Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

France, the Democrats and reality

One of the three in the title doesn’t belong there:

I watched, incredulously, as all three contenders in Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — refused to say the slaughter was the work of “Muslim” extremists.

Clinton blamed “jihadis.” But despite prodding, she would not speak of the Islamic elephant in the room.

Sanders stood by his earlier claim that climate change, not creatures in suicide vests, presents the biggest threat to this planet because it makes poor people into terrorists by interfering with their crops or something.

At that point, I switched to the Syfy channel to get a bigger dose of reality.

And probably got much more of a dose of reality than the Democratic debate.

Imagine claiming “climate change” was the “biggest threat to the planet” when terrorists are blowing up people in France.  Or the simple fact that the climate really hasn’t shown any change in over a decade.

Who are “jihadis” and what religion do they represent, Ms. Clinton?

And who’s two memes, “ISIS is the jayvee” and “other civilized countries don’t have this sort of problem (referring to mass killings), were utterly destroyed?  Not to mention watching the French president show what leadership means by hitting ISIS immediately, repeatedly and hard?

Oh, that would be our Commander-in-Chief, the semi-retired and totally disconnected Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the importation of 10,000 Syrian refugees will continue as planned.

Yup, Syfy would seem to deal in reality much more than our President and the Democrats.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 13 Nov 15

Allons enfants de la Patrie, [Arise, children of the Fatherland,]
Le jour de gloire est arrivé! [The day of glory has arrived!]
Contre nous de la tyrannie, [Against us is tyranny,]
L’étendard sanglant est levé. (bis) [Its bloody banner raised. (repeat)]
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes [Do you hear, in the countryside,]
Mugir ces féroces soldats? [The roar of their ferocious soldiers?]
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras [They’re coming right into our arms]
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes! [To cut the throats of our sons, our women!]
Aux armes, citoyens, [To arms, citizens,]
Formez vos bataillons, [Form your battalions,]
Marchons, marchons! [Let’s march, let’s march!]
Qu’un sang impur [Let their impure blood]
Abreuve nos sillons! (bis) [Water our furrows! (Repeat)]

On the podcast page.

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Another day, another academic asylum goes berserk

This time, Claremont Institute.  I want you to read four articles.

First the LA Times:

Dean Mary Spellman at Claremont McKenna stepped down after she sparked a campus protest and hunger strikes by two students this week over her email to a Latina student saying she would work to serve those who “don’t fit our CMC mold.”

Spellman later apologized, but her remarks appeared to be a tipping point for students who have pressed the campus for months for greater diversity among faculty and staff and more funding for multicultural services.

Apparently “mold” is a trigger word.  She was addressing a student who wrote a guest editorial in the student newspaper.  The email?


Oh, my Lord.  She must not have been thinking. “Our CMC mold”, anyone knows that means … white people, right?

BANG! Off with her head (for what should at best have been considered an email attempting to help, but possibly poorly worded and needing a bit of an explanation)!

And, as you can tell, they figuratively got her head.  Of course, the LA Times does its best to give the student complaints credibility.

OK, second article from the college itself, the Claremont Independent:

At the demonstration, students vocalized their demands, emphasizing that they want everything done on their own terms. “We don’t want a center for free speech meant to educate white students,” one protestor asserted. “We want a center that supports marginalized students first and foremost.” When students demanded that President Chodosh commit to giving them a temporary and eventually permanent space on campus, he initially said that he could not commit to a temporary space, but is working on a permanent space at this time. But after about 5 minutes of students speaking out against him, President Chodosh said he would love to transform the Hub, CMC’s student food store and central lounge, to provide them with a temporary space. In a swift, executive decision, CMC Student Body President Will Su dedicated part of the student government office as a temporary space, ordering the administration to give these students a permanent space immediately.

“To the administration as a whole, we require greater diversity in our faculty and staff,” stated the protest leader. “The need for such programs to educate the student body is eminent [sic] by the numerous microaggressions felt by students of color.” Students of color called out racially-insensitive professors for making them feel unsafe. “We want mandatory and periodic racial sensitivity trainings for all professors,” one protestor stated. “How are students supposed to learn in the classroom when they don’t even feel safe? When their own professors, someone who is supposed to be a mentor to them, a teacher, doesn’t even respect their identities? We want more diverse course offerings for critical race theory, community engagement, and social justice issues.”

In other words, this isn’t about learning diversity, this is about cookie-cutter Social Justice Warrior learning.  And they want the student body as a whole to have to endure these offerings as well.  This isn’t about diversity, this is about control.  And it’s about control of the orthodoxy and who gets to decide its direction.  A little reminiscent of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, no?  Certainly a branch of the same tree.

The third is from the Daily Beast which includes this:

A black male student emerged from the crowd and went to the center, saying, “It’s literally your jobs to take care of us when we don’t feel safe on this campus.”

Amazing, no?  Still thumb sucking adolescents engaged in throwing a tantrum because they’re apparently afraid of … words and ideas they don’t like.  Or “mean people”.  Or … something.

These people are our hope for the future?

Well, not really.  The wheels will come off this little parade when it heads into the real world.

