Today's Democrat and Chronicle tells us about self-styled "peace" activists in Rochester marching in protest against Israeli air attacks on Gaza.
Funny, how we never saw these advocates of "peace" marching to protest Hamas's shelling of southern Israel from Gaza. Only when Israel defends its people do the American peaceniks hit the streets.
These people don't care about peace. They're Stalinists who support the party line of the Left, whatever it happens to be at the moment. The Left doesn't like Israel -- too Western, don't you know, too willing to defend itself instead of voluntarily turning its people over to terrorists. And, most unforgivably of all, not anti-American.
The hypocrisy of these "peace" protesters is contemptible: bombing Israelis is OK, but Israel defending itself is unacceptable.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today's Democrat and Chronicle tells us about self-styled "peace" activists in Rochester marching in protest against Israeli air attacks on Gaza.
Posted by Philbrick at 4:54 PM
For a while there we were thinking our suggestion that Sen. Jim Alesi might switch parties would go the way of our other bold predictions in the past, like David Koon running for County Executive, David Koon running for State Senate, and Hillary Clinton snatching the Democratic nomination from under the nose of Barack Obama.
Are we in danger of spoiling our (so far) perfect record of extravagantly wrong predictions? It just may be. Word from Albany is that, in the still unstable environment of the State Senate following the election, Alesi continues talks with the Democrats about switching.
Maybe an actual party switch isn't what's going to happen -- maybe more likely an Alesi vote in support of Malcolm Smith as Majority Leader, in exchange for keeping his chairmanship of the Insurance Committee, full staff, etc.
Posted by Philbrick at 8:52 AM
Monday, December 29, 2008
"Her quest is becoming a cringe-inducing experience, as painful to watch as it must be to endure," observes Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News.
"Andrew is, you know, highly qualified for this job," she said. "He's doing a, you know, a great job as attorney general, and we've spoken throughout this process."Read here for additional words of, you know, wisdom.
• • •"You know, I think, you know, we're sort of, uh, sharing some of this experience. And um, as I've said, he was a friend, a family member, and um so, and uh obviously, he's, you know, he's also had an impressive career in public office."
Posted by Philbrick at 4:02 AM
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The average state and local government employee now makes 46 percent more in combined salary and benefits than their private sector counter-parts, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute—including 128 percent more on health care and 162 percent more on retirement benefits. New York City, for example, not only spends 10 times more on pensions than it did ten years ago, it now spends more on pensions and benefits for firefighters than it does on firefighters' salaries.
These tax-payer sponsored paychecks cannot be renegotiated in tough times to balance a budget. They can only go up, never down.
Posted by Philbrick at 8:29 PM
Monday, December 22, 2008
It's a close call, but for years mainstream Protestant churches have run second only to college faculties as purveyors of politically correct outrages. This came home to me vividly when a parish priest, during a sermon, referred to a particular year in Biblical times as being "around 100 C.E." Instantly my political correctness detector went off, as I realized the fulfillment of a prediction I had made in high school, that eventually we'd get around to purging "B.C." ("Before Christ") and "A.D. " ("Anno Domini", in English, "In the Year of Our Lord") from contemporary usage. The church? Episcopal. (Did you really have to ask?)
C.E., you see, stands for "Current Era." Isn't that so much clearer than counting a number of years back to a specific point in time? And since apparently the numbering of years is the same in "C.E." usage, as under the disfavored "A.D." nomenclature (today, apparently, is still December 22, 2008, whether you call it A.D. or C.E.) even the "C.E." convention refers back to that inconvenient and embarrassing business about the birth of . . . well, let's spare sensitive feelings by avoiding it.
And if this is "CE", what do we call the years we used to call "Before Christ?" -- why "B.C.E.," meaning "Before the Current Era." Get it? "Current Era" and "Before the Current Era." An Orwellian perfection, just like the dumbed-down English language, "Newspeak," that Orwell described in 1984. It retained the word "good," but replaced "bad" with the Newspeak word "ungood." Good - Ungood; Current Era - Before the Current Era. Oh brave new world!
Heaven forbid that a contemporary "Christian" cleric would employ the nomenclature "Before Christ" -- who in the official theology of today's trendier-than-thou church may or may not have existed, may or may not have done or said or been any of the things traditionally attributed to him. In contemporary theology, the only thing today's relevant, happening church can say for certain about Christ is that, if he existed, he was a swinging gay socialist who was active in Nazareth's Democratic Party.
Now, it turns out, churches are censoring and Bowdlerizing traditional Christmas carols to render them politically correct.
[T]he Rector of Blandford Forum in Dorset has banned his congregation from singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for fear that its lyrics – referring to sweet stillness – are far removed from the anger, violence and tension he noted on a recent Holy Land visit.
Politically corrected Christmas carols are being catalogued by the website Ship of Fools:
[W]hat's wrong with O come let us adore him? Is it too gender-specific? Jesus wasn't hermaphrodite, or a girl.
Listen to the Bowdlerized Christmas carols if you want to. Here in the Archiepiscopal Palace we'll watch a video. Our choice: Raquel Welch, starring in One Million Years B.C.E
Posted by The Archbishop of Yentaberry at 8:19 AM
Friday, December 19, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
From The Times's article, in which arrested swindler Bernard Madoff admits his firm was “basically a giant Ponzi scheme.” The Times explained:
A Ponzi scheme, named after the swindler Charles Ponzi, is a fraudulent investment operation that pays ... investors out of money put into the scheme by subsequent investors, rather than from real profits generated by share trading.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:40 AM
Friday, December 12, 2008
Bush's sellout on the auto company "rescue" ranks with the Harriet Myers nomination as one of the most fatuous acts of his administration.
The rationale offered by the White House is a contemptible joke -- that a bailout is better than the risk of a "disorderly bankruptcy." This turns the situation on its head. What the bailout guarantees is continued disorder. By contrast, bankruptcy is a highly structured and orderly procedure that would enable the American car companies to shed many of the millstones around the neck that have dragged them down -- an uncompetitive labor cost structure being chief among them.
American auto manufacturing ultimately is doomed unless it can start producing reliable cars of quality that most consumers can afford. Competitive cost structures are part of it, but so is completely new management.
A trustee in bankruptcy could force the changes in top management without which these companies will not survive, no matter what other changes are made.
For these companies, Chapter 11 bankruptcy offers the only path to a real rescue.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:29 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
There are so many good reasons to oppose the proposed auto bailout, besides the fact that the Democrat and Chronicle editorial board seems to support it, that one scarcely knows where to begin, which is why we haven't begun yet, this being our first comment on the subject.
We admire these comments from Thomas L. Friedman in Tuesday's New York Times:
[O]ur bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of Amazon.com and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet.
Posted by Philbrick at 1:40 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
From its inception, this site has linked to Rochesterturning, the lively voice of the dedicated left in this area, that does a lot to keep the debate going.
So we've been distressed to see the site down for the last few days. All you get is this:
We hope the dedicated folks at RT haven't decided to do an institutional version of George Eastman's celebrated exit line, now that Obama's been elected and the Democrats run Congress.
We want our Rochester Turning back!
Posted by Philbrick at 1:36 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The current rumor going around Monroe County political circles and Albany is that Sen. Jim Alesi is getting ready to switch parties, to become part of the new Democratic majority in the State Senate. Does anybody know more about this?
If true, this could be one of the most interesting political developments locally until Bob Duffy and Joe Morelle duke it out in 2012 to run for the Rochester congressional district to be carved out for Morelle after the next census.
Posted by Philbrick at 7:08 PM
Monday, November 10, 2008
In his Diaries (one of the Sacred Texts) the late Alan Clark recorded a whimsy entertained in his ministerial office above the streets of London:
23 June, 1983 -- "It is a glorious summer morning, and I have drawn back to their maximum extent the sliding windows. ... There is a tiny balcon, a gutter really, with a very low parapet, below knee height. Certain death on the Victoria Street pavement eight floors below. Sometimes I get a wild urge to relieve my bladder over it, splattingly on the ant-like crowds. Would this get one the sack? ... I might do it on my last day."
The unlikely fulfillment of this fantasy occurred Friday when Jersey City Councilman Steve Lipski did the wet and wild thing from a second-story balcony over a crowd of concertgoers in Washington, D.C.
We mention this only to illustrate that most orthodox rule of the Mainstream Media Style Book. The original AP story mentioned no political party affiliation. As seasoned observers recognize instantly, this means he's a Democrat. When Republican politicos misbehave, the Style Book mandates that party ID become part of the mischief-maker's title and name, never to be omitted in any future reference discussing the unpleasantness.
After several conservative blogs pointed out the omission, the link to the original AP story, that appeared on the WNBC-TV site disappeared! A quick Google search of "Steve Lipski" and "assault" disclosed a revised AP story that now contains, shockingly, bladder boy's party affiliation.
What's that saying about lighting one candle in the darkness ...?
Posted by Philbrick at 6:42 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
nrelated to the election just ended, but potentially related to the next, is a reprise by the Democrat and Chronicle of one of its most notorious partisan stunts ever. Consider this another submission to The Tobin Challenge.
You may remember when, in 2007, the D&C turned its front page over to a free promotion for the Democratic candidate in a closely contested election, with no mention that the subject of its puffery was a candidate for office in an election just eight weeks away. Just a citizen striving heroically to improve his neighborhood.
We were reminded of this disgrace by the paper's Real Estate section a couple of months ago. On its front page (of course!) appeared a story about how to beautify your lawn and gardens when you prepare to sell.
Conventional stuff for the Real Estate section. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except ...
Instead of the photos you'd expect to illustrate such a story -- a freshly planted tree, perhaps, or new shrubbery in the front garden -- the D&C made the curious choice of . . . sellers and their realtor talking about sprucing things up.
And of all the realtors in Monroe County and all the property sellers out there, the Democrat and Chronicle, in an astonishing, totally random coincidence like the one last year, chose to give publicity to these people:
The realtor on the left? That's Tom Wega -- Chairman of the Democratic Party in Pittsford (at least as of last year). Democratic candidate for Pittsford Supervisor in 2007. And if this little trick by the D&C offers a clue -- maybe the candidate again next year?
No doubt even the D&C realized the timing of its 2007 candidate pimping was just a bit too obvious. So do it a year early! That leaves time for repetition. To really build that all-important name recognition!
And the happy house-sellers? Well how about this for another completely accidental, mind-boggling coincidence: that's Gerry Minerd, a Democratic agent provocateur at a Pittsford Town Board meeting last year. Has the D&C tipped us off to a possible running mate if Mr. Wega runs again in 2009?
Perhaps, if the D&C's track record for pimping Democratic candidates is any guide.
Posted by Philbrick at 4:54 PM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
If, as we expect, Eric Massa's vote margin holds, it's time to subject the new Congressman to the same in-his-face tactics with which Randy Kuhl's detractors dogged Kuhl.
