Patterico's Pontifications


That Time That Tim Blair and Iowahawk Dogpiled on a Hapless British Academic

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:00 pm

[guest post by JVW]

[EDIT: Well, how gauche of me. His name is spelt — another Britishism there — “Whyman” not “Wyman.” Corrections added. My bad. – JVW]

In the continuing coverage of the aftermath of last week’s Brexit vote, the redoutable Aussie wag Tim Blair calls attention to one Tom Whyman, a 27-year-old lecturer in philosophy at Britain’s University of Essex who was given space in last Sunday’s New York Times to — to — well, I’m not exactly sure what point Tom Whyman, PhD, is actually trying to get across.

His main complaint seems to be that the renumeration for his academic position doesn’t allow him the luxury of living on his own year-round in Colchester, the town in which his job is located, let alone afford him the glamorous life of a man-about-town in London (a mere 107 kilometer daily commute away), which should be the reward bestowed upon him commensurate with his lofty credential. Dr. Whyman thus finds himself forced to live once again with his parents in Arlesford during the summer breaks, directionally opposite from London to Colchester, a troubling 210 km journey to the warm embrace of the faculty lounge. And it’s not just his forced existence in his home town that has the young academic all in a bother, it’s the face that Alseford represents his “personal hell.” Let’s let Tim Blair fisk Tom Whyman’s musings which he does so magnificently, focusing intently on the good doctor’s apparent dependence upon public transportation:

[Whyman] We are not used to thinking that a place like this — a pleasant town with a pretty center — might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live …

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling.

[Blair] Sure you’re not thinking of Rotherham, mate?

[. . . ]

[Whyman] Poor public transportation makes leaving impossible in a practical, everyday sense – at least if you can’t drive.

[Blair] Learn how to drive, then. Problem solved.

[Whyman] The town thwarts any ambitions that stretch beyond its borders. From what I can tell, a young person from Alresford, forced to move back in with his parents after college, will typically find himself unable to get work that is not based in Alresford.

[Blair] That whole “learning how to drive” thing can be extremely helpful.

[Whyman] And it is impossible to leave Alresford, because Alresford is not just a place: It is an ideology that infects your very soul. Let’s call it “Alresfordism.” It is an ideology of smallness, of contraction, of wanting to curl up in our own personal, financially secure hole and will everything amusing or interesting or exciting in the world away.

[Blair] For the love of God, is there nobody in Britain who can teach this idiot how to operate a steering wheel and a couple of pedals?

Young Dr. Whyman ties this into the pro-Brexit vote being the manifestation of this “ideology of smallness” that sought to clip the wings of the more cosmopolitan — dare we say it, progressive? — urbanites who have the proper mindset to understand how empty and pointless are such things as a tradition of home and hearth. Do read the rest of Blair’s take-down of this poor, callow kid who is way in over his head on, it would seem, just about everything. And if that wasn’t fun enough, our own estimable wit from flyover country, David Burge (who blogs, though not so much anymore, as Iowahawk) set his many fans loose on Twitter to provide their reactions:

Here are a couple of the best responses from some wry wit going by the Twitter name “Mr. Whiskers”:

It’s instructive, yet not surprising, to see the United Kingdom with the same problem of over-credentialed yet under-employed millennials that we face in this country. No doubt Tom Whyman was convinced at some point that pursuing a PhD in philosophy (I always liked the idea of a Doctor of Philosophy of Philosophy, or in the more elegant Latin, Philosophiae Doctor Philosophiae) would lead to a nice tenure-track position at a reputable university, and that once he received tenure it would be a safe sinecure from which he could hector us dull vulgarians on the virtues of his academic Marxism and cultural cosmopolitanism. I always wonder at what point during their studies as they are memorizing for rote recitation the tortured logic of Foucault and Marcuse it dawns upon these budding intellectuals that there are a whole lot more people pursuing the credential than there are jobs requiring that credential. One obvious remedy to this would be if the U.K. simply stopped encouraging or even allowing so many students to study for advanced degrees, but it seems that the academic establishment in Britain is every bit as entrenched in its rent-seeking as their colleagues here in the United States.

I wish Dr. Whyman well, but he might at the very least want to consider learning how to drive.


3 Suicide Bombers Attack Ataturk Airport In Istanbul

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It is now being reported that three suicide bombers attacked the Ataturk airport in Istanbul. Reports are early yet, so they’re likely to change, but at this time, here is what the Washington Post is reporting:

Three attackers with suicide vests detonated their explosives at the entrance of Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, killing at least 28 people and wounding 60 more, Turkish officials said Tuesday night.

