Catching my breath Open Thread

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I went swimming this morning, which is the next phase in my recovery. Hmmm . . . did I say swimming? It wasn’t really. I was in a pool, but between a dysfunctional left shoulder and a mostly dysfunctional left knee, I couldn’t even manage a good dog paddle. But it did feel wonderful. I’ve been fighting gravity so hard for the past three-and-half weeks that it was marvelous to know I couldn’t fall.

The whole process was time-consuming, which is frustrating for me because I’m normally a person who moves through life very quickly. I have to get used to the fact that getting my wet towel and swimsuit out of the car is now a laborious five-minute task. If nothing else, this whole experience has made me more grateful than ever for the good health I normally enjoy and, I hope, more compassionate towards those with mobility problems.

While I get up to speed, please have fun with this Open Thread.

Sleepy Saturday round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m wondering how the gun-grabbing crowd is coping with the horrible news out of China: terrorists with knives killed 28 and injured 113. One can’t help wondering whether, if some of those hundreds of people trapped in the train station had possessed a legal gun, if the terror wouldn’t have stopped soon after it started.

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Years ago, Dennis Prager said on his radio show that, when a couple both marry as Democrats, and then one becomes a Republican, it’s reasonable for the remaining Democrat to feel betrayed.  I agree with that, but would add an addendum:  What if, as Reagan said, the “converting” party did so, not because he left the Democrats, but because the Democrats left him?

This question isn’t far-fetched.  In a WaPo piece, Andrew Kohut, who founded the Pew Research Center, says that the Democrats have shifted way left.  If you’ve become a Republican, and your partner still gives his or her entire allegiance to the Democrats, your partner has shifted way left too.  The only reason no one has remarked upon this seismic political and ideological shift is that the people leading the shift are also the people controlling information, in politics, the media, and education.

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The Three Monkeys Press (aka The New York Times, which, like all media outlets, has adopted a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” policy during the Obama administration) has a video preparing Americans for possible outbreaks of Leftist politics at the Oscars by saying that the Oscars have a “long history” of political outbreaks.  What the Three Monkeys Press fails to acknowledge is that the politicization of the Oscars started when the Left became ascendant in Hollywood.  Before that, it was just an entertainment awards show.  Since then, every two-bit Leftist in Hollywood starts palpitating with excitement at the thought that, if he or she can get near the microphone, he (or she) can have a bully pulpit into American homes.

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Since we’re talking about American debasement, let me round out this short round-up by pointing to the fact that, with Russia poised to invade Ukraine, Obama had more important things to do than attend a national security meeting.  While we’re watching the worst of the 1930s and the 1970s unfold before our eyes, Obama is happily re-living his behavior on the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Will Americans ever wake up or have we slid so far down the infamous slippery slope that the Left can indeed fool all of the people all of the time?

Friday afternoon round up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of good stuff today, so I’m going to dive right in.  As always, these aren’t in any particular order, so you may find interesting things buried halfway down the list.

I’ve made the same point before, but I still like to see it come from Daniel Hannan and Jonah Goldberg:  Nazis came from the Left, not from the right.  Incidentally, I still like the way I phrased it, which was that we should get rid of the archaic Left/Right or Fascist/Communist/Capitalist language and, instead, look at political systems in terms of Statist versus Individualist forms of government.  The world’s most famous bad guys, no matter the name they gave themselves, land on the statist side.  America, before Obama, was more individualists, as she was when she went around the world freeing people from statists calling themselves Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Military Juntas, Muslim Fundamentalists, etc.

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One of the things that distinguished George Bush was that he was a good manager — proving that he got something useful out of his stint in Harvard Business School. He surrounded himself by efficient, knowledgeable people who reflected well on this country’s competence, even if one didn’t agree with its policies. The opposite is true for Obama. He is a terrible manager who surrounds himself with people who know as little as he does.

Obama’s conduct is typical for an insecure person. He needs to surround himself with ineffective sycophants who say nice things to him and who don’t threaten him with their greater talents and skills. Obama gave the game away a long time ago when he announced, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Genuinely smart — and mentally healthy — people don’t actually say things like that.

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One of the things that drives me crazy about the Left’s insistence on bypassing parents to give young girls access to the birth control pill is the fact that it’s not just about sex (and the Left uses sex to bribe girls away from the nuclear family). It’s also about how high risk pills are. California kids can’t get their ears pierced without permission, but girls can easily get pills that are associated with strokes, blood clots, breast cancer and, now, multiple sclerosis. The Pill is a very dangerous medicine, but it’s so wrapped up in Leftist feminist politics, no one is willing to say “no” simply on safety grounds.  The fight about the Pill on moral grounds is a good fight.  The fight about the Pill on health grounds should be a winning fight — but nobody’s doing battle there.

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Two excellent views about Putin’s escapades: Terresa, at Noisy Room, harks back to the Nazi notion of Lebensraum.  Paul Rahe, at Ricochet, thinks Putin is a fool, trying to relive the glory days of the Cold War but, in fact, reaching far beyond Russia’s actual, very limited, economic abilities, not to mention exposing Russia to the very real risk of a Chinese takeover. Fool or madman, the one thing we know with certainty is that Putin’s policies will destroy many lives, both inside and outside of Russia.

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My sister lives in Oregon. After the millions it spent on its Obamacare exchange, she ended up signing up the old-fashioned way: by paper. The only question is how long the media can keep the prestidigitation going, so that people don’t realize that they’re on the losing end of a shell game.

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Colleges across America: “Due process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ due process!”

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Jonah Goldberg nicely analyzes something that we’ve been talking about here, which is the speed with which the gay marriage debate has gone from the fringe to “you’d better accept it or else.” As many famous people have learned to their cost, one of the most effective techniques for moving the debate forward without regard to the merits is the GLAAD & Friends tactic of “nice little place/career/life you’ve got here. . . . Shame if something happened to it.”

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Roger L. Simon issues a call to arms: Take back Hollywood. It drives culture and, to the extent conservatives jumped off the entertainment bus, we’ve left the lunatics in the driver’s seat.

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The IRS scandal continues unabated. Those who think it’s been addressed and repaired have been flim-flammed yet again. Moreover, if you follow the money to public servant corruption, that may go a long way to explaining why our bureaucracy, which is supposed to be studiously apolitical, has thrown its immense power to the Democrats, the political party owned by the government workers’ unions.

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I really, really like Allen West. Here he is with a vivid, but emotion-free, summation about both Common Core’s academic weaknesses and the madness of Obamacare mathematics.

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My bet without doing any research is that, if you studied political identity in the military, you’d see that the military is still more conservative than the population as a whole. What you’d also see, though, is that every subsequent new batch of enlistees is more liberal than the one that came before. Remember, the new enlistees are young and Democrats have marketed themselves successfully to the young.

We know that young people in the general population are souring on Obama as job prospects dim.  Military enlistees have a job, but there’s still the possibility that they too will sour.  To the extent that Senate Democrats refused to increase veteran’s benefits, the very minimal chatter I’ve seen amongst the few young enlistees who are Facebook friends is that they are feeling hostile to the Dems right about now.

Thursday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor reasons that make no sense to me, in the past week my daily readership has almost trebled. I suspect a bot has targeted my site but, when I allow myself to pretend that it’s actual people checking out my site, I feel really quite good. And now let’s see if I can make all of my real and robotic readers feel good with some interesting links:

It turns out that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the only thing exciting the Left right now, from Obama on down to the most insignificant Facebook user, is gay marriage. Syria? Sad, but boring. Ukraine? A little scary, so best ignored. North Korea? Really scary, so best ignored. Economy? We have a Democrat president, so we pretend it’s good. But gay marriage? Wow! That’s a hot issue, so hot that it should be the administration’s most pressing issue, the states’ most pressing issue, and social media’s most pressing issue.

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Putting gay marriage aside, what sensible people should be excited about is the fact that the current administration has deliberately chosen to subvert the law and to use supposedly non-partisan administrative agencies (most notably the IRS) to destroy the current administration’s political opponents. Bradley A. Smith spells it out, and there are smoking guns everywhere. Unfortunately, true believers on the Left are just going to look at that evidence and say, “Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” They’d do that even if Lois Lerner got her immunity and spilled the beans.

Few on the Left have Democrat Prof. Jonathan Turley’s insight or integrity:

And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable, and I think that’s what the president is doing. I think that we’ve become a nation of enablers. We are turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system. I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period.

Incidentally, I wonder if Mr. Smith has been reading my blog. To conclude his masterful summary demonstrating administration complicity with the IRS, he wrote this:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

If that seems familiar to some of you, I wrote the same thing (although at greater length) back in May 2013.

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Hillary Clinton spoke in Florida yesterday to defend Obamacare. For a good analysis, go here. The short version is that she’s adopting the Democrat party line, which is that Obamacare is slightly flawed, but should be fixed, not undone. I’ll just chime in quickly with a little extra info that may explain why many people will be inclined to save, not jettison it: the venue at which she spoke was a massive annual medical technology convention. The wealth concentrated there — wealth created because Obamacare has mandated computerizing all medical records — probably equals the wealth of several small and mid-sized countries. Exhibitors weren’t just giving away pens and mouse pads. They were giving away Kindle Fires and other fancy swag. Follow the money….

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I love it when my politics and my dieting efforts converge: No Girl Scout cookies for me this year. The Girl Scouts are absolutely free to continue their leftward drift. I just don’t have to help fund it. If I had my own personal Marine Sergeant Major monitoring my diet, none of this would be an issue.

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Just a reminder that if you want a bird’s eye view of probable election results, check out Scott Elliott’s Election Projection. Working on a state-by-state basis, he has amassed a vast and highly accurate database of predicted election outcomes.

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North Korea is one seriously scary place. It’s scary inside, because it is a vast, brutal concentration camp. I mean, think about it: It’s so bad that the UN has actually taken time off from persecuting Israel to castigate North Korea for a few days.

It’s also scary outside because it’s got a vast armory of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and a probable armory of nuclear weapons aimed at God knows where. Andrew Keller recommends actually enforcing sanctions against it, so that the West is no longer complicit in propping up this government. (Our excuse for propping it up, starting with Madeleine Albright, is always that we’re preventing mass starvation. We haven’t done anything of the sort.  The NoKo government just takes the money, buys caviar, and lets the people starve anyway.) My only worry with Keller’s recommendation is that North Korea is not the kind of country that will go down easy. It seems to me that one of its last gasp efforts will be to take large parts of the world, or Asia, down with it.

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I don’t understand why people are so fussed about reliably Left-leaning Ronan Farrow winning a journalism award after only two days on air at MSNBC. After all, Barack Obama won the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, not because he actually did anything on the job, but simply because he got hired. Eric Wemple illustrates that in the modern journalism world, everyone is good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, entitled to endless accolades and awards.

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Eric Holder was briefly hospitalized for chest pains, but seems to be okay. I wonder if he had a panic attack, which can mimic a heart attack. He’s got a lot of balls in the air now, and it must be nerve-wracking to keep them spinning. You know what I mean: Urging state Attorney General’s to refuse to enforce their own state laws regarding gay marriage; arranging for gun-running into Mexico, and then having to cover it all up; hiding administration documents about everything from the IRS to Benghazi; working to turn felons and illegal aliens into registered voters; and so on. I’d be stressed too with all of that on my plate.

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In a typically thoughtful, detailed post, Daniel Greenfield examines Obama’s decision to put America into a forced retreat from the world stage. His last paragraph reads like the final epitaph for a once great nation:

Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.

Obama’s despicable role in the Ukraine (or, rather, his absence of any role, other than some meaningless Kabuki theater) perfectly illustrates how he’s got America crawling away on her hands and knees, with her national butt nicely poised in the air for some final kicking.

The Left assured us in 2008 that the world would be a better place without all that nasty American influence. The world’s citizens are discovering what you and I already knew: The world is a much less nice, stable, safe place without an American influence. Moreover, the Left’s talk of compassion was a fake.  For example, even as apocalyptic scenes play out in Syria, the Left manifestly doesn’t care.

Wednesday afternoon quick hits (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s raining!!!  In California, that’s cause for celebration.  Rain in Marin doesn’t mean it’s raining elsewhere, but it certainly matters to use Marin-ites — we have our own reservoir system, so we’re wholly dependent on local rainfall.  Ironically, the rain is slowing down our major yard renovation, and we have to get that renovation down before April 1, when rationing kicks in (and rationing will happen unless we get enormous amounts of rain).  Sigh.  To ever silver lining, there seems to be a cloud.

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Since I’m on the subject of weather, here’s a two-fer about the grand hoax that is climate change. The first, from American Thinker, provides compelling evidence that every single carbon centered computer model about the climate has proven to be wrong. Not just sort of wrong, mind you, but absolutely, completely, super-duper wrong. Climate theorists are now blaming volcanoes for the warming failure, but they’ll blame anything, won’t they? If you have a non-falsifiable doctrine, you can always blame external forces for your doctrine’s inevitable failure.

