The Bookworm Beat 2-12-15 — “Been there done that” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingPart of my mother’s behavior as a drama queen is to try to take on the borrowed glory of other people’s suffering. When my sister has a cold, my mother calls me to say “You don’t know how worried I am. What if it turns into pneumonia? What if she dies? I can barely eat I’m so upset.”

Recently, my mother called to tell me that she was beside herself because one of her recently widowed friends is holed up in a hotel room and having a hard time figuring out how to pay her bills. That sounds kind of sad, doesn’t it? But what I and my mother both know is that this woman made the grasshopper, in the Aesop’s fable about the “Ant and the Grasshopper,” look like model of sober rectitude and long-term planning.

For years, with accelerating force as the friend’s husband became increasingly ill, my mother dutifully nagged this friend to learn how to drive, balance a check book, make peace with her children, check on insurance, and all the other daily life tasks that people need to survive on their own. Every time, the friend told my mother, “I’m not that type of person. I don’t need to worry about the future. I need to be free.”

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The difference between the Muslim conquests and the Crusades, in a single picture

You and I know that, had Obama seen this picture before the Prayer Breakfast, he wouldn’t have changed his speech by a single syllable. Facts are irrelevant. They must always bow before dogma. But to those of us who like facts, this picture is amazing:

Muslim conquest v Crusade battles

The above, of course, perfectly represents the Bernard Lewis quotation that’s getting so much air time lately:

I would not wish to defend the behavior of the Crusaders, which was in many respects atrocious. But let us have a little sense of proportion. We are now expected to believe that the Crusades were an unwarranted act of aggression against a peaceful Muslim world. Hardly. The first papal call for a crusade occurred in 846 C.E., when an Arab expedition from Sicily sailed up the Tiber and sacked St. Peter’s in Rome. A synod in France issued an appeal to Christian sovereigns to rally against “the enemies of Christ,” and the pope, Leo IV, offered a heavenly reward to those who died fighting the Muslims. A century and a half and many battles later, in 1096, the Crusaders actually arrived in the Middle East. The Crusades were a late, limited, and unsuccessful imitation of the jihad—an attempt to recover by holy war what had been lost by holy war. It failed, and it was not followed up.

Hat tip: A friend who directed me to Dinesh D’Souza’s Facebook page

The Bookworm Beat 2-4-15 — The “Obama’s not sad” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingIt’s been pouring paying clients lately, which is a good thing but, as always, it cuts into my blogging time.  I’ll skip the preliminaries and throw myself in the round-up.

It’s a bad thing when our president is happy

My Mom, in commenting on the state of the world today, said “Everybody’s unhappy.” I disagreed. “Obama is happy,” I said. “So is Iran.”

Why are these two happy? Because Obama is working on a grand plan that will hand the Middle East over to nuclear Imams from Iran, that’s why. Victor Davis Hanson carefully breaks the Obama strategy down. You should definitely read VDH’s post, but be prepared to be depressed for hours or even days afterwards.

As for those Sunni outposts that Iran cannot reach or does not want to control, there’s always Obama’s good friend The Muslim Brotherhood.

And that’s why Obama’s happy.

The Jordanian pilot’s immolation is even making Progressives scared . . . except for Obama

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Another jihadist attack in Israel

Muslim protester in London

Muslim protester in London

When you’re in the front line of the war against psychopaths inspired by fundamentalist Islamic doctrines, the war never ends, and every civilian finds himself being turned into a target.  This time, it happened in Tel Aviv (if story doesn’t load, click on word “post,” below):

Eradicating totalitarianism; or I love it when Huffington Post makes a point for me

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

Huffington Post leans Left.  It is not a media outlet that believes that the only way to destroy the jihadist mindset is to wipe it out from top to bottom.  Instead, HuffPo’s editorial policy makes clear that, in keeping with most major media outlets, it’s very certain that, somewhere out there, there’s a peaceful resolution to our problems with jihadist Islam — and one, moreover, that does not involve HuffPo writers getting shot or beheaded.  The HuffPo collective believes this despite daily news reports demosntrating that the jihadis have world domination as their goal, and that they intend to achieve it through the purifying force of hundreds of millions of deaths.

