Friday, June 29, 2007

The Finest Jurist In America 


That escapee from Grant Woods' "American Gothic" Harry Reid calls this guy an "embarrassment". Really?

Justice Thomas, concurring.

"The Court today decides that a public school may prohibit speech advocating illegal drug use. I agree and therefore join its opinion in full. I write separately to state my view that the standard set forth in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist. is without basis in the Constitution.

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” As this Court has previously observed, the First Amendment was not originally understood to permit all sorts of speech; instead, “[t]here are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. In my view, the history of public education suggests that the First Amendment , as originally understood, does not protect student speech in public schools. Although colonial schools were exclusively private, public education proliferated in the early 1800’s. By the time the States ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, public schools had become relatively common. If students in public schools were originally understood as having free-speech rights, one would have expected 19th-century public schools to have respected those rights and courts to have enforced them. They did not.

During the colonial era, private schools and tutors offered the only educational opportunities for children, and teachers managed classrooms with an iron hand. Public schooling arose, in part, as a way to educate those too poor to afford private schools. Because public schools were initially created as substitutes for private schools, when States developed public education systems in the early 1800’s, no one doubted the government’s ability to educate and discipline children as private schools did. Like their private counterparts, early public schools were not places for freewheeling debates or exploration of competing ideas. Rather, teachers instilled “a core of common values” in students and taught them self-control.(“By its discipline it contributes, insensibly, to generate a spirit of subordination to lawful authority, a power of self-control, and a habit of postponing present indulgence to a greater future good …”)(noting that early education activists, such as Benjamin Rush, believed public schools “help[ed] control the innate selfishness of the individual”).

Teachers instilled these values not only by presenting ideas but also through strict discipline. Schools punished students for behavior the school considered disrespectful or wrong (noting that children were punished for idleness, talking, profanity, and slovenliness). Rules of etiquette were enforced, and courteous behavior was demanded. To meet their educational objectives, schools required absolute obedience.(“I consider a school judiciously governed, where order prevails; where the strictest sense of propriety is manifested by the pupils towards the teacher, and towards each other...")

In short, in the earliest public schools, teachers taught, and students listened. Teachers commanded, and students obeyed. Teachers did not rely solely on the power of ideas to persuade; they relied on discipline to maintain order.

Through the legal doctrine of in loco parentis, courts upheld the right of schools to discipline students, to enforce rules, and to maintain order. Rooted in the English common law, in loco parentis originally governed the legal rights and obligations of tutors and private schools. W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 441 (1765) (“[A parent] may also delegate part of his parental authority, during his life, to the tutor or schoolmaster of his child; who is then in loco parentis, and has such a portion of the power of the parent committed to his charge, that of restraint and correction, as may be necessary to answer the purposes for which he is employed”). Chancellor James Kent noted the acceptance of the doctrine as part of American law in the early 19th century. (“So the power allowed by law to the parent over the person of the child may be delegated to a tutor or instructor, the better to accomplish the purpose of education”).

As early as 1837, state courts applied the in loco parentis principle to public schools:

“One of the most sacred duties of parents, is to train up and qualify their children, for becoming useful and virtuous members of society; this duty cannot be effectually performed without the ability to command obedience, to control stubbornness, to quicken diligence, and to reform bad habits. The teacher is the substitute of the parent; … and in the exercise of these delegated duties, is invested with his power.” State v. Pendergrass,(1837).

Applying in loco parentis, the judiciary was reluctant to interfere in the routine business of school administration, allowing schools and teachers to set and enforce rules and to maintain order. Thus, in the early years of public schooling, schools and teachers had considerable discretion in disciplinary matters:

“To accomplish the desirable ends [of teaching self-restraint, obedience, and other civic virtues], the master of a school is necessarily invested with much discretionary power… . He must govern these pupils, quicken the slothful, spur the indolent, restrain the impetuous, and control the stubborn. He must make rules, give commands, and punish disobedience. What rules, what commands, and what punishments shall be imposed, are necessarily largely within the discretion of the master, where none are defined by the school board.” Patterson v. Nutter,(1886).

A review of the case law shows that in loco parentis allowed schools to regulate student speech as well. Courts routinely preserved the rights of teachers to punish speech that the school or teacher thought was contrary to the interests of the school and its educational goals. For example, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the corporal punishment of a student who called his teacher “Old Jack Seaver” in front of other students. The court explained its decision as follows:

“Language used to other scholars to stir up disorder and subordination, or to heap odium and disgrace upon the master; writings and pictures placed so as to suggest evil and corrupt language, images and thoughts to the youth who must frequent the school; all such or similar acts tend directly to impair the usefulness of the school, the welfare of the scholars and the authority of the master. By common consent and by the universal custom in our New England schools, the master has always been deemed to have the right to punish such offences. Such power is essential to the preservation of order, decency, decorum and good government in schools.”

Similarly, the California Court of Appeal upheld the expulsion of a student who gave a speech before the student body that criticized the administration for having an unsafe building “because of the possibility of fire.” The punishment was appropriate, the court stated, because the speech “was intended to discredit and humiliate the board in the eyes of the students, and tended to impair the discipline of the school.” Likewise, the Missouri Supreme Court explained that a “rule which forbade the use of profane language and quarrelling” “was not only reasonable, but necessary to the orderly conduct of the school.” And the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the punishment of a student who made distracting demonstrations in class for “a breach of good deportment.”

