24 Days? Secret Side Agreements? What the Hell?

Two things are most definitely WRONG with the proposed Iran Nuclear Deal.

First, the “inspection regime” is ludicrous. A 24-day delay before an inspection? Whatever happened to Obama’s insistence on “anywhere any time” inspections?

As comedian Jackie Mason puts it, “New York restaurants face tougher inspections than Iran. We’re not protected from a bomb, but we’re protected from bad quality tuna fish!

Envision the situation if food inspections in your town were run on the “Obama/Iran trust” basis.

Food Inspector: “We’ve had reports of unsanitary conditions and spoiled food, specifically bad tuna salad. I’m here to inspect your kitchen.”

Restaurant owner: “Show me the evidence, and I’ll consider your request for inspection.”

Food Inspector: “All right, here is the signed complaint.”

Restaurant owner: “Very well. I will analyze the complaint. Stop by in 24 days and I’ll let you inspect.”

Food Inspector (returning after 24 days): I’m here to inspect your kitchen.”

Restaurant owner: All right. I can’t let you into the kitchen, but here are some random samples of my tuna. As you can see, it is very fresh.”

Food Inspector: “OK. You have satisfied the inspection requirements of the ‘Montana Restaurant Inspection Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.’ Thank you for your compliance.”

NOTE: These inspection rules are contained in “Side Agreements” which are confidential, according to our government. The question is from whom are they being kept secret? The Iranians (and Chinese and Russians) know about them, and (presumably) the Obama Administration knows about them. The only folks who can’t see them are the citizens, press, and Congress of the United States. Why the secrecy?  Why 24 days?  What the hell is going on?

The other thing wrong is the whole absurd idea of Iran pursuing peaceful uses of nuclear power, or any Iranian nuclear program that is NOT military. Consider these facts. Iran is a significant exporter of oil and gas. Car gas sells for under a dollar a gallon. Their electricity costs a tenth of US rates. And yet Iran has spent hundreds of billions of dollars building nuclear infrastructure. Why? Are the Mullahs that worried about global warming? Are they planning for widespread use of electric cars?

Or could it have something to do with their bizarre vision of an anti-Western Islamic Apocalypse?  Their “Death to America” thing?

This thing looks so bad that Neville Chamberlain wouldn’t have bought it.

Senators: This deal should be opposed until we have a lot more satisfactory answers.

Herr Nietzsche and Mr. Finiti

My philosophical friend Ben Finiti has some interesting thoughts on the corruption of science by power. In “It Starts an Ends with Nietzsche“, he blames the famous German philosopher/nutcase for unleashing and legitimizing the pursuit of power over truth and morality.  Like Danton’s head, it is worth a look.

The “Higher Education” Bubble: An Update

Many have written about the scandalous rate of inflation in college and university tuition. Tuition has risen faster than overall inflation. Total higher ed costs (including state support) have risen even faster than medical costs, and medical care has gotten much better even as higher education has gotten much worse! Now, a remarkable proposal has arisen from a remarkable man: Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current President of Purdue University. This fellow (who was passed over for serious consideration as GOP presidential nominee in 2012 because of his charisma deficiency) has not only suggested, but actually implemented this amazing concept: Freeze tuition and require administrators to cut costs! He is quoted in an April 24 Wall Street Journal article entitled “How to Save American Colleges” by Kate Bachelder. It is behind a paid subscriber paywall, but it is summarized by Instapundit here, and National Review Online’s “Phi Beta Cons” blog here. Phi Beta Con’s Jane Shaw’s take “Canary in the Coal Mine?”:

We’ve been discussing whether the decision by Sweet Briar to close is a sign of future closures of colleges. Here’s Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue and former Indiana governor, on the subject: The jig is about up. “I don’t know what the rate of the shake out will be, but you can already see the front edges,” Mr. Daniels says, referring to colleges that have begun shutting down. “A year or two ago, it was schools you hadn’t even heard of. This year it was Sweet Briar,” he says, of the 114-year-old Virginia women’s college that announced last month it is closing because of “insurmountable financial challenges.”
 Instapundit Glenn Reynolds (a University of Tennessee law professor) provides us with these excerpts:

With acceptance letters in hand, millions of high-schools seniors ruminating over where to attend college—and their parents who are panicked that their kid might pick the place with the best climbing wall—should all take a breath: It doesn’t much matter where you go to college. What matters is “how you go,” says Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, the former governor of Indiana. He then lays out the results of the Gallup-Purdue Index, a national survey of 30,000 college graduates that was first released last year. The survey attempts to quantify not only what graduates earn but also how well they are navigating adult life. A mere 39% of college graduates report feeling engaged with their work, and in that group as many hail from top-100 schools as don’t. The three most important contributions that college makes to a sense of workplace thriving after graduation: Having one professor who made you excited about learning, feeling as though teachers cared about you, and working with a mentor. Graduates who checked those boxes were more than twice as likely to sense they are flourishing at work. But only 14% of those surveyed said they had hit that trifecta in college. Other positive factors from undergraduate experience: working on a long-term project, having an internship and participating in extracurricular activities. Where graduates went to college barely registered as a predictor of job satisfaction. That was two years ago, soon after Mr. Daniels arrived at Purdue. His first order of business: freeze tuition. “I had a sense, first of all, it seemed like the right thing to do. Not to skip over that. But secondly that we probably could do it without great difficulty,” he says. For decades college tuition has outpaced inflation, forcing students to increase their borrowing, but next year’s Purdue seniors will have never seen a tuition increase. “I thought this whole process—it’s sort of like a bubble, and people are using that term—just couldn’t go on much further, and so why not get off the escalator before it broke,” he says. Not many colleges have followed, and Mr. Daniels has a few theories about why. “Corporate boards 15 years ago or so were roundly and rightly criticized for being too compliant with the desires of management. If this was true of corporate boards, I think it’s really been true of a lot of college boards and trustees,” he says. “They have such an affection for dear old alma mater, love those 50-yard-line seats, ‘Whatever you want to do, Mr. President.’ And so it’s been observed a long time that colleges will spend everything they can get their hands on, in the absence of either market pressure or stewardship by a strong-minded board.” There is also what he considers an “insidious” idea that “if we don’t raise our price, people will think we don’t have confidence in our product.” He points out that “in the absence of proof, people assume a higher price must be a better product or education.” But according to data released last year, half of high-school seniors accepted by their first-choice college attended a different school, and most cited cost as the reason.

Instapundit also tells of another expose, this one from NRO’s Phi Beta Cons, “A Degree Signifying Nothing” by Jesse Saffron:

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has released a report titled “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile 2015.” According to the report’s author, Dr. Michael Poliakoff, only 4 out of the top 52 liberal arts colleges and universities in the country require English majors to take a course on Shakespeare. “If reading Shakespeare is not central to a liberal education, what is? For English majors to miss out is far worse. A degree in English without serious study of Shakespeare is like a major in Greek Literature without the serious study of Homer. It is tantamount to fraud. A department that claims to cover the full span of literature written in English and represent the highest standards of academic study cannot marginalize the writer most honored and beloved in English literary history,” writes Poliakoff. The report notes that, while many colleges are giving Shakespeare superficial treatment, trendy courses, and even courses that focus on the works of children’s book authors, are growing in number. As ACTA’s president Anne Neal said in a recent interview, “It’s no wonder that the public is rapidly losing faith in our colleges and universities.”

Phi Beta Con exclusively covers the sad state of higher ed. Instapundit covers lots of other things as well. Both are invaluable. If you are planning on sending yourself or your kids to college, you ought to check them both regularly. If nothing else, they will help you check many places off your list for consideration. Looking for a pricey bastion of trendy PC groupthink, anti-American activism, and de-masculization? You’ll find plenty. Want an institution of real learning, free thought and free speech, and respect for the classics? You’ll find a few that seem better than the rest. NOTE: I have commented elsewhere that speaking of “higher ed” as a single entity with a single set of problems is untrue and unfair. There are in fact three, as I see it: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math); SLASSH (sophistry: “liberal arts”, “social science”, and “humanities”), which might better be termed the “quotes” subjects, since none particularly resembles what they actually are); and PALME (professions: accounting, law, medicine and education). STEM remains a world of serious learning, and we continue to lead the world in it. SLASSH is a world of pure fakery, teaching little but the arts of Socrates’ despised sophists. PALME is a realm of uneven quality: rigorous where the world (and their professional associations) demand that they be, less so when they can get away with it. While the diseases afflicting higher ed are centered in the SLASSH schools, the serious STEM or PALME student is not immune. The SLASSH-and-burn PC police are running riot everywhere: in “general education” (SLASSH-indoctrination) course requirements, in the rape-culture” hysteria and resulting loss of due process for men, and in the general left-wing bullying and throttling of free speech. Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!

