Saturday, April 25, 2015

Let's go get some exercise!

Book burners who are afraid of matches

Bill Whittle's commencement address to the class of 2015.

Earthquake in Nepal kills hundreds


Locals rescue a dust-covered man from the the rubble of a destroyed building, as they work to find and rescue any survivors of the disaster (Mail Online)

BBC News is reporting that
Nearly 1,000 are known to have died in a powerful earthquake in Nepal, with many more feared trapped under rubble, officials say.

The 7.8 magnitude quake struck an area between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest.

The government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.

A national police spokesman told the BBC that 970 people had died in the quake, and that more than 1,700 had been injured. At least 539 people were killed in the Kathmandu valley, he added.

Nepali Information Minister Minendra Rijal said there had been "massive damage" at the epicentre, from where little information is emerging.
Read more here.

"Pack your sh#t folks, we're goin' away"

George Carlin's thoughts about Earth Day. Why are we here? Plastic! "I think we're part of a greater wisdom, a higher order. Call it what you want."


Thanks to Gerard at American Digest.

Country roads

While visiting the American Digest blog this evening, I came upon this video. Apparently John Denver remains popular among the Japanese youth. Ah, memories. Many times this was the song I played on my car stereo driving around western Colorado in the 1980s.

Social justice bullies

Aristotelis Orginos writes in Medium that
...if history is read as a book, the supporters of social justice are typically deemed the heroes, the opponents of it the villains.
However, Orginos notes that today's social justice warriors
have warped an admirable cause for social, economic, and political equality into a socially authoritarian movement that has divided and dehumanized individuals on the basis of an insular ideology guised as academic theory. The modern social justice movement launched on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Jezebel, Slate, Huffington Post, et al. is far more reminiscent of a Red Scare (pick one) than the Civil Rights Movement.

... In order to uphold the sanctity of this viewpoint, adherents ostracize dissension. It’s nothing new — it’s a tactic as old as religion itself. Instead of holy texts, though, the millennial social justice advocate bows at the altar of the currently-in-vogue ideological Trinity: Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Colonialism.

...Let’s talk about racism. The mantra of the movement is thus: It is impossible to be racist against white people because racism is the equivalent of prejudice and power. Since white people have social and economic institutional power and privilege (in America), those who are racially oppressed cannot be racist toward whites since those who are racially oppressed do not have power.

...A millennial social justice advocate can discount an opinion simply because it is said or written by a group they feel oppresses them. It is a logical fallacy known as ad hominem whereby one attacks the person saying an argument rather than the argument itself. But this logical fallacy has become the primary weapon of the millennial social justice advocate. It is miasma to academia, to critical thinking, and to intellectual honesty. Yet it is the primary mode of operating on college campuses nationwide.

...The version of millennial social justice advocacy that I have spoken about — one that uses Identity Politics to balkanize groups of people, engenders hatred between groups, willingly lies to push agendas, manipulates language to provide immunity from criticism, and that publicly shames anyone who remotely speaks some sort of dissent from the overarching narrative of the orthodoxy — is not admirable. It is deplorable. It appeals to the basest of human instincts: fear and hatred. It is not an enlightened or educated position to take. History will not look kindly on this Orwellian, authoritarian pervision of social justice that has taken social media and millennials by storm over the past few years.

But the fact of the matter is — anyone unwilling to engage in productive, open, mutually critical conversations with people they disagree with under the moral protection of liberalism and social justice are not liberals, are not social justice advocates, and are not social justice warriors; they are social justice bullies.
Read more here.

Are you an individual, or merely a member of a group?

Is it possible that we are more than our income percentile rank? Professor James Otteson of Wake Forest University has written a new book entitled, The End of Socialism. Socialism sees people as members of classes. Otteson says,
Once you start thinking about human beings as members of classes–so, even if it’s classes that sound initially plausible or neutral, like the rich and the poor, immediately what you begin to do is to see human beings within those classes as being more or less interchangeable.

But the danger that has actually issued real and horrible consequences in human history–once you begin to see people as being interchangeable, at least among classes, this religion, this nationality, this ethnicity, then you begin to dehumanize them. They don’t seem to you like individual centers of human dignity. And I think, looking at a lot of the horrible episodes of human history, that’s what you see. You see one group of people looking at another group of people as mere members of a group, mere members of a class.
Read more here.
Thanks to Instapundit

Friday, April 24, 2015

Giant volcano in Yellowstone is very much alive

Joel Achenbach reports in the Washington Post that
Yellowstone National Park is the home of one of the world's largest volcanoes, one that is quiescent for the moment but is capable of erupting with catastrophic violence at a scale never before witnessed by human beings. In a big eruption, Yellowstone would eject 1,000 times as much material as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. This would be a disaster felt on a global scale, which is why scientists are looking at this thing closely.

On Thursday, a team from the University of Utah published a study, in the journal Science that for the first time offers a complete diagram of the plumbing of the Yellowstone volcanic system.

The new report fills in a missing link of the system. It describes a large reservoir of hot rock, mostly solid but with some melted rock in the mix, that lies beneath a shallow, already-documented magma chamber. The newly discovered reservoir is 4.5 times larger than the chamber above it. There's enough magma there to fill the Grand Canyon. The reservoir is on top of a long plume of magma that emerges from deep within the Earth's mantle.

According to Wikipedia, magma
is a mixture of molten or semi-molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets.
Read more here.

100 times more potent than Hubble

Jean-Louis Santini reports at phys.org that
As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years in space this week, NASA and its international partners are building an even more powerful tool to look deeper into the universe than ever before.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times more potent than Hubble, and will launch in 2018 on a mission to give astronomers an unprecedented glimpse at the first galaxies that formed in the early universe.

"JWST will be able to see back to about 200 million years after the Big Bang," NASA said on its website.

It described the telescope as a "powerful time machine with infrared vision that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe."

Even more, the telescope should further the search for life elsewhere in the universe by opening a new window on planets outside the solar system—known as exoplanets—that might have water and orbit their stars at a suitable distance to prevent freezing or boiling.

Already, NASA's Kepler Space telescope, launched in 2009, has helped astronomers identify thousands of exoplanets. JWST is expected to propel that research even further.

The heavy telescope is scheduled to launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket, made by the European Space Agency, from French Guiana in October 2018.

"Just as Hubble rewrote all the textbooks, Webb will rewrite it again,"

..."We have sensors on board, equipment on board that will enable us to study the atmosphere of exoplanets spectroscopically. So we will be able to understand the composition of those atmospheres," he added.

"We can make big progress in the search for life."
Read more here.

A revolutionary idea: children are treasured human beings!

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes at The Week,
We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.

As the historian O.M. Bakke points out in his invaluable book When Children Became People, in ancient Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons.

...But really, Christianity's invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.

That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.
Read more here.

Connecting events from a century ago to today

Raymond Ibrahim writes at Pajamas Media,
Today, April 24, we remember how exactly 100 years ago the last historic Muslim caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, tried to cleanse its empire of Christian minorities — Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks — even as we stand by watching as the new caliphate, the Islamic State, resumes the genocide.

And in both cases, the atrocities were and are being committed in the name of Islam.
Read more here.

Obama administration to Americans trapped in Yemen: Good Luck!

Josh Rogin writes in Bloomberg View,
For weeks, the Obama administration has maintained that using U.S. government resources to evacuate its citizens in the middle of the Yemeni crisis would be too dangerous for the U.S. personnel sent to help as well as for the citizens themselves. Without any embassy or military presence inside Yemen, U.S. assistance for the thousands of Americans seeking to leave has amounted to giving them sporadic information, wishing them good luck, and dealing with them if and when they reach another shore, usually Djibouti in Africa.

...Several other governments have arranged evacuations for their citizens, and even aided Americans trying to flee Yemen. India alone rescued 4,500 people from Yemen this month, including some Americans. Ayoub said that the Russian Federation sent out a notice to U.S. citizens in Yemen this week offering to help evacuate them on Russian ships. Desperate Yemeni-Americans are taking any offer they can get to leave.
Read more here.

Handing the baton to Iran

Charles Krauthammer shows in the Washington Post how the new strategic reality of the Middle East
is clear to everyone: Iran rising, assisted, astonishingly, by the United States.

...Obama’s initial Middle East strategy was simply withdrawal. He would enter history as the ultimate peace president, ushering in a new era in which “the tide of war is receding.” The subsequent vacuum having been filled, unfortunately and predictably, by various enemies, adversaries and irredeemables, Obama lighted upon a new idea: We don’t just withdraw, we hand the baton. To Iran.

...(Iran is radical, clerical, rabidly anti-imperialist, deeply anti-Western. The regime’s ultimate — and openly declared — strategic purpose is to drive the American infidel from the region and either subordinate or annihilate America’s Middle Eastern allies.

Which has those allies in an understandable panic. Can an American president really believe that appeasing Iran — territorially, economically, militarily and by conferring nuclear legitimacy — will moderate its behavior and ideology, adherence to which despite all odds is now yielding undreamed of success?

Iran went into the nuclear negotiations heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally, hemorrhaging financially — and this was even before the collapse of oil prices. The premise of these talks was that the mullahs would have six months to give up their nuclear program or they would be additionally squeezed with even more devastating sanctions.
Read more here.

The other elephant in the room

Joshua Green reports at Bloomberg that Peter Schweizer, author of the forthcoming book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,
is also investigating the other elephant in the room. He is working on a similar investigation of Jeb Bush’s finances that he expects to publish this summer. “What we’re doing is a drill-down investigation of Jeb’s finances similar to what we did with the Clintons in terms of looking at financial dealings, cronyism, who he’s been involved with,” Schweizer told me on Wednesday. “We’ve found some interesting things.”

As he did with the Clinton book, Schweizer is hoping to partner with media organizations interested in reporting on and advancing his examination of Bush’s finances—an arrangement Schweizer feels has been mischaracterized in the media. “With the Clinton book, we didn’t just give it to reporters with the expectation that they would report on the book,” he says. “We shared it early on with investigative reporters at ABC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post because we wanted that additional scrutiny [of the book’s subjects]. And we want similar scrutiny for this project.”

...On May 5, Clinton Cash will finally hit bookstore shelves and people will be able to form their own judgments. By then, Schweizer will no doubt be very busy, fending off attacks not just from Clintonites, but from Bushies, too.
Read more here.

Sticking with its captors

Kimberley Strassel writes in the Wall Street Journal,
It is as if the Clintons have—filed within easy reach on a shelf—a book titled “Clinton Scandals for Dummies.”

Chapter One: “Pick Your Spots.” The Clintons flourish in that hazy interface between legal and lawless. Their dealings always stink, but are rarely blatantly or provably (or traceably) corrupt. Consider this week’s news. Yes, tons of donor cash flowed to the Clinton Foundation at the same time Mrs. Clinton’s State Department was greenlighting deals helping those donors. But prove there was a quid pro quo! The Clintons dare you.

They know you likely can’t, since Chapter Two is “Limit Those Paper Trails.” Remember those “misplaced” 1990s documents, but also reread the 2000 report from the House Committee on Government Reform titled “The Failure to Produce [Clinton] White House E-Mails: Threats, Obstruction and Unanswered Questions.” The Clintons learned it took effort to keep documents secret. These days, they make sure there are no documents at all. (Mrs. Clinton, which emails would you like us to delete? Just search for key words “yoga,” “wedding” and “uranium.”)

Chapter Three: “Remember, the Press Has ADD.” Pixar’s “Up” features Dug, a cute dog with a serious attention problem (“squirrel!!!”). This is how the Clintons view the media. Pettable. Unfocused. When caught, the Clinton communications team will issue lofty dismissals—calling charges baseless or old news—and wait for the press to believe it. If it doesn’t, Team Clinton will hold one press conference—a la Mrs. Clinton’s email event—and wait for the media to call the case closed. If it doesn’t, they will change the subject (Hillary is running for president! Squirrel!!!) and wait for the press to lose interest. It often does.

Still, if all else fails, there is Chapter Four: “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”—or VRWC. Mrs. Clinton’s conspiracy shtick is today a bit of a joke, but it doesn’t make it any less effective. It works to cast any serious investigation of Clinton behavior as a partisan witch hunt, and therefore illegitimate. And it does work. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is going to jail on dubious claims of trading favors for money. Could an enterprising prosecutor cobble together a similar case against Hillary? Undoubtedly. But no one will for fear of being accused of doing a Republican hit job on the Clintons.

The rest of the book falls under the heading “Stockholm Syndrome,” and consists of tactics for convincing fellow Democrats that the Clinton machine is inevitable. The Democratic Party has for so long been held psychologically hostage to the Clinton scandal factory, a part of it—albeit an aging part—has forgotten there is happy, normal life. So (for now at least) it sticks with its captors.

The question is whether this model, perfected in an earlier age, can hold—especially under the cascade of scandals. Times have changed. There’s more competition in the media these days (blogs, cable, podcasts) and that’s kept pressure on traditional outlets to keep digging into the Clinton Foundation money story. So much so that this week Mrs. Clinton had to escalate to VRWC.

The Democratic Party has changed. It’s now more Obama than Clinton, its left dominated by progressives who didn’t grow up under Hillary, and don’t much like her. They want Elizabeth Warren, and what surely terrifies the Clintons is the potential party explosion were the Massachusetts senator to jump in at this moment of vulnerability. Would it take much to send the party bolting to a fresher female firebrand—without the baggage?

Maybe not, because Mrs. Clinton isn’t putting on the best show. She never had Bill’s political charm, and her years out of elected politics are showing. She looks grim. She looks cautious—hedging her bets, refusing to take positions. She looks out of touch, in the Scooby-Doo van. Mrs. Warren doesn’t have any of these problems.

The most likely scenario is still that the Clintons prevail—the media lets go the stories, the party sticks with the $2.5 billion woman. But as the Clintons replay the scandal script, and keep adding liabilities to Hillary’s campaign, you have to imagine a growing number of Democrats are wondering: what if? The Clintons might, at the very least, want to consider updating that manual.

Alone

Brett Stephens writes at The Wall Street Journal,
Mr. Obama is bequeathing not just a more dangerous Middle East but also one the next president will want to touch only with a barge pole. That leaves Israel alone to deal as best as it can with a broadening array of threats: thousands more missiles for Hezbollah, paid for by sanctions relief for Tehran; ISIS on the Golan Heights; an Iran safe, thanks to Russian missiles, from any conceivable Israeli strike.
Read more here.

Tudors of the Ozarks

Jonah Goldberg argues that too much emphasis is being put on the Clintons' greed.
Yes, Bill Clinton is clearly greedy. But his greed is subservient to his sense of entitlement and unbounded self-regard.

...Yes, Clinton Inc. needs money, but the money is likely seen more as tribute than bribery, a bit of coin offered up as a sign of loyalty to the coming Ozarkian Restoration — a restoration that may just have to wait for Chelsea.

...It’s hard to boil down the Times’ deeply detailed account, but the broad brushstrokes are as follows: A Canadian business wanted to sell its uranium mines in Kazakhstan and the U.S. to a Russian state-run — i.e., Vladimir Putin–run — firm. I know what you’re thinking: What could go wrong? In order to grease the skids — allegedly, of course — Canadian uranium moguls Frank Giustra and Ian Telfer gave millions to the Clinton Foundation and arranged for $500,000 speech by Bill Clinton (whose speaking fees mysteriously skyrocketed after his wife became secretary of state), bankrolled by a Russian investment bank with interests in the deal.

