Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m still clearing out the inbox, but I’ve also got some current stuff in here, so I consider this a round-up. I’ll just dive in, with the stuff presented here in pretty random order:

Last Sunday, a New York Times op-ed addressed “Why People Don’t Donate Their Kidneys.” Sally Satel, the author, recognized that we don’t want to pay people for body parts, but thinks that she’s figured out a clever way around it by giving them non-cash rewards. Frankly, that strikes me as the same immorality, just wearing different clothes.

I suspect people don’t donate their kidneys for the same reason I haven’t: People like having a back-up system. They like knowing that, if one kidney fails, they’ve got another one available, instead of having to depend on the kindness of strangers. That investment in a back-up changes when the kidney donation becomes personal.  That happens when the kidney donee is a family member, close friend, or even a stranger who touched a chord in the donor. Without that personal touch, people kind of like to hang on to the spare.

***

Have you heard of Archbishop John Joseph Hughes, aka “Dagger” John, aka the first Catholic Archbishop of New York?  I hadn’t, so I found absolutely fascinating this City Journal article about the way in which he brought discipline and purpose to the vast cadre of lawless, self-destructive Irish immigrants who had been so deeply traumatized by the horrors of the famine in Ireland and the societal disintegration that followed in its wake:

Hughes’s solution for his flock’s social ills was to re-spiritualize them. He wanted to bring about an inner, moral transformation in them, which he believed would solve their social problems in the end. He put the ultimate blame for their condition squarely on the historical oppression they had suffered at the hands of the English, which he said had caused them “to pass away from the faith of their ancestors,” robbing them of the cultural heritage that should have guided their behavior. But that was in the past: now it was time for them to regain what they had lost. So he bought abandoned Protestant church buildings in Irish wards, formed parish churches, and sent in parish priests on a mission of urban evangelization aimed at giving the immigrants a faith-based system of values.

With unerring psychological insight, Hughes had his priests emphasize religious teachings perfectly attuned to re-socializing the Irish and helping them succeed in their new lives. It was a religion of personal responsibility that they taught, stressing the importance of confession, a sacrament not widely popular today—and unknown to many of the Irish who emigrated during the famine, most of whom had never received any religious education. The practice had powerful psychological consequences. You cannot send a friend to confess for you, nor can you bring an advocate into the confessional. Once inside the confessional, you cannot discuss what others have done to you but must clearly state what you yourself have done wrong. It is the ultimate taking of responsibility for one’s actions; and it taught the Irish to focus on their own role in creating their misfortune.

How do we respiritualize a society that seems, lately, to concern itself solely with sexual license? It can be done, you know. Hughes did it with the Irish immigrants. The Victorians (especially the Evangelical movement) did it as a response to the worst excesses of the Georgian and Regency eras. Presumably, we can do it too.

***

The Daily Mail’s profile of Lt. John Randall, the first member of the Allied troops to enter Bergen Belsen is a useful reminder that “Holocaust denial” means denying the reality of the past, one that was experienced by millions, witnessed by thousands, and proudly documented by its perpetrators. In this regard, it differs from “climate change denial,” which involves rejecting a predictive theory that, so far, has been wrong approximately 90% of the time.

***

Apropos that whole climate change thing, you can get a good insight here into the hoax that serial liar Michael Mann perpetrated with his famed hockey stick graph, a graph to which the Left still clings to “prove” that climate change is real.

***

When Hillary came to the Bay Area in early April, John, of The City Square, was there to record the protests. Should Hillary run in 2016, she will face a lot of opposition, based upon a long history of dubious, frequently immoral, and possibly criminal behavior. Benghazi is just the exclamation point to a long, unsavory career.

***

The reliably Leftist, tax-payer funded NPR just hired a new, reliably Leftist CEO. What I found so amusing was the WaPo’s article about his hiring, which expressed surprise and dismay that NPR had problems sticking to its budget (emphasis mine):

[Jarl] Mohn, who has a reputation as a turnaround specialist, will inherit an organization that has been battling persistent operating deficits. It is projecting a deficit of $6.1 million in its current fiscal year, or a little more than 3 percent of its projected revenue of $178 million. The gap between revenue and expenses led NPR to offer buyouts to its 840 employees in September, in an effort to pare about 10 percent of its staff.

Could it be that NPR has operating deficits because it knows that, unlike an actual business, its deficits are meaningless? A real business goes under when it has chronic deficits. A government-funded business simply gets more money from the government. And yes, NPR likes to point out that it gets a large part of its budget from corporate and individual donations, but the fact is, it knows that the government will always be there to bail it out.

***

The Left is all about its fealty to science . . . until that fealty clashes with political correctness. When that happens, it’s under the bus for you. In this case, the sinner is long-time New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade, who looks at differing genetic data in sub-Saharan Africans and reaches non-PC conclusions. His conclusions could be entirely wrong, of course, but Leftists won’t debate him, they’ll just erase him.  (Remember, on the Left, the debate is always over.)

