The New York Times touts a flawed study on ageism

I may have mentioned that just about the only news I have access to on this trip is the New York Times. I have Internet, but it’s so expensive that I write things offline (such as emails to family or posts to the blog) and then sign on just long enough to email or post. No leisurely online reading for me.

What the cruise ship does provide though is a six page leaflet that can be described as “the best of the day’s New York Times.” (Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the “moron” part?).

In today’s “best of,” the New York Times reported on a Princeton sociology study that purported to show age discrimination. The deal was that three different actors representing three different age sets (young adult, middle aged, and old) were each given two identical scripts and videotaped performing those scripts. In half the scripts, the men compliantly said they’d share their wealth with relatives; in the other scripts, the three actors assertively said that they would not share their wealth.

The researchers than showed the various videos to 137 undergraduates (that is, there were six different videos of three different actors that were shown to 137 people under 22). At the end, the researchers proved to themselves that most of the people were neutral about the young and middle-aged men whether they were compliant or assertive, but didn’t like the old guy being assertive. The researchers’ conclusion, which they’ve bravely announced to the world is that ageism means nobody likes a mouthy old guy. Age discrimination is REAL.

My conclusion is that this research once again shows that there’s nothing scientific about either “social science” or university level psychology. Can you spot what’s wrong with the study? I can count a bunch of problems.

First, the study has too many variables. The study thinks that because the three actors spoke off of identical scripts, the only variable is age. In fact, the researchers completely discounted the fact that different people are more likable than others. The mere fact that they relied upon three actors, rather than putting aging makeup on one actor, means that the study doesn’t just have age variables. It also has personality variables. You only have to watch Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet and Kenneth Branaugh’s (spelling?) to realize that the same words make a very different impression depending on who speaks them.

Second, the sample is too small. As best I can tell without either a calculator or scratch paper (and based upon the NYT’s slightly muddled description of the study) an average of slightly more than 21 people saw each of the six videos. That means that the study reached its ageism conclusion based upon only twenty people’s opinions of the assertive old guy.

Finally, the study didn’t get the reactions of hundreds of people of varying ages. Instead, it was looking at UNDERGRADUATES. These are the same kids who, in the 1960 chanted “Never trust anybody over 30.” In other words, in a culture that a general matter doesn’t explicitly value age (unlike, say, traditional Asian cultures), this is a population that is very specifically predisposed to view old people somewhat negatively.

Ultimately, this study proves nothing about ageism in the workplace. All it proves is that, if you’re a 70 something guy in a roomful of 20-somethings, they’re probably not going to be your best buds. I could have told you that for free, without the need for an expensive Ivy League study.

I’m not claiming ageism doesn’t exist. For example, in a heavily computerized environment, it’s reasonable to believe that the old guy or gal who just can’t master the computer is going to be viewed negatively. I’m just saying that this stupid little study, boldly touted in a newspaper always looking for fresh victims in need of newly created government “rights,” is a testament to foolishness, credulity, and institutional bias, not to mention lousy science.

The New York Times proudly lapses into pure Animal Farm

It may be one of the most famous quotations in the English language:  “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Orwell wrote Animal Farm as an allegory about the Soviet Union.  His point with that quotation was that all totalitarian states, no matter their original intentions, eventually start discriminating against disfavored groups, making a mockery of the whole notion of equality.  He could equally well have said (pun intended), although in a much less interesting way, that “favoritism-based equality is an oxymoron.”

Keep Orwell firmly in mind as you read the New York Times’ home page description for this article about the Supreme Court’s coming term:

Four blockbuster cases before the Supreme Court highlight the tension between formal equality and a more dynamic kind of equality that takes account of historical injustices.  (Emphasis added.)

The article itself is less crudely Orwellian, but also seeks to redefine equality:

The extraordinary run of blockbuster rulings due in the space of a single week will also reshape the meaning of legal equality and help define for decades to come one of the Constitution’s grandest commands: “the equal protection of the laws.”

If those words require only equal treatment from the government, the rulings are likely to be a mixed bag that will delight and disappoint liberals and conservatives in equal measure. Under that approach, same-sex couples who want to marry would be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics could find it harder to get into college and to vote.

But a tension runs through the cases, one based on different conceptions of equality. Some justices are committed to formal equality. Others say the Constitution requires a more dynamic kind of equality, one that takes account of the weight of history and of modern disparities.

The four major cases yet to be decided concern same-sex marriage, affirmative action in higher education and the fate of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which places special burdens on states with a history of racial discrimination.

Formal equality would require that gay couples be treated just like straight couples when it comes to marriage, white students just like black students when it comes to admissions decisions and Southern states just like Northern ones when it comes to federal oversight of voting. The effect would be to help gay couples, and hurt blacks and Latinos.

