Archive for the 'Left of Left' Category

We weren’t kidding about 1970

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

YAM documents our quote from the other day:

David Hilliard took the podium before 4,500 to 5,000 students in Ingalls Rink and proceeded to advocate murdering cops: “Everybody knows that pigs are depraved traducers that violate the lives of human beings, and that there ain’t nothing wrong with taking the life of a motherfucking pig.” The audience started booing. Hilliard called them racists and dared anyone to come up front and stab or shoot him…a light-skinned man—later found to be a harmless Lebanese architecture student with mental problems—stumbled toward the stage, Hilliard’s Panther bodyguards tore into him with kicks and punches. The crowd started booing again. Hilliard left the stage with a parting message to the Yalies: “Fuck you! All power to all those except those who want to act like a bunch of goddamn racists”…

“Not only will we burn buildings,” Hilliard vowed, “we will take lives.” He implored the white students to join the effort. “If you want to break windows, if you want to kill a pig, if you want to burn the courthouse, you would be moving against the symbols of oppression.”

The most amazing thing about May Day is that the faculty essentially voted for a student strike. Classes were cancelled and exams became somewhat optional (pass/fail). Sound familiar? Roger Kimball has some thoughts.

Their trajectory and ours

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

On our flight to Hong Kong today, there was no internet, so what’s today’s American going to do? Read? Pshaw! We watched TV. One show was called Shades of Life, the Winter’s Fairy-tale episode. It’s a Horatio Alger story of a guy with a very tough childhood becoming a successful entrepreneur. He sure knows how to clean a toilet and polish an office; fortunately his wife (whose family seems to hate this guy at first) knows ppt and accounting and through pluck and luck and a number of bad rejections and false starts he creates a big building maintenance company. We also watched the film Two States. It’s about an MBA guy from Delhi and an MBA girl from Chennai who want to get married, but his Punjabi family can’t stand her Tamil Brahmin family and vice versa. They’re both intractable, and most of the film is about how to create enough peace so that there can be a wedding. At the end, enough problems are resolved so that an extraordinarily elaborate wedding takes place, and the flash forward at the end is about playing with the beautiful babies. (There were other entertainments that covered similar ground to these two productions.)

What struck us is that the TV show and the movie were, among other things, sermons; that’s a little strong but you catch the drift. The point of the Hong Kong story is that: life’s tough, and if you want to succeed, suck it up and keep trying. Indeed, at one point, the young wife, after yet another setback for hubby, actually says in English “Tomorrow is Another Day.” Hard to miss the point of that! The happy ending involves riches and a fabulous home and grounds. As for the Indian movie, well forget Murphy Brown — these guys refuse to even elope. The family issues absolutely have to be ironed out and there will be no wedding until that happens, and the notion that there might be kids on the side simply does not exist.

In contemporary America, would we be likely to often see a Horatio Alger story without a Hollywood sneer at an ending such as this one has? And as for the Indian movie, first click the Murphy Brown link above and let’s talk. 40-80% illegitimacy rates are insane because they lead to gangs, youth crime and violence for the boys and different but comparable disasters for the girls. But if you’ve watched CNN lately, it’s unlikely you’ve seen these important issues discussed. Much safer for one and all to wallow in the fetid swamps of victimhood than deal with the profound problem which is driving a stake into the heart of both personal and political self-governance.

It’s easy to imagine plentiful American versions of the Hong Kong and Indian shows in US theaters as well as prime time radio and TV 50-75 years ago. Are they still around much today? There’s more than one reason for that of course, and they doesn’t bode well for the future.

Madness of various sorts

Monday, December 1st, 2014

ZH:

total outstanding US public debt just hit a new historic level which probably would be better associated with a red color: as of the last work day of November, total US public debt just surpassed $18 trillion for the first time, or $18,005,549,328,561.45 to be precise, of which debt held by the public rose to $12,922,681,725,432.94… total US debt to nominal GDP as of Sept 30, which was $17.555 trillion, is now 103%.

If you think that’s bad, get a load of this.

Stranger than fiction

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

City Journal:

your personal unhappiness stems from larger political forces—anything from the suffocating nuclear family, the institutionalized oppression of women, or the supposedly ineradicable racism of American society—and that only vast political change can solve your individual problems, has been the guiding principle of de Blasio’s administration. His campaign slogan was the “tale of two cities:” one poor and minority; one rich, white, and determined to oppress the other New York with a racist police force bent on harassing minority youths with stop-and-frisk tactics based on racial profiling. A de Blasio administration would end stop-and-frisk, the candidate promised. It would then uplift the poor New York by taxing the rich one to provide universal preschool, whose lack is a key reason ghetto kids don’t succeed, he contended, and to hand out welfare checks without requiring recipients to do work in return, since institutionalized racism is the reason they have no jobs in the first place.

How could anyone believe this fairy tale after 20 years of dramatic, concrete evidence to the contrary? Revolutionary policing tactics under mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg cut the murder rate to one-sixth of what it was in 1991, while reducing overall crime by two-thirds. The result was not only the renaissance of New York as a glittering world city, pulsing with opportunity, wealth, and vitality, but also the rebirth of ghetto neighborhoods where fear of crime had extinguished ordinary civic life. You can’t have a community when mothers are afraid to send their kids out for a loaf of bread, and where they put them to bed in the bathtub, to protect them from stray bullets.

De Blasio, his wife, and Noerdlinger believe the myth because, as I theorized earlier in this space, it gives them a way of dealing with their own troubled and damaging pasts. De Blasio’s prep-school and Ivy League-educated father, a war hero who lost part of a leg at Okinawa, later came under a McCarthyite investigation that cost him his government job. Though he went on to get even more prestigious posts, his sense of grievance drove him to alcoholism, divorce, and suicide. After not one but two name changes to distance himself from his failed and absent father, Warren Wilhelm, Jr. became Bill de Blasio and turned his anger and sense of abandonment first to Sandinista and Castroite radicalism and then to the racial grievance that he absorbed from his wife, Chirlane McCray, until then a lesbian, who, as the only black in her New England high school and one of but few at Wellesley, felt herself an “outsider” who “didn’t belong” and wished she could have been “cute and angry, instead of an evil, pouting mammy bitch.” Because de Blasio considers McCray “my most important adviser”—“Understand Chirlane and you’ll understand me,” the mayor once said—he decided that she needed a chief of staff, and a highly paid one at that.

Enter Noerdlinger, until then the flack for Al Sharpton, the cop-hating racial provocateur, whose nationwide trumpeting of teenager Tawana Brawley’s lie that she’d been raped and brutalized by a gang of whites, including a cop and a prosecutor, made him famous and brought hatred of the police to a boil in much of black America. Noerdlinger has her own tale of disorder and early sorrow. Adopted by a white couple with two children of their own, plus a child from the father’s first marriage and another adopted black kid, Noerdlinger “was this child of color in a family that didn’t look like me,” she said. And it must have been a troubled family, too, for the mother committed suicide, like de Blasio’s father. Perhaps to solve her identity problem by choosing what she considered “authentic” blackness, Noerdlinger moved in with a man seven years her junior, who’d been in trouble with the police ever since he got out of prison (first for killing a fellow teen and then for interstate drug dealing). One of his encounters included a traffic infraction in Noerdlinger’s Mercedes—reportedly with Noerdlinger, her teenaged son, Khari, and a bag of marijuana in the car. Now 17, Khari, a six-foot-one, 215-pound high school football player whose supposedly debilitating car-crash injuries are the reason Noerdlinger gave for getting permission to continue living in New Jersey rather than in New York, where City Hall staffers are supposed to live, got arrested over the weekend for trespassing while he was drinking with friends in the lobby of an upper Manhattan building. The publicity convinced Noerdlinger and the de Blasios that she had to go, under the face-saving rubric of an unpaid leave of absence.

To an enraged de Blasio, Noerdlinger’s forced exit results from “repulsive” personal press attacks, reminiscent, reports the New York Times, of McCarthyism—so there’s no need to wonder just what is the source of the mayor’s unquenchable anger that blazed into view at this moment. But if he is angry at the McCarthyism that began his father’s downfall, no one forced the elder Wilhelm to become a drunk and kill himself. Yes, he suffered injustice, but he made his own choices and could have made different ones. De Blasio, McCray, Noerdlinger: they all experienced painful childhoods that can only elicit sympathy. But they made their own choices about how to interpret their pasts and to live their lives, and where to place responsibility for their own fates. But if you bring up your child with a sense of victimhood and grievance and hatred of authority—and Khari Noerdlinger, who, like his mother’s convict boyfriend, also sends out cop-hating and racist tweets, including “All white people are the devil” and “Pigs always killing people,” has surely been brought up in just this way—what kind of choices can you expect him to make?

Self-righteousness and victimhood have always gone hand-in-hand, but it may have taken the media-academy establishment for snobbishness to be in the mix in the way it is today. What a world! Bonus fun: if you insist you are not a king or an emperor, what do you really think?

A program — offered seriously — for 2014-2016

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The Nation has an agenda for 2014-2016:

immigration reform. Announce a serious executive action. Go to the South Valley of Texas and/or the Arizona border, and make appearances with some of the little girls and boys who are trying to come to the United States to avoid their dangerous, hard-scrabble lives in Honduras and Guatemala…

Cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. Then elevate climate change as an issue…Meet with China and India on climate issues, before the next round of global climate meetings. Set aside big chunks of public land and ocean, and hold photo ops in spectacular natural settings as you do so…Host a national teach-in with real climate scientists, on C-Span, and use it to drive a nail in the coffin of the fake, corporate-funded, “climate denial” science. Pull together a meeting of coastal mayors to talk about what “resilience” steps to take to prepare for the next Superstorm Sandy — this is not only necessary, it’s a good way to raise the issue of needed infrastructure spending. Take the climate disruption issue head-on, and make it part of the legacy. No previous leaders have met the challenge of global warming, a threat that affects both national and world security…

Go up to the edge of normalizing relations with Cuba. Send the Attorney General down to Havana to work out the details. I understand that current law prevents fully normalizing relations with Cuba, but there are a series of executive actions that would weaken the embargo, increase American prestige in this hemisphere, and help stabilize working relationships with Cuba on a series of bilateral issues. Even better, take these executive actions just before the entire hemisphere meets at the Summit of the Americas in Panama in May, actions that will enhance America’s reputation across Latin America.

Use changing national attitudes on marijuana to weaken the wasteful and ineffective war on drugs. Better yet, use executive power to weaken our harsh and racist criminal injustice system. Reclassify marijuana as a less-dangerous drug. Commute sentences of nonviolent pot prisoners (a disproportionate number of them young African-Americans!). Appoint a blue-ribbon presidential commission on drug reform and criminal justice reform, with a mandate to report back quickly on issues from marijuana legalization to curbing police brutality to eliminating three-strikes-and-you’re-out policies to reforming harsh sentencing to ending the militarization and weaponization of local and state police departments to stop and frisk to racial profiling.

Nominate Tom Harkin to the Federal Reserve Board…

issue a Good Jobs Executive Order that would reward companies that pay their workers a living wage, allow them a voice at the workplace without having to go on strike, adhere to federal workplace safety and fair labor standards and limit the pay of their chief executives to some reasonable ratio to that of their average workers.

Nominate a diverse set of progressives to fill every judicial vacancy at every level, and then make this a huge national throwdown fight when they are not approved. Given the poor public view of the runaway, activist, Citizens United–tainted Supreme Court, judges could become one of the big issues of the 2016 campaign. Be the change you want to see. Sí, se puede.

That’s a winning platform alright! Perhaps there’s a reason for all the drug talk. And this from Patterico. Hinge, hinge, unhinge.

Bonus fun: compare George Will’s recommendations with the Nation’s. Questions? Anyone?

You learn something new every day

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Until today, we had never heard of James Burnham or his famous Suicide of the West. We saw an apt quote cited by Scott Johnson today, so we’ll read some Burnham. He was taught by a charter member of the Inklings, and he was a Trotskyist before his enlightenment. We’ll definitely read The Managerial Revolution. Most surprising to us is that Suicide was published in way back in 1964. Kind of a slow-motion suicide for a long time, but things seem to have gone asymptotic in the last year or so.

Decoration Day again

Monday, May 26th, 2014

This and that: We’ve read that Decoration Day didn’t officially become Memorial Day nationally until the 1960′s. A couple of years ago we bought the story of Louie Zamperini and it’s a heck of a thing. Robert Samuelson has a nice piece with some history going back to the end of the Civil War. Scott Johnson had some good reading in observance of the day several years ago, and he follows up this year with thoughts on a great movie for this day. Both Teresa Wright and Harold Russell give very moving performances. The film is on TCM of course. BTW, with all the crude nuttiness (e.g., here and here) going around, we half expect some group of wingnuts to try to have TCM taken off the air, given the values its films, for the most part, display.

Perseveration

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

There are real and serious problems in the world (here and here and here for example). And yet there are fairly sizeable groups focused on nuttiness and/or matters that affect a vanishingly small number of people — and they’re often very loud about these things. It reminds us of head-banging or a fellow running around shouting with his ears covered; all the better to block out unpleasant realities. But it doesn’t work for very long…

The Spectator has a pessimistic take on all this.

Well, what did you expect?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

WaPo editorial:

With a $1 billion oil rig the size of a football field, China has literally laid down a new marker in its ambition to dominate the South China Sea — and challenged President Obama’s “rebalancing” policy in Asia, only weeks after the president’s tour of the region. The rig is about 130 miles off the coast of Vietnam, in waters that Vietnam claims as an exclusive economic zone under international law. China’s claim is more tenuous, but it is backed up with a flotilla of some 80 ships that for a week have engaged in a dangerous contest of ramming and water-hosing Vietnamese vessels.

The message of the deployment is as simple as it is provocative: The regime of Xi Jinping intends to unilaterally assert China’s sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea without regard for the competing claims of five other countries or Mr. Obama’s newly restated commitment to uphold defense agreements with two of those nations. In that sense, the rig, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is a fundamental challenge to the international order the United States has tried to preserve since the end of the Cold War.

China’s ambitions are described by an audacious map, dating from the pre-Communist era, that claims some 80 percent of the South China Sea and a number of island chains or waters also claimed by Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Indonesia, in addition to Vietnam. For years Beijing has talked with those countries and others in Southeast Asia about establishing a code of conduct for the sea, and it discussed the possibility of joint development of oil and gas with Vietnam a few months ago.

The move of the oil rig appears to reflect a calculation that a more aggressive policy will not meet meaningful resistance from China’s neighbors or the United States.

Wretchard: “The West is transfixed, stunned by its own toxic cocktail of lies. That we will wake up is inevitable. The danger is that if we remain asleep too long, the world may already be burning by the time we look out the window.” For most of two generations, the universities have been obsessed with creating a strange alternative narrative of the US and western history. They teach rubbish and worse. With some exceptions, only the geezers know the real story, and they are now mostly shouted down and persecuted by know-nothings.

Cancelled, with malice aforethought

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

We seem to be in an era of hating the past and hyping the future, a recipe for disaster. Huh? — “those who opposed Lagarde said they were attacking the IMF for being ‘a corrupt system’ that fuels the oppression and abuse of woman worldwide.” Funny/sad comments here. Finally, Ruth Wisse speaks for the geezers, the only Americans who seem not to have lost their minds. The young and their mentors in the faculty lounge have created disaster — the question of whether it will be the disaster of the 1930′s or 1970′s is still open…

Meanwhile…..

