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.

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

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

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

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

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The Bookworm Beat 1/17/15 — Supplemental edition and Open Thread

Woman writingSince I wrote the preceding Bookworm Beat, two things showed up on my computer that I wanted to address.

You’re not brave if there’s no risk

In 2006, as part of Project 2,996, I wrote about New York Fire Fighter Brian Ahearn. I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for the ghosts and traces of Lt. Ahearn, and ended up feeling as if I really knew the man who, despite a lovely and fulfilling life, bravely raced into a burning high rise hoping to rescue people from the destruction. Lt. Ahearn was never seen again. In my post about him, I thought a lot about his raw courage and it was this idea — this courage — that opened my post:

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Do conservatives sometimes give their political opponents the gift of a high profile?

Dan Bongino has a good point and an interesting question. What do you think?

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

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

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

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And just a couple of wrap ups:

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