Monday, May 30, 2005
I repeat here what Small Dead Animals extracted from a 21-May post on The Monarchist.
The Tipping Point.
On the other hand, no... I don't.
Read the original in its entirety.
There is a despair, and some hope, that seems to me to require experiencing the whole post. It nicely catches a mood, for me longstanding, of what has gone wrong with Canada.
I am very grateful to Kate McMillan for this reference. It is simply excellent as a summation of the suffering of Canadians outside Ontario.
I felt the same frustration a decade ago. Before I left Canada.
I think Walsingham is dead on. Whether it's "about time" or not, may well depend on whether the Grits ever even allow a vote.
It's bad north of he 49th parallel, and mostly because a generous third of the voters still don't get it.
This may be a country loose from its moorings.
Those moorings are very little different from our own.
Maybe the only difference is that Al Gore never became President.
At least Quebec and Alberta have the legal option of secession.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
The first Canadian soldiers to die in combat since the Korean War were honored in a ceremony at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on May 23rd.
Sgt. Marc Leger
Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer
Pte. Richard Green
Pte. Nathan Smith
Afghanistan - April 2002.
Also honored were Americans:
Captain Pierre Piche
Specialist John Sullivan
Sgt. Ariel Rico
Iraq - November 2003.
"...courageous soldiers who epitomized selfless service and heroism."
We will remember.
Update 30-May, Wire story had Captain Piche's rank incorrect. Added images.
Brought to you by John McCain and the numbers "Five" and "Seven"; as in "Keating Five" and "Seven Senate Sellouts".
1-opposition to tax cuts
2-oil drilling in Alaska
3-support for campaign finance reform
4-unilateral action to curb "global warming"
Chris Muir's Day by Day is a "must bookmark." Visit daily.
Update: 30-May-2005-4:00 PM, Paladin correctly points out it was the Keating 5. Corrected.
Friday, May 27, 2005
In an email, Paladin notes that on Thursday the ACLU released an FBI document stating that Defense Department personnel at Guantanamo impersonated State Department and FBI officials during prisoner interrogations.
So what? We're supposed to give the terrorists our name, rank and serial number?
I could understand ACLU angst if DoD personnel had dressed up as Imams, violating the separation of terrorist and state, or if they'd climbed into Koran costumes and given each other swirlies; but if they "defile" themselves by impersonating State Department officials they deserve "neurotic duty citations", a fifth of Jack Daniels and a weekend pass.
Thank The Hairy Thundering Cosmic Muffin that DoD staff didn't have to pretend to be associated with Amnesty International, the International Red Cross or Dennis Kuchinich.
Since the ACLU is the haven for the most relativist pack of shysters on the planet, let's compare relative subterfuge:
A) The DoD is conducting an interrogation of suicide-bomb-school washouts who've sworn to kill you and me. IMHO, DoD had damn well better be tricky.
B) The Democrats impersonate effete European bureaucrats all the time and the ACLU doesn't complain.
C) The ACLU constantly pretend to be defending the Constitution by means of extending it to support our declared mortal enemies.
Which is worst?
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Harry couldn't keep a note of actual sympathy out of his voice when he sort-of apologized to Bill Frist tonight while explaining that the failure of a cloture vote on John Bolton’s nomination as UN ambassador didn’t mean the Democrats were filibustering John Bolton’s nomination as UN ambassador.
Daschle wouldn't have had that problem.
Still, Harry maintained a superior level of disingenuity. Cloture is required only if the minority party is refusing to let a motion go forward. I.e., cloture is what is required to end a filibuster.
Harry seems to be saying that the Democrats forced a cloture vote just for fun. It was an "accidental" filibuster.
So sorry, Bill.
The Democrats took only 3 days to betray any spirit of comity with their GOP
dupes colleagues. The “we can all get along” good feelings of Monday proved as illusory as Democrat party honor.
Some Republicans will act surprised. This is because they are too stupid to be in even the Senate. It is wonder they are able to breathe without mechanical assistance.
The Republican Senators who defied their leadership to form a bond with Democrats on judicial nominations should be subject to recall petitons ASAP.
Bill Frist will suffer for this, but it is primarily the fault of that popinjay populist, John McCain. See Peggy Noonan, Mr. Narcissus Goes to Washington.
You must register with the Western Standard to read some of Mark Steyn's columns. It is worth it.
Here he comments on the seeming inability of voters in Ontario to think.
...CTV and The Globe And Mail commissioned a poll showing that 63 per cent of Canadians do not believe Paul Martin is telling the truth when he denies any involvement in Adscam. Let's be clear on that: they're not saying just that they don't believe his initial position--that he didn't even know about any of this stuff; they're saying they think he was actively involved in it. When polls showed that 58 per cent of Britons thought their prime minister was a liar, Fleet Street produced stories with headlines like "The Big Lie" and "The King of Duplicity" and "Blair in Thick of New Battle on Iraq 'Lies.'" All for a mere 58 per cent? Sixty-three per cent of us think our prime minister's a liar, which may be a G7 record, and a strong Commonwealth second-place finish after Robert Mugabe. And how does CTV headline its story on this stunning poll finding? "Cdns. Suspicious of a Tory Hidden Agenda: Poll."The opiate of the Canadian masses is apparently delivered via the milk of the government teat.
Given the thin gruel of their non-hidden agenda, one can only hope the Tories have some sinister for-your-eyes-only master plan written in invisible ink and secreted in the leather thong Joe Clark will be wearing for his tolerant, inclusive appearance in this year's Calgary Gay Pride parade. But, whether or not they do, CTV's headline gives a pretty good idea of how the campaign will go: the Liberal agenda is staring at us in plain sight, but the proverbial hidden agenda of the Conservatives is still the real issue. The Tories may have top-secret plans to cut public spending: dozens of Quebec advertising agencies may be forced to look for work in what passes for the province's private sector and the monthly staff outings to Liberal fundraisers paid for by taxpayers may be cut back to once or twice a year. And from there it's a mere hop and a skip to cutting back on late-term abortion which means that many high-flying female Quebec marketing consultants will have to take time off for maternity leave instead of taking time off because they pulled a muscle waddling out of the restaurant with $150,000 in small bills stuffed in their pantyhose. The Tories are a threat to "da Canadian values"--and, in the sense that da Canadian values are those of the G7's first Third World kleptocracy, one hopes they're right.
This easily translates into the Grits perpetual, droning anti-Americanism - which is elevated to a full-fledged advertising campaign during elections.
The Grits always hit the Tories with the charge that they'll make Canada more like the United States. They use the same topics as do Democrats in the United States. Why rewrite the statist playbook?
Health care, social security, guns, American cultural imperialism, racism, any abortion debate whatsoever, and just generally not being as nice as Canadians present the full range of Grit insight into Americans vis-a-vis the critical danger to "da Canadian values" represented by a Tory victory.
Grit campaign attack ads mentioning the Tories have themes like these:
"With Tories in power, you'll have to pay for some of your own health care instead of us deciding whether you really need that bypass operation."
"They'll make the old people eat American dog-food."
"Some misguided politicians are for a strong military, but guns are dangerous even in the hands of the military. We're fixing that."
"With Hockey Night in Canada off the air, who would watch CBC once they saw the Home Gardening Channel?"
"The Tories will stop immigration of Paki cab drivers and cause an urban transportation crisis."
"What if an American got your daughter pregnant and she couldn't abort it after the second trimester?"
"Sure, our clerks are surly, but who wants to constantly hear "Have a nice day!" Eh?"
Swap a few proper nouns and localize a couple of adverbs and you can take this stuff right off MoveOn.org. Sadly, it is effective.
I am sorry to say this, but the effects of the constant background noise of anti-Americanism, combined with the twisted refinement only a close neighbor could bring to anti-American political innuendo, bodes not well for the longest undefended border.
If these guys are willing to take bribes up to the level of the Prime Minister's office, and ignore the rules of their own governmental system to cling to power, then we have a problem. Can we trust them to be tough on Al-Qaeda?
Al-Qaeda's money is a whole new level for these guys.
Even worse, if Canadian voters are so comfortable with blatant corruption and anti-democratic pariliamentary maneuvering that they re-elect the Liberal Party and Paul Martin, we really have to ask what - "What would the whole country cost?". We should certainly buy it before Al-Qaeda merely buys the Prime Minister.
If the voters of Canada re-elect Liberals* in the next election, then we have an emergency. Who could possibly believe any assurance regarding security from an anti-American government so cheaply bought?
*I can't imagine honest, 5% politically aware voters even giving them a significant minority.
Update 26-May 9:04PM
From:The Vancouver Sun, May 26.
Thanks to Andrew Coyne.
Schafer said Murphy was speaking in "thinly disguised code," but the "hints were broad and unmistakable. I think to a large extent what is considered proper behaviour, and what is considered over the line and corrupt in Canada, will hinge on how Canadian public opinion reacts to the Grewal tapes and the revelations.
"If people aren't outraged ... then I think we can expect in the future that ambassadorships and other government appointments may be used as if they were the private resources of politicians acting in their own self-interest or the interest of their party."
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
These are the Senators who prevented a decision regarding filibuster against judicial nominees.
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.,
Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii,
Mary Landrieu, D-La.,
Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.,
Ben Nelson, D-Neb.,
Mark Pryor, D-Ark.,
Ken Salazar, D-Colo.
Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I.,
Susan Collins, R-Maine,
Mike DeWine, R-Ohio,
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,
John McCain, R-Ariz.,
Olympia Snowe, R-Maine,
John Warner, R-Va.
The Republicans betrayed their leadership, their comrades, and their President.
The Democrats simply drew straws and kept straight faces..
This is a list of fourteen Senators whose opponents deserve support.
Of this whole sorry crew, Joe Lieberman is the only one who isn't a complete waste of skin.
Monday, May 23, 2005
The Claremont Institute has a review of The Real Jimmy Carter, by Steven F. Hayward.
I don't know if I'll read the book, but the review is awesome.
To me it seemed that Carter had a shot a being the worst President in history from the start of his campaign.
My estimation was higher than his achievement.
During Jimmy Carter's Presidency I was living in Canada. The “oil crisis” was never really an issue in Toronto because Canada had a great deal of its own oil. There was no lining up for hours for gasoline, or wondering if you’d be able to heat your house.
Another bonus; Pierre Trudeau was never so gauche as to appear in a ratty sweater on the CBC and tell us to lower our expectations along with our thermostats.
Still, this was the time I became aware of the antipathy Western Canadians hold for the Ontario/Quebec strangle-hold on the election of Ottawa mandarins. I was puzzled by reports of brisk sales in Alberta (where the oil mainly is) of bumper stickers reading "Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark."
I am no longer puzzled. Thirty years later, the antipathy and its expression prove to be entirely justified.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin serves in the great tradition of Canadian Liberals. This is to say that if not for the sheeple of Canada, Martin would be contemplating Mussolini’s fate rather than rejoicing about his clever theft of Canadian democracy.
This post started by referencing a review of a book about Jimmy Carter; not the perfidy of the Canadian Liberal Party. Still, it is interesting to consider that the worst head of state in United States history served contemporaneously with the man (Trudeau) who built the stage for the governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.
Which of those will prove ultimately to be the worst ever Canadian Prime Minister will require a few more months’ perspective.
Any comparison to Carter is strained, however. You can’t equate a couple of petty crooks perpetrating a confidence game on the voters with a man who never even had confidence in his own country.
Carter displayed a remarkable lack of principle and leadership even before his Presidency:
During his days in state politics, Carter ran campaigns that treaded dangerously close to outright racism. He once attacked his opponent, Carl Sanders, for preventing George Wallace from speaking on state property. (Carter would later write to one constituent, "George Wallace and I are in agreement on most issues.") Sanders was, Carter charged coyly, trying "to please a group of ultra-liberals." His campaign sent out a mailing featuring a picture of Sanders with two black basketball players—Carter's aides were later found passing out copies of this mailing at a Ku Klux Klan rally.And this weakness continued during his Occupation (and a more accurate term has not been invented) of the White House:
After the shah, America's ally, was deposed in Iran, he sought sanctuary in the United States. Approached about this idea, President Carter responded, "F--- the shah."In this treatment of allies, we must admit, he was following in the footprints of JFK's treatment of Ngo Dinh Diem.
The Shah’s mistake was to believe that Mr. Carter would keep America's word, but Carter was an apologist for American values even while he was President:
President Carter lambasted Americans for having an "inordinate fear" of Communism and explained that Russia would "continue to push for communism throughout the world and to probe for possibilities for expansion of their system, which I think is a legitimate purpose for them."Finally, Claremont reminds us that since Carter left the White House, he’s become the most virulent anti-American ex-President we pray it will ever be our misfortune to see.
Carter's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, went even further in support of the Soviet Union, defending its trial of Natan Sharansky as "a gesture of independence."
Carter's silliness cost America the Panama Canal, Iran, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua. Yet with all this carnage trailing in his wake, what is Jimmy Carter's own appraisal of his presidency? "Allowing Ronald Reagan to become president was by far my biggest failure in office," he told Douglas Brinkley in 1995.
In 1991 he spoke publicly against the Gulf War and— more unforgivably—went in private to Arab leaders asking them to pull out of the American coalition.Jimmy Carter was, and is, a man in the grip of a mystical narcissism unequalled even by Bill Clinton.
In other adventures, President Carter visited and praised North Korea's Kim Il Sung, saying he admired the "reverence with which [North Koreans] look upon their leader." Smitten with Yasser Arafat, he made fundraising trips to Saudi Arabia on behalf of the PLO. He invited Somali warlord Farah Aidid to visit him in Atlanta, calling the American attempt to capture him "regrettable." He visited Syria and praised the "good humor between" himself and Hafez Assad. Carter was so taken with Assad that when he returned to the Middle East, he submitted a false itinerary to the State Department so that he could meet with the dictator again.
My God, what would have happened if JC had got a second term?!
