The Bookworm Beat 9/6/16 — the “cough, cough, cough” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Hillary’s cough has sounded awfully familiar to me — and today I finally figured out what Hillary’s endless coughing jags bring to mind. To back up a minute, though. . . .

As anyone following the news knows, Hillary’s been coughing a lot . . . an awful lot. Just today, while campaigning in Cleveland, Hillary practically coughed a lung out. Moreover, she was rude enough to cough into her hand, which has been de trop ever since the swine floor, rather than her elbow, the more socially acceptable way to cough:

Watching Hillary hack away, I finally figured out where I’ve heard that cough before. Think back, way back, to the Ernie Kovacs Show. I’m too young to have watched it in its first iteration, but I did see it when it was replayed on PBS back in the 1970s. One of the images that stayed with me was Kovacs’ character “Eugene,” who brings sound effects to everything he does. Near the end of a sketch, he checks out the books on a shelf, with one of those books being Camille (the English translation of Alexander Dumas fils’ La Dame aux Camélias). I’ve queued the following clip to the correct moment, but if it doesn’t start correctly, go to 9:51.

Yup. Hillary sounds exactly like the consumptive prostitute coughing in Ernie Kovacs’ comedic moment. I won’t draw any analogies, although I can’t help but add that the prostitute in Camille was surprisingly virtuous, ending any actual comparison with Hillary. What I will say is that I’m glad to have chased down the fugitive memory that was haunting me every time I heard Hillary hack.

Don’t let Trump scare you.  Scott Adams has nailed Trump — he’s a New Yoiker!!  He’s a negotiator who opens with the big offer. He’s only scary because Hillary’s team is telling us he’s scary.

A friend of mine who is a native New Yorker put me wise to the style thing. And I, having been a litigator long enough, figured out long ago that Trump’s “I’m going to deport every illegal alien,” wasn’t a reality, it was a statement of purpose, with the purpose being “I’m going to stop the open flood of illegal immigrants into this country.”

That’s why I never believed Trump was lying when he backed off from saying he’d deport everyone. I always knew that it was more of a parable than a promise.

By the way, when it comes to illegal immigration, I like Trump’s plan, which boils down to “I’m going to enforce the law of the land.” I don’t know if he can or will do it (no president since Eisenhower has bothered, although Obama’s the only one openly to violate the law and encourage illegals), but at least he’s got the right principle in play. That means a lot.

Also, Rob Miller makes a very persuasive case for the fact that Trump never lied about amnesty. I’m going to trust Trump and Rob a whole lot more than I am Hillary’s team and the MSM (or the #NeverTrumpers, for that matter, who are a little too emotionally invested to be fully persuasive).

Technically advanced; culturally regressive.  Nine years ago, I wrote an article at American Thinker about the fact that there are few things more regressive than a Progressive. My point was that no matter the subject — race, feminism, abortion, unions, etc. — the Progressives were locked firmly in a 1950s world, one of Jim Crow, barefoot/pregnant women in kitchens, women lie dead in allies because of illegal coat hanger abortions, and workers in Dickensian squalor (yes, an image out of the 1850s, rather than the 1950s).

Things have gotten much worse in the last nine years. In an almost lyrical post, Victor Davis Hanson pairs our amazing technology with the Leftists’ forced regression, not to the 1950s, but to a distant, totalitarian time lacking any constitutional freedoms at all. It’s very depressing but (because this is VDH) very astute.

VDH goes full #NeverHillary. I detect that the good people at National Review are trying to find a way to save face while abandoning their #NeverTrump redoubt. Some of them, though, are moving to that position with great speed, effectively saying “The heck with saving face. We need to save America.”

