Monday morning mash-up — and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of laundry to fold, but that doesn’t mean I can’t highlight a few things that caught my eye.


Until our relatives moved away from Los Angeles, twice a year we used to make the trek from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and then back up again.  In the early years, when we hit the central valley, we went through productive farmland as far as the eye could see.  In the last few years — including the Bush years — we often found ourselves driving through a barren Dust Bowl.  It wasn’t a natural drought (which we in California are suffering through this year).  Instead, it was a government-created drought, brought about by rabid environmentalists who have successfully insisted that saving a very small fish is more important than feeding a nation.  Charles C. W. Cooke has more.


The Military must view troops by the content of their character and their commitment to the United States, instead of just looking at beards and turbans.  Standards are certainly necessary for military discipline and cohesion, but it’s a stupid military that turns away the best people because of minor deviations from the uniform.


The New York Times has always been a Leftist mouthpiece, but it prided itself on being a dignified Leftist mouthpiece.  Back in the day, it was “the Gray Lady” rather than the “wide-eyed, stoned conspiracy theorist.”  At PowerLine, in one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject, John Hinderaker goes into full lawyer mode to analyze and destroy the Times over-the-top anti-Koch editorial — an editorial that seemed to have emerged without editing from the bowels of The Daily Kos.  I should add that, while Hinderaker’s demolition job is masterful, it’s going out to the choir.  The people who should be listening to him . . . won’t.


While we’re on the subject of the far Left Times, P. David Hornik correctly identifies the Times’ Thomas Friedman as one of America’s worst purveyors of old-fashioned, “Elders of Zion” type antisemitism.


From the Proving The Point Department comes an Atlantic blog comment elaborating on Rand Paul’s pointed remarks about Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior regarding women.  Adam Chandler starts by quoting Rand Paul’s comments, and then analyzes them briefly in the context of whether Hillary should be forced to pay for Bill’s sins.  He then quotes from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban, who vociferously defends Hillary.  Chandler wraps up with a paragraph meant to point out that Bill didn’t really get a pass for his sexual misconduct:

Other yet might contend that President Clinton is hardly the recipient of a free pass with regard to l’affaire Lewinsky, even all these years later. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press controversially incorporated the affair in a fact-check it conducted of Bill Clinton’s convention speech. And, as we mentioned, when Bill Clinton was named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council just a few weeks back, radio silence was hard to come by.

One has to wonder if Chandler read what he wrote.  If Bill really didn’t get a pass for his sexual misconduct, which ranged from affairs, to sexual harassment, to rape, to predatory behavior against young girls in the work place, then he wouldn’t be speaking at the 2012 Democrat National Convention or be named “Father of the Year.”  He wouldn’t be the dynamo who fronted much of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Democrats wouldn’t be excited about the fact that a Hillary presidency gives them a Bill Clinton repeat.  Of course he got a free pass.  The fact that a few articles rake up his significant misdemeanors means nothing when the Democrat establishment still embraces enthusiastically this old lech.  Bill Clinton — a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st Century.

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  • JKB

    We have entered an age in which education is not just a luxury permitting some men an advantage over others. It has become a necessity without which a person is defenseless in this complex, industrialized society. We have truly entered the century of the educated man.
    Lyndon B. Johnson
    For Johnson this was the third leg of his Great Society, and yet another failure of that program.  Aren’t his sentiments interesting in retrospect, given it is during his term in office the collapse of educational quality in the US is dated as starting?  Which of our graduates, these days, would one term an “educated man” or woman?
    “A third place to build the Great Society is in the classrooms of America. There your children’s lives will be shaped. Our society will not be great until every young mind is set free to scan the farthest reaches of thought and imagination. We are still far from that goal.”
    LBJ Library and Museum – Education Quotes by President Johnson 
    Are their more young minds set free “set free to scan the farthest reaches of thought and imagination.”  today than in 1964 when those words were spoken?  Or perhaps our young minds now speak in platitudes and indoctrination terrified of looking further than their professor’s bias?

  • Matt_SE

    “Instead, it was a government-created drought, brought about by rabid environmentalists who have successfully insisted that saving a very small fish is more important than feeding a nation.”
    Well said.
    When food prices rise to the level of rationing, citizen anger will become palpable. Without knowing the causes of this blight however, the anger will be inchoate. Conservatives should take every opportunity to point out who was responsible for this outrage.
    “Adam Chandler starts by quoting Rand Paul’s comments, and then analyzes them briefly in the context of whether Hillary should be forced to pay for Bill’s sins.”
    This last part implies that Hillary was at least independent from the situation, if not a (gasp!) victim.
    This however, belies the fact that Bill’s philandering occurred over many years, making it difficult to plead ignorance. When coupled with rumors of Hillary’s lesbianism along with the obvious quid-pro-quo of her election as NY Senator and later Secretary of State, it is implausible that she had no hand in his scandals.
    In that case, Hillary won’t be “paying for Bill’s sins” so much as her own.

