Nov 212006

O.J. Simpson says he was legally muzzled. But the really good news about the cancellation of his book and TV special is that this isn’t true.

It wasn’t the legal system or any other government action that did it. It wasn’t congressional hearings in which smarmy politicians threaten to pass laws. (Who could have stomached another such spectacle as when they inserted themselves into the baseball steroid scandal?)

It was social pressure — the threat of boycotts, Bill O’Reilly’s loud objections, the denunciations from newspaper editors, and the affiliates who refused to carry it. (In short it’s the behavior we should have gotten from the media back when the Clintons were stonewalling the legal system.)

I’ve long held that boycotts and the threat of boycotts are an underutilized tool for social change. In the past, whenever I’ve brought up the possibility, It’s usually libertarians, of all people, who’ve objected the loudest.

But governments can’t and shouldn’t do everything. We as a society need to govern ourselves, and this is incident shows how it can be done.

It’s interesting that it happened on the same day as this article about “controlled chaos” European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs

“The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior,” says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project’s co-founders. “The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”

What we had in the O.J. cancellation was an increase in our capacity for socially responsible behavior.

Nov 202006

One of many columns to profess abhorence at the new O.J. Simpson book:

How Low Can You Go?

To those who worried our violent, sex-obsessed, celebrity-crazed culture had at last reached the very farthest depths of depravity, O. J. Simpson and Judith Regan come bearing news: we had so much farther to fall.

And to do such a thing for money! Commentators profess to be aghast at OJ’s money grubbing and the media’s grubbing for money-generating publicity over the whole thing.

But is that really a new low? What about this: Doctors are calling for a debate over proposals for the “mercy killing” of severely disabled babies.

In both cases, you have the weasel words. OJ is writing about killing as if he had been the killer, but nobody is fooled about the “as if” part. The doctors profess to merely want a debate, and what could be more noble than a healthy debate? And everyone knows what the doctors want is not debate, but the right to eliminate expensive babies.

And then there is the money angle. OJ is doing it for his children, and so are the doctors. “A very disabled child can mean a disabled family,” they say. Translation: “it’s about the money.”

Nov 182006

Here is a Washington Post article by Jonathan Weisman and Lois Romano: Pelosi Splits Democrats With Push For Murtha: Speaker-to-Be Accused Of Strong-Arm Tactics

…Pelosi’s aggressive intervention on behalf of Murtha has baffled and angered many Democrats, who think she has unnecessarily put her reputation on the line out of misplaced loyalty to a friend and because of a long-standing feud with Hoyer, the minority whip….

…For the most part, lawmakers, Hill aides and some outside advisers — even some close to her — say they are at a loss to explain why Pelosi has held a grudge for so long, because she clearly has the upper hand as leader of the House Democrats. They suggest that part of what rankles her is that Hoyer is not beholden to her and feels no compulsion to publicly agree with her on every issue. This, allies say, she sees as a sign of disloyalty….

It’s interesting that the elected leaders of the two parties are so much alike on this. George Bush and Nancy Pelosi now have reputations for valuing personal loyalty above all else.

It makes me miss Ronald Reagan more than ever. He could put up with blabbermouth skeptics and backstabbers in his own administration. But he was loyal to his own agenda.

Nov 182006

Headline: Seeking re-election, incumbent Dutch government promises to ban burqa

The Dutch government said it would outlaw the head-to-toe burqa worn by some Muslim women and other face-concealing apparel in public places, marking this once-tolerant nation’s latest about-face on questions of culture and assimilation in Europe. …
The opposition Labor Party called the announcement a political ploy.

Well, yes, of course it’s a political ploy. That’s the purpose of having governments “of the people” — to do political ploys.

Some definitions:

Political (adj) Exercising or seeking power in the government or public affairs of a state, municipality, etc.; of, pertaining to, or involving the state or its government; having a definite policy or system of government.
Ploy (n) a maneuver or stratagem, as in conversation, to gain the advantage

Nov 172006

Network World reports on huge increases in the amount of spam over the past several weeks: What’s with all this spam?

Researchers and IT managers are confirming security vendors’ claims that spam levels have spiked in the past month – some say by as much as 80 % — and show no signs of decreasing.

“There are enormous amounts of spam; it’s shot up like crazy since the beginning of October,” says John Levine…

This spam problem is an example of why socialism doesn’t work. Continue reading »

Nov 062006

The media campaign to use the Ted Haggard scandal against Bush gives the impression that the National Association of Evangelicals is such an influential organization. But the NAE didn’t even make the Top Ten list of right-wing theocrat organizations at

And from this article at The Christian Post, it sounds like the NAE’S 30 million members don’t contribute enough money for it to have its own staff. Ted Haggard was running the organization out of his own church’s collection plate.

While trying to find out about this organization, I did learn that several years ago the National Council of Churches had a budget in the range of $70 million. But although it’s questionable whether there is another religious body as engaged in partisan politics as the NCC, I haven’t seen it on anyone’s list of theocrat organizations, either. Funny how that works.

Nov 042006

Reuters, the political activist organization, put out an article with the headline:
“Evangelical America hit by gay sex scandal.”
The lead paragraph went like this:
“America’s evangelical movement grappled on Friday with a high-profile gay sex scandal that evoked torrid affairs of the past and embarrassed the politically active cause days before nationwide elections.”
One wonders how Reuters could possibly have known this.  Did they do a poll of American evangelicals?  For that matter, did they even research the question of whether American evangelicals had even heard of Ted Haggard before the current media frenzy began? Continue reading »