Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kevin Williamson notes the coercive nature of the left:

The Left's last big idea was Communism. When Lenin turned out to be the god who failed, the Left undertook wide exploration for another grand unifying idea: environmentalism, multiculturalism, economic inequality, atheism, feminism, etc. What it ended up with was an enemies' list.

That and a taste for brute force.

The enthusiasm for coercion and the substitution of enemies for ideas - Christians, white men, Israel, "the 1 percent," the Koch brothers, take your pick - together form the basis for understanding the Left's current convulsions. The call to imprison people with unapproved ideas about global warming, the Senate Democrats' vote to repeal the First Amendment, the Ferguson-inspired riots, the picayune political correctness and thought-policing that annoys Jonathan Chait, the IRS's persecution of conservative political groups, Barack Obama's White House enemies' list, the casual violence against conservatives on college campuses and the Left's instinctive defense of that violence - these are not separate phenomena but part of a single phenomenon.

Victor Davis Hanson describes Obama as a snarky adolescent:

Obama is supposedly friends with basketball legend Michael Jordan. But the latter made a terrible mistake when he chided the golf-obsessive Obama as in fact a "hack" and a "sh***y" golfer. Obama quickly fired back that Jordan "was not well informed." He then went after Jordan himself as the less than successful basketball-team owner: "He might want to spend more time thinking about the Bobcats - or the Hornets." Snark is now exemplified by the president of the United States stooping to engage in a kindergarten tit-for-tat over relative golf skills with an ex-NBA player: "But there is no doubt that Michael is a better golfer than I am. Of course if I was playing twice a day for the last 15 years, then that might not be the case." Note the "He might want" and "If I was playing twice a day..." [ ... snip ... ]

Critics used to say they opposed Obama's redistributionist programs, but conceded that he must be a pleasant guy. Supporters lamented Obama's frequent inattention to detail but reminded everyone how charismatic the president was. Both diagnoses are probably mistaken. Snarkery is a character flaw of thin-skinned insecurity and juvenile mean-spiritedness - and embarrassing in a president.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Yesterday I wrote, The more "oppression" the left discovers, the more ridiculous it becomes. As this piece demonstrates, one might also argue that the more "tolerance" the left discovers, the more ridiculous it becomes.

(The University of Vermont) was the first school in the country to allow students to select which pronoun they preferred in its system. The system also allows them to select "name only," which means the student is opposed to pronouns in general and wants to be addressed only by name - something more than 200 transgender students have selected since 2009, according to the Times.

Of course, even before the software update, transgender students who did use another name could already inform the school about it and have it changed in the system - but this required an in-person visit to the dean's office and filling out some paperwork, and advocates said this was too much to ask.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The more "oppression" the left discovers, the more ridiculous it becomes. Today's latest injustice is against single people. From Katherine Timpf:
The piece defines "singlism" as "the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination against people who are not married" and "marital privilege" as "the unearned advantages that benefit those who are married," an "emotional privilege" where "other people express happiness for people who marry but pity for those who stay single." [ . . . ]
If only there was some way to study this grand societal ill. And that's a problem too!

Some points are particularly laughable, such as the claim that it's so terrible that "universities have women's studies, Black studies, and queer studies programs" but "there is no singles studies program in any university, anywhere."

And unsurprisingly, many of the other examples are based on their brilliant and oh-so-culturally-aware recognition of even more of our common, seemingly innocuous phrases being actually very offensive and harmful forms of discrimination - including single people having to endure seeing things such as "ticket prices . . . quoted as '$100 per couple'" and greeting cards that "express 'our' sympathy." (Oh the horror!)

The original piece is here. The much deserved mockery in the comments section is the most compelling part.

