The Samaritan Report

A Newsletter for Those Who Actually Give a Damn; As Chomsky Said: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Keep THAT In Mind.

Chris Muir's Day By Day

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Few Words On The Buckley Era

Choice words from Oraculations with a heavy weight:
A giant has passed us, make no mistake.
When he first hit the scene with "God and Man at Yale," he didn't cause things to change immediately, but that book sold well and acted to till the soil so the seeds of conservative thought could be planted and the new and different trees might actually grow. Keep in mind that NO conservative voice existed. The MSM made sure that conservative meant KKK, racist morons, religious fanatics, and people not right in the head. Everyone subscribed to that view. A view that the Left would have you believe right now. It took Republicans more than twenty years to throw over the racist elements in the party, but because Buckley created that launching pad for ideas it was done.

What were things like before Bill? Easy. Look at a cube of butter. See how it's wrapped. A complicated hard to open packaging that was mandated by government to....keep the people wrapping butter in their jobs. Our entire society was mis-wrapped like that cube, governed by the state in virtually all that we did and owned. Answering machines were ILLEGAL because their use would put operators at switchboards on the unemployment lines. Federal Express didn't exist because it was illegal to ship anything by private carrier. There had to be elevator operators in every elevator even though the electronic system was in place. Much of the New Deal is still in place but the removal of so much of it is due to the arrival of WFB. The funny thing about it is that he got face and airtime because he was Ivy, sounded like those phony Liberals such as Russian spy, Alger Hiss; and was considered harmless by the liberal establishment

Reagan was a stupid actor and Buckley was harmless.

He had a good run. He did his job. Thank God.

RIP, Bill.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts on the Sideline

A keen observation from Power Line'sJohn Hinderaker:
Here, though, lies the rub, in my view. Ronald Reagan came to power at a time when America had been carrying out, for sixteen years, an experiment with liberalism that by 1980 had brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. Americans did not adopt conservative principles because they sounded good on first hearing. They adopted conservative principles because of bitter experience with the alternative.
Today, the benefit of that experience has largely been lost. A generation of American voters has not experienced the failures of the Great Society, the near-collapse of American cities, double-digit inflation and unemployment, seventy percent tax brackets, or the disaster of Jimmy Carter's foreign policy. In the absence of historical memory, and with a powerful assist from the ever-forgetful press, liberalism is once again emerging as the philosophy that sounds good. The fact that it doesn't work awaits as an unpleasant surprise for a new generation. In the meantime, Barack Obama may well be the plausible candidate who can lead voters, once again, down the blind alley of leftism. He is, as Steve Hayes argues, an opponent who must be taken seriously.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

ID Politics: Fish' Case

Stanley Fish makes the case for a particular brand of identity politics in the NYT:

