Tuesday morning round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI only had a narrow window of time within which to write yesterday, but I was able to get a lot of reading done.  I bookmarked all sorts of pages and finally have the chance to share them with you.  I need to give a big thank-you to Earl for providing many of the links.  Unfortunately, I can’t be more specific than that, since I no longer remember which articles I found and which Earl sent my way.  Anyway, here goes:

Proving that professors aren’t as smart as they think they are, 44 law professors trying to force Hobby Lobby to pay for birth control and abortifacients inadvertently make a strong argument in favor of insisting that corporations should abandon all of their Leftist crusades.

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My high-school junior came home from school yesterday absolutely outraged. “Is it true that Obama’s going to cut the military’s size back to what it was before WWII? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. We have too many enemies to do that.”

Peter Wehner — usually the most temperate, even RINO-esque writer — is also outraged, and says point-blank that Obama is deliberately forcing decline on America:

Max Boot does an excellent job laying out the problems with this proposal here and here. I’d simply add that the fact that American military dominance can no longer be taken for granted is not problematic for someone of Barack Obama’s worldview. In fact, he views the weakening of American power as a downright positive thing, as a contributor to peace and stability, and a means through which America will be more respected and loved in the world.

[snip]

And for all the damage the president is doing on the domestic side–and I would not want to underestimate it for a moment–it may be the harm he’s inflicting on America in foreign policy and national security is deeper, broader, and more durable.

More than any president in my lifetime, Barack Obama has damaged virtually everything he’s touched. When it comes to American interests, he’s a one-man wrecking ball.

The military is rife with waste, something that should be addressed.  For the president to point out that the bath water is cloudy, thereby mandating the baby’s destruction, is a passive-aggressive version of treason.

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Two posts explain precisely why the same president who won a Nobel Peace Prize merely for winning an election now gets no respect at home or abroad: The first from Seth Mandel and the second from Keith Koffler.

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Yes, Farrakhan is a disgusting anti-Semite. People need to know this.  There are still way too many Leftist American Jews who imagine that they’re standing arm-in-arm with Southern blacks in front of Sheriff Bull Connor. Those days are gone. Fifty years of pernicious Farrakhan-ism and Leftism have turned vast numbers of American blacks into anti-Semites. Moreover, these antisemitic blacks can rejoice in the fact that one of their own occupies the White House.

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Charles C.W. Cooke is such a delightful writer that it’s a pleasure to read him rejoicing about Piers Morgan’s CNN downfall. John Lott, however, is the one who writes something about Morgan that I didn’t know: Morgan was so abysmally rude to pro-gun guests on his show that reasonable viewers actually felt obligated to try to figure out on their own what Lott was going to say. (Although one has to wonder why any reasonable person of whatever political stripe would watch Morgan.  Habit, I guess.)  In such way are minds open and converts created.

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When all is said and done, I’m betting that Obamacare will have killed more Americans than all the dead in Iraq, both American and Iraqi, combined. And the media will be utterly silent.

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I am not a fan of the Smithsonian institute, which has been co-opted entirely by the loony Left.  Here’s the most recent example of its global warming crusade (the website is rife with this pseudoscience), but its Leftism hit the airwaves with the Enola Gay kerfuffle.  I mention the Smithsonian now only because it had an interesting little article about forensic writing analysis, in which a person or computer carefully analyzes the way in which someone writes — word choices, sentence length, word order, etc. — to determine authorship.  Funnily enough, the Smithsonian didn’t mention the detailed forensic analysis showing that it’s more likely than not that Bill Ayers, not Barack Obama, authored Dreams, the book that catapulted a nobody from nowhere into the nation’s spotlight.

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Many of us tend to associate pot with Leftist hippie types. In fact, legally available pot is a very libertarian concern — and so are legal arms. Bob Owens warns that those same libertarians who are availing themselves of legal pot via prescriptions may find that they’ve signed away their right to arms.

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Noemie Emery offers an excellent analysis about Obamacare’s bastard roots; meaning the fact that, unlike any other major law in American history, it was passed in the face of overwhelming opposition, using factual lies and procedural chicanery.

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John C. Goodman explains how we lost the war on poverty from the moment we enacted it. Why? Because its very enactment induced Americans, especially black Americans, to abandon the four cornerstones of economic success in America: a high school education, a job (no matter the type), and, most importantly, marriage and children in that order. Again, no surprise to me. For years I’ve been citing John McWhorter’s Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, in which I first saw the numbers showing black economic collapse after well-meaning, guilt-ridden whites forced welfare on them in the 1960s. Black men became mere sperm donors who proved their prowess, not through hard work, self-sufficiency, and family standing, but through guns and sex.

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I’ve worked hard most of my life. I started working as a teen, and have kept busy ever since as a secretary, a student, a lawyer, and a mother. All are time-consuming tasks that require having or learning a specific mindset and skills. I bet you all have worked hard too, and that’s true no matter your life’s work.

Some jobs appear right off the bat to be harder than others. Most would concede that it’s incredibly hard to do road maintenance work in Arizona in summer or in Michigan in winter. Marine work — both training and fighting — is hard too. Working in a coroner’s office must have a high disgust factor. Working on a cattle ranch is a 365-day-a-year, physically exhausting job. I won’t go on, but I will point out that you never read articles from road maintenance people, or Marines, or coroner’s assistants, or cattle ranchers and cowboys moaning on and on about how horrible their job is and how only haters don’t appreciate what they’re doing. Funnily enough, that kind of whiny, narcissistic, incredibly irritating rant comes only from teachers.

As I’ve so often said, I’m entirely cognizant of how difficult a job teaching can be. My father did it in a time when his wage was only slightly above the poverty level, and he was a superb teacher. What he wasn’t was a victim.

