Tuesday mid-day round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m having an existential anxiety day, which has seen me reading compulsively, but scared to write. In my little lizard brain, as long as I just read the news, it’s distant and abstract. It’s the act of processing and disseminating the information that makes it seem all too real, and therefore all too worrisome and depressing. On the other hand, this same brain being what it is, writing also clears my circuits, rather than clogging them up with situations about which I can do little but write. So, here goes:

** 1 **

For years, when it comes to Hamas, Netanyahu has been more talk than action. I don’t actually fault him. He’s spent most of his premiership hampered by the dubious, two-faced friendship Obama has offered him from America, the country that used to be Israel’s staunchest ally. The Obama-created pitfalls made any action against Hamas much riskier than ever before.

More than that, Israel is a country in which every active duty soldier or combat reservist is someone’s father, boyfriend, son, brother, uncle, and friend. The situation is different in America, a place where we support our volunteer troops in the abstract, with many of us not having any meaningful relationship with even one of them. Were it not for my involvement in the Navy League, I would go through every day of my life here in Marin without ever having met a member of our armed forces. This means that, in Israel, every combat death isn’t just a number; instead, it’s truly, deeply personal.

Two things have happened, however, to shift the calculus for Netanyahu.  First, Obama has marginalized himself so completely that Netanyahu no longer heeds him. Congress and the American public support Israel, so Bibi can act with reasonable confidence that snubbing Obama will have no lasting consequences. Second, Hamas is no longer fighting along Israel’s borders. Instead, between rockets and tunnels, the home front is the battle field. This means that, no matter how one slices it, Israelis will die — and if there’s one lesson Jews took away from WWII, it is that they will never again die without a fight.

All of which is why, when I read Ron Lipman’s article asking how far has Netanyahu been provoked, I finally believe that he has been provoked to the point at which he and Israel will fight this one through to its necessary conclusion.

** 2 **

Certainly, if newspaper opinion pieces are anything to go by, many Israelis would prefer to stand and fight than to hide, cower, and die.

** 3 **

In the face of a battle between good and evil, moral equivalence isn’t neutral. Instead, it’s evil too.

Nicholas Kristof, trying to be loftily impartial in the fight between Israel (free, democratic, pluralist, law-abiding, humane, life affirming) and Hamas (death loving, misogynistic, anti-Christian, anti-homosexual, anti-Semitic, slaver), gives succor to evil. Ron Radosh rightly calls Kristof out.

** 4 **

Hamas has guidelines for talking to the Kristoffs of this world. Under these guidelines, everyone who dies is an “innocent civilian.” This kind of propaganda works too. One of the truly well-intentioned, but deeply misguided uber-liberal friends I keep on purpose on Facebook (so that I can see and politely, very politely, challenge him and his friends) is up in arms about Israel using flechettes against Hamas. He cannot accept that this claim, like everything else, is almost certainly false, coming as it does from the sadistic fun house world of Hamas.

For what it’s worth, it certainly seems as if the New York Times is taking those Hamas guidelines to heart.

** 5 **

Here are two strong articles arguing that the people of Gaza, by knowingly electing a terrorist organization and one, moreover, that they knew used civilians as shields and their dead bodies as propaganda weapons, are no longer civilians but are, instead, combatants themselves. Although their job as combatants isn’t to fight, but just to die, they’re still part of the Hamas terrorist army and should be understood as such.

The first article is by Thane Rosenbaum and is behind the WSJ pay wall. Please read it if you can. The second is by Andrew McCarthy and, because it’s at PJ Media, you can read it freely.

** 6 **

If Hamas had put even a fraction of the energy and resources it used to construct tunnels, not a single one of its citizens would have had to have died when Israel responded to its provocations. But of course, if Hamas was interested in its citizens, as opposed to interested in destroying Israel and killing every one of her inhabitants, it wouldn’t be building any tunnels in the first place.

** 7 **

It’s not worth more than a sentence to say that the UN is complicit with Hamas. There, I’ve said it. It’s dog bites man stuff.

** 8 **

David Bernstein applies the right word to the attacks on synagogues in Europe: pogroms.

** 9 **

And here’s yet another excellent article about the fallacy of proportionality in the fight between Israel and Hamas.

** 10 **

** 11 **

Yes, the D.C. Circuit court really did say that it’s not responsible for re-writing a clear passage in Obamacare, even if the passage, as written, guts Obamacare. As a lawyer, I can say definitively that the court is correct. If the passage was ambiguous, the court would have leeway. Given how explicit it is, though, that’s the end of the argument. This is the rule of law writ large — the legislature must be presumed to have meant what it said:

Core of ruling re Obamacare

Per today’s order, the law means that there are no subsidies (nor mandates) for federally created exchanges. The biggest worry now is that Harry Reid, after having destroyed the filibuster in the Senate, will rush hard-Left judges on the D.C. Circuit appellate panel to resurrect the subsidies under federally-created exchanges.

You can read a more detailed analysis of the ruling here. Please note the first sentence: “A federal appellate court dealt a severe blow to Obamacare today, and in so doing scored a victory for the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the idea that words matter.” To which I say, exactly!

Likewise, Heritage legal analysis Elizabeth Slattery also discusses the ramifications of the Court’s decision, should it stand.

The White House, of course, has no room in its world for the Rule of Law, never mind that, as Daniel Hannan explained, the Rule of Law is the foundation of freedom.

The epitaph to Obamacare may end up being “Legislate in haste; repent at leisure.”

** 12 **

I devoutly hope that David Weigel is correct and that the campaign to have Elizabeth Warren run for president is all smoke and mirrors. I neither like nor trust that woman, based both on having been one of her students and on her conduct and speeches since she burst onto the national political scene.

Of course, DemProg pundits are also dissing Hillary’s candidacy. Maybe these guys are genuinely worried about Warren and Hillary as potential candidates or else they’re trying to take the heat off both women so that they can prepare in dead earnest for the real fight in 2015/2016. Ace, for one, doesn’t think Hillary’s campaign is anywhere near its end.

** 13 **

Also, all the hiding in the world won’t protect Hillary from signs such as this one, spotted when Hillary was at a bookstore signing in Connecticut:

Hillary and her security team

** 14 **

Two articles about Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Mark Steyn, in one of his most insightful posts, explains why to understand Israel is to understand Ukraine, and vice versa.

Tom Nichols explains why the attack on the plane has the Russians running scared.

** 15 **

The purge is complete. ISIS has driven the last Christian out of Mosul. Surprisingly enough (NOT), all the usual idiots who still huff and puff about Palestinians who lost land during a war they started in 1948 are completely silent about this.

(Also, if you have access to the Wall Street Journal, there’s more behind the pay wall.)

** 16 **

I don’t usually comment on local weather here, but I’m hoping that the thunderstorm that passed through the Bay Area last night is a sign that El Nino is kicking in and that California (or at least some of California) will have a wet winter.

The one thing I don’t see the storm presaging is more global warming. Indeed, if one looks at raw climate data, it’s apparent that California, rather than being bedeviled by global warming, has been cooling rather consistently.

** 17 **

Michael Tanner explains why the primarily Democrat-supported War on Poverty (although the GOP has had its paws all over this one too) is more aptly titled a “War on Work”:

** 18 **

Daniel Hannan looks at the Orwellian twist on the word “diversity” when placed in Leftist hands.

** 19 **

I’m a bit late to this party, but apparently I was waiting for Megan McArdle’s wonderful outrage regarding the story of the Mom arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to play in a safe park without a parent nearby.

I posted this article on my real-me Facebook, along with the fact that, when I was 9, I routinely walked a couple of miles to and from school by myself.  I was then inundated by similar stories from my liberal friends.  I keep hoping stories such as this one will get them to think after government encroachment in their lives.

** 20 **

We Americans are being bullied back into the Stone Age because of our allgedly excessive CO2 output, which we are told is causing unabated global warming (except, see above about California’s big chill, when it’s not). I wonder if the climate fascists will change their minds if they learn that humankind accounts for only 3.75% of atmospheric CO2.

Frankly, I’d already figured out that, while man can affect his immediate environment to the point of total destruction (strip-mining, extinct dodos and mammoths), nature as a whole is still far vaster and infinitely more reactive than we are.

** 21 **

With all due respect to those who don the blue uniform and are prepared to put their lives on the line to protect us, there have been too many stories lately about militarized, arrogant, disrespectful, violent police authorities for me to be an unalloyed fan anymore of our police forces. Nevertheless, Jack Dunphy makes a good case for the fact that there are times when something that looks violent and disrespectful may not be.

** 22 **

After being outraged about getting caught in two traffic traps in as many days (a red-light camera tagged me even though I was moving on yellow and pedestrian sting), I decided to be philosophical and view the tickets as the universe telling me I need to slow down and stop cutting driving corners. Here’s a good public safety message along those same lines:

** 23 **

And for something joyous:

** 24 **

Hamas takes over hospital

140 rockets a day

Hamas doesn't understand ceasefire

IRS and the truth

IRS lies

Deja Poo

Saturday night round-up (the moron edition) and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI did something today that I very seldom do: I went clothes shopping for myself. I spend an inordinate amount of time shopping for everyone else in the family, but between shopping fatigue, denial about my post-baby figure (although I’ll concede I was too thin pre-babies), and the ridiculous amount of money clothes cost nowadays even on sale, there’s no pleasure for me in the task.

My husband also reverts to totally stereotyped behavior. How stereotyped? Well, Dorothy Sayers was clearly writing about him way back in 1937:

“Why, it takes a man months and months to reconcile himself to a new hat. And just when you’re preparing to send it to the jumble sale, he says, ‘That’s rather a nice hat you’ve got on, where did you get it?’ And you say, ‘My dear Henry, it’s the one I had last year and you said made me look like an organ-grinder’s monkey.’ My brother-in-law says that every time, and it does make my sister so wild.”

– Sayers, Dorothy L., Gaudy Night (Kindle Locations 904-908). Open Road Media.

As if he’d read the script, Mr. Bookworm was suddenly much taken both with my decade-old jeans (telling me the holes were “fashionable”) and with the shirt that, when I bought it two years ago, he told me made me look as if I was dressing in a sack.  Men!

Mr. Bookworm’s new-found fondness for my old clothes notwithstanding, I do not find holes fashionable.   I find them disreputable.  So off I went, found a sympathetic saleswoman at Nordstrom, got my older child, the one with fashion sense, to help me out, and bought several new clothes and a couple of new pairs of shoes.  Some will go back but most will stay with me.  I cannot go around my solidly upper-middle-class Marin neighborhood looking like the bag lady’s poorer sister.

After the harrowing experience of confronting myself in the dressing room mirror, spending more money on clothes in a day than I’ve spent in the past several years put together, and convincing my husband that the worn-out fashions of the last decade can use an update, I’m so ready to rest myself with political and social commentary.  Here goes….

** 1 **

You’re probably au courant about this one already, but the Palestinians are back at it again, recycling the dead from other wars to suit their own propaganda purposes:

Hamas recycles dead people

We see the crude trickery, but the Muslim, Leftist, and Neo-Nazi masses in Europe just see something to feed their already rabid antisemitism.

** 2 **

Among other things, the tragedy of MH17 reveals the horror of morons with hyper-destructive missiles.

** 3 **

I called it inappropriate laughter. Charles C. W. Cooke calls in insouciance. No matter the label, there’s something dreadfully wrong with Obama’s responses to the worldwide calamities that have been mounting during the second half of his presidency.

I also don’t like the word “insouciance,” which I think better applies to the incredibly courageous spy keeping his calm and humor even while facing discovery as he works to save his country. Obama’s cavalier attitude and endless ill-timed guffaws have nothing to do with a stiff upper lip and everything to do with derangement, denial, or unseemly delight as he presides over America’s downfall.

Perhaps, based solely upon his response to the MH17 attack, the right word for Obama should be moron, but I still think even that’s too kind.

** 4 **

As their final revenge for having lost the Revolutionary War, the British are writing breathless puff pieces about Hillary Clinton. Indeed, the latest example is so breathless and puffy it’s actually funny:

Throughout my interview with Hillary, she is fiercely engaged; her eyes—sparkly, wide, alert—remain firmly focused on me. She is warm, considered, talks slowly and thoughtfully and uses—consciously or not—tactics that put me at ease. She frequently answers my queries with the response: “Now, that’s a great question”, she litters her answers with colloquialisms that put us on a level and, listening back, I am struck by the amount of times she says, “You know”. And of course there’s that charming laugh. I can see that these natural skills make her the perfect diplomat, the ultimate leader.

Perhaps it’s a parody, but it seems to be played straight. Incidentally, when I hear people repeatedly say “you know,” I automatically deduct a few of the speaker’s IQ points. I know that’s unkind, because it’s a verbal twitch unrelated to intelligence, but I hate verbal twitches. (For an antidote, see Weird Al’s “Word Crimes.”)

** 5 **

And if you admire Weird Al, as I do, he went on Fox (bravo!) to talk about grammar and internet marketing:

** 6 **

The way the media talks about Ted Kennedy, you’d think he was a saint. T. Becket Adams reminds us that, in fact, he was a sinner of the blackest kind. Forty-five years ago, what he did went beyond manslaughter, which would have been the charge had Mary Jo Kopechne’s died the moment the car entered into the water.  Instead, he embraced murder, because he deliberately left her alive in the car, and allowed her to die, slowly, agonizingly, and alone.

** 7 **

A few hours ago, I was about to write “I’d like to boycott Chase Bank for prying into employee’s personal beliefs, but I can’t, because I don’t have a Chase account.” Then, my husband tossed me an envelope from Chase saying “You need to do this” — with “this” being opening a checking and savings account so as to get $400. Mr. Bookworm, of course, supports all actions the gay rights movement perceives as necessary to advance the gay rights movement, so my arguments against Chase on oppression grounds are unavailing.

I think I actually will open the accounts. In six weeks, I’ll get $400. Then I’ll close the accounts, explaining why. That would be a rather lovely form of boycott if, as I hope, Chase manages to earn less than $400 on my money during that time.

** 8 **

Bjorn Lomborg accepts the CO2 anthropogenic climate change narrative. However, because he is not a moron who wants to the First World revert to a pre-industrial standard of living, he is willing to accept that the projections were wrong and that climate change is nowhere near the disaster promised.

Alternatively, the Left could be invested in their view of climate change simply because they are, in fact, morons.

** 9 **

Remember this:  The GOP is not conservative. Some of its leading lights were behind the shameful attacks on Mississippi conservative Chris McDaniels. They were more interested in getting senile Thad Cochran reelected as their yes-man than in having an honest election, reducing racial tensions, and seeing a true conservative voice in the Senate.

** 10 **

The purpose behind lampooning an enemy is to make the enemy seem vulnerable. That’s why a once-patriotic Hollywood worked overtime to create farces aimed at belittling the Nazis and the Japanese.

With that in mind, while I admire those who have created a satirical magazine about ISIS, I’m not sure what good it will do. After all, nobody who’s fighting ISIS will be reading it. For the Christians being purged in Iraq, a little humor in the West is irrelevant.  On the other hand, of course, it can’t hurt to satirize ISIS, remind everyone that it’s made of men who can bleed and die like the rest of us.

** 11 **

I have repeatedly cited here God’s exhortation to “Choose Life.” The DemProg obsession with death — abortions, euthanasia, death panels, etc. — is one of the reasons I’ve turned against it politically. The road that the DemProgs are traveling ultimately leads to the nihilism that is Hamas.

Hamas has raised a generation of people who see death as their greatest accomplishment, provided that they kill Jews along the way. On the subject of Hamas, David Goldman agrees with me, which means I’m really smart on this issue. Moreover, he says that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East, not to mention one of few nations in the world, to choose life.

** 12 **

The wonderful Evan Sayet has a new website. And on his new website, he has a very good post explaining why Jews vote Democrat. As he sees it, due to centuries of being persecuted by people who believed in Christianity, Jews have foolishly concluded that they’ll be better served by people — i.e., Leftists — who believe nothing at all.

Of course, as we’ve discussed here, just because one doesn’t believe in God doesn’t mean one doesn’t have a belief system. Indeed, history has shown us that there is no more rabid believer than the unbeliever.

What I said above does not do justice to Sayet’s entire post. Please read the whole thing for insights into the sad fact that some of the world’s smartest people consistently engage in one of the world’s most foolhardy and dangerous practices, i.e., putting faith in the Left.

** 13 **

I’m sure I’ve stated in a recent post my belief that the problem with radical Islamists is that they’re good at killing, but not at governing (which doesn’t keep them from trying to govern for years, decades, or even centuries, even as the mounds of bodies pile up on their watch). Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Amichai Magen make exactly the same point, only with actual data and analysis.

However, as long as their governance involves waging war solely on themselves, I don’t see why we can’t just stand back and watch the attrition happen. Unfortunately, hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of innocents will have to die, but the sad historical fact is that, when Islam is involved, whether it’s fighting itself or us, the innocents are always the first in line to go.

** 14 **

You know it, I know it, and others are figuring it out: A lot of so-called ADHD arises, not because of pesticides, climate change, or Bugs Bunny cartoons, but because kids, through no fault of their own, are forced to sit still all the time. Yes, they need to learn how to sit still, but they also have to move.

** 15 **

A retired border control agent gives some insight into the purpose behind immigration laws and the terrible damage that follows if the government refuses to protect its own border:

** 16 **

Nobody has paid much attention to the Z Street case, a lawsuit that predates the eruption of the IRS scandal. Back in 2010, Z Street was a lone entity claiming that the IRS was deliberately discriminating against it because it’s position regarding Israel (it supports it) was antithetical to Obama’s position. Now, four years later, Z Street is finally getting discovery in that case, and this discovery may be the one pebble that, when moved, breaks open the entire dam. Here’s hoping.

