Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brett Kimberlin: the pop song.

Lyrics and links at YouTube.

LATER: Aaron Worthing notes that I made a mistake in the lyrics. Damn. I'll record a new, corrected version of the line and see if I can fit it into the track.

STILL LATER: I've posted the corrected version and adjusted the above links accordingly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The official song for the 2012 London Olympics, "Survival" by Muse, is horrendous. I'm hoping it's an elaborate hoax.
Justice Sotomayor's concurrence in Knox v. SEIU prompts this note on grammar from Ed Whelan:
[Sotomayor] devotes most of her opinion to complaining about what she calls the “majority’s decision to address unnecessarily significant constitutional issues well outside the scope of the questions presented and briefing.” (That passage is a great illustration of how the imagined rule against splitting infinitives can generate awful and confusing prose: The reader first encountering the passage may well wonder how it is that the constitutional issues are “unnecessarily significant.”)
He's right. Time to bend on that one.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jonah Goldberg:
Watching Bill Clinton act as Barack Obama’s “No. 1 surrogate,” in the words of NPR, is as exquisitely painful as watching a runaway monkey with a paintball gun at a museum.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jonathan V. Last on Amazon and capitalism. (Scroll down to "THE LAST WORD.")

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Vice President Biden to college students visiting the White House:
You’re an incredible generation. And that’s not hyperbole either. Your generation and the 9/11 generation before you are the most incredible group of Americans we have ever, ever, ever produced.
Quoted by Jonah Goldberg, who comments, "That politicians pander to anything that moves is hardly a shocking revelation. . . . What’s dismaying is how much this sort of thing seems to work."
Theodore Dalrymple:

An essay in the New England Journal of Medicine . . . points out that doctors are still largely at a loss about what to do when a patient’s death is close but he could be kept alive a little longer with active and intrusive treatment. Should they present the patient, or the patient’s relatives, with a kind of multiple choice list and let him or them decide among the various options?

. . . [A] survey found that only 16 percent of seriously ill hospital patients wanted to make end of life decisions on their own. Certainly on the rare occasions when I have been very ill the last thing I wanted was to have to make choices: I wanted others to make them for me. I didn’t want to be involved in them at all, in fact.

An understandable misunderstanding, explained by sociologist Gabriel Rossman:
In 1981, [Mitt] Romney was arrested for launching a boat after a police officer warned him that his boat's license number was inadequately displayed and he faced a $50 fine. Romney launched the boat anyway and the cop arrested him. What seems to have gone on is a conflict in how to understand the interaction up [to] that point. The cop seems to have seen himself as giving an order which was then disobeyed. That is, a violation of an authority relationship which requires the lower party to show deference. Conversely, Romney described the situation as "I was willing to pay the fine. But if he had said don't launch the boat and not mentioned the fine, I would not have done it." That is he was operating under the understanding that, as Gneezy and Rustichini later put it, "a fine is a price." . . . Romney's understanding was that . . . if he was willing to pay the price this would fully settle the matter. In other words, it was a matter of market pricing. In contrast the police officer did not seem to be worried that Romney would skip out on the fine but that, as Eric Cartman would say, he had failed to "respect my authorité" ranking.
(Via, I think, Glenn Reynolds.)
Jonah Goldberg:
Like so many in his phylum, [liberal columnist Joe] Klein is fixated on the issue of “compromise.” These days, “compromise” means conservatives should cave-in on all of the big issues and liberals should be gracious about not rubbing it in too hard.
Charles Moore in the (UK) Spectator:

The other day, I bumped into a friend on a mid-morning train to London. She is an extremely active businesswoman, and normally on impossibly early trains, so I knew something must have changed in her life. Sure enough, she said that she had left her high-powered job and was looking for new opportunities. Not an easy time, I commiserated. ‘Oh no,’ she conradicted me, ‘there’s this new rule that women have to be on the boards of all big companies, so I’m absolutely fine.’

Kevin D. Williamson:
Democrats who argue that the best policies for black Americans are those that are soft on crime and generous with welfare are engaged in much the same sort of cynical racial calculation President [Lyndon] Johnson was practicing when he informed skeptical southern governors that his plan for the Great Society was “to have them ni**ers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.” Johnson’s crude racism is, happily, largely a relic of the past, but his strategy endures.
(No asterisks in original.)
Heather Mac Donald on New York City crime data:

Blacks are 53 percent of stop subjects,* though they are 23 percent of the city’s population. Whites are 9 percent of stop subjects, though they are 35 percent of the city’s population. Therefore, conclude [Manhattan Borough President Scott] Stringer and others, the NYPD targets individuals for stops based on their race rather than on crime patterns and suspicious behavior.

Here is what the anti-cop critics never divulge: Blacks are 66 percent of all violent-crime suspects, according to the victims of and witnesses to those crimes. Blacks commit around 70 percent of all robberies and about 80 percent of all shootings in the city. Add Hispanic shooters, and you account for 98 percent of all shootings in the city.

Whites, by contrast, were only 5 percent of all violent crime suspects in 2011. According to victim and witness reports, they commit barely over 1 percent of all shootings and less than 5 percent of all robberies.

Such disparities mean that the police can’t deploy their resources where people most need protection from violence — in minority neighborhoods — without producing racially disproportionate stops.

*Refers to the NYPD’s "Stop, Question and Frisk" policy, in which (as Fox News summarizes it) "officers randomly stop a person to determine if they are up to any wrongdoing or possess weapons and contraband items."
I have a weakness for sweeping statements by knowledgeable people, such as this one by John Podhoretz: Obama's victory in 2008 "with three years of national political experience under his belt was probably the luckiest event in the history of American politics."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Keith Richards on songwriting.
Thomas Sowell:

[T]he history of balkanized and polarized societies in the 20th century is a history of horrors that we dare not ignore.

We are not at that terrible point yet. But that is the direction in which we are headed, under the spell of magic words like “multiculturalism” and “diversity,” which have become substitutes for thoughts even among those who pride themselves on being “thinking people.”

Jay Nordlinger:

[T]hank goodness for recordings, those second-bests — those souvenirs of actual, live performance. (Sergiu Celibidache, the late Romanian conductor, took a dimmer view: “Listening to a record is like kissing a photograph of Brigitte Bardot.”)

(That is how the line has come down to us, anyway. I understand Celi did not, in fact, say “kissing.”)

I'd donate to Obama's campaign—and I think many other conservatives would do likewise—in payment for thorough answers to these questions.
From a 2008 analysis of Obama's memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:
The reader . . . cannot help being struck by the unexplained contrast between the circumstances of Obama’s life — an opportunity to attend a fine school, white grandparents who love him — and his great anger at white society.
Anthony Daniels, reviewing a biography of Margaret Sanger:

It is not without reason . . . that prophets are sometimes without honor in their own country. They get things wrong.

* * *

There is no sadder fate for a reformer than to see his or her reforms accepted.

Worth noting, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Thomas Sowell:
Telling young people that some jobs are “menial” is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for “meaningful work” is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them.
Victor Davis Hanson:
This week I am walking in German cities along the Rhine that were nearly leveled in 1945. Not long ago I visited Detroit, which was booming in 1945. The latter now looks like its own homegrown B-24s bombed it yesterday, the former as if they had been untouched in the war that Germans started. Ponder those interchanged fates, and why and how these respective American and German cities got to where they were in 1945, and then again to where they are now.
Elliott Abrams on "the state of Obama foreign policy, year four."
Mark Steyn: "The urge to ensnare in legalisms every aspect of human existence — including John Edwards's rutting — will consume American liberty."