Saturday, October 03, 2009

Bruce Springsteen rocks Giants Stadium playing entire Darkness album on Friday

By Stan Goldstein
The Newark Star-Ledger
http://www.nj.com/starledger
October 03, 2009, 2:54AM

On a night when you get the full Darkness on the Edge of Town album played, Bruce pulls out a classic Elvis Presley song and the E Street Band is absolutely on top of their game, that combined to make for one pretty damn good show at Giants Stadium on Friday.

Hearing Darkness from start to finish made it a classic show of course. This was played much tighter and much better l than at the Count Basie Theatre benefit in May of 2008, the only other time the album was played in it's entirety.

A shorter show timewise than Wednesday (3:14 to 2:50) but both shows had 29 songs.

Start Time: 8:24 p.m.

Again a pretty early start. Roy and Nils came onstage first. They weren't shown coming out from backstage on the big screens as they were at Wednesday's show.


Photo by Jeff Ross

Bruce Springsteen plays to the crowd at Giants Stadium on Friday night, the second of five shows there.


Bruce came up on the side stage with Clarence, walked him to his spot, gave the Big Man a little kiss and headed to the center mic.

"Glad you came out to help us tear down this old girl," Bruce said.

1. Wrecking Ball

I like this song. It's powerful and I like that it's a New Jersey theme song. Again trumpet player Curt Ramm played on this.

The stadium lights stayed on for the entire song.

The lyrics were not put up on the big screens tonight as they were at Wednesday's show.

2. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

"Jersey! Let them hear you in New York City!" Bruced yelled out. The words "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" were shown on a fast crawl on the big screens. They did this at some shows earlier this tour.

Bruce played to the far sides of the stage and when he got to the part "The Big Man joined the band" he pointed up to Clarence.
Always fun. Well done tonight.

3. No Surrender

A song I like but have tired of lately because Bruce does play it a lot. But tonight it really seemed to work well in this spot. A real rocking version.

The big screen behind the stage showed an old record album collection, some guitars, some saxophones and then sold old photos of Bruce and the band including the photo of the band that's on the back cover of "The Wild, the Innocent and The E Street Shuffle."

4. Outlaw Pete

A staple on this tour in an early slot. Again Western scenes were shown on the big screens.
The "Can You Hear Me?" part works well in the big stadium.

5. Hungry Heart

Seems to be back in the setlist all the time now. Bruce had the fans sing the first verse as usual.

Once again he ran into the back of the pit and jumped up and shook hands with fans and slapped high-fives with many of them. He told the band to keep playing after he finally got back onstage and collapsed on his back, I think he may have needed a few seconds to catch his breath after running around the entire pit like that. Pretty amazing. "Sounds good!" he said as the song was finishing.

6. Working on a Dream

"Good evening New Jersey. So glad to be here at Giants Stadium tonight," Bruce said. "So glad to be back home. the E Street Band has been touring, touring, touring, touring... and practicing, practicing, practiing, practicing just for tonight."

It was time to start the Darkness portion of the show.

"For Giants Stadium we tried to think of something special we could do. The other night we did 'Born To Run,' tomorrow 'Born In the U.S.A.' and tonight 'Darkness.' Bruce said.

"This was an important record for us. We had one hit and then three years off due to some trouble and hard times.

"This album has been the body of our sets for the past 30 years."

7. Badlands

Big screens showed a cloudy sky. Great as always.
"Is there anybody alive out there tonight?" Bruce yelled out.

8. Adam Raised a Cain

A real hot and smokin' version. Great guitar work by Bruce.

"That was worth the price of admission," a friend send to me when the song finished.

9. Something in the Night

Hearing these first three in order, brought me back to my senior year of high school when I first bought this album and listened to it over and over.

10 . Candy's Room

Hasn't been played enough this tour and any time it's played, is a good part of the show.

11. Racing in the Street

Okay, I have to admit it. For the second straight show I got tears in my eyes. It was "Meeting Across the River" on Wednesday. Tonight it was "Racing."

Maybe the best version I've ever heard of this song and I first saw this played live in 1978.

Just a perfect performance. The crowd was into it, Roy's piano playing was as brilliant as ever and the acoustics were awesome.

One of those moments when for those few minutes everything seems perfect in the world. The ending musical part of the song just kept getting stronger and stronger.

The woman next to me said "It's gorgeous." In my notebook I wrote: "Incredible! Wow!"

Anyone who was at the show will be talking about this version for years.

The highlight of the night.

12. The Promised Land

Nice to hear this in a different spot in the setlist.

13. Factory

Not sure if this is anyone's favorite song, but since it's not played that much, it was good to hear.

14. Streets of Fire

A classic that is not played enough. Sounded great. Nice guitar work by Bruce.

15. Prove It All Night

A hot, hot version. Incredible Nils guitar solo (think Youngstown, Ghost of Tom Joad etc.) At one point Nils was holding up his guitar with one hand and still playing it with the other hand.
Another highlight.

16. Darkness on the Edge of Town

Just like on the album, the final song. Sort of sums it all up.

At the end Bruce brought Steve, Max, Garry, Roy and Clarence to the front of the stage for a bow.

"These are the guys who made the record. And Phantom Dan Federici"
A very touching moment.

17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day

Bruce made a long toss of the guitar and tech Kevin Buell may have made his best catch ever. The guitar sailed far to the side on a long toss and Kevin had to really hustle to catch it. When he did, even Bruce stopped and clapped for him. "The wind took it!" Bruce joked about his bad throw.

We have seen Bruce do a lot of crazy things, tonight was pretty crazy. He actually jumped into the side seats between sections 108 and 109 (Off of Steve's side of the stage) and got into the front rows.

At first the crowd was singing along and Bruce said "that's terrible!"

Then he found a young girl to sing a long with him.

Raise Your Hand - Instrumental (Collecting Signs)

The handwritten setlist had Bruce doing the sign portion to start the encores but he changed his mind and decided to do it here. He was telling Steve to get his guitar.

Bruce found one sign that read: "The Boss is in N.J." and he put it by his front microphone stand.

18. I'm Goin' Down (sign request)

Bruce didn't show the sign at first and just started playing. I like this song, but some of us were hoping for something else since he's going to play it on Saturday. At one time it was a long-lost song but it seems to be played a good amount now. It's always fun to hear though.

19. Be True (sign request)

Always great to hear this B-side. Not played enough. One of the few times it's been played this tour.

At the end of it, Bruce started to sing: "The warden threw a party in the county jail."

and the next song was:

20. Jailhouse Rock (sign request, tour premiere)

So cool. Bruce Springsteen singing an Elvis Presley classic. I'll have to check but I believe it's the first time the song has ever been played by Bruce and the E Street Band. He did play it at a Rainforest benefit show at Carnegie Hall on April 12, 1995.

The crowd was so into it. Nils had a nice guitar solo. Fun.

21. Thunder Road

To hear 55,000 people sing along on the "Show a little faith, there's magic in the night

You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright" part is just magical.

22. Long Walk Home

Yea! Lonesome Day was not played! Yeah!!!!! First time it's been out of the setlist for a long time. I'll have to check for exactly when. "Last to Die" was written in this spot on the setlist.

Very nice to hear Long Walk Home. First time it's been played since the first Asbury Park rehearsal show on March 23.

Steven sang some of it toward the end, just like he did on the Magic Tour.

23. The Rising

Crowd got into the song. It started to rain just as the song was finishing up.

24. Born to Run

Jay Weinberg came out to play drums. House lights turned on. Crowd goes nuts.

Encores:

25. Cadillac Ranch

Bruce saw a sign earlier and asked the person in the pit to hold it up.
Bruce sang "Driving through the Ho-Ho-Kus night."

26. Bobby Jean

Not a favorite of mine but I haven't heard it too much lately, so it even sounded good tonight.

27. American Land

Bruce brought out some members of the Sessions band to play on this: Larry Eagle, Ed Manion, Curt Ramm and Art Baron. If you add Curtis King, Cindy Mizelle, Soozie Tyrell and Bruce, you had eight members of the Seeger Sessions Band onstage.

Fun moment when Bruce was introducing the band.

He introduced Clarence as the "Saxaphone author!" and Clarence held up a copy of his new book. Bruce then said "the biggest man on the New Jersey Turnpike!"

Bruce then brought over a copy of the book to Clarence and had him autograph it for him.

Bruce then took the signed book, had a big smile on his face, and put it down on the side of Max's drum.

28. Dancing in the Dark

Fun as usual, Bruce did not bring anyone up to dance with him tonight.

29. Rosalita

"We got one more for you. Sending this out to Patti"
Steve then pointed out a sign to Bruce that read: "Eli Manning called. He wants Rosalita!"

Nice to hear but "Kitty's Back" was on the hand-written setlist.

Funny moment: The past two shows have had a roaming hand-held camera in the pit. Tonight the cameraman was singing along very loudly to Rosalita. He was having a good time!

Steven was splashing Bruce with a wet spongue and at one point, Bruce's guitar string broke and Kevin was right up there quickly with another guitard. Bruce handed the bad guitar to his with his right hand and grabbed the good guitar with his left.

"Thank you Jersey! We love you! See you tomorrow night" Bruce said as he left the stage.

Show over at 11:14 p.m.

Clocked in at two hours and 50 minutes, much shorter than Wednesday's 3:14 but the same amount of songs were played.

Notes: A bit of steady rain started as the Rising was finished and it was raining for most of the end of the show.

No PSA tonight, not even a mention for the foodbanks either, but they were there collecting money which is always good to see.

Neither "Johnny 99" or "Seeds" in the setlist tonight. Probably one of the rare times they haven't been played this tour, I'd look it up but it's almost 3 a.m. and I'm too tired.

No Patti Scialfa tonight, Bruce did say she would be there tonight, but she wasn't. I think he said we'll see her on Saturday.

"Wrecking Ball" was soundchecked several times as was "Long Walk Home" and "Last to Die."

Spotted in the pit: NBC News anchorman Brian Williams.

Weather wasn't too bad. In the pit it was pretty warm for most of the show, people were even saying it was a bit too warm since most had jackets etc.

Hollywood's moral compass points away from the vulnerable

Even if Roman Polanski is a "great artist," so what?

By Mark Steyn
Syndicated columnist
Orange County Register
http://www.ocregister.com/opinion
Friday, October 2, 2009

As the feminists used to say in simpler times, "What part of 'No' don't you understand?"

Quite a lot, if the reaction to Roman Polanski's arrest is anything to go by. I didn't know, for one thing, that, if you decide to plow on regardless, the world's artists will rise as one to nail their colors to your mast.

Whoopi Goldberg offered a practical defense – that what Polanski did was not "rape-rape," a distinction she left imprecisely delineated. Which may leave you with the vague impression that this was one of those deals where you're in a bar, and the gal says to you she's in 10th grade, and you find out afterward she's only in seventh. Hey, we've all been there, right? But in this particular instance Roman Polanski knew she was 13 years old and, when she declined his entreaties, drugged her with champagne and a Quaalude and then sodomized her. Twice. Which, even on the Whoopi scale, sounds less like rape, or even rape-rape, and more like rape-rape-rape-rape.


A man shows a "free Polanski" sign on on his shirt during the Zurich film festival.(AFP/File/Sebastien Bozon)

But heigh-ho. After pleading guilty, the non-non-rape-rapist skipped to Paris and took up with Nastassja Kinski, who was then 15, which in Polanski years puts her up there with Barbara Bush. He was eventually arrested en route to Zurich to receive a lifetime-achievement award – no, no, not for the girls, for his movies. For three decades, he was, to be boringly legalistic about it, a fugitive from justice – and there's no statute of limitations on that. But, of course, throughout that time, he was also a "great artist," which his fellow artists (Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese) and even the French Foreign and Culture Ministers think ought to trump a little long-ago misunderstanding over anal rape. The Berlin Film Festival announced collectively that it was shocked by "the arbitrary treatment of one of the world's most outstanding film directors," and defending the outstanding director because he's an outstanding director quickly became the standard line of defense. Debra Winger denounced the Swiss authorities for their "philistine collusion": No truly cultured society should be colluding with the "philistines" of American law enforcement. Polanski, explained the producer Harvey Weinstein, "is a man who cares deeply about his art and its place in the world." And if its place is occasionally in an involuntarily conscripted 13-year old, well, you can't make a "Hamlet" without breaking a few chicks. France's Society of Film Directors warned that the arrest of such an important artist "could have disastrous consequences for freedom of expression across the world".

Really? For the past two years, I've been in a long and weary battle up north to restore "freedom of expression" to Canada. On Monday afternoon, in fact, I'll be testifying on this very subject at the House of Commons in Ottawa, if France's Society of Film Directors or Debra Winger would like to swing by. Please, don't all stampede at once. Ottawa Airport can only handle so many Gulfstreams. If only I'd known how vital child rape was to "freedom of expression," my campaign could have taken off a lot earlier.

Let us stipulate that Roman Polanski has memories few of us would wish to bear. He is the only movie director to have had three generations of his immediate family murdered – his mother, by the Nazis; his wife and unborn child, by Charles Manson's acolytes. The only reason he didn't wind up with his parents in Auschwitz is that, when he was 8, his father cut a hole in the barbed wire of the Warsaw ghetto and pushed his son out.

In a movie, the father would either die or survive for a tearful reunion with his boy. But after the war Polanski's dad remarried, and the new wife didn't want young Roman around. By the age of 13, the pattern of his life was set: That hurried escape through the wire of the ghetto would be only the first of a series of hasty exits.

In Swingin' London, he made his name with "Repulsion" (1965), in which Catherine Deneuve descends into schizophrenia and kills a man she believes has come to rape her. He hit Hollywood with "Rosemary's Baby" (1967), in which Mia Farrow is impregnated by the Devil. You could make the case that these films reflect the psychological burdens of his childhood – if it weren't that they're almost freakily literal pre-echoes of the violence in his adult life. In 1969, Sharon Tate and four others were murdered at Polanski's house by a group called "Satan's Slaves." "I remember," wrote Joan Didion, "that no one was surprised."

One sympathizes. Except that there are millions of children of the Holocaust struggling under the burdens of the past – and only one who deals with them as Roman Polanski does. Working on the film "Chinatown," the writer Robert Towne found it hard to concentrate at the director's pad, what with "the teenyboppers that Roman would run out and take Polaroid pictures of diving off the f***ing diving board without tops on. Which was distracting. With braces."

Braces. Cute. Harvey Weinstein, the man behind the pro-Polanski petition, rejects the idea that Hollywood is "amoral": "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion," he told an interviewer.

Let us agree that Hollywood bigshots have "compassion" for people in general, for people far away in a big crowd scene on the distant horizon, for people in a we-are-the-world-we-are-the-children sense. But Hollywood bigshots treat people in particular, little people, individuals, like garbage. To Polanski, he was the world, you are the children; now take your kit off and let's have a "photo shoot."

The political class is beginning to recalibrate. In Paris, President Sarkozy's government withdrew its initial enthusiasm for Polanski after it emerged that even the boundlessly sophisticated French aren't eager to champion creepy child rapists just because they're celebrities. As Susan Estrich wrote, "Yes, he's made some big films in those years. So what?"

Hold that thought: "Big films," like what? Until "The Pianist" briefly revived his reputation, Polanski had spent the previous quarter-century making leaden comedies ("Pirates"), generic thrillers ("Frantic") and lame art-house nudie flicks ("Bitter Moon," with the not-yet-famous Hugh Grant). If that level of "great art" is all the justification you need for drugging and sodomizing 13-year-old girls, there won't be enough middle-schoolers to go round.

The cocky, strutting little Euro-swinger is old now, Roman in the gloamin', in the twilight of his career. The Polanski of "Chinatown" was a great director on his way up, his best years presumed to lie ahead. The junk of the past 30 years pretty much killed that. What he did wouldn't be justified if Polanski were Johann Sebastian Bach. But is this resume really "great art" to go to the wall for? Why, Harvey, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world, but for "Bitter Moon"?

And that, in turn, raises another question: Earlier bad boys – Lord Byron, say – were obliged to operate as "transgressive" artists within a broader moral order. Now we are told that a man such as Polanski cannot be subject to anything so footling as morality: He cannot "transgress" it because, by definition, he transcends it. Yet all truly great art is made in the tension between freedom and constraint. In demanding that an artist be placed above the laws of man, Harvey Weinstein & Co. are also putting him beyond the possibility of art. Which may explain the present state of the movie industry.

©MARK STEYN

Today's Tune: Chuck Berry - Maybellene



(Click on title to play video)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Film Review: Zombieland

Dead of the 'Zombieland' class

By KYLE SMITH
New York Post
http://www.nypost.com/
October 2, 2009

LOOK on the bright side of an America turned “Zombieland”: bothersome gun restrictions no longer applicable. No more reading your friends’ Facebook status updates. And whenever the post-apocalypse blues get you down, you can just head on down to the nearest tchotchke shop and break some crap.

Woody Harrelson (it’s been far too long since we’ve seen him in anything good) plays a zombie killer with an array of interesting and useful weapons. His mousy sidekick (Jesse Eisenberg, last seen in “Adventureland”) hopes to get a contact high from the excess testosterone. They make an excellent comedy duo — metal meets marshmallow — as two of the last survivors in a junk-strewn wasteland after the zombies have taken over. What’s left of this country? Not to terrify anyone, but it looks almost as bad as the produce aisle of your neighborhood deli at 3 am.

Eisenberg’s never-been-kissed geek is called “Columbus” because that’s where he’s from — Harrelson is “Tallahassee.” Columbus has managed to leverage his video-game skills and Math Club eye for detail into an unlikely ability to survive the onslaught of undead humans who rampage through the countryside as rudely as an army of Kanyes.

Tallahassee agrees to take on Columbus as a partner in a 24/7 zombie-killin’ rodeo. Their quests are twofold; Columbus wants to get home, whereas Tallahassee just wants to find the world’s last surviving box of Twinkies. Both of them aren’t sure what to make of a pair of sisters (Emma Stone of “Superbad,” Abigail Breslin from “Little Miss Sunshine”) they meet up with on the road.

Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have a fond “Men in Black" approach to sending up zombie flicks while respecting the conventions. Columbus realizes the first rule of survival is "cardio" -- helpful when trying to out-sprint, for instance, flesh-craving little girls in princess outfits with gore hanging out of their mouths. He always looks in the back seat and warns, "Don't get all stingy with your bullets."

Tallahassee, meanwhile, likes to wander into grocery stores and stir up the Z's with a little banjo music. While he's got gardening shears stuck in his pants. He's "in the ass-kickin' business and business is good." Despite many setbacks on the road to finding a spongy little treat, he serves notice that, "This Twinkie thang -- it ain't over yet."

Director Ruben Fleischer keeps up a frantic pace as the screenplay chomps through the pop-culture references. (Contemplating a lost loved one, Tallahassee says, "I haven't cried like that since 'Titanic.' ") Midway through the movie, one of the all-time great unbilled celebrity cameos is all the funnier for its randomness.

Though both female characters are underwritten and the movie ends too soon, after a routinely action-packed final act that isn't as fresh as the rest, "Zombieland" is still the funniest broad comedy since "The Hangover." Its yowling, marching, munching corpses are as scary as grad students and as hilarious as the plot of "G.I. Joe."

Polanski Controversy Shouldn’t Be Controversial

Why I am grateful for this controversy.

By Jonah Goldberg
http://www.nationalreview.com/
October 02, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

I am delighted by the Roman Polanski controversy. Don’t get me wrong: I am horrified and disgusted by what the acclaimed director did — and admitted to — but there is an upside.

Just to recap, Polanski drugged a child put in his care for the purposes of a photo shoot. He tried to bully her into sex. She said no. He raped her anyway. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse but fled the country before sentencing, allegedly for fear the judge wouldn’t keep his end of the plea bargain. He spent the subsequent three decades living the life of a revered celebrity in Europe. He never returned to America because there was a warrant for his arrest. In a bit of ironic justice, he was apprehended en route to Zurich to receive a lifetime-achievement award. That ceremony will apparently go on without him.

So what do I like about the controversy? Well, for starters, that there is one at all. I think it is fascinating beyond words that this is open to “debate.”

If Roman Polanksi were the name of the world’s greatest plumber or accountant, or even the director of Weekend at Bernie’s II, there would be no argument. Indeed, Polanski would have already paid his debt to society and would be a free man by now. No serious person can dispute this.

Now of course, reasonable people can disagree about all sorts of stuff. What sort of punishment does Polanski deserve? If he’s sent back to the U.S., should the 76-year-old spend the rest of his life in jail? Does the fact that the understandably exhausted victim has forgiven him mitigate issues? How should we score allegations of judicial misconduct or the time Polanski already served in jail? All of these things are open to good-faith disagreement.

But there are also a few things, by my lights, no reasonable person can dispute. The first is that child rape is a very bad thing and no amount of blame-shifting to the 13-year-old or her mother can absolve Polanski of his culpability.

Giving a grown woman a “roofie” and having sex with her is a crime. How on earth can plying a 13-year-old with champagne and a Quaalude be seen as less heinous?

A second point beyond dispute is that whatever your crime, be it tax fraud or tearing the tags off your mattress, our system of justice cannot tolerate anyone pleading guilty only to buy time to flee the jurisdiction. Even if Polanski were wholly innocent of the charges, it would be necessary for us to seek extradition.

That brings us to the even more refreshing aspect of this controversy: It is not a Left-Right issue. I’m not normally one to celebrate bipartisan unity, but it’s nice to know there are some things political or ideological opponents can agree on. Some of the most ardent and clear voices on the Polanski issue have been on the Left.

Go into a bar or union hall and ask whether fat-cat directors should get special treatment when they rape 13-year-old girls and you’ll discover that on this issue, the differences between “blue America” and “red America” are vanishingly small.

And yet, there is a controversy. Many of the international community’s leading lights are rallying to the Free Polanski movement. A petition is circulating with such names as Harvey Weinstein, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen on it. (No surprise that Woody’s on board, given that he married his adopted daughter.) The arguments in Polanski’s defense range from lawyerly red herrings to intellectual piffle to horrendous affronts to human decency. Whoopi Goldberg (no relation) dismissed the allegations because she was sure whatever Polanski did, it didn’t amount to “rape rape.”

It all boils down to the fact that Polanski is famous and talented and an Olympian artist, living above the world of mortals. Indeed, if he didn’t rape that girl — and he did — Polanski would still be considered a pig in most normal communities. This is the man who, after all, started dating Nastassja Kinski when she was only 15 and he was in his 40s. His taste for teenage girls is an established fact.

His defenders don’t care. They are above and beyond bourgeois notions of morality, even legality.

And that’s the main reason I am grateful for this controversy. It is a dye marker, “lighting up” a whole archipelago of morally wretched people. With their time, their money, and their craft, these very people routinely lecture America about what is right and wrong. It’s good to know that at the most fundamental level, they have no idea what they’re talking about.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.

© 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Gore and Google: Pants on Fire

By Brian Sussman
http://www.americanthinker.com/
October 01, 2009

Earth's self-anointed global warming czar, Al Gore, has teamed up with his business partners at Google (he's an Advisory Board member) to make the latest pitch for a planet that is about to burst into a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Together they have created an internet video which heralds Google's entrance into the world of climate forecasting.


Former Vice President Al Gore speaks about the new Google Earth 5.0 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009.

The video champions Google's new mapping tool which simulates a 3D map of the world predicting the effects of climate change through the year 2100. They claim their data is provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to Google, the mapping tool was introduced in partnership with the Danish Government ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Convention in December. In otherwords, this is a visual ruse to scare the hell of out of the uninformed masses.

In the video, Gore, who provides the sleepy monotone voice-over, whines out a whopper: "If we were to not dramatically reduce our emissions, the global average temperature is expected to rise as much as four or more degrees Celsius by the end of this century." He continues, declaring, "In addition, the extensive melting of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets...could cause global sea-level to rise between four and twelve meters, with each meter causing roughly another 100-million refugees."

Pants afire! There is absolutely no science to back up these wild claims.

A compilation of all temperature records (satellite and land based) indicates a warming since the mid-19th century (in other words since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution) of .7 degrees Celsius. Point seven degrees. Most of that rise occurred before 1940.

Even the activist scientist from NASA, James "Gandhi" Hansen, well known for his contemptuous climate claims, has not made a prediction like Gore and Google. In 2007, Hansen gave the German magazine Spiegel a fudge-filled million year forecast which looks weak by comparison:

The average temperature is now 0.8 degrees Celsius higher than in the last century with three-quarters of the increase happening in the last 30 years. But...there's another half-degree Celsius in the pipeline due to gases already in the atmosphere, and there's at least one more half- degree to come due to power plants which we're not going to stop immediately. Even if we decide now, we've got to slow down as fast as is practical, there's still going to be enough emissions to take us to the warmest level that the planet has seen in a million years.

So Hansen, well known for his own fire pants, only predicts a rise of one-degree, while Gore-Google are shooting for up to eight. They must be buying their science from a scam artist on Craigslist.

Meantime, the Gore-Google sea level rise prediction is far greater than the idiotic one made in Al's Oscar winning An Inconvenient Truth.

One of the more troubling scenes in Gore's flick involves graphical representations of the world's major cities being submerged due to a rise in sea level from the melting of Antarctica and Greenland.

Gore focuses first on Western Antarctica. He calmly claims, "If this were to go, sea levels worldwide would go up 20 feet."

By "go" Gore's implying, melt.

He then couples that concocted cataclysm with the total melting of Greenland. Using vague, unreferenced charts supposedly illustrating the amount of melting from Greenland's glaciers and ice sheets, Gore emphatically states, "If Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted, this is what would happen to the sea level..."

Playing the role of mad scientist, Gore then graphically reveals Florida flooded, San Francisco swamped, "tens of millions of people" near Beijing displaced, "40 million people" near Shanghai forced to flee and "50 million people" becoming refugees in Calcutta and East Bangladesh.

Now Gore and Google's new internet video claims global warming will displace up to 1.2 billion people.

The real truth is ever since the end of the last Ice Age, global sea level has been gradually increasing. The melting ice and snow from that bitterly cold event is continually trickling into our great oceans and seas. According to the often quoted IPCC's Fourth Assessment produced in 2007, over the past 20,000 years sea level has increased nearly 400 feet. While that may sound like a lot, let's break it down further. Over the past century the average sea level raised a mere 1.8 millimeters per year.

Gore and Google have conveniently cherry-picked and exaggerated a portion of the IPCC report which, as part of an obvious set of improbable, hypothetical scenarios states, "the collapse of [the West Antarctica Ice Sheet]... would trigger another five to six metres [16-19 feet] of sea level rise...that would take many hundreds of years to complete."

The IPCC section from which this hypothetical is lifted is entitled, How Likely are Major or Abrupt Climate Changes, such as Loss of Ice Sheets of Changes in Global Ocean Circulation? The section begins with this disclaimer:

Abrupt climate changes, such as the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the rapid loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet or large scale changes of ocean circulation systems are not considered likely to occur in the 21st century...

That means that over the next 90+ years, even the usually enthusiastic global warming editors at the U.N. are not anticipating the kind of predictions that Gore/Google are spitting out.

The IPCC also states, "All studies for the 21st century project that Antarctic [ice] changes will contribute negatively to sea level..." (italics mine). That means there is more snow and ice accumulating on Antarctica than is breaking off and melting into the surrounding waters. In addition the 2007 report declares, "...for the last two decades...Antarctica as a whole has not warmed."

Regarding the potential collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the IPCC says, "...no quantitative information is available from the current generation of ice sheet models as to the likelihood of timing of such an event." And, regarding the swamping of major cities projected by Gore/Google, the report reads, "...accelerated sea level rise caused by rapid dynamic response of the ice sheets to climate change is very unlikely during the 21st century."

Regarding Greenland, the IPCC states: "...the total melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which would raise global sea level by about seven metres, is a slow process that would take many hundreds of years to complete...no quantitative information is available from the current generation of ice sheet models as to the likelihood or timing of such an event"

Gore and Google have an agenda-money. For Gore it's the payday he'll secure through carbon trading; for the Google guys, it includes providing critical technology for the energy monitoring plans involved in the coming Smart Grid.

Hmm. Besides the smoldering shorts, I'm noting noses as long as a telephone wire.

Brian Sussman is an award-winning former television meteorologist and current radio host on KSFO, San Francisco. His forthcoming book, "Global Whining: confidence to confront the biggest scam in history," will be published by WND Books and available early next year.

Bruce Springsteen rocks Giants Stadium with entire Born to Run album on Wednesday night

By Stan Goldstein
Newark Star-Ledger
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/
October 01, 2009, 3:32AM

A good night of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the first of five shows at Giants Stadium on Wednesday night. A 29-song show that lasted 3 hours and 14 minutes, one of the longest shows timewise of this tour.

It was nice to have the show start off with a new song. I believe it's the first time Bruce has played a unreleased song (not including Working On A Dream which he played at a political rally last year) since debuting "Long Walk Home" with the Sessions Band in London in November of 2006.

Of course the highlight of the evening was hearing the entire "Born To Run" album from start to finish as well as a clasic 1978-style story in the middle of "Growin' Up."

The big video screens (two high-definitions on each side of the stage) showed Bruce and the band approaching the stage at 8:15 p.m.

Nils and Roy came out first, followed by Max, Cindy, Curtis, Soozie, Charlie and Garry Tallent who was wearing a black fedora hat, sort of something you would have seen on the River Tour. Then Steve came out.

Curt Ramm, the trumpet player who was on the Seeger Sessions tour and who was among the horn section at the Super Bowl, was also on stage.
Last out were Clarence and Bruce.

Show began at 8:18 p.m.

"Good evening New Jersey. Nice to be in my backyard. Join us tonight to shut the old lady down. We had a lot of great nights here and hope to have another one tonight," Bruce said.

"Here's something I wrote for tonight."

1. Wrecking Ball

A new song, and that is the name. I saw a handwritten setlist after the show.
Bruce sounchecked the song last week in Chicago.

They put the words to the songs on the big screens so people could follow along.

Some of the lines:

"My home is here in these Meadowlands. Where the mosquitoes grow as big as airplanes." .... Bring on your wrecking ball!" Hard times come, hard times go, bring on the wrecking ball." It's a nice ballad and a tribute to Giants Stadium. The Jets and Giants are mentioned in the song.

Kurt Ramm's trumpet added a lot to the song. The song was soundchecked several times in the afternoon.

After the song was over, the video screen kept the words up to the next song which read: "Badlands, Key of E" but instead Bruce played;

2. Seeds

Usual hot guitar work by Bruce

3. Johnny 99

With the "woo! woo!" parts. Steve and Bruce have a lot of fun playing the guitar together toward the end and were working the crowd. During Nils' guitar solo, Bruce was splashing him with the sponge.

4. Atlantic City

Always great to hear this at a New Jersey show. Crowd reacted well to it.

5. Outlaw Pete

Big screen above and behind stage showed Western scenes and at one point a blood red sky.. This song really hasn't changed much live since the start of the tour. Nice to see Bruce do the "Can You Hear Me" parts at the end to a huge stadium crowd.

6. Hungry Heart

A song Bruce has rediscovered lately, playing it at a lot of shows. He actually got off the stage and sang down the sides of the pit and into the back of the pit, all the way around to the other side and back up the opposite side of the stage.

He has been doing this at the arena shows lately, but to see him do it in a huge stadium pit is really amazing. When he was done he got back up on the stage and collapsed on his back, then got up and took a bow.

I've seen Bruce doing a lot of crazy stuff over the years and this was right up there. Pretty amazing.

7. Working on a Dream

The video screens showed stars in the sky.

"Good evening New Jersey. North to South, East to West it feels so good to be home," Bruce said.
"The mighty E Street Band has been on tour all year practicing for this moment."

Next up was the start of playing the complete "Born To Run" album in order.

"We were thinking of some things to make Giants Stadium special," Bruce said. "We had a lof of great nights here. Friday we're going to play "Darkness." Saturday, "Born In the U.S.A." top to finish. And tonight ..."

He said nothing more as the stadium went crazy and Bruce played the harmonica for the start of:

8. Thunder Road

What can I say. A classic. Is it ever bad in concert. No. And to hear it start off "Born To Run" brings us all back to 1975 when the album came out and we drop it on our turntables to play. And the 8-Track tapes and casettes.

9. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

Bruce worked the crowd at the start to get them going. Kurt played trumpet along side Clarence on the sax.

At the end, Bruce was at the left-stage extension into the pit and someone handed him a beer. He took it and drank it.

10. Night

Bruce gave Clarence a high-five at the end.

11. Backstreets

Another song that takes me back to high school and the 1970s. Gave me chills tonight hearing it in the album seequence. Another masterpiece.

Bruce did a little rap in the middle of the song, "Just you and me baby until the end...."

12. Born to Run

So strange to see this is the middle of the set but so much fun too. House lights came up. The entire stadium appeared to be on their feet.

"Jersey! Jersey!" Bruce yelled during the song.

13. She's the One

Bruce switched guitars during the middle and through his one guitar to tech Kevin Buell who made a nice one-handed catch.

14. Meeting Across the River

The highlight of the evening for me and a very moving moment.

This is my favorite Springsteen song. The lyric: "Change your shirt, 'cause tonight we got style" is my favorite line of any song Bruce or non-Bruce.

Tonight it was Bruce, Garry on the bass, Roy on piano and Curt on the trumpet. Just beautiful, magical, amazing.

What can I say. I had tears in my eyes at the end, something that rarely happens to me. I was that moved.

Best version I've ever seen of it in concert.

15. Jungleland

Meeting into Jungleland. Just like the album, just like it's been played at times during past tours.
Very strong version of Jungeland. Clarence nailed the sax solo just like he always does.

A very moving moment when Jungleland finished. Bruce brought out to the front of the stage Clarence, Max, Roy, Garry and Steve.

"These are the guys who made the magic. And Phanton Dan Federdici," Bruce said, choking up a bit when he mentioned Danny.

"Now get back to work. Get your asses back to your instruments" he then joked.

16. Waitin' on a Sunny Day

OK, back to reality. I think most diehards wish for something else here but it does work well with a stadium crowd for the most part.

Bruce made a long guitar toss to tech Kevin Buell who was able to catch it, but it wasn't easy. "That's a nice" Bruce said after Kevin's catch.

Bruce brought onstage Spenceer, a 12-year-old boy from Jackson, N.J. to sing along. He did it very well.

17. The Promised Land

Not much to say. Always a classic. Been played at every show this tour.

18. Into the Fire

Bruce played this in Des Moines last week. One of the highlights of the show. A very good song for Curtis and Cindy to contribute on and you can hear them pretty well.

Long, haunting intro by Bruce, had many trying to figure out what the song was.

Very happy to see this back in the setlist.

19. Lonesome Day

A song that needs to take a break from the setlist, but the crowd does get into it.

20. The Rising

I do like hearing this but again this has been played with Lonesome Day the entire tour. Needs to be mixed up.

21. Badlands

This was the second song on the handwritten setlist but was an audible here. "Land of Hope and Dreams" or "Born In the U.S.A." were in this spot on the handwritten setlist.

22. No Surrender

An audible. Not on the setlist. Bruce wanted to keep the crowd going. Even started the finish of the song again to keep it going.

Encores:

"It's too cold to stop" Bruce said. "I've got two words, no three words: Play it Steve!"

23. Raise Your Hand (collecting signs)

Bruce brought out a sign that read: "It's Boss time" and placed it in front of his microphone and a "I (heart) Stevie" and put it in front of his microphone.

Bruce looked at one sign and said "that's too old!" The request was for "Jennifer" a Steel Mill song.

They did play the entire "Raise Your Hand" tonight, it was not just the instrumental version. Bruce jumped on the piano toward the end of the song and then came up to the front center extension and started to sign "I believe in miracles! Where you from?" a few times from the 1970s "You Sexy Thing" song by Hot Chocolate.

24. E Street Shuffle (sign request)

Bruce has fun, crowd has fun. Curt back onstage to play the trumpet. Worked well with Clarence's sax.

At the end Bruce was saying: "Just a dance you do everyday to get through the bull****."

25. Growin' Up (sign request)

The sign was great, it was a picture of different Bruce albums and different pictures of Bruce through the years.

What made this so great tonight was that Bruce broke into a story in the middle of the song, just like he did on the Darkness Tour in 1978.

See if I can get most of the story:

"Hey C!" Bruce yelled to Clarence. "I had the weirdest dream I ever had. It's one of those dreams that make you shudder. You wake up and go 'Oh (****)!" that you thank Jesus it wasn't real.

"I was back in my house and there was a lot of people. A ****load of people. It was filled with all my relatives. All the relatives I had since I lived in Freehold. It was a bigger population than all of Freehold!

I'm walking through thye house and all the lights go out. Then there's this cake with 60 ***** candles on it."

The crowd then started to sing "Happy Birthday" to Bruce.

