Lessons in Sensationalism (Palin Edition)

Reddit was all hot-n-bothered yesterday because a Daily Kos blogger (citing another blogger, citing an anonymous blog commenter) says Sarah Palin’s bus tour is a sham & a fraud. More specifically, that Palin has been jetting around to book signings via private plane and only pretending she’s touring the country by bus. Furthermore, there’s the explosive revelation that Palin’s plane is actually owned by Samaritan’s Purse, a shadowy cabal that uses charity work as a front for Franklin Graham’s own nefarious plots. To add insult-to-injury, she’s using this charity plane to fly to forts (Bragg & Hood) and defame our Commander-in-Chief (heil!) in front of our own troops!

Let’s be frank up front: the people peddling this non-sense are pulling the Left-wing equivalent of a Glenn Beck move and that these folks cast their ballot for the same man I did makes no difference whatsoever.
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Moar Ceedurrrs Dramas

A brief history of Cedars, Cedarville University’s student newspaper, circa 2008-2009:

September ’08: We start publishing. A deliberate effort is made to add conservative voices to the Viewpoints section.

October ’08: I write an editorial criticizing Gov. Sarah Palin. Paige Patterson, a CU trustee, is not very amused and tells the board as much. I develop a mancrush on Monsieur Patterson.

November ’08: Obama beats McCain and campus sinks into deep depression over fears of our new-elected, coke-addled Communist dictator.

December ’08: CU gives its Public Relations department, namely Sharyn Kopf, final approval for every issue. Obviously, certain articles then get cut because they do not fit the proper Cedarville image/experience/lifestyle/voice. New school tagline: “An 18-credit Bible minor and suppression of dissent? That’s so Cedarville!”

February ’09: I write an editorial that documents the non-existence of a “liberal agenda” in Cedars. It is seemingly well-received by faculty & staff, but no word from the board.

March ’09: My colleague Sarah Jones publishes an editorial arguing that “modesty panels” are ridiculous and that, per Jesus, the blame for lust lies with the beholder, not the beholden. ENTIRE SCHOOL FLIPS OUT. Straw, meet camel’s back.

April ’09: CU Provost John Gredy, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, effectively shuts down Cedars and I am laid off work. Remaining issue is canceled; faculty advisor (and U2 guru) Scott Calhoun resigns in protest; Cedars is put on hiatus until at least Spring 2010 and moved from the Lang. & Lit Dept to the Comm. Arts Dept.

When CU’s administration was questioned on its opposition to free speech (in the theoretical, not legal, sense), they replied: “We did it all for the lulz.” Hard to fault them for that.

Update: What was to be my last article for Cedars — before this fiasco came to a head — can be found online here as part one of a four-part series. The series is proof-positive that paying me $7.25/hr was a travesty.

Messiahs & Monomyths

One of the most interesting pre-election interviews I saw was of arch-conservative Bill Kristol with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show just a few days before the 4th. One of the striking things Kristol said was that “I don’t think [Obama] would be a very radical president. I think he’ll disappoint a lot of people on the left, because he’ll be a conventionally liberal president.” I’ve thought a lot about this quote, especially as Obama’s picked his staff and proven Kristol exactly right so far. But I’m unsure just how “radical” anybody on the left ever expected him to be (we had Nader, Klein, Chomsky, et al to keep our expectations low).

However, whenever I stumble upon the lunatic fringe of the far-right (say, WorldNetDaily or FreeRepublic for example) I’m sometimes surprised at how often they try to paint Barack Obama as the left’s “Messiah.” It’s unclear, of course, who actually believes this. In reality, Republicans are far more obsessed with Obama’s supposed messiahship than liberals are. There’s no doubt that a number of people have said nutty things, among them Louis Farrakhan and, to a lesser extent, Oprah Winfrey, but there’s not much evidence that most people see Obama as anything other than an inspiring figure. Obama’s election team have admitted that McCain’s “celebrity” ads over the summer had them most worried — but being a celebrity is far different than being a messiah. (more…)

Why McCain Lost

“The newspaper reader says: this party destroys itself by making such a mistake. My higher politics says: a party which makes such mistakes has reached its end; it has lost its sureness of instinct.” – Nietzsche

With all due respect to Mr. Nietzsche, I’m about to point out the key reasons why I believe McCain lost this election. But I don’t wholly disagree with the quote — insofar as the Republican Party will live on in name, it’s not at its end. However, the party as it currently stands is in major need of an overhaul and a smart party needs to re-tool after every major loss. The Democrats didn’t after 2000 and got whupped in 2004. If the Republicans don’t, they’re going to find 2012 very painful (a sure way to further self-destruct: nominate Palin).

So, the three major reasons McCain lost big on 11/4/08:
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Ahmadinejad Speaks

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two speeches at the U.N. this week are absolutely worth reading. Transcript from today’s is here, while the one from the 19th is at NPR. Vast portions of the latter could’ve been given by most US presidents; say, Reagan to the USSR. Both speeches contain large amounts of truth, though obviously my favorite hockey mom disagrees. CNN has video clips and excerpts from the Ahmadinejad interview with Larry King.