One theory behind the fact that jihadists been targeting Europe instead of just America

Gun How to say go away in every languageParis is under jihadist siege. The head of British intelligence promises that the West (mostly England, apparently) can expect another mass jihadist attack. My question is why are Muslims attacking Europe at all?

Well, of course, part of the answer is that, like the scorpion, jihadists attack and kill because it’s their nature. But the targets bewilder me.

It’s hard to find more Palestinian and Muslim friendly nations than in Europe.  European nations loath Israel and they’ve shown themselves increasingly willing to give up their self-identities to appease the growing Muslim masses within their borders.

That last phrase “Muslim masses” is certainly part of the answer. Wherever there are growing Muslim masses, violence follows. But while America may not yet have the same percentage of Muslims as Europe, it certainly has enough Muslims to cause trouble, as we saw with the Boston Marathon bombing.

Since 9/11, though, what we’ve had instead of mass attacks have been those so-called “lone wolf” attacks, such as the one at Fort Hood or in Boston. They’re horrible, deadly assaults, but still different in nature from the fully planned attacks in Europe.  In scope, what’s happening in Paris, with one major attack followed by smaller attacks all over the city is reminiscent of Mumbai, not America.

It occurred to me that one reason might be that more Americans (increasingly more Americans) are armed. Even hardened, blood-thirsty, martyr-status-seeking Muslims prefer soft targets.  That thought led me to search through my emails and find the one below. I don’t know if the numbers are accurate, but I like the principle:

Some time ago, I read that the Japanese Govt in 1942 or 43 gave up any idea of trying to invade the USA because they knew that the US had hundreds of thousands of armed civilians who would instantly be part of the Army.

So here is a rough estimate of today’s civilian “army” so long as the people don’t give up their guns or allow a govt take over of all personal arms, and thus a government take over of all the states and their populations:

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion:

There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin …. Allow me to restate that number: 600,000!

Over the last several months, Wisconsin’s hunters became the eighth largest army in the world.

(That’s more men under arms than in Iran .. More than France and Germany combined.)

These men, deployed to the woods of a single American state, Wisconsin, to hunt with firearms, And NO ONE WAS KILLED.

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan’s 700,000 hunters, ALL OF WHOM HAVE RETURNED HOME SAFELY.

Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the Hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

And then add in the total number of hunters in the other 46 states. It’s millions more.

SO, what’s the point…?___ The point is …..

America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower!

Hunting… it’s not just a way to fill the freezer. It’s a matter of national security.

That’s why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.

Food for thought, when next we consider gun control. Overall it’s true, so if we disregard some assumptions that hunters don’t possess the same skills as soldiers, the question would still remain… What army of 2 million would want to face 30 million, 40 million, or 50 million armed citizens??? For the sake of our freedom, don’t ever allow gun control or confiscation of guns.

If you agree, as I do, pass it on, I feel good that I have an army of millions who would protect our land and I sure don’t want the government taking control of the possession of firearms….

AMERICA! Designed by geniuses!

Throw in ex-mil (those that Progressive states haven’t disarmed) and other gun-loving Americans, and you’ve got yourself a pretty formidable bulwark.

Tragically, an unarmed police officer can do nothing to prevent the terror.

Tragically, an unarmed police officer can do nothing to prevent the terror.

Take up Charlie Hebdo’s fallen banner and proudly display some Mohamed in your life *UPDATED*

David Pope image he drew firstParisians apparently turned out en masse to honor the Charlie Hebdo murder victims. It’s too late to wonder whether these weeping Parisians could have prevented this massacre if, over the years, they’d shown the same courage as the Charlie Hebdo editor, cartoonists, and staff. Perhaps if they’d stood up for their culture, these Islamists wouldn’t have taken the bit in their teeth. That’s water under the bridge, though, not to mention the fact that, with a president who promises that the future doesn’t belong to the Charlie Hebdos of the world, a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black.

What I know for sure, however, is that, for all the tears and the “Je Suis Charlie” signs people are displaying and tweeting, what seems to be lacking from the gatherings is any effort to pick up where Charlie Hebdo left off. In all the pictures of the Paris crowds that I’ve examined, the only Mohamed pictures that show up are the rare sightings of those in the hands of people holding actual copies of Charlie Hebdo.  See for yourselves:

#JeSuisCharlie Trends As Social Media Users Express Solidarity In Wake Of Attack On Charlie Hebdo

The Most Powerful Pictures Following The Attack On Charlie Hebdo

‘Je Suis Charlie': Huge crowds gather across Europe after Paris attack

PICS: HUGE CROWDS FORMING IN PARIS IN A DEMONSTRATION OF SOLIDARITY FOR CHARLIE HEBDO

Je suis Charlie! The cry of defiance: Vast crowds rally across the world to condemn the gun massacre as Francoise Hollande declares tomorrow a day of mourning

[UPDATE: Apropos this last-linked article, Wolf Howling described the so-called "defian ce" on display in Europe as follows: "None of that is 'defiance.' It's the herding of sheep who feel the breath of the wolf pack on their necks."]

You can also check out the Twitter feed for #JeSuisCharlie to see pictures of the Parisian crowds — and still no Mohamed images. Mostly what people are doing is hand holding, crying , holding up candles and luminous smart phones, “Je suis Charlie” signs, and a few, very few, “liberte” signs — but no Mohamed.

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Charlie Hebdo attack: Questions for you to answer and an Open Thread (WARNING: AUTOPLAY VIDEO)

I am Charlie Hebdo

The main story today is the brutal Islamic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, the Parisian humor magazine that had the courage to do what few in the world are willing to do: ridicule Mohamed. Because Charlie Hebdo stood alone in the face of an ideology devoted to murderous censorship, its members got murdered. My liberal Facebook friends, who still can’t get over Todd Akins’ stupidity don’t have a word to say about what happened in Paris. I don’t blame them individually, but I do blame them en masse for their studious and continued efforts to ignore the bloody, raging, ugly elephant in the middle of the formerly-civilized world’s living room.

When you watch the videos — and I see “when” not “if” because people need to recognize Islamists’ savage nature — please do so with caution. Although the videos are not detailed enough to show gore, they’re incredibly disturbing insofar as they show a slaughterhouse murder of the type last seen when Al Shabaab attacked the shopping mall in Kenya:
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American versus Muslim culture when it comes to dogs

Apologetic doggyI have to admit to being a little bit crazy when it comes to my dogs. I adore them. They give me undiluted happiness. While other women go goo-goo over babies, I go goo-goo over dogs. That’s why I was charmed and delighted by Thomas Lifson’s confession about his love for his two adorable doggies.

Since Thomas is the founder and editor of the enormously successful and influential American Thinker site, he didn’t write about his dogs just for the pleasure of boasting about their myriad charms or the joy they give him.  Instead, he used a meeting with some young Muslim women as the opportunity to ruminate about Mohamed’s hostility to dogs:

Of course, Mohammed did not like dogs.  The Hadith and other sources record his distaste at their “filth” and even the notion that a dog walking in front of a Muslim praying negates the effect of those prayers. He even called for killing them. For example (and there is much more):

From Bukhari Vol. 4, #540

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle ordered that the dogs should be killed.

From Abu Dawud #2839

Abd Allah B. Mughaffal reported the apostle of Allah as saying: Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed; but kill every pure black one.

The Hadith’s note for #2839 says, “The prophet did not order the killing of all the dogs, for some are to be retained for hunting and watching. He ordered to kill the jet black ones. They might be more mischievous among them.

From Muslim #3814

Ibn Mughaffal reported: Allah’s messenger ordered the killing of dogs and then said, “what is the trouble with them (the people of Medina? How dogs are nuisances to them (the citizens of Medina)? He then permitted keeping of dogs for hunting and (the protection of) herds. …[and for] for the protection of cultivated land.

From Muslim #Number 055

Ibn Mughaffal reported: The Messenger of Allah ordered killing of the dogs, and then said: What about them, i. e. about other dogs? and then granted concession (to keep) the dog for hunting and the dog for (the security) of the herd, and said: When the dog licks the utensil, wash it seven times, and rub it with earth the eighth time.

From Muslim #3813

Abu Zubair heard Jabir Abdullah saying: Allah’s messenger ordered us to kill dogs and we carried out this order so much so that we also killed the dog roaming with a women from the desert. Then Allah’s apostle forbade their killing. He said: “It is your duty to kill the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes) for it is a devil.

None of the sources I found in a cursory bit of research mentioned what seemed to me to be another reason why Mohammed didn’t like dogs: he had been a caravan raider, and dogs have always (and still do) act as guardians against thieves.

[snip]

I felt in retrospect that it is a shame that such a basic human instinct as love of furry, cuddly animals is forbidden by a major religion. I wonder if any of the girls will face ostracism for their expressions of affection and liking?

Thomas’s post reminded me of a post I did several years ago (in 2007, to be precise) about my love for doggies.  It started the silly little joke I made whenever my kids asked me which of them I loved more.  After a few clearly pointless efforts to explain that I loved them equally, I just started telling them that I loved the dogs most of all, a line they thought was very funny when they were kids.  (They now love the dogs most of all too.)

Having told that story, I finished that old post with my usual political fillup:

I think it’s a shame that Muslims worldwide have been inculcated into the desert dweller’s belief that dogs are unclean.  It definitely shuts them out from one of the joys of life, which is a loving animal.  I also suspect that their failure to engage with the one animal that wants to engage with us may explain how comfortable they are with animal cruelty.  That cruelty ranges from the horrible Hamas TV show that has laughing children watching tortured animals to the Palestinian military “training” I read about in the early 1980s, which involved ripping the heads off of live chickens.  For many Western children, compassion starts with being taught not to torture the family dog, an animal that then rewards the child with constant and loving companionship.

Seven years later, I read the DiploMad’s memory of the treatment meted out to dogs in Pakistan and it simply seemed to drive home the point I was making:  There’s a correlation between a culture that considers torturing animals to be a form of pleasure and the level of cruelty that culture shows to its own citizens.

The New York Times ignores the reasons why Swedes might be turning against immigrants

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

The New York Times ran an article the other day noting that there’s been a big change in Sweden, in that increasing numbers of ordinary Swedes are turning against the countries famously relaxed immigration policy.  I’ll let the Times explain:

Opposition to the rising numbers is growing. The far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats had their best showing ever — nearly 13 percent of votes — in elections in September.

The entry of the Sweden Democrats to parliament in 2010 had already opened the door for a previously unthinkable discussion about turning back the country’s policy of taking in foreigners on humanitarian grounds and granting them access to the country’s generous welfare system.

In an ordinary world, anybody reading the above paragraph would, of course, wonder why the famously welcoming Swedes are suddenly becoming hostile to immigration.  I’m sorry, but not surprised, to say that the New York Times is not writing for an ordinary world.  It’s writing for its Progressive readers who don’t want to hear bad things about immigrants, especially politically correct Muslim immigrants.

That’s presumably why virtually the entire article focuses on the immigrants’ suffering, with only some vague allusions to the problems their presence creates:

As Khalif Samantar knelt for afternoon prayers at the Eskilstuna Islamic Dawa Center on Christmas Day, he sensed a growing heat and a low, rushing sound coming from a nearby hallway. He focused his mind on the ritual, only to realize seconds later that someone was shouting, “The mosque is on fire!”

[snip]

“We left our country as refugees. We were not looking for food or benefits, we were looking for somewhere to feel safe,” said Abdirahman Farah Warsame, the imam at the mosque where the fire occurred on Christmas Day. He is originally from Somalia. “Now that is gone. We have a feeling that society is turning against us.”

After having made clear where its sympathies lie (with the poor, peaceful, dispossessed Muslim immigrants), the article points out how nasty Europe is becoming, whining about money problems and inchoate fears:

Indeed, the relentless stream of migrants to Europe — propelled by the war in Syria and turmoil across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa — has combined with economic troubles and rising fear of Islamic radicalism to fuel a backlash against immigrants, directed most viciously at Muslims.

After having read the above paragraph, I, unlike the average Times reader, started wondering “When will the Times start explaining the reasons behind — or, at least, the reasons people give for — “a backlash against immigrants, directed most viciously at Muslims.” Let me save you the problem of reading the article:  The Times doesn’t explain the reasons.

Instead, as you can confirm yourself, there are “debates,” “resentments” and “suspicions” about Muslim immigration, although the Times reader never discovers the contents of those debates, or the reasons behind resentments and suspicions. Instead, we learn that

  • Swedes gathered to show solidarity with Muslims;
  • Sweden was third only to Germany and France in the number of asylum seekers in 2012;
  • Sweden is getting a boatload of Syrians;
  • Swedes have always kept their immigrants out of the mainstream “but that the success of the Sweden Democrats has made racism more socially acceptable;”
  • Sweden’s parliament entered into there was some sort of “last-minute deal” that saved the government from the racist Swedish Democrat attack [more on that later];
  • the Islamic Association of Sweden (their CAIR) is unhappy about rising protests, including women having their hijabs snatched off; that
  • mosques are getting vandalized; and
  • Muslim immigrants are family oriented people who just want peace and are having a hard time sleeping.

Indeed, the only inkling one gets about what might be disturbing the Swedes’ tranquility is this single paragraph:

The party’s growth has occurred despite the fact that roughly a fifth of Sweden’s 9.6 million people were born abroad or to immigrant parents in Sweden. Most immigrants here have access to education, but government figures show a disproportionate unemployment rate for them, more than twice the national rate of about 8 percent. The disparity helped fuel riots in immigrant neighborhoods outside Stockholm in 2013.

Let me say right away that I’m not condoning mosque burnings or hijab snatching. I’m a big supporter of the rule of law, but here’s the little secret the Times tries so hard to hide:  The rule of law is precisely what 13% of Sweden’s citizens stood for when they used the ballot box to elect representatives who would slow (not halt, but slow) the seemingly endless influx of Islamic immigrants and the rate of handouts given to those immigrants.

Of course, the traditional powers that be in Europe — the hard right and hard left — can’t have a moderate middle that’s hostile to a third world takeover. Thus, when the Swedish Democrats flexed their muscles in parliament by refusing to approve a budget unless their concerns about slowing immigration and welfare were met, thereby forcing a snap election that would undoubtedly have worked to the Swedish Democrats’ favor, the hard left and hard right entered into a sleazy backroom deal to vote on budgets through 2018 so as to shut the Swedish Democrats (and the voters) out of government.  (I’ll explain in a few paragraphs why, even though I’m disgusted by this anti-democratic behavior, I can’t weep too many tears for the Swedish Democrat party.)

And now back to the original point, which is to wonder what the New York Times wasn’t saying when it wrote about Swedes’ growing animosity to Muslim immigrants.  The secret lies in the Times’ throwaway line about immigrant resentment leading to “riots” outside Stockholm. Muslims are rioting? Who would have guessed that!

