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Right-Wing P.C.

[ 0 ] September 17, 2007 |

Jack Balkin on Michael Drake‘s feeble defense of his decision to fire Erwin Chemerinsky for transparently political reasons:

Nothing Drake says sheds much light on why it would be reasonable for him to act as he did. Indeed, he only creates greater suspicion that the reasons for the firing were illegal, unethical, and dishonest. He is trying to save his own job by suggesting that there is something wrong with the man he fired, without giving any details or any way for Chemerinsky to defend himself from these unspoken charges.

This is a disgraceful way to treat Erwin Chemerinsky, a very fine legal scholar. It is bad enough that Drake fired him in what can only be described as an act of cowardice. Now he must go on an extended public relations campaign lying about why he did so and further impugning Chemerinsky in the process. One suspects that the next person whose job is on the line will be Drake himself.

This is even worse than Juan Cole’s rejection by Yale, which at least happened before the fact (although after departmental approval.) Needless to say, if what happened to either had happened to a conservative, we would be hearing these anecdotes recycled for decades (and not without reason.)

When the Levee Breaks

[ 0 ] September 17, 2007 |

Shorter Treason-in-Defense-of Slavery Yankee, 29 August 2007:

Although I am still firmly committed to the war in Iraq — no matter how expensive or fruitless the effort may be — I have no trouble insisting that New Orleans should not be rebuilt, because that would be too difficult and costly, and because the Lord Jesus believes we should not build cities on sand.

Shorter TIDOS Yankee, 14 September 2007:

Lord, help me! The hurry-cane done busted up my grill! Gimme gimme gimme!

UPDATE BY ROB: Uh, my George Foreman Grill died, like, three months ago. No hurricane or other weather event was involved, but I nevertheless think I deserve a new one. Please, only give what you can…

UPDATE BY D: So long as we’re asking for stuff, I would like a Fry Daddy. I never owned one, and a good heart attack would probably get me out of having to attend meetings for a few months (a trade-off whose logic I defy anyone to impeach).

Oh, for &&#%’s Sake

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

I knew I should have left for the grocery store 30 seconds ago.

. . . update [from d]: On a somewhat similar note, I knew I should have drowned myself in the toilet when I had the chance.

Terry Francona, you are an idiot. Curt Shilling Schilling pitched a whale of a game, but he’s 350 years old and by no means should have been allowed to “finish” the 8th like that. I’d like to kill something right now.

. . . another update [from an even angrier d]: And not that anyone really needed another reason to hate Roger Clemens, but just in fucking case:

“It’s an honor to watch the best clutch hitter in history do his thing, and the best closer in history do his thing,” said Roger Clemens, who in his first start since Sept. 3 dueled Schilling to a 1-all tie before leaving after six innings. “Jeter is one of the reasons that I got up off the couch and came back.”

Urge to kill . . . rising . . .

From the Archives

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

I came across this while doing some actual work. Here’s a jaw-softening moment from April 2003:

Mr. Brokaw. Can you imagine being FDR and running World War II all those years–Truman, Korea? All the years that Vietnam went on and 57,000 lives were lost.

The President. I know.

Mr. Brokaw. Now that you’ve had your own—-

The President. One month.

Mr. Brokaw. —-one month, but your own time on the crucible, to know what the country would go through?

The President. It’s a very interesting question, because–yes, I know, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have been through the Vietnam war as the President of the United States. I hope I would have done it differently. I hope I would have had a clearer mission and given the militaries [sic] the tools and their strategy necessary to achieve a mission, as opposed to politicizing the war the way they did. But you’re right, it’s a strain on the country.

When you’re right, Mr. President, you’re right.

Broder Hearts the Fraud Caucus

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

Seriously, how many times can they pull the football away from David Broder before he figures out the scam? (The answer, of course, is “an infinite number.”) However, from this day forward 90 days shall be known as a “Graham Unit.”

Sunday Deposed Monarch Blogging: Hashemite Dynasty

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

The Hashemite dynasty traces its lineage to the prophet Muhammed’s grandfather, and in particular to Muhammed’s daughter Fatima. The Hashemite played a prominent role in early Islamic politics, and from the 13th century on held the title of Sherif (or Emir) of Mecca. The Hashemite accepted the nominal suzerainty of Ottoman Turks in the 16th century, but retained de facto autonomy.