February 17, 2008, 9:43 pm
When ‘Identity Politics’ Is Rational

If there’s anything everyone is against in these election times, it’s “identity politics,” a phrase that covers a multitude of sins. Let me start with a definition. (It may not be yours, but it will at least allow the discussion to be framed.) You’re practicing identity politics when you vote for or against someone because of his or her skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or any other marker that leads you to say yes or no independently of a candidate’s ideas or policies. In essence identity politics is an affirmation of the tribe against the claims of ideology, and by ideology I do not mean something bad (a mistake frequently made), but any agenda informed by a vision of what the world should be like.
An identity politics voter says, in effect, I don’t care what views he holds, or even what bad things he may have done, or what lack of ability he may display; he’s my brother, or he’s my kinsman, or he’s my landsman, or he comes from the neighborhood, or he’s a Southerner, or (and here the tribe is really big) my country right or wrong. “My country right or wrong” is particularly useful in making clear how identity politics differs from politics as many Americans would prefer to see it practiced. Rather than saying she’s right on immigration or he’s wrong on the war, the identity-politics voter says he looks like me or she and I belong to the same church.
Identity politics is illiberal. That is, it is particularist whereas liberalism is universalist. The history of liberalism is a history of extending the franchise to those who were once excluded from it by their race, gender or national origin. Although these marks of identification were retained (by the census and other forms of governmental classification) and could still be celebrated in private associations like the church and the social club, they were not supposed to be the basis of decisions one might make “as a citizen,” decisions about who might best lead the country or what laws should be enacted or voted down. Deciding as a citizen means deciding not as a man or a woman or a Jew or an African American or a Caucasian or a heterosexual, but as a human being.
Stanley Crouch believes that the project of liberal universalizing is now pretty much complete and that “elements of distinction” – his phrase for the thinking that was fashionable in “the era of ‘identity politics’ ” – “have become secondary to the power of human qualities with which anyone can identify or reject” (Daily News, Feb. 11). But his judgment is belied by almost everything that is going on in this campaign. As I write this I am watching the returns from the “Potomac Primary” and the news is being presented entirely in racial, ethnic, and gender terms. Every newspaper or magazine article I read does the same thing. The Obama and Clinton campaigns accuse each other of playing the race card or the gender card. An Hispanic superdelegate warns that by replacing her Latino campaign manager with a black one, Senator Clinton risks losing his vote and the vote of other Hispanic delegates he is in the process of contacting.
Christopher Hitchens looks at the scene and is disgusted by behavior that, in his view, “keeps us anchored in the past.” (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 18) He will not, he tells us, vote for Clinton just so that we can have the “ ‘first woman president’ ” (I don’t remember that one from the past); and he won’t vote for Obama who, he says, “wants us to transcend something at the same time he implicitly asks us to give that same something as a reason to vote for him.” It would seem that we are far from realizing Ken Connor’s dream that we might judge “all of the presidential hopefuls on the basis of the content of their character and their qualifications to serve” (, Jan. 20).
But is it as bad as all that? Is it so irrational and retrograde to base one’s vote on the gender or race of religion or ethnicity of a candidate? Not necessarily. If the vote is given (or withheld) only because the candidate looks like you or has the same religion, it does seem a shallow and meretricious act, for it is an act unsupported by reasons. “Because she is a woman as I am” is of course a reason, but it is not a reason of the relevant kind, a reason that cites goals and programs, and argues for them. But suppose what was said was something like this: “As a woman I find government sponsored research skewed in the direction of diseases that afflict men and inattentive to the medical problems faced by women, and it is my belief that a woman president will devote resources to the solution of those problems.” That’s an identity politics argument which is thick, not thin; the she’s-like-me point is not invoked as sufficient unto itself, but as it relates to a matter of policy. The calculation may or may not pan out (successful candidates both disappoint and surprise), but it is a calculation of the right kind.
One objection to identity politics (Crouch makes it in the same column) is that groups and populations are not monolithic, but display a diversity of attitudes and positions. Yes they do, but members of a group who might disagree with each other on any number of things could nevertheless come together on a matter of shared concern. American Jews, for example, have widely varying views on many important issues – tax cuts, tort reform, gay marriage, the Iraq war. Still, the vast majority believes that it is important to defend the security of Israel. This is a belief shared even by those American Jews who are strongly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. They may deplore Israel’s actions and agree with Jimmy Carter when he likens them to apartheid, but if the choice is between a politician who pledges to support Israel and a politician who would withdraw support and leave the Jewish state to fend for itself, most of them would vote for the first candidate every time.
African Americans are no less heterogeneous in their views than Jewish Americans. Yet every African American – conservative or liberal, rich or poor, barely educated or highly educated – meets with obstacles to his or success and mobility that are all the more frustrating because they are structural (built into the culture’s ways of perceiving) rather than official. To the non- African American these obstacles will be more or less invisible, especially in a country where access to opportunity is guaranteed by law. It makes sense, therefore, that an African American voter could come to the conclusion that an African American candidate would be likely to fight for changes that could remove barriers a white candidate might not even see. A vote given for that reason would be a vote based on identity, but it would be more than a mere affirmation of fellowship (he’s one of mine and I have to support him); it would be a considered political judgment as to which candidate will move the country in a preferred direction. Identity might be the trigger of the vote, but it would not be the whole of its content.
We should distinguish, I think, between two forms of identity politics. The first I have already named “tribal”; it is the politics based on who a candidate is rather than on what he or she believes or argues for. And that, I agree, is usually a bad idea. (I say “usually” because it is possible to argue that the election of a black or female president, no matter what his or positions happen to be, will be more than a symbolic correction of the errors that have marred the country’s history, and an important international statement as well.) The second form of identity politics is what I call “interest” identity politics. It is based on the assumption (itself resting on history and observation) that because of his or her race or ethnicity or gender a candidate might pursue an agenda that would advance the interests a voter is committed to. Not only is there nothing wrong with such a calculation – it is both rational and considered – I don’t see that there is an alternative to voting on the basis of interest.
The alternative usually put forward is Crouch’s: Vote “for human qualities” rather than sectarian qualities. That is, vote on the basis of reasons everyone, no matter what his or her identity, will acknowledge as worthy. But there are no such reasons and no such human qualities. To be sure, there are words often attached to this chimera – integrity, dedication, honesty, intellect, to name a few. But these qualities, even when they are found, will always be in the service of some set of policies you either favor or reject. It is those policies, not the probity of their proposer, that you will be voting for. (If your candidate is also a good person, that’s a nice bonus, but it isn’t the essential thing.) You will be voting, in short, for interests, and those who do not have an investment in those interests will be voting for someone else.
What this means is that the ritual deprecation of “special interests” makes no sense. All interests are special interests – proceed from some contestable point of view – and none is “generally human.” And that is why identity interests, as long as they are ideological and not merely tribal, constitute a perfectly respectable reason for awarding your vote.

