Right Wing Nut House

8/27/2010

ON BEING AMERICAN ENOUGH

Filed under: PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:41 am

My latest is up at PJ Media and in it, I return to familiar territory; trying to debunk the notion that President Obama is less of an American, or doesn’t love America, or is anti-American.

First, a couple of excerpts:

But the question isn’t whether the president’s vision of what American can be is different from that of most of the country; the question revolves around that vision’s legitimacy as emanating from deep within the American soul, and whether it fulfills a longing in the American heart for “true” justice and equality.

The Founders were eminently practical men, well read in the classics, believing they had learned the lessons of history about the dangers of concentrated power and the evil of which all men are capable. It’s what historian Page Smith refers to as a “Classical Christian Consciousness,” where recognition of man’s fallen state as well as a dose of public virtue were more likely to keep us free than the alternative. This he described as a “Secular Democratic Consciousness,” heavily influenced by the European enlightenment, saw man as basically good and his faults correctable.

Having faith in the ultimate goodness of mankind and the perfectibility of its institutions was the vision of the Jeffersonians, while the majority of the Founders believed in creating safeguards against the depredations of evil men and guaranteeing the natural rights of citizens. The resulting clash over the centuries of these two visions as the best way to achieve justice and liberty has defined an America that lurches between spurts of progressive reform and conservative restraint and retrenchment.

Barack Obama’s ideas are firmly rooted in the former of these visions. It is a belief that government institutions are perfectable; that the unintended consequences of his massive efforts to tear down the old and build up the new in health care, finance, the free market, and other areas are controllable and indeed, necessary in order to achieve the ultimate goal of creating a “more perfect union.” Whatever huge dislocations arise because of his policies must be accepted so that his notions of “justice” and “equality” can evolve.

It has become de rigueur on the right to complain that Obama wants to turn America into a Euro-socialist paradise. That’s half true. The president wants to use some of the tools that European social democracies use in order to fulfill his vision for America.

That vision, as I point out in the piece, is 100% American. The 19th century Utopian societies that sprang up around the country were ultimately efforts to change America into a society that was perfectly just, equal, and tolerant. From the Shakers to the Transcendentalists, the connecting thread was to alter the definition of what it meant to be American, and in the process, a new society would be created where all could share in the nation’s bounty, free from prejudice and racism as well as capitalisms more unattractive features.

Beyond the Utopians, there is the progressive movement of the early 20th century who believed in the perfectibility of human institutions like government through the application of scientific principles, and the “New Left” ideological forebears of the president who truly sought something closer to a Euro-democracy than we have now. Obama’s vision for America was influenced by all of these and more.

The real beef people have with this piece is simple; I don’t hate Obama enough. I don’t think he’s a Communist, or that he’s Muslim, or that he wasn’t born here, or that he wears women’s underpants. I can’t see his horns or his tail, I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that he is deliberately trying to destroy America, and I don’t believe that he is the worst president in history.

Of course, that was the point in writing the piece - an article in which I am very, very tough on the president but realize that most of his agenda has, in one form or another, been pushed since the New Deal. Just because socialist countries have national health care doesn’t make those who advocate it socialists. There are plenty of conservatives who support Medicare and Social Security - two programs in one form another that are very popular in socialist countries. Does that make those conservatives socialists?

It pains me to think that Obama’s “not American enough” critics actually believe you can quantify patriotism, or are truly ignorant of our history and are unaware that Obama’s vision for a different America is not new at all. What’s changed is that he was able to soft pedal his radicalism, hiding it brilliantly with euphemistic rhetoric and fuzzy headed talk of “change.”. That, and the extraordinary weakness of McCain’s campaign as well as the previous 8 years of cronyism, mismanagement, and incompetence.

It is disheartening to read the comments to my article. What possible good is done by ignorantly pushing the idea that one can judge another American’s love of country, or dedication to its core principles? If Obama were as bad as many of these numbskulls say he is, why aren’t they out starting a revolution? Why don’t they grab their guns and “take their country back?” If we are in as much danger as they say, we can’t wait for the next presidential election, we must act NOW!

I know that if I believed what they say they believe, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of this monitor and keyboard. I’d be out fomenting rebellion. And if fat old me would do it, why not them?

The reason is that they are not serious about their language. It sounds good, makes them feel important, but in the end, their talk of Obama being a Communist and ruining the country is drama. Their dull, drab, hopeless existence needs excitement so they pretend their president is something he is not - sort of like 13 year old drama queens who need attention. Otherwise, they’d be in the streets rioting and doing everything possible to get the man responsible for “ruining the country” out of the White House.

I am not a drama queen. I prefer reality and reasoned debate (usually). Those who have disappeared down this impossibly deep rabbit hole need to start clawing their way out or the vast majority of the country who doesn’t think Obama a socialist or a communist, and who don’t think he is deliberately trying to destroy the country, will make their views known in no uncertain terms when they vote.

And nobody rational votes for anyone supported by crazy people.

7/13/2010

NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN, JESSE

Filed under: PJ Media, Sports — Rick Moran @ 8:07 am

My latest is up at PJ Media and in it, I take the good Reverend Jackson to task for his bombastic comments about the Lebron James circus. Jackson referred to Cav’s owner Gilbert’s “slave master” mentality” and called James a “runaway slave.”

A sample:

Considering the fact that Mr. Gilbert was prepared to offer Mr. James about $117 million over six years to stay in Cleveland, you can hardly make the argument that those are slave wages or reminiscent of anything whatsoever having to do with slavery, unless you happen to be a professional agitator skilled at pressing the emotional hot buttons of your racialist fans.

The fact that James had the Cleveland franchise over a barrel with up to $150 million riding on his decision might make you wonder who was the “master” and who was the “slave” in this arrangement. The Cavaliers just took a huge hit as far as the value of that franchise is concerned. But it was a decision made by James that went far beyond dollars and cents and went to the heart of the purpose of professional sports franchises in large cities.

Even today, cities define themselves, at least in part, by the pride citizens take in their sports franchises. There are baseball towns (St. Louis, Cincinnati, New York), football towns (Chicago, Denver), even hockey towns (Buffalo, Detroit). But beyond that identity, professional sports franchises act as a uniting expedient that gives residents a common touchstone to gather around and share experiences. They are like the old bonfires that medieval towns would light on holidays in order to bring residents together and create a bond between the place where they live and the people they live with.

The terrible angst felt by Cleveland fans and given voice, however clumsily and inadequately, by Mr. Gilbert was real, despite the shallow and overhyped nature of the event that caused their emotional outburst. Gilbert, trying desperately to keep the team’s fan base from melting away in despair (thus costing him millions of dollars), used James as a punching bag to allow Cavalier fans and the community at large the opportunity to share feelings of betrayal over the loss of their superstar (and the presumed loss of any chance at an NBA championship anytime soon). Gilbert’s screed served a purpose that Jackson, with his effort to piggyback vile, racially charged language onto the LeBron James circus to garner headlines and solidify his place in the race-baiting hierarchy, refused to acknowledge.

But the good reverend outdoes himself with his imagery of the “runaway slave.” Only in the twisted, racially tinged consciousness of someone who insists on creating his own reality when it comes to defining and explaining race in America would James ever be considered a “slave,” or Gilbert a “slave master.” James will enjoy a contract worth tens of millions of dollars, and additional endorsement deals that will be worth hundreds of millions. It is an insult to the memory of the millions who suffered the overseer’s lash to try and connect James to the powerful imagery of those who risked all for a chance to run away to freedom. He is using a rhetorical atom bomb to kill a gnat.

7/4/2010

PRESERVING THE AMERICA I GREW UP IN

Filed under: PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:27 am

My latest is up at PJ Media and in it, I riff off comments made by Rep. John Boehner about the Democrats “snuffing out” the America of his youth:

And yet, this isn’t really what Boehner was talking about when he wondered aloud about where the America of his youth had gone. For liberals like Tomasky, it is very difficult to grasp the inexpressible sadness in Boehner’s words. The congressman is not referring to the grand plans of statesmen and social engineers, or the yardsticks of social progress that so enamor the left. Boehner was referring to a state of mind about America that is disappearing.

What else is America except a place that has lived in the dreams of men since we organized ourselves into nation-states? Each of us alone defines our own America, imbuing it with our own hopes, animating it with our own definitions of liberty, consecrating it by our embrace of its traditions and values. It is this feeling about America that Boehner believes is threatened. But is he right? Is his implication that the growth of government under the current administration — the largest expansion in history — can destroy what we “grew up with” as a vision of America in our minds?

There are other things we grew up with in America — those of us of Boehner’s age and a little younger — and not all of them bring pleasant memories to the surface. In fact, a significant number of them we wanted “snuffed out.” Certainly, the casual kind of racism and intolerance that was not unfamiliar in the America of my own youth should have been snuffed out. The second-class citizenship accorded women (cemented in both tradition and the law) needed to be left behind, as did attitudes toward gays, the handicapped, the mentally ill, and others in society who lived on the margins, largely invisible to the majority of us, and who suffered in silence until their concerns were given voice a decade or two later.

I know what Boehner is saying about the kind of America he grew up in and there is certainly much of that America that needs to be protected and cared for. Boehner’s America of strong communities, strong families, an expansive view of personal liberty, and a government that had yet to flex its muscles in an effort to control us is worth preserving. It is worthwhile to save as much of that America as can be accomplished without rolling back the genuine progress we have made in other areas of our national social life.

6/14/2010

DEATH TO THE VUVUZELA!

Filed under: PJ Media, Sports, WORLD CUP — Rick Moran @ 3:16 pm

1-10
Will no one rid us of these meddlesome horns?

My latest is up at PJ Media and its about those maddeningly obnoxious horns being blown in South African stadiums at the World Cup.

A sample:

There is nothing remotely close to a “musical tradition” in the blowing of these horns from hell. For that to occur, music, it would be assumed, would have to emanate from some kind of musical instrument. There is no difference between a vuvuzela and a New Year’s Eve party horn. And unless you are very, very drunk, no one will ever mistake the soused blasting of a noisemaker with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

The vuvuzela is not a musical instrument — unless you want to change the definition to include the rack, the iron maiden, and Chinese water torture as the equivalent of a Stradivarius or a Steinway.

[...]

What makes the vuvuzelas so incredibly annoying is the monotone note that is a constant from the time the TV coverage of a match begins to the last second of the live feed from the stadium. It is unvarying in pitch and decibel level — about the same as standing a few feet from a jet plane taking off or an amplifier for a rock concert. At 127 decibels, the vuvuzela is louder than a jackhammer, a chain saw, a pneumatic drill, and a subway.

FIFA’s Sepp Blatter might find the dulcet tones made by a jackhammer the symphonic equivalent of a Mozart concerto, but the rest of us have a slightly different notion of what constitutes music.

6/11/2010

What Does the Rest of the World Know about Soccer that Americans Don’t?

Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 9:15 am

My latest article is up at PJ Media and in it, I address a question that I’ve looked at before; why aren’t Americans interested in soccer?

A sample:

But leaving politics aside, the reason that soccer has not arrived (and may never rise) to the first tier of professional sports in America is tradition and timing. There is no American soccer “tradition” as there is in baseball and football. Even basketball enjoys a tradition far beyond any national memories we have of American soccer.

Couple that with the fact that the sports calendar is crowded enough as it is, and the addition of another sport is just not practical. The MLS has adapted to the marketplace, largely abandoning the huge football stadiums and settling in smaller, more intimate venues like the Chicago Fire’s Toyota Park in Bridgeport, Illinois, that seats 20,000, or the 27,000-seat Home Depot Center in Carson, California, that hosts Los Angeles Galaxy games. While not exactly thriving, the league is mostly keeping its head above water and now serves as a legitimate feeder league for national team talent.

Salaries are not extravagant. Most importantly, several teams have deals with some of the club teams in Europe where they can “loan” their players out. This has led to some key national team members like Landon Donovan getting invaluable experience playing against the top players in the world.

