Tuesday night stuff (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesJust a few quick links I don’t want to leave on the table before I head down to my perpetual motion machine for the rest of the evening.

Earlier today, I bought a Mark Steyn gift certificate to help fund his legal battle against Michael Mann, a man who rejoices under the title of being a scientist, but is in fact a First Amendment terrorist. Not too long after that, I read Dennis Prager’s article about Bryan Stow. Living in the Bay Area, I had heard about Stow, a SF Giants fan beaten almost to death by some L.A. Dodger’s fans. In the intervening years, I hadn’t realized that his injuries were so devastating. I also didn’t know until today that the men who did this to him got off with prison sentences equal to a slap on the hand — sentences that made them smirk happily when handed down. Please consider donating to the Bryan Stow fund. I did, and only regret that I hadn’t done so sooner.

***

When Victor Davis Hanson is good, he’s really, really good. He’s all that in his post about the Bizarro World of Barack Obama’s presidency, in which every manifest failure is presented to Americans as a glowing success. Lincoln famously said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” He was wrong. We live in a P.T. Barnum world, where there’s a sucker born every minute — and they’re all supporting Barack Obama and his administration.

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No link here, just an observation: I was speaking to my fairly apolitical sister about political correctness, education trends, national security, etc. I asked her, “Am I so exercised about this stuff because I’m an old fogey, like the old Yorkshire men famous for beginning each sentence by saying ‘When I were a lad,’ or has the world really gotten weird lately?” She answered, “It’s gotten really weird. The changes are fast and they are strange.”

***

It’s not just that Andrew Malcolm wrote a good article about Barack Obama’s myriad foreign policy failures and the disdain in which this Nobel Prize winner is held around the world. It’s also the side by side photos of presidents Bush and Obama with the Dalai Lama. It makes me steam to think that, probably without exception, the Dalai Lama’s supporters voted for Obama. I’m not a fan of the Dalai Lama who, despite China’s constant depredations against his land, has announced that he’s a Marxist, meaning he’s dumb as a post, but I do admire his steadfast fight for his country’s independence (a fight he apparently carries out so that his country, too, can become a large socialist workers gulag). And yes, that was one of the longest sentences I’ve ever written, but I kept my clauses in nice order.

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If the name Margalit Fox is familiar to you, it’s because you pay attention to the bylines on New York Times obituaries. In my humble opinion, the New York Times obituary section is the only section in that paper worth reading — and what makes it worthwhile in significant part is Fox’s delightful writing. Knowing what a good writer she is, I didn’t think twice about picking up The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code when I saw that she was the author. My instincts were good. Fox brings to life the decades’ long (and eventually successful) effort to decipher the Linear B writing found at Knossos, home of the many King Minoses and the famous Minotaur. I’m halfway through the book, and am finding it difficult to put it down.

***

If the Thomas Jefferson quotation at Doug Ross’s site is apocryphal, please don’t tell me. I want to believe it’s real. (No, I take that back. Intellectual honesty matters more than wishful thinking.)

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I’ve never managed to be that thrilled by Sen. Marco Rubio. I think with a bit of time at his back, he’ll be something wonderful, but right now he’s not quite all that — except that is, when it comes to ripping apart old Leftists and their sorry love affair with Cuba. That fire is the promise that he can become a great statesman, although he isn’t one yet.

***

Speaking of statesmen, I’m beginning to put more and more faith in Scott Walker as a serious potential presidential candidate. If the worst that the Democrat attack dogs can come up with about him as that, back in college in the late 1980s, he announced in advance that he was running for student body president, rather than waiting until the official announcement day to do so, the media is going to have to work hard to discredit him. Add the lack of bad stuff to all the major good stuff in Wisconsin, and you’ve got Candidate Squeaky-Clean-and-Principled. Indeed, my only complaint about him will be the fact that he’s younger than I am. How in the world did it happen that I got to be older than the guys running for president? (Obama is only a month younger than I am, so that doesn’t count.)

***

Islamists kill. That’s what they do. And they especially love killing children because, even for psychopaths, soft targets (baby-soft targets) are the best. Or maybe I mean “especially for psychopaths.” Regardless, even as these monsters continue to array themselves in ever greater numbers against the West, our administration announces that it’s going to shrink the Army back to its 1930 size. We saw, of course, how well that worked back in the day.

***

This is what Obamacare is all about (from a son’s WSJ article about Obamacare’s death sentence for his mother):

[T]here is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother’s old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death.

[snip]

The “Affordable” Care Act is a brutal, Procrustean disaster. In principle, it violates the irreducible particularity of human life, and in practice it will cause many individuals to suffer and die. We can do better, and we must.

***

Sultan Knish makes a point that is obvious only in retrospect, after having read his post: just as raw power isn’t concentrated in corporations’ hands but is, instead, concentrated in a centralized government’s hands, so too is wealth concentrated, not in corporations or amongst a wealthy few, but in a centralized, socialized or semi-socialized government’s pocket.

Tuesday morning round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI only had a narrow window of time within which to write yesterday, but I was able to get a lot of reading done.  I bookmarked all sorts of pages and finally have the chance to share them with you.  I need to give a big thank-you to Earl for providing many of the links.  Unfortunately, I can’t be more specific than that, since I no longer remember which articles I found and which Earl sent my way.  Anyway, here goes:

Proving that professors aren’t as smart as they think they are, 44 law professors trying to force Hobby Lobby to pay for birth control and abortifacients inadvertently make a strong argument in favor of insisting that corporations should abandon all of their Leftist crusades.

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My high-school junior came home from school yesterday absolutely outraged. “Is it true that Obama’s going to cut the military’s size back to what it was before WWII? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. We have too many enemies to do that.”

Peter Wehner — usually the most temperate, even RINO-esque writer — is also outraged, and says point-blank that Obama is deliberately forcing decline on America:

Max Boot does an excellent job laying out the problems with this proposal here and here. I’d simply add that the fact that American military dominance can no longer be taken for granted is not problematic for someone of Barack Obama’s worldview. In fact, he views the weakening of American power as a downright positive thing, as a contributor to peace and stability, and a means through which America will be more respected and loved in the world.

[snip]

And for all the damage the president is doing on the domestic side–and I would not want to underestimate it for a moment–it may be the harm he’s inflicting on America in foreign policy and national security is deeper, broader, and more durable.

More than any president in my lifetime, Barack Obama has damaged virtually everything he’s touched. When it comes to American interests, he’s a one-man wrecking ball.

The military is rife with waste, something that should be addressed.  For the president to point out that the bath water is cloudy, thereby mandating the baby’s destruction, is a passive-aggressive version of treason.

***

Two posts explain precisely why the same president who won a Nobel Peace Prize merely for winning an election now gets no respect at home or abroad: The first from Seth Mandel and the second from Keith Koffler.

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Yes, Farrakhan is a disgusting anti-Semite. People need to know this.  There are still way too many Leftist American Jews who imagine that they’re standing arm-in-arm with Southern blacks in front of Sheriff Bull Connor. Those days are gone. Fifty years of pernicious Farrakhan-ism and Leftism have turned vast numbers of American blacks into anti-Semites. Moreover, these antisemitic blacks can rejoice in the fact that one of their own occupies the White House.

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Charles C.W. Cooke is such a delightful writer that it’s a pleasure to read him rejoicing about Piers Morgan’s CNN downfall. John Lott, however, is the one who writes something about Morgan that I didn’t know: Morgan was so abysmally rude to pro-gun guests on his show that reasonable viewers actually felt obligated to try to figure out on their own what Lott was going to say. (Although one has to wonder why any reasonable person of whatever political stripe would watch Morgan.  Habit, I guess.)  In such way are minds open and converts created.

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When all is said and done, I’m betting that Obamacare will have killed more Americans than all the dead in Iraq, both American and Iraqi, combined. And the media will be utterly silent.