Go to YouTube. Do a search, first for "Eric Massa." You find only Massa campaign commercials and releases, or sympathetic videos. Then do a search for "Randy Kuhl." Nearly all you find are videos intended to portray Kuhl in a bad light, nearly all by local left-wing activists.
Now it's our turn. Specifically, those interested in booting Massa in 2 years need to start now by:
• attending Massa's public meetings and appearances and asking tough questions;Always respectfully. But holding him to account.
• taking video of his answers.
This will require coordination and organization, so it's time to get a "Committee of Correspondence" going among like-minded people throughout the 29th district. The conservative and libertarian blogs can play a big role in this.
Personal action like this is not a part of our culture in the way that it's ingrained in the culture of the Left. P.J. O'Rourke recounts when a friend, driving by a massive "Blame America First" demonstration in Washington D.C., asked, "How come our people don't do things like this?" "Hey," P.J. replied, "our people have jobs."
Our people are home taking care of their families, instead of going to public forums to ask the government to do it for them. Our people often seem to have a higher proportion of their own lives, and friends, and sources of satisfaction in their lives, outside anything having to do with politics. Our people tend to have been brought up to be polite, and view with distaste doing anything "in-your-face."
Well, we're just going to have to overcome our disadvantaged upbringings.
Anyone who's interacted with Massa in unscripted circumstances is aware of limitations of intellect and social personality skills that set him up nicely for public embarrassment. And merely by asking questions that any citizen is entitled to ask her Congressman -- which is all we're proposing here.
Let's get moving, folks.
Welcome to Congress, Eric. And to the same level of scrutiny to which your supporters subjected your opponent.
Posted by Philbrick at 1:36 PM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Our sources in Albany are speculating that political paisan Tom Golisano is angling for the job of U.S. Ambassador to Italy in an Obama administration.
This would explain his $10 million donation to the Bill Clinton Global Initiative back when Hillary was expected to win the Democratic nomination. It would explain his $1 million donation to the Democratic National Convention.
Of particular interest to us locally, it would explain the otherwise incomprehensible schizophrenia of his "Responsible New York" PAC. Golisano funded it with $5 million to push for a set of principles, then put the PAC's money behind Democratic candidates committed to the opposite of all of those principles. The PAC has endorsed some Republican candidates for state senate and assembly, but it has funded its endorsed Democratic candidates almost exclusively.
To cite just one of the internal contradictions of "Responsible New York," if any of the Democrats funded by the PAC endorsed the proposed 4% property tax cap -- let alone Golisano's public criticism that a 4% cap isn't good enough and should be at zero percent -- they'd be kicked right out of their own party.
But in cozying up to the Clintons, Tom backed the wrong horse. To spend the next four years in Roma, if that's the plan, he'd have to do things to make not just Obama happy, but also the Democratic Party establishment in New York. Helping to tip the State Senate to the Democrats should get someone like Chuck Schumer, for example, to put a good word in, shouldn't it?
For months we've wondered why the PAC has funded candidates opposed to its own goals: Was Golisano clueless? Disingenuous? Suffering from viagra-induced dementia brought on by Monica's delectable demands? We'll have much more respect for Golisano if what it's really all about is just the time-honored practice of angling for an ambassadorship.
Posted by Philbrick at 8:22 AM
Saturday, November 1, 2008
We've criticised Voice of the Voter, a joint effort of the Democrat and Chronicle and WXXI, for crafting questions to shape the results of its surveys. Here's another example, from the same recent survey.
The Democrat and Chronicle, mounting once more its favorite hobby horse, says Monroe County voters are ready for widescale consolidation of local governments. That part makes the headline. What doesn't is the question designed to get that result.
We're fully in favor of local government consolidation that provides substantially more efficient, more responsive local government. But that won't happen. Why?
Let's draw a picture, so even Gannett editorialists can understand. As an example, here's where each property tax dollar paid by the average homeowner in Penfield goes (with thanks to the reader who passed this along from the town newsletter):
So. Let's suppose that local governments effect all of the government consolidation that the Democrat and Chronicle editorial board would like. Resolving all possibilities in the way most favorable to advocates of consolidation, let's suppose these consolidations are 100% efficient in reducing costs of government and that 100% of this savings passes directly to taxpayers. Suppose as well that this saves fully half the cost of both local governments (county and town) combined.
Even then, this would save the average taxpayer only 16% of his or her property tax bill.
And what question did Voice of the Voter ask to elicit the response that Monroe County residents support wholesale consolidation? :
If it meant a substantial savings in your tax bill, would you support or oppose merging some layers of county, municipal and township governments?
Sixteen percent is substantial savings? For people who pay the highest property taxes in the country -- more than double the national average? For New Yorkers, a 16% reduction is nowhere near substantial. And does anyone really think that we'd get 100% cost reduction efficiency, or -- in this of all states -- that 100% of any reduction realized would really go to the taxpayer?
Look at the dollar note above. Until school taxes are addressed, not merely by a real cap, but first by rollback, the property tax burden on Monroe County residents has no potential whatsoever for "substantial" change -- except for substantial change higher.
Posted by Philbrick at 9:01 AM
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Whenever I drive back into New York from another state, I always think that instead of signs saying "Welcome to New York" they should say, "You are now leaving the American sector," like the signs in Berlin during the Cold War.
It's because in the area of public policy, there are 49 states that do things within a reasonable range of options ... and then there's New York. Always the outlier. Always at the top of lists of bad things, like the highest taxes, most government employees, biggest population loss, most jobs lost. Always lowest on the lists of good things, like the inverse of all of the above.
