Sunday morning Open Thread — plus a mish mash of news and ideas

Nothing in this morning’s news, or in my own life for that matter, is moving me sufficiently to justify a full post on a single subject or idea.  I did find some interesting things online, though, that I’d like to share with you.  Also, I always appreciate it when you share interesting things right back at me.

***

It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I must get myself a copy of Greg Lukianoff’s Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.  George Will wrote about it today:

In recent years, a University of Oklahoma vice president has declared that no university resources, including e-mail, could be used for “the forwarding of political humor/commentary.” The College at Brockport in New York banned using the Internet to “annoy or otherwise inconvenience” anyone. Rhode Island College prohibited, among many other things, certain “attitudes.” Texas Southern University’s comprehensive proscriptions included “verbal harm” from damaging “assumptions” or “implications.” Texas A&M promised “freedom from indignity of any type.” Davidson banned “patronizing remarks.” Drexel University forbade “inappropriately directed laughter.” Western Michigan University banned “sexism,” including “the perception” of a person “not as an individual, but as a member of a category based on sex.” Banning “perceptions” must provide full employment for the burgeoning ranks of academic administrators.

Many campuses congratulate themselves on their broad-mindedness when they establish small “free-speech zones” where political advocacy can be scheduled. At one point Texas Tech’s 28,000 students had a “free-speech gazebo” that was 20 feet wide. And you thought the First Amendment made America a free-speech zone.

Young people, rather than being taught mental toughness, are having their brains turned into jello.  They are left like two-year olds who scream “No” loudly and repeatedly whenever anything challenges beliefs or desires.  What’s really frightening is that they have now become the intellectual equivalents of feral animals.  They cannot have their minds changed through reason, since they do not know reason.  They can have them changed only through brute force and bribery.

***

The Leftist mindset encourages racism against whites, because under Leftist rules, it’s impossible for whites to be the objects of discrimination (emphasis mine):

The San Francisco Housing Authority, which runs more than 6,000 units of public housing for the city’s poor, is headed by an executive director who discriminates against white employees in favor of African Americans and regularly employs offensive, outlandish language and behavior in the workplace, according to a lawsuit filed by the agency’s own lawyer.

The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court by the agency’s assistant general counsel, Tim Larsen, paints executive director Henry Alvarez as a mercurial bully – a description echoed in interviews with The Chronicle by several others who have had close contact with Alvarez since his arrival at the Housing Authority in 2008.

[snip]

Larsen, who is white, has worked at the Housing Authority for eight years and says that he was repeatedly passed over for promotions and plum assignments in favor of African American employees.

Alvarez is African American, and according to Larsen’s lawsuit, screamed at Larsen daily; gave him menial jobs such as organizing recycling; and told him to “stop being so Anglo,” that he “did not have enough kink in his hair,” and that “if you had more melatonin in your skin, I could make you my deputy.”

[snip]

Amos Brown, president of the Housing Authority Commission, staunchly defended Alvarez, saying Larsen’s lawsuit “is not about Henry.”

“You have someone who’s white, someone with specious, fallacious allegations, filing a suit that he was discriminated against,” said Brown, who is African American. “It’s a joke. How can he be discriminated against?”

***

Racist!!!  (I mean, it is racist if you criticize a black person, isn’t it?)

***

Europe is allowing itself to live with and be controlled by another Big Lie.  This lie is that it’s Israel’s own fault that they hate her so:

For Israel’s European critics, “Greater Israel” is no longer all of the West Bank, which even Netanyahu has conceded may be ceded for a real peace deal, nor even retention of an undivided Jerusalem. They are now acting as if any Israeli government that acts as if it is going to hold onto all of the Jewish areas of Jerusalem is a foe of peace. In doing so, they are not only distorting Israel’s position — which is still perfectly compatible with a two-state solution based on the ’67 lines with swaps — but also covering up or ignoring the fact that the Palestinians have refused Israeli offers of a state and now no longer even wish to negotiate.

Only by ignoring history can Europe pretend that it’s position is just. The Palestinians also specialize in Orwellian historical rewrites.

And these are the people Obama so desperately wants us to emulate?

No one is better at self-delusion than a Leftist.  I watched the first few minutes of Anthony Bourdain’s Layover, this one about what one can do with 24 hours in Paris.  The videos on the Travel Channel website consist of short clips from the show, focusing on the substance of what he says, which is interesting.  What the clips don’t include is the introduction Bourdain gave for the full half hour show:  In it, he lauded Paris’s free medical care, long vacations, short work weeks, and focus on the good life of eating and recreation, all of which he attributed to France’s socialism.  How elite.  How sweet.  How sadly out of date.  Piercing this gauzy veil of cliches means acknowledging that France’s economy is a disaster.  Its free medical care, long vacations, short work weeks, and good life are unsustainable.  Only by clinging to the delusion, rather than the reality, can Leftists continue to justify pushing socialism on the United States.  (And in this vein, please check out this tongue-in-cheek letter to Forbes.)

***

On a topic that is related only because it involves Israel, the IDF website has a fascinating story about the way in which it analyzes mistakes so as to avoid them in future.  It’s so tempting, when things go wrong, to look away from them, or to find a scapegoat, in order to avoid dealing with the unpleasant possibility that you erred.  However, unless you confront that possibility, you cannot avoid precisely the same error in the future.  In the wake of the election, Republicans need to focus on identifying and correcting errors, rather than spending their time whining and scapegoating people (i.e., saying “Romney was a boring technocrat who ran a lousy campaign,” rather than saying “Romney’s campaign should have done this differently.  Now we know better.”).

***

Taking a page out of Glenn Reynold’s book, it probably behooves me to remind you that I’m an Amazon Associate.  This means that, when you access Amazon through a link on my page, even if you don’t buy the linked item, I get a penny (or fraction thereof) on every dollar of goods you purchase.  I don’t know what you purchase or even who makes those purchases.  I just know that the more people who reach Amazon through my portal, the more pennies I get.  If you’re thinking of doing a little Christmas shopping online, I would appreciate it if you’d use this Amazon home page link or if you’d link through the Amazon ad in the sidebar (listing books and other items I recommend).

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  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    On learning from mistakes and failures…the Lean Management mantra “Ask why 5 times” has a lot of value. I discussed the concept at my post Chain of Causation.

     

  • bizcor

    I too read George Will’s column..it kinda goes to show how Obama got re-elected. My political contacts and I are examining the last campagin to see what we can do to correct things in the future. However if people keep sending thier children to college it may be a lost cause. My college educated daughter is a die hard leftie and there is no discussion. My other daughter who hasn’t gone to college is far more open minded than her sister the school teacher. The “uneducated” daughter is out in the business world seeing first hand what is going on in the economy. For about two weeks after the election I went into a news blackout. I didn’t care what the pundits were saying. I got together with a group of like minded friends and we began to figure out what we did wrong. The first thing was we assumed that the majority of people couldn’t help but see how wrong Obama was on the economy, foreign policy, etc. One of the things we have come away with is the average person has no clue what is going on in government. They choose not to know. If one mentions Fox News to the average individual on the street they immediately attack Fox. No they have never watched Fox but they know Fox is evil. Rush Limbaugh too for that matter. That Limbaugh guy has contributed much to the turmoil in the country. If he and Fox news would just shut up…well the world would heal. Mention George Soros to the average person in the street…you will get a blank stare. Occassionally, I watch Jay Leno and when he goes out on the street and asks passers by to identify Presidential candidates, sitting vice Presidents, Senators they can’t. When you ask people who vote for democrats non-threating questions they almost always come down on the conserative side of the issue. Should we spend more that we take in? No…what do you do when you don’t have enough money to cover all you expenses? Well I have to cut expenses. So we have to figure out a way to rebrand the message in ways such as this. That’s what I’m working on.
    By the way I have been reading just not posting much. I got a smart phone and can read but I can’t post without enabling cookies on and thus far I have not done so. Don’t really need to be followed on my phone.   

  • Charles Martel

    bizcor, I think you’re right about college—sending your kid to one is almost a guarantee that she’ll be lobotomized. One hope is that as the higher education bubble blows up, fewer kids will make the mistake of thinking that college has much to do with real life, especially learning about it.
     
    Book, I used to like Bourdain. I enjoyed his bestseller, “Kitchen Confidential,” so started watching him as he moved over to TV. His problem, though, is that he’s an upper middle-class sissy pretending to be macho. His tells are simple: First, the blithe, unexamined love for socialism and crap cultures like the French, which is the kind of stuff people from his class vomit on command; and second, his constant need to show how down and macho he is by getting drunk with the boys and eating foods that he knows will turn most armchair travelers’ stomachs. We get it, Tony, you’re a hip, bwave, adventurous Man.

  • Mike Devx

    Book says: “Romney was a boring technocrat who ran a lousy campaign,” rather than saying “Romney’s campaign should have done this differently.  Now we know better.”
     
    That might not have been the best example to give of whining, Book.  If the GOP nominates another non-conservative who lacks a conservative pedigree and who cannot effectively articulate the conservative message from the very beginning, even if he or she is a skilled technocrat, the GOP will be in serious trouble.
    I want an effective populist messenger for my next candidate.  I do not want anything resembling a plutocrat nor a technocrat, unless he or she is PERFECTLY skilled as an effective populist messenger.
     
    I’ll reserve the skilled technocrats for the Cabinet positions.
     
     
     

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    The problem, Mike, is that the true blue conservatives aren’t even throwing their hats in the ring.  And when they do, they’re so savaged by the media that there are only bones and a bit of flesh left over for the primaries.  Then, between ill-informed or RINO Republican voters, plus Democrats trying to throw a spanner in the works in the Open Primary States, you end up with the Romneys.  I’m afraid we’ll get another Romney next time around, and I’d rather have the Return of Romney win, taking with him some conservative Congressional candidates, than have the Return of Obama, with a fully Democrat Congress.

  • Mike Devx

    Your argument certainly makes sense, Book.  And I certainly see no sign of a conservative messenger with consummate political skills out there who would satisfy what I believe I’d be looking for in 2016.  I could change my mind, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the cautious, prudent political approach – the one that I think leads to more Romneys – will get us nowhere.  I don’t think we are involved in the standard situation that causes people to grumble “this country is going to hell in a handbasket” without really meaning it.  I think we are in the beginnings of one of our real, and large, crises, as big as the Articles of Confederation failing, as big as the Civil War.

  • gpc31

    Susan Rice is worth approximately $33 million.  How did she get to be so rich?  And, as someone once said, after a certain point, haven’t you earned enough money?

  • Ron19

    Racism:

    15 years ago I finally finished getting my Bachelor’s degree in a technical field (University of California (Hi!, Bookworm and NavyOne, and all you other UC students), Riverside).  Part of what I had to do was fulfill some “general education” requirements, one of which was an ethnicity course.  Since as a white middle-aged male I was not a defined oppressed minority, there was only one class in the catalog that seemed even slightly relevant. 

    On the first day of class, part of the handout was a defintion: being white is being a racist, and being a racist is being white.  There were no other definitions that could be applied to these two terms, and what I got back on the midterm test, an essay on the topic based on my personal life experience (my first wife was a South Korean), graded by a grad student and then revised upward (to a C) by the prof, was that this was really and truly what he meant. 

    For the Final, which I did not see graded, I made up a race called the “machinists” based loosely on one of the books we had to read.  My paper was written as if it might be about union machinists if you stretched quite a bit.  It was actually about the machines, such as locomotives and drill presses, and how they were an oppressed group, by humans of all types.  I must have gotten an A, because the prof must have really liked it; my grade for the course was a B.

  • lee

    The Europeans are also ignoring the fact that the UN did nothing–no one did anything–from 1948 to 1967 about Jerusalem, which was SUPPOSED to have been “internationalized” under the partition plan (and the UN vote), while Jordan and the Arabs made sure it was Judenrein–down to destroying historic synagogues and cemetaries.

  • peggyn

    Do you also get “a penny” for buying AmEx gift cards? And is it related to the $ spent?

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Ron19….here’s a story about a Freshman who was subjected to mandatory indoctrination at the University of Delaware. She didn’t play along, and when the Stasi agent asked her about her “sexual identity,” her response was, quite appropriately, “That is none of your damn business.”

    When he asked her “When was a time you felt oppressed?,” no doubt expected a response having to do with gender and.or ethnicity, she replied:”
    “I am oppressed every day [because of my] feelings for the opera. Regularly [people] throw stones at me and jeer me with cruel names…. Unbearable adversity”

    LINK 

    “If the Devil will not yield to texts of Scripture, it is better to jeer and flout him; for he cannot endure scorn”

    –Martin Luther 

  • https://picasaweb.google.com/102427392960537405774 Kevin_B

    I actually happen to be from Europe (Flanders, the Northern Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) and in college/university in Antwerp. On top of that, what I am studying is likely going to come as a surprise to some (most?) around here.

    I study Environmental Sciences. Yes, you heard that right. Basically, it involves a combination of subjects regarding law and policy, sociology, institutions, biology, ecology and chemistry, environmental issues and human health. I certainly prefer the science, environment and health related subjects to the ones related to sociology, policy etc. I studied the more practical and less theoretical Environmental Managment before.
     
    As one would expect, with universities already often prone to leftism, Environment Sciences certainly has some of that. It most often comes out in the form of subtile or more explicit support of big government, bureaucracy and institutions like the EU. Big government is often thought and suggested to be the only way to deal with the environment. I have one professor who seems to be somewhat prone at times to a dislike of democracy and individual freedom. Another thing that is noticed with some of the professor is the kind of nutty anti-human stuff that isn’t uncommon for the environmentalist crowd.
     
    There is some anti-Western thought and some hostility to prosperity as well, but that isn’t as noticeable as the big government advocacy. I haven’t come across nutty anti-western stuff, open socialism/communism, support of ideologies like Islam, crazy gender and LGBT stuff etc yet. Maybe I’m not in the right field for that. In my field, it’s mostly the big goverment and anti-human stuff.
     
    I do not know whether I qualify as a conservative. But I guess the fact I read and often like this blog (and blogs like this) proves I’m not a die-hard leftist. In my experience, die-hard leftists don’t usually even read what conservatives write, let alone think about it. Die-hard leftists don’t seem to be willing to see or hear what conservatives have to say, or even consider their arguments.
     

    It’s not always easy being to the right of what’s common in universities, but I can deal with it.
     

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Peggyn:  I don’t know about the AmEx gift cards.  I do know that my “penny” is actually a small percent of every dollar spent by going through my link.  Beyond that, it’s all a mystery to me.  ;)

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Kevin_B:  I have no doubt whatsoever that, with your analytical, open mind, and broad fund of knowledge (especially for one so young), you can handle anything that they can throw at you.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Checking back into the archives, I remembered that I had tagged Romney as “Wendell Willkie in a Bookworm post way back in January (2012).

    I stand by that comparison – this election was largely a repeat of the (rich, successful, pragmatic industrialist) Wendell Willkie’s campaign against the economically ignorant faux populist, FDR. In that campaign, too, the media was overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled and the Democrat’s primary campaign strategy was one of slander, demonization and demagoguery. Romney was able only too often to demonstrate how removed he was personally from the life and concerns of ordinary Americans and was, fortunately or unfortunately, unable to lower himself to fight the Democrats at their own level.

    http://www.bookwormroom.com/2012/01/11/wendell-romney/

    Unfortunately, the FDR era ended in a major world war for which, because our country still retained a very large debt capacity, we were able to borrow our way to victory. I believe that the Obama era will, too, lead up to a major world war. Unfortunately, this time we will no longer have the debt capacity to mobilize our defenses and our industrial base will have been largely dismantled. 

  • http://bkivey.wordpress.com/ bkivey

    Racist!!!  (I mean, it is racist if you criticize a black person, isn’t it?)”
     
    I addressed this in my most recent post: http://bkivey.wordpress.com/