September 27, 2006

Best Column of This Past Sunday: George Will on Michigan’s Civil Rights Initiative

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:29 pm

In Michigan, it looks like payback is a …. Jennifer Gratz (and no, she isn’t one).

Gratz was turned away from the University of Michigan’s Law School by racial handicapping despite her superior qualifications 10 years ago. This year she has joined with legendary racial quota-buster Ward Connerly to get the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) on the state ballot. It would “ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.” In other words, it would put into law the colorblind society Dr. Martin Luther King wished for.

The heirs of Dr. King don’t see it that way, and have resorted to lowest-of-the-low tactics to fight it. This is where George Will’s Sunday column comes in, describing what these reverse-racist cretins are doing:

- Pressuring signers of MCRI petitions to say they did not understand what they were signing. Some talk radio stations have broadcast the names of signers, and opponents of MCRI have gone to signers saying, “Did you know you signed a petition against equal opportunity?” Two who recanted their signatures, saying they had signed without reading the measure, are federal judges.

– Violently intimidating the state Board of Canvassers, which certifies that initiatives have qualified for the ballot. The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) disrupted the board’s deliberations, shouting and overturning a table. Video of this can been seen at www.michigancivilrights.org.

– Asking a court to rule that MCRI committed “fraud” because many who signed the petition supposedly were confused — the signers were, presumably, not competent to read and understand the initiative, the full text of which was printed at the top of each petition. A federal judge — Arthur Tarnow, a Clinton appointee — sadly said he could not rule that way because, although he thinks MCRI is a fraud, whites as well as blacks were confused about it, and even if all signatures gathered in majority black cities were invalidated, there still were enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot. So Tarnow contented himself with an extrajudicial smear of Gratz, charging that her “deception” had confused all Michigan voters, regardless of race.

– Michigan ballots are printed by counties, so BAMN says it is asking local officials to assert an extralegal “moral authority” to leave MCRI off the ballot.

….. Given the caliber of opposition arguments, it is no wonder a Detroit News poll published Sept. 15 shows MCRI with an 11-point lead. Gratz says that if her group is outspent “only” five to one — Connerly was outspent that heavily while winning in Washington state — MCRI will become Michigan law.

Anti-MCRI demonstrators chant, “They say Jim Crow, we say hell no.” So, the rancid residue of what once was the civil rights movement equates Jim Crow — the system of enforced legal inferiority for blacks — with opposition to treating blacks as wards of government, in need of infantilizing preferences, forever. To such Orwellian thinking, Gratz and Connerly — and soon, perhaps, Michigan — say: Hell no.

The presence of MCRI on the ballot will, I believe help the gubernatorial candidacy of Republican Dick Devos at the expense of incumbent Democrat Jennifer Granholm. Not that I’m necessarily thrilled with that — I see Michigan’s race as a lesser of two evils contest, and I’m glad I don’t have to figure out which one is worse. I had an earlier post on Granholm (“Michigan’s Economy Makes Ohio’s Look Good”) questioning her tax and spend tendencies while the state’s business climate deteriorates. In the latter half of this post about Bob McEwen during last year’s 2nd District Primary, it should be clear why I think Amway/Quixtar Dick Devos’ ascendancy to the governor’s office would be potentially very dangerous .

Betcha Didn’t Know This (Ramadan Rioting in Brussels)

There have been three nights of Ramadan rioting in Brussels (link is to the Brussels Journal Blog, not any “established” media outlet; HT Atlas Shrugs). Read the whole thing.

What part of The 527 Media’s agenda in America prevents reporting on this?

______________________________

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin’s on it too, with links to Snapped Shot (who has foreign-language video) and EU Referendum. This builds on a point discussed here earlier today — we need alternative news-gatherers, not only because they distort what they do report, but they also overlook hard news that either makes them uncomfortable or doesn’t fit a preset template.

UPDATE 2: “Established” media reports (here, here, here) are referring to Tuesday night’s rioting as the second night. Brussels Journal’s earlier (Tuesday) report chronicles violent events that go back to Saturday between 1 and 4 am, which I believe really means the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Eurabian Thinking Strikes in Germany — UPDATE (Inefffectual Pushback)

Filed under: Business Moves,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:35 pm

Original Post — “German opera house cancels provocative Mohammed staging”

_____________________________________

It’s worth noting, but it’s hard to be impressed:

German intellectuals angry after opera called off
26 September 2006

BERLIN – German artists and politicians reacted with fury and scorn Tuesday to the decision of Berlin’s biggest opera house to cancel a Mozart production that might offend Muslims.

