Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Left's contempt for the innocent

A leftwing publication called the Red Dirt News is outraged at Oklahoma's upcoming double execution of murderers Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner:

OKLAHOMA CITY – With a drive to kill that borders on the bloodthirsty, the State of Oklahoma announced yesterday that it has found a controversial combination of drugs that it will use to execute convicted murderers Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner later this month. 
 And while it is being considered business as usual by the state media, foreign media is reacting largely in disgust at this state's barbaric embrace of capital punishment.
From the office of Attorney General Scott Pruitt, it was said that the drugs would be a largely untested combination of the sedative midazolam, the muscle relaxer pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
This all comes a week after Oklahoma County Judge Patricia G. Parrish ruled that the state cannot keep secret the source of their execution drugs, most of which are cobbled-together in compounding pharmacies. Assistant Attorney General John Hadden suggested this secrecy, which was state law, is needed because anti-death penalty activists might want to use violence against the pharmacies.
This unfounded suggestion outraged anti-death penalty activists in Oklahoma, including representatives from the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

(Note: The "disgusted foreign media" linked to in the above report is Russia Today--the propaganda wing of the Russian government. Russia Today predictably gloms onto every opportunity to report unfavorably on the U.S.)

But while we're talking about "bloodthirsty", let's look at what Lockett and Warner did to land themselves on death row:

"Lockett, 38, was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman with a sawed-off shotgun and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in 1999. Warner, 46, was found guilty of raping and killing his roommate's 11-month-old child in 1997."
I seriously doubt that Mr. Lockett consulted with his victim about the shotgun bore diameter that he used to shoot her, before she was subsequently buried alive. 

We can also assume that Warner didn't consult with with his 11-month-old victim about any relevant details before he raped and killed her.  

I understand that there is a legal need to oversee such things; but I personally don't care about the source of the drugs that will be used to put these two monsters down. 

There is not one word about Lockett's and Warner's victims on the Red Dirt Report. 

The radical Left's obsession with the "rights" of beasts like Lockett and Warner is rooted in its fundamental contempt for the innocent

Tesla, Microsoft in Chinese

As this article notes, every word (including proper names) is "translated" into Chinese characters when it enters the Chinese language. 

So, for example:

"Obama" = 奥巴马 (pronounced Àobāmǎ)

This is a transliteration, as you've likely figured out. The word "Obama" is simply rendered into Chinese characters/phonetics.

Now for a well known company name: 

"Microsoft" =  (pronounced Wēiruǎn)

This is not a transliteration. It's more of a conceptual translation. The first character means "micro-" or "tiny". The second character means "soft". (This same character is used in the Chinese word for software, 件.

"The mail is not for sale?"

That's the tagline of USPS union members who spent their Thursday harassing Staples employees

The issue: Staples is now providing some some USPS products and services, possibly threatening the monopoly privileges of USPS workers by providing consumers with more efficient, convenient options. (I wrote about this earlier.)

If the mail is not for sale, it is for you to subsidize. As National Review reported last year, the USPS has long taken measures to preserve its monopoly power from the threat of more efficient service providers, with taxpayers footing the bill:

"The private mails came to be considered an existential threat to the postal monopoly. A congressional report quoted in the Commercial Review in 1844 describes the situation: “It is clear that a crisis has arrived requiring decisive action. Temporizing expedients and half-way measures will not answer. Pressing evils demand an immediate and efficient remedy. What remedy shall be applied? The first object to be accomplished, clearly, is to get rid of the expresses, or private mails. Any measure which will not accomplish this object is unsuited to, or at least insufficient for, the occasion. . . . Any sacrifice necessary to accomplish this object ought to be made unhesitatingly.” 
 The answer would come in the postal-reform law of 1851, which for the first time allowed the previously self-financing Post Office access to general Treasury funds. The results were predictable: With the ability to help itself to the public fisc, the Post Office went from being a profitable or break-even proposition to being one that ran enormous deficits: As Professor Olds documents, in 1855 postal spending was under $10 million per year, but by 1860 it was more than $19 million a year — with only $8.5 million in revenue. The Post Office would eventually be partly weaned from the Treasury, but it would never again become a financially responsible organization."

My residential mailbox is mostly a nuisance nowadays, a receptacle for junk mail. Most of my important correspondence and transactions take place over the Internet. When I order items online, they usually arrive via UPS or Federal Express.

As National Review summed up:
"If there were not already a Post Office, nobody would bother to invent it. If you were evaluating it as a business, you’d probably calculate that its real estate was worth more than all of its business operations combined."

Open-ended treaties with former Soviet states

Boxty Woot takes umbrage with my dim assessment of Western involvement in Eastern European border disputes. He writes:
"Diplomacy only works when there is a credible threat of force behind it. Otherwise it's like the 100 pound weakling trying to reason with a bully. Doesn't really work, especially when the Europeans have made themselves dependant on Russian natural gas. 

Also, we signed an agreement to defend Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for their nukes. If nuclear containment is in the U.S. interest then we must uphold our commitments or other countries currently under our umbrella may decide they can't trust the U.S. and go nuclear on their own. You may not understand our interests in Ukraine, but I wouldn't say they are poorly defined."

First, a few disclaimers are in order: I'm no fan of the Putin government. Before the recent Ukraine crisis erupted, I chided American conservatives who misguidedly saw Putin as a "model" for conservatives in the West.

Secondly, the maintenance of peace and stability in Europe is a large, complex problem that goes back centuries. I don't claim to provide a neat, clean solution in a brief blog post. Hundreds--indeed thousands--of books have been written on this topic, and the answer is still unclear.

I'm aware of the treaty to which Boxty Woot is referring. I'm also aware that the post-Cold War expansion of U.S. security obligations in Eastern Europe (carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations) has effectively committed the US to being the world's peacekeeper of last resort until the end of this century and likely beyond that. 

We need to question whether or not this is a desirable outcome.

During the Cold War years, the US took primary responsibility for resisting Soviet expansionism. We did this in light of the unique and special nature of the USSR. The Soviet Union was a revolutionary global empire with an exportable ideology that could potentially destabilize nations in all corners of the world--including nations in the Western Hemisphere. World domination was the explicit goal of the USSR.

Putin's Russia, by contrast, is essentially a second-rate power that has no aspirations beyond Russia's historical sphere of interest. 

Putin might want to absorb Ukraine--which Moscow controlled from the days of Catherine the Great through the breakup of the USSR. We can safely say that he has no aspirations of building client states in Latin America, as the Soviet Union did. (Nor would Russian nationalism serve as a viable basis for doing so.)

American interests, therefore, have shifted. But American foreign policy has not shifted accordingly.

After the fall of the USSR in 1989 through 1991, the US should have forced Europe into a paradigm shift. The nations of the European Union have a combined population of 507 million (larger than the US population) and some of the most prosperous economies in the world. Yet the European Union continues to spend far less than the US for defense. The U.S., in other words, is still paying the cost of defending Western Europe. This might have been acceptable in 1946. It is not acceptable today.

There is no logical reason--69 years after the end of WWII and 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union--why the US should be sending troops to a former Warsaw Pact nation (Poland) for the purpose of assuring the security of a member state of the former USSR (Ukraine). 

In the living memory of most Americans, Ukraine was part of the USSR. If Ukrainian independence was not a vital U.S. concern in 1988, then why is it a critical issue for the U.S. in 2014? 

By creating one-sided "mutual defense treaties" with former Soviet states, we have made ourselves the policeman of not only the West---but now the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations as well

America's resources are not unlimited. All of our foreign wars--from WWII and the Cold War, through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan--have placed severe burdens on US taxpayers and led to the loss of American lives.

Should Iowans and New Yorkers be taxed for nation-building in Eastern Europe? Should the  sons and daughters of Minnesotans be sent to die for the cause of Ukrainian sovereignty? 

These are the costs that we are ultimately talking about. 

Historical precedent, moreover, is not on the side of those who would intervene inside the former Soviet Union. Western attempts at nation-building have a poor record. 

After WWI, the Wilsonian focus on "self-determination" led to the creation of Iraq (cobbled together from three former Ottoman provinces) and Yugoslavia (comprised of several states from the dismantled Austro-Hungarian Empire). The Allies also reconstructed Poland, which had been absorbed by neighboring states over the previous century.

We all know how these nation-building exercises ended: None was ultimately viable. Torn by sectarian violence, Iraq was a blood-soaked, expensive headache for Britain during the 1920s through WWII. Yugoslavia existed for less than a single human lifetime before descending into bloodshed and chaos. Poland was unable to exist independently without British backing during the prewar years. It was then absorbed by the USSR. Post-Soviet Poland's security is now dependent on backing from the West via its NATO membership.

