The Bookworm Beat 12-12-15 — the “hopeful pessimist” open thread

Woman-writing-300x265[This is a long one, good for a cozy read on a winter day.]

I’m a pessimist. I’ve learned through experience that most things go wrong, whether in the world or in my life. Still, I never completely lose hope. If I didn’t have hope, frankly, I would stop moving entirely.

Despite the knowledge that my best laid plans will gang [mostly] aft agley, I wake up every morning with slightly more than half my brain saying “this time the good thing will happen,” and slightly less than half warning “you know it won’t.” The first part gets me out of bed with the sun, the second part gives me insomnia with the moon.

Anyway, that oxymoronic attitude infuses my blog. I’m never surprised when I read about Progressive perfidy, Islamist terrorism, or human stupidity and cruelty, but I always think, maybe something will change . . . maybe it will be better. And on that note, I offer you a cornucopia of things, both old and new, that acknowledge the bad, but perhaps hold out hope for the good.

If Imam Obama doesn’t speak for sharia, who does?

Obama, whose resume does not include either professional or amateur level knowledge about Islam, nevertheless is very keen to tell us each time there’s an Islamic terror attack anywhere in the world that the perpetrators are un-Islamic and do not speak for Islam. Rather than confound Obama with complicated doctrinal questions, Roger Kimball asks one very important one: So Who Does Speak for Islam, President Obama? Kimball even offers a few suggested answers to that question:

Saudi Arabia? It is the world’s most important Sunni Muslim state. One of the most ghastly things about ISIS is its followers’ penchant for beheading people, yet in 2015 alone, our “ally” Saudi Arabia has beheaded 151 people. I am surprised the number is not higher; the list of things that are capital offenses in Saudi Arabia is long and varied.

Apostasy makes the list. If you decide that Allah is not for you, it’s off with your head.

Want a glass of wine? Think twice. The consumption of intoxicants is on the list, as is consensual homosexual sex, adultery, and “sorcery or witchcraft.”

So, presumably, Obama would not let Saudi Arabia speak for Islam.

How about the world’s largest Shia state, Iran? Does it speak for Islam? If not, why not? Because it is just as much a barbaric cesspool as Saudi Arabia?

You see how it’s going to proceed. Last night, Barack Obama was at pains to distance us from “those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.” Well, with that statement Obama forbids the majority of the world’s Muslims, including the denizens of Islam’s chief states, from speaking for Islam.

Let’s forget conquest and terror: there are millions of folks who call themselves Muslims, yet want nothing to do with jihadist violence. Do they speak for Islam?

Well, if they affirm Sharia — Islamic law — then they cannot in principle affirm “the values of religious tolerance,” etc., so Obama does not allow these Muslims to speak for Islam, either.

Using Trump’s statements about Muslim immigration as the first step in an intelligent immigration plan

If Donald Trump were an artist, he would not be a delicate miniaturist or a meticulous late-medieval Flemish craftsman. Instead, he would be Jackson Pollock or possibly Jeff Koons. He’s creating something all right, but there’s a destructive edge to his creative acts.

Thus, when Donald Trump announced, less than tactfully, that all Muslim immigration ought to step pending Congress’s ability to figure out what’s going on with Muslim immigrants (both ordinary and refugee), he created an immediate furor. There was that the destructive part of his creativity.  But Trump also said something that needs to be said, which is that the American government fails in its obligation to protect Americans against enemies both foreign and domestic when it willingly lets foreign enemies turn into domestic ones.

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Obama’s speech highlights why it’s hard to have an intelligent political debate with Progressives

Obama oval office address 12-6-15I found myself in conversation today with a Progressive who thought that Obama’s oval office address was just wonderful.

“What did you like about it?” I asked him.

“It was a very mature speech,” the Progressive replied, “and he said what I would have said.”

Of course I asked, “What would you have said that he did say?”

“That we’re doing everything we can against ISIL, but that almost a quarter of the world’s population is Muslim and they’re not all our enemies.”

“That’s it? That’s what you got out of the speech?”

“Yeah, it was really good. I bet you hated it.”

“Well, yes I did hate it.”

And then I was off. I detailed the problems with Obama’s affect — flat in the beginning when he had to concede that this was terrorism (although Obama hastened to add that it wasn’t really Islamic and Neo-Neocon thinks he may not even have said it was terrorism), and hectoring in the end when he scolded Americans about their prejudice, which they’ve never acted upon, and their guns which . . . well, let’s just say that Obama doesn’t want to see another Texas happen:

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The Bookworm Beat 11-5-15 — Guy Fawkes edition, Part 2

Woman-writing-300x265I’ve still got a few more things I want to share with you tonight, so consider this Part 2 for the day (with Part 1 here).

The coming (and inevitable) Leftist implosion

Every time I read a Kevin Williamson article, I like his writing and thinking just a little bit more. In one of his latest outings, about the inevitable fissures on the Left (as exemplified by (1) the way Black Lives Matters activists are attacking old, white Bernie and Hillary, and (2) the way the black/Hispanic majority in very Leftist Houston nevertheless voted down men in women’s restrooms), Williams has the following wonderful lines:

The challenge for the Left is that while the Republican party is mainly a coalition of ideologies, the Democratic party is mainly a coalition of interest groups, and the current model of Democratic politics — poor and largely non-white people providing the muscle and rich white liberals calling the shots — is unsustainable. The social attitudes of non-white voters are pretty plainly not those of white liberals, and, at the same time — and probably more significant — the economic interests of white liberals are pulling away from those of the people in whose interest they purport to act. Hispanic immigrants and urban blacks make below-average wages; public-school administrators and other government employees make wages that are well above average. There aren’t a lot of people in Cleveland’s Glenville who give a fat furry rat’s patootie how much interest Caitlyn from Bryn Mawr is paying on the student loans that financed her women’s-studies degree. If you’re wondering why Democrats lean so deeply into the racial rhetoric — Joe Biden’s shameful “They want to put y’all back in chains!” etc. — that’s a big part of your answer.

Rich Lowry’s article nails why I don’t trust Rubio

Marco Rubio is bright, articulate, focused, conservative, and telegenic. I ought to like him . . . but I just don’t. I’ve been pfumphering around for a while trying to put my finger on my problem with him and I think it really does boil down to his support for amnesty:

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The Bookworm Beat 10-29-15 — the spindle overload edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265So much to share with you (23 separate articles at last count) and so little time. I’ll therefore get right down to business and you might want to give yourself some time to review all these fascinating articles at your leisure:

Another pundit figures out Cruz might be the man

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I support Ted Cruz, and have done so since he took a stand on Obamacare. Ross Douthat (whose writing I respect) has suddenly realized that those of us who support Ted Cruz might be on to something.

Ted Cruz makes sense on taxes

Certainly Ted Cruz’s flat tax plan ought to help people realize that he’s offering genuine change for the better, not just platitudes and painful socialism. Heck, you’d think that all Americans would support a candidate who wants to deep six, or at least severely de-fang, the IRS and, in doing say, make our tax system fairer and make doing business in America more tempting for both American and foreign corporations.

Daniel Greenfield waxes eloquent on the heckler’s veto that is Islam’s stock in trade

After clearing his throat about the Obama administration’s despicable pandering to Palestinian terrorists, along with its sickening chastisement of Israel (this from an administration that would never dare blame the victim if a drunk woman walked naked through a biker’s bar), Daniel Greenfield gets to the real point, which is the fact that the West lets the mere threat of Islamic anger paralyze it.

The world’s one billion Muslims, whose delicate emotions are always infuriated by something, enforce an Islamic status quo in which no non-Muslim dares to violate the Muslim superiority complex.

[snip]

Some might say that the billion Muslims are just looking for things to get angry at… but that would just make a billion Muslims angry.

When buildings fall or buses blow up, when people are stabbed, shot or exploded by the unofficial representatives of the bilious billion, we go right past the crime to the anger that motivated it. “Why do they hate us?” becomes the question and Muslim anger becomes the pivot of national security policy.

Since Muslim anger causes violence, we stop terrorism by tiptoeing around anything that might make them angry. Minor things mostly like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. If you’re a Coptic Christian who makes a YouTube video about Mohammed, you can be sent to prison when some of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda locals murder four Americans while shouting, “Allahu Akbar.”

After weeks of brutal Muslim murders, Kerry has gotten Israel to reinforce a ban on Jews praying at the holiest site in Judaism because it offends Muslims. Next up, maybe Jews will be restricted to the seventh step of the Cave of the Patriarchs again. Because that was the “Status Quo” under the Muslim conquest.

As my lengthy quotation in this “quick hits” round-up reveals, Greenfield’s article falls into the must-read category.

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The Bookworm Beat 10-28-15 — the speed dial edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My challenge to myself is to give you as many links as possible in the ten minutes I have left before I have to go to the veterinarian with my dog. This will be my fourth doctor’s visit this week, which is quite impressive considering that I am in the pink of health.

The mullahs send Obama a signal

You know the old joke about the man who goes up to a beautiful woman at a swank party and asks, “Would you sleep with me for $1,000,000?”

The woman blushes and coyly whispers back, “I’m so flattered. Why, yes, I think I would.”

The man asks a follow-up question: “Would you sleep with me for $10?”

The woman turns red, slaps the man in the face, and asks angrily, “What do you take me for? A whore?”

Answers the man, “We’ve already established what you are. Now we’re just haggling about the price.”

Keep that joke in mind as you read about Iran, having taken Obama’s measure and gotten all the benefits of the bargain, is making sure to show Obama just what the mullahs think of him and his country.

Antisemitism goes mainstream

If you’re an antisemite, this link showing people all over the world flashing antisemitic signals in the places most likely to disrespect Jews and their memory will delight you. All moral, decent, honorable, kind, and good people will be disgusted.

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The Bookworm Beat 8-7-15 — the “Obama is a traitor” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m trying to see a silver lining in the Iran deal that Obama is shilling so hard (and more on that shilling below). Although I haven’t quite glimpsed the silver, there are certainly some ironies, not the least of which is that Israel is now working openly with Saudi Arabia, the country that is second only to Iran, or perhaps even exceeds Iran, in fomenting anti-Western and antisemitic sentiment the world over. The good thing is that, when Israel attacks Iran (as it will have to once Obama’s deal goes through), Saudi Arabia will freely grant it access to the airspace necessary for Israeli fighters to reach Iran, and it will probably fuel the planes for free too.

Israel will also be joined by the Jordanian and Egyptian militaries, as well as other Sunni nations in the Middle East. Suddenly, the pariah nation will be one of the gang.

The main problem with these new alliances, of course, is that Arabs tend to be challenging partners in war. When they’re ascendant, as we see with ISIS, they’re barbaric; and when they’re not ascendant, historically at least, they’ve been given to spontaneous retreat (no doubt because their ascendant enemies are also Arabs, and they know what kinds of barbarism are headed their way).

Arabs are awful enemies, but they’re not necessarily good friends. In other words, with friends like them, who needs or wants friends?

Here’s a round-up that looks at the awful situation Obama is creating, or has already created, in the Middle East, as well as other trends at home and abroad. January 2017 cannot come a second too soon. Indeed, it may already be coming way too late.

Where there’s life there’s hope

Before I turn this into a total Debbie Downer post, I’d like to direct your attention to the story of an Israeli police woman who suddenly found herself in the middle of a violent Palestinian outbreak in the West Bank. The story starts with a proprietary photo that I won’t share with you. You’ll just have to follow the link:

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The Bookworm Beat 6-6-15 — the “I’m still standing” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’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:

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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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The Bookworm Beat 4-26-15 — the “writer’s block” edition and open thread

Woman writingI know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.

Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone

All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.

Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-17-15 — the “green hair day” edition and open thread

Woman writingI went to get my hair done today, which is usually a relaxed and peaceful time.  Today, as usual, my hairdresser and I were talking about our respective children, when he suddenly stopped and said, “Have you been swimming?”

That question sure came out of left field. “No,” I responded. “Why?” The answer was a surprise: “Because all your gray hair is green.”

What?!!!! I hadn’t noticed that because I seldom look at myself that closely in the mirror. No one in my family had noticed it because they seldom look at me at all. But there it was: a bilious shade of green in place of my normal skunk stripe, as well as all the other swathes and patches of gray decorating my hair. I have no idea why this happened, but it did.

Gray hair doesn’t bother me; green hair does. I do not like having green hair. Its presence explains why my face had looked peculiarly flushed lately — the green highlighted the red tones in my usually pale face. Just as green is not a good hair shade for me, parboiled isn’t a good color for my face.

After much debate with his colleagues about the best way to handle this unusual problem, my hairdresser decided to go darker, because a tint would cover the green without turning my hair into over-processed straw. The result is that I have sort of reddish-brown hair that’s too dark for my tastes but that I have been assured will fade rather rapidly while at the same time (everyone hopes) still hiding the green.

The whole thing took way too long, although the haircut, as always, is perfection. This matters, because I have hair that can prove challenging to hair stylists. Finding one who is a really nice person and a superb stylist means putting up with an unexpectedly long time in the chair.

My plan today was to get home around midday, call a client, work on several legal projects, and blog. That didn’t happen. After the endless hair appointment, I had to rendezvous with the kids to take care of all sorts of unexpected “we must do it today” chores. It’s 4:15 and I’ve only just walked in. Still, I have much that I want to share with you, so you’ll get a good Friday evening, instead of a good Friday midday, read.

We can kill our way to victory against Islamists

This is an older Daniel Greenfield post, but one that I think still deserves reading. Greenfield’s point is a simple one, which is that it is possible to defeat an enemy by killing so many of his troops that there is no one left to fight, or no one left who is willing to fight (which probably means the same). Anybody, of course, can state a simple principle. Daniel Greenfield’s gift is that he can expand upon it with facts and analysis in a completely compelling way.

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The Bookworm Beat 4-14-15 — the procrastination edition and open thread

Woman writingI have work to do today, but no actual deadlines, so naturally I’m procrastinating like crazy. And what better way to do so than to share a few interesting things with you? How about my starting with the most inspirational. I’ll go from the sublime to the ridiculous, which means I’ll end with links to articles about Hillary’s candidacy.

Noah Galloway, American soldier, DWTS contender

Noah Galloway lost his left arm and leg in Iraq. His appearance on Dancing With The Stars was a little bit by way of being a gimmick because how can someone dance without an arm and with a totally lost leg (i.e., no knee)?

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The Bookworm Beat 4-10-15 — the mother of all round-ups

Woman writingThis is it — the ultimate round-up, consisting of more than 20 links that I’ve collected over the past couple of days and wanted to share with you. Nothing works better at squeezing a nice long blog post than a series of legal pleadings I really don’t want to write. By the way, these squiblets aren’t in any particular order, so you never know what gems you might not find as you scroll down.

The weakening of the Leftist mind

In an earlier post, I wrote about the fact that our younger generation has turned into a passive, sheeple generation, meekly towing the Leftist party line. Astute readers pointed out that, aside from the 1960s children, who were spoon-fed their rebellion by communist spies, past Americans generations also weren’t given to a rebellion. That’s true — but at least past generations were taught analytical and reasoning skills. If they desired, they could analyze and challenge their era’s zeitgeist. Our current generation can’t.

And how do I know I’m correct in reaching that conclusion? Because my reasoning coincidences with Daniel Greenfield’s. In a post about the closing of the liberal mind, Greenfield explains how so-called “liberals” have reduced themselves to this state:

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