As someone who believes in evolution, I’ve also assumed that certain tribes have, over the centuries, encouraged certain traits. For example, in societies where hunting prey (and running fast so as not to become prey) are necessary for survival, those who successfully passed their DNA down would have been the fast runners, not the slow. With the DNA inheritance, you would soon have a tribe composed of very fast people. Jews, when viewed as a tribe, have always centered their lives around the Bible.  It therefore makes sense that those with a certain academic bent would be most successful in passing on their DNA. The result would be that Jews would excel at tasks requiring an academic bent.  Even Hollywood is an example of genetic selection. For decades, starting in the 1920s, many of the most attractive people in America poured into that city. Most never ended up in pictures. Instead, they married each other and created generations of good-looking Southern California kids with straight noses, good jaw lines, and great figures.

***

In case you didn’t know, Ambassador Christopher Stevens wasn’t “murdered.” Nope. According to “journalist” and Democrat party shill Eleanor Clift, he died of smoke inhalation after a movie review ran amok. You and I are now thinking, “How can anyone still parrot that line after the revelation about the Ben Rhodes Benghazi email? She must be really stupid.” She’s not. We’re stupid. Clift understands the whole concept of the Big Lie, and recognizes that it will still work if you’re the party that controls the media.

***

I know nothing about football, but I posited yesterday that Michael Sam was going to be trouble for the Rams. Jazz Shaw, who does know something about football, agrees. Moreover, he does so for the same reason I gave: unless the Rams treat Sam like the crown prince of the game, they’re going to get raked over the coals in the media (which, after all, is their conduit to the money people pay).  As it is, the “re-education” has already started.

***

Ruth Wisse, one of the few conservative professors at Harvard, writes a powerful opinion piece about the closing of the academic mind. Today’s students will not speak out. They’ve been taught that they’re worthless (“check your privilege at the door”), and their professors are impenetrably wrapped up in their self-righteous and invariably vindictive Leftism.

***

I’ve stated repeatedly that one of the things that turned me away from my staunch pro-choice position was the pro-death attitude that permeates the abortion rights movement. Andrew Klavan, another former pro-abortion person, comments on the same thing, but more powerfully than I could.

***

My friend Gary Buslik has written two hysterically funny books: Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood and A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen. He recently got interviewed over at “Divorced Girl Smiling” and, as you can probably guess, the interview is laugh out loud funny. I found especially amusing the bit about cats and high heels, in part because of this picture, which has been making the rounds on Facebook:

Dog in heels

***

And finally, from Prager University, a short lesson about forgiveness. There was nothing new in it for me, but I liked how well-organized it was, and I especially liked the reminder that forgiveness is psychology important, not just for the person seeking forgiveness but, in certain circumstances, for the one doing the forgiving:

NPR offers a perfect example of how an unfalsifiable, infallible theory works

Burning earthNPR didn’t mean to offer a perfect example of how an unfalsifiable, infallible theory works.  It’s stated goal was to have people better understand what a polar vortex is.  However, when it chose to interview “Andrew Freedman, senior science writer for Climate Central, an independent non-profit organization that researches and reports on the science and impact of climate change,” Mr. Freedman, true to his climate change beliefs, came up with a good one.

Before I get to Mr. Freedman’s words, let me make sure we’re all on the same page about an unfalsifiable, infallible theory.  Mike McDaniel has an easy-to-understand, elegantly stated explanation.  An unfalsifiable theory “requires no proof, for like religious dogma, it is rooted in faith.  One either believes or not; proof is not necessary and opposing proof may therefore be disregarded.  Such beliefs are, in the language of science, non-falsifiable.”  Non-falsifiable theories do not stand alone.  Because they cannot be proved wrong they are, by definition, infallible.  Like God, they are what they are, with no actual explanations required.

With that in mind, please enjoy Mr. Freedman’s response to the NPR interviewer’s question about the current polar vortex and climate change:

GREENE: I mean, is climate change playing some sort of role here in the cold we’re seeing this week?

FREEDMAN: We actually have these possible connections between the Arctic – which is warming rapidly, and which is losing sea ice – and these perturbations, these shifts in the jet stream over North America and over Europe. And many scientists are convinced that there’s enough circumstantial evidence to potentially convince a jury that there is this link, and that the weather patterns are becoming more and more suspicious as being influenced by human activities. But the physical connections, the actual smoking gun that would link Arctic warming to weather patterns that we see right now – like this one – isn’t quite there yet. It hasn’t quite been proven. So whether or not it would convince a jury of scientific peers in this case is unclear. And I think in the next few years, we’ll know a lot more. But certainly, climate change is influencing every weather pattern that occurs today, in some ways large and small.

Without all the unnecessary prevarication, what Mr. Freedman said is “We have no actual evidence that anthropogenic global warming has anything to do with this. That doesn’t worry us, though, because our operating, unchallengeable baseline is that anthropogenic global warming (which we now call “climate change” so as to be more encompassing) is behind every weather phenomenon that has ever happened since we decided that there’s something called anthropogenic global war. . . . er, climate change.”  This is unsurprising.  Mr. Freedman’s paycheck comes from an “independent non-profit organization that researches and reports on the science and impact of climate change.”  No climate change means no non-profit organization, which means Mr. Freedman and his cohorts are out of a job.

Just to demonstrate further that Mr. Freedman is operating within a closed, unfalsifiable system, let’s scoot over to Time Magazine for a minute.  As Ed Driscoll reports (in a post beautifully titled Time Magazine Swings Both Ways), the United States experienced a whopper of a polar vortex in 1974. Back then, Time breathlessly informed its readers that the problem was global cooling and that we trembled on the verge of another ice age.  This time around, of course, the pathetic shadow that was the once might Time, now reports equally breathlessly that global warming caused the big chill.