Methodology Of A Winning Precedent

It seems that the Mansoor "Manny" Dadullah has been in spots of trouble lately. Last time he was captured, his cronies had to resort to exchanging him for an Italian dude they captured in retaliation. This time around, Manny might be exchanged with an ambassador and two geologists. The Taliban just loves playing the ransom game every time we get one of their guys - and Europe waltzes right along with 'em! The problem is that both Manny Dadullah and Baitullah Mehsud really know how to drive wedges between the localized Taliban and the global AQ network. What's worse is that neither dude's a really good strategist, so they end up ass-screwing their volunteers in in the Euro cells. They only understand force, though, and while the Taliban is just a measly bacteria, AQ is a frickin' pandemic virus, one that evolution and adaptation can only screw over with intensive patience.

At least, it'll go on as long as the Democrats' weapons are sheets of flimsy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008



Of course, the idea was to discuss U.S. policy, not the validy of climate change itself. One pro speaker envisioned outsourcing our pollution to China. I dig that, I'm down with that. And the next con speaker emphasized the "drastic" portion of the resolved.

But I feel differently, I say "combat" is the keyword. Why? Well, I don't mind some kind of combating climate change - LA did that in the 70s and 80s to the extent that by the time I was born, there was no red haze downtown for me to stare at regularly. But I wouldn't go so far as climate change in the classroom, in the thermostat, and in the tax law.

News is Like...Popcorn. But don't just take my word for it; read the blogpost.

Just how often do things like these have to happen before lawmakers at all levels of government start to get a clue?

The one thing Americans value more than a short attention span and long incubation periods are the more pertinent issues of procrastination. But don't say you didn't notice, or that I didn't tell ya.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mughniyeh's Reckoning

You heard that right. But, you already knew it. And rejoiced.

And yet, new details emerge hourly. Fun fact # 1? The pick of the day: background of suspects apprehended by Syria is Palestinian. But that still does not provide motive, nor disqualify any organizations.

Heh - tough week to be in Damascus.

And it turns out that Mughniyeh was gonna take part in a meeting involving Syria, Iran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to plot bombings in moderate Arab nations (Jordan, Kuwait, etc.) that wouldn't attend a Syria-based Arab League summit. Add to that the fact that Mughniyeh died next to the exploded car while building a car bomb, and...juicy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Super Tuesday Backbones: A Reflection

Yes, yes - Super Tuesday has come and gone. But the repurcussions are only beginning to be felt. And as such, on that note, in that light, a brief summary of blue-state identity politics:

Clinton has strong support among Hispanics, Jews, and white urban working class voters. These groups are underrepesented in Iowa, North Dakota, etc. Thus, Clinton struggles...The big difference this time is that the non-establishment guy who appeals to upscale voters and kids happens to be black. Thus, African-Americans combine with the upper income and younger voters, and their candidate wins both in states where many blacks live and in states where other traditional Democratic constituencies are not well represented.

Maybe, in a few years or a few millennia, issues-based voting will once again find its way into the Democrat primary process. Or at least, one can only hope...

Reactions, Determinants and Derivatives

Ed Morrissey comments on the Archbishop of Canterbury's sharia statements:
The Archbishop forgot that Britain operates under a representative government, not a theocracy. The adoption of shari'a would obliterate that system and place the UK under the thumb of imams -- a prospect that even British Muslims find distasteful. Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim MP for Labour, noted that Muslims around the world fight to free themselves from such systems, and wondered aloud whether Williams knows what shari'a actually entails.

It's not the first time a member of the clergy has suggested appeasement and surrender for a strategy against expansion of radical Islam. The endorsement of these strategies by the leader of the Anglican Church is especially disheartening, however. That the leader of a worldwide sect of Christianity thinks of shari'a as "inevitable" should prompt questions about his fitness for that office.

Maybe those who objected to Horowitz' ad in the Wheel would do themselves some good paying attention to Mr. Mahmood. And what is terribly scary is that a religious authority of a religious sect that broke itself away from a distant leadership (the Pope) was completely willing to be complicit in subervting centuries-old tradition in favor of an entirely different faith - one that was, to be historically accurate, imported from a distance in the first place to begin with. Now if that ain't prime-roasted cultural suicide, then...I dunno what is!

Questions of Remorse: A Query in Attitude

For some highly skilled experts, analyzing the cause of a death is not rocket science. It is a pity the Pakistanis don't think the same way, on a few levesl. First and foremost, of course, is the death of Bhutto. Scotland Yard says "Dance!" Musharraf quips "But that's what I said!" And the Pakistani people still resoundingly shout "No!"

Perhaps Captain Ed doesn't take the equation to the next step - it's sure swell to suggest that the Bhutto family conduct its own autopsy with ample press coverage. But the state on the ground plus the steady convictions of the Pakistani people are unlikely to help expedite the process of uncovering the specific cause of Bhutto's death - and quashing any remaining floating rumors in the process. Whenever quick and easy is not an option, efficient and deliberate cannot always fill the shoes - but since when has it ever hurt to've tried?

