One failure of logic is to generalize from the anecdotal to the whole. Conservatives, who know rules of logic -- we have Thomas Sowell after all (see what I did there?) -- understand this. So, when it comes to rhetorical arguments or situations where some weirdo commits some random badness, they tend to blame...well, the perpetrator. It's also just fundamental fairness.
The left, in contrast, has spent the last year and half trying to pin every act of terrorism and evil on the vast, white, racist, homophobic, bigoted Tea Party. They do it without shame. They impugn, malign and besmirch repeatedly. Best Tea Party sign? "You'll say I'm racist anyway."
Lefties generalize from anecdotes unless the crazy person is one of their own (and yes, that was just a generalization). Then, of course, the crazy is an "outlier". He's a depraved individual. And often, there are compelling reasons for the outburst. Those compelling reasons demand more examination. And upon examination, well, it turns out the context is complex and nuanced.
Enter the Discovery Building bomber-hostage taker-gun nut. The blogger Atrios was quick to point out that the guy with a clear eco-terrorist bent was just a "crazy individual".
So AP writer Allen Breed begins his recent mosque piece by defining the word, "tolerance." It's a traditional rhetorical device, one learned back in sixth grade while plagiarizing the Encyclopedia Britannica.
His piece focuses on religion, of course, - but not Islam, Christianity or even my favorite, "the universal life force of the Grand Unicorn."
His all powerful religion? Tolerance.
Of course, for him, tolerance can only play one way. As Yanks we must kneel before the alter of acceptance, while everyone else uses us as a footrest.
It may or may not happen, I just don't know, but if it does and the aisles of Congress are littered with Democrats who will be kicked out in the New Year, will they feel they don't have anything to lose and try to pass the remainder of their socialistic agenda before they're forced to leave.
And if lame duck Democrats try to do this will the Republicans and remaining Democrats who will return have the guts and the honor to block them?
Will they let cap and trade, card check and all the other catastrophic crap they have proposed be passed?
On July 27th and 28th, the New York Times published the following headline: "The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected." In the story that followed the headline, readers were informed: "The immense patches of surface oil that [once] covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the...oil rig explosion are largely gone."
Ironically, the man who predicted this would be case was the much-maligned Tony Hayward, former Chief Executive of British Petroleum (BP). While being grilled on Capital Hill about the oil spill earlier this year, Hayward described it as a "relatively tiny" one in comparison to the "very big ocean" in which it had occurred. Although the backlash Hayward faced by Democrats was nasty, Rush Limbaugh concurred with the BP boss, and stories like the one I cited from the New York Times seem to demonstrate that Hayward and Limbaugh were both correct.
Yet, not only does BP continue to be the target of heavy criticism by Democrats and environmental groups, it has even found itself in the crosshairs of Brad Pitt, who recently "said he would consider the death penalty for those to blame for the Gulf oil spill crisis." According to the UK's Daily Mail, Pitt's exact words were: "I was never for the death penalty before - I am willing to look at it again."
There are three important things going on in "The Tillman Story" (in selected theatres today), two of which almost make the conspiracy-mongering documentary worth your time. The first and best is the opportunity to get to know better the extraordinary and extraordinarily complicated and interesting Pat Tillman. In the best sense of the word, this was a fierce and fiercely passionate man - fierce on the football field, fierce on the battlefield, and fierce in his personal beliefs. This was also a man who only ever dated one woman, the woman he would marry the same week he enlisted; and my guess is that Tillman was the kind of man and husband who found leaving the fame of professional football much easier than leaving his young bride.
You also meet Tillman's family; his parents, brother and wife - a decent, loving, inconsolable group dealing with the terrible loss of someone they obviously loved and miss very much. This is a family furious with a United States government who didn't know all the facts before they told the story of Tillman's death to them, and to the American people. And as far as that goes, they are right to be angry.
Twenty-two states are now in the process of drafting or seeking to pass legislation similar to Arizona's law against illegal immigration. This is occurring despite the fact that the Obama administration has filed a lawsuit against the Arizona law and a federal judge has ruled against portions of that law - a ruling that is now being appealed.
Next month, two Rhode Island state lawmakers, a Democrat and a Republican, will travel to Arizona to speak with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, local sheriffs, and other officials about how to better craft their own bipartisan immigration bill for Rhode Island, which already has been enforcing some federal immigration laws.
Meanwhile, 11 Republican state lawmakers from Colorado traveled to Arizona this week to meet with officials there on how to craft legislation for the Mile High state.
So last night on the show, Andy Levy pointed out that the person representing the Ground Zero mosque on Twitter made a few jabs at the Amish.
This is what the Tweeter tweeted:
Amish saying stop Muslims?1. What are you doing on the computer? 2. That's not very Amish 3. Shouldn't you be making butter?
Later, that tweet was deleted.
Which is a shame, because it didn't have to go. See, the Mosque folks don't understand that here in America you can make fun of any religion - yes, even the Amish - and angry followers won't throw acid in your face or behead you in front of a tripod. And, as primitive as the Amish are, they won't even stone you to death for adultery. But the tweeting Park51 can be forgiven: maybe they thought the Amish might head out from Lancaster County and fly a buggy straight into their building. Don't worry, "Parky:" they wouldn't get the horses through the Lincoln Tunnel.
Last week, film writer extraordinaire Christian Toto fell under the delusion that yours truly was interesting enough to interview, and if you're under the same delusion you can read the two-parter here and here. Among other things, Toto asked me about the clout critics wield and the most common mistakes they make. Here's a combination of my answers:
Critics aren't dumb, they know the public doesn't much care which way their thumbs point. But critics do know that based on their opinions and reviews they can enjoy an influence over what kind of films get made. And that's not a small amount of power. Culture is upstream from politics, after all.
If you have 95 percent of critics savaging a faithful retelling of the Gospels as anti-Semitic, no matter how successful "The Passion" is, no one's going to go near that subject matter again. And that's the goal. Same with anything that comes close to patriotism or conservatism. Such cinematic rarities are frequently labeled "jingoistic, fascist or simple minded." This is all done consciously and for a desired effect.
The transformation of Reverend Al Sharpton from street provocateur to civil rights eminence ranks as one of the more remarkable image makeovers in American public life. And mainstream journalism has played a central role. Anyone doubting as much should read the recent (August 2) cover story of Newsweek magazine, "The Reinvention of the Reverend." Written by Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler, the article is a fawning and misleading portrait of the Harlem-based preacher/politician. The piece doesn't quite beatify Sharpton. But it does make a highly selective use of information, some of it factually wrong, in stating the case for "the Rev," as he is commonly known, as a moral conscience of the nation. It also stands as an example, as if any more were needed, that "diversity" in the newsroom isn't about a diversity of opinion.
Reverend Sharpton, as National Legal and Policy Center often has noted, has a long history of public demagoguery in the service of civil rights. In the spring of 2009 NLPC released a lengthy Special Report (which I had written) documenting how Sharpton has used his social standing among many fellow blacks to transform a crime, or an allegation of it, into collective moral grievance. His style follows a distinct pattern. First, he receives word of a black or blacks allegedly victimized by white civilians or cops. Should he be sufficiently outraged, he will insist on serving as that person (and his or her family's) "adviser." At that point, he will launch a nonstop media-focused campaign in the streets designed to mobilize public opinion in favor of the victim and against the opposition. In his mind, blacks continue to be second-class citizens, their cries for justice all but ignored by powerful elites. Thus, these elites must feel the heat of the street. In his 2002 autobiography, "Al on America," he writes (pp. 93, 95): "To many in America, racism is a thing of the past. It's something that happened ‘back then.' To millions of blacks in this country, it is something we live with every day...(T)he outcome of my marches is one of the reasons why I will always be considered ‘controversial' in some circles - because I rip the veil off Northern established liberal racism."
Reigniting a political controversy, former President Bill Clinton this week contradicted the Obama White House, telling a Pennsylvania TV station that he never encouraged U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak to drop out of Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race - as the White House claimed in May.
On Tuesday, Aug. 10, as Clinton campaigned for Sestak in Scranton, Pa., a reporter with the NBC affiliate in Wilkes-Barre asked Clinton why he was in Pennsylvania campaigning for Sestak if he had once tried to get him to drop out of the Senate race.
"I never tried to get him out of the race," Clinton replied. "I've never even been accused of that," he added in response to a follow-up question.
Clinton's denial on Tuesday represents a third version of events, said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been looking into the matter.
"You know the saying there's three sides to every story -- well, now we have it," Issa said.
So Matt Lewis writes a column decrying, I think, the Political climate's nastiness. I say, I think, because after reading it, I'm not quite sure what he's saying.
Matt brings up two pieces of evidence: Matt Yglesias saying that lying is okay was one distressing example. Well, duh. Yglesias is a liberal and I have yet to read a liberal blogger who doesn't believe the ends justify the means. There is no true objective truth, after all. And, really, lying is fine, if a greater truth is served yada yada. This is not new. Nor is it shocking. Everything from science (Al Gore and global warming) to social science (single mothering is as good as dual-parent families) to religion (Christianists!) to media coverage is manipulated to serve the statist i.e. Democratic good. And to make the arguments, lying isn't just recommended, it's necessary.
The goal? To echo the mosque's own website, which says it's trying to promote integration and tolerance. I figured, I could return the favor, by opening a gay bar.
After all, Islam despises homosexuality - and this Muslim-friendly gay bar would help mend fences.
Right now the working name of the bar is Heaven and Halal. It will be two floors - one serving Hallel food, and other other serving cocktails. There will be 72 of them. And they will be virgin.