The Bookworm Beat — Saturday night leftovers edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingBusy day. Very busy day and not a bad one either, because I got a lot accomplished. Just about the only thing I didn’t get done today was spending time at my computer. I’ve got a pile of open tabs left over from yesterday, though, all of which have aged well and still deserve to be read:

With the ceasefire, the media started ‘fessing up about the lies it told for Hamas

Once the ceasefire seemed to be sticking, foreign reporters started admitting that much of what they reported out of Gaza was untrue — and that they willingly reported these lies out of fear for their own safety.. Wondering how they’re feeling about their confession now that the war has resumed.

And considering how bad Hamas is, the media should be deeply ashamed

I wonder how all the so-called “pacifists” square their support with Hamas with the massacres it commits against its own people — for example, summarily executing Gazans accused of collaborating with Israel. And let’s not stop with executing alleged collaborators. Let’s call Hamas out on its long list of crimes against humanity (as complied by StandWithUs at Buzzfeed).

ISIS, a scourge unlike any seen since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes

Hamas followers, however, are mere pikers when it comes to ISIS. I honestly don’t believe we’ve seen any military movement as brutal since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes.  Even 20th century totalitarian armies acted with more deliberation when it came to mass slaughter.

What’s even more amazing is that ISIS is so terribly pleased with itself. Unlike the Nazis who recorded images of their torture for their own masturbatory pleasure, but otherwise tried to hide it from the world, ISIS is not hiding the beheadings, crucifixions, torture, genocide, and rape. It’s proudly circulating this information on social media.

Reading about ISIS’s depredations against armies, women, Christians, Yazidis, other Muslims, and anyone else in their way is so stomach churning I think it short-circuits most Americans. It’s one thing to watch this kind of horror presented with ghoulish enthusiasm, and lots of colored corn syrup, on a movie screen; it’s another thing altogether to realize that it’s being committed against men, women, and children, in real time, here on planet earth.

Obama deserves praise for taking steps to protect the Yazidis, but it’s apparent that he has no plan at all. This is a “seat of the pants” operation, where he’s going to try to put out a little fire here and a little fire there, even as the corpses pile up.

I actually wouldn’t want American boots on the grounds in a war against ISIS. To the extent that ISIS is a military movement (no sheltering amongst civilian populations for ISIS troops), my recommendation would be to track their movements and, when they’re reasonably consolidated, drop a storm of bombs on them with Dresden-like ferocity. ISIS fighters have parted ways with humanity and need to be routed out completely. Incidentally, Kurt Schlicter would agree with me.

And why can’t Progressives figure out just how bad Islamists really are?

David French struggles to understand why Progressives cannot wrap their heads around the evil that stalks the Middle East and, increasingly, Europe and America. In addition to his ideas (and you’ll have to read his post to see what they are), I do think a lot of it has to do with a terrible fear of being thought racist. After all, while Islam is not a race, the fact is that most Muslims have darker skin than the run-of-the-mill American or European leftist. For Progressives, then, criticizing dark-skinned people is so verboten, they’re willing to wrap themselves in an almost impenetrable blanket of denial.

Obama:  Knave or Villain?

When speaking about the disaster’s that have befallen America and the rest of the world during Obama’s presidency, many people are wont to cite to Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Myron Magnet doesn’t agree. He thinks that Obama has deliberately created both domestic and international disasters.

Or maybe Obama’s just a bureaucrat run amok

Jonah Goldberg wonders if Barack Obama isn’t just bureaucracy run amok in the form of one powerful individual:

But there’s a common theme to Obama’s foreign policy and [Mike] Barnicle’s rodent flatulence [blaming Cheney for ISIS]. They both work on the assumption that global events are things that happen out there. “The world stage” used to be a platform for U.S. leadership. For Obama, the world stage is more like, well, a stage where other nations put on a show for our benefit. There are plenty of good arguments for America to be more circumspect internationally (and plenty of bad ones). But I don’t think Obama and his supporters fully recognize that when the lead actor on the world stage decides to walk off and sit in the audience, it changes the performance and the roles of the other performers.

Read the whole thing. It’s one of Goldberg’s best.

Obama's mission accomplished


Whatever else Obama is, he’s not in Putin’s class

Bill Whittle thinks that, when it comes to Obama versus Putin, Obama is a naif facing off against a stone-cold killer who learned from the best (at stone-cold killing, that is):

A teaching degree — not worth the paper it’s printed on?

I’ve often thought that I would be a good teacher because I’m fairly good at explaining things. Long ago, when I was looking for ways out of practicing law, I toyed with the idea of teaching. At that time, I didn’t know that private schools often didn’t requiring teaching degrees, so I thought I’d have to go back to college to get a masters in teaching.

The thought of a teaching degree horrified me, though. My sense over the years was that one of the problems with modern teachers is that teaching degrees “un-teach” them, leeching out their common sense and ordinary knowledge and leaving, in their place, cant and political correctness. It seems I may have been correct in this supposition.

In Obama’s America, no good deed goes unpunished

Business life in Obama’s America: Help the government by bailing out failed financial institutions . . . then get reamed for those same institution’s past sins.

The IRS will be watching some pulpits — but which pulpits will it be watching?

Per an agreement with an atheist group, the IRS will soon be monitoring sermons at a House of Worship near you. Maybe I wouldn’t mind this so much if I thought the IRS would randomly check out all types of faiths, including black churches (“I don’t feel no ways tired!“) and radical mosques (“Jihad!”). I have a strong suspicion, though, that Obama’s IRS agents will only be haunting the pews of churches and synagogues in which the pastor or rabbi speaks about the sanctity of life or the sacrament of marriage.

Is HBO failing?

I don’t like HBO and I don’t like it for a very specific reason: It’s relentlessly Leftist and propagandizes in every documentary, commentary show, and most movies. Netflix’s original productions aren’t always better, but they’re still better than HBO — and they’re beating HBO in subscriptions.

Picture time

And a picture about Hamas’s co-conspirator in Gaza:

UNinvolved in Peace

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  • JKB

    Reading ‘The Invention of the Modern World”, it has been pointed out that English is unique as languages go. It is a common language across classes so that even the poorest individual could read the great literature as far back as the 13th century. Contrast that with the tradition in Germany for the upper class to use an entirely different language than the common folk. Or the much more prevalent use of Latin for the aristocrats in much of Europe.

    But one thought put me to mischief. That is, English is non-gendered. One wonders why feminists have not taken up the banner to see the gendered, thus sexist, Romance languages driven from the universities, at least. I wonder how we could plant that seed in the DemProg protesters. Should they really be pushing these discriminatory languages such as Spanish. And what of French, tu and vous are hardly inclusive. In fact, they quite harshly enforce privilege.

    As Alan MacFarlane states:

    “Another absence was gender differentiation – again so much stressed in Romance and other languages. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber wrote that ‘sex gender is an old part of Indo-European structure. In English, by the way, it has wholly disappeared, so far as formal expression goes, from noun, adjective, and demonstrative and interrogative pronoun. It lingers only in the personal pronoun of the third person singular – he, she, it. A grammar of living English that was genuinely practical and unbound by tradition would never mention gender except in discussing these three little words.’14 Females do not, as in most societies, have to address males in a special deferential language; the entire world is not, as in France, gendered with male and female nouns. English language is uniformly neutral, at least from the thirteenth century onwards. It may partly account for the attraction of English around the world as the position of women improves, and the way that English-medium schools seem to help the self-confidence of girls.”

    Any ideas on how to inject this into the Leftist protest schema?

  • Tara S

    I learned something new today. Over the years, I’ve seen dozens of articles, posts, and lists about the death of common sense, and nodded along to every one of them–and it seems like the first example in almost every case was that story about the woman who sued McDonald’s because she spilled coffee on herself and said they didn’t tell her it would be so hot.

    Well, apparently the woman was 79 years old and uninsured, and the coffee was about 40-60 degrees hotter than restaurant coffee normally is. 22% of her body area was burned, 6% with third-degree burns (largely on her groin and thighs); she spent two years getting treatment for them, after an initial eight days in the hospital undergoing skin grafting.

    She originally wanted them to give her $20,000, which was just about enough to cover the accrued and anticipated medical costs related to the burns, but McDonald’s offered to give her $800 instead, and that’s when she filed a suit against them.

    I’m usually pretty good about double-checking stories before I use them in arguments, and I’m actually annoyed with myself now for using this one without ever checking to see if the media had put a spin on it.

    • Mike Devx

      I am sympathetic to the woman’s pain and suffering (8 days in the hospital! skin grafts!).

      But the coffee temperature then, and still now, conforms to industry standards. (Starbucks’ is even hotter.) The woman spilled it on herself after they pulled away from the drive-thru and then parked.

      Have you ever received a plate of sizzling fajitas at your table? What would happen if you dumped the plate of fajitas in your lap? Would the restaurant be at fault? For millions of dollars in punitive damages?

      If the employee had dumped the entire cup of coffee on her, I think she’d have a case. Since she did it to herself, and since this was not a defective product, I don’t think McDonalds was liable for even a single penny.

      It might be good PR and good customer relations for food service companies to offer to cover usual medical costs when something this unfortunate happens on company property. For me, this was an accident, nothing more, and no one should have been legally at fault.

      • Tara S

        I’m inclined to agree with you — I just meant that everything I’d read about the case up until now conjured up images of a greedy, opportunistic woman leveling a ridiculous claim against a corporation, and an idiotic judge and jury blind to common sense in their ruling. And of course those things have happened often enough, but it doesn’t seem like any of it at play here, at least not to the extent people imply. I’m irked that none of those extra details made it into any of the retellings I’ve read and heard over the years.

        • Mike Devx

          Tara, I agree with much of what you’re saying. Certainly we rarely get the full story from “the news”. There’s almost never any attempt to provide real context to any story.

          And it certainly was easy to get the impression that the woman suing was just being greedy Far from it. She did suffer, and she genuinely thought she deserved compensation.

          And that’s the first problem. Once she learned the coffee temperature was standard, and that McDonalds was both following the law and pleasing the vast majority of their customers, she should have stopped.

          She seems to belong to that unfortunately large group of people who think that “someone’s got to pay!”, even if just for an accident, and that someone ought to be a business company. Why? Well, because, well, businesses have MONEY, and, dang it, someone’s simply got to pay!

          Nor, by the way, do I think taxpayers should pay to heal her for her unfortunate accident.

          And I do believe that yes, the judge was a complete idiot for not dismissing the case out of hand – there are quite a few of these cases, and almost all of them DO get dismissed by the judge.

          And the jury were complete idiots, too.. I’m sure the McDonablds legal team made the arguments that the coffee temperature was standard; that they broke no law; and that most drive-thru customers WANT their coffee very hot.

          I would argue that, yes, this case is pretty much the definition of “frivolous lawsuit”.

          • Ymarsakar

            “And it certainly was easy to get the impression that the woman suing was just being greedy Far from it. She did suffer, and she genuinely thought she deserved compensation.”

            That’s not the issue. The issue is why her lawyer gets 70+% of the cut.

            Why does her fate end up being a money laundering scheme for the Leftist alliance’s war against humanity, via the lawyer lobby fees?

  • bkivey

    I don’t have TV, so I can’t comment on the modern incarnation of HBO. I am willing to give them a pass on a lot of stuff for one reason: The Sopranos.

    I’ve been working on projects in a couple of elementary schools recently, and I’ve noticed:

    Only one in every four or five classrooms has an American flag on the wall.

    Some classrooms have the months of the year on the wall with various holidays noted. Guess what December lacks.

    Cursive is still being taught.

    Some teachers are determined to make reading a rules-based activity. Criminey, no wonder kids drop out.

    I once had a girlfriend ask me why I didn’t substitute teach, as the state only required a bachelors degree. I replied that I’d be on the 6 o’clock news for sure.

  • Zhombre

    Re: HBO. We got HBO free for a year from the cable provider and, when time expires, won’t renew, for the reasons you state. Of its content 90 to 95 percent sparks no interest and much of it I actively detest. Paeans to Ann Richards, documentaries on Mike Tyson. anything that issues from the mouth of Bill Maher, turns me off. Sure, I view True Detective and Game of Thrones and Rome, in repeats; but every presentation on HBO seems to adhere to some algorithm that requires predictably periodic nudity, sex, travesty and violence, and frankly I feel as if I am being played. Enough. I much prefer the old movies on less vaunted local stations..

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  • Caped Crusader

    “And why can’t Progressives figure out just how bad Islamists really are?”

    Simple. They have devolved from irresponsible teenagers into frightened lying evil children rather than face the facts; anything to avoid facts, blame, or responsibility

    • Mike Devx

      In a recent poll:

      19 percent of Americans say Israel is most responsible for the recent violence in Gaza, a new Pew Research Center poll reveals.

      Twice as many, 40 percent, say Hamas is most responsible, while 14 percent believe Israel and Hamas are equally responsible and 28 percent have no opinion

      16 percent of Republicans believe Israel has gone too far, while 19 percent of Republicans believe Israel has not gone far enough.

      Among Democrats, 35 percent say Israel has gone too far, and 9 percent believe Israel has not gone far enough.

      From item #5 (scroll down), at:

      I would love to sit down with some of those people and ask them a question or two. I wonder what level of evil I would discover in their answers.

  • Earl

    I love the idea of a “s**tstorm” of bombs on any concentration of ISIS….but that’s not the first answer.


    Look at their history – they’ll take care of themselves if they have the means to do so.

    ISIS is rolling across the countryside using OUR weapons, left behind with the Iraqi Army. Provide the Kurds with the means to resist, and they will show the world what they’re made of!!

    • Earl

      Smarter people than I are saying it!!

      Arm the Kurds!

      This is just SHAMEFUL!!

      “For years, Kurdish officials have beseeched the Obama administration to let them buy U.S. weapons. And for just as long, the administration has rebuffed the Kurds, America’s closest allies in Iraq.

      “U.S. officials insisted they could only sell arms to the government in Baghdad, even after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki broke a written promise to deliver some of them to the Kurds….

      “Pentagon officials say their policy hasn’t changed — they will only sell arms to Baghdad.”

      If they stick to this, it can only mean one thing, because NO ONE is this STUPID!!

      The current U.S. Administration doesn’t care if ISIS wins….or worse, WANTS ISIS to win.

  • Charles Martel

    JKB, love your discussion of English and the suggestion that we plant some mind bombs in the DemProgs by pointing out the oppressive nature of French and Spanish with their gendered structures. Only one fly in the ointment though:

    French and Spanish are spoken by darker-skinned people, therefore are immune from racist charges of being oppressive. Since skin color determines degree of victimhood, and vicitims themselves cannot victimize, your suggestion is on shaky ground.

    (Yes, yes, I know that the French and Spaniards are white people, but you must remember that the left in this country has adopted an unconsciously British attitude toward whiteness: “Wogs begin at Calais—and the Bay of Biscay.”)

    Then there’s the cognitive dissonance of the left. This is a corollary of the point above: You may practice any form of torture or inhumanity as long as you are not a white Christian/Joo. Thus, the horror of queer and woman-hating Islam is accepted because it is a darkie religion, therefore immune from judgment by oppressive white-skin notions of decent behavior.

    • JKB

      Oh, I agree. There is a color barrier. However, as I read MacFarlane’s discussions, of which I tend to agree, I see that pretty much all he points out as the underpinnings of the modern world is pretty much what the DemProgs are against. With the variation they hope to substitute their socialist ideology for religion.

      I see benefit is pointing this out. It will be ignored and vilified. They’ll even tout technology as a counter argument. But to plant the seed, is to create cognitive dissonance. And if they have that lingering about in the dark recesses, there is hope it can take root when reality shines it sanitizing light into the shadows of their beliefs.

      • JKB

        As an amusing example of what I would like to create is Penny’s reaction to this realization about herself on Big Bang Theory.

  • roylofquist

    In days of yore, back before Newspeak, we called them fellow travelers.