The Bookworm Beat 2-12-15 — “Been there done that” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingPart of my mother’s behavior as a drama queen is to try to take on the borrowed glory of other people’s suffering. When my sister has a cold, my mother calls me to say “You don’t know how worried I am. What if it turns into pneumonia? What if she dies? I can barely eat I’m so upset.”

Recently, my mother called to tell me that she was beside herself because one of her recently widowed friends is holed up in a hotel room and having a hard time figuring out how to pay her bills. That sounds kind of sad, doesn’t it? But what I and my mother both know is that this woman made the grasshopper, in the Aesop’s fable about the “Ant and the Grasshopper,” look like model of sober rectitude and long-term planning.

For years, with accelerating force as the friend’s husband became increasingly ill, my mother dutifully nagged this friend to learn how to drive, balance a check book, make peace with her children, check on insurance, and all the other daily life tasks that people need to survive on their own. Every time, the friend told my mother, “I’m not that type of person. I don’t need to worry about the future. I need to be free.”

Well, said friend is free now — free to fail and to do so quickly. Naturally, Mom called to tell me “I’m so upset. I don’t know what to do. I feel sick with worry.”

I was unimpressed. “Mom,” I said. “If your friend had planned diligently, or even not been actively stupid, you would have been right to worry about her well-being, and might even have been called upon to offer aid when things went flipsy-wopsy in her life. As it is, though, she made her bed and that’s that. You can watch the spectacle of her decline and certainly offer her kind words in place of ‘I told you so,’ but you certainly shouldn’t get emotionally involved.”

This convoluted narrative has a point. As I see it, we’re reaching a crisis point with the Obama administration. For years, I, along with the rest of America’s conservatives, have been squawking about a White House of lies; a dishonest media; Obama’s affinity for tyranny; Obama’s (and the media’s) Islamophilia, which is coupled with anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christian sentiment; the disastrous effect of socialized mismanagement and crony capitalism on the American economy; the fraud of climate change; the scam of Leftist race mongering; and innumerable other things that are anathema to America’s overriding affinity for freedom and individual worth.

And yes, I hear the usual suspects going on about America’s failings, but America has consistently righted those wrongs, often with spilled blood, when her native instinct for independence from government tyranny reasserted itself.  We err, but we also self-correct, which is more than I can say for Obama’s favorite leaders, religions, and nations.

In 2008, we prescient conservatives tried to keep Obama out of the White House, even if that meant letting McCain in. In 2012, we tried again, even though that meant backing the decent but bloodless Romney.

post-53898-train-falling-off-bridge-gif-i-O4cWWe screamed, cried, hollered, and stood athwart the barricades yelling “Stop” — all to no effect. I plan to stick around to pick up the pieces, but I’m getting that emotionally divorced feeling I’ve been urging on my mother when it comes to her friend. Terrible things are going to happen in America and around the world, and good people are going to get very badly hurt, but the train is already starting its downhill slide, and our task is to make ready to rescue the deserving survivors.

All this is by way of an explanation for my dilatory blogging of late. The other explanation is paying legal work, which takes up a lot of time, not to mention some DWTS. But as I said, part of the slowdown in writing comes about because I read the headlines and simply . . . don’t react.

Still, there are things out there that interest me, and I’m happy to share them with you:

Bruce Jenner is a litmus test for the New York Times

This story has been hanging around on my spindle for a while, but to me it’s still relevant: Bradford Thomas found a perfect matched set at the New York Times: Publicity-hound and possible manslaughterer Bruce Jenner is lauded in that paper’s pages for following the well-established LGBTQ herd:  through drugs and surgery, he plans to alter his appearance so that, rather than looking like a woman (as he already does), he will end up looking even more like a woman.  Whatever.  I don’t care about Jenner, and if it makes him happy, that’s great — although I strongly suspect that his need to be in the news will see him re-gendering and then un-gendering and possibly over- or through-gendering, if he can get away with those.

Meanwhile, in New York Times-land, Chris Kyle, who put himself in the heat of battle to protect our nation from precisely the same people who now staff ISIS, is “insane.”

