5 years ago
"We did not feel it would be appropriate to invite him to receive an honor and then embarrass him here," Shorewood High School principal Rick Monroe said. "We did not want to subject him to that sort of treatment."Idiot teenagers don't bother me. I was one not too long ago. I remember the angst, the self-absorption, the self-righteousness. But the cowardice of these school officials is unforgivable. Remember, school officials readily kick kids out of school for writing scary creative writing projects, calling them "threats," so it's not like they give the First Amendment an expansive reading. Yet in one area where the Supreme Court has actually affirmed school officials' power to restrict student speech -- where it disrupts a school function, like a student assembly (See Bethel School District v. Fraser) -- this school principal didn't have the guts to use it. This "educator" won't even try to teach his students the difference between peaceable assembly and disorderly conduct. Pathetic.
I’ve only seen about 8 or 9 Enterprises, but I’ve enjoyed them all. Best first season of any post TOS series, good characters, great soundtrack (except for that hideous theme) and innumerable nods to the purists & geeks in the audience. Trek has been delivering, one way or the other, for almost 30 years, because it grows and changes and bends.* WARNING! GEEKY EXPOSITION AHEAD! * The Enterprise theme is wretched (like Bryan Adams on a good day), and some of the "nods to the purists" are dorky (e.g. Captain Archer -- and I'm creatively paraphrasing -- "What we need is some kind of rule, a directive, to tell us what to do when we encounter pre-warp alien cultures. Maybe we could call it the 'Prime Rule.' No, that doesn't sound right. Maybe the 'Prime Directive.' Yeah, that's the ticket"), but it still rocks. What I love most about Enterprise is how overtly American it is. Sure, there are the aliens, Sub. Com. T'pol and Dr. Phlox, who like obnoxious European tag-alongs insist on supplying the cultural relativism that plagues all Star Trek franchises. But there's also the obviously midwestern Captain Archer and the southern Commander Tucker -- whose southern drawl is the first I've heard in a Star Trek series -- keep kicking against the pricks, insisting on the superiority of human -- read "American" -- virtues. Ensign Mayweather, who grew up on a space freighter, is like a kid from a blue-collar family who makes it big, because he was smart and had some moxy. Ensign Hoshi is an All-American Girl who also happens to be capable of learning an alien language in 48 hours. Even the Brit, Lt. Reed, exudes a love for high-powered weaponry that only an American can understand. Even the basic theme of Enterprise is American. In Enterprise's time frame, humanity is like the young upstart United States, round about 1800. We've barely gotten our act together, but we've got big ideas and big appetites for trade, knowledge, and influence, and we chafe at the restraint that older, wiser, and less vigorous civilizations counsel. Americans feel that way now, even though we're bigger, richer, and stronger than the Framers could have imagined. Lileks is right: Star Trek has succeeded "because it grows and changes and bends" to fit the mood of American society. The parallel isn't complete: our mood today is in part created by the fear of unknowns unleashed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the rise of Islamic totalitarianism. But we're still excited by the prospect of reshaping the world -- once again -- by projecting our influence into the darkest and remotest regions of the world, by exerting our power on very alien cultures. That's the chord Enterprise strikes in me, and why I'll keep watching.
At our nation's most critical hour, lawmakers have needlessly endangered the health of military servicewomen and dependents, preventing them from obtaining needed medical services and exercising their constitutional right to choose simply because they are stationed overseas. Women willing to sacrifice their lives for this country should not have to sacrifice their right to reproductive health care."At our nation's most critical hour"? Picture the scene: somewhere in Afghanistan, huddled on a mountainside as bullets fly overhead, G.I. Jane reaches inside her flak jacket and fingers the used pregnancy test dangling alongside her dogtags: it's positive. Exploding mortars shake the ground, heavy machinefire chews up the ground around her position. She fires a burst, and chomps her cigar with grim satisfaction as an al Qaeda soldier falls. But they keep coming. She's got her gun, her ammo, her grenades. But that's not enough. She needs more. She reaches for her radio, and shouts over the din: "Command, get me an abortion, ASAP!" Of course NARAL isn't really making the absurd argument that battlefield abortions are vital to the war effort. It's just that NARAL's real issue, getting government-funded abortions for servicewomen, is usually a loser, so NARAL is repackaging it in Old Glory. "For flag! For country! For abortion!" (Or maybe, "Praise God and pass the ammo! And the speculum!") Who knows, maybe that'll get some pro-abortionists, who tend to be feminists, who tend to view the military as a patriarchal, violent, and otherwise icky endeavor, behind our troops (at least the unwillingly preggo ones). But with the exception of rabid pro-abortionists, I figure most Americans who support the right to abortion see it as a necessary evil, something to be tolerated, not celebrated, and not paid for by the government. I doubt NARAL's flag-waving probably will appeal to this moderate, mainstream pro-abortion constituency. What most Americans see as a war of national survival, in which real soldiers are fighting and dying for their country, NARAL sees as an opportunity to hawk government-funded abortions. That should make any decent American sick -- whether or not he supports abortion. But then, all of NARAL's radical positions should have that effect.
Critics say 'Clones' has racial stereotypes ... Latino critics in particular charge his latest Star Wars epic, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, toys with American paranoia about Mexican immigration with its cloned army of swarthy lookalikes who march in lockstep by the tens of thousands, and ultimately end up serving as Darth Vader's white-suited warriors. ... Temuera Morrison, the actor who plays Jango, is a New Zealander of Maori descent. But that didn't get in the way of some members of an eight-person Detroit News panel assembled to review the film. "He looked totally Latino," says Martina Guzman, a Detroiter who's managing a State House election campaign. "And his kid," says Wayne State history professor Jose Cuello, referring to the young Boba Fett, "looked even more Latino." It reminds Cuello a little bit of "those Reagan ads in the 1980 campaign, that suggested if Nicaragua went communist, you'd have wild-eyed Mexicans with guns running across the California border."This is not a parody, I repeat, this is not a parody.
is "almost certain" and "could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next year." (Washington Post)This kind of general warning might be useful if given to remind us that we're at war, that it's just begun, and that the enemy will try to kill many more of us before we defeat him; in an unconventional war against a mostly hidden enemy, periodic reminders that we are indeed at war are probably necessary to maintain morale and political support. But as a warning per se, it's absurd and its repetition could be dangerous; creating a cycle of warnings followed by never-materializing threats, however sincerely, will dull the senses and create an illusion of improbability, and is no better than crying wolf.
Well, as it turns out, Rep. McKinney's suspicions regarding President Bush's prior knowledge of a potential hijacking of commercial airliners by Al Qaeda footsoldiers was pretty much right on the money. Even if you don't buy the rest of her theory -- that the President didn't act on the intelligence on his desk because he knew that Bush family members and friends would (and certainly have) benefit financially from increased war industry commerce -- Ms. McKinney deserves an explicit apology from those who trashed her so heartily when she spoke out. (emphasis added)Respectfully, no. As Jonah Goldberg writes, "Cynthia McKinney is still an idiot." The "rest" of McKinney's theory was that "persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war." (See The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.) That is, the President of the United States knowingly allowed 3000 people to die so that he and his family could make some money. Cynthia McKinney could believe this only if she's very stupid; she could publicly say it only if she's very wicked. Ordinarily, it's illogical and wrong to attack the speaker instead of her idea, but the ad hominem attack was made for Cynthia McKinney. She accused the President of the worst kind of evil -- knowing complicity in the murder of thousands of people -- without any basis in fact. That idea isn't logically external to her; it's the product of her sick and twisted mind, and thus can't be attacked independently of her character. McKinney deserves every line of abuse written against her.