But all is not lost.  There was this, also from the Claremont Independent, entitled “We Dissent”.  And they tell it like it is.  A snippet:

First, former Dean Mary Spellman. We are sorry that your career had to end this way, as the email in contention was a clear case of good intentions being overlooked because of poor phrasing. However, we are disappointed in you as well. We are disappointed that you allowed a group of angry students to bully you into resignation. We are disappointed that you taught Claremont students that reacting with emotion and anger will force the administration to act. We are disappointed that when two students chose to go on a hunger strike until you resigned, you didn’t simply say, “so what?” If they want to starve themselves, that’s fine—you don’t owe them your job. We are disappointed that you and President Chodosh put up with students yelling and swearing at you for an hour. You could have made this a productive dialogue, but instead you humored the students and allowed them to get caught up in the furor. 

Above all, we are disappointed that you and President Chodosh weren’t brave enough to come to the defense of a student who was told she was “derailing” because her opinions regarding racism didn’t align with those of the mob around her. Nor were you brave enough to point out that these protesters were perfectly happy to use this student to further their own agenda, but turned on her as soon as they realized she wasn’t supporting their narrative. These protesters were asking you to protect your students, but you didn’t even defend the one who needed to be protected right in front of you.

And there’s much, much more … hitting every nail visible right on the head.

Enjoy your weekend.  This too shall pass.  But it is incredibly entertaining and certainly indicates how the left can manage to consume itself because, for the most part, the utopia it is trying to build and human nature just don’t get along at all.   And, of course, that means that their only resort is to apply totalitarianism in dealing with others.



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Economic Statistics for 12 Nov 15

The Labor Department’s JOLTS survey rose to 5.526 million job openings in September from a revised 5.377 million in August.

The Treasury reports that October’s budget deficit was $-136.5 billion, 12.2% higher than last October. Total spending was up 3.9% on the year.

Initial weekly jobless claims were unchanged at 276,000. The 4-week average rose 5,000 to 267,750. Continuing claims rose 5,000 to 2.174 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.5 points to 41.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose  $2.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.492 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $1.5 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $28.4 billion in the latest week.

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Ithaca College protests and demands president step down because of … racism.

And the copy cat outrage spreads.  You know, because racism!

Students at Ithaca College have started to protest the college president days after University of Missouri students successfully got their president to step down.

The protest was organized by the group People of Color at Ithaca College to express their concerns about racism on campus. They called for a vote of no confidence against Ithaca President Tom Rochon, as well as for Rochon to step down.

During the protests earlier today, The Ithaca Journal reports, one student asked, “How can a campus dedicated to preparing us for the real world not actively foster growth to our consciousness of oppression and privilege?”

There was a die-in and a silent demonstration amid the day of protests, all to get administrators to take their concerns seriously.

No mention of their concerns or their legitimacy, but hey, Mizzu’s weren’t legitimate and look how that turned out.  As one person wrote, no one claims to have seen the “poopswastica” supposedly found on a bathroom wall in a day and time when students take pictures and videos of themselves clipping their fingernails.  But somehow the phantom swastica wasn’t recorded (Nor has anyone come forward to claim to have seen it).

So if that worked for Mizzu, why not Ithaca?  After all, racial claims carry weight, just because … or at least they used too.  Until too many incidents were proven to be the work of minorities themselves.  But hey, if you’re a college student, you’re sure you know what racism is and you’ve been assured by the “victims” that it exists everywhere.  Therefore its as credible an excuse as any to get rid of a president.

Yup … the inmates are running the asylum.

Of course the irony and the humor is to be found in the fact that these little islands of insanity are the product of the professors and administration.



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Self-criticism anyone?

And then there is Yale.  A little “self-criticism”, a feature of another era, or so we thought.  How dare he question PC orthodoxy?!

“I have disappointed you and I’m really sorry,” Nicholas Christakis told about 100 students gathered in his living room on Sunday for a meeting also attended by Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, and other university administrators. Christakis said his encounter on Thursday with students in the college’s courtyard, in which numerous black women upbraided him for being inattentive to them, broke his heart, according to a voice recording of the conversation provided to The Washington Post.

“I mean it just broke my heart,” Christakis said. “I thought that I had some credibility with you, you know? I care so much about the same issues you care about. I’ve spent my life taking care of these issues of injustice, of poverty, of racism. I have the same beliefs that you do … I’m genuinely sorry, and to have disappointed you. I’ve disappointed myself.”

They don’t even realize where they’re headed.

And they’re supposed to be the “smart ones”.

Kevin Williamson drops the hammer on the whole bunch:

On Friday, I was honored to be a guest of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale, where I participated in a panel on freedom of speech with the wonderful writer Harry Stein and Professor Bradley A. Smith, a noted law scholar. The Yale kids did their screaming best to prevent us from having a conversation about free speech — the Yale kids are utterly immune to irony — but the event went much as planned. Coming and going, we were chanted at by idiot children screaming, “Genocide is not a joke!” . . .

If you’re wondering about the genocide thing, so were we.  . . . The idiot children were screaming about Lukianoff because he said they were overreacting to Christakis’s criticism that they tend to scream and overreact. Well played, idiot children.

Of course, these idiot children aren’t children. These are young adults who can serve in the military, get married, buy firearms, drink alcohol, etc. They are at the beginning years of adult life, but they are entirely unprepared for adult life. . . .

As for me, I think that they’re clowns, and worse than that, really: They’re bad citizens, and defective people from defective families. They aren’t motivated by good will, but by fear: of the dawning realization that they, as people, aren’t really all that important, despite having been told all their lives how important they are.

We’re all real sorry about your safe spaces and your pacifier and your stuffed puppy, Caitlyn. Really we are. Yet the perpetual revolution of configured stars continues in its indifference, and the lot of man is ceaseless labor, and though you may find the thought terrifying — and thinking itself terrifying — it may turn out to be the case that the screaming in the dark you do on campus is more or less the same screaming in the dark you did in the crib, the same howl for the same reason.

Call ’em what they are – “idiot children”.  And I mean “idiot” in the literal, though not PC, sense.

I’m still at a loss as to what these people think they’re going to face in the real world after they leave the realm of PC utopia.

Get a trophy, I guess.


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Economic Statistics for 10 Nov 15

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was unchanged at 96.1 in October.

Import prices fell -0.5% in October, while export prices fell -0.2%. Year-over year, prices are down -10.5% for imports, and -6.7% for exports.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales fell to 1.1% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.9%, as sales weakness continues.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.5% in September, while a 0.5% increase in sales kept the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.31.

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Imagine a world without SJWs

How out of hand is SJW nonsense?  See the University of Missouri:

The student protest at the University of Missouri began as a response to a serious problem — outbursts of vile racism on campus — and quickly devolved into an expression of a renewed left-wing hostility to freedom of expression. At the protest on Missouri’s campus yesterday, on a space that is expressly open to free expression, protesters barred journalists from covering the demonstrations. In one scene, protesters surrounded and harassed Tim Tai, a photographer with the student newspaper, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, journalists have got to go.” The scene is captured on a video here, which rewards close watching until the end, where Melissa Click, a professor of mass media working with the protest movement, calls out, “Help me get this reporter out of here. I need some muscle over here.”

It is possible — and, for many sympathizers on the left, convenient — to dismiss these sorts of incidents as just so much college high jinks. “College students have been saying stupid things since the invention of college students,” argues Daniel Drezner, in a passage that attracted widespread support on the left. It is probably true that a strange and sudden new hypersensitivity among young people has produced a widespread expectation of a right to be protected from offense. It is also undeniably true that outbursts of political correctness disproportionately take place in campus settings. In recent weeks, UCLAWesleyan, and Yale have seen left-wing student activism aimed at shutting down the expression of contrary viewpoints.

Even if it were the case that political correctness was totally confined to campuses, it would not make the phenomenon unimportant. Colleges have disproportionate influence over intellectual life, and political movements centered on campuses can spread well beyond them (anti-Vietnam began as a bunch of wacky kids, too). But to imagine p.c. as simply a thing college kids do relieves us of taking it seriously as a coherent set of beliefs, which it very much is. Political correctness is a system of thought that denies the legitimacy of political pluralism on issues of race and gender. It manifests itself most prominently in campus settings not because it’s a passing phase, like acne, but because the academy is one of the few bastions of American life where the p.c. left can muster the strength to impose its political hegemony upon others. The phenomenon also exists in other nonacademic left-wing communities, many of them virtual ones centered on social media, and its defenders include professional left-wing intellectuals.

Now that you’ve read the three paragraphs, can you imagine who wrote them?  National Review, perhaps?

Nope … Jonathan Chait.  If you think the above is surprising, how about this paragraph:

American political correctness has obviously never perpetrated the brutality of a communist government, but it has also never acquired the powers that come with full control of the machinery of the state. The continuous stream of small-scale outrages it generates is a testament to an illiberalism that runs deep down to its core (a character I tried to explain in my January essay).

“Never acquired the powers that come with full control of the machinery of state.”  Well, that’s true … to an extent.  What isn’t true is it is absent.  It certainly exists in our political machinery, one doesn’t have too look very hard to find it.  Simply watch the Democratic presidential candidates kowtow to the absurd #blacklivesmatter crowd to understand that even a marginal group can seem to be more powerful than they are if they play the proper politically correct cards.  And it encroaches more and more daily.  In fact, the past 7 years have been SWJ heaven in terms of growth and effect.

However, it seems to now be consuming itself.

Our job, should we choose to do it, is to help it along.

Now that at least some on the left are beginning to wake up to the “end game” the SJWers demand, they’re beginning to reconsider.  This is a movement that needs to die.  And the only way to do that is to point out the absurdities, but to also point out the intent.  Control.  Complete control of what you say, and an attempt to control what you think.

Just be glad, at least to this point, that the PC movement hasn’t yet fully “acquired the powers that come with full control of the machinery of state.”  If it ever does, I think we can all point to a historic example or two where their utopia existed once … sorta.  And we all know how those ended.


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