The Bookworm Beat 2-13-15 — Friday evening round-up and Open Thread

Woman writingI love it when the younger generation shows wisdom. A young 20-something friend of mine just posted on Facebook something about the rash of traditionally religious bakers who are being persecuted for refusing to make cakes for same-sex weddings. I won’t repeat what my friend said verbatim, but here’s the gist:

I don’t come down strongly on either side of this. I hate discrimination but the bakers own the business and say they reserve the right to serve any customers. The customers may have civil rights that should be protected, but a privately owned business should be able to operate as it wants and not be subject to huge fines. This is just another case of the so-called “business expert” government messing with America’s small businesses. If same-sex couples are offended by the business owner’s views, they don’t have to shop there and can tell their friends not to either. What they shouldn’t do is try to destroy the business.

Aside from cheering my young friend’s understanding of freedom (it probably helps that he’s a Marine), I also suggested that, because the freedom to practice our faith without government oversight shows up at the top of the Bill of Rights, in the First Amendment, if the religious person is asserting anything other than an Aztec human sacrifice, the default position in a battle of rights needs to favor the religious person.

Anyway, I’m feeling heartened that there’s a young person out there who is working hard to cast off the stifling Leftism that is part and parcel of a Marin childhood. Even better, while I may be the old lady on his Facebook feed, the vast bulk of his friends are young. Maybe he’ll get some of them to think too.

Speaking of thinking….

My lasting affection for Keanu Reeves is vindicated

Yes, yes, we all know how I love (or do I mean lust after?) Keanu Reeves. I’m smugly happy to report that a video making the internet rounds shows that I’m giving my undying devotion to a man who is classy, kind, and totally free of the egotism that makes Hollywood such a yucky place:

Scott Walker, the Evolution question, and putting the media in its place

The media has its knives out for Scott Walker. Having been content to ignore entirely Obama’s mysterious past, the media is diligently combing through every aspect of Walker’s education.

I mean, my God! Did you know he’s a dropout???!!!. Funnily enough, it never bothered the media that Obama, an apparent graduate, is staggeringly ignorant about almost everything but the tools of narcissism and manipulation.  The thing is, some people do remarkably well without a piece of paper from a Leftist institution:

No college degrees

Reporters are also starting the “gotcha” game, one they play only with Republican candidates. That’s why, at an economic forum in London, a reporter asked Walker for his views on evolution. Walker had the wit not to address that question on the merits, but he awkwardly and obviously avoided answering it, which was just more chum to the media sharks.

I strongly suggest that Walker read Sultan Knish’s post about the way Republican candidates should treat the media. Of course he won’t. Every election, without fail, people tell Republican candidates not to get involved in “gotcha” games with the media.  Only Newt Gingrich, though, figured out that the candidate has to make the media the object of the gotcha game. Otherwise, every election, without fail, Republican candidates carefully arrange themselves on the sacrificial stone and provide helpful advice about the placement of the knives.

Republican human sacrifice

Obama is coming for your internet

The biggest change on the American political landscape isn’t another Leftist in the White House. It’s the rise of an alternative media with enough heft to take down Dan Rather and Brian Williams. The old media still won in 2012, but the rise of alternative media means that the legacy media’s days are numbered, if for no other reason than that it’s impossible for it to find a working economic model.  Obama and the Democrats know this, which is why they want to bring the internet under the Obama administration’s control. As that famous Leftist media figure Al Sharpton once said, Resist we must.

While I’m on the subject of the media, I adored Sultan Knish’s dissection of Jon Stewart. You know how I hate that man and what a problem he is in my household since someone, and I’m not naming names, conflates him with actual news and, moreover, believes Stewart is an honest broker to the extent he implies that only Fox News says silly or inaccurate things. I don’t think we’ll ever undo the Stewart damage to America’s institutions, but his departure should make my house a more peaceful place.

Obama — making Jew hatred ordinary

After hearing Obama’s comments about those “random people” who died in a Paris Kosher market, I thought, “Wow, he’s saying that it’s just downright unremarkable for Jews, ever so coincidentally, to get caught in the line of fire when peaceful Muslims, totally accidentally, aim guns at them.”

Caroline Glick, however, assures me that I’m not being paranoid. In addition to empowering Iran, Obama is using the bully pulpit of the White House to commit his own heinous brand of Boycott, Divest, and Sanction:

As we belatedly learned from a small correction at the bottom of a New York Times article on January 30, contrary to the White House’s claim, Netanyahu did not blindside Obama when he accepted Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to address the Congress. He informed the White House of his intention to accept Boehner’s offer before he accepted it.

