John Lemon's Barrel of Fish

Posterboy for the whining conservative academic set. Candidate for troll of the week.


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Saturday, February 22, 2003

NO COMMENT NECESSARY is usually the king of parody on the Internet (in my humble opinion), but sometimes Scott Ott's site has to take a backseat to reality.

In discussing the weighty issue of war and free speech, Cheryl "War Is Not the Answer" Crow said the following : "If we can't turn to our artists, who can we look to?"

I let my readers answer that one for themselves.

posted by John at 6:58 PM


At the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences MusicCares [sic] dinner, honoring U2's lead singer, Bono announced "I don't want to die stupid."

He also announced that Bill Clinton is "More of a rock star than any in this room," which helps to explain our current predicament with North Korea, Iraq, al-Qaeda, Venezuela, the US economy, etc. Elvis Costello also said that Bono should immediately be granted a Nobel Peace Prize, for which he has been nominated.

Makes you wonder why Jimmy Carter hasn't been asked to join the Rolling Stones, eh?

posted by John at 2:37 PM

Friday, February 21, 2003

If That's Modernization, Terry McAuliffe Is Fred Flintstone!

A recent Washinton Post article entitled "Dem. Chairman Seeks to Modernize Party" peaked my attention. At first, I thought they were finally dumping Keynesian economics, but alas it is not so. From the party that brought you Walter Mondale and Frank Lautenberg in 2002, here's what they mean by modernization:

"...Terry McAuliffe is in the midst of pushing the party through a critical transition in its technology and fund-raising techniques. ...The 46-year-old McAuliffe outlined his efforts to the media Thursday, including the party's 18-month effort to build a computer database of direct-mail donors, verify 158 million voter records and increase its e-mail list."

That's it?! They think they will win back the Congress and White House by having a list of donors and getting more e-mails?! Don't they have a list of donors? Aren't they required to report that? And what does it mean to verify 158 million voter records? Shouldn't they have done this a few months back in South Dakota? Oh, wait...that wouldn't have helped.

The article tries to make the connection that "modernization" is needed in the Dem Party because of the November 2002 election. However, it continues, "Some Democrats at the meeting said the party' failure in the 2002 election have been overstated. 'When George Bush stole the White House there were 50 Republican senators, today there's only 51,' said Bob Mulholland, campaign adviser for the California Democratic Party. 'There were 19 Democratic governors, today there's 24.'" OK, that's true, but put it in comparative perspective. Most (White House) incumbent parties loooooooose in the midterm election. They generally loooooooooose big when the economy is struggling. Therefore the Dems should have (by most statistical models of which I have some familiarity) picked up seats. This is like the Oakland Raiders saying they played pretty well because they didn't lose by 30 points, despite being 3 point favorites going into the Super Bowl.

And the article finishes with this entertaining quote: "Many Democrats still argue that then-Vice President Al Gore defeated Bush in Florida in the 2000 election and thus should have been president." That's modernization? Continually reliving the past?! Modernize all you want boys.

Terry, its not the technology; its the ideas, stupid! Or more to the point...Its the Stupid Ideas!

posted by John at 3:17 PM

Reel Genius

There is nothing better one can do to discredit the "anti-war" movement than to let its members speak for themselves. Evan Coyne-Maloney deserves an Oscar nomination for best documentary. I urge more people to get out there with their video cameras and document this important social movement so that our children can see what dopes their parents were.

posted by John at 2:58 PM


Looking at all the anti-capitalist rhetoric that oozed out of the pro-Saddam protests last weekend reminded me of something humurous I saw while in grad school. The offices of the graduate students in the department of geography (hint: they don't study maps anymore) were located a short step away from some classrooms I used to teach in. On one of the doors was a large sticker declaring PROPERTY IS THEFT. Interestingly, whenever they were out of the office, the door was always locked.

posted by John at 8:01 AM

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Run Al, Run.

Al Sharpton is causing quite a fuss among Democrats and their supporters. I will let those folks duke it out, but I do support Donna Brazile's effort to let Sharpton speak. If I were a reporter for a national news organization here is the question I would ask:

Mr. Sharpton. You have positioned yourself to speak for the African-American population in the United States. Would you also, by extension, speak for Swedish immigrants?

posted by John at 1:40 AM

Black and White and Fineman All Over

Today's honorary fish in a barrel goes to Howard Fineman, who I think may be earning that title alot. In this column posted on, Howie wants to make the argument that Bush is stupid because he sees the protesters outside his window only in black-and-white (i.e., simplistic) terms. I quote:

"I DON’T KNOW what the president was thinking, of course, when, with a characteristic frown and bite of the cheek, he noted that 'evidently some of the world don’t view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace. I respectfully disagree.' But I’ve covered Bush long enough to make an educated guess.
Here it is. Shaped by the Yale of the ’60s and by his own father’s career, the president views the demonstrators as weak-willed moral relativists, afraid to take on — as only faith-filled and freedom-loving leaders can — forces of evil on earth.
The president’s stark, black-and-white outlook stems from many sources, among them his Bible-centered faith, his success at quitting drinking 'cold turkey,' his upbringing on the playgrounds of West Texas and the fierce sense of mission he found on the morning of 9/11/01."

First off, why the scare quotes around "cold turkey"? Does Howie think he is citing a John Lenon song?

But more importantly, what we get from Howie is a very simple, black-and-white analysis of Bush's thinking! He is GUESSING (in an educated manner, of course) that Bush's phrase eminated from a simple-minded view developed from reading the Bible and, later, his fraternity days at Yale. This strongly implies that individuals who read the Bible and/or are in fraternities are simpletons. Now if that isn't a simplistic analysis I don't know what is. AND HOWIE CAN'T EVEN SEE HIS OWN BLACK-AND-WHITE THINKING IN HIS OWN MIRROR. Read the article. Now read this summary: Bush disagrees with the protesters. Bush reads the Bible. Bush stopped drinking. Bush was in a fraternity and made fun of somebody from India. Bush's thinking is simplistic. Any logicians out there? Does all this follow?!

Let's consider a few other things here:

* Bush, as president, has access to lots of privileged information that Fineman and the protesters do not have. He very likely knows more about Iraq than any of those useful idiots in the streets on Saturday. ...and probably more than any MSNBC contributor. Might that not give President Bush a bit more authority to speak about the situation that some doped up Deadhead or smarmy blogger (yes, Howie is a blogger by any other name).

* I disagree with the protesters. I was not in a fraternity. I still drink (though not as much). I have a Ph.D. and my IQ is probably higher than Al Gore's, who by the way does not have all that great of an academic record. I don't read the Bible as much as I should. So, Howie, am I a simplistic "black-and-white" thinker?

* I think by implication Howie thinks the protesters are deep know, like Sean Penn and President Bartlett. OK, so let's look at what many of these deep thinkers said. First off, last week I saw a sign on my campus where a guy was accusing the US of possessing the most dreaded of all WMDs -- "weather control." Here are some other placards seen at the protests:
"Without homophobia Another World is Possible." (Of course, Bush is attacking Iraq because he hates gays. It's so obvious.)
"Oil = Death" (Think about that next time you have to pay a tax to subsidize heating oil for the poor.)
"No Imperialist War. Fight for Communism." (i.e., give me some bricks and mortar and I'll help rebuild the Berlin Wall.)
"Money for Jobs, not for War." (Well, by dropping lots of bombs in Iraq, somebody will have to build more bombs and Iraq. Lots of jobs there, folks).
"An Eye for an Eye Makes Everybody Blind." (OK troops. No attacking the eyes. Aim lower.)
"Empty Warhead [with picture of Bush]" (Now if that isn't colorful thinking, I don't know what is.)
...and I haven't even gotten to the signs posted on (although I must mention my favorite -- a tie-dye hippie holding a sign reading "The USA put me in prison because I wouldn't fight on the side of the Taliban!" I hope Fineman can explain the deep thinking here, because I'm too simplistic to figure it out.)

Now Howie...who is the simpleton here?

posted by John at 1:31 AM


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