Story continues:

"There are thousands of people reminding me of something I was trying to forget. I woke up and then when I woke up... "

He then broke back into signing "I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere and you know it's really hard to hold your breath."

It was great and a lot of fun.

26. American Land

Willie Nile came on stage to play guitar.

Fireworks were set off from the side of the stage during the "E Street Band!" part at the end.

"That's right, we splurged for fireworks" Bruce said to the crowd.

27. Dancing in the Dark

Bruce brought up a woman to dance with him.

Bruce looked like he was ready to play another sign request (it was "Jersey Girl") and he was taking his time looking at it. But he did not play it.

"Hope you packed a lunch" Steven joked to the crowd as Bruce took a few seconds to get ready.

"Thank you. We got a few left." said Bruce as he wanted Willie Nile to come back onstage "It's only got three chords!"

Bruce then went into a bit of a PSA, taking more this tour than any other time about some current issues.

He mentioned how people are needing work and said "Mr. President. Put us back to work." "

He talked about how years ago when he would play "Born To Run" he would always say "Nobody wins unless everybody wins." But he stopped saying that a while back .

He said the middle class was squeezed under the Reagan administration abd the there should be affordable health care for all.

28. Hard Times

At the end of the song he again said: "Nobody wins unless everybody wins."

29. Rosalita

"i'm going to send Rosalita out to Patti, where ever you are come out tonight. She'll be here on Friday," Bruce said.

At the end he said "Patti come out tonight!"

Show over at 11:32 p.m.

Bruce was the last to leave the stage.

Fun show, great at times.

Stadium looked to be mostly full.

Only thing on the handwritten setlist that wasn't played was "41 Shots." It was listed with a ? in the spot after Promised Land.

GA process ran pretty well. A little mixup as they were allowing people in the stadium, but it was corrected pretty quickly.

A cool night at Giants Stadium. It was actually cooler in the afternoon but it did warm up by showtime.

Definitely jacket weather though.

"Long Walk Home" and "Last to Die" was also soundchecked.

Next show: Friday at Giants Stadium. I'll be there.

Cooling Down the Cassandras

By George F. Will
The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Plateau in Temperatures Adds Difficulty to Task Of Reaching a Solution

-- New York Times, Sept. 23


In this headline on a New York Times story about the difficulties confronting people alarmed about global warming, note the word "plateau." It dismisses the unpleasant -- to some people -- fact that global warming is maddeningly (to the same people) slow to vindicate their apocalyptic warnings about it.

The "difficulty" -- the "intricate challenge," the Times says -- is "building momentum" for carbon reduction "when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years." That was in the Times's first paragraph.

In the fifth paragraph, a "few years" became "the next decade or so," according to Mojib Latif, a German "prize-winning climate and ocean scientist" who campaigns constantly to promote policies combating global warming. Actually, Latif has said he anticipates "maybe even two" decades in which temperatures cool. But stay with the Times's "decade or so." By asserting that the absence of significant warming since 1998 is a mere "plateau," not warming's apogee, the Times assures readers who are alarmed about climate change that the paper knows the future and that warming will continue: Do not despair, bad news will resume.

The Times reported that "scientists" -- all of them? -- say the 11 years of temperature stability has "no bearing," none, on long-term warming. Some scientists say "cool stretches are inevitable." Others say there may be growth of Arctic sea ice, but the growth will be "temporary." According to the Times, however, "scientists" say that "trying to communicate such scientific nuances to the public -- and to policymakers -- can be frustrating."

The Times says "a short-term trend gives ammunition to skeptics of climate change." Actually, what makes skeptics skeptical is the accumulating evidence that theories predicting catastrophe from man-made climate change are impervious to evidence. The theories are unfalsifiable, at least in the "short run." And the "short run" is defined as however many decades must pass until the evidence begins to fit the hypotheses.

The Post recently reported the theory of a University of Virginia professor emeritus who thinks that, many millennia ago, primitive agriculture -- burning forests, creating methane-emitting rice paddies, etc. -- produced enough greenhouse gases to warm the planet at least a degree. The theory is interesting. Even more interesting is the reaction to it by people such as the Columbia University professor who says it makes him "really upset" because it might encourage opponents of legislation combating global warming.

Warnings about cataclysmic warming increase in stridency as evidence of warming becomes more elusive. A recent report from the United Nations Environment Program predicts an enormous 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit increase by the end of the century even if nations fulfill their most ambitious pledges concerning reduction of carbon emissions. The U.S. goal is an 80 percent reduction by 2050. But Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute says that would require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the 1910 level. On a per capita basis, it would mean emissions approximately equal to those in 1875.

That will not happen. So, we are doomed. So, why try?

America needs a national commission appointed to assess the evidence about climate change. Alarmists will fight this because the first casualty would be the carefully cultivated and media-reinforced myth of consensus -- the bald assertion that no reputable scientist doubts the gravity of the crisis, doubts being conclusive evidence of disreputable motives or intellectual qualifications. The president, however, could support such a commission because he is sure "there's finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us." So he announced last week at the U.N. climate change summit, where he said the threat is so "serious" and "urgent" that unless all nations act "boldly, swiftly and together" -- "time . . . is running out" -- we risk "irreversible catastrophe." Prince Charles agrees. In March, seven months ago, he said humanity had 100 months -- until July 2017 -- to prevent "catastrophic climate change and the unimaginable horrors that this would bring." Evidently humanity will prevent this.

Charles Moore of the Spectator notes that in July, the prince said that by 2050 the planet will be imperiled by the existence of 9 billion people, a large portion of them consuming as much as Western people now do. Environmental Cassandras must be careful with their predictions lest they commit what climate alarmists consider the unpardonable faux pas of denying that the world is coming to an end.

georgewill@washpost.com

A STATISTICAL REGRESSION ANALYSIS OF MARITIME UNEMPLOYMENT RATES, 1946-1948. JUST KIDDING -- MORE LIBERAL LIES ABOUT NATIONAL HEALTH CARE!

By Ann Coulter
http://www.anncoulter.com/
September 30, 2009

(17) America's low ranking on international comparisons of infant mortality proves other countries' socialist health care systems are better than ours.

America has had a comparatively high infant mortality rate since we've been measuring these things, going back to at least the '20s. This was the case long before European countries adopted their cradle-to-grave welfare schemes and all while the U.S. was the wealthiest country on Earth.

One factor contributing to the U.S.'s infant mortality rate is that blacks have intractably high infant mortality rates -- irrespective of age, education, socioeconomic status and so on. No one knows why.

Neither medical care nor discrimination can explain it: Hispanics in the U.S. have lower infant mortality rates than either blacks or whites. Give Switzerland or Japan our ethnically diverse population and see how they stack up on infant mortality rates.

Even with a higher-risk population, the alleged differences in infant mortality are negligible. We're talking about 7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S. compared to 5 deaths per 1,000 for Britain and Canada. This is a rounding error -- perhaps literally when you consider that the U.S. tabulates every birth, even in poor, small and remote areas, while other countries are not always so meticulous.

But the international comparisons in "infant mortality" rates aren't comparing the same thing, anyway. We also count every baby who shows any sign of life, irrespective of size or weight at birth.

By contrast, in much of Europe, babies born before 26 weeks' gestation are not considered "live births." Switzerland only counts babies who are at least 30 centimeters long (11.8 inches) as being born alive. In Canada, Austria and Germany, only babies weighing at least a pound are considered live births.

And of course, in Milan it's not considered living if the baby isn't born within driving distance of the Côte d'Azur.

By excluding the little guys, these countries have simply redefined about one-third of what we call "infant deaths" in America as "miscarriages."

Moreover, many industrialized nations, such as France, Hong Kong and Japan -- the infant mortality champion -- don't count infant deaths that occur in the 24 hours after birth. Almost half of infant deaths in the U.S. occur in the first day.

Also contributing to the higher mortality rate of U.S. newborns: Peter Singer lives here.

But members of Congress, such as Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Jim Moran and John Olver, have all cited the U.S.'s relatively poor ranking in infant mortality among developed nations as proof that our medical care sucks. This is despite the fact that in many countries a baby born the size of Dennis Kucinich would not be considered a live birth.

Apart from the fact that we count -- and try to save -- all our babies, infant mortality is among the worst measures of a nation's medical care because so much of it is tied to lifestyle choices, such as the choice to have children out of wedlock, as teenagers or while addicted to crack.

The main causes of infant mortality -- aside from major birth defects -- are prematurity and low birth-weight. And the main causes of low birth-weight are: smoking, illegitimacy and teenage births. Americans lead most of the developed world in all three categories. Oh, and thank you for that, Britney Spears.

Although we have a lot more low birth-weight and premature babies for both demographic and lifestyle reasons, at-risk newborns are more likely to survive in America than anywhere else in the world. Japan, Norway and the other countries with better infant mortality rates would see them go through the roof if they had to deal with the same pregnancies that American doctors do.

As Nicholas Eberstadt demonstrates in his book "The Tyranny of Numbers: Mismeasurement and Misrule," American hospitals do so well with low birth-weight babies that if Japan had our medical care with their low birth-weight babies, another third of their babies would survive, making it even harder for an American kid to get into MIT.

But I think it's terrific that liberals are finally willing to start looking at outcomes to judge a system. I say we start right away with the public schools!

In international comparisons, American 12th-graders rank in the 14th percentile in math and the 29th percentile in science. The U.S. outperformed only Cyprus and South Africa in general math and science knowledge. Worse, Asian countries didn't participate in the last 12th-grade assessment tests.

