The Bookworm Beat 6-24-15 — the “midnight ramblings” edition

Woman-writing-300x265I should be heading for bed, as it’s after midnight, but I’m so thrilled to have a moment to myself that I can’t resist a little blogging. I’m feeling especially smug (and tired) tonight because my heroic 1:30 a.m. efforts yesterday were the difference between success and ignominious failure on a big motion. Damn it all! I deserve some time to write.

Anything you can be I can be better….

My favorite military humorist, Lee Ho Fuk has taken the Rachel Dolezal mantra — “anything you can be I can be better” — to a whole new level:

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The Bookworm Beat 6-1-15 — the “sunny afternoon edition” and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m baaaack! Let me dive right in.

The party of “Government, get out of my bedroom!” invades New York bedrooms

When it comes to teenage sex and abortion, or just plain old sex and abortion, the Left’s rallying cry for decades has been clear: “Government, get out of the bedroom.” That’s why I find it incredibly amusing that Blue State New York is planning to join Blue State California and invade the bedroom of every college student under its aegis:

The bill requires “affirmative consent” at each step of the way when two students have sexual contact. Amazingly, that means punishing students who fail to ask “May I unbutton your blouse?” and “May I kiss you?” and wait for the answer. On May 20, Cuomo said there has to be “clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement” before any “specific sexual activity.”

There are, of course, a couple of problems with the bill. First, absent a signed writing or disinterested witnesses, it’s still going to be a “he said, she said” kind of thing, with a malevolent female perfectly capable of claiming that no words were used or that she said “no.” Second, and worse, it will make official the presumption that boys are dangerous sexual predators who must be contained.

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Lena Dunham — proud or pathetic Hillary Clinton avatar?

A lot of people thought it was kind of tacky for Barack Obama to honor Memorial Day on his Twitter feed by posting a picture of himself eating ice cream while surrounded by fawning reporters. Lena Dunham, however, has gone Obama one better. To honor Memorial Day, she posted a picture of herself in lingerie:

Lena Dunham in lingerie

Me? I would have preferred a picture of Dunham eating ice cream, but that’s not where I want to take this discussion.

A friend and I were discussing whether the picture was attractive and we concluded that it’s not. We both agreed that part of why it’s not attractive is because we don’t like Dunham. Seeing endless acres of flesh on someone you think has a corrosive influence on your society is not an appealing sight. So we had to ask ourselves the next question:  If we liked Dunham more, would we find her more pleasant to look upon as she flaunts her flesh?

My answer — no.

This answer doesn’t have anything to do with my being opposed to people who would be rejected by Cosmo Magazine or a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. There are big women who manage to look radiantly attractive in lingerie photographs. They look happy in their own skins and their attractive sensuality communicates itself to the viewer. Even if a comfortably filled-out woman isn’t your idea of objective “beauty,” a woman who feels sexy still manages to look sexy. Dunham doesn’t.

What Dunham does is look defiantly depressed. Her face says, “You better like me,  you sons and daughters of bitches, or you’re clearly guilty of a hate crime against women and, worse, against big women.” Dunham may be about sex (God knows, she certainly never stops talking about it or taking pictures of it), but she’s not about sexy.

Nothing illustrated that more to me than a sad “just use me” quotation Dunham made about the endless nude scenes on her critically-acclaimed (although not audience acclaimed) show Girls:

While Ellie Kemper said she had yet to film a sex scene, Dunham told the other comedians she’s not shy when it comes to being naked on set.

“I stopped wearing the nude patch after the first season of Girls,” Dunham said. “There’s not one guy who works on that show who hasn’t seen the inside of my vagina. This patch – you glue it over your vagina. It gets sweaty and always falls off. My male co-stars, at the end of the day, don’t care.”

I’m sure Dunham is right that her male co-stars don’t care about her vagina. But I’m equally sure that they don’t look at Dunham and see anything more than a woman begging to be used sexually — and by that I mean more than just being used for sex. She’s reduced her essence — the part of her that deserves love and respect — to a vagina.

