Video of “peaceful” Mavi Marmara crew in action

Today’s incident between pro-Hamas “peace” protestors at sea and Israeli forces has been extensively covered in the blogosphere.

To me, the incident smells suspiciously like Israel walked into a carefully set trap calculated to create a PR disaster.The IDF has taken one wise preventative step against blood libels: filming all their operations. Below is some video showing just how “peaceful” the pro-Hamas “people” are:

Unfortunately, none are so blind as those who do not wish to see.

UPDATE: the boat meanwhile docked in the Israeli port of Ashdod. Five other boats in the convoy docked there as well. Richard Landes (of The Augean Stables) reports on PJTV. Netanyahu cancels meeting with 0bama, while the latter asked Netanyahu on the phone for ‘facts’.

William Jacobson: “Useful idiots condemn Israel“.

The left-wing blogosphere is full of useful idiots, who pretend that the flotilla which just was stopped by Israel was a humanitarian mission.

The flotilla was organized by the Islamist government in Turkey to aid Hamas with the goal of opening up shipping channels for Turkey’s new friend, Iran, to ship more and better weapons as it is doing to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran is busy turning Lebanon and Syria into one large missile launching pad against Israel, and a southern base in Gaza will complete the encirclement of Israel for the coming crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Europeans on the ships were cover, and the placement of an 18-month old child on these ships was the utmost cynical use of a human shield.

If getting humanitarian supplies to Gaza really was the goal, this flotilla was not necessary. The supplies would have been off-loaded in Eqypt or Israel and then shipped in by land after being checked for hidden weapons.

And that is the rub, only sea-based shipping would provide Iran with the mechanism for almost unlimited armament of Hamas. There is a limit to the quantity and size of missiles and other armaments which can be smuggled through tunnels from Egypt. That is why the sea blockade must be broken for Iran to get what it wants.

But the useful idiots (no offense to idiots) in the left-wing blogosphere ignore this reality, and use the incident for their ultimate goal, which is the cut off of U.S. support for Israel.

Insty snarks that calling them ‘useful idiots’ is giving them too much credit.

UPDATE 2: Some observations by Shmuel Rosner. And “the other” David Horowitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, writes on the race to contain the damage.

UPDATE 3: Doug Ross punctures the “humanitarian” conceit and John Hawkins compares “right” and “left” blogosphere reactions. And Gateway Pundit connects the dots from the ‘Free Gaza activists’ to… Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

UPDATE 4: NewsBusters has loads of good stuff, as does Tom Gross, who also fills us in on some details about life in Gaza you won’t see in the media.

UPDATE 5: via Joel Leyden, here is more video of “peace activists” at work:

And from NRG (the internet arm of the Israeli mass circulation daily Maariv), via CAMERA, Martin Kramer, via SolBlog, this inspirational image of a “peace activist”:

RIP Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

The great popular science writer, mathematician, and skeptic Martin Gardner passed away at a ripe old age. Roger Kimball wrote a fitting obituary. An excerpt:

I first encountered Gardner’s work in high school when I stumbled on The Annotated Alice, his splendid edition of Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I later discovered that he also published annotated editions of other works he admired, including The Wizard of Oz, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and several books by G. K. Chesterton, one of his favorite authors.

The many tributes that are beginning to pour in about this extraordinary man bear witness to his irrepressible  energy and curiosity about the natural world. He wrote a veritable library of books — more than seventy — on  mathematics, science, literature, and philosophy and related topics.  One of my favorites is The Ambidextrous Universe — what an intriguing title! — about the properties and amazing prevalence of symmetry and “handedness”  in the universe. Gardner also wrote hundreds — maybe thousands — of columns for Scientific American (for twenty-five years he wrote the magazine’s Mathematical Games column), The Skeptical Inquirer (where he indulged, delightfully, a passion for exposing the chicanery of pseudo-sceince), and other magazines, including, I am proud to say, The New Criterion, for which he wrote some dozen pieces over the last six or seven years.  […]It is a melancholy pleasure that what may be Gardner’s  last published piece, a review of Amir Alexander’s Duel at Down: Heroes, Martyrs & the Rise of Modern Mathematics, will appear next week in our June issue. Gardner was full of praise for Alexander’s “marvelous history.” But he concludes with a wistful criticism that reveals something essential about his cast of mind. Alexander had prefaced his book with Keats’s famous couplet from Ode on a Grecian Urn:

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all

We know on earth, and all ye need to know.

“Alas,” Gardner wrote, “the lines are almost menaingless.  They are not all we know or need to know. Moreover, there are true mathematical theorems  that are ugly, and there are beautiful ‘proofs’  that are false.  T. S. Eliot surely spoke for most literary critics when he called Keats’s lines ‘a serious blemish on a beautiful poem.’”

There are many sides to Martin Gardner (it is hard to be using the past tense about him): his lucid prose, his nearly single-handed popularizing recreational mathematics, his tireless debunking of quacks and pseudoscientists, and his deep (if unconventional) religious belief.

It has no agreed-upon name. There is no way you can talk someone into feeling it, any more than you can talk someone into falling in love or liking a piece of music  or a type of cheese. Rudolf Otto, the German Protestant theologian, coined the word numinous (from the Latin numen, meaning divine power ) to express this emotion. . . .  For Otto, the essence of the emotion is an awareness of what he called the mysterium tremendum, the tremendous mystery of the wholly other. . . .

If one is a theist, the emotion combines with strong feelings of humility, of the littleness of one’s self, of holiness, of gratitude for the privilege of existing.

Indeed. May his memory be blessed.

Texas social studies curriculum and WaPo misrepresentation

Very little to add to Ann Althouse on the matter:

If you’re going to criticize the new social studies curriculum adopted by the Texas Board of Education, you’d better quote it. Or at least link to the text. And if you choose to paraphrase and not even link, and I have to look up the text myself, and your paraphrase is not accurate, it is my job to embarrass you by pointing that out.

Let me embarrass the Washington Post. Below, the material from the WaPo article, written by Michael Birnbaum, is indented. After the indented part, I’ve located the relevant quote from the Board of Education text, found here. (I’m searching 3 PDF documents: Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits Subchapter A. High School; Social Studies Subchapter B. Middle School; Social Studies Subchapter C. High School.)

The Washington Post writes:

The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards….

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated — something most historians deny –…

The students are required to “describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government…” The word “vindicated” is inflammatory and unfair. What is the Washington Post saying historians deny? One can be informed of the reality of what the Venona Papers revealed about communist infiltration into the U.S. government and still understand and deplore the excesses of “McCarthyism.”

…draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis’s and Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural addresses…

Students are required to “analyze the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address and Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address.” The word “equivalency” is uncalled for. The requirement is to analyze, not to be indoctrinated that the ideas are the same.

… say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty…

What I’m seeing is “explain the significance of the League of Nations and the United Nations” and “analyze the human and physical factors that influence the power to control territory, create conflict/war, and impact international political relations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the control of resources.” Where is the language that can be paraphrased “imperil American sovereignty”?

…. and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.

Students are required to “explain the roles played by significant individuals and heroes during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Carney and Philip Bazaar.” Only Davis and Lee were Confederate officials! There is also this: “describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo [in the Civil Rights Era].” That’s obviously not from the Civil War, but I can see why it’s annoying to Democrats.

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term “free-enterprise system.”

The document on economics does use the term “free enterprise system” throughout, but students are required to “understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system,” so what is the problem?

Virtually everything cited in the article to make the curriculum seem controversial is misstated! Appalling!

Why you don’t want professors ruling you

The late lamented William F. Buckley famously quipped that he would rather be governed by the first 500 people in the Cambridge, MA phone directory (i.e., a random sample) than 500 Harvard professors. Stuart Schwartz, himself a professor, explains at some length why. Welcome to the club of “traitors to the New Class”, Stu.

This is an administration stuffed with academics. And not just any academic: These are educators from elite universities, the kind of experts prized by a political and media elite seeking confirmation of a worldview that expects, notes the Washington Examiner, “the rest of us … to shut up and do as we are told.”

