Peeling off the Sotomayor layers

Phyllis Chesler wrote a nice column today reminding conservatives (a) not to Bork Sotomayor (because two wrongs definitely don’t make a right); and (b) to make sure to develop Sotomayor’s understanding of the Constitution and her role as a judge — because, after all, that is what this whole job interview is about.

Because of the good news/bad news that keeps flowing from Sotomayor’s sudden presence in the popular consciousness (which shows her as a potentially racist, potential protector of the First Amendment; potential identity politics ideologue, potential Catholic voter on abortion, etc.), Chesler is absolutely right about approaching Sotomayor with both diligence and respect.  The same good news/bad news cycle also reminded me of the Simpson’s episode “Hungry are the Damned.”  Pay close attention to the cookbook scene:

Liberal fascism

States don’t like families, but even for a fascist state, “you’re too dumb to parent” seems like a bit of a stretch.  Please note that the parent is not retarded in any way.  The state just seems not to like her.

All I can say that a bureaucratic determination that one is “dumb” seems like an awfully slippery slope for the state to justify just about anything it wants to do.  Indeed, I seem to recall a State that did just that:  my great uncle (the one on the goyish side of the family) died in the gas chambers because he was gay and manic depressive.  Apparently the Nazis really thought he was just too “dumb” to survive.

Green scams

I found a lengthy article in Britain’s Daily Mail reprinting an expose of what we we all could have predicted:  the scams that are behind carbon credit trading.  Rather than dissect the article myself (lazy me), I sent it to my friend Laer, whose business is providing PR representation for corporations that find themselves on the wrong end of the Greenies’ gun.  No surprise, therefore, that Laer read the article, distilled its essence, and came up with a short, punchy post about a costly (and often deadly) scam — and one that cap-and-trade will likely make a whole lot costlier.

On a related note, I’ve written before how about my curmedgeonly little son has become anti-Green in response to the endless proselytizing and propaganda at his elementary school.  With his contrarion personality, this wasn’t too surprising.  What was surprising, however, was when my cheerful little daughter, the one who loves middle school and just absorbs every lesson, blew up at her father this morning when he told her to put something in the recycling bin.  “I’m sick of all this Green stuff.  It’s all they talk about in school.  I just don’t care.  They never leave us alone.”  Apparently even children can take only so much indoctrination.

To the media, not all protests are equal

Yesterday, at a swim meet, I chanced upon a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle which is, of course, the major regional paper here in the Bay Area.  On the front page was a close-up picture of some angry protesters, and this caption:  Health care activists lament single-payer snub.  Beyond mumbling to myself that I wished that the protesters had as much in the way of brains as they do in fervor, I ignored the article.  I should have read it.

I received today an email from a conservative friend pointing out something I’d missed about the Chron’s coverage.  This lone “single-payer” protest managed to muster about 200 people and made the front page.  It stands in stark contract to the Chron’s coverage of the April 15 Tax Day Tea Party protest in San Francisco.

By the Chron’s own admission, the Tea Party protest gathering was at least 2.5 times bigger than the single-payer protest (“about 500″ showed up at the Tea Party, and more honest reporters estimated between 700 and 1000 showed up).  Further, unlike the single-payer protest, the tax protest wasn’t even a stand alone event.  Instead, as the Chron admitted, it was one of a chain of “Anti-tax, anti-bailout ‘Tea Party’ rallies held around the nation Wednesday.”  (And no wonder, as AJ Strata explains.)  Page one stuff, right?  Wrong.

According to the Chron’s own records, it put its report on the  Tea Party on page A12.  The Chron is not a big paper.  Page 12 is the equivalent of buried.  (The only other nod the Chron gave to this nationwide event was a snarky cartoon showing Romney and Rush delighting in the way they’d made stupid Americans dance to their rich white men’s tune.)

Apparently in Chronicle-land, not all protests are created equal.  A small, isolated protest on a subject near and dear to the editors’ liberal hearts lands on page one.  A large protest that is linked to similar protests all over the nation, but that just doesn’t resonate with the editors, gets buried.

All of this ties in with a thought I had after reading Leo Rennert’s prediction that Obama, like Reagan, will have to pay a price for making a rather crude political visit to a Nazi concentration camp.  I don’t think he’ll have to pay the price, and the difference is the media.

In the 1980s, the media did everything it could to destroy Reagan, including putting on page 1 every fuss any group had with Reagan.  That gave stories legs.  It’s different now.  To the extent people find offensive Obama’s coldly-calculating trip to Buchenwald, the American media is burying the story.  Even if they report on it, it will be buried so deeply within the paper’s pages, or at its website, that only those looking for it will find it.  End of story.

It’s not a surprise to any of us that he who writes the story gets to designate the villians and the good guys.  We also sometimes enjoy seeing a little revisionism that turns things on their heads.  Witness the huge success of Gergory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. That book paints the pretty Glinda as the evil, totalitarian dictator, and the green Wicked Witch of the West as the misunderstood freedom fighter.

What people forget too often is that what makes for good art often makes for lousy reality.  It’s an awfully bad idea when our press takes upon itself the role of casting director, assigning preferred parties preferential treatment in the papers, thereby perverting the facts on the ground, and wrongly shaping people’s perceptions of those facts.

Liberal ickiness watch, Doonesbury style

I’m not quite sure if it’s hypocrisy, or if it’s just another disgusting example of liberal opportunism, hence the wishy-washy name of this post.  Whatever it is, it sure left me feeling icky.

Oh, you’re wondering what the “it” I’m talking about is, right?  I’m talking about the magical way in which liberals have suddenly changed their observances of Memorial Day now that one of their own is finally in the White House — and it’s not a change for the better.  It’s a change that reveals that all of their high flown rhetoric about honoring the war dead was nothing more than an effort to make the war look as awful as possible in order to harm President Bush.

Incidentally, the reason I learned about this sudden disinterest in the war dead came about because I sent my blog friends an email regarding today’s and yesterday’s Doonesbury cartoons,* both of which take pretty nasty swipes at Obama (as well as a nasty swipe at Bush).  Mike, at Flopping Aces, responded by sending me the link to his post about changing liberal Memorial Day observances.

Bottom line:  liberals are pleased to have Bush out of the White House, but not as pleased as they thought they’d be to have Obama in the White House.

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*I haven’t actually read Doonesbury in more than a decade.  I only read it today because someone had the papers at a swim meet I was attending.  My approach when I’ve got a hard copy of the paper is always to turn to the comics first.

A good primer on bad tax policy

It’s not just the video that’s good, it’s John Hindraker’s comment about Obama’s tax policies:

I think President Obama’s worst weakness is that he is ignorant, not only of economics as an academic discipline, but of business as it is commonly experienced and understood by those in the private sector. This lack of understanding promises to be an endless source of bad policy.

Gangsta wear

We all know what gangstas wear, because those same clothes eventually ended up being worn by every middle class boy in America:  unlaced high tops, falling down pants over plaid boxers, t-shirts with menacing images, and reverse baseball caps.

For once, though, there’s a fashion that’s hit both ganstas and middle class kids alike.  How else can one explain these bona fide, gen-u-ine 2008 mugshots, collected at The Smoking Gun:

And over at My Pet Jawa, there’s one more image to add to the collection.

There are bad guys out there; and there are good guys out there

Cretins desecrated the flag that had once draped the coffin of a soldier who died in Iraq.  And an ex-Marine who is now a police officer showed the kind of deep respect that helped soften that blow:

Not since his son was killed in combat in Iraq has Paul Olson felt so emotionally jarred.

On Memorial Day, somebody yanked the American flag out of its metal stand in front of Olson’s Corte Madera house and threw it on the ground.

It was a flag that had been draped over the casket of U.S. Army Cpl. Nicholas Olson, a Novato resident who was killed in Iraq in September 2007.

