Friday, November 30, 2012

"A balanced plan"

President Obama has presented to Republicans his plan to avert a fiscal cliff. The Foundry blog has this chart.

"The “plan,” presented to Republican leaders yesterday, consists of $1.6 trillion in tax hikes over 10 years and unspecified spending cuts that “could total” $400 billion over the same period. So estimating liberally, the package consists of at least $4 of tax increases to $1 of spending cuts—and that’s if the promised spending reductions do materialize (which is far from certain). This is the Obama definition of “a balanced plan.”

Read more here: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/11/30/chart-of-the-week-obamas-fiscal-cliff-plan-has-4-of-tax-hikes-to-1-of-cuts/

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Victim: the most coveted status anyone can attain in our society

Is General Petraeus a victim? Stephanie D. Edelman writes in The Daily Caller that he may have attained that status.

"This lukewarm, boys-will-be-boys excuse mongering not only condones such behavior, it flies in the face of conservative sensibilities. This is not to suggest that Petraeus should be branded with a figurative scarlet letter or barred from ever holding public office again, or that conservatives should not mourn the loss of such a tremendous leader. Yet Petraeus’ extramarital affair is essentially a betrayal of classic, cherished conservative American values: the institution of the family, and the importance of fidelity and commitment."

"As Doyle McManus noted in the Los Angeles Times, “Petraeus appears likely to go down in history as a beneficiary of what you might call the Bill Clinton rule: Adultery is no longer a disqualifier in American politics.” This normalizing of infidelity should be anathema to conservatives. It is corrosive of the family unit and of the institution of marriage — values which, given their decline in recent years, conservatives should be championing, not undermining."

"Many have opined that the loss of Petraeus’ extraordinary contributions to the nation trumps his personal conduct. Others seek to re-allocate the blame: we can fault the CIA, whose standards regarding extramarital affairs are “artifacts of the Cold War era and the social and political mores of that time” (John Prados, The Washington Post). We can claim that “when a lonely late-middle-aged married man with a stressful job falls into bed (or under the desk) with an attractive and adoring younger woman, it’s not excusable, perhaps, but it’s certainly understandable — and really none of the country’s business”

"Better yet, we can let the general off the hook by deriding the physical appearance of his devoted wife of 38 years, described in a USA Today article as “dowdy Holly Petraeus,” who is “shorter, grayer, broader and way less va-va-voom than the busty other women in this confounding and confusing tale,” and by blogger Christelyn Karazin as “like a 50-something Peppermint Patty. … Holly, if she so chose, could easily improve herself in the looks department. A little hair dye, a date with a gal at the MAC makeup counter, a gym membership and a girdle can do wonders.”

"Such rationalizations vindicate General Petraeus, recasting him in the role of a victim — the most coveted status anyone can attain in our society — who cannot really be held accountable for a moral lapse because he is merely a hapless pawn who has fallen prey to circumstances beyond his control. One expects this sort of spin from the left, but what is truly shocking is the relative lack of outrage from conservatives, many of whom have joined liberals in trivializing the sex scandal.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/26/the-petraeus-broadwell-affair-the-real-scandal-is-the-lack-of-outrage/#ixzz2Dg8Yf7ri

Where are the Libyan weapons?

Forget about Susan Rice. Peter Irsanow asks at The Corner "what about the 20,000 heat seeking surface-to-air missiles that were left unsecured after the rebel takeover last year?”

"The urgency of securing Libyan weaponry after the president’s campaign to depose Qaddafi was plain from the outset. Shortly after the dictator was deposed, scores of al-Qaeda and Islamist flags were raised throughout Benghazi, including the rebel headquarters in that city. According to rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, a significant number of Libyan rebels were al-Qaeda fighters, many of whom had fought U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would have alerted even a casual observer to the possibility that Qaddafi’s massive weapons stockpiles might end up in the hands of some bad actors."

