The Bookworm Beat — August 15 Friday wrap-up (and, of course, Open Thread)

Woman writingOne of the things I’ve noticed about modern medicine is that, once doctors start poking around inside the human body, they find all sorts of things that aren’t picture perfect. I remember a long ago hearing an NPR story about a small town with a scary increase in the number of children with benign brain tumors. After an exhaustive search into power lines, drinking water, and bacon, some bright soul figured out that the increase in diagnoses happened because the small local hospital could now do brain scans, a procedure it had started performing on all children brought in with concussions.

My test yesterday showed nothing about my anemia, but has sent the doctors haring off in a different direction about something else that looked funny. I feel fine, so I’m not worried . . . much. Even feeling just fine isn’t a total defense against the niggling fear that comes up when the doctor says that something in there is out of the ordinary. I’ll let you know when they finally determine that, as I suspected all along, I’m a very healthy specimen.

But there are much more interesting things out there than the medical treasure hunt inside my body, so let me get to it….

That the white police behaved badly is no excuse for the black citizens to behave even more badly

Since Ferguson, Missouri, is convulsing the media, and even managed to drag Obama away from his golf game for seven whole minutes, I’ll open with a couple of Ferguson related items. First, Megan McArdle noticed something important about Ferguson: Twenty-four years ago, it was a majority white town. Fourteen years ago, it had the slimmest of black majorities. And four years ago, it was almost 70% black. Although the town demographics changed rapidly, the police demographics did not.

Indeed, the only thing that seems to have changed with the police over the years is that they’ve turned themselves in a military organization, although one sadly lacking in military intelligence. And just as an aside about our police departments turning themselves into faux-military outfits, just two months ago, Ferguson’s own Democrat representative voted against a law that would have stopped military surplus transfers to local police.

Frankly, I’m not surprised that the police department is barricading itself behind advanced grade weapons, even though it’s a stupid, dangerous, and (for all citizens) frightening practice. Blacks don’t like the police. One black man, however, has gone on an epic rant explaining that the problem isn’t with the police, whether or not they are racist, but with blacks themselves. You’ll quickly see why this video has gone viral:

The media concedes Hamas played it, and Hamas complains that the media wasn’t sufficiently compliant

There are a few updates today on the Hamas front, although the most recent ceasefire seems to be holding for now. The biggest news, of course, is the fact that the same media outlets that slimed Israel for the past month are admitting two things: First, that Hamas lies and, second, that the media allowed itself to be intimidated into lying for Hamas (something Hamas is now freely admitting itself).

Sadly, the Hamas/MSM disinformation tactic has worked. Donald Douglas has a disturbing video taken near UCLA, along with the comment that “It’s like we’re back in the 1930s, and it’s a definite transnational scourge.”

To the question “why is this war different from all other wars,” Israelis answer “because tunnels”

My mother spoke yesterday to her oldest friend, a 91-year-old woman who has lived in Tel Aviv since 1934 or so. Many of her grandchildren are on active duty or in the reserves. This friend told my mother “This time it’s different.”

For one thing, Iron Dome has made those in Tel Aviv feel much more secure against air attacks, although the friend says it’s peculiar to see the bombs bursting in air, rather than down on the ground. The other reason this war is different is the tunnels. They have shattered Israelis’ sense of security. (And yes, it’s funny that they felt secure when they’ve been constantly under attack, but those attacks were from land and water, not underground.)

Although Netanyahu says that the IDF destroyed the vast majority of tunnels, neither my mom’s friend, nor anyone show knows, believes that. They’re certain that there are at least as many tunnels unaccounted for as were blown apart.

My mom’s friend is not unique. In an opinion piece at Bloomberg, an Israeli writer says exactly the same thing: because of the tunnels, this time it’s different.

Against Hezbollah, Israel won’t bother to try for proportionate force against civilians

Given all of the above, is it any wonder that Israel is letting it be known that, if Hezbollah starts acting in Lebanon, Israel will use disproportionate force to defeat it:

On a recent trip to Israel, I spoke with government officials who laid out likely scenarios for the next, almost inevitable, round of Israeli hostilities with Hezbollah. Needless to say, given Hezbollah’s ever-increasing strength on the ground, those scenarios are incredibly grim. In short, the Israeli military proposes that in the next conflict with Hezbollah all of Lebanon will be treated like Dahiya, the Hezbollah stronghold that the Israeli air force destroyed in the summer of 2006. “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” as one Israeli official explained. “We will apply disproportionate force on it, and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”

Insane, no? The problem is, the Israelis are right. It’s not that Israel wants to kill Lebanese civilians. As one Israeli official told me, it is largely because thousands of innocent Lebanese will lose their lives that Israel is reluctant to move against Hezbollah right now. The issue is that the Shia militia has turned all of Lebanon—not just the regions it controls like the Dahiya, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon—into a military installation, holding every man, woman, and child in the country hostage to its supposed love of death. What are the Israelis supposed to do when Hezbollah starts shooting the next time—refuse to fight back, and let the missiles keep hitting Tel Aviv, while the entire country cowers in bomb shelters?

As I noted myself, if there’s a choice between killing a hundred thousand of the enemy’s civilians, or letting the enemy kill 6-8 million of your civilians, the moral choice is to attack the enemy, and let the civilians fall where they may. This is especially true if your efforts to protect civilians are not appreciated in any event. If you’re going to be accused of disproportionate force when aren’t actually using it to protect yourself, you may as well embrace the accusations and use truly disproportionate force the next time around in order to keep yourself safe.

I finally believe Obama is a Muslim

Can I say anything else but that it’s unconscionable for Obama to refuse to sell to Israel the rockets that Iron Dome fires at incoming missiles from Gaza? Unconscionable seems like such a weak word. I’ll add despicable, vile, immoral, disgusting, and anti-Semitic.  Moreover, for the first time I truly believe that Obama may well be a Muslim, rather than just a Leftist who supports Islam because Islam opposes America (the nation, of course, that Obama swore an oath to protect).

If you were to ask me what a member of the Muslim Brotherhood would do if he were in the White House, I’d pretty much describe everything that Obama has done throughout the Middle East — including his administration’s most recent decision to lift the ban barring Libyans from flight schools and training in nuclear programs. I mean — honestly! — can you just imagine the memo that went around in the White House: “Yes, we know that all sorts of radical Islamist factions have taken over in Libya, and that it was a hub for delivering weapons systems to other radical Islamists, and that the state has Islamic anarchy written all over it, but we really think there are Libyans that ought to know how to fly our plans and control our nuclear facilities.”

Not only that, but there’s also the administration’s malevolent combination of blindness and ineptitude in Syria, which has acted as a warm, comfy incubator for the most extremist Islamist groups ever seen in modern times. You know a group’s extreme when it makes Al Qaeda seem temperate.

Put all of these things put together — Obama’s conduct regarding Libya/Benghazi, Syria, Egypt, the hostility to Israel, etc. — and it starts to look less like ineptitude and more like a plan, even if the plan is just to foul things up so as to destroy any possibility of moderation in the region.

The administration’s (and Congress’s) failure to protect America against electric annihilation

While the administration keeps stirring that Middle Eastern pot, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, dissing Israel, opening doors into the Middle East for Russia, handing dangerous secrets to Libya, the administration and Congress both assiduously ignore the one thing that has real potential to throw us back into a pre-industrial era, and that is a major EMP attack:

The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.

I guess it’s just too important right now to spend time and money opening our southern border to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and then burdening our system with the cost of those immigrants. This seems like the Cloward-Piven strategy played out in real time.

A brilliant way to get colleges to be honest about their alleged “1/5 rape” statistic

Ashe Schow pens yet another article that destroys the disgraceful canard about the number of rapes at American college campuses (a statistic that, if true, would make American colleges almost as dangerous for women as, oh, I don’t know, being a white woman in Malmo, Sweden). Glenn Reynolds’ adds a brilliant idea to the debunking:

To get universities to debunk it, start running ads telling women not to go to college because they have a 1-in-5 chance of being raped if they do. With pictures of university campuses labeled “rape factory” and pictures of university presidents labeled “rape-factory president.”

Dog bites man; or another story of Leftist hypocrisy in Chicago

If you like hypocrisy, you’ll enjoy the story of Karen Lewis, who heads the Chicago teacher’s union and is now running for mayor against Rahm. She’s one of those people who loves to bash the wealthy and believes firmly in wealth redistribution. I won’t tell you more, except to say “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

I think I need to read a Dean Koontz book

Did you know that novelist Dean Koontz is conservative/libertarian? He won’t define himself using those terms, but his political outlook, which apparently dismayed Publishers Weekly so much that it wondered at the fact that he leaked this sensibility into his books, holds that a powerful government is a dangerous, expensive, and useless government. As an aside, I wonder if Publishers Weekly ever expresses concern about Leftists leaking their politics into their books.

I’ve never actually read anything Koontz has written, but to the extent I support his politics and I like thrillers, I’m willing to give his stuff a try. I mean, who couldn’t love someone who says things like this:

• In an online chat on CNN.com (September 10, 2001), Koontz said, “Any time I’m looking for a good psychopath [as a character for a novel], I first check out the current crop of Congressmen and see what they are up to.”

• In The Dean Koontz Companion (Headline Book Publishing, 1994), Koontz said, “It had become apparent to me that the worst enemy of the working man and woman is the state, and that the average person is safest in a country that struggles to limit the size of the state.”

• In an interview with the Mystery Guild (2000), Koontz said, “We just left a century that gave us the worst mass murderers in history: Hitler, Stalin, Mao. History shows us, over and over again, that large groups of people given too much power over other people lose their humanity.”

Andrew Klavan explains “income redistribution”

Andrew Klavan offers a user-friendly explanation of “income redistribution” (which our Marxist, Muslim president thinks is a good thing):

Income redistribution that damages the poor will play out next year at America’s gas pumps

By the way, we California’s may be closer to other people in America when it comes to seeing what income redistribution is all about, since laws set to go into effect in January will raise gasoline prices to $8-$9 a gallon. A couple of things:

First, this “redistribution” “for the planet” will cause the most harm to poor people. I can afford $9 gas, although it will leave me with less wealth for my children and my retirement. My cleaning ladies will not be able to afford it. It will destroy their business, which consists of driving around Marin every day to clean as many houses as these energetic, reliable ladies can manage. Second, these gas prices are Obama’s dream, as reflected in his choice of energy czar.

What’s really sad is that the hyper-credentialed, Ivy League educated morons who surround me in Marin undoubtedly think this tax is a brilliant idea because it will “save the planet.”  Did I say morons?  Let me say it again.  Morons!

This is why I have no time for myself

This song’s chorus explains why, as my house fills with more and more people (mostly teens), I have less time to blog:

Pictures

Mind if I play through

A flaw in the constitution

Items that should be banned

To stupid to own a gun

Israel doesn't hate America

Liberal logic about Palestine

Rape tips

Fleeing a blood soaked land

Fairness to troops and criminals

The Bookroom Beat — August 14 a.m. edition

Woman writingMy house guest is sleeping off jet lag in the next room, so I’m doing two-finger typing to silence the normal click-clack of my keyboard. This will therefore be brief.

The UN: Killing Muslims with kindness

The Marines and Special Forces are good, but are 130 of them really necessary to tell us how bad ISIS is or able to face off against it?

Clever pro-fracking campaign in Colorado.

Militant, oppressed blacks or militant, oppressive cops? What’s the story in Missouri? (This too.)

Teachers’ unions work for teachers, not special needs kids.

Also, schools, like universities, have a lot of employees who don’t teach.

I love Texas, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know about its often corrupt local guv’mint and judiciary — especially its left-hewing agencies.

Mike McDaniel remembers the ultimately hopeless Robin Williams shining in a role about hope.

No you’re not paranoid. The media really does report scandals differently for Democrats and Republicans.

Max Borders explains how Progressives are destroying their beloved, iconic “cool” cities.

Even Obama’s own people are revealing just how bad his foreign policy really is.

The UN appoints a rabid anti-Israel person to lead an “inquiry” panel about the latest war.

The fog we love.

Does it matter that journalists are finally telling some truths about Hamas?

Israel is the only hope for freedom in the Middle East

Toledo's water problems explained

Head tilts in the classroom

Common sense is a punishment

The other person is a complete idiot

Libealism defined

Secretary of Debt

The Bookworm Beat — August 13, noon edition

Woman writingNo ruminations today. I’m just diving into the post:

We have met the enemy, and it isn’t us, it’s ISIS

One of the tocsins I’m relentlessly ringing on my “real me” Facebook is that what we’re seeing in the Middle East — in Syria, in Israel, in Iraq, in Egypt — is only the current front line in Islamist battle for world domination. Once they conquer there, the Islamists will do what they’ve done since Mohamed’s time, which is to spread out looking for new lands to conquer.

Importantly, these warriors don’t “conquer” the way Americans do, which is to kick out fascist governments, set up a civil infrastructure, and flood the country with American money and know-how. They conquer the old-fashioned way, with fire and sword (and rape and burial alive and slavery too).

Nor are my fears about Islamist Jihad based upon fantasies and conspiracies. Back in the day, when the Nazis targeted the Jews, they had no hard evidence to support their complaint that Jews were engaged in an effort to take over the world. Indeed, their only evidence was the absence of evidence. “Look,” they crowed. “The fact that there’s not a single bit of proof that Jews are doing any of the things we say they’re doing is proof that they’re doing it secretly.”

There’s nothing secret about al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and that whole jolly crew of rapists and murderers. They boast proudly about their worst excesses. Indeed it must sometimes amaze them how the West resolutely pretends that these boasts, complete with pictures, do not exist. Journalists are slowly catching up to the horrors, but people clearly don’t want to know.

Richard Fernandez is paying attention to what’s happening. He feels, as I do, that the West is dancing on the edge of a volcano, willfully turning a blind eye to its own imminent destruction.

ISIS is driving “moderate” Islamist states into Israel’s waiting arms

Something good might be coming out of ISIS’s rampage, though: Saudi Arabia and other “moderate” Arab states are signaling strongly that they have bigger fish to fry than a fight with Israel.  The more Westernized Muslims nations are realizing that they have a bigger enemy in out-of-control Islamists than they ever did with Israel (never mind that Saudi Arabia fanned, and paid for, that particularly fanatic flame for decades).

My proof for making the above statement comes from two things that crossed my radar yesterday. The first was a long editorial in a UAE newspaper insisting that ISIS must be defeated before it accrues even greater power and wealth. The second was an editorial in a Saudi-owned, London-based newspaper explicitly stating that the balance of power in the Middle East has shifted. According to that piece, the The “current conflict looks like an Israel/Hamas–Turkey–Iran–Qatar one, with the rest of the Arab world’s support existing only on Twitter and other social media forums.”  (Emphasis added.)

And apropos ISIS’s accrued power and wealth, HuffPo, of all places, has an article detailing ISIS’s scary numbers, including its huge bank balance, which it obtained the old-fashioned Islamic way: by conquest.

Media Malfeasance at the BBC

Regarding Israel, the BBC lies, and then it lies about lying.

Obama’s perverse “Midas” touch

Victor Davis Hanson on the fact that everything Obama touches turns to dross. Which conclusion leads to two appropriate pictures:

Medusa and Midas

Atomic Obama

Keeping an eye on the upcoming elections

Even as I keep my eye on the Islamists, I haven’t forgotten that we’re waging our own battles here at home, with a Marxist president hellbent on his continuing project of “fundamentally transforming” a perfectly good America into something much less good. Over at the Watcher’s Council, the latest forum asks Council members to offer their predictions for the upcoming election. I think you’ll find the predictions fascinating. Council members are optimistic, although The Razor noted that the GOP has a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I stayed out of this forum. When I get into the stock market it drops. When I get out, it skyrockets. And when I support a candidate, that candidate seems to lose. The less I predict about the election the better. If, however, you want detailed, and accurate, election information I recommend The Election Projection.

As the world becomes less stable, Rand Paul is a less viable presidential candidate

Bruce Kesler thinks it’s very important that people understand that, in a dangerous world, Rand Paul’s principled non-interventionism would put America at grave risk if he were president.

After all, as Jonah Goldberg says in  his excellent article about our coming long, long war with radical Islam, “The problem is the enemy always gets a vote.”  The fact that Paul’s principles tell him not to engage doesn’t mean the enemy isn’t hell-bent on engaging with us.

Free tampons!

Britain’s Guardian paper is reading my blog. A few weeks ago, I did this poster:

Important women's health costs

Now, the Guardian is running with this concept:

We need to move beyond the stigma of “that time of the month” – women’s feminine hygiene products should be free for all, all the time.

And some pictures

(With thanks to Caped Crusader)

Obama fundraiser

What do you mean by free palestine

Ludwig von Mises on liberals

The Bookworm Beat — trying to be upbeat and failing edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThe last few days have been perfectly nice, but without repose. My brain churns frantically, but I don’t get the time to process the information through my keyboard. My apologies.

I think things will even out a little in the next few days (although that may just be wishful thinking on my part). Still, as frantic as the last few days have been, I actually have something to show for my efforts, right down to my dogs’ unusually fresh breath (I added carrots and yogurt to the usual routine of brushing their teeth).

On that happy note, to the news!

Another dissatisfied Obamacare customer

My son spent some quality time with our neighbors who are just about the loveliest people you could ever hope to find. They’re also ardent Democrats and Obama supporters. Or at least, they were ardent supporters. My son told me that one of the parents was grousing furiously about Obamacare, which is costing their family an extra $4,000 this year — and that’s $4,000 that they don’t have.

Add their personal tale to the long list of Obamacare woes, including the fact that Obamacare is not generally a hit, with enrollment numbers coming in far below administration projections.  I only wish, as I always do, that people would have realized that it’s all a con before the 2012 elections, not after.

It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it

Lots of my Leftist Facebook friends recently ran a poster showing that George Bush actually took more vacations than Barack Obama. I’m sure this is true. The problem, though, is that Obama and his family vacation like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, something taxpayers find tacky. No quiet time at their own remote property or at Camp David for the Obamas.  Instead, they’re jaunting off to multimillion-dollar hotels and estates all over the world. Even worse, when it comes to Obama himself (not his family), Obama is heading off for ostentatious vacations just when he should be looking busy. Jonathan Tobin sums it up nicely:

While no one can say that Obama—or any president for that matter—doesn’t work hard, he has a habit of acting as if the normal rules of political behavior don’t apply to him. This president has spent more days golfing than any of his recent predecessors. While George W. Bush spent more days away from the White House—principally at his Texas ranch or at the family compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, both of which functioned routinely as little White Houses—Obama has never shown he cares much about the optics of being seen recreating while terrible things are happening. Bush stopped playing golf in 2003 after the war in Iraq began principally because he believed it didn’t look right for the president to be strolling the links while Americans faced death abroad. Obama has no such compunctions.

The timing is also a problem. It can be argued that there is something bad happening somewhere on the globe every day of the year. But there is something particularly egregious about Obama loafing around while the successful outcome in the Iraq War that he inherited from Bush is transformed into a victory for Islamist terrorists.

As I’m constantly saying to the kids, it’s not always what you do, it’s also how you do it.

Is Obama bringing identity politics to the Middle East?

Maybe Paul Mirengoff is being picky . . . and maybe he’s not. He’s wondering why, with ISIS slaughtering everyone in its path, Obama was moved to act mercifully only towards the Yazidi. Mirengoff’s conclusion: identity politics strikes Iraq. The Yazidi are more “genuine” and “ethnic” than run-of-the-mill Christians and “apostate” Muslims caught in the maw of the ISIS killing machine.

Yes, ISIS looks bad in its PR, but that’s its point

Ian Tuttle is correct that ISIS is not doing itself any publicity favors by boastfully publishing pictures of its horrible depredations, everything from mass slaughter, to crucifixions, to small children proudly portraying severed heads. I’m less sanguine than he, though, that these pictures will help defeat ISIS. In the theater of battle, the images are doing a good job of making opponents run away. Moreover, here in the West, we’ve already proven that, if Islamists threaten and protest, we will instantly back down. These pictures are only going to increase our spinelessness.

Can you compromise with religious absolutists?

I’ve tried as hard as possible to ignore the appallingly vapid, self-serving, viciously partisan interview Barack Obama had with Tom Friedman, a sycophant in chief. What I couldn’t ignore, though, was the terrible agreement between the two about victory, or its absence. Friedman summed up Obama’s view as follows:

Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. (Emphasis added.)

That’s an accurate summary. What Obama, always yeasty and puffy in his wording, said was this (and I’ve included the preceding self-serving Friedman riff):

The only states doing well, like Tunisia, I’ve argued [says Friedman], have done so because their factions adopted the principle of no victor, no vanquished. Once they did, they didn’t need outside help.

“We cannot do for them what they are unwilling to do for themselves,” said the president of the factions in Iraq. “Our military is so capable, that if we put everything we have into it, we can keep a lid on a problem for a time. But for a society to function long term, the people themselves have to make decisions about how they are going to live together, how they are going to accommodate each other’s interests, how they are going to compromise. When it comes to things like corruption, the people and their leaders have to hold themselves accountable for changing those cultures…. … We can help them and partner with them every step of the way. But we can’t do it for them.”

Obama seems unable to contemplate an absolute ideology that doesn’t believe in compromise. For him, the only allowable absolutist ideology is his own, which sees a supine West yielding gracefully to the “reasonable” demands of an ascendant Third World.  For radical Islamists, however, the only game in town is total military victory. To them, compromise is weakness, inviting more attacks. It’s very frightening to have a president who is so rigid in his belief system that he’s unable to acknowledge that there’s an enemy out there even worse than the Republicans.

Is it real or is it satire?  Only the Obama administration knows for sure

With a president such as ours, one who has a State Department that believes that hashtags actually accomplish something, it’s often hard to separate satire from real news. I think that if you go to this link regarding the prayer campaign the administration is starting, you’ll be able to determine whether it’s satire or not but, nowadays, maybe I’m wrong in that supposition.

The very real power of prayer

Still, prayer can have quite a power beyond anything we can imagine. In a report about the attack that killed Lt. Hadar Goldin in Israel’s war with Hamas, comes this most amazing and moving story:

In the midst of this attack, a second force of IDF soldiers–which had gone into a mosque looking for weapons, explosives, and rockets– encountered a female suicide bomber who was about to detonate the belt she wore, which would have resulted in the deaths of the soldiers. One of the soldiers instinctively recited the opening words of the holiest Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”. The female suicide bomber hesitated and began trembling, giving the soldiers a chance to grab her and disable the device.

The soldiers then took her prisoner and turned her over to a counter-intelligence unit. Their investigation uncovered that the female suicide bomber’s mother was a Jew who had married a Palestinian in Israel and, after the wedding, was smuggled against her will into Gaza. There she lived a life filled with abuse and humiliation, and was basically a captive. In addition to the female suicide bomber, there were two smaller children as well. An armored force went in and rescued the two small children.

For more on the Shema, go here.

Hillary Clinton would have been different, but probably just as bad

Megan McArdle thinks Hillary Clinton would have been a better president than Obama simply because she’s more willing to play with the other kids on the playground. That is, says McArdle, she wouldn’t have been as dismissive of Republican and Tea Party concerns. I often agree with McArdle but in this case I wonder. After all, it was Hillary who thought up the whole “vast right wing conspiracy.” The Clintons are just as corrupt and paranoid as Obama. Certainly Hillary would have made different decisions, and these might have been less doctrinaire and more intelligent, but she’s not any more interested in true partisanship than Obama is.

Shovel — or spoon — ready jobs

Milton Friedman, when asked about “shovel ready jobs,” famously said if the point is just to keep people busy, the government should be handing out spoons, not shovels. The Welsh were apparently listening closely, since they’ve created make-work jobs that are the functional equivalent of tiny little teaspoons to dig big holes.

Incidentally, if that image seems familiar to you, think back to Norton Juster’s wonderful The Phantom Tollbooth. There, our intrepid heroes, Milo, Tock, and the Humbug, meet the Terrible Trivium, who wastes their precious time having them do such meaningless tasks as filling buckets with eye-droppers or digging holes with needles. As he says, “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You simply won’t have the time, for there is always something to do to keep you from what you should really be doing.”

The terrible trivium

Robin Williams never let politics blind him to our common humanity

John Nolte almost gets it right:

Williams was political — a heavy donor to Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Al Franken, but never offensive. Politics would sometimes rear its head in his stand-ups, but the jibes at Republicans were good-natured, not caustic; the kind of jokes Johnny Carson told.

In fact, when I last saw Williams on stage here in Marin (he showed up unexpectedly at a local comedy club), his anti-Bush and anti-Cheney jokes were just as nasty as any other Leftist comedian’s. Even worse, they weren’t funny.

What made this mindless political attack almost irrelevant I thought was that Williams never let his politics prevent him from seeing the troops as people in need of laughter, rather than monsters in the Bush war machine.  Nolte has a lovely quotation to support this principle:

When the wars came in 2002, without seeking personal attention or publicity, he was overseas with The Boys. Over the course of the decade he would visit 13 countries and entertain 90,000 service men and women. A retired General told ABC News:

After his shows, he’d stick around, making personal connections with service members. Retired Gen. Carter Ham respected Williams’ character.

“He would go to the guard towers, he’d got the dining facilities, he’d got the security police who couldn’t come to the shows because they were on duty. And he would spend time with them individually. That was very moving,” Ham said.

The Bookworm Beat — A little of this and a little of that (and an Open Thread)

Woman writingWe are at sixes and sevens today. Our house guest arrives and my twice monthly cleaning service. Between the two, we’ve purged the house of as much extraneous material as possible. I swear that, if you could put my house on a scale, it would weigh substantially less. There’s still much more I’d like to get rid of, but I’m happy for now.

Even rich people can be broke

I’m still reeling a bit from Robin Williams’ death. I didn’t know him, of course, but I saw him so often, including several live appearances, that he seemed much more real to me than the average Hollywood star. I also found exceptionally sad that money woes worsened his depression. It’s a reminder that, even if you have a $35 million dollar ranch, as long as your debts exceed your assets, you’re still poor. There’s a lesson there for individuals and nations. My great-grandfather, a banker, was wont to say “the man without debts is the richest man of all.”

Will anyone prosecute Hamas for war crimes

William Levinson has decided to stop waiting for others to act and has acted himself. He is filing a formal complaint against Hamas for war crimes.

Hillary’s posturing on Iraq shouldn’t feel fool anyone (but probably will anyway)

Too lazy and too rushed to look up links, but I find it hard to take Hillary seriously as a hard-liner against ISIS. She, after all, was the Secretary of State when the Obama administration pulled all troops out of Iraq. Pulling troops out, obviously, was mechanically a Department of Defense operation, but our relationship with other nations was Hillary’s responsibility. Her record as Secretary of State is a series of useless photo ops punctuated intermittently by appalling mistakes, ranging from the “reset” with Russia; to her criminal and moral negligence regarding Benghazi; to her willingness to preside over America’s abandonment of Iraq.

The only thing that worries me is that the American people will give her a pass. Yes, I know the media will, but really! How dumb do Americans have to be to forget history that happened in just the past few years? As Andrew Klavan wrote, it’s the American people who first elected Obama and then re-elected Obama. As a nation, you tend to get what you deserve.

Busy Monday open thread

Woman writingSchool starts in a week and a half, our house guest arrives tomorrow, and I have a million things to do. I will blog later today, but I’m now hitting the road to send old useless things to Goodwill and to buy new (useful?) things in their place.

Please post here anything you think is interesting. I mean, heck!, everything now is interesting. We’re getting a front row suit to devolution of the Western world, proving that Obama did keep one campaign promise: America’s fundamental transformation.

Hamas teaching kids to hate

The Bookworm Beat — empty house edition, Part II

Woman writingA moment of calm, so I’m resuming my round-up.

Things are not good all over

Richard Fernandez does a quick survey of the three main issues on America’s plate — Russia, Iraq, and Ebola — and is not sanguine. He’s not screaming that the end is near, but he thinks the optimistic voices (almost all from the Left, including the President’s own voice) are wrong.

I’m not the only one likening ISIS to Genghis Khan

Yesterday, I wrote that, in ISIS, we see a ferocity that has been missing (thankfully) since the time of Genghis Khan. My friend Terresa Monroe-Hamilton had the same thought: ISIS Sweeps The Middle East In A Method Reminiscent Of Genghis Khan. Unlike my mere passing commentary, Terresa details precisely why ISIS is so scary.

I only have one problem with the Genghis Khan analogy. Whenever I see that name written, all I can hear is John Kerry’s smug, vicious voice comparing American troops in Vietnam to “Jeng-jis” Khan.

When will the world realize that, to Islamists, we’re all Jews

It’s not just Israel that pays a high price when the West supports Hamas; ultimately, the whole Western world will be paying that price:

In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a ­suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.

Read the rest here.

And remember:

They were Muslims

How to become a popular leader

In Israel, Netanyahu is wildly popular, something that dismays Obama, because that popularity means he can’t bully Bibi. My guess is that, if citizens in the West weren’t subject to a Pravda-esque media that hides Islamist depredations, those leaders who wage war against those same Islamists could also be wildly popular.

Of course, with mass protests in Western streets, you’d think people would be figuring out that the Islamists aren’t just in Iraq, but are all over. This is a scene from a pro-Hamas London protest that allegedly saw 100,000 people take to London’s streets:

Gaza supporters march on London

I’d say “I pity the poor fools who think those protests will stop with only Israel as the enemy,” but the fact is that those “poor fools” are useless idiots trying to get us all killed.

Jimmy Carter — just plain evil

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter sinks further and further into an abyss of immorality. Alan Dershowitz believes that he’s sunk so low because he’s literally sold his soul to the Saudis, a million here and a million there.

That price tag might explain Carter’s openness about his anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic totalitarian world view, but it doesn’t explain his embrace of that worldview in the first place. You have to be a pretty evil person even to think about selling your soul that way. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that America’s last two Democrat presidents have sold themselves to the Saudis? It speaks to a profound moral corruption on the Left.

I guess being steeped in hypocrisy does wipe clean the moral slate

Why does the GOP have a love affair with Cory Booker?

Eliana Johnson provides chapter and verse showing what a shady character Cory Booker is, as well as being a singularly competent politician when it comes to making good on his campaign promises. Why then, she asks, are Republicans playing nice with him and opting not to provide any meaningful support to Republican challengers? See, it’s things like this that just make conservatives hate the GOP.

News from the gay scene

In West Hollywood, the mayor thinks there should be more parks for dogs and fewer parks for children.

Meanwhile, fat gay men are struggling to fit into a gay culture that is (and always has been) obsessed with physical appearance. If you think women are catty about each other’s looks, you’ve never seen gay men opining about each other.

I did not leave my heart in San Francisco

This fairly accurate spoof is why I don’t regret having left San Francisco behind (although, having been born and raised there, I do still consider myself a San Franciscan — but a San Franciscan from the good old days):

Remember WWI

I wrote here earlier about a ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the British who died in WWI. Here you can see pictures of this impressive and moving sight.

Pictures

Every time I look at this first one, I want to cry:
Matan Gotlib

Reagan on Concentrated power

David Burge on pacifists

Hamas is an innocent victim

Obama and Tahmooressi

Kurds dying

CNN airbrushes militant Islam

Difference between liberals and conservatives

The Bookworm Beat — empty house edition

Woman writingWe have a house guest arriving in a couple of days, which necessitated my cleaning out the guest room, which has inexorably morphed into a storage room. I have thrown away a great deal of unnecessary stuff that we hung onto for no good reason, and I’ve neatly stored other stuff that we treated too shabbily considering its sentimental worth. My house looks surprisingly empty. I like the look.

My browser, however, is filled with tabs, all marking things I thought are interesting. I don’t have time to tell you about all of them now, but I can share some of them:

Overseas, Rand Paul is just Obama redux

When it comes to domestic policies, I think many of us appreciate Rand Paul’s fidelity to the notion of small government. However, once one starts looking outside of America’s borders, Bruce Kesler compellingly argues, Rand Paul is no better than Obama (and, I’ll add, there’s always that anti-Semitic stench that wafts off his father):

The Obama-Paul paths in foreign policy are immoral in undermining self-preservation and in tossing lives into avoidable horrors. Barack Obama and Rand Paul’s foreign policies are similar in their appeal to tiredness to argue for US non-involvement with the difficulties of the world. This amounts to an existential defeatism to avoid the difficulties of being involved in the world by avoiding the moral and physical exertion of US power even when and where it could be effective. The extremism of this withdrawal endangers our security by encouraging the spread of barbaric enemies sworn to our destruction. Along the way, many millions of innocents are slaughtered or brutally enslaved.

Read the rest here.

UNRWA — the real war criminal in Gaza

Israel’s exceptionally humane efforts to defend herself (what other nation in the world calls in air strikes before they take place?) is leading to the usual chit-chat about prosecuting her for war crimes. Simply Jews, however, has a much better candidate for war crime prosecution: UNRWA, which has been actively complicit in all phases of Hamas’s genocidal plans and conduct for Israel.

Just one example of UNWRA’s close alliance with Hamas comes from a report about Hadar Goldin’s last moments (may his memory be a blessing):

The officer explained how, after the suicide bombing that killed Lt. Goldin, a second kidnapping team of Hamas terrorists grabbed parts of his body and ran back into the tunnel from which the terrorists emerged. The tunnel led back into a mosque. From the mosque, they escaped in a clearly marked UNRWA ambulance. The terrorists then made contact with high-ranking Hamas officials hiding in the Islamic University. (Emphasis added.)

For more information about UNRWA’s complicity in war crimes, check out Shurat Hadin — The Israel Law Center.

The latest song on Israel’s hit parade

Hamas wrote a song about Israel that’s typical for anything Hamas says about Israel: It has excited visions of seeing Israel utterly destroyed, with walls of flame and seas of blood. Hamas was so excited about the song, it created a Hebrew-language version. It’s not a very good song (pop pabulum), but it’s been a big hit . . . in Israel.  Learn why.

Obama’s malignant narcissism reveals itself again over Iraq

Do you remember how part of Obama’s 2008 platform was that he would withdraw from Iraq? And do you remember how Obama set timetables for withdrawing from Iraq? And do you remember how Obama boasted that he had completely removed America’s troops from Iraq? Yeah, I remember all of that too.

Funnily enough, though, Obama doesn’t remember any of that. He now claims that America’s withdrawal from Iraq was unrelated to his role as Commander in Chief of the American military. Instead, he says it was the Iraqi’s own fault that the American security force withdrew.

Obama’s not lying, you know, at least not in his own mind because he’s a malignant narcissist. Rule number one for malignant narcissists is that the truth is always what they need to say at a particular moment to protect themselves from blame or to advance an agenda. Despite his blatant untruth, he’d easily pass a lie detector test. It’s true if he needs it to be true.

Obama starts another war, but still has no plan

How bad is Obama’s current plan regarding protecting people in Iraq from ISIS? It’s so bad that even the WaPo has an editorial saying he has no idea what he’s doing.

By the way, to the extent (a) I don’t want American troops facing off directly against ISIS and (b) I do want ISIS completely demolished, I suggested massive air strikes. Earl added another component to that strategy: Arm the Kurds!

Incidentally, how many of you have noticed that our president again seems to be going to war without bothering to get congressional authorization? Eli Lake points out that, practically within hours of the first strike, Obama announced a fairly complex military effort lasting months. That sounds like war to me.

The 1973 War Powers Resolution requires presidents to notify Congress when invoking Article II powers and to seek authorization from Congress if the new conflict lasts more than 60 days.

In this sense Obama’s new Iraq war is for now undeclared, even though the authorization for the old Iraq war remains on the books. Obama campaigned in 2012 in part on his accomplishment of ending the Iraq War and as recently as last month, his administration urged Congress to repeal the 2002 law that authorized it.

Is it because they did or did not listen to Rev. Wright’s sermons?

When tapes emerged of Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning America and gloating about her travails, Obama, who boasted of his twenty-year long relationship with this father figure announced that he’d never actually listened to Wright’s sermons. With news breaking that Wright’s daughter has been convicted in a fraud scheme, I’m having trouble deciding whether, like Obama, she ignored her father’s sermons or, again like Obama, she probably listened and absorbed every word.

Bill Nye, lying science guy

I’ve never liked Bill Nye. Rather than seeing him as a friendly, accessible guy, I’ve always seen him as a grim, dour, rather angry person. Now I’ve learned that he’s also intellectually dishonest (or perhaps just really dumb) — something that was manifestly clear the moment he jumped on the “climate change” bandwagon.

Grab a tissue for this one

The will that drives a soldier doesn’t necessarily vanish when that soldier suffers an injury, even one that’s more traumatic than most of us can comprehend:

The Bookworm Beat — Saturday night leftovers edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingBusy day. Very busy day and not a bad one either, because I got a lot accomplished. Just about the only thing I didn’t get done today was spending time at my computer. I’ve got a pile of open tabs left over from yesterday, though, all of which have aged well and still deserve to be read:

With the ceasefire, the media started ‘fessing up about the lies it told for Hamas

Once the ceasefire seemed to be sticking, foreign reporters started admitting that much of what they reported out of Gaza was untrue — and that they willingly reported these lies out of fear for their own safety.. Wondering how they’re feeling about their confession now that the war has resumed.

And considering how bad Hamas is, the media should be deeply ashamed

I wonder how all the so-called “pacifists” square their support with Hamas with the massacres it commits against its own people — for example, summarily executing Gazans accused of collaborating with Israel. And let’s not stop with executing alleged collaborators. Let’s call Hamas out on its long list of crimes against humanity (as complied by StandWithUs at Buzzfeed).

ISIS, a scourge unlike any seen since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes

Hamas followers, however, are mere pikers when it comes to ISIS. I honestly don’t believe we’ve seen any military movement as brutal since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes.  Even 20th century totalitarian armies acted with more deliberation when it came to mass slaughter.

What’s even more amazing is that ISIS is so terribly pleased with itself. Unlike the Nazis who recorded images of their torture for their own masturbatory pleasure, but otherwise tried to hide it from the world, ISIS is not hiding the beheadings, crucifixions, torture, genocide, and rape. It’s proudly circulating this information on social media.

Reading about ISIS’s depredations against armies, women, Christians, Yazidis, other Muslims, and anyone else in their way is so stomach churning I think it short-circuits most Americans. It’s one thing to watch this kind of horror presented with ghoulish enthusiasm, and lots of colored corn syrup, on a movie screen; it’s another thing altogether to realize that it’s being committed against men, women, and children, in real time, here on planet earth.

Obama deserves praise for taking steps to protect the Yazidis, but it’s apparent that he has no plan at all. This is a “seat of the pants” operation, where he’s going to try to put out a little fire here and a little fire there, even as the corpses pile up.

I actually wouldn’t want American boots on the grounds in a war against ISIS. To the extent that ISIS is a military movement (no sheltering amongst civilian populations for ISIS troops), my recommendation would be to track their movements and, when they’re reasonably consolidated, drop a storm of bombs on them with Dresden-like ferocity. ISIS fighters have parted ways with humanity and need to be routed out completely. Incidentally, Kurt Schlicter would agree with me.

And why can’t Progressives figure out just how bad Islamists really are?

David French struggles to understand why Progressives cannot wrap their heads around the evil that stalks the Middle East and, increasingly, Europe and America. In addition to his ideas (and you’ll have to read his post to see what they are), I do think a lot of it has to do with a terrible fear of being thought racist. After all, while Islam is not a race, the fact is that most Muslims have darker skin than the run-of-the-mill American or European leftist. For Progressives, then, criticizing dark-skinned people is so verboten, they’re willing to wrap themselves in an almost impenetrable blanket of denial.

Obama:  Knave or Villain?

When speaking about the disaster’s that have befallen America and the rest of the world during Obama’s presidency, many people are wont to cite to Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Myron Magnet doesn’t agree. He thinks that Obama has deliberately created both domestic and international disasters.

Or maybe Obama’s just a bureaucrat run amok

Jonah Goldberg wonders if Barack Obama isn’t just bureaucracy run amok in the form of one powerful individual:

But there’s a common theme to Obama’s foreign policy and [Mike] Barnicle’s rodent flatulence [blaming Cheney for ISIS]. They both work on the assumption that global events are things that happen out there. “The world stage” used to be a platform for U.S. leadership. For Obama, the world stage is more like, well, a stage where other nations put on a show for our benefit. There are plenty of good arguments for America to be more circumspect internationally (and plenty of bad ones). But I don’t think Obama and his supporters fully recognize that when the lead actor on the world stage decides to walk off and sit in the audience, it changes the performance and the roles of the other performers.

Read the whole thing. It’s one of Goldberg’s best.

