Tuesday, April 29, 2008


It was gratifying to have George Will focus last week on statements by the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan that also appeared in my April 15 column about North County graduation rates. Moynihan’s comment about the correlation between the “parent-child ratio” and educational achievement was also illustrated by the America’s Promise Alliance study I cited—where divorce-averse Asian-Americans stand atop the educational heap

In that same column I mentioned schools of education as another intractable obstacle to pedagogical success. That observation leads to Dr. William Ayers, the former Weatherman radical whose views about American society are only slightly different from what they were when his colleagues and ex-terrorist wife, Northwestern Professor Bernadine Dohrn, were plotting to kill American soldiers and their dates at a Fort Dix dance or celebrating the Manson cult’s murder of Sharon Tate.

Ayers is not only a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, but also a man whose textbooks for teachers are among the most popular in schools of education. Moreover, this fellow who declared to the New York Times just prior to 9/11 that he was sorry he didn’t set off more bombs during his youth, was recently elected Vice-President for Curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association—the nation’s largest organization of education school professors and researchers.

Given such leadership, it’s no wonder that Hoover Fellow Thomas Sowell has advocated abolishing schools of education—institutions whose academic reputations are notorious for cookie-cutter curricula that are now laced with anti-American diatribes. The ideas inculcated in teachers and administrators by Ayers and his colleagues are primarily designed to further a political agenda—not to serve the educational needs of students for whom lessons centered on “social outrage” simply exacerbate their cultural alienation.

A teacher recently related to me some experiences in North County classrooms that reflect the Ayers Ed-school mentality and don’t bode well for future graduation rates. Among the problems noted were “gangsta” and ghoulish attire that coordinated well with a common (grade school) refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Classes largely populated with “recent immigrants” often shared this feeling that America was, for them, a foreign nation.

In another classroom Thanksgiving was a day to celebrate Native-American traditions and to mourn the atrocities wrought by the Pilgrims' descendants. Native-American or neo-pagan images also stood front and center during Earth Day penance sessions.

Add to these PC lesson plans various “Day of Silence” observations and state legislation (SB 777) that calls in question heterosexist “mom and dad” language, and it’s no wonder that many parents have given up on public school reform and turned to private or home schooling.

Then along comes a rogue state Appeals Court that says even homeschoolers must endure Ed School indoctrination. PC monopolies, you see, hate competition.

Friday, April 25, 2008


As expected, Ben Stein’s new documentary has been given a chilly reception by most reviewers—by folks inclined to sympathize with the moral stylings of Joy Behar and reluctant to express opinions at odds with gray eminences at The New York Times.

Outside of “the usual suspects” (like Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center) few have been willing to put their heads on the cultural chopping block for the sake of open dialogue about a scientific hypothesis called “Intelligent Design.” Instead, as the movie itself asserts, most commentators are content to reiterate the boilerplate descriptions typically employed whenever this topic is broached.

A San Diego radio newscaster, for example, pigeonholed the production as a “movie about religion.” In fact, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed isn’t a movie about religion. It’s a documentary that shows how academics and other cultural elites are blocking honest discussion of a theory that undercuts purely materialistic explanations of the origin of life.

A common tactic for stifling this debate is to repeat the lie that “intelligent design” is simply a stalking horse for “creationism.” Though the movie doesn’t provide a detailed discussion of ID, it does present enough superbly qualified and articulate advocates of the theory to demonstrate that its proponents aren’t, as advertised, slack-jawed Neanderthals in lab smocks.

The movie also highlights more aggressive tactics for enforcing Darwinist orthodoxy—denial of tenure, blackballing, the denial of grants, and refusing to publish the work of ID dissidents. Professor Guillermo Gonzalez, for example, an astronomer with a stellar publication record, was recently denied tenure at Iowa State University, apparently because of his association with ID theory. Similarly, at Baylor University, Engineering Professor Robert Marks II saw his school web site unplugged and grant money revoked when his work on information theory began interfacing productively with ID. These are only two of several examples presented in the film. Collectively, these cases expose a widespread effort to marginalize academics who raise questions about Darwinian theory and to ignore research that suggests what Sir Isaac Newton assumed—that an intelligent designer sustains the cosmos.

The intolerance suggested by these methods is also exhibited in the interviews Stein conducts with members of the science establishment. Among the words that spring to mind when viewing these exchanges are “pompous, dismissive of criticism,” and “small-minded.” One petty tyrant (who looked every bit the part) was perfectly pleased with the speculative theory that life emerged “on the backs of crystals.” Another critic with a noxious demeanor dismissed ID as incredibly “boring.” A third enforcer of orthodoxy pronounced confidently, and erroneously, that ID proponents had published no peer-reviewed work.

