Wednesday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve commented before that “sayings” from the Victorian era and before (e.g, “a stitch in time saves nine,” “idle hands are the Devil’s playground”) may have gone out of style, but their deeper truths remain constant.  Listening to Obama’s crude gloating about the alleged 7.1 million Obamacare enrollments reminded me of yet another old saying:  “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  I confidently predict that signing people up under duress will prove to have been the easy part.

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When I got my new dog, I did a Cesar Milan (“the “Dog Whisperer”) refresher course by going out and reading his book, Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems.  One of the main points Milan makes is that dogs are not our babies or, if they are our “babies,” that’s the last part, not the first part.  First, dogs are animals; second, they’re the genus dog; third, they’re the specific breed; and only fourth are they our little snookums. You can say the same about people:  First, people are animals….

When people are animals first, without having been trained into morality, sometimes you have to treat them non-verbally just as you would any other animal, right? Or as the friend who sent me this link asked, “Imagine how this story would have played out if the victim had successfully defended himself with the use of force? Once again, talking it out with your attacker doesn’t seem to solve the problem.”

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Not that God’s the gloating kind or anything, but I do think that God, who made circumcision the physical embodiment of His covenant with the Jewish people, might be inclined to gloat about a study saying that one of the best things we can do for a boy’s health is to circumcise him. This is a nice counter to those in Europe (and San Francisco) who seek to marginalize Jews by making circumcision illegal.  Oh, another study also said that meat eaters are healthier than vegetarians and that runners put their health at risk.  I confidently expect the study announcing that anthropogenic global warming isn’t happening.

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Palestinians are again pushing the UN to recognize them as an official nation. Rick Richman has 12 good questions that, when answered honestly, indicate that the Palestinians aren’t a state. If I were categorizing them, I’d say they’re more along the lines of a criminal organization, like the mafia, only more violent.

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David Goldman approves highly of Caroline Glick’s proposal that Israel unilaterally implement a one-state solution encompassing some of the contested territories. It’s time, Glick and Goldman say, to align reality with the fact that the Palestinian population is not growing exponentially (all propaganda lies to the contrary), and that the territories are so terribly mismanaged that they cannot possibly be partners in a two-state solution. My friend Rob Miller, however, is not convinced that Glick’s plan is workable. He proposes an alternative one-state solution: “Israel should forget about the mythical two state solution, and simply delineate the borders it needs unilaterally,” presumably leaving fractious Palestinians on the other side of the border rather than bringing them back within Israel’s borders.

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John Scalzi, a Democrat, is struggling to figure out why he should vote for Matthew Guyette, who is the Democrat running opposite John Boehner. According to Scalzi, Guyette’s internet presence says nothing about Guyette or his positions.  Instead, his entire campaign consists of insulting Boehner and Republicans. I admire Scalzi’s principled stand. I’m also a little bewildered as to why he’s asking that question at this particular junction. After all, in 2012, the greater part of Obama’s reelection campaign consisted of turning Mitt Romney, an imperfect candidate but, by all accounts, a very decent man, into a monster who strangled dogs with his bare hands, kept women captive in binders, engaged in gruesome homophobic attacks when he was a teenager in the 1960s, and left former employees to die in the streets from loathsome diseases.

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My father got his masters at San Francisco State University back in the 1970s. While it was an academically marginal institution then (as I believe it still is now), it was on the cutting age of campus antisemitism. My father, a veteran of two wars, wasn’t cowed by the violence and invective, but already then Jewish students responded to the Palestinian/Leftist aggression by falling silent. Stella Paul details how SFSU’s poisonous amalgam of PLO antisemitism and garden-variety Leftism has spread to campuses throughout America, infecting formerly genteel campuses that were once incubators for America’s society women. If you’d like to counter this dangerous trend, I recommend donating to StandWithUs.

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The Secret Service has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. It hasn’t been applauded for protecting the president and his family. Instead, it’s been highlighted for drunkenness and debauchery committed while on the job. Dan Emmett, a former Secret Service agent, says the problem isn’t that these guys are helpless alcoholics who are more to be pitied than censured. Instead, he says, the rot begins at the top with “weak leadership. There are too many incompetent managers who want the title, pay and perks of management while performing no duties of leadership. The problem is not bad Secret Service agents but bad leaders of Secret Service agents.”

