Saturday, May 31, 2003

I'm not sure what to make of this:

You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You
display a perfect fusion of heroism and

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Damn, just when I was good and lathered up about his most recent broadsides, Andrew Sullivan reminds me why I read his work.
Can we have a rule? Anyone who compares all Republicans or all conservatives to Nazis is morally equivalent to a Holocaust denier. I'm willing to extend the same to those who compare all liberals to communists.

It is profoundly unserious, at best, to engage in this bull****. The Jews were not rounded up and gassed, the gypies slaughtered wholesale, Slavs tortured, raped, and killed in numbers greater than the Jews (who weren't looking at minimal casualties, you know?), because of the Nazis' (National Socialists, I might point out) stands on abortion-on-demand or marginal tax rates. Comparing the two is the work of either an evil, or a diseased, mind.
I don't have time for lengthy comments on this theory about white-black achievement disparity, but I'd like to make two notes:

First, the idea that students of Latin American descent are "involuntary immigrants" in the same manner as blacks and Native Americans is both true, and not: Some are descended from the inhabitants of Texas before independence and the territory gained in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; most are people whose ancestors (or they themselves) came voluntarily in the time after. I should note that, in my experience, the "involuntary" ones tend to be more Americanized, and better students; the "voluntary" tend not. You'll understand what I'm getting at when you read that piece.

Second, I find deeply offensive the idea that your existence is predicated on your ethnic history, both because I'm not terribly impressed with my ethnic history, and because it neatly writes free will out of the equation. (Question: How do folks who slander The Bell Curve reconcile its alleged findings with their belief that racial genetics is destiny?) Again, read the piece above.

The hat tip is to Stuart Buck.

Friday, May 30, 2003

I am ashamed to be an alumnus.

Apparently, a cardinal -- a Prince of the Church -- cannot recite Catholic doctrine at Georgetown without a hassle.

I've been out of school for a little while now, so I'd forgotten little gems like these:

The writer [of a post on a listserv] also praised "the amount of faculty and administrators that came to show their utmost support for the LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning] community. The students at the meeting conveyed the message that the LGBTQ community does not feel affirmed by the administration as a whole and that we feel like the university has a long way to go before it can call itself a truly accepting place. The faculty and staff present seemed responsive to this and signaled their desire to start changing things."

The listserve said a letter from the dean's office will be sent out to recent graduates and their families "to affirm the place of LGBTQ people at the Georgetown table and address the hurt the cardinal's comments caused."
Oh, the stories I could tell.


Questioning? Did I just include myself in that group by using the punctuation I'm about to use to end this interrogatory? What the hell? I gagged when they added transsexual transgendered to the list. (The damned word means nothing, you idiots.) Now it's people who ask questions, too?

(I know, it refers to those two people who aren't sure about which team they play for. Irony, folks.)

Oh, and this is priceless:

The students at the meeting conveyed the message that the LGBTQ community does not feel affirmed by the administration as a whole and that we feel like the university has a long way to go before it can call itself a truly accepting place.
Is Orwell still required reading anymore? Aside from the perversely simplistic and convoluted language, the point here could not be more wrong-headed: If there's anywhere in this world that this particular interest group can feel welcome, it's at a Jesuit school.

When my Neo-Templars sweep the Earth...

And of course the administration is sending out a letter, doubtless to apologize for Catholic doctrine actually being expressed on campus. Drinan's probably exploding with glee.

If the archbishop -- nay, the General of the Order -- had cojones, he'd clean the damned place up.

Hat tip: Ben Domenech, who rightly and succinctly says, "I love African Catholics. Like African Episcopalians, they actually believe in the theology they preach. Of course, Georgetown students find that fact surprising."
Just for fun: A Google search of intifada hot nude women.

Weird day. Sorry.
Ooh, neat site: Tales from a Yeti Suit.

Heads up, Jimmy: This site looks custom-designed for you.
Not to toot my horn, because there's nothing to toot, but I've been talking to folks about the continent-wide war in the Congo for years now. How come it's only just now receiving any attention? Is it because Mobutu is gone? Because Lumumba is decades dead? What gives?
Forget the blinking Eleventh Circuit, put this man on the Supreme Court.

If the only negative quote you can find on this guy from his native stomping grounds is from the Southern Keep People in Poverty Law Center, by Heaven, get him on the bench.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Funny, but also seriously in need of help.

It's true; no one really knows what the word "neocon" means any more.

Oh: Good pic, Ben, but was it cropped in the original? And does Andrew Sullivan really claim to be the premiere anything? I know he's an acquired taste, but he never struck me as being pompous -- certainly not that much so. And is all this guy can think to say about Josh Claybourn -- heckuva bright guy, intellectually serious and honest -- is that he's "[A] Hoosier Conservative"?

UPDATE: Boy, am I dense. What the hell kind of slur is it to make Sullivan the Queen of Hearts?
I've been away from his page for a while, but Matt Hoy is doing some flat-out fantastic work there. Stop in and check him out.
Before I begin working on a long post, I'd like to point out that the Old Oligarch has yet more thoughts on The Matrix that are well worth a read. And I'm not saying that just because he answered some questions of mine, or because he reminded me where I'd seen the word Merovingian before.

Warning: Spoilers. Second warning: His wife's thoughts on the Council are not yet posted.
Ok, look, I'm a little vague on his issues, but any man who could save the Godfather's chain deserves my vote.

I'm serious. My dream is to someday own a Godfather's restaurant right on my property, for my personal use (and that of any friends and relatives who stop by). It's a small dream, to be sure, but it's my dream, dammit. It's the best pizza ever. And the man who made that a possibility is a man I want to be a Senator.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Ok, one more, then beddy-bye time:

A while back, I wrote this post, inspired by Megan McArdle's seminal piece, on why it is bad to vote for Democrats. Tacitus did it better here. Ben Domenech now has a typically well-thought-out tangent on the matter here.

I'd like to add that this little bit about the U.S. taking on the E.U.'s anti-gen-mod crop regs (talked about here) has somehow gone completely missed by the Libertoids I read. Wonder how that happened.
Pete Beinart goes off his damned rocker, Charles Murtaugh genuflects.

Beinart cites three incidents for Bush's alleged "abuse [of] government power or the public trust": The Texas redistricting mess, the decision by the Senate leadership to break the filibuster, and Bush pushing for war with Iraq.


* What the duly elected representatives of the State of Texas choose to do, once elected, is not within the Mighty Bush's Unquestioned Control. More importantly, since Beinart implies that all the brouhaha would be something conservatives would be pissy about if Clinton did it, I have two responses:

(1) Given that the current districting was done by a Federal judge in response to Democrat screw-ups, might we reasonably suppose that The New Republic would be in favor of the legislature redrawing the silly thing if popularly elected Democrats were doing it?

(2) Let's not get cute and pretend that "packing blacks and Hispanics into overwhelmingly minority districts" is something only Evil Republicans do. The term of art is "majority-minority" district. Republicans do this; Democrats do this. I personally think it's wrong and unconstitutional on its face, but the Supreme Court -- including TNR's favorite four judges -- disagree with me on this. So does the DoJ. Minority Democrats love it. A lot of Republicans love it. A lot of white Democrats love it. It's not new, kids. (This mess -- the redistricting mess -- is now thirteen years old. Here's the case that started it all.)

* If you think the Senate is rolling over at Bush's command, you've forgotten something very important: Every morning, 100 men and women from that chamber look in the mirror and see a President looking back. (Well, not Zell Miller, but the rest.) I find it unlikely that Bush has so completely usurped the Senate leadership, or implanted mind-control fillings, that he's telling them what to do; I'd suggest that they're pushing their own agenda, and it corresponds with his.

* Oh, God, the drone thing again. Look, if you really believe Hussein wasn't looking for ways to kill us en masse, I have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn for sale. (Quick question: If Clinton had said this, and removed Hussein, would Beinart be on his case?) Oh, and this is priceless:

On October 7, 2002, President Bush declared in a nationally televised speech that "Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States." That was a functional lie. Iraq's drones, the Bush administration later admitted, had a maximum range of several hundred miles. They could reach the United States only if flown from a warship stationed off America's coast (a virtually impossible scenario given Iraq's almost nonexistent navy).

