On Thursday I swung by The Hugh Hewitt Show for an extended appearance on the grim news of the day - and also on my cat album, because, as Hugh put it, "the terrorists win if we do not play Feline Groovy". He wanted to "start on a light note" and then turn to the "terrible and horrible news", but we'll switch it around and start with the horrible stuff:
HUGH HEWITT: When the backdrop to all the terrorism stories of the last 24 hours says shooting rampage, that is the terrorists winning. We're afraid to call, we are hesitant to call Islamist terror in America Islamist terror. I don't understand it, Mark Steyn, but it's everywhere.
MARK STEYN: Yeah, and in fact, it's got worse. Political correctness was a big part of why 3,000 people died 14 years ago. At least two of the check-in counters - the one in Portland, Maine, where Mohammed Atta and Co. boarded the plane to get to Boston, and then also the one, the United flight I think out of Washington - the check-in clerks at the airlines had concerns, and then said 'Oh, no, no, no, I mustn't think that, what am I doing? It's racist! These are perfectly respectable businessmen.' So we have a contradiction here - because we have a Department of Homeland Security slogan: 'If you see something, say something.' And yet if you see something, your instincts tell you that for political correctness reasons, you are not to say anything. The stories that have been coming out about the neighbors being suspicious of all the stuff that was going on in the weeks beforehand, but thinking of them as impure thoughts, racist thoughts, Islamophobic thought, this makes it impossible: No matter how big the security state gets, if you have a politically correct, dishonest, politico-media culture, you will never be able to have a security state big enough that will keep you safe from these things. And I think they're training us, actually, to accept these kind of incidents as a routine feature of life. That's what's actually horrible about it. They're basically saying give it up, accept these violent attacks, because they're going to happen - and the price of countering them, which is addressing this subject honestly, is too high to bear.
Hugh posed three questions relevant to the investigation, the last of which dealt with one of the freakier aspects of the night:
HH: And number three, how did his brother-in-law end up at a CAIR press conference last night? Why wasn't he talking to the Bureau late into the night?
MS: Well, that's one of the most amazing things I've seen ever - which suggests that even the federal investigative agencies are so cowed by political correctness and cultural sensitivity. As you say, the first thing that happens when you have a suspect is you want to get to his friends and his family, and start talking to them before other people get to them, and they all have a chance to agree their stories. And yet we see something where 14 people are dead, and there's the usual bazillion federal, state and local agencies all investigating the thing, and yet one of the people they ought to be talking to is standing up on television at a press conference giving the CAIR-approved version of events... That says an awful lot about what's the culture of the FBI that they allowed that to happen.
HH: It does. It speaks to investigating with two arms tied behind your back.
MS: Exactly... I said today, you know, all these stories are different, and they're all the same. The situation you were saying - what did his workmates make of this guy, what did they say to him - we've been here before with the same result: 14 people dead. Captain Hassan, as he then was, was the only mass murderer to give a Power Point presentation to Army psychologists about what he was planning to do. And they all got a bit sheepish and a bit embarrassed - this is the Army! this is the Army! - and they decided it would be too politically sensitive to get rid of the guy, so they promoted him to major and sent him off to Fort Hood where he killed 14 people. Every story is different, and every story is exactly the same.
We also noted, yet again and in contrast to the lazy pap of Marie Harf, Bernie Sanders et al about economic deprivation, that Mr and Mrs Farook were materially prosperous:
MS: He's got a great job. He's been working for the county for five years. It's an undemanding job with great benefits. His wife is a pharmacist. These are great, stable, middle, well-remunerated middle class jobs, and they've been doing them for years, and they could have lifelong careers. And it's more important to them to kill people in the name of an ideology. And when your Congressman says stuff like that, he's basically ...telling his constituents you guys are just going to be shot and bombed and stabbed and have your head cut off every so often, and that's just the price you have to pay, because it's better that than that we should talk about this honestly.
The San Bernadino attack took place in Hugh's backyard and is a reminder of how brilliantly Obama has managed to "contain" ISIS:
MS: When Obama talks about having contained ISIS, what he basically means is he's contained it to the planet. It's not yet got an operating base on Mars.
~Perhaps because it was so close to home, Hugh was seeking some relief from the gloom and terror, and "wanted to start on a light note" by playing the (sorta) title song from Feline Groovy, my cat album:
MS: I wound up acquiring a new cat last year, and a very friendly and affectionate cat. And I live in the country, where a lot of cats I've had are just like kind of barn cats, and can be a bit standoffish. But this particular cat was very friendly, and was always nuzzling around my ankles as I came downstairs first thing in the morning. And after a while, I just started absent-mindedly singing cat songs to the cat. And on about the sixth or seventh one, I realized there are actually a lot of good cat songs, and so I put together an album of cat songs. And it's got, you know, things that people would expect like 'I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat', and the 'Siamese Cat Song' from Lady and the Tramp, and we've done, we've tried to do something a little different with each of them.
Hugh always likes to ask a little bit about the recording sessions, over at the Angel Studios in London:
MS: It's the studio where I like to do my little musical things for many years, and we all have a good time... 'Feline Groovy' is essentially the Simon and Garfunkel song with one syllable mispronounced. And Emma, Jan and Mary, who are my delightful backing singers on that track, I like the way when you say they want to run it through, and they go 'Wait a minute, there's a typing error in here.' And I say 'No, actually', and they nod thoughtfully, and then treat the idea with utter sincerity. So it was enjoyable.
Laura Rosen Cohen suggested earlier this week that I ought to have done "Year Of The Cat" on my cat album. It's actually on there, albeit slightly titularly modified. Hugh played a chunk of it, and revealed that he's an Al Stewart fan:
HH: I'm glad to see that you covered 'The Year Of The Cat'. That's a terrific cover.
MS: Yeah, we put Siamese, the 'Siamese Cat Song' from Lady And The Tramp in, and used it for the sort of instrumental passages with a great bamboo flute on it, played by Andy Findon. And I love that bamboo flute sound on it. But the last time any foreign bamboo flautist landed, I think it was at Logan Airport, the zealots of Homeland Security confiscated the bamboo flutes and destroyed them. So they can get the bamboo flutes, but they can't get the terrorists. If we simply issued every terrorist a bamboo flute, there would never be another successful terrorist strike in America again.
HH: ...Feline Groovy, Mark Steyn's brand new CD. He stayed two segments with me, so go and order two copies of Feline Groovy today. Thank you, Mark.
~As for Feline Groovy, it's available from Amazon via CD or digital download - and also from iTunes and CD Baby. So far the most popular individual track seems to be "She Only Talks That Way To The Cat", but I'm pleased that Hugh played a bit of the title track, because the back-up kitties are absolutely excellent on that, and of "Year of the Siamese Cat", which is a big epic seven-minute production. Over at Amazon, Travis Taylor Metcalf gives it five paws up:
I am aware of Mark's previous works like his famous "It's a Marshmallow World" and being a cat lover and owner of 3 kitties this was as irresistible as a cute kitten. Upon quickly receiving this album directly downloaded to the Amazon Player in my iPad; I found the arrangements and Mark's mellow tones to be quite the cat's meow.
~Given that all this workplace violence is caused by climate change, I'll be making a rare appearance in Washington next week to testify before the US Senate on that very subject. Professors galore - Judith Curry, John Christy, William Happer, David Titley - plus yours truly with not a pre- or post-nominal in sight. The fun starts in the Senate's Russell building at 3pm on Tuesday.