Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Multiculturalism vs. Justice
Nicole Gelinas has a disturbing blog entry up at City Journal in which she correctly identifies "hate crime" legislation as "targeting ... criminals ... for what they think" and then notes an additional problem in the application of such laws: that the inability to read minds makes such laws impossible to enforce.
[Broderick] Hehman's [black] attackers [who shouted "Get whitey!"] get the benefit of the near impossibility of proving what someone is thinking, while [Nicholas] Minucci [who is white and may have said "nigger"] does not. But don't blame the police: the murky facts of each case show that the hate-crimes law is impossible to apply in the first place.I am glad to see someone at City Journal has taken an interest in so-called "hate crime" legislation. This is a good thing, because many on both the left and the right support such laws when it suits their purposes.
Pragmatism vs. the War Effort
I have a question for our Commander-in-Chief: How can we expect Iran to take our blustering about possibly using nukes seriously if he is going to let the army forbid the use of Israeli bullets by American soldiers in Iraq?
And how will this subordination of American military preparedness to Islamic sensibilities give us Americans confidence that protecting our lives is his highest priority?
And why should such media outlets as Comedy Central or The Boston Phoenix feel safe stretching their necks out to "offend" Moslems? (See next subentry.)
Pragmatism vs. Freedom of Speech
Beck at Classical Values took the trouble to write Comedy Central to inquire about their recent, disgraceful decision to refuse to air a depiction of Mohammed in a recent South Park episode. I found the following two points especially illuminating.
First, Beck's letter:
I'm extremely disappointed that you caved to the very tactics which the recent South Park episode so bravely and astutely railed against by censoring out the image of Mohammed. You were presented with a chance to do something extremely principled and to defend the very freedoms of expression which make so much of Comedy Central's programming viable. I don't think it would be unfair to say that less than 10% of your programming would be acceptable to the very extremists you caved to. Small concessions today cannot help but lead to far more substantial ramifications in the future. As the episode itself points out, every interest group on the planet will now be encouraged to attempt to pressure you to self censor anything which they find offensive. I am extremely disappointed and discouraged by the cowardly decision made by Comedy Central.Second, from the network's reply:
It was with this in mind we decided not to air the image of Muhammad, a decision similar to that made by virtually every single media outlet across the country earlier this year when they each determined that it was not prudent or in the interest of safety to reproduce the controversial Danish cartoons. Injuries occurred and lives were lost in the riots set off by the original publication of these cartoons. The American media made a decision then, as we did now, not to put the safety and well being of the public at risk, here or abroad.This sounds very much like the recent decision by The Boston Phoenix not to print the Danish cartoons -- except that Comedy Central seems to regard the decision as not terribly important and later even spins its decision as "responsible".
In light of our government's repeated failures to make principled stands for freedom of expression, some cowardice is understandable. But Comedy Central is unlike the Phoenix in that it doesn't name the lack of government protection as the problem, choosing the pragmatic tack of seeking to hit public relations gold instead. This is not something to spin. The time to demand that our government provide protection for our First Amendment rights is now.
For example, ...
Protest in DC
Nick Provenzo, who has also blogged on Comedy Central's decision, has decided to stage a protest in Washington against our government's inaction. And, if you can't be there, consider donating to the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism. (I wonder: Not that my taxes are all that complicated, but are such donations tax-exempt?)
Medical Malpractice and Islamic Law
Paul Hsieh has been doing lots of interesting blogging over at Noodle Food lately. This bit on the penalty under Islamic law for a physician's killing a patient by mistake was quite amusing.
Tax Day Roundup
Martin Lindeskog has a post up about taxation, which links to an informative article by Richard Ralston on "How Government Spending Damages Your Health".
Hilarious Sea Story
When I was in the Navy, my fellow officers seemed convinced I was secretly writing a novel about my experiences. If I had, it would have been a comedic work. But it would have been incomplete without a story like this, by Bothenook. (Which is probably why I never wrote it!) He details an elaborate scheme by which he and some of his shipmates save the entire crew from the horrors of -- blecch -- instant coffee.
see, we made a huge deal about our bringing our own personal coffee, stored in our own personal storage spots under our bunks. that was the only way we could get away with it. if the command figured out we had navy coffee, stored in the engineroom and not in our personal storage, taking place of candy, smokes, skivvies or whatever else you might take to sea with you, we would have been stomped flat.I love it! Read the whole thing!
but, make it sound like you were willing to sacrifice your own couple of cubic inches of storage to bring real coffee... hell, now you are a hero.
and since the rest of the crew all bought it that this was coffee bought out of our own paychecks at the grocery store, they didn't abuse our stash.
the whole thing was an elaborate exercise. we didn't have ziplock bags then. so when it was time to replenish the coffee, i would climb outboard the main engine carrying a 12 x 24 green poly bag, open a can, fill the bag, then tape the bag shut.
when people saw the coffee in taped bags that laid relatively flat, they bought the whole "personal space" line.