Sunday, May 22, 2005
An excellent Winfield Myers post at The Democracy Project :
Vincible Ignorance (and a lot of Spite), discusses "...the deleterious effects on American culture and foreign policy wrought by the Boomer generation."
I've long thought that many of my peers, and most particularly those who're ten to fifteen years my senior -- the immediate post-war Boomers -- came to despise the world of their parents and grandparents not because they were graced by better ideas or clearer vision, but because they never had to worry about what, historically, has been the lot of mankind: eking out a living from poor soil; feeding a family with too little food; protecting their belongings from marauding armies or tribes; burying one dead child after another; taking refuge in foreign and often hostile lands; knowing personally the boot heel of authoritarian or dictatorial regimes.Myers' link to a Victor Davis Hanson piece is worth following also.
Which is to say, they (we) have escaped, by the extraordinary blessings heaped upon our country, and the hard work and sacrifice of those who preceded us, what was until recently the common fate of all peoples. For this, we should first of all give thanks, every day. But we should also understand, in our marrow, that none of this resulted from the "accidents of history" to which our self-proclaimed intellectual betters so often attribute our success.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
A group of Senators from both sides of the aisle are attempting to avert a vote on the Senate rules that would remove the 60 vote requirement for cloture on debate regarding a President’s judicial nominees.
This would put the nomination of federal judges nearer the same footing as some other business to which the Senate must, from time to time, attend.
For example, you already can’t filibuster a federal budget resolution, a resolution authorizing the use of force, international trade agreements, or legislation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The "Nuclear Waste Option" was never necessary.
Requiring a majority of Senators to vote yes or to vote no on judicial nominees does not set a prececdent for limiting speech, and there's been precious little debate regarding judicial nominees on the floor of the "world's greatest deliberative body" in any case.
It isn't about speech.
The Constitution allows the Senate to make its own rules. They have changed over time, including those rules regarding filibuster. The proposal to exempt judicial nominations from filibuster changes only that. Legislation can still be filibustered.
It is not about checks and balances.
And spare me the comity BS. When Harry Reid called the President of the United States a "loser" in a speech to middle-school students, he demonstrated the full range of Demorcrat civility. And when he referred on the floor of the Senate to the contents of Judge Henry Saad's FBI file, a file neither Reid nor Saad are allowed to see, he revived visions of Tail-Gunner Joe.
Compromise? I think not. Still, some Senators are bypassing the leadership to see if some vote swapping arrangment can be made to preserve the "sacred institution." So far, the schticking point seems to be the Demorcrats insistence on reserving the right to filibuster judicial nominations under “extraordinary circumstances."
The problem, of course, is how they might define “extraordinary”, or “circumstances, or, for that matter, “is”.
In fact, this reservation means that anything they would promise is no promise at all. Only a fool would accept it. Still, if one were a wavering Republican, one could look to history. What do Demorcrats consider mainstream?
If one wanted guidance here, one might look to judges nominated by a Demorcrat President and praised by Demorcrat Senators as "deep thinkers', "outstanding jurists", and "exemplary judges."
Fortunately, Edward Whelan at National Review Online has supplied some examples of what are considered “mainstream.” judges by Demorcrats.
I include excerpts, but it is worth reading the entire series. The 2nd and 3rd are much shorter than the first.
Putting Judicial Nominees in PerspectiveNotably, Republicans did not filibuster.
Rosemary Barkett was nominated by President Clinton to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1993 and was confirmed in 1994.
• Dougan versus State is a 1992 Florida Supreme Court case. Dougan was the leader of a group that called itself the Black Liberation Army and that, according to the trial judge, had as its `apparent sole purpose * * * to indiscriminately kill white people and thus start a revolution and a race war.' One evening in 1974, he and four other members of his group, armed with a pistol and a knife, went in search of victims. They picked up a white hitchhiker, Steven Orlando, drove him to an isolated trash dump, stabbed him repeatedly, and threw him to the ground. As Orlando writhed in pain and begged for his life, Dougan put his foot on Orlando's head and shot him twice — once in the chest and once in the ear — killing him instantly. Subsequent to the murder, Dougan made several tape recordings bragging about the murder, and mailed them to the victim's mother as well as to the media. The following excerpt from one of the tapes aptly illustrates the content: “He was stabbed in the back, in the chest and the stomach, ah, it was beautiful. You should have seen it. Ah, I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved watching the blood gush from his eyes.”
The Florida Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Dougan. Justice Barkett and another Justice joined a remarkable and very disturbing dissent by Justice McDonald in which she voted to reduce the death penalty to life imprisonment, with eligibility for parole in 25 years[:] “This case is not simply a homicide case, it is also a social awareness case. Wrongly, but rightly in the eyes of Dougan, this killing was effectuated to focus attention on a chronic and pervasive illness of racial discrimination and of hurt, sorrow, and rejection. Throughout Dougan's life his resentment to bias and prejudice festered. His impatience for change, for understanding, for reconciliation matured to taking the illogical and drastic action of murder. His frustrations, his anger, and his obsession of injustice overcame reason. The victim was a symbolic representation of the class causing the perceived injustices.
Putting Judicial Nominees in Perspective, Part IIThere was no filibuster here, either.
On May 5, 1994, President Clinton nominated district judge H. Lee Sarokin to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. As Senator Hatch accurately stated at the time, Sarokin had earned a reputation as a stridently liberal judicial activist. Indeed, Sarokin described himself as a “flaming liberal” as a judge. The Third Circuit had lambasted Sarokin for “judicial usurpation of power,” for ignoring “fundamental concepts of due process,” for destroying the appearance of judicial impartiality, and for “superimpos[ing his] own view of what the law should be in the face of the Supreme Court’s contrary precedent.” The New Jersey Law Journal had reported that Sarokin “may be the most reversed federal judge in New Jersey when it comes to major cases.” A broad range of police and victim’s groups announced their opposition to his nomination.
A mere five months after his nomination, Judge Sarokin was confirmed over Republican opposition.
Putting Judicial Nominees in Perspective, Part IIIRead the article for the conclusion. This judge was nominated and confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Imagine, if you will, that a Democrat President nominated a judge whose constitutional and policy views were, by any measure, on the extreme left fringes of American society.
Let’s assume, for example, that this nominee had expressed strong sympathy for the position that there is a constitutional right to prostitution as well as a constitutional right to polygamy.
Let’s say, further, that he had attacked the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts as organizations that perpetuate stereotyped sex roles and that he had proposed abolishing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and replacing them with a single androgynous Parent’s Day.
And, to get really absurd, let’s add that he had called for an end to single-sex prisons on the theory that if male prisoners are going to return to a community in which men and women function as equal partners, prison is just the place for them to get prepared to deal with women.
Let’s further posit that this nominee had opined that a manifest imbalance in the racial composition of an employer’s work force justified court-ordered quotas even in the absence of any intentional discrimination on the part of the employer. But then, lo and behold, to make this nominee even more of a parody of an out-of-touch leftist, let’s say it was discovered that while operating his own office for over a decade in a city that was majority-black, this nominee had never had a single black person among his more than 50 hires.