One of the major problems with the Crusader was that only one unit at a time could fit in the C-17, the largest military transport plane, because of the size and weight of the 40-ton gun and the 30-ton transporter needed to carry its shells.The C-17 (169' x 174' x 55', peacetime take-off weight of 585,000 lbs) is not, of course, the "largest military transport plane"; that honor goes to the C-5 Galaxy (222' x 247' x 65', peacetime take-off weight of 769,000 lbs). Nyah, nyah, nyah. (Good thing I'm too old to get beaten up for this sort of thing.) In fairness to my pendantic tendencies, this is the sort of factual error reporters make all the time when reporting on military affairs. You don't have to be in the military to check these facts (though it helps if you were a boyhood subscriber to Air Force Magazine whose dreams of flying military aircraft were dashed by near-sightedness -- sniff, sniff). A simple Google search will do. Guess I still deserve that beating, huh?
During a three-day mission called Operation Iron Mountain, more than 100 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were flown into the brutally hot mountains here near the Pakistani border last weekend to put a stop to regular rocket attacks on a nearby U.S. base. (WaPo; emphasis added.)(I'm not mocking the risks our soldiers face, just the adjectives and adverbs American journalists choose.)
called for a congressional investigation into "what the president and what the White House knew about the events leading up to 9-11, when they knew it and, most importantly, what was done about it at that time." (WaPo)But the fact is, the government, and by extension the Chief Executive, blew it. If the FBI in Phoenix had gotten together with the FBI in Minnesota, and if the FBI had gotten together with the CIA, and if someone in either organization had read Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor, or had the slightest bit of imagination, a light bulb would have gone off and maybe, maybe even probably, the government could have prevented September 11. But this is hardly a revelation. The government always blows it. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; the Chinese invasion of Korea; the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran; the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut; the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait -- the list of American intelligence failures is quite long, and I didn't even get to the Clinton years. American officials in various agencies at various levels of authority invariably fail to communicate information, because they're lazy, trying to protect bureaucratic turf, or lack an obvious means of communication; when they get information, they use poor judgment or no imagination in analyzing it; and even when they draw logical conclusions from information, they dismiss them because "no one would be that crazy." They're people, after all. After Rep. Gephardt and Sen. Edwards make their political points, people who actually serve useful functions in government will draw practical lessons from this latest massive intelligence failure. The FBI will share intelligence with the CIA, overcoming the ban on domestic intelligence-gathering by the CIA imposed by Democrats; the FBI is already creating a central-clearinghouse for counter-terrorism intelligence, and is jointly briefing the president with the CIA. But the most important lesson to be drawn is that the government will always blow it -- if it only maintains a defensive posture. Our enemies will always find a hole in our wall, a chink in our armor, and will exploit it to devastating effect. After the 1993 World Trade Center attacks; after the Khobar Towers attack; after the African embassy bombings; after the U.S.S. Cole bombing -- we maintained a defensive posture. For each of those attacks, the government may have secretly thwarted dozens of other plots, but that wasn't good enough. Staying on the defensive is like trying to prove a negative proposition: you just can't eliminate all the possibilities. (I think that analogy makes sense.) The lesson to be learned from the intelligence failures of September 11, and from the repeated intelligence failures leading up to it, is that once we know we have an enemy, we must take the war to him. The President seems to have learned and applied that lesson in Afghanistan, and shows every intention of applying it in Iraq. That's more reassuring than anything a committee led by congressional vultures will turn up.
Moderator Dennis Brutus offered the audience a chance to respond . . .The panelists, all of whom Brutus said volunteered their time and money for the event, urged the audience to disagree, to initiate a two-sided argument. No one did. “I think there are a majority of people who want love, peace and cooperation,” said Caldicott. “But we find it hard to reach out to each other.”Lileks retorts:
No. It would be easy to reach out. The hard part is keeping our reaching hands from grasping your wattled necks. But that would be wrong. Instead, we laugh and roll our eyes and dismiss you as naughty children who shout HITLER the way a three-year old screams I HATE YOU at his parents. Just to prove you wrong, we tolerate you. Toleration makes Baby Adolf cry.If I wasn't already a grown up, I'd want to write like Lileks when I grew up. You must read the rest.
I think it's Lomborg's desire to apply a human-centered cost-benefit analysis to the environment that really bothers environmentalists. They're quite rightly afraid that in a democratic society, people with values different from theirs will sometimes decide that the price of saving some particular part of nature is too high, and will choose to just say goodbye to it instead.I haven't read Lomborg's book, but I'm interested that some people who have keep touching on this theme of misanthropy in environmentalist ideology. Of course the environmentalists dislike people because they pollute. But what's worse, even when you tell people they're polluting, sometimes they vote to keep doing it. Sometimes they choose building a dam to generate electricity over the best interests of the local salmon population. They actually insist on viewing themselves as legitimate members of the natural order entitled to prefer their own interests to the interests of other species -- you know, like other species do -- and not as alien intruders, or a virus (see "Mr. Smith" in The Matrix), to be quarantined off from "pristine" nature. Of course many environmentalists are misanthropes -- and statist, anti-democratic, and anti-capitalist. People, and institutions like democracy and private property that give them power, are the problem. UPDATE: The permalinks to Sullivan's book club page don't seem to work; here's the main link; scroll down to letters for Tuesday, May 14.
For [environmentalists] to admit that progress is being made and the earth is getting cleaner despite a growing population and growing Western influence is probably too much to ask. With the collapse of socialism, many on the left see environmental issues, particularly global warming, as their last chance to prove they were right about the evils of capitalism and development. In the end I've come to believe that many on the left who support environmental causes don't really care about nature, they simply don't like people very much.Maybe true misanthropy -- unlike the harmless kind curmudgeons and satirists indulge in -- is just the natural evolution of authoritarian-utopian ideology. Communist and socialist utopianists tried to perfect human society, but human beings turned out to be imperfect, i.e. they liked money, air conditioning, toilet paper, free speech, and the like. So the utopianists quite logically tried to "perfect" something more malleable than human society, and turned their designs toward nature -- whose plants and animals don't talk back, form political parties, and revolt -- and against human beings, who do.
"People are angry -- the rage is on. ... [A]lthough there seems to be a relative calm now, that is only temporary .... If we don't articulate a vision in the next couple of weeks, that rage is going to come back, and it's going to be twice as strong."Meanwhile, back in Amman, an angry mob marches on the royal palace chanting "Death to Israel! Death to the Jews! Death to America!" King Abdullah steps out onto his balcony, motions for the crowd to be silent, and asks, "What if I just articulated a vision of peace, instead?" The mob murmurs; arguments break out; protesters gesticulate wildly to one another. Finally, one man steps forward and addresses the king: "Your highness, the rabble were wondering -- well --" "Wondering what? Speak up, man!" "The rabble were wondering if your highness could articulate some Jew- and American-killing in the royal vision, because we all thought that'd be really peaceful and relaxing."
On education: "Teaching staff to be paid a market salary, and the education system to be restructured, partly on the basis of the wishes of the labour market. The central theme of the LPF is that youngsters should be educated to become modern, caring, assertive citizens. Deregulation will make the education system feasible again." On crime: "The justice system is another area that is ripe for reorganisation on every front and at every level. Fewer than a quarter of all the 45,000 police officials is actually involved in implementation. We need more police on the street and fewer behind desks. Every policy of toleration regarding a lack of safety in the public space must be scrapped. This requires that priorities are set. Violent crime, in particular, must be tackled vigorously. It is incomprehensible that the Ministry of Justice prosecutes citizens who exercise their right to defend themselves, but sets the real criminals free due to a lack of time. On public finance: "Inflation, with its particularly crippling effect on the weakest members of society, must be tackled forcefully. Any taxes which contribute to inflation or increase costs, such as an excessively high VAT, stamp duty, ECO tax and taxes imposed by lower levels of government, must be removed from the tax system."I'm not excerpting his positions on restricting immigration and encouraging assimilation of immigrants, because everyone else already has. Others have explained why Fortuyn's villification by European elites, and now his murder, spell trouble for European politics and society. Either it foreshadows the resurgence of a violent, terroristic left, or the resurgence of a violent, autocratic right that speaks to problems like crime and immigration that mainstream parties won't confront. But it also spells trouble for the United States. The fact is, there's not much daylight between Fortuyn's platform and that of mainstream American conservatives, especially economic and socially libertarian conservatives. Most Democrats would sign on to what Fortuyn stood for. If European elites regard men like Fortuyn a public enemies out of office, how do you think they regard the United States under conservative rule? That can't be good.
