Monday, July 06, 2015

Cosby liked them drugged

MaryClaire Dale reports for the Associated Press that
Bill Cosby admitted in 2005 that he secured quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with and that he gave the sedative to at least one woman and other people, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press. "When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?" Troiani asked.

"Yes," Cosby answered.
Read more here.

Does our government enjoy the consent of the governed?

Glenn Reynolds asks in USA Today,
Does our government now have, as its principal function, the protection of people's rights? Or is it more of a giant wealth-transfer machine, benefiting the connected at the expense of the outsiders? And, most important, does our government enjoy the consent of the governed? (According to a 2014 Rasmussen poll, only 21% think so.) What would the drafters of the declaration say?
Read more here.

Rick Perry is doing better this time

At Powerline Steven Hayward believes that former Texas governor Rick Perry has learned from his presidential run in 2012. Perry writes an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal, which Hayward quotes at length. Hayward recommends we pay attention to what Perry is saying.
Read more here.

Update: Roger L. Simon is another who believes Perry deserves a second chance. Read his take here.

Update 2: Elizabeth Price Foley is another who likes Perry. Read her comments here.

Not a time to give up

Benjamin Domenech and Robert Tracinski write in The Federalist,
For those Americans who hoped the culture wars would finally end, the month of June reminded us they’re just getting started.

...It is now an unavoidable fact of life that giving money to the wrong cause, making a “clumsy attempt at humor,” or taking the wrong side on a celebrity, religious debate, or magazine cover can lead to threats of violent death, end your career in an instant, or make you the most hated person in America for 15 minutes—longer if you bungle the apology.

...The first modern American culture war was initiated by the Left in the sixties. It was called the Counterculture, and consisted of a combination of two things: a promise of “liberation” from restrictions that seemed overly Puritanical and outmoded, combined with an ideological goal of the destruction of existing social institutions such as church, family, and capitalism.

That leads us to Culture War 2.0, which stretched through the 1980s and into the 1990s, when more conservative Boomers, including an expanding number of politically active evangelical Christians, banded together with the World War II generation to effectively reassert itself in directing American culture. The “silent majority” decided they were the Moral Majority, rallying around political movements to promote traditional values. Reagan Democrats partnered with Republicans to pursue a law-and-order agenda. Overwhelming bipartisan majorities passed religious freedom laws, which Bill Clinton dutifully signed. Political wives started a crusade against violent and sexually explicit television, movies, and popular music.

Culture War 3.0In just the past two years, the Counterculture’s neo-Puritanical reign has made things political that were never thought to be: Shirtstorms and Gamergate, Chik-fil-A and Brandon Eich, Indiana and Sad Puppies, and don’t you dare say Caitlyn Jenner isn’t a hero.

History teaches us two clear lessons about the ebb and flow of the Culture War: first, that whichever side believes it is winning will tend to overreach, pushing too far, too fast, and in the process alienating the public. The second is that the American people tend to oppose whoever they see as the aggressor in the Culture Wars—whoever they see as trying to intrusively impose their values on other people and bullying everyone who disagrees.

The iron law of the culture wars is that the public hates overreach—and each side will always overreach. Culture War 2.0 started to wind down with the Clinton impeachment, which was presented (fairly or not) as an intrusive inquisition into the personal sex life of the president, an indictment of something that, while tawdry, was no longer viewed as rendering a president unfit for office. The televangelists, many of whom had projected an image of being holier than thou before proving to be less holy than thou (remember Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, and the rest) were in decline. Pair that with the infidelities of Republican leaders in Congress, and the country seemed to say: Who were they to judge Clinton for his actions—or the rest of us, for that matter?

The 2004 effort to push state measures designed to stop gay marriage in tandem with George W. Bush’s re-election effort was a Pyrrhic victory, one which contributed to the Great Sort that eliminated the last of the Reagan Democrats. The efforts of religious leaders and traditionalists to win the argument at the ballot box won temporarily, but could not last in a country where they no longer controlled the culture or the courts, and where these non-traditional relationships were depicted as healthy and normal on a daily basis in mass media and social media. The eventual triumph of the Counterculture was ensured.

Today we live in the early stages of that triumph, and as a small number of public intellectuals and media commentators predicted, it is a bloody triumph indeed. Culture War 4.0 brings the Counterculture full circle: now they have become the blue-nosed, Puritanical establishment. Once they began to achieve their goals and saw the culture moving their way, they moved from making a plea for tolerance and freedom to demanding persecution of anyone who dissents against the new orthodoxy in even the smallest way.

If history repeats itself, it is good news for traditional Americans and bad news for the Left, which has taken on the role of Grand Inquisitor so rapidly that overnight civil liberties have become a Republican issue. Slowly but surely, the American Right is adopting the role of the cultural insurgent standing up for the freedom of the little guy. They crowdfund the pizza shop, baker, and photographer; they rebel against the establishment in the gaming media and at sci-fi conventions; they buy their chicken sandwiches in droves. The latest acronym that came out of the Sad Puppies movement says it all. They describe their opponents as CHORFs: cliquish, holier-than-thou, obnoxious, reactionary, fascists. This is their description of the cultural Left.

There is significant potential for a new, diverse coalition that responds to this overreach. The religious Right, libertarians, and even the moderate Left are already being drawn together by their refusal to be cowed into conformity by social justice warriors. The comedians who rebel against an audience that calls every joke racist or sexist, the professors who refuse to be cowed by the threat of Title IX lawsuits, the religious believers who fight for their right to practice their beliefs outside the pew represent a coalition that will reject the neo-Puritanism of the Counterculture, rebel against its speech codes and safe spaces, and reassert the right to speak one’s mind in the public square. Atheists and believers alike can unite in this belief—as we, the authors of this piece, have.
Read more here.

Maybe we should give it a try!

Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today about secession. Lots of people are talking about it, here and abroad. Glenn, though, has a better idea:
So what's a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do -- national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights -- and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don't like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that's more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.

Sound good? It should. It's called federalism, and it's the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."

It's a nice plan. Beats secession. Maybe we should give it another try.
Read more here.

Dead-end technologies

Rupert Darwall writes in the Wall Street Journal,
Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology is “beyond astronomical,” Mr. Gates concluded.

Google engineers came to a similar conclusion last year. After seven years of investigation, they found no way to get the cost of renewables competitive with coal. “Unfortunately,” the engineers reported, “most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable”—that is, electricity that can be ramped up and down quickly. “Solar panels, for example, can be put on every rooftop, but can’t provide power if the sun isn’t shining.”

If Mr. Obama gets his way, the U.S. will go down the rocky road traveled by the European Union. In 2007 the EU adopted the target of deriving 20% of its energy consumption from renewables by 2020. Europe is therefore around a decade ahead of the U.S. in meeting a more challenging target—the EU’s 20% is of total energy, not just electricity. To see what the U.S. might look like, Europe is a good place to start.

Germany passed its first renewable law in 1991 and already has spent $440 billion (€400 billion) on its so-called Energy Transition. The German environment minister has estimated a cost of up to $1.1 trillion (€1 trillion) by the end of the 2030s. With an economy nearly five times as large as Germany’s and generating nearly seven times the amount of electricity (but a less demanding renewables target), this suggests the cost of meeting Mr. Obama’s pledge is of the order of $2 trillion.

There are other, indirect costs to consider. Germany is the world’s second largest exporter of merchandise, behind China and ahead of the U.S. But high and rising energy costs are driving German companies to locate new capacity overseas.

Most damaging is the effect of renewable mandates on the power stations necessary to ensure the stability of the electric grid and balance supply and demand. Even a modest proportion of wind- and solar-generated electricity prevents gas- and coal-powered stations from recovering their fixed costs. This has led to the proposed shuttering of Irsching in Bavaria, one of Germany’s newest and most efficient gas-fired plants. So unless conventional capacity also is subsidized, at some point the lights will start going out. European politicians have no answer to a problem they created, and it’s a safe bet the EPA doesn’t either.

One unintended consequence of the fracking boom is the displacement of coal by natural gas—a cheaper and more effective way to cut carbon-dioxide emissions. A 2014 Brookings Institution study estimated that replacing coal with modern combined-cycle gas turbines cuts 2.6 times more carbon-dioxide emissions than using wind does, and cuts four times as many emissions as solar.

Mr. Darwall summarizes that Mr. Obama's renewable target does not produce jobs, growth, or prosperity. Read more here.

