The Bookworm Beat 12/6/14 — Saturday sweep-up edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingA cold has been making the rounds in my neighborhood and it finally caught up with me. I don’t feel particularly ill, but I feel congested and quite desperately sleepy. I had a great deal to do today, and mostly managed to re-read Agatha Christie’s Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, which wasn’t too taxing (and, thankfully, I’d forgotten whodunnit). I’ve now roused myself enough to clean the kitchen, do the laundry, and share with you a few browser tabs I still have open from yesterday:

The all-around best post about the Rolling Stone’s journalistic malpractice

I’ve shouted my opinion about Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story from the treetops (“It didn’t happen that way!”), and I’ve linked to several posts that agreed with me, only they did so more thoroughly, more elegantly and, most importantly, from more prominent platforms than mine.  These combined voices forced Rolling Stone to admit to gross journalistic malpractice.

Of all these bully-pulpit loud voices on the subject, my favorite is Jonah Goldberg. Writing before Rolling Stone walked back its story, Jonah Goldberg had this to say:

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Bookworm Room leads the way again on the UVA rape story

Rolling Stones rape storyYesterday I wrote this:

More on the UVA rape story

I think I’ve made my point that the UVA rape story doesn’t hold up. Something may have happened at UVA — things do happen at drunken frat parties — but it almost certainly wasn’t what’s described in the now infamous Rolling Stones story. I’ll just throw a fact in: Little Bookworm has a friend who’s a Sophomore at UVA. He told her that the story is bunk. The accused fraternity didn’t have a party — any party — on the night claimed. Moreover, to the extent the party is alleged to have been a “pledge party,” those take place in a different time of year than the alleged rape party.

Today, the Washington Post reports this:

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The Bookworm Beat (11/24/14) — Monday morning mish-mash (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo intro. Just diving right in here:

Kevin Williams wins this week’s prize for best devastatingly honest statements about Obama

Kevin Williams argues that, for all his talk of change, Obama is nothing more than a little man who has stepped into a big job and is now busy reshaping the morality of public policies to fit his smallness. In proving this point, Williams, who never deviates from his polite tone, rips Obama several new ones. I’m cherry-picking here, so you really need to read the whole thing:

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

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

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

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

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

What stops shooters is guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The vicious misogyny of the American left

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the vicious misogyny of the Muslim Middle East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incidentally, eight people have now died from the Enterovirus.

The American medical establishment may be way too complacent about Ebola

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Krauthammer says something wonderful about Obama’s bystander presidency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural selection and vegetarians

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

Meryl Streep to bring Florence Foster Jenkins to the screen

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

San Francisco in her pre-modern heyday

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

Nature’s colorful bounty

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

The Bookworm Beat (10/15/14) — Looking for the Apocalypse edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingSorry for the downer title, but the news is anything but good, wherever one looks. At the home front we’ve had flat tires, broken bones, and dead phones. (The broken bone belongs to my exchange student, who is disappointed, but not too terribly damaged, thank goodness.)  The past few day’s headlines haven’t done anything to cheer me up, either.

Because I like to share, I’m passing my temporary existential despair on to all of you. And just to make you feel a little worse, let me add that our current administration, rather than trying to pull the rip-cord on the parachute so that we don’t hit bottom, is instead trying to cut the parachute’s suspension lines.

How bad is Obama? So bad that even Democrats view him as toxic

Republicans didn’t run away from Bush until 2008. Here it is, only 2014, and Democrats are treating Obama as if he’s radioactive. (The link is to a Wall Street Journal article. If you can’t read the article, try googling the title for an accessible link.)

Michael Dolan explains how Obama got what he wanted: A partnership with Iran

Obama came into office promising to work with Iran. It turns out that, as is true of all the promises he made that were deleterious to America’s well-being , he kept this one. (It’s a useful yardstick, incidentally: Promises about things that will help Americans? Obama breaks. Promises about things that will hurt Americans, America, and America’s allies? Obama keeps.)

