Friday afternoon round up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of good stuff today, so I’m going to dive right in.  As always, these aren’t in any particular order, so you may find interesting things buried halfway down the list.

I’ve made the same point before, but I still like to see it come from Daniel Hannan and Jonah Goldberg:  Nazis came from the Left, not from the right.  Incidentally, I still like the way I phrased it, which was that we should get rid of the archaic Left/Right or Fascist/Communist/Capitalist language and, instead, look at political systems in terms of Statist versus Individualist forms of government.  The world’s most famous bad guys, no matter the name they gave themselves, land on the statist side.  America, before Obama, was more individualists, as she was when she went around the world freeing people from statists calling themselves Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Military Juntas, Muslim Fundamentalists, etc.

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One of the things that distinguished George Bush was that he was a good manager — proving that he got something useful out of his stint in Harvard Business School. He surrounded himself by efficient, knowledgeable people who reflected well on this country’s competence, even if one didn’t agree with its policies. The opposite is true for Obama. He is a terrible manager who surrounds himself with people who know as little as he does.

Obama’s conduct is typical for an insecure person. He needs to surround himself with ineffective sycophants who say nice things to him and who don’t threaten him with their greater talents and skills. Obama gave the game away a long time ago when he announced, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Genuinely smart — and mentally healthy — people don’t actually say things like that.

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One of the things that drives me crazy about the Left’s insistence on bypassing parents to give young girls access to the birth control pill is the fact that it’s not just about sex (and the Left uses sex to bribe girls away from the nuclear family). It’s also about how high risk pills are. California kids can’t get their ears pierced without permission, but girls can easily get pills that are associated with strokes, blood clots, breast cancer and, now, multiple sclerosis. The Pill is a very dangerous medicine, but it’s so wrapped up in Leftist feminist politics, no one is willing to say “no” simply on safety grounds.  The fight about the Pill on moral grounds is a good fight.  The fight about the Pill on health grounds should be a winning fight — but nobody’s doing battle there.

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Two excellent views about Putin’s escapades: Terresa, at Noisy Room, harks back to the Nazi notion of Lebensraum.  Paul Rahe, at Ricochet, thinks Putin is a fool, trying to relive the glory days of the Cold War but, in fact, reaching far beyond Russia’s actual, very limited, economic abilities, not to mention exposing Russia to the very real risk of a Chinese takeover. Fool or madman, the one thing we know with certainty is that Putin’s policies will destroy many lives, both inside and outside of Russia.

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My sister lives in Oregon. After the millions it spent on its Obamacare exchange, she ended up signing up the old-fashioned way: by paper. The only question is how long the media can keep the prestidigitation going, so that people don’t realize that they’re on the losing end of a shell game.

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Colleges across America: “Due process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ due process!”

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Jonah Goldberg nicely analyzes something that we’ve been talking about here, which is the speed with which the gay marriage debate has gone from the fringe to “you’d better accept it or else.” As many famous people have learned to their cost, one of the most effective techniques for moving the debate forward without regard to the merits is the GLAAD & Friends tactic of “nice little place/career/life you’ve got here. . . . Shame if something happened to it.”

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Roger L. Simon issues a call to arms: Take back Hollywood. It drives culture and, to the extent conservatives jumped off the entertainment bus, we’ve left the lunatics in the driver’s seat.

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The IRS scandal continues unabated. Those who think it’s been addressed and repaired have been flim-flammed yet again. Moreover, if you follow the money to public servant corruption, that may go a long way to explaining why our bureaucracy, which is supposed to be studiously apolitical, has thrown its immense power to the Democrats, the political party owned by the government workers’ unions.

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I really, really like Allen West. Here he is with a vivid, but emotion-free, summation about both Common Core’s academic weaknesses and the madness of Obamacare mathematics.

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My bet without doing any research is that, if you studied political identity in the military, you’d see that the military is still more conservative than the population as a whole. What you’d also see, though, is that every subsequent new batch of enlistees is more liberal than the one that came before. Remember, the new enlistees are young and Democrats have marketed themselves successfully to the young.

We know that young people in the general population are souring on Obama as job prospects dim.  Military enlistees have a job, but there’s still the possibility that they too will sour.  To the extent that Senate Democrats refused to increase veteran’s benefits, the very minimal chatter I’ve seen amongst the few young enlistees who are Facebook friends is that they are feeling hostile to the Dems right about now.

While it’s not government’s role to advance morality, it’s also not its role to advance immorality *UPDATED*

Libertarians have it right when they say it’s not the government’s responsibility to legislate morality.  It’s the people’s responsibility to be moral.  Government’s job is to have “few laws, but unbreakable,” all directed at a stable, just (not fair, but just), constitutional society in which citizens have the best opportunity to live free and, one hopes, moral lives.

The fact is that, way too often, once government starts legislating morality, those efforts backfire.  Prohibition is the perfect example of this backfire.  By the second half of the 19th century, America was awash in liquor, and it was becoming a terrible problem, especially for the poor.  It wasn’t at all uncommon for the family breadwinner, whether male or female, to drink away earnings and then die young from alcohol-related diseases or accidents.

Dry movement

Faced with this epic disaster, society responded with a vast Temperance movement aimed at getting people to stop drinking.  This was a social movement — a grassroots movement, long before that term was invented.  Young men swore temperance oaths and young women swore that “Lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine.”

Bootleggers

By the time WWI started, vast swaths of America had voluntarily gone dry.  Prohibition wasn’t the leading edge of Temperance, it was the tale end, and what a disastrous tail it was.  Those who didn’t want to drink had already stopped.  And those who did want to drink instantly became criminals for engaging in an activity as old as humankind.  Worse, prohibiting a popular activity, even in its most reasonable form, created a giant vacuum that sucked in every two-bit criminal and big-time hood in America.

We want beer

When alcohol was outlawed, only outlaws drank, brewed, and sold the stuff. Not only did Prohibition fail to legislate morality, it undid much that the previous Temperance movement, which relied on peer pressure and moral suasion, had achieved when it came to convincing Americans to temper their drinking.

Just as bad as legislating morality is legislating immorality, which is where today’s American governments, local, state, and national go.  I stumbled across this fact when I tried to go online to renew a prescription for one of my children and was told that I couldn’t have any access to my child’s medical record, including prescriptions.  In California, when a child turns 12, he or she can keep secret his or her record.  My kid can’t get her ears pierced, can’t go paint-balling, can’t ski, and can’t get a salon tan without my input, but your daughter and mine can get the Pill or an abortion without your being the wiser for it.

Birth Control Pills

As it happens, the Pill, which some schools hand out like candy, is anything but innocuous.  To begin within, it’s ridiculous to think that you can feed nuclear-powered hormones into a prepubescent or pubescent girl without have some effect on what should be her natural development.  In addition to that, those side effects you hear about the Pill are real.  Girls are worried they’ll gain weight if they go on the Pill.  What they should be worried about is strokes, blood clots, or vomiting themselves to death.  I’ve known people who have suffered from all of these side effects although, thankfully, all survived.  This is the last thing that loving parents should allow the state to determine for their child without parental input.

Ask your average liberal why this is so, and he will tell you a terribly sad story about a girl growing up in a horrible home who was raped by her uncle, or her mother’s boyfriend, and, when she turned up pregnant, was beaten or turned out onto the street.  That is an affecting tale but how common is it, really?  I don’t have statistics at hand, but common sense tells me that the vast majority of parents love their daughters.  If a girl wants to have teen sex or shows up pregnant, these loving parents want to be involved — and their involvement is the best thing that can support a child who is about to make or has already made a bad decision.

Getting my ears pierced

These hard luck stories mean that we have created a tyranny of the minority.  Liberals will say that the beauty of America is that it protects the minority by drafting legislation protect those minorities.  But this isn’t how it’s supposed to work.  America protects the minority by assuring that every member of a minority group (whether defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, etc.) gets the full benefit of available constitutional rights and is not subject to prejudicial laws or conduct.  It does not mean that 90% or more of the country has its rights stripped away because some girls come from backgrounds that  see them mistreated.  Maltreated girls are tragic situations that a moral people should want to remedy, but that a government should never address with legislation.  It’s not government’s job to try to legislate away the human condition.

So next time a liberal tells you that he’ll never vote Republican because Republicans try to legislate morality, you might want to tell that person that the problem with Democrats is that they consistently legislate immorality.  A good opportunity to make this point might be when one of your liberal friends is outraged that his daughter was confronted in a public restroom by a naked man with fully functioning physical equipment who claimed that his presence there was perfectly legal because he self-identifies as a woman.  Or you could advance this point of view when your liberal next door neighbor calls from the ER to ask for your help because his daughter went septic from an abortion — and he didn’t even know she was pregnant.  Or perhaps you’ll throw it into a conversation with the woman at your office who is counting her lucky stars that her teen daughter will recover from the stroke she got after the Pill, which Mom didn’t know she was taking, caused her to have a blood clot.

UPDATE:  Earl left a comment pointing out that it’s not nice to lecture people about politics when they’re facing a life crisis.  He’s absolutely right.  I was making a rhetorical point and got carried away.  I also live in a community where everybody thinks everything that happens is an opportunity to inject politics, so I’m a little bit touchy.

As it is, were I to raise the subject at a sensitive time, I’d raise it sympathetically:  “Oh, my God!  That’s terrible.  I can’t believe she almost died.  You must have been so shocked to discover that your daughter had an abortion.  How did it happen that she was able to do it without you?  Really?  The law just let’s her?  That’s bizarre.  I know you guys ignore her.  This is something you would have wanted to discuss with her.  It just doesn’t seem right for the law to kick you out of the relationship….”  That kind of thing, trickled out over many conversations.

 

The good news and the bad news for the Duchess of Cambridge

A couple of weeks ago, I said to my sister, “Kate’s pregnant,” referring to the Duchess of Cambridge.

“How do you know?” she asked.

“Because,” I told her, “the British press was filled with daily stories about her, showing her going her and there, and always talking about her perfect style.  Suddenly, though, she’s vanished.  She’s not showing up anywhere.  so I’m betting that she’s pregnant and suffering from morning sickness.”

I was right, not only about the pregnancy, but also about the morning sickness:

The acute morning sickness suffered by the Duchess of Cambridge causes nausea and vomiting for up to five months of pregnancy – or, in rare cases, until the baby is born.

Known as hyperemesis gravidarum, it  afflicts one pregnancy in 50 and is much more serious than the nausea commonly experienced by expectant mothers.

The condition can lead to severe dehydration and puts both mother and baby at risk of being deprived of essential nutrients.

[snip]

Sufferers can be left vomiting up to 30 times a day, with exhausting and hazardous consequences. They cannot eat or drink without retching and may lose up to 10 per cent of their body weight, which can trigger a build-up of toxins in the blood or urine known as ketosis as the body tries to compensate for lack of food by mouth.

Hospital treatment for these women is essential, as without intravenous feeding and fluids they are at risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated.

That was me during both my pregnancies.  As I would tell anyone who would listen, Charlotte Bronte died from hyperemesis gravidarum.  Fortunately for my pregnancies and my health, I was able to benefit from Zofran, a medicine created for people undergoing chemo and radiation.  While I was beyond miserable 24/7, for more than nine months, I didn’t throw up so much that I had to be hospitalized.

Sadly, this misery was nothing new to me.  As a young woman on the Pill, I also suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, since the Pill tricks your body into thinking it’s pregnant.  It took over a year for the doctors to stop telling me I was neurotic and start connecting my 24/7 vomiting to the Pill’s toxic effect on my body.  I therefore never got any medicine to treat the nausea. During that very long year, I lost over 20 pounds off an already small frame, and my cumulative GPA plummeted by 12 points.  That same year, one of my friends almost died from a blood clot brought about by the Pill.

You can understand, therefore, why I view the Pill with deep, deep suspicion and think it’s unconscionable the way the Leftists in government and in the medical establishment want to give it to young women like candy.  The same people who rant against cigarettes are totally copacetic about something that has the potential to be just as, if not more, harmful than tobacco.

I got one more side-effect from hyperemesis gravidarum — it wore me out.  I was younger the three times I was so sick, and had fairly good physical and emotional reserves.  I never missed a day of school or a day of work despite the fact that I was driving the porcelain school bus between five and twenty times a day (and night).  I had goals and I had my pride.  Now, though, when I’m old enough that I should have deeply engrained discipline, I don’t.  If I like it, I do it.  If if I must do it, I will do it.  And otherwise, I find it hard to motivate myself.  This is especially so when I get sick to my stomach.  I can power through pain, but I can no longer power through nausea.

I wish Kate much luck.  She’ll need it.