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PARTYING LIKE IT’S 1917: “At least in Brooklyn, and the spiritual Brooklyns of America, calling yourself a socialist sounds sexier than anything else out there…The guests of honour tonight are the creators of Red Yenta, a new DIY dating platform: Marissa Brostoff, 33, a grad student at CUNY, and Mindy Isser, 28, an organiser in Philly. ‘I was complaining about how socialist men don’t date socialist women and it really bothers me,’ Isser says.”

If they need some pickup lines, they can borrow them from Iowahawk goofing on the New York Times’ insane “Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism” story in 2017:

DISPATCHES FROM THE MUSEUM OF MODERN DUNNING-KRUGER EFFECT:

● Shot:

All these years, along with countless kindred souls, I am certain, I had made my way into the galleries of Upper Madison and Lower Soho and the Art Gildo Midway of Fifty-seventh Street, and into the museums, into the Modern, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim, the Bastard Bauhaus, the New Brutalist, and the Fountainhead Baroque, into the lowliest storefront churches and grandest Robber Baronial temples of Modernism. All these years I, like so many others, had stood in front of a thousand, two thousand, God-knows-how-many thousand Pollocks, de Koonings, Newmans, Nolands, Rothkos, Rauschenbergs, Judds, Johnses, Olitskis, Louises, Stills, Franz Klines, Frankenthalers, Kellys, and Frank Stellas, now squinting, now popping the eye sockets open, now drawing back, now moving closer — waiting, waiting, forever waiting for … it… for it to come into focus, namely, the visual reward (for so much effort) which must be there, which everyone (tout le monde) knew to be there— waiting for something to radiate directly from the paintings on these invariably pure white walls, in this room, in this moment, into my own optic chiasma. All these years, in short, I had assumed that in art, if nowhere else, seeing is believing. Well — how very shortsighted! Now, at last, on April 28, 1974, I could see. I had gotten it backward all along. Not “seeing is believing,” you ninny, but “believing is seeing,” for Modern Art has become completely literary: the paintings and other works exist only to illustrate the text.

 —Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word, 1975.

● Chaser:

Do bear these things in mind as you thrill to the video embedded below, in which Ms Tsoli unleashes a fearless, selfless and terribly radical “intervention” at a crossing on Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Said intervention, titled Attempting to Reach Equilibrium in Times of Dystopia, is of course crammed with aesthetic value. A particular highlight occurs around 2:30 when a passing police car stops, resulting in a need to explain that what is happening is actually art.

—David Thompson, “The Dunning-Kruger Diaries, Part Two,” yesterday.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: David Thompson’s blog, where David does a fantastic job of finding and pushing back against all sorts of PC madness, particularly in academia, turns 12 tomorrow.

DAVID THOMPSON ON THE YEAR REHEATED: In which we marvel at the mental contortions of our self-imagined betters.

Peggy Noonan has said that we are patronized by our inferiors. And they certainly were both patronizing and inferior this year.

NARRATOR VOICE: THIS DOESN’T END WELL. Your Failure To Enthuse Is Violence, Apparently.

OKAY, GUYS, SERIOUSLY NOW.  TEH GRAUNIAD IS AS GOOD AT NEWS REPORTING OR ANALYSIS OF ANYTHING (INCLUDING THEIR OWN MOODS) AS THE JOURNOLISTS WORKING THERE ARE AT SPELLING:  Fantasy World.

LIFE AMONG THE RADICALS:

Radical communities select for particular personality types… They attract hurt people, looking for an explanation for the pain they’ve endured… However, radical communities also attract people looking for an excuse to be violent illegalists. And the surplus of vulnerable people attracts sadists and abusers ready to exploit them. The only gate-keeping that goes on in radical communities is that of language and passion—if you can rail against capitalism in woke language, you’re in…

Abusers thrive in radical communities because radical norms are fragile and exploitable. A culture of freewheeling drug and alcohol use creates situations predators are waiting to exploit. A cultural fetishization of violence provides cover for violent and unstable people. The practice of public “call-outs” is used for power-plays far more often than for constructive feedback… Having somebody yell at me that if I didn’t admit to being a white supremacist her friends might beat me up, and that I should pay her for her emotional labour, was too much for my ideology to spin.

As Norman Podhoretz once wrote about his time as a nascent anti-Vietnam War radical,  “Do you realize that every young person in this room is a tragedy to some family or other?”

PEAK GRAUNIAD REACHED: Lower voting age to six to tackle bias against young, says academic.

I’M TEMPTED TO GO BACK ON TWITTER JUST SO I CAN RETWEET THIS. (Via David Thompson).

THE ORANGE MAN WRECKED MY MARRIAGE: Hear The Lamentations Of Unstable Leftist Women.

“FEEL FREE TO CLENCH YOUR BUTTOCKS.” Video: Man tries hang gliding for the first time – it does not go well.

FEMINISM VERSUS SCRABBLE:

Since the World Scrabble Championship began in 1991, all winners have been male. The North American Scrabble Championship has had one female winner (in 1987) since its founding in 1978. All eight finalists in this year’s French World Scrabble Championships were men. Competitive Scrabble constitutes a natural experiment for testing the feminist worldview. According to feminist dogma, males and females are identical in their aptitudes and interests. If men dominate certain data-based, abstract fields like engineering, physics and math, that imbalance must, by definition, be the result of sexism—whether a patriarchal culture that discourages girls from math or implicit bias in the hiring process.

What are the numbers when it comes to Uposcrabblenyk?

ONE FOR THE LADIES: David Thompson brings  “saucy celebrity news, which we don’t often cover. The catch is, it’s from the Guardian…”

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “A student group at a California university is hosting a month-long ‘Body Love’ celebration, which includes events about how ‘menstruation and environmentalism go hand in hand.’ Not, I think, an entirely happy image. But apparently, students will be ‘empowered’ and ‘feel more comfort’ by exploring the ‘intersection’ – because you knew there was going to be an intersection somewhere – of ‘body love and Earth love.’”

Related: Environmentalists: To Save The World, Dump Your Pets — Your dog is responsible for global warming.

Considering that global warming can do anything, Fido’s got heck of a lot to answer for.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Janice Fiamengo on inclusive, decolonized, anti-rational academia:

This is probably now the top hot-button issue at Canadian universities — the move to replace ‘European-based knowledge’ as exclusionary, inadequate and subjective, and to replace it in some cases with “indigenous knowledge,” and even something called “indigenous science”… what some might say is superstition or magical beliefs… The idea that “indigenous knowledge” is not to be questioned, that it has value equal to supposedly ‘European’ science… is an incredibly worrisome and strange idea.

David Thompson rounds up more academic insanity at the above link.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “‘Critical race theory’ is a mess, for example. It’s an explicitly political situation, in which ‘whiteness’ has to be bad and therefore can’t do anything right, and they take these ideas and launder them through the academic process. And these departments exist specifically to launder these ideas, to put them through the academic process and give them the appearance of being rigorous studies, so then activists can go and say, ‘Oh, a study has shown…’”

Hey, those NPCs don’t just program themselves, you know.

GRAUNIAD’S GOTTA GRAUNIAD: “I know everything about what [fitness] does to your personality, and none of it is pretty…Unavoidably, over time, this makes you more rightwing, as you descend into an aerobics-powered moral universe where only the weak need each other.”

As David Thompson writes in response: “So there we are. If you visit a gym, or cycle, or merely take the occasional brisk walk with a dog in tow — or presumably have any kind of goals, however modest, and then achieve them – you’ll be consumed with ‘self-love’ and wicked delusions of ‘self-sufficiency,’ a gateway to the greatest sin of all: not being leftwing.

Oh noes, not that!

WOKE PIETY AND ITS CONTRADICTIONS: Impossible To Satisfy, By Design.

A positional good is a good that people acquire to signal where they stand in a social hierarchy; it is acquired in order to set oneself apart from others. Positional goods therefore have a peculiar property: the utility their consumers derive from them is inversely related to the number of people who can access them… PC-brigadiers behave exactly like owners of a positional good who panic because wider availability of that good threatens their social status.

The PC brigade has been highly successful in creating new social taboos, but their success is their very problem. Moral superiority is a prime example of a positional good, because we cannot all be morally superior to each other. Once you have successfully exorcised a word or an opinion, how do you differentiate yourself from others now? You need new things to be outraged about, new ways of asserting your imagined moral superiority.

And he we go!

Now #MeToo is coming for your thought crimes
The Next Step for #MeToo Is Into the Gray Areas
How close is #MeToo to full riot mode?

The Bookworm Room blog had a post last year titled “The Sexual ‘Reign of Terror:’ How we got here and where we’re going.” The left seems determined to make that headline not just a metaphor.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “If you wanted to harm the prospects of minority students, to diminish their chances in life, while congratulating yourself and being applauded by your peers, what would you do differently?”

Read the whole thing.

BILL GERTZ: Trump Leaning Against Extending Arms Treaty. “Moscow’s new weapons violate New START, INF treaties, undermine arms control.”

Among the options being considered are withdrawing from New START; re-negotiating inspection and verification provisions as part of treaty extension; or adopting a more limited and simple agreement similar to the 2002 Moscow Treaty that called for significant reductions in strategic offensive arms.

“Among issues to consider will be Russia’s decision to manufacture compliance issues regarding U.S. weapons, and the uncertainty of whether or not Russia’s recently announced strategic nuclear weapons will be held accountable under the treaty,” Thompson explained in her prepared testimony.

In response to U.S. questioning of Russian treaty violations, Moscow has responded with disinformation and false counter charges of U.S. noncompliance.

“Russia’s response to each of these situations is to employ its standard playbook of distraction, misinformation, and counter-accusations,” Thompson said.

David Trachtenberg, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, also said extension of New START is uncertain.

“Any decision on extending the treaty will, and should be, based on a realistic assessment of whether the New START treaty remains in our national security interests in light of overall Russian arms control behavior,” Trachtenberg testified.

New START had some good provisions, which by and large are the ones Moscow has stopped abiding.

BEHOLD GUARDIAN WORLD, WHERE ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE:

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: If Albert Einstein applied for a professorship at UCLA today, would he be hired? The answer is not clear.

QUESTION ASKED:

What do you do if you are the New York Times and 20 people show up to the white-supremacist rally that you had been breathlessly billing as further proof of the normalisation of hatred in the Donald Trump era? Expand the definition of “white supremacist” to cover a large portion of the American electorate and its representatives… It turns out that if you are for “immigration restrictions,” “ending affirmative action,” or “instituting trade protections,” you have been influenced by white nationalism and are embracing “policy issues the far right has promoted.”

Wow, I remember Bill Clinton posing as a centrist in 1992, but I had no idea how far to the right he actually was!

When Glenn embedded C-Span’s version of the same clip last year, a reader commented: “Donald Trump should televise this Bill Clinton speech from 1995 and then simply state ‘I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.’”

THE TRAGIC BEGINNINGS OF MODERN FIRE SCIENCE: On this day in 1949, the infamous Mann Gulch Fire claimed the lives of 13 young firefighters.

Lewis & Clark had stopped by Mann Gulch and given it its name on their westward journey in 1805. One hundred and forty-four years later, its location in the wilds of Montana was almost as remote as it had been then.

The fire had been spotted by James O. Harrison, a college student working over the summer as a ranger and fire lookout for the National Forest Service. Harrison had been a smoke jumper—a firefighter who leaps out of airplanes to stop remote wildfires—the previous year, but he had decided the job was too dangerous. Once Harrison alerted the Forest Service, a crew of elite smoke jumpers was dispatched from Missoula to fight the fire.

At first, the fire didn’t seem that impressive. Fifteen smoke jumpers, led by 33-year-old Wagner “Wag” Dodge, parachuted out of a Douglas DC-3 into what had become one of the hottest days of the year. Harrison was already on the scene to help. Despite the wind and heat, with their backs to the Missouri River, their position seemed relatively safe as they moved in to bring the fire under control.

But the fire crowned. Now it was in two places. And suddenly, their escape route toward the river was cut off. To get away from the rapidly advancing flames they would have to run up a steep hill toward a rocky ridge. Fire runs much faster uphill than it does on level ground.

Only four made it to the top. Of those, only two—Walter B. Rumsey (21) and Robert W. Sallee (17)—managed to scramble through a crevice in the rocks to safety. Meanwhile, Wag Dodge had a different idea. Recognizing that he could never make it up the hill in time, he lit the grass around him in an effort to create a safe zone that the main fire would pass over. He yelled to the crew to lie down with him inside the zone. But they didn’t understand him. Or they thought him a fool. They kept running.

Dodge survived (only to die a few years later of cancer). But 13 died—including Robert J. Bennett (22), Eldon E. Diettert (19), James O. Harrison (20), William J. Hellman (24), Philip R. McVey (22), David R. Navon (28), Leonard L. Piper (23), Stanley J. Reba (25), Marvin L. Sherman (21), Joseph B. Sylvia (24), Henry J. Thol, Jr. (19), Newton R. Thompson (23), and Silas R. Thompson (21).  Many were WWII veterans who had survived the war, but not the peace.

There was a public outcry over the tragedy. We need to know a lot more about how fires behave and how to best control them, people argued. We need better training and better equipment. And, of course, they were right. We needed all those things; we’d always needed them.  And soon after Mann Gulch Fire, we started getting them. In that sense, the deaths of these young heroes were not in vain. Our willingness to study fire in a serious manner took a giant leap. So, in time, did our knowledge. While fighting wildfires remains frighteningly dangerous, no doubt lives have been saved as a result of that willingness to learn from tragedy.

(My gentleman friend knows that over the last couple of years I have become a bit obsessed with Cry, Cry, Cry’s song about the fire—entitled Cold Missouri Waters. I blame Powerline’s Scott Johnson for this. Scott posted a video of the song a couple of years ago. I’ve probably played it 150 times since them. The Mann Gulch Fire was also immortalized in Norman Maclean’s Young Men and Fire.)

GET WOKE, GO BROKE: Intersectional Bookstore Comes to a Dead End.

One piece of merchandise carried a label that read “Trigger warning: gendered and patriarchal language.” The offending verbiage? Instructions for using a feminine-hygiene product.

I attempted to make a small purchase but didn’t have any cash. A sign at the counter declared: “Due to patriarchy we require a $5 minimum on all debit/credit card purchases.” I left empty-handed. A few weeks later, the store announced it was closing: “Patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism cannot be reformed and ever serve the people. Abolition is the goal.” The final statement doesn’t mention women.

Last Monday, University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson came to Portland as part of his tour to promote “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” Some 50 protesters stood outside the theater accusing him of “transphobia” and misogyny. Their signs—one of them read “infinite genders”—reminded me of the bookstore. One protester told me she was shocked that so many women came to hear Mr. Peterson speak: “It’s just disgusting!” Sure enough, inside were many women, including women of color.

Mr. Peterson has 12 rules, compared with In Other Words’ seven. Perhaps the bookstore would have survived if it had followed Mr. Peterson’s Rule No. 6: “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”

Heh. Read the whole thing.

(Via David Thompson.)

Elsewhere in the intersection of bookstores and the angry left, “Bookstore owner calls police after customer confronted Steve Bannon:”

A Richmond, Va., bookstore owner said he called the police on Saturday after former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon was confronted in his store.

Nick Cooke, owner of Black Swan Books, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that a woman called Bannon a “piece of trash.”

The woman then left the store after Cooke said he called 911.

“Steve Bannon was simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business. I asked her to leave, and she wouldn’t. And I said, ‘I’m going to call the police if you don’t,’ and I went to call the police and she left,” Cooke said. “And that’s the end of the story.”

Bannon grew up in Richmond, the newspaper noted.

The Richmond Police Department confirmed the call was made but the call was canceled before officers responded.

“We are a bookshop. Bookshops are all about ideas and tolerating different opinions and not about verbally assaulting somebody, which is what was happening,” Cooke said.

Bannon joins a growing list of political figures associated with President Trump who have been confronted in public in recent weeks.

Naturally in response to a bookstore owner trying to create a safe space for all of his customers, Philippe Reines, the Hillary Clinton staffer who stood in for Trump during Hillary’s debate prep, tweeted out the owner’s name, the store’s physical and email address and its phone number, in order to sic the leftwing outrage mob on the store.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Happy Meal.

A quick test. Can you guess the occupation of the person quoted below?

OK, officially, I now hate white people. I am a white people [sic], for God’s sake, but can we keep them — us — out of my neighborhood?

Yes, once again, via Facebook, an educator speaks. Specifically, Rutgers University history professor James Livingston, following a visit to the Harlem Shake burger restaurant, which was, in his words, “overrun with little Caucasian assholes who know their parents will approve of anything they do.” In this case, the children of unsightly and problematic pallor were sliding on the floor and singing loudly. Activities that no brown-skinned child has ever indulged in, and which, naturally, the professor felt obliged to racialize:

Slide around the floor, you little shithead, sing loudly, you moron. Do what you want, nobody here is gonna restrict your right to be white.

Why are Democrat monopoly institutions such cesspits of racism?

ASKING THE BURNING QUESTIONS: “Can pot make you a better parent?…An Oregon mother posted a photo last year of herself breastfeeding her baby while she took a bong hit.”

DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE AND THE LUDDITES: Profs claim scientific objectivity reinforces ‘whiteness:’

Two University of Colorado at Denver professors say that science educators must do more to combat “whiteness” and “White ideology” in the classroom.

According to Cheryl Matias and Paul Le, “our science is out of touch with the experiences of our students of Color and, instead, represent post-colonial discourses of White power and control.”

Curiously, they published their findings on the Internet, a computer network originally developed by white men to survive a power struggle with a Marxist foe. Or as David Thompson adds:

[I]f you demur, or suggest that the laws of electromagnetism don’t dramatically alter depending on the melanin levels of the person doing the maths, then you just don’t care about “students of Colour” being “victims of deculturalization” and being “invalidated.” Indeed, you are “erasing the values and culture of indigenous people,” and are bolstering “post-colonial discourses of White power and control over people of Colour via forcing the internalization of Western science knowledge.” Instead, all people of pallor must denounce themselves as oppressors, embrace “other ways of knowing” and “re-imagine what science education spaces can look like.”

Sadly, however, and despite the assertions above, the aboriginal alternatives to Maxwell’s equations and commutative algebra remain oddly unspecified.

Ayn Rand didn’t write The Return of the Primitive as a how-to guide.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

If you happen to believe in free markets, judicial restraint, traditional values, [etc.]… then you are just someone who believes in free markets, judicial restraint and traditional values. There is no personal exaltation resulting from those beliefs. But to be for “social justice” and “saving the environment” or to be “anti-war” is more than just a set of beliefs about empirical facts. This vision puts you on a higher moral plane as someone concerned and compassionate, someone who is for peace in the world, a defender of the downtrodden… In short, one vision makes you somebody special and the other vision does not. These visions are not symmetrical.[…] Because the vision of the anointed is a vision of themselves as well as a vision of the world, when they are defending that vision they are not simply defending a set of hypotheses about external events, they are in a sense defending their very souls – and the zeal and even ruthlessness with which they defend their vision are not surprising under these circumstances.

—Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, found via David Thompson, who has lots of higher education-related links at his blog today.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER FAR ENOUGH BACK TO WHEN NBC WAS STILL SANE:

Note the tag line below the photo. Funny, how Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd, Brian Williams or Al Sharpton aren’t quitting their gigs at NBC to fight the patriarchy.

Update: Deploy the mighty space phallus!”

PRETTY SURE THAT BABYLON BERLIN WAS NOT MEANT TO BE A HOW-TO GUIDE: “Femme Feral is the queer fight club that takes no prisoners and holds nothing back. Founded by artists Phoebe Patey-Ferguson and Anna Smith in the dark days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, the group allows women and femme-identified people a space to scream, shout, and pummel each other into the ground.”

“We want to destroy the Conservative government. We want to bring down the Patriarchy.” As David Thompson quips in response, “And if this doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will.”

I’M SO, I REMEMBER WHEN DEMOCRATS CLAIMED TO BE THE PRO-MINORITY PARTY: NBC’s Joy Reid rails against “the core threat to our democracy:” “the rural minority.”

On the one hand, it’s good to see Joy making her (near daily) contribution to the Trump 2020 campaign. On the other, as Kurt Schlichter likes to say, “The Left Hates You. Act Accordingly.”

