Scott Rubush is a recovering journalist living in West Chester, PA. He is a native of York, PA, and grew up in Cary, NC. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Scott has an extensive background in writing and politics. He is Publisher Emeritus of Carolina Review, and a former associate editor of the Los Angeles-based website FrontPageMagazine.com. He currently works as a grant-writer for an educational foundation in Wilmington, Del.
:: Friday, August 30, 2002 ::
Out Like a Brussel Sprout
Thanks for your comments in response to my request for additions to the list of the 100 most influential non-Americans of all time. I have some names and comments of my own to add to the discussion. I’ll post them on Monday or Tuesday after I get back from a little trip up to New York. Till then, have a great Labor Day Weekend!
Let’s extend this further: who would you say are the 100 most influential non-Americans of all time? In no particular order, here are 25 nominations from the speaker’s chair:
8. The Brothers Gracchi
12. St. Paul
13. St. Augustine
14. St. Thomas Aquinas
15. Pope Gregory VII
16. William of Occam
19. Thomas Hobbes
20. Martin Luther
22. Jean Jacques Rousseau
24. Karl Marx
25. Otto von Bismark
Got other nominations? Any rejects? Any nominations you'd like me to explain in more detail? Leave your comments below.
Scott 12:13 AM [+] ::
I suspect that the neglectful ruination of Havana has served a profoundly ideological purpose. After all, the neglect has been continuous for nearly half a century, while massive subsidies from the Soviet Union were pouring in. A dictator as absolute as Castro could have preserved Havana if he had so wished, and could easily have found an economic pretext for doing so.
Havana, however, was a material refutation of [Castro's] entire historiography—of the historiography that has underpinned his policies and justified his dictatorship for 43 years. According to this account, Cuba was a poor agrarian society, impoverished by its dependent relationship with the United States, incapable without socialist revolution of solving its problems. A small exploitative class of intermediaries benefited enormously from the neocolonial relationship, but the masses were sunk in abject poverty and misery.
But Havana was a large city of astonishing grandeur and wealth, which was clearly not confined to a tiny minority, despite the coexistence with that wealth of deep poverty. Hundreds of thousands of people obviously had lived well in Havana, and it is not plausible that so many had done so merely by the exploitation of a relatively small rural population. They must themselves have been energetic, productive, and creative people. Their society must have been considerably more complex and sophisticated than Castro can admit without destroying the rationale of his own rule.
In the circumstances, therefore, it became ideologically essential that the material traces and even the very memory of that society should be destroyed. In official publications (and all publications in Cuba are official) the only positive personages from the past are rebels and revolutionaries, representing a continuing nationalist tradition of which Castro is the apotheosis: there is no god but revolution, and Castro is its prophet. The period between Cuban independence and the advent of Castro is known as “the Pseudorepublic,” and the corrupt thuggery of Batista, as well as the existence of poverty, is all that needs (or is allowed) to be known of life immediately before Castro.
But who created Havana, and where did the magnificence come from, if before Castro there were only poverty, corruption, and thuggery? Best to destroy the evidence, though not by the crude Taliban method of blowing up the statues of Buddha, which is inclined to arouse the opprobrium of the world: better to let huge numbers of people camp out permanently in stolen property and then let time and neglect do the rest.
I've generally tuned out the debate over whether to invade Iraq because, frankly, no one either on the Left or the Right really has anything new or compelling to say about the situation there. From the Right we hear a lot of saber-rattling about how Saddam is an iron-fisted dictator, blah, blah, blah; while from the Left we hear injunctions to heed "world opinion" (as if the world votes in American elections) and to "give peace a chance," blah, blah, blah. Still, the sheer stupidity of the latest volley in the Iraq debate, courtesy of Molly Ivins, is too idiotic to ignore:
[H]ow smart is it to get involved in a war with no allies? Canada announced Tuesday that it won't support a war. That means, among other things, that we have to pay for all of it ourselves, unlike the Persian Gulf War.
