Thursday, March 24, 2005
No Blogging on Friday
Sorry, I'll be traveling. Check out:Tall Dave
aka Semi-Random Ramblings. A highly intelligent blogger, found him via his comments on Tim Lambert's blog.Kitty Litter
. My favorite blogger.Lifelike Pundits
. Where Kitty and I post when we're not posting on our own blogs.Christian Conservative
. Mike Gallaugher's blog is the best argument I know against anti-Christian bigotry.
That's the winning entry
in Ankle-Biting Pundits' contest to name the scandal
over the apparently fraudulent memo
that ABC News claimed proved Republicans were just using Terri Schiavo.
DePaul Professor Story Getting Some Notice
Our buddy John Ruberry has been blogging
on the sad story of Dr Thomas Klocek, the DePaul University professor who has been suspended without pay apparently for having the effrontery to argue with some pro-Palestinian students. John points out that the university apparently doesn't mind anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish viewpoints, as it hired the noted Holocaust revisionist Norman Finkelstein.
The good news is that the story has started to attract the attention of some of the bigger blogs out there. Roger L. Simon has now posted
twice on this story
Interestingly, Klocek himself is Catholic, not Jewish, so his support for Israel appears to be intellectually based and not an artifact of family ties or a cultural affinity for the Jewish state.
IRA Tries a Little Diversion
They issue a denial
of something that nobody claims:In an Easter statement published in An Phoblacht, the paramilitary group said the [Robert McCartney] killing "was wrong, it was murder, it was a crime.But it was not carried out by the IRA, nor was it carried out on behalf of the IRA."
We all agree on that point; that it was simply a pub brawl including some people that happened to belong to the IRA. However, the IRA participated in the coverup of the incident, and their claims later in the statement that they have done everything they could ring hollow.
Updated Bible Story?
John Hawkins updates the tale
of the two women who claimed the same baby, as resolved by King Solomon. Great job, read it all.
The Gang That Couldn't Type Straight?
Once again, the media gets deceived by a memo that contains very suspicious
mistakes. And I'll say it again; the reason the media get scammed by memos like this is because they reinforce their existing biases. Of course the Republicans are only exploiting Terri Schiavo because they can get political benefit therefrom, so the memo must be true.
Great wrap-up of the various threads of this story at In The Right Place
Hat Tip: Lorie Byrd
Then Why Does He Wear the Ugly One?
Victor Davis Hanson says Ward Churchill has many faces
, none of them true.Even before that, 1950s Hollywood showed how quite a lot of white people like Ward Churchill can indeed pass as Indians, if they grow their hair long, get a beaded headband, and put on some tassels and buckskins. But instead of the 1950s Kemosabe lingo, by 2005, the script had evolved to add shades and scream about massacres, genocide, and getting even.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
For the Best In Terri Schiavo Coverage
Take Just One Minute
(especially Lorie Byrd's posts) and Lifelike Pundits
A Lighter Touch
Buckley Williams has more on the attack
on the Easter Bunny, which we have covered (seriously) here
.The Easter Bunny was attacked and severely beaten yesterday at an anti-war rally in Fayettenam, North Carolina. The rally was being held to protest the second anniversary of the Iraq War and was attended by literally tens of people.
The Yellow-Bellied Draft Spotted
Well, it's been awhile since a liberal claimed that the draft was coming
, but the wait is over. Don Negus has spotted it with his reverse binoculars.When it comes to defining the mendacity of George W. Bush, I am reminded of something the George Armstrong Custer character said in "Little Big Man,“ Arthur Penn's brilliant revisionist-western from 1971.Referring to the protagonist, Jack Crabbe's desire to secure the vainglorious Indian-fighter's demise, Custer says to his skeptical aide-de-camp: "Everything that man (Crabbe) tells me will be a lie. He will therefore, be a perfect reverse barometer.“
Bingo. If we automatically reinterpret everything that comes out of Bush's mouth to be the exact reverse of what he tells us, we'll be in a much better position to ferret out what's really going on in any given situation.Yet Bush still promises "no Draft.“
Our perfect reverse barometer.
Will somebody wake this buffoon up and tell him the election's over, and that the only reason morons like him were mentioning a draft five months ago was in the hope that it would scare the college kids?
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Arianna Tries Her Hand at Logic
With predictably bad results
:I just got back from a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Didn’t ride the teacups, though, because I wasn’t in Disneyland, but in Washington, D.C., where everyone is walking on air, swept away by the Beltway’s latest consensus: President Bush was right on Iraq.But then I thought back to my time at Cambridge, when I took a course in elementary logic, and studied the Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle.
For those of you in need of a refresher on the concept, here’s an example: “All oaks are trees. All elms are trees. Therefore, all oaks are elms.’’
So: We invaded Iraq. Change is afoot in the Middle East. Therefore, the Middle East is changing because we invaded Iraq.
Of course, Arianna is correct in describing the Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle with regard to trees. However, the logical fallacy that she describes with Iraq is actually post hoc ergo propter hoc
. Literally, after this, therefore because of this.
Now of course, post hoc
is not always wrong. If somebody is walking by and I stick out my foot and they trip and fall, we may say that they fell after I stuck out my foot, therefore they fell because I stuck out my foot, and provided there is not another reason for their tripping, we can say that indeed they fell because I stuck out my foot. On the other hand if I had been, say, thinking about the NCAA basketball tournament just before the person tripped and kept my foot under my desk and the person tripped, it would be quite appropriate to point out my thinking about college hoops had nothing to do with them tripping, because it was completely unrelated and non-causative.
So the question becomes, did the invasion have anything to do with change in the Middle East. And the answer, obviously is that you can make an argument that it didn't but few people are, as even Arianna admits:In the corridors of power, Republicans are high-fiving, and Democrats are nodding in agreement and patting themselves on the back for how graciously they’ve been able to accept the fact that they were wrong.
A Theme I Have Often Noted
John Hawkins comments
on the Democrats' dearth of ideas, and the fact that they generally have to hide their real beliefs.There are a number of reasons why liberals aren't as forthright about what they believe as conservatives are. One problem for liberals is that the Democratic Party is much more evenly divided than the GOP. Sure, the libs may run the Party, but if they're too open and up front about their agenda, they risk alienating significant numbers of moderate Democrats. Of course, given that the leftward drift of the Democratic Party has cost them much of their support in the South, perhaps the Party leadership hasn't been secretive enough about what they believe.
This is a theme I have returned to quite often in the past, both here and at KH. Democrats seem to have the idea that the way to get elected is to lie about what you really believe. This is disastrous for two reasons: First because the people sense that you are lying and won't vote for you, and second because it cedes the issue to the opposition. For example, Hillary is currently trying to finesse the abortion issue by terming it a tragic choice. The problem with this (from the Democrats' standpoint) is that her position probably isn't going to sway many voters over to her side, and it undermines what most Democrats really feel, which is that abortion is just a choice involving a clump of cells that is no more a human than a dog is.
McCartney Murder Question
Fresh clues? That's what this report says
. However, I found this part more interesting:The party announced last week that Deirdre Hargey, who has been identified as a Sinn Fein candidate for Belfast City Council; Cora Groogan, who stood in the 2003 Assembly election, and former city councillor Sean Hayes had given statements to their solicitors.Sinn Fein has called on people to help the McCartneys and suspended seven members who were in the bar. Those members did not include Ms Grogan or Ms Hargey.
So that means that there were either nine or ten members (depending on whether Hayes was one of the members suspended) of Sinn Fein in the bar, which brings up an obvious question: Were any of them involved in the murder or in the cover-up? We've been told that three IRA members were expelled; could three people have done all the dirty work?
Racism in Hiring/Firing NBA Coaches?
Here's an interesting article
in the NY Times:Over the last decade, black N.B.A. coaches have lasted an average of just 1.6 seasons, compared with 2.4 seasons for white coaches, according to a review of coaching records by The New York Times. That means the typical white coach lasts almost 50 percent longer and has most of an extra season to prove himself.The pattern holds in almost any important category of coaches. Winning black coaches have been replaced sooner than winning white coaches on average, and experienced black coaches have served shorter tenures than experienced white coaches. The same is true among losing coaches, among rookie coaches and among coaches who played in the N.B.A. and those who did not.