Imagine, in sum, a nominee whose record is indisputably extreme and who could be expected to use his judicial role to impose those views on mainstream America. Surely such a person would never be nominated to an appellate court. Surely no Senate Democrat would support someone with such extreme views. And surely Senate Republicans, rather than deferring to the nominating power of the Democrat President, would pull out all stops—filibuster and everything—to stop such a nominee.
It is clear that any deal allowing the Demorcrats to substitute the judgment of Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Debbie Stabenow, Chuck Schumer and Robert Byrd for other Senators' right, and responsibility, to “advise and consent” on the judges the President proposes, is an erosion of the electoral process and an attempt to further transfer power to the unelected.
Update: 22-May-05. Some typos corrected.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
You need to have been following the Canadian electoral process, such as remains of it, to understand some of the following post. It has been covered on The Other Club.
In this episode, an heiress whose money came from corporations associated with the Liberal Party, pretended to be a Conservative. She was elected, and served, as a Conservative Minister of Parliament for a short time.
She has demonstrated her party affiliation was a pretense by switching to the Liberal Party in exchange for a Cabinet position, when the opportunism was maxed because of incredible Liberal Party corruption.
Belinda Stronach (comments courtesy Andrew Coyne) bids to become a new verb.
Courtesy of Small Dead Animals:
Posted by Kate at May 17, 2005 10:48 AMComments on the above in no particular order include:
Belinda Stronach has crossed the floor to the Liberals, with a new cabinet post her bonus.
Well, we always knew she was a Liberal - they were just hagging over the price.
I wonder if she realizes how many new Western separatists she just created today with her comments about Conservatives not understanding the "complexity" of the country? That the party must "grow in Quebec" before it's a national party? I wonder if she understands that her defection speech will be interpreted as another slap by a self-serving and politically ambitious Ontario power broker at western aspirations to finally have an equal voice in Canada?
Probably not. The woman is that stupid.
Posted by Kate at May 17, 2005 11:29 AM
Looking Down The Road
This country is sleepwalking to disintegration.
The only saving grace is that Quebec will separate on Paul Martin's watch. At this point, I don't think there's any way to stop the process - and if it came to fruition under Conservative government the collective amnesia of the Canadian mentality would forever place blame at the feet of Stephen Harper.
Update Harper response: he scored some very strong hits on Stronach. Saw the writing on the wall that her leadership "aspirations" were unlikely to be realized in the Conservative party, would rather see her gone now than in the middle of a campaign. Good tactic.
"sole ambition in the party was the leadership.. ultimately it will be interesting to watch her progress in the Liberal party."
He found out from Peter MacKay, this morning. "I think Peter is taking this pretty hard."
"Belinda called me just moments prior to the press conference."
Mike Brock feels much like I do;
Belinda, you're worried what might happen with the Bloc picking up more seats in a spring election? You better be double-worried by the f*cking backlash from Quebec voters when -- with your help -- the Liberals are returned to power.
You are helping the very party which has put us both in a sovereignty crisis, and in what appears to be amounting to a constitutional crisis in our parliamentary system.
I don't think your "soul searching" wasn't very deep. No, I recken it was shallow and plain. Much like you. Face it, all the time you spent contemplating away these past few days was figuring out how you could spin this without appearing like a backstabbing, untrustworthy, sell-out.
-I am now an avowed Western Separatist!!!
-If we're splitting into screwed and screwer, with no other choice, I want to be in the latter category.
-So when do we get going on separartion? I am ready to rollllllll!
-Either the country will sweep these scum from power, or, which is more likely, it will give soft federalists like me a reason to become hard core separatists. Canada has a choice... Banana Republic or a Federation of equals... anyone care to bet which it is? The Bloc have had it right all along.
-Is it just me, or do politics and skullduggery go stratospheric once one crosses from Manitoba into Ontario. And I thought it got dirty in Saskatchewan. Long live the West!
-Just printed off an application form for membership in the Separation Party of Alberta.
-If the West doesn't leave now they never will.
-While very tempted, and a part of me is in the separation closet, I'm certainly not going to let Belinda decide my current focus.
-Party at my place when Quebec finally bails. I've been hearing about this since I was a kid and am sick of it.
If we're thinking about chances for new country, Belinda Stronach may have just increased them.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
...but I never claimed to understand Feminists.
I mean, I do understand what they say, but I come up short on what they mean.
Professor Nancy Hopkins, for example, was clear as a bell when she said she would become physically ill if she stayed in a room with a man who suggested... well, basically, that there are physiological differences between men and women that should not be ignored if one's objective is to get more women into, say physics professorships at Harvard or MIT.
I've written previously about this here and here and here.
This possibility that men and women think differently has been common conversation among the unhysteric, even on college campuses, for quite some time. Lately, Scientific American has made the point yet again.
That it is a point that even has to be made is amazing, but it's true that some scions of academia, like Nancy Hopkins, don't get it.
Neither does Larry Summers get it, nor even have the courage of his convictions. He was excoriated for suggesting that male and female thinking may differ in such a way as to favor males if they want to be professional physicists.
So, Summers has offered obeisance to all the Feminists offended by his remarks regarding the factors possibly affecting penetration of females into the ivory towers of hard science.
As Harvard President he has decided to spend $50 million "over the next decade to increase diversity at the school". This will be accomplished by creating a new job - Senior Vice Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development, and by funding programs ranging from "mentoring to child care to late-night transport."
I would like to say I'm surprised and disappointed, but I am neither. Harvard is about to spend 50 million dollars to help women reach the higher levels of scientific achievement by providing tutoring, babysitting and extending the hours that buses run.
Is this assistance to be available to males, too? I mean, at least they'll be allowed to ride on the later running buses, right?
This is fair demonstration, since the Feminists aren't puking on the lawn, that they are unserious. How can they accept such a demeaning proposal?
The answer is that the Feminists upset about it are primarily in departments ranging from soft science (sociology, etc.) to vaporous speculation (women's studies). In any case, delivering an extreme embarrassment to the patriarchal oppressor Larry Summers is more important than actually having more women in physics and math. And he's the, umm... man for the job.
If you doubt this, ask yourself this question: "Could I use $50 million more effectively to get females interested in science?"
A frivolous, yet still superior suggestion - fund the "Issaca Newton Chair of the Herstory of Fysics."
Fred Reed is worth reading. Following is an example.
I can't be sure this link will work permanently, because of how Fred organizes his columns.
In any case it is numbered, named and dated. Look around a bit if you have to.
# 274 Pitying The Poor - May 16, 2005
One reads much about the poor in America, their piteous lives, their blighted hopes, and the unrelieved downtreading of them by various social ogres such as oppressive corporations who sell them greasy hamburgers. (Why does my wretched spell-checker object to “downtreading”? You can’t be downtrodden unless someone downtreads you. How obvious is that?)He has at least one point. "Downtroddening" doesn't cut it.
