Awwwww.

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?

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Really, Guys? Really?

OMG, you guys! Did you hear? Mitt Romney was a meany mean pants in high school! I read all about it in the Washington Post, DC’s Totally Serious Newspaper of Record!

If I might make a suggestion: The scientific literature suggests that the human brain doesn’t mature until the middle of the third decade, so perhaps we should grant blanket forgiveness to all politicians for anything they did before the age of, oh, twenty-five. Then, after we get that out of the way, we should talk about jobs and why there aren’t any.

Related to Previous – Elizabeth Warren’s "Race"

If we’re going to talk about the topic of institutional racism as fostered by left-wing identity politics and academics, we need look no further than Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  Now running to replace Senator pro-tem Scott Brown on a platform of “MONEY IS EEEEEEVIL…except my money,” Ms. Warren spent decades claiming Native American status without registering with a tribe (according to her, based off of nothing more than family stories about life on a Cherokee reservation a hundred years ago) and at no point did her colleges even bother to try to confirm said heredity because they were in a mad desperate scramble to prove their racial sensitivity in hiring practices to meet quotas.

It turns out that Warren’s stories were true…sort of…her great…great…GREAT grandmother was Cherokee and her great great grandfather got married on a reservation.  That makes her 1/32nd Cherokee.  Which is evidently enough that Warren feels proud to claim Native heritage even though the Cherokee nation RENOUNCED her.  And no one seems to want to question this state of affairs in Massachusetts or in academia.  Not even moderate liberals.

Oh…and if you think I’m looking too hard for institutional racism as a way to shoot down affirmative action (you’re partially correct, but…), Warren’s reaction was to decry Brown’s question about her native heritage as “just another woman having her credentials questions by Scott Brown.”  Did you see it?  While falsely claiming victim status…she again claimed victim status.  If I’m not Native American enough for you…you can’t deny that I’m FEMALE…and we aren’t allowed to be judged anymore, especially not by men!

The identity politics will eventually cause the left to implode.  I’m certain of it.  You can’t go on splicing your core constituents into groups and putting people in boxes forever before the infighting and name-calling tears you apart.  I just hope they implode before the country does.  I’m dubious as to whether that happens.

Let’s Play Another Game of "Spot the Connection," Shall We?

First, allow me to present the two news items under consideration:

  1. Are Educators Showing a ‘Positive Bias’ to Minority Students? “A major study, led by Rutgers-Newark psychology professor Kent D. Harber, indicates that public school teachers under-challenge minority students by providing them more positive feedback than they give to white students, for work of equal merit. The study, which is currently available online in the Journal of Educational Psychology (JEP), involved 113 white middle school and high school teachers in two public school districts located in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state area, one middle class and white, and the other more working class and racially mixed.” (Emphasis mine.)
  2. Chronicle of Higher Education Fires Blogger for Challenging Seriousness of Black Studies Departments.”Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s lively and horribly-named “Brainstorm” blog, contributor Naomi Schaefer Riley has been fired for a post questioning the intellectual seriousness and validity of black studies departments (…) What did Schaefer Riley, the author of two books about higher education, do to warrant getting canned? Her primary offense was writing a post titled, “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.” Keying off a recent Chronicle story touting Ph.D. candidates in black studies, Schaefer Riley notes in part: ‘If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them…’ “

The first case features a group of white teachers from the very blue New York City metro area who apparently feel uncomfortable raising the bar for their minority students. The second case involves a group of professors from the very blue world of academia — who apparently feel uncomfortable raising the bar for their minority students. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!

I haven’t read the dissertations that were the focus of the blog post mentioned in the second story, so I can’t pass judgment on their quality or utility. However, I think the response to said blog post is quite telling. If these rising stars in the field of Black Studies were in fact genuine scholars – and not coddled thugs – then they would’ve launched a spirited, intellectual defense of their work instead of demanding in loud, hyper-emotional voices that their critic be silenced.

Stupid Kill-Joys

They’re banning bake sales on school grounds in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts:

Bake sales, the calorie-laden standby cash-strapped classrooms, PTAs and booster clubs rely on, will be outlawed from public schools as of Aug. 1 as part of new no-nonsense nutrition standards, forcing fundraisers back to the blackboard to cook up alternative ways to raise money for kids.

Everything in moderation, people. The occasional cupcake or slice of pizza is not going to kill our kids.

You want to know why our children are getting fat? I can think of two main reasons:

  1. We live in an anti-child culture in which the adults are so busy with their own “self-actualization” that they don’t have time to teach their little ones proper eating habits.
  2. Also, today’s parents are wusses. They’re too afraid to let their kids walk a few miles to school or – gasp! – play outside, and they’re definitely too afraid to say no to their precious little snowflakes.

If you want to stamp out obesity, maybe you should work on healing the family instead of growing the Nanny State.

Picture Worth a Thousand Words – Black Racism and the Victim Mentality

I just thought I’d let you all watch this video I accidentally found while looking for the scene from “The Simpsons” in which Homer tried to pass candy bars off as sprinkles on his Kwik-E-Mart donut.

Never found that scene…but this was infinitely more entertaining…at least…in a “holy crap!” sort of way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gCQ5mTplZs

Coming from Nigeria doesn’t make you African American apparently.  And paying 15 more cents for your drink is a crime so vile that it demands the conversation involve slavery and reparations too.  Truly…truly special.

