Saturday, March 31, 2012

When a "Law" is not a Law

To the extent that anyone can read the tea leaves that are the individual justice's questions, non-questions, word choices, pauses, coughs, facial tics, etc., conservatives were heartened just a bit by what transpired before the Supreme Court this past week where it appeared at least that a majority, albeit a narrow one, of the justices were predisposed to rule against the constitutionality of  Obamacare.

Which only makes me ask once again, who are we kidding?  Has our innate and reflexive understanding of and jealousy for our self-evident liberty been so eroded that we are seriously willing to surrender it to the opinion of nine men and women, wait, make that five, no, if it is a 5-4 ruling, make it just one?

You cannot call what is happening before the Court a charade because it's all unfolding in such earnest.  But it can hardly be called deliberation as the core subject is so fundamentally absurd.  It's more a spectacle, but a revealing one at that.  As always, we can rely on Mark Steyn to notice what really needs to be noticed:
A 2,700-page law is not a “law” by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there’s no equality: Instead, there’s a hierarchy of privilege micro-regulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown, and unnumbered bureaucracy. It’s not just that the legislators who legislate it don’t know what’s in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can never hope to understand it, but that even the nation’s most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension. A 2,700-page law is, by definition, an affront to self-government.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Earl Scruggs Dies

When people unfamiliar with it would ask me what, exactly, is bluegrass music, I would answer, listen, hear that banjo, more than anything else, that's bluegrass music.

North Carolina native Earl Scruggs, the virtual inventor of the three-fingered banjo-picking style that now defines the genre, has passed at age 88.  R.I.P.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If I Still Had Grandparents...

...they'd look like the elderly couple in Sanford, Florida who were forced to flee from their home in fear after black filmmaker Spike Lee negligently tweeted to his legion of followers their address instead of white, Hispanic George Zimmerman's.

Why I Hate the Left

I hate the Left for many reasons, their rank hypocrisy, of course, their reflexive anti-Americanism, to be sure, their disgust with all things traditional, and more, much more.  But mostly I hate them because they are dangerous, literally life-threatening dangerous.

Samuel Gregg has a short piece you should read over at The American Spectator about the Left's continual war on history, that is, their endless project of rewriting or denying altogether any or all historical facts that interfere with their even larger project of constructing heaven here on earth.  Or their twisted vision of it anyway

Gregg begins his piece with an anecdote about Galway, Ireland where in February the city fathers decided to erect a statue in honor of the Latin American revolutionary, Che Guevara.  It seems one of Guevara's grandmothers was originally from Galway.  As Guevara was more murderer than revolutionary, there arose predictable resistance to the decision.  But there arose just as predictably a Leftist backlash to that resistance which, as it happens, was very neatly summarized in a passage from a column by one of Guevara's apologists:
"Yes, Che was ruthless and fanatical and sometimes murderous. But was he a murderer? No, not in the sense of a serial killer or gangland assassin. He was one of those rare people who are prepared to push past ethical constraints, even their own conscience, and bring about a greater good by doing terrible things."
I hate the Left because the very seed of that murder-excusing thought lies dormant at least in the mind and heart of every Lefty, and does so whether they acknowledge it, or even realize it or not.

There, I said it.

That Was Worth It, Wasn't It?

As long as we're talking about a war on women...

Seems like an eternity ago already, but do you recall the controversy surrounding the decision by the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to halt contributions to abortion provider Planned Parenthood?  As the Foundation's chief purpose is the fight against breast cancer and not abortion politics, it seemed like a reasonable decision to most.  But not, we quickly learned, to doctrinaire feminists as they quickly took to the streets and airwaves in protest and because they are well organized and very loud (despite being relatively few in number), they got their way and the Foundation reversed its decision.

The result?  Well, the Foundation has seen its brand value fall precipitously from number 2 to number 54 among 79 similar non-profits and along with it, its ability to raise funds as well.  This was, of course, all very predictable.

I'm old enough to remember when, for a season, the pro-choice movement adopted the "coat hanger" as its defining symbol.  As in, if you take away our right to an abortion, we'll use a coat hanger to do the job ourselves and the blood that will result will be on your hands.

I also remember thinking at the time, and in the wake of the Komen Foundation controversy and the fallout do so again now, about one of the great scenes in the Mel Brooks' film, Blazing Saddles.  It's when the townspeople of Rock Ridge first discover that their new sheriff is black and therefore immediately set about the business of lynching him.  Quick thinking Cleavon Little as the sheriff pulls his own gun on himself and declaims, "The next man that makes a move, the n***** gets it."

After successfully escaping, Little congratulates himself and says, "Oh baby, you are so talented...and they are so dumb."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The War on Women

For its championing of medieval policies, the GOP used to suffer at the polls from what was called the "gender gap", an electoral gap whereby women consistently voted by a 3-5% margin for Democrat over Republican candidates.  But now it appears that almost quaint phrase just won't do to describe the problems of a party that is said to be conducting an outright "War on Women."

If you're interested in how the other side thinks, or rather, how it engages in hysterical myth making (not to say lies), check out uber-liberal Frank Rich's analysis of the GOP's women problem.

In the meantime, help me out:  Why, I've wondered for many years now, is the gender gap only a Republican problem with women and not also a Democrat problem with men?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Who are We Kidding?

Charles Krauthammer's Friday piece, "The Reckoning", about the future of Obamacare, has a line in it that bears repeating.  Krauthammer knows this because I heard him repeat it on FOX News just last night:
Beginning March 26, the Supreme Court will hear challenges to the law. The American people, by an astonishing two-thirds majority, want the law and/or the individual mandate tossed out by the Court. In practice, however, questions this momentous are generally decided 5 to 4, i.e., they depend on whatever side of the bed Justice Anthony Kennedy gets out of that morning.
Stop and think for just a minute, please:  In a nation of 300 million people, an issue so controversial mainly because the stakes include a fundamental alteration of the relationship between the citizen and the state will be decided ultimately by the caprice of one Supreme Court justice. 

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?

It does because it is.  Which is precisely is Krauthammer's point and through it he reveals an important limitation to our constitutional system:  The particulars of an issue are unimportant save that it be controversial, and extremely so.  The stakes must be believed to be very high indeed.  When they are, no Supreme Court decision, not even a 9-0 ruling, is likely to be accepted as legitimate, i.e., to be taken seriously, much less settle the underlying conflict.

Do not misunderstand, the "victorious" side will no doubt take great solace in a sympathetic verdict.  But ultimately, and this time ultimately is appropriate, the issue must be resolved politically, that is, by the people through their elected representatives.      

Obamacare is just such an issue.

Friday, March 23, 2012

They Can't Help Themselves...cont.

Finally!  (I thought he must be overseas and indeed he was.)  Now, the Reverend Jesse Jackson has joined the chorus of those speaking out about the terrible shooting death of black youth Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida last week.  Jackson insisted that this was no isolated or unfortunate incident, but rather is indicative of a pattern in America where now, as always, "blacks are under attack."

No word yet from former President Bill Clinton, but once he weighs in the cast will be complete.

They Can't Help Themselves...

...but they should be ashamed nonetheless.  Trust me, they won't be.

I'm referring to liberals and race-baiters across the fruited plane, this time for politicizing the terrible shooting death of the black youth Trayvon Martin in Florida a few days ago.

Feigning impatience with the legal process, they are using the unfortunate episode as a convenient backdrop to make whatever political point it is they want to make, explicitly or implicitly, about this country, about racism, about gun laws, about the police, about the GOP, about conservatism, about the 1%, about white people, you name it.  They include of course all the usual suspects and more:  Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton (I swear he already sounds like he's speaking with a bullhorn in hand), MSNBC's Karen Finney (would someone please tell this nitwit that "Barack the Magic Negro" is a parody of a tag given him in 2007 by black columnist David Ehrenstein and that it did not originate with Rush Limbaugh), as well as, you guessed it, the President himself ("If I had a son he would have looked like Trayvon.")

If there's any saving grace in any of this it's that because all these people are performing exactly as expected, and, as expected, they will be ignored or dismissed as well.

Meanwhile, a young man is dead and we wait still for the truth about the circumstances to emerge.

Been Thinkin' About It And...

Had yet another conversation with someone whose opinion I respect and I had to add them to the already long and growing list of those disagreeing with me about who is worse, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.  It's seems I'm virtually alone in my judgments.

