Thursday, June 26, 2003

Poetry Warning: IV

Pretty Bad

We stopped down by the bridge
and looked at the space where they used to be.

I remembered I saw a piece of trash fall, but not like trash.
Straight down, turning slowly, and then there was a leg
with a skirt flapping,
the skin of the back of my neck tightened,
and she disappeared behind something.

It was pretty bad, must have been bad
for people to decide better to leave than to stay.
MoDo and Clarence Thomas

Maureen Dowd produced an especially offensive column regarding Clarence Thomas' dissent in the Michigan Law case decision by the Supreme Court.

So why, despite his racial blessings, does he come across as an angry, bitter, self-pitying victim?

The essence of libs' quandary--how could those precious little diverse peoples come to RESENT their rich, white, liberal patrons? Just how COULD THEY???

If you've been told your whole life that you've only made it to wherever you are because the Man LET you achieve it, why, I just can't understand why someone might be bitter. Gee, could you understand it? If, when you try to get free from under the thumb of the Man's patronage, you get smacked down by those same people for being "uppity" and not knowing your place, who could understand the resentment? Not MoDo.

"It's impossible not to be disgusted at someone who could benefit so much from affirmative action and then pull up the ladder after himself."

Liberals....disgusted their little tokens might want to break free of feeling beholden..... Who'dathunk it? I mean, you'd almost think that libs were NEVER interested in eliminating welfare or really equalizing people....they just want they political patronage paid back in kind.

I'm shocked, really. shocked.

Democrats Fear Dean May Win Nomination

They only have themselves to blame for this. It will be a worse defeat even than McGovern's in 1972.

DEMOCRATS are starting to realize upstart antiwar candidate Howard Dean could actually wind up as their 2004 nominee - thanks to the power of the Internet. That scares some of them silly. The New York-born Dean hits a raw nerve among frustrated Dems with the message summed up by his in-your-face TV ads in the early test state of Iowa: "The only way to beat George Bush is to stand up to him."

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Democrats Pushed to the Margin

This from Porphyrogenitus:

One also has to pity the Democrats who are out there, flailing away, claiming that "this Administration is gutting Social Spending", when it enacted the largest increase in Federal education spending in history and is set to sign into law the biggest increase in Federal social spending since LBJ. They are clearly living in a romantic fantasy, a necessary (for them) delusion, dogmatically clung to like a wino clutching his last bottle, because all they have to offer to their constituencies anymore is fear. From the standpoint of ideas, the Democratic party is now an obsolescent curiosity, while the Republican Party is now, essentially, the party of the JFK tradition (not really the LBJ tradition; the Republican Party has not gone that far in embracing the welfare state). Ted Kennedy is claiming credit for the version that is going to pass, while Tom Daschle and his minions are crying about it. I mean, here's the Washington Times editorializing in favor of a Bill that has been stripped of it's most Libertarianite-Conservative provisions (or had them watered down to the point of cosmetic irrelevance) What does this mean?

Well, one thing it means is that, to a large degree, we can see why Democratic politicians are in near hysteria and trying to whip up the fervor of their base in a frenzied, almost maniacal fashion. What you're seeing there is panic: they're getting pressured and forced to the margins. But the most significant thing is that now America needs a (new) party of limited government. George W. Bush is completing the transformation of the Republican Party into the party of JFK's political legacy (as much as that will cause Democrats to wail and gnash their teeth): tax cuts to incentivize economic growth and prosperity, strong foreign policy and defense, and support for moderate "safety net" social spending programs and some (but not pervasive) regulation, generally activist government (but not Social Democracy).

In my opinion, Libertarianism goes way too far in the other direction all too often. But now that this is the Republican Party, there is room on the political spectrum for a party of limited government. This is not to say that there is room in the American political system for three major parties. Not at all.

And thus the hysteria of the Democrats.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Gay Marriage? For What?

Since Canada seems to have legalized gay marriage, it seems that we will be under pressure in the US to do the same thing.

I have usually been pro-gay rights, but this intitiative has always puzzled me. Marriage has become so degraded as an institution that it hardly even seems worth the candle. The only things of any significance left of the institution of marriage are the division of property and the rights of children to support. The former right can be obtained in other ways, as can miscellaneous other rights associated with marriage, like better insurance rates, and the latter usually isn't an issue for gays and, in any case, is routinely enforced with or without marriage.

I think that gays will eventially get the right to marry in the US. But when they do it won't, as they seem to hope, signal increased acceptance of gays as much as it will signal the further decline of the institution of marriage.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Don't Cry Wolfowitz

Another piece of evidence to the effect that the doctrinaire left lost an important ally when Howell Raines stepped down as executive editor at the New York Times. You would never have seen this article in print if Raines were still around.

Even if you throw out all the tainted evidence, there was still what prosecutors call probable cause to believe that Saddam was harboring frightful weapons, and was bent on acquiring the most frightful weapons of all. The Clinton administration believed so. Two generations of U.N. inspectors believed so. It was not a Bush administration fabrication that Iraq had, and failed to account for, massive quantities of anthrax and VX nerve gas and other biological and chemical weapons. Saddam was under an international obligation to say where the poisons went, but did not.

The author has some critical things to say about the Bush administration and goes on to point out that American has a real problem concerning the reliablity of its intelligence services that needs to be addressed, a point that is buttressed by an editorial written earlier in the NY Times that was also balanced and insightful.

It's good to see criticism of the Administration that is not overtly anti-American, criticism that is written out of obvious concern for one's country and for one's fellow citizens, in the pages of the NY Times again. Now, if we can only get them to dump Krugman and MoDo.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Who the Heck is Greg Packer?

Ann Coulter pointed out that a fellow by the name of Greg Packer keeps turning up in articles published in the NY Times and other NY publications as a man on the street. He has been quoted over a hundred times in various publications on various topics. He was quoted for an article about Hillary Clinton's book signing: "I'm a big fan of Hillary and Bill's. I want to change her mind about running for president. I want to be part of her campaign.".

At first this conjured up images of reporters sitting around at home all day while dreaming up copy:

"Let's see what's in the old assignment bin." (Rumages through a stack of paper slips.) "Ah! A story on the Hillary book signing. Perfect."

(Starts typing on a laptop while leaning back on a couch.)

"Oh, and they had people going out the door and down the street...yeah, that's it...down the street." [tickatickaticka]

"Ok, I need some quotes." (Grabs the Rolodex) "Ok, no, no, no, ... oh yeah, here's one. Greg Packer, he'll be a good one."

(Grabs the phone and punches in a number) [ring ring ring]

"Greg! How's it hangin, man? Say, you weren't by any chance at the Hillary book signing today, were you? ... You were?... First in line? I need a quote from you on that.... No, needs to be something more enthusiastic..."

But then I realized this guy may very well have been at all these events, and he knew where the reporters were and tended to hang with them trying to get his utterances into print. Which tells me that the guy was probably telling the reporters what they wanted to hear, and that's why his quotes get published. It would be just another opportunity for reporters to launder their own views through a third party, which is what such quotes from unnamed and semi-anonymous or obscure sources are often about.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Poetry Warning III

I lay in bed and watched the ceiling fan turn
Hot with happiness. Smiling with my good fortune.
But you were angry
It was not what you wanted.

When I touched your hand
You longed to leave
When I touched your thigh
You did not feel tenderness

I was alive with love and good feeling and caring.
but your feelings were different.
And for a long time
I didn’t know that.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Poetry Warning II

Sphere of Competence

When I said I could fix things
I meant I'd fix the squeek in the door
the light in the refigerator
the car battery
the filter in the fish tank
the boy's bicycles.
and the leak in the bathroom sink faucet.

I didn't mean that I could fix that feeling you got
When I didn't smile at you
I didn't hold you
I didn't hear you
and didn't look up at you when you came in.

Poetry Warning: I

Poetry Warning I

A Bullet Works in This Way

The bullet, a slug of copper coated lead,
is affixed atop a cartidge containing powder,
and at the bottom is the primer
all fitting snugly in a chamber, locked by a bolt.

The firing pin strikes the primer
causing primer powder to flash into the cartridge
where powder is ignited
pushes the bullet down the barrel
that gives the bullet a spin
making it fly straight through the air
until it strikes
it tears through
expanding, tumbling, fragmenting
and momentum is expended
within the targeted object
whatever that may be.
Against Multiculturalism -- One Reason Why Western Culture is Superior to All Others

One of the more ridiculous tropes coming from mulitculturalist covens is the idea that slavery in the US was unique in all the world and in all of history, and that only Western culture, with it's emphasis on hatred and oppression of people of color, could have come up with it. By the same token, racism was practically invented by the West as a means of supporting the institution of slavery.

However, racism is nothing but tribalism with colors, and as such it has been a part of the human experience since time began. Slavery also has existed since pre-history. There is nothing especially different and unique about slavery in the West.

What is unique about the West is not slavery, which has been found everywhere throughout time, but the abolition of slavery.

In all of recorded history it was St. Patrick who, on the basis of Christian ideals, was the first person to speak out against slavery. (St. Patrick himself was captured and made a slave by the Irish. As such he was forced to tend sheep in the wilderness and was not even given food, clothes, or shelter by his masters. He escaped but later returned to minister to the Irish.) This was about 400 AD. It was centuries before anyone else took up the cause of abolition of slavery, and this was exclusively in the Western world.

Even today it is only in the West that slavery is strongly suppressed. Slavery still exists in various forms in all parts of the world, but especially in the Middle East and Africa where it is institutionalized and practiced openly. There are more people enslaved today, right now, all over the world than were ever enslaved in America. And we are not talking about "white" slavery, either, but slavery that is as cruel and degrading as any.

Slavery has been practiced by almost every race and ethnic class at one time or another against whomever was convenient. My own ancestors, the poor pitiful denizens of Central Europe, in Moravia (Czechoslovakia) were enslaved going back to the dawn of history. They were first known to be enslaved by the Romans and then later by the Germanic tribes, then, when my family fled to America in the 1800's, by the Austrian Empire.

It was the traditions of humanity, justice, and morality in the West the finally brought this tradition of slavery to an end there. No other culture has ever developed such a tradition of abolition of slavery, and if slavery is ever finally eradicated from the earth it will be because Western culture has triumphed over all others.

If not for the West and Western traditions of justice and morality the world would not even know that slavery and racism/tribalism are fundamentally wrong.

It is the very tradition of morality and ethics that brought about the abolition of slavery that the left is now working hard to subvert. It is the very tradition of tribalism that became manifest as racism that the left is now attempting to promote through identity and ethnic politics to achieve their own ends, ends that have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with gaining more power for themselves.

Rejecting Darwin?

Recently a progressive friend bemoaned the lack of acceptance of science in the country. "What hope do we have of solving our problems when over half of the people reject Darwin?"

By Darwin, of course, he meant science in general. However, I hesitate to accept the figure of greater than 50%. The proportion of believers who would maintain that Darwin's theories must be false because they don't agree with scripture is small, in my experience. But I suppose it depends on what one means by "rejecting Darwinism."

Some would argue that those who don't accept the idea that the theory of evolution has been proven beyond all doubt have rejected Darwinism. Darwin himself didn't go that far.

Many religious people accept the idea that Darwin's theory is a useful theory that provides a model on which to hang a wide variety of observations about the biological world, but they would balk at saying that the theory has been "proven." There are still some pretty big gaps in the fossel record, and it is not out of the question that some future discovery will mandate that the theory of evolution be modified or supplanted by some other theory. Some scientists with no religious inclinations would also balk at saying that Darwin's theories have been proven, and

But the people, particulary those not that well versed in science, who make a political issue out of the theory of evolution would not be happy with that degree of reservation, and might accuse such people of "rejecting Darwinism."

No doubt some of Newton's more fervent supporters held critics of his theories in contempt right up until Einstein's ideas concerning space and gravity were demonstrated to be a more accurate model of the universe. This is because they didn't really understand either Newton or Einstein. For example, Einstein always took it for granted that his theory was incomplete and might be supplanted by some other theory in the future. In fact, he was working on that theory himself right up till the end of his life.

The real rift is not between those who would reject Darwin and those who don't, but between those who have embraced leftist political principles and a secular humanist world view, which includes scientism, a quasi-religious belief in the ability of science to determine all truth, and those who are able to embrace other human spiritual traditions, such as organized religions, while recognising that there are limits to what we can know through science.