Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nothing good can come of this . . .

George Tiller, abortion doc, killed at church.

Per Robert P. George:

Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence. Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion. Every human life is precious. George Tiller's life was precious. We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life. Let our "weapons" in the fight to defend the lives of abortion's tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit.

— Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Back to The Future

News and Views

2081: Everyone will finally be equal.

Obama's spending spree — what's your share of the bill? Calculate and weep!

Limbaugh Compares Sotomayor Nomination To Nominating David Duke.

Poor word choice? I don't think so

Judge Sotomayor’s poor word choice: easily fixed

Anti-Sotomayor Ad

Time to get government out of the marriage business?

Can a liberal give conservatives a fair shake?

Nice try.

To Disgust A Liberal

As I've noted in other blog posts, morality has an enormous impact on political considerations. Along these lines come some very interesting observations from the New York Times:

"If you want to tell whether someone is conservative or liberal, what are a couple of completely nonpolitical questions that will give a good clue?

"How’s this: Would you be willing to slap your father in the face, with his permission, as part of a comedy skit?

"And, second: Does it disgust you to touch the faucet in a public restroom?

"Studies suggest that conservatives are more often distressed by actions that seem disrespectful of authority, such as slapping Dad. Liberals don’t worry as long as Dad has given permission.

"Likewise, conservatives are more likely than liberals to sense contamination or perceive disgust. People who would be disgusted to find that they had accidentally sipped from an acquaintance’s drink are more likely to identify as conservatives."

"One of the main divides between left and right is the dependence on different moral values. For liberals, morality derives mostly from fairness and prevention of harm." For conservatives, morality is much more — it also involves loyalty, upholding authority and striving for purity. (Purity is related to the part of the moral mind that fuels our revulsion at disgust and makes us see carnality as degrading.)

"Liberals and conservatives don’t just think differently, they also feel differently. This may even be a result, in part, of divergent neural responses." Because of differences in the function of the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain, liberals sometimes have a blunted response to situations and objects that should elicit strong feelings of disgust.

Psychologists believe that disgust is "a protective mechanism against health risks such as feces, spoiled food or corpses." Societies apply the same emotion to social threats. "Humans appear to be the only species that registers disgust, which is why a dog will wag its tail in puzzlement when its horrified owner yanks it back from eating excrement."

"Psychologists have developed a 'disgust scale' based on how queasy people would be in 27 situations, such as stepping barefoot on an earthworm or smelling urine in a tunnel. Conservatives systematically register more disgust than liberals."

I would tend to conclude that conservatives should be thankful for their sophisticated medial prefrontal cortex and proud of their uniquely human and highly developed disgust mechanism. But of course the NY Times concludes that because of these disgust-related hangups, conservatives minds are superstitious, close-minded and dishonest. (They also note that Obama is brilliant — because he has all this figured out and has transcended the tribal morality of yesteryear.)


Snobby conclusions aside, I think there are some important lessons we can learn here.

Leftists cannot be expected to respond to the morally sophisticated arguments that conservatives try to present. And even if they understand the intellectual component of our arguments, they won't necessarily react with the same emotional depth that we would expect from fellow conservatives.

So let's be patient, and let's recognize that liberals and moderates need an education that they can understand and appreciate.

Update, from adagioforstrings:
Psychologists believe that disgust is "a protective mechanism against health risks such as feces, spoiled food or corpses." Aha! So that's why so many dead people vote Democratic!


Would You Slap Your Father? If So, You’re a Liberal

Snotty liberal puts an interesting spin on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives. [Video]

Has the Obama administration found a clever fail-proof strategy to stifle America’s Tea Parties?

Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit

Biden Jokes About Breaking Obama's Teleprompter

What do you find disgusting? Explore the disgust scale. My results:

My scores are shown in green, compared to the average of all other people (in purple) who have taken the scale.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Racism By Definition

rac·ismsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\ "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race" [From Webster]

"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences... our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging."

"...a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

— From the text of the Judge Mario G. Olmos Memorial Lecture in 2001, delivered at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Sotomayor supporters: Please explain how these statements are not racist.  What element of racism is missing from Ms. Sonia's statements?


Will Race Discrimination Ruling Burn Sonia Sotomayor?

Idiot Republican calls Limbaugh, Gingrich comments 'terrible'
A top Senate Republican is taking aim at recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich suggesting Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist."

Salt And Pepper



Debt Explosion
Federal debt will increase to 82% of GDP in 10 years. It could hit 100% of GDP in another 5 years.

Chrysler's dealership hit list
Plan to ax dealers not Chrysler's decision — pressured by Obama's Task Force

Newt Gingrich: Sonia Sotomayor a 'racist'
"A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw"

White House Warns Sotomayor Critics: Be 'exceedingly careful'.

Is Sonia Sotomayor judicially superior to 'a white male'?

Interesting new twist
Some abortion advocates are expressing unease that Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor may not be a reliable vote to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Sotomayor the Radical
Obama is quite clearly trying to upend all the underpinnings of American society.

