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Monday, November 30, 2015

Pretty girl jobs

A young man mentioned to me the other day that certain jobs are basically those that strippers would do if they had college degrees.

For instance, advertising account executive. They get hired in large part because of their looks, and also because they have pleasing personalities. They don't get hired because they're mistaken for marketing geniuses.

When was the last time you saw a plain woman who worked at Sotheby's or Christie's? An auction house hoping to present an elegant facade wants traditionally beautiful women to augment that impression. And management knows that if you're going to throw away a bundle on art, you at least want that money collected by enticing women. Even if those women don't know anything about art.

Pharmaceutical reps are supposed to have some understanding of chemistry, and biology. But if you've ever seen the women who traipse around to doctors' offices hawking recently FDA-approved drugs, you realize that their number one qualification is pulchitrude. Doctors are only human, and more susceptible to the blandishments of someone they want sex with. Science be damned.

Ditto for photographers' reps, though a college degree isn't a requirement there.

Even Wall Street hires saleswomen for their looks. Look at the contrast between the traders, analysts, investment bankers, and internal technology people on the one hand, and the female salespeople on the other. Or just ask yourself this simple-but-telling question: how many of the former have had plastic surgery, vs. how many of the latter?

How many female newscasters do you see who aren't good-looking? Sure, a beauty might be disqualified by an overly strong regional or ethnic accent. But it's not as if what separates the women who get the on air jobs from their fellow Communications majors is a keen grasp of realpolitik.

As always, the gap between what employers will say ("We want self starters, hard workers willing to roll their sleeves up and learn the business") and what they mean ("We want good looks") is yawning.

You'll never see a help wanted ad for these jobs which specifies beauty as a requirement. But that doesn't mean that isn't the primary prerequisite. As the young man pointed out, these are all jobs where women get hired mostly because of their sex appeal.

The same reason strippers get hired.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" is sociopathy in political form

Community organizer Saul Alinsky published Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals in 1971. We've all heard his name, and we've all heard that Barack Obama is an Alinsky-ite, so it's instructive to take a look at exactly what tactics Alinsky recommended.

According to Wikipedia, the rules are as follows (my comments in italics) :

1.“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (This reinforces what Alinsky said -- in 1971 -- about how real radicals must cut their hair, wear suits and ties, and infiltrate from within. Pretending to be what you are not or have what you don't is typical sociopathic behavior.)

2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. 

3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (Sociopaths are master manipulators, adept at ferreting out and preying on others' insecurities.)

4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (Sociopaths frequently insist that others play by the rules while they themselves flout them.) 

5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Sociopaths are by nature bullies, which is what this is essentially recommending; this was obviously what Obama was trying to do when he said recently that Republicans were "afraid of widows and orphans.")

6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (More manipulation, from the drug dealer playbook: get them addicted, so they want more.)

7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Sociopaths themselves are easily bored, so they assume others are as well.) 

8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Sociopaths show no mercy.) 

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Sociopaths love to threaten and scare.) 

10. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition." It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. (This sounds like a repeat of #8: show no mercy.) 

11. “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Provoke a reaction on purpose, then play the victim -- classic sociopathic behavior.) 

12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Sociopaths are glib, and always seem to have an answer to everything.)

13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (Sociopaths love to create dissension between others.) 

Sociopaths seem to come by these types of techniques naturally. It's pretty much instinctive with them, which is why we see these patterns repeated over and over again in their behavior.   

Believe it or not, Alinsky actually dedicated his book to the Devil: "the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer."

Little wonder Barack Obama would take to Alinskyism so readily.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

David Canary, RIP

Last night commenter Birdie told me that David Canary, a well known actor who lived in my hometown, had just died. I'd met him in 2008 without knowing who he was, and wrote about my impression of him here.

He was a regular at the local pool, so I saw him pretty often. Towards the end his Alzheimer's was more apparent. But even though he had lost his short term memory, he remained gracious. The last time I saw him, this past spring, he still looked magnificent.

