The Jeantel Generation

Something I stumbled over today:

If you are student in the Hempstead Public Schools, you may need some help in learning literacy. The Long Island, N.Y. district released a summer reading list that is replete with more than 30 errors. Some of the more egregious mistakes include:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is listed as “The Great Gypsy.”

Authors Emily Bronte and Charlotte Bronte, who wrote Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre respectively, are listed with the last name Bonte.

Animal Farm author George Orwell is named George Ornell.

The Chosen author Chaim Potok has the last name Dotok.

Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones is listed as “The Lovely Bone.” (Fido, where are you?)

Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story have their author as listed as Norris Houghton (the publisher).

A member of the New York State Department of Education’s Board of Regents said, “Hempstead has not had a stable administration for a long time and the kids are suffering.”

Huh? What with all the turnover caused by the NEA’s relentlessly destabilizing policy of merit-based promotions?

I agree we have a new generation.

And people say dogs are dumb.

And people say dogs are dumb.

Flashback: when TV news wasn’t total war.

I’ve been mulling the collapse of the CNN brand, only partly in the wake of the ratings fact that more people turned to Fox for the Zimmerman verdict than turned to CNN. There’s also the departure of CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, that drab man-hating crab who suddenly signed with Al Jazeera, which is, you know, the station that had Muslim resignations this week over the pro-Islamist tilt of the network in the latest Egyptian shenanigans. But not Soledad. (She ducked her meeting with former network news colleague Lara Logan, because she has people to see and things to do in her new global career.) How much disgust are we supposed to swallow without dying of stomach cancer? What legitimate news organization would ever have hired her in the first place?

You see, there was a time when people of all stripes did turn to CNN. Especially Headline News. Which just told you, ta da, the headlines.

It made me think of Lynne Russell, the first solo female anchor of a prime time news show. She was on for 18 years and I have no idea what her politics were. She knew, astoundingly, that she was a newsreader, not a guiding political philosopher of the age.

Loved her. She was in a groove. Her outfits and hairdos changed from night to night, she got so practiced she seemed to be gliding into the anchor a chair a moment before the TelePrompTer began running, and often, quite often in fact, her readings had the arch, humorous quality of a woman with a real life who was as amused by the copy she was reading as she expected us to be hearing it.

She wasn’t trying to be above us. She was mirroring us. Only much better dressed and better looking.

Jersey girl, of course. Like many things that have gone away, I miss her. When life was not as grim as a Stalinist reeducation program.

If you youngsters don’t know what you’ve already lost, you have absolutely no chance to get it back. Be thankful for same-sex marriage. Because you’re yoked to Rachel Maddow regardless of your tilt.

I’m just wondering how anybody is going to reach old age without a sense of humor and the knowing smile of a wise woman. Things that are gone, gone, gone.

Rikki Tikki Tavi

Somebody has to kill the killers.

Somebody has to kill the killers.

Lake was commenting today (via text) on my darkness of late. He used the term “downward spiral.” Which I reminded him applies more directly to our nation and culture. I also reminded him of this Kipling story, about a born killer who has to follow his enemy down the hole no matter how dark it gets.

Rikki-tikki knew that he must catch her, or all the trouble would begin again. She headed straight for the long grass by the thorn-bush, and as he was running Rikki-tikki heard Darzee still singing his foolish little song of triumph. But Darzee’s wife was wiser. She flew off her nest as Nagaina came along, and flapped her wings about Nagaina’s head. If Darzee had helped they might have turned her; but Nagaina only lowered her hood and went on. Still, the instant’s delay brough Rikki-tikki up to her, and as she plunged into the rat-hole where she and Nag used to live, his little white teeth were clenched on her tail, and he went down with her — and very few mongooses, however wise and old they may be, care to follow a cobra into its hole. It was dark in the hole; and Rikki-tikki never knew when it might open out and give Nagaina room to turn and strike at him. He held on savagely, and struck out his feet to act as brakes on the dark slope of the hot, moist earth.

Then the grass by the mouth of the hole stopped waving, and Darzee said: “It is all over with Rikki-tikki! We must sing his death song. Valiant Rikki-tikki is dead! For Nagaina will surely kill him underground.”

So he sang a very mournful song that he made up on the spur of the minute, and just as he got to the most touching part the grass quivered again, and Rikki-tikki, covered with dirt, dragged himself out of the hole leg by leg, licking his whiskers. Darzee stopped with a little shout. Rikki-tikki shook some of the dust out of his fur and sneezed. “It is all over,” he said. “The widow will never come out again.” And the red ants that live between the grass stems heard him, and began to troop down one after another to see if he had spoken the truth.

I’ve been thinking about a post on this topic for a while now. I am no victim of my times. I was raised and trained expressly to do what I do. My father reared me as a cultural warrior. It’s not his fault that building a human mongoose has unintended consequences.