The doctrine of in loco parentis limited the ability of schools to set rules and control their classrooms in almost no way. It merely limited the imposition of excessive physical punishment. In this area, the case law was split. One line of cases specified that punishment was wholly discretionary as long as the teacher did not act with legal malice or cause permanent injury (allowing liability where the “punishment inflicted is immoderate or excessive, and … it was induced by legal malice, or wickedness of motive”). Another line allowed courts to intervene where the corporal punishment was “clearly excessive.” Under both lines of cases, courts struck down only punishments that were excessively harsh; they almost never questioned the substantive restrictions on student conduct set by teachers and schools.

Tinker effected a sea change in students’ speech rights, extending them well beyond traditional bounds. The case arose when a school punished several students for wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. Determining that the punishment infringed the students’ First Amendment rights, this Court created a new standard for students’ freedom of speech in public schools:

“Where there is no finding and no showing that engaging in the forbidden conduct would materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school, the prohibition cannot be sustained.”

Accordingly, unless a student’s speech would disrupt the educational process, students had a fundamental right to speak their minds (or wear their armbands)—even on matters the school disagreed with or found objectionable. (“The school must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint”).

Justice Black dissented, criticizing the Court for “subjecting all the public schools in the country to the whims and caprices of their loudest-mouthed, but maybe not their brightest, students.” He emphasized the instructive purpose of schools: “Taxpayers send children to school on the premise that at their age they need to learn, not teach.” In his view, the Court’s decision “surrendered control of the American public school system to public school students.”

Of course, Tinker’s reasoning conflicted with the traditional understanding of the judiciary’s role in relation to public schooling, a role limited by in loco parentis. Perhaps for that reason, the Court has since scaled back Tinker’s standard, or rather set the standard aside on an ad hoc basis. In Bethel School Dist., a public school suspended a student for delivering a speech that contained “an elaborate, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor.” The Court of Appeals found that the speech caused no disruption under the Tinker standard, and this Court did not question that holding. The Court nonetheless permitted the school to punish the student because of the objectionable content of his speech (“A high school assembly or classroom is no place for a sexually explicit monologue directed towards an unsuspecting audience of teenage students”). Signaling at least a partial break with Tinker, Fraser left the regulation of indecent student speech to local schools.

Similarly, in Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, the Court made an exception to Tinker for school-sponsored activities. The Court characterized newspapers and similar school-sponsored activities “as part of the school curriculum” and held that “educators are entitled to exercise greater control over” these forms of student expression. Accordingly, the Court expressly refused to apply Tinker’s standard. Instead, for school-sponsored activities, the Court created a new standard that permitted school regulations of student speech that are “reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns."

Today, the Court creates another exception. In doing so, we continue to distance ourselves from Tinker, but we neither overrule it nor offer an explanation of when it operates and when it does not. I am afraid that our jurisprudence now says that students have a right to speak in schools except when they don’t—a standard continuously developed through litigation against local schools and their administrators. In my view, petitioners could prevail for a much simpler reason: As originally understood, the Constitution does not afford students a right to free speech in public schools.

In light of the history of American public education, it cannot seriously be suggested that the First Amendment “freedom of speech” encompasses a student’s right to speak in public schools. Early public schools gave total control to teachers, who expected obedience and respect from students. And courts routinely deferred to schools’ authority to make rules and to discipline students for violating those rules. Several points are clear: (1) under in loco parentis, speech rules and other school rules were treated identically; (2) the in loco parentis doctrine imposed almost no limits on the types of rules that a school could set while students were in school; and (3) schools and teachers had tremendous discretion in imposing punishments for violations of those rules.

It might be suggested that the early school speech cases dealt only with slurs and profanity. But that criticism does not withstand scrutiny. First, state courts repeatedly reasoned that schools had discretion to impose discipline to maintain order. The substance of the student’s speech or conduct played no part in the analysis. Second, some cases involved punishment for speech on weightier matters, for instance a speech criticizing school administrators for creating a fire hazard. Yet courts refused to find an exception to in loco parentis even for this advocacy of public safety.

To be sure, our educational system faces administrative and pedagogical challenges different from those faced by 19th-century schools. And the idea of treating children as though it were still the 19th century would find little support today. But I see no constitutional imperative requiring public schools to allow all student speech. Parents decide whether to send their children to public schools. (“California has not drafted or called them to attend the university. They are seeking education offered by the State and at the same time insisting that they be excluded from the prescribed course …”). If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move. Whatever rules apply to student speech in public schools, those rules can be challenged by parents in the political process.

In place of that democratic regime, Tinker substituted judicial oversight of the day-to-day affairs of public schools. The Tinker Court made little attempt to ground its holding in the history of education or in the original understanding of the First Amendment. Instead, it imposed a new and malleable standard: Schools could not inhibit student speech unless it “substantially interfered with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.” Inherent in the application of that standard are judgment calls about what constitutes interference and what constitutes appropriate discipline (arguing that the armbands in fact caused a disruption). Historically, courts reasoned that only local school districts were entitled to make those calls. The Tinker Court usurped that traditional authority for the judiciary.

And because Tinker utterly ignored the history of public education, courts (including this one) routinely find it necessary to create ad hoc exceptions to its central premise. This doctrine of exceptions creates confusion without fixing the underlying problem by returning to first principles. Just as I cannot accept Tinker’s standard, I cannot subscribe to Kuhlmeier’s alternative. Local school boards, not the courts, should determine what pedagogical interests are “legitimate” and what rules “reasonably relate” to those interests.

