President Obama’s church is the Chapel of (Progressive) Democracy

Best of the Web posts a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times in which Obama defines sin, not along traditional Christian or Muslim lines, but along self-referential lines:

Falsani: Do you believe in sin?

Obama: Yes.

Falsani: What is sin?

Obama: Being out of alignment with my values.

The President, when he made that statement about the measure of sin being his own values, might have had in the back of his head the unspoken qualifier that his values are “Christian.” I doubt it, though, because I have found the definitive doctrine of Obama’s faith. Joan Allen, in the 2000 movie The Contender, recites the doctrinal beliefs of what she calls a church based in “this very chapel of democracy.”  I think her church could be more accurately described as The Church of Progressive Political Belief, and it’s clear that President Obama is a devout member.

Here’s the video, followed by a transcript with my interlineations:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman of the Committee.  Remarkably enough, it seems that I have some explaining to do.  So, let me be absolutely clear.

I stand for a woman’s right to choose.

[So does the President, and he stands for making everyone in America, including religious institutions and religious worshippers that are doctrinally opposed to that "right," pay for women's choices.]

I stand for the elimination of the death penalty.

[This has not been an issue for our president, although he does seem uncommonly fond of drones.]

I stand for a strong and growing armed forces because we must stamp out genocide on this planet, and I believe that that is a cause worth dying for.

[Here we have an early articulation of R2P -- responsibility to protect.  In the Progressive canon, our country is not worth fighting for and dying for.  Genocide -- provided that those on the receiving end of genocide are neither Christians nor Jews -- is the real reason a Progressive United States should have a military.  In this regard, it's ironic that president Obama not only presided over two wars, but started a third.]

I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home.  Period.

[Three words:  Fast and Furious.]

I stand for making the selling cigarettes to our youth a federal offense.

[Because, really, who needs education, the marketplace of ideas, and free will?]

I stand for term limits and campaign reform.

[Obama hasn't said much about term limits, but he's made it clear that his idea of campaign reform is to stifle corporate speech, despite the fact that corporations are aggregations of citizens and pay taxes; and that his personal contribution to campaign reform is to campaign more than all the other presidents since Nixon put together.]

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism.

[The Founders could not have made it more clear that Freedom of Religion, which is contained in the First Amendment, protects religion from government, not vice versa.  The Amendment's language is unequivocal:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." There's nothing in there mandating that no religious person can serve in Congress or have a say in America's government.]

Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves [that would be the Republican sect of the church], that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.  [And there you have it -- President Obama's creed writ large:  "I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes.  I need my heart, my brain, and this (Progressive) church.]

Obama is a theoretical leader; Romney a practical one

One of the most startling features of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, a book that examines the killing fields that Stalin and Hitler created in the lands between Germany and Russia proper, is the way in which these socialist leaders were so willing to kill people in the millions to make reality accord with their theories.  This chasm between ideas and reality was most obvious in the Soviet Union.

Soviet leaders could not account for the fact that, contrary to Marx’s predictions, the first socialist revolution occurred in an agrarian, almost feudal economy, rather than in a totally industrialized economy.  Obviously, reasoned the Soviet theorists, theirs was an incomplete revolution.  To be complete, the Soviet Union would have to be industrialized, and then the Soviet workers would cheerfully unite behind a socialist government, rather than hoarding food and trying to live out their lives as individuals.

Stalin, imbued by faith in his theory, and with no regard whatsoever for the sanctity of human life, decided to “industrialize” the Ukraine by getting rid of the small farms that dotted that verdant breadbasket.  He would create vast, government-controlled collectives, complete with Soviet-made tractors, that would stun the Western world.

Indeed, if Walter Duranty hadn’t been a profoundly evil man who shilled for a murderous regime, the world would have been stunned.  It would have been stunned because it would have seen kulaks (small landowners) and peasants relocated, shot, and starved in the millions over about five or seven years.  In this way, Stalin advanced socialist theory over the factually dead bodies of his own people.  At the end of it all, of course, the collectives were much less effective than a market economy would have been.

I see theory over fact regularly in the liberal world I inhabit.  One of my favorites is the liberal who refused to believe that a drop of sugared tea can create a sticky spot on the floor or counter.  “There’s too little sugar,” she said, “for any stickiness to result from a single drop.”  The fact that I could show her sticky spots was irrelevant.  Her theory said there couldn’t be spots, and therefore there weren’t — actual sticky spots notwithstanding.

Likewise, when I was packing some boxes alongside a liberal, I asked for directions about what should be put in one of the boxes.

“Put these six items in the box,” the liberal told me.

I did.  The box was very, very heavy.

“What did you put in there?” asked the liberal.  “It’s way too heavy.”

“The six things you told me to put in there,” I replied.

“No,” said the liberal, “you couldn’t have.  Those six things are not that heavy.”

“But they are,” said I, “pointing to the box.”

“No, they’re not,” said the liberal, completely ignoring the reality in the box at his feet.

Obama, of course, is a purely theoretical leader.  Barring a short stint in private practice when, as a junior associate, he would have had minimal responsibilities, Obama has always worked in the worlds of academia and community organizing.  In the latter role, every one of his initiatives failed.  In the former role, of course, he had no initiatives.  He could immerse himself in theory without ever cross-checking those theories against the real world.

Now that Obama has taken on the hard task of governing, it’s really no surprise that he clings to his theories.  They’re so much nicer than dirty, messy facts, governed by real world principles such as supply and demand, good guys and bad guys, weather, etc.  How much nicer to simply announce that what is is, because the theorist says that it is.

Romney, by contrast, has worked and governed.  He may be a little too inclined to abandon conservative principles for political advantage, but that may be due to his essential pragmatism.  He will do what works.  He’s had to.  That’s how he made his fortune.

I’d like to think that Romney’s pragmatism involves understanding that the private sector is always more efficient than the government (“Your government — applying yesterday’s solutions today”).  Even if he does deviate from a principled understanding, though, I know Romney will never get caught up in what should be, rather than what is.

And now that I’ve opined about the dangers of theory, let me hand the microphone over to Bill Whittle, who says everything I was thinking, only he does it better:

 

I’d laugh at the self-parodying OWSers, but I do think they’re dangerous

Zombie has a new post about Occupy’s latest stunt:  The movement’s geniuses, inspired by Earth Day,

[I]llegally took over an entire farm and transformed it into…a farm!

