|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
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Thursday, June 26, 2003
Posted 2:36 PM by WiN
Condi vs. Hillary cage match
Um, actually, no. But how about as Presidential rivals in '08? I don't know how plausible it is, but it sure is fun to imagine. In fact, I was doing just that the other day in Tim Blair's comment section.
Hillary has been maneuvering into position since she decided to run for Senate. Condi could jump into the game soon if she decides to throw her bonnet into the ring on the Gray Davis recall ballot. Stay tuned, this could get interesting
Posted 12:30 PM by WiN
The blog world can continue to spin
Posted 12:20 PM by WiN
Ann Coulter vs. The Reds
For those of you who are not connected to the Right Wing Propaganda Machine, the demure, soft-spoken Ann Coulter has come out with another book that's sure to enjoy a long stay on the New York Times Best Seller list, Treason (and yes, I already have my copy - I pre-ordered). John Hawkins of Right Wing News recently interviewed Coulter [link via Tim Blair] and some of her answers were real chucklers:
John Hawkins: If you had to name 5 people on the American left who you found most contemptible, who would they be?If you like Coulter's style of humor, you need to read the whole interview. If you don't, all I can say is, enjoy "Living History".
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Posted 9:45 PM by WiN
Posted 3:29 PM by WiN
Diversity vs Discrimination
The column by Jonah Goldberg that I linked to in my post below, plus all the other columns I've been reading on the recent Supreme Court decision on the University of Michigan cases, got me to thinking about where I stand on "diversity". First, I think this is another word that has been hi-jacked by liberals into meaning something totally different from its originally understood definition (another good one is "racist", which I recently saw described as "anyone winning an argument with a liberal"). What a left-liberal really means by the word "diversity" is racial diversity. Any other kind of "diversity", they're just not interested in. (On second thought, in certain circumstances they might lobby for diversity of "sexual orientation", but that's not the most commonly understood meaning). So when they argue that the "learning environment" at a state-funded "institute of higher learning" should be "diverse", it means they want admissions offices to be racially discriminatory (but only in the proper way). See, you have to discriminate in favor of the approved races (black, Chicano, native American, etc.), which means you have to discriminate against the "wrong" races (Anglo, Asian). That they never mention. They assume most folks are too dumb to figure out that if you move someone to the front of the line at the movie, and the movie theater only has a certain number of seats, then the guys at the end of the line don't get to see the show. Doesn't matter how much those guys at the end did to earn their place in line, we have to make sure the "right" people get a seat.
Now, like most leftist solutions to any problem, the unintended consequences of the solution end up being far worse than the problem they were trying to fix in the first place. If you have been a college student recently, or are closely acquainted with the modern university environment, you know one very bad consequence for sure - anyone from any of the preferred groups, no matter how smart, capable or hard-working, is suspected of not being as qualified as those in the "non-preferred" group. This suspicion is re-enforced when students from the preferred groups are coddled academically, are not graded on the same scale, operate under lower expectations from their instructors and are otherwise unfairly aided in their scholarly pursuits. I suspect that members of those groups who are capable of competing on a level playing field with their non-preferred peers highly resent this kind of atmosphere. I know I sure would. So, rather than members of the different groups working together, getting to know one another, learning about different backgrounds and cultures - in other words, reaping all the supposed benefits of "diversity" - this chasm of resentment and animosity creates cultural and racial Balkanization and breeds contempt and suspicion. Just the opposite of the intended outcome! (UPDATE: Serendipitously, this column gives an excellent first-hand account of what I have just described, as evidenced at the University of Michigan itself)
So, is there an answer? Not a perfect one, but for believers in the free-market system, a highly preferable one. First, the Fourteenth Amendment should either be enforced scrupulously or leftists should be intellectually honest and say that they favor its repeal and replacement with an amendment that says something to the effect that "We've treated these poor, helpless folks so badly for so long now, we think they need a little extra help. So from now until we decide that we have made up for the evil ways of our forefathers, we're going to give these poor people preferential treatment in anything we darn well think we need to - education, employment, government contracting, health care, government welfare, law enforcement and anything else we come up with." But, assuming leftists aren't quite that honest, and that they still purport to at least pay lip service to judging by "the content of their character" and not by the "color of their skin", lets make things legally equal racially. You decide that you still want "diversity" in your university (workplace, legal system, whatever), let's change the criteria. Make explicit exceptions, and preferences, for other discriminating factors. Let's set aside a certain percentage of slots for those who grew up in single-parent homes. Let's have set-asides for kids from large families, from rural areas, from the inner city. Let's have set-asides for kids from Orthodox Jewish, traditional Muslim, Irish Catholic, Southern Baptist and Charismatic snake-handler homes. Let some kids in who have traveled extensively (the "Army brat" set-aside). Or for those who have never left their home town (the "Appalachia" set-aside). But let's be honest and up-front about the kind of diversity we want, and then hold everyone to the same academic standard. If you don't qualify, apply at a school where you do. That way everyone that's admitted knows they're playing with the same deck. Or at least they won't be as easily able to segregate themselves from the "under qualified" set-aside admitees. Then you'd have some truly diverse "learning environments", and you wouldn't be fostering racial resentment and feelings of entitlement like the present system does. The added benefit would be that everyone would learn that, no matter where you're from and what your background or color, everyone will get an equal shot and be rewarded equally for hard work and diligence.
But, the leftists would say, admittance by strict academic standards would keep the vast majority of the "underprivileged" races out of the top schools. All indications are that this is true. But the answer isn't lowering the standards, it's raising the level of student ability. That's going to require a sea-change in public education, and that's the real elephant in the living room of the whole educational preferences argument. Public schools, as presently configured (a virtual government- and union-run monopoly) are failing and have been failing minority students for decades, and we keep throwing money down the rathole. Leftists who really want to help the educationally under-served would face the reality that the present system doesn't work and it's time for something else, be it vouchers, charter schools, educational savings accounts, home schooling subsidies, whatever. Let's end racial discrimination in admittance practices and then solve the real problems in education. Then we won't have to worry about how "diverse" our "learning environments" are - they'll be just as diverse as America. And that's a good thing, as Martha would say.
Posted 1:44 PM by WiN
Line of the Day
From über-conservative Bill Buckley:
If there were a drug that required politicians to divulge the true reason for their legislation, that drug should be free, and compulsory.Another great one, by another NROite, the irreverent Jonah Goldberg:
All of this (defense of racial quotas) reveals how deeply the mainstream of the Democratic party dislikes real diversity. A faith in real diversity requires that you respect views and legitimate decisions not to your liking. Howard Dean gets a standing ovation when he rails against "narrow-minded ideologues" but the only people clapping are themselves incapable of understanding that disagreement — religious, political, philosophical, moral — is the only meaningful measure of diversity in a democracy.Diversity of race=good. Diversity of thought=bad. Got that? Good. You'll get along just fine in the liberal New World Order.
Posted 11:35 AM by WiN
Liberal weenies beware!
Just when you thought it was safe to enter the blogosphere, here comes the left's worst nightmare: a blonde with a brain and and blog. A worthy challenger to Rachel Lucas for "Most Vitriolic Female Liberal-slayer" (and I mean that in a good way). And check the name: CoulterGeist. I love it! [link via The Fat Guy]
Posted 10:05 AM by WiN
The missing WMDs dilemma
There has been much discussion, and frenzied accusations hurled by liberals, about the failure on the part of U.S. forces to find the massive stores of WMDs supposedly used to justify military intervention in Iraq. In catching up on my reading from vacation, I came across Sunday's George Will column on the subject, and found it to be a well-considered discussion on the subject.