Friday, January 30, 2015

In his "Impromptus" column Jay Nordlinger observes the absurdity of the Big 10 conference as the home to 14 teams.
Speaking of things that are screwy: The Big Ten conference has 14 members. I was reading an article the other day that said that a certain team was "11th in the Big Ten" in some category or other. That makes you stop and think.
It's really only par for the course these days, though. The Atlantic Coast Conference extends as far west as Indiana, the Southeast Conference as far west as Texas, and the Pacific 12 Conference as far east as Colorado. And the Big 12 Conference has, of course, 10 members.
Kevin Williamson takes down the hypocritical, totalitarian progressive and their lifestyle.

On the matter of consumers' contribution to global warming, Arianna Huffington was celebrated for leading a moralistic crusade against SUVs, which are disproportionately favored by the sort of people who might vape, eat at Applebee's, watch the wrong television shows, and vote the wrong way. In reality, the most carbon-intensive thing the typical well-heeled American does is take an international flight - but you will not see progressives leading campaigns against European vacations or exotic eco-tourism in Southeast Asia or South America. Why? Because they dislike SUVs for other reasons - representing as they do suburbia, affluence, and the implicit rejection of tiny hybrids - and emissions are simply a handy cudgel. International travel, on the other hand, is considered an ipso facto moral good, being an integral part of how one learns to sneer at American culture and American habits. International jet travel is, therefore, necessary, and necessarily good.

[ . . . ]

There are many conservatives who prefer organic food, who do yoga, who like trains, and who would prefer living in Brooklyn to living in Plano. De gustibus and all that. The difference is that progressives, blazing with self-righteousness, believe themselves entitled to make their preferences a matter of law.

And that's the Left in short: A lifestyle so good, it's mandatory.

Charles Krauthammer notes the return of anti-semitism to Europe.

The hiatus is over. Jew-hatred is back, recapitulating the past with impressive zeal. Italians protesting Gaza handed out leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish merchants. As in the 1930s. A widely popular French comedian has introduced a variant of the Nazi salute. In Berlin, Gaza brought out a mob chanting, "Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone!" Berlin, mind you.

European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It's a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

David Greenfield has identified the greatest danger resulting from murderous Muslim terror attacks: fear of a backlash against Muslims. Quelle horreur!

The increase in Muslim terrorism however has made it risky for the media to wait that long. 24 hours after a brutal Muslim terrorist attack, there might be another brutal Muslim terrorist attack which will completely crowd out the stories of Muslims worrying about the backlash to the latest Muslim atrocity.

The massacre at Charlie Hebdo was quickly followed by a massacre at a kosher supermarket and somewhere in between them the Islamic State in Nigeria had wiped out the populations of sixteen villages.

With so many Muslim attacks crowded together, the media had no choice but to take a deep breath and dive in with its "Muslim backlash" stories.

The Voice of America ran its "Muslims fear backlash" piece while the bodies were still warm. The Los Angeles Times rushed out its "Muslims fear backlash" story before the Kosher supermarket massacre. It quoted the Muslim spokesman for the National Observatory Against Islamophobia asserting that it is Muslims who suffer after such attacks. Muslims however weren't the ones who suffered. The four dead Jews at a Kosher supermarket did the suffering at the hands of a Muslim gunman.

Amid reporting all this "backlash" nonsense, Greenfield asks an important question: Is it really a backlash that Muslims fear or a moral reckoning? Excellent point. Maybe all this fear of backlash is a distraction to portray the Muslim community as victims, rather than ask why it is they are so proficient at creating the sort of people that commit this kind of savagery.

On one side are bodies heaped across Europe and America. On the other is the occasional slice of pork on a mosque door, a little graffiti scrawled on a wall or a dirty look on public transportation.

One is genocide and the other is petty vandalism.

We don't need any more earnest interviews in which Muslims claim that they are the real victims of Muslim terrorism because they now feel "unwelcome" when the bodies of non-Muslims still lie in the morgue.

Try comparing an "unwelcome" feeling to being dead.

