Formerly Ad Orientem

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"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

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

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Irish Elk
Tuesday, September 30, 2008  

Wee Sing for Obama

Jonah Goldberg writes:

All I Need to Know About Your Politics…

Is whether you find this creepy or not.

Apparently lots do, to judge from the comments at the Obama site.

Meantime, an e-mailer to NRO suggests the original was better.



The Sun sets

A loss to readers and lovers of the antediluvian dingbat:

* Jay Nordlinger (NRO)

* Jim Geraghty (NRO)

* Ben Smith (Politico)

* Andrew Cusack

* James Taranto (WSJ)


Monday, September 29, 2008  

Defend us in battle

In re college statuary: John Harvard and Father Carroll are fine in their ex cathedra way, but for sheer foe-thumping vigor it's hard to top St Michael the Archangel at Boston College.

St Michael doesn't negotiate without preconditions.

Today is the feast day of the patron saint of soldiers, sailors and policemen, not to mention haberdashers, greengrocers and many others.

Thos Fitzpatrick marks Michaelmas 2008. So does Tea at Trianon.

Mrs P eschews Highland carrots and griddle-cakes for a nice apple tart.

Daniel Matsui draws the saint.

The Paragraph Farmer listens to Arcangelo Corelli.

The Michaelerkirche in Vienna is dedicated to St Michael. Here are the statue over the entrance and the high altar.

* * *

From the website of St Michael's Parish, Bedford, Mass.:

Angels were present at the beginning of time when they engaged in a great battle in heaven. As told in the Bible, the powerful angel Satan fancying himself to be like unto God had rebelled against the Creator. "Who is like God?" was the war cry of the host of good angels led by the archangel Michael, who overcame Satan and his followers and cast them out of heaven. "Who is like God?" is the English translation of the Hebrew "Mikha El," the source of the name Michael. In paintings and statues, the Latin equivalent "Quis ut Deus" is often inscribed on Saint Michael's shield.

Michael is considered a principal angel and guardian of the Church. In the Prophecy of Daniel, Chapter 10, the angel Gabriel, appearing to Daniel, refers to Michael as a chief prince called upon to settle a dispute between angels. At the end of the same chapter Gabriel refers to "Michael your prince," in the sense of a guardian of God's people.

Michael continues the fight against evil. According to an ancient Jewish tradition, which is referred to in the Epistle of St. Jude the Apostle (Jude 1: 9), Michael protected the dead body of Moses from the devil, who wished to use it to tempt the Jewish people into the sin of hero worship. The Dead Sea Scroll "The War of The Sons of Light and The Sons of Darkness," describes Michael as the prince of light leading the forces of good against the darkness of evil. Other evidence to the continuing battle fills tradition down through the ages.

* * *

A prayer to the prince of the celestial army:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Sunday, September 28, 2008  

Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra

Scroll down to hear Louis Armstrong on "Sugarfoot Stomp."

Cooking to Fletcher Henderson on this rainy weekend:
chili yesterday, apple crisp today.

Here is a clip of "Teapot Dome Blues":


Saturday, September 27, 2008  

Paul Newman, RIP



Obama: "I've got a bracelet, too"

(Via Llama)


Thursday, September 25, 2008  

Teen Time: Dance Contest

~ Aired c. 1967 on WSTV-TV, Steubenville, Ohio

To the winners, a Strawberry Alarm Clock LP.

Writes a YouTube commenter:

OMG! The blonde is my mom!

See also:

Teen Time: The Hello People:

Unique in the history of entertainment, The Hello People were a troupe of singing mimes.

As they say, if you can remember the '60s, you weren't there.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008  

"HMS Victory in danger"

Received this message Tuesday from the Aubrey-Maturin Appreciation Society on Facebook:

The Royal Navy is attempting to sell HMS Victory to a charity or even corporate enterprise, in order to save on the £1.5 million ($2.8 million) annual cost of preserving Nelson's flagship.

This is shocking and very worrying news. It marks a very real threat to the fibre of British - and global - maritime heritage, in the name of short term cost cutting and budget cuts. Victory is 250 years old. She was Nelson's flagship at the 1805 battle of Trafalgar. She transformed world history and Nelson died on her deck in the heat of battle.

Please help us stand firm on this!


The Sun

Daily Telegraph

The Times

Daily Mail

Portsmouth News

If you are a British citizen you may wish to sign this petition.

Above: The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner, painted 1822.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008  

Red October

Sox clinch playoff berth;

October baseball returns to the Fens.