While in Kazakhstan, former president Clinton agreed to hold a joint press conference with president-for-life Nursultan A. Nazarbayev. (He’s been getting “re-elected” with just shy of 100 percent of the vote since 1989.) Clinton generously praised Kazakhstan’s human rights record, a propaganda gift of the first order. Days later, Giustra’s deal was approved by the Kazakh government. Also, when she became secretary of state, Hillary Clinton promised to disclose all such donations to the Clinton Foundation and submit her husband’s foreign speeches for White House review. None of that happened.

So again: How should we think about all of this? One place not to look for answers is the Clinton leviathan and its sundry remoras. For starters, no matter what the allegation, the Clinton response is always to shoot the messengers and point to the alleged misdeeds of somebody else. They have other familiar tactics as well. With the Clintons, the freshest evidence is instantly “old news.”

There’s also the long and storied Clinton fondness for lying. For instance, nearly every claim in Hillary’s press conference about her stealth server has been debunked, starting with her insistence she followed all of the rules.

The Clintons are like the Tudors of the Ozarks. They believe they are royalty, but they also understand that even monarchs need friends. The Clinton Foundation is the perfect vehicle for their ambition. Like the medieval Catholic Church, it blurs the lines between ideals and interests. On the one hand, it does yeoman’s work in the Church of Liberal Dogoodery, but it also provides a conduit for business interests, foreign governments, academics, activists, and journalists to gain access to the imperial court-in-waiting.
Read more here.

The role of shame in modern society

What role does shame play in your life? Megan McArdle writes about it at Bloomberg View:
...shame doesn't just punish wrongdoers; it also turns us into our own moral enforcers. Once we've been shamed, we are strongly motivated to avoid doing the things that brought it on. Or at least, most of us are -- one of the hallmarks of sociopaths is that they don't feel shame or remorse. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, shame is good. Shame is right. Shame works.

So we need shame. The problem is, maybe we don't always need so much of it.

...it's a lot easier to imagine the worst of some faceless stranger -- and to say rather incivil things yourself.

...Memories Pizza ended up not by closing up shop and issuing a tearful apology, but trying to figure out what to do with the donations that poured in. The public shaming didn't change anyone's mind on gay marriage, or even make it extra-costly to operate an establishment that won't cater gay weddings; it just hardened each side in their respective positions.

If we want shaming to be restorative -- to help us create and enforce better norms in a broad community -- then it needs to come paired with charity and forgiveness. Shame-storms rarely offer either; the shame is administered, then the storm drizzles away, leaving only a terrified victim and Google's memory of our momentary collective outrage. Without the mercy and restraint of the small community, it can too easily become nothing more than a particularly destructive way to pass an idle moment.
Read more here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If you are not a helicopter parent, are you negligent?

Bubblewrapped kids? No thanks!

"Join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty" Like, you know?

The most aggressively articulate generation to come along since, you know, a long time ago!


Thanks to Scott Ott.

Exurbia

It's true: people are moving to exurbia in droves.

Bobby Jindal to corporations seeking to bully: "Save your breath!"

Bobby Jindal writes some commentary in the New York Times:
As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.

... As a nation we would not compel a priest, minister or rabbi to violate his conscience and perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. But a great many Americans who are not members of the clergy feel just as called to live their faith through their businesses. That’s why we should ensure that musicians, caterers, photographers and others should be immune from government coercion on deeply held religious convictions.

...I hold the view that has been the consensus in our country for over two centuries: that marriage is between one man and one woman. Polls indicate that the American consensus is changing — but like many other believers, I will not change my faith-driven view on this matter, even if it becomes a minority opinion.

...Conservatism faces many challenges in today’s America. Hollywood and the media elite are hostile to our values and they tip the scales to our liberal opponents at every opportunity. Yet the left has lost repeatedly in state elections all over America. Republicans control 31 governorships. We control nearly 70 percent of state legislative chambers, the highest proportion since at least 1900.

...Liberals have decided that if they can’t win at the ballot box, they will win in the boardroom. It’s a deliberate strategy. And it’s time for corporate America to make a decision.

Those who believe in freedom must stick together: If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all. This strategy requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters. This is the grand bargain that makes freedom’s defense possible.
Read more here.

Whoops!

Reuters reports,
For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars
Read more here.

This week's biggest Clinton scandal so far

It's almost enough to persuade a person to have some faith in the New York Times. Two Times writers, Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, have exposed the Clintons for their corrupt dealings with some Canadians and Russians. Uranium investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's office was involved in approving a Russian bid for mining assets in Kazakhstan and the United States.
The headline in the website Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.
Read more here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Balancing away the First Amendment one bit at a time

Carson, Fiorini, and Huckabee to launch campaigns in first week of May

The first week in May will see three more people announce plans for a run at the GOP presidential nomination: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorini, and Mike Huckabee.
Read more here.

Human embryos genetically modified by Chinese scientists

Chinese scientists have genetically modified human embryos.

Read more here.

Israel's leaders refuse to meet with Carter

William Jacobson reports that Israel's president and prime minister, after consulting with the Israeli National Security Council and Israeli Foreign Ministry, are refusing to meet with former president Jimmy Carter during his visit to Israel.

Read more here.

Where seven billion people live

Higher standards

Seth Godin is all for demanding higher standards:

On a long flight a little while ago, I saw two couples watch movies while they let their six kids run around like maniacs from take off to touchdown. A seven-year old actually punched me. (I didn't return the punch).

A few days later, I saw the now-typical sight of kids in a decent restaurant eating french fries and chicken fingers while watching a movie on a tablet.

And it's entirely possible you have a boss that lets you do mediocre work, precisely whenever you feel like it.

I wish those kids had said, "Mom, Dad, raise your standards for me. I deserve it."

And the sooner you find a boss who pushes you right to the edge of your ability to be excellent, the better.

Even if the boss is you.

He gets what he wants


Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

Did you know that the immediate relief Iran will be getting in their deal with Obama is the unfreezing of between $30 and $50 billion dollars in offshore assets? That is what the Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Give Ayatollah Ali Khamenei credit for knowing his opposition. Two weeks ago the Supreme Leader declared that Western sanctions had to be lifted immediately as a condition of a nuclear deal. And sure enough, on Friday President Obama said Iran would get significant sanctions relief immediately upon signing a deal.

The Ayatollah knows that Mr. Obama wants an agreement with Iran so much that there’s almost no concession the President won’t make. So why not keep asking for more?

Keep in mind that the talks began with the U.S. and its European partners demanding that Iran dismantle its nuclear program. But to persuade the Ayatollah to accept the recent “framework” accord, Mr. Obama has already conceded that Iran can keep enriching uranium, that it can maintain 5,060 centrifuges to do the enriching, that its enriched-uranium stockpiles can stay inside Iran, that the once-concealed facilities at Fordow and Arak can stay open (albeit in altered form), and that Iran can continue doing research on advanced centrifuges.

All of these concessions are contrary to previous U.S. positions, and we’re no doubt missing a few. But none of that was enough for the Ayatollah, who quickly asserted two new deal-breaking objections: immediate sanctions relief, and no inspections under any circumstances of Iran’s military sites.
Read more here.

Income inequality has gotten much worse under Obama

Income inequality. Did you know that it has gotten worse in the US under Obama? W. James Antle III writes at Daily Caller,
Emmanuel Saez, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, memorably found that the average income of the top 1 percent grew by 11.2 percent in real terms since 2009. The bottom 99 percent saw their incomes decrease by 0.4 percent.

...Moreover, it’s not like most of the workers who would be imported under the president’s preferred immigration will compete with CEOs. He supported the Wall Street bailout.

Pharmaceutical companies pushed for Obamacare, which the health care law subsidizes along with insurance companies. It’s becoming a talking point on the left that Obama has prosecuted fewer financial crimes than Reagan or either Bush.
Read more here.

“I did not have fiscal relations with that government”

Sean Davis shows us at The Federalist that the US Constitution actually bans Hillary's foreign government payola.
The Washington Post reported last week that the tax-exempt foundation run by Bill and Hillary Clinton accepted money from seven foreign governments while Hillary served as U.S. Secretary of State (it’s unclear how much foreign money the organization accepted while Hillary was a U.S. Senator). Super shady, right? It’s worse than that, though, because Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution actually bans foreign payola for U.S. officials.

The constitutional ban on foreign cash payments to U.S. officials is known as the Emoluments Clause and originated from Article VI of the Articles of Confederation. The purpose of the clause was to prevent foreign governments from buying influence in the U.S. by paying off U.S. government officials. Here’s the text of the clause:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Davis concludes,
“I did not have fiscal relations with that government” isn’t going to fly this time. There is most definitely a controlling legal authority here, and it’s the U.S. Constitution.

The latest foreign payola scandal is just the latest chapter in the Clinton corruption novel. They played games with dirty cash in Arkansas. They played games with dirty cash literally in the White House. And now we know they were playing games with foreign cash while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State. The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution knew what could happen if U.S. officials put cash before their own country, so they banned the practice.

In other words, the Founders were Ready for Hillary.
Read more here.

Jade Helm conspiracy theories

Have you heard of Operation Jade Helm? Dan Lamothe writes in the Washington Post,
The mission is vast both geographically and strategically: Elite service members from all four branches of the U.S. military will launch an operation this summer in which they will operate covertly among the U.S. public and travel from state to state in military aircraft. Texas, Utah and a section of southern California are labeled as hostile territory, and New Mexico isn’t much friendlier.

That’s the scheme for Jade Helm 15, a new Special Operations exercise that runs from July 15 to Sept. 15. Army Special Operations Command announced it last week, saying the size and scope of the mission sets it apart from many other training exercises.

“The nature of warfare is always changing and U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s mission is to make certain the Army’s various Special Operations Forces are trained, equipped and organized to successfully conduct worldwide special operations in support of our nation’s interests,” Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, a command spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers and leadership in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat.”

The exercise has prompted widespread conspiracy theories that the United States is preparing to hatch martial law.

For example, Hayley Peterson writes at Business Insider about the sudden closings of five Walmart stores:
The closures have also fueled a bizarre conspiracy theory that the US military is planning to enact martial law this summer under the guise of a Special Operations exercise called Jade Helm 15.

According to the theory — which has no apparent basis in reality — the military will use the shuttered Wal-Mart stores as "processing" facilities for Americans once martial law is hatched.
Read more here.

Letterman: "Treat a lady like a whore, and treat a whore like a lady."

The New York Post reports that Monday night David Letterman was warming up his audience prior to showtime.
The married “Late Show” host — who in 2009 was forced to admit a series of affairs with female staffers — engaged in his trademark practice of taking questions from his fans inside the Ed Sullivan Theater on Monday.

The first one came from a college staffer who asked what advice the scandal-scarred funnyman would give to this year’s graduates.

“Treat a lady like a whore, and a whore like a lady,” the host shot back.
Read more here.
I think David Letterman is a creep. However, his remarks do not seem that far removed from the advice given by Chateau Heartiste to his readers who want to learn how to be alpha males.

It is not likely that Letterman will suffer any consequences for making the remark. When you are a certified leftist, you are never held accountable for how you actually live your life, as long as you look down your nose at conservatives.

"I don't think you want to say a word to me, Mr. Smith."

"Unrestricted immigration"

Pam Key reports at Breitbart,
Monday on Newmax TV’s “America’s Forum,” political commentator Dick Morris said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPA) fast track being supported by many Republicans has a provision that allows for the “free flow of workers” between countries, essentially creating a backdoor to “unrestricted immigration.”

Morris said, “This is huge. I hope everybody listening takes action call your senator about it. If he is a Republican he is voting wrong. “I dont think that people understand that in this deal which is a trade agreement among Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Chile, there’s a provision for free flow of workers, just like in the European Union. What It means is unrestricted immigration. It means literally that congress would not have the authority to restrict immigration because a treaty supersedes a statute under our constitution.”

Character

The New York times does not believe Hillary Clinton called someone a f***ing Jew bastard” 26 years ago. Jonah Goldberg does believe it:
My reasons are simple: Three witnesses swear to it, she has a well-documented history of swearing like a Russian sailor drunk on rubbing alcohol, she comes from a background where people said these sorts of things, and she’s not very good on Jewish issues when she is not running for the Senate from the state of New York.

If Hillary Clinton said “you f***king Jew bastard,” I don’t think it confirms Hillary’s anti-Semitism. Rather it confirms what I always believed: She is a nasty piece of work who will say anything if it will achieve her aims. A year ago, she said Palestine should be a state, because she was talking to Palestinians. These days she says Jews are the greatest thing since sliced Matzos, because she needs Jews. And, 26 years ago, she said “you f***ing Jew bastard” because she wanted to hurt someone’s feelings. What Jewish voters need to ponder is what she might say if the day comes when she thinks she can do without Jewish voters.
Read more here.

Mental health hotline



Thanks to Christopher Buckley

Some negative effects of cell phones


photo by Ed Yourdon

There is no doubt that cell phones have revolutionized communication. But are they also having some negative effects? Lizette Borreli writes at Medical Daily,
Ninety-one percent of American adults and 60 percent of teens own this device.
(I am a 9 percenter.) Borreli continues,
With an estimated six billion subscriptions worldwide and counting, cell phones have become one of the fundamental means of communication in society.

Borreli summarizes research which shows five areas of concern:
The presence of a cell phone while two or more people are talking face-to-face can generate negative feelings toward the person who has his or her device visible.

Researchers found high mobile phone use was associated with stress and sleep disturbances for women, whereas high mobile phone use was associated with sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in men.

The incessant touching of your phone can harbor germs on your handset. The greasy, oily residue you may see on your cellphone after a day's use can contain more disease-prone germs than those found on a toilet seat. In a study conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, researchers sampled 390 cell phones and hands to measure for levels of bacteria. The results of the study showed that 92 percent of the cell phones sampled had bacteria on them.

Cell phones require constant use of your hands, especially when sending text messages and e-mails. Responding to messages at rapid speed can cause pain and inflammation of your joints. Back pain is also common with increased cell phone use, especially if you hold the phone between your neck and shoulders as you multitask. "Long periods of cell phone use cause you to arch your neck and hold your body in a strange posture. This can lead to back pain," says Healthcentral.com.

Staring at your mobile device can cause problems in your vision later in life. Screens on mobile devices tend to be smaller than computer screens, which means you are more likely to squint and strain your eyes while reading messages.

This article does not even touch on issues presented when cell phones are used by drivers of cars, the lack of attention to the task at hand when used at work, negative effects on family interaction, and distracting from other experiences.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What would an honest politician sound like?



Thanks to Kris Cook

He flew the last combat mission of World War II

Police state

Kevin Williamson points out that Democrat gestapo-like tactics are not just being implemented in Wisconsin, but also in Texas and Washington D.C.
When a governor can be indicted for vetoing a bill, when a university regent can be threatened with criminal prosecution for exposing corruption, and when you have armed men kicking down your door because you signed the wrong petition, you don’t live in a free society—you live in a police state. And that is what Democrats are building, from Austin to Milwaukee to Washington.

Read more here.

How a mushy moderate may win the GOP nomination

Thomas Sowell warns,
While there are a number of Republican candidates who can point to substantial accomplishments as governors, the fact that most have strong track records as conservatives means that they may well split the conservative vote so many ways in the primaries as to let the nomination go by default to a mushy moderate — of the sort beloved by the Republican establishment, but not by enough voters to beat even a weak or troubled Democrat on Election Day.
Read more here.

Preemptive doublespeak

Victor Davis Hanson writes
Everything Ms. Clinton has said recently seems to be demonstrably untrue: Only one of her grandparents, not all four, was an immigrant. One does not need to have two smartphones to have two e-mail accounts. She did not regularly e-mail her husband. One does not secure a server by having a guard on the premises. A cabinet officer does not communicate exclusively on a private e-mail account via a private unsecured server. High government officials do not themselves adjudicate which e-mails are private and which public — and then wipe clean their accounts to avoid an audit of such decision-making.

Ms. Clinton’s private ethics are, as usual, a mess, both in the sense of failing to follow legal protocols and tell the truth, and in the less formal sense of price-gouging cash-strapped universities, failing to show some tiny generosity to the working classes, and abusing accommodations intended to help the disabled.

...Is there a pattern here? The more Hillary Clinton sounds cosmically egalitarian and caring, the more she acts privately like a stingy 1 percenter who does not consider that the laws and protocols that apply to other people must apply to herself. This is probably no accident, given that the quest for cosmic justice usually empowers private injustice.

Frequent White House guest Al Sharpton is a tax cheat, a homophobe, and an inciter of riot and mayhem, with a long history of racial disparagement. But he knows that all that private sin is contextualized by his loud sermonizing on the supposed racism of white America. Eric Holder can fly his daughters and their boyfriends to the Belmont Stakes on a government jet — but only because he is Eric Holder, who periodically blasts America’s supposed ethical reactionaries. Is progressivism among our elites now mostly a careerist con game? Ask departed cabinet officers like Lisa Jackson or Hilda Solis whether their own ethical lapses were overshadowed by their politically correct politics.

According to the laws of feminism, women should not latch onto ambitious alpha males to enhance their own professional trajectories; certainly they do not put up with chronically two-timing husbands either for the continuance of financial security or because of worries about the viability of their own careers. Yet Hillary seems to think that her loud feminist credentials are a sort of insurance policy, preventing anyone from daring to accuse her of accepting the gender roles of the 1950s.

The danger of the new hard-left progressivism is that the old sins of greed, connivance, and malfeasance are now offset by assertions of cosmic morality. The ostentatiously green Solyndra could hardly be thought of as shaking down operators in the Obama administration to provide a sweetheart loan for the crony-capitalist architects of a money-losing mess. Al Gore is so worried about how corporate culture promotes damage to the planet that he was forced to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for his own green corporations to warn us about other such cynics. He is so shocked about CO2 emissions and the global petroleum culture that he unloaded his underperforming and overpriced cable channel to a carbon-exporting, anti-Jewish autocratic sheikhdom that paid him handsomely with its petrodollars.

Michelle and Barack Obama are so concerned about global warming that not long ago they left two huge carbon footprints, when simultaneously they took separate government jumbo jets to fly out to Los Angeles to appear on separate talk shows. This was worthy of Leonardo DiCaprio, who on his private jet flew to conferences on the carbon excesses of hoi polloi. Elizabeth Warren is so committed to a fair and just society where egalitarianism is the shared goal, and where we assume that no one creates anything without the government, that she and her husband often augmented the generous incomes from their Harvard law professorships with lucrative corporate consulting to achieve 1 percenter status, with nearly $1 million in annual income.
Read more here.

"They came with a battering ram!"

David French writes in National Review about the incredible harassment families and conservative organizations have suffered in Wisconsin simply because they supported Governor Scott Walker. No other presidential candidate has suffered the abuse that Scott Walker has encountered in Wisconsin.
As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings. Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

...Yet no one in this family was a “perp.” Instead, like Cindy, they were American citizens guilty of nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights to support Act 10 and other conservative causes in Wisconsin. Sitting there shocked and terrified, this citizen — who is still too intimidated to speak on the record — kept thinking, “Is this America?”

...The entire family was herded into one room, and there they watched as the police carried off their personal possessions, including items that had nothing to do with the subject of the search warrant — even her daughter’s computer.

...The mom watched as her entire life was laid open before the police. Her professional files, her personal files, everything. She knew this was all politics. She knew a rogue prosecutor was targeting her for her political beliefs.

For dozens of conservatives, the years since Scott Walker’s first election as governor of Wisconsin transformed the state — known for pro-football championships, good cheese, and a population with a reputation for being unfailingly polite — into a place where conservatives have faced early-morning raids, multi-year secretive criminal investigations, slanderous and selective leaks to sympathetic media, and intrusive electronic snooping.

Yes, Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the “Wisconsin idea” — the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform — was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.

Most Americans have never heard of these raids, or of the lengthy criminal investigations of Wisconsin conservatives. For good reason. Bound by comprehensive secrecy orders, conservatives were left to suffer in silence as leaks ruined their reputations, as neighbors, looking through windows and dismayed at the massive police presence, the lights shining down on targets’ homes, wondered, no doubt, What on earth did that family do?

This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform.
O’Keefe, who has been in contact with multiple targeted families, says, “Every family I know of that endured a home raid has been shaken to its core, and the fate of marriages and families still hangs in the balance in some cases.” Anne also describes a new fear of the police: “I used to support the police, to believe they were here to protect us. Now, when I see an officer, I’ll cross the street. I’m afraid of them. I know what they’re capable of.”

Rachel talks about the effect on her children. “I tried to create a home where the kids always feel safe. Now they know they’re not. They know men with guns can come in their house, and there’s nothing we can do.” Every knock on the door brings anxiety. Every call to the house is screened. In the back of her mind is a single, unsettling thought: These people will never stop.
Read more here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

An artist on the right

Conservative Artist Sabo: "My focus was to be mean, nasty, and just as bad as Bill Maher"

Posted by Reason Magazine on Monday, April 20, 2015

Thanks to Christopher Buckley

How do you evade a pursuing mountain lion?

A very brave bear cub evades a ferocious mountain lion. Incredible footage!

There is another version on You Tube that captures the roars of the two bears, scaring away the lion. I didn't use that version, because the video was not as clear as this one.

Puck drop

The Clintons: History repeats itself: first, trouser-dropping farce; then, pantsuited zombie horror.

Mark Steyn celebrated Hillary Clinton's coming out party last week by reprieving some of his columns about the Clintons written in the 1990s. Here is one excerpt:
For anyone who still cares, there are two versions of events. Either Hill is Bill's co-conspirator and, in the furtherance of their own ambitions, they used the Democratic Party the way Bill uses women. Or there's this book's version, in which she's the last person on the planet still willing to believe Bill's version of events - not the smart, savvy operator her fans claim but such a poor judge of character, who'd want her as president?

But time and again the Clintons have survived setbacks that would have clobbered lesser politicians. And the more one reads between the unreadable lines of this book the more one begins to wonder if using gregarious Bill as the advance man for chilly Hilly's own ambitions wasn't all part of the plan. I can see her running, and I can see her narrowly winning. History repeats itself: first, trouser-dropping farce; then, pantsuited zombie horror.
Read more here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Another slaughter of "followers of the cross" by ISIS

The Mail OnLine has a story and pictures of ISIS killing Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

Chivalry

Please notice that the female goose is off to the left. You can see her clearly at the 26 second point in the video. The male goose is just protecting his female friend.

"Valdosta State University loves flag burners more so than flag wavers."

Michelle Manhart is an Air Force veteran living in Georgia. Protesters at Valdosta State University had been stepping on an American flag, because they are convinced they are victims of big, bad America. Todd Starnes reports at Fox News that
Manhart, whose husband is a 21-year airman deployed overseas, admitted that she took the flag.

“It was tattered and torn, covered with mud and dirt,” she said. “I told the demonstrators that it needed to be properly disposed of.”

Manhart learned about the flag desecration last week. A family acquaintance told her the demonstrators had been trampling on the flag for three days. So Manhart called the university to complain. She said she was told the matter would be investigated.

On April 17th Manhart learned the demonstrators had once again desecrated the flag - so she drove to the campus and eventually took matters into her own hands. She brought along her 19-year-old daughter who filmed the entire incident.

She was detained for several hours and initially the campus police officers threatened to file federal charges. However, she was eventually set free and banished from the public university campus.
Manhart told me she could just not allow those demonstrators to desecrate the nation’s flag.

“I have seen that flag on caskets returning home,” she said. “It was just the thought of those demonstrators standing on someone’s casket. I was so internally frustrated.”

The intellectual elites at Valdosta State University should be ashamed of their behavior. They should be honoring brave patriots like Michelle Manhart. Instead, they hauled this brave woman away in handcuffs and banished her from their campus.

The way I see it - her only crime was behaving exactly the way we would expect a veteran of the Armed Forces to behave.
You can read more and see the video here.

Four American economic classes

Which economic class are you in? Devin Helton wrote a couple years ago about our four economic classes:
To understand American economic conditions, it is helpful to generalize Americans into four economic classes:

The Underclass Those scraping by at the fringes of economy, often subsisting on crime or welfare.
The Plebs The interchangeable parts in the machinery of the economy. Because plebs are so easy to replace, they earn low wages and have little job security.
The Rat-racers Those who have found a career track that offers leverage and rewards inside knowledge. The inside knowledge makes it harder to replace the rat-racer, thus earning them higher salaries. But they must grind out long work hours to maintain their competitive edge.
The Rentiers Those who have achieved complete economic security. They no longer need to work to live, instead they work for personal fulfillment.
Read more here.

Mrs. Clinton's rocky start

Matt Lewis writes at The Guardian,
The day after Mrs Clinton announced her presidential campaign, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 43, who is young enough to be Clinton's son, made his own presidential announcement – a soaring speech which contrasted with Clinton in every way, casting her as his perfect foil. "Just yesterday," Mr Rubio gibed, "a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. But yesterday is over, and we are never going back."

The funny thing is that some serious news involving Mrs Clinton came out this week, but has mostly elicited yawns. First, it was revealed that she had simply ignored congressional inquiries into her use of private emails during the time she was serving as Secretary of State back in 2012. Second, it was reported that the Clinton Foundation would continue taking money from foreign governments – even as Mrs Clinton officially ran for president of the United States.

None of these "serious" stories garnered as much coverage or commentary as her failure to leave a tip at Chipotle. This is both a commentary on the American public and the American media. But it's also a warning to Mrs Clinton about how it will be the little things that kill.
Read more here.

Addiction to stimulants

Do you believe you need to take a stimulant in order to perform well or compete with others who are also taking stimulants? Alan Schwarz writes in the New York Times,
The number of stimulant misusers who become addicted is unclear. But supply has risen sharply: About 2.6 million American adults received A.D.H.D. medication in 2012, a rise of 53 percent in only four years, according to Express Scripts, the nation’s largest prescription-drug manager. Use among adults 26 to 34 almost doubled.

...Those lawyers said they and dozens of young colleagues at their firms had casually traded pills to work into the night and billed hundreds of extra hours a year in the race for partnerships.

One said he had originally taken 20 milligrams of Adderall a day, moving up to 100 milligrams — almost double the highest dose recommended by the Food and Drug Administration — by getting prescriptions from multiple doctors, a felony in Texas. His productivity, he said, thrilled his unquestioning bosses and clients.

Then came the downside: rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating and acute anxiety due to sleep loss. These overwhelmed any positive effects on his work performance, he said, and transformed his personality to the point that his wife divorced him. After he lost his job, he spent six weeks at a drug treatment center.

“It’s a crutch, and it becomes a crutch immediately,” said the lawyer, who recently joined a smaller firm in Texas.
Read more here.
The Schwarz article focuses on prescription drug stimulants. But how about Red Bull and Monster drinks?

Thanks to Instapundit




,

How much supervision do children need, and when are they truly at risk?

Has Child Protective Services been overreaching? Do you believe that the moment your child is out of your eyesight he or she is in grave danger? Do you want your child to grow up being an independent thinker?
David Finkelhor, who directs the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said that crime rates are down in general, as are the number of missing children and stranger abductions. “Most of the worst things that happen to kids are at the hands of their own family members — murder, sexual assault, abuse,” Finkelhor said. “The data clearly show that.”

However, all across America there have been cases where parents have been reported to Child Protective Services for allowing their children to play outside unsupervised. Donna St. George and Brigid Schulte cite some of these cases in an article here at the Washington Post.

Thanks to Instapundit

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Suffragents


Peter Lloyd is the author of a new book entitled Stand By Your Manhood.He writes at Mail Online,
Men are brilliant. Seriously, we are. We invented philosophy, medicine, architecture, cars, trains, helicopters, submarines and the internet. Not to mention the jet engine, IVF, electricity and modern medicine.

We’ve led all the industrial revolutions and sent rockets into Space. We’ve fought wars with tin hats and bayonets and won them. The world we live in would be nothing without Alexander Graham Bell, Sigmund Freud, Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein. The geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday have all contributed immeasurably to our modern lives.

So why is it that, today, there has there never been a worse time to be a man? Rubbishing the male of the species and everything he stands for is a disturbing — and growing — 21st century phenomenon. It is the fashionable fascism of millions of women — and many, many men, too. Instead of feeling proud of our achievements, we men are forced to spend our time apologising for them. When people chide us for not being able to multi-task or use a washing machine we join in the mocking laughter — even though we invented the damned thing in the first place.

If ever we do manage to do something well we’re told it’s because our achievements were handed to us on a plate — probably at the expense of women — and not because we’re skilled and work hard. And, naturally, the problems of the world are all our fault.



If we want somebody to fight our corner, we are going to have to do it ourselves.

And fight it we must, before it’s too late. We don’t want to undo or compete with feminism — far from it. But we urgently need our own version of women’s lib to stop our sons being permanently deflated, downgraded and disenfranchised. Remember the suffragettes? We are the suffragents.
Read more here.
Thanks to Instapundit

In-tribe, out-tribe

Are you a member of a tribe? Are you suspicious of other people who are not in your tribe? Brad R. Torgerson writes that he thinks
a lot of what we label as racist and sexist is actually culturalist tribalism.

Still, the tribalism we experience is nothing compared to what people in Africa experience: portions of whole families
wiped out by what essentially amounted to tribal warfare. To white American eyes, there’d have been no discernible difference between the people killing each other. But the Africans themselves knew the difference, and considered it a difference worth murdering each other over.

One way to conquer these small potato differences is to join the military.
We adopt a new tribal identity. One that can become so powerful, men and women from different parts of the country, even different parts of the world, identify so strongly with the single tribe that we find these bonds stronger than almost anything else. Sometimes, even stronger than blood or birth. We wear the uniforms, we share the experiences. We talk a certain way. Look at life through a certain lens.

We can also speak to shared hardship. In fact, there is practically no greater social glue, than to make a group of individuals all go through the same shitty thing — together.

This is usually why U.S. military veterans — any branch, any era — can almost instantly find common ground. Despite all the many things in their lives which might differentiate them.

...For the cop, young black teenage males represent a “tribe” of troublemakers, gangbangers, hoodlums, petty thieves, and drug dealers. All dangerous, and all untrustworthy. On the flip side, for many black Americans, white cops also represent a kind of “tribe” which is also dangerous, hair-trigger, not to be trusted, prone to never giving the benefit of the doubt, predictably suspicious, and so forth. Both “tribes” have valid historical evidence for how they feel about the other tribe.

...See, all of us do this every day without even thinking about it. Who’s in my tribe? Are you in my tribe? And if you don’t look like you’re in my tribe, are you in a tribe that’s cool with my tribe, or un-cool with my tribe? Maybe you don’t seem to be in my tribe, until we talk about a shared interest or a shared experience — something not obvious on the surface — and we instantly discover the tribal bond? What if we think we share a tribal bond, but conversation reveals we’re on opposite ends of something? Like religion, or politics? Does the division strain or sever the tribal identification?

