An embarassment of riches; or links to all over

Quick Link and Open Thread image

There’s so much good stuff out there, I’m just going to spill it all here, a la Instapundit.

Jonathan Tobin doubts that Obama’s upcoming three-week long “Sham-Wow” commercial for ObamaCare will miraculously turn around the public’s perception that the program is a failure and the president a liar.

The success of the president’s snake-oil show is especially doubtful given that the narcissists in the White House are now blaming the public for the website’s manifest failings.

Oh, and Obama junket will also have dubious success because news is leaking out that the Obamacare site is a hacker’s wet dream.

Right now, it looks as if Obama has finally been unable to fool all of the people all of the time, at least when it comes to Obamacare.

After Chief Justice Roberts resuscitated Obamacare, I find it hard to imagine the courts dismantling that monstrosity.  Still, it’s possible.

For people who want to see the inevitable graveyard of Obama’s anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, redistributionist policies, they need look no further than Venezuela, where the country has gone from stable to basket-case in a decade.

If you want to renew your driver’s license in Oregon, you’d better come in prepared with every bit of proof known to man showing that you are who you say you are.  Interestingly, though, you don’t need to show any ID to vote in Oregon.  Just sayin’.

I was reading Glenn Reynold’s article explaining why we should abolish the TSA, and I was nodding so hard in agreement, I looked like one of those bobble-head dolls in someone’s car.

I could dig up the zillions of posts I’ve done about the way in which the welfare state destroyed the black community because it was rational for blacks to put forth less effort.  I won’t though.  Thomas Sowell makes the same point, only he does so brilliantly in his article about test scores.

When you’re George Bush and increase AIDS aid to Africa, you’re reviled; when you’re Hillary Clinton and you decrease AIDS aid to Africa, you get a reward from the AIDS Foundation.  It’s not what you do, it’s whether there’s an “R” or a “D” after your name.

Regarding Iran, here’s the good news:  Obama’s an idiot, but the Iranians aren’t necessarily that smart (although, so far, their madman chess is a lot more successful than Obama’s amateur basketball).

On Passover, Jews the world ask “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  When it comes to Islam, if you still find yourself “Why is this religion different from all other religions?”, you’re not asking that because you’re engaging in a timeless religious ritual.  Instead, if you still have to ask that question you, like our President, are an idiot.  Islam is indeed different from all other religions and that difference lies in the fact that it’s utterly barbaric as written and as practiced.

No, Obama is not Hitler.  (He’s more Neville Chamberlain, with a large dollop of the Hugo Chavez school of economics.)  Nevertheless, the Dems couldn’t have been more tin-eared when they came up with “White House Youth” or WHYouth (to which I either want to answer, Why not? or I want to do an endless bullet-point list explaining why you’re not getting good public policy if you look to young people as your guide).

I’m sure there’s someone in the British government who could be dragged to a microphone to say, “Hey, some of my best friends are Jews.”  Nah!  Not really.  Because there’s no one left in Britain who could say that with a straight face, why Britain was able to ban Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from entering England in part on the ground that they were pro-Israel.

Is it the Onion or is it just an ordinary Progressive news report about businesses in America?

And finally, if you’re a veteran and you can’t get a gun, Dom Raso has some helpful practical advice.

Another Progressive showdown between ideology and reality

I was in San Francisco during the peak AIDS years.  I remember how death stalked the streets (many, many people I knew died) and I remember how deeply in denial the gay community was.  The most visible sign of that denial was the fight to keep open the gay bath houses, which were scenes of unbridled debauchery and major vectors in spreading AIDS.  There was nothing untoward in the city’s trying to shut the bathhouses down, since the city’s efforts to control an epidemic’s spread fell squarely within government’s traditional role.

At the New Yorker, Michael Specter has written an article that reports something that people familiar with the modern gay community tend to notice on an annual basis:  young gay men have forgotten the scourge, and are repeating the pattern of unbridled, unprotected, promiscuous sex (on a scale heterosexuals cannot imagine) coupled with drug use.  It’s how AIDS gained such a foothold in America last time, rather than living on only in dusty medical journals, and it’s a worrisome sign that AIDS could be resurgent or that something equally awful could take its place (especially today, when we’re reaching limits on our antibiotics).

Specter’s article heads today’s New Yorker’s “most read” list.  It therefore makes a nice matched set with today’s news, which is that men who are openly gay and bisexual are trying to end the ban on blood donations:

A push by activists to ease the 30-year-old blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men faces a key test this week as a federal panel hears results of the latest research. The findings will be released amid growing pressure from politicians and advocates, including college students, to change the policy.

Critics say the ban is a hangover from the early, fear-filled days of AIDS, stigmatizing gay men and ignoring advances in treatment and detection in the decades since.

Yes, the blood-donation ban is a hangover from the early days of AIDS, and yes, we have better techniques for screening blood . . . for HIV and AIDS.  Given that gay men are engaging in the same behavior that led to AIDS’ rapid spread, though, it’s sensible to worry that they might be acting as the vector from some nasty new disease for which we don’t yet have either screening techniques or treatments.

(I’ve sometimes wondered if my resistance to gay marriage doesn’t stem from the fact that I remember vividly the 1970s and early 1980s in San Francisco. Gay activists over the past twenty-plus years have advanced the gay marriage agenda by painting gay couples as ordinary middle class couples. That’s not the way I remember them. People having drug-fueled orgies with up to a hundred partners, all of them strangers, is not the middle class norm. The San Francisco Gay Pride parade does not present the middle class norm. The public nudity and sex that is a strong feature of the San Francisco gay scene is not the middle class norm. While there are indeed stable middle class gay couples — I know several such couples — I also know that they’re not the norm.)

A world without consequences

If you’re on the political Left, have we created a world without consequences?  I first started thinking this when someone I know called Bristol Palin a slut because she had a baby.  Not because she had premarital sex or got pregnant, but because she had a baby.  Girls in Marin, who are also have premarital sex and probably getting pregnant, are not sluts, because they have abortions.  It’s a perfect example of Leftist consequence-free ideology.  Not only are you free from the burdens of a baby (and, while there are joys, the burdens are undeniable), you’re also not a slut.

Confess that it was your lack of responsibility that Left four men dead in Benghazi, not to mention massive amounts of confidential information in Al Qaeda’s hands, and nothing happens.  In a normal world, Hillary would have been fired.  In Leftist world, she’s applauded for confessing.

Break all of your campaign promises — close Gitmo, lower unemployment, reduce an “unpatriotic” deficit, lower the seas, avoid involvement in other wars, make the world love us — and there are no consequences.  Instead, if you’re Obama, you get reelected.

This sounds like a pretty peachy keen world from a kids’ eye view:  Endless actions without consequences.  I’m not sure this center will hold, though.  In the 1970s, gay men thought they had it all — unlimited sex and antibiotic resistant sexually transmitted diseases — but AIDS came along.  Those women who’ve had repeated abortions have too often discovered that when they want to get pregnant, they can’t.  (I don’t know the statistics on this last one, but I know personally many women  who have experienced this.)  Mother Nature eventually makes her point.

Will the political world eventually spell out its consequences too, irrespective of human intervention?  Will the Hillary’s and the Obama’s eventually experience the natural consequences of their actions?  If conservativism comes to the fore, they will.  But what if it doesn’t?  What will be the stopping point for their current ability to behave as they will without any downside?

 

Three things I found interesting

I’m processing (that’s a euphemism for “paying”) bills, which is hogging a ridiculous amount of the space in my head.  Nevertheless, there are three things I wanted to bring to your attention.

First, you’ve probably heard already that Obama, as part of his proposal to cut military spending, is slashing military health benefits, even while leaving civilian health benefits untouched.  All the obvious stuff about his animus towards the military and his effort to steer military personnel into the ObamaCare scheme has already been said.  My thoughts headed in a different direction.  One of the things that happens every election is that the Secretaries of State in Democrat strongholds somehow can’t get their act together so as to get timely absentee ballots to the military.  When I read a report saying that the military is less monolithically Republican than everyone (including those Secretaries of State) had assumed, I wondered if that would speed up the absentee ballot process.  Now, I’m thinking that the military will be lucky if it gets its absentee ballots by 2013.

Wikileaks is now publishing Stratfor emails.  Stratfor is responding by suggesting that a lot of the material being published has been falsified, but is refusing to comment as to any of it.  I think this is a smart tactic, since it induces a note of doubt about the reliability of any of this stolen material.  As far as I know, Stratfor deals only with publicly available information, from which it draws its conclusions.  However, to the extent that its clients provide it with information in their requests for services, this is a devastating commercial blow, not just to Stratfor, but to corporations around the world.

AIDS isn’t a naturally occurring biological phenomenon.  AIDS also isn’t a product of historically anomalous rates of promiscuity and intravenous drug use that allowed it to spread throughout the Western world with unstoppable force in the early 1980s.  Nope.  AIDS is the fault of Western Colonialism.  But you knew that, didn’t you?

Please feel free to add in your comments anything you find interesting.

Obama bails on African AIDS

Whenever it comes to mentioning presidential policy, this New York Times article about the collapse of AIDS care in Africa is studiously neutral.  Read between the lines (and make it almost to the end of the article), though, and you’ll see the truth peek out:  Bush, the quintessential “white man,” helped Africa enormously, while Obama, the self-identified “black man” on the census form, is abandoning African AIDS.

‘Nuff said.  The irony meter is clanging loudly.

Will there be a cause-effect here?

One of the saddest aspects of 21st Century male-female relationships is the “hooking up” culture — a concept that takes the love and affection and commitment out of male-female relationships, and just turns them into insta-sex moments.  There is every reason to believe that this new culture is especially damaging to women, who seem to be hard wired to connect love and sex.  Ironically, though, feminists tout it as some wonderful equality thing, even though the only person who would approve of it wholeheartedly, and who has been advocating it for 50 plus years, is Hugh Hefner.

Putting aside the ramifications for women (all negative, I think), it does occur to me that there might be one somewhat weird byproduct of this hooking up culture, and that is a lessening in the number of gay men.  My theory arises from the premise that, at least according to Kinsey, while some men are entirely heterosexual, and some entirely homosexual, there are guys in the middle who can go either way, depending on the opportunity offered.

Growing up in San Francisco in the wild 70s, I concluded that a lot of the gays in San Francisco were guys who could go either way, depending on cultural norms, and who chose gay sex because of the availability of unlimited, emotion-free sex.  In the old days of male-female relationships (before gays came out of the closet), unless you wanted to pay for it, getting sex meant investments of time, money and emotional energy.  Even if you (the guy) didn’t feel a loving emotion for the girl, you’d better pretend there was one if you wanted her to put out.

For those who valued orgasms more than relationships, though, and who weren’t squeamish about gay sex, the bathhouses were a dream come true.  With a little help from drugs (poppers, I think), it was entirely possible to have dozens of emotion-free sexual contacts in a single night.  In other words, the gay bathhouses made the fantasy of unlimited sexual encounters entirely feasible, and thousands of men embraced it — to their eternal, HIV-ridden regret.

Under the new hook-up paradigm, those men who are sexually open to going either way, even though they prefer women, and who enjoy the male fantasy of sex without the burdens of commitment and emotions, finally can have it all.  They can stay on the heterosexual side of the street, but get all the “no-strings” sex they want (and without having to pay for it either).  Of course, aside from the fact that this culture seems to be very, very, very damaging to young women’s psyches, I also fear another HIV-ridden regret cycle, one that will be especially hard on women, who seem to be more vulnerable to the virus.