New York got this way by becoming a living museum of the policies of the Democratic Party: high taxes, hostile business climate, expensive mandates, powerful unions. With all the predictable consequences of those policies, most notably a dead economy and and a mass exodus of population.
All of those run-down small towns across the vast expanse of upstate New York, that look like nothing new has been built in 50 years, are our equivalent to those '55 Chevys still on the road in Havana. Where socialism lives, progress dies.
And now New York, whose chapter in a Book of the States would be titled, "Don't Let This Happen To You," is about to become the template for the rest of the country, under the regime poised to take over next Tuesday.
The one good thing New Yorkers had going for us was an escape route, to other states, when we finally had enough. Our children had a future, even if it was someplace else. That disappears if the rest of the country now goes the route of The Vampire State.
It looks like the next thing leaving the American sector will be . . . the rest of America.
Posted by Lucy at 1:28 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
In 1999, The New York Times reported that "under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration," Fannie Mae will encourage banks "to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify them for conventional loans."
According to the Times's reporter,
"In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, . . . the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's."
The story quoted a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute: "[T]his is another thrift industry growing up around us. If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''
Posted by Philbrick at 9:51 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A majority of Monroe County residents say they want to be punched in the nose!
Well, not really. But we bet an overwhelming majority would say so, if asked, "Would you rather be punched in the nose or decapitated?"
Last week the Democrat and Chronicle published results of its recent "Voice of the Voter" survey. The survey found "Voters Say No to Tax Shifts," in the words of the headline. This implies that voters are rejecting proposals floated for tax relief, most notably the call for a property tax cap.
Yet the wording seemed curious. Who cares about a tax shift?
Getting government to pick one pocket instead of the other accomplishes nothing. Most taxpayers want the government substantially out of both pockets altogether. This curosity was explained once we read the question that Voice of the Voter asked:
Would you support or oppose a plan to eliminate property taxes and fund suburban schools through an increase in state income taxes?Really.
Did they even need to ask the question to know the result? That's the stifled voice of the voter, not the actual voice. Stifled by a question carefully crafted to shape the result.
Here's what Voice of the Voter should have asked instead:
Would you support or oppose a plan to reduce property taxes by cutting school district spending across the board and eliminating state mandates on school districts?Ask them that, Voice of the Voter.
If you dare.
Posted by Philbrick at 3:57 PM
Monday, October 20, 2008
A correspondent submits the following:
In the first presidential debate, Barack Obama said, "...here's what I can tell the American people: 95 percent of you will get a tax cut..." Yet it's mathematically impossible to cut the income tax of 95% of Americans when only 60% of Americans pay income tax.
To understand the United States tax system, let's turn to beer. More specifically, to the Beer Explanation of the Tax System.
The Tax System - Explained With Beer
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the 20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,"but he got $10!"
'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money, among all of them, to pay even half the bill.
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:14 PM
A resident of Pittsford's Golf Avenue watched as a none-too-bright Obama supporter pulled up and stole her McCain sign. In broad daylight.
The McCain supporter called the Sheriff's department, reporting the theft and the thief's auto license plate number.
When the police caught up with the sign-stealer, the householder declined to bring charges, provided that the perpetrator buy her a new McCain sign.
Thus is justice rendered, out in Pittsford!
Posted by Philbrick at 1:16 AM
Monday, October 13, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
A heart-wrenching scene of sufferers from the current epidemic, gathering together for mutual support, occured recently in Rochester. The disease strikes intensely in isolated, high-profile pockets of susceptibility. Symptoms include near-suicidal depression, hysteria, rage, irrational fear and impulses of violence, often manifested in Tourettes-like outbursts.
Cases range from the comparatively mild, for example, "[coming]into the office angry and wanting to kick things," to the far more dangerous. Here the afflicted themselves speak in their own, poignant voices:
By now some readers will have identified this, the latest public health challenge.
Patient A describes her feelings as "violent, nay, murderous, rage ...my head almost exploded from the incandescent anger boiling in my skull."
Patient B describes "nightmares" and thinking "... of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination."
Patient C describes a group of sufferers "on the verge of throwing themselves out windows," experiencing "high hysteria" and being "beside themselves with terror."
Patient D expresses physical manifestations of the underlying mental disturbance: "I literally want to vomit with rage."
It's PDS -- Palin Derangement Syndrome. The statements quoted here are all from educated, professional women, reacting to the nomination of Governor Palin for Vice President.
On Sunday a group of PDS-positive persons, claiming to number 250, gathered in Rochester in celebration of "violent, nay, murderous, rage" over living in a country where someone from a background they can't understand could be nominated for high office.
The same day, down in the American wing of America, Sarah Palin drew a crowd of 60,000.
(All quotes from the PDS-afflicted are drawn from Josh Gerstein's story in last Friday's New York Sun.)
Posted by Philbrick at 9:53 PM
We've been critical of mainstream media bias against Sarah Palin, and have written about the political significance of her apparent appeal to a large constituency of voters.
But a new gaffe can't be regarded as anything more than an embarrassing declaration of ignorance and unfitness for the Vice Presidency.
Commenting on the Wall Street crisis, the vice-presidential candidate said this last night, on CBS news:
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"When the stock market crashed in 1929, the President was Hoover, not Roosevelt. There was no broadcast television as we know it. The first commercial stations weren't licensed until 1941.
OOPS! We got it wrong.
