Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Sadly, mankind has had a tendency since then to ignore this simple message. But we're working on it.
Meanwhile, may our small legion of readers and their families have the best of Christmas holidays. We'll be back soon, as Congress and the 500 or so 2008 presidential candidates will return from their own holidays, probably queuing right up at the "Returns" window looking for a bit of extra post-holiday cash.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
HUFFINGTON POST: Giuliani's Exoneration Over Expense Scandal Falls On Deaf Ears. "Over the past several weeks, Rudy Giuliani's presidential aspirations have been weighed down by allegations that he hid trip expenses to see then-mistress Judith Nathan by billing them to obscure city agencies. Now, however, a new review of records has partially exonerated Giuliani for what was widely perceived to be a cover-up. And conservatives and even impartial observers are bemoaning that the scandal received far more attention compared to the revelations of innocence. "Gee, let's see. The media blows way out of proportion an alleged scandal surrounding the then front-running Republican presidential candidate and flogs it for all it's worth, day after day. Rudy has to defend himself against nothing on TV day after day. Rudy drops in the polls.
Now the story has been proven to be almost entirely false, Rudy is largely vindicated, so from the media we get—silence? Has all the earmarks of another Clintonista hit job. Point in fact is that internal and external pollings over the past few months have viewed Hillary as increasingly vulnerable due to her persistently high negatives. Vulnerable to the point that an unconventional Republican opponent like Rudy might sink her presumed upcoming Queenship rather handily in the hinterlands.
What to do? Smear your opponent with moral allegations that the MSM will surely lap up, trumpet your own plausible deniability, and let the smear do its dirty work. Very effective. Rudy's unusual campaign strategy has been at least temporarily derailed, right at the wrong time. Hillary's minions have wounded the man who has arguably been the surprise Republican front-runner up to this point. And with the press withdrawing and not correcting their string of false stories, many of the public now view it as an established fact that Rudy is a crook. Mission accomplished.
Kind of reminds you of another ongoing brouhaha that's occurring within Hillary's own party: the horrendous and perfectly awful meme about Barack Obama's drug use as a callow youth, which is also getting the full treatment in the press:
A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said Wednesday that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama's admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate.
Obama's campaign said the Clinton people were getting desperate. Clinton's campaign tried to distance itself from the remarks.
Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman of Clinton's front-runner campaign, raised the issue during an interview with The Washington Post...Here we get the name of the smear-artist: Bill Shaheen. Except you'll note that the first graf here again gives Shaheen some culpable deniability to hide from as, on behalf of his patrons, he goes for the one Democrat who is genuinely giving Hillary a run for her money. In this case, Shaheen can claim he's only "mentioning" something that's already been reported so that Obama supporters can give "more thought" to the issue. One that, lest we forget, dogged Bill Clinton himself in the 1992 campaign where he famously "experimented" with marijuana but "didn't inhale."
As Wonker himself can attest, having attended Georgetown University at the same time as Bill, the only way you could avoid inhaling was to have a girlfriend who baked the stuff into "Alice B. Toklas" brownies. (But then, what's okay for Bill and Hill may be wrong for everybody else because they say so.)
Republicans, and Obama, should learn that the only way to counterattack the standard Clinton propaganda machine, geared not only toward discrediting an opponent but driving his or her reputation into the gutter forever, is to lay out the truth, get it on the web, and mount an equal if not greater counterattack based on the Clintons' real scandals involving the same offenses. Like Bill's own admitted indulgence in illegal substances. Or maybe Hillary's firing of career White House travel office people on totally false, trumped up charges, just so she could hire her pals.
Whether it's Rudy or Obama, always remember: if it's a lousy, lowlife smear story on a candidate or politician deemed dangerous to the Clintonistas, dimes to donuts it came from the Clinton camp. Scoundrels and opportunists all, lusting only for power and with no program save for warmed over, feelgood socialism, they are all leftists without morals, skilled in Stalinist tactics but devoid of realistic solutions for anything, save for extracting more money from your wallets.
If the press had any sense at all, they'd refuse to grab at these stories. But most of them, though not all, are still in the pockets of the Clintonistas, eagerly awaiting another 8 years of amoral fun and frolic while Al Qaeda rebuilds its forces, once again unmolested.
As for Shaheen, husband, BTW, of New Hampshire Democrat Governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen:
Officially, Bill Shaheen is off the Hillary Clinton campaign.Sure. But he'll be hanging around the sleazy periphery, as more FOBs (Friends of Bill) try to grab the reins of power in Washington next year. Be sure to vote against 'em all, or we are all in big trouble fiscally, politically, and internationally.
Meanwhile, for a little more background on the current anti-Obama shenanigans from the source just cited above—a "progressive" website no less—click here. Apparently, even some sober leftists are getting wary of the Clintons as Hillary's campaign.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called “consensus” on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.Aside from the odd subject-verb agreement problem in the last sentence above, you get the point. The "global warming" crap has finally gotten an increasing number of scientists so fed up that they've decided to speak out whatever the consequences, forcing even the MSM to pause from their ruthless support for the "global warming" nutcases and take a look at their own sanity.
The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.
Even some in the establishment media now appears to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics “appear to be expanding rather than shrinking.” Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bites the dust.”
Many of the scientists featured in this report consistently stated that numerous colleagues shared their views, but they will not speak out publicly for fear of retribution.For many years, Wonk took some encouragement from the fact that far left propagandists in academia had not yet penetrated the hard sciences. The "global warming" hysteria that's gripped academia and most media outlets proves convincingly that even this wall has been breached. Fortunately, however, objective scientists, although obviously intimidated, have begun to speak up, fed up, no doubt, that this socalled movement has been led by a loony Pied Piper named Al Gore, a pompous dope whose intellectual credentials have objectively been proven to be inferior to those of the oft-derided Chimpy BushMacHitler. (And thus were worthy of the Nobel Prize.)
For millions of years the earth has warmed and cooled in cycles that stretch from decades to hundreds of years. That such a cycle is occurring now seems reasonable. That homo sapiens, particularly the American variety, is solely to blame for this is very much in dispute.
This nonsense was, is now, and ever shall be yet another attempt to make George Bush and by extension the USA to appear guilty of crimes against humanity in order to intimidate this country into being ruled by largely European leftist elites. Kyoto, Bali, the corrupted Nobel Prize are all instruments of the left, being put to use in yet another attempt to put American-style capitalism and democracy out of business. Looks like people are finally catching on to these recidivist bozos. Big time.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
(2007-12-17) — Republican Presidential candidate Fred Thompson today, upon hearing that rival Ron Paul’s supporters had raised $6 million in 24 hours to commemorate the Boston Tea Party, called on his supporters to match that figure in gun purchases before Christmas to mark George Washington’s victory at the Battle of Trenton.Congrats to the Thompson people for a great political stunt!
What? This report is from Scrappleface? That's very different.
So were the Cleveland Browns who bested the Buffalo Bills 8-0 in a lakefront football slugfest where the line judges needed snow and leaf blowers to uncover the yardage lines and hash marks.
Now that we're back in Dixie where we belong, we'll be back on the prowl, looking for the latest offensive moves by the Democrats and their pals in the MSM, the judiciary, academia, and the entertainment world. It won't be difficult to find the latest outrages. Our lefty friends no longer even bother trying to cover things up any more.
We'll be back...
Thursday, December 06, 2007
With primary season almost upon us, however, look for plenty of prognostications and concomitant cultural tie-ins here.
And as usual, we'll frequently be wishing you all a Merry Christmas during December, which also happens to be Wonk's birth month. Yes, indeed, we're in that Christmas mood again, highly appropriate during the most wonderful time of the year. Our Yuletide cheer is only intensified by the fact that wishing our readers a Merry Christmas is SO non-PC.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Johnson sums up Keillor's platitudinous gasbagging thusly:
If most Americans are too stupid to understand that the "A" in ARM stands for "adjustable," and that mortgage rates can, in fact, adjust upwards...Or, for analogy fans:
...if our business leaders are too greedy to avoid making bad decisions ...
...if we're all somehow left "holding the bag" for problems caused by the aforementioned stupidity and greed...
...then, the logic of Keillor and other Nanny State fans kicks in, like this:
a) We are smart, unlike you;
b) We are free from greed, unlike like you;
c) Therefore, we must save you from yourselves, by regulating more of your life.