Friday, April 18th, 2014

We have been very busy on business and other matters so these days we mostly just link to the thoughts of others who opine and write for a living these days. After all, in matters of religious wars, catastrophic AGW, China’s economy, US foreign policy, and the way you organize the US to maximize GDP growth, we have engaged many sides of the arguments and are now, after much research and discussion, pretty settled in our views. Doesn’t mean we can’t be wrong; hence doesn’t mean we won’t change our views. We’ve been doing this for 12 years, and seen stories come and go. But it’s boring the way the HCL (hard core left) have become so obviously rigid and reactionary (as Roger Simon describes them). Dialogue and debate, which seemed attractive a decade ago, are passé. So now it is very idiosyncratic what appeals on a current day: e.g., we saw the sad Everest news and it reminded us of Jim Whittaker’s talk at the 1964 Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge (at which Lady Baden-Powell also spoke). Probably not much of interest to the broader world. We read Krauthammer and Will and also the smart fellows at Powerline and so forth, but what’s the point of ditto-ing these things? We’re all apparently “immoral, unethical, and despicable” in the eyes of our betters. Why bother responding? Perhaps better to take the advice of Thomas Kuhn, Charles Darwin and Max Planck, and just wait out the fools……

Shoe, meet other foot please

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

WSJ: in a column about the 77 cents rubbish, we learn that 92% of work-related deaths are men. But it’s hazardous being a lady, particularly if you might get an honorary degree or join the board of a public company. (We’ve previously commented on both ladies here and here.) Question: what’s missing from these stories that we’d be hearing about nonstop if the shoe was on the other foot?

The musical fruit that kills……..

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Daily Mail:

Lord Simon said: ‘In a programme some months ago on the BBC it was stated that this country has the largest production of baked beans and the largest consumption of baked beans in the world.’ He asked Lady Verma: ‘Could you say whether this affects the calculation of global warming by the Government as a result of the smelly emission resulting therefrom?’ Lady Verma described his question as ‘so different’ but she appeared to suggest that people should think twice about over-indulging in baked beans or any food which causes flatulence. She added: ‘You do actually raise a very important point, which is we do need to moderate our behaviour.’

Hey, give up burgers too. HT: DC

Today’s silliness

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Here’s some silliness. Here’s commentary on the silliness. Here’s another thimble full of silliness. What’s the deal? How come when problems have largely disappeared or affect an extremely small number of people the shouts and indignation become louder than ever? (Hysteria is part of the explanation — things are supposed to be perfect now, and reality isn’t behaving properly, therefore: eek! a mouse!)

Protean man, again?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

The strange myth that human nature is malleable by force of will is here again, and boy howdy! How tiresome. Here are some alternatives to Firefox, BTW (some add-ons too). If we had to guess, we’d say that the recent extreme and authoritarian developments of the anti-free-speech movement signal that we are closer to an end than a beginning, but we don’t have much confidence in that guesstimate. The source of our hunch is that, despite the brave face the media put on things, dreary reality can’t be abolished from the millions whose experience is the exact opposite of the approved media story line. We’ll just have to see what happens. Meanwhile, we’ve bought a dozen handbaskets just in case.

GrubHub and Uber versus the ACA

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Funny thing. We read the S-1 for the GrubHub IPO and we saw no reference to the difficult management task of supervising all the delivery guys. How can they be managed without a large central authority? And what about Uber? They’re likely to do an IPO, we’re told. But how can a company like this function without a big Taxi and Limousine Commission bureaucracy to scrub their every move? (France tried, unsuccessfully.)

Oh wait. In the case of GrubHub, the (mostly family owned) restaurants already have ways and relationships to do delivery; they’re just getting better use from them. And in the case of Uber, customer feedback is instantaneous; you don’t need Jack Welch to get rid of the bottom 10% of drivers, let alone some government bureaucracy. We thought the crew doing the ACA characterized themselves as hip and youth oriented; instead, they’re so old and outdated, with a 1917 model of economic organization.

Brite collage years

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

LLS:

In a move designed to foster diversity and to create a university that “thinks like America,” Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, the President of Harvard University announced yesterday that the school will embrace egalitarian admissions. The school will no longer give priority to students with good grades, high SAT scores, and impressive extra-curricular activities. Such policies have, Dr. Faust acknowledged, created an “elitist” and “inegalitarian” atmosphere at the college. “It is unacceptable in 2014 to be favoring the intelligent over the unlearned, and the energetic over the slothful,” she proclaimed. Starting next year Harvard’s incoming class will have SAT scores ranging from six to sixteen hundred to produce, for the first time, a truly diverse freshman class…

A press release declares that “Harvard is now dedicated to serving the ‘differently intellectual’ and ‘differently learned’ or DIDL students.” The idea that some are “smarter” than others is a prejudice that we need to overcome. The twenty-first century, the era of Hope and Change, is an age of equality. Gone are the days when knowing the difference between “their” and “there,” or references to dead White European males like Goethe or Marlowe were used to perpetuate privilege. There is no reason to favor an applicant who has been reading Shakespeare since he was ten over one who has watched every episode of “Sponge Bob” fifty times.

This summer, the entire Harvard faculty will be trained in sensitivity to needs of DIDL students. There is talk of an, as yet undetermined, plan for affirmative action for “Low IQ Americans.” The Puritans who founded Harvard held that “there is no sin but ignorance.” But they also burned witches, Harvard noted.

Get with the program, Harvard; you’re behind the times. Recall that professor who assaulted the protester at UCSB? The university effectively sided with the DIDL prof. She’s the 21st century, after all. Harvard: sometimes you’re just so 1636.

Let there be blight!

Monday, March 31st, 2014

AP:

if greenhouse gases continue to rise, the world is looking at another about 6 or 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 or 4 degrees Celsius) of warming by 2100 instead of the international goal of not allowing temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius). The difference between those two outcomes, Princeton’s Oppenheimer said, “is the difference between driving on an icy road at 30 mph versus 90 mph. It’s risky at 30, but deadly at 90″…

more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary — which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word “risk” an average of about 5 1/2 times per page.

Here’s a mental exercise. Picture the Princeton fellow wearing sandals and a sandwich board, standing at the corner of 53rd and Park in NYC. He’s saying: “the world is ending! the world will be 7 degrees hotter in 86 years! it is written! the computer has said so!” You might ask, what about Hide the Decline? What about a little skepticism? We all know that there has been some warming, and recently some cooling, and we all know that, on balance, CO2 should favor the former over the latter. But really, 7 degrees in 86 years because some guys’ computers said so? (Maybe you missed the subprime meltdown: GIGO from the smart guys.)

Let’s see. 100 governments unanimously approved this thing about what’s definitely going to happen 86 years from now if we don’t give those guys trillions of dollars today. Hmmmm. That’s reason to pause, right there. What would governments have predicted in 1913 about wars over the next 86 years? How about in 1 year from 1913? 86 years ago was 1928. If you were a stockbroker in NYC then, what might you have predicted about 2014, or 1929? Thanks, experts!

Final point. Gallup shows AGW is 14th out of 15 concerns of ordinary Americans. We’ll just have to see who is right.

Of cowboys and cow dung

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Peter Bogdanovich has a delightful piece on Scott Eyman’s new book about Duke Morrison, the American screen cowboy. One of the roles that transformed his career was about a tough cattle drive. Gotta get those cows to move their hind quarters quickly to their last roundup. That was then.

Sadly, this is now: Mark Steyn has a mooving commentary on America’s (and the West’s) current take on the bovine posterior. (BTW, if you’re interested in cutting government waste, every one of these horses’s patoots could be downsized.)

Picture worth a thousand words…….and from “must” to “should” in 5 years

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Here’s the picture. (It’s not even the faculty lounge that’s doing America’s business; it’s the freshman dorm.) Here are Krauthammer’s thousand words (747 actually). Krauthammer’s piece raises a very interesting point about how things have changed over the last five years. Five years ago, the world was told what it “must” do — over two dozen times in the Cairo speech alone. Now, as Krauthammer points out, the operative word is not “must”, but “should”. As a mental exercise, try to imagine yourself lecturing a billion or more people on what they “must” do. Hmmmmm…

BTW, it’s not as though there are easy answers to these logical responses by Russia, etc, to America’s empty bloviating at this point, but speeding to energy independence, reversing course on Iran, not cutting the military, empowering a red-tape-cutting task force on the economy, and using Google and Yelp and GrubHub as metaphors for health care rather than the USSR — these could be a start.