Friday, April 30, 2010

Brent Musberger: My Role Model for the Day

I had a Brent Musberger kind of situation today and think I handled it well.

Illegal Immigration--Why Do Much of Anything?

Peggy Noonan writes that the U. S. shouldn't pass any new immigration legislation until the "borders"--by which she means the Mexican border--are secure.
In the past four years, I have argued in this space that nothing can or should be done, no new federal law passed, until the border itself is secure. That is the predicate, the commonsense first step. Once existing laws are enforced and the border made peaceful, everyone in the country will be able to breathe easier and consider, without an air of clamor and crisis, what should be done next.

But the federal government already puts an enormous effort into border security and illegal immigrants have to go to great lengths to get into the country undetected. Instead, it seems that the main "problem" is the Mexican population that's already here in the U. S.

But if the Mexican population is a problem, it's a problem that I tend to welcome. My favorite restaurant in my part of Kentucky is the Mexican-owned Italian restaurant, I like seeing the Mexican guys at the stores, and I like the Mexican guy who lives next door better than I like my Anglo neighbor. I want my daughters to learn Spanish and wish I'd remember more of my own Spanish from high school.

In general, I appreciate Mexico and wish the Mexicans well. The drug cartel problem in Mexico is a great deal worse than the "illegal immigration" problem in the U. S. and we're the major cause of that problem because of our national hunger for "illegal" drugs. What I'd like to see is some sort of system that authorizes parts of the rural population in Mexico to circulate back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. In this way, Mexicans wouldn't have to risk death to enter the U. S., but they would also have the option of going back and taking up opportunities in Mexico after time in the U. S. I imagine that there will be less illegal immigration if there is more legal immigration.

I'd also like to see amnesty for the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. Once again, I want to go back to our problem--the drug problem. We have a couple of million people in jail for drug crimes, but millions more Americans ignore the drug laws in a way that's much more destructive to ourselves and Mexico than Mexican immigration. As a result, I don't think we in the U.S. have much credibility when we talk about the majesty of the law in relation to immigration. So, let's exercise a little modesty and forgive the transgressions of those who entered illegally from Mexico. Most of them seem to be making a positive contribution anyway.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Models In Need of an Airbrush

Above is a picture of a group of super-models who are modeling for Louis Vitton in Paris this year. Most of these women are in their early 20's, but they are so thin and worn that they look more like concentration camp survivors than anything else.

Camp survivors or drug addicts.

HuffPost cites readers at Reddit as saying:
"Seriously, though--how many of them have enormous foreheads and huge eyes? A lot of them are not attractive sans makeup. Their faces look smooshed; they're too damn skinny. Put down the coke straw and eat a cheeseburger, ladies!" and the more poetic "coke, coke, coke ,coke, heroine, coke, heroine, heeeey that one is smiling..., coke, heroine, heroine, coke, ..."
I would have put a couple of "meths" in with the coke and heroin cases.

Maybe all that airbrushing isn't so superfluous after all.

Crist Not Hitting Bottom Yet

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced today that he'll continue his campaign for Florida's U. S. Senate seat as an independent.

"My decision to run for the United State Senate as a candidate without party affiliation in many ways says more about our nation and our state than it does about me . . . As someone who served the people in Florida more than 15 years, from the state Senate to the governor's mansion, I can confirm what most Floridians already know. Unfortunately our political system is broken. I was never one who sought to hold elective office to demagogue, to point fingers. For me, for me, public service has always been about putting the needs of our state and our people first. And every single day, as your servant, I have tried to do exactly that."
Crist is counting on a groundswell of moderate opinion in his favor.

Good luck with that.

Joe Lieberman won as an independent in Connecticut because the GOP did not field a credible candidate, which meant that Lieberman was supported by Republicans as a way to undercut the Democratic candidate. However, Florida Democrats have a major candidate of their own in Rep. Kendrick Meek. Crist isn't going to get anywhere unless Meek closes up shop.

And that's highly unlikely.

