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Ed Driscoll

Where Did UCLA Students Acquire Their Anti-Semitism?

March 1st, 2015 - 6:40 pm

Would every non-anti-Semitic donor to UCLA please watch this video?” Moe Lane asks, and I’m happy to help it generate a little bit of additional distribution. As Moe writes, “It’d probably be a good thing if said donors knew what their money is paying for:”

As Powerline noted, according to the above video the only reason being given to oppose the young woman in question was that she was a Jew. If that isn’t clear from the video, here’s an admittedly partisan recounting of events from a friend of Ms. Beyda. All in all, everyone generally agrees that this incident reflects badly on UCLA, and well it should.

But that’s not why donors should reassess their charitable impulses. The reason why donors should reassess their charitable impulses is because nobody got fired for teaching these kids to be prejudiced against Jews.  What, did you think that they learned it on their own? Nope! They’ve been soaking up nonsense about divided loyalties* from their professors (and, possibly even more terrifyingly, from campus administrators); one can hardly be surprised that said nonsense is going to be, ah, expressed in stressful moments.

As William F. Buckley wrote in Up From Liberalism, “In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”

Meanwhile at LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM-friendly Wesleyan University, “With so many oppressed groups,” Glenn Reynolds quips, “who’s left to do the oppressing?”

Related: I suspect Stacy McCain has much more on the root causes of the madness at Wesleyan and other related topics in his new eBook, Sex Trouble, Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.

Another day, another hit piece on Walker, this time from Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air; I’m not rewarding attack articles with extra traffic):

Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter.

“I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”

Walker contended that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.

“It sent a message not only across America, it sent a message around the world,” Walker said. America’s allies and foes alike became convinced that Reagan was serious enough to take action and that “we weren’t to be messed with,” he said.

According to Politico, Rucker was the guy who whined, “What about your gaaaaaaaffffffes!!!!!!” to Mitt Romney in 2012; but what about Rucker’s gaffes, specifically, his lack of knowledge of history? Specifically, history that happened likely before the young Democrat operative with a byline was even born. Rucker’s article is headlined “Scott Walker calls Reagan’s bust of air traffic controller strike ‘most significant foreign policy decision,’” but that’s not a bad summation of how those events played out.

Return with us now to the early 1980s. In his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote:

Smashing the air traffic controllers union has loomed large in populist lore ever since as a “signal” to private sector management that it was now okay to squeeze unions, but this is too simple. (If Reagan had really wanted to send an anti-union message, he would have proposed privatizing air traffic control.) Generally polls showed that public esteem for organized labor was at an all-time low by the time of PATCO’s ill-considered gambit. Labor was getting the message. A Wall Street Journal headline a month later told the story: “Economic Gloom Cuts Labor Union Demands for Big 1982 Contracts.” Fed chairman Paul Volcker later said that Reagan’s firing of the PATCO strikers was the single most important anti-inflationary step Reagan took.

There was one unanticipated audience that paid close attention to Reagan’s manhandling of the strike: the Soviet Politburo. Since taking office the administration had been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate in some concrete ways its toughness toward the Soviet Union. As is often the case, the most effective opportunity came in an unexpected way and from an unlooked-for place. The White House realized it had gotten Moscow’s attention when the Soviet news agency TASS decried Reagan’s “brutal repression” of the air traffic controllers.

For the American news media, Reagan’s handling of the strike became the opening for a new line of criticism. During the budget fight, the dominant line of criticism was that while Reagan’s policies might be cruel and uncaring, he himself was a kindly man. Having wondered whether Reagan was too “nice,” Haynes Johnson now wrote: “A glimmer of a harsher Reagan emerges…. For the first time as president, he has displayed another, less attractive side. Firmness is fine in a president; indeed, it is desirable. But something else came through last week—a harsh, unyielding, almost vengeful and mean-spirited air of crushing opponents. It makes you wonder how he will respond if faced with a direct, and dangerous, foreign challenge, one requiring the most delicate and skillful combination of strength and diplomacy.”

Gee, ask Secretary Gorbachev how that worked out.

In her 2003 book about Reagan,  Peggy Noonan quoted the Gipper’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who called it:

“One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made”. It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.

Yesterday, Noonan added at the Wall Street Journal:

What Reagan did not speak about was an aspect of the story that had big foreign-policy implications.

Air traffic controllers in effect controlled the skies, and American AWACS planes were patrolling those skies every day. Drew Lewis: “The issue was not only that it was an illegal strike. . . . It was also that a strike had real national-security implications—the AWACS couldn’t have gone up.” It is likely that even though the public and the press didn’t fully know of this aspect of the strike’s effects, the heads of the union did. That’s why they thought Reagan would back down. “This hasn’t come up,” said Lewis, “but the Soviets and others in the world understood the implications of the strike.”

Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.

However, I’m not at all surprised that the newspaper whose then-subsidiary magazine declared “We Are Socialists Now” upon Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009 would be all that familiar with the history of the final years of the Cold War.

And speaking of Reagan:

Exit quote:


The pile continues to grow.

Update: “Arrogant Media Elites Mock Middle America,”  Salena Zito writes today at Real Clear Politics:

As consumers of news, most Americans want an honest look at the potential presidential candidates and where they stand on serious issues.

Reporters mock those news-consumers when they mock candidates who aren’t like the reporters themselves — but who are very much like normal Americans.

It is unforgivably arrogant for anyone in the media to think that the rest of the country thinks like they do.