Related: Jordan Peterson on the psychology of leftism: “Hatred turns out to be a very powerful motivation. If you think about the sorts of things that happened in the Soviet Union, all these places that were supposed to be workers’ paradises — if you look at the outcomes and you had to infer whether it was goodness of heart and care for the working man that produced the genocides, or outright bitter resentment and hatred, it’s a lot easier to draw a causal path from the negative emotions to the outcome than from kind-hearted benevolence. You just don’t get gulags out of benevolence.”

IN THE CLOSING OF THE CANADIAN ACADEMIC MIND, Rod Dreher writes:

If you have ten minutes, it would be well spent listening to this secretly recorded meeting between Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, and unnamed faculty and administration officials there. She was being disciplined for airing in a class a video by the controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson, who insists on the traditional pronoun usage “him” and “her,” and has become a pariah in Canadian academia because of it.

* * * * * * * *

Shepherd is accused of “transphobia.” She asks her inquisitors how many complaints were filed against her. They told her that’s confidential. She is incredulous, not believing that they can’t even say how many students complained. They won’t budge.

It’s worth listening to the clip to hear how nicey-nice and bland the inquisitors are. These people are destroying academic freedom and the purpose of a university, and they’re doing so in anaesthetic tones that conceal the act of real violence to the core values of a university.

If this is how things are at Wilfrid Laurier University, why would any student in their right mind want to study there? This is not education; this is dealing with the complexity of the world by castrating one’s mind to free oneself from the temptation to think incorrect thoughts.

David Thompson, in a post titled “The Absurd And The Sinister Aren’t Mutually Exclusive,” describes the encounter as “That feeling when you’re a teaching assistant and in your communications class you play a Jordan Peterson clip about pronouns and freedom of speech, hoping to spur discussion, and you then get reported and hauled in front of faculty and the manager of the university’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Office for a ritual scolding, during which you’re accused of remaining politically neutral, which is deemed both a ‘problem’ and in itself ‘threatening,’ before being accused of ‘gender-based violence.’”

Dreher adds that “The president of Wilfrid Laurier, after listening to the recording of the meeting, has apologized to Lindsay Shepherd. Good — but what if she had not recorded the meeting? As a grad student in ANY university, I would never go into a meeting like this without a recording device.”

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE:

The protesters were particularly antagonized by Foster’s contention that police violence against African-Americans has been statistically exaggerated. When he started explaining the methodological research behind his claim, the audience exploded. “Facts?! Facts?! Don’t tell me about facts!” one person screamed. Foster tried to finish as five or six people shouted at him. “Do facts matter?” Foster asked, and repeated it several times in mounting frustration. “Do facts matter? Do facts—”

The resounding, devastating answer was no, facts do not matter. One of the things that struck me over and over was the protesters’ complete intolerance of complexity. Despite intersectionality’s roots in academic theory, the politics of the intersectional Left are deeply anti-intellectual. It’s not just that many intersectional activists seem to have no capacity for nuance; they fear and hate it, because they hate anything with the potential to complicate their narrative. Things are right or wrong; you’re with us or against us. Human beings, rather than complex agents with independent motivations and intellects, are nothing more than the sum total of their identities. Get on the bus or get under it.

“Despite.”

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “In other academic news, it turns out that if you dare to punish students who use coercive mob tactics to threaten and intimidate non-leftist speakers and those who wish to hear them, then you are creating ‘an unsafe and threatening environment’ for students who want to use threatening and coercive physical tactics. And also you’re racist, which rather goes without saying. Apparently, any hint of consequences for thuggish and censorious behaviour merely affirms ‘white supremacy’ and will ‘suppress and criminalise’ students whose own attempts to suppress veer towards the criminal. This, we’re told, is ‘unfair.’ The thinker of these deep thoughts, Charles H F Davis, a professor of education at the University of Southern California and the director of USC’s Race and Equity Centre, is aghast at the prospect of students being suspended if found to have repeatedly engaged in violence or disorderly conduct with the intention of suppressing debate,” David Thompson writes.

The annual cost of attendance at USC is $69,711. Parents and students, spend your money wisely.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE:

Two Canadian professors have developed an approach they call “Trojan horse pedagogy” to peddle social justice to otherwise unassuming students. Sal Renshaw and Renee Valiquette, both of whom teach at Nipissing University in Ontario, detailed their extensive “ruse” in a recently published book, boasting that their “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Analysis” class is actually a “social justice” course in disguise… “Our goal in this class is to move both hearts and minds, in part by ‘forcing’ an encounter with at least some knowledges that students have already decided they are not interested in,” Renshaw and Valiquette explain, adding that the classes are “rooted in… post-structural feminist theory.”

According to Renshaw and Valiquette, being dishonest about course content, and about the subsequent likelihood of getting a job, is “a pathway to social justice education” and therefore, they insist, “the ruse is justified.” The lecturers in question admit that for many students “social justice” claptrap has a poor reputation and is actively avoided, which prompts the professors to sidestep that reputational challenge by simply lying to students about what it is they’re paying for. The two words you’re looking for are fire and immediately.

And it’s pretty safe to do so, knowing that with minimal acquisition of new skills, vast career opportunities would await them in the DNC-MSM.

NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, THEY WILL SCREAM AT YOU: “‘For many protesters, the specifics of what the opposition says is not the point. ‘It doesn’t matter what the guy’s going to say,’ said Michael Heaney, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the sociology of protest movements. ‘He could talk about the joys of apple-picking. What matters is that the counter-movement is trying to use the energy of the (event) to grow. This is an opportunity for them — and they are likely to seize upon it.’”

In addition to ginning up the protesting faithful and getting new converts, for the left in general, it’s also an issue of control. As Ace of Spades noted on Friday when CNN’s Brooke Baldwin went into Margret Dumont mode to hyperventilate over Clay Travis saying “boob” on a network that every year had Kathy Griffin flashing hers on New Year’s Eve, “ever get the feeling that the actual issue isn’t any particular word, but simply exerting control over you?”, adding, “This is like living in an asylum, where you have to worry that any word you say might provoke an outburst from a lunatic.”

Kurt Schlichter writes, “The Fake Outrage Over Breastgate Shows Why We Must Not Play Liberals’ New Rules Game:”

Part of the strategy behind the new rules is to not actually have any firm rules, to make you so uncertain and timid that you’re unwilling to take any action because anything you do, at any time, can be a violation of a rule that didn’t exist 30 seconds before. If you do talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you’re insulting womyn, and if you don’t talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you are invisibling womyn. Basically, if you don’t have any female body parts, you’re just wrong all of the time. Unless you have fake female body parts and betrayed your country; then you are America’s greatest hero and a martyr to Harvard’s infamous legacy of transphobia. Or something.

Read the whole thing — as Kurt writes, “Since they are establishing new rules, there’s nothing wrong with applying them to our advantage.”

(Headline via Small Dead Animals.)

SURELY A CONTENDER FOR THE MOST WOKE SENTENCE YET UTTERED: “From Kansas, the eclipse goes to Missouri, still mostly bypassing black people.”

“Professor Ristroph is of course an educator, a graduate of Harvard.”

THE LIBERAL CRACKUP: It’s a shame that Mark Lilla’s brilliant article, adopted from his book, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, (scheduled for release this Tuesday) is behind the Wall Street Journal’s subscriber login, because the left-leaning professor of the humanities at Columbia University makes some extremely timely points. Not least of which is this:

There is a mystery at the core of every suicide, and the story of how a once-successful liberal politics of solidarity became a failed liberal politics of “difference” is not a simple one. Perhaps the best place to begin it is with a slogan: The personal is the political.

This phrase was coined by feminists in the 1960s and captured perfectly the mind-set of the New Left at the time. Originally, it was interpreted to mean that everything that seems strictly private—sexuality, the family, the workplace—is in fact political and that there are no spheres of life exempt from the struggle for power. That is what made it so radical, electrifying sympathizers and disturbing everyone else.

But the phrase could also be taken in a more romantic sense: that what we think of as political action is in fact nothing but personal activity, an expression of me and how I define myself. As we would put it today, my political life is a reflection of my identity.

* * * * * * * * *

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.

Which is how you get Brendan Eich shoved out of Firefox, James Damore crucified by Google, and conservative cake bakers and pizzeria owners threatened by the left. And it’s also how you get this pair of incidents at the left’s Netroots Nation convention this weekend. First up, Jazz Shaw of Hot Air has a “Video [of] Democrats shouting down the “wrong sort” of Democrats at NN17,” to which he adds:

One of the incidents this week deserves at least a brief look however, since it speaks volumes about the current state of the Democratic Party and the schism currently taking place there. One of the scheduled speakers at the event was Stacey Evans, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and a candidate in the Democratic primary race for Governor of that state. It’s important to say that Ms. Evans was a scheduled speaker, because she didn’t get the chance to do very much actual speaking.

* * * * * * * * *

Nobody was saying a thing about Evans’ policies, voting record or insufficiently progressive positions. The chants were all about “Support Black Women.” In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, Evans is white and one of her opponents in the primary, Stacey Abrams (who is described in the article as having been “treated like royalty”) is black. That’s the entire difference. In fact, when one of the AJ-C reporters caught up with the protesters to ask about their opposition to Evans, they couldn’t come up with a thing. (Emphasis added)

And that’s just how the man who is the deputy chairman of the Democratic Party likes it. “Keith Ellison demands Democrats defend ‘intersectionality,’” Emily Jashinsky writes at the Washington Examiner:

Ellison, a Democratic congressman from Minnesota, implored progressives gathered at Netroots Nation on Friday to embrace the philosophy of intersectionality. “All of us in this room have got to defend intersectionality as a concept,” he said from the stage, drawing cheers from the crowd.

“That applause ain’t quite loud enough!” Ellison went on, riling up the crowd.

Seated to his left was Kimberlé Crenshaw, the feminist scholar credited with introducing the philosophy of intersectionality in the 1980’s. Crenshaw said she’s been “astonished” by the attacks on her work, which even prompted her to go back and read it herself, wondering if perhaps she said something wrong. From that, Crenshaw explained she came away “with an even greater feeling that the distortion isn’t accidental.”

* * * * * * * * *

To sum up intersectionality in brief, it means that once you’ve accepted that everything is racist, consistency demands that you also accept everything is sexist, everything is transphobic, everything is Islamophobic, and so on and so forth. Think of it as the grand unified theory of victimhood.

