I would say that the Brexit vote left me EUphoric, but that would be wrong. From now on, I’m just phoric. And for added phoria, some great political cartoons and a few just plain silly things:
Again, my apologies for a quiet day. Between finalizing some matters relating to my Mom’s estate, relatives in from out-of-town, and just a touch of existential despair about the news, I either didn’t have time or heart to blog today. I do however have wonderful posters. This illustrated edition is dedicated to the Second Amendment. I happen to think it’s the most important Amendment as a practical matter because, without it, American citizens have no way to ensure that the government respects any of the other Amendments:
Part of why Andrew Breitbart was such an explosive presence in the conservative community was because he fully appreciated that “Politics is downstream from culture.” People’s attitudes flow from the culture around them, rather than from the political platforms dragged out and speeches made every four years. That’s why I think it matters when a popular romance novelist writes books that dismiss PC-identity politics, recognize that there’s nothing wrong with young people working and struggling to get ahead, and actively promote guns (including concealed carry) as a way for women to stay safe.
Before introducing you to those novels, let me digress a bit to explain why romance novels matter when it comes to popular culture. Those who are not romance aficionados may be unaware that romance novels are the single biggest book category sold in America. Good times or bad, romance fans will scrape together the money to get their fix.
If you’re hoping to write a book that sells, take a gander at these statistics: By 2013, it was estimated that sales for romance novels would be around $1.08 billion, accounting for 13% of all adult fiction. Of that $1.08 billion in sales, 39% of romance novels are sold as e-books, with paperbacks coming in second at 32%. (In addition to cheaper prices, e-books have the lovely advantage of hiding the often tawdry covers that are attached to even the classiest books.) Those are some darn impressive numbers.
Romance novels come in all sizes and flavors. You can get short stories, novellas, stand-alone novels and, with increasing frequency, novels that ostensibly stand alone, but are actually part of a set. This means that Boy 1 and Girl 1 get together in Novel 1, but you’re also introduced to Girls 2, 3, and 4 (or maybe Boys 2, 3, and 4), with the promise that later novels will move these peripheral characters front and center, and show you how they too found romance.
If you happen to like a particular writer, you’ll willingly shell out money for the whole series. Moreover, publishers (whether self-publishers or publishing houses) have figured out that, if Novel 3 needs to be marketed, one of the best ways to do that is to offer the e-version of Novel 1 for free and Novel 2 at a discount. Once hooked, and desperate to know what happened to “all the other characters in the book,” your customer will willingly pay full price for Novel 3 and for all subsequent sequels, assuming the author is able to keep the writing fresh and interesting.
Fresh and interesting count for a lot in Romance Novel Land. The reality is that all the novels are fundamentally identical: boy meets girl, boy and girl go through travails, boy and girl end up happily ever after. The freshness and interest come in devising a meeting and putting them through the travails.
As an author, you have to begin by selecting your romance genre, of course. The major categories are Contemporary and Historic. Within those two overarching classifications, though, there are endless subsets: Suspense, Regency, Pirate, Western, Military, Scottish, British, Americana, Futurist, Murder Mystery, BDSM, Gay/Lesbian, Billionaire, Millionaire, Ditzy Heroine, Hard Boiled Heroine, Accomplished Heroine, Dead Heroine, Haunted Heroine, Psychic, Witty Plot, Emotional Plot, and on and on and on and on and on. . . . Moreover, you also have to figure out whether, when it comes to sex, your book will be “sweet” (something my friend Judith Lown does so well), frisky, or “I wouldn’t let my teenage daughter read that.”
After you’ve figured out your genre and subgenre, well, then it’s all up to you as a writer. I’ve tried more than once to write a romance novel, but I just can’t do it. I don’t have the knack. For the foreseeable future, I’ll stick to political and social commentary, not that I’m complaining about that today, mind you, given my “serious brainpower.” (Doug Ross, incidentally, is my new and forever favorite person.)
Because I’ve found it impossible to write a romance myself, I’m always impressed by those writers who do it, and do it well. Some of the really well-established writers are Georgette Heyer, the grand dame of sparkling, witty, charming, delightful Regency romances; Linda Howard, who specializes in strong women loved by even stronger men; Lisa Kleypas, who writes good mid-19th century British historicals, and truly excellent contemporary novels (my favorite is this one); and Jayne Ann Krentz, aka Amanda Quick, whose prodigious output includes historicals, contemporaries, and futuristic, all of which involve accomplished women and slightly buttoned-down, but highly complementary men who fall in love while solving crimes.