With regard to gay marriage, the article implies that all “couples” are equal, cheerfully lumping same-sex couples in with traditional heterosexual couples.  They’re not the same at all, because nature has designed the matched set to be AB, not AA or BB. Pretending that all three formulations are identical is sophistry.  This isn’t to say that one cannot make an argument to the effect that a couple equals any pair of human beings, regardless of biological gender reality.  It’s just to say that it’s strikingly dishonest to pretend that such pairings are the only possible “equal” pairings.

Orwell, was not just a former ardent communist “democratic socialist,” whose love of true equality and freedom turned him away from an ideology he realized was inherently corrupt.  He was also someone who loved the English language with passion and ferocity.  It was he who understand best that the truth can only set you free if there if the language is sufficiently uncorrupted to enable one to speak truth — and the first thing that totalitarians do is to corrupt language to destroy truth.

Is Obama’s puppet master to blame for all the scandals?

Barack Obama -- small and helpless

Scandals, scandals, and more scandals.  My list so far includes:

1.  Benghazi:  politics before, politics and apathy during, and politics and a wall of lies and cover-ups afterwards.

2.  Fast & Furious:  a completely bungled effort to track cartels in Mexico or a deliberate attempt to gin up gun crime as a way to feed anti-gun fervor.

3.  IRS:  Deliberate targeting of conservative groups and individuals in order to disable them in the lead-up to a tight election.

4.  AP:  Justice Department eavesdrops on media, with recent news indicating that this wasn’t about national security but was a tit-for-tat step taken because the AP mis-timed releasing a story about a thwarted terrorism plot.

I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. I’m sure there’s something else, but I’ve reached the outer limits of my brain’s capacity for the scary, sordid, disgusting, and illegal.

Anyway, the above is a starter list, which shows a distinct trend-line:  the Obama government is about politics before country, revenge before law and morality, and cover-ups above and beyond everything.  That’s why the New York Times’ desperate attempt to blame Republicans for all these things makes for amusing reading.  Although the Times was absolutely outraged by the AP scandal (and I agree with their outrage), everything else is just business as usual.  Nothing to see here.  Just move along:

The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines. The tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, never a scandal to begin with, has devolved into a turf-protection spat between government agencies, and the e-mail messages Republicans long demanded made clear that there was no White House cover-up.

The only example of true government overreach was the seizure of The Associated Press’s telephone records, the latest episode in the Obama administration’s Javert-like obsession with leakers in its midst.

(A total aside here.  The myth is that reporters are, at heart, curious people who want to know what’s going on.  Although they’ve been temporarily blinded by ideology, once they catch the scent, they’ll be like the crazed reporters in His Girl Friday.  That’s just wrong.  Today’s reporters signed on, not because they like sniffing out information, but because they’re ideologues who want to pursue an agenda.  The Times perfectly exemplifies this.  It does not report on all the news fit to print.  It doesn’t report at all.  It simply works like a Leftist propaganda arm, reporting all the spin necessary to advance an agenda.  It’s utterly incurious and cares only when it, personally, gets poked.  And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.)

Wow.  Just wow.  For one thing, it’s clear that the New York Times wrote this editorial before the head of the IRS went before Congress and confessed that the IRS denied what was going on before the election (a lie) and that it timed the release of information to bury it in the news cycle.  And then there’s all that other fascinating stuff that’s been oozing out from the single most powerful coercive entity in the federal government.

In every single statement she made, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who every so casually broke the story, lied.  Just some examples are the fact that the IRS didn’t target, maybe, 75 groups.  It targeted at least 470 groups.  And it wasn’t just wacky Tea Party groups that got caught it the cross hairs, it was any group that appeared even vaguely to oppose Obama’s policies.  The targeting wasn’t just confined to a rogue Ohio office, it went to the top.  And, indeed, the very top person got over $100,000 in bonuses and was promoted to head the — ahem — nonpartisan branch of the IRS in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

We also know that the IRS illegally leaked information about Obama’s political opponents — which definitely has a kind of mirror-like Watergate quality to it.  Nixon’s henchmen stole data directly from his political opponents; Obama’s henchmen release data about Obama’s political opponents to Obama’s supporters.  And of course, speaking of stealing things, it appears that the IRS stole tens of thousands of medical records — this would be, of course, the same IRS that’s in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

Worried yet?  I know I am.

Despite all this, Obama remains perched precariously atop ignorance mountain.  His line is consistent:

Either Obama’s lying, which is entirely possible, because he’s a compulsive liar, or he was as ignorant as he seems.  Those Leftist media figures who are not in total denial have latched on this as the excuse to protect their idol, now that they know there’s a lot of clay mixed in with his feet.  He’s a little too disengaged, he’s not a micro-manager, he’s too pure to know what evil lurks in the heart of men, etc.