My favorite part is when the angry customer involved demands that the (fellow African American) owners of the Kwik-E-Mart in Southern California “get out of the African American Community” so that blacks can have those jobs.  Because other people who make money have evidently stolen such opportunities away from blacks.

Awesome.

Mormons Are Awesome

Now that Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee, we’re going to hear a lot more about “those crazy Mormons” and their “magic underwear.” So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to use this post to share my undying love for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — a love that persists despite my Catholic skepticism with regards to some (but by no means all) of their religious beliefs.

You see, I recently took a short trip to the Salt Lake City metro area to attend my maternal grandfather’s funeral, and the difference between northern Utah and northern Virginia is akin to the difference between night and day. Forget the different climates. Forget the different landscapes. Forget the different elevations. What sets Salt Lake apart is the social capital. While I was there, an unfortunate medical incident (which has since resolved, thankfully) necessitated hailing the ambulance, and the commotion attracted a flock of concerned neighbors who were, to a man, ready to drop everything and come to our aid. In contrast, when an emergency vehicle pulls up to a house in Dale City, VA, people keep their distance.

And what accounts for these divergent responses? Mormonism, in large part. The Mormons are very big on maintaining family and community ties. Indeed, when my grandmother’s Mormon friend heard that a few of the neighbors hadn’t yet brought over comfort food in response to my grandmother’s loss, she threatened to punish them in some way for not living up to The Code. Said Mormon friend, you see, takes it as a given that her co-religionists are obligated to care for others. And by the way, my grandmother is not a Mormon, so it isn’t just a Mormons helping Mormons thing.

Amusingly, the Mormons will jump at any excuse to have a block party. Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, a wedding — regardless of the reason, Grandmom’s Mormon friends will cheerfully spend an entire day rolling up hundreds of taquitos, baking tater-tot casseroles, and/or preparing big bowls of fruited green Jello to share with the residents of their ward. And no — I don’t think that’s creepy. I think that’s charming. I also think it’s charming that, in Utah, your plumber is likely to come to your funeral. True facts!  

“But Stephanie,” some may object, “you are only one person. How do we know your experiences are trustworthy?” In response, I shall direct you to John C. Wright’s Shout Out to the Latter Day Saints:

Once upon a time, my middle son flushed a toy down the toilet, and the toy, with a power far beyond that of ordinary toys, managed not only to clog the pipe running under my front yard, but break the pipe during the attempt to remove it, so that my front tree had to be hewn down as if [b]y the cruel Orcs of Orthanc, and all my yard ripped up and despoiled.

Next, the Home Owners Association sent a legal notice saying we had to restore the lawn to good and proper condition forthwith, or face legal penalties. At this point in time my wallet had moths in it, and echoes, but no money. I could not hire a landscaper no[r] do the work myself.

My wife prayed to her God (I was an atheist at the time) and within the same day, two young men, dressed soberly, and with good manners, approached her and said that they were walking the neighborhood looking for good works to do. At first she thought of turning them away, but then realized they were an answer to prayer.

Since they were conservatively and soberly dressed, and spoke politely, and had a shining of grace and good favor about their faces, I knew at once that they were either Agents of the Machine from the movie THE MATRIX or that they were elders from the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Or, if you’d like, you can trust my mother, whose childhood in Salt Lake resulted in an intimate acquaintance with the Latter Day Saints. Though she knows the darker bits of Mormon history – and I’m going to speak to those in a minute – her attitude regarding Mormons is still overwhelmingly positive. She’s a freshly minted convert to Catholicism (and was both a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian earlier in life), but she considers the Mormons to be our allies in the culture wars. She deeply respects their conservative family values and their dedication to community service — and by the way, so do I. Mormonism is a peculiar “Made in America” heresy, but its adherents often behave more like Christians than do their more orthodox brothers and sisters.

Which is not to say that the Mormon church doesn’t have its questionable facets — like every other human institution on the planet. As recently as the 1970’s, Mom couldn’t bring her black friend over to a Mormon household. But in that same time period, there were probably many towns in the (overwhelmingly Protestant) rural South in which people refused black visitors. Racism is a human curse, not a Mormon one. And as for the polygamy thing? That – like the claim that darker skin is demonic – is no longer endorsed by the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (though, yes, it still exists in off-shoot groups like the FLDS).

Now, having said all of the above, I can understand to a certain extent why some people are wary when it comes to the Mormons. They are kind of mysterious. We who are not Mormons are not allowed to visit their temples and observe their most important rituals. But isn’t it the point of small-l liberalism to rise above our reptilian brains? If you’re confused as to why Mormons do the things they do and believe the things they believe, the proper course is not to mock them out of ignorance. The proper course is to turn to a Mormon and politely ask, “Hey, friend. Can you explain?” I’m sure any Mormon would be happy to engage in a good-faith discussion of his church and its traditions. 

An Apology

I’m sorry I’ve not kept this blog active lately. Truth is, I’ve been battling a moderate depression that, oddly enough, has nothing to do with the abysmal state of our country. Consequently, I’ve not been inspired to write on politics. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. I do, however, plan to get back into the swing of things starting tomorrow. Stay tuned!