Those are just the authors who pop easily into my mind. With romance novels having been hot sellers since Jane Austen, the list of authors is staggering and, thanks to e-books, growing by the minute.
Oh, and there’s one more author — the one who actually gave rise to this post: Rosalind James. Remember how I said earlier that one of the best marketing devices is, when e-novel 2 is published for full price, to entice people by marketing e-novel 1 for free? That’s how I stumbled across Rosalind James. When Book 2 in her eight (going on nine) book series about New Zealand rugby players was published, her first book — Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand Book 1) (which is still being sold at a low 99 cents) — was suddenly offered for free. I can never resist free books that might entertain me, so I gave it a spin. I liked it, and I started looking for James’ books.
In addition to the New Zealand books, some of which are better than others, but all of which are at least somewhat enjoyable, James has written two other series: One is about three siblings, the Kincaids; and the other, most recent series, is about life in Paradise, Idaho. Two of those books contain some pleasant surprises. The first surprise comes in Welcome to Paradise: A Western Reality Show Romance (The Kincaids Book 1), which as of this writing is being offered for free; and the second is in Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho).
The premise in Welcome to Paradise is that the contestants are living as if they’re 1885 homesteaders in the Midwest. They show up in pairs (siblings, parent/child, married couples, unmarried couples, Hollywood bimbos) and the girl from the unmarried couple finds love with one of the male siblings. The book works well at many levels. The main characters are likable, the secondary characters are surprisingly well-developed, the historical details are delightfully accurate, and, aside from the inevitable “boy gets girl,” the plot is original and interesting.
What really revved my engine about the book though, is how strongly it comes out in favor of traditional values. The competitors are “diverse” (white, black, Hispanic, Jewish, gay), etc., but James actively resists allowing her characters to mouth PC pieties. That’s how readers get a bit of interesting dialog when James introduces Stanley and Calvin, black father/son duo:
“My son Calvin,” Stanley said, gesturing to a smaller, much leaner version of himself standing nearby, his expression less amiable than his father’s.
“The token Black men,” Calvin said. “It’s just us and the Latinas, I guess.” He nodded to two women talking to an older couple nearby. “Minority Number Two.”
“You think the four of us are the only people of color who applied?” his father asked. “And yet they selected us, us four individuals. Nobody’s asking you to represent your race, just like nobody’s asking Mira here to represent hers.”
“Pop,” Calvin sighed. “You don’t really believe that.”
“That’s how I choose to look at my time here,” his father corrected him. “I can’t be fussing about what anyone else thinks.”
(James, Rosalind (2013-04-11). Welcome to Paradise (The Kincaids) (Kindle Locations 309-316).)
Stanley also turns out to be a former Marine, as well as an all-around good guy. Score one for James.
James also earns big points from me because she really doesn’t like the academic crowd. She has nothing but disdain for her two crunchy organic types, Martin, an anthropology professor in Boston, and his wife Arlene, a textile designer. James has a very good ear for how this type sounds:
“Martin Deveraux,” the man, thin and fortyish, said.
“And Arlene Filippi,” the heavier dark-haired woman next to him cut in. “We’re from Boston,” she went on. “We’re keenly interested in the negative impact that modern technology has on personal relationships and family dynamics. In fact, we’ve set up our own home as a technology-free zone, and we try to keep our children’s life simple too. No TV, no video games, no iPods,” she said proudly. “When we heard about this show, we felt it was the perfect chance to truly experience life as our great-grandparents lived it, and to model that simpler lifestyle for the rest of the country.”
(James, Rosalind (2013-04-11). Welcome to Paradise (The Kincaids) (Kindle Locations 358-363).)
When Stanley chastises his son, Calvin, for using crude language in front of the women, he and Marin have a polite discussion about the way a man should treat women respectfully. James leaves no doubt that she sides with Stanley on this one:
“I learned why they call cowboy boots shitkickers,” Calvin grimaced, prompting a rueful laugh from every man but his father.
“Language,” he growled in his deep rumble. “Ladies.”
“We’ve heard the word,” Arlene protested. “It won’t burn our tender ears.”
“Calvin would never have said that word in front of his mama,” Stanley countered, “and you wouldn’t want her to hear you say it now, would you, son?”
“No,” he muttered. “Sorry.”
