Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
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"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

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Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

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Irish Elk
Saturday, August 30, 2008  

"Alaska's Joan of Arc"

There's the grizzly bear.

And these pics indeed are worth 2,000 words.

The Irish Elk likes the Sarah Palin pick more and more. It's a brilliant stroke.

Too much interesting coverage today to link individual posts, so just start scrolling here:

Catholic Blogs

Real Clear Politics

Weekly Standard

The Corner

UPDATE, 8/31/08

Tale of the Tape: Palin vs Obama

Compare their actual accomplishments and it's no contest.

(Via The Anchoress)


Dick Morris: The Lady is a Champ


Friday, August 29, 2008  

"Your average hockey mom in Alaska"

Chris Cillizza, Washington Post: The Palin Stunner

Noemie Emerie, Weekly Standard: What Palin Does

NRO Editors: The Palin Pick

Llama Butchers: ?????? !!!!!

Hugh Hewitt: An extraordinary choice

RCP Video: McCain-Palin rally in Ohio

Jay Cost, RCP: A calculated risk for McCain

Ed Rollins, CNN: A brilliant but risky choice

Toby Harnden, Daily Telegraph: A maverick chooses a maverick

Power Line: Miss Wasilla 1984

* * *

At The Corner:

Good Points (Not Mine) [Jay Nordlinger]

A reader writes, “Don’t overthink it. She absolutely kills. No wonder Democrats curse Republicans as evil geniuses.”

And, to go along with that note, another one (from a lady): “I’m not a feminist, and in fact think most of them are nuts. That said, when Governor Palin walked onto the stage, I teared up. I was surprised by my reaction. I think that’s the reason Governor Palin is up there.”

Another: “I have never been more energized by a national Republican candidate in my life.”

The Base Has Spoken [Mark Hemingway]

I've been getting a nonstop barrage of reader emails all around one theme — McCain done good:

Awesomely Awesome!!!
I just gave McCain some money for the first time.


Add me to the list of people who just went from “Will vote for McCain as lesser of two evils” to “Will donate and volunteer for his campaign”.

She's a hit [Mona Charen]

I'm getting tons of mail like this:

Sarah is real!!! What a fabulous contrast with Obama, who is not real. Sarah is from America. Obama is not.

Sarah gives me hope for America, because of who she is, not because of any group she "represents."

More valuable than pearls is a woman who likes to fish and hunt.

Consider that after last night's extravaganza we are all excitedly discussing the Republican team. That is a political feat of no small significance. Beginning to think the McCain folks can play this game.

More Re: Why Sarah Palin is No Dan Quayle [Peter Robinson]

Emails like this coming at the rate of roughly one a minute:

Toss me in as another Republican who's ecstatic about this pick and who's writing a check. I teared up as I watched the speech given by Gov. Palin. I haven't been this proud to be a Republican in far too long a time. I am proud we have a bona fide American hero running for president who has the political chops to miraculously energize his base and sucker punch the opposition at the same time.

Unbelievable. Now where's my credit card...

Re: Palin Pros & Cons [Peter Robinson]

"Today," Andy McCarthy writes below, "I go from from an ambivalent McCain supporter driven more by fear of Obama to someone who can feel good about the prospects of a McCain administration."

Me too.

And I just bet twenty bucks that McCain would win.


Thursday, August 28, 2008  

Yes! We have an O-ba-ma!

We have an O-ba-ma today!

That little ditty has been stuck in my head all day. Vero Possumus!

Get in the spirit for Barackapalooza courtesy of the People's Cube.

What, Me Boo Hoo?

More comments to come after the Exalted One speaks.



Once Great Party Week

Also by Peter Arno in the New Yorker:

"We're going to the Trans-Lux to hiss Roosevelt."

Jack Hylton: "Happy Days are Here Again"


Wednesday, August 27, 2008  

Once Great Party Week: The Tammany Tiger

Original caption:

The Tiger's Share.

Tammany-"I'm monarch of all I survey; My rule there is none to dispute.
From Harlem right down to the bay I'm lord of the man and the brute."

~ c. 1885

* * *

George Washington Plunkitt: The Sage of Tammany Hall:

The Irish as Natural-Born Leaders

The Irish was born to rule, and they're the honestest people in the world. One reason why the Irishman is more honest in politics than many Sons of the Revolution is that he is grateful to the country and the city that gave him protection and prosperity when he was driven by oppression from the Emerald Isle.

