Your humble correspondent is a huge fan of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods hosted by Andrew Zimmern. Some episodes I have even watched several times over in repeats. However, I was a bit concerned when I heard that Zimmern would be visiting Cuba in the first episode of his new Bizarre World show. Would he show the brutal truth of the harsh life led by the people on that island or would he gloss over the facts and present a happy face view of reality there such as happened when Lucia Newman was relaying propaganda for the Castro dictatorship for CNN when she was reporting from Havana?
My friends over at the Babalu Blog seem to have concluded that Zimmern presented a way too rosy picture of life for the average Cuban:
Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmerman [note: the name is Zimmern] made a name for himself by traveling the world and eating bull penises and drinking donkey milk (among other assorted repulsive items) on his show Bizarre Foods. Now he has a new show titled "Bizarre World," where he travels the world looking for the most bizarre places to entertain an audience that prefers to stay home and watch his shenanigans.
His destination on last night's show happened to be Cuba and when you think about it, the island holds plenty of potential for strangeness since it is hard to get more bizarre than the upside-down world Cubans must survive in where every day is a challenge to find food and shelter while avoiding arrest by the totalitarian regime's enforcers. But Zimmerman apparently missed this fine opportunity to chronicle the daily struggle of Cubans in this surreal 21st century slave plantation and instead decided to take the official island tour provided by the slave masters, complete with salsa music, antique cars, and Santeria rituals.
This is a love story that has inspired a paean. In fact, to call it mere "love" does not do justice to it. It is a special political love so intense that The New Republic has called it a "bromance" in a story titled, "The Courtship: The story behind the Obama-Brooks bromance" by Gabriel Sherman. Watch how the hot sparks instantly fly at their first meeting:
In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”
A piece of advice to liberals who wish to pay tribute to Ted Kennedy: don't mention his name in the same sentence as the word "bridge" since it will undermine whatever else you write. Unfortunately for Alec Baldwin, that is exactly what he did in his Huffington Post tribute to the deceased senator:
Don't name a bridge after Ted.
Yes, Baldwin did write a lot more about Ted Kennedy in his tribute but that one sentence alone pretty much overwhelms whatever else he wrote. However, to be fair to Alec, let us look at some of the rest of his tribute which almost everyone will forget because of his incredibly poor choice of words above:
What a difference a political philosophy makes when it comes to funeral coverage.
Have you heard a word of complaint from the network anchors that perhaps television is "overcovering" the funeral of Ted Kennedy? Of course not. However, after President Ronald Reagan passed away in 2004, both Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather grumbled aloud about how his funeral was being "overcovered" despite the massive turnout of citizens when he was lain in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The difference between Kennedy and Reagan, of course, was their political philosphies which explains the vastly different reactions to their funeral coverage. So let us take a trip down memory lane to this Philadelphia Inquirer article written by Gail Shister in June 2004:
Television will go overboard on covering Ronald Reagan's funeral events, say Dan Rather of CBS and Tom Brokaw of NBC. ABC's Peter Jennings isn't so sure.
"They will be overcovered," Rather says. "Even though everybody is respectful and wants to pay homage to the president, life goes on. There is other news, like the reality of Iraq. It got very short shrift this weekend."
When one first looks at this article in The New Republic speculating about if Ted Kennedy's son, Patrick Kennedy, could grow into a great political leader, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking it was a satirical story written by either Scott Ott or some other humor columnist. However the name of the author is Jason Zengerle and he is being dead serious which actually makes it funnier than any intentionally satirical story could be. What makes Zengerle's article especially funny is that he provides absolutely no proof that Patrick Kennedy displays the slightest bit of political leadership. In fact, Zengerle lays out reasons why Patrick Kennedy, who is in and out of rehab, has dismal political abilities but somehow concludes he could grow into greatness:
Of all the politicians I’ve encountered in the course of doing my job, there have been some that I’ve admired and some that I’ve loathed. But there’s only one politician I’ve ever pitied, and that’s Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
ObamaCare supporter Anthony Wright has a suggestion for TV networks in their coverage of the town hall protests: treat the protesters the way ESPN covers unruly sports fans. In other words, avoid pointing the cameras at them. Here are some of Wright's thoughts about censoring the town hall protesters published in The New Republic:
The Fox network has done more than any other network to showcase the protesters at health care town halls. And the coverage has been a lot like Fox’s reality shows: The more outrageous, the more likely you’ll end up on TV or YouTube. A sign referencing Nazis will get you on the local news. Shouting in a Senator’s face gets an radio interview afterwards. Bring a gun, and you get your full interview on a cable news program. After the first gun-toter made the rounds, the question wasn’t why there was a dozen folks packing outside the next presidential event, but why weren’t there more?
Susan Estrich worked for a number of years on the staff of Senator Ted Kennedy. Of course, she has some warm memories about working for him. However, in contrast to the almost uncritical lionization of Kennedy by such outlets as the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times as well as by Evan Thomas of Newsweek, Estrich was able to look at her former boss, warts and all, in a surprisingly frank remembrance in her column. She did not attempt to bury his faults as you can see in this critique of his speaking style:
The first time I wrote "talking points" for him, for a floor statement on something 30 years ago next week, I hid in the back of the Senate gallery as he mumbled his way through it, adding "uhs" instead of verbs. I saw what America did in November of that year, in that famous Roger Mudd interview, which sounded like my floor speech.
Remember the shock generated when the Obama Office of Management and Budget recently announced that the projected 10 year deficit was increased from $7 trillion to $9 trillion? Guess what? That lastest projection is based on "make believe" economics. Although most media outlets have failed to report on it, stories from both Reuters and Forbes reveal that the true 10 year budget deficit will probably be...fasten your seatbelts...well over $11 trillion.
To put yourself into the proper mood for their analysis of the OMB "make believe" deficit projection, it is best to listen to the "Make Believe" tune from Showboat (sorry, Howard Keel version unavailable).
Are you ready? Okay here is the first piece of evidence from Reuters about why the projected 10 year $9 trillion budget deficit provided by the OMB is only a "make believe" prediction:
Attention all you folks who think of yourselves as counterculture types who demonstrate your rebelliousness by wearing Che Guevara T-shirts. The author of the most popular blog from Cuba, Yoani Sanchez who not only talks the talk but walks the walk, thinks you are absurd. The Generation Y blogger was the subject of a Miami Herald story on Saturday. We will get to her marvelous quote on the subject of Che T-shirts below the fold but first some fascinating information on the person who provides an inside look at what is really happening in Cuba which is often missed by news agencies on that island:
Yoani Sánchez, the blogger who has gained an international following detailing the absurdities of daily life in Cuba, is on the phone from her 14th-floor apartment in Havana, where the elevators rarely work. She speaks plainly, boldly, with none of the hemming and hawing common among folks on the island who fear their phones are tapped.
Sánchez is certain hers is. She is constantly followed, too. None of this stops her from finding ways, despite government attempts to block her, of continuing to post to Generación Y, the blog she launched in April 2007 and for which she has won several awards. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008.
Liberals in the mainstream media may publicly pretend that the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate so-called torture in the CIA is non-political but to the members of the Daily Kos it is all about politics.
The politics of revenge.
On the heels of the Eric Holder Justice Department dropping a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party for threatening voters with billy clubs in Philadelphia, it was announced yesterday that Holder will appoint a prosecutor to investigate the CIA over the loud protests of that agency's director, Leon Panetta.
Despite the public pretenses of many liberals that the investigation has nothing to do with politics, the crazed bloodlust comments at the Daily Kos shows it has everything to do with politics...and revenge:
Imagine if the Congress passed a law mandating that all school students in America be indoctrinated in socialism? Yeah, I know that is precisely the type of indoctrination that is already going on in many classrooms but the reaction to such a law actually spelling this out would cause demonstrations that would dwarf even those currently going on at the tea parties in opposition to ObamaCare. Well, this is precisely what is currently happening in Venezuela where the Hugo Chavez controlled National Assembly recently passed just such a law.