Crenshaw herself has explained it “came from the idea that if you’re standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you are likely to get hit by both.”

The doctrine is characteristic of the brand of progressive radicalism from which many centrist Democrats believe the party must disassociate in order to broaden its appeal and recapture working class voters between the coasts. With Ellison perched in power at the DNC, those pleas probably won’t be persuasive.

All of which is a reminder that the goons carrying tiki torches and pretending to be cast members in a revival of Triumph of the Will in Charlottesville aren’t the only group in America utterly obsessed with skin color. But they’re a powerless fringe group compared to the intersection of the Democratic party, academia, the media, and Silicon Valley. As someone whose worldview intersects at the crossroads of moderate to conservative to libertarian politics, I’m happy that such ideas have been an enormous anchor dragging down the left (err, aside from its aforementioned control of one of America’s two major political parties, academia, the media, and the computer industry). But as an American, I find racism repulsive on both sides of the aisle.

And of course, creating an army of angry SJWs has another downside for the left as well: “Creating Monsters Is The Easy Part,” David Thompson writes. “Enabling and excusing all that leftist psychodrama sure is expensive.”

USEFUL IDIOTS, THEN AND NOW — OR, QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED:

Her book does not contain, alas, the remarkable statement that constituted my own first introduction to a useful idiot. It blazes in my memory across the 58 years since it was uttered. It was 1946. The Cold War was just beginning, and I was listening to a radio debate on the subject between Clare Boothe Luce and Rev. Harry F. Ward, former chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union and an ornament of New York’s Union Theological Seminary (professor of Christian ethics there, I believe), who was already famous as an apologist for Communism. Mrs. Luce made a scathing reference to the Soviet Union’s “concentration camps,” to which Dr. Ward promptly responded, “Those are not concentration camps. They are personal rehabilitation camps, and they have done those people a world of good!” It is testimony to the impact that piece of idiocy had on me that I remember every word, and am prepared to bet money that my quotation of it is practically verbatim.

—The late William Rusher’s 2004 review of Mona Charen’s Useful Idiots, headlined, “Will They Ever Learn?”

Flash-forward to today: “Pretty sure they were trying to keep them from jumping:”

THE WOES OF THE FEMINIST SJW: So Empowered, Yet Oppressed By Everything.

JOURNOS RESPOND HARSHLY, PROFANELY TO BRET STEPHENS’ FIRST NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN:

Even an appeal to recognized authority (in Stephens’ questionable opinion) like former Times writer Revkin couldn’t save the columnist — or the Times — from the intense and often profane wrath of journalists, many of whom, if they had the power, would clearly relish the opportunity to cooperate in censoring any and all climate-change skepticism. Some examples (HT Twitchy; profanity cleansed but still recognizable):

Jesse Berney, Rolling Stone: “literally go f*** yourself, new york times. go, eat, dog, d*cks.” (Note: This is from someone at a magazine proven to have published a spectacularly false story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. — Ed.

A still deeply hungover and mescaline-soaked Hunter S. Thompson just rolled over in his grave. You younger readers might not believe this, but there was actually a time when Rolling Stone paid considerable lip service to questioning authority and that ’60s notion of “doing your own thing.” But then, as they say at David Horowitz’s Front Page Website, sooner or later, inside every liberal — or leftwing institution — is a totalitarian screaming to get out.

UPDATE: “If you’re wondering why certain speakers need protection from violence at colleges, just look at reax on Twitter to one NYT column.”

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND WORSE: The Stench Of Liberal Hypocrisy.

The question is, where were these sanctimonious voices when members of their own club were accused of what some might judge to be far more inappropriate behavior than the king of cable was? And why have they previously been content to see others who have been accused of alleged crimes and misdemeanors potentially elevated to positions of great authority, or watched them receive the most prestigious of awards?

Let’s start with Bill Clinton. The former President has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women (one, Juanita Broaddrick has claimed he raped her) yet this apparently posed no problem for liberals last year. They would have been happy for the politico to re-enter the White House as First Gentleman, while his long-suffering wife would have been President.

And what about film director Roman Polanski? He was named Best Director at the Oscars in 2002 despite having fled America for Europe in 1978 after being arrested and charged in the US with engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Harrison Ford accepted the Oscar for Polanski and then presented it to him at the Deauville Film Festival in France five months later in a public ceremony.

Woody Allen has a long and deeply uncomfortable history of allegations against him after his ex-wife, Mia Farrow, claimed he sexually abused their adopted daughter. But, as with Polanski, the liberal establishment was prepared to repeatedly overlook these claims, even giving Allen the Best Screenplay Oscar in 2012 for his film Midnight in Paris.

In 2009, David Letterman was forced to admit he had indulged in extra marital affairs with staff – including those vastly junior to him – who worked on his CBS show. This is not what many would expect of a public figure of some influence, but the liberal media didn’t seem to regard it as a problem.

To this list we shouldn’t forget to add the New York Times, which aggressively pushed its investigation of O’Reilly and on Wednesday exulted in, as its former media editor tweeted, claiming his “scalp”. As Heat Street has previously reported, the Times is facing accusations of racial discrimination and its top dog is dogged by shocking allegations of lying about and covering up the sexual abuse of children.

A civil law suit was launched last year against the paper’s CEO, British former BBC chief Mark Thompson, by two New York Times employees, Ernestine Grant and her colleague Marjorie Walker. They work in its advertising department and have accused their employer of “engaging in deplorable discrimination that has remained largely off the record.”

Papers submitted on their behalf by New York law firm Wigdor LLP explain: “Beginning with the appointment of Defendant Mark Thompson to Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) in 2012, the workplace at the Times has become an environment rife with discrimination based on age, race, and gender.”

Why are lefty institutions such cesspits of misogyny and sexual exploitation?

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “The two main objectives in teaching is…”

(Via David Thompson.)

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “Several faculty members at Pitzer College recently discussed launching an ‘investigation’ of a student paper for accurately reporting a student’s public comments about ‘cultural appropriation.’”

Earlier: Jon Haidt on The Coddling of the American Mind and How We Should Address It (Video).

SHE’S SEETHING WITH EMPOWERMENT: “It was July 2014, Nashville Tennessee. I was walking into a gas station for a bottle of water when the man behind me stepped up to open the door for me. With that act of kindness, something inside me snapped and I flew into a blind rage. I began screaming at him at the top of my lungs.”

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh. Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE:  College Writing Center Declares American Grammar A ‘Racist,’ ‘Unjust Language Structure.’

In-state tuition to the University of Washington, Tacoma is 11k. Out of state tuition is 33k. Parents and students, choose where to spend your money wisely.

NOT QUITE GRASPING THE IRONY: “It’s unacceptable this is happening in a class where I’m supposed to be learning about ancient humans and how they painted caves and used tools.”

VIDEO: CALIFORNIA LEFTISTS SELF-TRIGGER AT SIGHT OF A BUILD THE WALL T-SHIRT. “A display of leftist piety. And one man’s extraordinary patience.”

THIS ISN’T THE 21st CENTURY I WAS PROMISED: “Rachel Dolezal, the white lady who got busted pretending to be a black lady, has somehow managed to get herself invited to be a feature at a rally for natural black hair.”

LOVE AMONG THE SOCIALIST RUINS: “Rejecting standard notions of love… goes hand in hand with rejecting capitalism.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE:

I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test… just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students – I’m talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years – they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They’re 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention… How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that’s what they think of their own country – that America invented slavery? That’s all they know.

Howard Zinn: Mission Accomplished.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test… just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students – I’m talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years – they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They’re 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention… How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that’s what they think of their own country – that America invented slavery? That’s all they know.”

ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT:

Shot: How to find books in authoritarian states: head for dark, dusty corners — Censorship and intimidation can make life hard for academic researchers. You need to know where to look for hidden truths.

—Headline, the London Guardian, April 19, 2016.

Chaser:

  • Arthur Ransome wrote from Russia for The Guardian and other publications. He knew and supported Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks. He was a friend of the butcher Dzerzhinsky.
  • The Guardian supported Stalin, and sacked the brave Malcolm Muggeridge for telling the West about the genocidal Ukrainian Famine (when perhaps 7 million people were deliberately starved to death by Stalin).
  • Today, The Guardian opposes the war on Islamic fascism and calls for appeasement.
  • The Guardian and Left-wing mass murderers: a love story, Sean Thomas, 3 Oct 2013. – Lenin, Milosevic, Mao, the Soviet Union, the KGB. And that’s without getting started on the Islamists.

“The left’s historical support for tyranny and terrorism,” MarkHumphrys.com.

Related: “How To Lose Money In Very Large Quantities:” David Thompson on the Grauniad’s current “business” model.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

PEAK GUARDIAN REACHED:

Sarah Marsh alerts Guardian readers to yet another workplace hazard, i.e., the dangers of cake:

It’s 10.30am on a Monday and already the smell of cakes is wafting towards your desk. The colleague, who usually does a spot of baking over the weekend, has been up all night making cupcakes and an email has just flown around about their latest goodies.

Yes, it’s a tale of horror.

Later in the day another email pings into your inbox, this time it’s an update – there’s still some cake left and also sweets have been purchased.

Sweets? A second email? Why, it’s practically harassment.

And it’s always the same people who bring in the treats (you know the ones I mean).

Those bitches, trying to make the day a little more fun by sharing baked fancies with their workmates.

No doubt, it won’t be easy for the Guardian to top this level of moral indignity, but if any publication can

Update: Link corrected.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: David Thompson writes, “If a survey suggests that the rate of serious sexual assault on the typical American campus is higher than the rate of rape, murder, armed robbery and assault combined in Detroit, the U.S. city with the highest murder rate, and higher than in war-torn areas of the Congo where rape is used as a weapon, and at a time when the rate of rape in general is in marked decline, then there’s probably something wrong with the methodology. And if someone’s definitions of rape and serious sexual assault include inept and unwanted flirtation, intoxicated consensual coupling and post-coital embarrassment, and refers to people who are pretty sure they hadn’t in fact been raped, then there may be something wrong with the person using that definition.”

Related: Caroline Kitchens, Senior Research Associate at the American Enterprise Institute, asks at Prager University, Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?

THE NEW YORK TIMES PRONOUNCES “THE DEATH OF LIBERALISM,” HAS NO CLUE IT WAS ONE OF THE MURDERERS:

Liberalism is dead. Or at least it is on the ropes. Triumphant a quarter-century ago, when liberal democracy appeared to have prevailed definitively over the totalitarian utopias that exacted such a toll in blood, it is now under siege from without and within.

Nationalism and authoritarianism, reinforced by technology, have come together to exercise new forms of control and manipulation over human beings whose susceptibility to greed, prejudice, ignorance, domination, subservience and fear was not, after all, swept away by the fall of the Berlin Wall.

* * * * * * * * * *

In an age of declamation and shouting, of polarization and vilification, of politics-for-sale and the insidious submersion of politics in fact-lite entertainment, the emergence of Trump is as unsurprising as it is menacing….In Russia, and now in countries from Hungary to Poland, and in China, forms of authoritarianism are ascendant and liberalism (or even modest liberalization) are in retreat. In the Middle East, the Islamic State casts its long, digitized shadow. In Western societies beset by growing inequality (neo-liberal economics has also sapped the credentials of liberalism), political discourse, debate on college campuses and ranting on social media all reflect a new impatience with multiple truths, a new intolerance and unwillingness to make the compromises that permit liberal democracy to work.

— “The Death of Liberalism,” Roger Cohen, the New York Times, Thursday.

News industry leaders are forever proclaiming that diversity is an organizational priority. Such pronouncements usually come paired with apologies for having failed on this front in the past, along with vague plans to do better.

New York Times Chief Executive Mark Thompson defied this tradition yesterday in a presentation before a gathering of managers on the business and news sides of the newspaper. He identified three areas toward which diversity efforts must be channeled: recruitment, hiring and promotion. Supervisors who fail to meet upper management’s requirements in recruiting and hiring minority candidates or who fail to seek out minority candidates for promotions face some stern consequences: They’ll be either encouraged to leave or be fired.

“At New York Times, managers receive a warning about diversity,” Erik Wemple, the Washington Post, Friday.

As Glenn quipped in his post earlier this morning regarding the second headline, “You mean they’re thinking about hiring a Republican?”

But then, making diversity of gender and skin color at gunpoint more important than caring about the finished product or hiring the best people for the job isn’t all that new a development at the Times. In a classic Freudian slip, perilously leftwing then-editor Howell Raines famously cited soon-to-be-disgraced fabulist Jayson Blair “before the National Association of Black Journalists in 2001 as the first fruits of a hiring campaign that ‘has made our staff better and, more importantly, more diverse.’ (No need to italicize that ‘more importantly.’),” Christopher Caldwell noted with a deadpan coda in the Weekly Standard in 2003.

And as New York magazine reported in 1992:

Not long ago, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the 41-year old publisher of the New York Times, was greeting people at a party in the Metropolitan Museum when a dignified older man confronted him. He told Sulzberger that he was unhappy about the jazzy, irreverent new “Styles of the Times” Sunday section. “It’s very”—the man—paused—“un-Times-ian.”

“Thank you,” New York Magazine quoted Sulzberger as replying, adding that the Times’ publisher “later told a crowd of people that alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.'”

It’s no coincidence that the punitive worldview of Pinch and Raines took their toll on the paper’s quality. Four decades ago, the Times was once praised by no less than William F. Buckley’s National Review as being “so evenhanded that it must have been deeply dismaying to the liberal opposition…Were the news standards of the Times more broadly emulated the nation would be far better informed and more honorably served.”

Today, as Matthew Continetti accurately noted in 2014, the Gray Lady is staffed by overgrown versions of the high schoolers in the TV series Saved by the Bell. “Someone always has a crazy idea, everyone’s feelings are always hurt, apologies and reconciliations are made and quickly sundered, confrontations are the subject of intense planning and preparation, and authority figures are youth-oriented, well-intentioned, bumbling, and inept.” Continetti’s article is perhaps the best filter through which to read Wemple’s WaPo article on the Times’ future hiring practices, particularly as today’s campus SJWs begin to receive bylines at the paper. (What could go wrong?)

So yes, liberalism is dead, whether your definition of the word is classical liberalism, before the L-Word was stolen by “Progressives” in the 1920s who needed a new description for their ideology after Woodrow Wilson ran roughshod over civil rights, or the postwar midcentury version of liberalism. In both cases, the Times certainly did their share of putting the knife in to kill it, long before Donald Trump ever decided to enter the GOP presidential race.

Related: This is a long post already, but it’s worth noting that regarding Trump, in his latest Sunday column, Ross Douthat, the Gray Lady’s token conservative concludes:

I’ve written before that the Trump campaign is a kind of comic-opera version of a demagogue’s rise, a first-as-farce warning about how our political system could succumb to authoritarianism.

One of its many lessons is that if authoritarianism really comes to America, it won’t come slouching out of the dark heart of Middle America, wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

A flag pin it will have, no doubt. But on the other lapel will be a button that says I Love New York.

Oh to be a fly on the wall if Douthat is ever asked by a Christian cake baker or pizza shop owner, a falsely accused college male, a member of the Little Sisters of the Poor, or even a massively over-regulated California businessman why he thinks authoritarianism hasn’t yet come to America.

AS SHOULD ALL RIGHT-MINDED PEOPLE: On Second Israel visit, Kevin Costner dismisses BDS champion Roger Waters.

Related: David Thompson writes, “[Ben] Shapiro’s talk, video of which is here, was on what happens when ‘diversity’ ideology and leftist censoriousness stifle free speech and intellectual pluralism. An irony that may have escaped the protesting students, who were busy feeling pleased with themselves while threatening violence if the talk didn’t stop and drawing swastikas on the face of a Jewish visitor.”

SCENES FROM AN EDUCATION APOCALYPSE:

Earlier this week, several dozen Emory students barged into the school’s administration building to demand protection from “Trump 2016” slogans that had been written in chalk on campus walkways. Acting out a by-now standardised psychodrama of oppression and vulnerability, the students claimed that seeing Trump’s name on the sidewalk confirmed that they were “unsafe” at Emory. College sophomore Jonathan Peraza led the allegedly traumatised students in a chant: “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” As the Emory protesters entered the administration building, they drew on the Communist Manifesto to express their pitiable plight: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

“And at San Francisco State University, the latest thing, apparently, is identitarian hair policing” — which brings new meaning to an old chestnut:

exjon_racial_healing_12-17-15

QUOTE OF THE DAY “‘A couple of years ago, [socialist Venezuela’s] then-minister of education admitted that the aim of the regime’s policies was ‘not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos’ (a derogatory term to denote opposition members). In other words, the government wanted grateful, dependent voters, not prosperous Venezuelans.’”

Or to put it another way, “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: “Does feminism require vegetarianism? This is something I am asked about often.”

“Bonus question: ‘Is meat consumption a heterosexual thing?'”

 

DISPATCHES FROM THE HIGHER EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “Yes, it turns out that if you dare to question the premise of microaggressions, you will be called names and there will be shoving and punching.”

Punch back twice as hard, as a wise community organizer and Constitutional “scholar” once said.

melissa_click_mao_ivy_wall_11-12-15-2

THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION: She Does All This For Us, You Know.

THE YEAR REHEATED, in which David Thompson marvels at the mental entanglements of our self-imagined betters:

In July, the militant eco-collective Deep Green Resistance told us of their plans to “abolish masculinity,” “abolish whiteness” and bring about “complete economic collapse.” Thereby saving the world from people like thee and me. While the Guardian’s Aisha Mirza bemoaned the “psychic burden” of living among white people, which is worse than being mugged.

The politics of ostentatiously non-conformist hair was explained to us in August, thanks to Annah Anti-Palindrome, a woman who channels her hatred of “everyone around me” into her feminism. The same month also introduced us to the comically neurotic Melissa Fabello, whose interracial dating advice entails regular confessions of “white supremacy,” which “has to be acknowledged – and dealt with – constantly.” Especially before any sex can commence. Oh, and Guardian columnist George Monbiot revealed his hitherto secret passion for scavenging roadkill – and waving dead, twitching squirrels at bewildered children.

September was enlivened by another collection of agonised tweets from our leftist betters, while Guardian contributor Amy Roe indulged in a spot of recreational outrage and shared her harrowing experience as a “sweat-shame” survivor.

The eternally downhearted Michelle Hanson was inconsolable in October, on discovering that the superhero dolls bought by small children are not in fact geared to the ideological preferences of a self-described “single older woman” who writes for the Guardian. Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Inclusive Excellence Centre, we learned that questioning the premises of “microaggressions” is itself now deemed a “microaggression” and therefore impermissible. And thanks to the left-leaning Independent, we learned of the alleged social benefits of paedophilia. The Independent also introduced us to the child-rearing skills of “non-binary” parent Dorian Stripe, who delights in buying dresses and tights for their infant son, and only grudgingly uses the pronoun ‘he’, supposedly because of the “one in one hundred chance my son will be transgender.”

Read the whole thing. And then check out Thomas Sowell, who dubs 2015 “The Year Of The Big Lie,” and bids it “good riddance. We can only hope that people who vote in 2016 will have learned something from 2015’s disasters.”

I wish I could be more optimistic about that prospect — how about you?

HASKELL WEXLER DIES AT 93; TWO-TIME OSCAR-WINNING CINEMATOGRAPHER AND LIFELONG SOCIALIST ACTIVIST:

One of the few cinematographers to have received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (in 1996), Wexler won his first Oscar for his black-and-white photography on “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” director Mike Nichols’ 1966 debut starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

His acceptance speech was among the briefest in Hollywood history: “I hope we can use our art for peace and for love. Thanks.”

He won his second Oscar for “Bound for “Glory,” director Hal Ashby’s 1976 movie starring David Carradine as legendary singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie.

Wexler also received Oscar nominations for best cinematography for the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (shared with Bill Butler), “Matewan” (1987) and “Blaze” (1989).

Among Wexler’s other feature film credits as a cinematographer are “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Coming Home,” “Colors” and “The Babe.”

He also was visual consultant on George Lucas’ 1973 classic “American Graffiti.” And he received an “additional photography” credit on Terrence Malick’s 1978 film “Days of Heaven,” for which cinematographer Nestor Almendros won an Oscar.