His one thought is to serve the city which gave him a home. He has this thought even before he lands in New York, for his friends here often have a good place in one of the city departments picked out for him while he is still in the old country. Is it any wonder that he has a tender spot in his heart for old New York when he is on its salary list the mornin' after he lands?

* * *



Once Great Party Week

Tammany Hall

The smoking room of the Democratic club on Fifth Avenue, the social headquarters of Tammany Hall. Note the stuffed tiger in the jungle in upper left hand corner.

* The first in a series of articles on the great secular organizations of the world. The next paper in the series will be an illustrated article on "The British Foreign Office."
~ Munsey's Magazine, 1900



Once Great Party Week

Harry Truman on the "Missouri Waltz":

A 1958 article in the Kansas City Star reported that the song was played at nearly every public occasion during his 1948 presidential campaign and it became part of Missouri folklore that the "Missouri Waltz" was his favorite song. Truman said about the song, "I just got tired of it. After all, they played it 30,000 times or more during that 1948 presidential campaign." In 1962, Truman was a guest of honor at a private dinner in a hotel. He walked down the hall towards the restroom and the leader of an orchestra in the main ballroom saw him and had his band play the "Missouri Waltz." Truman remarked to a friend that had accompanied him, "It's getting so you can't go to the men's room anymore without them playing the song."



Once Great Party Week

The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.

~ Hubert H. Humphrey

* * *


Dems approve wholly pro-abortion platform

* * *

Fr John Kavanaugh, SJ, America:

Dear Senator Obama

I am writing this open letter to you, Senator, on the outside chance that one of your National Catholic Advisory Council members might read America and pass it on to you.

You have an abortion problem, especially with pro-life Catholics who would like to vote for you—something to keep in mind when you ponder the fact that there has been up to a 15 percent rise in Catholics voting Republican in the past two elections.

Catholic voters do not think monolithically. That should come as no surprise to you, since you have many Senate colleagues with a Catholic background who have supported every bill insuring a “woman’s right to choose.” But if you are interested in the respectful hearing of opposing positions, as you often note, it will be valuable for you to have serious conversations with groups like Democrats for Life of America and Feminists for Life...

A vociferous cadre in the Democratic Party has for too long wielded a dogmatic veto over any discussion of limiting abortions. With your commitment to reasoned, evidence-based and respectful discourse, are you able to challenge your party to welcome pro-life Catholics into its supposed big tent?

* * *

Deacon Keith Fournier, Catholic Online:

Forced Eviction from our First Home

Personally, I am growing increasingly tired of the efforts of those commentators who are, like me, Irish Catholics from the Northeast who grew up when there was a discernible blue collar Catholic Culture in those major metropolitan centers. They have decided to equate their nostalgia with the past with what it means to be a Catholic today. It is questionable whether their image is even an accurate account of what it really meant to be a Catholic back then.

For example, Chris Matthews, the feisty Irish Catholic who hosts “Hardball”, has been attempting to join the chorus of those who maintain that the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden, is a “blue collar Catholic kind of guy”. In other words, Matthews is arguing that Biden will attract people like me back to the Party I grew up in and somehow capture my vote. He won’t Chris - and you won’t succeed in your nostalgic effort to paint Catholic faith in this manner. I would be happy to vote for a Democratic candidate who was pro-life. In fact, I watch with eagerness and hope as groups like Democrats for Life try to help that once great Party recover their soul and hear the cry of all the poor, including our neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, the first neighborhood, our mother's womb.

* * *

Democrats for Life:

The Case for Pro-Life Democrats (PDF)




Random Notes on the Dem Convention, Night Two

(With an assist from Mrs Elk):

What appalling smarm, that Hillary lead-in. Yes, girls, you, too, can grow up to be president – just by marrying a philandering tomcat of a political con-man.

Machiavelli isn't the half of it. She's pathological, Nixon in a pantsuit.

Writes Amy Holmes at NRO:

From that introductory video, you'd never know Hillary was married to Bill. Or that she had a father. It was like Planet of the Amazons.

Did you see Bill, teary-eyed, biting his lower lip, mouthing, "Ah love you, Ah love you," when the camera was on him? What a pip.

Biden certainly is getting a lot of practice jumping to his feet and clapping.

Keeping to the convention theme, Hillary trotted out once again the unbroken line of the halt and the lame. Give me your tired, your poor, your cancer victims with "Hillary" written across their heads.






