Anybody who wastes any time at all on facebook should certainly get the Unfriend Finder app. It is a thing of beauty: tells you who has unfriended you lately.

Maybe it’s perverse of me, but I think the history of unfriendings is a lot more interesting than the history of friendings. I don’t have many facebook friends, so I have a correspondingly small number of unfriends. But I treasure the ones I do have, and they are all big rah-rah’ers for Obie and the Dronocrats — the sort of people who are always posting little clips from some TV humorist, Bill Colbert or Steven Maher or somebody.

The only defect with Unfriend Finder is that it doesn’t tell you when, exactly, your new unfriends clicked you into Sheol. I would dearly love to figure out what sent each of ’em over the edge.

The fire next time

Boy, did this hapless prof (his bit starts at about 1:40) ever miss an opportunity. The Times’ third-string buffoon is asking him, anxiously, What do we do about the end of the world? To which the only reasonable response is, Sit back and enjoy it. What fun it would have been to deliver that line.

But no. Instead, the prof wants to assure us that all is really well. NASA has it under control. Radar scans the skies with eyes that never sleep, as some 50s sci-fi movie once noted, in an unintentional near-Alexandrine. And if that fatal asteroid — twin to the one that took out T Rex and his kin — is seen to be heading our way, we’ll know about it in plenty of time.

Plenty of time for what, exactly? It’s like the old nuclear war drill: Sit down. Open your legs. Bend over. And kiss your ass goodbye.

I like the sense of finitude and contingency this meteor shower suggests.

We’ve had a pretty good run, as a species. We’ve done a fair amount of cool stuff, and committed some horrors too. I don’t think you can add these things up and arrive at a positive or negative scalar value.

But in any case, for well or ill, nothing lasts forever — not even precious Us. In spite of our universalizing, heaven-storming pretensions. We are not going to storm heaven. But sooner or later heaven is going to storm us.

Every species that goes extinct is a loss, of course, and so would we be. Chartres Cathedral would stand for a couple of hundred years, maybe, after the Last Man took his last breath, and then fall down. That would be a shame. One hopes some intergalactic explorers arrive before its final collapse and take the space-alien equivalent of a YouTube video. Even the Krell would be impressed, I think.

I’m old enough now that lots of people I like have died, or started to die, in the usual sad hugger-mugger one-at-a-time human way. There’s something to be said for the meteor. At least we could link hands and all go out together. Nobody would have to outlive, or be outlived.

What will the cockroaches say about us after we’re gone, I wonder?

They weren’t so bad, really. There was that awful boric acid. That was a bore. But then… remember the doughnuts? NOBODY makes doughnuts like that anymore.

Prolonged and stormy applause

Of course I didn’t watch the God-Emperor Obama’s Allocution To The Satraps the other night, but I did dip in for about three minutes to a youtube video of it yestereve. That was all I could take. It really made me feel physically ill. I have come to loathe his snapping, peevish schoolmasterly voice — he always sounds as if he were lecturing a class of not very promising undergraduates — and the slavish spectacle of the assembled solons leaping to their hind legs every thirty seconds to applaud his leaden platitudes was really disgraceful.

I did read a transcript of it. The text is worthy of study. It is remarkable that one can string together so many words and manage to say nothing — or perhaps I should say, nearly nothing; as near to nothing as you can get.

I did notice with some amusement that Obie has dropped the venerable custom of addressing the veep as ‘Mr President’ in this setting (since the veep is president of the senate). Presumably this is part of the deification of the chief executive: Only one president in this — or any — room, buddy, and it is I.

And even black holes leak some information. I felt distinctly put on notice that Medicare is headed for the abattoir. For example.

Drone court (aren’t they all?)

The poker-faced Times reports:

Debating a Court to Vet Drone Strikes

Since 1978, a secret court in Washington has approved national security eavesdropping on American soil — operations that for decades had been conducted based on presidential authority alone.