A Dose of Common Sense, With A Side of Itself

I've always wondered who can best exemplify pragmatic fixing in the empirical world much as Romney would do in the politicosphere. Looks like I've my answer:

The Mystery Remains
Apparently CalOSHA has issued their report, and it remains unclear what caused the explosion at Scaled last summer. Charles Lurio notes (as I've been saying for, well, forever, or at least since I heard about the proposal to go with a nitrous hybrid):
..largely because of its ability to self-detonate - nitrous oxide has every now and then created unhappy surprises whose causes are difficult or impossible to explain. This may turn out to have been the case at Mojave. If in the end no cause for that incident is identifiable, Scaled should perhaps consider an alternative oxidizer for its hybrid; liquid oxygen (LOX) may be less convenient to transport and manage but doesn't have nitrous' particular unpredictabilities.

It also performs much better, whether with hybrids or liquids. This is very bad news. If you don't know what caused an accident, it's very difficult to know how to prevent it from recurring. Even if it causes a delay in the schedule, I think that they will have to go to some other design, and I also think (as I've always thought) that they should subcontract it out to an established propulsion house, such as HMX or XCOR, who are right there on the field.

Maybe when Burt has recovered from his recent health problems, he'll be in better shape to grasp that nettle than he has been.

Brevity in Food for Thought

A sample of J. R. Dunn's "Obama and 'Da Yutes'":

All this might have been harmless but for the collapse of the previous generation -- the so-called "Silents". (Actually merely a subset of the GI generation.) Possibly the most overlooked factor of the entire decade is the manner in which this generation, just coming into their prime years, abdicated responsibility in favor of what we've come to know as the 60s lifestyle. It was this, rather than anything the kids did, that caused much of the later trouble.

There's no difficulty explaining this turn of events. Every generation has a strictly limited leadership cohort -- the number is generally held to be approximately 5%. The U.S. lost over a quarter-million men in WW II. A substantial number of the GI generation's natural leaders were killed at places like Kasserine, Tarawa, and Omaha Beach. This is one kind of deficit that simply can't be made up. As a result, positions in the postwar world that required hard-charging alphas were filled by whoever was available, too many of whom weren't up to the job. Government was left in the hands of odd figures like Lyndon B. Johnson (who could never have been elected on his own) and Robert "S. for Strange" McNamara. (The same phenomenon can be seen in the 80s and 90s of the 19th century, the so-called Gilded Age. Consider the lengthy chain of nonentities that served as president during that period. The truly dynamic leaders had been killed in the battles of the Civil War.) The kids (just becoming known as "Boomers"), left without guidance or the benefit of experience, ran wild, with many of their elders grooving right alongside them. And so the country roared full-speed ahead into the children's hour: the 60s of legend, in all their tie-dyed and bell-bottomed, not to mention tear-gassed and rubber-bulleted glory.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The MIDDLE Class!

Living Large and the Death of the Middle Class

There is an old SciFi story that I read back in high school that had as a subject cryogenics, freezing one's ass for a hundred or so years after depositing savings in the highest interest bearing account possible so you'd come back with compound interest ready for the future. So this guy wakes up from a five hundred year hibernation and finds......?

He quickly discovers that although he has a million dollars in his savings he can't begin to live. He doesn't have enough money. Why? Because there are at least five hundred new products and services "he needs" that didn't exist when he "died." Had he wanted to live at the level that existed when he hibernated he would have a ton of money. The stuff he used to have was being virtually given away. The new stuff included things like the now required continuing body scans so nobody got too sick, compulsory unlimited sexual gratification so the divorce rate had arrived at nearly zero, effortless learning through the use of hypnotism, a uniform economic growth due to computerization of goods and services, etc. etc. etc. Everybody had a boat, a couple of cars, a vacation spot, and so on. The rub here is that the prices all these "necessary" goods and services cost were deducted from your account, and you had to take these services. But the people who were in the current population knew how to deal with everything just fine. They had enough money because the time it took to earn enough for the goods and services was down to next to nothing.

In other words, there is a method wherein you establish the cost of something based on the number of hours (amount of time) you have to work to get it. It is this fact that isn't included in all the "studies" made by left wing Democrat and spouted by Lou Dobbs and the rest of the MSM. Here's a link for you....

So it would seem that if you look at the cost of things from the perspective of how much time you have to put in at work to purchase the things you want, it turns out that times are good.

Except, records and charts are no dam good if they don't start at the same point in time, and this one from so-called Reason Magazine doesn't do that. Interesting anyway and I'd like to see the study done correctly.
(link via Reynolds)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Well, We Knew It Would Come To Pass...

After all, She was the greatest nation on earth for at least a century. But now she's been moral, physical, and spiritual decline for decades. And all three may be culminating who knows? Maybe Britain'll go out with a bang...

Fill in the Blank...As soon as you find it.

In an earlier post I related the recent "discovery" that ancient South Americans might have engaged in global trade earlier than thought. The newest story?

According to a team of researchers from Copenhagen University, a single mutation which arose as recently as 6-10,000 years ago was responsible for all the blue-eyed people alive on Earth today.