“A reporter’s job is to report the news, not to drive it or to create it. A reporter’s audience is not just an echo chamber, not just D.C. friends, rivals, partisans and followers on social media. (Remember: Only 8 percent of Americans get their news through Twitter.),” Zito writes.

Don’t think of the DC media as reporters, as Glenn Reynolds recently noted:

The press sees itself first and foremost as political allies of Democrat-dominated institutions, which most emphatically includes universities, a major source of funding, foot-soldiers, and ideological suport for Democrats. When outsiders want information that might hurt Democrat-dominated institutions — see, e.g., ClimateGate — they are always portrayed by the press as partisans, malcontents, and evil. That is because the press today functions largely as a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines.

And the successful pushback against government unions by Walker — like Reagan before him — explains much of the subtext driving Rucker’s ahistoric ruckus.

Israel National News claims:

The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

Following Obama’s threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack.

This lede sounds a bit like telephone tag, but this is what Giuliani was getting at last month and why the press erupted so angrily against him. If  this report is true, who at this late stage in Mr. Obama’s administration who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention to his actions would be at all surprised by it?

In any case, “I wish Obama was half as mad at ISIS as he is at Netanyahu,” Jon Gabriel of Ricochet tweets.  Or as Mark Steyn asked last month when the media ginned up the Rudy kerfuffle, if Obama was “working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”

Update: Roger L. Simon explains “Why Obama Order to Shoot Down Israeli Jets [is] Most Likely Untrue:”

More likely, the report, which emerged from Kuwait, is disinformation timed to discredit Prime Minister Netanyahu and make him seem a warmonger in advance of his address to Congress Tuesday.

Read the whole thing.

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong,” Clarke wrote over half a century ago. Back in 1995, in an article by 1990s pop culture technology maven Clifford Stoll a few years after the World Wide Web began making the Internet accessible to all, Newsweek predicted:

Consider today’s online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.

Sure, Stoll completely missed the Kindle, but note the elitist snark at Citizen’s Band radio, which in many ways anticipated the democratized media that was just around the corner — in the early 1980s, CompuServe launched its online chat format, which they dubbed “CB Chat” to make the format instantly recognizable. (Which sold me — I was one of its first users, logging in on TRS-80 Model I and Hayes modem.)

Curiously, the seemingly pie-in-the-sky ATT commercials narrated by Tom Selleck, which first aired a few years prior to the above article, actually got far more right about the technology that was to come. Only the Picturephone, long an obsession of Bell/AT&T hasn’t happened yet:

There are some aspects of the Internet that Stoll would get right — its Jacobin-like mob mentality (two words: Justine Sacco) and its negative impact on retail business. (I love Amazon, MP3s and the Kindle; I miss ubiquitous local book and record stores.) But then, much of the problem with the article stems from its title: “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana.” Did anybody think it would be? It was obvious it would be radically transformative, as futurists such as Clarke and Alvin Toffler had predicted decades prior to the Web’s launch), but nirvana? Not likely when human emotions are involved, which like any communications medium, the Internet simply transfers elsewhere.

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Is Leftism Exhausted?

February 28th, 2015 - 11:45 am

“All This Has Happened Before …and will happen again,” Sonny Bunch writes at the Washington Free Beacon, noting how the left has always loved itself a good circular firing squad:

What the angry left of today has in common with the angry left of yesteryear is a lot of rage and little cohesion. There’s not an actual program being pursued, no series of demands. There’s just vitriol and angst wrapped up in vaguely leftist sloganeering. They eat their own because it’s easier. This is basic human psychology: When you attack an outsider, he’s just as likely to give you the finger and tell you to get bent as he is to listen to your grievances. But when you attack one of your own—when you scream at someone who has professed a desire to be your ally, when you harp on and on how they have failed to hew to your orthodoxies—it is easier to cow them into submission and convince them to beg forgiveness for their heresies. Left-on-left spats in social media are common because these are fights the radicals can win. And it’s always more psychically pleasing to win a fight than lose one.

More on this later, perhaps. I’ve got to run: I’m late for my RINO hunt. There are some cocktail parties in Georgetown that need cleaning out.

Heh. At NRO, Jonah Goldberg adds that “the cultural Left has disengaged from mainstream political arguments, preferring instead the comforts of identity-politics argy-bargy. You judge political movements not by their manifestos but by where they put their passion. And on the left these days, the only things that arouse passion are arguments about race and gender,” which for the left also involves devouring your own, yet another sign that leftism is exhausted, as Jonah writes. Fortunately, as George Lucas would say, there is a New Hope on the horizon:

For instance, the feminist agitprop drama The Vagina Monologues is now under fire from the left because it is not inclusive of men who believe they are women. Patricia Arquette was criticized from the right for her Oscar-acceptance rant about women’s wage equality, but the criticism paled in comparison to the bile from the left, which flayed her for leaving out the plight of the transgendered and other members of the Coalition of the Oppressed.

Such critiques may seem like a cutting-edge fight for the future among the protagonists, but looked at from the political center, it suggests political exhaustion. At least old-fashioned Marxists talked about the economy. Of course liberalism isn’t dead; it’s just resting. But it certainly could use an exciting, charismatic savior to breathe new life and fresh thinking into its ranks.

Thank goodness Hillary Clinton is waiting in the wings.

Which will be fascinating to watch: vote for me to relive the glory days of the 1990s, even though I’m running on policies that are an extension of Obama’s, and totally repudiate all of my husband’s, except for Hillarycare, which is what led to him losing Congress in 1994, which helped usher in the glory days of the 1990s.

Not to mention the possibility of lots of really cheap Scott Walker versus Hillary’s walker jokes. Perhaps a looming fear of that sort of reverse Alinsky-style ridicule is one part of the subtext of the media’s coordinate hits on him over the past few weeks?

Sharpton’s Cat

February 28th, 2015 - 10:48 am

I’ve speculated a few times that Al Sharpton is basically paid by MSNBC as protection money to prevent him from blowing up another NBC employee, as he did to Don Imus in 2007. In retrospect, I should have expanded my scope to include Comcast as well. “Sharpton paid to keep quiet about lack of black TV programming: suit,” the New York Post reports:

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s silence was bought for a cool $3.8 million — so that he wouldn’t complain about the lack of black cable TV programming, an explosive $20 billion lawsuit alleges.

The National Association of African-American Owned Media claims Comcast paid Sharpton and his National Action Network “cash ‘donations’ ” in exchange for not screaming about its lack of solely black-owned channels.

The cable giant also assured that the activist would keep his $750,000-a-year gig as a host on MSNBC, which it co-owns, even as his ratings slump, the suit alleges.

“The black community has been sold out by him,” comedian Byron Allen, a co-plaintiff and owner of Entertainment Studios, told The Post on Monday.

“Al Sharpton should be ashamed of himself for defending Comcast for a simple chicken-dinner payoff.”

The Daily Caller also interviewed Allen, an NBC alumnus himself. “AT&T, which is looking to acquire DirectTV for $67 billion including assumption of debt, also pays off Sharpton for racial cover, Allen said:”

“I find it outstanding that AT&T is the biggest sponsor of Sharpton’s 60th birthday party,” Allen said. “AT&T spent more money on Al Sharpton’s birthday party than they have on 100 percent African-American owned media combined. [Sharpton] should return the money because AT&T doesn’t even celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. The employees there take it as a sick day.”

“Reverend Jesse Jackson, you were on the balcony when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Why are you taking money from AT&T? Why is Al Sharpton getting more money from AT&T than Ebony Magazine, which has been around for 70 years?”

“[Corporations] trick people like, ‘I got the diversity award.’ Well, diversity is defined as women and white women.”

“My wife happens to be white and I ask her who is the white guy who speaks for all white people? You can’t even think that. That idea is racist. That’s wrong. So why do I have some black guy who speaks for me? Why is he cutting deals that somehow I don’t benefit from but somehow he’s on television every night?”

Sharpton’s power, including his informal adviser role at the White House, is just part of the game.

“I think that Obama uses him to control the Negroes,” Allen said of Sharpton.

Sharpton’s response to all of this boils down to, what, me worry?

There have been some rumors this week that Al Sharpton is losing his MSNBC show as part of an ongoing schedule shake-up. Well, Sharpton has officially shot down those rumors and said he isn’t going anywhere.

Sharpton told The Daily Beast, “I am pretty certain that I am solid at the time period that I’m at for the next foreseeable future. And any rumors to the contrary are totally unfounded.”

And an MSNBC spokesperson corroborated Sharpton, saying, “There are no plans to move Rev. Sharpton’s show.”

Which becomes the television equivalent of Schrödinger’s cat: if a TV show effectively has no viewers, how do we know if it’s still on the air?


As Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institute asks at Ricochet:

I can’t remember a candidate at the front of a presidential field — and this early in the process — tapping into conservatives’ media distrust. Yes, Newt Gingrich engaged in heavy media-bashing in 2012 (the former Speaker went nuclear after questions pertaining to his past marriage), but he didn’t get into it until the debate season was underway. And he was never a frontrunner, though at times his campaign did exceed expectations.

Think it’s enough to sustain Walker for the next 11 months?

Maybe. Maybe.

Mark Steyn, during his interview with Hugh Hewitt yesterday, explores how ISIS’ snuff films attract disaffected westerners:

HH: This is so horrific, I don’t know even how to approach it. The Islamic state has kidnapped as many as 350 Assyrian Christians – women, children, and they’ve taken them away in the night. Meanwhile, we’re learning about Jihad Johnny. And it seems like on this side of the Atlantic, and this side of the world, the only thing the Obama administration can get upset about is Benjamin Netanyahu coming here.

MS: Yeah.

HH: What is, you know, not Valerie Jarrett, but Susan Rice said it’s damaging to the relationship that the Prime Minister, destructive was her word, her exact word. What do you think of this?

MS: No, I think it’s an extremely weird obsession. We are losing to an explicitly genocidal and apocalyptic movement that controls substantial amounts of territory, and as we discussed last week, is incredibly attractive to educated citizens in the Western world. When you were talking, you said they kidnapped all these Christians in the middle of the night. I would doubt they actually did that. You know, that’s the way the old school guys, your Nazis and fascists and communists used to do it. They were furtively, at some level, they knew, they were ashamed of their evil, and they didn’t want it to get out. These guys use evil as their calling card. They use evil in their campaign ads. They use evil in their movie promotions. And it’s very, and it’s horribly seductive to all these thousands of people who are supposed to be nominally citizens of Western nations, not just this Jihad John guy from London, but there’s Americans from Minnesota and elsewhere, there’s Canadians, Australians. There’s all kinds of people for whom the evil, the evil of ISIS, is its principle selling point.

HH: Let me ask you about this, because I asked Jeb Bush this yesterday in an interview with him. What’s the tap root? And he had dismissed Marie Harf’s joblessness claim, as we all do. It’s just absurd and silly and moronic. And I asked him about it, and he fumbled around, and he came up with sort of civilizational alienation. What do you think it is, Mark Steyn?

MS: Yeah, I think there’s a measure of truth in that. I think at the heart of the, at the heart of most modern Western societies is a big hole where young people’s sense of identity is. And some of it, you know, you saw a lot of that at the Oscars. They fill it with sexual politics, with all this LGBTQWERTY. I mean, I don’t even know what the last 17 initials. I know, I haven’t a clue what it is they’re meant to be, these evermore recherché sexual identity politics. Or they said it was climate change. They want to feel they’re saving the planet. And maybe that’s enough for some people. But for other people, it isn’t. And it’s not first-generation Muslims. It’s not second-generation Muslims. It’s the young third-generation Muslims in the Western world who have no attachment to the societies they owe their nominal allegiance to. This gives them an identity that the modern, Western, multicultural state, in its late civilizational decline, does not give them that identity.

How much is today’s nihilistic pop culture to blame for ISIS? During the cultural upheaval of 1966 and ’67, when the American left abandoned LBJ’s Great Society and turned against his efforts at fighting communism in Vietnam, the Beatles tossed away their collarless matching Pierre Cardin suits for kaftans, began following the Maharishi, sang “All You Need is Love,” and millions of middle class teenage kids in America, England and Europe aped their gestures, launching the hippie movement. Today though, if you’re an impressionable young middle class follower of contemporary “gangsta rap” music (a phrase so prevalent, I just noticed that Firefox’s spell checker no longer points it out as a typo), then Sug Knight’s alleged homicide(s) seem like small beer, when you can really play Public Enemy on the world’s stage. Why play “the knockout game,” uploading your violent clips to approving Websites such as “WorldStarHipHop,” when you can upload far worse violence to YouTube? Why bother working your way through one of Marie Harf’s dullsville jobs programs, when you can really get an exciting entry level position?

Besides, as one Daily Beast headline claims, “ISIS: Christians Worse Than Murderers.” There are lots of people on the cultural left who’d agree.

Update: As Steyn told Hewitt, “There’s all kinds of people for whom the evil, the evil of ISIS, is its principle selling point:”

The terror group uploaded a video Thursday of men smashing statues, pulling artifacts from walls and attacking Mosul antiquities with sledgehammers and power tools. To justify their violence, ISIS classified all these representations of man and beast as idols. Some of the irreplaceable works date back to the 7th century B.C.

Why so physical, when there are browser apps today for tossing unwanted cultural and linguistic artifacts down the memory hole?

‘Melanie Griffith, the Normal Mother’

February 27th, 2015 - 12:26 pm

Shot:

All that talk about the Islamic State not being hypocrites reminds me I haven’t ranted about hypocrisy in a while. I think hypocrisy is one of the great misunderstood sins of modern life. Since at least the time of Rousseau, hypocrophobia has plagued Western Civilization. For many people, it seems that it is better to be consistently wrong than to be intermittently right.

Advice columns overflow like a backed-up gas-station toilet with letters from parents fretting over the fact that they feel like hypocrites for telling their kids not to do drugs, since they themselves experimented with drugs when they were kids. The asininity of this has always amazed me. A huge part of being a parent involves applying the lessons you learned from your own life in an effort to make your child’s lot in life a little easier or more fruitful. The notion that I should tell my kid to do more of her homework on the bus ride to school — like I did — or to start going to bars in high school — like I did — or to do any of the other dubious things I did just to avoid my own internal psychological conflict isn’t just objectively absurd but disgustingly selfish. This shouldn’t be a newsflash to any halfway-decent human: Being a parent isn’t about you.

—Jonah Goldberg’s G-File, emailed to subscribers today, which will be posted online tomorrow here.

Chaser:

As it happens, Griffith has apparently not seen her daughter’s performance in the BDSM blockbuster. “I don’t think I can. I think it would be strange,” she told Spencer about watching her daughter’s star-turn as Anastasia Steele. Johnson insists, “I think so. I think that one day you can see it.” But should Griffith? Who would want that?

Ordinarily, I’d side with Johnson’s view, believing a mother should support her children in their professional efforts. In a family of actors, that means being first in line to see a new release. However, in this case, I found myself scratching my head. Why exactly does Johnson want her mother watching as she performs 20 minutes of kinky on-screen sex scenes with someone else’s husband?

Griffith may be a Hollywood veteran, but her response was incredibly human. She sounds like a regular parent from Anywhere, USA. That is admittedly somewhat surprising, given that Griffith is so very Hollywood. She is Tippi Hedren’s daughter, and she was fairly precocious in her own youth; Griffith began dating Dakota’s father, Don Johnson, when she was 14 and “he was a twice-divorced 22-year-old.”

“Melanie Griffith Drops The Hollywood Act When It Comes To Her Daughter,” Melissa Langsam Braunstein, the Federalist today

Leonard Nimoy, RIP

February 27th, 2015 - 11:10 am

With his gaunt saturnine looks, Leonard Nimoy was the unlikeliest of TV and movie superstars. Reading through the roles he played in the first 15 years of his acting career on his page at the IMDB, it’s immediately apparent that it was only through sheer dogged determination that he established a foothold as an actor in Hollywood. Nimoy started his career in the early 1950s with with walk-on parts in grade-z shlock such as Zombies of the Stratosphere, and appearing in TV guest star roles culminating as the heavy in the pilot for Get Smart. But his guest shot in a 1964 episode of an obscure NBC series about a young Marine called The Lieutenant that would send his career — and you know it’s only a matter of time before this pun — into orbit and far beyond:

Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on the Peacock in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

After the series wrapped, Nimoy joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible” as master-of-disguise Paris, leaving after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow,” with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna, and the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland and Jeffrey Goldblum. The actor also made a series of TV films throughout the ’70s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda.”

