How To Ruin a Perfectly Good Joke

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you talk long enough, you can butcher the best joke in the world–even the one from Monty Python that the Allies used to win WWII.

Tuesday night at a Tea Party meeting, I managed to destroy a joke of my own, poor making, and insult a friend at the same time. That takes talent. Or . . . something.

So, first, let me apologize to Adam Sharp, the best indy video journalist alive, since he was the victim of my horrible comedic delivery. Also, I apologize to the 30 people I confused with the joke.

Now, for how to ruin a joke: talk.

Here’s the joke I intended: Adam Sharp committed the ultimate sin of journalism ethics–he asked a Democrat Congressman about the Constitution.


Thanks to Adam Sharp, we now know it’s unethical for a journalist to ask a Democrat about the Constitution.

Okay. Not fall on the floor, but you get it, right?

But that’s not the joke I told. Instead, I rambled on for a minute in set-up. I built it up for an ending that no punchline could deliver. And then I fumbled the punchline.

In 2010, Adam Sharp asked Phil Hare how he could square Obamacare with the US Constitution. Rep. Hare answered,  “I don’t worry about the Constitution.”

WHAMO!  Hare’s done as a member of Congress. The video went viral. It was a turning point (one of many) in the 2010 election.

But the drive-by media wanted to claim Sharp’s question was inappropriate, that he edited out key parts, etc. The usual nonsense. As you saw, Adam provided more context than was probably necessary.

I knew the audience was familiar with story, so I tried a little sarcastic humor. I still think it would have been funny if someone more capable had delivered it.

Sorry, Adam. I think you rock. And my delivery sucks.

H/T to Van Harvey for calling me out on this.

Don’t believe my joke bombed sucked? See for yourself:

Face palm. Cringe. Gag. Vomit.

Where I’m Kicking Off My Ferguson BUYcott Saturday

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At 1:00 PM, I’ll be at  911 Beauty Salon: 9193 W Florissant Ave, St Louis, MO 63136, Cross Streets: Between Ferguson Ave and Canfield Dr. Let us know your story here. Upload photos, reciepts, and stories. People love stories.

You are welcome to join me there at 1:00, or shop and dine on your own.

This Ferguson BUYcott is getting massive national attention. Big thanks to everyone who took part last week and who’s joining in this week.

IN the past three days, I’ve seen four different people tear up when I told them what we did.

When Jack Buck died, I heard a dozen people say about him, “he did great acts of kindness for people who couldn’t do a thing for him.” That life lesson from one of my heroes stuck with me. But I never really knew how to live it. I was under the delusion that helping people who can’t help you only works for famous people. Just about everybody can do less for the famous than the famous can do for them.

But this Ferguson BUYcott showed me how I CAN help people who probably can’t return the favor anytime soon.

When you shop or dine in Ferguson, you’re helping the entire community. But what feels good is helping the person right in front of you.

1:00 Saturday at 9193 W. Florissant Ave. That’s where I’ll be. Hope to see you there.

Please shop in groups of 6 or fewer. Don’t be afraid to say you’re with St. Louis Tea Party and you’re there to shop. Don’t buy the last of an item, because someone in the neighborhood might need it.

And smile. A smile can save a life.

I Would Like to Talk to You on Tuesday September 2

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Hi. Bill Hennessy here. If you can, please stop by 111 Clarkson Executive Park, Ellisville, MO 63011 on Tuesday, September 2 at 7 p.m. (RSVP Here if you’d like.)

I have something I’d like to talk to you about. It’s about the tea party movement. But it’s really about understanding two very important concepts:

  1. Living to our purpose.
  2. Doing what’s important.

This is not a training session. It’s not an After Party. It’s not a rally. It’s an honest conversation with a call to action.

It’s about the things that made St. Louis Tea Party the most effective and most talked about tea party in the country in 2009 and 2010, where and why we strayed from our original purpose, and what I am going to do to get back to that original purpose.

I don’t know if this new mission will be an official St. Louis Tea Party Coalition project or not. That’s one of the reasons for this conversation.

I want you, the people who’ve stood with me through all my many failings, to hear the mission I’m going on. I hope you’ll join me, but I understand if you do not.

Shop Ferguson and Dellwood This Weekend

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Sorry I’m so late on this. This sounds whiny, I know, but I have a really involved week at work this week. Sorry. Crap always seems to work out this way, though. When there’s a great need for Tea Party services, I’m tied up with work obligations. Something has to give, and it’s usually the thing that doesn’t generate revenue.

But we all have work to do. Ferguson businesses and families are still struggling with the effects of the riots. The demonstrations didn’t break their windows or steal their inventories. Rioters did. Looters did. And the shop owners in Ferguson and Dellwood weren’t rioting. They were watching their American Dream of owning their own lives go out through broken windows.

Everybody shops on Labor Day Weekend. All we’re asking is that you consider doing that shopping in Ferguson and Dellwood.


The greatest damage was sustained along W. Florissant between the Schnuck’s/Target plaza (aka Buzz Westfall Plaza) and I-270. There are shops and restaurants–all the chop suey you could ever wish for. There are meat markets and liquor stores and my favorite beauty salon, 911. There’s a great nail salon in the same mall as 911 Beauty Salon: 9193 W Florissant Ave, St Louis, MO 63136, Cross Streets: Between Ferguson Ave and Canfield Dr.

I will post a muster time and location on FRIDAY. Sorry for the short notice. Please watch this Facebook Event for details.


Twitter hashtag #FergusonBuycott

Follow me on Twitter.

Here’s local and national coverage:

The Daily Signal:

The Unablogger:

Hennessy’s View:

The Blaze:

Rush Limbaugh:


Bureaucratizing Street Gangs

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Did you ever wonder why do-gooders and social planners never pay for their crimes?

Yesterday, I wrote about Jesse Jackson dressing down at the hands of activists in a McDonald’s parking lot in Ferguson. I pointed out that Martin Luther King and Dick Gregory were similarly dismissed by rioters in the 1960s. Some things never change.

One thing that has changed is the economic gap between whites and blacks. That’s gotten worse despite trillions in federal poverty programs that went mostly to “community organizing.” Those failed efforts of do-gooders and social planners have made black poverty worse, not better, while contributing to the destruction of the black family.

Notice that Hispanics were doing a lot better before the government started paying attention to them, too!

And the do-gooders of the 1960s actually wanted this effect. Again, I turn to Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers:

The police would argue that in giving all that money to gangs like the Blackstone Rangers the poverty bureaucrats were financing criminal elements and helping to destroy the community . The poverty bureaucrats would argue that they were doing just the opposite. They were bringing the gangs into the system. Back in 1911 Robert Michels, a German sociologist, wrote that the bureaucracy provides the state with a great technique for self-preservation. The bureaucracy has the instinct to expand in any direction. The bureaucracy has the instinct to get all the discontented elements of the society involved and entangled in the bureaucracy itself. In the late 1960’ s it looked like he might be right. By the end of 1968 there were no more gangs in San Francisco in the old sense of the “fighting gangs.” Everybody was into black power, brown power, yellow power, and the poverty program in one way or another. This didn’t mean that crime decreased or that a man discontinued his particular hustles . But it did mean he had a different feeling about himself. He wasn’t a hustler or a hood. He was a fighter for the people, a ghetto warrior. In the long run it may turn out that the greatest impact of the poverty program, like some of the WPA projects of the Depression, was not on poverty but on morale, on the status system on the streets. Some day the government may look back and wish it had given the Flak Catchers Distinguished Service medals, like the astronauts.

Wolfe, Tom (2010-04-01). Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (pp. 122-123). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

Maybe not on those Distinguished Service medals, Tom.

The poverty program did change the status system on the streets, but it didn’t solve poverty. Violent crime is down, but not because people have good jobs and solid families. To the contrary, we’ve simply gotten better about locking up criminals and leaving them locked up. Somewhere along the way from Nixon’s first term to Obama’s second, we’ve given up on gang leaders as civic leaders.

The poverty bureaucrats seem to have given up on blacks in general. Bureaucracy’s self-preservation instinct has evolved, perhaps because it has finally and fatally entangled the black community in its suffocating network of economic despair. Few academics even bother to highlight the African-American climber who rose from a broken home and squalid schools to become chief of surgery at Massachusetts General—if indeed that ever happened. Instead, the social academics and government bureaucrats simply dump enough buckets  of government subsidies into the broken homes and squalid schools to keep the fires of anarchy dampened.

People are capable of almost anything depending on their own personal experience, the way they construe a situation, and the situation itself. Bureaucrats have a duty to design experiences and situations that maximize the possibility of positive actions. But our bureaucrats and academics do the opposite. For fifty years, America’s social engineers have set up African Americans for failure. Massive failure. Multi-generational failure.

When you look at the economic progress of blacks since the Great Society’s launch, you can conclude only that its engineers intended to keep blacks at the bottom of America’s social and economic ladder.