Justice Black may not have been “a prophet or the son of a prophet,” but his dissent in Tinker has proved prophetic. In the name of the First Amendment, Tinker has undermined the traditional authority of teachers to maintain order in public schools. “Once a society that generally respected the authority of teachers, deferred to their judgment, and trusted them to act in the best interest of school children, we now accept defiance, disrespect, and disorder as daily occurrences in many of our public schools.” We need look no further than this case for an example: Frederick asserts a constitutional right to utter at a school event what is either “gibberish,” or an open call to use illegal drugs. To elevate such impertinence to the status of constitutional protection would be farcical and would indeed be to “surrender control of the American public school system to public school students.”

I join the Court’s opinion because it erodes Tinker’s hold in the realm of student speech, even though it does so by adding to the patchwork of exceptions to the Tinker standard. I think the better approach is to dispense with Tinker altogether, and given the opportunity, I would do so."

Me too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No Rant Left Behind 


Ace, naturally:

“But the Friend of the Workin’ Man Liberal Coalition will continue focusing laser-like on the very crititical problems of the workin’ man, like preserving the delicate ecoystem of the snail-darter, seeking marital rights for 2% of the population which historically has not shown a great deal of interest in permanent monagamy, with or without state sanction, campaigning tirelessly for the poor and downtrodden Hamas terrorists, parental leave and collective-bargaining rights for closet and basement hydroponic pot farmers, and, of course, walking around on stilts wearing full-body Vagina Warrior costumes capped by a revoutionary-chic Che beret (or Cheret) while attepting so simulate the intricate mating dances of the Elaine Benes tribe of Guadalupe and banging (antirhythmically) on authentic replica African tribal drums bought from Crate & Barrel on an Amex Platinum card while trying to cover margin-calls over a deluxe beta-version iPhone with Fight The Power and Imagine ring-tones.”

That’s as good an explanation of why I left the Democrat Party as any I’ve ever heard.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Beat Them With a Schtick 


"You Might Be a Liberal If..." has now become a time-honored source of political comedy gold. Or of corrugated comedic tin, at least.

Even the premise "You May Be a Right-Wing Extremist If..." can yield a chuckle. For example, you may be a Right-Wing Extremist if...you think Harry Reid is unfit to spit-shine Gen. Pace's boots. Or even Trent Lott's hair, for that matter.

From a 2005 column, here's Ed Lynch:

"You might be a liberal if...

You think that protesters outside nuclear power plants are dedicated activists, but protesters outside abortion clinics are dangerous zealots interfering with a legal activity.

You panic if you discover that you’re out of chick peas.

You believe that professional, working women should never be judged on their appearance (except for Katherine Harris).

You believe that rich people should not be allowed to contribute so much money to candidates for office (except for George Soros).

You feel a deep sense of common cause with oppressed groups, such as Hispanic immigrants (except for Cuban Americans fleeing Castro).

You are more concerned with Vice President Cheney’s links to Halliburton than with Saddam Hussein’s links to international terrorism.

You have used the phrase, “in Europe, the government pays for health care and vacation,” without irony.

You are worried about how the French view Americans.

You believe that nativity scenes should be banned from public view, but that anyone objecting to pornography “only has to look the other way.”

And finally, you are almost certainly a liberal if you refuse to admit that you’re a liberal, and accuse anyone of calling you a liberal of McCarthyism."

Okay, my turn:

You may be a liberal if...

You think "the War on Terror" is a bumper-sticker slogan but "Free Tibet!", "Safe, Legal and Rare" and "Gun-Free Zone" are not.

You think the Pledge of Allegiance, Intelligent Design, ROTC Jr., the Boy Scouts and prayer have absolutely no place in public schools...but having serial psychotropic toad-lickers and members of the Amputee Stump Fetish-Community give lectures to kindergartners is perfectly acceptable.

You think Don Imus is a fascist, bigoted hate criminal...but the prisoners in Guantanamo are misunderstood victims.

You think Guantanamo is a prison in Cuba, but Cuba isn't itself a prison.

It's never occurred to you that mass immigration functions as a hidden tax on working Americans...and the only thing politicians love more than a tax is a tax they don't have to vote on.

You think this is the weakest economy in 50 years...and illegal workers are keeping it strong.

You think our biggest mistake in Iraq was not listening to the generals...who are all incompetents.

You think Bush and his rich buddies are hogging all the Wall Street wealth...but if he tries to give you a Social Security stock portfolio, well, that's just another way to cheat you.

You instantly accepted the logic of 'hate crimes'...without asking yourself "Well, then what exactly constitutes a 'love crime'?" Besides the eight years of the Clinton administration, I mean.

And now, for new customers only, a Bonus Comedy Premise; "You May Be a Progressive If..."!

You may be a progressive if...

You think space exploration isn't really progress...but moving to a mud shack in the jungle is.

You think governmental licensing can separate the fraudulent pet psychics from the real ones.

You stay awake nights worrying about the lack of nutritional labels on edible panties.

You live in dread that you may someday accidentally swallow a genetically-modified tomato...but the cannibalism of swallowing medicine made from an embryonic human troubles you not a whit. or a larry.

You think an ethicist is somebody who's too darn moral to be called a moralist.

You think a person should not be allowed to own a pet...but if they do, inter-species romance is not out of the question as long as a notarized hoof, claw or paw-print* is obtained on a consent form for each succeeding level of intimacy. (*Gastropods should try to leave a paper trail.)

You see a crime victim in an alley, unconscious and bleeding, and think: "Whoever did this really needs our help!"

And finally, you might be a progressive if...you think that Arafat's Nobel Prize fell into terrorist hands only this week.

Join us again next week for an exciting new Comedy Premise:

"You May Be a Left-Handed Lithuanian Lisping Lesbian Librarian If..."