Susan B. Anthony? Harriet Tubman? Hillary Clinton – who married her way to power by enabling an Elmer Gantry of a husband – a role model for our daughters? Don't think so.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008  

Once Great Party Week

On Sargent Shriver:

Sargent Shriver, and his fate as a Democratic presidential prospect, has always illustrated to me an unfortunate side effect of modern liberal politics: No matter how committed someone like Shriver is to the Democratic causes - no matter how great their legacies - they are today invariably viewed with suspicion for being committed Catholics.

By some credible measures, Shriver is America's most magnificent liberal. He is a founder of the Peace Corps, which would become a rite of passage for thousands of earnest, life-long, income-redistributionists, Volvo-buyers and contributors to the Sierra Club.

Shriver helped create the Special Olympics and still sits as its chairman of the board emeritus. He was on the ground floor for Upward Bound, Head Start, the Job Corps, as well as numerous do-gooder programs from Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. The Kennedy clan, into which he married, was better known than Shriver as pillars of Democratic liberalism, but as author Scott Stossel argues, there was no better, purer liberal than Sarge.

He and wife Eunice were among the greatest American liberals, that is, until the early 1970s came along. Then something changed.

As Stossel observes in his biography, Shriver remained committed to his party despite the fact that he was at odds with it on an issue that would evolve into the most sacred of all Democratic Party planks: abortion rights. As long-time family friend Michael Novak related, "on abortion, he and Eunice were always flat out of accord with their party."

Obviously Democrats would never outright reject a great liberal icon like Shriver.

But they sure would never again elect someone like him for president.

~ Doug MacEachern, Arizona Republic (6/13/04)



The Nanny Democrats

Random thoughts on the Dem Convention, Night One:

If you like Oprah, you liked Michelle Obama's speech.

The Irish Elk's view of the proceedings is captured by Jay Nordlinger:

Do you notice that soldiers in Iraq are being kind of infantilized at this convention? They’re so often referred to as social-welfare cases — people in need of health benefits and so on. Delicate. Fragile. A mother was “worried about her child in Iraq.” Okay, he’s her child, all right. But he’s also a soldier.

The speakers I’ve heard don’t seem to want our soldiers to fight and win. They are simply “children” to be cared for, by Democratic programs.

That seems to be the Party's whole pitch: we're all social-welfare cases, in need of care. Not exactly inspiring or challenging.

The Irish Elk was reminded of Rob Long's holographic floating giant Obama head ("The Long View," National Review, 9/1/08) when the telecast image of the Man of the Hour appeared, Jambi-like, from the Mekka-lekka-hi-mekka-hi-de-ho box in the middle of the stage. Hi, Daddy! What city are you in?

The born-in-a-log-cabin spiel has a long pedigree in American presidential politics, but Mrs Obama's effort to shoehorn her husband's (relatively exotic) upbringing and her own into the Average Working Class template was scripted at best. Where's John Edwards when you need him?

Striking how many of the delegates appeared to be earnest feminist college professors. That some of them were crying at Mrs Obama's speech suggests they like Lifestyle Network fare as much as the next guy. Overall, apart from the Kennedy tribute, didn't the crowd's stage-managed enthusiasm seem a bit lukewarm?

The Irish Elk actually found the speech by Rep. Leach, the longtime Ripon Society stalwart, to be the most thoughtful and interesting of the night (even if the former congressman does sound like Kermit THE Frog). Wonder why he chose to jump the GOP ship at this point, as McCain would appear to be his sort of candidate?

Caroline Kennedy is no orator, and she may prefer a relatively private lifestyle to a public one, but if she were to move to Massachusetts to run for Teddy's Senate seat she'd win in a walk.

Jimmy Carter, it bears noting, was the Worst President Ever.


Monday, August 25, 2008  

Once Great Party Week

During the Dem Convention the Irish Elk recalls a Once Great Party.

* * *

The Editors, NRO: The Denver Democrats

The Democratic party that meets today in Denver is one that many of its forebears would hardly recognize and might abhor. The determination to face down our enemies that characterized Harry Truman, the willingness to cut tax rates that John F. Kennedy showed, the pro-life convictions that informed Hubert Humphrey and Ed Muskie, even the free-trading instincts that Bill Clinton possessed — all have been banished from the party of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

* * *

Bruce Walker, American Thinker:

