Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Overwhelmingly White"

Apparently, it's the Main Stream Media's new epithet of choice, a way to call any conservative organization you happen to be associated with, and thereby you, bigoted without actually saying as much. NewsBusters picked up on it but, to be honest, I hadn't noticed. I'm so used to hearing that I hate all people of color, especially blacks, that it almost sounded like a compliment by comparison.

I'll say it again, we're watching the former power of the irresponsible charge of racism to silence and shame evaporate before our very eyes. Oh happy day!

Monday, August 30, 2010


You've no doubt heard this story by now. That's right, unlike the evil Bush Administration that preceded it, the current U.S. Government intends to demonstrate that it is determined to take the defense of human rights seriously. To that end, the State Department has reported to the United Nations that the country has filed suit against its own citizens as they have democratically, but still outrageously, passed laws the nature of which the world just might disapprove. I'm referring of course to Arizona's "controversial" anti-illegal immigration enforcement law.

If this weren't so sick and sad, in the Bizarro World of the Obama Administration it might almost be funny.

It occurred to me that this Administration and the liberals who populate it just might need to create a new category of citizenship altogether. That is, unlike you and I, who as mere citizens must obey the laws or face the consequences of failing to, illegal aliens could better be labeled super-citizens, quite literally above the law and not subject to it at all.

God help us.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maxed Out Race Card

A loyal reader and good friend reminded me of the recent bit from The Daily Show. (I rarely watch it.) You may have already seen it, but just in case:



Why Are We So Angry?

National Review Online's Victor Davis Hanson provides six succinct sources of that anger and each will elicit an "Amen!" from you. Your need to read them.

May I suggest a seventh source?

We Americans remain, heart and soul, enthusiastic heirs to the classical liberal tradition. That is, we think our society ought, in the main, to be organized such that it maximizes individual liberty and minimizes government, always the principal threat to that liberty. And this is so despite our undeniable and uncountable hypocrisies and departures from that creed. Insofar as we remain classical liberals, we want simply, and mostly, to be left alone. We resent it deeply when we are forced to rouse ourselves to act to restrain threats to that liberty, and most especially so when we believe that threat comes chiefly from our own government. Eternal vigilance may indeed be the price of liberty, but, as a rule, we would rather not pay it. Instead, we believe, naively perhaps, that liberty is the natural condition and challenges to it the exception. In the best of circumstances, that challenge is an ongoing nuisance. But in the worst, as they are now, it is a source of considerable anger.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Krauthammer Nails It

Some time back I wrote here that if you debate a liberal on any subject, sooner or later he will call you a racist. In his Washington Post column today, pundit Charles Krauthammer concludes much the same thing and more, although he says it better than I could ever hope to. Consider this:
It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" -- blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims -- a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who is that Mosqued Man?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Anyway, by now you've heard that recent polling says upwards of 20% of Americans think President Obama is a Muslim. I suspect they're wrong about that. Actually, he's both more...and less. Or so says George Neumayr in The American Spectator online. The intriguing title of his piece: "A Relativist, Wrapped in a Muslim, Inside an Agnostic". It's definitely worth a peek.

(Get it? A peek behind the mask? Never mind. Read the piece.)

More Numbers

Michael Barone instructs us, again, as to why elections are important to us not just for ideological reasons. That is, they are important not only because the candidates we elect represent, we hope, what we think government should and should not do, and then legislate accordingly. They are also important for structural reasons, and this is especially true at the state level.

As you know, 2010 has been a national census-taking year. Most of us have filled out the form by now. Our every-ten-years national census is a constitutional requirement. Its purpose is to determine the apportioning of the 435 seats that make up the U.S. House of Representatives. Our Founders decided that representation in that body, to be most fair, must be according to population. "One man, one vote" is the shorthand phrase that captures the idea that we all must be represented more or less equally in the House. The Constitution mandates that no state shall have less than one representative in the body. So, sparsely populated states like Wyoming will get one representative, regardless of its population relative to the other states. While states with big populations, like California, will get many more. The census will determine if they get more than they did ten years ago, or fewer. Ohio, which has suffered a population loss relative to the other states, will likely lose a seat or two.

But that's only part of the problem. Within each state, for the principle of "one man, one vote" to hold, the voting district lines will have to be redrawn to accommodate shifting demographics. In my state of North Carolina, the census will tell us whether relatively more people now live in Charlotte than in the Raleigh-Durham area, for example, and the district lines will have to be redrawn accordingly.

This is where raw political power comes in. How do you draw those lines? Again, according, to the Constitution, they must be drawn such that people are represented more or less equally. But, as we know, some areas of a state are more heavily Democrat in their party orientation and others more Republican. Is it possible to draw the lines in a manner such that a particular district might end up with relatively more Democrat than Republican voters and vice versa? You bet it is.

Imagine a state in which the voting population is split exactly down the middle in its party orientation. Imagine also that, after the census results are in, it learns it will be apportioned 10 representatives to the U.S. House. All things being equal, we would expect there to be five districts that tend Democrat and five that tend Republican. But all things are rarely equal, and how those district lines are drawn might make the actual outcome 6-4, or even 8-2, to the advantage of one party over the other.

