The Bookworm Beat 1/4/2016 — the “I’ve got a secret” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have sitting in front of me a piece of a very juicy story that’s happening in real-time — and I can’t do anything about it right now! Two things stop me: The first is that, as I said, I currently only have a piece, and I need more information to understand fully what is going on; the second is that I don’t know yet whether what’s happening is operating under a confidentiality agreement.

The fact that I got some of the information means that someone (and I know who) violated confidentiality, but the whole thing is too sensitive for me to charge into. I’m going to keep an eye on things, though, and I’ll let you know when/if I have a real story. Meanwhile….

On guns, using Alinsky against the Alinsky-ites

Saul Alinksy may have had an ugly ideology, but he was a master tactician. One of his mandates is that you have to make your political enemy play by his own rules. The Virginia GOP is making noises about doing just that, although I doubt GOPers will have the courage of their convictions:

Virginia’s radically anti-gun Governor and Attorney General were probably quite pleased with themselves when they spitefully severed concealed carry agreements with 25 states, including all but one of its neighbors.

They probably didn’t anticipate the backlash they’ve received, which includes calls to recall or impeach Attorney General Mark Herring, and pushes for legislation that will both strip elected officials of the ability to make such unilateral decisions, and get a little payback.

Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

“A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

Read more here.

It would be fruitless and damaging to try stripping Hillary Clinton of her Secret Service detail. Having said that, it would be brilliant if, at every campaign stop, people ask her why, because she is such a strong anti-gun campaigner, she shouldn’t be stripped of that armed coverage.  And I’d love to see the same question asked of Obama at town halls.

I suspect both will reply that they need security because they’re targets.  Statistically speaking, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the average citizen of Chiraq is just as likely to be a target — the only difference is that the Chiraquian cannot defend himself (or have others defend him).

The way we blame ourselves for “triggering” Islamic violence assumes violence is inherent in Islam

The people who keep telling us Islam is a religion of peace are also the same people who keep telling us that we’d better not insult Muslims lest they become violent.  Andrew McCarthy takes on this cognitive dissonance:

Let me ask you a question.

Let’s say you are an authentically moderate Muslim. Perhaps you were born into Islam but have become secularist. Or perhaps you consider yourself a devout Muslim but interpret Islam in a way that rejects violent jihad, rejects the concept that religious and civic life are indivisible, and rejects the principle that sharia’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code must be imposed on the state. Let’s just take that as a given: You are no more inclined toward terrorism than any truly peaceful, moderate, pro-democratic non-Muslim.

So let me pop the question: Is there any insulting thing I could say, no matter how provocative, or any demeaning video I could show you, no matter how lurid, that could convince you to join ISIS?

Mind you, I am not asking whether, upon my insulting and provoking you, you would ever want to have anything to do with me again. I am asking whether there is anything that could be said or done by me, or, say, Donald Trump, or Nakoula Basseley Nakoula — the video producer (Innocence of Muslims) whom Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to blame for the Benghazi massacre — that could persuade you to throw up your hands and join the jihad? Is there anything so profoundly offensive to Islam that we could conjure up that would make a truly moderate, peaceful Muslim sign up for mass murder? Torching and beheading? Killing children? Participating in systematic rape as a weapon of war?

I didn’t think so.

FBI goes full dhimmi

No one was murdered. No one was assaulted. No building was burned. And yet the FBI is offering a $5,000 reward. The crime? Leaving a slice of bacon on a mosque door.

Offensive, yes, but scarcely a high-level crime under the traditional metric applied in our American legal system. Remember too that those $5,000 come from you, the American taxpayer.

Prepare for your new Muslim overlords. They’re already on the march and our institutions are in the process of preemptively surrendering.

I don’t think that concept means what she thinks it means

One of the things that’s bothered Israel supporters for years is the fact that a nation composed of such smart people can invariably fail to take steps that will put them in a better position vis-a-vis the murderous, totalitarian, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-Western thugs who surround them. Honestly, as Josh Gerlenter quickly demonstrates, it’s very easy to make Israel’s case, relying on nothing more than a few irrefutable facts.

In the same vein, one of the things that bothers me a great deal as a conservative is that conservatives keep losing arguments in the public eye to manifest idiots on the Left. Take, for example, the argument that abortions are like any other medical or civic procedure. I already dealt here with the phenomenally stupid, and perennially popular, claim that gun purchases (which put into effect a right inherent in every citizen under the Constitution) should be dealt with in the same way as abortions (which by definition take a life and which are given constitutional standing by searching for magic penumbras).

