Category Archives: Social Commentary

Scott Walker’s “Insidious Agnosticism”

Ann Althouse takes the odious Dana Milbank to the wood shed.

It’s quite amusing to see all these non-Christians in the media (almost literally) pontificating on who is and isn’t Christian. It reminds me of the radio interview I had with Thom Hartmann a few years ago, when he tried to insist that McVeigh was a Christian terrorist. I said, no, he said himself that he was agnostic. “But wasn’t he born a Christian,” he asked, as though it was a race? Ultimately, he had to back down.

As I’ve noted on Twitter, Walker’s response is exactly right. He can’t know whether Barack Obama is a Christian, though there’s little good evidence that he is, or ever has been. As it says in 1 Corinthians 2:11, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?”

[Update a few minutes later]

Walker himself responds on his refusal to take the media’s bait:

There has been much discussion about a media double standard where Republicans are covered differently than Democrats, asked to weigh in on issues the Democrats don’t face. As a result, when we refuse to take the media’s bait, we suffer.

I felt it this week when I was asked to weigh in on what other people said and did and what others’ beliefs are. If you are looking for answers to those questions, ask those people.

Yes, and it infuriates them that they can’t get a gaffe out of him, and so they have to manufacture one.

Attacks On Barack Obama

…are interpreted by the media as attacks on them.

Appropriately so. They crammed him down the nation’s collective throat, twice. So when they see a public-relations threat to him, they swarm it like anti-bodies.

[Update a while later]

Yes:

When Giuliani told an audience ”I do not believe – and I know this is a horrible thing to say – but I do not believe that the President loves America,” he was inadvertently doing more than criticizing a president; he was in a manner of speaking, committing treason. The unprecedented firestorm of opprobrium that greeted Giuliani suggested that he had somehow hit a switch. It was like pushing an ordinary button in the wall and watching the skyscrapers out the window suddenly crumble in dust down into the ground.

What Giuliani had done was undermine Obama’s legitimacy. Because so much of Obama’s “power” comes from his special-ness that to question his patriotism is to strike at the basis for his governance. It was, as in a monarchy, tantamount to rebellion. The reason that similar remarks by Obama about George Bush’s patriotism evoked simple shrugs was because Bush was just an ordinary president, the latest in a line of politicians to occupy the office since George Washington.

But Obama is different. One cannot understand, for example, the vituperation vented by Dana Milbank at Scott Walker, calling him out for “cowardice”, arguing for his “disqualification” (yes those are the words) for the simple act of refusing to publicly repudiate Giuliani’s words about the president, unless one grasps this essential fact. Obama is different. The Obama phenomenon is founded so completely on his legend that to attack the legend is to undermine the very foundations of the tower on which he stands.

But this is not the first time the Obama myth has been directly impugned. The first major political figure to accidentally touch the Third Rail was Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has become an extraordinary hate object in the press, not because of any views he may hold on policy, but because Netanyahu had the temerity to disrespect Obama. Netanyahu must have been astonished by the charge of electricity that gave back on him.

Disrespect America, even attack it if you want, and you will not receive a tenth such voltage as did Netanyahu. The torrent of hostility poured upon Netanyahu was so out of proportion to any conceivable offense, that he probably felt obliged to persist in coming, reasoning that he must be on to something. Yet the myth of the president has been crumbling abroad for some time. Readers will recall that Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande recently made the almost unheard-of move of negotiating directly with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine without receiving instructions from the “leader of the free world”.

[Update late morning]

Rudy and the one-way taboo:

Democrats use “civility” as a shield because they know that conservatives care about civility, while Democrats don’t. Thus, reproached for incivility, Republicans will retreat, while Dems will say “screw you, I’m stickin’ it to the man.”

Rudy

Noah Rothman, on the idiotic outrage over Giuliani’s comments:

The press did not recoil in horror when former Vice President Al Gore screamed that George W. Bush “betrayed” the country. Nor did they feign outrage when Obama accused the 43rd President of the United States of being “unpatriotic” because he increased the debt at a pace that the 44th President of the United States would rapidly eclipse. And why would they? It’s not their place to defend the president’s reputation – he is, after all, merely a temporary civilian custodian of one branch of our republican government. Americans have a rather grand tradition of besmirching the character of our presidents, and it is a healthy and cherished one. By “civility,” the press really means deference and observance of subjectively assessed standards of decorum. That’s not merely bias, its servility.

Yes.

[Afternoon update]

Obama not only doesn’t love America, he doesn’t even like it.

