Derryck Green, of Project 21, makes a point that all of us here already know, which is that conservatives treat members of other races like human beings, while Leftists (no matter whether they call themselves liberals or Democrats or Progressives) treat them like slightly stupid children who can be bribed in exchange for votes. What makes this video worth watching, considering that we already agree with the ultimate point, is the clarity with which Green makes his argument:
Not to boast — okay, never mind, I’m boasting — but the reason I didn’t write more this afternoon was that I met up in the City with Neo Neocon. It was, I must say, a delightful way to spend an afternoon.
Neo is, as you would expect, thoughtful, informed, amusing, warm, and just a genuine mensch. This was our second get-together, and it felt as if I’d known her forever and only saw her last a few weeks ago, not a few years ago.
Thinking about it, ithout exception, when I’ve met in the flesh people I first got to know through my blog, I’ve never been disappointed.. Each person has been as attractive in three-dimensions as they were when they were only words on the computer screen. If you’re a blog regular whom I’ve gotten to know over the years, and you find yourself in the Bay Area, let me know. Time permitting, we may get a chance to meet for real.
And now . . . to the round-up!
Firing people in Affirmative-Action-Land
One of the things Neo and I touched upon was the disincentive to work resulting from affirmative action hiring followed by the impossibility of firing. (This is a subject I discussed at length once with the kids.) The bottom line for those minorities who are paying attention to perverse incentives is “Why work hard if the system is set up so I can’t be fired?” Roslyn Chavda was one of those employees and was so shocked when she was fired, that she sued for discrimination despite lacking any evidence that anyone had discriminated against her. If you want to find out how that suit went, go here.
The war between Israel and Hamas has a profound moral dimension
This article by Gen. James Conway, former Commandant of the Marine Corps is a little bit out of date (it was published on July 24), but the point Gen. Conway makes is so important — about the deep moral chasm between Israel and Hamas — that it’s worth reading at any time. On my real-me Facebook, I’ve been countering Hamas supporters by challenging them to look beyond the number of bodies (many of which Hamas created through its tactics) and to look instead at the nature of the two sides.
This is not just a ground war. It is an existential war, and there is no middle: you are other for a Judeo-Christian society that values individual liberty and pluralism, or you are for an Islamic society that demands complete fealty to the Quran, with all its vile prejudices, or mandates death.
There is no truth for those living in a totalitarian regime
A few days ago, I posted the video of a mother who got her deathly ill son from Hamas to Israel, where he was treated. While there, an Israeli interviewed her. With cheerful, smiling almost apologetic mien, she explained that she gave from a death cult that was willing to sacrifice everything to get to Jerusalem. (And even though it’s my own blog, I can’t find the darn link.)
Neo and I talked about that video, and it occurred to Neo that the woman’s apologetic behavior could have been because she didn’t believe what she was saying. She was voicing those terrible thoughts to protect herself and her family from Hamas’s wrath upon her return to Gaza. That actually made sense. In a totalitarian society, no one is allowed to speak the truth.
Anyway, I thought of that when I saw this video of agitated Gazans blaming Hamas for the death surrounding them:
Complaints such as that are courageous acts that can lead to execution.
More evidence keeps emerging to support Israel’s claim that Hamas hides its weapons among children
This morning, I blogged about a French24 reporter openly acknowledging that Hamas was firing videos from civilian areas, and inviting Israeli return fire. Just to reinforce that point, here’s a video of Hamas fighters firing rockets in front of what looks like a captive audience of children:
America has a grotesque record when it comes to Iraq’s Kurds
It’s not really a surprise that Obama is abandoning the Kurds. George Bush Sr. did it too, something for which I’ve never forgiven him — nor have I ever forgiven Colin Powell, who apparently gave Bush Sr. the advice to abandon the Kurds. What is interesting is that, on my real-me Facebook, stalwart Obama supporters are grumbling about this base behavior. I don’t think the love affair with Obama will ever end for most of them, but I have to believe that some of them are beginning to realize that their idol has feet of clay. Perhaps with that realization, the cognitive dissonance that makes up their Progressive lives will start to become overwhelming and shatter.
In Europe, it’s 1938 all over again, and too few American Jews care
Is it because I’m too sensitive altogether, or am I correct that American Jews are not sufficiently upset about the rising tide of active, ugly, Nazi-esque anti-Semitism sweeping through Europe. When I’ve mentioned it to some, they’ve just brushed it off as “Oh, well, Europeans do that occasionally.” I can’t seem to convince them that, the last time “Europeans did that occcasionally,” 6 million Jews died, not to mention tens of millions of everybody else dying too.
Thinking Leftists realize that Hamas is insupportable if you have even some morals
I sometimes feel sorry for The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. He’s a really bright guy, who definitely gets that Israel is the morally correct country, but can’t shake his allegiance to the Left sufficiently to take that thought to its logical conclusion — which is that those who oppose Israel are wrong, and that they may be wrong about their other believe systems, including statism and Obama-love. Because he’s bright, Goldberg often asks the right questions. This time, he asks, “What Would Hamas Do If It Could Do Whatever It Wanted?” (Hint: He gets the right answer.)
Israel did surprisingly well this time around putting her case before the world
This war has been a very troubling one for Jewish Israel haters. A perfect example of this is an open letter from Peter Schwartz — a self-identified liberal, pacifist, Israel-hating Jew — who has reluctantly been forced to conclude that (a) the Palestinians mean it when they say they want to kill all the Jews and (b) Israel is not unreasonable to defend herself, nor has she defended herself unreasonably.
Schwartz’s anguished, conflicted letter, one in which he strives for moral relativism but realizes that, this time around, Israel’s in the right, reflects something very important about this latest war: Israel fought it not only on the ground, but in the realm of ideas. The world would be a different place if she’d started doing so in the 1970s, but at least she’s doing so now.
Had Israel not been so aggressive in using social media to get out her message, all we would have seen would have been the usual lies, some driven by ideology, and some driven by a media too cowardly even to admit that its coverage is grossly skewed thanks to threats and other intimidation from Hamas.
ISIS’s Iraq takeover has the potential to affect (badly) the world’s oil supply
When I think about the ISIS takeover in Iraq, I think about the Christian slaughter and the horrors of hardcore Sharia rule. In other words, I feel compassion for the Iraqis trapped by those appalling totalitarian savages. I should, however, spare a thought for myself too: Noah Rothman reminds us that if ISIS takes Iraq, it also takes Iraq’s oil. That should scare all of us — and, if Obama was rational, force him finally to approve the Keystone pipeline.
Obama’s telling silence about Maj. General Harold Green’s assassination
I admit that between morning errands and afternoon socializing, I haven’t heard today’s news. As of yesterday, though, Barack Obama hadn’t said a damn thing about one of his generals (he is, after all Commander in Chief) getting assassinated in Afghanistan. The general was Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, deputy commanding general of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan in Kabul. I don’t know about you but, if Obama was as silent today as he was yesterday, I think that’s awful. It’s not that a generals life is more valuable than any other man or woman killed at enemy hands. It’s that protocol says that a Commander in Chief is supposed to speak out when enemies attack the command structure.
The Stars and Stripes Forever
A little patriotic music for you to enjoy:
Thanks to Caped Crusader for these great posters:
I’ve ranted here before about the fact that, when discussing the Left’s insistence that government should be able to give the Pill to young girls, no one mentions how dangerous hormone-based birth control devices are. It seems, though, that people are finally waking up to the fact that there’s a price to pay for messing with women’s hormones.
