"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, October 31, 2011

Girl of the Day - Cleopatras

The Regular Family popped over to the Milwaukee Public Museum today for a quick look at the Cleopatra exhibit.   One of the features was a tour through images of Cleopatra in art and cinema through history.   There have apparently been five Hollywood Cleos.   The first, in the silent era, was Theda Bara:

Next, in 1934, an oddly out-of-place Claudette Colbert:

In 1945, Vivien Leigh took on the role.... again, odd (although easily the most beautiful):

In the mid-1950s, perhaps the oddest of all was Rhonda Fleming, in Serpent of the Nile, who looks like a Vegas showgirl playing in a camp Egyptian number:

Finally, of course, there was 1963's Cleopatra by Elizabeth Taylor:

I guess I have to say that Theda Bara is the most convincing.   All of the others, perhaps because we hear them speak, seem false, too modern.   Bara, in the silent movie, seems strangely more realistic, because she's more exotic, as in this, the only fragment left from the 1917 film:

Tony Rides Off Into the Sunset

I have often been a critic of Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa.   As a close observer of baseball, I have often noted that La Russa tended to overmanage in using relief pitchers and defensive replacements late in games, with the result that on more than one occasion he's been left with no players left in extra innings, and some of his big bats on the bench.   (This year he often replaced David Freese and Lance Berkman, for instance, with Daniel Descalso and Skip Schumaker, losing a lot of potential extra innings pop -- you'll note what happened with Freese in the lineup in the 9th-11th innings in Game 6 of the World Series.  What if La Russa had taken him out?)

That being said, I'm willing to concede that I'm a fan, and he's a professional, and maybe there's a lot more to his job than filling out a lineup card and making pitching changes.   He was the leader of the team and he was the one who kept the Cardinals fighting when they were 10.5 games out in August, 8.5 games out with 21 to play, 3 out with 5 to play, down 2-1 to the Phillies, needing a win on the road to close out the Brewers, and needing to win two at home to win the World Series.   That kind of club culture comes from the top, and La Russa was the one who instilled it.

I have no idea what a guy like La Russa will do without baseball, but we wish him well.   I think there is no question whatsoever that he's the greatest manager the Cardinals have ever had, and you could make an argument that he's the greatest manager of all time, period.   The only managers who have won more than Tony's three championships are Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, and Joe Torre of the Yankees, Walter Alston of the Dodgers, and Connie Mack of the Philadephia A's.   Only Torre won any of his pennants in the wildcard era where a manager has to win three straight series to win the championship, and Torre had the benefit in every year of the game's largest payroll.   McCarthy, Stengel and Mack all won their World Series (7 for McCarthy and Stengel, 5 for Mack) when there were only 8 teams in each league.   La Russa is the only manager of this group to win with two different teams and in two different leagues.   Maybe the only other manager who might match him would be Sparky Anderson, who won three championships with the Reds in the 70s and the Tigers in 1984, but even then Anderson only had to win a five-game NLCS or ALCS to get to the World Series.   It's much tougher now to win multiple championships.  

Overgrown Children

Monty at Ace of Spades makes an essential point about the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but it's really applicable to much of America ca. 2011:

They are overgrown children, in other words -- not adults in any real sense of the word. It is an oddity about modern Americans that always strikes me: many seem so...unformed. I've seen pictures of my grandfather and grandmother when they were in their early 20's (married and with 2 kids already, and another on the way) and they seemed like fully-formed adults already. They looked like adults; they dressed like adults; they behaved as adults. Yet now I see people at 30, 40, 50 years old who seem little more than self-obsessed adolescents -- smug, directionless, angry but inchoate, lavishly educated but not particularly intelligent, entitled without being industrious or deserving. They even groom and dress like children: slovenly, unwashed, unbarbered, sneakers, t-shirts, sweatpants, looking like unmade beds. I look at the OWS protests and I see a crowd of ill-behaved, unsupervised toddlers, but no adults willing (or perhaps able) to call them to order. My grandparents had much more difficult lives in any way you can measure than these spoiled brats, and yet they were better people -- and happier people, on the whole.

My old man used to comment that if you went to an NHL game in the 1960s in St. Louis (when the Blues were the hottest ticket in town at the ancient Arena) nearly every man you'd see was wearing a coat and tie.   The same was often true for baseball games, except in the bleachers.   Men used to dress like men, and if you were in your late-20s you were expected to have spent some time in the Army and be out and have a real job and a wife and some little kids and a house... you were expected to be a grown-up, in other words.   Now we let young men stay boys for decades, until it's too late to actually turn them into men.  

If I had one thing to blame for this unfortunate trend, it would be birth control.   Men become civilized when women civilize them with marriage at a young age, and women were able to exercise this civilizing power in past generations by withholding sex without marriage.   But with the advent of birth control, women lost that leverage.   Now, if what you read is true, young women are universally available, even for young men who ought to be thought of as "losers."   In fact, I'd argue that the availability of sex is likely what turns a lot of young men into losers... they don't have to try hard to be a winner anymore.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Un. Be. Lievable.

This is my ninth World Series in my lifetime, and the fifth win, and this one has to be the sweetest -- the Cards late rush to the wild card, the great upset win over the Phillies, beating the Brewers in Milwaukee where the Regular Family lives, and now this electric Series against the Rangers.    I just thank God and my Dad for making me a baseball fan and a Cardinal fan.  Wow!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Greatest. Baseball. Game. Ever.

Or at least the greatest one I've seen.   Cardinals 10, Rangers 9.   On to game 7!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Posting. Heart. Attack.

Sorry for not posting tonight.  I'm having a heart attack watching the Cardinals-Rangers game.   9-7 in the bottom of the tenth, Cardinals have the tying runs on.  

I.  Can't.   Stand.   Too.   Much.  More.  Of.  This. 

File This Under "You Can't Make This Up"

The Occupy Wall Street protest took another bizarre (but telling) turn today, when its volunteer kitchen staff revolted against the influx of moochers:

The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday -- because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day....
To show they mean business, the kitchen staff refused to serve any food for two hours yesterday in order to meet with organizers to air their grievances, sources said.

Some protesters threatened that the high-end meals could be cut off completely if the vagrants and criminals don’t disperse.

Unhappiness with their unwelcome guests was apparent throughout the day.