** 17 **

When the media talks about Israel, it lies. It’s that simple, and the more established and elite the media (think New York Times and Washington Post), the worse the lies it tells. Here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet explaining the 8 biggest lies. Pull this out next time one of your Leftist friends posts an NYT or WaPo article hostile to Israel.

** 18 **

If you’re in Chicago this Tuesday:

Rally to support Israel in Chicago

** 19 **

Pictures:

I have no idea what a libertarian is

Putin in danger from Obama

Holder's reflexes

Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

[snip]

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

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

[snip]

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

This is your body on socialized medicine:

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

Women need birth control

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

The Alinsky approach to mandatory birth control

Midday Tuesday round-up and Open Thread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muslim kids celebrate death of Israeli teens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pictures:

Dyslexic bank robbers

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

Leading cause of hard drive failures

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

Saturday evening round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust a few things that caught my eye as the day went by:

In one of his weirdly counter-productive defenses of Hillary, Bill said that there was nothing wrong with her — except that it took her six months to recover from her head injury after her fall.  That’s a serious recovery time.  Even when my mom fell and gave herself a brain bleed, once she had surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, she recovered in much less time than six months.

People are carping at Rove for putting this issue out there, and I concede that he did it inartfully, but the public should be apprised of the status of Hillary’s brain in the event she runs. Much as the media may pretend that it’s still 1960, when they successfully covered up Kennedy’s serious illness and drug use, the internet gives the people a voice on important subjects such as a potential president’s physical and mental health.

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All of my local Dem friends trust Jerry Brown, so I’m sure that they’re all good with him saying that, insofar as the new Bay Bridge span apparently has a serious design flaw, no one should worry. Maybe we shouldn’t, or maybe he’s just rearranging the deck chairs….

I’m not so sanguine about bridges in our earthquake rich territory. When I’m on them, I invariably drive too fast so that I can get off them as quickly as possible. I also have two of these in my car, in the unlikely event that I survive the moment (God forbid!) when my car plunges into the Bay.

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Despite the fact that Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann sued Mark Steyn for daring to question his intelligence and veracity, Steyn has not been cowed. He’s not only counterclaimed, he also continues to challenge Mann’s “climate change” data, using the ever-increasing number of stories about failed predictions, hidden data, and McCarthyism. He’s at it again, in a wonderful post that touches upon the latest McCarthy-ite moment that proves that “climate science” isn’t a science at all but is, instead, a faith.

Incidentally, while you’re visiting Steyn’s site, if you have some change rattling around in your pocket, please consider donating to his legal defense fund. He’s fighting the good fight, but even the staunchest warrior needs cash.

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I like Alex Trebek (that’s what thirty years of watching Jeopardy will do to you), so I was very pleased to see that he’s come out in favor of the Redskins keeping their name. His common sense, though, isn’t why I’m linking to this particular article. Instead, please note that, just as Voldemort’s name must go unspoken, so too has the Redskins’ name been stricken from the lexicon. That’s how you end up with incomprehensible sentences such as this one, quoting Trebek (who was making sense when he voiced it): ““They weren’t called the [WFT] because we thought [WFT] were terrible.”

Huh? WTF is a WFT? It turns out that an WFT the one and only “Washington Football Team,” formerly known as the “Redskins.” I preferred “the artist formerly known as ‘Prince.’” It had more of a ring to it.

We live in ridiculous times.

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Andrew McCarthy is never better than when he’s writing what is essentially a prosecutor’s opening brief. And so it is with this article he wrote about the IRS scandal, a scandal that grows with every document produced. I, of course, will remind you all again that I said early on that the IRS scandal was the worst scandal ever in American history and I stick to that — especially as it’s becoming increasingly clear that this exercise in banana republic governance had its genesis in D.C., and quite high up in D.C. (as in “close to the President”).

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The Left is starting to realize that both the IRS and the Benghazi scandals hit way to close to the President for anyone’s comfort (well, the comfort of anyone on the Left). That’s why the Financial Times announced today that the worst scandal for the President is the VA scandal (you know, the one where VA hospitals have been killing veterans by ignoring them to death). The VA scandal is heinous and disgusting. It stands as a savage indictment of both socialized medicine (which it is) and the American bureaucracy . . . but it doesn’t go up to the White House. Claiming that it’s the worst scandal for Obama is a red herring.

If you think I’m wrong about that interpretation, just consider the first paragraph in the FT article, which expressly warns people away from the genuinely serious stuff (emphasis mine):

Amid contrived outrage over Benghazi and the improving fortunes of its healthcare reform, the Obama administration could be facing a genuine scandal about its treatment of military veterans that has the potential to attract broad political condemnation of its competence.

That’s not journalism. That’s crisis management for the White House.

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My husband brought the movie Philomena home from the library yesterday. I was going to write a scathing review, but I see that Kyle Smith got there before I did.

Even if every word of Philomena was the God’s honest truth (which apparently is not the case), it still is a nasty movie. The thing about movies such as this is that all nuns get tarred with the same brush. Think about it: If you see a movie about a woman who is a bad mother, or a bus driver who is rude, or a doctor who commits malpractice, you don’t immediately indict all mothers, bus drivers, or doctors. But a movie about bad nuns somehow creates the belief that all nuns are bad.

While I may be Jewish, I have a deep respect for nuns. During WWII, Belgian nuns sheltered my Jewish grandmother at great risk to themselves.  Moreover, when my mother was in the Japanese concentration camp, the Dutch nuns she was imprisoned with were gracious to all, including the Jewish prisoners. My mom still speaks fondly about their cheerfulness and helpfulness no matter how bad the circumstances were.

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And finally, would the Atlantic have Photoshopped a picture of a watermelon into an article about Thurgood Marshall? I don’t think so. But they were willing to do this. Hey, isn’t that microaggression?

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m still clearing out the inbox, but I’ve also got some current stuff in here, so I consider this a round-up. I’ll just dive in, with the stuff presented here in pretty random order:

Last Sunday, a New York Times op-ed addressed “Why People Don’t Donate Their Kidneys.” Sally Satel, the author, recognized that we don’t want to pay people for body parts, but thinks that she’s figured out a clever way around it by giving them non-cash rewards. Frankly, that strikes me as the same immorality, just wearing different clothes.

I suspect people don’t donate their kidneys for the same reason I haven’t: People like having a back-up system. They like knowing that, if one kidney fails, they’ve got another one available, instead of having to depend on the kindness of strangers. That investment in a back-up changes when the kidney donation becomes personal.  That happens when the kidney donee is a family member, close friend, or even a stranger who touched a chord in the donor. Without that personal touch, people kind of like to hang on to the spare.

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Have you heard of Archbishop John Joseph Hughes, aka “Dagger” John, aka the first Catholic Archbishop of New York?  I hadn’t, so I found absolutely fascinating this City Journal article about the way in which he brought discipline and purpose to the vast cadre of lawless, self-destructive Irish immigrants who had been so deeply traumatized by the horrors of the famine in Ireland and the societal disintegration that followed in its wake:

Hughes’s solution for his flock’s social ills was to re-spiritualize them. He wanted to bring about an inner, moral transformation in them, which he believed would solve their social problems in the end. He put the ultimate blame for their condition squarely on the historical oppression they had suffered at the hands of the English, which he said had caused them “to pass away from the faith of their ancestors,” robbing them of the cultural heritage that should have guided their behavior. But that was in the past: now it was time for them to regain what they had lost. So he bought abandoned Protestant church buildings in Irish wards, formed parish churches, and sent in parish priests on a mission of urban evangelization aimed at giving the immigrants a faith-based system of values.

With unerring psychological insight, Hughes had his priests emphasize religious teachings perfectly attuned to re-socializing the Irish and helping them succeed in their new lives. It was a religion of personal responsibility that they taught, stressing the importance of confession, a sacrament not widely popular today—and unknown to many of the Irish who emigrated during the famine, most of whom had never received any religious education. The practice had powerful psychological consequences. You cannot send a friend to confess for you, nor can you bring an advocate into the confessional. Once inside the confessional, you cannot discuss what others have done to you but must clearly state what you yourself have done wrong. It is the ultimate taking of responsibility for one’s actions; and it taught the Irish to focus on their own role in creating their misfortune.

How do we respiritualize a society that seems, lately, to concern itself solely with sexual license? It can be done, you know. Hughes did it with the Irish immigrants. The Victorians (especially the Evangelical movement) did it as a response to the worst excesses of the Georgian and Regency eras. Presumably, we can do it too.

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The Daily Mail’s profile of Lt. John Randall, the first member of the Allied troops to enter Bergen Belsen is a useful reminder that “Holocaust denial” means denying the reality of the past, one that was experienced by millions, witnessed by thousands, and proudly documented by its perpetrators. In this regard, it differs from “climate change denial,” which involves rejecting a predictive theory that, so far, has been wrong approximately 90% of the time.

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Apropos that whole climate change thing, you can get a good insight here into the hoax that serial liar Michael Mann perpetrated with his famed hockey stick graph, a graph to which the Left still clings to “prove” that climate change is real.

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When Hillary came to the Bay Area in early April, John, of The City Square, was there to record the protests. Should Hillary run in 2016, she will face a lot of opposition, based upon a long history of dubious, frequently immoral, and possibly criminal behavior. Benghazi is just the exclamation point to a long, unsavory career.

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The reliably Leftist, tax-payer funded NPR just hired a new, reliably Leftist CEO. What I found so amusing was the WaPo’s article about his hiring, which expressed surprise and dismay that NPR had problems sticking to its budget (emphasis mine):

[Jarl] Mohn, who has a reputation as a turnaround specialist, will inherit an organization that has been battling persistent operating deficits. It is projecting a deficit of $6.1 million in its current fiscal year, or a little more than 3 percent of its projected revenue of $178 million. The gap between revenue and expenses led NPR to offer buyouts to its 840 employees in September, in an effort to pare about 10 percent of its staff.

Could it be that NPR has operating deficits because it knows that, unlike an actual business, its deficits are meaningless? A real business goes under when it has chronic deficits. A government-funded business simply gets more money from the government. And yes, NPR likes to point out that it gets a large part of its budget from corporate and individual donations, but the fact is, it knows that the government will always be there to bail it out.

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The Left is all about its fealty to science . . . until that fealty clashes with political correctness. When that happens, it’s under the bus for you. In this case, the sinner is long-time New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade, who looks at differing genetic data in sub-Saharan Africans and reaches non-PC conclusions. His conclusions could be entirely wrong, of course, but Leftists won’t debate him, they’ll just erase him.  (Remember, on the Left, the debate is always over.)

As someone who believes in evolution, I’ve also assumed that certain tribes have, over the centuries, encouraged certain traits. For example, in societies where hunting prey (and running fast so as not to become prey) are necessary for survival, those who successfully passed their DNA down would have been the fast runners, not the slow. With the DNA inheritance, you would soon have a tribe composed of very fast people. Jews, when viewed as a tribe, have always centered their lives around the Bible.  It therefore makes sense that those with a certain academic bent would be most successful in passing on their DNA. The result would be that Jews would excel at tasks requiring an academic bent.  Even Hollywood is an example of genetic selection. For decades, starting in the 1920s, many of the most attractive people in America poured into that city. Most never ended up in pictures. Instead, they married each other and created generations of good-looking Southern California kids with straight noses, good jaw lines, and great figures.

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In case you didn’t know, Ambassador Christopher Stevens wasn’t “murdered.” Nope. According to “journalist” and Democrat party shill Eleanor Clift, he died of smoke inhalation after a movie review ran amok. You and I are now thinking, “How can anyone still parrot that line after the revelation about the Ben Rhodes Benghazi email? She must be really stupid.” She’s not. We’re stupid. Clift understands the whole concept of the Big Lie, and recognizes that it will still work if you’re the party that controls the media.

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I know nothing about football, but I posited yesterday that Michael Sam was going to be trouble for the Rams. Jazz Shaw, who does know something about football, agrees. Moreover, he does so for the same reason I gave: unless the Rams treat Sam like the crown prince of the game, they’re going to get raked over the coals in the media (which, after all, is their conduit to the money people pay).  As it is, the “re-education” has already started.

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Ruth Wisse, one of the few conservative professors at Harvard, writes a powerful opinion piece about the closing of the academic mind. Today’s students will not speak out. They’ve been taught that they’re worthless (“check your privilege at the door”), and their professors are impenetrably wrapped up in their self-righteous and invariably vindictive Leftism.

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I’ve stated repeatedly that one of the things that turned me away from my staunch pro-choice position was the pro-death attitude that permeates the abortion rights movement. Andrew Klavan, another former pro-abortion person, comments on the same thing, but more powerfully than I could.

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My friend Gary Buslik has written two hysterically funny books: Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood and 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. He recently got interviewed over at “Divorced Girl Smiling” and, as you can probably guess, the interview is laugh out loud funny. I found especially amusing the bit about cats and high heels, in part because of this picture, which has been making the rounds on Facebook:

Dog in heels

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And finally, from Prager University, a short lesson about forgiveness. There was nothing new in it for me, but I liked how well-organized it was, and I especially liked the reminder that forgiveness is psychology important, not just for the person seeking forgiveness but, in certain circumstances, for the one doing the forgiving:

Indoctrination at schools focuses on fantasy ills, while simultaneously denying reality

GaslandAmerica’s educational institutions aren’t taking antisemitism seriously — despite the mount of proof (often from the killers themselves) showing that tens of millions have died from antisemitism over the centuries.

Meanwhile, as antisemitism surges unchecked on America’s campuses, schools are taking very seriously fracking, even in the absence of any proof that it’s killed any one, ever.

It’s possible that schools aren’t taking antisemitism seriously because, at least in some schools, denying it is part of their curriculum: Witness the now-infamous Common Core assignment in the Rialto Unified School District directing all 8th graders to read Holocaust denial literature and than write essays denying the Holocaust.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: this Common Core assignment took place on the watch of an Interim Superintendent named Mohammad Z. Islam. The District’s story is that Islam knew nothing about the assignment and was appropriately shocked when he learned what had happened. There’s no reason at this point to disbelieve that assertion.

Islam, 57, grew up in Bangladash, where he saw the damage done by denying people access to education. He’s a finance guy, and worked as the CFO in the San Bernardino school district. He was then invited to step into the Rialto district after the former superintendent “retired” following the district accountant’s arrest for embezzling $1.8 million. Islam was seen as the antidote to chaos and corruption. Islam could well be a stand-up kind of guy. In that case, it’s very unfortunate that he has a name that many people consider consistent with a belief system that denies that the Holocaust happened.

What’s quite obvious is that more and more American public schools are abandoning classical education — when that looks to facts and analysis — in favor of a Leftist hodge podge of propaganda on everything from climate to the Holocaust.

Saturday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesSaturdays just slip away from me. Now you see ‘em, now you don’t. Suddenly, it’s 1:30, and I’ve accomplished nothing more than making another batch of haroset, which I’m trying to eat in lieu of ice cream. There are things, though, that I’d like to share with you:

The first thing is a plea from the Media Research Center asking for funds to help offset the invaluable assist the Obama administration is getting from a complicit media.  As you know, but too many Americans don’t, the media pretends to the American people that it’s independent, even as it shills and covers for the President. The deadline for this particular fundraiser is tonight, which is why MRC gets top billing here.

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Speaking of valuable organizations asking for money, the NRA is taking very seriously Michael Bloomberg’s promise to spend $50 million to undermine the Second Amendment in America. The NRA has put together a great fundraising video (see below), and you can donate here if you feel so inclined:

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Andrew C. McCarthy is one of those guys who has a binary effect on me. Either I love what he writes or I hate it. This time it’s love, as he talks about the way in which Obama is using his pardoning power to nullify drug control legislation. It’s a typical Leftist move, of course. If you’re a Leftist and don’t like legislation or constitutional rights, you don’t go through Congress to repeal or amend them; instead, you simply announce that you’re the Magic Negro, the man who defines what sin is (“being out of alignment with my own values”), the new messiah . . . and you avoid implementing the law and, if so inclined, actually undo its effects.

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It’s not often that you read in just one article a straightforward, commonsensical, easy-to-understand, comprehensive take-down of the global warming scam. You especially don’t expect to see that kind of thing from a world-renowned emeritus professor and former NASA scientist talking to the Yorkshire Evening Post (a paper I read a lot back in the days when I lived in England).

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I’ve mentioned before that I had Elizabeth Warren as a professor back in the day. I went into her class ignorant, and came out still ignorant, but also frustrated and confused. Whatever else she was, she was a very poor communicator, which is why I find it so peculiar that the Left considers her a spokesman for their Progressive economic causes. Back in the day, speaking in her breathy, elliptical, somewhat telegraphic way, she managed to say nothing at length.

With those memories in my mind, my metrics say Warren would be a dreadful presidential candidate, so I can understand puckish conservatives urging her to run. Of course, should she run, what will actually happen is that she’ll still be better than Hillary, whom people dislike, and she’ll win the primary.  As the first female Democrat presidential candidate, the press will anoint her and that will be the end of it for any Republican opponent. (On that point, please see again my first item, above, regarding the MRC’s plea for funds to de-fang the press.)

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Peter Wehner has disturbing RINO tendencies, not to mention the arrogance of his class when it comes to Palin. Nevertheless, he’s an extremely lucid commentator when it comes to honing in on Obama’s failings. I both enjoyed reading and was depressed by Wehner’s elegant laundry list of Obama’a serial failings in every area of presidential endeavor.

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You know that I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about narcissists. One of the most dangerous things about them is the way their emotional armor means that they are incapable of acknowledging themselves at fault but must, instead, always deflect blame onto others. This tendency is especially destructive when it exists, not at an individual level, but at a societal level.

Take, for example, Islam: No matter where one looks around the world, once Islam is in charge, the economy collapses, violence increases, freedom disappears, and women, Jews, Christians, gays, and other Islamically disfavored groups are attacked, enslaved, and destroyed. This is a society that is ripe for introspection but, because it’s predicated on narcissism, the only thing it can do when it confronts its disastrous existence is . . . blame the Jews.

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We’ve already talked here about the fact that those environmentally friendly wind farms puree birds, while the solar farms barbecue them. That’s not why I’m linking to this PowerLine article. I’m linking because I love the title: MICROWAVES OF THE DESERT; CUISINARTS OF THE SKY.

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Cliven Bundy, a private citizen, makes an inarticulate, but arguably valid point that American blacks are as enslaved by the Democrat party now as they were in the antebellum South. The media mangles his argument, and destroys him as a “racist,” making toxic his entirely valid argument that past due monies owed to the government do not justify the Bureau of Land Management showing up at his farm with full military force, slaughtering his cattle, destroying his water lines, and aiming snipers at his home.  Think about it.  If Bundy were an IRS employee (lots of back taxes there), he would have gotten a bonus, and if he were Al Sharpton (even more back taxes), he’d be palling around with Obama and Holder.

No matter the government’s “right” to the land (which is separate from the justice of its claiming that right), Bundy stands for the increased tyranny of the federal government, one that sees it viewing itself as master, not servant.  Indeed, one can argue that, although the government is acting according to the laws it’s made, its laws and procedures have become so fundamentally flawed that, per the Declaration of Independence, our government has invalidated itself:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

But I digress. I actually just wanted to talk about Bundy now being toxic, thereby invalidating ideas unrelated to the subject matter that made him toxic.  It’s different if you’re on the Left.

If you’re on the Left, no matter what you do outside of politics, you’re never toxic. Take Paula Poundstone, for example, a convicted child molester. That fact isn’t preventing the Marin Jewish Community Center from opening its arms to her. I don’t know whether Poundstone has reformed or repented, something that makes a difference to me, because I’m a big believer in both. I just know that, if Poundstone was a conservative, not a Progressive, she’d never be forgiven for her sins, and would be persona non grata in perpetuity, as to all matters.

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And finally, maybe we are at last seeing small cracks in the damned dam that is political correctness:

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread *UPDATED*

Victorian posy of pansiesSpring break is over and real life resumes. The kids weren’t thrilled to return to school, but I’m pretty pleased to have my life back on schedule. As you could probably tell from last week’s lethargic blogging, I don’t do well without some boundaries to my days. I’m off to exercise soon (Yay, me!), but first a few quick links:

One of my running themes since Obama started to run for President is that he lies, and lies, and lies some more. The rest of America is finally — finally! — figuring this out for itself.

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I love Commentary Magazine, which helped me transition from Democrat to conservative. Nevertheless, I’ve been consistently dismayed by its East Coast, Ivy League, snotty attitude towards Sarah Palin. In that, it perfectly echoes the liberals who surround me who, when unable to challenge Palin’s accomplishments in 2008, especially when compared to Obama’s much lesser list of accomplishments in the same year, fell back on the line “She’s not one of us.” It’s painful to see that Obama’s failures (and he is “one of them”) still haven’t changed the classist mindset over at Commentary.

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Political advertisers (i.e., heavily funded Leftist interest groups) own the content at Politico. And Soros’ own Media Matters out-and-out wrote content at CBS. The problem is that, while you and I care about this confluence between news that sold as “objective” and hard-line Leftist partisan organizations, ordinary people cannot be made to care. Instead of reacting with outrage and a desire for “clean” information, they continue to respond to dishonest emotional appeals from the Left.  No wonder John Fund can credibly suggest that Democrats will tell any lies, no matter how inflammatory and slanderous (and, therefore, destructive of the American political and social scene) in order to get out that vote.

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I wrote about the outrage on the Left because the Koch brothers have the temerity to donate to libertarian political causes. How dare rich people buy political influence? Funnily enough (sarcasm), they’ve been completely silent about Tom Steyer’s massive payment for political influence. After my work-out, I think I’ll write up a petition, paralleling the MoveOn one, asking people to “denounce” Steyer.

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Thomas Piketty, an economist, is the newest darling among the Leftist intelligentsia and faux intelligentsia (but I repeat myself), because he claims that capitalism is inherently unfair since it’s entirely predicated on income inequality. Clive Crook explains that even the meanest intelligence should see that Piketty’s conclusions don’t match his data. I’ll add something that Crook didn’t say and that I’m sure Piketty ignored: Capitalism is not a still photograph; it’s a moving picture. In any specific frame, there will be rich people and poor people who are separated by a wide gap. However, the dynamic of capitalism is that the poor in one still photo are not the same as the poor in the next.  Socialism, by contrast, is a still photograph: Except for the coddled nomenklatura, everyone else stays firmly mired at the bottom forever.

UPDATE: Of all sources, the New York Times backs up my statement that the problem with socialist economists is that they understand the economy in static, not dynamic terms:

It turns out that 12 percent of the population will find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one year. What’s more, 39 percent of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, 56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent, and a whopping 73 percent will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.

Yet while many Americans will experience some level of affluence during their lives, a much smaller percentage of them will do so for an extended period of time. Although 12 percent of the population will experience a year in which they find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, a mere 0.6 percent will do so in 10 consecutive years.

It is clear that the image of a static 1 and 99 percent is largely incorrect. The majority of Americans will experience at least one year of affluence at some point during their working careers. (This is just as true at the bottom of the income distribution scale, where 54 percent of Americans will experience poverty or near poverty at least once between the ages of 25 and 60).

Hat tip: Tom Elia

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Anthropogenic climate change is a con. Even if one assumes solely for the sake of argument that our carbon output exceeds the sun’s control over the earth’s atmosphere, science, history, and common sense all show that a minimal rise in CO2 levels provides more food and water around the world, not less.

Saturday mid-day roundup (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have learned something about myself over the past 5.5 weeks:  I will never master crutches.  After all this time, I still fall going up the stairs, get vertigo going down the stairs, topple over when trying to reach light switches, get abrasions on my skin, and exhaust my injured shoulder.  My big hope for this coming week is that the doctor tells me I can ditch the crutches and use a cane or go unaided on my own two feet.  In the meantime, though, I’ve got stuff I want to share with you:

In 2008, Obama won in significant part by hooking up with pop culture and making himself “cool.”  The implication was exactly what it is in high school:  if you hang with the cool kids, you’ll be cool too.  Obama was cool because he hung with Hollywood . . . and young voters were cool because they wore Obama t-shirts.  Obama is trying to reprise that cool factor with his current campaign to get healthy young people to sign up for Obamacare.  Now that actually money is involved, I suspect he’ll have less success than in 2008, when all you needed to be cool was a t-shirt and a vote.

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When it comes to understanding how the media functions as the PR arm for the Democrat party, you can’t do better than to read John Hinderaker’s article describing the downstream fallout from the Washington Post‘s cheap and false attack on the Koch brothers. (Hinderaker’s challenge to the original WaPo article is here.) Not only does Hinderaker strip bare the ugliness behind the Post’s defense of its own bad reporting, he also analyzes why the Left is so obsessed with the Koch Brothers, the problems Democrats are starting to have with the “green” worldview, and the money behind the Democrats’ attacks on the Kochs.

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Two Democrat politicians, one in Arkansas and one in Alaska, have rather foolishly chosen to attack their Republican opponents for having been in the military. The GOP has done an ad highlighting these attacks and focusing on the fact that there is something honorable about having served in the military. I agree, but for me there’s more than that going on.  When I think about military service, what I think about is competence and responsibility. In a society where young people avoid both — and, indeed, are encouraged by law to remain infantile until their 26 — the military forces young people to step up. I know that there are shirkers in the military, but the statistical likelihood is that someone who spent many years in the military is probably a can-do and will-do kind of person.

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Over the years, I’ve written about the fact that people who support abortion use a very dishonest debate tactic when they pretend that the world is the same as it was before Roe v. Wade. The implication is that, if abortion again becomes limited to life-of-the-mother (and perhaps rape and incest) cases, young girls will be thrown starving into the streets and children will be raised with the stigma of bastardy. In a world in which single mothers are one of the fastest growing demographics, this is ludicrous. The Left also pretends that women will once again return to back alley abortions, complete with unsanitary coat hangers. Indeed, one pro-Abortion outlet is giving “cute” little coat hanger necklaces to those who donate money to the cause.

Here’s something interesting, though: Just as the pro-abortion crowd lies about the world as it is, implying that unwed pregnant women will once again be driven into the snow (barefoot, of course), so too is it lying about the world as it was. Kevin Williamson finds contemporaneous evidence from Planned Parenthood itself saying that, back in the 1960s, while abortion was illegal, it was also safe — indeed, probably safer than at places like Kermit Gosnell’s House of Abortion Horror.

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J. Christian Adams asks a good question: Why does Michelle Obama’s mother live rent-free in the White House? It might have made sense when the Obama’s first arrived in D.C. with two fairly young daughters, but it makes no sense now. I guess, though, that Michelle loves her Mommy and wants to make sure that Mrs. Robinson also gets to enjoy the pleasures of staying in $8,000 per night suites in Beijing (taxpayer-funded, of course).

“White Trash” is not a skin color, it’s a state of mind. One aspect of the WT state of mind is the person who, when he knows someone else is paying the restaurant bill, orders the most expensive thing on the menu. The Obamas are quite definitely White Trash.

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In my real-me Facebook world, my friends still cling to the Anthropogenic Climate Change theory. In the real world, actual scientists (as opposed to PhD-holding crusaders looking for large government grants) are finally waking up and smelling the con-job coffee. It remains to be seen whether the climate-change generation is going to be able to walk away from this false God.

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A couple of weeks ago, I said that the hate-crime hoaxes coming from the Left meant that I didn’t believe a gay guy who claimed (without corroboration) that his aged Baptist minister grandfather, who had been married for 65 years, confessed on his deathbed that he was gay. Maybe grandpa did; maybe he didn’t. It’s just that, as I said, absent ample evidence, I don’t believe the Left. In that vein, I point out that yet another hate-crime has proven to be a hoax.

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Last week, I showed a picture of a school workbook telling students that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms provided that the government first gives them permission to do so. Someone asked for the provenance of that image. It turns out that (surprise! surprise!) it comes from an Illinois Middle School.

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Reading travel tips that Chinese give those of their compatriots heading to America I thought to myself, “What a nice country we have.”

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.”

Helping Mark Steyn’s epic battle to defend freedom of speech

mark-steyn-photo-600x345I’ve written before about Mark Steyn’s epic battle and equally epic Answer and Counterclaim in the suit that discredited “Hockey Stick” artiste, Michael Mann filed against him and the National Review.   What I forgot to tell you is that there is a way you can help Mark Steyn, who is not sharing his defense with National Review, pay the costs of this suit.  (Steyn’s currently representing himself, although I do not know whether he parted ways with his lawyer because they had a substantive disagreement or because Steyn could no longer afford him/her.)

Click here to learn about buying a Mark Steyn gift certificate.  You can choose not to redeem the gift certificate, leaving all the money in his hands, or you can redeem it for actual merchandise, which still leaves him with the profit margin.  It’s a good deal all around.