Also during the ’70s, Nimoy narrated the docuseries “In Search of …,” which investigated unexplained events, paranormal phenomena and urban legends long before these matters become the common fodder of pop culture.

Then the siren call of “Star Trek” beckoned again and Nimoy returned to the role of Mr. Spock for 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The film opened well at the box office, and though not well reviewed, it did spawn enough interest for Paramount to greenlight sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy was in all of them, albeit briefly in “The Search for Spock.”

When it was obvious before its last season began shooting in the summer of 1968 that NBC had no interest in keeping Star Trek on the air, Gene Roddenberry effectively walked away from the series, keeping his executive producer title and paycheck, but using his time to write a screenplay and prepare his escape route. As a result, the last of the show was a campy mess deserving of its network euthanasia — but then something miraculous happened: man landed on the moon. And suddenly Star Trek, which at least until its last season, took its science fiction seriously began to look remarkably prescient. As a result, the show was rewarded with something unprecedented in television: a fan base that grew after a series was cancelled by a TV network, as the Kaiser syndicated television network ran the shows in the afternoon daily throughout the 1970s.

And then George Lucas, himself a fan of the original series, came up with this cool idea for a big screen space opera. Suddenly, the little series that Paramount inherited when they bought Lucille Ball’s Desilu production company in 1968 seemed like it incredible potential for a movie of its own.

And how.

The bedrock of the series was Nimoy, who took the character seriously, inventing many of his famous traits — the neck pinch, the V-for Vulcan hand gesture, and over time, his carefully modulated voice. It’s a remarkable performance, and Nimoy deserved the millions that Star Trek brought him, but it made watching Nimoy in other series a bit difficult. A few years ago, when I went through a jag of binge-watching Mission: Impossible on Netflix, I was struck by how strange it felt watching Nimoy take over Martin Landau’s man of a 1000 faces character. I dubbed a sort of “reverse uncanny valley effect,” from the term robotics designers use to describe that paradox that the more a robot looks human, the creepier it appears. Nimoy was so brilliant at developing a controlled, seemingly non-emotional alien, that called upon to play a campy, over-emoting character on Mission: Impossible, he was near impossible to watch. It didn’t help matters that like Star Trek’s final season, by the time Nimoy appeared on Mission: Impossible, it too was collectively phoning it in, with much of its original writing and production crew having moved on to other series.

Fortunately, by the end of the 1970s, Nimoy was back on the Paramount lot, playing the character that made him famous, and giving us all something to look forward to every few years at the summer box office.

A decade ago when James Doohan died, James Lileks wrote, “a hundred years from now, no one will remember Brad Pitt. But they’ll have a picture of Scotty taped up in the break room off the moon shuttle.” It’s not quite the same methods Spock employed in the second and third Star Trek movies, but Nimoy’s immortality is similarly assured.

To prove it, I won’t end this post with Spock’s legendary catchphrase, but it’s only because we all have it memorized — and we’re all saying it right now.

Update: Since I mentioned Nimoy’s appearance on The Lieutenant, here’s a YouTube clip of him alongside Gary Lockwood and Majel Barrett, the future Mrs. Roddenberry, in his very non-Spock-like role as a Hollywood director planning a film about the Corps:

“What’s wrong with American feminism today, and what can it do to improve?,” asks America: The National Catholic Review during their interview with Camille Paglia, whom they dub “The Catholic Pagan:”

After the great victory won by my insurgent, pro-sex, pro-fashion wing of feminism in the 1990s, American and British feminism has amazingly collapsed backward again into whining, narcissistic victimology. As in the hoary old days of Gloria Steinem and her Stalinist cohorts, we are endlessly subjected to the hackneyed scenario of history as a toxic wasteland of vicious male oppression and gruesome female suffering. College campuses are hysterically portrayed as rape extravaganzas where women are helpless fluffs with no control over their own choices and behavior. I am an equal opportunity feminist: that is, I call for the removal of all barriers to women’s advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women, which I reject as demeaning and infantilizing. My principal demand (as I have been repeating for nearly 25 years) is for colleges to confine themselves to education and to cease their tyrannical surveillance of students’ social lives. If a real crime is committed, it must be reported to the police. College officials and committees have neither the expertise nor the legal right to be conducting investigations into he said/she said campus dating fiascos. Too many of today’s young feminists seem to want hovering, paternalistic authority figures to protect and soothe them, an attitude I regard as servile, reactionary and glaringly bourgeois. The world can never be made totally safe for anyone, male or female: there will always be sociopaths and psychotics impervious to social controls. I call my system “street-smart feminism”:  there is no substitute for wary vigilance and personal responsibility.

Gee, not even Google Chrome apps?

And note this quote from Paglia: “Post-structuralism is a system of literary and social analysis that flared up and vanished in France in the 1960s but that became anachronistically entrenched in British and American academe from the 1970s on.”

Martin Heidegger, the Nazi father of postmodernism could not be reached to comment.

Though he’d certainly approve of the current state of the American campus, where “54 percent of self-identified Jewish students in 55 college across the country experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism during the 2013-2014 school year,” Roger L. Simon writes in his latest post.