Climate Skeptics

How and when did you become one?

A lot of interesting responses.

As some note there, to me the biggest deal with the release of the CRU data five years ago wasn’t (just) the duplicity and unscientific behavior revealed in the emails, but the utter crap that was the source code of the computer models. It was clear that it was not done by anyone familiar with computer science, numerical methods, or modeling, and the notion that we should have any confidence whatsoever in their output was societally insane. In terms of Matthews’ paper, I’d put myself somewhere between “lukewarmer” and “moderate skeptic.”

[Update a couple minutes later]

Starting to read through the comments. Here’s just one horror story:

Most of the claims being made by climate change advocates appear to run contrary to basic meteorology. As I’ve been attacked personally and professionally for offering contrary views, I decided to leave the field. I will defend my Atmospheric Science PhD thesis and walk away. It’s become clear to me that it is not possible to undertake independent research in any area that touches upon climate change if you have to make your living as a professional scientist on government grant money or have to rely on getting tenure at a university. The massive group think that I have encountered on this topic has cost me my career, many colleagues and has damaged my reputation among the few people I know in the field. I’m leaving to work in the financial industry. It’s a sad day when you feel that you have to leave a field that you are passionately interested in because you fear that you won’t be able to find a job once your views become widely known. Until free thought is allowed in the climate sciences, I will consider myself a skeptic of catastrophic human induced global warming.

Yup. Totally, totally politicized. It’s not a science any more. Unless you think that Lysenko was a scientist.

Jon Stewart

Kyle Smith isn’t as impressed with him as we’re supposed to be:

Though Stewart has often claimed he does a “fake news show,” “The Daily Show” isn’t that. It’s a real news show punctuated with puns, jokes, asides and the occasional moment of staged sanctimony.

It contains real, unstaged sound bites about the days’ events and interviews about important policy matters.
Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.

Yes, as Jim Treacher put it, the “clown nose off, clown nose on” schtick got pretty tiresome. The tears of all those bewailing his departure are delicious.

The Tulsa Totalitarians

This is outrageous:

Without affording him the hearing he was entitled to under TU’s University Student Conduct Policies & Procedures, and despite his husband’s affidavit, Tanaka found Barnett responsible for “harassment.” Tanaka also found Barnett guilty of retaliation and violating confidentiality requirements for speaking about the disciplinary charges with his husband—who was also his exculpatory witness.

Less than two months before Barnett was set to graduate, Tanaka not only suspended him until at least 2016 but also permanently banned him from receiving a degree in his major even upon his re-enrollment. Barnett was forced to wait two months for TU to respond to his appeal, which the university summarily denied on January 9 without explanation—leaving Barnett unable to earn his theater degree as planned.

I don’t think a theater degree is worth all that much, but he probably paid a lot for it, and he should at a minimum be reimbursed (though one can’t give him back the lost years of his life). But actually, as Glenn notes, this insanity won’t end until universities suffer legal and financial severe pain for it.

The Sunk-Cost Fallacy

in love, and automobile manufacturing.

This is a big problem for space enthusiasts. “Oh, we can’t cancel SLS/Orion! We’ve already spent so much on them, all that money would just go to waste!”

Well, since the purpose was really never anything except to maintain the work force, it wouldn’t really have gone to waste, and continuing them would waste even more, if our actual goal is to do useful things in space. We need to cut our losses as soon as politically possible.

Fifty Shades Of Dave Barry

He reviews the book:

So what kind of book is Fifty Shades of Grey? I would describe it, literary genre–wise, as “a porno book.” But it’s not the kind of porno men are accustomed to. When a man reads porno, he does not want to get bogged down in a bunch of unimportant details about the characters, such as who they are or what they think. A man wants to get right to the porno:

Chapter One
Bart Pronghammer walked into the hotel room and knitted his brow at the sight of a naked woman with breasts like regulation volleyballs.
“Let’s have sex,” she mused matter-of-factly.

A few paragraphs later they’re all done, and the male reader, having invested maybe ninety seconds of his time, can put the book down and go back to watching SportsCenter.

Apparently that is not what women want, porno-wise. What women want, to judge from Fifty Shades of Grey, is not just people doing It. Many pages go by in this book without any of It getting done, although there is a great deal of thinking and talking about It. The thoughts are provided by the narrator and main character, Anastasia Steele, who is a twenty-one-year-old American woman as well as such a clueless, self-absorbed ninny that you, the reader, find yourself wishing that you still smoked so you would have a cigarette lighter handy and thus could set fire to certain pages, especially the ones where Anastasia is telling you about her “inner goddess.” This is a hyperactive imaginary being—I keep picturing Tinker Bell—who reacts in a variety of ways to the many dramatic developments in Anastasia’s life, as we see in these actual quotes:

“My inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm.”
“My very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.”
“My inner goddess is doing the Dance of Seven Veils.”
“My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.”
“My inner goddess has stopped dancing and is staring, too, mouth open and drooling slightly.”
“My inner goddess jumps up and down, with cheerleading pom-poms, shouting ‘Yes’ at me.”
“My inner goddess is doing backflips in a routine worthy of a Russian Olympic gymnast.”
“My inner goddess pole-vaults over the fifteen-foot bar.”
“My inner goddess fist-pumps the air above her chaise longue.”

That’s right: Her inner goddess, in addition to dancing, cheerleading, pole vaulting, etc., apparently keeps furniture inside Anastasia’s head. Unfortunately, this means there is little room left for Anastasia’s brain, which, to judge from her thought process, is about the size of a walnut. On the other hand, Anastasia is physically very attractive, although she never seems to figure this out despite the fact that all the other characters keep telling her, over and over, how darned attractive she is.

Go read the rest. You know you want to.

[Afternoon update]

Some quotes that probably won’t make it into movie.

“Progressivism”

Telling lies is essential to it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s an excellent example:

In San Francisco, the people who were bemoaning the impending closure of Borderlands admitted sheepishly that they’d voted for the minimum-wage hike. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses,” one customer said. “I feel sad.”

Yeah, Adam Smith feels sad, too, you dope.

Thick though they may be, you know what those economically illiterate San Francisco book-lovers aren’t? President of the United States of America. But President Obama does precisely the same thing: With Obamacare, he created powerful economic incentives for companies such as Staples to keep part-timers under 25 hours – and to hire part-timers rather than full-time employees – and now he complains when companies respond to those incentives. Naturally, he cites executive pay: “I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is,” he says, but affirms that he is confident that they can afford to run their business the way he wants them to run it.

Let’s apply some English-major math to that question. Ronald Sargent made just under $11 million a year at last report. Staples has about 83,000 employees. That means that if it cut its CEO’s pay to $0.00/annum, Staples would be able to fund about $2.61/week in additional wages or health-care benefits for each of its employees, or schedule them for an additional 22 minutes of work at the federal minimum wage. Which is to say, CEO pay represents a trivial sum — but the expenses imposed by Obamacare are not trivial.

On this issue, President Obama brings all of the honesty and integrity he applied to the question of gay marriage: He’s lying, and he knows he’s lying, and his apologists in the media know he’s lying, and Democratic time-servers and yes-men across the fruited plains know he’s lying. This isn’t about CEO pay – it’s about the economic incentives created by the health-insurance program that in the vernacular bears the president’s name. The president, with the support of congressional Democrats, effectively put a tax on full-time jobs, and on part-time jobs offering 30 hours per week or more. So we’re going to have fewer full-time jobs, and fewer part-time jobs offering 30 hours per week or more. This wasn’t cooked up in the boardroom at Staples – it was cooked up on Capitol Hill, with the eager blessing of Barack Obama. It’s not like they don’t know that there are economic tradeoffs necessitated by Obamacare — they know it, and they also know that, politically speaking, their supporters are cheap dates. Obama ran to the right of Dick Cheney on gay marriage, and it didn’t hurt him with gay voters, who were happy to be reduced to mere instruments of his ambition. The Democrats are betting that part-time workers are similarly easy – or that they’re too dumb to understand the economics at work here, and that they’ll be hypnotized by ritual chants about CEO pay.

I’m hoping that this time, they lose their vile bet.

[Update a few minutes later]

Second link was missing, but fixed.

The Resurrection Of The 10th Amendment

The states rise up against Washington:

“People are becoming more and more concerned about the overreach of the federal government,” said center spokesman Mike Maharrey. “They feel the federal government is trying to do too much, it’s too big and it’s getting more and more in debt.”

The 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights reserves to the states powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution. States have long used it as a tool to protect themselves against regulations.

Though federal law trumps state law, Maharrey said states are learning to exercise their own power by pushing back.

Without the resources to enforce its laws, the federal government is forced to rely on state action. When states refuse, federal law becomes virtually unenforceable, he said.

“States were always intended to be a check on federal power,” Maharrey said.

Yes. I also like the Article V solution.

The Brian Williams Debacle

It’s a reminder of the contempt that the “elite” media has for its customers.