Category: Dumb Statements

Charles Blows–So Says James Taranto, Sort of

By , February 24, 2012 4:37 pm

If you’ve never read James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column in OpinionJournal.com, you should. Here’s his most recent effort. I particularly like his take on New York Times columnist Charles Blow. Enjoy.

Why Obama’s Attack on Corporate Jets Is Wrong

By , February 5, 2012 1:29 pm

I won’t repeat myself. Just go here for my story in President & CEO magazine on business aviation, beginning on page 50. Enjoy.

The Midnight Lynching of Sarah Palin

By , June 4, 2011 12:18 pm

They’re at it again. Palin’s critics. They’re beclowning themselves even as they attempt to turn her into one. It began with this video:

Her garbled comment set the Leftosphere afire. That dumb Palin got her history wrong again! How can conservatives be soooo stupid!

Then Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection rode to her defense (many links at this link). Among other things, he posted Paul Revere’s personal account of his adventure. In the relevant part, it reads (spelling in original, bolding mine):

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms

Jacobson also links to David Hackett Fischer’s book, Paul Revere’s Ride at Google Books. If you’re interested, read pages 140-143, but here’s a snippet to save you the trouble:

[Revere] rode directly to the house of Captain Isaac Hall, commander of Medford’s minutemen, who instantly triggered the town’s alarm system. A townsman remembered that ‘repeated gunshots, the beating of drums and the ringing of bells filled the air’ . . . Along the North Shore of Massachusetts, church bells began to toll and the heavy beat of drums could be heard for many miles in the night air. Some towns responded to these warnings before a courier reached them. North Reading was awakened by alarm guns before sunrise. The first messenger appeared a little later (140). . . . [Another] express rider delivered the alarm to a Whig leader who went to an outcropping called Bell Rick, and rang the town bell. That prearranged signal summoned the men of Malden with their weapons . . . (141) . . . Along Paul Revere’s northern route, the town leaders and company captains instantly triggered the alarm system . . . (142).

So did Paul Revere ring bells, beat drums, and shoot guns to warn his compatriots? Probably not, but who really knows. What we do know is that he and his fellow express riders were certainly the “triggers” that set off the warning system of bells, drums, and gunshots.

Yes, Palin could have been more clear, but what she said was spot on. Revere did warn the British that they were in for a fight, and he “triggered” a pre-arranged warning system.

Meanwhile, her bitter critics on the left cling to their copies of Longfellow’s poem.

Okay, So I Just Had to Post This

By , May 24, 2011 5:59 pm

Oh, Newt!

By , May 20, 2011 1:47 pm

Go here to read the actual press release. Simply amazing that a politician would let something like that see the light of day.

Here’s a Gift Idea for Next Valentine’s Day

By , April 7, 2011 9:29 am

Without comment.

Okay, with one comment: Are you kidding me?

Get Your Metaphors and Similes Right Here

By , March 3, 2011 9:09 am

Dick Harmon has never met a metaphor or simile he didn’t like, and he uses them like most people eat potato chips or popcorn–by the hand full. His indiscriminate use of these and similar figures of speech is on full display in his story today in the Deseret News about BYU’s loss to New Mexico, a loss occasioned by the suspension of star center Brandon Davies for violation of BYU’s Honor Code.

I’ll give you the first few lines of the story to illustrate what I mean. It’s not pretty. In fact, it kind of like sucks.

PROVO —

All it took to humble BYU as a No. 3 ranked team was New Mexico.

The Lobos came to the Marriott Center Wednesday and slapped around BYU good 82-64.

It was a painful end to a very emotional 24 hours for Dave Rose’s Cougars, a shadow of their previous selves.

The Cougars came out against the Lobos in a daze as if in a fog. They pressed on shots like they were all life and death and cost a million bucks.

Gone was the confidence witnessed last Saturday in the win over then No. 4 San Diego State. It was like somebody turned on a faucet since that day and all BYU synergy leaked out of the tank.

And New Mexico turned into the Celtics.

The atmosphere in the Marriott Center, one of magic for 12 straight home games, turned weird, like somebody cast a spell on the guys in white jerseys. (helpful bolding mine)

Had enough?

Don’t Mind Us. We’re Just Here to Cook for You.

By , February 2, 2011 10:28 am

New York Times food critic Mark Bittman has a post up titled A Food Manifesto for the Future–the word manifesto is particularly apt–in which he attempts to set our tables in the future. What we eat; where and how it’s grown or raised; and whether it’s processed, subsidized, or advertised are all of concern to him. More importantly–and because he really has little or no power–he thinks it ought to be the concern of government, though he is careful to caution that

This isn’t nanny-state paternalism but an accepted role of government: public health. If you support seat-belt, tobacco and alcohol laws, sewer systems and traffic lights, you should support legislation curbing the relentless marketing of soda and other foods that are hazardous to our health — including the sacred cheeseburger and fries.

No, Mr. Bittman, one doesn’t follow the other; furthermore, if I accept your premise, where does the other end? If I accept sewer systems, should I also be okay with my government controlling what I read, listen to, or watch? After all, for example, your paper has drawn a straight line from Sarah Palin, right-wing talk radio, and the Tea Party to Tuscon, and we certainly don’t want any more of that nasty business.

Anyway, Mr. Bittman’s laundry list of things he’d like to prohibit or subsidize reads like a page from the rules implementing the Communist Manifesto (parentheticals are mine):

-End government subsidies to processed food. (Hey, I’m fine with that.)
. . .
-Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption. (Oh, I see. He’s not against subsidies; he’s against subsidies he doesn’t like. Never mind.)
. . .
-Outlaw concentrated animal feeding operations. (I’m on the bandwagon again!)
. . .
-Encourage the development of sustainable animal husbandry. (I’m beginning to detect a pattern here.)
. . .
-Encourage and subsidize home cooking. (A very distinct pattern.)

Mr. Bittman goes on and on and on, but you get the idea. I also get the idea that he reads from the same playbook Al Gore uses. Bittman writes,

It’s difficult to find a principled nutrition and health expert who doesn’t believe that a largely plant-based diet is the way to promote health and attack chronic diseases . . . (emphasis mine)

Note the word principled. It’s purpose in that sentence can best be understood through substition:

It’s difficult to find a nutrition and health expert I agree with who doesn’t believe that a largely plant-based diet is the way to promote health and attack chronic diseases . . . (emphasis mine again)

And that substitution illustrates perfectly Mr. Bittman’s approach to food in our lives. He doesn’t like who’s picking the winners right now, so he wants new ‘pickers,’ a bias he betrays in one more bullet point on his list of winners and losers:

-Break up the U.S. Department of Agriculture and empower the Food and Drug Administration.

There, he says to himself in a very self-satisfied way, that will fix it. My elites will do much better than that last batch of elites.

I agree wholeheartedly with one item on his bulleted list, though I might disagree with him on how the idea is implemented:

-Mandate truth in labeling. Nearly everything labeled “healthy” or “natural” is not. It’s probably too much to ask that “vitamin water” be called “sugar water with vitamins,” but that’s precisely what real truth in labeling would mean.

I’m all for more information, as long as we leave it at that and let the masses in the market decide what to do with that information. I’m also all for eliminating subsidies–totally. Shifting them from one set of winners to another doesn’t cut it.

I’m going to continue monitoring the Food Czar at The New York Times, if for no other reason than to make sure I get to read the rest of the story behind this little teaser:

(Someday soon, I’ll write about my idea for a new Civilian Cooking Corps.)

I can’t wait!! Visions of fair-skinned culinary school graduates dressed in lederhosen are dancing in my head as I write.

Can it be? We’ll have to wait and see. But right now I have to cook breakfast.

Beck v. Piven: No, Bruce Bartlett is the Idiot

By , January 24, 2011 10:05 am

I really was going to write about this, honest. Just couldn’t get to it until today. But given that the controversy has been written about extensively already, I’ll just note the following: the Facebook Post that prompted me to want to write about Beck v. Piven in the first place.

On Saturday, my Facebook “friend,” Bruce Bartlett, wrote “More evidence that Glenn Beck is an idiot.”

As you can see, the post linked to Brian Stetler’s New York Times piece in which Stetler attempts to draw a straight line from Beck’s discussion of Piven on his program to the alleged threats Piven claims to be receiving. Unfortunately for Stetler’s theory–or at least Piven’s–that line may run through a variety of Conservative Web sites, including one or more operated by Andrew Breitbart–a fact reported in paragraph 14 of Stetler’s story.

As I read Bartlett’s Facebook post and the underlying story, my first thought was: and your point is?

You write something. Someone else reads it and holds you to it, and I’m supposed to rally around your flag? When I write, I’m always hoping someone will read it. My suggestion? Frances, don’t get mad. Get even. Monetize this opportunity.

And back to Bartlett, a protege of the late Jude Wanniski. From Bartlett’s many Facebook posts decrying the Tea Party, Conservatives, etc. I’m beginning to think he’s becoming unhinged. Woudn’t want that to get around.

Edited: to clarify and to correct a couple of typos pointed out by a (my only?) reader.

“I only know one person who voted for Nixon,” Pauline Kael*

By , January 23, 2011 9:53 pm

And I’ll bet she never knew even a single Mormon. Based on Sally Quinn’s question to Mormon historian and Columbia history professor emeritus Richard Bushman, it’s a safe bet Sally hasn’t. Regardless, she’s a rather credulous journalist practicing a supposedly cynical and skeptical profession if her questions and musings on Mormonism are any indication.

In a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life almost four years ago titled Mormonism and Politics: Are They Compatible? she first asks Bushman–a rather famous Mormon historian–if he’s a Mormon. When he responds yes, she responds, “I’m sure you have heard of Martha Beck.” Again, the answer is yes. After reviewing briefly who Beck is, for the benefit of people in attendance who may not have heard of her, and after mentioning Beck’s then-recent book Leaving the Saints,”** Quinn says,

[Beck] went back [to Brigham Young University] and had an absolutely horrendous experience. She wrote another book called Leaving the Saints. She finally did leave the church. In her book, she revealed that her father had sexually abused her when she was a child. She talked about how she went back, and she had this Ph.D. from Harvard, and she was trying to fit in and bring her child into it, but she went to work as a teacher at Brigham Young University and found that the church was very unaccepting, very dogmatic, and that she couldn’t teach what she wanted to teach. Because she spoke out against some of the beliefs, she was in effect banned or banished from the church, she and her husband. Finally, they actually had to move away to Arizona because it became so untenable a situation.

And I think that reading a book like that – I have no knowledge of Mormons at all, really, but reading Martha’s books, I was absolutely appalled at some of the things that I read about the Mormon Church and the closed-mindedness and demands on people that they adhere to the beliefs or they will get banished.

So I think that kind of story is where a lot of these perceptions come from. I don’t know whether every word she wrote was true or not. It sounded pretty true. I think that sets the stage for my next question, which is, How Mormon is Mitt Romney? I mean, is he someone who would adhere to all of the beliefs of the church? In Martha Beck’s case, when she went against church policy, she was banned or banished. Would that happen if Romney disagreed with the church, and particularly their positions on women? (all bolded emphasis supplied)

These statements from a journalist and co-founder of the Washington Post’s On Faith “feature,” are revealing, especially in the context the of On Faith’s mission statement, a statement written by Quinn and co-founder Jon Meacham:

Religion is the most pervasive yet least understood topic in global life.

Maybe even at The Washington Post.

From the caves of the Afghan-Pakistan border to the cul-de-sacs of the American Sunbelt, faith shapes and suffuses the way billions of people-Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and nonbelievers-think and act, vote and fight, love and, tragically, hate. It is the most ancient of forces. As Homer said, “All men need the gods.” Even the most ferocious atheists find themselves doing intellectual battle on a field defined by forces of the faithful.

Seems as though Quinn and Meacham have pretty much staked out the religious terrain, which, according to them, runs from caves to cul-de-sacs. That pretty much leaves out L.A., New York City, D.C., Paris, London, and any other place where sophisticates gather to help the rest of us “understand” the “least understood topic in global life,” especially, it appears, if that topic is Mormonism.

And so, in a time of extremism — for extremism is to the 21st century what totalitarianism was to the 20th — how can people engage in a conversation about faith and its implications in a way that sheds light rather than generates heat?

And Quinn’s very uninformed opinion of Beck’s book? What kind of light does it shed?

At The Washington Post and Newsweek, we believe the first step is conversation-intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful conversation-among specialists and generalists who devote a good part of their lives to understanding and delineating religion’s influence on the life of the world. The point of our new online religion feature is to provide a forum for such sane and spirited talk, drawing on a remarkable panel of distinguished figures from the academy, the faith traditions, and journalism. Members of the group will weigh in on a question posed at least once a week, perhaps sometimes more often, depending on the flow of the news. We encourage readers to join the conversation by commenting on what our panelists have to say, offering their own opinions and suggesting topics for future discussions.

From the nature of evil to religious reformation, from the morality of fetal stem-cell research to the history of scripture, from how to raise kids in multi-faith households to the place of gays in traditional churches — of the asking of questions, to paraphrase Ecclesiastes, there shall be no end. We think that the online world, with its limitless space, offers us a unique opportunity to carry on a fruitful, intriguing, and above all constructive conversation about the things that matter most.

Blah, blah, blah, blah. If Quinn’s knowledge of Mormonism says anything about her knowledge of religion in general, this “feature” is in trouble. If Quinn’s lack of research before she participated in that Pew Forum on Mormonism is any indication of her work ethic and research skills, I have to wonder about The Washington Post, given her station and tenure there. If her credulity with regards to Beck’s book is any indication, she’s not skeptical enough to be a good journalist.

*Quoted by Israel Shenker, “Critics Here Focus on Films As Language Conference Opens,” The New York Times (1972-12-28).

**By the way, if you’re interested in how horrible Beck’s book is, go here. It’s really, really, really bad.

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