SF Chronicle assures us that the story about the teacher who banned “God bless you” was just a tempest in a teapot *UPDATED*

I’m growing very fond of Jill Tucker, a “journalist” at the San Francisco Chronicle who gives me lots of meat for my blogging.  A couple of weeks ago, I looked at her incurious (some might say lazy) reporting about the decision the Oakland Children’s Museum’s made to cancel a controversial art show consisting of pictures that Palestinian children had allegedly drawn.  (I say allegedly because people more familiar with fakes than I think it is highly unlikely that real children created the pictures.)

Tucker ignored entirely the far-Left, anti-American, anti-Israel, antisemitic nature of the group sponsoring the show, and managed to make it sound as if these works were equivalent to Jewish children’s drawings and poems from Terezinstadt.  With few exceptions, those child artists died in Auschwitz’s gas chambers.  They didn’t shop at local malls or swim in Olympic pools.  And when doctors attended those Jewish children, their goals were malevolent, not humanitarian.

Tucker is at it again, this time with a report purporting to explain that the teacher who punished students for saying “bless you” in class had no anti-religious motivation whatsoever.  To give Tucker credit where credit is due, this story starts with good spin.  She announces, loudly and repeatedly, that the kids who received penalties weren’t exercising ordinary good manners when they said “bless you;” they were, instead, acting out solely to irritate their teacher:

It all started when high school health teacher Steve Cuckovich disciplined his freshman students at Will C. Wood High School last week for repeatedly disrupting class by responding to sneezes with a overenthusiastic chorus of “Bless You.”

The sneezer would then thank each giver of the blessing individually.

Cuckovich, as teachers have done since time immemorial, decided to nip that behavior in the bud by docking student grades for the offense.

See?  Totally innocent.  Naughty students; appropriately strict teacher.  Every one of us remembers those days from our own high school years.

How in the world, then, did this story become a world-wide kerfuffle?  Tucker knows who was at fault:  A busy-body parents and Fox News turned garden-variety classroom discipline into a Christian-outrage cause célèbre:

A parent saw the deduction and made a phone call – not to the teacher or the principal or even an elected official, said district Superintendent John Niederkorn.

And that’s about when Cuckovich found a local Fox TV news reporter in his classroom asking why he was banning “Bless you.”

Our good soldier Tucker describes the way in which religious zealots around the world (i.e., Christians) got their knickers in a twist merely because a teacher clamped down on disruptive behavior.  She explains carefully, with myriad quotations yet, that Cuckovich’s only sin was the fact that, in the heat of the moment, he punished the students for saying “bless you,” rather than focusing more generally on the fact that they were disrupting his class.

So far, I am totally with Tucker.  she’s right.  Absolutely right.  Her damage control is pitch-perfect.  Tucker starts singing badly out of tune, however, when confronted by Cuckovich’s own conduct immediately after the fact.  That was when he got the opportunity to explain in his own words what happened in that classroom (emphasis mine):

Cuckovich, however, inadvertently added to the controversy by explaining to reporters that he used the situation as a teaching moment, educating students on the origins of “bless you.”

It appeared to be an effort to reason with students before punishing them, but it added fuel to the religious fury.

“The blessing doesn’t really make any sense anymore,” he told the Sacramento Fox TV news affiliate. “When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying God bless you for getting rid of the evil spirits. But today, I said, really what you’re doing doesn’t make sense anymore.”

I love that Tucker-ish word “inadvertently.”  You see, the problem wasn’t what Cuckovich did.  It was that he explained what he did.  Tucker seems to find nothing unnerving about a public school teacher who lectures students about the fact that “God bless you” is an archaic throwback to a primitive time when people actually believed in God and evil, and then explicitly censors that term in his classroom.

So there you have it:  In Tucker-world, it’s always entirely accidental when a teacher displays religious hostility in a classroom.

I don’t doubt that Cuckovich was legitimately irritated by genuinely bad behavior from his students.  Had Cuckovich limited himself to explaining the ancient origins of a commonly used phrase, while reminding students that disruptive behavior is always subject to penalty, there would have been no story.  What makes the whole story newsworthy, and Tucker’s spin silly, is the fact that Cuckovich launched into what amounts to a “God is dead” lecture to justify his decision and then took the extra step of explicitly prohibiting the phrase “God bless you.” You begin to get the feeling that this guy is an atheist (which is perfectly okay, as I’m periodically one myself), and that he wants to pass that belief-less system on to his health class students (which is not okay).

