Did you know that you’re “independent of reality”?

It always amazes me when AP still pretends it’s a news outlet, rather than an anti-American propaganda machine. How’s this for an article:

Do you believe in Iraqi “WMD”? Did Saddam Hussein’s government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003?

Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.

People tend to become “independent of reality” in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.

Maybe the reality is that Americans know (a) that Iraq probably shipped WMD’s to Syria in the long build-up to war the UN demanded, (b) that Iraq had situated itself with preliminary weapons systems that, in a heartbeat, it could transform into WMDS, and (c) that hundreds of weapons, all with devastating capacity, have in fact been located in Iraq, although the press seldom covers these findings. And that’s just off the top of my head. I guess it all depends on what your definition of WMDs is, and whether you care whether they’re actually found, or are just concerned (as I am) that they actually existed, or could imminently exist, with a megalomaniac’s hand on the trigger.

In other words, maybe half of Americans, rather than being delusional, are reading reports other than those emanating from AP, and actually have a more sophisticated grasp of reality than the blinkered MSM does.

Anyway, read the whole thing, and tell me whether it strikes you as a propaganda piece for the anti-War left, insulting American’s intelligence, or if it actually reads like a news story.

By the way, I’m still reading David Horowitz’s Radical Son, which makes it pretty clear that, on the Left, truth is a fluid concept if it interferes with the party line.

UPDATE: I wrote this post in something of a rush yesterday, in between household chores and work. I therefore didn’t bother to provide links supporting my reality. Here are a just few:

Russia tied to Iraq’s missing weapons

WMD shipments to Syria described

Syria storing Iraq’s WMDs

Post-invasion intel shows WMDs went to Syria

Sarin nerve gas found in Fallujah

500 Chemical weapon shells found in Iraq

Iraq was hiding chemical weapons facilities in 1999

Back story (about the hundreds of chemical weapons found in Iraq)

For those who believe my reality, please feel free to provide more links.

Since these stories don’t seem to inspire any excitement or belief amongst the anti-War crowd about the WMDs’ existence, I guess we really have to nail down what the heck kind of WMDs they were expecting to find or where precisely they were expecting to find them. Is enough Sarin to take down a city a WMD, or merely a conventional weapon on a chemical scale? Do chemical WMDs made in Iraq — and that Iraq could and would have used at any moment — count if Iraqis secretly and temporarily hid them in another country moments after we announced that such weapons existed? Does anyone care that Saddam Hussein has shown that, given the chance, he was at all times perfectly willing to use WMDs against those in his way?

UPDATE II: If you want the non-lazy version of my post, go to Flopping Aces, where Curt deconstructs myriad errors in AP’s purported news story.

UPDATE III:  American Thinker also has a detailed analysis explaining why Hanley’s conclusion is opinion, not news, and should not be promulgated as such.


Proportionate cartoon

Check out the Michael Ramirez cartoon Anna found and highlighted on her blog.  It demonstrates again that, in vile and ridiculous times, only cartoons are really up to the challenge of exposing just how vile and ridiculous the times really are.  Anna’s comment also nails the world’s obsession with small things as a way of avoiding larger things.

Reuters caught cheating

I almost decided not to blog about this, because it’s getting attention everywhere, and then I thought, well, just in case you haven’t been everywhere first: Thanks to Charles Johnson’s tireless efforts, another false document has been exposed — this time a doctored Reutered photograph purporting to show Israeli missile strikes in Beirut. Reuters pulled the photo, and the photographer offered the imaginative excuse that his finger hit the Photoshop key by mistake.

UPDATE: As of 5:20 p.s.t., the New York Times, with all the news that’s fit to print, doesn’t have a word about this story. Maybe tomorrow? Or maybe not….

Little girls are made from sugar and spice….

