The “John Yoo Trap”

…that might await Elena Kagan.

This is a little off topic, but the author is guilty of one of my pet peeves:

[Ed Note: or will she be called “General Kagan”?]

I sure hope not. Because a solicitor general is not a general. An attorney general is not a general. I cringe whenever I hear a reporter or pundit talking about “General Reno,” or “General Holder” (of all the people to not call a general, Eric Holder should be at the head of the line — he wouldn’t even rate as a PFC).

The “general” part of the title is not a noun. It is an adjective, modifying “solicitor,” or “attorney.”

I understand the urge to come up with a shorter means of address than “Solicitor General Kagan,” but it’s important to remember that she is a solicitor, and not a member of the armed forces.

[Update late morning]

Separated at birth? Now that’s just mean. Funny, but mean.

Squaring The Decline Curve

Is real longevity treatment just around the corner?

People blessed with anti-ageing genes tend not to get seriously ill but die suddenly at the end of their lives, Prof Barzilai pointed out.

‘I’m seeing 100-year-olds who are not only 100 years old but in great shape,’ he said.

‘They’re driving and painting, and they say life is beautiful.

‘I have this bias that makes me believe we have the ability as a species to get to 100 if we prevent some of these age-related diseases.

‘The cost of treating 100-year-olds in their last two years of life is a third of what it costs to treat somebody aged 70 to 80. At the end of their life they die, basically, all of a sudden.

‘People who die between 70 and 80 are sick in the last few years of their life. Centenarians are dying healthy.’

Studies had revealed a strong association between reaching 100 years of age and very high blood levels of HDL, which appear to run in families, said Prof Barzilai.

Not only were HDL levels important, but also the size of the cholesterol particles. Centenarians with this HDL profile were powerfully protected against Alzheimer’s, one of the greatest causes of disability and death in old age. A similar effect was being sought by the drug companies targeting CETP.

Prof Barzilai described his “vision” as a once-daily pill which staved off the effects of old age and would probably be taken when a person reached their 40s or 50s.

Works for me. I hope, anyway.

How Much More Of This Should We Take?

I think that this is the most pathetic attorney general in the nation’s history:

If you thought Mr. Holder’s stubborn refusal to speak the words “radical Islam” was bad during yesterday’s House testimony, get this one: “I’ve just expressed concerns on the basis of what I’ve heard about the [Arizona immigration] law. But I’m not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people are doing the review, exactly what my position is.”

And yet, he was putting the Justice Department into motion to legally challenge it, and both he and the Secretary of State have been criticizing it. They’re both lawyers. It’s not a long bill. He should resign.

[Update a few minutes later]

Heather McDonald on one particularly idiotic claim about the bill:

It should not be necessary to rebut Councilman Reyes’s hysterical fabrications, but for his fellow members of the L.A. City Council, who compared Arizona’s law to Nazi Germany and to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and for all those other grandstanding politicians who are busily denouncing Arizonans’ racism, a primer is apparently needed.

If Mr. Reyes was planning to fly to Arizona from L.A. (pre-boycott, of course), he would need either his driver’s license or his passport to get on a plane. So we had better add the TSA to the list of Holocaust-in-waiting perpetrators. The only way he could be “deported” is if he is in fact an illegal alien, and before that happens, there will be plenty of “questions asked” and other legal wrangling, thanks to decades of work from the immigration-law industry. The only way the police would have a chance to discover that he is an illegal alien is if he has given them lawful grounds to stop him, such as running a red light, driving drunk, or acting suspiciously enough to suggest imminent law-breaking — and then has given them further ground to suspect that he is in the country illegally, such as possessing no valid identification.

If, on the other hand, Mr. Reyes presents any form of valid government ID during the course of a lawful police stop, he will be presumed to be in the country legally, and there will be no inquiry into his immigration status. So if, after getting through the brownshirts at LAX, Mr. Reyes continued to carry his California driver’s license, he would have nothing to worry about in Arizona.

Since Mr. Reyes and all the other boycotters are so convinced that the Arizona police are itching to abuse their rights under SB 1070, they would make a much better case against the law by actually traveling to Arizona and demonstrating to the world their mistreatment at the hands of the police. Until then, their unhinged denunciations of the law reveal only one thing: They are terrified that it will work.

Yup.

[Update a while later]

Holder profiles Arizona. Don’t hold your breath waiting for complaints from the New York Times, though.

History

…that is of no interest:

Stroilov claims that his documents “tell a completely new story about the end of the Cold War. The commonly accepted version of history of that period consists of myths almost entirely. These documents are capable of ruining each of those myths.” Is this so? I couldn’t say. I don’t read Russian. Of Stroilov’s documents, I have seen only the few that have been translated into English. Certainly, they shouldn’t be taken at face value; they were, after all, written by Communists. But the possibility that Stroilov is right should surely compel keen curiosity.

