I'm Crazy Leo, I'm slashing throats!

Town Hall stalwart Bruce Bartlett has written a book about how George W. Bush is destroying conservativism; the President's approval ratings are lower than any ever posted by his predecessor, according to a CBS News poll; a group of evangelical Christians have launched a major initiative to combat global warming; and "Prickly City" is actually kinda funny today.



Daddy Whitebread explains it all for you

Town Hall's readers talk about hip-hop:

Hip hop is not merely entertainment, it has become a lifestyle for too many young people, and I dare say a counterproductive lifestyle at that. I agree with your entire article except that "hip hop keeps it real". I'd say hip hop keeps it down. Motown, blues, jazz, funk, ...now that's good stuff! And every genre has it's fallen angels, but overall, they weren't promoting destructive lifestyles in the way hip hop is.


I thought the quote from Russell Simmons was disturbing, "I see hip hop as the new American mainstream. We don't change for you; you adapt to us". That sounds threatening to me. It sounds as if it could be in a story about the Islamists protests.


The first part of your article is way off, though you come around well. If I look at Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Ella, and a host of others, I don't see a semi-white European, I see a talented artist.

Rap music is trash regardless of its artist, it can be DMZ, Eminem, or Puff Daddy, who by the way sure looks like a sell out with his prissy white suits that make him appear like an Italian designer gone bad.

Hip hop is not the problem , it is an infested sore. The problem lies in the family breakdown and the lack of individuality in the black community. When blacks stop looking at themselves as black and begin looking at themselves as another American family the light will be begin to shine.


Somehow, I can't envisage "oldies" radio in the year 2030. Rap and hip hop oldies? I think not. The music of my generation (born 1951), while somewhat "radical" at the time, at least had a point other than slapping around our "ho's". I don't know what the next new wave of music will be, but as far as the black community is concerned, I hope it sounds more like Motown than Hotown.


celebrating attitude over aptitude is the bi product of lowered expectations. Thanks to the poverty pimps, racial hucksters and the regressive socialist hippies,we now have a generation that laughs at common sense, common courtesy and self respect.James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Earth Wind & Fire were singer, songwriter, musicians that set a standard of excellence. Hip Hop is keeping it real ? Yeah, real dumb.


There is so much about Hip Hop and the culture it is fostering that I am, frankly, terrified about. I have a 7 year old granddaughter who is already doing hand gestures without any idea of what they may mean. If this is where we are going, I fear for our entire culture.


Hip Hop is "Dumpster Dining" for the Ears


Infantile rhyme schemes, malignant value system - the black rage Williams refers to was much more justified before 1970. There are huge problems in the black community -- illegitimacy, AIDS, drugs, violence, obesity, educational underperformance -- but these are problems the community largely inflicts on itself, yet refuses to take any responsibility for curing. As far as musical talent is concerned, rap offers virtually none. There might be a sampled guitar riff or excellent back-up vocals, but the profane chanting by the rappers themselves is so much juvenile profanity.

If I don't make fun of Lileks at least once a week I get all stopped up

It figures the one Bush administration "scandal" on which conservatives and liberals agree -- the Dubai Ports World proposal -- is the one which is the biggest non-issue of the entire W. presidency. Anyway, Lileks has something to say about it, because, well, Lileks always has something to say. Just a few notes:

- He starts out by saying he has "a few words on the Dubai Ports World imbroglio, written without pause or editing, which is probably just as well". You know, I'm pretty sure that I've never read anyone who boasts as much as Lileks does about not reading or editing their stuff before posting it, and I'm definitely sure that he's the only right-wing blowhard who actually comes right out and admits that it's a good thing he doesn't think twice about what he's saying.

- He says he's not going to make a prediction about how it will all shake down, and then says "if I had to make a prediction" -- which, of course, he not only doesn't, but just said he wasn't going to. Then he makes a prediction. No one's making you do this, you know, Jimmy.

- The Dubai ports contract will be a "critical turning point", he non-predicts, "if (the Republicans) lose a city". James Lileks is absolutely obsessed with terrorists totally destroying an American city. I doubt he's gone more than a week at a time for the last five years without mentioning it, and honestly, I don't think he'll be well and truly happy unless it happens. For him, the hundreds of thousands of casualties would be totally worth showing all the liberal how wrong they were.