Logic, facts, and law, however, are such insignificant things when you’re a Leftist on a mission. The latest stupidity comes out of South Carolina, where a Democrat legislator wants to subject Viagra to the same limitations as abortions:

South Carolina Rep. Mia McLeod (D) wants men who claim they need Viagra or other erectile dysfunction medication to get something straight: the government is going to stick its regulatory nose into your bedroom business.

Obviously, this is not just about making it tougher for men who are already having a tough time in bed. McLeod said her legislation regarding male sexuality is meant to give the male-dominated South Carolina Legislature a better idea of the hoops a woman has to jump through before she can get an abortion.

“I purposely tried to make it as invasive, as intrusive, as hypocritical and unnecessary as possible, to make the point,” McLeod told WJBF-TV in Columbia, S.C.


McLeod has pre-filed H.B. 4543 for the 2016 legislative session. It takes a hard stance on the stampede of men looking for Cialis or Viagra prescriptions. Her legislation would force them to “obtain a notarized affidavit in which at least one of the patient’s sexual partners affirms that the patient has experienced symptoms of erectile dysfunction” in the last 90 days.

Men who want the little blue pills would also have to see a licensed sexual therapist and provide a written report that spells out the patient’s problems and the therapist’s conclusion that the ED is based on medical problems, not psychological factors.

ED patients would also have to “attend three sessions of outpatient counseling within a period of not less than six months after the drug is prescribed.”

On its face, it looks as if McLeod is so stupid she’s incapable of seeing that getting Viagra is the equivalent of getting a pap smear. Abortion, on the other hand, is the equivalent of simultaneously sentencing someone to death row and carrying out the execution. McLedo has to understand the difference — but she also thinks (sadly accurately) that people in her political party, as well as a large number of minimally thinking Americans, will never figure out they’re being conned.  You’d think that all of that Sesame Street (“one of these things is not like the other ones….”) would have made a difference, but you’d think wrongly.

Obama sure has fired a whole lot of high level military officers

This list of military officers fired on Obama’s watch appears in a vacuum.  I don’t know how it compares to firings under past presidents, nor do I know the reason behind these firings.  Some may have been necessary weeding to get out dangerously bad commanders.

I only know that, to the extent Obama has spent an inordinate amount of time degrading the military’s fighting ability while, at the same time, trying to turn it into a taxpayer-funded institution that advances Obama’s notions of the perfect Leftist society, my first instinct is to be very worried about that list.

The West’s anti-Israel media

CAMERA had an awful lot of material from which to choose, but it was finally able to winnow the depressingly long list down to the top ten Middle Eastern reporting fails for 2015 (and somehow, by an amazing coincidence, all of these fails fell in favor of the Palestinians and against Israel):

1. Wave of Palestinian Violence Accompanied by Spate of Bad Journalism

Some correspondents and headline writers are doing a fine job reporting the terror attacks in Israel, but all too many others are failing at this task, relying on the passive voice, euphemism, and imprecision to obscure Palestinian terror attacks and even recast terrorists as victims of arbitrary Israeli violence. In a particularly noxious example, The New York Times incorrectly and absurdly described a butterfly knife wielded by a Palestinian attacker – a type of knife known to be used by street gangs and illegal in a number of countries and U.S. states – as a “Boy Scout”‑type knife. This was the third New York Times article mentioning the incident. In all three pieces, the brandishing of a knife was described merely as an Israeli allegation. In the latter two articles, Palestinian allegations that the knife was planted were given equal weight to Israel’s description of the man holding a knife, despite the fact that he is shown on video wielding the knife. The Times issued a peculiarly worded and weak “correction.”


5. A New Low for the BBC

In an outrageous BBC interview on January 11 on a Paris street during the mass unity rally after the murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the Jews at the Kosher market and other victims, a Jewish woman said recent events resemble the 1930s and Jews should respond by making clear they’re being targeted, Tim Willcox of the BBC interrupted her to say, “Many…many…many critics, though, of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well,” in effect proclaiming that murdering Jews in a Paris supermarket is understandable. Under a hail of criticism for the exchange, Willcox made a half-apology on Twitter, tweeting, “Really sorry for any offence caused by a poorly phrased question in a live interview in Paris yesterday – it was entirely unintentional.” The BBC took no further action, leaving one to wonder whether the BBC subscribes to irrational and bigoted views that justify murderous attacks on Jews around the world.

6. Libel of Israel in Fashion at Elle Magazine

Editors of provided a glamorous platform to Palestinian-American activist Karmah Elmusa, enabling her to spout, unchallenged, vitriolic anti-Israel propaganda. Elmusa charged that Israel sentenced her Palestinian cousin to nine years in jail for his “role in a protest”. Editors of the popular fashion magazine and Hearst Magazine executives have failed to answer CAMERA’s calls to either substantiate or retract this highly unlikely claim. Israel does not throw Palestinians in jail for nine years simply for taking part in a protest. CAMERA noted that Elle and Hearst could easily provide the relative’s ID number to the spokeswoman of the Israel Prison Service to determine why he is serving a sentence, and how long it is. They have declined to do so, signaling that Elle should not be trusted as a source for information on topics weightier than fashion and makeup.

