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

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

Heading into a another cooling period

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

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

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The Bookworm Beat 4-6-15 — the nighttime edition and open thread

Woman writingMy work is done and there’s still twenty minutes to go before the family yields the TV to me. That can mean only one thing: a quick round-up. Yay!

Can the MSM stifle Ted Cruz?

One of the most frustrating things about being a conservative is that conservative politicians tend to be inarticulate. Part of this is because conservative ideas don’t yield easily to the hysterical bumper sticker politics that the Left favors. Part of it is that the media twists the message. And part of it is that the conservatives who get into politics seem to be tongue-tied.

I mention this because of a post Rod Dreher wrote after talking about RFRA to a deeply-closeted conservative law professor. It was the professor who made the point about the absence of a standard-bearer for conservative ideology:

On the conservative side, said Kingsfield [not the professor's real name], Republican politicians are abysmal at making a public case for why religious liberty is fundamental to American life.

“The fact that Mike Pence can’t articulate it, and Asa Hutchinson doesn’t care and can’t articulate it, is shocking,” Kingsfield said. “Huckabee gets it and Santorum gets it, but they’re marginal figures. Why can’t Republicans articulate this? We don’t have anybody who gets it and who can unite us. Barring that, the craven business community will drag the Republican Party along wherever the culture is leading, and lawyers, academics, and media will cheer because they can’t imagine that they might be wrong about any of it.”

The one person who is emerging as an incredibly articulate spokesman for conservative thinking is Ted Cruz. He’s unafraid and, rather unusually for a man as academically brilliant as he is, capable of being pithy. Cruz can bring in the money quotation:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-6-15 — “the Obama doctrine” edition and open thread

Woman writingI haven’t had the time, nor do I have the inclination, to sit through Thomas Friedman’s loving interview with the president about “the Obama doctrine.” I’ve read quotations from it, including the bit about Obama justifying his engagement with Iran in part on a fatwa from the Iranian leader condemning nuclear weapons — something Obama, our own Supreme Leader, seems unaware is a hoax. Does it worry you, as it does me, that Obama’s foreign policy is based, in significant part, on fantasy?

What really terrified me about Obama’s justification for his actions is how utterly cold-blooded he is:

“We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk. And that’s the thing … people don’t seem to understand,” the president said. “You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies. The same is true with respect to Iran, a larger country, a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. … You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”

That’s a lovely argument to make in the halls of the Ivy League, where instructors traffic in hypotheticals without having to deal with the real-world consequences that flow from putting their theories into effect. Here, though, Obama is using his vast power to put his theories into play because he thinks we can deflect any risk. Really? He’s ready to handle the very real risk of an Iranian nuclear missile exploded off our coast, knocking out the Eastern Seaboard’s entire power grid, thereby turning the clock back to Colonial America for at least a year?

What’s worse is that Obama’s already seen how his theories play out and the results have been uniformly ugly. Thanks to his hostility to Israel and passion for Palestinians, there was a bloody war between Israel and Hamas (which is Iran’s proxy) last summer. Thanks to his imaginary red line with Syria, people are dying in the hundreds of thousands, and Iran is moving its troops in, threatening not just Israel, but anything near it. Thanks to his sudden decision to wage war in Libya, Libya has become an anarchic terrorist state with ties to . . . Iran. Thanks to his principled (I’ll give him that), but utterly stupid, decision to withdraw from Iraq, Iraq is being sundered, with ISIS and Iran assaulting the poor Iraqi people like jackals on a holiday. Thanks to his feckless “anti-terrorism” policy, Yemen has fallen to Iran, and it’s going to become another Libya.  (And yes, it’s quite an amazing coincidence, isn’t it, that every feckless decision Obama makes benefits Iran.)

In Africa, Obama’s manifest disinterest in black lives (which are supposed to matter to him), his hostility to and disinterest in Christian martyrs, and his seemingly endless support for Islamic terrorists has seen a series of slaughters that should make every one of us ashamed to be Americans. Although everyone keeps saying “America can’t be the world’s policeman,” the fact is that, when we tried to be just that, while we didn’t succeed all the time, we succeeded most of the time. Just knowing that America might turn her gimlet eye on bad actors was enough to keep many of them pacified. With the cop having voluntarily withdrawn from the beat, it’s open season on ordinary citizens throughout the world.

So yeah, assuming we don’t have a devastating EMP attack or a dirty bomb going off in a major American city, maybe we in America are powerful enough to weather the fallout (pun intended) from Obama’s academic experiment. But someone, anyone, should have some sympathy for the Africans, and the Middle Easterners, and the Jews, and possibly the Europeans, and God alone knows whoever else ends up in the direct path of the marauders whom Obama, in his overweening arrogance, has unchained.