Wexler made his feature directorial debut with “Medium Cool,” a low-budget 1969 film that he wrote and for which he served as a producer and as the director of photography.

Described by Wexler as “a wedding between features and cinema verite,” the drama about an emotionally detached TV news cameraman was partly shot in Chicago during the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention.

At one point, as the camera inches closer to a tear-gas cloud and a wall of police officers, a voice off-camera famously can be heard warning, “Look out, Haskell — it’s real!”

It wasn’t — the voice was dubbed in after the shoot to add to the “truthiness,” as a later entertainment industry leftist who blended reality and socialist fantasy would say. But taken on its own level, Medium Cool (heavily influenced by an earlier sixties movie about a cameraman, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up) is a fascinating movie. Antonioni’s  Blow-Up, despite its setting at the height of swinging mod-era London is a hypnotic, uniquely timeless film. Wexler’s Medium Cool is very much of its era; watching it is a time capsule to the ugliness of 1968 and the assault on ossified New Deal Democrats by the radical new left of the 1960s, as I wrote at Ed Driscoll.com back in 2012:

As a result of the Chicago riots that Wexler filmed, the 1972 Democratic convention was a much different affair than Chicago in 1968, as Steve Hayward noted in the first volume of his two-part Age of Reagan series:

The Democrats had chosen Miami as their convention site in 1972 for the same reason the Republicans had chosen it again: The main convention sites were across a causeway from the mainland, which made it easier for police to prevent any large Chicago-style protest or riot from forming. It was unnecessary. In Ben Wattenberg’s memorable phrase, “There won’t be any riots in Miami because the people who rioted in Chicago are on the Platform Committee.” The Leftist writer I.F. Stone agreed: “It was joy to be at the Democratic convention this year. … I felt I had lived to see a miracle. Those who had been in the streets of Chicago were now, only four years and one convention later, in the delegates’ seats in Miami.” Just to make sure, though, Jerry Rubin, one of the leaders of the Chicago riots who was inside the convention hall in 1972, told a reporter: “If George McGovern doesn’t win the nomination, we are going to have Chicago right there on the convention floor.” Wrecking the Democratic Party may have been what many “new politics” activists had in mind all along. Rolling Stone’s Hunter S. Thompson wrote that “the only way to save the Democratic Party is to destroy it.”

Call it fundamental transformation, to coin a phrase.

“LEFTIST POSTURING IS OFTEN ANTITHETICAL TO PRACTICAL SUCCESS AND PRACTICAL HAPPINESS,” David Thompson writes:

To take a vivid and familiar example, imagine if your children, nieces and nephews took to heart the operatic blatherings of Laurie Penny, who tells her readers to “Fuck social mobility… Fuck money. Fuck rising above your class… Fuck marriage, mortgage, monogamy, and every other small, ugly ambition.” These, she says, are things “we should have abandoned.”

Well, okay. But where exactly does that leave a young person, or a person not-so-young? Once you’ve declared “war” on bourgeois values, once you’ve abandoned the conventional foundations of material and emotional reward, where do you go? How will that radicalism serve you later in life, when you’re no longer a stroppy teenager or a twenty-something poseur? Is a mix of contrarianism, hypocrisy, resentment and a colossal sense of entitlement a sound footing for an adult life? After all, those “small, ugly ambitions” are what gave Laurie her own comfortable upbringing and advantages in life, such that she can now flit around the world tweeting about how oppressed she is.

As noted before, it’s one of the classic problems for self-imagined radicals. In denouncing bourgeois habits (usually while enjoying the benefits of such behaviour, at least residually), they have little of practical use to offer their followers. If you do away with marriage, monogamy, responsibility, deferred gratification, personal territory, etc., you’re basically left with a recipe for failure, dependency and unhappiness. Though of course the resentment that follows can be very useful to would-be prophets of the left. If encouraging needless misery, and then exploiting it, is your thing.

After the death of influential New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who did as thorough a job of dynamiting Hollywood’s classic era in favor of the nihilism of the 1970s as anyone, Canadian journalist Robert Fulford quoted a telling response from Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader, whom Kael had championed:

Kael assumed she was safe to defend the choices of mass audiences because the old standards of taste would always be there. They were, after all, built into the culture. But those standards were swiftly eroding. Schrader argued that she and her admirers won the battle but lost the war. Acceptable taste became mass-audience taste, box-office receipts the ultimate measure of a film’s worth, sometimes the only measure. Traditional, well-written movies without violence or special effects were pushed to the margins. “It was fun watching the applecart being upset,” Schrader said, “but now where do we go for apples?”

The quote sums up much of the “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”-style response of the left to the aftermath of their own nihilism and concurrent cultural vandalism. Where indeed?

THAT SLY COME-HITHER STARE: “See how politics and witchcraft intersect. You knew they would.”

(So, second look at Christine O’Donnell?)

THE FINAL OUTRAGE: “The hearts are the final straw: it’s time to nationalise Twitter,” demands London Guardian columnist.

Doesn’t our Nobel Peace Prize-winning administration have enough wars on its hands these days without planning an invasion of Twitter’s office building as well?

HEED YE, O HEED YE, THE TWEETED AGONIES OF THE LEFT.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE:

And don’t forget the self-described “bacon-eating vegan” who was left shocked and tearful upon discovering that her degrees in “social justice studies” and “gender studies” have zero value in the job market. “My degrees mean NOTHING,” tweeted she. “I don’t even know how to process the reality that is my life now.”

Sorry, they took your money and left you with nothing. It happens.

THE STUPID IT BURNS: And this woman is a teacher. It burns but doesn’t surprise, not since I heard a colleague of mine, on a panel talk about the clash of Hitler and Stalin as the clash between capitalism and socialism… I think the distorted teaching has gone on a long time.

OBAMA BIOGRAPHER: ‘THE WORLD SEEMS TO DISAPPOINT HIM:’

“The profile [of President Obama] that I published in the New Yorker was somebody that eerily, eerily seemed to be claiming himself–it was a sense of not giving up, but of deep frustration–that was the profile that I published in the New Yorker. Somebody frustrated and disappointed,” said [David] Remnick, who has proven to be deeply sympathetic to this president.

“And that’s what’s frustrating to me sometimes about Obama is that the world seems to disappoint him,” he continued to laughter from others on the TV set. “Republicans disappoint him, Bashar al-Assad disappoints him, Putin as well. And the fighting spirit sometimes is lacking in the performative aspects of the presidency.”

“Obama’s sad little minions are now touting his sociopathy as a benefit. It’s our fault that Barry is so very uncomfortable with reality. We’re to blame for his inability to see the world as it is, not as he’d like it to be,” Jim Treacher writes in response. “Nothing is ever his fault. How could it be, you racist hillbilly teabaggers?”

Heh. Actually though, Obama’s minions were touting his sociopathy as a benefit as soon as it became too obvious to ignore. In 2009, the media – who view the world through print, the camera lens, and leftwing groupthink — excused away Obama’s myriad flaws and massive ego combined with a staggering naivety about the world by dubbing him “President Spock.” This helped, at least temporarily, to explain away his lifetime spent trapped in the academic-political bubble, rather than the real world of business or even actual executive accomplishments in political office being being dubbed leader of the free world. But sooner or later, President Spock had to attempt to govern, and Remnick’s pathetic summation today — too much apparently for even MSNBC — is merely the latest apology by the media for their original lack of vetting.

Related: It’s a World of Wonder

LEFTY TWEETERS’ first-world agonies.

HE CHOSE TO BE SEDUCED: David Thompson on historian Eric Hobsbawm’s lifetime love affair with Communism.

 

THE NEW LEFT FASCISTS: At PJM, Robert Spencer writes:

This contempt for the freedom of speech is rapidly becoming commonplace on the Left. Washington Square News is the student newspaper of New York University, but it is editorially and financially independent from the university, and has a circulation of about 60,000 in lower Manhattan — one of the nation’s foremost epicenters of the far Left. An indication of how quickly the restriction of the freedom of speech has become a fashionable opinion among the Leftist intelligentsia at universities and elsewhere came last Wednesday, when the News ran a piece calling for restrictions on the First Amendment.

“It is difficult now to imagine a modern university intellectual saying something as simple and unequivocal as ‘I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it,’’ Theodore Dalrymple writes. He would be more likely to think, if not actually to say out loud or in public, ‘I disagree with what you say and therefore rationalise to the death my right to suppress it.’”

Of course, in that regard, it’s not like they’re that much different than the old left fascists.

RELATED: John Hinderaker of Power Line wonders what Obama’s optics and creepy cult of personality says about his policies and the worldview of his followers.

DAVID SWINDLE: When Boomer Culture Finishes Its Suicide, What Will Rise Next? “Cool, as it has been willed into existence in the post-World War II era, is an artistic expression of the self-destructive, suicidal temperament of a bipolar mind. . . . Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Cobain, Thompson, and Hendrix didn’t build anything. We writers and artists are an over-glorified, over-praised lot. We cast our little literary spells, throw up our paint, and dance across the stage. But in the scheme of the global village we’re only the tribe’s witch doctor.”

UPDATE: Rob “N.Z. Bear” Neppell comments:

My instant reaction: Steve Jobs was cool. Robert Heinlein and Issac Asimov were cool. Rush — a band of three guys who have families, kids, don’t (and never) got into drugs or being rock stars but just love their craft of making music — are cool. Mark Zuckerberg? Cool. My new friend +Mack Reed — cool. Not because he dresses way cooler than I, but because he builds cool stuff: http://www.xylovan.com.

Those that create are cool; those that pose are not. Creation may mean art, but today it can also mean technology; whether it is the raw science of discovery or the magic (in the most Clarke-ian sense of the word) of a Steve Jobs envisioning how to make silicon and software into tools that change the way we live in ways that we enjoy.

Happily, I see attitudes moving in that direction.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A musician-reader emails:

Normally I agree with most of the articles you link to, but I have to take exception with this one. Sorry, but this piece is a mess.

For one thing, the self-destructive artist archetype is as old as mankind. It is not an invention of the baby boomers. Before Kerouac there was Hemingway, before that Poe, before that Shelly, and so on. They were all drunks or drug addicts and all went to an early grave. They were also all lauded and idolized for their work and romanticized because of their faults. This has been a part of human cultures from the dawn of time. Don’t get me wrong: I blame the boomers for most of what I don’t like about our culture these days. But they aren’t more guilty of romanticizing self-destruction than any other generation is.

