Bringing common sense to climate science (and life)

Person taking showerWe are finally getting some much-needed rain here in here in drought-stricken Marin (although, sadly, not in the rest of California). Weather is therefore quite a conversation topic.

Today, my 15-year-old little Bookworm pointed out that the weather forecast is invariably wrong, whether especially when the forecast looks a few days ahead.  Rainstorms turn out to be drizzle and sunny days are overcast.

We agreed that even the finest meteorologist simply cannot predict all of the factors that make up weather at any given time. Just one puff of wind on a cloud, when magnified by distance, can go as far afield as a sniper’s bullet buffeted by a light breeze at the moment it leaves the gun’s muzzle. That millimeter may not be a significant factor when the bullet is 30 feet from the muzzle, but it can signal a dramatic direction change once the bullet has traveled more than a quarter, or even a half, mile.

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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.

The Bookworm Beat (10/3/14) — End of the week roundup and Open Thread

Woman writing

Ebola in America is a failure of Big Government

Yesterday I pointed out that, in all times and all places, protecting a population from epidemic disease is one of government’s core functions. (It’s irrelevant that these efforts often failed; government was still expected to make them.) Obama is failing that most basic government task. Not only do we have Ebola in Dallas, with exposures going into the hundreds, it appears that Ebola has entered Washington D.C. too.

What’s striking about Ebola’s spread into the U.S. is that it’s not just an Obama failure, it’s a Big Government failure. The Obama failure begins with his absolute refusal to protect our air, land, and sea borders. The Big Government failure goes to Obama’s certainty that he needn’t do anything special to combat Ebola because Big Government will be sufficient in and of itself to protect us:

The chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States are “extremely low,” Obama said. U.S. are working with officials in Africa “to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.” And then this:

In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.

Obama added that in the unlikely event an Ebola case appeared in the United States, “we have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.”

As Rich Lowry explains in the article from which I quoted, everything Obama assumed about his wonderful Big Government was wrong. Rather than blocking Ebola, Big Government just provided that many more cracks through which the virus could slip.

Scratch an anti-gun Leftist; find a blood-thirsty killer

When news about Ebola in Dallas broke, one of my old high school friends, who has had a political trajectory precisely the opposite of mine (from moderate guy to hard-core Leftist), voiced the wish that the patient had, instead, been in Austin (Texas’s state capitol) and that, while there, he had spread bodily fluids on the Republican politicians, starting with Governor Perry. When I politely pressed him for a reason, he explained that it was because these politicians had cut back government services, adding belatedly that he was just kidding.

Sometimes, though, Leftists go from “just kidding” to “let’s kill them.” Charles C.W. Cooke looks at anti-gun Leftists who want to use SWATting tactics to try to kill legal gun carriers. That is, when they see someone with legal open carry, they are proposing that they should call 911 and describe a dangerous situation in the hope that the SWAT teams will show up and, expecting the worst, just kill the guy with legal carry.

Indeed, Cooke, who spoke with gun-expert extraordinaire Bob Owens, writes at Bearing Arms, suggests that this is precisely what may have happened to John Crawford at the Ohio Wal-Mart:

[Crawford] was killed because, to borrow a phrase from Lisa McLogan Shaheen, a fellow shopper “called 911 so the cops could gun him down.” “If you sync the phone call to the footage,” Bob Owens tells me, “you’ll notice that Ronald Ritchie, the caller, makes claims that are not true.” Among those claims, the Guardian records, were that “Crawford was pointing the air rifle at customers,” that he threatened “two children,” and that he was recklessly “waving it around.” This does not appear to have been the case. Indeed, when the lattermost statement was made, Owens notes, “the gun’s muzzle was pointed to the ground.” So pronounced are the discrepancies between Ritchie’s story and the surveillance footage that John Crawford’s family is hoping to take legal action. “He’s basically lying with the dispatchers,” the family’s attorney, Michael Wright argues. “He’s making up the story. So should he be prosecuted? Yes, I believe so.”

“Who will rid us of these troublesome gun owners?” the radical Leftists cry out . . . and then use America’s police officers as their unwitting executioners.

Did Jerry Brown sign a good gun bill or a bad gun bill?

I am reflexively opposed to any government interference with gun rights . . . except that I’m wondering whether the bill that Gov. Brown just signed in California might actually have some merit. The new bill allows family members who are concerned about another family member’s gun possession to petition to the court to have the gun(s) taken away.

On the one hand, the bill is another erosion of gun rights and allows anti-gun people to wipe out the gun rights of their pro-gun relatives. Moreover, as we can see from the SWATting tactics above, it’s not unreasonable to believe that Leftist family members won’t take advantage of this law. On the other hand, when someone is becoming dangerous, the family is often the first to know, long before the medical or criminal justice systems catch up.

And then back to the first hand, which is that, if you give the government an inch to grab guns, it will take, not just a mile, but a thousand miles…. Which leads me to the thought that this may be a reasonable law, but one that can’t ever be entrusted to the government to effectuate.

Please tell me what you think. I’m quite obviously conflicted here, in part because I know of several young men who, in their 20s, become schizophrenic, with the family being the first to see that their sweet young boy was becoming scary and dangerous.

History has yet to be written

Jonah Goldberg often attacks the Leftists’ claim that they’re on the right side of history.  The old cliché that history belongs to the victors is at least somewhat more accurate, because it at least looks at history as a thing of the past not as a prediction for the future.

In his latest article, Goldberg points out that one of the problems with the “right side of history” argument is that it’s predicated on the speaker’s belief that events will unfold without any unexpected deviations from plan. When the plans change, as the best laid of them tend to do, the person betting on historic certainty looks foolish at best:

The dilemma for the president is that the once-solid facts that supported these views are suddenly crumbling under his feet. The argument that the fight against jihadism can be managed like law enforcement is easy to make when terrorism is out of the headlines and drones do the messy work out of sight. That same argument is very hard to sustain when the jihadis control territory equal in size to Great Britain and, when not beheading Americans, they vow to fly their flag over the White House. The idea that men who crucify Christians and bury women and children alive would somehow be dissuaded if we closed down the prison at Guantanamo Bay is almost perversely idiotic.