Despite being a big star, he was unassuming, and modest. And he went out of his way to be nice to a nobody like me. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Protesting segregation by demanding segregation

An article, Princeton students stand up to political correctness, appeared on Marketwatch today. After the 200 members of the Black Justice League made certain demands to the President of the university, 1300 students signed a politely worded petition affirming free speech as a core value of the campus.

In any case, what really stood out about the original demands was this paragraph: 

The Black Justice League’s demands include a dorm for those who want to celebrate black affinity; mandatory diversity training; and a requirement that students take a course on so-called marginalized peoples. They also want the renaming of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the removal of a mural of President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson, who graduated from Princeton in 1879 and who served as the university’s president from 1902 until 1910, formally segregated the federal workforce.

So, to protest Woodrow Wilson's segregating of the federal workforce, the Black Justice League is demanding a "dorm for those who want to celebrate black affinity," i.e., a segregated dorm. 

What a finely tuned sense of irony this group must have.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Edwin Edwards quotes

I saw two days ago that John Bel Edwards had won the governorship of Louisiana, and wondered if he was related to Edwin Edwards, the colorful former four term Governor; he's not.

But, I was reminded of Edwards, who was born in 1927 and served from 1972-1980, 1984-1988, and 1992-1996. Eddie Edwards was a charming rapscallion of the sort rarely seen in politics anymore. (There are still plenty of rapscallions, but whatever charm they might have possessed is smothered by their overwhelming need to appear good and noble, an act Edwards never felt obliged to put on.)

Edwards was unquestionably corrupt, although he was not actually convicted until 2001 (he served a little more than eight years in jail), and he had, at best, a mixed record as Governor. But his charm and sense of humor carried him far further than his record should have.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the strong possibility that Edwards is a sociopath. He seemed to be without inhibition, had few brakes on his personality, and was an inveterate gambler as well as prolific womanizer throughout his life. He was glib and charming, and seemed to take his responsibilities lightly. (On the other hand, he never pretended to be what he was not, and did not leave a trail of disgruntled former associates in his wake.)

There are some men who act like naughty boys because that is essentially what they are, and there are some who put on that act to hide the fact that they are in reality evil. I'm not sure which Edwards was, so I'll remain agnostic on that score.

In any case, the point of this post is to celebrate his wit.

Edwards described his 1983 gubernatorial opponent David Treen as "so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes."

In 1985, Edwards was indicted on charges of mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and bribery. He was acquitted, and afterwards it was revealed that half of the jurors had stolen towels from the hotel where they were sequestered. Edwards commented, "I was acquitted by a jury of my peers."

On the subject of his alleged corruption: "People say I've had brushes with the law. That's not true. I've had brushes with overzealous prosecutors."

"I never speak ill of dead people or live judges."

In 1991, Edwards was asked by a reporter about a claim he had slept with six women in one night. Edwards replied, "No, it wasn't that way. He [the author] was gone when the last one came in."

In 1992, Edwards ran against white power advocate and former KKK member David Duke. Edwards, referring to his own reputation as a ladies' man, said of Duke that "the only thing we have in common is that we both have been wizards beneath the sheets." He also feigned concern for Duke's health due to smoke inhalation "because he's around so many burning crosses"and when a reporter asked Edwards what he needed to do to win the election, Edwards replied "stay alive."

During his 2011 roast after his release from prison, the 83-year-old Edwards said, "I give blood for them to make Viagra."

At that same roast, in reference to the aphrodisiacal nature of oysters, "I had a dozen last night, and only ten of them worked."

When his brother Marion told the 86-year-old Edwards that having sex with his 36-year-old wife could be dangerous, Edwards reportedly replied, "Well, Marion, if she dies, she dies." 

During a 2012 press conference with his wife, a registered Republican, on his upcoming run for Congress, when asked about what use he'd found for Republicans: "You sleep with 'em."

We still have plenty of corrupt politicians with dubious morality; it's just too bad that none of them are this entertaining anymore. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What is the appropriate penalty for a hate crime hoax?

One sure hate crime hoax and one likely hate crime hoax have been in the news in the past few days. At Delta College in Michigan, a person who posted on YikYak that he was going to "shoot every black person I can on campus" turned out to be Emmanuel D. Bowden, a black student.

At Harvard, there was a big outcry this week after students found black tape defacing the photographs of all of the black Harvard Law School professors. It turned out that the black tape was identical to the tape used by a group of activist black students at Harvard Law who used it the very same day to cover up Harvard Law School's current seal, which incorporates the coat of arms of a slaveholding family involved with the school's founding. While it isn't yet certain, this appears to be yet another hoax.

I've always felt that if a false accusation of rape can result in a prison term of, say, five years for an innocent man, if it can be proven that it was a maliciously false charge, the accuser should get an equivalent sentence herself. After all, this is what the accuser was trying to get for her victim, so that seems only fair.

So it should be with a hate crime hoax. What would the penalty have been for the white student who covered the faces of the black professors in black tape? Getting expelled from school? The same should apply to the hoaxer. Unfortunately, once an affair like this turns out to be a hoax, the matter is usually just dropped.

UVA rape accuser Jackie Coackley was never prosecuted for her false accusations. The woman who falsely accused the Duke lacrosse players of rape was never prosecuted. And whenever there is a racially-motived "hate crime" which turns out to be a hoax, usually everybody just breathes a big sigh of relief that it wasn't "real," and that's the end of it.

It shouldn't be. A hate crime hoax is every bit as bad as a hate crime.

In fact, the case can be made that a hate crime hoaxer is in fact guilty of a worse crime. What if the person who had placed that black tape over the photos of black professors had been white? What would he have been trying to accomplish? He most likely would have been trying to vent some animosity. The result would have been exactly what happened, a mini-tempest of outrage by the black students. The white student certainly wouldn't have won any converts to his side.

What would a black student have been trying to accomplish with that hoax? He would have been trying to stir up hatred between the races, which is arguably worse than just venting one's own spleen.

And all of this brings up a larger question: why are there so many such hoaxes these days? Because people want to be thought of as victims. It gives you the right to complain, to ask for special privileges, to demand more black faculty be hired, and so on.

A hate crime hoax is a hate crime, and should be prosecuted as such.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mal Whitfield, RIP

An obituary for Mal Whitfield, the 1948 Olympic champion in the 800 meter run, appeared today in the NY Times. Whitfield was a heroic figure whose inspirational life story serves almost as a rebuke to today's self-indulgent college protesters.

The relevant excerpts, in italics:

Mal Whitfield, Olympic Gold Medalist and Tuskegee Airman, Dies at 91

Mal Whitfield, a sleek middle-distance runner who won three Olympic gold medals for the United States, at one point as a Tuskegee Airman, and later became an American good-will ambassador promoting athletics abroad, died on Thursday in Washington. He was 91…

Orphaned as a child in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Whitfield went on to set records and achieve celebrity while running for Ohio State University. In 1954 he became the first African-American to receive the coveted Sullivan Award as the nation's outstanding amateur athlete….

During World War Two, he was a member of the celebrated and racially segregated Tuskegee Airmen, part of the Army Air Forces. In Korea, he once trained for the Games between bombing missions, running on runways at night with a .45 caliber automatic strapped to his side. 

Whitfield was still a staff sergeant when he set an Olympic record in the 800-meter event at the 1948 London Games with a time of 1 minute 49.2 seconds.

He won another gold medal in the same Olympics anchoring the United States’ 4x400-meter relay team, and a bronze medal in the 400 meters.

Four years later, at the Helsinki Olympics, he won the 800 again — in the identical time — and added a silver medal in the relay. He just missed making the Olympic team in 1956….

With World War II on, he joined the Army Air Forces after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943. He enrolled at Ohio State after the war, in 1946, while stationed nearby as a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, a unit of the 332nd Fighter Group, popularly known as the Alabama-based Tuskegee Airmen. With that double duty, he said, he would wake up at 5 a.m. and go to bed at 12:30 a.m.

