Archive for May, 2011

“I Understand Hitler”

Posted on May 19th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The director Lars von Trier makes an ass of himself—and worse—at the Cannes Film Festival:

It’s Woodstock’s Fault

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

The Catholic Church has commissioned a report which finds that the sexual abuse of children by priests is due to “social change” and “the rise of other types of ‘deviant’ behavior” in the 1960s and ’70s.

It’s absurd, of course—a blaming of the larger society outside rather than the internal mechanisms, dogma and confines of the church. Don’t blame us! say the people who claim to know how to make society better. It’s all your fault.

I wonder: If you can’t trust the Catholic Church to tell the truth about such worldly matters, how could you trust it to tell the truth about God? Why, in fact, should we listen to the Catholic Church about anything?

She’s HIV-Positive?

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The New York Post reports—in a story with interesting ethical complications—that the maid allegedly sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn was living in housing reserved for HIV-positive persons.

The Post was the first to report (yesterday) that the DSK camp might argue that DSK and the maid had consensual sex. (The Times reported the same thing…today.)

I wonder how other papers will handle this revelation?

Look Out, Harvard

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

There’s new competition for alumni programs and the Extension School; I just received this emailed ad from the Washington Post.


You Read It Here First (Definitely)

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Although [Trump] has no intention of running, (the line will be, “I’ve changed the debate, now I leave it to others to carry the ball forward”) he’s creating chaos in the Republican field.

Shots in the Dark, April 28

Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country’s conversation. They are now being debated vigorously.

—From Trump’s statement announcing that he will not run.

(Note the conspicuous lack of reference to the birth-certificate “issue,” about which Trump was humiliated.)

Trump was never going to run—this was obvious from the start—but you have to give the man credit: He played the mainstream media like a fiddle. He bumped up ratings for his idiotic television show and landed himself a new $30 million-$50 million contract from NBC.

I wish that Trump had stayed in the race, however, because it would surely have contributed to the puncturing of America’s biggest blowhard. It was only the heightened spotlight on Trump that caused MSM reporters to get off their duffs and start doing some work, including reporting that he’d given more money to Democrats than to Republicans, that in his passion to build golf courses he illegally chopped down 400 trees along the Potomac (look at this horrifying picture), that he’s being sued by hundreds of people who were stupid enough to believe that just because his name was on a building, it meant something other than the fact that they were paying more than they would have otherwise.

“The last thing you ever expect is that somebody you revere will mislead you,” said Alex Davis, 38, who bought a $500,000 unit in Trump International Hotel and Tower Fort Lauderdale, a waterfront property that Mr. Trump described in marketing materials as “my latest development” and compared to the Trump tower on Central Park in Manhattan.

“There was no disclaimer that he was not the developer,” Mr. Davis said.

“Somebody you revere?”

It may be too late for Mr. Davis, who appears to have a serious values problem, but it doesn’t have to be for many other people exposed to Trump’s toxin.

Donald Trump is a boor and a blowhard. I don’t think anyone would disagree about that. But more important, he’s a bad person, and the consequences of his badness harm less powerful people and the environment, and merit more investigative reporting. Let’s hope the press doesn’t give up on Trump just because he’s not running for president. How much more dirt would the press find if it actually bothered to dig?

You Read It Here First (Kinda)

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Everyone is shocked mildly surprised that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a love child.

Had we known about this awkwardness before and Schwarzenegger didn’t win the 2003 election, Kevin Drum argues, California’s budget deficit would be half what it is now.

Quite possibly one of the reasons we didn’t know about Schwarzenegger’s affair is because he compelled everyone around him to sign confidentiality agreements, an issue I wrote about in a 2003 New York Times editorial, “Full Disclosure on Full Disclosure.

These agreements aren’t made merely out of a concern for privacy. Confidentiality agreements have become a tool used by the rich and powerful against people who can’t afford to turn down a job, as a way to stifle public discussion of embarrassing issues, and as a means of ensuring that a whistle-blower can’t throw a wrench into the image-making machinery of a public figure.

Knowing the way things go, I’ve no doubt that the use of confidentiality agreements has only proliferated since that time. But I think there should be a presumption of guilt here: Anyone requiring people to sign a confidentiality agreement, outside of the normal conduct of business, should be assumed to be hiding something…..

Can We Suspend Ben Stein Too?

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I didn’t realize he was quite so troglodytic.

From his American Spectator article on Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes? Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category?

Bizarre and disturbing.

Yale Gets Tough…

Posted on May 17th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

…on a fraternity: DKE, more specifically, which sponsored the infamous “no means yes” initiation chant.

As the Times reports,

In a letter to students and faculty members on Tuesday, Mary Miller, dean of Yale College, said the Executive Committee, the college’s disciplinary board, had imposed sanctions on the [DKE] chapter, which is not an official student organization. The fraternity will no longer be able to communicate with students via the Yale bulletin board or Yale e-mail, and its use of the university name will be severely limited.

The Times and the Yale Daily News also report that DKE won’t be able to recruit new members for five years, or hold events on campus, which actually seems like a big deal. This could kill DKE at Yale.

DKE executive director Doug Lanpher had this to say:

“We’ve corrected the situation,” he added. “We suspended their pledging activities for six weeks so we could review their activities with them. Clearly, the chanting was inappropriate and in poor taste, but does it warrant a five-year suspension?”

I would say yes, actually, it’s fine. Yale’s ability to control the frats isn’t total, but by all means, the university should do what it can, and this is what it can do.

Let’s be honest, though: This move is clearly in response to the Title IX lawsuit brought by a group of students and alumni. Either Yale should have taken these steps before, or the university is just trying to get the government off its back…. If this is the right thing to do, then it’s unfortunate that Yale didn’t do it sooner.

I’ll be headed to my 25th (holy cow, how did that happen?) reunion in a week or so. It’ll be interesting to hear what folks in New Haven have to say about all this….

Quote of the Day

Posted on May 17th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

“I’m here in the context of Kung Fu Panda.”

Angelina Jolie at the Cannes Film Festival declining to answer a request for comment about the death of Osama bin Laden.

They are Nothing if Not Determined

Posted on May 17th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The Winklevoss twins are taking their case against Mark Zuckerburg and Facebook to the Supreme Court….

You know, people make fun of the Winklevoss twins—or “Winklevi,” as Larry Summers called them not too long ago, rather tackily of him, I thought—but it’s worth considering the possibility that they are motivated by principle more than/as much as greed.

If Mark Zuckerburg really did deceive them about the value of Facebook shares to diminish the settlement they received in court, well, I suppose one could understand being pissed off enough to fight back.

After all, it would be the second major instance in which Zuckerburg lied to the twins.

The media aren’t taking the case seriously…but then, until the 02138 article, they didn’t the last time either.