So, here’s a little information about those Swedish immigrants that the New York Times didn’t think was part of “all the news that’s fit to print”:

1. Already back in the early years of this century, Fjordman was writing about the fact that the rape rate is skyrocketing in Sweden. When I mention this to Progressives, they immediately say that it’s because Sweden (pretty much like every American college campus) defines rape so broadly that just looking cross-eyed at a woman is rape. These same Progressives have nothing to say, though, when I point out that “In Sweden only around 3-4% of all rapes are committed by natives who make up 85% of the entire population. The rest are by immigrants – Muslim immigrants.” Even Progressives aren’t foolish enough to pretend that the same Muslims who brutally rape women all over the world suddenly, when they get to Sweden, stop their violent physical rapes and just start looking at women cross-eyed.

2. Even when they’re not rioting, Muslim neighborhoods have become so dangerous that they are now “no-go” zones for Swedens’ police and firefighters. There are now 55 Muslim enclaves in which criminals rule supreme. You only need to look at Malmo, which is about 25% Muslim and incredibly violent, to see the future of things to come.

3. Significant numbers of Swedens’ mosques aren’t the sunny ecumenical spots described in the New York Times article. They are, instead, hotbeds of radicalized Islam, of the type that doesn’t just provide moral support for ISIS, but that actually goes off and fights for it.

In other words, those Swedes casting their lot in with the Swedish Democrats aren’t just being petty people moved only by their pocket books — although it would be reasonable for them to start resenting the vast demands the immigrants make on the system. After all, the only reason socialism worked in Sweden in the first place was that it was such a small, politically and culturally homogeneous county that everyone cheerily contributed to the classic Marxist plan of “from each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.” The Muslims, however, don’t buy into that cooperative socialism, which is driving the system closer to collapse.

Nope, what’s bugging those cheerful, law-abiding Swedes is that they’ve nurtured a violent viper at their breasts, a viper that rapes their women, makes their shiny, clean cities dirty, destroys their communities, and emasculates law enforcement. No wonder 13% of them suddenly signed on to the Swedish Democrats.

Still, as I noted above, I’m not weeping too many tears for the Swedish Democrats, despite the fact that a dirty backroom deal locked them out of the political process.  Even as the Muslims, who make up about 5% of the population, commit depredations against the Swedes, the Swedish Democrats are turning against the Jews, who make up only .2% of the population and have no history of violence or disruption whatsoever. It’s things like this, incidentally, that make me completely understand my friend’s belief that the Europeans are Amalekites and deserve no pity as their continent swirls down the drain of history.

And just a couple of wrap ups:

  1. My 2013 impression of Stockholm, based upon the admittedly very small experience of having spent just a few hours there; and
  2. Two Pat Condell videos:

The Bookworm Beat 12/27/2014 — Three very interesting things

Woman writingUnlike most of my Bookworm Beats, in which I try to share with you as many articles and ideas as possible, this one’s going to be short. I have only three points I want to discuss, but I think all of them have so much merit, I don’t want them to get lost in a larger post. So, off we go….

Obama’s revenge against the American voter

Politico has published a quite fascinating article entitled “Operation Revenge.” The article’s central theme is that Obama not only intends to use his last two years in office to act without Congressional and constitutional restraints, but that he especially intends to exact revenge upon all those Republican Congressional figures who have stood in his way:

Obama’s turnaround in recent weeks – he’s seized the offensive with a series of controversial executive actions and challenges to leaders in his own party on the budget — can be attributed to a fundamental change in his political mindset, according to current and former aides. He’s gone from thinking of himself as a sitting (lame) duck, they tell me, to a president diving headlong into what amounts to a final campaign – this one to preserve his legacy, add policy points to the scoreboard, and – last but definitely not least – to inflict the same kind of punishment on his newly empowered Republican enemies, who delighted in tormenting him when he was on top.

Think about that for a moment: Our president intends to “inflict . . . punishment on his . . . Republican enemies.”

Neither Politico nor Obama seem to care about the reason those Republicans in the House have been so recalcitrant since 2010.  These fractious men and women didn’t just magically appear in the House one day.  They were there because American voters liked their promises to rein in Obama’s worst excesses.

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The Bookworm Beat 12/24/14 — A few quick links for Christmas Eve

Woman writingThese links aren’t related to Christmas Eve. They are simply interesting things that came my way today, as I was getting my family ready for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (To those new to the blog, although I’m Jewish, I was raised celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah in entirely secular ways. That means trees and menorahs, and gifts of course.)

Understanding what cops deal with and what they can do

Given that rioters ran riot again today, this time because a cop shot a teenager who can be seen on video pulling a gun on the cop, this seems like the perfect time to bring two things to your attention. The first is the best “what it’s like for the police” post I have seen since the whole Ferguson thing became a cause celebre for the Left. I posted it on my real-me Facebook page and I urge you to share it with your friends in whatever way you do share posts that are chock-full of accurate, relevant data relating to major events (and the race/Leftist riots rocking major urban areas in America are major events).

Once you’ve read that post (which is fascinating from first word to last), then check out the following Facebook post. Be sure to stick to the instructions and watch the video — one or two or more times, if necessary — before you read the post. After reading the post, watch the video again:

Distilling “political correctness” to its essence

Snoopy the Goon, my friend and fellow Watcher’s Council member who blogs at Simply Jews, has what may be the definitive post when it comes to defining “political correctness.” Even better, it has a perfect illustration at the end.

Will the Middle East end with an ISIS versus Israel stand-off

During my lunch yesterday with my wonderful, intelligent, and conservative friend (he’s the one who helped lead me across the Rubicon from Democrat to conservative), my friend said that ISIS is the future in the Middle East. Because ISIS has the passion, the oil money, and the brutality, all Arabs and Muslims in its path will either join up or be slaughtered. This is so because of two factors about Arab/Muslim fighters:  First, while they are vicious in pursuit, they are craven in retreat.  That means that they’re lousy defensive fighters.  When they lose, they are either slaughtered en masse by the even more violent victor or, because (as bin Laden knew) they are drawn to the strong horse, they desert their side in the fight and join the victorious army.

Indeed, even as we speak, it looks as if Israel will find itself facing off against ISIS very soon, since ISIS  is pressing it from both north and south. Nor should Israel expect much help from Saudi Arabia, at least according to my friend. He theorizes that, to the extent the Saudi decision to drop oil prices (an act aimed at American fracking) is devastating the Russian economy, Putin will retaliate by siccing Muslim extremists into the heart of Saudi Arabia.

I have no love for the Saudis, whose petrodollars are largely responsible for the radical Islamist rise around the world.  Nevertheless, to the extent the Saudis have suddenly realized that they created a monster, and are cautiously edging over to Israel’s side, I have this peculiar feeling I will regret it if Putin succeeds in destroying them from within.

My prayer for this holiday season, in addition to seeking victory and protection for all of the innocents in ISIS’s path — whether Christian or Muslim, old or young, male or female — is for Israel to have the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to see this thing through, and emerge unscathed and stronger than ever.

Israel’s long ties to the land continue to be revealed

One of the most pernicious lies to come out of the Muslim world, and it’s a lie that the Christian Left embraces fervently, is that Jews have no ties to the land, and that it’s Palestinians who are Jesus’s true people. That’s why I celebrate every time archaeologists discover yet another sign that Jews’ ties to the Holy Land run back longer and deeper than those of any other people in the world:

Archaeologist Limor Talmi was minutes away from wrapping up her excavation of an ancient garbage pit last Thursday, when a piece of 1,600-year-old glass was brought to her, bearing imprints of menorahs.

The timing was fortuitous, not only because she was readying to close up shop but because it was also the second day of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday most closely associated with the seven-branched candelabra.