I hunt and kill cobras. What I do. I’m not nice or cute or useful for anything else. I don’t even change the net population of cobras.

But people who live in fear of cobras can take heart in knowing there’s such a thing as a mongoose.

My teeth are sunk in the tail of a poisonous culture that can kill our nation. I won’t let go.

I’ve spent years feeling guilty because I thought I’d disappointed my father. I’m finally realizing that I didn’t, couldn’t. He doesn’t approve all the choices I’ve made, but he knows that I never ever let go. Even more than he. And he knows the price that exacts.

Why I’m feeling as if it’s possible, conceivable, to imagine a state of peace. I was built to play this particular part in the end game of America. I’m pretty sure he’ll forgive the sins that helped turn me into the resistance weapon I’ve become.

Booooring. You don't have to be a rodent to kill snakes. Hell, I'm damn near as quick as The Boss. They call me  Rikki Tikki Izzi.

Booooring. You don’t have to be a rodent to kill snakes. Hell, I’m damn near as quick as The Boss. They call me Rikki Tikki Izzi.

uh, Izzie has never scratched me. She leads a four-cat household in mouse kills. This absolutely crazed, wild-ass Bengal has never scratched me. I’m a mongoose. I was raised for this. Watch Hitman. I have a barcode on my head.

Two Victims (not counting us)

Hoodies are cool. Unless they get you killed. So maybe don't wear one if you don't want to get killed. An idea I had. But what do I know?

Hoodies are cool. Unless they get you killed. So maybe don’t wear one if you don’t want to get killed. An idea I had. But what do I know?

What a mess. No celebrating here. One life snuffed out. One life turned into a hell to its last breath. Two dumb young’uns who made a series of dumb decisions that resulted in death. Sad all round. Can’t stand the hyped up post-mortem coverage of the verdict any more than I could stand the mountains of media and political whoring that led to this night.

The participants are congratulating themselves on the victory of the legal system. Fine. But the legal system is powerless against the real villains in this case. The race hustlers who made a sad, sorry local fatality into a national obsession that amounts to incitement to riot. Who will prosecute NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox, or the president of the United States for inflaming racial relations in a completely cynical and unnecessary way — just to promote a race narrative that was obsolete before the current administration made it the be-all defense of every screw-up, failure, and corrupt act by the federal government?

Disgust. And sorrow. That’s all I’m feeling right now. How about you?

Erick the Smug

As always, I'm better than you. I cook onions.

As always, I’m better than you. I cook onions.

Blogger extraordinaire Erick Erickson has a fascinating essay linked via Hotair yesterday. It’s called Reality Check. He definitely needs one.

In truth we offered him one of those back in 2012 when he was so impressed with his own media ascendancy that he decided to disdain all bloggers who weren’t interested in becoming partisan political activists.

So imagine our surprise when we read yesterday that he is repelled by the “politicization of everything.”

He begins with typical modesty.

Two nights ago I posted my thoughts on being on radio. I followed it up on radio yesterday afternoon. In both, I made this observation:

No one likes people who talk politics all the time. I’ve spent an entire segment once on the fine art of browning onions in butter. And you know what? It’s been a widely requested segment of my show for repeat airings. People care about more than politics and, on radio, they want to know the guy they’re listening to on the way home does too.

First, it is absolutely true — I spent 20 minutes on the radio talking about browning onions in butter and how cookbooks lie that it only takes 10 minutes. It has been a highly sought after segment of my radio show. But second, people were downright offended that I’d suggest there is more to life than politics. I’ve gotten angry emails from a lot of people on the left and the right.

On this point, hat’s off to him. If he can mesmerize a radio audience for 20 minutes on the subject of browning, er, caramelizing onions, he’s the Limbaugh of cooking. I’ve watched dozens of cooking shows involving this procedure, some by Michelin starred chefs, and I’ve never heard any of them take as much as 20 minutes to explain how to do it. But he’s not the Limbaugh of politics.

He leaps from onions to these extraordinary statements:

When I point out I find some things the President does, like talking about sci-fi, endearing and find Michelle Obama to be a very beautiful First Lady, my conservative friends go insane. While I was at CNN they were convinced I had sold out to the liberal media. Now, at Fox, it just perplexes them.

When I talk about my faith and my views on gay marriage or abortion, liberals are convinced I must be lying when I say I have gay friends and pro-abortion friends and we get along just fine and they are wonderful people. Surely I must think they are going to hell and how could those people be friends with me. Folks, I think we’re all going to hell, but by the grace of God.

There are subjects I do not tackle with friends with whom I disagree because I value their friendship far more than I value my view on some subject that divides our ability to be friends. As a Christian, to me evangelism and sharing my faith is much more about being a good friend to someone, regardless of their faith or world view, than about being right in an argument or going to some beach in Mexico to work on my tan while I hammer a nail or two in a hut and speak Jesusese to a total stranger.