Forty Years after the Death of a Party

Forty years ago, in the third week of August 1968, something horrible happened to the American Left and to its host, the Democratic Party. We have been living with this horror ever since. Democrats once embraced patriotism. Scoop Jackson, a true liberal on domestic issues, was as passionate a supporter of America against our enemies as any other politician in America. JFK, in his 1960 campaign against Nixon, argued that the Eisenhower Administration had neglected national defense and he promised to defend freedom anywhere. Harry Truman was wrong on many things, but he defended the Republic of Korea, he ordered the Berlin Airlift, and he pushed the Truman Plan and the Marshall Plan. Once Democrats, liberal Democrats, were genuine patriots who opposed our totalitarian enemies…

* * *

Ted Van Dyk, WSJ:

How the Election of 1968 Reshaped the Democratic Party

In the wake of 1968, party leaders drew the wrong lesson from the narrow loss to Nixon. Reform efforts focused on giving young, socially liberal voters greater representation and voice in the party. But they did not do anything to bring middle-American Democrats back home.

* * *

Michael Lind, Salon: The Newer Deal

Both of the national parties today claim roots in the older eras of Roosevelt and Lincoln. But I am 46 years old, and today's Democratic Party and Republican Party are younger than I am. What happened beginning in 1968 was that one two-party system -- let us call it the Roosevelt Party versus the Hoover Party -- gave way to the present two-party system, which pits the Nixon Party versus the McGovern Party. (Via Right Democrat)

* * *

From the Irish Elk archives:

Elegy for the Democrats (6/7/02)

More on a once great party (8/14/04)


Sunday, August 24, 2008  

The Tory Democrat

Found via Google Book search,

this 1905 edition of the The American Monthly Review of Reviews,

with a profile of the young Winston Churchill:

He undoubtedly owes much to the American strain which comes from [his mother]. He has inherited a full measure of American snap. He is a hustler of the first class. He is as pushing as a New England canvasser, and his "American ways" are often referred to with intense disgust by the rivals whom he has passed in the race. "I never see him," said a conservative M.P., "but I think of a Chicago newsboy." He certainly means to make things hum. He is constantly on the alert. In the House and in the country, he is never silent.

* * *

In a 1984 piece for Harper's titled "If Pooh Were President: A tory's riposte to Reaganism," the late Henry Fairlie describes what he sees as a lack of "any true American conservatism":

The fundamental and persistent weakness of American conservatism is that it is not nourished by any distinct tory spirit. The conservative and the tory may be allies, but they are not the same creatures. Americans may not appreciate how shattering it is to come to their country and find a "conservatism" that has no element of toryism to nourish and humanize and correct it. The conservative can all too easily drift into a morally bankrupt and intellectually shallow defense of those who have it made and those who are on the make if the tory is not there to remind him of what Edward Heath, in denouncing Margaret Thatcher, called "the ugly face of capitalism.

Fairlie sees in toryism four distinguishing signs:

The first mark of the tory is a steady, unvolatile, almost unconscious confidence in the resources and resilience of his society...

The second mark of the tory is that he despises "trade" and those in it...

The third mark of the tory is his belief in strong central government. That is the meaning of his support of the Monarchy. (He will always write it with an inital capital letter.)...

The fourth mark of the tory is that he capitalizes the People...it was as the self-conscious heir to Disraeli's mantle that in 1940 Churchill drew the Monarchy and the People together into a fighting nation. It must not be forgotten: the appeasers were conservatives; the nonappeasers were tories...

The title of the piece comes from an allusion Fairlie makes to A.A. Milne's bear. "Pooh was a tory," he writes. "As he often engagingly said when one of his plans went awry, he was a 'Bear of Very Little Brain.' But then he did not set much store by either plans or brains. In their place, he had wisdom. He knew that the Forest was governed, season after season, by laws he did not understand. Left to himself, he would have done nothing. The Forest would be there when he woke up; even more assuring, he knew that it was there while he was asleep..."

Actually, another literary figure I see in Fairlie's description of a tory is Jack Aubrey.

I would be interested in getting the perspective of some of my tory and conservative friends and readers -- such as Old Dominion Sachem, Llama Robbo, the Patum Peperii, Mr. Cusack, the Monarchists and the Classic Canadian, among others -- and invite their comment.

* * *

On Churchill and his favorite champagne.


Friday, August 22, 2008  

Charleston Style

Bring on the weekend!


Thursday, August 21, 2008  

Emma Peel

Steve M writes:

Alas, there is no koala in the photo, but it is grade A RCBfA material.



Please pass the eucalyptus

Plenty for the RCBfA to chew on here:

Lee Remick et al * Claudia Cardinale

With entertainment by:

Sam & Dave * The Three Keatons

And a special guest appearance by:

Tricky Dick as John Edwards


Before Mrs P complains about the picture above...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008  


One of the pleasures of travel is reading the local newspaper. In the Portland Press-Herald last week the lead stories included Sen. Collins' unguarded remarks on the John Edwards matter, and Mainers in the Olympics, including the former waitress with the New Wave hair dye in the inaugural women's steeplechase, and the two rowers, one of them the great-great-granddaugher of Charles Dana Gibson, who went on to win gold in the women's eight. In Mark Trail (an Alley Oop-like perennial of the out-of-town comic section), Cherry and Kelly were trapped in a cave with a mother mountain lion and her cubs.

Now comes word the Press-Herald might close. Maine's largest city without a daily paper? Hard days, indeed, in the newspaper business.

* * *

"Callimachus," a newspaper copy editor who has blogged pseudonymously at Done Without Mirrors, saw ominous portents in the newsroom tea leaves and has shuttered his site.

He writes:

In the current workplace climate and the likely evolution of the political scene both inside and outside the newsroom, it would be extremely unwise for me to continue blogging, even anonymously.

This is a loss. His essays were as good as any college history seminar, and better than most anything you'll find on the standard newspaper op-ed page.

* * *

Maine notes:

* You can enact your own version of Ghost Hunters in the dark narrow passages of this gun battery at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth.

* Who knew they had surfers in Maine? The New York Times two years ago took in the Maine surfing scene. Here you can see a Drake's Island surf map. The swells there on Friday appeared to top eight feet.

* Drake's Island * The beach * The cormorants

* If you sit down the left field line at Hadlock Field, there is a chance you will dodge a foul ball or three, and also that you may run across Llama Robbo at the Shipyard Ale stand, which the Irish Elk last week had the good fortune to do. Robbo is indeed a real person, and it was a pleasure toasting the Sea Dogs and the blogosphere with him.

* * *

On the radio:

Andrea Carroll, 18-year-old soprano, sings "Poor Wand'ring One" from Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance.


Saturday, August 09, 2008  

Maine beckons

See you all next week!



The Olympic Spirit: Bob Mathias, 1948

Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue!


Thursday, August 07, 2008  

Party Animals

"Who votes on issues? Please. People vote on iconography, what club they want to be in." ~ Dee Davis, Center for Rural Strategies

* * *

The Irish Elk wishes there were still a Pat Moynihan Club.

* * *

The conservative and the tory may be allies, but they are not the same creatures...Those closest to being tories in America today are those who call themselves (Scoop) Jackson Democrats. ~ Henry Fairlie, "If Pooh Were President: A tory's riposte to Reaganism," Harper's, May, 1984.

* * *

Cavalier or Roundhead?

"The only thing I want to know about a man is which side he would like his ancestors to have fought on at Marston Moor." ~ Isaac Foot

* * *

"[Al Smith's] campaign song, 'The Sidewalks of New York,' still moves me as 'Dixie' moves a Southerner..." Dean Acheson, A Democrat Looks at His Party, 1955

* * *

Via Last.fm:

"The Sidewalks of New York":

On Wurlitzer 153 Band Organ

On 52 Key French Gasparini Organ



Look Sharp!

Dreary here today.

Time to liven things up, via Wayback Machine.

More Joe Jackson via Last.fm:

"Baby Stick Around"

"Sunday Papers"

"Fools in Love"

"Kinda Kute"

"I'm the Man"


"Beat Crazy"


Tuesday, August 05, 2008  

"The Radical's Arms"

I had been looking for an excuse to post this provocative bit of 19th-century anti-Jacobinism by George Cruikshank.

What better occasion than the founding of Llama Robbo's new blog, The Port Stands At Your Elbow? There the standing toast is, "Confusion to Boney!"


Sunday, August 03, 2008  

The Two Man Gentlemen Band:

"William Howard Taft"

Oh, you can't sneak nothin' past

William Howard Taft



Elmore James: "Dust My Broom"


"Elmore James"

From the "Blues N' Booze Series" by Jonathon Kimbrell




It seems to me that at this time we need education
in the obvious more than the investigation of the obscure.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


Friday, August 01, 2008  

Exit Manny.

Don't let the door hit you on your malingering, overpaid, baggy-pantsed arse.*

Gerry Callahan observes:

The team formerly known as “Dem Bums” just got the biggest bum of them all.

Let the Jason Bay Era begin!

* To expand on Thos Fitzpatrick's sentiments.


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