The Latest Skirmishes in the Race Wars

Two more black men were fatally shot by police this week, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and both communities suffered from the rioting and looting that now routinely follows these incidents. The initial news reports were once again inconclusive, all the same arguments regarding law enforcement and race in America were once-again re-hashed, both major party presidential nominees once again weighed in, and by now there’s a numbing familiarity to it all.
This time around the initial news reports out of North Carolina appear exculpatory for the black police officer in a largely black police department with a black Police Chief accountable to a largely black-run municipal government who shot a reportedly armed and black-life-threatening black man, which didn’t seem to give pause to the rioters and looters and their “Black Lives Matter” apologists, while the available videotape and press accounts and even the official police statements out of Oklahoma suggest that the black man shot by a white officer was unarmed and no imminent threat to the bevy of officers who had surrounded him, which somehow resulted in what seems to be a slightly more restrained round of rioting and looting than occurred in North Carolina.
By now we’ve learned to await further reports before reaching any tentative conclusions about these recurring things, and to be grateful that our tentative conclusions don’t settle these matters. The established facts that the shooter in North Carolina was a black man and that the one in Oklahoma was a white woman are deemed irrelevant in our rightward-leaning court of opinion, and we expect that the leftward-leaning sorts will have their own self-interested reasons for dismissing such information, so the rest of the autopsies and witness accounts and physical evidence and press reports will eventually be more or less resolved and then quickly forgotten. How this affects the presidential race, much less the way this objectively undeniable problem of police shootings and subsequent rioting is either resolved or brought to its unbearable conclusion, is also beyond our powers of conjecture.
The initial reports out of Oklahoma are bad enough that even proudly pro-police Republican nominee Donald Trump said he was “very troubled” by the video he’d seen, and rambled out a stronger anti-police case than we’d make at this point, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was “Tweeting” her shared outraged with even the North Carolina rioters and looters, even if her more expansive later comments made clear that she wasn’t in favor of the random attacks on white people that resulted. Perhaps she’ll be able to rebound by noting how Trump has tentatively presumed guilty a woman who has her own story to tell, and perhaps the North Carolina situation is more complicated that it seems and both candidates wind up looking silly in their premature pronouncements about it, but for now it seems his supporters won’t mind that he prejudged a white woman and with her prejudgment of a  black man she looks to come out slightly worse from it in this crazy election year. This is no way to judge a case, of course, but there you have it.

— Bud Norman

Our Foul-Mouthed and Politically Correct Politics

By now you’ve probably seen the video of two cute young Latino children cussing Donald Trump with all the vulgarity of a late-night cable television comedian. It’s “gone viral,” as they say in the internet biz, and has no doubt generated a lot of t-shirt sales for the “Deport Racism 2016” group that came up with the idea. We don’t expect it will adversely affect Trump’s popularity, however, as the average viewer will probably be more inclined to support him so that he might deport the foul-mouthed urchins at the first opportunity. What we find most interesting about the video is the left’s continuing fondness for obscenity.
Drop in on any left-leaning web site or “alternative” newspaper and you’ll notice a proliferation of profanity, of course the movies and television shows that the vast west wing of Hollywood produces are full of foul language, a similar vulgarity seems to pervade the conversations of most of our liberal friends, even the Vice President of the United States felt compelled drop an “F-bomb” to commemorate the passage of Obamacare, and this isn’t the first time that children have been dragged into it. The left regards cussing as authentically proletarian, even though the authentic proletariate is still saying grace before a meal and washing its kids’ mouths out with soap for such outbursts, and it fancies itself bravely defying the stultifying conventions of bourgeois society, even though it’s been a long time since the martyrdom of Lenny Bruce and by now what’s left of bourgeois society is no longer capable of stultifying even the most obnoxious behaviors.
Our newly-won freedom to spew curse words might be considered a small and insignificant expansion of liberty, but it’s hardly ample compensation for all the restrictions that the left wants to impose. Everything from %&*# to *+$@ is now allowed in the public square, but all sorts of formerly useful and respectable terms are now forbidden in polite company. “He” is an offensive word if used in reference to men who consider themselves women, “merit” and “hard work” are considered racist code in the more refined quarters of academia, of course “illegal immigrant” is not allowed to describe an immigrant who has entered the country illegally, and in the Democratic presidential race presumptive candidate Hillary Clinton is accusing pesky challenger and self-described socialist — which was formerly a dirty word — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders of being racist for using the word “urban” in their ongoing gun control debate. Try injecting any honest acknowledgment of the higher rate of criminal activity in certain communities into that debate or the related arguments over the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the police, and you’ll find that the certain points of view are now out of bounds no matter how profanely phrased. Anything having to do with sex, of course, is similarly constrained by the new rules of polite discourse.
Sooner or later, we fervently hope, the public will grow weary of it. Those foul-mouthed kids are getting a lot more “dislikes” than “likes” on their “viral video” on YouTube, although the number of “dislikes” seems to grow suspiciously smaller each time we check, and still the comments are mostly negative and many of them are coming from self-described Latinos who are insisting that it is more representative of liberals than Latinos. We’re no fans of the buffoonish and insulting Trump, and would have preferred that someone had championed the border-enforcement cause with equally forceful but more carefully phrased arguments, as regular readers of this publication know, but we had to sympathize with the many commentators who said the video seemed to prove his arguments for even the most bluntly explained crackdown on illegal immigration. The arrogance and ignorance of the child stars will not persuade anyone that America should abandon its borders, the objective fact that some parts of town are more dangerous than others will not go unnoticed, and all the rest of that nonsense about gender-neutral pronouns and the hidden racism in everyday idioms will eventually become too much of a hassle for busy moms and dads. It’s a bunch of %&*# and *+$@, as far as we’re concerned, but at least we’re free to put it that way.