And we are all actively working to create tribes amongst ourselves all the time. Sports, music, clothing, enthusiasms like video games and comic books and fiction. Do you love a thing? Do others love the same thing? Are you now a kind of tribe? If you love the thing enough, do you begin to speak a similar language, reference the same touchstones — a touchstone being an object or a concept or an idea that is familiar to everyone? Do you begin to create in-jokes and humor specific to the group? Do you have closeness that cuts across other differences that might separate you?
Read more here.
Thanks to Instapundit

Fleeing Africa

Mail Online reports that 10,000 people fleeing war in Africa have been rescued by Italian ships this week. One dinghy full of refugees became punctured, so refugees started praying. Since they prayed to God, instead of Allah, ten Christians were thrown overboard. Over 900 making the perilous journey have either died or gone missing since the start of the year and 400 migrants died in two shipwrecks last week. The UN said that 23,500 migrants had sailed to Italy this year in addition to 12,000 who had sailed to Greece.
Read more here.



Obama may be Hillary's most significant opponent in 2016

Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley write at Politico that Hillary's most significant opponent in 2016 may be Barack Obama.
The overall history lesson is crystal clear. Should Obama regain majority approval before the election, Clinton would probably benefit dramatically. While Obama scoring in the mid-to-high 40s isn’t ideal for the Democratic nominee, at that level he wouldn’t be an anvil tied to Clinton’s ankle. And if Obama becomes mired in the unpopularity swamp that characterized Truman, Johnson, and both Bushes, Clinton will have been defeated by Obama twice, once in the 2008 Democratic primaries and once in the 2016 general election.
Read more here.

Recognizing genocide

April 24 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the slaughter of 1.5 million Armeniens by the Ottoman Empire.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes,
Last Sunday, Pope Francis showed moral courage in openly calling for recognition of “the first genocide of the twentieth century.” Turkey, run by the increasingly brutal dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, immediately recalled its ambassador, as befits a bully.

Why won’t President Obama recognize the genocide, especially since he promised as a presidential candidate that he would do so?

CNN’s chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper captured the president’s failure succinctly: “For the sixth year in a row President Barack Obama has broken his promise to the Armenian community, made when seeking their votes as a senator and a presidential candidate, to use the word ‘genocide’ to describe the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. He did this in deference to the government of Turkey, which – historical revisionism aside – the Obama administration regards as a more crucial ally.”
Read more here.

The government tries to steal raisins

George Will writes about a government program that involves
bullying and stealing property to maintain programs that make Americans pay higher commodity prices than a free market would set.

Marvin and Laura Horne walk through their vineyard in Kerman, Calif., in 2013. (Chris Hardy/For The Washington Post)
In oral arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the government defend its kleptocratic behavior while administering an indefensible law. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 is among the measures by which New Dealers tried and failed to regulate and mandate America back to prosperity. Seventy-eight years later, it is the government’s reason for stealing Marvin and Laura Horne’s raisins.

New Dealers had bushels of theories, including this: In an economic depression, prices fall, so a recovery will occur when government compels prices to stabilize above where a free market would put them. So Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “brains trust” produced “price stabilization” programs by which the government would fine-tune the supply of and demand for various commodities. In 1949, this regulatory itch was institutionalized in the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC). Today it wants the Hornes to ante up about $700,000. They could instead have turned over more than 1 million pounds of raisins — at least four years of their production.

They have been refusing to comply with a “marketing order” to surrender, without compensation, a portion of their production for the RAC’s raisin “reserve.” The Hornes say this order constitutes an unconstitutional taking.

...Justice Elena Kagan has wondered whether this case involves “a taking or it’s just the world’s most outdated law.” The answer is: Both. The law has spawned more than 25 “marketing orders” covering almonds, apricots, avocados, cherries, cranberries, dates, grapes, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, onions, pears, pistachios, plums, spearmint oil, walnuts and other stuff.
Read more here.

You take the pistols; I'll take the Samurai sword

Four burglars broke into the house of 49-year-old Dias Costa in Argentina this week. They had two pistols. Mr. Costa had a Samurai sword. The burglars were all still in intensive care when Jack Crone wrote the story for Mail Online. Some photos of the burglars:

Read more here.

Suppressing free speech

Claudia Rosett reports at PJ Media that
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that in 2008 China had 24 journalists in prison. Today it has 44. This is a testament to two phenomena: a resurgent campaign of repression by China’s ruling Communist Party, and, beneath that boot, the courage and profound desire among China’s people for something better. It is the latter that China’s regime is actually trying to keep secret.

China has just sentenced 71-year-old ace journalist Gao Yu to seven years in prison on charges of “leaking state secrets overseas.” And what are those secrets she is accused of leaking? They center on renewed efforts by the Chinese Communist Party under President Xi Jinping to suppress free speech.

We have here a sort of infinite regress of absurdities. If China’s authorities consider it a state secret that their policies are to smother free speech and punish dissent, then they themselves are broadcasting this secret by jailing a journalist for exposing it. Presumably, any Chinese journalist who might dare to delve into this could be accused of exposing the exposure of this secret — which is actually no secret at all.

But that’s the very point: To shut up other Chinese journalists, and chill discussion more broadly among those who cover China. Censorship is easier to practice when people are afraid even to suggest that it exists.
Read more here.

Thanks to Instapundit

Old hat

Do you know Moore's Law? Michael S. Malone at the Wall Street Journal defines it as
the observation that performance (speed, price, size) of integrated circuits, aka microchips, regularly doubled every 18 months.
Moore's law was plotted on a graph by Gordon E. Moore, who was director of research at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1965. Malone writes,
Moore’s Law became iconic not because of its novelty or through media promotion, but because it has proved to be the most effective predictive tool of new chip generations, technology innovation and even social and cultural changes of the last half-century.

Millennials now entering the workforce
have never known a world not defined by Moore’s Law. But unlike their generational predecessors, to this new cohort social networks and iPhone apps are old hat.

What obsesses them is hardware—drones, robots, 3-D printing—that is even more closely connected to the fortunes of Moore’s Law. Their careers will rise and fall on how well they ride the curve of an equation devised during the Johnson administration by a now-octogenarian settled into a comfortable retirement in Hawaii.

...The great turning took place a decade ago, while we were all distracted by social networking, smartphones and the emerging banking crisis. Its breathtaking climb since tells us that everything of the previous 40 years—that is, the multi-trillion-dollar revolution in semiconductors, computers, communications and the Internet—was likely nothing but a prelude, a warm-up, for what is to come. It will be upon this wall that millennials will climb their careers against almost-unimaginably quick, complex and ever-changing competition.

...Moore’s Law has always induced de-massification: giant mainframe computers become smartwatches, giant vertically-integrated organizations are defeated by what Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds has dubbed an “Army of Davids.”

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel is already challenging the value of a traditional college education, and Khan Academy, among other online universities, is offering an alternative. Hospitals are losing their walls to a revolution in personal health monitoring. And after the progressive experiment of this decade, millions of Americans will go to the polls in 2016 asking if big government itself is an incompetent anachronism. Even the human brain will be challenged by artificial intelligence—the latter enjoying the advantage of continuously improving at the pace of Moore’s Law.

...The good news is that this generation seems to be already, often unconsciously, preparing for this adventure—through robotics competitions, gatherings of tech enthusiasts, engineers and tinkerers at Maker Faires and other do-it-yourself events, and playing with new applications for their drones and 3D printers. Having lived their entire lives at the pace of Moore’s Law, they seem to sense that the time has come to hit the accelerator. If millennials don’t entirely get it yet, they soon will.
Read more here.
Thanks to Instapundit

Do you really stand for liberty?

