Most pundits are expecting a very close presidential election. I’m not so sure. With terrorism on the march, rising fear of crime at home, growing racial polarization, pervasive economic anxiety, and a president detached from it all, the pieces are in play for a GOP landslide. The only thing stopping Republicans is themselves.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Give thanks this day for some indirect blessings of liberty, including the behavior-beyond-satire of what are generously called institutions of higher education. People who are imprecisely called educators have taught, by their negative examples, what intelligence is not.
George Orwell once remarked that Stalin’s Soviet Union was a place yesterday’s weather could be changed by decree. America, it seems, is not wholly immune to this totalitarian impulse either. It increasingly manifests itself in political correctness, a phenomenon that is flourishing at elite American universities. Make no mistake: the authoritarian implications of this movement, as Jonathan Chait points out in New York magazine, should not be pooh-poohed. Quite the contrary. The tribunes of political correctness, Chait notes, “ are carrying out the ideals of a movement that regards the delegitimization of dissent as a first-order goal.”
Princeton is welcome to its problems, which are largely self-created. But just as a matter of tactics, a little backbone goes a long way.
The story of how the Pilgrims arrived at our shores on the Mayflower—and how a friendly Patuxet native named Squanto showed them how to plant corn, using fish as fertilizer—is well-known. But Squanto’s full story is not, as National Geographic’s new Thanksgiving miniseries, “Saints & Strangers,” shows. That might be because some details of Squanto’s life are in dispute. The important ones are not, however. His story is astonishing, even raising profound questions about God’s role in American history.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Zoolander 2 isn’t just bad for trans people – it’s a step backwards for us all | Sara Pascoe | Comment is free | The Guardian
Transgender people, non-gendered people, the androgynous and those with gender fluidity are beginning to be represented in pop culture. Non-binary gender is becoming part of mainstream understanding. In the Zoolander 2 trailer, it is All who is modern and successful, and the cis male models who are past it, unnecessary, asking stupid questions: “Hot dog or a bun?” Maybe this bluntly drawn androgyne exists because everyone gets made fun of in comedy? It’s fair, some might argue – we’re all targets. Equal-opportunity mockery.
Uh, OK. For those of you who are wondering, such as I, what exactly "cisgender" means, here's wikipedia:
Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) describes related types of gender identity perceptions, where individuals' experiences of their own gender agree with the sex they were assigned at birth. Sociologists Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook define cisgender as a label for "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity". They see cisgender as a complement to transgender.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which governs these issues, defines “refugee” as someone who has fled from his or her home country and cannot return because he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of “religion” – as well as race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. This certainly doesn’t let us use a religious test to filter otherwise-eligible immigrants out. But it does mean that when we’re deciding who to admit as refugees, religion matters.
Islam is not a race. Islam is not an ethnicity. Islam is a religion and a political philosophy. And it is distinct from other religions and political philosophies.
Pointing this fact out does not make a person obsessed with hatred or racism. A Muslim might hold moderate views or he might hold extreme ones. If we act as if the color of people’s skin rather than their beliefs define them, we’re engaging in a curiously narrow-minded discussion about one of the world’s great faiths—one that is comprised of all races and many ethnicities.
Yet this is exactly the formulation many on the Left demand.
Most are, rather, victims of the very large admissions preferences that set up racial-minority students for academic struggle at the selective universities that have cynically misled them into thinking they are well qualified to compete with classmates who are, in fact, far stronger academically.
The reality is that most good black and Hispanic students, who would be academically competitive at many selective schools, are not competitive at the more selective schools that they attend.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
iagrams of simple machines—a pulley, an inclined plane, a lever—appeared on the massive whiteboard of a school STEAM lab (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics plus art) in South Fayette, a fast-growing suburb of Pittsburgh. Two dozen fifth-graders, split into teams of four, busily sketched designs for “Rube Goldberg machines” that would turn on and off lights or feed the lab’s pet fish. No single child designed a complete machine. Instead, each team member spent a few minutes sketching out how one part—a marble run, say, or a Lego Robotics kicking foot—would operate within the machine. Then they switched papers and the next person added onto the design with another part.