As a result, many previously apathetic Venezuelans are pouring into the streets to protest against this proposed indoctrination of their children. Now it's personal.
Unfortunately most of the MSM in this country are paying little attention even though the size of the demonstration yesterday, in which tear gas was used, is enormous as you can see in this video (note: the commentary reflects Chavista propaganda but the visuals give you an idea of the size):
Here is a brief description of yesterday's massive demostration in downtown Caracas by Rachel Jones of the Associated Press:
There is no big mystery about Twitter. Anybody with access to the Web can use it. In fact, just to keep things in perspective about this CNN Political Ticker story on how conservatives somehow have the upper hand on Twitter, be sure to watch this video of Ben Stiller explaining the "glories" of Twitter to a skeptical Mickey Rooney. Here are some of Rooney's classic remarks about Twitter in response to Stiller's explanations:
Note to Val Kilmer: avoid playing roles in global warming movies because they are doomed to fail. Kilmer acted in one global warming movie, "The Thaw," which was chronicled by your humble correspondent in both NewsBusters and in the Wall Street Journal which is scheduled to go straight to DVD in October without even a quick pit stop in movie theaters.
This time around, Kilmer was a bit luckier. The Steam Experiment, in which he portrays a mad scientist who traps six people inside a Turkish steam bath in order to illustrate the horrors of global warming at least appeared in a couple of movie theaters for a few quick minutes before going to the DVD racks. Here is the synopsis which, keep in mind, is actually supposed to be a drama, not a comedy:
A former professor (Kilmer) concocts a brutal experiment in order to get the word out on the effects of global warming. By trapping six people in an urban Turkish bathhouse, he vows to overheat his hostages unless his global-warming hypothesis is published on the front page of his local paper.
Your humble correspondent has had problems with the Orlando Sentinel in the past, especially when it published a silly global warming alarmism story which presented various map scenarios of Florida being flooded over. However, I must extend congratulations to that periodical for its excellent live blog coverage of a phony stacked deck "town hall" meeting conducted by Congressman Alan Grayson which could serve as a model for other newspapers on how to cover such events. First a description of the event as covered in the regular way via Orlando Sentinel article:
Grayson's hastily called meeting took place in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall, which limited attendance to about 120 members of the public. It also was scheduled just after a regular meeting of local Democrats, some of whom stayed behind for the town hall in the scarce seats.
Outside the building, hundreds of frustrated people who could not get inside waved signs and chanted for and against the proposals.
You know what the real problem is with the town hall protesters according to writer Robin Givhan of the Washington Post? It's not so much their ideas, about which she writes almost nothing. What really irks Givhan is what she considers their lousy sense of fashion which she criticizes harshly in her "On Culture" article. Givhan starts out dripping with disdain on the subject of town hall protester attire:
It seems safe to say that of the hundreds of thousands of style guides currently for sale on Amazon, not one of the didactic, shop-your-closet authors was prescient enough to outline the appropriate attire for those public occasions when good citizens decide to behave like raving lunatics and turn lawmakers into punching bags. What does one wear to a town hall meeting on health care when the sole reason for attending is to shout down one's congressman like a peevish teenager in the midst of a hormonal rage?
Global warming warning! Be on the alert for the attack of the invasive weeds!
This is the latest in a long series of the possible consequences of supposed global warming. The dire scenario is set forth in a San Francisco Chronicle story by Joe Eaton and Ron Sullivan:
For educational purposes, the California Invasive Plants Council will sell you bouquets of plastic weeds, including yellow star thistle, tamarisk, leafy spurge and knapweed. Some recent studies suggest that many gardeners need not invest in these because they can expect more of the real thing to arrive as climate change advances.
"From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!"