The team, whose research is published in the journal Human Genetics, identified a single mutation in a gene called OCA2, which arose by chance somewhere around the northwest coasts of the Black Sea in one single individual, about 8,000 years ago.

The gene does not "make" blue in the iris; rather, it turns off the mechanism which produces brown melanin pigment.

But the real meat-n-potatoes part?

The finding that a rare mutation, probably dispersed in the rapid wave of colonisation that followed the end of the last ice age, highlights one of the great mysteries of human evolution.

Well, the article goes on to cite the "oddness" of Europeans - which is odd yet not altogether surprising, seeing as the source is a British daily.

But again, this builds directly on what I said earlier - that global trade had existed thousands of years ago beyond the bounds of what we had imagined, given the ginantic technological gap between now and then. But this only proves that slim-to-none leaves a little room for slim as well. Perhaps our scientists and researchers would do well to heed this in the future.

A Word on Imperialism in U.S. Foreign Policy

A word on Iranian reactionaries and the American "anti-Imperialist" left:
The picture gets further complicated, and the Left gets further flummoxed, over the role of Empire in the Iranian context. The memory of the 1953 coup burns furiously in the minds of many Iranians to this day. Because anti-imperialism is our primary conceptual organizing principle, leftists are of course highly attuned to such sentiments. Particularly in this era of Empire fever and regime-change mania, we reflexively and viscerally oppose US interference in other countries - and understandably so. Anti-imperialist pronouncements coming out of Iran thus have a certain resonance for many leftists. The supreme cleric Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has characterized the students as "American mercenaries." As the Middle East scholar Juan Cole points out, that kind of accusation "has resonance in a country where US conspiracies to change the government - like the 1953 CIA coup - have actually succeeded." (It should be recalled, however, that the Islamists deploy the 1953 coup in bad faith: not only did they oppose Iranian president Mohammad Mossadegh for his secularism and liberalism; they even had their own plans to take him out. And after taking power in 1979, they obliterated the Mossadeghi National Front Party. This little footnote has largely been forgotten but is hugely relevant to the present situation.)
The problem is that denunciations of US Empire in Iran today are the rhetorical dominion of the Right, not the Left. It is the reactionary clergy, not the students, who wield the idiom of anti-imperialism. Regime hard-liners "legitimate their suppression of the students," Brecher points out, "as necessary to guard against 'foreign forces"'; the mullahs denounced the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Shirin Ebadi as "the result of the cultural hegemony of western civilization," a tool "intended to serve the interests of colonialism and the decadent world." This kind of talk can run an interference pattern on the ideological compasses of many leftists.
In contrast, for students, feminists, human rights activists, and dissidents agitating for pluralism and democracy in Iran today, opposition to US imperialism is not the central issue. The student movement's principal demand, as Brecher notes, is "to eliminate the power of the self-perpetuating theocratic elite" over the Iranian state. A simple stance of "hands off Iran," end of discussion, is not what those struggling for change in Iran need from progressives around the world. Of course we should be steadfast in opposing any US military intervention in Iran - that's the easy part. But it's not the end of the discussion. Iran is, as the Iranian anthropologist Ziba Mir-Hossein puts it, "a state at war with itself." Progressives everywhere should take sides in that war and actively support the forces of democracy, feminism, pluralism, human rights, and freedom of expression.
It's not that the students and other reformers in Iran are pro-imperialist. Quite the contrary. Ebadi, for example, has made it perfectly clear that she opposes US military intervention, advocating instead a nonviolent, internal transformation of Iranian society. But US imperialism is simply not the central issue for them - and this, I think, is a stumbling block for many American leftists, because it is the central issue for us. We're better at making sense of situations in which the US Empire is the foe and building our solidarity with other people around that. That was the case in Guatemala - as it was in Indochina, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and East Timor.
But that model simply doesn't apply to situations in which the struggles of oppressed groups are not aimed directly against American imperialism. And that's a serious blind spot. It creates myopia on the part of American leftists. Anti-imperialism can turn into a kind of tunnel vision, its own form of fundamentalism. Cases that fall outside its scheme simply get left out, and our solidarity with struggles around the world is determined by George Bush, rather than our principles.

The quote was from a recent book on the said Mullohcracy. (h/t Winds of Change, followed in the comments section where lively discussion ensues)

End of the Line? No.

Don't worry, we'll get to the global warming heretics soon. And I'm not sure but I think I already covered the Vegan who visited Mongolia with (for her) disastrous results. And then there's the animal rights "activists" who set fire to a UCLA researcher's house. Now, we've got two Aussie activists who boarded a Japanese whaling ship from their own (the Steve Irwin - a direct insults to the man and his legacy) and proceeded to harass the shipmen and toss acid around. The pair was apprehended, tied outside in the freezing cold Antarctic air, and offered whale meat. Two days later, they boarded a sister ship and proceeded with the same methods of harassment. Once again, they were promptly returned to their ship. Thus ended the ordeal - for now.