“We need to limit the amount of food we’re putting out” to curb the influx of derelicts, said Rafael Moreno, a kitchen volunteer.

A security volunteer added that the cooks felt “overworked and underappreciated.”

Many of those being fed “are professional homeless people. They know what they’re doing,” said the guard at the food-storage area.

Go figure.   Give away free food and shelter and advertise the proximity of young females and.... surprise!   You get a lot of interesting characters coming out of the woodwork.  

Human nature rears its head again.   But the utopian Left never learns any lessons.


Peter Schiff Becomes a Hero to the Right

New York businessman and radio host, Peter Schiff, by the end of today will have become an instant hero to many on the right.   Schiff had the temerity to take a camera and a microphone down to the Occupy Wall Street protests and engage in dialogue with the leftists down there.   His main point is that the protesters ought to be directing their energy against Washington, not against Wall Street; against Big Government, not against capitalism.   My favorite parts are where he asks a woman who is berating him for his greed:  "I employ 150 people.   How many do you employ?"   And when he asks people pointedly "How much of my income do you think the government should take?   Is fifty percent enough?"

Great stuff.

It's Working

Here's a new video from the MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based conservative think tank, that presents the data on how Scott Walker's budget reforms are working for the State of Wisconsin and its local school districts:

It is working.   But you'd be hard-pressed to find that news reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the state's biggest newspaper.   Yes, there are important alternative outlets -- especially talk radio like Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes out of Milwaukee.   But the fear here is that Walker's victories won't be felt by enough people in time to avoid the recall.   People are just like that -- they hear people talking about the poor teachers or the poor public employees, but they don't notice things that don't happen.... like their property taxes not going up, where otherwise they would have had to have a big increase.

The video is a good start in getting the word out.   We need to do a lot more.    

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OWS Supporters Don't Like Being Made Fun Of.... But Tough Shit, Buddy

I don't get many comments on the blog; heck, it's usually my Mom commenting that I should stop blogging and get back to work.   But I got a comment on one of my posts on the OWS protests that's worth sharing.   The fellow commenting was apparently perturbed that I had made fun of some of the OWS protesters who had felt put out that rich bankers got to work so early they couldn't chant at them and bang their drums when they walked by.   Here is the comment in its entirety:

The protest is about these people making money off the backs of others, dumb ass. Not the mere fact that they're rich. Dumb ass.
I really like the repetition of the "dumb ass."  I'm sure it made this anonymous fellow feel very intelligent to say it the first time, so he just had to get that feeling back again at the end.   Hmmmm... calling someone who disagrees with me a "dumb ass," man, that's persuadin' the middle-class voter, ain't it?  

Meanwhile, I have a hard time understanding how exactly it is that OWS supporters feel that rich bankers make money off the backs of others.   Bankers loan money to people who want money with the agreement that they will pay it back.   They charge interest to make a profit, but there are numerous regulations limiting the amount of interest they can charge and, in any event, the market generally sets the interest rates, and lendors certainly have a right to recover the time value of their money, don't they?   If bankers didn't make money lending money, there would be no reason to accept the risk of loaning and entrepreneurs, home buyers and, yes, students who want to borrow for college would have to do without.   Maybe the OWS supporters think the world would be a better place without bankers, but I don't think it's a world they'd really much like to live in.

To me, a taxpayer, the real moochers in society who "make money off the backs of others" are people who accept welfare (I never have), accept unemployment benefits (ditto), accept food stamps (ditto), housing subsidies (ditto), or who work for the government and expect cushy benefits and early retirement "off the backs of others."   And, of course, people who borrow money for things they can't afford (houses or college educations) and then don't want to pay it back, but want other citizens who are more responsible (taxpayers) to bail them out.   But that's just me.   Maybe I'm a dumb ass.  


While I'm on the topic of making fun of OWS protesters, here's a video that's getting a lot of play out there.   What exactly is this woman upset about?   Apparently the world out there is just too confusing for her:

But I'm the dumb one?

Occupy Oakland Rioting... Let the Anarchy Begin

Obama and the Democrats were short-sighted in their support for the Occupy Wall Street mobs.   It's not the Tea Parties -- citizens and taxpayers who simply want their government to reform and stop spending money we don't have.   These people in the OWS protests are members of the anarcho-socialist Left, and while most of them are just silly and foolish, some of them were inevitably going to "break bad" as the saying goes.  

Well, it's started with today's riots in Oakland:

When Obama says that he's fighting for the "middle class," I don't think those words mean what he thinks they mean.   The middle class Americans I know don't like rioting in the streets of their cities. 

Girl of the Day - Starting the New Year for The Regular Guy Off Right

It's Year Two of The Regular Guy Believes, so we have to get back to first principles in our Girl of the Day:

There now.   All better?

OWS Supporters Don't Like Al Qaeda, But They Really Really Hate Rush Limbaugh

I strongly suspect not a single person interviewed here has ever heard five minutes of Rush Limbaugh's show.   They just mouth the received wisdom of the hard Left. 

Sad... these people are literally sitting a few blocks from the hole in the ground that used to be the World Trade Center.   And they won't take their own country's side in a fight.

The video is from the Media Research Center.  

Obama's Real "Jobs" Program

Obama's real jobs program is apparently to hamstring (through regulation) or demonize (through demagoguery) American business.   Remember when he went hard after corporate jet owners as an easy way to caricature the "rich"?   Well, it's had predictable results:

Piper Aircraft Incorporated has announced their plans to lay off 150 employees and release 55 contract personnel after deciding to suspend their light business jet program.
The company stated in a press release that while they are keeping up with their budget and performance goals, "planned development costs had risen above the point that were recoverable under foreseeable light jet market projections."

