ترول ایرانی

گالری عکس

Archive for November, 2011

Unraveling the “Cult of Kennedy”

The observation of media-obsessed “Cult of Kennedy” has long been something I like to watch from time to time.  We’re now past the 48th Anniversary of the slaying of America’s 33rd President and Ross Douthat, conservative op-ed columnist for the New York Times takes a look at the latest “What if” book on the Kennedy Assassination.

The “What if” of course, is the big “What if” regarding Kennedy, “What would America be like if John F. Kennedy wasn’t slain in Dallas?”  This time, the book’s author is none other than famed horror-novelist Stephen King in “11/22/63.”  King has ‘officially’ given up writing horror, but is still writing novels.

The premise of  this one is an idealistic time traveler who watched way too many commentaries by Chris Matthews and Doris Kearns Goodwin and foolishly believed everything “Jackie O” said on “Camelot” goes back in time to stop that nutty Commie Lee Harvey Oswald from blowing JFK’s brains all over Dealey Plaza.

(Think of it as the modern-day questioning of “If you had a time machine, would you use it to kill Hitler before WWII?”  If it were me, I’d say “No, I wouldn’t want to mess with the natural flow of history.”  Instead, I’d use it to go see great sporting events which didn’t sell out at the time to avoid denying anyone a ticket.  Such a belief would get me into Super Bowl I.)

The result (full spoilers here) are not pretty.  Kennedy — much more militaristic on Vietnam than historians have ever claimed — buries America in the war (Teht happens earlier) and he barely wins re-election in 1964 to Barry Goldwater, but lacks the liberal super-majority LBJ had.  There’s no Civil Rights Act, there’s no Great Society, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot prior to 1968.

Democrats go with segregationist ubermensch George Wallace as their 1968 candidate, denying Nixon “the Southern strategy.”

Oh, and the 60s radicals still happen because the shining example of Camelot wasn’t just “denied them” by history’s assassin, but because it was killed by the very man said to bring it.  (My guess is Kennedy was a big fan of the draft?)

Why does this all happen wrong for the book’s hero?  Well, for starters, the media has long tried to paint Kennedy as a better President than he really was.  The man did botch “the Bay of Pigs Invasion” after all and probably got lucky with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Stephen King politically is a political liberal — in fact, a very big liberal — but he is thorough in his research, Douthat points out why the book is so good at exposing the myths the “Cult of Kennedy” has perpetrated on the American political ideal.

The first premise is that Kennedy was a very good president, and might have been a great one if he’d lived. Few serious historians take this view: It belongs to Camelot’s surviving court stenographers, and to popularizers like Chris Matthews, whose new best seller “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero” works hard to gloss over the thinness of the 35th president’s actual accomplishments. Yet there is no escaping the myth’s hold on the popular imagination. In Gallup’s “greatest president” polling, J.F.K. still regularly jostles with Lincoln and Reagan for the top spot.

In reality, the kindest interpretation of Kennedy’s presidency is that he was a mediocrity whose death left his final grade as “incomplete.” The harsher view would deem him a near disaster — ineffective in domestic policy, evasive on civil rights and a serial blunderer in foreign policy, who barely avoided a nuclear war that his own brinksmanship had pushed us toward. (And the latter judgment doesn’t even take account of the medical problems that arguably made him unfit for the presidency, or the adulteries that eclipsed Bill Clinton’s for sheer recklessness.)

The second false premise is that Kennedy would have kept us out of Vietnam. Or as a character puts it in “11/22/63,” making the case for killing Lee Harvey Oswald: “Get rid of one wretched waif, buddy, and you could save millions of lives.”

Actually, it would be more accurate to describe the Vietnam War as Kennedy’s darkest legacy. His Churchillian rhetoric (“pay any price, bear any burden …”) provided the war’s rhetorical frame as surely as George W. Bush’s post-9/11 speeches did for our intervention in Iraq. His slow-motion military escalation established the strategic template that Lyndon Johnson followed so disastrously. And the war’s architects were all Kennedy people: It was the Whiz Kids’ mix of messianism and technocratic confidence, not Oswald’s fatal bullet, that sent so many Americans to die in Indochina.