Oh, damn. If we invade Iraq, we won't have those brave Canadians at our side. What ever will we do?
Ben Kepple has commented on the City of Boston, where he and I were this weekend for the First Annual Summit of People from Small States with Disproportionate Influence over the Rest of America™. Writes Kepple:
Boston is a disorganized, surly, nauseating, confusing, wretched mass of humanity that seems to bring out the worst in even calm and rational people like myself. Also consider that Boston's second-rate mass-transit system is appallingly run; the city's infrastructure is run-down to the point where street potholes could suck in small tour buses; the city's commerical outlets are run by dejected wageslaves; and, as if to add insult to injury, the city is unaffordable and overtaxed.
Come now, Ben! Let's cut Boston some slack.
Look, I grew up below the Mason Dixon, think Robert E. Lee is a saint and that the South, not the blighted, industrialized North, is the true inheritor of Western Civilization. Needless to say, I had low expectations for this bastion of Yankee-dom. That said, though, I must say that New England in general and Boston in particular moved up several points in my book this weekend. Sure, the whole region looks like a giant J Crew catalogue, but what the hell. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed waking up on Saturday morning and going for a run down Huntington Avenue, a street lined with museums, symphony halls, and two parallel rows of colonial-style apartments, all divided down the middle by a line of street car tracks. It almost felt like a scene from Prague or one of the other great cities of Europe. I also enjoyed taking in the sights along the harbor, and then going across the river for a walk through Harvard Yard. Most of all I enjoyed the ladies, who must've outnumbered the guys by about a 3:1 ratio thanks to the sheer number of major universities in the city. So let's all tip our hats to Boston!
After leaving Boston on Sunday, I took a side trip up to Portsmouth, NH, for lunch along the banks of the Piscataqua River, and then into Maine for a jaunt up to Kennebunkport. There I saw the sprawling Bush Compound, which is just unreal. The compound stands on an L-shaped peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic, and includes five or six houses plus a tennis court and a dock on the little harbor between the peninsula and the mainland. Looking out across about a hundred yards of water, I saw a little figure in an orange life vest getting into a speed boat, then taking off with a second boat for the Secret Service following close behind in its wake. I can't say for sure that it was Bush Sr. in that speedboat, but dammit, that's what I'm going to tell my grandkids. Don't spoil it for me.
All of which is to say that New England is a swell region. Except for Connecticut. I'm still bitter about Connecticut because they have, by far, the worst drivers in the country--and this is coming from someone who's driven through 25 states from California to Maine over the past five weeks. That state's highways have more pansies than the gardens of Versailles. Memo to Connecticut: the left lanes on the Interstates are for passing, not for driving 45mph. Move to the right when you see the high beams in your rearview instead of tapping your breaks and slowing down. Grrrr.... I'm sorry, but Connecticut must be vaporized and never mentioned again. Or better still, burned to the ground by Confederate troops and colonized by Southerners.
Connecticut notwithstanding, however, I had a good time in New England. Of course, I was able to leave New England's cold, its high taxes, and its Maoist politicians for the cozy, low-tax, and pro-business confines of Delaware. God Bless it.
A former high school assistant principal who lifted girls' skirts to check for thong underwear before they entered a dance has received a new position in which she will not supervise students.
Question: why are they reassigning this nut-so, and not firing her?
Another question: will the same harpies who have spent months bellyaching about this very practice within the Catholic Church please stand up and condemn statism as forcefully as they've condemned Catholicism?
Actually, I didn't know squat about the Dominicans (no, not the little country in the Caribbean that borders Haiti) till I took the test over at Kepple's site. I kinda dig these guys, though. They've got a cool motto ("Contemplata aliis tradere"--"Let us pass along to others the fruits of our contemplation"), plus I've also discovered that St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican (which, I suppose I should have known earlier, but I'm an imbecile.) And, to sweeten the deal even more, Brother Matthew has registered his disappointment at not having been assessed by the quiz as a Dominican. Nah-nah-nah-boo-boo, I'm a Dominican and you aren't, Matthew!
University of South Florida officials accused a tenured Palestinian professor of having terrorist ties and filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a court to determine whether firing him would violate his free speech rights.
The university filed a complaint for "declaratory relief" asking the courts to enter a judgment that its plan to fire computer science professor Sami Al-Arian would not violate his constitutional rights, USF President Judy Genshaft said at a campus news conference.
This story just blows my mind. Here's a man who's drawing a taxpayer-funded salary at a public university. According to the story, he displayed his allegiances to Arab terrorists on national television nearly a year ago. The university's reputation and fundraising abilities have suffered since then. Why does it take so long to get rid of a nutbag like this?
I'm so sick of hearing how anti-American professors like al-Arian have "academic freedom." Where's the stone tablet that says you can use your employer's dime (and the taxpayers') to spout whatever nonsense you like with no consequences whatsoever? Let's start talking about accountability for these people instead. Behind information technology, higher education is the second largest investment America makes in its future. It's time that we the taxpayers demanded something more for our money than anti-intellectual rants from nutbags like al-Arian.
The principal of the Nickajack Elementary School outside Atlanta recently decreed that no student would be permitted to bring peanuts or peanut butter to school. She is not alone. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, schools in "at least nine states" now ban peanuts and peanut butter. The reason? A few students are highly allergic to peanuts, and if not treated in time, the reaction can lead to death. Lest 1 or 2 percent of the students have a bad reaction to peanuts (a reaction that is entirely treatable by the school nurse), the cheapest, tastiest, healthiest food that most kids like -- the peanut butter and jelly sandwich -- is now forbidden in some American schools.
Ah, yes, another victory for common sense within the walls of our government-run schools. Where would our children be today if they didn't have the nanny state to protect them from the evils of peanuts?
Let's suppose the doomsayers are right, and baseball loses half its fan base. Let's say MLB attendance falls from 30,000 per game to 15,000 per game as a result of the pending strike. Can we put that into some historical context?
There used to be a time that insufferable sportswriters called the "golden era" in MLB history. Roughly defined as the years 1947-57, these are the seasons that sportswriters like Roger Kahn, in hushed and reverent tones, describe as the greatest ever. Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle played during part or all of The Golden Era. Baseball was the only well-established pro sport. Baseball was The National Pastime, a huge part of our popular culture. Right?
Well, guess what? The average major league paid attendance during The Golden Era was 14,010 per game. Yes, baseball is in danger, the doomsayers tell us, of having its attendance fall all the way back to ... essentially what it was during The Golden Era, when baseball was allegedly pure as the driven snow and beloved by all Americans.
I'm certainly not thrilled about the prospect of a strike. In fact, having made a run down to Camden Yards last weekend to watch my Orioles play, and contemplated a trip up I-95 and get my full fix in a few other northeastern cities this coming weekend, I'm watching all I can before August 30. But my man's right. Baseball will survive...
Astute readers may have already noticed that I've just fixed a few broken links on the site, including the long-outdated link to Libertarian Samizdata. I've also updated my contact info at the link above. If you've been e-mailing me at my old, cspc.org mailbox, update your address book with my new address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott 10:20 PM [+] ::
Since September 11, we've heard a lot of sniping from the left about the "American Taliban"--a formulation that, basically, includes any registered Republican who attends church services on Sunday morning. We've heard a lot less about the real religious nutbags--those who populate the Democratic Party. Here's a sample from the Democratic State Convention in Connecticut:
"Let us look forward to waking up the day after election knowing that massive greed and sin has lost and our sacred state has come home to God... Team Democrat... start your engines!
Watch out for these folks. Next thing you know, they'll be blowing up ancient temples and pushing homosexuals off the roofs of high buildings...
Scott 9:16 PM [+] ::
"We're trying to get fishing banned in all state parks," PETA’s Bruce Friedrich said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says fishing is a violent and cruel sport that victimizes the innocent inhabitants of the nation's waterways. They've initiated a campaign demanding states ban the time-honored sport.
"They have the capacity to feel pain. They have a capacity to suffer," Friedrich said. "For reasons that really defy logic, we allow people to spend their afternoon impaling them on hooks."
Yes, fishing really does "defy logic." Why do we spend all afternoon "impaling [fish] on hooks" when we could be hunting those PETA nutbags instead?
Engineers in this arid region have a controversial solution for water shortages: Reuse the water that is flushed down toilets. "There is a yuck factor, but we explain to people the quality of water will end up being actually higher than what we already use," says Ron Wildermuth, spokesman for the Orange County Water District.
"Yuck factor" indeed. Why do people keep moving to that awful suburb?
--There's no sacred choral music on this list, even though it represents the pinnacle of artistic expression in the West. Why not include the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah, or a selection from Mozart's Requiem Mass?
--Why not include some Cuban music? That would please the multiculturalists, while helping to put Earth's best musical foot forward. (The same might be said of some Columbian cumbia.)
--One word: Thalia.
Chavis was murdered on the night of July 23 in Hawthorne, an economically depressed neighborhood on the southern edge of Los Angeles. Three unknown assailants shot him during an alleged robbery at a Foster's Freeze. They remain on the loose. The news has yet to be reported anywhere else, but sources told me it was the buzz of the Los Angeles medical community last week.
Seven years ago, Chavis became the toast of the media elite and the racial preference crowd when he was profiled lavishly by New York Times magazine writer Nicholas Lehmann. Chavis, who made the cover of the magazine, was a black physician admitted to the University of California-Davis medical school under a special racial-preference quota. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down the program after a landmark challenge by white applicant Allan Bakke. Lehmann contrasted what he considered Bakke's unremarkable career following the lawsuit with Chavis' noble and booming ob-gyn practice in the ghetto of Compton.
What the New York Times never got around to reporting...is that the "difference" Chavis made in the lives of several young black women involved gruesome pain-and death-as a result of botched "body sculpting" operations at his clinic. An administrative law judge found Chavis guilty of gross negligence and incompetence in the treatment of three patients. Yolanda Mukhalian lost 70 percent of her blood after Chavis hid her in his home for 40 hours following a bungled liposuction; she miraculously survived. The other survivor, Valerie Lawrence, also experienced severe bleeding following the surgery; after Lawrence's sister took her to a hospital emergency room, Chavis barged in and discharged his suffering patient-still hooked up to her IV and catheter-and also stashed her in his home. Tammaria Cotton bled to death and suffered full cardiac arrest after Chavis performed fly-by-night liposuction on her and then disappeared.
That kind of affirmative action surgery brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Mend it, don't end it."
The organizing principle of Delaware government is to subsidize its people at the rest of the country's expense. While tolls represent the most obvious of the state's nefarious methods, Delaware also utilizes its appallingly lax regulation of banks and corporations to enrich itself while undermining its neighbors. Indeed, Delaware's image as small and inoffensive is not merely a misconception but a purposeful guise. It presents itself as a plucky underdog peopled by a benevolent, public-spirited, entrepreneurial citizenry. In truth, it is a rapacious parasite state with a long history of disloyalty and avarice.
Buauhahaha! And you suckers wonder why I moved here...
The Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency for Prague and Southern Bohemia. Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice are hardest hit, with the Vltava River at Ceske Budejovice overrunning its banks and hitting a lot of houses. 5,000 people had to be evacuated from the Southern Bohemian towns of Strakonice and Pisek. In Cesky Krumlov, the water is up to the street we stayed on this winter; not the river side, but the other side....There were sandbags on the doors of the churches near the Charles Bridge. One of the owners of one of the touristy boats forgot to anchor it, and it was about to pull away from the dock and was in danger of running into the Charles Bridge. But the Interior Minister said he'd blow it up before it got to that. That I want to see. […]
Matt's right: these really are some of the most beautiful little towns in the world. In fact, when I become King of the World, I plan to to set up shop in Prague, and model my kingdom after Cesky Krumlov (the flooded town pictured above). Seriously, though, it really is sad to see all these places--which are portals to a simpler, more humane time--submerged like Atlantis. Say a little prayer for them, okay?