Imagine how much worse our public schools would look -- assuming that were possible -- if we allowed other countries to exclude one-half of their worst performers!

That's exactly what liberals are doing when they tout America's rotten infant mortality rate compared to other countries. They look for any category that makes our medical care look worse than the rest of the world -- and then neglect to tell us that the rest of the world counts our premature and low birth-weight babies as "miscarriages."

As long as American liberals are going to keep announcing that they're embarrassed for their country, how about being embarrassed by our public schools or by our ridiculous trial lawyer culture that other countries find laughable?

Don't be discouraged, liberals -- when it comes to utterly frivolous lawsuits against obstetricians presented to illiterate jurors so that John and Elizabeth Edwards can live in an 80-room house, we're still No. 1!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why More Aid to Pakistan Won’t Work

by Robert Spencer
http://www.frontpagemag.com
Sep 29th, 2009


Last Thursday the Senate voted to triple the amount of non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion annually. The money is supposed to go to build democracy and aid anti-terror efforts. “We should make clear to the people of Pakistan,” explained Senator Richard Lugar, “that our interests are focused on democracy, pluralism, stability, and the fight against terrorism. If Pakistan is to break its debilitating cycle of instability, it will need to achieve progress on fighting corruption, delivering government services, and promoting broad based economic growth.”

This all sounds great, until one looks at the post-9/11 record of dealings between the United States and Pakistan. Last September, the New York Times reported that “after the attacks of Sept. 11, President Pervez Musharraf threw his lot in with the United States. Pakistan has helped track down Al Qaeda suspects, launched a series of attacks against militants inside the tribal areas — a new offensive got under way just weeks ago — and given many assurances of devotion to the antiterrorist cause. For such efforts, Musharraf and the Pakistani government have been paid handsomely, receiving more than $10 billion in American money since 2001.” However, “the survival of Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders has depended on a double game: assuring the United States that they were vigorously repressing Islamic militants — and in some cases actually doing so — while simultaneously tolerating and assisting the same militants.”

What has changed in Pakistan since then? Not much. Musharraf is gone, but much of the rest of the Pakistani leadership is the same, and above all, the core attitudes that led to the double game being conducted in the first place have not changed. One fundamental assumption that all too many Pakistani officials hold is that when something goes wrong with society, it is because the people have faltered in their fidelity to Islam, and only renewed religious fervor can solve the problem and restore prosperity to the nation and health to the society. This assumption militates against the idea that any amount of American aid will significantly alter the situation in Pakistan, or lessen popular support for the Islamic jihad of the Taliban and allied groups. For the Americans will always, no matter how much money they lavish upon the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, be infidels. The solution to Pakistan’s problems will not be seen as lying with them, but with a renewed commitment to Islam.

In Iran it was the same story. The attempts by several Shahs to follow the lead of Turkish secularist Kemal Ataturk and modernize Iran along Western lines were ultimately torpedoed by Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, which restored traditional Islam’s strict dress code and swept away “music and most other ‘satanic arts,’” as well as alcoholic beverages. Westerners were mystified by the spectacle of women wearing traditional Muslim garb, demonstrating against the Shah who had tried to give them greater rights. But those who searched for economic or political causes for this revolution, or who were puzzled by the apparent popularity of the dour, scowling Khomeini failed to recognize that, as the Muslim writer Sadeq el Mahdi put it in 1981, “in the Muslim world, Islam is the only key to the hearts and minds of the people.” When Khomeini spoke to the Iranian people, he didn’t talk about economics. His message was that it was time to restore the purity of Islam.

This pattern is repeated throughout the Islamic world. Every government that goes too far in implementing Western principles encounters religious resistance. Pakistan also has struggled since its independence with the relationship between Western principles and Sharia norms. It was founded as a secular state, but Islamic activists resisted its secular character from the beginning. In 1956, eight years after independence, it was proclaimed an Islamic Republic. Amid a great deal of ongoing unrest, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto promised in 1977 to implement the Sharia. Shortly thereafter President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who had taken power in a bloody coup, declared that the Sharia was above Pakistan’s civil law. Unrest has continued, and the small Christian community in Pakistan has suffered considerably under the Sharia.

Desire to restore the purity, and thus the glory, of the umma is also the impetus behind the rise of Osama bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists today. Setbacks in the Islamic world commonly result in the diagnosis that the defeat resulted from insufficient religious fidelity. In 1948, the Egyptian jihad theorist Sayyid Qutb surveyed the House of Islam and wrote passionately, “We only have to look in order to see that our social situation is as bad as it can be.” Yet “we continually cast aside all our own spiritual heritage, all our intellectual endowment, and all the solutions which might well be revealed by a glance at these things; we cast aside our own fundamental principles and doctrines, and we bring in those of democracy, or socialism, or communism.”

In other words, the ingredient for success is more Islam. V. S. Naipaul discovered this diagnosis to be very much alive in modern Pakistan, at least as regarding Islam: “failure,” he says, “led back again and again to the assertion of the faith.” He quotes an article in the Pakistan Times by A. H. Kardar, “the former cricket captain of Pakistan, and an Oxford man.” Says Kardar of modern Pakistan: “Clearly, the choice is between materialism and its inseparable nationally divisive political manifestoes, and the Word of God.” A new severity invariably follows.

If Islamic orthodoxy were differently constituted, it wouldn’t be so vulnerable to exploitation by fanatics and demagogues who invoke religious principles as the basis of their legitimacy — but that’s precisely the problem. And it’s a problem that everyone who believes that the House of Islam can easily be secularized and fit into place as another ingredient in a global multicultural society should examine carefully. Especially those Senators who have just showered more American billions upon Pakistan.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, is available now from Regnery Publishing.

Bomberphobia

Sports Arena

By on 9.30.09 @ 6:06AM
The American Spectator
http://spectator.org/

Short months ago, the first real taste of warm weather blew gently across the Northeast and the sight of blossoming trees with their explosions of brilliant color provided a great remedy for the winter blues. This glorious tableau was only tarnished by three days of watching my New York Yankees getting trashed by the Boston Red Sox up in Fenway Park. More misery was to follow as the Yanks would also lose the next five games at the hands of the dreaded Beantowners.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Derek Jeter(notes) #2 of the New York Yankees is presented with a milestone memorabilia before the game on September 29, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

But just as Spring is the harbinger of good things to come, so does Fall sometimes usher in great days for some fortunate baseball fans. The Yanks won nine out of the next ten tilts with the Sox and in doing so, clinched the AL East on Sunday as well as the best record in baseball. So you'd think that everything would be bliss for Yankee fans, right? Well, maybe it is for some, but not for this one.

When you're a conservative columnist, bad vibes are a part of the territory. You tend to grow a thick skin and brush the slings and arrows of outrageous liberals off your back; and believe me, last week brought a bunch of them. But when your favorite team makes the postseason, all should be happiness and light; except, that is, if you're a Yankee fan. I mention these two things together because I have noticed that some of the gripes about conservatives advanced by those on the left have a great deal in common with those who suffer from an irrational hatred of the Yankees, or Bomberphobia as I like to call it.

In the course of their long history, the Yankees have been despised by various large groups of people; most notably fans of the teams who have suffered at the hands of their mighty batsmen. But in the last few decades or so, because they have so outspent their rivals in putting their profits into their farm system and acquiring the best players available, they have become the target of liberals everywhere.

This of course is understandable as liberals, particularly rich ones, often lecture us as to the evils of wealth. But what about you conservatives? Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone on the right should be a Bronx Bomber fan, but stop and consider what some of you have in common with the opposition in hating the Yanks.

Let's take stock here. You're a good conservative. You are a capitalist; one who believes that excellence should be rewarded, that a man should be able to earn whatever the market will pay. If you are a true conservative you despise socialism; the idea that in a country like America, some should support others who are perfectly capable of doing it themselves. You are sick of government bailouts and the welfare state.

Yet, many of you secretly applaud baseball's version of socialism, euphemistically called the Competitive Balance Tax, which has resulted in the Yanks paying out over $150 million in the last six years to their direct competitors. Meanwhile, Robert Nutting, the dastardly owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates who pocketed $40 million in revenue-sharing alone last year, saw fit to reduce his 2009 payroll to $20 million by selling off the few good players he had. Such doings make those who cooked up the Oil for Food program look like pikers.

Yet some who disdain the concept of the redistribution of wealth as an economic and political system, see nothing wrong with the same idea in baseball. Those who champion parity in competitive sports remind me of Madeleine Albright and those of her ilk who bemoan the fact that it's not fair that the U.S. is the world's only remaining superpower.

As a conservative, you believe in fair play and the rule of law; that once the game has begun, the rules should not change because someone doesn't like the outcome à la Al Gore, Ted Kennedy and friends. Yet Bomberphobes everywhere rejoiced when traitor Lee MacPhail, then president of the American League, overturned the unanimous decision of all four umpires in the infamous "pine tar game." Talk about your recounts!

And, keeping in mind the fact that many became Bomberphobes when it was revealed that George Steinbrenner gave illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon, and there you have it: irrefutable evidence that those who harbor an irrational hatred for the Yanks must be closet liberals.

Now, before my mailbox gets flooded with angry missives, be advised that this column is mainly directed at some of my personal friends and colleagues who become twisted with Yankee hatred most Octobers, and is meant to be taken tongue in cheek; sort of. So come on my fellow conservatives, there's still time to get in the game and root for America's team.

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).

Monday, September 28, 2009

After missing out on playoffs in 2008, Yankees storm back to rightful place - October

Mike Lupica
The Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/
Monday, September 28th 2009, 4:00 AM


Antonelli/News

Joe Girardi is soaked by his palyers in the club house after the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 4-2 winning the American League East.New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.


After 99 other victories this season, after all the comebacks on this side of 161st St., the Yankees were putting some official winning into the new place, about five minutes after 5 Sunday afternoon. They were winning the American League East with style, with one more comeback, this one against the Red Sox, and so of course it had to come down to Mariano Rivera over here, the way it always did over there.

The game had started late because of rain but now there was enough sun out in the top of the ninth that Brett Gardner even lost J.D. Drew's short fly ball to center. And the Red Sox had second and third with two out in a 4-2 game, which meant that a hit from Jacoby Ellsbury tied the game. Only Ellsbury wasn't hitting Rivera, who was here to close out the division again, who was going to make this one more day of baseball when he was the greatest money pitcher in the history of the game.

"There is nothing he could do," Derek Jeter said Sunday, "that you haven't seen from him before."

So Rivera broke Ellsbury's bat with the first inside cutter he threw him and finally he got one in on the kid's hands again and the ball rolled to Mo Rivera's left and he picked up and underhanded it to Mark Teixeira at first and the Yankees had gotten to 100 and won the East and done that with their second sweep of the Red Sox in the last couple of months. Some day. Some season.

The game started Sunday with a clean single to left from Jeter in the bottom of the first and ended with the ball in Rivera's right hand again. Andy Pettitte got the win Sunday. So much has been new this season, so much has changed. Just not everything. If everything goes the way the Yankees want it to, there will be another ending like this, to a much bigger game, the first week of November, the ball back in the great Rivera's hands at the end of another World Series.

So now there have been two games to remember from this September, two ways the Yankees have properly christened the new place. There was the Friday night against the Orioles when Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's record for career hits by a Yankee. Now this. Now this sweep of the Red Sox on the last weekend of September, the Yankees coming all the way back from 0-8 early against Boston to even the series at 9-9 and give Boston plenty to think about if the two teams do it again in the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees, who have hit all year, really got to 100 Sunday with pitching, from Pettitte and Phil Coke and Brian Bruney and Rivera, who got his 44th save a couple of months short of his 40th birthday. Before the game Sunday Jeter was asked to talk about the season and he looked up and said, "We pitch."

He didn't talk about the season he had or the one Teixeira had or the one Alex Rodriguez had once he recovered from hip surgery. He didn't talk about Cano, who had a big home run on Saturday or Hideki Matsui, who came back from a bad knee this season and knocked in the two runs that put the Yankees ahead Sunday.

"We pitch," the captain of the team said.

Then he added this: "We can always hit. We're always coming into a season and people are saying, 'They're going to score 1,000 runs.' But when we won, we won with pitching."

So Pettitte gave the Red Sox two early Sunday and then the bullpen, which gave the Red Sox so many games early in the season, gave them nothing after that, even though the Red Sox did end up with second and third in the ninth. Only then Rivera was picking up Ellsbury's roller and the Yankees were celebrating something as a team on this side of the street and before long AL East T-shirts were being passed out on the field and the Yankees broke out champagne again for the first time in a couple of years. Only around here is that treated like a long and terribly dry spell.
This is the way Joe Girardi described the Yankees not making the playoffs last season:

"That bad taste from last year."

They wiped that out with the regular season they have played, finally with champagne Sunday. They were still three games behind the Red Sox in the East at the All-Star break and seemed to make up 10 games in about 10 minutes after the break and really ran away with the thing. When it was over Sunday the Red Sox got ready to go to the bus, still with some work to do before clinching the wild card. The Yankees went and partied.

A lot of noise at the new place Sunday, behind Babe Ruth Plaza. There is just a shell across the street where the old Stadium was, what looks like this immense black netting around it really reminding you more of a shroud. And all these signs warning people against trespassing and one, right across 161st from Babe Ruth Plaza from Turner Construction on a blue wall that read this way:

"Building the Future of the Bronx."

The past is behind that sign, that wall. So is all the winning the Yankees did inside the walls of the old Stadium, a million memories, all the noise, all the times when the ground would shake in big moments. The baseball future of the Bronx, whatever kind of future it is going to be, is in the new Stadium. They put some winning inside it Sunday. Never gets old.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to basics

By Melanie Phillips
http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/
Wednesday, 23rd September 2009
http://www.melaniephillips.com/

A set of must-reads that shed light on both Britain today and what to do about some of the worst effects. In the Daily Mail, a blistering series of pieces by Harriet Sergeant has painted a devastating picture of the extent to which civilised norms of behaviour have been extinguished amongst teenage boys at the bottom of the social heap, and why. As she says, the reason is that the institutions that previously socialised and directed young men - the family, the church and school - have either lost or given up their authority. Here she describes Britain’s ‘feral’ youths; here how the welfare system has underpinned the catastrophic collapse of the family and helped deprive these young men of their fathers, the core reason for their descent into under-achievement, drugs, crime and anarchy; here she describes how the schools are failing to educate these boys even to the most rudimentary level; and here she looks at the rise of gang culture that fills the void in their lives.

To me, the most shocking aspect of all this was her description of what happens to these boys in school. Most of them are illiterate, and she rightly fixes on this as the trigger for lives of under-achievement and crime. For many years, the government has paid lip-service to ending illiteracy by tackling the truly fantastic reason for it: the fact that many teachers simply stopped teaching children to read. Yet the equally astounding fact is that whatever schemes the government introduced to get the primary schools to teach children to read, the teachers either subverted them or refused point blank. I have written about this repudiation of education by the teaching profession for more than twenty years; in 1996 I wrote about it in detail in my book All Must Have Prizes and was denounced by virtually the entire education establishment; in 2009, precious little has changed.

Sergeant writes of the teachers who refuse to teach phonics, or the decoding of print through matching sounds to letters and their combinations – the tried and tested method of teaching children to read that was memorably dismissed by the education establishment as ‘barking at print’ --:

They prefer pupils to try to pick up the meaning of words from looking at pictures. Or, as a school inspector remarked: ‘The child is put in a corner, surrounded by books and assumed to be able to read by osmosis.’

...Like phonics, the concept of sitting pupils in rows of desks facing the teacher is widely considered too didactic. Now, most primary schoolchildren sit at tables scattered about the classroom, as I saw for myself when I sat in on one class for a week in the East End of London.

On my table, the three children giggled, kicked each other and chatted. Their attention lay on what was immediately in front of them: themselves. Somewhere on the periphery of our vision, the teacher walked about, struggling to keep order. Somewhere else, behind our heads, hung a white board with work upon it, gleefully ignored by my table.

When I blamed the children’s poor discipline and concentration on the layout, the teacher looked at me with horror. ‘The pupils are working together, directing their own learning,’ she said emphatically. Children are now expected, for example, to be ‘independent learners’ in charge of their own education. (‘Why do teachers keep asking me what I want to learn? How am I supposed to know?’ one boy asked me in exasperation.)

... Bright boys from chaotic backgrounds are almost totally dependent on their teachers for that first step to a different life. Yet, shockingly, some teachers saw their educational and social status not as a cause of inspiration to their pupils, but of shame. ‘My main focus is not to offend my pupils,’ said one. ‘I don't want to push my middle-class values on them.’


The result of this inverted class war is that these boys are simply abandoned by such teachers to lives of ignorance, illiteracy and disadvantage from which the only escape appears to them to be into gangs, drugs and crime. The result is rising numbers of wrecked lives and terrorised neighbourhoods. In many such places, the police appear to have given up and ceded the streets to the gangs. But as fundamental as these social problems are, the police can still have a dramatic effect on crime levels if they follow the simple insight of American ‘broken windows’ strategy – that crime can only be tackled effectively if all disorderly behaviour, however apparently trivial, is stamped out.

A report in today’s Guardian suggests that the Kent police have used that insight to great effect. Both crime and fear of crime have dramatically fallen as a result of tackling what the police call ‘low-level antisocial behaviour’, vandalism, petty offending and ‘nuisance’ issues. Older and wiser police hands might well sniff that this is merely re-inventing the wheel; the core aim of policing in Britain, after all, has always been the preservation of public tranquillity, and not the achievement of government targets on domestic violence, hate crime or other ideological offences, the pursuit of which has done such terrible damage to the ethos of policing (not to mention the core principles of British society). But we are where we are, which is not a pleasant or comfortable place at all; and that wheel most certainly needs to be re-invented. Along with teaching five year-olds to read.

Film Review- "Capitalism: A Love Story"

Less is Moore

By KYLE SMITH
New York Post
http://www.nypost.com/
September 27, 2009

Who denies that Michael Moore is a communist? Not Michael Moore.

I gave him the opportunity to stake out a position for himself as a non-extremist at Alice Tully Hall on Monday night.

After a screening of "Capitalism: A Love Story" at this sparkling palace of capitalism (cocktails in the Morgan Stanley lobby, little black dresses in the Citi balcony), Tina Brown brought Moore onstage for a Q&A.