Even Qatari-owned Al Jazeera is slightly further along the path of jihadist discovery than is the American media.  It is Al Jazeera, after all, that took the time to interview Jurgen Todenhofer, a German journalist who managed to embed with ISIL and return alive. Todenhofer, as is true for so many European (and American) Leftists, seems to have gone in assuming that the bad press about ISIS, much of which ISIS promulgates itself, just couldn’t be true. Imagine his surprise to discover that ISIS is even worse than we imagined:

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When it comes to Islam and politics, Leftist stupidity unfortunately has the bully pulpit

People taking how stupid question as a challengeOne of the things that’s frustrating for conservatives is to see that stupidity is ascendant in our culture. And by stupidity I mean something very specific, which is that Leftists routinely use incoherence, ignorance and a complete lack of logic to challenge purely factual statements (or obviously humorous ones), and then congratulate themselves endlessly on their cleverness and the fact that the successfully “pwned” a stupid conservative.

Even worse, these illogical, incorrect arguments become the dominant narrative and are celebrated as wise and worthy. It has the surreal quality of someone being lionized and feted for responding to the statement “It’s daytime because the sun’s out,” by saying “No, it’s just a bright moon because I see cows jumping in the field.” I mean, we’re talking that kind of stupid.

Not unsurprisingly, the top two examples of this kind of stupidity relate to Leftist attempts to analogize modern mainstream Christianity to radical Islam. If you’ve been on social media at all, you’ll know that J. K. Rowling, who really is a stellar children’s writer, tried her hand at religious and political commentary in the wake of a couple of Rupert Murdoch tweets.

As a matter of fact, Murdoch’s tweets makes perfect sense:

Yes, most Muslims are peaceful, although Murdoch’s “maybe most” makes sense when one considers a few facts.  Six to ten percent of Muslims worldwide are extremists who have or will engaged in terrorism.  This means that about 96,000,000 to 160,000,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists are actively engaged in terrorism in their home countries or abroad, or are willing to be actively engaged..  In addition, depending on the country (say, Saudi Arabia versus France versus the U.S.) another roughly 30% to 40% Muslims (that would be 480,000,000 to 640,000,000 Muslims), although not denominated as extremists think that their co-religionists’ terrorism is a good thing.

Murdoch is sensibly saying that, to the extent hundreds of millions of Muslims think a jihadist is the good guy, there’s no telling when, or in what way, they’ll switch from passive to active support.  So, “maybe most” Muslims are peaceful; and maybe not.

The bottom line, which Murdoch understands, is that that there is within Islam a fractionally small, but numerically large, violent contingent of Muslims who not only approve of terrorism in theory, but practice it in fact. And as long as their coreligionists offer them moral support, the West is going to have to engage in long, bloody (very bloody) wars to stop them.  As New Age thinkers are so fond of saying, real change has to come from within.

This is as true of religions as it is of a person’s own psyche.  After all, history has shown us that religious reforms always come from within the religion, not from outside of it.  England and Europe in the 1500s were riven by reformation and counter-reformation.  If Islam is to leave its own Middle Ages, Muslims have to make it happen — and it’s not going to be the terrorists who do it. Egyptian President Sisi is trying to start this process, and Leftists would do better to praise him than to snipe at Murdoch.

Murdoch is also factually correct when he says that jihadists are highly active from the Philippines to Africa to Europe to the US.  Every person who reads the news knows this, but the dominant PC political and social classes in the West don’t want to acknowledge this reality. Which brings us back to where I started, which is the amazingly stupid responses Rowling came up with. These are the things that Leftist idiots (yes, idiots) consider a slam dunk:

I have to ask: What in the world does Rowling mean? Has Murdoch slaughtered journalists, raped and enslaved women, crucified Christians, stoned “adulterers”, hanged homosexuals? And more than that, is Rowling saying that whatever it is that Murdoch did of which she disapproves, his acts arose directly because of his interpretation of Christian Biblical mandates?

