Macaca Madness

What has struck me about this incident is that on the one hand we’re to believe that the word “macaca” (which nobody heard of before this month) is a deeply offensive racial slur, yet newspapers have had no trouble using the slur in headlines.

The Washington Post has an editorial today headlined “Senator to ‘Macaca: Sorry” a News 7 headline reads, “Allen lead evaporates after ‘Macaca’ flap,” and so on.

If Allen used a term that was actually known as offensive to the general public, I don’t think it would be plastered all over the headlines. I can’t imagine headlines like: “Allen lead evaporates after ‘kike’ flap” or, “Senator to ‘Kike’: Sorry.”

I’ve never been much of a fan of George Allen, because I’ve generally perceived him as a cookie-cutter politician, and this whole macaca incident reaffirms my view that he isn’t ready for prime time. My sense is that Sidarth was sent by Webb to follow Allen around with a video camera in the hopes that he would do something stupid–which he did.

With that said, this whole controversy was clearly blown out of proportion, with the Washington Post having an A1 story today about Allen’s apology to Sidarth.

Re: Heather MacDonald Has a Beef

Hunter, I have a few beefs with your beef with Heather Mac Donald. Let me say right off the bat that in my view, believing in God is a matter of faith, and some people simply aren’t ready or willing to take that leap of faith. Saying that we cannot understand the ways of God well enough to explain why bad things happen in the world is not a very useful way to assuage the skepticism of a nonbeliever. While the existence of Nazis does not automatically disprove the existence of God, arguing that the ways of God are sometimes incomprehensible does not prove God’s existence.

You write, “Mac Donald is a conservative with very definite ideas about freedom, justice, etc. Where do those ideas come from? She seems to expect that we would be persuaded to do things that are right and to abstain from things that are wrong. If there is no God, why care about any of that?”

This is the argument that was famously raised by Dostoyevsky through the character Ivan Karamazov, who postulated that if there is no God, all things are lawful. While it is undeniable that religion has made a major contribution to our concept of morality, it doesn’t mean that there is no justification for morality in the absence of religion. Morality is a guide for human action within a social setting. The secular defense of concepts such as freedom, justice, etc. is that they work. They maximize the ability of human beings to prosper and pursue happiness without impairing other people’s ability to do the same. A lawless society in which people lie, cheat, steal and kill doesn’t have much hope for long-term success.

You write, “She complains that someone kills a conversation when they say God wants something. But is it any different to say Justice requires it? She would complain about the first, but not the second. Why? The truth is that saying God wants something is not so different from saying Justice requires something.”

There is a difference between making an argument rooted in justice and making an argument rooted in God. The difference is that if a person doesn’t believe in God, or has religious beliefs that are fundamentally at odds with your own, making a God-based argument is a lost cause. However, by making an argument based on justice, you can still persuade those who believe in God, but also can gain the ear of nonbelievers as well people whose religious views are different than your own.

Kidnappers Expose Their True Aims

When Israeli soldiers were kidnapped recently, so-called human rights activists such as Jimmy Carter pinned the blame on the Jewish state, the idea being that the kidnapping was merely a reaction to Israel holding Palestinian and Hezbollah prisoners.

A Palestinian terrorist group identifying itself as “Holy Jihad Brigades” has just released this video of kidnapped Fox News journalists Olaf Wiig and Steve Centanni. The terrorist group is giving the U.S. 72 hours to release Muslim prisoners being held in America, or else…well, that’s not clear now, but you can use your imagination.

In the case of the two seperate kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, at least one could argue that the kidnapped Israelis were soldiers rather than civilians. But the two Fox News journalists currently being held in captivity are clearly civilians and Wiig is a citizen neither of the U.S. nor Israel, but of New Zealand. This demonstrates that the real aim is to use the tactic of kidnapping to gain media attention (hence kidnapping journalists), get the sympathy of the world community, and earn a place at the international bargaining table. Stay tuned for a Jimmy Carter statement blaming the kidnappings on the U.S. prison system.

Constitution at War

Jonah Goldberg has an column out today accusing liberals of a double standard for arguing for a flexible, living constitution that evolves with the times while supporting a narrow reading when it comes to the War on Terror.
While I can understand the temptation to make such an argument, it can also be turned around. Liberals can argue that conservatives are always fussing about appointing judges that strictly interpret the constitution, while during the War on Terror they have been willing to allow for a broader definition of the document when it comes to executive power during wartime.

Iran’s Response

So, Iran is saying that they are ready for “serious talks.” More information will come out, no doubt, but this strikes me as just another stalling technique that does nothing to change the main issues, especially because they will reportedly continue enriching uranium. I don’t see what more there is to negotiate, given that Iran has already been offered light-water reactors and support to join the World Trade Organization. Should Iran continue to enrich uranium past the Aug. 31 deadline and prevent inspectors from investigating their nuclear program, will the UN Security Council actually impose sanctions, or will it hold off on such actions now that Iran wants “serious talks.”

Snakes on a Senate

If this new Website, paid for by the DSCC, is any indication of how the Democrats will campaign this fall, Republicans can rest easy.

While on the subject, I have to say that I find the whole Snakes on a Plane phenomenon pretty lame. In my view, stupid movies should only become campy, cult classics accidentally. Having a Hollywood PR department market a movie as such ruins it for me. I see no way that it could ever reach the cinematic heights of a movie such as Howard the Duck.

Sorry John.

Angry Left Weather Report

It turns out that DailyKos, in addition to serving as the headquarters of the liberal Netroots movement, offers weather reports to its readers. For instance, if you go over there now, you’ll find a post on a tropical depression off the coast of Africa, which closes with:

Even a modest hurricane or tropical storm near NOLA at this point could be devastating, in part thanks to the woefully managed reconstruction and clean-up effort courtesy of the Bush-Cheney cabal, who seem obsessed with pissing away more resources–of both the flesh and monetary kind–into Iraq than our own freakin cities and people.

I think they’re on to something. Maybe they can try traffic and weather together. “Expect 30 minute delays heading into to Lincoln Tunnel during rush hour today. For the frickin’ money spent on Iraq, we could have built more tunnels, which would mean less traffic, but Bush is too stupid to realize that and Cheney, the real Decider, is too interested in killing people in Iraq so that he can give contracts to Halliburton.”