Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More Server Madness

Verizon does it again. Wonker will now apparently not be deprived of connectivity until COB tomorrow. We'll keep you posted. Server moves are hell.

Weird Science

You might recall our recent post, where our colleague Luther opined on how even the sciences, once a bastion of objectivity, have been succumbing to political correctness, which has now begun to infect the journals.

Power Line must be reading us, because they picked up on just this thread today in a post entitled "A Bad Mix," describing the increasingly manipulative statistics behind today's socalled "global warming."

Both Luther and Hinderaker are describing something most accurately called "Advocacy science." Remember that term the next time the (socalled) "Center for Science in the Public Interest" tells you you're going to die the next time you consume a bag of movie theater popcorn.

Luther is on to something, and a powerful blogger is seconding the motion. It's bad enough that the left has destroyed literature and literacy, set American jurisprudence back 2 generations, and infiltrated the Federal government with income redistributionists. Now they want to ruin the greatest glory of the West, the scientific method, by politicizing it into disfunctionality.

Problem with this is that the public can soon enough see the results, or lack thereof, of bogus science, and will soon begin to ignore its results. Which creates a further problem: What "science" will they believe? We don't really want to go there. But the hard left does. A disaster in the making.

UAE Al Qaeda Moles?

An anonymous source has provided the Northeast Intelligence Network with a translated copy of a recovered Al Qaeda document from Afghanistan dated 14 May/June 2002. The text informs officials of the UAE that "we have infiltrated your security, censorship, and monetary agencies along with other agencies that should not be mentioned."...Special Reports: Al Qaeda to UAE: You Are Fully Infiltrated By Us, from Homeland Securityus.com.

I don't know much about HomelandSecurityus.com, but it is worth noting that the threat of having moles in place is almost as destructive as actually having moles in place. Witness the tragic career of James Angleton, who spent twenty years in a fruitless search for a mole that may never have been placed by the former Soviet Union. Nonetheless, these days, the stone unturned is often the one with the bomb under it, so the claim should be a subject for serious investigation of the deal and the company involved.


Diversity Follies

Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far....Jihadi Turns Bulldog, by John Fund, WSJ Opinion Journal, 2/27/2006

The most amazing part about this story, since we already know to what lengths universities in America will go already, is that it originally appeared in the NY Times Sunday magazine.

Question: what editor at the NY Times missed this? Or are they so blinded by their seditious editorial positions that they think Americans reading this story will be happy about what's going on in American universities?

Hint: The latter question is the one to pay attention to.


Mascot Throws Away Green Hysteria Leash

Lovelock is highly critical of "cosmic-scale exaggeration" and "distortions of the truth about the health risks of nuclear energy", which he holds responsible environmental activists and a credulous media too ready to accept their bona fides. Public attitudes, Lovelock writes, were also swayed by the association of atomic energy with the destruction threatened during the Cold War by nuclear weapons, mobilized by a post-Vietnam culture of protest and fashionable anti-Americanism...
Gaia Goes Nuclear by Peter Dolan & Donal Fitzgibbon, TCS Daily, 2/20/2006

James Lovelock mentioned favorably on this blog? He's no less crazy than ever on many subjects, such as his "deep ecology" position on human beings being somehow an alien presence in nature, but Lovelock, the secular godhead of the Gaia ecology movement, has come out in favor of nuclear powerplants worldwide. Not happy to be a mascot, he's taken a few other bites out of the moral superiority stance of deep ecologists.

Lovelock is critical of environmentalism more generally, referring to it as a movement of "affluent radicals in the first world" and points out ill-conceived solutions such as the banning of the pesticide DDT, which condemned millions in poor tropical countries to fatal mosquito-borne malaria....Gaia Goes Nuclear by Peter Dolan & Donal Fitzgibbon, TCS Daily, 2/20/2006 continued

Oh-oh, this doggie has got teeth. This is the kind of recantation we've come to favor here! Maybe next he'll acknowledge the obvious, that human beings are both from nature and bear the principal responsibility for managing it.


Unrest Spreads in Iran

Our server outage here has been delayed for one day, so I thought I'd post this interesting tidbit. Apparently, there have been six days in a row of unrest in Iran, spreading throughout much of that country. The thugocracy of the mullahs has, of course, moved to suppress it, and a report from the BBC is happy to spread the party line. Nontheless, the story's lede is rather telling:
Calm has returned to the streets of Tehran after six days of sometimes violent confrontations between pro-reform students and hardline vigilantes supported by the police.
As the BBCers low-keyed the story, they did include a little map which tells a different story:

Each numbered dot represents a significant protest activity.

I have one question. Why have we not seen ONE SINGLE THING about this in the MSM here in the US? Answer: it would conflict with the MSM's current "Civil War in Iraq Dooms Bush to Disgrace" meme. Which, of course, is untrue. Or more likely, fake but accurate.

You have to wonder where these clowns are when real news is happening. The Iraq mess is horrendous, but more than likely the work of Al Qaeda with help (counterintuitively) from Shiite Iran. And while the Iraqi death toll is not good, neither has Iraq descended into civil war by a long shot. This has to be deeply disappointing the blow-dries who are inventing this story as they go along.

The only news coming out of Iran at all is reportage of their predictable, and media-favored "defiance" of pretty much the entire world which does not want these 21st century Hitlerians to possess nuclear capabilities—even as the West wrings its collective hands for its supposed helplessness to stop it. The MSM is actually cheering the mullahs on with regard to their nuclear quest, because this would, somehow, humiliate Bush. The fact that it might also end up frying a few tens of millions of Americans is less important than twisting a story to make Bush look like an idiot. Or manufacturing another lame joke about the Veep's poor aim.

One wonders how far heads would be poked into the sand these days were it not for the intrepid blogosphere?

BTW, how did Wonker pick this story up? (Even Drudge, Instapundit, and Power Line don't have it as of this writing.) An offhand tip, not followed up, on the CNNMoney daily market report, giving this as one of the reasons for today's market decline:
U.S. light crude oil for April delivery fell 25 cents to $60.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid a continued waning of concerns about unrest in Iran and how it might impact crude supplies from OPEC's No. 2 oil producing nation.
What unrest? That's it. Not another thing, even on Fox, although the day is still relatively young. 20 seconds with a search engine unearthed the story highlighted here (and very few others). The only other major outlet on it, of course, is Al Jazeera. Which, come to think of it, is probably more objective than the MSM today.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Moving Day

Still recovering from the worst cold in memory, Wonk is confronting the worst frigid (outdoor) cold that the DC area has been subjected to this February. Not conducive to passionate blogging, for sure. And matters are made worse by the fact that Wonk has to move offices today and tomorrow and network servers may be down for 24 hours.

Light blogging under the circumstances. But I am confident that fresh outrages will pop up on schedule. They always do.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Meathead in the News...

Rob Reiner, "All in the Family's" legendary lefty "Meathead," aka Mike Stivic, is a vintage re-run image for today's younger video freaks. But he's also morphed into exactly what his character was back in the 1970s, a freeloading leftie who lives off others' money while spouting socialist platitudes and promoting his own alleged brilliance.

Reiner, of course, has gone on since the TV series to become a multimillionaire as an actor, director, and producer. And, like all lefty multimillionaires in Hollywood, he wants to use YOUR money to fund his socialist fantasies. He pushed through a 50 cent per pack tobacco tax via initiative in California to fund his pet pre-school project. But he's also contemplating a run for public office. Wouldn't you know it? A lot of the money the tax has funded has been going to TV ads, PR types, you name it, to brag about the virtues of the pre-school program lately. Couldn't be a free, taxpayer funded image buildup for Meathead's next star turn in politics, could it?

The Los Angeles Times, of all places, has been raking a little of Reiner's muck, and has run up the most recent tally of taxpayer supported self-glorification, the total of which, remember, is NOT being spent on kids. Reiner's people have:
• Spent $23 million for the "Preschool for All" ads, which ran from November to mid-January, making it one of the largest state-funded advertising campaigns ever in California. In January, Reiner's new initiative, also called "Preschool for All," qualified for the June ballot as Proposition 82.

• Given $230 million in advertising and public relations contracts — including the preschool ad blitz — to firms that helped Reiner create the First 5 commission. As companies competed for the business, Reiner wrote a letter recommending one firm, which won.

• Paid $206,000 of the tax money to three political consultants, though they had no contract. One of them — Benjamin Austin, a former Los Angeles deputy mayor — said they helped coordinate the government activities of Reiner, the First 5 commission and the media consultants. Austin and the others subsequently joined the Proposition 82 effort, with Austin as campaign manager.
Read the rest at the link above. Rob Reiner, George Soros, Barbra Streisand, Ted Turner...have you ever met a POOR celebrity Democrat? They keep their own money for themselves and spread our tax dollars around like manna from heaven. What a concept.

A Real Report from Iraq, Real Questions Too

Most would agree that the Americans now know exactly what they are doing. They have a brilliant and savvy ambassador and a top diplomatic team. Their bases are expertly run and secured, where food, accommodations, and troop morale are excellent. Insufficient body armor and unarmored humvees are yesterday’s hysteria. Our generals — Casey, Chiarelli, Dempsey — are astute and understand the fine line between using too much force and not employing enough, and that the war cannot be won by force alone. American colonels are the best this county has produced, and they are proving it in Iraq under the most trying of conditions. Iraqi soldiers are treated with respect and given as much autonomy as their training allows...the question now is an existential one: Can the United States — or anyone — in the middle of a war against Islamic fascism, rebuild the most important country in the heart of the Middle East, after 30 years of utter oppression, three wars, and an Orwellian, totalitarian dictator warping of the minds of the populace?...
...Victor Davis Hanson, 'Standoff in Iraq: the IED vs. Democracy, National Review Online

Had enough of the Kerry-Rather bleary blather? Can't take any more of the severed- head-in-the-street story from Baghdad? Don't know what to say or ask about American action in Iraq?

The first thing to do is to turn off CNN, NBC, CBS, PBS, ABC. Sure, they're nice fellows there, wearing nice suits with ties perfectly matched to the scanning problems of a TV camera. Sure they make a lot of money. Yeah, they have really authoritative voices. And they sure do select the most exciting pictures from their stringers in the field. It's the copy, friend.

To write good copy about Iraq, you have to know something about the stakes, about what Iraq really is, and what Iraqis are really like. It's good to have done good research in what Americans are talking about as far as Iraq goes. It might help also if you were an historian.

There's no point in playing off Victor Davis Hanson's story, who has all of those credentials in addition to being a fine prose writer. Just click on the link in the quote and read the story. You'll feel better in the morning.


Antonio Gramsci Now Running Montgomery County Schools

Folks who frequent HazZzmat with some regularity will recall that Wonker lives in the bright red state of Virginia. Just across the river lie the true blue District of Columbia and the equally blue state of Maryland. Baltimore, a decaying but occasionally charming city on the Chesapeake Bay is a hotbed for the leftists that infest the state.

But equally bad is Montgomery County, an impossibly wealthy jurisdiction that borders the District on its Northwest side and meanders up the Potomac River and north for a considerable distance. Towns you might have heard of are Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville (where F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda are buried), Germantown (where dwell the no longer so super-secret NSAers), and Gaithersburg. Another major federal facility in Montgomery County are the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bethesda Naval Hospital, made famous by the many presidents who drop in there for annual exams and sometimes more.

You'd think with all this wealth and all this good stuff that Montgomery Countians would also expect the best from their kids' public schools, better to surpass rival Fairfax County, across the river in Virginia, Wonker's homeland. But nope, you'd be wrong. As Dr. Helen (aka, Instapundit's Instawife) notes in her periodic blog today, these wealthy folks, Democrat and far left to the hilt, are far more interested in political correctness than they are in giving their kids a quality education:
Thanks to Soccer Dad for pointing out this article in the Washington Post that discusses replacing the Gifted programs in schools in Montgomery County, Maryland with magnet classes for everyone:

But this fall, educators decided to try a different approach. Instead of selecting a few hundred students for traditional school magnets, officials opened magnet programs at three middle schools to everyone.

"We've changed from labeling children to labeling services," Horn said. "It's not whether you're gifted, it's what's appropriate for you."

Oh sure, this method will really fool the kids--think they don't understand the hypocrisy of leveling the playing field? Of course they do. In my daughter's school, when the mentally handicapped kids are called over the intercom for special classes, they announce, "Will all of the 'Smart' kids come to Room 101." The whole school, from kindergarteners to 5th graders look at each other in amusement that the school is calling the handicapped kids smart. How silly is that? And how silly is it to let teachers observe kids to determine if they are "gifted" instead of allowing for some set of standards to do the sorting for them?
Yep, the Gramscians are loose and wreaking havoc (or "wrecking havoc" as one of my former composition students once wrote) on the next generation, substituting political correctness for education. As Dr. Helen notes, even 5th graders wrinkle their noses at this asininity. If it's obvious to kids, how dumb can it be? Maybe they should drop back and use the old PC term "differently abled." (Wonker himself, who currently carries a few more pound than he should, regards himself as "horizontally challenged.")

But we're interrupting the good Doctor's train of thought here:
At two elementary schools, Georgian Forest in Silver Spring and Burning Tree in Bethesda, that means piloting an approach in which students are not formally labeled "gifted and talented" solely through traditional testing. Instead, teachers spend more time watching how individual students perform and place them based on those observations. The change doesn't necessarily mean that all students will be in the highest-level reading group, but it is a strategy for reaching out to kids who might have been overlooked in the past, said Georgian Forest Principal Donald D. Masline.

And their remedy for the lack of diversity just gets sillier:

Educators hope that the new approach will help them address why black and Hispanic students continue to lag behind white and Asian counterparts in achievement and why so few take advanced classes or are admitted into accelerated programs.
Don't they call this "racial profiling" when cops do it? Do we smell the old "equality of outcomes" game here? The only thing teachers will be "observing" here is what color each kid is. Then they can alter educational placement toward race-norming rather than relying on skill, ability, and merit to place kids in programs appropriate for their learning level.

One of Dr. Helen's readers comments:
In the movie THE INCREDIBLES, where the superhero mother is teaching her superchildren to hide their powers, there is a great line.

The mother says that everybody is special. The son says this: "If everybody is special, nobody is special."

This is echoed by the villain in the movie as well.
The public schools are yet another once useful institution infiltrated by the Gramscian left (via the teachers unions—weak to nonexistent in Virginia, by the way) which has for decades been turning them into training camps and brainwashing centers more focused on modifying behaviors to suit leftist dogma than in teaching kids how to think. Which of course would put the left out of business. But obviously, Dr. Helen's 5th graders have already hit the override button. How dumb do these educationaloids think people are?

Did you ever wonder why the educational establishment, aided and abetted by the useful legal idiots of the ACLU, fight educational vouchers tooth and nail. It has nothing to do with providing federal funds to religious schools. It has to do with the vouchers' collective ability to defund the huge re-educational gulag the left has set up, with taxpayer funds, to indoctrinate American children with deeply damaging ideas while depriving them of real educational tools. In other words, vouchers are another way of defunding the left. And the left won't stand for it.

We think it's time to put them out of business. Let the wealthy lefties in Montgomery County subject their wealthy kids to this kind of brainwashing. The rest of us think our kids deserve an education. Parochial schools and homeschooling, as Dr. Helen implies, have a great future.

Reason on Health Care

In 10 years about 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product will be spent on health care, up from 16 percent today. In dollar terms the annual average cost of health care will rise to $12,320 per person in 2015, compared with $6,683 per person in 2005. Does this trend represent a social crisis or an economic disaster in the making? Not necessarily, says Robert Fogel, Nobel laureate in economics and University of Chicago professor. Contrary to most people's intuitions, Fogel points out that a large supply of disease and disability does not automatically increase the demand for health care. It takes something more—namely, money. "In order for the demand for health care to be high, income has to be high," notes Fogel....Does Health Care Cost Too Much? Ronald Bailey in Reason Online, 2/24/2006

Fogel's report was a great get for Ronald Bailey at Reason Online. You should read the whole piece. Some thoughts follow:

I know that educators tend to ignore basic economics, preferring the hallucinations of Marx & Engels to such practical things as how markets work, but is this above, like, hard? Here's help.

Basic principle: The greater the quantity of buyers (called demand) the more pressure there will be on price (a consequence of supply). If demand is high and supply is slow in catching up, the price will rise to compensate.

Wait a second. Doesn't that suggest that there isn't enough of a supply of medical care?

Corollary to basic principle: Demand and supply are not necessarily an indication of need. For instance, if forty million people each want 4 houses of their own, they clearly don't need more than one, two at the most. But if they each demand four houses, and there's no restriction on the demand (such as tax policy on writing off mortgage interest), homebuilders will try their best to provide. If the best they can do is an average of 3.5 per customer, the price of housing construction will go up. Why? Because some buyers will be willing to pay more to break through that 3.5 average and get their fourth house.

And modern Americans' demand for health services hasn't grown because disease and disabilities have increased. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred. Fogel shows that in 1900, American men age 50-54 endured an average of 3 chronic medical conditions, and their confreres who were lucky enough to make it to 65 and above suffered from six chronic conditions. In 1900 only one American in 25 made it past age 60. By the mid-1990s, according to Fogel, American males in their early 50s generally suffered from one chronic condition, and those in their late 60s put up with two chronic health conditions. Nearly 9 out of ten Americans now live past 60....Does Health Care Cost Too Much? continued....

Oops, there's an elephant in the living room, dear. Bailey, not to mention Robert Fogel, Nobel laureate in economics and University of Chicago professor, who asked these questions, is probably not much loved at the AMA, or the Hospital Administrators Association. But maybe not...

Fogel optimistically concludes. "The increasing share of global income spent on health care expenditures is not a calamity; it is a sign of the remarkable social and economic progress of our age." ....Does Health Care Cost Too Much? continued....

For the innocent, the above is a good representative of irony. Us rich folks in America may just want a whole lot more than we need; it's one of the prerogatives of having reason enough to make a good living instead of waiting for the government to send a check. If we become less successful in the future, perhaps through some failure of reason, and we can't even afford basic health care, then political discussions about cost will have real meaning.


Making Pretty Pictures

Most of us grew up believing that science, if nothing else, was immune from politics. To be frank, that was a stupid belief. Belief should be reserved for religion, not for human affairs. In human affairs, it should be a general rule (as it was for the Founders of our republic), that skepticism should always accompany trust.

Well, wake up guys, because the major science and medical journals have been fooling you for years. And what appeared to be a trickle when I first wrote on it in 1999 has become a torrent...Science Journals Delivering Political Science,by Michael Fumento, Town Hall, 2/23/2006

Michael Fumento of the Hudson Institute, writing at Townhall.com yesterday, suggests that tsunami come in varieties comprising something other than water. This one may have more casualties than the one last year.

Consider a report by three environmentalist authors back in 1988 in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzing male-female birth ratios between 1970 and 1990. The authors found male births declining, and predictably blamed man-made chemicals. Yet public data going back to 1940 showed gender ratios are always changing, for no obvious reason. Years that disproved their thesis were simply sliced out....Science Journals Delivering Political Science, continued....

And I remember Global Cooling in the 1970's. Remember the Robert Altman movie where the whole world had turned into Greenland in mid-winter?

right after Hurricane Katrina. Activists – including those in white lab coats – saw a grand opportunity to tie the exceptionally violent hurricane season to global warming. A study in Science declared, 'A large increase was seen in the number and proportion of hurricanes reaching categories 4 and 5.' But again, the researchers simply cut off their data at 1970, although public statistics go back to 1850. As with the gender ratio study, using the full data set would have reversed the conclusion....Science Journals Delivering Political Science, continued....

Michael Crichton, author of State of Fear (see review by Ronald Bailey in Reason Online), a vivid punchout aimed at global warming "evidence," has published article after article about this kind of selective editing of scientific studies, including the whole study under question to demonstrate his point. Time after time, transparently political objectives have been used to justify reversing -- let me repeat that -- reversing the conclusions of scientific reports. The worst, he suggests, are those re-interpretations of data on the use of DDT, which, he goes to say, have probably caused the deaths of more than twenty million people in Africa and other areas affected by tsetse flies bearing malaria. For those averse to mathematics, that's 100 times as many people who died in the tsunami of last year, based, Crichton claims with great veracity, on a deliberate, political interpretation of data on DDT and the environment. In fact, it's three times as many as died in the Holocaust in Europe in the 1940s.

The Founders would have had little trouble with this kind of thing. They would have advocated a broad and open hearing of all sides of disputes. The idea was that, in open, public exposure, political cant would be exposed and the truth revealed. They called this broad and open hearing a free press operating under the principal of free speech -- i.e., it is better to hear it all than to select what it is permitted to say. Unfortunately, the notion of a free press has changed somewhat in the intervening two hundred and seventeen years. We don't have an official Censor, as plagued the England of Queen Elizabeth the First, but we do have the collective censorship of interest groups, advertisers, government agencies (including the Justice Department), and politically indoctrinated editorial boards, all of whom make claims for excluding facts that violate what they believe to be politically correct views of an issue.

The Founders, it is interesting to note -- something the new members of the Supreme Court might think about, didn't include pictorial representation in their idea of a broad and open hearing in a free press. They would probably have found the Danish cartoons of recent note offensive at the least, but to them, as to any advocates of a free society, suppressing those parts of research that violate one's sense of what is politically correct would have been regarded as an astounding violation of their notion of a free republic, a veritable return to the days of George the Third.


Job Qualifications

Here's one the Democrats missed:

The appointments clause, in other words, divides up the executive branch into principal officers - who require Senate approval - and "inferior officers," who do not. Mr. Fitzgerald was not confirmed by the Senate as a principal officer, so he isn't one. But he is not accountable to the attorney general or to any other Justice Department official, so he isn't an inferior officer, either. He is, not to put too fine a point on it, an illegal, extra-constitutional prosecutor.
NY Sun, 2/24/2006, Editorial

Not that we should be surprised -- going outside legal restrictions is nothing new for the former party of government. The Clintons used to brag about using Executive Orders as a means of bypassing Congressional legislation, that is to say, those federal law makers defined by the Constitution of the United States. Venue shopping, that is, prosecutors selecting courts in the hope of getting a ruling favorable to a political opinion, what is often called juridicial legislation, is another trick that's been used to bypass the law as set by Congress and the Constitution. For Democrats and lawyers who may not know what the Constitution is, it's that funny, old piece of paper that the President and every other elected official has sworn to uphold, defend and protect since it was approved in 1789.

Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who attended the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia, wrote to John Adams explaining that "If the president alone was vested with the power of appointing all officers, ... he would be liable to be deceived by flatterers and pretenders to patriotism, who would have no motive but their own emolument. They would wish to extend the powers of the executive to increase their own importance...." NY Sun, continued...

Imagine a federal official with 'no motive but their own emolument.' For those who lack a dictionary, the OED defines 'emolument' as 'profit from employment or office.' Profit is not necessarily money. It can be nightly press conferences on CNN, which can do wonders for your agent when he shops around to get you some nice, well-paid speaking engagements. What smart guys those Founders were.

That is exactly what has happened in the case of Mr. Fitzgerald. The prosecutor himself acknowledged in an August 27, 2004 affidavit, "I serve as the functional equivalent of the attorney general on this matter." Yet he has been confirmed to no such job.... NY Sun, continued...

Bang! It's nice when an editorial writer bases his or her opinion on facts. It gives opinion the force of a rock thrown through a plate glass window, and you know about glass houses....


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Intellectual Diversity on South Dakota Campuses?

The Rapid City Journal reports on an effort underway to assure college students of an intellectually diverse educational experience. But some legislators balk, and, of course, the universally leftist professors "bristle":
Amid concerns from opponents that it is not what it seems, a state legislative committee Wednesday approved a measure that its sponsors say is intended to ensure a balance of ideas on South Dakota's college campuses. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 6-3 to pass an amended version of HB1222, which asks the Board of Regents to report annually on what steps the state's six universities are taking to promote "intellectual diversity." It is defined as "a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, and other perspectives."
Not all legislators agree on this, including at least one Repub who should know better. Academics and their apoloigists, however, know when their walled fortresses of Marxism are under attack:
But opponents of HB1222, including Tad Perry, executive director of the Board of Regents, said the measure assumes there's a problem that doesn't exist in South Dakota and is being promoted by national organizations with a political agenda."Those who skillfully crafted this legislation make it appear that this is kind of akin to apple pie and the flag and motherhood," Perry said. "But if you peel that outer layer and look a little deeper, the primary message the bill communicates is that there is a problem in South Dakota's universities. I believe nothing could be further from the truth."
Actually, if you peel that outer layer and look a little deeper, you'll see a vicious little clique, in tune with all the other little cliques nationally, that intends to aggressively defend its fortresses of leftist indoctrination:
Perry, who presented resolutions from the faculty senates of the University of South Dakota and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology opposing HB1222, questioned the aim of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, an organization Heineman cited as a source of a survey indicating an imbalance of political and ideological philosophy on U.S. college campuses. He said the 25 national research and liberal-arts institutions that were surveyed do not reflect South Dakota universities."South Dakota is not Berkeley or Madison (Wis.) or the Ivy League," Perry said. "This bill was designed by out-of-staters with a specific political philosophy. It is a national situation looking for a local problem, and I believe South Dakota is not that problem."
Perry, of course, presents no information to refute the American Council of Trustees and Alumni study, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only are America's campuses havens of leftist thought. Leftism dominates institutions almost universally, including those in South Dakota, with anywhere between 90%-and 96% of faculties, particularly in the humanities, consistently voting Democrat and favoring leftist causes. (Download the study here.) More worrisome is the additional documentation strongly suggesting that conservative candidates for rank and tenure are regularly discarded and that students are coerced, under the penalty of poor grades, to regurgitate leftist dogma in their term papers. It is, of course, typical of the left to denounce an argument it dislikes and to smear its proponents without offering any evidence to the contrary. And it must be particularly galling to Perry that the American Council is middle-of-the-road to conservative, which makes them immediately suspect in his eyes. It's curious that reporter Celeste Calvitto doesn't provide this useful little bit of info. (Maybe she doesn't know. But we think that all surveyors, think tanks, charities, etc., should always have their political bias identified, even when they happen to be on our side.)

But back to the professors:
Ron Utecht, an SDSU biochemistry professor who serves as state president of the faculty union, said students may blame poor academic performance on the perceived philosophy of the professor. He also said he was "insulted" by the bill."I am a conservative, and this appears to say that I, as a conservative, am intellectually inferior to liberal professors and I can't hold my own without some sort of quota or backup," he said. "When I look at where this bill is coming from, it appears to be a conservative attempt to move into the political arena at the universities."
How do we know that Prof. Utecht is really a "conservative?" Because he says so? Granted, a prof in SD is marginally more likely to be conservative than one in, say, California. But this self-identification as a "conservative" or a "Republican" is a frequent ploy used by lefty callers on radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. It gets them through the call screener and gives them an opportunity to start spreading lefty talking points before the host catches on. Prof. Utecht is, in fact, echoing the precise statements of leftist professors who have often claimed that conservatives don't even apply for academic positions because they aren't interested in intellectual pursuits—a blatant lie. Further, if Prof. Utecht really were a conservative, why would any attempt to balance out the intellectual diversity of a faculty bother him at all, since he would already be well aware of the problem nationwide if not in South Dakota itself? (It's possible, of course, that Prof. Utecht really is a conservative, but is afraid of angering his lefty faculty majority, although this is doubtful.) Once again, the reporter here is taking a statement at face value and failing to probe, doing readers a disservice, we think. Show us the money.

But the lefties, whether actual or in disguise, continue to hog the column inches, much the way they blab on until hard breaks on cable TV, the better not to allow conservative opponents to get a word in edgewise:
Sue Timmons, a former educator from Rapid City, said the national promoters of intellectual diversity are trying to impose a "right-wing, neoconservative" agenda."This is another example of legislation that is a solution looking for a problem," Timmons said. "This is not a South Dakota problem. Look at all the fine conservative and Republican lawmakers that our state universities have turned out over the years. If South Dakota colleges were hotbeds of liberalism and in the business of indoctrinating students politically, they haven't been very successful."
Right away, we know that, as a "former educator," Ms. Timmons is a liberal or lefty because anyone on the right is statistically excluded from being an educator. Therefore, her rant against the "right-wing, neoconservative" agenda is the usual smearing and slandering that substitutes for serious discussion of the issues. And the mere existence of Republican legislators in South Dakota who have graduated from the university system does not constitute any proof whatsoever that South Dakota colleges are NOT hotbeds of liberalism. It merely means that, like most conservative students, they laid low, parroted back liberal doctrine in their term papers, and quietly graduated before outing themselves as conservatives or Republicans.

One has to laugh at Ms. Timmons' backhanded praise for "fine conservative and Republican lawmakers" as well—right after she's attacked them, effectively, as "right-wing, neoconservatives." Logic, however, is never the strong suit of the left. The usual mode of argumentation here is laying on slanders and smears as thickly as possible, knowing that the lefty media will simply publish these as "facts."

After devoting most of its ink to opponents, the article does get back to the good guys who make some obvious but necessary observations:
Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, the chief Senate sponsor of HB1222, said opponents are missing and mischaracterizing the point of the measure."If we talk about the bill and not about boogeymen, then I don't see where I've heard anyone say it is a bad thing. In fact, it is a good thing," he said.
We agree. And we need lots more of this. It's high time we started flushing the left out of its taxpayer-subsidized hiding places. South Dakota seems on the verge of making a good start.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

NYTimes Appoints New Public Editor

Screamingly funny. Bruce Feirstein, in the unlikely pages of the New York Observer, scoops the media on a new appointment at the NYTimes and provides some telling interchanges. Hat tip Power Line.

And peace be upon Ali bin-Zabar.

More on Rev. Lowery's Demagoguing

HazZzmat and numerous other bloggers jumped on the dubious rhetoric of Rev. Lowery and the Worst Ex-President In History, Jimmy Carter, as they grandstanded and dissed President Bush at the memorial service for the late Coretta Scott King. Now the Rev. is jumping back:

"The Republicans who are criticizing me don't understand the [tradition] of a black funeral," Lowery said in an interview. "At a black funeral we always celebrate the life of the deceased and take up the causes that the decedent championed. Mrs. King's cause was peace and racial justice, and I challenged the living to do likewise."

Right, just like the Democrats don't understand the tradition of respecting the duly elected president who was the first to win a popular majority since 1988.

The civil rights movement since Dr. King's time has morphed from something operating behind a strong shield of obvious moral righteousness to a discredited movement that's largely a fund-raising organization for the Democrats who promptly forget it in non-election years. Between elections, they devote themselves to dogged attempts to impose socialism by redistributing income from working Americans of all races.

Rev. Lowery plays another meme here as well, via pre-cooked talking points:

He added: "The Republicans played politics during Reagan's funeral. Look how political it was. They are just trying to shelter Bush from reality."

Looks like it's the Reverend who's being sheltered from reality, not the President. Funny the Reverend didn't mention Paul Wellstone's funeral, which the Dems exploited to such a fare-thee-well that it lost them a senatorial election. Furthermore, his response here is the typical Democrat-left response. Never answer the question. Just assert that someone else on the other side did the same thing (whether you can support this or not), and keep moving, knowing that the MSM will give you a pass (since you're a Democrat). And never check to see if you knew what you were talking about, which in this case the Reverend does not. No one at Reagan's funeral, no one, dumped on the opposition or tried to discredit them. Never happened. Reverend Lowery has basically laid a whopper on the media, which won't question him on this.

Demagogues like Lowery and Carter are used to getting free passes. That's why the blogosphere irritates them mightily. They are not getting away with it anymore, and they don't like it one bit.

Sorry Rev, wrong answer.

Say It Ain't So, Matt!

Russ Smith, aka "Mugger" has been only fitfully entertaining since he sold his New York Press to some editorial deadbeats and hi-tailed it off to Baltimore where he still writes a weekly column that lacks the spice it used to have when Smitty lived in NYC, near or in Tribeca as we recall. (The current owners did, however, to have had the perspicacity to get rid of their predictably foul-minded and foul-mouthed "Dategirl" column.)

But Mugger had an interesting comment on one of our old faves buried in his most recent rant:
It’s undeniable that Matt Drudge has slowed down in the past year, whether it’s from tedium, complacency, a taste of the high life or the refusal to invest in the future of his seminal Web site by hiring a few more staffers. The result has been stale posts left untouched for days at a time, even if ongoing events—available at other Internet destinations—have rendered his original headlines obsolete.

It could be that in a year’s time, Drudge’s long reign of online dominance will be over, unless he can muster the energy to work on more than just fumes and press notices. Maybe Drudge considered his work done when the Times’ Frank Rich (unlike Matt, a victim of declining readership) stopped referring to the self-made millionaire as a “cyber gossip.”
Now, Smith may still be in a bit of a snit over the elimination of his link a few seasons ago on Drudge's website when he accused Matt of maybe, perhaps, possibly being gay. But many others, including Wonker's pal Luther, have recently noted that Matt's pages are not as hot as they once were, nor do they contain the kind of juicy flashes from anonymous media insiders that raise the hackles of the bigwigs.

Drudge has operated at a high level for any number of years now. Getting his start when AOL was totally proprietary and one of few user-friendly web portals out there, he eventually escaped from the online giant's decaying clutches to go independent, and won fame for eventually overcoming a costly nuisance lawsuit from hard-left Clintonista noodge Sidney Blumenthal. This was a breakthrough moment, one that can arguably be credited with giving birth to what eventually became the blogosphere.

We'd be disappointed if Matt was using his success to evolve into the usual well-paid "personality" that has given American culture its lack of vitality for the last 30 years or so. You know, the kind of person who always shows up at the right place and at the right parties, but doesn't actually do anything anymore. On the other hand, for his pioneering work on the net, we're hard-pressed to begrudge Drudge.

Treason Watch

Buried in the A-Section today, the Washington Post has an interesting story on the Bush administration's slow-moving attempt to bring to justice the leakers in the government and the media who are attempting to undermine the Nation's vigorous anti-terrorist policies in the name of "civil liberties."
The Bush administration said that journalists can be prosecuted under current espionage laws for receiving and publishing classified information but that such a step "would raise legitimate and serious issues and would not be undertaken lightly," according to a court filing made public this week.

"There plainly is no exemption in the statutes for the press, let alone lobbyists like the defendants," Justice Department lawyers wrote in response to a motion filed last month seeking to dismiss charges against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Of course, by directing fire to pro-Israel lobbyists and away from the NSA and NYTimes leak machine, the Post is acting like a collective useful idiot, reporting only in code with regard to the real story, which is not this one.

Winter for Summers

The Washington Post reports that Harvard Prez Larry Summers is stepping down, in spite of the fact that most faculty and students support his continued tenure.

According to one relatively well-known faculty voice:
"It says that one group of faculty managed a coup d'etat not only against Summers but against the whole Harvard community," said Alan M. Dershowitz, longtime law professor at Harvard and a Summers ally. "He is widely supported among students and in the graduate schools."
A sometime Republican chimed in:
David Gergen, an adviser to presidents who now teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, likened the effort to oust Summers to a negative political campaign. "There were people quite determined that he should leave, and they pursued a long campaign to realize this goal," said Gergen, a friend of Summers.
Tuition payers stepped up to the plate as well:
By a 3 to 1 margin, undergraduates polled online by the Harvard Crimson newspaper this week did not think Summers should resign, with only 19 percent supporting his departure.
But, hey, screw the students unless they're against the war, you know?

Dershowitz, with whom we disagree on many matters, is spot-on here. This is yet another chapter in the ongoing saga pitting the Arts and Sciences faculties of American colleges against students, benefactors, intellectual honesty, and America itself. When they scream "free speech," these Marxists basically mean free speech for themselves, an Orwellian bargain that the country has given them a pass on for far too long.

Summers got himself in trouble largely for being, well, an academic. He dared (correctly) to raise the issue of Cornell West's self-aggrandizing behavior and poor scholarship. West departed for Princeton in a snit, which was Princeton's loss and Harvard's gain. And he had the timerity to suggest (not demand) that academia take a closer look into why women were still underrepresented in certain academic disciplines. The mere speculation into this ongoing subject of debate cut into gender feminist dogma and was largely the catalyst that sent Summers scurrying for the exits.

Heck, we don't even particularly like Larry Summers. As a Clintonista, he was one of many contributors to the party-time president who significantly weakened this country's defenses in the 1990s. One would think that ur-liberal Harvard would warmly embrace a guy like this.

But in today's academic circles, credentials, even liberal ones, don't count if leftist dogma is not rigidly adhered to. Frankly, the Spanish Inquisition had nothing on today's academic left. They'd be using pincers, the rack, and the iron maiden on heretics today if they didn't think they'd get a little bit of Abu Ghraib treatment in the press.

It's time for states, boards of trustees, and whomever else holds the purse strings to step up to the plate and start putting the squeeze on the Gramscian brown shirts whose thuggish behavior and ham-handed tactics for keeping free speech and moderate to right-wing professors off faculties, off-campus, and out of the range of debate.

In short, for better or for worse, it is high time to look at the completely corrupt rank and tenure system that has turned the average college humanities department in particular into nothing more than a concentration camp where leftist doctrine is pounded into students 24/7. This is not education. It's Marxist indoctrination, and it's time to bring it to a screeching halt.

When In Doubt, Blame The President...

...or his Secretary of Defense, or his Secretary of Defense twenty-five years ago when he served for a few years as Chairman of G.D. Searle, or the President's dog, or the President's limousine driver...


As Duane D. Freese reports in today's Tech Central Station Daily , the mainstream press's Gray Maiden is at it again, this time with a Sunday edition "expose" of aspartame.

Which is a bit sad, really, as this is the third go round for this scare. The basis of this old new story is a six-month old study by the European Ramaziini Foundation of Italy. In the study, researchers fed rats various levels of aspartame – the stuff in Equal and Nutrasweet and most modern diet pop and many diet foods. A group of 150 males and females each got none, zero, zip. Another 150 males and females got the equivalent of 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, or a can and a half a day. The other groups split up into 100 male and female pairs got levels of 20 mg/kg, or 7 cans; 100mg, 35 cans; 500mg, 175 cans; 2500 mg, 875 cans, and finally 5,000 mg, or the equivalent of 1,750 cans a day....
Those Dirty Rats, by Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily
It seemed more or less a standard study until....

The sweetener industry was beginning to raise questions about the study. For example, unlike other studies that kill off the rats after two years and count the tumors, the Ramazzini study waited for them to die. "Rats, like people, develop a wide range of cancers in old age, and establishing whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship (at an age when cancers are common) is not possible," Joe Poulos, a spokesman for Merisant, maker of Equal, told Fox News. Further, the regulatory agencies were taking a look at the published studies and raising questions, too....

Okay, what's hiding here? Where are the regulatory agencies? Well, it seems they found that...
...the Ramazzini study's cancer rates for the aspartame fed rats fit in the range of cancers that the institute had historically found for its control rats. Furthermore, the cancer rates for the aspartame fed females remained pretty stable no matter the dosage. If aspartame were toxic, you would expect the rate of cancers to increase as the dosage increased....
If this plot is thickening, it had better happen quick. Aha!
[NY Timeswoman] Warner's editors let her ramble on for more than 600 words about the approval process, noting that "from 1977 to 1985 — during much of the approval process — (G.D.) Searle (which invented aspartame) was headed by Donald H. Rumsfeld, who is now the secretary of defense," and then running through a litany of supposed revolving door relationships and a lot of innuendo about a possible cover-up. All of which is a bit bizarre, considering that Congress' Government Accounting Office (now Government Accountability Office) in 1987, on a request from Ohio Democratic Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, reported that the FDA had followed appropriate procedures in its approvals. Aspartame has received significant scrutiny in studies for use in Europe, Canada and other places as well....
The devil himself! It isn't aspartame that causes cancer (see below) but Donald Rumsfeld! What else could it be?
The rats with the highest survival rates at 104 and 120 weeks, at 55% and about 29% respectively, were the rats that ate the most aspartame – the equivalent of 1,750 cans of diet soda a day. And the longest living rat of all consumed the equivalent of 175 cans a day. In short, the control rats died first; the heavy aspartame consumers lived longest.
No thanks to Donald Rumsfeld, I bet.

Maybe next the NY Times expose could be how aspartame combined with IED's causes Iraqi civilians to die compared to how many reporters faint when exposed to sugar in Scarsdale.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy Washington's Birthday!

At least that's what they used to call this holiday, which actually used to be taken on Washington's Birthday and was historically the day you could get the best shopping deals in town in the seat of our National government and environs. Like most of our other holidays, however, it's been shunted off to make long weekends, all the better to increase shopping opportunities even more. Many folks do like the long weekends, but we sometimes long for the days when holidays actually fell on their actual dates and really recalled something in our history or traditions.

Wonker is off work today, tracking with the Feds, and a good thing, too, since a serious head cold is upon him. Light blogging until sinuses clear up, or until the Dems commit a fresh outrage. It is likely that the latter will take Wonk out of the sickbed sooner rather than later.

Put out the flag and enjoy your freedom of speech and right to free expression today. And be on guard for the radical mullahs who are trying to scuttle it. We shall overcome. Again.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Decline of the West Continues...

The Belmont Club's Wretchard has an excellent post essentially concerning the asininity of the intellectual class when it comes to grasping the issues of the day. In his commentary, he cites his favorite "poet against the war." We used his link to go to the original posting:

Wage Peace
by Judyth Hill, September 11, 2001

Wage Peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble.
Breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red-wing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists
Breathe out sleeping children and fresh mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen and breathe out life long relationships intact.

Wage peace with our listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothing pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music; learn the word "thank you" in 3 languages.

Learn to knit: make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries.

Imagine grief
as the outbreak of beauty or gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious.

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.

Poetry like this karmic exercise does inspire me to think of dancing raspberries, but of a slightly different variety more appropriate to Yankee Stadium.

The site upon which it appears, "wagingpeace.org" as is usual with such sites buries references to their source of funding, but we'll try to check them out. The usual meme is at work here, and all their current action items at base emphasize pushing congressional action to force us to disarm and observe "international law" just like the Iranians always do.

An article on the site does address the Iranian issue, but soon steers back to the "Known Fact"™that it's all Bush's fault and Iran wouldn't have done this were Bush not so mean:

First this:
A dangerous escalation of tensions in the Middle East could produce a devastating new war there if diplomatic steps are not taken to head it off. The United States and Israel, with the cooperation of some European countries, have been stoking a climate of fear to justify a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. At the very least, they seem determined to refer the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council as a step toward imposing sanctions.

Then this:
And then there is the American dimension. The United States, bogged down ever more hopelessly in Iraq, seems to welcome a showdown with Iran as an opportunity for diversionary diplomacy. Iran, as an original member of the "axis of evil," was always in the cross hairs of neoconservative grand strategy for the region, and rather than be daunted by failure in Iraq, Administration hard-liners are clearly tempted to shift attention to Iran.

Which brings us back to the poetry. When you see bathetic stuff like this, the usual, carefully thought out (in 5 minutes) random strokes of simplistic formulas, you see what is left of poetry now subordinated to the service of the Utopian World State, more or less the way Marx might have envisioned it. This is yet another fine example of the corruption of the arts into propaganda tools by the left, and ample evidence once again, that we're going to have to start offering some serious re-linkings to our cultural past before the arts are destroyed altogether, subordinated purely to political use as exquisite propaganda tools that mimic received forms without containing the wisdom those forms once were accustomed to transmitting.

What's Eating Al Gore?

John Hinderaker briefly reviews Al Gore's treasonous behavior in the Middle East last week and recalls similar remarks made earlier on the domestic front:

For what it's worth, I was doing an internet search and ran across this post that we did about a Gore speech to a MoveOn group in May 2004. The post's title was "Gore Gone Crazy." While perhaps not quite as crazed as his Saudi speech, and, importantly, not delivered on foreign soil, Gore's 2004 performance was of a piece with his recent outrage. So whatever is eating Al Gore, it's been there for a while.

Oh, come on, John, surely you know. Like a lot of top Democrats, Gore is a spoiled rich kid, son of an elitist former Senator from Tennessee, (and oil executive afterwards, believe it or not), who went to special schools all his life, was treated specially all his life, was pampered and flattered all his life, and grew up with a sense of fiscal and political entitlement all his life.

Lest we forget, Gore had run in the primaries for the presidency before. His Senate seat was merely the stepping stone in his logical and intended—and in his opinion, pre-ordained—rise to the highest office in the land. He was entitled to it. And now he was convinced that those knuckle-dragging Republicans and their moron of a nominee had stolen it from him (in spite of massive thefts in his direction in Philadelphia, Oregon, and Wisconsin) and even caught his boys colluding with the Florida Supreme Court trying to steal it back by recounting votes until they turned out the other way, an old Democratic specialty perfected by Mayor Dailey in 1960 on behalf of JFK.

Late in the evening of election day, 2000, or perhaps in the early morning—we no longer quite remember but the precise time is beside the point—Gore, probably at the behest of rabid advisors and the usual party hacks—decided not to concede the election after he conceded it (sort of like Kerry voting for legislation before voting against it), and told a clearly irritated Bush on the telephone, "You don't have to get snippy about it."

Snippy. Now when was the last time you heard that word? From a guy? This is the language of the upper crust, of elitists, of those who feel entitled to anything they want. To find a precedent for Gore's outrage, you'd probably have to go back to when the oligarchs lost the White House to that original American yahoo, Andy Jackson. Or when the Brahmins lost it again to that hick railsplitter from Illinois, upon whom they heaped epithets surprisingly similar to the ones they're tarring Bush with.

Gore has been in a protracted snit, a repressed outrage at the Fates which occasionally he can't repress in public. He is the original Bush-hater and his simmering and occasionally boiling rage sells well on the hustings and delights our enemies in the Middle East who paid him to vent last week.

The one thing one always has to remember about elitists is that their whole "progressive" act is a sham. They don't care about you. Or the country. Or the world. They care only about themselves and increasing their already considerable wealth, a wealth they frequently have not earned. They have perfected the arts of selfishness and self-absorption. For gods such as these, a cold dose of reality is a brutal, traumatizing shock. Gore has reacted by effectively declaring a jihad on George W. Bush for the rest of his natural life. Which will never include the Presidency to which he is entitled. Because now the republic knows.

MSM Cry-babies attack Cheney and Fox

Bring out the violins and get ready to shed crocodile tears. Fox has scooped the MSM with an exclusive interview of VP Dick Cheney, his first after last weekend's murderous hunting rampage.
Cheney finally addressed the incident Wednesday, but the forum in which he chose to do so -- in an exclusive interview with Fox News host Brit Hume -- quickly became another source of contention....
Oh-oh! Here comes the nasty turn. Sources say [fill in the blanks]. Ever notice how you always get this, pitched in a breathless way that indicates the whole world agrees with the opposition.

Well, at least this source cites a couple of the usual suspects:

But some Democrats and competing broadcasters charged that Cheney chose to speak only with Fox News because of a perception that the cable channel is sympathetic to the Republican administration. They called for the vice president to hold a news conference with the rest of the media.

"Now that he feels forced to talk, he wants to restrict the discussion to a friendly news outlet, guaranteeing no hard questions from the press corps," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in a statement.

Boo-hoo, Frank. Forced to talk. That's pretty rich (as in frank). How many times have Bill and Hill been on O'Reilly? But that's different, of course, since Democrats never have to say they're sorry. (Or mean it when they occasionally say it.)But, hey, Lautenberg's a partisan Democrat and is arguably entitled to utter such drivel. But at least we can count on objectivity from the MSM. Not. Folks are apparently even more bitter over at CNN, which Rush Limbaugh once aptly dubbed The Clinton News Network":
On CNN, commentator Jack Cafferty called the interview "a little bit like Bonnie interviewing Clyde. ... I mean, running over there to the Fox network -- talk about seeking a safe haven."
Unadulterated horse hockey, Jack, and you know it. Not to mention the usual case of sour grapes. The Veep obviously prefers, ah, fair and balanced coverage of sensitive issues. As opposed to political attacks from the network whose objective and now former news exec Eason Jordan last year regaled the far-left Davos conference with blatant lies, baselessly accusing American GIs of assassinating journalists in Iraq before a predictably hate-Amerikkka Euro audience which no doubt cooed and applauded in approval. (Not sure if he ever appeared on Fox to answer to those charges.)

The blogosphere is in the process of turning these fossils out to pasture. Everyone of these blow-dries is exactly like the snotty clique in high school that used to revel in making everyone else's lives miserable. As we all come to learn at our 20-year high school reunions, clowns like these usually end up making a career out of cleaning urinals or some equally lofty pursuit. But they themselves are almost certainly the last ones to see the irony in this. Just as their blow-dry MSM counterparts will be still be sitting in their expensive chairs ready to spend another night passing judgment on their inferiors when the cameras shut off and the lights go out for the final time.

Dana Mountebank

Highly objective Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank on MSNBC, objectively discussing Dick Cheney's recent hunting accident:

How many one-on-one interviews have we seen, ad nauseam, where self-proclaimed "liberal" (read "leftist") reporters claim that their political beliefs have absolutely no influence over their reportorial objectivity? If you still believe that line after something like this, you will probably deserve whatever happens to you next.

This stunt—for that is precisely what it is—permanently removes any credibility Milbank might have as a reporter. Ironically, he now works as both a reporter and a columnist for the Post, and claims that one role has no influence over another. In this contest between columnist and reporter, we leave it to you as to which role will win out every time.

No doubt another case of "fake but accurate."

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin for the pix. And check out the link here for a Republican antidote to this charming grafik.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More Excuses

Obviously, Wonk's employer is extracting several pounds of flesh this week. I'll return when the crises are solved, but by no means do I intend to go hunting with the Vice-president this weekend!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Slow Blogging Today

Seems to be a slow news day today (except for media hype concerning Dick Cheney's hunting rampage and the attendant gasbagging from the punditocracy), so Wonker intends to make money for his employer today. I'll be back tomorrow, or earlier should a fresh outrage surface (which has actually been happening a lot lately).

Meanwhile, Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Kaus on Brokeback Dems

Slateblogger Mickey Kaus, one lib we read with regularity, has been exploring the curious case of "Brokeback Mountain," whereby relentless PR is being used to create a "meme"—or "received wisdom"—that the Dems and their issues are gaining ground. This time the meme is that the gay cowboy movie has gained traction, big time, in the red states, "proving" that red-staters will vote Democrat in '08. Or some such thing. Just the way it worked with Michael Moore's agitprop in '04, no doubt. Kaus has other thoughts:
Much of Democratic politics seems to now consist of embracing and fanning similarly comforting, but ultimately deceptive, liberal memes. Enron has fatally damaged Bush, Abu Ghraib has fatally damaged Bush, Katrina has fatally damaged Bush, Abramoff has fatally damaged Bush, the Plame investigation will fatally damage Bush--you can catch the latest allegedly devastating issue every day on Huffington Post or Daily Kos (and frequently in the NYT). If you believe the hype--if you don't compare Michael Moore's box office with Mel Gibson's box office, in effect--you'll believe that Democrats don't need to change to win. They just need to push all these hot memes forcefully. If you don't believe the hype--if you think that netroots Dems are too often like the Iraqi Sunnis who think they're a majority--you'll look for a Bill Clinton-like alternative with greater red-state appeal.
Well, yeah. The Gramscian left in America has spent the better part of 50+ years attempting, with some degree of success, to re-craft the traditions and culture of America. They were initially so successful at this that they've begun to believe their own false mythology. Kaus' implication is that if they keep this up, '08 will give them the same results they got the last time they trotted this old horse out of the barn. He's right, too, but we'll never tell.

Pissing on Denmark

It's rather bracing to see a little bit of spine sprouting in Europe. Check out the following comment from Danish journalist Per Nyholm:
I think it was the long departed H.C. Hansen, one of the great Danish statesmen of the last century, who – as the communists were demonstrating in front of Christiansborg [the Danish Parliament] – cast his gaze across the palace square and remarked: “I will not be pissed upon.”

Then he did what was necessary.

I feel that currently my beloved country is being pissed upon rather too much. Denmark has not been neglecting its duties on the international stage. We have supported poor people with acts and advice, we have worked for peace, we have sent soldiers, policemen and experts to all the far flung corners of the world. We have democracy, a rule of law and a welfare state. Not all is perfect, but we harbor no malice towards our fellow men.

And yet Denmark is being pissed upon. The spokesman of the US State Department is pissing on Denmark, the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs is pissing on Denmark, the President of Afghanistan is pissing on Denmark, the Government of Iraq is pissing on Denmark, other Muslim regimes are pissing on Denmark. In Gaza, where Danes for years have provided humanitarian aid, crazed Imams encourage people to cut off the hands and heads of the cartoonists who made the drawings of Mohammed for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Excuse my choice of words, but all this pissing is pissing me off.
Right answer, Per.

He further observes:
That is why I say: Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech. There is no but.
Right again.

HazZzmat has commented ad nauseam in this space in other contexts as well as this one, that free speech also carries with it a certain sense of responsibility and decorum, and we are frequently unhappy with the vicious and false characterizations of Christianity in our own media and vigorously defend the right of individuals to protest stuff like that.

That having been said, however, it's not the intent of the current (and government funded) cartoon jihad being waged in the Middle East via Syria and Iran to merely protest an exercise in a foreign country that they view as having been in bad taste. It is the attempt of repressive foreign regimes to fund activities that they intend to use to impose dubious Islamic standards upon a government not their own, and one that has gone out of its way (perhaps too much) to be a good neighbor in the middle East. This is, in fact, the attempted censorship of the West and its values by rogue governments and Islamofascists. Period.

Characterizing these nonstop demonstrations as "sincere" at this point is beyond the pale and reminds one of the similar bleatings in the media when France was undergoing its own torchings a few months ago, driven, again, we think, in large part by rogue mullahs and perhaps aided and abetted by foreign governments intent on imposing a kind of dhimmitude on the West.

Read the rest of Nylom's observations here, along with a good bit else.

And a hat tip for the link to Little Green Footballs.

The Current Sad State of Literary Affairs...

In the United States, much more than in China or Russia, we can genuinely talk of a blog revolution. American culture has been decimated during the last 50 years. American newspapers are mainly under leftist control. The book market is practically dead. Some of the best authors pay to have their books published in the order of 3,000 copies for a market of 150 million. This is ridiculous. Even when people write, they face censorship at every level—other than their own conscious or unconscious censorship. Meanwhile, professional journalism is rare.

Pause for a moment and hold that thought.

The paragraph above is actually a HazZzmat rewrite of a paragraph extracted from a remarkable interview with Lebanese webmeister Pierre Akel. Akel's original graf, however, which we carry below, referred to a slightly different source of oppression:
In the Arab world, much more than in the West, we can genuinely talk of a blog revolution. Arab culture has been decimated during the last 50 years. Arab newspapers are mainly under Saudi control. The book market is practically dead. Some of the best authors pay to have their books published in the order of 3,000 copies for a market of 150 million. This is ridiculous. Even when people write, they face censorship at every level—other than their own conscious or unconscious censorship. Meanwhile, professional journalism is rare.
Some people think we're kidding when we write about the censorship of the left and concurrent the Gramscian remanufacturing of our culture and institutions, geared toward replacing them with a People's Paradise. We're not.

Akel's article is quite fascinating for a lot of other reasons. And it's more complex than our useful little parlor trick above might indicate. Read it here. Then start to wonder whatever has happened to our once-vibrant literary culture. And why.

Gore-ing America, Part 2

Apparently jealous of watching all the approving column inches being grabbed by the worst ex-President in History, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore—the man who is increasingly proving himself to have been the most un-fit Vice-president in history—is disgracing himself again. Arguably, endangering the U.S. with his neverending rich-boy temper tantrum over having been out-hornswoggled by George W. Bush in the Y2K election, Gore is now trashing Bush and the U.S. for the benefit of our Wahhabi friends, apparently hoping to make nice with Al Qaeda's murderers as well.

Power Line has a stinging reply. While informing readers of what Al Gore wants the Arabs "to know," Scott Johnson wants them to know that:
Gore's impulse to defame his country before a foreign audience for fun and profit does not represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of citizens of my country. I want them to know that the American people support the enforcement of America's immigration laws, especially against those suspected of having a possible terrorist connection. I want them to know that when 15 of the 19 perpetrators of September 11 were found to have been Saudi citizens, the American people wanted the Saudi government to take responsibility for its role in the attack on the United States and take every action necessary to ensure that it never happens again.
Scott is teed off and you should read this whole post as well as the informative links.

We have jumped on the NYTimes and the Washington Post for effectively aiding and abetting treasonous activities with regard to the destruction of the NSA's abilities to conduct surreptitious foreign intelligence activities in this country under extreme but justified circumstances. It might now be time to look at supposedly respectible politicians like Gore who is arguably verging close to sedition and is certainly serving to undermine our country's security in order to score points with the hard left that is controlling his own party.

This is another reason why, at least at the moment, the average American absolutely does not trust the Democrats to have any control whatsoever over our foreign policy. Perpetuating the unbelievable meme that absolutely everything evil in the world can be attributed to America, and, by extension, to the evil George W. Bush, frauds like Al Gore make it increasingly difficult for us to conduct the kind of robust foreign and military policy that will keep America safe.

Which is their point.

Gore-ing America, Part I

The Style Section Saturday's Washington Post devoted the equivalent of nearly an entire page of increasingly expensive newsprint to an ephemeral, revisionist history book entitled: "Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America." Author Karenna Schiff observes that one of the reasons she wrote the book was:
...because ever since she was a little girl, she has wished there were "more female faces in the historical pantheon." She remembers sitting at her desk at Arlington's Oakridge Elementary School, looking at the chart of the presidents on the wall and wondering why they were all male.
But the main reason, it appears, was a lingering bitterness over the results of the Y2K election:
The smart, personable 32-year-old daughter of the Man Who Was Almost President tells us she wrote it as a kind of therapy, an antidote to the "punched-in-the-gut" feeling she got whenever she looked at the newspaper after the 2000 election.
Yep, you guessed it. Ms. Schiff is Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of a man who in retrospect was clearly unfit to be president. (See our next story, above.) Look, we're realists. By all appearances, the Gore family appears to be quite close-knit, and, in this amoral age, that's a good thing, for sure. So we're not going to diss a daughter for supporting her dad. No way.

But what we are going to diss is the absolutely huge amount of ink and pix devoted to shilling for yet another revisionist history of obscure people (in this case, women), who are being deified simply because someone with no professional standing things that history should be rectified.

We have recalled elsewhere (and can't find the link) that our late daughter once hauled home a high-school econ/business textbook that highlighted "American leaders" in business over the past century or so. The only recognizable figure was, as we recall, Henry Ford, or perhaps, Thomas Alva Edison. The rest were women and minorities that no one had ever heard of.

Now, we're never ones to claim that sometimes people get left out of the texts of history for the wrong reasons, sometimes due to the tenor of the times. We often rail, in a literary context, over the diminution, for various reasons, of major literary figures close to our own time, like Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Edna St. Vincent Millay, James T. Farrell, John Dos Passos, John O'Hara, John P. Marquand, Countee Cullen, and James Gould Cozzens to name a few. (Most of these, accidentally or otherwise, fell afoul of leftist taboos in some way, shape, or form.) But on the other hand, we don't haphazardly put people back into canons, or buy them new seats unless there's a compelling reason. In the case of feminist-oriented writing, that reasons seems to be, well, there needs to be a quota, and it needs to be retroactive.

This is utter silliness, and it's why history and literary textbooks, among others, are increasingly wrong and wrong-headed, giving rising generations of students absolutely no context at all. Readers of our daughter's textbook, for example, would have remained clueless about John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Cyrus McCormack, and other giants who transformed America's economy. Of course, since they were motivated at least partially out of greed and are all dead white guys, we now have to revise history either to minimize their presence and influence, or write them out entirely. What balderdash. This is dishonesty of the first order.

But back to Ms. Gore. We have often preached in this space that the media is devoted to pushing a Gramscian agenda that involves displacing American culture and traditions with one more to its own liking, in such a manner as to entirely displace America's true background and values. In flogging Ms. Gore's book, which elevates in status obscure women whose accomplishments, while at times significant, do not border on the profound, the Post is accomplishing two aims: First, it is adding to revisionist history by promoting a book written neither by an historian nor an expert, nor an economist who can evaluate the significance of the subjects' achievements; and two, promoting the career of a political daughter of the left who hasn't had much traction or visibility since the family plans didn't work out in 2000.

We wonder, if the writer were a Republican daughter, if the Post would have shown nearly as much solicitude, or have devoted nearly as many column inches to this nonstory.

An increasing problem in the writerly world is the enormous amount of publicity and money invested in promoting books by "famous personalities"—books that otherwise don't have anything to recommend them. The sheer amount of promotion generally guarantees that the books will at least break even, and thus provide more opportunities for the non-professional author to sin again.

Meanwhile, countless worthy books, particularly literary ones, go uncared for, unnoticed, and unpublicized. This, in turn, causes publishers to be far less interested in them because such titles "won't make money." We wonder, however, if, say, a poetry book got this type of publicity, whether, even in the current "I don't care about poetry" climate, whether it might not actually make more money than Ms. Schiff's book, given that the royalty advance, if one were given at all, would probably not approach hers.

The publishing industry has much to answer for. By using its allies on the left, like the Washington Post, and by expending shrinking publicity dollars on favored darlings of the left, they are, in the main, destroying the market for serious history, literature, and "think books" and replacing them with a cult of mostly lefty personality titles that will further the dumbing down of an increasingly revisionist America that doesn't much like itself or its past.

Don't blame me. I get this from the Post.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Anne Applebaum, Take 3

Captain Ed gets a broadside from Anne Applebaum and dutifully prints it on his blog today. Applebaum is quite defensive, and again, persistently mis-understands the beef of right-wing bloggers (at least most of them) against the Newsweek "story" (later proved false) about U.S. soldiers flushing pages of the Koran down the crapper at Guantanamo. Newsweek's source was unreliable. But in their rush to publish something that would somehow reflect badly on Bush, they neglected to corroborate the story—Journalism 101—and later had to take it back. Meanwhile, the usual imam suspects stirred up the usual thugs and goon squads to riot, burn, and kill on this pretext. (No doubt the same ones trashing Danish and Norwegian embassies right now on the pretext of offensive cartoons published several months ago.)

The Newsweek gaffe was precisely the same problem exhibited in the Rathergate mess. The media is so far left that they fall all over themselves to publish anything that might hurt Bush, whether they've corroborated the story or not. Since it's anti-Bush, it must therefore be true, right? Anything positive about Bush would probably go through a 5-year vetting process, guaranteeing that it wouldn't see print until he was out of office, if ever.

Applebaum absolutely refuses to acknowledge that the righties are right on this issue. The left, even a pretty reasonable writer like Applebaum, simply cannot ever concede that anyone on the right ever has a valid point. It is absolutely astonishing.

Our original post on l'affaire Applebaum is here.

Kerry Kuddles Kos Kids

Here's an interesting snippet of news. Warrior, genius, and U.S. Senator John Heinz Kerry, who spurned the Kos Kids during the 2004 election season, is now singing a different tune. He's become a Kos "diarist." Power Line reports the explanation of a Kerry spokesperson:
"Senator Kerry likes the debate and the passionate voices in the blogosphere who are determined to cut through the Washington spin and conventional wisdom."
Power Line's rejoinder:
Translation: I'm damaged goods and can only be nominated as an insurgent. These kids may be an embarrassment but they can lend me credibility as an insurgent. And their ideology isn't much different than mine.

History is Not a Cartoon

The deluded here might believe that the divide is a moral one, between a supposedly decadent secular West and a pious Middle East, rather than an existential one that is fueled by envy, jealousy, self-pity, and victimization. But to believe the cartoons represent the genuine anguish of an aggrieved puritanical society tainted by Western decadence, one would have to ignore that Turkey is the global nexus for the sex-slave market, that Afghanistan is the world's opium farm, that the Saudi Royals have redefined casino junketeering, and that the repository of Hitlerian imagery is in the West Bank and Iran. The entire controversy over the cartoons is ludicrous, but often in history the trivial and ludicrous can wake a people up before the significant and tragic follow...."Losing Civilization,"Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 2/10/2006

Victor Davis Hanson's article is so good that you should just go read it.

Millions of brave reformers in the Muslim world are trying each day to create a tolerant culture and a consensual society. What those in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt want from us is not appeasement that emboldens the radicals...but patient, careful and firm explanations that freedom is precious and worth the struggle....

Where are European and American elites on this? I realize in the context of this Blog that the question is rhetorical. However, wasn't there a time when most of them, including their Leftish clubs, were in favor of destroying fascism, overthrowing medeavalism, building democracy and supporting free markets unsubsidized by either governments or by the expenditure of troops? It seems they were and not only Western commentators thought so. Mao Tse-Tung said of General MacArthur's democratization of Japan in the late 1940s that the old General did more to transform that country that the communists had achieved in China -- a vast understatement, though one doubts that the late Chairman Mao would have acknowledged that.

What is this strange love that so many in the elites of Europe and the United States have for the hypocritical pathology of radical Islam? Or is it, after all, as Hanson suggests, a case of lovers of the easy life figuring if they kowtow to the right people that nobody will take away their sports cars and beach condominiums?

Pierre Laval and his friends in France felt that way about the Nazis in 1940, one suspects. But they also figured something else, well documented in dozens of histories: if they surrendered to their worst enemy abroad, then they could get even with their worst enemies at home. Is that what explains, for instance, why an ex-President of the United States acted like a gigolo talking to a rich woman when he remarked that Denmark's newspapers were culturally insensitive? Does he, or his ghastly wife, assume that surrender to the monsters who drive the hate speech and hate acts of radical Islam across the world will guarantee that their enemies will be vanquished at home, the Red states under the heel of Al Qaeda? Or in the ashes of the Iranian Bomb?

It's hard to find any other reason, other than the money, of course.


Modest Observations from an (Islamic) American Patriot

Fascinating piece today in the National Review Online. Penned by a U.S. citizen and former U.S. Naval officer, the writer was recently satirized in a bitter cartoon in a U.S. Islamic publication. No riots for that one, though.

But more to his point, he strongly supports the current Iraqi sortie in the GWOT and explains why, along with why he is an American patriot. Well worth reading as an antidote to much of the current violent gasbagging by the Islamofascists and the unreconstructed, hate-Amerikkka left.

For more good stuff on the cartoon jihad, check out the latest from the always excellent Victor Davis Hanson in the same online mag.

Old Man Winter Stalks Wonker and Luther


Dread fills the hearts of Washingtonians as Old Man Winter stalks the area for the first time. So much for global warming. (We had that here in January, but this is February). Once DC gets it, Luther will be pummeled in NYC.

So if you don't hear from us for awhile, you'll know we're out shoveling snow.

As opposed to what we usually shovel here.

Borf Gets Tagged: A Wider Lesson

There's an interesting crime/human interest storyby Henri E. Cauvin in the Metro section of today's Washington Post that serves as an excellent subtext for our ongoing Culture Wars both here and abroad. We'll brief you on the story and its climax and then connect this incident to the broader realities of today.

Background: over the last year or two, a "tagger," aka "graffiti artist" who calls himself Borf has been on a rampage, defacing buildings in the District of Columbia, both in affluent and impoverished areas of the city, lashing out against, well, practically anything, since he's a self-proclaimed anarchist.

The Post itself actually did an extended report on him sometime back, carefully guarding the tagger's secret identity, where he proclaimed his opposition to pretty much everything in the U.S. and characterized himself as a kind of one-man vigilanti squad in pursuit of truth and justice. Of course, the fact that he left a considerable wake of property damage throughout the District didn't bother him one whit. It was our problem, not his.

Well, Borf got himself caught, and guess what? Turns out this anarchist, this hero of the people, is actually a rich little twit from the impossibly affluent Northern Virginia suburban area encompassing Great Falls and McLean. It's a community where roughly 80% of the homes are of the size and appearance of badly designed medieval castles, and many have price tags in the multi-millions. So what does Borf do? He gets in his car and goes to the District to do his dirty work. Perhaps it's not so impressive in gated communities.

Borf was in court yesterday for sentencing, which is where we pick up on the Post's story:

The teenage graffiti vandal known as Borf got tagged yesterday -- with 30 days in the D.C. jail and a dressing-down that no one in the courtroom will soon forget.

Borf, aka John Tsombikos, chose not to address the judge who was deciding his fate. But D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz had a lot to say to the young anarchist from Northern Virginia. She didn't paint a pretty picture.

Read carefully the judge's remarks here. We have no clue whether she's a liberal or a conservative, but we have zero problem with her following observations:
"You profess to despise rich people," she said. "You profess to despise the faceless, nameless forms of government that oppress. That's what you've become. That's what you are. You're a rich kid who comes into Washington and defaces property because you feel like it. It's not fair. It's not right."
Tsombikos had alleged that he'd adopted the pen name (?) "Borf" to honor a pal who'd allegedly offed himself in 2003, inspiring Borf to cause untold property damage in part as a way of dealing with his grief over the incident. Right. It's never the perp's fault, is it?

But the judge was not done yet:
"That's not artistic expression," she said. "That is not political expression. That is not grief therapy. That is vandalism."

"It's not about whether you want to express yourself," she said. "Washington, D.C., is not a playground that was built for your self-expression. It's a place where people, real people, live and care about their communities."
Tsombikos, we learn, had already pled guilty to the offense but had impulsively damaged his bid for leniency from the court while hanging out at his dad's Upper East Side digs in New York City, where he reverted to form:
And while his case was still pending in the District, Tsombikos got in more trouble. He was arrested on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on suspicion of defacing a streetlight box, ruining his chances of probation.
The judge decided to call it the way she saw it:
"You should have been walking out of the front door of this courtroom today," Leibovitz told him. "Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that you require more than that to impress upon you the seriousness of what you've done. Not because it's a wall, not because it's a building, not because it's a fixture in some abstract sense. But because of people."
So she sentenced the obviously remorseless youth to 30 days in the DC jail (a fate worse than death), plus a whole lot more:
The 30-day jail term is just the start. If Tsombikos breaks the law again within the next three years, he could be jailed for the 17 suspended months of his sentence. Regardless, he has to complete 200 hours of community service, including 80 hours of cleaning up graffiti. And he must pay $12,000 in restitution, money that better not come out of his parents' bank accounts, the judge said.
Just in case Tsombikos didn't get it, the judge helpfully explained to him where the 12K would come from:
"In other words," she said, "not the bogus jobs that your father gives you in New York . . . a real job, going to work like the people you demean, earning it with paychecks and the sweat of your own brow."
Borf's lawyer, fully aware of the difficulties a rich white "anarchist" would face inside the DC jail, tried to get the 30 days changed to a halfway house, but the judge remained adamant:
"I want him to see what the inside of the D.C. jail looks like," she said, "because unlike every other person you've seen in my courtroom this morning, who have a ninth-grade education, who are drug-addicted, who have had childhoods the likes of which you could not conceive, you come from privilege and opportunity and seem to think that the whole world is just like McLean and just like East 68th Street.

"Well," she said, "it's not."
Amen, sister. In an era where, it seems, everyone is adept at dodging the truth, Judge Liebovitz told it like it is. A little more of this in the courts and we'd have a lot less problems.

But the facts lying behind the Borf story conceal a piece of the 1960s history that we, as a Nation, have never really come to grips with, which is the underlying reason for this post.

If you look back on that era, and examine carefully the lives of the heroes of the left, you'll note something quite interesting: the militants, the theoreticians, the propagandists, the bomb-makers, the preachers of hate and violence against Amerikkka and Amerikkkans were, by an large, not the kinds of genuinely underprivileged people who've been electing leftist dictators in Latin America recently. They were, by and large, the spoiled brats of affluent suburbanites and rich to reasonably well-off socialists, communists, and communist sympathizers in large cities, particularly New York.

Like "Borf," the punks of the 1960s knew of poverty only from books, of evil only from the pens of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, of politics and propaganda only from Joseph Stalin, and perhaps Robespierre. With nothing better to do with their time, bored with their lives, and funded by mommy and daddy (and at times with bits of helpful cash from Ho Chi Minh's emissaries and/or the Politburo in Moscow), they created a massive, violent street drama that did, quite literally, change the course of history by undermining our military effort in Vietnam, a despicable accomplishment about which they are always glad to boast. (And which they're trying to duplicate in the current Iraq conflict.)

More subtly, they also acted, in ways not fully appreciated at the time, to erode the foundations of American democracy, initially to fire up a communist revolution, though now it's hard to figure out exactly what drives them.

Inspired, at least indirectly, by the example of the Popular Front and the teachings of Antonio Gramsci, they worked underground, occasionally assisted by the communist-front ACLU, to undermine marriage and the sanctity of the family; destroy respect for religion; infiltrate and destroy university humanities departments and turn them into ministries of theory and propaganda; stack the court system with leftist judges happy to legislate by judicial fiat; and wreck literature and the arts, replacing them with ugliness and propaganda to the point where readership and music appreciation today has been seriously eroded.

Children of privilege, driven by hate, have been a hallmark of our times. And it is distressing, while cataloguing the violent legacy of rage-filled, impossibly affluent leftist Boomers, to realize that even as they begin to reach retirement age, they have spawned clowns like "Borf" to take up where they have left off in their drive to obliterate all that is good in this country.

What drove them, or still drives them to do this? Pure hate? Mindless envy? A fealty to the god of a secular religion that has no god? Or simply a desire to destroy, like the little boy who blows up anthills with cherry bombs just to see what happens? Who knows, really? But it is fascinating to notice that similar children of the affluent—in the Middle East—have embarked from their idleness on a crusade of hatred, murder, and mayhem on an even grander scale, if that is possible.

Your average worker bee, including Wonker, just wants a little peace and quiet, a future for his family, and the opportunity when possible, either individually, via the church, or via other social organizations, to help out the less fortunate. We all hope to leave the world just a little better off than when we entered it. Modest aims. But taken together, the cause of much good on the planet.

But the malcontent children of the affluent, haughty, arrogant, and unmoved by love or human kindness, set off on lives of rampage and blind and unending hostility, hoping to leave nothing behind but the bleak swath of carnage and utter devastation that is the bitter aftermath of lifetimes of hate.

The mystery of why this is has eluded Wonk for a lifetime. Why do those with so much to give take so much away? But we do know this: until Borf-clones, young and old, are rooted out and dislodged from their seemingly impenetrable spider holes in government, academia, the media, and the arts, we will never, ever have a moment's peace here or abroad for ourselves or our posterity.

We all need to stand up to this cadre of hatemongers and get to work defunding them and removing them from the positions of influence that they have so long abused and used to recruit younger generations to their destructive ways. In areas where they're too strongly entrenched, we'll need to work around them and render them irrelevant by building a better mousetrap, particularly here on the Web.

The 20th and now the 21st centuries have suffered from repeated incidents of catastrophic violence, increasingly driven by modern Ghengis Khans sired largely by the wealthy. It is high time we recognize them for who they were and are and rise up to overthrew their extended reign of terror against our homes, our culture, and our traditions.