Inside the Beltway, “Harvard know-it-allness” is a prized commodity; outside, its practitioners are largely regarded as “obnoxious and arrogant” in the classroom and “jaw-droppingly incompetent” out of it. Small wonder trust in government has hit a fifty-year low.
Welcome to government by professor. Assorted faculty of Ivy League schools have come together to form an administration with the least real-world and most academic experience of any in modern times, the American Enterprise Institute notes. And so we have a government of scolds, lecturers, and bullies, arrogant academics cheered on by mainstream media when they take a “paddle” to average citizens and taxpayers.
Main Street, say hello to Harvard Drive, Chicago Place, and Berkeley Boulevard. The latter are roads that begin in the elite universities and bring “someone better than you” to power in Washington, D.C. Or so says the dean of the School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, a card-carrying member of what David Brooks of the New York Times fawningly calls “the educated class.”
It’s okay to be ordinary, a “swiller of beer,” Berkeley Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. says, but it takes a “superior intellect” like that of Barack Obama and his taxpayer-paid faculty, Ivy Leaguers most, to understand the needs of Main Street.
The dean well represents the arrogance of an educated class who sees the ordinary taxpayer as raw material to be shaped by regulations wielded by their intellectual superiors, as one of those superiors — Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein — has written.
Smart people lead and ordinary people follow, Dr. Sunstein maintains, showing the common touch developed during a lifetime on the law faculties of the University of Chicago and Harvard. He is part of a new breed of executive gathered by the [wannabe-]Professor-in-Chief, all of whom share the view that Joe the Plumber and Millie the Hairstylist are too simple to understand their real needs…and require a federal government led by an educated elite to regulate them into appropriate behavior and values.
Ordinary taxpayers, those who simply live life and take up space in the world outside of the faculty lounge…well, it’s about time they recognized that, as the Berkeley dean noted, “what’s good for Harvard and Yale [is] good for America.” […] It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a Harvard Ph.D. to raise the consciousness of a nation of village idiots.
And so they gather in Washington to “reengineer” your life according to the “abstract theories” they have taught for so many years, as political observer Michael Barone put it. Witness the latest addition to the administration’s professorial ranks: Dr. Donald Berwick, the Harvard Medical School professor picked to head the Medicare program. Of course, his knowledge of senior health care is academic, having never actually treated seniors.
But he has consulted for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the infamous British rationing board that is responsible for killing more ailing seniors through long waits and treatment denials than any single disease in the United Kingdom. […] With classic understatement, Thomas Lifson noted that the “skill set of the faculty lounge rarely translates into great leadership.” He points to the nation’s last professor-president, Woodrow Wilson, who “paved the way for the emergence of fascism” at the beginning of the last century.
Where professors rule, life is cruel. Elite professors have routinely championed thugs and butchers. Ivy League campuses and at least three of Obama’s czars continue to extol the virtues of communism, “a totalitarian and bloodthirsty theory that killed one hundred million people in the 20th century.”
And Nazis and Nazi sympathizers have always found a home among our nation’s educated elite. Just this past month, Dr. Stephen H. Norwood of the University of Oklahoma published what critics are calling the definitive study of the relationship of America’s elite universities with the Nazi. In The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses, Norwood is blunt: Our top universities, led by Harvard and Columbia, openly supported Nazi Europe and gave faculty jobs to Nazis who were no longer welcome in Europe after the Second World War.
[…]”Hail the Conquering Professor,” the New York Times proclaimed after passage of health care legislation that takes life and death decisions away from Main Street and empowers the White House faculty lounge. This is the elite group that has given the nation its highest unemployment in three decades, an “ever-expanding government” with exploding payrolls, and who has created a “debt time bomb” threatening the prosperity and freedoms built by generations of “beer swillers” over more than two hundred years.

Read the whole thing. A summary of the Stephen H. Norwood book (published by an obscure bloghost called Cambridge University Press ;-)) can be found here. I ordered the book itself and (G-d willing) will find time to review it upon reading. What I managed to skim via “look inside” looks pretty revealing — and damning, even for somebody broadly familiar with US academia in the 1930s.

Some readers may wonder why humanities academics, of all people, would succumb to flirtations with antidemocratic or post-democratic ideas, be they authoritarianism, its softened guise of paternalism, or its hardened expression as totalitarianism. I do not share this surprise. Humanities academics deal in ideas, and becoming intoxicated by ideas is a professional hazard for them. (Those of us in sciences and engineering may be equally open to intellectual delusions of grandeur, but at least get reminded periodically that “Nature cannot be fooled”, as the great Richard Feynman put it.) The tragicomic history of academics being outright apologists, or mere “useful idiots”, for Communism, Nazism, and now islamofascism should be a cautionary tale for all of us, including about the much broader phenomenon of academics feeling affinity with the “kid-glove tyranny” of transnational oligarchic collectivism.

ADDENDUM: On a related matter, Isi Leibler explains how, sadly, even Israeli universities are not immune to antisemitic academentia (or should this be properly considered an “autoimmune disease” in that specific case?)

Friday Night songfood for thought: Rush, “The Weapon”

This is Rush live, from the Grace Under Pressure tour. Forget the goofy intro: the song begins at about 1:20. (Never figured out how to make a YouTube embed in WordPress start at a specific time stamp.)

As nearly always, the music is by Lifeson and Lee, and drummer Neil Peart wrote the lyrics. It’s not my favorite Rush song musically, but the lyrics have gone through my head countless times.

We’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself
— Not pain or failure, not fatal tragedy
— Not the faulty units in this mad machinery
— Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry

With an iron fist in a velvet glove
We are sheltered under the gun
In the glory game on the power train
Thy kingdom’s will be done

And the things that we fear
Are a weapon to be held against us…

He’s not afraid of your judgement
He knows of horrors worse than your Hell
He’s a little bit afraid of dying —
But he’s a lot more afraid of your lying

And the things that he fears
Are a weapon to be held against him…

Can any part of life be larger than life?
Even love must be limited by time
And those who push us down that they might climb —
Is any killer worth more than his crime?

Like a steely blade in a silken sheath
We don’t see what they’re made of
They shout about love, but when push comes to shove
They live for the things they’re afraid of

And the knowledge that they fear
Is a weapon to be used against them…

Spain’s “green jobs” fiasco

Via Ed Driscoll guest-blogging at Insty’s:

“I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO,” Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute writes at PJM, “but I revel in it:”

As predicted was inevitable, today the Spanish newspaper La Gaceta runs with a full-page article fessing up to the truth about Spain’s “green jobs” boondoggle, which happens to be the one naively cited by President Obama no less than eight times as his model for the United States. It is now out there as a bust, a costly disaster that has come undone in Spain to the point that even the Socialists admit it, with the media now in full pursuit.

Breaking the Spanish government’s admission here at Pajamas Media probably didn’t hurt their interest in finally reporting on the leaked admission. Obama’s obvious hope of rushing into place his “fundamental transformation” of America into something more like Europe’s social democracies — where even the most basic freedoms have been moved from individuals and families to the state — before the house of cards collapsed has suffered what we can only hope proves to be its fatal blow. At least on this front.

La Gaceta boldly exposes the failure of the Spanish renewable policy and how Obama has been following it. The headline screams: “Spain admits that the green economy as sold to Obama is a disaster.”

A scanned PDF file of the La Gaceta article, as well as an English translation are included in Horner’s post.

0bama needs more oil-covered birds

As the British expression goes: “This s–t is for the birds.” Via Tim Blair:

Dominic Lawson in the Independent:

Barack Obama’s media advisers were quite distressed when the President travelled down to the Louisiana coastline last week to make his first on-the-spot statement about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Their distress was caused by what they didn’t discover, rather than what they did. Despite their frantic requests, no photogenic dying oil-covered birds could be found to form a backdrop for the Presidential tirade as he weighed into BP.

Read the whole thing. When I read similar descriptions of tear-jerker propaganda and manipulative “journalism” in, say, David Weber novels I used to dismiss them as cartoonish, and wonder why his editor didn’t tell him to delete them or make them more plausible. But clearly, sometimes reality itself is overly cartoonish.

Zombie: the new free speech movement

My intrepid blog-ancestor has an essay up on the satirical mock-holiday “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”.  The crux of his/her argument is in this paragraph:

This is not an argument over the right to be “provocative” or “offensive”; rather, is it something much more significant — an argument over who gets to determine what counts as provocative or offensive in the first place. The Western world dragged itself out of the church-dominated Dark Ages and into the Enlightenment in part over this precise issue: The freedom to engage in speech and actions which formerly had been classified as the crime known as “blasphemy.” It seems such a trivial and quaint issue in retrospect, and hardly worthy of note from our hyper-secularized 21st-century perspective, but tell that to the millions of people who for centuries lived under the yoke of governments which used accusations of blasphemy and other religious misbehaviors as a primary tool of tyranny and oppression. The modern world dawned with the American and French Revolutions and the emergence of the explicitly secular state — the Americans rejecting the Church of England as Britain’s legally enforced national religion, and the French shrugging off centuries of acquiescence to domination by the Catholic Church in civil affairs. In both cases, new governmental paradigms were established in which there was an inviolable separation of church and state, which in practice meant no civil laws enforcing religious doctrines and (most importantly for our discussion) no laws against blasphemy.

In 19th-Century France and Belgium, paleoconservative Catholic clericalists known as “ultramontans” (from “ultra montes”/”beyond the mountains”, i.e., Rome) and the emerging [classical-]liberal bourgeoisie were locked in an existential struggle for the soul of their societies. A similar struggle (mixed in there with nationalist elements pitted against the Papal State) existed in Italy during the risorgimento. Contemporary anti-clerical propaganda was as offensive as anything one can see on Everybody Draw Muhammad Day. Of course there were protests, and of course the clericalists retaliated in kind (with propaganda depicting anticlericals as devil-worshippers etc.) — but few anticlericals seriously feared for their lives. Of course, nothing would have been further from the truth a few hundred years before. But who (outside perhaps Spain itself) still expected the Spanish Inquisition?

Everybody Expects the Islamic Inquistion

Well, the Spanish Inquisition may be a distant memory now relegated to Monty Python skits, but the self-appointed Islamic Inquisition is threatening to take its place. Remember that the Spanish Inquisition (and the much larger papal inquisition which preceded it) existed for the purpose of enforcing religious dictates on the general populace, including and especially religious crimes such as heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy. Punishment for these deeds could be severe and often as not included torture or execution. This is exactly what the Islamic fundamentalists want to impose on us in the 21st century: Obedience to religious dictates, enforced where necessary by violence.

[…]

Islamic extremists still seem to think that banning Facebook or threatening to kill the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day organizers will somehow make the problem of blasphemy go away. They don’t yet understand that we in the West have spent the last 600 years not merely earning the right to be blasphemous, but more importantly creating a society and a worldview in which there is no such thing as blasphemy, because all forms of speech are permitted and religious bullies no longer get to determine what is forbidden.

Read the whole thing.

Long-time peacenik and #1 Dem donor Haim Saban ticked off at 0bama administration

We reported earlier on the feeling of Jewish donors to the Deemocrat [sic] party that they’ve been had, as well as on Rahm Emanuel’s furious damage control effort. Via Israel Matzav, the Jerusalem Post points out that the Insane Clown Posse0bama administration really managed to tick off their single biggest donor, Egyptian-born Jewish media mogul Haim Saban (a longtime sugar daddy of the Labor Party in Israel, BTW):

“To say I don’t sleep easily with the current administration’s relationship to Israel would be an understatement,” Saban told Channel 10’s reporter at an LA Gala dinner starring [Israeli prog-rock/world fusion musician] Idan Raichel and former ambassador John Bolton organized by the Israeli Leadership Council on Wednesday night.

“I’m an American now, so I don’t say everything I think, like I might have once,” he added in the footage aired by Channel 10 Thursday. Saban said he had made his concerns known to both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and that Emanuel had characterized himself as more hawkish than 50% of Israelis.

Saban doubted an opinion poll would bear out this estimate.

Saban stressed Obama and his administration were not, as some Israelis think, “anti-Israel.”

“Obama wants to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the same thing we want,” Saban said, just the way he was going about it was not to the taste of many in Israel. “They are leftists, really left leftists, so far to the left there’s not much space left between them and the wall,” he said of the Obama administration.

Remember Clark’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced degree of incompetence is functionally indistinguishable from malice.”

Claire Berlinski on Soviet archive documents

City Journal has a long essay by Claire Berlinski, “The hidden history of evil“, on the horrors emerging from Soviet archive documents and the damning evidence of complicity of Western leftist and “pacifist” figures in covering up evil. Go read every word of it.

I have for long had an observation similar to Claire’s. “Perhaps it doesn’t surprise you to read that prominent European politicians held these views. But why doesn’t it? It is impossible to imagine that figures who had enjoyed such close ties to the Nazi Party—or, for that matter, to the Ku Klux Klan or to South Africa’s apartheid regime—would enjoy top positions in Europe today. The rules are different, apparently, for Communist fellow travelers.” And it’s not just the establishment.

