Barack Obama has lost his sex appeal. Of course, I’ve always been immune to politicians’ supposed charisma, from Reagan to Clinton.
Thoughts from VDH:
So what did I learn in the university? I’ll try to be a bit less specific than I was in Who Killed Homer? written over a decade ago.
First was the false knowledge — odd for an institution devoted to free inquiry. The university runs like a 13th-century church in which the heliocentric maverick is a mortal sinner. So too on campus the Rosenbergs never spied. Alger Hiss was a martyr. Mao killed only a few who needed killing (see Anita Dunn on that one).
Che was not a murderous thug, but a hair-in-the-wind carefree motorcyclist. Minorities supposedly died proportionally higher in Vietnam — as they supposedly do now in Iraq and Afghanistan. Women are underrepresented as both undergraduates and as humanities graduate students. Anyone with an accented name obviously had picked grapes or was denied voting rights. Adlai Stevenson was an American saint, even more so than George McGovern. Only the unhinged even discussed doubts about global warming. Don’t question any of the above; it was all gospel — as we see now in D.C., from Keynes to Gorism to Cordoba as the beacon of Islamic tolerance during the Inquisition. (Doubt any of that, and that laid-back elbow-patched joking prof who told the class “Call me Bill,” in a flash, Gollum like, turned into a snarling jackal, screaming, “I am Doctor Jones, with important publications on climate change and a doctorate from Berkeley! How dare you question me!”)
The last time we had a college professor for president, almost a hundred years ago, we had our first fascist dictator. Maybe we need an inoculation every century or so. Of course, Wilson didn’t fend us off from Roosevelt.
Read the whole thing, especially about the chainsaw-wielding decapitating criminology professor.
…for NASA reform. Contact your representative while they’re in the district. Next week, when they come back, there will be another attempt to pass the ruinous NASA authorization bill in the House.
And speaking of reform, should NASA be abolished?
I don’t think that just renaming the agency will work. And can we please stop repeating the myth about Fisher pens and pencils? There are good reasons not to use a pencil in a space vehicle.
How the government is destroying jobs.
You’d almost think it was deliberate.
The president continues to fantasize that he’s a campaign asset this fall:
Obama himself has largely shucked his “postpartisan” ideal, and you can expect some sharp rhetorical elbows thrown at Republicans when he addresses a Labor Day rally in Milwaukee on Monday. That’s likely to escalate in coming weeks as Obama – and first lady Michelle Obama – go stumping for Democrats.
“They’ve forgotten I politick pretty good,” he told a crowd in Austin, Texas, last month.
Oh, yeah? Tell it to Creigh Deeds, John Corzine and Martha Coakley.
I continue to challenge the conventional wisdom that Barack Obama is either a good campaigner or a smart politician. He won the nomination because the Dems wanted an alternative to the arrogant and “inevitable” Hillary and he was black. He won the election because McCain was a horrible candidate and ran a horrible campaign, people were fed up with the mushy Bush-era Republicans, and because he was black.
People have gotten to know him now, and they don’t like it.
California once again leads the nation with a $26 billion budget deficit plus an unfunded pension obligation of $500 billion. Its current financial structure is clearly unsustainable. It has an operational structure that in ungovernable with often duplicative agencies, some collecting less in tax revenue than the agencies spend on collection. Wikipedia lists 500 existing public agencies for the State of California. California can no longer afford such a luxury. It must deconstruct these bloated inefficient government agencies, and rid itself of their chairman, staff, offices, cars, pensions and the overhead that such excess represents. A $26 billion dollar deficit is not something that can be corrected with a wage freeze or job furloughs. Bold leadership can lead California to deconstruct its 500 agencies down to 100 functional organizations. California is a classic example of what must change in the coming Great Deconstruction.
One Orange County city has already taken bold steps to correct its $10 million deficit. It may be a model for other cities and states across the country. Internally, it has decided it will not replace any city worker that dies, retires, moves or quits. The city will simply out source the employment to an outside service company and eliminate healthcare requirements and unsustainable pensions. Building inspectors will be out sourced as will city plan checkers, librarians and meter maids. Only essential services like top executives and cops will remain on the city payroll. The city staff will eventually decrease from 220 to approximately 35 personnel. This is the essence of deconstruction.
It’s going to get very ugly for the parasites. Let’s just hope they don’t end up killing the host.
[Update a few minutes later]
Business and unions meet to discuss upcoming pension disaster.
[Update a while later]
Roger Kimball notes another similarity with housing:
As I wrote in a piece for The New Criterion a few years ago,
“Many parents are alarmed, rightly so, at the spectacle of their children going off to college one year and coming back the next having jettisoned every moral, religious, social, and political scruple that they had been brought up to believe. Why should parents fund the moral de-civilization of their children at the hands of tenured antinomians? Why should alumni generously support an alma mater whose political and educational principles nourish a world view that is not simply different from but diametrically opposed to the one they endorse? Why should trustees preside over an institution whose faculty systematically repudiates the pedagogical mission they, as trustees, have committed themselves to uphold?”
Just imagine the sorts of sub-literate, ideologically charged nonsense that Women’s Studies debtor was battened on in her classes! The Australian philosopher David Stove, commenting on the Faculty of Arts at Sydney University, formulated a diagnosis that applies to the teaching of the humanities of most Western universities: It is, Stove wrote, a “disaster-area, and not of the merely passive kind, like a bombed building, or an area that has been flooded. It is the active kind, like a badly-leaking nuclear reactor, or an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle.”
There are incipient signs that a Great Recoiling from this intellectual disaster is beginning to form. It will be greatly aided by the economic disaster in which the institutional life of universities is embedded. “Why,” hard-working parents will ask themselves, “does it cost more than $50,000 a year to send Johnny to college.” Leave aside the question of what it is that Johnny is and isn’t learning in those ivy-covered walls. Why does his four-year furlough from the real world cost so much? One reason, of course, is that Johnny, assuming his parents are paying full freight, is paying not only for his own tuition: he is also helping to foot the bill for Ahmed, Juan, and Harriet down the hall. Colleges routinely boast about their generous financial aid packages, how they provide assistance for some large percentage of students, etc. What they don’t mention is the fact that parents who scrimp and save to come up with the tuition are in effect subsidizing the others. How do you suppose Johnny’s parents feel about that?
Honk if I’m paying your kid’s tuition.
Some thoughts on the new green fascists and mass murderer wannabes, from Glenn Reynolds:
In contemporary America, no respectable person would advocate, say, the involuntary sterilization of blacks or Jews. Why, then, should it be any more respectable to advocate the involuntary sterilization of everyone? Or even of those who cause “social deterioration?”
Likewise, references to particular ethnic or religious groups as “viruses” or “cancers” in need of extirpation are socially unacceptable, triggering immediate thoughts of genocide and mass murder.
Why, then, should it be acceptable to refer to all humanity in this fashion? Does widening the circle of eliminationist rhetoric somehow make it better?
I don’t see why it should, and I don’t see why we should pretend — or allow others to pretend — that hate-filled rhetoric is somehow more acceptable when it’s delivered by those wearing green shirts instead of brown.
It’s a fetish of the left. It’s like the eighties, when they feigned outrage at the way the South Africans treated blacks, and were indifferent to the fact that places like the Soviet Union treated everyone that badly, or worse. If you’re a leftist, it’s perfectly OK to oppress people, as long as you’re an equal-opportunity oppressor.
Also, Jim Bennett emails:
Actually, Tom Clancy wrote a novel about a rich eco-nut who funds the clandestine development of a plague that will wipe out all of humanity, except for a small group who will have the antidote.
Highly improbable, of course. Almost as improbable as the one he wrote about the fanatic who crashes a fully-fueled airliner into a major US government building.
Not just improbable — unthinkable. At least if you’re Condi Rice. But perhaps not if you’re John Holdren.
…of David Brooks:
Many of the president-elect’s advisers had been reading histories of the New Deal. They had ambitious plans to address the crisis: federal jobs programs, new building projects, new spending initiatives. This was no time to worry about deficits, they said. This was an opportunity to address needs that had been neglected for decades.
Obama, in this fanciful version, held up his hand. He told his aides to put away the history books and reject the New Deal comparisons. Unlike in 1932, Americans today have a raging distrust of Washington, he observed. Living through a crisis caused by excessive debt, they will viscerally recoil at the prospect of federal debt without end. “Somehow,” Obama concluded, “we have to address the crisis without further terrifying the American people.”
The stimulus package, he continued, should rely heavily on cutting payroll taxes. This, he argued, will send a quick jolt to the economy without concentrating power in Washington. It will deliver a sharp psychological boost to the middle class. It might even be bipartisan. Obama noted that John McCain had a $445 billion stimulus plan along these lines and his fellow Republican senator, Mel Martinez, a $713 billion plan.
A fanciful version indeed. The frightening thing is that David Brooks actually believed (and perhaps, somehow, still does) that Barack Obama was ever ideologically capable of such a thing, or so wise. You and other bien pensants foisted him on us, David, despite our warnings, because you didn’t want your DC party invites to dry up. When will you admit that you quaffed too deeply the koolaid?
Some thoughts and perspective.