Asking those questions reveals that Rowlings tweet is an incoherent mess that can best be interpreted as a meaningless non sequitur. Such is the stupidity of the Left, though, that Rowling was immediately hailed as a debating genius.  This only encouraged her. Rowling therefore doubled down on stupid:

Uh, pardon me, J.K. but would you remind me when the inquisition (which was a perversion of Christian doctrine) took place? [Cricket sounds.]

Never mind. I know you can’t answer that. I can, though.  The Spanish Inquisition’s heyday was in the late 15th century in Spain. Catholics, appalled by the violent perversion of Christ’s teachings, eventually abandoned the Inquisition. There is no more Spanish Inquisition.

The Muslim inquisition, on the other hand, has been ebbing and flowing relentlessly since the 7th century. We are in a period of flow, and stupid tweets such as Rowlings are of no help whatsoever to those Muslims who, like Christians of yore, would like reform.

Oh, and about Jim Bakker.  When his behavior came to light, Christians immediately did what Murdoch asks of Muslims: They didn’t deny his Christianity, thereby disassociating themselves for any responsibility for his wrongdoing; instead, they castigated him for violating core Christian precepts.

“Go away and sin no more!” Christians said to Bakker.  This differs greatly from the Leftist and Muslim response to Jihadists, which translates to “You’re embarrassing me right now, so I’m going to pretend I don’t know you, but meet me for dinner later when no one’s paying attention.”

Rowling rounded out her idiot trilogy with this racist tweet:

As I read that, Rowling is saying we shouldn’t be getting our knickers in a twist, because the important point to remember is that Muslims really get their kicks slaughtering other Muslims. That is correct. But rather than seeing this as further evidence of the problem with Islam, J.K. “The Great Debater” Rowling believes this horrible truth shuts down any critiques of Islam.  I think this last tweet establishes more clearly than anything else could ever have that Rowling’s a racist. Her bottom line is that, as long as the brown-skinned people are killing each other, we don’t need to care.

Sadly, Rowling isn’t the only brainless Leftist with a bully pulpit (and honestly, it’ll be hard ever for me really to admire the whole Harry Potter series again). My Progressive friends have been kvelling about some guy named James O’Brien who, they claim, really shut down someone who dared say Islam was somehow connected to the whole “Allahu Akbar”-“I love ISIS”-“Don’t diss Mohamed”-“Kill the Jews” attacks in Paris last week.

It began when a caller to O’Brien’s show said Muslims owe the world an apology. I’ll agree that the statement went a bit too far.  But the reality is that the opposite is true:  It’s not that Muslims need to apologize (although they should challenge and excoriate their co-religionists).  It’s that Muslims need to stop saying after every “Allahu Akbar” attack that that they, the Muslims, are the real victims (as opposed to the dead and wounded) because of potential hate crimes that never happen.

But back to that alleged O’Brien shut-out:

O’Brien then replies by asking the caller if he had apologised for the attacks, prompting the caller to reply ‘Why would I need to apologise for that’.

It’s at this point that O’Brien really begins to make the caller look a bit silly, and replies by stating that a previous Muslim caller would have no need to apologise either, as the attack occurred when he was in Berkshire and was not committed in the name of Islam.

O’Brien continues to question the man, called Richard, by saying that the failed shoe bomb attack of 2001 was committed by a man called Richard Reid, and by the caller’s logic, he should consequently apologise for atrocities committed in the name of all Richards, irrespective of being entirely different people.

Apparently O’Brien missed school on the days when the teacher instructed students about common denominators. Let me say this again, in words of few syllables: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims.

To take O’Brien’s puerile argument as a starting point in our common denominator lesson, the name Richard is not a common denominator. Being an army psychiatrist at Fort Hood is not a common denominator. Being two Chechen brothers in Boston is not a common denominator. Living in Sheffield is not a common denominator. Attending flight school is not a common denominator. Having bombs in your undies is not a common denominator.  (Yes, I can do this all day.) Looking at all the bombings, knifings, shootings, crashings, burnings, bombings, etc, over the past few years around the world, the common denominator is . . . drum roll, please . . . ISLAM!

There is a problem in Islam. There is a cancer in the Koran. People from all over the world, when they start taking the Koran too seriously, go rabid. That’s the common denominator and that’s what we need to talk about.

The Left, of course, headed by world chief Leftist Obama, can’t bear to talk about this common denominator. To the extent Obama couldn’t even make himself show up in Paris for what was, admittedly, a spectacle, not a solution, Roger Simon sums up Obama’s and the Left’s problem:

There had to have been a reason for his non-attendance and the bizarre dissing of this event by his administration. I believe it stems from this: There are two words our president seems constitutionally unable to put together — “Islamic” and “terrorism.” For Obama (and, as a sideshow, the zany Howard Dean), these terms are mutually exclusive, an oxymoron. Appearing in Paris, Obama might be put in the unusual position of having to link them, our complaisant press rarely having the nerve to ask such an impertinent question.

For my last example of Leftist stupidity, arising from denying facts and ignoring logic, let me leave the world of Muslim terrorism and head for climate change. Gizmodo, which occasionally has amusing stuff, decided to go off the rails with an attack against Ted Cruz for being “anti-Science.” This is a hot issue because, with the Senate now in Republican hands, Ted Cruz will be overseeing NASA.

During the past six years, NASA has put on the back burner stupid hard science things like space exploration.  (Hard science, you know, is sexist, whether one is talking about hula shirts or the masculinist hegemony demanding accurate answers in math.) Instead, it’s devoted itself to (a) making nice with Islam and (b) panicking about climate change.

Ted Cruz, bright guy that he is, has made it clear that he intends to rip NASA out of its feminist, Islamophilic, climate change routine and force it back into racist, sexist hard science.  The minds at Gizmodo know what this means: Cruz must be destroyed. To that end, the Gizmodo team assembled what they describe Cruz’s embarrassing, laughably dumb quotes about science.  Too bad for the Gizmodo team that everything Cruz said was accurate, rhetorical, or humorous (not that these facts stopped the article from spreading like wildfire through Leftist social media):

  • “‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” - Ted Cruz on net neutrality.  [Bookworm here:  This is a rhetorical argument that goes to Cruz's basic political philosophy, which is limited government.  Nothing dumb about this clever rhetorical take on things.]

 

  • “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened.”- Ted Cruz on climate change.  [Bookworm here:  This quotation is out of date because, for the past 18 years, there has been no global warming, despite all promises to the contrary.  Ted Cruz isn't dumb.  He's factually accurate. And a word to the dodos at the Washington Post: local weather variations and temperatures are not the same as global warming.  If that was the case, with the record-breaking winter temperatures the last couple of years, we'd be talking about global cooling.  Oh, and while I'm on the subject of global cooling....]

 

  • “You know, back in the ’70s — I remember the ’70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded.” - Ted Cruz on climate change [Bookworm here:  Absolutely correct.  Back in the 1970s, people were talking about global cooling.  Climate fanatics are now trying to downplay that, of course, but the fact remains that the heart of the infamous Time Magazine article so many cite was that the earth was indeed cooling.  Once again, nothing dumb about Cruz's statement.  It's factually accurate.]

 

  • “You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory.” - Ted Cruz on climate change[Bookworm here:  Again, true, not dumb.  Global warming morphed into climate change because the theory had to adapt when the facts change.  Every time some prediction proves wrong (whether melting glaciers, dead polar bears, or rising waters), the theory flexes to accommodate the failed prediction.  This isn't science, it's faith.  Global warming has turned into a closed-system, non-falsifiable theory.  Score another point for Cruz.]

 

  • “I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel. There probably is no doubt that actually Hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do.” - Ted Cruz on space threats.  [Bookworm here:  Again, this is rhetorical.  There is no science in this statement.  It's a joke, guys.  And let me add here that whoever said Leftists have no sense of humor was correct.]

 

  • “I wondered if at some point we were going to see a tall gentleman in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in a deep voice say, “Mike Lee, I am your father” … and just like in “Star Wars” movies the empire will strike back.” – Ted Cruz during his 21-hour Obamacare speech.  [Bookworm here:  Let me get this right:  Gizmodo is saying that making a pop culture reference to a movie is the same as making dumb scientific statements?  I think Gizmodo is grossly guilty of making stupid pop culture statements.]

 

  • “The authorizing committees are free to set their agency budgets, and that includes NASA.” - Ted Cruz when he tried to cut NASA funding in 2013 (This one is more scary than stupid, since Cruz is now in charge of agency budgets.)  [Bookworm here:  As for me, all I can say is hank God someone who actually understands the difference between fact, humor, science, non-falsifiable belief systems, and pop culture, is finally in charge of at least one facet of our government.  At long last, we can stop using taxpayer dollars so our space program can fund Muslim outreach and continue to salvage a scientific theory that has been proven wrong every stop of the way.]

 

  • “Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am.” - Ted Cruz on his attempts to defund Obamacare [Bookworm here:  Yet another cute rhetorical statement and one, moreover, that has nothing to do with science.  It is interesting, though, to see it in the context of a blog post at a major internet site that has shown itself exceptionally humorless and ignorant in its efforts to tar as a scoundrel a man who has a firm grasp on reality, facts, science, and humor.]

There you have it:  three examples of simply abject stupidity on the part of those who lean Left politically.  I get it.  There are people out there who never learned history, logic, math, humor, or basic data analysis.  What’s so irritating is that they have such enormously wide sway.  It’s as if the world’s elementary school students, complete with ignorance and snark, have managed to take over the planet.  Worse, these powerful people with infantile intelligence are preaching to to the converted.  After all, their audience went to the same schools they did, and these were (and are) schools in which facts and logic made way for propaganda, moral relativism, and political correctness.

A video and a cartoon that succinctly describe jihad’s twin attacks on Free Speech and on Jews

[The video may take a few seconds to load.]

Jews killed over freedom of existence

And as an added bonus, a quotation from Richard Fernandez:

The two suspects cornered in a building are sending a message with their unyielding violence that the political establishment has failed to understand. Multiculturalism is dead. Not because the Europeans have rejected it, but because the Muslims have. A friend of mine asked “is this all our mighty civilization has come to? Candles, flowers and hashtags?”

“For some,” I answered, “that would be bingo, bingo and bingo.”

Apropos the video, I found it through a young Marine friend of mine — not Jewish — who now subscribes to all sorts of Israel lists as he tries to rally his friends to the cause of liberty. Two years ago, he wouldn’t have cared. Now he does. That’s one more person the side of angels.

Educating the masses: While a small percentage of Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists are Muslims

Why is militant Islam Like EbolaIn today’s world, only a fraction (about 10%) of Muslims are or want to be terrorists.  However — and this is the important point — the vast majority of terrorist acts are committed by those identifying themselves as Muslims.

Believe it or not, though, but there’s an even greater threat to Americans today than Islam:  Our government’s, our media’s, and our academia’s relentless refusal to acknowledge the Islam/terrorism nexus.  You cannot address a problem you aren’t even willing to acknowledge exists.

The denial from those who have the power to act and shape public consciousness results in a passive government and an ignorant electorate.  When an electorate is ignorant, it cannot challenge and make necessary changes to the government.

Those of us who, like Churchill in the 1930s, have been paying attention and are aware of the time bomb ticking away, are lucky enough to have a new weapon, one that’s been unavailable to past generations challenging willfully blind pacifists and appeasers.  Thanks to the internet it’s possible for every citizen who’s paying attention to try to punch through this muffling wall of lies and deceit holding that, because most Muslims are not violent (which is true), then no violence can be attributed to Muslims (which is a gross and dangerous falsehood).  Indeed, I would go beyond saying that we have the ability to do this.  Instead, we have the duty to do this.

After all, if we cannot stop our political, media, and educational classes from engaging in this dangerous passivity and deception, we will find ourselves repeating the late 1930s and the first half of the 1940s with devastating results.  The Nazis were good at killing.  The jihadists are good at killing too and meet or even surpass the Nazis.  Worse, they’re not confined to any one nation.  They’re worldwide.  Every nation has a Fifth Column and those nations that have extended open arms and large welfare checks to Muslims, without making any effort to integrate them into polite society, have explosively violent Fifth Columnists.

I have the unpleasant, rather dirty feeling that comes from echoing Rahm Emanuel, but the fact is that we cannot let this crises go to waste.  Those of us trying to penetrate minds dulled by decades of political correctness, need to seize the current crisis to educate the people who aren’t usually paying attention or who have been rendered virtually incapable of interpreting and understanding the true import of world events.

I’ve been trying to optimize this brief opening in closed minds by playing on the Leftists’ worst fear.  Their fear isn’t that they’ll get blown up, shot up, beheaded or enslaved by the jihadist next door.  Instead, it’s the fear that voters will turn right. As I’ve said to Progressive friends, when the political class refuses to address, or even acknowledge, a manifest jihadist problem, voters inevitably turn to the political party promising that it won’t ignore Islamic jihad.  In America, to the horror of Progressives, that’s the Republican party.  In Europe, as France and Sweden both demonstrate, voters turn to rather scary nationalist parties.

Although American conservative’s are centered on individual liberty (a belief that mandates fighting back against freedom-destroying Islamic totalitarianism), Progressives can’t stop confusing Republicans with those Europeans, who really do embrace Hitler’s economic fascist socialism and genocidal nationalism.  If you tell a Progressive to focus on fighting Islamic terrorism or watch American turn — *gasp* — conservative, he’ll be as frightened as if you set off a car bomb near him.

My problem, as you know, is that I over-think and over-verbalize things.  I’m therefore always on the look-out for pithy, easy-to-understand, far-reaching arguments and, thankfully, better thinkers and writers than I am are valiantly attacking the smog of political correctness.  Here are just a few examples:

First, I love Ben Shapiro’s take on an argument that inevitably comes from the Democrat Party and the Obama administration whenever terrorists proudly proclaim that they are Muslims acting under the precepts of their faith:  “These people,” they whine, cry, shout, and protest, “aren’t true Muslims. Islam means ‘peace,’ and these people aren’t peaceful, so they’re not following Islam.  QED.”

This Leftist argument is what Antony Flew calls the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.” Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing.” The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing.” . . .

The No-true-Scotsman Move . . . is an attempt to evade falsification: a piece of sleight of mind replaces a logically contingent by a logically necessary proposition.

To those Progressives who invariably make the “No true Muslim” argument after yet another terrorist incident, Shapiro has this to say:

Good argument, nu? And one can make it fairly politely to a Lefty who claims that terrorists can’t really be Muslims. A few disingenuous queries about the type of self-identification they do support, and you’ve got them locked in a box. Second, there’s also a brilliant cartoon making the rounds, which I saw first on Daniel Pipes’ twitter feed:

Third, and last (for today), author Brad Thor is charging right in and forcing people to look at what’s happening.  Moreover, by using the Left’s own hashtag (#RespectForMuslims”), he’s forcing terrorism deniers to look at the Muslim/Terrorism connection.   (H/t IJ Review.) Please be aware that the images that follow are disturbing but, of course, the behavior the created the images is infinitely more disturbing:

You can see many more images at Thor’s twitter feed. Sadly, if you think about it, all of us working for a year, full time, could probably come up with tens of thousands of similar tweets. Because, after all, while we must always remember that only a small minority of Muslims are terrorists, we deny at our peril that the vast majority of terrorists are Muslim.

Oh, and one more thing:  While I personally do not believe in denigrating a religious figure, so I will not post obscene pictures of Mohamed, I am certain that I, as a non-Muslim, am not bound by the proscription against publishing the more respectful images of Mohamed.  To that end, I’m re-posting here some of the content neutral, or even adulatory, images of Mohamed created over many centuries by both Muslims and non-Muslims:

Medieval image of Mohamed preaching

Medieval image of Mohamed cursing the vines

German trading card showing Mohamed ascending to Paradise

Medieval image of Mohamed

Algerian postcard from the 1920s showing Mohamed

Medieval image of Mohamed receiving revelation from the angel Gabriel

Mohamed solving a dispute

17th century French picture of Mohamed

18th century German picture of Mohamed

This image is from the frieze on the United States Supreme Court

This image is from the frieze on the United States Supreme Court

Early 20th century cigarette card of Mohamed

19th century photogravure of Mohamed

Attempt to illustrate what the real Mohamed have worn

Using the tragedy in Paris as a way to get the mushy middle to take seriously the existential threat we face

Obama says the future does not belong to those who slander the ProphetI’m trying to think of ways to get the mentally flabby, but still impassioned, Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed to start figuring out that their way is not working. My latest effort was to post a link to the news story talking about how France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen, who is routinely classified as far right, is set to gain votes following the last two horrible days in France. My comment was a simple one:

No matter the country, if the mainstream party refuses even to acknowledge what people reasonably perceive to be an existential threat, the people will inevitably look to that fringe party that promises to protect them.

