The Bookworm Beat (11/22/14) — Sad Saturday edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingWhy is it a sad Saturday? Because I read an analysis of 2016 electoral prospects arguing that, while Republicans can definitely win Congress and state houses, the combination of huge Democrat-voting urban areas and the electoral college makes it impossible for Republicans to take the White House. I think that’s true. Unless voters in urban areas turn on the Democrats, what we’ll have as of 2015 — a Democrat president and slight-majority Congress — will be the status quo for a long time.

That makes me sad because it will mean that Barack Obama’s presidential legacy, both domestic and international, rather than being reversed and lost in history’s backwater, will last far into my, my children’s, and even my grandchildren’s future.  It’s not good for America and it’s not good for our traditional friends abroad.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/21/14) — The imperial presidency edition (plus illustrations and Open Thread)

Woman writingI keep meaning to write something profound about what happened to our country yesterday, only to discover that other, much better writers and thinkers already got there before I did. I’ll just summarize by saying that Obama behaved illegally, unconstitutionally, and undemocratically.  Having said that, of course, the really important question becomes: What next?

Let’s see if I can start this round-up by passing on some ideas.

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[VIDEO] House Republicans begin to strike back

I found this in my inbox:

I’m not in love with it, but I think it’s a good, smart start: It uses Obama’s own words against him and suggests that he comes back to the Constitutional fold. As I said earlier, conservatives and Republicans have two years in which to educate Americans, or else the imperial presidency will be the new status quo.

(Is that whirring noise I hear the sound of George Washington spinning in his grave?)

My response to all those liberal friends of mine who are thrilled by Obama’s amnesty order

emperor_obamaPredictably, those of my Progressive friends on Facebook who are at all politically aware, are kvelling about Obama’s executive order on amnesty.  “Best president ever!”  “I totally agree with what he did.”  “He did the right thing.”  My Facebook page is filling up with those statements.  To those Progressive friends, I have the following, initially sarcastic, response:

I have to admit that I’m impressed with what President Obama did, mostly because he’s bucking a famed constitutional scholar’s take on precisely this issue:

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Brit Hume’s loud silence reveals the ugly secret about Obama’s immigration amnesty announcement

Illegal immigrants crossing into USThere are some words that, as a writer, I’ve always wanted to use.  One of those words is “cadaverous,” which I think is just a lovely, almost Dickensian word.  Having attended last night’s delightful PRI Gala dinner, I finally have that chance.  But let me start at the beginning….

I don’t usually attend galas.  Indeed, I don’t ever attend galas, since I am almost pathologically cheap and, no matter how much I admire the speaker or expect the company to be delightful, I simply cannot make myself pay several hundred dollars for a dinner and speech.  Add to that the fact that it’s disrespectful for me to spend huge sums of money on a political cause that my husband finds distasteful, and galas and I are not a common pairing.  I only was able to attend the PRI event thanks to the incredible generosity of a local Marin conservative who sponsored a table and invited me to be one of his guests.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/15/14) — Time warp edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingWhy is this a “time warp edition”? Because even though I’m publishing it on Saturday, I actually wrote it on Friday. The reason delayed publishing is because I’m spending all day Saturday attending part II of my CERT training. I expect the training to be more of the same stuff as last week: really nice, well-informed, generous people inefficiently teaching four hours of useful information over the course of eight hours.

Rather than leaving my blog fallow for that time, I thought I’d prep a post in advance. The only reason I’m mentioning the 14-hour lead time is to explain why, if something dramatic happens in the news tomorrow, you won’t read about it at the Bookworm Room. And now, it’s time for yesterday’s news today!

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The Bookworm Beat (11/14/14) — Emptying the inbox (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo thoughts today, either profound or self-centered. Just a burning desire to share with you all the wonderful things that come my way:

Dr. Jonathan Gruber — the gift that keeps on giving

It seems as if every conservative writing is churning out good stuff about what Gruber said, who he is, and what it all means. I can’t add to what they’re saying, but I can pass it along.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/12/14) — The “trigger warning” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingIf I’ve written this post correctly, it should trigger discomfort in sensitive Leftists.  “Trigger warnings,” for those of you fortunate enough not to move in circles that use them, are warnings at the beginning of any information presentation, be it fact or fiction, written or oral, aural or visual. They tell people with certain sensitivities that the material following the warning might upset them. For example, The Cat In The Hat might be preceded by a trigger warning stating “Trigger Warning: This book contains references to cats, which may be triggering to people suffering from Ailurophobia; references to boys, which may be triggering to people suffering from Misanthropy; references to girls, which may be triggering to people suffering from Misogyny; and references to Things, which may be triggering to people suffering from fear of Things.”

These trigger warnings started amongst the feminists, who manage to hold simultaneously conflicting thoughts, the first being that they are roaring women (and you’d better hear them), and the second that they are such fragile flowers that anything can permanently damage them. I’m not so sure anymore that trigger warnings are just a malicious feminist virus.  Instead, to the extent that trigger warnings are taking over American college campuses, I think that they’re actually part of a fiendish plot that transcends lunatic feminists in Herstory Departments across America.

Think about it: For decades, the Left has carefully controlled the material available to college students. Just when young people’s minds should be in their most receptive, inquiring mode, these youngsters are shut off in an institution that spoon feeds them carefully vetted material pointing to a single world view. As a conservative I met today told me, his grandson, a UC student, proudly boasted that everyone at his college voted Democrat in the last election. That may be an exaggeration, but it’s close enough to the truth to disturb all of us.

The problem for Leftist control freaks is the fact that they only get the students for 4-7 years, and that even during that time there’s the chance that the students, during visits home, or while picking up a random magazine abandoned at a Starbucks might accidentally be exposed to facts or analysis challenging the Leftist paradigm. Even the most zealous Leftist academic can’t police students all the time. Moreover, there’s always the problem that an insufficiently indoctrinated student might be embarrassed at the sheeple-ness of it all (is there no rebellion left amongst the young?) and foment an intellectual revolution.  What’s an academic to do?

What the enterprising academic will do is vaccinate the students so that they develop antibodies that make them permanently resistant to any new information whatsoever. That’s what the “trigger warning” is. It inoculates brains against all ideas but for Leftist ones.  Mention preprogrammed words, phrases, or ideas — e.g., liberty, Founding Fathers, Constitution, decent men, rape fallacy, conservatives, Republicans, etc. — and the students are so sensitized that they instantly, and without any higher brain function, start screaming “It’s a trigger!” after which they fall on the floor in a sobbing heap, inconsolable until someone comes along and whispers in their ears restorative words such as Social Justice, right side of history, racism, sexism, etc.

As long as our young people are not just taught Leftism, but are taught to panic at anything that challenges Leftism, they are unreachable. They have been vaccinated against ideas about individual liberty, constitutionalism, morality, etc. Sad, but true….

But if you’re made of stronger stuff, if you can read ideas that might not mesh with yours, I probably have something to offer you in this little grab bag of links and pictures.

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Obama’s press conference shows he views the Republican tide as a mandate for him to act unilaterally

emperor_obamaSince 2007, I’ve been saying that Obama isn’t a mere narcissist but is, instead, a malignant narcissist. He worships at his own altar and is, in his own mind at least, infallible. The manifests itself most obviously in the fact that, once he’s set himself on an intellectual or behavioral path, he is incapable of change — or at least, incapable of change based upon external critique and criticism. To a narcissist, any such external input must either be ignored or twisted so that it conforms to the narcissists own immutable infallibility.

Everything that I just wrote is highly abstract. If you want to see it played out concretely before your eyes, though, you can do so simply by checking in with the Obama press conference.

The first indication that you’re dealing with a narcissist, rather than a balanced person is the thin skin he shows.  A good example occurs when Obama picks a fight with a reporter for daring to ask him about his future plans now that there’s a new sheriff in town. (This clip has the bonus of an almost incoherently inarticulate Obama, forced to respond on the fly, instead of reading off his TelePrompter.)

Another sign of his narcissism is his effort (failed, I might add) to imply that his lack of communication with Mitch McConnell was somehow McConnell’s fault for failing to talk to Boehner.  And no, that makes no sense unless, like a trapped rat, you’re desperately seeking any escape from the consequences of your own conduct:

Most significantly, though, in terms of the narcissism charge is the fact that, rather than being chastened by the Republican roar across America, Obama made it clear that, in his own mind, he’s still in the driver’s seat and Republicans will have to work with him, rather than vice versa:

Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions that some in Congress will not like. That’s natural. That’s how our democracy works.

But we can surely find ways to work together on issues where there’s broad agreement among the American people. So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda. I will offer my ideas on areas where I think we can move together to respond to people’s economic needs.

Obama’s sense that he’s still king of the world came through most clearly in his declaration that he intends to go through with mass amnesty for illegal aliens:

In terms of immigration, I have consistently said that it is my profound preference and interest to see Congress act on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would strengthen our borders, would streamline our legal immigration system so that it works better and we’re attracting the best and the brightest from around the world, and that we give an opportunity for folks who’ve lived here, in many cases for a very long time, may have kids who are U.S. citizens, but aren’t properly documented, give them a chance to pay their back taxes, get in the back of the line, but get through a process that allows them to get legal.

The Senate on a bipartisan basis passed a good bill. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was a sound, smart piece of legislation that really would greatly improve not just our immigration system but our economy and would improve business conditions here in the United States and make sure that American-born workers aren’t undercut by workers who are undocumented and aren’t always paid a fair wage and as a consequence, employers who are breaking the rules are able to undercut folks who are doing the right thing.

So, we got a bipartisan bill out of the Senate. I asked John Boehner at that point, can we pass this through the House? There’s a majority of votes in the House to get this passed. And Speaker Boehner, I think was sincere about wanting to pass it, but had difficulty over the last year getting it done. So, when he finally told me he wasn’t going to call it up this year, what I indicated to him is I feel obliged to do everything I can lawfully with my executive authority to make sure that we don’t keep on making the system worse, but that whatever executive actions that I take will be replaced and supplanted by action by Congress. You send me a bill that I can sign, and those executive actions go away.

That’s a commitment I made not just to the American people and to businesses and evangelical community, law enforcement folks, and everybody who’s looked at this issue and thinks that we need immigration reform, that’s a commitment that I also made to John Boehner, that I would act in the absence of action by Congress.

So, before the end of the year, we’re going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take, that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system, that will allow us to surge additional resources to the border, where I think the vast majority of Americans have the deepest concern.

And at the same time, I’ll be reaching out to both Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and other Republican as well as Democratic leaders to find out how it is that they want to proceed. And if they want to get a bill done, whether it’s during the lame duck or next year, I am eager to see what they have to offer.

But what I’m not going to do is just wait. I think it’s fair to say that I have shown a lot of patience and have tried to work on a bipartisan basis as much as possible. And I’m going to keep on doing so. But in the meantime, let’s figure out what we can do lawfully though executive actions to improve the functioning of the existing system.

Lots of words there, but it boils down to this: I, King Obama, want amnesty. Because of Republican intransigence, Congress failed give me amnesty. I’m going to take this election, in which the American people voted in overwhelming numbers to elect Congress people who are opposed to amnesty, as a sign that the people do not want Congress to touch the issue.  Instead, they want me to handle the matter on my own. I therefore have a mandate to sign an executive order unilaterally granting mass amnesty to the illegal aliens in this country.

If you have the patience to read the transcript of his press conference, you’ll see this theme appear over and over again: Obama believes that, when Americans sent Democrat politicians packing, they weren’t repudiating Democrat policies but were, instead, sending a message that they want Obama to enforce Democrat policies unilaterally.

And that’s what a malignant narcissist looks like in real time.

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