Save the Fathers! 

G.K. Chesterton:

"There has arisen in this connection a foolish and wicked cry typical of the confusion. I mean the cry, "Save the children." It is, of course, part of that modern morbidity that insists on treating the State (which is the home of man) as a sort of desperate expedient in time of panic. This terrified opportunism is also the origin of the Socialist and other schemes. Just as they would collect and share all the food as men do in a famine, so they would divide the children from their fathers, as men do in a shipwreck. That a human community might conceivably not be in a condition of famine or shipwreck never seems to cross their minds. This cry of "Save the children" has in it the hateful implication that it is impossible to save the fathers; in other words, that many millions of grown-up, sane, responsible and self-supporting Europeans are to be treated as dirt or debris and swept away out of the discussion; called dipsomaniacs because they drink in public houses instead of private houses; called unemployables because nobody knows how to get them work; called dullards if they still adhere to conventions, and called loafers if they still love liberty. Now I am concerned, first and last, to maintain that unless you can save the fathers, you cannot save the children; that at present we cannot save others, for we cannot save ourselves. We cannot teach citizenship if we are not citizens; we cannot free others if we have forgotten the appetite of freedom. Education is only truth in a state of transmission; and how can we pass on truth if it has never come into our hand? Thus we find that education is of all the cases the clearest for our general purpose. It is vain to save children; for they cannot remain children. By hypothesis we are teaching them to be men; and how can it be so simple to teach an ideal manhood to others if it is so vain and hopeless to find one for ourselves?"

Sept. 10 vs. Sept. 12 


Sen. Fred Thompson, Sept. 12, 2001:

"Our young people must wonder why the United States, who they are taught is the beacon of hope and liberty for the world, why we of all countries should be the world's main target of such savagery.

It is because those teachings are true. It is because our history and the principles on which our country was founded go against the trend of thousands of years of human history. Thousands of years of "might makes right", of rulers and dictatorships of all shapes and forms, of religious intolerance and subjugation. We have shown the world that it doesn't have to be that way. And today's tyrants and would-be tyrants cannot afford to let that example stand.

But stand it will. If this giant has been sleeping as some say, it has been awakened once again and will not rest until an example is made of those who would murder our innocent citizens and tear at the very fabric of our national existence. Part of a great nation's responsibility for keeping peace in the world is the threat it must pose to those who would upset that peace. Therefore, we must act as a deterrent to outrageous activity when our interests are involved. And America's response in this matter should set a lasting example of what happens to those who unleash bloody attacks especially on our own soil.

The time for carefully measured pinprick responses to terrorists activities has passed. But we in this Body, and in the House, do not have the luxury of simply expressing our outrage or demanding retribution. We, along with the President, set policy and we must quickly reconcile ourselves to some of things that we must do.

Since our victory in the Cold War, we have become somewhat complacent in the notion that the most significant danger to our nation has passed. We see it in our military budget and we hear it in our rhetoric. We see it in our debates over which threat to our country is most probable even though yesterday's events should remind us once again how faulty such predictions can be. We attempt to decide with precision what the chances are of a missile attack by a rogue nation or by terrorists versus a suitcase bomb versus a biological attack versus a cyber attack. Surely, we must now realize that as the world's number one target, we must protect our citizens from all of these possibilities.

While protection can never be complete, who is going to decide which window of vulnerability we are going to allow to remain open. The old Soviet threat has been replaced by new ones that are in many ways more dangerous and more insidious. We have been warned about this repeatedly; by the Hart-Rudman Commission, the Gilmore Commission, by the Bremer Commission and by experts in numerous Committee hearings. Surely, now we will listen. Surely now we will resist the temptation to continue to squeeze out more "peace dividends" from the Cold War, which place our defense requirements in a secondary position to our domestic wish list.

And surely, we will reanalyze the wisdom of America contributing to the proliferation of militarily useful technology simply because we want the sales. It is my belief that this is what we did as late as last week with the passage of the Export Administration Act.

If we place short term considerations, our desire for profit, or our desire to maintain record high surpluses above our national security, we will become much more vulnerable to the potential of experiencing other days like yesterday.

Historians tell us of another Democracy that after major military success cut its military budget, turned inward, and failed to react to provocation in hopes of maintaining peace. A nation whose leaders followed the popular demand for more butter and fewer guns and who felt that if worse came to worse technology could bail them out and that treaties with dictators would substitute for defenses. That country was England after World War I and those policies contributed to causing the biggest war in the history of the world. We must not make a similar mistake.

We cannot alter the past. But we can affect the future. I sincerely urge that we keep these things in mind as we consider our Appropriations bills and especially as we consider what monies are necessary to keep this country safe. It is not only the right and necessary thing to do. It is the real tribute we can pay to our citizens who have so recently paid such a dear price simply for being Americans."

(Hat-tip: Kung Fu Quip)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Where the Boyles Are 


is one of the finest and most under-rated writers on the web.

If memory serves, he was once an editor of P.J. O'Rourke's. He's been covering Europe for National Review for some years now and has written a book entitled Vile France: Fear, Duplicity, Cowardice and Cheese and although I've not yet read it, I understand it's a first-rate unofficial history of the Kerry campaign.
I could be wrong about that.

For those who aspire to write well, or simply to read well, here are some favorite excerpts from his columns:

"I'm eat up in metaphors. They're everywhere, part of a life built on a solid bedrock of clutter and confusion. For example, consider a map of I-70. It starts, with great promise, in a parking lot at the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, runs for many, many miles—then ends, without fanfare, near a tiny hamlet in a remote corner of Utah called Sulphurdale, a destination I have yet to reach. I-70 is my "career."