That trip really did rock, by the way. I'm way late on this, but let me give you a little travel log:
Day One: Los Angeles, CA to Grand Canyon, AZ
I left LA around noontime, and got to the Grand Canyon just after dusk. A full moon rising in the east illuminated the Canyon for me as I looked over the rim for the first time. Truly sublime. Afterwards, I pitched a tent at a campground in the adjacent Kaibab National Forest, where I spent the night.
Day Two: Grand Canyon, AZ to Malad City, ID
I spent half the day driving, and half the day as a cheesy tourist. Breaking camp right at 6am, I drove back into Grand Canyon National Park, and caught a daytime view of the Canyon. I drove through the park along Arizona Rt. 64, which runs parallel to the South Rim.
Here's the weird thing about visiting the Grand Canyon: approaching it from the South, you'd have no idea that you are coming up to such a marvel of nature. The highway that takes you into the Canyon traverses a high plateau, but it's so flat that almost feel like you're in Iowa. The road out of the Canyon, however, is just awesome. Using AZ 64 and US 89, I made my way up to the Utah state line via Lake Powell and Glen Canyon. What a drive! The open desert highways blaze past huge mesas of red and orange rock, almost as if you were driving along the floor of the Grand Canyon itself. It continues that way all the way into Utah.
At the State line, there's a sign welcoming visitors to "The Beehive State." I didn't have a clue why any state would designate itself as a home for beehives till I got to Zion National Park, about an hour northeast of the Arizona line. There I passed by scores of bulbous mountains with distinctively ridged contours that made them look just like...beehives. The road through Zion curves through these mountains, then enters a long tunnel. Passing through the tunnel, which was built in the 1930s, was a harrowing experience--but well worth it. When you emerge from the darkness, the road brings you out onto a perch along the side of a huge canyon wall. The view was divine. Since I was at Zion Park, I couldn't help thinking of that part in Handel's Messiah:
Thou that bearest good tidings to Zion
Sing unto the cities of Judah
Behold! Behold the Glory of the Lord...
I spent a couple hours at Zion, viewing the amazing rock formations that make it a Mecca for hikers and climbers around the world. If I could have stayed a month, I would have done some mad backpacking. I simply had no idea how amazing that place would be. Zion Canyon completely exceeded my expectations, and leaving was really tough. But another stop on the tour, Bryce Canyon, pulled me away, however reluctantly.
And what a disappointment it was. I found Bryce Canyon National Park a lot more domesticated than Zion, with wider roads that followed only the canyon rim, instead of going into the canyon itself. Looking over from Bryce Point at the pillars of orange rock for which the canyon is famous, I felt as though I were looking at a bunch of cigarette butts that some deity had placed upright in the wasteland of Utah--as if God had somehow stressed out over the creation, torn through a carton of Camels and deposited them here. I don't know, maybe I was just miffed at not being able to see the "hoodoos" (as the rock pillars are known) from the interior of the canyon itself. Or perhaps I was simply jaded from having seen the Grand Canyon, the Martian landscapes of northern Arizona, the Grand Staircase Escalante of Southern Utah, and the awe-inspiring vistas at Zion all in the same day. Whatever the case, Bryce Canyon seemed like a letdown.
After leaving Bryce Canyon, I made my way to I-15, and headed north through Salt Lake City and onto Southern Idaho. I crashed at a dingy hotel in Malad City, weary from all I had seen and done that day.
Day Three: Malad City, ID to Red Lodge, MT
The focal point of day three was my journey through Yellowstone National Park. Driving so far out of my way to see the park, I spent days wondering if it would be worth the trip. Was it ever! Yellowstone contains a mind-boggling array of natural landcapes--including waterfalls, lakes, high mountains, bucolic plains filled with buffalo, and the world's largest concentration of geysers. More than a crown jewel of our national park system, Yellowstone is a playground for the soul.
After entering the park from its Western entrance in Montana, I crossed over the Wyoming line and made my way through a geyser field to Old Faithful. The geyser was packed with tourists, but what the hell. It was cool seeing the thing erupt.
After leaving Old Faithful, I made my way south around two major lakes, then followed the banks of the Yellowstone river northeast. I got stuck behind a caravan of RVs that had left Old Faithful with me. Such beautiful scenery, and I had to share it with these philistines from Anaheim, Falls Church, and South Florida! The horror! But all was not lost. Seeing the Yellowstone River off to the right, I decided to pull over...and fish! I had my rod in the cab of my truck, along with some lures. What a great way to beat the traffic! If only one could do that during rush hour along the 405 in Los Angeles! I had arrived in Heaven.
Or at least I thought. Driving farther north and east through Yellowstone, the landscapes became more and more sublime. One highlight was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park. At its mouth is a huge waterfall (see picture link above) where the Yellowstone River crashes hundreds of feet into the canyon floor. In a word: wow!
Leaving the falls, I crossed over a winding mountain road, and came finally to Route 212, which goes eastward out of the park. The road travels across wide-open plains of green grass. Mountains tower over the horizon, and herds of buffalo graze over open fields that stretch for miles on end. Later, the road goes back up into mountains that reminded me of Hillaire Belloc's descriptions of the Alps--amazing rock formations that cry out to be sketched or photographed. Alas, I cannot draw well, and my photographs of these peaks didn't turn out. What a shame.
After hitting Yellowstone, I tried to make up some time. But I did manage to stop at the Little Big Horn Monument in Southeastern Montana, and at Mount Rushmore in western South Dakota. Glad I did, but neither attraction was all that exciting. Little Big Horn, the site of Custer's last stand, is just a big field with a marble monument and a small cemetery. Rushmore, meanwhile, was a giant tourist trap. Glad I went, but I wouldn't waste my time going back there again.
Day Five: Sioux Falls, SD to Benton Harbor, MI
The highlight of this day was a visit to the Spam Museum in Austin, MN. How cool is that! Sure, it's cheesy as hell, but it's the Spam Museum!
Oh yeah, I also went to Chicago on Day Five. I made a beeline to Wrigley Field, then traveled down Lakeshore Avenue and back up Michigan Avenue. Chicago's not a bad little city, but I didn't see any great appeal to it. LA is much better. And LA has much less traffic too. Every major freeway in Chicago was under construction the night I passed through the Windy City. On my way out of town in I-94, I sat for an hour as a four-lane highway funneled down to just one lane. When I passed the construction workers who were clogging out the other three lanes, they were leaning up against their shovels. The bastards. You'd never see anything like that out west.
I drove for about another hour after leaving Chicago, then crashed at a hotel in Benton Harbor, MI.
Day Six: Benton Harbor MI to Wilmington, DE
The highlight of this day was to be a visit to Detroit. You know, Detroit! City of the future! What a nightmare that city was, though. I cannot think of one redeeming thing to say about the Motor City. Yuck, yuck, a thousand times yuck. Let us never speak of Detroit again.
I just hightailed it out of Michigan, through Ohio, and onto the Penn Turnpike. It was a huge relief to leave that awful region known as the upper Midwest, and return to the Keystone State. Once in Pennsylvania, I was out of the cornfields and back into the Allegheny Mountains. At long last, some scenery again. Then, after passing through Harrisburg, I visited York, PA, where I was born and lived till the age of eight. After making the rounds, I got back into the truck and putted ball home to Wilmington. And oh my God, it was over.
However dangerous Iraq's mass destruction weapons programme is claimed to be (though the evidence has yet to be produced), there can be no justification for war by another state unless and until the Iraqi government itself launches an attack.
Oh joy. Pax Christi would have us wait till tens of thousands of lives are lost and Washington and New York City become smoking, radioactive craters before we take action against Saddam Hussein. How Christian.
Today's Wall Street Journal takes a look at the brave new world of balance-sheet expensed corporate stock options, and finds that the bandwagon to count options as business expenses has rolled over one important constituency: the middle class. Write Jeff D. Opdyke and Michelle Higgins of the Journal:
As companies begin expensing options, they are almost certain to get stingier about handing them out because it will hurt their bottom line. That will have major implications for how a wide array of employees negotiate their compensation packages. What will replace stock options isn't yet clear. Some companies may give employees stock grants or cash bonuses. However, in today's tough economy, many employees may find they get nothing to compensate them for the loss of options.
Top executives are likely to get smaller packages, but they won't be hit the hardest. Instead, companies are likely to target middle managers and the 10% to 20% of nonmanagement employees who currently get options.
"Companies are going to trim who gets options and, unfortunate as it is, it's going to be the little guy who gets less," says Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, a New York compensation consulting firm.
Nice to see the forces who have maligned Corporate America over the past several months looking out for "the people, not the powerful."
[I]n this race, Democrats are at a clear disadvantage. Their record with Latinos is a disgrace and they face a president who already knew enough about Latino politics upon arriving in office to give his first national interview to Univision, a Spanish-language station. Since then, George W. Bush has worked to redefine the Republican party for the next generation of Americans and he has done so in English and Spanish.
Intra-party squabbles are essential to a healthy political organization. But when those squabbles help the opposition more than the party, it's time to rethink one's strategy.
Spanish-language radio ads, TV spots, and campaign literature are far from a destructive form of pandering. For a large part of this country, they are the only tickets to the American dream they are likely to receive.
I never owned a teevee set during my time in Los Angeles--I haven't owned one since starting for college six years ago--yet I became a pretty avid Lakers fan while I was out there. (If you need proof, you can revisit my posts from this year's NBA Championship Series by clicking here.) The Lakers unite Los Angeles in a way that nothing else does, and Chick's radio broadcasting on KLAC 570 was my only way to join in the fun. And he was just awesome. Matt Welch has written a great tribute to his broadcasting skills; you should go read it. He does much more justice to the man who basically invented the language of basketball--including the term "slam dunk"--than I ever could. Suffice it to say here that both the sport of basketball and the City of Los Angeles have been dealt a big loss. It's such a shame to see Chick go....
I just checked my 403b for the first time in a month. Holy Hell. The Fidelity Magellan Fund--America's largest mutual fund, and the single largest holding in my retirement account--closed today below $75/share. That's down from over $130/share--more than 40 percent--from when I began investing in that fund in November 2000.
Kyle Still really pissed me off with this post about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas:
Why Do African-Americans Dislike Clarence Thomas So Much?
A recent article in the Washington Post's magazine seeks to ask that question (Click Here). It is definitely true, though: Thomas is very disliked by the African-American community, from my experience. He is seen as a sell-out, and, frankly, it's hard to dispute that argument. For instance, Thomas disfavors affirmative action, despite the fact that he himself benefited from such programs in both his undergraduate and law studies.
Reading this again, I see that the Young Kyle covers his ass with the passive voice ("is seen...," "is very disliked...," etc.). But what a complete crock of shit it is for anyone to think like that in this day and age. How can anyone in the year 2002, let alone a huge portion of the American electorate, possibly be so unenlightened as to think: "Oh, that runaway nigga Cla'nce! He gone up north and take a white man's job! He shoulda kept it real 'n drived a bus down in Tupelo like his Pappy did!"