Faith is a wonderful — and dangerous — thing.

Funny, but I didn’t remember NPR taking this stand when Bush was president

Obama is tanking in the polls, but NPR says not to worry.  While Bush’s tanking in the polls was a sign that he was a lame duck, Obama’s tanking in the polls is meaningless.  The reasons given are insanely stupid:  He’s never been effective with Congress; bad poll numbers are irrelevant (when it’s a Dem polling badly, of course); the map isn’t really that purple; his 15 point drop is a drop in the bucket; and he’s not running for office anymore anyway.  So if I get this right, it doesn’t matter that people are starting to figure Obama out, because he’s always been a useless, ineffective git, and that’s never mattered before to his ability to “fundamentally transform” America, so why worry now.

The people behind a show on NPR

It wasn’t until I crossed the political Rubicon that I started appreciating the irony of the intro to so many PBS and NPR shows.  Turn on Masterpiece Theater and a measured male voice announces, “This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.”

CPB -- funded by Americans

In the normal world, a private corporation means that individuals voluntarily buy into it, and that the corporation is then responsive to these shareholders. In the loopy world of “public broadcasting,” however, the reality is that the government uses its coercive powers to force taxpayers to hand over money for speech (not for roads or weapons, but for speech, which ought to be free).  Many of these coerced taxpayers have no interest in the corporate product, and even more of them find it reprehensible.

We who oppose the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are right to do so.  For most of my life, PBS and NPR were the main news sources for me and my family.  That’s why I can say with certainty that these publicly funded entities inculcated in us a world view that was anti-American, anti-military, anti-Republican, anti-Reagan, anti-Bush, and anti-Israel.

As I’ve told you before, I swallowed everything . . . except for the Israel part.  Unlike all the other stuff, I actually had first hand knowledge about Israel, since my parents were part of its creation, our friends and family lived (and still live) there, and I’d traveled there for extended periods of time.  Once I realized that public broadcasting was out-and-out lying about Israel, or taking a view so slanted that it was tantamount to a lie, I began to question everything that public broadcasting broadcast.

Logo for PBS

As far as I’m concerned, public broadcasting’s only virtue now is . . . .  Oh, never mind.  I can’t think of a single news, entertainment, or educational product it sells that isn’t overt or covert propaganda for a hard-Leftist world view. The exception might be Masterpiece Theater, but that exception only works for some productions and, in any event, I’d be just as happy to watch them on A&E.

If the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was a true private corporation, I wouldn’t have a problem with its world view, although I still wouldn’t like it.  What’s reprehensible is that I’m forced to pay for this ostensibly private institution that produces a product with which I strongly disagree.

I may be forced to pay for public broadcasting, but I don’t have to watch it or listen to it. Part of me knows I should, because it’s very useful to know how and what the opposition is thinking.  The problem, though, is my blood pressure goes shooting through the roof when I hear its little packages of information, all of which have a Leftist beginning, middle, and end, with no room for argument and dissenting opinions.

Logo for NPR

This rant is for a reason.  On Facebook, many of my liberal friends swoon about a new-ish show on NPR called Snap Judgment.  As best as I can tell, this oh-so-hip show consists of short “true tales,” told with jazz and hip-hop music threading through the stories.  The stories run the gamut from silly to serious.  I’m sure there is much there that is interesting or informative.

I find the show off-putting for two reasons, though.  First, having listened to a bit of it, I find the choppy mix of music and narrative, which is modeled on “slam readings,” irritating rather than attractive.  I also don’t like the fact that the show’s sensibility is Left.  This slant really isn’t a surprise.  Take a look at the bios for two of the show’s four producers (bolded emphasis mine):

Glynn Washington – Host & Executive Producer

Before creating the Snap Judgment radio show, Glynn worked as an educator, diplomat, community activist, actor, political strategist, fist-shaker, mountain-hollerer, and foot stomper.

Glynn composed music for the Kunst Stoff dance performances in San Francisco, rocked live spoken word poetry in Detroit, joined a band in Indonesia, wrote several screenplays, painted a daring series of self portraits, released a blues album, and thinks his stories are best served with cocktails.

Anna Sussman – Producer

Anna Sussman has been trying to report serious stories but really reporting on frivolity for the past nine years. She earned two masters degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, in Journalism and Human Rights, and founded Backpackjournalist.org with her husband, reporting stories on U.S military debacles, international war tribunals and man-eating crocodiles from 21 countries.

Anna comes to Snap Judgment from the wilds of the freelance jungle where she reported for CNN, Current TV, PRI and the San Francisco Chronicle. She also plays the banjo and can be spotted in a Thai sports drink commercial.

Both Washington and Sussman are probably very nice people, the kind who would,  with their many and varied life experiences, be enjoyable conversationalists at a dinner party.  Glynn Washington, especially, has an interesting bio, one that actually ought to have him questioning the merits of Leftist politics rather than, if his wife’s politics are anything to go by, embracing them:

Washington thinks about those things [life-altering decisions] because of the radical turns his life took when he was young. His family left the urban grit of Detroit in the early 1970s for life on a farm in rural Michigan. “We were organic before organic was cool,” Washington said. He was often the only African American kid in his classes. It meant he got beaten up a lot, but the move might have saved his life, because a lot of the kids he grew up with in Detroit, he said, are dead or locked up.

A few years after moving to the country, radio transformed his family. His mother fell under the spell of an on-air evangelist, and she dragged the entire household into a group he described as an apocalyptic cult.

Washington went his own way in his late teens. He studied in Japan, got a law degree at the University of Michigan and worked as a junior diplomat in Malaysia. Lately, he’s made his living by running a series of Bay Area nonprofits; he currently directs the Young Entrepreneurs program at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Despite Washington’s and Sussman’s probable niceness, their bios (especially Sussman’s) give the game away about the show’s sensibility:  These are Leftists who dislike the military, blame poverty on capitalism, and generally don’t think much of the American way of doing things.

Washington and Sussman, and all their cohorts, are more than entitled to their views.  Indeed, I love living in a free marketplace of ideas.  What I hate is being forced to pay for someone else’s ideas.

And yes, I know that public broadcasting is a miniscule part of the federal budget.  That’s irrelevant.  First, it’s still money and, in a broke economy, every penny counts.  We should be sequester public broadcasting in its entirely, rather than imposing cuts on our military.

Second (and this is the really important one), it’s my money that’s funding these shows.  I didn’t voluntarily hand my money to NPR.  NPR took it from me, using the federal government as its weapon.  If you’ve been mugged, you don’t care whether the thief took $10 or $100.  What you care about is the fact that you’ve been robbed at gunpoint.

It isn’t the Supreme Court’s job to re-write a Congressional bill that’s had its unconstitutional heart cut out

In one of his more delightful articles, Jonah Goldberg tackles Justice Ginsburg’s disingenuous claim that the most “conservative” thing the Supreme Court can do is to pick its way through all 2,700 pages of the ObamaCare bill and save all the good bits.  After politely decimating Ginsburg’s word choice, Goldberg has this to say:

The conservative thing to do — and I don’t mean politically conservative — is to send the whole thing back to Congress and have it done right. Leaving aside the fact that Obamacare largely falls apart if you remove the mandate, it’s not the Supreme Court’s job to design our health-care system from the scraps Congress dumps in its lap. What Ginsburg proposes is akin to a student handing in a sloppy, error-filled term paper, and the professor rewriting it so as to give the student an A.

Goldberg’s charming analogy reminded me of something a friend told me.  Although a conservative, she’s a strong, brave woman, and still listens to NPR.  (I don’t, because I find myself screaming at the radio too much, especially with NPR’s Israel coverage.)  During a call-in show, she said that several of the callers were deeply offended that the conservative justices used analogies, such as questions about broccoli and cell phones, to discuss ObamaCare’s provisions.  The tone seemed to be “How dare those evil conservatives dumb down a sophisticated act to appeal to the rubes in America in order to justify destroying the best legislation ever.”

I was actually reminded of someone who used analogies with incredible grace to simplify (not destroy, but make accessible) challenging ideas:

Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind [Deuteronomy 6:5]; and your neighbour as yourself [Leviticus 19:18].”

He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”

Jesus answered, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” — Luke 10:25–37, World English Bible

****

He told them this parable. “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.” — Luke 15:3-7, World English Bible

I don’t call this dumbing things down.  I call it the wisdom to drill down into something’s essential element and the skill then to communicate those core principles (whether they are good, as with the parables, or bad, as with ObamaCare) to others.

P.S.  I am not likening the conservative Supreme Court justices to Jesus Christ.  I’m just saying that smart analogies are a staple of intelligent communication, and should be admired, not denigrated.

 

Hustling for gigs

I drove Mr. Bookworm’s car today.  That means that, when I turned on the radio, I got NPR.  I don’t listen to NPR anymore.  I find very dull the carefully packaged stories, all of which advance, with greater or lesser subtlety, a Progressive political agenda.  I prefer freewheeling talk radio, where hosts do live interviews of people with whom they agree and, even more interestingly, with people with whom they disagree.

Today, though, I listened to NPR long enough to hear a promo for an upcoming show, the name of which I forget, which looks at the fact that more and more people are free-lancers rather than employees.  It was clear that NPR disapproves of this trend, because the show was sold as a look at people who are pathetically hustling for work without the security of full-time employment.

I used to be one of those people, although I never thought of myself as pathetic.  I did my best lawyering when I stopped being a wage slave and started working for myself.  Instead of resenting every hour worked, because it simply put more money into the boss’s pockets, I threw myself into my work because it benefited me.  When I hustled, there was a direct return on effort.

The economics of what I was doing meant I never made as much money working as a free-lance attorney, hiring my services out to other law firms, as I did when I worked for the big firms.  I also actually worked harder for that lesser amount of money.  But I was so much happier.  The direct connection between labor and profit was incredibly satisfying.  Yes, I was out there hustling, but I was free.  And while it’s true that I’d lost my “safety net,” the fact is that my employers could have fired me at any time.  So that safety net was an illusion.  Working for myself, I knew what I had to offer and I knew I could survive.

Another MSM report on NPR that manages to hide the anti-Semitism, but does reveal funding lies

[Between kids and phone calls, it took me way too long to write this post, although that proved useful at the end, as it was the AP's republished news report that contained the real gem. Rather than re-write this post, I'm simply highlighting the explosive little factoid hidden in the AP's execrably written article.]

This morning, I noted that the New York Times, in reporting on the NPR debacle, managed to ignore the anti-Semitism issue.  I speculated that this was to protect its Jewish readers from getting suspicious about the whole Progressive/Democrat structure.  What I forgot is that the MSM (especially the Times) also likes to keep from its readers the fact that Islamists are violently (in deed, not just word) anti-Semitic.

The AP’s coverage (as of 3:00 PST) displays exactly the same elusiveness when it comes to anti-Semitism.  Also, interestingly, the AP was unable to find any conservatives to talk to about the sting and its implications.  It got quotations only from NPR sources.

What the AP included and what it omitted are both telling, as are quotes from the players.  Here’s the sum total of what the AP has to say about the O’Keefe video’s content:

NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday under pressure, a day after an undercover video showed one of her executives on a hidden camera calling the tea party racist and saying the news organization would be better off without taxpayer money.

[snip]

On Tuesday, conservative activist James O’Keefe posted a video showing NPR executive Ron Schiller bashing the tea party movement. The video shows two activists, working for O’Keefe, posing as members of a fake Muslim group at a lunch meeting with Ron Schiller, who is not related to Vivian Schiller. The men offered NPR a $5 million donation and engage in a wide-ranging discussion about tea party Republicans, pro-Israel bias in the media and anti-intellectualism.

“The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party. It’s been hijacked by this group that is … not just Islamophobic but, really, xenophobic,” Ron Schiller said in the video, referring to the tea party movement. “They believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting — it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

[snip]

[And buried in the article's very last paragraph] Another NPR executive, Betsy Liley, was at the lunch with Ron Schiller. She said little in the video, although she can be heard laughing when one of the men says his group referred to NPR as “National Palestinian Radio.” She has been placed on administrative leave.

The article makes no mention of the way in which the stingers boasted about their Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah connections; no mention of their openly stated desire to bring Sharia law to America; no mention of Schiller’s contentions about Jewish control over print media; etc.  Instead, the report limits itself to having Schiller attack a group — Tea Partiers — that the media assumes everybody wants to attack, and for precisely the same reasons Schiller did.

The report also helps Vivian Schiller look like a victim.  As you noticed, O’Keefe is not described as a citizen journalist, or a muckraker, or even a provocateur in the Michael Moore mold.  Instead, he’s a conservative activist.  The article has more to say about O’Keefe, little of it complimentary.  While it passes as lightly as possible over the way in which he brought ACORN down, it packs the highest number of details into describing his arrest:

O’Keefe, best known for wearing a pimp costume in hidden-camera videos that embarrassed the community-organizing group ACORN, posted the NPR video on his website, Project Veritas. The group said the video was shot on Feb. 22.

O’Keefe also pleaded guilty last May after he was accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office. He pleaded guilty misdemeanor charges of entering federal property under false pretenses and was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.

Not only is Schiller (per the AP) being hounded by a criminal activist, she and NPR are coming under “pressure” for what are apparently the most innocuous of sins — offending anti-liberal conservatives and using poor judgment in firing tactics (not, please note, in the decision to fire in the first place):

The shake-up comes at a critical time. Conservative politicians are again pressing to end congressional funding for NPR, money the organization said it needs to keep operating public radio and television stations in some of the nation’s smallest communities. The White House defended the funding, saying there remains a need for public broadcasting.

Vivian Schiller also faced criticism for her firing of analyst Juan Williams over comments he made about Muslims. She told The Associated Press that the recent remarks made by her fellow executive Ron Schiller were outrageous and unfortunate, and her staying on would only hurt NPR’s fight for federal money.

“I did not want to leave NPR. There’s a lot of pressure on NPR right now,” Vivian Schiller told AP.

NPR has long been a target of conservatives who claim its programming has a left-wing bias. The budget bill passed by the House last month would end funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports programs distributed on NPR and PBS.

Vivian Schiller was criticized for last year’s firing of Williams after he said on Fox News that he feels uncomfortable when he sees people in “Muslim garb” on airplanes. She later said she was sorry for firing Williams over the phone and that he deserved a face-to-face meeting.

“We took a reputational hit around the Juan Williams incident, and this was another blow to NPR’s reputation. There’s no question,” she told AP.

Schiller said she and the board concluded that her “departure from NPR would help to mitigate the threat from those who have misperceptions about NPR as a news organization.”

Vivian Schiller is not the only one to offer laughable statements to defend her position.  In this wired age, Dave Edwards, who chairs NPR’s board, makes it sound as if this is 1932 all over again, and the federal government is desperately needed to bring electricity to the Tennessee Valley, not to mention news to those dark corners of America without electricity, cable, computers and television:

“It is absolutely true that without federal funding, a lot of our public radio and public TV stations in the system could go dark, and that will happen in some of the smallest communities we serve,” Edwards said. “In some cases, public broadcasting remains that community’s primary connection with the outside world.”

Ron Schiller doesn’t do much better in his own defense:

“While the meeting I participated in turned out to be a ruse,” Ron Schiller said, “I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR’s values and also not reflective of my own beliefs. I offer my sincere apology to those I offended.”

Let me see if I can translate: If Schiller, is not, as he appears in that video, an anti-White, anti-Semitic, anti-Conservative, pro-Muslim hater, he is instead a whore who will say anything to anybody to get money. That’s the kind of guy we need working on the federal dime.