Alleged misconceptions about the United States

Using your body's own stem cells to grow new teeth



As Glenn Reynolds writes, Faster Please! Denise Ngo writes in Popular Science,
Dr. Jeremy Mao, the Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, has unveiled a growth factor-infused, three-dimensional scaffold with the potential to regenerate an anatomically correct tooth in just nine weeks from implantation. By using a procedure developed in the university's Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. Mao can direct the body's own stem cells toward the scaffold, which is made of natural materials. Once the stem cells have colonized the scaffold, a tooth can grow in the socket and then merge with the surrounding tissue.

Dr. Mao's technique not only eliminates the need to grow teeth in a Petri dish, but it is the first to achieve regeneration of anatomically correct teeth by using the body's own resources. Factor in the faster recovery time and the comparatively natural process of regrowth (as opposed to implantation), and you have a massively appealing dental treatment.

Columbia University has already filed patent applications in regard to the technology and is seeking associates to aid in its commercialization. In the meantime, Dr. Mao is considering the best approach for applying his technique to cost-effective clinical therapies.
Read more here.

South Carolina legislature to debate Confederate flag today

David Millward reports at The Telegraph that sales of Confederate flags are huge across the South and in Las Vegas, as the South Carolina legislature prepares to debate today whether to keep it flying in front of their state capitol.


Read more here.

Update from Glenn Reynolds,
WHY NOT? IT WAS PUT UP BY DEMOCRATIC GOV. FRITZ HOLLINGS: Republican-Controlled South Carolina Senate Votes To Remove Confederate Flag. The vote was 37-3.

It still has to be voted on by the House.

Are you finding joy in your life?

Ann Voskamp reminds us at A Holy Experience that
You can have joy any moment you turn hidden greed for more into honest gratitude for now.

Joy isn’t about how much our lives have — but how much we enjoy our lives.

Joy is never made by Having More. Joy is always made by EnJoying More.

More Christ, more now, more grace.
Read more here.

Battered Media Syndrome



John Nolte at Breitbart gives five reasons why our media willingly goes along with being roped in by Hillary Clinton:
1. The Media’s Contempt for the First Amendment

America’s first and most prominent Amendment to our Constitution is constantly under assault by the very same media protected by the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Through regular assaults on religious freedom, which are about to hit warp speed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling; through their relentless crusading against the free speech inherent in campaign contributions; through their coordinated smearing of peaceful Tea Partiers as racist terrorists; the Leftists who have swarmed and infested the mainstream media have for years already shown a toxic contempt for free speech and assembly.

This is because the media are first and foremost political activists — left-wing activists who understand that free speech is a potent weapon against the Left’s ultimate goal, which is an all-powerful central government.


2. Hillary Clinton Is a Democrat

Had any Republican candidate brought out a rope to corral The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman (who is making some kind of statement dressed all in black at a 4th of July parade) or CNN’s Peter Hamby, or the rest of this sorry lot, the story would not be the “process story” it is today — it would be the biggest scandal in the world.

3. Media Proves Their Fealty to Hillary Clinton
Proving ones fealty, is another way of asking for access. Haberman is already Hillary’s chief hagiographer and defender at the New York Times. Agreeing to being publicly leashed might have been her way of applying for the job of White House Press Secretary.

4. Cowardice
The media breaks down thusly…

65% of journalists are left-wing activists abusing their position and power to further the cause of big government.

20% of the media are mercenary social climbers who believe in nothing more than their own power and careers. They go along with the 65% because they know this is the key to personal wealth and fame.

2% are actual reporters — good people trying to do a good job. These are the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. This is the small group that would have told Hillary’s staffers what they could do with that rope.

13% are lily-livered, abject, low-life cowards who see how corrupted their profession is but who do not have the sand to do anything other than to go along to get along. To rebel against Hillary would have upset and risked their standing against the 85%. These cowards have seen what can happen even to a Bob Woodward who dares stray from the Narrative Plantation. Nothing to these cowards is worth the bad opinion of the 85%, including their own dignity.

5. Battered Media Syndrome
Throughout most of this Administration the media have time and again whined about their treatment at the hands of the Obama White House. On top of serial-lying, this White House has threatened, coerced, and spied on the media. Nevertheless, the media won’t leave Obama. Through all the cheating and abuse, the media continue to stand right by his side defending the indefensible, covering for him, lying for him, making up ridiculous excuses for his appalling behavior.

...The unanswered questions surrounding Hillary Clinton’s secret email server and the apparent comingling of her job as Secretary of State and her family’s personal enrichment through the Clinton Foundation, grow by the day. Hillary’s response has been to hide from the press.

Friday, after two full weeks of refusing to take questions, Ms. Clinton finally agreed to answer a few questions. She got 4 softballs, including “What’s your favorite ice cream.”

For all the reasons listed above, not a single one of these so-called journalists wanted to be the one to ask Hillary a difficult question and risk giving her a bad news cycle. To do so would mean earning Hillary’s bad opinion and the scorn of the rest of the media — it might hurt her chances of assuming power and the media’s own cause of a powerful central government.

This is the state of our media, not just on the 4th of July, but in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire.
Read more here.

The Trump factor

Talk radio is still buzzing about Donald Trump's announcement that he wishes to be considered for the GOP presidential candidacy. Well, it's not his announcement, it's his comments about illegal immigration that are causing the buzz. Denver talk show host Dan Caplis says what is different about Trump is that he exudes strength. So many of the other candidates are nuanced and coached by political consultants and they come across as mushy compared to Trump. It is hard to know the other candidates.

Why isn't our border secure? Why did we the people allow this to happen?

Trump has drawn the ire of two Fox News commentators, George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Will called Trump a "bloviating ignoramus,"and Krauthammer said Trump deserves his high disapproval ratings. Trump fired back, calling Will the “dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time,” and said Krauthammer was "one of the worst and most boring political pundits."

Candidates Rubio, Bush, and Perry have all criticized Trump for his comments about illegal immigrants. Trump responded by saying Perry needs new glasses (something I have long felt, and something which got an immediate chuckle from me.) As for Jeb Bush, Trump had this to say: “Today, Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people,” Trump wrote Saturday. “Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come ‘out of love.'”

The conversation is clearly centering around issues articulated by Trump. Will more people now pay attention to the GOP debate because Trump is involved? Will Trump overwhelm the other candidates, or will one or more of them emerge as tough enough to take him on? If Trump does not get enough votes to win the GOP primary, will he bolt to a third party and give the election to the despicable Hillary Clinton as Ross Perot did to her husband Bill?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Bread

A Nation of Immigrants

Robert Chandler writes,
We do not control our own borders to the south.

We have immigration laws that are simply not being enforced by our government.

We have a right as a nation, as does every nation,

To decide exactly who can come into our country,

In what numbers, from which nations they come,

And when they can come.

We have a right and the duty to decide the quality of the people we let in,

Their education, their skills, their health, their age,

And to determine whether or not they have criminal records.

None, none of these things are being done now on our southern borders.

Yet some people and some politicians prattle on about how we are a "nation of immigrants".

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants,

All of whom in the past have been subject to our immigration policies and laws,

And tens of millions of whom had to pass through places like Ellis Island where they got health inspections,

where their character was determined,

And where it was decided whether they would enjoy the privilege of immigration to the United States.

This is been abandoned by our leadership.

The reason why is simple:

American corporate interest want cheap labor and to undermine unions.

The Democratic Party wants millions of guaranteed votes from a new underclass.

It's a disgusting conspiracy of corporations and Left.

Intolerance toward any differing perspective

Natasha Maria Phoenix writes at Trigger Warning,
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

Once upon a time classical liberalism was known for advocating free speech, free thinking, open discourse, and challenging dogmas. In the modern use, liberals are associated with the sexual revolution and freedom of alternative lifestyle. These days, liberalism has become something altogether different. It has become the very thing it once hated, and it is not even aware of this change.

Secular dogmas have been created, proper conduct has been decided, the socially just are the righteous, and any who deviate are committing a secular sin. Some have called it “political correctness.” I find this phrase overused and meaningless. What we are witnessing is a passive totalitarian control of the public discourse.

The Internet has allowed the creation of echo chambers, or better put, hugboxes. Like-minded individuals come together and wallow in emotional pity, confirm one another’s perspective, and rant against an unjust world. The most destructive result of this is the intolerance towards any differing perspective. Mainstream news, academia, and college campuses have adopted this ‘hugbox’ mode. Essentially the discourse is narrowed, the correct positions are praised and confirmed, any deviating views are condemned.
Rea more here.

"How can someone like that be president?"

On the Hugh Hewitt Show Mark Steyn discussed Hillary Clinton's actions on Libya with Hugh:
MS: You understand from these emails that Libya was supposed to be Hillary Clinton's pet project, that she would knock off this harmless, old, past his sell-by date, pock-marked desert transvestite, and she would end up with a big foreign policy feather in her cap, that it was easy to do. And instead, in effect, because she gave it no further thought, except in those shrunken terms of political benefit to her, she left a failed state in Libya, which has resulted in the Libyan ports being under the control of ISIS, and them now being used as the main jumping off point for this flood of refugees that are remorselessly landing on the shores of Italy every day, every day, every day, and destabilizing Italy and other European Union countries. That's Hillary Clinton's Libya. Libya is Hillary's failed policy. That's what she did. That was supposed to be her great accomplishment as Secretary of State. Instead, she turned it not only into just another failed state, but a failed state that is destabilizing American allies. And nobody is saying a word about that.

HH: And also, nobody is saying a word about Mike Morell told me, that our enemies knew she had this server, and almost certainly were following her every move and reading her every email at the same time that they were being sent...

MS: Right, right... At some point, the media do have to decide whether they're just going to be court eunuchs, because there's a great story here. And if this had been, if the Woodward and Bernstein self-mythologizing of what's left of the American media had any grain of truth to it, this would be a great story for a crack investigative unit at one of the big newspapers to make their bones and win the Pulitzers on... Most of Hillary's emails are one word answers. They're either 'yes' or 'please print', which is a two word answer, in that she understands that the reason she has this private email server is because she doesn't want to be caught at anything by what she perceives as her enemies. Well, she's not working for herself. She's working for the people of the United States. And the problem is that the United States' enemies around the world in Tehran and Moscow and Beijing and everywhere else, are reading all this stuff. And they're getting all this information in real time, because she put her own interests before that of the United States. How can someone like that be president?
Read more here.

Cruz salutes Trump

Twin totalitarianisms

Mark Steyn points out that most of us just go with the flow:
...Most of us are not cut out to swim against the tide. For one thing, it's exhausting. Tides ebb and flow, and it's easier just to go with it. In Germany, maybe if your very best pal was Jewish, you'd say something. But, if it's just the greengrocer or the elderly couple in the second-floor flat that you nod to on the stairs, do you really want to make a fuss and have arguments with your family and friends all the time? Isn't it easier just to say nothing?

... I find the idea that tens of millions of American "traditionalist" conservatives are going to lead their own lives immune to the broader culture somewhat unlikely. Were the same-sex marriage decision, for example, merely a judicial ruling, Barack Obama would not have lit up the White House in LGBT rainbow colors. It is after all "the people's house" and half the people aren't entirely on board with this. But he chose to see this not as a mere judge's ruling but as an ideological victory - and to celebrate it as such. And he's thereby telling you that this shift is an official one, backed by the state, and state power, and it won't stop here.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in an actual bit of jurisprudential footnoting in the midst of his Hallmark greeting card on the raptures of gay love, said that organizations would still be free to teach and promote the old form of restrictive straights-only marriage. That's awfully sporting of him, but the Boy Scouts of America provide a clue as to how it's likely to work out. In the late Nineties, the BSA said no to gay scoutmasters. I was on the floor of the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles in 2000 when they had some Eagle scouts as an honor guard - and in my section of the crowd everyone booed. And I remember thinking, "Man, these Dems are nuts. Booing boy scouts?"

But the booers won. Over the next decade, gay-friendly churches (Episcopalian, Congregational, and the other post-Christian ones) booted the scouts from church halls where they'd met for decades; Disney cut them off the list of approved charities to which their employees were permitted to donate their "Ears To You" fundraising proceeds; other corporate benefactors from the US soccer league to Lockheed Martin severed their ties ...and the number of new recruits to scouting dwindled remorselessly, and so did their finances. And in the end the boy scouts' leader caved - but too late. In the blink of an eye, the boy scouts had been, as my friend Ezra Levant likes to say, "de-normalized", and banished to the fringe, and nice soccer mommies don't want l'il Jimmy playing on the extremist fringe.

That's quite an accomplishment. After all, until Democrats figured it was safe to boo them, boy scouts were so mainstream that their very name is a synonym for someone kindly and pure and good-hearted. Take litigious lunatic and Nobel Prize appropriator Michael E Mann, who says here that the argument between the global warming crowd and us deniers has been "likened at times to a fight between a boy scout and a terrorist - and you know, we are the boy scouts". Which would make me the terrorist. When Mann calls himself a "boy scout", he doesn't mean he's a homophobic hater - although I'm certainly happy to advance that line in court if it helps. Mann is using "boy scouts" as a synonym for "the good guys".

That's how effective Big Gay is: They took "the good guys", and made 'em the bad guys, in nothing flat.

...I don't want to wind up with a choice between the twin totalitarianisms of soulless state-regulated hyper-sexualized semi-tyranny and sharia - because, if that's what it comes down to, I know who'll win. But conservatives have spent the supposed "end of history" winning a zillion elections, and losing everything that matters. To most of the so-called millennials, conservatism is entirely invisible except as a Jon Stewart punchline - and that invisibility was largely our choice. Instead of launching another radio show or news aggregator or think-tank, never mind obsessing over whether Jeb or Jindal or Christie will play better in Iowa, we need to make like the Islamic mullahs and the sex mullahs and start competing for the space where people actually live.
Read more here.

Our freedom: Amazing Grace

Saturday, July 04, 2015

What citizens can do to resist the ruling class’s redefinitions of moral and cultural norms

Angelo M. Codevilla writes in National Review,
Peaceable behavior will not protect you from being hounded as a “hater.” A whiff of “offensive” attitudes is enough for the ruling class to make you as untouchable as the lepers of old. Nor is silence a refuge. Just as you must honor homosexuality, so you must affirm that certain Americans are “racists” addicted to “white privilege.” Do you demur? Then, Racist that you are, you must be shunned and should be fired. Do you support governmental efforts to reverse “anthropogenic global warming”? If you demur, you are a Denier who endangers our national security, and must be treated as a kook. Should you refuse to pledge your fealty to the proposition that life and the universe are the meaningless result of chance, you reveal yourself to be a Religious Zealot, an “American Taliban,” ineligible for public and private trust. Do you have reservations about the constitutionality or beneficence of administrative government? Then you are an Extremist, a proper target for Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, etc. Do you refuse to celebrate “terminating a pregnancy” as women’s fundamental right? Then you are a Warrior against Women, possibly a terrorist. Do you own guns? Ipso facto, you are a Violent Extremist.

The ruling class’s demands that we mold ourselves to its appetites, based on the pretense of its own superior status, amount to pulling rank. But, by forsaking reason, our rulers leave their premises naked to challenges through reason and cede authority to whoever is willing to deal in the coin of explanations. The ruling class shouts: “The debate is over!” “Shut the bigots up!” This may cow public opinion, but it destroys the capacity to lead it. In fact, public opinion can be led only by persuasion regarding true and false, better and worse. This is how free human beings deal with one another. No democratic case can be made for limiting substantive challenges to premises and pretensions. Lincoln, following John Quincy Adams, pointed again and again to the slaveholders’ efforts to silence debate about slavery’s moral and political effects as evidence of the slaveholders’ threat to the freedom of whites as well as of blacks. Like Adams, Lincoln pressed slavery’s hard, ugly realities upon audiences that preferred to evade them. As Lincoln brushed away the euphemisms and legal constructs in describing the slave trade’s merchandising of human beings, so should we not mince words regarding all that the ruling class demands that we honor.

...The demand that we call homosexual unions “gay marriage” forces us to honor something that is far from “gay” — i.e., lighthearted, joyful — but, in the case of male homosexuals, anal intercourse, which impairs the health of the persons involved and of society. Why honor it by calling it marriage? Perhaps because it is an instance of “love between consenting adults”? But what sort of society can be based on honoring all manner of sexual relations between any and all “consenting adults”? This logic applies with precisely the same force to polygamy, and to sexual relations between parents and adult children, or between brothers and sisters, as it does to sexual relations between two non-consanguineous homosexuals. But the assertion that mothers and fathers and children are interchangeable is a lie. The Supreme Court, in Reynolds v. U.S. (1878), judged that monogamous (they did not have to say “heterosexual”) marriage is the cornerstone of a free society. Why, precisely, should we reject that judgment as ignorant and mean-spirited? Before 1961, all 50 states criminalized anal intercourse, heterosexual as well as homosexual. Why, precisely, were they wrong in doing so? By what right does anyone place such questions “out of bounds”?