It's almost as if that's what Obama wanted.   But I suppose the Piper Aircraft employees weren't members of teachers' unions or public employee unions, so they don't count as "middle class."  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John Burns' Pessimism on Iraq

John Burns of the New York Times is one of the real reporters left at the newspaper, and his reporting on Iraq over the past ten years has been essential.   He was interviewed last week by Hugh Hewitt about the Obama Administration's decision to withdraw American troops by the end of the year, and his assessment on Iraq's future was dire, to say the least:
HH: Do you see a potential for the return of the hot war of 2006, a civil war at least as brutal as that period of time, John Burns?
JB: I do. I do see that potential. I just noticed this evening a piece on the New York Times website saying that one of the Iraqi groups, insurgent groups, al Qaeda-linked groups, is claiming that they killed 60 people in Baghdad in the last ten days. The tempo of atrocities is on the rise again. And I think a lot of guns have been holstered, waiting for Americans to go. Everybody knew that they were going to go. The fact that they’re not going to leave a residual presence behind now, of 3,000-5,000 troops that the Iraqis had been talking to Washington about keeping, a sort of tripwire presence, it was certainly a question of time. Even they would have to come out, you know, 12 months, 24 months, 36 months down the road. So a lot of groups of ill intent have been waiting for the Americans to go. And it seems to me that yes, there is a real, real risk of a resumption of widespread violence. And I think American have to brace themselves, and I’m a bit pessimistic about this, for the possibility that the American period in Iraq, which has accomplished some good things, it’s also been a source of, of course, a great deal of unhappiness, and certainly a great deal of resistance within the United States, not to mention Iraq. I think that Americans have to brace themselves for the possibilities that the accomplishments that the United States will be leaving behind, which is a natant constitutional system, may in time suffer the fate that, for example, the British did after their period in Iraq during and after the First World War. The sands of Iraq will simply blow over them, and the American presence in history will amount to, to have accomplished, sadly, rather little.

We are still in Germany and Japan sixty-six years after the end of World War II.   We are still in South Korea fifty-seven years after the end of the Korean War.   We fled Vietnam in 1975.    The countries where we stayed are democracies and allies.   The country we fled is still communist and authoritarian to this day, and holocausts occurred in our wake (the killing fields of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, the boat people of Vietnam).   Now we are proposing to flee Iraq.   God help them.

Birthdays Today

Two great artists have birthdays today, one who is very famous, one who is not.   The famous one is Pablo Picasso, born in 1881.   The date surprises me... that means that Picasso was very young when he started creating great art in the early years of the 20th Century.   Here is one of Picasso's most beautiful early works, called "Motherhood," from 1903, when he was only 22.   It's a work from his "celebrated Blue Period":

The great jazz guitarist of the 1920s, Eddie Lang, was also born today, in 1902, which also means that he was quite young when he was making his revolutionary music in duets with the violinist Joe Venuti.   Here's a great cut from 1927, "Four String Joe," which I think also features Frankie Trumbauer on the sax:

It interests me that both Picasso and Lang were creating their greatest works in the 20s as very young men.   The Regular Son is already a remarkable artist (as you'll see this year on our Christmas card).   And he's also a tremendous guitarist for his age (more inclined toward Bruce Springsteen and Mark Knopfler than jazz).  I'm not sure I'm too thrilled with him trying to make a career in either art or music.   But if you don't try when you're young, you end up a blink or two later in your 50s wondering what happened.  

Mugged By Reality II

Here's another example of how the Occupy Wall Street protesters are getting mugged by reality.   You might think that young students, including a lot of young women, living in a commune in the middle of an urban area sharing food and beds wouldn't attract... well, let's just say an unsavory element.   You might think that... if you somehow reached adulthood with no common sense and not even the most rudimentary understanding of human nature.   Yet it seems to be a surprise for some of the Occupy Wall Street organizers that their little protest camp is being infested by homeless and ex-cons:
"We have compassion toward everyone. However, we have certain rules and guidelines," said Lauren Digioia, 26, a member of the sanitation committee.
"If you're going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back," Digioia said. "There's a lot of takers here and they feel entitled."
It's just a guess, but I'd say that 100% of the "99%" at the Occupy Wall Street protests are "takers" who "feel entitled."  

Occupy Wall Street Gets Mugged By Reality

Here is a quote from an Occupy Wall Street protester that captures for me the utter naivete of these children (whatever their ages might be).   It comes from a 38 year-old man who is upset that the "rich" bankers he wants to protest aren't available at convenient times:
It’s weird protesting... You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it’s time to go, they’re still there. I guess that’s why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours?
One might comment that an intelligent observer, thinking logically, could conclude that there was a connection between working "those kinds of hours" and becoming "rich," just as there's a connection between sitting outside protesting at age 38 and not being rich.   But it's all too easy, isn't it?

Girls of the Day - Anniversary Edition

Today is the one-year anniversary of The Regular Guy Believes.   And, although I often have offered "cheesecake" photos of actresses or models as my girls of the day -- OK, so maybe I have a little bit of the dirty old man in me, so sue me -- the most important girls in my life are, of course, the Regular Wife, the Regular Daughters, and the Regular Mom.   Here they all are together last summer on vacation at a wonderful Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos.   Man, do I wish those little girls could stay little forever.   

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Religion of Global Warming

Michael Barone says something that many of us have said before, but says it so well that it deserves quoting:

Global warming alarmists have an unshakable faith that man-made carbon emissions will produce a hotter climate causing multiple natural disasters. Their insistence that we can be absolutely certain this will come to pass is based not on science -- which is never fully settled, witness the recent experiments that may undermine Einstein's theory of relativity -- but on something very much like religious faith.

All the trappings of religion are there. Original sin: Mankind is responsible for these prophesied disasters, especially those slobs who live on suburban cul-de-sacs and drive their SUVs to strip malls and tacky chain restaurants.

The need for atonement and repentance: We must impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system that will increase the cost of everything and stunt economic growth.
Ritual, from the annual Earth Day to weekly recycling.

Indulgences, like those Martin Luther railed against: private jet fliers like Al Gore and sitcom heiress Laurie David can buy carbon offsets to compensate for their carbon-emitting sins.

Corporate elitists, like General Electric's Jeff Immelt, profess to share this faith, just as cynical Venetian merchants and prim Victorian bankers gave lip service to the religious enthusiasms of their days. Bad for business not too. And if you're clever, you can figure out how to make money off it.

Believers in this religion have flocked to conferences in Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto and Copenhagen, just as Catholic bishops flocked to councils in Constance, Ferrara and Trent, to codify dogma and set new rules.

We're Not Going to Lose, But If We Do...

I won't be too sorry to lose to the Texas Rangers, whose manager, Ron Washington, is both a character and has character.   Last night's video of Washington giving his young pitcher, Derek Holland, a pre-game pep talk, ought to bring tears to the eyes of anyone who's ever coached baseball from Little League on up:

Beautiful stuff.   That's what makes sports so great.  

