Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Life in the Kingdom of Nugent

Rocker Ted Nugent is notorious in the entertainment world for being an actual living, breathing, conservative Republican. Although, like Luther and Wonker, he defines the term in his own, quite precise way, and is happy to elaborate on the details, as related in a long interview piece written by an eyebrow-raising lefty journo in the UK's Independent:
I confess to a grudging respect for the system by which he governs his land, though I'm not sure I'd like to see his reign extended to the state of Michigan.

"What do these deer think when they see you coming?" I ask him. "Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there's the man that shot my brother?"

"I don't think they're capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey asshole. They're only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French."

"You wrote a song called 'Dog Eat Dog'. You see the world like that. But we're not dogs - that's the trouble."

"Remember the movie Old Yeller? Everybody loved him. He brought us our slippers. We gave him cookies. But when Old Yeller gets rabies, you shoot him in the fucking head. It's that simple."

"Just like Saddam Hussein used to be our friend, and the Taliban used to be freedom fighters?"

"Politics, man. I don't have to placate some Arab numb-nut because he holds all our fuel."
After a few more provocative questions, parried nicely by Nugent, Ted winds up with a highly-plausible foreign policy statement that also puts what's known as "liberalism" in its place:
"You want to know how to get peace, love and understanding?" he replies. "Who doesn't know this? The Ku-Klux-Klan? The Black Panthers? Child rapists? How do you get peace, love and understanding? First of all you have to find all the bad people. Then," Nugent adds, "you kill them."
In the end, that's what it will come down to, I think. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. Read the rest by accessing the link above. And a hat-tip to Little Green Footballs for tipping us off to this great piece.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Terrorism the ACLU Likes?

A pattern has developed: Websites identify people to be terrorized because of their involvement with animal-using industries; these sites list their personal information, including home addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, even the names, ages, and schools of their children. Militants use this information to send anonymous death threats to the children of targets, backed by mailed video tapes of their family members. They steal mail, shatter windows while the family is home, burn cars, make false bomb threats, cover homes with graffiti, take out subscriptions to pornographic magazines in the name of the target, steal identities, and otherwise ruin their victims' lives...., Animal Planet, Wesley J. Smith

I get it. According to various "rights" organizations and the courts, it's bad if you release personal information on abortionists, but okay if you release it to terrorists.


North Korean Planned Parenthood?

One woman, Lee Sun-Ko, who escaped from North Korea earlier this year, eventually ended up in America. She told her CIA debriefing officer that Camp 22's experimental laboratories are buried underground to avoid aerial reconnaissance and bombing...Lee Sun-Ko's affidavit includes: 'I watched guards select 150 prisoners, mostly women. Some had just given birth. Their babies were ripped from them. Some of the babies were laid face down on the ground and a guard injected them at the top of the spine. Other guards carried the babies away. When the mothers screamed and protested, they were severely beaten.'..., North Korea's Grisly Arms Tests on Babies, Gordon Thomas, World Net Daily

I'm surprised the ACLU hasn't stepped up to defend North Korean camp "doctors" as exercising their right to perform abortions.


Who Elected Gorbachev as The New Moses?

As I reported in FrontPage Magazine last February, the ACLU decided to challenge the decision of a duly elected local board of education in Pennsylvania to end a United Nations-sponsored International Baccalaureate Program in its public schools that is closely linked to the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter is a New Age spiritual declaration of nature-worshipping principles for living in harmony with the sacred Earth. Its prime sponsors – former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, one of Kofi Annan’s most trusted advisors and architect of the Kyoto Protocol – have compared the Earth Charter to the Ten Commandments. The International Baccalaureate Program is run by the International Baccalaureate Organization, which has specifically endorsed the Earth Charter...., Earth Charter Invasion, Joseph Klein,

Okay, okay, I confess! The question was obvious. These days, when an initiative is shoved down the throats of Americans without the nicety of a public forum or election, it's generally done by the ACLU. As Klein makes abundantly clear, the ACLU doesn't have any problem with religion, as long as it's the left religion.

Stand up and fight, local schoolboards!


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Madonna Channels Jesus

Here at HazZzMat, we generally refrain from following the script written for the media by the PR flacks who run the careers of today's current and former megastars in the entertainment world. Particularly when it comes to Madonna, whose overinflated ego competes with the likes of Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, and Bono to name a few entertainers who are filled to bursting with themselves.

But it's worth noting that the fading Madonna's current roadshow recycles the Piss Christ and Elephant Dung Virgin motifs in another increasingly tired attempt to get Christians in a rage in order to supply endless publicity for her increasingly puerile attempts to persuade audiences that she is still "cutting-edge" when it comes to torquing-off the always tiresome bourgeoisie.

In case you haven't read it somewhere by now, Madonna's current S&M-drenched roadshow achieves a pinnacle of bad taste when this latter-day religious scholar ascends a huge crucifix sparkling with mirrors. Displaying her stunning grasp of theological nuance and canon law, the aging pop-tart (according to the BBC) informed the New York Daily News that:
"I don't think Jesus would be mad at me and the message I'm trying to send..."
Of course. We should have known. Madonna was merely serving selflessly as a chic, contemporary stand-in for JC and the Apostolic All-Stars. The clue:
Images of poverty in the developing world were shown on video screens, while numbers ticked away to represent the 12 million African children orphaned by Aids.

"Jesus taught that we should love thy neighbour," Madonna told the newspaper.
Subject-verb agreement issues aside, you gotta love these condescending entertainment types like the, ah, Material Girl, who earn megabucks while pushing to make peons like us feel somehow responsible for causing the kind of poverty any one of them could remedy entirely by taking Jesus' advice, selling everything and giving it to the poor. Evidently, Madonna successfully purged her own residual Catholic guilt some time ago.

During her performance, Madonna encountered intellectual cognitive dissonance when she took every opportunity to revile George W. Bush, proving that she "loves" only some of her neighbors. Of course Bush, beyond doubt, along with the American middle class has obviously caused every bit of poverty in the "developing [sic] world." For this reason, W's massive infusion of American taxpayer money to combat AIDS in Africa was probably not worth mention as it conflicts with Madonna's story line. Islamofascists and African kleptocrats could not possibly be responsible for poverty, since they are "authentic" people, unlike ourselves. BTW, how much to the Saudis donate to battle AIDS in Africa? Or Robert Mugabe? Or the Iranians for that matter, when they were not busy designing special arm bands for Iranian Jews and Christians? Just a thought.

Madonna might have impressed more if she had done the Charleston upon a dance floor engraved with a cartoon image of the Prophet Mohammed. Now THAT would have been a real statement of principle, a real scandal, a gesture worthy of being called "daring and provocative." Although it might have made it more difficult for Madonna to retain her cadre of bodyguards on the payroll.

One of the great triumphs of the Stalinist left has been its ability, starting roughly around 1934 and continuing to this day, to convert seemingly the entire entertainment world into a machine promoting its flavor-of-the-month Socialist religion—one that sloppily combines Marxism with pure Euro-nihilism; and then to pass Hollywood's cadre of fourth-rate minds off as "intellectuals." For the most part, today's "stars" have become socialist automatons, reliable propagandists who thoughtlessly spew unadulterated socialist propaganda upon a populace whose intellect has been dumbed down relentlessly by socialist "educators." Repeated often enough and dramatically enough, entertainment propaganda somehow becomes the new "truth." Party discipline has never been stronger or more effective. Or more transparent.

But our fantasy of Madonna doing something genuinely controversial and courageous,like taking on a real evil like Islamofascism is, after all, just a fantasy. A more modest proposal might be for her to flush herself down a giant commode when she's out on tour promoting her next and final album, "Like a Has-Been." This would be a fitting and morally appropriate finale to one of the emptiest careers ever to flow out of the cheap and tawdry parallel seditionist universe that passes for the modern entertainment industry.