If the Times really is still the paper of record, this record deserves to be broken up and thrown away in the dust bin of history. We have become a disgraceful society, unable to distinguish cultural narcissism from honor and courage.

A brief history of the (real) Crusades

Obama, who has consistently shown himself to be a profoundly ignorant man, suddenly made the Crusades a hot topic with his Prayer Breakfast speech castigating Christians for daring to object to ISIS because, according to Prof. “Don’t Know Much About History” Obama, a thousand years ago Christians were just as bad . . . except that they weren’t.

Putting aside the fact that the Middle Ages were not generally a kinder, gentler time compared to today’s Christian-influenced Western world, the Crusaders were no better and no worse than anyone else living back in the Middle Ages.  Most importantly, though, they weren’t aggressors. In a time without mass communication, when news took months and years to travel, and plans took decades to formulate, they were the “rapid response” team to hundreds of years of Muslim depredations into the Holy Land and parts of Europe.

If you would like actual history, rather than the Ignoramus’ History of the World, you can read more here and here.

Autism isn’t more common; diagnosis is better

In the context of breast cancer, I must have said a zillion times that its increased prevalence is due to two things: women’s greater longevity and better diagnostic tools.

It turns out that autism also isn’t more prevalent. We’re simply more aware of its existence because doctors are more likely to diagnose it, both in children who are genuinely autistic, and in those who fall under the umbrella of the newly named “autism spectrum.”

I think this is a great thing. So many children, especially boys, got marginalized because their behaviors were neurologically and developmentally peculiar. Now, with a proper diagnosis, they get the treatment and respect they deserve.

As some of you know, I have a relative diagnosed with autism and the main lessons I’ve learned from having him in my life are that (a) autism is an extremely complicated disease that is under-diagnosed if the parameters are too narrow and (b) autistic children often have wonderful secrets buried within them, and better treatment unlocks those secrets.

Egyptian TV host goes where Obama dares not

Ibrahim Issa is an Egyptian journalist and TV host. While Obama is blathering about “random” attacks against random people who just happen to be Jews in Kosher stores, with these attacks carried out by killers who just happen to have maps of Jewish schools in their cars, and about Islam’s essentially peaceful nature, Issa tells it like it is: Every single horrible thing that ISIS does is sanctioned by and often mandated in the Qu’ran or other seriouos Islamic scholarship or dictates:

February 3, 2015 Clip No. 4773
Egyptian TV Host Ibrahim Issa: Nobody Dares to Admit That ISIS Crimes Are Based on Islamic Sources.

Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian journalist and TV host Ibrahim Issa, which aired on ON TV on February 3, 2015:

Ibrahim Issa: Whenever ISIS carries out an act of barbarity, such as decapitations, throat slitting, or the burning of a person alive, as they did today, various sheiks tell you – if they even bother to say anything – that this has nothing to do with Islam, that Islam is not to blame, and whatever. But when the people of ISIS perpetrate slaughter, murder, rape, immolation, and all those barbaric crimes, they say that they are relying on the sharia. They say that this is based on a certain hadith, on a certain Quranic chapter, on a certain saying of Ibn Taymiyyah, or on some historical event. To tell the truth, everything that ISIS says is correct.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone, as a surprise to anyone, and nobody should be shocked by what I am saying. All the evidence and references that ISIS provides to justify its crimes, its barbarity, and its horrifying, criminal, and despicable violence… All the evidence and references that ISIS provides, claiming that they can be found in the books of history, jurisprudence, and law, are, indeed, to be found there, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.


When they kill a person claiming that he is an infidel, when they rape women, when they kill prisoners, and when they slaughter and decapitate people, they say that the Prophet Muhammad said so. Indeed, the Prophet said so! What was the context? The interpretation? That’s a whole different story. None of those [Al-Azhar clerics] who purport to be moderate, and who were told by President Al-Sisi to change the religious discourse, have the courage – not a single grain of courage – to admit that these things are indeed to be found [in Islamic sources] and are [morally] wrong. If it is claimed that a certain companion of the Prophet did this or that, you should respond by saying that he was morally wrong. I would like to see a single Al-Azhar cleric in Egypt have the courage to admit that Abu Bakr burned a man alive. That’s right. He burned Fuja’ah [Al-Sulami]. This is a well-known historical story.


Was Abu Bakr morally wrong to burn that man alive? Nobody dares to say so. So we are left in this vicious circle, and you can expect more barbarity, because all this barbarity is sacred. It is sacred. This barbarity is wrapped in religion. It is immersed in religion. It is all based on religion. Your mission [as a cleric] is to say that while it is part of our religion, the interpretation is wrong. Do not tell people that Islam has nothing to do with this.


Oh, and about Obama and those Muslim rumors. . . .

None of this means he Muslim . . . but it’s still funny:


Since Obama and the missus love social media and hashtags, Roger L. Simon suggests one for them: #JewishLivesMatter. Simon does some of his best writing at the intersection between Obama and antisemitism, and his latest post is no exception:

If you’re asking me whether I think the president’s an antisemite, why don’t I put it this way. Barack Obama — despite a claque of Jewish advisers (Axelrod, Lew, Emanuel, etc. I wonder how they felt when they heard this latest round) — appears to have a very complicated, almost bizarre reaction to Jews. Maybe it’s a weird competition between oppressed groups — blacks and Jews — or more of his not-so-masked appreciation of (and defensiveness about) all things Islamic.

And, yes, he clearly can’t deal with Benjamin Netanyahu, whose natural existential concern for his country regarding Iranian nuclear weapons is disruptive of the president’s desire to be seen as a peacemaker with that pathologically un-peaceful country that is the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism. How could anyone trust Obama to protect Israel’s interest against Iran’s religious fanatics when he can’t even acknowledge jihadists are deliberately killing Jews in Paris when it was on everyone’s television sets for days?

Our stupid, biased modern media

Conrad Black:

Walter Cronkite didn’t deliberately lie as Brian Williams and many of these politicians have, but the whole group of prominent American World War II foreign correspondents — Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, Theodore White — pretended to a more sophisticated geopolitical worldliness than they possessed as they introduced isolationist America to the world in a hazardously simplistic fashion. Cronkite was energetic, and was present at many events, especially Anwar Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem, but his opinions were never based on anything more than good, old-fashioned, Norman Rockwell American altruism. Ed Murrow’s sepulchral smoke-wearied voice did wonders for British war propaganda as he narrated the Blitz from London in 1940. (He was ardently courted by the British government and even had a torrid affair with the prime minister’s daughter-in-law, Pamela Digby. She eventually married the wartime Lend-Lease administrator, Averell Harriman, while the U.S. ambassador, John G. Winant, took up with the prime minister’s own daughter — Mr. Churchill was an indulgent father and a full-service ally.) The weightier comments at CBS News were generally left to Eric Sevareid, who claimed to be the heir and protégé of Murrow and Walter Lippmann, the most famous of the pundits. But none of them look very prescient in retrospect. Lippmann thought FDR a lightweight when he was running as a candidate for the White House, then urged him to institute a virtual fascist dictatorship to fight the depression; never really understood his war policy, though he was an early appreciator of the need to get Charles de Gaulle on board; and he opposed retention of U.S. forces in Europe after World War II. Sevareid’s departure comments from CBS in 1977 were among the most pompous utterances ever telecast in the United States.

Read the whole thing here.

RIP, Bob Simon

Having savaged the media, I’m going to switch gears and say a little prayer for Bob Simon who, despite ending his career working on 60 Minutes (a retirement home for age-encrusted Leftist media talking heads), nevertheless was a real journalist. There’s a terrible irony in the fact that, having survived 50 years in the field, often in war zones and even in captivity, it was a bad taxi driver who ended up killing him.

There are stories that say Simon wasn’t wearing a seat belt, something few people do in a taxi. I don’t know why they don’t, because taxi drivers usually scare the living daylights out of me. If I had a friend driving the way some taxi drivers do, I’d be wrapping every seat belt the car offers around me and offering up prayers for my eventual survival.

A picture of the car in which Simon was driving, though, suggests that a seat belt wouldn’t have made difference. The car is shredded.

The car in which Bob Simon died

My thoughts are with Simon’s loved ones and friends.

And now excuse me please as I head back to the legal salt mines.