There’s not much I can write or say about Pearl Harbor that hasn’t been explored already, except that it all should be said, every December 7, as long as Old Glory waves. What I wrote last year is still apt:
At 7:55 a.m Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber emerged out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. 360 Japanese warplanes followed in a devastating attack on the unsuspecting U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Pacific fleet was nearly obliterated: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged; more than 200 aircraft were destroyed; 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded. Japan lost just 30 planes and fewer than 100 men. By the sheerest luck, all three Pacific fleet aircraft carriers were out of the harbor and at sea on training maneuvers, allowing the U.S. to use them to turn the tide of the Pacific war against Japan at the Battle of Midway six months later.
I always felt connected to the tragedy at Pearl Harbor through my father. At the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dad introduced me to a veteran who had survived the attack, and just shaking his hand was a moving experience I shall never forget.
I should have added that the sneak attack finally drew us into a war that had to be fought, one that cost 400,000 American lives. ( In this post from 10 years ago, I lamented the mainstream media’s neglect of the date’s significance, though because this anniversary ends with a zero, it is getting more attention than usual. Sigh. With the exception of Michael West, none of the commenters who weighed in on that post drop by any more.)
Other housekeeping notes:
- I am still planning on holding a Zoom discussion of “Clickbait,” the Netflix series about social media and cyber activity gone horribly wrong. If you want to participate and haven’t watched the show, get cracking. I also welcome ideas about topics raised by the series.
- Yesterday, for no discernible reason, was a banner day for the blog, with four new followers and 30% more traffic than Mondays this year. Ethics Alarms sometimes goes weeks without any new sign-ups.
- This morning I had my first radio interview since NPR blackballed me for explaining why sexual harassment accusations for many years-old conduct were not always what they seemed. The host was Maine’s Mike Violette of The Mike Violette Show, and we mostly discussed the Hilda and Jesse eatery’s anti-cop and gun stunt. Mike is that rarity, a fair interviewer who gives his guest a chance to talk. (EA commenter Arthur in Maine was another in his radio days.)
1. I’d like to see this challenged in court. It is being called a “victory for conservatives” that the routine drafting of women is being stripped from the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, even though both the House and Senate versions of the bill would have expanded the Selective Service System beyond men. No, it’s a victory for double standards and incoherence. Either we discriminate on the basis of gender or we don’t, and institutionalizing one form of gender bias allows others to flourish. If women can meet the requirements for combat, then let ’em fight. Otherwise, there are plenty of ways they can serve. Conservatives look like Victorians in aspic when they object to obviously just advances like this. Exemptions should take care of any concerns about mothers and related issues.
2. Why is not horse racing dead in the U.S. yet? Three-year old Medina Spirit, the sort-of 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, died of an apparent heart attack while working out at the Santa Anita Park racetrack yesterday. This just added to the already messy scandal surrounding the horse, whose Derby victory in the Kentucky Derby is still under challenge because of a failed post-race drug test. That scandal came hot on the hooves of the 2019 mess, when the New York Times reported that Justify, trained by Bob Baffert, the same trainer that handled Medina Spirit, had failed a drug test after winning the 2018 Santa Anita Derby in Southern California. Justify went on to win the racing’s Triple Crown, though the rules dictated that Justify should have forfeited the win at Santa Anita and thus have been barred from racing at the Kentucky Derby a month later. But Justify’s failed test was investigated for four months, a stall that allowed the horse to keep competing long enough to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. And…surpise! The California Horse Racing Board’s chairman at the time, Chuck Winner, used Baffert to train his horses.
Not only does the sport abuse and kill horses, it is corrupt to the core. Why would anyone follow such a sport? Heck, it’s like pro football….
3. Gee, how could something like this happen? Yesterday the news was teeming with stories about how VP Kamala Harris’s staff was in revolt or getting ready to quit, which all sounded similar to the stories about her Presidential campaign while it was crumbling last year. All sorts of back alley leaks are being reported about the Veep’s alleged insecurity, bullying, laziness and ineptitude….you know, all of the characteristics anyone paying attention knew about years ago. Meanwhile, her polling numbers suggest that she is approximately as popular as Biden’s Afghanistan pull-out. Isn’t it obvious to everyone that this is the risk you take when you give someone a job based entirely on her gender and race? Maybe the Harris fiasco will finally convey the unpleasant truth that affirmative action is irresponsible, and the more important and challenging the job, the more irresponsible it is! Maybe…oh, who am I kidding? No matter how awful Harris’s performance is, progressives will never admit the logical and ethical deficits in basing hiring and promotions on group identity.
4. Today’s stereotype-confirming billionaire is… Michael Steinhardt, the hedge fund pioneer and a noted collector of antiquities. Let’s make that “a noted collector of stolen antiquities,” for a four-year multinational investigation proved that he had blithely acquired valuable artifacts that had been looted and smuggled out of eleven countries, by at least twelve smuggling networks. Then they were sold on the international art market without lawful paperwork to Steinhardt, who knew they were stolen but didn’t care because he’s RICH! Rich I tell you! He can make his own laws!
“For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artifacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold, or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. So, he’s going to jail, then? Oh, of course not. After all, the 81-year-old is a major contributor to New York University and to numerous Jewish philanthropies. the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a Steinhardt conservatory at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and a Steinhardt Gallery. People that wealthy don’t go to prison. Steinhardt just had to give his ill-gotten loot back, and will be subject to an unprecedented lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.
Laws are for the little people.
5. Never mind Smollett, what about his lawyer? Jesse Smollett went on the witness stand under oath in his criminal trial yesterday and appeared to lie his head off, metaphorically of course, to try to rebut charges that he staged a fake hate crime and lied to Chicago Police about it in January 2019.
Smollett told police he had been attacked, but after interviewing the alleged attacker and finding other evidence, authorities determined that Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the fake hate crime against him so he could get publicity and a career boost. Smollett was then indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct by a Cook County, Illinois, grand jury in March 2019, but Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx decided to drop those charges. A special prosecutor then took over the case, and a grand jury indicted Smollett on new charges in February 2020.
In his testimony, the former “Empire” star contradicted earlier statements and admitted such details as initially removing the noose he claimed his attackers had placed around his neck then replacing it for the benefit of police. His defense attorney Tamara Walker, fed him questions, which a lawyer may not do under the ethics rules when a client is lying and the lawyer knows it. She, however, is evidently special, as she has asked for a mistrial on dubious grounds, sobbed in court and then asked for another mistrial on the grounds that the judge had “lunged” at her during a sidebar conversation.
Added: I recommend reading this hilarious summary of Smollett’s “defense” by Kyle Smith.