I distinctly remember the laughs ordinary people had decades ago when a Harvard study for the then ridiculously high sum of $50,000 established that mother’s milk is good for babies. I had the same “duh” feeling when I read that a San Francisco neuropsychiatrist has written a book, based on cutting edge brain research, showing that men and women are wired differently:

Male and female brains are different in architecture and chemical composition, asserts [Louann] Brizendine. The sooner women — and those who love them — accept and appreciate how those neurological differences shape female behavior, the better we can all get along.

Start with why women prefer to talk about their feelings, while men prefer to meditate on sex.

“Women have an eight-lane superhighway for processing emotion, while men have a small country road,” she writes. Men, however, “have O’Hare Airport as a hub for processing thoughts about sex, where women have the airfield nearby that lands small and private planes.”

Untangling the brain’s biological instincts from the influences of everyday life has been the driving passion of Brizendine’s life — and forms the core of her book. “The Female Brain” weaves together more than 1,000 scientific studies from the fields of genetics, molecular neuroscience, fetal and pediatric endocrinology, and neurohormonal development. It is also significantly based on her own clinical work at the Women’s and Teen Girls’ Mood and Hormone Clinic, which she founded at UCSF 12 years ago. It is the only psychiatric facility in the country with such a comprehensive focus.

A man’s brain may be bigger overall, she writes, but the main hub for emotion and memory formation is larger in a woman’s brain, as is the wiring for language and “observing emotion in others.” Also, a woman’s “neurological reality” is much more deeply affected by hormonal surges that fluctuate throughout her life.

The book sounds great, and I’ll definitely read it but, really, do people need that level of science to prove what we all intuitively know to be true about ourselves and our world? Certainly, as a parent, with my own children and their peers, I see these differences every day.

I’m the parent to two little sexual stereotypes. My daughter is the quintessential girl in so many ways. Social relations are the most important things in her life, whether it’s relating to her girlfriends or having crushes on the many nice little boys in our community. A day without social contact is, for her, a day that isn’t worth living. In dress, since she’s been a toddler, she’s gone for the most traditional feminine look, with a heavy emphasis on pink, pink, and more pink — and this despite my best efforts to steer her to a broader color palette and more workable jeans.

My son is her opposite in that, from the get-go, he’s been the most manly of men. Since his toddler years, his heros have been construction workers, firefighters, police officers and, for the past many years, soldiers. He spent his entire kindergarten year wearing camo to school every day, which is quite a feat in Marin. Social relationships are of little importance to him: he’s interested in objects (anything with buttons or switches) and activities that involve running, balls and competition. I was speaking with his teacher a few months ago, when he was nearby, and asked her who his lunchtime playmates were. She turned to him and asked, “Little Bookworm, who are you playing with at lunch?” His response was a classic: “I don’t really care. It just depends what game they’re playing.”

My kids’ approach to education reflects their essential femininity and masculinity.  My daughter immerses herself in a sea of words.  She loves reading (a bookworm after my own heart) and works well with others.  My son has an intuitive grasp of numbers and logic, and wants to work on his own, with the spur being competition with others.  I know my daughter will do well in school which is, currently, shaped to accommodate girls, their interests and their learning styles.  I’m much more worried about my son, despite the fact that he’s bright and agreeable.

Only recently, Gerry Garibaldi, writing for City Journal, added one more to the increasing number of articles about how feminized classrooms shortchange boys.  Garibaldi focuses on the fact that classrooms shut down boys’ intellectual demands for logic and reasons.  Instead of appreciating the boys’ intellectual hunger, and their need to organize information, teachers see the boys as threatening to their control (and as we all know, most teachers are women):

One of the first observations I made as a teacher was that boys invariably ask this question, while girls seldom do. When a teacher assigns a paper or a project, girls will obediently flip their notebooks open and jot down the due date. Teachers love them. God loves them. Girls are calm and pleasant. They succeed through cooperation.

Boys will pin you to the wall like a moth. They want a rational explanation for everything. If unconvinced by your reasons—or if you don’t bother to offer any—they slouch contemptuously in their chairs, beat their pencils, or watch the squirrels outside the window. Two days before the paper is due, girls are handing in the finished product in neat vinyl folders with colorful clip-art title pages. It isn’t until the boys notice this that the alarm sounds. “Hey, you never told us ’bout a paper! What paper?! I want to see my fucking counselor!”