This I submit is goober-brained nonsense. America has precious little poverty, if by poverty you mean lack of something to eat, clothing adequate to keep you warm and cover your private parts, and a dry and comfortable place to sleep. In the “inner cities” or, as we used to call them, slums, there is horrendous cultural emptiness, yes, and the products of the suburban high schools are catching up fast. But poverty? The kind you see in the backs streets of Port au Prince? It barely exists in the United States.
Monday, May 16, 2005
I've written several posts concluding that we may learn much from Canada if we pay attention.
Here's an example.
The Toronto Star laments the possible defeat of the most corrupt government in North America (that, BTW, includes Mexico) with a story about illegal immigrants: Hope fades for plan to aid illegal workers
The best part of this though, is that Kate McMillan at Small Dead Animals has a comment or three:
Vote Liberal Or The Black Market Dies! - as a view of future (not so much) US debate is a little scary.
Thanks, I think, to Small Dead Animals.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Mark Steyn examines the intersection of Senator George Voinovich's know-nothing hypocrisy with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's preening sanctimony.
Voinovich thinks it's the US that needs reform, not the UN; so he's unhappy that John Bolton might actually get something done on the shores of Turtle Bay, even if it requires figuratively removing several stories of UN headquarters - or at least the occupants.
Speaking of literal devastation, Paul Martin was front and center on the Tsunami devastated beaches of Sri Lanka pledging $425 million in relief.
He's now pledging billions to special interests in Canada in an attempt to get his corrupt government re-elected.
To those on the bribery list, please note; all but $50,000 of the Canadian Tsunami aid is still tied up in Ottawa.
Canada needs to recognize that Lester Pearson's reputation has been overdrawn for decades and no longer, if even it ever did, justifies feeling good about talking about doing good.
Voinovich needs to study the definitions of "problem" and "solution" until he can tell them apart.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
It is the New York Times, so this headline is better than it could have been:
Some Sunnis Hint at Peace Terms in Iraq, U.S. Says
It could have been:
Sunnis Balk, Iraq "Government" Formation Failing
This alternate headline would be entirely comfortable to the NYT in its continuing opposition to Iraqi liberation.
The Times attempts to make up for the oversight of a neutral headline with the opening of the article:
WASHINGTON, May 14 - The Bush administration, struggling to cope with a recent intensification of insurgent violence in Iraq, has received signals from some radical Sunni Arab leaders that they would abandon fighting if the new Shiite majority government gave Sunnis more political power, administration officials said this week.Full story here.
The officials said American contacts with what they called "rejectionist" elements among Sunni Arabs - the governing minority under Saddam Hussein, which has generated the insurgency, and largely boycotted January's elections - showed that many wanted to participate in the political system, including the writing of a permanent constitution.
But the political feuding that delayed the formation of the government for nearly three months after the elections has so far blocked the kind of concessions the Sunnis are demanding.
The Bush administration, struggling to cope
The Marines, having killed several hundred hardened terrorists in recent days, struggle to understand the American media's lack of common sense,
with a recent intensification of insurgent violence in Iraq,
while simultaneously striving to protect civilians, especially school-children - we all saw that picture of the Marine Major comforting a "suicide-bombed" child - from death-wish assassins,
has received signals from some radical Sunni Arab leaders that they would abandon fighting if the new Shiite majority government gave Sunnis more political power
has been asked by what passes for the "political arm" of these depraved thugs, Sunnis upset over their lack of representation in a government whose election they boycotted with threats of suicide bombings and consignment to Hell, to be granted high-level cabinet posts anyway
...many wanted to participate in the political system, including the writing of a permanent constitution.
...and to have the opportunity to become known as "Fathers of The Constitution" despite their obvious weakness and lack of trustworthiness.
But the political feuding that delayed the formation of the government for nearly three months after the elections has so far blocked the kind of concessions the Sunnis are demanding.
But the political turmoil they contribute to daily by encouraging car-bombings and other disruption, has so far made a joke of their requests while complicating the lives of those who demonstrated courage and love of Iraq by voting - and even more those who risk their lives daily to represent the fledgling government.
Finally, that headline could have been:
Sunnis Boycotted Election, Will Stop Killing Fellow Citizens for Bribes
That might set the reader up to think:
"Those jerks threatened their "fellow citizens" with death if they voted. Carried some of it out, too. Still are.
Now they want more representation than they got votes for. Sounds like Senate Demorcrats.
*^%$ 'em! Maybe they'll learn and vote next time.
That is, free them from taxpayer funding.
The Honorable Representative John Dingle (Demorcrat-MI), is concerned that:
"The Republican chairman" [shouldn't that be the "chair" or "chairperson"?] of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was said to be pressing aggressively to correct "what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias."Ronald Coleman, at Likelihood of Confusion notes in PBS Now Part of Right-Wing Conspiracy:
...the idea of taxpayer-subsidized public broadcasting, inevitably doomed to become a political tug of war -- albeit only decades after the right should have realized what was going on -- is at least as silly. You can understand why the goofy Europeans, given their statist leanings and relatively weak speech protections, would tolerate such nonsense. But why do we?Emphasis mine.
1- Removing political control from public broadcasting means removing taxpayer dollars - as noted in The Other Club's first post. If Rep. Dingle is concerned about changing the bias of PBS and NPR he should lead the fight to free these institutions from the cruel hand of government.
2- One need not look to Europe for state controlled broadcast media. Canada's CBC (Canadian Broadcarping Castration) not only receives $1 billion of taxpayer funding annually, but exists in a country that prohibits reception of unapproved "foreign" satellite signals. This is why Fox News was banned in Canada for a year after Al-Jazeera was available.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I am researching the origin of the title of this post and will report any interesting bits. It does perfectly encapsulate Canadian politics since Diefenbaker, at least. And given the Avro Arrow, maybe before.
I first encountered "Bananda" at Small Dead Animals, but it seems to have first appeared in a post on Andrew Coyne's blog.
To the point:
I'm not going to rehash the incredible range of corruption now being detailed in Canadian politics everytime I write on it, so, if you are not aware already, you can either check the previous comments on Canada from The Other Club - or skip this post.
I do want to present some comment on the topic from Mark Steyn, who is truly "The One-Man Global Content Provider."
Here he tells us something about why the Grits (that's the nickname for the Canadian Liberal Party, for those of you in Blue states and for the more recent Canadian immigrant) may still win re-election over the Tories (Canadian Progressive Conservative Party, ditto).
... On the other hand, [Toronto based lawyer, consultant and Liberal Party spin-doctor] Warren Kinsella does nicely distil what passes for sophisticated thinking in the political establishment: everybody does it, as Bill Clinton's defenders used to say, and, to judge from the call-in shows I've heard, far too many Canadians are saying today. One day, years from now, these supposed sophists and cynics who can't wait to dial their local radio host so they can shrug insouciantly "Everybody does it" will realize that if anyone in this wretched tale cuts a more pitiful figure than Jean Brault publicly sobbing or Jacques Corriveau claiming that he doesn't remember any of the salient points because he stood next to a fellow with Alzheimer's, if anyone's more pitiful it's them--the "everyone does it" crowd. If you're stopped in the street by a CBC reporter and you tell him, "Oh, everyone does it. That's politics. What's the big deal?", you're not being worldly and cynical, you're being played like a violin by the Liberal party fiddlers. In the diseased Dominion, our rulers are so cynical they're cynical about cynicism: they understand that once a political culture reaches a certain point of decay a large segment of the population is content to take refuge in the pose of cynicismEntire article here.