Now, in response to broad dissatisfaction with the hidden bureaucracy directing lethal drone strikes, there is an interest in applying the model of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court — created by Congress so that surveillance had to be justified to a federal judge — to the targeted killing of suspected terrorists.

… Many Americans are uneasy that a president can use secret evidence to label a citizen a terrorist and order his execution without a trial or judge’s ruling. Hence the idea of court oversight for targeted killing.

“Uneasy” is good, isn’t it? We need to raise our comfort level with this stuff. And having some drone in a robe mumble a benediction in bad Latin — nihilo obstanti, dronendi fiant — over this week’s kill list from Obie’s bloody desk would presumably be just the thing to do it. Oh, well, a judge signed off on it? What a relief. That’s all right, then.

And that’s only for ‘citizens’, of course. For the lesser breeds without the Law, it’s always open season. Obie can kill as many of them as he wants. The more the better, in fact. Too many of those non-citizens out there as it is.

Being sarcastic about this stuff feels so feeble it hardly seems worth doing. It reminds me of Tom Lehrer’s wonderful remark that he stopped writing political satire when Henry Kissinger got the Nobel peace prize.

Oh and about that Secret Snooper court, the shining example of judicial oversight:

Eleven judges from around the country sit on the court, but one is on duty at a time, hearing cases in a special high-security courtroom added to Washington’s federal courthouse in 2009. In 2011, according to the most recent statistics, the court approved 1,745 orders for electronic surveillance or physical searches, rejecting none outright but altering 30.

Oversight is really the right word, isn’t it, though perhaps not in the intended sense.

One wonders what sort of ‘alterations’ the FISA court makes, and what analogous ones the drone court might require. Blow the guy up on Tuesday, not Monday? Use a different explosive? Make sure his kids are in school when you pull the trigger? Wouldn’t want to traumatize the little tykes. As the Mafia boss genially observes in The Godfather, “We are not Communists, after all.”

Liberals really eat this stuff up, don’t they? It’s all about process. Snuffing towelheads, for any reason or none at all, is fine as long as you fill in all the right forms.

The guys who deflected into Canada

I’ve always said that I’d rather attend a funeral than a wedding. At a funeral, you can be reasonably sure that the protagonist’s troubles are over. At a wedding, however…


An acquaintance of mine, it turns out, had a small part in the recent obsequies for that awful old yenta, Ed Koch. So of course I watched the video. Everybody showed up, but not everybody spoke.

For example, neither Governor Cuomo spoke: neither the current governor, the crazed hyped-up beady-eyed Andrew, nor his dad, the sad-faced old beagle Mario(*).

Ex-mayors Giuliani and Dinkins were there. Neither spoke.

Mayor For Life Bloomberg did speak, but confined himself to feeble one-liners — he is not a gifted comic — and sentimental banalities.

Bill Clinton showed up — the only guy in the world who lusts more after a microphone than Chuck Schumer — and even he stumbled and stammered his way through an obviously phoned-in impromptu speech.

One came away with the sense that all these people probably hated the honoree as much as I did — though for different reasons, of course. But they had to do the decent thing and send him off as became a minor though conspicuous player in the Great Takeaway, the annulment of the postwar Golden Age; a cause in which all the lamentable creatures above-named have their done their own squalid parts.

So he was bundled offstage with the usual bodyguard of flimsy fabrications and mendacious cliches. Not to mention an honor guard of uniformed thugs who really have no sense of occasion at all, and haven’t even been taught how to march in step.

John LoCicero’s bit — starting at about 46:20 in the Youtube video above —
is the most fun. It’s very New York: fresh and candid and you-gotta-problem-wid-dat?
Gave me my title.