Obama's mission accomplished

 

Whatever else Obama is, he’s not in Putin’s class

Bill Whittle thinks that, when it comes to Obama versus Putin, Obama is a naif facing off against a stone-cold killer who learned from the best (at stone-cold killing, that is):

A teaching degree — not worth the paper it’s printed on?

I’ve often thought that I would be a good teacher because I’m fairly good at explaining things. Long ago, when I was looking for ways out of practicing law, I toyed with the idea of teaching. At that time, I didn’t know that private schools often didn’t requiring teaching degrees, so I thought I’d have to go back to college to get a masters in teaching.

The thought of a teaching degree horrified me, though. My sense over the years was that one of the problems with modern teachers is that teaching degrees “un-teach” them, leeching out their common sense and ordinary knowledge and leaving, in their place, cant and political correctness. It seems I may have been correct in this supposition.

In Obama’s America, no good deed goes unpunished

Business life in Obama’s America: Help the government by bailing out failed financial institutions . . . then get reamed for those same institution’s past sins.

The IRS will be watching some pulpits — but which pulpits will it be watching?

Per an agreement with an atheist group, the IRS will soon be monitoring sermons at a House of Worship near you. Maybe I wouldn’t mind this so much if I thought the IRS would randomly check out all types of faiths, including black churches (“I don’t feel no ways tired!“) and radical mosques (“Jihad!”). I have a strong suspicion, though, that Obama’s IRS agents will only be haunting the pews of churches and synagogues in which the pastor or rabbi speaks about the sanctity of life or the sacrament of marriage.

Is HBO failing?

I don’t like HBO and I don’t like it for a very specific reason: It’s relentlessly Leftist and propagandizes in every documentary, commentary show, and most movies. Netflix’s original productions aren’t always better, but they’re still better than HBO — and they’re beating HBO in subscriptions.

Picture time

And a picture about Hamas’s co-conspirator in Gaza:

UNinvolved in Peace

The Bookworm Beat — The Illustrated Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI’m very excited, because I’m meeting for lunch today with an old friend whom I haven’t seen in about 25 years. He was a lovely human being when I knew him way back when, and I’m assuming that he hasn’t changed in this regard. What will be new will be to hear about his career and his family life.

I hope to get some substantive links up before I head out to the lunch, but until then, Caped Crusader sent me a huge collection of wonderful political posters, so I thought I’d share them with you right away:

A righteous among Muslims

Coming out of the closet

Higher education

Obama versus tea party

Archbishop Cranmer

Fill in the blanks

 

Belgian trains show solidarity with Hamas

Belgian trains show solidarity with Hamas (h/t Sadie) Vandalized Belgian train

Hamas heaven and kindergarten

Media's moral blindness

Friedman on individual p ower

Roosevelt and hypocrisy

Boycott Mexico

The Bookworm Beat — Time Suckage edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThis was one of those days in which, due to a combination of duty and sloth, I watched my time just go sucking down the drain. In the morning, I spent several hours caring for my mother, recycling electronics, donating to Goodwill, and shopping. When I got home, instead of sitting down at my computer, I yielded to my daughter’s importuning to watch “just one more episode of ‘Say Yes To The Dress (Atlanta).’” And just like that — boom! — I’ve lost two hours of my life watching brides fight with the friends, family, and self-image to get the “perfect” dress.

People in the old days were more productive — writing novels with quills by candlelight, circumnavigating the globe on sailing ships and donkeys, building grand cathedrals by hand — because they had less time suckage. It’s the junk time that wastes time.

I’d give myself several lashings with a wet noodle if I had the time to do so . . . except that I have to leave in 5 minutes for an appointment with my banker.

Since I don’t have time even to link to anything, I thought I’d run through a few thoughts in my mind, and then hand the baton to all of you. Please forgive typos. I’m not kidding about being rushed, and I’m taking the gamble of leaving without proofreading.

I heard a snippet on the radio today saying that Obama signed into law today a bill to fix veterans’ health care. Among other things, the new bill allows the Veterans’ Administration to fire poorly performing upper level managers. Think about that for a moment. It is, in a nutshell, everything that is wrong with our bloated federal government. In the normal world, nobody thinks twice about firing people who aren’t doing their job. In the government world, you need special Congressional permission even to think about doing so.

What’s even more shocking about the above story is that most people don’t even think twice about that little factoid. Instead of thinking, “Get rid of the government unions, slash the federal budget, limit government to all put basic, essential government services,” they’re thinking, “Great, now the problem is fixed, and veterans won’t die at the hands of their own government.”

Honestly, when I look at the headlines — the Middle East aflame, Putin flaunting his personal strength against Obama’s manifest weakness, rising antisemitism, ISIS approaching some of the world’s biggest oil reserves, ISIS threatening mass genocide, a broken border, a stagnant economy, horrific race relations in America under a black president, etc. — I don’t understand why the American people aren’t rising up with one voice and throwing out every bum in Washington, D.C., not to mention all of the blue State capitols.

We’ve been so brainwashed that we think this is good enough. It’s okay to have a president who thinks the constitution is a hindrance; a Democrat party that is willing to welcome in 5-8 million illegal aliens (destroying minority employment) just so that it can ensure votes; and a Republican party that will say “yes” to anything the Democrats propose so long as it can keep a presence in Washington and, through that, keep the money flowing into their and their friends pockets.

Socialist and theocratic societies relentlessly believe that man can be perfected. By contrast, capitalism accommodates human weaknesses, rather than ignoring them. That’s why it’s been so successful. But it cannot work if allows man to debase himself so that he is nothing more than weakness. As the Founders understood, without a moral underpining that comes, not from the state, but from the individual, capitalism is as brutal a system as any other.

We in America seem to have achieved the worst of both worlds: the immorality of socialism combined with the brutality of corrupted, crony-ridden capitalism. We can recover, but it’s not going to be enough just to elect a Republican here or there. We can recover only if America discovers its love both for freedom and decency.

Comments?