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I’ve also got three great articles about Israel. The first looks as all the wonderful things going on in Israel despite the world’s efforts to squash that tiny, brilliant nation. The second looks at the grotesque hypocrisy that sees gay rights advocates champion Palestinians at the expense of Israel. The third looks as the fact that Israel stands poised to save Syrians, the rest of the Middle East, and perhaps the whole world, from the unfathomable danger of a nuclear Syria.

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Traditionally in America, a state attorney general is sworn to uphold the laws of the state. After all, if the AG doesn’t do that, what’s his purpose? He’s there to represent and ensure the stability, reliability, and credibility of the law.  If he doesn’t carry out that task, he just becomes another functionary in a banana republic. And that banana republic status is precisely what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder dreams of, for he has instructed state AG’s to ignore any law that supports traditional marriage.

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I’ve written here frequently about the lunacy that is the modern American college or university. This is a subject that exercises me a great deal because I have two children heading towards college in the next few years. As many Americans do, I’m deeply offended by the cost of college, especially the cost of the once prestigious liberal arts colleges back East. It’s insane to spend or borrow $250,000 so that your child can move into your basement and become a barista. In a changing world, colleges have actually changed in the wrong direction.  They’ve turned away entirely from educating young people to become useful and productive citizens.

What colleges have done, instead, is train youngsters to become lunatics, which is my second reason for being upset about modern American higher education. Last week, Bruce Bawer warned about a lunatic Leftist at Harvard. This week, Chicks on the Right warns about a whole cadre of potentially violent lunatic Leftists as Dartmouth. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this collection of young people expensively unmoored from reality comes from deep within the fever swamps of the gay rights movement.

I’ll say here what I always say: I believe that the government should stay out of people’s bedrooms. I believe that gay people should be free from discrimination, harassment, violence, etc. I believe that the heart loves where it will. But let’s get real here: These loony-toonz aren’t about gay rights.  They are about using the gay agenda as a wedge issue to destroy America as a free-market, individual-centered society, and to replace it with a hard-core centralized government and a socialized economy. I wonder if these “idealists” have any inkling that, when/if they’ve finally achieved their agenda they’ll meet the same fate that leading-edge revolutionaries always experience, whether in 18th Century France, or Russia, or China:  The new statist government identifies them as troublemakers and kills them first.

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My sister lives in Oregon, a state that has as its primary goal the creation of happiness. We’ve talked before about the fact that a state can impose “happiness” only if it first has the right to define “happiness.”  The reality, is that there’s only a slender likelihood that the state bureaucrat’s idea of what constitutes “happiness” is the same as your idea.  Moreover, if not everyone is happy — and no one can ever be — the situation is ripe for constant revolution. Still, Oregon tries. The libertarians on the Eastern side are constantly besieged by the statists on the Western, coastal side, who have turned Oregon into one of the most heavily regulated, and least economically successful, states in America. (For more on happiness, at a deep, philosophical level, rather than at a pop-culture, “everything is free” level, check out Happiness Is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual.)

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And finally, knowledge that I gleaned in my youth catches up with the present. I’ve written before about my years at Berkeley, when I socialized with ultra-Leftist professors who lived in lavish houses in the Berkeley hillside, all of which seemed to be tended by Hispanic maids and Japanese gardeners. These effete, armchair revolutionaries enjoyed their Marxism because they lived on the straining back of the servant class.

That was a long time ago, but one modern-day Leftist has finally admitted that, yes, needing servants is precisely why the Leftist idle rich are so gung-ho about illegal immigrants:

As a friend of mine said after watching that, “If a conservative of any stripe were to insinuate undocumented workers were all gardeners, landscapers, and hotel workers the race card would have been played before he could even finish the sentence.”

Tuesday night stuff (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

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

Tuesday morning round-up (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

***

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

Monday morning Open Thread

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

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

Until then, here’s an Open Thread.

Friday morning thoughts (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

[snip]

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

[snip]

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

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

***

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

Dirty electrical cars

***

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

Can’t sit a my keyboard Open Thread

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

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

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

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

Quick links for Tuesday night (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

Tuesday morning Open Thread

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

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

Interesting doings this Monday night

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

Saturday afternoon Open Thread

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

Thursday afternoon wrap-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday morning quick hits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-Narcotic Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556

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

Please enjoy this Open Thread in the meantime.

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

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

***

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

And one great punchline from Keith Koffler.

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

Wednesday Wrap-Up (and Open Thread)

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

Tuesday tossed salad (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Mish-Mash (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Super Bowl Open Thread *UPDATED*

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

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

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday Wrap-Up (and Open Thread)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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