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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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:

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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.)

Throwing links at you before I head to lunch with conservative friends

Quick Link and Open Thread imageI’m off to lunch with two conservative friends (one I knew for years without either of us realizing the other was conservative), so I’m just going to throw these links at you.  Take a deep breath, ’cause here goes:

The 1950s study saying most Americans are mindless, Nazi-esque sadists was a fraud.

The IRS is issuing rules that retroactively and proactively enable it to shut down Tea Party organizations — and only Tea Party organizations.

Charles Krauthammer reams Obama’s incompetence and absence from governing, even as David Brooks insists that this is why now is a perfect time to increase executive power.  Brooks even has a two-liner that will become a classic of sycophantic stupidity:  “This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood.”

I think Brooks is delusional to think that the lying-ist administration ever will suddenly become honest and effective.

England, the land that gave us the entire notion of freedom and self-sufficiency, sinks ever deeper into the abyss of political correctness and bureaucratic tyranny.

A weak leader makes our country look like the equivalent of a wounded wildebeest.  No wonder the jackals are running up and taking painful nips at our downed carcase, curious as to whether we’ve still got some fight in us.  The answer, sadly, is no.  No wonder the jackals in Libya are geared up for a second bite.  After all the administration’s response to their first attack was to pretend that it really hadn’t happened.

And then there’s this, which I thought was a hoax, kind of like Ted Cruz’s pwning an Obama tweet, only to learn that it’s real:

 

Monday morning flotsam and jetsam

When it comes to my cold, I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  Whew!  I’m hoping to be up to full blogging speed soon but, in the meanwhile, here are things I found when doing my usual morning reading rounds:

This is a marvelous paragraph from Karen McQuillan’s generally marvelous article about Obamacare’s failures:

People with common sense and reality-based principles — in a word, conservatives — understand that government programs are by definition political. Politicians and bureaucrats are not personally accountable for failure, as in the private sector, so failure is acceptable to them. Cost overruns, fraud, and poor service are the norm in government programs for a reason.

Randall Hoven, who treats numbers with respect, says that the RINOs who blame the Tea Party for the Republicans’ failure to hold a Senate majority are delusional.  In fact, the Tea Party did wonderful things for Republicans.

Charles C. W. Cooke, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers, chimes in with a Tea Party defense too.

If you want a nice, tidy run-down of the Obamacare exchange’s disastrous debut, John Fund has got it for you.

Roger Simon thinks that Obamacare will defund itself very quickly as healthy young people refuse to buy insurance.  That brings up two points.  The first, of course, is whether Republicans have a plan so that Dems don’t use the system’s inevitable collapse as a gateway to socialized medicine.  The second is whether Obamacare changed the law requiring emergency rooms to treat all-comers?  I don’t believe it did.  As the numbers of uninsured grows, rather than decreases, under Obamacare, what’s going to happen to hospitals?

Victor Davis Hanson sees a lot of economic problems on the horizon for the Democrats.  Of course, to the extent that these are problems for America, too, let’s hope that the Republicans have a plan.  My unhappy feeling is that, as long as the John McCain caucus remains, the only plan the GOP has is to get rid of Ted Cruz.

The AP isn’t feeling the love for Obama the way it used to.  Perhaps that’s because Obama spied on it.  In any event, one AP reporter is complaining that the White House is stonewalling about Obamacare enrollment numbers.  Hmmm.  I wonder why?

How bad are the Obamacare exchanges?  So bad that the Consumer Reports advice column is downright nasty and ultimately tells people to stay away from the exchanges.

The Obama administration brings Chicago-style shakedowns to Wall Street.  The implications are definitely worrisome, but I’d feel more sorry for Wall Street if it hadn’t eagerly gotten into bed with Obama once he became president.  Lie down with political dogs and it’s not that you get up with fleas, it’s that they savage you and leave your gnawed carcass in the gutter.

Do you have anything to add?

Yale Prof. offers a revealing glimpse into the Ivy League’s epistemic closure

A lot of sites have been linking to a blog post from Daniel Kahan, a law professor at Yale because it contains a very surprising confession.  To appreciate both what Kahan said (which was good) and what he refused to do (which was very, very bad), you need to know a little more about Kahan’s specialty.  According to the Wikipedia entry about Kahan, he’s a “leading scholar in the fields of criminal law and evidence and is known for his theory of Cultural cognition.”  (Emphasis mine.)

