The Bookworm Beat 3/15/17 — clearing the spindle, part deux, and open thread

I’ve cleared my spindle and the articles I linked are a feast for the hungry mind — the Middle East, climate change, policing, gender, Obamacare, and more.

Paper on spindleThere’s land if the Palestinians want it. Did you know that President al-Sisi in Egypt has offered the Palestinians a state that would include Gaza plus 618 adjacent square miles in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula? This offer reflects the fact that the Egyptians, like the Jordanians, Saudis, and every other Sunni Arab state around can’t stand the Palestinians.

With Iran looming on the Iranian, the Sunni nations are becoming more aware that Israel is their bulwark against Iran. If they can get rid of the Palestinian issue — and get the troublesome Palestinians out of their countries — they can unite to face off against Iran. You can read more here.

The Palestinians, of course, will not go for it. They don’t want their own country. They want the Jews’ country. The question is whether the combined weight of the Sunni Arab world, perhaps with help from the Trump administration, can force them to take what they don’t want and finally, once and for all, leave everyone alone. The problem is that the Palestinians (with a lot of UN help) have raised too many blood-thirsty generations who view Israel as their own land, to be taken with fire and sword.

Once again, a sociologist proves that sociology is not science. I laughed so hard I choked on my morning cereal when I read a Los Angeles Times op-ed by an academic sociologist assuring readers that atheists raise more moral kids than religious people do. The trick to this column is that the atheistic sociologist gets to define what constitutes “morality.”

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that morality means having values that precisely track the Progressive/Democrat social and political agenda. My only question is for how much longer taxpayers are going to let their state and federal monies flow into the academic institutions producing this kind of biased garbage?

One brave man in blue. The ACLU sued the Milwaukee police department alleging (what else?) that it’s raaaacist. This is, of course, nothing more than a shakedown using the court system. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn refused to be intimidated:

“If they [the police] are willing to risk their lives to protect our disadvantaged communities than the least I can do is be willing to risk lawsuits to do the same thing.”

Flynn said that the ACLU and organizations like them want only to “drive a wedge between the police and their communities.”


“The people that actually live in the neighborhoods punctuated by gunfire and non-fatal shootings every night of the week demand effective and responsive policing” while the “concerns of the neighborhoods are never on the agenda of groups like the ACLU.”

Chief Flynn also pointed out that the police are protecting blacks and other minorities, who are significantly more likely than whites to be victims of violent crime. Bravo, Chief Flynn!

Greenpeace admits that it just tells lies. This is a fantastic story. Resolute, a Canadian forest-products company, sued Greenpeace for defamation and false claims about the company’s operations. Greenpeace’s defense — and I’m not kidding; this is for real — is that no one should believe anything it says:

A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court. They started changing their tune. Their condemnations of our forestry practices “do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,” as they concede in their latest legal filings. Their accusations against Resolute were instead “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose them to any legal liability. These are sober admissions after years of irresponsible attacks.

The only sad thing is that, despite its open admission that it’s a lying sack of fecal matter, Greenpeace will still be celebrated on the Left as an honest voice speaking out for the environment. Incidentally, the same link from which I quoted above reminds us that Patrick Moore, one of Greenpeace’s founders, broke from the organization because it had turned into a lying, Leftist, sack of fecal matter.

Greenpeace isn’t the only one to lie. MSN recently did so too, using a lie by omission to mislead completely about temperatures Antarctica. The Left lies, and when it’s done lying, it lies some more, and after that it lies about its lies.

If you want some climate sanity, read the March 11, 2017 newsletter from the Science and Environmental Policy Project. Sadly, it won’t convince the crazed and panicked Leftists in your life that they have nothing to be crazy or panicked about. They’ve drunk too deep of the Kool-Aid ever to return to full sanity. Rather like my dear departed mother, they crave the stimulation and excitement of misery.

Green energy is plunging Germans into medieval black nights. A mediocre book with a great title is William Manchester’s A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age. The book fails because it tries to compress a complicated and dynamic thousand year span into a single, often factually flawed, vaguely Leftist narrative. Having said that, though, the title is a reminder of one of the most significant things separating the modern age from the past: Night back then was all-encompassing.

In Germany, in addition to having invited into their country hundreds of thousands of people with the worst kind of early-medieval mindset, the Germans have also embarked upon a environmentally sensitive renewable energy policy that is plunging low-income Germans back into their own personal Middle Ages — a world that, if they were allowed to create carbon pollution by burning wood (which they’re not), would be lit only by fire:

The DPA German press agency reported yesterday on the rapidly spreading energy poverty now engulfing the country.

The main driver is Germany’s skyrocketing electricity prices – primarily due to the legally mandatory feeding-in of wind and solar power. Currently regular household consumers are paying nearly 30 cents a kilowatt-hour – almost three times the rate paid in the USA.


According to here, “More than 330,000 households in Germany have seen their electricity cut off over the past year alone.”

The German site writes that those hit the hardest are households on welfare, i.e. society’s poorest and most vulnerable.

German politician Eva Bulling-Schröter of the Left Party has called it “a silent catastrophe“.

Not only have the poor been broadsided by the high electricity prices, but so have energy intensive industries. This all makes many average workers uneasy. Over the past years a number of German plants have been moving their operations to less expensive locations abroad, especially in the chemical industry. Traditional power companies have also been getting creamed, seeing billions of losses and thousands of layoffs.

I second the Ann Coulter Obamacare Repeal Plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated –a one year transition period and then let the free market do its work:

It turns out that, outside of a communist dictatorship, all sorts of products are affordable AND widely available! We don’t need Congress to “provide” us with health care any more than we need them to “provide” us with bread. What we need is for health insurance to be available on the free market.

With lots of companies competing for your business, basic health insurance would cost about $50 a month. We know the cost because Christian groups got a waiver from Obamacare, and that’s how much their insurance costs right now. (Under the law, it can’t be called “insurance,” but that’s what it is.)

Even young, healthy people would buy insurance at that price, expanding the “risk-sharing pools” and probably bringing the cost down to $20 or $30 a month.

In a free market, there would be an endless variety of consumer-driven plans, from catastrophic care for the risk-oblivious to extravagant plans for the risk-averse.

You know — just like every other product in America.


The only complicated part of fixing health care is figuring out how to take care of the other 10 percent of Americans — the poor, the irresponsible and the unlucky. And the only reason that is complicated is because of fraud.

Needless to say, the modern nanny state already guarantees that no one will die on the street in America. The taxpayer spends more than a trillion dollars every year on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security disability insurance so that everyone’s health is taken care of, from cradle to grave.

Unfortunately, probably at least half of that sum is fraud.

Policing fraud is difficult because: (1) the bureaucrats dispensing government benefits believe there is no fraud and, if there is, it’s a good thing because it redistributes income; and (2) we keep bringing in immigrants for whom fraud is a way of life. (See “Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole.”)

Consequently, after the first sentence establishing a free market in health insurance, the entire rest of the bill should be nothing but fraud prevention measures to ensure that only the truly deserving — and the truly American — are accessing taxpayer-supported health care programs.

Before Obamacare, insurance companies trying to do business in California where subject to over a thousand regulations. Every one of those regulations added at least a dollar to the price of a person’s insurance plan and many added more, going some way to explaining why California health insurance cost three times as much as Texas health insurance.

That’s just a little reminder that before Obamacare there was no free market and, if the Republicans continue down their current path, after Obamacare there won’t be a free market either. All of this means that consumers will continue to be screwed.

Is Mark Steyn really a monster?  I’ve long considered Mark Steyn one of the most brilliant, principled, and courageous people in the conservative world. He has a knack for getting to the heart of matters and doing so in endlessly entertaining prose that has a slightly jazz-like quality that makes it a pleasure to read. Whether it’s the ongoing Islamic jihad, the West’s retreat, climate change, or anything else that catches his gimlet eye, after I’ve read Steyn’s take on it, I feel as if I know more about the subject, not just factually, but in an in-depth, analytical way.

But now, in the wake of CRTV’s decision to cancel Mark Steyn’s show, people who worked on the show with him are making horrible accusations. He sounds like the worst kind of insensitive, loutish, self-centered diva according to statements employees signed under oath. Steyn has not affirmatively challenged the affidavits. Instead, his spokeswoman has simply said that they are untrue.