And I doubt that anybody actually thinks it’s all that cool that Jimi Hendrix died accidentally. Every single Hendrix fan I’ve ever met, including myself, wishes he were still around making music.

Entrepreneurs and inventors have always been with us and have never been “cool” culturally the way that artists have, and they never will be, because the arts are romantic while business is generally not. I would pull apart more things in the article which I found silly, but frankly the thing is so poorly written I don’t think I could get through it again.

And in response to NZ Bear: if our culture starts thinking Rush is cool, but Hendrix isn’t, then we really are in trouble. . . . To put it another way: either the art is good or it isn’t. Whether the artist is a drunk or not is irrelevant to the quality of the work. Hendrix is cool because he made great art. Rush is not cool because they did not make great art (this is subjective opinion, I know). To say that we should praise the work of non-self-destructive artists over self-destructive ones is a politicization of art – the same thing we always criticize the Left for.

One MORE thought (haha – I’m not fishing for re-posts, I swear – I’m just thinking out loud to you. This is a subject that naturally interests me). Lots of normal people are drug addicts and have self-destructive lifestyles. We don’t romanticize them and we don’t glorify them (rightfully so). But we do glorify artists with self-destructive lives in part because it is a miracle (and a mystery) that they were able to produce anything of worth at all, considering the personal shortcomings they had to overcome to do it. Anybody can be a drunk, but only one drunk could write A Farewell to Arms.

Ha. Love that last point.

MITT ROMNEY: The Last Man Standing? “The Republican Party has a history of nominating the fellow whose turn it is, and the reforms instituted in 2010 are apt to reinforce this propensity. They reward the candidate who finds it easiest to raise money and who is the best organized. Generally, that means the fellow who lost last time. . . . Enter Mitt Romney. Last time, he was the initial front-runner – until Mike Huckabee beat him in Iowa and exploited the tensions between evangelical Christians and Mormons in such a way as to damage his candidacy. Governor Romney knows how to run a national campaign, he has the remnants of his old organization, and he can easily raise money. Moreover, he has an advantage not unlike the one possessed by Michael Dukakis in 1988.” Okay, that part is just mean, but there’s also this: “The reason why I oppose Mitt Romney is simple, He was born to destroy everything that we have accomplished since the Tea-Party Movement emerged in the Spring of 2009. Romney is the very model of a managerial progressive. He has one great virtue. He knows how to run things; he knows how to organize things. He would make a good Secretary of Commerce. He has no understanding of the principles that underpin our government.”

I’m not crazy about Romney. The Insta-Wife kind of likes him, but the Smith women have a well-known weakness for Romney men — at least, her mother, growing up in Salt Lake City, had a crush on one of the Romney boys in high school. But if he’s the nominee, I think a lot of Tea Party folks will be less motivated.

I’m thinking that the response might be for Tea Party folks to focus more on House and Senate races. Even a squishy Republican President will be less squishy if the House and Senate are Tea Party friendly. And if the GOP loses the presidential election in 2012, a more Tea Party friendly Congress would limit Obama’s options. What do you think?

Related: Bill Quick: “The Palin/Cain ticket’s chances keep looking better and better.”

UPDATE: Little Miss Attila writes:

Romney is evil; we need T-Paw!

I’m going all in, especially on the Polish angle.

And reader Dave Martin writes:

If a shifty, professional politician is nominated, it will not only focus indy’s like myself on House/Senate races but also on backing a third party candidate. Prior to the 2008 election, I had never given money to any politician. Since the begining of that race, I have given to Thompson, Hoffman, Rubio, Brown and last week, Cain. If Romney or Newt get the Republican nomination, I will not play ball.

It is not a threat, it is a promise. If independents are needed to beat Obama, then give us a straight shooter for a GOP nominee and Obama will lose. Am anticipating the line “a third party vote is not a vote against Romney, it is a vote for Obama” and would like someone to frame it the other way- nominating a professional politician for the presidential race will ensure Obama gets a second term- I trust that sentiment will be understood after the McCain fail and further hope that the Tea Party movement provides all the proof any RNC types may need to support a reformer. I am probably wrong but this time I have hope for a change.

Well, the third-party threat is a credible one, this time. But, of course, if people back the right guy in the primaries, it won’t come to that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, by hitting Limbaugh upon launch (“The American spirit is being crushed and discouraged by this president and the direction he’s taking this country.”), Pawlenty’s obviously taking a shot at the stop-Mitt slot. I’ve had issues with Pawlenty before, but going straight to Limbaugh suggests he’s ready to talk to the base.

MORE: The Utah Tea Party’s David Kirkham writes:

“Even a squishy Republican President will be less squishy if the House and Senate are Tea Party friendly.”

The last thing we need is squishy.

We need to draw a line in the sand between the hogs and the trough.

We need someone to stand up for everyone’s freedom, not someone who blows with the global warming wind (Pawlenty), or defends Romney care (Romney).

I emailed back to ask who he likes.

MORE STILL: He responds: “Sadly…no one. None of the above.” Well, back to the House and Senate races, I guess. . . . Or maybe Bill Kristol’s right that the next president isn’t running yet.

Also, Herman Cain says the GOP gives him no respect.

AND EVEN MORE: Reader Daniel Tenney writes:

While I am enjoying the lively debate you’ve started, I feel like I have to say a word or two in defense of Romney. I am a stalwart Tea Party supporter here in Arizona, and all of the flak that Romney gets from Tea Party types frankly troubles me. I thought the one, single overriding issue in the minds of Tea Partiers was fiscal restraint–a candidate could have any other kind of record, but if he or she promised fiscal sanity, Tea Party backing was almost a guarantee (see Brown, Scott). Isn’t his managerial, CEO-type “turnaround” leadership Romney’s biggest selling point? You can nitpick Romney’s record on social issues (which I know aren’t important to you, Glenn), disagree with him on foreign policy (where he seems just fine to me) or take RomneyCare to be heresy. But his fiscal record is more or less impeccable. He took a liberal state, with a hard-left legislature and a massive defecit, and somehow balanced the books without sending taxes through the roof. If fiscal restraint is the Tea Party’s number one issue, how is this guy not the Tea Party favorite?

Well, keep the debate going.

And Professor Stephen Clark writes: “Rove and Krauthammer amuse me with their response to Herman Cain. Since when has it become self-evident that a man with the professional accomplishments of Herman Cain is unfit to hold the office of President for not having spent the better part of his life as an elected politician and has, unforgivably, remained unknown to the likes of Rove and Krauthammer? Paging Professor Codevilla.”

NEW DEFINITIONS of violence and civilization.Violence. A word Ms Gopal uses no fewer than nine times. Fiscal responsibility, albeit belated, is violence, see? Reducing the national debt is violence. Extending credit for tuition fees is violence. Attempting to contain the growth of the state – enlarged by around 30% under New Labour – that’s violence too. Audacious, isn’t it? Ms Gopal, who ‘teaches in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge,’ has casually redefined violence to include practically anything to which she takes political exception.” Well, if that’s the definition, put me down as pro-violence. A lot of other people may feel the same way, but beware of definitional creep, which is already showing up in the comments. . . .

UPDATE: I like this from the comments:

Georg’s Law: As any Liberal drifts closer to idiocy, their language drifts closer to a Monty Python skit.

DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system. ARTHUR: Shut up!

Heh. Though Ms. Gopal seems more a fascist apologist than a traditional liberal. Plus, on a more serious note:

There is a very dangerous subtext to defining budget cuts as “violence.”

In almost all moral systems, it is permissible to use violence in response to violence. Therefore, if you define non-violent action as violence, then you create a moral justification for using violence in response to non-violent actions. By equating non-violent budgeting disagreements with overt acts of violence, [Gopal] is creating a rationale for killing people just because they disagree with her on minor political issues.

This is the primary rationale used by violently oppressive and mass murdering regimes. They justify police states and mass killings by equating non-violent opposition or even failure to overtly and publicly disagree with a physical attack on the whole of society.

Of course, her belief that disagreeing with her is a transgression deserving of a violent response, is really just a statement of her own narcissism and hubris. She thinks herself so fantastically intelligent, moral and infallible that her word alone defines the greater good to such an extent that frustrating her will is a crime punishable by death.

She should hope that such an attitude does not spread too far.

A LOOK AT “Egalitarian Superiority.”

HUMANITIES SCHOLARSHIP: Going with the flow.

TALKING ABOUT RACISM and debasing the currency. One way or another, debasing the currency is what it’s all about, apparently.

NOT IN THE LEAST BIT SEXY, but probably NSFW: Chiselled: The Cosmetic Surgery Aesthetic.

GO BAREFOOT FOR GAIA!

ENSURING SOCIAL PROGRESS by refusing to reproduce. Insert your own sarcastic comment here. (Via David Thompson). More from Cassy Fiano.

HEROISM, hamstrung. It’s almost as if people have been paralyzed.

THOUGHTS ON CLASSROOM ADVOCACY, rebellion, and indoctrination.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST: Saddam paid for lawmakers’ Iraq trip:

Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a member of a Michigan nonprofit group, of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.

At the time, the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq.

The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. There was no indication the three lawmakers knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.

I wonder where else Saddam’s money wound up? Plus, what George Stephanopoulos said.

UPDATE: Saddam’s Three Stooges. Which one’s Moe?

“JIM RUTENBERG, MARILYN W. THOMPSON, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and STEPHEN LABATON all show the kind of journalistic chops that made Us such a must-read in doctor’s offices and lavatories around the world.” Says Captain Ed.

LIMBAUGH ENDORSES FRED THOMPSON: Well, David Limbaugh, anyway.

DAVID FREDDOSO was at the Republican caucuses in Iowa and reports:

As the results shake out, nothing is settled on the Republican side, except that Romney is the only Republican loser of the night. It’s hard to see how he comes back from this.

Huckabee wins, of course — evidently, he found the holy grail of the caucuses, expanding the pool. Thompson did much better than expected, as did McCain. Rudy Giuliani watches the race stay unresolved long enough that his late strategy could work. And even Ron Paul made double digits.

But Romney is in big trouble now.