...The ruling class also refers to abortionists as providers of medical services for “reproductive rights,” and indicts as “extremists” those who illustrate what the abortionists do with photos of what surely look like children, with arms, legs, and heads chopped or burned. Yet each of these little ones’ DNA shows him or her to be a son or a daughter of a particular mother and father. Lincoln argued that no one has the right to exclude any other person from the human race. Why is it right so to dispose of millions of little sons and daughters? By what right does anyone dishonor as “extremists” those who show the victims for the human beings they are?

...In our time, if a candidate were to challenge his opponents to bare-knuckle, Lincoln–Douglas sessions, his example might lead fellow citizens to reject the combination of poisonous sloganeering and of dominance, submissiveness, and corruption that now passes for politics. Retaking control of our lives requires us to reason with one another and to decide for ourselves what is good and bad, better and worse, true and false. This is how it was when we were free.
Read more here.

It's never too late!

Gretchen Reynolds writes in the New York Times that
Older athletes can be much younger, physically, than they are in real life, according to a new study of participants in the coming Senior Olympics. The study found that the athletes’ fitness age is typically 20 years or more younger than their chronological age, providing a clear inspiration to the rest of us to get out and start moving more.
Read more here.

Praying to a Person

Mushroom writes at Fungle Jungle about the power of prayer:
Cultivating discipline, whether in prayer or some other meditative form such as a tea ceremony or archery (I meditate better doing something rather than nothing), is beneficial. I can appreciate Zen. The difference for us is that we believe our practice leads to a Person.

I know that God does hear us when we pray. I know that He is not deaf to my pleas, and that He does respond -- whether my prayer moves the mountain, causes the mountain to cease to be an obstacle to me, or moves me beyond it.

Prayer is a discipline. It is a comfort. It calms us and encourages us, helps us face challenges and fears. But it is most effective when we understand that it is communication.
Read more here.

Bush, Romney and Rubio criticize Trump

Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio have now all spoken out against comments made by Donald Trump about criminal illegal immigrants. Ted Cruz was supportive of Trump. Read more here.

Virtual Reality may revolutionize football training



Bruce Feldman writes at Fox Sports about how virtual reality is on the verge of transforming how quarterbacks prepare in college and the NFL. Stanford Cardinal Coach David Shaw sees the massive potential of virtual reality training for QBs and predicts it will soon be widespread.

Shaw spent almost a decade coaching in the NFL and can recall at least four instances where his team's third-string QB was forced into action, and this technology would've been a huge asset. "That (third-stringer) is not getting any reps. Not any practice time. If that third QB can spend 10 to 15 (minutes) a week on this, and then he's thrown into active duty in the middle of the fourth quarter because he's felt those blitzes come at him and he's seen how we're gonna pick this blitz up and this is where the route is going to come open, he's mentally and emotionally and visually been there. As we've learned from virtual reality, your body doesn't know the difference.
Read more here.

Do you have tolerance for ambiguity?

Jeff Selingo writes at Linked In.com
Like many of the other 21st Century skills sought by employers, a tolerance for ambiguity is often developed early in life. The feedback children get from adults and teachers have an enormous impact on their ability to deal with uncertainty.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, has found that praising children for their intelligence, rather than for their effort, often leads them to give up when they the encounter the unknown. It’s much better in her opinion to compliment children for their persistence.
Read more here.

America's auto-immune disease

Sarah Hoyt, like me, suffers from an auto immune disorder called excema. She grew up in Portugal. She writes,
When I came to the States, the situation puzzled me, sort of like it puzzles people who see me going around cheerfully with, say, the inside of my elbows looking like a third degree burn. They flinch and go “What happened?” and I look down and go “Oh, that? Eczema. Never mind.”

You have to understand, I came over expecting this one of the world’s superpowers to be, if not as repressive (I’m not stupid) as the USSR, at least as defensive. I expected it to be considered bad form to trash talk the US or talk up the USSR in public. Because, well… that’s only sane. Imagine my shock when – in the eighties – not just TV personalities, but people who were considered/considered themselves “high class” talking about the “good ideas” of the USSR and talking down the US and particularly “ignorant rednecks.”

It puzzled me, but I could see also that the country was sort of ignoring it. I mean, we discounted the biases on TV and the twitches of the upper class like I discount the (normally) minor itch and skin bubbling up of the eczema. In real life, where things functioned normally, the crazy people were largely ignored.

The problem is this – the flare up continued growing. All through the sixties and the seventies, and the eighties, and yes, of course, the nineties, the flare up of self-hatred grew. And just like the eczema in my hands, it started affecting areas we can’t live without: K-12 schools, business, news.

...But more importantly, unlike the manifestations of totalitarian impulse in other countries – Russia, Cuba, China – the autoimmune problems are NOT affecting just out governance or our industry. It’s not a matter of destroying our industry so we’ll all be poor. That would be bad enough. The problem is far worse, though: the problem is that the statist ideology now in control of our government, our media, our education and what passes for “high culture” doesn’t just hate this or that part of us. No, they’ve been told/convinced/brainwashed that what’s wrong with the world is US – that the country and its existence ARE the enemy.

...Autoimmune. Systemic.

The shock of 9/11 beat back the illness for a while. The forces of sanity rallied. But in any autoimmune illness, the more you rally, the stronger the backlash. And it’s come. And it’s worse than ever, to the point kids get sent home from school for patriotic clothing.
Read more here.

The writing of the Declaration of Independence

L.C. Rees writes at Chicago Boyz a piece entitled, How to improve a historic document via committee.It's about the Declaration of Independence, how it was originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, how it was improved by a committee of five (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman) and to the final changes made by the Continental Congress as a committee of the whole. Read it here.

Rubio stays mum on Coulter book

Matthew Boyle writes at Breitbart that so far Marco Rubio and his team are avoiding discussing Ann Coulter's new book Adios America. In her book Coulter details the ways in which the Chuck Schumer amnesty bill Rubio tried to shepherd through the Senate would have benefited illegal immigrants and put greater pressure on American taxpayers. Read more here.

If you like sarcasm, you'll love Ann Coulter. Few writers research their subjects as thoroughly as Ann.

The candy bomber strikes again in Utah


KSL.com reports,
OREM — Seventy years after his first missions, the candy bomber struck again Friday afternoon. Gail Halvorsen dropped 1,000 chocolate bars to anxious kids below at Scera Park in Orem.

Halvorsen first made headlines when he delivered candy to children in Berlin at the end of World War II by dropping parachute sweets. Friday's candy drop was reminiscent of his historic flights during the Berlin airlift decades ago.

At 92-years-old, Halvorsen is now a member of a sharply-declining group of World War II veterans, and Independence Day has a special meaning for him.

"The Fourth of July reminds me that if you want happiness in life, you serve others," he said.

Celebrating the founding of this country

Brent Cochran writes at Ace of Spades,
What does Independence Day stand for? What is it a celebration of? It is NOT a celebration of the country as it exists. It is a celebration of the founding of this country. It is an exultation of the ideals of liberty and an act of veneration toward the men who gave tyranny the middle finger.

Those men risked, quite literally, everything. And they did it for an idea. For a hope. On faith. What they fought for had never been done before. When Patrick Henry declared “Give me liberty or give me death!” no one knew quite what liberty would look like. But they were determined to give it a try. They believed in the ideals of freedom. When our Founding Fathers declared “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” they did so not with heavy hearts and trepidation, but with boldness and, dare I say, joy. They were throwing off the yoke of oppression and grabbing their opportunity for a free life.

And by God they won. They succeeded. They were victorious.

Yes, they are likely distraught at what exists. There is much to bemoan, to rail against, to fear even. But not today.

Today, me and mine celebrate. We will eat, we will drink, we will colorfully blow some shit up. We will do so because brave men and women believed in freedom and liberty enough to dare all. They had far less than us, but still they had hope. Still they had faith. No one had shown them what liberty looked like, yet still they fought for it. I honor their memory today with that same hope, with that same faith. We have seen liberty, we have tasted freedom. We have done so because of those men and women and I will honor them and their memory and their sacrifice not in moroseness or anger, but in celebration and hope for the future.
Read more here.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Our birthright!