Michael Dolan, who is a senior fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and was both a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council, has been looking at Obama’s conduct since ISIS appeared on the scene and figured out Obama’s game-plan: Obama is using ISIS as a way to partner with Iran.

Obama is engaging in this de facto partnership with Iran, even though, as Dolan also explains, doing so allows Iran to go nuclear. A nuclear Iran destroys any balance of power in the region, not to mention threatening Israel and Europe. Moreover, it’s worth remembering that as a Shia state, Iran doesn’t just believe in the apocalypse, it believes that it has a mission from Allah to bring about the Apocalypse itself. (In this, Iran is quite distinct from Christians who believe in an Apocalypse, but who dread it and do nothing to cause it.)  There’s nothing like a nuclear bomb to get a little Apocalypsing started.

To go on, Obama partners with Iran even though it means turning our backs on the Saudis who, while horribly rotten, are less horribly rotten than Iran and have been our allies for a long time. He does even though partnering with the mullahs is a slap in the face to those Iranians who are yearning to breathe at least a little more free (just as Obama ignored them during their attempted Green revolution). He does even though Iran has been funding the worst kind of terrorism — much of it aimed at America — for decades. And he does this even though Iran has made it clear that it still has as its goal the destruction of Israel and America, and the establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate.

Obama is Iran’s useful idiot, helping it to make sure that any caliphate the emerges isn’t Sunni and ISIS-controlled, but is instead Shia and Iran-controlled. Put another way, Obama isn’t just another Leftist ideologue; he’s a truly evil man who affirmatively seeks out the devil as a dancing partner.

Media ghasties and ghoulies

If you want to get your scare on before Halloween, watch Andrea Mitchell trying to save Abortion Barbie from her tasteless, desperate, sleazy attacks in Texas on Greg Abbott. You know what I was thinking when I watched that? I was thinking “Mommy, make those mean, scary ladies go away!”

The New York Times uses Britain’s embrace of Hamas as a reason to chastise Israel

When does a media outlet cross over from being partisan and become evil? I actually think the New York Times just rolled across that line with its latest editorial about Israel.

As you may recall, the British Parliament voted endorsing the idea of recognizing a Palestinian state. A media outlet with a decent moral compass would have attacked England for supporting a “state” that has nothing state-like about it: It’s government is run like a mafia institution, it has no economy and no infrastructure, and its idea of “human rights” is to deny women, Jews, Christians, and homosexuals status as humans. Anyone of common decency would recognize that it is a disgusting reflection on modern England that its Parliament would side with a grotesque, corrupt, tyranny with only murder on its mind.

But the Times knows who the bad guy is in this case and it’s Israel — for daring to build more Jewish homes in historically Jewish neighborhoods. Or as the Times editorial board puts it:

The vote is one more sign of the frustration many people in Europe feel about the failure to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement despite years of promises.

Funnily enough, the editorial makes no mention of the fact that the Palestinians have contributed exactly nothing to peace talks, negotiations, and compromise. In Times-land, this one is all on the Jews.

I used to say that the Times was good only for lining bird cages. It’s dropped in my estimation. It might, just might, be useful as a repository for the blood, vomit, and diarrhea of an Ebola patient, but I suspect it would perform even that most basic waste-collection function badly.

The New York Times also brings its evilness to the subject of chemical weapons in Iraq

When the Iraq War was Bush’s war, the New York Times led the charge of those claiming that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction. Now, without even a blink at its volte face, it’s leading the charge to claim that Bush is evil because he exposed American troops to Saddam Hussein’s store of chemical weapons — i.e., weapons of mass destruction — in Iraq.

I’m not letting the Times perfidy blind me to the fact that American troops have suffered because the Bush Pentagon left them ill-prepared to come across WMDS. After all, if you’re claiming a war to wipe out WMDs, you should probably have systems in place to protect your troops. The Pentagon’s failings, though, don’t make me any less disgusted with the Times.