Will points out, correctly in my view, that continued failure on the part of the Bush administration (and/or Tony Blair and his supporters) to prove an imminent threat existed prior to commencement of hostilities would be a major setback to the "Bush Doctrine"'s justification for preemptive action. While there is no question that the world, and especially the citizenry of Iraq, is better off now that Saddam is out of power, there still needs to be some concrete post-hostilities justification produced to prove that, for example, Bush was not just playing some grand game of retribution for Hussein's attempt on his father's life. Will puts it succinctly:
Americans seem sanguine about the failure--so far--to validate the war's premise about the threat posed by Saddam's WMDs, but a long-term failure would unravel much of this president's policy and rhetoric.Theories abound as to why concrete evidence has yet to be found, and Will touts one postulated by former CIA director James Woolsey. Woolsey speculates that Saddam was not banking on the swift collapse of his defenses and subsequent rapid transfer of power from his Ba'athist kleptocrats to coalition forces. Based on recent history, Saddam reasonably assumed that a combination of Old Europe opprobrium and American squeamishness about casualties, both military and civilian, would combine to stop the coalition short of total conquest. He further assumed that in the aftermath of any military action, he could quickly destroy any damning evidence and invite his Euro-sympathizers to send in inspectors to "prove" his lack of proscribed materials. Woolsey points out that all of the chemical and biological agents described in Blair's and Colin Powell's pre-war briefing documents, if assembled in one place, could very easily fit into a relatively small area and could be transported in a few tractor-trailer-sized vehicles. The facilities used to manufacture these materials are either (a) small enough to easily conceal or sanitize, as the two thus-far discovered mobile weapons labs demonstrate (b) easily destroyed, or (c) "dual use" facilities that can be passed off as "fertilizer plants" or the like.
All this, taken into consideration along with the extended period of time resulting from U.N. obstructionism during which any or all of the WMD evidence could have been spirited out of the country or thoroughly hidden, provides a more than plausible explanation as to why massive stores of weapons and/or their manufacturing facilities have yet to be found. As has been pointed out many times, but deserves repeating at least as many times as spurious charges of Bush perfidy, trained weapons inspectors had years in which to ferret out the very things that the U.S. is now searching Iraq for. Outside of information obtained from defectors, they found nothing. There is no reasonable cause to think that the current search will proceed otherwise. All information that the Bush and Blair administrations based their decisions on was dated before hostilities even began, and is now mostly useless. Only when we begin to track down and interrogate Saddam loyalists who were close to the WMD programs will we be able to obtain the kind of viable intelligence that will help us to locate the "smoking gun" that liberals are accusing Bush and Blair of fabricating to justify their imperialist bellicosity. And, as we have already seen, hostile Iranian and Syrian governments are proving to be highly recalcitrant in aiding the effort to track these individuals down. But rest assured, they will be tracked down, and (I believe) irrefutable evidence of Iraqi capacity to inflict great damage on the Western world, specifically the U.S. and Israel, will be found and documented in good time. I sincerely hope it happens at the most unpropitious time for the perfidious liberal finger-pointers, preferably in late October of next year. Then even the most clueless American voter will be able to see them for what they are - spineless suck-ups to the radical loony left.
UPDATE: A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 63% of those surveyed think that "the war with Iraq was worth fighting" vs. 33% who don't. And apparently the liberals' "Bush lied about WMD" talking point is not getting through to too many folks - when asked if the U.S. can "justify the war ONLY if it finds WMD in Iraq", only 23% said yes vs. 63% who say that it would be justified even without any WMD discoveries. Must be that some of those stories about mass graves and babies being buried alive is getting through the liberal full court press. Another interesting (and apparently new) poll question - "Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons?". The results: 56% support, 38% oppose. Khamenei, call your travel agent. [link via the incomparable James Taranto]
Monday, June 23, 2003
Posted 3:06 PM by WiN
Line of the Day
Courtesy the always urbane and mild-mannered Ann Coulter
Accustomed to the high ethical standards of the Clinton administration, one can certainly understand (Clinton administration appointee Inspector General Glenn) Fine's outrage upon learning that guards overseeing Muslim illegal aliens after 9-11 imposed "restrictive and inconsistent policies on telephone access for detainees." Indeed, there are unconfirmed reports that several illegal detainees were prevented from using the phone to cast their votes on "American Idol." So, it was pretty much like a week in Uday and Qusay's torture rooms.More about my Texas trip tomorrow (hopefully). One thing I learned: Although you can buy a variety of different kinds of margaritas in San Antonio, it's almost impossible to find a bad one.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.