So, who draws the lines? Each state is different, but it boils down to whoever controls the state legislature and the governorship. Can you see now how very important state and local elections are?

Back to Barone. He thinks that what appears likely to happen during this fall's elections will redound greatly to the Republicans favor, not only ideologically, but in this structural area as well. The GOP, as a result of the election outcome, will likely control more state legislatures and more governorships than previously. This will put them in charge of redrawing the district lines once the census results are in. Significantly, once redrawn, these new lines forming new districts will remain steady until the next census is taken ten years from now.

Barone's a conservative, to be sure, but he's also an honest analyst. So, I don't think he's just trying to be a cheerleader. His analysis, however, does not counsel complacency. To the contrary, it demonstrates how very critical our vote this fall will be, and not just our votes for those running for national office.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think Globally, Eat Whatever You Darn Well Please

Ever heard of a "locavore"? Me neither. Stick with me for a minute.

"Paper or plastic?" I can still remember the first time I was asked that question by a grocery store clerk. It's been many years, but the reason I remember is that at the time I didn't know the "right" answer to the question. So, embarrassed, I stalled for an awkward moment before finally mumbling sheepishly, "Uh, plastic?"

You see, in the early 1970s I had been a bag boy myself at a local grocery store. This was long before anyone was offered a choice between paper, plastic, or anything else for that matter. At one point during my employment, we, as a country, were going through yet another one of those manufactured scares about the looming unavailability of this, that, or another commodity. This time it was paper products. A year or so later it would be oil. A year or so earlier it had been beef. (Yep, beef.) Anyway, this time it was paper and the reason our supply of paper was in jeopardy was, of course, because we were cutting down trees for pulp at an unsustainable rate. Whatever the reason, because we were short on paper, or anticipated being short on paper, my boss instructed all of us bag boys to no longer double bag.

So, when the clerk asked me whether I wanted paper or plastic, I froze. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to answer "plastic", as it would save a tree from being felled unnecessarily, or if "paper" was the correct response, as it was a renewable and biodegradable resource. (Plus, the clerk was cute and I was trying oh so hard to look cool.)

This is all a very long way around to recommending to you a short piece on another currently fashionable, politically correct liberal dogma: In order to save the planet, by reducing global warming, by using less energy, purchase and consume only locally grown produce. Hence, "locavore". Get it?

The problem is that it's all nonsense, as are most liberal nostrums, and the writer of the piece actually sat down and did the math to prove it. His conclusion:
The best way to make the most of these truly precious resources of land, favorable climates and human labor is to grow lettuce, oranges, wheat, peppers, bananas, whatever, in the places where they grow best and with the most efficient technologies — and then pay the relatively tiny energy cost to get them to market, as we do with every other commodity in the economy. Sometimes that means growing vegetables in your backyard. Sometimes that means buying vegetables grown in California or Costa Rica.
So, the next time some smug, condescending liberal sneers when you buy oranges from, say, Israel,...punch him in the nose. Then, I guess, if you feel you must, refer him to the article.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hagel Endorses Sestak

So, former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has endorsed the Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Sestak over his GOP rival Representative Pat Toomey. While there never was any real doubt about Hagel's allegiances, at least give him credit for finally making it official. He never was a Republican elected official, he just played one on TV.

Can we expect John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the two ladies from Maine to follow suit? You know, in a show of bipartisan, moderate, reach-across-the-aisle, Gang of...uh, Gang of Something, solidarity?

This kind of thing cannot be tolerated within the Republican Party and is why it absolutely must clean house before 2012.

The Great Reckoning continues.

Crocodile Tears, cont.

On second thought, was this crocodile born on American soil? But then New York's a sanctuary city, isn't it? Whew! All is well.

Crocodile Tears

Apparently, a baby crocodile was found beneath a car on the streets of Queens, New York.

For some reason my mind went immediately to Ronald Reagan's old joke about the mindset of liberal politicians: "If it moves, tax it. If it doesn't move, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it." Mayor Bloomberg was unavailable for comment.

Anyway, the visibly upset crocodile was reported to be considering a move to Florida where there are at least Gator fans, not to mention lower taxes.

Is There Another Choice?

In the maelstrom that is the Obama Administration's and the Democrat Party's current political woes, Howard Fineman waxes nostalgic -- well, kind of -- for Bill Clinton as he explains the former president's "resurgence" on the American scene.

The truth is Bill Clinton only succeeds when others fail. That is, he only succeeds by comparison, to George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot in 1992, and to Bob Dole and Ross Perot in 1996. Whatever you might think of those three men, the phrase, "excited a majority of the electorate," will not be included in their biographies. I guess it's my lot in life to point it out again and again, but in neither of those two elections was Clinton able to crack 50% of the popular vote, earning only 43% in 1992 and 49% in 1996.

Whatever political assets Clinton brings to the Democrats in their struggle to retain control of the Congress this fall, he brings just as many liabilities. I think more. So, welcome back Bill!


My sister-in-law sent me these and while you may have already seen some or all, I thought they were pretty funny and worth sharing.

By the way, she likes men just fine, including the Sage...I think.

