The Bookworm Beat 8-10-15 — the “is school starting yet?” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m having my own personal dog days of summer: the exchange student arrives today, school starts next week, the older child heads out into the world next month, and the dogs . . . well, the dogs just keep being their wonderful selves.

In the meantime, even as my life moves busily into the future, I have a Groundhog Day sensation when I read the headlines: Obama is still pushing the worst, most anti-American, anti-Semitic deal in American history; ISIS is still killing and enslaving; illegals are still pouring into the country in order to create a permanent Democrat voting bloc; Donald Trump is still a buffoon and the media is still shilling for him, because he’s their dream Republican candidate; and the Obama administration is still intent upon destroying the economy, this time through the rootin’, tootin’, and pollutin’ (and, of course, lyin’) EPA.

I don’t need to write a new post today. I can write the same one I wrote last week, last month, last year, and before 2012. Still, I’ll give it a try:

Ted, Ted, he’s my man!

I’ve said from the beginning that I’m a Ted Cruz kind of gal. This quiz agrees with me, although I’m dubious about Marco Rubio’s second place showing, since I’m really not a fan of his, nor of Santorum:

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 7-25-15 — the Lazy, but interesting, edition

Woman-writing-300x265As you may have gathered from the number of things we did every day on our recent trip to Virginia and environs, ours was not a restful vacation. I capped off the fatigue with a cold and, since our return, have been having a very hard time motivating myself to do anything. My theme song for the week has been Irving Berlin’s Lazy, although I’d have to add fatigue and inertia to the laziness mix:

Still, despite my laziness, I have managed to peel myself off the couch and find my way to the computer occasionally, so I do have some posts to share with you:

Made You Laugh

Before I get to the depressing stuff — and, lately, all the news seems to be depressing — I wanted to tell you about a weekly column my long-time friend Gary Buslik is starting at The Blot. I first introduced you to Gary a few years ago when I reviewed his outrageously funny book Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood. I’ve since read, though shamefully neglected to review, his delightful travelogue, A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen. In both books, and in the various travel articles of his published in anthologies, Gary’s voice is true: erudite, wry, mordant, snarky, self-deprecating, Jewish, and very, very funny.

Since Gary just launched his weekly column, there’s only one week’s worth of writing, but I think you might enjoy it: The Great Jewish Dilemma.

Yes, Martin O’Malley’s link between ISIS and climate change is crazy

Democrat presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley came in for a good deal of derision for saying that ISIS’s rise can be tied to climate change. The obvious reason this is a laughable point is because the most direct tie to ISIS’s rise is, of course, Obama’s retreat, which created a giant ISIS-sized vacuum. My friend Wolf Howling sent me an email which I think nicely summarizes the Obama/ISIS link:

A fascinating article in the NY Review of Books states that it is the Iraqi organization originally founded by Zarqawi, the utterly sadistic terrorist we sent off the mortal coil in 2006. The movement obviously survived him, and this really throws into stark relief the wages of Obama and the Left cutting and running from Iraq in 2010. ISIS is like a bacteria that survives a stunted course of antibiotics. Had we stayed in Iraq, there is no possible way that ISIS could have had a rebirth.

The author of the article tries to make sense of the rise of ISIS. You can read his ruminations. My own theory is two-fold: One, ISIS is preaching the true Salafi / Wahhabi purist doctrine that makes of the world a thing of black and white, where all things that support Allah are pure, while everything that does not is evil and can be dealt with without regards. Thus it is a draw to young Arab men. If you want to see how, here is a fascinating article by Tawfiq Hamid, a doctor who became a terrorist, who discusses the lure of Salafism / Wahhabism and all its deadly toxins.

Two, the ISIS ideology is a draw because it is utterly without bounds in its sadism or cruelty. This also is a draw to a particular segment of Arab men. It is the Lord of the Flies. It is going into a scenario where you will have the power of life, death, and pain with virtually no restrictions.

The fact is that ISIS should not be around today. My word, but Obama has so totally f**ked us in the Middle East . . . . He makes Carter look like Nixon by comparison.

I only wish I’d written that, but at least I can share it with you. So yes, O’Malley is an ignorant moron.

Still, never let it be said that the Left doesn’t protect its own, so The Atlantic has tried to throw a life saver to O’Malley: Martin O’Malley’s Link Between Climate Change and ISIS Isn’t Crazy. The article’s premise is that there’s a connection between drought and unrest. To which I say, “Well, duh!”

Any student of history knows that in primitive societies (and Muslim Middle Eastern countries are extremely primitive when it comes to food production, due to natural limitations, societal factors, and the transfer of food crops to biofuels) anything that interferes even marginally with food production has devastating effects, with war one of the most common ones.

However, as my reference to “students of history” makes clear, droughts have always happened. O’Malley wouldn’t have been a moron if he’d said “the drought they’re experiencing in the region no doubt was a contributing factor to unrest in the Syria – Iraqi region.” But instead, he had to throw in “climate change” — and what makes that so laughable is that we’ve come to the point  which climate change is responsible for everything. I’m awaiting the day when we get an article saying that Caitlyn Jenner’s unfortunate transgender habit of dressing like a male chauvinists’ dream 1950s pin-up girl is also due to climate change.

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 4-26-15 — the “writer’s block” edition and open thread

Woman writingI know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.

Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone

All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.

Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 4-6-15 — the nighttime edition and open thread

Woman writingMy work is done and there’s still twenty minutes to go before the family yields the TV to me. That can mean only one thing: a quick round-up. Yay!

Can the MSM stifle Ted Cruz?

One of the most frustrating things about being a conservative is that conservative politicians tend to be inarticulate. Part of this is because conservative ideas don’t yield easily to the hysterical bumper sticker politics that the Left favors. Part of it is that the media twists the message. And part of it is that the conservatives who get into politics seem to be tongue-tied.

I mention this because of a post Rod Dreher wrote after talking about RFRA to a deeply-closeted conservative law professor. It was the professor who made the point about the absence of a standard-bearer for conservative ideology:

On the conservative side, said Kingsfield [not the professor’s real name], Republican politicians are abysmal at making a public case for why religious liberty is fundamental to American life.