That experience may be the key to the hopes of this year’s national squad. Where in 1994, only two or three national team members had experience in Europe, the 2010 edition of Team USA features several bona fide international standouts. Most of the others perform as serviceable pros in some of the top leagues in Europe.

Reading the comments, I am struck by the political tack most commenters take in opposition to the game. I find most political arguments against the game horsecrap - ignorant people trying to sound intelligent. It’s a monumental stretch to ascribe most American’s difficulty with the game to some ridiculous notion that soccer is a “collectivist” game played by namby-pamby Europeans.

This is posited by idiots who’ve never seen the English Premier League. Those guys don’t wear 20 pounds of pads but the collisions in the air and on the field are pretty violent. Also, try getting kicked in the shin by a soccer boot. Even with shin guards it hurts like a sonofabitch.

They are tough as nails, talented athletes with tremendous skills. And as far as the game being “collectivist,” that’s nonsense. American football is a truly collectivist game, modeled after one of the most collectivist activities man undertakes; war.

My own belief is that it takes a familiarity with the game, an understanding of its nuances, its ebb and flow, in order to appreciate it. There is a method to what appears to be the meanderings of players on the field and once you understand the complexities of the offensive buildup, the counterattack, the D-backs overlapping, the midfield attack, and the beautiful dance that defenses must employ to blunt the other team’s offense, the game can be enjoyed as any team sport.

Since there is no soccer tradition in America, there is no passing down this kind of knowledge as there is in baseball or football. Watch one of those games with a 5 or 6 year old kid and the questions never stop. Some are cutesy queries, but most are geared toward understanding the nuances of the game. Imparting that knowledge from generation to generation is how those sports maintain their huge fan base. If you want to be a soccer fan. you pretty much have to figure it out on your own.

It helps that I’ve been watching the game for almost 50 years. And it helps that I began to really appreciate the game in the 1980’s when I lived in Washington and the local pro team, the Washington Diplomats, purchased the services of an aging, but still hugely talented player named Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff is considered one of the true legends of the game and while he was clearly past his prime, what he could do with a ball on his foot was absolutely magical. An attacking forward with an uncanny ability to put the ball in the net, Cruyff introduced me to some of the subtleties of game and for much of the last 30 years, I have built on that knowledge to where I can now watch the game and revel in its ins and outs - even if the result is a scoreless tie.

Because of this lack of tradition, soccer will not be a major sport in America for the foreseeable future. Will the kids who played the game in their youth pass their love of the game on to their own children? If they do, it may take a few generations but eventually, soccer may indeed take its place as a favored sport of Americans.

6/8/2010

THE FINGER OF GOD

Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 10:53 am

On Saturday night at 8:52 PM local time, a tornado ripped through my hometown of Streator Illinois, touching down just a couple of hundred yards from my house.

My PJ Media article today is about my brush with nature unbound:

The twister tore through the southern part of town, wreaking a path of destruction 400 yards wide. It didn’t sound like a freight train - the usual description you read in the newspapers. Freight trains don’t roar like a wild beast and beat holy hell against your windows seeking to get in. The rattling, clacking, and shaking of my brick house was augmented by the rending, tearing sounds of tree limbs snapping, the popping of transformers (sounding just like old-fashioned flash bulbs exploding), and a strange, terrifying high-pitched whine that made it sound as if all the furies in the world had been unleashed and were circling my home in anticipation of its destruction.

Then, a huge cracking sound and a thump. Half our elm tree in the backyard had split and fallen lengthwise across the lawn, brushing against the sliding doors in the dining room. Another couple of feet and it would have crashed through. Then there was another tremendous ripping noise followed by a crash as a section of our fence tore away and smashed into the AC unit.

Where was I when this occurred? I was standing at the top of the stairs to the basement in the kitchen with legs so weak that I knew if I tried to go downstairs, I would have fallen and broken my neck. So I stood there, not two feet from our large kitchen window, too terrified to move to safety, mesmerized by the scene outside that was now being lit up constantly by lightning. The trees were bending to near 45 degree angles. The small twigs and branches that were banging into the window were competing with the constant, driving, sideways rain that was almost as loud as the wind.

Most people who die in tornadoes are hit by debris from their own house. It was monumentally stupid to stand next to a window with the wind blowing near 100 miles per hour, but clear thinking is not possible when witnessing nature unbound. In retrospect, it has made me appreciate the ancients a little more who worshiped the power of the natural world, named weather events for gods, and though superstitious to a fault, had a healthier respect for what nature could do than I (and probably many people living today).

I am getting it in the comments from people who say I acted like a coward, that I should “grow a pair,” that I am “childish.” Well, OK. I will gladly give you the three minutes I lived through when that tornado was roaring through the neighborhood. I am sure that these big, brave he-men would spit in the twister’s eye while waddling down stairs to the basement trying to keep their huge balls from scraping the steps.

The truth is, we have an unfinished basement with no banister on the stairway so that even when there is no emergency, going down the steps is an adventure. I would have made my way downstairs earlier except trying to corral three terrorized cats proved to be a difficult proposition. By the time they were all downstairs, the National Weather Service was telling people to take cover immediately so I grabbed my laptop, my carton of cigs, and my wallet. Just when I turned to go, the power went down, the wind came up, and terror took over.

I daresay that anyone - especially those critics in the comments who are poster children for why I don’t allow comments on this site anymore - would have felt exactly as I did.

I feel kind of ridiculous explaining myself but a record had to be made somewhere. I couldn’t include all of this in the article - it would have been way too long and detracted from the narrative.

Regardless, I have to give props to Com Ed who restored power in about 36 hours - power came on 5 minutes before the Hawks game on Sunday night. I understand that even now, there are hundreds of homes and businesses without electricity so I feel pretty lucky.

Two years ago it was the flood in Algonquin. Now a tornado. God seems to be going down the list of natural threats he can throw against me so I guess earthquakes might be next.

They’ve been expecting the Big One along the New Madrid fault for a while. That will probably be my next travail. Better lay in supplies because the way Obama handles disasters, it might be a year before I see any help.

6/5/2010

THEN: RUN TO DAYLIGHT. NOW: WHINE TO OPRAH

Filed under: PJ Media, Sports — Rick Moran @ 8:57 am

My latest article is up at Pajamas Media and I have to brag a little and say that it will be a record setter in the number of people who will disagree with me.

In it, I take to task pitcher Armando Galarraga, umpire Jim Joyce, and Commissioner Bud Selig for trying to damage the history and integrity of the game by contemplating overturning Joyce’s missed call that cost Galarraga a perfect game the other night:

Joyce’s reaction to all this has been unbelievable. He is being praised from one end of the country to the other for his “honesty” in admitting his mistake. He should be fined, suspended, and prevented from working either the postseason or the All-Star Game. Not for missing the call but for undermining his and every other umpire’s credibility by actually talking to the press about it in the first place, and then not having the courage to stand by his decision made in real time on the field. Instead, he blubbered like a two-year-old about being sorry for ruining Galarraga’s moment.

Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga, and Bud Selig are not more important than the game itself. And each of those gentlemen has done a disservice to baseball by elevating themselves and a single play over the integrity of the game. Blown calls are a part of baseball. They are part of the history of the game, and will continue to be a part of baseball as long as human beings are used to make the judgments necessary to maintain a fair outcome — or as fair as it can be made given the limitations and lack of perfection in all of us.

If Joyce had to talk to the press, he could have said that he called it as he saw it and pretty much left it at that. It doesn’t matter if replays show a different outcome to the call. Umpires make their decisions and, right or wrong, that’s that. Rare is the umpire’s call that is overturned. If it is, the call is reversed by the crew chief usually after a huddle of all the umpires to determine if any of them saw the call another way.

Treating this one call any differently than the thousands of others he has made in his career is an error in judgment far worse than the missed call he made at first base. Rather than the focus being on the game, and the still-brilliant pitching performance of Galarraga (he pitched a 3-0 shutout), attention shifted to the umpire and his media mea culpa. Umpires should never be the the center of attention in baseball. That’s not their job, although some modern umpires don’t seem to understand that. In fact, Major League baseball just took the nearly unprecedented step of fining an umpire for bringing attention to himself in the aftermath of an incident in Chicago. Joyce should be fined for the same reason, regardless if he was “honest” or not.

Meanwhile, Galarraga is receiving kudos for his “sportsmanship” in not holding it against the umpire. Holy smokes, fella. Act like a human being (or at least a baseball player) rather than some Oprahfied dishrag of a professional athlete. In an age where parents discourage their kids from competing, where every kid who participates gets a reward, where there is less emphasis on winning and losing, Galarraga becomes a poster boy for modern American sports. I will take the attitude of a Vince Lombardi any day of the week over Galarraga and his milquetoast, touchy-feely sensibilities. I’d rather see him break his hand against the clubhouse wall by hitting it in frustration and anger following the game than smile like an idiotic gnome and play the role of national priest in forgiving Joyce his sin.

It is out of fashion today to love baseball - its history, it’s myths, and its former place in American society. I can’t believe that my take on this is that unique; that there are those who love the game as I do and view with alarm this breach of baseball etiquette, seeking to have a call made in good faith on the field overturned because the umpire got it wrong.

Are we now to retroactively award glory to those robbed of it because of a call that might have been incorrect? Are we to overturn the results of games because an umpire called a home run foul rather than fair, or a player safe at home with the winning run instead of calling him out? Where does it end?

It’s a can of worms - and that includes expanding the use of instant replay. Football, a game that doesn’t honor its past half as much as baseball, had no qualms about instituting a ridiculous “challenge” system for replay. That’s because football refs are amateurs compared to baseball umpires. They weren’t paid a decent wage for their work, necessitating second jobs to augment their meager salary. In a game that generates billions in revenue, football officials were a joke. The age of instant replay exposed the amateurish nature of football officials and thus, the almost desperate necessity to rectify their idiotic mistakes on the field.

Not so Major League umpires who have a grueling route to the top, spending years in the minors with no guarantee of a call up. They are still the best in pro sports, despite a significant drop in quality as a result of unionization that granted job protections to some who in the past, might have been sent back down for more seasoning or even relieved of their duties outright. As a group, their performance is head and shoulders above football, hockey, and basketball refs despite the fact that, during the course of a game, they must make many more judgments than their brethren in other sports. (International soccer refs are far and away, the absolute worst in sports as we shall see during the World Cup that begins next week.)

I did not make these criticisms lightly. Something important has been lost with this incident and I fear for the future integrity of baseball, and mourn the disrespect the aftermath of this incident has given to the history of the game.

5/24/2010

WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING WITH THE BP OIL GUSHER?

Filed under: Environment, PJ Media, Technology — Rick Moran @ 8:56 am

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

This may be a seminal moment in the history of the internet.

As government authorities and British Petroleum continue to describe the BP oil spill in limited terms. one blogger has had his eyes glued to the “Spillcam” which is giving real time images of the oil gushing from the uncapped hole in the ground and has caught what appears to be a massive increase in the amount of oil coming out of the sea floor.

It started yesterday morning:

I’ve been watching the live Spillcam, and discussing it with folks, here all day long. About 5pm last night, we all started taking note of gas bubbling out of the seabed floor. It started earlier than that, actually– see pic a few posts down. About 1am this morning, the eruptions began to increase in spew volume. At about 8am, CDT, as I watched, things started changing rapidly. Where the water around the two major gush points used to be very clear, it is now super turbid, and detritus is flying everywhere in a chaotic manner. seabed venting is obvious to see when ROV cameras pan around.

Yet-to-be-confirmed rumors are that the casing wall has finally worn through, about 300 feet below seabed, at an annulus (coupling), and the gas and oil are now finding a new way out to the seabed.

Not good news, as it will make the Top-Kill/Junk Shot nearly ineffectual… At the least, it means that more pressure and mud/cement is going to be required.

Sure enough, by early evening, things had gone from very bad, to very much worse:

UPDATE 5:45pm CDT: A brand new MAJOR eruption is happening. tune into the SpillCam at BP.com . It’s black, all you can see is a cable. It started with yet another GUSH plume/tornado.

Oh, dear– now, we can see that that is a LOT of oil– and a BLIZZARD of Hydrates..

Those hydrates are freezing when they hit the below freezing water (salt water freezes at about 28 degrees but water bubbling up from the gusher has less salt and freezes at a higher temp. Methane drops are also freezing.). It has severely hampered efforts to place any kind of dome or cap on the hole and now, that may be only a partial solution.

UPDATE 6:03pm CDT: The current eruption is way, way worse than the several that occured earlier. I think this might be a “Main Event” situation.

UPDATE 6:45pm CDT: An hour after the start of this most recent eruption, and it is still just a wall of oil, methane crystals, and gack.

WAY, WAAAY worse than the first event.

Apparently, the seabed is collapsing into a crater and oil and gas has begun leaking directly from the sea floor. At least that is one interpretation of the images captured by the blogger “Monkeyfister.” If so, this has complicated the job of shutting down this spill astronomically.

Not a word of this from authorities or BP has reached the mainstream media. The New Orleans Times-Picayune appears to be in the dark:

It remains unclear exactly how much oil has been pouring into the gulf since the spill began several days after the Deepwater Horizon rig, which BP leased from Transocean, exploded on April 20. According to official estimates, oil has been flowing from a leaking pipe a mile below the surface at a rate of about 5,000 barrels a day. However, some experts have suggested the oil could be gushing at up to five times that rate.

Landry said a panel of government and academic experts has been convened and should be able to provide a more firm estimate in the coming weeks.

On the one hand, we have evidence that the spill has gotten much worse over the last 24 hours. On the other hand, we have the government saying that a panel will convene and take a few weeks to arrive at a conclusion about how much oil is spewing from the leak into the Gulf of Mexico.

Where is the sense of urgency about this thing? Obviously, the Obama administration is downplaying the entire crisis in order to avoid any “gotchya” games by their political opponents. And with a compliant media going along with this, they will succeed in minimizing political damage from the spill - for a while.

Peter Daou writing in Huffpo:

Where is the outrage? Where are the millions marching in the streets, where is the round-the-clock roadblock coverage tracking every moment of the crisis, every effort to plug the leak, every desperate attempt to mitigate the damage?

Where is the White House? Where are Republicans? Where are Democrats? Where is the left? Where is the right? Where is the “fierce urgency of now?”

[...]

In the movies, pretend heroes like Bruce Willis and Will Smith save the planet while the whole world watches with breath and belief suspended. In real life, a global catastrophe is treated like a mere annoyance, mismanaged by a rapacious oil company, while drill-baby-drillers double down on their folly and the White House puts out defensive fact sheets about how they were on it from “day one.”

Is this really the best we can do?

America is capable of greatness — but our reaction to this unprecedented event is anything but great.

Our reaction - or lack thereof - is a direct result of partisans in both parties calling for “outrage” over something or other at regular intervals, so that the American people are now suffering from Outrage Fatigue Syndrome.

First, Mr. Daou apparently can’t grasp the fact that there is no crisis - at least as far as the Obama administration and the media is concerned. The lackadaisical response by government, and BP’s thrashing about to find a solution doesn’t fit the narrative of cool competence that the media has portrayed the administration. Cool and incompetent just doesn’t work. Ergo, despite the danger that the oil may be gushing 25,000 barrels into the Gulf of Mexico every day, thus threatening the multi-billion dollar fishing industry along the coast, the administration refuses to make a big deal out of the crisis.

Should they? Dauo thinks so:

Lawmakers can say that the law mandates BP take responsibility for clean-up and costs; federal officials can list all the things they’re doing to fix the problem; President Obama can launch as many fact-finding commissions as he sees fit. But we shouldn’t be impressed that they are doing what we elected them to do - it’s their job to deal with emergencies promptly and effectively. Far more is called for in this uniquely cataclysmic circumstance: a level of outrage, alarm, intensity and focus worthy of the size and scope of the spill.