Readers of this blog are well aware of my disdain for our 42nd president, that I find it almost impossible to let any opportunity to mock him pass without doing just that.  But with so many arguing with me that I'm wrong, that Obama is worse, I was forced to step back and reassess.

Well, I have, and my position remains the same.

First, let me be clear (to coin a phrase), neither man is good for the country.  But then, no Democrat is or ever could be.

What I find grudgingly acceptable nevertheless about Obama is that at least he's a principled liberal, that he really believes in all this left-wing lunacy.  Oh, he'll dissemble, lie even, but it's always in the service of some liberal goal, socialized medicine, green energy, progressive taxation, affirmative action for GLBTs, etc..  But for a principled liberal that's not lying at all, it's being strategic.  Such is their creed. 

Clinton, by contrast, has no core principles.  (Which is consistent at least with having no core, so I'll give him that.)  He has reflexes to be sure, and they're all to the Left.  He is, after all, a Democrat.  But aside from that, he is utterly without principle or even scruple of any kind.  On any issue, great or small, he has to take a poll first in order to know what he thinks.

With this in mind, I'll even concede that insofar as Obama's a true believer and Clinton believes in nothing at all, Obama is potentially more dangerous to the country.

But, having admitted that, here's the bottom line for me still:  Not even one of Bill Clinton's most strident defenders would for one moment consider leaving a teenage daughter of theirs alone with him.  For heaven's sake, can it get any worse than that?

Barack Obama, on the other hand, can babysit my kids (or grand kids) anytime he's available.  At least as long as he's babysitting rather than governing, he'll be doing some good for and no harm to the country.

B-Movie Material

In his reliably entertaining fashion, Jonah Goldberg comments on the latest GOP campaign faux pas, Etch-A-Sketch-gate:
Every few years I write a column on one of my biggest peeves about GOP strategists and politicians: They read their stage direction, usually in an effort to suck up to political reporters. Some elder-statesman hack wonders aloud, usually anonymously, about whether the campaign will “go negative.” Here’s a tip: If you’re going to go negative, go negative. Don’t announce it.
Give the Democrats their due: They fake their outrage with more sincerity. Chuck Schumer never prefaces a comment with, “I’m now about to make an entirely indefensible claim in order to trick the media into looking over there.”
For liberals, acting is part of their life's blood.  As they cannot tell you what they really want (even if they knew, no map to utopia exists), dissembling about their agenda comes with the territory and, as a result, they get pretty good at pretending.  But no conservative, that is, no genuine conservative, should not need stage directions, or even a script for that matter.

Which, explains, by the way, the general dissatisfaction on the Right with this slate of candidates.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Teach a Man to Fish

ONLY in my beloved South could something like this actually come true.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Why can't a woman be more like a man?"

It didn't take a Nostradamus to see this coming:  A transgender student (formerly female, now male) at the University of Miami, Ohio has filed a complaint against the school for not allowing her/him to serve as a resident assistant in an all-male dorm.

Don't you just love it when liberal principles and the institutions like academe that abide by them run into each other?  The farce that results from the attempt to reconcile the contradictions is always entertaining.

Can't wait until our now progressive military strains to solve the very same problem.  You don't have to be a Clausewitz to see it coming either.

Equal: First, Last, Always

Jonah Goldberg is encouraged  by what he sees as a potential crack in liberal ideology whereby at least some of its adherents may be giving the principle of federalism a fresh look.

In our system, federalism means that the several (necessarily democratic) states retain sovereignty, i.e., governing authority, over all matters not otherwise explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.  (As we know, our system has been at most nominally federalist for some time now.)   However, federalism more broadly understood means that most political questions are best decided at the lowest level of authority practicable.  It is at that lowest level that the resolution of those questions are most likely to be legitimate, that is, acceptable to the largest possible majority. 

But federalism is also, and importantly so, a measure whereby liberty is secured, where the parts, in our case the states, are protected from encroachments from the whole, the national government, on their right to rule themselves freely.  And that is precisely the rub for most liberals.  Why?  Because at the end of the day, their supreme commitment is to equality, not liberty.  (This is so, by the way, despite their confusing label as liberals.)

