Archive for February 2013

The Council Has Spoken: Feb 22, 2013

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilThe Right Planet –So, You Bought a Gun, Huh?

Noncouncil: Sultan Knish-It’s Not Easy Being Red and Green

Full voting here.

Open Season on Women at Colorado College Campuses

In the “I’m so glad I live in the South” file today… The state of Colorado passed a law banning CCW on college campuses. Instead women are being advised to pee or vomit on their attackers.

Evidently state rep Joe Salazar believes that women can vomit at will but can’t shoot straight. “And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop—pop around at somebody.”

Of course this isn’t the first time a state politician got in trouble on the topic of rape. Missouri congressman Todd Aiken famously quipped that “legitimate rape” rarely caused pregnancy. Colorado rep Joe Salazar just proves that Rape is a bipartisan issue.

CO Rep. Joe Salazar (D) and MO Rep. Todd Aiken
CO Rep. Joe Salazar (D) and MO Rep. Todd Aiken

Sorry guys, but if I had a daughter she’d be carrying a Glock 17. I’ve seen the aftermath of college rape and it’s not funny or a lighthearted affair. The mere flash of a gun would deter all but the most suicidal rapists. Thanks to Salazar and his fellow Democrats women in Colorado won’t have that choice.

Congratulations Joe, the rapists of Colorado thank you.

Update: I’m starting to wonder if the Democrats in Colorado are smoking something funny because they’re acting stupid. Sen. Evie Hudak (D) told a rape survivor that a gun wouldn’t have done her any good. Guess she should have tried puking or peeing on herself.

The New Scientist Admits Political Bias

I read and subscribe to the New Scientist because I consider myself an amateur scientist of sorts and like to keep abreast of everything from dung beetles navigating by the Milky Way (seriously, the idea of these critters wearing tiny hats to block their view of the sky warms my heart and contrary to what you might think, increases my support of such esoteric research) to the idea that our reality is a computer simulation. But New Scientist still manages to drive me crazy and to the keyboard where I bang out letters to the editor in complete futility. Science should be a non-partisan effort, and scientists should reflect the political leanings of the general population as a whole, but it doesn’t and they don’t. Scientists are inevitably leftists, and New Scientist is about as left wing as Mother Jones, the only difference being that latter doesn’t claim to be non-partisan while New Scientist believes it is and that those of us on the Right who point out it’s leftward bias are “anti-science.”

So imagine my surprise at reading the leader of this issue of New Scientist, “Challenge unscientific thinking, whatever its source.”

Berezow and Campbell further claim that progressives who endorse unscientific ideas get a “free pass” from the scientific community. The suspicion must be that this is because scientists themselves lean towards the left, as does the media that covers them. (Both friends and critics of New Scientist tell us we lean in that direction.)

NewScientist then prints Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell’s oped, “Lefty nonsense: When progressives wage war on reason,” in which they point out that today’s liberals are not liberal in the Lockian sense but social authoritarians. “Unlike conservative authoritarians, however, they are not concerned with banning “immoral” things like sex, drugs and rock and roll. They instead seek dominion over issues such as food, the environment and education. And they claim that their policies are based on science, even when they are not.”

This has dangerous implications as when the Left champions the anti-vaccine movement that has killed unvaccinated children, and its war against GM foods has contributed to malnourishment and premature death in the Third World. And don’t get me started about Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” which killed millions indirectly through malaria by banning DDT.

As Berezow and Campbell note, “But conservatives don’t have a monopoly on unscientific policies. Progressives are just as bad, if not worse. Their ideology is riddled with anti-scientific feel-good fallacies designed to win hearts, not minds. Just like biodegradeable spoons, their policies often crumble in the face of reality and leave behind a big mess. Worse, anyone who questions them is condemned as anti-science.”

I always get a Generation X irony-high whenever global warming alarmists equate the anthropogenic cause of global warming hypothesis to evolution, as if the former idea is as proven as the latter theory, then try to paint AGW deniers like myself using the same brush as they do creationists. Of course that doesn’t stop them from exhibiting the same anti-science attitudes towards fracking, where science backs the safety of the practice against concerted and deeply entrenched Green opposition, the result of which is that Germany is about to blow it’s CO2 emissions sky-high by resorting to coal to replace nuclear instead of clean burning natural gas. Oh, and if you didn’t know it, fracking is why the USA is on track to meet CO2 goals unlike the anti-fracking Europeans. I’m even so sure of the safety of the practice I’d welcome it on my property where we rely upon a freshwater well for our drinking water. Unfortunately there’s no natural gas in these parts (now gold? Maybe…)

So why are scientists lefties? The terminology used by Berezow and Campbell provides a hint. “Social Authoritarians” implies a more realistic and nuanced view of one’s political belief system, showing the dichotomies between authoritarianism and libertarianism, and socialism/capitalism aka “Left” and “Right” as shown in the diagram below.

Two dimensional political belief system

In this view the Moral Majority and the environmental movement would appear in the upper right and left quadrants, both showing a keen affinity for authoritarianism. While the current Chinese government calls itself Communist, is is far more neo-liberal or Capitalist than it will admit. In fact one could make the case that is much more capitalist at this moment than the USA, and certainly more than Europe.

Scientists often are employed by large institutions in government, healthcare or academia. These institutions tend to fall on the upper side of the chart towards Authoritarianism. The bottom of the chart is sparser for a reason: it is the area where individualists, entrepreneurs, artists and philosophers live and these tend to fly under the radar. But for scientists there isn’t much money or opportunity on the bottom of the chart. The days of the experimenter or the Amateur Scientist are for the most part gone although the ideal lives on today with amateur astronomers who do much of the heavy lifting in their field including the tracking of near-earth objects. The recent approach of asteroid DA14 had NASA using live feeds from amateur run telescopes in Australia for example. But most of the jobs for scientists today are with large institutions who can afford the equipment and relatively high salaries scientists demand, and that can only be found in the upper half of the chart. When you add in the fact that scientists today are highly educated, and academia itself is an authoritarian institution with deep ties to Communist and Leftist ideals, it should be no surprise that scientists find themselves in the upper left quadrant of the matrix.

Is this a good thing for Science as a whole? Berezow and Campbell don’t think so and neither does the New Scientist. It’s candor surprised me, but I don’t expect it to let go of the bias and the dogma that compels it to support large, authoritarian schemes to find solutions to problems from Global Warming to Cancer any time soon. Still it was refreshing, and I hope that more than a few readers realizes that Science ultimately should be a non-partisan effort. But I’m not holding my breath…

Every Pet Owner Should Own Multiple Pets

If you have 1 dog, find another.
If you have 2 dogs, find another.
If you have 3 dogs, find a cat.
If you have 2 cats, find another.
If you have three cats, find a dog.

We aren’t going to solve the overpopulation problem until every pet owner becomes a multi-pet owner. I mention this as the owner of 8 cats and 7 dogs who is looking to adopt another dog to bring my home back into balance. All are spayed/neutered and up-to-date with shots. It costs less than you think and brings a completely new dimension to living with animals.

There should be no “cat people” or “dog people”, there should only be “animal people.”

Please don’t buy animals. Rescue them instead.

Lisa Cervone Copyright 2013

Guinness by Lisa Cervone Copyright 2013
According to the photographer Guinness was rescued from a drug dealer and has a new home.

The Council Has Spoken: Feb 15, 2013

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilJoshuapundit –White House On Benghazi: ‘ No More Questions!! ‘

Noncouncil: Amity Schlaes-The Small Presidency

Full voting here.


Long ago I was a conversational English teacher in Japan. It was my first real job, and killed any idea of my becoming a teacher. By my count I taught roughly 7,000 lessons between April 1992 and February 1997 with a year away in Africa and a three month break in the US waiting for my work visa to clear. Even though my last lesson was 16 years ago, in my dreams I often find myself in a crowded teacher’s lounge, struggling to find the manilla folder containing the student’s record, my heart sinking to learn that I’m stuck with a 7C – the least capable of students. It’s then off to find the blue edition of American Streamline, a book that I have memorized. 16 years later I can still recite Lesson 25, prepositions of location: “Pete’s standing outside the movie theater. He’s waiting for his friend Betsy. He’s looking at his watch because she’s late.” The bell-tones sound and I see the high middle school student forced to take the class by her mother waiting for me. Her face shows a smile at first then her eyes fall ever so slightly as she realizes that handsome Greg or Steve are not her teacher for today, but me. It’s going to be a long 40 minutes “man to man.”

Worse, I’m back in Japan and inevitably have a pocket full of American cash that I need to change to Yen. How am I going to get to a bank when all the trains and buses take yen only? In fact, what the hell am I doing here anyway? Wasn’t I married with a kid living with a passel of dogs, cats and chickens in the rolling hills of North Carolina? Where is my passport and my return ticket? And why am I living in this disgusting gaijin dorm anyway? I thought Norwegians were a clean people, so why am I smelling one in my dream?

I wake up sweating to find myself back in reality. Dr. Wife believes I have a form of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and the dreams are part of it. The level of PTSD does not rank up there with that suffered by servicemen and women, or refugees fleeing terrors of their home country. But anyone who has lived in Japan and taught “eikaiwa” at a conversation school knows where I am coming from. I suppose there are all types of stressors that can lead to PTSD, and my experiences while living 4 years in Japan must contain some of them.

It has been 16 years, but every few nights I find myself back In Country, in a lonely jungle filled with the bored faces of my students, teaching the exact same lessons I’ve taught hundreds of times before, in a land where I struggle to communicate, am a foreigner and unwanted.

The Elephant In The Room – Having Kids Out-of-Wedlock Culture

Last night the wife and I were outside on the deck, listening to the spring peepers while allowing her to decompress from her stressful day as a rural family physician. That often includes brief deprogramming sessions after she listens to NPR on the way home from the practice. During the drive she heard a story about the shooting death of a young black girl in Chicago who had performed at the President’s inauguration. I am lucky to be married to one of the smartest people I’ve ever met who doesn’t realize it, so she already knew that the gang violence behind the murder of Hadiya Pendleton had nothing to do with lawfully owned guns or “gun culture”.

She recognized as an intelligent person and doctor in one of the poorest parts of the country that gun culture isn’t the root of the violence, something else – something that when said leads to knee-jerk charges of racism even though the vast majority of poor patients my wife attends to are white. Douglas Ernst, writing in the comments section at the Colossus of Rhodey, says it best: “I’ve said for quite some time that we don’t have a “gun culture” ... we have a “having kids out-of-wedlock” culture.”

The Wife also happens to have a degree in anthropology. She couldn’t think of any culture that has been studied that allows boys to grow up without fathers or father figures. She believes, and I agree, that raising a boy without the guidance and discipline of an older man in his life is like letting a wild animal loose on the streets. Like stray dogs, these children eventually form into packs and establish a hierarchy of their own, but one parasitic on society instead of contributing to it. The gang takes the place of the father, the grandfather and the uncles.

I come from a broken home myself, but one that was broken by a massive heart attack on the job site. For years I drifted and experimented with things I probably shouldn’t have – and wouldn’t have had my father been around. But I was lucky: I was white and geeky and attending Catholic schools where the only gangs were of the nun or Jesuit variety. Had I been another color and in another place I could easily have ended up differently. Still, growing up without a father made me swear that I would never subject my child to divorce. I even cut out tobacco and later alcohol because I wanted to stay around to provide guidance to my son that I had lacked from the age of 11 onward.

If we want to stop gang violence or the violence of young men that gun down innocents for no reason, then we need to face the reality that there are limits to single parenthood and consequences that are borne by everyone. We have created, and even celebrated the single mom in media even though a child born to a single mother is more likely than any other to be born into poverty. I realize there are good, solid reasons for divorce, but we need to recognize and admit that we are raising a generation of “wild boys” without morals or conscience and then setting them loose into society where they end up in prison, unemployable and marginalized by society before entering an early grave.

A generation ago the fictional character Murphy Brown became pregnant and was lionized by the liberal media elite as a brave example for American women to follow, even though unlike the fictional character most women had a fraction of Brown’s earning power. The family values crowd was pilloried mercilessly for their criticism of the character. Now we have entire cities where the majority of boys are being raised by their mothers, grandmothers and aunts. Maybe, just maybe, the family values crowd was right after all.

Where the family values crowd is wrong, though, is on abortion. After all, single mothers who carry their children to term are lauded by the family values crowd. One would think that society would benefit if these mothers had opted for abortion instead; it’s hard to argue that the world would be a better place had the thugs who gunned down Hadiya Pendleton ended up in a medical waste incinerator. The family values believers would retort that fighting abortion is simply the first step on a path that ends up in marriage and a stable family, but such an argument is hard for me, one of their sympathizers, to understand and find possible in modern society. I simply think we’ve gone too far away from the traditional family to return to it.

Is there anything that could replace it?

There are cultures where the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” is more than an empty slogan. Some traditional cultures in the Amazon and in Africa live communally and boys are raised by all the men in the village not just their fathers. Similarly in Scandinavia I’ve learned of unrelated people who live in separate apartments but share common spaces such as kitchens and living areas. In such an environment it could be possible for boys to be raised by completely unrelated men. What’s important is not bloodline but that a man serve as a role model for a boy while helping to set expectations and responsibilities for him in the general community to give him a place within it and to create within him a sense of belonging. Such a sense is only found in criminal subcultures today in the US, Russia and other nations suffering from “having kids out-of-wedlock culture,” so it’s worth considering any situation that could make boys into productive men in society.

But first we must recognize our society’s failure, that by encouraging women to have children out of wedlock and brainwashing them into believing them they can raise boys just as well as girls, we have created an entire caste of maladjusted young men who are violent, narcissistic and parasitic. This has nothing to do with race, but it has everything to do with half-baked psychological theories, ill-conceived but often well-intentioned government policies, topped off by a post-feminist culture that views men as a disease that needs to be drugged with Ritalin, predators that must be jailed or helpless oafs to be brainwashed until they are infantilized.

Obama Runs Away

Walter Russell Mead despairs over the Obama administration’s actions in the Middle East.

President Obama’s choice of one of the most prominent “Iran doves” in American public life as his new Defense Secretary is also being read in Tehran as a sign of the President’s thinking. Surely, the mullahs appear to believe, if the President were really serious about using force to stop Iran’s nuclear program, he would be appointing someone who isn’t deeply opposed to it. In any case, this kind of appointment is what people overseas often see as a signal. The President may not have meant to send it, but he did.

The announcement of more troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in last night’s SOTU will confirm the already widespread view in Tehran that the U.S. is in retreat and that if Iran hangs tough it can get what it wants. If the U.S. really were gearing up for war, the mullahs would expect to see signs that American forces in the region were strengthening positions rather than standing down by land and by sea.

From Iran’s point of view the Administration also seems to be standing down in Syria. A year ago Washington was full of tough talk: demands that Assad relinquish power, unambiguous statements that he “must go.” America was huffing and puffing—but folded like a cheap suit when it came time to back words with deeds. From an Iranian point of view this sends two very clear signals. First, don’t worry about threats and rhetoric from this White House. When they utter threats, they are just making noise. Assad “must go,” Iran “must stop” its nuclear program. This is just chit-chat; it won’t be followed up by anything other than diplomatic notes.

In another piece, this one about Afghans contemplating emigration before the US leaves, Mead writes:

Back in the early 2000s, you heard a lot of Americans, including dozens of leading Democrats, talk about the huge mistake the U.S. made in walking away from Afghanistan prematurely following the collapse of the Soviet Union. We wouldn’t make that mistake next time, we all vowed as we watched the smoke rise up from lower Manhattan and pondered the consequences of Taliban rule. And we spent a lot of time and money convincing Pakistan and other countries in the region that this time we really meant it: America had learned the “lessons of history.” This time we would stay the course.

And there were many more lessons to be learned. Then-Senator Barack Obama, running for president, hammered the Bush administration incessantly for neglecting Afghanistan and not putting everything it had into this “war of necessity,” this vital contest. The national security consequences of failure in Afghanistan were so great, and the moral issues posed by the war so important, that we needed a president who would roll up his sleeves and do what it took to win. The new policy appears to be more a “decent interval” approach. We will do what it takes to avoid too painful a humiliation, unless that involves rolling up our sleeves.

To those of us who always thought Obama was the Second Coming of Jimmy Carter and who believed the Democratic party excelled at projecting weakness abroad, encouraging America’s enemies like Osama Bin Laden who saw such weakness and concluded America was “the weak horse,” such ruminations of despair come as no surprise. In fact we have been despairing ever since Obama and the Howard Dean pacifistic wing of the party beat out Hillary Clinton and the Blue Dogs in the 2008 party primary. But to paraphrase my late mother-in-law, America chose this path. In fact it did so twice. So we as a people are responsible for the consequences of the Obama policies, whether they be a nuclear armed Iran, nuclear tipped ICBMs in North Korea, or the next Osama Bin Laden, in a tent somewhere in North Africa plotting the next 9-11.

It reminds me of this classic skit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Brave Sir Barack ran away
He bravely ran away, away
When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes brave Sir Barack turned about and gallantly he´╗┐ chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the braaaaavvvvveeeeeee, Sir Barack

Fr. Guido Sarducci For Pope

Here’s my suggestion for pope: Father Guido Sarducci.

When Liberals Go Nuts – The Case of Christopher “Django” Dorner

So you’re a cop who has been done wrong. Let’s see… How many movies have I seen with this plot device. Oh, nearly every cop movie I’ve ever seen I’d have to guess. But instead of finding evidence to clear your name, or at least exposing the baddies who did you wrong, you gun down a 28 year old assistant women’s college basketball coach – the daughter of one of the 50+ people you blame for your plight. And at the same time you pop her fiance, who happens to be another cop and someone who never did anything wrong to you. And just for kicks, you call her father and torment him with how you killed her. Classy.

Of course this doesn’t stop people from sympathizing with you. Evidently you are, or were, a big fan of gun control, Obama and other liberal conceits. Hell, Hitler has sympathizers as does half-wits like Charles Manson and run-of-the-mill psychopaths like Jeffrey Daumer. Of course many of these are white people who would cross the street if you approached them on a sidewalk in the dark, and who have more in common with your victims than they do you. But there is no shortage of idiots in this world who will lose their good sense when the actions of a nutjob like you titillate their relativist morals and political leanings.

But while the liberal blogs are effusive in their praise of you, I doubt that your so-called “brothers” would take your side. There’s a good reason why you’re hiding out in the mountains with white people rather than the inner cities with your black brethren. They’d turn your ass in because they have a deeper sense of right and wrong than your liberal cracker supporters do. What ever your beef with the LAPD, there was a right way, a wrong way and an evil way to deal with it. By murdering an innocent woman, her fiance, and shooting two more cops, one fatally, after writing a rambling manifesto you have become the next Unabomber, although unlike him I suspect your fame will be fleeting and you will meet your end in a hail of bullets. Your idiot supporters will eventually realize the nature of their stupidity and be embarrassed for their actions, and your ideas and rant will be forgotten by everyone except the families of the innocents you destroyed in cold blood. The meaninglessness of your rampage will become apparent as your bones molder in a grave mourned by no one.

I can only hope that my tax dollars have wound their way through the federal bureaucracy to end up helping to buy the bullet that flies through that diseased mind of yours at 2,500 fps.

UPDATE: Welcome to the Legend of Christopher Dorner, brought to you courtesy of the LAPD aka “The LA Gang Squad.” By shooting old ladies and censoring the media before apparently burning Dorner alive (“f***ing burn this motherf****r”) they have only proven what Dorner alleged: that he was the victim of a vast conspiracy. Now we have a burned cabin and a body burned beyond recognition that the LAPD is taking its sweet time identifying, and it won’t be long before Dorner is spotted at some dusty gas station in the Mojave like Elvis, and Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx arm wrestle over who’s going to play him in the next Weinstein brothers’ blockbuster.

Of course, such a movie wouldn’t be conceivable if Dorner had been a Tea Partier. But thankfully his views were the same as Hollywood’s: He was a big Obama supporter “You disrespect the office of the POTUS/Presidency and Commander in Chief. You call him Kenyan, mongroid, halfrican, muslim, and FBHO when in essence you are to address him as simply, President,” gun control advocate, “Who in there right mind needs a fucking silencer who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook,” NRA hater, “Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, you’re a vile and inhumane piece of sh*t,” and loved Hillary, “You’ll make one hell of a president in 2016.”

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

Well this is something you don’t see every day, or even every 500 years. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope after the passing of Pope John Paul II his age at the time led some to speculate that he was a caretaker figure while younger possible successors were vetted. It appears that such speculation was correct.

As an ex-Catholic my feelings towards the Papacy are… complicated as one might expect. On one hand the position stands in opposition to everything I believe in: transparency, accountability, morality, the corrupt nature of power. On the other hand the Church didn’t prevent me from turning away from it, leading me to the opinion that it’s dogma isn’t a buffet: you either accept that abortion is murder, divorce is wrong and gay sex is sinful or you do as I and countless others have done and quit the Church. I’d like to see the concentration of power in Rome spread out to the individual parishes, but at the same time I recognize that such centralization may have contributed to the overall longevity of the Church since decentralization would lead to the factionalization that bedevils Protestantism and Islam today. But it also contributed to the sexual abuses scandals throughout the Church, far outweighing the good the Church has done for the laity. Still, I would like to see the Church reform itself in a way that brought it in line closer to Christ’s teachings and made it more responsive to the needs of the Faithful without falling prey to fickle changes in morality as some protestant sects have done, selling out their core beliefs to match the politically correct ideas du jour.

To that end I have been pleased with the conservative pontiff’s approach, providing firm and principled opposition to abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia even as Western societies gradually accept and expand their practices. If you think it’s okay to whack people like Terry Schiavo or Timothy McVeigh then the Catholic Church isn’t for you and you shouldn’t expect or demand that a 2,000 year old institution bend to the prominent ideas of the day. After all it wasn’t very long ago that forced sterilization of the handicapped or the enslavement of African-Americans was considered morally acceptable. The Church should provide a moral compass for its believers and by its very nature should resist change longer than the society it operates in. The short reign of Pope Benedict XVI has followed that precept well.

That doesn’t mean that the Church shouldn’t change, especially when it comes to issues lacking a moral dimension. The prohibition of married priests is not rooted in apostolic life and wasn’t codified until hundreds of years after Christ’s death. While I don’t expect the Church to allow priests to marry after ordination as is currently prohibited, such a change would have much less impact on the core beliefs of the Church than say, removing the prohibition on euthanasia. Church teaching is explicit that life begins and ends with God, and that mucking about with the beginning and end of human life has a much greater moral dimension than married priests.

Likewise there is no moral justification for the slow pace of rooting out sex abuse in the ranks of the clergy; in fact morality demands a complete and thorough investigation of all incidents, acceptance of responsibility and full attempts at redress before the Pontiff prostrates himself before all 1 billion Roman Catholics and begs forgiveness for the heinous acts millions of innocents suffered under the Church’s authority. Such an unprecedented action would heal the damage caused by the abuse and contribute to the continued long-term health and relevance of the institution. Again, likely to happen? I doubt it, but then again, there are many reasons why I’m an ex-Catholic.

Pope Benedict XVI has served the Church well enough given the situation. While never as popular as Pope John Paul II, he has presided over a tumultuous period within the Church and has acquitted himself well in the protection of its core teachings. But the time has come for a younger face to continue the work of changing the Church to better serve its faithful while remaining true to the fundamental beliefs in the sanctity of life and the relationship between Man and the Divine. By resigning Benedict XVI has helped make the transition smooth and filled with hope for a laity that has suffered shock and despair from the moral failure of the Church.

The Council Has Spoken: Feb 8, 2013

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilJoshuapundit –Adolf Hitler-Progressive Pioneer

Noncouncil: Powerline- David Horowitz: How Republicans Can Win

Full voting here.

The Council Has Spoken: Feb 1, 2013

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilJoshuapoundit –How The UK Sunday Times Observed Holocaust Memorial Day…

NoncouncilDavid Mamet -Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm

Full voting here.