Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cruising the Web

The too-early death of Harold Ramis feels like the Day the Comedy Died. he was responsible for so many of the greatest comedies of all time and launched hundreds of beloved quotes for all of us.

James W. Ceasar takes a story from 19th century American religious history when evangelist William Miller preached that the millennium would take place on October 22, 1844. His followers sold their property and gathered to wait for the great moment. When it failed to occur, the event was referred to as "the Great Disappointment." Ceasar writes that the Great Disappointment of 2013 was the beginning when devoted followers of Barack Obama realized that their idol had feet of clay.
And what of the Great Disappointment of 2013? In the promiscuous blending of politics and culture that characterizes our age, the launch of the Obama campaign in 2007 marked the beginning of a politico-spiritual movement that promised a new beginning and a transformation of the nation. It was to be the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal .  .  . [when we] restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.” Faith in the leader knew no bounds. Obamaism spilled out from the college campuses and tony enclaves of Manhattan and San Francisco into the mass public to become first an American and then a worldwide phenomenon. The legion of believers included not only the youth in their T-shirts emblazoned with the silk-screen Obama image, but also many of the nation’s most experienced political observers. By early 2009, the five wise persons from Oslo had come bearing the gift of the Nobel Peace Prize. No date was fixed for the fulfillment of all the hopes and promises—extensions were continually asked for under the excuse that “change would never be easy”—but enough time had transpired by the end of 2013 for people to sense that the deadline had come and gone. Like October 22, 1844, the appointed time passed with no visible sign of the advent of a new era.
Now they have to cope with their disappointment. Some will accept and some will deny the evidence before them. Others will deflect and blame some other force - Republicans or the American system or partisan polarization or racism for the failure of their idol.

The recent brouhaha over the FCC's plan question journalists over how their work output meets what the government will decide are "critical information needs" as well as more minority ownership of media outlets, as Byron York outlines, is just one episode in a long effort by liberals to bring the media under tighter government control so as to limit opinions with which they disagree. John Hinderaker looks further into FCC reports to find that the real purpose of the proposed study was to assess whether issues of concern to minorities were getting covered by media outlets. One way or another, the Democrats on the FCC want to get more minorities into the media and also dictate to journalists that they cover such supposed "critical information needs."

James Taranto rips apart Jeffrey Toobin's rather puerile attack on Clarence Thomas's choice to rarely participate in questioning lawyers in Supreme Court hearings.

Michael Moynihan chastises "Venezuela's Useful Idiots."

CBS reports on another study that refutes Kathleen Sebelius's like that no jobs have been lost due to Obamacare - this time the results of the medical device excise tax.

So what was our UN Ambassador Samantha Power thinking to tweet out that "Daniel Pearl's story is a reminder that individual accountability & reconciliation re required to break cycles of violence." Huh? The journalist was kidnapped and decapitated on video by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. How exactly was this a lack of individual accountability or reconciliation? Since when does a brutal murder reflect a cycle of violence?

One result of holding the Olympics in Sochi was revealing the level of corruption in Putin's Russia.
In the neighborhood of $50 billion or more, the price tag for the Sochi Games is higher than that of all other winter Olympiads to date combined. Moreover, a third or more of that sum was lost to rampant corruption, embezzlement and kickbacks. These excesses are outlined in damning detail by the Institute of Modern Russia, in a new online project dubbed "Sochi 2014: The Reverse Side of the Medal."

Nor is Sochi an anomaly. The extensive graft that has surrounded the 2014 Winter Olympics since Sochi's selection some six-and-a-half years ago is simply the most visible part of a pervasive pattern of corruption that permeates virtually every economic sector and business dealing in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Gene Epstein explains why raising the minimum wage is not the optimal way to help the poor.