  • jj

    A couple of times a year I’ll be required to end up in LA, for any of a variety of reasons ranging from familial to (diminishing) business, and I will usually do this in the most enjoyable manner available: hop behind the wheel.  We live about two miles from the northern end of the Hollywood Freeway – or the Ventura Freeway, take your pick, it’s all the same road – and will treat it as a slalom down to where it joins with 5.  I like 5, because in southern Washington nobody much cares what you’re doing, so one goes along with promptitude.  Oregon has nothing useful to do with either itself or its cops, so one perforce takes twice as long to get through there as the trip should take because there’s a cop every eleven feet, but it’s still picturesque.  (And what the hell, we do buy booze in Oregon, as Washington manages to make less sense with that than anywhere, so okay.)
    But then as one comes down from the Siskyou Summit – often as not sideways, if in winter – and into northern California, (going south, obviously) 5 comes into its own.  So few people live in northern northern California that the road is always empty, and the cops seem not to care what you’re doing – or even be present to notice.  In fact, all the times I’ve driven most of the length of 5, (which is plenty), I may never have seen a CHP unit thereon.  North of 80, I mean.  Now that I’ve written that I’m thinking about it, and I truly do not believe I’ve ever seen a cop car of any description on 5 north of 80.  (Sorry about the digression, Bookworm, but by now you must realize I write these things primarily for my own amusement…)
    Anyway, should you successfully survive the roller-coaster ride down from the Summit and arrive in California, you react by setting the cruise control  to a nice round 100, and away you go.  And you will not, at that, be the fastest car on the road: people will go by you.  (Northern California, what’s not to love?  Except it’s attached to the rest of the obscene nuthouse that is California.)  And, because you never leave as early as you want to in the morning, and then you had to spend four hours pooting through Oregon at 55, you succumb to the pull of one of the three or four most beautiful rock-piles in the world, one that even the eminently practical Indians regarded as good for your soul, and you pull off to spend the night at the Best Western in Mount Shasta.  And, depending on the time of year, either before or after dinner you go find a clearing and watch the sunlight and alpen-glow fade against the flanks of that beautiful thing, realize there is a God, and go have dinner/go to bed.
    Then in the morning you get up, resume 100 mph cruising – though you may want to cool it a bit through Redding – and get south of 80 and through Sacramento/Compton quick.  And now we come, at last, to the point.  I too, have watched the farms turn from green to brown over the years.  I have also seen the signs sprout – which you didn’t mention – to the effect that we can all thank Congress for this barren landscape.  Some of the farmers put it right out there.  Somehow or other most of the photos in the papers seem never to find one of those signs – there are plenty – that say this was a Congress-inspired desert, suffering from a Congress-inspired drought.  But the signs are, I assure you, there.
    I’m from the northeast, as you may have heard.  I grew up on a farm on Long Island, as you also may recall being mentioned.  When I was a kid there really were Long Island Ducks – the appellation didn’t just appear on menus all over the world: there really were duck-farms, and millions of ducks.  Suffolk County, on Long Island, had soil of such depth and perfection for the raising of potatoes (and strawberries and corn, incidentally) that, all by itself – one county – produced more of America’s potatoes than Maine and Iowa put together did, until the end of the 1960s.  Miles of potato fields.  We raised potatoes too, in rotation with corn, strawberries, beans and carrots.
    And it has occurred to me that what the boys who set the country up forgot was a land czar.  An Emperor of the Soil.  Somebody who would say:  “New Jersey has 25 feet of the richest topsoil on the planet – and it doesn’t need to have a river diverted to irrigate it, because it rains and snows in New Jersey.  So no – you cannot pave it over and build goddam Newark or Jersey City on top of it!  That would be goddam stupid!”  And when Levittown showed up on Long Island , same answer: “No – you don’t get to pave overt the world’s finest land, that doesn’t have to be irrigated.  Grow a brain!”
    In New England you mostly farm rocks – though the land is splendid once the rocks are out of the way, but New England is a granite ledge: there are a lot of rocks.  Fields that have been getting steadily cleared for 200 years are okay, but it still can be a lot of work.  But – southwestern Connecticut, southeastern New York – including Long Island – New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and northern Virginia – they could feed the world.  I mean: feed every mouth on the planet.  And not need to irrigate a drop, let alone divert entire rivers to try and moisten the soil.
    Had I been the Emperor of the Soil, we wouldn’t be now – or for the past hundred years – trying to make the goddam desert bloom in the San Joaquin and Central Valleys.  (Okay, maybe in some of them: it’s nice to keep the melons coming in February – which the northeast will not do.)  But to take the best farmland on the entire planet, and pave it over in order to stick Newark, Jersey City, Trenton, and Elizabeth on top of it – whoever did that should be shot.  Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford – did Connecticut have such a need for dumps that it was worth paving over the world’s most productive soil?  Would we all have been poorer for not having the opportunity to experience Wilmington, Delaware?  
    Land use in this country has been brainless from Day One, and preserving the ability to grow food is probably – other than the military – about the only area where I could get behind a central government-y sort of approach.  Levittown should have been told: “no.”  Jersey City should have been told: “no.”  Annapolis should have been told: “no.”  Front Royal should have been told: “hell, no.”  Our land use has always been stupid. 

  • Ymarsakar

    “The people who should be listening to him . . . won’t.”
    Political power comes from the barrel of a gun. If you want people to listen…

  • Ymarsakar

    “Bill Clinton — a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st Century.”
    But remember, when they say feminists will protect our women from being raped. It is rather the opposite.