Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

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

[snip]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is your body on socialized medicine:

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

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

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

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

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

Women need birth control

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

The Alinsky approach to mandatory birth control

You can’t argue with an ideologue — the gun control edition

NRA LogoSince the Sandy Hook shooting, I’ve written several posts about interactions with liberals who refused to believe the facts I cited them about guns.  (The facts I rely upon are here; a good example of a fight with liberals is here.)  Clearly, I am not persuasive.

As I learned today, though, when you’re arguing with an ideologue, nothing is going to be persuasive.  Today was the day I opened my “real me” Facebook page and saw, much to my surprise, that one of my uber-liberal friends (someone with whom I was once very close, so I continue to “friend” on Facebook), had linked to this article from Mediaite (a hard left-leaning outlet):

A study published in the latest issue of the academic journal Applied Economics Letters took on many of the claims made regularly by advocates of stricter gun laws. The study determined that nearly every claim made in support of stronger restrictions on gun ownership is not supported by an exhaustive analysis of crime statistics.

The study, “An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates,” conducted by Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius, examined nearly 30 years of statistics and concluded that stricter gun laws do not result in a reduction in gun violence. In fact, Gius found the opposite – that a proliferation of concealed carry permits can actually reduce incidents of gun crime.

Along with the link, my friend included his own statement to the effect that this was certainly food for thought, but that he still believes that guns should be as tightly regulated as cars.  I couldn’t resist adding my mite to this, because I thought that, with his having cited the article himself, his liberal mind might be opening just a crack to let in the light of pure reason.  We ended up having a polite back and forth that I’ll summarize so as not to destroy his privacy.

I noted, as I always do when the car comparison comes along, that cars are not constitutionally protected, while guns are accorded the highest protection possible (“shall not infringe”).  Otherwise, you can compare cars and guns:  both are useful, both are fun, and both are dangerous.  I added that life overall is dangerous and governments are the most dangerous of all.  I even threw in the fact that, as a predicate to committing mass murder against their own people, totalitarian governments always disarmed them first.

My friend replied that he wants a constitutional amendment so that guns can only be in the hands of people the government pre-approves.  He believes government can commit mass murder without first disarming its people.  To him, it was irrelevant that those governments that actually (not hypothetically) murdered their people all began with disarming them.  Somewhere, somehow, he’s sure there’s a government that successfully committed mass murder against its own well-armed citizens.   He then threw in the usual trope that guns are made solely to kill, while cars are not.

That last comment left me with an opening:  his statement seemed to belie the very study that he had posted in the first place.  It said that fewer people are killed when more people of good will had guns.  That means guns are made for protecting people, not killing.

My friend’s response was to launch into a laundry list of shooting stories — drive-bys, robberies, fights, etc., all of which explain (to his mind) why guns should be banned.  Once again, he’d totally forgotten about the study he cited.  He then repeated that guns are meant only to kill and that the only way to save society is to get rid of guns.

I came back with fact:  as the study he cited shows, places that ban guns have more crime, including gun crime.  Places that once banned guns and then un-banned them (as happened in Washington, D.C. after the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller) had less gun crime.

He opted for sarcasm:  So, do we give everyone a gun?

I suggested that doing so is reasonable, based on the conclusions from the study he cited.  I also said that Hollywood is a problem.  Even as its people demand gun control, they make pictures rife with guns and hide behind armed guards.  They might want to change the message in their movies.  I also pointed out that gun crime is an inner city problem and that we should look at the culture there, rather than at the guns themselves.

His bottom line had the virtue of being honest:  I don’t really care about the study.  Guns are bad and should be done away with.

And that’s why you can’t argue with an ideologue.  Data is irrelevant.  Blind faith is everything.

Dems are troglodytes about women and self-defense, and they’re selling this as a virtue for the next election

Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s ham-handed, even troglodyte, advice for campus women worried about rape came as no surprise to me.  My experiences at UC Berkeley thirty-odd years ago left me fully prepared for this Leftist approach to females and true self-defense, an approach that hides both misogyny and an overriding fear for the men involved in a potentially dangerous situation.

Long-ago, when I attended Cal, my economic situation  — too poor to afford on-campus housing, too middle-class to get meaningful financial aid — meant that I lived at home and commuted.  This was not an ideal way to attend college.  I spent an awful lot of time in transit and I had a hard time maintaining a social life (something made harder by the fact that I worked my way through college).

A significant chunk of my transit time was devoted to finding all-day parking and then walking to and from that parking.  The closer one got to campus, the more limited the parking options were:  there was resident-only parking, 30-minute parking, 1-hour parking, 2-hour parking, etc.  Since my job and my classes kept me on campus all day, I usually ended up parking between a mile and a mile-and-a-half away from my classes.  The walk, although time-consuming was pleasant, although less so if I had a lot of books to carry or it was raining.

In my senior year, however, things changed, because there was a rash of rapes and assaults on women near campus.  I was less than thrilled when, during winter’s early, dark afternoons, I had to walk to my car alone.

Since many women around this same time were unhappy about walking to their dorms, apartments, and cars alone, the campus police instituted an “escort service.”  With this service in place, women could go to the campus police office and an authorized man (I don’t know if they were employees or volunteers), armed with a walkie-talkie, would walk them to their destinations.

I immediately availed myself of the service — only to discover that it wasn’t a service at all. The deal was that these escorts were not allowed to exceed a half-mile radius.  The reason given was that their walkie-talkies didn’t work outside of that radius, so it was unsafe for them to go further. You got that, right?  It was unsafe for the men to exceed a half-mile radius but presumably more safe for the women to continue on their own.

The nice escorts would stand at their little boundary to listen in case they heard your screaming.  Frankly, I really didn’t feel that this auditory aid amounted to much.  You see, the reality of this so-called “escort service” was that I was left on my own on Berkeley’s dark and unfriendly streets.

Given the program’s manifest inadequacies, I rather quickly abandoned the whole notion of applying to the campus police for aid in getting to my car.  Not only was it unhelpful, it actually increased my risk.  Since there were only a few escorts available at any given time, I had to hang around the office waiting and waiting, even as the skies grew darker and the streets scarier.

This experience at UC Berkeley was the first time I ran headlong into the Progressive’s devotion to lip service over actual service.  They made lots of noise, but they cared more about men than about women, and more about image than reality.

Those unpleasant evenings on campus, when I felt alone and defenseless, returned to me in living color when I heard about Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s bizarre advice to women facing a scary campus environment:

It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.

The gloss is that “he cares.”  The reality is that this ostensible “caring” is mere lip-service.  What Salazar carelessly let slip is the misogyny that underlies so much strident feminism (perfectly realized in this amalgam of this Koran and an anti-rape rally).  The Nanny state is built upon the elite’s belief that individuals cannot care for themselves, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the claim that women are incapable of recognizing danger or acting appropriate when they do recognize it.

Moreover, rather than worrying about high-risk women being hurt, Salazar is terribly worried that low-risk men will get hurt (“you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at”).  Here’s the deal Rep. Salazar:  the good guys, the men who don’t rape, don’t stalk women and they don’t interview women (“Hey, babe, can you tell me the time?  No?  Too bad.  You’re cute.  You know you’re cute, don’t you?”).  What they do is to keep a respectful distance and attitude.  Do that, and you won’t get “popped.”

In other words, Salazar is my UC experience all over again:  lip-service and misogyny, wrapped up in a package of making sure that the men are safe.

It’s not just Salazar, of course.  Looking at this much-publicized advice from University of Colorado.  Apparently awed by the abilities its bulimic students have shown over the years, the university advises women who are threatened to vomit on demand (emphasis mine):

  1. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.
  2. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.
  3. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them.
  4. Don’t take time to look back; just get away.
  5. If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.
  6. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.
  7. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.
  8. Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!
  9. Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.
  10. Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.

I especially like that first one:  “Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.”  With that advice in mind, ask yourself this:  Am I more likely to protect myself against a power-hungry predator who may be hopped up on drugs by doing this?

Or by doing this?

By the way, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Salazar’s going to be humiliated about this one.  Although the conservative blogosphere is pointing fingers, liberals who were outraged by Todd Akin’s stupid rape quote are perfectly fine with Salazar’s stupid and demeaning advice to women.

And why not?  They agree with it.  Moreover, their agreement matters because, just as the Dems used Akin and women to give Obama that last little push he needed to get into the White House, Dems are planning that same strategy with women and guns.  They’re already starting the “women who love their communities hate guns” trope, which we can expect to get worse with time.

Long-essays like mine are great at educating women about guns and warning conservatives about future gun attacks, right?  Oh, God no!  I wish.  In a short-attention span universe, I am a poison pill.  After the first paragraph, the average voter’s eyes are rolling back into her head, she’s reaching blindly for her TiVo clicker or her smart phone, and she’s totally tuned out.

The reality is that, in short-attention span America, we do not need long essays like mine.  I’m a pre-programmed essayist, though, and, sadly, I can’t seem to help myself.

What I’d love is to be more visual, so that I could create pithy posters or punchy videos that could easily be circulated on Twitter and Facebook, all of which drill home the same point:  guns make women safer, not less safe.

If you have photoshopped a poster that puts together gun statistics (such as these) in a clever, easy-to-see way, or you’ve created a video that does the same, let me know, and I’ll do my best to promote it.  Dems are already planning for the next election, so we need to as well.