Liberals understand justice foremost as equality, even radical equality.  For them, the more equal a society is, the more just it is.  As a result, the liberty to rule differently, via federalism or otherwise, is the liberty to be un-equal, and therefore, un-just.  Hence, always and necessarily, liberals seek to centralize power, to vest governing authority in the whole rather than the parts that make up the whole.  Only a centralized system of government can ensure laws and regulations that are equal for all and therefore just.

Or at least that is what liberals believed until they became enthusiastic as well about multiculturalism, i.e., the celebration of diversity.  What better way to allow for diversity, to ensure it even, than to practice federalism?  In a genuinely federal system, states or local communities that are predominantly black or latino or even homosexual, for example, would be free to govern themselves accordingly.

So there it is and maybe it is good news.  But I would still caution Jonah Goldberg and others about becoming too encouraged by it.

First, call me cynical, but I've never thought most liberals' embrace of multiculturalism had much to do with celebrating diversity.  Rather, I thought and still do think that their enthusiasm for it is chiefly about disparaging and thereby weakening the still dominant Anglo-Saxon culture, along with its attendant sensibilities.  For liberals, that long dominance is responsible for creating what they see as a false equality, an equality born of power and privilege.  Since it's a false equality, it's no equality at all and, as a result, unjust as well.

Second, it occurs to me that the liberals who are giving federalism a second glance haven't yet thought it through.  When they do, they'll abandon it. Why?  Because, again, the defining characteristic of a liberal is one with a commitment to equality first and last, a commitment that ultimately allows for no differences at all and certainly not the liberty to be so that a federal system would allow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cleared for Takeoff!

Little Rock, Arkansas may well change the name of its airport to, you guessed it:  "Hill-Billy National"

Or something close anyway.

In the Eye of the Beholder

Helpfully explaining her support for President Obama, multimillionaire supermodel Elle Macpherson says, "I'm socialist-what do you expect?", apparently without even a touch of irony or self-awareness.

But then a 1% solution can have that effect sometimes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"He would not dwell in blame"?

That's one of the lines from the Tom Hanks-narrated documentary extolling the virtues of our 44th president:
"Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president. Now when he faced his country who looked to him for answers, he would not dwell in blame or dream in idealism."
And it almost defines chutzpah.  When, beginning with the 2008 campaign and ever since, have you heard either Obama or any of his surrogates not include some implicit or explicit blame by comparison of the Bush Administration or the GOP led Congress?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Umm, No Comment

From the New York Daily News: "Meghan McCain poses (clothed) for Playboy, tells magazine: 'I love sex'"

Stage Fright

If things weren't already bad enough over at CNN, the news network had Rosie O'Donnell of all people sit in for Piers Morgan as host (hostess?  twinkie?) with Academy Award-winning actress Angelica Huston as her guest.  The topic of conversation was of course politics, their particular expertise, and at one point the two savants had this exchange:
O'Donnell: "What has happened, that we are fighting again for reproductive rights?"
Huston: "And how did guys get to be the ones to solely discuss it? It's absolutely astonishing to me, it's the Dark Ages."
The Dark Ages?

With any luck, we'll return to silent movies as well.

Oil Slick?

Not really, as there's absolutely nothing slick about President Obama's energy policy.  If, that is, the package of incoherencies we routinely from him, his Energy Secretary, and other surrogates can be called anything like a policy.

If the GOP and the Right cannot strike political oil from this, then they, and we, deserve to lose.

Anyway, check out Charles Krauthammer today for his own indictment of the President on this score.

The Maher Defense, cont.

The President's senior campaign advisor David Axelrod clarifies the "Maher Defense".  He distinguishes not only between private and public figures, the latter of which remain more or less fair game, but also on the frequency of the insults.  While Mahers vulgarities directed at Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, for example, were part of a single stand-up routine, Limbaugh persisted in his attacks against Ms. Fluke for several days.

So, again, let me get this straight, if I limit calling Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, et al, t**** and c**** to only a time or two, then I can expect not only Bill Maher, but also David Axelrod to rush to my defense?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Maher Defense

Comedian and liberal hatchet man Bill Maher distinguished his own own vulgar slurs of conservative and Republican women from Rush Limbaugh's far less insulting words by pointing out that unlike the unfortunate Ms. Fluke, his targets were all public figures and therefore fair game.

So, let me get this straight, if I call Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, et al, c**** and t****, I can count on Bill Maher to rush to my defense?

If Only Rush Had Said This Instead

Ann Coulter demonstrates the right way to mock the Fluke phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Rest of the Story

I posted a week or so ago on the Journal of Medical Ethics article in which two, um, ethicists argued quite seriously for the morality of "After-birth Abortions."  Andrew Ferguson has followed the story a bit farther and learned, among other things, that the authors of the piece were more than a bit surprised by the uncountable negative responses they received ans, as a result, offered a public apology.  Ferguson reports:
“We are really sorry that many people, who do not share the background of the intended audience for this article, felt offended, outraged, or even threatened,” they wrote. “The article was supposed to be read by other fellow bioethicists who were already familiar with this topic and our arguments.” It was a thought experiment. After all, among medical ethicists “this debate”​—​about when it’s proper to kill babies​—​“has been going on for 40 years.”

Do read all of Ferguson's piece.

The Very Big Apple

It seems Big Computer is now even bigger than Big Oil.  As of yesterday's market close, the computer company Apple passed no. 2 Exxon by about $100 billion.

Which begs the questions:  Will liberal Democrats start demonizing Apple and the computer industry generally as they currently do the oil business?

Wrongful Birth?

Even the phrase grates.  Lawsuits over it more so.  This is too sad and maddening for me even to comment on other than to say, once again, may God have mercy on us.  Nevertheless, please read:
"Wrongful Birth Lawsuits are Wrongful"

ID Check Checked

On Monday, the Obama Administration's Justice Department blocked enactment of a new Texas law that would have required the presentation of valid photo identification before voting.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez explained:  "Hispanic registered voters are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic registered voters to lack such identification."

The fact that Hispanic voters are also more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic voters to vote for Democrat candidates had nothing to do with the action, I'm sure.

Gay Like Me, cont.

It's happening.  Where?  Where else?  In almost a caricature of itself, the University of California is considering asking incoming students to declare their sexuality.

So, freshmen everywhere, listen up.  As I've instructed you before, when asked, mark "homosexual".  When challenged, respond with "repressed homosexual", then dare them to challenge you again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Ecumenical Niceness"

It's what social scientist Charles Murray disparagingly calls that which afflicts far too many American elites.  So tolerant are they, he says, that they cannot bring themselves to “preach what they practise”.

I like it.

For a pleasant diversion, but with a very serious underlying theme nevertheless, enjoy this interview with Murray-as-article by Edward Luce of the Financial Times.  One particular little gem by Murray from the piece:
There’s a big difference between being good and being nice.  Being good involves tough choices – tough love. Ecumenical niceness is just pabulum. It’s as if, in all our interactions, parents are trying to stop our kids eating food off the floor, when that is what would inoculate them against far costlier things later on in life.

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Details of the identity of the sergeant who went on a killing spree in Afghanistan yesterday remain sketchy.

One thing is clear, however:  If he either reads National Review, watches FOX News, listens to Rush Limbaugh, attends church regularly, or even once participated in a Tea Party rally, it'll be leaked to the public in very short order.

Stay tuned.

Good for the Gander?

In an effort to force men to face the same, or at least similar legislative threats to their "reproductive health", Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, (D-Cleveland) has introduced a bill that in order to receive "a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency," according to the Dayton Daily News.

The bill is part of a growing trend of female legislators introducing similar legislation in order to counteract other bills designed to prohibit or restrict access to abortion on demand.

I guess that'll show me and mine.  Harrumph!

Meanwhile, another baby was just killed and another woman was just scarred for the rest of her life.

Explaining the Killing Fields

Douglas B. Levene asks why it is that the mass murder that occurred in Cambodia in the late 1970s persists in being labeled as "genocide" when that term is usually reserved for extermination by race or ethnicity or religious identity?  He points out that Cambodia was then and remains now one of the most racially unalloyed countries in the world.  Whatever prompted the slaughter, it was not the product of one group's determination to rid itself of the "other".

So why then?  Levene:
[W]hat happened in Cambodia is what happened in the French Revolution, and in Stalin’s purges and mass collectivization campaigns, and in Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, only on a proportionately larger scale. It was mass murder in the name of equality. It wasn’t “genocide”; it was Communist utopianism carried to its logical extreme. The Khmer Rouge, who called themselves Maoists, believed that the most important social and political value was equality and that in order to create their new, classless society in which everyone was equal, it was necessary to exterminate anyone who might be smarter, or better educated, or wealthier, or more talented than anyone else. Thus, they killed the educated, the bourgeoisie, the middle classes, and the rich; movie stars, pop singers, authors, urban residents, and workers for the former government; and anyone who protested — as well as the families of all the above. Towards the end, they also killed cadres who were thought to be a political threat.  Whatever their crimes were, the Khmer Rouge do not seem to have been motivated by racial, ethnic, or religious hatred.... 
...However, I suspect that the most important reason for the usage [of "genocide"]worldwide is that many people in the international media, international agencies, and international NGOs (not to mention academia) are reluctant to face up to the crimes committed by Communism in the name of equality. To do so might call into question the weight attached by them to equality as the most important social value and undermine the multicultural faith that evil is predominantly the product of inequality, racism, ethnic hatred, or religious fanaticism. That cannot be permitted, so such crimes must be either ignored or mislabeled. And, of course, the remaining Communist regimes in the world are only too happy to cooperate in characterizing the killing fields as the products of irrational paranoia on the part of Pol Pot and his gang rather than the perfectly rational result of the quest for perfect equality. (my italics)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Abu Ghraib Again?, cont.

Terrible news from Afghanistan about an American soldier who left his post to go on a murderous rampage, killing as many as 16 civilians.

President Obama, appropriately, released a statement offering our country's condolences to the Afghan people that, also appropriately, included this:  "This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan."

You know, kind of like what was appropriate after Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

The President should know that I'm available for his defense as soon as I see or hear coming the tidal wave of Big Media and general liberal outrage.

Do What I Say, Not...

Headline:  "Buffett's NetJets Countersued by U.S. for Unpaid Taxes"

It's no wonder plutocrat Warren Buffet's secretary pays more taxes than he.

No worries, however, he's got friends in high places

Thursday, March 8, 2012

PC Soldiers, cont.

I posted about this general problem sometime back, that is, the problem of our armed services becoming  increasingly captive to the strictures of liberal political correctness, and it seems it's here to stay.

The issue then was the publication of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and among the various threats to the nation listed was the inclusion of "climate change" as one of our most serious security risks.

Well, the Navy, for one, has not been idle in its response to this potential threat.  The service has been quite busy switching from traditional to biofuels and other alternative energy sources to power its ships and planes and currently plans to launch its Great Green Fleet in 2016.

Something is fundamentally amiss when the leaders of the armed forces of as great power are more concerned with pleasing liberal constituencies, constituencies that question the need for an armed force in the first place, than they are in combat readiness and effectiveness.

While I pray that we somehow muddle safely through this era of utter unseriousness before some real threat emerges, I'm afraid that until a real threat does emerge, we'll remain hopelessly mired in it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


[mi-soj-uh-nee] noun: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women

By the way, this entire Limbaugh contretemps brings up another pet peeve of mine.

Because, when engaged in a bar fight, one reaches for and employs the closest weapon at hand, in this case the epithet "slut", it does not make one a misogynist.  Neither does, in and of itself, using the "n" word make you a racist, the "f" word a homophobe, etc. 

In the case of women, for example, I was shocked, yes, shocked, twenty or so years ago when I was newly teaching undergraduates and for the first time in my life heard women routinely refer to each other, not jokingly, as chicks, sluts, skanks (that one was new to me), whores, b******, c****, and worse.  (Can you even imagine worse?)  Am I seriously to believe that all these young women were misogynists?

While I posted liberal Kirsten Powers' column yesterday because she "refreshingly" took her side to task for their own, uh, serial indiscretions, frankly, I think she overstates when she calls even Bill Maher a misogynist.

Bill Maher is a vulgar, second-rate, low-rent, left-wing hack, who wants oh-so-badly to be taken seriously, but I don't think he's a misogynist.  He's not that smart nor that funny so, when he wants to insult someone on the other side, his recourse, his only recourse, is to engage in adolescent potty-mouthing. 

