Open Thread: Normalizing relations with Cuba

cuban-missle-crisis-ffThis is an Open Thread about Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. I’m woefully uninformed about the entire Cuba story, going back to Kennedy, so I don’t yet have an opinion and would very much like to hear from you.

I know, of course, that Cuba is an oppressive totalitarian regime that marches hand in hand with like-minded regimes around the world, but that hasn’t stopped us from having diplomatic relationships with those countries. Why is Cuba different, then, and why do you think Obama’s abrupt volte face in American policy is a good idea or bad idea?

The Bookworm Beat (11/11/14) — Found it on Facebook, or useful stuff from conservative friends (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI usually use my “Found it on Facebook” posts to highlight the illogical, illiberal things my many Progressive friends periodically post on Facebook. However, over the past few years, I’ve also been fortunate enough to find a few conservative friends (most of them, surprisingly, from my high school graduating class which, back in the day, was 97% Democrat). These friends have been on a tear lately, posting an amazing number of interesting links, videos and posters. I thought that I’d dedicate a post to their discoveries.

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The reason I haven’t been blogging. . .

In Billy Squier’s telling, everybody wants him for his fame.  In my version of life, everybody wants me to do something for them. No matter the reason, the outcome is the same: when everybody wants you, you’ve got no time left for yourself.

I have a dream that tomorrow will be easier.  I’ve got so much I want to say and write.

The last word on my Murphy’s Law day

Flat tireHere’s the wrap-up on my Murphy’s Law day. After waiting three hours in the high school parking lot (and only fellow Bay Areans will be impressed that the temperature was 86 degrees during this wait), I finally got towed to the Ford dealership, which treated me with exceptional kindness.

Even their kindness couldn’t shield me from the blow:  I learned that I had shredded my tire and, owing to the tires exceptional green-ness, it would cost $200 to replace. I’m singularly fortunate, however, that I can pay $200 on demand without suffering severe economic hardship.  I therefore paid and, finally, was on my way.

But the story doesn’t end there. My daughter was unaware of this whole drama. When she came home from school she had a story to tell.

It seems that one of the pet peeves students and teachers at the school have is that people without permits hog parking spaces on the school lots. (I should note here that I wasn’t hogging a space but had, instead, pulled into a kind of “dead” space, where I interfered with nothing and no one.) For that reason, everyone was absolutely thrilled when a story went around the school: “The school finally cracked down on people parking illegally in the lot! An old lady’s car got towed away on a big flatbed tow truck.”

I leave it to those who know me to determine whether I can rightly be described as “an old lady.” I prefer to think of myself as being on the slightly, ever so slightly, shady side of peak middle age.

My Murphy’s Law Day

I am having a Murphy’s Law day. I did not expect this day to be very exciting, since the only thing on the schedule was to wait for a repair call from a shower door company and then to take my mom to yet another doctor’s appointment. Then I got the phone call that changed at all.

My son called insisting that he had a migraine and I must pick him up from school. I suspected him of malingering, but he assured me he was really suffering and that Motrin had not helped. Accordingly, I drove off to rescue him.

Somewhere between home and school I managed to do something to my tire and got a very fast flat tire. I called Ford roadside assistance, which promised to send a tow truck. I said that I had an electric car which needed at special truck and that I didn’t think I had a spare tire, because there is no room for spares on electric cars.

Forty-five minutes later a regular tow truck showed up. He said, “Since you don’t have a spare tire and you are an electric car, I can’t help you. I will put in a call for a flatbed.” He then left.

Twenty minutes later I got a text telling me that a flatbed would be arriving in another 25 minutes. I was also told that they would call me in 25 minutes to confirm that the flatbed had arrived.

After 40 minutes, with no flatbed and no call, I put in another call to Ford. The very nice young lady told me that there was no record of a flatbed coming my way. She put in an order for a flatbed and I just got a text telling me that I will have to wait another 50 minutes for the flatbed to come.

At this rate, I will have waited three hours to get a tow. In the meantime, my husband was at home when the shower door company showed up, and told them that they had the wrong parts.

This was not how I planned to spend my day.

On Dancing With The Stars, Sadie Robertson continues to charm

I meant to post this last week, but I thought I’d get it in before tonight, when there’s a new episode of Dancing With The Stars.  Sadie Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, claims never to have danced before appearing on DWTS.  If that’s true, all I can say is that she’s a natural and utterly charming.  She’s helped, too, by Mark Ballas’s delightful choreography:

Oh, and for those familiar with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire and the dance called “The Carlton,” Alfonso Ribeiro, who originated the dance, comes back with it on DWTS. I should add here that he’s my favorite kind of performer: hard-working, incredibly good, professional, optimistic, and gracious:

About those comments


I’m sorry about the missing comment option. The server that hosts my website is under a hacker attack. A lot of sites on the server aren’t getting published at all. I’m lucky in that my posts are getting published, but unlucky in that my comment option has temporarily vanished. I expect it back soon.

War, disease, and the Malthusian Leftists

Why is militant Islam Like EbolaI finally caught up with Alan Dershowitz’s The Education of a Wartime President. In it, he quite appropriately takes Obama to task for taking the opportunity when the US was not at war for setting an impossibly high standard of engagement with enemies (one can bomb only if there’s near certainty that no civilians are present); brutality castigated Israel this past summer for violating that risible standard; and then promptly absolved it from having to abide by the standard when the US engages with ISIS. Reading it, I keep wondering when Dershowitz will finally have his moment of cognitive dissonance and finally realize that, as Obama is to Israel, so are Progressives to everything they touch: dishonest, hypocritical, and harmful.

Reading Dershowitz also got me thinking about Leftists in general, a line of thinking aided by a back channel discussion some bloggers and I are having about the Left’s almost unholy (and quite possibly completely inaccurate) ghoulish delight in Ebola, as well as their applause for Obama’s refusal to take precautions at America’s border, because doing so would be “racist.”

When I hear that it’s “racist” to protect against the people most likely to carry a race-blind virus, or when I hear that it’s “racist” to object to radical elements in Islam, a religion to which people of all colors and nationalities adhere, my first thought is “Leftists/Progressives/Democrats are stupid.” I the modify it to say to myself “Leftist/Progressive/Democrat foot soldiers are obedient puppets.”

And then I get to the real thought, which is that Leftist/Progressive/Democrat foot soldiers, with the forty year obsession about over-population, are consciously or unconsciously exited about the thought of radical, Malthusian depopulation. For all their hatred of America, they recognize that overpopulation isn’t a problem here; it’s a problem there — a problem in Africa and Asia and Latin America and the Middle East. How nice, then, for war and disease to ravage those populations so that there’s more room here for the rest of us. They want Jews and Arabs to die and They want Africans to die and they want the Chinese and Indians to keep killing those baby girls and they want people in America to keep having lots of non-procreative sex so that they’re not paying attention to the important things.

They want anything that will leave more room on earth for them to enjoy a pastoral green world, aided by just enough modern technology to keep them comfortable the absence of the rest of us. They’re not nihilists or anarchists. They are, instead, profoundly selfish. Their limited imaginations don’t encompass an understanding than, when war and disease reach appropriately Malthusian levels, everything is destroyed. All the systems are wiped out. It all ends everywhere, because war and disease are no respecters of borders.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/2/2014 Truly Epic Illustrated Edition

I’m in a very visual state of mind today, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to the superb cartoons and posters people send my way.  Special thanks go to Caped Crusader, Sadie, Earl, and W “B” S for helping me compile this truly epic illustrated edition.

Cicero on foolish Romans

Eye on the ball

Truth in the equation

Problem is where he lives now

Benefits of crossing American border

New iPhone and food stamps

Jobs created under Obama

Gas prices when Obama took office

Fantasy Island

Obama's self-portrait

The real Ferguson tragedy

Coexist NOT

Driverless car

Checkout time

The Muslim war on women

Arguing with a Progressive

Reasons Obama wouldn't golf

Tobacco and pot

Pat Robertson - Progressive straw man

TSA and Ebola

If Netanyahu worked like Obama

The real terror tunnels

Political correctness versus killing

Grow flowers or grow weeds

Freedom is meaningless

Obama knows who's evil in the world

No WH guests at cop funerals

Socialized medicine the cornerstone of communism

Veterans trying to get illegal's benefits

The flow of goods between Israel and Hamas

Obama does what's necessary

True friends

America a model for the world

The tragedy of math

The Face of Radical Islam

Mike Rowe about hard and smart work

And a hat tip to the wonderful American Digest for these two:

Old Lady trash

Exhibit 1

The Democrats’ America : Rule by Judges

Judge and gavelIn 2009, I wrote a post entitled “Does Brown v. Board of Education constitute the Supreme Court’s one free pass?” in it, I argued that Brown represented the Supreme Court coming up with a rather badly reasoned (albeit moral) legal opinion to leapfrog over the fact that the South was not moving with sufficient speed to end segregation.

Because segregation was a great evil, the Court created a legal principle out of whole cloth in order to short-cut its destruction. Waiting for a paradigm shift in the South (which would have been reflected in the Southern ballot box) would have consigned at least one generation of blacks — and possibly many more — to a marginal, unequal existence in the United States. By issuing the Brown opinion, which led to grotesque images of white Southerners attacking black children and therefore made the public aware of the great moral wrong that continued to exist in the South almost 100 years after the South lost the Civil War, the Court jump started the Civil Rights movement.

The problem with the Brown decision, I said, is that, while it did end one evil, it created another evil, which is the notion of judge-made law:

Considering the evil that was the Jim Crow South, and considering that the system would have taken decades to die out on its own, here’s the big question:  Was it a good thing that the Supreme Court jump-started Jim Crow’s death by issuing an activist decision that was both Constitutionally incorrect and factually just a tiny dent in the system, but that worked to turn America’s eyes onto a great wrong being done in its own back yard?

My answer is that, righteous though the results were, the decision was still wrong.  Keep in mind that the societal benefits in Brown‘s wake were not the intended consequences of the decision.  Instead, the benefits flowed from an unintended consequence:  the novelty of media attention focusing on an issue most Americans had managed to disregard.  In other words, it wasn’t the Court decision that brought about the change; it was the dumb luck that flowed from that decision. While the decision is viewed as carte blanche for activism, because it was followed by a successful societal change, the change flowed, not from the decision itself, but simply from the attention it garnered.

The example I focused on in 2009 to show the damage from judicial activism was the Kansas school system. There, a judge not only ruled that the schools weren’t equal, he also micro-managed precisely how equal they should be, practically down to the last pencil. In other words, he wasn’t just a judge, he also acted as a bureaucrat. The judge-managed schools were a costly disaster.

The above discussion is about the judge-made law and bureaucracy looked at from the judges’ point of view. Two articles, though, have made me aware that, of late, one specific party has decided to abandon the democratic process altogether and to rely solely on the rule of judges, whether legislative or bureaucratic.

The first article I read was about gay marriage, which has become the law in almost half of America’s states . . . thanks to judges, not the voters:

While it probably is true that perceptions are slowly shifting among the populaceen masse, such tidal changes typically take decades if not generations to show up as legislative changes, let alone constitutional ones. The wave of states legalizing same-sex marriage unions is not the result of shifting values in America, it is the result of amazingly resilient and determined activists using the courts to overturn the will of the people.

Homosexual marriage amendments (or state-constitutional bans thereof) have been placed on ballots 34 times and have been defeated 31 times. Yes, even in California Proposition 8 — an amendment to the state’s constitution that denied same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry — passed overwhelmingly. Yet California has same-sex marriage. Why? How is that possible if the masses spoke, and in California’s case spoke loudly?

What’s happening in state after state is not the citizenry is giving its seal of approval to same-sex marriage — in fact, we are doing quite the opposite. Then once a measure fails lawyers funded by activists file lawsuits and begin a legal process. If and when the first attempt fails they file an appeal and try again. And again. And again. These lawsuits run up through the court system until finally landing on the desk of a judge sympathetic to the cause. That judge then takes the will of the people as expressed through the ballot box and with the stroke of a pen throws it out.

The will of the people is becoming subordinate to the will of the judges thanks to the Democrats’ endless forum shopping.  I’m not saying here that the judges have decided rightly or wrongly, I’m just saying that we have a dangerously undemocratic confluence of judges who, since the 1950s, see themselves as moral arbiters, and Democrats who have decided that, because the ballot box in our republican democracy is controlled by Bible-thumbing gun-clutchers, these activist judges should decide all of the day’s pressing issues.  This is profoundly undemocratic.

This Democrat trend, to turn to judges rather than the people to advance a political agenda, is also reflected in the increased use of judges to destroy political candidacies.  Barack Obama famously brought down his opponents in Chicago through courthouse shenanigans rather than through a direct appeal to the will of the people.  Texas Democrats, too, are famous for trying to destroy Republican politicians through lawsuits, with the manifestly spurious criminal suit against Rick Perry being only the most recent example.

Scott Johnson has assembled a bushel-full of quotations from people on both the left and the right side of the aisle excoriating the suit against Perry. The left is abandoning democracy on a judge by judge basis.

Broken internet

The internet seems to be down in our neighborhood. I have intermittent access, but even then, it’s slower than the old dial-up days. Comcast has promised to send a tech out to our house by Wednesday, but we’ve already seen a truck at work on someone else’s house today. Perhaps I’ll be able to do serious blogging (as opposed to intermittent blogging) by tomorrow morning . . . or if I’m unlucky, it will take a lot longer. Just remember to check in periodically to see what’s going on.