When the Korean War broke out, Whitfield was recalled to the service and served as a tail gunner on 27 bombing missions. But he continued to train for track, running at night while carrying his sidearms.

He was honorably discharged in 1952 and went back to Los Angeles to complete his bachelor’s degree at California State University, Los Angeles.

Whitfield went on to become a sort of roving ambassador for sport.

It's hard to read an obituary like this, in the midst of all the current college protests, and not reflect that people tend to act as they are encouraged to. In Whitfield's day, people were encouraged to act heroic, and they did. Whitfield was a shining example of that. 

Today, people are encouraged to act self-indulgent, and, for the most part, they comply.

When Whitfield was training for the 800 meters on those runways in Korea, he didn't ask for a safe space. He just strapped on his .45 and ran.

When Whitfield was with the Tuskegee Airmen, he didn't worry about microaggressions from the white soldiers. He was too busy dealing with macroaggressions from the North Koreans and Chinese.

And not only did Whitfield not benefit from affirmative action, he lived under the opposite system, segregation. The only reason the Tuskegee Airmen existed was because in those days blacks were not allowed to be part of regular units.  

Rest in peace, Mal Whitfield. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Billionaire confidence

No matter how much you agree with Donald Trump's policies, it's hard to escape the conclusion after listening to him for a while that as a billionaire, you're apt to end up thinking yourself a little better-looking, a little smarter, and a little funnier than you actually are, simply because people treat you a certain way.

The Miss Universe contestants who throw themselves at Trump must make him feel quite attractive. They must all say something along the lines of "Oh Donald, you're so sexy," even if what they really mean is, "I find the idea of a multibillionaire quite stimulating, and by the way, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have you fix the contest in my favor, if that's possible."

(You can tell Trump thinks he's good-looking by the way he so freely insults others' looks.)

Trump also seems to equate dollars with IQ points. In his view, he's basically ten times as smart as a guy with only one billion.

Much of Trump's justification for running seem to be that he has written The Art of the Deal and has a net worth of (supposedly) ten billion, which makes him far more successful than the other candidates. Given which, one has to wonder how he will react if Michael Bloomberg, who's legitimately worth 37 billion dollars, decides to run as an independent.

In the most recent debate, Trump responded to a criticism from Governor Kasich with, "I’ve built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don’t have to hear from this man. Believe me, I don’t have to hear from him." Trump wouldn't really be able to use that line on Bloomberg.

The people who work for the Trump Organization undoubtedly laugh heartily at all of Trump's jokes, funny or not. Which has undoubtedly led Trump to see himself as quite the wit.

If I had a billion, I suspect people would treat me differently. And it would probably take more discipline than I've got to dismiss their blandishments as empty flattery.

Donald Trump doesn't seem to have that kind of discipline either. And he's a longtime billionaire, which only makes it worse.

Sometimes, when you look at the pictures of the nerdy young internet billionaires, they seem to have a deer-in-the-headlights look, as if they're uncomfortable in the spotlight and afraid of making fools of themselves. And while many look understandably happy, they don't have that practiced look of arrogance.


Give them a couple decades with yes-men (and "Yes!" women) and they'll see themselves differently.

As I've said before, I think Trump would actually be the best candidate for the middle class, unlikely as that seems. Of course, if he actually gets elected, it's always possible he will renege on some of his campaign promises.

One thing will not change, however, and that we can be sure of: his ego.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I'd read some middling reviews of the new James Bond film, but was still looking forward to seeing the movie last night. I figured, the critics just don't get it, Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig did such a great job with Skyfall that they couldn't possibly have gone too far astray with SPECTRE.

They did. The writers must have been so happy with the praise they received for Bond's childhood backstory in Skyfall, and for having resurrected the original Aston Martin, that they decided to milk the nostalgia angle even more in the new movie. They tried way too hard.

They threw in -- spoiler alert -- the exact stretch of highway in the Alps where Sean Connery used his Aston Martin's tire-slashing hubcaps to good effect on Tania Mallet's (Tilly Masterson's) Mustang in Goldfinger.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld's white pussycat -- formerly highlighted in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever -- reappears.

At one point Bond finds himself in an underground chamber next to a body of water, which looks like one of the scenes in Dr. No. The high tech desert encampment vaguely resembles Dr. No's island fortress, and the way it self-destructs at the end is similar as well.

The funeral scene with Monica Bellucci is evocative of the funeral scene in Thunderball, and the house she retreats to afterward is similarly elegant.

During one high speed escape, Bond's car goes almost on its side, just like in Diamonds are Forever.

The only thing that was missing was Roger Moore's car which turns into a submarine. But at least the moviemakers were smart enough to realize that audiences are only nostalgic for the real James Bond --

-- so there were absolutely no references to any of the Moore, Dalton, or Brosnan Bonds.

In any case, one or two references -- a la Skyfall -- would have been fine. But referencing the entire Connery oeuvre was overkill.

Much of the movie was so over the top that it verged on camp, which is always unwelcome in a Bond movie. At the beginning of the movie, in the much lauded Day of the Dead sequence, Craig surfs his way down a collapsing building, in a ridiculous sequence far beyond any parkour artist's wildest dreams, and then lands, finally, in a couch.

How cute. Only James Bond is not supposed to be cute.

In another scene, Craig, in an airplane, does battle with the bad guys in their cars (usually it's the other way around). When the wings of Craig's plane come off, he continues to use it as a sort of prop-propelled sled, and drives it through a barn. (Well, maybe that was a Roger Moore-ish touch.)

All of the action scenes in Casino Royale, if not completely grittily realistic, at least gave that illusion. (Think of the initial fight scene where Bond earns his double-0 status in that bathroom, or the scene where he kills the bomb maker at the African embassy, or the way he strangles the African leader in that basement stairwell.) Most of the action scenes in SPECTRE, like the initial fight on the helicopter, were silly, and didn't even try to appear realistic.

It was almost as if, by trying so hard to evoke the early Connery movies, they turned it into Never Say Never Again.

The chief enforcer for the bad guys was played by Dave Bautista, a half-Filipino professional wrestler:

Bautista's low forehead, beard, and height make him appear sufficiently menacing, and of course a 'roided-up body is almost de rigeur for battle these days. Craig and Bautista have an extended fight scene in an elegant Orient Express-style train going across the North African desert (one wonders which line that is) in a scene which is meant to evoke the train fight in From Russia With Love.

This David-and-Goliath fight wasn't quite as ridiculous as, say, Angelina Jolie beating up a bunch of musclemen in a Lara Croft movie, but watching Craig hold his own against Bautista did defy credibility.

During the fight, the inside of the train is laid to waste as if it were made of papier-mache, and it was hard to escape the feeling that the action sequence was choreographed by the same people who choreograph Bautista's pro wrestling fights.

Somehow, having included a professional wrestler seems a fitting metaphor for the movie.

Christopher Waltz plays the criminal mastermind, and his performance marks the second film in a row in which the chief villain is effeminate. Waltz doesn't gay it up quite as much as Bardem did in Skyfall (the one discordant note of that movie). But, at the rate the franchise is going, it won't be long before Bond himself is playing for the other team.

My son complained that it was ridiculous that Bond didn't shoot the villain when he had the chance to at the end of the movie. That, of course, was because Blofeld must return in another movie.

I almost regretted that Bond didn't shoot himself.

The weird thing is, despite everything I just said, the movie was still fun: I have to admit, I enjoyed watching it, though not nearly as much as I did Skyfall. It's mostly when you think about it afterwards that you recoil a little.

Ah, I guess I'm glad Bond didn't shoot himself.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What would Hillary have been without Bill?

