Dec 31 2009

Diversity as Farce

Category: diversity,education,higher education,universityharmonicminer @ 9:23 am

Virginia Tech is strongly committed to diversity.   It is not “academics honoring diversity” precisely because VTech has place diversity on the very top rung of values, below which all other values must fall, whatever protestations of academic ambition may by made.

Virginia Tech Reasserts ‘Diversity’ Folly

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University—better known as Virginia Tech—is in the midst of an extraordinary campaign to impose a comprehensive regime focusedon “diversity.” Reading through Virginia Tech’s official documents since March is something like watching a colonial power laying out a plan to force its language, culture, laws, religion, and ideals on a subject people. The put-upon natives in this case are, first of all, the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. But the imperial power, of course, doesn’t mean to stop with subordinating the faculty chiefs to the Empire. The rule of Diversity must ultimately extend to every student and every employee.

Diversity? It must surely strike most readers that the ideological campaign for diversity on campus is by this point rather old-fashioned. Diversity as a rallying cry for the campus left took its initial impulse from Justice Lewis Powell’s opinion in the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1978 case, Bakke v. The Regents of the University of California. Powell’s remarks weren’t supported by any other justice and did not have the force of law, but they nonetheless suggested a rationale for using racial preferences in college admissions. A racially diverse college classroom, in Powell’s opinion, was bound to be a more pedagogically enriching one, since it stood to reason that people of different races would learn from each other.

We draw attention to this university once again, however, not as a case study in vapid strategizing. Rather, it serves as a bookend to the whole diversity movement. Marx’s famous remark that great events and personalities in world history repeat themselves, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce,” seems apt. Virginia Tech, a large regional university known more for its football program and a series of horrific killings, has chosen to play out a spent ideology to its final dregs. That it is does so in the delusion that it is somehow on the cutting edge of academic innovation is what makes this farce.

Farces are not without their victims. Virginia Tech is an institution of modest academic standing that seems intent on winning a certain kind of race to the bottom. Faculty members there have privately reassured us that the administrators aren’t as crazy as they sound. They are just playing the cards that they think they need to. It’s an excuse I don’t buy. The administrators have wrapped themselves in such fervent diversity rhetoric that we have to take them at their word. They may have started off as cynical players, but they are now totally invested in this folly and are surrounded with minions who are clearly true believers.

So the Virginia Tech story does seem worth yet another look. A large state university is spiraling downward into an anti-intellectual orthodoxy, and as it plummets it is busy praising its ability to take flight.

This is the beginning and ending of an article that is well worth reading in its entirety, if you want to understand the origins of the modern diversity movement.

Dec 30 2009

The Cause of Terrorism is not poverty; the fix is not to restrict the freedom of normal people

Category: Islam,national security,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:08 am

In a refreshing break from its usual mantra of “terrorism is just a natural response to poverty and oppression,” the AP reports that the airline bomb suspect came from an elite family and the best schools.

As a member of an uppercrust Nigerian family, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab received the best schooling, from the elite British International School in West Africa to the vaunted University College London.

But the education he wanted was of a different sort: Nigerian officials say his interest in extremist Islam prompted his father to warn U.S. authorities. As Abdulmutallab was being escorted in handcuffs off the Detroit-bound airliner he attempted to blow up on Christmas Day, he told U.S. officials that he had sought an extremist education at an Islamist hotbed in Yemen.

A portrait emerged Sunday of a serious young man who led a privileged life as the son of a prominent banker, but became estranged from his family as an adult. Devoutly religious, he was nicknamed “The Pope” for his saintly aura and gave few clues in his youth that he would turn radical, friends and family said.

“In all the time I taught him we never had cross words,” said Michael Rimmer, a Briton who taught history at the British International School in Lome, Togo. “Somewhere along the line he must have met some sort of fanatics, and they must have turned his mind.”

At what point will the west, particularly the leftist elites, stop trying to tie terrorism to poverty or “oppression”?  This nonsense arises in part, of course, to find a way to blame the Israelis for defending themselves, and refusing to continue to allow their opponents advantages in land and ability to pre-position forces that nearly led to Israel’s destruction in earlier wars.  The real enemy is a mosque-induced death cult, whatever the economic status of its members.

This 23 yr old wannabe mass murderer had privileges I can only dream about. Something poisoned his mind. That something was radical Islam.

Abdulmutallab is not the only one with such ambitions.  His colleagues in hopeful horror are, like him, “students” from families that are wealthy enough to send them abroad for world-class educations.  The thing they have in common is that they take 7th-century Islam extremely seriously.  They actually believe the words of the “Prophet,” and have chosen to live — and die — in response to that belief.