In 1916, various Arab tribes joined together in a revolt against Ottoman rule. Sharif Hussein bin Ali played an important role in the revolt, as did his four sons. Although guaranteed independence after victory over the Ottomans, most of the Arab lands were divided between France and the United Kingdom. Faisal, son of Hussein bin Ali, was declared King of Greater Syria in March 1920 by the Syrian National Assembly. This did not sit well with the French or the British, and Faisal’s reign last only three months. In part to quell an Iraqi revolt, the British made Faisal King of Iraq in 1921, and his brother Abdullah Emir of Transjordan at around the same time. Sharif Hussein bin Ali declared himself King of Hejaz and Caliph, but was soon thereafter driven from power by the Saud family.

Faisal I reigned over Iraq until 1933, when he suffered a heart attack while visiting Switzerland. He was succeeded by his son Ghazi, who died in a suspicious car accident in 1939. Ghazi was succeeded by Faisal II, who reigned until 1958. In response to the creation of the United Arab Republic (the brief political unification of Syria and Egypt), the Hashemite monarchs of Iraq and Jordan decided to create the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan in early 1958. As the senior member of the family, Faisal II became King of the new entity. Unfortunately for Faisal, however, an Iraqi colonel named Abdul Karim Qassim launched a successful coup in July. The King and the Crown Prince were executed by the coup plotters on July 14, essentially rendering the Arab federation a dead letter.

King Faisal II was succeeded in pretence by Prince Zeid, brother of Faisal I. Zeid bin Hussein was in London during the coup (he was the Iraqi ambassador to the United Kingdom), and was recognized as the rightful King of Iraq by the Jordanian Hashemites. Zeid died in 1970 and was succeeded as pretender by his son Ra’ad bin Zeid. Although the Jordanian Hashemites recognize Ra’ad bin Zeid as the rightful Iraqi monarch, Sharif Ali bin-al Hussein, a relative of Faisal II, has also claimed the throne. Sharif Ali became a participant in various Iraqi exile organizations beginning in 1991, and actively encouraged the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In this pursuit he found neoconservative allies. In the document A Clean Break, a group of neoconservative “intellectuals” including Richard Perle, Doug Feith, and Charles Fairbanks Jr. proposed returning the Hashemite claimant to the throne of Iraq. Such a move would purportedly have served to undercut support for Hezbollah, weaken Syrian ambitions, and weaken the grip of the Iranian regime. Sharif Ali called for a quick restoration of the throne in the name of Iraqi national unity, but in the chaos that ensued after Hussein’s deposition this request was not met.

Ra’ad bin Zeid has demonstrated little apparent interest in the throne of Iraq, but is unassailably the legitimate heir. Sharif Ali has a very tenuous claim on the throne, but has taken active steps to restore the monarchy. However, since Sharif Ali’s party won only .16% of the vote in the last Iraq elections, prospects for a return to the throne seem fairly grim. Ra’ad bin Zeid lives in Europe, while his son (the heir apparent) serves as Jordanian ambassador to the United Nations.

Trivia: The heir to what throne once presented Ronald Reagan with a baby elephant?

Must-See Movie Pick of the day (week? month?)

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

I saw Charles Ferguson‘s documentary “No End in Sight” last night. Here’s a clip:

The film, unlike many other documentaries that have been made about Iraq, focuses not on the days between 9/11 and the decision to send troops to Afghanistan, nor on the day-to-day experience of soldiers and civilians on the ground in Iraq, nor even on the crimes that took place at Abu Ghraib. The film zooms in on the time between the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq and the end of the first year (or so) of the war, and exposes the mammoth failures in planning and execution on the part of the Bush Administration and the officials it placed in Iraq. And all through the eyes and words of former Bush Administration officials in Iraq. It’s damning stuff. And it’s not more of the same stuff we already know. Of course, the depths of the Bush Administration’s incompetence are no longer shocking. But the details that emerge about its inability to create or implement a plan for “post-war” Iraq are shocking and enraging, even for those of us who have kept pretty close tabs on the action there. And it makes clear why the movie’s title is a reference not only to the seemingly interminable quagmire we have created in Iraq, but also to the Bush Administration’s inability to envision anything beyond their bombs and oil.

Can This Man be the Leading Candidate?

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

I’m still inclined to think that Bush wants a fight, but there seems to be some chance that he’ll go for the more confirmable Michael Mukasey. Jeralyn, persuasively, sees him as definitely conservative but better than, say, Ted Olson. For example, consider this radical idea:

Last month, Mr. Mukasey wrote an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal in which he seemed to embrace a view shared by the administration suggesting “current institutions and statutes are not well suited” to the military effort against terrorism. He recommended that Congress intervene “to fix a strained and mismatched legal system.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa — he thinks Congress actually has the power to regulate Presidential war powers, and that the President doesn’t just have the power to ignore laws he doesn’t care for? Clearly, he must be some sort of free-thinking anarchist…

This Should be Interesting…

[ 0 ] September 16, 2007 |

Speaking of disciples of Ayn Rand:

AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

This should be fun. It’s kind of interesting; the oil justification is based around the destabilizing threat of Saddam Hussein, and to solve that problem we’ve succeeded in destabilizing the region, endangering Iraqi oil production, and driving oil to nearly $80 a barrel. On strictly practical grounds, the “war for oil” has been about as successful as the “war for democracy” and the “war against WMD.” These morons can’t even pull off a land grab successfully.

Heh. Louisville Sucks.

[ 0 ] September 15, 2007 |

Thoughts on today’s games:

  • Look on the bright side, Irish fans; at least Notre Dame won’t suffer an embarrassing defeat in a BCS bowl this year.
  • My efforts to watch the Oregon-Fresno State game were stymied by the fact that every television in Kentucky was tuned to the UK-Louisville tilt. That ended up being okay, since the latter was a far better game than the former. Congrats are due to the Wildcats, who scored their first victory against a top ten foe in thirty years. The celebration is already beginning outside my window.
  • The Pac-10 didn’t cover itself with glory today. I think that the speculation that Washington might beat Ohio State was misplaced, as there wasn’t really much reason to think that the Huskies were very good or that Ohio State was vulnerable. The Ducks cruised, and USC beat Nebraska, but the 38 point UCLA loss to an 0-2 Utah team is simply inexcusable.

Fifty Years of Moral Illiteracy

[ 0 ] September 15, 2007 |

About halfway through college, I concluded that pretty much anyone who recommended The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged was probably crackers. My first direct experience with Ayn Rand’s prose came when a fellow English major offered me his copy of Atlas Shrugged with John Galt’s unreadable, 70-page radio address helpfully marked with a paperclip and what I continue to hope were mere coffee stains. I lasted about five pages before deciding that John Galt was the libertarian equivalent of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, if only JLS had spent his time trying to have sex with the other seagulls while kicking their nests to splinters and trampling on their eggs. Years later, it didn’t surprise me to learn that Rand had croaked on the 125th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision.

So with all that as prologue, you can probably guess my reaction to The NY Times‘ survey of Rand’s corporate mouseketeers, who are currently frosting the cake for John Galt’s 50th birthday. Not impressed, was I. There are plenty of golden moments in the piece — including the obligatory reminders that Alan Greenspan thought she was just dreamy — but this one really stood out as a good example of how reading Ayn Rand actually makes a person stupid:

“She wasn’t a nice person, ” said Darla Moore, vice president of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc. “But what a gift she’s given us.”

Ms. Moore, a benefactor of the University of South Carolina, spoke of her debt to Rand in 1998, when the business school at the university was named in Ms. Moore’s honor. “As a woman and a Southerner,” she said, “I thrived on Rand’s message that only quality work counted, not who you are.”

Rand’s idea of “the virtue of selfishness,” Ms. Moore said, “is a harsh phrase for the Buddhist idea that you have to take care of yourself.”

Um. No. No it isn’t. Indeed, I can’t think of anything more contrary to Buddhism than “the virtue of selfishness.” Then again, maybe I’ve missed out on all those Buddhist defenses of “selfishness” that also celebrate the liquidation of American Indian land and identity, as Rand did quite joyfully at West Point in 1974:

They didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using . . . . What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.

That ought to please the shareholders!

The Wait Is Almost Over

[ 0 ] September 15, 2007 |

This is an exciting time for connoisseurs of wingnuttery. Alec “Skips A Generation” Rawls has finally expanded his profound insights concerning the IslamofascistCommieNazi conspiracy behind the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania into book format. The race is now on to see whether this or Liberal Fascism will come out first. What a moment for American letters!

If you just can’t wait for the book to come out, you can enjoy other Rawls classics such as “vegetarianism is genocide” and “the appeasement gene.”

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