Netanyahu did not breach White House protocol.

He did not behave rudely or disrespectfully toward Obama.

The only one that behaved disrespectfully and rudely was Obama in his shabby and slanderous treatment of Netanyahu. It was Obama who peddled the lie that Netanyahu was using the speech not to legitimately present Israel’s concerns regarding the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran, but to selfishly advance his political fortunes on the back of America’s national security interests and the independence of its foreign policy.

It was Obama and Vice President Joe Biden who spearheaded efforts to coerce Democratic lawmakers to boycott Netanyahu’s speech by announcing that they would refuse to meet with the leader of the US’s closest ally in the Middle East during his stay in Washington.

So far only 15 members of the House and three Senators have announced their intention to boycott Netanyahu’s speech. But even if all the other Democratic lawmakers do attend his speech, the impact of Obama’s campaign to defame Netanyahu will long be felt.

First of all, if all goes as he hopes, the media and his party members will use his demonization of Netanyahu’s character as a means to dismiss the warnings that Netanyahu will clearly sound in his address.

Second, by boycotting Netanyahu and encouraging Democrats to do the same, Obama is mainstreaming the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to isolate Israel.

Powerful words, and accurate ones too. The Left hates Israel, and Obama is the quintessential Leftist. Muslims hate Israel, and Obama is the quintessential Islamophile. American blacks, sadly, are deeply hostile to Jews, and Obama is the first half-black President. It’s all there. It’s never been a hidden. It’s just that too many people haven’t wanted to see it.

Indeed, while the world was agog about David Axelrod’s revelation that Obama lied about his long-time support for gay marriage, William Kristol notes that David Axelrod lifted the lid of something else too: Obama’s hatred for Netanyahu and his belief that the best way to punish Netanyahu is to punish Israel.

You know what Obama’s plan reminds me of? What it reminds me of is what happened after Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew, assassinated Ernst vom Rath, a German embassy official in Paris. In addition to giving the Nazis the go-ahead for their carefully planned and infamous Kristalnacht, the Nazis used the occasion to engage in their first collective punishment:

The German government made an immediate pronouncement that “the Jews” themselves were to blame for the pogrom and imposed a punitive fine of one billion Reichsmark (some 400 million US dollars at 1938 rates) on the German Jewish community. The Reich government confiscated all insurance payouts to Jews whose businesses and homes were looted or destroyed, leaving the Jewish owners personally responsible for the cost of all repairs.

Flush with the success of this tactic, through WWII, the Nazis would frequently execute or deport an entire village here and there for the alleged wrongs of a single resident in the village.

Is Obama a Nazi? No. But he certainly seems comfortable with the whole notion of collective punishment, even to the death, for the alleged sin of a single man who’s wounded Obama’s fragile ego. Obama’s not a Nazi, but he’s a remorseless, immoral egotist — different ideology, same outcome.

Is “50 Shades of Grey” the worst movie ever?

It is, quite possibly, not just the worst movie ever, but a profoundly nihilistic movie that shows the shambles that remains after the feminist movie made true respect for women as women a verbotten activity. John Nolte and Anthony Lane both take turns carving up this cinematic turkey. Also, you may want to revisit Dave Barry’s review of the book, which may be the funniest column he’s ever written.  (FWIW, here are my thoughts about this whole misbegotten genre of books and movies.)

The limitations of electric vehicles

I still like my little electric car a lot — at least I do when I can pry my husband out of it, since he likes it even more than I do. It handles like a dream, and has a great sound system and Bluetooth, and all sorts of other electronic frivolities that amuse the driver. It’s a fun car.

Having said that, it’s not a very practical car. If we drive it to empty, it takes 12 hours to recharge. Moreover, it doesn’t take much to drive it to empty — the car has a maximum range of about 80 miles. For freeway driving or on cold days, the range is even lower, coming in at maybe 60-70 miles. It’s not very useful.

Elon Musk promises that, next year, he’ll have a car that’s a fraction of the price of my little Ford, but has the range of a Tesla. That might be an interesting car. Until Musk’s car hits the market, though, most people are going to be like me: It will be a third car that people buy either because they’re green fanatics or because the government subsidizes a huge part of the purchase or lease price.  We’re a very small market.

If you’d like to understand more about the electric car market, I recommend Mike McDaniel’s instructive post.

Someone who needs to be celebrated

We must celebrate those Muslims who embrace a humanist, ecumenical approach to the religion as it relates to the rest of the world:

Bassem Eid Palestinian Peace activitist