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Some time ago, I wrote about the new “racism” nonsense called “cultural appropriation.” The theory is that it’s racist for white Americans to emulate other cultures, even if they do so admiringly. I came across that story because an Asian friend of mine posted it on Facebook, along with the opinion of a prominent Asian friend of hers holding that cultural appropriation is a bad thing. She and her Asian friends were all offended. Funnily enough, though, in a new Facebook thread, this gal and all of her Asian friends have examined their navels and concluded that there was nothing offensive about Stephen Colbert stooping to use cheap Asian stereotypes to make an anti-Republican political point. Michelle Malkin is not so forgiving, since she points out that Democrats are the party of anti-Asian racial stereotypes which they routinely use, not for satirical purposes, but to score points against Asians.

Please, please tell me that the Asians will be smarter than my fellow Jews and that they will soon turn against the Democrats and embrace small government conservativism.

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Based on his guest line-up during his inaugural weeks, I assumed Jay Leno’s successor, Jimmy Fallon, was a garden-variety Democrat shill.  I may have to rethink that.

The Mandela funeral fiasco inspired Mark Steyn to new heights

Obama hamming it up at Mandela memorial

Everyone’s been having fun with the Mandela funeral fiasco, whether they’ve been talking about selfies or sign language.  It was an event made for Mark Steyn’s writing:

[H]ow heartening, as one watches the viral video of Obama droning on while a mere foot and a half away Mr. Jantjie rubs his belly and tickles his ear, to think that the White House’s usual money-no-object security operation went to the trouble of flying in Air Force One, plus the “decoy” Air Force One, plus support aircraft, plus the 120-vehicle motorcade or whatever it’s up to by now, plus a bazillion Secret Service agents with reflector shades and telephone wire dangling from their ears, to shepherd POTUS into the secured venue and then stand him onstage next to an $85-a-day violent schizophrenic. In the movie version—In the Sign of Fire—grizzled maverick Clint Eastwood will be the only guy to figure it out at the last minute and hurl himself at John Malkovich, as they roll into the orchestra pit with Malkovich furiously signing “Ow!” and “Eek!” But in real life I expect they’ll just double the motorcade to 240 vehicles and order up even more expensive reflector shades.

[snip]

Speaking of enjoying themselves, back in the VIP seats President Obama, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and British prime minister David Cameron carried on like Harry, Hermione, and Ron snogging in the back row during the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup presentation. As the three leaders demonstrated their hands-on approach, Michelle Obama glowered straight ahead, as stony and merciless as the 15-foot statue of apartheid architect Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd that once stood guard outside the government offices of the Orange Free State. Eventually, weary of the trilateral smooching, the first lady switched seats and inserted herself between Barack and the vivacious Helle. How poignant that, on a day to celebrate the post-racial South Africa, the handsome young black man should have to be forcibly segregated from the cool Aryan blonde. For all the progress, as Obama himself pointed out, “our work is not yet done.”

Give yourself a Saturday treat and be sure to read the whole thing.

Your betters in Washington are just more important than you are

There’s still time to make a stand by signing the White House petition urging that we establish “gun free zones” around the President, VP, and their families.  The thinking is that what’s sauce for the goose (we, the People) should definitely be sauce for the gander (our employees in Washington, D.C.). As of now, the Petition needs only 4,511 more signatures.  I would love to see the White House explain why the Progressive privileged few are more important than you and your children.  (I assume they’ll talk about the increased risk to them because of their office, but it seems to me that the residents of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, Houston, and L.A. slums are at infinitely greater risk.)

