The Bookworm Beat (10/15/14) — Looking for the Apocalypse edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingSorry for the downer title, but the news is anything but good, wherever one looks. At the home front we’ve had flat tires, broken bones, and dead phones. (The broken bone belongs to my exchange student, who is disappointed, but not too terribly damaged, thank goodness.)  The past few day’s headlines haven’t done anything to cheer me up, either.

Because I like to share, I’m passing my temporary existential despair on to all of you. And just to make you feel a little worse, let me add that our current administration, rather than trying to pull the rip-cord on the parachute so that we don’t hit bottom, is instead trying to cut the parachute’s suspension lines.

How bad is Obama? So bad that even Democrats view him as toxic

Republicans didn’t run away from Bush until 2008. Here it is, only 2014, and Democrats are treating Obama as if he’s radioactive. (The link is to a Wall Street Journal article. If you can’t read the article, try googling the title for an accessible link.)

Michael Dolan explains how Obama got what he wanted: A partnership with Iran

Obama came into office promising to work with Iran. It turns out that, as is true of all the promises he made that were deleterious to America’s well-being , he kept this one. (It’s a useful yardstick, incidentally: Promises about things that will help Americans? Obama breaks. Promises about things that will hurt Americans, America, and America’s allies? Obama keeps.)

Michael Dolan, who is a senior fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and was both a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council, has been looking at Obama’s conduct since ISIS appeared on the scene and figured out Obama’s game-plan: Obama is using ISIS as a way to partner with Iran.

Obama is engaging in this de facto partnership with Iran, even though, as Dolan also explains, doing so allows Iran to go nuclear. A nuclear Iran destroys any balance of power in the region, not to mention threatening Israel and Europe. Moreover, it’s worth remembering that as a Shia state, Iran doesn’t just believe in the apocalypse, it believes that it has a mission from Allah to bring about the Apocalypse itself. (In this, Iran is quite distinct from Christians who believe in an Apocalypse, but who dread it and do nothing to cause it.)  There’s nothing like a nuclear bomb to get a little Apocalypsing started.

To go on, Obama partners with Iran even though it means turning our backs on the Saudis who, while horribly rotten, are less horribly rotten than Iran and have been our allies for a long time. He does even though partnering with the mullahs is a slap in the face to those Iranians who are yearning to breathe at least a little more free (just as Obama ignored them during their attempted Green revolution). He does even though Iran has been funding the worst kind of terrorism — much of it aimed at America — for decades. And he does this even though Iran has made it clear that it still has as its goal the destruction of Israel and America, and the establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate.

Obama is Iran’s useful idiot, helping it to make sure that any caliphate the emerges isn’t Sunni and ISIS-controlled, but is instead Shia and Iran-controlled. Put another way, Obama isn’t just another Leftist ideologue; he’s a truly evil man who affirmatively seeks out the devil as a dancing partner.

Media ghasties and ghoulies

If you want to get your scare on before Halloween, watch Andrea Mitchell trying to save Abortion Barbie from her tasteless, desperate, sleazy attacks in Texas on Greg Abbott. You know what I was thinking when I watched that? I was thinking “Mommy, make those mean, scary ladies go away!”

The New York Times uses Britain’s embrace of Hamas as a reason to chastise Israel

When does a media outlet cross over from being partisan and become evil? I actually think the New York Times just rolled across that line with its latest editorial about Israel.

As you may recall, the British Parliament voted endorsing the idea of recognizing a Palestinian state. A media outlet with a decent moral compass would have attacked England for supporting a “state” that has nothing state-like about it: It’s government is run like a mafia institution, it has no economy and no infrastructure, and its idea of “human rights” is to deny women, Jews, Christians, and homosexuals status as humans. Anyone of common decency would recognize that it is a disgusting reflection on modern England that its Parliament would side with a grotesque, corrupt, tyranny with only murder on its mind.

But the Times knows who the bad guy is in this case and it’s Israel — for daring to build more Jewish homes in historically Jewish neighborhoods. Or as the Times editorial board puts it:

The vote is one more sign of the frustration many people in Europe feel about the failure to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement despite years of promises.

Funnily enough, the editorial makes no mention of the fact that the Palestinians have contributed exactly nothing to peace talks, negotiations, and compromise. In Times-land, this one is all on the Jews.