The attack is likely to raise tensions in Turkey, which has been the target of multiple attacks by militants in recent months. Istanbul’s airport is one of the busiest in the world, but the tourism industry here has been crippled by the country’s recent violence.

Police manning a checkpoint at the airport’s international terminal shot at the attackers as they approached, a Turkish official said. The attackers then detonated their bombs and were also killed.

The majority of the casualties are Turkish citizens, “but there are foreign nationals” both killed and wounded, the official said.

US flights have been suspended.

Although no one has officially claimed responsibility, there is this:

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official told NBC News the Istanbul attack “fits the ISIS profile, not PKK.”

“There are only two groups capable of carrying out such a large-scale attack. This does not fit the PKK profile, they go after Turkish targets, not international targets,” the official said.

Another senior U.S. intelligence official said the attack fits ISIS, adding that “our long summer of discontent has just begun.”



Court of Appeals Judge: The Constitution Is Old School, Don’t Waste Your Time

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:52 pm

[guest by Dana]

At least there’s no question about where Judge Richard Posner stands:

And on another note about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries—well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today. David Strauss is right: The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about.

In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.

I get the impression that the Constitution is being viewed as little more than a pesky, antiquated and unnecessary hindrance to power that must be shrugged off. How ironic when you consider the vast number of Americans who respect the Constitution and study it themselves because they are concerned about the rule of law as well as potential abuse and overreach of the courts and the state and yet, be reminded that those whose job entails rendering decisions that actually impact the lives of Americans in profound ways, don’t necessarily hold the document and its contents with the same level of regard and respect.

Ironically, even Posner had to have sworn a certain oath when appointed to the bench:

I … do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as … under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.

This clearly explains why Posner’s view is so problematic:

The Constitution isn’t the most magnificent governmental document in history because the founders were clairvoyant about technological development or evolution of culture. It’s magnificent because it is based on eternal principles, understanding of unchanging human nature. The Federalist Papers make virtually no mention of the technology of the eighteenth century, but they are replete with references to historic republics, human nature, and the necessity of local governance versus distant bureaucracy.

The Constitution protects our freedoms because, first, it assumes that our freedoms do not spring from government; second, because it assumes that people are vain and ambitious; and third, because it assumes that a government handed over to people, unchecked, will result in tyranny.

Tyranny. Absolutely. The writers of the Constitution may not have had much foresight into 21st century technology and culture, but what they did know was that human nature never changes, and that the natural man has an inherent thirst for power. That has never changed nor is it likely to. While everything around us might change over time, man doesn’t. For better or worse.

The Constitution was created to stop oligarchs like Posner from ruling over us by deeming himself a higher moral authority than the people based on his personal value system. But that’s precisely why the left hates the Constitution: it’s an obstacle to their rule.

Interestingly, Posner, has been suggested as a possible replacement for the late Justice Scalia:

He is respected by judges, law professors and lawyers alike. He is the modern “Albert Einstein” of American law, and it has always been an embarrassment to the legal system that he is not a member of the Supreme Court. Imagine the NBA Hall of Fame without Michael Jordan: Richard Posner is the Michael Jordan of Law.

Three additional factors are important in supporting Posner’s selection. The judge is not a moderate but an iconoclast, with unique positions that neither political party fully supports: He supports same-sex marriage, is a conservative on economic matters, opposes the war on drugs, minimizes privacy and is famous for undertaking economic analysis of many issues. Everybody agrees with him sometimes and almost no one all the time.

Second, Posner is already 77 and is unlikely to serve for many decades given his age. The next President could conceivably name Posner’s successor.

Finally, and most importantly, the idea that one of the leading lights of law worldwide is a Supreme Court justice ought to make anyone who cares about the high court and the law proud to be an American.

Sure. Whatever. But, I say, let’s get real about this:



UPDATE BY PATTERICO: In my ideal world, this kind of talk would get a judge impeached and removed. And no, I am not joking.

Select Committee On Benghazi Report Released

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:46 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Benghazi Select Committee released its report this morning. While the New York Times is in full Hillary-defense mode on the front page: “2-Year Panel On Benghazi Ends, Finding No New Fault By Clinton,” Chairman Trey Gowdy gives Americans far more credit for their intelligence:

Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.

The Weekly Standard provides a look at the supplemental “additional views” report, which lays out the devastating timeline confirming that the “Obama administration knowingly provided the American people a false story about the Benghazi attack, its causes and its consequences”. Who’s surprised? Lies, lies, and more lies:

9/11—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s 10:08 p.m. Statement on the Attack in Benghazi:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. * * * Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Secretary Clinton’s E-mail to daughter at 11:23 p.m.:

“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Quedalike [sic] group[.]”