Three days later, the Senate authorized the president to use force against Iraq.
Petey: Five words: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

There are good questions about the Bush White House out there; Beinart's apparently not the one to make them.

(I'd usually forward this to Murtaugh, or anyone else with whom I disagree in pixels, but I've emailed him three times in the past to no response, so I don't bother.)

UPDATE: The danger of writing at 2 a.m. finally catches up to me: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is five words, not four.
More light posting, but I would like to point out that Lileks is somewhere between dead on and off-target when he writes:

Short version of the review [of The Matrix Reloaded] - Attention, Wachowski Brothers: put down the bong and step away from the script.
He also confirms what I thought I'd seen -- George H.W. Bush as an apparition of evil. Um, yeah. Squishy Republicans are right up there with Hitler, guys.

I liked the movie. It confirmed wild hunches I'd been carrying around since 1999. I wasn't as disappointed in the action scenes as I thought I'd be. The coital scene didn't bug me as much as the silly rave. There was a nice, if mildly predictable, twist. The visuals were still stunning. The mild philosophical lapses were pardonable. The philosophy almost managed to get deep again. And Laurence Fishburne deserves an Oscar.

And I'm gonna give it room I rarely give: It's Part Two. Part Two movies usually suck (Empire Strikes Back being the all-time great exception, Godfather II wasn't really a Part Two so much as it was a second story, the ideas of otherwise extremely bright people notwithstanding). Attack of the Clones looked so bad that I couldn't bring myself to watch it on rental.

But the Matrix series has a consistent plotline, and made no secret that this movie is just a prelude to the finale. So I'm giving slack.

Like that bright guy, I'm gonna say: Good, but not great movie. Let's hold out hope for the last one.

The Old Oligarch has a much more involved take.

Spoilers are below on his link, along with some damned good questions.

O.O.: If you're reading this, the answers to the questions about the Emanation are digging at me, too. I'm not sure if there are puzzles within what he said; was he just setting Neo up to effect the course of events he desired, or is there a deeper gnosis at work? Did he ever confirm that she -- she, in particular -- was, so to speak, another Emanation? Remember what he said, in response to Neo's question? "Please." With quite the condescending tone, too. Might he have been referring to someone else? Might he have been lying?

And the bit at the end has me mildly worried that there's a deeper solipsism (to misuse the word), so to speak, at work. Think of the end of MIB, and you'll see what I'm getting at. It would explain how Neo's evolution is working.

UPDATE: The Old Oligarch makes clear that he wasn't reviewing before, and he is now, with some more thought-out questions (and a nice philosophy recap for those of us who stopped reading Kleimann, Kant, and Russell some time around 1997) in this spoiler-heavy writing. READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL, even though it's quite good.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Ok, he wins. I give.

Because of this post, Little Tiny Lies officially makes the blog list at left.

Here's why:

I like parties fine, but this isn't a party. When lawyers hold parties for other lawyers, it's work. They talk shop, and they make contacts, and they look for new jobs. And some of the men look for quick sex without commitment, and some of the women look for successful men who might marry them and make it unnecessary for them to continue practicing law. I think that if I meet any nice-looking women, I'll introduce myself as a writer just so they won't smell blood in the water.
Going to law school convinced me that the very worst thing a man can do to himself is to marry a lady law student. Way too many of them have some attitude/chip/hormonal imbalance (yes, I'm ranting, don't kill me when you read this, dear) that produces a permanent sneer and personality disorder, akin to what most women in New Jersey and Noo Yawk carry around on a daily basis. For the life of me, given that women are the majority of law students, and have an easier in at every firm they interview, I'll never understand why, but most female law students (and way too many female lawyers) practically have a bright neon sign on their foreheads that reads I AM BEING OPPRESSED BY THE PATRIARCHY AND I WANT TO CUT OFF TESTICLES IN RETALIATION. And I'M OVERSEXED AND NEED TO GET LAID AND I HATE IT THAT NOT EVERY MAN IN SIGHT WANTS ME.

And lawyer parties suck. Badly.