Friday, December 30, 2011

Grateful Rachel, For A Change

Psalm 30, King James Version

I will extol thee, O LORD, for Thou hast raised me up, and hast not suffered mine enemies to rejoice over me.

O LORD my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou didst heal me;
O LORD, Thou broughtest up my soul from the nether-world; Thou didst keep me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing praise unto the LORD, O ye His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a life-time; weeping may tarry for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Now I had said in my security: “I shall never be moved.”
Thou hadst established, O LORD, in Thy favor my mountain as a stronghold
Thou didst hide Thy face; I was affrighted.
Unto Thee, O LORD, did I call, and unto the LORD I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?
Shall the dust praise Thee? shall it declare Thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and be gracious unto me; LORD, be Thou
my helper.”
Thou didst turn for me my mourning into dancing; Thou didst loose my sackcloth, and gird me with gladness;
So that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent;

O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever.

Maybe Someone's Mother Was A Saint

“Yes, she will have no books written about her, but she was a saint”—Richard Nixon, (“extemporaneous”) Farewell Address, discussing his mother.

Or maybe someone was just a saintly little boy who can still wax tearful over those (bad old/good old?) days when his mother made him sing in the choir?

In the spirit of the season: Sniff.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il, Faminist

Days of wine and roses: Dear Leader and Madeleine Albright share a laugh in North Korea

 Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, found him “smart” and “well-informed,” though perhaps somewhat “cruel”; he gave Ms. Albright’s counselor, Wendy Sherman, a little tingle: “He was smart, engaged, knowledgeable, self-confident, sort of the master-director of all he surveyed . . . he didn’t know the answers to every question, but he knew a lot more than most leaders would—and he was a conceptual thinker”; George Bush’s hapless representative to the never-ending, always-failing Six-PartyTalks to de-nuke the Norks, Christopher “Patient But Firm” Hillopining that even top-down dictatorships “have politics” (would that be like having measles or herpes, or more like having erectile dysfunction?)sensed “a commitment to trying to move this process” along; and Barack Obama’s own Six-Party man, Stephen Bosworth, undaunted by a little missile music, promised he’d be “working very closely with our partners to ensure that after the dust from the missiles has settled a bit . . . we get back to the longer term priority” of engagement. 

Of course, engagement by any other nameappeasement, sayshames us just the same.

But never mind. All that’s passed now, along with Mr. Il himself: No longer “master” of “£350,000 of cognac a year,” all the “lobster, caviar and sushi” his little elevator-shod body could contain, or the “fleet of Mercedes Benz luxury cars” he imported; and no longer “director” of the starvation that took the lives of three million of his acorn-eating countrymen, “Dear Leader” has taken his conceptual-thinking faminism and gone to meet his maker.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thank You, O Masters of the Obamic Universe

5,000 Syrians have been massacred by Bashar Assad since March, including 300 children. How are those sanctions workin out, Mr. Obama?

Friday, December 16, 2011

99 Percent Felonious

“We are here because our economic system is broken, and many of us are suffering,” Occupy DC’s website declares, and you can say that again: They may have pitched their geodesic REI tents in Washington’s McPherson Square “to stand up to massive financial inequalities” (the squalid unsanitary sordidness “24/7/365” is a bonus), but the Occupiers have some financial inequalities of their own to deal with right now. A sticky-fingered comrade with access to their $20,000 credit-union account robbed them of $5,500 the other day. (To each according to his needs).

(Wait. They have a $20,000 credit-union account?  Just how much are antibiotics going for these days?)

But no worries! Though “they feel they’ve been taken advantage of,” they’re not going to call the cops on him. Because property is theft. Or theft as a forcible violation of property presupposes the existence of property. Or something. It’s definitely one of them. It depends who paid for your tent.

Christopher Hitchens

Requiescat in Pace. Or, as we Jews put it, Alav ha Shalom.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hitchens v. Cancer

Whatever else may be objectionable about him—and there’s been not a little to appall over the years—Christopher Hitchens’s latest essay on the barbaric invader that’s laid siege to his body and refuses to be defeated will knock the breath right out of you with its bare fortitude and luminous, dazzling, incomparable prose. No need to be on a first-name basis with that cell-multiplying monster to appreciate this great piece of writing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

For There Is Nothing Either Good Or Bad, But Thinking Makes It So

A double-standard advocacy journalist masquerades as the Washington Post’s ombudsman

Mr. Patrick Pexton, the fastidious ombudsman of the Washington Post, not long ago was pushed to the very (narrow) limits of his tolerance when his colleague Jennifer Rubin approvingly re-Tweeted a post by this blogger concerning the captors of Gilad Shalit. Mr. Pexton was horrified by my post—though, like the scrum of semi-literate leftist commentators whose heads exploded all over the internet about it, he was not quite up to its formulation; clauses within clauses are just more, apparently, than they are able to decode—reacting with disgust to “its ghoulishness, its odd sexual undertone and its preoccupation with violence.” (Odd sexual undertone? Really? Well, seek, and ye shall find, I suppose). In short, he found the post “reprehensible,” and was outraged by Mrs. Rubin’s endorsement of my sentiment.

The Abrams brand of incendiary rhetoric has gained too much purchase on the landscape of American politics. It pollutes our discourse and erodes the soil on which reasonable solutions and compromises can be built, whether at home or in the Middle East. It seems to be preoccupied with violence rather than weary of it. That a Post employee would retweet it is a huge disappointment to me.

He’s right: I am preoccupied with violence—the violence of those “Palestinians” who choose to pollute discourse and erode soil by committing acts of bloody terror against innocent Israeli children, women, and men. And so is Jennifer Rubin.

If, as he says, “the Post needs conservative voices to balance its many liberal ones,” it’s only in small doses he seems willing to swallow any actual non-liberal output: He devoted an astounding 1,300 words to excoriating me and berating her.

But all that’s in the past. Mr. Pexton turns now to two Washington Post colleagues of a less disappointing, more “liberal-voices” nature, and performs a mind-contortion in order to defend some very questionable behavior by them which, had conservatives engaged in it, would likely have given him a liberal aneurism.

There’s some dispute about whether one of those colleagues, Wonkroom blogger/reporter Ezra Klein, met with Senate Democrats to brief them on questions relating to the Supercommittee. Certain journalists say he did, and stand by their story. Mr. Pexton chooses to see it otherwise, because Mr. Klein told him his meeting with them was routine—“this was him cultivating sources, as all reporters do in this town”—and because he “has intelligent, insightful things to say about politics and policy,” and is

one of the most popular of all of The Post’s bloggers and a man with 110,000 Twitter followers. Klein is a hybrid journalist: he comments, he reports, he takes positions on issues of public policy. He’s not on the editorial pages but in the news pages.

Not unlike Jen Rubin, in fact, though she’s on the editorial side, and therefore is not held to the same journalistic standards.

Mr. Pexton’s standards for her are much stricter.

Stricter, too, than they are for reporter Aaron Blake, who was also apparently cultivating sources as all reporters do in this town when he tweeted “Hey Tweeps: Looking for outlandish/incorrect predictions and quotes from Newt Gingrich’s past. Any ideas for me?”

“This,” Mr. Pexton avers, “is an example of a relatively new reporting technique called crowdsourcing—using social media to contact as many people as possible who might have particular knowledge of a subject the reporter is working on.

The Right calls this biased digging up dirt. I call it a reporter’s inartful and early foray into crowdsourcing.

I call this commentary a liberal’s inartful and essential foray into double-standard advocacy journalism. Ombudsman, heal thyself.