Civility undone by the Left

It occurred to me last night while watching the Reagan biography on The American Experience. Then-Gov. Reagan was speaking out against the radicals who had laid siege to Berkeley, and the story was told how he had recognized one of the agitators, a Marxist organizer, from his Hollywood union days 20 years before. It struck me that the spirit of the Totalitarian Left -- call it Stalinist, even call it Fascist, if you like – that led radicals to shut down campuses to further their demands, to take over buildings, to shout down speakers, to denounce as monsters those who advocated different policies and points of view, to villify the other side, has survived to this day and done more than any competing political tendency to chip away at any civility that once might have attached to our public debates over politics.

Good, well-meaning Adlai Stevenson liberals let the heirs to Old Left – the Stalinists, the anarchists, the Wobblies, ready to denounce any opponent to the party line as a fascist – into the boiler room of the Democratic Party. So today you have Obama talking like Adlai, but with a copy of Saul Alinksy's Rules for Radicals in his back pocket. You see John McCain, a relative centrist, once the darling of the media, and the bane of the Republican right, now widely depicted as a figure out of a right-wing nightmare, and Sarah Palin – of whom most people, left and right, had never heard a month ago – portrayed as even worse, as some sort of caricatured monstrosity. The New York Times and NBC et al outdo each other to convey Dem talking points. Tina Fey, who does a spot-on Palin impression, feels it necessary to urge voters to save her from having to do the impression anymore after Nov. 5, not caring she thus alienates half her audience. Twenty years ago, Richard Nixon could go on Laugh-In and say "Sock it to me?" and it was funny, and Rowan and Martin didn't see the need to put in their two cents afterward about what a bastard he was.

Dennis Prager writes today on the tendency of the Left to impute evil to those who dissent, in this case, the readiness to brand those who don't vote for Obama as racists:

Why do liberals believe that if Obama loses it will be due to white racism?

One reason is the liberal elite's contempt for white Americans with less education -- even if they are Democrats.

A second reason is that it is inconceivable to most liberals that an Obama loss -- especially a narrow one -- will be due to Obama's liberal views or inexperience or to admiration for John McCain.

The third reason is that the further left you go, the more insular you get. Americans on the left tend to talk only to one another; study only under left-wing teachers; and read only fellow leftists. That is why it is a shock to so many liberals when a Republican wins a national election -- where do all these Republican voters come from? And that in turn explains why liberals ascribe Republican presidential victories to unfair election tactics ("Swift-boating" is the liberals' reason for the 2004 Republican victory). In any fair election, Americans will see the left's light.

If Obama loses, it will not be deemed plausible that Americans have again rejected a liberal candidate, indeed the one with the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. Liberals will explain an Obama defeat as another nefarious Republican victory.

Combining contempt for many rural and middle-class white Americans with a longstanding belief in the inevitability of a Democratic victory in 2008 (after all, everyone they talk to despises the Republicans and believes Republicans have led the country to ruin), there will be only one reason Obama did not win -- white racism.

Leftism has become a quasi-religion that finds its reason for being in criticizing society and denouncing heretics. From the radicalism of the '60s through its partisan takeover of academia and the media, through the savaging of Bork and Clarence Thomas through today's attacks on Sarah Palin, the spirit of the totalitarian Left – I won't call it liberalism, because it is illiberal – has contributed the most to the demise of civility in our public discourse.

* * *

Victor Davis Hanson: Warnings of a Fascist Palin-Rove-Cheney police state

* * *

Via Corbis:

LBJ War Criminal (1967)

Heil Nixon (1970)

Stop Reagan (1981)

F*ck Bush (2004)

* * *

Above: "The Soul of the Left," Cox & Forkum


Sunday, September 21, 2008  

Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday:

"What a Little Moonlight Can Do" (1935)


Saturday, September 20, 2008  

Tania Mallet


With Basil Seal and Mrs P musing at length on double-naught spies, the Irish Elk chapter of the RCBfA submits for your consideration one of the preeminent Bond Girls, arguably 1A to Daniela Bianchi's 1.

She played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger. Her character was dispatched by a lethally-thrown bowler hat.

That was pretty much it for her acting career. She said:

"If you're only going to make one movie in life, then why not 'Goldfinger?'"


Friday, September 19, 2008  

Is it me, or is this Deepak Chopra person on crack?

