Archive for June, 2011
27 Jun 2011

Reasons For Being a Democrat

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I’m a Republican because democrats are idiots.

Hat tip to Joe Egan.

26 Jun 2011

Another Corrupt Vote By the New York Legislature

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The New York Times explains how Andrew Cuomo’s political skills and the dollars of a handful of rich donors succeeded in securing enough Republican votes to win passage for Same Sex Marriage in the same State Senate which defeated it two years ago.

Professional politics and hedge fund money took control of the political process to decide on behalf of the 19 million citizens of the State of New York that the immemorial definition of marriage, predating not only New York State and the United States, but the state in general, needed to be modified to recognize the equality of homosexual relationships.

The homosexual political movement has come a long way.

Homosexual relations only became de facto legal in New York State in 1980, when the New York Court of Appeals, in New York v. Onofre, decided to apply a newly discovered Constitutional right of “privacy” found in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) to protect the use of contraception to consensual homosexual relations.

The actual law identifying homosexual acts as a criminal misdemeanor, New York Penal Law § 130.38, was not repealed until June 22, 2000.

In the short time of one generation, homosexuality has been promoted in status from being regarded psychologically as a mental disorder and from being treated legally as a form of criminal activity to full legal equality in a several states, and enthusiastic recognition by the bien pensant community as a worthy cause.

As is customary in all such matters, well-behaved, respectable members of the elite community of fashion speak with a single voice, but nonetheless very substantial numbers of other Americans continue to resent the essentially tyrannical manner in which a small but influential elite successfully usurps control of the decision-making processes and imposes its own will on society in general.

The vote taken by the New York State Senate was, at least, superior to the mode of decision-making in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where Gay Marriage became institutionalized via a preposterous and contrived decision of the State Supreme Judicial Tribunal in 2003. At least, in New York, there was a legislative vote, and New Yorkers insulted and offended by the elevation of perverse relationships to a level of equality with the traditionally most sacred human institution can look forward to voting those responsible out of office.

Most people today agree with John Stuart Mill that the state ought to assume a position of neutrality on matters of morals involving voluntary activities among consenting adults. Support for tolerance of homosexual activity does not, however, necessarily translate, outside the community of elite conformity, into complete recognition of homosexual equality, and for good reason.

Homosexuality is not equal. Homosexuality is not even, as the propaganda insists, an innate identity. Homosexuality, in reality, consists of behavior, voluntary actions, participation within, and entirely voluntary affiliation with, a particular subculture.

Some people clearly experience inclinations toward forms of sexual activity which others do not. Until quite recently, no one ever suggested that the experience of temptation constituted both a membership card in an independent, and fully legitimate, identity group and a license to gratify one’s urges, regardless of their character.

In no other category of unwholesome desire, does the argument that “the impulse is involuntary” bestow a new identity status and a permit to proceed, along with membership in a group protected and awarded its own identity housing, departments of study and academic major by an indulgent aristocracy smiling down in approval.

The dominant political class of a blue state has imposed its desires on the general population once again. They can bribe venal Republican senators, and they can bully cowardly senators. They can pull off a vote of this kind, and they can make their absurdities the laws of the land for a time, at least, but they still cannot make homosexuality equal.

They might as well get the New York State Senate to vote that color-blind people can see just as well as people with normal vision. They might as well vote that 2+2 in New York State will now equal 5. All integers are equal, after all.

However Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Tribunals rule and corrupt New York legislatures vote, homosexuality will still be a perversion. Homosexual activity will not result in reproduction, and homosexuality will be still unequal. Homosexuality will still fail the ethical test of Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Homosexuality will still be a tremendously dangerous disease vector. The homosexual subculture will still be characterized by promiscuity, fetishism, and self-degradation. Homosexual inclinations will still be characteristically associated with abnormality, effeminacy, and physical cowardice. People who choose to spend their time in the homosexual subculture will share a bizarre perspective, and consider routine what most Americans would find shocking and intolerably obscene, and characteristic homosexual manners, activity, and practices will still be regarded with deserved contempt by most people.

Inclinations toward homosexual monogamy and gay matrimonial aspirations are an extremely recent phenomenon, constituting a deliberate political stratagem aiming at capturing the ultimate symbol of homosexual equality of status and representing no kind of conversion or change of heart, but merely typically signifying only a prudent response adopted by many gays to the AIDS epidemic. The kind of leadership class which hastens to remodel the fundamental institution underlying human society to accommodate the single-generation-old whim of a very recently criminal subculture is too irresponsible to be permitted to retain its authority. Our rulers have no sense of history, no intellectual integrity, and no piety toward culture, tradition, and the past.