Vladimir Putin’s reaction to Turkey shooting down Russian warplane: The Russian president expect Recep Tayyip Erdogan to make good on threats.
Grisly pictures allegedly showing the dead body of one of the Russian pilots are circulating on social media. If the images prove to be authentic, they could force the Kremlin into even deeper involvement in Syria. By evening, state media were reporting that Syrian fighters had shot down a helicopter, killing one Russian soldier involved in a search-and-rescue mission for the pilots.
In killing 130 civilians in Paris—the worst such attack in France since World War II—ISIS has forced us to contend, once again, with the question of the “rationality” of self-professed ideologues. Since it wrested the world’s attention with its capture of Iraq’s second-largest city in June 2014, the extremist group has prioritized state-building over fighting far enemies abroad. This is what distinguished ISIS: It wasn’t just, or even primarily, a terrorist organization. It had an unusually pronounced interest in governance. As Yale University’s Andrew March and Mara Revkin lay out in considerable detail, the group focused its energy on developing fairly elaborate institutional structures in the territory it controlled within Iraq and Syria. ISIS wasn’t simply making things up as it went along. It may have been mad, but there was a method to the madness.
A month before the Yale Halloween meltdown, I had a bizarre and illuminating experience at an elite private high school on the West Coast. I’ll call it Centerville High. I gave a version of a talk that you can see here, on Coddle U. vs. Strengthen U. (In an amazing coincidence, I first gave that talk at Yale a few weeks earlier). The entire student body — around 450 students, from grades 9-12 — were in the auditorium. There was plenty of laughter at all the right spots, and a lot of applause at the end, so I thought the talk was well received.
Apparently, Obama, though he says he hasn’t made up his mind about whether to send weapons to Ukraine, actually has and is. He now seems to be quietly trashing the spirit though no provision in the Minsk II truce that was arranged by Merkel, Hollande, Putin, and Poroshenko, and signed by the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine, and both of the rebelling former parts of Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Obama now appears to be sending heavy weapons to Ukraine, and thus assisting Ukraine to resume attacking the DPR & LPR.
This post from a pro-Russian blog from last March says there are US tanks in Ukraine, something I can't find confirmed (in a quick google search) in the MSM. But, eldest son says he heard from a reliable source of a column of 50 or so tanks that looked like Abrams, followed by a US Embassy car, heading toward the front in Ukraine. So, maybe Obama is standing up a little after all. Alternatively, this may be US generals standing up, taking advantage of a President who lets them call the shots. H/t LGS.
Cruz has been positioning himself as the man who will inherit Trump’s voters when Trump implodes. (It has long been an article of faith among pundits that Trump will implode. At the moment, Trump is coasting right along.) Instead, he seems to have gained his recent popularity at the expense of Ben Carson, who as I pointed out last week, is losing altitude both nationally and in Iowa. Carson and Cruz seem to appeal to similar tranche of voters, especially evangelicals. In the Quinnipiac poll, Cruz is cleaning up in all the demographics where Carson has dropped. Cruz and Trump now combine for nearly 50 percent of the total Republican vote in Iowa, a remarkable milestone.
I should come out in support of Ted Cruz. My reasons:
1) Even though he's hyper-ambitious and I probably would not want to have a beer with him, I like him better than hyper-ambitious people on the Left.
2) He knew he wanted to be President in third grade but some people are like that.
3) He probably does have the whole Constitution by heart.
4) He's clever and doesn't think the pyramids are cosmic grain dispensaries.
5) He's not a giant, walking dildo.
6) He's Hispanic, Latino or something. No, I don't really care about this one.
7) He's totally correct about DC being a stinking pustule of corruption, to put it delicately.
8) His wife is pretty cute but not too cute, contra Trump.
9) That was probably sexist. I grovel in apology.
10) He's from Texas. I wouldn't want to live there, but it's a good place to be from.
11) Yeah, it would mean a lot of nasty Fed Soc types got into the judiciary, but then I'm sort of a nasty Fed Soc type.
12) It's really too bad Bork didn't make it onto the Supremes. It would have changed a lot.
13) He's not a religious freakazoid, but religious freakazoids like him.
14) He's smart enough to deal with a really hostile media, which he would have.
15) He likes guns, I'm sure. The Founders were so smart to write that one in.
16) He said something about electing judges. He was right about that, if they're gonna go all crazy on us, which they are.
17) That's all I can think of for now.
Istanbul (CNN)One of the world's most volatile regions was roiled further Tuesday when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey said it hit the plane after it repeatedly violated Turkey's airspace and ignored 10 warnings.
And that's coming from a person who really knows from stabs in the back.
Indeed, last week brought arguably the worst news for the program since the healthcare.gov debacle: UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, announced that it might quit ObamaCare's exchanges next year. Should UnitedHealthcare act on this threat, there may not be enough (red) tape in the desk drawer of even future President Hillary Clinton to put the ObamaCare Humpty Dumpty back together again.
The author has not read Herr Doktor Professor, obviously.
One problem with this is that it’s not enough for Trump to merely avoid fading. Right now, he has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.) As the rest of the field consolidates around him, Trump will need to gain additional support to win the nomination. That might not be easy, since some Trump actions that appeal to a faction of the Republican electorate may alienate the rest of it. Trump’s favorability ratings are middling among Republicans (and awful among the broader electorate).
A better way might be to found great new universities, as John D. Rockefeller did with the University of Chicago or Andrew Carnegie did with the Carnegie Technical Schools (later Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburgh. Is there an Adelson or a Gates or a Walton University to be started along similar lines, perhaps on the campuses of colleges that have recently closed their doors? It would help, too, if these new schools adopted the model of Hillsdale College in Michigan (where there are no protests) by refusing to accept federal subsidies, thus relieving them of the strictures and mandates by which the government enforces political correctness.
I'm not holding my breath. To start a whole university, you would have to hire a lot of people. Those people would bring the same old attitudes. I guess you could found technical universities. That's not such a bad idea I guess. You could put into the charters a strong statement of freedom of speech, thought and so on.
LONDON -- Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet over Syria Tuesday saying the Su-24 jet's pilots violated Turkish airspace and failed to heed multiple warnings to leave.
A U.S. official told CBS News that radar tracking confirmed the Russian plane was in Turkish airspace, saying, "it was close," but it did cross the border.
Monday, November 23, 2015
The 5 Remarkable Girls Who Want To Join The Boy Scouts Are Brilliantly Crushing Gender Stereotypes | Bustle
Five girls in California want to join one of the most gender-exclusive organizations in the country — the Boy Scouts of America. Thirteen-year-old Allie Westover, her 10-year-old sister Skyler, and three friends prefer Boy Scout activities to those of the Girl Scouts, telling The New York Times they would rather camp than sell cookies. After taking a skill-building course for both boys and girls affiliated with the Boy Scouts last fall, the girls bought uniforms similar to the boys' and starting attending pack meetings and camping trips. Led by one of the girls' mothers, the group started calling themselves the Unicorns. Not only do these girls want to join the Boy Scouts, they also want to destroy stereotypes about "girl activities" and "boy activities."
Instapundit » Blog Archive » MUSLIMS IN N.J. CHEERING AFTER 9/11? This is what Donald Trump has asserted, and according to the Wa…
MUSLIMS IN N.J. CHEERING AFTER 9/11? This is what Donald Trump has asserted, and according to the Washington Post report of Sept. 18, 2001, Trump is right. John Hinderaker over at Power Line has uncovered this Washington Post piece–conveniently archived and available only if one pays $3.95 for it–that the Washington Post’s own fact checker, Glenn Kessler, apparently could not find.