Open Blogger writes at Ace of Spades about the Declaration of Independence, which he posts for us to read.
That document was written 239 years ago by an assembly of the brightest human minds ever joined for one purpose in the history of mankind. Those men accepted the challenge presented by an uncontrolled aristocracy seeking to rule over all people, as had been the case throughout history, and calmly and clearly destroyed the idea of an oligarchy. What a brilliant victory for mankind, for liberty, for freedom for self expression.

Unfortunately you and I are living in the era of Revolution 2: The Oligarchy Strikes Back. Make no mistake, the oligarchy has struck back, hard. Most of the freedoms guaranteed to We The People by the follow up document to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, have been abandoned or overturned. King kills rule of law. Obergefell killed the 1st Amendment. Roe invented imaginary new “rights” somehow magically hidden in “penumbras and emanations". Wickard basically gives the Federal Government leave to do anything it wants under the guise of “regulating commerce”. Plyler v. Doe dilutes the birthright of Americans, rendering it meaningless. The list goes on. A small cadre of elites, both elected and unelected, has managed to almost completely gut the rights that we are born with. They have succeeded because we have been too busy to notice, or too lazy, or too afraid. The majority of us, Nock's “Mass Man” (what we call LIVs today), have been complicit in their own enslavement. All of this has already come to pass. It is done. Over. Finished.

Except for one tiny thing......

The birthright. Your birthright. My birthright. OUR BIRTHRIGHT.

They. Can. Not. Take. Our. Birthright. Away.
Read more here.

What is your body's biggest organ?

Steve Paulson has some questions in Nautilus about our skin. He writes,
Skin may seem like a superficial human attribute, but it’s the first thing we notice about anyone we meet. Nina Jablonski came to this realization many years ago when she was teaching a human anatomy class to young medical students in Hong Kong. When faced with dissecting a dead body, they flinched at the thought of cutting into or even touching it. But they lost their inhibitions once they opened up the cadaver. Without skin, the corpse no longer looked human.

Jablonski got hooked on all things related to human skin. As a primatologist and paleobiologist, she wanted to understand why humans—alone among the primates—evolved to become the naked ape, and why skin comes in so many different hues and shades around the world. Once she started investigating the science of skin color, Jablonski was pulled into the sordid history of racism, and she saw how even great thinkers like Kant and Thomas Jefferson believed people with dark skin were innately inferior to light-skinned people like themselves.

Why did we lose our fur?

We think it occurred because of the need to keep ourselves cool when we were moving around very vigorously in a hot environment. Around 2 million years ago, we see the evolution of the first members of the genus Homo. These ancestors were tall, strapping, strong walkers, vigorous runners, and all those activities under equatorial sun generate a lot of heat. Primates, including humans, dissipate heat through the surface of their skin. We can’t really pant like dogs, so we have to lose heat either through radiant heat loss from the surface of our bodies or by sweating. So we evolved the ability to sweat copiously and lost most of our fur.

So early humans in equatorial Africa developed dark skin as protection against the sun?

That’s right. The sun is great, but it has a lot of injurious rays, especially ultraviolet radiation. Most animals protect themselves from UV radiation with fur. What we did in our lineage was turn on pigmentation genes that allowed us to produce more permanent pigmentation in our skin cells. This was really an important revolution in human history because it allowed us to continue to evolve in equatorial environments and thrive and disperse. It really made it possible for us to continue along the trajectory toward modern humans, Homo sapiens, in Africa.

...What do you make of studies that have linked IQ and race?

The studies are flawed in the way they’ve been conducted, in the nature of the samples that have been used, in the tests that have been given. The people who have undertaken these studies have gone in with an agenda in mind. This is dangerous, and we know in the history of science that when people come in with an idea they want to prove, this is not science.

There have been studies of relatively small numbers of individuals, with much better controls for educational background, socioeconomic background, and all environmental variables. What these small, careful studies have shown is that there’s no difference in intelligence between the so-called races and that all differences that develop are due to cultural differences. Some of these may be due to differences in diet. Most have to do with differences in learning patterns that result from a child’s cultural framework. In other words, we are all born basically with equal potential and what happens after birth is what really determines our so- called intelligence.

Pale skin is clearly not as prized as it once was. How do you see the politics of skin color in today’s world?

We live in a strange world where many light-skinned people want to be darker—or at least tanned to look healthy and like they’ve just enjoyed a vacation on the Riviera. A lot of darkly pigmented people want to look lighter because lightness is associated with higher status. So we have a paradoxical situation where many light people want to be darker and many dark people want to be lighter. Humans are motivated by diverse sets of ideas. They usually aspire to an appearance that confers higher status. Once we recognize that it’s a pretty stupid thing to do, we can adjust our cultural sights and say, “Hey, let’s just live with the skin color that we have. Let’s protect it, let’s cherish it, let’s make sure that we are healthy with it.”
Read more here.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hollywood activist slurs Justice Thomas for telling the truth

Can I confess that I have never seen any of the Star Trek shows? Therefore, I did not know who George Takei is. Wikipedia says he is an American actor, director, author, and activist. Okay, now I understand why he is angrily celebrating the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage by making racist slurs against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: Emma-Jo Morris reports at the Free Beacon,

George Takei went on a racist rant Monday in an interview in Phoenix, unleashing on conservative Justice Clarence Thomas in response to Thomas’ comments regarding the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, NewsBusters reported.

“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry. He doesn’t belong there,” Takei said, later adding, “This man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America. I’ll say it on camera.”

Takei’s rage came in light of the Justice’s contrary stance on the recent equal marriage decision, where the Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Thomas released a statement saying that the government does not grant human dignity, and as such cannot take it away. Thomas argued that human dignity is inherent, and that the Supreme Court cannot issue it.

As for Takei’s “blackface” remark, liberals seem pretty pleased by it.
And he will suffer absolutely no consequences.

American military commanders are blocking arms transfers to Kurds

Con Coughlin, Defense Editor of The Telegraph, reports that
US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State. Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad. “If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”

...The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

...The US has also infuriated its allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states, by what they perceive to be a lack of clear purpose and vacillation in how they conduct the bombing campaign. Other members of the coalition say they have identified clear Isil targets but then been blocked by US veto from firing at them.
.
Read more here.

The Orwellian engine of groupthink

Victor Davis Hanson notes that
While the government in theory still operates according to the checks and balances of the Constitution, in reality, in the hyped Internet world of modern pop culture, fevered passions can seize the majority of the population in a matter of hours.

The idea of gay marriage in 2008 earned unapologetic disapproval from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The liberal voters of California twice rejected the idea in statewide plebiscites. But after years of constant harangues in the media, boycotts, public ostracisms, and ad hominem attacks on the integrity of skeptics, the liberal political establishment — many of whose members are recipients of large amounts of cash from wealthy gay donors — suddenly flipped.

...Think of the contradictions that have already arisen from the mob frenzy. One cannot today buy Confederate flags online, but one can easily purchase Nazi insignia of the sort that flew over Auschwitz or the hammer-and-sickle Communist banner that represented the Great Famine, forced collectivization, and various cultural revolutions that led to 100 million slaughtered or starved to death in the 20th century.

Present politics mostly define the degree of past sin and the appropriate punishments, as the revolutionary mob decides in an instant which particular historical figure deserves the most immediate ostracism and should be Trotskyized from our collective memory. Should we now remove the racist Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill? Even in my small town in central California there are schools named Jackson and Wilson. Apparently our Depression-era educators thought that the one Democratic president was a populist reformer, the other an idealistic internationalist. Yet both were abject racists, at least as we understand the charge today. In fact, no president of the 20th century disliked blacks in general and integration in particular as much as the Southern segregationist Woodrow Wilson, although he adroitly cloaked his racial hatred with a thin veneer of liberal academic respectability as president of Princeton University and author of several progressive tracts.

The writings and speeches of Margaret Sanger, founder of what evolved into Planned Parenthood, trumped the biases of Wilson. Her progressive version of eugenics fueled much of her family-planning agenda. She saw reproductive rights as inseparable from discouraging the supposedly less gifted (in her view, mostly non-whites) from having lots of children.