25 Jun 2011

A Prophet Without Consistency

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Walter Russell Mead takes the occasion of Albert Gore’s latest climate jeremiad (in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, quoth Gore: In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues.) to discuss why somebody who lives like Albert Gore cannot function satisfactorily in the role of prophet of Ecological Self-Denial.

[S]ome forms of inconsistency or even hypocrisy can be combined with public leadership, others cannot be. A television preacher can eat too many french fries, watch too much cheesy TV and neglect his kids in the quest for global fame. But he cannot indulge in drug fueled trysts with male prostitutes while preaching conservative Christian doctrine. The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence. The head of the IRS cannot be a tax cheat. The most visible leader of the world’s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways. Mr. Top Green can’t also be a carbon pig.

You can be a leading environmentalist and fail to pay all of your taxes. You can be a leading environmentalist and be unkind to your aged mother. You can be a leading environmentalist and squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle, park in the handicapped spots at the mall or scribble angry marginal notes in library books.

But you cannot be a leading environmentalist who hopes to lead the general public into a long and difficult struggle for sacrifice and fundamental change if your own conduct is so flagrantly inconsistent with the green gospel you profess. If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.

It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.

You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards. You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary — the more shame on you that with your superior insight and knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. There’s a gospel hymn some people in Tennessee still sing that makes the point: “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.”

St. Francis of Assisi understood the point well. Taken by the Pope on a tour to see the treasures of the Vatican, St. Francis was notably unimpressed. “Peter can no longer say, ‘silver and gold have I none,’” smiled the Pontiff, referring to the story in the Book of Acts that recounts what St. Peter said to a crippled beggar asking him for alms.

“Neither can he say, ‘rise up and walk.’” replied St. Francis — quoting what St. Peter said as he miraculously cured the beggar of his affliction.

You can sit on ivory chairs with kings in their halls of gold, participating in the world of politics as usual, or you can live with the prophets and visionaries in the wilderness, voices of a greater truth and higher meaning that challenge the smug certainties and false assumptions of the comfortable, business as usual elites. You cannot do both.

Al Gore cannot say “silver and gold have I none and no excess carbon do I spew,” and neither can he say to the paralyzed global green movement “rise up and walk.” He speaks, he writes, he speaks again, and the movement lies on the ground, crippled and inert.

A fawning establishment press spares the former vice president the vitriol and schadenfreude it pours over the preachers and priests whose personal conduct compromised the core tenets of their mission; Gore is not mocked as others have been. This gentle treatment hurts both Gore and the greens; he does not know just how disabling, how crippling the gap between conduct and message truly is. The greens do not know that his presence as the visible head of the movement helps ensure its political failure.

Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.

But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry. A father of four, he can lecture the world on the perils of overpopulation. Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents.

What this tells the skeptics is that Vice President Gore doesn’t really believe the gospel he proclaims. That profits from his environmental advocacy enable his affluent lifestyle only deepens their skepticism of the messenger and therefore of the message. And when they see that the rest of the environmental movement accepts this flagrant contradiction, they conclude, naturally enough, that the other green leaders aren’t as worried as they claim to be. Al Gore’s lifestyle is a test case for the credibility of his gospel — and it fails. The tolerance of Al Gore’s lifestyle by the environmental leadership is a further test — and that test, too, the greens fail.

The average citizen is all too likely to conclude that if Mr. Gore can keep his lifestyle, the average American family can keep its SUV and incandescent bulbs. If Gore can take a charter flight, I don’t have to take the bus. If Gore can have many mansions, I can use the old fashioned kind of shower heads that actually clean and toilets that actually flush. Al Gore looks to the average American the way American greens look to poor people in the third world: hypocritically demanding that others accept permanently lower standards of living than those the activists propose for themselves.

There are gospels that can be preached by the comfortable and the well fed. But radical environmentalism is not one of them. If you want to be Savonarola, you must don the hair shirt. If you want a public bonfire of the vanities, you must sleep on an iron cot and throw your own cherished treasures into the flame. …

I am not one of those who thinks him a hypocrite; I think rather that he shares an illusion common amongst the narcissistic glitterati of our time: that politically fashionable virtue cancels private vice. The drug addled Hollywood celeb whose personal life is a long record of broken promises and failed relationships and whose serial bouts with drug and alcohol abuse and revolving door rehab adventures are notorious can redeem all by “standing up” for some exotic, stylish cause. These moral poseurs and dilettantes of virtue are modern versions of those guilt-plagued medieval nobles who built churches and monasteries to ‘atone’ for their careers of bloodshed, oppression and scandal.

Mr. Gore is sincere, as the fur-fighting actresses are sincere, as so many ’causey’ plutocrats and moguls are sincere. It is perhaps also true that the fundraisers who absolve them of their guilt in exchange for the donations and the publicity are at least as sincere as the indulgence sellers in Martin Luther’s Germany.

Mead does not stop, unfortunately, to observe that the perils of alleged Climate Change are just as far removed from diurnal reality as the theological perils of Christian hellfire.

25 Jun 2011

Just One of Those Things

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Haaretz sympathizes with the terrible bad luck that seems to pursue scientists and engineers who provide assistance to Iran’s nuclear program. It’s really a lot like all the deaths which overtook the people who violated that pharoah’s tomb.

The five nuclear experts killed in a plane crash in northern Russia earlier this week had assisted in the design of an Iranian atomic facility, security sources in Russia said on Thursday.

The five Russian experts were among the 44 passengers killed when the Tupolev-134 plane broke up and caught fire on landing outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk on Monday.

The experts – who included lead designers Sergei Rizhov, Gennadi Benyok, Nicolai Tronov and Russia’s top nuclear technological experts, Andrei Tropinov – worked at Bushehr after the contract for the plant’s construction passed from the German Siemens company to Russian hands.

The five were employed at the Hydropress factory, a member of Russia’s state nuclear corporation, and one of the main companies to contract for the Bushehr construction.

The sources said that the death of the scientists is a great blow to the Russian nuclear industry.

The experts were tasked with completing construction of the plant and ensuring that it would be able to survive an earthquake.

According to the sources, although Iranian nuclear scientists have in the past been involved in unexplained accidents and plane crashes, there is no official suspicion of foul play. Investigators are probing human error and technical malfunction as the causes of the crash.

Careful reading between the lines may discover that there is a message of some kind embedded in this news story.

Hat tip to Mollie Hemingway.

25 Jun 2011

Cornell Fraternity Life, 1978

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Entertaining the young ladies at Spring croquet

One of Muffy Aldrich’s friends reminisces about (and defends) fraternity life at Cornell in the mid-1970s.

It’s a funny thing about me and my cronies. For us, college was about growing into manhood; sophomoric antics notwithstanding, we aspired to be grown-ups. Our models, sartorial and otherwise, were our fathers and our friends’ fathers, those stout fellows, which sounds hopelessly square but speaks volumes about who we were. “There is the presence of a father…a force of counsel and support that would have carried one, well-equipped, into manhood,” John Cheever wrote in his journal. “One does not invest the image with brilliance or wealth; it is simply a man in a salt and pepper tweed, sometimes loving, sometimes irascible, and sometimes drunk but always responsible to his son.”

Forgive me if I tend to romanticize the past. Like many of my age, I am bewildered by what it means to be an adult in a culture dominated by the values of children. How are children to be shown the way out of childhood by parents who want to be children themselves?

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to James Coulter Harberson III

24 Jun 2011

Emergency Measure

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24 Jun 2011

Settled Science

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James Delingpole identifies an authentic instance of settled science: US liberals really are the dumbest creatures on the planet.

[W]hy it is that liberal-lefties manage to be so utterly wrong about everything[?]

“Because they’re stupid,” said a libertarian friend of mine.

“Oh come on, not all of them surely? A bit misguided, maybe but…” I protested.

“No really they’re stupid because they’re not interested in facts. They just want to construct their pretty little narrative about the world, regardless of whether or not it has any bearing on reality. And then they want to dump it on us. And ruin our lives. So not just stupid but evil too.”

Read the whole thing.

24 Jun 2011

Watch the Bachmann Campaign Distribute That Rolling Stone Article in Iowa

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Rep. Michele Bachmann

Abe Sauer, blogging at The Awl, contends that Rolling Stone’s recent hit-piece on Michele Bachmann by Matt Taibbi represents a classic example of leftie journalism taking deliberate aim at an opponent and then shooting itself in the foot.

The backlash against the lashing out against presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has already begun. Following the Palin blueprint, Bachmann plans on fully leveraging the negative publicity with her base: they see leftist attacks as a point of pride and an indication of strength. …

It’s forgivable that Rolling Stone’s take-down is at best re-reported and at worst poorly sourced. It’s less forgivable that it’s self-detonating. It’s a screed that warns America that Michele Bachmann is to be taken seriously—right before doing exactly the opposite.

The profile is the kind of battle-axing of Bachmann that is going to do great pageviews for the magazine but ultimately play right into her hand. It gives Bachmann legitimate evidence that the fabled leftist mainstream media is attacking her. Consequently, it will make her more popular with a base that looks for which conservative leader is being most reviled in the media, and then assumes that person is their best bet. (It’s not a coincidence that Tim Pawlenty has completely avoided harsh criticism from the MSM while at the same time being unable to gain traction with Tea Party-influenced primary voters.)

