Every homeowner knows the feeling: all systems in the house break down simultaneously. This makes sense, of course, because most systems are installed simultaneously, either during a build or a remodel. At our house, the problems are going from top (defective roofing shingles) to bottom (worn-out sewer), with all manner of interesting things in between (leaking shower doors, broken closet doors, etc.).
I’ve spent a good part of the last two days on the phone trying to address all these things. When I’m not doing that, I’m trying to get my mother in to see the pain specialist before yet another month has gone by. My day gets frittered away in frustrating phone calls. Aaargh!
And then, for another “Aargh” factor, there’s the everyday news in Obama’s America. While I can’t share my home defects and phone calls with you, I can share these news stories:
A few Ferguson notes
You’ve probably heard that the White House wants to use Michael Brown, the “gentle giant” — all 285 lbs, 6’4″ of him, complete with gangster Facebook page, pot on board, and a lot of adrenalin from a strong-arm robbery — as a classroom martyr. No, I’m not kidding:
The White House provided a link on their Twitter feed to an article in the Huffington Post which proposed having schools set up a Michael Brown memorial in their classes and to be “counternarrative” or, to be more precise “countertruth”. Nothing like a little indoctrination of the children to help sway things their way.
The Left’s good soldiers immediately sprang into action but, thankfully, there are those out there with spectacular graphic skills and good senses of humor who sprang into counter-action. For example, Big Fur Hat noticed this tweeted picture, which obviously reflects a classroom project:
Big Fur Hat countered in the best way possible, with the only problem being that the little brainwashed students who participated in making the first poster won’t see this second one for balance:
Diann Russell contributed her own art work to the project:
Thomas Sowell is still chewing over the fact that, thanks to the demagogic fantasy and myth coming out of Ferguson, real people are seeing their real community really destroyed:
The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people — many of them black or members of other minorities — who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived.
But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come.
Sometimes it is a particular neighborhood that never recovers, and sometimes it is a whole city. Detroit is a classic example. It had the worst riot of the 1960s, with 43 deaths — 33 of them black people. Businesses left Detroit, taking with them jobs and taxes that were very much needed to keep the city viable. Middle class people — both black and white — also fled.
As every good thinker should, Sowell asks “cui bono”?
Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues. In Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young was one of many political demagogues who were able to ensure their own reelection, using rhetoric and policies that drove away people who provided jobs and taxes, but who were likely to vote against him if they stayed. Such demagogues thrived as Detroit became a wasteland.
Meanwhile, Kevin Williamson points out that the reflexive, cry of “racism” whenever someone points out (a) that Brown was committing (apparently inadvertent) suicide by cop and (b) that the greatest threat to young blacks is other young blacks, trivializes all black lives at the expense of politically-useful racial demagoguery:
The reality is this: Black men, especially young black men, die violent deaths at appalling rates in these United States. But they do not die very often at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, thugs reminiscent of characters from American History X, police officers of any race or motivation, lynch mobs, the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Walmart, the Tea Party, Goldman Sachs, carbon dioxide, or any other bogeyman currently in vogue among so-called progressives. As Giuliani noted, blacks die violent deaths almost exclusively at the hands of black criminals. But attempting to accommodate that reality in any serious way does not pay any political dividends for the Left. It does not put any money in Jesse Jackson’s pockets or create any full-time jobs for graduates of grievance-studies programs.
And thus we have the very peculiar situation in which “Black Lives Matter!” but black perpetrators don’t. Only white perpetrators matter. And if, as in the case of George Zimmerman, they are not exactly white, then they can be declared white by the New York Times. Only white perpetrators matter to the people behind the Ferguson protests because only white perpetrators are politically useful.
The overwhelming majority of violent deaths suffered by black Americans are the result of simple crime, and crime is, as an issue, of no use to the Left.
More suspicion about the UVA rape story
I’ve twice now expressed reservations about the UVA rape story. In her comments to my last post on the subject, however, Lee told of frat boys engaging in appallingly stupid and criminal behavior. It didn’t seem unreasonable to her that frat brothers would do something so awful, or that young victims would keep quiet in order to maintain social standing. I’ve come to respect Lee’s intelligence a great deal, so the fact that she doesn’t find the UVA rape story too unbelievable carries weight with me.
Nevertheless, given how neatly the story dovetails with the prevailing “campuses are hotbeds of misogynistic conduct by white males” paradigm, and given the fact that Leftist students willingly lie about rape to score political points, I have to admit that I’m at least continuing to keep my mind wide open about whether the claim is true or false. Others are doing the same.
Richard Bradley, who presided over The New Republic when Stephen Glass scammed it with faked articles, has written a much-reported post in which he too questions the Rolling Stone article telling of the purported rape. The problem, as he sees it, is the rush to accept reports that support pre-existing biases — and the “frat boys are misogynistic rapists” is certainly a pre-existing bias in modern university culture:
The lesson I learned: One must be most critical, in the best sense of that word, about what one is already inclined to believe. So when, say, the Duke lacrosse scandal erupted, I applied that lesson. The story was so sensational! Believing it required indulging one’s biases: A southern school…rich white preppy boys…a privileged sports team…lower class African-American women…rape. It read like a Tom Wolfe novel.
And of course it never happened.
Of the UVA allegations, Bradley has this to say:
The only thing is…I’m not sure that I believe it. I’m not convinced that this gang rape actually happened. Something about this story doesn’t feel right.
The article tells the story of “Jackie”—we never learn her identity—an 18-year-old freshman at UVA. She’s a model student, “attending events, joining clubs, making friends and, now, being asked on an actual date” by a fraternity member she met while working as a lifeguard. Her date, “Drew”—for a reason Rolling Stone never explains, we never learn his identity either—leads Jackie upstairs so that they can talk “where it’s quieter.”
What Rolling Stone writer Sabrina Rudin Erdely says happens next turns the stomach.
Let me be very clear: I don’t doubt that it’s possible that this happened. People can do terrible things, things that one doesn’t want to believe happen. And I certainly don’t want to think that this could have happened.
But more than that: I don’t believe that it happened—certainly not in the way that it is recounted.
So let’s look at this story with a different set of eyes—not the eyes of a man or a woman, but those of a magazine editor who has seen fakes before.
The first thing that strikes me about it, of course, is that Jackie is never identified. I don’t love that—it makes me uncomfortable to base an entire story on an unnamed source, and I can’t think of any other situation other than rape where a publication would allow that—but certainly one can see the rationale.
Then we have three friends who talked to Jackie right after the rape, and apparently discouraged her from going to the hospital or the authorities because they might subsequently be banned from frat parties. Not one of them is named, or interviewed; so the three people who could allegedly corroborate the assault don’t.
Read the rest here. I have to agree with Bradley that, while the rape could have happened (and real rapes along these lines undoubtedly have happened), the more I think about this one, the more inclined I am to demand a much higher level of corroborating evidence before I’ll believe it.
Ashton Carter’s resume scares me
It looks as if the Obama administration has settled on Ashton Carter as its choice for Secretary of Defense, in place of the departing Chuck Hagel. Carter has no military experience, but plenty of Washington experience, including in the Pentagon:
Formerly the No. 2 at the Pentagon and before that its chief weapons buyer, Carter was passed over for the top job when it went to Hagel instead.
Carter stayed on for a year as deputy defense secretary — a position often described as the chief executive of the Pentagon bureaucracy — but his relationship with Hagel was seen as awkward. When he stepped down in December 2013, Carter didn’t give a specific reason for leaving, simply stating in his resignation letter that “it is time for me to go.”
In other words, rather than being new blood, which Obama’s administration badly needs, Carter is just same old, same old. Except he might be worse. If you look at his history, what you realize is that he’s a core member of the academic elite — the type that lives in a world of theory unburdened by reality:
Carter, 60, is little known outside Washington but is renowned for his intellect. A Rhodes scholar, he earned a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University and holds degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale. A longtime faculty member at Harvard, he began lecturing at Stanford this fall.
With a resume like that, I wouldn’t want Carter as Chief Dog Catcher. If it’s done nothing else, the Obama administration has proven that people marinated in academia have really bad ideas.
Pope Francis is living up to his resume
I’ve been very clear on two things since Pope Francis appeared on the scene: (1) He is a genuinely good human being and (2) he’s a communist. Of course, he’d never call himself a communist, but his every pronouncement shows that he is a graduate of the hard-Left “liberation theology” movement that communists introduced in the late 1950s in Latin America as a way to undermine the Catholic Church. For those who think I’m off my rocker, liberation theology is the school out of which arose the “social justice movement,” which is the Left’s acknowledged propaganda cudgel.
Why am I rehashing this? Because the Pope is at it again, this time equating Christian Fundamentalists to ISIS. According to The Jerusalem Post, Francis had some interesting things to say after visiting Turkey:
Pope Francis said Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.
The Argentine pope, who has been trying to foster cooperation with moderate Islam in order to work for peace and protect Christians in the Middle East, said it was wrong for anyone to react to terrorism by being “enraged” against Islam.
“You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.
Jim Hoft sums it up perfectly:
Muslims slaughtered 683 innocents THIS WEEK.
Christian fundamentalists have killed no one.
Someone needs to talk with this pope.
Please understand that I’m not trying to attack the Catholic Church. I have the greatest respect for the modern Catholic Church. (Not so much respect, I admit, for the old Torquemada branch of the Church.) It’s not the Church that troubles me; it’s Francis.
Time for another government shutdown?
Last year, while the GOP was trashing Ted Cruz for his government shut down, I was arguing that the shutdown was the conservatives’ Battle of Thermopylae. Sure, at the time, thanks to the media’s relentless conservative-bashing, Americans pointed fingers at Republicans for doing something bad. However, as Rush noted this morning, one year later, when the dust had settled and it was increasingly clear that the bad stuff was actually coming from Democrats, those Americans who pay attention and bother to vote gave Republicans a historic legislative victory. Kind of like Thermopylae again.