Listen to People Who Know

General John Keane (Ret.) has this to say about President Obama's decision to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011:
I think it’s an absolute disaster.  We won the war in Iraq, and we’re now losing the peace.... Forty-four hundred lives lost.  Tens of thousands of troops wounded.  Over a couple hundred thousand Iraqis killed. We liberated 25 million people. There is only one Arab Muslim country that elects its own government, and that is Iraq.  We should be staying there to strengthen that democracy, to let them get the kind of political gains they need to get and keep the Iranians away from strangling that country. That should be our objective, and we are walking away from that objective.

Are we safer today than we were on January 19, 2009, the day before Obama was inaugurated?   That's the key question for 2012.   Are we safer today?   Is the Middle East more stable?  Are we more or less respected (and feared) around the world?  

I think the answers are obvious.


UPDATE:   Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, the scholar of the Middle East who is often credited with being the architect of the "surge" strategy in Iraq under President Bush, has this to say on Hugh Hewitt's blog about Obama's decision to cut-and-run from Iraq:

 I think all of our enemies will conclude from this that pressure on us and waiting us out is the way to go. And that’s been the message for a long time, and it’s something that we started to reverse with President Bush’s decision to fight for success in Iraq, and honestly continued with President Obama’s decision initially to reinforce in Afghanistan. But now, we will reinforce the narrative that we will ultimately leave. It will embolden our enemies.

A sad day and a scary portent of things to come.  

Girl of the Day - Joan Fontaine

It was Joan Fontaine's birthday over the weekend.   Her best work was arguably her earliest work as the heroines in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca and Suspicion, for which she was nominated twice in 1941 and 1942 for the Academy Award for Best Actress, winning for Suspicion.   Fontaine, of course, was the actress Olivia de Havilland's sister, and, sadly, the two were estranged throughout their adult lives.   Here's the trailer for Suspicion, which is a great, great movie, and probably Cary Grant's best dramatic role:

Fontaine is also the only classic Hollywood actress memorialized in a Bruce Springsteen lyric, from his first album:

Hey bus driver, keep the change
Bless your children, give them names
Don't trust men who walk with canes
Drink this and you'll grow wings on your feet
Broadway Mary, Joan Fontaine
Advertiser on a downtown train
Christmas crier bustin' cane
He's in love again
Early Bruce was a little too much like Bob Dylan for my taste, and probably for his too.   He quickly moved from random imagery cobbled together to story-telling in his later albums.  

File This Under "Be Careful What You Wish For"

The Arab Spring isn't quite turning into a democratic autumn.   Let's recap where we're at in October:
You get the picture.   Need we always be reminded of the wisdom of Edmund Burke, in writing about the French Revolution, and liberals of his day rejoicing at the new-found "freedom":
“When I see the spirit of liberty in action, I see a strong principle at work; and this, for a while, is all I can possibly know of it. The wild gas, the fixed air, is plainly broke loose; but we ought to suspend our judgment until the first effervescence is a little subsided, till the liquor is cleared, and until we see something deeper than the agitation of a troubled and frothy surface. I must be tolerably sure, before I venture publicly to congratulate men upon a blessing, that they have really received one.”

The world is a dangerous place.   It's even more dangerous when naive liberals are in charge.   Sure, Qaddafi is dead; sure, bin Laden is dead.   Good riddance to them.   But that doesn't mean that radical Islamist ideology isn't still moving forward around the world.   We ignore it at our long-term peril.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where Albert Pujols Proves Everyone Wrong

I've written many times before (here and here and here and here and here) about the decision the Cardinals will have to make in the upcoming months about whether to resign Albert Pujols at the price he will command ($25-27 million for 8 years), or to let him go to another team in free agency.   My general view has been that Pujols is entering his decline phase, that his productivity will inevitably decline going forward (he's 32 now), and that the Cardinals will be better off in a purely objective baseball sense if they let Pujols go and replace him with Allen Craig in right and Lance Berkman moving to first base.   (In other words, unleash the Craigen!)

That being said, baseball is not a purely objective sport, at least from the fan's perspective.   Pujols had a down year, but he's lifted his game to a special territory down the stretch, and he's lifted the Cardinals to the point where now they are within two games of winning a World Series.   Last night bordered on the mythical:   three straight home runs, five hits, six RBIs, in a 16-7 rout of the Rangers.   How much is a power-hitting firstbaseman worth?  Not $27 million.   How much is a mythic baseball figure being the face of your franchise for the next fifty years worth?   Priceless.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Girl of the Day - Catherine Deneuve

It's actress Catherine Deneuve's birthday today; astonishingly, she's 68.   Probably the greatest French beauty of the Sixties and Seventies, Deneuve is supposedly, at least according to Wikipedia, a longtime cigarette smoker and has expressed her frustration with the increasing bans on smoking. During a press conference held in a Madrid hotel in March 2011 to promote Potiche, she was told to put out her cigarette and refused by saying she would pay the fine instead. "I think it is all very excessive," Deneuve told reporters.   I like the chutzpah. 

The image above is from the Roman Polanski film, Repulsion, which is generally thought of as one of the few truly great horror films.   It's about a young girl alone in an apartment who gradually goes mad... sort of a precursor of Kubrick's The Shining.   Here's the trailer:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preference Cascade Update

Gallup's quarter-by-quarter poll of President Obama's approval rating shows a marked decrease in the 3rd Quarter of 2011:

 Some may attribute the drop to the continuing bad economic news, the debacle of the debt ceiling increase, etc.   I think something more fundamental has happened -- Obama has jumped the shark.   People just don't buy the snake oil anymore.

And supporting the jerks at Occupy Wall Street isn't helping.  

Birthdays Today - Dizzy Gillespie

The great jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was born today in 1917.   Gillespie's compositions in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and his playing, often with Charlie Parker on sax, comprised the founding statement of modern jazz.   His unique style of playing with his cheeks puffed out is probably the most memorable visually in all of jazz.   Here he is with Parker in 1952 on "Hot House":

Wrong In Every Direction

This story about an Obama administration loan guarantee to an electric car company distils just about everything that is wrong with contemporary liberalism into one neat package:  environmentalism-gone-mad, crony capitalism, corruption, and job-killing over-regulation:

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company's founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don't exist here."

And why exactly do you think that suitable manufacturing facilities don't exist in America?   Do you think it might have something to do with the level of regulation American businesses have to surmount to open their doors?   Or how about the power of unions in the American economy -- do you think a non-union shop would get the benefit of an Obama administration loan guarantee?  

Oh, and not incidentally:

One of Fisker's biggest financial supporters, records show, is the California venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The firm financially supports numerous green-tech firms, records show.
Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr, a California billionaire who made a fortune investing in Google, hosted President Obama at a February dinner for high-tech executives at his secluded estate south of San Francisco. Doerr and Kleiner Perkins executives have contributed more than $1 million to federal political causes and campaigns over the last two decades, primarily supporting Democrats. Doerr serves on Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Doerr has not replied to interview requests since March.

Former Vice President Al Gore is another Kleiner Perkins senior partner. Gore could not be reached for comment.

Your stimulus dollars at work lining the pockets of wealthy Democratic Party donors.

Defecating on Democratic Doorsteps

Wall Street is in Manhattan.   Manhattan is one of the more liberal Democratic cities in America.   Ergo, the people who live around Wall Street's Zuccotti Park -- where the Occupy Wall Street protest is going on -- are likely to be liberal Democrats.  

So when likely liberal Democrats living in Manhattan are fed up with the OWS protesters, you know the protesters are real slime-balls:

Infuriated lower Manhattan residents went ballistic on Zuccotti Park protesters at a chaotic Community Board 1 meeting tonight while blasting politicians for allowing the siege to continue without any end in sight.

"They are defecating on our doorsteps," fumed Catherine Hughes, a member of Community Board 1 and a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. "A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids."

Fed up homeowners said that they've been subjected to insults and harassment as they trek to their jobs each morning. "The protesters taunt people who are on their way to work," said James Fernandez, 51, whose apartment overlooks the park.
Board member Paul Cantor said that residents are fed up with the incessant racket that emanates from the protest at all hours. "It's mostly a noise issue," he said. If people can't sleep and children can't sleep because the protesters are banging drums then that's a problem."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

OWS. In. A. Nutshell.

This article from the Los Angeles Times pretty much captures everything I've said about the shallowness of the Occupy Wall Street protests:

There are a lot of big ideas floating around Occupy L.A., but not a whole lot of consensus. The protesters have yet to codify a list of demands. In recent days, tensions within the group have spiked over drug use and growing numbers of homeless who have joined the camp.

Rachel Goldie, 20, decided to leave the protest Wednesday because she felt it had been corrupted by people who didn't care about economic justice. "Everybody is pretty much just partying it up," she said.

Girl of the Day - The Cards Are Fantastick! (Susan Watson)

My first Cardinals game was in the 1964 World Series.   That was the same fall my father took me to my first pro football game.   I remember the football game more clearly -- it was a rainy day, and the high school band members who played at half-time got stuck in the mud, and the football players in the second half were constantly pulling band shoes out of the muck, and the St. Louis Football Cardinals (the Big Red) tied the New York Giants 10-10.   But the baseball has stuck with me as my favorite sport since then.   Now the Cards are in my ninth World Series ('64, '67, '68, '82, '85, '87, '04, '06, '11).  

Anyway, looking back to October of 1964 through the miracle of the Internet, the big TV event was apparently a Hallmark Hall of Fame taping of the Broadway musical The Fantasticks, starring this young lady, Susan Watson -- just another wildly talented actress* time has almost entirely forgotten:

With the miracle of the Internet, I now know there were other things going on that month too:  the Tokyo Olympics, Martin Luther King winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the Rolling Stones on Ed Sullivan.   But the only thing I remember is the Cardinals. 

*  Watson also originated the role of Kim in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway, only to have Ann-Margaret take the role for the flim version and go on to stardom.  

Cain Disqualified

For me anyway.   Cain was asked last night by Piers Morgan on CNN about his views on abortion.   His first answer was solid:  “I believe that life begins at conception and abortion under no circumstances." 

But then, Morgan asked Cain if he would want his daughter or granddaughter, if raped, to keep the baby.   Cain responded:

 “It’s not the government’s role, or anybody else’s role to make that decision.  Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidence, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president. Not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family, and whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue."

If that's his view, I couldn't vote for him for President.   (I likely wouldn't anyway, as I've said previously, because I don't think he's a very good candidate generally.)   Wishy-washiness on Life issues is a disqualifier for me, period.

Cain, of course, sent out the obligatory Twitter message today saying, "I’m 100% pro-life. End of story.”   OK.   Fine.   But you said what you said to Morgan, and that means we can't trust what you're saying now after you've "lawyered up" with your political consultants.   

The Good Movie Season Returns

We're entering the season when Hollywood starts releasing good movies again, movies that they think might win Academy Awards.   If I were a betting man, I'd say this movie about Shakespeare, Anonymous, looks like a good bet:

And, for Best Actor, I think George Clooney has probably paid his dues and will win for this new movie, The Descendants:

Joe Biden, Arch-Demagogue

Vice-President Biden hit a new low this week when he said that more women will be raped if Republicans don't pass Obama's latest mini-jobs bill, which includes $5 billion for police and firefighters (and $30 billion for teachers' unions).   And he compounded it by berating a young reporter from the conservative website Human Events who had the audacity to call him on it:

Two things: first, note the young staffer at the end who asks the reporter "who are you with?"   What she means is that the Democrats don't expect to have to answer tough questions from the "real" media, so he must be from some low-life Internet news outfit.   They know that the "real" media is 95% ultra-liberal Democrats, and they expect to get a pass on their demagoguery from those "real" reporters.

Second, and along the same lines, doesn't Biden's whole finger-pointing seem extraordinarily unseemly for an elected official in a democracy responding to a reporter's questions?   His attitude is the attitude of John Kerry... "don't you know who I am?"