For instance, the documents cast Gorbachev in a far darker light than the one in which he is generally regarded. In one document, he laughs with the Politburo about the USSR’s downing of Korean Airlines flight 007 in 1983—a crime that was not only monstrous but brought the world very near to nuclear Armageddon. These minutes from a Politburo meeting on October 4, 1989, are similarly disturbing:

Lukyanov reports that the real number of casualties on Tiananmen Square was 3,000.

Gorbachev: We must be realists. They, like us, have to defend themselves. Three thousands . . . So what?

And a transcript of Gorbachev’s conversation with Hans-Jochen Vogel, the leader of West Germany’s Social Democratic Party, shows Gorbachev defending Soviet troops’ April 9, 1989, massacre of peaceful protesters in Tbilisi.

Stroilov’s documents also contain transcripts of Gorbachev’s discussions with many Middle Eastern leaders. These suggest interesting connections between Soviet policy and contemporary trends in Russian foreign policy. Here is a fragment from a conversation reported to have taken place with Syrian president Hafez al-Assad on April 28, 1990:

H. ASSAD. To put pressure on Israel, Baghdad would need to get closer to Damascus, because Iraq has no common borders with Israel. . . .

M. S. GORBACHEV. I think so, too. . . .

H. ASSAD. Israel’s approach is different, because the Judaic religion itself states: the land of Israel spreads from Nile to Euphrates and its return is a divine predestination.

M. S. GORBACHEV. But this is racism, combined with Messianism!

H. ASSAD. This is the most dangerous form of racism.

One doesn’t need to be a fantasist to wonder whether these discussions might be relevant to our understanding of contemporary Russian policy in a region of some enduring strategic significance.

As she points out, there should be at least as much opprobrium for defending, or being associated with communists as there is with Nazis. They did, after all, murder many more people. Instead, their fellow travelers continue to travel freely in academia, and pollute the minds of our youth. And as the documents show, they continue to run Europe as well.

[Update a few minutes later]

I hadn’t read the whole thing when I first posted this. Here is another gem:

And what of Zagladin’s description of his dealings with our own current vice president in 1979?

Unofficially, [Senator Joseph] Biden and [Senator Richard] Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for “human rights.” . . . In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.

Remarkably, the world has shown little interest in the unread Soviet archives. That paragraph about Biden is a good example. Stroilov and Bukovsky coauthored a piece about it for the online magazine FrontPage on October 10, 2008; it passed without remark. Americans considered the episode so uninteresting that even Biden’s political opponents didn’t try to turn it into political capital. Imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to have spent the prime of your life in a Soviet psychiatric hospital, to know that Joe Biden is now vice president of the United States, and to know that no one gives a damn.

You should really read the whole thing.

Reinforcing Racism

Some disturbing, but not surprising (at least to me) counterproductive results:

Chatman attributes the low climate scores in area and ethnic studies precisely to the instruction students receive in those classes. “Students in area and ethnic studies should have learned to recognize prejudicial communication and should be more sensitive to communication that might be prejudicial,” he writes. Whereas a math student might hear a remark and think nothing of it, an African American Studies student might discern prejudice and stereotyping. Does this mean that students in area and ethnic studies are more perceptive and accurate in their assessment of campus climate, or have they acquired in their classes a “warped lens” (Chatman’s term) that sees social life in overdone racial categories? Chatman even draws a logical possibility that might appall area and ethnic studies instruction, that is, that the climate in those fields is a lot worse than it is in engineering classes and labs. One wonders how area and ethnic studies professors would feel if they were ordered to undergo diversity sensitivity sessions themselves to try to straighten out their problems.

One suspects they wouldn’t take it well. I’ve got a better idea. Don’t guarantee student loans for anyone majoring in this crapola (along with degrees in “education”), and watch it dry up and blow away.

Auto World

The anniversary of the folly.

Having moved away from Michigan a few years before, I never went, but it does seem ill conceived. As one commenter said, for a fraction of that amount of money, they could have put together the world’s best auto museum, with many classic cars, to rival or even exceed the Ford museum in Dearborn, and it might still be there. Government in action.

The Oil Spill

doesn’t make the case for Big Government:

…the idea that because a person or thing can do some things brilliantly doesn’t mean they do everything well. Some writers can’t count past 10 without taking their shoes off; some artists are tone-deaf; some math whizzes cannot learn languages.

Franklin Roosevelt and Albert Einstein were exceptional talents, but asking them to trade occupations would not have been clever. Like Einstein and Roosevelt, markets and government do different things well.

Government is a big and blunt instrument, while markets are smaller and flexible tools. Government acts for the whole, and gives things one direction; markets react to and serve individuals, respond to a great many small discrete interests, and facilitate the pursuit of happiness by creating demands for a great many diverse and various skills.

The frustrating thing is that doing all sorts of things in which it has no business, and isn’t very good at, it’s neglecting the things that it’s supposed to be doing, and being even more incompetent at them in general.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!