The recent denunciation of the "bourgeois" sport of golf by Hugo Chavez, along with the other bizarre eccentricities of the Venezuelan leader, certainly does evoke comparisons to the power crazed rebel leader, Esposito, in the Wooden Allen film, "Bananas." However, New York Times reporter, Simon Romero, in his story noting the golf denunciation by Chavez, goes out of his way to slam someone completely unrelated to this story---Bill O'Reilly.
First the latest in the long list of Chavez nuttiness:
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez’s political movement has found a new target: golf.
After a brief tirade against the sport by the president on national television last month, pro-Chávez officials have moved in recent weeks to shut down two of the country’s best-known golf courses, in Maracay, a city of military garrisons near here, and in the coastal city of Caraballeda.
“Let’s leave this clear,” Mr. Chávez said during a live broadcast of his Sunday television program. “Golf is a bourgeois sport,” he said, repeating the word “bourgeois” as if he were swallowing castor oil. Then he went on, mocking the use of golf carts as a practice illustrating the sport’s laziness.
Few noticed her when she was writing from a conservative point of view...until she started attacking conservatives about a year ago. Then she went whole hog and has made a lucrative new career of attacking conservatives...while still going through the motions of pretending to be conservative.
Parker's latest column on the topic of townhall protests is but the latest in her role of pretend conservative. Here is how "conservative" Parker refers to those protesters:
Generally considered a fringe group, the demonstrators have been described derisively by Democratic leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that some were "carrying swastikas." Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York have dismissed the protesters as irrelevant.
Taking a page right out of Nancy Pelosi's playbook of stating that town hall meeting protestors are sporting swastikas thus implying that they are Nazis, low rated radio host Bill Press is now accusing them of using Nazi tactics in a sanity-challenged column. This follows on the heels of Press' attack on the protestors on Fox News as reported earlier this week by Seton Motley here in NewsBusters. Here is Press going completely over the edge on the subject of the protestors in his column:
...Taking a page right out of a Nazi playbook, organizers bus in professional protestors and arm them with instructions on how to take over meetings, shut down discussion, shout over any pro-health care reform speakers, and then post video of the resulting chaos on YouTube. It's mob rule, pure and simple.
Having encouraged viewers to show up, sympathetic anchors on Fox News then pretend these are "grassroots" protests springing up spontaneously across the country in opposition to President Obama's plans for health care reform. Nonsense. There's nothing spontaneous about them. They're not grassroots protests, they're "Astroturf" protests. Just look at who's paying the freight, who shows up and what orders they're given.
Your humble correspondent has just beaten Ruslan Chagaev in the ring to become the World Heavyweight Champion! Okay, so maybe Chagaev wasn't even in the ring with me because I was only shadow boxing. However, I can count on Peter Nicholas of the Los Angles Times to report my victory despite my lack of an opponent in the ring.
That is pretty much how Nicholas reported the "victory" by Linda Douglass in his story, White House rebuts Drudge Report link. Instead of the non-existent Chagaev in the ring, there were the missing Drudge videos which appear neither via link nor quote in the Nicholas story. In fact if you watch the Linda Douglass video on the White House blog, she never once shows the videos from the Drudge Report. Instead that White House page shows recent videos of President Obama proclaiming himself to be in favor of allowing people to keep their private health insurance. Of course, no link from either Linda Douglass nor Peter Nicholas to the actual Drudge videos or what was said in them.
Here is Nicholas' glowing report on how the White House "rebuts" the Drudge Report link videos which they never show:
That pretty much sums up the attitude of the Kossacks at the Daily Kos. However, unlike the Mel Brooks version of King Louis XVI in "History of the World: Part I," the Kossacks are fearful, deeply fearful, of the people. They are worried that the Tea Party protesters who show up at the town hall meetings conducted by members of Congress might derail Obamacare due to the large turnouts and vehemence of their protests as you can see in this thread posted by Kossack icebergslim:
Sure, it is a bunch of nuts or really UNINFORMED constituents who are buying into the argument of the NON-ARGUMENT of the Republican Party for health care reform.