- Like most people who are writing about this nonniest of non-issues, his argument goes like this: Yes, I know that the U.A.E. is a powerful American ally. Yes, I know that companies in Dubai already operate businesses all over America. Yes, I know that having a knee-jerk reaction to an Arab company running security at American ports (even though all the actual work will be done by Americans) smacks of racism and only reinforces the dangerously false idea that we are at war with the Arab people. But STILL! That's what people think (not me of course, ho ho ho), and this is really tone-deaf because it conflicts with racist American ideas held by people less enlightened than me, so shut up.

- Lileks uses the opportunity to argue that some businesses should not be outsourced to foreign lands. This is not an argument he has made previously.


Cursor Red Baron

Those of you who read this journal for my fumbling, aimless political crankery: if you're not doing so already, please do yourselves a favor and read Cursor daily. The Twin-Cities-based website is perhaps the most invaluable news source I've ever encountered, with top-shelf links about highly important issues every damn day. This isn't like my site, with its sporadically amusing potshots at right-wing babbleizers, or even like Kos or Digby or Atrios, who often get bogged down in personalities or partisanship. It's a left-wing blog to be sure, but it's pure news, with really excellent organization, tons of citations and crosslinks for each piece, and a great archive for more in-depth treatment of major issues. Just today, there's links about a buried story of how Dick Cheney authorized a takedown of Flight 93 without consulting the president, an excellent piece by the always-worthwhile Dahlia Lithwick about how three major stories about abuses at Gitmo have broken in the last week and no one seems to care, and an editorial piece from Ha'aretz about the giddy Israeli response to Hamas' electoral victory: starve Palestine into submission.

Cursor, kids. Read it.


I know everyone's heard this already, but...

...Dick Cheney once again obviates the necessity of writing political humor by shooting a guy in the face.

Profiles in Bullshit, Vol. 5

It's been too long.


THE POOP: There are those who qualify as the worst of the neo-conservatives: knee-jerk, inflexible shits like Dick Cheney, or blinkered ideologues like Paul Wolfowitz who will lead an entire country to war over their nebulous, ill-thought-out principles. There are those who are the funniest of the neo-conservatives, hilariously dumb Bush lapdogs like Debbie Schlussel or Ann Coulter. And there are those who are the lamest of the neo-conservatives, tired wannabes like Jonah Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan, whose hearts really aren’t in it and would far prefer to be watching Battlestar Galactica or barebacking an off-duty submariner, respectively. And then there are ones who are the biggest, the best, the papi culos of the whole movement, guys who were there from the come-out and who defined neoconservativism before there was even a name for it. At the head table in this Asgard for Assholes is nobody’s friend, Stormin’ Norman Podhoretz.

It’s hard to count the number of great things Norman has bestowed on an insufficiently grateful world. He virtually kickstarted the whole neo-conservative movement back in the 1960s, back when it was still called “the new class” or any number of other euphemisms for this strange blend of conservative warmongering and liberal heavy spending. He gave us Commentary magazine, an early prototype right-wing hack rag that existed largely to employ his otherwise unemployable friends and did much to create an entire class of professional pundits. As a Jew, he provided future generations of angry, defensive conservative Christians the opportunity to smear anyone who disagreed with them by calling them anti-Semites. He married Midge Decter, as fierce and ignorant has himself, who made homophobia fashionable as early as 1970. (Norman himself did his part in an infamous essay called “My Negro Problem – and Ours”, in which he admitted that he simply didn’t like black people, and thus cleared the way for acceptable public racism on the part of conservatives in the name of standing up to ‘poltical correctness’.) A liberal for about five seconds, he studied under Lionel Trilling and was close to the brilliant Hannah Arendt before switching sides and providing a sterling example for future turncoats like Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman and David Horowitz. He is so widely reviled by those who know him well that he has actually written a book – entitled Ex-Friends -- about how everyone from Allen Ginsberg to Norman Mailer eventually wised up to what an insufferable jackass he is. As a founding father of the Project for a New American Century, he is one of the original architects of our winningly successful middle east policy. And he and Midge, taking a break from writing about how much they hate blacks and gays, loved each other enough to make their son, John Podhoretz, who hangs around at the National Review watching Star Trek with Jonah Goldberg.