“My son’s name is on that flag. Now it’s been soiled,” Olson said. “My heart’s broken.”

Olson called the Twin Cities Police Department and filed a report. The flag, which has Nicholas Olson’s name on it, is about 5 by 6 feet and is not easy for one person to fold properly. Twin Cities police Officer Anthony Shaw came out to the house and made an impression on Olson.

“I was so upset, and then he said he had been in the Marine Corps and had done a tour of duty,” Olson said. “Then he said, ‘Would you like like me to help you fold it, sir?’ That really meant a lot to me.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

By the way, this is the second time in as many days that Vets have made a difference in my home County.  As you may recall from an earlier post, when a drunk driver plowed into a dad and daughter (killing the child and almost killing the dad), it was a vet who was able to provide immediate help.  He probably saved the dad’s live, although the dad must be suffering such horrible physical and mental anguish right now, that may not be a gift he can or ever will appreciate.

Dear Obama: Will you father my child, you God, you?

The facts are what they are, but you’ve got to love the emotion the journalist puts behind this opening paragraph about the newly released Obama photographs:

He was tall and stunningly good looking, a guy who could appear pensive and serious one moment and then, with smoke from an unfiltered cigarette swirling around his face, morph into the hippest looking dude this side of James Dean.

Which is why budding photographer Lisa Jack knew the moment she saw Barack Obama walk into the campus snack shop at Los Angeles’ Occidental College in 1980 that she had to get the freshman in front of a camera.

Is Obama already playing hardball with Israel? *UPDATED*

Reader David Foster brought to my attention an article in the World Tribune which says Obama is refusing to give Israel helicopters that it requested:

The Obama administration has blocked Israel’s request for advanced U.S.-origin attack helicopters.

Government sources said the administration has held up Israel’s request for the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. The sources said the request was undergoing an interagency review to determine whether additional Longbow helicopters would threaten Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

“During the recent war, Israel made considerable use of the Longbow, and there were high civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip,” a source close to the administration said.

The sources said Israel has sought to purchase up to six new AH-64Ds in an effort to bolster conventional and counter-insurgency capabilities. They said Israel wants to replenish its fleet after the loss of two Apache helicopters in the 2006 war with Hizbullah.

You can read the rest of the story here.

David says he hasn’t seen this story anywhere else.  Intrigued, I fired off an email to those bloggers I know who have connections to the military and intelligence community.  I’ll keep you posted as I get information on this one.  The Confederate Yankee is taking it seriously, and is shocked by what it tells us about the Obama Administration’s short-sighted Middle Eastern policy.

Incidentally, I’ve realized that, just as Democrats have a litmus test in being pro-Choice on abortion, I have a litmus test too:  Israel.  Frame the question this way:  Who do you side with — a democratic regime that grants equal rights to minorities, all faiths, women and gays or a totalitarian regime that tortures, enslaves, kills and exiles all minorities, all but one religion, women and gays?  Put that way, you manage to cut through the crap about the “victims” in the latter regime (who are primarily victims of their own government, not of the former regime) or about imperalism or about “just wanting to live in peace.”  Obama is failing my litmus test, big time.

UPDATE:  I got some email from a good authority — but one I cannot identify — saying that people in the know don’t know about this one.

Nazi lies linger *UPDATED*

Ted Bromund is worried that Obama, by going to both Buchenwald and Dresden in the same trip is about to do something symbolically awful.  Buchenwald, of course, was one of the infamous Nazi labor camps located right in Germany itself.  It was not a death camp, and was not used specifically to exterminate Jews, but it had an appalling death rate.  Those who died were political prisoners and the “unfit”.  Pardon this lengthy Wikipedia quotation, but I think it’s important to put it here.  (You can go to the Wikipedia article for the missing footnotes and hyperlinks):

Although Buchenwald technically was not an extermination camp, it was a site of an extraordinary number of deaths.