I seldom think of Byron — not really my favorite writer — but this dismal liturgy brought him to mind. It really calls for his breezy contempt:

He died – his death made no great stir on earth;
His burial made some pomp; there was profusion
Of Velvet, gilding, brass, and no great dearth
Of aught but tears – save those shed by collusion –
For these things may be bought at their true worth;
Of Elegy there was the due infusion,
Bought also; and the torches, cloaks and banners,
Heralds, and relics of old Gothic manners,

Formed a sepulchral melodrame; of all
The fools who flocked to swell or see the show,
Who cared about the corpse? The funeral
Made the attraction, and the black the woe;
There throbbed not there a thought which pierced the pall,
And when the gorgeous Coffin was laid low
It seemed the mockery of hell to fold
The rottenness of eighty years in gold.

(*) I met them both, years ago, when Mario was running for governor.
Mario was disarming and charming; Andrew, even then, was an obvious
psychopath, a brooding, Lurch-like figure hovering wordlessly in the
room, humming with balked ambition and Oedipal rage. Mario was charming the
pants off the twenty-something young woman taking pictures of our interview
— not literally, of course; but if he had wanted to make it literal,
he could have, I think. And Andrew was watching all this and obviously
asking himself, How does he do that?

We have the potential for a second Holocaust here…

… in Brooklyn, of all places, and Midwood, to be precise. Who knew?

Once more the Zionist thought police respond in force to a 911 (Constable Alan Dershowitz, shown above, was in the very first car on the scene, nightstick at the ready). This time it’s at Brooklyn College, part of the far-flung City University of New York empire — which used to employ me, and paid very badly, I must say.

Here’s the Times’ account of the backstory:

Next week, two leading voices of B.D.S., which stands for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” are scheduled to speak at the college at an event cosponsored by a student group and the college’s political science department, prompting a furious response from pro-Israel groups on campus and others who say the department’s sponsorship amounts to tacit endorsement.

“You do not have a right, and should not put the name of Brooklyn College on hate,” said William C. Thompson Jr., the former city comptroller, who is running for mayor, at a news conference with more than a dozen elected officials, students and B.D.S. opponents outside the campus on Thursday.

A number of other City Council soup hounds have lent their hoarse barks to the music of the pack, perhaps most prominent among them Christine Quinn, a great liberal darling here in my adopted home town, and also a papabile for Gracie Mansion, or so one is told.

Needless to say — this being New York — most of the torches and pitchforks are being wielded by Democrats. They’re threatening to stop funding Brooklyn College, or CUNY in general, or something. As if the New York city council actually had the power to do anything except rename streets. Here’s an example of their work:

Some of my Lefty friends have been rather cheered by the response of the college’s president, one Karen Gould. She has not actually booked a flight to go and be flagellated at the Wailing Wall; she has not offered to expel or fire anybody whom Alan Dershowitz might not like. Credit where it’s due. One fellow Lefty burbles:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a leader of an educational institution take a more principled and courageous stand than this.

Indeed. But that’s setting the bar rather low, isn’t it?

Gould is better than the general run of college presidents. But not much better. Here are a few excerpts from her response to the Dershniks:

 While we appreciate the many voices of support for our stand on academic freedom, we cannot disregard the concerns raised by some of our students and alumni(*)….

Contrary to some reports, the Department of Political Science fully agrees and has reaffirmed its longstanding policy to give equal consideration to co-sponsoring speakers who represent any and all points of view.

Over the next two months, with the support of the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities and other campus units and community groups, we will provide multiple opportunities for discussion about the topics and related subject matter at the heart of this controversy.  In addition to Thursday evening’s event, at which I encourage those with opposing views to participate in the discussion and ask tough questions, other forums will present alternative perspectives for consideration….

Finally, to those who have voiced concern that our decision to uphold the rights of our students and faculty signals an endorsement of the speakers’ views, I say again that nothing could be further from the truth.  Moreover, I assure you that our college does not endorse the BDS movement nor support its call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

As the official host of the CUNY center for study abroad in Israel, our college has a proud history of engagement with Israel and Israeli universities… We deeply value our Israeli partners and would not endorse any action that would imperil the State of Israel…

I would call that taking sides, in no uncertain terms.


(*) Constable Dershowtiz, as it happens, is himself an alum of Brooklyn College. Not their finest hour.