So proud are they of this revolutionary act that they showed off the farm to the media yesterday, so naturally I had to check it out.

Go here to enjoy Zombie’s photo essay.  Before you laugh too hard at these silly people, though, remember that they have the power to destabilize things.  The fact that they’re stupid, ill-informed, and venal is infinitely less important than whether they are successful at manipulating an alternately compliant and credulous media into making them seem like the cool, hip thing to do.

Busy Sunday Open Thread

My Saturday was busy.  My Sunday will be even busier.  I can’t wait until Monday.  Tuesday — and I’m boasting here — I meet MacG for lunch.

I was talking to my kids about market forces and came up with this one:  “The market is busy grappling with today’s problems, while the government is imposing yesterday’s solutions.”

Conversations with the kids, this time about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, also provided a good opening for explaining that the Founders, who were engaged in a revolution against their own government, which had become tyrannical, drafted the Second Amendment to ensure that Americans would have the same protections should their own government become tyrannical (as happened in Germany) or is unable to protect them against foreign invaders (as happened in Poland).

Here is, for me, an important question:  How do you teach your kids to appreciate fundamental Constitutional principles?  Simply reciting them doesn’t resonate with children, especially with children raised in Leftist public schools. At least, that’s the case with my children.  I need to anchor the principles to some grand historical narrative or to something that touches very closely on their lives today.  Then they both appreciate and remember the rare freedoms we have in America.

If I like your ideas, may I steal them for a work in progress?

Help wanted regarding RSS feed problems

I’m very glad I posted my little whine about the drop in readership, because I heard from a number of you about the RSS feed not working.  (Some of you had even told me before that post, but I needed a critical mass before I could start putting two and two together.)

My readership could be dropping because I’m boring, repetitive, and stale.  On the other hand, my webmaster suggests that, before I go off the deep end and hide, he should investigate whether I need a new feed.  You all can help.  He says:

I’d like to know what feed URL the people with problems are using and what RSS reader they are using.  If I can find some commonalities between the people having problems then I can probably figure this out.

Sounds good to me.  If it’s not too inconvenient, could you pass on to me your feed URL and RSS reader info?

Thank you!

Lynch mobs and hit lists

You already know how I feel about the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin affair and the Obama Administration and its lap dog-media sycophants ginning up a lynching party to “get” Zimmerman and a few random white people to fill the role pending trial. Zimmerman’s guilt has already been decided in the media’s public square.

Now, via the Wall Street Journal‘s inestimable Kimberly Strassel, comes news that Administration is, in the words of Washington beltway attorney Ted Olson, putting up the names of major Romney donors on “wanted posters” in government offices, releasing their names to the public, and libeling their reputations.

“The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money”, writes Strassel.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304723304577368280604524916.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Darticle

I don’t know if you can access this article without a subscription, but Strassel’s “The President Has a List: Barack Obama attempts to intimidate contributors to Mitt Romney’s campaign” article in today’s WSJ points out a litany of presidential abuses of power by the Obama regime, including:

  • Making individual citizens the object of his vitriol.
  • Personal attacks on corporations and industry segments.
  • Legal assaults on constitutional rights of free speech by corporations.
Add to that list the looting of American taxpayers through government policy-driven largesse to Democrat crony capitalists and political insiders. For an excellent review on one way how this is done, I highly recommend reading entrepreneur Jerome J. Schmitt’s excellent insights in today’s American Thinker:

We continue our slouch into the serfdom of Liberal Fascism. Sad to say, I suspect that the large segments of the population that are not cheering these developments are either yawning in general ennui or too glued to the mindless drivel of videoworld to realize how our /their wealth and freedoms are irrevocably slip, slip, slipping away.

Obama, the welfare president

Newt Gingrich was pilloried for calling Obama the Food Stamp president.  “Racist!” cried the usual suspects.  Huh?  Yes, racist, because food stamps are a form of welfare, welfare is traditionally associated with blacks, so Newt was reminding people that Obama is white-black  (as if the MSM ever allows us to forget that), and that he’s pandering to other blacks, white-blacks, brown-blacks, yellow-blacks, pink-blacks, blue-blacks, etc.

Just the other day, however, another politician went on record calling Obama a Food Stamp president, and his pronouncement was met with stunning MSM indifference.  You see, the man making this statement was black (or maybe, looking at the image, a kind of golden-brown-black) and the statement, rather than being derogatory (“Look what he’s reduced Americans to”) was laudatory:

Here’s the key language:

“We’re headed in the right direction. Unemployment continues to drop and those people who are unemployed, they’re not going to be voting for the party who wants to cut their benefits, cut access to food stamps, cut job training,” Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) said on MSNBC’s Al Sharpton program.

“The idea that Republicans are trying to help those who are unemployed is nonsense and I think that on this election day, those who have a job can credit the administration for stabilizing our economy and those who don’t know that this administration is trying to put them to work,” he said.

Yay, Obama!  He’s the welfare president!  Four more years!  Four more years!  The dream has almost been realized:

It was the most memorable time of my life. It was a touching moment because I never thought this day would ever happen. I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s gonna help me.

Another hour of agonizing decisions as I try to select my favorite Watcher’s Counsel submissions

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Is the New York Times trying to start a race war?

For the MSM, the George Zimmerman thing has turned out to be a bust.  With the exception of the fact that Trayvon Martin is still dead, everything the MSM first reported about the case has proven to be untrue.  Right about now, you’d think that the media would be engaged in some soul-searching and apologizing, but that assumes that MSM members have souls and consciences.  If you’ve made that assumption, you’ve proved, once again, that when you assume, you make an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

Because the media’s first effort at fomenting a race war seems to have failed, with only a few hapless white people suffering mob beat-downs, the MSM has gone back to the drawing board.  The first effort in the “if at first you don’t succeed” strategy is a New York Times article about a killing in Georgia.  Again, a white man shot a young black man.  I hope you appreciate how beautifully the Times uses passive voice in the first paragraph (emphasis mine):

LYONS, Ga. — Norman Neesmith was sleeping in his home on a rural farm road here in onion country when a noise woke him up.

