Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Race and Class

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Juan Williams. Key paragraph:

Another telling finding is the difference among black people in how much they feel “personal factors” instead of “racial discrimination” determine how far any black person can expect to get in life. The Pew poll found that 53 percent of black Americans agree that “blacks who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition.” That fits with poll findings that two-thirds of all Americans (71 percent of whites and 59 percent of Hispanics) feel that personal behavior—values, education, hard work—is what holds back those black Americans still trapped in poverty.

As I have always said, you have to work hard to be poor in this land of opportunity.


Dr John J. Ray, my polymathic friend Down Under, comments on a Wall Street Journal column of this date. Since the post appears on the Stop the ACLU blog, I might add that the American Civil Liberties Union has long since ceased being a liberal organization. It is a progressive organization. Hence, it is perfectly appropriate for conservatives to try to “stop” it.

“The New Liberal Theology”

Here is Camille Paglia’s latest column. Agree with her or disagree with her: The woman is interesting.

Conspicuous Consumption

See here. Note that “conspicuous” derives from “con” (together) and “spicuous” (visible). A thing is perspicuous when it is thoroughly visible. A thing is conspicuous when it is visible to those who are gathered together. Conspicuous consumption is consumption for the sake of status. It exists because we are animals.

The Politicization of Bridge

My friend Peg Kaplan, who is a Grand Life Master bridge player, weighs in on the scandalous behavior of the United States delegation to Shanghai.

Hall of Fame?

Boog Powell. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)


Should conservatives care about cities? See here for an affirmative answer.

A Year Ago


Animal Ethics

Here is my latest post. Please read it if the term “Thanksgiving Pie” intrigues you. By the way, how many of you will be having a meatless Thanksgiving dinner this year? How many of you will be doing the traditional 10K race (the “turkey trot”) Thanksgiving morning?

Addendum: Here is a New York Times story about a vegetarian (but not a vegan) dish.


Bush hatred is rampant in academia, as anyone who has set foot on campus knows. What’s funny is that scholars are supposed to be disinterested searchers for truth. They are to be calm, collected, and civil. What we find instead are fanatics. Some of them, such as Brian Leiter, are so far gone as to need counseling. See here for Peter Berkowitz’s column about the sad state of academia.

Addendum: Here is my TCS column of more than four years ago entitled “The Natural History of Bush-Hating.” If anything, Bush hatred is more pronounced today than it was when I wrote the column.

Addendum 2: Someone counted the number of times Leiter used the expression “Bush and his bestiary of madmen.” Answer: dozens of times. It makes you wonder who’s mad, doesn’t it?


Eric Wedge of the Cleveland Indians and Bob Melvin of the Arizona Diamondbacks have been named Managers of the Year in their respective leagues. There were other worthies, such as Lou Piniella, Clint Hurdle, and Charlie Manuel, but nobody can complain about these two receiving the awards. As for why I didn’t list Joe Torre or Terry Francona, it’s because a monkey could manage the high-salaried New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to the playoffs.

Addendum: Alex Rodriguez and his agent, Scott Boras, are playing “good cop, bad cop” with the New York Yankees. Betcha the Yankees fall for it.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

A Nov. 9 letter regarding my comments that sexism was a major player in the Democratic debate two weeks ago suggests that the Clinton campaign discourage me from “any more counterproductive comments about ‘sexism.’”

I’ve endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, but I’ve never worked for her campaign. But when The Times (and other papers) asked for my opinion of the debate, as the only American woman ever to run for national office on a major-party ticket, I called it as I saw it.

I’ve had some experience with sexism, during the 1984 campaign and in decades in public life before and since, and I’ve always spoken out about it. If I had shut my mouth and simply promoted myself, my life would have been much easier, but my daughters and my granddaughters would have it much harder today.

Watching this debate, I saw two hours of Senator Clinton being bombarded with personal attacks, not only by her opponents but also by the moderator Tim Russert. Yes, she’s the Democratic front-runner, and that makes her fair game for challenges on the issues. But when it got so personal that even Bill Richardson, one of her opponents, had to say “Enough,” I had to agree.

Barack Obama has said that, when he was attacked for 15 minutes in a prior debate, he didn’t raise his race as an issue. Fifteen minutes is not two hours, though, and I feel sure that, if Senator Obama had been subjected to so sustained an attack, plenty of other people would be talking about racism, even if he wasn’t. But then, as I’ve said before, in this country it’s still O.K. to be sexist, but not to be racist.

I’ll be watching the coming candidate debates on CNN, and if the Republican front-runner, Rudolph W. Giuliani, is the sole subject of two hours of personal attacks, I’ll rethink my position.

It will help if, next time out, John Edwards and Senator Obama stick to substantive policy disagreements with Senator Clinton. If they can’t, they’ll only prove themselves unworthy of our party’s nomination.

Geraldine A. Ferraro
New York, Nov. 13, 2007

Note from KBJ: This letter projects weakness. No wonder Mondale and Ferraro got trounced! (Full disclosure: I voted for Mondale and Ferraro.)


Longtime reader Steve Walsh sent a link to this Way Cool electoral map. I’ve been playing around with it. Suppose we abolished the electoral college. Maps like this would make no sense. Presidential candidates would campaign only in large metropolitan areas. Chess would become checkers.

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