Moderates in Paradise: David Brooks

David Brooks during a commercial break on Meet The Press.

David Brooks during a commercial break on Meet The Press.

The reflexively moderate New York Times columnist David Brooks is at it again, this time lamenting those poor, confused Iowa Christians who believe that the Bible’s injunction “Do not show partiality to the poor” means, well, not showing partiality to the poor. According to Brooks, this idea should extend to both policy and political discourse, but the parlance employed by the likes of Ted Cruz is deemed by the pant-crease impresario un-Christian.

According to Brooks, to win Iowa’s sizable evangelical population one must speak in the reassuring tones of Mike Huckabee or the pleasantly sleep-inducing Ben Carson. This is why Ted Cruz’s lead in Iowa is confusing to Brooks, a man who, tellingly, has never met a study he didn’t like.

Cruz’s lead in Iowa is confusing to Brooks, a man whose most recent New York Times column is characterized mostly by his unfunny and apparently unself-aware tendency to lecture Christians about how they should comport themselves. According to Brooks, these Iowa Christians don’t seem to know their place anymore. Trump? Cruz? Please! Iowa evangelicals haven’t witnessed much undesired change during Obama’s tenure. Sure, on same-sex marriage they’ve gone from “against it” to facing jail time for refusal to bake a cake. Refusal to bake a cake. Other than that it’s pretty much a wash. Of course all this took place over the course of a couple of years so there was the phase-in aspect.

It would seem to Brooks that Iowa Christians must be thrilled that while divorce law is seen fit for basket cases likes Oregon and Illinois whereas marriage shall be defined once and for all on our continent-spanning nation by one man in a robe: its a play so absurd the minds of Harold Pinter and Harold Becket together could have conceived of it.

President Obama arrived unfashionably late at the marriage-rights party, his though his fellow partygoers didn’t much seem to care. Future histories will show the president as characteristically behind the times, knowing that it took his vice-president’s coming out party on the issue to make him realize that he is only in left in the room to not-yet get the joke. (Imagine for a moment being deemed less-hip than Joe Biden.)

For Brooks it’s a given that Christian values like fairness and love are inherently progressive values and cases his argument in a Third-Way-Al Gore vein for added annoyance. And it’s not just social issues that have Evangelicals nonplussed. At any rate, these social-issues ingrates don’t seem unduly impressed by the managed loses of both the “bad” war in Iraq and the “good” war in Afghanistan. They don’t seem to marvel at the apparent ingratitude of the the Libyan people to Obama, Congressional Republicans and Democrats  and NATO for their special brands of magic.

But don’t take my word for it, read David Brook’s latest column in the New York Times, The Brutalism of Ted Cruz. In Cruz’s speeches there is “not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy.” He continues “Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us. Such candidates include George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.”

That no misprint: George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum all cited positively in a single sentence.

Return to daviDDeeble.com.

 

 

Letter of Recommendation for Barack Obama

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To Whom It May Concern:

Although it seems like Mr. Barack Obama has worked as my president for much longer than seven years, I am thrilled to hear that he is pursuing a new position. You will be very lucky if you can get him to work for you.

As a voter, citizen and taxpayer, I have been in a position to directly oversee Barack’s professional development and in short, I can’t recommend him highly enough. I’m confident you’ll be as shocked by his skill set as I am. As for his leadership qualities, where does one begin? It is difficult to put into words exactly why you should put your trust in Mr. Obama but suffice it to say you will be startled at the quality of his work. By the time he concludes his employment with us I believe there won’t be a man, woman or child in America who isn’t greatly indebted.

Before joining our team, Mr. Obama was a senator from Illinois, a state so bankrupt that it can’t even afford to pay its lottery winners. In his role as President of the United States, Mr. Obama reported directly to me, the American citizen. His signature accomplishment during his tenure was signing into law the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” for short. (I’ve attached a pdf. Nowadays, of course, one has time read it in its entirety while in your doctor’s waiting room).

Before Mr. Obama, the formerly part-time position of President had been held predominantly by individuals who strove first and foremost to demonstrate basic competency at the job. Some were more successful than others, of course, but all understood – or thought they understood – the job’s limitations. Executing the nation’s laws is, as you know, not particularly glamorous. Previous hires had mostly adopted a modest approach to the job, which seemed fitting given that it requires, among other things, pretending to take Lindsey Graham seriously.

Mr. Obama’s is very certain of his goals and very dedicated to achieving them. If anything, Mr. Obama was at times too eager to complete tasks successfully and quickly, which ultimately serves as proof of his dedicated ambition to succeed and excel. He made it very clear from day one his intention to fundamentally change things around here. At this, he succeeded. In fact, many of us hardly recognize the place anymore!

In his capacity as president, Mr. Obama was a valuable asset to Democrats as he personally contributed greatly to the expansion and promotion of its greatest asset, the government. And thanks to historically low interest rates, a reluctance to increase taxes and cheap loans from China, government is now cheaper than ever. Need I say more?

If you have any questions or require further information about Mr. Obama, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please.

Sincerely,

David Deeble, Concerned Citizen

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Today in False Choices: People Versus Profits

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Consulting with corporations about the importance of putting “people before profits” is mutually beneficial to both speaker and corporation: the latter is afforded cheap virtue and the former an expensive lifestyle. In the world of speaking and corporate consulting, espousing the people-before-profits narrative is, as with authenticity and diversity, simply good business practice.

This value-for-value model is lost on the very same speakers who take it for granted that profits are suspect in and of themselves. These self-styled experts fail to see that, unlike President Obama’s facile description of the tension between liberty and security, people v. profits really is a false choice. Yet companies throughout the U.S. are happy to self-flagellate before speaker after speaker, pretending to temporarily forget that which reality will forever remind them: that profits are a pretty darn good measure of the extent to which you have served others.

At the heart of the people-before-profits movement is a ambivalence about the dignity and morality of business. In popular culture this idea is most evident in movies and on television, where businessmen are almost invariably portrayed as either moral bankrupts (Wall Street) or courageous heroes who unveil the moral bankruptcy the business (Michael Clayton).

The Birkenstock set in particular has built an entire cottage industry around apologizing for being in business, from technology entrepreneur Kate Emery to speaker Dan Pallotta to the TED talks, where the “ideas worth spreading” overwhelmingly assume the people v. profits model.

Into this world of received wisdom enters Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments For Making Money. Lapin’s thesis is that far from being something to be ashamed of, profits should be seen for what they are: a blessing and a measure of our success serving our fellows.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or learn more about my corporate presentation.

California’s Plastic Bag Ban On Hold

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(Note: this was originally published behind the paywall at Ricochet.com).

A ballot referendum sponsored by the trade group American Progressive Bag Alliance has forced California’s political class to postpone its ban on “single-use” plastic bags from July 1 until voters have their say on the measure in November, 2016.

Supporters of the bag ban are confident voters will uphold it because, they say,  plastic bags are a costly burden to the environment. Opponents of the ban respond by saying “Good luck picking up your dog shit with a paper bag”.

California leads the nation in ballot referendums, most notably in 2010 when an initiative to overturn a state law against forgery received more than 8 billion signatures.

Thoughts or comments? Leave them in the section below.

Return to daviddeeble.com or watch me kick a coin into my eye socket.

Exceptional Countries: Ranked

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10: South Sudan (world’s newest country)

9: Brazil (hosted World Cup, to host Olympics)

8: Germany (still scoring against Brazil, apparently)

7: North Korea (Elvis)

6: Canada (so big it could be it’s own country. Heh heh, American humor.)

5: Mexico: (number one exporter of Guatemalan babies)

4: United States (number one importer of Guatemalan babies)

3: South Africa (legless man vomiting in courtroom)

2: Iraq (what is it now?)

1: Russia (because a broken clock apparently can be wrong all day)

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My Week In Review

I can’t believe it’s only been four days since I dropped off my wife and kids at LAX for a two-month trip their making to Germany. It’s been exhilarating and lonely. I’m amazed by how much time you have when you don’t have loved ones around. I went out for a run, for example, and when I realized I didn’t have my watch. I had to resist the urge to continue without it. Under normal circumstances I would’ve had to agree to be back from my run at a certain time, skip my shower and be prepared to take Lucas to swimming or whatever. Instead, I simply jogged back home and got my watch – I had oodles and oodles of time. At least one 30 minute run ended going over an hour because I was feeling good. 

It’s I’m in the middle of a time orgy or something.

It’s amazing what you can get done when you don’t have a family. It’s been a damn productive week – and it’s not even over. On the other hand, I sure miss having that little angel of mine smacking me in the face an hour before I need to wake up. The boy, now five years old, also holds great appeal for me although he also tests my patience from time to time.

Here’s some things that happened since holding down the fort alone over the last four days.

A clinically insane lawyer who saw my show at The Magic Castle in Hollywood and has confessed to me that can’t put it out of his head. Check out picture he posted yesterday of his wall:

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I say “clinically insane” but of course I mean, merely, that he’s a:) is a Democrat party activist/fundraiser and b:) a fan of my work. We met for drinks the other night at what became immediately clear was a consolation party for Carl Kemp, running for Long Beach city council’s 5th district seat. Kemp kept his dignity – he didn’t weep anything like that. I don’t mind it when a grow man weeps – it’s when he tries to speak through it like Mike Schmidt did at his retirement announcement that makes me uncomfortable. Just shut up and have a good cry and wait until you’ve gathered yourself together if you have something to say. That’s how I feel about it, anyway. But like I said, Kemp made everybody feel comfortable and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear from him again.

Stacy Mungo was Kemp’s Republican opponent. When she handed me a yard sign for her campaign I was impressed by her directness, her energy and  self-confidence. My personal opinion is that she’s too hot for a career in politics, but I have great confidence that she will serve the 5th district well and that if she returns to the private sector she will resume her former success.

Last month I got a phone call from a woman writing an article for the New York Times about gps-equipped luggage. Last Tuesday the NYT Business Travel section published the piece, which begins with my tale of woe after I grabbed the wrong luggage from the airport in Singapore. (My full account of of the incident is here).

It was neat, seeing my names in the NYT without anything like “The United States Of America vs.” before it.

The good people at p2 Photography and I “partnered”, in today’s parlance, on this video about the head injury which put me on a very different path in my craft. The video is really about me and my story but we are restructuring it to a:) distinguish my comedy show from my talk and b:) make clients understand that one nicely sets-up the other: a 45 minute comedy show then, when everybody’s loose and in a good mood – I hit the ground running with the talk.

The video was even posted at a neurology forum for “nerd-ology” types and a discussion ensued on injury, recovery, consciousness, etc. I think it’s behind a registration wall so I won’t post it.

I did post a couple of new stand-up routines to my YouTube channel, including this true story about a conversation I had on an elevator and this one about Germans and Germany. It’s gratifying to see how these different routines have really come into their own. Each routine has it’s own personality: some are grittier than others, for example, when dueling it out each night with each other on that smokey stage, having driven for four hours to this dusty little town outside Bakersfield while your buddies are giving another Royal Command Performance in London…

Sorry.

I’ve been keeping to our regular sleeping routine and when awake spending a lot more time signing contracts, promoting articles, paying bills, etc. I’ve tried going out at night but usually by 9 o’clock or so I’m beat and more than happy to go to sleep in preparation for a good start the next day. Tonight I’ll attempt to go to the Magic Castle but we’ll see.

#Facepalm

#Facepalm

The 20 Most-Overlooked Newspaper Headlines Of 2013

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This entry was originally published at Ricochet.com.

Younger readers may not be aware that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other news sources have offline editions, typically printed on paper and sometimes even delivered to your doorstep. Many of the print-edition headlines of 2013 grabbed us by the lapels and demanded our attention. However, several important developments disappeared down the memory hole almost as soon as they became breaking news. Below are the large headlines of 2013 which should make conservatives cheer, weep or don a onesie and move back with their parents.

1: Congress Deems Man’s Liver Too Big To Fail (NYT)

2: Constitution Dubbed “Obstructionist” (San Jose Mercury News)

3: Paul Krugman Wins Academy Award For Economics (Boston Globe)

4: Budget Shortfalls Force States To Choose Between Boondoggles (NYT)

5: Car Insurance Companies Made To Cover Pre-Existing Damage (LAT)

6: Planned Economy Not Going As Planned

7: Term-Limits Platform Launches Candidate To Decades-Long Career In Congress (USA Today)

8: Captain America Found Broke, Living Off Children And Cheap Loans From China (WAPO)

9: Discarded Climate Model Halfway Decent At Predicting American League East (Chicago Sun-Times)

10: Physicists Awed By Complexity Of U.S. Tax Code

11: Pentagon: Second Half Of Afghan War To Be “Even Better” Than First

12: Would-Be Mugging Victim Pleads The Second (Investors Business Daily)

13: American Dream Now Selling A Home (Tampa Bay Times)

14: Nation Braces For Next Act Of Bipartisanship

15: Grievance Industry Records Record Profits

16: Liberal Golfer Demands Second Mulligan

17: Millennials Demand Reparations For National Debt

18: Family Man Works Tirelessly To Provide For IRS (Dallas Morning News)

19: Entire Generation Staring Up At Social Safety Net (Boston Globe)

20: Career Politician Considers Going Legit (Seattle Times)

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NEWS CRAWL…

Tie-Dye Champion Forfeits Crown After Passing Drug Test… Shark Braves Cuban-Infested Waters… Something In Italy Happens On Time… Alabama To Join The Dollar… Area Man Only Drinks A-Socially… Area Parents Out Of Timeouts… Man Marries Stripper, Pleads Insanity… The Hague Unveils International Small Claims Court… POLL: Entire Nation In Contempt Of Congress… Storm Leaves Millions Of Afghans With Electricity, Running Water… Tiger Woods Attends Black Thai Event… Preparations For 2004 Athens Olympics Now Complete… Would-Be Mugging Victim Pleads The Second… Lance Armstrong: “I didn’t win 7 Tour Du Frances by being afraid of needles”… Man Flashes Woman “Come Hither” Wallet”… Paul Krugman Wins Academy Award for Economics…Latest Footage From Syria Looks A Hell Of A lot Like Yesterday’s Footage From Syria… Dutch Language Revealed To Be Just German On Heineken… Woman At Crowded Bar Saved As Unread… Power In India Restored To Colonial America Levels… POLL: Entire Nation Pissed Off At Last Undecided Voter… Boxer Tests Positive For Modesty… Nation Braces For Next Act Of Bipartisanship… Vodka And Red Bull Reminds Bill Bellichick Of Offsetting Penalties… Feds Deem Reverse Mortgages Too Sketchy To Fail… Man Forced To Watch “Glee” For Sex… Facebook Friend Mistaken For Actual Friend… Kansas Declared State Of Normalcy… Welfare Mother Has 9 Children With 12 Different Men… Rising Number Of Wealthy Seen As A Negative Trend… Sincerity Feigned… Plastic Utensils On Airplanes Send Al Qaida Back To Square One… Afghan Space Program To Launch Small Satellite Into Adulterer… Term-Limits Platform Launches Candidate To Decades-Long Career In Congress… Check To IRS Admonishes Government Not To Spend It All In One Place… Career Politician Regales Colleagues With Frightening Tale Of Inadvertent Trip Through Working-Class Zip Code… Man Achieves Full Self-Awareness , Demands Money Back… Woman Loses Battle With Emotions… Latest Humiliation At Airport Security Taken In Stride… NASA: “Mars is just Curiosity’s test run for Afghanistan”… OLYMPICS: Out-Of-Contention Diver Throws In Bellyflop Just For Hell Of It… STUDY: Majority Of Foreign Aid Goes To Florida… Chicago Mayor: “The GOP is trying to suppress our city’s dead voters”… Liberal Golfer Demands Second Mulligan… German Develops Sixth Sense For Humor… Completely Baked College Student Has Half-Baked Idea… German Spacebar Shows Remarkably Little Wear And Tear… Ponzi Schemer Takes Offense At Comparison To Social Security… Tax Accountant Guides IRS Commissioner Through Labyrinthine Tax Code… Renewed Vows Tweaked… New Name Etched Onto Trophy Wife… Steroids Test Positive For Barry Bonds… Oprah Gives Lance Armstrong Performance-Enhancing Hug… Nation’s Men March On Capitol In “Take Back The Remote Control” Rally… Man Recites From Memory First Six Ingredients Of Pie… Contentious Couple Can’t Even Agree If Last Fight Was A Doozy… Father Can’t Even Find One Goddamned USB Cable In Entire House… Congress Passes Subsidy For Light Rail, Encyclopedia Britannica… Sophisticated Parents Take Time To Explain The Birds, Bees And Undecideds… Jalapeño Regretted… Discarded Climate Model Halfway Decent At Predicting American League East… Congress Deems Its Ego Too Big To Fail… Eye Contact With Bartender Used For All It;s Worth… Stripper’s Name Really Is “Candy”… Consultant Pads Resume With More Than 500 Fortune 500 Companies… Air Quotes Used During Exchange Of Wedding Vows… AA Meeting Stupidly Held During Happy Hour… Clerical Error Strips Neil Armstrong’s Status As First Man On Moon, Awards Lance Armstrong 3 More Tour Du France Victories… Best Of Intentions Survived… Woman Discovers Way To Parlay Long Legs Into Male Attention… Restroom Tip Guy Serious… Constitution Dubbed “Obstructionist”… REPORT: 57 Government Agencies Responsible For Identifying Duplicate Programs… “Women Watching” Euphemised To “People Watching”…Congress Quietly Passes Medicare Parts E – Z… Term “New-Fangled” Old-Fashioned… Mini-Bar Gets Man Macro-Drunk…Pregnant Man Knocked Up With New Publicity Stunt… Long Layover In Amsterdam Not Long Enough… Venice More Fun With Wife; 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