Friday, September 28, 2007
The other 99.9% of the population should just move on to happy hour.
Somehow, when former Harvard President Larry Summers, one of America’s most esteemed economists, told a group of academics that the distribution of high-level cognitive abilities may not be evenly spread out among men and women, activist feminist professors got the vapors and claimed, from the comfort of their fainting couches, that their hysteria could only be cured by Summers’ head on a platter. But Ward Churchill, a penny-ante buffoon who seems to have downloaded his Ph.D. from cheapdegrees.com, compares the victims of 9/11 to Holocaust planner Adolf Eichmann, and suddenly academic freedom demands Churchill keep his tenured job forever, at taxpayers’ expense.Read it all.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
And Hitler never got his hands on nuclear weapons.
When I hear Hitler evoked in contemporary arguments, I return to my dog-eared copy of "Mein Kampf" to reacquaint myself with what that "petty and cruel dictator" had to say in the years before he assumed the power to wreak ruin on so much of the world. He, like Ahmadinejad, was pleased to be vilified. "Any man who is not attacked in the Jewish newspapers, not slandered and
vilified, is no decent German and no true National Socialist," he wrote. "The best yardstick for the value of his attitude, for the sincerity of his conviction, and the force of his will is the hostility he receives from the moral enemy of our people."
Ahmadinejad understands how to update such an attitude for the 21st century. We may think he was humiliated by the hostility he confronted at Columbia, but maybe he, like Hitler, understands how to play it out to his advantage against the gullible, the feckless and the frightened.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Full disclosure: my feelings about the availability of guns have evolved over the last few years, and I'm still kind of squishy about where exactly I come down on the whole thing. But I like this article anyway. Obviously, it's a good, common sense step in the right direction; it's ridiculous that non-citizens living in the U.S. could get a license for concealed carry without any kind of background check. But even more, I like this little piece because I suspect it's giving some raging anti-gun-nut-slash-open-borders-activist somewhere a fit:
"Hey, you can't do that! Undocumented aliens and people whose backgrounds can't be checked have just as much right to guns as the rest of us --er, which is to say, no right at all."
Check it out. And the next time somebody cuts in front of you in line at the grocery store, you just hit 'em with, "You wicked philistine, we will thwart your frantic attempts to stifle us!"
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'm reminded of the issue by an AP article today entitled "Congress Denounces Iran's Ahmadinejad." The upshot of the article is that a bitterly divided, partisan Congress managed to pull itself together for once to approve some tougher sanctions against Iran. Okay, makes sense. Nutjob, holocaust-denying, nuclear-crazy president over there helping to kill our troops. Let's get together and do something. Nice that we can all get behind this one. Feelgood political story of the month for everyone.
But wait -- here's how AP reporter Anne Flaherty explains Congress' move:
The swift rebuke was a rare display of bipartisan cooperation in a Congress bitterly divided on the Iraq war. It reflected lawmakers' long-standing nervousness about Tehran's intentions in the region, particularly toward Israel—a sentiment fueled by the pro-Israeli lobby whose influence reaches across party lines in Congress.[Emphases mine.]
Huh. So let's get this straight. Ahmadinejad is trying to get nukes. He may already have them. His government is supporting, equipping, and training the shia terrorists who are killing sunnis and American soldiers in Iraq. Iran is a theocracy run by Islamist mullahs who desire a worldwide caliphate. Ahmadinejad himself believes the coming of the twelfth imam (a messiah of sorts) is imminent. If he nukes Israel, the U.S. will have no choice but to respond, and the war with Iran that most of us would rather avoid would be unavoidable.
But Congress imposes sanctions to try and keep Ahmadinejad's arsenal nuke-free, and there can be only one explanation. Those filthy Jews have their dirty fingers all over it. Sneaky bastards.
Is the "Israel Lobby" the only explanation for the long-standing desire of American policymakers to not see Israel perish? Might it have something to do with the fact that Israel is a reliable ally, a rational actor, and a thriving, pluralistic democracy? No. It's not because those Jews are trusted allies. It's because they're playing Congress like the London Symphony Orchestra.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Your mainstream media leans hard to the left. And the left is where today's western anti-semitism makes its home. The right-wing anti-semites (think KKK) have been wholly marginalized. On the left, however, there's real power -- in universities, media conglomerates, and more recently in politics. And, still, American Jews keep voting for Democrats, who are increasingly beholden to . . . the far left. I'll say it: Like sheep.
But here's one to keep your eye on. The U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear a case challenging an Indiana state law, passed in 2005, that requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. The ACLU challenged the law (of course), and a federal court of appeals upheld it.
Reuters highlights the fact that this requirement is more likely to reduce vote counts for Democrats. Opponents of laws such as this one argue that photo ID requirements "intimidate" minority voters and therefore deter them from going to the polls. As though it were 1930 and we all lived in Mississippi.
The fact is, photo ID requirements deter the following people from voting: poeple who aren't registered to vote; people who have already voted earlier in the day; dead people; illegal immigrants; and wanted felons. All of which, I suppose, shows I actually agree with Reuters' assessment -- the categories of people described above are more likely to vote for Democrats than for Republicans.
Oh yes! The Puck thing. A friend once compared me to Robin Goodfellow, a/k/a “Puck,” the mischief-making sprite from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It’s been well over a decade since I’ve read that play, and I can’t say I completely agree with the comparison, but as nicknames go, I like it a lot better than “Nellie” (are you listening, Benedick?). And “Princess Leia” seemed a little immature.
So, that’s that, then. Let’s have some fun.
For the small number of readers who don't know me personally (and I know you're out there because I have access to your IPs) -- I come at this material from the perspective of a litigator. Puck shares this background. Feel free to hate us on that basis alone.
Welcome, Puck. I'm sure you'll be a breath of fresh air to those who tire of my dry self-righteousness.
For decades, the UAW has gotten away with imposing its will on management, securing terms in collective bargaining agreements that make economic efficiency at the institutional level an abject impossibility. Well, here we go again.
The UAW is on strike. 73,000 workers are putting down their tools and taking to the streets to protest the injustice of management's hesitance to pay them many times more per hour than the market says they're worth. I'm not reflexively anti-union (well, maybe a little), but the behavior of the UAW is consistently unreasonable. Consider this: According to the AP, U.S. auto makers pay their workers an average of $25 per hour more than their Japanese counterparts. Japan isn't exactly a third-world sprawl of sweatshops. It's about the closest thing in the world to an analog for our economy. And our auto makers are paying our workers more by a factor of nearly five times the federal minimum wage. And still the UAW is throwing an absolute temper tantrum over the unfairness of it all.
Management is partly to blame, to be sure. It has agreed time after time to overpay and otherwise coddle its spoiled workers. Take for example the expiring CBA, under which 12,000 auto workers were paid to show up every day and do crossword puzzles. But such is the absurd power of unions. They pay their workers to strike, and the companies that overpaid them in the first place suffer greatly if they decline to further overpay them.
The irony here is that unions scream the loudest about the "evils" of outsourcing and globalization. Guess what, folks. When you pout and picket because U.S. companies don't want to pay you five times what you're worth, companies will increasingly find others to do the same work -- even overseas. Indeed, outsourcing may well be the best medicine for the disease of union overreach.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Why, you ask? Well, because he stands up to that horrible meanie, George Bush:
(Emphasis mine.) Got that? This constitutes evidence that what I wrote in the post below this one is not bonkers. This is your American Left, ladies and gentlemen. Talk a long, hard look. And this isn't a lone whacko. Check out the supportive comments that follow her little ode. This constituency has become the mitochondria of the Democratic Party. The site where Kohn writes -- The Daily Kos -- hosts an annual convention that was attended this year by all of the Democratic presidental candidates except Biden. That's right. The most leftwing lunatics in America had a party, and Clinton, Obama, Edwards, etc. showed up to grovel.
I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding.
Does this, perhaps, cast Columbia's invitation to Ahmadinejad in a new light? Does this:
I’m not saying he’s a good guy at all. I’m only saying it’s hard to know the full story when the Bush Administration seems so invested in smearing Ahmadinejad --- and the media, as we’ve already learned with Iraq, is happy to choose its facts in convenient accordance. Maybe we shouldn't buy into the Bush team's characterization of Ahmadinejad as part of their drumbeat escalating toward potential war.Yes, it's yet another Chimpy McHalliburton conspiracy. In sum, the enemy (Ahmadinejad) of my enemy (Bush) is my dreamy, muppetlike ticket to heterosexuality.
Make no mistake -- Ahmadinejad is a terrorist, and not just in the sense that his government runs Hezbollah and murders Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Ahmadinejad is, in fact, one of the "students" who seized the U.S. diplomatic mission in Tehran and held more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days in 1979-1981.
The obvious irony is that -- despite his historical disdain for diplomatic niceties -- the United States government is honoring its diplomatic obligation to permit him entry.
Meanwhile, debate understandably rages over the invitation from Columbia. The administrators who think this is a keen idea cite the importance of free expression of ideas -- even controversial ones -- on a university campus.
I call shenanigans on them for two reasons: First, liberal academics have an appalling record of actually protecting free speech. When Harvard President Larry Summers had the temerity to suggest that there are biological differences between men and women (*gasp!*), he was drummed out of office. Just last week lefty profs at Stanford went ballistic over the news that no less a monster than former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld had been appointed a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution (a Stanford-based think thank). All this, of course, on top of liberal academia's assorted persecution of lapses in political correctness.
Second, free speech is irrelevant here. Nobody's suppressing the poor Iranian president who has only Al Jazeera, CNN, 60 Minutes, and the rest of the international media to help him get his voice heard. We may acknowledge Ahmadinejad's right to say whatever he wants to say while on our soil, but we need not invite him into our living rooms to do so. This is about values. Columbia can choose to provide a forum for any number of important speakers and issues. What makes Ahmadinejad worthy of selection? If he speaks candidly (as he does at home), he'll deny the holocaust ever occurred and he will promise to nuke Israel. If -- as is much more likely -- he decides to tailor his message to his audience, he'll duck, dodge, and obfuscate. He'll deftly engage in a form of rhetorical judo at which he excels: laying the blame for all of the world's ills at the feet of the U.S. and Israel.
Which is really why the academes are psyched he's here, folks. At the end of the day, the lefties will be praising Ahmadinejad's nuance, thumbs-upping his suggestion that 9-11 was our own fault, scorning the administration for missing an "opportunity" to make peaceful chitchat with him during his stay, and proving again what ridiculous, untethered dupes they all are. Write it down.
This resumption in blogging is attributable to a friend of mine who confessed the other day that he relied in Primary Reason for the sort of policy/political information the MSM notoriously omits. There are certainly other right-of-center blogs that get this job done, but my friend apparently enjoys the cache of knowing the blogger. So there you go.
And here we go.