Philosophically speaking, the easiest way to enforce neo-Darwinian orthodoxy is to equate science and inquiry within a materialistic paradigm. Given this definition, any theory that strays beyond materialistic parameters is automatically labeled pseudo-science. These ground rules mean that empirically derived evidence of intelligent causation, no matter how compelling, must be ignored. As Stein’s interview with Richard Dawkins illustrates, it’s OK to speculate (as the late DNA researcher Francis Crick did) that life arose on earth due to seeds planted by space aliens, but scientists aren’t allowed to assert that a cell’s complex information codes point, more simply and broadly, to an intelligent cause. In other words, for the Darwinist establishment, all intelligent causes must have prior unintelligent causes if an explanation is to be considered “science.”

As a philosopher of science, Alfred North Whitehead, observed almost a century ago, this “fixed scientific cosmology” means that all ultimate explanations must be expressed in terms of “senseless, valueless, purposeless” material that is “spread throughout space in a flux of configurations.” Stein’s movie provides a perfect example of this nihilistic perspective in the person of Professor William Provine. Provine’s dogmatic on-screen pronouncements link his devotion to Darwinism to a deterministic creed that reduces moral propositions to meaningless chatter and human beings to insignificant chatterers. Curiously, the Professor persists in exhibiting moral and aesthetic preferences in which he exhibits a degree of pride—as if he had the freedom to accept inferior alternatives.

The most controversial aspect of Stein’s documentary is the way it links Darwinism and The Third Reich. Beyond discussing how Mein Kampf’s terminology and thought structures are deeply indebted to Darwin, Stein also makes visits to Hadamar (where Nazis exterminated thousands of mental “defectives”) and to Dachau (where other sub-Aryans met the same fate at the hands of individuals who embraced the pre-Nazi science of eugenics). Though many viewers will find this focus on a Darwin-Hitler axis objectionable, the clear links that do exist raise a monumental question that’s been studiously ignored by intellectuals who view Darwin as a savior from religion. That question goes as follows: If atheistic, materialistic, Darwinistic explanations permeate society, aren’t actions like those at Hadamar and Dachau made more philosophically plausible? Indeed, aren’t such actions what one should expect in a world where “will to power” and the “struggle for existence” are seen as “real” scientific explanations and “intelligence” is dismissed as a quaint epiphenomenon?

The primary image Stein employs to dramatize the expulsion of open inquiry from science is the Berlin Wall—a metaphor that combines authoritarianism, fear, dogmatism, and the suppression of human freedom. Expelled provides plenty of evidence to suggest that this image is more than a hyperbolic device to magnify a minor disciplinary quarrel. Indeed, the film offers sufficient reason to view The Wall as a grim historical preview of a world divested of moral import—a world where “intelligent” explanations are given no scientific credence.

In 1925, Alfred North Whitehead said that the prevailing materialistic outlook in science was “entirely unsuited to the scientific situation at which we have now arrived.” Stein’s ID proponents would add to that assertion arguments taken from cell biology, astronomy, and information theory. More significantly, however, Stein’s film asserts (and Whitehead would probably agree) that scientific materialism is all too compatible with a vision of reality that embraces authoritarianism and eugenic extermination. The latter is clearly a compelling reason for tearing down the ugly wall that currently separates intelligence and science.

Monday, April 14, 2008


“He can’t he’p it; he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” These words, ungraciously spoken by former Texas Governor Ann Richards about George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Democrat convention, may now be transferred to The Great Barackster--the primary difference being that the latter’s rhetorical lapses have a distinctly Marxist twist.

The Obamameister wants “typical white person(s)” to know that he, the bi-racial Harvard lawyer and Chicago pol, feels their pain—that he’s more than a silver-tongued demigod eager to pass out bottled ambrosia to swooning groupies. Unfortunately, The Exalted One, unlike The Arkansas Empathizer, hasn’t mastered the dramatic trick of biting his lower-lip and projecting that teary-eyed, beaten-dog look that works so well on voters seeking sympathy (and on women craving a man-boy to mother).

Absent these affective illusions, The Dalai Obama can’t simply say that he’s moved by people’s distress. And highfalutin’ language doesn’t play well in Painsville. Consequently, His Holiness must explain to Bay Area devotees why blue-collar Pennsylvanians aren’t swarming like good disciples to his side. The reason for this reluctance, The B. H. Oracle explains, is that these lunch-bucketeers are embittered and have poured their anger into pointless political and spiritual preoccupations.

Here are The Audacious One’s ipsissima verba: “It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Put more directly, Herr Obama might have spoken as follows: “You Yahoos don’t really care about illegal immigration or gay marriage. What you hate is a government that hasn’t improved your economic status in decades. All that time and effort you put into protesting against abortion and for gun rights is just an expression of your frustration over the forces of globalization. And since no intelligent person takes seriously the things a preacher says in the pulpit, what you naively believe is commitment to a higher spiritual power is actually a misdirected protest against the capitalist devils who’ve reduced you to pawns in a hellish game of outsourcing and downsizing.”

