The Bookworm Beat 12-8-15 — the “fresh off the spindle” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I did it again — I let my inbox get out of hand, so much so that I woke up this morning to discovery over a thousand unread emails in the email accounts for which I’m responsible. Going through them isn’t my favorite activity (too much guilt about emails I inadvertently ignored and too much stress about decisions I have to make), but I do find lovely links and comments that I view as buried treasure. This round-up, therefore, is a treasure-hunt edition.

Yo, Obama! History hasn’t happened yet.

I great disliked Obama’s oval office address. One of the lines that irritated me most was this one: “My fellow Americans, I am confident we will succeed in this mission because we are on the right side of history.”

History, of course, refers to the past. Obama is using a nonexistent historical reference point to predict the future, and then using this prediction to justify inaction. (This is very similar, of course, to the whole “climate science” joke, which uses falsified historical data and computer programs that cannot factor in all future possibilities to predict the climate future, and then takes this Garbage-In/Garbage-Out data to justify costly action.)

Some months ago, my friend Patrick O’Hannigan sent me a post he’d written about the way in which the Left misuses the concept of history. It seems singularly on point now that the President has used a hypothetical future history to justify his passivity when faced with one of the most consequential, and existential issues of our time:

I saw a news clip today of the First Lady telling Girl Scouts that they were “making history” by being “the first to camp out on the South Lawn of the White House.”

Newscasters also said that a severe thunderstorm soon forced those Girl Scouts to seek shelter in the Executive Office Building, but I’m more interested in what Michelle Obama calls “historic,” because the action she praised seems trivial.

Doesn’t something have to be significant before it can be called historic?

Etymology is not something I have any particular expertise in, but I’ve always thought of “historic” and “heroic” as sibling words.

Was spotlighting the White House in multi-colored light to celebrate a Supreme Court ruling also “historic”? I hope not, because it’s easier to make a case for calling that stunt “ill-advised” or “juvenile.”

Let me put the question a little differently: The boys in my senior class were, as far as I know, the first to wear turquoise tuxedos and ruffled shirts for our high school yearbook photos, but that does not make our wardrobe choice “historic.” What it means is that someone in school administration at the time got a superlative discount from a local formal wear shop whose proprietor was nostalgic for the Seventies.

No, Americans are not Islamophobic

I’ve already commented on the fact that, while American Muslims are perpetually fearful that Americans will treat them as they treat others, their fears are never realized. Mike Gonzalez makes the same point, which is that Obama’s endless “No Islamophobia” lectures are predicated upon entirely imaginary American Islamophobia. I wonder when the American people are going to say to themselves, “It’s one thing when politicians lie to us about their political activities, about cover-ups, or about national security. But it’s another thing entirely when they start to lie to us about ourselves!”

Why neither Israel nor America will ever be as bad as the Muslims

I was going through unanswered emails (so many of them, and those of you left unanswered to date know who you are), when I came across something I wrote that surprised me by being rather intelligent. In that email, I was thinking about the contrast between Israelis and the Palestinians. The latter, of course, live and die war. They raise their children to lust after Jewish blood, and treat their citizens like so much cannon fodder.

Israel is different. As I told my friend, “I try to subscribe to the Israeli view, which is to know your enemies and fight them hard on the battlefield, but also to fight them while off the battlefield simply by enjoying the blessings of Western culture and a life well lived.”

It seems to me that Americans also subscribe to this view, which is why, Obama’s fears notwithstanding, America will not be swept away on the fiery tide of hatred that characterizes Islamofascists and hard-core Leftists.

The religious faithful in the Church of Climate Change

Let me start with an anecdote. Years ago, I read in a Bennett Cerf joke book a possibly apocryphal story about Winston Churchill. Apocryphal or not, it makes my point, so here goes.

After he was voted out of office following WWII, Churchill was still much sought after as a speaker. One trade group invited him to come to speak and, especially, to share with them his thoughts about the trade group’s future prospects. Accordingly, Churchill went to his assistant and asked that he put together a report with as much information as possible about upcoming trends and the industry’s future in the next five years.

A couple of days later, a disheartened assistant returned to Churchill. “I couldn’t find anything useful. This is a new field and the data is so speculative, I couldn’t come up with any prediction at all, let alone a five year prediction.” Churchill grunted acknowledgement and waved the assistant out of the room.