Huh — I remember that it wasn’t all that long ago when Christian Websites were pilloried over such things by the Washington Post:

The American Family Association obviously didn’t foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word “gay” with “homosexual” on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group’s automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named “Tyson Homosexual” who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

The problem: Tyson’s real last name is Gay. Therefore, OneNewsNow’s reliable software changed the Associated Press story about Tyson Gay’s amazing Olympic qualifying trial to read this way:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Homosexual said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.”

You might think it’s a joke, until you read the original AP story, which begins this way:

Tyson Gay was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Gay qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Gay said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.”

Read the whole thing, in which the Post had loads of fun in 2008 with Christian Websites inventing the brilliant Olympic athlete “Tyson Homosexual,” without pondering how quickly the left would create their own applets to replace words that they find “problematic” causing “trigger warnings” among their own sensitive souls. (Can we use that phrase? Perhaps “Sensitive chakras” is more appropriate.)

I can’t wait to read a Post article denouncing the Chrome extension using similar language — or is this another case of, as Kathy Shaidle likes to describe the left’s motto, “It’s different when we do it!”

In any case, I’m old enough to remember a time before such applets were available:

Update: Eveleth is also eager to create applets that limit fashion choices as well; recall she was the “science” writer who hit the fainting couch over the shirt worn by the man who landed an unmamanned spacecraft on a comet. (Via the readers of the Insta-man.)

“MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry said during an address at Cornell University this week that she hopes 17-year-old Trayvon Martin ‘whooped the s–t’ out of gunman George Zimmerman during their fatal encounter in 2012,” the Washington Examiner reports:

Harris-Perry’s address, which was captured and uploaded to YouTube by the university’s conservative group, the Cornell Review, continued: “And I hope he whooped the s–t out of George Zimmerman. And it’s not disreputable because he encountered a stranger who was prepared to kill him, and you know how I know? Because he killed him.”

Neither Harris-Perry nor a spokesperson for MSNBC responded to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

As Ace responds, “I think you’ve long known that, as every witness said he did, and Zimmerman’s head showed injuries consistent with having one’s head punched repeatedly into the concrete:”

The seething “Let’s get Justice for Travyon” types usually don’t admit that Martin was pounding Zimmerman, but, and this is key, they usually don’t spend much time denying that salient fact either. They just sort of handwave it away, as if that’s just a trivial detail and not very important to their Big Picture legal analysis.

And on that point I think they’re being honest– they don’t see this as important in their legal analysis. Zimmerman deserved what he was getting for the crime of Disrespecting a Black Man, and he broke the Rules by putting a stop to his chastisement.

Whether he feared for his life or not, so what? Racial Justice demands that he take his Justice, as Trayvon determined it should be meted out.

By the way, MHP:

If Zimmerman just wanted to shoot Martin, he could have done so while still on his feet. It is “Stand Your Ground,” after all, not “Get Taken to the Ground, Then Get Your Head Dribbled on the Cement for Five Minutes, Then Get Out Your Gun.”

If Zimmerman just wanted to plug Martin, he sure was slow on the draw.

Arguably far more than other “news” organizations — and that’s saying something — NBC has had a vendetta against Zimmerman right from the start, from falsely editing his 9/11 call to make Zimmerman appear to be a racist, right up until MHP’s speech on Monday. That’s some operation you’re running there, Comcast.

Last week, a source at MSNBC told the (left-leaning) Daily Beast that the network cancelled its low-rated shows hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid as part of a “move away from left-wing TV.” A decade after moving to the left itself, the Atlantic asks, “So what would it actually mean for MSNBC to make a break with ‘left-wing TV’?”

Publicly, it’s worth noting, MSNBC is distancing itself from the “left-wing” quote, emphasizing that a liberal slant is part of not just the network’s past, but its future. As an MSNBC spokesperson told me in an email, “We have a great brand,” and “we will be staying true to our progressive voice while broadening out the issues we cover through that lens.” Those within the network, though, according to the Daily Beast report, see things differently: “Everybody in the food chain from top to bottom,” its source says, “understands that the Olbermann era is over.”

That’s nice. When is the Jim Crow era over at MSNBC?

God and LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM at Wesleyan University

February 25th, 2015 - 1:54 pm

See if you can spot the angry three letter word in the middle of the above headline. There, that didn’t long, did it?

Slippery slope, anyone?

As Professor Steven Hayward cleverly points out in his “50 Shades of Gay” post at Power Line (great headline, by the way), Wesleyan University is now making sure every sexual fetish, whim, kink, orientation, impulse and desire – plus the kitchen sink – gets its own capital letter in the ever-growing acronym of the formerly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community.

Wesleyan University’s residential life division’s “Open House” at 154 Church Street boasts, according to the university’s website: “a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf**k, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.”

And no, the asterisks weren’t included in the original text, but who says college isn’t educational? And as Jim Treacher writes:

Note the placement of “flexual, asexual, genderf***,” in that order. This creates an acronym that is, to use the parlance of the day, problematic. I find myself triggered by this othering language, and I can only conclude that it’s intended as a microaggression.

Why doesn’t Wesleyan care about the PWDNTBMCIOTFADDR community?

*People Who Don’t Need To Be Micro-Categorized In Order To Find A Damn Dorm Room

Heh. I just abbreviate that down to the G.O.P. community. It’s much easier to spell.

