Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Lazy"

In 2012 Randy Newman posted an anti-Romney-voter song, "I'm Dreaming" ("of a white President . . ."). It deserved a response, and no one else supplied one, so I wrote a song, "Lazy," and started recording it.

Meanwhile, a ruckus arose over the word "lazy" (despite). I worried my song might hurt Romney's chances a tiny bit, so I shelved it.

I still liked it though, and this year decided to finish recording it in my bumbling fashion. The events that prompted the song are old news, but since it's more about a type of leftist than about an election, I think—hope—it's not entirely stale.

Anyway, here it is, a musical answer twenty-six months later.

Added: Free mp3, in case anyone wants.

Election comin' in November
Polls say it's gonna be tight
In this corner, my guy Barack
In that one, somebody white
For those with brains the choice is easy
I made mine long ago
Mister Rom-i-ney is the nominee for the GOP
That's all I need to know

'Cause I'm lazy
Yes I'm lazy
I do as little thinkin' as I can
I'm a rich ole liberal
A lazy-minded man

Well, a number of years back
When I was in my prime
All the right people were on the Left
It was a special time
That's when I joined the Democrats
I've cast my votes with pride
And I've never understood the arguments against us, but then
I've never really tried

'Cause I'm lazy
Flat bone-lazy
I just assume I'm on the side of truth
And I'm too lazy to question
The judgments of my youth

Allen West
Mia Love
Janice Rogers Brown
A bunch of Uncle Toms
And Aunt Jemimas
Who want to keep real black folks down
(I've read articles on black folks)

Republicans talkin' unemployment
"Forty-four months around eight percent"
They try to make it sound so scary
And point fingers at the President
But you can't blame Obama
It was Dubya drove us into a tree
How do I know? Bill Clinton said so
That's good enough for me

'Cause I'm lazy
Fat-fried lazy
I'll trust the Big Dog any day
Sure, he's a womanizin' liar
But it's the lazy way
And I like livin' lazy
So lazy's how I'll stay

(Song and sound recording copyright 2014 Michael Greenspan)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The DiploMad, from 9/11/14:

Islam is a rotten house which holds hundreds of millions of unhappy souls within its walls. To defeat the Islamic Jihadis requires constant pressure, attack, counterattack. . . . The Islamists must be resisted and defeated constantly and wherever they attack in the hope that eventually forces within Islam will rise up against the Jihadis and that a process of enlightenment will take hold in that now brutal and totalitarian creed.

. . . The so-called "crazies," "radicals," "fringe," in fact, form the core of Islam. An almost unbroken record of 1400 years of mass murder, enslavement, and misery speak to the truth about Islam.

A former State Department official, Ray Maxwell, charges that allies of Hillary Clinton's worked to hide information damaging to Clinton. Another State-Dept.-official-turned-whistleblower argues for taking Maxwell's claims seriously:

Is Maxwell a disgruntled employee with an agenda? Possibly, but whistleblowers act on conscience, not revenge; the cost is too high for that, and in this day revenge is available much cheaper via a leak or as an unnamed source. Going public and disgruntlement often coincide but are not necessarily causally connected. Knowing the right thing to do is easier than summoning the courage and aligning one’s life to step up and do it.

Three aphorisms from George Will's latest column:

[G]overnments are generally confident that their constituents need to be improved by spending the constituents’ money.

* * *

[P]rogressivism’s default assumption . . . is that disinterested government has only the interests of “the people” at heart.

* * *

Progressivism . . . is all about bringing to bear on society the fabulous expertise of a disinterested clerisy.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I started a small Twitter fight last week. Jim Geraghty, whom I generally admire hugely, mentioned he'd be appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher. I wrote,

You can understand why my diplomatic career never took off.

Had this happened ten years ago I'd have felt more frustration than disgust: "How can he not see how loathsome Maher is?" But Maher's been around so long now that there's no chance of ignorance or obliviousness on Geraghty's part, and no excuse for his, or any other serious conservative's, going on Maher's show.

Geraghty retweeted my tactful observation, I presume as mockery. It drew this response from another tweeter:

I answered,

Geraghty wrote,

I answered,

Geraghty's tweet brought in Charles Cooke, another NRO writer I like. He wrote,

I answered,

Should a conservative talk politics with an honorable leftist? Anytime, anywhere. With a dishonorable leftist? Only on neutral turf, i.e., not on a tv show the leftist controls.

Later I tweeted twice to add detail, then decided a post was called for. This is it.

Finally, let me offer an illustration of why no thoughtful person should take Maher seriously, much less pay court to him. I'm sure Geraghty knows about this.

On 2 May 2010 Maher appeared on This Week and made a fool of himself:

Here was a talking point Maher had prepared, and not only was it drastically wrong, but Brazil's story also shows the impracticality of Maher's push against fossil fuels. In all, he fumbled about as badly as possible.

How did he respond? As anyone who's paid even a little attention to him would expect: cravenly, dishonestly and vindictively. On the next episode of Real Time he delved into a serious mathematical error George Will had made more than a year earlier:

I was on, I was in D.C. this weekend, and I did This Week. I did not realize that there are shows like this on in the morning. And Sunday, they were very nice to me. George Will obviously had it out for me and doesn't like me. That's okay. That's not mutual. I've been a fan of George Will and reading, I'm just a sucker for good writing. He knows how to write, he's an excellent prose stylist[.]

I mean, you know, sometimes a guy can be full of s***, but he writes well. And, you know, he got me on something technical. I said Brazil got off the oil and we could too. We were talking about the oil spill. And yes, Brazil did not exactly get off the oil, but after the '70s, the spirit of what I said was correct. After the '70s oil crisis, they tried a lot harder than we do, and like half their cars now run on, on synth-fuel, ethanol.

Okay, what I was remembering was there was an ad out here in 2006 for Prop 87, which was for us to get off oil, and Bill Clinton did the ad. And Bill Clinton said in the ad, "Imagine if we can stop being dependent on foreign oil. Brazil did it. If Brazil can do it, so can California." Now, I'm sure the conservatives are saying, "Well, yeah, there's one mushy-headed liberal listening to another mushy-headed liberal and getting your facts wrong."

Well, okay, so we didn't get it exactly right. But, you know what? The bigger question is why haven't we actually gotten off the oil. And part of the reason is because of global-warming deniers like George Will. And he knows better. He knows better and he uses facts, or parts of facts, way more erroneous than I did. In one of his columns, he said, "According to the University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea levels now equal those of 1979." Well, there is no Arctic Climate Research Center at the University of Illinois, but there are climate scientists, and they said, "We don't know where Mr. Will is getting his information. Our data shows that in February '79, global sea ice was 16.79 million square kilometers, and in 2009 it was 15.45, a decrease in sea ice the area the size of Texas, California, Oklahoma combined.”

. . . Well, these aren't views, these are misshapen facts.

And the audience, naturally, goes wild.

Cowardly: Maher makes this speech on his own show, where he dominates, rather than in a forum where he might be challenged.
Dishonest: He claims to bear no malice toward Will and even to admire him, yet says that Will "had it out for" him and terms Will "full of s***" and a global-warming denier.
Hypocritical: He calls his own mistake "technical"—"Brazil did not exactly get off the oil"—when it's in fact devastating to his argument; meanwhile, Will's mistake, which is real (maybe he confused Antarctic and worldwide sea-ice levels) but not decisive, is "way more erroneous" than Maher's, as well as "misshapen," by which I think he means purposefully distorted.

Maher's a spiteful intellectual lightweight, and whatever effect Geraghty's guest appearance had on his own stature, it elevated Maher's. Geraghty's much, much too good for this. His involvement demeaned him and, more important, conservatism.

I hope Geraghty's book is a great success, and that someday he's ashamed of what he did to promote it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Funny, I don't recall them playing up the "We're working with a huge corporation" angle in the '90s. From a cover story on Pearl Jam in SPIN’s Oct. 2009 issue, soon after the band signed a distribution deal with Target:

“Target just seemed like the best partner for us right now,” Ament explains. “They’re hipper. They have a huge philanthropy side.” . . .

[T]here is a certain karmic irony in the notion that a band that gave corporate America the finger so hard for so long might finally be softening. . . . I ask if they’re worried about a backlash.

“Oh sure,” Ament says. “Especially the way the media can put it out there. We’re gonna get lumped in with the Eagles, with AC/DC. But it’s totally different. And people say, ‘Oh, Pearl Jam are working with this corporation’—f*** that! We were on Sony for 20 years.”

(No asterisks in original.)