"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
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Posted by Ginny on 30th April 2007 (All posts by Ginny)
Observations and graphs of numbers institutionalized are discussed by Bernard Harcourt guestblogging at Volokh. His conclusion:
What is also clear is that Seung-Hui Cho probably would have been institutionalized in the 1940s or 50s and, as a result, the Virginia Tech tragedy may not have happened. According to the New York Times, the director of the campus counseling services at Virginia Tech said of Cho: “The mental health professionals were there to assess his safety, not particularly the safety of others.” It’s unlikely we would have taken that attitude fifty years ago.
But the problem is, we would also be institutionalizing another huge swath of humanity — and it’s simply not clear how many of those other lives we would be irreparably harming in the process.
Posted by Lexington Green on 30th April 2007 (All posts by Lexington Green)
“Having been a senator during 9/11, I understand the extraordinary horror of that kind of attack,” she said. “I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate. That doesn’t mean we go looking for other fights. Let’s focus on those who have attacked us and do everything we can to destroy them.”
A former prosecutor of white-collar criminals, now hustling business for his private law practice, opines humbly:
White-collar crime is rarely about greed, in the opinion of the former prosecutors. “It is generally hubris,” Mr Owens says. “It’s a corporate culture that is detached and guarded by advisers who never challenge.”
The same could be said, with perhaps more justification, for the US culture of criminal prosecution. Businessmen are subject to criminal liability for a wide range of behaviors, and often stand to lose enormous amounts of money and their careers based on mere allegations of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, prosecutors who destroy highly productive business people out of hubris and personal ambition are almost never accountable for their most egregious actions, and indeed are likely to benefit professionally from them.
Posted by Mitch Townsend on 28th April 2007 (All posts by Mitch Townsend)
1. Think of a set of three words that sound the same (homophones) but begin with different letters. Example: nice and gneiss sound alike and they begin with different letters, but there are only two of them. There is no third that I can think of that sounds like that. I can come up with four sets of three words, but I believe I have forgotten one.
2. How many English words begin with s but not sh, and are pronounced as sh? I can think of three, not counting derivatives of these three.
3. Give yourself 1 minute and write down all the words you can think of that are doubled syllables. Examples: bye-bye, Dada. Punctuation and capitalization do not matter, but spelling does (syllables must be spelled identically). See if you can come up with a primate, a flowering tree, an actress (her Magyar nickname for the name Susan, in English), and a treat.
Posted by Lexington Green on 28th April 2007 (All posts by Lexington Green)
“As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”
From A failure in generalship, by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling. RTWT — this officer probably just jettisoned his career to write the truth as he saw it, so take a look at what he has to say. It is a convincing denunciation of the leadership in the current war in Iraq. Interview with Yingling, here. discussion of the article on Small Wars Council. Hat tip: Zenpundit.
Immigrant Aydarus Yusuf, who has lived in Britain for 15 years says, in effect, that he does not feel bound by British law. “Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law.” According to the BBC, the 29-year old youth worker wants to ensure that other members of his community remain subject to the law of their ancestors, too. To this end, he helps convene an unofficial Somali court, or “gar”, in southeast London. This group tries both civil and criminal cases, without reference to the English police or England’s 1,000 year old legal infrastructure. This news simply confirmed what many in Britain already suspected. Muslim immigrants and their offspring, who constitute around 2.5% (according to Labour government figures) of the population, are running an underground parallel legal system operated along tribal lines by “elders”.
Episcopalian canon Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, himself a convert from Islam, whose own family immigrated from Guyana and who heads the Institute for The Study of Islam and Christianity, confirms that shariah courts now operate in most larger cities and operate according to their own traditions.
Dr Sookhdeo said, “The government has not been straight about this.”
See also this post and this post for an insightful and much broader discussion of British military capabilities and political/military errors in the Iraq war. (These posts are not recent but remain highly relevant.)
Posted by Ginny on 25th April 2007 (All posts by Ginny)
Richard Miniter’s “Made in Iran: A Traitor’s Tale” is the story of a sad, bitter and not very competent 21-year-old, who was still able to spread death & chaos. This small and empty man is used by powers larger but no less empty. His petty grudge is put to the service of evil. From the beginning, many of us here saw a pattern (and purpose), first in Afghanistan and then Iraq. Thinking globally does not come easily to me – but Miniter captures the drama of a place where the unconscious and heartless are sent out to kill and maim, used by those who understand how big the game is as they move these pawns on the great board of which Iraq & Afghanistan are but small parts. And if Henry Reid smugly believes this game is lost, I doubt he sees how big the game is and how much and how many that loss will affect. Of course, he should resign in shame, but he won’t; if he felt shame, he could not feel the smugness he so casually embodies. But that seems to be because his imagination can not conceive of the fierce battles and death that will follow loss.
Posted by Ginny on 25th April 2007 (All posts by Ginny)
After reading the comments on Shannon’s piece, I went into class. Today we talked of Ginsberg & Howl. I could teach the power of his incantatory lines, his use of repetition, ways he took what Whitman had discovered & made it his own; but, then, I found myself unable to speak. Shannon’s piece, the comments, Cho, so many memories – I just didn’t feel like letting these words lie on the page. I talked for a moment about America in those years and about this romanticism, this belief society was fallen but man wasn’t. These beliefs were not always true, not even useful. Sometimes we’re not noble savages thwarted by a society that sacrifices us to Moloch – sometimes we’re just nuts and need help. And then we turned to Bishop, whose life, too, had plenty of tragedies and whose inclinations, too, were not conventional; still she created a world that better helps us understand and even appreciate our own.
The problem is not and never has been that having good manners must interfere with acknowledging the truth. By suggesting that it is, one is pandering to the cretinous lack of judgment that falls into confusion or rage at social rules about “a time and a place for everything”. Thus the “love of truth” is mixed with and debased by the preening thuggery of “keepin’ it real”, as if Larry Summers’s attempting to open inquiry on the subject of sex differences in scientific aptitude is of a piece with some talk-radio boor’s trash-talk. Klavan is correct to say that there are things “greater than courtesy”. But if both Summers’s speculations about women in science, and insulting comments about someone’s appearance, accurately illustrate your definition of “discourtesy”, you’ve been spending too much time in lefty charm school.
I don’t think we’re going to advance the battle for “the preservation of Western rationalism and liberty” by accepting the “bad guys” confusion of courtesy with obsequiousness, with its concomitant confusion of real debate with consensus-seeking.
Frank Fuster is still in prison despite numerous holes in the case against him, and despite the fact that the “investigative” techniques used to elicit the testimony of young children that convicted him have been discredited. Unfortunately, Fuster is a creepy guy without many friends, so it seems unlikely that any Florida governor will consider reexamining his case, much less pardoning him or commuting his sentence.
The Fuster case reminds me of Bill Weld and the Amiraults. What’s the point of giving executive-branch officials the pardon power if they won’t use it for unpopular defendants? Isn’t that one of the main justifications for the pardon power — that it’s a remedy for miscarriages of justice committed against unpopular defendants such as accused child molesters?
Talk to anyone who’s tried to commit a dangerously violent child or parent for even a few days: A stranger with a law degree will show up at the hearing and paint you as a fascist. So it’s far too much to expect anything resembling a decisive approach to those whose level of threat remains at the verbal level.
Many thanks to Dan from Madison for his kind hospitality in inviting me to go fishing with him last week. I can tell you now that Dan is a very nice guy*, not to mention that he was willing to commit himself to spending six hours on a boat with a complete stranger**. He is also a great sportsman, as befits one of Madison’s foremost bloggers and Chicago Bears season-ticket holders.
Lead and Gold excerpted a very interesting article by Michael Kelly, the Atlantic editor who was killed during the early days of the Iraq war. In the article, published in February of 2002, Kelly draws a distinction between knowledge and knowingness;:
Knowingness, of course, is not knowledge—indeed, is the rebuttal of knowledge. Knowledge was what squares had, or thought they had, and they thought that it was the secret of life. Knowingness is a celebration of the conceit that what the squares knew, or thought they knew, was worthless.
Posted by Mitch Townsend on 20th April 2007 (All posts by Mitch Townsend)
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh set off a truck bomb that destroyed the Murra Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The truck was parked at the loading dock, directly under the day care center. My daughter, three years old at the time, was in the day care center on the first floor of the Kennedy Federal Building in Boston. It is next to the loading dock. My wife was working on the 19th floor. When I returned to work the next day, someone in the elevator joked that it was too bad the bomb hadn’t taken out the IRS. The ride was short, and I was able to stay still.
For several years past, I’ve attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is a spectacular assembly of films on mountain subjects — usually relating to outdoor pursuits, natural environments, and exotic cultures. There, I found the same male appetites for adventure, risk, and camaraderie … with many of the same grim consequences of fear, trauma, loss, and sudden death faced by soldiers. But there was a difference. A big one.
The trailer (below) for a recent year of the Banff film festival runs about five minutes. It does contain advertising but the ads are as interesting as the film excerpts for giving a feel for the festival and, by implication, for the prevailing social ethos.
Posted by Ginny on 19th April 2007 (All posts by Ginny)
When I was young, mental hospitals sprinkled the countryside. My parents read Freud in hypochondriac mode and neuroses were part of growing up – indeed, nurtured in certain groups (say among drama majors & yes, creative writers). I don’t know what percentage of the population was housed on those wards, but considerably more than today.
Update: Jonathan Kellerman, a man who went through med school as these changes were taking place, describes the arguments for de-institutionalization by doctors & ideologues such as R. D. Laing and Thomas Szasz. That in this case even those of us on this blog, non-experts, could see the problem indicates how extreme are the problems in contemporary treatment. As Kellerman notes
That is not to say that anyone who pens violence-laden poetry or lets slip the occasional hostile remark should be protectively incarcerated. But when the level of threat rises to college freshmen and faculty prophesying accurately, perhaps we should err on the side of public safety rather than protect individual liberty at all costs.
Posted by Lexington Green on 19th April 2007 (All posts by Lexington Green)
It all started today.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, on April 19, 1775, a company of minutemen from Acton responded to the call to arms initiated by Paul Revere (who rode with other riders, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, with Prescott the only one of the three who was able reach Acton itself) and fought at the North Bridge in Concord as part of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Acton minutemen were led by Captain Isaac Davis. When a company was needed to lead the advance on the bridge which was defended by the British regulars, Captain Davis was heard to reply, “I haven’t a man who is afraid to go.”
The colonists advanced on the bridge; in the exchange of musket fire that followed, Captain Isaac Davis and Private James Hayward were killed and Abner Hosmer, also of Acton, was mortally wounded. Davis was the first officer to die in the American Revolutionary War. In Acton they refer to “the battle of Lexington, fought in Concord, by men of Acton.”
Of the military theories developed in the last quarter century, none have stirred the heated feelings in the defense community quite like Fourth Generation Warfare has done. In part, this is due to the unsparingly harsh criticism that leading 4GW advocates have directed at both the mainstream Pentagon establishment and the rival school of Network-centric Warfare; mostly though, it is because 4GW questions the validity of the current defense establishment itself. If 4GW theory is correct, then much of the American defense budget amounts to so much waste. As 4GW theorists would have it, money ill-spent for exquisitely high tech weaponry that will not work as promised, purchased for the kinds of wars that are never again going to be fought. The 4GW school is riding high right now; not simply because the GWOT lends fertile field for study and examples but because the outcome of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War was far more accurately predicted by 4GW theorists than by the conventional military experts. This was despite the fact that Hezbollah is not quite a “true” 4GW military force, but a state sponsored hybrid whose vulnerabilities the IDF failed to exploit.
Most of the Arts as we have them today are largely an outgrowth of the philosophy of Rousseau and his Romanticism. That is dangerous. Silly atheist cant to the contrary, Atheistic Romanticism, in the form of Communism and Fascism, has killed more people than any other faith or ideology in the history of the world. With the growth of journalism schools embedded in the Leftist academy, we now see that the modern flavor of Romanticism has crept out of the Arts and English Departments and in to our news outlets. Romanticism creates myths such as Rousseau’s Noble Savage, and keeps on believing in those myths in the face of contrary evidence. A highly dangerous habit in the Press Corps. Read the rest of this entry »