Let me count the ways in which the Democrat party is the party of death

Democrats may get all teary eyed when cold-blooded murderers meet their makers in a gas chamber after due process, but they’re pretty cavalier about most other deaths. They don’t mind a steely-eyed Obama sending drones to attack Pakistani and Yemenite civilians. They’re okay with grandma being sidelined by the Obama death panel. They assume that the vets who died on the VA’s watch were probably baby killers.  They’re copacetic with suicide if life is just too tough.

Oh, and one more thing:  abortion is empowering. Not just a necessary evil, which is an argument many Americans might support, but empowering and a “social good.” I’m betting that’s exactly the way Heinrich Himmler felt when he organized the Holocaust.

If you ever wondered why knowing geography matters….

Marin General Hospital had an Ebola scare because its staff confused the Middle East with West Africa. The country’s in the very best of hands….

Pigs are flying because I agree with Paul Krugman

Don’t worry, I don’t agree with Krugman about anything substantive. I do, however, think he’s correct when he says “Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, he is a consequential president.”

Where Krugman and I part ways is that Krugman thinks Obama is consequential in a good way, whereas I think Obama’ss consequential status relates to the fact that he’s inflicted such terrible damage on our once-thriving capitalist, constitutional, sovereign nation that we may take decades to recover, assuming we ever can. There’s no saying, after all, whether it’s possible to recover from a wrecked economy, socialized medicine, destroyed borders, a dysfunctional military facing an existential threat, and diseases that resist modern medicine, especially when such medicine is ineptly administered.

The Washington Post says Ebola isn’t really all that bad

Trying to strike an optimistic tone, the Washington Post says that Ebola isn’t as bad as it could be. It notes that (so far, at least), not everyone who came into contact with the Liberian who brought the disease to Dallas has gotten infected, and we definitely have better ways to treat symptoms than they do in West Africa. Still, even though the WaPo is trying to make lemonade from lemons, our broken borders and the Democrats’ funding priorities (which did not include focusing on plague-like infectious diseases) all mean that I’m not sanguine.

When it comes to Ebola and the media, I agree with Benjamin Shapiro

To follow-up on my point about the WaPo’s peculiar optimism, Benjamin Shapiro sums up the media’s relationship to Ebola, which is that it matters only when it affects the media itself. His starting point is media personality Nancy Snyderman’s decision to get herself some soup, despite the fact that she was technically quarantined, along with a crew member:

It’s one thing for Liberian citizen Thomas Eric Duncan to carry around an Ebola-ridden woman, get on an airplane to Dallas, walk into a hospital with symptoms, and then walk out again. Such behavior can be attributed, at least in part, to ignorance. It’s another thing entirely for a highly educated medical professional to endanger those around her for some miso.

But that’s the world of the media, where the proper response to the possibility of contracting Ebola is, “Don’t you know who I am?” Double standards abound here; media members lather Americans into a frenzy over the threat of a disease that has, to date, claimed a grand total of one life in the United States. Then they go out for lunch in public after being told that they could be carrying the virus.

The Snyderman story is truly part of a broader egocentrism in the media. The media didn’t give one whit about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative non-profit applicants — but they went absolutely batty over the Department of Justice targeting reporters. The media don’t seem to care very much about demands for transparency from the Obama administration by the American public — but they’re fighting mad about the Obama administration’s refusal to let them photograph him golfing. After all, it’s one thing for normal Americans to get stiffed, and quite another for our betters to feel the effects of government’s heavy hand.

Canada’s Supreme Court says quoting the Bible re homosexuality is a hate crime

Yes, the Bible is not nice about homosexuals. Indeed, it’s so not nice that Canada’s Supreme Court has determined that someone who cites to the Bible in opposition to homosexual conduct is guilty of a hate crime.

Here’s the acid test, though: Would the Supreme Court reach the same ruling if it was asked to determine whether someone quoting from the Quar’an in opposition to Jews is also guilty of a hate crime? Somehow I doubt it, but maybe I’m just too cynical for my own good.

Paul Kengor is right that conservative radio is committing suicide by greed

I only listen to conservative talk radio when I’m in the car . . . but lately I’m never able to listen to conservative talk radio when I’m in the car. The reason for my inability to listen is because I’m usually in the car for short hauls and, when I tune in to the local talk radio stations, all I get is advertisements.

