Saturday, January 22, 2011

Auctioneer Roundup

Law school auction on Thursday. I didn't win anything -- probably a good thing. The last time I "won" something at the law school auction, I paid for it and never received it.

* * *

Bradley Burston gives ten reasons to be optimistic that Israel has finally turned a corner.

Unqualified Offerings offers a revised schedule of illegal drugs.

Tablet Mag profiles the extremist anti-Zionist Jew Phillip Weiss. It's an interesting read.

A Muslim? As a judge? Oh noes!

New research on why Texas' "top 10%" plan, envisioned as a race-neutral replacement for affirmative action, is not working out.

While Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be given the GOP's official SOTU response, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is delivering her own response as a representative of the Tea Party movement. I'm sure Dems are just quaking.

I cannot imagine the trauma of having one's own teacher burn a cross into one's arm.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have just recently found out that Blogger has enabled auto-spam detection and quarantined comments it suspects to be spam, which is where many of the missing comments have been headed. I've just gone through and published all the (non-spam) comments mistakenly trapped there, and I'll take to checking the box more regularly now that I've discovered its existence.

As to why the particular comment-authors in question are so consistently taken to be spam, I venture no public opinion.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Tequila Two Tequila....

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has the quote of the day, speaking from the House floor on the healthcare repeal debate:
"You know, I want to just advise people watching at home playing that now popular drinking game of 'you take a shot whenever Republicans say something that's not true.' Please assign a designated driver. This is going to be a long afternoon."

Lolz to the wallz, boys.

Come On, Steve

Fun fact, Steve Cohen (D-TN) -- when Sarah Palin said criticism of her constituted a "blood libel"? That wasn't a license for open season on the term. Blech.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Role Model

I don't have much to say aside from my endorsement of this post on Clarence Thomas and the myth of the "one most qualified" candidate. Was Clarence Thomas the single "most qualified" person who could have been nominated for a SCOTUS seat? To the extent that question makes sense, the answer is clearly "no", but the better moral is that the question really doesn't make sense.

"Despite" the fact that he was clearly an "affirmative action" pick by President Bush, who recognized that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court couldn't stand for it being lily-white anymore, Justice Thomas has proven himself to be an innovative thinker and an all-around excellent jurist (albeit one with whom I disagree with on nearly every issue). Which goes for the proposition that there are a great many (or at least more than one) candidates qualified for most government positions, and once you get beyond certain basic thresholds, what we're looking for isn't the "most qualified" person but rather between the different contributions different candidates are likely to bring to the job. And Justice Thomas, whatever his other failings, has brought an important perspective to the Supreme Court that almost certainly would not have been replicated by any other potential George H.W. Bush nominee.

Every Anti-Semite Has Their One "Bad Gentile"

Sigmund Freud. Edward Bernays. George Soros. Cass Sunstein. Andy Stern. Walter Lippman. Frances Fox Piven. Edward Rendell. And Richard Trumka.

If you scarcely recognized any of those names outside of Freud, congratulations, you're a regular American.

If you recognized a few more of the names -- two-thirds or so -- but have no earthly idea what they all have in common, congratulations, you're a relatively well-informed, but still normal, American.

If you answered "the foremost enemies of America and humanity", by contrast, you must be a Glenn Beck viewer (no kudos for you). And, in what is of course just a massive coincidence, with the exception of AFL-CIO president Trumka, all of the names are Jewish.

Surely, just a coincidence. It's not like Beck has accused the Jews of killing Christ or anything. I mean, the ADL-honored Rupert Murdoch would never employ anyone with even a whiff of anti-Semitism in his bones. Right?

James Besser says folks like Beck raise
a difficult question that could define the job for the ADL and other "defense organizations" in this age of angry talk shows, cable news commentaries and blogs: what do you do about those who profess love for the Jewish people and for Israel, but whose ideology echoes age-old canards about malevolent Jewish conspiracies?

With due respect to Mr. Besser, I don't think it is that difficult at all. In post-1970s America, nobody admits to, or even thinks of themselves as, a bigot -- towards Jews, towards Blacks, towards Latinos, towards anyone. Any and all political positions are held with the firm stated conviction that they are perfectly consistent with liberal equality, just as Martin Luther King, Jr., commanded.

Folks like Beck don't raise any difficult questions, they just make it easy to see the facility of this analysis. The fact that one can proclaim one's love for the Jewish people even while promoting nearly-all Jewish lists of evil mind controls out to destroy the country simply shows the hollowness of the proclamation. It's simply not a reliable way of gauging who our friends are.

Overruled: Nine Months Later

Last April, I wrote a brief blurb on the plight of a Veneuzelan judge who released a prisoner Hugo Chavez wanted to remain incarcerated, and was arrested and thrown in jail 15 minutes later. The man in question had been held in jail for three years without trial, beyond legal limitations, hence the judge's ruling.

Anyway, Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni remains in prison and is facing a 30 year sentence. Prosecutors admit they can find no evidence of any illicit payments to Judge Afiuni, but have accused her of (I kid you not) "spiritual corruption" (presumably, that provision is Article 2, Sec. 128 of Venezuelan national code, right next to the provision that prohibits violating "everything that we [the Venezuelan government] have been doing.").

Alabama Governor: Non-Christians are not my "Brothers"

In a speech to a Black church in Alabama meant to bolster his race-relations credentials, Alabama Governor-elect Robert Bentley promised that though "I was elected as a Republican candidate ... once I became governor ... I became the governor of all the people."

A lovely sentiment. Except for what happened next:
"There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit," Bentley said. ''But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister."

Bentley added, ''Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."

I'm not sure how many folks in a church don't "have living within them the Holy Spirit". But the bigger point, obviously, is the gratuitous demeaning of Jews and other non-Christians, with the Governor explicitly telling them that they are lesser people in his eyes.

The reason the Constitution forbids official religious endorsement is that, in the words of Justice O'Connor, "Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community." Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 688 (1984) (O'Connor, J., concurring). Alas, public pronouncement of the governor's views -- absent any legal effect -- are likely outside the purview of constitutional review. But the effect is the same -- everybody in Alabama now has had it made starkly clue which faith groups are insiders, and which are outsiders, in the current administration.

UPDATE: Jon Chait reminds us that "it's been months since the last neoconservative column upbraiding American Jews for their inexplicable failure to vote Republican."

UPDATE #2: Governor Bentley has apologized.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Dr. King was one of the great figures in our nation's history -- and not just because he's dead. I think he would be proud of some of our advances as a society, but I think he would be gravely disappointed in what is left to be done. The best way to celebrate Dr. King's legacy to recognize it is still a work in progress, an ambition that had eloquent foes then and eloquent foes now.