I understand, of course, that using the word “mainstream” to describe France’s socialist party is ridiculous, but remember — I’m not preaching to the choir, with the choir consisting of intelligent, reasonable people who look at the world as it is, rather than trying to mold it to some Marxist fantasy. Instead, I’m trying to reach people who believe that Obama and France’s socialist government occupy the comfortable middle. I want those people to start processing a couple of ideas:

Idea Number One is to get them to start being very, very worried about governments and media that consistently deny the existence of Islamic terrorism. This is the right time to do it because, after the attack on Paris (which all sophisticated Progressives consider their spiritual home), my friends started to do something weird:  They linked to articles blaming Islam for the terror.  That is, even as the Obama administration took it upon itself to teach us, once again, that Islam is an entirely peaceful, they were looking at The New Yorker.  I think part of why this is happening now, and did not happen to these Progressives after the Boston Marathon bombing, is because (a) there’s something clinical and distant about a bomb and (b) they could say it was just two crazy, messed-up brothers being lone wolves together.  The Paris massacre, however, came complete with utterly appalling footage of an organized, paramilitary assault, complete with the casual murder of a defenseless, wounded man.

Given that the Progressives in my world are having a vulnerable moment, nows the time to get them to look at the Obama administration and the Democrat party and media (but I repeat myself), and to start wondering why the administration and the media consistently insist that there’s no such thing as Muslim terrorism. I know that, in my journey from flabby Leftist to thoughtful conservative, cognitive dissonance made the difference.  My “crossing the Rubicon” moment came about because of the vast disconnect between MSM reporting and my actual, first-hand knowledge of Israel. As I’ve seen in my own case, and through conversations with other former Lefties, when you start questioning any one part of the narrative, suddenly you start question all of the narrative.

Idea Number Two assumes that the Progressives aren’t quite willing (or will  never be willing) to abandon their beloved Leftist governments. In that case, I want them to start realizing that there are things worse than having their government defend America against terrorism.  And what’s worse is that, when the leaders do nothing to stop terrorism, than their leaders will lose — and, worse (from a Progressive viewpoint), they’ll lose to “far right” candidates who promise to care for the people. Progressives fear conservatives a whole lot more than they fear terrorists, and reminding them that their intransigence on self-defense plays into conservative hands might motivate them to start demanding that their Leftists governments make the tough decisions that allow them to push back an enemy that transcends borders, nations, generations, race, gender, etc. (David Goldman takes an unsparing look at what that hard-line might be.)

I can see in my mind’s eye that some of you are already gearing up to tell me that I’m wasting my time and that Lefties will never change their minds. I’m sorry to say, but that’s wrong and they will, provided that they get the proper trigger to do so. I changed my mind, and so did a lot of other well-known conservatives: Thomas Lifson, Michael Medved, David Horowitz, the Power Line guys (although I can remember which ones), our own Charles Martel, and many more. People change and I do think we have an obligation to do what neither the Muslims nor the Marxists will do: to convert through kindness allied with facts and reason, rather than through coercion, state action, and violence.

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.

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

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

What stops shooters is guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The vicious misogyny of the American left

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

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

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

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

And the vicious misogyny of the Muslim Middle East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incidentally, eight people have now died from the Enterovirus.

The American medical establishment may be way too complacent about Ebola

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Krauthammer says something wonderful about Obama’s bystander presidency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural selection and vegetarians

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

Meryl Streep to bring Florence Foster Jenkins to the screen

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

San Francisco in her pre-modern heyday

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

Nature’s colorful bounty

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