One other point: What seems to underlie Obama’s approach to all this is his belief that, once Iran gets nuclear respect, whether now or in ten years, it will calm down. He seems to view Iran like the childless woman who, when desperately trying to get pregnant, makes everyone’s life a living Hell because she’s so angry about her situation and then, once she’s pregnant, becomes a completely dove, cooing agreeably at everyone. What Obama ignores is that Iran isn’t driven by rage or frustration; it’s driven by a clearly drawn ideology that dead-ends with an eschatological apocalypse that Iran believes it is responsible for bringing into being. Giving Iran nuclear power doesn’t assuage its rage; it instead is a sign from Allah of the righteousness of its goals.

Deal or No Deal?

Here’s another thing that’s really scary about the whole Iran deal Obama is selling us. There is no deal. Neo-neocon thinks nothing will happen at all. There will never be a deal.

Emily Landau points out a different weakness, even if there is a deal: What if Iran, having got relief from sanctions, just walks away from it? There’s nothing to stop it and Obama’s made sure to leave its entire nuclear infrastructure in tact.

Student Loans and Administrative costs drive college tuition inflation

With two kids coming up on college soon, and a Progressive husband who’s determined that they get access to the best Progressive institutions that will accept them, I am not pleased about skyrocketing college tuition. I’m even less pleased when I consider that they’re artificially inflated by the essentially free money the government hands out and by burgeoning administrative costs that have nothing to do with education and everything to do with political correctness. In other words, government interference in education is driving prices up and quality down.

The Housing Crisis revisited

The one thing you can say about Big Government ideologues is that they never give up. No matter the failures their policies suffer, they always come back again promising, “This time we’ll get it right. There’s nothing wrong with the theory; we just implemented it wrong.”

For those of you who remember the disastrous implementation of the last government intervention in America’s housing market, which led to the 2008 Recession that, thanks to Obama, still bedevils us, you won’t be happy to know that the political class is at it again.

No, hoop skirts are not racist

The Mycenaen women, who lived 3,500 years ago, wore modified versions of big skirts and corsets:

goddess (1)

In Europe, beginning in the 16th century, all women were belled-out skirts, made out of horsehair fabrics, or starched fabrics, or voluminous petticoats, or something hoop-like:

Queen Elizabeth 1, approx. 1570s

Queen Elizabeth 1, approx. 1570s

Madame Pompadour, circa 1750s

Madame Pompadour, circa 1750s

Elizabeth of Austria, 1860s

Elizabeth of Austria, 1860s

American women initially weren’t so fancy, but by the 19th century, they were wearing pretty much the same thing. Indeed, one of the more famous “fashion icons” of 19th century American hoop skirts didn’t even come into existence until 1936, and first appeared on film in 1939:

Scarlett O'Hara

Scarlett O’Hara

The thing is, hoop skirts are not racist. They’re just clothes. But try telling that to academic ignorami.

Life calls.  More later.

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

You’ll notice that some of these cartoons were created a while ago. The one about Obama and hope, for example, is from 2008. What’s amazing, though, is how current they are. It’s as if we’re stuck, not in a time warp, which would see everything remain the same, but in a slowly degrading time spiral, i.e., everything is almost the same, except that it just keeps getting worse. Thanks, as always, to Caped Crusader for this great collection.

Thomas Sowell on welfare con

Hillary Laws gravity

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The Bookworm Beat 4-2-15 — the “choking on my own bile” edition and open thread

Woman writingThis morning, I woke up so angry about the Iran agreement that Obama has been pushing and about the faked RFRA outrage that I couldn’t even write.  Every time I sat down at the computer, I choked on my own bile and my brain froze. I felt like a computer suffering from an electric surge. I medicated myself with a junk novel and some chocolate, and am finally feeling stable enough to write without exploding.

I’ve already said what I have to say about Obama and Iran, and about RFRA, so I’ll be brief. Obama is not dumb and he’s not just a Leftist ideologue. He is a man with a ferocious feral intelligence and he is genuinely evil. Regarding RFRA, it is not Jim Crow. What made Jim Crow so bad was that it was government action. The whole point of RFRA is that it’s supposed to protect individuals from government action. No one gets that; no one’s explaining it; if someone explained it, no one would listen; and Leftists are fascists at heart.

And now on to other things, to which I’ll link with brevity. Now that I’ve assuaged my anger a little bit with dime store romance, I have to go pick up my tax returns from my accountant, which will undoubtedly inflame me all over again. Here’s a video of me (I’m the baby):

You know how you know you’re a smart person? Thomas Sowell, in his inimitable way, says what you’ve been saying all along, including the bit about the apocalyptic mullahs who are not like the cold-headed Soviets. The latter feared mutually assured destruction; the former embrace it.

A British man and a German man envision a moral world 100 years from now. It’s like Huxley’s Brave New World, only infinitely worse, with man a slave to robots and vegetables.

Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) analyzes the Left’s culture war, which is not against “culture” per se, but is a direct attack on America from the inside. He also believes that individual Americans, by clinging ferociously to their individuality and their values, can reclaim what we have lost, although it will be neither a swift nor an easy battle.

Passover is coming up soon, and I’ll publishing my annual Passover post about God, Moses, Pharaoh, and the nature of tyranny. Meanwhile, Robert Avrech will help you understand why, in this year’s post, Pharaoh has Obama’s face.

Just when you think Michael Ramirez can’t get any more brilliant . . . he gets more brilliant.

Even in awful times, there are funny things. One high school senior decided to turn the table on Duke University for having rejected her. At many stages in my life, I would have loved to have sent a letter like this one, but I lacked both the wit and the courage:

Siobhan O'Dell rejection of rejection letter

And now that you’ve had a good laugh, I invite you to join me again in the land of tears and anger:

The Bookworm Beat 4-1-15 — the “I need a new brain” edition and open thread

Woman writingSo much to say, so little time.  I’ve got an incredible line-up of posts, so I’ll just give you the down-and-dirty on each:

You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again:  Obama’s negotiating partner has said that one of the non-negotiable issues is its absolute right to annihilate Israel with the weapons Obama is allowing it to develop.  It’s things such as this that give one clarity.  Obama is no mere Lefty, or rube, or dreamer, or ideologue.  He is, quite simply, evil.

No wonder Obama’s on Vice-President has warned Jews that their only safe haven in the world is Israel.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Prosor, has written an outstanding opinion piece for the New York Times that reveals the UN for what it is:  a group controlled by the worst kind of thugocracies and dictatorships, all of which use the UN’s power and authority to launch continuous attacks against Israel.

Seth Mandel looks at the enormous damage Obama has done to the entire Middle East in his relentless pursuit of a deal with Iran.  And whether there’s a deal or not at the end of the day, that damage cannot be undone.

Apropos Obama’s maddened fanaticism, David Horovitz asks him “Mr. President, are you absolutely sure you’ve got this one right?”  As did Mandel, Horovitz points out the downsides if Obama’s wrong, none of which have offsetting upsides if he’s even a little bit right.

Andrew Stiles took a New York Times-sponsored trip to Iran.  Everyone who wants to understand more about the regime with which Obama is negotiating should read it.  And everyone who wants to be informed and amused should read it too.

Yes, for the first time since 1948, the U.S. will break from Israel.  It’s what Obama wants and nothing will stop him.

Allen West has written a brilliant post about Israel, Obama, American Christians, Blacks, and the blindness of American Jews.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Read it and you’ll see what I mean.  I would so love to see him as a Vice Presidential candidate and eventually a Presidential candidate.

David French explains the real prejudice surrounding Indiana’s RFRA law — it’s anti-Christian hostility from the Left.  Incidentally, the most significant thing distinguishing RFRA from Jim Crow is that Jim Crow was state action, violative of the Constitution.  Here, RFRA allows individuals (and corporations, which are collections of individuals) the right to make their own decisions.  There is no state action; there is a promise about an appropriate absence of state action.  It used to be that in America, freedom of thought, speech, and association gave people the right to make decisions, both business and personal, even if they’re bad, mean, or stupid ones.

Jonathan S. Tobin also examines the fact that liberals have made a definitive break with religious liberty.

Andrew Klavan adds his own trenchant and enjoyable commentary to the RFRA kerfuffle in Indiana.

A.F. Branco has come into his (her?) own as a brilliant political cartoonist during the Obama administration.  Here are a few great examples.

Reason Magazine reminds me why I hesitate to be called a libertarian.  I agree with the publication about 70% of the time, which is a good average.  It’s that other 30% that’s the problem.  Wolf Howling examine’s Reason’s fallacious attack on Republicans for being anti-science.

Mike McDaniel, a former police officer, writes about the problem of false rape accusations from the police perspective.  With the plethora of false accusations, starting with the completely fictional UVA rape claim, and with the Left’s insistence that false rape claims only highlight how badly American campuses suffer from a “culture of rape,” his post is an important weapon in every thinking person’s intellectual arsenal in the service of truth.

Deroy Murdock has looked at how the Bergdahl swap would have played out if Obama had been president during WWII.  It’s not a pretty picture.