I depart now to Israel with a heavy heart, heavy with grief and heavy with rage. The rage of every man and woman in Israel. The rage of each and every Jew in the world. The rage of all those who share our values: freedom, liberty and democracy Israel will fight for these values. Israel will fight anyone who tries to threaten these values. Israel will fight anyone who tries, through suicide terrorism, to sow fear. Israel will fight, Israel will triumph and when victory prevails, Israel will make peace.Read the rest here.
If a librarian says that Web filters are bad for libraries, who the heck are we to argue? Why does pornography frighten us so greatly that we're willing to alienate such a wholesome profession? What's next, picking on museum guides? Sure, I realize I'm making tremendous generalizations here. Still, I just can't see how anything opposed by so many organizations of librarians is a good idea.Librarians haven't been all that "wholesome" for years, and just because librarians can help you search a database or find that musty tome you've been looking for doesn't mean they or their politcal advocacy groups are right about everything. And it's a big leap Mr. Kendall makes from porno filters on computers, that keep kids from viewing sexually explicit material on the public dime (and make the workplace much more pleasant for librarians), to picking on museum guides for displaying Michelangelo nudes. To paraphrase one Supreme Court justice, we know pornography when we see it, and no one's going to see Michelangelo that way. But hey, I don't even need to make an argument. I went to library school. I took cataloging. I know all about classification. Just trust me. I have an MLIS.
The past fortnight’s comment in the media and politics has been so poisonous, so homogenous, and so voluminous, that it amounts to a sharp change of national mood, and is a real diplomatic problem of its own.You don't say? Now, the Times' awakening is only partial, since it bizarrely blames this new-found diplomatic problem on Le Pen's first-round "victory" in the French presidential elections. No, lads, Europe's had a public relations problem with the United States ever since about, oh, September 11, 2001, when European intellectuals and politicians taught us that lovely German word, "schadenfreude," by personal example. It got worse when Americans could clearly see across the Atlantic burning synagogues and Jew-baiting that Europeans couldn't seem to see in their own back yard. And Europe's problems with the American street probably peaked when the American public saw European elites put their money where their mouths are -- on Arafat's thugocracy. No, lads, after that, the French giving a nationalist-socialist-protectionist crank a crack at the presidency was really just comic relief. But carry on. At least you're asking the right question now.
Every newspaper, like every friend, has a distinct personality, and while some can be divined immediately -- the brash, loud, wide-open types -- others require some quality time. Reading the Post, for example, is like having a stand-up comic for a friend, but reading The New York Times is like having a wheezy uncle who drones on and on in the most mind-deadening way possible but you put up with him because he teaches at the community college and people seem to trust him. The Wall Street Journal is like sharing cocktails with a droll but over-precise insurance salesman who can occasionally frighten you with bursts of anger. -- Joe Bob Briggs, UPI (via The Corner)Briggs' take on the Post and the Journal is just about right. But I'd cast the Times either as Al Gore -- pretentious, pedantic, thoroughly untrustworthy -- or as Daniel Schorr -- conventional, predictable, and incapable of self-examination. (Someone, I think in a National Review, well, review of Schorr's memoir remarked that he'd lived so long, through so much, and reflected so little on any of it.)
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