Obama’s love affair with a killer

In 2008, Obama sent an explicit, secret message to Iran, saying in effect “I love you, guys, and I’ll take care of you.” That was one promise he kept. Throughout his presidency, Obama, both actively and passively has worked hard to keep the mullahs in power and their nuclear program on track. He seems to believe that, if he can just be nice to them, they’ll respond by being nice right back to us.

It’s a pity that Obama hates Churchill so much. If he liked him better, Obama be familiar with Churchill’s famous aphorism that “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” That hope, of course, is invariably wrong.

Maybe real facts can bring Obama to see just how horrible Iran is. These harsh realities would include the fact that Iran hanged someone for doubting the story of Jonah and the Whale (something that would certainly see Obama hanged too), and the Mullahs’ continued execution of dissidents.

The only good thing to come out of that second report is this little tidbit (emphasis mine):

On September 29, [political prisoner Reyhaneh] Jabbari was seized by prison guards during her shower, forced to dress and told that she would be hanged in the morning. After the prison staff allowed her to make one last phone call to her mother, she was transferred to Rajai-Shahr prison and placed in solitary confinement to await execution at dawn.

Upon her daughter’s transfer, Jabbari’s mother, Shole Pakravan, rushed to Rajai-Shahr prison with her husband, two daughters and a few friends. In front of the prison a crowd grew quickly to protest Jabbari’s execution. Prison authorities ordered the crowd to leave and assured Jabbari’s family that she was not to be hanged — a statement the authorities commonly make before an execution so it can be carried out quietly, without incident.

That rope with which the mad mullahs hang dissidents may end up being the rope with which they hang themselves. It speaks to their waning power that Iranians will protest executions and that the mullahs will lie to pacify them, rather than just killing them on the spot.

And no, in answer to your unspoken question, I don’t think these news reports will actually change Obama’s mind. He is a hard-core ideologue and they just don’t change.  But I can still dream….

Bureaucracy kills the Secret Service

For more than a century, the Secret Service was a lean, mean fighting machine operating under the aegis of the Treasury Department. Then, George Bush transferred it to Homeland Security, where it became just another bureaucratic beast. Kevin Williamson writes scathingly about the way in which bureaucracy is slowly destroying the agency charged with keeping our president safe.

I share with Thomas Lifson the belief that it’s imperative to keep Obama alive.  His death in office, God forbid, could well destroy this country. And having written that sentence, I should add that no president, ever, should be assassinated. Assassination is not only cold-blooded murder, it is a psychic blow to a nation and the most profoundly anti-democratic act of all.

Transgenderism is only skin deep

The other day, I wrote about the importance of recognizing the substance that lies under any form, with special reference to transgender people. I argued that, when people make cosmetic, hormonal, and surgical changes to their appearance so that they look like a person of the opposite sex, that doesn’t change their genetic essence. While it’s kind and polite to address them as they wish to be addressed, we should never blind ourselves to the reality of who and what they really are.

One British man who had male to female gender reassignment surgery a decade ago, is petitioning the British health care service to reassign him to his original gender appearance. His argument echoes what I’ve been saying all along:

Chelsea, who used to be called Matthew, told the Daily Mirror: “I have always longed to be a woman, but no amount of surgery can give me an actual female body and I feel like I am living a lie.

“It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don’t feel I look like a proper woman. I suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the hormones too.

“I have realised it would be easier to stop fighting the way I look naturally and accept that I was born a man physically.”

I wonder what the NHS will do. It’s wonderfully politically correct to withdraw funding from an old lady with cancer so as to give it to a young man who wants breasts. Where’s the political correctness, though, when the young man concedes that the problem was never with his appearance at all?

High educated liberals as low information voters

Roger L. Simon lives in the Southern California version of my Marin world: His neighbors are well-intentioned, affluent, and highly-credentialed people who almost invariably hew Left politically. Indeed, those few of my friends and neighbors who know I’ve become conservative point to themselves — affluent and educated — and ask how I can be conservative when the smart people support the Democrats.

Simon has the answer for that and, again, it echoes what I see in my world: These people may have degrees, know about wine, and have seen the capitals of Europe, but they’re fundamentally ignorant about the key issues shaping the world today.

California bans all plastic bags

California Governor Jerry Brown has banned plastic grocery bags from the entire state:

California has fired the first salvo in what could be a national war on plastic bags.

Governor Edmund Brown [sic, since he usually goes by Jerry] on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans plastic shopping bags, making California the first U.S. state to officially prohibit stores from handing them out for free.

“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

The ban is a victory for environmentalists who say the 13 million plastic bags that are handed out each year in the state end up in waterways and landfills where they don’t break down for decades. Critics argue that the ban is misguided and will cost American jobs.

The new law goes into effect for large grocery chains and pharmacies beginning July 1, 2015. It will extend to convenience stores and liquor stores July 1, 2016.
Under the law, stores will be required to offer customers recycled paper bags or bags made of compostable material at a cost of at least 10 cents. Consumers buying groceries using California’s food-assistance program won’t have to pay for bags.

For me, the ban is nothing new, since it’s already enforced in parts of Marin. Corte Madera stores haven’t been applying either the ban or the “pay 10 cents” requirement, so I prefer shopping in Corte Madera over Mill Valley, which does ban plastic and makes you pay for paper.

I’ve written before about the fact that this ban steams me. I don’t mind if other people want to go around looking like bag ladies with their stacks of dirty cloth and plastic bags, but (a) I don’t want to look like a bag lady; (b) I’d have to use insane amounts of water to keep those bags from being salmonella and e. coli breeding grounds; and (c) even a 10 cent penalty is still a penalty and I don’t believe I should be penalized in this way.

It’s balm to my offended soul to read a PRI study saying that, as is the case with most of the Left’s wild hairs, they’ve got it wrong when it comes to the supposed virtues of banning disposable paper and plastic bags:

Proponents of bag-bans omit the most important consideration, which is what replaces the plastic bags? Other bags (including cloth) have even worse environmental impact profiles, and pose additional risks of cross-contaminating food and spreading dangerous pathogens among those who share the bags.

Increasingly, studies suggest that as with other poorly-thought out environmental intervention; banning plastic grocery bags reduces some harms, while increasing others.