Here’s an excerpt from the 2001 Washington Post story:
In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.
The problem isn’t elitism per se. The problem is that at Princeton and Yale and in Washington and New York, our elites are rotten — the rotten fruit of dying institutions and an unmoored culture whose commanding heights are populated by people who no longer believe in the values at their foundation. That is how we have come to conflate quality and celebrity and to spurn the life of the mind for the life of the hive. Order ultimately will reassert itself, and it will be uncomfortable.
According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the percentage of cars that run purely on gas has increased over the past three years. Fewer than three percent of all cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and light-duty vehicles run on anything other than gas or diesel. The market for heavily-subsidized alternative-fueled vehicles has fallen. After years of subsidizing unproductive sectors and constantly bolstering the idea that inefficient electric cars are the future, no one really wants them. Even the use of hybrid cars is down from 2013.
I was thinking I could pick up a VW deisel on the cheap but evidently not.
In her black-and-cream miniskirt and black Balenciaga hightops, Headland was a magnetic presence with a throaty voice and a booming laugh. She had a Nicki Minaj ring tone, ‘‘Truffle Butter,’’ and several movie tattoos: ‘‘redrum’’ from ‘‘The Shining’’ on her lower back; a line from ‘‘War Games’’ — ‘‘The only winning move is to not play’’ — on her left forearm; ‘‘How would Lubitsch do it?’’ in script on her right. Harvey Weinstein, for whom Headland worked as a receptionist and assistant, calls her ‘‘wildly talented.’’
Every bit as awful as you would expect. Don't read this. Really.
I mention all of this to give you some perspective on recent developments that mark a break in the string of positive surprises. Yes, Obamacare has hit a few rough patches lately. But they’re much less significant than a lot of the reporting, let alone the right-wing reaction, would have you believe. Health reform is still a huge success story.
Well, I guess we'll find out who is correct. It doesn't look like a huge success to me and I'm not sure the big insurance companies would say so either.
After an initial burst of interest spurred by CBS’s big-bucks saturation advertising campaign for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the show’s ratings have tanked and it is now running third in late night behind NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who rarely has managed second place before.
The reason? A survey by the Hollywood Reporter found that conservative viewers are turning off Colbert in droves. Nearly twice as many Republicans are watching Kimmel as Colbert, who has turned “Late Night” into a sort of wannabe MSNBC show.
The pattern is familiar: When a Democrat is the guest, Colbert is Barbara Walters. When a Republican is on, he turns into Tim Russert.
I never found him particularly funny. I'm old and jaded of course.
Everyone knew that it was just a matter of time, but no one expected it to fail this fast. Yet, that is exactly what is happening, as bad news story after bad news story about the state of ObamaCare arrives on a seemingly weekly basis.ADVERTISEMENT
In the afternoon of Nov. 13, when news of the horrific Paris attacks began to reach the U.S. and the fear and chaos there began to sink in, many Americans asked one important question: Could a similar attack by jihadists linked to Islamic State occur in a major American city? The answer is yes.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
But on the Democratic side, there is a markedly different problem: the dilemma posed by President Barack Obama’s baffling habit of looking at a discordant world and declaring his foreign policy to be broadly successful. There is no question that Obama inherited many messes from the second President Bush when he took office in January 2009, and much of the Democratic base blames the present nightmares with Islamic State terrorists in Syria, Iraq and France on fallout from the mistakes of Bush 43. But Obama? Not so much. Instead, he continues to downplay the threat posed by Islamic State. Just days before the Paris attacks, the president declared Islamic State to be “contained,” in keeping with his nearly two-year history of viewing the group as less threatening than anyone else in the national security community. In an interview with GQ magazine released Tuesday, Obama’s tone in describing his presidency was downright valedictory.
Obama really is a strong argument against the Presidency as well know it. They guy is checked out, and he's checked out in a world that moves fast enough that it really might make a big difference. I don't think our founders banked on such a fast moving world and such an unpatriotic prez. He'd probably welcome the opportunity to go early, at least if he could do so and get plaudits for doing so.
Like the surrealist Max Ernst, Shaw eschews a single signature style in favor of an elaborate, somewhat hermetic personal mythology. (What prompted the artist to make a drawing based on ten grimacing images of the 1940s big band leader Kay Kyser?) While skewing outré, Shaw is essentially a collagist, as was Ernst, and his eclectic influences include not just DC comic books (a frequent subject) treated as mass-produced illuminated manuscripts and underground comix, but Salvador Dalí, Peter Saul, and Otto Dix, as well as Bruegel, Fra Angelico and the illustrations found in medical textbooks. Shaw’s affinities with surrealism are most apparent in his “Dream Objects,” many of which are covers for non-existent paperback books, as well as the baroquely sexual, often hilarious “Dream Drawings” that purport to document his nocturnal adventures.
You won't find this on Instapundit.
And what they are fighting for is critically important, indeed necessary: an inclusive community that treats them as equals. The students have focused in particular on faculty hiring. A school with so few black and Latino faculty sends a powerful even if unintended message to its students of color; they may be good enough to attend, but not to teach here. It also denies minority students the opportunities for mentorship that their white fellow students take for granted. (Of course, faculty can and do mentor across races, but anyone who has spent time in a school of any type knows the critical importance of students of color having teachers that share their experiences in our still-racially-divided world.) According to a poster on campus, Yale’s African-American faculty has grown by 1 percent each century since its founding (reaching just above 3 percent today). Twenty-five years ago, Yale Law School had three black faculty members; today, it still has only three. In over two hundred years, the law school has hired only one black female professor, one Latina female professor, and no Latino male professors. (The law school faculty, however, does include two East Asian professors, four South Asians, and one Arab American.)
And even fewer conservatives, but they're not really diverse, I guess. Maybe conservative students should try the same tactics? It's hard to imagine they would not be just expelled, though. Besides, we're too polite. Harvard is definitely more diverse in the ways that matter. But it's not very diverse either.
A successful campaign against nihilism will have to resist nihilism itself. If, as Gilles Kepel, a French specialist on Islam, has argued, ISIS is trying to provoke civil war in France, then the French state must not deploy tactics that will lose it the loyalty of its most vulnerable and susceptible citizens.1 Detention without trial, mass deportations, harsh physical interrogations, sealing borders, ending free circulation of people in Europe: all these tactics—proposed by the right-wing demagogue Marine Le Pen—will tempt French and other European authorities, but they are disastrous as a strategy. A successful campaign against Islamic extremism should deepen, not undermine, allegiance toward liberté, égalité, fraternité, especially among Muslim citizens.
This certainly sounds good. But I'm not sure the "good Muslims," that is Muslim people who are on board with the basic ideals of the West, would really object to reasonably harsh tactics, so to speak. They might be the first to advise us against leaning over backwards not to offend the radicals in their own communities.
"We don't need no more troubles, you know?" said Hicham Dawil, who immigrated to the U.S. three decades ago. "I feel bad for the people. On the other hand, look what's happening in France. This is crazy, you know. It's just evil."
Ted Cruz on Muslim registries: I’m not a fan of government tracking American citizens; Update: I never suggested a database, says Trump « Hot Air
Easy there, Trump fans. He prefaced his answer here by saying he’s still a big fan of you know who.
This is a better response than Rubio gave last night, but that’s to be expected. Cruz is a “conservatarian,” Rubio is a Cheney-esque hawk. Bring up radicalization to Rubio and he’s going to go into “whatever it takes” mode. Bring it up to Cruz and you’re going to get more civil-libertarian considerations mixed in.
In the chaos of the explosion at the Comptoir Voltaire cafe, one of several targets hit in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, nurse David instinctively sought to help the wounded.
Among them was a man lying amid overturned chairs and tables. David, who asked to be called just by his first name, lay him down. The man did not look to have massive injuries, but appeared unconscious, so David began CPR, the cardiopulmonary resuscitation he'd been trained for.
When he tore open the man's t-shirt, David quickly realized that what he initially thought was a gas explosion at the cafe close to the Bataclan music hall where gunmen killed 89, was actually something far worse.
"There were wires; one white, one black, one red and one orange. Four different colors," he told Reuters. "I knew then he was a suicide bomber."
Student leaders have pulled the mat out from 60 University of Ottawa students, ending a free on-campus yoga class over fears the teachings could be seen as a form of "cultural appropriation."
Jennifer Scharf, who has been offering free weekly yoga instruction to students since 2008, says she was shocked when told in September the program would be suspended, and saddened when she learned of the reasoning.
Staff at the Centre for Students with Disabilities believe that "while yoga is a really great idea and accessible and great for students ... there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice," according to an email from the centre.
This is why I've never done yoga, except for that thing where you lie on the floor and try not to fall asleep. Sadly I usually did.
Yesterday, at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, AL, a local activist named Mercutio Southall Jr. started shouting "Black Lives Matter!" as Donald Trump spoke. What followed was a physical altercation between Southall and Trump supporters, captured on camera by a CNN reporter in the crowd. The video makes it a little hard to tell how the fight started, but by the Washington Post's account "a white man punched and attempted to choke" Southall.
“While no direct reference was made to being anti Israel, that was my impression almost from the initial moment I presented my license and credit card as I have done over 15 years of business and leisure travel without ever being challenged. The agent stated that the Israeli license did not have the required info in English. I tried to demonstrate that the license had all the required info but she and the manager had no interest. Similarly, the fact that I have had many rentals at Avis and at this location was dismissed as having been ‘done by new employees.'”
A deep freeze set in across the Midwest on Sunday with low temperatures forecast in the single digits and a few below zero, turning the season's first major snow into ice that made some roads treacherous to travel.
I think I'm at the point where the only way I want to experience this sort of weather is on TV. A cold, clear day in the Rockies is OK, but otherwise not.
Are media outlets really biased against Republican candidates? One of the most careful studies, by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro of the University of Chicago, doesn’t find much evidence of that. Its central conclusion is that readers have a strong preference for like-minded news — and that newspapers tend to show a slant in a direction that is consistent with the preferences of their readers.
With respect to television broadcasters, the evidence remains ambiguous. But Republicans who think that the media are biased against them might want to consider a striking empirical finding: Whatever their beliefs, political partisans have long tended to see, and to complain loudly about, media bias.
This makes a lot of sense.
For starters, the overwhelming majority of “refugees” being brought into the United States are not just Muslim, but Sunnis—the one Muslim sect that the Islamic State is not persecuting and displacing. After all, ISIS—and most Islamic terrorist groups (Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Hamas, et al)—are all Sunnis. Even Obama was arguably raised a Sunni.
In this context, how are Sunnis “refugees”? Who are they fleeing? Considering that the Obama administration defines refugees as people “persecuted by their government,” most of those coming into the U.S. either aided or at least sympathized with the jihad against Assad (even if they only revealed their true colors when the time was right).
Simply put, some 98% of all refugees belong to the same Islamic sect that ISIS does. And many of them, unsurprisingly, share the same vision—such as the “refugees” who recently murdered some 120 people in France, or the “refugees” who persecute Christian minorities in European camps and settlements. (None of this should be surprising considering that Al Azhar—the Sunni world’s most prestigious university of Islamic law, which co-hosted Obama’s 2009 “A New Beginning” speech—was recently exposed as teaching and legitimizing all the atrocities that ISIS commits.)
Just to remind readers, I don't necessarily agree with everything I post. This is from a blog by what I take to be an Arab Christian with an interesting perspective. I don't know if Obama "arguably" comes from a Sunni-sympathizing background, for instance.