Haven't I seen something like this before?
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."
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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."
• 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.
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
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
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."
" ... 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."
Posted by Philbrick at 3:45 PM
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