The Bookworm Beat 2-2-15 — A quick rundown before Monday really kicks in

Woman writingThe expression that “when it rains, it pours” has taken on a bit of significance in my life. As you know, after a hiatus from working, brought about in part by the recession hitting my clients and in part by the demands of an elderly parent and a household, I took a break from legal work. I went back to work last month when my oldest and favorite client needed my help. Then, on Saturday, two clients from whom I haven’t heard in years (2008 and before) both called me looking for help. Since I have the self-employed person’s ethos of never saying “no” when work comes calling, I said yes.

Before I dive in mountains of rather dull legal work, here are some interesting links:

The bar is set very high for being called an Islamic radical

In a biting post, Sultan Knish points out that it takes a lot to be called an Islamic radical. And when I say it takes a lot, I mean an awful, awful lot — because, for the most part, the radicals engage in precisely the same behavior one sees in Islamic nations around the world that aren’t considered “radical” at all. And then, when a group such as ISIS pushes the envelope, going beyond even what UN member states would do, Obama and Kerry insist that these groups aren’t Islamic at all. As Humpty Dumpty understood, whoever controls the definitions of words wins.

England = cesspool

We’ve remarked here that part of England’s current degraded state undoubtedly comes about because it’s abandoned traditional religion — which, in England’s case, is mostly Church of England. What we haven’t thought about is that the Church of England has become just as degraded as the rest of that once great nation. Of course, considering that a fish rots from the head down, with an Archbishop of Canterbury who seems to find sharia law just as attractive as his own faith, you really cannot expect quality clergy.

Progressivism in action

Having read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, I’m never that surprised when Leftists continuously control our behavior “for our own good.” (And don’t get me started on that gosh darned bag ban which infuriates me every time I shop.)

Just because I’m not surprised by the fascist drive to control my every breath doesn’t mean I can’t still appreciate excellent writing on the subject. Take, for example, Kevin Williamson’s latest salvo at the nanny state, something he wrote in response to California’s announcement that, despite almost no information on the subject, it has declared “vaping” (e.g., e-cigarettes) bad in large part because the optics are wrong. I’m no fan of vaping because I think our lungs were not intended to suck in things other than air, but I appreciate greatly that it lets smokers stop inhaling tobacco and, even better, stop exhaling tobacco on me. Anyway, here’s Williamson:

The goal of progressivism is not to make the world rational; it’s to make the world Portland.

Vaping is, from the point of view of your average organic-quinoa and hot-yoga enthusiast, a lowlife thing. It is not the same thing as smoking, but it looks too much like smoking for their tastes. Indeed, California cites the possibility of vaping’s “re-normalizing smoking behavior” as a principal cause of concern. Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, says that vaping should be treated like “other important outbreaks or epidemics.”

But epidemics of what? Prole tastes?

Progressivism, especially in its well-heeled coastal expressions, is not a philosophy — it’s a lifestyle. Specifically, it is a brand of conspicuous consumption, which in a land of plenty such as ours as often as not takes the form of conspicuous non-consumption: no gluten, no bleached flour, no Budweiser, no Walmart, no SUVs, no Toby Keith, etc. The people who set the cultural tone in places such as Berkeley, Seattle, or Austin would no more be caught vaping than they would slurping down a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s — and they conclude without thinking that, therefore, neither should anybody else. The wise man understands that there’s a reason that Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors; the lifestyle progressive in Park Slope shudders in horror at the refined sugar in all of them, and seeks to have them restricted.

General unloads on Obama’s approach to ISIS

Whether we’re talking about the secrecy surrounding the Bowe Bergdahl investigation, or the modern PC Army’s backing away from the honorable military expression “a chink in one’s armor,” it’s pretty clear that the Obama administration has completed the Bush administration’s work of de-fanging the American military. It’s now politicized, focused on the administration rather than the battlefield, and achingly politically correct.

There are, however, some people who are still willing to speak out — at least when they no longer run the risk of damaging their careers. Retiring General Michael Flynn, The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is speaking out now, and he’s saying that Obama’s approach to ISIS is incompetent:

“There is no substitute, none, for American power,” the general said, to occasional cheers and ultimately a standing ovation from a crowd of special operators and intelligence officers at a Washington industry conference.

He also slammed the administration for refusing to use the term “Islamic militants” in its description of ISIS and al Qaeda.

“You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists,” Flynn said.

Agreed — but couldn’t you have said something about this problem sooner?

UC Davis goes to the dark side

UC Davis used to be the sane UC campus. No longer:

“Hamas & Sharia law have taken over UC Davis,” proclaimed Azka Fayyaz, a member of the University of California, Davis’ student senate, after a vote by the student government calling on the university to divest itself of companies that do business with Israel.

If you have to ask the question, you already know the answer

McClatchy has an article about the fact that Europe’s Jews are asking whether they need to leave. My feeling is that, if you’re at the point where you have to ask the question, you already know the answer: Yes.

Altruism and heroism in action

I continue to find mystifying — but in a wonderful way — that part of the human brain (especially the soldier’s brain) that enables them willingly to sacrifice their well-being for others. One Venezuelan Israeli soldier saved eight of his comrades and, thankfully, survived to tell the tale:

Fifty-four soldiers and officers who took part in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge and who have been cited for their extraordinary bravery under fire will receive on Monday their decorations at a ceremony at Palmahim Air Force Base.

Among them is 21-yearold St.-Sgt. Ceirgio Albarran, who served in the 202 Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade, and whose quick thinking and lightning responses helped save eight of this fellow soldiers in the midst of battle. Albarran shared his story with The Jerusalem Post.

Read what happened here.

Megan McArdle recognizes what a fortunate generation we are

When the recession first hit, I commented that part of our problem in dealing with it is that we’re no longer a mobile population. Sure, we have trains, planes, and automobiles, but we also have so much to carry. If my husband loses his job, even if I know that the are opportunities in Texas, it’s an overwhelming task to relocate. Unlike old-time families with grandma’s rocking chair, a few patchwork quilts, two sets of clothes per family member, and the family Bible, I could fill two moving trucks with all of my stuff. The thought of packing and unpacking is overwhelming, and it’s a serious disincentive to looking for greener economic passages.

Megan McArdle, in a lyrical and very informative piece, has also taken note of America’s bounty, something in which all of us share. Her starting point is Joni Ernst’s statement that her family used to use Wonder Bread bags to protect shoes. The Left laughed (of course), but McArdle saw something much more profound in that anecdote.

Maudlin, preachy Super Bowl commercials

Since I was at a Super Bowl party, which meant a lot of conversation, I didn’t get a chance to catch all the commercials. Those that I did watch, though, struck me as maudlin, preachy, and misanthropic. Russ Vaughn thinks the same.

No, a tampon is not the best treatment for a bullet wound

We’ve all heard it — soldiers are now carrying tampons in their field kits in case they get shot. After all, a tampon is meant to absorb blood.

That’s the problem, though. It’s meant to absorb blood, not to stop bleeding. If someone is bleeding out in front of you, and you want to keep the floor clean in the short term, by all means pack the wound with a tampon and then cover it up with a diaper. But if you want to save the person’s life, here are better things you can do.

Nature’s palette

If you like pictures of animals in all the colors of the rainbow, go here. It will do your soul good.

Pakistan : Can democracy and sharia co-exist?