The person who put Roosevelt on TV in 1929 wasn't Sarah Palin. It was that other Vice Presidential candidate, Joe Biden!
Sounds about right for the guy who finished last in his class at Syracuse Law School.
And explains why you've heard nothing about it in the mainsream media.
Here's Biden's mangled American history, at least until CBS strongarms YouTube into pulling the video.
UPDATE: Comment on the incident from Instapundit:
They told me when John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate that we'd be embarrassed by repeated gaffes from an unqualified Vice-Presidential candidate. And they were right!
Posted by Philbrick at 4:27 PM
Monday, September 22, 2008
You all remember Jesus -- the swinging gay socialist who was a leader in the Nazareth Democratic Party?
(According to the theology of our prominent churches, that is).
We remind you of this as a clue. A clue to the riddle: Which college official was it, who offered course credit for campaigning for Obama?
Posted by The Archbishop of Yentaberry at 8:39 PM
John McCain co-sponsored a 2005 Senate bill to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in a way that would have prevented the current economic crisis. It would have given a regulator power to crack down, and would have required Fannie and Freddy to eliminate their investments in risky assets, specifically, in subprime mortgages.
Democrats united to kill it, including, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Chris "Countrywide" Dodd. Each received substantial contributions from the two companies over the years.
Posted by Philbrick at 1:10 PM
Sunday, September 21, 2008
story in this morning's Democrat and Chronicle recounts how, a month after Mayor Duffy froze City travel spending to help with the budget shortfall, Democratic City Council members headed to a conference in New Orleans, "billing larger-than-normal cab fares and an extra airplane ticket" -- at $497 -- for council member Gladys Santiago, because she missed her plane.
Must have been a morning flight.
Total cost of the trip to the city: over $14,750. It includes "$574 in taxicab fares for Santiago and City Council members Lovely Warren and John Lightfoot, the latter two billing a combined 23 cab rides over six days."
Ms. Warren's proffered excuse is that she ran up cab fares to avoid places "where people were drinking." What makes this so delightfully dotty is that on this trip she billed 23 cab fares with council member John Lightfoot, whose need for transport we surmise would be for very different reasons, and, if Ms. Warren was fleeing venues where people were drinking, whose trips more likely would be in the opposite direction.
The paper explains that the mayor's travel freeze did not apply to City Council. So it's all the more extraordinary that the D&C, which normally accords no critical scrutiny, and never any sustained scrutiny, to the Democratic City regime, covered the story at all.
Given the contents of the story, what's especially risible, for this story mostly about travel budget abuse by City council members, is the headline: "Rochester's travel budget shrinks."
Can you imagine the headline if this were Republican members of, say, the County Legislature? "Republicans defy travel ban, run up expenses" or "GOP Legislators Run up $15,000 tab to taxpayers -- including $500 for Missing Flight."
But these are Democratic officeholders, so the fundamental rules apply:
1. Never mention their political party affiliation. The mainstream media does this only when the wrongdoer is a Republican. In this story it's mentioned nowhere.
2. Hide the meaning of the story behind an innocuous headline. The precise opposite of the D&C's approach to stories about Republicans, where an innocuous story is headed by a screamingly negative and deceptive headline.
Not that it makes any difference to the lives of people in the City. Whether it's Lovely Warren, John Lightfoot, Santiago or the rest, Democratic City Council members in Rochester enjoy the privileges of elected officials more common in the thirld world than in North America: election for life, and no accountability.
Who was it who said that people get the government they deserve?
Read the D&C story here.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:04 AM
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In an interesting coincidence, during the week of the Republican Convention the AMC cable channel ran all of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" movies.
Interesting, because it helped us place in perspective the reaction of the Media-Left axis to the nomination of Sarah Palin.
People of ordinary sensibilities everywhere recognize more sound criminal jurisprudence in a Dirty Harry movie than in all the decisions of the Warren Court.
The Left doesn't merely fail to get this, but views such sentiments as primitive and imbecilic, the neanderthal response of the uneducated, the boor, the rustic, the unworthy.
Recently we suggested that Palin could be the next Reagan. So far, she seems to qualify in many respects, including one especially relevant to this analysis. Before Reagan's election as President, liberals reacted to him in a manner similar to their reaction to Palin. That reaction, in turn, is similar as well to the Left's dismissal of the message of Dirty Harry: something contemptible. Something our kind of people don't want, that intelligent people reject.
The media even disparages Palin in the same way they did Reagan -- referring not to the candidate's current, or highest, professional position, but consistently backing off a notch or two down the resume, to make each look less able or prepared. In the media's narrative, Reagan pre-presidency was always a "B-movie actor." Palin now is always the "small-town mayor."
Of course, there's one massive difference between media-Left reaction to Reagan in 1980 and to Palin today. They never took Reagan seriously and never thought he'd win. The entire cultural archipelago of the Left -- the media, universities, the public education establishment, national leadership of mainstream churches, "public interest" groups, fellow-travellers of all of the above -- were shocked speechless when he won. Suddenly they realized they had existed all along as castaways, denizens of remote islands in a vast political and cultural sea with which they were not merely out of touch, but whose existence they had scarcely perceived.
Until the election they had understood Reagan not as a threat, but a joke. After initial bewilderment and demoralization, their reaction exploded without leavening of nuance. Institutions of the Left began taking people of mainstream views seriously indeed, cracking down hard on the conservative and traditionally-minded whenever possible.