In America, genuine misogyny exists mostly in the minds and hairsplitting imaginations of doctrinaire feminists.  We live in a vulgar age and it unfortunately infects us all, even Rush Limbaugh, even them.  

"In Defense of Rush"

That's the title of Mark Corallo's column over at NRO and if you were wondering what the Sage really thinks about the whole dust up, now that I've taken the time to reconstruct the entire episode, his words are as good as any I could manage.  Starting with the very first couple of paragraphs:
I heard Rush’s comments live: every word of it, the tone of voice, the inflections. Rush Limbaugh was using the time-honored method of satire to describe an absurd event on Capitol Hill — the whining of a 30-year-old law student whose life is apparently in shambles because she and her fellow law students are having so much recreational sex that affording birth control has become a financial burden. Seriously, that’s her very public complaint. With all of the copulating, I’d like to know when they have time to study con-law. 
Rush, in his entertainer’s way, went over the top to make a point. Since when should any human being, corporation, or government entity that is not engaging in the sex act be forced to pay for someone else’s birth control? Absurd.
I did listen to Rush's apology yesterday and (are you raedy?) I don't believe him.

First, I don't think he apologized because he's lost or is still in danger of losing sponsors.  If that were the way he operated, his show as it is would never have been as it is in the first place.

Nor do I think that he's genuinely sorry for the words he used to make his point.

I do think he regrets very much that for a day or two he lost his head, he lost his keen, typically unerring instincts and insights about the Left, the Democrats, and their Big Media allies, about how they operate, and about how they might use his words against him and, more importantly, against the conservative cause he so ably defends and unaplogetically champions.

It's not a level playing field, it never has been, and likely never will be.  He knows this and is, therefore, usually at least a step, if not two, ahead of most liberals in anticipating their reaction.  He wasn't this time.

So, two steps forward, one step back.  But with Rush on our side, at leasdt we're still moving forward. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

This is Refreshing

In the wake of Rush Limbaugh's, um, poorly phrased remarks last week about Sandra Fluke's character and his subsequent apology for them, an apology he repeated today on his radio show, liberal columnist and commentator Kirsten Powers thinks the Left is long over-due for a few apologies and more of their own.

James Q. Wilson, RIP

A great American died this past Friday, political scientist James Q. Wilson

While in academic and political circles he was already quite well known, I first encountered him through the reading of the famous "Broken Windows" article he co-authored for The Atlantic magazine in 1982.  I was a subscriber then.  The title came from this passage: the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. (It has always been fun.)
The piece's argument about how best to go about policing intrigued me and I remember repeating it many times over the years that followed.  Little did I know that it would later become the basis for Mayor Rudy Giuliani's successful program to clean up New York City.

But while the article intrigued me, I still had no idea who James Q Wilson was.  Later, in another life, I was to teach for a time political science to undergraduates, to include teaching American government.  When I began, our department was using Wilson's introductory American Government text and I was just smart enough to recognize its superior quality.  Thereafter, and for as long as I had any say in the matter, we continued to use that text.  I took my job seriously and quite seriously compared and contrasted the numerous introductory texts available.  Wilson's was hands down the very best.  My brother, not an academic, once asked me to recommend for him a good introduction to our system of government.  I didn't have to think for long.

I was to meet Wilson a couple of times, but the one that stands out was the first time in the spring of 1990.  It was at a conference of fellow political scientist and he was up on the dais with several other academics who were in their own way quite well-known also.  What I noticed in the interchanges that followed was that although Wilson was the lone conservative in a room full of liberal professors and graduate students, he was nevertheless afforded genuine respect, I would even say deference.

As other memorials to him I have read attest, Wilson was apparently unerringly polite.  To know that about him means a great deal to me.  But the respect and deference I witnessed being shown him that day at the conference had only a little to do with his good manners.  Quite simply, he was the smartest guy in the room and everyone knew it.  RIP.

Blood in the Water

I was pretty busy at the end of last week and therefore missed all the fuss over Rush Limbaugh's on-air reaction to Sandra Fluke's testimony before Congress.  Ms. Fluke, a Georgetown Law student of otherwise dubious credentials, save, of course, her gender and extreme left-wing ideology, insisted before the committee that while you and I and the rest of the right-wing Taliban must stay the hell out of her bedroom, we remain nonetheless obliged to slide a check under the door to fund the consequences of her, uh, "choice".

Sounds tailor-made for sarcasm, satire, and parody to me.

From what I've read and heard since then, it seems clear to me that Rush was outraged and therefore responded outrageously.  Not much new in that.  That's what he does.

Not much new either in the Left's taking advantage of such an opportunity to feign, no, to fake being aggrieved and outraged and to posture accordingly.  That's what they do, and especially so when the target is as big game as El Rushbo.

What is new is Rush's apology.  Rush is famous not only for refusing to bow to the Left, but for deftly turning their attacks back on them.  To cite only one example, remember the "phony soldier" comment and charge of just a few years back?

So, I suspect like many of you, I'm eager to hear Rush explain himself later today.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

May God Have Mercy On Us

My sister-in-law passed along this piece recently published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.  That's right, the Journal of Medical Ethics.  Consider just the title and abstract.  Read on if you have the stomach for it:

After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? 
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.
The rest of the paper is equally clinical and matter-of-fact, maybe even more so.

I don't know about you, but the phrase "the banality of evil" come to mind.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Conserve What?

If you're up to it, there's a very interesting piece by Samuel Goldman over at The American Conservative that, by way of a review of Corey Robin's The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, tackles the question of what contemporary American conservatism has to do with the classical European brand.  In short, contrary to Robin's assertions, his answer is "not much."

I'm pretty sure I don't agree with his conclusion which is in part that if they could just see it, contemporary liberals/progressives have more in common with contemporary conservatives that they might think.  Among those points of agreement, Goldman argues, is that:
...there really is such a thing as Man in the abstract. And Man has the same rights and desires in Afghanistan that he has in Arizona. The purpose of government is to secure these rights. To the extent that it aims to do so universally, the government of the United States is therefore the universal government, with the responsibility to reorder all the traditional loyalties and obligations that define “illegitimate” societies.
Read the article and decide for yourself.

As I see it, contemporary American conservatism is indeed a genuine form of conservatism.  That which it seeks to conserve, however, is not the Ancien Régime of the Old World, but the Novus ordo seclorum of the New.  A new order described and defended, and later instituted in the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist, and the U.S. Constitution.  None of which authorizes America to pursue foolishly a policy of dis-establishing, then re-establishing itself across the globe.  But, rather, to pursue a policy guided by prudence, "prudence indeed", to confidently describe and defend, both to ourselves and to the world, those "truths we [still] hold to be self-evident."

What's a Sheepskin For?

Why, to cover sheep, of course.

I can't for the life of me figure Ann Coulter's infatuation with Mitt Romney, but in her latest column defending him, this time by attacking Rick Santorum, she performs a riff about the value and purpose of a contemporary college education that is priceless.  Enjoy:
Most recently, Santorum assailed Obama for saying everyone should go to college by responding: "What a snob!"
No! No! No!

Santorum's response merely reinforces the insane liberal worldview that going to college is the preserve of our betters, a hoity-toity proof of social class, a desirable consumer product like a Louis Vuitton bag.

This isn't the '20s, when only the upper classes went to college. These days, every idiot who can scratch an "X" on his checkbook assumes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to make himself less employable by taking college courses in -- for example -- "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame" (University of South Carolina, Columbia), "GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender and Identity" (University of Virginia), "Arguing With Judge Judy: Popular 'Logic' on TV Judge Shows" (University of California, Berkeley), "The Phallus" (Occidental College), "Zombies" (University of Baltimore), "Comics" (Oregon State University), "Harry Potter: Finding Your Patronus" (Oregon State University), and "Underwater Basket Weaving" (University of California at San Diego).

My fellow Americans, Meghan McCain has a bachelor's degree.

It's not snobbery that compels liberals to promote college for all; it's a scam to manufacture more Democratic voters, much like their immigration policies.

Is a Valley Girl who takes courses in Self-Esteem at Cal State Fresno (an actual course at an actual college) a finer class of person than a skilled plumber with approximately 1,000 times the earning capacity and social worth of the airhead?

No. But she is more likely to vote Democratic.

Encouraging everyone to go to college creates an all-new class of people entirely dependent on the government, which is to say: reliable Democratic voters. (my italics)