Not only is the profile unnecessarily mean, it’s sloppy. …

On the same day Taibbi’s story hit the web, The Blaze called it a “seemingly slanderous” piece that “attacks Bachmann’s faith.” Elsewhere it was called an “anti-Christian hit piece.” By tomorrow, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bachmann’s own campaign distributing photocopies of it in Iowa.

But Bremer’s greatest complaint is Rolling Stone “smearing the town of Stillwater as some whites-only, wealthy gated community that propelled Bachmann to the national scene.” And Avidor said that “the smear of Stillwater is what sticks out for me.”

“I can’t believe he ever came here,” Bremer said. Actually, he didn’t: Taibbi confirmed to me that he never set foot in Minnesota for the piece.

24 Jun 2011

Cellphone Links Osama to ISI Asset Group

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Middle Eastern cartoon accusing ISI of assisting Osama

The New York Times reports a story leaked by US intelligence officials which connects the dots between the late Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency.

The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, senior American officials who have been briefed on the findings say.

The discovery indicates that Bin Laden used the group, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, as part of his support network inside the country, the officials and others said. But it also raised tantalizing questions about whether the group and others like it helped shelter and support Bin Laden on behalf of Pakistan’s spy agency, given that it had mentored Harakat and allowed it to operate in Pakistan for at least 20 years, the officials and analysts said.

24 Jun 2011

Email Dialogue From Yale Party of the Right List

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J writes (pointing to LS Times story):

Out-of-date “Heather Has Two Mommies” controversy to be superseded by the hip new “Kate Has Three Mommies” model?

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On a leafy drive in west Los Angeles, at a newly renovated home with cathedral ceilings and a backyard pool, 4-year-old Kate Eisenpresser-Davis’ friends have been known to pose an intriguing question: “Why does Kate have three mommies?”

Lisa Eisenpresser, 44, and her partner, Angela Courtin, 38, share custody of Kate with Eisenpresser’s ex-partner.

When asked to describe their life, Eisenpresser and Courtin respond with the same word: “Normal.” Days are spent searching for the right balance between work and home, and zigzagging through Mar Vista to meetings, school and gymnastics.

Courtin is pregnant. Kate will soon have a sister, Phoebe, conceived from Eisenpresser’s egg and sperm from a donor — the same 6-foot-1 Harvard grad, who scored a 1580 on the SAT, who served as Kate’s donor.

“It’s almost like I’m too busy to be thinking too deeply about being gay and different,” Eisenpresser said.

Maybe she shouldn’t bother. According to a Times analysis of new U.S. Census figures, the Eisenpresser-Courtin-Davises are on the leading edge of change — of a steady evolution in the meaning of “family” and “home” in California.

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J continues:

But what the heck kind of woman not only tells the media that the sperm donor that facilitated her childbearing is a Harvard grad but tells the media his frickin’ SAT scores? (Unfortunately, I can’t evaluate how awestruck I ought to be without more information on whether the reported score was generated before or after the various dumbing-down “renormings” of the scoring system.)

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T responds:

Presumably the singing groups will soon need to update their repertoires to include “Your Daddy Was a Yale Sperm….”*.

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* A reference to the old-time Yale a capella singing group song “Your Daddy is a Yale Man,” which not every reader may be familiar with, so here are the 2009 Whiffenpoofs performing same:

23 Jun 2011

US Army Gives Up on the Girl Scout Hat

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Ten years ago, General Eric Shinseki, the Army Chief of Staff, decided to improve the morale of the ordinary soldier by allowing him, too, to don the chic and sporty black beret, previously worn only by elite Ranger units.

But, as Gilbert and Sullivan noted in their Savoy opera of 1889 The Gondoliers: “If everybody’s somebody, then no one’s anybody.”

Apart from all that, berets are pretty silly looking and they don’t keep the sun out of your eyes. They are fussy to put on, needing a lot of adjusting, and they really look goofy with the digital pattern desert camouflage Army Combat Uniform used operationally every day.

Soldiers didn’t like it and Army Secretary John McHugh decided to bow to their wishes and pulled the plug on the beret on June 14th.

The headgear of French poets and girl scouts will be replaced by the patrol cap.

CNN story

Army Times story

Berets in US Army history

23 Jun 2011

“Allah Honored Wives By ‘Instating’ the Punishment of Beatings”

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On Al-Nas TV, Egyptian cleric Sa’d Arafat complacently explains the rules.

Hat tip to Amy Alkon.

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