But the artistic director of the opera company, Kirsten Harms, defended her decision, telling reporters she had acted on police advice and to protect her staff from possible physical attack.

“If anything happened, people would say afterwards I had ignored the warnings,” she said.

The words of the opera, Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, make no reference to Islam, but director Hans Neuenfels introduced a scene to his production that depicts the decapitated heads of the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, the Buddha and the Greek god Poseidon.

At the premiere in 2003, reviewers said the losing scene, in which King Idomeneo sets the four bloody heads on a row of chairs and laughs, was an attack on all religions. The opera house had planned to revive the show for four performances this November.

The Social Democratic mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, said Harms had made the wrong decision because there was no concrete threat.

“Voluntary self-limitation encourages those who are hostile to our values,” he said.

Christoph Schlingensief, a provocative German theatrical director who shocked audiences this month by depicting Britain’s Queen Elizbeth II as a Nazi dwarf, demanded that the opera go ahead.

….. But Ali Kizilkaya, chairman of a mosque group, the Council of Islam, said the opera would offend Muslim feelings.

It would mean more if I thought these people had any idea of why Germany has reached its current state.

I doubt it.

The Wiki entry for Christoph Schlingensief includes this:

Schlingensief is an extremely provocative artist and his major targets are the German and Austrian identity. Therefore it was even more unexpected that he directed Parsifal at the Wagner-Festspiele in Bayreuth. Just a few weeks before this, he went to a Neo-Nazi event in Berlin and ironically suggested publicly to “use the word Judensau (literally: Jewish Pig) in a common and natural way again”.

Well, Herr Schliengsief, what do you expect when “intellectuals” like you and others spend decades ridiculing the idea of national identity and exemplifying oh-so-chic intolerance? At the same time, your country has allowed hordes of Muslim immigrants, many of whom have diametrically opposed values, to settle in. And of course no one dared impose any expectations on them. Why, instead, you or others in your circle were probably among those “celebrating the diversity” that Germany was experiencing. Why wouldn’t you have expected this devolution in freedom of thought and expression to occur? It was as inevitable as night following day.

So the people who set the stage for the climate of intolerance don’t like what they’ve wrought. The opera’s not going to happen; barring some unexpected outburst of courage, Ali Kizilkaya has ensured that. The “intellectual” objections are way too little, way too late.

_________________________________

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin and Allah at Hot Air have new posts, including pictures from 2003′s play published in the New York Times, which was among the publications that did NOT publish the Danish cartoons. Money quote from Malkin: “I have far more of a beef with the Muslim censors leading the Religion of Perpetual Outrage than I do with a goofy German art director messing around with Mozart. This is about much more than free speech and artistic creativity and blasphemy and insult. It’s about whether we submit to dhimmitude or fight.”

UPDATE 2: Others chiming in –

  • Riehl World (“this is about as pathetic as it gets”);
  • HyScience (“What we are seeing in Berlin is yet another instance at Muslims pursuing power and influence rather than dialogue, tolerance of the existing culture, and free speech.”);
  • Silent Running (“I’m sure the irony escapes the throngs of theater staff and supporters that if these same Muslims were running their country, there wouldn’t be any theater.”);
  • LGF (“The opera house did not receive threats or demands to cancel the show; they did it preemptively, out of simple fear.”);
  • It Shines for All (“A weak and scared Europe, unable to stand up for its way of life.”);
  • The Political Pit Bull (“It’s undeniable that the Mohammad cartoon controversy served to embolden the jihadis and confirmed there suspicions that the West can easily be intimidated by threats of violence. And the decision to pull Idomeneo just adds more fuel to that fire”).

UPDATE 3, Sept. 28: Hot Air links to a report indicating that the show may go on after all. My take , based on the histrionics of the various parties involved — If it does, it won’t be because of newly-acquired courage, it will be because the bullies said it would be okay this one time, setting a precedent that future controversial productions would have to go through the same drill. Big whoop. There’s a term for a quasi-governmental conference group screening productions for acceptability: censorship.

Carnival Barking (092806)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 11:23 am

Newshound’s latest Carnival of Ohio Politics is here.

Boring Made Dull’s latest roundup on Economics and Social Policy is here.

The NIE Developments Prove the Need for Alternative Original-News Gatherers

….. but where will they come from?

Okay, selected sections of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report were leaked over the weekend (the parts designed to make the Bush Administration look bad), probably against the law and certainly against our national interest. They were, of course, reported by the usual suspects. Michelle Malkin had the early details, and joined many others calling for the administration to declassify as much of the report as possible consistent with national security.

As night follows day, the Associated Press yesterday afternoon published an article by Katherine Shrader and shameless and hopelessly conflicted leftist partisan Jennifer Loven supposedly analyzing the entirety of what was released by the Bush Administration earlier in the day in response to the aforementioned unauthorized and leaked news reports. One correspondent to Malkin nailed it: “The (AP) report is presented as negatively as possible, to the point of distortion.” The reality is that, as Charles Johnson of LGF put it, “The Times got pwned(as did others –Ed.). The totality of the NIE makes a mockery of what The 527 Media chose to selectively report yesterday morning.

So NYT, WaPo, and the Associated (with terrorists) Press essentially spent another couple of days dishonestly trying to alienate anyone who either supports the war, or supports finishing the job now that we are there, and ended the day yet again with egg on their collective faces (and apparently not even realizing it). Their fortunes will continue to wither, as more of their audiences either seek news sources of news or simply tune out in disgust.

But ….. they remain the only original news-gathering game in town. Now, after several months of seditious acts, SOMEONE is reaching a conclusion I reached about two years ago, before this blog even began. I alluded to that conclusion after the false Koran-flushing story in May of 2005, and thought there might be an answer on the horizon:

….. until fair and balanced people are in charge of the initial news-gathering process, the New Media will always be in reactive instead of proactive mode in dealing with the news of the day.

At the time, I thought Pajamas Media might be the organization to break The 527 Media’s current monopoly on original news-gathering. With rare exceptions, PJM, although it has done some cool things, has not been a force in original hard-news content.

Gates of Vienna’s heart is in the right place, but his solution isn’t. A real business, or two, or three, are going to have to be formed to compete fulltime, 24-7-365, with AP, Reuters, AFP, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and the rest. Original news-gathering needs its Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. Where are they?

Econ Briefs from Yesterday (092706)

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 8:18 am

September consumer confidence was up, and by more than “expected.” *

The Dow closed at a six-year high, and the S&P 500 at a 5-1/2 year high.

Here’s how the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced their August home-price and home-sales report:

Existing-Home Sales Holding At A Sustainable Pace

WASHINGTON (September 25, 2006) – Existing-home sales stabilized at a sustainable pace in August, while home prices showed an anticipated decline, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – slipped 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 6.30 million units in August from a level of 6.33 million Ju1y, and were 12.6 percent lower than the 7.21 million-unit pace in August 2005, which was the second highest on record.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said home sales appear to be leveling out. “After a stronger-than-expected drop in July, the fairly even sales numbers in August tell us the market is at a more sustainable pace,” he said. “It keeps us on track to see the third highest sales year on record, but we do expect an adjustment in home prices to last several months as we work through a build up in the inventory of homes on the market.”

OK, the NAR is an industry organization, and good reporters don’t just copy press releases. But it is a loooong way from what the NAR released to how USA Today reported it:

Home prices likely to fall more
By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY

Home prices are projected to fall for the rest of the year, the National Association of Realtors said Monday, with sellers being forced to accept a new reality: Buyers now wield the power, with the supply of homes for sale at a 13-year high.

The median-priced U.S. single-family detached home — half cost more, half less — fell 1.7% in August to $225,700, compared with a year ago. The decline is no doubt jarring to sellers, who haven’t seen prices fall nationally since April 1995. The price drop was also sharp, the second-steepest in 38 years.

Sales of existing homes, meantime, fell for the fifth month in a row.

USAT then proceeded to find three “experts” to throw gas on the fire, and didn’t find anyone besides Mr. Lereah of NAR to say that things really aren’t that bad. If Don Luskin wasn’t available to speak, his Friday column telling us that housing is only “cooling” was.

Oh, and USAT “somehow” forgot to tell us that the decline in existing-home sales was less than “expected.” *

Another day, another housing-market hatchet job.

* – You see, the trick is, in a Republican administration, The 527 Media makes sure to tell you when a good result like consumer confidence is better than “expected” (with a tone of surprise, of course), so that it seems like a fluke. But when a negative result is not as bad as “expected,” they sometimes “forget” to tell you, so that the result (with a tone of impending doom) is seen as just plain bad with no source for consolation, with even worse news to come.

Eurabian Thinking Strikes in Germany

Filed under: Business Moves,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:13 am

I find this really offensive:

German opera house cancels provocative Mohammed staging

Sep 25 3:29 PM US/Eastern Berlin’s Deutsche Oper has removed the provocative staging of a Mozart opera from its schedule for fear of enraging Muslims, the opera house said in a statement.

One of three opera houses in the German capital, it cancelled director Hans Neuenfels’s production of “Idomeneo”, a 1781 drama set in ancient Crete, because authorities warned it could present an “incalculable security risk”.