“You don’t feel that kind of double standard is really another way of infantilizing women, part of the patriarchal belief system that’s kept them from full participation in society?” Martin asked, seeming genuinely interested.
Stanley looked at him in amusement.
“No, I surely don’t. I’d like to have heard you call Calvin’s mama infantile, or try to keep her from participating. Where I’m from, you don’t use that kind of language in mixed company, that’s all.”
(James, Rosalind (2013-04-11). Welcome to Paradise (The Kincaids) (Kindle Locations 637-646).)
Welcome to Paradise also stands out because James seemingly has no problem with guns. On guns, Martin and Arlene, again, are the voices of academia and elitism and, again, are politely disabused of their Ivory Tower notions. This bit of dialog takes place when the contestants assemble to learn basic gun handling:
“Can I just say something?” Arlene interjected.
“Go right ahead,” John [the instructor] said resignedly.
“Martin and I would prefer to sit this out. We’re pacifists, and we’re not comfortable handling a weapon. We wouldn’t shoot anything anyway, so there’s no point in our learning.”
“You planning on telling ol’ Mama Grizz you’re a pacifist, when she comes for you?” John asked. “Or when a pack of wolves shows up? You can call yourself anything you like. They’ll just be calling you dinner.”
“Bear attacks are extremely rare,” Martin snapped. “And there’s never been a documented case of a wolf attacking a human in the United States. I read up on it before we came.”
“Have the bears and wolves signed your mutual nonaggression treaty?” Kevin [the gay man] asked innocently. “And what about livestock? Have wolves been given a bad rap on that too? Or do your rules of interspecies harmony require us to share our cattle with them?”
(James, Rosalind (2013-04-11). Welcome to Paradise (The Kincaids) (Kindle Locations 866-874).)
Now, it’s entirely possible that James wrote about guns as she did because she was aiming for historical verisimilitude. After all, the real pioneers in 1885 couldn’t haven’t managed without their guns, so the show would necessarily have to use guns no matter how distasteful that could be to modern sensibilities. After all, disarmed vegans had a short life span when it came to homesteading. However, between Arlene’s and Martin’s pedantic, judgmental opposition to guns, and Kevin’s funny, logical reply, I came away from Welcome to Paradise, feeling that James is okay with guns.
Any doubts I had about James’ support for the Second Amendment were ended when I read Carry Me Home. Prof. Zoe Santangelo, the heroine, is a hydrogeologist who ends up being stalked by a rapist. Her love interest is Cal, a former pro football player and farmer. The setting is a small college town in Idaho.
I was less than thrilled when James’ moved her plot forward by repeating at some length the canard that every one out of four or five young women on a college campus can expect to be sexually assaulted. After all, if this were true, no parent in his or her right mind would ever send a daughter to college. I forgave James entirely, though, when she wrote the following passage, which takes place as Amy, a young woman attacked by the rapist, Zoe, and Cal are entering the campus police station:
“Personal Weapons: Secure Storage,” Dr. Santangelo read aloud from the sign over the door to the right of the reception desk. “Does that mean the officers’ personal weapons, or . . . what?” She watched a guy head out of the room, dropping a handgun into his backpack, a uniformed officer locking the door behind him. “Or . . . something else?”
“Oh,” Amy explained, “you’re supposed to turn in your guns for the day while you’re on campus. But I didn’t,” she whispered.
“What?” Dr. Santangelo stared at her.
“I shouldn’t say. Not here. But my dad said to keep it with me all the time.” She shifted her backpack on her shoulder, and now Dr. Santangelo was staring at that, as if she’d never heard of anybody carrying a gun before.
“He was right, too,” Cal said. “You listen to your dad. Make you feel a whole lot better. If he comes anywhere near you, you pull that thing out first and ask questions later.”
“Wait. What?” Dr. Santangelo demanded.
“I told my dad I was supposed to lock it up,” Amy said, “but he said if I never needed it, nobody would ever know I hadn’t. And if I did . . . well, that would be the least of anybody’s worries, that I was carrying.”
“Carrying,” Dr. Santangelo said faintly. “Sounds like some . . . movie.”
“Nope,” Cal said. “Just sounds like Idaho. Figure everybody’s carrying, and you won’t be too far off.”
“Do you know how to use it, though?” Dr. Santangelo asked Amy. “Otherwise, isn’t that really dangerous? I’ve always heard that a gun is dangerous because your attacker can use it against you.”