A Gail Collins article in the Sunday Review section of today's NY Times was titled Hillary in History. About halfway through the article is the following line:

When the question of whether Hillary would have risen to presidential status if she hadn’t been married to Bill comes up, her fans tend to argue that if she hadn’t gotten married at all, she’d probably have gotten to the same place quicker on her own.

If you ever doubt how delusional Hillary fans are, just remember that. First of all, the odds that anyone -- no matter how politically talented -- will rise to the point where they are considered a viable Presidential candidate are minuscule. The path to the Presidency is a long, serpentine one that requires ambition, fortuitous circumstance, the right connections, willing accomplices, a friendly media, a talent for subterfuge, and a ton of luck.

There are lots of people with political ambition and talent who never make it. The formula for success is tricky and far, far beyond any one person's control.

So the idea that any individual was somehow predestined from the start to end up with a major party nomination necessitates a leap of faith so large that it precludes any sense of the incredible amount of happenstance required to actually ascend to that position.

Family connections can certainly help. Even the elder President Bush had a father who was a US Senator, Al Gore had a father who was a US Senator, and President Kennedy had a father who basically pushed him into the Presidency.

But the Rodhams were neither a political nor financial dynasty.

If you don't have those family connections, you have to be able to ingratiate yourself with those who can help your career. To do that, you must employ charm, humor, salesmanship, and a certain moral flexibility.

Hillary has only that last attribute.

So the idea that Hillary would "probably have gotten to the same place quicker on her own" is as ludicrous as saying that George W. Bush would have risen to the Presidency even if his father hadn't been President. Or that Donald Trump would be the Republican frontrunner if he was a blue collar worker with a net worth of $50,000. Or that a less-than-one-full-term Senator from Illinois with no legislative accomplishments to speak of would have been elected President if he hadn't been black.

The difference is, you don't hear any of those statements from Bush, Trump, or Obama supporters. Only Hillary's supporters are that insane. (That quality, of course, is reflected in many of their other cherished beliefs.)

If Hillary hadn't been married to Bill, it's not hard to imagine where she would have ended up. She might have been a small time lawyer in Chicago. Or, with a little luck, a partner at a larger law firm. She might have been a college professor, maybe in law, or maybe in a subject closer to her heart, like Women's Studies. Or, she might have ended up as an organizer for NOW.

She probably would have been fairly successful at any of those occupations. She's smart enough, and probably would have been fairly successful at currying favor within the Women's Studies Department, or among the other functionaries at NOW.

But the idea that the political powerbrokers in Illinois, Arkansas, or anywhere else would have taken a look at this woman --

-- and thought to themselves, "Yep, there's the charisma we're going to ride all the way to the White House" is just not credible.

Bill was known to have the ability to make every person he spoke to feel special. He was quick on his feet, charming, and humorous. He could appear patriotic when that was called for, contrite when that was called for, angry when that was called for, and compassionate when that was called for. He may have been none of those things, but he knew how to project those emotions because he was a great salesman, and a consummate seducer. (He is, after all, a sociopath, and sociopaths tend to be good at those things.)

And even with all that going for him, he needed a tremendous amount of luck.

Hillary is by nature stiff, brittle, and (genuinely) angry. During the '08 primary campaign, Obama was criticized for having said, lukewarmly, that Hillary was "likable enough." He was actually being generous.

If Hillary hadn't married Bill, you'd never have heard of her.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jeb: the postmortem

The main reason Jeb was the early frontrunner in the Republican sweepstakes was his last name. Despite the fact that we are nominally a democracy, Americans still harbor a secret hankering for royal dynasties.

But that hankering has its limits. After eight years of Bill Clinton, the American public was nostalgic for the decent, patrician George H.W. Bush, so they elected his namesake. But even after eight years of Obama, the American public is not nostalgic for W. So, Jeb is paying the price.

Jeb also had other problems right from the start. First, that eminently punchable face. And second, he was way too liberal on immigration. You don't win over American voters by pandering to the Mexican electorate.

Early on, Jeb's own parents saw him, not W, as the carrier of the family flame. This, despite W being the older brother. If anyone knows which the smarter sibling is, it would be the parents. But the Presidency is not an SAT test; it's simply not enough to have a high IQ.

Character counts -- bad character, that is. Jeb is simply too nice a guy for this arena. He is an intelligent beta male without the instincts for battle that a Trump or Cruz or Rubio have. It's almost as if Jeb was coddled too much as a kid, and never developed the kind of spiky armor that more feral kids tend to develop. For instance, Jeb obviously defers to his wife. (Do you think Trump does that?)

Ted Cruz had a great line about the moderators in the last debate, but he was wrong about one thing: a debate IS a cage match. And if you don't have the instincts of a pro wrestler, you're simply not going to survive the Wrestlemania Summer Slam, or Wrestlemania Survivor Series. The debates were just slightly higher IQ versions of those extravaganzas. Both sets of audiences certainly want the same thing: blood, whether physical or metaphorical.

Jeb simply isn't bloodthirsty enough. When someone shoots an arrow at Jeb, instead of shooting back, he just looks down in astonishment at the feathers sticking out of his stomach. He spent much of the debates looking like a mole that's been dragged from its protected underground lair, and, blinking in the bright sunlight, has no idea how to defend itself against the coyotes which surround it.

And, nice guys finish, if not last, at best sixth in a field of ten.

In the last couple debates, Jeb has tried to be a little more combative, because his advisors have told him he needs to be. But you can tell, it's really just not in his nature.

But while it's hard to blame Jeb for being too nice, it's a little easier to criticize the vague sense of entitlement that always surrounded his campaign. Jeb's pedigree is that of card-carrying member of the East Coast WASP establishment who used to run the country. You can see it in the way he talks about the illegal immigrants, with the sort of noblesse oblige that WASPs of good character were expected to show when speaking of the less fortunate.

But it's a little as if Jeb is living in a time warp, and doesn't quite realize that the world has changed. The nexus of power has long since shifted from the WASPs to the Jews, and while most of the candidates were eagerly declaring their allegiance to Israel in hopes of some of that Adelson and Singer money, Bush seemed to think that if he carried himself like Clark Clifford, he'd inherit the Presidency.

It just doesn't work that way anymore.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ben Carson and the Pyramids

An anonymous commenter pointed out this morning that Ben Carson has "forfeited his right to be taken seriously" because of his belief that the Pyramids were not built by the pharaohs, but by the biblical figure Joseph for use as grain silos. An AP article about this came out this afternoon.

I agree with the commenter: I don't want a President who subscribes to theories which fly in the face of all the evidence. Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist; his base has always been the fundamentalists, who as a group tend to take their religion more seriously than most Christians do.

If Carson should get the nomination, expect the liberals to lambaste him for this faith-based belief the same way they lambasted fundamentalists who don't believe in evolution. The liberals, of course, never framed their insults as a matter of mocking religious beliefs; they simply referred to those who believed in Creationism as "conservatives" or "Republicans."

But what about other religious tenets? Islamic beliefs are staggeringly at odds with Western civilization on issues like women's education, homosexuality, and marriage. Yet when was the last time you heard a liberal mock a Muslim?

Jewish people have historically seen themselves as God's "Chosen People." You'll occasionally hear some rabbi bemoan the fact that too many Jews marry non-Jews. And the Talmud states that one cannot be a real Jew unless one's mother is Jewish. These attitudes all directly conflict with the modern non-discriminatory ethos. Yet when was the last time you heard a liberal mock a Jew for any of those things?

Religious beliefs really matter only to the extent that they impinge on national policy. Obviously, Carson's beliefs about the Pyramids have no bearing on any current national debates. In all fairness, the debate about Creationism vs. evolution did affect educational policy; some of the creationists wanted Creationism taught in the schools alongside evolution, or, in some cases, even in lieu of evolution.

(Of course, the liberals don't want the teaching of evolution to go too far.)

Liberals believe -- or at least pretend to believe -- that intelligence is completely independent of genetics, and any differences in accomplishment between the races must be ascribed to white racism. This is profoundly unscientific, yet liberals go after anyone who argues otherwise with the fervor of a Muslim who's just seen a cartoon of Muhammad.

Liberals also believe -- or claim to believe -- that, other than a few minor physical differences, men and women are essentially the same. That, despite all evidence to the contrary, there are no differences when it comes to logic, mathematical aptitude, mating instincts, nurturing abilities, and so on.

Their equalitarian beliefs affect national policy on any number of fronts: educational policy, affirmative action, disparate impact, the military, and so on.

If you tell Ben Carson he's wrong, he'll calmly defend his (misguided) beliefs. If you publicly pronounce the liberals wrong, they'll do their best to destroy your career.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Best proof yet of society's insanity

The US Department Education's Office of Civil Rights has ordered the Palatine Illinois Township School District to allow a boy who identified as a girl to shower with the girls. Even after the Illinois school district relented and said it would be okay, but that the student should stay in a curtained off part of the girl's locker room, the Justice Department called this discrimination, and insisted he be allowed to shower in the communal area.

Strangely, this was all done in the name of Title IX, which was formulated to prevent discrimination against girls.

Is this fair to the girls?

Men who put cameras in women's locker rooms get sent to jail. But, if they want to be there themselves, that's evidently okay.

For decades now we've had the feminists tell us that men who stared at (clothed) women the wrong way are guilty of sexual harassment. That men who comment about women's looks are guilty of the same. And generally, that men who make women uncomfortable in any way are pigs.

But now the Obama administration -- which has done its best to promote the lie that one in five college women is sexually assaulted -- is forcing girls to parade around naked in front of a biological male.

I can't wait for the feminists to weigh in on this controversy.

What is to prevent a heterosexual guy from growing his hair long, claiming to identify with girls, and taking advantage of this policy? What would the girls have to say about this?

"I feel really uncomfortable with Mike, or Michelle as we're supposed to call him, staring at us all the time. I just put my clothes on as fast as I can."

"The thing is, if he says he's a girl, why does he have an erection, or at least half an erection, bobbing around all the time?"

"I was sort of creeped out when Michelle said we should get together for some hot girl on girl action sometime."

"Michelle spends forever in there changing. He's always taking his time tying and then 'accidentally' untying his shoelaces while looking up at our crotches."

"Why is he always offering to wash my back for me? I've never needed anyone to do that."

Granted, boys who actually think of themselves as girls have little interest in seeing naked females. And very few normal guys would actually go to the trouble of pretending to be transgender in order to gain access to the girl's locker room. But, all it would take would be one or two to turn this controversy on its head.

However, this kind of trespass could prove difficult to prosecute. After all, who's to say what's really going on inside someone's head? What exactly would the charge be? And, at least in high school, any prosecution would likely be of a minor anyway.

But this will undoubtedly spread beyond the high schools. In March of this year there was a report of a Planet Fitness revoking a woman's membership after she complained of a man in the women's locker room.

And what do we makeof those men who are transvestites but still heterosexual? This is a not uncommon sexual category. They'll potentially be in hog heaven under this new system. Will the government now get involved in determining who is merely a transvestite and who is a legitimate transgender?

And why have there been no cases of female-to-male transgenders wanting to use the men's locker room?

The simplest -- and fairest -- solution would be to make individual locker rooms available for those who, for whatever reason, want to change in privacy. Unfortunately, that wouldn't repeal biology enough to suit the Obama administration.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Frederick Forsyth, Part II

Back in March of '09 I explained why author Frederick Forsyth is such a heroic figure. (He's actually one of my two greatest heroes ever.)

But it wasn't until yesterday, when I read a NY Times review of his latest book, The Outsider, that I found out that he'd actually been an MI6 operative.

(If you check out that review, be aware that they don't get to Forsyth's book until the last three paragraphs of the article.)

So, while Forsyth was churning out all those blockbusters, he was actually James Bond as well.