Right off the bat, I can think of three reasons driving these affidavits:

  1. Mark Steyn really is an awful person.
  2. The employees are union people, they dislike Steyn’s politics, and they see this as an opportunity to destroy him.
  3. The employees want to keep their jobs, and CRTV has made it clear to them that they have to toe the company line if they want to do so. I’ve known innumerable cases in which employees signed dishonest affidavits due to this kind of pressure.

Until more facts are available, I’m not going to reach any conclusion about whether Mark Steyn is a brilliant principled guy who’s being screwed or a brilliant unprincipled guy who’s getting what he deserves. I am interested, though, in hearing what Mark Steyn has to say in his defense other than “They lie.”

This supports my theory about troubled homes and transgender confusion. In my lengthy post about the science denying transgenderism, versus the Progessives’ fact-free faith in its existence, I noted that one of the common threads seems to be a dysfunctional home life. Here’s a story that would seem to support that:

The Western world is currently in the throes of trans-mania, and the following report proves it’s only going to get worse.

A mother-son-turned-father-daughter duo was recently featured on Australia’s 60 Minutes news program to discuss their respective transitions. The pair has made the media rounds before as they’ve been documenting their “journey” on Instagram.

“Corey Maison, 15, first told her parents she identified as a girl four years ago, but it was not until last year she learned that her mother also struggled with her gender identity,” reports the NY Post.

I may be cynical, but I suspect that this was not a happy household and that the family’s interactions, whether spoken or unspoken, made for some peculiar gender dynamics. Tiffany Gabbay sums up what’s going on here:

[T]his is a classic example of how the Left is winning the culture war, by routinely attempting to normalize that which is completely abnormal. While there is nothing wrong with being a non-conformist, that’s not what this is about for progressives. Rather, they seek to alter mainstream society’s perception of reality to conform with that of outliers, many (not all) of whom grapple with serious personal instability.

If an adult chooses to live his or her or “xir” life as a specific gender, or non-gender, then so be it, but when a child does it with the blessing of a parent, a serious red flag should immediately go up. Worse, when the parent of that child proves to be equally conflicted about his/her gender, scrutiny should be the default response, not celebration.

An internship in the real world. So many parents I know have the same concern: their sons are maturing more slowly than their daughters. The boys’ high school grades are mediocre because they haven’t yet grown into the discipline and focus necessary for good grades. They don’t know what they want to do in life other than play computer games and they have woeful social skills. Not only are the unqualified for college, the thought of sending them to one is scary. Then, if you’re a conservative parent, you have an additional set of concerns, which is that your boy is likely to be treated as a rapist at most American colleges, and that’s in addition to the fact that, unless he’s in the STEM program, he won’t actually learn anything.

Here’s an alternative:

Praxis is a 9 month startup apprenticeship program for 17-28 year olds who want to take a gap year or skip college entirely. After completing a professional bootcamp, participants work 6 months at a growing startup, develop marketable skills and experiences, and receive a full time job offer upon completion.

Praxis is a 9 month startup apprenticeship program for 17-26 year olds who want to gain valuable business skills and experiences, and start building their career at an earlier age than is commonly allowed to them.

Praxis was born out of a need to solve the growing disconnect between the career and life goals of young people and the current higher education system. Rather than sitting in a classroom, participants apprentice full time at a fast growing startup around the country in sales, marketing, business development and tech roles. They shadow CEOs, network with industry leaders, and develop a portfolio of skills and experiences that help them make their college degree status irrelevant.

In addition to the apprenticeship, participants complete a rigorous education program that includes personal projects, 1-1 coaching, professional development, skill building, and more. Successful participants have launched podcasts, written books, built successful blogs, and even created products and services during the education modules.

At the end of the program, participants receive a full time job offer from their business partner for a minimum of $40,000 per year, though average graduate salary exceeds $50,000 per year.

I have no idea whether the program is actually good but it sure sounds good.

Why mature people support the Second Amendment. Scott Kirwin has written a beautiful rumination about his journey from being anti-gun to being a strong Second Amendment supporter. As someone who made her own journey in that direction, I was very moved by what he said — especially since he’s been on the wrong end of a gun.