The Obama White House needs to get out of the bubble and get real here. We all know that the lobbyists and insurance companies are ARMED TO THE NINES to defeat any health care reform, UNLESS THEY WRITE IT. Since they can not WRITE IT, they will destroy it. Simple as that.
Why is this dangerous?
These folks are ON TELEVISION, getting eyeballs, and making traction. Worried yet? Sure, it may be just a few, but a few can rollerball into many. The Democrats have not sold the health care reform argument because there is no f---ing bill by them. Are we shooting the bullets into our feet yet?
Economists can argue back and forth in the media about the effect of big government programs such as the stimulus package and Obamacare but few things have illustrated government waste as effectively as this disturbing YouTube video in which a well running Volvo engine was destroyed as part of the Cash for Clunkers program. This video is currently going viral on the Web and has sparked outraged comments from many people whom I suspect have previously remained somewhat uninterested in the often elusive topic of economics. However, the wasteful destruction of this car seems to have awakened an economic sense of revulsion to an extent rarely seen before.
Here is a sampling of their YouTube comments which are in sharp contrast to the glowing praise of the Cash for Clunkers program prevalent in the MSM:
Toledo mayoral candidate Ben Konop, an earnest young liberal, thought it would be a great idea to conduct a press conference in front of the home where his mother grew up. Little did Ben know that Maxwell the Heckler, the next door neighbor, would completely destroy his press conference and forever burn that incident into the public memory of Mr. Konop. To get the full hilarious flavor of how Maxwell destroyed the press conference, take a look at the video.
Most of the heckling consisted of "Boo! LIAR! BOOOOO!"
The first reaction of your humble correspondent when watching that video was that Maxwell the Heckler was some sort of anarchist bent on destroying Konop's press conference in a humorous way just for the sake of fun. However, upon investigation, it turns out that Maxwell the Heckler was actually "speaking truth to power," a favorite leftwing slogan.
Perhaps it is time to recall William Shatner to the Tonight Show in order to read aloud, accompanied by bongos, leftwing novelist Gore Vidal's incoherent screed about the Henry Louis Gates arrest. Even Grampa Abe ranting aloud while spinning around on the church floor in "The Simpsons Movie" made more sense than Vidal. Perhaps it could be explained by one too many Ketel Ones but here is his seemingly endless essay from Truthdig which starts out from a far left position and then quickly plunges into utter incoherence:
For those of us who had hoped that the Obama administration would present us with a rebirth of the old republic that was so rudely erased a few years ago by that team of judicial wreckers, Bush and Gonzales, which led, in turn, to a recent incident in Cambridge, Mass. that inspired a degree of alarm in many Americans. But what was most alarming was the plain fact that neither the president nor a “stupid” local policeman seemed to understand the rules of behavior in a new America, where we find ourselves marooned as well as guarded (is that the verb?) by armed police who have been instructed that they are indeed, once armed, the law and may not be criticized verbally or in any other way and are certainly not subject to any restrictions as to whom they arrest or otherwise torment.
The ethically-challenged "ethicist" of the New York Times Magazine, Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column has inserted himself into the Henry Louis Gates situation by urging the Harvard professor to sue in order to "pursue social justice." To see where Mr. Ethicist is coming from, let us start off with his laughable money quote in his current column on the subject of lawsuits:
Gates should enjoy a cool one and then file suit, assuming he has legal grounds to do so. We Americans are often mocked for being overly litigious, but we are not nearly litigious enough. In the right circumstances, filing suit can be a way to pursue social justice, and that makes it thoroughly ethical.
A heretofore "unknown" 2004 interview with Barack Obama by leftwing radio host Randi Rhodes has just emerged. And basically, as you shall hear, Obama is saying do as I say, not as I do. In this case he was referring to quickly forcing legislation through congress. As you can hear in this interview, uncovered by Naked Emporer News, the hypocrisy seems so massive that it is destined to go viral on the Web. It features Randi Rhodes back during her Air America days interviewing then senator-elect Barack Obama on November 22, 2004. And despite the fact that Randi is currently pretty well hidden from public view, you can be sure she will soon be talked about again because of her inadvertent exposure of incredible hypocrisy on the part of Obama. And what was the hypocrisy? His complaint that the Bush administration was rushing legislation through congress without giving the legislators time to read the bills or allowing for much debate.
