sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

November 29, 2012

I Don’t Know Why Asians Are Democrats, But

Filed under: politics — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 9:35 pm

Charles Murray thinks that Asian Americans should be Republicans. He doesn’t come right out and say it, but it’s obviously on account of their praised IQs and because they are not the biggest fans of urban blacks.  OK,  just kidding. He thinks that their work ethic and appreciation for American freedom and capitalism makes them natural Republicans, but they are spooked by social conservatism.

Being an immigrant I have some insight into the issue.  In 1990 my family landed in the lovely city of Sacramento, CA, and after a while I made some American friends.  They were somewhat geeky and ostensibly sweet.  We were all contemplating a move to SF, giving how it was an exciting big city just two hours away.  They loved to talk smack about Sac and how it was all rednecks.  I heard that Rush Limbaugh, who got his start in Sacramento, was  just awful.  I kind of had the feeling that my friends were just saying things, just being topical.  I never ever ever said anything bad about Rush.  The way I was brought up, if I am to talk smack about people, I had to back it up with quotes, and I had better things to do than listen to people talk about politics on the radio.  Nevertheless, I filed Limbaugh under “most likely an evil clown”.

When later in the 90s Neo-Nazis firebombed Sacramento synagogues, the in-group opinion attributed it to what now would be called the Rush Limbaugh climate of hate.  I came to Rush fairly recently.  I was already a conservative for many years, but I had this impression that he’s probably some sort of pontificating blow-hard like… OK, no naming names, but I’m not that big on talk radio.  I tuned in when I started driving my kids around, and in no time I was hooked on Rush.  I don’t think there is another political commentator today so smart, genuine and cheerful.

The moral of the story is this: immigrants arrive to major population centers where they are absorbed into the liberal culture.  Even in fairly conservative cities like Sacramento new arrivals tend to assimilate into liberal culture whose adherents seek out foreigners.  And yeah, maybe some conservative sound over the top, but there is a belief that all conservatives are over the top, and that belief is unjustified.  Moreover, there is more then enough of radical demagogues in urban population centers, but they become part of the scenery after a while an urban dweller accepts them.

Although “Russians” (read Russian-speaking Jews) are fairly conservative, we did vote Democratic in the 90s.  I suspect Asians have more reasons to be liberal.  Granted, there is a world of difference between an Indian and a Vietnamese, for instance, so we shouldn’t paint everyone with one large brushstroke and yaddah-yaddah-yaddah.  Many Chinese Americans are refugees from Maoism, for instance.  You’d think, good, then they are staunchly anti-communist, and, of course, they are, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being anti-big government because they are also the people who inherited centuries of Mandarin tradition.  Their ancestors worked at the service of emperors, and they think it’s an honor to be part of a bureaucracy.

Take, on the other hand, a middle-age Russian-speaking Jew like myself.  Our grandparents came out of towns in what is now Ukraine and Belarus to form a new Soviet intelligentsia, often loyal to the regime.  Our parents were professionals, usually engineers.  They treasured Russian literature didn’t hold bureaucrats in particularly high regard.  They came to despise communism.  We knew that the Jews who immigrated to the US in the early 20th century did really well for themselves, and we credited capitalism for providing them with an opportunity.

Poster for the 1954 adaptation of Chekhov’s Anna on The Neck. The movie (and the novella) were among the many in Russian literature and cinema satirized chinovnik, or bureaucrat in Russian Empire. Chekhov wasn’t particularly nice to women either, but that’s a different story

As I mentioned, we did vote Democratic in the 90s, but that’s largely because we believed Democrats to be reasonable people.  The onset of the second “intifadah” and 9/11 put an end to that delusion.  We are fiscally conservative, have stable marriages — although we don’t vote American-style culture wars.  We are vehemently against affirmative action, though.  Of course, none of our political preferences are found in Russian Jews that get mentioned in the media, like Sergey Brin or Gogol Bordello.  Hmm… I wonder why.

UPDATE: Linked by Temeple of Mut — thank you!


November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: parenting — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:41 pm

I am most thankful for my family and my country.

My daughter is in kindergarten right now.  Her school’s greatest selling point is multiculturalism, i.e. loads of immigrant children.  The nice thing about multiculturalism are the occasional gems.  DD struck up a  friendship with a very sweet girl of Vietnamese dissent whose grandfather was a pilot for the South Vietnamese Army.  He spent four years in prison after the North took over.  So now we have playdates with a good family.

Maybe I’m the wrong person to write a Thanksgiving post.  In my wasted youth I frequented clubs where people hid in dark corners, and I think Florence King is just oh so cool.  And maybe it’s the wrong year to write a Thanksgiving post.  But, on the other hand, I am thankful for my family, and if you are going to buy “With Charity” on Amazon, go to Legal Insurrection first (or Instapundit, or any other blog that actually gets paid for amazon clickthroughs — OK, I am a failure as a misanthrope).

