The Bookworm Beat 12/14/14 — Sunday round-up and Open Thread

Woman writingI’ve been going through my email, as well as through my “real me” Facebook today, and I find some interesting — and surprising — things. Here goes:

The Islamic hostage crisis in Sydney

My thoughts and prayers are with the hostages trapped in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney, Australia’s historic Martin Place. The main indication that the siege is Islamic in nature is the fact that the hostage taker has forced the hostages to hold in the window the Islamic Shahada statements, which contains the Koranic verse asserting Allah’s and Mohammed’s preeminence: “There is no god but Allah, Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Despite the Shahada’s centrality to Islam (merely saying this credo is all that’s necessary to convert to Islam), Australia’s Muslims are professing complete bewilderment at the way in which some people around the world are saying that, given the Shahada’s role in the hostage crisis, the crisis is probably tied to Islam in some way:

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The moral lessons that Jonathan Gruber could have learned from a brain-damaged man

Jonathan Gruber Health Care Obamacare for DummiesTrey Gowdy conduct a masterful examination of MIT Prof. Jonathan “Stupid Americans” Gruber.  What made it so good was that he had Gruber repeatedly offer the canned defense that he (Gruber) was arrogant, stupid, and ill-informed.  That defense might have flown once but, when a formerly boastful MIT professor said it over and over again, it quickly appeared insincere:

The incredible sweet spot in this examination comes right after Gruber robotically repeats again that he isn’t a politician, and he was just trying to make himself look smarter. Gowdy, in that slow, Southern drawl (the kind that makes Northeastern leftists mistakenly assume that Southerners are stupid), then says, “And again your defense is that you’re not a politician. The lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Well, what is a non-politician doing talking about political advantages?”

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[VIDEO] Gruber’s defense: I’m arrogant and stupid

Trey Gowdy is masterful. He starts off strong and just gets stronger:

Gruber looks like a trapped ferret, but it seems to me that his remorse is tied to his getting caught, not his having said those things in the first place. Were he genuinely remorseful, he would expand on those canned answers, and take a second look at his underlying world view.

The Bookworm Beat (11/21/14) — The imperial presidency edition (plus illustrations and Open Thread)

Woman writingI keep meaning to write something profound about what happened to our country yesterday, only to discover that other, much better writers and thinkers already got there before I did. I’ll just summarize by saying that Obama behaved illegally, unconstitutionally, and undemocratically.  Having said that, of course, the really important question becomes: What next?

Let’s see if I can start this round-up by passing on some ideas.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/15/14) — Time warp edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingWhy is this a “time warp edition”? Because even though I’m publishing it on Saturday, I actually wrote it on Friday. The reason delayed publishing is because I’m spending all day Saturday attending part II of my CERT training. I expect the training to be more of the same stuff as last week: really nice, well-informed, generous people inefficiently teaching four hours of useful information over the course of eight hours.

Rather than leaving my blog fallow for that time, I thought I’d prep a post in advance. The only reason I’m mentioning the 14-hour lead time is to explain why, if something dramatic happens in the news tomorrow, you won’t read about it at the Bookworm Room. And now, it’s time for yesterday’s news today!

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The Bookworm Beat (11/14/14) — Emptying the inbox (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo thoughts today, either profound or self-centered. Just a burning desire to share with you all the wonderful things that come my way:

Dr. Jonathan Gruber — the gift that keeps on giving

It seems as if every conservative writing is churning out good stuff about what Gruber said, who he is, and what it all means. I can’t add to what they’re saying, but I can pass it along.

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Obamacare: Destroying the middle class, one family at a time (by Anonymous)

Jonathan Gruber Health Care Obamacare for DummiesA Bay Area resident who reads my blog, asked that I publish an open letter to Dr. Jonathan Gruber.  Because the letter’s writer has to make a living here in Marin (70% Democrat), she’s writing under a pseudonym.  I’m betting that this letter will resonate with many of you:

***

Dear Dr. Gruber,

I watched your panel discussion videos with fascination where you talk about creating Obamacare and how you needed to obfuscate and deceive in order to get it passed. I noticed how you hold the voting American public in contempt, saying how stupid we all are.

After viewing it I thought I would write to you to let you know how your important legislation for which you got paid $400,000 in consulting fees has affected my life. Because when I hear you speak about the voters of this country I don’t get the feeling that you have any understanding or empathy for us. I am sure you have more important things to think about.