(3:45 PST) You get the news in real time at this blog. As I’ve been working on this post, AP, without any acknowledgment that it did so, just republished its article, with substantial changes. The new version of the article isn’t much better than the old.  While keeping, albeit in somewhat different form, the points I noted above, it adds a few new gems.  For example, it helps make Chairman Edwards’ case that, without just a wee bit of federal funds, all sorts of local stations will have to close their doors:

The CPB is receiving $430 million in the current fiscal year and will get $445 million in fiscal 2012. It CPB handed out nearly $94 million in grants to more than 400 public radio stations — not all of which are NPR affiliates — in fiscal 2010.

NPR itself typically gets only about 2 percent of its budget from CPB grants, but many of its 268 member stations rely heavily on them. NPR affiliates get an average of 10 percent of their funding from CPB, and some small and rural stations receive more than 40 percent of their funding that way, although NPR could not provide exact figures.

About a third of NPR’s $161 million budget in fiscal 2010 came from its affiliates in the form of programming fees. NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher said it’s difficult to say how a loss of CPB funding would affect stations’ ability to pay.

A cut in funding to CPB would hit public television stations harder than radio stations. By law, 75 percent of CPB’s grant money must go to TV stations.

AP then proceeds to undercut entirely both its and Edward’s claim that federal funds are the only thing keeping the pathetic little affiliates going to serve the poverty stricken in 1932′s Tennessee Valley time warp. You see, it turns out that those member stations were already in trouble — not because of funding, but because of Schiller herself.  Notwithstanding Edward’s claim that NPR television is the only thing connecting Americans in the outback to civilization, it turns out that Schiller was busy trying to destroy local affiliates in favor of funding NPR’s national website:

Howard Liberman, a longtime broadcast communications attorney who represents NPR affiliates, said many stations were unhappy with Vivian Schiller and the release of the video was the last straw. He pointed to the Williams controversy and other moves by Schiller that have alienated stations, such as shortening the organization’s name from National Public Radio to NPR and trying to drive listeners toward NPR’s website.  (Emphasis mine.)

Bottom line: NPR was planning on killing its own (and isn’t that what Leftist revolutionary entities always do?)

I very much look forward to the next batch of videos O’Keefe promises to release.  They should be interesting.

Vivian Schiller, NPR CEO, ousted

Apparently a video of her employees gleefully cuddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood, all the while trashing conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Jews, was the infamous straw that broke the NPR camel’s back:  Vivian Schiller just got fired.  (Although NPR is already phrasing it as a resignation — a forced resignation, I assume.)  I doubt that will do much to change NPR’s corporate culture — it’s too deeply embedded at every level — but it’s still a satisfying denouement to a tawdry story.

Anti-American, anti-Semitic NPR fundraising executives punked *UPDATED*

I’m actually grateful to NPR.  It was its unbelievably biased Israel coverage that helped me make the break with my reflexive liberalism and take a long, hard look at my political beliefs and party affiliation.  Nevertheless, it irks me no end that my taxpayer money funds NPR, PBS and local affiliates.  There is no reason in this day and age to have government media, especially government media that is hostile to more than half the American population and wants to roll around naked in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood.

If you don’t believe me about NPR’s beliefs and desires, you must read this Daily Caller article and take the 11 minutes to watch the video that is a part of the article.  It’s disgusting but it’s also wonderful, because it shines sunlight in an area the Progressives have tried to keep shady.  Considering that the NPR executive who got punked said it would be best for NPR to lose its federal funding, my response is, let’s give the guy what he wants.

UPDATE:  I like NPR’s defense which amounts to this:  since we didn’t immediately accept their phony bribe, we’re “appalled” by Schiller’s comments, and Schiller got another job, get off our back.

“The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept.

“We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for.

“Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job.”

It doesn’t seem to occur to the NPR folks that the video shows Schiller desperate to get a steady stream of income from a Muslim Brotherhood organization that wants to give a platform to Hamas and Hezbollah, two terrorist groups.

NPR’s carefully crafted tales — and why I don’t listen any more

When I left law school, a switch tripped in my brain.  Whereas before I’d listened only to top twenty music, I suddenly got bored with music and switched to news.  But not just any news.  NPR news.  Whenever I was in the car, I had my radio tuned to my local public radio station.  In those days, I spent a lot of time in the care, so I listened to a lot of the stories flowing from that station.  I considered myself extremely well-informed.  Oh, and smug.  Very smug.  As far as I was concerned, NPR made me an informed person.

One of the things that made NPR so appealing to me was the story arc.  Their news stories always came in beautifully presented, neat, tidy little packages. I’ve always loved tight narratives (i.e., stories with a beginning, a middle and an end, and, if I was lucky, a moral too), so NPR was perfectly suited to my temperament.

The guy or gal who functioned as a given show’s Master of Ceremonies would give a neat little promo in his or her warm, erudite voice:  “In the wake of last Tuesday’s midterm election, House Republicans, relying on the Contract with America, have vowed to shut down welfare, denying funds to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children.  For more on this story, we have Harvard-grad reporter Louis Liberal.”