And more environmental news about Leftist’s continued errors

Both these stories come to me thanks to Danny Lemieux. The first story says that, once again, scientists were wrong, this time with regard to the anticipated shrimp die-off in the Gulf following the BP oil spill. In fact, the shrimp seem to like that oil:

Looking at the abundance and size of Louisiana white and brown shrimp before and after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a scientific paper published Wednesday said the amount of shrimp actually increased in local estuaries through 2011 and that the size of that shrimp remained unaffected.

[snip]

Van der Ham and De Mutsert’s study compared abundance and size of shrimp in estuaries that were heavily impacted by the spill with minimally-impacted estuaries, both before and after the spill.

It found that shrimp actually was more abundant in areas heavily impacted by the oil spill.

“The rebound to normal abundance and the absence of any effect on shrimp size agrees with the view that the spill may have negligible long-term effects on Louisiana shrimp,” the study concluded. “However, long-term effects of the spill on shrimp may manifest in other traits, such as compromised immunological or life-history traits.

Don’t you just love that last paragraph?  What the study’s authors could have said was “we are still studying whether there are other long-term effects on the shrimp.”  But they don’t.  Instead, they imply that there must in fact be negative long-term effects on the shrimp, just waiting to be found.  That’s the difference, I guess, between true scientific inquiry and ideologically-driven inquiry.

The second story is about those “green” wind farms.  They’re killing hundreds of thousands of precious bats (which fertilizer crops and are otherwise environmentally useful) because they mimic the wind pattern of trees.

One French woman deserves a medal for her bravery

Check out this picture and tell me if this isn’t one seriously brave French woman.

And one West African woman deserves a medal too

Fatu Kekula, a 22-year-old nursing student in West Africa, using nothing more than courage, common sense, and garbage bags, nursed three out of four stricken family members through Ebola without becoming infected herself. What an amazing story of intelligence and decency in action.

Watcher’s Council Weasel of the Week

Don’t forget to check out this Week’s winner in the Watcher’s Council Weasel of the Week contest.  My daughter came in as I was casting my vote by email.  She saw “I vote for ____________.”  She was shocked.  “But you hate ____________.”  When I explained the type of vote I was casting, it all became clear to her.

Picture!

I’m not yet ready for an illustrated edition today, but this poster that a friend sent me is so good, I didn’t want to wait before sharing it:

Obama is my co-pilot

 

The Bookworm Beat (9/22/14) — Everything and the Kitchen Sink edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingAll day today, I kept heading up to my computer to read and blog, and every time I neared my office, a powerful domestic and/or maternal and/or social tractor beam pulled me away. At last, though, I broke free of the tractor beam and I’m here, trying frantically to impart to you all the cool things I read in the last hour or so:

A few climate change issues

Reason took a camera to the Climate Change parade in New York this past weekend. It was not a pretty sight, nor did the people interviewed show any signs of intelligent life:

Byron York tackles the hodge podge of hard-Left issues folded under the global warming/climate change banner at the parade. As I read it, he concludes that the virtue of climate change is that, like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, it’s big enough to hold everything.

The people and groups Reason and York examine are fanatics, often without a smidgen of common sense to back up their fervent beliefs:

New York Climate march

Given their insane fanaticism, one has to wonder why they’re so comfortable with marching behind celebrities who are responsible for huge amounts of carbon pollution. Some of the celebrities, though, are completely in sync with the Left’s demand for punitive totalitarianism.

Oh, and one more thing: One of my intelligent, rather open-minded, but still quite Leftist friends on Facebook linked to an article that announces “Eight Pseudoscientific Climate Claims Debunked by Real Scientists.” Considering that one of the Left’s favorite “real scientists” is a serial liar (that would be Neil DeGrasse Tyson), I’m not sure I should accept these debunkings at face value. I am, however, not in a position for the next several days to drill down into the debunkings. I wonder if any of you have the time and inclination to do so. If these “debunkings” really do challenge the arguments made by those of us opposed to climate change hysteria, I think we ought to know.

Let’s talk Islam

It was incredibly heartening today to speak with a friend of mine, a liberal, who is one of the kindest, least violent, most gentle, most faith-filled people I know. To her, war is been anathema. But as she told me, she’s been following ISIS closely, it’s terrifying, and she thinks we ought to wipe it out swiftly and entirely. I can’t say that I disagree.

One of the problems with wiping ISIS out, along with other radical Islamist groups, is that wiping out one Islamic pathology seems to lead to another one. You know, get rid of Saddam Hussein . . . open the door to ISIS. Here are a few links about repeating Islamic pathologies:

1.  Gazans are finally admitting the truth of what Israel said all during Operation Protective Edge: Hamas was using Gaza civilians as targets for propaganda purposes.

2.  The Arab world is terribly, dreadfully sick, and it’s neither the West’s nor Israel’s fault. (I consider this a must-read article, and urge you to share it with friends through social media.)

3.  James Lewis makes an incredibly important distinction about ISIS and the other radical Islamic groups: they’re not psychopaths; they’re sadists:

What’s the difference? It’s very simple: psychopaths don’t feel guilt about hurting other people, but sadists take active pleasure in committing horrors that civilized people can’t even look at. In his pornographic novels the Marquis de Sade wrote about taking sexual pleasure from torturing and even murdering innocents. That is where we get the term “sadism.”

The fascination with sadism in our world has been a long time coming, Lewis writes, but it’s reached its apogee with the radical Islamists.

ISIS is a sadistic war cult. It attracts people who take joy in torturing women and children. You can easily see the difference in their facial expressions. Psychopaths have “flat” expressions, like Vladimir Putin. Sadists show a kind of demonic joy when others are suffering. They are the classic face of human evil.

Also, it’s important to note Islam isn’t always the only problem in a region.  Some parts of the world are so desperately dysfunctional that you can’t possibly distinguish the good guys from the bad. For example, Boko Haram is one of the most evil organizations in the world . . . and, to no ones surprise, it’s Islamic. Except that it seems that the Nigerian military troops sent out to fight it may be just as evil. (Was it only yesterday that I said Africa must be one of the most accursed places on earth, suffering every plague man and nature can devise?)

Lies, damn lies, and polls

We tend to have incredible reverence for polls. Polls, however, are like any other data driven thing: garbage in, garbage out. That’s why you should view with some skepticism the poll that has a plurality of Americans thinking individual business proprietors who have deeply held religious beliefs opposing gay marriage should nevertheless be forced at the point of the state’s gun to provide their services for those weddings.

Lies, damn lies, and women’s studies

Christina Hoff Sommers looks at the lies that the women’s movement promulgates as it tries desperately to denigrate the incredibly high status and freedom women enjoy in America:

Prince Charming turns into Prince Harming

As Earl Aagaard said when he sent this to me (and I’m paraphrasing), wouldn’t it be great if there were more ads like this one?

Pot-providing reporter who fires herself on air reveals deep problems with media

You’ve probably all heard about, or even seen, the video of the reporter in Alaska who did a story about an election battle over legalizing pot. The story was manifestly slanted in favor of an Alaskan “medical marijuana” provider that argued that, even though medical marijuana is allowed in Alaska, the proposed bill would harm people who benefit from medical marijuana. After doing this report in full “news” mode, the reporter then announced that she owned the medical marijuana club in question and, mouthing obscenities, quit the job.

Aside from being quite a story, Ace points out what a terrible indictment it is of the ordinary newscasts all of us are used to seeing.

Virginal purity bodes well for a happy marriage

A new study says that the more chaste you are before marriage, the more happy you’ll be once you’re married. There are a lot of people in unhappy marriages who are problem saying to themselves “I wish I’d known this sooner and hadn’t bought into the bill of goods sold by our sex-saturated, values-free society.”

Drive responsibly

A charming, moving little commercial reminding people to drink responsibly:

There is still good in the world

Sometimes people are too paralyzed with shock to do the right thing. If they get nudged in the proper direction, though, people (especially American people) can be incredibly brave and good.

Pictures (thanks to Caped Crusader and Sadie)

Bill de Blasio and his wife at the Mermaid Parade

If that pirate looks vaguely familiar, it’s New York mayor Bill de Blasio at the Mermaid Parade, along with his wife.

Syria v Detroit

Immigrants demand change

Why term limits are smart

Gun control activists

Whites don't riot

The rich are deadbeats

Global warming causes crime rate

The Bookworm Beat (9/18/14) — The Non-Islamic Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:

Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war

After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:

We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.

Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)

Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.

Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.

The horrors of war by lawyer

When I reviewed Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, I said:

[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs.  Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock.  It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.

It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):

The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.

[snip]

However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.

The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.

Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:

The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.

Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)

Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war.  This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him.  He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.

Funny illnesses cropping up all over

I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.

A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.

The Israel yardstick

I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.

More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite

Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.

I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.

One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves

Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.

Jewish gun organization surviving in different form

I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)

I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.

More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science

We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!

The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN

I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.

A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.

Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.

The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones

You and I like this poster:

America's first amendment area

Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.

A lost America

Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:

We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.

Read the whole thing here.

I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.

Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam

This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:

The Bookworm Beat — 9/10/14 Clearing The Spindle edition

Woman writingI started a long post a few days ago, because I thought I saw a common thread linking Ray Rice, women in combat, the Rotherham sex scandal, etc., but I just couldn’t control all that material.

The short version of my theory is that women in the West have never achieved real equality with men. From the Victorian era through the 1970s, they were denied equality under the claim that they were pure angels — men’s better halves — who couldn’t be sullied with real world considerations. (This was the theory, of course; not the reality.)

Now, they’re denied equality under the claim that they’re precisely like men, which they manifestly are not. Sure, we women finally (and appropriately) get equal pay for equal work, and have full rights under the law, but we’re also expected to take it like a man, fight like a man, and fornicate like a man, all of which deny us our biological reality.

As you can see, this theory is amorphous, hard to prove, and difficult to hold together. No wonder it bogged me down, although I do think I’m on to something.

Anyway, on to the round-up, all of which consists of interesting things backed up on my tabs for the last couple of days:

It’s irrelevant that Islam has a peaceful majority

A 2007 article by Paul Marek is making the rounds, although it’s being misattributed to a holocaust survivor. It’s gaining popularity seven years after its original appearance because, with ISIS on the rise, it’s more relevant today than it was back then. Marek argues compellingly what we at the Bookworm Room have already figured out, which is that the so-called “peaceful Muslim majority” is irrelevant:

We are told again and again by experts and talking heads that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or execute honor killings. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority,” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Moreover, as the percentage of Muslims in a population increases relative to the overall population, that “peaceful” majority starts getting less peaceful. Laurie Regan has chapter and verse.

We are right to be paranoid about Islam in our midst, not because of invisible conspiracy theories that we create in our own heads based upon the absence of evidence but, instead, because the Muslims themselves are rattling as loudly as a sack full of rattle snakes. On the fields of battle, on the sidewalks, in the courts of law, in the media, and everywhere else, they are telling us their racist, genocidal, totalitarian agenda and demanding that we fall in line.

The ISIS poster boy

Mehdi Nemmouche is the ISIS poster boy. He is alleged to have murdered four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels, and will be facing trial for that. It’s an easy charge to believe, since a journalist who was kidnapped by ISIS in Syria identifies him as a man who loved torture, and gleefully boasted about raping and murdering a young mother, and then beheading her baby. Oh, and I almost forgot: he’s also alleged to have been planning a mass terror attack in Paris on Bastille Day.

The interior minister is denying that last report, but I somehow suspect that there’s a germ of truth in it. Certainly James O’Keefe has shown for America just how easy it would be to commit mass mayhem. I’m sure it’s just as easy in France, especially with the complicit banlieus ringing Paris.

The real reason Obama is holding off on granting amnesty until after the elections

After threatening to grant amnesty to 5 – 8 million illegal aliens at summer’s end, Obama has now announced that he’ll hold off until after the elections. Most people assume he reached this decision because Democrat congressional candidates begged him not to knock them out of the running with an executive order that Americans have shown, in poll after poll, that they despise. Bryan Preston, however, sees a more Machiavellian motive than just preserving a few Democrat seats in what’s probably going to be a Republican sweep:

After the election, Congress will be in a lame-duck session. The new Republicans will not be seated yet, and will not control Congress yet. The defeated Democrats will be on their way out, and will not care.

That’s the perfect moment for Obama to strike, claim all of the credit from the far left, and set up the Republicans to open up the next Congress weighing whether to discipline Obama or not. He loves the optics of a Republican Congress going after the first black president. He also loves the optics of the Republicans electing to do nothing, to avoid those optics created by going after him. Obama is setting up a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation.