I support good teachers, I admire good teaching, and I recognize that it takes time, commitment, knowledge, and skill to be a good teacher. (I’d love to be one of Mike McDaniel’s students, since it’s obvious that he has all of those virtues and then some.) What I can’t stand is the endless sense of victimization flowing from America’s teachers. What I’d love to say to them is “Most people work hard and feel that their pay is inconsistent with their effort. You’re not special. Get over it.  If you want recognition, get it for being wonderful (a la Mike), not whiny.”

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And a great picture, riffing off of one of my favorite expressions (h/t Caped Crusader):
Road to hell

Piers Morgan gets it wrong AGAIN

Piers MorganPiers Morgan makes money in America, but doesn’t understand America.  Following the Duck Dynasty explosion, Morgan tweeted out that the First Amendment “shouldn’t protect vile bigots” like Phil Robertson.

Au contraire, Piers.  Putting aside the fact that this is not a First Amendment kerfuffle (A&E is not the government), Robertson’s speech is precisely the type that gets First Amendment protection.  Popular speech doesn’t need any protection.  To the extent speech needs protection, it’s unpopular speech that is covered under the First Amendment.

There are limitations, insofar as the Supreme Court has given the government leave to act against speech intended to create imminent acts of violence or that are blatant falsehoods against private citizens.  Otherwise, though, in America you’re allowed to say things that other people don’t like or with which they disagree.  Free speech and guns are each citizen’s primary bulwark against despotic government.

Ben Shapiro just shot to the top of my reading list

One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in I don’t know how long is Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.  The book’s beauty rests on two solid pillars.  The first is that Ben, who is so sweet-faced he looks as if he couldn’t hurt a fly, got liberal TV producers, writers, and directors to speak openly about the fact that they intended their TV shows — all of which were sold to the public as entertainment and all of which were, indeed, entertaining — to be propaganda vehicles for Leftist ideology.

By getting these detailed quotations, Shapiro ensures that his book cannot be dismissed as the ranting of a conspiracy theorist who sees Communism’s evil hand in Hollywood’s every move.  There’s no conspiracy here.  Instead, there’s a smiling confession from Hollywood power brokers who detail their goals and the way in which they used our television sets to achieve those goals.

Benjamin Shapiro, from his Facebook page

The second pillar on which the book rests is Shapiro’s own writing style:  he’s easy to read.  His writing style is utterly straight-forward, although never boring.  Reading the book, I had the sense that I was a participant in a delightful conversation with an informed, witty friend who was fleshing out for me something I’d only noted vaguely before.

My only problem with Shapiro’s writing — and this reflects badly on me, not on him — is that I’m incredibly jealous that someone so young has such a mature, informed world view, and that he is able to convey it so well to others.  Despite having a few decades on him, I’m still a work-in-progress, but he’s a precociously sophisticated, intelligent voice.

I just purchased Shapiro’s latest book, Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans.  The title, of course, is self-explanatory.  I suspect that it will be a perfect companion piece to Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.  Intellectual bullying and cheating are, after all, the yin and yang of Leftist discourse.

I have some other books I’ve been meaning to read, so I’d originally put Bullies in the middle of my reading list.  I’ve shuffled my list around, though, thanks to Shapiro’s masterful engagement with CNN’s resident bully, Piers Morgan.  Currently, the video is one of those autoplay videos, so I won’t include it here.  However, now that you’re warned about that autoplay, you can go here to see Shapiro reduce a bully to a quivering mass of incoherence.

Shapiro facing down Morgan

Shapiro’s ability to reduce Morgan so completely matters, not just because it’s gratifying to see a bully beaten at his own game, but also because it helps shift the discourse.  At Shapiro’s own Breitbart, Joel Pollak articulates Shapiro’s significant victory:

Ben Shapiro’s confident, fact-packed demolition of CNN’s Piers Morgan last night marks the turning point in the gun control debate. Ben showed that when they cannot exploit the deaths of children, gun control advocates are forced to defend their views, which are based on faulty premises. That timely reminder has given new energy and enthusiasm to defenders of the Second Amendment, who are preparing for the mother of all battles.

[snip]

Ben put into practice something that Andrew Breitbart preached throughout his career of battling the mainstream media: Question the premise, whether it’s an assertion that you don’t care about the victims of Sandy Hook, or a faulty definition of Critical Race Theory, or that Barack Obama is a nice guy who only wants America to succeed. Ben destroyed the faulty premise of the gun control debate last night. And the debate is now changed.

Question the premise.  What a great idea.  I took that tack in an earlier post I did today challenging the phrase “gun control,” which presupposes that guns should be controlled, and leaves the scope of that control as the only question.  The correct premise after Sandy Hook is to examine what steps we can take to make our country safer — and the data shows that depriving law-abiding citizens of their constitutional access to arms not only doesn’t make our country safer, it makes it more dangerous.  If you operate from the correct premise, you are able to use the correct information, and reach an accurate conclusion.

Right now, the only problem is that the Left fully understands that Shapiro is a lethal weapon aimed at the heart of shoddy Leftist thinking.  They’ve responded in predictable fashion, by burying Shapiro’s appearance on Morgan’s show.  They might have celebrated Alex Jones (“Can you believe how unstable this gun advocate is?”), but Shapiro has achieved Voldemortian status, by becoming he who shall not be named.  As Rush Limbaugh said just today during the few minutes I was able to catch his show, the media’s overriding ethos is that it’s only news if it harms Republicans.  No other news is fit to print.

The fact that Shapiro is not only willing to take on a bully, but also perfectly equipped to do so means that, rather than merely looking forward to reading his book, I’m positively lusting after it (in a purely intellectual way, of course).  I suspect that, if it’s as easily accessible as Primetime Propaganda, I’ll be able to read it quickly and review it soon.