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt.
Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me,
'What setting do I use on the washing machine?'
'It depends,' I replied, 'What does it say on your shirt?'
He yelled back, ' GO GATORS! '

A couple is lying in bed.
The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world."
The woman replies, "I'll miss you."

"It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower.
"Honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?"
"Probably that I married you for your money," she replied.

Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
A: A rumor

Dear Lord,
I pray for wisdom to understand my man;
For love to forgive him;
And patience for his moods.
Because, Lord, if I pray for strength,
I'll beat him to death.

Q: Why do little boys whine?
A: They are practicing to be men.

Q: What do you call a handcuffed man?
A: Trustworthy.

Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name?
A: You didn't hold the pillow down long enough.

Q: Why do men whistle when they are sitting on the toilet?
A: It helps them remember which end to wipe.

Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
A: Rename the email folder 'Instruction Manuals'

Libertarians and Conservatives

The other day my daughter told me that a couple of her colleagues had just discovered that she made considerably more money than they for essentially the same job and they were very upset about it...upset at her. The truth is my daughter does more than they, it's just that the work is not always as visible. Moreover, she brings to the position more experience as well. (Frankly, we're talking about very small sums here. I'm amazed sometimes that my daughter can make it at all. God bless her.) Anyway, she told them they needed to take it up with their mutual boss, not with her.

As she vented over the phone with me about the episode, it got me to thinking about the differences between a libertarian and a conservative.

One difference that emerged was that a pure libertarian in similar circumstances would simply say to their colleagues, "It's none of your business what I make." Fair enough, as far as it goes, and that's essentially what my daughter did say to them. If the terms of their employment were unacceptable to them, they should approach their employer. If they remained unsatisfied, they should seek employment elsewhere. If the employer could replace them easily, and for the same salary, he would do so. If not, he'd renegotiate with them. The market would work. Optimal efficiency would be assured. Hosannas to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.

By contrast, while a conservative would no doubt nod in agreement with everything in the above paragraph, he might add this observation: What troubled my daughter's two workmates in the first place was not the presence of an apparent injustice -- they were being fully paid in accordance with the terms of their employment -- but, rather, the presence of envy in their souls.

Envy is more, much more than a private peccadillo. To the extent that it remains private, it can, and often does, become all-consuming and soul-destroying. But it rarely remains private, and this is why a libertarian might, but a conservative definitely would fret over it.

At the very least, my daughter's colleagues productivity declined as they stewed over the injustice they had convinced themselves they were victim to. And, as their agitation grew and they became increasingly vocal about it, they reduced, for a time, my daughter's efficiency as well. Imagine what might have happened had they persuaded my daughter and others that their workplace, that all such workplaces, were but convenient venues for similar injustices. By God, something has to be done about it. Why, there ought to be a law....

For a society to function well, for it to become a Great Society, to coin a phrase, it most definitely does not need institutionalized envy posing as altruism, the modern liberal project. But it does need more than a simple, straightforward, essentially cash-contractual relationship among its people. The relationships must run deeper and thicker. A conservative worries about this, a libertarian may or may not.

Ayn Rand Again

A few months back I blogged a piece in defense, sort of, of Ayn Rand. Well, National Review has just published an outstanding review of her work by Jason Lee Steorts. Steorts captures quite well what is both good and bad about her general philosophy, and almost perfectly what was good about her novel The Fountainhead, but flawed in Atlas Shrugged. Give it a look.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Worse Than Carter"

The conclusion of R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.:
I now think it is clear even to Official Washington that President Obama is the worst president of modern times. President Jimmy Carter is redeemed.

I say "Wow!" because I've followed the judgments of the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator about James Earl Carter for some years now and it is impossible to relay adequately his disdain for the country's first peanut farmer president. He mocked Clinton, to be sure, "Boy President", but he despised Carter and never missed an opportunity, there were plenty, to showcase his disdain.

So, I say again, wow!

What DOES Iraq mean?

With the last American combat brigade pulling out of Iraq, Victor Davis Hanson offers a few short reflections on what our experience there means. It's worth a look.

I'll add a couple more to his list:

1. It demonstrated to those inclined to think otherwise, and to count on that thought, that the U.S. was no "paper tiger". With the right leadership, this country was prepared to risk blood and treasure to defend and pursue its interests.

2. The Democrat Party remains incapable of providing that leadership. Oh, as Hanson points out, the Obama Administration was just smart enough to abandon its ridiculous plan to pull out willy-nilly once they assumed office. But it would never have developed a serious strategy in the first place, nor displayed the fortitude to see it through had they done so. The American Left simply cannot be trusted with the foreign and defense policy of this country. (Heck, they can't be trusted with much of anything, but this is about Iraq.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There is No Substitute for Victory

After her unbelievable comments suggesting the investigation of those opposed to building the mosque at Ground Zero, expect leading Democrats to use an alibi in defense of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that goes something like this: "Look, she's a ditz. I mean, c'mon, can't ya tell? You can't take what she says seriously."

Don't fall for it!

Oh, she's a ditz all right and for the life of me I never understood why her Democrat colleagues elevated her to the prestigious and powerful position of Speaker of the House. But they did!