Update: As with much of the gender insanity that can be found on today’s Kafkaesque college campuses, Stacy McCain was way out in front of this story, first linking to it on Saturday. He described Wesleyan as going “Maximum Acronym” — though like double-dog-daring Evel Knievel, I’m not sure if I’d want to goad the crazed university into topping itself.

‘NBC Trapped in Kafkaesque Nightmare!’

February 25th, 2015 - 1:42 pm

That’s what a Kausfiles headline screams today — could you narrow it down a bit, Mickey? Because NBC is currently trapped in all sorts of Kafkaesque nightmares, most of which are of the network’s own making: If NBC drops legendary anchorman Al Sharpton, I hope they have the mother of all disparagement clauses in his contract, because the only reason the network employs Sharpton is as a protection racket to prevent him from devouring their colleagues. (See: Imus, Don.) What to do about Brian Williams, now that Lester Holt is keeping the ratings steady among the network’s elderly viewers? And what to do about far left muckraker David Corn, who’s dying to come on MSNBC — where he’s employed as a commentator — and blast Bill O’Reilly. But does Phil Griffin really want O’Reilly thrashing away at his network for the next two weeks while he’s trying to decide what it will be when it finally grows up? (Or buy time by negotiating a truce with viewer-hating Keith Olbermann.)

But actually, what Kaus is referring to is this:

The Latest Fad — Mindlessness: NBC Nightly News managed to devote almost two minutes of tonight’s opening segment to the standoff over Department of Homeland Security funding — after another, initial two minutes on the terrorist threat to the Mall of America. In that time NBC never says what the DHS funding fight is about, namely Obama’s executive action giving work permits and deportation protection to millions of illegal immigrants. (You can watch the astonishing newscast here.) The word “immigration” isn’t even uttered. Viewers tuning in would have absolutely no idea why the “big fight” — with 200,000 workers facing no paychecks, a possible “security risk,” and the “clock ticking”– is happening. Is it a budget dispute, with Republicans trying to lower federal spending and Democrats trying to raise it? An argument over long TSA lines? Insufficient leg room in coach? A union dispute? Mindless partisan animosity? The NBC story doesn’t even blame Republicans. A Democratic propaganda segment would at least have had a coherent story line.

I can see several possible explanations:

Normally, I consider Mickey to be one of the most astute observers of the national scene — but since when is mindlessness the latest fad at NBC? It seems to be well in place there since at least the Fred Silverman days.

kfc_edible_cup_2-25-15-1

Good news! “KFC Now Has A Coffee Cup You Can Eat,” reports BuzzFeed (who better to break this story?) Bad news — it’s only available in England right now:

This edible coffee cup was invented in a partnership with food scientists at The Robin Collective to coincide with the launch of KFC’s Seattle’s Best Coffee across its UK branches. The cup itself is made of biscuit, which has been wrapped in sugar paper and then lined with a layer of white chocolate, which melts over time, softening the biscuit enough to melt in your mouth.

On top of that delicious blend, a spokesperson for The Robin Collective told the Telegraph that the cups are also infused with a selection of “mood improving aromas,” like ‘coconut sun cream,’ ‘freshly cut grass’ and ‘wild flowers,’ which “evoke the positive memories we associate with warm weather, sunshine and summer holidays.”

Of course it does. The only charitable explanation given the involvement of companies with the names Kentucky Fried Chicken and Seattle’s Best Coffee is that perhaps they’re merely working out the product’s kinks out of town before it debuts in America. I will be charitable and assume that’s the case.

Because America is waiting, as David Byrne and Brian Eno would say.

‘Rahm-a-Lama-Ding-Dong’

February 25th, 2015 - 11:49 am

Rahm Emanuel, “Ex-Obama Aide Forced into Chicago Runoff,” John Fund reports. Couldn’t happen to a nicer party hack:

Illinois, the nation’s fiscal basket case, has been full of political surprises lately. Yesterday, Chicago, the home of the political machine that nurtured Barack Obama’s career, saw Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into an April runoff against Councilman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Emanuel, Obama’s first White House chief of staff, had every advantage in the race: $7 million in TV ads, a personal visit from his former boss, and the backing of a business community that’s been able to make special side deals with “da Mayor.” But Garcia showed the muscle of two powerful forces in the city’s politics: its growing Hispanic population and the Chicago Teachers Union, furious at Emanuel’s closing of 50 public schools. Two years ago, Emanuel retreated after a brief teacher’s strike and signed a new, generous contract with the union hoping to buy peace. That never works, and now the union is out to get him.

At Bloomberg, Dave Weigel explains why his fellow ‘Progressives’ “Celebrate Rahm Emanuel’s Surprise Setback in Chicago:”

Why did progressives–why do progressives–want to humble Emanuel? The answer’s been blaring from magazines like In These Times and Rolling Stone and the Nation for months. In the election-month cover story of In These Times, for example, progressive historian Rick Perlstein explained why the deal Emanuel cut with a company to remake the city’s transit cards never stopped hurting him.

The transit cards can double as debit cards, you see, promoted as a boon for Chicago’s un- and under-banked. But dig the customer fees hidden in the 1,000-page contract the city signed with Cubic: $1.50 every time customers withdraw cash from an ATM, $2.95 every time they add money to their online debit account with a personal credit card, $2 for every call with a service representative and an “account research fee” of $10 an hour for further inquiries, $2 for a paper copy of their account information, and, if you decide you’ve had enough, a $6 “balance refund fee.” [Gee, wait'll they discover ObamaCare -- Ed] This all makes mincemeat of the pro-privatization argument that “the marketplace” is more transparent than a government bureaucracy. The city might have been able to anticipate this before inking the deal had they paid attention to the fact that Money Network, the payment processing company partnering with Cubic, had received the lowest possible grade from the Better Business Bureau, and that another partner, MetaBank, was fined $5.2 million by federal regulators for a scheme to issue debit cards funded by tax refund loans at interest rates of up to 650 percent.

Emanuel was elected in the nadir of the first Obama term. While the White House adapted to Democratic politics, and while economic progressives took back a leading intellectual role in the party, Emanuel governed as a neoliberal. He’s still got plenty of advantages over Garcia, but he’s the first Chicago mayor to be forced into a runoff since the runoff system was created. Progressives wanted not just to humble Emanuel but to make a point about what sort of politics could no longer define the Democratic Party. And they’ve done that.

So Rahm has been transformed into the local government equivalent of Joe Lieberman, whom the Kos Kiddies hung out to dry as a loyalty test in 2006? That was also Hillary’s fate in 2007 — and possibly yet again if Elizabeth Warren is serious about running.

It’s a mindset that’s catching on the other side of the aisle: at Red State today, Leon Wolf has some thoughts “On the Value of Shooting Cowards.”

(Headline via NRO’s Twitter account. Note the photo atop it, which will get loads of play should Emanuel lose his runoff against Garcia.)

Big Dave, come on up here. Stay right here. Here’s Big Dave. He is doing a great job.

They love you, Big Dave. They love you.

He is doing a great job.

Now, in the last day here, Dave only has one thing on his mind. He wakes up with this thought, he goes to sleep with this thought, he eats and lives and breathes and dreams about getting you to the polls tomorrow. That’s all he is thinking about.

More specifically, getting you to the polls to vote for me. That’s what he’s thinking about.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s his job, get you to the polls, vote for Obama. My job is to help him do his job. So I am going to try to be so persuasive in the 20 minutes or so that I speak that by the time this is over, a light will shine down from somewhere.

It will light upon you. You will experience an epiphany. And you will say to yourself, I have to vote for Barack. I have to do it.

And if you make that decision, if that moment happens, then it would be great — even though it’s just one day to go — for you to fill out one of these supporter cards before you leave, because that way we’ll know, you know, who, in fact, is going to be voting. Make sure that you are getting to the right precinct. It will be very heful to Dave in doing his job.

CNN Transcript of Obama during the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, January 7th, 2008.

Related: To be fair, Obama was able to convince one class of particularly gullible followers that they experienced an epiphany and a light upon them.

The judge has sentenced Eddie Ray Routh to life in prison without parole; Routh can appeal the decision, the Blaze reports:

After over two hours of deliberation, a jury in Stephenville, Texas, found Eddie Ray Routh, 27, guilty of capital murder in the killings of legendary Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. The jury, made up of 10 women and two men, rejected the Routh’s insanity defense following the nearly two-week murder trial.

The verdict was unanimous. Routh now faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Katie Pavlich adds that “the trial revealed Routh’s drug use, not mental illness or PTSD, played a part in the murders.” On Friday, the Dallas Morning News reported, “Expert testifies ‘American Sniper’ killer faked paranoia, schizophrenia to avoid jail time”:

The combination of drug and alcohol use with the mood disorder likely caused Routh to seem erratic.

“His feelings were scattered and moved around and that’s more common with a mood disorder” than a severe mental disorder, Arambula said.

On the day of the slayings, Routh was likely suffering from marijuana-induced psychosis, said Randall Price, a forensic psychologist. And despite that psychotic state, Routh still knew that his actions were illegal.

“He did know what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway,” Price said.

Price met with Routh twice at the Erath County Jail. He said he believes Routh was faking symptoms of schizophrenia and often lied about his state of mind in the days leading up to the day he killed Kyle and Littlefield.

Or to put it another way, “Crazy don’t run.”

Eddie Ray Routh,  J. Warren St. John

Former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh, right, enters the court behind defense attorney J. Warren St. John during Routh’s capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Stephenville, Texas. Routh, 27, of Lancaster, is charged with the 2013 deaths of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero,Pool)

 

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Gaia and Man at the UN

February 24th, 2015 - 4:11 pm

Shot:

Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute tells a story about Julian Simon, the late and great economist.He was at some environmental forum, and he said, “How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?” Naturally, every hand shot up. He said, “Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?” Nothing. Again: “Is there any evidence I could give you — anything at all — that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?” Not a stir. Simon then said, “Well, excuse me, I’m not dressed for church.”

I love that story, for what it says about the fixity of these beliefs, immune to evidence, reason, or anything else.

—Jay Nordlinger, National Review Online, 2002, as quoted here in 2011, in a post titled “Episcopal Church Replaces God with Gaia on Good Friday.”

Chaser:

The head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change panel Rajendra Pachauri, 74, has resigned amid charges that he sexually harassed a 29-year-old woman working in his office in Delhi. In his resignation letter to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, Pachauri wrote,

“For me, the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems, is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

I know nothing of the charges against Pachauri, whose tenure has not been without controversy. In 2007 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and other IPCC scientists. In 2010, he withstood criticism after the IPCC had to change its fourth climate assessment’s over-hyped findings about glacial melt in the Himalayas.

“Top climate scientist says global warming is his religion,” Debra Saunders, the San Francisco Chronicle, today.

Much more from Mark Steyn on Pachauri and his allegedly “Wandering Hockey Stick.”