For the Luddites among us (and I proudly include myself in that number), “cultural cognition” is defined as follows:

The Cultural Cognition Project is a group of scholars interested in studying how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact (e.g., whether global warming is a serious threat; whether the death penalty deters murder; whether gun control makes society more safe or less) to values that define their cultural identities. Project members are using the methods of various disciplines — including social psychology, anthropology, communications, and political science — to chart the impact of this phenomenon and to identify the mechanisms through which it operates. The Project also has an explicit normative objective: to identify processes of democratic decisionmaking [sic] by which society can resolve culturally grounded differences in belief in a manner that is both congenial to persons of diverse cultural outlooks and consistent with sound public policymaking [sic].

In English:  the good professor thinks that people use their preexisting values and data to analyze new information.  If you can get people to think the right way (I believe the Chinese communists called it “reeducation”), then you can get them to agree to Progressive policies.  (If you read on, you’ll understand why I translate “sound public policymaking” to mean “Leftist policies.”)

As an aside, shouldn’t Yale professors know that “policy making” and “decision making” are two words, rather than each being one portmanteau word?  Yeah, yeah.  Just call me fussy.

For those wondering about the value of a modern Ivy League education that little paragraph pretty much tells you what you need to know:  The Ivy League needs a guy with an expensive Harvard J.D. (and you know how highly I value those pieces of paper) and an even more valuable Yale job to figure out that people operate from their biases, both in collecting and analyzing data.

And speaking of people operating from their biases, Kahan has now confessed that his biases just received a stunning blow.  In the next few paragraphs, I’ll give him some credit for being honest about his recent discovery, but I’ll then explain why he only gets a small nod from me, not a big one.  For the most part, his post leaves me both disdainful and depressed.

Oh, I didn’t tell you what his discovery is.  It turns out that Tea Partiers, the ones who think that AlBore is a scam artist; that humans can pollute but that they lack the power to change the climate, something the sun has been doing fine on its own for several billion years; and that a country that insists on spending money it doesn’t have will soon go broke, are actually more scientifically knowledgeable than the Progressives who worship at the altars of global warming and Keynesian economicsYes, really.  Buried in a sea  of really awesomely impressive statistical jargon, that’s exactly what Kahan says:

In this dataset, I found that there is a small correlation (r = -0.05, p = 0.03) between the science comprehension measure and a left-right political outlook measure, Conservrepub, which aggregates liberal-conservative ideology and party self-identification. The sign of the correlation indicates that science comprehension decreases as political outlooks move in the rightward direction–i.e., the more “liberal” and “Democrat,” the more science comprehending.

Do you think this helps explain conflicts over climate change or other forms of decision-relevant science? I don’t.

But if you do, then maybe you’ll find this interesting.  The dataset happened to have an item in it that asked respondents if they considered themselves “part of the Tea Party movement.” Nineteen percent said yes.

It turns out that there is about as strong a correlation between scores on the science comprehension scale and identifying with the Tea Party as there is between scores on the science comprehension scale and Conservrepub.

Except that it has the opposite sign: that is, identifying with the Tea Party correlates positively (r = 0.05, p = 0.05) with scores on the science comprehension measure:

Again, the relationship is trivially small, and can’t possibly be contributing in any way to the ferocious conflicts over decision-relevant science that we are experiencing.

(I must confess that reading the above made me just ecstatically happy that I no longer practice law.  Think how much academic writing that spares me.)

You’ve probably seen the above quotation everywhere over the last two days.  It certainly makes sense to conservatives, because people who pay attention to actual facts are more likely to conclude that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a hoax.  (If you’re a data junkie, I recommend Watts Up With That.)  It’s the believers who are stuck in the epistemic closure loop.  Climate warmer?  AGW!!  Climate cooler?  AGW!!  No climate movement at all?  AGW.  Models wrong?  Still AGW!  That’s faith, my friends, not science.

But getting back to Professor Kahan.  What’s really fascinating is what comes after his confession regarding what is, to him, a counter-intuitive statistical anomaly.

May I take a moment here to remind you what Professor Kahan’s specialty is?  It’s “cultural cognition,” an expensive sounding theory that posits what your grandmother could have told you for free:  Our biases predispose us to interpret information in certain ways.  This obviously includes as a subset the fact that people look to certain authorities for information.  I can guarantee you that Obama reads the New York Times, and not National Review.  In this way, of course, he is distinct from conservatives, who read both.

Kahan believes that, if he can render cultural cognition into set data points, he can drag people into “sound public policymaking.”  (I believe George Orwell called it “groupthink.”)  Lift their blinders, and they will see the light.

But what about Kahan’s own blinders?  And that’s where his little post gets really interesting.  If you want to see a closed intellectual universe, Kahan invites you right into his:

I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.  All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).

I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments–all very negative– of what I understand the “Tea Party movement” to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.