The way I read it is that the Tories are thoroughly, if genteely, vilified; and Canadians are complacent about graft and suchlike behavior from politicians. They've been so completely bought with their own money that a working plurality can always be assembled to maintain social programs that demand confiscatory taxation.
In this expectation Canadian voters have much in common with the US choice between Democrats and Republicans.
What are minor, and increasingly tenuous, differences in outcome may be attributed to the more diffuse power centers in US government and the fact that Americans are thus far willing to consider gross corruption and malfeasance as at least barely more significant than regional and philosphical differences over pork and entitlements.
Canada is presently manifesting the worst aspects of a parliamentary system, and this must be laid at the feet of Canadian voters.
It probably will be once again so laid in mid-summer. Good luck Grits.
Fianlly, Canadians do have a legal remedy not available in the US - secession. A worthy topic we will pursue in future posts.
We need to heed this lesson from Canada about the restriction on free speech being promoted by enemies of the 1st Amendment and their fellow travellers:
The "virtuous incumbent" Senator John McCain,
Pew Foundation stealth funding (motto - "Our money is speech, yours is contraban.");
Aided and abetted by SCOTUS,
Over Dubya's signature.
We need to learn gratitude for Canada's mistakes. Not so long ago they were pretty similar to the United States.
We should stop doing those things they obviously did wrong.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Read this Union Leader editorial. Republican Presidential aspirants need heed this.
Then read Lee Harris, (really, read it, even though it is long) who concludes that ending the judicial filibuster may be unwise. He does so logically, while providing wonderful historical context.
He shows that the "comity" of the Senate is ephemeral and the rules are subject to change when grossly abused.
Harris would have the Republican threat to change Senate rules be a successful bluff. I hope he is correct (even if it will cost me a few wagered beers.)
Harris says GOP execution of the "nuclear option" will be judged on whether it is successful in helping to preserve comity in the United States as a whole.
Three points. 1- He's right. 2-Reread the Union Leader article (no one can doubt this paragraph is accurate):
But if the Republicans don't wise up and have the guts to stop the Democrats' current misuse of the filibuster, they will find that a President Hillary Clinton and her pals will have no such problem in suddenly "discovering" that the Founding Fathers never intended judges or other Presidential appointments to be blocked in this manner.3- Go watch Fahrenheit-911. Visit Moveon.org. Visit democraticunderground.com regularly for a few weeks.
Comity, Hell! So much for sanity. The Senate, whose minority leader literally pays homage to such tripe, and those citizens who actually believe Michael Moore has something honest to tell us, are not, repeat not, interested in "comity".
Harris does leave his own critical question unanswered; "Yet what remedies are there in our current bag of tricks by which the judicial system can be forced to represent the will of the people whose lives they control so intimately and so thoroughly?"
The implications of this question might fill several volumes, but let us remember statist and/or European law as cautionary judicial examples.
Harris discusses the dangers to elected political minorities that might follow from abolishing the filibuster for judicial nominees.
In principle, I agree. In context, I'm very skeptical. In practice, because there is not one historical example of a filibuster of Presidential judicial nominees, I am more than completely unconvinced.
If any sane person, much less Republican Senators, had considered the principle of judicial filibuster to be protected by the "comity" principle of the Senate, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would never have become a Supreme Court Justice.
The Democrats are arguing that filibuster is not just compatible with, but is necessary to, comity because.. well, otherwise MoveOn.org donors won't be happy.
In contrast to Harris' conclusion, and based on his own evidence, I contend that ending "filibusters" on judicial nominations puts us more closely in line with both history and comity.
Therefore, please consider signing the Federalist Patriot petition to end filibuster of judicial nominnes. (It could win me a couple of beers.)
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Wow! The Canadian Liberal Party's gun confiscation program is not only an order of magnitude over budget, but it is encouraging new skills.
Canada is now sponsoring on-the-job training in machete use. In this case, a US Marine recently returned from Iraq is seriously wounded - from behind.
If, as Liberals on both sides of the 49th parallel argue, these problems are best left to the police, then where the &^@* were they?
How do you sneak a machete into a bar without police notice? Oh, right, police can't be everywhere simultaneously.
This is one reason I hold a concealed carry permit.
I also know my behavior when carrying would quite likely be more cautious than that of this Iraq combat veteran while observing a bar fight.
That is an incredible thing to say, but he felt safe.
He wasn't. The fault lies with politicians in Ottawa.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Those of you from outside Michigan may be unfamiliar with the esteemed Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick.
He’s quite a party guy.
Parties at Manoogian Mansion, the Mayor’s official residence, have allegedly included “exotic dancers” and generated lawsuits for wrongful dismissal. One example: a civil trial is set in the suit against the city by fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, who claims he was dismissed in 2003 for investigating the party.
Kilpatrick has, shall we say, "spun tall tales", about an official Detroit city car – a loaded $57,000 Lincoln Navigator - leased in 2004 to chauffeur the mayor, his wife and their three children. Coincidentally, "The new lease would have required City Council approval had it been $5 more."
He is regularly accompanied by 21, count ‘em - 21, full-time police bodyguards at an annual cost of $1.5 million, and they certainly seem to be willing to protect the Mayor.
"Kilpatrick's relations with the local media hit a low point last week when he was confronted by Steve Wilson, a reporter for WXYZ-TV, regarding the Navigator. Although Kilpatrick said repeatedly he would be willing to answer questions on live TV, he walked away as a member of his security team shoved Wilson against a wall. The encounter was captured on video and broadcast repeatedly by the station."Unfortunately, his personal protection outside Detroit is somewhat less than it used to be:
"... a Washington, D.C. police officer said in a September affidavit publicized Friday [Jan-21-05] that his unit stopped providing after-hours protection to Kilpatrick in 2002 during his trips to the capital because of his "nonstop club hopping."In response to these charges, Kilpatrick managed to play the "family values" card and the "race card" in one breath:
"I have a beautiful wife and three wonderful children who love me immensely," he said. "When you're a young African-American mayor with an earring in your ear, it's kind of hard for people to believe you're a good dad and husband."He could, more to the point, have spoken about his love for his family instead of their love for him. He reports. You decide.
Also, ignoring the question of where else one might wear an earring but in one's ear, maybe he should lose it if it's reducing his effectiveness. And, though we know he wasn't born in Africa - as far as skin color goes, he's on his own.
That Kilpatrick has promoted Detroit extensively, however, cannot be denied. His annual $70,000 city credit card bills prove it. That he didn’t provide documentation for much of the spending is a detail yet to be explained. Maybe he left the receipts in the Navigator or in a D.C. nightclub?