For an older generation of feminist, the one swept away by the tide of hard Left harridans, feminism meant believing that men and women should get equal pay for equal work, and that job standards should be tied to the needs of the job, not to pandering to one sex’s abilities or trying to shut out the other sex’s opportunities.  For the Dunham generation, feminism means “love me, love my vagina — and really, there’s nothing more of me that’s worth loving.”

Dunham, in other words, isn’t a feminist, she’s a sexual nihilist.  Worse — and this is where I get into politics, as the nihilistic voice of her generation, she’s joined by countless other women who have reduced the corrupt, ineffective, potentially dangerous Hillary to nothing more than a vagina and who, having reduced Hillary to this biological absurdity, insist that, on this basis alone, Hillary is worthy of becoming President of the United States.

My suggestion is that Hillary’s next campaign poster should look like this.  (Sorry about the abysmal quality of the “poster.”  I don’t have anything like Photoshop on my computer and this is the best I can do.):

Hillary Dunham

It ought to win Hillary at least a few votes from the Dunham generation.

The Bookworm Beat 5-26-15 — the “mad, mad, mad, mad world” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265No time for chit-chat. I’ve got stuff to share:

America’s values have turned upside down

It’s a time-honored custom for older people to look at changes in the world since their youth and to bemoan those changes. I’d like to think I’m neither that rigid nor that old. There are so many things in the modern world to love, especially when it comes to technology.

What does seem extremely unlovable, though, is that we are living through a time in which moral values aren’t merely being loosened (a la the rising hems of the flappers) but are being turned completely upside down. In one of the best articles I’ve seen in forever at National Review, Quin Hillyer focuses on the sea change in our moral and political values. If you’ve already read it, read it again and share it with your friends; if you haven’t read it, by all means do . . . and then share it with your friends:

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The Bookworm Beat 5-20-15 — the “I’m still standing” edition and Open Thread

Woman-writing-300x265Unlike Rand Paul, who is standing for a filibuster against the Patriot Act, my “standing” has to do with the fact that, after a long afternoon of shopping and doctors with my mother, I am still upright and reasonably coherent. His feat is the more admirable one or possibly the more lunatic — I can’t decide. While I think that one over (and please feel free to chime in with your opinions), I offer the following for your reading pleasure:

Honoring vets

Bruce Kesler, retired Marine extraordinaire, has a message of immediate concern to veterans and their supporters. Check it out here.

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The Bookworm Beat 5-18-15 — “clearing out my inbox” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingNo, you’re not imagining it. Yes, I have been AWOL. The legal work has finally tapered off, but other things have filled the vacuum, taking up both my time and energy. Some of them are very nice things but, much as I love you all, I can’t share them here. And of course, some are just the ordinary stuff that makes up the life of someone who is both a mother and a daughter. During the time I’ve been AWOL, I’ve received quite a lot of very interesting links. Starting with this post, and continuing into others, I’d like to share them with you.

What Republican candidates should say on Iraq

Reporters are playing Iraq gotcha with the Republican candidates, although they’ve assiduously avoided asking Hillary any questions about the war even though she voted for the War. John Hinderaker has the perfect answer that Republican candidates should give when asked about the War:

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The Bookworm Beat 5-7-15 — the “Damn it, I’m a lawyer” edition and open thread

Woman writingI spent way too much time today wearing my lawyer, daughter, and mother hats, with no time for my blogger hat. Well, the blogging time is now, and I’ve got lots of stuff to share. As is often the case when I’m tired, these are not in any particular order, so you should read the whole thing, rather than assuming “substance at the top and fluff at the bottom.”

Leftists and math

The Chicago teachers’ union is at it again, trying to suck blood out of a rock, the blood being pension funding and the rock being the virtually bankrupt city of Chicago. The friend who sent me this link had a pungent comment about the fact that, for people like Communist and labor leader Karen Lewis, math is hard:

“Once again, the board has created a fiscal crisis in order to justify its continued attack on our classrooms and communities,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “By citing its so-called $1.5 billion deficit, the mayor is proposing a reduction in teaching staff which will result in larger class sizes and the loss of teaching positions.”

At the center of the complaint is the Chicago Board of Education, which wants teachers, social workers and other union members to take a 7 percent pay cut by paying their own pension contributions in order to address some of the city’s economic problems. The union, which has rejected the pension reform proposal, has accused the board of bad-faith bargaining for refusing to reach an agreement of substance in talks which began in November.

Lewis accused the school system of being “broke on purpose” and for retaliating against the union simply because it opposed Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the recent reelection.

I love that phrase: “Broke on purpose.” I’m going to have to try to work it into my own day-to-day life.

A cri de couer re the suddenly ubiquitous trigger warnings

As is true for many of us, Michael Rubin didn’t see trigger warnings coming. It’s just that suddenly there they were, censoring people left and right — although really mostly to the Right, leaving the field open to the only group sensitive enough to avoid all trigger warnigs: Hard core Leftists. Rubin understands what’s really going on and has a suggestion of his own:

All trigger warnings should have a trigger warning so that no one who has experienced or fled from a repressive society might suffer post-traumatic stress reminding them of the authoritarian, Orwellian oppression from which they fled. Millions of people in the countries which comprised the Soviet Union, as well as in China, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe, not to mention tens of thousands of people in Iran, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Eritrea have lost loved ones or spent time in prison/re-education camps for not abiding by the state’s determination of what they should think and believe. Trigger warnings, even if well intentioned, might remind them of this oppressive and sometimes lethal political correctness and cause undue stress. Accordingly, in order to protect the mental well-being of those who value liberty, intellectual freedom, and oppose censorship, perhaps it’s time to agree to put trigger warnings ahead of trigger warnings to ensure that no one is inadvertently stressed out by the decline in mental and intellectual maturity and the infantilization of society which trigger warnings represent.

The person who brings a gun to a free speech fight is ALWAYS wrong

The practically moribund, but still breathing, Time Magazine, to its credit, gave Pamela Geller space in which to make her case. Her case is the correct one. I urge all of you to read this and, if you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or email round-Robin, to send it along.

The attack in Garland showed that everything my colleagues and I have been warning about regarding the threat of jihad, and the ways in which it threatens our liberties, is true. Islamic law, Sharia, with its death penalty for blasphemy, today constitutes a unique threat to the freedom of speech and liberty in general.

Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced.

Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not stand for being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed, while everyone else lives in fear.

[snip]

Many in the media and academic elite assign no blame to an ideology that calls for death to blasphemers — i.e., those who criticize or offend Islam. Instead, they target and blame those who expose this fanaticism. If the cultural elites directed their barbs and attacks at the extremist doctrine of jihad, the world would be a vastly safer place.

Read the whole thing and try to get everyone else you know to do so too.

That’s the redoubtable, inimitable, absolutely necessary Pamela Geller in her own words. For other good words about free speech, I recommend David French’s “Pamela Geller’s Critics Are Proving Her Point,” and Rich Lowry’s “Why Won’t Pamela Geller Shut Up?” Both these articles are must-reads.

Also, if you want a perfect Kodak moment of Leftist hypocrisy, check out John Nolte’s post about the New York Times, which condemns Geller from bashing one religion while it bashes another.

Oh, and one more thing: our craven government security forces — that would be the FBI and Homeland Security — haven’t even bothered to talk to Geller about the threats against her life from Islamists.

James Franco in praise of McDonald’s

I love McDonald’s Chicken Selects and believe that they serve the best french fries around. Wherever you are, it’s a reliable, cheap meal. McDonald’s is also a great entry level job, teaching youngsters such virtues as punctuality, reliability, and hard work. So even though I find him distasteful, I have to applaud James Franco for writing a WaPo opinion piece praising McDonald’s.

Shy Tories strike again

In 1992, in England, polls indicated that many fewer Brits would vote Conservative than would vote for Labour. In fact, Conservatives won by a substantial margin. And thus was born the “shy Tory factor” which said that, in a climate in which Leftists humiliate, berate, and otherwise attack conservatives, people lie to pollsters about their voting preferences. That seems to have happened again in England, where David Cameron took an unexpected lead — unexpected, that is, to all of those who forgot the shy Tory factor.

Tom Cotton takes a principled stand against a Constitution-weakening Trojan Horse

Tom Cotton was the only Senator to vote against the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. He did so for all the right reasons. In his own words:

“A nuclear-arms agreement with any adversary—especially the terror-sponsoring, Islamist Iranian regime—should be submitted as a treaty and obtain a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate as required by the Constitution. President Obama wants to reverse this rule, requiring opponents to get a two-thirds vote to stop his dangerous deal. But Congress should not accept this usurpation, nor allow the president any grounds to claim that Congress blessed his nuclear deal. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to stop a dangerous deal that would put Iran on the path to obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

I like that young man.

Harrison Bergeron comes to life

I’ve often mentioned Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron,” which is set in a dystopian future where everyone is equal. Vonnegut, in the days before he turned into a brain-dead Leftist, realized a core problem with the whole “everyone must be perfectly equal” movement: You cannot make dumb people smart, or slow people fast, or ugly people beautiful; however, you can make smart people dumb, fast people slow, and beautiful people ugly. In other words, the only way to level society is to lower society — that is, to bring everyone in it to the lowest common denominator.

Kevin Williamson points out that, decades after Vonnegut wrote his timeless story, the Left is still busily trying to bring America down to the lowest common denominator.

Vandalism just cheapens our cause

I did a post about the attack on Christianity, and used as one of my discussion points a stupid church sign in Mill Valley that likened God and Joseph to gay men who parented Jesus. I used speech to attack speech, which epitomizes the marketplace of ideas.

Unfortunately, someone vandalized the sign, which is not an argument; it’s just tantamount to a heckler’s veto and makes us no better than the Left. It would have been so much better to have emailed my post to everyone in Mill Valley….

There won’t always be an England

When I lived in England more than 30 years ago, the North was much more British than the more cosmopolitan South. There were many fewer foreigners living there, and the old towns had people whose families had lived in the region for hundreds of years.

I therefore always find it particularly appalling when I read articles describing the Islamisization of Yorkshire — a trend that carries with it anti-British sentiment, antisemitism, misogyny, homophobia, and a whole host of other disgusting social pathologies that Islam invariably trails in its wake.

The Leftist revolution continues to eat its own

All I can offer you is the lede to this Daily Caller story. You have to read the whole thing yourself to appreciate it fully:

Students at Dartmouth College launched a petition drive demanding the newly-elected student body president resign after they say he was disrespectful to the plight of American blacks and other marginalized groups.

The twist: The president is a gay black man.

Wolf Howling sent me this story. I wrote him back to say that the phrase about revolutions eating their own was the right idea for what I wanted to say, but it just had too brawny and masculine a feel for what’s going on. Seeing a fight like the one at Dartmouth is kind of like watching Lord of the Flies, only with a cast of feral two-year olds.

Is Hillary too sick to be president?

If this D.C. gossip story about Hillary’s seriously fragile health, centered around brain damage issues, is true, Hillary is committing a fraud against the American people. Of course, there’s nothing new about that, so why am I even getting excited about it?

Even when Leftists get close to the truth, they veer away before touching it

My friend Patrick O’Hannigan caught something interesting in Vanity Fair when Leftist pundit James Woolcott tried to write an even-handed critique about dishonesty in the American media: with the best will in the world, he couldn’t do it.  His bias just kept oozing out.

Which reminds me of a Scientific American article by Piercarlo Valdesolo that’s been making the rounds. In it, Valdesolo acknowledges that strong Leftist bias in social psychology and acknowledges that it perverts study outcomes and analyses. He notes that conservatives say that the answer is to allow more conservatives into these liberal only enclaves, both to get studies with other viewpoints, and to get necessary push back on the Leftists’ own work.

One would think that, have admitted that it’s a problem that there are no conservatives in the field, Valdesolo would agree that the field needs more conservatives. If one thought that, one would think wrong. Instead, Valdesolo says that liberals simply have to be more vigilant about their biases. James Woolcott’s failure pretty much illustrates everything that’s wrong with Valdesolo’s inability to contemplate doing away with Leftist academic monopolies.

“Go Left, young man!” Or the Left is doing what it does best.

Left turn arrowIt’s always worth remembering that the Left’s default setting is . . . Left

In 2008, whenever I pointed out that candidate Barack Obama came from the far Left of the political spectrum, a liberal I know would invariably tell me that this was just a campaign pose to inspire the more fanatic members of his base, and that, once elected, Obama govern as a centrist. Of course, it wasn’t just a campaign pose and Obama has governed from a harder Left position than any other candidate in American history — all while he and his people assiduously deny that there’s any Left about it.

Nevertheless, my liberal acquaintance is perfectly happy with Obama’s policies and continuously tells me that I’m the political extremist, while denying that he has any discernible ideology at all. Jonah Goldberg ably captures this Leftist denialism:

For the last 20 years, give or take another 50, one of the most cherished baubles of Beltway conventional wisdom has been that the Republican party has moved too far to the right.

We’ll come back to that in a moment.

Another beloved trinket in the nest of notions that make up elite groupthink is that liberals not only haven’t moved left, but they aren’t even liberals at all. A week doesn’t go by without Barack Obama insisting that he’s merely a pragmatist and problem-solver, with nary an ideological ax to grind. Shortly after he was re-elected, Obama told David Gregory, then the host of Meet the Press, the obvious takeaway of his presidency is that, “I’m not driven by some ideological agenda. I’m a pretty practical guy and I just want to make sure that things work.” A few weeks later, he gave the most ideologically left-wing State of the Union address of any president since FDR.

[snip]

There’s something almost Soviet in this compulsion to follow a party line so disconnected to the reality it allegedly describes.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Beltway establishment, particularly political journalists, believes these talking points, largely because they, too, are committed liberals who think they are mere non-ideological arbiters of the facts.

So, what’s a hardcore Leftist denialist to do when Leftism doesn’t work and he needs to woo the voters? He pulls Left, even harder, all the while denying that he’s doing so. Sean Trende explains that this is what Hillary’s doing in her effort to lock in the Obama coalition, while Richard Fernandez points out that these same denialists are responding to the world’s crises by pulling ever harder to the left — and, by doing so, they’re only making things much, much worse.

Regarding Hillary’s campaign, Lincoln presciently summed it up: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” I just hope that the American people have finally reached the third clause in that aphorism.  For the last two elections, we seem to have been stuck in the second clause.

When it comes to the panicked stampede to the Left from those whose policies are so signally failing in every area, from national security, to the economy, to the management of Democrat (mostly minority) enclaves, we can turn to Einstein for the appropriate aphorism:  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (Ironically, I remember that the Clintons loved to recite that quotation during their 1992 campaign from a His and Her presidency.)

An observation about the Clintons and Obama

Chamberlain and Obama appeasersAmerica has had corrupt presidents in the past. The ones that spring readily to a mind educated in the San Francisco Public School District are Andrew Johnson, Warren B. G. Harding, and Richard Nixon. Please feel free to chime in with equally corrupt Democrats.

But I ask you this: Before the Clintons, have we ever before had a former president (that would be Bill) and a wannabe future president (that would, God forbid, Hillary) who have sold our country out to foreign interests? (While Bill didn’t do that in office, it appears that he and Hillary worked together to fund their Clinton Foundation in exchange for giving favors to foreign entities that had interests antithetical to American interests.)

And have we ever before — ever! — had a president who turned his back entirely on stalwart American allies and not only made nice with unrepentant enemies, but actually worked hard to expand those enemies’ arsenals? At least when Chamberlain did what he did, he believed that he was, both militarily and economically, in a weaker position than Hitler. Obama, however, is the stronger party, both militarily and economically, in the negotiations and has still given everything in exchange for nothing.

I’d like to hear your opinions on the questions I ask. What I’m suggesting is that past, present, and wannabe future American presidents have engaged in actual treason as defined in 18 U.S. Code section 2381:

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. (Emphasis added.)

I’m also thinking that the conduct I’ve described is a first, and I’d be interested if you can think of historic precedents.