If it wasn't clear before, it is undeniable now: Their agenda is not only un-American, it is also disastrous, hideous, and what now cannot be denied either, tyrannical. There is no other option. They must be defeated.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ahead of the Curve

Might I toot my horn for just a moment?

Over at National Review Online today, Daniel Pipes points his readers to an interesting essay by Yoram Hazony of the The Shalem Center in Jerusalem. Hazony argues that much of Western liberal elite hostility toward Israel is a product of their more general antipathy toward both the idea and the reality of the modern nation-state, of which Israel is a particularly successful contemporary example.

A few weeks back, I made a similar case to explain many of those same elites' rebuke of Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law, as well as their enthusiasm for a policy of "open borders".

Do take care when you visit the Sage's page, always on the cutting edge.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh, He's Clear Allright

The editors of National Review Online this morning took President Obama to task for his comments over the weekend regarding the proposed construction of a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City. Their headline: "Obama Fumbles Mosque Question: The president is perfectly unclear about the real question at hand."

With all due respect to the editors, there is absolutely nothing unclear about the President's position. For those with ears to hear, he's told us time and again both who he is and what he thinks. This "benefit of the doubt" charade is no longer warranted, nor particularly useful.

Upon Further Review

In case you missed it, American golfer Dustin Johnson yesterday suffered a controversial after-the-fact two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in an area deemed a bunker by tournament officials. He was thereby denied a chance to compete in the eventual playoff and possibly win this years PGA Championship, pro golf's very prestigious "Fourth Major".

Instant replay for golf anyone?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

From Out of Left Field

In a piece that's really all over the place, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd comes down against the "professional left" for attacking President Obama, but also against the President's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for saying so. At least that what I think she means. You decide.

Anyway, I was struck most by this passage from her column:
The lefties came to the defense of the centrist Clinton during impeachment. Now that Obama is under attack, however, they are not coming to his defense, even though he has given more to the liberal cause than the scandal-stunted Clinton ultimately achieved.
Let me get this straight. The Left just might come back to President Obama's defense if he were to have "sexual relations" with an intern (Must it be an intern or will any woman other than Michelle do?) and then lie about it, both publicly and persistently?

Hmmm, I think that tells you all you need to know about the Left, professional or not.

A Slur is Born

"Nativist" Actually, it's a very old slur and I was wondering just when it might rear its ugly head. As "rascist" has lost much of its former opposition-silencing power, look for the Left to use this new-old term more and more. Prediction: It won't work.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Yuppie in the White House

I think better than anyone else thus far, Victor Davis Hanson has captured the essence of our young President and, for good measure, the First Lady as well. You really need to read this piece.

You don't hear the word "yuppie" as much as you used to, so Hanson reminds us.
Yuppism, remember, is not definable entirely by income or class. Rather, it is a late-twentieth-century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with, indeed antithetical to, most of the challenges and concerns of a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America.
The portrait that emerges, as Hanson paints it, describes our president almost perfectly.

I say "almost" because the portrait, while accurate, neglects one other very important defining aspect of Obama's character: He's also a stubborn left-wing ideologue.

Don't misunderstand. As a rule, I admire that hard-nosed quality, one might even call it principle. In fact, I wish "stubborn right-wing ideologue" was a phrase that described more Republican elected officials than it currently does. Nevertheless, if you want to fully appreciate our president, you must know that in addition to being a yuppie, he's also a true-believing lefty.

This is what distinguishes him from, say, Bill Clinton, who was in many ways a yuppie himself. Or at least he wanted to be one. As Hanson points out, Obama "is no Bill Clinton, whose studied yuppism was an escape from, and a conscious veneer over, a real trailer-park genesis." As Clinton affected yuppism, he similarly affected principle.

Predictably, or so it seems to me, President Obama came out last night vigorously supporting the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero. This makes no sense politically. Given broad public opposition to the proposed mosque, Obama could easily fallen back on what his press secretary has already said: " No comment. It's a local matter." But he didn't. Can you imagine Bill Clinton taking a similar stand? For heaven's sake, Clinton wanted to know what the polls said about where he should vacation. Obviously, this president has consulted no polls with respect to his or his family's multiple retreats from Washington this year.

Anyway, imagine a left-wing yuppie ideologue and you have near-perfect picture of Barack Hussein Obama.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dinner Date*

It appears that President Obama will host tonight, as he did last year, an iftar, the meal that breaks the fast observed by Muslims during the season of Ramadan. The public purpose of the meal is, no doubt, to convince the world at large and Muslims everywhere that, you see, we're good, tolerant people after all. You shouldn't hate us and needn't fear us. To be fair, Ihear President Bush participated in the meal in a similar fashion during his time in office. (Sigh)

In any thing like a just or sane world, it would be Saudis and Iranians hosting Jewish Seders and Christmas feasts, rather than the other way around. But such is the power of political correctness and Western liberal self-loathing. God help us.

* Traditionally, a date is the first thing to be consumed when the fast is broken.

The Color-Counting Con

Sorry, couldn't resist the alliterative opportunity.

Anyway, I just wanted to point you, once again, to another "don't miss" column by Thomas Sowell. It's impossible to get too much of this guy.

Fade to Black

Was any report more predictable than this one?

Clinton on Cue

Does Joe Sestak have a blue dress?

When it comes to running the country, the Obama Administration sure has looked amateurish of late. Still, as they were able to elect an Illinois neophyte to the White House almost two years ago, one thought that when it came to playing hardball politics they were seasoned veterans. I'm not so sure anymore. Perhaps they're too clever by half.

When they decided last year that they wanted Democrat Representative Joe Sestak out of the race for the Pennsylvania Senate seat currently held by Arlen Specter, who better to deliver the message and lure him away from his candidacy than former President Bill Clinton? If the whole gambit blew up in their faces, they knew the man they had dispatched had a long and, if you're a liberal Democrat, distinguished record of dissembling, lying, perjuring, suborning perjury, and obstructing justice. They knew also that he did these things without conscience and, mostly, without consequence. They don't call him "Slick Willie" for nothing.

So, are these headlines and this story any surprise? Almost as if he planned it, the former Prez has now denied, or sort of denied, or denied enough, or denied just enough, everything.

BUT! There's a problem.

Clinton's, uh, story, is inconsistent with the White House's version.

So what can they do now? Call him a liar? It's impossible to shame the man. Plus, drawing too much attention to the issue will only look like confirmation of what everyone knows anyway. That is, they tried to buy Joe Sestak off.

Clinton owns them now and both he and they know it. Can we guess what he wants for a tale that will mesh with theirs?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Real Hope, Real Change

Over at The New Republic online, John McWhorter has written an interesting review of an important new book, Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century by Amy Wax. Among the most interesting parts is his opening sentence: "This book is depressing because it is so persuasive." He continues:
There is a school of thought in America which argues that the government must be the main force that provides help to the black community. This shibboleth is predicated upon another one: that such government efforts will make a serious difference in disparities between blacks and whites. Amy Wax not only argues that such efforts have failed, she also suggests that such efforts cannot bring equality, and therefore must be abandoned. Wax identifies the illusion that mars American thinking on this subject as the myth of reverse causation—that if racism was the cause of a problem, then eliminating racism will solve it. If only this were true. But it isn’t true: racism can set in motion cultural patterns that take on a life of their own.
Did I mention that McWhorter is himself black? This is why Ms. Wax's argument is, for him, not only persuasive, but depressing as well. But it needn't be.

Many of the cultural patterns that have developed within black America, those patterns, I mean, that have had the effect of continuing to hold a too large majority of them back, are reversible. Not easily, nor quickly, but reversible still, just not by deliberate acts of the government.

Imagine that the worst passing thought of the average black American were indeed true. That is, imagine that every, not most, but every single non-black person in the country held the entire black race in contempt, at least privately, if not overtly. I maintain that in spite of that very unlikely possibility, there still remains in this country, at this time, more opportunity for black advancement, material and otherwise, than in any other country, at any other time.

So why the relative lack of success in taking advantage of that opportunity? What is missing is not the good opinion of white America, nor an expression of that good opinion in government policy, but, rather, an act of the will. And, significantly, the leadership to inspire, encourage, and instruct that will. But it has to be the right kind of leadership.

There is a brief scene in Spike Lee's movie Malcolm X in which an idealistic young white girl approaches the hero played by Denzel Washington and asks him what she can do for the movement. His answer is abrupt and arresting: "Nothing." When I witnessed that scene, I cheered. Unfortunately, besides the internal corruption of the organization, which Lee does not shrink from exposing in the film, there was, and is, something wrong with the message of self-reliance as preached by the Nation of Islam. That message was, and remains, largely defined as a self-reliance from and against the white man. Insofar as this is true, it will continue to fail in its larger project.

(I can already hear some objecting. "Who are you, white boy, telling black people what is and what is not appropriate leadership?" Thereby making my point.)

As a conservative, it is part of my very constitution to know that government intervention is in almost every instance at best a necessary evil. That is, even when it's unavoidably necessary, it still distorts and corrupts any and all that it tries to achieve. Therefore, as a very strong rule, it is almost always best to simply get it out of the way.

McWhorter probably deserves his moment of depression on this issue. I do hope, however, that for the sake of the country it will not turn to despair. If he and other like-minded black leaders would use their considerable talents to provide the right kind of leadership, a leadership that forswears government solutions, then I'm convinced there awaits still a bright future for not just some, but all African-Americans. And thereby for every American.

(By the way, he includes one very brief personal anecdote in the review that tells me he's already doing yeoman's work for this cause. God bless him.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"We win, they lose"

If you can bear it, you might want to read this piece by Paul Starr, co-editor of The American Prospect. For those interested in discovering how liberals who are not hysterical think about our country and its place in the world, it's enlightening. Don't misunderstand, other than making the important point that we are engaged in a great ideological struggle for the soul of the country, a struggle in which sooner or later one side must win and the other must lose, there's not much in his analysis with which I would agree. But, as I say, his tone is for the most part civil and you may learn something.

I do, however, want to draw your attention to the way in which he frames that analysis, for it too is instructive. In the article, he recalls that when the magazine was founded 20 years ago, liberal historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. penned for its first issue a piece titled "The Liberal Opportunity." For Schlesinger, American history demonstrated "a fairly regular alternation in American politics between private gain and public good as the dominating motives of national policy." (my italics) As he saw things in 1990, conservatism was spent. As a result, the looming general election of 1992 afforded an opportunity to correct the direction of the previous years in the same way Kennedy corrected Eisenhower, and FDR corrected Coolidge.