“The fact that Mike Pence can’t articulate it, and Asa Hutchinson doesn’t care and can’t articulate it, is shocking,” Kingsfield said. “Huckabee gets it and Santorum gets it, but they’re marginal figures. Why can’t Republicans articulate this? We don’t have anybody who gets it and who can unite us. Barring that, the craven business community will drag the Republican Party along wherever the culture is leading, and lawyers, academics, and media will cheer because they can’t imagine that they might be wrong about any of it.”

The one person who is emerging as an incredibly articulate spokesman for conservative thinking is Ted Cruz. He’s unafraid and, rather unusually for a man as academically brilliant as he is, capable of being pithy. Cruz can bring in the money quotation:

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 3-27-15 — “The World Turned Upside Down” edition and open thread

Woman writingWord must have gotten out that I have a temporary hiatus in the endless mountain of legal work that’s overwhelmed me, because the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all morning. Every time my fingers get anywhere near my keyboard, the phone rings, I glance at the caller ID and, yes, it’s a call I need to take.

The most interesting call I received came in a short while ago from a delightful, interesting man who will be speaking to a local conservative group with which I’m involved. His topic: Israel. In past weeks, some in the group have been a little worried that this man, a Democrat and Obama supporter, might inadvertently antagonize our group. Speaking to him today, though, I think he and our group will be singing the same song.  He seems to feel, as I do, that  — Obama is doing something unconscionably dangerous in allying us with Iran while giving Iran the nuclear go ahead, and something profoundly evil by sacrificing Israel to achieve this unconscionable goal.

I am deeply, deeply disturbed when I think what Obama is doing in the Middle East. By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. This is not ineptitude or misguided faith. Obama, dragging the United States along behind him, is deliberately embracing evil.

All I can think of lately, and you’ll see why as you read further, is the British military band in 1781, at the Surrender at Yorktown, playing “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Don’t just blame Lena Dunham; The New Yorker published her

[Read more…]

Ted Cruz for President in 2016

Ted CruzA temporary diminution in my overwhelming work load has finally given me a window to blow about Ted Cruz’s candidacy. Briefly, I’m for it. Obama has taught us that, in today’s world, it’s not experience that matters, it is indeed being a standard-bearer for an overarching ideology.

Americans have now had six, going on for seven, years of Obama’s ideology and they’ve seen the results:

  1. a sluggish economy,
  2. endless crony capitalism,
  3. meaningless national borders,
  4. a disastrous change for the worse in race relations,
  5. the Middle East going down in flames,
  6. Israel (America’s long-time ally) abandoned and betrayed,
  7. a White House that makes love to the nation that’s slaughtered thousands of American troops,
  8. the abandonment of Eastern Europe to Putin’s depredations,
  9. a spectacular rise in Islamic violence at home and abroad,
  10. the steady transformation of our healthcare system into a European style system that provides access but minimal meaningful care,
  11. a de-fanged and emasculated military,
  12. the end of government transparency,
  13. the rise of an unaccountable administrative branch that practices legislation, and
  14. worst of all, a deliberate turn away from our most cherished constitutional principles, including the all-important separate of powers, our primary bulwark against tyranny.

In this, Obama has consistently been aided and abetted by the Democrat Party.  Worse, whenever it’s been faltering, its received helpful boosts from the GOP.

Against this backdrop, running a neutered GOP candidate who, at home, stands, for everything Obama stands for, only with weaker sauce, and, abroad, lacks the backbone to fight against Islamic (and, inevitably, Chinese) aggression abroad, is a sure way to lose.

Finally, though we have an alternative, in the person of a man who liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz describes as one of the most brilliant Harvard law students he’s ever had.  Briefly, Ted Cruz

  1. has the ability to articulate conservative principles in clear and accessible language,
  2. has a happy warrior manner as he toys with a media that’s unaccustomed to a conservative who won’t bow down,
  3. enjoys a good fight,
  4. energizes (one hopes) Hispanic conservatives who have been languishing, literally and figuratively, in Democrat ghettos, and
  5. most importantly of all, holds pro-American views on every issue: he supports a free market, strong borders, standing against Islamic extremism and aggression, protecting our allies around the world, bringing the free market to America’s healthcare system, shrinking government and (especially) the administrative branch of government, de-fanging the IRS’s unlimited (and partisan) power, and in all other respects running a government consistent with the Constitution.

To those who say “Cruz can’t win,” I say “That’s only true if you start with a defeatist attitude by buying into MSM and GOP slander.”

Now is the time for the pendulum to swing far, far away from Obama. If the Republican pendulum apathetically droops in front of a Jeb Bush or Lindsay Graham, we will lose. This is the last chance, truly the last chance, for the American Constitution to take center stage in an election and in our lives. If Hillary or Jeb wins, America as a Constitutional nation is dead and gone.

Incidentally, Wolf Howling has pulled together a very useful collection of Ted Cruz articles.

In honor of Ted Cruz’s announcement — a re-run of my post about his epic stand against Obamacare

Ted CruzIn 2013, Ted Cruz was the only one who wholeheartedly, bravely, boldly, took a stand against Obamacare.  The GOP was appalled.  I, of course, am appalled by the GOP — quislings, all of them.

Today, Ted Cruz announced that he’s running for President:

In honor of Cruz’s announcement, I’m rerunning the post I did in the run-up to Cruz’s promised filibuster of Obamacare, back on September 25, 2013: “Is Ted Cruz’s promised Obamacare filibuster the equivalent of King Leonidas’s stand at Thermopylae?

***

"I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare."

“I will do everything necessary and anything possible to de-fund Obamacare.”

Most people, whether Democrat or Republican, agree that Ted Cruz’s planned filibuster in the Senate is doomed. It will do nothing to stop Obamacare’s inexorable path towards implementation. (To understand precisely what the filibuster is about, Ace has a good, short explanation.)

Because Ted Cruz is nobody’s fool, I’m guessing that he too knows that it won’t stop Obamacare from getting fully implemented within the next few months. Why, then, is Cruz engaged in this quixotic effort? I think I have the answer, but you’ll have to bear with me, because it involves taking a little trip back, back in time . . . to the Battle of Thermopylae.

[Read more…]

When it comes to Islam and politics, Leftist stupidity unfortunately has the bully pulpit

People taking how stupid question as a challengeOne of the things that’s frustrating for conservatives is to see that stupidity is ascendant in our culture. And by stupidity I mean something very specific, which is that Leftists routinely use incoherence, ignorance and a complete lack of logic to challenge purely factual statements (or obviously humorous ones), and then congratulate themselves endlessly on their cleverness and the fact that the successfully “pwned” a stupid conservative.

Even worse, these illogical, incorrect arguments become the dominant narrative and are celebrated as wise and worthy. It has the surreal quality of someone being lionized and feted for responding to the statement “It’s daytime because the sun’s out,” by saying “No, it’s just a bright moon because I see cows jumping in the field.” I mean, we’re talking that kind of stupid.

Not unsurprisingly, the top two examples of this kind of stupidity relate to Leftist attempts to analogize modern mainstream Christianity to radical Islam. If you’ve been on social media at all, you’ll know that J. K. Rowling, who really is a stellar children’s writer, tried her hand at religious and political commentary in the wake of a couple of Rupert Murdoch tweets.

As a matter of fact, Murdoch’s tweets makes perfect sense:

Yes, most Muslims are peaceful, although Murdoch’s “maybe most” makes sense when one considers a few facts.  Six to ten percent of Muslims worldwide are extremists who have or will engaged in terrorism.  This means that about 96,000,000 to 160,000,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists are actively engaged in terrorism in their home countries or abroad, or are willing to be actively engaged..  In addition, depending on the country (say, Saudi Arabia versus France versus the U.S.) another roughly 30% to 40% Muslims (that would be 480,000,000 to 640,000,000 Muslims), although not denominated as extremists think that their co-religionists’ terrorism is a good thing.

Murdoch is sensibly saying that, to the extent hundreds of millions of Muslims think a jihadist is the good guy, there’s no telling when, or in what way, they’ll switch from passive to active support.  So, “maybe most” Muslims are peaceful; and maybe not.

The bottom line, which Murdoch understands, is that that there is within Islam a fractionally small, but numerically large, violent contingent of Muslims who not only approve of terrorism in theory, but practice it in fact. And as long as their coreligionists offer them moral support, the West is going to have to engage in long, bloody (very bloody) wars to stop them.  As New Age thinkers are so fond of saying, real change has to come from within.

This is as true of religions as it is of a person’s own psyche.  After all, history has shown us that religious reforms always come from within the religion, not from outside of it.  England and Europe in the 1500s were riven by reformation and counter-reformation.  If Islam is to leave its own Middle Ages, Muslims have to make it happen — and it’s not going to be the terrorists who do it. Egyptian President Sisi is trying to start this process, and Leftists would do better to praise him than to snipe at Murdoch.

Murdoch is also factually correct when he says that jihadists are highly active from the Philippines to Africa to Europe to the US.  Every person who reads the news knows this, but the dominant PC political and social classes in the West don’t want to acknowledge this reality. Which brings us back to where I started, which is the amazingly stupid responses Rowling came up with. These are the things that Leftist idiots (yes, idiots) consider a slam dunk:

I have to ask: What in the world does Rowling mean? Has Murdoch slaughtered journalists, raped and enslaved women, crucified Christians, stoned “adulterers”, hanged homosexuals? And more than that, is Rowling saying that whatever it is that Murdoch did of which she disapproves, his acts arose directly because of his interpretation of Christian Biblical mandates?

Asking those questions reveals that Rowlings tweet is an incoherent mess that can best be interpreted as a meaningless non sequitur. Such is the stupidity of the Left, though, that Rowling was immediately hailed as a debating genius.  This only encouraged her. Rowling therefore doubled down on stupid:

Uh, pardon me, J.K. but would you remind me when the inquisition (which was a perversion of Christian doctrine) took place? [Cricket sounds.]

Never mind. I know you can’t answer that. I can, though.  The Spanish Inquisition’s heyday was in the late 15th century in Spain. Catholics, appalled by the violent perversion of Christ’s teachings, eventually abandoned the Inquisition. There is no more Spanish Inquisition.

The Muslim inquisition, on the other hand, has been ebbing and flowing relentlessly since the 7th century. We are in a period of flow, and stupid tweets such as Rowlings are of no help whatsoever to those Muslims who, like Christians of yore, would like reform.

Oh, and about Jim Bakker.  When his behavior came to light, Christians immediately did what Murdoch asks of Muslims: They didn’t deny his Christianity, thereby disassociating themselves for any responsibility for his wrongdoing; instead, they castigated him for violating core Christian precepts.

“Go away and sin no more!” Christians said to Bakker.  This differs greatly from the Leftist and Muslim response to Jihadists, which translates to “You’re embarrassing me right now, so I’m going to pretend I don’t know you, but meet me for dinner later when no one’s paying attention.”

Rowling rounded out her idiot trilogy with this racist tweet:

As I read that, Rowling is saying we shouldn’t be getting our knickers in a twist, because the important point to remember is that Muslims really get their kicks slaughtering other Muslims. That is correct. But rather than seeing this as further evidence of the problem with Islam, J.K. “The Great Debater” Rowling believes this horrible truth shuts down any critiques of Islam.  I think this last tweet establishes more clearly than anything else could ever have that Rowling’s a racist. Her bottom line is that, as long as the brown-skinned people are killing each other, we don’t need to care.

Sadly, Rowling isn’t the only brainless Leftist with a bully pulpit (and honestly, it’ll be hard ever for me really to admire the whole Harry Potter series again). My Progressive friends have been kvelling about some guy named James O’Brien who, they claim, really shut down someone who dared say Islam was somehow connected to the whole “Allahu Akbar”-“I love ISIS”-“Don’t diss Mohamed”-“Kill the Jews” attacks in Paris last week.

It began when a caller to O’Brien’s show said Muslims owe the world an apology. I’ll agree that the statement went a bit too far.  But the reality is that the opposite is true:  It’s not that Muslims need to apologize (although they should challenge and excoriate their co-religionists).  It’s that Muslims need to stop saying after every “Allahu Akbar” attack that that they, the Muslims, are the real victims (as opposed to the dead and wounded) because of potential hate crimes that never happen.