— Bud Norman

Free Speech and Racist Frat Rats

The latest battle against censorship on campus is being fought at the University of Oklahoma, just a few hours drive down I-35 from us, and it’s an ugly affair. Modern academia and its censorious impulses provide free speech advocates with plenty of opportunities to stand up for reasonable opinions that somehow offend liberal sensibilities, but in this case we are obliged to defend the right to some unabashedly old-fashioned racist boorishness.
It all started when the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers chartered a party bus and decided to celebrate the occasion with a boastful chant about their racially exclusive admission policies, replete with frequent use of a certain notorious fighting word and a jocular reference to lynching, and not in the ironically anti-racist manner of the more up-to-date nightclub comedians. Somebody recorded the event with a cellular phone’s video camera, of course, and it wound up on the internet, of course, and of course much offense was taken. The outrage was such that hundreds of OU students and faculty staged a protest, the national fraternity revoked the offending chapter’s charter, and the university’s president summarily expelled the two students who had been identified as leading the chant.
As free speech advocates we have no quarrel with the peaceful protests, and acknowledge the national fraternity’s right to restrict its membership however it chooses, but the expulsions are another matter. The courts have long held that public universities are bound by the First Amendment and cannot punish students for their speech, no matter how offensive, and for a variety of good reasons. Aside from the plain language of the Constitution, any restriction on free speech will inevitably lead to another, important ideas will be squelched because some well-organized group or another will find them offensive, and given how very touchy academia is these days there’s no telling where it all might end. Already America’s universities are restricting debate on a variety of issues, from the global warming issue to Israel to the “culture of rape” that is said to pervade the modern campus, but the dialogue about race is especially constrained. Anyone challenging liberal orthodoxy on matters of race is routinely branded a racist, even if they are trying to address the frequently disastrous results of liberal orthodoxy for black America, and any effort to ban racism, no matter how well-intentioned, will allow the keepers of the faith to shut down debate completely. Given how many well-organized groups are taking offense at the slightest provocation these days, placating them all would require limiting scholarly discourse to quiet, guilty shrugs and sympathetic nods.
Which is not to say that you shouldn’t be offended by those boorish frat boys and their witless chant, or that you shouldn’t avail yourself of a heaping portion of free speech to express your offense, or that widespread public scorn isn’t an appropriate way of dealing with such unambiguously racist sentiments. In fact, we note that such stigmatizing has rather effectively made the public expression of such racist sentiments rare, and improved race relations to the point that a bunch of drunk frats joking about lynching seems to be a more pressing problem than actual lynchings. Similar results might be achieved if society were to once again attach a stigma to deliberately vulgar language and contraceptive abortion and unwed parenthood and a host of other social ills that the left doesn’t seem to find offensive, but even in these cases we would prefer social persuasion to governmental coercion.
The president of OU might soon find himself in one of those courts that have long held that public universities are bound by the First Amendment, and we won’t mind seeing him lose this one. He was formerly a governor and senator for Oklahoma, back when then state used to elect Democrats to such high offices, and was known for his occasional liberalism and constant devotion to state’s oil and gas industries, so we suspect the same political instincts led him to expel those two students. The controversy caused OU to lose a potential football recruit to the University of Alabama, after all, so the students had not only offended liberal sensibilities but also posed a threat to a crucial business interest. This will only exacerbate the public’s scorn for the two students, and further deter future racist chants on campus, but we’re not so concerned. If that potential football recruit truly believes he won’t encounter any racist frat boys at the University of Alabama he won’t be able to comprehend a playbook, much less an American history textbook, so he probably wouldn’t have done the Sooners any good even if those racist frat boys hadn’t been too stupid to know that there are cell phone video cameras everywhere these days and everything winds up on the internet.

