Tuesday night stuff (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesJust a few quick links I don’t want to leave on the table before I head down to my perpetual motion machine for the rest of the evening.

Earlier today, I bought a Mark Steyn gift certificate to help fund his legal battle against Michael Mann, a man who rejoices under the title of being a scientist, but is in fact a First Amendment terrorist. Not too long after that, I read Dennis Prager’s article about Bryan Stow. Living in the Bay Area, I had heard about Stow, a SF Giants fan beaten almost to death by some L.A. Dodger’s fans. In the intervening years, I hadn’t realized that his injuries were so devastating. I also didn’t know until today that the men who did this to him got off with prison sentences equal to a slap on the hand — sentences that made them smirk happily when handed down. Please consider donating to the Bryan Stow fund. I did, and only regret that I hadn’t done so sooner.

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When Victor Davis Hanson is good, he’s really, really good. He’s all that in his post about the Bizarro World of Barack Obama’s presidency, in which every manifest failure is presented to Americans as a glowing success. Lincoln famously said, “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.” He was wrong. We live in a P.T. Barnum world, where there’s a sucker born every minute — and they’re all supporting Barack Obama and his administration.

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No link here, just an observation: I was speaking to my fairly apolitical sister about political correctness, education trends, national security, etc. I asked her, “Am I so exercised about this stuff because I’m an old fogey, like the old Yorkshire men famous for beginning each sentence by saying ‘When I were a lad,’ or has the world really gotten weird lately?” She answered, “It’s gotten really weird. The changes are fast and they are strange.”

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It’s not just that Andrew Malcolm wrote a good article about Barack Obama’s myriad foreign policy failures and the disdain in which this Nobel Prize winner is held around the world. It’s also the side by side photos of presidents Bush and Obama with the Dalai Lama. It makes me steam to think that, probably without exception, the Dalai Lama’s supporters voted for Obama. I’m not a fan of the Dalai Lama who, despite China’s constant depredations against his land, has announced that he’s a Marxist, meaning he’s dumb as a post, but I do admire his steadfast fight for his country’s independence (a fight he apparently carries out so that his country, too, can become a large socialist workers gulag). And yes, that was one of the longest sentences I’ve ever written, but I kept my clauses in nice order.

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If the name Margalit Fox is familiar to you, it’s because you pay attention to the bylines on New York Times obituaries. In my humble opinion, the New York Times obituary section is the only section in that paper worth reading — and what makes it worthwhile in significant part is Fox’s delightful writing. Knowing what a good writer she is, I didn’t think twice about picking up The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code when I saw that she was the author. My instincts were good. Fox brings to life the decades’ long (and eventually successful) effort to decipher the Linear B writing found at Knossos, home of the many King Minoses and the famous Minotaur. I’m halfway through the book, and am finding it difficult to put it down.

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If the Thomas Jefferson quotation at Doug Ross’s site is apocryphal, please don’t tell me. I want to believe it’s real. (No, I take that back. Intellectual honesty matters more than wishful thinking.)

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I’ve never managed to be that thrilled by Sen. Marco Rubio. I think with a bit of time at his back, he’ll be something wonderful, but right now he’s not quite all that — except that is, when it comes to ripping apart old Leftists and their sorry love affair with Cuba. That fire is the promise that he can become a great statesman, although he isn’t one yet.

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Speaking of statesmen, I’m beginning to put more and more faith in Scott Walker as a serious potential presidential candidate. If the worst that the Democrat attack dogs can come up with about him as that, back in college in the late 1980s, he announced in advance that he was running for student body president, rather than waiting until the official announcement day to do so, the media is going to have to work hard to discredit him. Add the lack of bad stuff to all the major good stuff in Wisconsin, and you’ve got Candidate Squeaky-Clean-and-Principled. Indeed, my only complaint about him will be the fact that he’s younger than I am. How in the world did it happen that I got to be older than the guys running for president? (Obama is only a month younger than I am, so that doesn’t count.)

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Islamists kill. That’s what they do. And they especially love killing children because, even for psychopaths, soft targets (baby-soft targets) are the best. Or maybe I mean “especially for psychopaths.” Regardless, even as these monsters continue to array themselves in ever greater numbers against the West, our administration announces that it’s going to shrink the Army back to its 1930 size. We saw, of course, how well that worked back in the day.

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This is what Obamacare is all about (from a son’s WSJ article about Obamacare’s death sentence for his mother):

[T]here is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother’s old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death.

[snip]

The “Affordable” Care Act is a brutal, Procrustean disaster. In principle, it violates the irreducible particularity of human life, and in practice it will cause many individuals to suffer and die. We can do better, and we must.

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Sultan Knish makes a point that is obvious only in retrospect, after having read his post: just as raw power isn’t concentrated in corporations’ hands but is, instead, concentrated in a centralized government’s hands, so too is wealth concentrated, not in corporations or amongst a wealthy few, but in a centralized, socialized or semi-socialized government’s pocket.

Helping Mark Steyn’s epic battle to defend freedom of speech

mark-steyn-photo-600x345I’ve written before about Mark Steyn’s epic battle and equally epic Answer and Counterclaim in the suit that discredited “Hockey Stick” artiste, Michael Mann filed against him and the National Review.   What I forgot to tell you is that there is a way you can help Mark Steyn, who is not sharing his defense with National Review, pay the costs of this suit.  (Steyn’s currently representing himself, although I do not know whether he parted ways with his lawyer because they had a substantive disagreement or because Steyn could no longer afford him/her.)

Click here to learn about buying a Mark Steyn gift certificate.  You can choose not to redeem the gift certificate, leaving all the money in his hands, or you can redeem it for actual merchandise, which still leaves him with the profit margin.  It’s a good deal all around.

Friday morning thoughts (and Open Thread)

The other day, Victorian posy of pansiesI wasn’t able to get to my desktop computer, which is where I write with ease and fluidity.  I was also was quite depressed that day.  Thinking about it, I told my sister that I wasn’t depressed because life is temporarily inconvenient.  I was depressed, instead, because I didn’t get my “writer’s high.”  For many years, I’ve kept myself buoyant through two endorphin-releasing activities:  martial arts and writing.  For the past six months, I’ve been unable to do martial arts, but I still had my writing.  When writing is also denied me, my endorphins vanish, and I get into a funk.  Just an hour at the computer is equal to several bowls of chocolate ice cream — without the calories.

And now to a variety of quick links that have come my way:

An artist in South Florida deliberately destroyed a 7,000 year old Chinese vase to protest the fact that the arts community in Miami isn’t paying enough attention to local artists.  If you’re like me, your first thought upon reading that story was “That man is just crazy.”  Well, if he’s crazy, so is Prince William.  Little Willy has announced that he wants to destroy the monarchy’s priceless 1,200 piece ivory collection to protest the illegal ivory trade.  He’s apparently unimpressed by the fact that these ivories span the centuries, meaning that they come from times long-predating modern environmentalism.  The combination of an appropriately Progressive education and a credulous, rather stupid father clearly has had its effect on the Prince’s reasoning skills and values.

One of my friends, upon hearing about Prince William’s proposal, had the perfect response:  “Perhaps he should also dismantle the monarchy since it has caused so many wars, slavery, and other human suffering. While he’s at it, why not return all the Egyptian treasures spread throughout London the monarchy looted?”

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Mark Steyn is representing himself in the case that Michael Mann — creator of the completely discredited hockey stick graph — has brought against him and against the National ReviewOne can argue that Steyn will find that there’s truth to the saying that “the man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.”  I’m not so sure.  In my experience, judges give an enormous amount of leeway to parties who appear on their own behalf.  The smart man representing himself may well be in a better position than the smart man trapped behind a mediocre attorney whose only virtue is that he’s affordable.

If Steyn’s answer and counter-claim is anything to go by, Steyn’s doing just fine.  He understands that the law is on his side.  This is a pure First Amendment case and doesn’t require complex legal analysis.  The only way to win is to make the facts come alive and to reveal Michael Mann for what he is:  a discredited scientist who has used shoddy research and false reports to make himself famous, and who now tries to cling to his dishonestly-won fame by bullying people through the legal system.

Not only does Steyn understand the necessary strategy, he’s taken advantage of his pro per status to write one of the most delightful pleadings I’ve ever seen.  My first drafts usually have the same puckish quality (although I lack Steyn’s wit, erudition, flair, and musicality), but I always take those bits out for fear the judge will think I’m making sport of him.  Steyn, however, is clearly, and deftly, making sport of Mann:

69. Denies the allegations in Paragraph Sixty-Nine of the Amended Complaint, and thinks we’re going round in circles here.

[snip]

111. Denies the allegations in Paragraph One-Hundred-And-Eleven of the Amended Complaint, and feels Plaintiff is going round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a
wheel, like the circles that you find in the tree-rings of your mind.

[snip]

129. Plaintiff Michael Mann is a widely known figure in the scientific and public policy spheres of global warming research who has thrust himself into the politics of the
global warming debate by appearing in TV commercials for political candidates, writing newspaper columns regularly for The Guardian, The New York Times and others, serving as scientific advisor to and appearing in a climate-change TV series starring climate experts Matt Damon and Jessica Alba, and is therefore a public figure. In March 2012, Plaintiff published a book called The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars: Dispatches From The Front Lines, the “front lines” presumably referring to his media appearances with Miss Alba et al.

[snip]

131. At the other end of the spectrum, Plaintiff and his counsel have issued demands that have no basis in law, as they well know – including the preposterous assertion, in response to a parody video by “Minnesotans for Global Warming”, that “Professor Mann’s likeness” is protected from parody and satire. (See attached letter from Plaintiff’s counsel.) Plaintiff has engaged in serial misrepresentation and false claims to authority, including (in his original Complaint against Defendant Steyn) purporting to be a Nobel Laureate and (in his current Complaint and elsewhere) purporting to have been exonerated by multiple investigations and by fellow scientists who have, in fact, pronounced Mann and his work “inappropriate”, “exaggerated”, “non-robust” and his defense of it “incorrect”. There is a smell to the hockey stick that, in Lady Macbeth’s words, “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” – nor all the investigations. And so Dr Mann has determined to sue it into respectability.

Speaking as a well-seasoned litigator, I wish I’d written that.

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At African-American Conservatives on Facebook, a picture that perfectly illustrates why I’ve had a problem with electric cars — and with the fact that Obama is using my money to fund them, all under the umbrella of “anthropogenic climate change”:

Dirty electrical cars

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The more I know about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the more I like him. And the more the Left knows about Walker, the more it fears him. I have a feeling all the fishing expeditions will come up empty. After the recall vote, all the dirt that can be dug probably has been dug.

allen-west-20101Speaking of presidential candidates, even my apolitical sister asked me, “Who’s going to be the Democrat nominee? Hillary? I don’t think she can win, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else.” Exactly. I told her to keep an eye on Walker. I also really, really like Allen West, and I think he could make an Eisenhower-esque claim to having executive experience notwithstanding his lack of a governorship. He and Walker could be a very exciting President/Vice President package. I also have to admit to something of a girlish crush on West. I think he’s just amazingly good-looking. He looks so crisp and fresh.

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Proof that not all news anchors are just talking heads. These two, stuck without any audio, are really funny.

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Do we need to say again that true science is never settled? Or that stifling dissent is unscientific? Probably we do. We need to say it again and again and again until we are like the horns bringing down the walls of Jericho. And if someone’s going to be your trumpet, Charles Krauthammer is the Louis Armstrong of intelligent dissent.

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Every year in Laredo, something amazing happens:  on both sides of the border, people gather together to celebrate George Washington, but they do so with an exquisite Tejano twist.  As with the last Independent Lens documentary I wrote about, the documentary maker isn’t very good, but the subject matter transcends the production.

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Do you remember this creepy video, with elementary school children singing about the glories of the imagined hope that the Messiah Obama would bring to America? Well, someone’s updated it (h/t Sadie):

A little of this and a little of that (and an Open Thread)

I’ve spent today being very productive in a non-blogging way, but there are still a few things I’d like to share with you.

If you’re feeling in a giving mood, the National Review needs help in its fight against the lawsuit Michael Mann (yes, climate change Michael Mann) filed against National Review and Mark Steyn.  It’s a laughable suit, but even laughable suits cost money.  I’ve seen a lot of laughable suits drive defendants to very costly settlements, simply because the plaintiff had free counsel and the defendant didn’t.

And while you’re at the National Review, check out Victor Davis Hanson’s look at Obama’s America — it’s not pretty.

Will there ever come a time when the same press that got Obama elected starts to take umbrage at the Obama administration’s manifest disrespect for the Fourth Estate?  I doubt it.  True believers can always rationalize away even the worst things.

Speaking of the media, when does a newspaper stop being a purveyor of something even remotely resembling news, and start being a sordid party rag, with every utterance suspect?  I can’t answer that question precisely, but I’m pretty sure that the New York Times (the self-proclaimed paper of record) has already reached the point of no return.  Whether because of institutional ignorance or dishonesty, its articles are so replete with falsehoods that they don’t deserve serious consideration.

I love it when someone takes something I wrote and makes it better.  At Villainous Company, Cassandra expands greatly on my post about gingerbread racism in Sweden.

Unions have long had a reputation for violence.  Today’s unions are no different.  The really big question, of course, is whether our union-supporting POTUS is going to call them on it.

Also, if you have already subscribed to the Bookworm Room newsletter, please give it a try (you can always and easily unsubscribe).  In addition to linking to post in the blog, the Newsletter contains original content that you won’t find on the blog.

Do you guys have anything to add?  I can only survey a small fraction of the rich blogosphere, so I always appreciate your open thread contributions.