The Bookworm Beat 4-26-15 — the “writer’s block” edition and open thread

Woman writingI know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.

Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone

All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.

Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-14-15 — the procrastination edition and open thread

Woman writingI have work to do today, but no actual deadlines, so naturally I’m procrastinating like crazy. And what better way to do so than to share a few interesting things with you? How about my starting with the most inspirational. I’ll go from the sublime to the ridiculous, which means I’ll end with links to articles about Hillary’s candidacy.

Noah Galloway, American soldier, DWTS contender

Noah Galloway lost his left arm and leg in Iraq. His appearance on Dancing With The Stars was a little bit by way of being a gimmick because how can someone dance without an arm and with a totally lost leg (i.e., no knee)?

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The Bookworm Beat 4-10-15 — the mother of all round-ups

Woman writingThis is it — the ultimate round-up, consisting of more than 20 links that I’ve collected over the past couple of days and wanted to share with you. Nothing works better at squeezing a nice long blog post than a series of legal pleadings I really don’t want to write. By the way, these squiblets aren’t in any particular order, so you never know what gems you might not find as you scroll down.

The weakening of the Leftist mind

In an earlier post, I wrote about the fact that our younger generation has turned into a passive, sheeple generation, meekly towing the Leftist party line. Astute readers pointed out that, aside from the 1960s children, who were spoon-fed their rebellion by communist spies, past Americans generations also weren’t given to a rebellion. That’s true — but at least past generations were taught analytical and reasoning skills. If they desired, they could analyze and challenge their era’s zeitgeist. Our current generation can’t.

And how do I know I’m correct in reaching that conclusion? Because my reasoning coincidences with Daniel Greenfield’s. In a post about the closing of the liberal mind, Greenfield explains how so-called “liberals” have reduced themselves to this state:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-7-15 — the time “thief edition” and open thread

Woman writingOy! Even my interruptions keep being interrupted today. Still, I managed to gather together a few very interesting things:

Heading into a another cooling period

Even as the Left gets increasingly hysterical about “climate change,” which has become an all-purpose excuse for everything from drought, to deluge, to prostitution, actual data reveals that, to the extent the climate is changing, it’s getting colder. This is really bad because, as the California drought is reminding everyone, the one thing we can’t do without is water.

During warming periods, water trapped in ice is released, making the world a wetter and therefore more bountiful place. During cold cycles, though, there’s less available water, which severely cramps human access to arable land. Just think of Greenland, which was actually fruitful during the warming Middle Ages. Today, “Greenland” is a serious misnomer:

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The Bookworm Beat 3-27-15 — “The World Turned Upside Down” edition and open thread

Woman writingWord must have gotten out that I have a temporary hiatus in the endless mountain of legal work that’s overwhelmed me, because the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all morning. Every time my fingers get anywhere near my keyboard, the phone rings, I glance at the caller ID and, yes, it’s a call I need to take.

The most interesting call I received came in a short while ago from a delightful, interesting man who will be speaking to a local conservative group with which I’m involved. His topic: Israel. In past weeks, some in the group have been a little worried that this man, a Democrat and Obama supporter, might inadvertently antagonize our group. Speaking to him today, though, I think he and our group will be singing the same song.  He seems to feel, as I do, that  — Obama is doing something unconscionably dangerous in allying us with Iran while giving Iran the nuclear go ahead, and something profoundly evil by sacrificing Israel to achieve this unconscionable goal.

I am deeply, deeply disturbed when I think what Obama is doing in the Middle East. By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. This is not ineptitude or misguided faith. Obama, dragging the United States along behind him, is deliberately embracing evil.

All I can think of lately, and you’ll see why as you read further, is the British military band in 1781, at the Surrender at Yorktown, playing “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Don’t just blame Lena Dunham; The New Yorker published her

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The Bookworm Beat 3-17-15 — St. Patrick’s Day edition and open thread

St. Patrick's day woman writingToday is showing signs of being every bit as challenging as yesterday was (work ended in the wee hours of the morning), so this will be a round-up marked by brevity. Still, there are things I’ve saved that haven’t become stale, old yesterday’s news and that I very much want to share with you.

America’s Sergeant Major has a new home

One of my favorite milbloggers is America’s Sergeant Major, whom I first met when I discovered his post about Tabata drills. Having done Tabata drills myself, it resonated. I also just loved the sense of humor and sense of responsibility that infuse his writing:

Simply thrashing a group of Marines into the ground is pretty easy and not a method of instruction I prefer. If they are simply getting their doors blown off without learning anything then I figure I’ve passed up a great training opportunity.

I like to ask Marines why we PT at all. Their answers are inevitably: “To be in shape.” “Be fit.” My personal favorite is: “To look good naked 1stSgt!” I appreciate the honesty.

The bottom line is we conduct PT in order to make our bodies harder to kill. Never mind the idea of being fitter and stronger than your enemy. Fit, healthy bodies tend to survive being shot, blown up, infected, and other rough treatment. It’s only natural the Corps would develop a culture of physical fitness within its ranks.

The Tabata quotation is from an older post, but you’ll find that America’s Sergeant Major hasn’t lost his edge. The only thing that’s changed is that he’s got himself a shiny new site. It’s really gorgeous. Please check it out.

California’s drought

I can’t remember if I’ve fulminated here about California’s drought. My shtick, which I’ll share with anyone who’s listening, is that California’s horrible drought was foreseeable and preventable.

No, it’s not climate change. It’s a completely predictable cyclical drought that comes along like clockwork every few decades.

“Ah,” says the wise climate changista, “but it’s worse now because global warming.” No! It’s worse now because of insanely stupid water management practices, including minimal reservoir upgrade and increase, despite the fact that California’s population has more than doubled since 1961.  And of course that the enviromentalists in California government have the bright idea, in the middle of a massive drought, to flush away millions of gallons of water to protect that little Delta Smelt.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it; take Victor Davis Hanson’s.

Fact-checking Obama

Over at Power Line last week, John Hinderaker ask plaintively “Does anyone fact-check the president?” The short answer is “no.” Hinderaker provides the latest example of the long answer.

Incidentally, I want to know what the word is for tyranny by media, because that’s what we’ve got. The media tyranny explains why we have people in government so grossly dishonest — intellectually, historically, politically — with nary a word allowed to be said against them in the outlets that control most of America’s air time.

Are we suffering under a “media-archy”?

The bad decisions of the effete

Effete is not a word one hears often any more. It’s a good word, though, and one that well describes huge swaths of 21st century America:

1. lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society.
2. exhausted of vigor or energy; worn out: an effete political force.
3. unable to produce; sterile.

Scott Locklin builds a whole political argument around difference between those who engage with real life and todays effete, enervated Americans: Never trust anyone who hasn’t been punched in the face — and he means really punched, not just metaphorically punched.

I’ll just note the historic truism that Rome fell when its prosperity left people unwilling and unable to defend themselves. (I’ve also heard that they got that way from drinking their wine from cups made of lead, which may be true too, but they were drinking that way long before the empire’s slow, dismal decline.)

Who has abortions? Men do, that’s who!

No, that title is not a joke. Thanks to our brave new world of fluid genders, Katha Pollitt argues vigorously that we’re being sexist in denying that men have abortions:

Who has abortions? For most of human history, the answer was obvious: women have abortions. Girls have abortions. Not any more. People have abortions. Patients have abortions. Men have abortions. “We must acknowledge and come to terms with the implicit cissexism in assuming that only women have abortions,” wrote feminist activist Lauren Rankin in July 2013 in truthout.com. She went on to criticize as exclusionary slogans like “the War on Women” and “Stand with Texas Women.”

Apparently Katha needs a little biology lesson: Abortions require pregnancies; pregnancies require a uterus; and a uterus is by definition female. You can take a woman, stuff her full of hormones so she gets good and hairy on her face and chest, and has a nice deep voice; slice off her breasts; and create a fancy new dangling dongle for her, but at the end of the day, that’s all cosmetic. When she gets pregnant, it’s because under the cosmetics, she’s still a woman with a uterus and the accompanying hormones.

But don’t listen to me; listen to Monty Python:

Any surprise that he’s a former Marine?

Meet retired Marine Corps. Sergeant Patrick Maxwell, who’s off with the Kurds fighting against ISIS:

“I’m very libertarian in my beliefs and I don’t think we need to be committing U.S. boots to the ground to do another long war like that, ” he says. “But myself as a private citizen – if I want to go take a vacation and shoot some terrorists in the process, that should be my own business.”

It would be different, of course, if Maxwell wanted to join up with terrorists to shoot Americans. But as long as he’s not harming American interests, while it’s not my idea of a vacation, I sure can’t quarrel with him.

If you’ve been wondering who supports Jeb Bush….

The GOP establishment’s love affair with Jeb Bush is mystifying, because he can’t win. Barring a handful of RINO bazillionaires, nobody, and I mean nobody, wants a third Bush in the White House.  He’s too Bush-like for Democrats, and too Bill Clinton-like for conservatives.

Wait. I take that back. Garth Kant has an idea about what might be driving this Jeb furor.