Walt Disney was a futurist because he believed that the future would be a wonderful time that would see Americans, and people around the world, enjoying better living through technology. Obama is a futurist too. He envisions a barren, parched wasteland with bazillions of starving people, among whom will be history professors passing judgment on today’s events — hence Obama’s perpetual concern with “being on the right side of history.” What Obama doesn’t grasp is that the world’s bad actors are not futurists. They are “here and now” -ists. Putin, in true George Washington Plunkitt fashion, saw his opportunity and took it, history be damned. What Putin understands, which Obama doesn’t, is that the victors get to write the history.
Back in August 2008, David Goldman foresaw the Russian (and American and Israeli) future. George Bush is not without guilt on this one. America as a whole, has been naive and credulous in dealing with Putin. In 2008, though, no one could have envisioned an American leader quite as bad as Obama. Goldman’s 2008 article posited Russians playing chess and Americans playing Monopoly. Obama, however, has been playing Chutes and Ladders.
In any event, whether the West is playing Monopoly or Candy Land, the Onion has a wonderful satirical piece in which Putin expresses his gratitude.
We all know (and the Left knows too) that Paul Ryan is not a racist for pointing out exactly what Obama pointed out: that American black men live within a damaged and damaging culture. Where Ryan failed, though, was his decision to bob and weave when the usual race-baiters labeled him as a racist. He apologized for being misunderstood and met with black leaders and did the usual sackcloth and ashes routine. What Ryan should have done — what every person of good will should do when the race-baiters call him names — was to come out swinging: “I am not a racist. You are the racist because you refuse to allow anyone to talk about the welfare state’s massive failures. Etc.” The moment anyone apologizes on this one for anything, even using the wrong punctuation, the race-baiters win.
On the subject of racism, affirmative action is one of those racist Leftist evils. While it may have had some merit in the first years after 1964 (and I doubt even that), it’s become poison in the decades since then. For more than fifty years, it’s told both whites and minorities that the latter need not try as hard because the system will raise them up anyway. This is a terrible message. Up until affirmative action, disfavored American groups raised themselves up by working twice as hard and by competing head-on with the entrenched classes. That’s the way to break racism (or anti-Catholicism or anti-Semitism). You try harder; you don’t try less hard. According to John Fund, it might be that some people are finally figuring this out.
Incidentally, affirmative action is why Obama got elected and it’s one of the reasons he will never be impeached. With that kind of job security, Obama doesn’t need to work hard and can, during the hours he does deign to work, go about freely de-valuing America.
I liked 300. A lot. I didn’t get to see the end though. With only 10 minutes to go, the liberal friend with whom I was watching it said, “This is disgusting,” turned the TV off, took out the disk, put it in the Netflix mailer, and that was that. I liked the movie for precisely the reasons Andrew Klavan liked it. I also fail to see how any sequel could work. The Spartan stand at Thermopylae was a unique moment in history. Any subsequent film will just be about a battle, not about an idea.
My son said that kids at his school are saying that the endless coverage about the missing Malaysia Airline is to cover for the debacle (from America’s viewpoint) in the Ukraine. Smart kids. The DiploMad says the same thing.
Daniel Greenfield has an extended, thoughtful, detailed, accurate, depressing rumination on the death cult lying at Islam’s heart.
Justice Sotomayor came to San Francisco and inadvertently made the case that affirmative action terribly unfair — and, moreover, that people are right if they believe, not that it gives qualified minorities a chance, but that it handicaps non-minorities at the expense of any minorities, qualified or not.
What we don’t like is a system that says to completely ordinary kids who make no specific effort: “You! Yeah, you. Although you are undistinguished in all relevant ways, you’re going to get a leg up simply because of your race.” In the old days, that sentence, more fully written, read “Although you are undistinguished in all relevant ways, you’re going to get a leg up simply because you’re white.” Looking back now, we realize how heinous it was to spread opportunities unevenly simply because of race.
Yet that’s precisely what affirmative action does — spread opportunities unevenly because of race. The government, rather than being magisterially even-handed, has taken sides. Instead of funding scholarships for accomplished young people, it funds scholarships for racially appropriate people (emphasis mine):
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in town Monday to promote her newly released memoir, said she couldn’t talk about affirmative action because of a pending court case. In the next breath, she talked about what it had meant to her – admission to Princeton and Yale Law School and the launching of a legal career.
“I was given the chance to get to the start of the race and it changed my life,” the 58-year-old justice told a sold-out Commonwealth Club audience at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.
When she entered Princeton on a scholarship in 1972 despite unspectacular test scores, she recalled, the school was in only its third year of admitting women and had barely a handful of minority students.
Isn’t that nice for Sotomayor? She got into Princeton despite the fact that she didn’t qualify. And doesn’t it just suck for the hard-working white or Asian kid who, in that same year, had spectacular test scores (not to mention good grades), but was nevertheless barred from Princeton because Sotomayor took her place? If Sotomayor had been a brilliant student, it’s probable that none of us would have cared that she, a kid from a dodgy New York neighborhood, was granted admission over a kid from somewhere suburbia. What grates is that Sotomayor hadn’t earned her place academically.
I recognize that Sotomayor’s opportunity came about in 1972, when affirmative action was meant to be a quick fix — a head start — to make up for the decades of discrimination that immediately preceded those first few years of affirmative action. What rankles is that, two generations later, we’re still giving a hand up to mediocre people in the name of race. In other words, we’ve institutionalized racism just as certainly as those Jim Crow people did. We now frame it affirmatively, in that we boast that we’re pulling some people up, as opposed to pushing other people down, but it’s the same thing: too often race, not merit, determines who gets to grab the educational and employment gold ring.
Sotomayor seems like a nice, hard-working woman, although I couldn’t disagree more with her approach to the law. She also seems like someone who benefited from an inequitable program at a time that at least gave some credibility to the program, but who now seeks to use the extraordinary power granted to her to make Leftist Jim Crow laws a permanent part of America’s racist landscape.
*I’d originally written “economically disadvantaged children,” and then thought, “Why am I cluttering my writing with this lardy PC jargon?” So I changed it to “poor children,” which makes the point just fine.
A few days ago, I posited that Obama might have come up with the faux Kenyan identity because, in 1979, when he was graduating from high school, the Supreme Court’s 1978 decision Regents of the University of California v. Bakke had done away with affirmative action. (Universities eventually developed workarounds, but those didn’t exist in 1979.)
I didn’t get a mention or a link, but I think this paragraph, in a Breitbart expose about Obama’s probable low SAT scores, shows that my theory is gaining traction — namely, that Bakke somehow mattered:
It is possible that Obama benefited from Columbia’s affirmative action program, which the university had recently defended in an amicus curie brief to the Supreme Court in the celebrated Bakke case (1977). Columbia joined several other elite universities in defending the use of race as a factor in college admissions. The brief had argued that “minority status must be considered independently of economic or cultural deprivation.”
Given that 1981 turned out to be a relatively easy year to enter Columbia as a transfer student, and the fact that Obama was applying as a transfer student from a private college in California, as well as a minority student, Obama likely would have stood out among applicants, regardless of his scores and grades.
I don’t agree with the above statement, by the way, which is that Obama benefited from affirmative action. I think Obama’s problem in 1978/1979 was that he couldn’t benefit from affirmative action, despite being a self-confessed slacker. He needed to come up with another hustle, and I’m willing to bet that it was a Kenyan identity — which is the reason his transcripts are hidden.