Ten Lessons for 2012 (Or, For That Matter, Right Now)

Kevin Williamson in NRO lists 10 things to keep in mind for 2012.   But, really, what he's offering is a list of ten things we need to keep in mind every day beginning today and going on into the future for as far as the eye can see:

With an eye on 2012, here are ten important but sometimes counterintuitive facts to keep in mind:
1.      There is no austerity.
2.      There was no deregulation.
3.      You can’t trust Republicans on spending.
4.      Wall Street loves Democrats.
5.      People who voted for Barack Obama on civil-liberties grounds are fools.
6.      If you aren’t for massive entitlement reform, you’re for massive tax hikes.
7.      But taxing the rich won’t close the deficit.
8.      The housing bubble was largely a political creation.
9.      Well-meaning politicians are just as dangerous as self-serving ones.
10.  There’s no way out of this jam without big cuts to popular programs.
The real debate isn’t whether to cut, only what and how much and when. (My preferred answers: almost everything, a lot, now.)

The links provide the meat, but this is a useful set of talking points.   Or, really, screaming points.  

Birthdays Today

A lot of interesting birthdays today, but not a lot of time to talk about them.   There's Christopher Wren, the great English architect of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, born in 1632; the doomed French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, born in 1854; the American philosopher and "educator," John Dewey, born in 1859 (I put the quotes around "educator" because Dewey's philosophy of progressive education has done a great deal of damage in America; Charles Edward Ives, the American composer, born in 1874; Mickey Mantle, the great Yankee slugger, born in 1931; and Tom Petty, the rocker, born in 1950 (just another classic rocker now over 60 years old).

But the two that leap out for me are two figures who provide echoes of my childhood.   First, Margaret Dumont was born in 1889.   Dumont was the "straight man" in the greatest of the Marx Brothers' movies, playing an older society lady outraged by the wildness of Groucho Marx, as here, in the 1933 movie Duck Soup:

Great stuff.    I used to watch these movies on Saturdays when I was a kid, and I don't think I've ever seen anything any funnier in American movies since.  

Meanwhile, the soundtrack of my youth was the classic jazz my Dad played all the time, and his favorite was also born today, in 1890 -- Jelly Roll Morton.   Here's Morton playing one of his greatest compositions, "The Pearls," from 1926:

I recall learning how to play this in high school so I could play it for Dad.   Pretty sure I never played it that well, but I hope he didn't mind.   It's beautiful music and arguably, with the rest of jazz from the 1920s through the 1950s (as in everything else, jazz veered off course in the 1960s), the one true American art form.  

Picture of the Night

Cardinals' Magic Run Continues

The Cardinals are up 1-0 in the World Series.   Their magical run continues -- everybody Tony La Russa brings in out of the bullpen seems to suddenly be unhittable, with his new closer, Jason Motte, leading the way with a 97-99 mph fastball.

Motte, a converted catcher, has pitched 9 post-season innings in relief, and has given up 1 hit, 0 walks, and 0 runs, and is 5 for 5 in saves.   I looked up Mariano Rivera's statistics, since he's generally thought of as the greatest post-season closer of all-time.   Rivera's best post-season ever was in 1998 when he pitched 13 1/3 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks and 0 runs in earning six saves as the Yankees won the World Series.    Adam Wainwright's miracle season in 2006 is another possible comparison:   Wainwright went 9 2/3 innings, gave up seven hits, two walks, and 0 runs in earning four saves.  

In other words, and without jinxing him (I hope), Motte is on pace to record the greatest post-season year for a closer ever.   Wow.  

VDH on What the OWS Protesters Don't Think About

Victor Davis Hanson, as always, takes the long view in criticizing the Occupy Wall Street protests.   Ultimately, he argues, their beef is a manifestation of anxiety about maintaining the West's affluence and their own lifestyles.    But, he notes, there are inexorable historical trends that they haven't taken into account:

None of these protesters discuss the effects of 2 billion Chinese, Indian, Korean, and Japanese workers’ entering and mastering the globalized capitalist system, and making things more cheaply and sometimes better than their Western counterparts.

None of these protesters ever stop to ponder the costs — and ultimately the effect on their own lifestyles — of skyrocketing energy costs. Since 1970 there has been a historic, multitrillion-dollar transfer of capital from the West to the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Russia through the importation of high-cost oil and gas.

None seem to grasp the significance of the fact that, meanwhile, hundreds of millions of Westerners were living longer and better, retiring earlier, and demanding ever more expensive government pensions and health care.

Something had to give.

And now it has.

I don't think I quite buy that the protests are symptoms of economic anxiety.   I think the protests are closer to being a pure sign of decadence -- bored young people with little in their lives to interest them (no children, no real work, no adult involvements in their communities or churches) adopt protesting as something fun and exciting to do, something they can tell themselves is somehow important.   They're not really risking anything; they don't expect any serious consequences; it's just a lark in the end.  But Hanson has identified clearly what has brought the larger civilization to this point, teetering on the edge of a long, discontented stagnation and potential decline.  

In other words, the OWS protests are a sideshow; the Eurozone and American debt debacles are high-wire act where finance ministers are working without a net in a death-defying act.  Death-defying, that is, at least until now. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tipping Point?

There are moments that provide tipping points for the way society views an issue.   The Tet Offensive -- although a huge defeat for the Viet Cong -- was such a tipping point on the Vietnam War, because the images of VC within the U.S. Embassy in Saigon seemed to show that the war was unwinnable.  

I can imagine that the following story, which is really just reporting a single factoid, might be such a tipping point on the issue of the size and scope of government, if it were widely disseminated, because I can imagine that people who have assumed that government is there to help citizens their whole lives might suddenly (finally!) realize that government is truly just a rent-seeking interest group unto itself:

Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show.

The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year. The national median income for 2010 was $50,046.

The figures demonstrate how the nation’s political and financial classes are prospering as the economy struggles with unemployment above 9 percent.

Nice work if you can get it.   And if you can get the rest of us poor schlubs to pay for it.

Nothing to See Here So Move Along

A Cleveland woman -- actually a 19 year-old, learning-disabled girl -- claims she was raped in a tent at the Occupy Cleveland protest.   (Aside:  doesn't "Occupy Cleveland" sound absurd?   But, then, the whole protest movement of the moment seems absurd.)   Here's the story:

Cleveland police are investigating an alleged sexual assault incident Saturday at the “Occupy Cleveland” rally involving a 19-year-old female student from Parma.
According to police reports, the 19-year-old student was instructed by “Occupy Cleveland” personnel to “share a tent with the suspect due to a shortage of tents.”

The suspect identified himself as “Leland” to the woman. The woman told police that after she had thought the suspect went to sleep in his own bed, she slept in a sleeping bag provided to her by the rally.

The student went to school Monday and told a teacher about her sexual assault incident in Public Square — which is being classified as “kidnapping/rape” — prompting the teacher to immediately contact the authorities.

And here's a local TV news story covering the allegation:

Note the reporter's concern that the allegation might do damage to the "work" that the protesters are doing.   And note the fair hearing given to a young man expressing doubt about a rape allegation as he makes the ridiculous claim that the girl was probably bused in to make the allegation.   Funny, that.  I'm sure they would have given a fair hearing to a Tea Party member if he offered that kind of skepticism about a rape of a young girl at a Tea Party rally.   But, then again, no such allegations ever surfaced on our side of the aisle, did they?

To me, the story is obviously plausible.   I mean, why would anyone think that a rape could occur at Occupy Cleveland?   No, no, no, it couldn't possibly happen, not in tents housing a bunch of twenty-something radicals who are all juiced up with political passion and hormones and weed.   No, no, no, why would anyone assume that there might be some sexual tension in the air when boy radicals meet girl radicals in what they undoubtedly think is the most important, most exciting moment of their young lives?
And, I hope it's not being too politically incorrect, but haven't any of these reporters ever read anything about the f***ing 1960s?   Don't they know about how radical boys would coerce young girls into having sex by leveraging their political commitment?   Come on, baby, do it for the Movement!   Come on, baby, show some Solidarity!    And, for that matter, did they ever read Soul on Ice, where Eldridge Cleaver talks about raping young white girls as a political statement?

I mean, it's one thing to be completely oblivious to human nature.   We expect that from liberals.   But it's another thing to just completely elide the very history you're trying to emulate.

Pujols and The Man

Albert Pujols paid a nice tribute to the greatest Cardinal, Stan Musial, in an interview in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning:

When someone asked him how daunting it was to be considered by Cardinals fans to be the franchise's second-most beloved star behind 90-year-old Cardinals legend Stan (The Man) Musial, Pujols sounded like a man with an abiding respect for the traditions of this storied franchise and an appreciation for the legacy of Musial:

"I don't think there is going to be anybody in this organization that can be compared to Stan Musial," he said. "Stan Musial is always going to be the top of this organization, the face of this organization. And I kind of get a little mad when people try to compare me with Stan. ... I just wish I could spend more time with Stan. He's sick now and not able to come around as much. But just last week (before the home opener of the NLCS) I went over and rubbed his arm and told him to give me a couple of those postseason hits that I know he still has in him. It's just amazing to see him around. I don't think there's ever going to be anyone in this organization who wears the uniform who will be compared to Stan Musial. He's always going to be on the top. It's why I don't want people to call me (El Hombre). There is only one Man and that's God, but here in St. Louis, it's Stan the Man."

Nice.   Musial is 90 now, and it would be very sweet indeed to get one more World Series pennant for him.  

Girl of the Day - Rainy Wednesday Version (Kate Upton)

There's a 30% chance of rain showers tonight in St. Louis, and the temperature will be in the mid-40s and dropping throughout the evening.   Great time to play World Series baseball!

If it were up to me, I'd keep the 162 game schedule, but expand active rosters from 25 to 28 so teams could load up on relievers and extra starters and utility men, and then I'd compress the schedule, play more double-headers, and finish by mid-September.   That way you could get the post-season started earlier, and get done earlier.   One of these days the World Series will be Minnesota (with its new outdoor stadium) vs. Philadelphia, and everyone will freeze, and games will get snowed out.  

So, on a gloomy day (especially so in Milwaukee where all of the Brewers fans are still depressed) we need some sunshine and sand:

OK, so maybe the weather is just an excuse.   So sue me. 

Flabby Middle-Aged America Needs a Diet and Exercise

Monty at Ace of Spades, who writes the daily economic "DOOM" posting, draws a useful analogy this morning:

When you're middle-aged, you kind of make peace with your gut. You're not happy about the flab, but you're not unhappy enough about it to embark on an exercise regime, either. You understand (or should) that carrying too much weight means increased risk of heart-attack and stroke and adult-onset diabetes. But slimming down means giving up a lot of stuff that you like -- beer, candy, cake, red meat -- and finally using that stationary bike in the corner of the room instead of just looking at it guiltily before turning on the television in the evening. It all boils down to choices you make, and whether you can live with the consequences of those choices. It's not a bad metaphor for the economy right now.

That hits a little close to home for the Regular Guy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oh, By the Way... They're Commies!

In case you thought the Occupy Wall Street was simply a protest of otherwise normal middle-class Americans frustrated with the economy, here's a video that reveals the OWS for what they are... out-and-proud communists:

My favorite moment... where the black girl says that she is going to use her iPhone to take video she can post on Twitter and Facebook to protest capitalism.

Howard Stern Listens to OWS

Howard Stern's secret has always been that he lets people who think of themselves as intelligent and enlightened make fools of themselves.   In this audio from his Sirius radio show, he simply listens to what the Occupy Wall Street protesters say, and they quickly are revealed to be morons:

Line of the Day - Re Occupy Wall Street

From Ace of Spades:

Today's activists aren't so much protesters as 60's-style protest reenactors.

Nail.   On.   Head. 

Girl of the Day - Jennifer Ehle

Life is short, so sometimes you just have to go back to first principles and choose what it is that makes life worth living, what gives meaning or pleasure to life.   If I had one TV series to take to the proverbial desert island with the Regular Wife, something we could watch again and again with pleasure, it might very well be the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice.   Can it really be sixteen years since it first aired?  We used to sit up nights watching and re-watching it on our VCR.   Since then, we've lived a lot of life with our three children, but every five years or so we'll pull it out (now on DVD) and watch it again.   Firth, of course, has gone on to great fame in the movies, including winning the Academy Award for The King's Speech only last year.   Ehle hasn't had the type of career I would have expected for her -- but, then, how do you follow playing Lizzie Bennet?

An Insight From the Past Into the Occupy Wall Street Protesters of the Present

James Pethokoukis, writing in the American Enterprise blog, quotes the famed economist Joseph Schumpeter regarding the type of people who make up discontented mobs in an advanced economy such as the Occupy Wall Street crowd:

The man who has gone through a college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work. All those who are unemployed or unsatisfactorily employed or unemployable drift into the vocations in which standards are least definite. … They swell the host of intellectuals … whose numbers hence increase disproportionately. They enter it in a thoroughly discontented frame of mind. Discontent breeds resentment … righteous indignation about the wrongs of capitalism.

