[Nat King Cole’s rendition of this song always makes me smile: his German is so dreadful. But what a voice! It’s like hot cocoa with a marshmallow melting in it.]
Well, the 8-foot Concolor fir tree goes up today, meaning about four hours of prickles and dead light strands lie ahead. Can’t wait!
I have a Christmas ethics dilemma on which advice would be appreciated. As I think I mentioned, Spuds, who is a canine battering ram, was romping at night in the field behind our house with a group of dog pals when one of the owners, a next door neighbor of thirty years, zigged when she should have zagged and Spuds ran right into her. Her leg was broken in two places, and now her 71-year-old husband is facing caring for her for at least several months, also taking care of their two large Belgian Shepherds, as well as a disabled family member who lives a few houses down the street. Lots of the dog-owners have dropped off holiday food for the couple, and we want to send a nice Harry and David package. How do we frame the gift in a way that sends the implied message we want to convey (“We’re thinking of you, and hope you can enjoy the Christmas in spite of everything”) and not “Please don’t sue us!” ? (I am not at all concerned on that score, for reasons social and legal.) Should Spuds sign the card, along with us?
I’ll be damned before I ask “The Ethicist,” or worse still, “Social Qs”…
1. Look! A competent list for a change! The Independent issued a list of “The Magnificent 20: the Top 2O Westerns of All Time.” I’ve lectured and written about this most ethics-minded and American of film genres, and I was pleasantly surprised that almost all of the Westerns I regard as essential made the list. Graeme Ross, the author, knows his stuff. That doesn’t mean I agree with all of it. I am not a Sergio Leone fan, and consider all of the spaghetti westerns as anti-Westerns at heart, so those are two slots I’d fill differently. As usual “The Searchers” is too high (it’s #1), and “Unforgiven” made the list, a film that I thought was over-rated from the second it came out (Sorry Clint.)
Still, only one of the Westerns included is affirmatively dreadful (Brando’s misbegotten “One-Eyed Jacks”) and an unforgivable choice. On my list (which is longer), “Lonesome Dove” is #1 (“Shane” is #2) but it’s not technically a movie, I guess. I also would include “Silverado” in the top 20. “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” is an essential inclusion on such a list; I don’t know how it was missed. Still, a responsible, respectful and fair effort—and John Wayne has more movies on the list than anyone else, even without “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Good.
2. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!” This morning’s Times article about Saule Omarova, President Biden’s pick for a key banking regulator job, withdrawing from consideration yesterday described her in its headline as being “smeared” by Republicans as a Communist because of her birthplace in the old USSR. Smeared? Only a completely tone-deaf President being manipulated by statists would nominate someone to craft monetary policies with Omarova’s record. She grew to adulthood in the USSR, so questions about her ideological orientation are far from unreasonable, especially considering her thesis on Karl Marx written while she was attending Moscow State University in the 1980s, and her past suggestion that it would be a good thing for energy industries to go bankrupt in order to combat climate change. It is not as if the current Democratic Party’s elected officials don’t contain several prominent members at least sympathetic to Communism (The Squad comes to mind, and of course Bernie Sanders). Omarova, meanwhile, is prone to statements like, “Until I came to the US, I couldn’t imagine that things like gender pay gap still existed in today’s world.Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always know best.” She also advocates the Federal government essentially taking over the banking industry.
Why would Biden nominate someone with such a background, record and views? She’s a crypto-Communist of color, and female, that’s all. The other stuff doesn’t matter.
3. If you think that coverage was propaganda, how about this report from CNN? And not just CNN, but shameless Democratic Party huckster Brian Stelter, who reports in his otherwise GOP bashing media newsletter,
The White House, not happy with the news media’s coverage of the supply chain and economy, has been working behind the scenes trying to reshape coverage in its favor. Senior White House and admin officials — including NEC Deputy Directors David Kamin and Bharat Ramamurti, along with Ports Envoy John Porcari — have been briefing major newsrooms over the past week, a source tells me.The officials have been discussing with newsrooms trends pertaining to job creation, economic growth, supply chains, and more. The basic argument that has been made: That the country’s economy is in much better shape than it was last year. I’m told the conversations have been productive, with anchors and reporters and producers getting to talk with the officials.
Cue Frank Drebbin!
Stelter also approvingly notes that “Dana Milbank was on CNN Monday to talk about his column. He told Brianna Keilar that the news media needs to “do soul searching and see what we are delivering to people…” Milbank was echoing his Washington Post column that argued that the news media has an obligation to avoid criticizing Joe and the gang because the success of Democratic policies will determine whether democracy survives.
I guess it is a positive development that the mainstream media is being increasingly transparent about how it sees its function: to manipulate the public rather than to objectively inform it. Good to know, don’t you think?
4. Make of this what you will: A recent poll of college students asked if they would refuse to associate with someone of a different political orientation. The results were dramatic.
I make this of it, keeping firmly in mind that all polls are dubious by nature: the ability to respect and associate with citizens of different opinions and political views is essential to a healthy American society. The Left increasingly rejects that principle, which is a bulwark against totalitarianism.
5. I am seeing a lot of stories like this one about supposedly charitable agencies and non-profits. The Archdiocese of New Orleans last month agreed to pay more than $1 million to the federal government to resolve allegations that it filed false claims for disaster relief money after Hurricane Katrina. The Catholics got off cheap: a whistle-blower lawsuit claims that the archdiocese received at least $46 million in fraudulent aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Two points:
- The more government money handed out during times of financial stress, the mor corruption, fraud and abuse there is. Count on it.
- This is a textbook example of Rationalization #13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause” in action.
- If you can’t trust an archdiocese not to steal from taxpayers, who can you trust?