It has nothing to do with constitutional principle. It has everything to do with politics.

Sounds right to me.

Science fails again

The whole climate change shtick is predicated on scientific infallibility — so much so that even the climate changistas’ mounting pile of errors is itself proof that their theory is correct. This is how the Chicken Little crowd can make the risible claim that the almost 17 year long hiatus in global warming, rather than destroying the theory, proves it.

As best as I can tell, the new theory is that there’s some Godzilla-like monster lurking in the depths of the ocean sucking in atmospheric heat preparatory to its evil plan one day to emerge from the deep and breath fire everywhere, destroying the world’s major cities. (It is possible that I got the climate-pause excuses a bit mixed up with the latest Godzilla flick. But then again, considering just how silly climate “science” as become . . . well, maybe not.)

No wonder I’m enjoying stories of science gone wrong. The latest story is the case of the asteroid that was supposed to have missed earth, but didn’t.

Rotherham and Multiculturalism

No one is better equipped than Dennis Prager to expose the Leftist, multiculturalist rot behind the horrible story of the Rotherham rapes.

Incidentally, Ross Douthat, a conservative writing at the New York Times, tries to universalize the Rotherham story — sexual evil exists everywhere, he says, and gets a pass because of race, class, and denial. While I often find myself agreeing with Douthat, who is an excellent writer, I think he’s wrong this time. The Rotherham evil is a very specific coming together of Mohamed’s explicit statement that Islamic men can sexually use non-Islamic females, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the multiculturalist rot that saw English authorities deliberately close their eyes to crimes emanating from the Muslim community.

Israelis save Irish soldiers

The Irish, as a nation, loath Israel and have nothing but sympathy for the poor oppressed brown people in the Middle East. Last week, the brown people did not return the favor when they attacked a group of Irish “peace”-keeping soldiers in the Golan Heights. The Irish soldiers survived because the Israelis rescued them. The Irish, being Leftists, will not connect the dots and will continue to hate humanist, democratic, pluralist Israel, while worshiping at the feet of politically correct brown-colored totalitarian Islamists.

Joe Scarborough gives further proof that he’s a moron

The only real question about Joe Scarborough is whether his decision to have a show on MSNBC is prima facie proof that he’s a moron, or whether he became a moron through years of close association with MSNBC. What’s unquestionable is that Scarborough is a moron, because only a moron would say that football as a sport breeds misogyny.

I would argue a little differently: football teams collect warrior types, and cluster them together, which is going to exacerbate certain pathologies (drinking, fighting, womanizing, and sometimes, fatally, all three simultaneously). Certainly the teams that gather together these testosterone-rich young men could do a better job of imposing discipline off the field, not just on, but football is not inherently evil.

Mark Steyn tells about Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

My favorite composer, one of his and my favorite songs, and Mark Steyn’s inimitable magic — it all makes for something you have to read.

The video below will allow you to listen to Kate Smith’s original 1938 performance introducing the song:

The Bookworm Beat — 9/2/2014 Quick, Down, & Dirty edition

Woman writingI’ve got about 30 tabs open. They’re memory hogs, so I want to share their contents with you as quickly as possible so that I can shut them down and look for more stuff. Hold onto your hats, ’cause this is going to be quick:

Voices inside administration challenge Obama’s finger-pointing and feigned ignorance re ISIS

It’s old news already that Obama has no strategy for dealing with ISIS, despite its speedy metastases. The way he puts it, he was kind of taken by surprise by this JV team’s breakout growth and, anyway, everybody else in his administration is giving him trouble.

Funnily enough, that’s not what everyone else in the administration says. According to those paying attention and not playing golf, ISIS’s growth was foreseeable and predictable. Moreover, the military, which will have to clean up the mess (and it will be messy) is “apoplectic” about Obama’s refusal to deal with the issue.

Benny Avni explains that Obama’s fundamental problem may be that he refuses to acknowledge that ISIS is genuinely evil.

Obama may not be strategy-free; he may just be other-focused

As did many others, Daniel Greenfield took note of Obama’s disgraceful weak-horse announcement that he hasn’t come up with a strategy yet for ISIS, despite the fact that ISIS has undone all of America’s work in Iraq; that it killed and dispossessed thousands of Christians; that it killed James Foley (and has since killed Steven Sotloff; and that it has declared war on America. Greenfield, however, doesn’t think Obama is without a strategy. His theory is that Obama just isn’t that into American (or even civilized) interests abroad. Where it counts — race relations, golf scores, etc. — Obama is totally in control.

And no wonder Obama feels comfortable focusing solely on the issues that matter to him, rather than those that matter to the nation. After all, as David Harsanyi explains, if you’re a Democrat, there’s nothing Obama can’t do — Constitution be damned!

Obama’s narrow focus may explain why, even as ISIS beheads Americans abroad and promises to do so at home (a reasonable threat given Obama’s open border policy), Obama’s FBI can issue its annual threat assessment and forgets to include Islamic terrorism.

As I wrote to a friend of mine wondering what it will take for Americans to view ISIS as a direct threat to themselves, “Let’s just say that, on my ‘real me Facebook page, the same Progressive friends who went Facebook-ballistic about the possibility that women would have to continue to pay for their own birth control (just as they have always had to do), have been utterly silent about ISIS. They know what their priorities are, and an existential Islamist threat doesn’t even get on the list, let alone make it to the top ten.”

ISIS puts the lie to the meme that Islamists are oppressed Third Worlders

One of the problems for the Obama administration this time around is that the jihadists refused to conform to the Leftist stereotype.  You know that stereotype.  It’s the one that assures us that all America-haters have a valid right to hold that position because they’re American-oppressed, poverty-stricken residents of the Third World.  After all, who can forget Michael Moore’s post-9/11 claim that al Qaeda is precisely the same as the Minutemen who fought in the American Revolution. This time, though, we know in advance who the Muslim terrorists are — and they are affluent, spoiled, thrill-seeking brats created at the nexus between Islamic and Western culture who revel in violence, blood, and perversion.

In Belgium, Muslims are preparing for a takeover

Belgium, once an artistic center of Christian, European culture, and now the center of the European Union, is being readied for a Muslim takeover.

Not all Muslims want to get with the sharia program

Some Muslims are recognizing that there is a problem with their faith, but few of them speak out. Glenn Mohammed, though, is one of the few and the brave. An Australian attorney, he was sufficiently disturbed by the Muslim community’s opposition to Australia’s proposed new anti-terrorism laws to write an opinion piece calling for Islam to reform:

The Muslim community is quick to stand up and use its democratic right to protest against being singled out. It feels under attack by the government. Maybe it is, maybe it is not, but the government is able to explain and justify the proposed legislation.

When will the Muslim community see the other side of this argument and realise that yes, we are under attack. Our faith is under attack. Our faith is being eaten up from within by fundamentalist elements around the world who twist it to suit their political agendas and interpret it to make their case. To them it’s nothing but a tool to control people. They justify their actions through our faith.

When will Muslims stand up and accept that yes we have problems within our faith. Maybe a few more problems than other faiths, but sure, we have problems. They don’t just affect us as Muslims, they affect our friends, their families and our neighbours. They affect a society that welcomes us here, treats us as equals and gives us the opportunity to live a decent and dignified life. Democratic Australia gives us a voice and tries its best not to judge us.

The issues that we face within our religion range widely from individuals brutally beheading people in the name of establishing an Islamic Caliphate to, at a local level, female genital mutilation.

Muslims need to be able to discuss these issues openly and denounce barbaric behaviour. Instead, we choose to remain silent and then criticise a government that tries to make Australia safer. We use democratic values such as the right to equality, to claim the existence of discrimination, racism and Islamophobia.

How fitting:  OJ Simpson set to become a Muslim

OJ is a violent and angry man. OJ is a murderer. OJ is in prison. All of these are perfect ingredients for a prison conversion to Islam. Let me remind you, once again, what my cousin, the former prison chaplain had to say on the subject:

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.

Winston Churchill on Islam

Filipino forces probably saved their own lives by ignoring UN commands to surrender

When Filipino UN forces found themselves surrounded by Syrian Islamists, the UN issued a clear command: Surrender!

The Philippine government countered that command and, instead, Filipino troops fought their way out. By doing so, they undoubtedly spared themselves a horrific, possibly deadly, captivity; showed just how craven the UN is; and showed that trained troops can take on the Islamists, who’s greatest strength is their fanaticism, not their military prowess.

The Parents of a slain Navy SEAL call on Obama to resign

It’s always a tragedy when a vital, dynamic, competent, powerful, incredibly well-trained, patriotic young man dies in battle. It’s an even greater tragedy when his death occurs under the command of a leader who has nothing but disdain for such warriors, and one moreover who, whether because of a traitorous affinity for the enemy, ignorance, carelessness, or ennui, engages in policies that make each such death a waste, achieving nothing for our nation’s benefit. No wonder, then, that slain Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn’s parents have written a viral letter demanding Obama’s resignation:

After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.

Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.

That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.

As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.

Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.

Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.

But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.

I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.

Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is also on your shoulders.

You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.

And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.

You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.

America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road.

Obama’s not just a bump in the road; he’s a genuine failure

Charles Kesler remembers when people were calling for Barack Obama to be added to Mt. Rushmore. In a wonderfully written article, he explains that problems with Obama’s presidency militate against that type of elevation.

Political correctness and the refusal to see evil

You’ve probably already heard about the scandal in Rotherham, England.  In that Yorkshire town, social services allowed well over a thousand British children to become sex slaves for the town’s Muslim sex trade. Why? Because these government employees were scared that they’d be charged with racism if they protested against the men of the “Asian” community. (For “Asian,” read: “Pakistani Muslim.”) Allison Pearson writes a scathing editorial about political correctness that’s become an accomplice to evil.

We’re not immune, of course. The Washington Post published an op-ed in which an African-American studies professor says that Ferguson isn’t about black rage. Instead, it’s all about angry white people, such as the judge who had the temerity to tell the jury to apply the law in determining whether George Zimmerman acted in self-defense when Trayvon Martin tried to pound him to death on a pavement.  (And keep in mind that this was a judge who was very hostile to Zimmerman.)

Reading the op-ed is like reading Alice Through the Looking-Glass, only without the charm. This is quite obviously a women who has never traveled outside the US. Had she left American shores, she would have realized that America is probably the least racist country in the world.  I think she could benefit from some time spent reading Keith Richburg’s Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa.

Will the California drought affect California politics?

One of the pressing issues for years in California’s Central Valley, once the produce capitol of the world, has been water rights. Farmers in the valley kind of want that water to grow crops so that they can both feed their families and feed the world. Democrats in California want to keep the water away from farmers in order to ensure a healthy population of Delta Smelt, a teeny, undistinguished, but nevertheless environmentally threatened fish.

Historically, Hispanics in the Central Valley, because of identity politics, have hewed Democrat. The Delta Smelt battle, however, puts them on the same side as the farmers because the Hispanics are also seeing their livelihoods threatened.

The battle between environmentalists and those who make their living off the land is heating up as California experiences one of its terrible cyclical droughts (they happen every 30 years or so, and this is a bad one). One Hispanic California Assemblyman has spelled it out:

Rep. David Valadao (R-Bakersfield) lashed out at Democrats, including congressional opponent Amanda Renteria, on California’s urgent drought problem, saying Democrat policies will fail to provide relief for millions of Central Valley residents living with severe water shortages.

“Our forefathers expected droughts, we went through droughts, and we always prepared for the next one because there was always another one coming,” Valadao told The Hill this week. “And that’s why we built the infrastructure, the reservoirs, the canals, and all those types of things.”

“Since the ’80s, they’ve started making it harder and harder to use that infrastructure and to send the water out into the ocean instead of allowing it to come down here and help these communities survive, and that’s where the change is,” he continued. “We can’t make it rain, but it wouldn’t have been as bad if we’d been allowed to pump water and put it in storage… they’re saying fish are more important than the people who live here.”

One wonders if Hispanics in the Central Valley will be able to look at their knee-jerk Democrat affiliation, realize that it harms them, and rejigger their political orientation. I did just that and I feel better for having done so.

The climate change con continues to unravel

I guess it would probably help if the same Hispanic farm workers could be brought to understand that climate change is a scam. Indeed, as the Daily Mail trumpeted, the Arctic Ice cap, ignoring Al Gore’s apocalyptic (and, for him, profitable) predictions about vanishing ice, covers a vast territory and is extremely thick.