Not “Mothers’ Day” Again?

[Note: I first posted this piece a year (or two?) ago, when it first dawned on me that “Mothers’ Day” is an abhorrent, anachronistic vestige… Well, here it is again. I will keep posting it as a yearly reminder, until enlightened thinking progresses to the point that my satire comes true.]

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It is time to put an end to this outrage. “Mother’s” Day is an abhorrent, anachronistic vestige of heterosexist oppression. In barely concealed homophobic code, it implies that a child needs and/or benefits from having a mother, and that motherhood is something other than an outdated social construct.

Sure, motherhood may have been revered in the Dark Ages. But as Enlightenment has spread across the land in recent years, social scientists and learned judges have patiently explained to us that “mothers” are now quite redundant.

Wise judges such as Vaughn Walker, ruling that the voters of California have no right to decide so important a question, wrote:

“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment… The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology…Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted.”

See? It is “accepted beyond serious debate”. As Al Gore likes to say, the debate is over, we know all we need to know.

The judge did admit that things were different in the Dark Ages: “When California became a state in 1850, marriage was understood to require a husband and a wife.” But, as they say in California, that was then and this is now. (On retiring soon after ruling against Prop 8 (and coming out as gay), Judge Walker said ““I have done my part.” Indeed he has.)

The Iowa Supreme Court was equally patient in dismissing the folly of mother-fixation.

“The research appears to strongly support the conclusion that same-sex couples foster the same wholesome environment as opposite-sex couples and suggests that the traditional notion that children need a mother and father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.”

There you have it. This whole motherhood thing is just a stereotype.

And think of the emotional pain inflicted. Every “M-word” Day is a gross offense to the self-esteem of gay male couples who are thinking about raising children.

It reminds one of a heart-breaking episode from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Stan, a young rebel with gender issues, announces that he wants to have a baby:

Stan (also known as Loretta): It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.

Reg: But you can’t have babies.

Stan: Don’t you oppress me.

Reg: Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?

Well, Reg, modern science has finally come up with effective gestation boxes, so Stan’s dream (actually Loretta’s dream) can now come true. And the courts have said that gay adoption is OK, because all that a child needs is “parents”.

So we can leave this motherhood fetish back in ancient Judea where it belongs.

The obvious thing to do is to rename the holiday. Federal and state governments are quickly replacing the anachronistic “Mother” and “Father” lines on government forms and birth certificates with the more sensitive “Parent #1” and “Parent #2”.

The calendar can and should do the same thing. May 11 is Parent #1 Day, with Parent #2 to be celebrated later. (Don’t get me started on the whole “Fatherhood” outrage. That can wait until P2 Day.) Boycott Hallmark until they correct this archaic macro-aggression against the differently gendered parent!

Reminder: Did you call your Parent #1 today?

Not Giving Up Yet!

I was ready to give up this morning. How often can you say the same things over again?

The elites of America and Europe are so hostile to their own history and values that they bow their heads obediently to every challenge, even as the most barbaric form of Islam advances on every front.  Our president leads the way by refusing to name or acknowledge those waging war against us. Europe cowers in fear before the attackers, hoping the Islamist crocodile will be satisfied with devouring the Jews.  Antisemitism, appeasement, and denial rule the day.

Some commentators are consistently able to shed new light on this awful betrayal of everything good in us. I must speak especially of MARK STEYN. This guy is the most perceptive observer of our daily decline writing today. His Blog, steynonline.com, provides the best commentary around, and he manages to deliver the worst news in the funniest way; I laugh and cry at the same time (not out loud, of course, but you know what I mean) while reading it. I am tempted to turn my blog into a simple re-posting site for his stuff. Today, he writes “Living History”, about leftists who would rather talk (confusedly) about past history while ignoring the poor schnooks who are on the receiving end of Islamist butchers who are Making History today. In the past week he wrote “Who Would Be an American Ally” (when all we give our allies is criticism) and “Who Ya Gonna Believe? Us or your Own Severed Head?” (about our elites responding to beheadings and burnings-alive and sexual slavery with pious clichés and pouty hashtags).