I used to say that the Times was good only for lining bird cages. It’s dropped in my estimation. It might, just might, be useful as a repository for the blood, vomit, and diarrhea of an Ebola patient, but I suspect it would perform even that most basic waste-collection function badly.

The New York Times also brings its evilness to the subject of chemical weapons in Iraq

When the Iraq War was Bush’s war, the New York Times led the charge of those claiming that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction. Now, without even a blink at its volte face, it’s leading the charge to claim that Bush is evil because he exposed American troops to Saddam Hussein’s store of chemical weapons — i.e., weapons of mass destruction — in Iraq.

I’m not letting the Times perfidy blind me to the fact that American troops have suffered because the Bush Pentagon left them ill-prepared to come across WMDS. After all, if you’re claiming a war to wipe out WMDs, you should probably have systems in place to protect your troops. The Pentagon’s failings, though, don’t make me any less disgusted with the Times.

Let me count the ways in which the Democrat party is the party of death

Democrats may get all teary eyed when cold-blooded murderers meet their makers in a gas chamber after due process, but they’re pretty cavalier about most other deaths. They don’t mind a steely-eyed Obama sending drones to attack Pakistani and Yemenite civilians. They’re okay with grandma being sidelined by the Obama death panel. They assume that the vets who died on the VA’s watch were probably baby killers.  They’re copacetic with suicide if life is just too tough.

Oh, and one more thing:  abortion is empowering. Not just a necessary evil, which is an argument many Americans might support, but empowering and a “social good.” I’m betting that’s exactly the way Heinrich Himmler felt when he organized the Holocaust.

If you ever wondered why knowing geography matters….

Marin General Hospital had an Ebola scare because its staff confused the Middle East with West Africa. The country’s in the very best of hands….

Pigs are flying because I agree with Paul Krugman

Don’t worry, I don’t agree with Krugman about anything substantive. I do, however, think he’s correct when he says “Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, he is a consequential president.”

Where Krugman and I part ways is that Krugman thinks Obama is consequential in a good way, whereas I think Obama’ss consequential status relates to the fact that he’s inflicted such terrible damage on our once-thriving capitalist, constitutional, sovereign nation that we may take decades to recover, assuming we ever can. There’s no saying, after all, whether it’s possible to recover from a wrecked economy, socialized medicine, destroyed borders, a dysfunctional military facing an existential threat, and diseases that resist modern medicine, especially when such medicine is ineptly administered.

The Washington Post says Ebola isn’t really all that bad

Trying to strike an optimistic tone, the Washington Post says that Ebola isn’t as bad as it could be. It notes that (so far, at least), not everyone who came into contact with the Liberian who brought the disease to Dallas has gotten infected, and we definitely have better ways to treat symptoms than they do in West Africa. Still, even though the WaPo is trying to make lemonade from lemons, our broken borders and the Democrats’ funding priorities (which did not include focusing on plague-like infectious diseases) all mean that I’m not sanguine.

When it comes to Ebola and the media, I agree with Benjamin Shapiro

To follow-up on my point about the WaPo’s peculiar optimism, Benjamin Shapiro sums up the media’s relationship to Ebola, which is that it matters only when it affects the media itself. His starting point is media personality Nancy Snyderman’s decision to get herself some soup, despite the fact that she was technically quarantined, along with a crew member:

It’s one thing for Liberian citizen Thomas Eric Duncan to carry around an Ebola-ridden woman, get on an airplane to Dallas, walk into a hospital with symptoms, and then walk out again. Such behavior can be attributed, at least in part, to ignorance. It’s another thing entirely for a highly educated medical professional to endanger those around her for some miso.

But that’s the world of the media, where the proper response to the possibility of contracting Ebola is, “Don’t you know who I am?” Double standards abound here; media members lather Americans into a frenzy over the threat of a disease that has, to date, claimed a grand total of one life in the United States. Then they go out for lunch in public after being told that they could be carrying the virus.

The Snyderman story is truly part of a broader egocentrism in the media. The media didn’t give one whit about the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative non-profit applicants — but they went absolutely batty over the Department of Justice targeting reporters. The media don’t seem to care very much about demands for transparency from the Obama administration by the American public — but they’re fighting mad about the Obama administration’s refusal to let them photograph him golfing. After all, it’s one thing for normal Americans to get stiffed, and quite another for our betters to feel the effects of government’s heavy hand.

Canada’s Supreme Court says quoting the Bible re homosexuality is a hate crime

Yes, the Bible is not nice about homosexuals. Indeed, it’s so not nice that Canada’s Supreme Court has determined that someone who cites to the Bible in opposition to homosexual conduct is guilty of a hate crime.

Here’s the acid test, though: Would the Supreme Court reach the same ruling if it was asked to determine whether someone quoting from the Quar’an in opposition to Jews is also guilty of a hate crime? Somehow I doubt it, but maybe I’m just too cynical for my own good.

Paul Kengor is right that conservative radio is committing suicide by greed

I only listen to conservative talk radio when I’m in the car . . . but lately I’m never able to listen to conservative talk radio when I’m in the car. The reason for my inability to listen is because I’m usually in the car for short hauls and, when I tune in to the local talk radio stations, all I get is advertisements.

From the top of the hour until seven minutes past the hour . . . advertisements. From nineteen minutes past the hour until thirty-five minutes past the hour . . . advertisements (including the show’s host saying “Welcome back, and now for a word from our sponsors.”) The same pattern applies in the second half of the hour. Because I usually need to be at places on the hour or the half-hour, I invariably find myself tuning in to those fourteen or so minutes of advertising at the top or the bottom of the clock face. So lately, I haven’t even bothered to try. I just listen to music or call my sister.

And why are we in this terrible situation? Greed, says Paul Kengor:

Why so much junk? To pay the costs, of course. But more specifically, to pay the gigantic, unsustainable fees these shows demand.

[skip]

Of course, it’s a free market. Rush and other hosts are free to earn whatever they receive. But also because it’s a free market, their stations and listeners are free to bolt. What surprises me is the degree to which some conservative hosts are willing to let their stations and listeners bolt, even as they rake in piles of money. I’m especially surprised at how these hosts are willing to allow their excellent product to be diluted and damaged by an intolerable stream of annoying advertisements.

It seems to me that these conservative hosts—champions of the free market—are not listening to the free market. In my local market, Rush and Hannity and Glenn Beck have lost a 50,000-watt blow-torch in favor of a vastly inferior 7,000-watt signal that will be heard by far fewer listeners.

I love Rush, but even he’s not worth listening to ten minutes of commercials during a 15 minute drive.

I leased an electric car, so oil prices dropped

I’m never kidding when I say that the moment I enter the stock market the market drops and the moment I pull out the market rises. I just have that kind of timing.

My timing means it’s no surprise to me at all that, now that I’ve leased an electric car so as not to run up huge gas bills driving a minivan around for local errands, oil prices are plummeting. At our nearest ARCO, which sells the cheapest gas in Southern Marin, prices have dropped by about 20 cents per gallon in the past two weeks. That’s huge.

Power Line wonders if the Saudis are doing this on purpose in an effort to undercut America’s booming oil business. Could be. I’m not sure, though, that the Saudis have the oil resources to play this kind of price-cutting game. I recall from a discussion at my blog many years ago someone who worked in the oil industry saying that Saudi wells are finally running try. It seems to be a perilous game to drop prices when you’re running out of product to sell.

Will all these oil and electric cars soon be obsolete anyway?

Remember how, in Back to the Future, Doc perfected time travel using the energy from nuclear fusion? Well, we may soon be doing a little time travel ourselves, because Lockheed says the future is now (or at least just ten years from now):

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Anything that will break the back of the Muslim oil nations and silences the stupidity of the environ-mental-ists can’t come soon enough for me.

Lovely Lena leans . . . and so do several other old-time Hollywood beauties

Robert Avrech isn’t just a brilliant writer and thinker. He’s also extraordinarily knowledgeable about old Hollywood — the Hollywood of the Turner Classic Movies I watch with so much love.

Avrech recently wrote a beautifully illustrated post about the leaning boards that Hollywood’s leading ladies reclined upon to get the weight off their feet without ruining costumes so tight or elaborate that the actresses were often sewn into them. In a comment, I contributed my mite by pointing out that, in Singin’ In The Rain, Lena Lamont, the lovely lady with the horrible voice, and a personality that was even worse, was seen leaning on one of those boards. Robert, bless his heart, went out of his way to update the post to add a picture of the lovely Lena leaning.