As Matthew Continetti demonstrates, the left is very selective in its defense of free speech.
Nor do I recall liberals standing up for the critics of global warming and evolutionary theory, of same-sex marriage and trans rights and women in combat, of riots in Ferguson and of Obama's decision to amnesty millions of illegal immigrants. On the contrary: To dissent from the politically correct and conventional and fashionable is to invite rebuke, disdain, expulsion from polite society, to court the label of Islamophobe or denier or bigot or cisnormative or misogynist or racist or carrier of privilege and irredeemable micro-aggressor. For the right to offend to have any meaning, however, it cannot be limited to theistic religions. You must have the right to offend secular humanists, too.
Dennis Prager notes the preferential treatment of Islam over other religions:

We'll start with an example of pro-Islamic bias that is so ubiquitous that no one seems to notice it. Why do Western media - largely composed of irreligious people, one might add - always deferentially refer to Mohammed as "the Prophet Mohammed" in news articles and opinion pieces?

When Jesus is mentioned, the media never refer to him as "Christ, the Lord" or as "the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Just "Jesus." In fact, "A.D." ("Anno Domini," "In the Year of our Lord") has been completely dropped by the very academics and media who always write "the Prophet Mohammed."

Unfortunately, this asymmetrical treatment isn't confined to the media. And it can lead to brutal results.
Perhaps the most egregious example of a society's elites treating Islam differently from all other religions took place in the U.K. Between 1997 and 2013, at least 1,400 girls, as young as eleven years old, in the small English city of Rotherham (population 275,000), were repeatedly gang-raped and treated as sex slaves. The U.K. government acknowledged that these atrocities were allowed to go on due to the fact the perpetrators were British Pakistanis and the girls were white. No one was allowed to say that at the time. The author of a 2002 report identifying Pakistanis as the perpetrators and organizers of the Rotherham gang rapes and sex slavery was sent to diversity training.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Daniel Greenfield writes that New York needs to elect a leftist mayor on occasion to remind itself why it shouldn't elect leftist mayors:

Bill de Blasio declared war on Central Park carriage horses, put cell phones back in schools, put criminals back in public housing, housed homeless in neighborhoods across the city, went to war with the few city schools that worked and went to war with the police.

And for an encore, he banned packing peanuts.

Within a short time he had managed to reverse decades of reforms while alienating everyone except the editorial board of the New York Times which would continue to support him even if, or especially if, he began executing Kulaks on Staten Island.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Over at Ace of Spades Ace notes that CNN referred to one of the Muslim barbarian hostage takers in France as "African American." Even though he is more likely to be French Algerian.

This is the problem with the politically correct formulation of using the term "African American" to describe any black person. First, it creates the dilemma of how to describe a white person of African descent.

One of my friends was born in South Africa, so she put African American on her application. She is white though - 100% white. African American race on college apps in generally intended to give advantages to minorites, so would admissions people get mad if they found at that she is at no actual disadvantage and is not a minority? I have heard that is true, what do you guys think?
I can't find a link, but I once saw a black South African described as an "African American African" to distinguish him from white Africans. What kind of absurd formulation is that? Finally, you have to really love this one:
When Voyager premiered in 1995 there was some sexist and racist discourse about having a female captain and an African-American Vulcan on the series.
As Debra Saunders correctly observes: Say Islam Is Violent and Jihadis Will Kill You

Bruce Thornton asks "When Will We Wake Up?"

The truth is, many Muslims see the whole Western political order as radically different from--and in their view, inferior to--that of Islam. The cultural cargo of human rights, tolerance of confessional diversity, individual autonomy and self-determination, and political freedom is incompatible with the traditional Islamic doctrine that a divinely bestowed shari'a law is the only legitimate social-political order that can create the best life in this world, and ensure the enjoyment of paradise in the next.