The War on Poverty has intentionally taught blacks (and other minorities) that self-reliance is shameful and helpless dependency is good.

The War on Drugs has provided ambitious poor with a deadly means of escape from that dependency: drug dealing.

The Department of Education has replaced education with self-esteem lectures and tolerance classes even though every psychologist since Viktor Frankl teaches that self-esteem is a product of personal achievement, not an antecedent.

The courts and municipal police forces have emotionally and financially tortured the poor, particularly poor blacks, with obnoxious rules and ordinances that keep the poor in a constant state of violation of petty and useless laws. (I’ll have much more to say about this over the coming days, weeks, and months.)

With all of these failures of the academic and government poverty experts, why in God’s name does anyone still listen to them? Why haven’t blacks marched on the welfare offices and the schools and demanded an end to the government-created cycle of poverty? Why aren’t people holding citizens’ hearings on the abusive and illegal municipal court systems?

Why? Because the “black leaders” would go broke if black income and opportunity rose to equal whites’. Because politicians in both parties profit from the cycle and the courts and the wars on everything that war can’t fix.

In short, the income gap and opportunity gap in America results from a total leadership vacuum.

Look, I’ve been observing the decline of opportunity for blacks since I was a kid. I’ve lived through the Great Society and the War on Poverty. And, like a social work professor at Wash U, I’ve done nothing about it.

But I’m done sitting on my hands while the “experts” unravel the American Dream, first for blacks, then for Latinos, and now for everyone else. I’ve had it with the nonsense that you need a PhD and a government job to drive change.

Starting with the Ferguson BUYcott, I intend to help restore the American Dream in the hearts and minds of those who’ve been denied that dream the longest. My Tea Party friends understand the dream. They don’t need my help. I need theirs–yours. As Rush Limbaugh pointed out today when talking about the Ferguson Buycott, we won’t get help from “drive-by media.” But we will eventually get their attention. Said Rush today:

No, this is not an AP story.  Sorry.  No, no, no.  No, no.  It’s not UPI.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  It’s not CNN.  No, no, no, no, not New York Times.  No, no, no, no, no, not Washington Post.  Ah, ah, not USA Today.  Nope, CNN hasn’t covered it.  ABC, CBS, NBC, no.

This is a Heritage Foundation story.  The Drive-Bys haven’t covered this, but the Tea Party is leading a buycott in Ferguson, and they’ve been doing this since Thursday. They’re going back next weekend.  You won’t find it in the Drive-By Media.

Besides, Rush has a bigger audience than the Drive-Bys.

The American Dream, as Lee Presser says, was never about owning your own home. The American Dream is to own your own life.

When blacks, Latinos, and a lot of others feel the freedom and power of life ownership, woe betide those academics and bureaucrats who denied them their freedom the past five decades.


Exposing the Race Hustlers in Ferguson

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There’s an awesome YouTube video of Jesse Jackson getting skewered in Ferguson.

First, though, a little history.

One of the greatest books ever on race-based poverty and jobs programs is Tom Wolfe’s Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers. You won’t understand race politics in America without reading it. Twice. Four times, maybe.

If you’ve read it, you know why Jesse Jackson and Capt. Ron Johnson and all the other “black leaders” are impotent to stop riots. From Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catcher by Tom Wolfe, 1970:

Every time there was a riot, whites would call on “Negro leaders” to try to cool it, only to find out that the Negro leaders didn’t have any followers. They sent Martin Luther King into Chicago and the people ignored him. They sent Dick Gregory into Watts and the people hooted at him and threw beer cans. During the riot in Hunters Point, the mayor of San Francisco, John Shelley, went into Hunters Point with the only black member of the Board of Supervisors, and the brothers threw rocks at both of them. They sent in the middle-class black members of the Human Rights Commission, and the brothers laughed at them and called them Toms. Then they figured the leadership of the riot was “the gangs,” so they sent in the “ex-gang leaders” from groups like Youth for Service to make a “liaison with the key gang leaders.” What they didn’t know was that Hunters Point and a lot of ghettos were so disorganized, there weren’t even any “key gangs,” much less “key gang leaders,” in there. That riot finally just burnt itself out after five days, that was all.

Wolfe, Tom (2010-04-01). Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
(pp. 104-105). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s worth pointing out the those very poverty programs from the 1960s gave us Barack Obama. Contrary to popular belief, “community organizing” wasn’t Saul Alinsky’s invention. Social workers and liberal do-gooders, believers in the perfectibility of man, trusters in the moral imperative of omnipotent government—these early Michael Harringtons invented community organizing as a novel, new, enlightened approach to ending urban poverty.

Mr. Wolfe explains:

So the poverty professionals were always on the lookout for the bad-acting dudes who were the “real leaders,” the “natural leaders,” the “charismatic figures” in the ghetto jungle. These were the kind of people the social-welfare professionals in the Kennedy Administration had in mind when they planned the poverty program in the first place. It was a truly adventurous and experimental approach they had. Instead of handing out alms, which never seemed to change anything, they would encourage the people in the ghettos to organize. They would help them become powerful enough to force the Establishment to give them what they needed. From the beginning the poverty program was aimed at helping ghetto people rise up against their oppressors. It was a scene in which the federal government came into the ghetto and said, “Here is some money and some field advisors. Now you organize your own pressure groups.” It was no accident that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale drew up the ten-point program of the Black Panther Party one night in the offices of the North Oakland Poverty Center.

Wolfe, Tom (2010-04-01). Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
(pp. 105-106). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

Forty-four years later, black poverty is worse than it was in 1970, and race relations are at least as bad. I think we can safely declare the War on Poverty a miserable, expensive, deadly disaster like its cousin, the War on Drugs. In fact, one war could not have happened without the other, but that’s grist for a future post.

Following in the footsteps of Dick Gregory and Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson came to Ferguson last week to quell the riots. But the rioters quelled him instead:

“When you gonna stop sellin’ us out, Jesse?”

“We don’t want you here. You’re not a leader. You’re not a leader. We don’t want you here, brother. As a matter of fact, you’re not even no brother. You can keep movin’.”

Did you hear that? Did you hear the way they talked to Jesse? Priceless.

The liberal establishment still doesn’t get it, though. The social workers and bureaucrats still think Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton matter. They don’t. They’re race hustlers who move form riot to riot stirring up hatred and cashing checks. MSNBC pays the phony FBI informant Al Sharpton to lie, telling the world that we need more government programs and more PhDs descending on places like Ferguson with shiny new jobs programs. It’s no different from 1970. Wolfe’s explanation from 1970 might have been written after 9:30 Mass this morning:

To sell the poverty program, its backers had to give it the protective coloration of “jobs” and “education,” the Job Corps and Operation Head Start, things like that, things the country as a whole could accept. “Jobs” and “education” were things everybody could agree on. They were part of the free-enterprise ethic. They weren’t uncomfortable subjects like racism and the class structure— and giving the poor the money and the tools to fight City Hall. But from the first that was what the lion’s share of the poverty budget went into. It went into “community organizing,” which was the bureaucratic term for “power to the people,” the term for finding the real leaders of the ghetto and helping them organize the poor.

No one respects Jesse Jackson less than the people he hasn’t helped. As it should be. And no one can claim the PhDs’ and the Democrats have helped blacks economically.

While society has improved many racial injustices in my life, we have not improved economic life for blacks. In fact, all of the trillions of dollars spent, all of the equal opportunity laws, and all of the affirmative action plans have only widened the income gap between whites and blacks.

Business Insider’s Mandi Woodruff points out about this chart:

Here, you can see there isn’t so much a gap between black and white households as a Grand Canyon-sized void that has only gotten worse since the 1960s.

Since the 1960s, the difference in household income between black and white households ballooned from $19,000 to $27,000, meaning black households on average earn  just 59% as much as their white neighbors. Blacks enjoyed a bit of a boost from the prosperous early 2000s, when they earned 65% as much as white households, but the Great Recession made quick work of destroying those gains.

Blacks have also been the most unemployed racial group in the U.S. over the last half century, with an unemployment rate almost double the national average, according to the Urban Institute.

Black unemployment is still more than double the white unemployment rate.And how many African American children grow up in dangerous neighborhoods where single women–mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts–strive to keep little ones fed, clothed, in school, and alive?

Hoping for more crumbs form Washington’s table isn’t hope. It’s despair. It’s servitude and dependency. Lack of decent work emasculates black men. And they know Jesse Jackson isn’t doing anything to reverse that.

That’s why it’s so perversely satisfying to see Jackson excoriated in a McDonald’s parking lot in Ferguson by unemployed young men—Jackson’s supposed followers.

Jesse Jackson’s followers don’t live in Ferguson. They live in 5-million-dollar Manhattan penthouses. Poor Jesse’s nothing but an exposed, wealthy flak catcher now.