Saturday, May 30, 2015

Odds and ends 5/30/2015

Ted Cruz gives the perfect answer to a gay mafia apparatchik.

True words from Rand Paul speaking in Chicago, an urban war zone:

“There is crime going on all across America. It is not a racial thing, it is a spiritual problem,” Paul said. “I think government can play a role in public safety, but I don’t think government can mend a broken spirit. Government can’t provide you salvation, government can’t save you. ... Ultimately, salvation is something you accept yourselves.”

Grievance mongers like “Reverend” Al Sharpton don’t bring spiritual healing. They bring anger and strife.

Another urban war zone, Baltimore, needs uniformed men with guns, corrupt or not, to stop the people from killing each other. Once a society has reached this level of decay, self-immunized from regenerative forces of family, faith, and entrepreneurship, it is beyond saving. Buzzfeed reports:

In the weeks following the death of Freddie Gray and arrest of all six Baltimore police officers involved, the city's troubled western district has seen its murder rate skyrocket and arrests plunge.

Across the city, 100 people have been killed so far this year, far outpacing the 71 homicides by the same time in 2014. This week alone, at least 19 people were shot, four of them fatally, according to a Baltimore Sun count.

In the western district, the 28-day period ending on May 16 saw six homicides, up from only two in 2014, according to police data. Non-fatal shootings in the district over the same period jumped from only five in 2014 to 20 this year.

Meanwhile, arrests are down sharply in the city. In the three weeks after Gray’s death on April 19, officers made 1,452 arrests, the data shows. By comparison, the data reveals that during the same three-week period in 2013 and 2014, police made well over 2,000 arrests.

Police data also shows arrests have declined in recent weeks as compared to earlier this year. The first 15 days of May, for example, had fewer arrests than any previous half-month period in 2015.

Motherhood is a “social construct,” and thus should be deconstructed for self-authoring modern man. John Podhoretz writes:

Sokal’s hoax was a warning that academia’s embrace of post-modernism was leading it down the rabbit hole into the nonsense world of an Orwellian Wonderland in which, as in the case of gravity, down was up and up was down.

Well, it’s 19 years later, and Social Text has had the last laugh. We’re living in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter and the March Hare have won; the rest of us have lost.

Sokal came to mind on Sunday when the Boston Globe published an article by the president of one of America’s august schools of higher learning, Smith College.

The title of Kathleen McCartney’s op-ed: “Time to rethink our social construct of motherhood.” In the body of the article, McCartney argues: “Motherhood is a cultural invention. It reflects a belief adopted by society that is passed down from one generation to the next.”

Unlike Sokal, McCartney’s not kidding. It should be unnecessary to point this out, but evidently it’s not, so here goes: Motherhood, literally understood, is the root of humankind—the wellspring of human existence.

By definition, it pre-exists society because there could be no society without people, and people could not exist without motherhood.

The liberal fascists want the children. It’s so obvious it’s yawn-inducing at this point. Jayme Metzgar writes at the Federalist:

“I got interested in this question of what parents should and shouldn’t be allowed to do to, for, and with their children, because I was interested in equality of opportunity,” Swift begins in a benign, conversational tone. “The reason why children born to different families have very different chances in life is because of what happens within those families.” If you’re thinking that at this point he might suggest a few things parents can do to increase their children’s chances in life, you must not be a philosopher.

“One way philosophers might think about solving the social-justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family,” he continues, cheerfully. “If the family is this source of unfairness in society, then it looks plausible to think that if we were to abolish the family, we would create a more level playing field.”

Swift goes on to reassure his listeners that “nearly all philosophers” have concluded that kidnapping all children and raising them in state institutions would be a “really bad idea.” So the next challenging philosophical conundrum is: “Why, exactly, would that be a bad idea? Why, exactly, is it good that children be raised by parents?” Now, I’ve worked with abandoned Romanian children for many years, and I’ve seen what it looks like when the state raises children. At this point in my listening experience, I resisted the urge to throw my laptop across the room.

It was the next part of the program, though, that ended up grabbing headlines. “What we realized we needed,” Swift explains, “was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children.”

It won’t be long before progressives realize they can’t “grandfather” biological parents into the universal foster care system because they aren’t trustworthy agents of the state.

Fairfax County, Virginia, is doing its part to raise the next generation of identitarians. From Fox News via Pajama Media:

Get a load of what the kids are going to be learning in middle school:

“Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender,” the district’s recommendations state.

“Emphasis will be placed on recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination.”

Eighth graders will be taught that individual identity “occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“Individual identity will also be described as having four parts – biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual).”

The district will also introduce young teenagers to the “concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum.” By tenth grade, they will be taught that one’s sexuality “develops throughout a lifetime.”

Unsaid but implicit in the teaching is the principle that every individual’s identity, whatever it is, should be accepted. They’d be better off teaching Paul’s instruction for acceptance: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7). Christ accepts us, sinfulness and all, faithful that we are dead to sin by carrying His death and resurrection in our bodies.

Dan Popp writes an excellent article about the role of law, analyzing 1 Timothy 1:8-11, but I think he slips a little bit:

Law is made for (or set against) the lawless. The remedy for a lawless person is to feel the full weight of just laws. Many conservatives make a self-refuting argument against gun control laws: Criminals don’t obey laws, therefore [gun control] laws are useless. I complained about this in an article called “Conservatives arguing badly.” No, God says, law is for the lawless. If there’s anything an evil person needs, it’s the law, and if there’s any justification for law it’s that lawbreakers exist.