I mean, think about it: Obama has already confessed that he was a drug-user and a slacker, so no one could reasonably expect him to have decent grades. Transcripts with low grades could be explained away, especially Obama he matured and proved his brilliance later.
Transcripts stating that Obama was a foreign student, however, are impossible to explain away. And since I believe Barry was born in Hawaii, why would the transcripts say he was foreign-born (assuming, of course, that they do)? Self-identifying as a foreign national makes sense only if it was to Obama’s advantage to state that kind of lie — and the only advantage would be easier college admission. Further, the only reason in an affirmative action world that a black guy would need an admission advantage is if he was getting into college during that very small historical window when, thanks to Bakke, affirmative action wasn’t available.
Barack Obama has kept carefully hidden all of his college records. Many of us have assumed that this secrecy is because those papers show that he took nothing but Leftist Mickey Mouse classes and ended up with lousy grades.
Now that we know that Obama marketed himself to publishers as a Kenyan, though, we’re beginning to suspect that the papers hide, not only academic mediocrity, but the same Kenyan identity Obama was using to market himself in the publishing world. The question, of course, is why would Obama pretend to be African? After all, when it came to college admissions, wasn’t being black good enough for affirmative action purposes?
Normally, in the years since the Civil Rights movement, the answer would be “Yes, being half-black (not half-white, but half-black) should have given Obama the leg-up he needed to parlay mediocre grades and a drug habit into a shiny diploma from one of America’s best institutions of higher education.” Obama’s problem, though, was that he came of age at a very specific time in the annals of affirmative action. To appreciate this, you have to know that Obama, who graduated from high school in 1979, must have started looking at colleges in 1978.
When it comes to college admissions, 1978 isn’t just any year. It’s a very special year. It was the year that the Supreme Court decided Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) 438 U.S. 265.
Allan Bakke was a young man with an excellent academic record, who nevertheless got turned down by 12 medical schools. When he applied to the medical school at UC Davis, and was again rejected, he learned that he had almost certainly lost out on the opportunity to attend that medical school because UC had set a quota for admitting non-white people in order to meet the University’s “diversity” requirements. Bakke sued. In a deeply fragmented decision, the Supreme Court held that this race-based admission process was unconstitutional.
With that decision, Obama, who was a self-confessed slacker in high school, suddenly lost his e-ticket to a good college. He couldn’t know then (nor would it have mattered) that the various concurrences in this deeply divided opinion would eventually open the door to colleges and universities making race a “factor” in admission, so much so that this “factor-ness” eventually created a whole new quota system.
My best guess is that, denied an opportunity to use quota systems to parlay a lousy academic record into a quality college admission, Obama searched around for other means of bypassing his academic failings. It was this search that led him to announce that he was Kenyan. I’m sure that a certain amount of digging will reveal that, just when the Bakke decision came down, American universities were engaged in some sort of pro-active policy involving increasing the number of African nationals on America’s college campuses. Obama was happy to oblige the universities in this effort by co-opting his father’s nationality, and burying the fact that he was a garden-variety American black kid.
There’s the nexus — In 1978, Obama, who already then was willing to lie to achieve his goals, created a false identity to deal with the changes the Bakke decision wrought on college admissions.
UPDATE: This isn’t so much an “update,” as it is further thoughts. Although this post might explain why Obama did what he did, it’s really less of a post about Obama himself than it as an indictment showing the rot in the whole race/affirmative action system.
I actually came at the theory bass ackwards, when I was writing about the commonality between Warren and Obama. I began by looking at affirmative action’s origins as a well-intentioned paving stone on the road to Hell. In the beginning, do-gooders felt that it made sense to give the then-current generation of blacks a leg up, rather than making them wait the two to three generations it took other disenfranchised people (Irish immigrants, Italian immigrants, Jewish immigrants, etc.) to “make it” in America. After all, we had forced upon these blacks their sufferings, and it was up to us to fix it, and to fix it quickly.
Once it affirmative action became institutionalized, however, it inevitably became corrupt. From the institution’s side, it was a numbers game and a way to boast about liberal credibility, irrespective of whether the student or employee benefiting actually suffered handicaps from his or her race. (Witness the way Harvard milked Elizabeth Warren’s Native Americanism, despite the fact that, even if true, it never handicapped her upbringing or denied her educational opportunities.)
From the point of view of ordinary Americans who were willing to say anything to advance, it became a ginormous loophole. For example, back in the 1970s, I knew a rich Jewish girl with average grades who got into Lowell, San Francisco’s academic high school, by using a dark complexion and a fake accent (~) on her lily-white name to pretend to be Hispanic. Fearing a charge of racism, the district caved and let her in, despite the fact that other students who did not run from their white heritage had better grades. Elizabeth Warren is not the first to play this game.
Thinking about this history, I asked myself why Obama didn’t just leverage himself through the system based upon his being half-black? Why did he have to be African? It was those high school memories that let me to the answer. Like me, Barack Obama, who is almost exactly my age, graduated in the shadow of Bakke. It didn’t affect me, but it sure as heck must have affected him.
Standing alone, my Bakke theory does nothing more than prove, once more, that Obama lies, which is something we’ve seen in real time over the last 3.5 years. Nevertheless, I think this theory has a larger utility insofar as it lays bare one of the rotten pillars of the Leftist race hustlers.
(Welcome, Daily Caller readers!)
Jerry Brown has nominated Teveia Barnes to be the new commissioner for California’s Department of Financial Institutions. This means that she is the ultimate regulatory authority for more than 300 California-chartered banks and other financial institutions.
Barnes has an impressive resume, including a lengthy stint as associate general counsel and senior vice president at Bank of America. This is a woman who knows banks. Before law, she was a serious academic at Rice, which is a serious school. She graduated in 1975 with a triple undergraduate degree in economics, German studies, and poly sci. She then got her law degree from the New York University Law School. She entered law school in 1975, which was a time when law schools were finally acknowledging that women were part of the legal package. Those women I know who graduated from law schools back then had a tough time. They were not made to feel welcome.
In addition to her solid academic and professional resume, Barnes is also a committed Democrat. Or at least she’s become a committed Democrat since Obama’s rise. From the years 2000 to 2007, she made $500 in donations to Democrat groups. Beginning in 2008, and continuing through to this year, her donations totaled $12,500, all to Obama’s campaign, Obama’s PACs or general Democrat groups. She made herself visible and Jerry Brown responded. That’s fine. That’s how politics works.
The one thing that concerns me is that, for the past 13 years, Barnes’ has committed her life to the diversity industry. She comes to her government job from a long stint as president of Lawyers for One America. In many ways, just as Barnes is exemplary, so too is the organization. One of its major goals is to see that minorities in America get good legal representation, something that is often achieved by encouraging high powered lawyers and law firms to take on pro bono work. The other major goal, however, is simply the usual diversity business:
The lack of meaningful diversity in the legal profession is a grave issue directly related to opportunity. While people of color comprise approximately one-quarter of the American population, just 10 percent of the legal profession consists of people of color. Attorneys of color comprise just 3 percent of attorneys in law firms, traditionally the centers of power in the profession. LFOA assists in increasing the percentage of lawyers of color in the profession. This work helps provide economic opportunity to those to whom it was previously unavailable.
In other words, this is all about affirmative action. What the affirmative action mavens refuse to acknowledge is that affirmative action doesn’t necessarily serve minority communities well. The communities get lawyers but, sadly, they don’t always get good lawyers. Instead, they get lawyers who have been pushed into and through the system because of their race. Some of them end up doing very well, of course. Others, well, not so much. Putting people in over their head means that a few of the strongest will swim, but most will drown.
Despite statistical evidence showing that affirmative action probably ran its course about thirty years ago, Barnes and her group think that professional profiling (Is someone the right race? Is someone the right sex?) is the only thing that matters when it comes to ensuring good lawyering for minorities:
Ms. Barnes said the legal profession in general is behind the times when it comes to promoting women and people of color. She believes the dominance of white men in the legal profession hurts all of society because minority attorneys are not readily available to provide volunteer legal-aide services.
“For women and lawyers of color, it is difficult for them to have that added time to do that pro bono work that I would otherwise hope they want to do, because they’re struggling with their careers,” she said. “They’re working twice as hard to just maintain their career, to just showcase what they can do, and to prove their value to the organization. And so they have to be pretty well established before they’ll risk doing the pro bono work that all lawyers should be doing.”
This obsession with race and gender strikes me as peculiarly antebellum South. It’s as if America’s blacks internalized entirely the old Southern message about white male superiority, and black and female inferiority and then, 150 years later, regurgitated it, only backwards. It was a horrible, limiting, prejudicial attitude back then, and it’s just as bad now, even with the roles reversed.
My concern as a citizen of the once great state of California is that Barnes’ racial and gender blinders, blinders just as thick and distorted as those worn by a Southern planter back in the 1850s, will lead her to make impositions upon and demands of California’s financial institutions that have nothing to do with good financial practices, and everything to do with advancing an antiquated view of humans, one that sees them controlled and limited by their skin color or sex.
I hope that Barnes, with her impressive academic and professional background, will be able to overcome her own prejudices. I’m not sanguine, though, given that the last twelve years of her life have seen her completely submersed in the racial diversity machinery, one that believes that government’s job is to give minorities a helping hand, and to give whites, especially white men, the back of the hand.
One of the many blessings of our American military is that it’s a Constitutional military that has as its Commander in Chief a civilian elected by the American public. (Although history has shown, fairly recently in fact, that the American public sometimes elects bad CinCs.) Because the elected CinC is frequently someone without military experience, a theoretically non-partisan command hierarchy exists to advise him.
For the most part, our military does a decent job of avoiding politics. I’m not always sure how it manages this. For example, the current CinC just announced cuts that will reduce our military to 1930s status — and we know how well that went back then. He did so despite the fact that world events put the lie to his happy peppy statement that the world is entering a time of peace. Our poor military. It gets an order from its CinC — “You must shrink” — and then has to figure out how to do that without destroying itself.
So, how does a Constitutional military handle a command from on high that is stupid, unrealistic and dangerous? I guess it does what our military did: It follows orders, announcing a plan to shrink, one that serious military analysts find very worrisome. Even smart militaries have to do stupid because the rules of them game require them to do so.
Sometimes, though, the military manages to engage in unforced errors that are clearly the result of politicization. This is not party politics, it’s just Beltway, Foggy Bottom stupidity. After all, if you’re going to hang around the Pentagon for a while, you’re going to be infected by the political pandering that makes Washington what it is — a place and entity that nobody likes or respects. In this case, the United States Army could not resist affirmative action’s siren song.
You probably recall reading back in September 2009 that the Army (which was now reporting to the Obama White House) appointed the first woman ever as Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army’s Drill Sergeant School (DSS). What made this appointment even more exciting for those in the affirmative action business was the fact that Teresa King wasn’t just female, she was black. It was a two-fer for political correctness.
If Sergeant Major King had been female, black, battle hardened, and brilliant, everything would have been fine and dandy. Unfortunately, King seems to have been more decorative than functional as a Sergeant Major:
Reports from MCC’s on the ground correspondents say King’s suspension from duty was prompted by her heavy drinking, sexual relationship with a lower ranking enlisted soldier, and the fact that at least one of the college degree she listed on her resume is from a schools deemed to be diploma mill.
Almeda College where King lists as the school from which she was granted a Master’s degree in business management, has been closed by legal action in both Florida and Idaho because it was declared a fake institution.
Another embarrassing element of King’s persona – which she has built around a “sergeant no slack” façade — is the fact that in spite of her tough talk, she has never been in a combat zone, which makes gaining the respect of her battle-hardened veteran students difficult at best.
Whoops! One wonders if King willingly went along with the charade that she was competent, or if the heavy drinking is a sign that she was an affirmative action sacrificial lamb who knew she was in over her head.
The problem, of course, is that the decorative Sergeant Major King did not hold a merely decorative position. Unlike today’s European royals, who are meaningless figureheads, King was appointed to an extremely important institution, ones that trains the Army’s backbone: the sergeants. Heck, I’ve watched enough Hollywood movies to know that, without the sergeant drilling, haranguing, fathering (and mothering) the troops, there is no Army (or Marine Corp, or anything else). For the powers that be at the Pentagon to play silly little political games to curry favor with the Obama administration, with the U.S. Military paying the price, is a shocking example of politics. Not partisan politics, just stupid politics.
Sergeant Major King has currently been suspended from duty and the Army is doing its best to keep this story off the front page. Funnily enough, King’s lack of qualifications should help. If King was actually as good as she should have been, the MSM would have been all over a story “proving” that the Army is a racist, sexist organization that never gave the first black, female Command Sergeant Major a chance. However, if the charges against King are true — that she was a shabby paper tiger who never should have gotten the job — the MSM will work tightly with the Army to keep this story out of the public eye. For the Army, the appointment is an embarrassing example of stupid; for the media, it’s a glaring failure in their affirmative action world view.
I just returned from seeing Disney’s latest release, The Princess and the Frog. Looked at purely from an entertainment standpoint, the movie is a delight. The hand drawn animation is imaginative and, at times, exquisitely beautiful. When the Bayou lights up at sunset with fireflies, every little girl in the audience emits a rapturous “oooooh.” The music, which Randy Newman composed, is a high energy blend of New Orleans jazz, Cajun zydeco and friendly pop. You won’t leave the movie theater being able to sing any of the songs (those types of songs seem to have been banished from movies forever), but your brain will definitely be happy with the melodies that zip around, lighting up various synapses.
As for the storyline, that’s where the real magic lies. But to explain just how magical it is, I need to back up a little bit. In pre-1960s America, the black community was sorely beaten down. I don’t need to recite here the insults, indignities and limitations that came with Jim Crow. Even outside of the South, black opportunities for economic advancement were limited, and blacks were routinely subjected to demeaning treatment. Unsurprisingly, in the first half of the 20th century, American blacks beat out white Americans in every negative indicator: compared to whites, black communities had more crime, more illegitimacy, more illiteracy and much, much more poverty.
Despite these severe, externally imposed limitations on the American black community, throughout the early 20th century the story of American blacks was one that showed an upward trajectory. (Although, thinking about it, maybe that resilience isn’t a surprise. Just as the body strengthens only when it is exposed to resistance, it may be true that a community often finds strength if it must push back against hardship.) The Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and the Chicago Renaissance in the 1950s revealed a black community that had a ferocious pride and intellectualism.
Economic opportunities were also opening up. For example, a job as a Pullman Porter provided an economic pathway to the middle class for those black man able to make the sacrifice of being on the road all the time. Between decent (for blacks) salaries and good tips, the men who held those jobs could provide for their families. The same job allowed blacks, formerly blinkered by geographic limitations, to see larger possibilities, both social and economic, in the world around them. Blacks were also leaving an indelible musical mark on American culture, one that elevated their status amongst young whites, who were the up-and-coming generation.