As it is, even thought I’m an intermittent atheist and periodic agnostic myself, I’m willing to take all the blessings I can get.  We live in a tough world, and there’s a lot to be said for a little good feeling coming from both those around us and, assuming he’s not dead, from God himself.

God bless you!

 

UPDATE:  I got the following comment.  Assuming that the author of the comment is who he says he is, it certainly deserves to be raised up to the level of the post itself:

Steve Cuckovich is my father-in-law, so I am speaking from experience that this had nothing to do with religion. He is not an atheist (not that there would be anything wrong if he was), sent all 3 of his kids to Catholic school, and has attended church most of the Sundays of his life. He is open to the views of others, including his Jewish son-in-law (me), and has been a dedicated and caring teacher for nearly 40 years. He teaches many freshmen and sees it as important to teach them that it is not always appropriate to blurt things out, such as at a wedding or a funeral or, yes, even in the middle of a classroom lesson, particularly if the purpose is create a distraction, which is clearly what was the case in this instance. The Chronicle has been the most accurate reporting on this whole issue (or really non-issue), although even they had things wrong. This is an example of Fox News taking one quote out of context (the one about evil spirits, which has nothing to do with the reason for the “ban”) to create a false religious scandal. Nearly every news story thereafter has repeated this out-of-context statement, which has led to hate mail and a lot of emotional turmoil for the family of a great man and excellent teacher.

The narcissist always sees things reflected through his own prism *UPDATED*

This is Obama, the guy with moobs and a poochy gut:

This is Obama, the guy who looks like granny on a bicycle:

This is Obama, the guy who throws even worse than I do:

Given who and what Obama is — a guy who’s never worked hard physically or mentally — it’s no surprise at all to hear him say that America is soft.  A malignant narcissist sees everything through his own prism.  What he said, folks, is a gentle poke at himself, which is about the maximum in self-criticism you’ll ever hear from a narcissist.

It’s also no surprise that, with Obama in the White House, Vladimir Putin is spending more time than ever having macho pictures of himself publicized:

Putin understands that, while America may not be soft, her leader certainly is, and those contrasting images have a resonating propaganda value.

UPDATE:  The Anchoress has a different take.  She thinks Obama is hard as nails — when it comes to his Leftism.

 

What Obama’s election meant

If you need one, here is an excellent reminder that the majority of registered voters were the ones who put Obama guy in office.  It wasn’t a ballot box coup, it was a cultural coup.

Let’s hope that the voting majority does a bit better in 2012 — and that whomever they elect validates their faith.

By the way, there’s a new organization that is working to make sure that we don’t repeat the same mistake and reelect the guy.  Check out The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama.

“San Francisco overrun by anti-capitalist protestors”

My post caption is the headline the protestors dreamed of.  Zombie has the reality.

Looking at the apathy on display in San Francisco, and comparing it to the furious protests during the Bush era, made me wonder if we can’t come up with some viable alternative energy source by tricking these yahoos into believing that Bush is back in the White House, and then harnessing the rage they immediately generate.

Stoner wisdom

A friend told me a very funny, and apt, story that I want to pass on to you.  It came about because, while he was talking about one thing, I interrupted him to raise another subject that seemed pressing at the time.  When we’d worked through that second subject, I apologized for bringing up something irrelevant to his main point, and encouraged him to pick up where he’d left off before I interrupted.  Before he did, he told me a story:

Back in the hippie era, he and some friends sat around smoking pot and talking.  Someone said something that ruffled my friend.

“That’s irrelevant,” he objected.

A perplexed stoner asked “What do you mean irrelevant?”

My friend answered “It has nothing to do with what we were talking about.  It doesn’t add to the conversation.”

The stoner had the perfect riposte:  “Man, we were talking about everything.  When you’re talking about everything, that means nothing is irrelevant.”

My rambling blog has just been rescued from irrelevancy.

