Patterico's Pontifications


iowahawk Dons His Smoking Jacket and Top Hat

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 9:17 pm

iowahawk welcomes back T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII for an analysis of the state of conservatism today, in a post titled I Daresay It Is Time We Deal With the Mutineers Aboard the S.S. Conservatism:

Much has been written about the fate of the conservative movement in the months since last I corresponded with you. I won’t belabor the barrels of ink expended in the printing of its obituary, nor will I bore you with further reading of its entrails. Suffice it to say the grand old ship is in the doldrums, adrift in the electoral currents, with nary a harbor on the horizon. But it is time we leave such map room mopery aside and navigate a bold new course for the conservative armada. One needn’t have a 400-year old heirloom scrimshaw sextant for this task; but, fortunately, I do.

. . . .

Today the Van Voorhees family sextant rests proudly atop my private shipboard desk. I’m admiring it now; there it sits, in its protective crystal bell jar, alongside Marinus’ rapier, both still bearing the sanguinary patina of their provenance. They were, of course, the deathbed bequest of my visionary father, T.C. Van Voorhees VI, rakish founder of the National Topsider and the modern conservative movement. Last year, after our final emotional handshake, he looked at me with those anxious, fading eyes, and said:”

the helm awaits, my lad; I trust you will steer it well. And, it appears, I have soiled myself.”

With that, old Dad slipped off this mortal coil. A sad moment, to be sure, but I took comfort in the stoic grace with which he finally relinquished control of both the conservative movement and his bowels.

Read it all, old boy.

Evening Links

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:43 pm

  • A bridge for a city of 223: it’s not waste. It’s stimulus!
  • Congressman apologizes pre-emptively for affair. The Onion.
  • How media sucks up to the White House: Politico. From yesterday but worth reading.

Tax Cheat Tells Tax Cheat He’ll Crack Down on Tax Cheats

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 pm

If I told you that Tim Geithner told Charlie Rangel he plans to crack down on tax cheats, you’d say that’s the punch line to a bad Republican joke. Well, sometimes reality is funnier than Republicans.

Kathy Kelly Retracts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:57 pm

Following postings by Ben Sheffner, Eugene Volokh, Howard Bashman, and others, Jimmie Duncan’s attorney Kathy Kelly has posted a comment retracting her recent threat to file a complaint against me with my State Bar:

To Mr. Frey, Regarding my comments as Mr. Duncan’s counsel this past Sunday. Do I regret it “Yes”. Does it appear I was wrong “Yes”. My intent was not to harm your reputation but I had concerns on protecting my client’s right to a fair hearing. I acted rashly without thinking about it first.

I’m willing to admit that I was wrong on implying you committed any type of ethic violations. Being criticized on blog sites doesn’t bother me. I agree with the fact it was foolish. My only hesitation on posting anything on your blog is that it will only continue to focus attention on me and continue this instead of ending it. The focus should be on Mr. Duncan’s case not me. I will not read or post any more comments on your site.

Fair enough. Let us speak of it no more.

Thanks to the above bloggers for their interest in the issue.

P.S. Speaking of speaking of it no more, I’m wondering whether Steve Verdon will ever respond to my response. It’s now been 4 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes, and 38.5 seconds since I posted it. (Background here.)

UPDATE: Thanks to Eugene Volokh for the link.

UPDATE x2: Thanks also to Ben Sheffner for the link.

The Anti-Limbaugh Campaign: A Dessert Topping AND a Floor Wax

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:12 am

[Posted by Karl]

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit think they have a disagreement over the point of the anti-Rush Limbaugh campaign being waged by Obama Administration, labor unions and the establishment media.  Morrissey calls it a deliberate strategy to cover up the Democrats’ economic incompetence and massively ineffective spending programs.  Allahpundit that “the Democrats are really trying to do is rebrand the GOP.”  Morrissey thinks any rebranding is “secondary.”

The reality is that the focus on Limbaugh is all of those things.  The GOP is a minority party with no single titular leader at the moment.  Obama’s Alinskyite politics require that the Left “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”  The folks running this effort thus go to the influential — yet polarizing — figure of Rush Limbaugh.  Doing so necessarily promotes him, with the hope of forcing Republicans to either downplay Limbaugh (driving a wedge between them and their conservative base) or defend him (thereby making a polarizing figure more the face of the GOP).  It is no surprise to learn that James Carville and Paul Begala are part of this effort, as it is a variation of the Clinton Administration’s effort to make Newt Gingrich Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996.  The people behind this campaign do not see it as an “either-or” proposition; they see it as a “win-win” proposition.

Morrissey is also correct in asserting that it keeps the GOP on defense, though this is largely because GOP functionaries are only now figuring out that the attack on Limbaugh can be used to paint the Democrats as not keeping their eye on the economy, or trying to distract from the poor reception the Democrats’ agenda is getting in the financial markets.  The GOP might eventually figure out that they could have used the media’s uncritical parroting of the Left’s campaign against the media, which would quickly stop them from pursuing GOP functionaries about it.

Incidentally, the anti-Limbaugh campaign serves other political purposes neither Morrissey nor Allahpundit mention.  Rahm Emmanuel, Carvile, Begala and their ilk are certainly aware of Limbaugh’s effectiveness in helping drive campaigns against particular pieces of legislation, e.g., Clinton’s healthcare program, the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, etc.  They undoubtedly want to marginalize Limbaugh as the Obama Administration moves forward on its insanely ambitious agenda.  Reminding the apolitical middle of how polarizing Limbaugh is and trying to force GOP officeholders into embracing or rejecting him also serves that function.


Update: It appears that the Obama Administration may be seeing the downside of their campaign, now that even the establishment media has figured out how out of step it is with Obama’s normal disdain of “distractions.”  Accordingly, I would expect that this particular issue will be left to the union-backed special interests.  Whether the Obama White House has learned that Clintonite smashmouth politics is a bad fit for them is another matter.

Update II:  Though the issue is subsiding, Allahpundit  still wonders:

Why the fixation on Rush as a “private citizen”? The idea, I take it, is that Obama’s bringing the enormous power of the presidency to bear on a poor, defenseless Joe Public, but Limbaugh’s anything but defenseless (as today’s debate challenge proves) and considerably more powerful, I think we’d all agree, than the average congressman who would be considered fair game as a public official.

I thought the answer was in Morrissey’s original post:

It’s reminiscent of Nixon’s enemies list, and it comes from the supposed messiah of Hope and Change.

Indeed, I would suggest that one reason the usually Obama-friendly establishment media started questioning the White House on the Limbaugh attacks is the subconscious memory of the last Administration that obsessed over specific members of the media.  The media may love Obama, but they really love the media.  They might have given Obama a pass on Limbaugh, but the White House has also gone after Santelli, Cramer (even on the Today show), and CNBC in general.


Steele Back-Tracking on Rush — Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

It happened on TODAY, with the beginning of the transcript here:

MR. LAUER: I’m good, thanks. You’ve had this job now for a little more than a month, and already you are in the white-hot spotlight. You’ve found yourself in a public back-and-forth with one of the conservative voices of your party, Rush Limbaugh. So let me get right to that. …

Oh, please, let’s do. Let’s string this out as long as possible.

Near Perfection: Vienna Philharmonic Does Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony at Disney Hall

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 7:24 am

[This classical music review was written to reinforce this site’s image as a den of top-hat and smoking-jacket-wearing dudes. Also, because I enjoyed the concert and wanted to write about it. If you hate classical music, as most do, feel free to skip it. — P]

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Zubin Mehta conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony.

Also on the menu were Wolf’s “Italian Serenade” and Marx’s “Selected Songs.” Both were excellent, but let’s face it: I was there for the Bruckner.

Bruckner’s Ninth has been a favorite of mine since I was a young child repeatedly borrowing an LP performance from the Fort Worth Public Library. They had some music on those newfangled cassettes, but most of the selection was on records, and this performance — by Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra — was perfect.

The symphony was Bruckner’s last work, and was not finished. It is in three movements, ending with a long Adagio that he called his “farewell to life.” Unfortunately, it was: the fourth and final movement was never finished.

There are those who will tell you that the symphony is perfect in three movements. Since it has been performed that way since the beginning, it’s hard to argue with the perception — but don’t believe it. Bruckner fervently hoped to finish the last movement, and he wrote enough of it that a couple of musicologists have attempted to realize it. There are several recorded versions of the Ninth out there with a realized fourth movement, and I think I own them all. I can tell that, if he had finished it, it would have been awesome. Hell, what he did finish is awesome. What I haven’t heard realized properly is his planned coda, which combined all the themes from the symphony. Legend has it that Bruckner got up from his deathbed and played it for a friend on the piano. Too bad the friend wasn’t a Mozart-style talent who could go off and transcribe that performance note for note.

In any event, it is never performed with a realization of the final movement except as a novelty, and last night’s performance was restricted to the traditional three movements.

I had a ringside seat: first row of the side Orchestra (Orchestra West). Disney Hall is a wonder: with a seat like that you can see all the performers’ (and the conductor’s) facial expressions without binoculars. You feel completely engaged in the experience and the sound can’t be matched.

The first movement was the best. Mehta lost part of the orchestra momentarily with a quickening of the tempo, but that minor flaw aside, it was perfect. “It sent a chill down my spine” is a cliche, but it really happened to me listening to the closing bars of the first movement.

The otherworldly harmonies of the Scherzo have always made it a favorite. Probably because I was weaned on the Walter performance, Mehta’s rendition seemed a little ponderous at times (did the violins have to bow downward for every note in the main theme?), but the orchestra hung together beautifully.

The last movement came off virtually without a hitch. To me, the difference between a top-notch symphony and a lesser group lies in the horns. They’re awfully difficult to play, and it’s rare to hear a symphony performance where you’re not distracted at some point by wobbly horn playing. Last night I heard maybe one tiny shaky bit for about half a second in the whole two hours. That’s nothing compared to a usual symphony performance. That tiny, tiny blemish aside, the horn tones were glowing, warm, and strong.

All in all, it’s a concert I’ll never forget. So even though maybe only two of you are interested, I really wanted to write about it.

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