Should Al Gore give one of his trademark teary public confessions and, in vein-bulging angst, apologize to blacks for misrepresenting his senator father’s racist votes against civil-rights legislation? Should Bill Clinton join Gore on the podium to feel our pain and say he is sorry that regional Clinton–Gore campaign affiliates often plastered “Clinton–Gore ’92” on the Confederate battle flag in an effort to get out the supposed redneck vote? Will Hillary Clinton join in too and apologize for her 2008 declaration — delivered during her heated, racialized primary struggle with Barack Obama — that the polls showed “how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states [Indiana and North Carolina, where primaries had just been held] who had not completed college were supporting me.”

Planned Parenthood is as likely to disown its progenitor as Princeton University is to change the name of the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs — and as the Clintons are to publicly repent for their past appeals to blue-collar whites. Apparently, on the one hand, we must understand that there are inveterate haters and symbols of unrepentant racism that should be excised from the body politic, and, on the other hand, there remain well-meaning progressives of the past, who were unfortunately captives of their times and said or wrote things (often spoken in the heat of passion, or taken out of context today) that they did not quite mean. The record of the latter group, according to modern liberal tastes, is unfortunate — but is fortunately overshadowed by their greater liberal accomplishments. Consequently, the mass hysteria against anything that reeks of past racism will be carefully steered clear of monuments honoring the pro-segregationist J. William Fulbright or former Klan leader Robert Byrd, or other liberal heroes like the racist states’-righter but Watergate icon Senator Sam Ervin, who, 20 years before Watergate, authored “The Southern Manifesto,” which encouraged opposition to the desegregation of schools.

There will be no liberal watchdog or enlightened corporation that goes after the federally funded National Council of La Raza for its racist nomenclature, which can be traced back toFranco and Mussolini. We cannot properly damn the liberal Earl Warren or the progressive McClatchy newspapers for their 1941 racial rah-rahing that helped convince the progressive Roosevelt administration to implement the Japanese internment.

As goes California, so goes the rest of the nation?

Victor Davis Hanson writes about how California has led the nation in a downhill spiral:
California taught the nation that taxes can skyrocket – the state has the highest basket of income, sales, and gasoline taxes in the nation – even as infrastructure, government services, and schools erode. It established the national precedent of opposing new infrastructure projects and then enjoying them once the planners and builders who were criticized finished them. California equated a Silicon Valley smartphone in the hand with knowledge in the head – and the nation at large soon produced the most electronically wired and least knowledgeable generation in memory.
Read more here.

Fiorina and Walker the "winners?"

Hugh Hewitt writes in his column in the Washington Examiner about last week's Western Conservative Summit held here in Colorado.
...All of the GOP would-be nominees at the gathering — Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Scott Walker — received warm welcomes, but hallway chatter clearly pointed to Fiorina and Walker as "winners," as Fiorina again proved the ability to convert previously uncommitted activists and Walker proved adept at confirming incipient commitments to himself. Dr. Carson gave a rousing speech as well, but the attendees buzzed the most about Carly, and the "we must nominate a winner" chatter tilted heavily to the Wisconsin governor.
Read more here.

No change in Castro Cuba

Jonathan Tobin writes in Commentary,
...one of those who continue to ignore Cuban realities is the man in the White House, who worries more about American policy being “imprisoned” by the need to go on resisting Cuban tyranny than the actual imprisonment of dissidents in that country. In recent weeks, while the president was preparing to pat himself on the back for ending a policy aimed at isolating the Castro government, the Cuban tyrants arrested a prominent artist who had returned home to test whether Obama’s rapprochement would yield any tangible benefits for those seeking to promote freedom in the island nation. The answer to that query from the president’s new partners was a resounding “no.” The Congress, which is being asked to both fund the new embassy and to lift the embargo on Cuba, should be paying more attention to that arrest than to Obama’s talk about reconciliation.

As the Arts section of the New York Times noted yesterday, performance artist Tania Bruguera returned to her native Cuba last December at the same time as the president’s announcement of his decision to resume diplomatic relations with the island’s communist government.

...Though the president may argue that a U.S. diplomatic presence in Havana could aid dissenters, his embrace of the regime, without forcing it to change, undermines any notion that America will make much of a difference on the ground. The only thing we know for sure is that if the president gets his way, the regime will be enriched (along with those American businesses that choose to profit from the relationship) and that ordinary Cubans will remain silenced and impoverished.

That is why Congress should resist the president’s appeal to lift the embargo. If Cuba wants the benefits of relations with the United States, it must cease imprisoning people like Bruguera and allow genuine freedoms. In the absence of such a shift, Congress must maintain the embargo and refuse to fund the new embassy. Though foreign policy remains the province of the executive, in this case the power of the purse allows the legislative branch to take up a task that the president has shown no interest in pursuing: defending American principles and values.
Read more about what happened to Ms. Bruguerahere.

Who says we're squares?

Conservative kids celebrate freedom at the Western Conservative Summit, which just ended in Denver last weekend. Dr. Ben Carson makes an appearance at about the 5:40 mark.

Pushing someone down in order to pull yourself up

Seth Godin is thinking today about pious people:
Tribe members often fall into a trap, a trap created by the fear of standing out, and a natural avoidance to question things.

"You're not wearing the proper tie."

"That's not how someone like us gets married."

"My tweets are of the proper format, yours aren't."

"The way you are teaching your kids the rules is wrong."

"That symbol of purity isn't good enough for my family."

"Your version of the way things should be is a compromise."

"What, you're not wearing an official jersey to the game?"

As soon as someone says, "I am more pious than you," they've chosen to push someone down in order to pull themselves up, at least in feeling more secure as a member of the tribe. This might be good for the hegemony of the tribe, but it ultimately degrades the spirit that the tribe set out to create.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Amazing grace up ahead

Ann Voskamp reminds us that
The whole point of welcoming kids into your life is to wave good-bye to adults embarking out on their own lives.

...Parents aren’t supposed to be the loud police voice in your head — but the gentle pastor at your side.

...You can do this thing — because you were made to do hard and holy things.
You are always enough — because You have Jesus and He is always enough.
You don’t have to get it perfect — you just have to get back up and keep going.

...You’ve got to want to be one with Him — more than you want to be a Someone.

...You’ve got to want to serve more than you want to be seen, you’ve got to care more than you want to be comfortable, you’ve got to want to give more than you want to get.

... The journey not only matters more than the destination — the journey actually becomes the destination.

Success is always showing up and bending down.

...You know there’s no way around pain — there’s always either the pain of disappointment or the pain of discipline.

...The world’s going around with a big sign: Wanted: GIVERS. (Sorry — The world already has enough takers.)
Be a Giver — and you will get the most.

People may forget what you did or didn’t do — but they won’t forget how you made them feel. Hearts have the longest memories.

Lean in and make eye contact and simply listen to hearts.

Listening is a revolutionary act of liberation — it will liberate you from the prison of your prejudices and free you to love large.

...It doesn’t matter if you have some big title — what matters is that you have a big heart. A big heart will trump a big title every time.

...You can’t even begin to imagine how there’s always amazing grace up ahead.
Read more here.

Two planes fly through a hangar

"Charity"

Ace of Spades asks,
...If I started a "charity" and contracted to pay all your food and rent costs for the rest of your life, would you claim that you were being 'uncompensated"?

That is what Chelsea Clinton does. Philip Rucker and Rosalind S. Helderman write in the Washington Post,
When the University of Missouri at Kansas City was looking for a celebrity speaker to headline its gala luncheon marking the opening of a women’s hall of fame, one of the names that came to mind was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But when the former secretary of state’s representatives quoted a fee of $275,000, officials at the public university balked. “Yikes!” one e-mailed another.

So the school booked the next best option: her daughter, Chelsea.

...The schedule she negotiated called for her to speak for 10 minutes, participate in a 20-minute, moderated question-and-answer session and spend a half-hour posing for pictures with VIPs offstage.

Hillary Clinton to campaign with man who calls himself "the AntiChrist."

Andrew Stiles writes at the Free Beacon,
Hillary Clinton will attend a fundraiser in New York on Tuesday hosted by Facebook millionaire and vertically integrated media company caretaker Chris Hughes, who recently described himself in a Vanity Fair profile as “the Antichrist, or something pretty close to it.”

Hughes is best known for being Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard and for pioneering the “poke” button feature on the popular social media website Facebook. His husband, Brown graduate Sean Eldridge, was the worst candidate of the 2014 election cycle.