Ukraine, meanwhile, has been under foreign domination for most of its history. Before the Russians controlled Ukraine, the Ottomans and the Lithuanians controlled Ukraine.

Where do these exercises in nation-building end? For nearly 100 years, the US (and Western Europe) have been underwriting Wilsonian "self-determination" with both blood and treasure. On one level, Wilsonian self-determination is a lofty, admirable goal. But on another level, we must consider the costs.

These are the relevant questions: 

At what point do we accept that a nation that cannot preserve its own borders over a course of several centuries is possibly not a viable nation to begin with?

What price are we ultimately willing to pay to preserve the independence of nations that were long part of the Russian/Soviet Empire? Are we willing to go to war with Russia? Are we willing to force U.S. taxpayers to underwrite a generations-long US military presence inside the former USSR? 

And if the answer is yes: Then why? I remind the reader yet again that prior to the 1990s, Moscow controlled Ukraine without any negative consequences for the U.S.--or for Western Europe. 

Rand Paul on school choice

Speaking to an inner-city audience, likely 2016 GOP contender Rand Paul endorsed school choice:

"We've been trying the same thing with education for 50-100 years, and education particularly in our big cities has been a downward spiral. So just throwing money at the problem hasn't fixed the problem."
I like the concept of school choice--but not as unreservedly as you might expect me to. School choice (i.e. voucher programs) is not a panacea for all that ails American education. American public schools used to function just fine, even under a system that gave each public school more or less a monopoly in a given area.

But public schools used to be controlled by parents--or by people who answered directly to parents. Since then, self-serving teachers unions, and state and federal bureaucrats have all but taken over, leading to the decline of American education. 

American high school environments are also characterized by a youth culture that places more emphasis on sports and social activities than on education. (This is a much larger cultural issue that is beyond the reach of the government--and is not the government's fault.) 

For inner city schools, however, the biggest obstacle to education is that the majority of students do not come from a stable, two-parent household.  

However, school choice is a start toward repairing a dysfunctional system via market principles. 

Look for the teachers unions to howl when this debate reaches the national stage--and look for them to howl loudly.

Making the study of Arabic "cool" in Israeli high schools

Living in the middle of the mostly Arabic-speaking Middle East, Israeli high school students really should master that language. But according to this report from Haaretz, most of them don't.

The problem is not only the inherent difficulty/complexity of the Arabic language. (And this should be a comparatively minor problem for Israelis, as they already speak another Semitic language (Modern Hebrew).)  

The problem is also socio-political, namely:

" Israel Arabic is perceived as the language of the enemy. “The sociopolitical situation is such that the value of Arabic is very low and so is the motivation to study the language,” Amara says, adding that schools don’t encourage its study. Those who do study Arabic see the study in a security-related context…"
If you read this blog regularly, then you likely know that I take a dim view of Islam. This doesn't blunt my enthusiasm for the Arabic language, though, nor my desire to make friends with people who speak Arabic. 

I'm an optimist, in this regard: The Arabs invented algebra, not to mention the concept of zero. A people with that much residual intellectual capacity will figure out, sooner or later, that Islamic fundamentalism isn't the path of the future. 

That aside, it is interesting to note that the opposite effect occurs here in the U.S.: 

American interest in Arabic studies surged briefly during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1, then surged again following the 9/11 attacks. 

(I also noted how recent tensions with Vlad the Invader's Russia have led to an increase in the Russian language among Americans.) 

Lowering standards for diversity's sake

The Atlantic reports on how the inane concept of "white privilege" has prompted university debating tournaments to lower their standards:

"On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities. 
 In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled. His partner Campbell, who won the top speaker award at the National Debate Tournament two weeks later, had been unfairly targeted by the police at the debate venue just days before, and cited this personal trauma as evidence for his case against the government’s treatment of poor African-Americans."
No debate participant, regardless of race, should be allowed to behave like an ignorant savage in a university setting, which is basically what school officials permitted when they tolerated the "fuck the time!" outburst.

Nor should African-American students be permitted to twist every topic into another rant on so-called "white privilege" and the sour grapes of racial grievance.

This amounts to the dumbing down of education for ideology's sake. But we ought not be surprised. The progressives have been dumbing down education for ideology's sake since at least the early 1970s.