— Bud Norman

Walking Down the Street Toward Civilizational Decline

Call us old-fashioned fuddy-duddies, or say that we’re newfangled feminists, but we have long held to the opinion that a woman should be able to walk down a public street without being subjected to the most boorish sort of behavior by men. We had thought this would not be at all controversial, with conservatives who decry the coarseness of our popular culture and liberals who take a preening pride in their concern for women finding rare room for agreement, but apparently this is not so.
Judging by the reaction to a widely-viewed hidden-camera video of a day in the unhappy life of a woman pedestrian trying to deal with the frequent unwanted attention and overtly sexual remarks and occasional threatening actions of passersby, the notion that she or any other woman is entitled to more civil treatment by her fellow citizens is either the worst sort of left-wing grievance politics or a right-wing racist plot. The video was produced by a group calling itself Hollaback, which is dedicated to the eradication of what it rightly calls “street harassment,” and has stirred up quite a fuss. More people have viewed it than tune into even a highly-rated network sitcom, pundits from across the political spectrum have weighed in, and typically illiterate comments with non-stop capitalization and an abundance of exclamation marks to emphasize the writers’ seriousness have proliferated across the internet. Thus far the vast majority of opinion, from all ideological sides, seems to be that women should not only accept such rudeness on the streets but learn to like it.
The “progressive” version of this absurd argument is based on the uncomfortable facts that the woman in the video appears to be white and most of the boorish and obnoxious men she encounters appear to be black or Latino. This is enough for Brooklyn Magazine to declare that “the audience is supposed to be, namely, those who seek to protect and defend white women, aka the already existing power structure.” At The Daily Dot the headline was “Thousands of satisfied racists are sharing that viral cat-calling video.” Someone at The Root found the video reminiscent of D.W. Griffith, which was not meant as a compliment to its innovative cinematic technique bur rather a complaint that “some of the video’s intentional choices seem to play on the ‘Birth of a Nation’ trope that white women simply aren’t safe from sex-crazed black and brown men.” The venerable commie rag The Nation found the video “deeply problematic,” and suggested a remake starring “say, a black trans woman.” Not to be outdone, the fashionable internet magazine Salon sought to imbue the rude remarks and sexual innuendo with righteous truth-to-power political significance, writing that “This kind of harassment can be a way marginalized groups talk back to the white gentrifiers taking over their neighborhoods.” There have also been frequent references to Emmitt Till, the young black man who was lynched in the Jim Crow-era south for making untoward remarks to a white woman. The behavior shown in the video is less common among white collar workers or in the suburbs where they live, so there’s the all-important class angle as well.
This outcry has been sufficient to elicit an apology from Hollaback for not including more boorish and obnoxious Caucasian men in the video, complete with an unconvincing claim that by some extraordinary coincidence technical difficulties rendered most of the white guy footage unusable, and we will concede based on our own observation that boorish and obnoxious men come in all hues. Still, we think it’s all hooey. Much of the liberal commentariat seems willing and even eager to stipulate that such boorishness is more common in black and Latino neighborhoods, as it allows them to defend the behavior on grounds of cultural relativism or ethnic authenticity or whatever the prevailing academic theory might be, even as they fault the filmmakers for not adhering to a strict quota system. The idea that a group that adopts such a hip-hoppy name as Hollaback and couches all its arguments in feminist rather than chivalrous lingo is aiming for an audience of aged rednecks rather than the modern urban woman is ridiculous, as is the notion the modern urban woman is hoping for a racist lynch mob to come to her rescue. If Brooklyn Magazine yearns for a future power structure that does not protect and defend certain women because of their race, and if The Nation truly believes that, say, a black trans woman has a more unassailable right to walk down a public avenue without being harassed than a natural-born white woman, and if Salon actually means to imply that men have a right to enforce racial segregation and prevent economic improvement in their neighborhoods by making a woman of another race uncomfortable on the streets, then all are peddling a strange brand of “liberalism” that is both immoral and unworkable in a working society. Nor are we convinced by arguments that a certain behavior is acceptable because white collar suburbanites don’t do it, no matter how strenuously they are stereotyped as sexual repressed Republicans. Certainly none of these arguments can explain why the unfortunate woman in the video should endure such outrageous remarks from men she has never given any offense.
