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Saturday, February 22, 2003
The Left's Strange Idea of Tolerance
Those of us on the right are always reminded by our leftist adversaries that we need to be more "tolerant." The lefties are real big on tolerance.
Well, apparently in leftist circles, the word "tolerance" actually means something akin to: "accepting leftist dogma and acceding to leftist demands."
Take this story, for example. A lesbian woman in California wanted to be artificially inseminated.
There are all kind of redundancies in that last sentence....but I digress....
"When Guadalupe Benitez's health care provider referred her to the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group (NCWMG) in 1999, she was told that the medical facility was the only provider of obstetrics and gynecology available under her plan. Eager to conceive, she spent the next 11 months seeking fertility treatments at the San Diego-based NCWMG...."
Ms. Benitez was assigned one Dr. Christine Brody, who happily provided Benitez with fertility treatments, but also informed her, according to the article, that "her Christian faith prevented her from impregnating homosexuals through means of artificially insemination."
This all went down in 1999. Benitez sued but her case was dismissed. Apparently they haven't rid California of ALL the judges with any sense.
Yet. Grey Davis still has 3 1/2 more years in office.
Anyway Benitez is back in court, teaming up with a homosexual rights group called "Lambda Legal," claiming damages for "trauma" resulting from Brody's refusal to inseminate her.
So according to those fighters for tolerance at Lambda Legal, a physician has no right to refuse to engage in activities contrary to his or her personal beliefs. This isn't a life-or-death matter we're talking about here, remember. This isn't a doctor refusing to operate on a black person who has been in an auto accident. This is a physician refusing to perform a completely optional procedure because that procedure is contrary to her own beliefs.
But the tolerance-mongers apparently don't have much patience for those who chose to follow a path with which they disapprove. Typical.
This is a good opportunity to share yet again my favorite poem.
The Angry Man
by Phyllis McGinley
The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street --
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled "Tolerance."
And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, "I am he
Who champions total liberty --
Intolerance being, ma'am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate."
"When I meet rogues," he cried, "who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma'am." His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.
Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
"Let the Intolerant beware!"
Thursday, February 20, 2003|
Why doesn't he just change parties?
Democratic Georgia Senator Zell Miller has signed on to the Bush economic package, and apparently will be a co-sponsor.
I guess when you're 70 years old and retiring in two years, you just just stick it out with the party that's been your home for your entire career. On the other hand, he could make a strong statement by switching for his last two years. In my fantasies I imagine him holding a press conference to announce his switch, declaring that the Miguel Estrada episode was the last straw.
These are my fantasies. What an exciting guy I am.
If it weren't for the predictable anti-Bush cliches uttered by one Ariel Dorfman, "Distinguished Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University," I'd actually find this story pretty funny.
Awww, hell, OK. I did anyway.
Duke University is having an "Axis of Evil Film Festival," featuring films from North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. The event, dubbed "Reel Evil," kicks off on February 26th with a showing of "A Time for Drunken Horses" by Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi.
Get your tickets while you still can!
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Is Jesse Jackson Partially to Blame for the Chicago Nightclub Disaster?
Twenty-one people were trampled to death at about 2AM Monday morning when someone set off a can of mace to break up a fight at the E2 nightclub in Chicago. In the ensuing confusion, hundreds of patrons rushed toward the one open exit. Two rear exits were chained shut.
The club had been under a court order to close for seven months. For reasons that are now being investigated, though, it continued in business.
"In September, Judge Lynch turned down a motion by Le Mirage to drop the court order, ruling that the nightclub could 'not occupy the 2nd floor and mezzanine.'
"Fire, police and city corporation counsel officials laid the blame for the ignored court order squarely at the feet of the business owners. Until Monday's disaster, city officials had believed the club was not operating, (Deputy Corporate Counsel Dorothy) Capers said.
"'As [recently] as two weeks ago, we were working with them to look at architectural plans' to bring the building into code compliance, Capers said. 'But we had no idea they were open.'
"(Club lawyer Andre) Grant and others pointed out the club had been operating openly for months. Events at E2 were advertised on fliers, by radio and on the Internet."
Here's where the story gets interesting.
No one who has followed the career of Jesse "Shakedown" Jackson - and especially no native Chicagoan - was at all surprised when he showed up in front of the cameras Monday morning demanding investigations. Even after attending the "peace" rally in London on Sunday, Jackson couldn't miss this opportunity to mug for the cameras.
But it turns out that old JJ has more than a passing familiarity with the E2 Club and its owners. According to this page 2 article on today's Sun Times by Mark Brown Jackson "went to bat" for the club owners last Summer when the city tried to crack down on it for countless code violations and dozens of disturbances. It wouldn't be surprising, since, according to Brown, "One of the club's owners, Dwain Kyles, is a longtime Jackson friend and PUSH supporter. His father, the Rev. Samuel 'Billy' Kyles, preached the sermon at Rainbow PUSH over the weekend while Jackson was in London for the anti-war march."
Jesse Jackson peddling his influence on behalf of cronies?
Say it ain't so!
Now Presenting: The Resentment-In-Broadcasting Network
So the left want to start its own radio network. This is the sort of story that convinces me that leftists suffer from some sort of neurological condition that renders them incapable of processing facts that do not square with their ideology.
According to the New York Times (free registration required), convinced that they need to combat the influence of conservative talk radio (and implicitly acknowledging that they have been hurt by it at the voting booth), "A group of wealthy Democratic donors is planning to start a liberal radio network to counterbalance the conservative tenor of radio programs like 'The Rush Limbaugh Show.'
“The group, led by Sheldon and Anita Drobny, venture capitalists from Chicago who have been major campaign donors for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, is in talks with Al Franken, the comedian and author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot." It hopes to enlist other well-known entertainers with a liberal point of view for a 14-hour, daily slate of commercial programs that would heavily rely on comedy and political satire."
One of my colleagues has a sign on his wall that says: "A poorly examined fact can be much more costly than a mistake in logic." These poor...well, these rich, misguided leftists are proving him right.
They honestly believe that the conservative dominance of talk radio is the result of some cleverly coordinated scheme by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. This fundamental error is part psychological and part ideological. The psychological aspect is rooted in the left’s unwillingness to accept the fact that millions of Americans simply disagree with their world-view: that these Americans understand what leftists believe, but enthusiastically reject it.
These leftists sincerely believe that their belief system is inherently virtuous and that once understood, all people of goodwill will come to believe as they do. The fact that so many do not must therefore be explained away by some malevolent force. To wit, Hilary Clinton’s Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
To quote a phrase the left is fond of using: “They just don’t get it.”
The success of such conservative voices as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity is due to two factors: the talents of these individuals, and the fact that programs such as theirs are among the only media voices that do not persistently undermine and display contempt for conservative beliefs. The CBS nightly news is delivered by Al Gore fundraiser Dan Rather. The ABC news is delivered by the aggressively anti-Republican Peter Jennings. The Sunday “newsmaker” shows of both ABC (George Stephanopolous) and NBC (Tim Russert) are hosted by former staffers for high level Democratic politicians. Liberal Democrats Chris Matthews and Phil Donahue host the most prominent shows on MSNBC. The list goes on and on. Even such superficially benign shows as the Today Show and Good Morning America are infused with leftist dogma on a daily basis. Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel, in fact, are among the most blatantly biased of all. One need only peruse the archives of the Media Research Center for about an hour to get a sense of the enormity of it.
So bombarded with daily doses of leftist doctrine masquerading as news are those of us on the right, that when we hear a voice that echoes OUR opinions we cling to it like an ideological life preserver. This explains entirely the success of the Fox News Channel. What the left perceives as a “conservative bias” is actually little more than the fact that FNC treats conservative public policy prescriptions with equal deference to those on the left. FNC will not - as CBS did - seek out a Democrat party contributor to offer his “expert view” as an accountant that tax cuts are a bad idea. Nor will it uncritically accept every allegation of every left-wing advocacy group, as the major networks and CNN tend to do.
So the Drobnys are likely to fail...for reasons they will never grasp. They simply won’t have the same natural constituency, namely: millions of people who are disgusted with the alternatives. They already have a monopoly on the “alternatives.” This is why several previous Great Left Hopes, including Jim Hightower and Mario Cuomo have failed miserably on the talk radio circuit. They simply had nothing to offer that wasn’t already being advanced by the three major networks and CNN.