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I am not a fan of the Smithsonian institute, which has been co-opted entirely by the loony Left.  Here’s the most recent example of its global warming crusade (the website is rife with this pseudoscience), but its Leftism hit the airwaves with the Enola Gay kerfuffle.  I mention the Smithsonian now only because it had an interesting little article about forensic writing analysis, in which a person or computer carefully analyzes the way in which someone writes — word choices, sentence length, word order, etc. — to determine authorship.  Funnily enough, the Smithsonian didn’t mention the detailed forensic analysis showing that it’s more likely than not that Bill Ayers, not Barack Obama, authored Dreams, the book that catapulted a nobody from nowhere into the nation’s spotlight.

***

Many of us tend to associate pot with Leftist hippie types. In fact, legally available pot is a very libertarian concern — and so are legal arms. Bob Owens warns that those same libertarians who are availing themselves of legal pot via prescriptions may find that they’ve signed away their right to arms.

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Noemie Emery offers an excellent analysis about Obamacare’s bastard roots; meaning the fact that, unlike any other major law in American history, it was passed in the face of overwhelming opposition, using factual lies and procedural chicanery.

***

John C. Goodman explains how we lost the war on poverty from the moment we enacted it. Why? Because its very enactment induced Americans, especially black Americans, to abandon the four cornerstones of economic success in America: a high school education, a job (no matter the type), and, most importantly, marriage and children in that order. Again, no surprise to me. For years I’ve been citing John McWhorter’s Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, in which I first saw the numbers showing black economic collapse after well-meaning, guilt-ridden whites forced welfare on them in the 1960s. Black men became mere sperm donors who proved their prowess, not through hard work, self-sufficiency, and family standing, but through guns and sex.

***

I’ve worked hard most of my life. I started working as a teen, and have kept busy ever since as a secretary, a student, a lawyer, and a mother. All are time-consuming tasks that require having or learning a specific mindset and skills. I bet you all have worked hard too, and that’s true no matter your life’s work.

Some jobs appear right off the bat to be harder than others. Most would concede that it’s incredibly hard to do road maintenance work in Arizona in summer or in Michigan in winter. Marine work — both training and fighting — is hard too. Working in a coroner’s office must have a high disgust factor. Working on a cattle ranch is a 365-day-a-year, physically exhausting job. I won’t go on, but I will point out that you never read articles from road maintenance people, or Marines, or coroner’s assistants, or cattle ranchers and cowboys moaning on and on about how horrible their job is and how only haters don’t appreciate what they’re doing. Funnily enough, that kind of whiny, narcissistic, incredibly irritating rant comes only from teachers.

As I’ve so often said, I’m entirely cognizant of how difficult a job teaching can be. My father did it in a time when his wage was only slightly above the poverty level, and he was a superb teacher. What he wasn’t was a victim.

I support good teachers, I admire good teaching, and I recognize that it takes time, commitment, knowledge, and skill to be a good teacher. (I’d love to be one of Mike McDaniel’s students, since it’s obvious that he has all of those virtues and then some.) What I can’t stand is the endless sense of victimization flowing from America’s teachers. What I’d love to say to them is “Most people work hard and feel that their pay is inconsistent with their effort. You’re not special. Get over it.  If you want recognition, get it for being wonderful (a la Mike), not whiny.”

***

And a great picture, riffing off of one of my favorite expressions (h/t Caped Crusader):
Road to hell

Monday morning Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556I need to spend more time at my computer, since blogging is my little endorphin rush. The problem is that I also need to spend 8-10 hours a day hooked up to the continuous passive motion machine, which precludes any writing, whether on my desktop, my iPad, or my daughter’s (borrowed) laptop. If I use the CPM machine during the day, the only time I’m not hooked up to it is when I’m taking care of my mother or ferrying my children places. If I use the machine at night, I can’t sleep. Last night, I tried a compromise: I stayed on the CPM machine until 4 a.m., and then went to bed and slept for 2.5 hours. I figure that, when I’m next on the machine today, I can nap. This might work….

In any event, thanks to last night’s patchwork approach, I’m sitting at my desktop now, happily reviewing all my favorite morning reading sites. With luck, I’ll be able to get some blogging in before I have to head off to my post-surgical check-up.

Until then, here’s an Open Thread.

Friday morning thoughts (and Open Thread)

The other day, Victorian posy of pansiesI wasn’t able to get to my desktop computer, which is where I write with ease and fluidity.  I was also was quite depressed that day.  Thinking about it, I told my sister that I wasn’t depressed because life is temporarily inconvenient.  I was depressed, instead, because I didn’t get my “writer’s high.”  For many years, I’ve kept myself buoyant through two endorphin-releasing activities:  martial arts and writing.  For the past six months, I’ve been unable to do martial arts, but I still had my writing.  When writing is also denied me, my endorphins vanish, and I get into a funk.  Just an hour at the computer is equal to several bowls of chocolate ice cream — without the calories.

And now to a variety of quick links that have come my way:

An artist in South Florida deliberately destroyed a 7,000 year old Chinese vase to protest the fact that the arts community in Miami isn’t paying enough attention to local artists.  If you’re like me, your first thought upon reading that story was “That man is just crazy.”  Well, if he’s crazy, so is Prince William.  Little Willy has announced that he wants to destroy the monarchy’s priceless 1,200 piece ivory collection to protest the illegal ivory trade.  He’s apparently unimpressed by the fact that these ivories span the centuries, meaning that they come from times long-predating modern environmentalism.  The combination of an appropriately Progressive education and a credulous, rather stupid father clearly has had its effect on the Prince’s reasoning skills and values.

One of my friends, upon hearing about Prince William’s proposal, had the perfect response:  “Perhaps he should also dismantle the monarchy since it has caused so many wars, slavery, and other human suffering. While he’s at it, why not return all the Egyptian treasures spread throughout London the monarchy looted?”

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Mark Steyn is representing himself in the case that Michael Mann — creator of the completely discredited hockey stick graph — has brought against him and against the National ReviewOne can argue that Steyn will find that there’s truth to the saying that “the man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.”  I’m not so sure.  In my experience, judges give an enormous amount of leeway to parties who appear on their own behalf.  The smart man representing himself may well be in a better position than the smart man trapped behind a mediocre attorney whose only virtue is that he’s affordable.

If Steyn’s answer and counter-claim is anything to go by, Steyn’s doing just fine.  He understands that the law is on his side.  This is a pure First Amendment case and doesn’t require complex legal analysis.  The only way to win is to make the facts come alive and to reveal Michael Mann for what he is:  a discredited scientist who has used shoddy research and false reports to make himself famous, and who now tries to cling to his dishonestly-won fame by bullying people through the legal system.

Not only does Steyn understand the necessary strategy, he’s taken advantage of his pro per status to write one of the most delightful pleadings I’ve ever seen.  My first drafts usually have the same puckish quality (although I lack Steyn’s wit, erudition, flair, and musicality), but I always take those bits out for fear the judge will think I’m making sport of him.  Steyn, however, is clearly, and deftly, making sport of Mann:

69. Denies the allegations in Paragraph Sixty-Nine of the Amended Complaint, and thinks we’re going round in circles here.

[snip]

111. Denies the allegations in Paragraph One-Hundred-And-Eleven of the Amended Complaint, and feels Plaintiff is going round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a
wheel, like the circles that you find in the tree-rings of your mind.

[snip]

129. Plaintiff Michael Mann is a widely known figure in the scientific and public policy spheres of global warming research who has thrust himself into the politics of the
global warming debate by appearing in TV commercials for political candidates, writing newspaper columns regularly for The Guardian, The New York Times and others, serving as scientific advisor to and appearing in a climate-change TV series starring climate experts Matt Damon and Jessica Alba, and is therefore a public figure. In March 2012, Plaintiff published a book called The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars: Dispatches From The Front Lines, the “front lines” presumably referring to his media appearances with Miss Alba et al.

[snip]

131. At the other end of the spectrum, Plaintiff and his counsel have issued demands that have no basis in law, as they well know – including the preposterous assertion, in response to a parody video by “Minnesotans for Global Warming”, that “Professor Mann’s likeness” is protected from parody and satire. (See attached letter from Plaintiff’s counsel.) Plaintiff has engaged in serial misrepresentation and false claims to authority, including (in his original Complaint against Defendant Steyn) purporting to be a Nobel Laureate and (in his current Complaint and elsewhere) purporting to have been exonerated by multiple investigations and by fellow scientists who have, in fact, pronounced Mann and his work “inappropriate”, “exaggerated”, “non-robust” and his defense of it “incorrect”. There is a smell to the hockey stick that, in Lady Macbeth’s words, “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” – nor all the investigations. And so Dr Mann has determined to sue it into respectability.

Speaking as a well-seasoned litigator, I wish I’d written that.

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At African-American Conservatives on Facebook, a picture that perfectly illustrates why I’ve had a problem with electric cars — and with the fact that Obama is using my money to fund them, all under the umbrella of “anthropogenic climate change”:

Dirty electrical cars

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The more I know about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the more I like him. And the more the Left knows about Walker, the more it fears him. I have a feeling all the fishing expeditions will come up empty. After the recall vote, all the dirt that can be dug probably has been dug.

allen-west-20101Speaking of presidential candidates, even my apolitical sister asked me, “Who’s going to be the Democrat nominee? Hillary? I don’t think she can win, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else.” Exactly. I told her to keep an eye on Walker. I also really, really like Allen West, and I think he could make an Eisenhower-esque claim to having executive experience notwithstanding his lack of a governorship. He and Walker could be a very exciting President/Vice President package. I also have to admit to something of a girlish crush on West. I think he’s just amazingly good-looking. He looks so crisp and fresh.

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Proof that not all news anchors are just talking heads. These two, stuck without any audio, are really funny.

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Do we need to say again that true science is never settled? Or that stifling dissent is unscientific? Probably we do. We need to say it again and again and again until we are like the horns bringing down the walls of Jericho. And if someone’s going to be your trumpet, Charles Krauthammer is the Louis Armstrong of intelligent dissent.

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Every year in Laredo, something amazing happens:  on both sides of the border, people gather together to celebrate George Washington, but they do so with an exquisite Tejano twist.  As with the last Independent Lens documentary I wrote about, the documentary maker isn’t very good, but the subject matter transcends the production.

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Do you remember this creepy video, with elementary school children singing about the glories of the imagined hope that the Messiah Obama would bring to America? Well, someone’s updated it (h/t Sadie):

Can’t sit a my keyboard Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556As all of you have surely realized, I’m a desktop computer person. Having an ergonomically-curved keyboard at my desk makes for effortless typing. I can’t type when the keyboard is in my lap nor do I do well on traditional flat keyboards, which start me on the road to tendonitis, slowly me down.

I mention all this because I haven’t been able to get to my desktop today. Indeed, between driving children, getting my mom to a doctor’s appointment, and repeated trips to the front door to let in dog walkers and helpful neighbors (trips made slower than usual by a pinched nerve in my shoulder), I was not only separated from my keyboard, I was also unable to hook myself up to my perpetual motion machine. Now that the dogs are walked, the children driven, the food delivered, and my mom checked out, I’ve got to take care of the knee — so I’m flat on my back, watching TV and struggling through two-finger typing on the iPad.

Fortunately, I have a dog camped out on my chest, a couple of warm blankets, and a full tummy thanks to my friends. It could be worse. Indeed, the only regret I have now is that I can’t blog.

Tomorrow will be the same, as I have to get my mom to smother doctor’s appointment, in addition to the regularly scheduled interruptions. For the time being, this Open Thread will have to do.

Quick links for Tuesday night (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have to return to my perpetual motion machine, but before I do, I wanted to throw out a few quick links to things I thought were interesting.

Second Amendment supporters cheered when the 9th Circuit (the 9th Circuit!!!) ruled that counties cannot concealed-carry licenses by reserving to themselves the power to determine whether someone is in genuine fear for his life.  The Marin County Sheriff finds this ruling offensive, primarily because no one ever schooled him on the Second Amendment:

Marin County Sheriff-Coroner Doyle criticized the ruling, saying it “essentially eliminates the authority of local sheriffs and chiefs of police to establish a ‘good cause’ standard for granting or denying concealed weapons permits that is reflective of the individualized community standards where they serve.” Doyle said he is a “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believe this latest court ruling unreasonably expands the scope of that constitutional guarantee, enabling people not only to arm themselves for protection inside their homes and businesses, but also in areas that are open to the public where possession of a concealed firearm has until now been a crime.”

Apparently Sheriff Doyle’s copy of Second Amendment reads as follows:  “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, provided that this militia is made up solely of government employed or authorized citizens, the right of the people to keep and bear arms inside their homes if they first get government permission based upon a bureaucrat’s determination that they might be in danger shall not be infringed.”

Me?  I think that’s a pretty lousy version of the Second Amendment and, thankfully, it’s not the real deal.  If Doyle and others would like to have the Second Amendment changed, they need to follow the Constitution’s amendment process, not simply misread the actual document.

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Sometimes statements just demand a snarky, sarcastic response.  Take for example President Obama’s boastful statement that the stimulus worked, never mind the job-market contraction, sneaking inflation, rising food and fuel costs, etc.  Certainly Obama couldn’t care less about these picayune issues, for he said “Anybody who says we can’t compete when it comes to clean energy technologies like solar and wind, they have had to eat those words.”  (Emphasis mine.)  To which the obvious riposte is, yeah, and words are all that they’ve got left to eat, what with no jobs, no money, no fuel and no food.  I was going to say “What a maroon,” but Bugs Bunny’s favorite insult seems too mild when compared to this man’s arrogance and insensitivity.

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I’m not making it up about rising fuel prices.  Dan Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) has a long, depressing post about the way the green energy movement, which has enriched the Leftist nomenklatura is leaving increasing numbers of people in the First World cold and hungry, with periodic bouts of death thrown in for good measure.

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Doug Ross has a cartoon panel that eviscerates Leftist thinking in three frames.

Tuesday morning Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556I meant to get an early start this morning so that I could balance necessary continuous passive motion with blogging. Instead, I found myself dealing with clients, driving my children, and taking multiple calls from my mother. The time to blog vanished, and I’m now hooked up to the perpetual motion machine once again.

I will write this afternoon, though, and that’s a promise.

Interesting doings this Monday night

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve been somewhat housebound since my surgery.  I can still drive but I really don’t have many places to go.  I’m a complete failure when it comes to crutches, hampered by a bad shoulder, poor balance, and arthritis in the “strong” leg that is exacerbated by all the work that leg is doing.  Those failings make most destinations more effort than they’re worth.

The driving came in handy tonight, though, as I drove my son to a meeting of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) organization.  Unlike most SAR organizations, this one accepts, trains, and really uses teenagers.  For a teen who takes self-involvement and selfishness to impressive heights (in other words, a fairly typical suburban teen), it would be a great thing if he could be involved in an organization that taps into his incredible athleticism, while teaching him to be more disciplined, responsible, and outer-directive.

Since it wasn’t worth my while to drop him off drive around for 90 minutes and then return to pick him up (especially since I try to avoid too much night driving), I simply stuck around for the meeting, and was very glad I did.  In addition to reviewing that SAR operations since the last meeting, the organization had a special 40 minute presentation by a fireman who is an SAR volunteer and a recognized authority on searching for kids and women who have been snatched by predators.  (Sadly, if the kids are snatched by predators, most of the search efforts are for bodies, not for living children.)

The talk was absolutely fascinating, despite the grim subject matter.  It was also the kind of thing that makes you want to hold your children very close to you and to be thankful that they’re alive and well.

My evening’s activities, while fascinating, left little time for writing.  Nevertheless, I do have a few interesting things to pass on.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, but it still deserves mention:  School officials in Chicago are so anti-gun that they’re now opposed to Gun-Free Zone signs showing drawings of guns.  Is there any hope for a society that’s become this stupid?

***

Speaking of stupid, when it comes to believing in astrology and being ignorant about the Earth’s rotation, Democrats win hands down.  Some are saying that this study blows to pieces the stereotype about dumb Republicans, but I wasn’t at all surprised.  Growing up in the Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s, every hippie I knew was into astrology and some form of mysticism.  Those old hippies are today’s Leftist establishment, and there’s no reason to believe that they’ve outgrown their interest in astrology.  The scientific ignorance about the Earth is just as easy to explain:  public schools.

***

I jokingly suggested that our kids, rather than looking to Ivy Leagues (which I’m loath to pay for), look to Hillsdale, a college that works hard to keep politics out of its classrooms and, instead, focuses on a classic education.  A certain person who shall not be named was horrified and went searching on the internet for information about Hillsdale.  He came back and announced that the college’s president had made racist remarks about dark-skinned people at the college.

Given that Hillsdale was one of the first colleges in America to admit blacks, that didn’t sound right to me.  To the extent Hillsdale may have a small black population, it strikes me that the issue is self-selection (there are few black conservatives, so only few black kids would apply to Hillsdale), not prejudice.

I did some of my own research and discovered that, as is always the case, context is everything.  The Hillsdale president wasn’t making racist comments about black or Hispanic students.  Instead, he was claiming that the federal government’s obsession with race is racist and divisive.  He noted that federal funds would mean that federal bureaucrats would start swarming his campus and, rather than looking at the quality of education and the availability of openings for students of all races, would simply count dark colored faces.  And voila, with an anti-racist statement that used an unfortunate phrase (“dark ones”) a slander about racism was born.

***

My friend and fellow council member Rob Miller, who blogs at JoshuaPundit, has another superb article at the Times of Israel, this one about the 150 American Jews who signed an open letter to Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to accede to John Kerry’s wishes and, essentially, to turn Israel’s security over to the Palestinians.

***

We’ve always understood that the Left would attack Christmas and Easter.  But really, who expected it to wage wholesale war on Valentine’s Day?  But wage a war it did, at least on college campuses, with the romantic holiday turned into a celebration of women’s sexual organs.  Even that seems rather innocuous now that a new movement has come along:  “1 Billion Rising,” which posits that rape victims should dance in the street on Valentine’s Day.  Huh?  Apparently I’m not the only one who finds this a quixotic response to address rape.  Of course, it may be the perfect response to the rising prevalence of “gray rape,” which occurs when a young woman regrets her drugged or drunken hook-up and blames the equally drunk or drugged man for her predicament.  I find gray rape perfectly appalling, since it reduces the seriousness of real rape by drowning the real statistics in a sea of sorry hook-ups.  According to Zombie, I’m not the only one having a problem with the whole 1 Billion Rising thing.

Saturday afternoon Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556
Five days away from my desk and all Hell broke loose on that surface. I’ve cleared several hundred emails, paid several dozen bills, and done several loads of laundry (my office and the laundry room are one and the same). I discovered things I want to blog about, but I need to reattach myself to my perpetual motion machine for a few hours first. If I don’t get any writing done today, be assured that I will tomorrow.

Thursday afternoon wrap-up

Victorian posy of pansiesThe perpetual motion machine is going and I find it easiest to watch movies while marooned on my backside. I’ll adjust, though, and soon start thinking harder and writing more. Until then….

This must be a record. I’m citing to The Onion twice in one day. But this satirical article about gays and being first at some thing is too funny to miss.

No, it’s not your imagination. The European Union is planning on seizing everybody’s money and dealing it out equally. Just remember, as George Orwell said, that some animals are more equal than others. In other words, not only will the seizure be highway robbery, but the redistribution will be highly in equitable.

Here is a cute human interest story out of Yemen: the most popular singer in Yemen is an Israeli Jew whose parents escaped from that country when the Muslim government kick them out.

One of the things I’ve tried to bring to people’s attention on the “real me” Facebook is the fact that if Obama, as chief executive officer, can do whatever the hell he wants with the laws, so can any subsequent president. Of course, if they were not afraid to speak the truth, my liberal friends would respond that this new approach to governance is appropriate only if the subsequent president is black or gay or female or Hispanic or maybe, just maybe Asian. And of course, the president would have to be Democrat. If the next president is a white man or any kind of Republican, be assured the old rules will still apply.

We all know that there is less press freedom in America than ever before. We also know that this is primarily because the press abdicated its responsibility and became a branch of the Democratic Party.

Thursday morning quick hits

Victorian posy of pansiesI do not watch the Grammys, so I was unaware that the Grammy powers that be had edited the speech by Lorde, the teenage sensation from New Zealand who sang what I thought was a boring chant about the misery of life without bling. Having read what they edited, you can see that they did her a great favor. I would like to think that people would have been put off by her speech, rather then intrigued by it.

I often do not send traffic to a site with which I disagree. I will identify it so others can find it, but I won’t hyperlink. A professor has done much the same thing regarding people who support the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement against Israel. He is refusing to site as sources people who support that foul movement.

Conservatives who watch the Supreme Court have long identified something called the Greenhouse syndrome to explain why conservative justices kept getting more liberal. Linda Greenhouse was this supreme court reporter for the New York Times. Too often justices tried to shape their opinions to please Greenhouse, rather than the Constitution. As this article reveals, Greenhouse is both an ideologue and an ignoramus. The justices were really dumbing down to please her.

As is probably true for many people, I have been following the case of Amanda Knox and Raphael Sollecito who were convicted in Italy for murdering Knox’s roommate, Amanda Kercher. And as is probably the case for many Americans, I think the Italian justice system failed at every level. Ace does a superb job of summing up it’s myriad failures.

David Goldman, a.k.a. Spengler, thanks that an increasingly religious Israel is heading in the right direction. The Bible supports him. Whenever ancient Israel deviated from religion it was punished; when it found its way back, God rewarded it. Goldman, of course, doesn’t just cite the Bible. He actually has facts and analysis to explain why he thinks this is a good thing.

This is the first article I’ve seen that logically explains the Edward Snowden conundrum (i.e. hero or traitor?). Snowden stole vast amounts of data that is of interest only to America’s enemies, and his search was set up to catch that data. To the extent he revealed that America is spying on her own citizens, he seems to have done so as a cover.

And here is a funny one from The Onion. As Homer Simpson would say, “It’s funny because it’s true.”

Post-Narcotic Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556

I have less pain in my knee than I’ve had in months — and no wonder.  It turned out I was just walking on bone, without benefit of cartilage.  I’m always glad when I learn I wasn’t being a hypochondriac.  My brain is pretty clear — nothing but Motrin for the incision pain — but I slept badly.  I think I was thrown off by all the drugs in my system.  My brain is functioning, but not well.  Blogging will be light today.  Moreover, since I have to keep my knee elevated, I’ll be blogging from my iPad, which is inelegant and slows me down.  A small price to pay for the possibility of long-term pain relief.

Please enjoy this Open Thread in the meantime.

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesPower corrupts; and when the IRS has absolute power, it’s corrupted absolutely.

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Three headlines at The Weekly Standard: (1) CBO Director: Obamacare ‘Creates a Disincentive for People to Work’; (2) AOL CEO: ‘Obamacare Is an Additional $7.1 Million Expense For Us’; (3) WSJ: ‘Limited Choices of Doctors and Hospitals’ Under Obamacare.

And one great punchline from Keith Koffler.

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Obama’s blithe dismissal of the IRS scandal wasn’t just unethical (he shouldn’t be opining during an ongoing — albeit barely there — investigation), but was also just flat-out wrong.

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Yesterday, I noted that the Budweiser “Welcome home, soldier” ad was astroturfed patriotism, which I found unpleasant. I heard from someone in the military that the people he knows are uniform in their dislike of the ad (no pun intended). The American Spectator now chimes in, chiding Budweiser and other companies for commercializing the military.

Old Hollywood movies also used to commercialize the military:  they’d make supportive movies about the military to sell tickets.  Back then, though, because patriotism was the name of the game throughout America, that commercialism seemed less sleazy than the Vaseline-smeared lenses that characterizes 1-minute long commercials that use the military as a backdrop to sell a product.

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When it comes to principled conservativism, PM Tony Abbott of Australia seems to be the real deal. That’s not the only heartening thing. If he is indeed the real deal, we should take comfort in knowing that a former British colony that was following Britain’s PC lead was able to recognize how damaging its policies were and to vote in the other direction. Maybe there’s hope for another former British colony that seems determined to follow Britain’s PC lead, even as Britain is falling into the abyss.

