Old friends Open Thread

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Can you believe that I haven’t even looked at the headlines today? The day started way too early when one of the little Bookworms got a migraine. We take those migraines very seriously, since failing to do so can lead to a trip to the ER. By the time the little Bookworm was right and tight (everything’s fine now), it was time for me to go have lunch with . . . drum roll, please . . . Don Quixote.

Yes! DQ and his wife were in town. It was the first time I’ve seen them in two years, since they relocated. It was wonderful. We’ve kept in touch by phone and email, of course, but there are some friendships that definitely have their finest moments when you’re sitting around a table eating burgers.

I’m at the computer now and will start cranking things out in a little while. Currently, though, I have to admit to being a bit loath to look at the headlines. It was such a nice lunch, I hate to ruin the mood.

Wednesday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve had my Red Alert app for 36 hours. In that time, it’s gone off non-stop. I cannot imagine living under siege that way. It makes my own whines and gripes about life in the suburb (few though they may be) quite petty.

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Back in the 1990s, I read Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs, about the unbelievably violent subculture of British soccer hooliganism. When I read the book, it hadn’t been that long since I’d lived in England myself, and I remember the early years of that thuggery.

Where I lived, when there was a home game, all of the businesses within a three mile radius of the stadium would board up the windows, as one would before a hurricane, in an effort to stave off vandalism. One of my friends went to a game in Wales and said it was an appalling experience, primarily because the hooligans would pee in beer cups, and then throw those cups into the crowd.

My point is that the feminazi canard about the brutality of male football fans in America pales when compared to the reality of real soccer hooliganism around the world. That’s why it didn’t surprise me at all to learn that the six Israelis arrested in connection with the horrific murder of Muhammed Abu-Khudair, aged only 16, weren’t religious radicals or ardent zionists, in the first instance but were, instead, soccer hooligans. There is something about soccer that leeches the moral fiber out of its most ardent fans.

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I don’t know how to summarize David Horowitz’s editorial about Israel’s fight for survival against Gaza, about the world’s bass ackwards response to the fight, or about the way the Palestinians’ very existence is defined (in their own minds) by Israel’s destruction. All I can say is READ IT!

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Joel Pollak thinks that Hamas might have overreached itself by attacking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A real-deal attack, as opposed to the border-land attacks that Israel has tolerated for years, forces Israel to respond with all of its might. In addition, surrounding Arab governments, shaken by rebellion within their own borders, are less sympathetic to Hamas than they once were. Indeed, a friend told me that an Israeli diplomat appearing on Fox said that, behind the scenes, these governments are urging Israel to strike hard. I don’t have a link for this, so I can’t vouch for its truth. Israel also knows America is gone (see more below), so it’s ignoring Obama. Read the whole thing. It’s good — and heartening.

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The BBC, of all outlets, has exposed the fact that many of the pictures circulating on the internet that purport to show victims of Israeli aggression are, in fact, pictures from Syria and Iraq. Considering the BBC’s long-standing hatred for Israel, as well as its frequently dishonest reporting to give more weight to its hatred, I’m truly at a loss to explain the BBC’s inexplicable lapse into actual investigative reporting.

I’m quite sure that the BBC isn’t motivated by shame, although it should be. Even as Hamas aims at women and children, Israel, when it retaliates, lessens its chances of effective strikes by forewarning the enemy so that non-combatants can seek shelter.

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You’ve all read about it already — the fact that the Obama administration official scolded Israel for treating Abbas badly, and praised Abbas for his exemplary behavior — even as Hamas’ bombs (joined by Abbas’s bombs) were raining down on his head.  If you haven’t, read it now.

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At the end of the day, it seems that Obama’s utterly incompetent administration (hey! if you’ve lost Andrea Mitchell…) still has a firm grasp on two skills: antisemitism and cognitive dissonance. Oh, and rank stupidity and dishonesty. Let’s not forget those skills. Oh, and of course an incredibly knack for siding, invariably, with the individual, party, or nation that has no morals or decency. Can’t forget that.  (And I remind myself of this, except that we’re not talking about what Romans have done, but about what Obama & Co. haven’t done.)

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Slowly, slowly, even journalists are catching on that there’s a problem. I mentioned Andrea Mitchell, above. In addition, journalists representing major journalist organizations have written a letter to the Obama administration complaining about its bureaucratic opacity.

Of course, whiny letters or not, the media’s going to be in trouble for a long time considering its profound ignorance.

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Victor Davis Hanson says that Obama’s chickens are coming home to roost. We all knew that, but Hanson summarizes it so comprehensively and gracefully.

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Ted McAllister posits that Obama is so bad it’s a good thing. Seeing the havoc he creates, the masses may still have the sense and power to rise up against his vast expansion of executive power. All I can say is from his lips to God’s ears.

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No, Nero didn’t fiddle while Rome burned, but Obama is definitely goofing off while our Southern border collapses, Iraq collapses, our one-time ally Israel is being bombed, the economy continues to swing between torpor and collapse, etc.

The problem isn’t just Obama. It’s Obama and the entire White House both of which seem to be suffering from some bizarre syndrome that sees them incapable of connecting any more to the world outside their elite bubble. Are they in denial? Are they so arrogant by now that they no longer care? Is this their way of trying to “calm” the masses? I don’t know, but there is something terribly, malignantly, very dangerously wrong in the White House.

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Some are saying that the border crisis is Obama’s “Katrina moment,” although I have no doubt that the media’s praetorian guard, even as they’re becoming a little worried, will nevertheless rally to protect him from that charge. Meanwhile, it turns out that the “Katrinia moment” label that the media hung on George Bush’s neck should more rightly have been hung on Mayor Ray Nagin’s neck.

You remember him, don’t you? He was the man who maligned Bush’s response to Katrina. It turns out that Nagin had his own response, which was to try to use the crisis to line his pockets. He’s finally going to jail, where he belongs.  Bush wasn’t the problem, Nagin was.  But Nagin was a black Dem and, for almost a decade, that got him a “get out of jail free” card.

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Glenn Reynolds has an op-ed in USA Today about bureaucratic parasitism. I posted it on the real-me Facebook. No one cared.

I have no idea why the professionals in my circle, none of whom are bureaucrats, and all of whom have periodically complained about being bedeviled by some horrific bureaucratic nightmare, are nevertheless entirely unmoved by the thought that the problem isn’t just the DMV or that clerk in their town’s building department, but is instead the whole notion of an increasingly powerful, entrenched, and unaccountable bureaucratic class. I just don’t get it.

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And while we’re on the topic of people in government with ethical problems, Lois Lerner’s attorney has suddenly announced that, well, yes, maybe, it could be possible that Lerner printed up some emails that are responsive to requests from both Congress and private lawsuits. At this point, we don’t know if the lawyer was lying from the beginning, or if Lerner was lying to her lawyer too. My bet’s on the latter.

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In the six months since Colorado legalized marijuana, says a boastful Chris Miles, two things happened: Crime has fallen and money is rolling in. No one questions the second thing, although it’s probable that the excitement in this area of the economy will level out.

What’s more interesting is the first contention: a drop in crime. As the friend who sent me the link said, you could declare rape legal, and watch a massive drop in crime statistics, but it wouldn’t mean the world is safer for women. Instead, it would just mean you’ve given up fighting against something once thought criminal.

Miles, however, also says violent crimes and property crimes have dropped. If that’s true, it’s great. I do wonder, though, whether fatal DUIs have increased.

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One of the things the Left loves is false analogies and comparisons. Charles C.W. Cooke takes on a poster going around, in which the Left compares a mass murderer to a woman spoofing Obama’s “bitter clingers” statement.

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Once again, Senator Jeff Sessions has an incredibly lucid, pungent, entirely appropriate attack on Obama’s border shenanigans. The last sentence is a keeper (and it addresses that Leftist meme that Republicans are un-Christian for not wanting their borders to collapse): “When did we forget that a nation owes its first allegiance to her own citizens?”

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If you’ve ever wondered what the vast left-wing billionaire and millionaire conspiracy looks like, Power Line has the documents.

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And a few pictures:

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Caption suggestions for this striking image of Elizabeth Warren looking tough on a parked Harley are welcome

What would you do

Middle Eastern double standard

Rockets in Israel Open Thread

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The words “depressing,” or even “apocalyptic” don’t seem to do justice to today’s news. I’ve heightened my own anxiety by downloading to my smart phone an Israeli app called “Red Alert.” Designed for Israelis, it pings their phone every time a rocket attack is launched from Gaza against Israel. The hope is that it buys every citizen a precious few extra seconds to seek shelter. The app has gone off 25 times in the last 18 hours, with it going off three times in just the last hour. The last rockets would have reached Tel Aviv but for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. My kids call the app irritating, which it is, but I’m trying to get them to understand just a little bit what it’s like to live under siege. Israel, afraid of international condemnation, is just sitting and taking these relentless attacks.

The news overall is depressing. The border crisis Obama engineered, which is going to end with him unilaterally granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of prospective Democrat voters and current “Cloward-Piven system destroyers” also sits tenuously between depressing and apocalyptic — and that’s not even counting the diseases, drugs, deviants, and criminals included in that vast migration. I keep thinking of the Vandals pouring south into Rome, destroying what was left of the Western half of that once powerful empire.

Interestingly, the same Marinites who are adamantly opposed — and increasingly vocal in their opposition — to any new development in Marin are apparently copacetic with the deluge of future American residents. Talk about NIMBYs.

Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWe had a productive long weekend, in that we made some smart big purchases courtesy of 4th of July sales. I can’t decide whether doing so was patriotic. On the whole, I’m inclined to think that anything I do right now to support the U.S. economy is patriotic. Yay, me!

And even more self-congratulatory huzzahs have to go to the incredible round-up I’ve got here:

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America doesn’t have a gun problem; it has a Chicago problem. (Obligatory announcement: Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, not to mention decades of Democrat Party governance.)

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“No, women, you can’t have it all,” says . . . the female PepsiCo CEO. The fault lies not with our society, but with our biology, and that pesky little thing about having children who instinctively bond to Mommy.

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Selwyn Duke carefully walks us through the media’s endless obfuscation about the identity of a woman who stabbed a teacher to death in front of a class full of terrified five- and six-year-olds.

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“Ebola” sounds like it should be some sort of lawn bowling game. Sadly, it’s not. Instead, it’s a deadly disease for which there is no cure or vaccination, and which is highly contagious if you’re unlucky enough to catch some of the victim’s bodily fluids (especially blood, which appears in prodigious amounts outside of the body when people die of a hemorrhagic fever). Even worse, it looks as if Ebola is primed to catch a plane to Europe or America sometime soon. If that doesn’t put the fear of God into you, I don’t know what will. My prediction, though, is that it makes its first appearance along the Obama-porous border to our south.

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The VA always has the time and money for green projects and employee bonuses. It’s had less of either for the veterans in its care (and the law denies these vets access to Medicare and civilian physicians). John Hawkins relates the appalling story of an Iraq veteran, only 31-years-old, whose digestive system has broken down but who cannot get any care whatsoever from the VA, leaving him at risk of starving to death. John ends his post with suggestions about things the public can do to help Joe Geoghagan.

I have to say that Joe has my sympathy. I almost starved to death many years ago when doctors kept diagnosing me with stress ulcers, when I was actually unable to tolerate the Pill. (Which is why I know how toxic the Pill is and why I’m so opposed to laws that allow school nurses to give it to 12 year olds.) I then threw up non-stop during both my pregnancies. The man is suffering and needs help.

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One of my Leftist Facebook friends has vowed to boycott Walgreen’s after having read a Bill Moyers article (to which I will not link) stating that Walgreens should be denied any voice in American politics because it moved its headquarters out of the U.S. It didn’t seem to occur to my friend that, rather than boycotting Walgreens, we should lower taxes so as to entice existing corporations to stay in America and new corporations to come to America. Otherwise, we risk becoming France.