Not irretrievable, but yeah.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, John Edwards is the big loser. Not so much from the vote, but from the absolutely awful speech he’s giving right now. I think he knows it’s awful, too, as he’s blinking about twice per second. The crowd response is unenthusiastic, too.

UPDATE: Hillary looks to come in third, but her speech is much better, and the crowd was at least acting enthusiastic. She’s standing next to Bill, and so far hasn’t made the obvious point about losing Iowa and still becoming President.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Video here.

MORE: Matt Welch on Edwards: “It strikes me as a little-remarked phenomenon in this election that, for the first time since maybe 1988, the Democrats are running a serious candidate with an essentially Naderite worldview on the evils of Corporate Greed. . . . With the one-day Hucka-BOO-yah on the GOP side, the big winner in Iowa tonight seems to be illiberal economic populism.”

LIVE-BLOGGING THE REPUBLICAN YOUTUBE DEBATE at Ann Althouse’s place.

And more from David Weigel.

UPDATE: Much more at RedState. And rare praise for McCain at The Corner.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Live-videoblogging at Team Thompson.

MORE: Liveblogging at the Bitch Girls, where the gun questions went over well.

STILL MORE: Dan Riehl thinks Huckabee is now in the top tier.

Say, didn’t the Huckabee surge start shortly after he did this interview? Yeah, that’s it. . . .

And here’s McCain video.

MORE STILL: D’oh! Stephen Green has been “drunkblogging.” How did I miss that?

STILL MORE: McCain gets off another one: “If we’d done what the Democrats wanted to do six months ago, Al Queda would be telling the world, ‘we beat America.'”

And SayUncle emails:

Line of the night from Fred Thompson on guns: I own a couple but I’m not gonna tell you what they are or where they are.

That’s an indication Fred knows guns.

It was better than Romney’s “I didn’t inhale” answer, too.

EVEN MORE: SayUncle follows up: “I was impressed that Giuliani really did his homework on Parker/Heller. He still seems to think there’s some urban exception to the Second Amendment. He didn’t convince me but he knew his stuff.”

And I love the Mars question.

FINALLY: Hillary manages to plant a question! Shockingly, it slipped past CNN’s google abilities.

And lots more observations from Bob Krumm.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT TERM? Read these comments from Prof. Mike O’Shea. They’re from last summer, but they’re totally on point.

And there are multiple posts at The Volokh Conspiracy that are worth your time.

UPDATE: Rudy Giuliani weighs in: “I strongly believe that Judge Silberman’s decision deserves to be upheld by the Supreme Court. The Parker decision is an excellent example of a judge looking to find the meaning of the words in the Constitution, not what he would like them to mean.” This should help him with the gun-rights folks.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Fred Thompson comments: “The Second Amendment does more than guarantee to all Americans an unalienable right to defend one’s self. William Blackstone, the 18th century English legal commentator whose works were well-read and relied on by the Framers of our Constitution, observed that the right to keep and bear firearms arises from ‘the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.’ This view, reflected in the Second Amendment, promotes both self-defense and liberty.”

MORE: David Hardy has thoughts on the question presented.

A READER QUESTION ON KITCHEN MIXERS earlier today generated a flood of email — more than on anything else today, quite possibly more than on everything else today. I should give up war and politics and just blog on cars, cookware, and cameras . . .

Well, maybe not, but there seems to be a lot of reader interest. Some replies follow.

Many sent variations on this email from Robin Burk: “It’s likely that Mr. Lamontagne is not using his KitchenAid mixer correctly when making bread dough. I’ve used one for mixtures like bread dough, including heavy multigrain recipes, without problems for many years.” Others saw it differently, saying that Kitchenaid’s quality isn’t what it used to be. That would explain all the emails I got like Burk’s. Reader Karl Bock writes:

It really comes down to this: They don’t build ’em like they used to. The weakness in recent model Kitchen Aids is in the gearbox, which for some ungodly reason, is now made with a plastic casing. They warp, crack and break, bringing everything to a grinding halt.

The irony is, that Kitchen Aid makes the best stand mixer ever. Your reader just needs to find an old one. Look on eBay for a 20 plus year old mixer; preferably older. Don’t worry so much about condition and looks. You just want the basic system in hand. Chances are, that’s all you’ll need; it’ll probably work just fine. However, if you want it to REALLY hum, send it off to these folks: http://atomic-era-machine.com/

For around $60.00 they’ll completely refurbish the head unit on an old KA/Hobart.

On alternatives, some recommended the professional Hobart N50, but you’ll pay a lot for that. Others liked the Electrolux Mixer Magic.

Others say go with Cuisinart for more power: “My wife bakes about six loaves of whole wheat bread per week. She has “used up” three Kitchen Aid mixers in the last five years. She bought a Cuisinart 1000 watt mixer about three months ago and so far it seems to do well without a whole lot of stress and strain on the motor or the gear train. ” More power is always better, right?

Meanwhile, reader Andrea Martin writes: “I researched mixers this summer. Bread makers love the Bosch Universal. There are many bread forums & web sites where this machine is praised. A Google search will easily find the discussions.”

Quite a few people swore by the Viking stand mixer, with reader David Bower writing, “My wife does quite a bit of baking and is very pleased with her Viking Professional Mixer. We have had the Viking for four years now and it has held up much better than the Kitchen Aid models, two of which died under the strain.”

Others wonder why he needs a mixer at all. Reader Dick Thompson writes: “I was wondering about Mr Lamontagne. If he only makes 1+ loaves of bread a week, why is he using a mixer in the first place. By the time you get it out, set up, get the mixer going, then clean it all up, you could have the bread half way through its rising cycles.” Likewise, reader Laura Blanchard writes, “For your poster’s frequency of bread making, the appropriate technology is a big bowl, a wooden spoon, and his two hands.” Yeah, that’s how the Insta-Daughter does it. But then what gadgets are there to talk about?

And, of course, if you’re not interested in bread, you can always get obsessive about pizza dough.

IT’S OFFICIAL: Fred Thompson say he plans to run.

UPDATE: David Boaz warns libertarians against Giuliani.

KERRY THE “MOST LIBERAL SENATOR?” Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler thinks that the press is giving Republicans a free ride on this issue. He’s probably right about that — though he’d be more persuasive if he’d provide a list of senators that he thinks are to the left of Kerry.

UPDATE: A different take on the just how liberal is John Kerry question, from Stephen Bainbridge, who compares Kerry’s record with Paul Wellstone’s. “So if Kerry and Wellstone were so close in score, did that make Kerry a ‘Wellstone liberal’ or Wellstone a ‘Kerry liberal’? Either way, they were both pretty far out of the mainstream.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Kastellec rises to the challenge, sending this:

I’m taking up your challenge to see how many senators are more liberal than Kerry. The following are NOMINATE ratings compiled by Professor Keith Poole (available at Link, along with a description of how they are calculated). While the method use to calculate them is complicated, they are basically measures of liberalism-conservatism based on a Congressman’s entire career, not just on one Congress as the flawed National Journal ratings are. Because they incorporate all nonunaminous vote and are not biased by absention, NOMINATE scores are considered far superior to interest group ratings.

The scores range from -1 (most liberal) to 1 (most liberal). Below are ratings for all the senators of the 107th Congress (sorry for the poor formating), ranking from most liberal to most conservative. You can see that 15 Democrats are to the left of Kerry, which means that while he is by no means a conservative Democrat, he is not on the fringe of the party, and is clearly not the most liberal senator. Edwards, meannwhile, is well toward the moderate wing of the party, belying claims of his liberal extremism.

Click “more” for, er, more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oliver Willis — earning his pay from David Brock — sends this link, and this one, too. Gosh, you’d think that being “liberal” was bad or something!

And I still think Oliver belongs on TV.

Continue reading ‘KERRY THE “MOST LIBERAL SENATOR?” Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler thinks that the press is giving R…’ »

AARON BROWN NEEDS TO READ THE BLOGS:

CNN’s NewsNight with Aaron Brown led Wednesday night with attacks on the administration’s credibility, but Brown stretched his own credibility by picking up on a rumor, “a story that’s been circulating on the Web today that there was at some point a conversation between the President and a CIA consultant where the consultant directly told the President that this African uranium deal was bogus.” Brown’s raising of such an uncorroborated story befuddled CNN reporter David Ensor, who speaking slowly as he fumbled for words, told Brown: “I have no way to confirm that story and it is somewhat suspect I would say…”

I noted that “in a cursory check of a bunch of Web sites and news sources online, I could not find a reference to any such allegation. But then I’m not on the left-wing mailing lists which CNN must peruse.”

Scott Hogenson, Executive Editor of the MRC’s CNSNews.com site, is bit more adept than me at finding left-wing conspiracies on the Web and identified the source Brown was quoting as CapitolHillBlue.com. But they, it turns out, retracted their one-source story at about 6pm EDT, four hours before Brown went on the air. CapitolHillBlue.com Publisher Doug Thompson discovered that his source, one Terrance Wilkinson, who identified himself as a former CIA operative, was a fraud.

The story was here last night, before Brown’s broadcast, too. On the other hand, if you review the video, it seems pretty clear that there’s no support for the charge beyond something on an unspecified “website.” But just airing the charge caused it to reach millions (well, thousands) who wouldn’t have heard it otherwise. Will Brown say anything about it tonight?

DAVID CARR IS LAUGHING IN BILL THOMPSON’S FACE. Bwahahaha!

BAGHDAD DEMOCRATS: More on Bonior and McDermott:

IT’S A RARE POLITICAL MOMENT when Terry McAuliffe says no comment. Yet McAuliffe, the garrulous chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said just that last Wednesday at the Brookings Institution after a speech by Al Gore. Asked about the trip to Baghdad taken by three of his fellow partisans–Representatives David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson–McAuliffe was nonplussed.

“Have we issued anything on that?” he asked DNC spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri, who shook her head.

“I don’t think we have,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.

“We handle the politics, and leave those comments to elected officials,” Palmieri explained. “But nice try.”

Problem is, the elected officials aren’t saying much either. Bonior was until recently the second-ranking Democrat in the House, and yet it’s nearly impossible to get Democrats to say anything about his and the others’ trip to Baghdad.

Yeah, and as I’ve said that silence will make it easy — and not entirely unfair — for Republicans to tar the entire Democratic Party apparatus as disloyal. Especially when you read the accounts of how their trip has been used in Iraqi propaganda.