In my never-ending quest to catch up on what's happening in the world, I just listened to a vigorous debate on radio station KLZ in Denver. Two talk radio hosts whom I admire and respect, Kris Cook and Ken Clark, debated the decision by Colorado Christian University not to accept money from the Log Cabin Republicans to host a booth at this summer's Western Conservative Summit.

Since the debate was aired, a compromise has been reached. Steve House, the newly elected leader of the Republican Party in Colorado, approached John Andrews, the man who puts together the Western Conservative Summit for Colorado Christian University. House offered to have the Log Cabin Republicans exhibit at the Colorado Republican Party booth. His offer was accepted by Andrews.

Now the question in my mind is, will the leftist gay movement accept the compromise? I doubt it.

Kris was arguing another, related point: Does the government really have any right to have anything to do with defining marriage? Ken replied that government first got involved because of interracial marriage, and he agreed with Kris that government should have no involvement in defining marriage. Kris termed it using government to promote a theocratic, Biblical worldview, and that it is hypocritical to then say you are doing it because you stand for liberty!

Ken pointed out that Christians are being persecuted. They are actually being killed by jihadists, and persecuted here at home. He wants Christians to stand on their principles, and he admires John Andrews for doing just that.

Kris noted that the Conference is trying to get conservatives elected "so they can use the guns of government." She does not want the Republican Party to turn away allies, like the Log Cabin Republicans. Her point is that government needs to be rolled back, and we individual Americans need more, not less liberty! She further points out that gay Republicans have many allies, especially among Millennials and Generation Z citizens (That's the first time I have heard that term), and Republicans need every citizen they can get in order to promote liberty. She argued that the Republican Party needs to be inclusive, rather than exclusive.

On menace and clumsiness

Mark Steyn has a hilarious piece here about lies Hillary has told over the years. Remember the one about dodging sniper fire on a runway in Tuzla?

Steyn writes this caption:
During a three-second lull in the sniper fire and aerial bombardment on the runway in Tuzla, Hillary Danger Clinton takes time out from running for cover to exchange social pleasantries with a little girl. It was a terrifying moment, if only for the little girl.

Hookers for Hillary

Hillary has received an early and enthusiastic endorsement from the hookers at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Nevada.

Nevada sex workers at Dennis Hof’s famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch have launched a “Hookers for Hillary” Clinton website that endorses the former secretary of state’s campaign for president. (Hookers for Hillary)

From Jessica Chasmar's story in the Washington Times: The Hookers for Hillary website stated:
“The Bunny Ranch entertains customers from all around the globe, and the girls have great respect for any woman who can take powerful men from oppressive cultures and make them bend to her will.”

Earlier this month, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid received a ringing endorsement from a legal brothel in Pahrump, Nevada, called Sheri’s Ranch. In a letter, the ranch similarly commended Mr. Reid’s support for the Affordable Care Act and even offered to host the senator’s retirement party.
Read more here.

Thanks to Christopher Buckley


Friday, April 17, 2015

Would they miss you if you're gone?

Seth Godin asks a provocative question today:
What if you stopped?

What would happen to your audience if you shut the doors tomorrow? (I know what would happen to you, that's not my question... what would happen to them?)

What would happen to your customers and to your prospects if you stopped doing your work?

If you stopped showing up, if you stopped selling them something, would they miss you if you were gone?

If the airline went away, we'd just find another airline. If the cookie cutter politician went away, we'd just vote for someone else. If the typical life insurance agent...

Does it matter if it's you doing the work?

This is a fight between radical environmentalists and consumers of food

An anti-police movement?

How many isolated incidents equal a pattern?

Hillary's condescension: what we deserve?

Liz Mair challenges her liberal readers at The Daily beast:
When we have a choice between the more open, straight-talking candidate or the one that does everything through self-managed media so that they can control the message to the maximum conceivable degree, we go for the latter.

When we have a choice between uncomfortable substance and truth on the one hand, and reality or feel-good talking points and make-believe on the other, we reject the former.

Hillary Clinton may appear past her political prime: a constructed, fake and self-obsessed persona; a boring, risk-averse, default option for a party out of touch with many of its would-be constituents and lacking in creativity and ambition.

But given the way many Americans lead our lives now, she may also be exactly what we deserve.
Read more here.

Anodyne

I am going to start a new feature here at Bob's Blog. Each time I learn a new word, I am going to write about it. Today I was reading Betsy's Page, which is one of the blogs I try to read every day. Betsy Newmark was saying that Marco Rubio is "the anti-Hillary."
He's young, historic, and isn't wealthy. But the biggest contrast is that he's been willing to put forth policy proposals instead of anodyne platitudes.

When used as an adjective, anodyne, according to Google, means
not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.

Is support for Israel a Republican position? (and not a Democrat position?)

Caroline Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post that
Polls in recent years indicate that Republican support for Israel is nearly unanimous, while less than half of Democrats support the Jewish state.

...By supporting Obama, even as he has abandoned the US alliance with Israel, Jewish Democrats have lost their political leverage and power. That power is contingent upon their refusal to abandon Israel.

...During the next two months, Obama will be focused on closing his deal with Iran, and Clinton will be avidly seeking to lock up the Democratic nomination for president by building an impregnable fortress of campaign funds. If the American Jewish community uses this critical period to leverage Clinton’s financial requirements to convince her to oppose Obama’s deal that paves the way for a nuclear armed Iran, then they will reassert their relevance in American politics and they will restore support for Israel to its pre-Obama position as a bipartisan position.

If they fail to do so, then Obama’s bid to transform Israel into a partisan issue will succeed. If a Republican wins the White House in 2016, he will face an anti-Israel Democratic opposition. And if Clinton wins the White House, she will have no reason to support Israel.
Read more here.

Taking a stand for traditional marriage, or excluding an oppressed minority?

A hot issue is developing here in Colorado. Colorado Christian University holds something called the Western Conservative Summit yearly. This year the Log Cabin Republicans said they wanted to have a booth, and they threatened to make a controversy if they were not allowed to have a booth. They are a group of gay Republicans. They were told that they would be welcome to attend the meetings, but not allowed to have a booth.

Update:A compromise has been reached. Steve House, the newly elected leader of the Republican Party in Colorado, approached John Andrews, the man who puts together the Western Conservative Summit for Colorado Christian University. House offered to have the Log Cabin Republicans exhibit at the Colorado Republican Party booth. His offer was accepted by Andrews.

Now the question in my mind is, will the leftist gay movement accept the compromise? I doubt it.

Update 2:: Two talk radio hosts I respect, Ken Clark and Kris Cook, had a vigorous debate on this issue before the House/Andrews compromise was reached. Kris was arguing another, related point: Does the government really have any right to have anything to do with defining marriage? Ken replied that government first got involved because of interracial marriage, and he agreed with Kris that government should have no involvement in defining marriage. Kris termed it using government to promote a theocratic, Biblical worldview, and that it is hypocritical to then say you are doing it because you stand for liberty!

Ken pointed out that Christians are being persecuted. They are actually being killed by jihadists, and persecuted here at home.

Kris noted that the Conference is trying to get conservatives elected "so they can use the guns of government." She does not want the Republican Party to turn away allies, like the Log Cabin Republicans. Her point is that government needs to be rolled back, and we individual Americans need more, not less liberty! She further points out that gay Republicans have many allies, especially among Millenials and Generation Z citizens (That's the first time I have heard that term).

Kris also argued for the Republican Party to be inclusive, rather than exclusive.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Still in bondage one year later

Hundreds of parents in Nigeria have not seen their young daughters in a year. Remember the news story on April 14, 2014 about the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapping over 300 girls into slavery? Remember Michelle Obama's hashtag? The girls are still missing one year later. Maybe something stronger than a hashtage was needed.

Read more here.