Eldridge ran for Congress in New York’s 19th Congressional district after Hughes bought him a mansion there. He ended up losing by 30 points, an outcome that appears to rebut the conventional wisdom that America is in decline. Eldridge’s humiliating defeat is believed to have precipitated his husband’s reign of terror at The New Republic during which, according to Vanity Fair, Hughes “cried a lot.”

The fundraiser is the power couple’s way of saying “thank you” to Clinton for her pointless endorsement of Eldridge in the final days before the 2014 election. Bill Clinton was also the keynote speaker at the New Republic‘s 100-year anniversary gala.
Read more here.

Dignity and grace

Jonah Goldberg writes about Charleston's response to the murders of Christians at the AME church:
Not being a Christian, I can only marvel at the dignity and courage of the victims’ relatives who forgave the shooter. If I could ever manage such a thing, it would probably take me decades. It took them little more than a day.

Less shocking, but almost as uplifting, was the conduct of the broader Charleston community, which has been unified and dignified, despite the expectations of some in the media — and the accused gunman, who had singled out Charleston because of its success at racial integration.

Blogger Glenn Reynolds noted that when the South was solidly Democratic, we got “Gone With the Wind” nostalgia. Now that it is profoundly less racist, but also less useful to Democrats, it’s the enemy of all that is decent and good.

If we’re going to offer ridiculous flag comparisons, a better one would be the Japanese imperial flag. After World War II, the U.S. banned it until 1949. Douglas MacArthur then opted to let a defeated, once-authoritarian society keep a few symbols of its past to build a better future.

Can anyone argue the South hasn’t done likewise? White Northern liberals explain how the South is an irredeemable cesspool of hate, while ignoring that blacks are abandoning the Northern blue states in huge numbers to move to the South.

Demographer Joel Kotkin found that 13 of the 15 best cities in the country for African-Americans to live in are now in the South. Over the last decade, millions of African-Americans have been reversing the Great Migration of a century ago to live in Dixie.

A big part of that story is economic, of course — the “blue state” model has failed generations of minorities — but it’s also cultural. Word has gotten out that while the flags may be around in some places, the Old Confederacy is gone.

Whenever conservatives complain that blacks vote monolithically Democratic, liberals are quick to argue that this is a rational decision given the realities of the black community. Surely, the same thing holds when they vote with their feet?

No, the South isn’t perfect. Name a region that is. But it does have good manners, which is why it routinely acts with more dignity — and in Charleston, with more grace — than its critics to the north.
Read more here.

Too much debt is a behavioral problem

Monty at Ace of Spades writes,
People run into problems with debt in the same way they run into problems with food: they eat too much. The problem with debt are not intrinsic to the concept, but in the inability of many human beings to manage it. As in so much else in economics, debt is a behavioral problem.

...Debt is much like any other intoxicant: its usage requires self-control. Lacking that, all the laws and regulations in the world won't stop people from getting into trouble with debt -- as with a habitual drunkard, the only remedy is to cut them off.
Read more here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Israel taking steps to prepare for a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities

Ari Yashar reports in Israel National News,
As world powers and Iran reach a deadline Tuesday - which may be extended - for talks on the Islamic regime's nuclear program, Israel is taking steps to prepare for a military strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities so as to defend itself from the impending threat.

Iran has refused to allow inspections of its covert nuclear sites and declared it will use advanced centrifuges as soon as a deal is met, meaning the leading state sponsor of terrorism could potentially obtain a nuclear arsenal within weeks, all while getting billions of dollars in sanctions relief through a nuclear deal.

...it is estimated that Israel is considering the signing of a deal to be a game changer which would require a serious reevaluation of the regional situation, and likely necessitate military action against Iran.

...For over 15 years the IDF has been examining the possibility of military action against Iran's ever burgeoning nuclear program, and the majority of the funding for such preparedness has gone to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and the IDF's intelligence branch.

...Indicating Israel's growing preparedness ahead of a potential military clash with Iran, the IAF held a special drill with the Greek air force two months ago, in which roughly 100 members of the IAF took part including dozens of crews from all the F-16i squadrons.

The unusual drill had IAF pilots operating in unfamiliar territory for a night and the following day, and included simulations of strikes and dogfights involving dozens of fighter jets.

Most importantly, in the drill the Greek army reportedly deployed advanced anti-missile defense systems similar to the Russian S-300 that Moscow sold to Iran and has yet to ship. The advanced S-300 system is considered to be a major challenge in carrying out an airstrike in that it can shoot down rockets as well as jets.
Read more here.

Are you the rock she wants to cling to?

Dalrock has some advice for men whose marriage is suffering. He recommends men
regain balance between comfort and attraction.

The good news is you don’t have to become a romance novel hero, you just have to become her hero.

Hopefully you can look back on a time in your relationship with your wife when you could tell she was attracted to you. This might have been during your courtship, or perhaps more recently.

For your own comfort while you learn more you probably want to start off slowly here. Start making more decisions without seeking your wife’s approval. Learn not to be timid or afraid of her moods and reactions. Always remember that she wants you to be her rock, and you can’t be her rock if you are matching the whims of her emotions. Instead of timidly hugging her, playfully grab her around the waist and pull her into you so she can enjoy your strength. Stand tall. In your mind remember that you are a strong and worthy man, and keep that frame as you do these things.

More difficult but also essential is to respond when she challenges you. Be prepared for her to subconsciously test you to see if you really are cut out to lead the family. Is he the real deal, or a faker? Going back to the example of the romance novel, very often the fantasy involves the man taming the woman. This is also a common theme in literature, with Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew being just one example. While the taming is often dramatic and overt in literature, what you will want to do is much more subtle. You aren’t looking to break her spirit, but to show your own strength of spirit and conviction and in doing so show her that you are the man she can depend on, the rock she wants to cling to.

...Men are taught repeatedly that what women want are gestures of investment, commitment, and love. Give her flowers, buy her an expensive dinner, write her a love letter, etc.

In fact these are things women want, but they don’t want them from just any man. They want them from a man they are attracted to. If you think about women’s fantasies as represented in romance novels, etc. you will see that women don’t fantasize about having a bevy of ordinary men falling over themselves to give her the most thoughtful gift. Women fantasize about winning the heart of the dashing hero, and ultimately having him acknowledge this with tokens of his investment, commitment, and love.
Read more here.

Islamic State now decapitating civilian women

Showing it supports equality, Islamic State is now decapitating women civilians in Syria. For a long time it has been pushing gays off tall buildings, and decapitating journalists, aid workers, and any man it deems to have violated Shariah law. Now it is giving women equal treatment. Read more here.

"Do what you think is best"

Ace of Spades has been enthusiastically supporting Breitbart's Mike Flynn's run for Congress in Illinois. One of Flynn's ideas is to follow the Dutch model of education. Ace writes,
What's the Dutch system? Well, the government gives each parent a check to pay for school, and the parent can use that for any school -- including religious schools. There is no church-state question because the decision is up to the parent. All the state did was cut a check and say "Do what you think is best."

Mike is very fond of referring to this as "the Dutch model" because he knows that the liberal media is overly-smitten of ENLIGHTENED EUROPEAN WAYS OF DOING THINGS. So he always says, "Well, of course, I favor the Dutch model. Obviously, you know?"

Which is Pure School Choice -- the government's role is to deliver a check, and the money follows the student to whatever school his parent wants.
Read more here.

On freedom and quitting smoking

Ace of Spades writes,
I keep saying this, but quitting smoking is the best decision I ever made, apart from eating that rib-eye a half hour ago. I would strongly urge all smokers to kick the habit -- you don't need it, just as a junkie doesn't need his drug, and you will be a better person -- healthier, more present in the moment (not thinking about your next nicotine jones), better at sex (everyone enjoying reduced lung capacity?), and richer.

Your life will become better almost immediately-- within, I'd say, about four days. Sure, three days of (some mild) withdrawal, and then just every day better and better for the rest of your (longer) life.

And I'll do what I can to help you.

But the way to persuade people is to actually persuade them.

Not to bully them.

Ace links to a piece in the Washington Free Beacon by Elizabeth Harrington, who reports,
New Yorkers may soon not be able to smoke in their own homes, if Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way.


The New York Post reported on de Blasio’s new initiative to partner with health groups that will “pressure landlords” into banning smoking in apartment buildings.