The USPS and federal employee privilege

Unionized, federally employed postal workers are staging a "protest" at various Staples locations on Thursday.

The office supply store's crime? Staples has begun selling postal products and services. Postal workers likely suspect that the Staples folks might perform USPS functions more efficiently, thereby threatening USPS jobs. 

The U.S. Postal Service has been a money-losing venture for years. (The USPS driver who services my neighborhood spends at least one hour each day parked in his vehicle in a cul-de-sac, reading magazines before he delivers them.)

Postal workers enjoy federally protected jobs that owe their existence to an artificially imposed government monopoly. These jobs are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers--but most taxpayers have to compete in the marketplace, just like everyone else. 

When Apple Computer decided to start selling iPads, iPhones and other products through non-Apple sales outlets, you didn't see Apple employees staging noisy, disruptive protests at Walmart or Best Buy. 

Government workers, though, are special. Certainly more special than the likes of you and me.

Britain, Ukraine, and rational self-interest

The conservative-leaning, Eurosceptic Daily Express had this to say about the national government's recent steps to involve their country in Eastern European woes:

"The unrest in Ukraine is very worrying and it would be cruel to feel no sympathy for the ordinary people there whose political freedom, livelihoods and even lives are in danger. 
However, that does not mean we should be committing the British military to fighting Russian interests in the area. If, as some commentators fear, Vladimir Putin attempts to follow up his success in Crimea by invading other regions of Ukraine and we oppose him with force, the loss of life could be catastrophic.
It is totally unjustifiable to send British men and women to risk their lives protecting small areas of a foreign country, especially when many of the residents in those areas are ethnically Russian and would actually prefer being under the control of Moscow rather than Kiev.  
David Cameron and William Hague should be doing everything they can to make sure that our troops stay at home and using other methods of diplomacy to persuade Putin to back down."
As an American Anglophile, I agree with the Express's assessment. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British Empire was the mightiest force on earth, and a force for most things good and civilized. 

During twentieth century, Britain became involved first in World War I--which began as a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, then in World War II, in which the ultimate triggering event was the German invasion of Poland. (The British government had unwisely committed itself to defending Polish sovereignty.)

These two wars wrecked the United Kingdom spiritually, financially, and politically, paving the way for Eurosocialism, and the overall European cultural decline that has set in since then.

The UK cannot afford another war in Eastern Europe. Nor can the United States afford another foreign conflict in which our interests are poorly defined.

Special at Amazon today: "Reconstructing Amelia"

I reviewed this book last week on this site and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. I noticed that the Kindle version of the book is on the Amazon "Daily Deal" list for $1.99 today only. (Link below):

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The economic fantasies of Jeremy Rifkin

According to economic fantasist and author Jeremy Rifkin, the future looks bright, bright indeed

In the very near future, Rifkin foresees:
"..a technological utopia brought to you by the convergence of what Rifkin calls the Communications Internet (how information is shared), the Energy Internet (how energy needs are shared and energy itself is distributed), and the Logistics Internet (how products are built and delivered), all equaling the so-called Internet of Things. 

Granted, the initial cost of building such a system will be substantial. But once it's up and running, Rifkin argues, the benefits will fundamentally reshape our economic order. "The Internet of Things is already boosting productivity to the point where the marginal cost of producing many goods and services is nearly zero, making them practically free," Rifkin writes. "The result is corporate profits are beginning to dry up, property rights are weakening, and an economy based on scarcity is slowly giving way to an economy of abundance."

Rifkin is promoting his latest book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society

Jeremy Rifkin is also the author of The European Dream (2005), a paean to Eurosocialism which has since been fully debunked by reality. 

Rifkin foresees an economic future in which traditional economic models give way to something he calls "Collaborationism":

"Where does capitalism fit into Rifkin's world? "In the coming era," he says, "both capitalism and socialism will lose their once-dominant hold over society, as a new generation increasingly identifies with Collaboratism."
It's all very John Lennon-esque, as in that old song "Imagine", where everyone is sitting around in some Woodstock-era Garden of Eden, making love instead of war, and eating healthy organic food (vegetarian items only, please) produced by cooperative farming. Only in this updated version of utopianism, the secret elixir is the Internet rather than the commune.

Rifkin's factual errors and blithe ignorance of economics abound. As the CNN Money article notes, corporate profits are in fact increasing

Rifkin also tells only part of the story when suggests that lower marginal production costs will give way to a world of freebies. 

To begin with, while many things are "free on the Internet", they are all linked to (and dependent on) a profit motive somewhere. You can read this blog post for free--provided you can pay for your iPhone, your desktop computer, and the monthly fees your Internet service provider charges you. 

Much of the Internet is also driven by advertising. If no one ever pays for anything, then gone is much of the profit incentive that ultimately drives popular sites like Blogger,, YouTube, and Facebook. Take away purchase and profit, and you're left with Wikipedia. But good luck accessing the Internet if no one is willing to purchase a computer anymore, or pay for an Internet connection.

"To Rifkin, we are entering the age of the social commons, where ownership of goods is less essential to consumers than merely having access to them, pointing to car sharing services like Zipcar, apartment sharing sites like Airbnb and, and children's toy exchanges like Baby Plays and Spark Box Toys as pioneers. Expand this kind of behavior to other parts of the economy -- peer-to-peer renewable energy sharing and crowdfunded personal and business loans, for example -- and all sorts of companies may soon end up selling far fewer goods and services to even fewer people. You would need to put aside measurements like GDP and profits to gauge the success of such an economy."
Most of this "social commons" relies on resources that someone originally produced for a profit. The social commons is, in other words, a wholly dependent sector of the economy. 

Take, for example, the file-sharing piracy sites. File sharers don't create anything. They merely leech on content that someone else created. Most file sharing services, moreover, rely on ad revenue to cover their hosting costs. So once again, all this utopian free love, free burritos stuff disappears without an underlying source of profit. 

Even Ebay--which is a perfectly honest way to make money--would disappear if there had been no original profit motive behind the second-hand goods sold on its site. Just try to sell (or buy) a second-hand item if no one makes the item in the first place anymore. And don't even think about finding it for free.

What about "crowdsourcing"? Well, have you actually tried to read a full article on Wikipedia of late? If so, you possess far more fortitude than I can claim. Sure, Wikipedia is handy if you want to check a celebrity's or a historical figure's date of birth. But crowdsourcing endeavors like Wikipedia are limited to the most banal, most superficial endeavors. 

The true creative feats--films like Lincoln or Captain Phillips, great music and books--these still come about the old-fashioned way. They are individual (or corporate) endeavors ultimately driven by property rights and profit.   

Rifkin's underlying fantasy is that the Internet will (somehow) alter the fundamental laws of economics. It won't. The Internet will make some things cheaper (and yes, some things free, even). But those freebies will be dependent on other things being bought and paid for. The air in your home is free, so long as your rent or mortgage has been paid on time.

As I recall my Economics 101 professor telling the class: "The first rule of economics is: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone always has to pay--or you don't get to eat."

And I'm sorry to tell Mr. Rifkin that no--the Internet is not a magic wand. It isn't the magical looking glass from The Chronicles of Narnia. If you want to eat, either you--or someone else--will have to pay your way. There is no free lunch on the Internet, either.  

Slouching toward dictatorship

As I've told you many, many times before, the ultimate aim of the political correctness crowd is not "equality" or "respect", but government control. 

Case in point: A Senator from the Party of Government, Ed Markey, (D-MA) wants to empower government bureaucrats to micromanage the bounds of "acceptable speech":

"U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey wants the government to study and recommend ways to stop the Internet, TV and radio from “encouraging hate crimes,” but First Amendment advocates say the bill is a menace to free speech. 
 “This proposed legislation is worse than merely silly. It is dangerous,” said civil liberties lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate, arguing even hate speech is protected absent a crime. “It is not up to Sen. Markey, nor to the federal government, to define for a free people what speech is, and is not, acceptable.”  
Markey’s bill would direct a government agency to identify hate speech and create recommendations."
This is why the cult of political correctness should not simply be ignored. It should be actively resisted. 

To get a job, just call them

Susan Adams on "How Cold Calling Can Land You A Job":

"Robert Hellmann, 51, a New York City career coach with a decade of experience, says that a good 40% of his clients have landed jobs with a method that’s counterintuitive: They decide where they want to work and then they reach out to the person who they think would be in a position to hire them, while being honest about the fact that they have no connection to the person or company. In other words, they make a cold call."
 I can tell you from experience that cold calling does indeed work

After I was unceremoniously fired in 1993, I decided to circumvent the usual waiting game of mailing resumes and waiting for callbacks. (Keep in mind, there was no Internet to speak of in 1993, and most people hadn't heard of email yet.) 