I was reminded again of Progressive double standards when I saw 60 Minutes’ slobbering love letter to Justice Sotomayor.  (Funny, I don’t remember that kind of drooling love for Clarence Thomas, who has an equally compelling life story.)  The story opens with the love-struck reporter taking a walk with Sotomayor through her childhood stomping grounds in the Bronx.  That would be fine, but for the fact that the first minute of the story points out, not once, but twice, that she’s surrounded by armed guards.  First, the reporter makes a verbal point of that fact; then the Bronx segment ends with Sotomayor taking a group shot with the five members of the NYPD drafted to provide her with a type of protection none of her former neighbors will ever see.

From Sotomayor’s armed guards, to Obama’s Secret Service for life, to David Gregory getting a pass for blatantly breaking the law, the message is clear — our Progressive overlords are more important than those who pay their salaries.

Near the end of the 19th century, Anatole France famously quipped that “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” The joke, of course, was that the rich would never be caught engaging in those illegal activities. In Obama’s America, the joke has gone one step further: the Progressive elites get to engage in precisely the same activities as ordinary folks do, including illegal acts, but they get to do so wrapped up in cotton wool that protects them from the risks they’ve forced upon the regular Joes in this great country.

Obama and his White House security *UPDATED*

Being a police or other type of security officer is, by definition, a risky job.  It’s entirely possible to find oneself in a low risk situation, such as the town in which I live.  Crimes here tend to revolve around shoplifting, speeding, vandalism, etc.  I know of several young officers (and fire fighters) who sought assignments elsewhere because it was just too boring.

Other venues provide more excitement.  Being a police officer in South Central LA or the South Side of Chicago, for example, is a wild adrenalin ride, filled with daily threats to the average officer’s health and well being.  You need to be brave, committed, and perhaps a little crazy to take on a job like that willingly.

There’s one job, though, that’s quite unique in the dangers it offers.  That job, of course, is guarding the President of the United States.  You get to travel to exciting places and see amazing things, but you’re also responsible for one of the biggest targets in the world.  The threats come from crazy individuals and whacked-out organizations.  You are constantly on guard.  It is your job to ensure that no one can get near the man at the top.  More than that, if they do get near, you willingly interpose your body between the president and the killer.

A perfect example of the self-sacrifice required for the job is the assassination attempt on President Reagan.  When shots rang out, the President’s secret service agents instantly interposed their bodies — which are just as vulnerable as the President’s — between Reagan and the bullets:

In other words, people on the White House security detail are willing to die to protect their employer.  These are passionate, committed, brave (and maybe a little crazy) individuals.  (Lee Child gives a good insight into the efforts secret service agents make, and the risks they take, in Without Fail.)

Given the caliber of people surrounding the President, and the sacrifices they are willing to make on a daily basis, I cannot come to grips with the insult Obama offered them as part of his foolish decision to wade into the public battle between Henry Louis Gates and the Boston Police Department (emphasis mine):

“I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that he Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama said in response to a question from the Chicago Sun-Times’s Lynn Sweet.

Gates, Obama allowed, “is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts.”

However Gates, he continued, “jimmied his way to get into [his own] house.”

“There was a report called in to the police station that there might be a burglary taking place – so far so good,” Obama said, reflecting that he’d hope the police were called if he were seen breaking into his own house, then pausing.

“I guess this is my house now,” he remarked of the White House. “Here I’d get shot.”

Let me rephrase that.  What Obama just said is that, if he for some reason was in the wrong place in the White House, or in the right place at the wrong time, White House security would shoot him.  Let me dig down into that a little deeper:  “I, Barack Obama, think it’s funny and self-deprecatory to state that the security people who surround me, the ones who have taken on the job of protecting the world’s biggest targets, are racists who would willingly shoot me because I am a black man in a fancy house.”

And its no use defending that statement by saying that Obama was likening himself to just any homeowner, as opposed to a black one.  Gates made it very clear, and Obama, who was defending Gates, must have understood, that the pressure the police put on Gates was solely because he was black.  Indeed, from the minute the officers arrived, Gates used his race as the justification for refusing to cooperate, thereby escalating the situation.  With this manifest racial context, Obama could only have been saying that a black man in the White House is a natural target for security forces.

Frankly, if I were in the Secret Service, I would have second thoughts about holding a job that requires me to throw myself in front of a bullet to protect an employer who thinks so little of me that, as a joke, he implies that I would casually pull the trigger and shoot him just because he’s black.