She posed a series of questions about his skill and daring, then invited the audience to query the filmmaker. I went to a mike and said (I am paraphrasing our chat), "I couldn’t help noticing that you use the Bolshevik anthem [‘The Internationale’] on the soundtrack at the end of your film. Wouldn’t you agree, though, that communism was far worse than Clinton-Bush era capitalism in the US?"

I thought this a softball question that any reasonable person would answer in the affirmative. I was surprised when I was hustled away for asking it.

Moore at first tried misdirection. He said, "That’s not a Bolshevik anthem."

This was a lie, but Moore scurried on.

He continued, "It’s a beautiful 19th Century French song."

The song was indeed written in the 19th century — by a French communist. And it was later used by the Bolsheviks and communists as the dinner music for their murderous rampage. It was effectively the national anthem of the early Soviet Union. You might not recognize the version in the film because it’s a cheesy, big-band, "Mad Men"-ish recording by singer Tony Babino. But the song is full of bloodthirsty lyrics about smiting the rich.

I told Moore, "But the Bolsheviks used it."

Moore opined that anyone can use any song for anything.

Roaming far from the point, he asked my last name ("Smith," I said. And the audience of Moore fans and employees laughed. I’m still trying to figure out why Smith is more hilarious than Moore). Moore said that just as people have misused the term Marxism, 100 years from now someone might use the term "Smithism" to mean something I wouldn’t have supported.

Ah. All of this blowing of smoke reminded me of the New Yorker profile that caught Moore being asked by a student why someone who denounced the "culture of fear" in "Bowling for Columbine" brought three bodyguards to protect him from the scary scholars of Cambridge University.

Moore said, "Why are they assuming that? Because they’re black?"

The New Yorker writer added drily that the three men "were, of course, security guards," perceiving that, "Moore seemed momentarily to panic — and his instinctive response was to attack, and then to say something just short of a lie, delivered in the form of a joke."

At Alice Tully Hall, I persisted, repeating my question: Wouldn’t Moore agree that communism was far more evil than the Bush-Clinton version of capitalism? Moore got testy and said, "I’m not going to answer that. That’s bull - - - t. It’s not about capitalism vs. communism. It’s about democracy vs. greed," or words to that effect.

I politely pointed out that since he had brought in an anthem associated with communism, his views on the matter seemed to be a valid point.

Tina Brown cut me off, saying it was time for the next question. A security guard moved in to shut off my mike. The last words I got in before I was hustled away were, "But, Mr. Moore, I’m only doing the same thing to you that you did to all those GM execs."

Moore replied, with hot sarcasm, "Oh, yeah. It’s JUST the same," but did not explain how I was different from him.

*

So it goes for the common man in Moore-ocracy. Communism cannot work without suppressing dissent, and Moore understands that. Question the supreme thinker and you’re ushered away. I’m glad Alice Tully Hall is not equipped with a Goldman Sachs Detention and Reeducation Center or I might be in it right now.

It’s too easy to argue that Moore is a hypocrite, a guy who wants to milk the system and carve it into steaks at the same time. But I don’t begrudge Moore his earnings. Being allowed to separate suckers from their money is one of the more entertaining privileges of capitalism. Entertainment Weekly reported he was paid $25 million to make "Sicko" — which was therefore a much more profitable experience for him than for the studio, which must have lost millions.

To call Moore a hypocrite, though, is like erecting a theme park in Flint, Mich. It assumes something that isn’t there. It’s not that he fails to live up to admirable standards. The standards themselves are discredited, diseased and immoral. They’re scraps of carrion he plucked off the ash-heap of history.

In his recent book, David Denby defined "Snark" as, in part, a system that fails to make an affirmative argument. Snarkists are back-of-the-class spitballers who go silent when asked to teach the class themselves.

Moore, whose resemblance to the Cowardly Lion is not just physical, cannot stand in the front of the room and define for us a new system of government to replace the one he finds so unbearable. ("I refuse to live in a country like this — and I’m not leaving," he tells us at the end of the film, though residence or departure are his only two options.) If he shouted the name of the system he apparently worships (his previous movie was as enraptured with Fidel Castro than "Shakespeare in Love" was with Gwyneth Paltrow), he would be the mockee instead of the mocker. He’d have to play defense instead of merely being offensive.

As it is, Moore drops hints that communism is kinda groovy while solemnly presenting a clip of an angry victim of foreclosure who speaks of armed uprising against banks (who is this guy, anyway? Does he have a criminal record? How many bills did he fail to pay and why? Given that foreclosure is a money-loser for banks, what pushed things this far?).

The majority of the liberal audience, which hates the same things Moore hates and laughs at the same things he finds funny (any image of George W. Bush, when shown to Moore fans, automatically causes titters or at least self-gratifying boos), feels so cozy in his company that they fail to ask themselves where Moore-ism leads.

Noted economics expert Wallace Shawn (best known as the scheming little man in "The Princess Bride," though I’ll always remember him as the rival Woody Allen dubbed "that homunculus" in "Manhattan") says in the movie that when you have capitalism, it very quickly becomes true that some enjoy five times the wealth of others. True. Some people work five times as hard as others or are five times as smart or five times as talented. Some have 5,000 times the wealth of others and some have five million times the wealth of others. But is 500% of the poverty line where the wrong kicks in, where the referee of government needs to step in and blow the whistle? Michael Moore is 5,000 times as rich as I am, and he can split his wealth with me if he likes. But few in the Alice Tully crowd would be pleased if confiscation of wealth began at the level Shawn and Moore seem to be suggesting. The crowd applauded the movie merrily, rattling their jewelry with delight, only because they know Moore lacks the power to get his ideas taken seriously by policymakers.

Nor is he likely to be taken seriously by his supposed new allies in the Catholic Church. The new film includes scenes of several priests and bishops denouncing capitalism, in harsh terms. "God will come down and eradicate it somehow," one vows. (If He allowed the Holocaust to happen, is He going to get worked up about Exxon-Mobil?) Moore is an ex-seminarian who, on Monday, said his faith was central to his politics.

But if the Church is an authority on capitalism, then it is equally an authority on abortion. What other Biblical arguments will Moore support? Will his next film explain how the universe was created in seven days or denounce men who lie with other men?

If the Church and the Bible aren’t political authorities, though, their arguments stand or fall by the same standards as anyone else’s: Whether they make sense. Moore doesn’t care to debate socialism — but he does present a recent poll that (apparently) showed 37% support of capitalism vs. 33% for socialism.

In reality, the Rasmussen poll taken in April, which appears to be the one Moore is referring to (his films are so sloppy about sourcing it’s difficult to check their claims), showed capitalism winning, 53-20 — but only by 37 to 33 among those under 30. So to Moore, voters over 30 don’t count? How does that work with his clarion call for "democracy"?

Another passage of "Capitalism: A Love Story" shows how large corporations buy life insurance for groups of employees, naming themselves as the beneficiary. Moore interviews a Wal-Mart employee who is grieving for her dead husband when she discovers that his employer insured the deceased, paid all the premiums, and can therefore now cash in.

Odd. But this isn’t Agatha Christie stuff. The companies aren’t suspected of murdering their clerks to make money. If the practice were made illegal, it wouldn’t benefit the poor employees in any way. It would simply make some rich corporations a little less rich. Moore may or may not remember this, but his last film was a denunciation of insurance companies. In this one, he’s saying Wal-Mart shouldn’t be allowed to make money from insurance companies. He’s like the nature channel Jerry Seinfeld used to do a routine about: When the leopard is the star, you root for the leopard. Go, leopard! Catch that wildebeest! The next week is about the wildebeest and you’re heartbroken if the leopard gets to eat lunch. What does it matter to Moore if this company or that one profits? What really seems to enrage him is that a lawyer tells him these contracts are called "dead peasant insurance."

*

Gazing down from his penthouse, through morose-colored glasses, Moore is a deeply confused individual. He segues from a piece on Franklin Roosevelt (where is Moore’s expose of this notorious bank bailer-outer?) to a clip of — er, Hurricane Katrina? What does that have to do with capitalism? Maybe if FDR had lived he could have halted the floodwaters. Or at least diverted them towards the wealthier suburbs of Houston.

Over footage of flooded New Orleans, Moore gravely informs us that when something like this happens, it’s always the poor who get hit. That sounds like an argument with God, not politics, but like most of Moore’s arguments it withers after a moment’s thought. As his film was rolling out, well-off Atlantans were under 18 feet of water. Or think of the Malibu wildfires. Think about what happened to a group of white-collar workers in downtown Manhattan, the ones who inspired the movie Moore made before "Sicko."

What’s most surprising about Moore’s latest is that he was standing in front of a big fat piñata with a chainsaw and made only noise, not damage. Even capitalism’s most ardent proponents fret about the moral hazard of failure being rewarded with bailouts, the dizzying leverage ratios that accelerated the crisis and the startling lack of linkage between compensation and performance of financial executives.

These are serious questions for serious times. Moore fancies himself a serious comedian. Instead, he gives us sketchy anecdotes about co-op bakeries where assembly-line workers make $65,000 a year, slogans about sit-down strikes and nudge-nudging about the need for violence ("Was this the beginning of a workers’ revolt against Wall Street?"). Then he wraps it all up with Team Lenin’s favorite fight song.

Moore thinks he is leading a march to the barricades, but there is no one following behind. He’s Will Ferrell in "Old School," running naked down the street with his misshapen, ugly little prejudices flopping and dangling in the night. "We’re streaking! We’re streaking!" Not we, Michael. Just you.