But this truth about Islam's conflict with liberal democracy--a truth documented in 14 centuries of Islamic history and doctrine, and supported by majorities of Muslims worldwide-- is repeatedly denied by Western governments and intellectuals. White House spokesman Josh Earnest repeated this false knowledge, saying after the killings that Islam is "a peaceful religion and it's terrible that we are seeing some radical extremists attempt to use some of the values to [sic] that religion and distort them greatly and inspire people to commit terrible acts of violence." Thus the illiberal, totalitarian nature of shari'a evident in sex apartheid, honor killings, enslavement of girls, persecution and murder of religious minorities, destruction of churches and synagogues, and chronic jihadist violence is attributed to anything and everything other than the role of sacralized violence in Muslim history and theology, a patent fact dismissed as Islamophobic slander. Meanwhile, jihadist slaughter continues worldwide, with almost 800 killed and wounded just in the last week of 2014.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kevin Williamson pays proper homage to free market capitalism:

The aggregate effect of competitive capitalism is indistinguishable from magic, but we are so used to its bounty that we never stop to notice that no king of old ever enjoyed quarters so comfortable as those found in a Holiday Inn Express, that Andrew Carnegie never had a car as good as a Honda Civic, that Akhenaten never enjoyed such wealth as is found in a Walmart Supercenter. The irony is that capitalism has achieved through choice and cooperation what the old reds thought they were going to do with bayonets and gulags: It has recruited the most powerful and significant parts of the world's capital structure into the service of ordinary people. And it would do so to an even greater degree if self-interested politicians in places such as India and China (and New York and California and D.C.) would get out of the way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Charlie Cooke takes down the latest anti-gun absurdity:

One can only imagine that the spot's producers consider their set up to be inordinately clever. "Hey," you can almost hear them say, "we'll make it look as if there's going to be a school shooting, and then he'll hand it over to his teacher and all will be well!" In fact, it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible storyline. We're talking about children here, remember - impressionable, easily led, ignorant children. (Adults are an entirely separate question.) As a rule, we teach our kids that they if they see a firearm they should refrain from touching it, and go and tell an adult. In the commercial, however, the child is shown doing the exact opposite. "If you see a gun," the ad suggests, "pick it up, put it in a bag, and then jostle it around in front of other children." One can only wonder at how many kids will now need to be told that they must not, under any circumstances, do this.

Moreover, in the course of his little ploy, the kid breaks pretty much every law on the books. He takes a gun out of his house (not only is this felony burglary, but he's not old enough to carry a firearm in public); he then takes that gun into a school (that's against federal and state law); and, finally, he transfers it to a teacher without a background check, thereby breaking the very rule that progressives tell us is necessary to keep us all safe from gun violence. And for what, pray? Typically, anti-gun commercials focus in on a specific safety issue: a lack of trigger locks, or background checks, or safe-storage, for example. This one seems to feature a child who is saying, "I don't want any guns in the house at all." This absolute approach is extreme, even for today's class of wildly incompetent control freaks. Worse, perhaps, the child seems to believe that the public school system exists as a general service that he might use if he wishes to deprive his parents of their constitutional rights - an implication, let's say, that is unlikely to win many converts.

And here's Eugene Volokh's take on the same video:
(T)he ad strikes me as pretty appalling. I doubt that it's persuasive advocacy for the proposition that people shouldn't keep guns, shouldn't keep guns when they have children in the house, or shouldn't keep guns unlocked when they have children in the house. (Whether those are sound propositions is a separate question; I'm just saying the ad doesn't really make much of an argument for them.) But I can imagine some impressionable teenager seeing what the appealing protagonist is doing, and trying to copy it, especially since the serious tone of the video seems to invite its being taken seriously. And the results could include expulsion, criminal prosecution, or even death.
The video in question is at the links, but in case you don't feel like clicking through:
The incredible story of how private philanthropy saved Washington's Mount Vernon and Jefferson's Monticello.

It's the end of the year so it's time to start collecting year-end lists. Here are Katherine Timpf's 11 Most Politically Correct Moments on College Campuses in 2014.

Click through for an explanation of each absurdity.

