Wednesday night mostly (but not entirely) Middle East round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust some stuff that wandered across my screen:

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Brendan O’Neill pulls no punches: It’s no coincidence that the rage against Israel sounds remarkably like anti-Semitism. This is an article that I shared with my “real me” Facebook friends, as I’m sharing dozens of other pro-Israel pieces. This time around, the war has to be fought not just on the front lines, but in the cyber world too, where we’re all combatants.

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One of the things that makes it easier to share this information with my “real me” friends (most of whom are Democrats) is the fact that support for Israel is appearing in the media they trust. For example, Time Magazine ran an opinion piece by Rabbi Eric Yoffe about the immoral demand for proportionality in a fight between Israel, which goes to extraordinary length to protect civilians, both hers and theirs; and Hamas, which would put its own children in its rocket launchers if it thought it could kill more Jews that way.

Indeed, the Washington Post, which has long been hostile to Israel, has suddenly realized this unpalatable truth about the cause it’s so long championed:

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks.

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Jonah Goldberg turns his gimlet eye on the ridiculous claim that Israel is committing genocide in Hamas. If there’s a genocide in Hamas, Hamas is committing it against its own children:

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Tom Rogan on the fact that Hamas is a dead-end, with an emphasis on the word “dead.” It’s a death cult. The fact that it will kill its own people pointlessly in a fight with Israel is irrelevant to it.  The fact that it will stand on nothing but dust at the end of the day is irrelevant to it.  It’s set to “kill” and can do nothing else.

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Michael Totten crafts an exquisite insult against Hamas:

The Israelis are seriously considering a ground invasion since Hamas won’t stop firing, but they’ve already proved to the population of Gaza that Hamas, even with its all its longer-range missiles, is capable of inflicting no more damage on the Zionist Entity than a lone killer armed with only a steak knife.

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Grotesque propaganda won’t save Hamas this time.  People now know what to look for:

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You guys all know I have a special soft spot in my heart for Marines. That’s why I find stories about men such as the “Lion of Fallujah,” who served both the Marines and the CIA in Iraq, incredibly moving.

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Pardon me for being crude, but maybe I like Marines because many of them seem to have bigger balls than the next guy — witness Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaking truth to power (his boss, President Obama) about the administration’s obvious missteps in the Middle East.

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Charles Hurt says what intelligent people intuitively understand: If you make people pay directly for something, you cannot reasonably tell them they don’t have any say in the thing for which they’re paying — or in the economic consequences flowing from that purchase. Even if you shriek that the law gives them no voice, they still think they have a voice.

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How many times have I said that one of the things that’s moving me away from being pro-Choice and towards pro-Life is the fact that the pro-Choice side of the equation is really a pro-Death viewpoint? I simply cannot find myself siding with people who turn infant and maternal death into an untouchable sacrament. But that is what they do, and this is nowhere shown more plainly than in a bill that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D. Conn.) authored, removing all state control from abortions. (David French calls it the “Kermit Gosnell Enabling Act of 2014.”)

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If I ever bothered to think about Simon Cowell, I pretty much thought of him as a genius impresario, and not much more. Now, though, I do think much more of him — he donated $150,000 to the Israeli Defense Force. Hurrah for Simon Cowell!

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Pictures:

Good at making excuses

Holders view of critics

That awkward moment

You left the toilet seat up

Midday Tuesday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansies[I've got to run, but I don't want to delay publishing this by two or three hours. I'm therefore publishing as is. Please forgive the inevitable typos.]

I was reading an enjoyable book about the clash between good and evil. I commented to a friend that the only problem with the book was that too many good guys die. I like my books to end with the heroes still intact. He responded that “As to the deaths of good guys, when you’re fighting ultimate evil, some casualties are to be expected, lest ultimate evil be trivialized.”