As WXYZ (Detroit channel 7) reports, Hizzoner is less than somewhat repentant about all this:
"Alright, I know ya’ll want to ask about this other crap, go ahead," Kilpatrick told a group of reporters this week.Kilpatrick is concerned about the victims ... err... tax base, though,
"This other crap," as the mayor called it just after it hit the newsstands this week, is a thorough review of how he’s been using his city issued credit card all across America to the tune of about $70,000 a year, thousands of it without documentation and justification.
"Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick opened the [2 day Detroit Economic F]orum, which concluded today, by acknowledging that the city was not prepared for the precipitous population decline that has strapped its budget. For Detroit to prosper, he said, the city must come to grips with its population decline and figure out ways to provide services with less revenue.”Detroit faces a $300 million budgetary shortfall and Kilpatrick wonders why people are leaving his area of tax control. Here's a hint: in 2003 Detroit had the 10th-highest tax burden for a family of four with an income of $75,000.
The Mayor has proposed to cover the hemorrage with a band-aid; a 2% special tax on fast food.
This new tax is expected to generate about $17 million. I don't know if that is net of reduced sales as well as reduced city income tax revenues, but it is likely to make a lot of Detroiters seek their ‘burgers in surrounding jurisdictions while simultaneously eliminating sorely needed entry level jobs; probably just the unintended consequence of an inadequate proposal.
Detroit is a city whose top official is thoroughly mired in corruption and whose downward financial spiral is breathtaking "despite" confiscatory taxation. Meanwhile, the man in charge spends like he was in Federal politics. Those of us forced to exist in his wider political/taxation geography are fed up, while those closest to him are still full of adulation.
I think we’ve found the guy that can replace Paul Martin as leader of the Canadian Liberal Party.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
From the Edmonton Journal. Not just idle speculation.
Bob Mills, Tory MP for Red Deer and the party's environment critic, said some of his constituents are contemplating separatism and may have no other choice should the federal Liberals win the next election.TOTH to NealeNews.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
The GOP is not soft on terror.
They are in favor of lower taxes.
Dubya is showing some courage regarding Social Security reform, even if the rest of the party cannot locate 5 vertebrae among them (see also; judicial nominations).
That's about all the good news there is though; otherwise it's "huge and growing government as usual."
Where is the choice of smaller government that formerly characterized the Republican Party?
Once the GOP gained the power of both houses and the presidency, i.e., uncontested power to buy votes with taxpayer money, you could no longer tell one Porkocratican from another.
Subversion of democracy through pandering to interest groups using tax revenue was predicted by D'Toqueville and the Founders both, but no one reads them anymore in the general scramble to divide the spoils of "interest group representative" taxation and spending.
Lip service is paid to reducing the infuence of "lobbyists" through "campaign finance reform", for example. In fact, this law serves only to limit free speech in order to protect incumbents.
The power to tax is a problem, but it pales in comparison with the power to spend - extra-constitutionally or otherwise.
The only way to reform politics related to money is to so severely limit government spending power as to make lobbying for monetary dispensation uneconomic. This scenario the Founders intended.
So, what do we get from the Bush administration and its fellow-travellers? We get the largest increase in spending since Lyndon "Great Society" Johnson.
As Cato points out: "The GOP establishment in Washington today has become a defender of big government."
I'm afraid they've become nothing but "in power." When you elect any government in this country today, that's exactly what you will get - established power.
The differences in the major parties could really be only details, but for the fact of Demorcrat world-statism.
As it stands, we can choose between strong defense, lower taxation, sensible proposals about Social Security and further bloating of government - OR - deference to the United Nations at the expense of US sovereignty, higher taxation, mindless obstruction for partisan advantage, and even faster bloating of government.
Spending control is not an offered option. Thomas Hobson, call your office.
George Bush has produced a temporary pause in the "UNification" of the United States. This is small comfort, because meanwhile individual liberty is being sucked into the maw of federal spending at ever greater rates.
Given a choice between sending my tax dollars to the UN or sending them to "No Child Left Behind", I'll say - "Neither, thanks". But it isn't as if I have that choice.
What's needed is a place that offers a choice - in order to start over.
Let us fervently hope, therefore, that the Liberal Party in Canada, or Bananada as it should be known, wins the next election. And the next, and the next - until the embedded corruption produces a separatist sentiment sufficient to give "us" a chance for an entirely new country.
That thought raises two questions. What are the campaign finance regulations in Canada regarding contributions from foreigners? And how do I bypass them?
I'll check this on the Liberal Party website and let you know.
I'm sure the Grits have a plan, and bribing Canadian politicians is quite a bit cheaper both in absolute terms and becuase of a favorable exchange rate.
Update: 14-May-05 fixed Bananada link
Friday, May 06, 2005
Great post at Democracy Project from Winfield Myers.
"What is wrong with Boards of Education and Teacher's Unions?" might have been even a slightly better title.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Right Wing News surveyed the blogosphere to determine Left and Right wing "favorite columnists."
The Left list is indicative of the lack of higher cognitive function common to all statists - this is not a list of "liberals" - it's a list of preening busibodies. It just goes to show how far "Liberals" have run with the ball since they stole it.
Can anyone actually read Molly Ivins on a full stomach? She is 3rd favorite.
That's almost as bad as "former Enron advisor" (tm James Taranto) Paul Krugman being 1st. Krugman can't reason. Ivins can't even write.
The Right list I could accept as my own, if I were right-wing, but I think classical liberal is a more accurate description of TOC.
So... I'd consider getting Jacob Sullum, Virginia Postrel, and P.J O'Rourke in there. Maybe Larry Elder. Probably Mark Helprin. This assumes only print columnists are eligible.
One person appearing on both lists is interesting. If I'd had to pick someone for that distinction - he's the guy.
Finally, the Left couldn't come up with more than 14 columnists they really like?
Where's Robert Scheer-"Stalinist", and Ted "Liba"-Rall, and William Raspberry, and Cynthia Tucker, and Anna Quindlan, and Walter Duranty, and Youpick from the SF Chronicle. And how could anybody miss Nick Coleman, ultimate idiot, from the Minneapolis Strib?
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Sense from Canada. Check the "Libranos" out.
Everything I Know is Wrong.
Check out the 2005 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators.
A few sites have been removed since this list is growing quite long.
If anyone misses something let me know.
Sometime I'll get around to categorizing the links.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
With apologies to Darwin...
From an SBC newsletter about the "new age" of cell phones.
"Today's cell phones are used in Germany to support a service called "Symbian Dater," where mobile customers program their "dating profile" into their cell phone.The pickup line is her ring tone? Oh, and don’t lie about that “dating profile”, hear?
When a male mobile subscriber gets within distance of a woman in a nightclub (for instance) whose dating profile matches his (Symbian compares the profiles and decides if they're a match), his phone vibrates, showing a video of the woman whose profile matches his profile. He then scans the nightclub for the woman and introduces himself."
I worry about the future of the species.
Monday, May 02, 2005
New on the Blogroll:
A smattering of post titles:
Is NAFTA good for rural Mexico?
Imaginary book excerpts
Names and education
Which girls' names are most closely correlated with high levels of parental education?
Catallarchy has a very good series on the theme of remembering communism's victims. R.J. Rummel, Bryan Caplan, Randall McElroy and others contribute.
...and, therefore Catallarchy is also added to the blogroll.
04-May, 8:25PM Update Catallarchy link above did not work.
Thanks to OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today for noting this surreal story:
Mice Guys Finish LastI'm not sure what to say about this. Is it a good idea to see if this can help cure Parkinson's or Alzhiemer's? Is it just interesting because we'd like to see what happens? (Probably the best argument.)
The Associated Press reports on the latest chimerical goings-on in American higher education:
*** QUOTE ***
In January, an informal ethics committee at Stanford University endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells. Stem cell scientist Irving Weissman said his experiment could provide unparalleled insight into how the human brain develops and how degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's progress.
Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.
*** END QUOTE ***
Can the morphological differences be factored out, given the order of magnitude difference in brain weight and shape?
What if it were applied to the US Senate?
And there are many more questions:
Would the mice, if they reproduced, pass on human brain cells to their offspring? What can a peanut sized brain do even if, assuming it would be true, human brain cells are superior to mouse brain cells for mice?
The supremely interesting question is: What, for mice, is "displaying human behavior"?
Complaining about the lack of opposable thumbs? Writing a new Stuart Little screenplay in their litter? Setting up glittering Mickey Mouse statues as graven images? Creating bellthecats.blogspot.com? Marching outside FDA headquarters with little signs saying "Ban Coumadin" and "Chimerae are people, too?" Voting Democrat?
Maybe it's the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fear - these are the mice that are going to be PO'd if they're stopped from finding the actual question, (we know the answer is 42) to "life, the Universe and everything."
So, "closely monitor" and "immediately kill" any mutant mice that display human behavior?
Does it take one to know one? Has PETA been consulted?
This is the thought product of Stanford University when they're being informal?
Mighty Mouse help us if they (Stanford or the mice) ever get serious.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
I received the June issue of Reason magazine recently, and it contains an article by Virginia Postrel. An example, though she is no longer editing the magazine, of why you should subscribe.
Reason does post its material online after awhile, but you shouldn’t have to wait for it to become available.
I also highly recommend Postrel’s blog and her excellent book The Future and its Enemies.
Postrel’s Reason column is titled Consumer Vertigo and discusses whether having over 700 choices of fresh produce, or 14 varieties of feta cheese in your supermarket - or having the ability to order a “nonfat decaf iced vanilla latte” at your local Starbucks - represents too much choice.
Some think it does.
Postrel is prompted to this discussion by two books. The featured target is The Paradox of Choice, by Swarthmore psychologist Barry Schwartz.
Schwartz argues that we have too much choice for our own good.
For example, he complains that buying jeans at The Gap requires “an unnerving amount of self-awareness.”
No comment. … No, I take that back. As we will see, it is exactly Schwartz’ overwhelming, if misappropriate and stunted, self awareness that creates his difficulty.
At The Gap, he has to decide between “easy fit” and “relaxed fit” and is challenged by what his decision about a marketing department's word choice says about his level of fitness.
He decides “Relaxed fit” says he’s “getting soft in the middle”.
He decides some label, attached by an anonymous sewing machine, is critical to his self image.
What a wimp. What a marketer's dream.
He pines for the days when buying jeans only took 5 minutes and did not substantially challenge his Ivy League intellect. He acknowledges that “consumers have varied tastes and body types”, but Postrel detects his suggestion that “ill fitting jeans are a small price to pay for simplicity.”
I think perhaps it is a fitting price to pay for pointy-headed statist sentiment.
Postrel quotes Schwartz as saying The Gap has made buying jeans “a complex decision in which I was forced to invest time, energy, and no small amount of self-doubt, anxiety and dread.”
To avoid possibly uncontrollable laughter, I bite my tongue every time I consider his dread.
At this point, it is probably not a mystery that Schwartz is an advocate for "intervention" intended to save you from recapitulating his personal angst at The Gap.
Contrariwise, my own experience is that many females, at least, persistently welcome such shopping choices and derive substantial pleasure from the “hunt” (or maybe the “gather”). My wife’s unextinguished hope that I might share such pleasure after 36 years of marriage is just one example.
I would severely discount Barry Schwartz’ shopping anxiety if I were running The Gap.
The important question regarding Schwartz’ psychological fitness for his life-work and, in fact, his grip on reality is this: If he’s so discomfited, why is he shopping at The Gap?
I have never been in a The Gap - even with my wife. I have never been faced with self-doubt when asked to choose “relaxed” or “easy” fit, because I do not carefully peruse the labels. As far as I can tell, the pants are brought to me by the letters "L" and "W".
I admit I already had more than enough choices in shopping for jeans in 1965, but I still can buy jeans in 5 minutes; and if Schwartz can’t, I feel no pity. More like contempt.
For many years I didn’t even try the pants on, and I view the recent wisdom of doing this not as a consequence of mind-boggling choice, but as a drawback of age and mean time between purchases of jeans.. I am getting soft in the middle. So what? My choice in that is quite constrained.
Barry Schwartz should get a grip, it isn’t as if either of us will be 18 again for our 40th High School re-union because we buy “easy” instead of “relaxed”.
Put simply, I’m not the raving narcissist that Barry Schwartz is. He has apparently missed the fact that he has a choice about whether he shops at The Gap or not. A choice apparently involving masochism.
Schwartz’s book does touch on some fascinating studies of consumer behavior. For example; is there a difference in jam purchasing behavior related to the number of choices of jam at a supermarket free sample tasting table? Do more people stop at the table with more jams in the first place?
The interesting bits, however, do not make up for Schwartz' unexamined faith in his own importance.
Who but a professor doing research would even stop to consider that there are almost 300 different cookie options to choose among?Who indeed? And Postrel nails him for this elitist buffoonery:
And who but a polemicist pursuing an argument would completely ignore … [the fact that in] a familiar environment people aren’t overwhelmed by choice[?] … Schwartz may have trouble in The Gap, but a teenager who owns nine pairs of jeans doesn’t.Schwartz’ prescription for us is illustrated in this statement:
…the proliferation of choice in our lives robs us of the opportunity to decide for ourselves just how important any given decision is.Maybe for Schwartz this is true, but it would be cruel to point it out.
Postrel is practically forced to state the obvious in response:
To the contrary, only the proliferation of choice gives us the opportunity to make the decisions we individually deem most important. … [F]ree individuals voluntarily limit their options all the time.Emphasis mine.
Ultimately, the debate about choice is not about markets but about character. Liberty and responsibility really do go together; it’s not just a platitude. The more freedom we have to control our lives, the more responsibility we have for how they turn out. In a world of constraints, learning to be happy with what you’re given is a virtue. In a world of choices, virtue comes from learning to make commitments without regrets. And commitment, in turn, requires self-confidence and self-knowledge.
“We are free to be the authors of our lives,” says Schwartz, “but we don’t know exactly what kind of lives we want to ‘write’.’” Maturity lies in deciding just that.She might have added, “Maturity lies in recognizing that what kind of lives we want is a personal choice - not to be left to Swarthmore psychologists.”