Hat tip:  Suek

The resurgent gay plague

Robert Knight wrote a long article commenting on a Washington Post article stating that homophobia is the main cause of  a huge increase in AIDS among the world’s homosexual population.  Here’s the WaPo take on the subject:

Twenty-five years after AIDS was branded the “gay plague,” the virus is again exacting a disproportionate toll on men who have sex with men, not only in the United States but also in countries where the epidemic is just emerging.

Globally, men who engage in homosexual relations are 19 times as likely to contract HIV as the rest of the population, according to data released at the International AIDS Conference. Here in Mexico, men who have sex with men are 109 times as likely as others to develop HIV, while in the United States, 53 percent of new infections in 2006 were in gay and bisexual men.

Homophobia, biology and misplaced confidence that AIDS has become a treatable chronic illness are contributing to a disturbing flashback among scientists and activists, who say much of the world appears to have forgotten the early lessons of the AIDS epidemic.

To Knight, it’s ludicrous that the WaPo writer lists homophobia (as in “people are afraid to get treatment”) as the top cause for the disease’s resurgence.  Knight points to a little thing called personal responsibility:  less promiscuity, more safe sex.

This whole thing sent me whirling back through time to the summer of 1981.  That was the year I got a job in a research lab as the secretary to two virologists.  That was also the year that AIDS was first appearing as a blip on the medical establishment’s radar.  It wasn’t until 1982 that AIDS was a headline, rather than a minor medical conundrum.  (I can place these events so exactly because the job was before I left for England, and AIDS as an explosive news story was after I came back from England.  Given that I knew about the situation long before just about everyone else, I followed the stories with avid, and fairly informed interest.)

What I remember from the myriad articles and letters I typed up back in 1981 was the limited information that these virologists had to work with, information gathered mostly from physicians in New York and San Francisco.  What we knew then was that a small number of gay men were presenting with two hitherto rare diseases:  Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Pneumocystis carinii.  If I remember correctly, this was extremely bewildering, because KS had never before appeared to be a contagious cancer, while Pneumocystis carinii was a disease of the aged, not of healthy young men.  The virologists, still only groping towards the idea that they were looking at compromised immune systems, were worried that two hitherto rare and mostly non-contagious illnesses might have turned into epidemic diseases that could infect the rest of the population.

What my employers also knew about this handful of gay men with these bizarre dieases (and it really was a handful, perhaps 25 or 30 at that time), was that they were exceptionally promiscuous.  These sick men had hundreds of partners per year, through the bath houses and the discos.  Their drug of choice was poppers, rather than intravenous drugs.  In other words, all of the sick men in this small sample had three things in common:  KS, pneumocystis, and Olympian promiscuity.  Put the three together, and it was obvious that these guys were not ill because they were afraid to go to a doctor; they were ill because something in their lifestyle had either caused fairly rare diseases to morph into monsters diseases, or had created a whole new virus that made them vulnerable to ordinary diseases.  As it turned out, the latter hypothesis was true.

Given how quickly AIDS was politicized, it’s very easy to forget AIDS’ humble beginnings in America.  Those beginnings, however, readily put the lie to a belief that homophobia spreads the disease.  What spreads the disease is behavior.  And in a world saturated with AIDS information, in a way unimaginable back in that summer of 1981, personal responsibility has to be the frontline in the battle against the spread of homosexual AIDS.

(BTW, I have the sense that Ceci Connolly, who authored the WaPo article, is a fairly young woman.  She came of age after AIDS was completely politicized, and probably has no adult memory of the period when it was a nascent disease.)

(Second BTW:  I feel compelled to add here a caveat since I’m posting about a fairly sensitive subject.  I am a libertarian.  I do not have a problem with gay sex — although I want it to take place in the privacy of people’s homes, not on public streets.  However, since I am a libertarian, I also believe that personal responsibility is an essential element of any type of sex, gay or straight, and that’s what this post is about.)