Race and class will always trump gender in the liberal trinity of holy causes, so such nonsense is to be expected, but we have been disappointed by the reaction on the right. Two of our favorite destinations on the internet are Powerline and Instapundit, and both were dismissive of the Hollaback group’s complaints. The former characterized the behavior seen in the video as “friendly, flattering, inappropriate, or, in one or two instances, creepy, although never threatening,” while the latter dismissed it as a “first world complaint” in comparison to the far worse conditions faced by women in areas controlled by the Islamic State. Rush Limbaugh had an uncharacteristically ambiguous take on the video on his popular radio show, taking pains to correctly point out that the black and Latino New Yorkers depicted are most unlikely to be Republicans or part of that party’s alleged “war on women,” but his callers had no sympathy for the women no matter the political affiliations of her tormentors. With all due respect to the imminent gentlemen at Powerline, we wonder which of the gratuitous comments about the woman’s anatomy they considered “flattering” and which were merely “inappropriate,” and how many minutes a thuggish-loooking young man must follow a woman in lockstep before it crosses that nebulous boundary between “creepy” and “threatening,” and whether the same standards would apply if it were their wives or daughters on those streets. Instapundit’s estimable Prof. Reynolds can be forgiven for chastising the feminist movements for its appalling failure to support its sisters in a third world that is somehow exempt from moral judgments, but wrong to suggest that women should wait until their circumstances degenerate to that level before voicing reasonable demands for civil treatment on public streets. Conservatives have been obligated to resist feminism’s unreasonable demands for so long that it has by now become an ingrained habit, but it’s a strange brand of conservatism that will justify the most boorish behavior of some of its political opponents rather than cede any rhetorical ground to others.
We were heartened to see longtime conservative standard-bearer The National Review give space to a young woman staffer’s plea for a more polite public square, as well as a thoughtful piece about the left’s inherent contradictions and the difficulty of addressing the problem through legal mechanisms, but were disappointed to note that most of the comments were as hateful and vile as anything you might find in a YouTube posting. In most cases the anonymous comments at any of the numerous sites posting the video seemed to have little to do with political ideology and much to do with bitter personal experience. The angriest men are obviously seething with resentment toward some pretty woman that they had futilely attempted to woo on a passing encounter, no matter how crude or clumsy their efforts might have been. The angriest women are openly resentful of the male attention the woman in the video attracts, despite the very unappealing nature of the men. There is much commentary on her physical appearance, as if a woman relinquishes a right civil treatment once her breasts grow so large or her buttocks attain a certain roundness, as well as her wardrobe, as if a very ordinary combination of black t-shirt and black pants has such an overwhelming effect on the male libido that it must be replaced with mandatory burqas to protect the women of indeterminate race and ethnicity underneath, and enough anger over unsatisfactory sex lives to fill a thousand hip-hop and heavy metal recordings. Much of it is expressed in the most vile language that the inarticulate writers can manage, and perfectly illustrates what we mean we speak of the coarseness of our popular culture.
All attempts to defend the men in the video in apolitical terms are also unconvincing. In some instances the intent of the remarks shouted at the woman are open to interpretation, and on some streets in America might be considered friendly, but in New York City that social compact has always insisted on what the sociologists call “civil inattention” and in every case the woman makes clear by her facial expression and demeanor that anything else is unwelcome. A remark about the buttocks of a unfamiliar woman might be intended as a compliment, but only by someone by too stupid and insensitive to give a moment’s thought to how it will likely be received. Such behavior might well be acceptable in the context of a black or Latino culture, but lynching black and Latino people for such behavior was once acceptable in the context of of southern cultures, and there’s an argument to be made that neither should be acceptable in the context of contemporary American culture. Some of those anonymous commentators seem to think that romance will vanish once boys are taught not to speak to unfamiliar women without permission, but we note that was the harshly enforced rule in the Romantic Age and content that “Hey, baby, nice ass” has rarely led to true love and family life and happily ever after. The oft-cited argument that boys will be boys is easily refuted by the fact that not all of us boys behave this way, and would fear the wrath of their pre-feminist Christian mothers and hairy-legged feminist ex-girlfriends if they ever did.
As much as we sympathize with Hollaback’s complaints about such boorish behavior, we can’t support its call for legislation to deal with the problem. Writing a law that distinguishes between a friendly “hello” and a more intrusive greeting, or takes into consideration the social standards of a small southern town and the crowded sidewalks of New York City, will ultimately prove impossible and will inevitably have a chilling effect on the freedom of more essential speech. What’s needed is the same sort of powerfully pervasive social stigma that was once used to discourage out-of-wedlock births and welfare dependency and vulgarity but is now only employed against racial slurs and any squeamishness regarding homosexuality. A solid coalition of pre-feminist Christian mothers and hairy-legged feminists and cultural conservatives and oh-so-concerned-about-women progressives could do much to ensure a woman’s right to walk down a public street without being subjected to the most boorish sort of behavior by men, but that seems unlikely.

— Bud Norman

Insufficient Outrage

More information about the Benghazi terrorism attack was revealed to a House investigative committee on Wednesday, and like everything that was already known about the deadly fiasco it was damning to the Obama administration. Many questions remain unanswered, but at this point the president and his supporters can only wonder how severe the political damage will be.
It should be very severe. After bombing an odious but largely defanged dictator out of power in Libya, and without any of the congressional or United Nations approval that liberals usually demand, the administration sent American diplomatic personnel into the ensuing chaos without the security arrangements that longstanding State Department rules require. Numerous impassioned requests by the highest ranking of those personnel for more security were repeatedly denied, on cables carrying the signature of the Secretary of State, even as the ominous date of Sept. 11 approached. When a terrorist group attacked the consulate in Benghazi on that date and murdered the ambassador and three other brave Americans, normal response procedures were ignored, the president went to bed in order to be fresh for a fund-raiser in Las Vegas, and military units that might have been able to save those under attack were told stand down. Afterwards the president and other members of his administration repeatedly lied to the public that the deaths occurred during a spontaneous demonstration rather than an al-Qaeda terror attack, in service of a broader lie that al-Qaeda had been vanquished. The lie made a scapegoat out of an American who had exercised his constitutional rights by making a little-seen video about Islam, and the filmmaker was soon imprisoned on a parole violation charge that would have surely been overlooked if not for the administration’s dishonest vilification of his work. Investigations into such misfeasance and malfeasance were subsequently thwarted by administrative stonewalling and outright bullying of people with embarrassing information to divulge, and we’re sure we have left out some other disgraceful aspect of the scandal.
In our time a president was forced to resign in disgrace and another was impeached for matters that were trivial by comparison, yet it now seems unlikely that Obama will suffer no such consequences. House Democrats made a half-hearted effort on Wednesday to blame the whole matter of Republican-inspired budget cuts, even though the figures and an internal State Department investigation have refuted such nonsense, but the White House has thus far been content to act as if the matter were a minor mishap of no interest to anyone but their most embittered enemies. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously dismissed a question about her failure to investigate the incident by indignantly asking “What difference, at this point, does it make?” White House press secretary Jay Carney recently characterized the four deaths in Benghazi as something that “happened a long time ago.” Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland added a morbid twist to this insouciant line of defense by musing during Wednesday’s hearings that “Death is part of life.”
Such an audacious response might just work, given the lack of interest among much of the media. Despite the bombshell revelations from Wednesday’s hearings, the big stories of the day on the hourly radio updates were a murder conviction in Arizona and the ongoing investigation of three kidnappings in Ohio. Influential media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have lately been paying a grudging amount of attention, but without the undisguised outrage that marked their coverage of the minor brouhahas that have afflicted past administrations. More openly partisan outlets have happily echoed the administration’s claim that any attempts to draw attention to the ineptitude and dishonesty are mere political point-scoring. It worked well enough to get the administration through the last election, although the facts known even then were infuriating to anyone paying attention, and it is depressingly possible that it will work well enough to get Hillary Clinton past the next election.
A few bold Republicans in the House seem determined to keep the story in the news, though, and the conservative media will do their best to help. These efforts might not succeed in bringing down the administration, but the president’s critics can take some solace in knowing that there is nothing about the Benghazi story that can help the president.

— Bud Norman

Yakking on the Obamaphone

We’ve just mailed yet another check to a phone company for a month’s worth of service, and we’re feeling rather foolish about it. It’s not just that the phone rarely rings around here, and when it does it’s usually some annoying stranger trying to sell us something we have no use for, but because we’ve recently learned that we could have been conducting our occasional telecommunications on an Obamaphone at somebody else’s expense.

This amazing money-saving tip came to us through the miracle of YouTube, where an intrepid independent journalist has posted a short video of a protestor in Cleveland urging her fellow Americans to “keep Obama in president, you know” because “he give us a phone.” The woman, a very nasty piece of work to our thinking, screeches this information with a frightening ferocity, then further explains that “everybody in Cleveland [inaudible] minority got Obamaphone” and that “you sign up if you on food stamps, you on Social Security, you got no income, you disability.” She also adds, with a pithiness rarely heard in contemporary American politics, that “Romney? He sucks, bad.”

The video has “gone viral,” as the internet lingo would have it, with more than two-and-a-half million views, while millions more have heard the audio on various talk radio shows and at conservative web sites. Reaction has mostly been outraged, but we expect that most of the callers and commenters have been the people picking up the tab rather than the ones getting free phone service. Because the former group outnumbers the latter, at least for now, the Obamaphone could pose a political problem for its eponymous president.

Someone at the Obama campaign certainly seems to think so. If you had gone to the government’s web site the day before the video was posted you would have been greeted with a picture of a smiling Barack Obama making the thumb-and-pinky-out hand-to-the-ear “call me” gesture to such adoring fans as the one featured in the YouTube video, but the day after the posting it was abruptly changed to plain text and now features an oddly incongruous photograph of some Japanese lanterns or a Chinese chess set. They’re still stuck with the self-imposed “Obamaphone” moniker, though, and the tricky business of explaining to the taxpayers of America why they’re footing the bill for this horrible woman’s cell phone service.

The administration’s many defenders in the media have bravely attempted to argue that the Obamaphone program has its roots in legislation dating back to the Reagan era, which is true, but it didn’t start paying for cell phones until the Clinton era and has seen its budget increased from $772 million to $1.6 billion during the Obama era. Those hearty defenders also contend that the program isn’t paid for by taxes, only a surcharge that actual bill-paying phone customers are required by law to pitch in with their monthly bills, but they’re unlikely to convince anyone but the most adamant Obama supporter that money taken by force of government isn’t really a tax.

The woman starring in the viral video is black, so there’s always the old reliable argument that any objection to paying for her cell phone use is stone cold racism. This is the predictable line being peddled at the AtlanticWire site, which contends that the video itself is not racist but that writing about it is. The writer does make a fair point by noting that much less attention has been paid to a video posted by the same journalist featuring an equally appalling white Obama supporter, who makes some wildly inaccurate claims about Mitt Romney’s tax proposals, then admits he hadn’t heard about the murder of America’s ambassador to Libya and shrugs off the news by saying “He probably had it coming,” but if the AtlanticWire truly believes that publicizing this video will help the Obama campaign we are glad to help them out with the project.

Romney’s campaign will likely avoid any mention of the video, lest it provoke the inevitable cries of racism, but having others draw attention to it could help him stave off the voting power of the now-infamous 47 percent. Here’s hoping that the public scrutiny also forces a reform of the Obamaphone program, which is a waste of the public’s money, an inducement to sloth, and has the unhappy effect of making a taxpayer feel like a sucker.

— Bud Norman