Perceptive auditors will hear the words “opiate” and “delusion” echoing in the vast cranial spaces between those prominent Obamanian ears—intellectual tidbits derived from Marx and Freud during The Great One’s formative years in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Or perhaps The Eminent Explainer got his economic reductionism second hand from Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?—a condescending treatise that berates heartland hayseeds who can’t see the leftist truth in front of their eyes and who forfeit their economic birthright for a mess of values-voter pottage. Indeed, Frank might have subtitled his snooty work “False Consciousness on the Plains.”

Personal experience, of course, also informs The Blessed One’s view of religion, since for him and his spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “faith” is clearly more about “street-cred” and black identity than it is about the tenets of a religion whose name is deceptively appended to a political organization in clerical drag.

Unwilling to admit an error, His Infallibleness doubled down on stupid by putting out a revised edition of his “religion as emotional compensation” dictum—a creed The Opportunistic One doubtless embraces with pure faith.

"So I said, well you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country."

This “clarification” was accompanied with the now-omnipresent non-apology, apology: “…if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that.”

This formulation stealthily puts the onus for offense on the linguistic sensitivities of the offended. The Intractable One then strengthened this penitential reversal by insisting that “the underlying truth of what I said remains.”

Though His Barackness may not be aware of it, Fyoder Dostoevsky also knew a thing or two about psychology, faith, and despair. In The Brothers Karamazov the Russian author employs a dramatic courtroom scene to show that psychology is “a knife that cuts both ways." Thus, what I would like Comrade Sigmund Obama to analyze is the pathology of bitterness and victimization that motivates the likes of Jeremiah Wright and Jesse Jackson—a bitterness that transforms racial grievance into personal power but systematically undermines the reasonable hopes their followers cherish. Or does bitterness only explain the actions and beliefs of folks who don’t share the Democrat Senator’s political agenda?

Great Obama Buddha, open thy mouth and insert again thy silver foot!

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Here's an honest assessment of Barak Obama by Juan Williams on the 40th anniversary of the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008


It took $478,000,000 to get the Sprinter up and running—just a tad over the projected cost of 60 million in 1990. What did we get for the money? Clearly not a significant dent in Highway 78 congestion. But one can always look on the bright side.

My ride on the rail wasn’t during commuting hours and was basically a function of curiosity. With those caveats, I’m glad to say it was a pleasant journey—an experience reminiscent of Disneyland’s monorail. A slow-motion “Chicago L” sensation did accompany our traversing the 78 Speedway during the San Marcos jog, and I had a Bay Area flashback as we slid under I-5. But mostly it was Disney.

The trains I caught were all on time and boarding (even at the crowded Oceanside Transit venue) was swift. My four-dollar pass entitled me to ride the Sprinter and Breeze buses the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the machines that dispense tickets aren’t as user-friendly as one might hope. Specific credit card directions (like those displayed at most gas stations) were absent.

Fortunately, a security officer filled in the blanks and encouraged a second, and then a third (successful) transaction. Indeed, nattily uniformed Transit District officers were posted at all stops along the Sprinter’s route.

The seating in the train was comfortable, but I was never forced to sit directly opposite another passenger in the four-person groupings that comprise most of the vehicle’s 136 seats. By my calculations less than 24 inches separated my seat from the seat of the imaginary traveler facing me. This “ample legroom” would demand prim and proper posture of both parties and could make for extended games of kneecap pat-a-cake.

Outside of the east-west terminals, only two stops, in Vista and at College Boulevard, are near large shopping centers. Moreover, one has to walk a few blocks and cross Center City Parkway to get from Escondido’s transit station to the theater complex and arts center. By contrast, Oceanside’s downtown and pier are fairly accessible. Similarly, Palomar College is located right by its station, whereas the main Cal State campus is almost a mile from its stop—a gap spanned by the school’s weekday shuttle service.

Scenery was best going from I-5 to Vista’s Melrose Drive. During this stretch passengers can also sample the graffiti that graces a few large surfaces near the railway—most of it artistically restrained and non-obscene. After passing the Vista Transit Center, I gawked at the “Blues Brothers” apartments that couldn’t stand more than 100 feet from the tracks.

Except for a few minor glitches and a plastic Sprite bottle that a young man chunked at his companion on the other side of the aisle, my rides were incident free.

Here’s a final note. When I arrived at Escondido’s aging transit center, the clock was striking 11 a.m., and the carillon greeted me with its rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star”—a song indicative of the triumph of wishful thinking over cold, hard facts. I’ll let readers make their own connections.

Al Gore in Panic Mode

Below is an interesting bit of information contained in the article featuring an observation by British environmental analyst Christopher Monckton that Al Gore (the world's largest "global-warming profiteer") is "panicking" because the world has been getting cooler for the last ten years, not warmer.

"But Monckton points out that in the U.K., Gore is not allowed to speak in public about his 'green investment company' because to do so would violate racketeering laws by 'peddling a false prospectus.' He says that fact came about after a British high court found Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, riddled with errors."

See the entire article via the link below.