Victor Davis Hanson is one such person. After pointing out that Obama has devastated America and looks to do untold damage in the remaining six months of his presidency, and that Hillary, aside from being the most corrupt candidate in American history, will build on Obama’s policies and practices, Hanson has this to say:

What is forgotten in the Trump pessimism is that even with less than three months until Election Day, the Republican nominee — after the worst imaginable self-inflicted wounds, and with a complete absence of serious fundraising, an ad campaign, or a ground game — still is within striking distance of winning the election. If he were to do so, for the first time in a generation, the Republican party would likely control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and the future of the Supreme Court — with a public on record in support of radical change and without need to pacify its old establishment. Certainly, an attorney general like Rudy Giuliani would be preferable to Loretta Lynch, just as a John Bolton at State would not run the department in the fashion that Clinton herself did during Obama’s first term.

Helping something good to happen in California. California is a political basket case, thanks to a hard Left legislature and governor. In California, if it’s a bad idea, it’s going to pass. What’s exercised me most lately is the fact that California enacted a series of draconian gun laws that are a direct affront to the Second Amendment. If you’re a California resident interested in getting propositions on the ballot that would strike down those laws, please check out this petition locator and see if you can find somewhere to sign a petition. Signatures need to be collected by September 29 if the propositions are to make the November ballot.

Just how bad is Putin? Obama got into a stare-off with Putin today. Although Obama did make a good mean face, knowing the players it was still like watching an angry toddler scowl at the adult holding all the power. Knowing just how weak Obama actually is just made him look foolish, not ferocious.

Obama Putin staredown

Obama might have been even more out of his depth than even he, the ultimate egotist, realized. David Satter has written a very disturbing article detailing the evidence tying Putin to apartment buildings in Moscow back in 1999 that helped catapult him into power.

All available evidence points to Putin’s complicity in the 1999 apartment-building bombings in Russia. Those who have tried to investigate have been killed off, one by one.

I believe that Vladimir Putin came to power as the result of an act of terror committed against his own people. The evidence is overwhelming that the apartment-house bombings in 1999 in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk, which provided a pretext for the second Chechen war and catapulted Putin into the presidency, were carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Yet, to this day, an indifferent world has made little attempt to grasp the significance of what was the greatest political provocation since the burning of the Reichstag.

While we’ve got people in the US wittering about Bush bringing down the Twin Towers in controlled demolitions — nevermind a bazillion eyewitnesses to the airplanes crashing into them — it appears from pretty solid evidence (including the deaths of possible witnesses and all investigators) that Putin was willingly complicit in his own citizens’ death in order to gain power. He’s a very scary dude, and to see both Trump and Hillary posturing about their ability to read and manipulate this stone cold man is unnerving, to say the least.

No, welfare reform did not impoverish America’s children.  The 1994 Welfare Reform Act that Clinton, the great political chameleon, reluctantly embraced and then, what it was successful, claimed as his own, substantially reversed welfare rolls. It decreased a heavy burden on taxpayers and returned able-bodied adults to the workforce. The Left, however, doesn’t want able-bodied adults — especially blacks — in the workforce. It needs those people, especially the blacks, dependent on the government, in order to assure their votes.

As is always the case with the Left, the way it attacks a policy is to claim that it harms children. So it is that the Left is now claiming that the 1994 Welfare Reform Act, rather than being a huge success, was a disaster that reduced 3.5 million children to poverty. Except that (as we’ve come to expect from any “factual” claims emanating from the Left) this claim is a lie.  Only by carefully cherry-picking data, to arrive at one or two lone cherries, can one reach this conclusion.

As much as anything, poverty in America is highly cultural. Everyone has a cell phone and television, but Mom’s not married to the dad of any of her five children, and she’d rather spend her money on pot than anything else.

For a white middle-class person in Marin, I actually am not speaking out of pure, classist ignorance. I know about poverty because I have a close friend who lives among the poor without ever quite having embraced the mental attitude of poverty herself. She finds those in her community fascinating and tells me everything. I hear about the mental health problems that are invariably worsened with drugs, the alcoholism (a costly habit), the weed (a costly habit), the methamphetamines and heroine (more costly habits), and the general dysfunction that sees the extremely poor in her community functioning at their preferred level in a subterranean economic culture of welfare payments, food stamps, church charity, and bartering in goods and drugs.