Campus "speech codes" seeking to suppress questioning of liberal shibboleths never existed until after the Reagan election. Attempts to reframe the nation's political discourse began in earnest. People theretofore universally described, even by the most politically liberal urbanites in the pre-Reagan age, as "bums" and "shopping bag people" suddenly became "The Homeless" at the stroke of noon on January 20, 1981, the better to have a new victim class for whom to demand largesse of an enlightened government.
Having learned a lesson with Reagan, the Left now takes Palin most seriously, understanding her as a threat, trying to destroy her at the outset.
Yet if the Liberal Establishment understands Palin as a threat, it understands little else about her, and thus remains handicapped by not comprehending what it confronts. Reading much of anti-Palin reaction the last two weeks reveals in many instances only the coarsest analytical paradigms. Here's Mark Morford, San Francisco Gate columnist, writing on September 5:
Repubs know -- or rather, desperately hope -- that there remains a simply huge number of very ill-informed, reactionary Americans out there who are still operating on the lowest possible intellectual and cultural strata . . .
Orwell, in 1984, described a totalitarian regime's wholesale dumbing down of the English language, as an instrument of political control, to eliminate vocabulary and syntax conveying abstract concepts of even modest complexity. Thus, Orwell explained, the concept "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," in the new language could be rendered by only one word: crimethink.
In looking at Sarah Palin and what she and her supporters represent philosophically, the Left comprehends only analogs of crimethink.
Which brings us back to the fictional Lt. Harry Callaghan, SFPD.
There is something in the psyche of ordinary people of good will that causes us intuitively to view Dirty Harry blowing away a serial killer as a good thing, not a bad one, as justice being done, as right vanquishing wrong, as vindication of the weak and innocent over the brutal and guilty. It is this capacity that's missing in people on the Left -- a moral and mental blind spot that always leaves the rest of us wondering, "What's wrong with these people?"
It's what limits their understanding of Palin's appeal, and what has made her, to date, so difficult a target for them.
Some of you are thinking: "See! I told you! The dynamic behind Palin's popularity is an ignorant, fascist appeal, like the appeal of a Dirty Harry movie."
Of course you think so.
That's precisely the point of this piece.
Posted by Philbrick at 6:01 PM
Monday, September 15, 2008
Here's my third submission to Democrat and Chronicle Deputy Editorial Page Editor Tom Tobin, responding to his recent call for actual examples of anti-Republican media bias.
This one's courtesy of this morning's Instapundit: a Hollywood director shows how ABC News manipulated photography of Sarah Palin's interview with Charles Gibson, to present her unflatteringly.
This must be catching on: a photographer for The Atlantic also resorted to photo trickery to make John McCain look threatening for a cover shoot.
OK. So, come on, Tom Tobin! You asked for examples. I've picked three from the fecund cornucopia of choices over the last two weeks.
What's your take on these examples? We'll print it in its entirety.
Posted by Lucy at 8:34 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Having grown up in a liturgical "mainline" church before its decline, watching the deterioration of services into meaningless, often cringe-inducing, kindergarten sessions has been especially tiresome.
The New Oxford Review makes the point in a recent promotional piece about as well as I've seen it stated. New Oxford focuses on the Roman Catholic Church, but its observations apply to my own Church of What's Happenin' Now and to many of the other mainline protestant denominations.
For this morning's sermon, we present it here.
In many Catholic parishes today, the sense of the sacred -- of mystery and majesty and even of worship itself -- has largely been banished. The bells, incense, votive candles, and Communion rail are gone. The Tabernacle with the reserved Sacrament can't be found. Elegant statues of our friends, the saints, are locked in the basement, replaced by balloons, banners with greeting-card sentiments,and other dime-store decorations. The organ gathers cobwebs. The sanctuary has become a stage. And the kneelers are now being ripped out, the crucifix taken down.Amen.
It's virtually impossible to pray before (or after) Mass because of all the chatter and backslapping. The Creed is left unsaid. Homilists pander with unfunny jokes and not-quite-the-latest pop-psychology blather. The words of the liturgy are improvised upon by politically correct clerics and lectors with weird agendas -- God our Father becomes "God our Parent," the Son of God becomes the "Child of God," etc. And we must clap, clap, clap for the band and the liturgical dancers and the clowns - we aren't making a joyful noise unto the Lord, but only unto the amateurish entertainers.
The primary purpose of the Mass has been transformed from receiving Christ and worshiping the Almighty into "celebrating community" -- i.e., celebrating our wonderful selves. One influential liturgical "expert" has said the Mass shouldn't convey "a feeling of infinity or eternity or the world beyond," for it's really about "communal sensitivity" among parishioners. But this touchie-feelie Catholicism -- where the Sign of Peace becomes the high point of the Mass -- has no power or magnetism. Normal people seldom get out of bed on Sunday morning in search of warm huggies.
Catholics who are alienated by trivialized or freakish Masses -- who are sick of being guinea pigs in a liturgical lab -- often jump ship for an Evangelical church, or just stay in bed. Indeed, Mass attendance among Catholics has dropped from 70%, just before the liturgical experiments began, to 25% today! And today, two out of three Catholics don't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist -- which isn't surprising, given that how we worship has a profound effect on what we believe about the meaning of the Mass.
The liturgical experiments have largely been a miserable failure. We agree with then-Cardinal Ratzinger that our damaged liturgy needs to be repaired.
To which I'd add: who'd have thought the following satire of liturgical modernization, from years ago, would seem like a stately old piece of sacred music compared to what you're likely to find in "church" today?