1. Princeton University students launched a microaggression-reporting service.
2. College students invented a roofie-detecting nail polish - only to be told that that's actually also rape culture.
3. Students hosted an anti-rape-culture rally only to be told that's - yep - actually also rape culture.
4. A school campaigned against "offensive" language such as "wuss," "you guys," and "derp" because it has an "oppressive impact on culture."
5. Students opposed a female-to-male transgender candidate for class diversity officer because he's a white man.
6. A school told its orientation officers not to use the word "freshman" because it promotes rape.
7. A liberal group demanded the school teach a mandatory transgender-sensitivity class to right the wrongs of colonial America.
8. A student newspaper's editorial board wrote a whole piece about how racist bras are. 9. The War on Tacos.
10. The War on Coconut Bras.
11. Harvard University was about to stop buying water machines from the Israeli company SodaStream because they might be a micro aggression.

Heather Mac Donald writes at the always excellent City Journal:
Since last summer, a lie has overtaken significant parts of the country, resulting in growing mass hysteria. That lie holds that the police pose a mortal threat to black Americans-indeed that the police are the greatest threat facing black Americans today. Several subsidiary untruths buttress that central myth: that the criminal-justice system is biased against blacks; that the black underclass doesn't exist; and that crime rates are comparable between blacks and whites-leaving disproportionate police action in minority neighborhoods unexplained without reference to racism. The poisonous effect of those lies has now manifested itself in the cold-blooded assassination of two NYPD officers.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

We haven't posted an outrage from the RoP recently, because honestly who has time to keep up? Sometimes, though, a group will outdo even the usual ongoing violence:

"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah by a militant named Abu Anas Al-Libi after they refused to accept jihad marriage," said the Ministry. "Many families were also forced to migrate from the province's northern town of Al-Wafa after hundreds of residents received death threats."

The militants buried the victims in mass graves in the city. The families who left lost many children after they were stranded in the desert.

The Islamic State slaughtered over 50 people from the Al Bu Nimr tribe in Iraq's Anbar Province on November 2. The massacre included six women and four children. Witnesses said the militants lined up the victims, whom they "publicly killed one by one." Over seventeen people were kidnapped, as well. Militants murdered 98 people from the same tribe 24-48 hours before the massacre. The tribe is Sunni, which holds the same belief of Islam as the Islamic State, but now, they view the tribe as a threat

Columnist John Ransom has no idea what President Obama is doing.

There could be things that the president and I could agree on. Of course I wouldn't know-nor would you-- because most of the time I have no earthly idea-nor do you-- why he does what he does or what he means by doing them.

Why for example did he pitch global warming as a key campaign message during the 2014 mid-terms, or helpfully campaign for Democrat candidates who made it known they didn't appreciate his help?

Is he that dumb? Or was it a clever ploy to cover up the last stupid thing he did?

There is a whole cottage industry devoted to deciphering the intended unintended consequences of the ideological incompetency and inconsistency that exudes from Obama.

Vermont tried to setup a taxpayer funded single payer "free" healthcare system but they couldn't do it:

Legislators in the state of Vermont have been making moves toward establishing a single-payer health program that would make all health care available to all residents at taxpayer expense. The state had intended to apply for a waiver to free the state from Obamacare mandates for the purpose of setting up an in-state single-payer system.

Unfortunately, the liberal dream has been mugged by reality: Democratic Gov. Shumlin announced that they're going to abandon the plan because it's too expensive.

Victor Davis Hanson identifies the moral inconsistency of banning "torture" while raining simultaneously raining missiles from drones:

How is assassinating a suspected terrorist - and anyone unfortunate enough to be in his general vicinity - with a drone missile morally or legally different from waterboarding a confessed terrorist at Guantanamo Bay? At least the waterboarded suspect survives the ordeal.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report failed to disprove the CIA's contention that only three detainees were waterboarded. A small number of detainees were subject to sleep disturbance or excessive temperatures. In contrast, drone strikes ordered by Obama may have assassinated thousands.

Were those who were waterboarded more or less likely to be plotting terror than those blown to smithereens? We do not know that answer. Yet the former were in detention - one of whom confessed to plotting the 9/11 attacks, and another suspected of masterminding the USS Cole attack - while the latter were never caught, much less questioned, and their status as terrorists was far less assured.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Andrew McCarthy proposes an interesting idea.

Here is a thought experiment I have been using for many years as we've debated this topic. It goes to what Obama says about the intolerably brutal nature of waterboarding, the most coercive of the enhanced techniques that were used.

If you were to take everyone in America who is serving a minor jail sentence of, say, 6 to 18 months, and you were to ask them whether they'd rather serve the rest of their time or be waterboarded in the manner practiced by the CIA post 9/11 (i.e., not in the manner practiced by the Japanese in World War II), how many would choose waterboarding? I am guessing, conservatively, that over 95 percent would choose waterboarding.

Now, if you take the same group of inmates and ask them whether they'd prefer to serve the remainder of their time or be subjected to Obama's drone program (where we kill rather than capture terrorists, therefore get no intelligence from the people in the best position to provide actionable intelligence, and kill bystanders - including some children - in addition to the target), how many would choose the drone program? I am guessing that it would be . . . zero.

I believe President Obama is too smart not to grasp this obvious point.

Here's a brilliant observation from Peter Kirsanow:

Do a quick scan of major media reporting on the Senate Democrats' so-called torture report. Pay particular attention to liberal reaction and commentary. Then go back and examine major media reporting on the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Wilson. Again, pay particular attention to liberal reaction and commentary.

Many of the same media outlets that dismissed as incredible the Ferguson grand jury's decision - a decision based, in part, on the testimony of more than 40 witnesses to the event in question - now find credible a report on a CIA program prepared by Democratic staffers who interviewed none of the individuals involved in establishing and running the program.

Who says liberals aren't religious?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Roger Simon has a pithy analysis of Hillary Clinton's thought process:

You can almost see the wheels grinding when asked a question:

What did I think in the days of Saul Alinsky? What did I think back in Little Rock? What did I think when Bill was president, first term, second term? Should I bake cookies? Why did Monica keep that dress? How could I have left those billing records in the White house? Is this good in Ohio? What did I think when senator? When do the Watergate hearings start? What did I think when secretary of State? Is this a war zone? Am I under fire? What did Sergei Lavrov do with that reset button? Will Lanny Davis back me up on Fox? Why does Putin always show off his pecs? Is my old friend Suha still at the Bristol? I should ask Huma. What did Obama say? Should I be separating from him on this one or not?

TILT!

Yes, like a pinball player, you can only handle so much. With all those different personas, opinions and rationalizations racing around in the brain, the machine overloads. And in Hillary's case that machine is long overfilled, like one of those computer hard drives we've all junked.

Here's an awesome blog post by Daniel Greenfield on the class warfare that drives the left:

Medicine is individual and the collectivization of medicine is a technocratic solution that leads to broad stroke solutions, like adding calories to menus and other rats in a maze tactics designed to modify human behavior on a national level. The targeting of fast food restaurants, public school meals and food stamps reeks of the same elitist arrogance that drives the nanny state.

The politicization of food by the elites of the left always comes down to class, no matter how it may be disguised in liberal colors. From exotic to locally grown, the trajectory of food politics follows the upselling of food prices The only difference is that the dominance of the left has wrapped the added cost with no added value in their own politics. The more affordable food becomes, the more the left finds ways to add cost to food, without adding value.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The left never stops pushing. There's always a new cause that must be pushed, and the ratchet only turns one way. That's how gay rights became transgender rights. That's how access to abortion became free abortions. John Stossel has noticed to, and he points out that some people have finally had enough.

Rule-makers always want more. At first, they just asked for bans on TV's cigarette ads. Then they demanded no-smoking sections in restaurants. Then bans in airplanes, schools, workplaces, entire restaurants. Then bars, too. Now sometimes even apartments and outdoor spaces.

Can't smokers have some places?

So far, smokers just ... take it. But maybe that's changing. The town of Westminster, Massachusetts, recently held hearings on whether to ban the sale of tobacco products altogether, and 500 angry people showed up.

Joseph Bottum notes that Jon Gruber (the economist who created Obamacare) and Matt Taylor (the rocket scientist who landed a robot on a comet) essentially committed the same faux pas:

Gruber and Taylor - Jonathan and Matt. They're blood brothers, in their way, joined by their place in the current news cycle. Joined by more than that, in fact, for they both made the same mistake. They both thoughtlessly assumed that behaviors that were risk-free in their small social groups would be risk-free in the larger culture. They both mistook the manners of the tribe for the manners of the nation. [. . .]

They both took behavior that is thought acceptable and even admirably daring within their particular subgroups and found that it doesn't play so well on a larger public stage. In Taylor's case, that's the geeky world of rocket scientists and science-fiction devotees, where it's hip - among those not typically known for their hipness - to make knowing references back to the bullet-breasted heroines in tight costumes who graced the covers of 1950s sci-fi pulp. Taylor's shirt is the kind that would have gotten a cheer at the monthly programmers' club meeting in Palo Alto.

In Gruber's case, the subgroup is powerful professors. Professors, that is to say, who've been let in on some important business or government project and return home to tell their fellow academics all about it. Watch any of the Gruber videos, and you'll see it right away. What the man is trying to tell his audiences in these mostly college settings is that he's an insider. He's seen how the sausage is made, and he's returned home to confirm his friends' suspicions about how comic, duplicitous, and bizarre are the inner workings of government. Of course, he's also seeking the admiration of his fellow academics. The subtext of his performances is that, just as we scholars always suspected, the American political system can be gamed and beaten by us smart professors (especially admirable, cynical me). Gruber is a hipster, among those not typically known for their hipness, and he wowed 'em at the faculty club.

Charles C.W. Cooke visits Canada's oil sands production facilities, and he is impressed by the operation. But not so much by the protestors:

In the hotel's bar on my final evening, I meet two environmentalist girls who are having dinner with the NBC TV crew. We strike up a conversation. Their lexicon is replete with insistent and earnest calls for "renewable energy" and for doing "something different." We must have a "conversation," they say. The "public must get involved!" One of them repeatedly insists that there needs to be a "compromise." I suggest that this "compromise" is precisely what has happened here: The province of Alberta allows private companies to operate within very strict guidelines and, if they break the rules, they lose their license to manufacture. She doesn't push back against this directly, but she is "worried" that oil production still has its "drawbacks." I agree in principle. After all, what doesn't? But I'm struck by the thought that she's striving for an impossible perfection and has chosen the wrong target.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

We haven't had one of these dispatches in quite some time. Not because the Religion of Peace has slowed down, rather quite the opposite. The violence in the name of the RoP is so unrelenting, dispatches would simply be a reiteration of the daily news. Beheadings, bombings and general mayhem in the name of Islam are simply a matter of course these days. Still, this story seemed worthy of note:

Four Israelis were killed and eight more wounded in a frenzied assault by two Palestinian men on Jewish worshippers praying at a Jerusalem synagogue in the most lethal incident in the city in years.

The two assailants who launched their attack with meat cleavers and a gun during early morning prayers were then killed by police officers in the ensuing gun battle at the scene of the attack.

Meat cleavers. Meat cleavers! In a synagogue. CNN's report had it this way: "DEADLY ATTACK ON JERUSALEM MOSQUE." Meanwhile, the good people of Gaza reacted with predictable outrage at their co-religionists:

Gazan revelers in Rafah handed out sweets and brandished axes and posters of the said perpetrators in praise of the deadly attack.

David French: Modern feminism is appalling stupidity backed by hysterical rage.

While I had numerous brushes with extremist feminists in law school - women who declared that all (heterosexual) sex was rape and often responded with literal screams to classroom speech they didn't like - it all felt fashionably fake. Surely no one took that level of extremism into the real world, did they? Then my wife encountered a lesbian couple in Ithaca, N.Y., who was raising their child to be "genderless." They refused to call him a boy or girl, allowing him to "choose his gender" identity during his teenage years. And, apparently, they are not alone.