Friday, April 25, 2014

Cruising the Web

One more example of how cockeyed the United Nations is. Iran has just been elected to hold a seat on the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women. The U.S. could have objected, but chose not to. Iran is a country that counts a woman's testimony in a court of law as half of that of a man. Women are regularly raped in prison by guards and many women are forced into marriage. In murder cases, a woman's life is valued as half of that of a man. Read about Iranian imprisoned women of conscience who are enduring imprisonment, torture, and murder. But don't worry. Our ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, did tweet out her outrage on Iran's record on women's rights. So that's our policy now - tweet our outrage, but don't take any action to block such an elevation for Iran.

Moral of this story: don't offer a $100,000 reward for something you don't know anything about and are just basing on your own anti-Republican bigotry.
“I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama,” Holmes said. “I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it in cash in $20 bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase.”

The lawmaker wagered the large sum during a speech in which he stated that “99 percent” of Republicans in the Yellowhammer State would order their daughters to get abortions if they were impregnated by black men....

Last week, several families called on Holmes to pay up. Parents and children from mixed-race families gathered in Montgomery. Although the official purpose of the rally was to get Holmes to apologize, some members of mixed-race families want to hold the politician to his bet.

“I would like for him to man up — he’s made the statement, he needs to put his money where his mouth is,” parent Beverly Owings told WBMA-LD. Owings is the mother of an adopted 13-year-old black daughter.
Charles Krauthammer celebrates the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding Michigan's referendum banning affirmative action in government hiring, contracts, and college admissions. At last the Court has established that this is an issue that should be decided by citizens, not courts.
And as Breyer wrote: “The Constitution permits, though it does not require . . . race-conscious programs.” Liberal as he is, Breyer could not accept the radical proposition of the Schuette plaintiffs that the Constitution demands — and cannot countenance a democratically voted abolition of — racial preferences.

This gives us, finally, the basis for a new national consensus. Two-thirds of the court has just said to the nation: For those of you who wish to continue to judge by race, we’ll keep making jesuitical distinctions to keep the discrimination from getting too obvious or outrageous. If, however, you wish to be rid of this baleful legacy and banish race preferences once and for all, do what Michigan did. You have our blessing.
Kimberley Strassel picks up on the post at Powerline detailing the glass house that billionaire Tom Steyer lives in. Steyer is the billionaire who has pledged to spend $100 million to defeat the Keystone XL pipeline, but who insists that he has nothing in common with those evil Koch brothers and he brags about his transparency.
It's old news that the billionaire reaped his fortune at hedge fund Farallon Capital, via investments in "dirty" oil and coal projects. Mr. Steyer, who retired from the firm in late 2012, has since publicly repented for his prior investment ways. But what many greens remember is that he didn't do so until he was caught.

Mr. Steyer had spent months fighting Keystone, attending anti-coal rallies and urging colleges to divest from "fossil fuels," before the press noted that his money was still parked at Farallon, still profiting from Kinder Morgan pipelines and coal projects. It was only then, last July, that Mr. Steyer issued a press release saying he'd directed his money be moved to a fund that didn't invest in "tar sands" or "coal" and pledged this process would be complete by the end of 2013.
Meahwhile, the Free Beacon reports on an alleged Ponzi scheme that the hedge fund that Steyer founded and ran.

Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic chastises President Obama for ignoring history.
Obama’s impatience with history has left him patient with evil. It is not a pretty sight; but his broken foreign policy is riddled with such ironies. Here is another one: Baker reports that the president has elected to revise his Russia policy into “an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.” How twentieth century! Never mind that containment was a policy with many interpretations, and not quite the formula for moving on that Obama is seeking. The grim fact is that Obama’s containment is not containing Putin, whose “green men” and “peoples’ republics” and Big Lies and Russophilic incitement and covert operations and military deployments are undeterred by it. While Obama pitches the “off-ramp,” Putin revels in the on-ramp. Geneva is now the world capital of failure. The only country that American containment is containing is America.

Obama’s surprisability about history, which is why he is always (as almost everyone now recognizes) “playing catch-up,” is owed to certain sanguine and unknowledgeable expectations that he brought with him to the presidency. There was no reason to expect that the Ayatollah Khamenei would take Obama’s “extended hand,” but every reason to expect that he would crack down barbarically on stirrings of democracy in his society. There was no reason to expect that Assad would go because he “must go,” but every reason to expect him to savage his country and thereby create an ethnic-religious war and a headquarters for jihadist anti-Western terrorists. There was no reason to expect Putin to surrender his profound historical bitterness at the reduced post-Soviet realities of Russia and leave its “near abroad” alone. There was no reason to expect that the Taliban in Afghanistan would behave as anything but a murderous theocratic conspiracy aspiring to a return to power. And so on. Who, really, has been the realist here? And what sort of idealism is it that speaks of justice and democracy but denies consequential assistance (which the White House outrageously conflates with ground troops) to individuals and movements who courageously work to achieve those ideals?

But the richest of the ironies about Obama’s foreign policy is this: the world that in his view wanted to be rid of American salience now longs for it. It turns out that Obama’s Iraq-based view of America’s role in the world, according to which American preeminence is bad for the world and bad for America, is not shared by societies and movements in many regions.

Glenn Reynolds details the ridiculous levels to which some college administrators have sunk to as they seek to discipline professors who supposedly constitute threats to their college communities.
But worse still is the growing tendency of administrators to stifle critics by shamelessly interpreting even obviously harmless statements as "threats." A recent example took place at Bergen Community College, where Professor Francis Schmidt was suspended, and ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination over a "threat" that consisted of posting a picture of his 9-year old daughter wearing a Game Of Thrones T-shirt. The shirt bore a quote from the show, reading: "I will take what is mine with fire & blood." Bergen administrator Jim Miller apparently thought the picture, which was posted to Schmidt's Google Plus account, was somehow intended as a threat to him. (Schmidt had filed a labor grievance a couple of months earlier.)

What kind of person claims that a picture of a 9-year-old girl wearing an HBO T-shirt is a threat? The kind of person who runs America's colleges, apparently. And Miller, alas, is not alone in his cluelessness and, apparently, paranoia.

Last year at the University of Wisconsin at Stout, theater professor James Miller had a poster from the television series Firefly on his door. It included a picture of Captain Mal Reynolds, a character played by Nathan Fillion, and a quote from the show: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed."

Campus police chief Lisa Walter removed the poster, regarding it as a "threat." After Stout complained to no avail, he replaced the poster with one reading: "Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets."

This poster, too, was interpreted as a threat, which led to a visit from the campus "threat assessment team."
Why Why are such petty dictators proliferating on campuses and why are they allowed to misuse the authority of the campus police? Reynolds calls for colleges to get rid of these "self-important deanlets." For example, how about the president of Brandeis who disinvited womens' right activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali from receiving an honorary degree, but is fine with the president of Rwanda appear at the university despite the widely-held suspicions that President Paul Kagame is a man with a murderous past who has imposed authoritarian rule by violence in Rwanda.
Many people believe that Kagame has a lot of blood on his hands and he certainly talks like a throat slasher. Earlier this year, Kagame was widely quoted expressing regret that he had not ordered the assassination of Patrick Karegeya, the country’s former spy chief who had been found dead in Johannesburg the previous month.

“Rwanda did not kill this person – and it’s a big no,” Kagame said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “But I add that, I actually wish Rwanda did it. I really wish it.” Kagame refused to rule out that he would in principle order an assassination: “Well, that’s a different issue…I have said what I said.”

Kagame’s comments were reported in newspapers around the world; the Telegraph picked them up here.

With the controversy at Brandeis over Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the scheduled appearance of Kagame on campus became a sensitive matter. Could Brandeis really honor Kagame while dissing an incredibly brave advocate of women’s rights from Africa?
Yes, yes they could.