Strange day Open Thread

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This has been a very strange day, starting at about 3 am when I awoke to find that the power had gone out. By the time I’d notified PG&E, I was wide awake and suspected that my day had begun early. Then, one of the dogs came down, which she only does when she needs that rare night-time walk. By the time I finished with that, I was certain that sleep had fled. Except that my dog cuddled up next to me and I was able to sleep again until my back-up alarm went off. The day has continued in that mode since then — something’s happened that shouldn’t have happened, that should have disrupted things but, instead, it actually made things flow more easily.

We often complain about Murphy’s Law days and the negative impact they have on our lives. As of now, I’m in awe about a Murphy’s Law day — everything going wrong — and the way each wrong thing has paved the way for something that’s actually better than the status quo would have been.

Anyway, what with one thing and another (including that power outage), I haven’t had a chance even to read the news. I’m heading off for a couple of hours now, but hope to write more upon my return. Until then, please enjoy this open thread. Also, I cannot guarantee that my friend the Canardvark will be able to post today, but if he does, I can guarantee that it’s really good and worth the three minutes of your time that it will take.

Oh, also, because this is the Tuesday after Dancing With The Stars, here’s another Amy Purdy moment. She wasn’t the best dancer of the evening, but I continue to be deeply impressed by her abilities:

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread *UPDATED*

Victorian posy of pansiesSpring break is over and real life resumes. The kids weren’t thrilled to return to school, but I’m pretty pleased to have my life back on schedule. As you could probably tell from last week’s lethargic blogging, I don’t do well without some boundaries to my days. I’m off to exercise soon (Yay, me!), but first a few quick links:

One of my running themes since Obama started to run for President is that he lies, and lies, and lies some more. The rest of America is finally — finally! — figuring this out for itself.

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I love Commentary Magazine, which helped me transition from Democrat to conservative. Nevertheless, I’ve been consistently dismayed by its East Coast, Ivy League, snotty attitude towards Sarah Palin. In that, it perfectly echoes the liberals who surround me who, when unable to challenge Palin’s accomplishments in 2008, especially when compared to Obama’s much lesser list of accomplishments in the same year, fell back on the line “She’s not one of us.” It’s painful to see that Obama’s failures (and he is “one of them”) still haven’t changed the classist mindset over at Commentary.

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Political advertisers (i.e., heavily funded Leftist interest groups) own the content at Politico. And Soros’ own Media Matters out-and-out wrote content at CBS. The problem is that, while you and I care about this confluence between news that sold as “objective” and hard-line Leftist partisan organizations, ordinary people cannot be made to care. Instead of reacting with outrage and a desire for “clean” information, they continue to respond to dishonest emotional appeals from the Left.  No wonder John Fund can credibly suggest that Democrats will tell any lies, no matter how inflammatory and slanderous (and, therefore, destructive of the American political and social scene) in order to get out that vote.

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I wrote about the outrage on the Left because the Koch brothers have the temerity to donate to libertarian political causes. How dare rich people buy political influence? Funnily enough (sarcasm), they’ve been completely silent about Tom Steyer’s massive payment for political influence. After my work-out, I think I’ll write up a petition, paralleling the MoveOn one, asking people to “denounce” Steyer.

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Thomas Piketty, an economist, is the newest darling among the Leftist intelligentsia and faux intelligentsia (but I repeat myself), because he claims that capitalism is inherently unfair since it’s entirely predicated on income inequality. Clive Crook explains that even the meanest intelligence should see that Piketty’s conclusions don’t match his data. I’ll add something that Crook didn’t say and that I’m sure Piketty ignored: Capitalism is not a still photograph; it’s a moving picture. In any specific frame, there will be rich people and poor people who are separated by a wide gap. However, the dynamic of capitalism is that the poor in one still photo are not the same as the poor in the next.  Socialism, by contrast, is a still photograph: Except for the coddled nomenklatura, everyone else stays firmly mired at the bottom forever.

UPDATE: Of all sources, the New York Times backs up my statement that the problem with socialist economists is that they understand the economy in static, not dynamic terms:

It turns out that 12 percent of the population will find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one year. What’s more, 39 percent of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, 56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent, and a whopping 73 percent will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.

Yet while many Americans will experience some level of affluence during their lives, a much smaller percentage of them will do so for an extended period of time. Although 12 percent of the population will experience a year in which they find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, a mere 0.6 percent will do so in 10 consecutive years.

It is clear that the image of a static 1 and 99 percent is largely incorrect. The majority of Americans will experience at least one year of affluence at some point during their working careers. (This is just as true at the bottom of the income distribution scale, where 54 percent of Americans will experience poverty or near poverty at least once between the ages of 25 and 60).

Hat tip: Tom Elia

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Anthropogenic climate change is a con. Even if one assumes solely for the sake of argument that our carbon output exceeds the sun’s control over the earth’s atmosphere, science, history, and common sense all show that a minimal rise in CO2 levels provides more food and water around the world, not less.

Sleepy Easter round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI thought my day would be busier, but it’s settled into a relaxing mode that makes enticing just a wee bit of blogging.  So that’s what I’m doing here — a wee bit of blogging.

First on the agenda is a freaky “pigs flying” moment from MSNBC.  NewsBusters caught a panel on the Chris Hayes show, including a writer from the far-Left Nationexpressing some queasiness about the way in which gay rights activists have been targeting individuals.  I’m sure the MSNBC/Nation crew will recover quickly from this brief lapse into sanity, but it sure does make for interesting reading.

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Pat Sajak has his own subtle comment about pressure from gay right’s activists.

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Sultan Knish on the moral vacuum of Progressive morality.

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I cited David Archibald this morning for his chilling look at the potential famine dogging Egypt’s heels.  I’m citing him this afternoon because of his trenchant post about solar activity and the scientific community’s resolute refusal to acknowledge the data lest it clash with their anthropogenic global warming narrative.

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I think there are few students of Tudor history who don’t prefer Queen Elizabeth I to Mary I.  Elizabeth was charismatic, beautiful, witty, and one of the first people in history to hold that a person’s religious beliefs should be private.  By contrast, Mary, although personally kind and warm, was lumpy, unattractive, often pitiable, and religiously fanatic.  It was she who brought auto de fe to England in her effort to turn back the Protestant reformation.  She succeeded only in creating martyrs and died knowing that her attempts to reinstate Catholicism had failed.  For her sake, though, I hope that there is a conscience afterlife and that she is enjoying the spectacle of a liberal Church of England denuding itself of parishioners even as the more stringent Catholic church witnesses an increase in its numbers.

My personal history helps me understand why the C of E is failing, despite abasing itself ever more before every Leftist social and political trend.  Although I grew up in a non-religious household, when it came to Passover, my family went all out.  We did the entire Passover in both Hebrew and English, complete with every ritual.  Even as children, we were expected to participate fully.  When I was an adult and far from home, a friend invited me to her family’s Passover.  They were reform.  The ritual was conducted in English, although the language wouldn’t have mattered, because no one was paying attention.  There was no reverence for this ancient celebration of the world’s first slave revolt.  I was bored and dismayed.  My feeling then, as it is now, is “If you’re going to be religious, be religious.  Unless you invest religion with meaning, why bother?”

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Occasionally, the New York Times shows why people still respect its writing.  At the very bottom of a movie review, where it sums up the reason the movie is given a specific rating (e.g., PG or R), the Times has this to say about Make Your Move:  ”‘Make Your Move’ is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Language, drug and sexual references, brief violence and prurient tap dancing.” “Prurient tap dancing?” Is that Fred Astaire I hear rolling in his grave?

A short, sweet Easter afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s Easter Sunday, and that means all family all the time.  No complaints here, though.  It’s been a lovely day so far and I anticipate an equally pleasant afternoon and evening.  Full blogging will not happen today, but here are a few (a very few) links that intrigued me:

I’ve long known in a vague sort of way that Egypt is one grain of wheat away from a famine.  Having read David Archibald’s article, though, I now know in a very specific way precisely what kind of famine may be facing the world’s most populous Muslim nation.  While the Western world seems to have managed to stay one step ahead of Malthus, that’s not the case in Egypt, where bad things — overpopulation, underproduction, lack of diversification, political upheaval, and probable drought — are coming together to create a Perfect Storm of advanced hunger.

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One of my favorite non-fiction books is Thomas Cahill’s The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels. In authoring the book, Cahill has no ego. To the extent that he’s vastly well-informed, he wants to share his knowledge with people, not overwhelm them with his erudition. The result is a book that is simultaneously scholarly and accessible. I mentioned it here because Shmuley Boteach has written what could be the short version of that same book, describing how the Jews have contributed to the world’s well-being.

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Two very specific things in the early 1980s taught me that socialism cannot work. The first was the fact that, when my father visited his sister in East Germany, shortly after she retired from her decade’s long career as a high level Communist Party functionary, he discovered that she had lived for nine years with a broken and unusable kitchen sink. Not to worry, this true believer told my father.  She was “on the list” and was confident that the glorious Communist Party would one day get around to fixing her sink.  I suspect that it was still broken when the wall came down.

The second thing that taught me that socialism cannot work was the story of two hip replacements. Back in 1974, my father got his hip replacement two months or so after he was told that it was the only way to keep him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He walked, albeit with pain for the next twenty years of his life, until his death.

Meanwhile, in 1981, while I was living in England, I met a woman who had been told back in 1979 that a hip replacement was the only thing that would keep her out of a wheelchair. When I met her, she’d been barely functioning for two years, although she’d avoided the wheelchair. After I left, she went into the wheelchair. I lost contact with her about two years after a left England (i.e., four years after the referral for hip surgery), at which time she was still in that wheelchair. I don’t know whether she ever got that hip.

Keep those realities in mind when you read about Sweden’s socialized medicine, which works wonderfully only if you live long enough to benefit from it.

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The DiploMad may not be in the State Department any more, but he has friends who are. He’s learned from these friends that the State Department has a new initiative to ensure that something like Benghazi never happens again. Let me just say that I’m with the DiploMad in thinking that the movers and shakers in State are delusional — and to despair that they’re pursuing their delusions using our dollars and American lives.

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A lawyer friend of mine is brilliant, informed, and an incredibly good writer.  I hope those are adequate reasons for you to check out his post about the Free Speech (and Association) implications of the attack on Brendan Eich.

Computer restored Open Thread

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My computer was giving me problems all this week, which slowed me down and, eventually, stopped me altogether.  The computer finally is back up and running now, thanks to an old friend who’s a very good tech guru.  Now, though, I have to run, since my Mom has a doctor’s appointment.  I’ll be back in a few hours and  I hope that, by then,  I have something interesting to say.  If not, well . . . I guess we all get our mental “down” days.

Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWe always hear about countries or communities that are suffering from brain drain.  I’m not sure if brain drain can ever be defined down to an individual level but, if it can, I’ve got it.  Insomnia always leaves me with fewer brain cells the next day.  Still, there’s interesting stuff out there, and here I am to share it with you.

I’ve never been a fan of ostentatious wealth.  I’m happy shopping at Target and Costco, and I find embarrassing the lavish annual vacations we take.  Having said that, I find even more embarrassing this San Francisco-based guy who apologized for his ostentatious display of Google glasses, which was, he believes, the root cause for his being mugged and the glasses being destroyed before his eyes.

Thomas Lifson says it will be interesting to see this Progressive civil war play out, and posits that conservatives might be able to take advantage of it.  Certainly, it will be good if they neutralize each other.  My only comment is to ask why, in Progressive-land, it’s okay for a mugging victim to say that it was his fault — he was asking for it — by wearing ostentatious technology, but it’s not okay tell young women that it’s stupid to get sh*t-faced on alcohol, which is often a predicate to morning-after regrets that are then reclassified as rape?  

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Ron Christie points out that crying “race” is the last refuge of a failed Democrat party.  Failed, yes, but still mighty powerful, especially when its opposition is strong on ideas, but weak on organization.

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Yes, the economic sky is falling.  We’ll all be speaking Greek soon.

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More to follow so check back in a while….

Appointments Open Thread

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So far this morning, I’ve been running around in the house.  Now, I have to leave to run around outside of the house.  I hope to blog at around mid-day, but until then, three articles to give you food for thought and then an invitation to use this Open Thread for whatever you find interesting.

On the subject of gay identity, a woman is listed as a “father” on a birth certificate, even though, in our Brave New World, that’s still biologically impossible, and a gay man exposes the scientific fraud behind “gay biology,” since the thinking is that straights can become gay, but gays cannot become straights.  I believe absolutely that there are people who are effeminate but straight, macho but gay, butch but straight, and feminine but lesbian.  Some people are more hard wired than others.  Many live in a fluid realm.  And some people elevate certain values above their sexual orientation and identity.  It’s therefore ridiculous — and wrong — to claim that the journey between gay and straight is a one way street, that only lands in gay territory.

Also, would it surprise you that John Kerry’s State Department and Obama’s White House engaged in a concerted, deliberate, long-term plan to scapegoat Israel for the failure of John Kerry’s peace talks?  Not surprised?  I wasn’t either.  A nice companion piece is Norman Podhoretz’s refusal to feel pity for the Palestinians, a wonderful essay that rips aside the “Emperor’s New Clothes” mentality that has everyone, Jews included, paying lip service to the Palestinians’ plight.

And now I must run.  (Apologies for typos.  I’m really rushed now, so no effort at proofreading.)

Tuesday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThis is one of those days where my day totally didn’t go as planned . . . but for good reasons.  How often can one say that?  Plans or no plans, though, the news marches on and there’s so much interesting stuff I want to share with you.

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When Rep. Louis Gohmert (R.) pointed out to Eric Holder that Holder seemed remarkably unfazed by the fact that Congress had held him in contempt, Holder, showing remarkable contempt for Congress, snapped ““You don’t want to go there, buddy! You don’t want to go there, okay.”

If it were me, I’d hold Holder in contempt just for that — that is, for the gross disrespect with which he spoke to a Congressman while actually appearing before Congress.  Certainly, if this had been a courtroom and Holder had  spoken that way to a judge, Holder would instantly have been cooling his heels in a jail cell.  Holder also seems to have forgotten that Holder’s an appointee (a mere employee), while Gohmert is a representative of the people.

Aside from the obvious crude, vulgar conduct, what’s noteworthy is that Holder insists that, while he’s personally pained that he was held in contempt for refusing to turn over Fast and Furious documents, he still has no intention of turning over the documents.  Holder’s arrogance tells you a lot about the state of Washington, D.C. today.  Holder knows that, because he and his boss are black, Congress will do precisely nothing to force him to abide by Congress’s demands and his constitutional obligations.

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May I speak frankly? John Kerry is a brainless, cowardly, dishonest, antisemitic cancer infecting the American body politic. To the extent he’s also Secretary of State, I’d say that his particular disease is widespread in American politics and comes from the top. Just sayin’.

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I already heard from a reliably Leftist friend why we shouldn’t believe data showing that health insurance premiums have skyrocketed since Obamacare went into effect: Because insurance brokers are facing competition from Obamacare, the sampling of 148 insurance brokers must be discounted on the presumption that those queried were lying when they provided insurance pricing information. The friend implied that a larger sampling would have made a difference, but that’s a sop to the stupid.  If he thinks brokers are inherently dishonest because they don’t like Obamacare, then it’s irrelevant how many one surveys.

I see things a little differently. I’m pretty damn sure that, if you force everybody to buy over-the-top insurance that exceeds what most people want, and make half of the purchasers pay for the other half, premiums are going to go up quickly and frequently.

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Still on the healthcare front, this is exciting news: four men with severely damaged spinal cords are able to move their legs again thanks to electrical stimulation that may be retraining both brain and spinal cord. That’s just totally freakin’ amazing and I hope it’s something real and not just anomalous.

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I had a whole bunch of links and arguments lined up to discuss the ironic news that the CEO of OKCupid, the company that started the witch hunt against Brendan Eich, is on record as having donated to a pro-traditional marriage politician (more than one, in fact, if you count his 2008 donation to Barack Obama). Then I read Ace and realized I didn’t have anything to add to the subject.

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Dennis Prager explains why the Mozilla boycott is important and, more than that, necessary to preserve American liberties (emphasis mine):

As Princeton professor Robert George warned on my radio show, today the Left fires employees for opposition to same-sex marriage. Tomorrow it will fire employees who are pro-life (“anti-woman”). Then it will be employees who support Israel (an “apartheid state”).

The reason to boycott Firefox is not that it is run by leftists. Nor is the reason to support the man-woman definition of marriage. It is solely in order to preserve liberty in the land of liberty.
If Mozilla doesn’t recant and rehire Eich as CEO, McCarthyism will have returned far more pervasively and perniciously than in its first incarnation. The message the gay Left (such as the Orwellian-named Human Rights Campaign) and the Left in general wish to send is that Americans who are in positions of power at any company should be forced to resign if they hold a position that the Left strongly opposes.