Press the press to press the press to...

Now, in my long diatribe on Yale Law I wrote on the difference between actual guilt and declared guilt by a random sample (also called a jury). In our most recent demonstration of this, an article penned in a middle school student newspaper made its way online and became an instant big hit in the big media, basically claiming that the school banned farting. Indeed, said the principal, some teachers were enforcing it as a new 'policy,' but it hadn't been anything on the level of a "rule." There have even been accusations of it having been a rule, with the principal backpedaling when the story broke. But then here, again, is where the truth is elusive enough that it might just have to be decided by what the majority believes.

This leaves us with two scenarios. One, the article is as pranky as some had believed it to be, which speaks ill of the national presses. Two, the national coverage did get the school elite to dial down this "new rule," just as the CA thermostat big-brotherism and McCain's amnesty bill were killed by national exposure from particular corners of the media. It's a shame such a tactic won't work on an international level with the Saudi womens' rights violations nor the abuse of native Africans in the Darfur region.

Up Next: Nitwits, animals and animal-like nitwits!

Don't Feel Sorry for Hugo

After all, how can one sympathize with socialist leader who's managed to be both a failed populist and a terrible nationalist?

Half A Life: A Decade Since

Monicagate brought me into this world. In a literal sense, I'm not kidding. I must have been ten, so I was coming of age around then. As Bush 43's said, he's not worried about historians working on him while they're still debating Washinton 01. The same can be said about Monicagate. In fact, I've come across some telling, refreshing commentary on the not-so-aged issue.

At Slate, Tim Noah says:
It was 10 years ago on Jan. 12 that Linda Tripp notified Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's office that she had audiotapes of Monica Lewinsky telling her that she'd had an affair with President Bill Clinton, and that he'd urged her to lie if asked about it under oath.

And Rand Simberg replies:
Hint for the terminally clueless. This wasn't "getting a BJ." It wasn't "lying about getting a BJ." As clearly stated by Noah, it's called suborning perjury, in order to prevent a vulnerable young woman from getting a fair trial in a civil suit under a law that the suborner had signed with his own pen. Not to mention bribing and/or intimidating a witness to perjure herself, which is a more egregious instance of same.
Maybe I'm weird, but it seems very hard to reconcile that with upholding an oath to see the nation's laws faithfully obeyed. King William didn't think that the law should apply to him, either when in Arkansas when he allegedly raped a woman as the state Attorney General, or as President of the United States.
That was what the Lewinsky scandal was about.

Tim goes on:
Linda Tripp was rightly identified as the worst villain of all for deceiving her friend Monica and for being a prude, a tattle-tale, and a buttinsky...

To which Rand replies:
I would also point out to Mr. Noah that, there is one person who, throughout, told the truth in this affair, and was never caught out in a lie, or lack of probity, despite all the attacks on her weight, her looks, or her "infidelity" to the "friend" who asked her to commit perjury. Her name was Linda Tripp.

This is one of those when hey, even you liberals can't have it both ways. Two people, two opinions. Pick a side.

A New Direction Called "Sheer Obviousness"

Did y'all hear that? China's economy is 40% smaller than thought. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a religion to replace all religions. A South American nation is gonna be drilling a gargantuan glob of oil found some-a-ways off its shores.

And then, as per my previous post, we make our way toward the importance of transportation. Ancient civilization used boats and land-bridges to cross vast land and sea for the purposes of trade. The Dow Jones Transportation Index is a leading indicator of economic direction. And AQ just loves to target modes of transport.

Meantime, accusations of fear-mongering are flinged toward American's Executive branch left and right by the same people who tell people what cars to drive, lights to use and bins to dispose in or else the world will be cooked!

Where am I going with all this?

Right here:

World not running out of oil, say experts

Doom-laden forecasts that world oil supplies are poised to fall off the edge of a cliff are wide of the mark, according to leading oil industry experts who gave warning that human factors, not geology, will drive the oil market.

A landmark study of more than 800 oilfields by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (Cera) has concluded that rates of decline are only 4.5 per cent a year, almost half the rate previously believed, leading the consultancy to conclude that oil output will continue to rise over the next decade.

Peter Jackson, the report's author, said: “We will be able to grow supply to well over 100million barrels per day by 2017.” Current world oil output is in the region of 85million barrels a day.

The optimistic view of the world's oil resource was also given support by BP's chief economist, Peter Davies, who dismissed theories of “Peak Oil” as fallacious. Instead, he gave warning that world oil production would peak as demand weakened, because of political constraints, including taxation and government efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil, Mr Davies said that peaks in world production had been wrongly predicted throughout history but he agreed that oil might peak within a generation “as a result of a peaking of demand rather than supply”.

He said it was inconceivable that oil consumption would be unaffected by government policies to reduce carbon emissions. “There is a distinct possibilty that global oil consumption could peak as a result of such climate policies,” Mr Davies said.

The BP economist's remarks were echoed yesterday by Mr Jackson. “It is the above-ground risks that will influence the rate [of oil output],” he said.

Cera analysed the output of 811 oilfields, which produce 19 billion barrels a year, out of total world output of 32 billion. These included many of the giants, including Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, the largest known oilfield, which has been at the centre of the debate between peak oil analysts and their detractors.

In his book Twilight in the Desert, Matthew Simmons of Simmons & Co, the consultancy, said the big Saudi fields reached their peak output in 1981 but Cera yesterday said that Ghawar was not failing. “There is no technical evidence that Ghawar is about to decline,” said Mr Jackson.

Cera reckons that oil output, including unconventional oil, such as tar sands, could allow oil to peak at much higher levels of as much as 112 million barrels per day, with average rates of more than 100million bpd.

The Cera analysis targeted oilfields producing more than 10,000 barrels a day of conventional oil and concluded that overall output was declining at a rate of 4.5 per cent a year and that field decline rates were not increasing.

This is much lower than the 7 to 8percent average rate that is generally assumed in the industry. Typically, Peak Oil theorists believe that the output of oil reserves can be plotted on a graph as a bell curve, rising to a peak and then falling rapidly.

It was proposed in 1950 by M King Hubbert, a US geologist, who successfully predicted the peak of onshore oil production in the United States.

His analysis is disputed by many geologists today, who argue that technology has changed the equation, allowing oil companies to produce more oil from reservoirs than was previously possible.

Meanwhile, increases in the price of oil has made the extraction of difficult reserves economically viable.

The Utter Enjoyment of Being Right

In one of the more recent examples of science taken by total, exasperating surprise is the discovery that gosh, maybe native South Americans learned cultivation within a few generations of the rest of the world! In our society, we place a special emphasis on domestic abilities, because globalization is "modern" and greenies would like a return to the "good old days." Well, here's news for them: they'll have to live at least fifteen thousand years in the past to get there. Is it such a leap of the imagination to suppose that global trade, however lacking in technology it might have been, was widespread at the crack of dawn of human civilization? Here's the piece for your utter enjoyment:

Andean Crops Cultivated Almost 10,000 Years Ago
Archaeologists have long thought that people in the Old World were planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting for a good 5,000 years before anyone in the New World did such things. But fresh evidence, in the form of Peruvian squash seeds, indicates that farming in the New and Old Worlds was nearly concurrent. In a paper the journal Science published last June, Tom Dillehay, an anthropological archaeologist at Vanderbilt University, revealed that the squash seeds he found in the ruins of what may have been ancient storage bins on the lower western slopes of the Andes in northern Peru are almost 10,000 years old. “I don’t want to play the early button game,” he said, “but the temporal gap between the Old and New World, in terms of a first pulse toward civilization, is beginning to close.”

The seeds aren’t the only things that support the argument. Dillehay also found evidence of cotton and peanut farming and what seem to be garden hoes; nearby are irrigation canals. What puzzles him is why the ancients of the Nanchoc Valley would make the switch to farming from hunting and gathering when a walk of just an hour and a half would bring them to a forest filled with nutritious foods. Some clues point to contact with outsiders and the exchange of foods and other products. The squash is not native to the area, and tools made from exotic cherts and jaspers from the highlands can be found in the same ruins. But there are also other factors, including the need for more food, both to feed a growing population and to use for ceremonies and other gatherings. “The general pattern,” Dillehay says, “is that there’s a technological, socioeconomic cultural package that indicates something unique and interesting took place.”

Heh They're so embarrased they can't devote more than two paragraphs to the story!

In Light, Not In Lieu...

Given the likelihood of a McCain nomination, it's necessary to reproduce a former governorn's pep talk on this issue. So here's Lamm's (D-CO) speech:
I have a secret plan to destroy America. If you believe, as many do, that America is too smug, too white bread, too self-satisfied, too rich, let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. History shows that nations are more fragile than their citizens think. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and they all fall, and that “an autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.” Here is my plan:

1. We must first make America a bilingual-bicultural country. History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. One scholar, Seymour Martin Lipset, put it this way: “The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with its Basques, Bretons and Corsicans.”

2. I would then invent “multiculturalism” and encourage immigrants to maintain their own culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal: that there are no cultural differences that are important. I would declare it an article of faith that the black and Hispanic dropout rate is only due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out-of-bounds.

3. We can make the United States a “Hispanic Quebec” without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently, “The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved, not by tolerance, but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically, and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.” I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with a salad bowl metaphor. It is important to insure that we have various cultural sub-groups living in America reinforcing their differences, rather than Americans emphasizing their similarities.

4. Having done all this, I would make our fastest-growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50 percent dropout rate from school.

5. I would then get the big foundations and big business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of victimology. I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was all the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.

6. I would establish dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would “celebrate diversity.” “Diversity” is a wonderfully seductive word. It stresses differences rather than commonalities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other–that is, when they are not killing each other. A “diverse,” peaceful or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together, and we can take advantage of this myopia.

Look at the ancient Greeks. Dorf’s “World History” tells us: “The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic Games in honor of Zeus, and all Greeks venerated the shrine of Apollo at Delphi. A common enemy, Persia, threatened their liberty. Yet, all of these bonds together were not strong enough to overcome two factors … (local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions …)” If we can put the emphasis on the “pluribus,” instead of the “unum,” we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo.

7. Then I would place all these subjects off-limits–make it taboo to talk about. I would find a word similar to “heretic” in the 16th century that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like “racist”, “xenophobe” halt argument and conversation. Having made America a bilingual-bicultural country, having established multiculturalism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of “victimology,” I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra –”because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good.” I would make every individual immigrant sympatric and ignore the cumulative impact.

8. Lastly, I would censor Victor Davis Hanson’s book “Mexifornia” –this book is dangerous; it exposes my plan to destroy America. So please, please–if you feel that America deserves to be destroyed–please, please–don’t buy this book! This guy is on to my plan.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Let's Go Over This, Shall We?

The ongoing civil war at Yale Law is an ugly sight to behold. At the root is the general historical antipathy of law schools toward the military. In the most ultimate hypocrisy ever, former Dean Kronman revealed the upper brass as sell-outs to the most dishonorable principles ever. They would only turn their backs on deeply-held hatred of their home country if the said country withheld vital funding. In the land of our enemies, such institutions would be burned to the ground without a moment's notice. Honor is a concept lost to useful idiots in the name of moral equilibriums, which exist more in the mind than in reality.

So, we come to the Solomon Amendment. Without it, Yale Law would have no qualms preserving the nondiscrimination policy so common to law shools these days. Actually, it took Yale a full year to realize fair yet grudging and resentful institution and enforcement to protect its undeserved yearly $350 mil Fed moneys. Yale would in fact have us believe DADT is the heart of the issue, when in fact its reaction to DADT takes the cake. A number of law schools tried to invoke the 1st amendment against the Solomon Amendment as if it were a violation of the 2nd amendment in some way (it's not) in the case FAIR v Rumsfeld in '03; how it managed to get all the way to the Supreme Court (at which point it was immediately struck down) has been beyond me.

And then in Oct '03, Navy JAG Recruiter Brian Whitaker went to Yale. The one student he was scheduled to meet with cancelled the planned interview after almost every other Yale Law student signed a publicly displayed petition indicating they'd never do so. And of course, this is where we dive underwater to see the rest of the iceberg.

But before we dive in, some stats declare to the high Heavens that we've got 5% of the world's population and train 70% of its lawyers. Now pay attention, because we're getting into part two. The ability for those on the left to readily and willingly sympathize with those trying to kill them is at the same time frightening and amusing. E.g. Jose Padilla. Found guilty by a jury of his peers, so legally guilty, the basis of a conviction as opposed to actual guilt - 'cause that's how the system works for law-abiding Americans. But some of these guys saw an opportunity to trash out gov't and took it - and Padilla, guilty and convicted, was still able to file suit against John Yoo ('92 Yale grad) with help from Jonathan Freiman ('98 Yale grad - what nincompoop paid for this wasted education?) because some DoJ Office of Legal Counsel chief didn't have the guts in himself to fight terrorism full-on and decided to write about it. Again, a message to people on the left side of politial spectra: the American legal courts system makes use of a jury of peers not to know if a crime was committed but rather to decide just that - a representative sample in a just and fair Republic.

I simply do not get liberal psychology. Cuban expatriates s are still our allies and FARC still an enemy. There is a major difference between choosing a side, and choosing the lesser of two evils. I hear fellow students decry and denounce Cuban Americans every day, and I've heard arguments justifying the current and past actions of various regimes - Nicaragua, Iran, Vietnam to name a few - and the U.S. is painted in a bad light in each. It is as if...JFK had never existed. McKinley picked Roosevelt, FDR picked Truman and JFK picked Johnson. In some ways and with history as his guide, at least Bush was smart enough to have picked Dick Cheney. But I digress - this asinine digust for some American actions during the Cold War has manifest itself in our powerful bureaucratic legal system that refuses to come to terms that in this struggle, there are clear moral boundaries that they ought to prevent themselves from crossing to sympathize with the enemy. Because remember, before invading Poland, Hitler was the darling of liberals everywhere. There's more to this that can be remarked on later. Back to Yale...

Former Yale Law Dean Koh testified to the Feds against domestic FISA surveillance. That's so Yale. And let's not forget the most recent case in which a number of Yale students disrupted an event featuring 9th Circuit judge Jay Bybee (who'd collaborated with Yoo in the past). The protest was led by Yale '09 Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation New American Fellowship recipient Darryl Li, who protested the same individual at Harvard. That's a special kind of stalking, one designed to shut down oppposing viewpoints.

Uh, Li? It's repeated history waiting for you on line one.

(big h/t to Scott Johnson)