The Bookworm Beat 5-4-15 — the “technology hates me” edition and open thread

Woman writingMy post caption to the contrary, this post has nothing to do with technology — except that technology explains why I started writing at 10:30, not 8:30. My computer apparently had a sudden yen to pretend that I had a dial-up modem and to start downloading information at speeds that would already have been slow in 1995. I think I’ve finally got my electronic ducks in a row, though, so let the blogging begin.

A jihad in Texas and a cheerleading media

In the wake of the attack against the Texas American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Draw Muhammed contest, Ace, Noah Rothman and I noticed the same thing: The media immediately went into “they had it coming” mode. Geller and Co., the “pun-deads” implied, should have known better than to offend Muslim’s delicate sensibilities.

The reality is that Geller’s free speech celebration is not the same as telling young women that it’s stupid to walk naked into a biker bar at 3 in the morning. (Although do note that the same pundits who castigate Geller for offending Muslims would never dream of daring to tell a young woman it’s dangerous to parade drunk (or sober) in Malmo, Sweden, a ferocious Muslim enclave.)

Two different things are at stake: When it comes to the dumb bunnies and their cheerleaders who are all for nubile women taking to the streets in underwear, we’re talking about the opposite of ordinary common sense, given that some men, despite being taught not to rape, still rape. When it comes to Geller’s initiative, however, we are talking about a religion that has announced that, if we exercise our Constitutional right to free speech, it will kill us — and the Dhimmis have all said, “Great, let’s abandon free speech.”

I routinely tell my children to choose their battles. Don’t end up in a fight to the death over a parking space. However, I’ve said, if it’s a matter of an important principle, you cannot back down. Geller has chosen the right battle, which is to stand up against the murderer’s veto, especially when that veto is directed at America’s core freedoms. Hurrah for her, and hurrah for former-Muslim Bosch Fawstin, whose artistically beautifully and intellectually powerful image won first prize:

Bosch Fawstin's winning picture of Mohamed

Carly Fiorina on crony capitalism

Elizabeth Warren (ick), Carly Fiorina, Wolf Howling, and I all agree on one thing: crony capitalism is a terrible thing for America. (And, incidentally, it’s why the stock market is soaring under Obama, even as actual wealth and real jobs vanish on his watch.) Where Carly, Wolf, and I part ways with Warren is that, unlike her, we don’t believe that even more government is the answer. Instead, as Carly says:

“The dirty little secret of that regulation, which is the same dirty little secret of Obamacare or Dodd-Frank or all of these other huge complicated pieces of regulation or legislation, is that they don’t get written on their own,” she said. “They get written in part by lobbyists for big companies who want to understand that the rules are going to work for them. . . . Who was in the middle of arguing for net neutrality? Verizon, Comcast, Google, I mean, all these companies were playing. They weren’t saying ‘we don’t need this;’ they were saying ‘we need it.’”

Fiorina suggested that large companies, by backing such regulations, have emerged as an enemy of the small businesses run out of people’s houses and garages. “Google started out that way too, in a dorm room, but they seem to have forgotten that,” she said. They also comprise part of a “political class” that is “disconnected” from most Americans.

“The vast majority of people . . . believe there is a political class that is totally disconnected from their lives and that’s stacking the deck against them,” Fiorina said. It’s a diagnosis of American politics that is appropriate to her biography. “It’s interesting, people out there are not at all troubled that I haven’t held elected office; in fact, the people I run into consider it a great asset,” Fiorina said.

It’s a myth that illegal aliens would vote Republican on social issues

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that Republican “thinkers” are lying to themselves when they say that amnesty is good because immigrants are actually conservatives at heart. They’re not. They want government hand-outs and, if you watch their children at action in the schools, whatever’s being taught at homes has less to do with family, faith, and hard work, and a great deal more to do with sex and greed.

The demeaning vagina voter

I’m not much given to crudity, but I’ve made the point at this blog that those who vote for Hillary on account of her putative sex (remember, we live in a world of fluid sexual identity) are “vagina voters” and that their attitude is demeaning and disgusting. Brendan O’Neill, bless his heart, agrees with me (slight, but appropriate, language and content vulgarity):

The bigger problem with such unabashed declarations of “vagina voting” is that they confirm the descent of feminism into the cesspool of identity politics, even biologism, and its abandonment of the idea that women should be valued more for their minds than their anatomy.

Kate Harding, the vagina voter in question, isn’t only going to vote with her vag—she’s also going to tell everyone about it. “I intend to vote with my vagina. Unapologetically. Enthusiastically… And I intend to talk about it,” she wrote in Dame.

She thinks Hillary would be a great president because she “knows what it’s like to menstruate, be pregnant, [and] give birth.”

So you’re going to pick your leader on the basis of her biological functions, the fact she’s experienced the same bodily stuff as you? Imagine if a man did that. “I’m voting for Ted Cruz because he knows what it’s like to spunk off. And he knows the pain of being kicked in the balls.” We’d think that was a very sad dude indeed. Why is it any better for a female commentator to wax lyrical about voting on the basis of her biological similarity to a candidate rather than any shared political outlook?

We clearly have become a nation stupid enough to sink first to Obama’s level because we judged someone by the color of their skin, not the content of their character, and now it appears that we Americans — especially the women — are going to debase ourselves further by voting for someone based upon the contents of her underpants. (I gagged writing that.)

Conservative thinker Guy Benson gets it

I’ve read Guy Benson’s writing for years, and always enjoyed it. He’s a witty, committed conservative. It’s therefore exciting that he and Mary Katharine Ham have a new book coming out that attacks the crude, brutal censorship inherent in Progressivism: End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun). I plan to read it, and I hope a lot of people do, both because I want Benson and Ham to make money, and because it’s a message that voters need to learn.

Oh, and Benson is gay — like I care. Fortunately, Benson understands that I don’t need to care about his sexuality. Buzzfeed cares, though, so instead of focusing on important issues, such as free speech, free markets, national security, media monopolies, etc., it focuses on “he’s gay and a Republican,” and then works hard to imply that Benson must be [insert something negative, along the lines of "race traitor"].

To the people at Buzzfeed, I have only one thing to say: Get a life, you sleazy little voyeurs!

More failed climate change predictions

In my world, everyone is still deeply, deeply committed to the idea that humans are responsible for turning the earth into a fiery ball composed solely of swamps and deserts. I could tape their eyeballs open and force them to read Elizabeth Price Foley’s pithy piece on the myriad ways they’re wrong — not just a little wrong, but fantastically, incredibly wrong — and they still wouldn’t change the minds. “They have eyes but cannot see.”

You all, though, have eyes and brains and reason and intelligence, and you will appreciate what Foley has to say, so go forth and read — and then decide whether it’s worth doing battle with the blind or, as Weird Dave (writing at Ace of Spades) says, whether we should just tell them to “Eff off” and get out of our way.

As for me, I agree with Weird Dave, but only up to a point. I’d like Congressional Republicans to say “eff off,” while the rest of us act “eff off,” while still making sure we have intellectual principles to justify our positions and that we politely keep our friends and families apprised of those principles.

Unfortunately, the only phrase Congressional Republicans seem to have mastered is “May I lick your boots, please, before you kick me?”

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

The above caption comes from the lyrics to the theme song to the old All In The Family show. As with so many other things, Norman Lear was wrong about that too. In fact, we should have been singing and dreaming about “a man like Calvin Coolidge again.”

I first learned something about Calvin Coolidge when I read David Pietrusza’s enthralling 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. Before reading that book, everything I knew about Calvin Coolidge came from the Progressives who hated him and wrote subsequent history books. He was the silent moron who slept a lot, wore an Indian headdress, and did nothing.

And it is true, as the video below shows, that Coolidge did nothing. But it wasn’t the “nothing” of a moron. It was, instead, the nothing of a highly principled man who understood completely that government’s job is to create a stable environment in which people can be free.

Unlike our current president, who bemoans how unfairly the Constitution limits him, Coolidge said “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” Coolidge also fully understood that it was his inactivity that allowed the Twenties to roar: “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.”

Amity Shlaes expands on Coolidge’s own intuitive understanding of relationship between true freedom from government control and prosperity:

The Bookworm Beat 4-27-15 — “not yet the Apocalypse” edition and open thread

Woman writingMy brain is filled with Apocalyptic imagery, but it’s not because Obama is president, the Middle East is in flames, our southern border has collapsed, our economy is stagnant, Greece may drag down Europe, and Islamist’s are resurgent everywhere. It’s actually because last night, when my work load finally showed signs of a much-desired longish-term slowdown, I started reading two excellent books.

The first is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s lyrical and highly informative Jerusalem: The Biography, which takes the reader from Jerusalem’s pre-Biblical beginnings, to Old Testament and New Testament history, and then through post-Biblical history, all the way up to the 1967 War. It’s a lovely book, but I’ve just finished reading about Jesus’s crucifixion and am working my way toward’s the Kingdom of Israel’s destruction in 70 AD, so you can see why I’d be having an “end of days” feeling.

The second book that I’m reading, equally good so far, isn’t helping. It’s John Kelly’s The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, another elegantly written book that makes you realize the speed with which civilization can collapse (as if the recent Ebola scare wasn’t reminder enough). I think too that Kelly, with a historian’s true knowledge rather than a Progressive’s fantasy-science melange, might just be a climate change skeptic. It’s this bit of information that’s the giveaway, about the changing climate and demographic conditions in Europe in the five hundred years leading to the plague:

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