John Fund, however, has a very different idea, and I think he may be on the right track.  His version of events posits that Obama has never actually been president.  We’ve been operating, instead, under the shadow presidency of consigliere Valerie Jarrett:

So if Obama is not fully engaged, who does wield influence in the White House? A lot of Democrats know firsthand that Jarrett, a Chicago mentor to both Barack and Michelle Obama and now officially a senior White House adviser, has enormous influence. She is the only White House staffer in anyone’s memory, other than the chief of staff or national security adviser, to have an around-the-clock Secret Service detail of up to six agents. According to terrorism expert Richard Miniter’s recent book, Leading from Behind: “At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving” the mission for May 2, 2011. She was instrumental in overriding then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he opposed the Obamacare push, and she was key in steamrolling the bill to passage in 2010. Obama may rue the day, as its chaotic implementation could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections.

A senior Republican congressional leader tells me that he had come to trust that he could detect the real lines of authority in any White House, since he’s worked for five presidents. “But this one baffles me,” he says. “I do know that when I ask Obama for something, there is often no answer. But when I ask Valerie Jarrett, there’s always an answer or something happens.”

You really should read the whole thing.  That theory explains so much….

The media’s approach to Rand Paul’s filibuster: pretend it never happened *UPDATED*

Yesterday, Rand Paul embarked upon a nearly 12-hour-long standing filibuster.  The filibuster’s ostensible purpose and practical effect was to delay a vote on John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA.  It’s real purpose, though, was to force Attorney General Eric Holder to answer a straightforward question:  “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”

Paul posed this question because, on Monday, in a letter responding to questions Paul had about the drone program on American soil, Eric Holder had written that the President could order a drone strike on American citizens in America, if there was a 9/11 situation.  Thus, Holder confined his answer to the President’s power in the event of actual combat on American soil.  Eric refused to respond to Paul’s follow-up question about a non-combat scenario.

So Paul filibustered, and filibustered, and filibustered.

During his epic speech, in the course of which he even quoted Alice in Wonderland, Paul came up with some liberty-oriented bon mots that will forever enter the conservative playbook:

“They shouldn’t just drop a Hellfire missile on your cafe experience.”

“If you give up your rights now, don’t expect to get them back.”

[A hypothetical question to President Obama:]  “So you can murder anyone you want, anywhere, any time?”

Paul not only managed to derail the scheduled vote for John Brennan, he forced Eric Holder to answer his question.  Today, Eric Holder issued what is probably the world’s shortest letter ever written by a lawyer:

Rand Paul won -- Holder gave him his answer

During his filibuster odyssey, Paul demonstrated that he is a lucid speaker, who still managed to make sense after almost twelve hours on his feet.  No wonder the Young Gun Republicans in the Senate soon rallied to his cause.  (And no wonder the Old Gun Republicans went off to enjoy an expensive dinner with Barack Obama.)

In one staggering feat, Rand Paul demonstrated he is contender material for the 2016 presidential election.  Those who have been paying attention know that he has been angling in that direction for some months now, both by speaking up for Tea Party interests and by trying to convince both conservative and Progressive Jews alike that he does not share the disdain his father, Ron Paul, seems to feel for Israel.

These plays, however, were inside baseball stuff, with only political junkies paying attention to Paul’s Tea Party and Jewish outreach.  The general public, including the conservative-leaning general public, was not paying much attention.

That all changed yesterday, with Paul’s filibuster.  He really did channel Jimmy Stewart, in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington:  He was boyish look, deeply committed to the cause of truth and liberty, and still making sense after hours of talking.  Moreover, unlike Stewart, who was merely acting, Paul was really doing this.  The conservative side of the internet went wild.  This was Paul’s moment.  This was when he catapulted himself into being a national player.  Now the world — or, if not the world, America — will know that there is someone with political substance aiming to challenge Hillary’s almost inevitable 2016 run.

Except that’s not what happened.

Instead, of reporting honestly about one man’s impressive performance in the United States Senate, the mainstream, drive-by media did what it does best:  it pretended Paul’s epic filibuster never happened.  In some of the nation’s main newspapers, his dramatic stand for individual liberty didn’t even make the front page or, if it did, it was buried within another story about Senate business or was the subject of an attack about his being a dangerous loose cannon.

I hereby give you exhibits A, B, C, and D.  The print is small in all of these front page captures, but it’s still large enough for you to see what’s missing — any mention, especially approving mention, of Paul’s epic stand:

New York Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
Washington Post buries Rand Paul filibuster
Los Angeles Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
San Francisco Chronicle buries Rand Paul filibuster

The above front pages from some of the dominant newspapers in America provide a textbook example of mainstream media control over political dialogue in America. The media’s playbook is simple: For Democrats, elevate good stories and bury bad ones. For Republicans, elevate bad stories and bury good ones.

Because the drive-by media is no longer interested in reporting news, but only cares about obtaining outcomes, it is up to us — the Citizen Information Army, a CIA we hope John Brennan will never control — to offset the media hegemony.  We do this by elevating good stories about the Republicans and reporting on bad stories about the Democrats. We have our orders now. Let’s march!

UPDATE:  Don Quixote, who’s more aware of television than I am, told me that the Today Show this morning did do a fairly superficial segment on the filibuster.  Let’s hope it was better than CNN’s coverage.  Ed Driscoll caught the fact that, while CNN did provide some reporting the filibuster, including commentary from Reason’s Mike Rig, it still let its bias shine through.  Check out the chyron CNN applied to the tape of Paul talking:

Media Bias

Although subtle, Ed notes that these things matter: “[T]he Chyron is likely the only thing the now-proverbial low-information voter will take from Paul’s historic filibuster.”

NYT’s guest columnist Stanley Fish engages in Orwellian doublethink to justify BDS speakers at Brooklyn College *UPDATED*

[UPDATE: I should clarify here that, while Fish regularly writes opinion pieces for the Times, and while his beliefs and the Times' beliefs harmonize more often than not, Fish is not a salaried employee of the Times. I've changed the title of this post to add the phrase "guest columnist" in order to reflect that fact.]

BDS and terrorism

BDS is a movement perfectly aligned with genocidal anti-American and anti-Israel organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an appropriate uproar about the fact that Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department, along with the usual Leftist suspects in American academia, were sponsoring a much-publicized forum advocating in favor of BDS.  For those who do not closely follow Leftist political attacks on Israel, BDS stands for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.”

BDS is a political movement aimed at isolating, demonizing, and bankrupting Israel.  Please take the five or so minutes to watch this video, which explains what BDS is — and mentions its goal, which is to “wipe out Israel”:

In other words, then, the BDS crowd seeks Israel’s destruction. I am hard put to find a context in which it is appropriate to use a publicly funded college to serve as a forum for the destruction of a democratic nation that, at least for now, is an American ally? (There’s no saying what Commander-in-Chief Obama will decree in the coming years.)

In respect to Mayor Bloomberg’s formulaic “I hate what you say, but I’ll fight to the death to let you say it” stance, Jonathan Tobin explains why it is so heinous to support BDS conclaves:

But contrary to the mayor’s typically highhanded formulation, this is not a free speech issue. Using a public university to promote hate speech in which the one Jewish state in the world is hypocritically singled out for isolation and destruction is not a matter of tolerating a diversity of views. What is so frustrating about the debate about BDS is the willingness of even those who do not support it to treat as a merely one among many defensible views about the Middle East or, as the New York Times referred to it in an editorial on the subject yesterday, a question of academic freedom whose advocates do not deserve to be spoken of harshly. As I wrote last week about a related controversy at Harvard, the BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies or the issue of West Bank settlements. It is an economic war waged to destroy the Jewish state and is morally indistinguishable from more traditional forms of anti-Semitism that do not disguise themselves in the fancy dress of academic discourse.

As Yair Rosenberg noted today in Tablet, the BDS movement has as its declared goal Israel’s destruction via implementation of the Palestinian “right of return.” This is consistent with their overall rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a separate Jewish state and their opposition to any means of self-defense against Palestinian terrorism.

It needs to be understood that those who take such a position are, in effect, denying the Jewish people the same right of self-determination that they support for every other nation on the planet. That is a textbook definition of bias and such bias when used against Jews is called anti-Semitism. That is why the various members of the City Council and New York State legislature who have spoken out on this issue are right to try to exert pressure on Brooklyn College to cancel the event and the Times and Bloomberg are wrong to defend the decision to uphold it.

I couldn’t have said it better myself (which is why I quoted Tobin at such length).

Despite these protests, the forum went ahead and Stanley Fish, at the New York Times is thrilled.  To him, using American taxpayer dollars to fund a convention aimed at destroying the world’s sole Jewish nation (which also happens to be the sole democracy in the otherwise Muslim, totalitarian Middle East) is the essence of free speech (emphasis mine):

Among the cultural institutions a boycott might target are those Israeli universities that are judged to be either actively in league with the government’s policies toward the Palestinians, or complicit with those policies by virtue of remaining silent while they are being implemented. To the charge that a boycott of academic institutions is a violation of academic freedom,  B.D.S. supporters reply that because the state of Israel abrogates the academic freedom of Palestinian professors and students (by denying them funding, access and mobility), it is an affirmation, not a derogation, of academic freedom to refrain from engaging in intellectual commerce with Israeli universities. You can’t invoke academic freedom, they say, when you’re denying it to others. So the lines of battle are set with both sides claiming to be academic freedom’s champion, and it is easy to see why a college might be thought to be an appropriate venue for a discussion of the matter.

Doesn’t Fish’s formulation remind you of such famous phrases as “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength,” or even “Arbeit macht frei“?

Nazis boycott Jewish stores

The original BDS movement — Nazis boycott Jewish goods

Fish is either a fool or a fellow traveler.  BDS has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with nation killing.  Do I need to mention here that, while Palestine is Judenrein, Israeli universities (see video, above), its government, its military, and even its sports associations have Arab and Palestinian members who, provided that they avoid advocating or agitating for Israel’s imminent destruction, have the same rights as Israel’s Jewish, Christian, atheist, and whatever else residents?

Only a perverse Orwellian doublespeak would pretend that BDS — which aims, as I said, to achieve Israel’s isolation, economic collapse, and her ultimate destruction — is simply a tit-for-tat about academic freedom.  If academic freedom was the real issue, this would be a cat fight about speaking gigs at various universities.  One doesn’t challenge economic malfeasance by targeting the only Jewish nation in the world for complete destruction.

I won’t deconstruct the rest of Fish’s endlessly long article.  Suffice to say that it is as rotten as the foundation on which it’s built.

The New York Times is an increasingly foul publication.  I don’t use that word — “foul” — lightly.  Even during the Duranty years, it aimed for some semblance of objectivity.  Those days are gone.  Its slobbering fervor for Barack Obama and the Democrats; its unrelenting hostility to Israel, George Bush, Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians; and its amoral and immoral attacks on all religions but for Islam, which PC dictates be shielded behind a Teflon coating despite its institutional misogyny, homophobia, and antisemitism, all make the Times too foul for fowls.  Birds, being smart, deserve something a little classier to line their cages.

New York Times public editor keeps straight face while saying she doesn’t know reporters’ political orientation

Hot Air caught the New York Times public editor stating — with a straight face yet! — that she really has no idea what political viewpoint informs their writing.  Maybe this screen shot, from today’s online edition, will help her:

New York Times screenshot

I’m sure both stories are true.  That is, I don’t doubt that a specific woman, in a crisis handled herself well or that money that well-meaning Evangelicals sent to Uganda got put to an evil use.

I’m equally sure, though, that these stories are propaganda for a specific world view.  This is a world view in which women — who are on average less strong than men and on average less big than men, making them less able to handle equipment and more likely to bleed out from wounds, and who also can’t pull it out to pee, have periods, and are vulnerable to an enemy’s deadly sexual assault — should be in the front lines at all times, even if that means lowering front line standards to the detriment of the troops and the military’s mission.  Likewise, the NYT world view always believes that Christian money never funds good causes in the Third World — educating and feeding children, fighting dictatorships, liberating women, etc. — but only pours money into “charities” that abuse victim classes around the world.

So maybe, just maybe, it would help if the public editor occasionally took a glance at her own paper.

When the combatants are morally unequal, it is immoral to treat them in the same way

One of the really icky things about the Left is that it lacks a moral compass.  There is no good or evil.  There are only evil haves and victimized have-nots.

In a sane moral universe, cultural arbiters would readily be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in the Middle East.  The good guys are the ones that give equal rights to all religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, or Atheist.  The bad guys are the ones that impose horrific burdens on those who do not follow the bad guys’ faith, with those burdens ranging from increased taxes, exile from the land of their ancestors, beatings, and mass murder.

The good guys are the ones that do not torture or kill people because of their sexual orientation.  The bad guys are the ones who routinely torture and hang gay men.

The good guys are the ones who acknowledge that women are fully equal to men, and are therefore entitled to both respect and civil rights.  The bad guys are the ones who view women as inherently evil, lascivious, stupid, and dangerous and, to that end segregate them; dehumanize them through clothing; institutionalize pedophilia; mutilate them; deprive them of basic freedoms, liberties, and rights; and turn any of their infractions, whether criminal or social, into capital crimes.

The good guys are the ones who put into place a defense system that allows them to suffer through thousands of rocket attacks before making the decision to retaliate and who, when they retaliate, will abort solid attacks against known targets if they realize that children are in the line of fire.  The bad guys are the ones who take land for peace, only to break their bargain immediately and rain rockets down upon the opposite entity in the exchange.  And the bad guys are the one who view children as both targets and shields, because they care more about propaganda than lives.

In a sane world, if these two entities went to war because the good guys got tired of years of being the bad guys’ target practice, coverage would be much like the news was in the years leading up to and during WWII:  the good guys would be praised and supported, while the bad guys would be excoriated.  Back in those days, the media knew that the Allies had some bad individuals amongst them and that there were Axis soldiers who were forced to fight and hated what they did.  The media understoid the fundmentak difference, though, between the Axis powers and the Allies — the latter was a healthy society fighting against a sick one before the sick society’s cancer could spread.

Those days of sanity are over.  The media hasn’t gone quite so far as to pretend that the bad guys — the Palestinians, the Iranians, and the Islamists — are actually fighting a good fight.  They do something much more insidious, because only people who pay attention are aware — as Dennis Prager explains, they pretend that the two sides are the same:

[A]n evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.

How has the New York Times reported this?

On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column-wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.

What possible reason could there be for the New York Times to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.

The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers! Virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.

If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.

The Times technique works only too well.  Just today, one of the women in my mother’s retirement community said that none of this would happen if the Israelis would just give Gaza back to the Palestinians.  She was surprised when my mother told her that Israel had already done this years ago, only to be rewarded with a barrage of rockets.  The MSM, which this lady watches assiduously, failed to make that point clear.

Prager’s conclusion, after giving more examples of the Times inability to understand moral absolutes, is the same as that with which I started this post:

As the flagship news source of the Left, the New York Times reveals the great moral failing inherent to leftism — its combination of moral relativism and the division of the world between strong and weak, Western and non-Western, and rich and poor rather than between good and evil.

Walking through danger untouched — a personal prayer for Israel

A friend of mine has a family member who has been called up for duty in Israel.  I know that, all over Israel, young men and young women are being mobilized.  Some sadly, may not come home, although I wish all of them would, just as I wish every one of our troops in Afghanistan could return home.

As always when I think about war, I think, not about those who die, but about the many who live.  My expectation that people will return home is shaped by my parents’ experiences.  My father was in the Mediterranean theater from 1939 through 1944 — and never got a scratch.  He then fought in the Israeli War of Independence — and never got a scratch.  During that same war, a sniper shot at my mother.  The bullet grazed the back of her neck, singeing off the fine hairs — but that was all it did. Both of them walked remarkably near the Valley of Shadows, without being physically touched.

I’ve had my own near misses.  When I was 17, I was riding shotgun in a car that flipped off of an overpass and landed, upside down, 25 feet below.  I walked away without a scratch.  When I was 20, my Mom and I were driving on the freeway when, from the cab in the pickup truck in front of us, a manhole cover came spinning off like a giant Frisbee, heading directly for our windshield.  She and I gazed in horror at imminent death by decapitation, only to have the wind grab that Frisbee within an inch of our windshield and send it rocketing to the side of the road.

My parents and I were, and are, not religious people, but we have tried to live righteously.  Whether because of faith or superstition, I believe that matters.  It has always mattered:

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

My prayers are for Israel, a righteous nation, and my prayers are for our own quite righteous troops in these dangerous times.

Incidentally, would it surprise you to know that the New York Times, while it acknowledges Israel’s right to defend herself, really wishes she wouldn’t:

No country should have to endure the rocket attacks that Israel has endured from militants in Gaza, most recently over the past four days. The question is how to stop them permanently.

On Wednesday, Israel launched one of the most ferocious assaults on Gaza since its invasion four years ago. At least 20 targets were struck and a Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, was killed. Israeli leaders also threatened another ground war.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since Israel withdrew in 2007. The group has mostly adhered to an informal cease-fire with Israel after the war there in the winter of 2008-09. But, in recent months, Hamas has claimed responsibility for participating in rocket firings, and last week it took credit for detonating a tunnel packed with explosives along the Israel-Gaza border while Israeli soldiers were working nearby.

Israel has a right to defend itself, but it’s hard to see how Wednesday’s operation could be the most effective way of advancing its long-term interests. It has provoked new waves of condemnation against Israel in Arab countries, including Egypt, whose cooperation is needed to enforce the 1979 peace treaty and support stability in Sinai.

It seems to be beyond the Times’ editors’ comprehension to understand that, for twenty years, Israel has done it the Times‘ way, by making nice with her enemies.  That hasn’t worked.  Israel’s enemies have perceived her as weak and, now that they believe the U.S. has abandoned her by re-electing Obama, they’re attacking with murderous ferocity.  Turning the other cheek, a la Gandhi, works only when your enemies are the moral British.  Otherwise, if you’re fighting the modern equivalent of Nazi Germany, there’s something to be said for a scorched earth policy.

New York Times celebrates a pro-Palestinian propaganda piece

When the Left talks about “the children,” they only mean certain children.  For example, the useful idiots working at the New York Times have never waxed lyrical about the Israeli children killed in pizza parlors, in their homes, or at bus stops.  They’ve never expressed concern about the thousands of missiles that periodically rain down upon Israel with ferocious regularity, nor about the fact that Jewish children are one of the Muslim terrorists’ prime targets.  They don’t even weep tears for the Palestinian children whom the terrorists use for shields or train to become human bombs.

However, woe betide the Jews if those same Palestinian children — the ones the terrorists use as shields — actually die.  Then the propaganda machine goes into action, the movies get made, and the New York Times movie reviewers get to show both their poetic souls and their Leftist chops (emphasis mine):

A brutally uncompromising blast of outrage, Vibeke Lokkeberg’s “Tears of Gaza” is less a documentary than a collage of suffering. Dropping us smack in the middle of the Israeli attacks on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the film tramples politics beneath the raw weight of civilian testimony. Woven together, these monologues of bereavement and confusion, illustrated with images so terrible they repel rational explanation, form a tapestry of human misery that’s impossible to shake off.

Using extraordinary footage shot by several Palestinian photographers, Ms. Lokkeberg (a Norwegian who was refused access to Gaza) spotlights the extreme deprivation of life under a blockade and the physical and psychological wounds of war. A sickeningly beautiful rain of nighttime missiles is followed by wrenching shots of suffocated infants being hauled from pulverized homes. Tiny, broken bodies — some seemingly fired on at point-blank range — blanket the film, often in excruciating close-up. Postcarnage interviews allow the stunned reactions of three surviving children to shape a quiet meditation on lives irretrievably altered.

Unwaveringly committed to a method that spits on context, “Tears of Gaza” forces us to ask a single, electric question: Amid this much horror, does context even matter?

And it’s that last question that tells you everything you need to know.  Context matters tremendously.  There are wars fought to subjugate people and wars fought to free people.  There are wars fought for principles and wars fought for wealth.  There are wars to impose cruelty and wars to destroy cruelty.  For example, contrary to Michael Moore’s stupid belief, Islamists are not “freedom fighters” for Islam.  They have no interest in freedom.  They cannot be analogized to Americans during the Revolutionary War, because the Americans were fighting to increase individual liberties, rather than to subjugate people to a tyrannical ideology.

When a New York Times review waxes lyrical about suffering children and then asks “does context even matter,” you know that this lyricism is being bent to the defense of an evil cause.

That’s all.

Better parenting through pot. Really?

The sentiments in the article claiming pot is a parenting panacea aren’t that surprising.  Pot users have always touted marijuana’s benefits in the alternative press.  What’s a little surprising about this article, which claims that one man became an infinitely better parent because of his pot use, is that the New York Times published it.

The one fallacy in the article, of course, is the author’s belief that everyone around him is as happy as he is.  One of the things pot does to its users is to give them an inflated sense of their own wisdom and wonderfulness.

I was 14 when a friend told me about the experience that put her off put forever — and that put me off too.  She and a friend had gotten together and smoked some joints.  With their minds expanded by drug use, they started to explore the wonderful mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life.  Soon, they had put together a comprehensive unified theory.  They were so excited by their brilliance (if you can be both lethargic and excited) that they decided to tape-record their conversation for posterity’s sake.

The next day my friend played back the tape recording and discovered this:  “So . . . it’s like . . . everything is real . . . you know?  Like . . . we’re all . . . one . . . with each other.  We’re . . . like . . . universal . . . uh, uh . . . friends.”  And so on, for almost thirty minutes.  Pot hadn’t expand their minds; it had just expanded their egos.

All I know as the parent of young ‘uns who are, sadly, at the age when all their peers are starting to use pot, is that pot use in young people has permanent negative effects on their brains.  After that, everything else about the stuff becomes irrelevant.

The New York Times’ Arthur Brisbane has an interesting observation about his employer

Arthur Brisbane has written a rumination about his two years’ as the New York Times’ public editor.  It is an interesting piece, as notes the way in which (a) the New York Times has slimmed its one massive corporate holdings so that they consist only of core news corporations and (b) it has encouraged its employees to embrace social media.  Most interesting to conservatives, of course, is that Brisbane admits that Progressivism is the name of the game at the Times:

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

From this, Brisbane concludes that the New York Times will cease to be a regional newspaper and became the paper of record for an ideological mindset.  I think he’s correct.

The other thing that struck me about Brisbane’s article — and this is a picayune observation on my part — is how awkward some of his writing is.  I don’t blame him.  I recognize that language is changing and that I, with my old-fashioned grammatical rules, occupy the rearguard, not the vanguard.  Nevertheless, this sentence grated:

Back then, I viewed The Times as a deeply resourced news organization that was challenged to recreate itself in an environment that was smashing old media and vaulting new forms to prominence.

“Deeply resourced news organization”?  That isn’t elegant.  And if you’re going to use that phrase, clarity dictates that it should be written “deeply-resourced.”  Either way — yuk.  The other thing I dislike about the sentence is Brisbane’s passive voice:  the Times “was challenged.”  Who challenged it?  Well, the second part of Brisbane’s sentence indicates that changes in the marketplace dictated changes in the Times’ business approach, but the passive voice also allows him to avoid addressing the fact that the Times abandoned the pretense of journalistic objectivity, something he only addresses at the end of the article, in the part I quoted above.  If you’re going to become a partisan paper, that’s also going to force you to change your business approach — not to mention see you losing vast sums of money so that you have to sell of peripheral holdings.

Is the New York Times trying to start a race war?

For the MSM, the George Zimmerman thing has turned out to be a bust.  With the exception of the fact that Trayvon Martin is still dead, everything the MSM first reported about the case has proven to be untrue.  Right about now, you’d think that the media would be engaged in some soul-searching and apologizing, but that assumes that MSM members have souls and consciences.  If you’ve made that assumption, you’ve proved, once again, that when you assume, you make an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

Because the media’s first effort at fomenting a race war seems to have failed, with only a few hapless white people suffering mob beat-downs, the MSM has gone back to the drawing board.  The first effort in the “if at first you don’t succeed” strategy is a New York Times article about a killing in Georgia.  Again, a white man shot a young black man.  I hope you appreciate how beautifully the Times uses passive voice in the first paragraph (emphasis mine):

LYONS, Ga. — Norman Neesmith was sleeping in his home on a rural farm road here in onion country when a noise woke him up.

He grabbed the .22-caliber pistol he kept next to his bed and went to investigate. He found two young brothers who had been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms. There was marijuana and sex.

Over the course of the next confusing minutes on a January morning in 2011, there would be a struggle. The young men would make a terrified run for the door. Mr. Neesmith, who is 62 and white, fired four shots. One of them hit Justin Patterson, who was 22 and black.

The bullet pierced his side, and he died in Mr. Neesmith’s yard. His younger brother, Sha’von, then 18, ran through the onion fields in the dark, frantically trying to call his mother.

The dead boy’s parents are wondering why they didn’t get the full Al Sharpton treatment. Reading through the article, you discover that there are two reasons.  First, a year ago, when this tragedy unfolded, Al Sharpton and his cadre hadn’t yet figured out that they could get substantial mileage out of a white on black killing.  Second, it’s too late now, because the actual facts are out there, and they don’t leave either the race hustlers or the MSM much with which to work.  Even the Times acknowledges that the known facts run counter to the “white people are murderous KKK/Nazi killers” meme:

Still, like so many other crimes where race might be a factor, this one is not so clear-cut. Mr. Neesmith says he felt threatened. He says he aches for the parents but believes none of this would have happened if the young men had not been in his house when they should not have been.

“I think about it every day. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Mr. Neesmith said as he stood in the doorway of his home. “In two minutes it just went bad. If you ain’t never shot nobody, you don’t want to do it, I’m telling you.”

In the backyard, a pool was ready for neighborhood kids — both black and white — who he said loved to come over after school for a swim. Mr. Neesmith, a former school bus driver, and his late wife had been foster parents to dozens of children.

They took in a great-niece, who has a black parent, when she was a baby. She is now 19 and admitted to investigators that she invited Justin Patterson to their trailer home that night, timing it so Mr. Neesmith would be asleep. The two had been flirting on Facebook and in texts.

When Mr. Neesmith pulled the young men out of the bedrooms, he threatened to call the younger girl’s grandfather, according to court documents and interviews. He asked the two, who both have young daughters, why they were not home with their children. He ranted and waved the gun around.

So the brothers made a run for it. By all accounts, while the younger one struggled to unlock a side door, the older one shoved Mr. Neesmith.

Let me summarize those unclear facts:  Neesmith has raised a half-black child (or would she be white/black?) and his home was a meeting spot for both black and white youngsters.  He thought he had a break-in (explaining the gun), then he noticed that the child he was raising was doing sex and illegal drugs in his home (explaining the anger), and then one of the two young men (i.e., not one weeny little guy, but two young men) in his home started pushing him around.  Further investigation showed that the other girl was 14, adding statutory rape to the illegal conduct within his house.

Given these facts, why in the world does the Times say, “like so many other crimes where race might be a factor”?  (And equally importantly, why doesn’t the Times say, more correctly, “As with some many other crimes in which race might be a factor”?)  It turns out that the Times had to do some reaching:

That race played a significant part is not hard to imagine here in a county that was named after Robert Toombs, a general and one of the organizers of the Confederate government. A black woman has never been named Miss Vidalia Onion in the annual festival that begins Thursday. And until last year in neighboring Montgomery County, there were two proms — one for whites and one for blacks.

What!?  No black Miss Vidalia Onion?  My God!  The whole county should be sent to jail.  And separate proms?  Well, clearly a white person is going to kill a black person.  Especially a white person who is raising a black-white person.

With too much time having passed by, and too many facts instantly available in a small Georgia community, Al Sharpton and the MSM race hustlers never had a chance.  The bereaved parents will have to mourn their child’s passing without benefit of race riots on his behalf.

Incidentally, I’ve been paying attention over the past couple of weeks to the crime stories in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Sadly, they have included several reports tell about people of color who were shot,* one while he was pushing his child’s stroller.  Strangely, none of these stories have excited comment in the larger, national media, nor has Al Sharpton dropped by to offer his condolences.  I leave you to figure out why the telling silence.

___________________________

*Oceanview is a primarily minority neighborhood, so I’m making an educated guess that the man who was shot was a minority.