The third myth is that Kennedy was a martyr to right-wing unreason. Writing on J.F.K. in the latest issue of New York magazine, Frank Rich half-acknowledges the mediocrity of Kennedy’s presidency. But he cannot resist joining a generation of liberals in drawing a connection between the right-wing “atmosphere of hate” in early-1960s Dallas and the assassination itself — and then linking both to today’s anti-Obama zeal. Neither can King, whose “11/22/63” explicitly compares right-wing Dallas to his own fictional territory of Derry, Me. — home of the murderous Pennywise the Clown from “It,” among other demons.

This connection is the purest fantasy, made particularly ridiculous by the fact that both Rich and King acknowledge that Oswald was a leftist — a pro-Castro agitator whose other assassination target was the far-right segregationist Edwin Walker. The idea that an atmosphere of right-wing hate somehow inspired a Marxist radical to murder a famously hawkish cold war president is even more implausible than the widespread suggestion that the schizophrenic Jared Lee Loughner shot his congresswoman because Sarah Palin put some targets on an online political map.

This last example suggests why the J.F.K. cult matters — because its myths still shape how we interpret politics today. We confuse charisma with competence, rhetoric with results, celebrity with genuine achievement. We find convenient scapegoats for national tragedies, and let our personal icons escape the blame. And we imagine that the worst evils can be blamed exclusively on subterranean demons, rather than on the follies that often flow from fine words and high ideals.

J.F.K. was, if anything, our first celebrity/TV president.  That fact, added in with his assassination, has built the “Myth of Camelot,” and the “Cult of Kennedy” has helped build the blueprint of modern marketing of a post-presidential legacy.

The problem with Kennedy however is, that his accomplishments were so few and his presidency so mediocre, all he has left is “The What if” perpetrated by liberal ideologues needing a political hero.

Leave a Comment

“Frosty” Arrested for Scuffle With Police

The only thing that would make this more surreal, is if the guy in the Santa suit joined the fray.

Who says ‘Frosty the Snowman’ has to be jolly?

A man in a ‘Frosty the Snowman’ costume was arrested Saturday during the annual Christmas parade in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

He’s accused of scuffling with police and kicking at a police dog.

Sgt. John A. Dolgos tells The Star Democrat of Easton that 52-year-old Kevin Michael Walsh became agitated when a dog-handling officer tried to escort him away from the crowd.

Walsh told The Associated Press that he has dressed as Frosty in the parade for at least 10 years. He says he did nothing wrong and was wrongfully arrested.

He says an officer hassled him after he made a joke about the police dog’s presence at the parade.

Will be interesting to read the whole police report when it’s available.

Leave a Comment

Cartoon of the Day

Leave a Comment

NHTSA Looking into Chevy Volt Battery Fires

Well, I guess the one bright side for what’s been called by critics as the “Electric Edsel,” is that this news won’t effect Wisconsin too much.

Johnson Controls didn’t win the full battery contract for the Chevy Volt, LG Chem’s going to take the heat for this oneJC got the Ford contract.

The government is investigating new fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt to assess the fire risk in the electric car after a serious crash.

One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement Friday. Another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks, the statement said.

GM, which was informed of the investigation on Friday, said in a statement that the Volt “is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash.”

The latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago.

NHTSA learned of a possible fire risk involving damaged Volt batteries when a fire erupted in a Volt that was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wis. The fire was severe enough to cause several other vehicles parked nearby to catch fire as well.

The car had been subjected to a side-impact crash test more than three weeks earlier, on May 12, during which the battery was punctured and its coolant line ruptured.

Last week’s tests of three battery packs were designed to replicate the May test. In that test, the Volt was subjected to a simulated side-impact collision into a narrow object like a tree or pole followed by a rollover, the agency said.

The first battery tested last week didn’t catch fire. But a battery test on Nov. 17 initially experienced a temporary temperature increase, and on Thursday caught fire while being monitored. Another battery tested on Nov. 18, which was rotated 180 degrees within hours after the test, began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after the rotation.