A coda to the off-duty cop murdered in Philadelphia

It’s been a couple of weeks since two brothers murdered Officer Robert Wilson III in Philadelphia. I have three comments to make based upon an article about Wilson’s last moments and about his killers.

First, Wilson died incredibly bravely. Second, take a look at the picture of his murders. Look closely. Notice anything interesting about their foreheads? (The forehead thing is supposition, by the way, so I’ll be interested in seeing if it’s true or someone just had a very large zit that popped in a visible spot.) Third, please note how the brothers have different last names, suggesting a dysfunction in their home life going back to their births.

Two things you should read about Eric Holder’s “disparate impact” crusade

The Obama government has told America’s school districts that they need to stop punishing black kids more than they do white kids. In Democrat-led cities, that’s exactly what the schools have been doing, with entirely predictable results:

Convinced traditional discipline is racist because blacks are suspended at higher rates than whites, New York City’s Department of Education has in all but the most serious and dangerous offenses replaced out-of-school suspensions with a touchy-feely alternative punishment called “restorative justice,” which isn’t really punishment at all. It’s therapy.

“Every reasonable effort must be made to correct student behavior through…restorative practices,” advises the city’s new 32-page discipline code.

Except everywhere it’s been tried, this softer approach has backfired.

[snip]

What’s more, the movement — which is driven by new race-based anti-discipline guidelines issued by the Obama administration — is creating friction between teachers unions and the liberal mayors they otherwise support.

That last paragraph I quoted is a reminder that revolutions always eat their own.

Anyway, it’s a long, good article and you should read the whole thing. Then, when you’re done, go here, to Stately McDaniel Manor to read how Eric Holder wants to bring to crime fighting the exactly same “disparate impact” logic that’s turning America’s public schools into “Lord of the Flies” environments.

And now, back to work….

The Bookworm Beat 2-26-15 — the evening edition and open thread

Woman writing

Alan Dershowitz challenges the talk about boycotting Netanyahu’s speech

Read and enjoy Alan Dershowitz’s fiery denunciation of the Obama administration’s efforts to get Democrats — especially black ones — to boycott Netanyahu’s speech about the existential threat Obama’s policies pose to Israel.

I won’t comment on the article — it speaks for itself — but I will comment on a couple of peripheral things. Dershowitz is a Democrat, but he’s also an ardent Israel supporter. I therefore can’t help but think that, as Obama prepares to break with Israel and ally America with Iran, it’s not a coincidence that Dershowitz suddenly found himself swept up in the pedophile sex scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein.

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

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

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

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

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The Bookworm Beat 2-6-15 — the “Fearless Friday” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingObama’s adversarial relationship with Christianity

What did we expect already from yesterday’s Prayer Breakfast? Obama long ago put the world on notice that he’s going full Bulworth (i.e., after six years in office, he intends, finally, to stop lying and speak the truth).

While before Obama just let out peevish little trickles of animosity, anyone paying attention could tell that:

(a) he’s profoundly ignorant about history — not just American history, but any history, including Muslim and Christian history;

(b) he hates Christians and Christianity;

(c) he hates America, no matter that this nation twice elected him as president (with a little help from the IRS, of course); and

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[FUNNY POSTERS] Brian Williams and S(T)EAL Team One

Caped Crusader left a wonderful comment on my post about Brian Williams’ Stolen Valor lie:

He and Hillary should form “S(T)EAL TEAM 1″, for those who lack valor but still need some desperately to prove their worth to themselves, by stealing a little unearned valor. after living a lie all their lives.

I said “that ought to be a poster,” so both Caped Crusader and RaymondJelli took me up on that challenge.  Here’s Caped Crusader’s poster:

Valor Steal Team One

And here’s RaymondJelli’s

Steal Team One

Thanks so much both of you for giving such a sharp visual edge to Caped Crusader’s clever joke!

If anyone else feels inspired — go for it!!

NBC’s Brian Williams’ Stolen Valor: He lied about being on a helicopter hit by an RPG in Iraq *UPDATED*

Brian Williams in IraqStar & Stripes has the scoop:

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.

Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

We call that the “Hillary Clinton” excuse.  Hillary, as you may remember, lied about sniper fire in Bosnia.

My take?

Leftists are narcissists.  Narcissists do not have objective truth.  The truth is always defined by their needs, whether emotional, professional, economic, or anything else.  The Leftist’s reality is always bounded by the needs of the moment and Williams is a Leftist.  Williams, a weedy little Leftist talking head, felt emasculated being around real warriors in Iraq (and being around some real reporters who actually went to the dangerous places). He needed to pump himself up, just as Hillary did.

UPDATE:  Michelle Malkin has found the best Brian Williams quotation ever.  Really.  Ever.