I have looked in the past at the records of black NFL coaches, and concluded that there appeared to be some racial bias in hiring. Most black NFL coaches have a winning record and as a group they are well above .500, which certainly indicates to me that there is a possibility that NFL owners have not been making a sufficient effort to locate all the qualified black head coaches out there. It is also possible (because of the small number of black NFL coaches) that this is just a fluke, or that black coaches may have tended to be hired in situations where their success was likely (e.g., Tony Dungy in Indianapolis). However, the number of black NBA coaches is much higher and the NY Times study appears to have looked at different factors that could account for the differences.
I am generally suspicious of claims of racism (which is, after all, sometimes hard to differentiate from simple incompetence), but in this case it certainly seems possible that is what is happening.
Vernon Baker Update: Again
Blogger seems to be losing this post for some reason. I wrote last week
about Vernon Baker, the Congressional Medal of Honor Winner whose medical bills for an emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor, are not being paid by the VA or Medicare because he failed to turn in the necessary forms. I spoke with his neighbor, Marilyn Fletcher, who is handling fund-raising for the Bakers, and she has set up a bank account to defray the bills. Checks should be made payable to the Vernon Baker Medical Fund
and sent to:
1731 Fletcher Road
St. Maries, ID 83861
I have sent a check for $25 and hope some of you will consider doing the same.
Global Warming Leads to Killer Ants
More paranoia from the global warming crowd
:Kaspari found that worker ant and colony size varied almost 100-fold in his survey of ant colonies in 49 ecosystems in the Americas. Average nest populations varied from 63 workers in a cold temperate pine forest, to over 9000 workers in a hot, temperate desert. "The tiniest colonies are not much bigger than the inside of a Cheerio while the largest colonies can fill up a garbage can," he told New Scientist.
Monday, March 21, 2005
The New Democratic Base?
Michael Barone notes the rise of the trustfunder left
. It's a good news/bad news scenario for the Democrats:The good news for Democrats is that they have found a new source of votes and money. The bad news is that an important part of their core constituency has the characteristic that the British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin ascribed to the press, "power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages."
Not hard to predict the reaction of the blogger left to that column.
Running from the Screamer?
Ankle-Biting Pundits has a scoop
. Looks like some Democratic candidates will be running away from Howard Dean, while of course happily accepting any spare change the Vermonster can rustle up.
Teflon has been covering the twists and turns
in the Schiavo case; just keep reading.
I am astonished at how insistent the liberals have become that Terry be starved to death. And the constant complaints of hypocrisy are amusing; if we're hypocrites for not accepting states' rights in this issue, aren't they hypocrites for suddenly accepting states' rights? Or is it only in this case that states' rights trump all? Hint: Look at the reaction to the ruling striking down execution of murderers who committed their crimes while juveniles. This isn't about states' rights at all, it's about judges' rights.
When Poets Attack
Here's an amusing controversy
over at the American Thinker.Sad to say, American poetry has fallen on hard times. At least that branch of it represented by the dozen or so poets recently outraged by an article we published which dared to criticize anti-Israel poet Ammiel Alcalay. Judging by the communications we have received, and by the “guerilla” tactics employed against us, these poets, many of whom teach at respectable universities and colleges, are a pathetic lot. Incapable of reasoned argument, spewing epithets, pretentious, paranoid, and stupid enough to conspire and provide cause for legal action right in public, they embody, in James Taranto’s phrase, a “toxic mix of self-pity and thuggery… characteristic of an alienated political minority.”
John Hawkins catches Michael Kinsley
in another fatheaded comment.
Aaron threatens to banish
Glenn Reynolds from the Lifelike blogroll for not blogging on the Schiavo case. Reynolds responds by saying
he's tried to come up with an opinion but he just doesn't have one. John Hawkins weighs in
on the matter, with some comments I certainly agree with:Let me also add that I find the "state's rights" arguments being tossed around about this case in some circles to be rather frivolous. Since when does one unelected judge speak for a state? Especially a judge who's imposing his will to force a result that's directly contrary to wishes of the real voice of the people of that Florida, the elected state legislature?
I have not blogged on Schiavo myself for the simple reason that I haven't brought myself up to speed on the case and so many other bloggers are already there that it's not like the story's being ignored. Plus the radio guys are all over it; Hugh Hewitt devoted his entire Friday program to the topic. I'd rather find the story that's being ignored in the US so far, like the McCartney sisters were four weeks ago.
Bulldog Pundit has an astute analysis of the political implications
of the Schiavo case.
Joel Gaines brings up a case in Texas
that did not get nearly as much attention as Terry Schiavo.
Van Helsing has a post on the newest target
of those who would erase all mention of religion in the public square: The Easter Bunny.
Blackfive has a great post
about a hero in the British Army, Private Johnson Beharry."With the blood from his head injury obscuring his vision, Beharry managed to continue to control his vehicle, and forcefully reversed the Warrior out of the ambush area. The vehicle continued to move until it struck the wall of a nearby building and came to rest. Beharry then lost consciousness as a result of his wounds. By moving the vehicle out of the enemy’s chosen killing area he enabled other Warrior crews to be able to extract his crew from his vehicle, with a greatly reduced risk from incoming fire. Despite receiving a serious head injury, which later saw him being listed as very seriously injured and in a coma for some time, his level-headed actions in the face of heavy and accurate enemy fire at short range again almost certainly saved the lives of his crew and provided the conditions for their safe evacuation to medical treatment.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
A Young Man to Watch
From the NY Times Magazine, a profile of Harvard Economist
Roland G. Fryer, Jr.Roland G. Fryer Jr. is 27 years old and he is an assistant professor of economics at Harvard and he is black. Yes, 27 is young to be any kind of professor anywhere. But after what might charitably be called a slow start in the scholarly life, Fryer has been in a big hurry to catch up. He was in fact only 25 when he went on the job market, gaining offers from -- well, just about everywhere. He abruptly ended his job search by accepting an invitation to join the Society of Fellows at Harvard, one of academia's most prestigious research posts. This meant he wouldn't be teaching anywhere for three years. The Harvard economics department told Fryer to take its offer anyway; he could have an office and defer his teaching obligation until the fellowship was done.
Read it all; it's a fascinating portrait of a young man who succeeded despite (apparently) having the deck stacked against him.
We've Heard This Before
In the middle of a noodler
on Kerry's possible candidacy in 2008, comes this:And he's been dogged by bloggers who want him to authorize the release of all his military records, to clear up questions raised in 2004. He told NBC on Jan. 30 that he would sign military form SF-180 to do so, but he hasn't yet. Most of the heat has come from conservatives, but Democratic blogger Mickey Kaus also is on the case, urging party brethren to "remove this increasingly pathetic figure from our national stage." (The word in Washington is that Kerry will sign the form soon.)
Sure he will. Let's put it this way. If Kerry signs the form, I'd say it's clear he's not running in 2008, because there's obviously something damaging in those Navy files that Kerry has been trying to hide. But of course, the only reason for signing the form is to get the issue out of the way so he can run in 2008. My guess is he continues to dither, hoping that people will drop the issue.
Here's a Good Sign
It doesn't look like the McCartney story is going away; here's a letter
to the NY Post from the sisters and Bridgeen published today:Our lives are in bits. Every morning, Bridgeen has to walk past them when she takes her and Robert's 4-year-old son to school. And she returns home in tears — every day.
What we want to happen now is for the witnesses — or anyone who knows anything about what happened to Robert — to come forward to tell the police.
We want Sinn Fein and the IRA to do all they can to make sure that happens.
Sinn Fein and the IRA say they did order them to go forward. But those who did exercised their right to silence — they were ordered to go forward, but told to say nothing.
We believe this is nothing more than a stalling tactic in hopes that the whole story will peter out. We believe Sinn Fein are saying one thing to the journalists and the governments — telling them what they want to hear — and saying something else to its membership.
We feel a conspiracy of silence has developed, that some kind of pact was taken that night. We feel there is a lack of will, not ability.
The Reality-Based Party? Part XXXVI
Here's another group
that believes that changing the words around will get folks to vote for the Democrats.To hear some people tell it, the problem with the Democratic Party is that the political left no longer knows what it believes. A young graduate student named John Paul Rollert says these doubters can find their answer on the Web.
Rollert, a political activist who says his aim is the long-term revival of progressive politics, is one of the leaders of an effort called the "Principles Project," which recently completed an online convention designed to define and promote what Democrats believe.
Six weeks of e-mail debate and balloting ended earlier this month with "A Declaration of Progressive Principles." It is posted at www.principlesproject.com.
Typically, what was left out is more revealing that what stayed in:During one draft, for instance, participants were invited to weigh in on whether to change a statement that "America must be a leader in the building of global institutions that protect the vulnerable, promote liberal democracy, and improve the health and welfare of all people."
One option was to change "a" to "the." Others thought it sounded less unilateral to drop "leader" altogether and say that "America must join with like-minded nations." There was considerable debate about how much to emphasize a "strong military."
The final statement declared: "America's security requires an effective military and a commitment to enduring alliances, but we must remember that America's true power is found in its wisdom as well as its strength"; and "America must join with other nations to build global institutions that protect the vulnerable, promote democratic self-government, and improve the health and welfare of all people throughout the world."
No surprise there; the Left can't acknowledge that America is the leader among nations. Also gotta wonder about the political correctness of using "America" as a shorthand for the United States; don't we constantly hear that Brazilians are Americans too?
Details of the McCartney Sisters' Trip
The Telegraph publishes their travel diaries
Choice bits:Donna: We flew from Dublin this morning. Now we're waiting on the tarmac for the BA flight at Heathrow and the stewardess comes down and asks if we're the McCartney party. We say "yes". Gemma thinks we're going to get thrown off, but actually the captain has moved us to empty seats in the first class cabin.
After arriving in the US:Donna: Only now are we starting to grasp how big this issue is over here. Even our taxi driver told us he couldn't believe the IRA was murdering innocent Catholics. Part of the success of this campaign is its spontaneity. We haven't prepared speeches, we just tell people what happened. If it gets too orchestrated, we could lose momentum.
That evening, the group attends the American Ireland Fund gala dinner alongside Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister. Gerry Adams is also present. Senator McCain delivers the main speech, condemning the IRA and Sinn Fein and lauding the bravery of the six women.
Donna: It is great to hear the applause just watched Adams during the Senator's speech. He stared ahead and looked really grim. I didn't expect him to clap when there was criticism of Sinn Fein, but he didn't even put his hands together when McCain praised our courage. That speaks volumes. I realise now how badly this is going for Adams.
Their trip to the White House:Bridgeen: We are ushered in with 12 people from different groups. There are pieces of paper on the floor with our names so we know where to stand. I move mine because I want to be in the middle of the other girls. Then the President comes into the room. He spends about five minutes with our group. He asks who is the widow and asks me about the boys and how I am. He clearly knows what happened to Robert. He is gracious and friendly, but I am too nervous to think straight. It is all a bit of a blur.
Paula tells him Robert was a quiet, gentle, good man and Catherine tells him that we hope he can use his influence to help bring the murderers to justice and that this is a test of the sincerity of Sinn Fein in the peace process. He says that he is 100 per cent behind us and that justice would be done. And he thanks us for our courage.
Great article, have your hankies ready!
The Reality-Based Community? Part XXXV
The New York Times has this account
of the antiwar demonstrations yesterday:The American crowds ranged from about 350 in Times Square to several thousand in San Francisco. And in contrast to the vociferous rage of demonstrations two years ago, yesterday's protests were mostly somber and low-key, with marchers carrying cardboard coffins in silence to the beat of funereal drums, with rally speakers alluding often to the war dead and subdued crowds keeping behind police barriers.
Losers, every single one of them. The good news is that there are a lot fewer than in 2003. It might have something to do with the war being over.