The tests were conducted by NHTSA and the Energy and Defense departments at a defense facility near Hampton Roads, Va.

You can read the full NHTSA’s press release here.  It’s quite the read.

Comments (1)

My Utmost Condolences

I was in shock just reading it.  Can only imagine what James is going through…

My DC-area friend Dr. James Joyner, Ph. D; who started the “Outside the Beltway” blog years ago,  lost his wife Kim this morning at their home in northern Virginia of unknown medical causes.

She was just 41.

They have two young girls, 3 and 5 months.

The last time I spoke with James was at this year’s CPAC, and it was mild stuff as he was preparing for the birth of his second daughter, which happened in May.

Only met Kim twice, once professionally, once personally.  She ran the HR department of the Virginia-based GOP polling firm “Public Opinion Strategies,” so I sent in my resume to POS near the end of my time at HUD as I was starting to job hunt for my post-Bush Administration career.  She was nice enough to tell me via email that POS was actually in the process of downsizing because of the sluggish economy and wouldn’t be hiring.

Part of me thought that was either because I knew James or either because POS was the polling firm for many Wisconsin Republicans.  (Likely the latter.)

The second time was at CPAC 2010 when she picked up James after a day at the conference.

She was a lovely lady for the brief time I met her, and I can only imagine what James is going through right now as he tries to function without the love of his life and his new reality as a single parent.

May God bless and keep the Joyners this day and the days to come.

Leave a Comment

The Full Suh “Explanation”

Saw this yesterday afternoon on the blog of ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde, their Packers beat writer.  At first I thought it was some sort of typo, but now a full transcript is out, and it still makes little to no sense what the hell Lions DT Ndamukong Suh meant with how he explained his actions in yesterday’s Packers – Lions game.

I sure hope he enjoys his future suspension.

Ndamukong Suh: I’m first and foremost only going to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and my true fans for allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game. What I did was remove myself from the situation in the best way I felt, me being held down in the situation I was in. And further, my intentions were not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself as you see, I’m walking away from the situation and with that I apologize to my teammates and my fans and my coaches for putting myself in the position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game.

What position were you in?

NS: The situation I was in? I was on top of a guy being pulled down and trying to get up off the ground. Why you see me pushing his helmet down [is] because I’m trying to remove myself from the situation. And as I’m getting up, I’m getting pushed, so I’m getting myself on balance and getting out of the situation. With that, a lot of people are going to interpret it as, or create their own storylines for seeing what they want to interpret, but I know what I did, and the man upstairs knows what I did.

You did not intentionally step on him?

NS: Not by any means. I understand in this world because of the type of player and the type of person I am, all eyes are on me. So why would I do something to jeopardize myself and jeopardize my team first and foremost? So with that, that’s why, I don’t do bad things. I have no intention to hurt somebody. If I want to hurt him, I’m going to hit his quarterback, as I did throughout that game.

What was the leg motion?

NS: What was the leg motion? I’m on one leg and I’m trying to get off that myself and at the same time being pushed by his teammates. So where, how am I supposed to do anything else?

It looked like you pushed down forcefully.

NS: I’m pushing down forcefully to get up and get myself out of the situation.

Have you seen the replay?

NS: Yes, I have seen it.

What do you see on replay? Do you see a guy getting up or a guy stepping on another guy?

NS: If I see a guy stepping on somebody, I feel like they’re going to lean into it and forcefully stand over the person or step on that person. I’m going in the opposite direction from where he’s at. So that’s where I’ll leave it.

It also appeared you pushed his helmet multiple times.

NS: Yes, I did push his helmet multiple times because he’s holding on to me and he’s grabbing me. That’s the reason why I’m on the top of him and I’m not at the quarterback. Because I’m being held down by him and so I’m pushing him off of me.

Was it a chippy or edgy game?

NS: The chippiness, edginess, I don’t know. For me personally, I’m composed as I go into every single game. That’s why you don’t see me rah, rah, rah, running around, being loud because that’s not my style. I don’t play that. I play very composed and I can handle anything that you throw at me as I continue to do.

How will this affect your reputation?

NS: Like I said, you guys are going to create your own storylines. People are going to have their own opinions. That’s fine. The only person that I really care about are my teammates and my true fans and my coaches and their opinions, and that’s where it lies. Honestly the most important person in this whole thing that I have to deal with is the man upstairs.

Do you expect NFL discipline?

NS: That’s their decision. I can’t speak on that.

My sense is he never plays another down for the rest of the regular season.  Playoffs will be the real question as to whether he hits the field again.

Leave a Comment

Cartoon of the Day

Leave a Comment

Cartoon of the Day

Leave a Comment

Liberals’ “Good Housekeeping Seal” Flunking Obama Judicial Nominees

Oh, this has got to be embarrassing.

(Though, it might help explain why Louis Butler was getting slapped down long before liberals tried to blame his hold-up on Sen. Ron Johnson.)

The American Bar Association has secretly declared a significant number of President Obama’s potential judicial nominees “not qualified,” slowing White House efforts to fill vacant judgeships — and nearly all of the prospects given poor ratings were women or members of a minority group, according to interviews.

The White House has chosen not to nominate any person the bar association deemed unqualified, so their identities and negative ratings have not been made public. But the association’s judicial vetting committee has opposed 14 of the roughly 185 potential nominees the administration asked it to evaluate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The number of Obama prospects deemed “not qualified” already exceeds the total number opposed by the group during the eight-year administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; the rejection rate is more than three and a half times as high as it was under either of the previous two presidencies, documents and interviews show.

Sources tell the New York Times, the Obama Administration is blaming these rankings on panelist interviews who are placing too much emphasis on courtroom experience, of which there is very little in the Obama nominees as they are more likely to nominate a law professor or government attorney to the federal bench.

In the American Bar Association’s defense I only add this:  The “Bar” in any Bar Association’s name is taken from the word “barrister” in Old English.  It means “one who has the privilege of pleading in the higher courts.”  Most law professors, don’t even bother joining their state’s Bar Associations because they know they’re never to likely ever see a courtroom in their careers as teachers.

Leave a Comment

Two-Day Waterpark Rave May Have Killed Swiss Dolphins

(Note: This is just on one of the two dolphin deaths at this waterpark in Switzerland.  Another died within days of this report.)

An eight-year-old dolphin named Shadow mysteriously died after being exposed to two days of techno music at a waterpark in Switzerland. The park was the venue for a weekend-long dance event, which exposed the highly sensitive marine mammals to nearly 48 hours of repetitive beats. Several days later, Shadow became agitated and died. While there is no way to prove a direct correlation between the two events, animal activists had warned park management that the noise from the event could cause undo stress on the dolphins who call the park home.

“We have reasonable evidence to suggest that the extreme noise levels from the two day techno party severely affected the immune system of the dolphins,” said Jürgen Ortmüller from the Whale and Dolphin Protection Society. “Dolphins are very sensitive creatures.  We warned against a techno party taking place in this location for these very reasons.”

Park officials deny any wrong-doing. Shadow was the seventh dolphin in three years to die at the park.

Barring some sort of cover-up of abuse we haven’t heard yet, I’m likely to pin this one on suicide.  I’d off myself too after two days of techno music.

Dolphins are stupid animals after all.

In all seriousness though, the UK Daily Mail says the music may be the fatal factor after all.  Prolonged exposure may have compromised the dolphin’s immune system.

Jurgen Ortmuller from the Whale and Dolphin Protection Society claimed: ‘We have reasonable evidence to suggest that the extreme noise levels from the two day techno party severely affected the immune system of the dolphins. Dolphins are very sensitive creatures. We warned against a techno party taking place in this location for these very reasons.’

Connyland – which denies any wrong doing – has asked for an autopsy on the dolphin to establish the cause of death.

Connyland’s own vet said: ‘I was there and the noise would not have affected the animals. You could hardly hear anything. Connyland takes the care of its animals very seriously and they are looked after very well.’

Leave a Comment