Monday, May 27, 2002
I'm off on vacation for the week, returning around June 4. In the meantime, you can puzzle over this question: What is the country coming to when one Federal agency sues another?
And if you feel bored, email the President and ridicule him for the decision by the ex-ATF head, now Transportation Security Agency head, who decided that airline pilots should not be allowed to carry firearms. That ludicrous and irrational decision demonstrates that we are not taking the War On Terrorism seriously.
Robin 3:50 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2002
I earlier swiped the statistics link below from Eugene Volokh, and now Prof. Volokh gives us this excellant short piece on the old canard about "Separation of Church and State" meaning that laws enacting one's morality being unconstitutional. I link to it not because of any topicality, its an amazingly old bit of illogic that repeatedly refloats, but because Prof. Volokh does such a good job of disposing of this one in short order.
In my law school days, it surprised me how long it took to dispose of this bit of poor reasoning among students who should have known better how to think. No doubt Prof. Volokh has dealt with that one in class too often to count.
Robin 2:16 PM
The Jerusalem Post gives us this story about a recent homicide bombing. Its good to see that the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades, Arafat's own, are directly targeting that most oppressive part of the Zionist nation, old men playing chess in public. If only we could get Robert Fisk into the Beirut chess club...
Robin 2:00 PM
Jonah Goldberg's largest talent isn't deep thought itself but wrapping deep thought in accessible prose. He does an excellant job here with a polemic on "natural".
Robin 11:43 AM
Iain Murry of www.stats.org always does a great job of illustrating the misuse of statistics in news and politics. Here he does it again on the recent stories about TV viewing and violence.
Robin 11:29 AM
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
I saw the obit for Steven J. Gould in this morning's local paper and wanted to comment. Fortunately, Godless Capitalist and Joel Grus ( go down to May 20 1:32pm ) beat me to it by saying all that I wanted to say.
Robin 3:06 PM
Dave Kopel outlines the lies of Senators McCain and Lieberman regarding the "gun show loophole".
Robin 8:27 AM
Sunday, May 19, 2002
Eric Raymond has a fantastic dissection of socialist thought in Science Fiction. He well nails down what had always troubled me about Iain Banks' works.
Robin 1:23 PM
I thought I was the only one to lament the descent of the magazine Scientific American into political correctness. Evidently, I'm not alone. The particular event that inspired the discussion referenced was Scientific American's issue with a biased "review" of Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist on the environmental movement.
Patrick Moore put up Lomborg's response here after a particularly despicable episode of Scientific American's bullying of Lomborg outlined here.
On an unrelated note, how many have noticed how Amazon.com book reviews have become a setting for smearing books on ideological grounds?
Robin 1:07 PM
Friday, May 17, 2002
There is a lot of commentary, inspired by the Democrats' despicable smears on President Bush, that the WTC / Pentagon attacks should have been foreseen. Here's Glenn Reynolds' for example. There are a lot of problems with Glenn Reynolds' posting ( which I'm sure he made in good faith ) but my comments apply to others' comments as well. For instance, I find this one by The New Republic's Michael Crowley to border on offensive. The most obvious observation should be that there is a large leap from memoranda that outline possible attacks to the conclusion that said attack is actually going to happen. All the more so when the only response is the difficult to accomplish, but more importantly difficult to contemplate, deliberate shoot down of a civilian airliner.
Can anyone seriously tell me that until the first airliner actually flew into the World Trade Center tower, that they themselves could contemplate ordering a civilian airliner with a hundred or more passengers shot down on the theoretical belief that it might be headed into a building occupied by thousands? How about I toss you the firing key to an F-16 with an air-to-air missile locked on that airliner. You are seriously going to tell me that - prior to 9-11 mind - you would have pressed it?
Its important too to remember that the WTC / Pentagon attacks succeeded not from a failure of security screening but from taking advantage of existing doctrine that hijackings were slow motion events. Events dealt with using a long practiced game plan. Only now, post 9-11, do we now have the doctrine that an airline hijacking is no longer about the passengers on the aircraft.
The parallels to SWAT procedures pre- and post- Columbine should be obvious.
Robin 1:37 PM
Damian Penny continues the good fight of whacking at the Chomsky cultists. The Chomsky Cult is an especially insidious form of the vapid Left.
Robin 12:35 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2002
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Eugene Volokh in his endorsement of an attack on Ann Coulter for her piece on reporting about the Second Amendment. And its with great respect, as Prof. Volokh has contributed some of the finest pro-Second Amendment commentary and legal scholarship; however, those of us who merely advocate for an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment have been labeled invariably as kooks and extremists in the media. At worst, Ann Coulter is living up to her reputation for colorful rhetoric. While Prof. Volokh may have a point that the rhetoric is unproductive, there is a certain satisfaction is seeing the return volley.