Jesusese? What an ass. This isn’t Christianity. It’s a recycling of the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” self-help pap from the 1960s. It’s also a beautiful illustration of what I said in my post about Erickson a year ago:

It’s just that the post struck me oddly. Simultaneously defensive, almost guiltily so, and yet condescending in the extreme.

What we’re seeing here is someone who is perhaps incurably shallow. He builds himself a successful media career talking about the nuts and bolts of policy issues, campaign races, where conservatives should align themselves right now to score political wins, and just as with his own avowed religion, he misses everything important. While he thrives on the politicization of everything that has secured him gigs on CNN, Fox, Laura Ingraham, etc, he is naturally bored by any exclusive focus on what he clearly has come to regard as a game. Post and riposte. No harm, no foul. Just talk.

But it isn’t a game. Just as Christianity isn’t. The country and the whole world are at stake.

He equates gay marriage with abortion. Well, same-sex marriage may be a game, a Hollywood-driven fad that will blow itself up in the reality of gay male promiscuity and lesbian cat fighting. Abortion is not a game. I’ve lost patience with everyone who can’t see that it’s a sickening, violent act of murder that can’t be camouflaged with obscene euphemisms like “women’s reproductive health.” I don’t want to be “good friends to them.” And I certainly don’t think they are “wonderful people.” It’s a deal killer, an ender of friendships. Final.

The same with the current political environment in the United States. The freedoms that are being attacked, being lost day by day, will ultimately kill millions if not billions of people. I don’t give a shit about Obama’s “endearing” sci-fi interests or basketball brackets. I don’t give a shit about Michelle Obama’s looks, especially given that the only thing I notice about her is a constant resentful sneer. That’s not attractive to me in any woman, let alone a First Lady of the United States.

I don’t care about political horse races, congressional maneuverings and deals, and the hijinks of the Fed and the unlimited number of government agencies whose overpaid secretaries and deputies and unions seek to impose their will via this and that regulatory gambit. I care about what the loss of integrity and morality and commitment to our heritage are doing to the greatest nation ever established. That’s not politicization. It’s dirty, filthy, evil politics. Erickson doesn’t know the difference. Because he has good friends at CNN and the country club.

Politicization is something else. It’s the conversion of the MSM from investigative journalism to a leftist propaganda organ intent on injecting political opinions into every aspect of our contact with news, entertainment, and education. Why people are getting angry. Because there’s no place left to be free of idiotic insults on traditional values and faith without disconnecting entirely. Meaning we are being driven fiercely out of the national debate about who and what we are and should be. The Ericksons are the jolly whores who facilitate the process by propping up the pretense that we have a voice lefties tolerate.

Is there more to life than politics? Sure. But politics gets incredibly important when it starts suppressing, oppressing, and costing human life. Everyone here knows that I talk about more than politics. I don’t, however, regard politics as merely a tool for getting attention.

But I’ll give Erick the last word, because his last words really do tell the tale. For him it really is all about him. The good news is that he’s just above the rest of us. The good Christian with wonderful pro-abortion friends who tells his nominal conservative allies to go to hell for (Wow!) criticizing him. Try that on for size.

…I just cannot understand why so many self-described Christian conservatives are so angry so constantly that they get mad at the suggestion there is more to life than politics.

Truth is, there is more to life than politics. And while you and I can find things that outrage us and they may be different things, to hell with you for being outraged that I’m not outraged about something that outrages you.

While you’re firing up your twitter account or blog to tell the world what a terrible person I am for disagreeing or not caring or not apologizing for some perceived slight or injury you think I’ve caused, in the actual real world that exists off the internet I’m going to go build a train with my 4 year old and fly it through the rings of Saturn before sitting down under the oak tree in my backyard to have a scoop of homemade ice cream with my 7 year old and play a game of catch.

You should try it.

What the fook?

What the fook?

Yeah. Size matters.

The little one behind the massif is Molly, a 65 pound greyhound.

The little one behind the mountain range is Molly, a 65 pound greyhound.

But he’s still convinced he’s a lapdog. Just this morning he climbed onto the couch and curled up in Mommy’s lap. He’s worried about her. A lot. Hard to explain to him that he’s too big to sit in her lap. If you know how, please let me know.

Sixteen Years

“Sixteen years” has been both on my mind and in the news in recent days, with good reason. Following the science and politics of global warming and climate change has become a passion of mine, and last week, despite several scandals and issues far more important to Americans, it got the spotlight from Obama again.

I, for one, am glad that he threw his saddle on this particular dead horse. His big plan has a serious flaw, and it’ll be tough to garner support for an idea that requires a runaway greenhouse effect and unprecedented temperatures. England’s MET Office spells out the inconvenient truth, in spite of their heavy investment in the global warming agenda:

No warming trend in the last 16 years

Note the generally flat nature of the graph. Note the scale, 1 degree Celsius in the vertical.

A data set like this has spawned dozens of articles and opinion pieces in the print media and online. Robert brought this great summary to my attention back in April, but at the time I didn’t appreciate the significance: The End of an Illusion at Real Clear Politics. A key excerpt that was long anticipated by a precursor of this blog.

So basically, all that the global warming advocates really have, as the evidentiary basis for their theory, is that global temperatures were a little higher than usual in the late 1990s. That’s it. Which proves nothing. The climate varies, just as weather varies, and as far as we can tell, this is all well within the normal range.

That has been one of my complaints about the global warming scare since the very beginning. We only have systematic global temperature measurements going back about 150 years, which on the relevant timescale—a geological time-scale—is a blink of an eye. Moreover, the measurement methods for these global temperatures have been not been entirely consistent, making them susceptible to changes due to everything from a different paint used on the outside of the weather station to the “urban heat island” effect that happens when a weather station in the middle of a field is surrounded over the years by parking lots. And somehow, among all the billions spent on global warming research, not much money seems to have made its way to the enormous international effort that would be required to ensure the accurate and consistent measurement of global temperatures.

So we have not been able to establish what ought to be the starting point for any theory about global temperatures: a baseline for what is a normal global temperature and what is a natural variation in temperature

The piece.also describes The Economist’s recognition that the whole AGW platform is collapsing, though they are quick to state that they still think it’s important. Just this morning, I read Charles Krauthammer’s take in the Washington Post, though I was disappointed in his personal concession that CO2 is a huge problem. The same blogger we know as The Boss also anticipated this kind of evasion of responsibility.

But beyond the 16 year ‘pause’ in global warming, something else happened in 1997 that is much more personal for this site. Sixteen years ago this month, Robert wrote in the Gloves Off diary about this very issue. Long before it blew up into an international movement, conspiracy, and scientific debacle, he simply asked some pointed questions. Even as we look at the graph above, I have to agree with some of his most basic queries, including:

The Definition of Average Global Temperature: Let’s think about this for a minute. What is the ‘average’ temperature on earth right now? Yes, I mean at this very moment. One hundred two degrees, as the thermometers in Arizona might report? Fifty below, as the ones in Antarctica would claim? Neither, obviously.


The Supposed Effects of Manmade Global Warming:

The scientists are talking about the melting of glaciers, the flooding of thousands of miles of coastline, the forced migration of major populations, the devastation of our agricultural equilibrium, and dozens of other effects of their one degree ‘average increase.’ So there’s a quite valid reason for asking whether they’re as certain as they sound.


Siting Stations and the Urban Heat Island Effect: Is it sufficient to record the airport temperature of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, add those temperatures together and divide by three? Probably not. Maybe we need to add Paris, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Sydney, and Little America in the Antarctic. Would that do? Again, probably not. That leaves out a lot of places, and measurements in the city are tricky anyway, because artificial structures like asphalt paving have a tendency to soak up additional heat. So we’d better add in a bunch of pure countryside and farmland – put some of our thermometers in fields, forests, mountains, ocean-top oil rigs, deserts, prairies, and plateaus. Still, this doesn’t tell us much about how to weight the number of instances we measure, so that we balance arctic and Antarctic cold properly against tropical and temperate zones.


‘Gridding’ and Determining True Local Weather: Because no matter how many thermometers you have out there, say one hundred thousand, you’d get more accurate data if you put another million in the spaces in between the hundred thousand, and more accurate data still if you put another hundred million in between those.


The Historical Record of Temperature and Weather: This must mean that our theoretically correct number is actually determined by the number of instances – and the standard of measurement precision – that was already established in the year 1897.

Eighteen hundred and ninety seven. William McKinley was President of the United States. The automobile was a curiosity that frightened the horses. The continents of the world were connected by steamship travel and the telegraph. Charles Lindbergh hadn’t been born. There weren’t any airports anywhere. The North and South Poles hadn’t been discovered yet. But the worldwide temperature recording system was already in place.

It’s like time travel! All of these questions have been hashed over in the now-popular climate blogosphere, but this was before any of them, before blogs themselves existed, really.

Rather than read most of the journal entry here (too late!), I wanted to announce a new section on A Deerhound Diary: The Gloves Off archive. I’ll make a page for it to be linked on the main banner, but for now, you can get to it in the Gloves Off category to your left. The July 25th piece about climate is right here, please read the whole thing.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be selecting and posting these pertinent perspectives from 16 years ago. Many of Robert’s thoughts are bearing fruit right now, and the long view is worth examining. Most blogs live for the day, like Raebert, but this blog knows the power of the past, like The Boss.

Sometimes it's just hot.

Sometimes it’s just hot.