9/12—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya morning of September 12, 2012:

“We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.”

9/12—Private Statements

Summary of Discussion between Acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones and Libyan Ambassador Aujali at 9:45 a.m.:

“I told him that the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists.”

Jacob Sullivan in e-mail to embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan:

“There was not really violence in Egypt [and] “we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.'”

Secretary Clinton’s Statements to Egyptian Prime Minister Kandil at 3:04 p.m.:

“We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest. . . . Based on the information we saw today we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al Qaeda.”

Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy to congressional staff briefing:

When asked whether “this [was] an attack under the cover of a protest” Kennedy said, “No the attack was a direct breaching attack.” More to the point, he was then asked whether “we believe [this was] coordinated with [the] Cairo [protests] to which Kennedy responded, “Attack in Cairo was a demonstration. There were no weapons shown or used. A few cans of spray paint.”

9/13—Public Statements

Secretary Clinton’s Morocco Remarks:

“I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. * * *

To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. * * *

Violence, we believe, has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion. Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocents. As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace. It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. . . .

Stephen Hayes makes two solid points in light of the report:

What makes #Benghazi report so damaging to WH/Clinton, it’s not Gowdy/GOP opinions, it’s WH/State/CIA own documents/emails/testimony.


Key unanswered question in #Benghazi report: Why were assets not deployed even after Obama/Panetta gave orders to send them?

Could it have been the result of yet another moment of fretful indecision?

The report also found that a State official brought up a question about whether Marines should wear civilian clothing instead of their uniforms. Under secretary of State for management Patrick Kennedy told investigators he wanted to ensure that security was enhanced, not hurt by flags on the uniforms of any U.S. military presence.

But, one commander told the committee that as they were readying themselves to deploy they kept having to change in and out of their uniforms four times.

No rescue. Four dead Americans. No big deal.


Judge Cornelius “Forget Brandenburg” Vaughey Formally Reprimanded

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:59 am

Remember Judge Cornelius Vaughey? He’s the judge who unconstitutionally found Aaron Walker had incited violence simply by blogging about convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin. (The silly decision was later reversed.) Mark Steyn, in typically colorful language, said at the time: “Judge Vaughey comes across as a near parodic combination of bluster, ignorance and narcissism.” Steyn cited a transcript which revealed that Vaughey had casually brushed aside over 40 years’ worth of Supreme Court precedent, and suggested that personal squabbles should be handled by a fistfight:

THE COURT: –You’ve decided to battle, and he comes back. And see, you’re — you — you’re the kind of guy, you don’t want to get into this to settle this, mano y mano. You want to get all these friends who got nothing else to do with their time, in this judge’s opinion, because — my God, I’m a little bit older than you are, and I haven’t got enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do. And I thought by retirement, I would have less to do. I got more! Because everybody knows I’m free! So they all come to me. But you, you are starting a — a conflagration, for lack of a better word, and you’re just letting the thing go recklessly no matter where it goes. I mean, you get some — and I’m going to use word I (ph) — freak somewhere up Oklahoma, got nothing better to do with his time, so he does the nastiest things in the world he can do to this poor gentleman. What right has that guy got to do it?

WALKER: He has no right to do that, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Well, he’s — you incited him.

WALKER: But, your honor, I did not incite him within the Brandenburg standard though.

THE COURT: Forget Bradenburg [sic]. Let’s go by Vaughey right now, and common sense out in the world. But you know, where I grew up in Brooklyn, when that stuff was pulled, it was settled real quickly.

WALKER: I’m not sure what that means, your honor.

THE COURT: –Very quickly. And I’m not going to talk about those ways, but boy, it ended fast. I even can tell you, when I grew up in my community, you wanted to date an Italian girl, you had to get the Italian boy’s permission. But that was the old neighborhoods back in the city. And it was really fair. When someone did something up there to you, your sister, your girlfriend, you got some friends to take them for a ride in the back of the truck.

He sounds like a Trump voter, doesn’t he?

I always see the ideal judge as a guy who pines for the good old days when insults were avenged by kidnapping the offending party for the purpose of delivering a group beating.

Anyway, this charming old codger has now been formally reprimanded by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities, and you can read the reprimand here. It appears to center around Vaughey’s “impatient and disrespectful” attitude to Walker. Apparently, dismissing Supreme Court precedent with an airy wave of the hand, or suggesting that the proper way to handle matters was through a group assault, were less worthy of mention than Vaughey’s addressing Aaron Walker as “sport.” Still, the public reprimand is heartening to see.

If you’re looking to do (a lot) more reading on the background of this, Walker has the full backstory here.

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