Fifty years ago the Klan was saying that kind of racist garbage. A hundred-fifty years ago it was the fugitive-slave hunters. Today it's Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Kweisi Mfume, Julian Bond, and the other professional race hustlers of the "civil rights movement" who are trying to bring Thomas, et al. back to the plantation. I hope they all roast in Hell for spreading this toxic contempt for the genuine achievements of Thomas and other successful black Americans. This attitude--which forbids achievement by blacks, lest they be seen as "sell-outs"--is the single greatest impediment to racial progress in this country, and these hucksters deserve our enduring contempt for spreading it to the very people who trust them most.
Bill Simon should just give up. He's a lousy candidate. He should admit it, bow out of the race, then endorse a good Republican -- Secretary of State Bill Jones -- who has a shot at beating the otherwise-vulnerable Gray Davis.
Well, it's about gawddammed time someone else finally said that. I shouted that from the mountaintop six months ago, and everyone thought I was loony-toons. Recall what I wrote on February 20:
The Machiavellian in me says that Secretary of State Bill Jones, not Riordan, is the horse to back in this race. Yet the Golden State’s conservative activists have been reluctant to support him, simply because he endorsed the wrong candidate for President in 2000. I even had a Republican member of California’s State Assembly tell me recently that Jones’ endorsement of McCain was the reason he was putting his money on the ideologically-pure Bill Simon, who has all the charisma of a potted plant. If enough of these Simon voters would quit counting ideological angels on the heads of pins and support Jones, though, then we could have a really interesting primary race.
I had the opportunity to hear two of the three Republican candidates in the California Gubernatorial Race speak yesterday at the Council for National Policy's Conference in Laguna Niguel. After watching Bill Simon and Bill Jones in action--and noting the conspicuous absence of frontrunner Richard Riordan--I'm starting to conclude that the best hope for movement conservatives in this race is Secretary of State Jones.
Before we go any further, let me disclose that I have left my notes at the office this weekend, and that what I'm writing is based largely on memory. There may be some small discrepancies from the actual record.
That said, though, let me make the qualified assertion that Bill Simon is a complete space cadet. Simon, who happens to be pals with Rudy Giuliani and a few other powerful northeastern elites, got in front of 250 movement conservatives yesterday and bored them to tears. He started off with invocations of Edmund Burke and Friedrick Hayek (how many California voters know who they are?), and went straight downhill from there. He mentioned the term "public-private partnerships" about half-a-dozen times, and his biggest applause line was, "Isn't the private sector better than the public sector?" Uh, yeah, Bill. And with one-liners like that, you'll be in the private sector for a very, very long time.
Bill Jones, on the other hand, gave a much more polished speech. He invoked Reagan, and rattled off some of his endorsements that revealed his bona fides with Mexican-Americans, gun-owners, and other groups that the GOP cares about right now. He emphasized his electability on a statewide level. Then he came out swinging at Gray Davis. Then he ripped into Dick Riordan's moderate record on abortion, gays, and other core conservative issues. He criticized him for giving $12,500 to the Davis campaign in 1998. And he took this shot at the absent former of Los Angeles: "I know I should uphold Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment to not openly criticize another Republican, but in the case of Richard Riordan, it really depends on how you define Republican." All in all, it was an impressive display. Whether or not he'll overtake Riordan remains to be seen, but Jones really strikes me as the horse to back if you're looking for an electable conservative.
Sorry, everybody, for the little hiatus here at SR.com over the past week or so. I've been busy getting settled into the new pad, the new job, and whatnot. More importantly, the phone company dropped the ball with my order for home service, so my web access outside work has been non-existent since I moved in last Tuesday. The good news, though, is that the phone and web should be up-n-running there by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest, and regular postings will resume then.
In other words, you didn't miss much. Once I get back into my regular posting schedule, though, I'll toss some Tabasco or some Tapatio Hot Sauce onto the bland August news cycle so that it's a little more palatable. Till then....hasta!
Scott 5:30 PM [+] ::