Date: October 20, 2015

Clock Kid and the jumping the gun in the outrage cycle

We got played. Liberals got played. Obama really got played by agreeing to meet with the Clock Kid and then having him announce the next day: I’m moving to Qatar. With so many fake news stories feeding conspiracy theories about him, he doesn’t need to help manufacture stories.

And I got played. I admit I was conned into writing a story about Clock Boy Ahmed right when it was in the news in September.

I stand by much of what I wrote–that just like the “Poptart Gun Kid”, neither should the Clock Kid have been punished for something that clearly wasn’t a weapon. But with all the unhinged attention focused on Clock Kid I should have known something was up.

Indeed, as I wrote at the end of the article:

Now there might be some truth to the arguments noted by Allahpundit at HotAir.com that liberals really exploded in disproportionate fashion over this particular story. In fact, that President Obama tweeted about it and that CAIR started a “hold up actual clocks” (as opposed to the refashioned-digital-clock-parts-inside-a-pencil-case style favored by the student) Twitter campaign shows that it might also be an example of Twitter outrage culture gone crazy.

So be it. But the headlines–on both sides–should put the actions first and put the identity of the subject in the text of the story.

Well, now Clock Kid’s family announced they are moving to Qatar, which I hope–but sadly don’t expect–means we won’t have to hear about him ever again. So much for the talking point that they are just a moderate Muslim family of would-be scientists. Bill Maher already took apart part of the claim by noting “He didn’t invent anything!”

He took the guts out of a clock radio that he bought in the store and then put it in a pencil box. Okay, this is like pouring Cheerios into a bowl and saying you invented cereal.

So now Clock Kid is moving away from a high school that suspended him to live in a country treats all of its citizens like high school students with no rights. “Leggings are not pants,” Qatar’s tourism authorities tell visitors. Their government is like one big hall monitor.

Moreover, Qatar will also have you arrested for “blasphemy,” for drinking alcohol, certainly for drawing certain cartoons, and for writing poetry considered critical of the ruling family. That’s before we even get into how great their labor protections are for the indentured servants slaves working on their World Cup stadium.

According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union,

The USA raised the 15-year sentence against poet Mohammed al-Ajami for a poem considered critical of the ruling family[3]. This case exemplifies the deeply worrying situation for freedom of expression in the country. Qatar’s defense during the UPR that Mr al-Ajami’s trial was a fair one[4] addresses only his rights in the context of the justice system and not his primary right to freedom of expression.
Whilst we note a number of states’ commendations when it comes to empowering women in Qatar, we remain deeply concerned at the overall situation for women. For example, provisions of Qatari law entrench a marked inequality between women and men[5]. Marital rape is not defined as a crime[6]. Qatar maintains criminal sanctions against sexual activity between consenting same-sex adults, and extramarital sex is subject to corporal punishment[7].

So have fun in Qatar, Clock Kid. If you end up loving living in a country with such Sharia Law, then maybe the United States really isn’t for you.

And everyone who wrote about it unquestioningly and all the tech leaders who invited him to join their companies, own up to having jumped the gun. He probably won’t be the next Thomas Edison but at least he won’t be the next A.Q. Khan, either, not with the scientific ability he displayed.

Biden: Obama’s last act? Hardly.

Reports are flying off the presses (prematurely in some cases) that Joe Biden is getting ready to finally step into the race.

In case it happens, people are already analyzing what it means. For National Review‘s Kevin Williamson, it’s “Barack Obama’s last act.” Nevermind that there have been no reports or even credible rumors reported to the effect that Obama will support Biden over Hillary. Pundits don’t always need evidence to speculate, especially about what the president thinks privately about other politicians’ personalities or character.

“[T]he Clintons aren’t Obama’s people,” Williamson speculates, but regardless of whether or not they like each other, Biden could decide to run with or without Obama’s support. (CNN did report Biden received Obama’s “blessing”, whatever that means–far from “support” or “endorsement.”)

Worse, the column falls apart in the first paragraph in arguing that Obama hasn’t accomplished anything. Really? Then what have conservatives and Republicans been complaining about all these years?

He is going to exit the White House having accomplished almost nothing substantive on the policy front — his health-care program is not going to survive,

Really? For Republicans to repeal Obamacare, they would need to win the presidency and a commanding majority in both houses–perhaps a supermajority, if they need to get a filibuster-proof majority, though some are thinking they could repeal much of the law through reconciliation procedures with a simple majority–not impossible but a tough challenge.

Gitmo is not going to be closed,

What’s this about how Obama is “emptying Gitmo”, decreasing its population from a high of 680 to less than 120 now? And conservatives say half the prisoners should never have been released. Insincere politicking? Anyway, Gitmo was largely a figurehead. Obama is still capturing and killing terrorists.

we are not leaving Afghanistan, and he is sending troops into Iraq

Again, here, this argument is dismissed by the criticisms of conservatives and Republicans themselves. Obama was criticized for “pulling out of Iraq,” letting ISIS take over, in some views, and for not being strong enough fighting ISIS to put troops on the ground.

This isn’t to make a judgment on which side is right or wrong in any of those disputes. It is just to say that you can’t deny there are disputes. If Obama didn’t really do anything relevant, then those who disagree with his political ideology wouldn’t have anything to disagree on.

And the above issues don’t even get to some other major issues that his ideological combatants on the right disagree with him on, most notably policy towards illegal immigrants. He has given defacto temporary legal status to many illegal immigrants by use of executive order, and Republicans are so angry about it–not just the policy but also the way with which he did it unilaterally–that House Speaker John Boehner sued him on behalf of the Congress.

Republicans argue that Obama’s immigration policies will bring in too many new Americans and encourage more people to illegally immigrate in order to hope for similar benefits in the future. They also argue it will cause the precedent for future presidents to abuse the separation of powers and make defacto laws on their own. If he does accomplish that, that is not “nothing”; it is very much “something.”

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