Saturday, April 09, 2005

I know the feeling
The Volokh Conspiracy offers some statistics regarding the political diversity of Darmouth's faculty. I have to believe that the results of this survey aren't all that different from what you'd see if the same research was performed at Yale.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Maybe that's the point?
Howard Kurtz asks:

How on earth is a political reporter supposed to cover the race to be the next pope?
As much as I read about this mysterious process, I can't quite fathom it. Talk about a smoke-filled room! This closed-door conclave -- 117 cardinals have to stay in there until they pick someone? -- may have been great for the 12th century, but for the Internet age?
Personally, I think this is a good thing. Have you seen the political coverage of the Pope's death? Have you seen how utterly wrong they get some things?

It's not that they're getting facts wrong, but political reporters simply don't understand people who view their own faith in such a unique way. The number of comments that "the Pope should have modernized the Church," or "the Pope should have approved of female priests, gay marriage, and birth control," has been amazing. If you don't understand that the Pope, however infallible, can't just change Church tenets because he doesn't like them, then you don't get much of what's goes on in the Church in the first place.

I'm not Catholic; I've said so many times. But still, I have an interest in this as someone who is very nearly Catholic. Leave coverage of these events to the CNS and CNA (the two major Catholic news organs), who know how to deal with Catholic issues. As Cacciaguida said the other day:
Applying the analogy of political and administrative power, reporters -- most of whom either cover secular politics, or aspire to -- use words like "policies," as though a change of Pope were like a change of EPA Administrator. It's all they know, or all they care about, or all they want to be seen as caring about.
Yes, there are a lot of political machinations that go on behind the scenes of the papal selection process. Do we have a right to know what they are? No. Should political reporters who don't understand the issues of faith at play be covering them? Absolutely not.

UPDATE [4/8/2005 - 13:55]: Posted too soon. As an example of what I was just talking about, Life News (whatever that is—via Cacc) says:
The leading candidates who could become the next Pope and leader of the Catholic Church have one thing in common -- they all take a pro-life stance on key issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
Of course they are, considering that's one of the tenets of their Church, and they have ascended to the highest levels of their Church.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

You've got to be kidding me
Normally I'd be complaining that somebody considers this kind of thing news. In this case, however, this is news:

"My beloved blue, furry monster -- who sang 'C is for cookie, that's good enough for me' -- is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song -- 'A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food,' where Cookie Monster learns there are 'anytime' foods and 'sometimes' foods."
I have to agree with this journalist's take on things:
"'Sacrilege!' I cried. 'That's akin to Oscar the Grouch being nice and clean.' (Co-workers gave me strange looks. But I didn't care.)"
As someone whose longtime nickname is Cookie, this makes me very, very sad.

Ouch
Christopher Hitchens, who mercilessly criticized the favorable media coverage of the press last week, has been taken apart verbally. What a fisking.

It's unbelievable
It amazes me how utterly angry the Democrat Left is. Now, I post on DailyKos quite often, and I usually have a lot of patience for these people. Every now and then, however, I just get overwhelmed. Today is one of those days. And so, I'm going to bitchcomplain to you about it.

This feeling started yesterday. For those that aren't aware, I have lived my entire life in Connecticut. I was ashamed when our former governor was drummed out for corruption, and I am extremely proud of our current governor, Jodi Rell, who has moved on with grace and style. So when I entered the DKos open thread yesterday and saw people rooting for her downfall. This woman has done nothing but represent her constituents and act with honor, and the Kossacks want her to go down simply because she's a Republican. How is that productive? Shouldn't they be seeking out people who are willing to work with the opposition, rather than seeking to destroy them? If you click through on that link, you can see what was said (which I can admit in retrospect wasn't that severe) and how I responded. My username there is RFTR.

So, now we come to todaystory.bush.pope.aptn.jpg
I go back to DKos hoping to see some reasonable attitudes that would enable me to put yesterday behind me. Instead, I find a discussion of the American delegation's vieiwing of John Paul II's body, with some idiot claiming that Clinton was the only one of the three American presidents there (plus Condi) who looked to be actually upset. Now, I've provided a picture of the Bush father and son at the right (from CNN.com), and one of Bush 41 and Clinton below that (also CNN.com). Now, I'm not going to try and claim that the Bush men look any more upset than Clinton, because that's just silly. Can you tell me how sad any of them look? Clinton is upset, sure—but Clinton has always been the genius political actor. The Bush men, on the other hand, look like... well... Bush men. These aren't guys we often see show emotion. They're not Catholic. They're there out of respect, not their demands of their own faith. Anyway, I'm rambling.

story.pope.respects.ap.jpgMy point is, what are these Kossacks looking for in their facial expressions? What could they possibly hope to prove with this?

Never fear, akeitz will provide us with the answer in his amazing analysis titled Clinton went to Catholic Schools:

Not only did Bill Clinton go to Georgetown, but he also went to a parochial school for a couple of years. So he's familar with and probably sympathetic to Roman Catholicism while the Bushies probably have the typical Northeastern WASP snobbery about Roman Catholicism. Back in the election of 1888, Dr. Samuel D. Burchard, called the Democrats the party of "Rum, Romanism and Rebelion" -- the "Romanism" being Catholics.
That proves it! Clinton has real passion for the Pope because the Jesuits treated him well! Brilliant! Really, folks, are we at the point where we have to use quotes from an 1888 campaign to prove that Republicans are biased against Catholics? Well, yeah, we are, because Republicans aren't biased against Catholics. In fact, if you take a look at the CNS (that's Catholic News Service) take on things, you'll see that Catholics apparently don't feel all that unwelcome among Republicans:
Exit polling done for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, found that 52 percent of Catholics voted for Bush and 47 percent voted for Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.
Oh, and by the way, I take personal offense at akeitz's implication that there's some sort of "typical Northeastern WASP snobbery." I'm from the Northeast, and I'm a WASP. I have nothing against Catholics, by in large, and if I did it certainly wouldn't keep me from mourning the Pope's death. That's just a ridiculous logical leap.

Now we get to hear from CD in TX, who comments about Bush & Condi: "Bush looked like he was trying real hard to keep the smirk look off his face and he wound up with a weird look on his face." OK, makes sense. Or, maybe he was upset and trying to maintain a stoic look. Or, maybe he's a bit in shock from what's going on all around him and he can't quite figure out how to feel. Again, the point is simple: there is no way to tell from watching the guy over a webcast what he's feeling. CD continues:
Condi kept her head down but kept sneaking looks to the right and left like she was trying to figure out what she was supposed to do. At one point she looked up and had that deer in the head lights look. This was the first time that I've seen her she didn't have that smile plastered on her face. I was beginning to think her mouth was just fixed like that.
Or, maybe she was doing exactly what I do every time I'm in any church—I watch. I look around constantly and watch the people around me. It's rude to turn all the way around, so you're limited to the people in front of you. When you're in the front row like Condi, you're limited to the people adjacent to you. But, of course, we need to conclude that she doesn't know what to do. I won't bother commenting on the smile comment, because that's just inane. CD has more, though, and pay attention because this next bit is important:
Clinton looked to be the only one who was praying. I saw him mouth Amen.
There's one big clue in that: the use of the word "looked." All of these are superficial observations, with no merit to them. Clinton is a master politician, and one of a very few Democrats who figured out how to display his faith without proclaiming it. Of course, we have no way of knowing whether he is actually displaying faith, or if it's just an act. Who knows what he was thinking before he mouthed the Amen? And that's the point. We can't possibly know what these men (and Condi) were thinking, and we certainly can't know the depth of their faith. That's for God to know, and us to shut up about.

Furthermore, even if we did have some way of knowing how these men felt, are we supposed to be angry with them for not being upset about the Pope's death? If so, why haven't I seen angry posts from Kossacks about the negative editorials written about the Pope? (In fact, many held up the Guardian's editorial as a shining example for its harshness). I don't fault someone for not mourning the Pope—I certainly can't fault someone when I have no way of knowing if he is or is not mourning. But let's get back to CD. We're almost done, and we're getting to the really fun part. I'll give it to you all at once:
I heard that Frist and DeLay were both going. I wonder if they dare step foot into St. Peter's? Bet it will make their skin crawl to step foot in such a holy place which has to remind them of what hypocrites they are. They both better say a prayer for God to have mercy on them before they enter the church.
I would just like to piont out the pure hatred that drips from that sentence. This poster really believes these men to be evil. But I ask you to reflect on that. Think: what does it say about CD in TX that s/he feels confident in saying such a thing?

OK, so
Congress is considering a two-month extension of daylight-saving time: "'The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use,' said [Rep. Ed] Markey [D-MA], who cited Transportation Department estimates that showed the two-month extension would save the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil a day."

That's all well and good, but I really hope that Congressman knows he's not actually creating more daylight...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It continues
A while back, I posted about how BetOnline.com was offering odds on who the next Pope would be.

Now, someone has taken it to the next level.

Well, duh
James Miller, writing at Tech Central Station:

Larry Summers hinted that women on average might not be as qualified as men to be science professors. Paul Krugman wrote [yesterday, here] that Republicans en masse are categorically not as qualified as everyone else to be professors. Larry Summers was almost universally condemned by academia for his comments, not because they were necessarily wrong, but because it was considered wrong for him to make negative generalizations about an under-represented group. In academia, Republicans are far more under-represented than women are. [Note: Wildly so. At Yale, when trying to compile a list of probable Republican professors, the Yale College Republicans managed to come up with 8.] So if Paul Krugman is not widely condemned by academics it will constitute pretty strong evidence that academia is biased against Republicans.
There are plenty of reasons that Republicans are not well represented in academia, and yes, one of them is likely that academic institutions are so overwhelmingly liberal that a lot of us can't wait to get out into a more accepting world. Why would we ever want to go back?

Mr. Miller's piece goes on to point out that it may, in fact, be the liberal left that chooses to ignore science, without making an important point: Krugman may not be entirely wrong.

Yes, I know it may be shocking to read those words on this blog, but it's true. There may be some credence to the idea that Republicans are Republicans because of slight biological variation, just as Summers may have been right about part of the reason that women are less present in academia.

What I don't get is this: liberals want us to proclaim our diversity, but whenever someone tries to quantify that diversity they are dubbed sexist, racist, or some other 'ist.' When a liberal declines any interest in quantifying such things (Krugman) and prefers to make wild claims about the intellectual proclivities of an entire political party, that's OK. Maybe that helps prove Mr. Miller's point that liberals don't want to include the science.

Sometimes something good
comes out of the YDN, and often it's from Keith Urbahn (former blogger) who today has a column titled For pluralism, for world and for 'college in Conn.' to point out what Yale is losing. (For those who arent aware, Yale's motto is "For God, For Country, and For Yale").

Group demands a less hippy Yale
in response to: Group demands a greener Yale.

In a wordtwo words: Perfect
This, ladies and gentleman, fresh out of Yale, is the future of elections in this country as we continue to add ridiculous restrictions on campaigning. Here we have the results of one day of the campaign for president of the Yale College Council:

Three of the four presidential candidates were issued penalities or warnings last night. Syverud lost $30 of his discretionary campaign spending for submitting his statement of candidacy on the YaleStation portal three minutes and four seconds after Monday's 9 p.m. deadline. R. David Edelman '07 was issued a warning for starting a group for supporters of his campaign on thefacebook.com before the official beginning of public campaigning. Kennedy-Shaffer was issued a "warning with severity" and also lost $30 of campaign funds for misuse of thefacebook.com and for sending "hundreds of mass e-mails," YCC Vice President Chance Carlisle '05 said.

Kennedy-Shaffer received the harshest rebuke from the commission for e-mailing 798 students listed as his friends on thefacebook.com to solicit campaign support. Kennedy-Shaffer had argued that he was being penalized for having more friends than the other candidates.

Syverud said he was aware that his online submission might be close to the deadline and said he attempted to call Carlisle as 9 p.m. approached. Carlisle corroborated this statement, adding that he could not receive the calls because his cell phone was off. Syverud also said he thought he had submitted the statement on time.

"Basically, I was looking at a clock that was wrong," he said.
This is ridiculous, and it is the path we're slowly heading down.

UPDATE [4/6/2005 - 12:28]: Looks like I posted too soon, as the YDN editorial staff seems to generally agree with me.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ha!
I couldn't resist reproducing a brief item from James Taranto's Best of the Web Today:

The Other Catholic President
We heard from well over 100 readers who objected to our observation yesterday that "perhaps just as Bill Clinton has been called the 'first black president,' George W. Bush will one day earn the honorary title of 'first Catholic president,'" on the ground that John F. Kennedy was Catholic.

Oddly, though, no one made the point that Bill Clinton isn't really black and thus has no right to usurp from President Rice the title "first black president." Oh, we know what you're thinking, but the liberal media are going to make Hillary the first female black president, just you wait."
He often gets me to smile, maybe even chuckle a little—but this one had me laughing out loud.

I also encourage you to take a look at his piece about the NYTimes letter-writing Jack Nargundkar, whose email to Taranto (in response to Taranto's criticism of his original letter to the Times—still with me?) generally charges:
While I find the "culture of life" argument appealing, conservatives use it only where it is convenient. For example, conservatives have abused the Second Amendment to promote a "culture of death" with their unbridled support for all kinds of weapons, which are rarely purchased by law-abiding citizens but more frequently by criminals and visiting aliens (who probably export them to terrorists abroad).
He goes on to induce this reasoning to a broader narrative about how we must keep church and state isolated because "religion has been the cause of the world's major problems throughout history" while accusing the religious of "defending political behavior and governance under the garb of a particular religion."

Taranto responds that he will not address the letter point-by-point, but stick to the underlying message as Nargundkar requests. He says:
The problem here is that very few people really believe that "defending political behavior and governance under the garb of a particular religion" is wrong--or, we should say, almost everyone who claims to espouse this principle applies it selectively. If you applied it consistently, you'd have to say not only that the "Christian right" is of a piece with Osama bin Laden, but that so was Martin Luther King, who made no effort to separate his belief in racial equality from its roots in Christianity. For that matter, just about everyone has found at least something to praise in the politics of Pope John Paul II, even though they were indistinguishable from his Catholicism.

This doesn't mean that those who urged on religious grounds that Mrs. Schiavo not be killed were the equivalent of Dr. King or the pope (though the latter was among their number). Nor does it mean they were right. But equating them to fundamentalist terrorists is a cheap shot, and an intellectually indefensible one.
I think Taranto dispenses with Nargundkar pretty easily here, but I would like to address his point about the Second Amendment. Those of us who defend it do so for many reasons, at least one of which has to do precisely with the "culture of life." Setting aside the fact that we shouldn't have to defend a part of the Constitution, since by the very nature of its place there others shouldn't be allowed to cut away at it, let's move on.

Law-abiding citizens don't buy guns?? Those that are bought are probably sent overseas to terrorists? Are you kidding me?

The reason we support the broad right to gun ownership is because people should be able to protect themselves. There should be restrictions of course (kids shouldn't be allowed to bring loaded weapons to school, for example), but if you had a reasonable suspicion that all of those guys around you were carrying guns, would you be likely to hold one of them up? Guns take lives, yes—but they can also save lives by their presence, and their use by law-abiding citizens who want to stop someone who is using one to kill.

Do I want a man to be gunned down in public? Ideally, no. If that man is killing those around him, do I want to wait for the police to show up? Again, no. I'd much rather someone else nearby was armed to the teeth and tossed grenade in his direction. (Before you all flip out, yes, that's hyperbole).

MILF Hunter?
Jim Geraghty wonders if terrorist groups need some marketing consultents: "How did 'KONGRA-GEL' (Kurdistan People's Congress) ever get past the focus groups? It sounds like a hair care product."

This is via InstaPundit, who also points out that "for really bad product-naming, you've got to hand it to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose initials produce a lot of, um, non-Islamic hits on Google."

Who knew?
It appears that there has already been a black Pope. Mark Steyn points out: "We live in a present-tense culture where novelty is its own virtue: the Guardian, for example, has already been touting the Nigerian Francis Arinze as 'candidate for first black pope'. This would be news to Pope St Victor, an African and pontiff from 189 to 199. Among his legacies: the celebration of Easter on a Sunday."

I, certainly, had no idea.

A sigh of frustration
Someday people will understand the logical fallacy of these accusations of hypocrisy: "These radio and cable entertainers do precisely what they damn Mainstream Media reporters for doing: They 'interpret, analyze, and explain' news inside their narrow political context."

So where's the false logic? Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. do not bill themselves as reporters or anchors. In fact, their shows are interrupted every half hour for a news report. Theirs is news analysis, not coverage. They give nothing but their opinions, and they make that quite clear. The MSM, by contrast, writes "news" articles that pass massive amounts of judgement on the subject they are covering.

That's a big difference, and someday people will catch on to that.

Hadn't thought of this
But it seems Rome may always win out in its fights with the Anglican Church. CNN.com points out the irony: "When King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife and marry his pregnant lover, he denounced the pope and, in a flagrant act of rebellion against distant Rome, created the Church of England.
Now, almost 500 years later, heir to the throne Prince Charles has postponed his wedding -- to a divorcee at that -- to go to Rome to pay his respects at the funeral of Pope John Paul."


Those silly British Royals think they have control over who and when they marry? Hah.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Yes, I know we lost
last night, but that does not mean I'll ever give up on the Red Sox Nation. After all, I've been a fan at times when the curse looked set to last until the end of days.

Anyway, Daniel Drezner—who happened to be at Yale over the weekend—has a round-up of pieces written about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

Who'd have thought
the New York Tmes capable of a (relatively) even-handed article about concealed handguns?

Of course, don't get too excited. The headling ("Shootings Fuel a Drive to Ease Gun Laws") has a pretty strong implication that this is some sort of loose governing strategy. Anyway, the article at least allows for the possibility that citizens carrying guns could make us safer.

Hmmm...
Seems like all those polls we read before might have been phrased a little inaccurately. Zogby International asks the real question about the Schiavo situation:

"'If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water,' the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes."
Very interesting.