Archive for May, 2011
24 May 2011

The Truth At Last

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Hat tip to Bruce Kessler.

23 May 2011

The GOP Needs a Dream Candidate

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Alex Pappas, at the Daily Caller, quotes Bill Kristol on the unfinished GOP presidential race field.

Mitch Daniels’ announcement that he’s not running for president means Republicans may turn up the pressure on dream candidates like Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie.

“It would be unfair to call the current field a vacuum,” said William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, in a blog post. “But it doesn’t exactly represent an overflowing of political talent.”

He predicted that “the odds are better than 50-50 that both Rick Perry and Paul Ryan run,” referencing the Republican governor of Texas and Wisconsin congressman, respectively.

Kristol also speculated that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton “may not feel they have to decide until after Labor Day—or maybe even until October or even November.”

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Michael Barone sums up where we at at present:

In, in alphabetical order: Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.

Probably in: Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman.

Probably not in: John Bolton, Sarah Palin.

Out: Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, John Thune.

Declared out but still being wooed: Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan.

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Hugh Hewitt is taking the bizarre position that everything is hunkydory. By his lights, the GOP has a strong field of candidates, and besides “the top two contenders –Romney and Pawlenty– have essentially locked up the campaign talent and the money commitments necessary to mount a traditional campaign.”

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Barack Obama clearly doesn’t agree with Hewitt about the GOP field. As the New York Post reports:

President Obama’s re-election campaign is trying to dig up dirt in the Garden State.

Despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s repeated pronouncements that he will not seek the GOP presidential nomination, Obama operatives are compiling a dossier of what they call “opposition research” — material that could be used to damage Christie if he changes his mind, The Post has learned.

The Obama campaign is trying to keep its efforts from public view, concerned they would only elevate Christie’s already impressive standing within the Republican Party, sources said.

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I think Bill Kristol is dead on and Hugh Hewitt is dead wrong.

No member of a field consisting of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman obviously represents a serious challenge to a polished and articulate incumbent democrat.

Of the actually known candidates in that list, Newt Gingrich is demonstrably unreliable on policy and in performance, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum are too socially conservative, Ron Paul is a pacifist isolationist, Mitt Romney is a liberal from Massachusetts, and Tim Pawlenty (from liberal Minnesota) has a very mixed record as well.

To win in 2012, the Republican nominee is going to have to offer a serious alternative to Obamanomics. We can hardly defeat Obamacare with the record of a governor who created a similar system in his own state. Americans want prosperity restored. They do not, in general, desire to elect a president primarily devoted to a counterrevolution in public morals.

Paul Ryan is the best possible choice, it seems to me. The Ryan budget proposal represents the only serious alternative that anyone has proposed to the current out-of-control entitlement system. The choice between balancing the federal budget and national bankruptcy and decline is what the election needs to be about, and Paul Ryan is the best qualified Republican to argue our case to the American people.

23 May 2011

O’Bama Visiting Ireland

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President Obama is stopping in Ireland in the course of four-country European jaunt to visit his maternal roots.

CNN:

In Ireland, Obama plans to visit the Irish village of Moneygall, population 300, which claims to be the birthplace of one of his great-great-great grandfathers.

Henry Healy, one of Moneygall’s many residents claiming to be a distant relative of America’s first African-American president, hopes to hoist a beer with the town’s favorite son.

“We knew that the president had interest in his Irish roots,” Healy said. “He expressed while he was seeking the Democratic nomination that he did want to visit the little village in Ireland and have a pint.”

Situated in central Ireland between Dublin and Limerick, Moneygall has undergone a patriotic facelift. With American flags hanging in front of homes and stores, Obama might feel like he’s visiting a small town in the U.S. on the Fourth of July.

Genealogists at Ancestry.com first shed light on Obama’s Irish roots when he was campaigning for the presidency. They traced his Irish ancestry several generations to a fellow by the name of Fulmoth Kearney, the president’s great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side, who immigrated from Moneygall to Ohio in 1850.

Maybe it was that “luck o’ the Irish” — or perhaps support from some of the 40 million Irish-Americans — that helped Obama win the presidential nomination.

