The liberal columnists of the New York Times were in fine fettle in this week's Sunday Review. Thomas Friedman went beyond parody, sliding from the terror bombings in Boston to calling for a carbon tax in just five paragraphs: "How to Put America Back Together Again – A good place to start is with a carbon tax."
Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men. With all our warts, we have built a unique society -- a country where a black man, whose middle name is Hussein, whose grandfather was a Muslim, can run for president and first defeat a woman in his own party and then four years later a Mormon from the opposition, and no one thinks twice about it. With so many societies around the world being torn apart, especially in the Middle East, it is vital that America survives and flourishes as a beacon of pluralism.
Two New York Times columnists embarrassed themselves over the weekend, betraying anti-gun ignorance in the paper's Sunday Review.
Frank Bruni went hunting for the first time (with the chef of a ritzy Manhattan restaurant), and remarked "what an unfair fight" hunting is, as if he was the first person to think that up. After lamenting "how thoroughly a weapon can be romanticized and fetishized," he pivoted to easy access to guns in "this country of ours."
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal cracked on New York Times columnist Frank Bruni for his Sunday Review column urging the new pope to "dwell less in the bedroom, more in the soup kitchen." (Last week Bruni guest-hosted the Charlie Rose show and pushed similar talking points.)
Taranto had fun with Bruni in his "Best of the Web" column Monday:
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and NYT’s Frank Bruni Decry Catholic Church’s ‘Secrecy,’ a ‘Recipe for Disaster’
Now that the new pope has been chosen, the life of the Catholic Church continues– and so does the liberal media’s effort to persuade the Church to change its traditions. On Thursday’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski complained, “Secrecy that surrounds the traditions of the Catholic Church -- it’s a recipe for disaster.... There is a lot of work ahead and some serious changes that need to happen blocked by tradition that may make it impossible.”
For analysis of the Church’s need to overcome tradition, Brzezinski turned to Frank Bruni, former Rome bureau chief for the New York Times but now an openly gay op-ed columnist for the paper. Bruni, of course, agreed with Brzezinski’s premise. To him, the conclave perfectly symbolizes what’s wrong with the Catholic Church: “[The cardinals] lock themselves away. They go – we have no idea what happens until sometimes years later, if ever.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wait a sec: aren't liberals supposed to be the edgy dudes who like to buck the established order? The ones who glorify guys with the guts to "speak truth to power"? So what could possibly have turned these hipsters into a bunch of suddenly stodgy sourpusses reaching for their Miss Manners? Looks like in-your-face is no longer in style when the upstart in question is—horrors!—a conservative!
Continuing his campaign for proper etiquette--and against Ted Cruz--Frank Bruni appeared on Morning Joe today. The New York Times columnist recently wrote a cranky column calling Cruz an "an ornery, swaggering piece of work." Bruni took things one stodgy step further, calling Cruz a "whippersnapper." Frank fulminated over Ted's temerity in actually voting against the august John Kerry. View the video after the jump.
The trashing of Ted Cruz continues apace in the bien-pensant MSM. From the New York Times, to the Washington Post, to Politico and elsewhere, the liberal media has the new Republican Senator from Texas in its sights.
Joe Scarborough is clearly camped out on the Cruz-bashing bandwagon. Earlier this month, so offended by Cruz was the sensitive Scarborough that he wouldn't deign to mention him by name. Today, not to be outdone by Frank Bruni, who called Cruz "an ornery, swaggering piece of work," Scarborough declared that Cruz acts like "a carnival barker at a local Republican event." View the video after the jump.
Sunday brought an overload of New York Times columnists, including former reporters, calling the previous week's Republican National Convention a celebration of lies and extremism on abortion and gay marriage.
Times columnist and former White House correspondent Maureen Dowd was given more room than usual to rant about Paul Ryan and the Republicans in her Sunday column, "Cruel Conservatives Throw a Masquerade Ball." After calling the Republican Convention "a colossal hoax," she said of Paul Ryan's speech, "the altar boy altered reality, conjuring up a world so compassionate, so full of love-thy-neighbor kindness and small-town goodness, that you had to pinch yourself to remember it was a shimmering mirage, a beckoning pool of big, juicy lies...." Dowd concluded that "....Ryan’s lies and Romney’s shape-shifting are so easy to refute that they must have decided a Hail Mary pass of artifice was better than their authentic ruthless worldview."
The Hope and Change that media shamelessly sold to the nation in 2008 is starting to reach a point of solemn desperation.
Perfectly exemplifying this Tuesday was New York Times columnist Frank Bruni who minutes after President Obama finished his press conference at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, told CNN's Piers Morgan, "He doesn’t seem in command” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Shortly after the press conference ended, Morgan played a clip from the event and said to Bruni, “He looks a little bit on edge, the President, at the moment. A little less self-assured and calm.”
“Well, right there, I mean, he looked really de-energized,” responded Bruni. “I was watching him, you know, as he stepped to the podium. One of the whole advantages of being President, of being the incumbent, is you get those settings – the flags behind you, the podium. You get the international audience.”
“And he strode out there,” Bruni continued, “and the cadence of his speech was very slowed down. There was a lot of hemming and hawing. He got the first question from the press and answered, that answer went on and on and on, and he provided this really strange tutorial on European economic dynamics, and I just, I don’t think that’s what he went to do when he went to that microphone.”
Bruni put an exclamation point on this critique adding, “He doesn’t seem in command.”
No, he doesn't.
When columnists from the New York Times start not only thinking it but also saying it on national television, this President's in trouble.
So much for libertine Manhattan. White House reporter turned liberal columnist Frank Bruni supports New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's overbearing initiative to downsize the sodas New Yorkers will be allowed to purchase in restaurants and movie theaters, in the name of fighting obesity: "Trimming a Fat City."
While Michelle Obama focused on carrots, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg brandished a stick. It’s what we deserve. Cry all you want about a nanny state, but as a city and a nation we’ve gorged and guzzled past the point where a gentle nudge toward roughage suffices. We need a weight watcher willing to mete out some stricter discipline.
Bruni even admitted in his Sunday Review column that "It’s in many senses an absurd and random gesture." But in classic big-government fashion, Bruni used the existence of other infringements on personal freedom to rationalize still more.
The proposed ban is also an act of government control and regulation that makes no small number of people squeamish. Should we not have the liberty to ingest what we elect to ingest, and to decide whether the pleasure is worth any ill effects? Are we not capable stewards of our own welfare? In general, yes, but the government has taxed cigarettes to high heaven, as a means (successful) of steering us away from them, and made it illegal to partake of many recreational drugs. Like those substances, heavily sugared soft drinks are wholly unnecessary and are implicated in health problems that wind up affecting all of us, not just the individual suffering from them. Food ceased to be a frontier too far when the fraction of American adults who qualify as obese climbed above one in three.
Taking the high road, Bruni made some fun of fat strangers ahead of him in line in Iowa.
We’re fat, folks. Seriously, dangerously fat. And you don’t need statistics to tell you that; you just need to look around. All three people ahead of me in line in a food shop in Des Moines last month qualified as morbidly obese; they had 900 pounds -- easy --among them. One of every two people in line with me at a Coney Island concession stand last weekend were carrying at least 25 extra pounds. When this many people are this overweight, you have not only an epidemic. You have a new normal, a context in which each obese person is less likely to recognize and appreciate the magnitude of his or her health problem because it’s entirely unexceptional.
Bruni rationalized Bloomberg's authoritarianism and didn't mention the hypocrisy, pushed by NBC host Matt Lauer, that Bloomberg presided over "NYC Donut Day" the day after announcing the upcoming ban on extra-large sodas.
Bloomberg and Farley aren’t taking anything away from us, not really. They’re just pushing back against the new normal. They’re trying to reroute our expectations and tweak our habits. “The portions that people are served have a big influence on what they consume,” Farley told me. “It doesn’t seem logical, but that’s the observation.” If given a larger measure or enticed to purchase it, many people will upsize their intake without quite recognizing it.
The proposed ban is a step too incremental and contained to be considered a serious challenge to personal freedoms. In fact its greatest potential flaw is its possible futility. And any whiff it gives off of overzealous government intervention must be seen in the context of the billions upon billions of advertising and marketing dollars spent annually by the fast-food industry on exhorting us to pig out.