A female teacher, especially if she has no male children of her own, I’ve noticed, will tend to view boys’ penchant for challenging classroom assignments as disruptive, disrespectful—rude. In my experience, notes home and parent-teacher conferences almost always concern a boy’s behavior in class, usually centering on this kind of conflict. In today’s feminized classroom, with its “cooperative learning” and “inclusiveness,” a student’s demand for assurance of a worthwhile outcome for his effort isn’t met with a reasonable explanation but is considered inimical to the educational process. Yet it’s this very trait, innate to boys and men, that helps explain male success in the hard sciences, math, and business.

Another problem boys have with school is the reading material they’re given.  Reading lists focus on feelings and relationships.  Boys want action, adventure, grossness and hard facts.  No wonder that, during reading time, the girls are engaged and the boys are tossing spitballs.  And no wonder boys are being diagnosed in record numbers with ADHD, and that they’re tuning out and dropping out as fast as they can.  At schools across America, they’re bored and under attack.  Their basic boy-ness is being pathologized and their interests are marginalized.  No person in his right mind would thrive in an environment like that.

Perhaps books like Brizendine’s, even though their focus is on women’s brains, will remind our educators that boys have brains too, and that these brains deserve to be respected and stimulated.  After all, just as girls are half the population, so too are the boys, and an educational policy that ignores the boy half is just as bad as the education systems in prior years that ignored the girl half.

New look

Yup, it’s still me.  It didn’t look as if WordPress was going to be able to deal with the block quotation problem any time soon, so I switched templates.  I’m not sure I like this one yet, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it — and you won’t have to deal with block quotations that are one endless paragraph, without any spaces.

More on Mel’s lighter side

Got another email:

Bush Awards Gibson Presidential Medal of Freedom

President: ‘Thanks for Taking the Heat off Me This Week’

In a stunning moment of redemption for the embattled actor Mel Gibson, President George W. Bush today awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, telling the star, “Thanks for taking the heat off me this week.”

Mr. Bush, who has spent the summer floundering amid crises in North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, said that Mr. Gibson’s DUI arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic tirade had distracted the media and the American people for a solid week, “And for that I am eternally grateful.”

Mr. Bush said that the Gibson scandal had given him the “first real vacation I have had all summer.”

Mr. Gibson accepted the coveted medal graciously, telling the President, “The only thing I value more than this medal is my deep and abiding love for every Jew in the world.”

But even as Mr. Bush praised Mr. Gibson for drawing the American people’s attention away from his disastrous performance as president, he acknowledged that the distraction provided by the Hollywood star’s personal meltdown would not last forever.

“Other celebrities must step up and fill the void once this scandal dies down,” Mr. Bush said. “And that means it is time for Paris Hilton to release another sex tape.”

He Who Must Not Be Named

As you know, I’ve written before about the underlying conservative truths in the most popular pop culture products of recent times: Harry Potter, the Ring Trilogy and Narnia. While listening today to Mark Steyn’s brilliant interview with Hugh Hewitt last Thursday, August 3, I was reminded again of how true these pop culture products are, and how PC mania prevents us from recognizing the core messages they convey.

As always, Steyn was right on the money on myriad points about what’s going on in the Middle East — pointing out, for example, the bizarre world belief system that approaches Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, as an equal partner in peace talks with Israel, a nation. What particularly struck me, though, was Steyn’s pointing out again, something we’ve all noticed: The PC mindset that prevents the press and the police from pointing out the common motivation behind so many of the attacks in the western world lately.

Thus, the media and police scratch their heads about why someone went crazy in Seattle, in Canada, in Baltimore, in Australia, in Arizona, and on and on and on. In each case, they seem perversely oblivious to a common thread — the fact that, in each case, the attackers are Muslim and the attack is always, in the attacker’s own mind, framed in terms of his Muslim identity. Each time, we hear about pathologies — isolation, normalcy, hostility, friendliness, loneliness, voices, whatever. Anything but that common religious thread.

