The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

For anyone with a strong stomach...'s a link to a diatribe from Noam Chomsky in the Independent. The tag line: Why It's Over for America.

Chomsky hangs his hat on the rise of China and an anticipated union between the lefties' new vision of a utopian state, Venezuela, and their old one, Cuba. I couldn't quite follow how Haiti fits into all of this, but he throws them in too for good measure.

All of this is good evidence why Noam Chomsky is a linguistics professor instead of CEO of a multi-national oil company with real power in the world. Click here to see what someone in that position thinks of the long-term prospects for China and Venezuela. Curiously, though, no mention of Haiti here. Oh, well.


Check this out:

A survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago asked respondents in 33 countries to react to this statement: "I would rather be a citizen of [my country] than of any other." Among Americans, 75 percent "strongly" agreed; among Germans, French and Spanish, comparable responses were 21 percent, 34 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

As George Orwell supposedly said, some ideas are so preposterous that only an intellectual could believe them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Uh, freedom is, like, hard and stuff...

Some things you read are just depressing. Perhaps as an example of our current crisis in higher education, the Dallas Morning News offered us this editorial by Hailey Woldt, a sophomore at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., about her recent trip to eight different Muslim countries and what she gathered from talking with women in these countries. Let's just say it's not the most cogent analysis there is. Here's my favorite snippet:

The Muslim women I talked with, albeit with some reservations, agreed that they were happy to be Muslim because their faith gave them a solid rock of virtues, which their society reinforces. I am thankful that American women enjoy so much independence and social opportunity, although for young girls it can be challenging to make important decisions mostly alone. (my emphasis)

Do you think Ms Woldt has really thought through that glowing endorsement of Muslim society 'reinforcing' a solid rock of values on women? Or the strange contention, echoed at the end of the piece, that it's just too dangerous out there for young girls to be allowed to think for themselves?

It's no wonder this young woman feels like she needs some help making those tough life decisions--she's just a pawn in the grip of the insidious patriarchy:

As I traveled in these countries, I reflected on the intergender values in the United States now and how I deal with them differently from these Muslim girls. I wore more modest clothes there, and I was not expected to interact with men as much, which was refreshing. Whether I was attractive or unattractive was less of an issue; I saw almost no magazine images of beautiful women in expensive clothes, and few women wearing makeup.

Those evil magazine photos and media images are mentioned in every single paragraph. Forget all the blasé, pedestrian concerns you usually see about women in the Muslim world--lack of autonomy and property ownership rights, illiteracy, no suffrage, poverty, honor killings, forcible female circumcision, stonings for adultery--this girl gets right to the heart of the danger facing these women. Magazine photos.

What's dangerous here is that Ms Woldt's education at an elite university has obviously taught her only to critically analyze one culture--her own, the U.S--but accept unquestioningly all others. Here we see the point stretched to its ridiculously logical conclusion: the outrageous argument that women in some of the most repressive societies on earth are somehow more 'empowered' than women in the U.S. because they are shielded from what her professors have taught her are tools of oppression, drumming the lesson in so hard that she isn't able to recognize real oppression even when it's staring her right in the face.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Warning--the following remarks have not been sanitized for your protection

Poor Tony Snow--to think that up until now his reputation was spick and span, but now it seems that he has a chink in his armor. Well, the professionally-sensitive class certainly hasn't been niggardly in their expressions of disapproval, quickly pointing out the unwholesome subtext of a such a charged phrase as 'tar baby.' Subtext is such a subtle thing--it sneaks up on you like the first nip of spring. For now, ol' Tony will be behind the eight ball, but he'll surely be looking to pay the White House press corps back at some point--in spades, of course.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Today, the blogosphere, she weeps...

...for the untimely death of Denny Duquette and his short-lived (weak-hearted??) love affair with Izzie Stevens. A blog-roundup here.

Ghost town

Well, there's barely a soul in the tastefully-appointed Underwood Law Library today--finals are over and everyone has split for greener pastures. The Deadman would, too, but we don't have internet connection at the new Dallas hacienda as of yet.

Best of luck to everyone!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm not ready to make nice either, Natalie

Ugh. Just watched most of a nauseating interview on 60 Minutes with the Dixie Chicks. Looks like they've decided to crawl out from under their rock and play the martyr card--poor victims of redneck backlash just for (gasp for air, place back of wrist on forehead) expressing an opinion!

Their latest release is a dreary Martha Graham-esque video for "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice." Luckily I'm at school, so I had to watch it without sound. Uh, just in case you're one of us slack-jawed, pea-brained rednecks who still have it out for the DCs, there's just a smidgen in the video(subtle, mind you, but there if you look real hard) of persecution imagery.

I'm glad you feel that way, Natalie (and I know you're a regular Deadman reader), 'cause we here at the Deadman aren't ready to make nice, either. And BTW, you're still fat, the blonde's still horse-faced, and the other one is still cross-eyed. We wish you the best of luck with your new fan base of Camp Casey-ites, Deaniacs, and The Nation subscribers.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Well, it'll all be over in a couple of hours...

Last final at 6PM. First year is under the belt and it's been quite a ride. Next year should be interesting, since I'll get my first crack at some international classes--first up is international tax. That field could be my ticket back to where the action is, along with anything I can pick up in oil & gas. I got an email from Western Kazakhstan this week--things are going full steam there, and they're only going to get hotter.

By the time I'm good to travel again, both of Russia's mammoth state-owned energy companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, will be publicly-traded firms not just in Moscow, but in London as well. There'll probably also be a number of Kazakh and some Azeri firms trading on the London Exchange, too (Sarbanes Oxley has scared them off the US exchanges). At the same time, South American energy sources are falling further and further under state control, and the Middle East isn't in danger of becoming overly stable any time soon. Hopefully all this will translate into someone, somewhere, willing to put me back on a plane bound for terra incognita. It's a brave new world, droogies, and we got to get out there in the middle of it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I know that he's done a great job as governor of Florida, and I've got nothing against him, but I would really rather not see Jeb Bush run for president. I despise Kennedy-worship on the other side of the aisle, and would prefer to keep my side dynasty-free for the moment (although I may make an exception one day for George P. if it comes to that). Let's at least keep up the pretense that we aren't turning into an aritocratic oligarchy for a bit longer...

However, any calls for reform of the U.S. as an anarcho-syndacalist commune, or for the basis for extreme executive power to derive from strange women lying in ponds distributing swords, will be heard here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Texas Ranch House blogging

Well, last night was the last episode of Texas Ranch House on PBS. It was one of those shows that PBS does that takes modern-day people and tries to put them in historical settings to see how they cope. Probably the best one so far was the one set in England where the family lived as if it were 1900. The family was really committed to the project and were real troopers. Unfortunately, the ones set here in the States always seem to have 'people' problems--perhaps by design, as when a staunch atheist was cast to take part in a Puritan settlement, and then seemed to consider it the height of oppression that she was expected to attend a church service on Sundays. Texas Ranch House proved to be no exception--somehow we got lots of gender issues worked into the mix, although alot of it was just general pissiness masquerading as feminism.

Here's a blogger roundup on Google. I've only read through a few so far, but they are almost unanimously of the opinion that the ranch-owner family, the Cookes, were the ones who sunk this project (especially the overbearing, self-satisfied wife).

The most depressing thing to me about the experiment as it played out was what it showed about how distorted our attitudes toward work have become. Mr. and Mrs. Cooke droned on and on about their keen management experience (he's some kind of hospital administrator and she continually referred to herself as a former business owner) throughout the show, and they definitely ran the ranch according to modern-day middle management techniques--delegating responsibility while withholding authority, trying to skin the cowboys out of wages on the last day to shore up the books, etc.

Mrs. Cooke couldn't stand the fact that the cowboys had more respect for their foreman Robby than for her husband (who couldn't be bothered to be out there with them in field most days and never did learn to handle cattle) so she had to look for ways to take the foreman down a peg. Since actually working to earn their respect was too foreign a concept, the issue was reduced to a power struggle which was promptly cast in male vs. female terms to open up some moral high ground. Putting ol' Robby in his place became MUCH more important than running the ranch--so they ended up constantly interfering with their biggest asset. Office politics transplanted to the prairie, with some allegations of sexism thrown in to strengthen the hand. Pathetic.

Best lesson from the show: you can't lead from the rear. Scariest part: how many people like the Cookes I've known and worked for.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Do yourself a favor

Read George Will's latest column. JK Galbraith shuffled off the mortal coil this week, and this is Will's critical yet respectful remembrance of the last of the great price-fixers. Galbraith definitely had a great effect on my education, though not in any way he would have appreciated. The Econ department at UT, at least in the late 80's/early 90's, was dedicated to his proposition that economics is a normative, not objective, endeavor. Econometrics, statistics, etc., were just minor formalities--the overriding goal was to show, over and over and in as many varied ways as possible, that at best markets didn't work, and that at worst they were merely tools for oppression of whatever particular group had the most multi-culti cachet at the moment. Hell, we had our own certified Marxist economics professor (his wife was my first Russian teacher).

What I learned: as George Will likes to say, some ideas are so patently absurd that only an intellectual can believe them.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Take that, boycotters and work-stoppers...

The Deadman team has done its part to lay your nefarious scheme at nines! The 100% legal immigrant in our family dutifully went to the office today, while I made sure to stop by that great Texas institution, Whataburger, for breakfast this morning in open and clear violation of your ban! And just so you know, there was a hell of a lot of Spanish being spoken back behind the counter while I was ordering, too. I plan to hit Taco Cabana for lunch if time permits, then we're going to buy a week's worth of groceries at Wal-Mart (oh, yeah--I said it. That's right--Wal-Mart).