Posted by The Archbishop of Yentaberry at 9:34 AM
Saturday, September 13, 2008
A senior aide to one of the most powerful Democrats in the House of Representatives has said that Governor Palin's repeated mockery of Barack Obama's boasts about his time as a "community organizer" in Chicago are "the most effective criticisms of Barack Obama we have yet seen."
"Real Americans graduate from high school or college and get a job that pays a wage. Campus radicals go off and organise a community."
"Palin doesn't just play to the Republican base. She has much broader appeal."
Posted by Lucy at 11:34 PM
Friday, September 12, 2008
What's more absurd than a lefty cleric?
A lefty professor of religion. One of them now says Sarah Palin isn't a woman.
Right. You're not a Christian unless you're a socialist, and you're not a woman -- DNA, anatomy and five children to the contrary -- unless you spout this week's talking points from Democratic headquarters.
Posted by The Archbishop of Yentaberry at 12:38 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A former top strategist for past Democratic presidential campaigns, speaking to The Politico:
“Obama is struggling . . . with an enormous wind at his back, a hatred for George Bush and a mainstream media that is little short of a chorus for his campaign.”
Consider this our second entry in The Tobin Challenge.
Any comment, Tom?
Posted by Lucy at 9:54 PM
Purported reason: because the video contained footage of CBS entertainer Katie Couric.
So the video link in our posting this morning will just get you a message that "this video no longer is available."
Memo to McCain-Palin Campaign: edit out the Couric part, or have an actor make the point, and put it back up on You Tube.
However, it's still on the web, on the McCain-Palin website. So in the meantime . . .
Posted by Philbrick at 4:30 PM
We still hold the admiration for Barack Obama that we've expressed on this site for months.
So it's that much more disappointing to see him flustered by the phenomenon of Sarah Palin to the point that he called her a "pig" yesterday. There's no gainsaying it. After Palin's celebrated "lipstick" line in describing herself in the convention speech, Obama's reference is clear.
At least the McCain-Palin quick response team is on top of it.
Posted by Philbrick at 7:35 AM
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
On Thursday, Democrat and Chronicle Deputy Editorial Page Editor Tom Tobin asked for examples of anti-Republican media bias.
"To date, no one has come across with actual quotations, headlines, passages from purported news stories that depict genuine favoritism."
We hereby submit today's Washington Post as an example, Mr. Tobin. Its lead headline breathlessly proclaims, "Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home."
Sounds like big-time bad stuff, doesn't it?
Yet when you read the article, it tells you:
• Palin followed the law in all expense submissions;
• Palin did not submit expenses for a significant amount of lodging and travel that she was entitled to claim;
• Palin's expense submissions for per diems and travel are substantially less than for her two predecessors in office over a similar period of time.
Most people, of course, just see the headline.
Mr. Tobin, if you'd care to give your take on this example, we will print it here in its entirety.
Posted by Lucy at 1:15 PM
So says long-time Bush critic Caroline Glick, of The Jerusalem Post:
McCain's undoing of the elite, leftist media [by nominating Palin] provides a universal lesson for contending with the Left. At base, the Left's ideology, whether relating to women's rights, human rights, academic inquiry or war and peace is not universal but tribal. Moreover, when the Left is challenged on any one of its signature issues, because it cannot actually make a case for the universal applicability or even logic of its views, it tends instead to embrace the politics of personal destruction while ignoring the obvious contradictions between its stated beliefs and actual behavior.
Posted by Philbrick at 7:00 AM
Saturday, September 6, 2008
An interesting historical parallel noted by The Weekly Standard. It compares the Vice-Presidential nominee to another candidate coping with a matter potentially more damaging than a teenage daughter's pregnancy:
As every schoolboy knows, Grover Cleveland was the Democratic candidate for president in 1884, and in the course of the campaign, a Republican newspaper reported that Cleveland (who was not married) had once fathered a child. Naturally, his campaign was caught flat-footed by the story, but Governor Cleveland wired some famous instructions to his staff: “Whatever you say, tell the truth.”Will history repeat itself, in 2008?
The truth was that Cleveland had once formed an “illicit connection” with a widow named Maria Halpin, and a baby had been born. The evidence was not conclusive that Cleveland was the father, but he had assumed responsibility for the child and refused to dissemble about the matter when running for president. Americans were impressed. Holier-than-thou Republicans were made to look silly, Cleveland came across as brave and honorable, and he won the election.
Cleveland, by the way, had been just another lawyer in Buffalo when he became the “Veto Mayor” in 1882, cleaning up political graft, and was elected the reform governor of New York later that year, taking on the powers within his own political party. Sound familiar? On election night 1884 his supporters gathered at polling places and sang the following tune:
Hurrah for Maria,
Hurrah for the kid;
We voted for Grover,
And we’re damned glad we did!
Posted by Lucy at 11:36 PM
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Governor Palin speaking of Obama last night:
"Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights."
Like Reagan and few others, Palin, with a succinct reference like this one, makes not merely the ostensible point, but lays bare the entire superstructure of the Democratic-Left belief system in a way that ordinary Americans across the country recognize as true, and that relates to their own experiences and observations.
The media understands this well: they have scrupulously avoided repeating this line in any of the news summaries. Nor have the open Obamists in the media -- the Matthewses and Olbermans -- dared refer to it in any of their worried-faced commentaries last night. They recognize its power.
Sober voices on the left understand this, like Jim Sleeper at Talking Points Memo:
" ... if you didn't sense last night how deeply Sarah Palin channeled some of the country's deepest, most powerful currents of pent-up indignation and yearning, you don't sense the trouble we Democrats are in."
