Category Archives: Politics and Culture

Bombshells

Posted By lex, on March 10th, 2011

At least someone’s not afraid to drop them:

Social psychology has long been a haven for left-wing scholars. Jonathan Haidt, one of the best known and most respected young social psychologists, has heaved two bombshells at his field—one indicting it for effectively excluding conservatives (he is a liberal) and the other for what he sees as a jaundiced and cult-like opposition to religion (he is an atheist).

It’s a great read, no matter how you come down on the academy or the almighty.

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Omnibust

Posted by lex, on December 17, 2010

The GOP gets some of that ol’ time religion:

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Couldn’t Make it Up

Posted by lex, on November 17, 2010

To file under the “truth is stranger than fiction” category, bipolar liberal shoots his own TV, frightens the wife and ends up in a stand-off with police because Sarah Palin’s daughter is seen on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Talk about self-destructive.

Possibly related: Nancy Pelosi elected to lead new House minority.

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Take Him At His Word

Posted by lex, on September 9, 2010

Let us, for the sake of argument, reject Andrew McCArthy’s argument that, while there are indeed moderate Muslims, there is no such thing as moderate Islam. Let us instead listen to the words of  Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the bridge-building sponsor of the Cordoba House in New York:

The religious leader behind plans to erect an Islamic center and mosque a few blocks from New York’s ground zero said Wednesday night that America’s national security depends on how it handles the controversy.

“If we move from that location, the story will be the radicals have taken over the discourse,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on “Larry King Live.”

“The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack.”

The imam, who repeatedly said his mission was to promote peace and build a bridge among faiths, said he was also speaking about “radicals” on both sides of the debate on the Islamic center. “Our national security now hinges on how we negotiate this, how we speak about it.”

Shorter Rauf: “Build my mosque culture center where I want it, or else.”

These are less the words of someone building bridges than someone constructing siege engines.

UpdateBridge building * , Pakistan style. Defended speech, here or there. Of course, the reverse would not be true.

02-12-21 Link gone; no replacement found – Ed.

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A Strange Knack

Posted by lex, on August 18, 2010

Cocooned in her San Francisco-to-Washington Gulfstream C-37A bubble, Nancy Pelosi has this wonderful way of missing the zeitgeist of the moment entirely:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called for an investigation of those who are protesting the building of the Ground Zero Mosque on Tuesday. She told San Francisco’s KCBS radio:

“There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said. “How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we’ve been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City.” (h/t Kristinn)

Calls to investigate the funding for those proposing the $100 million “Cordoba House” have fallen on deaf ears, though, as New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg has described such an investigation as “un-American.”

So it’s un-American to enquire who is building the mosque, but the Speaker of the House has the bandwidth to call for investigations into who is opposing it.

Really?

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Ozymandias

Posted by lex, on August 4, 2010

The president’s cool demeanor is starting to grate on quintessential Washington insider Michael Gerson:

As president, Obama’s rhetorical range runs from lecturing to prickly — the full gamut from A to C. His speeches are symphonies performed entirely with a tin whistle and an accordion. To switch metaphors, Obama is a pitcher with one pitch. He excels only at explanation. Initially this conveyed a chilly competence. But as the impression of competence has faded, we are left only with coldness…

Obama’s limited rhetorical range raises questions about the content of his deepest beliefs. For this reason among others, the man who doesn’t need the love of crowds is gradually losing it.

That “impression of competence” was always externally imposed, there was never the least shred of historical evidence for it.

I am new enough on the national political stage to serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views. As such I am bound to disappoint some, if not all of them.” — Barack Obama, 2008

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Vox Judicio

Posted by lex, on August 5, 2010

Federal Judge Vaughn Walker has exchanged his opinion on the matter of same sex marriage for the expressed preference of 7 million Californians.

The Volokh Conspiracy’s Dale Carpenter has the least emotionally freighted discussion of the ruling:

(Finding) a federal right to same-sex marriage itself, Walker leans on not one but two prominent constitutional arguments. First, he says that the fundamental right to marriage protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right to choose the sex of one’s mate. That’s because, he writes, sex-based classifications in marriage have long since been stripped away.  The ban on same-sex marriage is the vestige of discredited and long-abandoned sex discrimination in marriage.

Few courts upholding a right to SSM have used a fundamental-rights rationale (not even the original SSM decision, Goodridge, did so). It’s an aggressive claim, especially given the composition of the federal courts and the Supreme Court. I see little enthusiasm in this Court for expanding fundamental rights. If the Ninth Circuit and/or Supreme Court decide to reverse Walker’s ruling, they will be more likely to deal with this issue in a way that will set broader precedent. A minimalist decision for SSM by Walker could have left this matter undecided and thus would not have forced a higher court’s hand.

Me, I’m frankly tired about the whole argument. Rarely have such vast quantities of ink, passion and treasure been spilt on a subject of such lightly leveraged secular symbolism.

Become, grow, flourish, rut, procreate, decline, perish. Six out of seven ain’t bad.

So long as it’s only seven.

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Moderation

Posted by lex, on July 29, 2010

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi preaches * on the Islamic doctrine of taysir, which translates to “ease” or moderation of the strictest interpretation of Koranic injunctions – especially for Muslims residing in Evropa or North America. In this he is joined by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Tariq Ramadan:

(He) recommends that a “moratorium” — a temporary ban — be placed on the Muslim practice of stoning adulterers to death; yet he refuses to say that stoning is intrinsically un-Islamic. This, of course, is taysir in practice: because stoning people in the West is liable to get the stoner incarcerated or worse, upholding the Sharia mandate to stone adulterers is “hard” on Muslims living in the West, so best to put it on hold — that is, till circumstances are more opportune.

Moderation – he keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

** 02-07-21 Original link gone; substitute found – Ed.

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Warrantless Searches

Posted by lex, on July 29, 2010

Used to be this sort of thing was considered Shredding teh Constitution:

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.

Honest Citizens should have Nothing to Hide.

Hope and chains!

When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” — Thomas Jefferson

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Recess Appointment

Posted by lex, on July 19, 2010

Donald Berwick has been appointed to oversee the nation’s health care in his position as director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The appointment was made when the Senate was out of session, thereby obviating the need for Dr. Berwick to explain his thoughts on  managing, directly or indirectly, twelve percent of the nation’s GDP.

Which is a shame, because there is much fertile earth to till:

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