Chirac's Fake-Out, Ooo-la-la

As the center-left daily Liberation commented in a lead editorial two weeks ago, France 'no longer has a government, it has a raft. A raft that has been floating for weeks toward dark shores where discredit reigns.' (Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but this is French journalism). 'And that drags with it a whole country, mocked abroad, staggering under the moral decomposition of an executive that, in response, has hinted at the worst skullduggery.'..., French Scandal Fricasee, Kenneth R. Timmeramn

Ou va la France?

French scandals are about money, not about sex, as Timmerman notes. And lots of money has flowed under the Chirac bridge to the new French order, which is, of course, the old French order. French scandals are often very funny also. To wit...

In the late 1950s, during the Algerian crisis, Francois Mitterand was a fading star. A very ambitious government official from before World War II, through Vichy (occupied France), where he was an official, then the Fourth Republic, where he a leader in the Socialist Party of France, Mitterand was a minister at a young age, but then fell out of favor. Anxious to re-light his star, he hired four Algerians living in France to stage an assassination attempt on him. The day arrived. Mitterand, proceeding in a Citroen with his later-to-be-famous expressionless grandeur, was ambushed by the four Algerians, who panicked after the first blank shot was fired. Mitterand, fleeing from his car while the Algerians surrendered to the police, found himself in the middle of a high society lawn party. He shouted of his plight to all the wrong people, for the Algerians confessed at almost the same time in a local police station. It was news all over France within hours. Mitterand was utterly disgraced and vanished from public life. Not surprisingly, by 1980 he became the President of France. C'est la vie politique en France! (Story derived from from Mitterand et Les Quarante Voleurs, by Albin Michel, 1994.

I'm not sure what will save Chirac this time. After the riots of last Fall, and now the revelations that he was involved in a conspiracy to fake evidence of corruption by his leading competitor for the Presidency (Nikolas Sarkozy), it doesn't look good for the Le President. Timmerman isn't so sure.

In the end, Sarkozy will come up smelling like roses. But that doesn’t mean he will win next year’s elections...Watch out for the return of neo-fascist Jean-Marie LePen. When corruption strikes, his popularity soars....(French Scandale Fricasee, Timmerman, continued.)


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The New "New Math"

From a poster at PoliPundit, a plausible update on math instruction for our times, upon which we cannot possibly improve. Who knows what the original source of this gem was? If you happen to know, let us in on it. If not, just sit back, read, and enjoy as we continue to Leave No Child Behind:

Evolution of Math

Last week I purchased a burger and fries for $3.58.

The counter girl took my $4.00 and I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies. While looking at the screen on her register, I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this?

Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s.

Teaching Math In 1950. A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960. A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970. A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980. A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20 Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990. A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2005. Un ranchero vende una carretera de madera para $100. La cuesto de su produccion era $80. Cuantas tortillas se puede comprar?

The Decline of the West--and Its Commie Helpers

An astoundingly succinct explication of an argument we've long been advancing here at HazZzMat appears in today's "Belmont Club," always an excellent source of thoughtful political and policy analysis. After discussing the current nasty treatment by the loony left of pro-war senators McCain and Liebermann (Republican and Democrat) as well as former Senator Bob Kerrey (not the horsefaced one from the People's Republic of Massachusetts, but the real war hero who lost a leg) when he hosted the former at the New School where he serves as President, he broadens the discussion in an interesting way:
One unintended effect of the September 11 attacks is that it put a defining question to different modes of American political consciousness. Until then it was possible to treat many ideologies respectable since the 1960s as harmless forms of iconoclasm, posing "provocative" but fundamentally hypothetical views. But when attacks on the US homeland made it categorically necessary to answer the question: 'are you willing to fight our assailants', many sincere ideologues paused, shook their heads and said: 'No. In fact I am morally obligated to help our assailants'. When Noam Chomsky went out of his way to support Hezbollah it wasn't inexplicable, it was logical. His long articulated hypotheticals have simply become actuals.
But now, Belmont's Wretchard gets to the meat of the matter, the rotten core of today's phoney intelligentsia, the dirty secret of the left's all-too-Gramscian penetration of our cultural institutions which have been gradually robbing us of our tradition and our heritage:
The murky concept of sedition [emphasis HazZzMat], with which freedom of speech must uneasily coexist, is founded on the notion of a threat. Radical Marxist thought derives protection from its status as a defeated mode of political action. The Cold War was fought against armed Marxism on every continent and clime for half a century. But when the Cold War was over, or in places where Radical Marxists did not actually take up arms they were allowed to keep their narratives and tolerated, as the Muslim Ottoman Empire once countenanced Jews and Christians for as long as they posed no threat. No physical threat. But although Marxism was defeated by the largely economic process of Globalization it flourished -- even dominated -- in the cultural institutions of the West at a time when Islamism was triumphing over secularism in the Middle East. From the Marxist perspective at least, the Cold War ended not in defeat, but in a negotiated armistice; with surrender on the economic front offset by a capitulation to it by the West on cultural matters. People might have to work in private companies, it's true, but all the accompanying baggage of traditional culture like religion, sexual mores, notions of objectivity, etc were forfeit; and that was more than compensation. That was the tacit 'deal' and the EU, UN and cultural institutions were going to carry it out. By slow degrees the Western world was going to be politically corrected, multiculturalized and transnationalized. "Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do". And as the 1990s drew to a close it didn't seem all that far away.
Wretchard hits the nail on the head here, and we've emphasized the most important parts. One of the reasons the left gets so hysterical about Joe McCarthy is that they know full well that that drunken bully of a Senator was actually onto the essence of what was then known as Communism. When Communists complained that they were being persecuted for pursuing their First Amendment "right to free speech" they were being deliberately ingenuous. They were, in fact, as are the Islamofascists of today, using the tools of Democracy to destroy it. Far from exercising their "patriotic" duty to dissent against allegedly bad policy, they were cynically using the First Amendment as a cover for treason and sedition, words they have somehow succeeded in purging from the language, even though the former is specifically cited in the Constitution as a crime against the U.S.

Of course, the Communists were indeed "patriots" as they often claim they are. But they were (and are) patriots of the ideal socialist collective state whose evolving world government was (and perhaps still is) located not in Washington but in Moscow. In trying to drive the U.S. into extinction, they claimed to be "patriotic" in the larger sense that they were (they felt) in the vanguard of a new world order. So they used "patriotism" for cover, conveniently forgetting to tell anyone just which entity they served as "patriots." Now we know, but still they employ the verbiage, and still it works. It is fantastic how successful they have been in concealing their obvious message in plain sight. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

This is why leftist control of the media, of culture, and of education became increasingly important in the 1950s and beyond. Controlling modes of expression, shaping the way arguments were made, and exterminating religion (largely delegated to the ACLU) would prevent the rise of any new McCarthy who might further thwart their aims. Hollywood and the media, bastions of genuine intellectual ignorance that the Communists successfully infiltrated and co-opted, provide further insurance against the materialization of any new, non-drunken Samson who might arise to slay these modern Philistines.

Latter-day Communists in Europe and in this country (largely but rather inaccurately referred to as "the left" or "socialists") have never ceased fighting the Cold War they lost, and they have experienced continued success due to their domination over the media and thus the political message. This control continues unabated, thwarted only by talk radio and certain bloggers on the Internet whom they now seek to "regulate" into submission.

Today's Commies, whether you call them leftists, socialists, collectivists, or allow them cover by using weak-kneed and inaccurate descriptions like "activist" or "progressive"—all are in an absolute tizzy that they have been found out before they've succeeded in completely rotting out the culture and politics of this country the way they've done so successfully in Europe. They were within striking distance here (no pun intended) of achieving the same goal, but now they're being outed and people are starting to examine more carefully what they're doing and saying as well as the thuggish and murderous company they keep and regularly excuse.

So now what? Let's get back to Wretchard, to whom we'll leave the concluding idea:
Until September 11 it was possible for the more "enlightened" segments of society to regard patriotism, religion and similar sentiments with the kind of amused tolerance that one might reserve for simpletons. Nothing that a little institutionalization and spare change couldn't straighten out. The problem for the Democratic Party is that the Great Polite Silence is over. People like Chomsky and President Bush have stopped being hypothetical and become all too real. Bring it on.

Iran/Israel: Anybody Listening?

Israeli "red line" in regards to its nuclear program. For some time, Israeli leaders have stated that there is a point in the nuclear development process that Tehran will not be allowed to pass...., Crossing the Red Line,

Formerspook's warning should raise the hair on the back of your neck, or anywhere else you may have hair (fewer and fewer places north of the shoulders for this writer). Military action by Israel against Iran (or vice versa) will start the largest war in the Middle East since World War I. Is that statement too bold?

Military action against Iran would require strikes against hundreds of targets. Iran has a large, if seriously flawed, military and a lunatic leadership transparently looking for a cause for war (largely to protect its own survival in the face of rising hatred by its own citizens). The mullahs threw a million lives away in a war with Iran twenty years ago. Does anybody seriously think they would care if they lost another million now? They've slaughtered hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of their own citizens for "moral" violations and dissent in the interim. They have crossed the frontier of mass murder time and again.

The risks are real. Formerspook doesn't seem to think this is playing very large in the minds of the State Department. The Bush Administration, hampered by the ongoing (and false) accusations that the Iraq war's basis was a sham, is severely limited in its politically available choices for restraining this potential conflict from exploding. And it will explode. When it does, $4 will seem like a cheap price for a quart of oil, never mind a gallon.


Iraq: Quote of the Day

No government can win 100% of votes unless we're talking about governments under Saddam or other shameless dictators...., Looking at the New Government,

This is a hard concept for the critics of the war to accept. Unless approval is like, say, North Korea, and 100% of those not in prison (for disagreeing) agree to a new government, then it's no good. It's not quite as bad among Democrats and other leftists. Here, if you disagree, the news media don't report it and Teddy Kennedy doesn't invite you to parties in Chappaquiddick. Actually, the latter is not such a bad condition for dissent.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nation vs. "Universalist" Tribe

At TCSDaily, Pinkerton's on the job, guarding strong opinion with careful definitions and distinctions. As we have noted before, in trying to help this kind of discussion along, there's a sharp distinction between tribe and nation. A tribe is bound by common beliefs but not by borders. Pinkerton adds something that should be obvious; each tribe thinks that it's Universalist. And he suggests that Universalism is a fiction while a nation is a practical reality. No one idea or belief fits all people. A nation is bound by geography and may contain many tribes. This is to the good of a nation, because a dynamic of ideas permits flexibility, and flexibility is a primary guarantor of survival. To illustrate, Pinkerton draws the distinction between the opinions of four major "universalist" tribes and American citizens:

* Cardinal Mahony may want an open border with Mexico, but most Americans -- even most Catholics -- do not. And in Europe, even traditionally ultra-Catholic Spain is tightening up.

* Various Islamists may wish to see the Caliphate restored, but there will be many wars before it happens. And that's just between Shia and Sunni Muslims, let alone Muslims and everyone else.

* ACLU-ers and left-wing internationalists might have cheered when then-Vice President Al Gore said, with a perfectly straight face, that US troops "died in the service of the United Nations" -- but most Americans hated that thought.

* And as for right-wing internationalists, such as those at the Journal, they've certainly got strong arguments when it comes to Ricardian comparative advantage, but other attempts to implement their political agenda, such as keeping the border open and bringing the blessings of liberty to Iraq, are, shall we say, less viable....Universalism vs. Nationalism, James Pinkerton, TCS Daily, 5/23/2006

It's good this argument is being drawn because too many otherwise smart people have fallen for the romantic fantasy that nation is a hindrance to, not a basis for, liberty. For instance, without nations, there would be no guarantors of political or economic liberties. Historically, without the authority of the U.S. federal government, the primary argument for intervening against grotesque race laws in the old South of the U.S. would have been unavailable. The tribal assumptions of old Southern racism would have triumphed at the local level. But a nation does not, nor can it, tolerate internal tribes that would, in the name of some imagined "universal" law, violate Constitutional guarantees. American jurisprudence today, in falling over itself to protect the "rights" of some over the rights of others, that is, offering selective Constitutional guarantees, is acting as an ally in the efforts of tribal organizations to undercut this nation's protection of liberty for the rest of its citizens.

Conservative corporate executives who think that "friendly governments," Meyer Lansky's term for governments with little or no power, are a good substitute for strong national governments, should study the history of Mexico. The abject failure of Mexico City to confront the loot and plunder philosophy of the mercantilists who've dominated the country since its independence is a major reason why Mexicans are flocking to the United States, which does offer such protections. In free markets, as in political freedom, the application of limits is a primary reason freedom of any kind can exist.

Advocates of local nullification of federal laws, presuming a higher authority based on shared beliefs, ought to remember that if they set this as a precedent, any locality will be able to nullify any national law. Local nullification of federal law pre-1861 was also a primary conflict in the buildup to the American Civil War.

And across the world, who guarantees the rights of different varieties of people? The UN? Have you "Universalists" noticed UN discussion of Jews recently? Or how long it took for the UN to respond to slave trafficking in Africa or the Middle East? Or how little the UN has done about that? Has anyone noticed who's sitting on the UN Human Rights Commission? Who's confronting the hysteric fascist in Teheran? The UN? Who's going to protect us from Islamic fascism's Bomb? The UN? The UN's predecessor did nothing to protect Europe and Russia from the Nazis and the Bolsheviks. The UN itself was founded after the defeat of the Nazis was guaranteed by force of national arms. And the only times the UN has worked to guarantee international peace is when individual nations have negotiated with each other, using the UN's table more for convenience than philosophical underpinnings. This was true through the mid-1950's, and again for a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. More often than not since then, the UN has fomented more for tribal organizations than against them.

Liberals should pay attention to this as well because the whole project of human liberation that they've worked on since the 19th century (the larger part of which is part of conservative doctrine as well) is in danger of being overwhelmed by juridicial and globalist demolition of the very institutions which liberals and conservatives alike have depended upon for their political, economic and religious freedom.

Pinkerton's on the job. Are you?


Monday, May 22, 2006

Dixie Chicks Alienate Country Fans Again

The Dixie Chicks just don't seem capable of keeping their shallow understanding of the universe under wraps. Having received a ration of flak in 2003 for dissing the U.S. and the President with reference to the Global War on Terror, the Chicks are doing it again, with predictable results. The country market, largely a group of raving patriots who "get it" more thoroughly than the hate-America-first lefties in Congress, academia, and the MSM, is up in arms once again:
Disappointing airplay for the first two singles from the new album by the Dixie Chicks exposes a deep -- and seemingly growing -- rift between the trio and the country radio market that helped turn the group into superstars.

"Taking the Long Way," due out May 23, is the band's first album since singer Natalie Maines sparked a major controversy in 2003 by declaring that she was ashamed to hail from the same state as fellow Texan President George W. Bush. Radio boycotts ensued, and many fans abandoned the band.

The first single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," peaked at No. 36 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, beginning its descent after just seven weeks.

From the beginning of the album rollout, the Dixie Chicks were eager that their songs be worked to radio formats beyond country. The album was produced by rock veteran Rick Rubin, whose credits include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of a Down and Johnny Cash. (Read Time magazine cover story.)

By picking the defiant "Not Ready" as the first single, they've reopened a wound that was particularly deep for country radio fans, and left many country programmers with the burning question: Why on earth would the band choose to do this?
Why? Because the Chicks, like most lefties and lefty wannabes, never learn. Observe, as in this comment by group lead Chick and blabbermouth, Natalie Maines:
Maines...said, "I don't want people to think that me not wanting to be part of country music is any sort of revenge. It is not. It is totally me being who I am, and not wanting to compromise myself and hate my life."
Note here the self-centeredness and extreme egoism, the same as we saw in the grandstanding "adjunct professor" at Boston College in our earlier story. It's all about Natalie. Devoid of any ideas at all, the left and leftist wannabes substitute self-centeredness for thought, and feelings for logic, resulting in a predictable muddle of intellectual mush that never parses.

Maybe the Chicks have figured this is a good way for them to position themselves as "artists" independent of country music. Fine. They've pretty much worn out their welcome with the patriots who listen to this kind of music. Read the rest here.

The Left's "Harmful Parasites"

Gosh, we're having a good day today. Try out this lede, et al, from Howard Kurtz:
Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's lawyer, says he spent most of the day on May 12 taking his cat to the veterinarian and having a technician fix his computer at home.

He was stunned, therefore, when journalists started calling to ask about an online report that he had spent half the day at his law office, negotiating with Patrick Fitzgerald -- and that the special prosecutor had secretly obtained an indictment of Rove.

The cat's medical tests, Luskin says, found that "the stools were free of harmful parasites, which is more than I can say for this case."
Of course. (And gotta love that characterization of the journalistic left.) Yep, yet another opportunity for lefty journos to continue the negative onslaught that's brought Bush's poll numbers near flatline. But now, for the rest of the story, or at least the significant part:
The claim that President Bush's top political strategist had been indicted in the CIA leak investigation was written by a journalist who has battled drug addiction and mental illness and been convicted of grand larceny. That didn't stop more than 35 reporters -- from all the major newspapers, networks and newsmagazines -- from calling Luskin or Rove's spokesman, Mark Corallo, to check it out.

The reports appeared on the liberal Web site, run by Marc Ash, a former advertising man and fashion photographer in California. Jason Leopold, the author of the stories, directed inquiries to Ash, who says that "we stand by the story. We have multiple points of independent confirmation of what we originally reported. Our problem is, the prosecutor's office is under no obligation to go public."

Leopold acknowledges in a new book, "News Junkie," that he is a past liar, convicted felon and former alcoholic and cocaine addict. An earlier version of the book was canceled by publisher Rowman & Littlefield last year.
Reminds us of Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" sourcing. So why did this story get legs at all? Simple. It's anti-Bush. Say no more.

And the MSM wonders why its practitioners are increasingly being regarded as clowns and hacks. This is why. Any questions?

And Now, an Apology, from the Left!

As an antidote to our previous story on the courtesy shown Condi Rice at Boston College, which probably has our liberal friends searching for the nearest spare air-sickness bag, how about this one:
As keynote commencement speaker, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger "apologized" to graduates at the State University of New York at New Paltz on Sunday for the failure of his generation to stop the Iraq War and to sufficiently promote "fundamental human rights" like abortion, immigration, and gay marriage.

Daily Freeman reporter Paul Kirby quotes from Sulzberger's address, which he begins with a facetious "apology" to the class for being part of the generation that let them down due to insufficient liberal activism.
Wonder which of the Kos Kids wrote this speech? Too bad we already gave out our May Glass Navel Award in our previous commentary. Rich kid Sulzberger is yet another conceited Boomer ass. He has a lot to apologize for, but none of it is mentioned in his comments. He could make a start by apologizing for turning America's Newspaper of Record into an absolute joke and by supporting the beginning of the end of all respect for American newspaper journalism.

But wait. There's more:
Kirby reports: "Sulzberger added the graduates weren't supposed to be let into a world 'where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain. You weren't. But you are and I am sorry for that.'"
We'd agree that Sulzberger is sorry. A sorry, pompous ass. How pathetic is this?

Read the rest here.

Looney Left Drowned Out at BC Commencement

It is a delight to see that a Bush Administration figure was not only invited to address a commencement exercise. But it was even more gratifying that Boston College, by and large, gave Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice some well-deserved respect.
About 50 students stood with their backs toward the stage as Rice was introduced to give her commencement speech, but they were quickly drowned out by a standing ovation.
Nice to see this, and is a promising indication that the majority of a major college's student body, whatever their individual points of view, respects the right to free speech, which is, of course, something that members of the academic and secular hard left, by dragooning student goons of like mind, always endeavor to prevent whenever a non-socialist is speaking.

Of course, the usual wackos needed their 2 minutes of dubious fame:
A half-dozen signs that said "Not in my name" were held in the air by students, who sat down by the time Rice started to speak. One banner that said "BC honors lies and torture" was held on the side of the stadium, away from where the students were sitting.
Typical egoism on the part of the mind-numbed lefties who seem to think that their own individual (and significantly minority) point of view trumps the elected national government. "Not in my name" indeed. Do these intellectual Bozos think they're demonstrating in HazZzMat's name? Get a life. Like Jesse Jackson, they can't stand it when someone else is getting face time in front of an audience, particularly if that someone is a Republican (who is therefore not authentically black).

But one part-time academic's reaction takes the cake when it comes to useless attention-getting:
Steve Almond, an adjunct writing professor, resigned from his post over the matter.

"I think Americans have lost sight of the idea of sacrifice," he said. "This is a relatively small sacrifice for me."
Let's have a pity party for Mr. A! What gratuitious gasbagging and inflated self-importance! We wonder if this gravely oppressed fellow has ever spoken to the family of a wounded or deceased veteran of any war—including this one— about sacrifice. Probably not. Making his fatuous remark disgusting, if not laughable, is his equation of his own dubious "sacrifice" to the very real one our service men and women are called upon to make every day.

Question is, what is he "sacrificing?" For the uninitiated, an "adjunct" professor is basically a slave-laborer in the leftist groves of academe, a non-tenure track instructor with no status and often no office who is underpaid, overworked, and often without a full or partial benefits package. Exceptions to this occur in professional schools where famous attorneys, for example, will serve as adjunct guest instructors who can give students hands-on experience and who burnish the marquee value of the institutions that hire them.

But in the humanities in particular, "adjunct" slots are where the tenured faculty can save money, eliminate courses they no longer wish to teach (like freshman comp) by dumping them on the adjuncts, and basically give themselves the smallest possible course load so they don't have to be bothered with grading too many undergraduate papers, most of which seem to be purchased nowadays anyway. Eager humanities postgrads, born down by an academic lifetime of stupid theories hanging about their necks like Marley's chains and unfit for any other kind of employment, are pastured here, hired as academic migrant workers, and often paid the princely sum of 2-3000K per course with a maximum, and ridiculous load of 4-5 courses a semester. (No joke. We checked with a few institutions recently.)

With no hope of achieving the coveted tenure track at a given institution, such "professors," who. as we've indicated are particularly common in the humanities, wherein reside the feeblest of disciplines, eke out a living on the basis of annual contracts which can be terminated at any time without consequence to the academic institution. One wonders if our bloviator above had already got his termination notice for the next academic year, had landed another adjunct contract in a warmer clime, or in fact, had decided to get out of this racket and find a real job. All of which adds to the odds that his "sacrifice" is nothing more than gratuitous preening.

So before you get too impressed with this magnificent gesture of empty symbolism masquerading as "sacrifice," we thought you'd like to know that it's essentially meaningless. Like most things done by most English department types these days, as they've sold out, one by one, to the Gramsci-inspired Marxist establishment that has done much to destroy our culture.

Meanwhile, our HazZzMat May 2006 Glass Navel Award goes to Mr. Almond. We're going to revive an old undergrad custom of ours by giving one out each month to the individual we adjudge to be the most extreme example of someone who has his or her head so far up the anal aperture that he or she needs a glass navel in order to discern the path ahead.

Meanwhile, a hat tip to Boston College for exhibiting the kind of courtesy that's all too rare on American campuses these days. And another hat tip to the Associated Press, which is the surprise source of the story.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Wrong Code?

One scene during the film, meant to be serious, elicited prolonged laughter from the audience. There was no applause when the credits rolled; instead, a few catcalls and hisses broke the silence...The Hollywood Reporter headlined its review, ''Da Vinci Code' an unwieldy, bloated puzzle.'...Early Viewers Pan 'Da Vinci Movie', CNN.COM (International) Entertainment, May 17, 2006

Executives at Sony Pictures might be wondering if a new installment of Indiana Jones... might have been a better idea. It might be because in those aging Lucas movies about fantastic Biblical discoveries the filmmakers never tried to pass the results off as true stories, just as entertaining fictions. Today's Hollywood, however, may not be able to tell the difference.


Something for Rep. Pelosi to Strive For?

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims...., Iran Eyes Badges For Jews, Chris Wattie, National Post (Canada).

Now there's something the imagined next Speaker of the House can lead on: badges for people in Red states. That way, when she or friends like Al Franken and Michael Moore parade into the House of Representatives, they can carefully avoid questions from (or contact with) "badged" reporters or constituents. Think of the convenience. It would be almost as powerful as "nationalizing" the Internet and censoring "unbalanced" reporting from blogs. Go for it, Nancy, Baby! It's a program you can run on, at least on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. What a nice fit for a successor to that other highlight of cowardice in the face of free choice and free speech, McCain-Feingold! Maybe you and the desk-smashing Senator from Arizona can campaign together on that! Wow, a unity ticket, perhaps with a campaign song with the following lyrics:

We don't need no Constitution;
We just need good thought control.
First we captured education;
Next we'll have a Red patrol.

Hey, citizen, be the best that you can be.
Hey, citizen, only fools are free.

(Additional lyrics are welcome)


"Choices" In New Orleans

Voters go to the polls in New Orleans for a historic mayoral election in a city still devastated by Hurricane Katrina...., New Orleans Heads to Historic Mayoral Race,, May 19, 2006

Let's see. We have a former Republican who couldn't get out of his own way during the Katrina catastrophe running against Mitch Landrieu, heir to a proud Louisiana tradition that included a former Mayor (his father "Moon") who ended his term of office in prison. After the last catastrophe like this, which occurred in 1927, the entire political establishment of the state and city was overthrown by Huey Long. Not this time -- have Louisianans become more nuanced in their judgments?

Let's see. The Governor didn't do a thing. Mayor Nagin spent most of his time doing nothing in a crisis center in the Mariott. A third of the police force ran away. The National Guard was never called. 90% of the Levee Board's money was spent on building casinos and rebuilding a fountain (spent by the half of the Board not under federal investigation or looking at prison time). The Army Corps relentlessly refused to remove a channel that was diverting so much river mud from the delta that the natural protection against storm surges had been largely lost. But, instead of trying to learn from this, or change procedures and traditions, the city's mayor and the state's governor held daily press conferences in which they spent most of their time, often using extraordinarily vulgar language, decrying the Bush Administration for failing to a) stop the hurricane, b) rescue the people that Louisiana's elected and appointed officials were sworn to look after, c) manage the law enforcement problem the catastrophe caused, d) pay the entire bill, as well as manage the entire reconstruction of the city. In this writer's nuanced opinion, it's a pity Huey Long doesn't have any great-grandchildren of a similar state of mind to his, that is, a willingness to throw off a profoundly corrupt state and city political establishment and start afresh.

Maybe Huey Long could be brought back to life with genetic engineering? One thing's for certain: in Louisiana, as elsewhere, pigs can't fly.


Congress and The Price Of Gas

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite talk of an energy crisis and the need for independence from foreign oil, Congress seems to be in no mood to open more of the country's coastal waters to energy development....,House Votes to Keep Offshore Drilling Ban, H. Joseph Hebert, AP, May 19, 2006

In the Army, cowardice in the face of danger is a court martial offense. In the old days it could get you an appointment with a firing squad or a hangman's noose. Now, we're more sensitive. We acknowledge (witness the Massaoui jury) the wounds of childhood when judging and sentencing people who put us at risk or hurt us. So, let us be sympathetic. Let us think of the wounded, perpetual childhood of a United States Representative before assessing whether or not he or she should be thrown out of office in the next election. Poor babes, suffering the judgment of the people that they're easy to bribe, that they would sell their constituents out for a shopping trip to Hong Kong, that they don't obey their own laws, and that they're more likely to pay attention to a Chinese lobbyist than to a constituent, what can we really say in harsh judgment of these people? That they're idiots? Hey, that's so obvious that it seems cruel to repeat it. That they've taken an essentially treasonous act by risking United States security in refusing to use our own resources? Hey, after a Democrat Vice President traded nuclear secrets for campaign funds, what else is new?

In the never very humble opinion of this writer, we're in a time remarkably similar to when the Republicans picked up the ashes from the Whigs and built a new party, one that intended to represent both the present and future well-being of the republic, not of their campaign budgets or of their list of junkets to Paris and Beijing. It is also this writer's opinion that the constituencies for a new party -- we might call it The Party of the Republic -- are already out there, waiting to be called on. Folks, it's time to stop waiting. Either take back the party of your choice from the merchants who've bought it off, or build a new one. The price of gas from both parties under their current leadership is far higher than what any of us can afford.


Baltimore or Tangiers?

Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple over the weekend after they asked an officer for directions...., Couple Arrested for Asking Directions,WBAL-TV Channel 11

Did this happen in America or in some country where you have to bribe every official and can be arrested for smiling on a cloudy day? Sadly, it happened in America. Only the fact that the couple arrested have connections with police themselves got them out after only eight hours. We know about Baltimore and Maryland politics, where open race-baiting is commonly employed by the Democrats. It strikes us that Baltimore is a city to put on the CIA's list of countries to stay away from.


The Real Iraq

Spending time in the United States after a tour of Iraq can be a disorienting experience these days. Within hours of arriving is confronted with an image of Iraq that is unrecognizable...through television footage showing the charred remains of vehicles used in suicide attacks, surrounded by wailing women in black and grim-looking men carrying coffins; by armchair strategists and political gurus predicting further doom or pontificating about how the war should have been fought in the first place; by authors of instant-history books making their rounds to dissect the various fundamental mistakes committed by the Bush administration; and by reporters, cocooned in hotels in Baghdad, explaining the carnage and chaos in the streets as signs of the countrys impending or undeclared civil war...Since the toppling of Saddam in 2003...Iraqis, far from fleeing, have been returning home. By the end of 2005...the number of returnees topped the 1.2-million mark...camps set up for fleeing Iraqis in Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia since 1959...down...., The Real Iraq, Amir Taheri, Commentary, May 18, 2006

Just go read Amir Taheri's article. It's not the story you've been seeing on CNN or reading in the Times on either coast. That fact is a mark of disgrace for the major news media in the United States.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Will Cardinal Mahoney Please Call the Vatican?

In the U.S. at least, the fathers of the Roman Catholic Church have historically been politically clueless for at least the past 50 years, and perhaps longer. (Full disclosure: Wonk is a Catholic in relatively good standing who was tainted some years ago by a conservative Jesuit education of which he is justly proud.) In the late 1960s, they crusaded in favor of the Vietnam War. Throughout the 1970s to the present time, they seemed to change gears and wholeheartedly support any politician (usually Democrat) who supported leftist causes and "liberation theology." Very PC. But all the while, dating back to the 1950s and no doubt before, a significant number of local priests brazenly violated their religious vows by committing pedophilia on a massive, unprecedented scale, which their local bishops and their successors covered up for decades, no doubt after doing a rosary or two for penance and pronouncing themselves forgiven.
God forgive me, but as Dean Wormer once said of John Belushi and crew, "I hate those guys." In point of fact, it has become very difficult for Catholic laypeople to support the American hierarchy at all, let alone listen to them, or regard them as moral authorities, on any issue. These increasingly corrupt princes of the Church stridently demand "social justice" even as they minimize the seriousness of the most flagrant violations of elemental human decency that occurred continuously on their collective watch.

Which gets us to the subject. Check out this nifty little bit of pew politics from a reader of Amy Wellborn's blog:
I would be interested to hear what you and your blog readers think about what happened in parishes in our diocese yesterday. In the middle of mass, after the homily and before the Creed, Fr. C. stood up and said that Cardinal Mahony asked all priests in the diocese to pass out post cards to the parishioners regarding immigration reform, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The ushers passed them out with pencils, then picked up the completed forms. It took about 20 minutes. Here is the text of the post card:

Dear Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: I urge you to enact realistic and humane comprehensive immigration reform this year that: (1) includes a path to citizenship for hard working immigrants and their families. (2) provides an effective visa program for future immigrants that protects their rights and includes a path to citizenship. (3) keeps families together, (4) protects our civil rights and civil liberties, and (5) does not criminalize immigrants or their allies. Our immigration laws and our leaders should recognize that immigrants strengthen our economy and contribute to the fabric of our country. Signed: City & Zip:

(Italics from the blog.) After commenting astutely that what might seem like a "social justice" issue automatically becomes a political one in this context, the correspondent then writes the following (bold text appears as it did on the blog):
What really angered me about this, is that a couple of months ago, a group of us asked Fr. C. if we could collect signatures after Mass on the patio to get the parental notification act back on the ballot. We were told that Cardinal Mahony said we could not collect signatures on church property for a political issue, so we stood on the sidewalk to collect signatures. We were totally fine with that, and did so with no complaint whatsoever. I would not have minded if there was an "immigration reform table" on the patio after mass and if there was an announcement about it at the end of mass, but to interrupt the holy sacrifice of the mass for a political agenda is completely inappropriate.
Well, dear astute but slightly naive correspondent, let me explain. Like "immigration rights," parental notification (for parents of minors who have decided to get an abortion) is indeed a political issue. But it is a CONSERVATIVE and REPUBLICAN political issue, and thus not appropriate for pitching from the pulpit on Cardinal Mahoney's diocesan turf which favors Democrats even if they love abortion. But "immigration rights" (which, in point of fact, legal immigrants actually have while illegal ones do not) is a left-wing, liberation theology, Democrat-favoring issue that Cardinal Mahoney wants to support to earn liberal points for himself and the LA faithful, whether the flock wants the points or not. Further, he's blatantly pandering to legal and illegal Latinos alike in order to keep them from jumping ship to Pentecostal Christian churches. In other words, this is yet another obvious manifestation of the increasingly hard-left hypocrisy of the American Bishops, many of whom quietly tolerated Pederast-Gate for decades. These people have not only lost their collective moral compass. They have lost all moral authority, and I suspect many, many Catholics will wholeheartedly agree with me, at least off-the-record.

Most of my best friends are Roman Catholics. Dem and Republican alike, they are fine, upstanding people I'd entrust my life to. It's an unbelievable shame that those who constitute the hierarchy of the American Roman Catholic Church (certainly not the laity and many fine parish priests) do not, either morally or theologically, measure up in the least to these wonderful, intelligent people to whom they regularly condescend. We wonder if Pope Benedict XVI, an anti-liberation theologian if there ever was one, is thinking right now about Cardinal Mahoney's theological and political asininity. We certainly hope so. A little "discernment" is in order here, and a change at the top in LA is clearly recommended.

Meanwhile, our correspondent mentions that:
We had active, faithful parishioners stand up and walk out of mass yesterday. This is going to be very divisive.
I'd have walked out, too.

Google and Team to Wreck the Internet

Well now here's an interesting story. Google has just sent a chunk of coin to to push leftist Democrat-sponsored legislation that would essentially "nationalize" the Internet, not to mention putting in motion the sort of censorship that would eventually drive the right out of Internet media, much the way it's been blocked from a meaningful presence in the old and dying MSM.
Google has become the single largest private corporate underwriter of MoveOn. According to sources in the Democrat National Committee, MoveOn has received more than $1 million from Google and its lobbyists in Washington to create grassroots support for the Internet regulation legislation. Some of that money has gone to an online petition drive and a letter-writing campaign, but the majority of that money is being used to fund their activities against Republicans out in the states.

For example, MoveOn is said by one DNC source to have funneled at least $100,000 "Net Neutrality" money to its operations in Pennsylvania (where MoveOn is organizing against Sen. Rick Santorum). It has also sent funds to Florida, Ohio, and Missouri.

MoveOn is also using the funds to help Democrats, including House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state. "A month ago, Representative Pelosi didn't know what Net Neutrality was, then she heard that Google and other Silicon Valley firms wanted it. Now it's one of her top issues. What Silicon Valley wants, Silicon Valley gets," says a House Democrat leadership staffer.
Making matters worse, Republican lobbyist and former Congressman Vin Weber is trying to sweet-talk folks like the Christian Coalition into supporting anti-competition and Internet censorship, both of which are supported by this sneaky and ill-intended legislation.
"Word is that some of these groups are taking as much as $50,000 to sign on to support Internet regulation," says a House Energy Committee staffer. "It's remarkable that these groups are supporting legislation that would actually do more harm to them. That and the groups they are helping are actually working against them and many of the candidates they are supporting."
Is this world going nuts, or what? Keep up your guard, folks.

Read the rest here, courtesy of the American Spectator, which seems to be clawing its way back into the muckraking scene after spending a few years in the Dark Ages recently.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Leftist Lies Become the Truth

HazZzMat has explained many times and in many contexts how the leftist tactic of the Big Lie has been and is deployed, right up to the present day, with tremendous and relentless effect. Proclaim a lie loud enough and long enough and it is perceived as the truth. Which Instapunk explains today in loving detail, appropriate as the MSM jampiles on the President's immigration speech and continues to destroy the NSA's efforts to keep us safe from Al Qaeda by getting lefty government officials to leak national secrets and then trumpet them to our enemies, rendering these efforts entirely ineffective. Instapunk observes that:
...while the bloggers were fighting their various and diverse battles in the name of truth, justice, and common sense, the MSM ocean was harnessing its entire immensity on just one story, told an infinite number of times, in every possible inflection, from every direction, and with the deadly persistent accuracy of a dripping tap: George W. Bush is no good.

It doesn't have to be true, it doesn't have to be fair, it doesn't have to be consistent in its terms. All that matters is that it is repeated with uniform constancy: drip, drip, drip. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. Change the headlines, seem to change the subject. Abu Ghraib. European disdain. Tom Delay. Katrina. Deficits. Valerie Plame. Gas prices. Karl Rove. Death in Iraq. Angry mothers. NSA wiretaps. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, the lede is always the same. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. Forget the good news, bury the accomplishments or ignore them altogether. Drip, drip, George W. Bush is no good, George W. Bush is no good, George W. Bush is no good.

It took the MSM three years to bring George W. Bush's approval ratings down from their post 9/11 high to 52 percent on election day 2004. It's taken them just 18 months [corr. per Tim] to bring him down another 20 to 25 points. They never forgot their mission. While the princeling bloggers pissed and moaned about Harriet Miers, and immigration, and federal spending, the MSM kept on dripping out its one story, and now they are within reach of their goal -- Democrats restored to the majority in both houses of Congress and the stage set for the vengeful impeachment and dismissal from office of the most courageous president in modern times.
(Italics HazZzMat.)

Great observations, and true. Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Return of the Wonk

Greetings, Earthlings. Seems the planet has not warmed to death in my second prolonged absence in the last couple of weeks. Mr. and Mrs. Wonker were up amongst the Cheese Heads of Wisconsin last week for a seminar on, ah, getting our lives more organized. We shall see. Seminar was delightful while the weather was not, and it seems as if we brought the torrential rains back with us to the East Coast where, at least in New England, it seems as if they are very much not wanted.

Again, our gratitude to Luther for maintaining truth, justice, and the American Way (is that copyrighted?) while we were gone. Normal obnoxious blogging from this quarter will re-commence as soon as the ol' desk is cleared off again, probably some time tomorrow. And with a Presidential speech on the immigration issue promised for tonite, coming up with topics does not seem like it will be an issue.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Socialism: More Bad News

Cities without redevelopment either match or actually exceed those cities that do, in terms of personal income-growth...There is no evidence to show that all the billions spent on redevelopment has done anything to improve the lives of people in those cities. There is no evidence that redevelopment is a positive factor in the elimination of blight....Redevelopment: The Unknown Government, Chapter 7, by Chris Norby

This is a report that Mayor Bloomberg of New York would rather you didn't read, not to mention Bruce Ratner in his efforts at demolishing and redeveloping downtown Brooklyn or the interesting crew in charge of "rebuilding" the World Trade Center, a task nowhere in sight.

The accompanying table is even more suggestive than Norby's words:

Per Capita Income Growth, Redevelopment vs. Non-Development Cities, Norby

If you'd like to study Norby's report, done for the state of California, the home page for the book is Redevelopment: The Unknown Goverment. The report, written in 1998, covers a lot of familiar bases, including the abuse of eminent domain.

Anyone with plans on his or her minds ought to read it. So should any citizen who's thinking of voting for the Planning Party.


Good News You May Have Missed

By almost any measure, more people lived better lives last year than ever before. Global lifespans, literacy and real incomes all reached record highs, and more people lived in free or at least partially free countries than at anytime in human history...., Global Good News, Richard W. Rahn, The Washington Times

If you're stuck on CNN or the various "newspapers of record" you probably missed this story, a strong essay on what actually improved in the world in recent memory. The Washington Times, reviled as a creature of various extremists, reports a story of real progressive change. Read the whole thing. Richard W. Rahn and his newspaper are rare indeed to speak about good news. As he puts it...

The "end of the world" crowd has always been with us and, perhaps, always will be. But I for one do not plan to give up my possessions or my freedom (either voluntarily or through increased taxation or regulation) because of "global warming," or "bird flu," or whatever the next great crisis is, because I trust my fellow man (but not my government) to be endlessly inventive in overcoming adversity....(Global Good news, Rahn, continued...)

What's your good news? It's useful to think about sometimes, and often startling to discover that the sky, your own, or the world's, has not fallen down.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Academic Bill of Rights: What's All The Fuss About?

The entire text of the controversial subject of discussion across university faculty offices and conferences rooms nationwide may be found here:

Academic Bill of Rights , posted by

Let's go over a few of these to check out just how controversial they are:

Article I: The university's mission

Looking through this brief, precise paragraph it's hard to find anything that the UN would disagree with.

Article II: Academic Freedom
The concept: "human knowledge is a never-ending pursuit of the truth, that there is no humanly accessible truth that is not in principle open to challenge, and that no party or intellectual faction has a monopoly on wisdom...."

Would Kofi Annan disagree?

Article II:
The practice: "Academic freedom consists in protecting the intellectual independence of professors, researchers and students in the pursuit of knowledge and the expression of ideas from interference by legislators or authorities within the institution itself. This means that no political, ideological or religious orthodoxy will be imposed on professors and researchers through the hiring or tenure or termination process, or through any other administrative means by the academic institution. Nor shall legislatures impose any such orthodoxy through their control of the university budget...This protection includes students...."

Except for the leaders of Cuba and North Korea, is this controversial?

Article II: 1. "All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise...."

This seems like a thing obvious.

Article II: 2. " No faculty member will be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs...."

Apparently, this only applies to Muslims and atheists. It's controversial when it applies to Christians and especially to Jews. But it's a variation of the UN charter, so what's the deal?

Article II: 3. "Students will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs...."

See previous remark.

Article II: 4. "Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences should reflect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas by providing students with dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate...."

This is what faculty say, but most often among leftist faculty it's what they say as they're dictating a Marxist-feminist diatribe. Maybe this would be controversial.

Article II: 5. "Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty...."

Well, sure, leftist faculty say, as long as the list doesn't include authors who disagree with Marxist-feminist philosophy, so no references to such as Hayek (Road to Serfdom) or anyone who refers favorably to Presidents G W Bush or R W Reagan. Probably controversial too, though it's a standard credo in hard science.

Article II: 6. "Selection of speakers, allocation of funds for speakers programs and other student activities will observe the principles of academic freedom and promote intellectual pluralism...."

"I paid for this microphone" becomes a more important quote of President Reagan as the years go by. If student associations want Ann Coulter or David Horowitz, then they should be able to have them. Probably very controversial....

Article II. 7. "An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated...."

Oh-oh, what will the screamers do without their "right" to drown out other practitioners of free speech? Extremely controversial, except to students, or to any other organization besides a university.

Article II. 8. "To perform these functions adequately, academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions within, or outside, their fields of inquiry...."

Oh, dear, sounds terribly old-school to me. Where's progressive education in that? Where's that wonderful appeal to collective prejudice in students called student centeredness? Probably extremely controversial.

So there you have it, the Academic Bill of Rights. Read the whole thing at the link. Think about it. Reason together. Decide.


How that NSA Program Works To Keep You Safe

Unless you're a terrorist....

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania (who must believe that there's a secret wiretap on every phone) is already promising hearings on the matter. Another Republican, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, openly wondered how "collecting phone numbers" fits in with "finding the enemies." Give me a break...The data mining operation fits in quite well, Senator. To win the war on terror, we need to track down the bad guys. They talk on telephones, and sometimes place multiple calls to the same number. Using that data, we can identify links and nodes in the terrorist world, allowing us to better direct our surveillance efforts, and eventually, neutralize that cell. If a number in, say, Pakistan is getting a lot of traffic from the U.S., why not monitor that number? The calls may be completely innocent, but they might provide a harbinger of planned terrorist attacks. This program is only a "threat" to Americans with Osama on their speed dial, or Zawahiri in their "friends and family" calling circle....,Links and Nodes, Spook 86,

Spook 86 offers a public service here to those ill-served by hysterics in the press who've allied themselves with politically-motivated hysterics on the Hill. Perhaps we can convince the new anchor at CBS to read the whole piece; she might be enlightened. An anchor should be enlightened if she has any pretensions of keeping CBS News in a port that serves American audiences.


Director Goss's Challenge is now Director-designate Hayden's

Throughout the conservative, patriotic community it has long been recognized that two of the most critical Federal agencies, State and CIA, have been institutionally and morally corrupted. They have become incestuous in reporting, analysis, operations, and politics, and – despite professional ethics standards to the contrary – have become highly partisan and actively engaged in the political process. This subversion of the Bush administration (and previously the Regan administration) is often done in collusion with a friendly media contact who then releases classified information that could be interpreted as damaging to the administration...., The General and the Agency, Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu,

This fine article by former Green Beret Coloney Cucullu is one I hope reaches both General Hayden and the various "intelligence" committees in Congress. Porter Goss was exactly as described in this article, a transitional director to clean out the mess described in the quote. The article has some history too, and a nasty comparison with the founding members of OSS and their descendants in CIA.

Best wishes to Director-designate Hayden!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bloggers Censors Troubled -- Poor John McCain

It seems like a lot of people are trying to shut up bloggers all of a sudden. It also doesn't seem to be working very well...., Silencing a Hornet's Nest, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, ,

This has got to be upsetting to John McCain and other First Amendment haters. They got McCain-Feingold to shut us up. That didn't work. They tried going through the FEC to shut up bloggers. That bombed (so far -- but watch out!) They're trying like mad to ban 527 ads. That's not working very well. And the newly constituted Supreme Court has yet to hear a substantive case on the bedrock of anti-First Amendment types, McCain-Feingold. If I were an attorney on John McCain's side, I would not look forward to that either. But watch out, fellow bloggers; they're coming. As the Founders knew, men (and women) are out there who hate liberty and will do anything to silence the independent voice.


Smog: Can't Keep A Good Story Down

Ozone smog levels have plummeted during the last three years. Between 2003 and 2005, the fraction of the nation's ozone monitors violating the federal 8-hour ozone standard plunged from 43 percent down to a record-low 18 percent.[1] The last three years were the three lowest-ozone years on record....Ozone levels were so improbably low in 2004 that it would have been astounding if ozone wasn't higher in 2005...., No Smog For The Fear Factory?, Joel Schwartz,

Gee, I'll tell you. If this keeps up, environmental organizations are going to have to go into another line of business. Hey! I've got one! In twenty-seven thousand years, an asteroid might hit the Earth! Let's get behind NASA now! We need that new shuttle; we need the Mars-capable manned (personnned?) spaceship. Now! Now! Now!


What Will The UN Say?

U.S. government officials are enthusiastically endorsing and funding the use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa after years of resisting calls from scientists who said the insecticide would be the best weapon for fighting malaria...., U.S. takes new view on DDT in Africa, Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times

That's a real downer for the Sierra Club. And what will PETA say? Will they have a new initiative, starting fires in California to save tsetse flies in Africa? What next, development of oil reserves in Alaska?


Why Oil Companies Aren't Cheering

It is a new economy. Our gross domestic product is increasingly tech- and information-dominated. We are being assimilated by silicon. The effect is to remove the American economy's overall health ever farther from the cost of oil, and all raw fuels...Whipsawed by Oil, Mark P. Mills, , The NY Sun, 5/2/2006

Oh dear, bad news for oil companies, worse news for today's version of OPEC, worst news for Venezuela, Mexico and Iran. It's hard to politically manipulate a market where the main buyer's economy is increasingly not dependent on oil. In America, for instance, we are so loaded with coal, shale oil, and natural gas that we should be able to keep our (smaller, more economic) SUVs running for a very long time. Why are we still buying Arab, Venezuelan and Mexican oil?

Essentially, it's a luxury approach. It's easier to buy someone else's than produce our own. Or, if you're a Green Democrat, it makes you feel good to buy someone else's oil rather than sullying our "wilderness" by drilling for our own or processing shale. As with liberal/left politicos in England in the early 20th century, the willingness to dirty other people's back yards instead of our own has led to several wars to defend their right to keep their hands clean and to force us to do the same. Sad thing is that they've succeeded but at what future cost? The balance of electricity to oil in energy production now is 60/40 in favor of a form of energy which can be entirely domestically produced with coal, gas, shale oil and nuclear. This will not become more favorable to oil. By the time a foolish Congress figures this out, the Ameican economy, already substantially divorced from international energy politics (and markets), will be somewhere else.

Hope springs eternal, but for the owner of oil wells, this may be becoming less true.


Globalization, Nation, Tribe

What we're really witnessing, from Europe through the Middle East and Africa to Latin America, is the reassertion of local identities and beliefs...The tribes are back... The golden age of globalization theory passed in the late 1960s and 1970s, when campus commissars insisted that tribes didn't exist and nationality was an artificial construct...The intellectual porn of left-wing fantasies foresaw the defeat of capitalism and the rise of the new, liberated, post-national man. All that's left are Che Guevara t-shirts and the dead of Srebrenica, Cambodia, Rwanda and dozens of other tributes to human solidarity....,The Tribes Are Back, Ralph Peters, The NY Post

What Ralph Peters presents here is a rare glimpse by a major syndicated columnist at the world as it is rather than the world as imagined by network executives and the editorial board of The New York Times. Peters steps off the golf course and out of the country club to look at stories out there. But, as so often happens, his analysis is undercut by a failure to analyze his own terms. His worst error is to confuse 'tribe' and 'nation'.

Let's try to help. A tribe is bound by language, religion, and custom. As we know from nomadic tribes all over the world, tribe and geography are not synonymous. In fact, they often aren't. Look at the Lakota, or Arab nomads, or Mongols, or any of dozens of other tribes.

A nation is bound by geography, but the bonds of religion and custom are loose at worst, nonexistent at best (see the United States). Language is an unnecessary bond in a nation as well. Witness Rome in classical times, or the US now. The EU is trying to do this, fumbling the ball more by bureaucratic complications than in motivating ideas. As long as agreements about common defense, within and without, are upheld, it doesn't matter what language a citizen speaks, what temple he goes to, or what customs he upholds at home. Sure, borders change a little, sometimes a lot (see Poland). But national institutions protect those borders against outside invaders and protect groups with often divergent interests within those borders. A nation can contain many tribes. Look at our own nation. The tribes agree to set up a common defense, and agree to protect each other from enemies foreign and domestic.

Understood that way, the traditional liberal avatar of "bad nationalism," the Nazis, were clearly a grotesquely evolved tribal organization. As they instituted legal changes after Hitler's coming to power in 1933, they essentially undercut all German national institutions in preparation for the advent of the greater Aryan tribe of Europe, a tribe which respected no national borders and no national institutions that protected any other group. In Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism time and again the great philosopher directs our attention to this fact, pointing out over and over that it was the disintegration and destruction of national institutions that permitted both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis to gain dominance over so much of Europe and Asia.

Understood as above, the revival that Peters is talking about is essentially tribal one. We should fear it far more than any imagined revival of nationalism. Nationalism is content within its borders. Tribalism will go anywhere. This is as true of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda as it is of the some of the tribal underpinnings of the current governments of China and Iran. We don't need more globalization in the sense that it permits the systematic removal of national restraints on a global aristocracy's actions. The removal of those restraints in the name of globalism is what made Al Qaeda and other tribal terrorist organizations possible.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Return from Happy Valley

He-e-e-e's ba-a-ack! Indeed, the Wonk has returned, refreshed and unscathed, from Salt Lake City and environs, and pronounces himself thoroughly invigorated by his trip to the city's conservative precincts.

Indeed, Mr. and Mrs. Wonker even discovered where the fabled town of Randolph, Utah, was actually situated (near the Wyoming border) but alas, did not have the time to pay a visit to that excellent bastion of support for President Bush.

As non-skiing individuals, it was perhaps curious that we lodged in a timeshare atop the Wasatch mountain range. And indeed, we took an enjoyable ride on the tram-car there to see what all the 150-ish remaining inches of "the best snow on earth" was all about (whilst skiers enjoyed the slopes). But we also had fun exploring Antelope Island, smack in the middle of the Great Salt Lake (yep, it sure is salty), dining in a couple of nice Salt Lake City restaurants (and learning that Idaho actually produces some very good wine), checking out the chi-chi art galleries in Park City (an apparent stronghold, alas, of Dems and Robert Redford's indy-lefty Sundance film festival), and enjoying an organ recital and a rehearsal by the world's best large choral ensemble, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Musical events were actually held in the church's impressive new Conference Center, as the Tabernacle itself is under extensive renovation. As we discovered when we were thrown out of the site by a watchful construction guard who was certain that Wonker, once a U.S. Steelworker, would somehow be instantly killed if he ventured further!)

We also managed to get tickets to a Friday performance of the Utah Symphony in the nearby Abravanel Hall, named after the orchestra's late, longtime conductor-founder. Performances these days are often led (as was Friday's performance) by conductor and music director Keith Lockhart, also the maestro of the Boston Pops. The concert featured some surprisingly mediocre Mozart, but also unveiled a dazzling new reconstructed version of Bela Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle," courtesy of the late composer's son, Peter, who collaborated with the Utah Symphony on the project. This was a semi-staged edition of the composer's intriguing one-act opera, complete with props at the rear of the stage as well as an additional jut-stage upon which the work's two soloists, Duke Bluebeard and his latest hapless wife, Judith, acted out (rather sang out) their intricate psychodrama.

The Washington National Opera will be performing the work for the first time here this fall and it will be interesting to see if they take advantage of this new version. Quite a stunning performance by the Utahns, really, and the absolute highlight of our evening.

But again, we're back now, and catching up on work, so blogging from this quarter will be light for a couple more days.

Meanwhile, a courtly hat-tip to the intrepid Luther for keeping our readers' eyes focused on the leftist, collectivist, socialist, and just plain stupid villainy that remains a constant threat to these United States. Clearly, the culture wars ain't over yet. But then again, neither are we!

Quote of the Day

One quick way to identify totalitarian threats to liberty is to identify those who falsify the historical record on behalf of their cause....Falsifying History, by Dennis Prager,, 5/2/2006

Take your pick.