No wonder Democrats are suddenly arguing that a woman's place is in the home. Otherwise they're out making speeches like last night's!
Posted by Philbrick at 3:45 PM
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
This is suddenly the new mantra of the Left, now that a conservative woman with children is running for vice president. See their official newsletter, today (sorry, Democrat and Chronicle, we know you're trying hard).
The Left is terrified of this woman. They see an American Thatcher in the making.
Posted by Philbrick at 2:41 PM
Saturday, August 30, 2008
From this weeks City News:
The Rochester Committee on Latin America will present the film "Fidel: the Untold Story," a moving portrait of the Cuban leader, on Wednesday September 3 . . ."Finally!
And brought to you by . . . What else? A church.
Of course! ". . . at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 North Fitzhugh Street, at 7 p.m."
And the mainstream churches wonder why they keep losing members.
Let's show the world the Castro we love. The Castro we know. The Castro with a song in his heart . . .
Posted by The Archbishop of Yentaberry at 11:14 AM
Friday, August 29, 2008
Two important points about Governor Palin were given very short shrift in all the chatter today.
First: Was there a single prominent speaker at the Democratic convention who didn't extol his or her industrious, working class forbears? We don't think so. We'll see more of the same at the Republican convention next week.
Yet Palin herself -- not just parents or grandparents -- is the genuine article. A union member herself, married to a fisherman and oil rig worker, also a union member. When was the last time we saw a nominee for national office who is actually part of what left-wingers seem to mean when they use the term "working family?"
Second: As law professor Ann Althouse points out in this video on her splendid blog, Palin is "distinguished from Hillary Clinton in the sense that she made it on her own. She wasn't leveraged into power by a father or a husband."
Posted by Philbrick at 11:33 PM
Friday, August 22, 2008
Recently it was playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet, writing in The Village Voice, to announce that he is no longer a "brain-dead liberal." He believes instead that the understanding of the world shown by free market thinkers such as Thomas Sowell, "our greatest contemporary philosopher, . . . meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism."
Now comes director and producer David Zucker, another erstwhile liberal Democrat who has "grown in office" in recent years. His new movie, An American Carol, will be released in October. From the trailer it looks like a hilarious critique of the liberal cultural monolith, focusing on an anti-American filmmaker, "Michael Malone," who campaigns to end the Fourth of July holiday on grounds that America's past and present is offensive, and therefore shouldn't be celebrated.
For taking aim at a fundamental article of left-wing faith -- America is bad -- Zucker should expect efforts by true believers to stop the film's distribution.
It's a long way to liberation from leftist cultural hegemony. Mamet, Zucker and others are making the first cracks from within. But remember that the liberation of Europe in 1989 began with cracks in the Soviet monolith made years earlier, by Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov and others.
We recall Mamet's Village Voice essay: "We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: 'Shut the fuck up.' "
Sounds like a crack in the Monolith to us.
Posted by Philbrick at 1:44 PM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Katha Pollitt, writing in The Nation:
If you don't want to hear about women who give themselves names like Rielle and their love children, elect more female candidates!Somewhere today I read that it's pronounced "re-ELL." To which I respond, "oy-VAY."
Posted by Lucy at 10:14 PM
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Rochester Turning blog has been paying attention to a proposed big development project in Brighton. Its contributors have commented soundly on the unfolding story. Today's entry covers a weekend citizen protest and contains links to the blog's previous entries, which we recommend.
Do Brighton authorities really want to grant a variance -- which they don't have to grant -- for a megadevelopment in one of the last remaining spaces in a fully-developed town?
We appreciate Rochester Turning's coverage of this issue. Check it out.
Why pave over paradise (even a little square of it in Brighton) and put up a parking lot?
Posted by Philbrick at 1:42 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
HERE WE GO!
ABC News's The Politico says that half of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives at the Democratic National Convention may vote for Clinton over Obama. Link here.
As we told you yesterday, this vote is going to be much more than "symbolic."
Posted by Philbrick at 1:35 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
We think Barack Obama no longer reliably may be called the "presumptive nominee." He's made a potentially fatal mistake in permitting the name of Ms. Rodham-Clinton to be placed in nomination at the Democratic Convention.
Anyone who doesn't think the Clintons are working right now like whirling dervishes to peel away enough delegate votes from Obama to win the floor vote for the grisly Hillary doesn't understand either of them.
"The first rule of politics is, "Never count out the Clintons." Their political conglomerate, Clinton Inc., is like Glenn Close in that bathtub scene in the movie "Fatal Attraction": It always comes back to life a second or third time."
Between now and the convention, watch for the release (which ultimately will be traced to the Clinton camp) of information alleging a potent scandal implicating Obama.
In dealing with Clintons you deviate from the Hannibal Lecter Rules only at grave risk. We bet the food order for their convention suite includes some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Posted by Philbrick at 9:48 AM
Sunday, August 3, 2008
We recommend this post by Occam, on the Monroe Rising blog. It discusses the sad statistics showing that, despite being at the top of the state rankings in public "education" spending per pupil, New York ranks near the bottom in key school performance measures.
States more advanced in public education, such as Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas, not only spend much less per pupil, but all have graduation rates above the national average. Of the fifty states, New York ranks thirty-sixth on graduation rates.
And sixth from the bottom on SAT scores.
Thanks to Occam and Monroe Rising for giving us a close look at this data. Keep it up, folks!
Posted by Philbrick at 9:38 AM