Superheroes, anyone?

At the most recent Watcher’s Council forum, the Watcher asked us, if we could be a superhero, which one would we be? Because my weekend passed in an alcoholic stupor (except without any alcohol, but only the stupor part), I completely missed the forum. If asked, I would have said Superman, simply because he’s always been my favorite superhero. Tune in here to see what other Council members had to say.

Emptying the Inbox (and Open Thread)

inbox-full-216x300As I do on a regular basis, I let my inbox reach heroic proportions before, in a panic, I realized that I’d better take care of it because it would only get worse. And as always happens, I found a bunch of gems hiding in there. Some are a bit past their publication date, but they are interesting nevertheless, so I’m bringing them to your attention along with all the other stuff.

So here we go, with a potpourri of interesting reading. I won’t be tipping my hat to anybody, because I’ve lost track of who tipped me off to what, but everyone who brought these to my attention gets my heartiest thanks.

Chicago’s public schools are going to begin teaching an Afro-Centric curriculum, one with strong ties to antisemitism and loose ties to actual knowledge. As the antidote to that last point, I highly recommend Mary Lefkowitz’s Not Out Of Africa: How “Afrocentrism” Became An Excuse To Teach Myth As History which was, I believe, the first book to mount a serious challenge to Afro-Centric education.  (It was also one of those books that led me across the Rubicon, from unthinking Democrat to informed and committed conservative.)  The tragedy is that Chicago has now consigned yet another generation of children to failure, since Afro-Centrism is not an education that will carry them far . . . outside of activist circles, of course.

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We’ve heard a lot of news lately about graduation speeches. Well, actually, we haven’t heard about the speeches. We’ve heard, instead, about the hard left censorship that holds that only people who are Progressives may give speeches on America’s college campuses. No highly accomplished, acclaimed, black women need apply if they dare to say that Islam is not a “religion of peace” or if they helped lead the U.S. into a war that did not take place in Libya or that did not consist of drone attacks on people in nations with which we are not at war. It would be so lovely to expose these frightened, censorious Leftists to the speech that Marine Corps’ General “Mad Dog” Mattis’ (Ret.) gave at the at the Marine Corps University Foundation’s 2014 Semper Fidelis Award Dinner this past February.  I’m not sure whether they’d first wet their pants or go straight to a heart attack.

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A neologism is a “new word.” Some new words describe newly discovered or invented things. For example, the word “saxophone” did not exist before the instrument itself came along. Other neologisms, however, rename pre-existing things to distinguish them from the next generation of things. For example, until electric guitars came along, we simply had “guitars.” However, in the electric guitar era, those old, wooden, non-electric music makers needed a distinguishing name and they became, for the first time, “acoustic guitars.”

In our strange, brave new world, there is a neologism for those people (gay and straight) who are entirely comfortable with their genders. We are “cisgenders” or “cissexuals,” distinguishing us from “transgenders” or “transexuals.” I can see where the neologism is useful, but I find it strange to live in a world in which the absence of a biological error (mind and body are the same, either all male or all female), which is something that happens for the vast majority of people, needs its own new word.

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This seems like an appropriate place to note that Nintendo has written a formal, public apology for the fact that its most recent game doesn’t have same-sex couples.  Considering that the demographic for Nintendo games is teenage boys and young men, I’m only surprised that the GLAAD crowd hasn’t gone after the game makers sooner.  And considering that the demographic for Nintendo games is teenage boys and young men, I have to wonder how popular same-sex couple games will be with this cohort.

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Pamela Geller alerts us to a proposed federal “hate crime” act criminalizing speech that is working its way through Congress. I’ve had a problem with “hate crime” laws from the beginning, because to me, assault is assault no matter the motivation. Once you start looking at motivations, you’re punishing “thought crimes,” which is antithetical to the Constitution. The newly proposed legislation squares the circle by saying that we won’t just punish thought crimes attached to actual criminal acts. Instead, we’re going to criminalize speech too. And if that isn’t unconstitutional, I don’t know what is.

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Anyway, who needs federal laws criminalizing speech when we already have social pressure at publicly funded universities doing a fine job of purging free speech.  Duke University has a campaign going to coerce students into banishing such words and phrases as “pussy,” “man up,” and “that’s so gay” from their vocabulary because they hurt people’s feelings.

In the old days, “nice” people didn’t say such things because they were ill-mannered.  I can support that “good manners” approach because it’s about each person making a decision about how he wants to present  himself to the world.

Today, though, the rationale for not using such words and phrases is that everyone around us is so emotionally weak that they cannot bear the pain of even hearing the word “tranny.”  In other words, we destroy free speech by encouraging each person to think he is surrounded by weaklings who will probably rise up and kill him should he ruffle their delicate sensibilities.  That’s wrong at so many levels.

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In this grim, censorious world, thank God for the Duffel Blog, a military humor blog that doesn’t care if ruffles delicate sensibilities.  The Taliban shouldn’t be respected.  They should be ridiculed and destroyed because they are evil.

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 I’ve written here before about a common denominator in mass shootings:  psychotropic drugs.  At the Liberty Crier, you can find a useful list identifying shooters and their drugs.  I believe in psychotropic drugs, which have rescued millions of people from chronic depression, bipolar order, dysfunctional schizophrenia, etc.  What I don’t approve of is the way those same drugs are handed out to children (especially boys) like candy in order to ensure that they sit quietly in public school classrooms.

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One Syrian rebel believes that Syria’s Civil War has proven that the rebels have only one true friend in the world:  Israel.  He’s correct, of course.  The problem for Israel is that any treaty with Muslims is effective only as long as the Muslims benefit from that treaty.  Then, the doctrine of taqiyya kicks in, saying that the treaty can be dismissed and the good Muslim can resume its all-out war against its former ally.

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Just yesterday, I wrote a post about Obama’s God-complex.  Then, when going through my email, I found this link to an absolutely wonderful post Mike McDaniel wrote on Easter (with some very nice words about yours truly), looking at Obama’s belief system, and covering everything from his belief in himself, to his support for Islam, to his lukewarm statements about Christianity.  Perhaps the possibility of taqiyya in action doesn’t apply just to Syrian rebels.

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Tina Brown ruined Vanity Fair by making it sleazy, and ruined The New Yorker by taking it from gently Left but still interesting, to hard Left and damn boring.  Since then, everything Brown has touched has turned to dross.  She’s now whining about the fact that Matt Drudge, Lucianne Goldberg, and others managed to break through the media wall protecting Bill Clinton and expose  his immoral peccadilloes to the world.  Neo-neocon gives Brown the appropriate treatment:  hard facts mixed with amusing (and deserved) condescension.

Incidentally, have you noticed that, not only is Monica Lewinsky painting herself as a victim, but the media is eating it up, with Time promising her an apology?  Yes, Lewinsky got dragged through the dirt, but let’s not forget that she voluntarily had a sexual affair with a married man.  Not only was he a married man, but he was president.

You don’t have to be the brightest bulb on the planet to know that, if that affair goes public, you’re going to be in the spotlight.  Considering her own immoral and stupid behavior, how sorry should we be for Lewinsky, really?

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I don’t care very much about pro football (unless the 49ers are in the playoffs or Super Bowl), and I do not care about Michael Sam.  I do wonder, thought, if the Rams are going to regret choosing Sam.  The team’s every decision regarding him (time on bench, time on field, etc.) is going to be closely scrutinized and, if anything is deemed to be less than the GLAAD crew thinks he deserves, the team is going to be roundly and soundly denounced as homophobic.

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And finally, I am not a big fan of Roz Chast’s cartoons, although she is one of the most popular New Yorker cartoonists.  I can recognize her talent, but her work just doesn’t tickle my funny bone.

Having said that, I felt that she and I were sisters under the skin when I listened to her interview about her new book Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, describing her journey through her parents’ aging, illness, and death.  I’m not sure I’ll read the book (the cartoons just don’t work as a medium for me), but I was utterly charmed by Chast’s interview.  There are some differences from my situation — she was dealing with two aging parents, not one; and her mother hated, rather than loved, doctors — but for the most part, what she said was what I’ve experienced.