The next day, Churchill spoke to the trade group. The assistant was stunned and impressed to hear Churchill confidently reel off mountains of statistics about the probable situation of the trade group in five years. The audience, needless to say, was thrilled.

After the speech, when they were heading back to the office in the car, the assistant asked, “How did you do that? I searched everywhere for that information for two days and found nothing?”

“Simple, my boy,” the great man replied. “What I knew with certainty was that there is no available information out there, that this is a new field in flux, and that anything can happen in five years. This means that, in five years time, if I’m correct, people will remember me as a prescient genius. And if things turn out differently, no one will remember a word I said and there’ll be no data from today proving that I was wrong today, when I made this speech.  I therefore made everything up.”

That first anecdote leads me to a second anecdote, taken from my own day:

I was grumbling to my son about the fact that our local weather reports.  Because I hate the drought, I check the weather reports religiously every day because an allegedly massive, and as yet unrealized El Nino, is predicted to be this year’s drought-buster.

So far, here in Marin we’ve had more drizzle than usual, but the drizzle never falls on the day the weather reports say. I know that if the weather report says it will rain tomorrow, I’d better put on sunscreen. The reverse is true too. If a sunny day is purportedly in the offing, I need to make sure my windshield wipers are drizzle-ready.

Anyway, me being me, I couldn’t resist adding that I don’t know how people can believe climate predictions going out 5, 10, 30, or 100 years, when we can’t even get weather predictions that are accurate on the morning of the day at issue. My son, who is taking AP Environmental Sciences, promptly told me that it’s easier to predict climate than it is to predict weather.

Now, that’s manifestly untrue. All of the climate predictions, from the global freeze predictions in the early 1970s, to the baking temperatures, rising oceans, melting icebergs, etc., of the last ten years, have been completely wrong. In the 25 year lifetime of the new study of climate study, they’ve been wrong at an even greater rate than the meteorologists on the evening news.  That’s no surprise, of course, given the falsified underlying data and the impossibility of writing a computer program that can account for the thousands of constantly changing variables that make up earth’s climate.

So why do people accept this lie, the lie saying that it’s harder to predict today’s weather with a satellite map than it is to predict the entire earth’s climate for the next umpteen years or decades?

Well, that’s where I loop back to my Churchill story. The way the human mind works is that today I will remember that you predicted the weather wrong yesterday. However, five, ten, or twenty years from now, even if I do remember your apocalyptic predictions, enough time has passed for you to offer a thousand excuses and intervening factors explaining the predictions’ failure and to distract me with a new (and equally fallacious) prediction. The Big Lie is easier than the little mistake.

And finally, a third anecdote about the religious faith people have in those apocalyptic climate predictions:

A Leftist friend, when listening to some Progressive radio station (probably PBS), heard Ted Cruz speaking during the House hearing on climate change. In addition to the scientists who challenged the climate change narrative, Cruz made a sensible historic analogy:

“In 1615, I suspect, if you asked, 97 percent of scientists at the time would have said the sun rotates around the Earth,” Cruz said.

“I would note it was the Roman Inquisition that brought heretics before it who dared say the Earth revolved around the sun and today the global warming alarmists have taken the language of the Roman Inquisition.”

I don’t know if the radio station played the scientists’ testimony. I do know that, if it had, my friend wouldn’t have been able to hear it. She would have just heard “blah, blah, blah,” with her mind automatically deleting all the words. What she did do, though, after hearing Cruz’s take, was to go onto Facebook and call Cruz an idiot for being a science denier.

Like those long-ago trade association members, five years after hearing Churchill’s speak, my friend has forgotten the original predictions or explained away to her own satisfaction the fact that \all the climate science predictions are wrong — just as the weather forecasts are always wrong.

By the way, if you want a future prediction based on actual past performance, check this one out — and stock up on warm clothes.

A job for aggressive victims of microaggression

There is no person more flagrantly aggressive than a college student protesting a microaggression. Looking at headlines, long-time blog friend Sadie realized that, somewhere out there, there’s a career match made in heaven for those vicious fragile flowers:

ISIS the job for fragile college students

A lovely music video that left a smile on my face

This was a grim post.  Let me end it on a lighter note with a really nice song and an even nicer video to go with it: