The Bookworm Beat 5-6-15 — the “long day” edition and open thread

Woman writingLong day, low energy, but the siren song of blogging is calling out to me and I respond to that call:

American campuses are becoming increasingly antisemitic

Jonathan Marks writes about the way that pricey little Bowdoin College, tucked up in a corner of Maine, is “debating” a complete boycott of Israel that its promoters clearly intend to exist until Israel is annihilated:

But the way Bowdoin’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine is attempting to ram through this referendum, near the end of the academic year, when students are least likely to be paying close attention, shows as well as these other observations, that the movement is really about scoring a series of cheap propaganda victories to produce a phony impression of momentum and widespread support. Their undertaking is the very opposite of the Socratic spirit that ought to animate our colleges and universities: they want people who don’t know to claim that they do. To those who pretend to work toward discussion of Israel but in fact seek to manipulate students who know next to nothing about it, we can reply as Socrates did to one of his own prosecutors: they [jest] in a serious matter, easily bringing human beings to trial, pretending to be serious and concerned about things for which [they] never cared at all.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Wisse examines the growing, aggressive, violent antisemitism overflowing like a disgusting sewer on American college campuses:

The contrast I have drawn between the college campus and the rest of American society is counter-intuitive: why should anti-Semitism flourish in the sweet groves of academe rather than in the fouler corridors of power? How does intolerance for a Jewish state thrive in the very institutions that advertise their tolerance for threatened minorities? The political columnist Bret Stephens often asks college audiences why, if they claim to be liberal, they don’t support the only liberal society in the Middle East. On what grounds do American universities, considered liberal to a fault, assail the only liberal democracy in that part of the world?

The question harbors its answer. Israel is attacked not despite but on account of its liberal democracy and its buoyant pluralistic culture: two commodities held in notable disesteem in the nominally liberal but in fact anti-liberal environment of the contemporary American university. The boycotters wrap themselves in the mantle of free speech only to silence those who stand for the kind of genuine individual and human rights that flourish in Israel. They shout down liberal speakers like Israel’s ambassador to the United States just as they shout down and shut out champions of Muslim women’s rights.

Academia’s views harmonize perfectly with those of our man in the White House. No wonder then that Debka, which is frequently privy to information from Israel’s intelligence community, is reporting that Obama is poised to do what many have long feared: He’s allegedly promising to back a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. I wouldn’t put it past that foul little excrescence currently inhabiting the White House to try his best to destroy an ally. Debased people engage in debased and evil behavior.

And while I’m on the subject of antisemitism, if you’re Jewish or Philosemitic, two more stories to scare you: First, take a look at the increasingly open, aggressive antisemitism amongst black Democrats who are no doubt heartened by the first white-black President’s manifest hostility to the world’s only Jewish state.

Second, Ireland’s Leftists have ensured that it is now one of the most antisemitic nations in the world. Woe betide American Jews and Israel if that attitude infects America’s Irish population which, barring its flirtation with Father Coughlin back in the 1930s, hasn’t been antisemitic but has mostly supported the world’s only Jewish nation (not to mention the Middle East’s only true democracy).

Yeah, how is that Obamacare working for you?

On my Facebook page, one of my hard Left friends is rejoicing in the headline that Obamacare added 17 million people to the insurance rolls, adding that “most” of the people who lost their insurance found new insurance. Oh, and hospitals are making money. It must be a success, right?

Apparently the Lefties missed the news stories about rising visits to emergency rooms (the opposite of what Obama promised) and steadily increasing rates. But hey, we now fit the WHO metric of lots of people forcibly “insured,” even though medical care is more expensive and less useful.

(I notice that I’m putting many more words in quotation marks, indicating that I’m using them sarcastically. The fact is that, in Obama’s America, words are losing their meaning and the only way I can think to convey that is through those ubiquitous quotation marks.)

More on Baltimore

I’ve pretty much said what I have to say about Baltimore: It’s a Democrat-run sinkhole. As long as blacks look to the government and not themselves for succor they’re going to continue to live out their lives in poverty, immorality, and violence.

Those are my intuitive conclusions based upon quite a few decades on Planet Earth. Thomas Sowell provides the data to support my conclusions:

The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century.

Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s.

You would be hard-pressed to find as many ghetto riots prior to the 1960s as we have seen just in the past year, much less in the 50 years since a wave of such riots swept across the country in 1965.

[snip]

Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, down — during the much-lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families.

Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read Life at the Bottom, by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood.

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.

Victor Davis Hanson also offers his usual astute insights on the subject, offering “the Baltimore Rules”:

Until then, let us review the Baltimore Rules:

1) Statistics are irrelevant. Emotion rules and no one cares about larger statistical challenges. Blacks make up almost 13% of the population and commit 52% of the nation’s murders. Based on their statistical representation in the U.S. population, African-Americans on average are eight times more likely to inflict a violent crime and six times more likely to suffer a criminal act than is the general population. This fact is irrelevant; it is not the numbers per se that frame black homicide, but the conditions under which they occur that seem to matter. “Black lives matter” supposedly translates into the fact that blacks might be able to pressure police (of all races) from taking 200 black lives a year during arrests, but can do little if anything about stopping 6,000 black murders at the hands of other blacks. Darren Wilson serves as an easy poster boy for the public enemy, but a Crip gangbanger is a quite different candidate for group-hate.

In quite rare, but highly charged interracial murders, African-Americans are almost twice as likely to kill whites as whites are blacks. This, too, is irrelevant for a variety of reasons. Historically blacks suffered from the racism of a white majority, not whites from a black minority. Whites are hardly likely to protest about this imbalance given the rarity of interracial crime and the rarity of whites rioting on the basis of racial grievances. Most liberal professionals understand privately how to navigate travel in the inner city and how publicly to decry just such insidious stereotyping and profiling. Few of the 14% of murdered white crime victims who were killed by blacks are the elite and thus the problem remains minor.

Read the whole thing to understand how we’ve moved into a logic-free world, driven by seemingly inexorable rules of ideology, pushed by our media, government institutions, and academic institutions.

Lies, damn lies, and climate statistics

Those who believe in God do not need to lie. To them, the mere fact of our existence is testament to God’s existence. No further proof is necessary. They therefore never need to lie. God is who He is. That is sufficient.

Those who believe in anthropogenic climate change, however, like to pretend that theirs is not a faith but is, in fact, a science. Having called it a science, they are theoretically bound to follow the scientific principle, which requires theories, followed by data that either proves or disproves the theory.

What happens, though, when every bit of data fails to prove the theory? Well, if you’ve insisted that you’ve got science on your side, there’s only one alternative left to you: LYING. And that’s what happened with Maine’s temperature data: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grossly manipulated more than 100 years of Maine temperature data to make it colder in the past and warmer in the present.

I know Bookworms and Obama is no Bookworm

Walt Harrington, a man hostile to George W. Bush’s policies, discovered, George W. Bush was a voracious reader, who could comfortably discuss everything he read. But Obama? Obama is no Bookworm, and Mollie Hemingway beautifully deconstructs the lies the media tells in an effort to buff that vapid (but canny) ideologue’s intellectual credentials.

I can’t add to Hemingway’s analysis, but I’ll posit a reason behind his mental vacuum: Obama’s a malignant narcissist. To the extent a book might expose him to ideas that are unfamiliar to him, the exposure will leave him feeling vulnerable and at an intellectual disadvantage. That is not a feeling that narcissists tolerate well. It’s better not to read, but just to pretend you do, knowing that a lickspittle media will do whatever is necessary to cover for you.

Paul Krugman is a moron

I’ve been saying for years that Krugman is a moron — and I’m somewhat grateful for that, because it was the increasing stupidity of his columns that drove me to seek out other, more intelligent information in the internet. Unwittingly, he was one of the stepping stones that helped me cross the Rubicon from unthinking loosey-goosey Leftist to stalwart, fully informed and aware conservative.

I may be sort of grateful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find it just delightful when a good writer (say, Andrew Stiles) takes aim at Krugman and reveals him in his full moronity (and I know moronity not a word, but it should be).

The dangerous anti-First Amendment strain in Academia

I received an email from Servo1969 posing three questions:

1. You know, you were just asking to be shot by drawing cartoons of Mohammed. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

2. You know, you were just asking to be raped by going out dressed like that and getting wasted. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

3. You know, you were just asking to be beaten and arrested by marching through Selma like that. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

Servo1969 knows, you know, and I know that the media would strongly disagree with the second and third statements, but is very comfortable asserting the first. In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack on Pamela Geller’s “draw Mohammed” gathering — which was really aimed at making Americans aware of the way in which we’re losing our constitutional rights as we pander to Islamic demands — the American media couldn’t say often enough that it was all Geller’s fault. “Journalists” seemed incapable of understanding that in America, the person who brings a gun to a speech fight is always in the wrong, no matter the speech’s content.

Eugene Volokh, who I believe grew up in the former Soviet Union, writes about the University of Minnesota’s craven collapse in the face of Muslim demands that the whole Charlie Hebdo matter — you know, the one where Islamists brought guns to a cartoon fight — be withdrawn from debate:

Indeed, this incident shows just how broad the movements to suppress alleged blasphemy are, even in the U.S. This wasn’t a fringe group of anti-Islam political activists putting out the flyers; these were people squarely in the middle of the academic Establishment. This wasn’t a bunch of cartoonists putting out material that, viewed narrowly, might be seen by some as juvenile, nonsubstantive, or gratuitously offensive; these were academics putting on a substantive academic event with a flyer that is clearly and directly tied to the content of the event, and that depicts an image that has undoubted historical significance.

To be sure, I think the speech of fringe groups and juvenile cartoonists is protected by the First Amendment and by academic freedom principles — but even if you disagree, or think that this sort of speech should be generally constitutionally protected but excluded from academic institutions or condemned by standards of good manners, here we are far removed from those fringes, and squarely in the core of serious academic discussion on hugely important matters. Yet some public university administrators still seem to have felt comfortable trying to take down such speech, and, I suspect, trying to prevent it in the future. Such a reaction, I think, needs to be firmly fought, and sharply condemned.

Jonah Goldberg also sees something sickly perverse in the Leftist response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On the Left, just as blacks can’t be racist because they’re at the bottom of the Leftist victim hierarchy (and this is true no matter how vile their anti-white, Jewish, or Asian statements are), the Left argues that Muslims must be protected from any real or perceived insults for the same reason:

“If absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the actor Harry Shearer once asked, “does absolute powerlessness make you pure?”

The answer, according to a lot of people, is yes.

Upon receiving the George Polk Career Award last month, Garry Trudeau, the creator of the satirical comic strip Doonesbury, attacked the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo:

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence. Well, voilà — the 7 million copies that were published following the killings did exactly that, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world.

Putting aside Trudeau’s tendentious misreading of France’s hate-speech laws — which were not written to prevent violent protests outside of France — there’s a perverse irony here. After all, there’s surely no greater act of “punching downward” or “attacking the powerless” than castigating a corpse. That’s not debate; it is verbal gibbeting.

The best answer to this specific type of moronity (I’m really liking my little neologism) comes from Ross Douthat, whom Goldberg quotes:

Many journalists recite the saying that the press must “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” as if it were their Eleventh Commandment. The mantra of countless intellectuals is that they must “speak truth to power.”

The problem is that they define the powerful and powerless based upon their own preferred narratives. When the truth interferes with the narrative, the truth must be bent or jettisoned. Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes that while it is true that “power flows from pre-existing privilege, it also grows from the barrel of a gun, and the willingness to deal out violence changes power dynamics.” Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless. They have enormous power — because they have the ability and the will to use violence to kill.

And finally, Daniel Greenfield hones in on the moral inversion that “academics,” “journalists” (yes, two other words that can now only be used with quotation marks), and talking heads are creating:

But being “controversial” and “provocative” has nothing to do with who is doing the shooting. It’s a media signal that the target shouldn’t be sympathized with. The Family Research Council, which was shot up by a killer using the SPLC’s hate map, is invariably dubbed “intolerant”. The SPLC, which targeted it, is however a “respected civil rights group” which provides maps to respected civil rights gunmen.

A contest in which Bosch Fawstin, an ex-Muslim, drew a cartoon of a genocidal warlord is “controversial” and “provocative”, while the MSA, which has invited Sheikh Khalid Yasin, who has inspired a number of terrorists, including apparently one of the Mohammed contest attackers, is a legitimate organization that is only criticized by controversial, intolerant and provocative Islamophobes.

You know what the problem is with all three of the articles I’ve quoted above? They don’t have a wide enough readership. These three men are saying extremely important things, but they are still lone and isolated voices in the wilderness. I just have to remind myself that other lone voices in the wilderness finally got heard.

The end of the road for American education

Longtime readers know that two of my blogging passions are education and history. Both fascinate me, and I strongly believe that you cannot have a successful country without an educated population that knows its history and that understands its liberties. Wolf Howling shares my passions and has written a very disheartening post about the state of history education in America. (Hint: Leftism has done its dirty work, and feminists are in the vanguard.)

Autism and the IDF

In Israel, everyone serves in the military. Those who cannot serve, whether because of a physical or mental disability, feel at a terrible disadvantage. Not only are they not serving their country — a country surrounded by enemies — but they’re also missing out on the camaraderie of the Israel military. It is the great leveler.

Also in Israel, undoubtedly as part of the belief that we are all God’s creatures, the Israelis value all human lives.  Small wonder then, that with Israelis wanting to serve and the nation valuing its people, the IDF has put together a very special unit composed of autistic people who have a unique ability to analyze certain types of military intelligence. As you know, I take a special interest in the great gifts so many autistic people have locked away inside of them.

Martin Luther King on the need for blacks to take responsibility

baltimore-riotYesterday, I had a rant:

“Fine, we, the white collective, screwed you. We screwed you 200 years ago, and 100 years ago, and 50 years, and last week. We seem incapable of not screwing you. So why do you keep looking to us for help? Look to yourselves. Fix your own communities because, according to you, whatever we touch, we turn to dross. The fact is, you can’t grow up until you cut the apron strings, especially because, by your own definition, your white American Mommy is toxic.”

Of course, once one says that, rather than the black community pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, all that happens is a renewed press for reparations.  But still, the reality in communities is exactly the same as it is when you sit in the therapist’s office and he intones (usually to your irritation), “Only you can help yourself.  You have to want to change.”

It turns out that Martin Luther King got there before I did:

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The Bookworm Beat 5-2-15 — the “I’ve got things to say, dammit!” edition and open thread

Woman writingI spend so much of my life starting things, but never finishing them. Part of that is my core inefficiency and part of it is the fact that, although it goes sorely against my nature, my life is lived in the service of others. Even worse, those others aren’t interested in my having time to blog. Shame on them! They’ve been fed now, though, and should be pacified for a while. 😉

The registration form doesn’t require proof of life either

Everybody who’s surprised to learn that the Obama administration is trying to block any state efforts to require immigrants to prove citizenship when registering to vote, please raise your hands. Those with their hands raised, how have you managed to remain so naive after six Obama years?

A short rant about American blacks

Watching how the Democrats (led by whites, fueled by blacks) have destroyed cities across America, with special attention given to the destruction of America’s black communities, I have a rant:

“Fine, we, the white collective, screwed you. We screwed you 200 years ago, and 100 years ago, and 50 years, and last week. We seem incapable of not screwing you. So why do you keep looking to us for help? Look to yourselves. Fix your own communities because, according to you, whatever we touch, we turn to dross. The fact is, you can’t grow up until you cut the apron strings, especially because, by your own definition, your white American Mommy is toxic.”

Of course, once one says that, rather than the black community pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, all that happens is a renewed press for reparations.  But still, the reality in communities is exactly the same as it is when you sit in the therapist’s office and he intones (usually to your irritation), “Only you can help yourself.  You have to want to change.”

Good news: Arab young people are becoming surprisingly pro-Israel

During Operation Protective Edge last year, several pro-Israel Facebook groups started posting pictures of people’s hands (no faces). In one hand was a passport, with the cover showing the country of origin; on the other hand, the inked words “I support you Israel,” or something similar. An amazing number of those passports were from Muslim countries. The following article, therefore, wasn’t completely surprising, but it did make me smile:

It all began as a personal project by a young Israeli Arab who lives in northern Israel. He wanted to use social networking to convince other Israeli Arabs that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not some “army of evil” and that its soldiers are not as bloodthirsty as they tend to be portrayed in Arab propaganda films. He soon learned, however, that in the digital age, there is no end to surprises. Instead of messages and responses from the Israeli Arab audience he was targeting, he began receiving messages of peace and love from young Arab men and women from across the Arab world.

Read the rest here. George Dubya may have been right about the yearning for freedom within the Muslim world — especially as they see ISIS’s depredations.

Socialism hasn’t served Scandinavia well

I’ve told you before about my polite remainders to a Scandinavian friend that his belief that his is a successful socialist country is a delusion. The money for socialism has come from American defense during the Cold War (“We’ll pay for your military so that you can socialize your medicine.”), while the Scandinavian collective (“Ja, ja! We agree about everything.”) means that they haven’t had to rely on the coercion that is the real socialist deal in governance. The end of the Cold War, combined with the influx of uncooperative Muslims into Scandinavian countries, is revealing what a big fake Scandinavian “socialism” always was.

It turns out that there’s a book expanding on what I’ve gathered just using a few news stories, some glowing PBS documentaries about Scandinavian wonders, a short visit to the Scandinavian countries, and some common sense: Michael Booth’s The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. This is definitely a book I have to read.

A review at Reason gives you a taste of why I’ll like it — and a taste of how much worse the Scandinavian reality is than I ever realized:

The book, which has just been published in the U.S., is especially powerful in its dissection of the culturally corrosive effects of Scandinavia’s expansive state power, which seems to “smother its people’s motivation, ambition, and spirit.”

A full fifth of Danish adults don’t work and live exclusively on public benefits. Norwegian media is so deeply dull that one of its most popular television shows ever is—this is for real—a seven-hour real-time feed from a camera mounted on a train traversing mountains. Booth calls the prevailing Swedish political norms “benign totalitarianism.”

[snip]

In other cultures, you have “tall poppy syndrome,” where if a reality star makes a record or buys a Lamborghini, they’ll get pilloried in the media. The difference in Scandinavia is that tall poppy syndrome applies to everyone all the time. So if you show naked ambition or arrogance, you will get cut down to size. “Don’t think you are that special, don’t show off, don’t boast.” No one wears a suit and tie in parliament. It’s extraordinary.

If you want an incredibly equal, socially cohesive society, you definitely lose something by way of individuality, eccentricity, diversity. Often I’m asked, “Could the Nordic template be applied to Britain or America?” And the answer is no. You can’t just hope that people will suddenly become conformist and driven by equality. It doesn’t work that way.

Media brings about its worst fear — guns for self-defense

The media, in its efforts to have Americans join its anti-gun fervor, has been plugging stories for several years telling people about America’s gun violence epidemic. Rather than making Americans insist that we ban guns, however, the opposite happened: more and more Americans decided to arm themselves. I think we call this a Massive Media Fail.

Free speech for me (if I’m antisemitic), but not for thee (if you’re pro-Israel) at Connecticut College

Professor Andrew Pessin, at Connecticut College, was branded a racist for daring to support Israel — with all the attendant stalking and harassment that comes with that label:

Professor Pessin is the latest casualty of what might be described as a “killer bee swarm” on the local and global internet. It took only one student, Lamiya Khandaker, who defamed Pessin in a student newspaper, to launch a university-wide and global campaign against Pessin defending last summer’s military campaign against the terrorist group Hamas by the Israeli government.

Pessin has been fighting a campaign to brand him as racist for his support of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, based on a remark posted to Facebook in which he compared Hamas to ““a rabid pit bull is chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.”

Khandaker’s use of certain key words and concepts regarding Pessin—“I feel unsafe as a Muslim;” there is “subtle institutional racism;” Pessin is a “racist” because he allegedly compared Palestinians to “rabid pit bulls”—all functioned as zeitgeist signals to a previously conditioned mob and they lit out after him.

Pessin began receiving hate mail and death threats following her allegations, and wasforced to take a medical leave due to the level of stress this incident placed on him.

In point of fact, and contrary to what Khandaker alleged, Pessin was referring to the terrorist Hamas leadership when he made the “pit bull” comment, not to Palestinian people.

You can sign the petition here (which is still stuck at a little fewer than 10,000 signatures).

Sexism rears its ugly head in attacks on female hunters

David Reeder noticed something interesting — the animal rights/anti-gun crowd is sexist, very, very sexist (language warning):

You can think what you want about hunting, that’s your prerogative. But when you conflate hunting with poaching, when your disapproval translates into misogyny, vile torrents of profanity and threats of violence, that just proves what many people think already: you’re a pretentious asshole. It certainly doesn’t do much for your credibility or strength of your argument either, but why let a little rational discourse get in the way of your most recent excuse to be outraged?

Here’s an idea! As long as you (and by you I mean any of the many thousands of people wishing hunters ill) are engaging in such smarmy tomfuckery, why don’t you go ahead and be even more outraged when it’s a pretty girl perpetrating such wanton carnage. It’s bad enough when a Mossy Oak-clad quinquagenarian harvests an animal, but God forbid it’s a hawt white girl with bewbs posing next to that hapless, slaughtered beast. She should be reviled publicly — in fact, let’s revoke her right to vote and stick her back in front of the stove while we’re at it.

Bloodthirsty sluts.

I’m not a fan of trophy hunting. It makes no sense to me to kill something if you’re not going to eat it. Having said that, it’s legal in many places and useful in many others, culling animals that would otherwise upset the balance in the ecosystem. And God knows, if I were going to attack it, I wouldn’t do so on sexist grounds.

More tomorrow….

Freddie Gray: Do two Washington Post reports connect the dots about what really happened to him? *UPDATED*

Lead Poisoning

[UPDATE:  Freddie Gray’s death has been ruled a homicide.  I don’t think it changes the questions I ask below or the information I offer.  It simply means that, whether Gray’s death was purely accidental or the result of self-inflicted behavior, gross negligence, or homicide, he might have been more vulnerable than the next guy.]

Reading the news, it occurred to me that there’s a distinct possibility that it wasn’t police brutality that felled the very pathetic Freddie Gray.  It may have been Freddie’s own brutality against himself, coupled with the effects of an appalling start in life, that led to his dying from a broken spine.

My theory starts with a headline in the Washington Post: “Freddie Gray’s life a study in the sad effects of lead paint on poor blacks.” The report paints a tragic story of African-Americans living in ancient, run-down houses with floors that are routinely covered in lead-filled paint chips. Anyone who has had small children knows that, if there are paint chips on the floor, any baby or toddler will eat them. Even if there aren’t chips but are, instead, small particles, it’s self-evident that the children will eventually ingest some.

It’s therefore no surprise to learn that Gray was riddled with lead, something that came to light when his family filed suit for lead poisoning:

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If you read one thing about the Baltimore riots today, read this

baltimore-riotI have nothing useful to add to the discussion about the Baltimore riots. I think, though, that Kevin D. Williamson, who has been on fire for the past many months, has the most pertinent, and enjoyably written, commentary to date:

American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit. Money can paper over some of the defects of progressivism in rich, white cities such as Portland and San Francisco, but those are pretty awful places to be non-white and non-rich, too: Blacks make up barely 9 percent of the population in San Francisco, but they represent 40 percent of those arrested for murder, and they are arrested for drug offenses at ten times their share of the population. Criminals make their own choices, sure, but you want to take a look at the racial disparity in educational outcomes and tell me that those low-income nine-year-olds in Wisconsin just need to buck up and bootstrap it?

Black urban communities face institutional failure across the board every day. There are people who should be made to answer for that: What has Martin O’Malley to say for himself? What can Ed Rendell say for himself other than that he secured a great deal of investment for the richest square mile in Philadelphia? What has Nancy Pelosi done about the radical racial divide in San Francisco?

[snip]

The evidence suggests very strongly that the left-wing, Democratic claques that run a great many American cities — particularly the poor and black cities — are not capable of running a school system or a police department. They are incompetent, they are corrupt, and they are breathtakingly arrogant. Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore — this is what Democrats do.

Definitely read the whole thing.

The Bookworm Beat 4-28-15 — the “I’ve got a job” edition and open thread

Woman writingFor the next few weeks, I’m helping out at an actual office. This means that, as was the case today, I may not get to my computer until later in the day. You might want to consider my blog the place to go for afternoon and early evening reading. I’ve got a few articles saved from yesterday, and I’ll share them here before I start reading today’s material:

The Supreme Court and Gay Marriage

Traditionally, Supreme Court justices have worked on being inscrutable. It’s been part of the mystique. Even during oral argument, their questions aren’t necessarily an indicator about which way any given justice will decide a case. This is important, because it creates the appearance of impartiality and fealty to the Constitution, rather than to personal bias.

At least, that used to be the case. When it comes to gay marriage, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the worst writer on the Supreme Court, has also abandoned all pretense of impartiality of obeisance to the Constitution. Consider her an enthusiastic “yes” vote for gay marriage.

VDH outdoes himself analyzing the Clintons’ peculiar brand of utter corruption

Sometimes Victor Davis Hanson has an almost oracular quality, when his writing transcends ordinary opinion pieces and goes into some transcendent outer zone. He’s done it today with his take on the Clintons’ epic immorality:

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Reparations?! Again!?

Slavery in AfricaIt appears that Barack Obama and his cronies may be set to put reparations for slavery back on the national agenda. I don’t have anything to say on the subject, but that’s not because I don’t have strong opinions. It just that, a few years ago, in a post as current today as it was then, Wolf Howling said exactly what I would have said if I could think and write as well as he does.

Obama’s remarkable consistency when it comes to “respect”

obama gives us the finger_thumb[41]I’m sure someone’s said it before, but Obama is remarkably consistent in his approach to everything.  For example, he believes that people who have been subject to systemic disrespect become violent or criminal.  If you show them the respect they need, they will stop behaving in that way.  He therefore believes that his job as America’s leader is to correct systemic disrespect which will, in turn, cause them to give up their bad behaviors and embrace good ones.

I believe in respect too.  My feeling is that you respect people by demanding of them the same good behavior you demand of yourselves.  That’s not the Obama way, though.  Just a few examples should suffice:

I believe that African-Americans are not doing well because Democrat policies infantilize them and encourage them to be helpless victims rather than people in control of their own destinies.  I believe that the best thing we can do for African-Americans is to offer them a free market, equal opportunities under the law, and the right, finally, to be free from government meddling, whether that meddling is badly or well intentioned.

Obama, however, believes that all problems in the African-American community — from poverty, to single motherhood, to crime — come about because America’s predominantly white society has failed to respect blacks.  He further believes that the way to confer respect on them and encourage future good behavior is perpetual welfare and insulation from the consequences of their own actions.  That hasn’t worked out well.  Black unemployment and crime rates (especially racially-associated crime rates) are up.

I believe that Hispanic illegal immigrants are law-breakers, cheat people who are playing by the rules, destroy the legal American working and middle class, and allow tyrannies to continue in their native lands by siphoning off the working population and sending back cash.  I believe that America, a nation of immigrants, should continue to encourage people to come here from foreign lands — but we should do so on our terms, not theirs, in order to protect our borders, our sovereignty, our public health, our crime rates, and our economy, and so as to disempower those Latin American nations that profit by sending us their labor and taking back our cash (cash that could have been in legal American hands).