His comment is correct as an artistic matter. It’s also correct as a practical matter. When we are threatened by evil, it’s the good guys who step and fight — and therefore die — first. The rest of us lurk in corners hoping the conflict will pass us by entirely. When the conflict finally ends, if there’s still a society left to rebuild, too often the good guys are gone and the builders are the cowards, and the whiners, and the useless people.

On that cheerful note, let me dive into what may well be the mother of all round-ups.

***

As if to make my point, I got word today that my fellow Watcher’s Council member, Tom White, who did yeoman’s work helping David Brat’s candidacy and who accurately predicted Brat’s victory, is on the receiving end of threats from the former Chairman of the Republican 3rd District. Tom put himself out there in the best possible way, and now he’s in the line of fire. Tom is more than capable of taking care of himself, but the whole thing is disgusting.

***

Okay, here’s something cheerful: This story illustrates perfectly why an armed society is a civil society and why, to gun-banners’ constant chagrin, when legally held arms increase in number, crime decreases in proportionate number.

***

We’ve all remarked here on the fact that the climate Nazis are remarkably flexible when it comes to attributing everything to anthropomorphic climate factors. Hot summers? Climate change. Cold winters? Climate change. Islamic aggression? Climate change. You know the drill.

It turns out that they’re equally flexible when it comes to data. This flexibility goes beyond the hidden data, the “adjusted” temperatures, and the manufactured hockey sticks. It now includes turning back time.

***

Sometimes a writer phrases something in a way that makes you think “That’s it! That’s what I was trying to say.” I had precisely that response to Stephen Hayward’s article about the corruption of Civil Rights, something that he addresses specifically in the context of the way in which same-sex marriage advocates are targeting businesses and individuals who object to same-sex marriage. Some of you may recall that I long ago argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education was good politics and a morally correct decision, but a legal disaster that led to the corruption of the relationship between individuals, on the one hand, and the law and the state, on the other hand.

***

A few useful and interesting posts about the deaths of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. Along with all of you, I was horrified, although unsurprised, to learn that the three boys were dead. I’ll say only that it was small consolation to learn that, because Hamas bungled the kidnapping, it killed them instantly rather than torturing them before killing them. As I said, it’s small consolation.

American Jews shouldn’t just weep, they should act. We Jews are always the first in the Islamic cross hairs and our own government has been exceptionally passive about rising Islamism, not to mention the Palestinian/Islamist nexus.

Just how bad was Obama’s behavior? This bad.

Bret Stephens looks at Palestinian mothers, who delight in sending their own children off to murder other children. (It might be behind a pay wall.)

As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers.

These horrible mothers raise children such as these, whose raised three fingers show that they are celebrating the kidnapping and death of three Israeli children:

Muslim kids celebrate death of Israeli teens

***

Mike McDaniel examines both the long, long list of illegal acts in the Obama administration and the power a president has to issue pardons. Adding these two things up leads to some very ugly conclusions.

***

With its despicable tactics to retain Thad Cochran in Congress, the once Grand Old Party betrayed its history and created what may be a very damaging schism in conservative ranks.

Of course, it didn’t help at all that the best known Tea Party groups, to the extent they bothered to show up, used their money ineffectually. My sense about these groups is that they mostly send out lots of emails.

***

I first became aware of Dan Bongino in connection with his impassioned speeches against gun control efforts. He seems to be a very solid conservative, something affirmed by an Open Letter he wrote to America’s political class, both Left and Right.

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If you’ve been thinking that our federal government is increasingly looking like the government you’d see in a banana republic, here’s fuel for your fire: Congress has quietly done away with rules requiring elected officials to disclose information about trips they take courtesy of lobbyists.

***

In part because the media refuses to play along (unlike its behavior during Watergate), it’s perhaps inevitable that the House’s efforts to go after the IRS are bogging down into a mediocre political spectacle. Fortunately, others are also going after the IRS, including Judicial Watch. The exciting news is that Judicial Watch drew an honest judge — Emmit Sullivan. Judge Sullivan will not countenance any corrupt behavior in a litigation. The IRS’s “computer ate my emails” excuse should end in his courtroom.

***

And remember, even with the IRS, where there’s life, there’s laughter, this time courtesy of plaintiffs suing the IRS:

***

If you think our military is something special, you’re right. This video, of a Marine flyer with broken landing gear nevertheless sticking a landing on an aircraft carrier is epic:

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Surprisingly enough, on the subject of Hobby Lobby, a writer for The Atlantic tells the Left to cool the hysteria.

***

Sometimes, one persistent individual can make such a big difference. Miriam Noujaim, a Sacramento DMV employee who is a member of SEIU Local 1000, the largest state-employee union, wants to see what the heck the union has been doing to create annual travel expenses that have gone up to $5.21 million. The union doesn’t want anyone to see its records, but Noujaim won’t let go. I have nothing but applause for her pit bull tenacity.

***

Guns are good. Keeping guns away from kids is also good. And this is a clever, slightly risque ad to make that point:

***

William A. Jacobson is putting words to my worst nightmare: He thinks that Elizabeth Warren has the potential to be 2012′s Barack Obama. I don’t know that she would be worse than Obama, but it’s doubtful she’ll be any better. Safe in her million dollar Ivory Tower enclave, Warren is an angry limousine socialist who will aggressively ensure that the government takes over the lives of everyone but for her and her cronies.

***

I’ve mentioned many times the brilliant friend of mine who says that the real issue Islam has with the West is control over women. Muslim men have it and want to keep it. Everything else is ultimately subordinate to their desperate efforts to ensure that women are sexually available to them. Two stories out of Iraq, one about women fearful of rape attacks and the other about ISIS’s demands that the women simply make themselves available for sex, lend credence to my friend’s contention.

***

Oh, this is a good one: Now they’re arguing that doctors should decide who can get a gun. Let me tell you something about the doctor’s in my neck of the woods: If they’re under 50, they’re DemProgs who demand gun control. They’re the last people who should be deciding who gets to exercise Second Amendment rights and who doesn’t.

***

When I first saw this Slate article challenging San Francisco’s housing policies, I thought it would be an intelligent article arguing against rent control. Boy, was I wrong. Instead, it’s part-and-parcel of the administration press to grow urban areas (Democrat strongholds) and kill suburbs (the last gasp of conservative thinking). We’ve been fighting this fight in Marin, where the federal government is trying to turn Marin into part of a vast, urban conglomeration with centralized management taking direction from the feds. No, thank you!

***

Is the Fed heading for the horrible crash that inevitably follows the bubble?

***

Ever since I was slightly taller than knee high to a grasshopper, I’ve known that societies that are friendly to the Jews are also societies that enjoy enormous economic, social, and military success. Societies that try to destroy Jews inevitably fail, not just when it comes to destroying the Jews, but they also fail themselves. Now, I have support from a great video that examines the Israel litmus test:

***

Pictures:

Dyslexic bank robbers

Gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone

Leading cause of hard drive failures

(Thanks to Sadie, Earl, Caped Crusader, and Danny Lemieux, all of whom contributed in some way to this post.)

Monday morning mixed bag (and of course, Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesIt turns out that a long-time friend of mine is related by marriage to Matt Axelson, who died during Operation Redwings.  As you recall, Marcus Luttrell memorialized Operation Redwings in Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.  A movie based upon the book opened this past weekend.

My friend heard from her relative some months ago that the movie — which family members got to preview — is really good.  Not only is the box office reflecting the movie’s quality, the movie is also driving the Left nuts for daring to be an American movie that shows our military as the good guys and the Taliban as the bad guys.

Incidentally, I do not include Jake Tapper in my scorn for the media.  There’s been a kerfuffle about him asking Luttrell whether the latter felt a sense of lives wasted when he looked back on that event.  I thought that was a legitimate question in light of the way that Obama, repeating Vietnam, has deliberately lost the war for Americans.

I will not be seeing the movie.  I found the book disturbing enough, without having actors graphically replay it on the big screen.  Not only am I too cowardly to fight, I’m too cowardly even to watch a fake version of a real fight.

Go here for more on the Left’s strident opposition to a factually accurate movie that is American-friendly and Taliban-unfriendly.

***

Although I didn’t blog about it, I didn’t miss the fact that Ariel Sharon, after spending so many years in a coma, finally died.  He was a fierce warrior, always fighting on behalf of his beloved Israel.  I think his gamble with Gaza was a failure, but that failure certainly could have resulted because Sharon was struck down before he could optimize that gamble.  Bibi is good, but he’s never had Sharon’s ferocity nor do Israelis trust Bibi the way they did Sharon. When all is said and done, Ariel Sharon was a larger-than-life, frequently heroic figure who never acted without considering Israel’s welfare.

I’ve also stayed away from commenting on Obama’s tepid response to Sharon’s passing.  However, Keith Koffler did such a good write-up about Obama’s praising Sharon with faint damns that I must pass it on to you.

I’m not surprised at Obama’s dry eyes, of course.  Obama always wears his heart on his sleeve when people die.  Maggie Thatcher, who stared down communism and saved England’s economy?  Eh.  Hugh Chavez, whose hardcore socialism impoverished his country and began the work of turning it into a police state?  Obama wept.  Chris Kyle, who bravely and effectively served his country in war and in peace?  His name never passed Obama’s lips.  Whitney Houston, a drugged-out singer who wasted a God-given talent?  Obama and the missus were beside themselves.  When I look at Obama and Mooch-elle, I always want to copy Groucho Marx by singing “Whatever you’re for, I’m against it!”

***

In Mexico, the drug cartels and the police forces are brothers in arms.  The citizens suffer terribly — except in Michoacan, where a vigilante army has risen up and is battling both cartels and corrupt police.

Or maybe not.  It’s entirely possible that the vigilantes are merely hired guns for a rival cartel.

I tend to believe that counter narrative.  Why?  Because violent, drug-ridden Mexico has some of the strictest gun-control laws on the books.  If these vigilantes have guns, they didn’t get them legally.  The only guns are in the hands of the government and the drug-runners.

Imagine, just for a moment, how different it would be for honest citizens in Mexico if they had a Second Amendment….

***

My friend at To Put It Bluntly has written a post examining the hypocrisy behind the California Supreme Court’s decision to allow an illegal alien to get a law license in California.  It’s not just that this guy has sworn to uphold the laws of the United States and the State of California, despite the fact that he is the living embodiment of their violation.  It’s also that the tactic the Supreme Court used to arrive at its PC conclusion reveals just how much the government has its thumb on the scale when it comes to deciding who can and cannot work.  Too often, in modern America, the pursuit of happiness doesn’t include a right to honest employment without permission from the government.

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If you’re at all curious as to just how bad John Kerry is when it comes to the Middle East and Israel’s security, he’s this bad.  And if you want to know just how badly Obama dropped the ball on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he dropped it this badly.  (Alternatively, if you believe as I do that Obama has deliberately decided to pivot away from Israel and towards Iran, he did a great job pivoting.)

***

And for your reading pleasure, leadership buzz words in the Marines.

 

1970s Marine Reserves looking for a few good men who are looking for a good time

I’m struggling to find something pithy to say, but pith seems to have vanished along with the uncontrollable giggles I get every time I watch this:

Hat tip: Castra Praetoria

Also, speaking of Castra Praetoria, America’s Sgt. Major has done another in his continuing “Heard in the clear” saga.  Those are amongst my favorite posts, because they make me laugh and they make me suspect that Marines, even the youngest recruits, are probably a whole lot smarter than the average bear.

In honor of the Marines

Marines dismounting from an amphibious assault vehicle

As the Marines make ready to follow their Commander in Chief’s orders and include woman in combat infantry positions,* perhaps now is the time to stop and consider what we like about Marines who haven’t been turned into jello by a politically correct class, the honest members of which make no bones about their hatred for all things military.  I received the following pro-Marine message from a friend:

Marines:

I like the fact that if you are a self-declared enemy of America, running into a Marine outfit in combat is your worst nightmare; and, that your health record is either about to get a lot thicker, or be closed out entirely.

I like the fact that Marines are steadfast and consistent in everything they do, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

I like the fact that Marines view the term ‘politically correct’ with nothing but disdain.

I like the fact that Marines stand tall and rigid in their actions, thoughts, and deeds when others bend with the direction of the wind and are as confused as a dog looking at a ceiling fan.

I like the fact that each and every Marine considers the honor and legacy of the Corps as his personal and sacred trust to protect and defend.

I like the fact that most civilians don’t have a clue what makes them tick. And that’s not a bad thing. Because if they did, it would probably scare the Hell out of them.

I like the fact that others say they want to be like them, but don’t have what it takes in the Pain-Gain-Pride department to make it happen.

I like their motto… SEMPER FIDELIS, And the fact that they don’t shed it when the going gets tough, the battlefield gets deadly or when they hang up their uniform for the last time.

I like the fact that Marines take care of each other in combat and in times of peace.

I like the fact that the people of America hold Marines in the highest esteem and that they know that they can count on them to locate, close with, and destroy those who would harm them.

I like the fact that people think they’re cocky; yet they know that they have confidence in everything they do and the fact that they don’t know the taste of that makes them look at them as if they are arrogant.

I like the fact that Ronald Reagan said… ‘Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference… Marines don’t have that problem!’

I like the fact that a member of congress felt compelled to publicly accuse the Marine Corps of being ‘radical and extreme’; and I like the fact that the Commandant informed that member of congress that she was absolutely correct, and then he passed on his thanks for the great compliment.

I like the fact that Marine leaders – of every rank – know that issuing every man and woman a black beret – or polka-dotted boxer shorts for that matter – does absolutely nothing to promote morale, fighting spirit or combat effectiveness.

I like the fact that Marines are Marines first, regardless of age, race, creed, color, sex, and national origin, or how long they served, their former rank, or what goals they achieve in life.

I like Marines and I love the fact that I am both humbled and privileged to walk among the ranks of Marines.
In closing…if you aren’t a Marine, the next best thing is to have a Marine for a husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, best friend, or friend.

SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI
(Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever)

___________________________

*Let me just reiterate what I often say.  Being a woman myself, I have the  highest respect for women and for their abilities.  Some of the tough ones can beat the living daylights out of men.  But women are not men and I think it’s a singularly bad idea to throw them into combat situations together — bad for the women, bad for the men (I can just hear the sexual harassment and rape claims now), and bad for unit morale.

Meanwhile, the view of the scandals from the Left

I really love Facebook.  It helps me hone my epigrammatic skills, since I believe it demands some brevity; it allows me, in sneaky fashion, to expose my liberal friends to articles and ideas that don’t normally appear on their horizons; and it allows me to get a window into what ordinary liberals (as opposed to internet activist liberals) are thinking.

For the past week, as scandal after scandal emerged — Benghazi, AP, IRS — my friends have been conspicuously silent.  They’re starting to re-group, as the memes beginning to flow.  I’m not seeing the overwhelming deluge of posters that they latched onto after Todd Akin opened his mouth, but they’re definitely headed somewhere.

On the Benghazi scandal, we have this one:

Trying to relitigate Iraq

Who cares that the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War was the best available at the time? Who cares that much of it proved to be true? Who cares that Plame and Wilson were inveterate liars and self-promoters?

For the Left, Bush is the magic inoculation: Because Bush was once president, there is nothing Obama can do wrong because no matter his culpability or wrongdoing, Bush was worse.  Nyah!  The fact that the Benghazi incident reveals politically-motivated failures, lies, and negligence simply doesn’t matter, because Bush was worse.

Even if one accepts, solely for the sake of argument, that Bush indeed was exactly as morally culpable for carelessness and cover-ups, that’s a dreadful standard.  “Hey, I know I killed those two guys, but you can’t arrest or imprison me, because Charles Manson was worse.”  “Yeah, okay, so I killed millions of my own countrymen, but what are you going to do?  Mao killed more.”

The fact is, though, that Bush was never guilty of anything more than relying on bad intelligence — or for making bad decisions based upon good intelligence.  Nothing he did was done behind the scenes, nor did he walk away during the night, leaving Americans to die.  And there’s no evidence whatsoever of a cover-up.  After all, post-Watergate, it’s been received wisdom that it’s not the act, it’s the cover-up that’s the problem.

The other thing my Leftist friends are finally catching up with is the umbrella thing.  This poster is now making the rounds:

Umbrellas and presidents

When one of my Facebook friends posted that image, and repeated the question (“What’s the difference?”) I politely pointed out several differences:  First, the other umbrella holders are not Marines. They’re Army or aides, and they’re clearly along to lend a hand, not stand guard. Second, Marines do not carry umbrellas, and for the Commander in Chief to demand that they violate standing orders is bad. Third, Marines only carry umbrellas for women, which makes the president look wussy in the midst of scandals that have even his acolytes questioning his leadership abilities (because he’s either ineffective or corrupt, so they’ve chose ineffective). And fourth, the President’s own words were dreadful: “They’re going to look good next to us.”

(Incidentally, after Hillary’s famous, dishonest, prevaricating, cover-up question “what difference at this point does it make?” I would suggest that Democrats/Progressives henceforth avoid that question entirely.  It invariably means that it makes a big difference, and not one that looks good for them.)

Those words yield themselves to two interpretations, both dreadful. Either Obama thinks of the Marines as props (which is entirely possible given how Michelle framed herself with troops in dress uniform when she handed out the Best Picture Oscar) or he actually thinks that his overwhelming God-like-ness will make the Marines — the Marines! — look better. Or, as some wit showed in a poster:

Obama the Marines and an umbrella

The one thing that none of my liberal Facebook friends has dared to touch is the IRS scandal. I know why, too. Doing so would force them to admit one of two unpalatable things: (1) either they think it’s okay for the IRS to be used for partisan purposes or (2) they would have to acknowledge that conservatives were right that Obama’s administration is corrupt and that big government is a dangerous infringement on individual liberties. They choose silence.

A study in contrasts: man versus pathetic excuse for a man

I’m too old to get all dreamy about Prince Harry.  I do think, though, that he has matured nicely, from a callow, useless person into a fully functioning human being.  Part of this comes from his deep, abiding commitment to his military service.  Here’s a great video of Harry sort of waffling along about life, until reality intrudes.  He looks incredibly attractive running off, not just because he’s a very fit, young male specimen, but because he’s running off to do meaningful, responsible, traditionally manly work. (The moment I describe occurs within the first 40 seconds of the video.):

And then there’s this totally embarrassing moment showing the unmanly, metrosexual Obama using our military forces to shelter him from a few drops of rain.  I follow that video with one that I think is nicely on point, as well as with some useful pictures that I present in the most petty spirit possible:

Is this what he’s worried about?

And speaking of unmanly, it’s impossible to ignore Obama in his mom jeans on a girly bike, especially when contrasted with George Bush?

Obama and George Bush on their bicycles

And if you can’t throw a baseball (and need to do so in those mom jeans again), man up and confess that you can’t before you make a fool of yourself:

Obama wears mom jeans to pitch baseball

And lastly, I know they all do make-up for TV. It’s just that he looks so happy in the moment:

Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), has makeup applied before the Univision Democratic Candidate forum at the University of Miami in Coral Gables