The conservative argument against gun control is that it’s effective in disarming the law-abiding public, leaving them defenseless against evildoers. If a gun control law could predict and target only evildoers, I’d be for it.

Why not more skilled immigration? Let the Daily Caller explain:

Rubio’s “I-squared” bill would triple the number of temporary guest workers businesses could bring into the country every year, and allow for a virtually unlimited number of university-based green cards.

The big businesses backing this bill and clamoring for more guest workers insist they can’t find enough Americans willing or able to fill certain “high-skilled” jobs. Rubio obviously agrees, and has argued more guest workers and immigration generally will result in more jobs for Americans.


“It’s basically a quest for cheap labor,” Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California Davis, told TheDCNF. “The abuse of H-1B pervades the entire industry. They all could find American workers if they wanted to, but they want cheap labor and they want immobile labor.”

“Its only purpose is to please the corporate interests that are very heavy campaign contributors,” he added. “That is literally the bottom line.”

The ex-Disney employee concurred, calling the notion of a shortage “completely insane,” given his experience. “There’s not a shortage of IT workers but all the jobs are vanishing,” he said. “I’m completely, completely disenfranchised by IT.”

“I want to have nothing to do with it now,” he continued. “I’m doing my best to get out of it, because there is no future in IT. I would never recommend it to my children.”

Nearly 75 percent of Americans with STEM degrees are not working in STEM Fields, according to Census data, and only 3.8 million Americans with STEM degrees actually hold STEM jobs.

I’ve seen it firsthand. One of the largest employers in San Antonio has imported thousands of Indians to take IT jobs. It’s great for corporate profits, not so much for local IT workers who are priced out of a job.

Ross Douthat debunks some liberal fact-free bromides about Christian priorities:

Last week two prominent Americans — an eminent social scientist and the president of the United States — decided to answer the question: How have America’s churches failed the poor?

Their answer was one deeply congenial to the progressive mind: They’ve been too obsessed with the culture war.

“Over the last 30 years,” Harvard’s Robert Putnam told the Washington Post, “most organized religion has focused on issues regarding sexual morality, such as abortion, gay marriage, all of those. I’m not saying if that’s good or bad, but that’s what they’ve been using all their resources for ... It’s been entirely focused on issues of homosexuality and contraception and not at all focused on issues of poverty.”

President Obama’s version, delivered when he shared a stage with Putnam at Georgetown University, was nuanced but similar in thrust: “Despite great caring and concern,” the president remarked, when churches pick “the defining issue” that’s “really going to capture the essence of who we are as Christians,” fighting poverty is often seen as merely “nice to have” compared to “an issue like abortion.”

It would be too kind to call these comments wrong; they were ridiculous. Not only because (as Putnam acknowledged) believers personally give abundantly to charity, but because institutionally the churches of America use “all their resources” in ways that completely belie the idea that they’re obsessed with culture war.

As Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard pointed out, “Even the most generous estimates of the resources devoted to pro-life causes and organizations defending traditional marriage are just a few hundred million dollars.” Whereas the budgets of American religious charities and schools and hospitals and other nonprofits are tabulated in the tens of billions. (Indeed, as Bloomberg View’s Megan McArdle noted, some of that money — from Catholic sources — paid Obama’s first community-organizer salary.)

This reality is reflected in the atmosphere of most churches and the public statements of their leaders. Anyone who tells you that America’s pastors are obsessed with homosexuality or abortion only hears them through a media filter. You can attend Masses or megachurches for months without having those issues intrude; you can bore yourself to tears reading denominational statements and bishops’ documents (true long before Pope Francis) with a similar result. The belief that organized religion is organized around culture war is largely a conceit of the irreligious.

How has America’s government failed the poor? Or, how hasn’t it failed the poor? The Great Society turns 50 this year. It promised to end poverty in our time.

Iraq continues to crumble.

“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Carter said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They were not outnumbered, but in fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. And yet they failed to fight.”

They didn’t want to die for something not worth dying for.

Now that the Texas drought is over, I wonder how the billion-dollar state water plan will be impacted. Hopefully we won’t over-stress and over-manage our resources like California.

Meanwhile level-headed Israel does what it needs to survive:

As California and other western areas of the United States grapple with an extreme drought, a revolution has taken place here. A major national effort to desalinate Mediterranean seawater and to recycle wastewater has provided the country with enough water for all its needs, even during severe droughts. More than 50 percent of the water for Israeli households, agriculture and industry is now artificially produced.

In the second round of the NBA playoffs, the Clippers regressed towards the mean. They shot 42.7 percent in games 5 through 7 against the Rockets, all losses. There was no way they were going to continue to shoot 50 percent from the floor, which they did against the Spurs in games 4 through 7.

The hack-a-Shaq strategy made no difference to the outcome. The Rockets actually missed more free throws than the Clippers and won all three contests handily. Had the Clippers made 100 percent of their free throws, they still would have lost all three games. The hysteria over the game’s integrity can now end, as well as the irrational push to give bad free throw-shooting teams a strategic advantage.

By the way, I predict the Warriors will beat the Cavaliers in the Finals in 5 games.

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