To get the full flavor of the Obama hypocrisy, be sure to listen to the YouTube clip which also includes a video of MSNBC's Chuck Todd discussing why Rahm Emanuel felt the need to Rahm, I mean ram, legislation through congress. Here is the transcript which picks up at the 55 second mark:
BARACK OBAMA: ...When you rush these budgets that are a foot high and nobody has any idea what's in them and nobody has read them.
RANDI RHODES: 14 pounds it was!
BARACK OBAMA: Yeah. And it gets rushed through without any clear deliberation or debate then these kinds of things happen. And I think that this is in some ways what happened to the Patriot Act. I mean you remember that there was no real debate about that. It was so quick after 9/11 that it was introduced that people felt very intimidated by the administration.
One of the favorite shows of your humble correspondent is the "Deadliest Catch." No, I have no fantasies about working on a crab boat in Alaska. I am too much of a warm weather guy to make it through even a day in the frigid conditions on the Bering Sea. However, I do enjoy watching the show quite a bit to the extent of visiting their website yesterday during a commercial break in the "Deadliest Catch" television marathon on the Discovery Channel.
Let us first read the evidence that Fields presents demonstrating the lowering temperatures in the Bering Sea area:
The Bering Sea, where the boats of Deadliest Catch do their work, is not known for toasty warm weather. But still, some years are colder than others. The last two winters have been particularly chilly -- and they've been huge years for ice. The last time the ice came this far south was in the early 1970s, when scientists first used satellites to monitor the ice.
Almost every week at the New York Times, house "conservative" David Brooks and liberal columnist Gail Collins have a public conversation. This week Brooks made a startling admission in The Conversation which really wasn't so surprising when one actually reads his columns. Here is the money quote:
At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills).
(UPDATE: The Boston Globe has now posted what it calls a redacted revised docket although it is described as a "police report" at the left side link on its site. And redacted it certainly is since it has redacted out almost the entire narrative section of the original report. To read the full highly revealing narrative, check out the original police report.)
A little tip for anyone who gets stopped by a police officer for a possible traffic violation. Be polite. Very polite. Even if you think you were wrongly stopped, do not under any circumstances start yelling at the police officer. Follow this advice and your chances of being given a traffic ticket, instead of just a warning, go way down. The same applies for any encounter with a police officer because the surest way to get yourself arrested is to act arrogantly and aggressively when questioned. Whatever you do, do not act like the arrestee in the Henry Louis Gates police report.
That Cambridge, MA police report presents such a damning picture of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates when he was arrested that an embarrassed Boston Globe felt it had to scrub it from its website after initially posting the report. The Globe published an article about the Gates arrest written by Tracy Jan which does refer to the police report but, unfortunately, you can no longer read the full report on the Boston Globe site since it has been removed by that newspaper. Here are a couple of Boston Globe excerpts that do refer to the deleted police report:
It is well known that Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC's The Ed Show, has become quite unhinged lately due in large part to the low ratings of both his TV and radio shows. The result has been quite a bit of Psycho Talk volcanic anger from Big Ed. However, last Wednesday he outdid even himself in the "Psycho Talk" department on his low rated radio show on the subject of Rush Limbaugh to the extent that he was even mocking Rush's deafness. Here is the transcript and audio of that show provided by The Radio Equalizer. Before reading or listening further I must warn the folks out there that you are about to enter a very disturbing level of dementia rarely heard from someone in the public eye so proceed at your own risk:
Apparently the drug-ridden loser Rush Limbaugh, he thinks because he's got a lot of money and a lot of stations that he's a success in life, the guy that can't hear because he did so many drugs and had no self-discipline and character has now taken his first shot at me on "The Ed Show" on MSNBC. I love it!