Being on the free-ranging side of parenting, I didn’t teach my daughter much academics when she was in pre-school.  Now she’s learning to read and write her first words (“I”, “see”, “like” are among them).  “I’m really good at the ‘I’ one,” she tells me.

She colored a book with the story of the Pilgrims in her class.  “When the pilgrims came to America, the people who were already here helped them out,” she tells me. “So mommy, when you came to America, did daddy help you?”  Hmm… I suppose the answer is technically, no, because at the time daddy hardly paid any federal taxes.  Being refugees we were eligible for a variety of entitlements, including, in my case, paid-for college education because my parents, who found jobs relatively quickly, had no income to report for the years we weren’t residents.

But it’s not the free education that I value most about America, it’s the air of freedom, the ability to make my own choices — and take responsibility for the consequences.  This is still a big free country, with the best political system ever devised and the most spirited citizenry.  Obviously, there are serious problems with my state, much of it has to do with a large unassimilated immigrant population, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, and I wouldn’t want to raise my family in any other nation.

November 13, 2012

California Students: Not So Bright

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:26 am

In order to create smart 21st century work force the Golden state heavily subsidizes education.  Then we import programmers form India, and many of our homegrown engineers are also foreign-born.  But it’s the American-born (and Hispanic) students that are having all the fun.

The recently passed Proposition 30 mandates a variety of tax hikes, some of them retroactive.  It was sold statewide as a measure to help our beloved, hard-working, unionized, retired public school teachers.  Now that the funding is secured interest groups are going after after it, which should be interesting:

Proposition 30’s victory at the polls may have ended the prospect of deep midyear budget cuts for California’s public universities, but students are in no mood to celebrate.

On Thursday, some of the very students who helped rally their campuses around the tax measure demonstrated across the Bay Area, demanding rollbacks to ever-rising tuition hikes and more space in overcrowded classes.

They learned that the new revenue from Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative will do little to fix California’s higher education funding crisis in the long term, as the state’s universities are still looking for creative ways to make space in lecture halls and squeeze more dollars from some students.


Young voters were considered critical to the measure’s success; polls released this fall by the Public Policy Institute of California found 70 percent supported it, compared to about half of all likely voters. Now, with deep budget cuts and much higher fees averted, student leaders have focused again on the bigger picture: ever-increasing tuition and fees and reduced courses and services.

Tax hike won’t solve the structural problems, eh?  The funds the state is projected to collect are finite, and will diminish as businesses are closed and are driven out of state.  Educational bureaucracies, on the other hand, can always expend.  So ladyparts and their male companions are holding rallies, flexing their proverbial muscle, demanding their “fair share”.  For instance, they are unhappy with the $372 fee on “superseniors” at CSU.  Yep, $372.

I have an idea: instead of arguing over the sum of money required to pay each semester after the course load is complete, vote for robust economy.  It helps when the foot soldiers of socialism are hungry and mean.  They get a bone once in a while, like maybe dropping that $372 fee or the free Pill, but their lives will end in ruin.  It doesn’t matter if the federal government bails out California.  They will inhibit a country where opportunity diminished significantly and greedy politicians cannibalized their youthful energy.  Their best hope is legal marijuana.

Cream of the crop: UC Berkeley students work themselves up at the post-Prop 30 rally

UPDATE: Linked by Temple of Mut — thank you!

November 9, 2012

Best Doom Song Ever

Filed under: music — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:51 pm

Harrison, who recently saw Leonard Cohen performing live (I am green with envy, by the way), reminds me of the best known doom song:

Sounds pertinent, including the following:

The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows.

Don’t tell your leftist neighbor.

Leonard Cohen entertained the IDF during the Yom Kippur War and is rumored to be pro-life based on the lyric from “Dance Me To The End of Love”:

Dance me to the children waiting to be born

DH found another pro-life reference in “The Future”:

Destroy another fetus now

We don’t like children anyhow.

Cohen is not, and had never been, overtly political.  He channels moods of people around him, and even if his lyrics are informed by current events, they somehow transcend them.  That’s how I like my art.  I find it ever more telling that a bohemian like Cohen, even a practicing Jewish-Buddhist bohemian, sees a fetus as a child.

After the 2012 election, people talk of supporting like-minded individuals.  Wherever Cohen stands politically (and if he stands anywhere when it comes to politics), there is nothing in his songs that makes me hold my nose.  He is a great artist, arguably the best lyricist of the baby-boom generation.  Not hard to achieve, but seriously, he is a great lyricist.  The older I get, the more I like him.

UPDATE: Harrison points out that Cohen was born in 1934, and DH found another abortion reference in Diamonds in the Mine:

Ah, there is no comfort in the covens of the witch,
some very clever doctor went and sterilized the bitch,
and the only man of energy, yes the revolution’s pride,
he trained a hundred women just to kill an unborn child.