Removing promiscuous welfare payments would undercut one of the foundations that allows many of these people to maintain a standard of living that they find decent.  I’ve said often that upper class Leftist policy-makers lack imagination. Because they would find the lives of these poor people untenable (as I would), they assume that these people find their own lives untenable. For many, that’s not the case. It’s a Devil’s bargain, but they still prefer a life of drugs and minimal work to the American dream. If one cuts welfare to those people, forcing them back into the workforce, it would make it much easier to spot and help the truly addicted, the mentally ill, the physically ill, and the ones too old or young to help themselves.

Everything the Left tells you about gender and sexuality is wrong.  The Left would have us believe that sexual orientation is fixed in the womb, while at the same time assuring all of us that gender identity (in all 52 flavors) is anything but fixed and can even change according to the time of day for any given person. Ryan T. Anderson gives a short-course in the research belying these assertions:

A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

Black Lives Matter makes a profit.  The Left loves Black Lives Matter, which keeps political pressure where the Left wants it. How much does the Left love BLM? Well, the Ford Foundation just promised it $100 million. That’s a lot of love.

Black Lives will never Matter to the Left as much as unions do.  Marin County is one of the richest communities in America. Sausalito, a city in Marin, has some of the wealthiest people in America. However, Sausalito, which is east of Highway 101, shares political jurisdiction and a school district with Marin City, which is west of Highway 101.

Marin City came into being during WWII when blacks poured into southern Marin County to work in a shipyard. When the war ended, the black community stayed. Unlike the rest of Marin, Marin City has remained poor and black. Already in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was spending more per capita on students than any other school district in the Bay Area (and perhaps even in California) with absolutely no return on effort.

What’s helped make a change in Marin City is the advent of charter schools, which break the union teacher mold. The schools are hugely controversial, with Marin County (a white, “do as I say, not as I do” county) desperate to give those students back into the charge of the failing public schools. (Rich white kids in Sausalito go to private schools.) And so we end up with this:

The Marin County superintendent of schools has requested the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and state superintendent of public instruction look into the Sausalito Marin City School District after a report highly critical of its operations.

The 106-page report issued last month by the state Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team concluded the Sausalito Marin City School District board favors a charter school in Sausalito to the detriment of minority children who attend a traditional campus in Marin City.


Mary Jane Burke, county superintendent of schools, who asked for the review, now has written to federal civil rights officials to determine if an investigation is warranted. Another letter to state Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson asks his office to request an opinion from the California attorney general to investigate whether the school board has a conflict of interest. Four of the five school board members have ties to the charter school.

“We have children who have not yet been provided with an education we know that they need,” Burke told more than 200 people who gathered at the Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy multipurpose room to hear from the authors of the state report at a meeting of the county school board Wednesday night.

Many of those who turned out were outraged members of the Willow Creek Academy charter school community, who called into question the accuracy of the state report.


Several parents of special-needs children said the charge is not true and others added that in terms of race, the school’s 404-member student body is highly diverse. At Willow Creek 43 percent of students are white, 27 percent are Latino, 12 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, 8 percent are black, with 10 percent — Filipino, multi-racial and Native American children — falling into the “other” category, according to data provided by school backers at the meeting.

Willow Creek officials also noted 150 Marin City children currently attend the charter, while the enrollment of Bayside MLK is 143 students.

Obama’s Office of Civil Rights is always happy to steer thriving students back into the waiting arms of the teachers’ unions. For that reason alone, blacks should dump the Democrat party which deliberately consigns them to the worst schools and the worst teachers, and leaves them without any way to escape that academic hell.

Prayers and good thoughts requested.  I mentioned before that a very dear friend of mine is ill. A brilliant man, he’s suffered something (a stroke? a blood clot?) that’s affected his intellectual abilities. The doctors have told his family that he can recover. With the doctors taking care of the medical side of things, there’s nothing else for his friends to do than look for spiritual help. So . . . help would be appreciated. If you’re religious, a prayer; if you’re not religious, a good wish and a kind thought.