He writes on Obama and the Palin Effect:

The emergence of Gov. Palin wasn't simply startling -- it was inexplicable. How could 20% of women voters suddenly turn toward her when Palin stands for erasing forty years of feminism? How could the mentality of a small-town mayor morph into a potential President making global decisions? To explain her meteoric rise, I offered the idea that each of us harbors a shadow, a place where our hidden impulses live. By appealing to fear, resentment, hostility to change, suspicion of "the other," and similar dark impulses, the Republicans have been the shadow's party for a long time. Sarah Palin put a smiling face on feelings that normally we feel ashamed of…

People who were shocked and dismayed by the Palin effect generally don't know how to handle shadow energies. Here are a few salient points:

1. Don't panic -- The shadow is built into your psyche, and when it brings fear, hostility, and resentment to the surface, those feelings want to get out. They cause disruption, but your panic only makes them stick around longer.
2. Try not to be overwhelmed -- Eruptions from the shadow are transitory. If you don't encourage them, these energies dissipate naturally. If you are overwhelmed, however, the net result is exhaustion and loss of energy.
3. Remind yourself who you really are -- You are much more than your shadow, because your aspirations, hopes, and dreams keep advancing despite the shadow's apparent power. Pay the least attention to these disruptions as you need to calm down and no more.
4. Keep a clear focus -- The shadow creates disorder and runaway emotions. If you focus on your purpose and remain rational, you will anchor yourself to a more stable reality.
5. Don't fight fire with fire -- If you sink to the level of dark energies, you will be fighting on their terms, and the likelihood is that you will lose.

If we translate these points into current politics, they are clearly applicable. The Democrats were triggered by Palin because they fear losing and that fear runs deep. The bogeymen that frighten us the most come from a primitive level; they stir a sense of childish helplessness. But your mature self, like Obama's campaign organization, is coherent and knows how to carry out its purpose...

The bottom line is that the 2008 election isn't about change versus experience or a noble candidate who may lose to one who plays dirty. This election is about consciousness...

* * *

Above: "Krampus," by Travis Louie.

Looks Republican to me.

* * *

Via Last.fm:

Art Kassel: "Hell's Bells"



Cyril Ritchard wishes you a

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Yo ho!


Thursday, September 18, 2008  

My Sarah Palin Baby Name is

Clop Clutch Palin

My wife's is Krinkle Bearcat Palin.

What's your Sarah Palin Baby Name?

* * *

For more Alaskan fun:

WC Fields, "The Fatal Glass of Beer" (1933):

Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4



Miff Mole & His Molers: "Navy Blues"


Monday, September 15, 2008  

Taft Presidential Centennial
Happy Birthday, William Howard Taft

~ Born on this day in 1857.

The Library of Congress takes note (second item).

* * *

Some pics from the LOC:

On the links

With his daughter


A Bachrach portrait

At dinner with eagle and flag

Greeted by Columbia on elephant

With minutemen

Campaigning from railroad car

His pet cow, Pauline

The genial sec'y of war at White House garden party, 1906

Sec'y Taft's dinner party, 1905

* * *

At Parlor Songs scroll down to hear "Our Good & Honest Taft."

* * *


"Here's To You, Bill," Edward Windsor Kemble, Harper's Weekly, 1908



Crisis on Wall Street

IHT: Frantic day on Wall Street as banks fall

The Economist: Nightmare on Wall Street

Politico: Bank meltdown wallops campaigns


Sunday, September 14, 2008  

Barking Loons

Mark Twain wrote:

[W]e all know that in all matters of mere opinion that [every] man is insane--just as insane as we are...we know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity: it is where his opinion differs from ours....All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it. None but the Republicans. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats can perceive it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

Well, perhaps. But it says here that, since Sarah Palin's arrival on the scene, many Dems and their media acolyte have acted, by any objective standard, like barking loons.

Roger Kimball asks: Is Sarah Palin dangerous to your mental health?

Take it from Howie Carr: Moonbats dropping like flies from Palin Derangement Syndrome epidemic

See former Boston Globe political cartoonist Paul Szep drawing Sarah Palin as a member of the Taliban ready to put women in burkas.

Or the Democratic operative who took to the Globe op-ed page to compare Palin to the Taliban -- on the anniversary of 9/11.

Scroll through the incensed comments at the site of New York Times "mommy blogger" Judith Warner, who views Palin supporters, in Mark Hemingway's words, as if they're the Lost Tribe of Borneo.

Consider that the author of this grotesquerie at the Daily Kos is a former much-vaunted Democratic candidate for Congress. So much for a New Hope for Bringing People Together.

At least Pamela Anderson, to judge from her Internet videos, can be said to know whereof she speaks.

* * *

Here's to the People's Cube!

Media Investigates Palin's Scandalous Candidacy

People's Ranting-Points Memo: INEXPERIENCE! INEXPERIENCE!



Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

~ SNL, 9/13/08

Ben Smith, Politico:

Tina Fey's world...we just live in it.


Friday, September 12, 2008  

The Wild West Party

If Sarah Palin is Annie Oakley, does that make John McCain Buffalo Bill?

* * *

Minnesota Public Radio:

Buffalo Bill's Cowboy Band * Musical Selections


Thursday, September 11, 2008  

Bailey's smile, heart drive Ace's Place

Scott Burnside, ESPN.com, September 7, 2006:

So many stories, so many laughs, such a big life.

So let us start, then, with those who did not know Ace Bailey at all. The ones like 4-year-old Isabel Santiago, concentrating on extracting the jelly from a donut; trailing her intravenous tubes and medical machinery behind her as though they were a feather boa or a toy of some kind.

Neither Isabel nor her mother, Donna, had any clue about the man for whom the playroom at Boston's Floating Hospital For Children is named when they wandered in for the first time a few days ago. They still don't. Not really. What Donna knows is that, almost immediately, this 6,500-square-foot play area, with its bright lights and wide-open space and comfy couches and chairs and toys, has become a kind of sanctuary for Isabel. Diagnosed with leukemia, Isabel will undergo treatment at Floating Hospital for at least the next month. If the hospital has become her temporary home, then Ace's Place has become the place to come to forget that that is so...

* * *

The Ace Bailey Children's Fund

* * *

~ "THE LAST WORD," AL STRACHAN, Toronto Sun, September 13, 2001:

Ace Bailey was one of those outgoing, affable guys who always had a smile and a story, and it would not be uncommon for both to be evident well into the wee hours.

It would not be a slight to say -- and it would not be anything that Ace was ashamed of -- that he came by his ruddy complexion honestly.

He was certainly not an alcoholic, but he had a zest for life. As one of his many friends said yesterday, "If ever the word 'Runyonesque' described a character, it was Ace."

He was so full of enthusiasm that he wanted no day to end, and as long as there was mirth and merriment in the vicinity, Ace Bailey wanted to be a part of it. In fact, he created a lot of it.

He was one of those guys who rarely got angry, but when he did, it was both appropriate and a harbinger of trouble.

There was, for instance, the time that Ace got on an elevator to hear two guys he didn't know bad-mouthing a friend of his. When the doors opened in the lobby, Bailey strolled out as if nothing had happened, leaving two people on the floor bruised and moaning.

He was Wayne Gretzky's first minder in professional hockey... It was Bailey who made sure no one messed with the young Gretzky, a role in which he excelled.

There was no bluster, no bravado about Ace Bailey. But if it was the time for action, he would be the first into the breech.

That's why, in the hockey village today, they're saying that Ace Bailey was probably dead when his plane, the one that started Monday's carnage, ploughed into the World Trade Center.

They knew Ace Bailey. He was one of them. And they know that there is simply no way that he would have sat passively while a terrorist commandeered his plane and crashed it.

We'll never know if that was the case.

* * *

~ "ANY WAY YOU STACK IT, THIS ACE WAS A CARD," John Powers, Boston Globe, September 18, 2001:

He was already Ace when he arrived on Causeway Street in the autumn of 1968, a grinning, irrepressible man-child fresh up from Hershey. Hockey had already had one Ace Bailey, a Maple Leaf whose career was ended violently by a Bruin (Hall of Fame defenseman Eddie Shore). But this Ace emerged from a deck all his own.

"Who is this kid?" a couple of veterans asked Milt Schmidt skeptically as they watched Bailey banging around his betters at his first training camp. "Don't worry about him," Schmidt assured them. "He's going to be all right."

Bailey was rambunctious and exuberant, Sinden recalls, an ideal recruit for the Big, Bad Bruins, who were an infantry platoon masquerading as a hockey team.

They were Chief and Cash and Turk and Cheesie and Espie and Bobby, a band of spoked-B brethren who scrapped and bled and drank and won together. And Bailey was the Krazy Glue that kept them tight by keeping them loose.

"From Day 1, Ace was full of life and full of fun," remembers Gerry Cheevers. "He sat in the corner with Johnny Pie [McKenzie] and myself and we had a thousand laughs."...

Bailey was wing commander of the Black Aces, the spare line that wore black practice jerseys and skated odd shifts on odd nights.

"He wore out a couple of pairs of hockey pants sliding up and down the Bruins' bench," the team media guide reported after the 1970-71 season. "Did he fret about it? Not so you'd notice it."

Nobody had more fun not playing than Ace Bailey did. That year, he was twice thrown out with game misconducts before he'd gotten into the game.

When Bailey broke his ankle two months before the end of the 1969-70 season, he kept coming to practices and games, kept traveling with the squad. When Bobby Orr scored The Goal against the Blues that brought the Stanley Cup to Boston after 29 barren years, Bailey was standing in street clothes behind the net.

"Stupid me, I went hobblin' like hell for the dressing room when I could have gone out on the ice and celebrated," he said with a laugh two decades later. "All I could think was, 'Hey, get the suit off and get to the champagne.' "...

The old spoked-B brethren scattered, but they came back Friday to Our Lady of the Assumption Church - Bobby and Cheesie and Turk and Cash and Johnny Pie among them - to mourn their rambunctious, exuberant comrade who never completely grew up.

"Uncle Ace is in heaven now," concluded Lauren Pothier, Bailey's 4-year-old niece, "teaching the angels how to talk like Donald Duck."

* * *

Your Spirit's Alive - Dropkick Murphys



Pray unceasingly

Written by Peggy Noonan nearly three years before 9/11:

If someone does the big, terrible thing to New York or Washington, there will be a lot of chaos and a lot of lines going down, a lot of damage, and a lot of things won’t be working so well anymore. And thus a lot more . . . time. Something tells me we won’t be teleconferencing and faxing about the Ford account for a while.

The psychic blow—and that is what it will be as people absorb it, a blow, an insult that reorders and changes—will shift our perspective and priorities, dramatically, and for longer than a while. Something tells me more of us will be praying, and hard, one side benefit of which is that there is sometimes a quality of stopped time when you pray. You get outside time...

We must take the time to do some things. We must press government officials to face the big, terrible thing. They know it could happen tomorrow; they just haven’t focused on it because there’s no Armageddon constituency. We should press for more from our foreign intelligence and our defense systems, and press local, state, and federal leaders to become more serious about civil defense and emergency management.

The other thing we must do is the most important.

I once talked to a man who had a friend who’d done something that took his breath away. She was single, middle-aged and middle class, and wanted to find a child to love. She searched the orphanages of South America and took the child who was in the most trouble, sick and emotionally unwell. She took the little girl home and loved her hard, and in time the little girl grew and became strong, became in fact the kind of person who could and did help others. Twelve years later, at the girl’s high school graduation, she won the award for best all-around student. She played the piano for the recessional. Now she’s at college.

The man’s eyes grew moist. He had just been to the graduation. “These are the things that stay God’s hand,” he told me. I didn’t know what that meant. He explained: These are the things that keep God from letting us kill us all.

So be good. Do good. Stay his hand. And pray. When the Virgin Mary makes her visitations—she’s never made so many in all of recorded history as she has in this century—she says: Pray! Pray unceasingly!

~ Peggy Noonan, "There Is No Time, There Will Be Time," Forbes ASAP, Nov. 30, 1998

(Via Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Corner, NRO)

* * *

Above: Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, by Manuel González Olaechea y Franco

* * *

They felt a railway train as power, yet they, and all other artists, constantly complained that the power embodied in a railway train could never be embodied in art. All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin, build Chartres.

~ Henry Adams, "The Dynamo and the Virgin," The Education of Henry Adams (1900)



We Remember


Wednesday, September 10, 2008  

Taft Centennial
President Taft speaking at Manassas Court House

~ Nov. 10, 1911 ~ Library of Congress



Taft Centennial
Crowd at a Taft Speech, 1908

The Man in the Yellow Hat is front and center. A commenter:

Notice the woman on the right that tries to ruin the photo by picking her nose.

Also: Taft on his campaign train

Via Old Picture of the Day



On the Stump

~ McCain and Palin campaign in Lebanon, Ohio, Sept. 9, 2008.

The new phenomenon sweeping the country: Palinmania.

Even before Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska had appeared on the stage to introduce Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, the chant went up around the hall: "We want Sarah!"

A tear rolled down the cheek of a middle-aged woman volunteer who moments earlier had been barking orders to keep the exits clear.

A mother clutched the hand of her 11-year-old daughter, whose face was made up like a clown with stars and the letters P-A-L-I-N painted across her face.

Outside, queues which began six hours earlier snaked around the sports hall as more than 9,000 people filed in. Hundreds would be left outside.

They held home-made signs with slogans like "God, guns, lipstick" and "Read my lipstick - Palin."

A vendor had run out of badges with Mrs Palin's picture and the legend: "Coldest State, Hottest Governor."

The "Palin effect" is yielding big crowds. Today in Virginia 23,000 turned out to cheer the GOP ticket.



Political Animalia

Camille Paglia at Salon on Sarah Palin, frontier woman:

The gun-toting Sarah Palin is like Annie Oakley, a brash ambassador from America's pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the Western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the Civil War -- long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men did -- which is why men could regard them as equals, unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the Eastern seaboard, which fought granting women the vote right to the bitter end.

It is certainly premature to predict how the Palin saga will go. I may not agree a jot with her about basic principles, but I have immensely enjoyed Palin's boffo performances at her debut and at the Republican convention, where she astonishingly dealt with multiple technical malfunctions without missing a beat. A feminism that cannot admire the bravura under high pressure of the first woman governor of a frontier state isn't worth a warm bucket of spit.

* * *

James Bennett in the Daily Telegraph on Palin's substantial record of accomplishment:

Far from being a reprise of Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Palin was a clear-eyed politician who, from the day she took office, knew exactly what she had to do and whose toes she would step on to do it.

The surprise is not that she has been in office for such a short time but that she has succeeded in each of her objectives. She has exposed corruption; given the state a bigger share in Alaska's energy wealth; and negotiated a deal involving big corporate players, the US and Canadian governments, Canadian provincial governments, and native tribes - the result of which was a £13 billion deal to launch the pipeline and increase the amount of domestic energy available to consumers. This deal makes the charge of having "no international experience" particularly absurd.

In short, far from being a small-town mayor concerned with little more than traffic signs, she has been a major player in state politics for a decade, one who formulated an ambitious agenda and deftly implemented it against great odds.

Her sudden elevation to the vice-presidential slot on the Republican ticket shocked no one more than her enemies in Alaska, who have broken out into a cold sweat at the thought of Palin in Washington, guiding the Justice Department's anti-corruption teams through the labyrinths of Alaska's old-boy network.

It is no surprise that many of the charges laid against her have come from Alaska, as her enemies become more and more desperate to bring her down…

* * *
James Taranto of Best of the Web Today on Barack Obama, community organizer:

It is both funny and scary that one of America's major political parties would offer this record of sheer futility as its nominee's chief qualification to be president of the United States. Even more striking, though, is how alien the world in which Obama operated was by comparison with the world in which normal Americans live.

Reader, when your toilet breaks, do you wait around for some Ivy League hotshot to show up and organize a meeting so that you can use your collective strength to wring concessions from the powers that be?

Or do you call a plumber?

As a "community organizer," Obama toiled within a subculture of such abject dependency that even home repairs were "social services," provided by government (or, in Obama's Chicago, not provided). It was an utterly bizarre intersection between the cultural elite and the underclass…Obama's Columbia degree was useless. He would have been more helpful if he'd gone to vocational school instead.



"Le Cochon Danseur" (1907)

~ Via Panabasis


“You can put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.”

~ Barack Obama



''I don't regret setting bombs.
I feel we didn't do enough.''

~ Quote in NY Times on 9/11/01
by Barack Obama's friend,
former Weatherman Bill Ayers.


Monday, September 08, 2008  

~ Via the Do It Yourself Barack Obama Poster


Sunday, September 07, 2008  

Taft Centennial
Get on a Raft with Taft

One-hundred years ago this fall William Howard Taft was elected to the presidency of the United States. Irish Elk happily celebrates the centenary of this jovial yet oft-overlooked chief executive, beginning with a few choruses of the Taft presidential campaign song:

"Get on a Raft with Taft," Oscar Brand

* * *

The Cincinnati Enquirer remembers a favorite son:

100 years ago, Taft was star

Taft's goal: The Supreme Court



Taft Centennial

Justice is blind; justice is stern—perhaps it is thus in other lands. In the U. S., however, the Chief Justice has laughter in his eye and kindness in his heart. His decisions are the law of the land, but his proportions are its admiration. He is a very substantial answer to the aphorism that nobody loves a fat man.

In all his long and honorable career that led him to the high and happy seat of Chief Justice of the U. S., there is only one portion which lies in shadow. That is his tenure as Chief Executive of the Nation. But having escaped from the shadow of what was a valley for him, he has attained to the Elysium beyond—to honor, love, obedience, troops of friends.

~ Time, June 30, 1924



Taft Centennial
A President's Custom Seat Still Best in the House

PRESIDENT William Howard Taft had to look before he sat: in barbers' or dentists' chairs, in bathtubs, in armchairs. His weight had maxed out at 340 pounds by 1913, according to Frederick C. Hicks in his 1945 book ''William Howard Taft, Yale Professor of Law & New Haven Citizen'' (Yale University Press).

How, then, could he squeeze into a wooden folding seat in Yale's Woolsey Hall to watch his son graduate in 1910?

He didn't have to. To accommodate the portly president (who was 5 feet 11 inches tall), carpenters enlarged seat E 9 in Woolsey Hall -- a 2,000-seat auditorium erected in honor of Yale's bicentennial in 1901.

All the other seats in Woolsey measure 18 inches wide by 17 inches deep. President Taft's measures 25 inches across and nearly 20 deep. At one event described in Mr. Hicks's book, the president forgot his ticket. None of the ushers recognized him. Nevertheless, he pressed his way down the aisle of the first balcony, said something to the protesting usher and from his front-row perch whispered across the aisle to the author's mother, ''I lost my ticket, but was fortunately able to establish my identity by the breadth of my beam and the corresponding breadth of this seat.''

~ By VALERIE CRUICE, NY Times, Nov. 19, 2000

* * *

Above: Official White House portrait of William Howard Taft in the Blue Room, 1911, oil on canvas by Anders Leonard Zorn (1860–1920), White House Collection.

* * *

UPDATE, 9/8/08:

From the Irish Elk Archive, this e-mail from Mrs P:

My grandfather was Yale '20…My grandfather and his roommates used to recall with glee how when passing President Taft on his morning walk they would greet him with, "Good Morning Mr. President." Taft always smiled and raised his top hat in return.



Eubie Blake's Recipe for Life:

"Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind — listen to the birds.
And don’t hate nobody."

* * *

Above: "Charleston Rag" and "Memories of You"

Recorded Jan. 20, 1981, Carnegie Hall, NYC


Saturday, September 06, 2008  
Grand Old Party

Major Wash. McIntyre
Republican National Convention

Sereno Payne, representative from New York
Republican National Convention.

Women's Entertainment Committee
Republican National Convention

H. C. Beebe
Delegate from Nebraska
Republican National Convention

~ Chicago Daily News Collection* Library of Congress


Friday, September 05, 2008  

The Ticket

Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph:

John McCain offered vision rooted in reality, not Obama's empty promises.

* * *

Victor Davis Hanson comments on the McCain speech:

The Old Warhorse Gallops Out

Critics may be underwhelmed, but the long speech — issues, contrast with Obama, tough talk to the party, inspiration — still worked well enough, its ending moved the crowd there and, I wager, across the country, and it will show in next week's polls.

McCain's last minute was worth the entire hour. What I like about him is that he doesn't care whether he or his experiences are ancient history to the duh/whatever generation. He does things his way and has confidence in yet another generation of Americans who in time will come around as he himself once did so long ago. So the ancient and scarred "my country saved me and I can't forget it" warhorse and his unlikely new young partner gallop off...and I think a majority in the end will want to follow them out.

* * *

Via Amy, the highlight of McCain's speech:

Long ago, something unusual happened to me that taught me the most valuable lesson of my life.I was blessed by misfortune. I mean that sincerely. I was blessed because I served in the company of heroes, and I witnessed a thousand acts of courage, compassion and love.

On an October morning, in the Gulf of Tonkin, I prepared for my 23rd mission over North Vietnam. I hadn't any worry I wouldn't come back safe and sound. I thought I was tougher than anyone. I was pretty independent then, too. I liked to bend a few rules, and pick a few fights for the fun of it. But I did it for my own pleasure; my own pride. I didn't think there was a cause more important than me.

Then I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I was dumped in a dark cell, and left to die. I didn't feel so tough anymore. When they discovered my father was an admiral, they took me to a hospital. They couldn't set my bones properly, so they just slapped a cast on me. When I didn't get better, and was down to about a hundred pounds, they put me in a cell with two other Americans. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't even feed myself. They did it for me. I was beginning to learn the limits of my selfish independence. Those men saved my life.

I was in solitary confinement when my captors offered to release me. I knew why. If I went home, they would use it as propaganda to demoralize my fellow prisoners. Our Code said we could only go home in the order of our capture, and there were men who had been shot down before me. I thought about it, though. I wasn't in great shape, and I missed everything about America. But I turned it down.

A lot of prisoners had it worse than I did. I'd been mistreated before, but not as badly as others. I always liked to strut a little after I'd been roughed up to show the other guys I was tough enough to take it. But after I turned down their offer, they worked me over harder than they ever had before. For a long time. And they broke me.

When they brought me back to my cell, I was hurt and ashamed, and I didn't know how I could face my fellow prisoners. The good man in the cell next door, my friend, Bob Craner, saved me. Through taps on a wall he told me I had fought as hard as I could. No man can always stand alone. And then he told me to get back up and fight again for our country and for the men I had the honor to serve with. Because every day they fought for me.

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn't my own man anymore. I was my country's.

I'm not running for president because I think I'm blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

* * *

McCain's peroration: "Stand up and fight"

Fight with me.
Fight for what's right for our country.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children's future.
Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.
Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.
Nothing is inevitable here.
We're Americans, and we never give up.
We never quit.
We never hide from history. We make history.

(Via The Spectator)

* * *

~ "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," Bessie Smith


Thursday, September 04, 2008  

Game On!

"That's what we out west call openin' a whole can of whip a— on your opponents." Hal Stratton, former Attorney General of New Mexico, in a note to John Fund, WSJ

The joke, it seems, is on those who'd been laughing at her. Last night the laughing ended -- and the cheering began. ~ Tom Shales, Washington Post

"People who like this sort of thing will find this ... the sort of thing they like." ~ Keith Olbermann, channeling Miss Jean Brodie

She was put on this earth to do two things: kill caribou and kick butt. She's all out of caribou. ~ Jonah Goldberg

The prevailing headline: She Shoots, She Scores.

More on the Palin speech:

The shot of the night: Piper fixes baby's hair

The Anchoress

Daily Telegraph

Real Clear Politics

The Corner

The Spectator

The Weekly Standard: William Kristol * Fred Barnes

The Sun (UK)


Tuesday, September 02, 2008  

"If you must weep, weep in the cuspidor"

~ From Hell Up to Date: the Reckless Journey of R. Palasco Drant,
Newspaper Correspondent, Through the Infernal Regions, as Reported by Himself

~ Art Young (c. 1892) * Picture Collection of the NY Public Library

* * *

Some recent comments at Daily Kos:

I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to destroy the Republican Party as it exists today as well as everything it stands for.

If health insurance for all, an end to the Iraq War, an end to torture and illegal wiretapping, and a sane energy policy can be obtained at the price of destroying one teenage girl, her family, and the surrendering our self-respect [sic] I see that as a cheap trade.

Go talk about nobility of purpose to those 4,000+ dead American soldiers in Iraq.


This is about Power . . . How it is obtained—and how it is wielded in ways that affects all of us.

Are you telling me that you would not use character-destroying lies to ensure a war against Iran does not occur?

Are you telling me you would not spread lies about a man’s integrity, even if it defeated a candidate who take away the right to choose?

Are you telling me you would not destroy the love a family holds for one another, even if it meant letting someone who would destroy the constitution become president?

None of use would use these tactics in a perfect world. It is not a perfect world. It is a fallen world. We have to judge costs and benefits, not moral absolutes. I know this is the way to fanaticism and destruction—believe me I do. But, when we face opponents such as the ones we face . . . what else is there for us to do?

What choice do we have? When faced with monsters, we have to be monstrous ourselves.

* * *

The Anchoress:

Sarah & Bristol meltdown the haters:

I’m sitting here right now with my jaw on the floor. I cannot believe what I am reading on the forums of the far-left.

I’m not going to link to them - you know where to find them - or even bother quoting their incredible, insane prattle.

They’re in trouble over there. They’re in serious trouble of the mind, and trouble of the heart and trouble of the soul. They are so paranoid, and so full of hate, at this point, that they are clinging to an insane idea - one that betrays a sort of soul-sickness that leaves me feeling both incredulous and chilled.

How much do you have to love your hate in order to surrender your reason, and your humanity, to it?

Sarah Palin has been in the race for what, three days, four? In that very short time she has so deranged the left that they are revealing something truly awful within them.

It’s not just the thrill of creating a stupid conjecture for these people - that’s just normal campaign garbage. But now that it has clearly been debunked these folks have a need - and in some of these people it seems to be a truly deep need - to cling to the fantasy so that they can keep hating, so that they can continue to believe the absolute worst thing they can; because that’s what they want to believe…the absolute very worst.


Foul & Vile & Ignorant on Palin:

Look at what their shocking hate is doing to these people. And they don’t even know Sarah Palin; they are so terrified of the tiny bit they’ve seen that they just went into immediate, rabid and unnatural attack…If there was ever a time to ask, “have you no shame. Finally, have you no shame,” this is it.


Monday, September 01, 2008  

Purgatory Chasm

~ Sutton, Mass., Labor Day 2008

We saw the Corn Crib and Lovers' Leap, but missed the Fat Man's Misery. The name we gave the great rock to slide down at the entrance: the Devil's Wedgie.



Re Bristol Palin:

Nathan Thornburgh, Time: In Wasilla, Pregnancy Was No Secret

So his name is Levi.

That's about the only thing that I didn't know about Bristol Palin's pregnancy. The rest of the details I picked up almost without trying, while talking about other things with townsfolk — some who know the governor and her family well, some who don't. It was, more or less, an open secret. And everyone was saying the same thing: the governor's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, the father is her boyfriend, and it's really nobody's business beyond that.

I happen to agree.

This tiny town wedged in between the Chugach and Talkeetna mountain ranges has intrigued the whole country since John McCain's surprise Friday announcement that Wasilla's favorite daughter, Sarah Palin, would be his running mate. Sure, some of the interest was a prelude to attacks on Palin's readiness for national office. But Wasilla also offered a welcome chance to get specific about the geography of a politician. It's one of our most cherished myths, that a leader can come from somewhere and you can guess at their qualities not just by what they say, but where they live.

Well, here's the deal: small towns have their own value systems, and in this situation those values are more a lot more valid than the dispassionate, pushy inquisitiveness that political journalism encourages...

Previously: Where Palin Made Her Name


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