Dear Government, Please keep your cotton-pickin’ fingers out of my business *UPDATED*

When I was a little girl, one of the refrains in my life was “get your cotton-pickin’ fingers out of that.”  I didn’t mean to be destructive.  I was always certain I could make things better.  I had bald Barbies, because I was pretty sure I could make their hair look better.  I had misshapen stuffed animals, because I thought I could fix stuffing defects.  My generous destructive tendencies didn’t stop with my own stuff.  Cameras lost lenses, appliance knobs got jammed, and the food my mom was cooking got ruined.  I thought I was “fixing” things.  My parents knew that my cotton-pickin’ fingers were wrecking havoc.

I was a little girl, and had an excuse for my ill-fated attempts to improve things.  What’s the excuse our government has for continually interfering with things in which it has no business?  And even worse, what’s the excuse of citizens who keep demanding more interference from the government?  I don’t want Washington to “fix” the economy.  I want it to back off.  Let people who know something about business, about supply and demand, about capital, about finances, about consumers, and generally about the facts on the ground, be the ones who fix business.  All that government offers, whether Democrat or Republican, is stupid good will and cotton-pickin’ fingers.

After I expounded on this theory to my sister, she asked, “What should government do?”  I started the usual list:  National Security, Epidemic and Pandemic Control (as opposed to telling people what to eat or how much to weigh), Transcontinental Road and Bridge Building and Maintenance (not “intercontinental,” but “transcontinental”) — basically, things in which it has an interest.

Take national security, for example.  Government definitely has an interest in national security.  That’s one of its biggest jobs and, more importantly, it’s not a job that can be handled competently by states or individual citizens.  Because the government is very goal oriented when it comes to national security, it tends to do it efficiently.  Sure, there’s waste and graft and corruption, but on the whole, as long as the political will is there, our national security system does its core job very well, whether its our men and women in on foreign battle fields, or our information gatherers here at home.

People confuse the main national security goal with the often beneficial by-products it produces.  A classic example is to support a demand that the government fund science by pointing to the huge surgical strides Americans have made during every war since WWI, or to the far-reaching scientific and technological innovations flowing from NASA.  But what they forget was that, in each case, the government had a bigger goal than better sutures or a computer chip.  The government was not trying to improve surgery but was, instead, trying to keep its troops alive so that they could fight and win.  And up until Obama turned NASA into a Muslim outreach organization, it’s purpose was to help us beat the Soviets in the Cold War. That its technology benefited the private sector was great, but that wasn’t the government’s job.

Problems always arise when government tries to micromanage things in which it has no interest.  Government is neither a consumer nor a business, so when it meddles in the marketplace, it does so without any coherent goals, strategies or tactics.  It’s inefficient because it can be inefficient:  as long as things are sort of moving in one direction or another, there is no specific outcome the government is heading towards.

The same holds true for science:  Nowadays, the government tries to pick scientific winners or losers, depending on the political flavor (and trendy Hollywood star) of the day.  As ethanol, biofuels and Solyndra show, the government has an uncanny knack for backing the wrong horse.  Because government spends our money using a mystical and poisonous combination of politics, bureaucracy and corruption, its decisions are unrelated to practical realities.  It’s the marketplace that should be investigating the best way to reduce pollution, whether that means increasing fossil fuel outputs and cleaning emissions, or finding entirely new energy strategies.  Because government as an entity has no responsibility for science qua science, it shouldn’t pretend — at great taxpayer expense — that it does.

And that, my children, is your sermon for the day.

UPDATEBiden’s Solyndra speech pretty much makes my point.  This Jim deMint article does too.

Rosh Hashanah Watcher’s Council edition

Since I am non-observant, I am not doing anything special today, despite the fact that today is a special day.

I am, however, doing something nice today, even if its not religious.  I’m reading my Watcher’s Council submissions:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Obama just can’t get things right when it comes to those pesky janitors

Obama is having a bad week when it comes to Joo . . . janitors.  After his mispronunciation faux pas (which was probably the innocent act of a mental stumble bum, but which sounded appalling coming from Obama, who has proven hostile to Israel and the Jews), he’s now issued a Rosh Hashanah message that’s sure to offend.  Here’s the message:

And here’s Keith Koffler explaining why, peculiar accent aside, Obama put his foot in his mouth again:

The insult is this:

Around the world, a new generation is reaching for their universal rights.

By this he means the “Arab Spring.” Just as he did in his Passover greeting, Obama is using a Jewish holiday to tout the struggle of people who, by and large, hate Jews.

It’s a tribute to how little this supposedly worldly man understands about other cultures that he could possibly place the Arabs and the Muslims into a Jewish New Year greeting.

You should read Koffler’s entire post, ’cause it expands on this point.

I’ve said it before of Obama, and I’ll say it again:  What a maroon.

The only exercise that’s ever shut me up *UPDATED*

Have you ever heard of Tabata intervals?  They are reputed to be the best cardio exercise there is.  The deal is to do hard cardio for 20 seconds, and then take a 10 second break.  Then repeat for several intervals or several minutes or until you collapse in a sodden, breathless, immobile heap on the ground.

Tabata intervals are on my mind right now because of a post at Castra Praetoria, in which America’s First Sargeant, writes about using Tabata intervals for PT with his company.  He’s very creative.  Read the post.  I promise that you’ll enjoy it (especially the part about looking good naked).  Aside from looking good naked, Am’s 1st Sgt. reminds us why we put the guys through Tabata hell:

The bottom line is we conduct PT in order to make our bodies harder to kill. Never mind the idea of being fitter and stronger than your enemy. Fit, healthy bodies tend to survive being shot, blown up, infected, and other rough treatment. It’s only natural the Corps would develop a culture of physical fitness within its ranks.

I’ve actually done Tabata interval training at the dojo.  It has the distinction of being the only type of training we’ve ever done that has rendered me speechless.  No matter what else we do, and how tired I get, I can still force words out.  But not after Tabata intervals.  I am done, completely done, when that training wraps up.

Trust me when I tell you that, if our Marines can do Tabatas and still talk, they can do pretty much damn well anything.

UPDATE:  With exquisite timing, the New York Times writes about an exercise “talk test.”

Teachers are the hardest working people in America?! Really?

My Dad was a teacher, and he worked like a dog.  Of course, back in the day, he got a salary that was only slightly above poverty level, so his hard work wasn’t really the teaching itself.  Instead, it was all the private lessons he gave on the side.  He put in as many hours teaching private lessons as he did teaching in a classroom.

Daddy’s classroom year was about 10 months (he taught summer school too), six hours each weekday, plus about two hours of homework a night.  In addition, though, all year-long, 11 to 12 months a year, he taught private lessons that provided desperately needed money for ordinary life expenses.  During the school year, these added another 30 or so to his work week, and then he’d teach private lessons a straight 40 hours a week during winter break and when there was no summer school.

If you’re wondering who was taking all these summer and winter break private lessons, it was Japanese families who hired Daddy.  In the Bay Area, the Japanese companies would rotate executives through their American offices.  These families wanted their Japanese born children to optimize their American educational experience for the 1-4 years they’d spend in this country.  Daddy was fortunate enough to hook into this network, garnering hours and hours of work from diligent, respectful students who applied the Asian ethos to their after school and holiday studies.

I don’t think teachers nowadays are forced to work quite as hard as my Dad did.  And even if they are, are they really the hardest working people in America?  Per the National Journal Twitter feed, Obama says they are:

I think Obama’s statement (which I’ve indicated with an arrow) might come as a surprise to a few other Americans.  Examples of surprised Americans are, first and foremost, our military serving in Afghanistan and Iraq (and at home too); road crews laboring in the summer sun (or the winter cold); police offers in Oakland, South Central L.A. and Detroit; truckers; farmers; lawyers who, bless their greedy little hearts, routinely put in 80 hours per week; etc. Feel free to add your own jobs ideas to the list of hard-working Americans.

Yes, many teachers work very, very hard, and many have challenging jobs.  But Obama’s pandering statement that they’re “working harder than just about anyone these days” made me throw up just a little, in my mouth.

 

L’Shana tovah!