I almost became one of these folks, and maybe I still am, although becoming a lawyer has allowed me to hide my unemployability, at least to date.   But I think Schumpeter is almost perfect here... we have allowed our universities the luxury of teaching gibberish to young people, subsidized by the wealth of the nation through loans filtered through unaccountable banking bureaucracies, and now we are reaping the whirlwind.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Has the Left No Shame?

OK, so this is a minor point.   The aging actress Susan Sarandon -- whom I actually  liked twenty years ago or more in Bull Durham and Atlantic City -- is a huge leftist politically.   Now she has apparently, for no good reason other than to get titters of cheap laughter from a crowd of other privileged leftists in the Hamptons, called Pope Benedict XVI a "Nazi."   The Left, of course, routinely calls people with whom they disagree Nazis; it's among the most tired tropes of liberal discourse.   So, it's nothing to take too seriously.   But, really... the Pope?   There are only around 75 million American Catholics; in other words, about double the number of African-Americans.   I can't imagine what would happen if someone as prominent as Sarandon called a beloved African-American a different "n"-word, say, Oprah Winfrey or Martin Luther King, Jr.   It would be Apocalypse Now, and an immediate career-ender.    But, again, apparently you can say anything about Catholics among liberals and no one has the temerity to call you a bigot.  

Oh, and by the way, Pope Benedict's father was an ant-Nazi police officer whose attempts to rein in Hitler’s Brown Shirts forced the family to move several times, and resulted in demotions and transfers.   The family had reason to hate the Nazis as pro-Life Catholics:   a cousin with Down's syndrome was put to death under the Nazi's euthanasia program for "undesirables."   Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, reacted to Sarandon's quip appropriately:  "Susan Sarandon's quip about Pope Benedict XVI being a 'Nazi' bespeaks unparalleled ignorance.... Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into the Nazi Youth the way every other 14-year-old German boy was at the time. Unlike most others, he not only refused to go to the compulsory meetings -- he actually deserted the Hitler Youth! Which is precisely why Jews today regard him as a friend, not as an enemy."

Sarandon is a stupid, ignorant, mean-spirited, hate-filled fool.   Needless to say, she won't be my girl of the day anytime soon.

Girl of the Day - Homeland Version (Morena Baccarin)

I'm trying to get the Regular Wife hooked on a new Showtime series, Homeland, with Damian Lewis and Claire Danes as a returning POW/MIA/possible al Qaeda mole and the CIA analyst obsessed with him.   Lewis' wife on the show is played by Morena Baccarin, formerly from the TV show V (which we never watched), and her character, who thought her husband was dead and moved on (including with another man), is interesting so far.   I'm not sure how the show will make it past the first year (it's a little like the show Rubicon that way), but the pilot was very good.

Occupy Wall Street... With Communists

Kevin Williamson has an essential article up at NRO on the true nature of the Occupy Wall Street protests:
I’ve been spending as much time as I can down at Occupy Wall Street, listening to the speeches, reading the literature, talking to the organizers. Here’s something to keep in mind: You’ll hear in a lot of the conservative media that this is some kind of socialist/communist enterprise piggybacking on a populist protest. In reality, it is much worse than even most of the conservative media is reporting.

Almost every organization present at OWS is explicitly communist or socialist.

Almost every piece of literature being handed out is explicitly communist or socialist. I don’t mean half, and I don’t mean the overwhelming majority — I mean almost all of it. Yes, there are the usual union goons trying to figure out how to get OWS to do the bidding of the AFL-CIO and the Democratic party, and the usual smattering of New Age goo (the “Free Empathy” table) and po-mo Left wackiness (animal-rights nuts), the inevitable Let’s-Eradicate-Israel crowd (“Free Palestine, from the river to the sea!”). But, that being said, almost every organized enterprise and piece of printed material I have encountered has been socialist or communist. It’s been a long time since I saw anybody peddling books by Lenin. It’s been a long time since anybody told me the Ukrainians had it coming.

When the protesters were rallying to march to Times Square, out went the call: “Follow the red flag!” Which is what they did, literally and, I fear, figuratively.
Interesting, then, that Barack Obama has decided to lend some presidential legitimacy to the proceedings. OWS isn’t a socialist revolution — I’d be surprised if it ever escalated past the vandalism stage — but it imagines itself to be, and Barack Obama suggests that he is in sympathy with it.

The news media may cover this up, but hopefully Republicans won't.   I can see the campaign commercials now.   Clip 1:  Obama lauding the Occupy Wall Street protesters.   Next a montage of photographs from the protests with the words "socialist" and "communist" prominently featured, and video of screeching OWS speakers attacking capitalism and America and Israel.   Finally, Clip 2:  Obama continuing to laud the OWS protests.  Then, a voice over:  "Mr. President, whose side are you on?"   This sort of thing would be devastating, and I'm sure there are people in the Democratic Party who are smart enough to know that the President has gone out on a limb and dragged the Party with him.  

Birthdays Today - What a Great Day This Is!

Cardinals in the World Series and today is also a great day for birthdays for two of my favorite all-time actresses.  First, Jean Arthur was born in 1900.   Arthur starred as a cute, smart, wholesome girl-next-door in some of my favorite 1930s comedies, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and You Can't Take It With You.   Here she is with Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, still the best movie ever about the corrruptions of Washington and the greatness of average Americans:

Rita Hayworth was also born today, in 1919.   Hayworth is one of the most beautiful of Hollywood's great actresses, and also in the top echelon of Hollywood dancers.   Here she is with Fred Astaire; Astaire once said she was his favorite dance partner:

Smile of the Day - Obligatory Cardinal Gloating Version

The Cardinals are in the World Series!   I can't believe I'm writing those words.   Given up for dead six weeks ago when they were 10.5 games out of the wild card, the Cardinals stormed back, got lucky, got hot at the right time, made the playoffs on the last day of the season, then beat the best team in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the best home-team in baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers, clinching both series on the road, and now they are in the World.  Freaking.  Series.   Unbelievable.