My enlightening dinner with Blue State liberals

Dinner party

I had the opportunity the other day to dine with a collection of Blue State liberals.  It was enlightening, not because I actually learned anything from them, but because I learned about them.  It was also a reminder of how far I’ve traveled ideologically, because I used to be one of them.  Looking at them, I don’t regret my journey.

Most of the evening, of course, was idle chitchat, without any political ramifications.  Inevitably, though, politics and ideological issues cropped up.  I’ll just run down a few topics.

Antisemitism in higher education:

I was told in no uncertain terms that Columbia University cannot be antisemitic because it’s in New York.  My offer to produce evidence to support my thesis was rebuffed.  For those of you who, unlike Blue State liberals, feel that facts are valuable, these links support my contention that, New York address notwithstanding, Columbia is in thrall to Palestinian activists and BDS derangement:

100 Columbia professors demand divestment from Israel

Professors preach antisemitism from the Columbia pulpit

Columbia professor Joseph Massad, a one man antisemitism machine

Columbia students delighted at the opportunity to dine with Ahmadinejad

And of course, there’s simply the fact that Columbia is one of the more ideologically Left schools, although that wouldn’t have bothered my dinner companions.

The effect of taxes on investment:

One of my dinner companions is a successful investment analyst.  I asked him if he’d been hearing about any effects flowing from the Obamacare medical device tax.  “No, of course not.  It’s — what?  — a two percent tax.  That’s not going to make a difference to anybody.”  Again, my offer of contrary data was rejected, because it was obviously Fox News propaganda, never mind that it’s not from Fox News.  Stephen Hay, at Power Line, neatly summarizes a Wall Street Journal article predicated on actual investment data:

Today in my Constitutional Law class I’ll be taking up the famous case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the bank case from 1819 in which Chief Justice John Marshall observed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” which immediately set my mind to thinking about . . . Obamacare.  Obamacare’s medical device tax—a tax not on profits remember, but on revenues—is doing its destructive work already.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Funding Dries Up for Medical Startups,” noting that “Investment in the medical-device and equipment industry is on pace to fall to $2.14 billion this year, down more than 40% from 2007 and the sharpest drop among the top five industry recipients of venture funding.”  It seems we have to relearn every few years (such as the luxury boat tax of 1990, swiftly repealed when it killed the boat-building industry) the basic lesson that Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan taught us: tax something and you get less of it.  Especially when you tax it like Obamacare, where the tax significantly reduces the after-tax return to investors.

When a 2% tax is on after-tax returns, and it targets a specific industry, surprisingly it does make a big difference to people.  Right now, the difference is at the investment level, but soon it will be at the consumer level, as consumers are less likely than ever before to see life-changing inventions such as the insulin pump or the cochlear implant.

American healthcare compared to other Western countries:  Everybody agreed that America has the worst health care compared to those countries with socialized medicine.  Britain doesn’t count, my fellow dinners told me, because it’s “chosen” to offer bad health care.  My attempts to talk about freedom of choice, market competition, declining government revenue, cost-based decisions to deny treatment to whole classes of patients, etc., were rudely brushed aside.  “That’s just Fox News propaganda.”  Likewise, the liberals also dismissed as “Fox News propaganda” my statement that the studies they’re relying on have as their metric availability of coverage, rather than quality of outcome. I therefore wasn’t surprised when they equally rudely dismissed me when I said that a recent study showed that America has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world.

Since I know that you’d never be that rude, let me just quote Avik Roy, who actually studies the numbers:

It’s one of the most oft-repeated justifications for socialized medicine: Americans spend more money than other developed countries on health care, but don’t live as long. If we would just hop on the European health-care bandwagon, we’d live longer and healthier lives. The only problem is it’s not true.

[snip]

The problem, of course, is that there are many factors that affect life expectancy. One is wealth. It’s gross domestic product per capita, and not health-care policy, that correlates most strongly to life expectancy. Gapminder has produced many colorful charts that show the strong correlation between wealth and health.

[snip]

If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

[chart omitted]

U-S-A! U-S-A! What’s just as interesting is that Japan, the country that tops the overall life expectancy tables, finished in the middle of the pack on cancer survival.

I’m not doing justice Roy’s article with these snippets, so I urge you to read the whole thing.  Suffice to say that my companions were uninterested in data that ran counter to their narrative.

