Friday, March 02, 2007

Swiss Watch Winds Up Inaccurate

One of the funniest headlines of my lifetime: Swiss Troops Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein.

Funny, I sat next to Miss Lichtenstein in Brooklyn College in 1975 and no accidents of this sort occurred.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Congress Finally Doing Something to Help Out Black Americans

Of all the problems afflicting black America, it's clear that high on the list is making sure that there are plenty of black football coaches. Yep, that's right. Our ol' Congress - or at least some part thereof - seems to think that the dearth of black football coaches is a national crisis and that legislation might be needed. Now, I do think there is something not-so-nice in why black men don't get hired - I suspect that there's more than a little reluctance because administrators fear that they won't connect with boosters. But legislation? Could it even be done legally?

The best part here is that Myles Brand, the busybody head of the NCAA, is really exercised because:

Part of my personal frustration with this issue is the lack of direct control the NCAA has over the matter,” Brand responded. “The colleges and universities will not cede to the NCAA the authority to dictate who to interview or hire in athletics.”


Did he really say that? If you've ever had any doubts about the arrogance of the NCAA, that should erase them. Golly, you mean universities don't want to give up control over who they're going to hire for their multi-million dollar programs? What arrogance! What impertinence! We should ban their mascots! That'll show 'em...sheesh.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beware the Dread Religion

My apologies for my overlong hiatus from reviewing Heather MacDonald's screed, or perhaps screech. A veritable avalanche of work is upon me and I am struggling valiantly to dig out from under.

Until my return here is a sample of the dreaded soul-numbing faith-founded sensibility she fears is corrupting our otherwise tame existence. Courtesy of the poet Burns, his A Prayer in the Prospect of Death.

O Thou unknown, Almighty Cause
Of all my hope and fear!
In whose dread presence, ere an hour,
Perhaps I must appear!

If I have wander'd in those paths
Of life I ought to shun --
As something, loudly, in my breast,
Remonstrates I have done --

Thou know'st that Thou hast formed me
With passions wild and strong;
And list'ning to their witching voice
Has often led me wrong.

Where human weakness has come short,
Or frailty steps aside,
Do Thou, All-good - for such Thou art --
In shades of darkness hide.

Where with intention I have err'd,
No other plea I have,
But, Thou art good; and Goodness still
Delighteth to forgive.

Monday, February 26, 2007

So It's President Rudy, Then

Almost 2 years before the next Inauguration Day, every poll and every bit of conventional wisdom agrees: Rudy Da Man to lead Team GOP to victory.

He skates to the nomination: head evangelical honcho Dr. James Dobson hates John McCain for calling certain Christians "agents of intolerance," libertarianish tax freedomers hate John McCain for voting against the first and decisive round of Bush tax cuts, and Rush Limbaugh hates John McCain for McCain-Feingold, the Gang of 14, and a couple dozen well-deserved other things.

Such unanimity is rare in the Republican Party. John McCain is a consensus builder, let's give him that.

Mitt Romney's single term as governor of Massachusetts and a few years as steward for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, although estimable, make Barack Obama, who at least served in his state legislature, look like an elder statesman. Plus Romney subscribes to Mormonism, which unfortunately, Harrison Ford never made a movie about. Mitt would have better luck if he were Amish---although that would make it tough for Putin or the mullahs to get him on the red phone and he'd have to take a rowboat to summit meetings. But with one of those cool black hats and some whiskers, he'd look positively Lincolnesque.


The 2008 general election will be even easier for His Rudyness, because if there's one thing collectivists hate more than their opponents, it's each other. Most of America despises Mistress Hillary, even those who pretend to like her. Barackorama will find out that leading the free world is even harder than quitting smoking, although it's nearly a dead heat. He'll succeed at neither, if only because he's crazy to try both at the same time.

And if there's anybody who's no Jack Kennedy, it's John Edwards, who not only chased ambulances but caught them. He used the ensuing millions to score an entry-level job as a US senator, but after 6 agonizing years of clockwatching, bailed to send his resume out full time from a monstrous enviro-unfriendly compound instead. Forget about Jack Kennedy---Edwards isn't even a John Kerry, to whom "a lifetime of" certainly applies, even if "public service" doesn't.


So for now, it's President Rudy. Much can happen in two years, and the prostate cancer that sidelined Rudy from sending Mrs. Clinton to well-deserved political obscurity in the 2000 New York senate race could become a factor again. I meself am good with Sen. McCain, who is wrong on all the little things, but not the important ones. Such faint praise was heaped on Winston Churchill, and all he did was save the world.

But as a Republican, I wish we had some bench strength with guys like Bill Richardson or Evan Bayh: they're superbly qualified and probably not nuts. Their politics are often not the same as mine, but neither are heir apparent Rudy's, and the GOP has a lot, and too much, riding on our new quarterback's arm, head, and prostate gland.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Apt Comparison?

In a recent post at my blog (mdvoutlook.com), I ruminated about an article that argued that Rudy Giuliani is a new kind of social conservative. I wasn’t completely swayed by the author’s argument, but it is clear to me that Giuliani is in many ways a very solid conservative. For those who are troubled by his being labeled a “social liberal” I think that moniker is misleading.

Let’s compare him to another “social liberal” who has run for office in the last several years and has a track record governing America’s most populous state, California. Yes, I speak of Arnold (you know you’ve reached a special status in American culture you’re on a first name basis with everyone).

Actually there is no comparison. Arnold may be a “social liberal” but he is much worse. His kind is the bane of all conservatives, the “moderate.” Moderates are a strange breed; they claim to be down the middle, neither left nor right. Pragmatic is a word they often use to describe themselves. They have no time for ideology, and they think they possess a special gnosis that the more ideologically minded are blind to. From what I’ve seen of these types of politicians they always come down on the liberal side of the political spectrum when it comes to public policy. They are more secular-oriented than not and as such are easily rankled by religious conservatives.

Arnold is a classic "moderate." He talked a good game when he became governor, but when push came to shove, he had no conservative principles to keep him from moving left. At this point he doesn’t look all that much of an improvement over Gray Davis.

Rudy may take some socially liberal positions on a few issues, but that is where his liberalism ends. In my mind they are out of place with the rest of his worldview, but this may be an inconsistency many conservatives will be able to live with. He is by nature and philosophy a solid conservative everywhere else, and how he governed NYC reflected that. Will it be enough to secure the nomination? We’ll see, but that so many social conservatives are willing to seriously consider him is a testament to his conservative bona fides.