In the same vein, God bless David Bernstein for instantly ridiculing and destroying the suggestion that, if Joseph and Mary were alive now, they’d run afoul of Israeli checkpoints:

Seriously, this sort of historical revisionism, treating ancient Jewish Judeans as if they were Palestinian Arabs, and then analogizing modern Israel to the oppressors of Jesus and his family, a common trope in the UK, would be laughable if it were not so pernicious. Pernicious not simply because it’s a ridiculous distortion of history, and not simply because it’s often accompanied by a large dose of anti-Semitism, with Palestinians playing the role of Jesus and the Israelis being the foreign oppressors crucifying him. But pernicious because it goes to the true heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict–the failure of the Arab side to recognize that the “Zionists” are not the “European settler-colonialists” of Third Worldist imagination, but a people with a three thousand year plus tie to the Land of Israel, whose religion was born there, who ruled two separate kingdoms there, who have prayed toward Jerusalem for two thousand years in their ancient Hebrew language, and so on.

Sadly, the Left ignores the fact that the truth shall set you free — no doubt because, so far, lies have served them so well.

Was it really the Norks who went after Sony?

Sony has announced that it will screen The Interview online, so I’m not going to take any more pokes at it, at least not for now.  Indeed, it’s decision has led some at the conspiracy-oriented InfoWars website to wonder whether this whole thing wasn’t a marketing scam.

Others are wondering whether the Norks were involved at all. Marc Rogers, who describes himself as “the director of security operations for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for the world’s leading mobile security company, Cloudflare,” has a different theory:

All the evidence leads me to believe that the great Sony Pictures hack of 2014 is far more likely to be the work of one disgruntled employee facing a pink slip.

Rogers provides a detailed analysis to support his thesis. Since I am currently less than enthralled by federal agencies, I think it’s entirely feasible that the FBI is wrong, wrong, wrong, and that Rogers is correct.

The history of Jews’ Christmas Day love affair with Chinese food

It’s a longstanding joke: on Christmas, Jews eat Chinese food. In an article originally published in The Atlantic, Adam Chandler says that this is no joke and explains how it came to be.

Apropos Chinese food, if you’re in San Francisco’s Chinatown, I have a Chinese restaurant to recommend. I have never recommended a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. In my experience as an SF native, the Chinese restaurants in Chinatown are always either (a) too geared to tourists; (b) too dirty, along with having horrible greasy, gristly food; or (c) too Hong Kong style, which means bland flavors and lots of offal. The other day, though, we ate at a wonderful Chinese restaurant called Hunan Homes. It’s one block from the affordable Portsmouth Square garage, which makes it relatively easy to get to. In addition, the restaurant is very clean, the service is excellent, and the food is affordable and delicious.

Cirque du Soleil plug

Since 1984, when it first burst on the international scene, I’ve seen every Cirque du Soleil  show except for “O” which was closed for repairs when I was in Vegas. For the last ten years, I’ve found the shows boring — muddled, contrived, and stale.

With Kurios, however, Cirque’s most recent show, Crique has redeemed itself. The show’s theme is Steampunk, which is a sort of futuristic Victorian theme. The costumes were gorgeous, the sets imaginative, the music charming, and the acts were simply wonderful. Our group, which ranged in age from teenagers to late middle age fogies, all enjoyed every minute.

Swedish Muslims increasingly radicalized — despite Sweden’s pandering

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

Despite’s the Swedish government’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state (“We Swedes love Islam!”), not to mention Sweden’s amazingly generous welfare benefits, Sweden’s Muslims are checking out of the country. That’s the good news. The bad news? They’re heading to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of the most radical Islamists:

Friday, September 26, I attended the customary Friday prayers in a mosque in Norrköping. It’s a pretty small mosque with room for a hundred people. It’s usually so crowded that it stands shoulder to shoulder with their Muslim brothers when performing their prayer.

This day was different. I looked around while I listened to the Khutba (Friday sermon). There were 50 people in the prayer room, most older men. I turned to my Afghan friend next to me and whispered, “It’s almost just you and me who are younger here. It seems that the younger has stopped going to the mosque, it feels so empty. “My friend looked at me and said: “But do you not?” “You know what” I wondered. “Most have gone to Syria and Iraq for jihad. They have joined the IS. ”

The word IS sent shivers down the spine. I could not concentrate or focus at Friday prayers. The thought that I stood there, in the mosque, Friday after Friday, side by side with men who may now play football with people’s heads, made ​​me nauseous. After this day, I no longer take part in Friday prayers, I pray at home instead.

It’s almost four years since I came to Sweden to seek asylum and thus protection. What I have learned in the mosque made ​​me seriously concerned about my own safety and the Swedes. I managed to escape from drug barons and brutally murdering the Taliban, but from what I heard this Friday in the mosque only half full, I do not know anymore how safe I can feel in this country.

What happens when these warriors coming back here? Men who participated in the most cruel and brutal assaults on other people, the civilians in Iraq and Syria. Should they carry out holy war, jihad, also in Sweden? I see it as an entirely feasible reality. How to prepare Sweden before that?

I was even more worried when I spoke a few days later with a man I met at the gym in Norrköping. He told me that jihadists, members of the ICE, now coming to Sweden as asylum seekers. I wondered what they would have to gain from it. He replied: “When the time comes, they will rise up and call to jihad here, too. Zulmay, you must understand that the IS is not a joke, they are real. They send so-called ‘sleeping cells’ into the country and is based on the way up their readiness. ”

I was unfortunately not very surprised by what I heard, although it was also shocking. Due to the poor management of asylum, where one does not do enough thorough investigations and inspections of the individuals who come here and apply for asylum, the extremists to enter the country.

It is, to my knowledge, not a single issue of the Swedish border police to persons with residence or citizenship in Sweden when departing from, or arriving at, Swedish airports. No single one of my asylum immigrant friends and acquaintances has ever said that they had to answer some questions at the departure or entry. This is true, as I understand, not only in Sweden but throughout Europe. I myself was smuggled and can say from personal experience that it is far too easy for traffickers and other criminals to evade airport security in Europe.

Reform aspirational! Make detailed and serious background checks on those seeking the privilege and right that it is to be granted asylum or protection. And ask questions on the boundaries of those who pass in and out of the country. The answers can be very important for all of us, for me as a refugee in the country and for my new compatriots, the Swedes.

(Funnily enough, although the article above ends with a note that it’s translated from the English, I could only find the Swedish version, so the above English-language text comes courtesy of Google translate. I apologize for any mistakes Google translate made, although it looks pretty nice to me.)

These are people who are attracted to the strong horse — and right now, that horse is the flood of radical Islam throughout the Middle East. I’d like to think that these Swedish Muslims, and others from around the world who are flocking to battle, are making it easier for us to pick the Islamists off (e.g., more fish crowding the barrel that’s about to be shot up) but, looking at Obama’s passivity, I think they’re right — they’re heading for the strong horse and making it stronger.

Moreover, to the extent Sweden thinks it can inoculate itself against the crocodile by recognizing a Palestinian state . . . well, all I can say is that Churchill will inevitably be proven right: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Incidentally, in the same news cycle, Swedish police have announced that there are 55 “no go” zones the country, because they have become too dangerous for any emergency services, whether policemen, firemen, or ambulance crews. The news reports make no mention of Islam, but I’m quite busy reading between the lines.

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.

The Bookworm Beat (10/29/14) — High blood pressure edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI went to the doctor yesterday for an ear infection and discovered that I have high blood pressure. The doctor’s not treating the problem yet, in case my blood pressure was spiked from my ear pain. I certainly hope that’s transitory pain is the reason.  In two months, we’ll check again and see whether it’s reverted to normal or is still trying to make me look like one of those cartoon characters with steam coming out its ears. If the latter, I’ll really need to revisit how I handle all the stress in my life.

The chocolate treatment, apparently, is not working. Also unfortunately for me, the stuff about which I blog isn’t the stuff of zen moments. All of you should feel free to send me calming thoughts.

Two amazing Arabs (one Muslim, one Christian) speak about the Arab and the Leftist community’s responsibility for peace with Israel and the world

The first amazing Arab, Aly Salem, wrote an article about the disgraceful way in which American Progressives and other Leftists ignore Islam’s most revolting behaviors:

My own experience as a Muslim in New York bears this out. Socially progressive, self-proclaimed liberals, who would denounce even the slightest injustice committed against women or minorities in America, are appalled when I express a similar criticism about my own community.

Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask: Why? Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral: The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, the jihadists are a minority who don’t represent Islam, and I am fear-mongering by even wondering aloud.

This is delusional thinking. Even as the world witnesses the barbarity of beheadings, habitual stoning and severe subjugation of women and minorities in the Muslim world, politicians and academics lecture that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia routinely beheads women for sorcery and witchcraft.

Salem’s article is behind a Wall Street Journal pay wall, but if you search for it by name on Google, you should be able to get a link that gives you free access.

The second amazing Arab is George Deek, a Christian Israeli-Arab diplomat living in Norway, who gave a speech recently in Oslo. If you don’t want to, or don’t have the time to, spend 30 minutes listening to the speech, you can read the transcript here.

Here’s just a small sample of what Deek has to say:

In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights. Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees?

Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere. And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations. Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.

The Obama administration finally has an enemy it hates more than the Tea Party: Israel

It’s already been a couple of days since Jeffrey Goldberg revealed that the Obama administration, headed by the King of Choom, has taken to calling Bibi Netanyahu, a battle-tested warrior, a “chickensh*t” coward. Nevertheless, I’d like to share with you my favorite post on the subject, from Danielle Pletka, at AEI. She immediately hones in on the disgusting manipulation and lies that characterize the Obama dealings that then led to the vulgar insult:

Lots of twitter today over an important piece by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic about the crisis in US-Israel relations. Most have focused on the Obama administration “senior official” sourced comment that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is “chickenshit.” The full quote is worth reading:

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

Goldberg has his own take on the accusation, and plants blame for the mutual antipathy squarely on the Israeli side. He’s a thoughtful analyst, and he’s not wrong that the Israelis have been, to put it diplomatically, incautious, in their approach to the Obama team. Nor are critics entirely wrong when they suggest that internal politicking – and not peace process politique – have been behind recent Israeli settlement decisions. But that analysis fails to adequately appreciate the fons et origo of the slow-mo disaster that has been US-Israel relations under Barack Obama, and does readers a disservice by laying out the rather shocking notion that team Obama thinks he has somehow played the Israelis into… allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Here’s “another senior official” with whom Goldberg spoke (speaking of chickenshit; um, what about going on the record?):

“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

Let’s get this straight: Bibi et al, who have what most would agree is a legitimate and existential fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon, are “good” because they’re, er “chickenshit” about launching a strike on Iran; oh, and Bibi is also labeled a “coward” for having been “chickenshit” in that regard. But he’s “bad” because he won’t cave to a Palestinian Authority and Hamas so riven by terrorism, corruption and incompetence that they won’t “accommodate” with each other.

How can we read this as anything other than an appalling display of hypocrisy, hostility to Israel and warmth toward the very powers that have killed almost as many Americans (Iran, Hamas, et al) as al Qaeda? Did team Obama label Ahmadinejad as “chickenshit”? Have they labeled the Qataris, who arm and fund ISIS at the same time that they buy US weapons as “chickenshit”?

Read the rest here.

What will the upcoming elections mean for Israel?

Richard Baehr examines how the upcoming elections might affect Obama’s relationship with Israel. I think, after reading Baehr’s analysis, that the takeaway message is that, whether Obama keeps his Senate or loses it, he’s going to do his damndest to screw Israel. Tell me if you agree with my assessment.

If you think the government is out to get you, you’re correct

The New York Times turns in a surprisingly good article about the way in which the IRS is simply stealing people’s money, without even a pretense of Due Process. The opening paragraphs set the tone:

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.

This is something I’ve known about for some time because, back in the early 2000s, I worked on a case involving federal seizure and forfeiture.  In America’s efforts to stop bad guys, we let the camel’s nose in the tent with this one.  The government camel is now fully in the tent, destroying everything in sight.

I’d like to think that a Republican congress, aided by a Republican president, would rein in this travesty, but I doubt it. Remember — they all get paid out of the same federal pot of money, so they all (judges, congressmen, bureaucrats, executives) have a vested interest in maintaining a system that robs from Americans to give to the government.  Reagan was right in principle, but will prove to have been wrong in practice:

Reagan on we the people

Moonbats try to debate gun rights

I don’t know how he made it happen, but Charles C. W. Cooke (of National Review) was able to get an opinion piece about blacks and gun rights published in The New York Times. It’s very good, of course, although it doesn’t say anything that we pro-Second Amendment people don’t already know — you know, stuff about the way in which the Jim Crow, Democrat-run South tried to keep guns away from blacks so as to terrorize and kill them more easily, and how law-abiding blacks are still sitting ducks for the worst malefactors in society.

It’s a good essay, and one that I highly recommend, but the really fun reading material is what you find at the comments, as the usual NYT cadre of moonbats tries to escape and evade little things like facts and logic. Here are some examples from the 219 comments the Times allowed to stand before closing the comments section. You’ll notice that the ones I culled (which are from the top reader-approved comments) haven’t bothered with any facts at all, but are strong on ad hominem, bootstrapping arguments:

Brian A. Kirkland North Brunswick, NJ 3 days ago
“The poor and the black”, uh huh.

I don’t care how you paint it, this is the most convoluted irrational argument I’ve read in some time. Are you making the case that African-Americans need to arm themselves to take on the racist government? Are you saying that the answer to racist is armed resistance? You might be right, but does someone from National Review really mean that or are you making a Rand Paul gambit, to say anything that will get those, slow witted, African-Americans to go along?

No, son, you’re not going to make the picture of Malcolm, protecting his home after it’d been bombed, an icon for Caucasians. And, though there were armed African-Americans at some of those rallies, most were Caucasians, come to take their country back from the black guy. Let’s not be silly here.

You are not interested in the lives of African-American, except as a voting block to support your obsession with gun culture. We have enough access to guns. If you want a gun for personal protection you can have one.

Lots of African-Americans are like lots of Caucasians; we own guns, like fine wine, speak English well, are like other human beings. This is not news.

By the way, the NAACP is publicly supporting Marissa Alexander. https://donate.naacp.org/page/event/detail/wl3 Like all of your ilk, facts don’t matter much to you, do they?

***

Rima Regas is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA 3 days ago
Where to begin…

I’m glad you support the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, out of some equal rights magnanimity that is uncharacteristic of someone on the right. Using that magnanimity as the vehicle from which to take a swipe at the NAACP, Reverend Sharpton and, Malcolm X, no less, is disingenuous, to be kind.

The problem isn’t that blacks can’t get as many guns as whites. The problem is that an increasing number of white cops feel perfectly comfortable using their guns on black men, when they should be remembering the oath they pledged and refrain from doing harm onto a fellow citizen.

John Crawford III, Mike Brown, Vonderrit Myers, and all of the other young black men who’ve died recently were unarmed young men who died at the hand of an armed policemen who used a supposed fear for their lives as justification to shoot to kill. No gun would have saved these young men.

A country that has as many guns as it has citizens is one that has too many guns.

#BlackLivesMatter is about the cessation of police brutality on young black men. It has no bearing on the gun rights of whites or blacks. Using Jim Crow to advance the right to bear arms is the cynical use of a false equivalency in order to make an unrelated point.