I’ll now be much less surprised, too, if it turns out that someone I meet at, say, the Museum of Science in Boston, or the Chabot Space and Science Museum in Oakland, or the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is part of the 20% (geez– I must know some of them) who would answer “yes” when asked if he or she identifies with the Tea Party.  If the person is there, then it will almost certainly be the case that that he or she & I will agree on how cool the stuff is at the museum, even if we don’t agree about many other matters of consequence.

What a charming confession.  It even includes an embarrassed moue, along the lines of “I’m so embarrassed that I assumed Tea Partiers were dumb.”  That almost hides a rather spectacular omission.  Kahan fails to include the logical follow-up that any intelligent person invested in cultural cognition should make.  What he should say after his little confession is “Maybe I should check out what these surprisingly intelligent people believe and argue.”

Instead, what Kahan says after admitting to his intellectual bubble is that he’s just fine with it.  He has no interest in actual data.  Instead, based solely on his predefined values, he will continue “to subscribe to [his] various political and moral assessments — all very negative — of what I understand the ‘Tea Party movement’ to stand for.”  Or as I translate that, “Please, people!  I’m a Yale genius who’s looking for ways to re-educate you.  Don’t bother me with facts and, to the extent that I inadvertently stumbled onto some facts myself, be assured that I will assiduously ignore them.”

I have said for years that, while I’ve never met a post-1984 Harvard Law grad who wasn’t arrogant and ill-informed,* I’ve been impressed with Yale grads.  After my little insight into the thought process of a current Yale professor, I fear that, should any recent Yale grads pop up on my legal radar, I’m going to discover that Yale has gone all Harvard.  Clearly, you’re getting what you pay for at the premier law schools only if you desire social and professional cachet layered upon close-mindedness, chronic epistemic closure, arrogance, and ignorance.

We can all guess, of course, why the Ivy League crowd is so incurious.  They’re afraid that, if they look beyond the narrow confines of their own Progressive cultural cognition, they might follow David Mamet’s path.  Next thing you know, they’ll be cranking up the air conditioner, using excess amounts of toilet paper, and listening to Rush Limbaugh, while muttering “Ditto!”

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*And yes, I know Ted Cruz is a post-1984 Harvard Law, but I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him.  I’m just basing my “Harvard lawyers are not people I’d ever hire for myself” attitude on the people I have worked with and opposite.  And of course, if Cruz is a Harvard anomaly, Obama, serenely enveloped in his ignorance and arrogance, is a Harvard poster child.

Throwing out my own theory about the meaning behind the Boston Marathon attack

Jeff Bauman lost both legs

Now that the police have dismissed as a suspect the Saudi man originally being questioned, the perpetrator behind the atrocity at the Boston Marathon is swathed in mystery.  Although Muslims distinguished themselves in a disgusting way by celebrating the bombing, no group has stepped forward to take responsibility for what happened.

We know that the bombs were pressure cooker bombs filled with ball-bearings that could have been made in anyone’s kitchen.  Muslim extremists have tried to use them before (the thwarted Times Square bomber, for example), but anyone can go on the internet to make them.  So that doesn’t point the finger anywhere specific.

We know that the bombs went off at an iconic American event, in an iconic American city, which is kind of al Qaeda-ish.  al Qaeda, after all, is nothing if not showy.

We also know that the bombs went off on April 15, a day no American likes, but that anti-government individuals especially dislike, so that’s kind of a neo-Nazi or crazed Ted Kaczynski thing.  Or, according to the MSM, a Tea Party thing.  As to that, the same people who pick up all the mess after rallies would never do anything as hideously messy and destructive as a bomb.

We know that, since the mid-7th century, Muslims have been going after the West, with flare-ups during the Moorish occupation of Spain, the years preceding the Crusades, the fall of Constantinople, the Siege of Vienna, and the years since the revolution in Iran in 1979.  We also know that these attacks have accelerated wildly since 1993, when the first World Trade Center bombing took place.  Since then, the list of al Qaeda (or other Islam-inspired) attacks is long, really long.  The ones that stand out in my mind are 9/11, the Madrid train bombings, the Bali nightclub bombings, the London Underground/Bus bombings, the Marine headquarters in Beirut bombings, the Mumbai attacks, the Fort Hood attack, the abortive Portland attack, the abortive Times Square attack, and the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.  Those are just the famous attacks.  Around the world, Islamists kill Westerners and Muslims they deem apostates with gleeful abandon.  Whenever the bombing is showy, significant numbers of Muslims around the world celebrate.

We also know that, in 1995, Timothy McVeigh (and perhaps someone else) committed the dreadful Oklahoma City bombing for lone-wolf reasons.  Americans of all political stripes were revolted.  In 1996, Eric Rudolph, acting alone to advance his anti-abortion views, decided to protest the killing of innocents by killing innocents at the Atlanta Olympics.  Again, with only sick, fringe exceptions, Americans were disgusted — and no group more than the pro-Life cadre in America.

Today we learned that David Sirota, who writes at Salon and is apparently desperate for publicity, is hoping that it was a white male — a la McVeigh and Rudolph — who planted the bombs at the Boston Marathon, because nasty Americans have this peculiar habit of thinking that is the Muslims who are responsible when things get blown up.  He wants us to know that white people blow up things too (and kill — white people do kill).  Wascally Amewicans!  We’re so dumb that we actually make a distinction between lone white crazies who are rejected by the political class they claim as their own, and whose killings are thankfully small in number, and Islamic crazies, who function as part of a large network, who are celebrated by their religious compatriots, who are encouraged by their religion (and their clerics) to kill as much as possible, and who actually have carried out more than 20,000 terrorist attacks around the world since 9/11.

Frankly, looking at the above, I’m coming to believe that everyone is over-thinking the bombing.  If we just step back and ignore historic trends, iconic locations, modus operandi, and such other things, there are two things that are very clear:  the bomb was meant to sever limbs (report after report emphasizes severed legs) and it took place at a race.  Apply Occam’s Razor, and its obvious that the dark-skinned man now being sought (sorry David Sirota:  it’s not a white guy) hates runners.  Probably he ran the marathon once and lost, and has never recovered from that psychic injury — so he planted a bomb that would cause the greatest possible injury to runners.  This horror was an anti-running terrorism attack.  The appropriate response is mental screening for all runners and non-runners alike.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Tuesday morning flotsam and jetsam Open Thread

My brain hasn’t yet synthesized all the fascinating data out there, including the wrenching stories of Sandy’s devastation.  For the time being, I’ll just pass interesting links on to you.  Please feel free to do the same.

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The former Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet has written a white-hot article excoriating Obama and his administration, based upon what we know to date about events in Benghazi.  Because the White House is withholding information, and because the lap dog media is refusing to seek information (or even to talk about Benghazi), I have no problem with convicting Obama et al on the information currently available.  If that crew wants a full and fair trial in the court of public opinion, it had better start releasing reliable information.

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There’s a fascinating story in my local paper today about a grocery store chain called Mi Pueblo.  It was founded as a Mom-and-Pop store by a pair of illegal immigrants.  It’s now a large, legal chain serving the Hispanic community throughout California.  It’s also a law-abiding chain, in that it uses e-verify to make sure that it’s employees aren’t illegal immigrants.  Here’s the interesting part:  by abiding with federal law, the store has incurred the wrath, not only of the illegal immigration ground, but of SEIU.  Yup, the unions are furious that as store refuses to employ illegals.  Think about that:  unions used to fight illegals, because they were seen as taking jobs away from legal American workers.  Now, unions see the effort to stop illegal immigrants from working as a nefarious plot to weaken the unions. Legal American workers — those who are native-born or have green cards — should think long and hard about what the unions what to do for them.  At the moment, it looks to me as if the unions aren’t out to protect workers, they’re out to protect unions.

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Victor Davis Hanson nails the fantasy-based “reality” that keeps affluent Californian’s voting for Democrats.  I live surrounded by this mentality:

Did California’s redistributive elite really believe that they could all but shut down new gas and oil production, strangle the timber industry, idle irrigated farmland, divert water to the delta smelt, have 37 million people use a highway system designed for 15 million, allow millions of illegal aliens to enter the state without audit, extend free medical programs to 8 million of the most recent 11 million added to the population, up taxes to among the highest in the nation, and host one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients — and not have the present chaos?

The California schools — flooded with students whose first language is not English, staffed by unionized teachers not subject to the consequences of subpar teaching, and plagued with politicized curricula that do not emphasize math, science, and reading and writing comprehension — scarcely rate above those in Mississippi and Alabama. Did liberals, who wanted unions, a new curriculum, and open borders, believe it was good for the state to have a future generation — that will build our power plants, fly our airliners, teach our children, and take out our tumors — that is at the near-bottom in national test scores?

Do Bay Area greens really believe that they that will have sufficient water if they blow up the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir? Did Barack Obama think that the Keystone pipeline or new gas and oil leases in the Gulf were superfluous, or that we do not need oil to make gasoline, wheat to make flour, or to cut timber to produce wood?

Did liberals (and their hand-in-glove employer supporters who wished for cheap labor) think that letting in millions from Central Mexico, most without legality, English, or a high school education (and in some sense at the expense of thousands waiting in line for legal admission with capital, advanced degrees, and technological expertise), was not problematic and that soaring costs in law enforcement, the criminal justice system, the schools, and the health care industries were irrelevant?

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Reagan famously said “Trust, but verify.”  In an internet age, one has to say “verify before you trust anything.”  Case in point?  A Halloween costume a young Boston Democrat put together to mock Tea Partiers.  It features her grimacing, while holding a misspelled birther sign.  Well, it went viral on the internet, not as a spoof, but as a “genuine” picture of a deranged young Alabama Tea Partier.  The young woman involved (who did not intend to prank anyone), has learned a valuable lesson about her own political party.  Maybe in a few years, she’ll be a true Tea Partier — and a nicer person for it too.

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Jonah Goldberg scolds the mainstream media for its incredible lack of curiosity about Benghazi.  Goldberg doesn’t see a conspiracy.  He sees liberal group-think that is so all-encompassing that the media people think candidate George Bush’s alleged conduct in 1974 is more important than President Barack Obama’s conduct in September 2012.

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While Jonah Goldberg is willing to damn the media with faint praise (stupid, not evil), Thomas Sowell is not so kind about the administration.  He thinks that, when it comes to Benghazi, there’s a giant con going on.  I think he’s right.  (Is it redundant to say that one thinks that Thomas Sowell has made an intelligent, accurate argument?  Doesn’t the name Sowell already encompass that description?)

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Keith Koffler does a great job summing up the way in which Obama has demeaned the presidency.  We thought the Clinton presidency already did that but, looking back, that’s not quite accurate, Clinton demeaned himself with a variety of scandals, but he managed to stay presidential when he was in the business of politics (rather than the business of shtupping the help).  Obama, however, has demeaned the presidency itself, by using sex, obscenities, and insults within the context of politics.

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Of course, when it comes to demeaning the office of the presidency, Obama is getting a lot of help.  Witness this obscenity-laden video that purports to show members of the “Greatest Generation” engaging in vulgar trash-talk against Romney.  Those elderly people who honor dignity should be offended by this, even if they’re Democrats.

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This is a lovely article that uses a faux debate to draw a devastating contrast between Barack Obama and Winston Churchill.

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And here is another devastating contrast:  the vast cultural divide between Lena Dunham, who coos that voting for Obama is like losing ones virginity, and Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who fought to the death to save others.  Sadly, their Commander in Chief came from the Dunham side of the cultural divide, and left them to die alone in a Libyan hellhole.  (Incidentally, Tyrone Woods left behind an infant son.  If you would like to donate to a fund for that little boy, Power Line recommends this legitimate organization.  It’s an easy way to donate.  I was able to use PayPal, so I put some of the money you guys have so generously sent me towards Baby Boy Woods’ education.)

Cross-posted at Brutally Honest

Other than all that, what has Paul Ryan ever done for us?

Within seconds of Romney’s announcement that Ryan would be his running mate, the chatter started.  Democrats expressed delight, because they see Ryan’s stance on Medicare as one they can use to portray Romney and Ryan as Satan incarnate.  A couple of years ago, they showed Ryan pushing grandma’s wheelchair off the cliff.  This year, I’m sure that they’re going to show him detonating the mushroom-shaped cloud that immolates every American over 50 . . . or is it 40?  Or maybe 30?

Republicans haven’t been much better.  They celebrated wildly because Ryan is so wonderful, and then immediately began worrying:  He’s not the right color; Wisconsin brings too few electoral votes (10), as opposed to being a major swing state; bold picks seldom end well; he’s merely a competent speaker; and, of course, he is a target because of his attempts to save Medicare from itself.

What’s funny, though, is that each person who worries about some deficit in the Ryan pick comes back with an offering to show some demographic that nobody thought about, but that Ryan can bring into the Republican fold.  Right now, Republicans remind me of the famous Monty Python Life of Brian skit, with a leader expressing horror about Roman rule, and the followers reminding him that it’s not all bad.  For those of you unfamiliar with that scene (is there anybody unfamiliar with that scene), the leader of the People’s Front of Judea rhetorically, and with great disdain, asks his follows what the Romans have ever done for them, only to learn that his followers are able to recognize Roman virtues:

In no particular order, here are some of the things Paul Ryan, by appearing on the ticket, will end up doing for us, American conservatives:

1.  As the famous six-minute video shows, Ryan has already stared Obama down once, when he wiped out Obama’s pie-in-sky rhetoric by agreeing with Obama’s goals and then showing irrefutably that the ObamaCare numbers couldn’t possibly add up:

Ryan’s math literacy didn’t actually dissuade an innumerate, ideology-driven Congress from leading us to the economic abyss.  Polls show, however, that the American people, perhaps with a math ability driven by their own pocket books, have consistently agreed with Ryan to the effect that ObamaCare is a bad thing.

2.  Ryan is popular in Wisconsin.  Despite coming from a heavily Democrat district, he keeps winning.  This matters because, with the Scott Walker statehouse protests, Wisconsin put itself right in the middle of the referendum over the direction America is taking.  Despite the union spending there, Ryan’s and Walker’s party won.  Wisconsin, then, finds itself being in the peculiar position of being a bellwether state and Ryan is one of the tocsins.

3.  Ryan may not be the most fiery speaker in the world, and we’re completely in the dark about his teleprompter skills, but he is able to articulate the American vision in a way Romney can’t.  Since this election is a referendum about American values, have someone on the ticket who is comfortable speaking about those values is huge . . . ginormous . . .incredibly important.  If you ignore Charlie Rose’s bloviations, this video shows Ryan articulating just those values:

On second thought, don’t ignore Rose. The video shows admirably, not only that Ryan espouses core constitutional values, but also that he will not let MSM bullies derail him or even fluster him.

4. Although the Democrats are crowing about Ryan being toxic to seniors, the numbers show that seniors like him.  Seniors understand two things:  The first is that Ryan will not touch entitlements that have already vested; and the second is that Ryan is holding out the last best hope for the seniors’ children and grandchildren.  Seniors, having lived long, are able to take the long view.  Also, they’re probably supportive of Ryan’s values, which resonant with those values that were still prevalent in their own youths.

5.  Young people may like him.  Not only is he charmingly youthful, but they, next to African-Americans, are the demographic most horribly harmed by the Obama economy.  Hope and change has morphed into sleeping in Mom’s garage and riding a bike to work because you can’t afford a car.  Tara Servatius has a great post at American Thinker on precisely this point.  I’ll cherry pick a few idea, but I urge you to read the whole thing:

A staggering 51 percent of those who graduated from college since 2006 don’t have a full-time job, according to a recent study.  Ironically, these are the same voters who mobbed the polls for Obama in 2008, giving him a significant part of his winning margin.

Mitt Romney could have gone black, Hispanic, or female with his vice presidential pick.  Instead, he did something smarter.  He went young.

[snip]

A whopping 66 percent of voters under 30 gave Obama their votes in 2008, making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. But now, four years older, many of them have entered their 30s, and a full 50 percent say Obama has failed to change the way Washington works.

Until he picked Paul Ryan this weekend, Mitt Romney had no way of credibly addressing this cohort. Now, with Ryan at his side, he does. The Ryan pick was first and foremost a nod to a generation whose problems Obama not only has never truly addressed, but rarely even acknowledges.

6. Paul Ryan has an A rating from the NRA.  Cynics will say that NRA ratings always matter to conservatives and constitutionalists, but this election is special.  This may well be the first time in which NRA members and gun rights supporters understand that the loss of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is no longer a hypothetical worry, something that must be guarded in the abstract, but a genuine concern.  Another four years in office will give Obama the chance to affect the Supreme Court (and that reed is sufficiently fragile already), to pack lower federal courts, and to issue more and more executive and administrative orders curtailing the American right to bear arms.  Mitt Romney has waffled on this point, although he’s better than Obama; Ryan, as I said, is an “A.”

7.  There’s nothing about Ryan that will scare away the Jews.  That is, if Jews were already leaning away from Obama, Ryan won’t change that.  Israel hasn’t been an issue for him, but every indication is that, as is true for most Republicans, he’s a friend to Israel.

8.  Yes, Paul Ryan is a Tea Party candidate — and that’s a good thingAs Rick Richman points out, 2010 wasn’t the result of a few crazy people in George Washington costumes.  The wave election that resulted in conservative candidates winning races in every corner of America, from small towns to the federal government, meant that many more people than just Tea Partiers looked at the Ryan world view and found it good.  There’s no reason to believe that, in the face of Obama’s continued attacks on traditional American values, politics, national security, etc., people will have become disaffected from that Ryan-esque world view.

Those are just a few of the nice things I remember reading about Paul Ryan.  I’m sure you can think of more.

I’ll just ask worried Republicans one thing:  Other than being a budget wizard who’s not afraid of Barack Obama; being popular in a bellwether state; having the ability to articulate conservative values; appealing to seniors; holding out true, not hyped, hope for young voters; getting an A rating from the NRA; not scaring Jews; and representing a rising tide of American conservativism, what has Paul Ryan ever done for us?

A careful analysis of the ObamaCare ruling (NOT)

I’ve now had the chance to digest myriad analyses of the Roberts decision on ObamaCare.  I think I can sum up the various conclusions that liberal and conservative pundits have reached.  Here goes:

The decision is a victory for Obama and the Democrats because it keeps ObamaCare on the books.  However, it’s a victory for Mitt Romney and the GOP because it reminds Americans that Democrats like to tax them.  The only problem with the latter view is that Americans aren’t paying attention to things like ObamaCare and taxes and these credulous citizens will just role with whichever side looks victorious, which is either the Democrats and the Republicans.

The only exception to the rule that Obama’s role with the winner is the Tea Party, which is likely to be galvanized into action.  Naturally, though, the Tea Partiers are too demoralized to do anything constructive, other than riot in the streets.  We know from past Tera Party events that the smiling grannies togged-out in matching red, white, and blue outfits are especially dangerous.

ObamaCare will never be repealed because the Republicans cannot get a majority in 2012, let alone win the White House.  This is a “true fact” as long as you take into consideration that Mitt Romney will almost certainly win the 2012 election on an anti-tax platform and that the House will stay Republican.  The Senate, of course, can go either way, with Republicans getting either 51 seats (enough to reverse a tax) or 60 seats (enough to prevent President Obama, who will definitely win in 2012, from vetoing a repeal.

If the Republicans take over both Congress and the White House, which won’t happen, they can fully repeal ObamaCare, which won’t happen.  However, if they only keep the House, they can refuse to fund ObamaCare, which is great, because it leaves it useless, except for all of the mandates that continue to exist.

Over the long haul, of course, Americans are more free because the decision restricts the Commerce Clause.  This, however, ignores the fact that they’re less free, because they can be taxed for anything, including breathing or, as the case may be, not breathing.

John Roberts is someone who is suffering from a seizure disorder and is probably being blackmailed.  Neither of these factors really matters, though, because the Chief Justice is clearly a Machiavellian bridge, chess, or poker player who is taking the long view and setting the Republicans up to win in 2012 on the issue of higher taxes.  Or he’s taking some sort of really long view that enables Obama to do a victory dance in November 2012 because his signature legislation survived.  In a second Obama term, with a Democrat House and Senate, people will really learn to hate those tax-and-spend Democrats.  Those few remaining Americans who have not been sent to re-education camps or have not been disenfranchised by a vote transferring all citizenship rights from native-born Americans to illegal aliens, will have the opportunity in 2016 to make all 48,739 of their voices heard.

In the end, insane, brilliant, diseased, medicated, blackmailed, weak-spined, far-sighted, Machivellian Chief Justice John Roberts simultaneously built up and tore down American liberties.  Moreover, he also ensured that both Obama and the Democrats, on the one hand, and Romney and the Republicans, on the other hand, can claim a clear victory, both today and in the November 2012 elections.

I hope everyone understood this lesson.  There will be a test tomorrow.

Lynn Woolsey, unconstrained by reelection, lets loose, and it’s not pretty

There’s nothing like a Progressive who’s not worrying about reelection.  If you thought Barney Frank’s moobs were repellent, wait until you get a look inside Lynn Woolsey’s brain.  The 10-term House Democrat from Marin County is retiring this year, so she finally feels that she can speak freely.  It’s not pretty.

For example, we learn why Woolsey doesn’t like Michelle Bachmann, who holds, not just a JD, but an LL.M. from the prestigious William & Mary School of Law:

“[S]he’s an idiot,” Woolsey said. “It’s not very politic to say that of another member of Congress, but she is.”

As it happens, I’m not overly impressed with academic credentials, since I think they often train people away from decency, logic and common sense, but I feel obligated to point out here that Woolsey’s education consists of . . . well, it’s unclear.  According to Wikipedia, she attended a lot of schools, but doesn’t seem to have emerged with any discernible degrees.  That’s okay.  She clearly had enough education to lose her decency, logic and common sense anyway.

Woolsey doesn’t like Newt Gingrich either:

“He would be the worst president on earth.”

She does concede, though, that he’s got a brain, which would make him more dangerous than the “idiot” Michelle Bachmann.

The Tea Party crowd don’t fare well in Woolsey world, since she sees them as an impediment to saving the world from climate change (never mind that the climate change narrative is unraveling before Woolsey’s eyes):

“Half of them have never held an elected office in their lives; they don’t know nothing,” Woolsey said. “They don’t know why they’re against what they’re against. They don’t know what is happening to our environment. All they know is it’s not something they’re supposed to support.”

Poor Lynn.  She apparently missed the poll showing a wide-spread belief that Tea Party members are better informed than your average 10-term member of the House of Representatives.  I guess it’s axiomatic that the ill-informed are always the last to know to that particular truth about themselves.