At one of the rest stops along that great thoroughfare of woe, I worked as advice columnist for a popular men's magazine. There I discovered that guys really only have two questions: Is it okay to cheat on my wife/girlfriend/cellmate? The answer was always no, of course. The second question: My girlfriend left me. What can I do? The answer to that one was always, "Nothing."

Seems like hopeless advice, but actually it isn't bad. In fact, I wish George Bush had asked me for it before he decided to go back to the U.N. to ask for help in Iraq. I would have told him that the U.N. doesn't love us any more, and that once the breakup happens, nothing you do or say—no amount of passionate rhetoric, clear-headed logic, bended-knee pleading—will ever make a difference. Yes, you might think, "If I only told her this, it would change her mind." But it wouldn't—and if it did, you'd only be sorry. You do, however, have one very slim chance to turn it all around if you can just make yourself remember this: The only way to get your ex-sweetheart to walk toward you is by walking away from her. That's it. Your only shot. Just pick yourself up and go about your business. Because nothing else is going to work.

France and her allied cynics at the U.N. have broken up with us. It's sad but true. And so President Bush's speech, however reasonable and clever and bravely unapologetic, was bound to fail. Instead of convincing anybody, all it did was give France another chance to say, "Get out of my life. And please stop calling.""

"He was replaced as editor of Radio 4's "Today" program after the BBC claimed he was unable to "square with the BBC's obligation to be impartial and to be seen to be impartial"—and at the BBC, the bar for that particular standard is set someplace below sea level and protected by dykes."

"The Morning Call in Allentown never struck me as a paper with a terribly deep bench, writer-wise. Yet last Saturday the paper ran a terrific op-ed piece called "Americans should be wary of their European allies," written by Linda McDonald, who, according to the little bio note at the bottom of the column, "works in circulation marketing" at the Call.

But this wasn't always so. In fact, McDonald had spent eight years working for newspapers in Europe, where she had grown adept at fielding endless anti-American insults, like the one hurled at her by a Parisian exec who told her that she lacked "the class, the culture, [and] the couture" to represent her newspaper "because [she] was an American."

But on the afternoon of September 11, 2001, McDonald found herself standing in the newsroom of an unnamed British paper watching a reporter on TV trying to cover the attack on the World Trade Center in New York: "His accent was American," she writes, "and he was running frantically through the crowd, shouting into the microphone...clearly affected by what was going on around him." McDonald and her colleagues watched in speechless horror as the overwhelmed reporter tried to capture the story. Finally, somebody spoke: "'Typical American,' were the first words I heard anyone else say aloud. It was the newspaper's editor."

Liberal lore has it that anti-Americanism was the result of the war in Iraq. In fact, the Euro-Left has always been anti-American. But the 9/11 attacks, writes McDonald, seemed to bring a new viciousness to traditional European Yank-bashing:

"In the days following Sept. 11 and during the war in Afghanistan, I witnessed an unleashing of anti-U.S. sentiment that was shocking in its callousness. A few days after the attacks, a BBC prime time television program, "Question Time," packed its audience with anti-American sympathizers. Among the panelists was Philip Lader, [a] former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. Mr. Lader was driven to tears as he tried to express his sadness while the audience fiercely accused the United States of finally getting its due.

I watched our editor choose front pages that best portrayed the viciousness of U.S. military action in Afghanistan—young children looking wide-eyed and scared. I read column after column about how the United States finally would get its comeuppance and how the world would be a better place for it. But everything changed on Sept. 11, 2001. When those hijacked planes crashed and the United States went to war against terrorism, I wanted to be with other Americans. I wanted to be with people who fully understood that what happened on that day was an unprovoked attack on U.S. soil; people who would bravely fight for what was in our best interest. In December, I moved back to America."

The take-home souvenir? This simple lesson: "We must win this war and we must be careful not to partner with those who secretly—and not so secretly—want to see us lose."

"Sarkozy...told the French national assembly that the policies pursued by the Socialist government of Lionel Jospin made Americans think that France was anti-Semitic. The quaint folk ways of the happy Frenchies (tailgating, making gestures involving the nose, making odd noises, burning synagogues, beating up Jewish kids, supporting Palestinian terrorism) had nothing to do with it."

"I can't remember when—maybe ten years ago?—Esquire ran a story explaining how women work. It was a lavish package of features all aimed at an audience of men who barely cared. I was giving advice to a competing magazine at the time. Several of us looked at the cover story, shrugged, and went back to work. It was just another Esquire cover at a time when the mag was struggling in circulation and ad sales.

But buried in there someplace was the phrase "women's plumbing" used as a way of referring to the mysterious innards of those who were unlike us. The phrase floated in the murky depths of the magazine for a few days. But since Esquire's demographic has always been fem-heavy, it was only a matter of time before the phrase was spotted by a woman suffering from that super-serious perma-anger available only to hardcore feminists. Within a few days, angry women (and the men who love them) were pestering Esquire, threatening the usual street action and clamoring for a response from the decent, well-meaning chap who was at the time the magazine's fabulously well-dressed editor. His friends worried for him. I remember having a conversation about the situation with my friend Harry Stein. One of us—probably Harry, since he's the smarter of the two of us—said, "If he apologizes, he's dead."

Sure enough, he apologized and—Presto!—the street in front of Esquire filled with temporarily outraged women threatening an advertiser boycott and branding the magazine as politically incorrect—the mark of the Beast in a town where all media buys pass across the desks of irritable women who spend most nights at home watching Lifetime and talking to their cats. Why? Because an apology intended to mollify angry people is not the same as an apology intended to express sorrow. The Esquire apology was the wrong kind. It was a plea for forgiveness, and by making it, the editor acknowledged the premise of an argument that, from that moment on, could never possibly be won. The guy was finally asked to leave his job.

George W. Bush's [Abu Gharib] apology fell somewhere between the two kinds of apologies. [...]

But the European press clearly heard a different apology. They heard the apology they had been desperately wanting to hear—Bush begging for forgiveness for an "atrocity," just as a year before they had heard him beg the French and the U.N. for help in Iraq, and just as a few weeks ago, they had heard him beg the Spanish to keep their troops in Iraq. In Europe, it's always such a pleasure to just say "no" to America.

The Bush apology makes the facts of this case suddenly irrelevant. Real torture's one thing, and it's wise that the military's taking seriously its investigation of the serious charges against the guards at Abu Ghraib. But humiliation? Making captured Iraqi terrorists wear ladies' undergarments is tantamount to what, exactly? Treating them like British comedians?"

Average Europeans...just don't care. This flabbergasts Polly Toynbee, who writes in the Guardian that she cannot comprehend why the disgusting unwashed are, for some mystifying reason, unmoved by [European parliament] elections that may well result in the huge, vaporous, cloud of fat-filled gas emanating from Brussels congealing and descending on them like yet another layer of lard-like "government." She thinks they should rush out and embrace the glutinous mass of statutes, taxes, and scams that represent the very best of modern European political thought.

"The first reactions to the news of Reagan's death were predictable. After all, Ronald Reagan was the George W. Bush of the '80s. He was—and still is, by those on the left—reviled in the usual terms, as the moral equivalent of Hitler, a mass murderer, a starver-of-kids and all the rest. When Reagan decided to sacrifice money and political capital by going ahead with the positioning of Pershing missiles in Europe as a way of balancing a perceived threat by the Soviet Union, the streets of Paris, Berlin, and London instantly filled with millions of angry protesters who demanded that the U.S. back down in favor of disarmament and appeasement. No doubt many of them protested against Iraq, too. It took several years of anti-American excess before the results of Reagan's policies were understood. ...

Not surprisingly, the paper had as much trouble as the BBC in understanding how someone they disliked as much as Reagan could really have had a hand in foiling something they liked very much more—Communism. ...

Ronald Reagan certainly didn't come under fire on the beaches of Normandy, but his policies had a similar, liberating effect on Europe nonetheless. It's doubtful there will ever be a celebration marking the Reykjavik conference or the Berlin Wall speech. Denial of their own history will always be popular with left-wing Europeans and their political leaders. ...

Someday soon, no doubt, in the pages of Le Monde or the Guardian, the American defeat of Soviet ambitions will be seen not as an American victory, but as a victory the Russians won for themselves. But for a day, on June 6, 2004, as the TV stations in France, Germany, and the U.K. switched back and forth between Normandy and Paris and Los Angeles and Washington, truth invaded Europe."

"I was in my twenties when I landed my first and only job in the petroleum industry. I worked for one of the largest oil companies in the world, a global conglomerate that had tens of thousands of employees, fleets of tankers, and huge pipelines running through the heart of almost every continent on earth creating profits that outstripped the GDP of entire nations. My position called for me to interface with end-users at a run-down gas station in Baltimore. I managed that deft career move by quitting my job as the editor of a lowly rural weekly newspaper before I had actually landed, or even asked for, a job someplace else. Then I quit the gas station job a few minutes after some lady pulled in complaining about a funny noise under her hood, which turned out to be her cat—but before I had made other plans, which is how I ended up driving a cab down Broadway (the Baltimore one, not the Manhattan one) with my first fare in the back seat. I kept saying "Where to?" in my best cabbie voice, but he was too busy shooting up to pay attention.

So when I read a report a couple of weeks ago in the Frankfurter Allgemeine that José Manuel Durão Barroso, the Atlanticist prime minister of Portugal, had quit his day job before he had nailed down his new job as president of the European Commission, I thought to myself, hey! that's how I got a job driving a cab! But he pulled it off, Barrosos did, and that's why today, he's the president-designate of Europe and I'm the Duke of Earl.

As the Daily Telegraph reported, Barroso got the job the way I used to get prom dates—by being the only guy available. The scramble to replace the weak, ineffective, odious, grasping, petty, anti-American, but otherwise brilliant Romano Prodi, who made his office into a huge shell beneath which the EU's massive pea of fraud and corruption could be hidden, has been underway since Prodi started using most of his office time scamming for political positioning back in Italy. His plan: unseating the Edward G. Robinson of European statesmen, Silvio Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia, according to La Croix, took a hammering in the most recent round of European elections.

The first name out of the hat was that of Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, a "poodle" (to use every Euro-politician's now-favorite word of opprobrium) of the French and Germans and one of the most vociferous non-French Yank-bashers in Europe. The British countered by nominating Chris Patten, a failed politician, the last governor of Hong Kong and, as the EU's external-affairs commissioner, the man personally responsible for blocking the investigation of how EU money ends up in the coffers of Middle Eastern terrorists. Patten was on the side of the French before the war, but his nomination still drew more laughs than votes. Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, was loved by one and all, but he realized that running a sheep-infested country that outlaws chewing gum on the pavement and smoking in pubs was much more fun that negotiating cod rights, so he decided to stay where he was. That meant the choice was either Barroso or Bill Clinton, and even Europeans have some standards."

(To be continued...)

Communism With a Green Face 


Vaclav Havel:

"The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: "the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda". I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the "established" truth, although a lot of people - including top-class scientists - see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning."

More Crichton:

"...environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—-these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism..."

Got a savior, too; the prophet Al, Methane Be Upon Him.

The worst part is this: billions of dollars that could be used to benefit real human beings would instead be wasted in Search of The Global Themostat Holy Grail, a mad, meglomanical and superstitous quest to control the weather.

Free Scooter! 


I Hear George Tenet Has One He Isn't Really Using.

While rogue intelligence officer Valerie Plame was running her own foreign policy out of her Langley office, Scooter Libby was up in his office working night and day to prevent another terrorist attack on America.

While Plame was busily trying to have her husband installed as the new Secretary of State in a Kerry Administration by covering for Saddam, Scooter Libby was trying to keep me, my family and my neighbors alive.

“Mr. Libby worked himself to exhaustion day after day reviewing national intelligence estimates,” said the White House physician. Meanwhile, Valerie and Joe Plame were testifying falsely before the 9/11 Commission and Congress.

Evidently, there is no "(D.)" in "dperjury".

Libby didn't receive a fair trial--but he did get a fair election. And he lost that election because the voters, i.e., the jury, were all liberal Democrats from D.C..

I'm not saying that Scooter was railroaded--but the Justice Dept. suddenly changed its name to "Union-Pacific", the judge was wearing a Casey Jones engineer's cap, the prosecutor was a brakeman, the bailiff was named "John Henry", the jury consisted of Pullman porters, the witnesses were Chinese coolies and the reporters were all whistling "I've Been Working on the Railroad".

Dianne Sawyer, won't you blow your horn?

It seems to me that fairness would dictate that Mr. Libby spend the same amount of time in jail as other troubled testifiers, such the Plames, the Clintons or Sandy Berger. That is to say, none.

Berger simply had his National Archive library card temporarily suspended and paid a large overdue book fine. (And if you think Berger acted without orders from above, your faith in the Clinton Crime Family is, well, naive and sweetly touching. p.s: you're doomed.)

One hopes that the president will pardon Libby. But this is the administration that apologized for the "Sixteen Words"--even though they're true, as true today as the day the president first uttered them.

And there is some danger; Democrats hope to use any pardon, along with the totally trumped-up US Attorney-firings non-scandal-Scandal, to impeach President Bush.

When Democrats allow themselves to go to their Secret Place--by which I mean not just the Adult Book Store, but in their fondest and most secret reveries--they hope Bush pardons Libby. Then, ala Watergate, they will get the Attorney General removed, extract a promise of a Special Prosecutor from the new AG nominee and, under the Santa Clause to the Constitution, impeach both Cheney and Bush simultaneously, thus installing Nancy Pelosi as president. 'Tis the stuff of Common Dreams.

But there is one way to avoid this: we declare Scooter Libby an illegal alien!

After all, wasn't Libby doing the job that many Americans don't want to do anymore; that is, defending America?

Instead of denying him bail, the judge should treat Scooter like thousands of his fellow illegal aliens facing deportation--release him on his personal recognizance. Compassion demands it.

The president could then grant Scooter Libby amnesty--all the while claiming it wasn't really amnesty at all!

Do what's right for America, Mr. President; Non-Amnesty Amnesty For Scooter Now!

Can we really do this? As they say down at the Communist-organized government-by-street-mob riots peaceful reform rallies: "Yes--yes, we can."

And so we should.

(Cross-post: Cold Fury)

The Return of Jim Crow 


Ward Connerly and others recently proposed that any newly-amnestied citizens be required to forego any racial preferences and set-asides. This on the theory that a.) they had suffered no harm in America and hence were entitled to no remediation, and b.) we don't want yet another generation invested in racial entitlements.

Jonah Goldberg objected, saying that if the Feddle Gummint is going to have a disgusting, racist, One-Drop, Mulatto, Quadroon-ish, Octoroon-ish, Who-Were-Your-Grand-Parents-And-How-Dark-Were-They?-racial booty system, then all Americans should proudly particpate in that system, including new immigrants.

Mr. Connerly responds:

..."I believe we are in the process of unwinding these [race-based] programs throughout the nation. We are just one major Supreme Court decision and/or a few ballot victories away. ...

As a former U.C. Regent, I can tell you that the most grief that I received for ending race preferences in California came not from blacks but from "undocumented" students of Mexican descent. They used the tactics of militancy reminiscent of the "black power" days. Their argument was that "affirmative action" was necessary to build the Latino middle-class and that it was their right because of the claim that we had taken their land and created this artificial border. Jonah, my friend, I am absolutley convinced that if we don't take preferences off the table in this bill, we will bestow on a new group of Americans an expectation of preferences that will make Sandra Day O'Connor's 25-year aspiration seem like a weekend. This new group will figure in the computation of "underutilized labor force" in every community in which they reside. In those four states where "minorities" are now the majority, these new Americans will create a set of demographic numbers and political pressure that will make preferences harden rather than erode, as now seems to be the case."

Mr. Connerly has my respect, having taken more slings and arrows on behalf of the Constitution than most of us can imagine. He's more optimistic than I am, though. Because, if present trends continue, we may actually end up with a Latino plurality or even a majority--with racial prefences intact!

We are then back to a Jim Crow regime, in which the majority race has its self-preferences codified into law.

This is not the fault of immigrants--we did this to ourselves by failing to honor the Constitution and the Civil rights Act of 1964. But it is human nature to want to keep an undue advantage. We first corrupt ourselves and then immigrants with race preferences. We owe it to them to tell them 'no'.

And to tell them that all that Maya Angelou-crap isn't really poetry.

But one disaster at a time.

UPDATE (if by "UPDATE" you mean another regrettable regression into the past): George Wallace addresses the Multi-versity Grads of 2007: "As you go forward, class, remember this; as they say at UCLA, 'Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!'"

(Cross-post: Cold Fury)

The Quarter-Hour News Half-Hour 


“More Americans Trust ManufacturedNews(tm) to Fabricate Their News Than Any Other News Manufacturer!”

(Eutaw, Utah) Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his energy plan today. It would include nuclear power, more drilling in ANWR, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biofuel and biodiesel. “'Bio-mass' this, 'bio-diesel' that–enough about Rosie already!” said Elisabeth Hasselbeck when reached for comment.

In related news, 23% of likely Republican voters said they were unsure about voting for a Mormon. “That whole ‘hanging out underwater with King Neptune-thing’; it’s just kind of odd,” said Marge N. Scribbler, 74, a retired alligator-wrestler from Des Moines.

(Barachi, Obamistan) Sen. Barack Obama recently claimed that African-Americans were suffering from “quiet riots”.

The pre-thoughtful presidential candidate further claimed that Hispanics were suffering from Def Leppard, Native Americans were suffering from Guns ‘N Roses, Asians and Pacific Islanders were suffering from Poison, women suffered from Warrant, men suffered from Motley Crue, gays suffered from Twisted Sister and “Bon Jovi afflicts us all.”

(Finks, Arizona) In hopes of restarting the stalled immigration debate, Sen. John McCain proposed a new immigration plan today.

“This is the new bipartisan McCain-McCain Bill,” said McCain McCain. “It tries to strike a balance between those extremists who want to extend American citizenship to all 6 billion people on earth tomorrow and those extremists who want current laws enforced.”

Under the terms of the bill, a new federal Immigration Caesar-For-Life position would be created and any United States senator named “John McCain” would be allowed to serve. It would empower the new Immigration Caesar to order the Army, Navy and Air Force to invade every country in the world and seize every person on the face of the earth, forcibly bringing them to America whether they wanted to come here or not.

To critics who charged that McCain was trying to flood the country with new voters who would support his candidacy, McCain replied: “Voters? I don’t need voters! Voters are evil special interests who are trying to unduly influence elections! How can we possibly give you good government if we keep getting interrupted by these pesky election-things? No, my friends, trust me when I tell you this is not about voters!”

McCain’s plan picked up some qualified support from Democrats such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

“I like how it completely does away with the concept of ‘illegal aliens’, not to mention ‘America’,” said Kucinich “but what about the millions and millions of space aliens who are living among us and doing the jobs earthlings don’t want to do?”

(Amelia Earhart Memorial Airbase, Blue Nipple, Greenland) Full Text of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Remarks Upon Arriving in Greenland:

“Thank you for that warmish welcome, Mr. Mayor of Greenland.

We have come to your country in order to repair the damage done by the Bush Administration and restore the mutual relations of our two countries to the heights of friendship that were so wonderfully depicted in the movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”. It occurs to me however that Iceland is greener than Greenland and Greenland is icier than Iceland–have you ever considered switching names?

Anyway, I have come here with a large Congressional delegation in a fleet of fuel-sucking jetliners because I believe Global Warming is important. Not important enough for us to change our lifestyles, but important enough for us to change yours.

First, I’m struck by the advances in science. Today, we are able to calibrate our Global Warming models by measuring exactly how fast your glaciers are melting. In the old days, we had to rely on measuring how fast the ice melted in Ted Kennedy’s scotch-glass. And as our generals have told us, Global Warming is a National Security issue. Again, like Teddy's scotch.

We must protect the environment. And what is ‘the environment’? It is everything, everywhere, all around us. Therefore, in order to protect it, we in Congress must tax and regulate everything, everywhere without exception. Which we were going to do anyway. Only now, we can blame it on Global Warming–and you’ll actually thank us and like it! It’s liberal kismet, really.

Anyway, I think we’ve seen enough of this frozen–yet melting!–rock to last us for a lifetime. So fire up Air Force Three and let’s get on with the important part of this trip–visiting London, Paris and Rome. For the Earth, of course.”

(Porcine Gulch, California) In Entertainment News, USANetwork’s mini-series “The Starter Wife” has already proven popular enough to generate a spin-off series. Alec Baldwin will reportedly star in the new series entitled “The Starter Wife-Beater”. Taping is set to begin on Kim Basinger’s answering machine.

(Cross-post: Cold Fury)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

There Is A Reason 


and publishing excerpts of his speeches and writings.

It is not nostalgia, the alleged pining for the idealized past with which we conservatives are supposedly afflicted. Nor is it some cult of personality, some psycho-Babylonian search for Daddy as Dear Leader. Nor is it even about policy preferences.

It's the principles, Princess.

Jim Geraghty sums it up pretty well:

"[FRED!] Thompson has done a fine job of articulating classic principles; turning these into policies is a slightly different story. For example, when Reagan took over in 1981, it was clear that high tax rates and an overgrown regulatory state were the biggest impediments to the American economy. I would contend the economic challenges of today are a little different [...]

The principles of Reagan 1980 campaign will be fine in 2008, but the policies won't. It's a different world; we need new ideas on how to apply what conservatives have long stood for - limited government, free markets, hawkish defense of our nation and interests, and balancing traditional social values and libertarian leave-me-alone interests - to the problems we face today."

Senator Thompson--tear down these wall-flowers!

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