Louis would then come on, and in that same warm, erudite tone, give a neat, three-sentence intro detailing how the House Republicans had a plan to deny necessary funding to hundreds of thousands of hungry children.  Louis would then say, “Harvard economist Pol Klugmen explains that, if Republicans are successful in ending welfare as we know it, studies show that there will be dead bodies lying in the street.”  We’d then hear Prof. Klugmen, in warm, erudite and scholarly tones, explain about all the dead bodies.  Louis would then introduce another expert, perhaps from a liberal think tank, explaining that the only way to reform welfare is to pump more money into it.  That expert, too, would give a short, sweet, scholarly statement on the subject.  Louis would then add, “Leading house Republicans deny this charge.”  Next would com a swift Newt soundbyte:  “That’s not true.”  Louis, in his erudite, patrician voice, would end this tight story-line by saying, “Only time will tell if the Republican plan can be implemented without causing catastrophic failures amongst the nation’s poor.”

Each story was such a neat little package.  There was no thinking required.  We were told the thesis; the good view was identified, with nice neat soundbytes; the bad view was identified, with meaningless soundbytes; and the wrap-up warned us of the horrors awaiting if the bad view prevailed.

I bought into these morality tales with wholehearted fervor.  The good guys, the Democrats, wanted to protect the poor; the bad guys, the Republicans, intended to leave them starving in the street.  And even worse, because the stupid American people had given those evil Republicans power, poor, long-suffering President Clinton, who’d been dogged by those nasty lies about his over-the-top sexual escapades, would be forced to put his imprimatur on a bill leaving the homeless more homeless than ever.

There was only one problem with this neatly enclosed little universe:  Israel.  You see, unlike stories about domestic politics, where my only understanding of the facts came from NPR itself, when it came to Israel, I actually knew one important thing:  Israel wanted to live peacefully on the small plot of land given her by both the League of Nations and the UN, and won by her in subsequent wars; and the Palestinians wanted every Jew in the world dead.  This meant that all the spin NPR put out about Israeli brutalities against innocent Palestinians, and the poor, suffering, peace-loving Palestinians, didn’t touch me.  I knew NPR was spinning or, worse, lying.

The problem is that, once you realize that a narrator is comfortable abandoning the truth, you start to wonder, “Where does that end?  I know NPR is lying when it tries to make a moral relativism argument re Israel or, worse, when it presents the Israeli military as an out-of-control killing machine, so I have to wonder if it’s lying about other things too.”

After 9/11, I got some further reality checks regarding the NPR world view.  I didn’t like the way NPR kept trying to exculpate Islam from the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.  That made no sense to me.  I also didn’t like NPR’s relentless negative war coverage.  I actually agreed with Bush:  when a nation supports mass murderers, you bring war to that nation.  I also had a hard time understanding how, despite the fact that Bush spent a year begging the UN for help, eventually ending up with a coalition, NPR could keep selling little story packages that presented Bush as an out-of-control, go-it-alone cowboy.  The spin was inconsistent with the facts on the ground.

Eventually, I started cross-checking NPR stories.  They’d say one thing, and I’d go on an internet search for more information.  That’s when I stumbled across conservative blogs.  What fascinated me was that, using the same facts NPR reported, or sometimes just alluded to, the conservative sites would reach conclusions  that were — surprise! — consistent with those facts.  There was no bending and stretching, there were no contortions.  Facts and conclusions flowed logically, from one to another.

The biggest surprise, though, was the way the conservative blogs opened themselves to the opposing point of view.  Where I expected an echo chamber, I got huge quotes from and links to NPR, CBS, NBC, and all other mainstream outlets, along with detailed analyses explaining the flaws in the reasoning or the factual errors and omissions.  Unlike the tight, one-world view of the NPR story packages, this was all out intellectual warfare.  Suddenly, that seemingly trite phrase “the marketplace of ideas” made big time sense.

From blogs, it was a short stop to radio, and that’s when I definitively abandoned NPR.  I realized that those neatly tied-up story lines weren’t a sign of sophistication and erudition, they were a sign of cowardice.  NPR was the intellectual (and news) equivalent of the three monkey, insofar as it religiously assured its audience that, when it came to the liberal viewpoint, there was no evil to be seen, heard or spoken.

The courage was with Rush Limbaugh, or Dennis Prager, or Hugh Hewitt, or Michael Medved, or a host of other hosts, all of whom welcomed opposing views on their program, whether in the form of actual guests, ordinary citizens calling in, or lengthy playbacks of liberal arguments and speeches.  The conservative blogs and radio shows were sufficiently secure in their viewpoints, and in their ability to support those viewpoints, that they’d take on all comers.

Suddenly, I was out of the bubble — and I’ve never looked back.  My liberal friend accuses me of still living in the bubble because I read so many conservative sites.  What he doesn’t understand, because he lives in the liberal media world, is that these conservative sites take the same news the liberal media sells, and then give added value, in the form of criticism, analysis or additional facts.  They pierce the bubble at every turn.

More than that, because conservative media openly admits its bias, I can separate facts from viewpoint with relative ease.  Such is not the case with NPR, which stridently asserts its perfect objectivity, allowing it to present its conclusions as objective facts.  As Benjamin Kerstein says:

Put simply, NPR is for coastal liberals what Rush Limbaugh is for heartland conservatives: a means of relating to the world from within the confines of a specific subculture. The difference, of course, is that Limbaugh’s admirers do not force others to pay for it.