The racist inside every liberal:  My dinner companions did concede that culture is a factor in health care, although they stopped short of admitting (as they should have) that a country as diverse as America will never be able to counter cultural differences with socialized medicine.  (Or, rather, they couldn’t admit that it would take overwhelming government coercion to do so.)

One of the guests described a patient with a treatable disorder — i.e., one that could be controlled with a carefully regimented plan of medicine and treatment — who was too disorganized to follow the treatment.  As a result, this person ended up in the emergency room one to two times a month, at great cost to the system.  The healthcare provider finally hired a minimum wage worker to remind the patient to take the medicines and to drive the patient to the hospital.  Another guests said, “Black, right?”  The person who told the story said, “I can’t tell you that, but probably.”  They snickered companionably over the fact that blacks are just too dumb to care for themselves.

Another way of looking at it, though, was that this patient did fine:  The patient didn’t have to fuss with drugs (and their side-effects), got emergency treatment on an as-needed basis, and ended up having a dedicated employee to detail with the finicky little details of disease maintenance.  Who’s snickering now?

The power that maintains slavery:  One of the people at the dinner was a student studying American history.  The curriculum had reached the Civil War.  The student asked a good question:  “I don’t get how the slaves let themselves stay that way.  After all, they outnumbered the whites.”  Good point.  The liberal dinner guests started mumbling about systems, and complexity, and psychology.  And I do mean mumbling.  They didn’t offer data.  They just mouthed buzzwords such as “it’s complex,” or “you have to understand the system,” or “well, there’s a psychology there.”  I interrupted:  “The slave owners were armed.  The slaves were denied arms.  The side with weapons, even if it’s smaller in number, wins.”  To my surprise, none of the liberals in the room had anything to add.

The food was good and my dinner companions were periodically interesting and charming, so the dinner wasn’t a total loss.  Nevertheless, I found dismaying the arrogant ignorance that powers their engines.  All I could think of was my own blog’s motto:  “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.”  That was my dinner in a nutshell.

People are starting to figure out that Obamacare isn’t free health care; it’s wealth transfer health care *UPDATED*

The San Jose Mercury News did an article about the sticker shock many Obamacare supporters are experiencing.  What was great about this article was this quotation, from an ardent supporter:

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

[snip]

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

[snip]

But people with no pre-existing conditions like Vinson, a 60-year-old retired teacher, and Waschura, a 52-year-old self-employed engineer, are making up the difference.

“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,”
Brochures and handouts on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are shown at the education outreach booth sponsor by Daughters of Charity O’Connor Hospital at Santa Clara County Library Alum Rock branch in San Jose on Oct. 1, 2013. (Josie Lepe/Staff)
Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

It’s always great to see a few liberals mugged by reality. May there be many more in the coming days and years. Frankly, these people deserve to suffer. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s true. They worked hard to get this monstrosity passed into law, and I hope they suffer horribly because of it.  I’m sorry that you, my dear friends, will also have to suffer, because you tried to stop this train wreck.  But to the extent we knew it was a train wreck, let me reiterate my fondest desire that every elite liberal I knew is royally screwed.  And perhaps because you’re smarter about economic cause and effect, you will come out of this disaster stronger and better than they will.

Okay, I’m done being vindictive.  The same article also struck me because I suspect it contains a certain amount of dishonesty and misdirection.  I don’t have proof for my theory, just a strong suspicion.

First, read this:

Even those who don’t qualify for the tax subsidies could see their rates drop because Obamacare doesn’t allow insurers to charge people more if they have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and cancer, he said.

People like Marilynn Gray-Raine.

The 64-year-old Danville artist, who survived breast cancer, has purchased health insurance for herself for decades. She watched her Anthem Blue Cross monthly premiums rise from $317 in 2005 to $1,298 in 2013. But she found out last week from the Covered California site that her payments will drop to about $795 a month.

Can you spot the problem? Before Obamacare passed, Gray-Raine was paying $317. Incidentally, I know that the article is careful to say that her premiums were $317 in 2005, but I’m willing to bet that the dramatic rate hikes started in 2009 when Obamacare passed. As the article concedes, without Obamacare’s market manipulation, rates tended to go up by about 4% annually.  I’m lousy at math, but it seems to me that a 4% annual increase on a $317 monthly premium would see her paying $434 per month by 2013.

Something happened in 2009, of course, to change that typical trajectory.  2009 is when insurance companies responded to the fact that Obamacare, instead of allowing them to sell true insurance based upon risk analysis, forced them to prepare for cost-shifting mode.  They knew that, come 2013, insurers will have to pay for everybody’s care (including maternity care for old men), regardless of risk factors. The moment the law was passed, and with increasing aggression as the law’s implementation loomed, insurers responded in the only logical way — by raising premiums. That’s almost certainly the explanation for Gray-Raine’s huge premium increase, one that saw her paying $981 more in 2013 than before Obamacare. Gray-Raine professes herself thankful that she’s going to be paying $795 less than she was paying last month, but she seems to have lost sight of the fact that she’s still paying almost $200 more per month than before the government meddled with the marketplace.

An ignorant populace is a dangerous populace.  That’s all I can say.

UPDATE:  Ace spotted an out and out lie in the article from an Obama shill:

A shill from Covered California pops in to claim that it’s always been said that there would be both winners and losers under ObamaCare.

Um, no. Nancy Pelosi guaranteed that everyone’s rate would go down. Obama promised a $2500 per year reduction in premiums. He campaigned on it.

What will the people of Boston do now? Get mugged by reality or rationalize Muslim violence?

The day the bombing took place, I looked at the MO and thought it more likely than not to be a Muslim attack.  I stated:

There are two ways Boston can go.  It can be a liberal mugged by reality and get over its delusional belief that, if America will just do whatever the Islamists want, they will leave us alone, or it can go the way it went with gun control — enacting liberty-limiting laws that do nothing to prevent future tragedies, and allowing its native son, John Kerry, to grovel apologetically before the authors of this bloodshed.

That question remains.

The Chechen angle, however, throws in a twist that ought to have Bostonians thinking even harder than before.  Liberals could explain away a Middle Eastern Islamic attack by focusing on Palestinians, Iraq, or Afghanistan.  But how do you explain away two boys raised, mostly, in America, attending good schools, and having no connection whatsoever to the Middle East?  Is this the moment when some liberals begin to realize that Islam has issues?  Or will they once again rationalize this away as two crazy, murderous people who just coincidentally happen to have been Muslims, and who just coincidentally filled their Facebook pages with violent Muslim propaganda?

Good questions, and ones that only Bostonians and their liberal ilk around America can answer.

I’ll say only that, between (a) Kermit Gosnell’s mass murder spree, which the MSM ignored because of its anti-abortion connotations, and (b) the MSM’s repeated missteps regarding the Boston bombing (including their instant “Tea Party murderer” narrative), this has not been a good week for the mainstream media.  They, of course, will forgive themselves.  I’m just wondering if the American people will be stupid enough to forgive them too.

There’s an old saying:  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  But what in the world is left to say after you’ve been fooled a thousand times and keep going back for more? That goes beyond shame into realms of Darwinian stupidity.  If Americans forgive again, we deserve what we get.

Random thoughts of an idle mind — and an Open Thread

Progressives and narcissists share an unpleasant trait:  If you make a mistake, it proves that you and your ideas are inferior; if they make a mistake, it’s just a mistake.  Your mistake is irremediable, because it’s intrinsic to who you are; their mistake is just one of those things, and can be either forcibly forgotten or lied about.

***

I seem to be aging backwards.  I was an extremely self-disciplined young person.  If a task needed doing, I buckled down and did it.  Now, I feel like a teenager.  I’m in perpetual, albeit silent, rebellion against the responsibilities in my life.  Because I’m an adult, I don’t openly rebel, but I do take the route of procrastination and passive-aggressive behavior.

***

When a teenage girl says “I’ll be done in a sec,” resign yourself to a very long wait.

***

My liberal Facebook friends are not just less informed about current events than my conservative Facebook friends, they’re less interested.  All year long, my conservative friends post “content rich” material — newspaper articles, magazine articles, long blog posts — that provide facts and opinion about events in the political and economic scene.  And all year long, my liberal friends put up posts about and pictures of themselves.  Then, when an election rolls around, the liberals suddenly become very active, putting up clever, albeit vapid and still content-free, political posters lauding Democrats and maligning Republicans.  The liberals, however, do not link to longer articles, which indicates either that they don’t read anything beyond posters or bumper stickers, or that they assume that no one else is capable of reading anything longer than a poster or bumper sticker.

***

My mild dyslexia pops up whenever I type the word “bumper.”  I always want to type it “pumber,” because the word “bumper,” more than any other, messes with my ability to distinguish “p” from “b”.  If you ever see me write about a “pumber” sticker, you now know why.

***

Thankfully, here in Marin, we don’t get hurricanes.  Sometimes, though, we get some nice winter storms, complete with wind, torrential rain, and thunder & lightning.  We’re having one now.  I always feel a bit guilty that I enjoy this weather so much.  I’m only able to enjoy it because (a) I have a sturdy home that shelters me from the storm and (b) I don’t have to drive long distances through the rain.  Those facts give me the luxury to enjoy wild winter weather in Marin.

***

The most torrential rains I ever experienced were in Texas and England.  In both cases, the rain fell so hard that drivers had to pull off the road, because their windshields had become impenetrable.  There were no individual drops of rain, just walls of water.

***

Any idle thoughts you would like to add to this list?

 

In the jargon of good and evil

I have recently had some interesting discussions with Liberal friends that got me to mulling a fundamental question of good versus evil. My thoughts on this did not crystallize until a recent [insert superlative, here] “French conversation” dinner with Book and Charles Martel that kept lapping up to the fringes of my swirling thoughts on this question. Here is what happened:

At my church recently (one wherein my parish spans the full political spectrum), I was voicing my opinion to some friends that, of all the people in the world deserving of my sympathies, “the Palestinians are probably last in line”. A woman burst out furiously from the church pantry and scolded me for not knowing anything about what I was talking about, that the Palestinians were oppressed victims of Israeli perfidy. A short conversation with her was enough to demonstrate that she really didn’t know anything about the Palestinian-Israeli situation other than typical Leftwing propaganda. She and others in the conversation, for example, did not know that Israel’s war of independence occurred in 1948, that there was no “Palestine” before 1948, that virtually all Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries upon Israel’s creation, that more Palestinians have been killed by other Arab states than by Israel, that 20% of Israel’s citizens are Muslim, enjoying full political, economic and religious rights and serve in the military and government (the only Middle Eastern country that recognizes such minority rights, btw), etc. However, what shocked me was how incapable these good women were of seeing the evils represented and committed by the Palestinians. In their view, each act of violence and mayhem committed by the Palestinians and Arabs …against each other as much as against Israelis, was excusable as expressions of victimhood. Since then, I have noticed much of this same dynamic at work in many issues embraced by the Left.

Have Liberals (including religious Liberals) lost their capacity to distinguish between Good and Evil? If so, then we truly are living in a time of Biblical prophesy. What say you?

Quite possibly one of the creepiest videos you’ll ever see

The only thing that’s good about this creepy video is the reminder that the religious revival seems to be over.  Many in the audience have packed up and gone home.  Some realize that they got sold snake oil, while others look back on the day with longing, but without the fiery energy that propelled them four years ago.

Hat tip: Ace

Newt’s not as smart as all that — say liberals

Since at least Reagan, the standard liberal trope is that Republicans, both voters and politicians, are stupid.  That trope has, of course, emerged again this year.  The joker in the deck is Newt Gingrich, a PhD and author who spokes with incredible fluency and has a masterful grasp of facts.

With Newt as the frontrunner, the Left is rallying with a line of attack I’ll call “Newt’s not as smart as all that.”  Exhibit One is a Frank Bruni NYT’s Op-Ed sarcastically entitled “Professor Gingrich.”  To set up his premise that Newt’s not as smart as all that, Bruni carefully insults the other Republican candidates:

The candidates who surged before him are to varying degrees yahoos. They proved it anew last week. Michele Bachmann [a successful lawyer] seemed to be under the impression that we had an embassy in Iran, and Rick Perry [Air Force pilot and successful long-time Texas politician] was definitely under the delusion that the voting age in this country is 21 instead of 18.

Herman Cain [multiple degrees, Navy background, hugely successful businessman), on his Web site, unveiled the foreign-policy analogue to his 9-9-9 tax jingle, a world map that merely labeled countries “ally,” “adversary” and the like. Had it instead presented little thumbs-up and thumbs-down symbols, along with palm trees for hot countries and snowflakes for cold ones, it wouldn’t have been any more simplistic.

Funnily enough, Bruni’s paragraph didn’t include a rant about a politician who’s spoken about America’s 57 states, appeared impressed with the Austrian language, bemoaned attacks on English embassies, applauded the military’s “corpsemen,” waffled on about mysterious “price versus earnings ratios,” held only one non-academic, non-political job (the Annenberg Foundation) that was a major disaster, and kept all of his grades carefully under wraps.  I guess Bruni just forgot about him.  But I digress…

Having established that Republicans are “yahoos,” Bruni goes in for the kill against the one Republican who doesn’t have “yahoo” written on his resume.  Newt’s problem isn’t that he’s smart, it’s that he’s proud of being smart, damn him!

But then there’s Gingrich, the former college professor, who regularly brandishes his Ph.D. in history from Tulane. He does it directly, as in a 1995 interview when he bragged, “I am the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson.”

He does it obliquely, by constantly invoking centuries past. Ask him about the price of milk, and he’ll likely work in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

Couple that showy scholarship with his grandiose streak and you get pomposity on a scale that would make a French monarch blanch. Last week, in an electronic book published by Politico and Random House, it was revealed that he had compared the attempts to retool his initially beleaguered campaign with the founding of Wal-Mart by Sam Walton and of McDonald’s by Ray Kroc.

In a Fox News interview he one-upped any of Al Gore’s long-ago claims about “Love Story,” Love Canal or the invention of the Internet.

“I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply-side economics,” he boasted.

“I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress,” he added. Put aside the tortured locution — were there reds among the House’s Blue Dogs, along with Bolshevik backbenchers? — and you’re left with an audacious credit grab.

And in Bluffton, S.C., he told voters that he didn’t need to lobby because after he left Congress, “I was charging $60,000 a speech, and the number of speeches was going up, not down. Normally, celebrities leave and they gradually sell fewer speeches every year. We were selling more.”

Faced with the reality of Newt’s intellectual and knowledge, Bruni reluctantly concludes that the Republicans feel that they need someone who can speak at Obama’s rarefied level:

If you consider how ardently Republicans courted Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, you’re forced to conclude that they do value, and crave, an intellectually muscular candidate who can square off against President Obama. The 2012 election has a fundamentally different temperature from the 2010 one. There’s arguably worse economic uncertainty this time around, greater stakes and a seemingly waning thirst for Tea.

And Republicans appreciate that a presidential race, and the presidency itself, have a higher altitude than a Congressional showdown. Some palpable gray matter really does come in handy.

Isn’t that a nice phrase?  “Palpable grey matter.”

Yes, it is true that Republicans have normally favored do-ers over talkers.  This year, they recognize, though, that Obama has so decimated the country’s psyche that they need someone who can talk us out of the hole Obama dug (or do I mean off the ledge Obama has yakked us onto).  And Republicans, being smart, are looking carefully at the one candidate who can blow to Hell and back any pretense that Obama is as smart as he thinks he is.

After all, as Bruni’s column perfectly shows, liberals tend to reduce “intellectualism” to who’s faster with the personal attack.  (Think “palpable grey matter.” )  During an argument with a liberal yesterday, an argument that wasn’t originally focused just on me, my opposing party managed to reduce the argument down to three statements:  “You’re an idiot.  You’re an effing moron.  You’re a jackass.”  I was not impressed either by the liberal’s grasp of facts or advocacy tactics.  What really depressed me, though, wasn’t the string of meaningless insults.  It was that this is what passes for reasoned debate on the liberal side of the political spectrum.

On the subject of insults I’ll say one more thing:  given the virulence with which the MSM attacks conservatives — not their ideas, but their person — perhaps it’s not surprising that so few are willing to stand up to be beaten down.

Newt Gingrich, poor children, and work habits

One of the reasons a lot of people, myself included, like Newt is because he says politically incorrect things that ordinary people think.  In other words, his politically correct utterances aren’t out of the KKK playbook, they’re out of “the reasonable common-sense before 1960s Leftist education took over” playbook.

A week ago, he said that child labor laws are stupid insofar as they prevent children from getting paying jobs (including janitorial jobs) that would help them to maintain their own schools — at less cost, incidentally, than using unionized janitors.  His most recent utterance, expanding on this point, was that poor children have no work ethic:

“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.

“They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

All the usual suspects are up in arms.  I haven’t bothered to hunt down quotations from the unions that keep schools supplied with janitors, but I’m sure they’re not happy.  More than that, though, Newt’s statements have been interpreted to mean that he advocates a return to 19th Century child labor, complete with seven-day work weeks, 12 of which are spent laboring in a coal mine.  Take a gander, for example, at this screen shot from YouTube after I searched up “Newt Gingrich poor children”:

Charles Blowhard, New York Times opinion columnist, is horrified that Newt might look at the way in which the poor behave and conclude that their learned behavior contributes to their poverty.  He also comes back with reams of statistics about the fact that the poor do work:

This statement isn’t only cruel and, broadly speaking, incorrect, it’s mind-numbingly tone-deaf at a time when poverty is rising in this country. He comes across as a callous Dickensian character in his attitude toward America’s most vulnerable — our poor children. This is the kind of statement that shines light on the soul of a man and shows how dark it is.

Gingrich wants to start with the facts? O.K.

First, as I’ve pointed out before, three out of four poor working-aged adults — ages 18 to 64 — work. Half of them have full-time jobs and a quarter work part time.

Furthermore, according to an analysis of census data by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College, most poor children live in a household where at least one parent is employed. And even among children who live in extreme poverty — defined here as a household with income less than 50 percent of the poverty level — a third have at least one working parent. And even among extremely poor children who live in extremely poor areas — those in which 30 percent or more of the population is poor — nearly a third live with at least one working parent.

I’ll accept as true the fact that the poor work, but that’s too facile.  We also need to look at their attitude towards work.  As Shakespeare would say, there’s the rub.  Let me quote from a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, describing the way in which a white liberal tried desperately to explain away the fact that large corporations find it extremely difficult to keep minority employees:

Mr. Bookworm works for a very large corporation.  While we were in the car with the kids, the conversation turned to the exquisite sensitivity the corporation has to show when it’s faced with firing a minority employee. The process is arduous, requiring huge HR involvement, dozens of staff interviews and a lengthy paper trail.

The reason for this labor intensive firing is the unfortunate fact that minorities tend to be less satisfactory employees. As Mr. Bookworm was at great pains to point out to the children (and correctly so), this is a group trend and has nothing to do with the merits of any individual minority employee. It’s just that, if you look at a bell curve of minority employees versus a bell curve of white employees, you’ll find more white employees than minority employees in the segment denoting “good worker.” No modern corporation, however, wants a reputation as a “firer of minorities.”

The above are facts. What fascinated me was the different spin Mr. Bookworm and I put on those facts. Mr. Bookworm sent twenty minutes explaining to the children that, to the extent blacks were poorer employees, it was because their culture made them incapable of working. (This was not meant as an insult. He was talking, of course, about the culture of poverty.).

Mr. Bookworm painted a picture of a black child living in a ghetto, with a single mother who gave birth to him when she was 14, with several siblings from different fathers, with a terrible school, surrounded by illiterates, hungry all the time, etc.  No wonder, he said, that this child doesn’t bring to a corporation the same work ethic as a middle class white kid.

This creates big problems for corporations.  A modern corporation truly wants to hire minorities.  Once it’s hired them, though, according to my liberal husband, it ends up with workers who are incapable of functioning in a white collar, corporate environment. The corporation therefore finds itself forced to fire it’s minority hires more frequently than white or Asian employees, with the result that it’s accused of racism. Its response to that accusation is to proceed with excessive caution and extreme due diligence whenever a black employee fails at the job.

My suggestion to the children was that minority employees, aware that it’s almost impossible to fire them, might be disinclined to put out their best efforts on the job.  Why should they?  Logic and energy conservation both dictate that a smart person should do the bare minimum to get a job done.  In this case, for the black employees, the job their doing isn’t what’s in the job description.  Instead, their job is simply to keep their job.

Amusingly Newt thinks exactly the same as my liberal husband does.  They both blame black culture for poor black employment habits.  The difference is that, while Newt thinks it’s a fixable situation, starting with the children and their attitude toward labor, my husband, like Mr. Blowhard, thinks that all one can do is accept that minorities are going to be lousy employees.

America’s black poverty culture (as opposed to the Asian or East Indian) poverty culture is handicapped by a terrible, false syllogism:

  • Slavery was work
  • Slavery is evil
  • All work is evil

Even when they’re getting paid, too many African-Americans seem to feel they’ve sold out — that any work involving the white establishment is tantamount to slavery and that they can participate in this system by participating least.   It’s a principled stand, but it’s a principle that’s in thrall to terribly flawed logic and that ensures generational poverty and despair.  As far as I’m concerned, Newt gets serious kudos for his willingness to state what is, to the working class, quite obvious:  learn how to work well when you’re young, and you’ll be able to support yourself when you’re old.