And right now that position is opposition to same-sex marriage.

Think about that. In the United States of America today, the belief that marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and woman is portrayed as so vile by the Left that anyone who holds it is unfit for employment.

[snip]

The battle over Firefox is the most important battle in America at this particular moment. If you use Firefox, uninstall it, and use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. For Windows, try Pale Moon, which is based on the Firefox engine and will import all of your bookmarks; for mobile devices, you can try Puffin.

America can have liberty or it can have Firefox. Right now, it cannot have both.

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Victor Davis Hanson details how, in just five years, Obama has destroyed the world order as it existed since 1942, one that saw America use a variety of strategies to encourage countries that support individual freedom and to isolate, weaken, and perhaps destroy those that don’t. Obama has not retreated to the isolation America embraced after WWI, when it left the world alone and asked the world to leave it alone. Instead, Obama is very deliberately cultivating or encouraging freedom’s enemies, while manifestly abandoning freedom’s (and America’s) allies.

Funnily enough, Obama’s official foreign policy on behalf of the United States of America precisely tracks the legal definition of treason (18 U.S. Code § 2381):

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Allow me to channel Elmer Fudd: “Be afwaid. Be vewy, vewy afwaid.” And as Fudd wouldn’t have said, the Pax American is officially over; let Armageddon begin.

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Obama and his minions are gloating about Obamacare’s 7.1 million enrollments. They seem to have lost sight of the fact that forcing people into a government program is entirely separate from the government program’s actually functioning. Michael Ramirez hasn’t forgotten that little detail.

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Maybe none of this is surprising considering that the mayor’s name is “Outlaw”:

One-thousand “brothers in blue” came to pay their respects this afternoon to Officer Alexander Thalmann, 22, killed in the line of duty in New Bern, N.C., last week.

Thalmann’s partner, Officer Justin Wester, 23, is recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg from the shootout that left convicted felon, Bryan Stallings, 35, dead.

The incident happened March 28, in the housing projects known as Craven Terrace.

The town’s grief was made even more painful by the local administration’s handling of events following the young officer’s death.

For unknown reasons, newly elected, Mayor Dana Outlaw chose to attend Thursday’s funeral of the career criminal.

Adding insult to injury, last night’s planned memorial for local citizens to say “goodbye” to Alexander Thalmann was cancelled by the mayor’s office.

It was alleged that two of the city’s aldermen had invited relatives of the killer to attend the vigil. Rather than rescind the invitation, the city chose to cancel the event.

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You actually don’t have to go any further than the title to Daniel Greenfield’s post to know that he’s written something good and important: Islam Is What Happens When Civilization Loses.

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I’ve mentioned before the main reason an Ivy League liberal I know refused even to consider Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate, despite reluctantly conceding that (a) she had more governing experience than Barack Obama in 2008 and (b) she would have been an apprentice, if she won, not the main player. That was all irrelevant. What matter was that Palin, unlike prep school, Ivy League communist Obama, “is not one of us.” I thought of that liberal when I read about Kathleen Parker’s unconscionable snobbery.

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Have you registered yet for American CurrentSee, a free online magazine that seeks to give a voice to conservative American blacks? I hasten to add here that the magazine is not limited to black writers or black issues. In other words, it’s a magazine that’s truly diverse, rather than a monolithic magazine that simply pays lip-service to some abstract “diversity.” The magazine examines politics and social issues that affect blacks, but that also affect all of us who want a strong, unified, freedom-loving country. So far, I’m pleased that I signed up.

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And finally, I continue to be completely impressed by Amy Purdy’s turn on Dancing With The Stars (this time with a new partner for the week):

Saturday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI pulled up my usual morning reads and found some excellent stuff I’d like to share with you.  American Thinker gets four shout-outs this morning.  Really.  Its content today was that good.

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Maybe I’m imagining it, but I do think James Lewis has put together a must-read summary about the state of modern Europe . . . and about Russia’s potential role as its savior.  I hear you ask “Saving Europe from what?”  The answer is depressingly easy:  Saving it from a complete Muslim takeover.  If Lewis is right, our children and grandchildren will live in a broken-down, vulnerable “Fortress America” that peers fearfully at a Eurasian continent controlled either by the Ummah or an imperial Russia.  Neither bodes well for America’s future.

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Some Brits are trying to counter Europe’s fall by forming their own Tea Party (and yes, I’m alive to the historic irony). The problem these Brits will have is the same problem the American Tea Party has had since its formation. The Tea Party adherents are arguing in factual and ideological terms. Their opponents ignore these substantive arguments and, instead, paint them as Satan. No one wants to think of himself as being part of the party of Satan. Dale Carnegie had already figured this one out in his classic How To Win Friends and Influence People. The very first chapter of his book is given over entirely to the principle that people want to view themselves in the best light, and will lie about who they are and what they do in order to maintain what’s often a self-serving illusion.

Conservatives have to start arguing in ways that snatch this moral high ground away from the Left. A good way to learn about both offensive and defensive techniques for decimating Leftist emotion-based screeds is to read Ben Shapiro’s How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them. To get a free copy, just register for free at Truth Revolt (another site I’ve added to my morning reading list).  You’ll then be able to download Shapiro’s short, pithy book spelling out techniques for challenging Leftist dominance of the mental airspace. (And here’s another example of this emotional dominance: the Leftist take-over of the AP exams, which includes the usual savage, fact-free, emotion-based attacks against America’s founding and exceptionalism.)

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Dean Kalahar tracks the decline and fall of the African-American family and, with it, the decline and fall of African Americans.  The last time I saw these statistics compiled so nicely was in John McWhorter’s Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America (which, interestingly, is not available on Kindle, although his other books are). Both Kalahar and McWhorter point to the same culprit: white guilt and the resulting welfare state, a toxic combination that removed black men’s centrality to family and financial well-being and, instead, made them extraneous.

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While conservatives have been enjoying the Leland Yee story because it so perfectly illustrates the Left’s hypocrisy (Lee preached gun control in the California legislature while engaged in gun running for profit), the Left has been quiet. There are two different types of quiet going on: at the bottom level (the information consumers) the quiet arises because they don’t know about Leland Yee or, if they do, they only know that a politician of unknown party was indicted for unknown acts. This ignorance arises from the second type of quiet: Outside of California, the MSM refuses to talk about Yee’s arrest. It’s “three monkeys” coverage: when it comes to Democrats, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The Left will not cannibalize its own, ever.

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Kevin Williamson suggests that conservatives might want to do a little less cannibalizing — that is, they might do less if they want to win:

Republicans now have the opportunity to effectively bring the Obama administration’s legislative program to an early end this November by eliminating the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, which would also give them a much stronger hand in keeping the worst of his appointees out of office, safely quarantined in whatever dank recesses of academia currently housing them. And while one should never underestimate the Republicans’ ability to blunder their way into missing a political opportunity or the fickleness of our bread-and-circuses electorate, there is a very good chance that that will happen. (Knock wood, salt over the shoulder — pick your own prophylactic.) But conservatives all too often seem to have failed to learn the lesson of the heavy losses we have suffered during the Obama years: The differences among us are minor compared with the differences between us and them, which are fundamental.

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It turns out that there are problems with fracking, but they’re not the environmental menace problems that have the greenies’ heads spinning in replays of the Exorcist. Instead, the problems result directly from the greenie head spinning, which makes it impossible to optimize the bounty flowing from beneath American soil.

Reading this reminded me that we survived the Carter years because he lost his reelection bid, so that he was unable to consolidate his failures. I still question whether we will survive eight years of Obama.

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I always like Andrew Klavan. I especially like him when he looks at the way in which the Left uses a war on language to wage a war on freedom.

Friday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe Taliban has hit Marin County (indirectly).  Marin County is headquarters for Roots of Peace, an admirable charity that seeks to advance agricultural development in poverty-stricken areas.  It has an outpost in Afghanistan, where it seeks to enable the Afghani people to feed themselves.  The Taliban can’t have that kind of thing happening in its country.  It therefore sent off some foot soldiers to attack the Roots of Peace Kabul office, killing a child in the process.  If radical Islam had a cable-TV station, it’s motto would be “All war, all the time.”  One wonders if this will be a bit of reality that mugs that peaceniks who are so self-centered that they cannot envision cultures that have, as their core value, a desire for perpetual warfare.

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David Clarke, Milwaukee’s Sheriff, made a splash when he encouraged Milwaukee’s beleaguered citizens to arm themselves:

Police chief get a gun

I think Clarke may have found a kindred spirit in Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a press conference in which he discussed the rising numbers of homeowners (successfully) using arms to defend themselves, he had this to say:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference last week that in his 37-year career, he’s never seen as many homeowners defending themselves by shooting intruders. Craig told The News in January he felt the crime rate could be lowered if more “good Americans” were armed, because he said criminals would think twice about attacking.

“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig said. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides. It’s interesting that these incidents go across gender lines.”

We want more law enforcement like Clarke and Craig, and less like Marin’s Second Amendment-challenged sheriff.

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I also want more of this:  An Ebony magazine editor went on a rant against conservative blacks; got called on it; claimed that the person calling her out was a white racist; when she learned that the person calling her out was black apologized for calling him white; and then doubled down on rants that were both anti-conservative black and anti-white.  (That’s not want I want to see more of.  It’s this next thing I like.)  Normally, Republicans would run away screaming from this type of confrontation, leaving the racist Leftist in control of the field.  This time, the RNC demanded an apology . . . and got it.

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Speaking of the Left’s racial obsessions:  Any half-sentient being knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is that he created a faux-conservative character who is pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc., and that Colbert, a marginally-talented generic Leftist, uses this character to claim that all conservatives are pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc.  That’s why it’s hysterically funny that, when his show tried to  highlight (non-existent) Republican racism by having his character ostensibly tweet out a crude anti-Asian stereotype, the Asian community got riled and demanded that Colbert be fired for being an anti-Asian racist.  Asians should stop getting their knickers in a twist about stupid TV shows and should start looking at where their real politic interests lie.  (Hint:  It’s not the Democrat Party.)

***

Leland Yee has been around forever as a fixture in Bay Area politics.  As his name implies, he’s Asian, he’s hard Left, and he represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo in the California legislature.  Since Sandy Hook, Yee’s been very vocal about being anti-guns.  He also just got indicted for gun running, including trying to sell arms to Islamist groups.  The MSM has been trying hard to ignore his story, as it’s been trying hard to ignore a bunch of other stories about spectacularly corrupt Democrat figures.  Howie Carr therefore serves a useful public service when he calls out the media, the Democrat party, and the crooks.

***

Speaking of crooks, Harry Reid claims never to have called Republicans liars when it comes to Obamacare, despite footage of him calling Republicans liars because of Obamacare.  There’s some debate on the Right about whether Reid’s gone senile or is just trying out his version of The Big Lie.  My theory is that we’re seeing malignant narcissism in play.  As I’ve said a zillion times before in speaking about Obama, malignant narcissists never “lie” because their needs of the moment always dictate the truth of the moment.  That is, if they need to say it, it must be true.  (It’s nice to be your own God.)

***

Keith Koffler identifies the four roots of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy.  I agree with him, although I would add a fifth, which is that Obama desperately wants to see America knocked down to size as punishment for her myriad sins.  Perhaps Obama should read the DiploMad, as he explains why Russia, the country before which Obama is now weakly doing obeisance, has always been much worse than America could ever be, both as a protector and an enemy.

***

Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr. has died at 89.  The public learned about Denton during the Vietnam War when, during one of the forced confessions that the North Vietnamese liked to televise to the world, he blinked out a Morse code message — “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” — thereby providing the first proof America had that the Commies were torturing American POWs.  During the same interview, he bravely said he supported his country, a statement that led to more torture.  Denton was also America’s longest-held POW, spending almost 8 years in the Hell that was the Hanoi Hilton, and various related prisons.  During that entire time, he was brutally and repeatedly tortured and he spent four years in solitary confinement (where he was tortured).  My heart bleeds when I read what happened to him.  But Denton came home and he got on with a full, rich life, including six years in the U.S. Senate.  If anyone deserves to Rest In Peace, it is Adm. Denton.

***

I don’t think much of Stanford.  It’s nothing personal.  I think all the big universities (and most of the small ones) have become intellectually corrupt.  However, Prof. Michael McConnell, at Stanford Law School, has somewhat restored my faith in Stanford by writing one of the clearest analyses I’ve yet seen of the problems facing the government in the Hobby Lobby case.  Of course, law and logic will not sway Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer, all of whom are activists much more concerned with making policy than with applying law.  As happens too often, Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote — a reality that places way too much power in the hands of a man who seems too often to blow, not where the Constitution takes him, but wherever his fancy for the day alights.

***

And to end on a light note, two more ridiculously funny Kid Snippets, offering an inspired combination of kid wisdom lip synched by some remarkably talented adult actors:

 

Learning how to walk again Open Thread

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I’m off crutches — hurrah! — for the first time in a month and a half. It’s wonderful to be free of them. I used them as awkwardly and inelegantly on the last day as I did on the first, something that was both frustrating and painful.

Today I’m learning how to walk again. It turns out that a mere six weeks is more than long enough for muscles to atrophy and muscle memory to die. The atrophy brings a lot of pain with it and that, combined with the muscle memory loss, means that I’ve lost the knack of walking. I can do it only if I constantly repeat to myself “heel, toe, heel, toe.” Without that mantra, I lapse into a bizarre flat-footed, stiff-kneed gait that throws my whole body off-balance.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’m getting better really quickly. The atrophied muscle is already making a come-back, the memory is returning, and I’m feeling more natural with every step I take. I’m confident that, by next week, when the dog walking service ends, I’ll be able to drive to the nearby flat-lands and take my dogs for a good, long walk — good for them and good for me.

More movement also means that my brain feels less stultified. When I was on the crutches, my thoughts were feeling as immobile as my body. Now, everything seems to be ticking along better. So, I’ll have stuff to write later today.

In the meantime, please enjoy this Open Thread.

Monday afternoon mini round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThoughtful Jews are increasingly thinking one thought:  the notion of a two-state solution is ridiculous.  Moshe Philips and Benyamin Korn explain why it’s ridiculous.  And in a superior interview on the Glenn Beck show, Caroline Glick offers a single-state alternative.

***

When I was on vacation a few years ago, I met an extremely nice man who had retired from being a (very) high-powered executive and, instead, had become an Episcopalian minister.  He did not have a congregation but, instead, spent his energy furthering “social justice.” I, being a curious type, tried to elicit from him what this meant in practical terms. He was unable to answer my questions.  I have wondered since then whether his reticence was because he didn’t want to admit what he was doing or because he couldn’t admit what he was doing. After all, as Jonah Goldberg explains in this video, social justice is a very amorphous concept at best. And at worst, when boiled down to its essence, it demands that Big Government redistribute all wealth — something I don’t think this former high-powered executive, who lived an expensive life, was willing to admit even to himself:

***

I’ve seen several articles about the English Law Society’s decision to accommodate sharia law officially in the courts. All decry it. Tom Wilson, I think, has the best analysis of why it’s such an appallingly dreadful thing to happen in the land that gave us the Magna Carta and that seeded in America the ideas of liberty and equality.

***

Here’s something that is totally weird: I agree completely with Bill Clinton. When it comes to the internet, he makes good sense: “I understand in theory why we would like to have a multi-stakeholder process. I favor that. I just know that a lot of these so-called multi-stakeholders are really governments that want to gag people and restrict access to the Internet.” Part of Obama’s post-election flexibility, though, means he no longer need make obeisance to the Clintons, so he can ignore Bill’s sound advice.

***

Obama’s feminization of the American military continues apace. The latest goal is to use special forces not to engage in high-level military activity (guns, grenades, 20 different ways to kill with a ballpoint pen) but, instead, to turn them into a cutting-edge coffee-klatch. No wonder Obama is getting rid of the Tomahawk and Hellfire missiles. The new military will no longer shoot weapons; instead, it will kill the enemy with vicious girly gossip.

***

The far-Left is a comfortable resting place for angry, insane people. And no, those are not pejoratives. They accurately, almost clinically describe women who claim that Ronald Reagan is responsible for any stigma that fat people suffer in today’s society.

***

Sultan Knish has an excellent comparison between Vlad Putin’s old-fashioned hunger for land and power (so 19th century!) versus Barack Obama’s cool, modern hunger for pop culture fame, especially when it comes to selling the all-important Obamacare. Daniel Greenfield’s important point is that, while the two men intentionally project very different images, they are both totalitarians at heart, doing what they need to seize absolute power in their own countries.

***

Too many Jewish families fail to realize how antisemitic American college campuses have become. Nor is this antisemitism confined to fringe departments. Instead, it’s front and center, and increasingly enforced with physical threats and actual violence.

***

“Never before has our nation seen corruption on this scale.” John Hinderaker’s Obamacare epitaph, after reading one liberal woman’s description of her Obamacare travails — and what it finally took to fix the problem.

Monday morning Open Thread

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I have a busy morning coming up, but will be back at my computer by about noon Pacific Time. Until then, please enjoy this open thread.

Oh, and a question for you: The headlines for the last few days have been overwhelming, with everything, at home and abroad, in politics and in popular culture, seemingly coming to a head. Coincidence? Cloward-Piven strategy? Planned, but not Cloward-Piven?  Your opinions, please.

Saturday mid-day roundup (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have learned something about myself over the past 5.5 weeks:  I will never master crutches.  After all this time, I still fall going up the stairs, get vertigo going down the stairs, topple over when trying to reach light switches, get abrasions on my skin, and exhaust my injured shoulder.  My big hope for this coming week is that the doctor tells me I can ditch the crutches and use a cane or go unaided on my own two feet.  In the meantime, though, I’ve got stuff I want to share with you:

In 2008, Obama won in significant part by hooking up with pop culture and making himself “cool.”  The implication was exactly what it is in high school:  if you hang with the cool kids, you’ll be cool too.  Obama was cool because he hung with Hollywood . . . and young voters were cool because they wore Obama t-shirts.  Obama is trying to reprise that cool factor with his current campaign to get healthy young people to sign up for Obamacare.  Now that actually money is involved, I suspect he’ll have less success than in 2008, when all you needed to be cool was a t-shirt and a vote.

***

When it comes to understanding how the media functions as the PR arm for the Democrat party, you can’t do better than to read John Hinderaker’s article describing the downstream fallout from the Washington Post‘s cheap and false attack on the Koch brothers. (Hinderaker’s challenge to the original WaPo article is here.) Not only does Hinderaker strip bare the ugliness behind the Post’s defense of its own bad reporting, he also analyzes why the Left is so obsessed with the Koch Brothers, the problems Democrats are starting to have with the “green” worldview, and the money behind the Democrats’ attacks on the Kochs.

***

Two Democrat politicians, one in Arkansas and one in Alaska, have rather foolishly chosen to attack their Republican opponents for having been in the military. The GOP has done an ad highlighting these attacks and focusing on the fact that there is something honorable about having served in the military. I agree, but for me there’s more than that going on.  When I think about military service, what I think about is competence and responsibility. In a society where young people avoid both — and, indeed, are encouraged by law to remain infantile until their 26 — the military forces young people to step up. I know that there are shirkers in the military, but the statistical likelihood is that someone who spent many years in the military is probably a can-do and will-do kind of person.

***

Over the years, I’ve written about the fact that people who support abortion use a very dishonest debate tactic when they pretend that the world is the same as it was before Roe v. Wade. The implication is that, if abortion again becomes limited to life-of-the-mother (and perhaps rape and incest) cases, young girls will be thrown starving into the streets and children will be raised with the stigma of bastardy. In a world in which single mothers are one of the fastest growing demographics, this is ludicrous. The Left also pretends that women will once again return to back alley abortions, complete with unsanitary coat hangers. Indeed, one pro-Abortion outlet is giving “cute” little coat hanger necklaces to those who donate money to the cause.

Here’s something interesting, though: Just as the pro-abortion crowd lies about the world as it is, implying that unwed pregnant women will once again be driven into the snow (barefoot, of course), so too is it lying about the world as it was. Kevin Williamson finds contemporaneous evidence from Planned Parenthood itself saying that, back in the 1960s, while abortion was illegal, it was also safe — indeed, probably safer than at places like Kermit Gosnell’s House of Abortion Horror.

***

J. Christian Adams asks a good question: Why does Michelle Obama’s mother live rent-free in the White House? It might have made sense when the Obama’s first arrived in D.C. with two fairly young daughters, but it makes no sense now. I guess, though, that Michelle loves her Mommy and wants to make sure that Mrs. Robinson also gets to enjoy the pleasures of staying in $8,000 per night suites in Beijing (taxpayer-funded, of course).

“White Trash” is not a skin color, it’s a state of mind. One aspect of the WT state of mind is the person who, when he knows someone else is paying the restaurant bill, orders the most expensive thing on the menu. The Obamas are quite definitely White Trash.

***

In my real-me Facebook world, my friends still cling to the Anthropogenic Climate Change theory. In the real world, actual scientists (as opposed to PhD-holding crusaders looking for large government grants) are finally waking up and smelling the con-job coffee. It remains to be seen whether the climate-change generation is going to be able to walk away from this false God.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I said that the hate-crime hoaxes coming from the Left meant that I didn’t believe a gay guy who claimed (without corroboration) that his aged Baptist minister grandfather, who had been married for 65 years, confessed on his deathbed that he was gay. Maybe grandpa did; maybe he didn’t. It’s just that, as I said, absent ample evidence, I don’t believe the Left. In that vein, I point out that yet another hate-crime has proven to be a hoax.

***

Last week, I showed a picture of a school workbook telling students that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms provided that the government first gives them permission to do so. Someone asked for the provenance of that image. It turns out that (surprise! surprise!) it comes from an Illinois Middle School.

***

Reading travel tips that Chinese give those of their compatriots heading to America I thought to myself, “What a nice country we have.”

Friday morning wrap-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve ranted here before about the fact that, when discussing the Left’s insistence that government should be able to give the Pill to young girls, no one mentions how dangerous hormone-based birth control devices are.  It seems, though, that people are finally waking up to the fact that there’s a price to pay for messing with women’s hormones.

***

Walt Disney was a futurist because he believed that the future would be a wonderful time that would see Americans, and people around the world, enjoying better living through technology. Obama is a futurist too. He envisions a barren, parched wasteland with bazillions of starving people, among whom will be history professors passing judgment on today’s events — hence Obama’s perpetual concern with “being on the right side of history.” What Obama doesn’t grasp is that the world’s bad actors are not futurists. They are “here and now” -ists. Putin, in true George Washington Plunkitt fashion, saw his opportunity and took it, history be damned. What Putin understands, which Obama doesn’t, is that the victors get to write the history.

***

Back in August 2008, David Goldman foresaw the Russian (and American and Israeli) future. George Bush is not without guilt on this one. America as a whole, has been naive and credulous in dealing with Putin. In 2008, though, no one could have envisioned an American leader quite as bad as Obama. Goldman’s 2008 article posited Russians playing chess and Americans playing Monopoly. Obama, however, has been playing Chutes and Ladders.

***

In any event, whether the West is playing Monopoly or Candy Land, the Onion has a wonderful satirical piece in which Putin expresses his gratitude.

***

We all know (and the Left knows too) that Paul Ryan is not a racist for pointing out exactly what Obama pointed out: that American black men live within a damaged and damaging culture. Where Ryan failed, though, was his decision to bob and weave when the usual race-baiters labeled him as a racist. He apologized for being misunderstood and met with black leaders and did the usual sackcloth and ashes routine. What Ryan should have done — what every person of good will should do when the race-baiters call him names — was to come out swinging: “I am not a racist. You are the racist because you refuse to allow anyone to talk about the welfare state’s massive failures. Etc.” The moment anyone apologizes on this one for anything, even using the wrong punctuation, the race-baiters win.

***

On the subject of racism, affirmative action is one of those racist Leftist evils. While it may have had some merit in the first years after 1964 (and I doubt even that), it’s become poison in the decades since then. For more than fifty years, it’s told both whites and minorities that the latter need not try as hard because the system will raise them up anyway.  This is a terrible message. Up until affirmative action, disfavored American groups raised themselves up by working twice as hard and by competing head-on with the entrenched classes. That’s the way to break racism (or anti-Catholicism or anti-Semitism). You try harder; you don’t try less hard. According to John Fund, it might be that some people are finally figuring this out.

***

Incidentally, affirmative action is why Obama got elected and it’s one of the reasons he will never be impeached. With that kind of job security, Obama doesn’t need to work hard and can, during the hours he does deign to work, go about freely de-valuing America.

***

I liked 300. A lot. I didn’t get to see the end though. With only 10 minutes to go, the liberal friend with whom I was watching it said, “This is disgusting,” turned the TV off, took out the disk, put it in the Netflix mailer, and that was that. I liked the movie for precisely the reasons Andrew Klavan liked it. I also fail to see how any sequel could work. The Spartan stand at Thermopylae was a unique moment in history. Any subsequent film will just be about a battle, not about an idea.

***

My son said that kids at his school are saying that the endless coverage about the missing Malaysia Airline is to cover for the debacle (from America’s viewpoint) in the Ukraine. Smart kids. The DiploMad says the same thing.

***

Daniel Greenfield has an extended, thoughtful, detailed, accurate, depressing rumination on the death cult lying at Islam’s heart.

Clearing the inbox and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWhew!  I was quite productive today.  I think those iron pills I’ve been taking because of mild anemia have helped.  I felt much less sluggish.  I still have a lot of stuff in my inbox, but these articles are a good start:

The always-astute Lee Smith has a surprising take on Obama’s coziness with Mahmoud Abbas.  I don’t believe that Obama has thought the issue through as carefully as Smith, but I think that the outcome is the same whether Obama acted deliberately or accidentally.

***

Oy voy vey!  It’s not just that Obama is giving away the Free Speech internet, which is disastrous enough.  It’s that, back in 2010, when he wasn’t even in full flexibility mode, Obama handed something very valuable over to Putin.  And Putin, being no fool, will play this card as he reinstates the former Soviet Unions geopolitical reach.

***

The pro-Iranian faction has always argued that sanctions hurt the poor the most. In Iran’s case, they said, sanctions deprived the poor of medicine. But what if it turns out that sanctions are just depriving the rich of luxury articles? Will that information change Obama’s calculus? No. At a fundamental level, he thinks it’s wrong that Israel has the bombs and Iran doesn’t. He’s working to redress that inequity.

***

If you like creative literature with a libertarian/conservative bent, a new site called Liberty Island is the place for you. Here’s a snippet of its mission statement, explaining that conservatives are the new counterculture:

Once upon a time the mainstream culture was conservative and the so-called counterculture was left wing. Today the situation is reversed and a new counterculture has arisen, one that boldly challenges the cynicism, nihilism, and stifling political correctness of popular culture today.

Our mission is to support this raw and untamed counterculture by gathering its creators in one place and providing the tools and resources they need to succeed. Here they can present their latest works, interact with colleagues, and connect with a likeminded audience. At Liberty Island, readers of a conservative or libertarian bent can find fiction, music, video and graphics that reflect their social values and political beliefs — and readers of all persuasions can find new voices and undiscovered talent. Writers and creators you’ve never heard of, and won’t find anywhere else, because their views have been excluded from the mainstream popular culture.

One of my favorite writers, Ray Zacek, already has a story online at Liberty Island.

***

Rogue government? Well, yes.  The ATF ignores a court order and raids a gun store to get its customer lists. Let me quote Elmer: Be afwaid. Be vewy afwaid.

***

Let me reiterate a point I’ve made repeatedly before: Women do not belong in combat units.

My Mom wore me out Open Thread

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I took my mother to the doctor and the bank today, she on her walker and I on my crutches. It was physically tiring for me, partly because the crutches exacerbate a shoulder problem and partly because I had to get my mom and her walker in and out of the car several times.

It was also emotionally exhausting because every time I see her there’s less of her. The funny, charming, sophisticated, interested and interesting woman has vanished completely. Now, she’s an amalgam of complaints and intermittent dementia, and bears no relationship to the mother I remember. That’s okay. At her age, she is what she is and I still owe her love, care, and respect — but she does wear me out.

Funnily enough, the thing that disturbs me the most when I’m with her is that she no longer smells like my mom. I’m a person who responds very strongly to olfactory cues, and my lizard brain isn’t detecting that old familial relationship. It’s a weird cognitive dissonance, with my higher brain saying “mother” and my lower brain saying “stranger.”

Anyway, for those wondering, Mom is fine, as this was just a “tune-up” visit. I’m fine too, only I’m so tired it’s hard to sit upright. I’m heading downstairs to lie down and read a book or watching junk TV. Have fun here while I’m away.

Thursday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesYesterday, I was in a blogging frenzy.  Today?  Not so much….  I’m a little depleted after having spent more than an hour trying to reach someone at the Social Security administration to resend my mother’s tax info, which had gotten lost in the mail.  The first half hour was spent trying to figure out how to connect to a human.  The rest of the time was spent waiting to speak to the human.  If this was a business, I’d cease doing business with it.  But it’s not.  It’s a government monopoly and I was trapped.  Sheesh!

I wish I had known beforehand that, today and tomorrow only, I could download for free Dennis Koller’s The Oath. At least I would have been able to while away pleasant my time on hold (although it was hard to concentrate on anything because the SSA has the worst, most crackly, most poorly chosen “hold” Muzak ever created).

***

One of the hallmarks of tyranny is the attitude that “the end justifies the means.” With this attitude, you give yourself a carte blanche to do anything you like, far from petty little things such as due process, rule of law, morality, decency, etc. That’s why Jamelle Bouie thinks it’s just fine that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray engaged in unabashed campaign financing corruption — it was for the greater good. If I ever get stopped by a cop for rolling through a stop sign, I’m going to tell him it was for the greater good, since hypermiling, which includes using as few stops and starts as possible, helps save the environment. Yeah, that should get me out of a ticket.

***

Harry Reid’s increasingly unhinged attacks on the Koch brothers are disturbing at two levels. First, as I mentioned, they’re unhinged. Reid has gone from malevolent and corrupt (only corrupt career politicians become multimillionaires, as he did) to insane. Someone ought to reach out and help him before he needs a straitjacket and padded room. Second, no one is going to help him, because his insanity is representative of the Democrat party as a whole. The whole party has run itself off the rails — and since the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, the madness just keeps rolling. It’s not “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez,” it’s “Laissez En Temps Fous Roulent.”

***

I’m impressed that American businesses still have the capacity to be “stunned” (The Hill’s words) by Obama’s announcement that he’s going to create a rule mandating overtime pay for management level employees, something that will devastate American productivity. (No kidding. I’ve worked in enough offices to know that the energy in the offices comes from striving mid-level management and executives seeking bonuses, promotions, pay raises, and fame through overtime work.) Obama has attacked businesses from his first day in office. Wouldn’t you think that they’d be used to it now?

***

The only difference between Obama and Nixon is that Nixon had a hostile press corps — something that arguably saved America as a constitutional republican democracy. Our generation isn’t so lucky.

Obama also has the advantage of an utterly compliant Congress, with complete Dem control in the Senate and complete RINO/Dem control in the House.

***

In my blogging frenzy yesterday, I wrote that I no longer believe uncorroborated stories about incidents, either positive or negative, involving gays. Too many hoaxes, I said. And right on time comes another story about another hate-crime hoax.

***

The sexual revolution came about because of the baby boom, the Pill, and antibiotics. The baby boomers are now old and wrinkled, the Pill is being handed out to 12 year olds, and antibiotics no longer work. Regarding that last one, the CDC says gonorrhea is on the verge of going pre-modern and becoming untreatable once again.

***

There are two problems with the Associated Press. The first is that it’s ubiquitous, providing “news” content for just about every outlet in the world. The second is that it’s almost laughably partisan and dishonest. The only problem with that “laughable” part is that the joke is on American political discourse.

***

And why not put transexuals in the military? We’ve done everything else we can think of to make it an uncomfortable place for the vast majority of troops who, like most Americans, espouse a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to people’s sexual orientation, but are much less comfortable with being placed at the front line of the culture wars. Our president has made it increasingly obvious that he doesn’t view the military as our defense in a dangerous world; instead, it’s an institution that he can manipulate to his heart’s content to make it conform to his ideas about what an appropriately PC society will look like. It’s not a military; it’s a sociology experiment.

***

I think the new “nagging mom” meme that the Department of Health and Human Services is using in an effort to encourage young people to enroll in Obamacare is perfect. It’s the visual embodiment of the Left’s belief that American citizens are perpetual children who must be bribed, managed, bullied, and cajoled by their wise parents in the Democrat Party.

***

My kids have already been watching “The Story of Stuff” in high school. It’s times like this that I’m grateful that they’re not perfect students, paying attention to everything in class.

***

My friend Rob Miller (aka JoshuaPundit) has appropriately unkind words about Palestinian premier for life Abbas.

Is it really only Tuesday? Round-up and Open thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor those of us who believe in free speech, the antidote to bad speech isn’t censorship, it’s good speech. The problem for France, which is trying to censor an antisemitic, pro-Nazi “comic”, is that it has no good speech to counter the antisemitism that is breeding in France’s toxic stew of Islam and Leftism. That’s always the problem in socialist countries. They have no good to counterattack the bad — usually because they created the bad in the first place.

It was the French Left that opened the door to unlimited Islamic immigration to atone for sins in North Africa. The North African Muslims come, bringing their antisemitic culture with them, and there’s no one in France brave enough to challenge their culture or philosemitic enough to speak for the Jews.

***

Lee Smith argues that Israel fails to understand the Obama narrative about the Middle East, and is therefore failing to make the winning arguments to the Obama government vis a vis Iran’s attempt to ship major supplies of Syrian weapons into Palestinian hands. He’s right. He is also right insofar as the article implies that, to the extent that Obama’s goals are now antithetical to Israel’s continued existence, there is no winning argument Israel can make to Obama.

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Must-read about why Palestinians are not American blacks living under Jim Crow.

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As the mother of a teenage girl, I find incredibly amusing the latest feminist campaign to ban the word “bossy” in relationship to girls, or at least to pretend that it’s not a derogatory word. While we’re at it, let’s just ban the word “wet” in relationship to “water,” or at least pretend it has an entirely different meaning.

Bossy is exactly what little girls and teenage girls are. Boys (both little and teenage) have their own sins, but bossiness is not one of them. It’s girls who are certain that they are right and that they have the power to order everyone else around.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that girls are bossy.  Gender-deniers notwithstanding, little girls model on their mother and, within the home, Moms are the bosses. To a young girl’s mind, this means it’s the female’s role to make and enforce rules. End of story — and changing labels will not change that reality.

***

A matched set about Obama’s megalomania: From Ron Fournier (who has decided that there is no bloom left on the Obama rose), an indictment of the preening self-righteousness that leaves Obama blind to any information inconsistent with his sense of reality. And from Jeffrey Folks, another indictment of Obama’s “great man syndrome,” one that leaves him believing that he must make things happen, no matter how bad they are.

Winston Churchill thought he was special too (“We are all worms, but I believe that I am a glow-worm”), but he didn’t make the mistake of believing he was a god, or even the God. Perhaps that’s because he was raised within a religious tradition and, even if he was not devout, he knew that there was a divine presence bigger than he was. The problems begin when you have a man who believes, quote erroneously, that he really is a god (or, given the messianic language he and his followers use[d] about him, the God).

***

Writing in the L.A. Times, Jonathan Turley, a left-of-center law professor again expresses concern about the way in which Obama is usurping Congress’s powers, and the way in which Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) meekly lets it happen. I put it on my Facebook, and my Leftist friends assiduously ignored it.

***

HBO and SHO are increasingly trafficking in nude women, while Hollywood generally is delighting in the joys of lesbian lip locks, especially between actresses who deny being lesbian. Ed Morrissey talks about the sexual exploitation of women driving the trend. Julie Blindel, an open lesbian who comments on “lesbian chic,” adds her bit, which is that Hollywood cares little about advancing LGBTQ rights, and is infinitely more interested in catering for profit to the same male demographic that buys Penthouse. And so a culture sinks ever lower.

***

Apropos low-sinking culture, I caught a millisecond of Rush today. He was talking to a 57-year-old man who is deeply depressed about America’s ability to recover from the low point she now faces (economically, national security, etc). Rush asked him if there was another time in his life when things were this bad and the man pointed to the end of the Carter presidency and beginning of the Reagan presidency. The difference, he felt, was debt, which is infinitely worse now. Rush, however, expressed an inchoate optimism that had him believing that an up-and-coming young generation will have had enough and fight back.

I disagree with Rush and side with the caller, although for a different reason than he expressed. What both the 57-year-old man and Rush ignored is the sea-change in American culture since the last really bad time in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Before the 21st century, no matter how bad things were, America had a huge, strong middle, ranging from working class to upper middle class.  This middle group was traditional: patriotic, hardworking, able to recognize external enemies, family-centric, capitalist. It was the middle class as America’s backbone.  Since then, that middle has been culturally destroyed.  The young ones, the ones upon whom Rush is relying, have no knowledge or understanding of an other, better, way to do things. This HBO demographic is incapable of either a 1950s or a 1980s social and economic comeback.

Think of it this way:  When George Orwell created Newspeak, his point was to show that, when you contract language, you contract ideas.  And without ideas, people cannot rebel against a status quo, because they are incapable of thinking of an alternative.  That contraction of ideas is precisely what has happened in the last 30 years.  Unless we can introduce ideas again, about patriotism, family, hard work, etc., nothing will change because the young generation lacks the mental landscape to envision change.

***

A perfect example (from one of those benighted young people I spoke of) of “stupid is as stupid does.

***

Leftist states vote for Obama. Leftist states have the worst income inequality. Hmmm. Could it be that tax and spend policies, rather than making everyone have access to economic success, concentrate wealth amongst a favored few cronies, leaving everyone else out in the cold? It’s certainly true in California’s basket-case, Democrat-run economy, where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class flees the state.

***

Michelle Obama is taking her girls (and mother) on another un-frigging-believably expensive, taxpayer-funded vacation, this time to China. Even Marie Antoinette didn’t have it so good. She just got to head off to the Petite Trianon — and she still had her head cut off, a fate that (thankfully) will not await anyone in this administration, no matter how much they abuse the People’s good will.

***

Yeah, we know that the IRS’s Lois Lerner is a bad girl. She’s also the face, the front-man, the scape-goat, the tip of the iceberg. It is ludicrous to believe that she was acting alone. The question remains whether her superiors, her peers, and her subordinates will also be called to account for turning the IRS, the most feared branch of the American government, into a partisan arm of the Obama administration.

***

The Left lives in an alternate reality. The real reality is that the biggest spenders in American government by far, both state and local, are leftist unions. The first Republican-leaning donor doesn’t even hit the list until 17 donors down.

The Leftist reality is that the libertarian Kochs, who rank 59th on the donor list and who share many of the Left’s favorite liberal shibboleths (e.g., legalized pot), are the evil geniuses who control American government and they must be destroyed. That’s why the New York Times is applauding Harry Reid’s deeply disturbing attacks against the Kochs.

That a man with his hands near the levers of American power would deliberately target two individuals and try to destroy them has . . . yes, I’m going to say it . . . a Nazi feel to it. This is revolting. It’s not even McCarthy-esque. Sen. McCarthy at least went through the motions of having hearings, creating a simulacrum of Due Process.

***

Speaking of unhinged from reality, here’s a good cartoon at Director Blue showing yet two more examples of the disconnect.

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All I can say is that, if this flight story happened with a modern Brit in the cockpit, the squeals coming out over the intercom would have drowned out the passengers’ cries.

***

The Connecticut government is coming for its citizens’ guns. There’s a line being drawn here. Just as Obama is obliterating the line between his executive limitations and Congress’s role, Connecticut is seeing what it can get away with in terms of eviscerating the Second Amendment. I hope the state backs down, for this will not end well otherwise.

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556

Another day, another apology. The fact is that the last day and a half have been Murphy’s Law every step of the way. Yesterday morning started out bad and then went downhill. Nothing earth-shattering — we’re all alive and in one piece, the house didn’t burn down, and no wars have started. It was just a series of domestic problems that escalated, along with new problems cropping up constantly. By the time I got the last phone call with inconvenient and expensive bad news, I was numb, and probably surprised the caller by showing almost no emotional response at all. More of the same today, of course.

However, to the extent bad things happen in threes, I’ve had my three bad things, and then cubed them, for another three. I hope I’m done now. I’m finally in front of my computer, reading and thinking, which is always the best antidote to any despair or anxiety that seeks to envelope me. All will be well.

So, check back in about an hour, and see if anything interesting has happened here. Or, ever better, leave a comment at this Open Thread and you will be the interesting thing that happens.

And for a little perspective, it’s always been bad (including California droughts and protests against the 1%):

Thursday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThere are a lot of things I miss about being young.  Today, I miss the ability to sleep even if the house if falling down around me.  I can’t do that anymore.  I somehow lost the sleeping knack when I had babies and I’ve never gotten it back.  Sleep seems incredibly distant lately.  Between my knee and my shoulder, both of which refuse to quiet down at night, I’m feeling grumpy and disconnected today.  This will therefore be a short round-up.

Jamie Glasov looks at Danielle Dimacali’s insane (a word I use in its literal sense) meltdown when UCLA just barely rejected the BDS movement.  He wonders if any of the atrocities committed against Jews because they are Jews would have moved her too.  It’s powerful and painful stuff, and makes quite clear just  how deranged the anti-Israel movement really is.

***

Peter Wehner has a good point about politics: those of us who are most deeply committed are often the worst strategists because we have no perspective about what moves the ordinary American voter. This isn’t a Left/Right thing; it’s a “connecting to voters” thing. Now that I’ve written the preceding sentence, I can see that Obama won — twice — because he and his side had a better sense of which “voter buttons” to push. It helps, of course, that Democrats weren’t constrained by such old-fashioned notions as truth and decency, but the fact remains that McCain and Romney never connected with voters. I can’t help believe that,despite the despicable stuff coming from the Democrats, Reagan, with his sunny good humor and folksy ability to simplify complex ideas and relate them directly to voters, would have connected easily.

***

My husband and I are watching season two of House of Cards on Netflix. Indeed, we expect to finish the series tonight. I agree with everything Andrew Klavan says about it.

***

Kevin Williamson was adopted, a personal matter he brings up solely because he’s very concerned about a push across America to open previously closed adoptions. Being Kevin Williamson, he makes an excellent case about the right to privacy. Reading his article led me to a different thought. The Left is all about severing family ties, so that the state becomes all-powerful in people’s lives. It’s therefore funny that, in this single area, the state is all about forcing family ties where people don’t want them to exist.

***

VDH has a great one about the Left’s war on science. The Left supported science when it dovetailed with Leftist ideology. Now that this dovetailing has ended (yes, life does begin before birth; no, California’s devastating drought has more to do with overpopulation and environmentalist kibosh’s on new reservoirs than it does with global warming), the Left has become defiantly anti-science — but, being the Left, it masks this defiance under the mantle of science. Always remember, Leftists are Humpty-Dumpty: they determine what words mean.

***

And finally, Keith Koffler writes the scathing post Obama deserves for planning his third luxury vacation in as many months — a plane that Obama fears will be derailed because of that pesky Putin.  In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s campaign was “He kept us out of war.”  If Obama in the next few days manages to lay to rest America’s involvement in Ukraine, his personal motto will be “I kept us out of war so that I could go on vacation.”

Wednesday evening round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThis has been a crazily chaotic day.  I got thrown off my stride by my morning swim (phase 2 in physical therapy for my knee, now that I’m off the perpetual motion machine), and just couldn’t catch up anymore.  Throw in a few unexpected demands on my time and — voila! — I’m doing my round-up early in the evening instead of first thing in the morning.  Still, proving that there’s always room for a cliched phrase, better late than never.  So, here goes:

A friend sent me the following link in the mail and it was so eerily close to the way real events are playing out, that it took me a second to realize that it’s satire (and pretty damn funny satire at that): On Defense Cuts, Obama Just Comes Right Out And Says He Wants The Terrorists To Win

***

Perhaps we’ve reached a stage where the best we can hope for is that Israel will have our back, rather than vice versa.  At least today, Israel had its own back (can I say that and still make sense?), capturing a massive arms haul — Syrian missiles, shipped out from Iran, and headed to Gaza. Thank God the Israelis still have the sechel to watch out for their own interests.

***

And speaking of Israel’s interests, if the last twenty-two years have shown us anything, it’s that participating in peace talks isn’t working. The reason, of course, is that the peace talks are all directed at a “two-state solution,” but the Palestinians, as well as the surrounding Arab and Muslim states, have no interest in a two-state solution. Yoav Sorek says that it’s time to stop chasing this chimera and create a new paradigm: a one-state solution — Israel — that the Palestinians have to learn to live with.

***

If you’re girding your loins against the possibility of a Hillary victory in 2016, maybe it’s time to stop girding and start working incredibly hard for a good conservative candidate, instead of the usual lousy conservative candidates. I say this because Hillary is also a lousy candidate and the only way in which Republicans can lose if she’s the Democrat candidate is if they put up another McCain.  (What do you bet that the Republicans put up another John McCain?)

***

Here’s a scary thought: I already suggested that Obama has gone round the bend. What if Putin has done the same? The world is scary enough with one madman in power. What’s it going to be like with the last two great powers of the 20th century both headed by malignant narcissists whose already tenuous grip on reality has been destroyed by the bubbles in which they surrounded themselves?

***

Maybe none of it matters anyway, at least when it comes to Russia. I’ve noted before that Russia is in serious decline and this article provides the facts behind my conclusions. Whether Putin’s move on the Crimea is crazed or calculated, it can only buy a small amount of time for a country that will be eaten by China in the next few decades. (And considering its population, China will have a credible “lebensraum” argument, won’t it?) Ultimately, Putin will have gained nothing for his own country, although he will have succeeded in providing more evidence that Obama is feckless and unreliable, and may have caused several thousand, or even several hundred thousand, deaths along the way. Given the two delusional men at the helm of two declining nations, the last thing we want is a fast-walk to military confrontation.

***

If Snowden had merely shown how the U.S. government routinely collects very scrap of data it can about American citizens, he would have deserved the “hero” title that the far Left and far Right placed on him. But considering that he mostly stole 1.7 million sensitive files touching upon national security, and then headed for the Chinese and, after that, the Russians, it’s clear that he’s the biggest traitor in American history. I’m putting more and more credence in the theory that he was a massive traitor all along, and that he stole the “spying on American” stuff only to provide himself with cover.

***

Walt Disney Co. is free to demand that everyone and everything with which it deals support gay marriage. And people who disagree with that position are free to stop dealing with the Walt Disney Co. I really like Disneyland and Disney World, but it won’t be the end of the world for me if I never go to either place again. I bet the same is true for a lot of Americans. I’m not suggesting a formal boycott. I am pointing out, however, that in this information-rich world, we no longer have to deal with companies that spend our money in ways we dislike.

***

Jonah Goldberg supports Obama’s initiative to help black youth, even if it’s manifestly discriminatory for the federal government to extend aid to one racial group while ignoring others (not that this has ever stopped the feds before). Jonah is right that America’s black youth are in desperate straits and need all the help they can get. My only concern is that it was the federal government that got America’s black youth in this situation in the first place, thanks to Leftists’ belief that blacks cannot manage without government support. It seems to me that the federal government is the last entity that should be trusted to get blacks out of this miserable cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty. Remember Frederick Douglass’s words (emphasis mine):

In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.

***

Not only did I enjoy Ace’s take on Obama’s manifestly unconstitutional decision to amend Obamacare again, but I loved the Photoshop you’ll find at that link. (BTW, Obama’s action is unconstitutional because only Congress can amend a law. This is banana republic stuff.)

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Did I say “banana republic stuff”? I did, and I meant it. Michael Ramirez has his own comment on what Barack Obama has managed to do in five short (although they seemed very long) years.

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The NAACP says “stand your ground” laws are part of “institutional racism.” Think about that for a moment. The laws simply say that, if your choices when faced by an assailant are to cut and run or to stand and fight, you can stand and fight (especially when cutting and running carries risks). They are facially neutral laws that apply to anyone facing a threat, black or white. What the NAACP is implicitly conceding is that the only/primary threatening parties in America — the ones who will be on the wrong side of “stand your ground” — are black. Wow! Is that racist or what? It seems to me that the NAACP is guilty of a bit of institutional racism itself.

***

There are two writers out there who make just about everything interesting . . . and when the subject matter is inherently interesting, they’re off into the stratospheres of wonder for their readers. Enjoy the Diplomad’s Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West and Sultan Knish’s A Maddow in MSNBCland.

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Boehner’s bad: He freely concedes that all he cares about is opening up America’s borders. Who cares that the voters don’t want that? Remember, our elected officials are no longer our servants; they are our masters.

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Muslims bomb the Boston Marathon and Boston, home to the American Revolution, does what the Left does best: it backs down. That’s the word from Runner’s world:

A decade long tradition will be missing from this year’s Boston Marathon. Due to the new, stricter security guidelines released by the Boston Athletic Association last Wednesday, ruck marchers will not be allowed to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boylston because they are considered “unauthorized participants.”

Active members of the military have participated in ruck marches at the Boston Marathon for years. Donning full fatigues and carrying 40-pound rucksacks on their backs, ruckers march the length of the course in support of families of fallen soldiers.

Muslims don’t have to defeat America on the battlefield. If they scare us enough, we’ll unilaterally declare defeat and turn ourselves over to the enemy.

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And finally, Danny Lemieux posted the following quotation on his real-me Facebook:

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

- Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
(publ. 1776-1789)

It’s funny how we spend our adolescent years desperately trying to shake off our parents’ care, which we feel comes with too many strings attached, and then spend the rest of our lives trying to get someone to care for us, strings or not.