In the meantime, ever more restrictive airport boarding regulations seem a certainty, and ever more intrusive searches, until we figure out that we have no choice but to identify who is more likely to have evil intent, and give them more scrutiny, because we surely don’t have the resources or the time to give the necessary scrutiny to everyone, including your grandmother in a wheelchair from Peoria, or Trenton, who may choose not to visit you next Christmas due to a distaste for body cavity searches and x-ray glasses (like the ones they used to sell in D.C. Comics, except these will work) in the hands of prurient security types.

The feckless belief that we can solve our security problems by restricting carry-ons and on-board behavior even more than we already have, and by searching everyone even more thoroughly, is yet more “Powerpuff Policy.”

Sooner or later, someone is going to figure out how to make high-explosive dentures and hip/knee replacements.  While Christian “fundamentalists” will be getting only fluoride treatments, young adult male Islamic fanatics will be lining up to have all their teeth pulled and get dental implants made of enamel coated plastique.   I predict an influx of wealthy foreign nationals, of Islamic extraction, into European schools of orthopedic surgery, particularly focusing on lower extremity joint replacements.  Our too-faithful recent oral surgery patients, who will not have flossed much, will enter airplanes with a slight limp.  It’s tough to recover from double knee/double hip transplants, especially when it hurts to eat.

The other passengers will feel sorry for them, briefly.

Eventually, the only people on airplanes will be strip-searched people with no scars, who just endured body cavity searches and had their stomachs pumped.  But they will be very, very safe, wearing their airline-issued flying uniforms.  When they land at their destinations, they will report to the changing room/luggage area, where they’ll get their clothing back, which was sent in a transport plane.   Cost of a ticket from L.A. to Phoenix?  About $1,000.

Coming up next:  explosive hair.

Dec 28 2009

An Inconvenient Truth About Terrorism

Category: appeasement,Islam,Obamaamuzikman @ 9:23 pm

I cannot remember one single incident in which an international terror attack was prefaced with a cry of, “Hail Mary, full of grace…”

“Who is like you, oh Lord….” has not been uttered by even one suicide bomber just before they flipped their fatal switch.

No airline hijacker has screamed, “Om Mani Padme Hum”, “Hare Krishna”, or even a simple “Aum.”

And in spite of the often discriminatory tone towards Christianity in this country, I know of no crowds of fanatics who have danced in the streets around a burning effigy, shouting “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.

The simple fact is this.  Virtually all international terror is done in the name of Islam.  Note I did not say Islam is a religion of terror.  I said terror is done in the name of Islam.  Anyone wishing to step forward with a plausible denial of this simple fact please feel free to do so.

So here is the problem in America today.  The current occupant of the White House is an Islamic apologist and his administration reflects his attitude.

In his first year in office, President Obama has gone out of his way to reach out to Islamic regimes, some of which can best be described as avowed enemies, either of us or our allies, while at the same time he tours the world, apologizing for the United States.  Obama has tried to play down the importance of remembering 9/11 by transforming it into a “day of service”.  He has established the chilling precedent of bestowing constitutional rights on terrorists captured on the battlefield and intentionally avoided condemnation of terror admittedly and openly done in the name of Islam.

Why does Obama do this?  I don’t know.  Is it something left over from his childhood experiences?  Perhaps.  Is it because he continues to believe his own press about being “the Chosen One” –  that somehow the strength of his charisma can overcome the hatred and death wish our sworn enemies have for us?  Maybe.  But at the end of the day the reasons don’t really matter.  What does matter is that I believe our country is less safe now because of this administration.

This latest airline incident is truly frightening in what it reveals:  Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, is a man on the terror watch list, whose own father, a highly placed Nigerian Diplomat, reported him as a terrorist. He boarded a plane with no passport, no luggage, and a one-way ticket paid in cash.  This man almost succeeded in detonating a bomb on the plane as it approached Detroit’s Metro Airport.  And the response of our Homeland Security Secretary? “Once the incident occurred, the system worked,”  This may go down as one of the most asinine public statements ever made.  But it is frighteningly a reflection of this administration’s impotent position on terror, er, I mean “man-caused disaster.”

God help us.  Because I am starting to believe we are going to experience another disaster like 9/11 and if I am alive afterward I fully expect to hear this president urge us not to “rush to judgment,” when, in fact that is exactly what we should do.  Homeland Security should immediately begin to profile passengers according to threat level, starting with young Islamic men.  If I was a peaceful Muslim male between the age of 18 and 30, and I was given extra scrutiny at an airport I think I would certainly understand.  Wouldn’t you?  But instead we ramp up our security for everyone in the name of political correctness and to placate.  We don’t need to pat down wheelchair-bound octogenarians and mothers with a stroller carrying twins.  We don’t need to force everyone to sit in their seats for the last hour of a flight, with nothing in their hands.  We need to look for those who are most likely to commit these acts and like it or not they are within a pretty narrowly-defined group.  We need to stop fearing what someone might say.  And we need to stop pretending the regimes that spawn and sponsor these monsters will ever become our friends.

Dec 28 2009

Powerpuff Policy

Category: national security,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:28 am

Picture 16

I just watched an episode of the Powerpuff Girls in which the Gangreen Gang, so named because they all seem to have green skin, is placed in the Powerpuff Girls’ kindergarten by Jack Wednesday, Truant Officer, who seems unable to distinguish adolescent troublemakers and arch-criminals from kindergarten-age kids.  I suppose he can’t be blamed, since the teacher seems to accept these obviously too-large and too-mean “kids” into her class with open arms.

As the day proceeds, the Gangreen Gang lives up to its billing by stealing cookies, pouring milk on students, throwing paste in the other kids’ faces, etc.  Each time, the teacher somehow seems not to notice who the real miscreants are, and when the Powerpuff girls try to stop the depredations of the Gangreen Gang, the teacher admonishes them that “there’s no fighting in school” and “you just need to learn to trust strangers.”   The Powerpuff Girls protest that the Gangreen Gang aren’t strangers, they are nearly-super-villains, to no avail.  The teacher says that *she* hasn’t seen the Gangreen Gang do anything especially bad.  Of course, she hasn’t really been paying attention, a fact obvious to any viewer.

This back and forth becomes so extreme that at recess, it’s the Powerpuff Girls who are given a “timeout,” while the Gangreen Gang essentially commit assault in a game of “dodgeball” with overmatched 5 yr olds.  And even then, when the Powerpuff Girls try to tell the teacher what’s happening just outside the schoolroom window, the teacher shushes them and returns to reading her book, right up until one of the balls breaks throught the schoolroom window and nearly decapitates the teacher, who finally notices the near-carnage on the playground.

In the denouement, when the Powerpuff Girls beg to be allowed to set things right, the teacher insists there is “no fighting at school,” but with a very broad hint to the Girls, she sends them out to play (and finish) a particularly violent game of dodgeball, that leaves the Gangreen Gang on the ropes, and ready to be picked up again by Jack Wednesday, Truant Officer.  We’re supposed to think the teacher is cool because she authorized the Powerpuff Girls to “fight” without really “fighting,” though only after intolerable provocation and injury to the rest of her class.

It is, of course, only a cartoon.  Nothing like this would happen in the real world, right?  But President Obama’s foreign policy seems at least this cartoonish.

He seems not to have read or been briefed on any of the history (old or more recent) of the players, from Iran to Venezuela’s Chavez to North Korea to Russia to China to Islamofascism in all its forms.  He acts like every day is a new day, and maybe today they’ll all play nice with him.  He seems bent on following some misplaced notion of “international law” and honoring the U.N. and its ridiculous “community of nations,” including a “human rights commission” staffed by some of the most abusive governments on the planet.  In this, the U.N. is more cartoonish than the Powerpuff Girls.  It’s as if the script writers had put the Gangreen Gang in charge of the entire school district, with the more lowly gang members in charge of the welcome wagon for new students.

Obama’s inexplicable support for illegal, unconstitutional actions by former President Zelaya of Honduras, his feckless approach to a nuclear-arming Iran, his tried-and-worthless approach to the Israel/Palestinian conflict, all of these make the actions of the Powerpuff Girls’ kindergarten teacher seem positively wise and far-sighted.

At least she knows when it’s time to bend the rules.

In the meantime, Obama gives obeisance to everyone who intends ill towards the USA, including the UN, the IPCC, and every third world dictator he chances to meet.

Hope and change.  Only now, there isn’t much left of the former, and only bad omens for the latter.

Dec 28 2009

the Impossible dream?

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 12:47 am

For 50 years we’ve been Waiting for ET to phone us.

West Virginia. It is 6 am on an April morning in 1960 and Frank Drake is freezing cold. He peers up towards the focal point of the radio telescope. He mounts a flimsy ladder to the top and climbs into a space about the size of a garbage can. For the next 45 minutes, he tunes the receiver inside, which feels like starting an old car. He climbs back down and begins to listen.

Drake and colleagues were conducting a seminal experiment: the first modern search for extraterrestrial life. For four months, the researchers used the Tatel Telescope in Green Bank to listen for any intelligent signals from the stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani that might be hidden on the same wavelength as radiation emitted naturally by hydrogen. Drake named the effort Project Ozma after the princess in the 0z books by Frank Baum, who wrote that he used a radio to learn of events there.

April 2010 will mark the 50th anniversary of the start of Project Ozma, and those involved in the search for extraterrestrial life, or SETI, will be raising a glass. Not only did the experiment inspire countless people to continue the search, it brought alien-hunting into the mainstream and arguably seeded the science of astrobiology.

Other famous searchers for things that were never found:

   Albert Einstein and Unified Field Theory.

   Don Quixote and defeatable windmills

   Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth

   Isaac Newton and a way to turn lead into gold

   AI researchers and actual machine intelligence

   Modern physics and cold fusion

You get the idea.  Some things just SOUND plausible, even likely.  The argument that “the universe is just so big that there has to be intelligent life out there” is like that.  It just instinctively sounds right.

That doesn’t make it right.

And even if they are there, the aliens are almost certainly far, far ahead of us, so far that we wouldn’t recognize one of their artifacts or communications methods if we saw it.  Or, they are so far behind us that they’re still working on inventing the bow and arrow, or controlling fire.  The odds of intelligent aliens in a detectable state of technological development anywhere near us are so small as to be laughable.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll all for funding more SETI, though I’m not acquiescent about more active approaches.  ET may not be nice.

But I don’t expect much to be found.

Dec 27 2009

Murderous nostalgia

Category: corruption,Russiaharmonicminer @ 1:32 am

Sixty Percent of Russians Nostalgic for Soviet Union

Russians still consider the dissolution of the Soviet Union as negative and they think this process could have been avoided, studies by sociologists show. As Vladimir Putin put it, it was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th Century. Over the last two years, the number of Russians who regret that the former Soviet Union broke up has not been declining.

This opinion is now shared by 60 per cent of respondents, Interfax was told at the Yuriy Levada Analytical Centre. This sentiment peaked in December 2000 with 75 percent.

Regret for the break-up of the Soviet Union is mostly shared by pensioners (85 per cent), women of all ages (63 per cent), 40-55 year-olds (67 per cent) and older respondents (83 per cent), those with less than average education (68 per cent), lower income (79 per cent), and rural residents (66 per cent). So it seems that those who actually lived in Soviet times feel that way. This is a significant fact.

“I think everyone has a certain nostalgia for the Soviet Union,” said Zhanna Sribnaya, 37, a Moscow writer. “It’s trendy because people my age, they can buy what they see, and they want to see their happy childhoods. We remember when ice cream cost 7 kopeks and we remember Pioneer camps [similar to Scouts and Brownies] when everyone could go to the Black Sea for summer vacations. Now, only people with money can take those vacations.”

Bring back those gulags! Reopen the torture and execution chambers in the Lubyanka! Drive over some more Eastern Europeans in tanks!

While you’re at it, find another 30 million or so people who are wasting oxygen and starve them out… those you don’t just shoot outright, that is. 

Then see how close you can come to provoking a nice nuclear holocaust, and still live to tell the tale.

Dec 26 2009

Christopher Dodd — Corruption without embarassment

Category: Congress,corruption,Democrat,governmentharmonicminer @ 9:26 am

Once again, we have Chris Dodd trying to cement his place with the voters by bringing home the bacon.

A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night.

The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut.

The provision is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. Scattered throughout are numerous items sought by individual lawmakers, many of them directing money explicitly to programs or projects in their home states.

The one sought by Dodd provides $100 million for “a health care facility that provides research, inpatient tertiary care, or outpatient clinical services.” It must be affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in the United States “that contains a State’s sole public academic medical and dental school.”

This health care bill is so laden with sweetheart deals and outright corruption in the form of direct vote buying that it may set a new high for sheer quantity and brazenness.

I’m sure that Connecticut needs a new hospital worse than anywhere else in the USA.

Dec 25 2009


Category: religionharmonicminer @ 9:14 am

Dec 24 2009

Dodging the rocks

Category: science,space,theologyharmonicminer @ 9:26 am

The observation has been made recently that Life in the inner galaxy would be bombarded by comets

WE’RE lucky Earth resides in the Milky Way’s suburbs. Intense comet bombardment near the galaxy’s centre may make it tough for life to gain a foothold there.

Earth and the other planets of our solar system suffer occasional impacts when comets are disturbed from their orbits around the sun by the gravity of nearby stars and gas clouds.

The effect is stronger closer to the galaxy’s centre, where stars and gas clouds are more tightly packed. More than twice as many comets are shaken loose to potentially hit planets at half our distance to the centre, according to simulations by Marco Masi of the University of Padua, Italy, and his colleagues

People who study such things are telling us that the Earth is at the just-right distance from the galactic center, at the just-right distance from the Sun, with a just-right moon that creates tides, more critical for life than was once understood. The moon also helps keep the Earth at its just-right axial tilt so that we have seasons, which are sometimes annoying, but also critical for advanced life.

These facts are just the tip of the iceberg about the exceedingly rare “just-rightness” of our world for advanced life, and also the “just-rightness” of our world for intelligent life (that would be us) to be able to learn about the universe by observation.

Some people think this is a huge accident.

I don’t.

You can read more about this in these two books:

Rare Earth

The Priveleged Planet

Dec 23 2009

A little Christmas music

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 9:52 am

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