From the top of the hour until seven minutes past the hour . . . advertisements. From nineteen minutes past the hour until thirty-five minutes past the hour . . . advertisements (including the show’s host saying “Welcome back, and now for a word from our sponsors.”) The same pattern applies in the second half of the hour. Because I usually need to be at places on the hour or the half-hour, I invariably find myself tuning in to those fourteen or so minutes of advertising at the top or the bottom of the clock face. So lately, I haven’t even bothered to try. I just listen to music or call my sister.

And why are we in this terrible situation? Greed, says Paul Kengor:

Why so much junk? To pay the costs, of course. But more specifically, to pay the gigantic, unsustainable fees these shows demand.

[skip]

Of course, it’s a free market. Rush and other hosts are free to earn whatever they receive. But also because it’s a free market, their stations and listeners are free to bolt. What surprises me is the degree to which some conservative hosts are willing to let their stations and listeners bolt, even as they rake in piles of money. I’m especially surprised at how these hosts are willing to allow their excellent product to be diluted and damaged by an intolerable stream of annoying advertisements.

It seems to me that these conservative hosts—champions of the free market—are not listening to the free market. In my local market, Rush and Hannity and Glenn Beck have lost a 50,000-watt blow-torch in favor of a vastly inferior 7,000-watt signal that will be heard by far fewer listeners.

I love Rush, but even he’s not worth listening to ten minutes of commercials during a 15 minute drive.

I leased an electric car, so oil prices dropped

I’m never kidding when I say that the moment I enter the stock market the market drops and the moment I pull out the market rises. I just have that kind of timing.

My timing means it’s no surprise to me at all that, now that I’ve leased an electric car so as not to run up huge gas bills driving a minivan around for local errands, oil prices are plummeting. At our nearest ARCO, which sells the cheapest gas in Southern Marin, prices have dropped by about 20 cents per gallon in the past two weeks. That’s huge.

Power Line wonders if the Saudis are doing this on purpose in an effort to undercut America’s booming oil business. Could be. I’m not sure, though, that the Saudis have the oil resources to play this kind of price-cutting game. I recall from a discussion at my blog many years ago someone who worked in the oil industry saying that Saudi wells are finally running try. It seems to be a perilous game to drop prices when you’re running out of product to sell.

Will all these oil and electric cars soon be obsolete anyway?

Remember how, in Back to the Future, Doc perfected time travel using the energy from nuclear fusion? Well, we may soon be doing a little time travel ourselves, because Lockheed says the future is now (or at least just ten years from now):

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Anything that will break the back of the Muslim oil nations and silences the stupidity of the environ-mental-ists can’t come soon enough for me.

Lovely Lena leans . . . and so do several other old-time Hollywood beauties

Robert Avrech isn’t just a brilliant writer and thinker. He’s also extraordinarily knowledgeable about old Hollywood — the Hollywood of the Turner Classic Movies I watch with so much love.

Avrech recently wrote a beautifully illustrated post about the leaning boards that Hollywood’s leading ladies reclined upon to get the weight off their feet without ruining costumes so tight or elaborate that the actresses were often sewn into them. In a comment, I contributed my mite by pointing out that, in Singin’ In The Rain, Lena Lamont, the lovely lady with the horrible voice, and a personality that was even worse, was seen leaning on one of those boards. Robert, bless his heart, went out of his way to update the post to add a picture of the lovely Lena leaning.

Superheroes, anyone?

At the most recent Watcher’s Council forum, the Watcher asked us, if we could be a superhero, which one would we be? Because my weekend passed in an alcoholic stupor (except without any alcohol, but only the stupor part), I completely missed the forum. If asked, I would have said Superman, simply because he’s always been my favorite superhero. Tune in here to see what other Council members had to say.

This American life lovingly focuses on Jewish wrongs, while ignoring Muslim depredations

TAL_color2I was talking to someone the other day who was just thrilled that Ira Glass, a Progressive Jew who hosts the well received show This American Life (“TAL”), a staple of public radio, and his Jewish producers and staff, bravely devoted an entire show to a group of Hasidic Jews who have taken over the school board in a New York town, even though the town also has lots of black and Hispanic residents. Having taken over the school board, the Hasids, who resented paying property taxes funding public schools their students couldn’t attend, slashed funding for the public schools so that the Hasids would keep more of their money to spend on their Yeshivas.

Not only did TAL bravely report on these Jews, they admitted that the report could be perceived as antisemitic and inflammatory. Frankly, I doubt they were worried that any of their Progressive audience members would care, since most Progressives, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, loath the conservative Hasids. In addition, it’s a reasonable bet that none of the Hasids described in the report will storm the TAL studio any time soon to decapitate someone.

I was unimpressed. First, this is an old story, one I’ve heard and read about before. Second, the more I know about public schools the less I like them. The outraged black and Hispanic families would do well to seek alternatives to public schools as the Hasids did. And third, when it comes to “bravery,” as I noted above, there’s nothing brave about lambasting Hasidic Jews on a show that gets all its airplay among Progressives.

How many stories, I asked, has TAL done about Islamic radicalism amongst Somali immigrants or about honor killings in American Muslim populations or about the increasing radicalism of Michigan’s huge Jewish Muslim population. The Progressive friend to whom I spoke, the one who boasted about TAL’s brave stand, said I was talking about apples and oranges. He could not understand that there’s nothing brave about being antisemitic on public radio or attacking a group that won’t talk back.

I discovered that his defensiveness might also have arisen because, as best I can tell, TAL has never done anything at all critical of radicalism within America’s Muslim population — and this is true despite 9/11, the Fort Hood Killer, the Boston Marathon bombing, and all sorts of other “unexpected” acts of workplace violence by the Allahu Akbar crowd.

Go ahead and see for yourself. Go to the TAL homepage, and key in “honor killings.” Nothing. Key in “Somalian.” Nothing. Key in “Somalia.” Nothing about Islamic Minnesotans. Key in “Somali.” Nothing about Islamic Minnesotans.

Here’s what I did find when I started searching for Muslims or Islam or Hamas or Palestinians:

1. Israeli soldiers take pictures of Palestinian children by going to the family homes in the middle of the night and waking teen and tween boys to take their pictures. You could call it “Israeli soldiers behaving creepily,” kind of like the Stasi. It is a piece of extremely pro-Palestinian propaganda that holds up badly in light of what we learned during this summer’s war.

2. Israel’s false history, which hid the fact that, instead of all 700,000 Palestinians leaving of their own accord (so that surrounding armies could complete their massacre without fellow Arabs getting in the way), Israelis actually drove out some Palestinians and wouldn’t let them back in. Not a lot of Jewish love in this story.

3. In 2002, a whole program dedicated to (a) the boredom and imprisonment of life in the West bank; (b) the evil conservativism that peculiarly affected Jews after the Second Intifadah, and (c) the wonders of a new, moderate potential Palestinian leader, Mustafa Barghouti. Here’s an update:  Barghouti plays the moderate, but is among other things a staunch backer of the BDS movement, which aims to destroy Israel. Some moderate.

4. An October 5, 2001 story about a Muslim teenager giving the American Muslim viewpoint of the 9/11 attacks (although I’ll give TAL credit for acknowledging that this is an alternative view, shaped by a family that watches only TV from the Arab Muslim world).

5. A story about a Palestinian family facing prejudice in America.

6. A story about the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, and how they’re the way for goods to get into Gaza.

The only exception to the pro-Palestinian tilt in all these reports was a story about a Palestinian man who translates Israeli newscasts into Arabic, breaking the Palestinian government’s stranglehold on information.

None of the above stories are lies. All are supported by first person narratives. And all have a very specific point of view, and one that’s not a friendly one about Jews nor an honest one about Muslims or, more accurately, about the growing subsection of violent, jihadist Muslims in America and abroad.

What my Progressive friend doesn’t understand is that a half-truth is, in its own way, just another lie. So in my mind, I always think of this show by and for Progressives, some of whom happen to be Jewish, as This American Lie.

Help support an effort to undermine the hard-Left “comics” who dominate the MSM

I got an email from the Media Research Center that I’d like to pass on to you.  I don’t usually pass these things on, but this harmonizes closely with what my sister-in-law and I have been saying for years:  Conservatives need to entertained people into supporting conservative values, just as Leftists successfully entertained people into supporting Leftist values.  (Ben Shapiro ably describes how this has worked in television from the 1960s through to the present day.)

Media Research </p><br />
<p>Center. America's Media Watchdog
Dear Supporter,,

I want to thank you for supporting the Media Research Center and our mission of exposing and neutralizing liberal bias in the so-called “news” media. 

But liberal bias also runs unchecked and unbalanced in the ENTERTAINMENT media. 

Specifically, in the world of TV comedy and satire.

I am asking all our supporters to invest in the MRC’s efforts to shatter the left’s monopoly on the entertainment media.

Humor and satire are integral to American popular culture. But all the late night comedians and their TV shows satirize our culture exclusively from the left!  

Comedians Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, and the whole crew of SaturdayNight Live advance a leftist agenda under the guise of comedy and brainwash America’s young people each and every dayIs it any wonder that the youth of America are turning into leftist Obama zombies? 

And David Letterman’s replacement next year — Stephen Colbert –- is even more liberal than Dave! He is a diehard, hardcore leftist activist.  This left-wing comedy/satire monopoly must be challenged and dismantled!

Mockery and ridicule are common and effective ways of marginalizing political opponents, and the left is great at it.  But liberals absolutely hate being mocked. They love to ridicule and deride people who think differently from them but they can’t stand it when they are the target.

When we started NewsBusted, we wanted to change that by creating at least one comedy show where socialism isn’t worshiped and where American values aren’t derided.

NewsBusted is the one comedy show where joke writers aren’t afraid to serve up the ridicule that Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi so richly deserve.

We have a specific goal for 2015 – to raise enough money to upgrade all aspects of the audio and video production of NewsBusted… it’s time for a major, high tech upgrade—in High Definition!

Quality television audio & video production doesn’t come cheap. For nearly seven years, our production team has been using the SAME standard definition camera, the SAME microphones, the SAME lighting system, the SAME editing bay, the SAME graphics package, and the SAME sound mixing board… NewsBusted is long overdue for a high tech upgrade and 2015 is the year to do it!

I need you to donate today so that we can start producing better sounding and better looking episodes of NewsBusted – in high definition!We need your generous contribution to keep the laughs coming!

NewsBusted is produced by the Media Research Center (an IRS-certified 501(c)(3) non-profit) which means that your donation will be fully tax-deductible under the law.

To help upgrade NewsBusted, please click here where you can donate via our secure form.

I hope I can count on your support as we challenge leftist orthodoxy in the world of comedy and satire.

Sincerely,


L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center

 

Opinions wanted about toilet pictures and changing newspaper standards

Wetlands, a 2013 German movie now opening in the United States, doesn’t sounds like a movie I’ll be seeing any time soon — or ever. According to the rave review in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Wetlands,” an in-your-face story about bodily fluids and the collateral damage of a family gone wrong, is crass, vulgar and brilliant.

This cringe-inducing, dark comedy follows German skateboarder Helen, who is fighting a severe case of hemorrhoids, not to mention a mother who deserves her own wing in the “Mommie Dearest” Hall of Fame.

Helen (Carla Juri, superb) details every orifice in her body in an easygoing, guilt-free manner, and when she describes her sexual activities with vegetables, she might as well be talking about her day at the farmers’ market. But underneath that carefree exterior is a neurotic, depressed and deranged young woman with a trust issue or two. Juri — remember that name — lends a sense of vulnerability to a character who never ceases to surprise with her outrageous acts and observations.

I’m not a fan of bodily fluids in movies. I still haven’t reconciled myself to the fact that, for the last 25 years or so, a vomiting scene seems to be a requirement for most movies, regardless of genre. With two difficult pregnancies and a history of migraines, I don’t find vomiting entertaining. A movie that focuses obsessively on bodily fluids just isn’t going to work for me, and that’s true no matter how brilliant it is.

Believe it or not, though, I’m not writing this post to offer my opinion about gross-out movies. What I’m wondering is what you all think of the photograph that accompanied the SF Chronicle review. Here’s a screen shot that I grabbed:

Gross toilet photo in Sf Chron

I grew up reading the Chron. I read it as a child in the 1960s, as a teen in the 1970s, and as a young adult in the 1980s. (I gave up on it in the 1990s.) In those three decades of reading it, I don’t believe that I ever saw a picture of an adult sitting on a toilet, either for real or in a movie pose. (I suspect that the paper might have run cute “gag” photos of little kids on potty seats, hence my care in saying “an adult sitting on a toilet.”)  If I’m correct that it’s a fairly new phenomenon for a general circulation newspaper to show a picture of an adult sitting on a toilet, I’m wondering what to make of this phenomenon.

As the well-known children’s book says “Everybody Poops,” so it’s not as if the picture is of some perverse act unique to a small segment of people. In past eras, most notably the Roman era, pooping was a social phenomenon. The beautifully designed toilet in the Roman ruins at Ephesus even had a raised dais so that the assembled “guests” could be serenaded with beautiful music as they went about their business:

Roman toilet at Ephesus

The thing is that, in our modern Western culture, at least until lately, we’ve kept our bodily functions private, not public. To me, it’s still rather shocking to see a picture of a grown woman sitting on a toilet, in a filthy looking bathroom, examining God-alone-knows-what on her finger. Even more shocking is that this picture is in a general interest newspaper accessible to any child. (And no, I don’t know if the picture is in the print edition, but it’s definitely out there in the Chron’s online site.) And yes, I tend to find acute vulgarity shocking.

Am I a prudish Miss Grundy? Or am I the last gasp of some level of societal propriety? Or am I making an ethical mountain out of an inconsequential molehill?

Your opinions, please.

For Obama, there is no “defining moment”

Arrogant ObamaI’ve noticed a phrase that keeps cropping up in connection with articles about Obama: “defining moment.” My most recent sighting was in a Power Line post discussing Obama’s desperate (and manifestly false) efforts to walk away from his claim that ISIS was a “JV” team. There, Scott Johnson ends optimistically:

I think that Obama’s flagrant misjudgment in this case is a defining moment. It is a misjudgment consistent with his 2012 campaign themes in which he declared victory over al Qaeda (“decimated” and “on the run”). It indelibly marks Obama himself as the JV president and he therefore flails away against it.

Scott Johnson isn’t the only one looking for something that will be an epitaph for Obama’s presidency. A couple of weeks ago, a lot of people were pretty darned surprised when Obama, who has known about ISIS for at least a year, and should have known about it for much longer, publicly admitted that he had “no strategy” for dealing with it. Thomas Lifson thought this too would end up defining the presidency:

President Obama has now placed himself in an extraordinarily vulnerable position should ISIS act against the American people with its customary savagery. His arrogant dismissal of it with a sports metaphor, his admission of no strategy, and his track record of dithering and unseriousness combine to make his gaffe into what could become his political epitaph.

Johnson and Lifson are not alone in their search for that perfect gaffe or image or policy. On both the Left and the Right, pundits keeps looking at something Obama has done and opining that, for better or worse, it’s a “defining moment.” In April, after yet another Obama blunder (this one about entrepreneurs) Pat Sajak has helpfully explained what constitutes a negative “defining moment” in a presidency:

It’s as if President Obama climbed into a tank, put on his helmet, talked about how his foray into Cambodia was seared in his memory, looked at his watch, misspelled “potato” and pardoned Richard Nixon all in the same day. It’s fun to imagine the hand-wringing that must be going on within the White House as staffers try to figure out how to undo the damage their boss has done with his anti-entrepenurial riff. Defining moments in politics are strange beasts. Sometimes they’re only recognized in hindsight, while sometimes they throw the train off the tracks before a sentence has been completed. Sometimes their effect can be contained and minimized, while sometimes their effect on the political narrative mestastasizes. This one is very bad for the White House.

These defining moments take hold most devastatingly when they confirm what a large portion of the electorate already believes. Taken alone, it seems unfair that a single moment, an unguarded remark or a slip of the tongue can carry such weight. They’re often dismissed as “gotcha” moments, but when voters are able to nod and say, “I knew it,” these moments stick and do terrible damage. We have witnessed such a moment.

Defining moments, whether positive or negative, are definitely useful depending on whether one supports or opposes the president who gets defined.  This time around, though, with this president, there will not be any defining moments.

What we forget when we think of the defining moments is the media’s essential role in promulgating them. The Jimmy Carter “killer rabbit” debacle perfectly exemplifies what I mean. Despite Carter’s Democrat creds, the media had tired of him by 1979. The economy was in the doldrums and the world seemed dangerous.  The Iranian hostage crisis hadn’t happened yet, but Carter looked weak (something that subsequent events proved).  When the “killer rabbit” story broke, the media was all too ready to humiliate him, especially because Teddy Kennedy was waiting in the wings:

carter_killer rabbit

jimmy-carter-and-the-swamp-rabbit

For a president who had already weathered lusting after the Polish people, not to mention all the lust in his heart, this was one foolish moment too many.

As you may recall, the media also savaged Presidential Gerald Ford, an exceptionally athletic man, as a clumsy yahoo. When he did what everyone occasionally does — trip — it was elevated into an intellectual and moral failing, defining his presidency in the eyes of a post-Watergate public already jaded by politicians and their foibles.

Obama is different, though.  The media absolutely refuses to follow up in any serious way when it comes to Obama’s gaffes and failures.  Sure, papers will report on them in a small paragraph in a boring article in the back of the paper and TV outlets might mention them in passing, but there is no real coverage.  Unlike the “killer rabbit” moment, which I distinctly remember showing up on the front page of the SF Chronicle, most American media consumers know nothing about ISIS = JV gaffes and lies, or “corpse-man” gaffes, or Hawaii=Asia gaffes, or “red line in Syria” gaffes, Benghazi spin, or even “If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance” lies.  These things are strictly insider politics, red meat for the fanatics who follow every little thing.  My sister, the quintessential low info consumer has never heard of any of these things unless I, a news nerd, expressly told her about them.

Conservatives can spin these moments as much as possible within the confines of the conservative blogosphere, but they’re not gaining traction and sticking in the larger public sphere.  To the extent conservatives lack the all-encompassing national reach of the mainstream media, news stories that ought to be “defining moments” remain insider laundry lists.  And no, Fox News alone is still insufficient.  While other television news outlets are failing compared to Fox, the fact that the liberals own all of the other television news outlet; HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central; the major print news outlets; all of the major magazines, from sports to fashion to gossip to household hints; our public schools; and the majority of Hollywood’s top performers means that, while news junkies get Fox, all other low-info consumers . . . don’t.

All is not perfect for the media, though.  While it’s experienced consistent success when it comes to quashing negative “defining moments” about Obama, it’s been unable to maintain any positive “defining moments.”  Thus, while most Americans haven’t been repeatedly  hit over the head with the Big Lie (“If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance”), they haven’t missed the fact that Obamacare has not performed as promised.  Likewise, while they probably missed both the “red line” and the JV statements, they’re fully aware of ISIS’s marauding, and are no doubt wondering how this can be happening under Obama’s reign of goodness and light.  Voters are getting the big picture (which is reflected in Obama’s collapsing poll numbers), but they’re missing the epitaphs.

Given voters’ increasing disenchantment with Obama, does it matter then that there is no sticky defining moment that becomes a shorthand for everything that’s wrong with the administration?  I think it does.  Without that sticky imagery, every Obama failing must be defined and disseminated from the ground up.  An analogy would be 50 First Dates, the movie in which Drew Barrymore, after a car accident, wakes up every day remembering only the events leading up to the car accident, with no memory of any subsequent events.  It’s a cute conceit for a movie, but a miserable way to run a country.

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