He grabbed the .22-caliber pistol he kept next to his bed and went to investigate. He found two young brothers who had been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms. There was marijuana and sex.

Over the course of the next confusing minutes on a January morning in 2011, there would be a struggle. The young men would make a terrified run for the door. Mr. Neesmith, who is 62 and white, fired four shots. One of them hit Justin Patterson, who was 22 and black.

The bullet pierced his side, and he died in Mr. Neesmith’s yard. His younger brother, Sha’von, then 18, ran through the onion fields in the dark, frantically trying to call his mother.

The dead boy’s parents are wondering why they didn’t get the full Al Sharpton treatment. Reading through the article, you discover that there are two reasons.  First, a year ago, when this tragedy unfolded, Al Sharpton and his cadre hadn’t yet figured out that they could get substantial mileage out of a white on black killing.  Second, it’s too late now, because the actual facts are out there, and they don’t leave either the race hustlers or the MSM much with which to work.  Even the Times acknowledges that the known facts run counter to the “white people are murderous KKK/Nazi killers” meme:

Still, like so many other crimes where race might be a factor, this one is not so clear-cut. Mr. Neesmith says he felt threatened. He says he aches for the parents but believes none of this would have happened if the young men had not been in his house when they should not have been.

“I think about it every day. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Mr. Neesmith said as he stood in the doorway of his home. “In two minutes it just went bad. If you ain’t never shot nobody, you don’t want to do it, I’m telling you.”

In the backyard, a pool was ready for neighborhood kids — both black and white — who he said loved to come over after school for a swim. Mr. Neesmith, a former school bus driver, and his late wife had been foster parents to dozens of children.

They took in a great-niece, who has a black parent, when she was a baby. She is now 19 and admitted to investigators that she invited Justin Patterson to their trailer home that night, timing it so Mr. Neesmith would be asleep. The two had been flirting on Facebook and in texts.

When Mr. Neesmith pulled the young men out of the bedrooms, he threatened to call the younger girl’s grandfather, according to court documents and interviews. He asked the two, who both have young daughters, why they were not home with their children. He ranted and waved the gun around.

So the brothers made a run for it. By all accounts, while the younger one struggled to unlock a side door, the older one shoved Mr. Neesmith.

Let me summarize those unclear facts:  Neesmith has raised a half-black child (or would she be white/black?) and his home was a meeting spot for both black and white youngsters.  He thought he had a break-in (explaining the gun), then he noticed that the child he was raising was doing sex and illegal drugs in his home (explaining the anger), and then one of the two young men (i.e., not one weeny little guy, but two young men) in his home started pushing him around.  Further investigation showed that the other girl was 14, adding statutory rape to the illegal conduct within his house.

Given these facts, why in the world does the Times say, “like so many other crimes where race might be a factor”?  (And equally importantly, why doesn’t the Times say, more correctly, “As with some many other crimes in which race might be a factor”?)  It turns out that the Times had to do some reaching:

That race played a significant part is not hard to imagine here in a county that was named after Robert Toombs, a general and one of the organizers of the Confederate government. A black woman has never been named Miss Vidalia Onion in the annual festival that begins Thursday. And until last year in neighboring Montgomery County, there were two proms — one for whites and one for blacks.

What!?  No black Miss Vidalia Onion?  My God!  The whole county should be sent to jail.  And separate proms?  Well, clearly a white person is going to kill a black person.  Especially a white person who is raising a black-white person.

With too much time having passed by, and too many facts instantly available in a small Georgia community, Al Sharpton and the MSM race hustlers never had a chance.  The bereaved parents will have to mourn their child’s passing without benefit of race riots on his behalf.

Incidentally, I’ve been paying attention over the past couple of weeks to the crime stories in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Sadly, they have included several reports tell about people of color who were shot,* one while he was pushing his child’s stroller.  Strangely, none of these stories have excited comment in the larger, national media, nor has Al Sharpton dropped by to offer his condolences.  I leave you to figure out why the telling silence.

___________________________

*Oceanview is a primarily minority neighborhood, so I’m making an educated guess that the man who was shot was a minority.

The Administration’s focus on farmers: The bloodless version of the Soviet Ukrainian experiment? *UPDATED*

To date, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the Obama administration’s Big Government effort to keep America’s young down on the farms, now that they’ve seen TV.  Or can see TV . . . or should see TV, since the Obama administration is barring farm kids from actually working on the farm:

Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain age animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating and hoof trimming, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities and restrict their youth farm safety classes; operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. The language of the proposed rule is so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.

The internet has lit up with stories of young people who learned about responsibility on farms, who had happy hours and years working on 4H projects, and who were trained to take over the family farm.  It’s that last type of story that got my attention.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading (or, more specifically, listening to) Timothy Snyder’s excellent, and deeply depressing, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.  Snyder makes clear from the beginning that one cannot understand the killing fields of central Europe (the lands between Germany and Soviet Russia) without understanding Russian Communism.  The original Bolshevik’s were fundamentalist Marxists.  Lenin and his crew believed in the truth of every word that Marx and Engel put down on paper.

These words, of course, included the theory that Marxism was the inevitable byproduct of industrialization.  For Marxism to reach its apogee, the workers of the world needed to unite — with the understanding that workers were those who worked in the factories, not those who worked on the land.  Peasants might labor, but they didn’t work.  For that reason, Marx and Engels pretty much ignored the peasants in their writings.  Who needed ‘em?

What Lenin and his crew couldn’t understand was why the first successful Marxist revolution happened, not in industrialized Germany, where they expected it to happen, but in primarily rural Russia.  The whole notion that, after the first labor pains of industrialization ended, industrialization would improve life, lessening the worker’s desire for socialism, eluded these true believers.  Instead, they concluded that theirs was an incomplete revolution, one that could reach fruition only if Russia was de-ruralized and properly industrialized. And so the Russians went after those pesky peasants.  (And do I remember Pol Pot’s minions and Mao’s crew doing precisely the same?)

Starved Ukrainian peasants 1933

In China, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union, the socialist purge of pesky peasants cost millions of lives.  People were shot, imprisoned and, in China and the Soviet Union, starved to death in the millions.  The politburos considered the cost in human lives to be a mere nothing compared to the glories of an inevitable socialist paradise on earth.  Moreover, in Mother Russia, those pathetic peasants still clung to an outdated religion that posited a paradise in the hereafter, so the politburo was just helping them towards their ultimate goal, in order to pave the way for the Soviet’s ultimate goal.

As for the fact that these irritating small farmers produced the food that fed the workers, the Soviets had the answer:  they would industrialize farming, making it just another cog in the socialist machinery.  The fact that the dead peasants took their hard-earned farming wisdom with them was irrelevant.  The collective brilliance of the state would have the answer.  Starvation was the inevitable result.  (And for a more recent example of this same thinking, take a peek into Zimbabwe, which went from lush bounty to starvation within less than a decade after Mugabe took the land from the farmers and gave it to the state’s friends, all of whom know nothing about farming.)

Remnants of Pol Pot's Killing Fields

Consistent with the Obama’s soft, loving view of socialism, it isn’t using round-ups or mandatory collectivism.  Instead, it’s simply ensuring taking steps to ensure that the current generation of small farmer is the last generation of small farmer.

Need I add that it’s time for voters to throw the bums out before the damage they inflict on this nation is irremediable?

UPDATE:  The Obama administration has dropped this proposed regulation — for now.  As reading Bloodlands reminds me, Leftists never abandon an initiative; they just retrench.  This one will return if Obama is reelected, albeit in somewhat different form.

 

Recent poll numbers show that Obama will be hard to beat

A couple of days ago, I asked if the polls show a Bradley effect, with people deploring Obama’s performance, but still being too embarrassed to admit to pollsters that they don’t like America’s first white-black president.  Most of you disagreed with me, saying (as DQ did) that Leftists will support Obama no matter what, while other people are just unwilling to dislike the president.  That is, they’re not lying to pollsters when they profess a fondness for this failure.  They mean it.  Keith Koffler certainly thinks they mean it, and that this is going to be a problem for Romney:

President Obama has been at 50 percent approval in the Gallup daily tracking poll for the past two days, a sign that his popularity has genuinely increased since its lows last summer when he had creeped down to 38 percent.

In addition, Gallup finds that Obama leads Romney by seven points, 49-42 percent, with the president’s position improving lately among independents.

That half the country approves of the job Obama suggests not only that he will be tough to beat. It indicates many people are willing to support Obama no matter what the economic conditions, and that some strategist within the West Wing knows what they’re doing.

Think about this. Unemployment is above 8 percent. The economy is sluggish. Iran is on the verge of a nuclear capability. Gas prices are a $4 per gallon. The president has no plan to fix anything. And yet one out of two people think he’s doing a good job.

Read the rest here.

Obama’s “special” banquet halted when activists rescue main dish

I am so lying in the caption of this post.  Nevertheless, it’s precisely what I thought when I saw a story saying that Chinese activists, using a social network, were able to stop a shipment of hundreds of dogs destined for the cook pot:

Dogs destined to be slaughtered and served up in China’s restaurants were saved when the truck transporting them was intercepted by animal rights activists.

The vehicle, carrying 505 canines packed into just 156 tiny cages, was stopped on Yunnan Province’s highway from Fumin to Kunming after other drivers spotted its sickening cargo.

Sadly, many of the dogs were in such terrible shape, they died before their rescue could be fully effected.  Thankfully, though, many others were saved, although I do wonder whether they can ever be domesticated.

George Zimmerman: the black, Hispanic, Peruvian, kind-hearted non-white, not-racist poster boy

“Facts are stubborn things.”

I love that quotation.  John Adams said it back in 1774 when he took on the unpopular job of defending the British troops charged with the killings in the event now known as the Boston Massacre.  Arguing off those same stubborn facts, Adams was able to get those troops acquitted.

“Facts are stubborn things.”  You can lie about them and you can try to bury them, but they have a bad habit of revealing themselves.  Sometimes, these revelations can take decades or even centuries, but sometimes — especially in a modern media age — those stubborn facts demand to be heard within days or weeks of the initial lies.

And so it is with the lies the media told about George Zimmerman.

“He’s a white man.”  Wrong, so the media came up the tortured white-Hispanic.  Turns out that even that is wrong.  Zimmerman is also part black.  Brutally Honest has the perfect summation:  “In a delicious irony, it is Zimmerman who might actually look more like the son Obama never had.”

He’s a racist.  Wrong, because it was revealed that he worked hard on behalf of a young black man he thought was wrongfully accused.

He’s an evil, paranoid man who constantly called the cops because of imaginary terrors in his neighborhood.  Wrong.  Aside from the fact that he called infrequently, he was the rock of the neighborhood:

George Zimmerman was known as a trusted aid to most of his black neighbours in the gated community of Sanford, Florida that was plagued by a string of burglaries in the weeks leading up to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to an investigation by Reuters.

It reveals that the community, previously a family-friendly, first-time homeowner community, had been devastated by the recession that struck Florida, and transient renters began to occupy some of the 263 town houses in the complex.

During that time, it was Zimmerman, who emerged as a sympathetic figure, offering his and his wife’s support to any homeowners who had been robbed or felt fearful.

I don’t know whether George Zimmerman committed a crime.  I do know that the American media did.  Zimmerman is said to have wept for what he did.  I doubt anyone in the media is shedding tears for grossly maligning a good man’s character or for stirring up violent racial animus in America.

Obama’s true home town: the Leftist thought bubble *UPDATED*

My purpose in writing this post is to reveal and challenge the Leftist thought bubble in which Barack Obama lives.  Before I get to that point, however, I want to give you a little look at the on-the-ground effects that bubble has on those who are exposed only to Leftist thought.

At American Thinker, John Kenneth Press shares with readers a letter he received from someone who was with him throughout the PhD program at NYU.  He thought she was a friend.  He was wrong.  As she explains, he was not worthy of friendship because he had committed thought-crimes, which meant that she was sullying her “global citizen” soul by consorting with him.  Please note that this gal wasn’t accusing Press of serious things such as advocating genocide, or pedophilia, or racial superiority, or any of the other big no-nos.  Instead, he had the temerity to say, both in person and in his book, that multiculturalism isn’t a good idea.  She responded this way:

In the process of becoming a doctoral candidate my bubble was burst and I began to realize that the relational framework in which I lived in was not enough and I have begun to take responsibility for the political consequences and social implications of my own thoughts and actions.  This shedding of my more provincial self, therefore, lead to a more nuanced look at my associations and actions. I could no longer approve-by-association your public work to rally against building a mosque downtown, your concept of Americanization, your tea-party work, blog postings, etc.  I had to begin to consider our relationship not fraternally but as colleagues.

So frankly I cannot approve of your politics and maintain my own personal integrity as a global citizen.  I apologize if this sounds hurtful as I do have a tender spot for you.  I feel as if we grew up together in a certain sense – bumping into the sharp edges within this rabbit hole called NYU.  I fondly remember the steps we traveled together; I am grateful for the company at the time; and I wish you well in the future.

What will leap out at most-people is the narrow, angry, provincialism that this woman expresses, neatly wrapped up in high moral sentiment.  When struck me, though, was what an execrable writer she is.  It’s hard to imagine more awkward, pompous, bombastic, disorganized writing.  She is, in other words, the perfect PhD product of modern academia.  What should strike fear into your heart is the thought that, if computers take over grading standardized tests, all our young people will be taught to aspire to this type of writing.  Computers like long words and long sentences, and have little regard for logic, intelligibility, or simple human decency.

That gal’s condescending, pious, hate-filled screen reinforces what I’ve said before regarding the muddled, turgid opinions that liberal judges write:  the only way to fight common sense, law, and logic is to write badly.  Bad writing can have a superficial lucidity, but it will invariably collapse under the weight of logical scrutiny.

All of which gets me to Barack Obama’s reading material, revealed when he gave an “in-depth” interview to Rolling Stone magazine.  Daniel Halper has already called Obama out for his Alinsky-esque attack on Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist in that same interview.  Before 2008, no president would ever have done that.  Even Richard Nixon was careful to keep his enemies list private.  This viciousness, though, is vintage Obama, so it irritates, but doesn’t surprise.

What also shouldn’t surprise is Obama’s description of his reading and viewing material, a list that puts him in sync with 100% of America’s college educated Progressives.  Nevertheless, it’s worth noting, since it’s a laundry list of writers and performers who are distinguished by their fealty to the liberal canon, even if that puts them at odds with facts and logic.

What do you read regularly to keep you informed or provide you with perspectives beyond the inner circle of your advisers?
[Laughs] Other than Rolling Stone?

That goes without saying.
I don’t watch a lot of TV news. I don’t watch cable at all. I like The Daily Show, so sometimes if I’m home late at night, I’ll catch snippets of that. I think Jon Stewart’s brilliant. It’s amazing to me the degree to which he’s able to cut through a bunch of the nonsense – for young people in particular, where I think he ends up having more credibility than a lot of more conventional news programs do.

I spend a lot of time just reading reports, studies, briefing books, intelligence assessments.

Newspapers?
I’ll thumb through all the major papers in the morning. I’ll read the Times and Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, just to catch up.

Do you read Paul Krugman?
I read all of the New York Times columnists. Krugman’s obviously one of the smartest economic reporters out there, but I also read some of the conservative columnists, just to get a sense of where those arguments are going. There are a handful of blogs, Andrew Sullivan’s on the Daily Beast being an example, that combine thoughtful analysis with a sampling of lots of essays that are out there. The New Yorker and The Atlantic still do terrific work. Every once in a while, I sneak in a novel or a nonfiction book.

Talk about a bubble.  As a reformed liberal, and one who lives with a committed liberal, I’m familiar with every one of Obama’s intellectual and ideal influences.  Jon Stewart is an obscene clown, who titillates his liberal audience with f-bomb laden riffs lauding Progressives and attacking conservatives.

The New York Times and the Washington Post are Democrat Party mouthpieces.

I suspect that Obama threw in the WSJ reference to burnish his intellectual chops.  Nothing he’s ever said or done is consistent with an understand of even the most basic market principles.  Of course, he could read the WSJ to figure out what will improve the market, so that he can do the opposite.  That might explain a lot….

Paul Krugman?  I actually owe Paul Krugman big time.  It was the increasing incoherence of his columns that helped me discover the conservative blogosphere.  I used to be a Krugman faithful.  As the Bush presidency progressed, though, I found it harder and harder to make sense of his columns.  The words made sense, and sometimes so did the sentences.  Nevertheless, the logical progression I expect from any argument (“if A and B, then C”) was lacking in Krugman’s posts.  Either the facts were wrong, or the A+B=C part was missing.  I went searching for more coherent, realistic material, and found it at temperate, thoughtful sites such as Power Line, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and IBD.

Andrew Sullivan?  I became familiar with his work when he wrote for The New Republic.  I stopped reading that magazine about a year after he took over.  His shrillness permeated what had once been a thoughtful liberal magazine.  Sullivan is now distinguished for his obsession with Sarah Palin, something that borders on an insane monomania; and for his relentless hostility to Israel.  It’s telling that he is one of Obama’s favorite writers.

The New Yorker?  Tina Brown destroyed it.  It used to be a magazine that veered between sophisticated frivolity and eclectic seriousness, all with a light liberal gloss.  It’s now a hardcore Leftist magazine that savaged George Bush, and that now provides a happy home for the execrable Seymour Hersh and the AGW obsessed Elizabeth Kolbert.  No wonder, then, that the magazine, which once wrote charmingly about eccentric art collectors, and mad scientists, uses ignorance to try to take down gun rights in America.

The Atlantic still has its moments.  Few and far between, but they’re there, so Obama gets a pass for that one.

To the extent that Obama reads “conservative columnists,” I’m sure they rejoice in the names of David Brooks, David Frum, and Kathleen Parker.

All of the people Obama mentions have the gloss of good writing.  Unlike the PhD gal whose letter opened this post, they keep pomposity to a minimum, understand basic grammatical principles, and have good editors.  However, all of them fall down when it comes to logic.  In a collision between theory and reality, theory always wins.  The result is that their writing is consistently distinguished by factual misstatements or by logical contortions and fallacies, since those are the only way in which they can force their conclusions.

Everyone likes to live in a bubble.  Everyone likes to read materials that confirm their own world views.  Conservatives, however, work to understand the opposition by ready opposition materials.  Obama demonstrates that, like the young woman who opened this essay, he is incapable of any sort of interaction with people whose views challenge his own.  And here’s the scary thing:  She’ll go on to teach the next generation and he, unless we rally like crazy behind Romney, will be president for another four years.

If you’re having problems with Romney (and I’m not, since I believe in yielding with good grace to a decent inevitable), John Hinderaker lavishes praise on Romney’s speech last night, and then has this to say about Romney himself:

As I watch Mitt Romney, this thought also occurs to me: Romney is sometimes criticized as “inauthentic,” but this is radically incorrect. As a politician, he has had to tack with the winds from time to time, like anyone else. But as a person, Romney is hugely authentic. His persona is no mystery: he is a Dad. We have all known men like Mitt Romney. We may think they are square and out of date; we may roll our eyes if they are occasionally goofy. But when times are tough, in moments of crisis, everyone knows where to turn: we look to leaders of character, competence and decency, like Mitt Romney. I am increasingly confident that in November, Americans will see Mitt Romney as just what we need after four years of Barack Obama’s incompetence.

UPDATE: And here’s more on Obama’s life in the bubble, as well as its deleterious effects on his already sour and arrogant personality.

Are the Obama polls showing a Bradley effect?

If you’ve been following polls, you’ve probably noticed something interesting:  When people are asked about specifics, such as Obama’s performance on the economy, national security, immigration, etc., they give him very low scores.  However, when those same people are asked about Obama himself (“do you like him?”), they say they do.  He’s got very low performance scores, and very high likeability scores.

This baffles me.  To begin with, I don’t see that Obama is in any way likeable.  I recognize, however, that my dislike for him reflects a bone-deep bias for his policies, and this bias spills over into my having a distaste for the man himself.

More than that, though, I don’t understand how people can claim to like someone who is in their employ and who is doing a terrible job.  If had an employee who was burning through my money, leaving the building unlocked so that bad guys can break in, hanging around with terrorizing hoodlums, and making me sick and depriving me of the means to get well, I’d be pretty hostile towards that employee.  I’d say things like “He interviewed really well, but I can’t stand the sight of the guy now.  He’s a walking disaster.  I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to fire him.”

It seems to me, therefore, that the people polled are behaving irrationally when they grumble about this particular federal employee’s performance — a performance that affects them in significant, negative, and long-lasting ways — and then say “Oh, but he’s a really great guy.”

The only thing I can think of to account for this (to me) cognitive dissonance, is the Bradley effect:

The Bradley effect, less commonly called the Wilder effect, is a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some United States government elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. The theory proposes that some voters will tell pollsters they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, while on election day they vote for the white candidate. It was named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.

Don Quixote, by the way, who continues daily to distinguish himself as one of the smartest people I know, thinks I’m wrong.  He thinks that if there really had been a Bradley effect, it would have played out in 2008.  Instead, he thinks people really do like our President, despite being disappointed in his performance.

I continue to wonder, though.  After all, in 2008, people were buoyed up by being part of history in the making.  Also, Obama the campaigner, the blank slate who made exciting speeches about hope and change, has now been replaced by a real man, using hyper-partisanship to switch us from a mildly capitalist, individualist country into a strongly redistributionist, socialist country.  In 2012, there’s less magic to put a brake on the Bradley effect.

What do you think?  I should add that, when the real world plays out, DQ is usually right.

A weird trend on my blog

Sometimes, as you all know, I have really good days in terms of hits.  There was the never-to-be-forgotten Rush mention; there are the occasional, and always appreciated, Instalanches; and the periodic nods from other big sites, all of which send lots of traffic my way.

And then, peculiarly, after I have these big days, my traffic drops.  And it doesn’t just drop to the same level as before the big day.  Instead, it plummets, it plunges, it collapses, it goes lower than a snakes belly in a deep gutter.

Go figure.

To be honest, I prefer the big traffic days.

Right now, the whole situation is worse for me because dealing with my Mom has caused my blogging rate to drop.  Aside from spending less time at my computer, I’m just worn out from these days.  They’re not long, but they’re draining.  It’s okay.  I’m doing the right thing, and I’m happy to give back to my Mom now that she needs my help.  I’m therefore not complaining about the work I’m doing.  I’m just whining — just a little bit — about the fall-out from that work.

Here’s a delightful new website showing Obama talking out of both sides of his mouth

Obama Double Speak is a new website that, in straightforward fashion, gives example after example of Obama saying two entirely different things on the same subject, depending upon his audience. Interestingly, while he’ll intermittently make statements that are pro-Israel, or pro-national security, or pro-fiscal austerity, his actions are always consistent with the other things that come out of his mouth.

The Navy League has issued a call to action

Even if you’re not a member of the Navy League, I thought you’d find interesting this email I received (emphasis mine):

Navy League logo

Dear Navy Leaguer:
The sea services need our help. As you may be aware, The Budget Control Act of 2011 mandated $487 billion in security cuts over the next 10 years in order to resolve the 2011 debt ceiling crisis. The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have all had to delay planned acquisitions and investments in technology in order to meet these cuts and still fulfill their commitments to our national security. However, there is an even larger threat looming: sequestration.

Sequestration is the name of the additional $1.2 trillion in automatic , across the board spending cuts, scheduled over ten years to take effect beginning in January 2013. About $492 billion of that will come from defense and security budgets. These cuts will be triggered if Congress fails to produce a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in savings by that time.

This means that defense would absorb at least 41% of the sequestration costs despite only being 19% of the budget. The cuts beginning in January 2013 will be administered by the Office of Management and Budget, not the Congress. This denies the people the legislative process by not allowing judicious review of where cuts should be made or where funds should be applied to worthy purposes. It eliminates the ability to set priorities. Defense and security cuts for 2013 alone would amount to $54 billion.

Sequestration was never intended to happen. The impacts were intended to be so devastating that Congress would be forced to reach an agreement to prevent the trigger. Unfortunately, that has not yet happened—which is why the Navy League needs to act now to prevent severe weakening of our sea services.

The Navy League is issuing a call to action. We need each of our members to remind Congress of the need to support our sea services, and to realize that this issue matters to voters!

Here you’ll find links to all the materials needed to get you started. Talking points will give you necessary background to talk confidently about the issue. The phone script and draft letter will help you with your contacts with your Congressman and Senators. Slides on the subject are being added to Grassroots and CSOP presentations.