But there is an ideological component to the left’s misunderstanding of the success of conservative talk radio, as well. Inherent in leftist economics is the belief that nothing of note can be achieved in the sort of spontaneous, market-driven manner that free marketeers espouse. Centrally directed planning is crucial to the successful implementation of a design of any magnitude.
Witness how they are going about THEIR plan. Here’s more from the Times article:
“The group said it was prepared to go it alone, selling its programming to the individual radio stations rather than go through a middleman. It has an initial investment of $10 million, which radio analysts said was enough to start up. Ms. Drobny said the cash would be placed in a fund that she hopes to grow to at least $200 million within the next year, which she hopes to use to finance other media ventures like the acquisition of radio stations and television production.
“’The object of the programming is to be progressive and make a statement that counters this din from the right,’ Mr. Sinton said. ‘But we have a solid business plan that shows a hole in the market....’
And in the fashion of a Soviet Agriculture Commissar explaining why the latest five year plan has failed, the CEO of the company behind this new effort, one Jon Stinton, tried to explain why previous lefty talker entries failed:
“Mr. Sinton said he thought past attempts failed because they were not properly executed. He said he believed a big problem for Mr. Hightower was that his program was sandwiched into a schedule crammed with conservatives. ‘It is very hard to succeed when you throw liberal programming between bookends of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity,’ he said. ‘That violates expectations of the listener.’
This is why he said he was proposing a full slate of liberally skewing programming with morning, afternoon and early evening shows featuring hosts with as many big names in entertainment as possible.”
Gotcha there, Mr. Sinton. Listeners wouldn’t buy three hours of Jim Hightower...but they’ll just soak up fourteen hours of leftist bilge daily. Headlined by Al Franken, whose only notable achievement has been to pen a book - about Rush Limbaugh.
That’s right. Fourteen hours a day. That’s what they’re proposing.
If they fail at that, they’re going to try 24/7.
It’s in their Five Year Plan.
Monday, February 17, 2003
Oh, my. The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is a bit distressed by the malignant venom Jacques Chirac has directed at the Eastern European nations who cast their lots with the Anglosphere as opposed to the Axis of Weasles. And rightfully so. Here are some of Chirac's comments as quoted by the AP:
"It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet....Concerning the candidate countries, honestly I felt they acted frivolously because entry into the European Union implies a minimum of understanding for the others....
Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible to (sign the letter) when their position is really delicate," Chirac said. "If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way."
Heh heh. But its the U.S. administration is run by cowboys, right? It's the U.S. that expects everyone to toe its line, right?
Here are the Rottweiler's concluding three paragraphs - probably the tamest of its little diatribe:
"I cannot even EXPRESS the disgust and utter contempt I feel for you now. Somebody needs to teach you a lesson and I hope and pray that I can be one of the teachers. Only THIS time, we're not going to hand your country back to you. We're going to throw you all into the Atlantic and then we'll give your country to the brave Citizens of the former Warsaw Pact for recreational purposes.
Would somebody bring our heroes back NOW, before they have to endure being interred any longer in the ground of the most ungrateful, selfrighteous nation on the face of the planet?
You frogs are BENEATH contempt!"
Here's a nice Boston Herald editorial on the Estrada nomination (found via ipse dixit).
"With war on the horizon and the nation taking seriously a level Orange terrorism alert, you'd think Senate Democrats might have better things to do than play obstructionist games with a nominee to an important federal appellate court.
But sometimes Democrats just can't help themselves.
The man who's got those Senate Democrats in such a tizzy is Miguel Estrada, Harvard Law grad and assistant to the solicitor general of the United States under both Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Estrada, if confirmed, would be the first Hispanic-American to serve on the federal appeals court for the D.C. circuit. And apparently what truly scares the living daylights out of Senate Democrats is that such a high-profile judgeship would surely put him in line to become the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
And so in a display of virtually unparalleled partisanship, Senate Democrats have raised one specious issue after another. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a huge Estrada fan, wrote eloquently on these pages Tuesday in support of his nomination, putting down one phony Democratic excuse after another for blocking the nomination.
The latest one has to do with the White House's refusal to release memos and documents written by Estrada during his tenure in the solicitor general's office. Now all of the living former solicitors general - four Democrats and three Republicans - happen to agree with the White House position. There is such a thing as attorney-client privilege, even for the solicitor general.
But that's not enough to satisfy Massachusetts' own Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who said, ``The Senate cannot look the other way and rubber stamp a nominee like Mr. Estrada to such an important court, when we know so little about him, when what we do know about him raises so many serious questions.''
Rubber stamp? The Estrada nomination has been before the Senate for 21 months. If Kennedy and his pals haven't been able to turn up anything to disqualify Estrada in that time, they just aren't going to.
It's time they ended this mindless opposition, before it becomes even more of an embarrassment.
Donald Luskin's Poor and Stupid has a fascinating piece comparing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Alan Greenspan to two of Ayn Rand's classic villains: Ellsworth Toohey (The Fountainhead) and Dr. Robert Stadler (Atlas Shrugged). The comparisons are actually spooky.
Luskin is particularly bemused by Krugman's audacity in arguing against Greenspan by claiming he has departed from the ideals of his famous mentor. Luskin's right: there's no analogy I could think of sufficient to illustrate THAT hypocrisy, given Krugman's history of lies, corruption and leftist dogmatism.
It's interesting, though. I was watching a speech on CSPAN last night by Ariana Huffington in which she did the exact same thing! In her case, she was talking about the CEO's caught up in corporate scandals and noting how ashamed Ayn Rand would have been of their behavior. Amusingly, the audience actually hissed when she brought up Rand's name.
There's something strange in the water these leftists are drinking these days.
Sunday, February 16, 2003
More from Dennis Miller
There’s at least one celebrity who isn’t an anti-war dimwit. And frankly, I’m glad it’s Miller. Even when he was much further left, his TV show was always a guilty pleasure for me. Miller appeared on Donahue Thursday evening - and WHEN is MSNBC going to put that thing out of its misery - and apparently sent poor Phil into a tizzy. Here are two of his best zingers as reported by the Media Research Center.
-- On the New York Times: “If only Saddam Hussein would open an all-male country club somewhere in Iraq, so the Times could get behind this invasion.”
-- On Osama bin Laden: “I think that he made a fatal error when he said that he didn’t approve of drinking wine or adultery. Because now the French and Clinton are on board”
The March for Evil
Reprinted in its entirety on Samizdata by David Carr is a wonderful letter by Nigel Meek that originally appeared on the Libertarian Alliance Forum mailing list, of which I am a member. Mr. Meek begins by acknowledging his visceral ambivalence to war stemming from his libertarianism. He then goes on, though, to say that his ambivalence has been almost completely vanquished by the sight of the anti-war protestors in London. Here's a paragraph:
"For what did we see on Saturday in London and elsewhere? Warmed-over Cold War moral equivalencers and Communist fellow-travellers; various latter-day Marxoid sectarians; geriatric Aldermaston veterans and other one-sided nuclear disarmers; 'smash Anglo-Saxon civilisation' multiculturalists; assorted celebrity egotists; outright pro-Saddamites; anti-globalisation nihilists; re-invigorated public-sector trades unionists; UN-supporting single-world-governancers; full-time protesters-without-a-cause; liars and fantasists; pan-Arab socialists; Green nature worshippers; anti-Semites; 'nice' middle-class people who are "worried about their children's future" and who voted for the Greens in the 1980s and latterly and ironically for Blair and New Labour; insolent purveyors of an alien and wicked Islamic creed; immigrant welfare-spongers; those who simply think that evil is good and vice-versa; and Lord alone knows who else. Saddest of all - however small in number -capitalist-libertarians whose hatred of Statism is so great that they would apparently look with more favour upon a 'private' mugger the a State-employed policeman coming to the victim's aid.
In short: a march-past of Those Who Are Wrong."
Ok, that was a paragraph plus a sentence. Make me a liar for 10 words.
I've added Bashing France to my blogroll. I first thought about doing this when John Ray brought the blog to my attention a few days ago.
Then I changed my mind, thinking that while the blog is very funny, once this Iraq business is dispensed with, it will probably lose its topicality and go away.
Then I remembered that we're talking about the French, here. They've been twits for hundreds of years and will be twits for hundreds more. So they should provide plenty of fodder for ridicule for years to come.
Trendies, toffs, students and men with impressive beards unite
This is the headline of this story in the London Telegraph which conveys fairly nicely the nature of the antiwar rabble that rallied in London yesterday.
Thanks to Boris Kupershmidt for this link to a photo of Hans Blix "on the job."