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The Bookworm Beat (11/13/14) — Morality edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingAs you’ve probably noticed, I’ve spent a bit of the past two days doing housecleaning at my site: I’ve upgraded the comments feature (for the better, I hope) and I’ve rebooted the “read more” feature so that posts are truncated, requiring less vertical scrolling, but can easily be expanded and contracted without having to leave the home page. I’ve also done housecleaning in my house, with a much-needed pantry clear-out. Now, I’m cleaning out my inbox, ’cause there’s a lot of stuff in there that’s interesting. Who says spring cleaning can only take place in spring?

So, if you’re interested in this portmanteau post, click “read more” and you’ll see it unfold before you.

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The Watcher’s Council Weasel of the Week

Watcher’s Council members voted for the Weasel of this past Week, and it’s entirely possible that the winning candidate may have won unanimously.  Anywhere, for your enjoyment, I present the verbatim copy of the original post at the Watcher’s website.

It’s time to present this week’s statuette of shame, The Golden Weasel!!

Every Tuesday, the Council nominates some of the slimiest, most despicable characters in public life for some deed of evil, cowardice or corruption they’ve performed. Then we vote to single out one particular Weasel for special mention, to whom we award the statuette of shame, our special, 100% plastic Golden Weasel. This week’s nominees were all slime-worthy,but in the end the winner was..the envelope please…

http://cdn.breitbart.com/mediaserver/Breitbart/Big-Government/2014/Obamacare/jonathan-gruber-ap.jpg
Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber!!

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Thursday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI really need to get a more innovative and exciting name for these round-ups, a name that will convey just how exciting these round-ups are. I find writing posts easy and naming them hard.

Perhaps you guys have a witty suggestion. I envision something along the lines of “The [Clever Name] : [primary topic] edition.” For example, “News from the Backlines: Israel edition.” It’s got to be something that will apply to every round-up post I do during the day, and I’d love it if it was witty.

Meanwhile, I’ll abandon my boring efforts at clever names, and try to entice you with scintillating tidbits about the world today:

** 1 **

It appears that the border bill, like Frankenstein’s monster, still lives. It’s bad, though, bad to the legislative bone. The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers has raised serious, substantive concerns.

** 2 **

Dan Gordon, who writes about the current war and the view from inside the IDF, is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. He has another wonderful post, this time about one of the men who ensures that the IDF is a humanist organization, no matter the labels the Israel-haters affix to it.

** 3 **

America has always used Israel as a pawn. During the Cold War, it was one of the players against the Soviet Union, so both America (the chess master) and Israel (the pawn) were on the side of the angels.

Obama, however, has turned the game on its head. He still views Israel as a pawn, but his game plan is to help the Muslim Brotherhood become ascendant. And if it doesn’t scare you that our president now feels secure enough to throw all his weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood, you have nerves of steel, my friend.

** 4 **

My thinking is that we can stop a lot of the deaths in Gaza if the media voluntarily stops indulging in its fetish for snuff photos of children allegedly killed by Israel. Of course, pigs will fly when that happens.

Rob Miller has a different idea, which is that the UN can stop the killing of civilians by creating an opportunity for them to leave Gaza for temporary shelter in Egypt’s Sinai desert. Rob understands that this, too, will happen when pigs fly, especially since Ban Kai-Moon has joined in the media’s fetish for dead kids. In any event, Egypt doesn’t want even more Muslim Brotherhood supporters on its soil.

Meanwhile, Instapundit likes Matthew Yglesias’ idea: Just kick the Palestinians out. Israel should have done that back in 1967. The problem is that the Arab world wants them as little as the Israelis do. Palestinians, who have been nursing the grievances under UNRWA’s care for more than 60 years, are impossible. They just are.

** 6 **

For those naifs on the Left who can’t understand why the cycle of violence won’t stop, this video provides the answer: A sweet, smiling, soft-voiced young woman, whose child was the beneficiary of a life-saving procedure in an Israeli hospital, explains that there is no compromise. Palestinians must have Jerusalem, and whether children and others die in the process is irrelevant, because her culture is fine with death. Insha’allah, and all that you know.

** 7 **

Slowly, slowly, the media is beginning to find it impossible to cover for Hamas lies.

** 8 **

A camera’s eye view of what an IDF soldier sees in Gaza. I got frightened and queasy watching. My suspicion is that the only people in America who can viscerally understand what this video shows are those who served in Fallujah:

** 9 **

One of Israel’s problems with Gaza is that it’s afraid that, if it clears Gaza out, the sequel will be worse. In other countries, when one clears a dictatorship out, something looking remarkably like freedom often takes its place. Only in the Muslim world is the deposed dictatorship replaced by something more deadly and vicious.

** 10 **

I mentioned in my earlier post the fact that the world’s media cares only when Jews kill, even if they do so in self-defense. The fact that Mosul’s Christian population has been utterly destroyed is uninteresting to them. (By the way, if you can’t get through to the Commentary blog because you don’t have a subscription, think seriously about getting one. It’s $20 per year for access to the magazine and the blog, which is an incredible bargain.)

** 11**

A newly unearthed interview of Bill Clinton made one day before 9/11 has him saying that the only thing holding him back from killing bin Laden was the risk to civilians.  This statement reveals something very important: Sometimes when we try too hard to protect the innocents, we enable evil to go unchecked. Unchecked evil, of course, kills innocents in numbers a good society’s tentative efforts at evil-control can never achieve.

** 12 **

This economic parable is an old one, but the presidential spin is charming:

** 13 **

Rich Weinstein is the man who exposed Jonathan Gruber as a liar. Even more importantly, the video evidence he unearthed showed that Congress intended to limit subsidies to state exchanges. Learn more about Weinstein here.

** 14 **

And if you don’t believe that Gruber is a liar, just watch this:

** 15 **

Leftist WaPo blogger Greg Sargent was so excited to show that one draft of the Obamacare bill included federal subsidies that he completely forgot that, if Congress excludes that language from the final bill, the law mandates that Congress is presumed to have done so intentionally. Charles C. W. Cooke sets Sargent straight.

** 16 **

Ebola is scary and, in a completely interconnected world and one that, moreover, has wars raging all over and porous borders everywhere, it’s just a plane ride, a refugee crisis, or a border crossing away. To channel Elmer Fudd, “Be afwaid. Be vewy afwaid.”

** 17 **

AJStrata thinks that the Democrats’ impeachment games constitute politically suicidal gamesmanship. It’s so bad that even Time’s Joe Klein is accusing the Democrats (and, by extension, Obama) of cynicism — which is pretty funny when you think about it. Wasn’t it Obama who promised to take the cynicism out of politics, and to replace them with hope and change? Yeah. Right.

** 18 **

Don’t you sometimes want to bash people over the head with Milton Friedman? In France, the housing market has collapsed, thanks to Hollande’s decision to impose rent control. They just don’t seem to be able to come to grips that, wherever rent control exists, the housing stock shrinks, prices climb, and the poor and middle class are driven out of the market. They like to call themselves intellectuals but, really, they’re just dumb as rocks, only less interesting — something best illustrated by our French-looking Secretary of State next to a box of rocks:

AS JJ SAYS

** 19 **

While Harry Reid utters lunatic shrieks about Charles and David Koch, the Leftist billionaire boys club has taken over the environmental movement and the EPA, and is profiting mightily from that takeover.

Keep in mind that the environmental movement is a scam. There is nothing wrong and everything right with our being responsible stewards over the environment that God (or Nature) has so generously bestowed upon us. Conversely, there is everything wrong and nothing right with using false science to turn the clock back to a pre-industrial era.

As I write this, please keep in mind that every single prediction the climate change crew made has been proven to be false. (See, e.g., today’s story about the fact that islands are not sinking due to a predicted and apocalyptic rise in the oceans.)

For more on this, two things: First, a Mark Steyn article about the totalitarian impulses driving the climate change regime. Second, a video with words of wisdom from some of the climate scientists who refuse to be silenced:

** 20 **

In the fashion world, individually tailor-made clothes are a good thing. In the world of law and order, it’s a very, very bad thing when the government first looks at your conduct, and only afterwards crafts a crime tailor-made to that conduct. When this last happens, law and order go out the window and tyranny stalks the streets.

That’s why all of us should be very concerned about the fact that the Officer of the Comptroller of the Currency, under cover of the Bank Secrecy Act, seems to be trolling through bank data, trying to assemble, ex post facto, something criminal with which to charge any given bank.

When businesses and individuals no longer know in advance which conduct is legal and which is illegal, they become paralyzed or, alternatively, they figure if they’re going to be charged with a crime anyway, they should just stop worrying about legality from the get go. Once that happens, a society inevitably ends up with poverty, corruption, and anarchy.

** 21 **

I’ve always liked Bill Whittle, but I never realized that he shares with me a history of mental illness. Thank God we’ve both recovered and are now working to help other similarly afflicted souls:

** 22 **

Andrew Klavan gives a well-deserved thanks to Christian white men:

I’d expand the thanks to Jewish white men (without taking anything away from those wonderful Christians), but that’s my bias showing. ;)

** 23 **

And Caped Crusader sent me a wonderful batch of pictures:

runningout

remember

ours

NYT_

jesse

injail

feelings

bordersign

allies

adult

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m going to have a lot of stuff about the Israel/Hamas showdown (of course) but, for those of you who are interested in other stuff, don’t despair. I’ll have other stuff too.

** 1 **

I’ve often mentioned StandWithUs, an organization that was founded to fight the growing antisemitism on American campuses. During the current war, StandWithUs has used social media on Israel’s behalf.

One of the things it started was a campaign that sees people mailing pictures of the cover of their passport, along with a message on the palm of their hand: “I stand with Israel.” This article describes the campaign, and this link takes you to the page where you can upload your photo.

I dug out my passport yesterday and sent my message. If your passport is handy, perhaps you can too. When a war is fought, not just on the field of battle, but around the world in cyberspace, these things matter.

Palestinian support for Israel against Gaza

** 2 **

One of the things Muslims do when they conquer a territory is to erect their prayer towers at a height higher than any other building in the community. Not only does this visually prove their dominance, it also forces everyone around to hear the Muslim call to prayer (which Obama described as “the sweetest sound I know“). Lately, to ensure that everyone hears that “sweetest sound,” Muslims have taken to blasting the call to prayer out on loudspeakers. In Israel, some residents finally had enough and blasted out a few prayers of their own.

** 3 **

The Lancet, founded in 1823, was once one of England’s most prestigious medical journals. During the Iraq War, though, it proved that it had become just another hack Leftist mouthpiece when it published an article in 2004 claiming that 68,000 Iraqis had died from U.S. attacks, a number it updated in 2006 to 655,000. All these numbers were resoundingly debunked, but the study still had an impact, inflaming the usual suspects in the Muslim world and on the Left.

Flush with the success of its last disinformation campaign, The Lancet is at it again, with a completely unsourced diatribe against Israel (which I won’t dignify with a link). Two Israeli physicians tried to get The Lancet to publish a well-sourced rebuttal but, although a reputable science publication would have willingly published that rebuttal, The Lancet naturally refused. If you, however, would like to learn truth via data, rather than lies via screeds, go here.

** 4 **

Hamas fighters may be getting demoralized, but its leaders are feeling flush with success. They’ve got a pile of dead children for photo ops, they got flights to Israel shut down for 24 hours, Jews in Europe are under siege in a way reminiscent of 1938, American streets are filled with thousands of pro-Hamas marchers, and the President and Secretary of State are fully on-board with Hamas’s agenda. To the relief of Israel supporters around the world, though, Israel appears to be thumbing its nose at the Obama regime and, instead, is focusing on its own security. This focus means continuing the Gaza operation so as to shut down those tunnels.

** 5 **

Europeans are, as always, fully supportive of Hamas. Part of this is age-old antisemitism. Part of it is Leftism. Part of it is a way of blaming Jews for Auschwitz and the purges and pogroms in which even conquered countries cheerfully participated.

And part of it, apparently, is the European Union’s ongoing battle with the U.S. for world supremacy. Once upon a time the U.S. supported Israel against the Soviet Union, which supported the Arabs. Now, the EU is supporting the Arabs against the U.S.’s long-standing support for Israel.

The only flaw in that plan is that, thanks to Barack Obama, the U.S. is also supporting the Arabs, so that the EU isn’t distinguishing itself from the U.S. at all. (See here and here, for articles supporting the conclusion that Obama is no longer bother to hide his pro-Hamas, anti-Israel stance.)

** 6 **

Facebook has gone despicable and deleted pro-Israel pages while allowing genocidal anti-Israel pages to stand.

The problem, of course, is that despite its vileness, Facebook is still the only game in town when it comes to spreading political messages throughout ones community of friends, acquaintances, and followers. For example, I know that many of my “real me” Facebook friends couldn’t care less about Israel or, since they’re DemProgs, they kind of vaguely support Hamas.

Because I’m inundating my feed, though, with clear, pro-Israel posters, there’s a possibility that this information will subliminally seep into their brains and value systems.  After all, that’s how Hollywood did it in the 1970s through today:  they subliminally changed people’s values through “entertainment” shows that were really “info-tainment” shows for Leftist ideas.

** 7 **

The Son of Hamas understands both how nihilistic that organization is and that its ultimate goal is world conquest for a caliphate:

** 8 **

Here’s another insight into how Muslims think — and it’s not the way people raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition think.

And finally, on to other, non-Israel/Hamas stuff:

** 9 **

I know that there are bad cultures that care for and wouldn’t gratuitously hurt animals (witness Hitler’s and the Nazi’s love for dogs), but are there any good cultures that gratuitously hurt and torture animals?  I can’t think of any.  Anyway, the following video is darling:

** 10 **

If you’ve been following the Bakken crude oil debate — which sees critics claiming that it’s too volatile to ship, and therefore useless — here are some actual facts explaining that it’s perfectly shippable (which, if it isn’t a word, ought to be).

** 11 **

The facts: A gun-toting man enters a gun-free hospital and begins firing, killing one person. He is stopped only because one of the staff doctors, ignoring the hospital’s gun-free status, shoots him, saving untold numbers of lives. The logic in Left land: Gun free zones should stay gun free because guns are dangerous.

No matter how many times you point out that the only way to stop a mass shooter is if a good guy with a gun shows up (whether that guy is on site or whether it takes 20 minutes for armed police to arrive), the Left insists that just declaring a zone “gun free” will save lives. It’s this kind of stupidity that practically drove me into the arms of conservativism.

** 12 **

Teacher’s unions — not individual teachers, many of whom are devoted and wonderful, but teacher’s unions — are harming American schools. This video perfectly describes my public school experiences growing up in San Francisco:

** 13 **

By leaping on every Leftist politically inspired bandwagon, experts have devalued themselves so much that half the world ignores anything they have to say.

** 14 **

Remember Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who was for withholding funds from federal Obamacare exchanges before he was against it? Well, there’s more….

(And here’s something cool: I bet you recognize the website at that link.  You should, because Hube, at the Colossus of Rhodey is one of my longtime Watcher’s Council friends. It turns out that the man who unearthed the first Gruber video was one of Hube’s old classmates. When he needed a forum to take down Gruber and reinforce Halbig, he went calling on his old friend who is now a conservative blogger.)

** 15 **

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have been iconic figures since the end of the 19th century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not write them as gay characters. Indeed, Dr. Watson adores women and eventually marries, leaving Holmes alone in the flat at Baker Street. With the renewed popularity of Sherlock Holmes and Watson thanks to a recent BBC series, the LGBTQ crowd thinks Holmes and Watson need an upgrade: They should become gay lovers.

Hmmm. Thinking. … Thinking. … Thinking. … Nope. I just don’t see it. What I do see, though, is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spinning in his grave.

** 16 **

One of the things conservatives constantly need to re-learn is that the culture wars are never won. When one side gains temporary dominance, the other side than begins a renewed charge to end that dominance. We’re currently in a period of Leftist dominance that has (finally) started a nascent conservative comeback. Should we win, we’ll naturally, and stupidly, rest on our laurels, creating a vacuum that the Left will aggressively rush to fill.

I mention all this because America may have won WWII in 1945, but the war is still being fought at the academic level. When the Smithsonian first mounted a Hiroshima exhibit 15 years ago, the Left seemed to have won, making the exhibit all about American imperialist aggression. Five men successfully fought back, but even they caution that the fight is never over.

** 17 **

I love Harry Stein’s writing. He’s warm and funny and mirrors my own journey from Left to Right (although I didn’t begin as far Left as he did). His crossing the Rubicon book, How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), is most definitely worth a read.

What I didn’t realize (or didn’t remember) about Stein, is that his father, Joseph Stein, wrote the book for Fiddler on the Roof, a show that simultaneously helped pro-Jewish and pro-Israel feeling around the world, even while offending religious Jews with its message favoring assimilation. Joseph Stein was the kind of Jew I knew growing up: educated, funny, creative, and very, very Left.

Harry has written a lovely homage to his father (who died in 2010, aged 98 years), managing to maintain his love and respect for the man whose political and social values Harry so definitively rejected.

** 18 **

Hamas secret weapon

I'm at a fundraiser now

Hamas refuses ceasefire

Civilization calls

Harry Reid on illegal immigrants

(Thanks to Earl and Sadie, who contribute to every post I write by sending me wonderful articles and images. Caped Crusader is also one of my main sources for images and anecdotes, although I don’t think any of his contributions made it to this particular post.)