Sadie sent me quite possibly the best New Year email I’ve ever received, and I share the email, and the good wishes, with all of you:

May you enjoy your applies and honey

May you find it easy to give and receive

May you know when to surrender, and do so with grace
May you remember that some people’s lives are parched dry . . . and be grateful for the abundance in yours
May you find beauty in unexpected places
May you carry your loads with ease amid sweetness
May you learn and teach well
May you move with as much joy and ease as you can
May your home be filled with fresh air and light
May your tense and angry times be short-lived
So that you come back quickly to your comfortable ol’ self
May you be startled and delighted by new beginnings
May you find your uniqueness
May you play with friends
and hear beautiful music
May you come to the surface for air when you need it
May you take excellent care of yourself
And may everything that hurts you also be a little funny

Have a wonderful 5772!! Health & Happiness!

שנה טובה
ומלאת כל טוב

Herman Cain’s magical campaign secret

Herman Cain (photo by Gage Skidmore)

I caught literally two minutes of Rush this morning, but I heard him say something very important, which I’ll summarize here to the best of my abilities:  Herman Cain succeeded in Florida because he’s the only Republican primary candidate relentlessly attacking Obama.  The others are so busy with their internecine warfare that they’ve dropped the ball.  Voters care much less about Perry’s this, Romney’s that, or Santorum’s nothing at all, than they do about what the Democrats are doing to this country.  Cain is the only person who seems to understand that fact and to be using the primary to answer voter concerns.

I think Rush is right.  (Isn’t he always?)

What do you think?

Life imitates . . . my blog?! *UPDATED*

I regularly read James Taranto’s Best of the Web and always enjoy his “Life imitates the Onion” or “Life imitates South Park” shticks.  Imagine my surprise today, when I realized that, this time around, life is imitating a very silly satire I did at my blog almost exactly one year ago.

In September 2010, Marin conservatives gathered at a “Groupapalooza” to learn about conservative organizations in and near Marin County.  (I know it’s hard to believe that there are conservatives and conservative organizations  in and around Marin County, but we conservatives are a hardy, if somewhat outnumbered, breed.)

I attended the Groupapalooza and had a great and giddy time mingling with like-minded spirits.  This induced such a spirit of frivolity in me that, when I got back to my computer, I wrote my follow-up post from the point of view of a young Progressive journalist.  As part of this write-up, I threw in a paragraph in which my imaginary progressive journalist discusses her “friendships” with oppressed people:

Although no one manning these various tables [with information about conservative causes and candidates] was overtly hostile, I could feel them look me over, just as if they actually knew that I have a black friend.  Or I had a black friend.  Well, to be perfectly honest (because I am nothing if not honest), my mail carrier is black and I always say “hello” to him.  I’m also very close to my Hispanic housekeeper, Rosa.  (Or is it Flora?  I always forget because, to tell the truth — and I always tell the truth — I try to stay away when she cleans ’cause it’s kind of uncomfortable to have to stop and talk to someone who scrubs your toilet, you know?)

Imagine my surprise to learn today that my silly social satire has been on-upped by reality and, funnily enough, it was James Taranto who brought it to my attention.  He writes about a spat between two liberals, with the chromatic liberal taking the achromatic liberal to task for having the temerity to call the former a friend in a way that was clearly racially condescending.  (Yes, I’m confused too.)  Here’s how Taranto sums it up:

Yesterday we noted that The Nation’s Melissa Harris-Perry was accusing white liberals of abandoning President Obama for racially invidious reasons. This prompted a defensive and very long response from one white liberal, Joan Walsh, who began by stipulating that she and Harris-Perry are friends:

When I say Melissa Harris-Perry is my friend, I don’t say that rhetorically, or ironically; we are professional friends, we have socialized together; she has included me on political round tables; I like and respect her enormously. That’s why I think it’s important to engage her argument, and I’ve invited her to reply.

And reply she did:

I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way.

Take that, Joan! Note that Walsh and Harris-Perry are in agreement about the facts of their association, they disagree only over what to call it.

It seems to us that Walsh merely meant to suggest that she meant her criticisms of Harris-Perry in a spirit of goodwill. But Harris-Perry doesn’t stop at renouncing friendship with Walsh. She accuses Walsh of employing a “common strategy of argument about one’s racial innocence: the ‘I have black friends’ claim.” Harris-Perry has twisted Walsh’s olive branch into a racially invidious provocation. With friends like these . . .

If life is going to imitate art, I wish it would do so in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, rather than merely ridiculous.

UPDATE:  And while we’re on the subject of racism, Zombie (or, dare I say it, my friend Zombie, whom I’ve never actually met or spoken with, but still really like and respect) looks at the cupcake kerfuffle in at UC Berkeley, a place that is always agitated about everything but actual learning.

Is the Obama Administration trying for a clean healthcare slate?

Back in the 40s or 50s, Esquire Magazine, when it was still a magazine for gentleman, published some quite funny, if very risque cartoons.*  One of them showed a gorgeous, voluptuous, obviously purely decorative woman talking on the phone in her apartment.  Behind her is a kitchen piled to the ceiling with dirty dishes.  It is quite obvious that she is on the phone with her milquetoast husband:  “All is forgiven, Dear.  Come home.  I miss you terribly.”

That cartoon, which I haven’t thought about in decades, popped fully formed into my head when I read that the Obama Administration is doing what it can to hasten a Supreme Court hearing about ObamaCare.  Alana Goodman posits that this rush has a purpose:  “Maybe they reasoned that Obama would have more time to recover from a SCOTUS decision the June before his election, rather than risking a potential September or October surprise?”

Goodman shares the same assumption I do, which is that the currently constituted Supreme Court will reverse ObamaCare, probably in its entirety.  If that happens in June, Obama has the perfect campaign strategy:  We tried, our first effort was flawed, we now have a clean slate, so let us try again.  You know we’ll get it right the second time.  And all I can think about is that old Esquire cartoon.

________________________________

*I hasten to add here that I was not around when Esquire first published these cartoon.  My Dad loved books that gathered together magazine cartoons, and one of the gems he found at Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul’s was a collection of Esquire cartoons.  I also inherited from him a lovely book that put together the best cartoons from the old British magazine, Punch.

Work as contribution

A short time ago, my priest gave a sermon that addressed the deep sorrow and sense of worthlessness internalized by our parishioners that were unemployed. The point of the sermon, actually, was how the unemployed felt “useless” and demeaned for being unable to provide for their families, but that nobody in God’s family should ever feel useless or demeaned. Fine sentiments.

It struck me, though, that we miss a big part of what work represents: contribution. We work to contribute to our society. The value of that contribution to society is often measured by the money we make (profit is a measure of value creation). Whether you design a new i-gizmo, manage a postal delivery room, mop floors or serve-up burgers at the big-M, you are contributing and, as such, your work is noble. A mind game that I like to play when people speak of certain work being beneath them is to ask, what if that job just disappeared: no ditch diggers, no burger flippers, no cleaning people, no garbage collectors (oops, “sanitation engineers)? Not a pretty picture, is it?

I once reminded my kids of this when they made fun of fast-food service workers. Both ended up working as restaurant help (my son worked at Taco Bell). It was good for them.

I suspect that much of the angst and ennuie that we see among the unemployed, trust-fund babies and the badly-employed (i.e., those that knowingly cause damage to society) is a deep seated awareness that they are not contributing. This leads to anger, antisocial behaviors and tantrums. In many case, not only they not contributing, but they feed off the productivity of the contributors. That certainly doesn’t contribute to self-esteem. On the other hand, if you contribute, you don’t need to feel bad about yourself. I am at an age where my peers love nothing more than to mentor younger employees and pass on the knowledge they have accumulated over their careers. There is a wonderful light in the eyes of these veterans – they are contributing!

Unfortunately, I sense that our society has been drifting away from this. Work is seen by too many as something that one is forced to do in order to survive, a necessary drudgery. Wage slaves. It’s so unfair!  Too many people choose professions because they want to make money, rather than by their sense of how they will contribute. I have known many such people, some very wealthy, most of whom were profoundly unhappy.

That’s too bad. I suspect that one big reason our country is in decline is because we measure tend to measure our lives by the material things we obtain rather than by how we contribute to society.

I suggest that one way we can really help our country is to re-ennoble the value of work by, as Book mentioned so eloquently in an earlier post, reframing its meaning. I don’t care what kind of work somebody does…just as long as they contribute, it is noble, it is good.

If you disagree with me, let me know. If you agree, then go let’s go and find some young kids and explain to them the nobility of work as a contribution to society. Don’t ask people what they do for a living, ask them how they “contribute”. I suggest that we could spread around quite a bit of happiness and self worth that way.

That’s just my two cents, of course.

 

Maxine Waters accidentally wanders into a Jewish joke

Here’s the joke, an oldie from the Soviet Union:

On a bitterly cold day in Moscow, word has gone out that a store has received a shipment of food supplies.  People start lining up early.  Soon, the line doubles around the blog block.  After a couple of hours, an official emerges from the store.

“Owing to American interference with Soviet concerns, supplies are slightly more limited than we had originally anticipated.  All Jews must therefore leave this line.”

Grumbling, but unsurprised, the Jews head home empty-handed.

The sun rises in the sky, but gives no warmth.  Another couple of hours go by, and the same official comes out.

“The Americans were worse than we thought, and our supplies are more diminished than we realized.  All of those who do not belong to the Communist Party must leave this line.”

Disgruntled non-Party members head home, leaving only the hard-core Soviets waiting for food.

The sun begins to set.  The cold becomes worse.  The Party members huddle together, trying to get warm.  At long last, after they’ve spent eight or ten hours waiting, the official emerges from the store one last time.

“We regret to announce that American depredations were so great that we have no food supplies available today.  You must all go home.”

As the Party members shuffle away into the cold night, one loudly says to the other, “Those damn Jews!  They get all the luck.”

Keeping that joke fixed firmly in your mind, please enjoy Rep. Maxine Waters’ considered opinion about the favorable treatment the Jews get at Obama’s hands (as compared to the scolding meted out to the Congressional Black Caucus):

MAXINE WATERS: I’m not sure exactly who the president was talking to. As you know, the Congressional Black Caucus has been out in five cities where we held town hall meetings and jobs fairs addressing this 16.7 unemployment that’s real, that translates in some areas to 30, 40 percent unemployment; and with black youth, 50 percent unemployment. So, I’m not sure who the president was addressing.

I found that language a bit curious because the president spoke to the Hispanic Caucus, and certainly they’re pushing him on immigration. And despite the fact that he’s appointed Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, he has an office for excellence in Hispanic education right in the White House. They’re still pushing him. He certainly didn’t tell them to stop complaining.

And he would never say that to the gay and lesbian community, who really pushed him on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; or even in a speech to AIPAC, he would never say to the Jewish community, ‘Stop complaining about Israel.’

Peculiarly enough, a hypothetical third party for independents would look like Progressives on steroids

I do love the way my liberal Facebook friends make me aware of things I wouldn’t otherwise notice.  One of those things is a Matt Miller op-ed in the Washington Post, which imagines the perfect speech a dream independent candidate would give.  As Miller describes it:

This is one columnist’s stab at what a candidate might sound like if he or she were trying to appeal to the majority of voters in the middle of the electorate who feel both parties are failing us.

This dream speech, the one Miller imagines appealing to “the majority of voters in the middle of the electorate,” goes on for five looonnnggg screens.  I stopped reading halfway through the second paragraph.  Why?  Because of the sentence I highlighted:

I’m running for president as an independent because we need to change the debate if we’re going to change the country.  Neither of our two major parties has a strategy for solving our biggest problems; they have strategies for winning elections, which isn’t the same thing. Democrats and Republicans will tell you, as I do, that they want to make America competitive again, keep faith with our deepest values of fairness and opportunity, and fix our broken political system. But the Democrats’ timid half-measures and the Republicans’ mindless anti-government creed can’t begin to get us there.

If you’ll allow me to translate that emphasized sentence, Miller is saying that the solution to our nation’s problems is to ignore anything the Republicans say and, instead, go full throttle on the Progressive agenda.  That is the only way to understand his statement that the Democrats are too timid to implement full measures, while everything that the Republicans propose is mindlessly stupid.  Presumably, he then goes on for several more screens to explain precisely how he’d implement this hyper-Progressive agenda.

In what logical universe does Miller exist that makes him think that moving to the left of Left will “appeal to the majority of voters in the middle of the electorate”?  You can see why I stopped reading right about there.  Anyone who cannot recognize his own ideological blindness probably will not think or write well enough to justify the time I would have to spend reading his article.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

What’s wrong with this picture; or, is there something wrong with this picture? *UPDATED*

This picture showed up on my liberal friends’ posts at Facebook today:

As for me, over the past two years, I’ve been spending my time looking at this picture, or ones very similar:

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The first image is about debt and the second is about deficit.  Is that the only difference?  Can someone please explain to me why the first one, which is circulating freely amongst liberals, makes it look as if Obama’s a piker when it comes to spending, while the other one, the chart conservatives drag out, makes it appear that Obama is very quickly driving us into the poor house?

What occurs to me looking at the first chart is that, fearsome red lines notwithstanding, the country was thriving under Reagan (and it did pretty well under Bush too).  Conversely, the country is struggling under Obama, despite that little blue 16% line.  Meanwhile, the second chart, which shows serious red Obama years coincides with serious economic despair in the country.

I know I’m being stupid and simplistic about this.  I can only blame a combination of economic ignorance and severe sleep deprivation (call it Insomnia “R” Us).

UPDATE:  You’re all correct (of course).  As this fact-check from PolitiFact shows, the chart falls into the lies, damn lies, and statistics category.  Thank you, cuneiandro, for the link.

The beginning of the end of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship

It seems we’ve propped up Pakistan long enough.  It’s no longer a duplicitous ally.  Instead, as Islamists have penetrated further and further into its political and military ranks, it’s now becoming an active enemy:

On Thursday, Adm. Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan was using ‘violent extremism as an instrument of policy’ and said the Haqqani network, Af-Pak’s deadliest militant outfit, ‘acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Internal Services Intelligence Agency.’ Mullen further explained that Pakistan was using militant proxies to ‘hedge their bets’ in Afghanistan, adding, ‘in reality, they have already lost that bet.’ To be sure, independent analysts and former government officials have been airing such complaints for years. But never in the long, dark history of the Afghan war have serving officials so unequivocally called Pakistan to account for its double game.

You can see the rest here.

This rupture was inevitable.  If the U.S.-Pakistan had been bride and groom, they would long ago have been featured in a “Can this marriage be saved” column, along with sage advice that, no, it cannot.  An open rift will, of course, impose significant tactical and strategic changes on our military, but I have great faith in our military’s adaptability.  And indeed, with Obama at the helm for another 15 or so months, the Pakistan situation may be the least of our military’s problems.

The news out of England *UPDATED*

A few stories from England’s Daily Mail, all showing that the country is not in the best of health.  Each of these stories highlights, not the horrible things individuals can do, because those crimes transcend national boundaries, but the way in which England has rendered itself unable to react in any way to the insults occurring within its borders.

1.  An Eritrean national who helped plot an attempted jihad-inspired mass murder in England is not only free after serving just half his sentence, but the Brits cannot deport him for fear of violating his human rights.  Interestingly, concern about human rights didn’t seem to impinge on his activities when he helped the would-be bombers.

2.  Somehow England’s best, brightest and Leftest minds were unable to figure out that open immigration would depress wages.  This is what years of Leftist higher education will do to you — make you stupid.

3.  As a child, I remember reading that Soviet hospitals had something in common with medieval hospitals:  if your relatives weren’t there to take care of you, you died.  Turns out that you don’t have to be in a hardcore Communist nation or a medieval time warp for that to open.  Just go to England.  Soft socialism will do exactly the same bad job for you.

4.  Human rights don’t stop with Jihadists.  True blue axe-murdering Brits get their day in the sun too, as was the case with an axe murder with three notches on his blade who was nevertheless allowed out of prison to attend a course in chopping down trees.  Once an axe lover, always an axe lover, I guess.

UPDATE:  Sadie just sent me the worst article of all, one explaining better than anything else could, how Britain has arrived at this state:

From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black.

But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism.

Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.

Another staple of the classroom – white paper – has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity.

Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in “the full range of flesh tones”, reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.

Read the rest here.

And one more from Sadie:  police ban cafe owner from displaying Christian literature (including the Bible) and images, as they are an offense to public order.  The next thing, presumably, will be a raid on Buckingham Palace.  I’ve heard there’s an old woman living there who actually claims to be the head of a Christian church in England.  (I feel a satirical post coming on, if I can just keep my comic mojo going.)