Higher taxes? Less freedom? A sclerotic, French-style welfare state? These are but a small price to pay for a total absence of suffering, bad decisions, worry and fear.
Which brings us to a fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives want the freedom to pursue happiness on their own terms. Liberals think they have a right to happiness and that it should be delivered, like a pizza.
When you understand this, you understand why the liberal version of the American dream -- no worries, free health care and a guaranteed income, among other things -- would be like living in your parents' basement, for life.Read the whole thing.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
One of problems with America's Marxist-dominated cultural and artistic communities over at least the last 30 years or so has been their continuing effort, particularly in academia, to sever all modern connections with this kind of stuff, branding it racist, hegemonistic, whatever works to demonize it. Sitting through this presentation, one perceives instead that each morphing portrait exemplifies, in essence, the artist's imaginative conception of idealized internal and external beauty.
For earlier artists, in many cases, such an exercise in portraiture, as serially demonstrated above, served as their attempt, via their art, to somehow grasp, in a mortal portait, the essence of divine beauty and perfection. Nearer our own more cynical times, the artist was less concerned with the divine (which he or she probably didn't believe in anyway) than with capturing in time a fleeting, near-perfect moment of mortal beauty.
In the not too distant past, the Western artistic tradition was focused on the search for wisdom, perfection, and beauty in all things. Viewers of such portraits as these might very well be inspired to seek the same in their own lives. Modern art, however, is quite different in its approach. Divorced from spiritual idealism by a radical ideology and seething with resentment, today's artists can frequently betray only ugliness in humanity and nature. Divorced from tradition, or taught to scorn it, they can only paint hideous, negative, or ironic visions. And often, that hideousness is rendered either in the inexplicably abstract or worse, as an act of religious blasphemy and cultural vandalism.
I have noticed that over the last decade or so, I am seeing more and more artists turning back to the past for inspiration, however. I am seeing traditional portraits and serious still life work, often rendered in the manner of what some call "photographic realism," a term that doesn't do such work justice, so subtly are its visual cues blended into the apparently obvious. Perhaps abstraction and ugliness have run their course at last. It's earnestly to be wished for, but only time will tell.
Monday, November 26, 2007
We're adding this site to our Good Guys section, and hope that they'll get around to listing us at some point. Even though Wonk hails (originally) from Cleveland, while Luther yet dwells glumly in Hillary Land.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Private equity firms and REITs may be charging into commercial real estate, but these multigenerational clans still control huge chunks of New York City's iconic skyline.So what's with "iconic," the second last word in the sentence? What's the deal here?
"Iconic" is defined at Answers.com (initial entry) as:
Of, relating to, or having the character of an icon.Which I always like in a dictionary entry because it means you have to spend time looking up another word.
The second definition here is:
Having a conventional formulaic style. Used of certain memorial statues and busts.Okay. "Icon," which is defined for you if you follow the above link, has several possible definitions, one of which was the sense in which I understood the word when I was younger—as a noun describing an ancient or revered (presumably traditional Christian or Eastern Orthodox) portrait of a major figure, often the Blessed Virgin Mary. Alternatively, the word came to describe objects on a desktop computer screen, as well as delineating a widely-known symbol, such as the White House (except when George Bush is in it, of course).
I suppose the latter covers the way the word is used in the CNN/Money blurb, but at best the usage here is imprecise. The NYC skyline might have approached being "iconic" when, sadly, the WTC twin towers were still a part of it. While the skyline is still recognizable, it's no longer distinctive in that sense, except maybe for oldsters who do remember the skyline when the Empire State Building was king of the hill or at least of Manhattan. Tragically, there's now nothing very distinctive about the skyline that causes instant recognition by non-New Yorkers, save for the enormous amount of very large buildings.
But we belabor the point. "Iconic" is now used to describe flavors of ice cream, business leaders, 3rd rate entertainers with weird hair, etc. It's the word writers seem to pull out when they need cheap hyperbole and don't want to make the effort to find something more creative.
In other words, "iconic" has turned into a new cliché, something you pull out and put in when you're brain dead. Used correctly and infrequently, it's still capable of being striking and effective. While I'm a classical music fan, for example, I could still buy Elvis' sequined white jumpsuit as being "iconic." But not Madonna's sleazy underwear. You get the picture.
Bottom line: "iconic" has turned into the cliché of the decade for lazy writers who'd rather lard on undeserved hype rather than describe something colorfully but accurately. There are bloody few things that are really "iconic" (like a Zippo lighter as opposed to a Bic). Let's please limit this word to describing such people, objects, or (perish the thought) religious artifacts. And maybe in computer geek talk where it has acquired an entirely different meaning. But, like other revered objects, let's pull it out infrequently and only when the occasion warrents.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
"A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. 'The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists.' " [emphasis added]Hard to believe, no? National Journal writer Stuart Taylor, Jr. explains further that:
The quoted language appears in an August 2007 "diversity facilitation training" program for resident assistants. The RAs were, in turn, assigned to use far-left propaganda such as this in what university documents called the mandatory "treatment" of freshmen and the rest of the 7,000 students in university residence halls....This and dozens of other cases suggest to me that the cancerous spread of ideologically eccentric, intellectually shoddy, phony-diversity-obsessed fanaticism among university faculties and administrators is far, far worse and more inexorable than most alumni, parents, and trustees suspect.Delaware's forced indoctrination was exposed and ultimately terminated due to the efforts of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). But the price of freedom is eternal vigilence. Look for Delaware's sneaky Marxists (on the taxpayer payroll of course) to find a way to slip this stuff back into the mandatory curriculum while no one is looking. They have other skills, too, according to the author:
They are also ruthless in blocking appointment of professors whose views they don't like; are eager to censor such views; and in many cases are determined to push their own political views on students, who have few reality checks in their course material and are often too innocent of the world to understand when they are being fed fatuous tripe.Wonker knows all about this. He was a "privileged" first-wave casualty, in the late 1970s, of the kind of class-struggle reverse racism that's become institutionalized in America's universities today, where wholesale fraud has replaced the traditional liberal arts education that once included learning about American culture, history, and law. No more.
Small wonder our cultural traditions are disappearing. This is precisely the stuff that Wonker, a newly-minted English Ph.D., wanted to teach three decades ago. But the doors were already locked. Pre-Bakke, reverse racism and gender hatred, combined with the declining enrollments after Vietnam, put a permanent end to that career choice, as it did for literally thousands of other highly qualified would-be professors. Their "privileged" positions, however, were wasted as academia created self-perpetuating ghettos for "ethnic," "feminist," and "transgendered" studies, bogus academic fields of no use in the real world. Save for providing hate-mongers with highly-paid employment for life while helping drive up the cost of education by forcing the subsidization of useless and phony fields of study that waste parental and taxpayer funds while wasting the time of students who deserve something better. And more "authentic," perhaps?
Meanwhile, it would be fascinating to read a book some day on whatever happened to the Lost Generation of the 1970s and 1980s, that sad (and continuing) diaspora of genuinely dedicated college teachers who might have made a difference. But it would never get published.
As far as the media and the professoriat are concerned, this academic diaspora simply never happened. But it did, and its consequences have been catastrophic for our country, although quite beneficial to the Stalinists who continue to shield themselves from accountability. Taylor describes the results:
The PC sickness goes far beyond intolerance of dissent. It also has a pervasive effect on course offerings. History departments, for example, offer fewer and fewer traditional courses such as political and diplomatic history, to make room for courses portraying history as a tale of unrelieved oppression of minorities, women, the poor, gays, and everyone else by privileged white males.
Academia's "diversity" obsession is founded on hostility to diversity of opinion. To most academics, "diversity" is a code word for systematic preference of minorities and women over white males in all walks of life. The preferred groups include many faculty members who are manifestly unqualified for their positions and whose websites read like a "Saturday Night Live" parody of wacky professors.
Read the rest of this excellent article here. If you do, and if you're not already a confirmed Stalinist, you'll surely agree with the author's conclusion:
In academia today, a professor who falsely smears his university's students as racists is a hot commodity. And hate means never having to say you're sorry.Something that also holds true for Democrats, BTW.