Our ostensibly free Western media works hard every day to chip away at individual liberties, at home, in Europe, and in the Middle East.

Unlimited illegal immigration, or even legal immigration, is the ultimate in Big Government

Whenever those of us opposed to Democrat plans to let in unlimited numbers of legal or illegal immigrants speak, we’re instantly shouted down as racists.  Dr. Hurd says we’re not racists; we are individuals who value our liberty, and don’t like to see it stripped away one new welfare immigrant at a time:

A moral and just government recognizes the rights of individuals to be left alone, i.e. free from the initiation of force or fraud.

The moment government starts forcing some citizens to pay for the education, corporate bailouts, health insurance, grocery bills or anything else for others is the moment you’re no longer living in a free country.

In the United States, the government has been doing this for decades. What started out as a temporary or minimal “safety net” has turned into a thriving, coercive and self-evidently corrupt and bipartisan government “industry.” This corporate statism costs trillions and trillions of dollars, and the debt rises every year. There’s no end in sight.

As wrong and irrational as this is, it makes internally logical sense for people like Obama to extend it further. If the federal government is responsible for the welfare and well- being of all its own citizens, then how can it not be responsible for the well-being and welfare of the rest of the world?

How can you turn away Mexicans who came into the country illegally? They need the help. How can you prevent Mexicans or anyone else from entering the country? They need the help. What about Muslims, who are high risk candidates for launching acts of terrorism, as in Paris and San Bernardino most recently? Forget about it. They are in need, and that’s all that matters.

Read more here.

Once again, the scientific consensus is wrong, just time about oil availability

Stephen Moore has written a pleasantly gloating article about the fact that scientists who predicted that the world’s oil supply would run out were just plain wrong.  I haven’t been keeping a formal list, but it seems to me that scientists are routinely in the headlines for being wrong about food, medicine, climate, oil, etc.

Good news: Your child can succeed without that Ivy League degree

Google is in the lovely position of being able to hire any kind of employee it wants. People are constantly banging on its doors, begging to be let in.

In the beginning, Google assumed that it’s best employees would be the cream of the American crop: Ivy League graduates. It’s since revisited that notion and concluded that the best skills having nothing whatsoever to do with how prestigious ones university is. (Ignore the fact that HuffPo writes this as a post about racial — e.g., racist quota — diversity, and instead focus your attention on the qualities that make for a good employee regardless of skin color.)

The Battle of Chipyong-Ni

It’s an old post and an even older battle, but I found absolutely mesmerizing Wolf Howling’s description of the pivotal battle at Chipyong-Ni, which took place 65 years ago this February:

It would prove the turning point in the Korean War and it has gone into the history books as one of the greatest defensive actions of modern warfare.

The 23rd Infantry Regiment, less than 4,500 men strong, was surrounded at Chipyong-ni by an attacking force of four divisions totalling 25,000 Chinese soldiers. The Chinese started their attack on the night of 13 Feb. By the time the smoke cleared on the 15th, over 5,000 Chinese dead and wounded littered the battlefield, the Chinese march south from the Yalu was ground to a halt, and the UN forces were able to permanently regain the offensive, driving the Chinese north of the 38th parallel and stopping there only on the order of President Truman.

Writing about battle scenes in a way that’s comprehensible for amateurs, but not boring for professionals, is a real art form and Wolf Howing is a real artist, providing background to first-hand narratives from veterans of that battle.

Jewish self-loathing in America

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post about what I believe is a horrible trend among young (Leftist) Jews in Hollywood:  A boastful self-loathing that sees Jews recycling the worst, most ugly antisemitic stereotypes, especially those about Jewish looks.   These ugly stereotypes are now working their way out of Hollywood roasts and into television shows:

Fans like to call “Seinfeld” one of the most-Jewish sitcoms of all time, even though it makes so few explicitly Jewish references.

In that regard, the successful Fox sitcom “New Girl,” which stars Zooey Deschanel and will start its fifth season Jan. 5, is a foil to the “show about nothing”: It’s chock-full of Jewish jokes that aren’t very Jew-y.

And yet, the sitcom — which centers on a group of friends in their early 30s who live together in a loft apartment in Los Angeles — does not have a Jewish tone or plot. There’s just Schmidt, who’s said to be Jewish — repeatedly.

While some of the Jewish jabs are funny in a crude way, others fall flat or seem out of place. A major comic theme is that Schmidt is handsome despite his Semitic heritage.


1. “You’re really sexy for a Jew.” (Episode 9: “Thanksgiving IV”)

Schmidt receives the awkward compliment during an intimate encounter at his “Bangsgiving” Thanksgiving party. A young woman he’s getting close to on the couch makes the casual observation, causing him to ask: “Wait, what?”


3. “I’m having my teeth shaved by a 25th of an inch. Fawn thinks that I have the teeth of an immigrant. She says every time she looks at me all she can see is Fievel Mousekevitz singing ‘There Are No Cats in America.’ Those little mice Jews.” (Episode 20: “Par 5”)

Schmidt explains that Fawn, who is now his girlfriend, has some pretty exacting standards for her significant other. Fievel Mousekevitz is the animated star of the 1986 film “An American Tail,” which tells the story of a family of Russian Jewish mice that immigrates to the United States to escape anti-Semitism.


6. “When we’re in public, let’s just tone down the Jewish thing, OK?” (Episode 12: “Shark”)

Fawn censors Schmidt after he uses the word “schmendrick” (Yiddish for “stupid person”) in casual conversation. So much for her digging the Jewish Kennedy vibe.

The next time the Nazis come to call (or their proxies, the Sharia Muslims), they won’t have to do anything at all to get rid of American Jews. The Jews, imbued with Hollywood-induced self-loathing, will simply line themselves up before the new overlords, paint targets on their foreheads, and ask to be put out of their misery.

Killing the Social Justice Warrior ethos with scorn, humor, and flamboyance

Milo Yiannopoulos is everything the Social Justice Warriors hate: educated, gay, flamboyant, self-confident, and conservative. And he’s everything the conservative movement needs: Someone courageous enough, outrageous enough, and confident enough to take the battle to the Social Justice Warriors.

Yiannopoulos has written his 2016 battle plan and I highly recommend reading it. Whether you need these tactics to defend against the SJWs in your own world,  or whether one of your Progressive friends is learning a life lesson the hard way, the information is very useful (and fun to read). I’m keeping the link close at hand, because the secret I can’t tell you now (and may never be able to tell you) involves a crazed young SJW.

WaPo calls out some of its own

An opinion piece published in the WaPo calls out journalists for avoiding the hard work of supporting their facts by hiding behind the word “widely”:

Lately, though, I’ve wondered whether some journalists are relying too much on the “ask anyone” method of citation. Its more sophisticated form appears in a passive-voice clause that includes the word “widely”: “widely believed,” “widely suspected,” “widely thought,” “widely considered,” and so on.

Clearly, there are some beliefs or suspicions that really are shared “widely,” and there is nothing wrong with saying so. When a Telegraph reporter writes that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is “widely believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists,” that’s reasonable. The connection can’t be documented with finality, not yet anyhow, but almost everybody believes it.

Just as often, though, that little word “widely” seems designed to appear to do the work of citation or argument without actually doing it. You can sense the author’s thought process: If he writes “U.S.-British relations are thought to be at their most strained in decades,” the obvious question is, “Thought by whom?” But if he inserts a “widely,” the problem somehow goes away. “U.S.-British relations are widely thought to be at their most strained in decades.” Ah, well, if it’s “widely” thought, it’s probably close to the truth.

If I ever submitted a legal brief in which I stated “It’s widely believed among judges that….” I would get laughed out of court and rightly so.  The people responsible for conveying information to the American people ought to be held, or hold themselves, to the same high standard.

The more we know about the universe, the more God becomes a reasonable option

My standard line with the children has been that, until someone explains to me what came before the Big Bang, I’m very open to the possibility that there is a God. (And it’s not enough to posit infinitely repeating universes that collapse and explode again. Someone has to tell me, with proof, what was the true beginning.)

I’m also a little less supportive of randomness when I consider the experiences that my father, my mother, and I have all had that ought to have killed us . . . but didn’t. One lucky escapes may be a coincidence, but at a certain point one can’t help but wonder if there’s a larger plan at work.

I mention all of this because Eric Metaxas argues that the more we know about the conditions required for life on earth, the less likely it is that, even amongst the billions of galaxies out there, we can find planet even capable of supporting life like ours, let alone having given rise to such life. Maybe there really is a plan….

Dying swans

On a beautiful non-political note, Neo-Neocon takes a look at Anna Pavlova’s famed, early-20th century “Dying Swan,” a rather frenetic bit of dancing minimalism, and compares it with the exquisite mid-1980s stylings of Galina Mezentseva, doing the same dance. Mezentseva actually looks and moves like the human equivalent of a swan. It’s quite heartrending watching those death throes. If you’re a ballet fan, or someone who wonders why anyone should care about ballet, this post will probably interest you.