Norman also spent some time whoring American propaganda on behalf of the Reagan administration in the 1980s, as part of the amusingly named U.S. Information Agency, before doing what every other right-wing pseudo-intellectual does and sucking up the Scaife money as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He continues to produce Commentary just as if anyone was reading it, and now that he’s gotten the president he wants, likewise produces commentary about how the savage Palestinians will eat the lights of every last Jewish baby if we don’t throw all of them into a volcano posthaste. But his true legacy to the neoconservative movement isn’t having argued in advance for every war since Korea, or giving the whole morally bankrupt movement its purpose and direction, or even starting a trend towards nepotism unseen since the reign of the Pharoahs: no, Norman, you see, is a real live intellectual. He’s a thinking man’s conservative, a progressive philosopher in pragmatist drag. You know: a shithead. The shit in his head has coagulated into a number of foul-smelling books that are essential reading for the au courant dupe: he wrote Breaking Ranks, a book which details how he came from writing odes to glorious Stalingrad to writing odes to glorious Nixongrad in ten short years; he wrote Why We Were in Vietnam after we safely hadn’t been for seven years; he wrote My Love Affair with America: The Cautionary Tale of a Cheerful Conservative, in which he introduced the staggering notion that he was not an intolerable old crank; and he wrote the hilariously titled The Present Danger: Do We Have the Will to Reverse the Decline of American Power?, which he originally presented as a position paper to the state department on the assumption that all of American foreign policy should be decided by a dumpy egomaniac besides Dick Cheney. (The answer, in case you were wondering, was: “Yes, if we don’t mind starting a new war every five seconds.”)

Aaaah, war. Norman Podhoretz’ greatest joy, his first-case and worst-case approach to all problems. All the petty little troubles of our day – budget deficits, civil rights, unchecked negroes – they all seem to fade to insignificance when have a good old-fashioned war goin’ on. The authoer of not one, not two, but four articles about how we (America) can “win” (by liberal use of nukes) the conflict known as “World War IV” (against the terrorists and/or communists). Normally a pedestrian, even tiresome read, Norman gets downright fruity when he gets to talking about war; in his many defenses of many wars (he has written entire volumes defending WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq war, apparently on the “Operation Just Because” model of declaring war every so often just because we can), he sounds like Peggy Noonan describing Ronald Reagan’s shoulder span, a giggling schoolboy delighted to export democracy no matter how many people who are not him have to die because of it. In a particularly instructive moment in one of his recent books, Podhoretz launches into a lengthy, invective-filled tirade against his own grandmother for daring to fret when her son was called to service in the Second World War.

As the years have passed, Podhoretz – who, after all, is an old man, who in addition to having to sleep with Midge Decter and listen to his loser kid write about Star Wars all the time, can now afford to live far away from the coloreds who so energized his youthful spirit – has narrowed his stock-in-trade to a handful of easily identifiable quirks (tar everyone who disagrees with you as an anti-Semite, support Israel at any cost, and never, ever question the wisdom of going to war) and pet issues (pacifists are unrealistic cowards, liberals are people who haven’t been mugged yet, and hey did I mention Israel?). But his determination to never ask questions of the right kind of power and his willingness to subordinate any questions of economics, ethics, justice or international harmony to the service of a good old-fashioned shooting match make him a perfect patron saint for neoconservativism. It’s his controversial, lonely stance that power – especially military power – always deserved the benefit of the doubt that built his movement and which sustains it today. Mazel tov!


DEFINING MOMENT: Poddy’s finest hour came in 1963, when he used the bullshit pulpit of Commentary to pen “My Negro Problem—and Ours”. He’s still proud of this piece – it gets a place of honor in his most recent collection, probably because, since it ends with him grudgingly accepting that his fiercely burning hatred of black people is something that he should probably be mildly ashamed of. Indeed, the Norman Podhoretz who wrote this piece (and who, 40 years later, reprinted it with self-congratulatory footnotes) clearly thinks he is, as a virulent racist who has become less virulent, on the cutting edge of realistic thought. Yes, Norman has come to think that (assuming color cannot be annihilated through miscegentation, as he hopes will happen midway through the piece) one should not discriminate against people based on their skin color, even though he spends half the article scoffing at the notion that blacks have it as bad as Jews, or even whites, and the other half engaging in the basest stereotypes imaginable of African-Americans (relating vignettes of their violent nature, their slurred, apelike speech, the “special brand of paranoid touchiness to which many Negroes are prone”, their “superior physical grace” that they display “on the dance floor, or…playing baseball or basketball”). But if only the liberals could see! If only they didn’t “permit Negroes to blackmail them into adopting a double standard of moral judgment” and leave themselves open to “cunning and contemptuous exploitation by Negroes they employ or try [!] to befriend”! For you see, to the Negro, the white man – even one as snowy innocent as Norman – is forever the oppressor: “If I represented the jailer to him, it was not because I was oppressing him or keeping him down: it was because I symbolized for him the dangerous and probably pointless temptation toward greater repression…I personally was to be rewarded for this repression with a new and better life in the future, but how many of my friends paid an even higher price and were given only gall in return.” The ungrateful swine! EXTERMINATE THE BRUTES!


Someone get this guy out of here, he's making Brent Bozell sweaty

Hands down and no joke, the most sensible thing I have ever read on Town Hall. I predict this guy, like Paul Craig Roberts after he started pointing out what a disaster the Iraq War is and Justin Raimondo after he noticed that the modern conservative movement has very little to do with conservativism, will not have a long career in official right-wing talking head circles.


Candygram for Mr. Bin-Laden!

Jonah Goldberg, over at the Corner on National Review Online, continues to prove that his heart really isn't in neoconservativism and he'd rather be at home with his fellow 12-year-olds playing "Spy Hunter":

What if Bush offered/accepted [bin-Laden's cease-fire] and then, under the flag of truce, had Osama killed and his minions rounded up? It’s amusing to imagine what some of Bush’s biggest critics might say.

Boy, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME, Jonah! Maybe we could, I dunno, have some ninjas dress up like telephone repairmen, and then when Osama lets them in, they totally stab him with shurikens! And then all the guys in al-Q'aeda would surrender, just like at the end of The Postman! That would show those wimpy liberals.

As Digby puts it, "I think killing Osama is going to require a different brand of cunning than the sort required to get B.A. on an airplane".

And what, exactly, is our government doing about Gorilla Grodd?

The real news from last night's State of the Union address isn't that Bush was completely full of shit; who doesn't expect that anymore?

Nor was it that if you played the State of the Union Drinking Game that you would have consumed over 110 shots*, enough to kill an entire football team. Anyone who can sit through an hour-long speech by that clown has a cast-iron stomach anyway.

No, the real news was this:

A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research -- human cloning in all its forms -- creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.

So, apparently, not content to keep us in perpetual fear of Osama bin-Laden, the Bush team now wants us to worry about attacks from Dr. Moreau and the High Evolutionary, and money that would normally be spent protecting us from al-Q'aeda will now go to an elite anti-werewolf battalion.

*: A breakdown:


"terror": 21
"freedom": 17
"Iraq": 17
"democracy": 7
"Iran": 6
"tax relief": 5
"al-Q'aeda": 4
"border security": 4
"elections": 4
"nuclear": 4
"God" or variant thereof: 3
"tax burden": 3
"bipartisan": 2
"corruption" (in the context of foreign countries): 2
"education": 2
"evil": 2
"Medicare": 2
"New Orleans": 2
"Osama bin-Laden": 2
"sacrifice" (military): 2
"troops": 2
"environment": 1
"illegal immigration": 1
"homeland": 1
"the state of the union is strong": 1
"Ariel Sharon": 0
"corruption" (in the context of the United States): 0
"ethics": 0
"fiscal discipline": 0
"Jack Abramoff": 0
"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad": 0
"sacrifice" (civilian): 0
"Saddam Hussein": 0
"scandal": 0