I took a sales-oriented approach, and simply started cold-calling employers who might have a use for my skills and background. 

I was fired on April 2, 1993. I started my new job on May 24, 1993. So it took me less than 2 months. Not bad--and a lot faster than the conventional methods. 

Putin and the Third Russian Revolution?

In its April 10, 1989 edition, Time Magazine ran an article by Walter Isaacson (who recently wrote the bestselling biography of Steve Jobs) about the heady expectations surrounding the Gorbachev era:

The Union: A Long, Mighty Struggle 
A historic -- and surprising -- election is the latest indication that, for all his troubles, Gorbachev's revolution is transforming his nation  
By Walter Isaacson    Monday, Apr. 10, 1989  
Upon returning to Moscow in 1944 after a seven-year absence, the American diplomat George Kennan was struck by the enigma of an empire both yearning for its rightful place in the modern world and clinging to the enfeebling insularity of its past. "The Anglo-Saxon instinct is to attempt to smooth away contradictions," he wrote. "The Russian tends to deal only in extremes, and he is not particularly concerned to reconcile them. To him, contradiction is a familiar thing. It is the essence of Russia." Contradiction has also become the essence of its second revolution, the radical crusade by Mikhail Gorbachev...

There was a lot of optimism about the "new USSR" back in 1989. Gorbachev's "Second Russian Revolution" promised to transform the USSR into a Western-style Euro-state--maybe a larger version of Sweden.

Twenty-five years of hindsight tell us that this didn't happen. After spending the 1990s in near anarchy, Russia has reemerged in this century under an autocratic, neo-Czarist model. 

The West is much less optimistic about the outcome of Putin's "Third Russian Revolution"-- if we may call it that. Oh, to have the lovable Gorby back.

But as Russian/Soviet scholar Anne Applebaum reminds us, our earlier projections about the future of Russia might have been based on wishful thinking.

Betraying women for ideology's sake...

Leftists are feminists when...

The issue is saving the world from book covers with artistic renditions of attractive women on them.

Leftists are feminists when

There is a gender imbalance on (fictional) superhero teams


Leftists are not feminists when:

The oppression narrative of "white privilege" is threatened by statistics about the race/ethnicity of 85% of the rapists in America's largest city

Leftists are not feminists when:

Women and girls are being murdered in accordance with sharia law. (Also read Alex Pareene's smear of feminist crusader Ayaan Hirsi Ali.)

Leftists are feminists, in other words, only when it's over something trivial, and only when it serves larger ideological purposes

Oh, yes--leftists also forget their feminism when sex-selective abortions take the lives of millions of female infants in Asia

Rape, gendercide, honor killings--the Left is fine with those things. 

But superhero teams that are 75% male? 

Dude, we've got to do something about that!

What's wrong with science fiction

Is that its current establishment takes this sort of moonbattery seriously:

"...the position of a white, cisgendered, heterosexual man is a demographic position of privilege and power both in fandom and without it."

Generally speaking, I know that I'm in for a wild moonbat ride whenever I see the word "cisgendered" in a text. This is an unnecessary neologism that is about 15 years old. It essentially means "non-transsexual".

The author of this piece identifies herself as "a queer Jew from Eastern Europe."

Nothing wrong with being queer, Jewish, or from Eastern Europe. There is something wrong with using any of those labels as an excuse to have a five-ton chip on your shoulder. 

The value of parental veto power

Recall Rachel Canning, the teenage girl who sued her parents earlier this year. 

One of Miss Canning's big complaints was that her parents didn't want her dating a boyfriend whom they considered to be a bad influence.

Why should parents sometimes intervene when their daughter (or son, for that matter) is keeping the wrong sort of company? 

Here is a news story from my native Cincinnati that will tell you why. 

Teenage boys certainly make bad choices; but the teenage girl drawn to the wrong sort of male has become a predictable cliche. 

That's why God gives them parents….

Too many college administrators

Glenn Reynolds on the profusion of "deanlets" and their role the decline of the American university system, including the the overemphasis on political correctness. Writes Reynolds:

"With college enrollment falling and budgets under pressure, legislatures, donors and alumni will be looking at ways to restructure schools in the future. The profusion of self-important deanlets and the abuse of campus police forces ought to be looked at as part of this process. It's just another symptom of the now-imploding higher education bubble."