In the staging, which sparked audience protests during its premiere in December 2003, King Idomeneo presents the lopped-off heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammed and displays them on four chairs.

So “audience protests” took place in 2003, but the show, offensive as it is, went on. So what has changed:

  • Have classics professors who cover the likes of Greek gods like Poseidon gotten touchy?
  • Is there a serious reason to fear violent Christians?
  • Are German Buddhists a potential “incalculable security risk”?

Of course the answers are no, no, and no.

In three short years, a play previously shown can’t run any more. But in this same Germany, Madonna’s recent sacrilegious crucifixion performance went on as planned. At the time, I asked, “Do you think a Koran-based stunt would have been similiarly okey-dokey?”

Now we know. Mark Steyn was right almost four years ago when he said that Europe is “sleepwalking its way to suicide.”

____________________________

UPDATE: Geez, I was there first, but I deferred my post. Allah and Ace don’t worry about spacing posts, so they posted first. There’s a lesson in here somewhere.

UPDATE 2:Ineffectual Pushback

Surprise: Nationwide Construction Employment Is Up

There’s a shift from housing to commercial construction that is contributing to the stability. That doesn’t quite square with the crisis mentality the “”Housing Bubble” will lead to a recession” proponents in The 527 Media are trying to propagate.

From the “It Doesn’t Matter What You Think” Department

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

Tuesday, USA Today reported that 42% of those they polled think the Bush Administration is behind the fall in gas prices. They obviously believe that the government controls prices, in the absence of any evidence of any kind.

Presidential spokesman Tony Snow said it well:

White House spokesman Tony Snow addressed the issue Monday, telling reporters that “the one thing I have been amused by is the attempt by some people to say that the president has been rigging gas prices, which would give him the kind of magisterial clout unknown to any other human being.”

“It also raises the question, if we’re dropping gas prices now, why on earth did we raise them to $3.50 before?” Snow said.

Those in need of REAL reasons for the decline should visit Paul at Newshound, who did a quite thorough job.

This Is a Clever Idea

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 7:58 am

But it won’t be very helpful (HT Boing Boing) if full-body videoconferencing gets in vogue.

Wal-Mart Plays Hardball with the Movie Studios

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:53 am

So WallyWorld doesn’t want studios other than Disney to make their movies available on Apple’s iTunes. Disney reports that it sold $1 million worth of movies on iTunes in its first week, and projects that it can sell $50 million in its first year.

Two responses:

  1. If Wal-Mart really does cut back on its DVD libraries of any defecting studio, there’s always Target down the road, the discount racks at the video stores, and any number of catalog outlets.
  2. There’s a point at which Wal-Mart could conceivably cross over into the wrong side of a line known as “restraint of trade.” Don’t think that the Bush DOJ wouldn’t love to jump on Wal-Mart for a free-market defensible reason.

Positivity: Hero honoured after blaze car rescue

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

In Scotland, Richard Shaw went to extraordinary lengths to rescue a driver from his burning car:

Mon 18 Sep 2006

Richard Shaw, 31, of Balerno, could be on his way to Downing Street to meet Tony Blair after being named as a winner in the Vodafone Life Savers Awards.

Organisers of the competition said that Mr Shaw had shown “great courage” earlier this year after hauling the unconscious man to safety shortly before the car was gutted by fire.

Mr Shaw was driving to work when he saw that a car had crashed into a tree and was on fire on Ravelrig Road, Balerno.

Stopping immediately, he ran to help and while another passing motorist contacted the emergency services, he tried to free the trapped driver. However, the driver’s side door had been jammed shut due to the crash.

As the fire continued to spread, he ran to the passenger door and managed to release the driver’s seatbelt, dragging the victim out of the car even though the heat of the flames could explode the fuel tank at any minute.

Once they were clear of the car, he administered first aid until the emergency services arrived. The IT consultant was nominated for the award by Lothian and Borders Police for saving the man’s life in January last year.

He said today: “I was absolutely delighted. I knew I’d been nominated, but I wasn’t expecting to win. I didn’t even think that I was putting myself at risk when I went to help the man.

“I saw the car was on fire and that there was someone in it. I didn’t panic, I don’t know what was going through my head – I just knew I had to get him out or he would have been done for.”

He added that he had not seen the man he rescued since the accident. “I just hope he was all right,” he said.

….. The National Life Savers will be honoured at a glittering celebrity-packed event at London’s Café Royal, where they will collect their award before an audience of 300 guests – followed by a special reception at Downing Street the next morning, hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Awards were launched in April to honour unsung heroes – in the emergency services as well as ordinary members of the public – behind Britain’s most remarkable lifesaving rescues.