We need, and must demand, boldness and resoluteness worthy of a planetary emergency - true leadership, rallying the nation and the world to action. Offense, not defense. We’re not getting anything close to that from Democratic leaders. And from Republicans, far less.

The classic Jo Dee Messina’s “My Give a Damn’s Busted” comes into play here. The American people have been whipsawed back and forth these past couple of years being asked to get angry at one party or the other to the point that it becomes quite easy to simply throw up your hands and retreat from the fray, preferring to concentrate on the upcoming last episode of Lost or 24, while sneaking a peak at the tabloids to see who Tiger Woods is banging these days.

The crisis may very well be every bit as bad as Daou is describing. But as long as politicians, corporate PR people, and a media fearful of attacking the president holds sway over the situation - minimizing, pointing fingers away from themselves, and just not finding the story “sexy enough” - the oil will continue to gush, the disaster will worsen, until all the skill at manipulating the media and the facts won’t hide what could turn out to be an economic and human catastrophe that would make Katrina look like a summer shower.

5/19/2010

DEMS COUNTING 2010 CHICKENS WITH EGG ON THEIR FACE

Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 3:06 pm

My latest is up at PJ Media. I take a look at yesterday’s primaries and wonder why the Democrats are celebrating. Do they really think that their win in PA-12 means they won’t be facing a disaster in November?

A sample:

Really now, what the heck is Benen celebrating? The Democratic winner angrily denounced Burns for suggesting he would have voted for ObamaCare. Critz is also in opposition to much of the Obama/Pelosi agenda. In short, you had two candidates who got 100% of the vote who opposed health care reform, oppose cap and trade, and are pro-life and pro-gun.

Sounds like a real big win for Democrats.

[...]

The voters may be less angry by November than they were a month ago. Republican enthusiasm may not be quite as high as it has been come election day. But with miserable jobs numbers expected well into next year - experts are predicting an unemployment rate over 10% - the pitchforks will be out in strength across much of the country and it will largely be Democrats who will be gored as a result.

Meanwhile, how some Democrats can spin the loss of Arlen Specter and the horrible showing by Blanche Lincoln into anything save a dire crisis is beyond me. Specter lost to netroots fave Rep. Joe Sestak, who seems a perfect fit for a Reid-led Senate. No doubt he will be a good little drone in the Democrats’ Borg collective.

Specter was backed by the Democratic establishment from one end of the state to another, as well as a veritable who’s who of Democrats in Washington. In the end, it appears that Pennsylvanians tired of Specter’s mutable loyalties and arrogance, retiring the former Democrat, former Republican, and now former senator for good.

But that doesn’t mitigate the worrisome notion for Democrats that with so many more seats to protect in the House, and nearly a dozen seats up for grabs in the Senate, the anti-incumbent, anti-establishment mood that was clearly demonstrated yesterday will yet roll over them, handing a smashing victory to Republicans.

5/9/2010

THE GREEK DEBT CRISIS FOR ECONOMIC MORANS

Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 6:16 am

My latest at PJ Media is up and it purports to make the Greek debt crisis easy to understand if you’re a dummy.

Since my name has become internet shorthand for stupid, who better to tackle such an assignment?

If you work in the financial services industry, or teach economics, or even if your familiarity with the “dismal science” is limited to a course you took in college 35 years ago, this article is not for you. I suggest you click on by and read Roger Simon. Just be sure to let him know I sent you.

When PJM’s managing editor called and asked me to do a piece on the Greek debt crisis that even dummies could understand, I was mystified.

“Why me?” I asked. “I don’t know the first thing about the Greek debt crisis.”

“You’re perfect for this assignment,” he said. “It’s precisely because you don’t know anything about the Greek debt crisis that I want you to do it. Besides, you’re something of a dummy yourself. People will relate to you.”

He had me there. So that’s the story of how I, a true Moran when it comes to matters pertaining to numbers and such, got roped into doing a story about how Europe is on the brink of a string of sovereign defaults whose impact on the world’s economy might be catastrophic. Or it might not. Or it might be a little catastrophic but not as bad as some people think. Or it might not be catastrophic at all and some analysts are scaremongering.

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