Making a Mockery of Being Green
The creator of ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and ‘King of the Hill’ has a new target:environmentalists.

Missing headline: Obama is losing!

Obama’s Transportation Secretary Wants to ‘Coerce People'

Ferrari Sells for a Record $12.4 Million

The FIRST Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, Ben Cardozo

Words You Didn't Know Were Acronyms

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Voting For A Racist?

To The Senators Who Will Vote To Confirm Sotomayor:

When you vote to confirm Sotomayor, you will have failed in your responsibility to stand up for impartial justice and the separation of powers.  

Sotomayor doesn't know whether biology, culture or experience is the most important source of her prejudice, but she anticipates that her bias will confer judging skills that will make her superior to white males.

From a speech, Sotomayor in her own words (and with ample context):

  • "Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences... our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging."
  • "Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. ...I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage."
  • "Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. ...I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First...there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

[Translation: Judges are prejudiced, my prejudice will stem from my female gender and my Hispanic heritage prejudice will be an asset.]

From NRO:

"So accustomed have we become to identity politics that it barely causes a ripple when a highly touted Supreme Court candidate, who sits on the federal Appeals Court in New York, has seriously suggested that Latina women like her make better judges than white males.
"Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority."

That Sotomayor touts her prejudice would be reason enough to vote against her confirmation, but Sonia has also hinted at a preference for legislating from the bench.  While Sonia Sotomayor was participating in a panel discussion at Duke University Law School, she said the following:

“…Court of Appeals is where policy is made, and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t MAKE law.  I know…uhm…ok…  I know, I know.  I’m not promoting it and I’m not advocating it.  I’m…you know…uhm…ok…uhm…”

Reaction to the statement from Verum Serum:

"Talk about a 'wink, wink, nudge, nudge' moment. Everyone there KNEW what she meant.  That’s why they were all laughing."

So Sotomayor is quite comfortable with the idea of legislating from the bench and admits to being prejudiced.  How can you take this candidate seriously?

In nominating Sotomayor, Obama is delivering on a promise he never should have made:

"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory... I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."

From The American Spectator:

"Obama's call for Supreme Court justices who demonstrate the proper 'empathy' isn't merely wrong; it's unlawful, indeed anarchic, and it utterly trashes the entire American tradition of equal procedural treatment under the law.  The proper conservative response to any nominee forwarded by Obama under such criteria is to demand, and force, extended and illuminating public debate in the Senate."

FYI, The Judicial Oath, for all Federal Judges and Justices:

"I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (name of position) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”


MUST READ: Sotomayor’s Troubling Record
Imagine the reaction if someone had unearthed in 2005 a speech in which then-Judge Samuel Alito had asserted, for example: “I would hope that a white male with the richness of his traditional American values would reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life” — and had proceeded to speak of “inherent physiological or cultural differences.”

Sonia Sotomayor’s Selective Empathy
Do we want a new justice who comes close to stereotyping white males as (on average) inferior beings?

When Are a Judge's 'Sympathies and Prejudices' Appropriate?
Sotomayor: "[W]e who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience or heritage but attempt . . . continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies, and prejudices are appropriate."  Perhaps Judge Sotomayor could explain when it is appropriate for a judge to approach a case with sympathies and predjudices?

Sotomayor's Record Could Be A Battlefield
Sotomayor has a record of being rebuffed by the high court. Of the six decisions she was a part of that came before the high court, five were reversed. In the sixth, the court disagreed with Sotomayor's reasoning. 

Judicial Fiat
Unfortunately, liberalism has for some time now incorporated a tacit judicial philosophy in which the goal is to impose policies as left-wing as a judge can get away with. Sotomayor seems to march to that beat. More to the point, perhaps, she has shown no signs of marching to any other one.

Sotomayor Slapped Down Reverse Discrimination Case in One-Paragraph Opinion
Sotomayor dismissed the case in a one-paragraph statement that, in the opinion of one dissenting judge, ignored the evidence and did not even address the constitutional issues raised by the case.

Obama's Votes in the Senate
Obama voted against the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, and he even joined in the effort to filibuster the Alito nomination.  In explaining his vote against Roberts, Obama opined that deciding the "truly difficult" cases requires resort to "one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy." In short, "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart." No clearer prescription for lawless judicial activism is possible.

Krauthammer on Sotomayor

And finally...  Did Obama Target GOP Donors In Chrysler Closings?
Big Dem Donor Group Allowed to Keep Their 6 Chrysler Dealerships Open.  Their Local Competitors Eliminated!  Keep an eye on this website.

The Ten Tribes: Where Do You Fit In?

Why do some people vote against their economic self-interest?   Why do "working class" and rural Americans vote for pro-business Republicans?  What accounts for the existence of limousine liberals?  There are, of course, many answers to these questions.  The answers will help us understand how conservatives can gain political ground. 

Core Values drive voters' politics.  Voters are different from each other because they have different core values.  Swing voters, in particular, vote on values, not on policy.  This helps to begin to understand why voters sometimes vote against what would appear to be their self-interest.

Voters' decisions tend to be driven by five Core Values:
  1. Extending opportunity
  2. Working within a community
  3. Achieving independence
  4. Focusing on family
  5. Defending righteousness
Analysts have shown that they can reliably predict how a voter will vote by asking questions that pinpoint the voter's core value.  Voters can be divided into "tribes" on the basis of the core value that tends to have the biggest impact on their voting decisions.  

Spotlight Analysis, a consulting agency, has taken information such as neighborhood details, family sizes, and purchasing behavior, and has grouped nearly every American of voting age — 175 million of us — into 10 "values" tribes [two groups for each of the five core values]. Fellow tribe members may not share the same race or religion, or fall into the same income bracket, but they have common feelings about the issues that transcend politics.

The ten groups are illustrated below:

As you read the description of the groups below, think about where you fit in.

These firebrand voters tend to have little respect for entrepreneurs.  They are keenly interested in government-mediated equalization of opportunity. They are less likely than members of other tribes to be college educated, married or to have children living at home.
The largest of the ten tribes, this crowd consists of uncommitted, independent-minded, idealistic Democrats who have little interest in faith-based living.

Crossing Guards
Members of this community-oriented tribe are motivated by their desire for material success and career satisfaction.

Inner Compasses
These people focus on working within a community and insist on fitness in the physical, moral and financial sense.

Barn Raisers  
This group believes in "playing by the rules" and "keeping promises." They adhere to faith-based living.  They're entrepreneurial and active in community organizations but are ambivalent about government.  Barn Raisers are slightly less likely to have a college education than other swing groups. 
Hearth Keepers
Members of this group tend to focus on family satisfaction and faith, but they resent attempts to politicize these values and are less committed than Barn Raisers. Hearth Keepers resist marketing intrusions into their private lives.

Right Clicks 
Sometimes described as "techno-libertarians", Right Clicks are comfortable with new technology and comprise a Republican-leaning tribe.  They flocked Ross Perot in 1992.  Like their cousins in the tribe of Civic Sentries, Right Clicks are united by their commitment to family.

Civic Sentries
Less rambunctious than the Right Clicks, Civic Sentries tend to worry about safety and economic security. They're described as "righteous, free-market social conservative types who want to protect what they consider U.S. values such as self-reliance."

Stand Pats
Members of this group believe that today's societal trends "menace a lifestyle committed to patriotism, faith, family, community and morality."

Boot Strappers
This is a conservative group committed to individual initiative.  They are "alloyed by a strong belief in a divine hand in human affairs."

In races decided by one or two percentage points, the party that pinpoints a few thousand individual voters in the right places could come out on top.  By understanding how the Core Values motivate voters in each of the ten tribes differently, conservatives can take back the GOP and take back the nation.  If this is, or ever was, a center-right nation, it is because conservatives have a firm grasp on all five core values. In this regard, conservatives have an advantage over liberals.

To which group do you belong?

Update: Do the names of the tribes really fit their description?  Check out the discussion in the comments section.

Prop 8 Upheld

Prop 8 Upheld

Californa supremes will recognize previous gay marriages. 

The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights activists say they may ask voters to repeal the marriage ban as early as next year, and opponents have pledged to fight any such effort. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote.

News and Views

New and Views

What Data Crunchers Did for Obama
About three minutes into his speech on Jan. 20, President Barack Obama spoke a word never before uttered in a Presidential inauguration speech: "data.". The word may sound nerdy, and Obama used it in reference to indicators of economic and other crises. But it's no coincidence the word found its way into his remarks. The harnessing of data has been crucial to Obama's rise to power.

The Numerati
Suffice it to say that electronic mining and targeting continue to play ever-growing roles in politics. 

Limousine Liberals and Other Curiosities
We think of the moral mind as being like an audio equalizer, with five slider switches for different parts of the moral spectrum. Democrats generally use a much smaller part of the spectrum than do Republicans. The resulting music may sound beautiful to other Democrats, but it sounds thin and incomplete to many of the swing voters that left the party in the 1980s, and whom the Democrats must recapture if they want to produce a lasting political realignment.

Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era.
Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed in its beliefs about government, the free market and other values that underlie views on contemporary issues and policies. 

Early retirement claims increase dramatically.
Instead of working longer as the economy worsens, more Americans are calling it quits before age 66. The ramifications could be profound for the retirees, families, government and social institutions.

It takes a villiage of idiots.
All in all, I’m glad I’m not young anymore. I’m even grateful I’m not raising a youngster. That’s because liberals are doing their best to destroy childhood.

Are you fed up?
The National Institues of Health will pay $2.6 million in U.S. tax dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly on the job.

China warns Federal Reserve over 'printing money'.
China has warned a top member of the US Federal Reserve that it is increasingly disturbed by the Fed's direct purchase of US Treasury bonds.

Elected women are more ethical than elected men.
You know it's true because Nancy Pelosi says so.

When will Barack Obama stop fudging it?
Excellent observations from across the pond.

Download an entire Coldplay album for free (legally)