Lynn may not like Tea Partiers, but she does love the Occupy crowd:

“I love the Occupiers,” Woolsey said. “They’re such a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve been waiting for them for a long time.”

There’s nothing like a gang of Apple computer toting, drug-taking, dirty, vomiting, defecating, raping, murderous thugs to excite an aging Progressive politician.

Interestingly, Woolsey is not a Barack Obama fan.  Not only is he too conservative for her (“He’s a moderate president. He’s not a progressive.”), she thinks he’s not a very nice person:

“He is kind of a cold, aloof guy.”

Back in 2008, she was rooting for Hillary, both because she thinks Hillary is a more principled Progressive than Obama (there’s a scary thought), but also because she thinks Hillary has the cajones Obama lacks.

Woosley, apparently, isn’t the only one who isn’t thrilled about Barry.  Although Woolsey was speaking to an “overwhelmingly liberal” crowd, I think she sensed a certain chill in the air when it came to Obama.  How else to explain the fact that she felt compelled to tell those in attendance that they must vote for him in 2012:

“Do not stay home,” she said. “Any one of those other people — we thought George Bush was a problem, huh.”

I wish I’d been at Woolsey’s talk.  Seeing the Progressive mind unfettered is kind of like wading in an old swamp.  It looks ugly and smells bad, but there are still interesting things swimming in the depths.

A story that needs to make the rounds: City of Richmond auditing the Tea Party *UPDATED*

Fact:  The Tea Party, when it held three protests in the City of Richmond, applied for permits, and paid $10,000 for permits, potties, police, etc.

Fact:  The OWS protesters in Richmond simply plunked themselves down, paying nothing (and, I’m guessing, incurring significantly greater police and janitorial charges than did the Tea Party crowd).

Fact:  When the Tea Party learned that it had been damaged by disparate treatment from a civic government, it applied to the City of Richmond for a full refund.

Fact:  The City of Richmond has now sent an audit letter to the Tea Party.  I’ll add here a bonus fact:  the city’s mayor is a Democrat.

Fact:  You need to send this story around to as many people as you can.  The City of Richmond needs to be exposed for this abuse of power and, I hope, horribly embarrassed.

And here’s something that’s not a fact, but that is just my opinion:  The City of Richmond’s behavior perfectly illustrates one of the reasons I’ve embraced conservativism.  I am deeply suspicious of consolidating too much power in any one entity.  The City of Richmond is just one city, yet even that modicum of power has corrupted it.  Imagine this kind of thing playing out on a grand, national scale.  No human is sea-green incorruptible, and most humans, when given power, can get dangerously giddy, with a further subset getting malevolently destructive.

UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed story — which includes a great link to VA Right, a member of the Watcher’s Council.

Barack Obama on Tea Parties and Flea Parties: Wrong Again

Up until recently, the Tea Party might just as well have been called the DevilNaziEvilRacistUgly Party as far as the Progressives and their ilk were concerned.  In retrospect, calling participants “Tea Baggers” was one of the nicer things the Left said.  Barack Obama did nothing to stop this concerted attack against a substantial portion of the American population.

Now, though, Obama’s rhetorical shoe is on the other foot, which is peculiar, really, because, as far as I can tell, he’s got at least one foot lodged firmly in his mouth.  How else to account for this bizarre pronouncement?

President Obama today likened the anti-Wall Street protests to the Tea Party protests that helped Republicans in last year’s congressional elections.

“In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party,” Obama told ABC’s Jake Tapper in an interview to air tonight on Nightline.

The only thing that the OWeS* and the Tea Partiers have is that they’ve both turned out to protest the government.  Only an idiot would take that single fact and use it as the basis for saying that the two movements aren’t “that different” from each other.  I mean, someone who would compare OWeS and Tea Partiers probably comes from the same intellectual milieu the same kind of person who would seek to gather under the “freedom fighter” umbrella both al Qaeda in Iraq, which wants to kill all Jews, Christians, and homosexuals, while subordinating everyone to worldwide sharia, and the Founding Fathers, who wanted to maximize individual freedom, including freedom of worship.  Nobody could be that dumb.  Oh . . . never mind.

For the President’s edification, here are just a few differences:

Tea Partiers want small government; OWeS want big government.

Tea Partiers are constitutionalists; OWes are Marxists.

Tea Partiers are extremely tidy; OWeS are filthy slobs.

Tea Partiers pay their own way (and expect the government to do so too); OWeS expect everyone to pay for them.

And of course, Tea Partiers and OWeS have very different visuals:

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*Thanks to Indigo Red for that wonderful acronym.