Please call your Congressman and Senators at their Washington, DC office, where their military and defense staff are located. If you have an established relationship with the local office, please contact them too. To contact your Congressman and Senators, visit their website (www.house.gov or www.senate.gov ). Each Member of Congress has a “Contact Me” page where you can get a mailing address, fax number or an email address. Many members have a web form, where you can copy and paste your message in a Comments box to submit. If you need assistance, contact your Legislative Affairs Regional Vice President or Sara Fuentes or Chris Bennett at Navy League headquarters (sfuentes@navyleague.org , cbennett@navyleague.org ;             703-528-1775      ).

Your action is needed now! We don’t have much time—these cuts go into effect in January. We need Congress to act before summer recess in July.

If you have comments or questions on this Call to Action or any Navy League matter, as always, please let me know at nationalpresident@navyleague.org .

Sincerely,
Philip L. Dunmire
National President
Navy League of the United States

Redistribution for thee, but not for me

Students, not normally a personally wealthy group, are all for redistributing other people’s money.  Apparently, though, they draw the line at redistributing the fruits of their own labors:

The next step is to get the students to listen to Jon Lovitz’s F-Bomb laden rant and understand that, whether we’re talking grades or money, it is always wrong for a coercive government to force people to part with the rewards they earned:

We all recognize that people must contribute some sum towards a functional society, for roads, national security, etc. But that is quite different from having your elected government suddenly decide to play at Robin Hood.

The California Open Primary has the practical effect of stifling Republican political speech in November, when it matters most

This election will be the first election since California voters decided, in 2010, to turn ours into an Open Primary state.  The practical effect of having done so is that the November election, rather than being head-to-head combat between the two parties, will be a run-off between the winners from the June election.

The road to this limited November ballot has already started, with candidates from all parties reaching out to voters.  The problem, of course, is that the candidates’ have only just begun their fund-raising, and only die-hard political junkies are really paying attention. Then, in June, the Open Primaries mean that voters can vote for anyone they want, across party lines.

Once the votes are counted, the two candidates who got the most votes go on to the November ballot.  Everyone else vanishes from the scene.  In states that have a heavy party majority in one direction or the other (as is the case with Bright Blue California), the practical effect is to banish minority party candidates from the November ballot.

Those who support Open Primaries contend that it is an efficient way to ensure that, when people are really paying attention, the majority of voters get to pick from the two most favored candidates, without having the airwaves — and their brains — cluttered with advertisements and speeches from candidates who don’t have a realistic change of winning.  Those who oppose the Open Primary process — and I am one who does — contend that it effectively shuts the minority parties out of the political debate.

The point of the primary system is to give citizens who are members of a specific political party the opportunity to pick that candidate who best represents their views.  Then, in the Fall season, those cherry-picked party candidates get to go head-to-head, giving voters a genuine ideological choice.  This is important even in states that tilt heavily in one direction or the other, because it means that, when voters are actually paying attention, they are exposed to more than just the majority party’s viewpoint.

In other words, if an Open Primary state tilts heavily in favor of one party or the other, the minority party isn’t just precluded from winning (and this holds true even if the majority party has some major scandal over the summer that causes its total collapse).  In addition to being banned from the ballot, the minority party is also entirely denied a voice in the marketplace of political ideas.  Without a candidate on the ballot, the minority party has no commercials, no debates, no opinion pieces, and no candidate interviews.

In True Blue California, seeing Republicans banished from the ballot entirely has been the Democrat dream — although supporters are careful to frame this one-party outcome in terms of “moderation”:

Carl Luna, a professor at San Diego Mesa College [and, judging by this post, one who leans Progressive, rather than conservative], said the hope is that the new way of voting will increase voter turnout and will lead to election of more moderate candidates.

“Since anybody can vote for anybody, you might have to appeal more toward moderate candidates, toward independents,” he said. “So you get two Democrats who win in one district, they go to the general election and the Democrat that can get Independents and even moderate Republicans to vote for them has a better chance to win.”

Here in Marin, because the ultra-Progressive Lynn Woolsey is finally gone for good (yay!), a multitude of Democrats have lined up to try for her seat. The same cannot be said for the Republican side of the ballot.  As is often the case in Marin, it’s been hard to find a Republican candidate willing to do the hard work of campaigning, knowing that the campaign won’t go anywhere.  We’ve had good people in the past (for example, Todd Hooper or Bob Stephens), but both men ran knowing full well that victory was unlikely.  Ultimately, they didn’t run to win; they ran to be heard.

This year, Dan Roberts is fronting the Republican party’s primary ticket for Woolsey’s former seat in the House of Representatives.  (Since he’s the only Republican in the primary, I guess he’s back the ticket too.)  I wish him well, I really do, but honesty compels me to say that Roberts doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning.

Two years ago, Roberts’ low melting point wouldn’t have stopped him from having a voice in the November campaign.   His presence on the ballot would have brought conservatives to the polling places.  He would have run an Op-Ed in the local paper, and his supporters would have sent letters to the editor. Indeed, if the summer bought more bad news for Democrats (skyrocketing oil prices, war in the Middle East, massive Obama administration malfeasance and scandal), he might even have benefited from a Democrat collapse, and pulled out a Republican victory.  None of those things, however — whether the opportunity to have conservative ideas heard or the possibility, albeit small, of a turn for Republicans in Marin — will happen.

In November, in keeping with the Democrat dream, California conservatives will be silenced.  The ballot will have only the names of the two top Democrat candidates for Marin’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The newspaper editorials and letters to the editor will say nary a word about conservative approaches to the serious problems vexing this nation.  There will be no commercials and no speeches.  The Free Speech that is a fundamental part of our democratic process (that’s small “d” democratic) will have been smothered and buried in June.  And, should the Democrat party suffer a national collapse over the summer, it will still wipe the board in California.

To give more dimension to the anti-democratic tilt of the Open Primary, and of the ethical dilemma conservatives face, I spoke the other day with Stacy Lawson, who is one of the Democrat candidates seeking Woolsey’s old seat.  Stacy seems like a very nice gal, whose selling point is that, with her business background, she is the moderate Democrat in the race, one who supports small businesses and true economic growth.  She’s pro-Israel, which she correctly identifies as the only true democracy in the Middle East.  Stacy specifically disavows ties to the Progressive branch of the Democrat party.

This is all for the good.  Except that when you talk to Stacy, it’s clear that, while she doesn’t have the anger that characterizes Progressives (which is why I think she’s a nice gal), her world view is antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.  Why?  Because she believes government is the answer.  Rather than supporting small business by having government back off in terms of taxes and regulations, she believes government should be in the front line of fomenting growth, especially by subsidizing and promoting green energy.

Stacy was kind and polite when I suggested that green energy was iffy and expensive, and that we might do better to promote America’s huge fossil fuel reserves, while focusing on ways to refine and use those reserves in the cleanest way.  Nevertheless, it was clear that Stacy thought that my suggestion was a direct road to the old-fashioned, 1970s’ type of river, one that was filled with dead fish and caught on fire periodically.  In other words, even thought Stacy is indeed a moderate Democrat, she’s also an AGW, Big Government, vaguely anti-military (that’s where she’d cut the deficit) politician — or, as I already said, antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.

In a perfect world, I would not vote for Ms. Lawson, even though I like her and appreciate that she is, by current Democrat standards, a moderate.  In a perfect world, with all due respect to the courageous Dan Roberts, I would also have some real choices in June on the Republican side of the ballot.

But this is not a perfect world.  In this, the real world, because Marin is an almost impossible venue for Republicans, and because we now have an Open Primary that allows for only two spots on the November ballot, when November comes, it is a dead certainty that, with the exception of the presidential ticket, my only choices for the House of Representatives (and for any other political office) will be Democrat versus Democrat.

I don’t like being forced to deny my political self (that is, I don’t like being forced to vote against my own party’s candidate), but pragmatism says that there’s an advantage in using the Open Primary to temper the other party so that there is at least one person who is relatively sane on the ballot.  This, of course, is precisely what Carl Luna (the professor I quoted above) hoped would happen — Republicans will vanish, but they’ll serve the vestigial function of protecting Democrats from their worst excesses.

So I have a question for you:  In June, should I cast a symbolic vote for the Republican Dan Roberts, thereby making a principled stand for my party, or should I vote for Stacy Lawson to help ensure that, when the November election takes place, the top two contenders for U.S. House of Representatives include a Moderate Democrat, rather than two Progressives?

(Incidentally, when it comes to the judges running for Marin County Superior Court this year, I’m not being forced to make the choice between a good Republican who can’t win, and some Democrats, one of whom might be better than the others.  There are only two men running for judge:  Judge James Chou, a moderate Democrat whom Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed to the bench, and Russell Marne, a self-professed Progressive.   As between them, the choice is clear:  It’s the moderate, experienced James Chou all the way.)

Putting to rest a foolish idea about reinstating the draft

The Left periodically floats the idea of reinstating the draft.  They dress it up in an “everyone should share the burden” argument, but it’s pretty clear that the goal is to create a Vietnam War dynamic, in which young people take to the streets to protest a war, not because they know anything about the war, but because they don’t want to be drafted to fight the war.

I have thought that the draft would be a good idea for one reason and one reason only:  I would love to see the Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians of this world going through boot camp.  More seriously, I have said that, in an increasingly divided country, mandatory military service has the advantage of turning the liberal “salad bowl,” with disparate parts of American culture uneasily coexisting, into the famed American melting pot.

It’s a nice dream, but I wouldn’t do it.  Our American military is one of the great American success stories.  Consisting of professionals and volunteers, it’s a surprisingly tightly run organization, given its size and bureaucracy, and it does precisely what it’s supposed to do, which is to protect Americans from foreign enemies.  Messing with it, especially for the purpose of some pie-in-the-sky social experiment, would be an insane act.  I like to doodle around mental with interesting ideas, but I’m not insane.

Recently, a liberal came out with an entirely new idea for reinstating the draft, and it has the dubious charm of acknowledging my point, which is that the military is one of the best functioning parts of our government.  Thomas Ricks insists that we need a draft because our military is so darn good, it’s an irresistible incentive to get involved in unnecessary wars.  As I understand Hicks, he’s analogizing our military to the high performance sports car some middle-aged guy who lives in a crowded city bought on impulse.  It was a stupid idea, because it’s not much use in the City, so our middle-aged race car driver constantly finds reasons to get that car out on the freeway, where he runs it at high speeds, unnecessarily putting at risk the lives of innocents traveling down those same roads in their sedate family vans.

The Mellow Jihadi and America’s Sergeant Major politely (because they are gentlemen and members of our armed forces) treat Hicks’ idea with the contempt it deserves.

I have a very small quibble with Thomas Lifson….

This morning, at the American Thinker blog, Thomas Lifson posted an article saying that the National Enquirer is asserting that Michelle Obama came up with the idea to attack Ann Romney on the ground that she was a stay-at-home Mom.  Thomas Lifson says that this report is credible, given Michelle’s frequently expressed anger at having to struggle by as a working Mom on a mere $300,000 a year.  I agree with Thomas.

I part ways with Thomas, however, when it comes to this sentence (emphasis mine):

The National Enquirer, which was the only publication with the gumption to break media blockade around the story of John Edwards’ love child, has an exclusive story citing insider sources that it was Michelle Obama who was the brains behind the exploding cigar of a plan to attack Ann Romney:

Michelle Obama was “the brains”?  Au contraire, mon ami.  There were no brains whatsoever involved in this “living inside the bubble attack,” one that managed to offend a sizable portion of American women across the political spectrum.  Whatever part of her anatomy Michelle brought to bear on this one, it wasn’t her little gray cells.

The rich are different from you and me

Several years ago — in 2007, to be precise — at one of the kid’s sporting events, I met a very nice man.  Since we were stuck out in the boondocks for the day, we talked.  I learned that he and his wife had just filed for divorce.

Divorce is not an uncommon story, especially in Marin, but the thing about Marin is that sometimes the divorces are actually news.  Almost five years later, this couple finally resolved their differences and, owing to the amount of money involved, that settlement made the front page of the local paper.  It is worthwhile reading if you want to get a sense of serious money, and the way in which it makes for seriously bad divorces.

I will say only that, knowing both spouses very superficially, he is the more personable of the two, and both of them love their children very much.