It’s therefore no surprise that Republicans are beginning to think that a shutdown might be just the way to deal with amnesty — provided it’s done right. Over at Power Line, which is one of my favorite moderate conservative sites, Paul Mirengoff says that it would be a mistake for Senate GOPers to ignore the shutdown option:
There are important features that would distinguish a partial government shutdown over the immigration executive order from the partial shutdown over Obamacare.
First, President Obama was more popular then than he is now. Voters are more inclined to blame Obama today. They likely would blame Republicans for a shutdown too, but this time the blame would, I believe, be shared more evenly, quite apart from the additional considerations discussed below.
Second, the main argument against the Republicans in 2013 doesn’t apply today. A year ago, Democrats could say, correctly, that the shutdown was over a dispute that Congress had already resolved — should Obamacare, legislation passed by Congress, go into effect.
This time around, the dispute is over Obama’s decision to implement a policy that Congress has refused to enact. Democrats do not hold the high ground they claimed in 2013.
Third, with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress, the GOP may be able to tailor the partial shutdown in ways that will help it in the court of public opinion.
Read the rest here.
The Bible tells us how to have a good society
Dennis Prager has embarked upon an exciting new project: a lesson about the Ten Commandments.
(You can find all ten “Ten Commandment” videos here.)
I believe that the best possible society is one predicated upon a combination of a mid-1950s Judeo-Christian morality (complete with the Ten Commandments), leavened with a mid-1950s set of American values (hard work, self-reliance, moderation as a virtue, etc), and stripped of such unsavory 1950s practices as true racism, sexism, and homophobia. (I say “true,” because in today’s world, those concepts have been hijacked and turned into nonsense, with microaggression claims blocking grammar critiques; furors over shirts trumping tremendous scientific accomplishments; and a gay mafia destroying anyone who believes in traditional marriage.)
Hollywood is hostile to American families
I remember back in the 1970s hearing my parents complain that it was terribly difficult to parent against popular culture. Little did they know then, in what was still the age of The Brady Bunch, a show in which Mom and Dad still knew best, that it was only going to get more difficult. While my childhood peers watched those Bradys, my children’s peers watch Walter White and Tony Soprano. Hollywood is not a family friend.
No one knows this better than one of my favorite bloggers, Robert Avrech, who also had an illustrious career as a Hollywood screenwriter. (He’s a wonderful writer all around, by the way.) He took time out from his own blog, Seraphic Secret, to write a compelling article for Jewish Action: “Warning: Hollywood’s Coming for Your Home and Children.”
America’s cult-like obsession with keeping its children “safe”
Lenore Skenazy is making a name for herself writing what every modern parent knows to be true: we have gone crazy trying to keep our kids safe from both real and imagined dangers — or, as she calls it, “The Cult of Kiddie Danger.”
Insurance underwriters are merely the high priests of what has become our new American religion: the Cult of Kiddie Danger. It is founded on the unshakable belief that our kids are in constant danger from everyone and everything.
The devout pray like this: “Oh Lord, show me the way my child is in deathly danger from __________, that I may cast it out.” And then they fill in the blank with anything we might have hitherto considered allowing our children to eat, watch, visit, touch, or do, e.g., “Sleep over at a friend’s,” “Microwave the macaroni in a plastic dish,” or even, “Play outside, unsupervised.”
The Cult’s dogma is taught diligently unto our children who are not allowed to use Chapstick unless it is administered by the school nurse, nor sunscreen, lest they quaff it and die of poisoning, nor, for the same reason, soft soap in pre-k. It doesn’t matter that these fears are wildly at odds with reality. They are religious beliefs, not rational ones.
What’s more, this is a state religion, so the teachings are enforced by the cops and courts. Those who step outside the orthodoxy face punishment swift and merciless.
If you’re a parent or grandparent (or aunt or uncle, or just a person with common sense), you’ll really want to read the whole thing.
Incidentally, Skenazy is being celebrated on the Left. I find this fascinating. I’ve commented before that, in my household, our parenting views march in lockstep with our political views. I prefer a more laissez faire government, one that gives maximum power to the people, and minimizes central control — and I parent that way too, trying to give my kids as much autonomy as they’re able to handle, on matters large and small, limiting myself to core parental tasks.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bookworm believes that government should be micromanaged by elites and should spread as wide a net as possible to ensure that elite control never lapses — and he parents that way too, trying to manage every aspect of the children’s lives. Unsurprisingly, he is the worrier in our family, always envisioning disasters from any people, places, or things that intersect with our children. But, true for a Progressive Europhile, he would have no problem with sending our children off to Europe to work or study in places with both native and immigrant populations that hate America and hate Jews even more.
3 Seconds of silliness
Apparently no computers were used to make this video. Also, don’t worry that you don’t speak Japanese. You’ll figure out very quickly what’s happening: