Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kittles 'n Bits - Blogging By Numbers

When I was a kid my next door neighbour ran over his cat Kittles while backing up in his driveway. Had I been the investigating officer for the cat police, my report would have listed several contributing factors that led to the incident. The first thing I would have noted was that the victim enjoyed sleeping under the shade of the car's back tire - not exactly a smart life plan for Kittles. Another factor would have been age, both of Mr. Pierce, an 89 year old British ex-pat who made Mr. Magoo look like the poster boy of vehicular vigilance, and of Kittles, whom I suspect may have been 124 in cat years. Mr. Pierce would have fiercely contested my findings, as he blamed my brother - who had been reading an Archie comic book on our front porch over 60 feet away - for having intentionally distracted him, a bizarre claim to which he held steadfastly until the Church of England laid his tired bones to rest.

I bring this up because, like Mr. Pierce, the Obama administration has "run over the cat" politically, and, also like poor old Mr. Pierce, Robert Gibbs and the President are placing blame where it doesn’t belong, which brings us to our favourite feature of the Hype - It's blogging by numbers time!!!

1- Now that my brother has hopefully recovered from reliving the traumatic berating of our posthumous childhood neighbour, let's get back to the blame game on Capitol Hill. With the Democratic party in both Houses and the President at record low approval ratings, it seems the administration is in full finger-pointing mode. The White House has blamed everyone from President Bush to Glenn Beck to the tea parties for their woes. It all rings a bit hollow. The President promised to bring a new tone to Washington, to rise above partisan politics, and of course to bring lots of "hope" and "change". He also promised job creation, tax breaks for the middle class, and a new direction in foreign policy that would repair America's supposedly tattered image abroad.

Well, President Obama got his stimulus package, and a chance to play the foreign appeasement game as well. Over a year later we now have double digit unemployment (10.4% as of February 2010), threats of tax hikes on the lower middle class, an Iran that has gone nuclear, an emboldened Kim Jong Il (who has gone nuclear in more ways than one), and the contempt of not only the Arab world but of the sycophants in Europe who were once so entranced with the young senator from Illinois.

It was the President who decided to throw billions of dollars in seemingly aimless directions under the misguided Chomskyesque belief that government can create jobs. It was the President who provided a provision to allow those who had already defaulted on their sub-prime mortgages to renegotiate the terms of their loans, despite a projected default rate of almost 68%. Appeasement has led to an emboldened Iran and attempted terrorist attacks on American soil for the first time since 9/11. Robert Gibbs likes to complain that the Reid/Pelosi legislative juggernaut has come to a grinding halt because of an "obstructionist Republican party". I believe a more honest assessment shows that all fingers point to an arrogant Democratic administration.

2 - In James Bowman's review of Burn After Reading, he draws attention to a curious bit of banter between the Coen brothers near the end of a New York Times interview. In an exchange that had no relevance to the discussion at hand, Joel quipped ‘didn’t Karl Popper go after Wittgenstein with a poker?" This is a very telling remark, not only because it's false (it was Wittgenstein who had the poker), but - like their movies - it was forced and contrived, as if it's only purpose was to showcase the towering intellect they seem to believe they possess.

There is no denying the Coens are filmmakers of incredible talent, but as I've noted before, the well of their talent is running rather dry as of late. Their latest film, A Serious Man, like No Country For Old Men, is another banal romp in mindless nihilism that seems to be all the rage in Hollywood lately. A Serious Man is a retelling of the story of Job set in the mid-1960's, but unlike the biblical God of the Old Testament’s story, the Coens' Deity is one who seems to revel at the misfortunes he hurls in the way of Larry Gopnik, played by the talented Michael Stuhlbarg. The sufferings of poor Larry are meant to serve no other purpose than to amuse us (and presumably, the Coens’ "god"). That's not to say that the misfortunes of others can't be funny, but in order for the audience not too take the subject matter too seriously, we must get the sense that the filmmakers don't take themselves too seriously. As of late, that seems to be an almost Job-like pox to expect the Coens to endure.

3 - If you are above the age of 18 and still use the expression "helloooooo", or even worse, "It's like...hellloooo", you may not be an idiot, but you sure do sound like one.

4 - President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have waged a war of words on Israel that has left no ambiguity as to the hostile nature the administration has chosen to take in its diplomatic relations with the embattled nation. On March 11th, in a statement approved by the President, Secretary of State Godzill...I mean, Clinton spewed forth a 45 minute condemnation of Israel, claiming it was not showing a serious commitment to the peace process.

This is utter nonsense.

In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer reminds us that Israelis have been

"...dying for peace since 1947, when they accepted the U.N. partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. (The Arabs refused and declared war. They lost.) In these long and bloody 63 years, the Palestinians have not once accepted an Israeli offer of permanent peace, or ever countered with anything short of terms that would destroy Israel."

President Obama continues to fawn over tin pot dictators like his "amigo" Hugo Chavez, and make conciliatory gestures towards the leaders of brutal Islamic theocracies, but spits in the face of a steadfast ally. What could possibly be the motivation behind such a heavy-handed and unwarranted Carter-like approach to Israeli diplomacy? The Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick may have the answer:

"The final explanation for Obama’s behaviour is that he is using his manufactured crisis to justify adopting an overtly anti-Israel position vis-à-vis the Palestinians. On Thursday, The New York Times reported that administration officials are considering having Obama present his own “peace plan.” Given the administration’s denial of Israel’s right to Jerusalem, an “Obama plan,” would doubtless require Israel to withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines and expel some 700,000 Jews from their homes."

With friends like this....

5 - This blog started out with a story about a dead cat. No cats were harmed in the writing of this blog...except the one I stuffed in a bag and threw over a bridge.



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