Both a professor of political theory and a nationally syndicated columnist insisted that I was wrong to condemn hatred as a passion that impaired political judgment. On the contrary, they argued, Bush hatred was fully warranted considering his theft of the 2000 election in Florida with the aid of the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore; his politicization of national security by making the invasion of Iraq an issue in the 2002 midterm elections; and his shredding of the Constitution to authorize the torture of enemy combatants.For which Berkowitz has the following highly unorthodox answer—unorthodox, at least, on the dogmatic left side of the aisle:
Of course, these very examples illustrate nothing so much as the damage hatred inflicts on the intellect. Many of my colleagues at Princeton that evening seemed not to have considered that in 2000 it was Al Gore who shifted the election controversy to the courts by filing a lawsuit challenging decisions made by local Florida county election supervisors. Nor did many of my Princeton dinner companions take into account that between the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, 10 of 16 higher court judges--five of whom were Democratic appointees--found equal protection flaws with the recount scheme ordered by the intermediate Florida court. And they did not appear to have pondered Judge Richard Posner's sensible observation, much less themselves sensibly observe, that while indeed it was strange to have the U.S. Supreme Court decide a presidential election, it would have been even stranger for the election to have been decided by the Florida Supreme Court.Read the rest by following the link above. We don't buy the whole thing, but it indicates that at least some people on the left have the instinct to resist total brain death.
But loose cannon Howard Dean finally lets the cat out of the bag:
"This country is not a theocracy," Dean said. "There are fundamental differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party believes that everybody in this room ought to be comfortable being an American Jew, not just an American; that there are no bars to heaven for anybody; that we are not a one-religion nation; and that no child or member of a football team ought to be able to cringe at the last line of a prayer before going onto the field."Okay, let's get this straight. America is not a "theocracy." But then, what does that make the Democrat Party, which believes "there are no bars to heaven for anybody"? A theocracy?
Clearly unfamiliar with syllogistic logic, Dean rejects theocracy, while at the same time citing theocracy as the basis for his party's philosophy. Of course, this kind of cognitive dissonance is perfectly at home in the dialectical universe of Karl Marx, enabling Democrats to perfect their patented political parlor trick of coming down on both sides of an issue without anybody noticing.
Fortunately, Eugene Volokh pins down the essence of the issue rather nicely:
...how ... can Dean assure Jews, or anyone else, that "The Democratic Party believes ... that there are no bars to heaven for anybody"? He can assure people that he believes in this; he can surely declare his own theology even if the Democratic Party shouldn't declare one of its own. He can assure people that the Democratic Party stands for civil equality without regard to religion, or make similar secular commitments (assuming that is indeed the official position of the Democratic Party). But he can no more make assurances about the Democratic Party's stand on salvation through works than he can about its stand on transsubstantiation or Papal infallibility.
Without any help from the complicit MSM one way or another, we continue to try to track down the truth or falsehood of the Hillary + Huma rumah, but still no smoking gun. The Hillary camp's new and improved 21st Century Media Cone of Silence has clearly been perfected by the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
Speaking of Camille's latest pronouncements—sadly, she next stoops to praising extravagently the genuinely moronic California Senator Dianne Feinstein and the ultra-rich, ultra-Marxist Speaker of the House (and chronic botox-abuser) Nancy Pelosi. Camille can do better than this. Fortunately she does return to Planet Earth just in time to blast the legion of loonies who've successfully transformed seemingly all extant media into nauseating "green" machines, the better to propagandize the weird science of "global warming":
This facile attribution of climate change to human agency is an act of hubris. Good stewardship of the environment is an ethical imperative for every nation. But breast-beating hysteria merely betrays impious tunnel vision. Thousands of factors, minute and grand, are at work in cyclic climate change, whose long-term outcomes we cannot possibly predict. Nature should inspire us with awe, not pity.Yep.
The central character in the latest Tom Stoppard play, "Rock and Roll," which has just arrived on Broadway from London, is a familiar figure, an unashamed academic Soviet apologist named Max, played with pugnacious vigor by Brian Cox...There was no act of barbarism by the Soviets too wicked to defend, no individual act of courage by those opposed to the dehumanizing effects of communist rule too valiant to be dismissed as "bourgeois individualism."...Trapped in their entrenched positions, too proud to admit a mistake, too closed in their minds to appraise the mounting evidence against their case, they maintained a pious air of superiority over those they dismissed as suffering from "false consciousness."...Without the conspicuous presence of Max and his comrades, it has become far less easy to identify those who, posing often as guardians of liberty, curtail free speech by stifling views they cannot abide...Among those who ostensibly devote their lives to gender equality, racial tolerance, and academic meritocracy are Maxes — and Maxines — galore, ready to close down debates and discussions with which they do not agree....Conspicuous Presence, review of Tom Stoppard's Rock and Roll, Nicholas Wapshott, New York Sun, 11/14/2007
Things change. Back when the great Lady Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, the West End was not a place for those with such views as those suggested by Stoppard's play. John Cleese noted in an interview decades back that a person who mentioned Maggie's name in a favorable light at a cast party in London would be henceforth banned from the theater social circuit. And as brilliant as some of Britain's political dramas have been, both on stage and on screen, such as the dazzling House of Cards trilogy or A Very British Coup, the villains have always been on the Right. Being on the hard Left was in the tradition of the thee-a-tuh (and its child, the movies) since Shaw and the Fabians invented British socialism in the late 19th century. Unlike the U.S., where big theater, that is to say, Broadway, has relapsed into the near-vaudevillean silliness of the early 20th century, the Brits haven't lost their theater chops as playwrights. Stoppard is unquestionably Shaw's heir as the greatest playwright in English, and deservedly so. He's brilliant, insightful, and a gifted dramaturgist willing to take many risks to enliven an ancient art form. His sharp, brilliant focus on the unmentionable pathology of Leftism (and its ghastly heirs) in the Academy is very, very welcome. Go see it, but you'll have to wait until the strike ends.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Whose people, BTW, are now trying to intimidate liberal Wolf Blitzer to ask even more liberal milquetoast questions of Her Highness during the next Dem "debate" rather than subject her to something so embarrassing as a REAL question. Like Tim Russert, a notably new arrival to the vast right wing conspiracy. Maybe Hill needs more people to plant questions, eh?
I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a “learning experience.” Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a “learning experience.” It makes me feel less stupid.
— P. J. O’Rourke
For over 30 years, Wonker has been haunted by bad memories from the 1960s. But his worst memories of all date from the fall of 1976. Broke, unemployed, and trying to feed his small family on food stamps and hope, Wonk concluded that the Democrats would inflate the economy, thus giving him a fighting chance to find a job. In a remaining moment of rapidly waning liberal weakness, he pulled the lever for Jimmy Carter that November. And Jimmy delivered the goods all right, in a way none of us could ever have imagined.
O'Rourke's pithy observation is balm for the truly repentant sinner. (I may actually get some untroubled sleep tonight.)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
But can we achieve moral purity for ourselves in one area by shifting a separate moral burden to other shoulders?
I admire the idealism of those who have fought for gay rights over the past 40 years and who have educated us about their importance. Like many, I believe the ban on homosexuals in the military is unwise and will eventually be lifted.
But I don’t think Harvard’s stance on ROTC is morally tenable. We should not attempt to remove the barriers facing some of our students by placing stumbling blocks in the path of others.
Correct. Harvard's stance is NOT morally tenable. It's moral posturing, substituting the appearance of virtue for virtue itself.
Professor Lewis perhaps fails to recognize the underlying hypocrisy in this "stance." The military's position on homosexuals is quite simply the current excuse for the current Harvard ROTC ban. If the military declared tomorrow that the ban were lifted, Harvard's academic hypocrites would simply move the goalposts and figure out another reason to ban ROTC.
Greg Mankiw offers a more interesting challenge to the Harvard hypocrites:
Some faculty see the Harvard ROTC ban as a protest against the federal government's treatment of gay military personnel. But to me the form of the protest seems particularly sanctimonious, as the faculty are asking for a sacrifice from others (in particular, from potential ROTC students and from other students who would benefit from a more diverse student body), while giving up relatively little themselves. I propose that any professor who wants to protest federal policy can do so personally by refusing to apply for or accept any grants from the federal government.The military's position on homosexuals is simply the latest dodge employed by another bunch of intellectually and morally bankrupt academics to conceal their true position. They HATE the military. They're merely hiding behind their latest excuse. If you take that excuse away, they'll quickly come up with another. A miserable conclusion to draw on Veterans Day. But a correct one.