November 8, 2012

What’s The Matter with California?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:07 am

Good afternoon the United States of Obamalots!  For the first time since the Great Depression the country has voted for more of a bad economy.  And while FDR got points for being tough on America’s enemies, BHO gets points for accelerating the decline of American influence in world affairs.  A great deal of damage has been done by reelection of this gaunt, tired man to the fabric of American life and the American image abroad that cannot be undone.  We get what we deserve.  Here is the soundtrack for the election aftermath:

I love the American idea.  Even though at this point it’s safe to say that a small majority of my countryman, like most men and women everywhere in all times, don’t want freedom, I am not giving up.  I am going to take pride in being a part of a freedom-loving minority, and we are still a very large minority in this country, which is something.  It’s not going to be easy, but reviving the ideas of the Founders is not impossible.

I am keeping my spirits high.  Cultural issues are the most important to tackle and ridicule is a powerful weapon.  So I am going to popularize the term “ladyparts” to describe, well, you know, a certain kind of Democratic voter.  As in Sandra Ladyparts Fluke or ladyparts got free tampons under Obamacare.  On related note, check out “Minority Got Obama Phone” video at Linda’s.  I continue being amazed by small time greed of Obamalots.

I’m also amazed by people like one of my neighbors, who lost his programming job early in Obama’s first term and has since been living off some odd gigs.  Judging by the sad state of his teeth, they don’t pay too well.  People make fun of Appalachians, but this man — wow!  The schmuck voted himself another four years of unemployment because we must-must-must feel guilty for black slavery in the South, even if our own ancestors had nothing to do with it. And because the rich people are evil and the legal status of a tiny number of cohabiting lesbians has to be resolved through an intervention of the Federal government.

Then there is a mom I know who firmly believes that Republicans are waging a war on women.  Her biggest dream is to be able to stay home with her son.  But while she was able to talk the father of the child into impregnating her some years ago, he refuses to support them.  Did I mention that she went through two failed IVF cycles in an attempt to give her son a sibling?  I think the father is relieved.  But hey, contraception (which nobody was going to ban, by the way) allows women to take control of their reproductive cycle.  Ruh-ruh!  Marx would had called it false consciousness.

And how about all these people who don’t think that a dead ambassador is a big deal, but complain about people being mean to them when they go abroad?  And they thought that electing a black President will take care of that.

I’m describing my neighbors here, white Bay Area professionals, but it’s clear that many more in US think the way they do.  For further clues regarding the direction of this country, look at California.

On the morning of the election I woke up to some doofus on the radio pontificating about the lack of big ideas, like the speed train or stem cell research.  What he said, the voters were worried about is whether or not we can we afford new measures.  You see, he didn’t want California to be constrained by small things, like other people’s money.  (And, of course, California wasn’t.  As my readers probably heard, we approved Prop 30, a grab bag of tax hikes to subsidize a state bureaucracy.)  I, for one, found “big ideas” on the ballot.  Among them was the failed Prop 37, food labeling.  I think I know where it’s all going — a ban on food and household products not considered “organic’ and “sustainable”.  And people think California is cool.

November 6, 2012

Election Day Soundtrack

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:29 am

November 1, 2012

Operation Demoralize AKA Operation Help Come To Terms

Filed under: politics — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 11:18 am

Help your Democrat neighbor Cope.  SF Gate reports:

Liberals so freaked out about the prospect of President Obama losing his re-election bid that they can’t sleep at night. Can’t talk about anything else. Can’t stop parsing the latest polls.

They’ve been freaked out like that since the first Presidential debate, which, in some people’s opinion, their candidate only lost because “stupid Americans want him to be more aggressive”.  I think that was an invitation for me to step in and share some foreign-born wisdom.  So I figure I’ll indulge.

First off, when I was a student at a community college my economics instructor drew a chart correlating the state of the economy with the outcomes of post-WW2 presidential elections.  In a good economy, the incumbent gets reelected, in a bad economy he gets tossed out.  How’s Obama supposed to win when so many people are out of work?  He knows it, and, yes, he looks tired and he probably doesn’t want the job.  I wouldn’t want his job either.  Would you?

Actually, there is something wrong with people who go into politics.  My sister never votes in Presidential elections because, she says, she will never vote for the person who has it in him to become the nominee.  (True story, and no, her inactivity is not making fascism possible; she’s just apolitical.  It’s fascistic to insist that everyone votes.  OK, I’m not bringing up that bit about fascism.)  Obama doesn’t want the job, but Hillary sure does.  She’ll probably run in 2016.

I’m not sure she will, actually.  She looks tired these days herself.

Anywho, here is my plan for next Tuesday.  If, when the results of the election are first finalized on live TV Pennsylvania is called for Romney, break out the bubbly, election is over.  If Pennsylvania is too closed to call, break out the bubbly, a few Midwestern states where polling was tighter surely went for Romney.  If Pennsylvania is called for the Bamster, keep chilling the bubbly and wait for his famed blue state “firewall” to break.  If Virginia is called early, it’s a good sign.  Am I getting cocky?

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