“That means smokers would be barred from lighting up in one of their last sanctuaries: their own living quarters,” the paper said. “Smoking is already banned in public places, including bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues, and parks.”

Ace continues,
DiBlasio begins with a truth -- smoking is bad -- and then turns it into a lie by not recognizing the most important truth of all:

A free people is only free if it is permitted to do the WRONG thing, as well as the right thing.
Read more here.

We were made for heaven and Him

Today Ann Voskamp reminds us that
In Christ, you’re a native of heaven right now. You aren’t a citizen of here trying to work into heaven. You’re a citizen of heaven trying to work through here.

...When your ethnicity is heaven, then all adversity offers the gift of intimacy, driving you into the home of His heart.

...We were made for heaven and Him, and our heart beats hard for it.

...In Christ — no matter the road, the storm, the story — we always know the outcome.

Our Savior: surrounds.
Our future: secure.
Our joy: certain.

All I have is what I believe and the living of it and His promises are enough.

There isn’t a loss on earth that can ever rob us of the riches our Lord has saved us for in Him.

What happens when things go wrong?

Today Seth Godin asks,
What happens when things go wrong?

Service resilience is too often overlooked. Most organizations don't even have a name for it, don't measure it, don't plan for it.

I totally understand our focus on putting on a perfect show, on delighting people, on shipping an experience that's wonderful.

But how do you and your organization respond/react when something doesn't go right?

Because that's when everyone is paying attention.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Which humans shall we select to be good role models for AI?

Patrick Sawer writes at The Telegraph that
Dr Stuart Armstrong, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, has predicted a future where machines run by artificial intelligence become so indispensable in human lives they eventually make us redundant and take over. "We are almost at the point of generating an AI that is as intelligent as humans."

Indeed, Dr Armstrong warns that the seemingly benign instruction to an AGI to "prevent human suffering", could logically be interpreted by a super computer as "kill all humans", thereby ending suffering all together.

Furthermore, an instruction such as "keep humans safe and happy", could be translated by the remorseless digital logic of a machine as "entomb everyone in concrete coffins on heroin drips".

While that may sound far fetched, Dr Armstrong says the risk is not so low that it can be ignored.

"There is a risk of this kind of pernicious behaviour by a AI," he said, pointing out that the nuances of human language make it all too easily liable to misinterpretation by a computer. "You can give AI controls, and it will be under the controls it was given. But these may not be the controls that were meant."

Dr Armstrong, who was speaking at a debate on artificial intelligence organised in London by the technology research firm Gartner, warns that it will be difficult to tell whether a machine is developing in a benign or deadly direction.

He says an AI would always appear to act in a way that was beneficial to humanity, making itself useful and indispensable - much like the iPhone's Siri, which answers questions and performs simple organisational tasks - until the moment it could logically take over all functions.

"Plans for safe AI must be developed before the first dangerous AI is created," he writes in his book Smarter Than Us: The Rise of Machine Intelligence. "The software industry is worth many billions of dollars, and much effort is being devoted to new AI technologies. "Plans to slow down this rate of development seem unrealistic. So we have to race toward the distant destination of safe AI and get there fast, outrunning the progress of the computer industry."

One solution to the dangers of untrammelled AI suggested by industry experts and researchers is to teach super computers a moral code.

Unfortunately, Dr Armstrong points out, mankind has spent thousands of years debating morality and ethical behaviour without coming up with a simple set of instructions applicable in all circumstances which it can follow.

Imagine then, the difficulty in teaching a machine to make subtle distinctions between right and wrong.

"Humans are very hard to learn moral behaviour from," he says. "They would make very bad role models for AIs."
Read more here.

Anything is possible



Thanks to Chateau Heartiste, who writes,
Good satire pushes the envelope and flirts with absurdity. What happens when all the envelopes have been pushed over a cliff and the absurd becomes the new normal, enforced just like healthy social norms of yore? We’re about to find out! Satirists are standing by… wondering if their craft has been rendered superfluous.
Read more here.

A different moral norm

Meredith May writes in SFGate about
"San Francisco relationships."

A term coined by the local gay community, it's defined as two men in a long-term open relationship, with lovers on the side.

A new study released this week by the Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University put statistics around what gay men already know: Many Bay Area boyfriends negotiate open relationships that allow for sex with outsiders.

...HIV infection is on the rise among male couples.

Colleen Hoff studied 566 gay couples in the San Francisco Bay area for three years.
In her study of gay couples, 47 percent reported open relationships. Forty-five percent were monogamous, and the remaining 8 percent disagreed about what they were.

Lanz Lowen and Blake Spears of Oakland, who have maintained a non-monogamous relationship for 35 years, funded their own couples study ( www.thecouplesstudy.com) to learn how others navigated intimacy with outsiders. Over the past four years, they interviewed 86 couples with at least eight years together in open relationships

...Three out of 4 people described non-monogamy as a positive thing, and said it gave them a sexual outlet without having to lie. Participants reported it helped relationships survive by providing honest options and minimizing deceit, tension and resentment. Some "played" independently, others as a threesome, and about 80 percent agreed to tell all or some details of their encounters, the rest preferring a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Chateau Heartiste asserts that
The importation of a moral norm like the one above surrounding gay long-term relationships would destroy the institution of marriage for heterosexuals who wish to pursue a long-term mating strategy.

Chateau Heartiste adds,
The importation of a moral norm like the one above surrounding gay long-term relationships would destroy the institution of marriage for heterosexuals who wish to pursue a long-term mating strategy.The feminist goal is removing all constraints on female sexuality while maximally restricting male sexuality.

More evidence of different moral norms surrounding homosexual relationships:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gays-anatomy/200809/are-gay-male-cou…
see “In his book, The Soul Beneath the Skin, David Nimmons cites numerous studies which show that 75% of gay male couples are in successful open relationships.”

...But how on earth could gay marriage equality import different moral norms into the concept of marriage for heterosexuals you might say? Well, it’s very simple. Through the Courts. Remember, in our society, marriage is a legal construct.

...Anyhow, the bottom line is that all this “mass equalization” that is currently running riot over the West will eventually, (and as the evidence begins to demonstrate much sooner rather than later), corrode and ultimately destroy the very values, moral codes, and even behaviors that were responsible for the West’s rise as a civilization and shining city on the hill.
Read more here.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Stand by your manhood?

Peter Lloyd writes in The Daily Mail about his new book Stand by Your Manhood that
argues that the triumph of feminism has meant men are now second-class citizens.

According to the Office for National Statistics, marriage in Britain is at its lowest level since 1895. In 2011, there were just 286,634 ceremonies — a 41 per cent free fall from 1972, when 480,285 couples tied the knot.

For an army of women, Mr Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him. And the reason? When it comes to marriage, men are on strike.

Why? Because the rewards are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers it presents are far greater.

‘Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.

‘They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.

‘Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.’

Human differences

Do you believe
human differences are a product of genes, culture, and gene-culture interaction?

...We are living under an ideology that claims to be an anti-ideology while demanding the sort of conformity normally found in totalitarian societies.
So writes Peter Frost in the Unz Review.

An unsettling juxtaposition

About the juxtapositon of the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage with the beheading of sun-bathing tourists in Tunsia last week, Mark Steyn writes,
Two plus two equals five. A severed head plus "Allahu Akbar!" equals "Nothing to do with Islam." Network screenings of Gone With The Wind plus Uncle Ben's rice equals blatant incitement to mass murder. A nice chichi gay couple at 27 Elm Street and a firebreathing imam and his four child brides at 29 Elm Street equals the social harmony of a multiculti utopia.

...Where is this story headed? The warriors of the caliphate divide the planet into the dar al Islam and the dar al harb - the house of war. In reality, it's a struggle between the dar al Islam and the dar al Gay: Liberty in the fin de civilisation west means sexual liberty and nothing else - which is why one consequence of yesterday's decision is that freedom of expression and freedom of religion will increasingly be confined to what Justice Alito called the deepest recesses of your home.

...Yet one particular demographic is ever more aggressively assertive in the name of its religion, even as prime ministers and federal prosecutors deny any such thing. So today, in Oklahoma as in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, you get up in the morning, go to work, and wind up decapitated. Oh, don't worry, it's a low risk - for the moment. And, unlike with "homophobic" bakers and florists, the implicit threat of violence ensures plenty of preemptive concessions.

...And so the leader of the free world lights the White House LGBT as the tourist corpses are removed from their sunbeds.

Read more here.