Some insults are too funny to keep to oneself

I got the funniest email today, and I just had to share it with you.  The “re” line was as follows: “Gibbering baboons more sensible than you, wingnut degenerate.” I was intrigued. The rest of the email consisted of a link to a post, along with the full text of the post in which the author explained precisely why I don’t even rank up there with gibbering baboons and, worse, I’m a “wingnut degenerate.”

I debated whether to share the link with you guys, ’cause I think the author is just trying to generate traffic.  However, because both the email title and the blog post had me laughing hysterically, I think the post author deserves some recognition.  Go here and check it out.  Then, come back to me and tell me if you can understand the author’s thesis.

I’ve read the darn post three times now and I still can’t figure out what the point is.  I know I’m a lower mammalian life form and a degenerate but, for the life of me, I don’t understand what I did to earn those interesting sobriquets.  I mean, it’s clear that I shouldn’t have said what I said, but the post author never seems to bring himself to explaining why I shouldn’t have said those things.  He sneers, but he never manages to rise to the level of thesis, fact and argument.  His post is the written equivalent of this — it definitely makes a statement, but one that reflects solely on the person making the statement, not the person at the receiving end.

Life imitates . . . my blog?! *UPDATED*

I regularly read James Taranto’s Best of the Web and always enjoy his “Life imitates the Onion” or “Life imitates South Park” shticks.  Imagine my surprise today, when I realized that, this time around, life is imitating a very silly satire I did at my blog almost exactly one year ago.

In September 2010, Marin conservatives gathered at a “Groupapalooza” to learn about conservative organizations in and near Marin County.  (I know it’s hard to believe that there are conservatives and conservative organizations  in and around Marin County, but we conservatives are a hardy, if somewhat outnumbered, breed.)

I attended the Groupapalooza and had a great and giddy time mingling with like-minded spirits.  This induced such a spirit of frivolity in me that, when I got back to my computer, I wrote my follow-up post from the point of view of a young Progressive journalist.  As part of this write-up, I threw in a paragraph in which my imaginary progressive journalist discusses her “friendships” with oppressed people:

Although no one manning these various tables [with information about conservative causes and candidates] was overtly hostile, I could feel them look me over, just as if they actually knew that I have a black friend.  Or I had a black friend.  Well, to be perfectly honest (because I am nothing if not honest), my mail carrier is black and I always say “hello” to him.  I’m also very close to my Hispanic housekeeper, Rosa.  (Or is it Flora?  I always forget because, to tell the truth — and I always tell the truth — I try to stay away when she cleans ’cause it’s kind of uncomfortable to have to stop and talk to someone who scrubs your toilet, you know?)

Imagine my surprise to learn today that my silly social satire has been on-upped by reality and, funnily enough, it was James Taranto who brought it to my attention.  He writes about a spat between two liberals, with the chromatic liberal taking the achromatic liberal to task for having the temerity to call the former a friend in a way that was clearly racially condescending.  (Yes, I’m confused too.)  Here’s how Taranto sums it up:

Yesterday we noted that The Nation’s Melissa Harris-Perry was accusing white liberals of abandoning President Obama for racially invidious reasons. This prompted a defensive and very long response from one white liberal, Joan Walsh, who began by stipulating that she and Harris-Perry are friends:

When I say Melissa Harris-Perry is my friend, I don’t say that rhetorically, or ironically; we are professional friends, we have socialized together; she has included me on political round tables; I like and respect her enormously. That’s why I think it’s important to engage her argument, and I’ve invited her to reply.

And reply she did:

I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way.

Take that, Joan! Note that Walsh and Harris-Perry are in agreement about the facts of their association, they disagree only over what to call it.

It seems to us that Walsh merely meant to suggest that she meant her criticisms of Harris-Perry in a spirit of goodwill. But Harris-Perry doesn’t stop at renouncing friendship with Walsh. She accuses Walsh of employing a “common strategy of argument about one’s racial innocence: the ‘I have black friends’ claim.” Harris-Perry has twisted Walsh’s olive branch into a racially invidious provocation. With friends like these . . .

If life is going to imitate art, I wish it would do so in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, rather than merely ridiculous.

UPDATE:  And while we’re on the subject of racism, Zombie (or, dare I say it, my friend Zombie, whom I’ve never actually met or spoken with, but still really like and respect) looks at the cupcake kerfuffle in at UC Berkeley, a place that is always agitated about everything but actual learning.