The Bookworm Beat (10/30/14) — Gathering clouds edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI am not using the phrase “gathering clouds” as a metaphor for the darkness that seems to be washing over the world. My statement has nothing to do with Ebola, amnesty, Iran and Russia ascendant, polio-like viruses, recession, racial tension, or any of the other blessings in Obama’s America. Instead, I’m talking about actual clouds and I mean that in a good way: We’re expecting more rain in the Bay Area tomorrow.

When you live in a drought-stricken region, every drop of rain counts. And while it looks as if the hoped-for El Nino has vanished, there’s a possibility that, at least in the Bay Area, we’re going to have a normal rainy season. Woo-hoo!!

Rain forecast as internet pron

The common sense behind quarantines

Back around the turn of the last century, an Irish-born New York City cook named Mary Mallon (aka Typhoid Mary) was diagnosed as an asymptomatic typhoid carrier. That she was a cook matters, because handling food is one of the vectors for typhoid fever. Even as Mallon was feeling healthy, she managed to infect multiple people around New York with typhoid fever, killing three. Mallon refused, however, to give up cooking. Eventually, New York locked Mallon away for good. She spent almost 30 years in isolation before dying.

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who worked with Ebola patients, is trying to position herself as a due process/civil rights martyr. I would be sympathetic to her cause if, like Typhoid Mary, the state were to lock her away for life on an Island. But Hickox isn’t getting dragged away anywhere. Instead, she’s being asked to stay home for a few weeks.

And lest you think this request is out of the ordinary, AJ Strata reminds us that school districts all over America routinely ask families to self-quarantine when their children are diagnosed with diseases or parasites that can be unpleasantly endemic in a school community, whether we’re talking about pinkeye, flu, or lice.

It’s not just school districts. In my mother’s retirement community, the moment the norovirus shows up, the dining halls and recreation areas are closed, and residents are essentially locked up in their rooms, with food delivered to their doors. The thought of norovirus sweeping through an enclosed community of elderly people is too terrible to bear.

At least one California physician has the right idea:

“I’m California’s most experienced Ebola physician. I won’t take a single chance,” said Dr. Colin Bucks in a New York Times interview. “My wife is away, my dog is away — there’s no downside to a little personal convenience, 3 weeks will pass.”

This is not about the end of civil liberties. This is about recognizing that pathogens have specific behaviors and that sensible humans who are truly altruistic, rather than being show-off altruists who are truly selfish,  accept that there are inconveniences that go along with their choices. (Maetenloch has a great discussion about Hickox’s priorities, as demonstrated by his title for her: “Saint Kaci of the Order of Unique Snowflakes.”)

Moreover, considering that the CDC keeps changing its story about Ebola (this time it’s saying that, well, technically it’s airborne in wet droplets, not just dry motes), it’s no longer good enough to say that someone is non-infectious if they ride around in the subway, as long as they don’t touch anybody. Frankly, with the CDC’s constantly changing stories, I no longer believe that people are infectious only when they’re symptomatic. I bet they’re infectious when they feel fine, but have that first sneeze….

And while we’re all looking at Ebola, another disease advances

Everyone is worried about Ebola — as well they should be — but the more imminent threat, to judge by the number of deaths, is Enterovirus D-68, which just claimed a 9th victim.

A few notes about Israel and the Palestinians

Yes, the Obama administration has alienated Israel and Jews the world over by referring to blooded warrior Bibi Netanyahu as a “chickensh*t” and a “coward.”

And yes, considering that this was a full-on, administration interview with a respected reporter from a respected media outlet, the anonymous official’s use of the “chickensh*t” insult could only have emanated first from President Obama.

And yes, the administration’s vulgar antics highlight what happens when you drag people out of the perpetual adolescence of American academia and place them in positions of actual power.

And yes, our administration is working hard to pull America away from a stalwart friend that is the only free, thriving, pluralist, liberal democracy in the Middle East and throw us in the arms of a totalitarian theocracy that sponsors worldwide terrorism (including against American) and that takes to deadly levels misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, and anti-Christian sentiment.

And yes, when a Palestinian tries to murder a rabbi who says that the Temple Mount should be open to all (recognizing Israel’s ancient tie to the land), not just to the Muslims, the media immediately painted the rabbi as a rabid terrorist.

And yes, a New York Times reporter has admitted that, as long as the Israelis refuse to turn over half their land, including Jerusalem, to terrorists who seek to annihilate Jews, the paper’s simply going to lie about Palestinians whenever it reports on them (as long as the lies make Palestinians look good).

And yes, the American relationship with Turkey, which is rapidly morphing from a modern, secular country into a backwards Islamic backwater is fragmenting. (I’d love to blame Obama for this too, and I probably could by pointing to the disaster of Obama’s Syrian policy. The fact is, though, that Erdogan is Islamisizing Turkey and that’s always going to go hand-in-hand with anti-Americanism — and that’s true despite Obama’s love for Erdogan.)

But there are still a couple of good things that have come along: First, even as Obama’s America alienates Israel, the Arab world is starting to figure out that Israel is not the enemy. Arabs are still wedded to the usual ugly rhetoric, but at a policy level, Sunni states are realizing that the enemy is Iran. It’s only Obama who hasn’t figured that one out.

And finally, when Obama’s out of office, Bibi Netanyahu will still be there, and much stronger too for having weathered Obama’s childlike bullying. Not only that, while Obama is still in office, because the public recognizes that Israel is a friend and Iran an enemy, foreign policy may have a decisive effect on American elections and — for the Democrats — that’s not a good thing.

Sen. Jeff Sessions on Obama’s amnesty plans

I was going to write something about the fact that Obama, a very lame duck president who’s soon to be even lamer, is by-passing Congress to invite as many as 10 million illegal aliens to become permanent residents in America. I don’t have to, though, because Jeff Sessions already has:

The Wall Street Journal confirmed today that the President is planning to issue a massive unilateral executive amnesty after the election.

In its report, the WSJ certifies that this executive amnesty would provide work permits for illegal immigrants—taking jobs directly from struggling Americans.

Based on the USCIS contract bid and statements from USCIS employees, we know this executive immigration order is likely to be broader in scope than anyone has imagined.

Earlier this week, President Obama’s former head of Homeland Security revealed that she overrode resistance from administration lawyers and law enforcement agents in implementing the President’s earlier unlawful amnesty and work authorization program for illegal immigrants 30 and under. This was an open admission by one of the most senior people in government of violating one’s oath of office in order to accomplish a nakedly political aim.

The President is assuming for himself the sole and absolute power to decide who can enter, work, live, and claim benefits in the United States. He has exempted virtually every group in the world from America’s immigration laws: people who enter before a certain age, people related to people who enter before a certain age, adults traveling with minors, minors traveling with adults, illegal immigrants who are not convicted of serious crimes, illegal immigrants who are convicted of serious crimes but not enough serious crimes, almost anyone who shows up the border and demands asylum, the millions who overstay their visas, and, as was recently exposed, illegal immigrants with serious criminal histories. On and on it goes.

A nation creates borders and laws to protect its own citizens. What about their needs?

The President is systemically stripping away the immigration protections to which every single American worker and their family is entitled. He doesn’t care how this impacts Americans’ jobs, wages, schools, tax bills, hospitals, police departments, or communities.

But it gets worse still. The WSJ reports that the President is “expected to benefit businesses that use large numbers of legal immigrants, such as technology companies.” Those changes include measures to massively expand the number of foreign workers for IT companies—measures aggressively lobbied for by IT giants like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Yet we have more than 11 million Americans with STEM degrees who don’t have jobs in these fields. Rutgers professor Hal Salzman documented that two-thirds of all new IT jobs are being filled by foreign workers. From 2000 through today, a period of record legal immigration, all net gains in employment among the working-age have gone entirely to immigrant workers.

And now, in order to help open borders billionaires, President Obama is going to deny millions of Americans their shot at entering the middle class and a better life.

The world has turned upside down. Instead of serving the interests of the American people, the policies of President Obama and every Senate Democrat serve the needs of special interests and global CEOs who fail to understand the duty a nation owes to its own people. But the citizens of this country still hold the power, and through their voice, they can turn the country right-side again.

Manchester has a child sex abuse culture. I wonder why?

When I lived in England 30+ years ago, Manchester was a dingy Midlands town, heavily populated with the British working class. Today, Manchester is a dingy, Muslim Midlands town, heavily populated by pedophiles.

A genuine sweet tooth is better than a fake sweet tooth

More evidence emerges that artificial sweeteners are bad for you. Your mom’s advice was still the best: Simply limit your sugar intake. You don’t need to knock out sweets entirely and you definitely don’t need to load up your body with chemicals.

Russell Brand is a moron.

I have nothing more to add. He’s a moron.

Methinks that Apple’s Tim Cook protests too much

I couldn’t care less about Tim Cook’s sexual orientation. I do think, though, that the gentleman protests too much when he insists that “being gay [is] among the greatest gifts God has given me.” Because compassion. Apparently you lack compassion if you’re not gay or something. And because empathy. Maybe he’s saying that only those blessed with gayness get empathy.

Whatever.

I think it’s great if Cook’s a compassionate, empathetic person. You don’t have to be gay to get that way. And spinning your entire persona and value system around the blessing of your sexual orientation just strikes me as, well, kind of pathetic. Sleep with whomever you want. Follow where your heart leads. But please don’t try to make a virtue out of your bedroom behavior.

With Ebola, three strands in American culture — entitlement, accommodation, and Prius syndrome — all come together

Craig Spencer Ebola carrierThe Ebola story has temporarily drifted away from Obama’s bull-headed refusal to close the American border to flights origination in West Africa and, instead, focused on a doctor and a nurse. The doctor is Craig Spencer, who came back from volunteer work in West Africa and carried the Ebola virus all over New York.  The nurse is Kaci Hickox, who has been fighting a quarantine imposed against her upon her return from volunteer work in West Africa. Spencer’s and Hickox’s stories reflect three very strong trends that emanated from the Left and that now dominate much of American culture: a sense of entitlement, demands for accommodation, and the arrogance of Prius syndrome. Underlying all three of those trends is the Leftists’ belief that, to the extent their actions may have a downside, those downsides should not be imposed upon them, but should be redistributed throughout society.

Please bear with me as I explain each of these societal syndromes, so that I can intelligibly apply them to Spencer, Hickox, and to Barack Obama as well.

Kaci HickoxOften, when we speak of “entitlements” we’re talking about demands for government money: For example, in America, welfare isn’t a form of charity that sees the rich give extra money to the government, which then functions in a managerial role, distributing funds to the needy. Instead, welfare is something that the middle class and rich owe to other people, thereby giving the government the right to strong-arm that money through an increasingly corrupt taxation process.

I’m not using the word “entitlement” in quite that technical, bureaucratic, Leftist political sense. Instead, I’m thinking of all those Gen Xers, Yers, Zers, and Millennials, all of whom think that the world owes them. If you want the poster child for this entitled attitude, Lena Dunham may well be it. In her own biography, she describes a lifestyle of obscene material wealth that came paired with a parenting style that gave her everything but discipline, self-awareness, compassion, and responsibility:

Lena-Dunham-Naked-at-Emmys1Lena Dunham is fond of lists. Here is a list of things in Lena Dunham’s life that do not strike Lena Dunham as being unusual: growing up in a $6.25 million Tribeca apartment; attending a selection of elite private schools; renting a home in Hollywood Hills well before having anything quite resembling a job and complaining that the home is insufficiently “chic”; the habitual education of the men in her family at Andover; the services of a string of foreign nannies; being referred to a homework therapist when she refused to do her homework and being referred to a relationship therapist when she fought with her mother; constant visits to homeopathic doctors, and visits to child psychologists three times a week; having a summer home on a lake in Connecticut, and complaining about it; writing a “voice of her generation” memoir in which ordinary life events among members of her generation, such as making student-loan payments or worrying about the rent or health insurance, never come up; making casual trips to Malibu; her grandparents’ having taken seven-week trips to Europe during her mother’s childhood; spending a summer at a camp at which the costs can total almost as much as the median American family’s annual rent; being histrionically miserable at said camp and demanding to be brought home early; demanding to be sent back to the same expensive camp the next year.

Despite her exceptionally privileged upbringing — if one defines “privilege” to mean excessive wealth — Dunham is very sure that the world owes her something, no matter how perverse and selfish her demands may be.

Socialism is a good way to dump debt

Socialism is a good way to dump debt

Dunham’s entitled attitude is spread throughout America’s more prestigious college campuses. I certainly don’t mean to malign all college students, but the evidence of the Occupy Wall Street protests cannot be ignored: She is part of a cadre of upper class American young people who feel entitled to everything, provided that someone else pays.  Denying themselves things or working hard to be able to pay for things simply isn’t a part of their practical or moral lexicon.  In their minds, everything is theirs for the demanding, because their education — simultaneously privileged and Leftist — has imbued them with a moral compass that cannot be questioned.

This sense of entitlement isn’t limited, of course, to America’s young elite. It’s also very prevalent amongst the Leftist’s anointed victim classes: women, gays, and Muslims. Women are entitled to have paychecks identical to men’s, regardless of the fact that they work fewer hours, have less training, or demand more flexibility in their workplace and work hours. Women are also entitled to have jobs identical to men’s, without regard to the fact that women’s smaller build and lesser musculature means that the standards for those jobs have to be lowered — and to hell with the risk that lowering standards for cops, firefighters, Marines, etc., imposes on fellow cops, firefighters, Marines, etc., or on the public.

Who cares that those petite female firefighters who got on the force only because of lowered standards are incapable of carrying people out of a burning building? Those people would undoubtedly have died happy knowing that their lives were sacrificed on the altar of complete gender equality. (I covered the “size matters” issue at greater length here.)

Abercrombie shopping bagAmerica’s gays and Muslim’s are also exceptionally entitled and their sense of entitlement leads me to the second strand in the Ebola story, which is the insistence that the mainstream majority must yield to the demands of the entitled. Gays are entitled to force religious Christians (who are following a moral and doctrinal tradition that was unquestioned for all of mankind, right up until about 5 years ago) to perform or otherwise participate in gay marriage ceremonies. Meanwhile, Muslim’s insist that they have a right to refuse to handle pork products despite working in a grocery store or to be one clerk wearing a headscarf in Abercrombie, a store notorious for using nearly-naked sex as its primary sales pitch. Now, I’m not defending Abercrombie, which I think is an awful place, but I am defending Abercrombie’s right to be awful — and not to be bullied by a religious into hiring people totally at odds with its marketing ethos.

Putting Mezuzah on doorPut another way, up until this current generation of entitled people, what minorities sought was the right to be left alone. Conservative Jews wouldn’t make you hang mezuzot in every doorway in New York provided that you didn’t prevent them from nailing those same mezuzot to their own doorways. Likewise, an Orthodox Jewish woman wouldn’t demand that all the teachers at her private school wear wigs, provided that you allowed her to wear hers. And if you insisted she give up a wig, rather than suing you, she’d seek a place more accommodating of her beliefs. That Jewish woman understood that part of being left alone in order to practice ones religion freely was to keep the state away from her. Letting the state get involved in your religious practices is letting that camel’s nose in the tent — the inevitable result of that first intrusion, even by invitation, is that the rest is damn sure to follow, and with very destructive effects too.

Those people who feel entitled and demand accommodation are not a very pretty sight. Despite clothing their demands in the rhetoric of civil rights, they’re actually terribly spoiled people who insist upon using the weight of the government to force a nation of 300 million souls to bow down before them. The thing that best illustrates this arrogance, and the accompanying disdain for less “enlightened” Americans, oozes out in something called Prius syndrome.

I have nothing against the Toyota Prius. It’s a snappy, well-designed little car that gets good fuel mileage. It’s also small and, at least when introduced, pricey, making it an unacceptable car for large families (which are so un-green, what with overpopulating the planet and everything); ranchers (so un-green with their flatulent cattle); farmers (so un-green, with their demands for water); and ordinary middle Americans with little money and long commutes so that they can manage to bring that small paycheck home (so un-green to have a long commute).

(For more on my sense that the whole electric and hybrid car scene is an appalling transfer of wealth from working class to upper class, go here; for an admittedly old study indicating that the Prius manufacturing process is so un-green it ranks environmentally near the Hummer, go here. The point of the latter article is that a lot of so-called “green” products simply transfer the pollution away from where the entitled classes, so that their environment is free from smoke, exhaust fumes, and environmental destruction.)

Prius parked badlyIt turns out that having the money and “greenness” to afford a Prius has created a new class of arrogant drivers, fully equally to those Beemer drivers we all complained about back in the 1980s.  It’s not just these people boast at parties that “Oh, I drive a Prius.” Just as has long been true for those Beemer drivers, Prius drivers bring their arrogance and entitlement to the road. Rather than being simple, humble people of the earth, as one would think a super greenie would be, they’re instead arrogant lawbreakers:

And in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the status-symbol Prius was marked down as a luxury vehicle, researchers found their drivers to have a higher tendency to commit traffic infractions than most.

We shouldn’t be surprised, of course.  This is what happens if you’ve proven to yourself that you’re a better human being than the person in the car next to you. It doesn’t matter that you’re a “Herstory” major, living on your parents dime, and driving the car Grandpa Moneybags gave you when you graduated from boarding school, while the person in the old Plymouth is a decorated Iraq vet who works two jobs to support his family. Because you’re special, you can cut that gas guzzler off on the freeway or hog two parking places. Serves him right for polluting!

And now I’ll keep my promise and return to Dr. Spencer and Nurse Hickox, with a dollop of Obama to ice this particularly noxious entitled, demanding, arrogant cake.

It’s important to remember that both Spencer and Hickox did something decent and brave: They went to tend the sick and dying in West Africa. That’s admirable. But then they had to go spoil it all with their entitlement, arrogance, and Prius syndrome. Because of what they did, both of these medical professionals (and remember, that’s a “caring” field) believe that the ordinary rules of conduct or biology should not apply to them. They’re entitled and we should yield.

In their own minds, both Spencer and Hickox are morally superior people who are entitled to do whatever the heck they want and it is our responsibility to accommodate them. They are the living paradigm of a conflation of these unbelievable selfish, demanding, greedy, anti-social Leftist infections in American society.

Troops training for Ebola dutyEven worse, Spencer and Hickox are not unique.  President Obama, using the bully pulpit of the White House, agrees with them wholeheartedly. To Obama, it’s perfectly acceptable to force our military to go to Ebola-stricken regions and then to force those same military personnel into a lengthy and uncomfortable quarantine.  As he sees it, they deserve that risk and suffering because they’re, well, military, and we know what Obama thinks of our troops. However, in Obama’s Leftist world view, the corollary is that it’s unfair to quarantine people who volunteered to go to West Africa because they’re just better people than the troops:

Obama responded [to a question about different quarantine standards for the military and volunteers by saying] that the military is in a different situation from that of civilian volunteers because (1) they are not treating patients, and (2) they are not there voluntarily. Does this make any sense? While our soldiers might not be treating patients, they are still in the hot zone and have the potential to be exposed to individuals who might be infected. The Pentagon understandably doesn’t want its soldiers to hop on a plane when finished and return to wherever they are stationed with the potential to spread a deadly disease to co-workers and families. But here’s where this gets really convoluted: those who are treating patients – the civilian volunteers – are at an even higher risk of contracting Ebola than anyone else (over 200 health care workers, including doctors and nurses, have died treating Ebola), yet Obama doesn’t see the need to quarantine them upon their return, even though logic dictates otherwise.

[snip]

What is so infuriating, aside from his twisted logic, is that Obama suggests that civilian volunteers are the only courageous ones taking time from their families to use their expertise for a noble cause, as if our military volunteers do not have families they are leaving behind, using their expertise for an equally noble cause, and courageously walking headfirst into the fire:

When we have volunteers who are taking time out from their families, from their loved ones and so forth, to go over there because they have very particular expertise to tackle a very difficult job, we want to make sure that when they come back, that we are prudent, that we are making sure that they are not at risk themselves or at risk of spreading the disease. But we don’t want to do things that aren’t based on science and best practices because, if we do, then we’re just putting another barrier on somebody who’s already doing really important work on our behalf.

In The World According to Obama, it’s okay to put up a barrier for someone in the military who might have been exposed to Ebola-infected individuals, but not for a civilian volunteer who most definitely was treating and therefore unequivocally exposed to Ebola-infected patients. In Obama’s world, the civilian volunteer is “doing really important work on our behalf.” And what about the soldiers? What are they – chopped liver? Aren’t they working on our behalf, too?

Obama with haloIt’s Obama’s mindset that has left us with the spectacle of Ebola-infected Dr. Spencer “self-isolating” by trolling all over New York (dinners, taxis, bowling), and then lying about that fact to officials when it was apparent he was the infectious carrier of a deadly disease and of Nurse Hickox who thinks it’s a singular insult that she should be quarantined because she’s so special that society as a whole must yield her certainty that she’s not sick with a disease, never mind that scientists still aren’t quite sure how the disease is transmitted, how long it can last on surfaces outside the body, and how long the incubation period is.

Quite simply, both Dr. Spencer and Nurse Hickox are better people and more deserving than the rest of you.  You should be worshiping at their altar rather than whining about the fact that they’re doing their best to be vectors for a disease with a 25% morality rate under the best circumstances and a 70% mortality rate under the worst.

The Bookworm Beat (10/24/14) — Friday’s New York “E-bowling” wrap up

Woman writingMy friend Sally Zelikovsky came up with the pun about a new sport called “E-bowling” after word emerged that the New York physician, who was ostensibly “self-isolating” himself, actually trawled all over the New York, using subways and Uber, to engage in activities ranging from dining out to bowling. I laughed when I read her pun, but I can’t escape the feeling that the real sport here is the game that our government playing with the American people’s health and well-being.

What stops shooters is guns

Those assembled in the Canadian responded appropriately when Kevin Vickers appeared before him: They applauded long and hard for the man who brought a shooter down with a single shot:

There was another shooting today, in a Washington state high school. A 15-year-old managed to kill one girl and wound several others before a bullet stopped him too — in this case, the bullet was self-inflicted.

My son, ruminating on the Seattle school shooting, and still a little shaken by the false-alarm lock-down in his own school, said to me, “I’m not afraid of being shot. What makes me crazy is the feeling of helplessness.” I agreed, pointing out that, even at his school, where everyone is unarmed, their teachers, who genuinely believed a shooter was on campus, fought against that helplessness by improvising weapons made out of whatever projectiles they had in their class.

Shooters who kill for pleasure or to score political/terrorism points, always go where there are helpless victims. They won’t achieve any of their calculated, sick, and/or sadistic goals if people have the capacity to defend themselves.

What stops these shooters is gunshots.  Sometimes the gunshots come from third parties (usually police who arrive had the scene long after the shooter has gotten a good run for his money).  Such was the case in Austin, Texas (“As Martinez fired, McCoy jumped to the right of Martinez and fired two fatal shots of 00-buckshot with his 12-gauge shotgun, hitting Whitman [the killer] in the head, neck and left side.”); Salt Lake City, Utah (“When Talović turned around and aimed his shotgun towards the team, Scharman and Olsen fired again and killed him. Talović’s body was later found to have been struck a total of 15 times by bullets fired by police.”); Santa Monica, California (“He was fatally shot by officers inside the library and then brought outside where he died.”); and Isla Vista, California (“Rodger was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head; police said he had apparently committed suicide.”).

And sometimes, if the police are pressing in on the killer, or he’s run out of ammunition, the killers use their own bullets on themselves.  We saw this in downtown San Francisco (“The attack continued on several floors before Ferri committed suicide as San Francisco Police closed in.”); in Columbine, Colorado (“Both had committed suicide: Harris by firing his shotgun through the roof of his mouth; Klebold by shooting himself in the left temple with his TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun.”); in Newtown, Connecticut (“The police heard the final shot at 9:40:03 a.m, and believe that it was Lanza shooting himself in the lower rear portion of his head with the Glock 20SF in classroom 10.”); and, today, in Marysville, Washington (“Fryberg, 15 a freshman at the school, died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said”.)

It’s a great irony — and an untenable one for Leftists — but the only thing that stops a shooter, whether he’s crazy, a criminal, or a terrorist, is a gun. The reality that Leftists don’t want to accept is that, until we have 100% certainty that no bad guys currently have or ever will have guns, we are safest when, in a moral society, lots of other people — good and moral people — are armed.  Since that certainty can never be achieved (absent, perhaps, the Barnhouse effect), the safest society is the one in which people of good will carry guns.  By the way, Chicago is a perfect example of what happens when only the bad guys, the ones without any decency or moral compass, have guns.

Let’s make sure the cops aren’t the only ones with guns

There’s nothing in the Constitution that says only police officers may have guns. Indeed, the Second Amendment sees the right to bear arms as one inherent in every individual. This is a good thing and all people should do everything they can to make sure that police don’t become our overlords.

I don’t have any particular bone to pick with police. I appreciate that there are people who are willing to go into often dangerous and often disgusting situations to help make our communities better. I do, however, have a very big bone to pick with police who have become so flush with power that they no longer think they’re the public’s servants but, instead, think that they’re the public’s overlords. Kevin D. Williamson details some appalling examples of instances in which police (with the whole criminal justice system backing them up) got confused about their place in the hierarchy.

The problem isn’t just that the police SWAT some houses here and there, without any citizen recourse.  There’s a much broader downstream problem because of the police’s unfettered strength.  As Williamson notes, the police, like all bullies, go for the easy targets — and in America, those easy targets are law-abiding citizens:

The strange flip-side — the second half of Samuel Francis’s “anarcho-tyranny” — is that the brunt of government abuse falls on the law-abiding. Illinois, for example, makes it difficult for an ordinary citizen to legally carry a gun for self defense — up until a couple of years ago, doing so was categorically prohibited. But Illinois police seize thousands of illegal guns from criminals each year, and the state prosecutes practically none of those weapons cases. The law-abiding — by definition law-abiding — citizens applying for concealed-carry permits get treated like criminals, and the actual criminals do not. If you follow the law and inform Illinois authorities that you have a gun in the home, you invite all sorts of intrusion and oversight. If you don’t, nobody’s really looking. Meanwhile, the streets of Chicago are full of blood, going on 1,600 shootings this year and it’s not even Halloween. Nobody is held responsible for that carnage, but if you put an eleventh round in your legally owned rifle in Oak Park, you’re looking at jail time.

Frank Serpico (yes, the real Serpico) has an article out about the appalling corruption in New York when he was a young cop, about the fact that he is still a pariah amongst New York cops, and about the fact that this corruption continues today, with out-of-control police.

What’s different now from Serpico’s time is that the police don’t even have to bother to pal up with the criminals to get cash.  Thanks to seizure laws, the police can be the criminals, shaking people down for all the money they’ve got.  Already a decade ago I was working on cases about civil forfeiture laws that enabled federal and state police to seize cash, cars, jewelry, homes, and anything else that was valuable with impunity just upon suspicion of certain crimes.  Worse, because the money raised this way goes into local, state, or federal bank accounts, judges went along with these seizures because they get paid out of the same pot.  At long last, though, the MSM may be catching up with this particular abuse of power.

The “Allahu Akbar”-ness of the hatchet swinger in New York

Turning to those honorable police who are in the front line between citizens and criminals, I haven’t had the chance to see how the media is playing the case of Zale H. Thompson, the man who used a hatchet to attack four police officers in Queens, slashing one officer’s arm and giving the other a terrible head wound before he was shot dead by two other officers. (You see, guns not only stop shooters, they also stop hatchet wielders.) I’m willing to bet, though, that the media will try to distance itself from Thompson’s Facebook page, which is a veritable treasure trove of fealty Allah and jihad. Fortunately, Zombie is paying attention, and captured the images for posterity.

There are common threads to all mass shooters or random attackers:

Class 1, which seems to be the smallest class, is composed of people who are genuinely and completely disconnected from any semblance of reality. They’re out there killing because they’ve received a message from Zomblot of the Planet Xdafjsiokd, and that message is to kill all glowing pink rocks . . . and you, clearly, are one of those rocks.

Class 2, which often shows up in schools, is young, male, either a Democrat or from a Democrat home, with divorced parents or a completely absent father, and using psychotropic drugs of one type or another.

Class 3, which the media claims is as fictional as the Loch Ness monster, is the one the rest of us are seeing all over the place, on every continent except for Antarctica: He’s male, probably young (no older than his late 30s), Muslim (either by birth or conversion), and he’s utterly fascinated by jihad, so much so that his attacks are often accompanied by the cry of “Allahu Akbar.”

In all cases, gun control works to the attacker’s advantage, because he has the pleasant sensation of aiming at fish in a barrel, none of whom are equipped to fight back.

The vicious misogyny of the American left

I have to admit that I paid very little attention to the screaming headlines about the alleged Palin family brawl. There’s nothing new about the MSM salivating over any story, true or not, that casts a negative light on a woman who was a vice-presidential candidate six years ago and who, since then, has taken up permanent residence in Leftist heads.

By ignoring the Palin brawl story, though, I missed the real story, which is the vicious, gleeful misogyny that so-called “feminists” display when it comes to Palin women. You see, it turns out that Bristol Palin was, in fact, quite brutally attacked. CNN anchor Carol Costello, who routinely takes up the feminist flag for stories about girl-friend beating in the NFL, reacted with unseemly joy when she had the opportunity to share with her viewers the footage of Bristol Palin’s tearful recounting of a man’s violent attack against her:

“Sit back and enjoy!” Costello exclaimed as she introduced her audience recently to the audio in which Bristol Palin recounts how she was attacked. “You’ll want to hear what she told cops about how it all started.”

Costello also confided in her audience that she had a “favorite part” of the audio which could later become courtroom evidence. Ghoulish.

Charles C. W. Cooke, who freely admits to disliking Palin as a political candidate, wrote a splendid attack against the media’s passion for Palin pain, not to mention the double standard that sees a media blackout when Vice President Joe Biden’s progeny engage in disgraceful and illegal activity:

To take potshots at clownish figures such as Lena Dunham, we have learned, is to invite indignant death threats. And yet, when a veritable legion of male comedians elects to use foul, carnal, and, yes, “gendered” language to dismiss Palin and her family, our contemporary Boudiceas shrug at best and offer endorsements at worst. Sarah Palin, as the abominable bumper sticker has it, “isn’t a woman, she’s a Republican.”

[snip]

If it is a sign of poor “judgment” to choose as veep someone whose children are a mess, why does Joe Biden get a pass for the conduct of his son, Hunter, who was kicked out of the Navy Reserve for having been discovered using cocaine?

Breaking my usual rule of keeping National Review off my real-me Facebook page (because Leftists would never dream of reading it), I posted Charles Cooke’s post there, along with a comment to the effect that disliking Sarah Palin cannot justify laughing at a brutal physical attack on her child. The response from my Leftist friends was predictable. Since they couldn’t possibly say anything to exonerate this misogyny, they were completely silent.

For more examples of MSM glee in a woman’s brutal assault, check out Ashe Schow’s round-up.

And the vicious misogyny of the Muslim Middle East

This video’s been kicking around for a while, but I only saw it today. It shows a Saudi family hanging an Ethiopian maid up by her heels and beating her with a bat, like a living, breathing pinata. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I heard some of the people assembled to watch this beating laughing as the maid screamed in agony.

The CDC has admitted that the immigrant flood correlates to measles outbreaks

The MSM doesn’t want you to know this, but conservative news outlets are reporting that the CDC has conceded that there’s definitely a correlation between the illegal Central American immigrants that the Obama administration shipped all over the country without pausing for silly little stuff like quarantines and new measles cases. Other diseases are also following in the illegal immigrants’ tracks:

Measles, respiratory illness, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases continue as a prime concern for the millions of Americans conflicted about the perpetual arrivals of illegal immigrants pouring into the country. While some diseases have emerged from the Philippines, Africa, Asia and Europe, the unprecedented amount of undocumented aliens is a major issue.

Even Hollywood is taking notice as actress Tori Spelling was reportedly admitted and placed in quarantine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California Monday for respiratory concerns that some media say could be Enterovirus related.

Hospitals throughout America are reporting record breaking numbers as their emergency rooms are overwhelmed beyond capacity. Figures as of October 20, 2014 show the largest reported cases of these mystery illnesses included over 4,300 children at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In just one day 540 children visited the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and 340 cases were reported by a Mobile, Alabama children’s hospital. Many hospitals have ceased admitting children temporarily as they determine ways to deal with the outbreaks.

Medical labs testing confirm many of these cases are Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). The Obama Administration has been working overtime to keep the reporting and narrative away from blaming the ongoing illegal and undocumented immigrant invasion into the country. Media reports show at least eight known deaths from EV-D68 in the U.S. in 2014.

Perhaps the White House doesn’t want Americans to know that out of over 70,000 illegal immigrant children who crossed into the U.S. almost 48,000 came from Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador. In these countries measles and the EV-D68 virus are quite common. If we include these children’s family and friends, not listed an “unaccompanied,” over a quarter of a million people from Central and South America have entered the U.S. illegally this year.

Incidentally, eight people have now died from the Enterovirus.

The American medical establishment may be way too complacent about Ebola

We expect the Obama government to tell us that everything is under control when it comes to Ebola. Yeah, sure, if “under control” looks like this:

Meanwhile, even as some doctors are also insisting that our medical system is more than capable of handling and isolating Ebola cases, never mind the possible “E-bowling” habits of infected people, one doctor, who started working in Russia and then came here (and became a Republican), is not so sanguine. He thinks that the medical establishment is grossly underestimating the demands more than 20 Ebola cases would have on our medical system:

When the kidneys no longer work, we start patients on dialysis but how do you safely do it while caring for a patient with Ebola. The answer is you don’t.

The only facilities that could attempt something like this are BL4 isolation wards where the staff practice such techniques while wearing spacesuits. They have dedicated machines that are separated from the other hospital patients. There are only 4 such facilities in the country and the number of such beds is around 20; that is all there is, for the entire country.

Read the rest here. (Hat tip: Wolf Howling, who is on hiatus from blogging)

When it comes to Ebola research, the irony is so thick you can taste it

A lot of conservatives have been pointing out that part of our problem with Ebola is that the CDC has been so busy spending money on trendy things that it’s had little left for old-fashioned epidemic disease control. In other words, it’s been focusing on salt in diets, obesity, and cigarettes to the exclusion of just about everything else.

Here’s the irony: to the extent that the CDC was able to squeeze in a little actual contagious disease research alongside all its trendy lifestyle work, it did so because of . . . Dick Cheney. Bloomberg explains.

We may start changing our minds about working or partying when sick

When I was a little girl — well, actually even through high school — when I got sick, my mother kept me home. She did so because when she was growing up it was considered extremely rude to spread the cold or flu amongst your classmates, colleagues, and social group.

The results of my mom’s policy were two-fold. First, I started malingering because all I had to do to miss school was say “I don’t feel good.” Second, between real and faked illnesses, I missed way too much school, which affected my grades. It was only when I was in college and beyond that I figured out that, whether at school or at work, unless I was actually keeling over, staying at home would hurt my grades or my career too much.

When my kids were little, I sent them to school when they had colds because keeping them home until the sniffles ended would have meant keeping them home for weeks. All the other moms did the same, and that was fine. Obviously, if the kids had fevers, or vomiting, or diarrhea, things would have been different. But for colds and general yuckiness . . . school it was for the kids (and work for the parents).

During all those elementary school years, none of the kids got terribly sick, and all of us felt that we were doing the appropriate thing by giving our kids’ immune systems a work-out. In addition, because the kids brought everything home, we parents gave our own immune systems a work-out too. Once my kids hit middle school, all of us pretty much stopped getting sick.

What I’m working up to is the fact that, in America, going out into the world when you’re a bit sick means you don’t miss important things and you buff up your immune system. Certainly, no one dies. And really, that’s always been the big difference between my generation and my mother’s generation. In Mom’s time, when people, including kids, got sick, some of them died. They got polio (in America), and measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, and scarlet fever. Getting a cold could mean pneumonia and, in a pre-antibiotic era, pneumonia could mean death. The risks of illness were so high they outweighed any potential benefits from attending more school or work.

I mention all this because a Russian-born writer, looking at the E-bowling document in New York, is asking why Americans go to school, and work, and social activities when sick. The answer is that, right up until this disease summer, the downsides were limited and the upsides were huge. I foresee things changing….

Charles Krauthammer says something wonderful about Obama’s bystander presidency

For those of us who have been paying attention, there’s nothing new in Charles Krauthammer’s most recent article about the fact that Obama seems to be a bystander to his own presidency. We know that Obama is always more surprised and then more angry than anyone else, as if the endless management failures during his administration aren’t his fault.  If he was a good manager, these things wouldn’t happen.  But if he was even a manager who just showed up for work every day, at least he wouldn’t be surprised and the one he would be angry at would be himself.

What’s new is this exquisite paragraph that Krauthammer wrote (bolded emphasis mine):

The one scandal where you could credit the president with genuine anger and obliviousness involves the recent breaches of White House Secret Service protection. The Washington Post described the first lady and president as “angry and upset,” and no doubt they were. But the first Secret Service scandal — the hookers of Cartagena — evinced this from the president: “If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.” An innovation in ostentatious distancing: future conditional indignation.

John Kerry is the rotten fish head at the top of the State Department hierarchy

Hillary was bad; Kerry is worse. (I haven’t forgotten Hillary’s role in the deaths of the Benghazi four. I’m just talking general about her role as leader of the State Department.) Just as a fish rots from the head down, the State Department under Kerry has gone from vaguely hostile to Israel to actively hostile to Israel. Moreover, working in tandem with the rest of the anti-Israel Obama administration, this active hostility is resulting in severe damage to Israel, which is America’s long-standing, most reliable ally in the Middle East — not to mention the only truly free country in that dark, bloodied, benighted region.

John Hinderaker catches Rob Stein, founder of Democracy Now, speaking the truth about power

The Left is always nattering on about “speaking truth to power.” What’s incredibly rare is to catch one of them speaking the truth about power. Rob Stein, however, did do so. I won’t spoil the surprise of this rare burst of honesty. You need to follow this link.

When it comes to Michael Brown’s family, you can’t make these things up

Even before Drudge latched on to it, Joshua Pundit caught the fact that Michael Brown’s family — the one in Ferguson — has come to blows about which family members have the right to milk his death for cash.

Natural selection and vegetarians

I’ve always known that, if you examine a human’s teeth, digestion, and overall health, it’s very clear that we humans are biologically programmed to have meat as part of our diet. What we know now too is that, when it comes to men, the downsides of vegetarianism hit even closer to home.

Meryl Streep to bring Florence Foster Jenkins to the screen

I’ve posted here before about Florence Foster Jenkins, the fabulously wealthy opera aficionado who booked herself into Carnegie hall to share her tuneless, aimless arias with the world. Meryl Streep has been tapped to play Jenkins in some sort of biopic. Little is known about the proposed movie, but I actually think this is a perfect movie for Streep. Because Jenkins lived in pre-media era, Streep will have to be an actress, not just a mimic, and she’s always at her best when she stops parroting other people’s mannerisms and just acts.

San Francisco in her pre-modern heyday

Fred Lyon, a native San Franciscan and professional photographer, loves to take pictures of his home town. The results can be seen at his website and, when it comes to pictures of San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s, his work is spectacular. Whether one loves the City that once was, as I do, or simply enjoys beautiful black-and-white photography, this is an album that’s worth checking out.

Nature’s colorful bounty

You’ve probably seen most of these pictures before, but they’re so lovely, I wanted to share with you a post that puts all of them together in one place.

The Bookworm Beat (10/21/14) — Still catching up with email edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingIt’s always the same: Over the weekend, because of family demands, I get almost no time at my computer, and my email starts to back up. By Tuesday, between my two email accounts, I have several hundred unread emails. I then do the logical thing: I cravenly avoid my computer. Finally, late on Tuesday or perhaps by Wednesday, my conscience finally catches up with me and I embark on a frenzy of responding to emails, reading articles, and posting.

I’m heading for my frenzy now, although I’m somewhat hamstrung by the various drives I have to make on behalf of young people who cannot drive themselves. By the time you read this post, I’ll have been working on it intermittently for several hours, so I sure hope it’s good.

An obligatory comment about Monica Lewinsky

She still loves Bill; Drudge destroyed her life; and it’s everyone’s fault but her own that her life imploded when her affair with the president went public. Even the world’s smallest violin is too big and noisy to express how little I feel for Monica Lewinsky.

Lewinsky wasn’t 15 when she embarked on an affair with Clinton, in which case the fault would be entirely his. She was 24, by which time she was old enough to have a moral compass that said “You don’t have an affair with a married man,” and also old enough to have figured out that, considering that her partner in adultery was the president of the United States, when/if the fecal matter finally hit the fan, it would be a Cat 5 fecal storm.

It was not Matt Drudge’s fault; it was not the “bullying” media’s fault; it was not Lucianne Goldberg’s fault; it was not even Hillary’s fault, much as I would love to blame her just because I don’t like her: it was Monica’s fault and Bill’s fault, and neither is excused by the bad behavior of the other. Both behaved immorally, both tempted fate, and both got caught.

The only thing that’s really unfair is that Bill didn’t end up as ignominiously as Monica did. Apparently the party that oh-so-valiantly fights for women everywhere (as long as they’re not in politically correct Muslim countries or homes) was happy to kick Monica to the curb, while feting and enriching and even worshiping the man who let her take the fall.

How the New York Times is spinning WMDs

Up until Bush actually invaded Iraq, everyone and his uncle thought that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Indeed, as the New York Times recently made clear, everyone and his uncle (at least if they worked in the American government) knew that Hussein had WMDs . . . because the US had given them to Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. With this knowledge finally out there, Bush ought to be vindicated and the Democrats ought to be ashamed, except that in the looking glass world of American politics, that’s not what’s happening.

Presumably because of embarrassment about having given these WMDs to Hussein, during the Iraq War the Pentagon kept their discovery a secret, even though revealing them would have vindicated the decision to go to war. Meanwhile, back in the present, following Obama’s pullout from Iraq, leaving it ripe for ISIS, the New York Times is saying that these particular WMDs don’t count, precisely because they were old and American, rather than shiny new and Iraqi.  I’m unclear on why they’re less WMD for this reason, but there you have it. (If you see the NYT’s author, C.J. Chivers, on The Colbert Report, he makes this point explicit.)

So, in a swirl of finger-pointing, embarrassment, and misdirection, we once again lose sight of the main point: Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Sure, we gave them to him when he was sort of our ally, but the fear in 2003 was that, when he turned out to be our enemy, he might use our weapons against us — kind of like it’s reasonable to fear now that ISIS will use against us the American weapons that the US military accidentally delivered into its hands (if ISIS reports are accepted as true).

VDH has more on the whole WMD story.

On immigration and amnesty, the only word I can think of is “impeachment”

I don’t need to say anything. Drudge says it all:

Fullscreen capture 10212014 40850 PM.bmp

Oh, and I guess impeachment is the word I’m thinking of when it comes to Obama’s attempt to evade Congressional scrutiny of his deal with Iran.  I certainly can’t think of any decent, upright, moral, pro-America, pro-ally reason for him to do that.

A few words about ISIS’s latest video

The latest ISIS-released video gets me back to a point I’ve made before about ISIS. This particular video shows a father leading the charge when it comes to stoning his daughter to death for dishonoring the family through alleged adultery.  Other than those specifics, though, it’s pure ISIS:  Men torturing and murdering women, children, teenagers, and other men.

What makes ISIS different from all other torturers in the modern era is that other bad actors tried to hide their barbarism from the world at large (although they rubbed their own people’s nose in it to make sure the people stayed at heel).

The Soviet Union hid its terrors in the Kremlin basement and in Siberian gulags. When Westerners came to town, the Soviets showed their shiny happy face. The same holds true today when visitors go to Cuba or North Korea: they get taken on the rounds of all the polished, “successful” looking communities, while the government hides the fear, poverty, and despair that underpins its regime. (Think too of the Potemkin walls China put up around ghettos in Beijing for the Olympics.) The Nazis, even though they used fear to control people within their territory, were secretive about their most foul plans.  The most grotesque emanations of their foul ideology took place Gestapo headquarters in occupied territory or in concentration camps.

But not ISIS. The videos we see of beheadings and stonings and crucifixions aren’t copies smuggled out of occupied territory by resistance groups trying to make the world aware that ISIS is a truly terrible entity. Instead, ISIS proudly circulates these videos to the four corners of the earth.

The word “proud” is important. ISIS doesn’t distribute these snuff films merely to strike fear in the hearts of weak Westerners. It does so because, just as we promote the products of our factories, singers, dancers, intellectuals, painters, and architects because our own sensibility says that these products reflect well on us, ISIS believes that it is showing its best face when it crucifies teenagers, beheads babies, or makes a party out of a father stoning his own daughter to death.

To ISIS, snuff films are the good stuff that they have to offer:  “You can go to New York, and all that you’ll see are some big buildings, shows, art work, and a tall green woman on an island. But if you come to Iraq, you’ll get to kill people in the most brutal way possible. ISIS: It’s the Islamic vacation paradise!”

In 2001, Holiday Inn accurately predicted the US response to Ebola:

From Maetenloch, at Ace of Spades:

Mark Steyn was prescient too….

While we’re talking about successful tea-leaf reading, Ed Driscoll says that Mark Steyn accurately, yet satirically, predicted Monica Lewinsky’s retrospective about her moment of infamy.

The Lewinsky essay appears in Steyn’s new book, The [Un]Documented Mark Steyn, a collection of his essays. At $29.95, the autographed hardback isn’t cheap but, if you buy it, you’ll not only get a great book with Steyn’s signature, but you’ll also help fund his continued litigation against unrivaled fraudster, Michael Mann (of the false hockey stick climate change canard).

I have to admit that I’ll be waiting for the Kindle version. Because of the arthritis in my wrists, I no longer want big, heavy books. They’re just too hard to hold. And because of my vision, which is about 20/2000 along with age-related far-sightedness, I like the way Kindle allows me to make my text nice and big. I console myself that, when I buy the Kindle version (assuming there is one) some part of that purchase price will still make it into Steyn’s pocket.

The LGBTQ mafia goes after Robert Oscar Lopez

If the name Robert Oscar Lopez is familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve read his articles over at American Thinker. Lopez, a bisexual English professor who was raised by two moms, opted for traditional marriage. Indeed, he and his wife just had their second child. Unfortunately for Lopez, he’s a man of conscience and, with the societal elevation of same-sex couples who adopt, special order, or use egg or sperm donated babies, he’s bravely asserted that same-sex parenting shouldn’t be encouraged. According to Lopez, same-sex homes are not like other homes and it’s unfair to bring a child into that environment. As a result, he’s become one of the most reviled men in America, insofar as the LGBTQ lobby is targeting him in the most vicious and inciteful terms imaginable.

As between bad foster care and a loving same-sex couple, I think it’s a no-brainer. But there’s a lot weirdness about same-sex couples who sort of create their own babies. I know a lesbian couple that had a gay friend inseminate the more feminine half of the couple. The resulting baby was a boy. The moms are good women and very attentive parents, except that the woman who bore him hates men so much that she cannot stand to have her own son touch her. Meanwhile the other partner also hates men with ferocity, so she’s remarkably cool about the kid. What kind of a home life is that?

When I read the news, I know that biological mixed sex parents can be pretty horrible too. Nevertheless, history and data tell us that the worst situation happens to the step child or, in our non-marrying age, the child living with a boyfriend who hasn’t even married his mother. Adults in a household with a non-biological child seem to yield to some atavistic imperative to stomp out this vulnerable creature that doesn’t have their genetic lineage. I can’t imagine that doesn’t hold true for same-sex couples too.

And a little child shall lead them

If I were a political candidate, I wouldn’t necessarily listen to a 20-year-old college student giving me advice about employment policies, nuclear negotiations, or executive management. I would definitely listen to that same college student, though, for advice about how to communicate with the youth of his generation. And finally, Republican politicians seem to be figuring out that, when it comes to political messaging, it is indeed a little child who shall lead them.

An Ebola timeline

One of the first things I do when I write a legal brief is create a timeline. Seeing how events relate to each other in time can be quite edifying, and it can expose unexpected strengths and weaknesses in ones case. Sharyl Attkisson has performed this useful task for Ebola, putting together a nice neat timeline showing America’s relationship to the virus since July of this year.

John Wick

I can’t figure out if John Wick is just a garden variety thriller, a trashy blood-fest, or something else. And doesn’t it really matter when it has Keanu? I actually probably won’t see it because I never see movies (Mr. Bookworm frowns on the expense and I’m loath to send money to Hollywood anyway), but a Keanu movie is always tempting….

Pictures

Some are my finds, most are from Caped Crusader, and some are from Sadie:

Charlton Heston political correctness tyranny with manners

Traitors in America join Dem party -- Kerry and Fonda

Sowell on Obama's care for Africans not Americans

Al Sharpton and Jeffrey Dahmer

Liberals investigate traffic jams not assassinations

RG III on political correctness

Reagan Republican extremists win

Kurdish v American feminists

Islam demands beheading

Yesterday's ally is today's enemy

Hazmat suit cartoon

Franklin Graham no sharia in America

JFK opposed high taxes

Truth wasn't included in the equation

The jihad isn't over it's at the infiltration phase

D'Souza I told you so

Are you more likely to be infected or beheaded than you were six years ago

The only two reasons for federal list of gun owners

City of Houston free speech enforcement

Vets before illegals

Obama baloney

Washington Obama and Biden on the truth

Ron Klain covers Obama's butt

Moderate Muslims demonstrating for peace

Ebola Response Team

[VIDEO] Bill Whittle tackles Ebola: information, disinformation, and a missing President (UPDATE)

For more on the confusion about airborne transmission, I think Ace does a great job of clarifying. He’s right that viruses are all airborne if they get in the air. The big deal seems to be how long they remain in the air. Some instantly fall to earth, so you’re only in danger if you got in the way of the spray, while some can just linger there, kind of like mosquitoes and gnats buzzing around at twilight.

Thinking through Ebola at both medical and political levels

Ebola virusIn the ordinary course of things, I’m a rather high-strung, worrying type of person. When it comes to Ebola, however, I find myself more less stressed than I thought I would be. I think part of it is sheer denial. Intellectually, I can envision a pandemic, but emotionally I can’t process something that big. Part of my unusual calm is also due to the differences between the United States and West Africa. In terms of medicine and infrastructure, we at our worst are still better than West Africa at its best.

Calm or not, I still have opinions about what’s going on. First and foremost, for those conservatives who think they’re betraying the faith by calling for stronger government action, my advice would be that they should stop beating themselves up. Even libertarians, who are the people most hostile to government intervention, should acknowledge that one of government’s core functions is to protect people from epidemic illnesses.

Closing borders, monitoring the health of people entering the country, creating no-fly countries, and putting health protocols in place are all features of good government in time of crisis, not bad government. The government becomes bad only if the crisis goes away but the controls stay. (Although I wouldn’t mind continuing to keep our border sealed against illegal aliens, if it ever could be sealed in the first place.)

In other words, acting responsibly to stop a pandemic in its tracks isn’t Big Government overreach; it’s good government’s job.  Which leads me to the second thing I wanted to discuss….

We’re all used to it by now:  When there’s a good government job to do, Obama’s not doing it. The Obama government’s response to Ebola is just more of the same, except this time around the consequences aren’t a flabby economy, porous border, or disordered Middle East but are, instead, an American population that could die by the millions in a welter of blood.  It is unconscionable that the administration is allowing its reflexive anti-Americanism to guide its decisions regarding a potential pandemic.

Aside from the government missteps to date, which could be due simply to inefficiency, how do we know that the administration’s calculus doesn’t include doing what’s best for the American people?  We know because an administration spokesman, Dr. Tom Frieden of the CDC, said as much.  Speaking before Congress, he contended that protecting Americans would be bad for Africa’s “fledgling democracies.” He refused to say who told him to prioritize Africa’s fledging democracies against American’s health and well-being, but I doubt that our educated guesses would be wrong.

Obama tried to overcome the mess Frieden created with his own statement about flight bans and screen. What emerged from his mouth was a swirl of gibberish that seems to boil down to this: if we bar flights from West Africa, West African travelers will just hop other flights to get to our country and we won’t be able to figure out who they are. What Obama really means is that, if we disallow flights from West Africa, we’re going to have to screen all people with African passports more closely to make sure that they didn’t somehow circumvent the West African travel ban while carrying the virus.

Obama’s not afraid of the inconvenience banning flights and interviewing passengers will cause.  Little details such as inconvenience (for example, forcing millions of Americans to give up their health insurance and buy new health insurance) have never bothered him much.  What Obama really fears is that, because a flight ban means that airports can’t just sequester passengers from West African flights, they’re going to have to screen lots and lots of blacks, since there’s no way of knowing whether a black person getting off a foreign flight had contact with West Africa, a part of the world filled with black people. Talk about racist (as MSNBC already has)!

It doesn’t seem to occur to the usual squawking heads (let alone our President) that people of all races, colors, creeds, country of national origins, sexes, and sexual identities would prefer that Ebola stay outside of the US. In this regard, it’s worth remembering that, following 9/11, American blacks were all in favor of profiling Muslims in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

Post-flight screening at airports is, at best, a laborious, time- and labor-consuming job (and at worst, a minimal preventative for contagion).  What’s certain is that it cannot possibly be done as Obama envisions it with all the passengers from West African flights going through the process in every airport. However, it probably can be done at least somewhat better if we substantially decrease flights coming from West Africa, and if we require all passengers carrying African passports, no matter their original point of departure, to prove that they were anywhere but West Africa in the last month or, if they were in or near West Africa, to get screened.  (Giving airport screeners some basic geography lessons would probably help the process.)

That’s my two cents. Here are a few other issues:

Our public institutions, from WHO, to the CDC, to the NIH, have utterly failed. (WHO, to its credit, has admitted its failure, which theoretically enables it to correct its behavior.) Indeed, it turns out that Amber Vinson, the nurse who was carrying Ebola when she got on an airplane called the CDC repeatedly to ask if she should fly despite have an elevation and the CDC just as repeatedly gave her the go-ahead.

Our Western health institutions have been so busy with their studies about tobacco smoke, parrots, hookers, and gender identity (and God alone knows what else) that they’ve rendered themselves incapable of handling their primary responsibilities. The Wall Street Journal says we’re seeing the twilight of these institutions. James Longstreet expands on that, saying that the whole Ebola fiasco generally shows the limits of “liberal fascism” (which he calls “liberalism”) when times are tough. During the fat times, you can obsess about lesbian diets all you want, but you better keep some resources for the lean times.

Meanwhile, even as no Americans have died from Ebola, people are dying from Enterovirus D-68. That’s bad. What’s worse from a political perspective is the way these deaths track so perfectly the path taken by all of those illegal alien children that Obama first admitted into the United States and then, without bothering with silly things like health checks and quarantines, shipped into America’s heartland.  Careless?  Evil?  Cloward-Piven?  Who knows.  But Obama’s beginning to take on the aspect of the Grim Reaper when it comes to letting disease across America’s borders.

To the extent Obama pays lip service to limits on his power (“Little old me? Stop flights from Africa? That’s too hard, so just ignore my whole thing about banning flights to Israel”), George Mason University Law School Assistant Dean Richard Kelsey has an interesting statement about Obama’s schizophrenic approach to the limits of his executive power. Let me just add once again that protecting ones country from pandemic disease isn’t some Leftist dream of Big Government. It’s right there on the top of the list of things that even the most libertarian governments are expected to do.

Peggy Noonan sees the administration’s behavior as just more evidence of the great disdain Obama and his team of experts have for the American people.

And speaking of experts, Ace has nothing but disdain for proto-government media outlets such as NPR coming along with half-baked understandings of cavalier “expert” explanations about things that are very, very important — and Ace carefully explains those important things. It’s an epic, informative rant, and well worth your time.

Stephen Green isn’t getting all twisted up about Ebola. In addition to his faith in American medicine on its worst day being better than West African on its best, not to mention the fact that Ebola’s own virulence is its worst enemy, Green also points out that the real worry is the way in which political calculations and political fear constantly overwhelm common sense.

Oh, and one more thing about America: We don’t have West Africa’s Muslim-based burial rituals, which involve whole families cleaning a corpse, both inside and out.

While I’m on the subject of Obama’s deadly racial calculations, even Key & Peele, who like Obama, are beginning to notice something about him:

What do you think of this message from the White House?

I got an email from the White House.  Right off the bat, I was dubious, because it said it can’t spread through air.  It seems to me that if an Ebola person next to me sneezes, and I breathe those particulates, I’m in trouble.  Anyway, here’s what the White House wants you to know.

Fullscreen capture 10162014 74512 PM.bmp Fullscreen capture 10162014 74520 PM.bmp Fullscreen capture 10162014 74524 PM.bmp

I’ll have more thoughts on the government’s Ebola fiasco tomorrow.

The Brimfield Police Department schools the CDC about Ebola

About an hour ago, the Brimfield Police Department (in Ohio) put up a Facebook post educating the CDC about Ebola.  It’s been shared over 6,000 times in that hour.  Now, I’m sharing it with you:

Dear Centers of Disease Control,

Well…I might as well join the crowd, I guess. I am not a doctor nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Since everyone in the government and press is firing up all of our friends over the Ebola cases, I thought that a small town police chief without a medical degree would offer some leadership to your organization. Heaven forbid someone in the government takes a leadership role. Gasp!

By the very name of your organization, you folks control diseases. I have to ask a question, and risk sounding argumentative. Here it goes.

You all REALLY could not isolate and control ONE case of Ebola? It was ONE case on U.S. soil. One!! You are the Centers for Disease CONTROL!!! Now, local authorities are being deluged with calls and have to do your work. That is just fine. We are accustomed to it. It is typical federal behavior. Pass the problem downwards, refuse blame and take credit. I have seen it hundreds of times in my career. No worries. I will offer some facts for the public, as if it were my job.

Ebola is a disease named for the Ebola River in Africa. One of the early cases was near the river. It is transmitted through contact with the body fluids of an infected person or animal. In an illness situation, since there is not usually a lot of smooching going on, we will say do not touch the regurgitation , feces or blood of one who has the disease.

Outbreaks occur every so often and the disease has killed a somewhere around 4,000 people since the discovery in the mid 1970s. As a comparison, about 2,100 people have died from lightning strikes during the same time period. People doing their own home electric work accounted for 5,240 deaths in that period. Animals have killed approximately 9,320 people since the mid 1970s. So, while I have a healthy respect for death, I am more likely to be killed by an elephant or reticulated python than Ebola. Nevertheless, the constant barrage of Ebola information and your inability to control ONE CASE of this illness has everyone on edge.

Here is my plan for stopping this nonsense. Use what you will.

1) Stop flying people here from infected countries. It sounds simple to me. Oh…LIberia to Dallas flight? Cancelled.

2) Isolate the cases you have and listen to your nurses. They are the folks who work most closely with patients. The doctors spend about five seconds with a patient. They sashay in, look around and then leave. It is an expensive runway walk, believe me. Nurses are the police officers of the Ebola world. You all are the congressmen.

3) Stop changing the story. The American people are suspicious by nature, because we have a 200+ year history of the government lying and engaging in cover up. You made that culture, so you have to live with it. Tell us the truth and stop changing the story. The truth is the truth. It is non-negotiable.

Carry on….Chief Oliver.

And here’s the poster someone added to the comments section of the above post:

Have Ebola flights land in D.C. first

The Bookworm Beat (10/15/14) — Looking for the Apocalypse edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingSorry for the downer title, but the news is anything but good, wherever one looks. At the home front we’ve had flat tires, broken bones, and dead phones. (The broken bone belongs to my exchange student, who is disappointed, but not too terribly damaged, thank goodness.)  The past few day’s headlines haven’t done anything to cheer me up, either.

Because I like to share, I’m passing my temporary existential despair on to all of you. And just to make you feel a little worse, let me add that our current administration, rather than trying to pull the rip-cord on the parachute so that we don’t hit bottom, is instead trying to cut the parachute’s suspension lines.

How bad is Obama? So bad that even Democrats view him as toxic

Republicans didn’t run away from Bush until 2008. Here it is, only 2014, and Democrats are treating Obama as if he’s radioactive. (The link is to a Wall Street Journal article. If you can’t read the article, try googling the title for an accessible link.)

Michael Dolan explains how Obama got what he wanted: A partnership with Iran

Obama came into office promising to work with Iran. It turns out that, as is true of all the promises he made that were deleterious to America’s well-being , he kept this one. (It’s a useful yardstick, incidentally: Promises about things that will help Americans? Obama breaks. Promises about things that will hurt Americans, America, and America’s allies? Obama keeps.)

Michael Dolan, who is a senior fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and was both a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council, has been looking at Obama’s conduct since ISIS appeared on the scene and figured out Obama’s game-plan: Obama is using ISIS as a way to partner with Iran.

Obama is engaging in this de facto partnership with Iran, even though, as Dolan also explains, doing so allows Iran to go nuclear. A nuclear Iran destroys any balance of power in the region, not to mention threatening Israel and Europe. Moreover, it’s worth remembering that as a Shia state, Iran doesn’t just believe in the apocalypse, it believes that it has a mission from Allah to bring about the Apocalypse itself. (In this, Iran is quite distinct from Christians who believe in an Apocalypse, but who dread it and do nothing to cause it.)  There’s nothing like a nuclear bomb to get a little Apocalypsing started.

To go on, Obama partners with Iran even though it means turning our backs on the Saudis who, while horribly rotten, are less horribly rotten than Iran and have been our allies for a long time. He does even though partnering with the mullahs is a slap in the face to those Iranians who are yearning to breathe at least a little more free (just as Obama ignored them during their attempted Green revolution). He does even though Iran has been funding the worst kind of terrorism — much of it aimed at America — for decades. And he does this even though Iran has made it clear that it still has as its goal the destruction of Israel and America, and the establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate.

Obama is Iran’s useful idiot, helping it to make sure that any caliphate the emerges isn’t Sunni and ISIS-controlled, but is instead Shia and Iran-controlled. Put another way, Obama isn’t just another Leftist ideologue; he’s a truly evil man who affirmatively seeks out the devil as a dancing partner.

Media ghasties and ghoulies

If you want to get your scare on before Halloween, watch Andrea Mitchell trying to save Abortion Barbie from her tasteless, desperate, sleazy attacks in Texas on Greg Abbott. You know what I was thinking when I watched that? I was thinking “Mommy, make those mean, scary ladies go away!”

The New York Times uses Britain’s embrace of Hamas as a reason to chastise Israel

When does a media outlet cross over from being partisan and become evil? I actually think the New York Times just rolled across that line with its latest editorial about Israel.

As you may recall, the British Parliament voted endorsing the idea of recognizing a Palestinian state. A media outlet with a decent moral compass would have attacked England for supporting a “state” that has nothing state-like about it: It’s government is run like a mafia institution, it has no economy and no infrastructure, and its idea of “human rights” is to deny women, Jews, Christians, and homosexuals status as humans. Anyone of common decency would recognize that it is a disgusting reflection on modern England that its Parliament would side with a grotesque, corrupt, tyranny with only murder on its mind.

But the Times knows who the bad guy is in this case and it’s Israel — for daring to build more Jewish homes in historically Jewish neighborhoods. Or as the Times editorial board puts it:

The vote is one more sign of the frustration many people in Europe feel about the failure to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement despite years of promises.

Funnily enough, the editorial makes no mention of the fact that the Palestinians have contributed exactly nothing to peace talks, negotiations, and compromise. In Times-land, this one is all on the Jews.

I used to say that the Times was good only for lining bird cages. It’s dropped in my estimation. It might, just might, be useful as a repository for the blood, vomit, and diarrhea of an Ebola patient, but I suspect it would perform even that most basic waste-collection function badly.

The New York Times also brings its evilness to the subject of chemical weapons in Iraq

When the Iraq War was Bush’s war, the New York Times led the charge of those claiming that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction. Now, without even a blink at its volte face, it’s leading the charge to claim that Bush is evil because he exposed American troops to Saddam Hussein’s store of chemical weapons — i.e., weapons of mass destruction — in Iraq.

I’m not letting the Times perfidy blind me to the fact that American troops have suffered because the Bush Pentagon left them ill-prepared to come across WMDS. After all, if you’re claiming a war to wipe out WMDs, you should probably have systems in place to protect your troops. The Pentagon’s failings, though, don’t make me any less disgusted with the Times.

Let me count the ways in which the Democrat party is the party of death

Democrats may get all teary eyed when cold-blooded murderers meet their makers in a gas chamber after due process, but they’re pretty cavalier about most other deaths. They don’t mind a steely-eyed Obama sending drones to attack Pakistani and Yemenite civilians. They’re okay with grandma being sidelined by the Obama death panel. They assume that the vets who died on the VA’s watch were probably baby killers.  They’re copacetic with suicide if life is just too tough.

Oh, and one more thing:  abortion is empowering. Not just a necessary evil, which is an argument many Americans might support, but empowering and a “social good.” I’m betting that’s exactly the way Heinrich Himmler felt when he organized the Holocaust.

If you ever wondered why knowing geography matters….

Marin General Hospital had an Ebola scare because its staff confused the Middle East with West Africa. The country’s in the very best of hands….

Pigs are flying because I agree with Paul Krugman

Don’t worry, I don’t agree with Krugman about anything substantive. I do, however, think he’s correct when he says “Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, he is a consequential president.”

Where Krugman and I part ways is that Krugman thinks Obama is consequential in a good way, whereas I think Obama’ss consequential status relates to the fact that he’s inflicted such terrible damage on our once-thriving capitalist, constitutional, sovereign nation that we may take decades to recover, assuming we ever can. There’s no saying, after all, whether it’s possible to recover from a wrecked economy, socialized medicine, destroyed borders, a dysfunctional military facing an existential threat, and diseases that resist modern medicine, especially when such medicine is ineptly administered.

The Washington Post says Ebola isn’t really all that bad

Trying to strike an optimistic tone, the Washington Post says that Ebola isn’t as bad as it could be. It notes that (so far, at least), not everyone who came into contact with the Liberian who brought the disease to Dallas has gotten infected, and we definitely have better ways to treat symptoms than they do in West Africa. Still, even though the WaPo is trying to make lemonade from lemons, our broken borders and the Democrats’ funding priorities (which did not include focusing on plague-like infectious diseases) all mean that I’m not sanguine.

When it comes to Ebola and the media, I agree with Benjamin Shapiro

To follow-up on my point about the WaPo’s peculiar optimism, Benjamin Shapiro sums up the media’s relationship to Ebola, which is that it matters only when it affects the media itself. His starting point is media personality Nancy Snyderman’s decision to get herself some soup, despite the fact that she was technically quarantined, along with a crew member:

It’s one thing for Liberian citizen Thomas Eric Duncan to carry around an Ebola-ridden woman, get on an airplane to Dallas, walk into a hospital with symptoms, and then walk out again. Such behavior can be attributed, at least in part, to ignorance. It’s another thing entirely for a highly educated medical professional to endanger those around her for some miso.

But that’s the world of the media, where the proper response to the possibility of contracting Ebola is, “Don’t you know who I am?” Double standards abound here; media members lather Americans into a frenzy over the threat of a disease that has, to date, claimed a grand total of one life in the United States. Then they go out for lunch in public after being told that they could be carrying the virus.

The Snyderman story is truly part of a broader egocentrism in the media. The media didn’t give one whit about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative non-profit applicants — but they went absolutely batty over the Department of Justice targeting reporters. The media don’t seem to care very much about demands for transparency from the Obama administration by the American public — but they’re fighting mad about the Obama administration’s refusal to let them photograph him golfing. After all, it’s one thing for normal Americans to get stiffed, and quite another for our betters to feel the effects of government’s heavy hand.

Canada’s Supreme Court says quoting the Bible re homosexuality is a hate crime

Yes, the Bible is not nice about homosexuals. Indeed, it’s so not nice that Canada’s Supreme Court has determined that someone who cites to the Bible in opposition to homosexual conduct is guilty of a hate crime.

Here’s the acid test, though: Would the Supreme Court reach the same ruling if it was asked to determine whether someone quoting from the Quar’an in opposition to Jews is also guilty of a hate crime? Somehow I doubt it, but maybe I’m just too cynical for my own good.

Paul Kengor is right that conservative radio is committing suicide by greed

I only listen to conservative talk radio when I’m in the car . . . but lately I’m never able to listen to conservative talk radio when I’m in the car. The reason for my inability to listen is because I’m usually in the car for short hauls and, when I tune in to the local talk radio stations, all I get is advertisements.

From the top of the hour until seven minutes past the hour . . . advertisements. From nineteen minutes past the hour until thirty-five minutes past the hour . . . advertisements (including the show’s host saying “Welcome back, and now for a word from our sponsors.”) The same pattern applies in the second half of the hour. Because I usually need to be at places on the hour or the half-hour, I invariably find myself tuning in to those fourteen or so minutes of advertising at the top or the bottom of the clock face. So lately, I haven’t even bothered to try. I just listen to music or call my sister.

And why are we in this terrible situation? Greed, says Paul Kengor:

Why so much junk? To pay the costs, of course. But more specifically, to pay the gigantic, unsustainable fees these shows demand.

[skip]

Of course, it’s a free market. Rush and other hosts are free to earn whatever they receive. But also because it’s a free market, their stations and listeners are free to bolt. What surprises me is the degree to which some conservative hosts are willing to let their stations and listeners bolt, even as they rake in piles of money. I’m especially surprised at how these hosts are willing to allow their excellent product to be diluted and damaged by an intolerable stream of annoying advertisements.

It seems to me that these conservative hosts—champions of the free market—are not listening to the free market. In my local market, Rush and Hannity and Glenn Beck have lost a 50,000-watt blow-torch in favor of a vastly inferior 7,000-watt signal that will be heard by far fewer listeners.

I love Rush, but even he’s not worth listening to ten minutes of commercials during a 15 minute drive.

I leased an electric car, so oil prices dropped

I’m never kidding when I say that the moment I enter the stock market the market drops and the moment I pull out the market rises. I just have that kind of timing.

My timing means it’s no surprise to me at all that, now that I’ve leased an electric car so as not to run up huge gas bills driving a minivan around for local errands, oil prices are plummeting. At our nearest ARCO, which sells the cheapest gas in Southern Marin, prices have dropped by about 20 cents per gallon in the past two weeks. That’s huge.

Power Line wonders if the Saudis are doing this on purpose in an effort to undercut America’s booming oil business. Could be. I’m not sure, though, that the Saudis have the oil resources to play this kind of price-cutting game. I recall from a discussion at my blog many years ago someone who worked in the oil industry saying that Saudi wells are finally running try. It seems to be a perilous game to drop prices when you’re running out of product to sell.

Will all these oil and electric cars soon be obsolete anyway?

Remember how, in Back to the Future, Doc perfected time travel using the energy from nuclear fusion? Well, we may soon be doing a little time travel ourselves, because Lockheed says the future is now (or at least just ten years from now):

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Anything that will break the back of the Muslim oil nations and silences the stupidity of the environ-mental-ists can’t come soon enough for me.

Lovely Lena leans . . . and so do several other old-time Hollywood beauties

Robert Avrech isn’t just a brilliant writer and thinker. He’s also extraordinarily knowledgeable about old Hollywood — the Hollywood of the Turner Classic Movies I watch with so much love.

Avrech recently wrote a beautifully illustrated post about the leaning boards that Hollywood’s leading ladies reclined upon to get the weight off their feet without ruining costumes so tight or elaborate that the actresses were often sewn into them. In a comment, I contributed my mite by pointing out that, in Singin’ In The Rain, Lena Lamont, the lovely lady with the horrible voice, and a personality that was even worse, was seen leaning on one of those boards. Robert, bless his heart, went out of his way to update the post to add a picture of the lovely Lena leaning.

Superheroes, anyone?

At the most recent Watcher’s Council forum, the Watcher asked us, if we could be a superhero, which one would we be? Because my weekend passed in an alcoholic stupor (except without any alcohol, but only the stupor part), I completely missed the forum. If asked, I would have said Superman, simply because he’s always been my favorite superhero. Tune in here to see what other Council members had to say.

The Bookworm Beat (10/14/14) — Quotable quotes edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingStill catching up from the devastation that yesterday wrought on my schedule. However, I had the chance to read a few good things:

Ken Braun: The real unemployment is much higher and most Americans know it:

Regardless of reasons, the net effect of a steadily rising adult population and sharply falling labor force isn’t pretty. It’s as if 217,000 adults joined the economy during the last month and yet made no attempt to help out. And on top of that, an additional 98,000 who were doing something in August also halted any attempt to pull a handle on our economic wagon in September. The headline number released last week – 248,000 new jobs created during September – pales in comparison to the much larger exodus of job seekers from our labor force.

Victor Davis Hanson: Ruins of the Middle East:

In order to win over the Islamic street, Obama has tried almost everything to remind the Middle East that America is no longer run by a white male conservative from a Texas oil family. His multifaceted efforts have ranged from the fundamental to the ridiculous. The Al Arabiya interview, the Cairo Speech, the apology tour, the loud (but hypocritical) disparagement of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols, the new euphemisms for jihadist terror, the multicultural trendy pronunciation of Talîban and Pâkistan, and references to his father’s religion and his own middle name resulted in American popularity ratings in many Middle Eastern countries lower than during the Bush administration. In the Middle East, the only thing worse than being unapologetically proud of past U.S. foreign policy is being obsequiously ashamed of it.

Dennis Prager: It’s All About The Party:

Obamacare provides an excellent example of why “voting for the candidate” is an act of self-delusion. Every vote for this medical and economic transformation of America came from Democrats in the House and Senate; and every single Republican, even the most “moderate,” voted against it. Regarding the most destructive legislation in modern American history, “the candidate” didn’t mean a thing. Party meant everything.

This may be the primary reason Republicans do not do better in a country in which few of its citizens identify themselves as “Left”: Republicans run against their opponents, rather than against the Left and the Democratic party. That’s what Mitt Romney did, and that’s why he lost an election that he should have won. Romney never defined his presidential campaign as being opposed to the Left or to the Democratic party. It was solely against Barack Obama, a popular president at the time and the first black ever to serve as president, something that continued to mean a lot to many Americans who hoped that this fact would reduce black animosity toward white America.

Michael Rubin: Ebola is 1981 Flu, Not AIDS:

While the spread of AIDS scared society—largely because so much about it at the time was unknown—a better analogy to the spread of Ebola may be the infamous influenza epidemic of 1918.

The scariest thing about the 1918 flu was that it killed not simply children, the old, and the infirm, but also those who were healthy and at the peak of physical fitness. In the United States, 99 percent of the flu’s victims were under 65 years old, and half the victims were between 20 and 40.

To be in the prime of life and health is no defense against Ebola, and being in the military may actually increase risk: Anyone who has ever spent time around American soldiers—and those from many other Western nations—knows the commitment each has to physical fitness and working out. On Army bases and on Navy ships, there are often lines for equipment or exercise stations at the gym. This may sound silly, and of course the Pentagon theoretically will put restrictions and regulations in place, but sweat is sweat.

[Bookworm here: If you're interested in the 1918 flu pandemic, I recommend John M. Barry's The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History]

Daily Mail: ‘Origami’ condoms, Michelle Obama gardening games and poop-throwing chimps: NIH spent millions on wacky projects but now complains cuts killed off Ebola vaccine research:

The $30 billion U.S. National Institutes of Health blamed tightening federal budgets on Monday for its inability to produce an Ebola vaccine, but a review of its grant-making history in the last 10 years has turned up highly unusual research that redirected precious funds away from more conventional public health projects.

The projects included $2.4 million to develop ‘origami’ condoms designed with Japanese folding paper in mind, and $939,000 to find out that male fruit flies prefer to romance younger females because the girl-flies’ hormone levels drop over time.

Other winners of NIH grants consumed $325,000 to learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands, and $257,000 to make an online game as a companion to first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden.

The agency also spent $117,000 in taxpayers’ grant dollars to discover that most chimpanzees are right-handed.

Bret Stephens: Obama Survival Manual, Intl Edition:

Each comment makes the same essential point: Don’t fear America, don’t trust America, don’t wait for American rescue. A corollary point, surely not lost on Mr. Putin, Ayatollah Khamenei and other rogues is that they have a free hand at least until January 2017. The conclusion: If ever there was a time to revise their regional orders in ways more to their liking, better to do so now, when there’s a self-infatuated weakling in the White House.

Jonah Goldberg: Culture Wars All The Way Down:

Let’s imagine that America’s national interest is completely disconnected from the domestic news cycle. It’s not a difficult thing to imagine, given that it is so often true. But let’s imagine that the disconnect is even more total. The press never covered the Islamic State. Never reported on the slaughter in Iraq and Syria. Never raised any concerns about what the rise of a terrorist army says about Obama’s foreign policy or our long-term interests in the region. The press focused instead on George Clooney’s wedding, events in Ferguson, Mo., and how awesome Lena Dunham is. Again, this isn’t a hugely difficult mental exercise.

In short, imagine the rise of the Islamic State over the summer presented all of the same national-security and humanitarian problems, but no political problems for Obama. Now ask yourself, would Obama have done anything about it?

The Bookworm Beat (10/10/14) — Hanging on by a thread edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingReading the news lately is not conducive to good mental health. Obama has become a one man Murphy’s Law: on his watch, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. We are watching a train wreck in real-time. It’s as if someone back in the 1950s came out with a Twilight Zone-esque alternative reality movie that looks at what could happen if America ever ended up with America-hating socialists both in the White House and controlling some or all of Congress. I think it would have been a horror movie….

Finally: Nobel Peace Prize winners I can support

I’m hard put to remember the last time I wasn’t disgusted by the Nobel committee’s choices for Peace Prize winner. (So much so that, when I was in Oslo, I found it hard even to walk into the room where the Peace Prize is presented. This year, though, the Nobel committee finally got it right — the winners are Malala Yousafzai, the young woman who didn’t stop her anti-Taliban activism even when the Taliban shot her, and Kailash Satyarthi, who seeks to end child exploitation.

Sam Harris explains more about Ben Affleck’s attack against him on Bill Maher’s show

If you read one thing today, read Sam Harris as he explains that Ben Affleck was primed to attack both Bill Maher and Harris about Islam from the second Harris appeared on Maher’s show. Harris carefully explains his basic premise — the illiberalism of Islam — and expands on the fact that he is routinely a target for holding this view. I, of course, agree with Harris.

Leftism is a mental illness

Yesterday, I wrote about Jane Fonda and the attraction Leftism seems to hold for people with traumatic childhoods or mental illnesses (or both). In a comment, Charles Martel mentioned a video I’d already lined up to show you.

In this video, a profoundly disturbed, quite possibly mentally ill woman, starts shrieking about her “little girl” to some restaurant diners. It’s a very upsetting video to watch, not because I agree with the shrieker’s radicalism on animal rights, but because, as a humanist, I find it upsetting to see mentally ill people in action, with nobody able to step in and help:

I’ll add here, as I always do when the subject comes up, that I do not believe animals are equal to humans. I’m crazy about my dogs and call them my babies, but I know they’re not. They’re dogs. They’re loving and fun and have a lot of intelligence in a doggie way. They will never create anything, think any deep thoughts, or develop an existential sense of themselves or the world. When they die, at around 13 years, I will grieve terribly, and then got more dogs.

I like eating meat and, when I look at my teeth, my digestion, and my dietary needs, I know that I was created to eat meat. I’m fortunate in that I can also enjoy the fruits of the earth, but meat’s definitely part of my body’s health. I also know that the animals I eat, or whose eggs or milk I consume, have feelings. They can be happy or sad, in pain or comfortable. However, I am 99.9999999999% certain that animals do not suffer any existential anxiety.

Thus, the pig doesn’t stop rolling in the mud to think to himself, “Yeah, sure I’m having fun in the mud today, but what will tomorrow hold for me? Will I meet the love of my life or will I die at a farmer’s hands? Does what I do make a difference?” Likewise, the cow chewing cud is not thinking deep thoughts.

With this knowledge about animals, I feel it is my obligation, whenever possible, to buy meat from animals raised and slaughter humanely, and to use eggs and dairy products from chickens allowed to scratch the soil and cows allowed to wander through green pastures. And that’s the sum total of my responsibility to those lower in the food chain than I am.

Norwegian company in Canada offers more evidence of Leftism as a mental illness

If you want even more evidence that Leftism is a mental illness, check out the story of the Amaruk Wilderness Corp.’s response to a job candidate who graduated from a Christian school that doesn’t recognize gay marriage. Within the span of a few emails, Amaruk’s managers went from anti-Christian discrimination, to hatred for straight men, to a desire to f*ck God in the literal sense.

If you’re traveling to Canada and looking for a wilderness guide company, I recommend against Amaruk. It’s not just that they’re mean. It’s that they’re quite obviously mentally ill — and who wants to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with someone quite crazy?

Obama speaks foreign language known as “English”

Okay, this is petty of me, but I simply cannot resist passing on this video of Obama’s bizarre pronunciation of OB-GYN. Most people either say O-B-G-Y-N or they just say “gynecologist,” with a few outliers saying “ob-gyne.” Obama, however, comes up with a new one:

Gwyneth Paltrow proves my point about Barak-ian Gray

The other day, I had a little fun pointing out that Barack Obama’s face appears strangely untouched by time and scandal. I suggested that there might be a picture of Dorian Gray at work here.

I had to laugh, therefore, when I read about Gwyneth Paltrow’s reaction on coming face-to-face with Obama recently: “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”

I guess she hasn’t yet seen the picture in the attic.

Is the real threat to America Enterovirus D68?

While everyone’s attention is focused on Ebola, American children are dying from a polio-like virus. And isn’t it interesting that this deadly virus has hit America right at the time Obama opened our borders to tens of thousands of Latin American children, all un-vaccinated, and many ill with diseases such as . . . Enterovirus D68? It just doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the EV-D68 outbreaks track precisely the route those Latin American children took when Obama shipped them out into America’s heartlands.

There’s a reason the Secret Service stinks lately

The Secret Service, the organization charged with protecting the American president, has become a corrupt, inefficient joke. Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and current Republican political candidate, says the problem starts at the top with management. And isn’t that always the case?

Mike McDaniel takes a long hard look at the details of the Secret Service’s downfall, and views it (ironically) as one of Obama’s few success stories.

Anti-Semitism morphs yet again

Like the poor, anti-Semitism is always with us — it just keeps changing its shape to meet the needs of the anti-Semitic society relying on it to avoid looking at that society’s own sins and failures. The New Republic has a decent run-down on the core nature of anti-Semitism, no matter the guise it wears.

Cosby actress rejects politically correct labels

The first paragraph of the IJ Review story sums it up nicely:

Raven-Symoné, the famous Nickelodeon actress who also played Olivia on “The Cosby Show,” doesn’t want people to call her “gay” or “African American.” She wants to be looked at as an individual human being. Imagine that.

What’s almost as good as Raven-Symoné’s stand is Oprah’s horror upon hearing it. I loath Oprah who, behind the lovey-dovey affect, is a calculating Leftist who made her billions pushing a victim agenda and destroying rational thought in favor of useful-idiot emotions.

Another political victim of the IRS?

Are you looking for the all-purpose excuse for everything?

Have you ever felt that the excuse you have to offer just isn’t good enough? “But officer, I was only going five miles above the speed limit?” “But teacher, I wasn’t cheating. I just happened to glance blindly in the direction of Charles’ test answers.” “Honest, Mom, it was already broken when I picked it up.”

Well, worry no more. An Islamist seeking to deflect attention from ISIS’s abhorrent beheading tactic has come up with the first all-purpose, use-in-any-situation excuse. Go here to find out what it is. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)

The beauty behind the iconic buildings

For sheer visual pleasure, take a look at these photos of the secret spaces behind some of England’s more iconic buildings.

Pictures

A few more of Caped Crusader’s great poster round-up:

Margaret Thatcher on essential freedoms

Obama talks differently about 2nd amendment and Obamacare

Solving Ebola in two steps

Democrat prorities don't include Tamooressi

Drug cartels not guns kill people

Obama on billionaires at Rich Richman fundraiser

Liberalzheimer's and Jim Crow laws

Monsters aren't in bed but are in DC

To fight Ebola, we need a Florence Nightingale — although the Marines are good too

Ebola virusTonight, we attended a talk with Paul Farmer, Dan Kelly, Raj Panjabi, and a fourth fellow whose name I can’t remember.  The topic was Ebola.  All four speakers had front-line experience, having spent a great deal of time recently in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.  All of them are affiliated with non-profit organizations that have as their sole purpose bringing long-term and emergency healthcare solutions to third world countries.  They are all admirable men and masters of their material.

That’s why it was disappointing that the evening was so horribly dull.  Rather than the four of them presenting a coherent analysis covering both Africa and America, they engaged in a repetitive, jargon-filled talk that kept reiterating the key points.  The key points were interesting, and probably could have been covered in about fifteen  minutes.  I wasn’t able to take notes, but here’s what I got:

1.  Liberia and Sierra Leone have both suffered tremendously from civil wars that utterly destroyed their infrastructure and left them with virtually no health care.  I believe it was Liberia that ended up with around 51 doctors for the entire nation.  The American equivalent would have been 8 doctors for all of San Francisco.

2.  When the latest Ebola outbreak began in a remote village with an infected two-year old child, there were no systems in place to stop the disease’s spread.

3.  Because there are no doctors, no buildings, and no supplies in these forsaken African countries, a few things happen:

a.  The mortality rate is 70% to 90%.

b.  People view hospitals and medical clinics as death traps, which they are.

c.  People therefore avoid hospitals and medical clinics, furthering the disease’s spread.

4.  To the extent there are any systems on the ground in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, they are the NGOs represented at the talk, plus WHO, the CDC, a British government agency, and a few disparate other groups.  They are trying to coordinate, but are behind the curve.  The local governments are helpless.

5.  Money is starting to come in, but little of the money pledged actually makes it to the situation on the ground.

6.  If the situation does not approve, we can expect 500,000 to 1.4 million dead in Africa by the end of January 2015.

7.  If, however, the money rains down and the existing organizations are able to train health care workers, open clinics, and have medical supplies on hand to treat people, the number of dead may stop at around 70,000.

8.  Bringing the current Ebola crisis to heel in Africa, even under the best of circumstances may take 18 to 24 months.

9.  A military organization is best suited to imposing structure on these dysfunctional regions.  (When I heard this, I thought to myself “So that’s why Obama sent in the Marines.”)

10.  Taking a page out of the Borgia book for poisons that can be absorbed through the skin, Ebola can transmit through people’s skin.  It’s not enough to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth.  If someone’s infected blood, vomit, fecal matter, semen, spit, or sweat just touches you, you can become infected.  Even picking up a stained sheet can pass the infection.  Additionally, scientists do not know how long the virus will survive on a surface once it’s become dehydrated.  The current guess is that Ebola, unlike other viruses, can survive for quite a while away from its original host.

11.  The Ebola virus is from the same family as the Marburg virus, which found its way to Germany in the 1960s, killed a few people, and was then quickly contained.  That’s good news for Westerners and their medicine.

12.  If patients get Western medicine that treats the symptoms — drugs to reduce fever and to control vomiting and diarrhea, proper treatment if the body goes into shock, and blood transfusions — the mortality rate is “only” 25% — which is still high, but is significantly lower than the 70%-90% morality in Africa, where patients get little to no treatment.  (See point 3 regarding the disease-spreading negative feedback loop of the high mortality rate.)

13.  This is a genuine crisis.  If anything, the media is erring by downplaying what’s been happening in Africa, and governments are most certainly responding too slowly to a problem that must be fixed in Africa, rather than just being stopped here (as if that were possible).

In sum, Ebola is a really bad disease, made horribly worse by the complete post-civil war dysfunction and poverty in these three West African nations.  With enough money and man power, the disease can be brought to heel.  The only problem is getting the money and manpower in place.

Florence Nightingale and her sister Parthenope

Florence Nightingale and her sister Parthenope

Hearing that the problem is one of men and manpower, I immediately thought (as everyone must) of Florence Nightingale.  I’m sure all of you remember her story, but I’ll tell it again for my satisfaction.  Florence was born in 1820 to a very wealthy, very well-connected, very upper class British family.  She was expected to do the ordinary thing:  become a “finished” young lady, get married, and have the next generation of wealthy, well-connected, upper class British children.  Florence, however, wanted something different.  She wanted to be a nurse.

To appreciate just how shocking Florence’s career goal was, imagine your own sweet, young daughter looking up at you and saying “Mother and Father, I want to become a prostitute, and work in the worst slums, with a lot of filthy, disease-ridden people.  Oh, and I’m planning to numb myself against the horror of my chosen life with strong drink and opium.”  By saying that, your daughter would have described precisely what many nurses were like back in the middle of the 19th century, or at least what upper class people thought they were like.

The hospital in Scutari, circa 1856

The hospital in Scutari, circa 1856

Understandably, Florence’s parents said “No!” and kept saying “No” despite Florence’s certain belief that God himself had called her to the job of nursing.  By the time she was 24, Florence ignored her parents and began to study what she could about nursing.  She also traveled widely around Europe and the Mediterranean.  During her years of work, study, and travel, she met several important men whose wealth and connections would aid her in the coming years.

When Florence was 30, she visited and was much impressed by a Lutheran community at Kaiserswerth-am-Rhein in Germany, where the Pastor and several deaconesses dedicated themselves to caring for the sick and poor. Florence worked and studied at this community for several months, an experience she wrote about later.  It provided much of the basis for her believes about cleanliness and good nutrition for the sick.  (Her beliefs about cleanliness did not extend to germ theory, something that was of little interest to her.)

By 1853, Florence was offered a job as superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Upper Harley Street, London. Between her pay from that job and the very comfortable allowance her father gave her, Florence did quite well doing the work she loved.

Florence Nightingale shortly after her return to England from Scutari

Florence Nightingale shortly before leaving for Scutari

All of the above was a prelude to Florence’s moment in history. In 1853, the Crimean War began, with Russia squaring off against an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. This was probably the last of the Christian religious wars, since Russia was ostensibly fighting for the rights of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, which was under Ottoman control, while the French went to bat for the Catholic Christians. In reality, the fight was really about preventing Russia from gaining land from the dying Ottoman Empire. But I digress….

Initially, fighting centered on Sevastopol, on the Black Sea. The Russians had it, and everyone else wanted to make sure they lost it. Beyond that, I have little to say about the Crimean War. The war introduced the Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade, began the divvying up of the modern Middle East, created a variety of new states in the Caucasus region, forced Russia to engage in some political reform . . . oh, and it gave us the legend of the Lady with the Lamp.

You see, by 1854, horrific stories were coming back about British war wounded and casualties. They were packed into filthy, crowded hospitals, had their limbs hacked off, were given opium, and were basically abandoned to death unless they were strong enough to survive on their own. This humanitarian disaster called out to Florence.

A romanticized Victorian picture of Florence Nightingale and her lamp

A romanticized Victorian picture of Florence Nightingale and her lamp

Exactly 160 years ago this month, in October 1854, Florence brought 38 women (including 15 nuns and her own aunt) to Scutari (which is now known as Üsküdar, in Istanbul). Florence was a formidable administrator. She cleaned out the filthy wards, washed the men, and made sure they got food.  She demanded that her friends back home help her with money, supplies, and pressure on the British government.

Florence could do nothing about the fundamental filth lurking in the sewers (a problem she understood only much later, when she compiled her report about events in Scutari) or about the overcrowding.  Men therefore continued to die in appalling numbers during her first six months there, not just from their wounds, but from typhus, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.  Florence herself almost died from one of the infectious diseases.

Even though she was unable to reduce the death rate, Florence accomplished two things. First, as history records, she was able to make the men feel cared for. Yes, they were still dying in ever greater numbers during her first 6 months there,, but the Lady with the Lamp brought them tremendously important things: physical comfort and hope. Second, through the publicity Florence brought to bear on the medical barracks in Scutari, the British government finally took upon itself the task of cleaning the filthy, disease-ridden sewers, improving ventilation, and providing more space for the sick and wounded.

A prematurely aged Nightingale in 1858, showing the ravages of excessive work and illness.

A prematurely aged Nightingale in 1858, showing the ravages of excessive work and illness.

As the panel convened in San Francisco kept talking on and on and on about the key problem — organization and money — all I could think of was Florence Nightingale who, with her formidable organizational skills and vast network of wealthy and powerful friends, was able within a very short time to bring a mortality rate of over 40% down to 2%. She most certainly did not do it on her own, but she was a dynamic catalyst. It’s doubtful if, without her, anything would have been done to improve the lot of those poor British soldiers.

The Ebola crisis in Africa needs a Florence Nightingale:  a formidable, fiercely well-organized, extraordinarily well-connected person who can bridge the gap between what is — chaos — and what should be — a well-ordered system that provides needed care starting at the village level.  Listening to the doctors speak, I did not come away with the sense that such a person or entity will come along any time soon.  The affected geographic region is too vast, the infrastructure too shattered, and the population too difficult to control.

That last point — a vast, dispersed, frightened, and ignorant population — is why the fourth man, the one whose name I can’t remember, must have repeated five or six times that the military is best equipped to impose organization from above in a situation such as this one.  Our 3,000 Marines will be helpful, insofar as they are splendid organizers, but I suspect it will take more than 3,000 Marines to bring three impoverished, backwards, dysfunctional nations into line so as to control an incredibly hardy, opportunistic, and deadly virus.

Tonight’s talk ended with the panel insisting that we must bring medical justice to the third world through redistribution of medical care, a conclusion that had the San Francisco audience cheering.  Like all good Leftists, they hoped that this crisis wouldn’t go to waste insofar as it would rejigger the world’s medical system.  They are certainly right that we live in an interconnected world.  A sneeze in Africa can become a disease in America.

Where their utopian dream about medical equality broke down is exactly in the same place it breaks down when they speak of Ebola.  They see what is (a first world with good medicine versus a third world without) and they know what they want (equal medical care for all), but it was quite obvious they even they recognized the futility of somehow forcing the whole world to transfer its wealth to Africa and the Asian subcontinent.  Instead, they just kept talking about the money flowing from crisis management.

They made more sense when they acknowledged that improved care in third world countries has to come from within and cannot simply be imposed from above.  However, to the extent they made sense, they diminished somewhat my good will when they seemed incapable of acknowledging that it’s not just a money problem in Africa, but a more profound structural one.  Both Sierra Leone and Liberia were fairly functional African nations until they fell prey to civil war, something no first world money could help.  The doctors also failed to understand that it wasn’t activists who really brought about treatments for AIDS; it was First World fear of AIDS that spurred the research and discovery that led to breakthroughs.  Simply transferring money from here to there will not cure systemic failures, nor will it inspire new medicines and treatments.