Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Victor Davis Hanson observes how left wingers are "insured" against punishment for crimes that would have a right winger run out of town on a rail. He calls it "progressive insurance."

Stand-up comedian Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a c-t and a tw-t, but suffered no ill consequences. David Letterman joked on air that Sarah Palin's 14-year-old daughter had had sex with Alex Rodriguez during a New York Yankees game. There was no downside to that either. President Obama tosses around "sweetie" as he wishes. No problem with that. No one believes Barack could be condescending to women. [...]

Racism is not necessarily a job killer either. How could it be, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed during the 2008 campaign that a "light-skinned" Barack Obama spoke with "no Negro dialect." Joe Biden, himself a candidate in that election, said of Obama that he was the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean." Despite such racist drivel, a fully ideologically insured Biden was rewarded with the nomination for vice president.

VDH's take down of everything Al Gore is getting away with is absolutely devastating. Here's the complete summary of how progressive insurance works.

Instead of paying monetary premiums, one supports the proper causes, says the properly cool things, joins the right organizations, and votes the correct way, and by those means purchases a liability policy against the careless mistakes, plagiarism, offhanded lapses, sexual peccadillos, gaffes, and bad jokes that otherwise could prove ruinous.

Monday, April 14, 2014

This, from the New York Post sports page, made me laugh:

The sticky-stuff issue that Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda perpetrated, made Phil Pepe, a N.Y. sportswriter who used to cover the cover off of baseball, laugh. Pepe recalled when Jim Kaat was accused of applying a "foreign substance" to the ball. "It's not a foreign substance," said Kaat. "It comes from North Carolina."

This article reviews a new book by anthropologist Napolean Chagnon. Chagnon's observations and conclusions regarding the primitive and isolated Yanomamo people were at odds with anthropological thought at the time.

Chagnon spent decades studying the Yanomamo first-hand. What he observed challenged conventional wisdom about human nature, suggesting that primitive man may have lived in a Hobbesian state of "all against all"-where the concerns of group and individual security were driving factors in how society developed, and where a sense of terror was widespread. His work undercut a longstanding politically correct view in anthropology, which held that Stone Age humans were noble savages and that civilization had corrupted humanity and led to increasing violence. Chagnon's reporting on the Yanomamo subsequently became unpopular and was heavily attacked within some academic circles. He endured accusations and investigations. Noble Savages is Chagnon's engrossing and at times hair-raising story of his work among the Yanomamo and the controversies his discoveries stirred up.

Moreover, the anthropologists of the day didn't much like having the conventional wisdom undercut.

By this point, a segment of the academic community had already been trying to discredit Chagnon for years. In the late 1970s, for instance, a panel Chagnon organized to discuss the role of new biological theories in the study of man's past was almost cancelled because of objections from cultural anthropologists. The panel proceeded, but protestors attacked the eminent Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson when he rose to speak, knocking him down and dousing him with cold water. Critics, meanwhile, charged Chagnon with faking his data and branded him a racist. He found it difficult to get back into Venezuela to continue his studies. His problems intensified as the field of anthropology changed and cultural anthropologists increasingly began to reject the scientific method that Chagnon pursued in favor of a postmodernist approach. Chagnon calls these new anthropologists believers, not scientists. They saw their field not as a path of inquiry but as a means of social change-one that condemned the industrialized, capitalist nations for exploiting natural resources and "peaceful" primitive peoples.

Question: If the field anthropology can be this completely politicized by Marxist believers, do we really think that climatology is somehow immune?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jonah Goldberg in a recent column had this to say about liberals:

The column is ostensibly about the confirmation bias of folks like Ezra Klein and Paul “facts have a liberal bias” Krugman. But what I was really going for was a unifying theme between the more effete hubris of the “reality-based community” pundits and the angry mob wing of liberalism. I write that they are both part of a “mass psychology that simply takes it for granted that liberals have sole access to the Truth. It’s like having God on your side without having to believe in God.”

I thought that idea that "liberals have sole access to the Truth" was interesting, because a couple nights ago I was involved in brief discussion with a dedicated Democrat concerning the recently defeated equal pay for women act. Somebody commented thusly: "Honestly, you need to understand how the issue is framed. Everybody is for equal pay for equal work." The response: "I hear you. But no, everyone is not for equal pay, trust me on this one." In other words, "I understand what you are saying, and I declare it untrue. I have no evidence in support of my position, yet I demand that you accept my position."

I got involved briefly with the following comment: "The bill that went down today had very little to do with equal pay, equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land for 35 years. Rather, this bill was a conveyor belt for trial lawyers to expedite class action lawsuits and increase their ability to do so further into distant history. The Republicans voted against it because it attacked business interests. The Democrats voted for it because it enriched trial lawyers and made good headlines. It's all theater, but thank goodness it failed because we have enough trial lawyers without minting more."

The response? "I have enough facebook friends that are business friends to not be able to speak freely. But rest assured I understand the issue from many perspectives and equality is still an issue."

In other words (I think): "I know some business people, so I can't tell you why I am correct. But trust me, I have way more insight than you do, and I am right."

It's very reminiscent of Goldberg's contention that liberals take it for granted that they sole access to the truth, isn't it?

Friday, April 11, 2014

President Obama has identified a new injustice to be remedied: disparate dry cleaning bills. Megan McArdle has the scoop.

"We’ll talk about dry cleaners next, right," Obama said, prompting laughter from the audience, which was full of women, "because I know that - I don’t know why it costs more for Michelle’s blouse than my shirt." Asked about the disparities between what men and women pay for dry cleaning during the daily briefing a little more than an hour later, White House press secretary Jay Carney replied: "It's terrible."

One assumes that after government has "solved" this oppressive problem, it will move on to haircuts and underwear.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Great Moments in Public Education

Well, my home state of New Jersey has descended to a new low. Check out this story.

Glen Meadow Middle School seventh grader, Ethan Chaplin, was recently suspended after, he says, he was simply twirling a pencil in math class. News 12 New Jersey reported that the Vernon Township, New Jersey teenager was twirling a pencil with a pen cap on top when another student yelled, "He's making gun motions, send him to juvie." But Ethan denies that interpretation of his actions and said that the student who yelled the comment had been bullying him earlier that day and was just trying to get him in trouble.

So how did school officials respond to a seventh grader's demand that one of his classmates be sent to "juvie"? They went out and did it!

Although Ethan explained the bullying situation, he says that administrators ignored his side of the story. The teen was taken to the principal's office and News 12 notes that, "he was suspended, pending the outcome of a psychological evaluation."

A suspension and a "psychological evaluation" over pencil twirling? Even more incredibly, school officials stand by their actions. Because you know, any child that makes another child feel unconfortable needs him some suspendin' and evaluatin'.

The Vernon Schools Superintendent, Charles Maranzano, stands by the principal and says she was just doing her job. Their school policy as well as the law requires that administration investigate any situation when a student feels uncomfortable or threatened by another student. Maranzano added, "We never know what's percolating in the mind of children, okay. And when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty."

What about the red flag of falsely accusing a poor kid twirling a pencil with exhibiting "gun behavior"? Shouldn't that be the behavior the school is investigating? Anyway, back to our story, the "evaluation" went about as well as one would expect.

Mr. Chaplin, who explained the five-hour long physical and psychological evaluation that his son endured, possibly for naught. Chaplin told the outlet, "The child was stripped, had to give blood samples (which caused him to pass out) and urine samples for of all things drug testing.Then four hours later a social worker spoke to him for five minutes and cleared him. Then an actual doctor came in and said the state was 100 percent incorrect in their procedure and this would not get him back in school."

We're always in such good hands with government bureaucracies.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Paul Kengor describes how the left is so comfortable trampling religious rights. He starts with a few examples of what he is talking about:

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you've noticed the growing clash between religious freedom and issues like same-sex marriage and forced funding of abortion. Last week, the Supreme Court heard a landmark case on whether the federal government can compel a business to fund abortion drugs in defiance of the religious beliefs of the business owner. It's merely one such case amid a flurry of lawsuits that even includes the Little Sisters of the Poor. Or, consider these situations involving gay marriage:

In Oregon, a couple that owns a bakery, the Kleins, are being sued and called before the state for not making a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. The Kleins note that being forced to make such a cake against their will would violate their Christian beliefs and freedom of conscience.

He goes on to describe how leftists manage to square the circle of vehemently opposing some rights in support of others.

But here's the main point: for today's liberals/progressives, the likes of "marriage rights" and "abortion rights" rise superior to other rights, certainly above religious rights and property rights. We see this in the gay marriage examples listed above. It also applies to the Obama HHS mandate requiring religious believers to fund abortion drugs. In all these cases, there's one commonality: liberals/progressives disregard the religious rights and property rights that they are steamrolling in the name of gay marriage and abortion. Religious rights and property rights are subjugated to a kind of liberal/progressive gulag. They are deemed bottom-of-the-barrel, and in no way nearly as important or worthy of consideration.

Again, the startling irony is that these same people fancy themselves champions of tolerance, diversity, and "equal rights." That has never been accurate, and they are proving it now with special uncompromising rigidity. They are pursuing what they've always pursued: selective tolerance, selective diversity, and selective equal rights. Religious rights are not among their select.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Jay Nordlinger has an excellent piece describing audience noises during musical performances. Everything Mr. Nordlinger writes, on any subject, is interesting and this is no exception:

Audience noises-audience nuisances-are many and varied. There are cellphones, of course. But worse than the ringing of a cellphone is the clucking and scolding that follows it. The guy feels bad enough already, probably. But other audience members have to pile on, and add to the disruption.

Thoughtful leftist Kirstin Powers has an excellent essay on how modern feminism is not only beclowning itself, it's out of touch with reality.

This is what feminism has come to: fighting for the right to wear yoga pants and leggings to middle school. This pressing civil rights issue made headlines when girls in Evanston, Ill., protested rules that they said banned the bum-hugging clothing for creating classroom distractions.

A feminist flash mob attacked Haven Middle School for shaming girls and promoting rape culture. Eliana Dockterman wrote in Time that the school's argument "is not that distant from the arguments made by those who accuse rape victims of asking to be assaulted by dressing a certain way."

Actually, it's a universe away.

Michelle Malkin points out that leftists are just fine with hateful racism, especially from fellow leftists. The trick, it appears, is to pretend you're a conservative while spewing any hateful filth that pops into your head. That way you're not really a racist, you're just making fun of conservatives.

It's not the outrage that's manufactured, but Colbert's sanctimonious myth of left-wing purity and his phony indictment of conservatives as the predominant forces of intolerance in America.

Jim Geraghty on The Progressive Aristocracy:

The evidence before us suggests progressives' ideal society would be one where they enjoy great power to regulate the lives of others and impose restrictions and limitations they themselves would never accept in their own lives. Very few people object to an aristocracy with special rights and privileges as long as they're in it.