Starr maintains that the promise of 1992 went largely unfulfilled, mostly because of conservative Republican perfidy and obstructionism, but with the election of Barack Obama in 2008 the country once again has the chance to redirect, and this time for good. His judgment of Obama's first year and a half in office piloting the ship of state: All ahead full!

Anyway, I italicised Schlesinger's words, private gain and public good, because his use of them is instructive. I'm not referring here to the rhetorical sleight-of-hand he employs. You know, "private gain" sounds like greed and selfishness, while "public good" brings to mind generosity and altruism. (Yawn.) Rather, I'm thinking about the stubbornly zero-sum fashion in which a liberal thinks. That is, forever and always, one person's gain is necessarily another's loss. They simply refuse to bring themselves to see, as one of their heroes John F. Kennedy did, that "a rising tide lifts all boats."

As a result, we're stuck. Well, if it's a zero-sum solution they want, then, with apologies to Ronald Reagan, how about this one: "Here's my strategy on the Great American Ideological War: We win, they lose."

Dumb Luck

Thomas Sowell demonstrates once again why he's a national treasure. School'em, Tom!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

OK, I'll speak.

Might we expect to hear anything like this in coming marriage ceremonies?

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the presence of God and in the face of these witnesses, to join together this Man and this Man, uh, sorry, this Woman and this Woman, oops, this Man and these Women, ah, this Man and his Daughter, um, this Brother and this Sister, oh, this Man and this Goat, (that about cover it?) in the holy estate of Matrimony."

With a harebrained application of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, two attorneys have argued and one judge has ruled that one cannot make a principled case against any or all of these possibilities.

All right, all right. "...all MEN are created equal" The goats are out. They'll have to pursue their own damn happiness.

Trickle Down Success

Evidently convinced by the argument that during these tough economic times the rigid enforcement of state and local health regulations regarding the production and sale of lemonade would only further harm the already struggling local economy, Oregon's Multinomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen finally relented, allowing 7-year old entrepreneur Julie Murphy to re-open her roadside stand. Health officials had previously halted its operation when Ms. Murphy failed to produce a food-safety permit. After being threatened with a $500 fine, Ms. Murphy obediently closed up shop. The reports were not clear, but apparently before announcing his decision, Chairman Cogen assured local union officials that young Ms. Murphy had absolutely no connection with Big Lemonade.

Anyone care to guess the political party affiliation of any of the principals in this story? Save Julie Murphy, that is.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Remembering Hiroshima

Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the exploding of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The decision to send for the first time a United States delegation to the commemorating ceremony was admittedly complicated. It might have been less so had the delegation been dispatched by former President Bush, but it was complicated nonetheless and chiefly so because Japan has, since the end of World War II, become a reliable U.S. ally, a redeemed nation, peaceful to the point of passive. So, in spite of President Obama's penchant for doing so, an apology-less trip was promised and in this case, as the Japanese are at least our friends and not our adversaries, I'll assume a good will on the part of the Administration.

Nevertheless gestures such as this are tricky and can be confusing as the images serve to twist the history, as well as our memory of it. Tell me, at the ceremony, who will almost necessarily come off looking like the good guy and who the bad? Who the victim and who the perpetrator? So it's important that we remember correctly.

Even if you maintain that the decision to drop the A-bomb was unnecessary, wrong, or both, you cannot be allowed to remember it as a product of American vengeance, war lust, or imperial design. The facts simply won't bear that out. But if, in spite of this, you stubbornly insist on U.S. culpability, then you must be forced to remember as well the Rape of Nanking, Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, and a host of other atrocities committed by the Japanese.

Among the difficulties with a policy of turning the other cheek is that it can make you forget that in fact someone was unjustly slapped in the face. It can even make the one doing the slapping forget as well. Remember that.

The Banality of Guilt

I just finished reading a review of a new book that sounded interesting. The title is what caught my attention: The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism. It's an extended essay on the phenomenon of white liberal guilt by the French writer Pascal Bruckner. I'm not familiar with him nor his work, but if the title of yet another essay of his is any indication, The Tears of the White Man, then I suspect I'd discover that he and I were simpatico. Anyway, back to the new book, while I haven't read it, if I accept the reviewers take, I think Bruckner may be missing a key aspect of the subject, something new about it.

An old aphorism of mine is that liberals confuse self-hatred for selflessness. That confusion is compounded because to all appearances there is absolutely nothing selfless about their posture. Rather, their public expressions of self-hatred seem more like exercises in demonstrating their own moral superiority, moral preening, if you will, than in anything like genuine humility.

This posture used to grate mightily when I encountered it. But, and this is what's new, it now seems to have lost that power. Now it's yawn-inducing, if not downright pathetic. It's become, in a word, banal. And, in case you were wondering, that's a good thing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Great Reckoning, cont.

Even columnist Peggy Noonan can feel it coming. And "it" is more than your typical political strife over money, much more.