The problem for Crist is the same as it is for almost any moderate. He wants to put "the needs of our state and our people first" but doesn't identify any specific ideas for doing so because that would put him in the crosshairs of the ideological battles between conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats.

Moderates generally like "compromise" and "bi-partisanship," but Crist is going to find out how poorly those principles play on the campaign trail. The right-wing views any politician who is willing to compromise with the Democrats as a "big-government liberal." Likewise, progressives view any willingness to compromise with Republicans as evidence of a politician's selling his soul to "corporate interests" and the Washington/media establishment.

And the worst thing for Charlie Crist is that both sides are right about him.

Sorry Charlie! But you still haven't hit bottom yet.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fareed Zakaria Needs Smarter Super-Smart Friends

Fareed Zakaria's defense of Goldman Sachs in the current Newsweek has a Tom Friedman-esque air of "I was talking with a super-smart Wall Street guy on the flight back from London and he told me that this Goldman Sachs case is crap."

Like Friedman, Zacharia needs smarter super-smart friends feeding him his lines.

Maybe James Jones Shouldn't Have Known the Joke At All

Gen. James Jones, President Obama's national security adviser, is in some moderately warm water for telling a Jewish joke at a gathering at "The Washington Institute for Near East Policy – a pro-Israel think tank."

The joke scored a two-fer for Jones. First, he told a joke that relies on the kinds of long-time Jewish stereotypes associated with anti-Semitism from the expulsion of Jews from England to the Inquisition to the Holocaust. At the same time, he was telling the joke to a largely Jewish audience where a lot of people were guaranteed to be offended.

One person who attended the gathering noted the intense stupidity of Jones' story, "can you imagine him telling a black joke at an event of African Americans?" So what was the joke. Here's an account from Jake Tapper of ABC News.

Jones tells the joke “in order to set the stage for my remarks,” and then proceeds to tell the story of a “member of the Taliban separated from his fighting party.” The Taliban member stumbles upon a shack, which it turns out is a "little store owned by a Jewish merchant.'

“I need water,” the Taliban fighter says to the merchant. “Get me some water.”

“I'm sorry I don’t have any water but would you like to buy a tie?” the merchant says. “We have a nice sale of ties today.”

The Taliban warrior goes on a tirade against the merchant, against Jews, about Israel. “I need water you try to sell me ties, you people don’t get it.”

"Well I'm sorry I don’t have water for you,” the merchant says, “I forgive you for all of the insults you’ve levied against me, my family, my country...But I will help you out."

The merchant steers the Taliban towards a restaurant two miles away.

“They have all the water you'll need,” the merchant says.

The Taliban fighter walks towards the restaurant, then returns about an hour later.

"Your brother tells me I need a tie to get in the restaurant,” he says.


Yeah, "Ba-dum-bum." That was hilarious. Personally, I've hated these kinds of jokes since I started college. Here, I'm an equal opportunity hater. I hate black jokes, Jewish jokes, Polish jokes, Italian jokes, and hillbilly jokes.

I hate it when I hear jokes about "hicks" as well.

It's all ugly. It's all crap. I'm rather proud that I've never remembered one of these jokes long enough to repeat it.

So what's Gen. James Jones have to say about it.
“I wish that I had not made this off the cuff joke at the top of my remarks, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it. It also distracted from the larger message I carried that day: that the United States commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”
My wish is that Gen. Jones hadn't known the joke in the first place.

Sarah Palin as Stop Sign

The best thing about Gabriel Sherman's article on Sarah Palin in the New York magazine is the throw away line that Palin is the "president" or "CEO" of right-wing America.

But I see Palin more as a the right-wing's stop sign, the leading symbol of their refusal to accept the America in which they already live, the post-civil rights, post-feminism, post-gay marriage, macroeconomic America in which government acts on a large scale, a liberal black guy can be president, Mexican immigrants run the Italian restaurant down the street, and lesbian newlyweds are out gardening on weekends.
It's really too bad.

Rick Perry a Progressive at Heart

Well, sort of. In spring 2009, Texas governor Rick Perry was ready to rejoin the Confederate Army. This spring it's the Glenn Beck Army. That sounds like progress to me.