And each time I read these stories, I think of Harry Potter. Harry and Dumbledore are the only ones who have the courage to call evil by its name — Voldemort. Everyone else assiduously avoids that name, referring to “you know who,” or “he who must not be named,” as if by pretending ignorance of the name, they can pretend ignorance of the evil behind it. All of us, when we read the books, recognize both intuitively and intellectually how futile it is to avoid calling things by their true name. We also know that this wilful blindness empowers evil, because it disables us from analyzing and fighting the threat. We admire Harry for his courage in recognizing and naming evil. Why is it, then, that in real life, the same people who admire Harry’s logical and courageous stand because of the inherent truth in his position fall back on PC pathologies that completely undermine their ability to recognize the evil that we, in the Western world, are facing?

UPDATE: Speaking of the brilliant, incomparable Mark Steyn, please don’t miss his article today shredding the proportionality virus that is seeking to tear apart Israel’s ability to defend herself against a terrorist group that Iran heavily supports and that is committed to Israel’s total destruction.

UPDATE II: Laer provides yet another example of the media’s mind-numbing idiocy when it comes to connecting the terrorist dots, this time in Germany.

UPDATE III: For more on the world’s wilful moral blindness and equivalency, if you haven’t already read Victor Davis Hanson’s amazing article you must:

Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.

It is now nearly five years since jihadists from the Arab world left a crater in Manhattan and ignited the Pentagon. Apart from the frontline in Iraq, the United States and NATO have troops battling the Islamic fascists in Afghanistan. European police scramble daily to avoid another London or Madrid train bombing. The French, Dutch, and Danish governments are worried that a sizable number of Muslim immigrants inside their countries are not assimilating, and, more worrisome, are starting to demand that their hosts alter their liberal values to accommodate radical Islam. It is apparently not safe for Australians in Bali, and a Jew alone in any Arab nation would have to be discreet — and perhaps now in France or Sweden as well. Canadians’ past opposition to the Iraq war, and their empathy for the Palestinians, earned no reprieve, if we can believe that Islamists were caught plotting to behead their prime minister. Russians have been blown up by Muslim Chechnyans from Moscow to Beslan. India is routinely attacked by Islamic terrorists. An elected Lebanese minister must keep in mind that a Hezbollah or Syrian terrorist — not an Israeli bomb — might kill him if he utters a wrong word. The only mystery here in the United States is which target the jihadists want to destroy first: the Holland Tunnel in New York or the Sears Tower in Chicago.

In nearly all these cases there is a certain sameness: The Koran is quoted as the moral authority of the perpetrators; terrorism is the preferred method of violence; Jews are usually blamed; dozens of rambling complaints are aired, and killers are often considered stateless, at least in the sense that the countries in which they seek shelter or conduct business or find support do not accept culpability for their actions.

Yet the present Western apology to all this is often to deal piecemeal with these perceived Muslim grievances: India, after all, is in Kashmir; Russia is in Chechnya; America is in Iraq, Canada is in Afghanistan; Spain was in Iraq (or rather, still is in Al Andalus); or Israel was in Gaza and Lebanon. Therefore we are to believe that “freedom fighters” commit terror for political purposes of “liberation.” At the most extreme, some think there is absolutely no pattern to global terrorism, and the mere suggestion that there is constitutes “Islamaphobia.”

You can also hear Mr. Hanson talking to Hugh Hewitt here.

UPDATE IV: Joel Mowbray takes on the “he who must not be named” syndrome in regards to the Seattle shooting. (Hat tip: Power Line.)

UPDATE V: Jeff Jacoby looks at the same self-imposed blindless by juxtaposing it with the hysteria surrounding Mel Gibson’s drunken maundering.

UPDATE VI:  Michelle Malkin has several links on the anti-American, anti-Jewish hatred that our MSM continues to deep six.