A primary cause of the deaths was illness due to harsh camp conditions, and hunger was also prevalent. Malnourished and suffering from disease, many were literally “worked to death”, as inmates had only the choice between slave labour or inevitable execution. Many inmates died as a result of human experimentations or fell victim to arbitrary acts perpetrated by the SS guards, and yet other prisoners were simply murdered—the two primary methods of execution were shooting and hanging. At one point, the ashes of dead prisoners would be returned to their families in a sheet metal box—postage due, to be paid by the family. This practice was eventually stopped as more and more prisoners died. [citation needed]

Summary executions of Soviet POWs were also carried out at Buchenwald. At least 1,000 Soviet POWs were selected in 1941–2 by a task force of three Dresden Gestapo officers and sent to the camp for immediate liquidation by a gunshot to the back of the neck, the infamous Genickschuss, using a purpose-built facility.

The camp was also a site of large-scale trials for vaccines against epidemic typhus in 1942 and 1943. In all 729 inmates were used as test subjects, with 280 of them dying as a result. Because of their long association in cramped quarters in Block 46, the typhus killed more people and infections lasted longer than would have been the case had healthy adults been infected with the disease.

Number of deaths

The SS left behind accounts of the number of prisoners and people coming to and leaving the camp, categorizing those leaving them by release, transfer, or death. These accounts are one of the sources of estimates for the number of deaths in Buchenwald. According to SS documents, 33,462 died in Buchenwald. These documents were not, however, necessarily accurate: Among those executed before 1944 many were listed as “transferred to the Gestapo”. Furthermore, from 1941 forward Soviet POWs were executed in mass killings. Arriving prisoners selected for execution were not entered into the camp register and therefore were not among the 33,462 dead listed in SS documents.[4]

One former Buchenwald prisoner, Armin Walter, calculated the number of executions by shooting in the back of the head. His job at Buchenwald was to set up and care for a radio installation at the facility where people were executed and counted the numbers, which arrived by telex, and hid the information. He says that 8,483 Soviet prisoners of war were shot in this manner.[5]

According to the same source, the total number of deaths at Buchenwald is estimated at 56,545.[6] This number is the sum of:

* Deaths according to material left behind by SS: 33,462[7]
* Executions by shooting: 8,483
* Executions by hanging (estimate): 1,100
* Deaths during evacuation transports: 13,500[8]

This total (56,545) corresponds to a death rate of 24 percent assuming that the number of persons passing through the camp according to documents left by the SS, 238,380 prisoners, is accurate.[9]

So, just to be clear, in that one camp alone, Germans used and slaughtered almost 60,000 civilian prisoners (Jews, Communists, gays, royalty, intellectuals, Jehovah’s witnesses, priests, etc.)

People died at Dresden too.  If you ask your reasonably well-informed person about Dresden, that person will tell you (a) that Dresden had no military importance; (b) that it held only a priceless art collection that was destroyed; and, most horribly of all (c) that 250,000 people died in a single night.  (Which would make it worse than Hiroshima’s initial impact.)

As Bromund details in another article, however, the Dresden story we all know is propaganda from the master himself, Josef Goebbels.  Yes, there were air raids.  Yes, there was a fire.  Yes, people died.  And yes, art and old buildings were destroyed.  Bromund explains, however, that the Dresden bombing was no worse that that the Allies visited on other cities; that they were substantially less than the bombings the Germans made on London, Plymouth, Poland, Rotterdam and Belgrade; that Dresden was in fact a City of major military importance, with an important railway depot and more than a hundred factories working for the war effort; and (and this is the big one) that Goebbels increased by as much as a factor of ten the number killed in the bombing in order to inflame people’s sensibilities.

That was then.  This is now.  And now you know — you just know — that Obama is going to find an equivalence between Buchenwald and Dresden.  In rounded pontifical tones, he’ll casually conflate the Nazi’s deliberate slaughter of millions of innocent people with a strategic wartime attack on a significant military target.  And then he’ll apologize.

UPDATE: Not only do Nazi lies linger, but the list of Obama lies grows. Turns out that Obama’s reasons for going to Buchenwald have nothing to do with a celebration of his uncle’s role in the camp’s liberation, and everything to do with cold, hard politicsLeo Rennert thinks that, just as such a political trip didn’t work for Reagan, it won’t work for Obama but, sadly, I think Rennert’s wrong.  The difference is the media.  The media loathed Reagan and played up the political angle of his trip.  Here in American you have to turn to a German publication to start discovering the truth about Obama’s lie.

Sotomayor’s intellect

I don’t doubt that Sotomayor is smart.  What’s questionable is how smart.  To the liberals, her Ivy League degrees give her instant crediblity.  Let me quote from Ruth Marcus, along with the fisking I gave a few days ago on that particular point:

Ditto, with a bit of racism thrown in, the barely sourced and inadequately supported suggestion of Sotomayor as an intellectual lightweight. I find it awfully hard to reconcile that with graduating summa cum laude from Princeton.  [Sad to say, I can't get excited about her graduating summa cum laude from Princeton.  For one thing, getting good grades in college is an entirely different skill set from being a quality legal analyst, a fact to which I can personally attest.  A legal brain is a rather unique thing.  If it's allied to an intelligent person, that's great, but not all intelligent people have good legal brains.  The other thing is that the Ivy Leagues and other top private colleges are renowned for grade inflation.  For one thing, since parents are paying through the nose for the privilege of their children attending these schools, the schools want to give bang for the buck, with bang translating, not as a good education, but simply as good grades.  Also, teachers are afraid to give minorities bad grades.  When it comes to these schools, the product is so cheapend, anyone with sense takes its reports with a grain of salt.]

Turns out my instincts were probably right on the money regarding Sotomayor’s preferential treatment, at least during her time at Princeton.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Liberals are the most racist people in the world.  They believe minorities are incapable of work and that they lack intelligence.  Every one of their programs is intended to confirm in the liberal’s mind his own racial beneficence, while ensuring that, over the long run, the bulk of those “beloved” minorities are never able to get ahead.

These people actually take themselves seriously

Austin, Texas, is a great town.  It’s beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s got one of the premier public universities in America.  It’s this last that is responsible for Austin’s reputation as the most politically liberal town in Texas.  This Progressive reputation goes a long way to explain the pompous idiocy of a letter The New Editor found while reading The Austin-American Statesman, the city’s daily paper.

This kind of thing just makes one sick

This is every parent’s nightmare.  Mr. Bookworm is still shuddering periodically after having read it.  I’m sure the father in the story wishes he were dead — and probably survived only because an Iraq vet who is also a paramedic, coincidentally was on hand to render first aid.

A council woman is already demanding a red light at the fatal intersection.  Given that the killer was a drunk, I wonder if a light would have changed anything. Some horrible things transcend common sense and all the care we can take.

Such a tragedy.  My thoughts are with the family.

Did I miss something?

Obama just told Israel to halt settlements, and at the same time told Palestinians to “increase[s] security.” I’m now curious about something — genuinely curious, not snarky:  Prior to today, in his four months as President, has Obama told the Palestinians to stop killing Israelis?

I mean, telling Palestinians to “increas security” doesn’t have quite the same resonance, does it, as “stop launching rockets into Israel” or “stop teaching your people to slaughter Israelis and other Jews”?  It seems to me that Obama’s demanding more of an Israeli quid, than he is a Palestinian pro quo.

Also, in my primitive little mind, continual efforts at slaughter are worse than adding on a rec room.  Shouldn’t the former stop before the latter?  And shouldn’t it stop for some finite period of time, rather than the indefinite one or two days that’s par for the Palestinian course?

Weekly Watcher’s reading

I’ve already read these great Watcher’s Council submissions and cast (or, as my son would say, casted) my vote.  I think you’ll enjoy reading them too:

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions