The Bookworm Beat 12/16/14 — Smells like Tuesday edition and Open Thread

Woman writingThe 21st century version of “The dog ate my homework.”

We have two new entries today in the continuing saga of Ivy League and affluent college students trying to delay taking exams on account of their being traumatized by Darren Wilson’s acquittal and Eric Garner’s deaths and their being exhausted by the physical and emotional burdening of taking to the streets to protest those two traumas. The first entry is an overwrought, horribly written, and horribly reasoned essay by a young man who styles himself as a third year Harvard Law Student and editor of Harvard’s Law Review. John Hinderaker fisks this horrible effluvia, so I don’t have to.

I have only one thing to add . . . well, actually two. First, Obama was once a third year Harvard Law Student and editor of the Harvard Law Review. Second, if those two law students — who are separated by more than 20 years — are representative of Harvard Law School I have been right all along in believing that people go into Harvard Law reasonably smart and come out manifestly dumb and, too often, unprincipled.

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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 (11/19/14) — It was a dark and stormy day edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThat global warming sure has caused global cooling with a vengeance. My thoughts are with all of those who are suffering the brunt of this blast (or vortex?). Stay warm and safe, please.

Here, I’m happy to say, it’s raining! Considering that Marin is constantly hovering just a few gallons away from water rationing during this drought, rain is always good news. Equally good is the fact that it’s supposed to rain for another day, and then rain again in five days. Woo-hoo!!!

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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:

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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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The Bookworm Beat (11/12/14) — The “trigger warning” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingIf I’ve written this post correctly, it should trigger discomfort in sensitive Leftists.  “Trigger warnings,” for those of you fortunate enough not to move in circles that use them, are warnings at the beginning of any information presentation, be it fact or fiction, written or oral, aural or visual. They tell people with certain sensitivities that the material following the warning might upset them. For example, The Cat In The Hat might be preceded by a trigger warning stating “Trigger Warning: This book contains references to cats, which may be triggering to people suffering from Ailurophobia; references to boys, which may be triggering to people suffering from Misanthropy; references to girls, which may be triggering to people suffering from Misogyny; and references to Things, which may be triggering to people suffering from fear of Things.”

These trigger warnings started amongst the feminists, who manage to hold simultaneously conflicting thoughts, the first being that they are roaring women (and you’d better hear them), and the second that they are such fragile flowers that anything can permanently damage them. I’m not so sure anymore that trigger warnings are just a malicious feminist virus.  Instead, to the extent that trigger warnings are taking over American college campuses, I think that they’re actually part of a fiendish plot that transcends lunatic feminists in Herstory Departments across America.

Think about it: For decades, the Left has carefully controlled the material available to college students. Just when young people’s minds should be in their most receptive, inquiring mode, these youngsters are shut off in an institution that spoon feeds them carefully vetted material pointing to a single world view. As a conservative I met today told me, his grandson, a UC student, proudly boasted that everyone at his college voted Democrat in the last election. That may be an exaggeration, but it’s close enough to the truth to disturb all of us.

The problem for Leftist control freaks is the fact that they only get the students for 4-7 years, and that even during that time there’s the chance that the students, during visits home, or while picking up a random magazine abandoned at a Starbucks might accidentally be exposed to facts or analysis challenging the Leftist paradigm. Even the most zealous Leftist academic can’t police students all the time. Moreover, there’s always the problem that an insufficiently indoctrinated student might be embarrassed at the sheeple-ness of it all (is there no rebellion left amongst the young?) and foment an intellectual revolution.  What’s an academic to do?

What the enterprising academic will do is vaccinate the students so that they develop antibodies that make them permanently resistant to any new information whatsoever. That’s what the “trigger warning” is. It inoculates brains against all ideas but for Leftist ones.  Mention preprogrammed words, phrases, or ideas — e.g., liberty, Founding Fathers, Constitution, decent men, rape fallacy, conservatives, Republicans, etc. — and the students are so sensitized that they instantly, and without any higher brain function, start screaming “It’s a trigger!” after which they fall on the floor in a sobbing heap, inconsolable until someone comes along and whispers in their ears restorative words such as Social Justice, right side of history, racism, sexism, etc.

As long as our young people are not just taught Leftism, but are taught to panic at anything that challenges Leftism, they are unreachable. They have been vaccinated against ideas about individual liberty, constitutionalism, morality, etc. Sad, but true….

But if you’re made of stronger stuff, if you can read ideas that might not mesh with yours, I probably have something to offer you in this little grab bag of links and pictures.

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Words of advice to the incoming Republican-majority Congress (and Open Thread)

United States Capitol BuildingIt seems to me that, as a political watcher and self-appointed pundit, I ought to offer some words of advice to the incoming Republican-majority Congress.  There are, after all, a lot of things it can do.  Yes, Obama has the veto, but his cries of “do-nothing Republicans” start sounding pretty hollow if the Republicans are passing bills like crazy (including the ones that Harry Reid refused to bring to the floor), only to have Obama veto every one of them.  Indeed, it might be better for 2016 if Obama does veto every single bill, because the country would finally get to see what Republicans and conservatives stand for, without having Obama, as executor, purposefully bollix up those initiatives in an effort to discredit the Republican brand.

Jeff Sessions has already promised that, if Obama goes ahead with his amnesty plan, a Republican-led Congress will do everything in its power to stop it.  The talking heads will cry “racist,” but I suspect that, given how unpopular amnesty is, Americans will recognize that it’s unconstitutional for the President to grossly expand his legitimate authority to issue pardons that he effectively co-opts legislative power. We know that the RINOs in Congress will use the opportunity to rebuke Obama as a way to enact some sort of immigration reform that includes amnesty, but any bills that are passed will at least have the virtue of having some checks against an unlimited, unconstitutional amnesty intended for no other purpose than to expand the Democrat brand for all future elections.

Speaking of those immigrants, a Republican-majority Congress, aided by the GOP, should spend the next two years education (not pandering to, but educating) minorities about the ways in which small government will benefit them.  With Obama’s six-year run as a backdrop — since it was a time during which minorities fell back by every measurement — Republicans should talk up the benefits of the free-market and individual liberty.  This is the time to explain that a rising tide lifts all boats, meaning that sometimes, contrary to Obama, it’s a good thing when the waters rise.

A Republican-led Congress can act as a counterweight to Obama’s embrace of Iran — especially given that Obama has already made it plain that he intends to circumvent Congress in order to enter into agreements with Iran that walk like treaties, talk like treaties, and act like treaties, with the only distinction being that Obama swears that they’re not actually treaties, so that Congress can have no say.  With Harry Reid in charge of the Senate, Obama could have gotten away with that kind of initiative.  A Republican Senate, one more jealous of its constitutional prerogatives, may actually push back a bit, saving the world from a nuclear Iran.

A Republican-led Congress can use its power of the purse to penalize countries that support ISIS and any other radical Islamists, and to support those that stand with America against radical Islam.  It can also send moral support to those in the field fighting against radical Islam.  As we know from those who were dissidents against the Soviet Union in the 1960s through 1980s, when you’re fighting a despot, moral support matters.  It’s the antidote to the cognitive dissonance that is ordinary life in a tyranny.

A Republican-led Congress should pass bills repealing Obamacare.  We know Obama will veto those bills, but it will show Americans which party is on the side of the people, because the people continue to hate Obamacare by significant majorities.  In addition to a blanket bill challenging Obamacare, Republicans should offer bills aimed at creating a true free market in medical care and medical insurance.  It is this free market that is most likely to ensure that all Americans, in fact, have affordable access to quality care.  Again, we know Obama will veto these bills, but the point is to educate the American public.

A Republican-led Congress should put serious weight behind investigations into the IRS scandal, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, and all the other scandals that Democrats have ignored and serious Republicans have been impotent to address.  It’s time for the American people to know what “the most transparent administration ever” has been doing behind closed doors.

If I had my way, a Republican-led Congress would appoint a committee to troll through existing legislation and begin repealing laws that are out-dated, irrelevant, burdensome traps for the unwary.  Indeed, shrinking the sheer volume of federal laws (and, with it, the even greater volume of federal regulations) could be the best gift a Republican-led Congress could ever give to the citizens of the United States.

And for my final word of advice to a Republican-led Congress:

Don't bungle this opportunity

Obamacare goes from horribly bad to even more terribly worse

Obamacare error 404C. Steven Tucker has had a 20 year career as a health insurance broker. Having enabled his clients, just barely, to weather Obamacare’s roll-out, he’s now reporting that the worst is still to come — and that this year is even more horrible than last year because of an Obama GAG rule on insurance companies:

Last year when more than 4 million cancellation notices went out, Americans were able to shop for prices as early as October 1st, granted the initial roll out left much to be desired. In fact, in my opinion it was an unmitigated disaster. Many of my clients spent hours on the phone with Healthcare.gov ‘navigators’ only to find out that their application had then mysteriously disappeared.

Worse yet, because our state’s “C.H.I.P” program was expanded long before Obamacare. The few members of my clientele who actually qualified for an APTC – “Advance Premium Tax Credit”  a.k.a. “subsidy” to artificially lower their premiums were unable to add their children to their subsidized policies. They were instead instructed to enroll their children in Medicaid. Or, they could pay full price for each of their children. The rates for a single child in my state are at least $100 a month for the cheapest “Bronze” plan which includes a $6,000 deductible per person. That’s not exactly ‘affordable care’ when you have three children.

This year, for the first time in 20 years I can not even quote a replacement product because Barack Obama has issued a GAG ORDER to the health insurance industry instructing them not to disclose their January 2015 health insurance rates until after the mid-term elections. This is unprecedented. Normally health insurance premiums are released for public viewing 60 days before the January 1st effective date. Where are the reports on these cancellations and the gag order from NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN? The only news organization that I am aware of that has reported on any of this is the Fox News channel. I can guarantee you one thing, not one of my clients who received a cancellation notice is voting Democrat on Tuesday.

Read the rest here.