“It never hurts to be a little Irish when you’re running for the presidency of the United States of America,” Obama joked during a campaign stop in 2008.

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James Delingpole is derisive on the identity antics of this kind. Tony Blair evidently used to do it, too.

Ah Bejaysus and Begorrah! Oi’ll be swearin’ boi the auld shrine to the Vorgin with the shamrocks growin’ round it next to the hill where Cuchullain slew the Great Leprechaun of Kildare on St Patrick’s Day that Barack Seamus O’Toole Flaherty Joyce O’Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.

Except, when he’s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomon’s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.

And in the Middle East, where he is Al-Barak Hussein Obama, Protector of the Holy Shrine, Smiter of the Kuffar, Lion of the Desert, Tent-Loving-Aficionado-of-the-Oversweetened-Coffee, Chomper of Sheeps’ Eyeballs, Restorer of the Caliphate.

Etc.

Tony Blair used to do this trick too, his accent mutating from broad Glaswegian to genteel Edinburgh to Mummerset to Estuary to Richard E Grant to Sarf London Grime – often in the course of one Downing Street reception – the better to persuade his target audience that he was their kind of guy. And it is, of course, the hallmark of an unutterable charlatan

23 May 2011

Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things, and Battles Long Ago

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Human remains of Bronze Age began turning up along the banks of the Tollense River, near Neubrandenburg on the Mecklenburg plain north of Berlin, in 1997.

More than 2000 bones representing the skeletal remains of 90 individuals, along with war clubs and the remains of horses, have been found, providing evidence of a battle fought here around 1250 B.C.

An article appearing in this month’s Antiquity (behind subscription screen) reports:

Chance discoveries of weapons, horse bones and human skeletal remains along the banks of the River Tollense led to a campaign of research which has identified them as the debris from a Bronze Age battle. The resources of war included horses, arrowheads and wooden clubs, and the dead had suffered blows indicating face-to-face combat. This surprisingly modern and decidedly vicious struggle took place over the swampy braided streams of the river in an area of settled, possibly coveted, territory. Washed along by the current, the bodies and weapons came to rest on a single alluvial surface.

The archaeological investigation does not seem to have turned up any metal weapons. Perhaps, metal swords and spear points were so valuable in the region in that period that they would have been carefully recovered at the time of the battle. The wooden weapons found, some examples described as resembling a baseball bat and a polo mallet, must have been used by common tribesmen, insufficiently wealthy to arm themselves with swords. History records pagan Baltic tribesmen from Samogitia going into battle against the Teutonic knights as late as the time of the battle of Grunwald in 1410 A.D. armed with knotted oaken war clubs in which flints had been embedded.

Who was fighting and what the conflict was all about are completely unknown, but the German researchers estimate that at least 200 men must have been killed in the course of a single action.

BBC story

Spiegel German-language article

Spiegel photo slide-show

3:42 German-language video

22 May 2011

Two Young Men in Their Twenties

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Bibi Netanyahu and Barry Soetero.

22 May 2011

Mark Steyn: The Unzippered Princeling and the Serving Wench

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Mark Steyn puts the former head of the IMF’s little hotel indiscretion into its proper cultural (and sociological) context.

Whatever the head of the IMF did or didn’t do, the reaction of the French elites is most instructive. “We and the Americans do not belong to the same civilization,” sniffed Jean Daniel, editor of Le Nouvel Observateur, insisting that the police should have known that Strauss-Kahn was “not like other men” and wondering why “this chambermaid was regarded as worthy and beyond any suspicion.” Bernard-Henri Lévy, the open-shirted, hairy-chested Gallic intellectual who talked Sarkozy into talking Obama into launching the Libyan war, is furious at the lèse-majesté of this impertinent serving girl and the jackanapes of America’s “absurd” justice system, not to mention this ghastly “American judge who, by delivering him to the crowd of photo hounds, pretended to take him for a subject of justice like any other.”

Well, OK. Why shouldn’t DSK (as he’s known in France) be treated as “a subject of justice like any other”? Because, says BHL (as he’s known in France), of everything that Strauss-Kahn has done at the IMF to help the world “avoid the worst.” In particular, he has made the IMF “more favorable to proletarian nations and, among the latter, to the most fragile and vulnerable.” What is one fragile and vulnerable West African maid when weighed in the scales of history against entire fragile and vulnerable proletarian nations? Yes, he Kahn!

Before you scoff at Euro-lefties willing to argue for 21st century droit de seigneur, recall the grisly eulogies for the late Edward Kennedy. “At the end of the day,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, “he cared most about the things that matter to ordinary people.” The standard line of his obituarists was that this was Ted’s penance for Chappaquiddick and Mary Jo Kopechne – or, as the Aussie columnist Tim Blair put it, “She died so that the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act might live.” Great men who are prone to Big Government invariably have Big Appetites, and you comely serving wenches who catch the benign sovereign’s eye or anything else he’s shooting your way should keep in mind the Big Picture. Yes, Ted Ken.

Nor are such dispensations confined to Great Men’s trousers. Timothy Geithner failed to pay the taxes he owed the United States Treasury but that’s no reason not to make him head of the United States Treasury. His official explanation for this lapse was that, unlike losers like you, he was unable to follow the simple yes/no prompts of Turbo Tax: In that sense, unlike the Frenchman and the maid, Geithner’s defense is that she wasn’t asking for it – or, if she was, he couldn’t understand the question. Nevertheless, just as only Dominique could save the European economy, so only Timmy could save the U.S. economy. Yes, they Kahn! …

The arrest of a mediocre international civil servant in the first-class cabin of his jet isn’t just a sex story: It’s a glimpse of the widening gulf between the government class and their subjects in a post-prosperity West. Neither Geithner nor Strauss-Kahn have ever created a dime of wealth in their lives. They have devoted their careers to “public service,” and thus are in the happy position of rarely if ever having to write a personal check. At the Sofitel in New York, DSK was in a $3,000-per-night suite. Was the IMF picking up the tab? If so, you the plucky U.S. taxpayer paid around 550 bucks of that, whereas Strauss-Kahn’s fellow Frenchmen put up less than $150. So if, as Le Nouvel Observateur suggests, France and America really do belong in entirely different civilizations, the French one ought to start looking for a new patron for the heroic DSK’s lifestyle.

21 May 2011

Are You Leaving Today?

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The Rapture is apparently scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM this evening.

Will you be raptured out of here? This handy flowchart is intended to help you predict your fate.

20 May 2011

The Vanished Wild Bobwhite

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William Herman Schmedtgen, Quail Shooting in Louisiana, 1897

A couple of generations ago, coveys of wild bobwhite quail could be found by hunters from Florida as far north as Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Today, quail hunting exists only for pen-raised, released birds on pay-for-shooting preserves and plantations.

What happened to wild quail? Where did they all go?

The New York Times discusses the problem and advances a theory.

Quail hunting has been both aristocratic and egalitarian. It is a sport of Southern plantation gentry who ride walking horses with bespoke double guns in their scabbards and have pedigreed pointing dogs racing across the fields before them. It is also the sport of the farm kid armed with a dad’s old shotgun and a rangy mutt for a hunting companion. Both types of hunters have equally satisfying hunts, but these days social standing does not matter. Everyone is quail-poor. Bobwhite quail are one of the most studied wildlife species in the United States, yet conservationists have yet to halt the declining populations.

Biologists agree that overhunting is not the issue. Quail are prolific breeders but have a short lifespan. Hunting seasons could be eliminated and still approximately 90 percent of the quail would be dead within the year. Other predators, like raptors, coyotes or raccoons, are also not the reason for their decline, although many hunters point the finger at them.

Don McKenzie is in charge of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, a team of 25 state fish and wildlife agencies and conservation groups. The goal of the group, formed in 2002, is to get wild quail populations to what they were in 1980.

It is one of the most difficult large-scale wildlife restoration projects. Canada geese, whitetail deer and wild turkeys — all at one time low in numbers — have become so populous that they spill into the suburbs, but bringing back bobwhite populations is a struggling enterprise.

“One of the difficult parts of quail restoration is we have to restore suitable habitat at a landscape scale,” McKenzie said. “When you compare that with deer and turkey restoration, the habitat was already suitable. It was a matter of catching remaining wild animals in places where they were and moving them to places where they weren’t and protecting them until they took care of themselves. It’s still a challenge, but nothing compared to what we face now with bobwhites.”

The reason restoring bobwhite quail is so difficult is because it involves changing the nation’s manipulated rural landscape. According to McKenzie, exotic fescue, Bahia grass and Bermuda grass took hold across the United States in the 1940s. These carpetlike grasses were planted to promote better cattle grazing and edged out the native warm-season grasses that are conducive to good quail habitat. The native grasses grow in clumps, which allow the quail to hide, move and forage and are essential to their survival.

With pastures covered with invasive exotic grasses, the quail found cover along brushy fencerows and field edges, but by the 1970s modern agricultural practices that maximized every inch of soil devoured these small sanctuaries and left quail with few hideouts.

Wildlife biologists have known about this connection between warm-season grasses and quail habitat, and many landowners have tried to create an oasis for quail on their property by planting a paradise of native plants. Yet the quail population never reached the old numbers.

“Resident game bird conservation professionals have been telling landowners this for 50 years: all you need to do is some small-scale stuff on your place and you’ll have birds and everything will be fine,” McKenzie said. “Well, after 50 years of doing that, it certainly doesn’t work.”

The problem is that the islands of prime quail habitat — restored or naturally occurring — are not connected to one another to create larger plots of good habitat where quail have greater odds of survival.

“We have to come up with bigger pieces of landscape that are managed in common, and have connections with other pieces of well-managed landscape where there are sustainable populations of birds,” McKenzie said. “We must make it happen by the millions of acres instead of by the tens of acres.”

The problem is not restricted to bobwhite quail. The Times overlooks the fact that same thing has happened to the ringnecked pheasant in the Eastern United States.

Up to the 1960s, the Asiatic pheasant had been successfully naturalized for many decades, and wild pheasant populations existed from Maryland and Virginia all the way up to Southern New England.

As with the bobwhite quail, one finds today everywhere in the East, the wild pheasant population has been completely eliminated. The State of Pennsylvania stocks thousands of pen-raised pheasants annually, and it makes no difference. Within weeks, the birds are gone.

I think the Time’s authorities are correct that edge-to-edge farming, encouraged by the Department of Agriculture’s experts, had something to do with all of this, and the altered system of grasses theory has some plausibility, but I think there may be more to it than that. I don’t see how the complete protection of raptors cannot be playing a role. And, beyond that, experience shows that populations of wild birds and animals do change dramatically and unpredictably.

Back before WWII, Canada geese were becoming very scarce and some subspecies were even believed to be nearing extinction. The wood duck was rare, and had been removed from the bag list of huntable species. In those days, the prime hunting ducks were black ducks in the Northeast, and canvasbacks in the Chesapeake.

Today, Canada geese are a public nuisance. They’ve stopped migrating. Their population has exploded, and the once less common larger subspecies is a standard inhabitant of malls, office complexes, and parks. Wood ducks are now common and have the largest bag limit, and it is unusual to ever get a shot at a black duck or a canvasback.

I don’t think the experts have a good explanation for all the wildlife population changes which occur over time.

19 May 2011

Tom Coburn Puts Newt Gingrich In His Place

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19 May 2011

Serious Addict

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Russian says: “How do you wean a cat away from smoking?”

Hat tip to Tristyn Bloom.

19 May 2011

“Out of the Billowing Smoke and Dust of Tweets and Trivia Emerged Gingrich”

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Newt Gingrich has been backpedaling and apologizing furiously for his attacks on Paul Ryan’s budget reform proposal on the Meet the Press last Sunday.

What Gingrich’s true and actual positions on the Ryan proposals, Medicare, and Obamacare might actually be these days remains unclear. It seems that Gingrich is basically where one would expect him to be, and on Sunday was only bloviating, and philosophizing, and attempting to differentiate his own more nuanced, sophisticated, and organic approach to budgetary reform from less prudent and more inflamatory approaches.

Gingrich apologized to Paul Ryan and has been making a genuine effort to sound more like a Republican (and to stay a viable candidate).

The latest amusing effort to keep the Gingrich candidacy afloat was this salvo by his press secretary Rick Tyler, attempting to blame the Sunday debacle on a media conspiracy.