Friday, November 09, 2007
The faculty union of the City University of New York known as the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) has a penchant for aiding and abetting terrorists and supporting political causes with the member’s dues. Now determined to forever silence all criticism, one of the prominent union big wigs has just filed a $2 million lawsuit to shut down the one remaining gadfly, Dr. Sharad Karkhanis Professor Emeritus from Kingsborough Community College who has been tirelessly exposing the malfeasance of the PSC and the incompetence of its leaders in his influential internet newsletter The Patriot Returns....Free Speech for Sharad, Phil Orenstein, Front Page Magazine, 11/9/2007
If you can't succeed in silencing a critic with shunning, threats, or denial of tenure, file a nuisance lawsuit. Dr. Karkhanis probably isn't surprised, but we should be disgusted by a faculty union representing people who claim to offer diverse viewpoints using legal action to silence a critic.
Name-calling may offend, but it never harms one’s life or limb, or sets fire to one’s home or property. Criticism may hurt someone’s feelings, but cannot injure one’s reputation. O’Malley has caused more damage to her reputation [as a union leader] by suing a distinguished retired professor for criticism, than the criticism itself has wrought....(Free Speech for Sharad, continued...)
Indeed...if you'd like to read what has caused such outrage, and cost so much lawyer time, at the CUNY Union Local, click her for Dr. Karkhanis's The Patriot Returns You might also look at Free Speech CUNY, a site recommended by the writer who suggested we point to CUNY, not NYU, as the issue here!
The AAUP’s new doctrine is a transparent attempt to justify the transformation of the university into a home for these sectarian creeds by shielding them from the scrutiny of scientific method. In the new dispensation, political control of a discipline is the sole basis for establishing “truth,” and closing off critical debate. The idea that political power can establish “truth” is a conception so incompatible with the intellectual foundations of the modern research university that the AAUP committee could not state it so baldly. Hence the disingenuous compromise of “truth within a relevant discipline.”...The End of the University as We Know It, David Horowitz, Front Page Magazine, 11/9/2007
Wonker won't be surprised, as he experienced this decades ago in his brief university career, but it is depressing nonetheless that the principal faculty union, the American Association of University Professors, has responded to a decade-long counterinsurgency against university indoctrination by essentially saying "we've got a good thing going here; screw you".
Horowitz writes a strong, detailed analysis of the historical precedents (and resistance to) this conclusion which, more or less, says that if a professor is passionate about a subject, that alone makes how a professor addresses the subject "true." Desolate -- it's like going back to the medeaval university.
However, students know something that professors don't seem to grasp. For every point of view espoused in the classroom as absolute truth, if only in a given discipline, there are a dozen others, as forcefully argued, on the Worldwide Web. The politically heuristic cave is full of holes which any student with a Web-enabled cell phone can escape through.
Nonethelss, AAUP has now put itself on the side of the political absolutism of any given professor, making what had been ad hoc policy the official position of a major faculty union. This is a disgrace to the union and to the professors and universities associated with it. It is a move one might have expected in the defunct Soviet Union, not in the "free" West.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.That about sums up what's going on, doesn't it? We've been saying much the same thing here, but Coleman has a way with words.
Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmentally conscientious citizens.
These comments, BTW, are taken from Coleman's remarks that appear at a website called ICECAP, which is supported by various "individuals" who aren't named. I figured I'd get out front with this, as the lack of ID is likely to attract the usual scurrilous attacks, like "Cheney and Halliburton are paying for this." (On the other hand, most lefty sites are careful to hide their paper trails as well.)
Nonetheless, I'd fail to see why this site's mysterious supporters should be any more nefarious than the mysterious supporters who fund sites on the left. Bottom line: Coleman is right. But his comments here will either draw the usual, shrill, scurrilous denunciations. Or, in true academic style, they will not be "noticed" at all.
As any sentient being knows right now, the markets are being mightily roiled by the chaos caused by mass quantities of subprime mortgages re-setting, defaulting, and destructively rippling through the system. We won't get into the details, but if you're in stocks, you're not having too much fun right now.
A major part of the current mess is that most institutions who issued these teaser-rate subprime mortgages—mortgages that are now re-setting and driving mortgage holders into foreclosure at an accelerating rate—either sold them off to mortgage servicers and/or other institutions who sliced and diced them into little pieces, put them in bond-like packages, and sold them off to other lending institutions, hedge funds, private investors, whatever. Again, not to drill down too deeply, these packages have acquired various names like CDOs, SIVs, etc. (Note: Google this stuff if you're really interested.) All the lay investor needs to know about these package deals right now is that, since significant pieces of these artificial constructs are collapsing, no one really has a clue as to what they're worth anymore.
Hence the ongoing market panic. Your entire balance sheet becomes suspect, and perhaps several quarters of booked earnings may now, in fact, turn out to have been smoke and mirrors. In other words, bottom line, your Chief Financial Officer (CFO) no longer has a clue as to what your company, earnings, etc. are currently worth, and several previous quarters' reported earnings may very well have been intentionally or unintentionally bogus. This is certainly not what anyone, ranging from company officials, to institutional, international, or individual investors want to hear. "Oh, those bonds I sold you. I don't have any idea if they're worth anything now. Have a nice day."
Following this stuff is a brain buster unless you're a CPA which I am not. And even legit and highly skilled CPAs are absolutely confounded when looking at these hybrid instruments. But this is why I subscribe to a few pay services whose gurus have been pretty good keeping me on track. Most useful to me at least is Decision Point, which is run by a retired air line pilot, Carl Swenlin, and offers some of the best and most useful technical info around. Carl occasionally posts excerpts from other pay-per-view services as a way of offering further market insights while cross-marketing those he thinks his users might find useful if they subscribed.
One of these services is Alan Newman's "Crosscurrents." The Crosscurrents excerpt currently posted on Carl's site has perhaps the nicest, pithiest explanation ever of the mess I just outlined for you above, and introduces an acronym that provides us with an excellent handle on precisely what we're dealing with here:
We have long argued that the growth of indexing of U.S. stocks is destroying pricing efficiencies, since indexing tends to underrate fair values and overrate poor values, according to the time tested methods of security analysis. In the same fashion, the continuing rapid growth of derivatives threatens to understate overall systemic risk by securitizing literally everything, the bad along with the good. The world of CDOs, SIVs and most recently M-LECs is well on the way towards the creation of Structured Hybrid Investment Tranches (SHITs). All of the former are suspect. We fully expect to someday be buried in the latter.I think Alan's conclusion is about right, don't you? Meanwhile, don't miss today's exciting Wall Street action which will feature yet another round of opaque Ben Bernanke testimony interpretations.
Carl's and Alan's services, as I said, are pay per view so I can't give you live links. However, I don't think Alan will mind my short excerpt above, as I think it deserves a wide airing amongst frustrated individual investors. If you want more info on Carl's Decision Point, click on the link earlier in this post. And if you're interested in seeing what Alan has to offer in Crosscurrents, just click here.
Oh, and watch out for the SHIT.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
HazZzMat has already dealt at length on the severely moonbat proclivities of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Moonbat-OH). Dennis the Menace as he's affectionately known, was responsible many moons ago for accelerating the still-continuing decline of Cleveland, Ohio, Wonker's hometown, back in the 1970s when he briefly and disastrously served as mayor of that Colossal Wreck. Once representing a slice of West Side Cleveland voters, his gerrymandered 10th Congressional District has now encroached on a swath of surrounding territories which seem to pretty much include all of Western Cuyahoga County, the county primarily occupied by Cleveland.
Denny is apparently prepared to let all his constituents go to hell as he continues in his neverending Quixotic quest for the Presidency he will never win. (Or perhaps his objective is simply to break the record of futility owned by the late Republican Harold Stassen who ran failed presidential campaigns throughout most of Wonker's early life.)
Digging hard for yet another 15 minutes of fame instead of doing his job, Dennis recently junketed to Syria to commit treason, denouncing the Bushies wherever he traveled for everything, from "global warming" to a pandemic of hangnails. While sucking up to tinhorn dictators, he continued to ignore his hapless constituents, whose unemployment and mortgage foreclosure rates (not to mention their property taxes) are among the highest in the nation with no sign of abatement or relief.