UPDATE:  One of my email correspondents thinks that Obama meant that anyone breaking into the White House would get shot, not just a black man.  But I think context is king here.  This whole thing became an issue, not because it was a Harvard professor who was arrested, but because it was a black Harvard professor who was arrested.  Further, this same black Harvard professor cried race from the start, not just at the scene of the incident, but afterward.  The whole media circus was because Gates claimed the cops treated him badly as a black man.

Further, Gates was not shot, nor is there any intimation that he was ever at risk of being shot.  Indeed, I have to wrack my brain and I still can’t think of a situation in which cops got a report of a homeowner trying to get into the house, knocked on the door, talked to the homeowner and then shot him by mistake.

And the last thing is that Obama is defined, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of the public, as a black man in the White House.  He campaigned as a post-racial candidate, but that’s not how he ran the race.  It was all about his being the first black president.  Everything was framed in that light.  That’s why guilt-ridden liberals voted for him, that’s why blacks voted for him, that’s why Europeans liked him, that’s why the press adored him, and that’s how he defined himself (and this last is not unreasonable given that he is, in fact, black).

When he talks about getting shot breaking into his house, Obama, the narcissist, is not talking about the risks to just anyone of breaking into the White House.  He’s talking about himself, Obama, breaking into a house.  It is he who would get shot — and he is black.

UPDATE II:  Just to emphasize my point that, regardless of the subject, in Obama’s mind, it’s always all about himself.

Day trip to Simi

We’re down in Southern California for Spring Break, so we’re doing some SoCal stuff.  Today’s outing was to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.  My only other visit had been more than a decade ago, and two things were different since that last trip.  First, on this trip, I wasn’t a hostile Democrat laughing at him.  Second, they hadn’t yet built this amazing glass walled hangar around Air Force One.  Both of these changes made it a much better, more interesting visit.

I actually thought, going in, that the thing that would interest me most was the display of dresses from Nancy Reagan’s closet.  I discovered, though, that while my politics may have changed, my clothing sense hasn’t.  I didn’t like her clothes then, and I don’t like them now.  They simply don’t appeal to me aesthetically.

What I found most moving was the footage of the assassination attempt on Reagan.  As I blogged once before, that occurred when I was a student at Berkeley.  I vividly remember people around me celebrating, not his survival, but the act of the attempt.  Any disappointment they felt wasn’t with a crazy man trying to destroy the political process, or with four men, including the President, getting shot, but with the assassin’s failure to get the job done.

I mindlessly repeated those sentiments when I came home from Berkeley and my parents, appropriately, scolded me something awful.  It was their moral outrage that reminded me that, whether I believed in Reagan’s politics (and I didn’t at the time), all life is valuable, and that the political process is invaluable.  An attack on either is a blow to the heart of what makes us a free nation.  I learned my lesson and had the decency to be embarrassed by my initial response.

Anyway, watching the footage again was almost viscerally upsetting, and that despite the passage of 27 years.  I felt the emotions I should have felt in 1981, but was too politically blinded to feel then.

I was also impressed by the Secret Service. As I said to my children afterwards, only the Secret Service and the Marines are trained, in a non-combat situation, to run to the gun, not away from it.  I mean, normal people, when they hear shots fired, get the heck out of Dodge.  The Secret Service, however, sees men throwing their own bodies in the line of fire to protect the President.  It’s quite amazing.

My only complaint about the Library was that it was a little over the top in its adulation.  I understand that the entire point of the place is to memorialize Reagan (and Nancy), but it was so extreme that it sacrificed some credibility.  I certainly don’t mean that it should have been a place filled with jaded, jaundiced viewpoints, but it would have been more interesting if it had some exhibits showing the criticism he weathered.  As it was, it was a little to close to a shrine for intellectual comfort.

It was a long day and my bed is singing a siren song — and that’s saying something, since it’s about the most uncomfortable bed you can imagine.  I must be really, really tired to want to retire to it.

I’ll catch up with you all tomorrow.