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As an example of the British abyss, there’s news out today that a British court has demanded that Thomas Monson, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e., Mormons), report to London immediately to defend his faith against fraud charges with regard to some of its central tenets.

I’d originally written snarkily that the judge seems unable to distinguish faith from science. I then realized that the snark was misplaced.  What we’re seeing here is another byproduct of global warming: Because global warming has become an unfalsifiable doctrine it has turned science into faith. Why then, should a British judge, who I am 100% certain believes in global warming, have the ability any longer to distinguish between science and faith? She’s going to apply tests to them, not according to their nature (with science getting evidence and hypothesis based tests, and religion being left alone on faith grounds), but according to her own belief system, one that probably worships Gaia and rejects more traditional religions.

***

If you like proof, David Horovitz provides ample proof that John Kerry is a fool, and a dangerous one at that.

Wednesday Wrap-Up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThis is what community organizers do: they go into a struggling community that anxiously awaits a high-quality, low-priced store that community members believe will help lift up their neighborhood and, shouting racial epithets, they shut the initiative down.

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Democracy?  Who needs democracy, even a watered-down representative democracy?  Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has announced that she will enthusiastically bypass the Congress to which she belongs and simply draft orders for His Imperial Majesty Barack Hussein Sotero Obama to sign.

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Labeling as “criminals” people who commit illegal acts is somehow insulting.  I wonder if Justice Sotomayor, who made this Orwellian statement, has the same standard when it comes to pedophiles.  (Maybe Woody Allen can help her answer that question.  And yes, I think he’s guilty, if only because so many of his movies reflect an old man’s obsession with young, female flesh.)

***

John Kerry lies, and lies, and lies — this time about Israel.  And he lies precisely in the same way Barack Obama does:  blatantly and unashamedly, secure in the knowledge that a compliant media (and, in this regard, that includes Fox) will not call him out.

Speaking of Fox and Israel, I’m wondering something. Al Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family and one of the richest men in the world, is the second largest holder of shares in Fox. In the past, he’s claimed to have put pressure on Fox to tilt the news his (and Saudi Arabia’s) way.  That meant that Fox, while reliably conservative in most ways, was more Muslim-friendly and less-Israel friendly than one would expect.  Now, though, Saudi Arabia and Israel suddenly have similar interests:  keeping the bomb out of Iran and preventing Iran from becoming the true power broker in the Middle East.  I wonder if this will change Fox’s tilt.  I don’t have an answer, because I don’t watch TV news.  Has anyone noticed a change in Fox News’ coverage?

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And speaking of Muslim-friendly news, CAIR is advertising a “walk against Islamophobia.”  I love Drew’s comment at Weasel Zipper’s:  “If CAIR really think so-called ‘Islamophobia’ is a problem then why don’t they hold a ‘walk against Islamic terrorism?’ Wait, that means they would have to condemn their co-religionists, never mind.”  That statement really nails the problem with CAIR, doesn’t it?

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Oh, and while I’m piling up on Islam, Daniel Greenburg wrote a Groundhog Day post looking at the fact that Islam never breaks free of its endless day of winter.

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And while I’m on the subject of Daniel Greenburg, he’s got another superb post (he’s always got superb posts), this one about the utopian Universalists, who speak the language of universal love while spreading antisemitic hate.

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Salon has sunk to new lows by openly promoting communism (and no, I won’t link to that drek).  It does so, of course, through lies.  Tom Toth calls out Salon on its latest pro-Communist grotesqueries.

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As an aside, looking at the posts above about Islamism, antisemitism, Universalism, and communism, I can only say that it’s not true that man is the most dangerous animal of all.  The truth is that there are certain subsets of man who deny morality, individual freedom, and the worth of the individual — they are the most dangerous animals of all.  And now back to our regularly scheduled linkfest.

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The more I hear about Scott Walker, the more I like what I hear.  He’s courageous, tenacious, and highly effective.  Unlike Rand Paul, Mike Lee, or Ted Cruz, all of whom are dynamos for conservativism, he hasn’t spun his wheels in the toxic environment of Congress.  Instead, despite enormous obstacles in Wisconsin, he’s wrought huge changes in that most Left of Left states.  As with other young conservatives who have appeared on the horizon, I’m not yet willing to give him my heart but, if he stays true to what he seems to be at this moment in time, he might well be my guy.

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And finally, I was not charmed or moved by Budweiser’s “Welcome home, soldier” Super Bowl commercial.  This was not a community’s spontaneous outpouring for a returned soldier; it was a corporate event.  As best as I could tell, it was the commercial equivalent of astroturf, rather than grass-roots, organization.  I was therefore completely unsurprised to read that Budweiser wasn’t the only self-promoting corporation involved.  Lt. Chuck Nadd also makes a career out of self-promotion.  As the post to which I linked said, this is the American way.  But it doesn’t mean you have to be moved or manipulated by it.

Tuesday tossed salad (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesOh, my gosh!  There is an embarrassment of riches out there this morning when it comes to thought-provoking, interesting, informative, or funny articles and videos.  Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

I pointed out here that terribly flawed, infantile, dangerous, and very non-scientific reasoning supported a study purporting to show that all the scientists in the world agree with anthropogenic climate change.  I didn’t have data, I just had common sense to back me up.  The data is now in, though, and it too shows how dreadful these “everybody believes in AGW” studies are.  No wonder Patrick Michaels is writing at Forbes that the age of science may end, as people view once-respected scientists as little more than ignorant shamans shaking sticks at the climate gods.  (My words, not his.)

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For a little bit of real science, this approach to sealing gunshot wounds is wonderful.  Think of all the lives that will be saved in Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Detroit, where Democrat voters routinely shoot each other.

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Will it surprise you to learn that Richard Hofstadter, one of the darlings of Progressive academics, was full of it?  No?  Well, it didn’t surprise me either.  (Link corrected.)

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“Zero tolerance” is one of the worst things ever to hit the Western world.  Before the dawn of that noxious notion in the West, zero tolerance was reserved for tyrannies:  Nazis had zero tolerance for Jews, gays, and gypsies; Iranians had zero tolerance for gays; Singaporeans had zero tolerance for spitting on the street; Saudis had zero tolerance for school girls with uncovered heads trying to escape burning buildings; etc.

Zero tolerance is never allied with either intelligence or human decency.  At about this time last year, in schools across America, zero tolerance was the justification for suspending elementary school kids possessing pizza slices or pastries that they’d chewed into gun shapes or little girls with water pistols that they never even brought to school.

Now, Canada has gotten into the act:  a retired Army sergeant made a wrong turn in Vermont and found himself at a border crossing.  Rather than letting him turn around as he requested, they interrogated him, searched his car, found his wife’s gun, ignored his concealed carry license, arrested him, and are now threatening him with three years in jail.  Obama’s State Department seems to be staying out of this one — no doubt because it’s thrilled to see Canada take the type of stand that Obama wishes he could.

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I wrote just yesterday that I wasn’t surprised that Philip Seymour Hoffman was a junkie who died of a heroin overdose.  To my mind, there was always something off about him.  Both Kevin Williamson and Jonah Goldberg look at the “off-ness” that lies the heart of heroin addictions.

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Here’s another addiction, one to which sick cultures always turn:  anti-semitism.

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Rob Miller (aka Joshuapundit) has another wonderful article up at The Times of Israel, this one about Israel’s reality — dealing with boycotts, lies, and intimidation.

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One wonders if the kids are getting a better or a worse education in a school captained by a principal with a great sense of humor.  I like to think that humor helps everything.  (But keep in mind that Jerry Seinfeld is being pilloried for suggesting that humor is not about skin color.)

Monday Mish-Mash (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesIt rained here yesterday, an event that was much more exciting even than the Super Bowl.  We probably got just a quarter inch of rain, but for a drought-stricken region, even that is thrilling.  There are storms lined up along the California coast . . . but that damned high pressure system refuses to let them pass.  The lizard part of my brain, the one taken up with magical thinking, keeps hoping that one of these storms will batter the high pressure system so hard that it breaks.  I know weather doesn’t work that way, but most days lately that fantasy is the best that I can do.

Still, and thankfully, there’s always blogging.  I’m sadly lacking in original thought at the moment, but others do have interesting stuff to say:

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Apropos yesterday’s Super Bowl blowout, I learned two things about Seahawk’s coach Pete Carroll:  He’s quite possibly a 9/11 Truther and he graduated from Redwood High School in the heart of Marin County.  Hmmm.  I wonder if the two are related?

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The IRS is planning on formalizing its persecution of conservative and Tea Party groups.  Until February 27, however, you can have a say in the matter.  At American Thinker, Sylvia Bokor mourns the fact that only slightly more than 20,000 people have weighed in, out of an American population greater than 300 million.  I’m not surprised.  First, most people truly don’t care; second, those who do care now have reason to worry that if they comment on the proposal, they’re basically signing on to the IRS’ future target list.  Chilling, that’s what it is.

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Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, takes on the belief fostered in every school child since about 1968 that, by signing on to the right (er, Left) charity, you too can save the world.  To him, this is the idiot stepchild of free enterprise and Leftism:

The West can’t fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates. By attempting to fix it,  Africa and the West become entangled in each other’s problems, each worsening the problems of the other instead of solving them.

No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the majority of the people who live there. Social problems aren’t solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren’t solved by engaging and guilt tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.

If a man is drowning, you can toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn’t accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a human problem can’t be solved except when the affected humans change their attitudes or behaviors.

I am grateful to him for articulating something I’ve always felt in my bones, but couldn’t put into words.

Super Bowl Open Thread *UPDATED*

49ers-seahawks-2014 footballThis weekend has been non-stop family stuff.  I find it almost impossible to blog under those circumstances.  And of course, in a few hours, the Super Bowl begins.  I’m not rooting for either team, which makes watching the game a very pleasant experience for me.  I always get ridiculously stressed out when my team (always the 49ers) is one of the teams playing.  Today, I can just relax and watch.

UPDATE:  Yikes!  That was quite possibly the ugliest pro game I’ve ever seen, let alone the worst Super Bowl game I’ve ever seen.  We actually watched to the bitter end, just to see if it could get any worse for the Broncos.  My kids were inclined to castigate Manning but I reminded him that, while he wasn’t doing that great a job, his teammates were failing to protect him, nor were they able to withstand the Seahawks’ defense.

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have not spent my time wisely today, but there are some things that crossed my radar that I think you’d like:

It’s not just because Mike McDaniel was kind enough to link to me that I bring to your attention his long, thoughtful article about gun ownership.  I’m suggesting that you read it because it’s wonderful.  I’m studying it carefully for the next time I find myself engaged in a debate with someone fanatically and foolishly against guns.

An example of this type of person would be the Stanford Law Professor who made the oft-repeated, and invariably stupid, argument that the Founders intended gun control to be limited to weapons in existence at the time they enacted the Second Amendment.  Under that rationale, of course, freedom of the press is limited to articles that are handset by printers’ devils; the only available forms of execution (which is authorized under the Constitution) are beheading, hanging, and shooting; and the only religions entitled to protection are those in existence in 1791.

It is plain as a pikestaff to anyone who is not an Ivy League academic that the Founders, who had just ended a long rebellion against their own government, intended for civilians to have access to weapons as good as their government’s weapons, just in case that government ever took a turn to tyranny.  It’s ridiculous that this Stanford guy gets paid for being that stupid.  Honestly!  I could be that stupid for free — and if you paid me, I’d actually try to be smart.

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I sat next to Judge Carlos Bea at a luncheon last week.  Nice man.  Glad to see that he stuck up for the Constitution — although, seeing as he sits on the 9th Circuit, he’s a minority.  I have my doubts about therapeutic relief from gayness, but I have my doubts about lots of promises that therapy makes.  The one thing that I don’t doubt is that the California legislation at issue is a form of speech and that the Ninth Circuit is squashing such speech.

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What do you do when modern Scandinavian sensibilities clash with a three-thousand-year-old religious imperative (in the case of Jews) or a fourteen-hundred-year-old religious imperative (in the case of Muslims)?  The Scandinavians say that it’s unfair that these religions decrease men’s sexual satisfaction.  Of course, in Africa, more and more men are saying “To heck with sexual satisfaction.  We’re circumcising ourselves because we don’t want AIDS.”  Yet another clash there — sexual pleasure versus disease control.  (Circumcision also protects women from certain sexually transmitted diseases.)

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Ace is a good writer.  In a few salty paragraphs, he savages the Italian criminal justice system.

Wednesday Wrap-Up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI didn’t watch Obama’s SOTU.  Between cooking and carpooling, I had neither the time nor the inclination.  I’ve never been impressed by “Obama the Orator,” and his speech’s details had already been leaked, so the whole thing fell into the “Why Bother?” category.  I did hear one interesting thing about it, though, while I was walking the dog and listening to Rush.

A caller named Jesse found Obama’s homage to Cory Remsburg off-putting.  I too found it off-putting, but Jesse put his finger on the problem:  Obama’s focus was about Remsburg the warrior but was, instead, about Remsburg the victim.  Obama made no real mention of Remsburg’s actual service.  Instead, Obama spoke about Remsburg’s injuries and his recovery (which is laudable, of course).

Obama could have given precisely the same speech been given about someone in a bad car accident.  Jesse and Rush both noted that, in previous administrations, when the president celebrated this or that veteran, at least some of the praise focused on the veteran’s bringing war to the enemy.  Now, though, the Left finds noteworthy only the injury part of “injured vets.”

Jesse felt, and I agree, that Obama’s purpose in talking about Remsburg was to highlight his opposition to the military, to America’s wars, and to the notion of manliness itself.

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For those of you interested in a conservative take on Obama’s SOTU, Bryan Preston offers one.

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Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s resident “fact checker” seems to have soured on Obama.  Rather than doing the old “false but accurate shtick” that characterized Obama’s first term, Kessler simply points out that Obama is making up things as he goes along.

I don’t believe Kessler has actually seen the light.  As was true for all of the MSM, he knew what was going on the first time around, but wasn’t going to do anything that might derail a second term.  Members of the Left might have gotten over its love affair with Obama, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still wholeheartedly approve of his agenda.

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A new book calling for a socialist revolution features contributions by Obama’s buddy Bill Ayers, among others.  As you chew over that, think about this too:  Back in the 1930s and onward through the end of the Soviet Union, the vast majority of Americans were staunchly opposed to Communism despite the fact that they really hadn’t seen it in action.  Countries such as the Soviet Union or China were closed to them (or run through the Duranty-filter), so those Americans who hated Communism did so because they knew — without data — that Communism stifled freedom and created a tyrannical state.

The fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of China revealed that Communism was worse even than anyone had guessed.  If you don’t believe me, just ask the kulaks that Stalin “re-educated” in the Ukraine or the Chinese who were around when Mao started his Great Leap Forward.  Oh, wait!  You can’t ask them because they’re dead.  Depending on estimates, Stalin killed roughly 7,000,000 kulaks through execution or starvation.  He was a piker compared to Mao, though, who killed 50,000,000 or more during his Great Leap forward, again through execution or starvation.  Despite knowing these facts with certainty nowadays (rather than merely guessing them, as we once did), communism and socialism are no longer considered dirty words.  This is what 40 years of Progressive education has wrought.

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Ted Cruz has written a really good Wall Street Journal opinion piece about Obama’s imperial presidency:

Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat. On Monday, Mr. Obama acted unilaterally to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contracts, the first of many executive actions the White House promised would be a theme of his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The president’s taste for unilateral action to circumvent Congress should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology. The great 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu observed: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” America’s Founding Fathers took this warning to heart, and we should too.

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And speaking of Obama’s imperial presidency, Victor Davis Hanson has written one of his best works about Obama’s lawlessness.  I highly recommend it:

We are reentering Nixonian times, or perhaps worse, given that a free press at least went after Nixon’s misdeeds and misadventures. Now it has silenced itself for fear of harming a once-in-century chance for a fellow progressive’s makeover of America. We live in an age when a CNN moderator interrupts a presidential debate to help her sputtering candidate, and when a writer for the often ironic and sarcastic New Yorker sees no irony in doing a fawning interview with the president, tagging along on a shakedown jet tour from one mansion of crony capitalists to the next — as Obama preaches to the head-nodders about inequality and fairness in order to ensure that the bundled checks pour in.

Without the media acting as a watchdog, the administration has with impunity found the IRS useful in going after political opponents. When Obama’s IRS appointees were exposed, he for the moment called their deeds outrageous; when the media did not pursue the outrage, he wrote it off as a nothing story.

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And finally, Megan McArdle points out that even Democrats are beginning to realize that there’s truth to the saying “be careful what you ask for; you might get it.”  It turns out that when they have a president desirous of fulfilling their wish list, some of the more intelligent among them are realizing that this way lies economic madness.  (Of course, that hasn’t stopped Al Franken from trying to push a constitutional amendment to forbid corporate speech, while keeping alive and well union, especially government union, speech.  Apparently it’s not enough for him that almost all of the largest donors in politics are Leftist unions.  He wants all of the largest donors to be Leftist unions.)

Tuesday tidbits (and an Open Thread, of course)

Victorian posy of pansiesDennis Prager asks a very important question:  What do you learn when you compare what Leftists and what conservatives view as the greatest evils in the world today.  Using this analysis reveals just how bereft the Left is of any moral compass.  Or rather, it has a moral compass, only it works backwards.  As for me, I’m wondering if there’s any way I can slip the ideas in this article before my Leftist friends so that they think about the concepts without become too defensive to absorb them.

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Wendy Davis got into a war of words with Bristol Palin, who pointed out that Davis’ actual life, as opposed to her imaginary life, is nothing to be proud of.  A few comments.

First, I was absolutely blown away by something Davis said in her defense, regarding her relationship with her adult daughters:  “I have always been and will always be the most important female in their lives.”  That’s a pretty monumental ego you’ve got there, Little Lady.  An ego that size much explains everything about Davis’s life choices and her lies.

Second, Palin is right, as Greg demonstrates in nice graphic form.

Third, Pat Sajak came up with the best tweets ever regarding Davis’s imaginary bio:

By the way, if you want an endless stream of humor, follow Sajak on Twitter.  He’s a gifted satirist and social observer who elegantly compresses his thoughts into 120 characters:

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NPR tries to push a minimum wage increase with a story about Henry Ford’s decision to offer high wages to get the best employees.  It doesn’t seem to occur to the geniuses at publicly supported radio that there’s a difference between a business making a strategic decision to get the best employees possible, and a government forcing all businesses to pay higher wages to everyone across the board, whether they’re yutzes or the most wonderful employees ever.  Even more disheartening than this, well, stupidity is the only word for it, is my sense that there’s no way to get those NPR drones to understand that there is a difference.  Sigh.

Monday morning mash-up — and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of laundry to fold, but that doesn’t mean I can’t highlight a few things that caught my eye.

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Until our relatives moved away from Los Angeles, twice a year we used to make the trek from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and then back up again.  In the early years, when we hit the central valley, we went through productive farmland as far as the eye could see.  In the last few years — including the Bush years — we often found ourselves driving through a barren Dust Bowl.  It wasn’t a natural drought (which we in California are suffering through this year).  Instead, it was a government-created drought, brought about by rabid environmentalists who have successfully insisted that saving a very small fish is more important than feeding a nation.  Charles C. W. Cooke has more.

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The Military must view troops by the content of their character and their commitment to the United States, instead of just looking at beards and turbans.  Standards are certainly necessary for military discipline and cohesion, but it’s a stupid military that turns away the best people because of minor deviations from the uniform.

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The New York Times has always been a Leftist mouthpiece, but it prided itself on being a dignified Leftist mouthpiece.  Back in the day, it was “the Gray Lady” rather than the “wide-eyed, stoned conspiracy theorist.”  At PowerLine, in one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject, John Hinderaker goes into full lawyer mode to analyze and destroy the Times over-the-top anti-Koch editorial — an editorial that seemed to have emerged without editing from the bowels of The Daily Kos.  I should add that, while Hinderaker’s demolition job is masterful, it’s going out to the choir.  The people who should be listening to him . . . won’t.

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While we’re on the subject of the far Left Times, P. David Hornik correctly identifies the Times’ Thomas Friedman as one of America’s worst purveyors of old-fashioned, “Elders of Zion” type antisemitism.

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From the Proving The Point Department comes an Atlantic blog comment elaborating on Rand Paul’s pointed remarks about Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior regarding women.  Adam Chandler starts by quoting Rand Paul’s comments, and then analyzes them briefly in the context of whether Hillary should be forced to pay for Bill’s sins.  He then quotes from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban, who vociferously defends Hillary.  Chandler wraps up with a paragraph meant to point out that Bill didn’t really get a pass for his sexual misconduct:

Other yet might contend that President Clinton is hardly the recipient of a free pass with regard to l’affaire Lewinsky, even all these years later. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press controversially incorporated the affair in a fact-check it conducted of Bill Clinton’s convention speech. And, as we mentioned, when Bill Clinton was named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council just a few weeks back, radio silence was hard to come by.

One has to wonder if Chandler read what he wrote.  If Bill really didn’t get a pass for his sexual misconduct, which ranged from affairs, to sexual harassment, to rape, to predatory behavior against young girls in the work place, then he wouldn’t be speaking at the 2012 Democrat National Convention or be named “Father of the Year.”  He wouldn’t be the dynamo who fronted much of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Democrats wouldn’t be excited about the fact that a Hillary presidency gives them a Bill Clinton repeat.  Of course he got a free pass.  The fact that a few articles rake up his significant misdemeanors means nothing when the Democrat establishment still embraces enthusiastically this old lech.  Bill Clinton — a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st Century.

Friday factoids (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have lots of intelligent thoughts swirling in my head.  The problem is that they haven’t settled down and become coherent.  Mostly, I’m focused on an upcoming outing with my mother.

My mother is an inveterate shopper.  At almost 91, shopping isn’t just the main pleasure in her life, it’s her only pleasure.  Sometimes I take her (which is truly a test of my love because I hate shopping); sometimes a friend takes her; and sometimes (actually, weekly) she boards the bus at her managed care facility for an outing to her favorite store.

Her most recent solo outing, however, left her distraught.  I got a confused tale about lost receipts, switched-out clothing, purse-snatching sales clerks (although she still has her purse and everything in it), kissing sales ladies, and a general feeling that “something is wrong there.”  I’m sure something is wrong, but I’m not sure whether this mainstream, reputable store is having a management failure or if my mother’s mental capacity has suddenly diminished.  I suspect the latter, but am open to the former — so I’m taking Mom to the store today to see what’s going on.

Meanwhile, there’s interesting stuff out there.

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By now, I’m sure all of you have heard that Dinesh D’Souza was indicted for alleged campaign funding malfeasance to the tune of $20,000.  A couple of comments:  To the extent his lawyer is talking about innocent mistakes, my reading is that D’Souza almost certainly committed the act as charged.  And to the extent that a John Edwards’ friend did the same, and was only charged with a misdemeanor, the over-the-top attack on D’Souza is political revenge.  Check here for Maetenloch’s list of a long line of Mafia-style policing from the Obama administration against conservatives and here, at Gateway Pundit, for Chuck Schumer’s explicit call-out to the IRS to attack conservative groups (but not Organizing for America, of course, Obama’s political arm).

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Zombie has a shocking (no Casablanca-style irony here when I use that word) report about San Francisco’s decision to continue paying a pension to a former city employee convicted on felony charges for storing and sharing the most vile kind of child pornography.  In addition to the images on his computer, the official included excited comments on the photographs giving his enthusiastic support to violence inflicted on children as young as infants and toddlers.  He reserved special approval for situations involving black adults abusing children or black children being abused.  According to the City, his acts didn’t constitute “moral turpitude.”  To which one can only say, “Huh”?

As for a reason behind the Progressive City’s continued support for the felon, it might have something to do with the fact that he’s a gay rights advocate who spearheaded nationwide recognition for “domestic partnerships” and, ironically enough, campaigned vigorously against alleged discrimination against blacks at sex clubs.  In other words, despite his crimes, he’s still politically untouchable.

My comments should not be construed as a swipe at “domestic partnership” laws, which I think are a much better idea than gay marriage, a notion that risks a devastating clash with First Amendment religious rights.  Instead, they’re meant to attack a Progressive world view that forgives any sin provided that the person committing the sin has the right political credentials.  (Roman Polanski comes to mind as another example of this attitude.)

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How about, instead of talking about blacks as the sexual playthings of a disgusting human being, we talk about them as fully realized human beings who do what the rest of us do, which is making political and social choices based upon their life experiences?  If that’s how you view people of other races, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, etc., please read Lloyd Marcus’s article about his upbringing and journey to conservativism, all of which took place inside a home with a hard-working father, and some of which took place in a sparkly new housing project that swiftly devolved into a Hobbesian nightmare.

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If you ever get into an argument with a Leftist about anything — not just about politics, but about anything — you’ll notice one inevitable hallmark of their arguing style.  It’s always personal.  For example, a Leftist will say “That new HBO show Looking is really good.”  You’ll respond “I didn’t like it much.”  A non-Leftist might say, “Oh, that’s too bad.”  Or he might ask, “Why not?”  Or he could say, “But it’s a really good look at the ordinary life of ordinary gays, and is worth watching for that reason.”  But that’s not what a Leftist will say.  He’ll say, “You’re homophobic.”  Or he’ll say, “That’s because you’re too stupid/narrow minded/unreasonable/backwards to appreciate good television.”  It’s never about the show; it’s always about you.

Thomas Sowell has noticed this habit too, a habit that isn’t about the personal being political, but goes beyond that:  Everything is personal when a Leftist is involved — and you’re always the wrong or damaged or stupid or prejudiced or all-around evil person.  After looking at the roots of this practice and giving examples in both 20th and 21st century politics, Sowell, who is a humanist, offers a possible explanation:

The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice,” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalting vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.

I’m not a humanist.  My possible explanation is that Leftism is attractive to deeply insecure people who don’t have a solid sense of their own worth and values.  They latch onto a political ideology that spells out expressly what’s right and wrong, and that gives them permission to function as their own God-heads, casting nonbelievers into eternal damnation.  In other words, it’s a political ideology of, by, and for malignant narcissists.

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Speaking of Looking, a half-hour long HBO dramedy that looks at young gays in San Francisco, it turns out that audiences didn’t want to look.  We actually turned it off in the first 30 seconds of the first episode, when a character sneaked into the bushes to meet another man who attacked his zipper and headed (literally) for his crotch.  This is always going to be the problem with the gay lifestyle.  Even people who are not homophobic and believe that they are entitled to full civil rights really don’t want to know too much about the sexual excesses in which so many gay young men engage.

And while we’re on the subject of salacious productions, enjoy this video (which is extremely good satire, but is not safe for work).

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I don’t think the college bubble is going to burst in time to spare me the cost of sending my two upper-middle-class suburban kids to college.  But it will burst.  Two articles mark the way to bubble collapse.  The first, in The Atlantic, focuses on kids with big debts and no job prospects.  The second, in Forbes, gives voice to one person who thinks he made a smart decision to skip college.  I know that, in my neck of the words, more and more parents are encouraging those of their children who aren’t that academically oriented to look into working for a year or two before going to college or to get their first two years done at the local community college.

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At IBD, both Michael Ramirez and Andrew Malcolm examine Obama’s latest position in the war on terror:  trash-talking al Qaeda.  Neither is impressed.  Richard Baehr has a few compelling and pertinent thoughts on the subject too.

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Also at IBD, an editorial saying that the California drought is not a product of all-encompassing climate change, just as the Polar Vortex isn’t.  It’s happened repeatedly before, and it will happen repeatedly again.  Both are parts of earth’s ever-changing and completely natural cycle.  I hate the drought, but I’m not railing at evil corporate conglomerates.  And in any event, if I want to rail at evil conglomerates who pollute our world, I should yell at the Americans and Europeans who ship their dirty factories to China and at the Chinese fascist government that lets them.  (I’ve decided that China is no longer communist, since it has shifted to a market-based economy.  Instead, it’s now fascist, since the government continues to control the people and the ostensibly privately-owned marketplace.)

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It’s great to be the messiah.  Even as you drive the US economy into the ditch, you and your family enjoy the high life — and charge it to the demoralized, broke American people.  When Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette did that, they lost their heads.  Obama and Co., however, get away with it without even having a dent put on their halos.

Waiting for inspiration to strike Open Thread

Sleep Zs

There’s a definite connection between sleep and productivity.  For the past few nights, I’ve had a resurgence of my insomnia issue.  Every night, I’m tired, but I don’t sleep, which means that, every day, I’m tired and I can’t write.  I’m going to take the dogs for a walk and listen to some Rush in the hope that my brain clears out.

Tuesday tidbits

Victorian posy of pansiesWhen I lived in England, though I neither smoked nor drank, I enjoyed hanging out in pubs.  They were congenial places where one could get a good game of darts (good for me, especially, because of that not-drinking bit).  Apparently pubs aren’t that much fun anymore, and the Brits can thank Labor for that.  Frankly, there are a lot of things that the Brits can “thank” Labour for, including the fact that the most popular boy’s name in England is Mohamed — and Mohameds aren’t known for hanging out in pubs making friends with the locals.

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I was speaking with a neighbor today about Common Core.  It’s so bad in Marin that, between the bullying (yes, peaceful Marin middle schoolers, especially those from the most liberal enclaves, are fearful bullies) and the curriculum disaster, she’s now home schooling her middle schooler.  I know she wouldn’t read what Ace wrote about the disaster that is Common Core, because she still thinks she’s a liberal, but she’d certainly agree with him if I could get her to read it.

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If you’re wondering what happens as Leftists make ever greater inroads into every facet of American culture, you need look no further than this story telling the terrible fate of a journalist who dared to point out that a transgender ex-man, current sort-of woman was also a liar.

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When I was a young lawyer, a study came out about the fact that plaintiffs in mass disasters (such as a bus or plane crash) had different outcomes depending upon the speed with which they settled (or didn’t settle).  Those who settled immediately got less money, but recovered quickly and got on with their lives.  Those who insisted on going to trial got more money, but recovered slowly and badly, and couldn’t get on with their lives.  These results were the same regardless of the relative severity of their injuries.  That is, a severely injured person who settled quickly would still do better than a less injured person who insisted on going to trial.  I thought of this study when I read about the perpetual victim status of the so-called Palestinian refugees who have been refusing to settle since 1948, and who live in abysmal conditions for that reason.

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And speaking of the perpetual Palestinian victims, the problem really isn’t Israel; it’s the Arabs (and Muslims).  Their fanatic antisemitism is a symptom of deeper dysfunctions and an excuse for refusing to confront them.

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When I took First Aid classes, I was told never to use a tourniquet.  Two recent wars have now taught us that this rule should only apply when there will be a long period between on-the-scene treatment and actual treatment.  Otherwise, why yes, tourniquets are a good thing.

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Let’s see:  Wendy Davis lies (although it’s sexist to point that out); Wendy Davis doesn’t understand the First Amendment and has a low threshold for criticism; and Wendy Davis thinks that she, whose only “hardship” was a young marriage and early divorce, understands suffering in a way that her Republican opponent doesn’t.  Or, as she says, he can’t speak about her lying and paranoia because he “hasn’t walked a day in my shoes.”  She’s right too.  Greg Abbott hasn’t walked a day in anybody’s shoes — because he’s a paraplegic.  Neo-neocon has more, much more, on what this says about Davis and modern feminism.

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Keith Koffler nails everything that’s wrong with the super-secret, star-studded, self-indulgent birthday party that Moochelle Obama threw for herself.  When I turned 50, I bought myself some chocolate Haagen Daaz and a good book, got extra kisses from my kids, and took my Mom out to lunch.  It was a good day.

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Finally, I want to introduce you to a website that you’ll like:  Election Projection, which is Scott Elliot’s baby.  He does a great job of analyzing probable election outcomes and, as he can prove, predicts them with remarkable accuracy.