Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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31 October 2005

Bush Makes the Right Choice

After the humiliation of the Miers fiasco, I feared Bush would "take his ball and go home" and stick it to his critics. But he didn't - he made a very sound choice - a highly qualified sitting judge who is a sound conservative. Liberals won't like the choice, but that's too bad - they didn't win the election and don't hold the senate. More importantly, it shows he can be humble, recognize his mistakes, and correct them. The possibilities are endless!

30 October 2005

Fun With Diversity!

That is, it can be fun to type in the word "diversity" in Google News search and see the silly things that pop up... Read more... Like this one:
Local schools strive for better diversity I like that - "better" diversity, as opposed to just "more" diversity. As you might imagine, the article discusses the astounding phenomenon that a lower proportion of teachers are non-white than students, and thus the need for more recruiting of minorities into teaching. What are some of the challenges to this recruiting?
[Heraldo]Richards, who oversees Project MORE (Preparing Minorities to be Outstanding Responsible Educators), said the responsibility of paying for exams, buying professional clothes and having transportation on top of regular tuition and fees can be a burden for cash-strapped students.
Whoa! with hurdles like those, surely only the most dogged and privileged could possibly scratch and claw their way into the teaching profession. Yet, at the same time, who'd even want to be a teacher?
"Many minorities may come from low socioeconomic backgrounds," Richards said. "Many of them don't see teaching as achieving the American dream, economically speaking. So, we lose them."
"Teaching is not an appealing area for a lot of college students," [Roy] Jones said. "Then, to hear from teachers themselves who say they are overwhelmed by the challenges of the students and weighted down with bureaucracy is not encouraging."
So, you see, not only do you need to have substantial resources to crack into the teaching profession, but you also need to be particularly unambitious to settle for such an uninspiring profession.

Meanwhile, in Mesa, Arizona, they're having different diversity problems. Mesa leaders aim to ease tensions. You could probably guess that the tensions are Anglo-Mexican in nature. And you could also probably guess which side the article thinks needs to do the easing. And again we are presented with the kind of brain-twisting contradictions that are part-and-parcel of "diversity" discussions:
"Change brings conflict, and conflict is sometimes scary," said Phil Austin, president of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, speaking at the fourth-annual Mesa Latino Town Hall. "It is scary. The unknown is scary."
Ah, yes, fear of the unknown. But...
In April, ethnic tensions erupted during a town hall meeting when some Anglo residents criticized Hispanics for not learning English fast enough and filling their front yards with beer cans and parked cars.
The day-labor issue was thrust into the spotlight - again - a few months later. Police and business owners launched an aggressive campaign to prevent workers from congregating near Broadway and Gilbert roads, long considered the "ground zero" for the day-labor explosion in Mesa.
So it sounds like it isn't the "unknown" that is feared, but the all-too known. This year has also been a trying one for the city's Hispanic community the article intones. The situation sounds quite dire, indeed: Recently, the threat of severe budget cuts has put the city's Diversity Office in jeopardy as Mesa struggles to overcome a projected $36 million deficit next year. Damn those insensitive, Anglo bastards! And on Thursday, David Garcia, one of three finalists for Mesa's city manager position and a Hispanic, withdrew his candidacy, saying Mesa wasn't the "right fit" for him. Could you blame him? Is there no limit to the indignities one group should have to suffer?! But there's hope on the horizon, if only the Anglos would only just ease up:
The challenge in years to come will be battling stereotypes about Hispanics that could further polarize Mesa, said Napolean Pisano, the education chairman of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens.
"When you see day-laborers on the street, they're there to get a job, not urinate on the street or harass passers-by," Pisano said.
It's intolerance and bigotry that prevent people from seeing past a little urine and harassment.

27 October 2005

Miers is Gone...Now What?

With the withdrawal of Harriet Miers, what will Bush do? Will he feel chastened by the ordeal and go back to the list of the kind of highly qualified conservative judges the people who voted for him expected him to select? Or will he, in a fit of pique, rub it in their noses and reward some other crony or some safe minority moderate? I would not be surprised if it ends up being the latter - he seems to be very spiteful. Part of me feels that the Harriet Miers pick itself was to some extent payback for those who dared raise concerns about a potential Alberto Gonzalez nomination. He won't nominate Gonzalez because he'd run into the same executive privilege issues there, and the last thing he would want is for Alberto to have to discuss the torture memos. But I fear he'd love to name some "moderate" woman or Hispanic just to teach those uppity right-wingers a lesson.