The person that Ann Coulter was working up to discussing with that swipe was Jack Rakove. It is disturbing - as she mentioned - to find an article by him published this year citing approvingly to Bellesiles' fraudulent work. While respectfully conceding Eugene Volokh's courteous comments, I find the toilet perhaps the correct description.
Robin 4:23 PM
With the news that the Bush administration had some intel related to planned hijackings by bin Laden's organization, we've seen commentary, especially among the more unsavory of the Bush-haters, that whackazoid Rep. Cynthia McKinney was somehow "right" in her bizarre conspiracy accusations.
Nothing could be further from the truth. McKinney was making the accusation that the President knew specifically of the Sept 11 attack and knowingly allowed it to occur to feed some imaginary thirst for war and defense spending. What she has alleged is nothing but slander, albeit the kind of slander that liberal Democrats have been practicing for some time now without consequences.
The story is more mundane, that the Bush administration had non-specific intelligence of a potential hijacking by Al Queda related personnnel. And those vague warnings were passed on via the FAA to airlines and to Congress. Far from a smoking gun, its not even an unlit match.
Robin 4:15 PM
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
There is another theme I want to introduce briefly and expand upon in later posts. That theme is the rise of the Internet Gadfly. This theme is related to my interest in the proliferation of Junk Science ( don't miss Steve Milloy's website in the links ) in our media, culture and politics. These gadflies are not merely advocates of whatever demented cause - be it Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Gulf War Syndrome, Alternative Medicine or what have you - they are completely obsessed. Peter Bowditch has an excellant website which has a section called Quintessence of the Loon[tm] where he lists websites of ... well ... loons. A hilarious collection of ravings. One problem in browsing his collection for entertainment is that in time the sheer magnitude of the raving irrationality starts to stun one like a long day at the rifle range. Full Canvas Jacket is another collection of Peter's, this time of loons appearing on Usenet.
And that brings me to my theme. I've been a part of various Internet forums and communities since Usenet was sent around the world on overnight dialup links - at least two decades - and the 'Net has always had its collection of strange people. And so with the global reach of the Internet, we have a truly global assortment of irrationals splashing in the pond. Peter links to the ravings of a couple of Internet Gadflys, and there are a couple he omits, who reach the status of Internet Thug. One-Man Bands of advocacy, Miniature Cultists, and actual Internet stalkers - one of Peter's Full Canvas Jacket recipients actually brags on Usenet of telephoning family and employers of Usenet posters she's deemed an enemy. Another evidently conducts mailbomb campaigns. All in the name of their obsession for their pet "cause". The Usenet news groups sci.environment, alt.support.breast-implant and misc.health.alternative are the main haunts of these vermin. Its difficult to extract from the long threads of Usenet discussions cogent examples of the Internet Gadfly and Internet Thug in operation, but I'll endeavor to do so in future episodes of this barrage.
Robin 5:11 PM
More interesting events in higher education, Glenn Reynolds updates us on how anti-semitism is tolerated on campus today if its cloaked in politically correct Palestinian masquerade. And in the same post, points to a story about how a bad taste joke - wearing blackface - will get one suspended from university.
It is so comical to recall how often we've heard that Political Correctness is a myth.
Robin 3:34 PM
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
The excellant Overlawyered.com informs us here of a move to introduce cases to push the concept that animals not only have "rights", but their own standing in court. Once again, the english language fails to provide sufficient adjectives to express just how ridiculous this is.
But this isn't just ridiculous, nor just hilarious, this represents the core danger of animal rights' extremists. We must all watch out for these attempts, and we must stand up and ridicule and condemn them when they pop up. The key is to keep these whackazoids marginalized.
Robin 5:17 PM
Monday, May 13, 2002
I hate to use excessively inflammatory rhetoric, but what else can one do to describe the assault on rationality that is our education system? That our education system is a failure because it has become dominated by teachers and administrators who are doing their best to disassociate themselves from our society should be obvious from the dominance of Political Correctness in higher education.
Christina Hoff Summer's fascinating book, The War Against Boys, alone, should cause anyone with children great fury with modern education ideology, but together with Martin Gross' Conspiracy of Ignorance, the depths to which its sunk is staggering. However, do not think that the education system cannot go lower. Here is a story of how "Zero Tolerance" politics are being used as cover for enforcing the social engineering that the Lillipudian educators are intent upon. 10 year old children being suspended from school for "pointing their fingers like guns during a game of army-and-aliens on the playground."
Is it possible for school administrators to more clearly cry out to be fired?
Robin 2:15 PM
Sunday, May 12, 2002
Please check out some of the links I list. There are some great commentary among them.
Robin 1:37 PM
This begins my own Blog. In this web journal, I will be posting my random thoughts on Politics, Ideology, Junk Science, Law and the Shooting Sports.
Also included will be some commentary on current events.
Robin 1:33 PM