UPDATE: Ron Radosh, while agreeing with this sentiment, points out that the “hidden” document collections discussed by Berlinski are in fact widely available. In refuting what he (mis)interpreted as a personal attack on the editor of Yale University Press, he actually inadvertently strengthens her main point: that there is a degree of indifference to the crimes of Communism on the part of the (itself shrinking) book-buying public.

RIP Ronnie James Dio

[Via Insty] Legendary hard rock/heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio (of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and of course Dio fame) lost his fight with cancer today. He will be sorely missed, including by your blog host.

The tiny singer with the huge voice got formal training on French horn and trumpet, and was offered a scholarship at Juilliard, which he declined as he got too interested in rock music. While proficient on several other instruments, he claimed never to have had formal vocal training, but credited his operatic voice to the breathing technique which he had to develop for the French horn. He may not have been the most famous heavy metal vocalist, but technically he stood head and shoulders above the crowd. And of course he “invented” (rather: re-purposed) the one gesture most associated with metal fans.

Below are two Dio videos, one with Black Sabbath, the other with his solo act.

Black Sabbath: “Heaven and Hell”

Ronnie James Dio: “Rainbow in the Dark”

May his memory be blessed.

The Harvard-Yale Supreme Court

Via a guestblogger at Insty, a prime example of the New Class sense of entitlement:

WELL, THAT’S ALL RIGHT THEN:  Dean Chris Edley (now of Berkeley, formerly of Harvard) explains why we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about a Harvard-Yale lock on the Supreme Court.  You see, any worries about elitism and a narrow vision of American values have been solved, by affirmative action:

The gatekeeper power of such institutions is why it was so important to desegregate them (using affirmative action, among other tools) and why virtually all leaders of great universities talk about diversity and access.

For about 40 years now, all the top law schools have tried to pick students who are not just brilliant but who have the potential to be outstanding leaders from and for all of America’s communities. Today, “elite” doesn’t carry the old-boy, classist, midcentury sense.

He’s right; it definitely carries more of a new-boy, classist, end-of-century sense of elitism.  Which must be why Dean Edley doesn’t even notice it.

Ouch. For the French version of this phenomenon, BTW, see “enarques” in Wikipedia.

VDH to 0bama: The USA is not a college and you are not a Dean

Victor Davis Hanson (a classics professor in his day job) comments on the disconnect between 0bama’s rhetoric and his actions, as well as the seemingly endless sequence of “that was yesterday” moments. He tries to make sense of them, and anybody who is familiar with (especially humanities) academe will wrily smile in recognition:

[N]either the press nor his chameleon followers quite explain what is going on. Instead, I think we, the American people, are seen by Obama as a sort of Ivy League campus, with him as an untouchable dean. So we get the multicultural bromides, the constant groupthink, and the reinvention of the self that we see so often among a professional class of administrator in universities (we used to get their memos daily and they read like an Obama teleprompted speech).  […T]he public does not grasp to what degree supposedly elite universities simply wa[i]ve their own rules when they find it convenient.

In academia, there are few consequences for much of anything; but in Obama’s case his legal career at Chicago seems inexplicable without publications (and even more surreal when Law Dean Kagan laments on tape her difficulties in recruiting him to the law school—but how would that be possible when a five- or six-book law professor from a Texas or UC Irvine would never get such an offer from a Chicago or Harvard?).

[…] On an elite university campus what you have constructed yourself into always matters more than what you have done. An accent mark here, a hyphenated name there is always worth a book or two. There is no bipartisanship or indeed any political opposition on campuses; if the Academic Senate weighs in on national issues to “voice concern,” the ensuing margin of vote is usually along the lines of Saddam’s old lopsided referenda.

In other words, Obama assumed as dean he would talk one way, do another, and was confident he could “contextualize” and “construct” a differing narrative—to anyone foolish enough who questioned the inconsistency. As we have seen with Climategate, or the Gore fraud, intent always trumps empiricism in contemporary intellectual circles. Obama simply cannot be held to the same standard we apply to most other politicians—given his heritage, noble intention, and landmark efforts to transform America into something far fairer.