Obama believes that illegal immigrants are being denied the respect.  It is this disrespect that makes them “live in the shadows.”  Obama further believes that the way to confer respect on illegal Hispanic immigrants, thereby bringing them out of the shadows, is blanket amnesty (which automatically erases that shadowy “law-breaker” status), followed by welfare. With this level of respect conferred on the illegal immigrants already here, he hints to Americans that the flow of illegal immigrants crossing our borders to demand our respect will stop.  It’s worth pointing out that the more “respect” Obama shows illegal immigrants who are already here, the more of them keep flowing across our borders.

And of course, I believe that the Iranian Republic is a fanatic, tyrannical Islamic theocracy that has, since its inception, dedicated itself to the complete destruction of Israel, the Islamic takeover of America, and control over the Muslim Middle East.   To this end, it has spent the past 36 years fomenting Islamic terror and revolution the world over.

Obama, however, sees a nation disrespected and misunderstood.  He believes that the root cause of its violent, genocidal, world domination attitude is that it has been subject to this emotionally hurtful lack of respect and understanding.  The same craving for respect has powered its nuclear ambitions.  Obama’s answer to Iran’s bad behavior is to treat the root cause:  Give Iran respect.  And of course, in Obama-land the way to give respect to a fanatic, genocidal, terrorist nation is to give it unfettered access to nuclear weapons.  Obama is remarkably clear in his believe that, once it achieves its nuclear ambitions, the sense of respect this will confer on Iran will cause it instantly to lay down the same nuclear weapons it just perfected.

Obama is quite obviously an ideological fool, who is blinded to the realities of human nature, most specifically how humans react to power, incentives, and punishments.  Don’t confuse that for stupidity, though, his handling of Israel has been masterful since the very first day of his presidency.  He has moved Israel into increasingly smaller boxes to the point at which Israel is now locked tightly into a box with a very large target painted on it.  I’m with the Commentary editors in that I see no good outcome here.

Oh, and one more thing:  Obama clearly grew up feeling that he, a mixed-race American child in Indonesia’s anti-American streets and Hawaii’s ultra exclusive enclaves, didn’t get the respect he deserved.  The way he responds to this root cause problem remarkably parallels his take on Iran’s response to a lack of respect:  He punishes his enemies and has no problem with the possibility of their annihilation.  Indeed, as I mentioned vis-a-vis Israel, he seems to share with Iran those same genocidal urges that seem to be the last resort of those feeling disrespected.

In other words, when it comes to  his own enemiestrying to change their bad behavior by showing them respect is a concept that goes right out the window.

The Bookworm Beat 1/21/15 — “Post-SOTU” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI didn’t watch the SOTU. Aside from finding Obama a boring, inelegant speaker, I was helping a client with trial prep. Today, the trial got continued for a few months so, before settling in for a nice 12 hour sleep (I wish!), I can blog — and share with you, among other things, a couple of my favorite SOTU analyses. I’ve got a lot to say, so I’ll just start saying….

My two favorite SOTU wrap-ups

As I admitted above, I did not watch the SOTU, so I can’t actually say if these wrap-ups are accurate. I can just say that I liked them.

From Neo-Neocon:

But Obama long ago concluded that the best defense is a good offense. He has never had to face the consequences of his failures. He has been able to fool most of the people most of the time, at least when it counted. He has skated past disaster after disaster, and gotten away with lie after lie. The biggest repercussion he’s been met with—the 2014 Democratic defeat in Congress—may not stop him. Republicans are somewhat toothless, in part because they are divided among themselves but also because Obama has veto power that will be difficult to override. He’s also got that phone and that pen, and the will to use them. He has successfully transformed the US into a second-rate power and allies into enemies (or at least, into abandoned and confused ex-allies). And he has turned enemies into, if not allies, then gloating and stronger forces in the world for whatever evil they’ve got in mind.

It’s actually worked out very well for Obama. So why not brag?

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