had to look out for him the way he looked out for me.

So. That’s hitting. Very different. And a far cry from beating or belting or lashing or switching. (A willow switch is hardly a “tree branch” btw.) But I’m not scarred by it. Or made violent by it. Which leads to some points I feel must be made about the kind of mentality Mona Charen exhibits in her misbegotten piece.

We’ve turned the parent child relationship upside down in the last half century.

A time when children were to be seen and not heard. Transition to today, when you cannot shut them up. All the popular entertainment shows depict children from earliest ages on living in a state of utter contempt for the old, out of touch dinosaurs their parents are. This has led to more personal ruin than anything traditionally stern parents can do.

All children need real discipline, but the need increases the more children’s living environments bring physical dangers into their lives.

So what do you do when your two year old daughter insists on wandering off the curb of your suburban house into the street? Reason with her? Explain why what mommy says has to be obeyed instantaneously? Forget it. What do you do when your two year old daughter insists on wandering the sidewalk in a neighborhood where drive-by shootings are commonplace? How do you establish the simple obedience required to keep them alive? Show them morgue photos or bend them over your knee?

Children under the age of three are not conscious enough to appreciate the blandishments of modern psychology.

They can pick out a snake or a car in a picture book. They can’t imagine being bitten by a poisonous snake or run over by a car. They can’t conceptualize their own death or shocking pain. Do you really think you can schmooze her into appreciating the dangers of wandering into the woods or chasing a ball across the street? Good luck. Probably doesn’t matter in the gated communities of Connecticut. It matters here in Salem on Walnut Street. My wife refuses to drive on Walnut Street because there are little kids squirting everywhere untended. I’d like to spank them myself. I go 15 mph on W Street, eagle eyed and amazed that the newspaper doesn’t have a toddler death every day.

The biggest mistake parents make is treating their children like precious cargo rather than growing humans.

No, they’re not your friends, which is also a huge mistake parents make. But they’re likewise not inert objects it’s your mission to carry and ferry and coddle into adulthood. So tired of the car seat fetish, which begins in the pram and continues to the age of first exposure to marijuana and porn in middle school. It’s all bullshit. Prevent all risk and you create an unstoppable yen for risk deferred. Your job is to be parents, to set and maintain rules, and to make demands on their minds and characters that enable them to arbitrate risk issues from an early age, with a modicum of disciplined intelligence. Kowtowing to children, catering to their whims, cutting their meat, buying them lavish electronics and shoes and clothes, and respecting their usually deceptive privacy is nothing but a cop-out.

What so few parents do these days: Look them in the eye.

Really really tired of hearing contemporary parents discuss their children in the third person while they are present. Equally tired of watching parents talk at their children rather than to them. Amazing that multiple generations of parents who never grew up themselves find it hard to remember that children are sentient, conscious beings very early on. I’ve never forgotten it. You can get their attention. You can talk to them. But you can’t allow yourself to be deflected. They’re great at it. But they concede readily when you treat them like human beings and expect real answers. They may not like it. But they at least get more honest. And sometimes you have to be prepared for the fact that they really don’t care, feel no empathy, have no beliefs, and don’t expect to have meaningful lives. What they learned in the pram with its five-point belts and the objectification of their lives by doting parents who never tried to have a single real conversation with them. Shammadamma. Look them in the eye. Try it. See the person or the shark. If there’s a person in there, try to reach it. If there’s a shark, ignore all the Hollywood blather about “my child no matter what.” Time to save the rest of us from your catastrophic screw-up.


The popular culture proves my prior points. Has for many many years.

My chief exhibit is all the early films of Steven Spielberg, who was obviously raised according to the modern Spockian (Benjamin Spock, that is) principles Mona Charen is still clinging to. He loved to make movies featuring youngsters. All of whom paid no attention whatever to what their parents said. I literally couldn’t stand to watch any of them. The kids always needed to be taken down four pegs or more. And it’s not done. You can see the same culture at work in every single SyFy end of the world movie. Kid who is told to stay home and immediately hits the streets. Kid who is earnestly entreated to stay put in the safe haven or hospital while dad tries to the save the world and instantly lights out to the worst part of the crisis. Inevitable result? Building falls on them and suddenly they want daddy to save them. World nearly not saved because child-subservient dad abandons his post with the fate of earth in the balance to rescue a spoiled brat who never paid the slightest attention to anything he said.

Pretty much where we are as a culture at this very moment.

Without deliberate acculturation and moral training, children default to the state of functional sociopaths. And you can lose them forever by the age of six.

P.S. Multiple outrages in the subject essay by Mona Charen. Most I’ve illuminated. Forgot the final one. The reference by Ms. Charen to Mother Theresa and abortion in this context was inexcusable. Commenters on her piece were eloquent about it. Read the comments. Many of them were spot on.

Theme Songs

My own candidate would have been Tina’s ‘Simply the Best.’

Mrs. IP started this by announcing that the above was her theme song. I confessed I didn’t have one and solicited yours.

So far, two strong women have volunteered theirs.


She’s always been a live wire. Emphasis on live.

And Rita.

Perfect. Don’t ever get in her way when she’s defending what she believes in, whether it’s a sports team or a child. Force of nature.

They know who they are and aren’t afraid to say it. People I admire.

But there’s hope for the rest of us too. Except maybe me. For example, this was my theme song yesterday.

Scotland forever! (Yeah, they’re officially Aussie, but they were born in Glasgow.) Congrats to the crazies for making the right decision.

Today it’s completely different.

I know. The Beatles. I know. But he made it a Sinatra song. And it’s one I want to hear a lot today. Feels right.

You don’t have to pick one song that represents your whole life. You can be callow and capricious. What’s your theme song today? Less pressure, more fun.

CHECKING IN. Tim has a theme song. Youtube doesn’t have his favorite version, but here’s one I like.

He also has a theme song for me. If only I could understand the lyrics. (Oh.)

Have to think about this. But keep your theme songs coming.

Just keep it running. When it stops, reload. Let the suspense build.

Apologies if we seem to be taking this too lightly. It’s actually a very big deal, with potential global consequences. The Queen is gnawing her knuckles. Even the palace guards are feeling the pressure.

Consider… If Scotland votes yes, a nation of 5.5 million people, all of them deranged Scots, will become the world’s smallest — but hardly the weakest — nuclear power.

What if they lose a big soccer game to Manchester United or Chelsea? You see what I mean about consequences?

God save the Queen.

Like all Scots, I too love her ancient Saxe-Coburg ass to death, regardless of the outcome.

P.S. All kidding aside, here’s an essay, by a Scot, that lays out the relevant history and the stakes of the independence vote. Please, please read the whole thing.

She's who we thought she was.

She’s who we thought she was.

As I told you, Breitbart couldn’t be bothered to look at the record. Would have required work or competence or something. Fortunately we have the memory of Mollie Hemingway regarding the new token righty on ‘The View.’

…the woman who made me pay attention to the names of political operatives is Nicole Wallace. Her behavior of simultaneously serving as Sarah Palin’s aide while dishonestly sabotaging her to a gleeful liberal media was so disloyal, self-aggrandizing and despicable that I decided to write her name down so I would remember to be wary of anyone who ever hired her.

Nicole Wallace was recently hired by The View, a talk show that tends to feature three or four super-liberal hosts and then, supposedly, one conservative one. That’s always been a silly model, considering how unfair a fight it is and how it “others” conservative women despite the fact that we exist in the same percentages as liberal women.

But the notion that Nicole Wallace could serve in this role is laughable and speaks to how completely out of touch with reality the producers of The View are. Of course, they also brought back a host who believes that fire can’t melt steel, so they’re not known for their grasp of reality.

Let’s get the Nicole Wallace business out of the way. Basically there were two staffers on the John McCain for President campaign back in 2008 that leaked unhelpful information to pliant media like broken sieves. If various accounts are to be believed, these individuals were Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace. You can look at some of the evidence for those now-widely accepted claims here. Stuff like:

In a nutshell, the controversy centers on this sentence from the VF profile: “Some top aides worried about her mental state: was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression? (Palin’s youngest son was less than six months old.)”

Now, I’ve been around enough campaign operatives to know that at some point on flailing campaigns, many of them start worrying about whether they’ll be blamed for the results of the election. So they start positioning themselves as smarter, better, wiser, whatever, than everyone else, most importantly the candidates themselves. There is nothing new about this.

But the McCain-Palin campaign was known for taking this to astronomically ridiculous levels. Doing stuff like, oh, I don’t know, personally purchasing expensive clothing for the VP candidate and then claiming it was all the VP’s idea. Or suggesting that the candidate had post-partum depression. Or completely failing to prepare a candidate for interviews and then suggesting that the candidate was the problem. You know, that kind of positioning that goes light years beyond normal positioning. If the leakers had spent a fraction as much time doing decent jobs as they spent talking crap, well, John McCain still would have probably lost. But either way, what reprehensible behavior for campaign aides.

I’ll quote myself: “This little bitch is almost a war criminal.” I stand by that.

And Breitbart, please, please, do some actual journalism for a change.




Unless the furor is all a bit overblown somehow. And Scots are just being their usual obdurate, mysterious, troublemaking selves who will go back to sleep when the drunk wears off.

What? What?

…What? What?

I dunno. Maybe we’re not ready.

On the other hand, who could resist this? Bleak, rain-soaked caterwauling by men in bear hats and skirts. Heaven.

What the hell. Even the Romans were scared of us. Do it. AYE.

The best we could hope for.

The best we could hope for.

My wife and I have been discussing the increasingly likely replacement of Roger Goodell as commissioner of the NFL. She was initially charmed by the possibility of Condoleeza Rice assuming that office. National Review threw convincing cold water on that outcome this morning.

…who is the only name that has been floated by the Left to take some heat off the league, to help quell an increasingly politicized outrage, to be a welcomed presence and a non-contentious figure? Just a little-known, inconspicuous former secretary of state that carries no baggage with her whatsoever.

The voices on the left now toying with the notion are the same ones that would eagerly take her down from her first opening kick-off. Rice can’t even set foot on a college campus without setting off an onslaught of sit-ins, protests, and boycotts; now, the same media figures who condone these demonstrations, if not personally hurl the “war criminal” invectives with Matthew Stafford–esque zip at Rice, are going to welcome her with open arms? Come on. You can already imagine the Salon thinkpieces linking the NFL’s handling of head trauma to Rice’s treatment of Abu Zubaydah.

We already have evidence of this eventual outcome. SB Nation’s Spencer Hall quickly brought up torture and Rice’s violations of “of human decency, the Geneva Convention, and every tenet of even the loosest definition of human rights” when she was added to the College Football Playoff selection committee last fall.

Listening to political pundits talk about sports over these past few months has been insufferable enough, and sportswriters taking self-righteous positions is equally tedious. The idea of a Rice commissionership tickles these commentators’ fancy because it gives them the opportunity to link the Rice/Peterson controversy to an area they actually know something about. Ultimately, they don’t want Rice as commissioner — they want to be able to talk about her as commissioner.

In other words, Condi Rice is not going to be the replacement. No way the old boy network is going to leap from the frying pan into the fire.

Mrs. IP favors the choice of some retired coach. I disagree. The media pressure will be for some outsider coming in to clear the air. All ex-coaches are going to be suspect to the extent that they participated in whatever cultural failings the NFL is presumed to have.

The NFL is already pandering to the hard left. The hiring of three women to consult on social policies in the league — the three Furies? — and the promotion of a former Obama functionary as their leader demonstrates that an all-out assault on football itself is underway, whether the clueless Goodell administration recognizes it or not. Is this important? Yes.

Again from National Review, Andrew McCarthy‘s piece on the infiltration of sports by the progressive left:

If conservatives want to know why we are losing the culture and the country, it is important to understand that while very few kids and young adults are watching Fox News (or news programs of any kind, for that matter), they inhale sports programming. It’s ubiquitous — television, radio, the Internet. And thus equally unavoidable is sports commentary, more and more of which has less and less to do with sports. Tendentious “sports journalists,” the majority of whom are decidedly left of center, are much less guarded about their hostility to conservatives than their fellow progressives on the political beat. It is a hostility that takes for granted the chummy agreement of its viewers and is designed to make Millennials want to be part of the fun…

My purpose here is less to wade into the Rice mess than to consider how radical ideas — like the Left’s war on boys — get mainstreamed…

On Friday, after highlights of the previous night’s game between the hometown Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, ESPN’s Sports Center reported, incredulously, that many female Ravens fans proudly wore their No. 27 jerseys in homage to Rice. Although this week’s coverage made him Public Enemy No. 1, it turns out that Rice is still quite popular among fans in Baltimore. One woman, clad in her Rice jersey, explained that while she did not condone his behavior, Rice had said he was sorry and was deserving of a second chance, just like other people who have done abominable things. It was a mitigating factor, in her view, that Ms. Palmer (now Mrs. Rice) had started the fight, and that the muscular professional football player was simply retaliating…

In any event, I was surprised that ESPN gave airtime to the Rice supporters. The progressive soap-opera storyline of the Rice coverage is that our aggressive, competitive culture, which has made the NFL so popular, desensitizes men to the gravity of domestic violence; that women are uniformly outraged by this state of affairs; and that football and the men who play it must be tamed. ESPN is a prominent author of this particular narrative, so one wouldn’t expect coverage of women who dissent from it.

I should have figured, though, that the segment was just a set-up for what followed: a lengthy editorial interview with Kate Fagan. A former college basketball player, Ms. Fagan is now, yes, a sports journalist. Author of a memoir The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians, she is a staple at ESPN-W. That’s where the network focuses on women in sports and, seamlessly, on political and social matters that the Left has successfully branded “women’s issues.”

For the politically aware, listening to Kate Fagan is a lot like listening to President Obama or any other deft community organizer. She first invoked tribal politics in refusing — or at least making a show of refusing — to rebut the female Ravens fans who sympathize with Rice. That, she said, would be “pitting women against women” — a no-no. She then skillfully lowered the boom: The problem is not Rice’s cheerleaders; it is our “culture.”…

By all means read the whole piece, which explains that the intent is to extort funds from the NFL to be distributed to community organizers who can begin the process of teaching boys to be more like girls.

…it was presented as incontestable fact that (a) there was a crisis involving violence, (b) the NFL and its violent sport must be responsible for it, (c) the NFL has deep pockets, and (d) the NFL should thus be coerced to fund bien pensant activists to perform progressive social-engineering on schoolboys.

Kids who tuned in to ESPN Friday morning to see the highlights of Thursday night’s game were treated to political indoctrination masquerading as sports commentary. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what football fans were treated to during the coverage of the game itself. And it happens pretty much every day.

Conservatives complain incessantly, and not without cause, about Republican fecklessness in confronting the Obama Left’s agenda, about the news media’s becoming an adjunct of the White House press office. But Washington’s political arena is just where the score is tallied. The game is being played, and lost, in the popular culture.

Yes. The leftist sports media are not just an annoyance or a distraction. They are a new front in the war on American values and traditions.

Before we proceed, one important fact. NFL football players are arrested at a rate 13 percent of that of the general population. Think about that.

The real objective here is not to clean up the NFL, which is already almost squeaky clean. The objective is to destroy football altogether and set about eliminating masculinity from American culture.

So who should be commissioner? Another bureaucratic drone like Goodell? No. A high profile progressive from outside the NFL, who will walk in the door dedicated to the new mission of destruction — turning the NFL into the NFFL, the National Flag Football League, whose champion will play the Super Bowl against an appropriately renamed Lingerie Football League (and lose)?


To prevent that, we need our own Trojan Horse, our own Manchurian Candidate. Someone who just might pass muster in critical PC terms, and will yet save the day, the game, and the sports culture.

Her name is Tammy Bruce, pictured above. She is an avowed lesbian. She is pro-choice. She is a past president of NOW in California. She has led campaigns against sexualized violence, notably protests against the movie American Psycho.

Convinced yet? Well, maybe that’s because you don’t know that she’s a Reagan Republican, a hard line conservative on virtually every issue but abortion, an incredibly talented talk show host who occasionally substitutes for Laura Ingraham, an enemy of the feminist war on boys and men, and as she has admitted in interviews, “technically bisexual,” no particular fan of same sex marriage. Her self identification as lesbian was to make a point. As such she she belongs to the 25 percent of lesbians who are not obese and the 5 percent of lesbians who are actually beautiful.

What’s most relevant in this background? Two things. As a lesbian who has not held political office, she cannot be attacked for war crimes like Condi Rice would be. If attacks were made, the NFL could throw up its hands and say what do you want from us? How non-Old Boy Network can we get?

Second. She’s a died in the wool libertarian. One of Mrs. IP’s most persistent arguments has been that Roger Goodell brought this crisis on himself by presuming to be the disciplinarian-in-chief of the National Football League. And all appeals of his rulings are to him. Closed authoritarian loop.

Tammy Bruce has the media savvy, razor wit, eloquence, and conviction to transform the commissioner’s office into a bully pulpit rather than a star chamber. The responsibility for identifying thuggishness, punishing it appropriately, and preventing it in the first place lies with owners and coaching staffs of individual teams. The commissioner should not be a czar or pope handing down judgments on personal conduct.

She should be a talented interlocutor between and among teams, players, and sports media. She should have the insight and courage to call shenanigans on any or all of these when warranted.

The only argument of Mrs. IP I can’t counter is this: Won’t ever happen.

Why I could be so open about the reasons for nominating Tammy Bruce.

MY BAD. What’s wrong with me today? To mention the Lingerie Football League without providing necessary background? I call that shoddy research. The remedy.

The actual game begins at 21 minutes in if you want to skip Jenny McCarthy’s off color pre-game commentary.

The post-NFL name? I dunno. Maybe the LGBT Football League. Won’t be as much fun. But nothing else will be as much either when the progressives get their way, alas.

We got to listening the other night to a bunch of songs, and I picked out one that made her light up.

It’s funny, I said when it started playing. Bob Seger was called the Springsteen of the Midwest. I always preferred him to Springsteen, and I’m from Jersey.

“This has always been my theme song,” she said.

I could instantly see it, or more properly, hear it. She’s always been the anchor of everyone around her, the one they depend on not to get blown around by the winds of fashion or fate. She is always Boudica.

Then I felt envious. I don’t have a theme song. She blew it off. It’s okay, she said. Not everyone does. Maybe they didn’t write it yet. Maybe it changes from day to day. Don’t fret.

But I do. Who out there has a theme song? The one that makes you stand up straight and say I am I and I am proud to be who and what I am.

Tell me. Everyone who has one will see it posted here. And if you have one for me I’ll at least consider it, unless it makes me stand up straight.

Just a fun task.

Mrs. Instapunk is retiring for the second time on Friday. Looks like it won’t be the last time, either. She keeps going. She’s still the same.

So honor this however temporary milestone by participating in our little game. I’d like to post some songs. For my girl.

A New York Times columnist and the greatest of all Irish poets. Who’s likelier to do the apocalyptic thing better? For you women, no lips or full lips?

The right answer is the one with pince nez. The Irishman. Measure the lips yourself.

The Second Coming

Turning and t urning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Now it’s time to do a Scottish thing — Fisk a blind liberal cri de coeur (that’s French for ‘pontificating’). I’ll do it politely, one paragraph at a time. [I’m in the square brackets.]

The Great Unraveling

By Roger Cohen

It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?

[You write for the New York Times. You lot have been working night and day for generations to make this happen. Why plead ignorance now? It’s always been your position that you knew everything.]

It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.

[huh? “Movie images of unbearable lightness”? WTF are you talking about you pompous ass? What we poets call imitation of poetry. More on this later.]

It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation on earth pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part of a neighboring country, the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane. The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason.

[Anaphora is the cheapest and easiest of all bombastic attempts at eloquence. A sign that you’re trying to write secular scripture. Give it up. You’re merely being pompous. “…stirred up war on further land he coveted.” Putin’s a fuckhead. SAY it, you nincompoop.]

It was a time of breakup. The most successful union in history, forged on an island in the North Sea in 1707, headed toward possible dissolution — not because it had failed (refugees from across the seas still clamored to get into it), nor even because of new hatreds between its peoples. The northernmost citizens were bored. They were disgruntled. They were irked, in some insidious way, by the south and its moneyed capital, an emblem to them of globalization and inequality. They imagined they had to control their National Health Service in order to save it even though they already controlled it through devolution and might well have less money for its preservation (not that it was threatened in the first place) as an independent state. The fact that the currency, the debt, the revenue, the defense, the solvency and the European Union membership of such a newborn state were all in doubt did not appear to weigh much on a decision driven by emotion, by urges, by a longing to be heard in the modern cacophony — and to heck with the day after. If all else failed, oil would come to the rescue (unless somebody else owned it or it just ran out).

[“…not because it had failed”???! Of COURSE it had failed. It permitted one of the strongest cultural traditions in the history of the world to rot away through political correctness and collectivist repression of individual liberty into a slime of government gas. Not the fossil fuel kind, which I understand you hate more than life itself, but the flatulent speech of those who presume to speak for the commoners while they rob and kill them at every turn.]

It was a time of weakness. The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.

[Who connived, conspired, lied, and betrayed all the principles of the journalistic profession to put this weakling in office as if he were the savior of the world? Your lot. Command Central of the devastation of American strength and influence is the New York Times. How dare you make it sound like some Act of God?]

It was a time of hatred. Anti-Semitic slogans were heard in the land that invented industrialized mass murder for Europe’s Jews. Frightened European Jews removed mezuzahs from their homes. Europe’s Muslims felt the ugly backlash from the depravity of the decapitators, who were adept at Facebooking their message. The fabric of society frayed. Democracy looked quaint or outmoded beside new authoritarianisms. Politicians, haunted by their incapacity, played on the fears of their populations, who were device-distracted or under device-driven stress. Dystopia was a vogue word, like utopia in the 20th century. The great rising nations of vast populations held the fate of the world in their hands but hardly seemed to care.

[How did this hatred happen? You promoters of moral relativeness insisted that Muslims were peace loving and Jews were genocidal occupiers. Now the masses believe it and you’re nonplussed? Go fuck yourself. And take your phony scripture voice with you. YOU are killing the Jews, and YOU are empowering the silent majority of Jew hating, Christian hating, Sharia mad Muslims to enforce their caliphate throughout Europe and the Middle East.]

It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.”

[Dog, return to your vomit. I’ve no more stomach for it.]

Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it was.

[Faker, return to your cocktail party, and try not to write more chapter and verse of Times scripture till you’ve sobered up and read what you wrote when you were this stinking, pretentious, stupid-ass drunk.]

Your friends in the newsroom may regard this kind of crap as brilliant. But they’re not writers. Not anymore. They’re whores with painted faces just as clownish as yours.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I think I know.

Eliza Dushku, producer and star

Echo, a.k.a., Eliza Dushku, producer and star

If you want your head messed with at a time when the world is doing everything possible not only to mess with it but bash it in, Dollhouse is your ticket. Ultimate binge watching, two seasons worth. (No nudity, no cringe-worthy simulated sex, no bad language. Not HBO. Pic above is just for how Echo will make you feel. Something about her acting.)

The oddest thing is that I tried to bail when I started to feel deeply uncomfortable with what the series was about and where it was leading. It was the missus who continued to be intrigued, and so we fell back from the point where I was uncomfortable and, having watched a few episodes at a time previously, binged on the rest.

I know what it’s about now, which is a revelation of the executive producer Joss Whedon, whom many of you know. He was the creator of Firefly and its movie climax Serenity (a couple of the stars of which appear here) whose final 15 minutes I have watched again and again, which I normally don’t do with movies anymore. Joss Whedon is, I’m thinking, a sick man. But he knows how to keep you turning the page.

I’d be tempted to say that Dollhouse is original except that its originality is not that of new sci fi ideas but of the way he has created a pastiche of The Matrix, Terminator, Stepford Wives, Manchurian Candidate, Constantine, Resident Evil, The Three Faces of Eve, and Barbarella.

Which is not to say that it fails to be consistently imaginative and creative. You may think I’m delaying getting to the point. I’m setting the latches for your understanding of the premise.

There is an institution in Los Angeles which takes in attractive but grievously damaged people and offers them a deal: give us five years you won’t remember and we’ll take away all your pain and release you to a life of economic freedom and escape from the guilty thoughts haunting you.

The key to the offer is a technology that wipes away their memories, which are stored on a shelf, and gives them new complete identities consistent with what high paying clients want. The “Actives,” as they are called, complete these engagements as utterly different people from what they originally were, are protected throughout their engagements by “handlers,” and then wiped again. In between engagements, the Actives exist in an infantile state. They shower together without experiencing sexual interest. They eat, they make crayon drawings, and they know each other only by their Active noms de guerre.

So we have a heroine whose nom de guerre is Echo. She is the most in demand. It takes a number of episodes to realize fully that most of her assignments are high priced, highly customized prostitution. The personality she is given makes her fall in love with the john. She is played by Eliza Dushku above. The name of the establishment is The Dollhouse.

There is also an FBI agent who is obsessed with proving the existence of the Dollhouse. For this he is shunned and ridiculed by his fellow agents. But he cannot be deterred.

We learn slowly how everything works. Before an assignment the Active lies back in a kind of high tech Eames chair and is quickly imbued with a new personality which provides the personal identity details, inclinations, emotions, and even the skills necessary. Early on, for example, Echo’s erotic assignments are downplayed. She has to be blind for one life saving assignment, an immodest but martially capable dancer for another, and in these first season episodes Eliza Dushku is a kind of Orphan Black, dazzling you with how many different people she can be. A terrific acting performance.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, everything shifts. Something more sinister about the Dollhouse than granting fantasies or righting wrongs. Something different about Echo. The post assignment wipes don’t quite work the same with her. The FBI guy gets closer. The Dollhouse turns her loose at least once as a Special Forces assassin and she very nearly kills the FBI guy, who is now obsessed with her in particular.

Hence the long arc of the show. Unlike the other Actives, Echo can access other identities she’s been given when she needs them, altogether unconscious of any transition. Typically an assignment ends when a handler says, “Do you want a treatment?” Obediently they say, “Yes,” and they are led back to the Dollhouse, the chair, and arise from it saying, “Did I fall asleep?”

Echo does this too until you realize she is no longer being wiped clean. She remembers, not her original identity, but some sum of the constructs that have been programmed into her. She assembles a human moral conscience from the kaleidoscope of her multi-brained mind. She becomes conscious. And incredibly dangerous. She’s a world class courtesan, martial arts master, weapons expert, electronics and demolitions maven, multi-lingual nurse, deeply altruistic and selfless leader, and fearless warrior. She also loves deeply and forever, as half a dozen of her imprints continue to do.

I was ready to bail when the FBI agent so obsessed with her entered the Dollhouse to become her handler, at which point he was effectively her pimp. Enough. She hadn’t completed her transmutation at that point, but I was feeling sick, manipulated.

What we are seeing in Dollhouse is Joss Whedon’s Ultimate Female Fantasy. She is the Everything we all think we want, and single-handedly she could fulfill all of every man’s fantasies.

Her mission is to take down the Dollhouse and the huge sponsoring organization behind it, whose ambitions grow throughout the second and final season. She dies, goes to hell, is resurrected, and keeps going. Won’t tell you the end. But she continues to regard herself as Echo, whose story we all know from the myth of Narcissus. Or most of us do.

Echo and Narcissus. Who is the myth really about?

Echo and Narcissus. Who is the myth really about?

The be all and end all of femmes fatales. That was Joss Whedon’s objective. Shocking how close he came to achieving it. But there is no such thing as Echo, except in the fevered dreams of men. She’s always a reflection of one more self-admiring Narcissus. I hope Dushku has round the clock armed guards.

Oh yeah. The trailer.

HINT: If you don’t show your wife this post, she might let you look at it. Women love Amazons. She’s that too. Absolutely unstoppable in combat, of which there is plenty. I told you. I was the one who tried to stop.

What’s new is that there’s a Breitbart to cover the story of one more inside-the-beltway narcissistic opportunist cashing in on fleeting DC experience.

New View co-host Nicole Wallace.

New View co-host Nicole Wallace. Do you
think she’s had some work done? See below.

Monday during the season premier of “The View,” the new co-hosts were introduced during “getting the 411” segments.

The cast joining long-time panelist Whoopi Goldberg are Rosie O’Donnell, Rosie Perez, and Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace.

Nicolle Wallace’s introduction segment was filled with loud cackling laughter as Wallace told the story of Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shooting a hunting partner.

But the strongest criticism was was aimed at former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), who co-host Whoopi Goldberg could not even say Palin’s name without laughing as co-host Rosie Perez asked, “Can I have three specific questions? One, what was it like when you first met her? Two, did the winking get on your nerves? And three, when did you want to just pop her?”

Rosixe O’Donnell did not miss the opportunity to rip former President George W. Bush’s “Katrina fly-by” being sure to point out Wallace was on her honeymoon at the time.

Wallace who was previously the communications chief for George W. Bush, and a senior adviser for the McCain–Palin campaign, has admitted she was no fan of Palin and has previously blamed the McCain loss on Palin’s interview with Katie Couric.

What’s not new is that the conservative communications establishment totally blew the headline, which in the case of Breitbart, was:


What’s in square brackets is what the illiterate Breitbart copy editors left out. A complete reversal of meaning. Typical.

What’s also old is conservative communications incompetence generally. Exhibit I. An Instapunk post. It was called “You’re Fired,” dated November 29, 2005, and it features the following graphic, as well as two others:

Nicole Devenish.

Nicole Devenish. Pre-surgery.

Yeah, it’s the same highly coiffed, self satisfied little phony who conned her way into a position she didn’t believe in. The same girl who was getting married during Katrina. And I do mean girl. She is that still. Here’s some text from that long ago post.

THE LIST. George W. Bush doesn’t like to fire people. It’s his greatest weakness. If he wants to prevail in his most important policies, however, it’s time he overcame that weakness. Pictured above are the first three heads that must fall: Dan Bartlett, Strategic Communications Planning; Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary; and Nicolle Devenish, White House Communications Director.

These people assumed their current posts in the wake of the President’s highly successful campaign for reelection. Since then, they have presided over one public relations debacle after another — the needless Schiavo brouhaha, the incompetently presented Social Security reform initiative, the appalling failure to take credit for successes in Iraq or to counter the MSM’s “Vietnam quagmire” fantasy, the Cindy Sheehan farce, the self-destructive Miers nomination, the Valerie Plame fiction, the cone of silence enforced while the Democrats screamed and shouted their “Bush lied” lie into every network microphone for months, and the feeble counterattack that led to the ridiculous playacting of John Murtha.

By any possible standard of competence in communications, these people are miserably and irredeemably inept. If they were merely obedient soldiers executing the instructions of the big boss, they should have resigned en masse long ere this in protest at being deprived of the opportunity to exercise their good judgment. If they actually concocted the communication plans that responded to the crises listed above, as seems more likely in the court of the Great Delegator, they should be drummed out of the profession — hollow square, buttons ripped off, swords broken — the works.

The one thing I can’t understand is why more Republicans haven’t demanded exactly this step. It may be difficult to see into the workings of Bartlett’s and Devenish’s jobs, but we see McClellan every day. The picture shown here is typical — hands up in surrender. He is continually at a loss, defensive, borderline oafish, argumentative when he should be cool, placating when he should be predatory. His performance alone is enough to indict his communication superiors. He’s minor league and even his surname is unpleasantly evocative of the blowhard general who was always piling up more resources for a battle he could never bring himself to fight. Get rid of him. NOW.

Dan Bartlett is, according to his official bio, “Counselor to the President…. responsible for all aspects of President Bush’s strategic communications planning and the formulation of policy and implementation of the President’s agenda. He also oversees the White House Press Office and the Offices of Communications, Media Affairs, and Speechwriting.” Which means he can offer up the excuse that he’s too busy and important to get involved in the disastrous day-to-day bumbling of White House communications. But it’s not a good excuse. There’s no value in architecting the big plans for tomorrow when today is a fire burning out of control. His bio says he’s from Austin, Texas. Another old friend in over his head in the big time. Get rid of him. NOW.

Nicolle Devenish. Has anybody even heard of this babe? She’s 33. She’s a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. [!] She’s also the White House Communications Director. Her sole responsibility is to advance the president’s agenda in the press and protect him from partisan assaults. Is it possible that her schooling so accustomed her to the treasonous and hateful rhetoric of the left that it doesn’t even raise her blood pressure? “Never you mind, Mr. President. When you meet them for wine and cheese in the faculty lounge, they’re really pussycats. Just let them talk.” Or is she too busy preening in the mirror of her corner office — sexy power player already and only 33!! Actually, it doesn’t matter what the story is with Nicolle. She’s a bimbo, and she needs to be fired. With prejudice. NOW.

You can whine if you want about the sin of shooting the messenger. But in this case it’s a misnomer. Delivering bad news to the President isn’t their primary job. Going to war in the communications arena on his behalf is. And their performance in this respect has branded them as fools, cowards, and stooges.

Now tell me why the blogosphere isn’t seething and bubbling with exactly these sentiments? Are you all asleep?

Their failures paved the way for the election of the worst president in U.S. history, beginning with their shared responsibility for the catastrophic 2006 congressional elections. Nicolle, though, has an extra portion of blame to bear for the role she played in sabotaging Sarah Palin in the 2008 campaign. She wasn’t even quiet about her animus at the time. The Berkeley lineage will tell. This little bitch is almost a war criminal. But her coif has not changed. Her coif IS her brain. Cold, hard, and as well designed for spearing as an NFL helmet.

Men aren’t the only abusers to fear. Also not new. Older than dirt. And dirty work is the best we could ever expect from her like. So why is Breitbart still surprised by her brass? Because conservatives never ever learn about the perfidy and emptiness of the left.

He's feral. He doesn't always pay attention.

He’s feral. He doesn’t always pay attention.

Mickey. We’ve been friends for a decade now. He’s thirteen. He was strong as a rock until a few months ago. Lately, his tongue pokes out, his eyes are weepy, and we have to police a near constant slow flow of drool. But he still has an appetite and can jump, carefully, as high as ever. It’s just that he’s not at his best anymore.

So we had a talk last night. He was on the couch.

He has always liked being with me on the couch.

He has always liked being with me on the couch.

The caption isn’t completely right. For the first two years we knew each other, he acted like most ferals. He tolerated people but chose not to get close. So I made a game of grabbing him and pretending I would pick him up. He got used to it. I moved on to actual kidnapping, hoisting him onto the couch and then immediately letting him escape, which he did with some asperity.

By degrees he stopped escaping and then, finally, he decided occasionally to jump up and sit on my stomach. He weighs nineteen pounds and his purr is as loud as an electric outboard motor.

What I’m trying to say is, we really are friends, but friends of the manly reserved kind. We don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves. Why I thought it was up to me, last night, to tell him what I probably hadn’t ever told him directly. That I love him and that if we are separated it won’t be for long because I am old too and will be looking for him on the other side.

I’m not going to tell you he understood. What I will tell you is that he stayed by my side purring way longer than he usually does, for maybe half an hour. And he listened with me to the prayer embedded in this song from Cats, that an old cat can be made young again.

Prayer said. Amen.

The person who wrote and sang this went to Oxford and became a rock star. You, whoever you are, didn’t. But he still knew who you are. As the Brits say, brilliant.

Yeah', I'm smart. I have a certain kind of almost awareness of almost everything.

Yeah, I’m smart. I have a certain kind of almost awareness of almost everything. Sadly, what Brizoni looks like these days. Penalties of the high carb diet. Maybe he’ll avoid the devastating inevitable brain damage that afflicts most vapid pseudo-intellectuals.

Both Peregrine John and I have had some contact with home-schooled kids. Our experiences differ. Hence this exchange, which began on other terms.

Peregrine John on September 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm.

The death of Christianity has been greatly exaggerated.

As has your ability to give up. The desire to, well, that is likely understated, contrary as that may sound to anyone of differing descent. (Clan MacThomas, yes.) Items 3 and 4 are the real kickers, and I see no way around them short of something more easily spread than ebola – smallpox, perhaps – causing an awakening, an actual Come To Jesus moment in America. The less hard-core idiots are realizing that Dear Leader isn’t quite all that and a well modulated bag of chips, but will happily make another idiotic decision if their masters tell them it’s different this time. Say, if it’s a genuinely Marxist woman instead of a conveniently Marxist half-black man.

There is an enjoyment in shouting into the darkness, and even more in “I told you so” when there’s evidence aplenty of having done so. I’m also German, and that lot coined “schadenfreude.” You might prefer the survival through suffering, I don’t know. For me it’s fairly balanced with enjoying my enemies – and they are declared enemies, no choice of mine – hanging themselves in droves.

In the mean time, I try to guide and prod a cadre of young people, of no particular earthly wealth but loaded with talent and intellect and beautiful spirits (homeschoolers, all), toward seeing things as they are without becoming nihilists. They are what keep my nature Jovian and not something grimmer. Though the Missus is surely a boon, I do recommend finding youngsters (a relative term, certainly) to inspire and who will, I assure you, inspire in return.


Instapunk on September 5, 2014 at 1:04 am.
Not too much experience with the home schooled. The only ones I know spell like pidgin-speaking Maoris.

Youngsters have been notably not inspiring me. If they knew even half what they loudly assume they do, I’d be impressed. Am not.


Peregrine John on September 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm:

Alas. You might need a different set of younguns. It is possible that I am simply very fortunate.


Instapunk on September 9, 2014 at 1:08 am:

Maybe I’m asking harder questions than you are. In my experience old folks are foolishly eager to assume kids know what they don’t. Ask the basics. Don’t let them squirm away. They change the subject adeptly. What con artists do.


Peregrine John on September 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm.

For some topics I do need to address the basics, it’s true. Social issues, for which they’ve been fed palaver and good intentions by those who should know better, need foundational questioning. The good news there is that they have less brainwashing to untangle than the lads asking me why their marriage is faltering after 5 years after doing all the right things. Those can be slippery if you don’t handle them carefully. Too tender.

Now, you may well be asking harder questions. I get asked pretty challenging items myself, from this group that reads Chesterton, Lewis, and Hofstadter. I am absurdly hopeful that they know or come to realize things others clearly never dreamed mattered. No secret there. It’s gratifying – and no bad thing for my own thought processes – to see them reasoned out in real time.


Instapunk on September 9, 2014 at 3:53 pm.

PJ: WordPress is a bitch. Sorry.

About hard questions. My wife’s 40 year old daughter, who has an advanced science degree and a six year old daughter, had NO IDEA how many senators there are in the federal government. For asking the question and insisting on an answer I was treated as if I had farted in an elevator.


Peregrine John (maybe) on September 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm.

Good lord ‘n’ butter. I know advanced degree holders hate being called out on ignorance of basic facts, but geez. First-round items from Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader don’t really qualify for categorization as “hard questions.” She should be embarrassed, not incensed.

No, the last discussion around the fire pit involved whether deep characters simply have layers of junk built up on them or have some other kind of complexity, whether the answer to that applies in real life or mostly in fiction, how as a concept it relates to what is called “depth” in game theory and design, and the common confusion between complexity and complication. It went from there to how it all relates to why ENFP personality types are so drawn to INTJ’s and the role of cognitive function order in relationships. I can’t take credit for the topic, though, since it started with one of the authors asking me about creating layered fictional characters. Some times I find myself a tad out of my depth.


Instapunk on September 9, 2014 at 11:16 pm.

I think you’re being silly. Throwing acronyms at ME is also a dodge. You want to talk about fiction with a real writer? Do so. What’s your question, PJ? (And are you quite sure you’re not Brizoni playing raccoon?)


Peregrine John (really??) on September 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm.

They’re shorthand, not a dodge – and apparently a useful way to identify how to communicate with people. Be that as it may, the question I was posed, which I pass along to you since I really don’t have a reliable answer, is this:

If a character is said to be deep, does that usually mean it is filtered through layers of crap that has accumulated on their natural personality? Does it instead mean that they prefer to be less forthcoming about their yet-unspoken thoughts, whether from the aforementioned psychic sediment or an inability to convey them to perhaps simpler minds? Or is it that a complexity of thought means that more than the usual number of things must be discovered about them to get a clear picture (for reasons other than simple obscuring)? Or do people usually mean something entirely different by the term?

Obviously, that’s distilled from some short conversation, but it’s the whole of the thing in one. The follow-on, and the reason for it, was to wonder how often a given cause of “depth” is applied in works of fiction, and why.


Instapunk on September 13, 2014 at 6:46 am.

Apparently NOT a useful way to communicate, since I don’t understand it. With every response, you get more faux intellectual. Funny.

Instapunk on September 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm.

Peregrine John.

I hate to offend you. Why I’ve been slow to respond.

You seem amazingly determined to miss the point. But it’s an important discussion. You are not inquiring into what your bright young things actually know.

Deep? For any writer, it’s an easy determination. Paragraphs and chapters you need to read out loud. Narratives, characters that stick with you through time. Structural elements that require you to reassess your own cultural base. I AM a writer. Sorry to take this off your big wide multiculti table.

Sunday School stuff, really. But asking questions, that’s hard. Old farts don’t want to ask questions of intelligent youngsters who can’t answer them. Do the kids have a continuum of dates that places them in relation to the Egyptians, the Romans, their European heirs, the Enlightenment, Napoleon, blah blah? Geography? World capitals? Great rivers by continent? Mountain ranges by continent? Masterpieces of art by era and nation? Dante? Picasso? Newton? Of course not. Old man having too good a time pretending he’s having an intelligent conversation. (Or young man just pretending for fun’s sake?)

More pedestrianly, do they know the state capitals, the rules of punctuation and grammar, Algebra, the Constitution, the presidential succession at least approximately, the Revolution, the Missouri Compromise, the Civil War, World War I and II?

My guess is, they don’t for the most part. I’m guessing they haven’t read Twain, Hemingway, or Fitzgerald. Or Shakespeare.

My granddaughter, niece of my wife’s daughter who didn’t know how many senators there are, worked her way back to the date of Pearl Harbor. She didn’t know it, mind. She figured it out. Hope for her. Not a lot. But she has a brain.

You can continue to fool yourself with how talented the Millennials are. But if they don’t know anything, they have no context for anything they believe. Which renders their opinions on the depth of any literature from any time moot.

If you’re keeping score, PJ is the smart one. Obviously. (“Does it instead mean that they prefer to be less forthcoming about their yet-unspoken thoughts, whether from the aforementioned psychic sediment or an inability to convey them to perhaps simpler minds?”). Jeez. No one could keep up with that. Me? I’m terrified.

P.S. Don’t know exactly when or how my conversation with PJ got hijacked. But it did. Some Internet trick, no doubt. Faux intellectual talk doesn’t work here. If you think you’re smart, confront me. Don’t waste my time with idiotic semantics.

SOS. What have you done with my friend Peregrine John?

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