Nor, I imagine, are Limbaugh’s listeners laboring under the same illusion as NPR’s. Most of them probably understand that Limbaugh is giving opinions based on his political point of view, which is, to say the least, well known to his listeners. NPR’s listeners, on the other hand, are quite convinced that they are receiving nothing less than the pure, unvarnished, objective truth from the network. They believe themselves to be smart and informed, and thus the network they love must also be, perhaps by definition, smart and informative.

As far as I have been able to discern from my own, admittedly subjective, encounters with the network, this is largely a convenient illusion. Put simply, NPR’s reputation seems based largely on aesthetic considerations. Its personalities are articulate and employ a more extensive vocabulary than commercial radio; its programs are professionally produced, with a slickness that conservative media cannot match; and its reporters are generally skilled at sounding calm and objective, even when they manifestly are not. The more one begins to delve into the substance of NPR’s programming, however, the more one senses that the network is neither particularly smart nor particularly informative.

As someone who listened to NPR for almost two decades, I can assure Kerstein that he is absolutely right.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Individualism as a psychiatric illness — what the NPR kerfuffle reveals *UPDATED*

Juan Williams breached PC, group-think protocol by giving voice to a personal feeling, which is the fear of Muslims on airplanes.  This is not an irrational fear.  While the percentage of Muslims who will be threats on airplanes is small, the percentage of mass murderers who board airplanes and happen to be Muslims is large.

Normal people understood what Williams said.  Leftists intentionally misconstrued him — and then one of them said something more, and it’s a something that, to me, reveals a lot about the true nature of statism.

The “something more” that emanated from the Left after Williams violated the PC shibboleth was this statement from Vivian Schiller, the CEO at NPR:

After the firing, Schiller said publicly that whatever feelings Williams had about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.”

It took me a while to figure out why that remark was so awful, and the “so awful” part doesn’t have to do with the fact that it’s demeaning or unprofessional.  It was a little trip down memory lane that made me realize what was so terrible about it.

Walk back with me in time.  It’s sometime in 1970.  The Soviet Union is still a completely committed Communist nation.  As a completely committed Communist nation, it is also a complete totalitarian nation, which means that it must exert total control over any citizens who dare to challenge its hegemony.  (I bet some of you have figured out where I’m going with this one.)  One of the ways the Soviet Union controlled dissidents, whether they dissented because of religion, political beliefs, homosexuality, or whatever else made them challenge the statist monolith, was to send them to psychiatrists for “reeducation“.

For those too young to remember those times, you have to appreciate that psychiatry in America and psychiatry in the Soviet Union were two vastly different things.  In the Soviet Union, psychiatry wasn’t about voluntary commercial relationships between an individual and a doctor, with the latter helping a person break a bad habit, find greater happiness, control anxiety, make personal relationships richer, or whatever else got a person thinking a psychiatrist might be a good thing.

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry existed to support the state.  Psychiatrists used the new science of the mind, not to educate people, but to mentally coerce them into singing the state tune, so that they would abandon their dissenting ways forever.  Or, sometimes, they just tortured them with mind games:

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. Psychiatric hospitals were used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate hundreds or thousands of political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally; as such they are considered a form of torture.[1] This method was also employed against religious prisoners, including especially well-educated atheists who converted to a religion; in such cases their religious faith was determined to be a form of mental illness that needed to be cured.

So, when the head of NPR lashes out at someone for deviating from Leftist orthodoxy by suggesting psychiatry, that’s a significantly more creepy and unguarded response than its superficial snark and immaturity would seem to imply.

UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.

UPDATE II:  Garry Hamilton reminds me that psychiatry in America hasn’t been that innocuous either.

About the Juan Williams firing *UPDATED*

I managed to get as far as writing a nasty letter to NPR about the Juan Williams firing, because my day self-destructed, and my blogging hopes ended.  Fortunately, many of my blog friends have been very busy, so let me pass them on to you.  You know, without my having to tell you, how good each of the following writers is, so you can be assured that you will enjoy, and quite possibly agree with, what each has to say:

The Anchoress

Blackfive

Melissa Clouthier

Brutally Honest

AJ Strata

Incidentally, my take on it to NPR was that NPR long ago stopped being a news outlet, and became an opinion outlet for the Democratic Party, with the opinion packaged to look like news.  For NPR to fire Williams for openly voicing his opinion took hypocrisy to new heights.  I also pointed out that, while I no longer listen to NPR’s claptrap, I still have a say in the matter, since I’m forced to pay its bills.

UPDATE:  A few more good links –

Best of the Web

John Fund

Rhymes with Right

Sarah Palin

And Fox gave Juan a job — because Fox actually lets people speak

You’ll find yourself enjoying the different writing styles, but I think you’ll see that they all reach the same conclusion:  NPR, a taxpayer funded institution, showed the horrible nexus of political correctness and dhimmitude that will destroy America unless we start refusing to let them bully us.  The only way to deal with political correctness is to ignore it.  Sadly, though, too many people are cowed by it.  I’m actually not.  I may not be a confrontational person, but I’ll politely, and factually, argue my way around the PC shibboleths that try to constrain me.  Usually, the people to whom I’m speaking end up nodding like those floppy necked dogs on car dashboards.  PC can’t shut down the part of their brain that knows I’m right; all it can do is cut out their tongues, preparing them for the ultimate ritual sacrifice.

This is the way to treat PC censorship:

Or as Ben Franklin said:  “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”