Emptying the Inbox (and Open Thread)

inbox-full-216x300As I do on a regular basis, I let my inbox reach heroic proportions before, in a panic, I realized that I’d better take care of it because it would only get worse. And as always happens, I found a bunch of gems hiding in there. Some are a bit past their publication date, but they are interesting nevertheless, so I’m bringing them to your attention along with all the other stuff.

So here we go, with a potpourri of interesting reading. I won’t be tipping my hat to anybody, because I’ve lost track of who tipped me off to what, but everyone who brought these to my attention gets my heartiest thanks.

Chicago’s public schools are going to begin teaching an Afro-Centric curriculum, one with strong ties to antisemitism and loose ties to actual knowledge. As the antidote to that last point, I highly recommend Mary Lefkowitz’s Not Out Of Africa: How “Afrocentrism” Became An Excuse To Teach Myth As History which was, I believe, the first book to mount a serious challenge to Afro-Centric education.  (It was also one of those books that led me across the Rubicon, from unthinking Democrat to informed and committed conservative.)  The tragedy is that Chicago has now consigned yet another generation of children to failure, since Afro-Centrism is not an education that will carry them far . . . outside of activist circles, of course.

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We’ve heard a lot of news lately about graduation speeches. Well, actually, we haven’t heard about the speeches. We’ve heard, instead, about the hard left censorship that holds that only people who are Progressives may give speeches on America’s college campuses. No highly accomplished, acclaimed, black women need apply if they dare to say that Islam is not a “religion of peace” or if they helped lead the U.S. into a war that did not take place in Libya or that did not consist of drone attacks on people in nations with which we are not at war. It would be so lovely to expose these frightened, censorious Leftists to the speech that Marine Corps’ General “Mad Dog” Mattis’ (Ret.) gave at the at the Marine Corps University Foundation’s 2014 Semper Fidelis Award Dinner this past February.  I’m not sure whether they’d first wet their pants or go straight to a heart attack.

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A neologism is a “new word.” Some new words describe newly discovered or invented things. For example, the word “saxophone” did not exist before the instrument itself came along. Other neologisms, however, rename pre-existing things to distinguish them from the next generation of things. For example, until electric guitars came along, we simply had “guitars.” However, in the electric guitar era, those old, wooden, non-electric music makers needed a distinguishing name and they became, for the first time, “acoustic guitars.”

In our strange, brave new world, there is a neologism for those people (gay and straight) who are entirely comfortable with their genders. We are “cisgenders” or “cissexuals,” distinguishing us from “transgenders” or “transexuals.” I can see where the neologism is useful, but I find it strange to live in a world in which the absence of a biological error (mind and body are the same, either all male or all female), which is something that happens for the vast majority of people, needs its own new word.

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This seems like an appropriate place to note that Nintendo has written a formal, public apology for the fact that its most recent game doesn’t have same-sex couples.  Considering that the demographic for Nintendo games is teenage boys and young men, I’m only surprised that the GLAAD crowd hasn’t gone after the game makers sooner.  And considering that the demographic for Nintendo games is teenage boys and young men, I have to wonder how popular same-sex couple games will be with this cohort.

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Pamela Geller alerts us to a proposed federal “hate crime” act criminalizing speech that is working its way through Congress. I’ve had a problem with “hate crime” laws from the beginning, because to me, assault is assault no matter the motivation. Once you start looking at motivations, you’re punishing “thought crimes,” which is antithetical to the Constitution. The newly proposed legislation squares the circle by saying that we won’t just punish thought crimes attached to actual criminal acts. Instead, we’re going to criminalize speech too. And if that isn’t unconstitutional, I don’t know what is.

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Anyway, who needs federal laws criminalizing speech when we already have social pressure at publicly funded universities doing a fine job of purging free speech.  Duke University has a campaign going to coerce students into banishing such words and phrases as “pussy,” “man up,” and “that’s so gay” from their vocabulary because they hurt people’s feelings.

In the old days, “nice” people didn’t say such things because they were ill-mannered.  I can support that “good manners” approach because it’s about each person making a decision about how he wants to present  himself to the world.

Today, though, the rationale for not using such words and phrases is that everyone around us is so emotionally weak that they cannot bear the pain of even hearing the word “tranny.”  In other words, we destroy free speech by encouraging each person to think he is surrounded by weaklings who will probably rise up and kill him should he ruffle their delicate sensibilities.  That’s wrong at so many levels.

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In this grim, censorious world, thank God for the Duffel Blog, a military humor blog that doesn’t care if ruffles delicate sensibilities.  The Taliban shouldn’t be respected.  They should be ridiculed and destroyed because they are evil.

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 I’ve written here before about a common denominator in mass shootings:  psychotropic drugs.  At the Liberty Crier, you can find a useful list identifying shooters and their drugs.  I believe in psychotropic drugs, which have rescued millions of people from chronic depression, bipolar order, dysfunctional schizophrenia, etc.  What I don’t approve of is the way those same drugs are handed out to children (especially boys) like candy in order to ensure that they sit quietly in public school classrooms.

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One Syrian rebel believes that Syria’s Civil War has proven that the rebels have only one true friend in the world:  Israel.  He’s correct, of course.  The problem for Israel is that any treaty with Muslims is effective only as long as the Muslims benefit from that treaty.  Then, the doctrine of taqiyya kicks in, saying that the treaty can be dismissed and the good Muslim can resume its all-out war against its former ally.

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Just yesterday, I wrote a post about Obama’s God-complex.  Then, when going through my email, I found this link to an absolutely wonderful post Mike McDaniel wrote on Easter (with some very nice words about yours truly), looking at Obama’s belief system, and covering everything from his belief in himself, to his support for Islam, to his lukewarm statements about Christianity.  Perhaps the possibility of taqiyya in action doesn’t apply just to Syrian rebels.

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Tina Brown ruined Vanity Fair by making it sleazy, and ruined The New Yorker by taking it from gently Left but still interesting, to hard Left and damn boring.  Since then, everything Brown has touched has turned to dross.  She’s now whining about the fact that Matt Drudge, Lucianne Goldberg, and others managed to break through the media wall protecting Bill Clinton and expose  his immoral peccadilloes to the world.  Neo-neocon gives Brown the appropriate treatment:  hard facts mixed with amusing (and deserved) condescension.

Incidentally, have you noticed that, not only is Monica Lewinsky painting herself as a victim, but the media is eating it up, with Time promising her an apology?  Yes, Lewinsky got dragged through the dirt, but let’s not forget that she voluntarily had a sexual affair with a married man.  Not only was he a married man, but he was president.

You don’t have to be the brightest bulb on the planet to know that, if that affair goes public, you’re going to be in the spotlight.  Considering her own immoral and stupid behavior, how sorry should we be for Lewinsky, really?

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I don’t care very much about pro football (unless the 49ers are in the playoffs or Super Bowl), and I do not care about Michael Sam.  I do wonder, thought, if the Rams are going to regret choosing Sam.  The team’s every decision regarding him (time on bench, time on field, etc.) is going to be closely scrutinized and, if anything is deemed to be less than the GLAAD crew thinks he deserves, the team is going to be roundly and soundly denounced as homophobic.

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And finally, I am not a big fan of Roz Chast’s cartoons, although she is one of the most popular New Yorker cartoonists.  I can recognize her talent, but her work just doesn’t tickle my funny bone.

Having said that, I felt that she and I were sisters under the skin when I listened to her interview about her new book Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, describing her journey through her parents’ aging, illness, and death.  I’m not sure I’ll read the book (the cartoons just don’t work as a medium for me), but I was utterly charmed by Chast’s interview.  There are some differences from my situation — she was dealing with two aging parents, not one; and her mother hated, rather than loved, doctors — but for the most part, what she said was what I’ve experienced.

Donald Sterling is the Left’s desperately needed “wag the dog” moment, distracting from their myriad failures

Wag The Dog-01Wag The Dog was a clever black comedy about a president hiring a Hollywood producer to trick the public into believing there was a war in Albania in order to distract the public from a sex scandal right before an election.  The movie came out in 1997, and became forever cemented in the public’s consciousness when, in 1998, Bill Clinton bombed a few pharmaceutical factories right around the time Monica Lewinsky and blue dresses were becoming a big deal.  Donald Sterling is the Left’s new “wag the dog” moment — a racial one, this time, not a martial one, because we live in the age of Obama.

If you think about the Sterling scandal without the attendant hysteria it’s pretty pathetic:  desiccated, insecure, ugly, rich, old man fears that his black/Latina girlfriend’s palling around with handsome, successful, young(ish), black men will make him look like what he really is:  a eunuch with a gold digger on his arms.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)

— “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want.  The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)

— “I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)

— “…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.  And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)

But for the fact that there are a few other racist incidents in Sterling’s past (refusing to rent apartments to blacks or Latinos, and making nasty comments), what you really see here is enormous sexual insecurity. Sterling doesn’t view these black men as inferiors.  Instead, he sees them as a threat to his virility and his relationship with a young woman who, because of her own background, could easily be seen as preferring them to this desiccated, pot-bellied, mean-spirited little man.

Nevertheless, the story overnight mushroomed in an hysteric denouncement of racism, with special emphasis on the fact that Sterling, being old, rich, and white, must be a Republican, a fact that makes him representative of all Republicans.  It was irrelevant that, while Donald Sterling’s official political affiliation is the subject of much debate, it’s pretty clear that he’s been pouring money into Democrat causes, including making very nice with the NAACP for years, resulting in his receiving an NAACP lifetime achievement award in 2009.  It’s also irrelevant that the vast majority of America’s Republicans and conservatives are neither rich nor old, that many aren’t white, and that Sterling’s closest demographic relatives (rich, white, and racist) live in the Democrat party.  (I’m talking to you, Harry Reid.)

I’m not denying that Sterling’s remarks were couched in racial terms, are nasty, and are therefore racist.  But let’s get serious here: Are the privately-stated rantings of an old, insecure man so important that they should result in thousands of news stories, headlines, tweets, Facebook posts, magazine articles, analyses, etc.?

No, his rantings aren’t important at all.  Contrary to what many Americans are being made to believe, this isn’t really about a rich, powerful sports team owner saying mean things about black people. Instead, the Donald Sterling story is about sucking the oxygen out of the news cycle so that people who don’t pour over it as obsessively as you and I do aren’t paying attention to a few other important stories.

What’s important to know is that most people can’t hold that many thoughts or sensations simultaneously.  That’s why, with a few exceptions, multitasking is an illusion and, quite often, especially when cars are involved, a very dangerous one.   A million years ago, my Lamaze teacher told me the human mind’s inability to process more than three, maybe four, disparate bits of information at the same time is the real secret behind Lamaze. The breathing doesn’t change anything in the birth process. What’s important is to drag the woman’s focus away from the pain and put it somewhere else.

In today’s political world, if you’re busy fulminating about a pathetic 80-year-old gnome, you’re not going to have room in your brain or your emotions for myriad news stories that are infinitely more important.  These stories include:

1.  The revelation that there is concrete evidence proving that the lies about the Benghazi attack originated in the White House and were a deliberate effort before an election to hide the fact that the administration knew that Al Qaeda was resurgent and that, despite this knowledge, it failed to protect Americans before and during the attack, leaving four Americans quite horribly dead.  Apparently the administrations fraudulent lies to the American public weren’t limited to Obamacare.

2.  The fact that Secretary of State John Kerry botched the Middle East peace talks so terribly that the Palestinians threw themselves into Hamas’s arms, with Kerry blaming Israel for this failure, before using PLO-esque language to announce that Israel is turning into an apartheid nation. Kerry is either evil or a fool. Who knows? What we do know is that Kerry’s never been either an honest or unbiased broker in the peace talks, and he’s certainly been an incompetent negotiator.

3.  The embarrassing reality that what was once the most powerful nation in the world is now so manifestly weak that, from Russia to Venezuela, with stops at all points in between, including Syria and Afghanistan, every bad actor in the world thumbs his nose at Obama, even as that actor cuts a bloody swath in his wake. I’m not saying that Obama has any ability now to remedy the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, the West Bank, etc. He doesn’t. He knows, the American people know, and the bad guys know that America will not, and therefore cannot, fight. The problem is that Obama got us into this situation in the first place. He radiated weakness like a badly wounded Wildebeest lying in the noonday sun on the African plain. He turned America into hyena bait.

4.  The recent admission that America had another “unexpectedly” slow growth in the first quarter of 2014 (a mere 0.1%), something the MSM-Pravda media immediately blamed on the weather. As Sadie helpfully pointed out to me, the extreme winter, although it hit China too, didn’t slow China’s economy at all. (But do keep in mind that China’s supposedly glowing economic numbers are probably on the extreme end of lies, damn lies, and statistics. The rule of thumb is that data from leftists always lies.)

5.  The ongoing, extreme, exponentially growing disaster that is Obamacare.  At the end of the day, Obamacare’s only success will have been that it managed to use government coercion, threats, and penalties to force 8 million people to sign up for insurance through government exchanges. Wow! Government bullying works. What government bullying couldn’t do was make 20-30% of the new enrollees pay for this insurance; make the enrollment balanced, rather than weighted in favor of the old and sick; get doctors and hospitals to agree to sign onto low-paying networks; lower costs for the middle class people forced off of their good policies; keep deductibles low, etc. Those of us who never drank the Kool-Aid knew in 2009 that only delusional people could believe that you could mandate more coverage and sweep in more people who can’t pay, all the while lowering costs all around.

6.  America’s vanishing privacy.  Sterling may be a stinker, but he thought he was having a private conversation.  Americans should be outraged that they no longer have zones of privacy.  (Although if these zones of privacy really are gone, let’s just banish birth control too.  After all, the main reason the Supreme Court used to justify striking down laws banning birth control was that Americans have an inherent right to privacy.)

All of which gets us back to the ginned-up national outrage about Donald Sterling.  Donald Sterling is a nothing. He may be rich and own a sports team, but the fundamental truth is that he’s a creepy old nebbish whose world views were formed in 1940-something. He’s a relic. He’s meaningless. He’s every old Leftist who goes around mouthing stupid things about black people. (Like Harry Reid, for example.)

Sterling matters only as cover. He’s the fake war in Albania from the movie “Wag the Dog.”  He’s the bombed pharmaceutical factories when people were getting too close to the Lewinsky’s blue dress.  America!  Forget Sterling.  Pay attention to the real stuff!