I should also mention his books, in which he goes into detail about such things as the collapse of Europe (America Alone: 2008); he is undoubtedly the only writer to make a tale of demographic catastrophe both readable and funny. His sequel, After America, 2011, is also excellent, demonstrating how quickly America (the Brokest Nation in History) is catching up. Needless to say, his gloomy predictions were and are dismissed out-of-hand by the elites, when they aren’t simply ignored (hard to do with books that top the Best-Seller lists). But then, “Quem tum vates Cassandra moveret”, as Virgil put it: “Who ever listened to Cassandra?”

Anyway, I was on the verge of giving up blogging altogether when I happened to check my readership statistics. I was surprised to see that in one day I had 13 visits from readers in China! Now this could mean one of several different things.

  1. An English teacher in China had assigned her class to google some American cartoon characters, and that accidentally led them to me; or
  2. The Chinese government has decided that I am safe for their citizens to read (???); or
  3. I’ve been hacked. Unlikely, but, as the Oscar losers say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”

Anyway, to my new readers, Huanying!  And visit Mark Steyn NOW.

Me and My Pal Ben

Two recent posts from my colleague and friend Ben Finiti have gotten me thinking, even more than he usually does.

First, he posted a rebuttal (Dec. 13) to my post The “BDS” Movement: A 3-Question Test for Antisemitism ).  In it, I proved (to my own satisfaction) that the BDS Movement folks, while claiming to be unbiased human rights advocates, are nothing but a gang of Jew-haters.  Ben agreed in part but dissented in part, as the jurists say.  He noted that the uniqueness of Israel’s West Bank occupation is not just that it is being done by Jews, but also that it is being done by…an ally of the United States!  As he writes, Russia’s occupation of Ukraine and Crimea, like Turkey’s of Cyprus and China’s of Tibet, are conducted by nations distinctly unfriendly to us.  Therefore, he concludes that anti-Americanism is at least equal motivation for Western leftists to oppose Israel.  Now I don’t like being rebutted any more than anyone else, but Mr. Finiti once again has hit the target. Acu rem tetigisti, as Jeeves would say.

So we have the wonderful situation where Arabs hate America for supporting Israel, and the left hating Israel for supporting America. 

The other recent post by Ben is a philosophical reflection on the collapse of Western civilization (“Sophists, Therapists, and Politicians, Oh My…God!”).  My resolution, after reading it, is to read up on philosophy. Fortunately, Ben has supplied an excellent reading list which is sure to enlighten and depress me at the same time.

Thoughts on Police Killings

Three thoughts inspired by the recent assassination of two NYPD officers:

First, the assassin was named Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley.  As the name suggests, he was a Muslim. His website had pages from the Koran, justifying revenge.  Yet the major media reports NEVER mentioned the Islamist issue.  They decided that the narrative was Black American rage over Ferguson and other police shootings.  Again, for the media, “Islam” is considered mentionable only in regard to supposed victims of anti-Muslim American bigots.

Second, some interesting Statistics from the FBI’s detailed file, “Law Enforcement Officers Feloniously Killed”.

Over the past 6 years, 292 police officers were murdered in the US, for an average of 49 every year. This does not include those killed in accidents. Most are killed by gunfire.   In 2014, 59 were murdered. Of these, 47 were shot, 10 were victims of vehicular assault (run down when they got out of their cars), and 2 died from non-gunfire assaults. You may remember reading about a handful of cases, but most were only local stories.

An average of 49 per year equals about .01% of the half million or so officers in America. Depending on your perspective, one one-hundredth of a percent may not seem like many.

Far more startling are the numbers of officers assaulted in the line of duty: over 50,000 most years, for about 10%. Every police officer in America knows that there is one chance in 10 that someone will attack him this year.   In the course of a career, the odds in the cop’s favor decrease steadily.

You may never have heard these facts. But most police are well aware of the general risks, even if not the precise statistics. They must face every interaction with a suspicious or misbehaving person, even every traffic stop, as a potential assault in the making. And whenever an assault appears to be developing, the cop must wonder if he or she is about to be the next of the 49.

These are the facts that the haters and race-baiters like Al Sharpton, and even the presumably well-intentioned (?) police critics of the media, fail to recognize or acknowledge.

Third, anyone who advocates the withdrawal of police officers from assertive law enforcement should read this analysis (in the excellent City JournaI) by the NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton, “Why We Need Broken Windows Policing: It has saved countless New York lives—most of them minority—cut the jail population, and reknit the social fabric.


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