Again, I call it "The Great Reckoning" because there is an undeniable element of justice that has come to define this present struggle. That makes it scary; the stakes are high. But we've kicked this can down the road for far too long now and we need to have it out, once and for all. The question that remains is who wins and who loses. Only when that is decided can the angst that troubles Ms. Noonan and so many others recede. Only then will we know who we are as a people. Only then will we know what to do as a consequence. Will we celebrate and begin the long reconstruction or, as she says, move to Africa or Ireland? God help us.

Michelle Antoinette?

Because of the nature and cost of the First Lady's vacation in Spain, by now you've no doubt heard Michelle Obama compared to Marie Antoinette. Well, I'm here to tell you the comparison is grossly unfair...to Marie, that is. Even if Madame Antoinette was far more extravagant than Mrs. Obama ever hopes to be, at least she can't be accused of hypocrisy.

Again I say, a Limousine Liberal is the only kind of Liberal there is.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Federal Judge Walker Sat on a Wall

And he ruled...literally.

"But that's not what 'marriage' means Judge Walker."

"When I use a word,' Judge Walker said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said California, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Judge Walker, "which is to be master -- that's all."

There you have it, a liberal judge practicing liberal jurisprudence, as he lives and breathes.


Over at The American Spectator today, Quin Hillyer offers a pleasant summer diversion from all politics, all the time. If you're a sports fan, that is. His title is "The Hall of Sports Transcendence" and the article is a list of his remembrances of significant sporting events and achievements since about 1960. Events and achievements that are memorable because, as he writes, they present "a combination of momentousness, athletic spectacularity (to coin a word), and pure entertainment value of emotional resonance." He concedes that the list is personal and that yours will no doubt differ. But if you're a fan and I'd guess anywhere between 40 and 60 years old, you'll remember, and enjoy remembering, many of the same items.

One memory that failed to make Hillyer's list, but is on mine, is U.S wrestler Dan Gable's Gold Medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. I was 15 at the time and while I was familiar with wrestling, I was not a particularly big fan. I was, however, a patriot and of course happy and proud for any American athlete to win any medal. But what I found most memorable about Gable's achievement, then and now, was something altogether different.

While some of you may recall Gable winning the Gold, I doubt you'll remember any of the matches that lead to it. Why? Because not a single one was close. Frankly, they weren't even competitive. Gable won the Gold without giving up a single point in any match. He was quite literally in a league of his own. Whoever the world's second-best wrestler was at the time, no one knew, nor cared. He simply could not compete with Dan Gable.

Interestingly, my reaction to Gable's victory at the time was not to cheer, raise my arms, pump my fists. It was, rather, to simply shake my head in wonder. To be that good at something, to be that good and still manage the discipline to train and demonstrate that you're that good, to be so far superior that not one person on the planet could even give you a good match, all of this was beyond me. Cheering somehow didn't seem appropriate to the occasion. Awe, along with a certain head-shaking puzzlement did however.

Through the years I've always remembered my reaction to Gable's victory and wondered about it. The closest I ever saw it captured in art was in the film Chariots of Fire from the early 1980s. If you know the film, you'll recall that at one point the famous sprinter Harold Abrahams finally gets to run against the equally famous Eric Liddell. Abrahams' chief competitor from Cambridge College, his friend Lord Andrew Lindsay, is also at the match to watch. It's a very big event, great drama, all set-up by the director with a slow, deliberate pacing in order to build the tension for the audience. But when the gun sounds, the match is over before you know it. Liddell not only wins, he wins easily. The camera immediately cuts to a close-up of Lord Lindsay watching. He simply shakes his head and says in an understated way,"Extraordinary."

When I first saw the movie and that scene in it, I remember thinking to myself, "That's it!" The "it" was my reaction to Gable's march to the Gold from years before. In the movie, Lord Lindsay is himself a world-class sprinter. He therefore knows what is required to compete at that level. But as fast as he, himself, is, he has raced his friend Abrahams before and knows that on his best day he cannot beat him. Now he witnesses that very fast friend not only lose, but lose handily to Liddell. This is unbelievable. Is it even possible that there could be someone else that fast, so fast in fact that he is literally in a class by himself? A class of one? "Extraordinary."

Hillyer used the word "transcendence" in his title. If you'll allow, there was for me in Gable winning the Gold Medal something not merely transcendent, but so much so as to become unfamiliar, without cognate, ineffable. Hence my head-shaking reaction. While it would be ridiculous to call Dan Gable's achievement divine, when I witnessed it then, and think about it now, it points in that direction.

Enough! Now what are those Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration up to today?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


If reading Friedman's piece was like swallowing a dose of ipecac, then try this one by The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz as a sound anti-emetic. She captures not only most of what's objectionable about the planned mosque, but also highlights the insufferable condescension expressed about the matter by our political betters, you know, people like Friedman and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Oh $%@&!!! Now I'm retching again.

Friedman's Follies

Would somebody remind me again how this guy ever became famous? New York Times columnist Tom Friedman defends, no, celebrates the plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
When we tell the world, “Yes, we are a country that will even tolerate a mosque near the site of 9/11,” we send such a powerful message of inclusion and openness. It is shocking to other nations. But you never know who out there is hearing that message and saying: “What a remarkable country! I want to live in that melting pot, even if I have to build a boat from milk cartons to get there.”
Yea, it's shocking all-right. Do you think it ever occurs to him that someone else is out there hearing that message and saying: "What a contemptibly foolish bunch. Let's hide a bomb in those milk cartons and send it there."? Probably not.

"Well, if you put it that way...", cont.

It seems someone did put it that way to the voters of Missouri.

"Well, if you put it that way..."

Over at The Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson has written an outstanding piece about how Americans are decidedly not European-style statists after all, no matter how many liberal, and some conservative, commentators insist otherwise. But the article's greatest service, as far as I'm concerned, is that it provides an easy way to counter almost every poll that indicates we do indeed want bigger and more expansive government.

Ferguson points out that most polling on this subject is done in a very general way that asks only whether or not the government should do something about issue X. Left in that largely undefined form, they get a predictably high response in the "Yea, government should do something about that" category. The reason is that the benefits are implied, while the costs are not. If, by contrast, they were to ask the same question but include as well the probable costs of government action, then they would get an entirely different result.

Do you want government-run health care? Sure, I dunno, maybe. Do you want government-run health care if it's more expensive, of poorer quality, will likely lead to rationing, and you'll lose your right to a free-market alternative in the process? Hell no!

Conservative politicians should memorize this response, this kind of response. Heck, all of us should.

Who is Chris Christie?

You'll find an interesting and informative piece about New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie over at today's National Review Online. It's a bit long, but worth it if you're interested in how an unapologetic low-tax, small-government conservative can administrate effectively in an otherwise very liberal state without abandoning principle.

My favorite passage:
Not even those closest to Christie know whether he plans to run for a second term, but one of his great strengths is that he governs as if he won’t. He has claimed, with the ring of truth, that he pays no attention to his roller-coaster public approval ratings — that to him, the only poll that mattered was the one that installed him as Jon Corzine’s successor in November of 2009. This philosophy is not Republican, but republican: He sees himself as a representative of the people who nevertheless refuses to pander to them, to recalibrate his stances at their every perturbation.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The New "Conscience of the Senate"

After parking his yacht somewhere along the Potomac River, John Kerry, the senior senator from Rhode Island, uh, sorry, Massachusetts, arrived in the nation's capital to claim his new title. You can't make this stuff up.

Mosqueing the Truth

A mosque at Ground Zero? And to think that by order of the Commissars of Political Correctness, we're not even allowed to use the word "crusade" lest some sensitive muslim soul be offended. Maybe the Constitution is a suicide pact after all.

Magazine For Sale

Newsweek for $1? I don't know, still sounds a little steep to me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Veiled Ignorance

Had trouble thinking coherently about the introduction into the West of the Muslim practice of veiling women, of Muslim women covering themselves altogether with burqas? Does your respect for, indeed your esteem for the religious life, as well as the liberty to practice it as you see fit run smack into your suspicion that the veil has more to do with control than with modesty? Then take a look at this article by Claire Berlinski to open your eyes.

My favorite passage is found where she unapologetically answers the question as to why we in the West should ban the burqa.
Because this is our culture, and in our culture, we do not veil. We do not veil because we do not believe that God demands this of women or even desires it; nor do we believe that unveiled women are whores, nor do we believe they deserve social censure, harassment, or rape. Our culture’s position on these questions is morally superior. We have every right, indeed an obligation, to ensure that our more enlightened conception of women and their proper role in society prevails in any cultural conflict, particularly one on Western soil.
By the way, expect the most vigorous defense of the practice of veiling to come from the political Left, all in the name of the putative benefits of multi-culturalism, of course. Liberalism, I'll say it again, is a "sickness unto death."

By the Numbers

If you tend to think about politics in an almost exclusively ideological fashion, that is, whether or not this or that candidate, proposal, or policy, are conservative or liberal enough, then you might want to take a look at this piece by Michael Barone. The party that ends up with an elected majority that can actually govern is a product of more than just which ideology is currently resonating with the public. Structural issues like demographics and, as Barone points out in the piece, the relative concentration of party voters in each congressional district is also a factor. Anyway, take a look. Yea, they're numbers, but they're not scary.

What Did I Tell You?

Check out this headline: "Ethics Cases Raise Racial Questions"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Cojone" Gap

On this week's Fox News Sunday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said President Obama lacked the cojones to tackle the nation's illegal immigration problem. By comparison, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's, uh, cojones, were more than adequate. I couldn't help but recall the old joke that asked why Golda Meir, or was it Margaret Thatcher, always wore skirts.

I've mentioned this before, but I think that more than half of these Republican women's political appeal can be explained simply by their willingness to fight. The right-wing base is starved for it. And by "it" I don't just mean an unapologetic defense of conservatism, but rather a no-holds-barred offense. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman's got it, as does South Carolina Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. And lest you think this column's only about women, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has it in spades. For a perfect example of just this strategy, read Ann Coulter's column from last week.

Do they risk being labeled by the Left, the so-called champions of women's rights, the word that rhymes with "itch"? You bet. But when did liberal hypocrisy become front-page news?