But back to that alleged O’Brien shut-out:

O’Brien then replies by asking the caller if he had apologised for the attacks, prompting the caller to reply ‘Why would I need to apologise for that’.

It’s at this point that O’Brien really begins to make the caller look a bit silly, and replies by stating that a previous Muslim caller would have no need to apologise either, as the attack occurred when he was in Berkshire and was not committed in the name of Islam.

O’Brien continues to question the man, called Richard, by saying that the failed shoe bomb attack of 2001 was committed by a man called Richard Reid, and by the caller’s logic, he should consequently apologise for atrocities committed in the name of all Richards, irrespective of being entirely different people.

Apparently O’Brien missed school on the days when the teacher instructed students about common denominators. Let me say this again, in words of few syllables: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims.

To take O’Brien’s puerile argument as a starting point in our common denominator lesson, the name Richard is not a common denominator. Being an army psychiatrist at Fort Hood is not a common denominator. Being two Chechen brothers in Boston is not a common denominator. Living in Sheffield is not a common denominator. Attending flight school is not a common denominator. Having bombs in your undies is not a common denominator.  (Yes, I can do this all day.) Looking at all the bombings, knifings, shootings, crashings, burnings, bombings, etc, over the past few years around the world, the common denominator is . . . drum roll, please . . . ISLAM!

There is a problem in Islam. There is a cancer in the Koran. People from all over the world, when they start taking the Koran too seriously, go rabid. That’s the common denominator and that’s what we need to talk about.

The Left, of course, headed by world chief Leftist Obama, can’t bear to talk about this common denominator. To the extent Obama couldn’t even make himself show up in Paris for what was, admittedly, a spectacle, not a solution, Roger Simon sums up Obama’s and the Left’s problem:

There had to have been a reason for his non-attendance and the bizarre dissing of this event by his administration. I believe it stems from this: There are two words our president seems constitutionally unable to put together — “Islamic” and “terrorism.” For Obama (and, as a sideshow, the zany Howard Dean), these terms are mutually exclusive, an oxymoron. Appearing in Paris, Obama might be put in the unusual position of having to link them, our complaisant press rarely having the nerve to ask such an impertinent question.

For my last example of Leftist stupidity, arising from denying facts and ignoring logic, let me leave the world of Muslim terrorism and head for climate change. Gizmodo, which occasionally has amusing stuff, decided to go off the rails with an attack against Ted Cruz for being “anti-Science.” This is a hot issue because, with the Senate now in Republican hands, Ted Cruz will be overseeing NASA.

During the past six years, NASA has put on the back burner stupid hard science things like space exploration.  (Hard science, you know, is sexist, whether one is talking about hula shirts or the masculinist hegemony demanding accurate answers in math.) Instead, it’s devoted itself to (a) making nice with Islam and (b) panicking about climate change.

Ted Cruz, bright guy that he is, has made it clear that he intends to rip NASA out of its feminist, Islamophilic, climate change routine and force it back into racist, sexist hard science.  The minds at Gizmodo know what this means: Cruz must be destroyed. To that end, the Gizmodo team assembled what they describe Cruz’s embarrassing, laughably dumb quotes about science.  Too bad for the Gizmodo team that everything Cruz said was accurate, rhetorical, or humorous (not that these facts stopped the article from spreading like wildfire through Leftist social media):

  • “‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” – Ted Cruz on net neutrality.  [Bookworm here:  This is a rhetorical argument that goes to Cruz’s basic political philosophy, which is limited government.  Nothing dumb about this clever rhetorical take on things.]

 

  • “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened.”– Ted Cruz on climate change.  [Bookworm here:  This quotation is out of date because, for the past 18 years, there has been no global warming, despite all promises to the contrary.  Ted Cruz isn’t dumb.  He’s factually accurate. And a word to the dodos at the Washington Post: local weather variations and temperatures are not the same as global warming.  If that was the case, with the record-breaking winter temperatures the last couple of years, we’d be talking about global cooling.  Oh, and while I’m on the subject of global cooling….]

 

  • “You know, back in the ’70s — I remember the ’70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded.” – Ted Cruz on climate change [Bookworm here:  Absolutely correct.  Back in the 1970s, people were talking about global cooling.  Climate fanatics are now trying to downplay that, of course, but the fact remains that the heart of the infamous Time Magazine article so many cite was that the earth was indeed cooling.  Once again, nothing dumb about Cruz’s statement.  It’s factually accurate.]

 

  • “You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory.” – Ted Cruz on climate change[Bookworm here:  Again, true, not dumb.  Global warming morphed into climate change because the theory had to adapt when the facts change.  Every time some prediction proves wrong (whether melting glaciers, dead polar bears, or rising waters), the theory flexes to accommodate the failed prediction.  This isn’t science, it’s faith.  Global warming has turned into a closed-system, non-falsifiable theory.  Score another point for Cruz.]

 

  • “I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel. There probably is no doubt that actually Hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do.” – Ted Cruz on space threats.  [Bookworm here:  Again, this is rhetorical.  There is no science in this statement.  It’s a joke, guys.  And let me add here that whoever said Leftists have no sense of humor was correct.]

 

  • “I wondered if at some point we were going to see a tall gentleman in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in a deep voice say, “Mike Lee, I am your father” … and just like in “Star Wars” movies the empire will strike back.” – Ted Cruz during his 21-hour Obamacare speech.  [Bookworm here:  Let me get this right:  Gizmodo is saying that making a pop culture reference to a movie is the same as making dumb scientific statements?  I think Gizmodo is grossly guilty of making stupid pop culture statements.]

 

  • “The authorizing committees are free to set their agency budgets, and that includes NASA.” – Ted Cruz when he tried to cut NASA funding in 2013 (This one is more scary than stupid, since Cruz is now in charge of agency budgets.)  [Bookworm here:  As for me, all I can say is hank God someone who actually understands the difference between fact, humor, science, non-falsifiable belief systems, and pop culture, is finally in charge of at least one facet of our government.  At long last, we can stop using taxpayer dollars so our space program can fund Muslim outreach and continue to salvage a scientific theory that has been proven wrong every stop of the way.]

 

  • “Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am.” – Ted Cruz on his attempts to defund Obamacare [Bookworm here:  Yet another cute rhetorical statement and one, moreover, that has nothing to do with science.  It is interesting, though, to see it in the context of a blog post at a major internet site that has shown itself exceptionally humorless and ignorant in its efforts to tar as a scoundrel a man who has a firm grasp on reality, facts, science, and humor.]

There you have it:  three examples of simply abject stupidity on the part of those who lean Left politically.  I get it.  There are people out there who never learned history, logic, math, humor, or basic data analysis.  What’s so irritating is that they have such enormously wide sway.  It’s as if the world’s elementary school students, complete with ignorance and snark, have managed to take over the planet.  Worse, these powerful people with infantile intelligence are preaching to to the converted.  After all, their audience went to the same schools they did, and these were (and are) schools in which facts and logic made way for propaganda, moral relativism, and political correctness.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/11/14’s “ISIS and other stuff” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingLet the information download begin:

Alleged New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief lambastes Obama administration

If a Reddit user really is Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, it’s very impressive to read his scathing indictment of the administration’s Iraq policy and conduct:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing.

Given the poor grammar, though . . . well, I don’t know. You decide. Maybe he was typing away on a small android keyboard. Or maybe that’s how Times’ writers really write before the editor gets hold of their stuff.

9/11 from outer space

Learn a little more about 9/11’s first hero and first fatality

Danny Lewin, an American-born Israeli, was a tech giant in Israel — and 9/11’s first hero and first fatality.

Why do Muslims rape women?

Short answer: Because Mohamed. The Prophet practiced what he preached, and his followers have done so too since Islam’s inception.

The War Against Women

The pressing issues at NOW (the National Organization for Women):

  • Having other people subsidize your sex life and abortions
  • Getting paid the same money as men, no matter that you’re not doing the same type of work
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Believe it or not, the Equal Rights Amendment lives as “constitutional equality.”
  • Protecting women of color who have even fewer rights than women without color
  • And violence against women, which includes a campaign to fire George Will

An issue that is not discussed at NOW:

Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a ‘police force’ of British women jihadis, it has been reported.

As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.

Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.

ISIS goes full socialist

An ISIS supporter put up a Facebook post lauding ISIS’s incredible largess once it’s in power:

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
***
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister,also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

People have noticed that these promises are pretty much in line with what every socialist state promises. Nevertheless, there’s one profound difference:  Socialist states are predicated on the notion that everyone works cheerily together for the public good, while in a caliphate, the producers and the consumers are two different groups.

In socialist nations, the difference between reality and rhetoric has within it the seeds of socialism’s downfall.  Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that people will only work for the public good, as opposed to their own good, at the point of a gun. Moreover, even with that gun pointing at them, the socialist workers inevitably produce less well as time goes by.  The result is that the free houses are poorly-built, overly-populated apartment blocks; the water and electric bills don’t exist because people have no running water or electricity; the food is poor quality and limited in quantity, and the medicine is primitive.  These realities inevitably kill the enthusiasm for socialism amongst everyone but the very small inner circle.

In the caliphate, as I said, things are different, very, very different. The consumers are one perpetual class, always enjoying luxury, while the producers are another perpetual class, always suffering servitude.  A case in point is the fact that, as you probably noticed, I left out Item No. 8 in the above list. That’s the one that talked about paying for this socialist Islamic paradise:

8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).

Coerced payment from the non-Muslims is always at the point of a gun or the tip of a sword.  And when one batch of non-Muslims, because they’re dead or worn out (think:  Qatar),  stops producing, the answer isn’t to convert your economy to a more capitalist one. After all, large segments of the population (the armed ones) are doing just fine with this Islamic socialist system.  Rather than changing the system, they just go out and conquer another nation.  A vigorous, blood-thirsty, rape-rich attack (think:  ISIS) usually brings into the caliphate’s fold a fresh batch of cowed producers to support the takers. As Islam’s rise showed, this system can work effectively for centuries before it finally hits a wall.

Is the media preparing to turn on Obama?

It’s becoming impossible for the base to ignore that Obama has failed to fulfill his promises. Obamacare didn’t socialize medicine; it propped up insurance companies. The economy has been a boon for cronies and no one else. And around the world, countries hate America, even as the anti-war president is poised to launch yet another war. What to do, what to do? It appears that one of the things the media’s doing, before it even gets around to explicit attacks, is some subliminal undermining — how else to explain Thomas Lifson’s discovery about the media’s changing visuals for Obama.  Remember, those whom the media Gods would destroy, they first dehumanize.

Will Obama learn his lessons?

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has repeatedly been proven to be decisively wrong in both his reading and his handling of situations around the world. Daniel Henninger asks the right question: Will Obama realized that he’s been humbled?

My answer: No. His Leftist, insular, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing world-view leaves no room for humility, regret, or repentance.

Democrats may be getting snitty about Obama’s constitutional overrides

The Democrats were fine when Obama ignored the Constitution to re-write Obamacare so as to help them out in elections and spare cronies from its worst effects. They’re encouraging Obama to override the Constitution when it comes to immigration. But when it comes to starting yet another war, the same Democrats who were supine when he bombed Libya now complain that Obama needs to get Congressional permission this time around. Amazingly enough, the Republicans who were cowed, rather than supine, about Libya are also making noise about limitations on Obama’s war-time powers.

Turkey’s flying the coop (along with everyone else)

It doesn’t help Obama’s war presidency that the coalition of the willing in the fight against ISIS won’t include Turkey. That’s gotta hurt.

Turkey is not the only nation that casts a wary eye on Obama’s call-out to the world to help fight ISIS. A lot of non-Muslim (or, more accurately, not-yet-Muslim) nations have already announced that they’re going to be part of the coalition of the un-willing.

When it comes to Obama’s insistence that America won’t have to fight this war alone, Michael Ramirez hones in perfectly on the flaws in his argument.

Why should anyone pay attention to Barack Obama on ISIS?

Obama’s speech yesterday (which I hope to discuss more in a later post) is getting booed from all quarters. The peaceniks don’t like the war cries, and anybody of any intelligence doesn’t like the apologetics for Islam, the lunatic strategy of promising no boots on the ground (and we know how much Obama’s promises are worth), and the assurance that Middle Eastern and Muslim countries will rush to America’s aid, providing their troops to face down ISIS’s rampage.

Most importantly, there’s no reason to believe either Obama’s diagnosis or prescription regarding ISIS. As the Washington Free Beacon shows, when it comes to radical Islam, Obama has been wrong every time:

There are a few possible causes for a 100% failure rate when it comes to analyzing a political situation:  incredible stupidity, incredible denial, or incredible evil. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter which reason you choose, because the results are the same regardless, and we’re still stuck with him for another 2.5 years.

DOJ covertly attempts to influence House IRS hearing

You’ve probably already heard about assistant to Eric Holder who dialed a wrong number and revealed to Rep. Darryl Issa’s office that the DOJ intended to use covert methods to come to the IRS’s aid in hearings before the House. If you haven’t heard, though, or if you want more details, the good news is that the story has broken out of conservative circles and hit the big time at The Hill, where you can read more about it.

For Ted Cruz, getting booed is a good thing

Ted Cruz continues to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. When he went to a gathering of Middle Eastern Christians and was booed off the stage for defending America and Israel, the guys and gals exercising the thug veto probably thought that Cruz had lost that round. They would have done better to remember that as America finds itself staring down ISIS, many Americans aren’t feeling the love for the usual Middle Eastern rabble-rousers, whether Muslim or Christian. Moreover, many of them may be getting the sinking feeling that Israel is the canary in the coal mine and that America is next in line to be wrapped in Islam’s suffocating embrace.

Smart Ted, however, knew exactly how that booing would play, and he’s publishing his speech and the room’s response far and wide:

“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

As America gears up for yet another war against radical Islamists, it’s useful to know who our real friends are. Score one for Ted!

Jeff Dunetz continues his efforts to call out anti-American, antisemitic radio hosts in New York

Jeff Dunetz (Yid With Lid), continues his annual effort to call out and get an apology from Mike Francesa and Chris Mad Dog Russo, the popular hosts of a New York sports radio show. Dunetz notes that the show was enjoyable in part because the two men disagreed with each other all the time, making for some interesting fire works. On September 12, 2001, though, the two were unanimous in blaming . . . Jews and America for the attack that killed almost 3,000 people, and demanding that American Jews be forced to take an oath of loyalty.

The Scientific method, as explained by Richard Feynman

One of the more delightful books I’ve read in the past many decades is Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Feynman may have been one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he somehow managed to avoid becoming one of those geniuses so lost in his head that he was unintelligible. It’s a funny, fascinating, informative, very human book, and I recommend it highly.

I also recommend Feynman’s explanation about the scientific method. I especially recommend it to the climate “scientists” whose theories have been proven wrong at every turn. In real science, failure vitiates the theory. In climate “science,” failure reinforces the theory.

Pictures

Reversing terrorists' cost-benefit calculus

Jews survive and thrive

I’m not the only one noticing the Emanuel Goldsteining of Ted Cruz

The other day, I wrote that David Denby, a soggy leftist film reviewer at The New Yorker was trying his hands at political commentary with a hate piece against Ted Cruz — one based entirely on the fact that Denby, no beauty himself, finds Cruz physically unattractive.

I’m not the only one noticing the hate raining down on Cruz, a hatred unanchored to what he actually is, does or says.  Bryan Preston calls it “The Emanuel Goldstein-ing of Ted Cruz.”  Because you’re all ridiculously erudite (much more so than I am), you remember Emanuel Goldstein as the object of the daily “two minutes of hatred” in 1984.  It was a useful way to keep both party members and proles from turning their hatred and discontent onto Big Brother.

David Denby, a movie reviewer, argues that Ted Cruz is a villain right out of old-time Hollywood central casting

David Denby is a New Yorker movie critic.  He also fancies himself as a political commentator.  To him, Hollywood is the real world, the template against which everything else is compared.  Reading his reviews, it’s obvious that, like the yearning kid watching Fred & Ginger trip lightly across in the screen during the Depression-era 1930s, he wishes life could be like the movies.  His dream movies are the ones where Republicans and corporations are vanquished, and people live in harmony in the loving arms of a properly Progressive big government.

I stopped reading Denby aeons ago, because he is neither fish nor fowl — neither a good movie reviewer nor an intelligent political commentator.  I’ve always assumed that his sinecure at The New Yorker came about because he doesn’t show up Anthony Lane, who is a superb movie reviewer, and he makes the right political noises in his reviews.

So that you know I’m playing fair and not simply maligning Denby on principle, both because I dislike The New Yorker and because I dislike what he now has to say about Ted Cruz (more on that in a moment), here are excerpts from posts I wrote several years ago regarding Denby’s malicious politicism, which he worked into way too many movie reviews.  The first excerpt is from a post I wrote in 2006, when I was still agnostic about global warming, but I could tell even then that Denby wasn’t a movie reviewer but was, instead, a propagandist.  I’m quoting from the first post at length, both because it so perfectly exemplifies Denby’s world view and because, that, seven years after Al Gore’s movie thrilled the true believers, the facts on the ground (and in the ocean and in space and on the sun) prove how completely wrong he and the sycophantic Denby were:

Denby’s review of An Inconvenient Truth is even more political. Look at the very first paragraph:

Anyone in possession of a major truth that he can’t get others to accept begins to feel that he’s losing his mind. [That may explain so much about Al Gore’s recent behavior. –ed.] The skepticism he meets turns him into a soreheaded obsessive. After a while, he becomes “pedantic,” and then, inevitably, “condescending” and “humorless.” [Thus, it’s not that Gore is, in fact, pedantic, condescending and humorless. We, the skeptical public created this Frankenstein’s monster. In the words of the old song, he’s more to be pitied than censured.” — ed.] Al Gore has been in possession of a major truth about global warming for than than thirty years [Gore’s prescience was impressive because the era more than 30 years ago was the global cooling fear phase, a phase that occurred when we didn’t have the current measurements we do regarding global warming. -ed], and he has suffered the insults of political opponents, the boredom of ironists, and, perhaps, most grievously, the routine taunts of a media society which dictates that if you believe in anything too passionately there must be something wrong with you [The point being that there’s obviously nothing wrong with Gore, it’s just that the media doesn’t understand him — which really is strange, because I live with the idea that this same media has accepted entirely his view of global warming. –ed.]

Denby then goes on to describe a movie that, if it were about anything other than global warming, would get laughed off the screen. Even Denby acknowledges its faults:

[Gore] appears as the noble-browed warrior of englightenment, brooding over the ravaged earth and the weakness of man, once or twice too often. He mentions family tragedies, which were moving to me, but which strike some viewers as maudlin notes from a campaign biography.

Fear not, though, since “the faults of the movie, semi-excusable as self-vindicating ploys, are nothing compared with its strengths.” The strengths, though, make it sound like one of those appalling 8 mm films we slept through in high school in the 1970s:

For long stretches, Gore is photographed talking before an audience with the aid of slides and charts. There are side trips to fissured ice caps, disappearing glaciers — the snows of yesteryear — and expanses of newly parched and broken terrain. The science is detailed, deep-layered, vivid and terrifying. Every school, college, and church group, and everyone else beyond the sway of General Motors, ExxonMobil, and the White House should see this movie. [Get it? Evil corporations, evil oil, and the foul Texas Christian in the White House are incapable of understanding Gore’s greatness or simple science. –ed.] [Bolded emphasis mine.]

Denby isn’t shy about calling the movie what it is: “It’s great propaganda.”

But in Denby’s mind, what’s really great about the movie is how it shows the human side of Al Gore (and you thought he didn’t have one). Thus, Gore “speaks in an intimate voice that we’ve never heard before.” When Gore talks about lying by a river, and keeps coming back to that image after global warming holocaust pictures, “it has a greater resonance.” Denby claims that Gore has learned to speak in a less annoying way. Listen to this and tell me whether you believe that. The rhythmic up and down of Gore’s speech — a rhythm that has nothing to do with emphasizing or deemphasizing actual content — is both soporific and bizarre.

But here’s the real kicker. Denby assures us that the movie demonstrates that Gore has been purified in the crucible of past experiences:

[O]ne has the impression of a complex personality that has gone through loss, humiliation, a cruel breaking down of the ego, and then has reintegrated itself at a higher level. In the movie he is merely excellent. But in person . . . he presents a combination of intellectual force, emotional vibrance, and moral urgency that has hardly been seen in American public life in recent years.

Watch out, Hillary. It’s Saint Al for President.

Every dog’s allowed one bite, and perhaps every movie critic should be allowed one polemic.  But Denby isn’t just any movie critic.  He’s a Progressive shill making sure that his movie reviews advance his political agenda.  Also in 2006, he open-mindedly praised Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, despite the fact that conservatives liked it.  Honest.  Here’s what he wrote:

“World Trade Center” is about courage and endurance as a function of family strength; it’s about suburban and small-town America trying to save the big city. Those are conservative themes, much praised for their appearance in this movie by the kind of right-wingers who have long hated Oliver Stone. Some of the euphoria—Cal Thomas, a columnist and a commentator at Fox News, calls the movie “one of the greatest pro-American, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-male, flag-waving God Bless America films you will ever see”—is not only inane, it’s enough to turn you off moviegoing [sic] altogether. Can “World Trade Center” really be that bad? No, the ideologues laying hands on the movie won’t sink it.

The last David Denby movie review I read was his slobbering, wide-eyed take on Spike Lee’s When The Levee Broke, about Hurricane Katrina.  The view was less interesting for his boringly predictable Bush/conservative bashing, than it was for his starry-eyed fan-girl love for all of the most despicable characters on the Left.  In my post on the subject, I quoted Denby directly, but added in hyperlinks giving actual facts about the Leftist “luminaries” that left him quivering with excitement:

Keeping his own voice largely absent and his presence invisible, he [Lee] finds the city’s tattered survivors. He also consults a variety of lawyers and local politicians, and such luminaries as Harry Belafonte and Al Sharpton; the musicians and New Orleans natives Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard (the latter wrote much of the beautiful music for the film); the historian Douglas Brinkley, who makes impassioned critiques of Bush Administration officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Mississippi man (a doctor) who publicly advised the Vice-President, when he visited the area long after the storm, to go fuck himself.

My take on that review was that Denby has set a goal for himself:  He wanted to be the next Frank Rich.  Rich, as you may recall, was the theater critic for the New York Times who proved to be so adept at anti-conservative rhetoric that he was given a permanent gig as a political opinion writer.  His opinions were reliably fact-free, but Rich made up for that deficit with his splendid grasp of florid invective, all of it aimed at George Bush.

In his continued journey towards Frank Rich-ness, Denby has now penned an opinion piece that aims to be a dagger to Ted Cruz’s heart.  Because no one in his right mind could call Cruz stupid, Denby has opted for describing him as the ugliest person since the elephant man.  Moreover — and this is the important part — Cruz’s outer ugliness is the physical manifestation of his inner dishonesty.  In this bootstrap argument, Denby doesn’t bother to give actual examples of Cruz’s dishonesty (because he can’t).  For him, Cruz’s looks are proof enough:

When Ted Cruz lies, he appears to be praying. His lips narrow, almost disappearing into his face, and his eyebrows shift abruptly, rising like a drawbridge on his forehead into matching acute angles. He attains an appearance of supplication, an earnest desire that men and women need to listen, as God surely listens. Cruz has large ears; a straight nose with a fleshy tip, which shines in camera lights when he talks to reporters; straight black hair slicked back from his forehead like flattened licorice; thin lips; a long jaw with another knob of flesh at the base, also shiny in the lights. If, as Orwell said, everyone has the face he deserves at fifty, Cruz, who is only forty-two, has got a serious head start. For months, I sensed vaguely that he reminded me of someone but I couldn’t place who it was. Revelation has arrived: Ted Cruz resembles the Bill Murray of a quarter-century ago, when he played fishy, mock-sincere fakers. No one looked more untrustworthy than Bill Murray. The difference between the two men is that the actor was a satirist.

Not only is Cruz a liar, he’s also a demagogue, says Denby.  You have to be Denby-clever, though, to figure this one out, because Cruz is too ugly to be your traditional demagogue:

Cruz is not as iconographically satisfying as other American demagogues—Oliver North, say, whose square-jawed, unblinking evocation of James Stewart, John Wayne, and other Hollywood actors conveyed resolution. Or Ronald Reagan—Cruz’s reedy, unresonant voice lacks the husky timbre of Reagan’s emotion-clouded instrument, with its mixture of truculence and maudlin appeal.

Not convinced yet that Cruz, despite his evil looks is a lying demogogue?  Well, Denby has other arrows in his quiver.  Cruz is also smart.  He always has an answer.  That proves what a lying liar he is:

Yet Cruz is amazingly sure-footed verbally. When confronted with a hostile question, he has his answer prepared well before the questioner stops talking. There are no unguarded moments, no slips or inadvertent admissions. He speaks swiftly, in the tones of sweet, sincere reason. How could anyone possibly disagree with him? His father is a Baptist, and Cruz himself has an evangelical cast to his language, but he’s an evangelical without consciousness of his own sins or vulnerability. He is conscious only of other people’s sins, which are boundless, and a threat to the republic; and of other people’s vulnerabilities and wounds, which he salts. If they have a shortage of vulnerabilities, he might make some up.

I won’t quote any more, both because of Fair Use principles and because I feel as if I’m sullying my site by doing so.  (I’m sure it won’t surprise you that Denby drifts into comparing Cruz to Joe McCarthy.)  Moreover, I think I’ve made the point, which is that Denby is a political opinionator who runs everything through old-time Hollywood central casting.

In the old movies, especially the silent movies, Hollywood had to rely on visual cliches as a shorthand to character development.  The hero was square-jawed and often, in the Gary Cooper mode, silent (hence the “strong silent type” trope).  Meanwhile, the villain was greasy-haired, shifting eyed, and quick-witted in an evil way.  As The Incredibles proved to such wonderful comedic effect, villains “monologued.”

In Denby’s narrow, Progressive, Hollywood constrained world, Cruz is Snidely Whiplash brought to life, not because of anything specific that he says or does, but simply because, in Denby’s telling, Cruz fits the visual requirements for a stock Hollywood bad guy:

Cruz and Whiplash

To the Left, Obama’s political purity is made manifest because of his brown skin and white smile. It should therefore come as no surprise that, to the looks-obsessed Leftists, Cruz, who cannot be denigrated as a mental lightweight, must be painted in the most brutal physical terms. I expect that the Left’s next step will be some 21st-century version of phrenology, with Progressive hacks sagely opining that the shape of Cruz’s head, or the bumps upon it (especially the ones that the Left assumes are there, hidden under his hair), prove his mental deviancy and unfitness for office.

Well, two can play at the looks game, so I’ve got a little rogue’s gallery of Progressives.  While they’re not the stuff of nightmares, each could easily play a villain in old Hollywood’s central casting system.  (I don’t know why my Picasa chose to include Clinton twice in this collage.  I just rolled with it.):

Progressive rogues gallery

One last thing. If physical beauty is Denby’s standard for ideological purity, let’s just say that Denby falls quite short of his own standards. However, if you called Central Casting and asked them to send over a bombastic, narrow-minded, supercilious, faux-academic, you might just see David Denby show up on your movie set:

David Denby

Michael Walsh predicts a “Republican Spring”

In 2011, we had the Arab Spring.  Michael Walsh is now predicting a “Republican Spring” which we all hope will end more successfully than the unfolding disaster in the Middle East:

In the aftermath of Senator Ted Cruz’s epic performance on the Senate floor, a few observations:

After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.

There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.

The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side. The country has been spoiling for a real fight since the election of 2008, and now it has one.

Conservatives have finally realized that, as it’s currently constituted, they have no home in the Republican party, which is the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters, the designated losers who nevertheless are rewarded handsomely for their sham opposition.

To that end, conservatives understand that rather than form a third party, their only hope is to seize control of the corrupt, rotting hulk of the GOP, which they now can do with the help of a reinvigorated Tea Party — especially with Lois Lerner’s IRS off its back.

The Cruz faction in the Senate, and its allies in the House (whose leadership is now up for grabs) must now press their advantage. The louder the Democrats squawk, the more they are wounded; the one thing they’ve long feared is a direct assault on their core beliefs as translated into actions, and the deleterious effects of Obamacare, just now being felt by the population, are the most vivid proof of the failure of Progressivism that conservatives could wish for.

Please the rest here.  Every word is interesting.

I’m actually quite optimistic because a Republican Spring will be predicted on individual freedom, unlike the Arab Spring, which was predicated on subordination to a tyrannical theocracy.  The only risk is that a party predicated on freedom tends to organize badly and have all the coherence and stability of a room full of soap bubbles.

ADDENDUM:  Things are happening quickly and in unpredictable ways.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that since our trip to St. Petersburg this summer.  As you know, Obama and the rest of the progressives keep talking about being on the “right side of history.”  This isn’tt history that’s happened yet, of course.  It’s what they assume historians in the future will say as they look back upon our present.  In other words, progressives think that they can see the future.

When I was growing up, though, no one saw the Soviet Union’s future, something made staggeringly clear to me when we spent two days in St. Petersburg this summer.  The kids, who were born long after the wall fell, could not comprehend the fact that my husband and I were still stunned by the rampant capitalism there.  Right up until the wall fell, no one could have predicted that the heart and soul of communism would have streets lined with advertisements for Prada.  Perhaps it was more predictable that it would become corrupt but, throughout the 1990s, I didn’t see that coming either.  Now, though, everyone to whom we spoke told us that life in Putin’s Russia is hopelessly corrupt, and that they’re enjoying their window of freedom while they can, since they fear it will end soon.

And on that subject, Clifford D. May looks at a possible Third Act to follow upon Russia’s twisty-turny recent past and tumultuous present.