You'd think that residents of Lakewood and the rest of Kucinich's Cuyahoga County constituency would urge their Congressional Knight of the Burning Pestle to ride to their rescue and try to do something to help, right? Well, maybe they have, but Dennis Kucinich now prefers to ride his Rocinante (to mix our metaphor) on another quest: this time, to impeach Vice president Cheney for the high crime and misdemeanor, apparently, of serving as a good soldier in the Bush Administration.
Unfortunately, so wrapped up is Denny in his latest idiotic quest that he jumped the shark this week, made a fool of himself, and torqued off the House Democrat leadership to boot. (That's a great way to help your constituents.) Don Surber tells the whole story, leading off with a wonderful, descriptive quote from successfully impeached Judge (and now Congressman, of course) Alcee Hastings:
Maxine Waters (Marxist-CA) as the most delusionary Congressman alive:
Suffice it to say, Democratic leaders are pissed at Dennis for bringing up impeachment
I love it. Fox News is reporting that the Democratic leaders in Congress are seething over Dennis Kucinich for dragging impeachment onto the political stage.
Kucinich is an embarrassment to the party. He’s like the Crazy Aunt who spills all the family secrets.
They want him to go back into the attic.
Republicans are handing him a megaphone. Spill, Auntie Dennis, spill.
Are you loving this? That last sentence by Surber alludes to the fun the Republicans have been having at the House leadership's expense due to Kucinich's unadulterated lunacy. Already under siege for having declared General Petraeus' Iraq surge strategery a failure while it was succeeding, the few remaining adult members of the Democrat's House leadership cadre was in no mood to let their Chief Moonbat make them a laughingstock again. But the Repubs were only to happy to encourage Dennis' attempts to bring his delusions to the House floor. But let Don tell it:
Steny Hoyer, who as the House’s No. 2 Democrat has taken over for the incompetent House Squeaker Nancy Pelosi, tried to kill the Kucinich impeachment resolution.
Republicans were all set to help him until it occurred to them, screw Hoyer. What has he done for Republicans?
Being portrayed as pulling the wings off children over SCHIP chafed Republicans. So they decided to give Kucinich enough rope to hang all the Democrats.
86 Democrats were serious in voting for the resolution. 165 Republicans voted for the resolution just to send a message to Democratic leaders. Shelley Moore Capito was among the Republicans voting for the resolution.
Technically the motion was to table, so the 162 votes for tabling were against the resolution, while the 251 no votes were technically for the impeachment resolution.
Besides Kucinich and the rest of the Tinfoil Caucus of the Democratic Party, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel voted for the impeachment resolution.
Maybe Democratic leaders should stop playing games and start cutting deals with the Republicans in order to get legislation passed.
Surber then includes the reasonably straightforward AP version of Kucinich's latest antics. Link here to follow the fun.
What's not funny, though, are the suffering residents of Cuyahoga County who could really use some help to get up off the economic barroom floor. Sadly, as long as they continue to elect and re-elect the same dreary parade of Democrat charlatans and hacks, just as they've been doing for the past half century or so, there'll be no help coming for them anytime soon. The best they've been getting are the choreographed sucker punches thrown at the Bushies by Congress' one and only Boy Blunder. I suppose it's entertaining when you have nothing better to do.
In all honesty, we wonder when Cleveland area voters are going to wake up and elect an adult to represent them in Congress as opposed to the aging, Marxist Peter Pan they keep sending back to Washington. What does it take, folks?
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has taken thousands of dollars in cash donations from Islamists under federal investigation for terror-financing, money laundering and tax fraud, WND has learned....Hillary takes cash from terror suspects, WorldNet Daily, 11/4/2007
Former NJ Governor McGreevey skillfully avoided being recalled or impeached by throwing himself as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of homosexual rights. LOOK AT THE VICTIM, the headlines cried. As they did, they conveniently ignored a remarkable level of corrupt practices in McGreevey's administration, practices perhaps ordinary in New Jersey, but which nonetheless would have put the now ex-Governor, current gay martyr Jim McGreevey, in prison. Watch this doesn't happen with Senator Clinton with rumors about her after-hours sport. Part of her campaign is being financed by large, surreptitious funneling of cash from the People's Republic of China, an assortment of freaks like those mentioned in WorldNet Daily, an array of enemies of the United States. Like her husband, she's willing to trade her country's future for power. That's a real scandal. Who cares about gossip regarding Huma?
Cleveland, Ohio, is an industrial city on the banks of Lake Erie in the US 'rust belt'...It is the sub-prime capital of the United States. One in ten homes in the city is now vacant, and whole neighbourhoods have been blighted by foreclosed, vandalized and boarded-up homes....Foreclosure Wave Sweeps America, BBC Report, 11/5/2007
No offense to Clevelanders, but choosing this city as representative of the sub-prime mess is about like picking Chernobyl as a good example of a city developed by nuclear power. Fact is, with the best efforts of local politicians, not to mention the federal government, Cleveland has been sinking for half a century. A downtown revival does not rebuild a metropolitan center nor replace productive enterprises that have found better places to do business. And throwing subprime mortgages out like so much raw meat in Cleveland, as in Buffalo, another city where massive government subsidies have not been able to reverse decades of local and state government misconduct, was just stupid, not to mention mendacious and politically manipulative.
The writer recalls similar exercises in banker stupidity and is not impressed. As with those who threw billions at Filipino colonels and African dictators in the 1980s, the senior officers of banks who offer loans to people who can't afford them, and are unlikely to pay them back, should be fired. They won't be, however, and they know it. As with the merry band of loan pranksters in the 1980's, they know very well that a massive credit problem will force Congress to offer legislative relief to banks that should be allowed to fail for their bad business practices.
It will be offered in the guise of "helping the average American." Right -- the collusion of bankers and creditors to loot the taxpayers is justifiably described as criminal behavior, not as the innocent gulled by Satan's agent at Citigroup. However, as with the S&L disaster, it won't matter which party dominates Congress. The loot and plunder philosophy that's informed American bankers and their creditors since the "sovereign debt" days of the 1980s to the subprime market of today will be upheld in Congress and ignored by the Courts.
Don't expect this to be reported by the BBC.
Like the Erie Canal, a space elevator would be more than just a testament to...American ingenuity...It would have broad, practical economic and political ramifications...Just as the Erie Canal lowered the cost of shipping a ton of flour from $120 to less than $6, a space elevator could similarly open up space by radically reducing the price of hauling the equipment and supplies into orbit...If America is serious about establishing a permanent presence on the moon -- and, ultimately, Mars -- this country will need a dramatically more efficient process for delivering cargo and personnel into a space. Our present system of using individual rockets is about as efficient as hauling flour by horseback....A Modern Day Erie Canal, Jack Uldrich, TCS Daily, 11/6/2007
Uldrich's article calls to mind the greatest fear held by advocates of human expansion, not only into space, but into new endeavors on earth. There's always some Nanny-Statist who wants to put off an entrepreneur's request for funds in order to pay for the welfare needs of a new constituency. As Uldrich illuminates, the 19th century Clinton, New York's governor, was not shy about spending the colossal sums (by 19th century standards) required to built what was a highly risky project. He understood that a current constituency may be valuable, but the future value of the state's economy, and its well-being, was more important.
WHY IS THE WORLD MORE CONCERNED with Musharraf's coup than with Hugo Chavez's emerging dicatatorship? Because enemies of the United States, like Chavez, get a pass.Glenn's answer, too, is a good one. I have read where Saint Franklin Roosevelt, when queried as to why we were supporting yet another dictator-thug in another era, is said to have responded, that he "may be a son-of-a-bitch. But he's OUR son-of-a-bitch." The wealthy Father of American Socialism got that about right.
Problem is that, as Glenn indicates, "OUR son-of-a-bitch" Musharraf is defined by today's despicably biased MSM as "BUSH'S son-of-a-bitch." And thus, Musharraf is well-worth trashing while Chavez is not. The demonstrable fact that Chavez actively works 24/7 to expropriate American interests in Venezuela; while the increasingly hapless Musharraf has at least made an effort and and has endangered his own life to help us against the Islamofascists. But he's "helping Bush," so let's throw him out.
An additional reason for this illogical yet dialectical dichotomy is that Chavez is a Commie while Musharraf is most certainly not. And, reliving those Golden Days of old—when the MSM worked hand-in-hand with the increasingly leftist Democrats to throw the barely-Republican Nixon out of office and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Vietnam—America's defeatist left once again can't stand the thought of allowing a Republican President to gain a military victory since it would likely keep the Democrats out of the White House for another term. So they'll undermine him every step of the way, including mounting campaigns against anyone aligned with the U.S. in the Global War on Terror (GWOT).
For the Democrats, it's all about power, but never about responsibility. And at the very bottom of their list, after stealing every available wallet via massive tax increases, is the safety and welfare of the American people. Narcissists and elite Marxist poseurs, the American left today could ultimately prove fatal to democracy as we know it if their treasonous behavior is sanctified via the ballot box in 2008. They are the ultimate irresponsible adolescents.
This is what Glenn did NOT say. But we're sure he meant to!
Monday, November 05, 2007
As is so often the case these days, the editorial begins, not with an argument but by smearing proponents backing this perfectly logical measure, which is, essentially, an endorsement of freedom of choice:
The Republican legislative leadership would have you believe that the voucher law on Tuesday's ballot is a solution to the problems plaguing education in Utah. It is not. Rather, it is a product of right-wing ideologues far from Utah who would like nothing better than to take education out of the hands of the taxpaying Americans who pay for it and turn it over to private interests.Excuse me? "Right-wing ideologues far from Utah" want to take education out of the hands of taxpaying Americans? Excuse me? Voucher measures, in fact, cause quite the opposite to happen. Vouchers take a helping of the same tax money that goes to support overpaid, tenured NEA teachers who run underperforming public schools and channel it instead to the parents, allowing them to opt-out of this corrupt monopoly and sending their children to privately or religiously-run schools. The children thus have access to schools that will provide them with a safe environment (as opposed to public schools) as well as with a LEARNING environment, as opposed to the socialist re-education camps run by NEA deadbeats more interested in showing Al Gore's bogus movie than in teaching science, reading, and the arts to their malleable young charges.
Apparently, the left-wing ideologue who penned the Trib's anti-choice editorial has no problem, however, turning over "the taxpayers' money" to his or her fellow left-wing ideologues in the NEA's re-education combine. What a joke. The left is famous for accusing its innocent opposition of the sins they themselves regularly commit.
In addition, while denouncing allegedly right-wing out of state support for this measure, the Trib editorial writer neglects to mention the substantial, and indeed, LARGER amount of money flooding in from LEFT-WING out of state interests. Apparently, though, that's okay, because they're smart and we're not. But let's get back to the Trib's editorial rant:
Referendum 1 was forced onto Tuesday's ballot by a groundswell of opposition to vouchers by a populace unwilling to compromise their neighborhood schools by allowing tax revenue to be siphoned off to pay private school tuition.
Wrong again. Referendum 1 was forced onto Tuesday's ballot by well-funded socialists, spearheaded by the NEA which takes no prisoners when defending its monopoly on re-education camps, I mean public schools. These people are also ideologues by the way, proving that some ideologues are more equal than others. But wait, there's more:
Beyond the radical political and philosophical goals of the voucherites, there are other sound reasons for pounding a stake through the heart of this perennial push on Capitol Hill: the potential of vouchers to rob public schools of funding, and the questionable constitutionality of sending public funds to religion-based private schools.Note the hyper-heated rhetoric here. Supporters of vouchers are "voucherites," a sly adaptation of 19th century anti-Catholic know-nothing rhetoric. Worse, the Trib's writer, in effect, wants to "pound a stake through the heart" of these "voucherites," slanderously characterizing them as bloodsucking vampires. Which, of course, they are to the writer of this screed, since they are potentially sucking away $$$$, the lifeblood of the destructive NEA public school monopoly. Nowhere is it explained why the public schools are deserving of such a monopoly, nor is it shown why private schools are not.
The anti-religious tone here is unmistakable, taking on the same ugly cast as it did in the last century. In which century, by the way, Protestant religious readings and lessons were an expected part of public education, as exemplified in the McGuffey Readers, still in use by some home schoolers and a regular part of, surprise, the public school curriculum.
This diatribe masquerading as an editorial concludes with a self-righteous frenzy:
Utah's voucher law also fails as an antidote to the expected influx of 145,000 new students, many of them low-income immigrants, in the coming decade. Most poor families cannot afford private school for their children, even with a $3,000 voucher.
The bottom line on vouchers is simply this: Sending tax money to private schools is a bad idea. Vote "AGAINST" Referendum 1.In poiny of fact, this editorial notwithstanding, it is demonstrably and measurably a "bad idea" to throw money down the hole of the unaccountable, corrupt, and failed public education system that holds a monopoly over our nation's public education system.
The voucher law was not intended as an "antidote to the expected influx" of new students. It was intended to help ALL students who wished to, to escape the clutches of the left-wing NEA-public school re-education combine. And the second sentence above is an outright falsehood. Most established private schools build or will build scholarship funds to fill the tuition gap for poorer students.
We'd urge sensible Utahns to ignore the Tribune's vicious and wrongheaded editorial screed and vote "FOR" Referendum 1. A "FOR" vote will do two things. First of all, it will improve education in Utah by breaking the left-wing NEA stranglehold on Utah's public schools. And second of all, it will send a strong message to the smug Marxist who wrote today's propaganda hit piece on a perfectly sensible piece of legislation that all right-thinking Utahns should be proud to endorse.
Friday, November 02, 2007
The government would be absolving people who have means of their responsibility to provide for their own children, while foisting that duty upon those who never asked for it. And there is nothing moral whatsoever in that...The left is attempting not only to co-opt the language of morality, but to do so with the up-is-down postmodern rhetoric that makes middle class people the "working poor" and calls coercive redistribution to them a "moral duty"....A Moral Case Against SCHIP Expansion, Max Borders, TCSDaily.com, 10/31/07
This a must-read for Republicans especially, a sharply argued defense of refusing to expand SCHIP.
Max Borders also blogs at redclaycitizen.com.
For those wringing their hands about a sudden diminution of ideas on the right, here's a good place for a refreshing dip in a lake of reason.
Capping international economic growth means preventing industrialization in the Global South. It means Indians and Congolese and Chinese and Nigerians and Indonesians and Brazilians and countless others will not have refrigeration, or air conditioning, or easily potable water, or cleans ways to heat their homes. For the Global South, freezing the global economy in a ephemeral attempt at affecting the climate means permanent poverty, with reduced life spans, continued plagues, unsanitary living and working conditions, and diminished opportunities for education, for Western-levels of medical care, and for convenient and safe transportation...But Western environmentalists and the Religious Left, preoccupied by their own political goals, and blinded by their own wealth, prefer not to admit these consequences for the world's poor. In the Religious Left' mythology, much of the world remains poor only because the exploitative West is rich....How Global Warming Activism Hurts the Poor, Mark D. Tooley, Front Page Magazine, 11/2/2007
As with environmentalist hysteria surrounding DDT, and its associated pseudo-scientific rhetoric (not to mention not-so-scientific intimidation and extortion), the pseudo-scientific hysteria surrounding global "warming" has had real consequences. Unfortunately in both cases, the consequences have been, and will be, devastating to the poor. It is estimated that more than 30,000,0000 poor people have died of a preventable disease (malaria) since the banning of DDT by the United Nations. Cutting off developing world industrialization might have an even more devastating effect. But, as is true with most "humane" programs of the left, humanity itself seems to be the primary target.
Read all of this fine Front Page article. And the next time you hear someone pitch a socialist program, duck. It may be aimed at your head.
“There’s some dispute as to whether Huma’s actually human or not.” Hillary's Mystery Woman, Spencer Morgan, The New York Observer, 4/1/2007
Double-negatively speaking, no one ever said The New York Observer wasn't catty.
The absence of logging and the emphasis on fire suppression in these national forests have produced diseased and dying forests. The gentle fires of the past have turned into to monster fires like the ones we just experienced in California that destroy homes and critical habitat and cost billions...The nation's privately held forests stand in stark contrast. Most are well-managed and thriving. Some, like the ones managed by International Paper Company, welcome hunters, hikers and campers. The fees collected help keep these forests healthy and produce profit for shareholders....How Environmentalists Fanned California Fires, Jane Chastain in Politically Direct, WorldNetDaily.com, 11/1/2007
The writer can offer anecdotes on this subject. In the 1990s, during one of Wyoming's many droughts (a history of them going back centuries before Europeans arrived), Yellowstone had its worst fire since opening to the public a century ago. All of that space in northwestern Wyoming is of course government-managed land. In adjacent pine forests, those under private forestry range management suffered almost no damage. With established fire breaks and fire trails, as well as equipment stationed with a mix of company and private volunteers, a firestorm in the national park was prevented from spreading to privately managed land. Why would this be so? A national park is considered a political plum. As such it's subject to political whims, which since the 1970's have included some truly bizarre notions of forest management. A privately managed forest has somewhat more limited objectives; it is considered not only a source of current income but a legacy for future profits as well. The small patch of forest the writer's family has had dominion over since the early 20th century has been logged dozens of times and still looks about the way it did when the writer first saw it in 1955.
The reward for helping capture and convict arson suspects that intentionally set some of the fires in California has now been increased to $250,000. The California fires destroyed an estimated 1,800 homes, causing well over 1 billion dollars of damage and burning 461,000 acres...Two of the fires, in Orange and Riverside counties, are believe to be the work of arsonists...Arson: California Fire Reward Now $250,000, Five Arrested, Brenda Jones, National Ledger, 10/26/2007
On 60 Minutes a week or so back, the reporter on the California fire story kept asking leading questions of the fire marshall working on one of the major fires near San Diego. He kept pushing for the marshall to say that things are different now; it must be global warming. In the past decade, arson has been behind many fires. Of special note are fires set by radical eco-groups, American homegrown terrorists who aren't, surprisingly enough, part of the Christian right. Look for a new story soon, perhaps by someone who looks like a young Dan Rather, about how global warming causes disturbances in behavior, such as starting fires.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Apparently, we've been behind the curve, however, on one interesting item. Pop quiz: who is the following individual?
Aw, shucks, the inset gives you a hint.
Hot rumor is that this sleek, charming individual, Hillary's personal assistant, Huma Abedin, is also, er, well, more deeply involved with the Smartest Woman in the World than you might think. Rumor has been around for awhile, but now, Mickey Kaus, no right winger, has seen fit to bring it out into the open, revealing that the LA Times has been sitting on a story about this for awhile. Who knew?
Making things more fun, Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia and is a practicing Muslim! Hokey Smoke, Bullwinkle! Or, maybe more appropriately, what would Allah think? Then again, this could be a convoluted and deviously clever form of Wahhabi jihad. Shades of Judith and Holofernes, although the jihadists might not appreciate our allusion.
Rumor are fun. We don't always have the time or the resources to sleuth them down, so we can't confirm this one, as much as we'd like to. But we'd have to observe that it's just like the media to cover up this kind of stuff for lefty Democrats—all the more so when something like this has been going on for a long time.
To be honest, given Bill's philandering and shameful abuse of perfectly fine cigars, we can't say we'd blame Hill for seeking a little solace elsewhere. But if this rumor is confirmed, it's not going to go down too well on the campaign trail.
Makes you reflect, too. Maybe that's why Hill has "stood by her man" all these years. We've always assumed that, like most leftist trolls from the 1960s, Bill and Hillary have what was then known fashionably as an "open marriage," i.e., you were married and all that, but if an interesting opportunity arose, well, then, who are you to interfere with your partner's pursuit of happiness?
We have also long suspected that Hill is actually a switch-hitter. Which would nicely explain a whole lot of things that we think the media knows already but has never bothered to explain.
Much more productive to dig for "fake but accurate" memos that make Republicans look bad.
Hat tip to Little Green Footballs for getting us started on this.
Don't miss the next exciting episode. Which might actually happen somewhere other than HazZzMat. And might depend on what the definition of "is" is.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The utter corruption of academia is something that's insufficiently appreciated, we think, by todays parents who take out second mortgages hoping to give their kids a boost in life by helping them earn a college degree. What the kids get instead is nonstop propaganda from a professorial collective that has essentially blackballed even moderately conservative would-be academics from the tenure track, claiming they don't really want to teach college anyway since all they're interested in is filthy lucre.
This is a flat-out falsehood. I know. I was one of the conservative guys who was shut out from academic life in the late 1970s. So don't let any of these unsupervised, lying juvenile delinquents tell you any differently. The result of this nearly unabated hi-jacking of higher education by the Stalinist left is a near-total lack of perspective in pretty near all subject areas, to put it charitably. And filmmaker Maloney is well of this, documenting it in painful detail in his film.
Given its effective denunciation of the left-wing professoriat, the equally leftist entertainment establishment is not about to help Maloney's film gain any traction in the hinterlands. I.e., if you want to see it, you'll have to travel to the film's website and add your name to a petition to get it shown in your area. Unfortunately, we missed the showing in DC, but we're confident it will be back. Scott Johnson gives the film a hearty endorsement as well.
But predictably, renowned wackademic Stanley Fish has a different point of view in the predictably left New York Times. Johnson politely credits him with acknowledging Maloney's "genius," while "pooh-poohing" the filmmaker's pillorying of the university system. Scott is giving Fish too much credit by half. If you read Fish's so-called critique, you'll easily and almost instantly detect the usual cheap tricks employed by lifetime leftists to shift the argument, evade discussing an opponent's valid points, and ultimately attack the opponent's morals or character.
The current hit job is entitled "Yet Once More: Political Correctness On Campus." Even the hed, which may or may not have been penned by Fish, drips of the sneer-fest that's to come.
Before he gets to his topic, Fish leads with a smear, attempting to discredit his opponent before Maloney can even get off a punch:
According to the New York Post of Oct. 7, Maloney, unhappy with the performance of his dry cleaner, began plastering his neighborhood with flyers proclaiming that the offending establishment “sucks and is overpriced.” Now he is being sued for defamation, and he has responded to the suit by declaring that what he did is “clearly protected speech.”Fish uses this as a segueway into Maloney's film, and it works in a glib sort of way, setting Maloney up as an individual to be reckoned with. But that's just the surface. The smear has already done its job. Even more interesting, Maloney is being smeared with the implication that he's guilty and therefore "sue-able" for doing something American hard leftists routinely get a pass for nearly every day: plastering flyers all over town denouncing anyone, politician or no, that they don't like.
With his commie-symp table set, Fish goes on to describe, more or less accurately, what the film is about by cobbling together a laundry list of Maloney's points, lining them up all the better to denounce them without providing any evidence at all. Maloney's points, as projected by Fish (and edited by me, since this is a Germanic paragraph) go pretty much as follows:
You may think that universities are places where ideas are explored and evaluated in a spirit of objective inquiry. But in fact, Maloney tells us, they are places of indoctrination where a left-leaning faculty teaches every subject, including chemistry and horticulture, through the prism of race, class and gender...where course reading lists are heavy on radical texts and light on texts celebrating the Western tradition; where the American flag is held in suspicion; where military recruiting personnel are either treated rudely or barred from campus; where the default assumption is that anything the United States and Israel do is evil.Hey, that's pretty accurate. But Fish needs to stand up for his fellow leftists, and now proceeds to play whack-a-mole with very little evidence but quite a lot of condescension. For example, Maloney, and by extension, conservatives, complain (to no avail) how radical leftists are routinely recruited to speak at campuses while conservatives are either ignored on invitation lists, invited and then prevented from speaking, or invited, allowed to speak a little, and then hooted from the stage by the usual complement of brown-shirted leftist hooligans. What silliness, sniffs Fish:
Students who want to hear different speakers should get themselves elected to the committee. Faculty members who feel that speakers of interest to them never get invited should go get a grant or pony up their own research funds (if they have any) or think about going to another department.Of course, Fish never mentions that the organizations that control the invitation of speakers generally blackball anyone not agreeing with the leftist agenda. So "getting elected" to such a committee is a moot point and Fish knows it. He just isn't going to tell you. By not providing this little snippet of evidence, which any college student will corroborate by the way, he wins a point from any reader not aware of this dirty little secret. Furthermore, he cynically invites faculty members to "pony up their own research funds" knowing that such funds are usually provided via the Feds and are restricted to, well, research. Or, barring that, they should "go get a grant," an equally impossible task as Fish well knows, since the left has taken over very nearly all major grant giving agencies. Fish also knows that even if a right-wing speaker somehow manages to get invited anyway, some university minion will find a way to close and lock the small classroom where the speaker is scheduled to appear anyway.
By sidetracking this issue thusly, Fish evades the question Maloney and the right pose: Why do student activity fees (so-called) always go to Marxist speakers, never, or very nearly never, to anyone else?
Once having finessed this issue, Fish preens by kicking his victim while he's down.
Of course, once a speaker is invited, he or she should be protected from harassment, but heckling and picketing aren’t harassment. They are what you buy when you decide to appear before the public.What Fish does not mention is that the brown-shirts only show up to trash conservative speakers. Leftists are always listened to with respect and, indeed, rapture. This has happily begun to change just a bit, but Fish is being ingenuous on this point, attempting to portray the small cadre of conservative speakers as a bunch of whiners who can't take criticism. That implication is, quite simply, bogus.
Fish next goes on to challenge Maloney's observations on academia's encouragement of racial segregation on campus due to any number of things springing forth from the quota systems that are still quaintly known as admissions policies. He cites Maloney's juxtaposition of this with old films of 1950s and 1960s integration battles, calling such positioning "dishonest." But what Fish fails to mention is the nasty enclaves of radicals who've managed to enclose themselves in "ethnic studies" departments that are essentially propaganda mills for racists who have used their sanctuaries to re-create Marxian class-struggle along ethnic and even religious lines. Their operation, existence, and structure encourages minorities to bond with their fellows while regarding others as "the enemy." In other words, it's academia itself that encourages this open hostility.
It is perhaps the great irony of our time that these hotbeds of radicalism have effectively been the spur for a "separate but equal" educational system on most college campuses that must have integratonist Martin Luther King spinning in his grave. But Fish chooses instead to aim all this back on Maloney who never had a part in this kind of blasphemy.
Speaking of dishonest, Fish himself is clearly guilty of dishonesty in his next argument, which he purports to handle by, effectively, laughing at it:
Then there’s the matter of speech codes. This is a fake issue. Every speech code that has been tested in the courts has been struck down, often on the very grounds — you can’t criminalize offensiveness — invoked by Maloney. Even though there are such codes on the books of some universities, enforcing them will never hold up. Students don’t have to worry about speech codes.A "fake issue??" The hell it is. Speech codes have ruined the lives, not to mention the career hopes, of a surprising number of hapless students who've run afoul of them. How is this, for such students, a "fake issue?" (Ask Duke's current athletes what they think of that concept.)
You "can't criminalize offensiveness?" That's exactly what's done all the time to students who somehow manage to transgress university speech codes. They're tried, convicted, and ruined by kangaroo courts without having recourse to attorneys or indeed any kind of defense at all. Students running afoul of speech codes must endure what can only be called "show trials." This has a chilling and intimidating effect on free speech. For any student who might transgress the Party Line. Any parallel speech code violation on the left is okay.
Fish also mentions that speech codes "never hold up." Oh, really? Then why are the show trials still going on? Like the Democrat's legislative maneuvering to legalize illegal immigration, if you thwart speech codes, they'll just show up in new language. Fish's rebuttal is specious and he knows it. But he keeps moving before the average reader knows what he's getting away with.
Another red herring is the accusation that there is too little patriotism on campus. Maloney interviews a bus driver who was forced by a university to remove an American flag because it might make foreign students uncomfortable... Universities by definition are neither patriotic nor unpatriotic; striking political stances in either direction is not the business they are properly in.Oh, please. There IS too little patriotism on campus. (How many elite schools allow ROTC or military recruiting, for example?) Genuine patriotism and love of the U.S. is actively discouraged by the professoriat as racist, colonialist, and just plain hateful. Any student embracing in public what we used to call patriotism is likely to find himself smack in the middle of a show trial before he knows what hit him, probably for violating a "speech code" that Fish would swear will never hold up in court.
The final statement here is a fitting conclusion to Fish's non-argument, almost shocking in its contempt for readers of this piece. Anyone who is not a card-carrying leftist knows full well that "striking political stances" is PRECISELY the business that modern universities are in. By cleverly inserting the weasel word "properly," however, Fish tries to insulate himself against what we've just accused him of here. Sorry, it doesn't work. Any sentient being knows what Fish really means.
Fish is now so full of himself that he actually attempts to tackle the most telling argument against modern academia today, supported by mountains of irrefutable statistics: the blatant tilt by a huge majority of today's faculties toward the left, generally acknowledged to be in the neighborhood of 92%-95% left and/or Democrat in most objective polls. Fish trots right by the stats, refuting Maloney by making a flat-out statement he simply can't defend:
[Maloney] quotes a student who declares, “The university totally ignores that diversity of thought means political diversity.”Says who? You don't know whether to laugh at a statement like this or put in a call to Tony Soprano to suggest ways to remedy idiocy like this once and for all. Fish says "political diversity" is a more honest label for what his enemies would call "intellectual diversity."
No it doesn’t. Political diversity (a more honest label for what Maloney, following David Horowitz, calls “intellectual diversity”) means that in terms of its partisan affiliations, a university faculty should look like America and display the same balance of Democrats and Republicans as can be found in the country’s voting rolls. But this requirement of proportional political representation makes sense only if you can predict what and how a professor teaches from his or her partisan identification: absent such a correlation, the political makeup of the faculty is not a legitimate pedagogical concern.
Fish wants to use his own term because he wants to retain control of this non-discussion. Maloney and Horowitz have chosen "intellectual diversity" PRECISELY because it's what they mean. Horowitz in particular is on record all over the web as NOT being interested so much in a professor's politics as he is in the professor's intellectual curiosity and objectivity. Fish is certainly aware of this but insists on using "political diversity" so he can promote yet another flavor of the moral equivalence argument.
Further, you CAN predict what a professor is going to teach if you know he's a leftist. He is going to teach the world according to Karl Marx. He is not going to encourage his students to explore the benefits of capitalism. Thus, the political makeup of a faculty IS a legitimate pedagogical concern. Too monolithic a viewpoint robs a student of any chance of a balanced presentation, encouraging the student to pick up and pass on the received wisdom of Marxism rather than explore alternatives that might contradict academic orthodoxy. Fish knows this as well. Are we sniffing out some real hypocrisy here?
We are. And Fish is happy to prove our point in his grand finale:
In 1915, the American Association of University Professors warned that if we didn’t clean up our own shop, external constituencies, with motives more political than educational, would step in and do it for us. Now they’re doing it in the movies and it’s our own fault.This is wilfully ingenuous on Fish's part and once again, he knows it. He's a highly-skilled propagandist, adept at effectively committing little sins of omission at every turn, the better to unload on the opposition before they can reload. We strongly suspect that in 1915, the AAUP could never have conceived of the kind of politicization that has nearly ruined higher education in America today. Fish would have his readers believe that his antagonists on the right are the only ones guilty of "motives more political than educational." But, again as he well knows, it is precisely the fascistic, hate-filled leftist mob that rules most college campuses that is "more political and educational."
Having made his declaration of academic disinterestedness preposterous by flat-out ignoring how today's faculties act, confess, and proclaim, it's hilarious to see one of their own openly fearing that things are about to be set, well, aright by the equal but opposite political reaction. A reaction that might never have occurred if the academic idiotocracy had not soiled its own nest by politicizing academia in the first place.
It's typical of the left to falsely accuse the right of crimes the left has already committed. But I think it's too late for them now. They can probably hold out for another generation, but their number is up. People are sick of this, they're going to do something about it, and academia is going to have to learn that they are indeed responsible for their actions. They will soon, as a result, be responsible to their employers as well. Just like the rest of us in the real world. The era of the academic-as-arrested-adolescent is slowly drawing to a close. (But they'll hold out as long as they can.)
Fish is well aware of what's going on here. What he doesn't seem to know is that he's now fighting a rearguard action. And that's how he came to write such a preposterous piece. In the end, preaching his faulty gospel to the same audience over the years has left him in the same pickle as the rest of his fellow Marxist sympathizers and recruiters. He can no longer muster a defensible argument. He has forgotten how to do it if indeed he ever knew how to begin with.