Poem for the Weekend

On this day, 75 years ago, Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began. So, obviously the Poem for the Weekend is…

September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-Second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow,
“I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,”
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

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Weekend Links

Kyle Smith on why comedians and SNL shield President Obama. An excerpt:

At last, we know the reason why comedy writers don’t make fun of President Obama much.It turns out the man is completely unmockable.We learn this from Jim Downey, the longtime “Saturday Night Live” specialist in political japery. “If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, ‘Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10,’” the writer says in the expanded new edition of the “SNL” oral history book, “Live from New York.”“It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled,” Downey says. “There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these ‘handles,’ so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that’s the way I wrote him.” Got that? The charter Choom Ganger, confessed eater of dog and snorter of coke. The doofus who thinks the language spoken by Austrians is “Austrian,” that you pronounce the p in “corpsman” and that ATMs are the reason why job growth is sluggish. The egomaniac who gave the queen of England an iPod loaded with his own speeches and said he was better at everything than the people who work for him. The empty suit with so little real-world knowledge that he referred to his brief stint working for an ordinary profit-seeking company as time “behind enemy lines.” The phony who tells everyone he’s from Chicago, though he didn’t live there until his 20s, and lets you know that he’s talking to people he believes to be stupid by droppin’ his g’s. The world-saving Kal-El from a distant solar system who told us he’d heal the planet and cause the oceans to stop rising. The guy who shared a middle name with one of the most hated dictators on earth.Nope, nothing there to mock. No way to get a grip on this polished, oiled obsidian. So comedy writers didn’t and mostly still don’t. Jim Downey isn’t in dereliction of his comedy duty to take down the high and the mighty, or so he begs you to think. He’s just too obtuse to see Scrooge McDuck quantities of comedy gold when they’re sitting right in front of him.

Amen, Daniel Payne. Bring back the welfare stigma:

Not to tread too heavily on too many sensitive progressive ideals, but there should be a stigma surrounding government dependency; that’s not to say we should adopt a campaign of aggressive public shaming for anyone who goes on the dole, only that we shouldn’t create an atmosphere—especially amongst children—in which “free lunch” is a no-big-deal kind of thing…The Left wishes to make it a no-big-deal kind of thing because the Left wants the citizenry as dependent upon government as possible. ..In the mid-90s, Republicans passed and President Clinton signed a “workfare” reform law, which established significant work standards for welfare recipients and reduced welfare rolls significantly—which is presumably why the Obama administration moved to gut these requirements a couple of years ago: if there’s one thing at which the Left truly bristles, it’s an independent citizenry that can provide for itself without the Left’s benevolent help. This is what you get when you “remove stigmas.” At one time, public assistance was looked upon as a moderate failure—not an irredeemable sin or uncorrectable wrong, but something you wanted to avoid if possible. European socialists realized a long time ago that such well-intentioned opprobrium served to weaken the dependent bond between citizen and state, which is why you can find single mothers on 20 years of welfare across the pond: continental leftists figured this game out a long time ago, well before the sad sacks at Richmond Public Schools. If you want to see the future of American welfare in the hands of people like Superintendent Bedden, look to Europe, where many countries have de-stigmatized their way into astronomical debt levels and widespread, chronic citizen helplessness. Keeping welfare firmly in the stigmatized realm is not merely a conservative crusade; it’s good policy, too. There is strong evidence that welfare use is transmitted from parents to children; that is to say, a parent’s using welfare significantly increases the likelihood that the child will use it, as well…Those who have truly fallen on hard times deserve our genuine sympathy, and we should not snarl at them for turning to as easy and accessible a source of relief as government welfare. Yet we should also avoid making needy people feel comfortable being dependent upon the government. To do so is would not be merely bad public policy—it would be disingenuous and harmful to poor people, who more than anything need the mental and emotional drive to be free from government dependence.

Why is it really important to bring the stigma back? Because nearly half the population now lives in a household dependent on the government for a significant portion of their income. We won’t survive if we continue this way.

DOJ lawyer tells Judicial Watch lawyer that the government does in fact have Lois Lerner’s emails – all of them – but doesn’t feel like looking for them. Court documents also reveal that the IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry on which the suspect emails were contained after the agency knew her computer had crashed and a congressional inquiry was underway. There are some people in this administration who need to go to prison for the rest of their natural-born lives, but they won’t.

This is so great. “Taxpayer-Funded Millionaire Fails to Comprehend the World”

LOL. This is the stupidest, silliest, most desperate play for an emotional response that I’ve seen in awhile. Come on nature, give these people a hurricane or something so they can jump up and down screaming “GLOBAL WARMING,” otherwise they’re going to kill themselves. They should do one of these with people in their 20s looking at the data on federal unfunded liabilities.

A surprisingly fascinating article on the origins of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Thousands of Yazidis are still stuck on Mt. Sinjar, by the way. Most of the media has just lost interest.

Russian bank offers free cat with every mortgage.

SHOCK: Dumb celebrity is dumb.

I figured the ‘3/4 of whites don’t have any non-white friends’ poll was crap and it is. Eugene Volokh takes it apart here. 

This is possibly the most obnoxious and self-involved thing I’ve ever read. Not at all surprising, considering who wrote it.

Alcohol-fueled Shakespeare productions are a trend now and I approve.

“Unmentioned…is the awkward fact that a Commander-in-Chief who told the UN in 2011 that the ‘tide of war is receding’ may well leave office with the U.S. embroiled in more simultaneous military conflicts in the Middle East than his reviled predecessor did. History has its lurid sense of humor.”

No, Jonathan, you ignorant slut, this is not how it works. Here’s how it works: If the president can’t get Congress to agree to what he wants them to agree to, he doesn’t get what he wants. Write it down or something. I’m sick of having to explain the basic facts of how our system of government works every couple weeks.

Been trying to figure out for awhile why ISIS is so obsessed with getting her out. I don’t get it.

What’s the problem here? The IDF got into a serious firefight with Hamas and so they brought down the hammer. Maybe the U.S. should learn the lesson and go back to treating war like war. That way we wouldn’t get bogged down in some shithole exchanging fire with a bunch of inbred goatherds for OVER A FUCKING DECADE.

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Filed under Around the World, Politics, The Left

Semi-retired President fundraises, parties, golfs; Islamists have a pool party at the U.S. Embassy in Libya

Hope you had a good time at that wedding last night, Mr. President. Our enemies sure had a great time at their jihadi pool party at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. I’m old enough to remember when Islamists seizing a U.S. Embassy would have been considered a pretty big deal. But there’s no way to blame Bush/Cheney or Fox News or the GOP for the Libya fiasco. That’s squarely on Obama, which is why the media ignores it.


Semi-retired President spends first week after two-week vacation attending fundraisers and weddings and golfing because…


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Images of the Day

This is one of the main reasons why the Kurds are our friends and we must help them: They have a vibrant, tolerant society and are willing to fight to the death to keep it that way. A rarity in that part of the world. Irbil, Kurdistan looks like many an American city.


Above: Women walk through the Family Mall in Irbil. Below: People dance at the Sky Bar in Irbil. Images by Tara Todras-Whitehill.


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Your Morning Cup of Links

Chuck Todd on his new “Meet The Press” role: To “demystify D.C.” It’s not really that mystifying: It’s a place full of incompetent, overpaid people who have too much power. The only mystery is why the clueless people of this republic continue to give them so much power and money.

YES. Meet America’s newest hero.

Important consequence of the Iraq crisis that’s being overlooked is the tremendous economic impact on Jordan.

Liberals made their own states unliveable and now they want to do the same to your community.

White House found out our allies Egypt and the UAE are the ones that have been bombing Libya the same way everyone else found out: from the news.

Do Jews kill gentile children to harvest their organs? TIME magazine isn’t sure.

The FSA is very upset with us, as they should be.

“Barack Obama is the worst President in the history of the Atlantic alliance.” Edward Lucas, a journalist who is more knowledgable about European politics as a whole than probably any other, spits hot fire at Obama’s Europe policy (or lack thereof).

The “fundamental transformation” he promised us: getting a historically, proudly self-reliant people dependent on government handouts.

In Comrade de Blasio’s New York, not only do the trains not run on time, they run the wrong way.

If they feel this is their role, Ginsburg and Sotomayor should resign and run for office. This is not an acceptable mindset for a Supreme Court Justice.

The Feds are creating a database to track “hate speech” on Twitter. What could go wrong, comrades?

Uh oh, foreign policy “realists,” looks like Assad doesn’t want to be your friend. ‪#‎sadtrombone‬

Oh, fuck off.

Feminists say roofie-detecting nail polish is awful, offensive rape culture because of course they do.

Many decades of soft socialism later and Britain is poorer than every single US state.

Going to keep saying it…partnering with Assad would be unbelievably dumb. DON’T DO IT. We have to play the long game. Assad needs ISIS. He doesn’t really want them defeated. If we team up with the Kurds and the Sunnis to defeat ISIS, we also defeat Assad. 

And now for something new and different: The White House Press Sec is lying again.

Groundbreaking study: you’re less likely to beat your significant other after a few bong rips.

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Filed under Around the World, Foreign Policy, The Left

Everybody hates Pat Quinn


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Filed under Politics

Behold, the least surprising chart ever


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