As I pointed out in previous posts, O'Connor had a small but definite leftward effect on the court, and the court overall tilts discernibly left, so a failure to replace her with a clear-cut conservative will represent a failure to achieve a stated goal of his presidency. So the ball is, I dare say, in his court.

Dealing With Terror

I've been spending all my available time fighting various infections on my computer - the latest has rendered all my e-mails unreadable (they're all blank) and my worthless McAfee unworkable. With the Patriot Act etc., would it really be so difficult for the authorities to track down each and everyone of these cyber-sleazes who make these things, put a bullet through each of their heads and dump their bodies in a river somewhere? Who would protest?

25 October 2005

Galloway Denies Taking Oil-for-Food Cash

I have to admit it - I can't really follow this story, and can't opine on whether the British MP with the Palestinian wife got bribes from Saddam. But it does remind me why I originally supported the war. What I saw at the time was a crumbling blockade struggling to keep Hussein contained. France and others appeared to be skirting the rules. Humanitarians were wailing over the human suffering the embargo was causing, and the U.N. appeared too corrupt to hold fast. Since it seemed highly unlikely that the structures in place to contain the madman would succeed for very long, I felt it would be best to remove the bastard and get down to business with his successor. What I obviously did not know at the time was that
  • No successor had emerged or been picked out from the existing Iraqi power base
  • All institutions of authority would melt away with the invasion, particularly the army
  • The Shia and Sunni communities were so thoroughly segregated and hostile
  • Iraq had no WMD whatsoever and was not even close to developing an atomic bomb
  • The administration intended on forming a democracy rather than a sane dictatorship
  • Iraq is a highly tribal society where half of all marriages are between first cousins and that a civil society as we know it is nearly impossible
Most significantly, I did not know that we'd have spent $200-300 billion and counting two-and-a-half years after invading. Of course, as a mere citizen it is not my job to know all this, but it seems that the President didn't understand all this nor did anyone in Congress (or very few), so what their excuses are I haven't a clue. High profile war opponents didn't present any of these arguments but instead used classic left-wing anti-Western arguments or, like Chuck Hagel or Pat Buchanan, argued from a more traditional isolationist viewpoint which, after 9/11, didn't have a lot of resonance with most people (though they make an awful lot of sense today). But someone who absolutely did know all these things was Dick Cheney - and what he was thinking is one great mystery - Steve Sailer explores it but has no answers.
So what shoud we have done about Sadaam, given that the embargo appeared to be running out of steam? In retrospect, we should have held secret talks, offered him secret bribes coupled with very sober threats (maybe backed up with a few serious bombing raids if necessary) - basically played some old-school realpolitic to enlist him as an ally in the War on Terror and keep the oil flowing, instead of pretending he was sleeping with the enemy.

22 October 2005

99 Tips for Living

From Manhatten Transfer. Some terrific suggestions, indeed. A small sample:
  • Pants with pleats get cuffs; pants without, do not

  • When a friend calls after a drunken night, never say, “You were so funny.”

  • Complaining about other people smoking makes you an ass.

  • Do not spend very much money on sunglasses or umbrellas. You will lose them quickly.

  • Be a regular at a bar
The only one I have a quibble with is "It’s better if old men cut your hair" - he hasn't seen my hair.

Harriet Miers, Stalinist

Miers Backed Race, Sex Set-Asides blares the WaPo headline, and that should signal the death knell for her nomination.
As president of the State Bar of Texas, Harriet Miers wrote that "our legal community must reflect our population as a whole," and under her leadership the organization embraced racial and gender set-asides and set numerical targets to achieve that goal.
How about "our legal community should reflect the the best legal talent available, period." I guess not. What this demonstrates is that Miers is either not a conservative, or is more interested in appearances than principle.
White House spokesman Jim Dyke said that Miers's actions on the bar do not indicate a view on how Miers might rule..."The best I can tell, this was a private-sector initiative to increase diversity, which is not the same thing as a government mandate of quotas," he said.
No, it's a damn good indication. The legality of affirmative action is based on the presumption that "diversity" is a compelling state interest - that a multi-ethnic environment is so magically beneficial that it overrides all other concerns.

Miers clearly buys into this doggerel: "we are strongest capitalizing on the benefits of our diversity," she gurgled. No, Harriet, we are strongest when we capitalize on the most talented people available - a cohort in which you manifestly do not belong.

20 October 2005

Another Outspoken Male Publicly Castrated

A certain Neil French, an apparently outspoken scion of the advertising world, resigned from his job as a result of fallout from his answer to a question at a conference. The question had to do with the dearth of women in top creative positions, and he apparently gave a somewhat acerbic response. And then there was a firestorm and he had to resign. This follows on the Larry Summers controversy at Harvard where Summers was not forced to resign but merely had to debase himself publicly for several weeks. French, on the other hand, appears disinclined to apologize and happy to resign a job he no doubt does not need.

So, there aren't many women in the creative side of advertising? Who knew? I thought that such male dominance in the top positions in a creative field was a fluke only found in architecture, music, cinema, stage, painting, sculpture, photography, chess, and literature (there might be one or two others with this flukey situation I forgot to list). Obviously, there's something terribly wrong in the advertizing world - time for some serious remedial action!

Clush - or is it Bushton

For those of you (and you know who you are!) interested in the Bush-Clinton dynasty theory, some sardonic musings.

19 October 2005

Now THIS is Why I Vote Republican!

The House has passed a bill banning obesity-related lawsuits against restaurants and food manufacturers. That's my boys! As a frequent sampler of Big Macs, Whoppers, and Castles (not to mention the all-too-infrequent pilgrimages to the Mecca of fast food, Jack in the Box, for the Holy Grail of fast food, the Breakfast Jack - yeah, yeah, I know the Holy Grail isn't in Mecca) and who now has major arterosclerosis issues, I can authoritatively state that my problems are my own doing and not the besieged purveyors of these scrumptuous comestibles - and so it should be with everyone else.
“We should not encourage lawsuits that blame others for our own choices and could bankrupt an entire industry,” notes Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. And Bully for him! Of course the linked article has some seriously silly comments - and this from Fox News!:
Still, there is little evidence that obesity lawsuits are threatening the food and restaurant industry. Only a handful of cases blaming restaurant food or advertising for obesity have ever been filed, and only one major case remains open.
What the hell is that supposed to mean? You can't stave off a problem before it runs rampant?
Critics charged that courts have already functioned properly by dismissing obesity cases they found frivolous and that the bill was giving special rights to restaurants and food manufacturers.
Why operate so inefficienly and uncertainly? Why not just declare them all to be by definition frivolous and put an end to it here and now? So three cheers for the House Republicans (not that the weasely Senate Republicans are ever going to act on it).

17 October 2005

Tired of the Harriet Miers Controversy?

Then how about a little nostalgia from a time when SCOTUS nominations were a lot more fun? From the Onion "Archives".

A Testable Prediction

Kevin Drum points to this rant by the Bull Moose Blog predicting a vicious Republican attack on Patrick Fitzgerald should he indict Rove.
[H]e will unleash the dogs of war against Mr. Fitzgerald...nothing else will matter to the GOP smear team than sullying the reputation of the special counsel. The right will wail that they are the victims of...a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy...They will see no irony or hypocrisy in their complaint because this is a fight about preserving power not maintaining consistency.
Wow - that's getting a little too worked up over something that hasn't even happened yet. Now I haven't been very fond of the Bush Administration lately, but I'd be willing to counter-predict on this one. I predict that personal attacks against Fitzgerald will be very muted if not non-existent. Attacks against the case itself will be harsh, but I seriously doubt Fitzgerald himself will be attacked. Fox News will not feature stories questioning the prosecutor's integrity, Drudge will not feature blaring headlines of past Fitzgerald venalities. We should know soon enough if the Bull Moose's intemperate predictions come true. I will follow up and give credit if due.

Iraq's Constitution Passes

But it's unlikely to mean it got broad support. It seems that Sunnis voted against it overall, and so this is unlikely to mean much change in the situation on the ground. Already there is a more muted Administration response than we would have heard in the past - which I think is good news because it indicates more realistic thinking - which is always good news. This NYT article has some good analysis.

16 October 2005

Neo-Nazi Parade Goes Well in Toledo

If your a neo-Nazi. If you're Irish, a successful St. Paddy's Day parade involves bagpipes, green beer, and corned beef. But if you're a neo-Nazi, the ideal scenario is for residents of the African-American neighborhood you're marching in to break into a mass of gratuitous desctruction and violence From the CNN story.
Most of the violence happened when residents, who had pelted the Nazi marchers with bottles and rocks, took out their anger on police, said Brian Jagodzinski, chief news photographer for CNN affiliate WTVG...The city's police chief said his officers showed "considerable restraint" after being pelted with rocks and bottles for "considerable hours"...Video showed crowds at around 2:25 p.m. using bats to bring down a wooden fence as looters broke into a small grocery store. Around 3 p.m., crowds of young men pelted the outside of a two-story residence with rocks, smashed out the windows with wooden crates, ran inside and threw out the furniture and lamps from the upper-level windows to the sidewalk below. No police were on the scene. About 10 minutes later, the building's second story was in flames as a crowd of people watched.
The article also noted "It's not clear why the National Socialist Movement chose north Toledo for its march, said [Mayor] Ford, himself African-American." It added "The N[ational]S[ocialist]M[ovement] promotes itself as America's Nazi Party and said that it was protesting black gangs, which it claimed were harassing white residents." The mayor "blamed gang members for the violence, saying it turned into 'exactly what they wanted.'" I guess you have to give the Nazis credit for doing their homework - they obviously knew something the mayor didn't.
UPDATE: It appears the building that was burned down was a Polish bar that was a bit of an institution. Here is an article from the Detroit Free Press with a little more background.

12 October 2005

And so, you see, the sky is, indeed, green

Via Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution, another new study - well, "working paper" - assuring us yahoos that "there's nothing to see here" when it comes to millions of "guests" that flood in from the south each year.
Because U.S. and foreign born workers belong to different skill groups that are imperfectly substitutable, one needs to articulate a production function that aggregates different types of labor (and accounts for complementarity and substitution effects) in order to calculate the various effects of immigrant labor on U.S.-born labor.
Uh-huh. It goes on...
We introduce such a production function...contrary to the findings of previous literature, overall immigration generates a large positive effect on the average wages of U.S.-born workers. [Emphasis mine]
That's one helluva production function - one that could explain how you can raise wages by increasing the labor pool by a million people per year. Or you could ask a landscaper how's business and get a different perspective.
Another referenced paper in Tyler's post also pooh-poohs the crass notion that masses of low-skilled immigrants might negatively impact our own low-skilled citizens. But the paper has a very revealing passage on the effect of mass low-skilled immigration on technological investment
...the adoption of advanced technologies by individual plants is significantly reduced by the presence of a greater relative supply of unskilled labor...More work is clearly needed to better understand how firms choose which technologies to use and whether the choice is influenced by the relative availability of different skill groups. [Emphasis mine]
Ya think!? Not in that study anyway. The author quickly returns to the more comforting "sky is green" theme of his study. Reminds me of the old Steve Martin/SNL skit "Theodoric of York: Medieval Barber":
Wait a minute. Perhaps she's right. Perhaps I've been wrong to blindly folow the medical traditions and superstitions of past centuries. Maybe we barbers should test these assumptions analytically, through experimentation and a "scientific method". Maybe this scientific method could be extended to other fields of learning: the natural sciences, art, architecture, navigation. Perhaps I could lead the way to a new age, an age of rebirth, a Renaissance! [thinks for a moment] Naaaaaahhh!

11 October 2005

Gay-Rod Lets the Yanks Down

Each year, as with WWII veterans, the number of people who actually saw the Great Dimaggio play, sharply diminishes, and so with each passing year does his aura. Back in 1969, a poll commissioned by Major League Baseball in comemoration of professional baseball's centennial named Dimaggio the Greatest Living Player. But a few years ago, the Yankee Clipper ended up 11th all-time in a Sporting News ranking. As the memories fade, all that's left are the stats. Among those ahead of him was his main rival, Ted Williams. But while Williams's stats seem to overwhelm Dimaggio's, Joltin' Joe was always the man wearing the ring. Few in the day, observing the two warriors in the heat of battle, doubted who stood on top.

Alex Rodriguez will finish his career with awesome stats that may well force the empiricists to judge him the greatest ever. But while his teamate Derek Jeter did everything he could in last night's game, A-Rod came up short each time. Even in the field, he couldn't make the plays he had to make. Even at the astonishing heights that major league players inhabit, there is still room for distinction between those with the balls to make a difference at a crucial moment and those who descend into mediocrity when the moment arises. For any baseball fan, given the choice of A-Rod or Jeter for your team, you going with the stats, or the man?

09 October 2005

Baseball News, Down Under Style

While subtle, the stylistic differences in an Aussie article on baseball can be jarring:
The Houston Astros have come from 1-6 down in the eighth inning to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in the longest playoffs game in baseball history
Come on, mate, you never give the lower score first.
the Braves led in the eighth, but the Astros drew level to force extra innings
Drew level? That's something you might do if you're hanging some pictures. They also note that
the New York Yankees have also come from behind to beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 and level at 2-2 the best-of-five series
And leveled they are - till tomorrow night.

In other sports news, Tiger Woods made a charge against leader John Daly at the American Express Championship, finally tying him as Daly missed a 4-footer on the 17th and winning when Daly flubbed a 3-footer on the second playoff hole. It was more exciting than the 'Stros-Braves extra innings, frankly, but you could see the end coming. Woods doesn't do a lot of charging, but he really kept the pressure on Daly today and the big guy's impatience finally got the best of him. Daly never seemed nervous; it seemed more like he just wanted to be done with it one way or the other. Not a winning attitude against Woods, who has the patience of Job. Up to now Woods has generally either led from the first hole to the last or not won at all. If he's going to start coming from behind and winning as well - well, there's not going to be too many tournaments he doesn't win.


Randall Parker has some interesting comments on Harriet Miers, including a very on-point Hamilton quote from the Federalist Papers. Dennis Dale has some good commentsas well, relating the Miers nomination to 41's pick of Clarence Thomas. Laurence Auster simply launches a devastating broadside.

In GNXP, a lively discussion of the philosophical brain twister called the "Trolley Problem". Carl Zimmer even leaves a link to one of his articles on the subject in the comments section.

Michael Blowhard provides a link to a classic Tex Avery cartoon, available free. And speaking of free, in Brainwash Tim Lee looks at copyright law and the internet.

And, via Men's News Daily, it appears that, if you're a schoolteacher, Holland may be your Eden.

06 October 2005

Mired in Miers

I voted for George Bush for president. I'd probably vote for him again - which should simply be taken as evidence that we have a two-party system and I am organically incapable of voting for a Democrat. But there could be no more evidence of the illegitimacy of this man for the most important job in the world than this nomination. He could have shown respect to the people who voted for him and named one of the legions of qualified conservative judges. Or he could have decided to make peace with his many enemies and named an eminent moderate. But instead, he choooses a mediocrity whose only apparent qualification is that she is his lawyer.
Remember when he nominated Bernard Kerik for Director of Homeland Security? Kerik, of course, was Giuliani's limousine driver, and thus got to be appointed NYC Police Commissioner. This made him qualified to man the most important unelected position in the civilized world. Well, Harriet Miers is no better than Bernard Kerik. God I've had it with George Bush. The only thing more upsetting is how little I regret not voting for John Kerry. Is there no Balm in Gilead!?

05 October 2005

And Speaking of Ethnic Crime...

The Google News Headline is intriguing: "Three charged in deaths of six immigrants in Georgia". The featured USA Today story explains
Authorities said they believe Sims and Underwood may have been part of an armed-robbery gang that preyed on immigrant workers, who often carry large sums of cash because they lack documents that some banks require to open accounts.
Hmmm. Surprised there's no "hate crime" angle here - American citizens preying on poor, defenseless immigrants - this is the type of story that would normally kick up a little controversy. Let's take a look at the next article in the list, from ABC News:
Three people were charged with murdering six immigrant farmworkers in a series of robberies by a gang wielding baseball bats and guns.
Wow, sounds more sensational yet - surely this calls for some serious collective self inspection, some national mea culpas over such atrocious treatment of our hardworking guests. But the article makes no such suggestion. Next article, from CNN, and more intrigue:
The attacks have sent a chill through south Georgia's large Hispanic community, which includes thousands of workers who harvest millions of dollars worth of crops each year.
Whoa - a "chill through the community" - those are hot words - surely some national disgrace must be involved here - but again, no indication of any "hate" angle or "anti-immigrant" animus as the root cause. Very curious. Let's check out the next article, from WXIA-TV Atlanta. Hmmm, same terrible tale of helpless immigrants being brutally preyed upon, but, again, oddly, no outrage, no alarming statements from the Southern Poverty Law Center, no immigrant groups condemning the climate of fear this story so plaintively illustrates - I mean, where is the outrage!?...Continued...oh wait, hold on, I see they have a picture of one of the suspects:

Never mind.




04 October 2005

Back In Service!

I spent a few days in the hospital - everything's just ducky - and thought I missed all the fun with the Bill Bennett controversy. But I was watching O'Reilly last night and he has on some young (articulate, as the sportswriters say) black guy arguing that blacks actually commit crimes less frequently than whites, while O'Reilly insists that it's poverty that causes crime, not race. So there's still some life in this story. And this is the best part - the fun part - about these controversies - you get to see all kinds of different people get to demonstrate that they are either stupid or liars.
...Read more
Now admittedly Bill Bennett is a bit of a buffoon. I say this based entirely on his recent outing as a gambling addict. I wouldn't begrudge anyone his addiction - but do it in style. That's what was wrong with Clinton's sex addiction - he seemed to indulge it without any standards. When JFK bedded (we desperately want to believe) Marilyn Monroe, that was a sin befitting the man's stature. But taking a guick bj off the oval office with a chubby 20 year old intern - that was an offence that just deserved no quarter. So how did Bennett indulge his gaming impulses? Betting the hard way at a craps table? Growling "hit me" showing 16 in blackjack? Inside betting at roulette? Sadly, Big Bill preferred to blow his millions playing slots in private rooms in the casino, like some old farts on a bus trip to Atlantic City. But that's neither here nor there, because the hoardes of buffoons attacking Bennett are the story here.
For the record, here's Bennett's remarks:
But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
At first the outrage centered on Bennett's alleged call for genocide, which of course he didn't do and so the focus shifted to the implication that blacks have higher crime rates than the country as a whole. Ok, so that might not quite be like implying that the sky is blue, but I would have thought that if there was any statement you could make about race and not be pilloried, it would be that blacks have higher rates of crime than whites. But truth has little to do with race rhetoric. So you get the young black man on O'Reilly and various white liberals insisting that blacks don't really commit more crime than whites: Who ya gonna believe, my pious, pusillanimous platitudes or Your Lying Eyes?

The idea of dividing whites into "racists" and "non-racists" is itself an interesting game. The word "racism" could import some meaning if it weren't perverted over the last 40 years into essentially meaning "observant and honest." I don't know any white people who do not believe that blacks are a greater crime threat than whites. How can I be sure what others think? Because I don't know any whites who have chosen to live in black neighborhoods (and thus save tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process). Actually, I did meet a white woman who lives with her husband in Harlem (precisely to find affordable NYC housing), but she was under no delusions regarding the danger around them. But almost without exception, no white people will live among blacks. And it's not like white folk find black folk dislikable - in fact whites fill their virtual worlds with black entertainment. No, the reason for the actual segregation that exists can only be explained by fear. So if there is any outrage that Bennett's remarks should engender, it should be this: Why are so many whites so blatanly dishonest about the way they actually feel about race? Why this need to lie to yourself and others?