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

I was down on Gingrich, too, so I guess my invitations to the Georgetown cocktail parties must be in the mail.

Quinn Hillyer filed the best response at the American Spectator.

Methinks if there is any billowing smoke, it is the funny stuff the Gingriches must be smoking if they think he has emerged looking like anything except a shabby, self-important hack with enough egg on his face to feed omelets to the whole nation of Lichtenstein.

Hat tip to Jim Geraghty’s (emailed) Morning Jolt.

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UPDATE, 5/20:

Jon illustrated the entire “Gingrich Emerging” rant here.

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UPDATE, later 5/20:

John Lithgow reads the glorious press release for Stephen Colbert.

19 May 2011

Did Justice Kagan Break the Law By Failing to Recuse Herself?

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One of the problems with appointing prominent members of a presidential administration to the Supreme Court is the issue that if litigation connected with a piece of legislation or executive order that official had a hand in crafting should subsequently occur, he (or she) might find it necessary to recuse himself from participation in the case.

Recusal is not an optional choice. 28 U.S.C. § 455 specifically states:

Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. …

(including)

Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan has denied being involved in preparations for court defense of Obamacare while she was serving as Solicitor General, and declined to recuse herself from the Supreme Court decision of April 2011 refusing to “fast-track” for review Virginia’s lawsuit challenging Obamacare.

Judicial Watch sued under the Freedom of Information Act and has obtained documents suggesting that Justice Kagan may have a serious problem here.

According to a January 8, 2010, email from Neal Katyal, former Deputy Solicitor General (and current Acting Solicitor General) to Brian Hauck, Senior Counsel to Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, Kagan was involved in the strategy to defend Obamacare from the very beginning:

    Subject: Re: Health Care Defense:

    Brian, Elena would definitely like OSG [Office of Solicitor General] to be involved in this set of issues…we will bring in Elena as needed. [The “set of issues” refers to another email calling for assembling a group to figure out “how to defend against the…health care proposals that are pending.”]

On March 21, 2010, Katyal urged Kagan to attend a health care litigation meeting that was evidently organized by the Obama White House: “This is the first I’ve heard of this. I think you should go, no? I will, regardless, but feel like this is litigation of singular importance.”

In another email exchange that took place on January 8, 2010, Katyal’s Department of Justice colleague Brian Hauck asked Katyal about putting together a group to discuss challenges to Obamacare. “Could you figure out the right person or people for that?” Hauck asked. “Absolutely right on. Let’s crush them,” Katyal responded. “I’ll speak with Elena and designate someone.”

However, following the May 10, 2010, announcement that President Obama would nominate Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, Katyal position changed significantly as he began to suggest that Kagan had been “walled off” from Obamacare discussions.

For example, the documents included the following May 17, 2010, exchange between Kagan, Katyal and Tracy Schmaler, a DOJ spokesperson:

    Shmaler to Katyal, Subject HCR [Health Care Reform] litigation: “Has Elena been involved in any of that to the extent SG [Solicitor General’s] office was consulted?…

    Katyal to Schmaler: “No she has never been involved in any of it. I’ve run it for the office, and have never discussed the issues with her one bit.”

    Katyal (forwarded to Kagan): “This is what I told Tracy about Health Care.”

    Kagan to Schmaler: “This needs to be coordinated. Tracy you should not say anything about this before talking to me.”

Included among the documents is a Vaughn index, a privilege log which describes records that are being withheld in whole or in part by the Justice Department. The index provides further evidence of Kagan’s involvement in Obamacare-related discussions.

For example, Kagan was included in an email chain (March 17–18, 2010) in which the following subject was discussed: “on what categories of legal arguments may arise and should be prepared in the anticipated lawsuit.” The subject of the email was “Health Care.” Another email chain on March 21, 2010, entitled “Health care litigation meeting,” references an “internal government meeting regarding the expected litigation.” Kagan is both author and recipient in the chain.

The index also references a series of email exchanges on May 17, 2010, between Kagan and Obama White House lawyers and staff regarding Kagan’s “draft answer” to potential questions about recusal during the Supreme Court confirmation process. The White House officials involved include: Susan Davies, Associate White House Counsel; Daniel Meltzer, then-Principal Deputy White House Counsel; Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice President; and Ronald Klain, then-Chief of Staff for Vice President Biden. The DOJ is refusing to produce this draft answer.

Judicial Watch describes itself as conducting an ongoing investigation of the matter.

The documents obtained so far fail to produce absolute “smoking gun” proof that Kagan violated the law in failing to recuse herself, but all the evidence of collaboration over accounts is extremely suggestive.

Ace aptly observes:

Just a crazy question here — has anyone said “We’ve got to get our stories straight” when everyone involved was planning on telling the truth?

Are “coordinated” stories generally more credible than uncoordinated, unscripted ones? I guess the Obama White House thinks so.

“Coordination”

It’s a hip, smart way to say “lying.”

18 May 2011

“Die Gedanken Sind Frei”

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Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Ich denke was ich will und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still’, und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch und Begehren kann niemand mir wehren,
es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Drum will ich auf immer den Sorgen absagen
und will mich auch nimmer mit Grillen mehr plagen.
Man kann ja im Herzen stets lachen und scherzen
und denken dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Ich liebe den Wein, mein Mädchen vor allen,
sie tut mir allein am besten gefallen.
Ich sitz nicht alleine bei einem Glas Weine,
mein Mädchen dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

——————-

Thoughts are free, who can guess them?
They flee by like nocturnal shadows.
No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

I think what I want, and what delights me,
still always reticent, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
all this would be futile work,
because my thoughts tear all gates
and walls apart: Thoughts are free!

So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
and never again will torture myself with some fancy ideas.
In one’s heart, one can always laugh and joke
and think at the same time: Thoughts are free!

I love wine, and my girl even more,
Only I like her best of all.
I’m not alone with my glass of wine,
my girl is with me: Thoughts are free!

18 May 2011

Yale Suspends DKE

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German fraternity students led the revolution against autocracy in 1848.

The DKE fraternity chant affair has concluded with utterly contemptible behavior by the university, embodying cowardice and extraordinary and astonishingly unbecoming stupidity and violating the university’s own official commitment to freedom of expression.

Quote:

Yale’s commitment to freedom of expression means that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where “the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox” must be tolerated. When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you.

No one is entitled to any “atmosphere” free of speech or expression he (or she) does not like. The erection by the political left of a variety of groups claiming, on the basis of historical grievances and ressentiment, special privileges and status is a moral and intellectual abomination.

In this case, a tiny minority of Yale’s most obnoxious and neurotic females, members of a gender comprising a slight majority of humanity, already empowered by Nature with staggering powers of influence and control over members of the opposite gender, particularly during a period of life when the reproductive impulse and any young lady’s powers of personal attraction are at their height, have been persuaded by ideological influences hosted and specially cultivated by Yale to see themselves on the basis of myths, stereotypes, and crude historical misunderstandings as victims, and then encouraged to exploit that status for personal and group power and rewarded for doing exactly that with attention and applause.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is an ancient article of life wisdom imparted by parents to very young children over many generations. Modern liberal society has retreated in maturity to an intellectual state on the other side of childhood, to a state of infantilism, in which name-calling is inflated into a national issue superseding First Amendment rights and the tradition of free speech in Academia, and is viewed as demanding federal intervention and a coercive university response.

The tradition of academic freedom is based upon a general recognition that the period of the education of young people at university is a special period in which a completely open and unprejudiced approach to inquiry is appropriate and in which students traditionally enjoy special immunities from responsibility and conformity.

College students traditionally mock society’s sacred cows and college students are traditionally expected to let off steam and express high spirits through a variety of outrageous pranks. Only fools and outrageously presumptuous tyrants would ever take expressions made by fraternity pledges undergoing a ritual ordeal as statements accurately representative of real positions or as in any way meaningful at all. The fact that two incidents of fraternity ritual farce have been treated as matters of literal heretical expression and as gravely important transgressions by federal and university officials demonstrates only that both Yale and today’s United States are prey to ideological impulses capable of causing them to lapse readily into totalitarian regimes governed by nincompoops.

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Yale’s 1975 Woodward Committee Report on Free Speech.

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