Nice try…

***

agathajrw Minnsota 3 days ago
This is the most sorry excuse for an opinion piece published in the nytimes that I’ve ever read. It is a blatant advertisement for the NRA and the gun industry. To say that those of us who have been life long advocates for gun control were inextricably linked to racism before 1970 is shameful.

***

Jim Phoenix 3 days ago
This is insane. There is an epidemic of gun violence killing young black men, and this guy thinks the black community needs more guns.

***

Ecce Homo Jackson Heights, NY 3 days ago
What magnificent sleight of hand! Mr. Cooke turns the mindless proliferation of high-power weaponry into a conservative bulwark against racism. I can’t help but admire his rhetorical agility.

The fact is that African-Americans are victims of violence, including gun violence, at staggering rates. Ours is a society where homicide is justified by reasonable fear and fear of a Black Man is reasonable, almost per se. Arming African-Americans won’t help. Disarming white Americans will.

politicsbyeccehomo.wordpress.com

You know why we will never change liberal’s minds? Because they have no minds. They exist in a bizarre world of people with empty heads and jerky knees. For more information where I stand on guns, you can go here.

The Obama economy is not happy

Happy days are not here again under Obama. Just as Roosevelt, that Leftist darling, managed to worsen the Depression, Obama, another even more Leftist darling, has managed to turn in the worst non-recession economic performance in at least 100 years. This is what happens when you put a socialist in charge of the economy.

On the lighter side, here’s a nice joke about capitalism.

Barack Obama, in his own words

Ed Lasky has done yeoman’s work pulling together Obama’s own words to paint a picture of a very angry man who lusts after power, hates America and white people, and generally wants to see socialism become the law of the land. Here’s a sample (hyperlinks omitted):

The Constitution is just a piece of parchment to him and he blames it and the Founding Fathers for making the fulfillment of his goal to “fundamentally transform America” harder to achieve.

Obama willfully dismissed ISIS as a threat, demoting them to JayVee status. Obama has dismissed threats from Al Qaeda repeatedly bragging that Al Qaeda was decimated and on the run on the path to defeat and then defeated — a claim Obama has made over 30 times. In the real world, Al Qaeda and its offshoot, the JayVee ISIS, now occupy more territory and has far more wealth and power than it ever had before. It is on the run, alright, towards a city and shopping center near you. But rest assured, Obama tells us, they are defeated and the tide of war is receding. He barely reacts but recreates instead. The world is more tranquil than ever before because of Obama’s leadership. Does it feel that way to most Americans?

There’s a reason Democrats are opposed to voter ID

Yes, this is old news by now, but I can’t resist posting it on my own blog:

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

[snip]

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

The obligatory video showing the debate audience laughing at Dem candidate who tries to invoke “War on Women” shtick

A study about flu vaccinations for the elderly is a microcosm of the whole climate change so-called “science” debacle

We’ve discussed at length on this blog the fact that climate change is no longer a science but a faith. Why? Because it has become an unfalsifiable, infallible doctrine. No matter how often a hypothesis fails to be borne out by data, the sciences do a quick twist in mid air and, just before hitting ground, announce that the failure, rather than refuting the whole anthropogenic climate change theory, actually proves the theory to be true.  In fact, as often as not, the fact that the theory utterly failed is even better proof that we’re approaching climate Armageddon.  So you see, it’s faith, not science.

Well, that same “faith over science” problem reared its head in the world of vaccination studies and with equally deadly effect:

An important and definitive “mainstream” government study done nearly a decade ago got little attention because the science came down on the wrong side. It found that after decades and billions of dollars spent promoting flu shots for the elderly, the mass vaccination program did not result in saving lives. In fact, the death rate among the elderly increased substantially.

The authors of the study admitted a bias going into the study. Here was the history as described to me: Public health experts long assumed flu shots were effective in the elderly. But, paradoxically, all the studies done failed to demonstrate a benefit. Instead of considering that they, the experts, could be wrong–instead of believing the scientific data–the public health experts assumed the studies were wrong. After all, flu shots have to work, right?

You can read more here about a decidedly unscientific approach to science that has led to innumerable unnecessary deaths amongst the elderly.

The joke that is the Left’s obsession with diversity

A friend of mine has tackled the fatuousness of the Left’s obsession with diversity. Since my friend is extremely intelligent, not to mention a most elegant writer, the Left comes off looking ridiculous.

Good stuff at the Watcher’s Council

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately (hence the high blood pressure), so I’ve been remiss in passing on to you a few cool links for the Watcher’s Council.

First, Council members weigh in with their very specific predictions for the upcoming election.

Second, Council members have nominated exceptionally weasel-like people to be the Weasel of the Week.

Third, the Watcher’s Council nominations are in. I’ll link to all of the nominations in a separate post, but you can check them out at the Watcher’s Council site here.

Lovely pictures of classic Hollywood stars and their knitting

In the old days, before blogging became a compulsion, I kept my hands busy with knitting. I have a slightly peculiar technique, because I’m a left-hander taught by right-handers, but I also have, if I do say so myself, a very beautiful stitch. During my knitting heyday, I used to love collecting knitting books, especially books about the history of knitting (with this one being my favorite).

What the old books allude to, but don’t address in detail, is how much knitting took place (maybe still takes place?) on Hollywood sets. If you’d like to know more about that practice, or if you’d just like to look at wonderful pictures of gorgeous Hollywood stars knitting back in the day, check out this post at Seraphic Secret.

XXX If you’re looking for a good deed….

My fellow Watcher’s Council member Greg, who blogs at Rhymes with Right, was deeply moved by the plight of New Beginnings Church in Chicago. After its pastor, Corey Booker, broke ranks and endorsed Republicans, his church was promptly vandalized and robbed. That robbery is a huge setback for the Church’s planned expansion. If you go here, Greg explains how you can help the church out.

Do you sense a little bit of bias in this survey?

On my Facebook page, two of my friends linked to a “survey” that hinted that it was actually created on California Governor Jerry Brown’s behalf so that he can learn Californian’s opinions about what the state should do with regard to climate change. I clicked on over and got this priceless first page:

California League of Conservation Voters push poll

So that’s what it looks like when special interest groups manipulate the people.

The Bookworm Beat (10/23/14) — Mega giga woppa edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo time to talk. I’ll just dive right in.

The Canadian shooter: “Fox Butterfield, is that you?”

If you recognize the quoted phrase above, it’s because you’ve seen it often enough in James Taranto’s Best of the Web. The “Fox Butterfield Fallacy,” Taranto explains, “consists in misidentifying as a paradox what is in fact a simple cause-and-effect relationship.” Butterfield routinely committed such fallacies, with his most famous being one form or another of this “paradox”: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Canadian man who killed a 24-year-old member of the Canadian army, was a recent Muslim convert who came from a wealthy, politically connected family. Those two facts yielded this Fox Butterfield gem from the Daily Mail: “He had his passport seized after being designated a ‘high-risk traveler’ – despite his mother being on Canada’s immigration board.” (Emphasis mine.)

Why do I consider that sentence a Fox Butterfield fallacy? Because it shouldn’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the most violent Islamists so often come from politically well-connected — i.e., Leftist — families.

A few other things of interest from that same article about Zehaf-Bibeau: His father was in fact Libyan, which means Dad was probably Muslim, and abandoned the family in 1999 to go fight in Libya. One can only imagine the effect that had on young Michael.  After all, look at how Barack Obama, despite losing contact with his father at only 3 months, has spent his entire life trying to recreate in America is father’s imagined Communist paradise.

It’s also telling that Zehaf-Bibeau was a criminal who rotated in and out of prison. Let me quote (again) what my cousin, a former Christian prison chaplain, had to say about convicts who convert to Islam:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

All of us here have also noticed that what stopped Zehaf-Bibeau was a gun. The only thing that ever stops a shooter is a gun, whether he turns his own gun on himself when his spree ends or whether someone else (a policeman or an armed citizen) shoots him.

And of couse, as Sadie already pointed out, Obama instantly hedged his bets by calling the shooting either terrorism or “senseless violence”:

President Obama also spoke about what he called the ‘tragic’ situation in Canada, saying ‘we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.’

In Obama’s America, if it’s not politically expedient to exploit a shooting or bombing incident — as is the case when there’s a Muslim perpetrator — the Obama lexicon invariably insists upon the “senseless violence” formulation.

I’m quite sure that, even as Canada immediately called the attack “terrorism,” the ongoing White House investigation will inevitably lead to a conclusion about a lone, deranged gunman who completely coincidentally had converted to Islam.

Barack Obama: Master political manipulator

During the Bush era, his opponents went back and forth between calling him a moron and a Machiavellian genius. It’s hard not to do the same with Obama. On the one hand, one sees the way in which he’s managed to muck up every aspect of running the American government; on the other hand, as Caroline Glick demonstrates, he’s been absolutely masterful at manipulating the political system when it comes to Iran and Israel.

A unifying theory could be that Obama is an anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic Fox-Piven acolyte. In other words, he acts with heightened skill vis-a-vis Israel and Iran, because that skill is necessary to destroy the one and elevate the other. Meanwhile, to the extent that his Fox-Piven goal is to bring American to her knees (or lower), the best tactic is to act with diminished skill, thereby allowing America to implode.  In other words, he applies his political skills selectively to reward and punish various nations, including our own.

John Oliver does something good

I find John Oliver distasteful. He’s a self-described angry Leftist who now has his own bully pulpit on HBO. In addition to not appreciating Oliver’s politics, I also dislike his style, which consists of an endless stream of awkward similes, invariably laced with profanities, that make his properly-primed audience roar with sycophantic laughter.

Having said that, Oliver does occasionally get things right — as, for example, when he tackles the problem of Afghani and Iraqi military interpreters who put their own and their family’s lives at risk to help the American military, only to see the American State Department abandon them to face Islamic terrorism on their own (language warning):

This is an issue that military and conservative bloggers have been agitating about for years.  It took way too long for it to cross over to the mainstream media, but I’m not going to complain when a Leftist media outlet finally picks up on and disseminates an important story.

While I’m not generally a fan of increased Muslim immigration into a country, since there’s no doubt that many Muslims resist assimilation and seek, instead, to expand the caliphate, these translators have proven many times over their willingness to support America.  It’s unconscionable that, even as we allow millions of Latin Americans to swarm illegally into our country, these men are left to die at Islamist hands.

I don’t know how useful internet petitions are, but if you’d like to sign one on behalf of Mohammad Usafi, you can go here to do so.

Let’s call those “ISIS” fighters by a name they really deserve

There is movement afoot amongst Muslims to deny ISIS the right to call itself “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “IS” or “the Islamic State” or anything else that, merely by being used, seems to accept that rabble’s self-designation as the new caliphate:

Whether referred to as ISIS, ISIL, or IS, all three names reflect aspirations that the United States and its allies unequivocally reject. Political and religious leaders all over the world have noted this. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, “This is a terrorist group and not a state. . . the term Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists.” President Obama made similar remarks saying, “ISIL is not Islamic . . . and [is] certainly not a state.”

Muslims opposed to allowing ISIS its name of choice suggest, instead, “Daesh”:

The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is still accurate in that it spells out the acronym of the group’s full Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Yet, at the same time, “Daesh” can also be understood as a play on words — and an insult. Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” Already, the group has reportedly threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who uses the term.

I’m all for calling the group by a name that enrages them, but I’m thinking we’d do even better by calling them by a descriptive name. I suggested to a friend that we call them “HG” for “human garbage” but, after he questioned their humanity, we agreed that calling them “GARBAGE” would suffice.

Why are women turning to Islam?

Our own David Foster has a post that offers a compelling rationale for the peculiarly high number of Western women, especially young women, who are converting to Islam and following the GARBAGE crew in Iraq. Check it out.

Rebutting yet another Roosevelt era trope

In The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes convincingly established that Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t save the country from the Depression, it worsened the Depression.

It’s been so long since I read her book, though, that I cannot remember whether Shlaes tackled what finally ended the Depression. What I was taught in school, and what Paul Krugman loves to repeat, is that it was World War II that ended the Depression, which is why Krugman thinks some horrible disaster would be just the perfect antidote to our current sluggish economy.

Apparently at Princeton the students and teacher have never learned about the Parable of the Broken Window, which Frédéric Bastiat articulated in an 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen):

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

War is just window-breaking on a grand scale.

Stephen Moore, using actual data rather than political myth, explains that what actually ended the Depression were post-war tax policies:

Government spending collapsed from 41 percent of GDP in 1945 to 24 percent in 1946 to less than 15 percent by 1947. And there was no “new” New Deal. This was by far the biggest cut in government spending in U.S. history. Tax rates were cut and wartime price controls were lifted. There was a very short, eight-month recession, but then the private economy surged.

Here are the numbers on the private economy. Personal consumption grew by 6.2 percent in 1945 and 12.4 percent in 1946 even as government spending crashed. At the same time, private investment spending grew by 28.6 percent and 139.6 percent.

The less the feds spent, the more people spent and invested. Keynesianism was turned on its head. Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated.

Of course, even with all the data in the world, you’ll never convince Krugman that his Keynesianism is wrong. He’s invested in the disaster theory of improving economies, and he’s not going to back out of it now or ever.

It’s also a myth that American executives get paid so much more than their employees

While it’s quite possible that the CEO of a big American company gets paid 331 times as much as the part-time janitor working weekends (especially the part-time janitor working weekends in the company’s Dehli office), it’s not true that, on average, American CEOs make 331 times more than ordinary employees. This particular “income inequality” myth is just another story from the same people who brought you the “New Deal worked” myth, the “one in five women are raped on campus” myth, the “women earn 72 cents on the dollar compared to men” myth, the “American healthcare is the worst in the Western world” myth, the “Climate Change” myth, and all the other untrue stories that control our politics and drive our spending.

In fact, while the average executive earns more than the average American worker, the ratio is fairly reasonable:

The AFL-CIO calculated a pay gap based on a very small sample—350 CEOs from the S&P 500. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 248,760 chief executives in the U.S. in 2013.

The BLS reports that the average annual salary for these chief executives is $178,400, which we can compare to the $35,239-per-year salary the AFL-CIO uses for the average American worker. That shrinks the executive pay gap from 331-to-1 down to a far less newsworthy number of roughly five-to-one.

Read more here.

Paul Krugman — butt head rebutted

You’re correct that I don’t usually call people “butt heads.” I just couldn’t resist that word-play here, though, because I have two links rebutting Krugman’s most recent act of stupidity. And yes, I know Krugman was once a well-regarded economist who won the Pulitzer Prize.  Now, however, he’s a doddering fool who is not deserving of any respect. There’s just no other way to say it.

Both rebuttal posts relate to a Krugman column attacking Amazon as a monopolist. Arnold Ahlert points out that Krugman’s argument boils down to this: Krugman can’t point to any specific monopolistic act on Amazon’s part, but it must be a monopoly because it keeps prices low and, worse, gives customers good access to conservative-themed books. Ahlert’s takedown is a delight.

Also delightful is a letter that Donald J. Boudreaux (Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University) wrote to the New York Times. Boudreaux takes Krugman to task for repeating Progressive myths about the government’s war against Standard Oil back around the turn of the last century:

Serious students of Standard’s practices during the late 19th and early 20th centuries understand that complaints against that company came overwhelmingly from other refiners who couldn’t match Standard’s great efficiencies. Yet no complaints came from consumers. Standard made them overwhelmingly better off – which is compelling evidence that Standard did not have monopoly power.

I love the subtle insult there, about Krugman being anything but a serious student of American economic history.

Not only is it a lie that global warming is humankind’s fault, it’s a lie that there is global warming

John Coleman, the meteorologist who founded the weather channel, is once again fighting the good fight to say that the global warming theory is bunk. Every one of the global warming predictions has been wrong but, rather than conceding that it’s a theory failed, its proponents simply change its name (“climate change”) and double down on their insistence that we humans are causing something very bad to happen. If only there was a way to cut through the Leftist media noise and get more people to heed Coleman’s words about the climatistas’ many failed prophecies:

In an open letter attacking the UN, the 80-year-old from San Diego, said that what ‘little evidence’ there is for global warming points to natural cycles in temperature.
‘There is no climate crisis,’ he wrote. ‘The ocean is not rising significantly. The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar bears are increasing in number.

‘Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms.

‘I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.’

More evidence to support the theory that Leftism is a mental illness

I’m not going to spend any time whatsoever analyzing Katrina vanden Heuvel’s hysterical screed explaining all the apocalyptic disasters that will instantly unfold if, God forbid, the Republicans take Congress. I’m simply offering the link to you as further evidence supporting the theory that people with mental problems find something comforting in Leftism, including the opportunity to have their paranoid fears taken seriously.

There’s something squirrelly about that “Norwegian” wilderness company….

Do you remember reading about the Amaruk Wilderness Corp., a supposedly Norwegian wilderness company operating in Canada, that sent vile emails to a job candidate who had attended a Christian college? It turns out that, as is often the case when Leftists go off the rails, there’s more to the story:

As more women who received bizarre and inappropriate responses to their job applications to wilderness company Amaruk come forward, efforts to reach the company’s CEO have left CBC News questioning whether the business and its jobs even exist.

Amaruk Wilderness Corp. hit headlines this week after CBC News reported on a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint, in which a Trinity Western University graduate — Bethany Paquette — claims her application to work for the company was rejected because she’s Christian.

Since Paquette’s complaint was reported, CBC News has heard from other applicants, including Lucie Clermont, who applied to Amaruk last year for a job listed as the executive assistant to the CEO, which promised a $120,000 salary and world travel.

Clermont’s application was met with a number of emails asking awkward questions — some of them sexual — followed by more that became insulting.

[snip]

Christopher Fragassi-Bjørnsen and Dwayne Kenwood -Bjørnsenare are listed as co-CEOs of Amaruk along with several other businesses, including Norealis, Spartic and Militis.

But the men do not live in Europe and they are not diplomats. And if Olaf Amundsen — the man who allegedly sent Paquette the offensive emails — is real, the picture of him on the company website is not. In fact, it’s an image grabbed from social media site Pinterest.

Read the rest here.

I wouldn’t keep someone evil as a friend either

A phrase I first learned in Texas, and have heard repeatedly since then, is that “Republicans think Democrats are misguided, while Democrats think Republicans are evil.” That statement isn’t meant to encompass the leadership of either party. Instead, it applies to the rank-and-file. Thus, while I believe that my lovely neighbors, none of whom are deep thinkers, are seriously misguided to cling to the Democrat party, if they were to know that I’m conservative, the greater likelihood is that they’d think I’m a hate-filled, racist, misogynistic, homophobic evil person.

No wonder, then, that Leftists are more likely to unfriend people who have the temerity to put up conservative-themed posts on their Facebook walls. It’s not just that the Leftists do not want to read or think about opposing viewpoints. It’s also that they know, deep in their hearts, that no decent human being could have an “evil” Facebook friend.

There’s a new politically incorrect “Dracula” movie in the making….

The Victorians were big on ghost and horror stories, so I always assumed that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was just one of the better, more timeless horror stories, riffing off of the vicious reputation of Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century Central European monarch with a taste for impaling his enemies. When Hollywood cast Bela Lugosi as Dracula, the thick Hungarian accent was an homage to Vlad’s role in Dracula’s creation.

Had I been fortunate enough to go to school in the era of political correctness, I would have learned that all my assumptions, despite being based upon actual, like, you know, historical records, were wrong. Instead, Dracula, one of the great Victorian horror stories, was really an extended meditation on open border policies in the second half of the 19th century. Savvy Victorian readers instantly picked up on the subliminal trope that Russian and other Central European immigrants were sucking their blood.

Whatever.

Thankfully, it appears that Dracula is getting yet another makeover, and this one reflects a difference historic fact about Vlad the Impaler that was ignored for many decades: His brutality had a very specific cause and a very specific target — fighting Islamic jihadists who had once held him hostage who sought to incorporate all of Christian Europe into their planned universal caliphate.

Here’s the buzz about Dracula Untold:

Probably the most intriguing part of this reboot, for fans of the original novel and all its myriad remakes throughout the past century, is the way this film turns its evil, fanged impostor into a hero.

[snip]

In this version of the story, Transylvania is under attack by Mehmet, the Turkish Sultan’s military leader. And nothing could be more upsetting to old Vlad than to find Turks on his land. That’s because when Vlad was a child, the Sultan demanded tribute in the form of strapping young boys to fill out his troops — and Vlad’s father handed his son over to the Turkish, to be raised alongside Mehmet in the Ottoman Empire’s army. Of course, Vlad was the biggest badass the Turks had ever seen, which is how he became known as “the Impaler.”

Now he’s been allowed to return home to his family, his military service over. Unfortunately, the Sultan is looking for troops again, and he’s demanding 1,000 boys (including Vlad’s son). Which is why Vlad decides he needs a supernatural power-up from a mythical blood-sucker living in the mountains above his castle. Turns out that Tywin Lannister is up there, vamping it up in every sense of the word, and he offers Vlad a bargain. He’ll give Vlad some vampire juice so he can be superpowered for three days, and Vlad will return to being human if he can resist drinking somebody else’s warm, tasty blood.

And thus begins the fun of the film, which is ultimately all about how a nice Christian prince turns himself into a demon to destroy a Muslim army.

io9, from which the above summary comes, repeatedly calls this new version just as racist as the old version. (“Not to put too fine a point on it, the answer is a racism update.”) I don’t know. I see both the original versions and the current versions as two sides of the historic coin. The old version focused on Vlad’s Central European lineage and brutal reputation, while the current version focuses on the fact that he’s still a hero in Central Europe for having saved his subjects from Muslim depredations. And frankly, as we all get to watch ISIS (aka GARBAGE) engage in all sorts of depredations, the current version, except for the vampire stuff, sounds pretty darn accurate to me.

Everything you need to know about American education in one Cato chart

Trends in American public schooling

Read more here.

Krakatoa’s big bang

I already knew that Krakatoa was the loudest sound ever recorded on earth. It wasn’t necessarily the loudest sound ever (indeed, it probably wasn’t the loudest sound ever) but, back in 1883, it erupted just as Victorians were become extremely serious about obsessive record keeping. This means that, when Victorian diarists heard the sound (no matter where in the world they were located), they recorded the sound in their diaries, along with the date, time, and estimated volume. Thanks to those records, one can piece together the fact that the sound wave from the eruption circumnavigated the globe four times.

Kottke does a great job of explaining just how loud Krakatoa was. Even more helpfully, the post includes a video of a very small eruption in Papua New Guinea that nevertheless had an impressive sound wave.