Looking at the strides blacks were making, in education, in employment, and in culture, it is obvious that the Civil Rights movement didn’t appear out of nowhere. It was the logical trajectory for an increasingly educated, empowered, sophisticated American black community.
One of the bizarre legacies of the Civil Rights movement, however, wasn’t the continued economic and social ascendancy of American blacks. Instead, the Civil Rights signaled the reverse, which was the destruction of many sectors of the African American community. I don’t say this to denigrate the important rights the movement affirmed belong to all Americans or the benefits that flowed to all of America from the recognition of black civil rights. American law now properly ensures that blacks (and all races) have equal access to every available opportunity America has to offer. Blacks, rightly, cannot be denied food, shelter, education or employment because of their skin color. The same movement, however, that affirmed that all men are indeed created equal, also cheated blacks in ways no one anticipated back in 1964.
In the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights bill, well-meaning liberals fanned out throughout black communities and told black people that, rather than working, they should take government handouts. As they explained it to blacks who had clawed their way up the first few rungs of the economic ladder by relying on self-reliance and community pride, these government funds weren’t really handouts at all. Instead, they were an appropriate form of retribution for the free labor blacks provided in America for hundreds of years. By making this pitch to blacks to give up self-reliance and become dependent on the government, blacks were first introduced to, and then embraced, the notion that, since slavery was work, all work is slavery. Work was no longer the measure of a man’s (or a woman’s) worth. It was a symbol of oppression, and therefore to be avoided.
The same held true in the world of education. In an effort to jumpstart the black community on the path to professionalism, the guilt-ridden white middle class skipped the obvious, which was to focus its efforts on family, culture and early childhood education. Instead, it decided that the best thing to do was to give adult blacks a free-ish path to the best educational institutions in America. In the short run, it seemed like a brilliant idea, since we all know that a Harvard degree opens doors. In the long run, it was a disaster. As I wrote in my post about Barack Obama’s affirmative action presidency:
[I]f you set the standards lower for one racial group than for others, three things will happen: First, the race that has the lower hurdles will stop trying as hard. After all, humans are rational creatures, and people working toward a goal are wise to work only as hard as they need, and no harder. Why expend energy unnecessarily?
Second, those members of the race who are fully capable of competing without a handicap will also behave rationally and conserve their energy, because it’s the smart thing to do. This means that the lower hurdles will deprive them of the psychological opportunity to stretch and prove themselves.
Third, a lot of people who would not normally have been in the race at all will bob up to the top, thanks to that handicap. Worse, if there is a critical mass of mediocrity floating along on this tide of affirmative action, those mediocre people will inevitably, through sheer numbers, become representative of the racial group. In other words, if you give enough mediocre people in a specific racial group a head start so that they win, it looks as if all the winners from that particular racial group are mediocre.
The above realities mean that you end up with two dire situations for the racial group that affirmative action is infantilizing: First, an enormous number of useless people become very poor representatives of their race. And second, people who are genuinely good and deserving of recognition end up being thrown in the hopper of useless beneficiaries who achieved high status without ability or effort.
So, in a generation, American blacks went from being a community that was forced at whip’s end to give away its labor for free, to one that was assured that there was true virtue in getting money for nothing. Likewise, the American black community that was for so long denied the opportunity to educate itself, learned that it could now get the degrees without bothering with the education. Inevitably, America ended up with a black community that, at the thickest part of the bell curve, is averse to expending any effort to make money or learn. Why bother, after all? Common sense tells American blacks that money and meaningless degrees will come their way regardless of effort.
The result of post-Civil Rights liberal meddling is 40+ years of learned helplessness in the black community, and the profound sense of inferiority that goes along with that kind of helplessness. Blacks can talk about “Black pride,” and celebrate Black History month, but the savvy ones know it’s a sham. Their wings have been clipped. Pride comes from effort and achievement, not from largesse handed out by guilty white liberals. (Incidentally, if anyone is getting the wrong idea at about this point, I am not arguing that blacks are inferior. I believe that blacks are in every respect equal to whites, or any other race. I am arguing that the legacy of the American Civil Rights movement is a black community that has been trained to be helpless and that therefore views itself as inferior.)
And that’s where The Princess and the Frog comes in. Early Disney fairy tales assured young girls that if they were very meek and worked hard to serve others, they would succeed. (Snow White and Cinderella, for example.) At least one movie emphasized sleep as a useful virtue (that would be Sleeping Beauty). In recent years, girls have been encouraged to be feisty and to rebel against whatever it is their life happens to be. (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Mulan spring to mind.)
While the more recent movies have a much less passive message than the old ones (and I’m not knocking the old ones; I love them), they still don’t offer much in the way of life advice. Rebellion, pretty much for the sake of rebellion, is not a useful tool. This is especially true for the black community, which has locked itself in a victim mentality that routinely sees its members cutting off their noses to spite their faces, just to make the point that the white establishment can boss them around. The relentless push for ebonics education, a sure way to keep blacks mired in the ghetto and out of the money jobs, is a perfect illustration of this reactive, rather than proactive, tendency.
The Princess and the Frog, however, offers an entirely new message: Find your talent, pick a goal, and work really, really hard. Oh, and find support in your family values and your community. And also . . . don’t rely on other people. You are responsible for your own success. If obstacles stand in your way, don’t give up. Keep going . . . and going . . . and going.
It’s rather embarrassing that this obvious life lesson — find a goal, work hard, and stay focused — had to come from a paternalistic white corporation. Regardless of the source, however, the lesson is an important one for all people. And, sadly, it’s an especially important one for youngsters in the black community, all of whom have been told for more than forty years that they way to get ahead is to be first in line at the government hand-out center.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
When I was a very little girl, back in the hard drinking 1960s, an expression I frequently heard was that someone or something needed a bit of “the hair of the dog that bit you.” I used to think that actually meant people would consume dog hair to cure their ills. It was only later that I learned that one of the best — and, of course, worst — remedies for a hangover is more alcohol. Even as it cures the original hangover, it sets the drinker up for the next hangover. It appears to be a cure, but is merely part of the problem.
I think that exactly the same can be said of affirmative action. Ostensibly meant to provide minorities (read: African Americans) with a necessary leg up in a fundamentally discriminatory culture, it actually creates a situation in which blacks never have to achieve, and therefore never do achieve.
The problem extends beyond the education world, which sees colleges and universities happy to play this nasty little game to assuage their collective white, liberal consciences. For many years, it has been creating actual unemployment in the real world, where businesses that are tied to the bottom line cannot afford to play the same affirmative action game that colleges play so effortlessly. Business, after all, don’t get the government help (read: taxpayer money) that flows to our institutions of higher education.
I mention this now because of two articles that appeared with two days of each other in two bastions of liberal thinking, the Washington Post and the New York Times. The WaPo reports on a study showing that minorities continue to fall behind when it comes to American higher education. First, the problem:
A new report, billed as one of the most comprehensive studies to date of how low-income and minority students fare in college, shows a wide gap in graduation rates at public four-year colleges nationwide and “alarming” disparities in success at community colleges.
The analysis, released Thursday, found that about 45 percent of low-income and underrepresented minority students entering as freshmen in 1999 had received bachelor’s degrees six years later at the colleges studied, compared with 57 percent of other students.
Fewer than one-third of all freshmen entering two-year institutions nationwide attained completion — either through a certificate, an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year college — within four years, according to the research. The success rate was lower, 24 percent, for underrepresented minorities, identified as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans; it was higher, 38 percent, for other students.
Only 7 percent of minority students who entered community colleges received bachelor’s degrees within 10 years.
If it were up to me, the solution would be to demand that minorities who enter American educational institutions have met the same standards as whites and Asians in those same institutions. Only a head-in-the-clouds academic (read: liberal) would think that it is reasonable or fair to tell African Americans that they don’t need to do well in order to enter colleges and universities, only to be surprised that, while actually attending those institutions, these conned minority students continue to do badly. And only a head-in-the-clouds liberal would think that these same students would be able to, or even want to, stick it out at some fou-fou university, when they are pathetically scraping along at the bottom of the class. In the real world, people have to hunger to achieve, they have to work hard, and then they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Liberals deny that to blacks, and then they’re surprised when these same blacks neither want to nor are able to perform.
Sadly, the government and our educational institutions are run by these head-in-the-cloud liberal academics, so they’re determining the solutions — and, naturally, the solutions they endorse are the hair of the same dog that has been biting African-American students for the past 30 plus years: more affirmative action, which is a disincentive to learning and achieving. The WaPo article, admittedly, is rather coy about the affirmative action solution, but it’s implied between the lines:
The Access to Success Initiative, announced in 2007, predates President Obama’s American Graduation Initiative announced this year, which calls for the United States to regain the global lead in college degrees by 2020. Any progress charted by the 24 college and university systems, which include the University System of Maryland and state university systems in California and New York, will dovetail “very neatly” with the president’s goal, said Haycock, whose organization advocates for disadvantaged students.
One bright spot in the research was the Pell Grant, the federal program to help low-income students through college. The study found that Pell recipients at community colleges completed their studies at a rate of 32 percent, the same as other students. Pell students who transferred to four-year colleges also graduated at the same rate, 60 percent, as other students.
A bill pending in Congress would strengthen the Pell program by raising the maximum grant and tying the program to inflation for the first time.
You got that, right? The solution is to throw more money at institutions that take minorities, not to demand that minorities compete going into the schools, so that they can stick around, and then compete when they come out again.
We Americans have seen for thirty years that more money enriches the politicos and the administration and the unions, without making much difference in the student outcomes. I figured that out back in the late 1980s, when I learned that the Sausalito school district, which is just north of San Francisco, was both the best funded and the worst performing district in California. I don’t know if either of those facts still holds true for Sausalito in 2009, but it was an object lesson to me at that time that there comes a point where a system is so dysfunctional that money becomes irrelevant.
As long as public schools have no accountability to anybody (a situation that would change dramatically if we switched to a voucher system), and as long as the educational and political classes are committed to affirmative action, nothing is going to change at the college and university level. Just as the drunk needs more alcohol to provide the appearance of a temporary cure for a deeper problem, so too do our educational institutions and our poor, deluded African American population demand more money as the solution to a problem that has little to do with money, and everything to do with the subtle racism of low expectations.
Things are different in the business world, and will continue to be so until Barack Obama has successfully “bailed out” the entire capital system, turning the U.S. into a giant, politically correct, bankrupt morass. In the interim, as the New York Times reports, businesses don’t want blacks, even educated ones. The Times report, of course, implies racism, with evil white capitalists anxious to depress “uppity blacks.”
Johnny R. Williams, 30, would appear to be an unlikely person to have to fret about the impact of race on his job search, with companies like JPMorgan Chase and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago on his résumé.
But after graduating from business school last year and not having much success garnering interviews, he decided to retool his résumé, scrubbing it of any details that might tip off his skin color. His membership, for instance, in the African-American business students association? Deleted.
That race remains a serious obstacle in the job market for African-Americans, even those with degrees from respected colleges, may seem to some people a jarring contrast to decades of progress by blacks, culminating in President Obama’s election.
But there is ample evidence that racial inequities remain when it comes to employment. Black joblessness has long far outstripped that of whites. And strikingly, the disparity for the first 10 months of this year, as the recession has dragged on, has been even more pronounced for those with college degrees, compared with those without. Education, it seems, does not level the playing field — in fact, it appears to have made it more uneven.
The discrimination is rarely overt, according to interviews with more than two dozen college-educated black job seekers around the country, many of them out of work for months. Instead, those interviewed told subtler stories, referring to surprised looks and offhand comments, interviews that fell apart almost as soon as they began, and the sudden loss of interest from companies after meetings.
As for me, I reject the Times’ implication that white owned American businesses are trying to sneak Jim Crow in through the back door. Instead, the problem young, educated blacks have in the employment market arises because businesses have figured out that, because blacks aren’t required to have many skills going into universities, they’re equally unlikely to have when they emerge clutching a degree with the politically correct, affirmative action stamp of approval appended to the bottom. In other words, affirmative action has so badly corrupted the “brand name” of the college educated black person, even a person who is intelligent and skilled is tainted by that corruption.
When history books are written, affirmative action is going to be recognized for what it is: a terrible scourge, destroying the upwardly mobile black middle class. As I said in my post accusing Obama of being the quintessential example of affirmative action, in that he is all college papers and no substance, affirmative action tells blacks that they don’t have to work to succeed. That’s a powerful and corrupting message. Even the best and brightest will economize their mental energies and do the bare minimum necessary to get into and get out of colleges and universities. But as the system passes through more and more blacks who are either unable to achieve from the get-go, or unwilling to achieve because they’ve been assured of a free pass regardless, the black brand is going to be associated, as it was in the Jim Crow era, with people who are unintelligent, ineffective and lazy. That this is not true for many graduates, or for many who don’t go to school, is irrelevant. It is enough that the visible blacks have been corrupted by the system for all of them to bear that stigma.
Once again, liberalism, while parading as the blacks’ true friend, is proving itself to be their mortal enemy, destroying them by denying them the incentive and opportunity to be all that they can be.
UPDATE: This seemed the perfect place to add a video of Congressional candidate Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, because he is the wonderful, marvelous antithesis of our affirmative action president:
Jennifer Rubin has a very good post today about the reasons that the “smart” Obama may be struggling so mightily to be a good president. She offers three basic reasons that may explain Obama’s ineptitude, whether it touches economics, diplomacy, or national security:
First, the punditocracy confused credentials with knowledge or smarts.
Second, even intelligent and well-schooled people can be poor managers, bad decision makers, and indecisive leaders.
And finally, as Ronald Reagan said, “The trouble with our liberal friends isn’t that they are ignorant; it is that they know so much that isn’t so.”
I agree with everything Rubin says about the gross inefficiencies and thinking errors even smart people can display, except for one thing: I disagree with her fundamental premise. I don’t think Obama is smart at all. I think his reputation for smarts is one of the great cons foisted on the American people, greater even than the con that Gore and Kerry, both of whom were undistinguished college students, as their transcripts show, were smarter than Bush, whose transcripts reveal him to be a slightly better student than those two “men of genius.”
We have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Obama is smart. To begin with, we have no evidence at all of his academic abilities. (And I will concede that, while academic smarts don’t demonstrate functional intelligence, they are still a good yardstick of a brain that operates at a fairly high level.) We do not know how he did in Indonesia, his high school years are a blur, we do not know what happened during his stint at Occidental, we know nothing about his Columbia years, and the only thing we know about his Harvard years is that he made Law Review.
Liberals like to point to the Columbia and Harvard attendance (let alone the Law Review) as evidence in and of itself that the guy is smart. After all, only smart people go to those schools. Au contraire, my friends. Thanks to the poisonous influence of affirmative action, an influence alive and well during Obama’s entire academic career, only smart whites and Asians go to those schools. If you’re black and ambitious, you can into and stay in those schools despite less than stellar academic showings. Columbia and Harvard need black admissions, and neither can afford for those blacks, once they’re in the school, to appear to be failing.
Let me insert here that I very strongly believe that that blacks can qualify for Columbia and Harvard on their own terms. I am not publishing here a racist disquisition about black intelligence. Anyone who reads that into what I’m writing here is reading me wrong.
What I am saying, is that if you set the standards lower for one racial group than for others, three things will happen: First, the race that has the lower hurdles will stop trying as hard. After all, humans are rational creatures, and people working towards a goal are wise to work only as hard as they need, and no harder. Why expend energy unnecessarily?
Second, those members of the race who are fully capable of competing without a handicap will also behave rationally and conserve their energy, because it’s the smart thing to do. This means that the lower hurdles will deprive them of the psychology opportunity stretch and prove themselves.
Third, a lot of people who would not normally have been in the race at all will bob up to the top, thanks to that handicap. Worse, if there is a critical mass of mediocrity floating along on this tide of affirmative action, those mediocre people will inevitably, through sheer numbers, become representative of the racial group. In other words, if you give enough mediocre people in a specific racial group a head start so that they win, it looks as if all the winners from that particular racial group are mediocre.
The above realities mean that you end up with two dire situations for the racial group that affirmative action infantilizing: First, an enormous number of useless people become very poor representatives of their race. And second, people who are genuinely good and deserving of recognition end up being thrown in the hopper of useless beneficiaries who achieved high status without ability or effort.
My argument is that Barack Obama is one of the number of useless, mediocre people who, thanks to affirmative action, have been elevated to a position far above their natural abilities. The absence of grades is not the only indication of Obama’s intellectual weakness. (And believe me, if his grades were good, they’d be published in every paper in America, including the want ads.)
Everything Obama’s turned his hand to — except for using people to advance his career — has failed. The Annenberg Challenge was a $100 million disaster. His legal career was, to say that least, undistinguished. (I should add here that junior associates always have undistinguished careers. There’s just not that much scope there.) His tenure as an Illinois State Senator was marked by dithering indecision, coupled with the intelligent strategy, for a stupid person, of simply vanishing when the votes came around. The same holds true for his career in the United States Senator. If you examine those two tenures in political office without the gloss of the media love affair, all you’ve got is plenty of nothing.
Obama’s professorship at the U. of Chicago law school was equally undistinguished. He published nothing. His disquisitions on the Constitution show he knows nothing. That is, he doesn’t even have the true intellectual’s excuse of fully understanding, but nevertheless arguing against, the language of the Constitution itself or the standard interpretations of that language. I pity the students who had his class.
All that the liberals can hang their hat on is that one book: Dreams. And even that is proving to be a remarkably weak reed. Jack Cashill has argued compellingly that Bill Ayers was the book’s principle author. Cashill has a two pronged attack for this. He demonstrates first, that Obama’s known prose stylings at the time (wooden, obfuscatory, cant-like), are completely unlike the fluid, artistic prose that gets people so excited about Dreams. I personally find that argument compelling, because I’ve always been struck by Obama’s ugly language when he’s off a teleprompter. This is not a man with any love for English.
The stylistic argument is also an easy argument to bat down. It’s always possible to point to a moment of incredible inspiration, when everything in the brain clicks and things just roll out like magic. That’s why I have a tab at my blog with an old poem of mine. I like to have it there because it’s a reminder that when we are inspired, when someone makes incredible demands upon us, we’re all capable of great things.
Cashill, though, is too smart to stop with the “it doesn’t really seem like his writing” argument. In article after article, he’s demonstrated that, stylistically, the writing is just like Ayers’ writing; that in terms of world view, the writing is just like Ayers’ writing (including all the nautical references that sit so well with Ayers, the former merchant marine); that anecdotally, the narratives precisely track events in Ayers’ life, right down to the description of the lavish mansion in which Ayers’ one-time girlfriend lived. I won’t summarize everything Cashill writes, but I do urge you to read his whole series of articles on the subject, which you can find here.
Conspiracy theories, of course, are easy. More than thirty percent of the American public believes that the Bush government brought down the Twin Towers so that Cheney would have an excuse to get government contracts for Halliburton in Iraq. Never mind the death of 3,000 innocents, never mind the impossibility of keeping such a vast conspiracy absolutely secret, nevermind the fact that Cheney didn’t work for Halliburton, and nevermind that those government contracts were anathema to Halliburton, because it had contracted for them a decade before, in a different economy — to the conspiracy theorists, all of the dots always connect.
For conspiracy theorists, life is always like that scene in the movie A Beautiful Mind, in which the genius gazes at thousands of random newspaper clippings taped to his wall and, in an instant of inspired schizophrenia, sees them all connect in a vast network of relationships. Except . . . except that Cashill has one weapon in his arsenal that no conspiracy theorist would ever have: completely independent corroboration of the fact that a panicked Obama, sitting on a $150,000 advance and utterly incapable of writing, high tailed it over to Bill Ayers house, and got all the help he needed.
All of which gets me back to Obama. None of the apparent indices of brains pan out: no grades, no job record, no book. Nothing at all. His sole talent, and I have to say that it’s a spectacular one, is to be a con man. He has a deep voice, good looks, and a network of behind the scenes operators who have been deeply invested in his advancement. The only problem with running a con, as Harold Hill discovered when he had to produce that “boys band,” is that, if you stick around after you’ve run the con, people expect you to perform. And Obama, who has none of the advertised talents, is utterly trapped.
The great pity for the American people is that, unlike the clever con man in a Broadway show/Hollywood musical, there is no miracle at the end when faith and love suddenly operate to produce the strained tones of the Minuet in G. All we’re hearing now is silence, a few cricket chirps, and the scary drone of muezzins and nuclear bombers in the background.
UPDATE: Right on schedule, a link about the genius that is Al Gore. This is not the only example, of course; just the latest.
I remain absolutely convinced that Obama, the boy genius of the left, is a product of affirmative action who is hiding his academic record because it is dismal. If it weren’t dismal, he’d be showing it off. Frankly, though, after thirty years of affirmative action, we expected nothing more from our academic institutions. That’s a shame, too, because it means that, for most Americans, a Harvard degree in the hands of a black or hispanic person is written off as a gift from a beneficent liberal bureaucracy, while a Harvard degree in the hands of a white or asian person means that person is damn smart. The presumption is that a minority couldn’t have made it on his (or her) own. Affirmative action, rather than removing hurdles, created an insuperable one, which is the virtually immovable assumption that all minorities are below average, and obtained their degrees with help.
For a long time, it seemed as if the military was the last bastion of quality in America: a place in which race, color, creed, religion or place of origin were irrelevant. What mattered in the military, we were told, was ability and commitment. It was the most successfully integrated institution in America because it was color blind. Turns out that is a lie.
The whole Hasan debacle revealed the PC horror of the military to a shocked America. Here was a ticking jihadist time bomb within the heart of our military, and no one did anything for fear of offending PC sensibilities. Then, in the wake of his massacre, the powers that be in the Obama administration and the military itself rushed out speeches, not to assure Americans that they were keeping us safe from jihadists, but to ensure jihadists that they were going to be kept safe from us.
That is a big, bloody story, but the PC corruption of a formerly egalitarian institution turns out to exist at all levels in the military. CDR Salamander let the cat out of the bag when he blogged about the way in which the Navy Color Guard put together for the World Series was jiggered and rejiggered so that it would look “good” (read, victim identity appropriate) for television. I was under the impression that Color Guard status was an assigned position based upon skills. It turns out, however, that what matters is that the Guard’s appearance appeals to identity politic sensibilities. I urge you to read Phibian’s original post (linked above), as well as his follow-up to that post.
Academic corruption is bad. It means that, in the marketplace, I’m going to place substantially less value on a black or hispanic person, than I will on a white person. If I were lawyer shopping, I’d pick the white Baylor grad over the black Harvard grad. At least with the former, I actually know what product I’m buying. With the military, though, because this is all about chain of command without any market freedom, the consequences are much worse than the devaluation of any specific diploma. Instead, troops in the military stand to die (as they did in Fort Hood), and we Americans stand to lose our freedoms as our military becomes ever less efficient and increasingly in thrall to the destructive forces of Political Correctness.
I’d like to add here that I am not racist, in that I do not believe that any specific race is inherently better or worse than any other race. Instead, I’m a smart shopper. If I know that a factory is cheating to turn out a product, I won’t buy from that factor. And it’s a damn shame that it’s minorities in America who are the ones being cheated.
The National Science Foundation describes itself as follows:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $6.06 billion, we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
We fulfill our mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants — currently about 10,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years — to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.
You can read the rest of its function and mission here. The salient points are the it’s a federally funded agency (that means we, the taxpayers, fund it); it’s mission is to make America a better, safer, place; it’s probably the single largest source of funds in America’s colleges and universities; and it works by handing out grants to deserving scientists.
As to the latter, let me reiterate how NSA defines it’s own mission: “to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system.” I think I should also reiterate that the Cold War-era mandate for this taxpayer funded institution is to keep America as safe and strong as possible. Back in 1950, the Congress envision hunting down the best thinkers in the country and paying them to do their best work for the country. It makes sense as a strategic national security decision in a scientific age.
That’s why it fascinated a dear friend of mine, and fascinates me, to see what the NSF looks for on its application form (click on thumbnail to enlarge):
Did you catch that bit about ethnicity? There are two choices: “(1) Hispanic of Latino or (2) Not Hispanic or Latino.” As my friend added in his email to me, “BTW, all this information is voluntary of course, and it would not affect the review process. Yeah right!”
From the teleprompter, that is. The guy’s oratorical skills decline rapidly without a script, don’t they? He makes Dan Quayle look like the prodigy of extemporaneous speaking.
Clearly, this guy needs a little less blind adulation, and a little more time at Toastmasters. I have said all along that Obama is not as smart as he (or his adulators) think he is. He’s a two bit bright guy who got propelled far beyond his actual, and probably very solid, capabilities because of direct and indirect affirmative action.
As for me, I’m not ready for the affirmative action presidency. I like my candidates qualified on their own merits, not because of some bizarre racial, and racist, quota system.
Hat tip: Hot Air
I found myself in the car yesterday afternoon listening for perhaps the 30th time to an episode of Avatar being played on the car DVD. I happen to think that Avatar is a rather unusually good kids’ show. Since this was routine car pooling, with the same passel of tired and cranky kids getting shlepped down the same stretch of freeway for the millionth time, I had no problem with stopping the bickering by directing their attention to the small DVD screen hanging from the car’s ceiling. For me, though, never having seen the show, but just having heard it over and over and over again, the whole experience was somewhat mind-numbing.
A numb mind is a wandering mind, and that’s what mine started to do. I started to think about the charges Wright made against America and white Americans — charges that many, many blacks seem to believe are true. The response white America has had to the revelation about these charges is that they are, in fact, not true. That while black Americans might once have been the victims of systemic government discrimination, that is no longer the case. Instead, America is, in fact, a land of opportunity for blacks as well as everyone else. Indeed, everything I’ve since Wright’s attitudes went public has basically said to blacks: “You’re wrong, so get over it.”
My thought experiment went a different way: What if, instead of saying to blacks that their underlying premise is wrong, we instead said that they’re right — That it’s absolutely true that, despite more than 40 years of Johnson’s Great Society, everything they complaint about is true? America does still systematically discriminations against black America, and it is accurate to call it the US of KKK. You — American black citizens — are also right that, more than 40 years after the Civil Rights movement, ordinary Americans are seething with racial hostility to blacks. (Keep in mind that I don’t agree with these statements; this is a thought experiment.)
In this universe, which embraces the belief that the USA is irremediably hostile to blacks and that nothing she has done has operated to their benefit, African Americans nevertheless continue to demand that the American government keep funding and expanding the same programs that the blacks insist have failed. For example, in his race speech, having accepted as true Wright’s complaint that African Americans are still getting the short end of the stick, Obama again demands government intervention:
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed.
Not just with words, but with deeds — by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.
Of course, Obama’s speech does not acknowledge one fact: Americans have been investing in school and communities, have been enforcing civil rights laws, have been making the criminal justice system more equal, and, through 40 years of quotas, affirmative action, anti-discrimination rules and public education, have been providing generations of black Americans with ladders of opportunity. In other words, for the past 40 years, Americans have been doing the opposite of saying, “Hell, no! We’re not going to pass any laws or do anything that might theoretically benefit African Americans.”
Nevertheless, despite more than 40 years of passing laws that are intended to affect American blacks, the same laws that Obama continues to demand we pass, Wright and other African-Americans have concluded that we’ve failed dismally in all these efforts. No matter what we do, we’re so deeply tainted and racist that nothing changes. I mean, countries rise and fall in 40 years, but we still haven’t been able, as a nation, the fix the black communities’ problems.
Given what black Americans see as America’s pathetic failure to correct the intrinsic problem of anti-black racism, which translates into black failure, what do you think black America should do? As I noted above, the current attitude from the Left now (and that is the side most black Americans embrace) is that black problems are America’s fault, so it is up to America to continue to try to fix them with more government problems. To date, however, by the blacks’ own testimony, America has proven woefully inept at fixing them.
It seems to me that, in the real world, if you give someone responsibility to fix a problem, and they fail repeatedly and overwhelmingly, then you start looking for new solutions. You don’t just say, “Well, I’ll just sit here in a mess of your making and wait for you to figure it out while I suffer.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to say, “You created the mess, but you’re obviously incapable of fixing the mess. I’d better do it myself.” I do not understand why the black community, having weighed us (white America) and found us wanting, continues to demand that we save it. Even conceding that everything wrong with the black community is indeed our fault, it’s become pretty apparent that we (that is, white Americans) are not fixing the problems. The profound irony, of course, is that the lack of fixes doesn’t affect us very much at all — but it affects black Americans terribly.
If things are as bad as Wright and his fellow travelers say, African Americans should be rejecting the Obama message of more government, rather than embracing it. After all, by their own testimony, the government is a failure. It has not done what it set out to do. African Americans should be demanding an entirely new approach, rather than more of the same. That they’re not making such demands can lead us to a couple of entirely different conclusions. The first is that, when it comes to the subject of government programs and race, African Americans fall within the jocular definition of insanity, which has one doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. The second, alternative conclusion, is that things have, in fact, improved under the government’s aegis, and that African Americans are worried that, if they concede that this is true, white America will say “Great, the job is done,” and then turn off the spigot.
The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that, if blacks are correct that America has been incapable of correcting the horrors it visited upon them, despite more than 40 years of trying, blacks must start taking care of themselves, rather than waiting another 40 years for us to get it right. What they’re doing right now, with a vengeance, is cutting of their collective noses to spite their collective faces. It may be all our fault, but they’re the ones suffering as they passively wait for us to figure out how to get it right.