We are most certainly stewards for our environment, and we owe it to ourselves and our children to avoid pollution.  Climate change has nothing to do with those laudable goals.   Inside, it’s about population and capital control. One hopes that, as more and more data backs up the righteousness of the position held by “deniers,” perhaps the environmentalists’ power will wane. I certainly hope it wanes in the courtroom when Michael Mann’s case against Mark Steyn is finally heard. Mark Steyn has the facts so, in a just world, he should win on the law.

Another Jew abandons the New York Times

As you know, more than a decade ago, I realized there was something wrong with the mainstream media when I found myself sitting in my car, screaming at my radio as NPR misreported stories about Israel . . . and always with an anti-Israel slant. A reform rabbi who was, of course, a lifetime New York Times reader finally hit his end-of-tolerance moment with the Times biased coverage of Operation Protective Edge.

Rabbi Richard Block gives chapter and verse about the Times’ disgracefully biased coverage. Every Jew should read it.

The Jews’ secret weapon of mass destruction

Maybe I shouldn’t say “secret weapon of mass destruction.”  Maybe I should say that the Jews have developed “a secret weapon to unleash mass hysteria” . . . and Daniel Greenfield knows what that weapon is: A hammer, some nails, a bit of wood, a little stucco, etc. Yes, it’s the dreaded “Killer Israeli House.

Two excellent articles from Richard Baehr

Richard Baehr, who co-founded American Thinker, is one of the most astute political analysts around. That’s why it’s a great day when he has two articles published:

Hillary Is In No Rush, about Hillary’s decision to delay any official announcement of a presidential candidacy.

War on Jews: Europe and now America, about the Democrat Party’s carefully cultivated war against Jews in America, something that should concern all good people. We’re about a decade behind Europe when it comes to anti-Jewish malevolence, but are gaining ground fast.

I urge you to read both.

A new feature from the Watcher’s Council

The Watcher’s Council actually has a full name: Watcher’s of Weasels. We weasel watchers have decided that we should start voting for a weasel of the week:

Hello and welcome to the Watcher’s Council’s new feature, ‘Weasel Of The Week’ feature, where we award the golden plastic Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be publicly slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

And while we’re talking about the Watcher’s Council, be sure to check out the forum, which discusses favorite and least favorite sports. I was so crazy busy this weekend, I forgot to participate. Had I done so, I would have said my favorite is martial arts, because it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done (and never mind the skeletal damage I’ve sustained), and that my least favorite is baseball, because I find it about as exciting as watching grass grow . . . in a drought.

Federal agents with dirty minds; or, to a hammer, everything is a nail

In New Jersey, every year, a father has taken pictures of his two adopted daughters hugging each other as they travel on a ferry. It’s for one of those family albums where you see the kids grow up in the same pose year after year.

This year, though, the father got a little bit of a surprise when a random agent from Homeland Security, who just happened to be on the ferry too, suggested that he watch himself because it looked as if he was engaged in sex trafficking with teenage Asian girls. Either the man’s family dynamics with his adopted daughters were really peculiar (and I did once see a man at a swim meet who kept stroking his 14-year-old daughter, which was creepy), or our federal government is getting carried away with its oversight of American citizens. Tell me what you think.

Read the College Boards’ Leftist framework

Stanley Kurtz has been sounding the alarm about a total Leftist takeover of American history studies in high school. Go here, and get links to learn more about what’s happening. As he says, the more people who know about this travesty, the harder it will be for the Leftists in charge of AP history to make it happen.

Marriage help is on the way

All of you here know my friend Earl Aagaard, who has written a thousand smart comments, written too few wonderful guest posts and, unbeknownst to you, provides me with invaluable editing and content help behind the scenes. His daughter, Laura, and her husband, who are fairly young marrieds with young children, have started up a regular podcast about married life, called Marriage Startup. In their most recent podcast, they interview Earl and his wife, Gail, who have been married for 45 years. You can believe me when I say it’s good stuff from people who understand love, respect, and commitment.

Obama is so not funny

Although Kyle Smith’s article is about Obama, it’s not about politics but is, instead, about culture, which is why I placed it near the end of this round-up. Smith tackles the fact that comedy writers have been unable to find any humor in Obama, not because he’s a pathetic, narcissistic, vicious, cowardly little man set on destroying America, but because he’s too perfect for them to touch.

Bob Hope is one great little dancer

Indoctrination at schools focuses on fantasy ills, while simultaneously denying reality

GaslandAmerica’s educational institutions aren’t taking antisemitism seriously — despite the mount of proof (often from the killers themselves) showing that tens of millions have died from antisemitism over the centuries.

Meanwhile, as antisemitism surges unchecked on America’s campuses, schools are taking very seriously fracking, even in the absence of any proof that it’s killed any one, ever.

It’s possible that schools aren’t taking antisemitism seriously because, at least in some schools, denying it is part of their curriculum: Witness the now-infamous Common Core assignment in the Rialto Unified School District directing all 8th graders to read Holocaust denial literature and than write essays denying the Holocaust.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: this Common Core assignment took place on the watch of an Interim Superintendent named Mohammad Z. Islam. The District’s story is that Islam knew nothing about the assignment and was appropriately shocked when he learned what had happened. There’s no reason at this point to disbelieve that assertion.

Islam, 57, grew up in Bangladash, where he saw the damage done by denying people access to education. He’s a finance guy, and worked as the CFO in the San Bernardino school district. He was then invited to step into the Rialto district after the former superintendent “retired” following the district accountant’s arrest for embezzling $1.8 million. Islam was seen as the antidote to chaos and corruption. Islam could well be a stand-up kind of guy. In that case, it’s very unfortunate that he has a name that many people consider consistent with a belief system that denies that the Holocaust happened.

What’s quite obvious is that more and more American public schools are abandoning classical education — when that looks to facts and analysis — in favor of a Leftist hodge podge of propaganda on everything from climate to the Holocaust.

The fallacy in likening climate change deniers to Holocaust deniers

Burning earth

Climate change theory predicts this future possibility.

I’m someone who knows the Holocaust happened and who believes strongly that anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”) or “climate change” is a scam driven by greed, hostility to western accomplishments, and Gaia-worship run amok.  I’ve therefore found deeply offensive the repeated charge over the past several years from the AGW crowd insisting that denying climate change is he same as Holocaust denial.

This is a charge with punch and one that is meant to shame and silence opposing views.  The Los Angeles Times, for example, refuses to print anything that challenges the AGW doctrine.  The scientific debate is over, says the LA Times, an unintentionally ironic statement that is the essence of anti-science.  In true science, of course, the debate is never over.

It was the UK’s Guardian, however, that made the light bulb go off in my head, and that helped me hone in on the central fallacy underlying the “Holocaust denial = AGW denial” school of speech suppression.  My epiphany arose when I read Nick Cohen’s recent article commenting on the fact that British politicians refuse to continue to fund “green” initiatives.  His Kübler-Ross-ian anger and heartbreak are palpable.  It was in this context that Cohen, using a punchy combination of ignorance and insult, said the following:

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Contrary to Cohen’s certainty that Holocaust denial is the same as AGW denial, there’s actually an easy way to see that the two are quite different, rather like comparing rotten apples to refreshingly stringent oranges.  It’s the difference between past fact and future possibility.  The one has happened, and to deny it is the work of a knave or a fool; the other might happen, but can be refuted by actual, not hypothetical, events as they unfold.

Nazi crematorium

The Nazi’s own evidence confirms this past fact.

The Holocaust is a done deal.  Between 1933 and 1945, 6 million Jews vanished from the face of the earth.  The Germans who effectuated this vanishing act kept meticulous lists, wrote boastful letters, took gloating photographs, and built gigantic necropoleis, all testifying to the bullets, gas, starvation, slavery, torture, and flames they used to make their dream a reality.

Faced with this mountain of data, which is occasionally augmented by new discoveries but is never refuted, the only way to maintain denial is to deny the immutable effect of time past.  As Shakespeare said, “What’s done cannot be undone.”  The book of the Holocaust has been written, and only those who refuse to read its pages can deny its existence.

Unlike the Holocaust, AGW is a theoretical work in progress.  It arose from predictive computer models that, so far, have been wrong in every prediction made.  It’s buttressed by weather phenomena that, rather than being unique, have happened before in cyclical historic patterns.

Take for example, Greenland, an icy island that has, for centuries, been woefully misnamed.  Now, though, Mother Nature is helping Greenland putting the truth back in its advertising, since it’s turning green.  The horror!  Or wait . . . .  It’s only “the horror” if you ignore the fact that this isn’t Greenland’s first verdant period.  It got its lush name during another global warming era, which was a time of great plenty around the world.  In other words, Greenland’s re-greening is a “horror” only if you ignore the fact that a warmer earth supports more, not less, life as has been the case with Greenland over its known history.

Unlike the Holocaust, which happened in a specific place, during a specific window of time, AGW isn’t a fixed target backed by unassailable (at least, if you’re sane) facts.  Instead, it’s a constantly moving future possibility.  No matter what happens, it can never be denied, but can only be affirmed.  In the faux-scientific AGW universe, all new data is subject to a single question:  Can this data, either served straight up or molded, twisted, and obscured, be used to support AGW?  If yes, AGW is undeniable.  If no, the data doesn’t exist.  That’s not science, that’s blind faith.

Holocaust denial is an evil act, by which one ignores the past in order to justify modern antisemitism and hostility to Israel.  AGW denial is a logical response to past predictions about future possibilities that, when compared to unfolding facts in real-time, have consistently been proven wrong.

If you want more actual data, rather than faith-based nonsense, supporting the fact that AGW’s future possibilities are becoming increasingly unlikely, please read this article and this one, both from American Thinker.

 

Helping Mark Steyn’s epic battle to defend freedom of speech

mark-steyn-photo-600x345I’ve written before about Mark Steyn’s epic battle and equally epic Answer and Counterclaim in the suit that discredited “Hockey Stick” artiste, Michael Mann filed against him and the National Review.   What I forgot to tell you is that there is a way you can help Mark Steyn, who is not sharing his defense with National Review, pay the costs of this suit.  (Steyn’s currently representing himself, although I do not know whether he parted ways with his lawyer because they had a substantive disagreement or because Steyn could no longer afford him/her.)

Click here to learn about buying a Mark Steyn gift certificate.  You can choose not to redeem the gift certificate, leaving all the money in his hands, or you can redeem it for actual merchandise, which still leaves him with the profit margin.  It’s a good deal all around.

A high school dissident takes on global warming

Burning earthBack in October, I wrote about one of my children’s classmates at high school.  This kid is handsome, athletic, and extremely popular.  He also made disparaging remarks about Obamacare and illegal aliens without getting push-back from either students or teachers.  Such is the power of popularity.

That kid’s at it again.  For his English class, he wrote an essay calling out anthropogenic climate change as a hoax.  I wonder whether his popularity will be sufficient to survive this dissident act, both socially and academically.

The young man’s brave stance got me thinking about the whole notion of unfalsifiable theories. As I explained to my own children, the normal way science works is that, if all your hypotheses prove to be false, you’ve established that your underlying theory is wrong.  Only in the world of climate change do a series of failed predictions and hypotheses serve as proof that your underlying theory isn’t merely true, it’s even more true!

Since I had climate change on the brain, when my daughter later pointed out that our little mutt, who had curled up in her lap, had buried his nose in her armpit, I exclaimed, “That’s because of climate change.”

Having said that, it occurred to me that it may be time to resurrect a college game with a twist.  Back in the day, whenever friends and I dined at a Chinese restaurant, when we opened the cookies and read aloud our fortunes, we’d add the phrase “in bed.” So, for example, a fortune that said “You will meet an interesting stranger” would be read as “You will meet an interesting stranger in bed.”  It was juvenile, but funny.

Nowadays, a variation of the game would be to response to any observation by saying, “that’s because of global warming (or climate change).”  So, someone might say, “Look, there’s a hawk circling your yard.”  And your answer would be “That’s because of climate change.”

“The furniture delivery man is running late.”  “That’s because of climate change.”

“My hair looks terrible today.”  “That’s because of climate change.”

“Does this dress make me look fat?”  “Honey, thanks to climate change, everything looks fat.”