“Only if he’s not dead,” Cal said, which was pretty much what Amy’s dad would have said.
“Of course I do,” Amy said. “You’re right. It doesn’t do you much good if you don’t.”
“It’s like a whole new world,” Dr. Santangelo said.
(James, Rosalind (2015-06-16). Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho) (pp. 142-143). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.)
Nor is that the last James has to say on the subject. Later, Zoe and Cal rendezvous with Jim, the sheriff, at the home of Cal’s parents to discuss the stalker/rapist problem. Both Jim and Cal’s father, Stan, have something to say on the subject too:
Jim shoved the notebook back into his pocket and pushed back from the table, the others rising with him. “I sure hope this Amy has something more than a bat next to her bed now. This mutt sounds like real bad news.”
“She said that she . . .” Wait. Should she [Zoe] say? It was against the rules, Amy had told her.
“Be surprised if she didn’t,” Stan put in. “Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson make a pretty powerful argument. If she were my daughter? You bet she would. No way she’d be back here [on campus] otherwise.”
(James, Rosalind (2015-06-16). Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho) (p. 181). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.)
Bravo, Ms. James, for instructing your readers about the real world, and about the fact that, especially for women, guns are the great equalizer.
What’s really interesting about Ms. James’ stance on guns, political correctness, and the true way to respect women is that she’s based in Berkeley, California. I have a hard enough time in Marin County being a conservative. How in the world does James survive with those views?
I’ve written before about romance novelists who have strong pro-Second Amendment themes in their books. Given romances’ popularity, and the fact that politics flows downstream from culture, I think it’s incredibly important that we conservatives support those authors who tactfully, but strongly, use the most popular genre in America to stand up against Leftist gun-grabbing misinformation.
So, if you’re in the mood for some romance during these short winter days, think about buy a Rosalind James or Linda Howard book. Or check out Lisa Kleypas’s Smooth Talking Stranger, whose male romantic lead is an unabashedly old-fashioned guy who loves to go out hunting.
(If you do find yourself heading over to Amazon to check out one of those books, or to buy anything else for that matter, please consider using one of the links on this page to get to Amazon. If you do that, and if you make a purchase, a penny or two of that purchase ends up in my money jar.)
San Bernardino shooting.
I’m still not going to start discussing the “meaning” of the San Bernardino shooting. I’ll just list the dots:
1. 14 people were slaughtered in a shooting in San Bernardino yesterday, with another 17 wounded.
2. The two shooters were Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27.
3. Farook was born in the U.S.
4. Malik was born in Pakistan, but most recently lived in Saudi Arabia before coming to the U.S.
5. Farook’s father identified him as a devout Muslim.
6. Farook attended the party that he and Malik later attacked, and left after a dispute.
7. Farook and Malik returned to the party a short time later, heavily armed.
8. Heavily armed means: They were armed with .223-caliber assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns, at least two of which were purchased legally. I read somewhere (and can’t remember where), that the quality of the firing indicated that some or all of the weapons were functioning on fully automatic mode.
9. Farook and Malik were also heavily protected, wearing full body armor and GoPros to capture the carnage.
10. Farook and Malik also brought three bombs to the shooting site.
11. Initial reports of Farook’s and Malik’s home indicates that it was a bomb factory, complete with IEDs and remote-controlled cars. In other words, while a fight may have triggered the slaughter yesterday, Farook and Malik had long been preparing for something big.
12. A neighbor knew something whacked out was taking place in Farook’s and Malik’s home, but did not report it for fear of being seen as racist.
13. Although the shooting is technically purely a local matter, the FBI immediately became involved in the crime scene.
14. The media continues to be mystified by the shooting.
15. Obama has identified the culprit: The Second Amendment
16. The media has fallen in line with Obama and, while mystified by the shooters’ motive, are demanding gun control laws that would have done nothing to stop Farook and Malik.
Those are the dots. You may connect them any way you wish. Also, feel free to leave additional dots — i.e., facts only, no speculation — in the comments.
America’s Obama malaise
Jimmy Carter was rightly reviled for leading into his own re-election campaign by saying that the country he’d been governing for three plus years was suffering from “malaise.” That’s not an inspiring incumbent campaign slogan. However, it might be exactly the right one-word eulogy for America today.
“Malaise” is an interesting word. The online etymology dictionary’s entry on the words origin reveals how the word describes a deep feeling of things being terribly wrong:
c.1300, maleise “pain, suffering; sorrow, anxiety,” also, by late 14c., “disease, sickness,” from Old French malaise “difficulty, suffering, hardship,” literally “ill-ease,” from mal “bad” (see mal- ) + aise “ease” (see ease (n.)). The current use is perhaps a mid-18c. reborrowing from Modern French. A Middle English verbal form, malasen “to trouble, distress” (mid-15c.), from Old French malaisier, did not endure.
I thought of the word “malaise” in connection with Obama’s presidency when I read Daniel Henninger’s WSJ opinion piece today, pointing out that Obama will not be leaving the country in bad shape; he’s leaving the country in appalling shape:
Whatever Mr. Obama promised in that famous first Inaugural Address, any sense of a nation united and raised up is gone. This isn’t normal second-term blues. It’s a sense of bust.
The formal measure of all this appeared last week with the release of the Pew Research poll, whose headline message is that trust in government is kaput. Forget the old joke about the government coming to “help.” There’s a darker version now: We’re the government, and we’re here to screw you.
In a normal presidential transition year, voters would be excited at the mere prospect of new leadership. Instead, the American people are grasping for straw men.
Liberals think the right is gloating at Mr. Obama’s end-of-term difficulties. No one is gloating. The nation is either furious (the right) or depressed (the left) at eight wasted, wheel-spinning years whose main achievement is ObamaCare—a morass.
Mr. Obama will go off to do something else, but he leaves behind a country littered with public and private institutions in disrepute. Whatever the cumulative causes for this, a president bears responsibility for maintaining some bedrock level of respect for institutions that are the necessary machinery of the nation’s daily life.
The New York Times trains its guns on Cruz
You know Ted Cruz is gaining traction when the New York Times trains its guns (rhetorical ones, of course) on him. This time, it’s an article by Frank Bruni, theater critic turned political pundit, and one of the hardest Left of the Left at the NYT. I don’t feel like dignifying the article with a link. Bruni’s shtick is that Cruz is unfit to be president because many in Congress dislike him. He’s “divisive.” He can’t work with people. To which I say Bullshit. (And yes, my feelings are running high if I swear.)
We already know that Ted Cruz works just fine with people. The problem for Ted in the Senate was that he had two choices: abandon his conservative principles upon being elected in order to be popular with the RINOs and Democrats; or stick to his principles, demand that Republicans live up to their campaign promises, and accept being reviled by the spineless congressional Republicans. He chose the latter path. No wonder the NYTs fears him.
If the Left wants a militia, let’s give them a militia
The Left insists that the only way that anyone in the US can have guns is if there is a well-regulated militia. (Never mind that it’s apparent from historic records that the Founders meant that all citizens should have ready access to arms so that, if a threat arose from within or outside of the U.S., they could quickly turn themselves into a citizen army — precisely as they did to counter British tyranny.) But let’s assume the Left is right. Steven Hayward suggests that we call the Left’s bluff:
The “militia” at the time of the Constitution was generally regarded as every able-bodied adult male. Since we cannot have police or even private security at every location where a terrorist or mentally ill person might turn up, how about we start a program encouraging Americans to sign up in large numbers to be state militia members, involving a short course in gun safety and threat assessment. Then instead of having signs at schools and malls and elsewhere declaring a “Gun Free Zone,” we’d have signs saying “This facility protected by state militia members.” We’ve already gone a small step in this direction with the decision, several years ago, to allow airline pilots to carry their own firearms in the cockpit.
Yes, yes, I know: we already have a “militia” after a fashion in states with concealed-carry permits, and gun safety programs are what the NRA is all about. (Incidentally—has there been a single instance yet of a mass shooting by an NRA member? I’m not aware of one. Yet yesterday Martin O’Malley went out of his way to suggest the San Bernardino shooting was the NRA’s fault.) But why not make this a formal part of our national counter-terrorism policy, so that the kind of attack that happened at the Paris music hall two weeks ago would be impossible here?
That sounds like a clever idea to me. What do you think?
Last night, I saw the new James Bond movie, Spectre. I enjoyed it, although I must admit that it lagged in places. The fight and chase scenes, however, were spectacular, and they went a long way to make up for the slow parts. I’ve also come to like Daniel Craig’s Bond. I didn’t at first — Craig is a funny looking guy, despite those amazing blue eyes — but I’ve come to enjoy his tightly-coiled, muscled Bond, which is much closer to the character in the original books than the other Bond actors have been.
Daniel Craig and the fight/chase scenes notwithstanding, Andrew Klavan observed correctly that the movie fails at a very fundamental level because it doesn’t reflect real-world concerns:
But more than that, as with last summer’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (a much better movie) — and with the last three Star Wars flicks (much worse), Spectre suffers as a result of the deterioration of American values since the original source material was made.
The Bond of Dr. No, like the Ethan Hunt of the original MI TV series, like the Luke Skywalker of the first Star Wars trilogy, knew what he was fighting for and what he was fighting against. The story — all those stories — took place with the presence of the Soviet Union and Red China in every viewer’s mind. We knew they were slave states who wished to impose their brand of slavery — called communism then, progressivism now — on the entire world. We knew we needed brave men and strong ideas to defeat them.
Where oh where could we find such villains today? Who holds to a slave philosophy now? Who wants to impose that philosophy on the rest of us? Why are they evil? Why should we oppose them?
The answers are 1. In the Middle East; 2. Islamists; 3. Also Islamists; 4. Because individual liberty is an objective good; and 5. Because if good men don’t fight evil, evil wins.
The people who make these movies live in a haze of such intellectual dishonesty that they have forgotten, or chosen to ignore, these answers. They aren’t honest so they can’t write honest plots. Their villains have no motives and their master plans are confusing where they’re not just laughable. Their heroes are merely an assemblage of characteristics from an earlier age: empty images that move and talk a certain way but have no virtue and so no power to thrill. They are, so to speak, merely spectres of their former selves.
I think, though, Klavan missed one very real issue that the movie did address, and that’s the fact that our governments spy on us constantly. This is especially true in England, which has more cameras per citizen, I believe, than any other First World country. George Orwell would not be pleased. Given the English setting, it’s not surprising that a strong theme in the movie is a technocrat’s efforts to create a massive, worldwide information database drawn from all cameras and telephone calls trained on every individual. It may not be Islamists, but it’s a problem, so the movie isn’t completely in la-la land by recognizing it. (For those who like exotic locales, England’s not the only place the movie shows. It travels the world, with an especially strong opening sequence set in Mexico City.)
The other thing I liked about the movie — and I won’t develop on too much lest I give away a few fun plot points — is that the movie is like an NRA advertisement. Bad guys have guns and the only way to deal with them is when the good guys have guns. Indeed, there are two scenes in which guns are front and center. In one it’s made clear that, even if one doesn’t like guns, they serve a useful and necessary purpose. In another scene, it’s made just as clear that the mere fact that someone has a gun doesn’t mean that the person will use it. Guns are tools. Whether they are safe or dangerous depends on the user, not the tool.
For current events, Spectre gets (as Andrew Klavan said) a “B.” For gun rights, though, I give the movie a strong “A.”
Having said that, I feel obligated to point out that France, which has expended a great deal of energy trying to appease the Muslim crocodile (including trying to undermine Israel at every turn and punting on a moral nation’s obligation to protect its Jewish population) failed as signally at appeasement as Churchill implied would happen to all appeasers.
I was speaking to a friend who said that the Paris attack would almost certainly improve Marine Le Pen’s political prospects. Although she’s a socialist through and through, she at least understands that the medieval strain of Islam is France’s enemy, just as it is the enemy of all civilized nations. Thinking about Le Pen, I realized that we have a Le Pen too: Donald Trump.
Unlike a true conservative who believes in individual liberty, which can only be achieved through limited government, Trump, a former Democrat, is a Big Government guy in both theory and practice. And like Le Pen, the only thing that really distinguishes Trump from any other statist political figure is that he too is hostile to immigrants. They are both xenophobic nationalists. Neither is a true conservative.
As it happens, I support Trump’s hard-line stance on illegal immigration. As it happens, my favorite candidate, Ted Cruz, is also a hardliner on immigration but — and this is why I like him so much — he’s also a true individual liberties kind of guy, one who believes federal government should fulfill limited functions that happen to include strong border and national security.
And of course, let me be one of many to comment that, last I heard, Obama still can’t make himself choke out the words Islam or Muslim.
Closer to home, I’m getting the feeling that the Mini Maos who have taken over America’s colleges and universities might have finally broken through the wall of ignorance behind which middle class parents have been hiding when it comes to the Leftist insanity they’re funding. I had three Progressive friends ask me today (because they know I follow the news fanatically) what the heck is going on. I was happy to explain.
Indeed, I’m wondering if today won’t be an inflection point — a “come to Jesus moment,” if you will — when mindless liberals finally realize that conservatives are not racist, censorial fascists, but have, instead, been the tocsin desperately shouting out a warning about the dangers of fascism at home and Islamism both at home and abroad. Certainly, every Progressive with even a few functioning brain cells should ask him or herself if things in Paris would have been different if the Parisians had concealed-carry. And those who have been watching events in Israel must surely have noticed by now that the best defense against a terrorist with a knife is a gun.
This is the first day in two weeks where I haven’t been (a) taking someone to a doctor or (b) frantically trying to beat some insanely urgent legal filing deadline. I’ve celebrated this wonderful day by (a) practically sterilizing the room of an unwelcome house guest who left a surprising amount of chaos and filth in his wake and (b) trying to catch up on my blogging. I’ve already done the long post about our very small window of time within which to ward off tyranny. Now comes the catch-all post, with interesting articles I’ve snagged over the past few days.
Guns aren’t the problem
All the bleeding hearts on my Facebook feed are at it again, chiming in with President Obama to say that killings will magically stop when guns are equally magically gone. We know from the evidence of other nations and our own cities that the gun genie is already out of the bottle. The only thing that happens when government uses its might to ban guns is that honest people are rendered helpless while criminals and government (but I repeat myself) have unlimited, unstoppable power. Anyway, here are a few common sense link about guns:
I’m sorry for the long silence, but to quote Granny Clampett, “I was just plumb tuckered out.” Between escalating work demands and the usual family demands, I haven’t had either spare energy or spare time. It was only two days ago that I stopped being in denial and accepted that, for the time being at least, I have a 3/4 time legal job that requires a heightened level of commitment and organization. (Incidentally, I’ve found that, for managing large projects, Microsoft’s One Note, when combined with a good calendaring program, is very helpful.) I still intend to blog, but I just need to buff up my time management skills a bit.
And that’s it for the excuses. On to the post itself:
It’s not such a wonderful life
Victor Davis Hanson has scored another home run with his post examining at Obama’s new world order as another Pottersville:
When you vote for an incumbent you are perpetuating our government as it is now. Nothing will change.
These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:
1.) We are advised NOT to judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.
Funny how that works. And here’s another one worth considering.
2.) Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money.
How come we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t.
Think about it….. Last but not least:
3.) Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping payments to illegal aliens such as monthly payments for each child, money for housing, food stamps, free education including college and also the right to vote?
Am I the only one missing something?
We know about the history and we know about the logic. In his usual impeccable way, Bill Whittle now explains about the grammar:
There’s a study out saying that owning a dog will make you look 10 years younger. I’ve got two dogs. Does that mean I look 20 years younger? I doubt it, but I know that owning dogs makes me at least 20 years happier than the next person. 😉
** 1 **
We’ve long suspected that Washington, D.C. is so disengaged from the rest of America as to be a separate country. The TSA has now made that suspicion official: at least one of its agents refused to recognize a D.C. driver’s license.
** 2 **
Even as Hamas places its weapons caches and launchers in schools and hospitals, and tells its citizens to ignore the fliers that Israel sends out before bombing a terrorist location, this is what the Israeli Defense Forces do:
An Israeli women shared this online saying that on her way back home she heard the rocket sirens while sitting in her car. When she got out, soldiers from an IDF vehicle nearby gathered around the woman’s son and protected him with their own bodies.
This is the true face of the Israel Defense Forces – protecting and preserving life.
** 3 **
Hillel Neuer has put together a very simple test so that you can determine whether you’re truly interested in human rights or, instead, are just a garden-variety anti-Semite (or, as Neuer more politely phrases it “anti-Israel”).
I think Obama falls in the second category:
** 4 **
My Watcher’s Council comrade-in-arms, Snoopy the Goon, writes from the front lines in Israel, where the bombs are falling. It seems as if Israelis are finally saying “Enough! We must fight to win, not just to give Hamas time to re-arm.”
