Thursday, May 18, 2006


Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

I'll kick off this week's roundup with a post over at The Primacy of Awesome that caused me to google my own blog for an entry on Troi "Star" Torain, only to come up empty....

Lunatic Branding

Mike posts the following on "Star the Hater".
[T]he new nut job [to misrepresent Objectivism] is Star the Hater, a radio shock jock who was just arrested for saying (on air) that he was going to piss all over the four year old kid of a rival radio host. Star preaches "Objective Hate," which really just means "Rationalization for Star's Insanity." He even posts on the Rebirth of Reason forum! [link dropped]
"Star the Hater? Didn't I post on that idiot before?" I thought upon reading this.

No. But a search through drafts of posts shows that I almost posted about him way back in February. (And you thought I just slapped everything that came to my mind down here on my blog!)

Before I add more to the Star story, I have to point out a problem with Mike's wording. He says, "Don't support loony Objectivists and if you encounter one run away, fast." The sentiment is right, but none of the birds he wrote about is, in fact an Objectivist. They just say or strongly imply that they are.

For more on Star, here's what I wrote in February pretty much unchanged. The links all work, except that the one leading to Star's web site points only to a construction notice, which isn't much less useful than what had been there before.


Via Randex, I have learned of a shock jock who, except for a little twist, would deserve no mention because he is merely the latest idiot to grossly misrepresent Ayn Rand's philosophy and get lots of publicity in the process.
[Troi "Star"] Torain hates everyone, though not equally. A disciple of Ayn Rand, the former record company exec spouts a creed of self-interest he calls "Objective Hate." By attacking all the "losers" around you, says Torain, one can find personal fulfillment, and much wealth. Among Torain's biggest losers are black people, especially black women. Torain, who disavows his own African-American heritage, dismisses black identity as "modern-day tribalism." [bold added]
When I first encountered this, I figured this was just another article by a liberal wanting to smear Rand by gratuitously labeling someone as being a fan of Rand. So I did some digging around.

Torain's web site is useless, but I found a couple of other things that show that if Torain ever read Rand, he didn't absorb much of what she had to say.

From a New York entertainment site, I read again (scroll down) that Torain espouses something he calls "Objective hate".
Armed with an Ayn Rand-like philosophy he dubs "objective hate," Star pontificates daily on race relations, religion and sexual politics -- wielding a quick-witted, acidic style that leaves his guests and cohosts scrambling for air time.
This review is more positive than the other, but both imply that the program is little more than air time filled with expletives.

And what does Torain offer besides expletives? How 'bout insults and complete ignorance about capitalism? A blogger at Sepia Mutiny reports that Torain prank-called India in a demonstration of total ignorance of the law of comparative advantage and of the rules of etiquette.
STAR (morning DJ on Power 99): I was surprised when I got somebody on the line in East India... [on phone] This call has been outsourced to India?

TINA: That's right.

STAR: Well, ma'am, what the eff would you know about an American white girl's -- uh, uh -- hair? And quick beads.

TINA: Just to inform you, ma'am, we're a national chain services company. And we're just taking calls on the opposite--

STAR: Listen, bitch! Don't get slick with the mouth! Don't you get slick with me, bitch!

TINA: Now if you continue to speak this language, I will disconnect the call.

STAR: Listen to me, you dirty rat eater. I'll come out there and choke the eff out of you. (laughter) You're a filthy rat eater. I'm calling about my American six-year-old white girl [Star is black]. How dare you outsource my call? Get off the line, bitch! (laughter, applause)

And at that point, I guess I ran out of gas, or got busy, or decided that Star Torain wasn't worth thinking that much about. Since he's even more famous now, what I wrote has become blog-worthy.

In sum. Star Torain is not an Objectivist. He's an undereducated, spiteful, very little man, whose use of the term "objective" is about as meaningful as the various profanities he peppers his language with all the time.

Furthermore, Star the Hater's disgraceful behavior is not only not Objectivism in action, it lives up to many of the worst stereotypes of ignorance held by Southern rednecks about blacks that I had the misfortune to grow up quite familiar with. Get a dictionary, a copy of Atlas Shrugged, and a shred of dignity, Mr. Torain. You are an embarrassment.

Comparative Advantage: View from the Third World

One of the few regrets I've had about switching to a job at which I am away from my desk much more often is that I haven't gotten to follow Isaac Schroedinger as much as I used to.

For example, he has an excellent posting about what comparative advantage (and child labor) mean in the Third World. Schroedinger takes a conversation with some Western friends as his point of departure, and draws upon his experience having been raised in Pakistan.
"But... but what about going to school!?"

It was this question that made me realize that he, like many Westerners, had little knowledge about the brutal nature of life in the Third World. That guy actually assumed that these young laborers would go to school and later become respected professionals were it not for the sweat shops.

Opposition to child labor is considered to be an all-wise position. I'll offer my thoughts on two experiences to counter this mindset.
Read it all. He makes some excellent points and paints a fascinating picture besides. He ends with this: "These kids, and often adults, don't have good choices in their lives. The have bad and worse options."

Child labor is not intrinsically bad. In fact, under some circumstances, it is a good thing.

Keeping Bad Options Bad

And, as if preventing child labor in the Third World -- which is in some respects merely repeating the same transition to capitalism the West made long ago -- weren't bad enough, what of sending money to aid the children there only to free up the money of the very people who would strap bombs to them?

Gavriel, an Israeli who writes at AbbaGav, has some interesting thoughts on our new norm of "threats as diplomacy", as seen by the Hamastani reaction to the West's recent temporary reduction in its tribute payments to the Arabs living near Israel.
And it's even questionable how fiscally bankrupt the Palestinian regime really is. From the same article:
"We will plan and carry out more martyrdom attacks inside the Green Line regardless of the price and effort," he warned. "Those who are imposing the sanctions on the Palestinians will soon regret their decision."
So they have no money and everyone is starving, but they can afford to mount serious military attacks against a neighboring state without any worry about the price. I was under the impression they were dead broke and without any further funding would be unable to do so much as lob unflavored biscuits over the border.
This post is worth reading in full. As to the point Gavriel raises about the moral status of cutting off all aid to the Hamastanis, I would point out that if that were necessary -- and I am afraid it is -- that the consequences of anything done to defend Israel lie squarely on the shoulders of the barbarians who have made it necessary in the first place.

Bureaucrat Effectively Admits: "Me Moron."

Cox and Forkum post a very good roundup on the recent threat by a functionary of the Dutch government to revoke the citizenship of one of her nation's bravest citizens, Somalian refugee and former member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Here, they quote from an AP report.
Minister Rita Verdonk said she acted on the basis of a television program that aired last week in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali admitted lying about her name and age on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage.
Idiot! Perhaps Verdonk could have set aside a regulatory sub-sub-sub-clause or two and considered this lie within the broader context of Ms. Ali's age and the inhuman situation she was attempting to escape.

Be that as it may I am happy to see that the roundup includes what passes for good news -- this backing-off -- in this day and age. This official should have been sacked already, as far as I'm concerned.

And at least -- unless we're talking about Elian Gonzalez -- America is still willing to take a deserving immigrant or two. "U.S. Ambassador Roland Arnall had met with Hirsi Ali to tell her the United States will accept her regardless of her Dutch immigration status."

The fact that this story reached the point it did is yet another serious indication that freedom is in serious trouble in the West.

Veiled Attacks on Freedom?

Daniel Pipes notes that, based on its past behavior, CAIR may be trying to use the movie Flight 93 as an excuse to accuse people of "hate crimes", or at least campaign for more "hate crime" legislation.

According to a CAIR press release issued today, the office manager for its Arizona chapter, Bushra Khan, was shopping along with two other head-scarved young Muslim women on April 29 at the Desert Ridge Marketplace in Scottsdale when a middle-aged couple approached them calmly and asked if they were Muslim. After an affirmative reply, the couple indicated they had just watched the film United 93, became enraged, and told the women, "Take off your f**king burqas and get the f**k out of this country. We don't want you in this country. Go home."

Now, I was not present at the Desert Ridge Marketplace when the alleged incident took place, but I do have my doubts about Bushra Khan's reliability, for CAIR's staff has a history of making claims about "hate crimes" and "Islamophobia" that do not stand up to scrutiny. It has also played loose with the facts in other ways.

Pipes follows with a pertinent roundup.

I personally find Moslem headgear about as offensive as swastika armbands since Islam is the motivation for so much terrorism. While I have never before volunteered this opinion, the fact that CAIR apparently wants to use "hate crime" legislation to force me not to volunteer it basically requires me to voice that opinion now.

The Cartoon Jihad Continues

And if what I just said about Moslem headgear puts a bee in anyone's bonnet, that individual should compare my words to the threats the Danish cartoonists now live under.
[S]everal European secret services are on the lookout for special Islamist commandos allegedly trying to kill the 12 Danish cartoonists involved in the Jyllands Posten Muhammad cartoons. Most probably, a European sleeper cell could be activated for that mission. Nonetheless, an entrance of dangerous Pakistani elements thru Turkey is envisioned.

In fact, a couple of Al Qaeda messages are warning of targeting the cartoonists along with some European countries. [elaboration and other incidents omitted] ...

All this is happening while a Pakistani student who tried to kill the editor in chief of the German daily Die Welt for publishing the cartoons, was found dead in his German cell on May 3. The cause of death was suicide but the Pakistani press and opinion think differently and anger is brewing.
May 3? Why have we heard so little about the attempted murder of this newspaper editor.

And the "Code Crusade" Simmers

Via Illustrated Ideas, I have learned of an excellent editorial by Debi Ghate on the recent attacks on our freedom to criticize religion that have been made by the Catholic Church leading up to the impending release of The da Vinci Code.
By suggesting that there is a "right to respect," the bishops are clamoring that we owe them respect regardless of whether we think their beliefs are true or false, worthy of our admiration or denunciation. Many people, of course, do respect the Catholic Church, but others agree with Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, who concluded: "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." Respect can only be granted willingly, where we judge it to be due, not demanded by those whose ideas we conclude to be false or despicable. There can be no "right" to be respected.
We can demand either that our beliefs or our rights be respected. The choices are mutually exclusive.

A Worthy Cause

Noodle Food is out for a week?!?! If you somehow didn't know that, then you are probably also unaware that group blog has solicited your help for the Colorado Books Project.

And if you did know that, maybe you want a reminder!

Ceely on Usage

I like to end my roundups on a light note, and for this purpose, I turn to Craig Ceely, who shares a pet peeve of mine: He notices the misuse of the word "everyday" every day.
[A]ll of these headlines contain the word "everyday," and its use is wrong in every single case. Every one.

The offender is Kathryn Jean Lopez, an educated and intelligent woman who has, we are informed, "been praised for her 'editorial daring,'" and who "stands athwart history," in William F. Buckley, Jr.'s immortal words, at National Review and at National Review Online.

How can she be so wrong, then? Isn't "everyday" a word?

Why yes, it is.
And if you like this sort of thing, he has co-founded a blog on usage.

-- CAV