Like so many academics, Obama becomes petulant when crossed, and like them as well, he “deigns” to know very little out of his field (from Cinco de Mayo to the liberation of Auschwitz), and only a little more in it. Obama voiced the two main gospels of the elite campus: support for redistributive mechanisms with other people’s wealth; and while abroad, a sort of affirmative action for less successful nations: those who are failing and criticized the U.S. under Bush proved insightful and worthy of outreach ( a Russia or Syria); but those who allied themselves with us (an Israel or Colombia) are now suspect.

[…] I think at some point Obama’s untruths, hypocrisies, and contradictions will, in their totality, finally remind the voter he is not a student.

After all, America is not a campus. It has real jobs that are not lifelong sinecures. Americans work summers. There are consequences when rhetoric does not match reality. Outside of Harvard or Columbia, debt has to be paid back and is not called stimulus. We worry about jobs lost, not those in theory created or saved. We don’t blame predecessors for our own ongoing failures. Those who try to kill us are enemies, whose particular grievances we don’t care much to know about. Diversity is lived rather than professed; temporizing is not seen as reflection, but weakness.

And something not true in not a mere competing narrative, but a flat-out lie.

Amen.

Rahm Emanuel in full damage control mode to Jewish community

Clearly David Goldman’s earlier revelations about the Jewish community (and leadership) starting to turn its back on 0bama were not just wishful thinking. Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post (via WeaselZippers)  reports on furious damage control efforts by WH staff chief Rahm Emanuel that simply smell like panic.

He is being assisted in these efforts by a number of rabbis that either have drunk the Kool-Aid or are trying to limit the damage of an administration they themselves perceived as (actually or potentially) hostile. This latter practice, “shtadlanut” (literally: “intercession”) has been around for as long as there has been a Jewish diaspora, arguably longer (cf. the Book of Esther).

Calling these rabbis “Jewish uncle Toms” is unfair : besides, there are enough real ones, so let’s not cheapen a perfectly good insult by overuse. Terms like “shtadlanim” or perhaps  “court Jews” are more accurate to describe their specific behavior.

JWF: Wall Street fatcats skip 0bama fundraiser

Not just Jews waking up to the fact that they’ve been had? JammieWearingFool:

Hard to believe, isn’t it? You get trashed on a daily basis, demonized by the socialists, the media and union goons, and there’s actual surprise when you don’t line up like lemmings to pony up cash for the people who hate you and want to ruin you. But look at the bright side, Democrats. You still have empty heads like Sarah Jessica Parker on your side.

Wall Street bigs snubbed President Obama last night at a big-bucks campaign fund-raiser at The St. Regis hotel in Midtown.

The gala — where tickets went for as much as $50,000 a couple and whose proceeds were going to Democratic candidates — featured stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Democratic Party regulars but few, if any, executives from the city’s leading financial institutions.

That was no accident, according to Democrats on Capitol Hill and Wall Street sources who say those in the financial industry are tired of being the punching bag for Obama and Democrats crafting legislation to tightly regulate them.

“They may support individuals, but not the party,” one House Democratic lawmaker said.

“I think there’s been some pushback from the [financial] community.”

Other Democrats said that, indeed, Wall Street money has dried up for the party, and an official from one of the major investment firms confirmed that its people were staying away from The St. Regis.

“We won’t be attending,” the official said.

More evidence of Lincoln’s Law in action. And, courtesy of Robomonkey (graphics) and “Lucius Septimius” on C2 (concept), here is a motivational poster for 2010:

Celibacy, the new celebrity trend?

The newly married (congratulations!) Cassy Fiano blogs on the new woman celebrity sex trend: celibacy. Somehow I don’t see this become a male celebrity trend, at least not for long.

In any case, the woman speaking out in the article looks like a classic swing (no pun intended) of the Hegelian pendulum of history: from random “hookups” with men she met on the subway to celibacy. In the process, she seems to have rediscovered the classic Freudian concept of “sublimation”.

Cassy has a lot of choice things to say about a certain type of feminism and its denial of women being wired differently from men in this regard.

Iowahawk on the Elena Kagan nomination

Iowahawk:

While some progress has been made, the ongoing disgraceful treatment of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan shows we still have far to go before Harvard A[-]holes finally assume their rightful place in American society: as its wise, beneficent and undisputed rulers.

Snort. And that’s just the beginning.