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Jonathan Turley is a Leftist who’s been mugged by reality. Surprisingly, considering his DemProg credentials, Turley (a law professor) has great reverence for the Constitution. He especially appreciates the balance of powers, something that forces the federal government into deliberation and compromise. He’s therefore shocked and (dare I say it?) seemingly disgusted by Obama’s insistence that he doesn’t need no stinkin’ Congress, a dictatorial pronouncement allied with the snotty taunt that Congress should “sue me.”

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The Economist is famously unfriendly to Israel. Nevertheless, it finally seems to be catching on to the fact that the Arab world’s problems might be home-grown. It tags Islam as being at the core of the Arab world’s problems, but then foolishly pretends that its illiberal economic and social policies are somehow separate from Islam. Still, I won’t cavil too much, because it’s a start.

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I told you earlier that my Facebook friends having concluded that the Hobby Lobby ruling will lead to an all-out war against gays. While these morons (pardon my language, but it’s true) are being useful idiots to the hard Left, there really is a war — a bloody war — being waged against gays. It won’t surprise you, of course, to learn that this war is Islamic in nature, and it’s taking place with increasing frequency on American soil.

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David French perfectly encapsulates my approach, not just to law, but to all issues. It’s just that, in my mind, this approach was always inchoate and amorphous, so much so that I never could have expressed it as well as he did:

As a Christian lawyer — even when I was engaged in the “commercial” practice of law rather than the nonprofit, constitutional work I do now — I always drew moral lines around my representations decisions. I was not going to use whatever meager talents God gave me to advance or celebrate causes or principles I knew to be wrong. In other words, I discriminated. But not on the basis of race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, but rather on the basis of the action or legal principle the case would advance. I’d happily represent anyone, gay or straight, in a commercial contract dispute. I would not represent anyone, gay or straight, who wanted to sue to make divorce easier or broaden the definition of marriage beyond the union of one man and one woman. I’d represent an adulterous cad if the state violated his rights to free speech, but I wouldn’t lift a finger to help him divorce his wife.

This distinction, between status and acts, or between and among different acts themselves, used to be a matter of common sense

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Arabs in Israel like to eat their cake and have it too. This is not a good thing for Israel.

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Here’s a matched set: Liberals hate America and the College Board tries to un-teach high schoolers about America, so as to perpetuate this hatred.

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It’s funny to watch Jason Riley try to talk common sense to a HuffPo host on the subject of the damage Progressive laws have done to American blacks. The HuffPo host couldn’t be more civil, but he keeps falling into cant and illogical “factual” digressions, with a perplexed Riley gamely trying to translate him into some sort of logical framework to which Riley can actually respond. Also, and no disrespect to Riley, but Riley sounds just like a truly super smart Urkel.

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I’m not a Peggy Noonan fan but, as I’ve noted before, when she’s good, she’s extraordinarily good — and so it is with this column about the peculiar (and peculiarly dangerous) Obama presidency. Since I don’t know if this is behind a pay wall (I’m always signed in to the WSJ), let me just give you a taste so you know what I’m talking about:

But I’m not sure people are noticing the sheer strangeness of how the president is responding to the lack of success around him. He once seemed a serious man. He wrote books, lectured on the Constitution. Now he seems unserious, frivolous, shallow. He hangs with celebrities, plays golf. His references to Congress are merely sarcastic: “So sue me.” “They don’t do anything except block me. And call me names. It can’t be that much fun.”

[snip]

This is a president with 2½ years to go who shows every sign of running out the clock. Normally in a game you run out the clock when you’re winning. He’s running it out when he’s losing.

All this is weird, unprecedented. The president shows no sign—none—of being overwhelmingly concerned and anxious at his predicaments or challenges. Every president before him would have been.

[snip]

Instead he seems disinterested, disengaged almost to the point of disembodied. He is fatalistic, passive, minimalist.

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Sen. Jeff Sessions has issued a stirring call to arms demanding that we restore our border integrity and security for the benefit of America and Americans.

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When you’re out of power, you develop solidarity with the guy next to you. Your long-term goals may be different, but in the short-term you both want power back. Things change dramatically when you suddenly achieve the power you want. All those former allies have the potential to become enemies, which is what’s happening between Michelle Obama and those charged with feeding America’s public school students.

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What does it mean that the New York Times has discovered that Tom Steyer’s money is filthy dirty with coal dust? I suspect that, because his heart’s in the “right place” (i.e., supporting DemProg politicians), his money will never be too dirty for the Times.

I also wonder if the Times will report on the cooling trend seen in America’s climate data? Duh! Dumb rhetorical question. Of course the Times won’t.

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I think James Cameron had one good move: The Terminator. Others think he made good movies up to and including The Titanic. Some will even praise him for Avatar. But when it comes to demanding that the whole world go vegan to fight global warming (except that the globe’s not warming; see above), can anyone take him seriously anymore? Never mind. Another dumb rhetorical question. He is now and will remain a DemProg darling for saying what they want to hear.

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Indeed, Cameron’s climate views are now the only views the BBC will allow on air. I can no longer remember where I read it, but someone remarked that this is the same BBC that refused to give Churchill air time during the 1930s to talk about the rising danger from Germany and the terrible risks from British appeasement and pacifism.

It used to be that the only thing that the BBC had going for it was posh British accents. Now, with its egalitarian dive into the furthest realms of working class speech, it doesn’t even have that cachet.

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This is your body on socialized medicine:

A report published by the Royal College of Surgeons and Age UK shows that [British National Health Service] rationing is being extended to cover life-saving operations on elderly patients. A study found that in large parts of the country, hardly anyone above the age of 75 was receiving surgery for conditions such as breast cancer and gall bladder removal.

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I’ve complained here about the bag bans taking over Marin. First they came for the plastic bags, and now they’re zeroing in on the paper bags. They want to turn us all into crazy bag ladies, packing our groceries into petri dishes full of salmonella and e. coli. And of course you won’t be at all surprised to learn that the “scientific” justification for these often dangerous inconveniences is total bunk.

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Please don’t forget Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who rots in a Mexican prison while our president does nothing. No, wait, I’m wrong. Tahmooressi rots in a Mexican prison while our president welcomes hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, many Mexican, into our country, and then disburses them — drugs, diseases, crime, and all — throughout America so that they cannot easily be sent back home. My Congress people are useless pieces of Leftist detritus, so I have no way of making a change, but if you’re not stuck with the Feinsteins, Boxers, and Huffmans of this world, maybe you can do something.

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The DiploMad has a his truly epic rant against Obama’s “misadministration” on our Southern border. You really have to read it.

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Some moronic Leftist went into Hobby Lobby, played with wooden alphabet blocks, took a photo, and is now touted as a hero by Planned Parenthood. Can I just say, morons, that Hobby Lobby never denied that women should be able to get birth control, something that’s been a recognized right in America since 1965, when the Supreme Court handed down the Griswold decision?

Women need birth control

I guess I can say it, but it won’t make a difference.  You can’t gain any traction with people who argue this way:

The Alinsky approach to mandatory birth control

Thursday late afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesSorry for the long silence today. It’s just that, well, I’ve been busy. In addition to home maintenance and chauffeuring, I swear that someone has wanted to talk to me (by phone, in person, or through text) every 10 minutes all day long. Honestly, I don’t know why because I really am not that interesting.

Blogging is in my blood, though, and no matter how crazy the day, it’s going to ooze out. Here are a mish-mash of things that caught my eye:

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Nice Deb tipped me off to the fact that Ted Cruz has been tracking Obama’s lawlessness. It’s a long, long ugly list. It’s also a reminder that, although Dems like to say that Obama has issued fewer executive orders than other presidents, the issue isn’t quantity, it’s quality. The others’ executive orders were uninteresting procedural matters. Obama, on the other hand, has used his executive orders to create new law or violate existing law. (See Ted Cruz’s entire collection of lists here.)

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One of the reasons we have laws, especially border laws, is to protect public health.  Obama’s lawlessness means health outbreaks. The article to which I’m linking (one of many today about the scourge coming from the south) professes ignorance as to the source of TB, but I can tell you the sources of TB: immigrants and prisoners. Those are the two places in America that incubate the disease.

No wonder Eileen Toplansky makes a credible argument that Obama is president over the culture of death. Whether it’s his embrace of Islam, of abortion, or of illegal immigrants, or his abiding and manifest hostility to the military, Obama is doing what he can to get Americans killed.

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Daniel Pipes thinks that Bibi Netanyahu might be the right leader at the right time for Israel. I sure hope Pipe’s is right, because Israel no longer has America at her back. What’s ironic is that Obama has turned America-the-nation against Israel just as individual Americans are supporting Israel more than ever.

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Proving that it’s not totally immune to the death of teenage boys, the Obama administration breathed a sigh of relief when a 16-year-old teenage Arab youth turned up dead in Israel. Whew! The narrative is all good: Israelis are just as bad as Arabs.  After first being resolutely silent about the Israeli victims, and then softly castigating the “cycle of violence,” the Obama administration is in full throated weeping mode for that Arab boy (who may actually have been a victim of homophobia). Richard Baehr has more.

But of course, as my very dear friend Rob Miller says, to the Obama administration, Israel’s always in the wrong.

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I once had a friend who got into fights with everyone. At first, I accepted the friend’s version of events, which was that this person was mean, and that person careless, and the other person stupid, and the next person vicious. Eventually, of course, I figured out that the single common denominator in all the fights (often with people I knew) was my friend — who is a friend no longer. Daniel Greenfield’s post about Islam being the problem reminded me of that old, unhappy friendship.

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The Left’s war against the Redskin’s team name is not just a random happenstance. It is part of the way the Left functions, picking small battles so as to avoid large ones, fighting free nations so as to empower slave nations, and generally driving the culture down, down, down. Dennis Prager explains.

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I was going to label this link “everything you always wanted to know about political emails but were afraid to ask.” Then, having read the article, I realized you were right to be afraid. Pretty nasty fundraising forces are at work to frighten and harass the American people, and that’s true for both sides of the political aisle.  In an information age, he who screams most hysterically apparently gets the most money.

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We all dream of one day meeting our soul mate.  America’s shame is that its president’s soul mate is Bill Ayers.

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Daniel Henninger slices and dices Barack Obama’s totalitarian disdain for Congress.  (That link might be behind a pay wall.)  Sadly, the Left half of Congress agrees with Obama and is anxious to cede its power to the executive branch.

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Obama’s disdain for law has infected a lone Colorado court clerk who, in total violation of Colorado law, is issuing same sex marriage licenses just because she wants to. She’s totally correct that the 10th Circuit is going to change the law any minute but, until it does (a) those licenses are invalid and, let me say again, (b) she’s breaking the law.  The Republican state attorney is probably right, though, not to throw her Leftist derriere in jail.  She’d just become a martyr.  What would you do to punish her so as to avoid her martyrdom?

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Hillary will say anything to get elected.  If she needs to sell herself to America, she’ll hew slightly to the center.  But when the chips are down, she reverts to her intellectual home, which is the hard left.  Paul Kengor explains how Hillary readily abandoned both religion and intelligence in order to pander to the base about same-sex marriage and the newly discovered right that employers must pay for their employee’s birth control.

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On the subject of the Hobby Lobby case, I’ve got a cartoon and a few comments:

Not my bosss business

When I haven’t been talking to people today, I’ve spent a bit of time on Facebook trying to convince Lefties that (a) the Hobby Lobby decision is not five old white men denying women across America access to birth control and (b) that none of my hysterically unhappy friends has made a credible case explaining why it’s suddenly become a fundamental right that employers must pay for employees to have all possible forms of conception. I’m making no headway whatsoever. They’re in total paranoid hysteria mode and are not amendable to anything but a solid left hook, which I cannot deliver via Facebook.

(Ten minutes after I wrote the above, I got a message from someone who is Facebook friends with a gay man who imagines that concentration camps and gas chambers are around the corner, thanks to Hobby Lobby.  She was unable to comment directly on my post, since she’s not a friend, but she thanked me very much for my sensible, logical explication of the case.  I was grateful.)

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My DemProgs’ hysterically-based stupidity is fully equal to the stupidity of this New Yorker author, who tries to claim that Hobby Lobby is no different from the Taliban. The article shows (a) a complete failure to understand controlling law, which would support the governments compelling (and traditional) interesting in preventing epidemic diseases to trump an individual’s or corporation’s religious scruples, and (b) the Leftist impulse to say that there’s no difference between modern Christianity, which ended slavery, child labor, the 80 hour work week, etc., on the one hand, and the Taliban, which wants to enslave everyone it doesn’t actually kill, on the other hand.

Of course, no one really expects anything approach intelligence from the New Yorker anymore. In the old days, even when it was wrong, it was wrong in a smart way. Now it’s just plain ole stupid.

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Veterans died so Obamacare could live.

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Here’s an interesting bit of historic trivia: The baby whom the Nazis touted as the ne plus ultra of Aryan beauty . . . was Jewish.

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Oh, my goodness. I’m still laughing:

Hat tip: iOwnTheWorld

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I thought I’d end this post by throwing in a couple of old Irving Berlin videos, made back in the day when America knew her enemies were and was proud to fight them. Longtime readers have seen these chestnuts before, so I’ll just apologize for the fact that they’re sort of my go-to videos when I’m feeling I live in a country besieged.

Before you watch the videos, you may want to remember that the American character was different back then.

(In addition to my own efforts, many thanks to Earl Aagard for his help finding interesting material.)

Wednesday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s quite amazing watching DemProg heads explode on my “real me” Facebook page. To hear them tell it, the Hobby Lobby decision was four white religious men banning women’s right to contraception across America because a mean-spirited Christian corporation demanded that they do so.

I’ve been doing my best to say that (a) Hobby Lobby always provided a broad range of contraception coverage to its employees, and is only protesting the fact that the government is forcing it to pay for contraception that can be used to cause abortions; and (b) that the Court’s narrow holding said only that the Health & Human Services contraception mandate, which is not law under Obamacare, does not pass the test set by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Clinton approvingly signed. My comments are greeted with silence.

But there’s no room for silence here. I have a lot to say, and I delight in your comments. So off we go….

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I may as well start with a good Hobby Lobby round-up. All of these posts were very helpful when I was trying to craft a short, fact-filled response to confused DemProgs on Facebook.

Both Elizabeth Warren’s and Hillary Clinton’s responses to the decision show that (a) it’s amazing they graduated from law school, let alone, in Warren’s case, became teachers and (b) that they’re each as bad as the other, and that’s saying a lot. Let me say again what I learned from taking Warren’s Banking Law class a long time ago: she’s soft-spoken and mean; she’s a muddled thinker; she’s an incoherent communicator; and there’s a lot of anger there. (Warning:  this article might be behind a pay wall, but you can demolish that pay wall for a mere 99 cents per month.)

I found an exceptionally good trio of cases from the crew at National Review (which really excels at this type of analysis:

Charles C. W. Cooke points out that a great deal of the DemProg’s hysteria derives from the fact that they don’t understand that the Supreme Court’s role is to interpret law, not to enact it. That’s not surprising. DemProgs want their (not any, but their) president to enact law and, trained by Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade — both of which involved the Court creating rights out of whole cloth, for better or worse — actually believe that the court exists to enact a DemProg-approved agenda.

Ramesh Ponnuru explains how illogical, hysterical, and unrealistic Ruth Ginsburg was in her dissent — something that explains why DemProgs are so wildly excited by what she wrote.

Ross Douthat notes that DemProgs are exceptionally sore, and dishonest, winners. This reflects the fact that the Hobby Lobby decision peeled out a tiny corner of religious freedom in the face of a vast government takeover of . . . everything.

And finally, one of Jonah Goldberg’s best, in which he explains out that it wasn’t the Court putting the employer in women’s uterus, it was the Obama administration. That accurate analysis kind of puts a different spin on this poster, which DemProgs are excitedly passing around through social media:

Who makes medical decisions

***

Obama’s a chart topper: After thinking it over, Americans agree that Barack Obama is the worst president this country has seen since the end of WWII (and Ronald Reagan is the best). The only problem with this confirmation of my bias is that, for me to be proved right, the country has had to suffer terribly. It’s no fun being Cassandra.

***

On the subject of Obamacare, Kevin Williamson allows himself a bit of schadenfreude, and it makes for brilliant reading.

***

When I heard about the IRS’s “dog at my hard drive” excuse for the missing emails from Lois Lerner and six other key employees, I immediately said “that’s spoliation” and it’s bad.  It turns out that  the IRS’s conduct was even worse than I remembered at the time I made this statement.

The IRS wasn’t just hiding stuff from Congress, which could be classified as political game-playing. By the time it lost the emails, the back-up and the hard-drive, it was engaged in litigation that placed upon it a heavy legal burden to do everything possible to preserve any material that could be germane to the lawsuits. A judge with any reverence for the law should come down on the IRS like a ton of bricks for this behavior, even if it was “merely” negligent, as opposed to a deliberate fraud on the court.

***

The Founders did not imagine an America of incredible wisdom, by incredible wisdom, and for incredible wisdom. Madison readily envisioned that the government would be able to function despite man’s worst nature. However, even the Founders’ checks and balances didn’t comprehend a president and his supporters who would willingly cast aside constitutional governance.

Sadly, judging by changes made to the AP US history test, which drives US history curriculum at high schools across America, things aren’t going to get better any time soon. Since our children are prevented from learning the Founders’ wisdom, they can’t institute those ideas into their understanding of government.

And, while Boehner’s lawsuit is a step in the right direction, I remain dubious that it will accomplish anything. I’m with Andrew McCarthy in that I fear it will simply see the House cede power to the courts. At the rate Congress is ceding power to the other branches of government, it becomes nothing but an expensive Kabuki piece.

***

The kind of people who vote for Hillary won’t care that, on July 4th, this potential presidential candidate has decided to spend her time with a British, America-bashing newspaper. That’s what DemProgs do, and they’re damn proud of it too.

***

For years, people have been trying to figure out what the “Obama doctrine” is. Jeffrey Anderson thinks he knows: the Obama doctrine is Obama’s belief that, when Americans voted him into office, they got a twofer — both a president and a legislator.

***

Earlier today, I posted that, whether one agrees or not with the cheerleader who is also a big game hunter, disagreement is not a basis for censorship. DemProg, chart-topping songstress Diane Warren has different idea altogether. She thinks that disagreement is a basis for murder. Assuming Warren survives the coming ISIS sharia takeover, she should fit in quite well with the Islamist mindset.

***

I’m not a BBC fan, but this rap version of WWI’s origins is cute.

***

And finally, pictures!

Democrats are brave enough

Me myself and I

Plenty of room on the calendar

Reasons for owning guns

Illegal immigrants displace veterans

(Thanks to Caped Crusader, the Family Back East, and Earl Aagaard for their help with this post.)

Midday Tuesday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansies[I've got to run, but I don't want to delay publishing this by two or three hours. I'm therefore publishing as is. Please forgive the inevitable typos.]

I was reading an enjoyable book about the clash between good and evil. I commented to a friend that the only problem with the book was that too many good guys die. I like my books to end with the heroes still intact. He responded that “As to the deaths of good guys, when you’re fighting ultimate evil, some casualties are to be expected, lest ultimate evil be trivialized.”

His comment is correct as an artistic matter. It’s also correct as a practical matter. When we are threatened by evil, it’s the good guys who step and fight — and therefore die — first. The rest of us lurk in corners hoping the conflict will pass us by entirely. When the conflict finally ends, if there’s still a society left to rebuild, too often the good guys are gone and the builders are the cowards, and the whiners, and the useless people.

On that cheerful note, let me dive into what may well be the mother of all round-ups.

***

As if to make my point, I got word today that my fellow Watcher’s Council member, Tom White, who did yeoman’s work helping David Brat’s candidacy and who accurately predicted Brat’s victory, is on the receiving end of threats from the former Chairman of the Republican 3rd District. Tom put himself out there in the best possible way, and now he’s in the line of fire. Tom is more than capable of taking care of himself, but the whole thing is disgusting.

***

Okay, here’s something cheerful: This story illustrates perfectly why an armed society is a civil society and why, to gun-banners’ constant chagrin, when legally held arms increase in number, crime decreases in proportionate number.

***

We’ve all remarked here on the fact that the climate Nazis are remarkably flexible when it comes to attributing everything to anthropomorphic climate factors. Hot summers? Climate change. Cold winters? Climate change. Islamic aggression? Climate change. You know the drill.

It turns out that they’re equally flexible when it comes to data. This flexibility goes beyond the hidden data, the “adjusted” temperatures, and the manufactured hockey sticks. It now includes turning back time.

***

Sometimes a writer phrases something in a way that makes you think “That’s it! That’s what I was trying to say.” I had precisely that response to Stephen Hayward’s article about the corruption of Civil Rights, something that he addresses specifically in the context of the way in which same-sex marriage advocates are targeting businesses and individuals who object to same-sex marriage. Some of you may recall that I long ago argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education was good politics and a morally correct decision, but a legal disaster that led to the corruption of the relationship between individuals, on the one hand, and the law and the state, on the other hand.

***

A few useful and interesting posts about the deaths of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. Along with all of you, I was horrified, although unsurprised, to learn that the three boys were dead. I’ll say only that it was small consolation to learn that, because Hamas bungled the kidnapping, it killed them instantly rather than torturing them before killing them. As I said, it’s small consolation.

American Jews shouldn’t just weep, they should act. We Jews are always the first in the Islamic cross hairs and our own government has been exceptionally passive about rising Islamism, not to mention the Palestinian/Islamist nexus.

Just how bad was Obama’s behavior? This bad.

Bret Stephens looks at Palestinian mothers, who delight in sending their own children off to murder other children. (It might be behind a pay wall.)

As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers.

These horrible mothers raise children such as these, whose raised three fingers show that they are celebrating the kidnapping and death of three Israeli children:

Muslim kids celebrate death of Israeli teens

***

Mike McDaniel examines both the long, long list of illegal acts in the Obama administration and the power a president has to issue pardons. Adding these two things up leads to some very ugly conclusions.

***

With its despicable tactics to retain Thad Cochran in Congress, the once Grand Old Party betrayed its history and created what may be a very damaging schism in conservative ranks.

Of course, it didn’t help at all that the best known Tea Party groups, to the extent they bothered to show up, used their money ineffectually. My sense about these groups is that they mostly send out lots of emails.

***

I first became aware of Dan Bongino in connection with his impassioned speeches against gun control efforts. He seems to be a very solid conservative, something affirmed by an Open Letter he wrote to America’s political class, both Left and Right.

***

If you’ve been thinking that our federal government is increasingly looking like the government you’d see in a banana republic, here’s fuel for your fire: Congress has quietly done away with rules requiring elected officials to disclose information about trips they take courtesy of lobbyists.

***

In part because the media refuses to play along (unlike its behavior during Watergate), it’s perhaps inevitable that the House’s efforts to go after the IRS are bogging down into a mediocre political spectacle. Fortunately, others are also going after the IRS, including Judicial Watch. The exciting news is that Judicial Watch drew an honest judge — Emmit Sullivan. Judge Sullivan will not countenance any corrupt behavior in a litigation. The IRS’s “computer ate my emails” excuse should end in his courtroom.

***

And remember, even with the IRS, where there’s life, there’s laughter, this time courtesy of plaintiffs suing the IRS:

***

If you think our military is something special, you’re right. This video, of a Marine flyer with broken landing gear nevertheless sticking a landing on an aircraft carrier is epic:

***

Surprisingly enough, on the subject of Hobby Lobby, a writer for The Atlantic tells the Left to cool the hysteria.

***

Sometimes, one persistent individual can make such a big difference. Miriam Noujaim, a Sacramento DMV employee who is a member of SEIU Local 1000, the largest state-employee union, wants to see what the heck the union has been doing to create annual travel expenses that have gone up to $5.21 million. The union doesn’t want anyone to see its records, but Noujaim won’t let go. I have nothing but applause for her pit bull tenacity.

***

Guns are good. Keeping guns away from kids is also good. And this is a clever, slightly risque ad to make that point:

***

William A. Jacobson is putting words to my worst nightmare: He thinks that Elizabeth Warren has the potential to be 2012′s Barack Obama. I don’t know that she would be worse than Obama, but it’s doubtful she’ll be any better. Safe in her million dollar Ivory Tower enclave, Warren is an angry limousine socialist who will aggressively ensure that the government takes over the lives of everyone but for her and her cronies.

***

I’ve mentioned many times the brilliant friend of mine who says that the real issue Islam has with the West is control over women. Muslim men have it and want to keep it. Everything else is ultimately subordinate to their desperate efforts to ensure that women are sexually available to them. Two stories out of Iraq, one about women fearful of rape attacks and the other about ISIS’s demands that the women simply make themselves available for sex, lend credence to my friend’s contention.

***

Oh, this is a good one: Now they’re arguing that doctors should decide who can get a gun. Let me tell you something about the doctor’s in my neck of the woods: If they’re under 50, they’re DemProgs who demand gun control. They’re the last people who should be deciding who gets to exercise Second Amendment rights and who doesn’t.

***

When I first saw this Slate article challenging San Francisco’s housing policies, I thought it would be an intelligent article arguing against rent control. Boy, was I wrong. Instead, it’s part-and-parcel of the administration press to grow urban areas (Democrat strongholds) and kill suburbs (the last gasp of conservative thinking). We’ve been fighting this fight in Marin, where the federal government is trying to turn Marin into part of a vast, urban conglomeration with centralized management taking direction from the feds. No, thank you!

***

Is the Fed heading for the horrible crash that inevitably follows the bubble?

***

Ever since I was slightly taller than knee high to a grasshopper, I’ve known that societies that are friendly to the Jews are also societies that enjoy enormous economic, social, and military success. Societies that try to destroy Jews inevitably fail, not just when it comes to destroying the Jews, but they also fail themselves. Now, I have support from a great video that examines the Israel litmus test:

***

Pictures:

Dyslexic bank robbers

Gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone

Leading cause of hard drive failures

(Thanks to Sadie, Earl, Caped Crusader, and Danny Lemieux, all of whom contributed in some way to this post.)

There will be more to come Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556

It’s been one of those days, beginning at 7 a.m. when the rolls of no-mow lawn arrived.  After that came the inspector for some construction work we had, the men installing the lawn, the Sears repairman for my stubbornly broken washer, the cleaning ladies (bless them), and the pool cleaner.  (And yes, I appreciate that I live a singularly blessed life to have all these benefits.)  Meanwhile, I’ve been getting a non-stop stream of phone calls and texts.  I feel like the ball in a high velocity pinball machine, just bouncing from one thing to another.

In about 1 hour, I expect things to calm down a little, although I think I’ll need to head to the laundromat.  This machine isn’t going to be fixed by the time the guy leaves.  Sigh.  Keep the faith, though.  I will write something more today.

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

HobbyLobbyStowOhioPerspective is a good thing. In the middle of the night, one of my children woke me up with the news that he felt really sick and had already thrown up all over his carpet. I tucked him up on a couch and waited until morning to inspect the damage. He wasn’t kidding about the “all over the floor” part. If it weren’t for the fact that (a) he has no fever; (b) he doesn’t have a stiff neck; and (c) he hasn’t thrown up again, I’d be very worried about meningitis. That looked like projectile vomiting to me.

I spent half an hour cleaning his carpet and feeling, not sorry for myself, but less than happy. I mean, who wants to spend time cleaning puke off a carpet? Soon, though, I was reminded in a most unhappy way that there are worst things in life. While I was scrubbing, my husband was reading an email telling us that a friend I’ve known 20 years and my husband has known 40 years died suddenly, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

We almost never saw this friend, because he lived far away, but we always knew he was out there. Somewhere, alive and vital in our universe was a good, kind, warm-hearted man who was our friend. And now he’s blinked out of our existence and, much worse, out of his young children’s lives. I am heartbroken for their loss. There are infinitely worse things than cleaning guck off a carpet. Anyway, on to the posts.

***

You’ve all heard by now that, by a 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court ruled that 1993′s Religious Freedom Restoration Act means that a closely held corporation that has a religious leadership opposed to birth control need not provide contraceptives as part of the Obamacare mandated insurance packages companies must offer to their employees. Instead, they must be treated in the same way as not-for-profit, primarily religious organizations.

That mandate means that things will get even more interesting when the Supreme Court hears cases arguing that religious organizations should be able to withdraw entirely from the scheme. The opinion is very narrowly drafted to cover just the Hobby Lobby situation (closely held corporation with manifestly religious owners), but it still strikes a major symbolic blow against the Obama administration’s overreach.

Those who think everyone in America must fund a women’s reproductive choices, even while having no say in the matter, are shocked and horrified. As for me, I’ve discovered that it’s impossible to make them understand that if you view birth control as a mortal sin, it doesn’t matter whether you use it yourself, pay someone directly to use it, or pay someone indirectly to use it — it’s still a mortal sin and you’re still morally culpable

***

My friend Stella Paul asks “Is Obama trying to get us killed?” She then amasses a mountain of evidence pointing to a “yes” answer to that question. You should definitely read her article, but prepare to be depressed.

***

James Kirchick argues convincingly that Barack Obama is leaving America in even worse condition than Jimmy Carter did. True dat.

For one thing, Obama got an extra four years within which to inflict damage. For another thing, unlike Carter who still seemed to like America, even though he didn’t understand the nature of her greatness, Obama genuinely dislikes America. When Carter’s policies proved disastrous, he tried to change them. Obama, however, will never change his disastrous policies. He likes their outcome.

***

It’s always been easy as a general matter to be prescient about President Obama. We didn’t know the specifics, but we knew he’d destroy our border integrity, ruin our economy, and de-fang our national security. What’s more difficult is to be prescient with great specificity, but that’s precisely what John Hinderaker did back in 2008, before Obama was even elected, when he worried that an Obama Justice Department would go after 510(c)(4) entities. Color me impressed.

***

A growing crisis in our constitutional system threatens to fundamentally alter the balance of powers — and accountability — within our government. This crisis did not begin with Obama, but it has reached a constitutional tipping point during his presidency. Indeed, it is enough to bring the two of us — a liberal academic and a conservative U.S. senator — together in shared concern over the future of our 225-year-old constitutional system of self­governance.

More from Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Prof. Jonathan Turley here.

***

Another blow to the impending Armageddon from “anthropogenic climate change”: “startled” scientists cannot explain why the Great Lakes, rather than dying, are thriving. Of course they can’t explain. “There are more things in heaven and earth, [Prof. Climate Scientist], Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

***

The DemProgs continue to malign the Tea Party, and people like Jack Kelly continue to make valiant efforts to set the record straight.

***

David P. Goldman argues that, when it comes to Iraq and Syria, our best option is to stay out of the fight and to let the Sunni and Shia factions — both of which loath America and wish for her destruction — to fight it ought amongst themselves. I’ve mentioned before that this is my preferred idea. You’ve heard the expression “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” right? Well, there’s nothing better for me than when these two enemies battle it out without me.

And yes, the innocents among them are going to die, but nothing we can do will stop that slaughter. It’s not just that life is dangerous in a war zone. It’s that the nature of these intractable enemies is that they view the innocents as both legitimate weapons and targets. Our involvement wouldn’t change that ugly reality; it would just make us equally culpable when the innocents inevitably suffer.

***

Here’s why Michelle Obama is dead wrong to impose herself on school menus (and this is separate from the fact that she’s a hypocrite, who doesn’t abide by her loudly trumpeted ideas about healthy eating):

But attending Ivy-League schools doesn’t magically make someone better parent material than an individual who attended a public university, or, dare it be said, someone who didn’t attend college. It also doesn’t mean that she should be a co-parent to your children. Make no mistake; the underlying assumption is that federal technocrats and educated individuals such as her need to act on your behalf to meet the best interests of your children.

Read the rest here.

***

Lee Smith writes about the way Israel harnesses geek energy, creativity, and intelligence to her national security (think Stuxnet). If Israel can stay one step ahead of Iran’s bomb-making, and manage to stop any Arab Winter wars from spilling across her borders, she will inevitably emerge triumphant from the Middle Eastern mess. Smith also points out that Israel’s dynamic humanism highlights the antisemitism behind the BDS movement.

***

A trial court judge kicked out George Zimmerman’s defamation claim against NBC, which had selectively edited his 911 call to make it appear that he was a racist. I haven’t read the opinion, but the newspaper summary makes it sound dead wrong. To begin with, it sounds as if the judge bought the defense’s argument that Zimmerman was a public figure, which raises his burden of proof.  But Zimmerman wasn’t a public figure.  He was a private citizen who was turned into a public figure by, among other things, NBC’s careful edit of the 9/11 calls.

The court also held that there was no evidence NBC knew it was airing false information, something that again smells wrong. To the extent that NBC deliberately edited down the calls, how could it have been unaware of what it was doing?

The judge also made much of the fact that, later in the call, Zimmerman again emphasized that the guy sneaking around his community was black. It ignores that Zimmerman understood, from the dispatcher’s questions, that this mattered.  It was therefore entirely reasonable for him to repeat this important piece of information in the call. What wasn’t reasonable was for NBC to pair it with selectively edited material so that the package made him sound racist.

Finally, the court glommed on to the fact that NBC interviewed people who said Zimmerman wasn’t a racist. However, the whole notion of racism was an issue only because NBC made it an issue. To then have people say, “Oh, no, he wasn’t a racist. Why would you think he’s a racist?” only served to emphasize the point NBC was trying to make.

I hope Zimmerman appeals, although if Florida is like California, he has only a 2% chance of reversing the trial court’s decision.

***

Last night, I watched in bits and pieces a lousy Star Trek : Next Generation Episode in which Captain Picard is trying to stop thieves from taking a dangerous engine byproduct from his ship, the only purpose of which can be terrorism. That was bad. But what was even worse from Picard’s point of view was to discover that the thieves weren’t terrorists. They were stealing for the money. “Profit!” he sneered, in tones of disgust he hadn’t used when discussing terrorism. The thief, also viewing profit as the ultimate evil, replied that she preferred to “think of it as ‘commerce.’”

Watching the show I was immediately struck by the writer’s revulsion for profit, which is pretty funny considering that the Star Trek franchise exists only because it’s creators and distributors profit mightily from it. That’s why Kevin D. Williamson’s article about the Left’s hostility to profit struck such a chord with me:

People intensely dislike profits. The belief that turning a profit is tantamount to operating some sort of con is disturbingly common.

[snip]

There are a few obvious potential explanations for why this might be. It could be popular culture, in which the world “corporation” is practically a synonym for evil, in spite of the fact that the power of individual corporations is in rapid decline. (It seems likely to me that the corporation as currently organized will not exist in 50 years. More here.) It could be envy; anything ancient enough to make the list of Seven Deadly Sins and to form the basis of a hundred thousand cautionary myths is bound to have some explanatory power. But we should consider the possibility that it is simply the result of an intellectual error.

Read the rest here.

***

Yesterday, I wrote about the peculiar dignity of a homeless man at the laundromat who stripped himself naked so that he could get clean. Today, I learned that San Francisco is trying to bring that dignity to other homeless people with portable showers on old buses. A lot of San Francisco initiatives are loopy leftism. This, however, strikes me as a great idea, insofar as it helps cut down on disease and skin parasites, and it helps people retain their humanity.

***

Myths about WWI debunked, and erroneous debunking about WWI debunked.

***

Some things change, some things don’t. What doesn’t change is that we all must die. What does change — with exceptional speed in the last 100 years — is the how and when of our deaths.

***

If you thought what Firefox did to Brendan Eich was bad, wait until you see what’s happening at Chase.

***

Sometimes, people really should play with their food. They make magic with it when they do.

***

If you were stuck in the airport overnight, could you do this with your cell phone?

All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.

Here’s how Richard Dunn made it happen.

***

Let bird chill in sink

Republicans are on the right side of history

Sarcasm is the sign of a healthy brain

Can't eat pork

Waiting to react

(Thanks to Earl, Caped Crusader, and Danny Lemieux for their help.)