Snoopy also caught what may be the most blatantly, stupidly anti-Israel headline the British Guardian newspaper has ever published. It’s as if the Guardian was trying to out do Dry Bones without understanding that Dry Bones is satire:
** 5 **
The world has become very surreal when you find yourself periodically nodding in agreement with an Egyptian talk show host’s assessment of Hamas:
** 6 **
My sister and I got around to talking about the changing nature of sex and sex crimes on college campuses. It used to be that boys and girls lived in separate facilities, their events were chaperoned, nice girls didn’t drink, and nice boys didn’t get drunk around nice girls. Now, they share bathrooms and shower stalls (go to 2:20 in this video, for example), sleep in the same rooms, get blotto drunk at parties, and hook up with just anybody. Then, when a girl has Sunday morning regrets after a drunken debauch on Saturday night, it’s the boy who gets in trouble (or maybe the boys). As the mother of a future male college student, I think this stinks.
In criminal law, a person’s drunkenness doesn’t excuse bad acts. That is, you can’t say “I didn’t have the proper criminal intent because I was drunk.” If you freely drank yourself to drunkenness, that decision to leave your rational mind behind is itself evidence of criminal intent.
I think that same standard should apply to women who willingly drink to the point of incoherence, only to discover later that they slept with someone they didn’t like or, worse, that a bunch of equally drunk (although presumably still functional) guys had sex with her while she was unconscious. They should all be kicked off of campus, the whole drunken lot of them, rather than treating the woman as the victim and the men as the criminals. Once you start ejecting all of them, I bet the campus drinking culture will dry up pretty quickly.
But the campus is what it is now, which led me to say, half-jokingly, to my sister, “God help me, but I feel my son would be safer at college if I told him ‘If you need to have sex, invest in condoms and go to a high-priced hooker. At least she probably won’t scream rape the next day.'” I’m exaggerating, of course, because I find prostitution inherently demeaning and exploitative. Moreover, if the FBI has its way, prostitution will also be more dangerous than it needs to be.
** 7 **
Rolling Stone has uploaded a post identifying “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.” The post itself is too stupid to click through. What makes it worthwhile are the comments. Here’s a sampling:
I can play the headline/no substance game too.
Top 5 Most dangerous Bears to watch out for this Summer
1.) Bears with teeth
2.) Bears with claws
3.) Large bears
4.) Small bears
5.) Medium sized bears
“Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock.”
Oh man this sentence was hysterical. It seriously doesn’t even make sense. Popular among handgun owners? They are handguns! Build in barrel? The barrels are removable, but I don’t even think that’s what you’re referring to. Short stock? Pistols don’t have a stock. If you were talking about cars, it would litterally read, “Popular among automobile owners, cars are defined by their built-in tires and short flatbeds.”
Ignorance is required to write something this glaringly stupid.
maybe you can do and article on the 3 most dangerous dog breeds.
Really…The article can simply be summed up with one sentence:
“Kristen Gwynne thinks guns are icky, because potato”
I’m glad to see Rolling Stone is hiring special needs writers.
I could do this for hours. Tons of the 1000+ comments are brilliant.
** 8 **
We’ve talked for years about the “hate speech” laws in England which are, instead, censorship laws. Those laws are moving to America. In Maryland, graffiti opposing illegal immigrants (without ever mentioning race) is being investigated as hate speech. I consider graffiti vandalism, but this is not a hate crime.
** 9 **
Obama’s love-affair with himself is escalating. He is the hero in his own drama, with Americans alternating playing the roles of villainous foils or adoring fans. Ron Fournier suggests that this self-aggrandizing pose is unpresidential.
** 10 **
Aside from the occasional maudlin, belligerent forays into self-love or subject-specific Republican-hate, when it comes to Obama’s speeches, when you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all :
** 11 **
The Obama administration has tried to claim that the refugee crisis on our Southern border is because of some vague, inchoate violence somewhere down south there in that far-away Latin American place. This surprisingly indescribable, unspecifiable violence is apparently so bad that these children have to trek through several Latin American countries, all the way to Texas, in order to escape it. That’s what the administration says. Will you be surprised to learn that this is untrue?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And remember, even with the IRS, where there’s life, there’s laughter, this time courtesy of plaintiffs suing the IRS:
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:
Surprisingly enough, on the subject of Hobby Lobby, a writer for The Atlantic tells the Left to cool the hysteria.
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.
Guns are good. Keeping guns away from kids is also good. And this is a clever, slightly risque ad to make that point:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
(Thanks to Sadie, Earl, Caped Crusader, and Danny Lemieux, all of whom contributed in some way to this post.)