"Soon afterwards, however, a U.N. envoy reported that Libyan weapons depots were left unguarded after Qaddafi’s overthrow. Since “leading from behind” meant a light or non-existent American footprint in Libya, securing Libya’s vast munitions stockpiles was left in large part to the rebels — that is, the same folks who couldn’t wait to raise the aforementioned flags."

"The weapons depots contained, among other things, chemical and radiological material, including an estimated 7,000 drums of uranium. At the time, assistant secretary of state Andrew Shapiro stated that terrorist groups were interested in obtaining Libyan anti-aircraft missiles which “could pose a threat to civil aviation.” Furthermore, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported last May that former CIA officers, apoplectic about the missing weapons, stated that the missiles included Russian-made SA-7 and SA-24 missiles."

"This is just one of the reasons it’s not time to “move on” from questions about Benghazi . If the administration couldn’t competently handle security at our diplomatic facilities in Libya, it raises legitimate questions about its competency in securing the Libyan missiles as well."

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/334357/beyond-benghazi-where-are-libyan-missiles-peter-kirsanow

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Our choir keeps getting smaller"

Jon Caldera at The Cauldron writes that he thinks those of us on "team liberty" stink at entertainment. Why? "Our team is prudish, stale, peevish and as easy to be offended as a Women’s Studies professor. We are great in communicating within our own team. We like to sing to our choir. News flash: our choir keeps getting smaller. And we keep losing."

So what does Mr. Smarty Pants Caldera recommend as a solution? That we follow the lead of the left! "The Left knows how to lead with entertainment first, not message. The humor and jokes, the compelling tale, and the great music come first. Then they slip in the message, insults and whiny lyrics."

Not only that, but then Caldera links us to the top ten South Park episodes promoting liberty! I watched the one on "Wallmart," where I learned what will happen when I die, and where the heart of "Wallmart" can be found.

Read more here: http://www.joncaldara.com/2012/11/28/south-parks-top-10-greatest-free-market-hits/

We're Number One

But, wait. The trend does not seem to be in our favor.

Found here: http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=44419

We are so good at fooling ourselves!

Jimmy Kimmel's staff interviewed people off the street to see if they could tell the difference between a regular Starbucks four dollar cup of coffee and the new super premium cup.

Sexual tyranny

Robert Oscar Lopez writes persuasively at The American Thinker blog that gay rights activists need to stay out of other people's bedrooms and out of other people's therapy sessions.

Read more here: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/11/the_latest_sexual_tyranny_from_the_southern_poverty_law_center.html

Sneering away

Peter Berger writes in The American Interest that superstitions abound on all sides of the political map. "The same individuals who sneer at the beliefs of Bible-thumping Republicans believe that all differences between men and women are social conventions, that an eight-month embryo is as much a part of the mother’s body as her appendix, that racism can be abolished by the government allotting privileges by way of racial quotas, that wealth can be distributed without being produced, that homicidal regimes can be influenced by moral persuasion… Need I go on?"

Read more here: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/berger/2012/11/07/creationism-on-capitol-hill/

The Deadly Crusade Against E-Cigarettes

Here is one doctor who believes that e-cigarettes are a good way for smokers to quit smoking. Dr. Gilbert Ross recommends e-cigarettes and laments the fact that many public health officals are against them. The e-cigarettes deliver the nicotine, which smokers become addicted to, while avoiding the deadly toxins in cigarettes that people smoke. Experts predict the global death toll of cigarettes will approach 1 billion lives lost this century.

"An important fact, rarely discussed by “public health” gurus, is that the patches, gums, and drugs they recommend as “safe and effective” are all-too-often neither. Among the 46 million smokers in the United States, well over half say they want to quit, and more than one-third attempt to do so each year — but less than one-tenth succeed."

"Prohibiting the safest form of nicotine delivery will increase, not stem, cigarette-related deaths. Truly informing smokers about reduced-risk nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, and increasing access to these products is a good way to save millions of lives."

Read more here: http://www.american.com/archive/2012/november/the-deadly-crusade-against-e-cigarettes

Christmas holiday trees

According to Laura Ingraham's staff, a community college in North Carolina has forbidden the use of the word "Christmas" in a Christmas Tree Sale by a student group. They have to refer to the trees as "holiday" trees.

Read more here: http://www.lauraingraham.com/b/College-tells-students-they-can-only-sell-holiday-trees/974660307169886472.html

Like Michael Savage, Laura has decided to end her relationship with Talk Radio Network. Our local stations did not pick up Savage on whatever his new syndicator is, but I hope someone will pick up Laura.

War, not peace, is the answer!

Daniel Greenberg writes about war and peace. I include excerpts here, but I urge you to read the whole thing at the Sultan Knish blog.

"Since the League of Nations folded, the warring peoples of the world have added the atom bomb, the suicide bomber, the jet plane, the remotely guided missile, the rape squad, the IED, the child soldier and the stealth fighter to their arsenals. And the humanitarians have murdered a few billion trees printing out more useless treaties, conventions and condemnations; more dead trees than accounted for by every piece of human literature written until the 19th Century.

There is no moral technology to prevent war. Or rather war is the moral technology, that when properly applied, ensures peace.

The humanitarian impulse makes the anti-humanitarian impulse inevitable. The more precisely we try to kill terrorists, the more ingeniously the terrorists blend into the civilian population and employ human shields. The more we try not to kill civilians, the more civilians we are forced to kill. That is the equal and opposite reaction of the humanitarian formula.

In Afghanistan, the Rules of Engagement were overhauled to minimize Afghan civilian casualties. This was so successful that not only did the casualty rate for American soldiers dramatically increase because they were not allowed to fire unless they were being fired at, but the number of Afghan civilian casualties killed by American forces also fell dramatically. It was a great triumph. But sadly the number of Afghan civilians killed by the Taliban increased dramatically and more than made up for the shortfall.

When the Taliban have won the war, the number of civilian casualties will be tremendous once Obama pulls the troops out and the cheerful bearded boys march into Kabul and start killing every woman who can read. But it was still a better thing than the unacceptable levels of civilian casualties under Bush. It was a better thing that the Taliban have free reign to kill as many Afghans as they want than that American soldiers should have been able to fight the Taliban without the humanitarian handcuffs.

And yet for all this monumental effort, for all the soldiers dead because they weren't sure if the man planting an IED in the road was a terrorist or just a decent upstanding poppy farmer checking the soil composition, for all the Afghan civilians killed by the moral technology of inaction, your unfriendly neighborhood peace-shouter is about as satisfied as a cannibal at a vegan banquet. Give him, her or it five valuable minutes of your time and it will begin shrieking about drone strikes, kill lists and the murderous rampage of a technology that is as far from Shock and Awe as you could possibly imagine without going completely Gandhi. If anything it hates drone strikes more than it hates Hiroshima. Mass killing justifies its smug contempt for the machinery of war, but anything that smacks of an attempt to moralize warfare challenges its principles and urges it on to greater displays of outrage.

For decades, every time that Israel was on the verge of finishing off the terrorists, there came a call for a ceasefire or a peace agreement. The call was heeded and the violence continued because all the peace agreements and ceasefires were just prolonged unfinished wars. They were a game of baseball that never ended because no home run was ever scored. Instead the New York Yankees were being forced to play the Martyrs of Muslimtown for thirty years with the umpire stepping in every time the hometown team was on the verge of winning the game. Each peace agreement did not mean peace, it meant that the Muslimtown Martyrs would have another few years to go on killing and being killed.

The business of peace is the industry of death. Behind the peace sign is a field of flowers with a grave for every one. Behind the peace agreement and the ceasefire is another war that will be worse than the last."

Please read the whole thing here: http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2012/11/war-is-answer.html

Losing

"With total ad sales sliding 5.1% in the third quarter of this year, newspapers have set what must be some sort of record in the annals of American business by having their primary revenue stream fall for 25 quarters in a row. On the plus side, the NAA, a publisher-funded trade organization, reported that digital revenues advanced by 3.6% in the third quarter to a bit under $759 million. But the $23.5 million year-to-year gain in digital sales was too small to offset the $311 million year-to-year drop in print revenues. Thus, newspapers in the quarter lost more than $13 in print revenue for every $1 they gained in digital sales.

Read more here: http://newsosaur.blogspot.ca/2012/11/online-sales-are-flat-lining-at.html

Piss off a frog? Probably not such a good idea.

via Kate at small dead animals

Should marijuana be legalized?

How can you tell when your addictions are out of control? When you rationalize by convincing yourself that they are not harmful to you!

Reaching the bottom of the slippery slope

Christian Adams writes at PJ Media about how "erotic zoos" are proliferating in Germany and Denmark. In “erotic zoos,” customers pay to have sex with farm animals. A barnyard pimp collects money from the customers. The Telegraph reports that "Bestiality was legalised in Germany in 1969, the same year that gay sex was also removed from the criminal code. After that, sex with animals was only punishable if the animal was severely injured." There is a new proposal in Germany to charge barnyard pimps with a crime when one of Germany's 100,000 zoophiles pays for sex with animals. Read more here: http://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2012/11/27/european-disintegration-animal-prostitution/?singlepage=true

If the media had been doing its job...

Zombie at PJ Media makes a list of reasons Obama should have lost re-election. Readers add to the list. To read the endless list, go here: http://pjmedia.com/zombie/2012/11/02/why-was-there-no-october-surprise/

The opposite of diversity: university!

Kate, the blogger at small dead animals asks, what is the opposite of diversity? The answer: university! Case in point is Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the student association has rejected a request from a group of students to form a pro life group on campus. Read the story here: http://www.ncln.ca/blog/press-release-b-c-pro-life-student-group-denied-right-to-exist-on-their-university-campus/

The Privacy Illusion

The right to privacy. Does it even exist any more? On election day Scott Adams wrote an absolutely brilliant blog post entitled The Privacy Illusion. Adams asserts that we have almost no real privacy left. But, be of good cheer, he ends his post with this advice: "Just relax, enjoy the promise of technology, and stop worrying about Big Brother. Realistically, he's been ass-raping you for years, and apparently he's not sufficiently endowed for you to have noticed. I don't see that situation changing."

Read it in full here: dilbert.com/blog/entry/the_privacy_illusion

Israel's survival chances

How long will it take before it is unsafe for any Israeli to live above ground? Scott Adams guesses it will happen within ten years. "My assumption is that the coming inevitable wave of hobby-sized suicide drones will be unstoppable because they will fly low to their target and be so numerous that no defense will be effective," writes Adams. What could stop this trend? Or, do you believe as one of Adams' commenters asserts, "Israel will stay right where it is until Armaggedon." http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/predicting_israel/

Final electoral map

via http://saberpoint.blogspot.com/2012/11/obama-wins-re-election.html

Fantasies die hard

Since 1999 there has been a case winding its way through our nations courts, like a tortoise carrying scores of lawyers on its back. It is about making tobacco companies liable for the damage their products inflict. Now, the federal judge hearing the case has ordered the companies to admit that they have been lying to people all these years about the health hazards of smoking. Some of the corrective actions include the companies having to admit in their ads and packaging that “Tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.” Another says: “All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, and premature death.” The judge says the corrective actions are "directed at preventing and restraining the defendants from deceiving the American public in the future.”

Each of the five categories of statements begins with a similar introduction stating that “a federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public” then says “here is the truth” before going into specifics on the dangers of smoking, health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke, the addictiveness of nicotine and the manipulation of cigarette design and composition.

One statement among those on adverse health effects reads: “More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined.”

Judge Kessler previously ordered the companies to stop marketing cigarettes as “light” and “low-tar” and to make statements about the health effects of smoking in newspapers and magazines and on materials attached to cigarette packages.

People will still believe that they are the exceptions. Yes, cigarettes will kill you, but not me. The most popular brand where I work is Marlboro Light. The package no longer says "Light," but that is still how customers refer to it. Fantasies die hard.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-27/altria-group-corrective-ad-statements-decided-by-u-s-judge.html

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gross Negligence?

Do you want to hear an example of gross negligence? It has been revealed that the law enforcement person who searched the computer at Casey Anthony's house searched the Internet Explorer browser, but not the Mozilla Firefox browser! If he would have searched the Firefox browser, he would have learned that someone did a search on "foolproof suffication" (mispelling suffocation) on the day Caylee was last seen alive!

Update: Jose Baez, Casey's attorney in the criminal case, says that what is being reported is not true. He says that law enforcement scanned the entire computer, and he was surprised that they did not bring up the suffocation search, which the defense team knew about, Baez believes it was related to Casey's father's thoughts about committing suicide. George Anthony is the father, who Casey claims sexually abused Casey when Casey was a child, and who did try to commit suicide a few months after the trial of Casey.

How did the information about the computer searches come out? Because Baez has written a book entitled Presumed Guilty in which he brings up the issue, and says he believes the state had the information, but did not bring it up because it would have actually helped Casey's defense. Why? Because George Anthony claimed that Casey left the house at 12:50, and the search was done more than one hour later. Did Casey Anthony help cover up a murder committed by her father? You don't think a man who sexually abuses his own daughter is capable of murdering his grandaughter?

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/11/27/casey-anthony-lawyer-jose-baez-new-searches-were-suicide-related/

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Forward:" from full-time to part-time

Obamacare requires employers who have more than fifty employees to provide health insurance coverage for any employee who works 30 hours or more per week. This is causing many employers to fill departing full-time employee positions with part-time employees who will work 29 hours or less per week.

John Hawkins writes, "In other words, Obamacare is now giving a lot of companies a powerful incentive NOT to hire full-time workers. Furthermore, imagine yourself in the place of the front office staff Metz has just been forced to make part-time employees. The article doesn’t say whether or not they already have insurance, but if so, they’re about to lose it. They’re also going to lose hours which will mean that they have to get by on greatly reduced paychecks or alternately, get a second part-time job and then juggle schedules at two different places of employment, which may mean more time lost in transit, odd working hours and increased daycare costs. Additionally, full time employees are more likely to get ahead at work. If you promote from within, you’re more likely to look at everyone working full-time before considering the part-timers."

read more here: http://tpnn.com/forward-ehr-from-a-full-time-job-to-part-time-work-thanks-to-obamacare/

If you see no reason for giving thanks...

Cajun truck driver Dave Carter brings us this thought at Ricochet, "When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. For your life and strength, give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself." - Tecumseh Shawnee

He also offered these and more things to be thankful for: For the gift of liberty which, while currently in disrepute, holds the key to America's past and future glory.

For the insipidly terrible, metaphysically gawd-awful, cosmically stupid rap "music" that is currently destroying the restaurant's speaker system, for it will remain here while I walk to the truck, having gained a new appreciation and reverence for silence. Also, I pray the lead "singer" recovers from his (apparently) strenuous battle with Tourette Syndrome.

read more here: http://ricochet.com/main-feed/For-These-Things

Obamacare is creating a very ugly employment picture

Obamacare is creating a very ugly scenario for our nation's employment picture, according to this post by Pejman Yousefzadeh at Ricochet and Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.

"I have noted this story of a community college that is going to cut work hours for its adjunct faculty and temporary workers in order to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that the community college pay for health insurance for all of its employees. As anyone might have guessed, this is all just the beginnings of a trend:

Shortly after Nov. 6, Zane Tankel, who runs 40 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York City area, announced that his company was freezing employment and would not build any new restaurants. President Obama’s re-election, Tankel explained, meant that ObamaCare was likely to be fully implemented, costing his company millions of dollars and significantly raising the cost of hiring a worker.

Tankel’s statement prompted outrage and threats of a boycott, but he was far from alone. Already John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, has announced that he would likely lay off some workers. Earlier, Schnatter said that ObamaCare would cost his business $5 billion to $8 billion annually, forcing him to increase the price of pizzas.

Meanwhile, two other restaurant chains, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, are moving many of their employees from full- to part-time work in order to avoid the law’s mandate that anyone working more than 30 hours must have insurance. An owner of 40 Denny’s in Florida, meanwhile, says he’ll add a 5% surcharge to customer bills in 2014 to cover his increased costs.

While restaurants, with traditionally low profit margins and large numbers of low-skilled, low-wage workers, are exceptionally vulnerable to ObamaCare’s costs, other business are being hit too. For example, Boston Scientific has announced that it will now lay off up to 1,400 workers and shift some jobs to China.

And Dana Holdings, an auto-parts manufacturer with more than 25,000 employees, says it to is exploring ObamaCare-related layoffs.

These, and countless other employers across the country, are not doing an impression of Montgomery Burns. They are simply responding to economic reality.

(Via InstaPundit.) Of course, it ought to go without saying that no one with the least bit of understanding when it comes to economics should be surprised by any of this."

http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Obamacare-A-Very-Ugly-Employment-Picture

"Only birth can conquer death"

Daniel Frank quotes Joseph Campbell, who wrote in his 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, "As Professor Arnold J. Toynbee indicates in his six-volume study of the laws of the rise and disintegration of civilizations, schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work to weld together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be—if we are to experience long survival —a continuous "recurrence of birth"(palingenesia) to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work of Nemesis is wrought: doom breaks from the shell of our very virtue. Peace then is a snare; war is a snare; change is a snare; permanence a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified—and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn."

Read more here: http://ricochet.com/main-feed/For-Those-Awaiting-the-American-Renewal-a-Thought#comments

"How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage"

Greg Gutfeld has written The Joy of Hate. "Hate is my love," says Gutfeld. I want to read this book.

Who's afraid of cheaper groceries?

Union workers employed by Wal-Mart competitors, that's who!

"trousers round their ankles"

Mark Steyn writes about the Petraeus/Broadwell/Kelly scandals: "Initially, it seemed the best shot at getting a largely uninterested public to take notice of the national humiliation and subsequent cover-up over the deaths of American diplomats and the sacking of our consulate in Benghazi. On the other hand, everyone involved in this sorry excuse for a sex scandal seems to have been too busy emailing each other to have had any sex."

"The FBI was initially reported to have printed out 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails and other communications between Gen. John Allen, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Jill Kelley of Tampa, one-half of a pair of identical twins dressed like understudies for the CENTCOM mess hall production of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." Thirty thousand pages! The complete works of Shakespeare come to about three-and-a-half-thousand pages, but American officials can't even have a sex scandal without getting bogged down in the paperwork."

"Having consolidated his grip in Egypt, Morsi is now looking beyond. His "peace deal" legitimizes the Muslim Brotherhood's affiliate in Gaza, and increases the likelihood of the Brothers advancing to power in Syria and elsewhere. As on that night in Benghazi, when the most lavishly funded military/intelligence operation on the planet watched for eight hours as a mob devoured America's emissaries, America in a broader sense is a spectator in its own fate. As for Afghanistan, it seems a fitting comment on America's longest unwon war that the last two U.S. commanders exit in a Benny Hill finale, trousers round their ankles, pursued to speeded-up chase music by bunny-boiling mistresses, stalker socialites, identical twins and Bubba the Love Sponge."

Read more here: http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/kelley-378593-intelligence-director.html

County by county election results

Here is another map of election results. This one is by counties. It is depressing to me to see how much like California Colorado is becoming. And New Mexico is worse than either California or Colorado. Democrats sure do control the cities, don't they?

I found the map here: http://www.softgreenglow.com/wp/?p=15455

How's that for fair?"

Bruce McQuain, writing at the Questions and Observations blog, has an idea for those who are criticizing Wal-Mart.

"But for those who can’t let this go, I have an idea. Each and every Wal-Mart store ought to establish at least one check-out line which is for those who want to pay the highest retail price found for the items they’re going to purchase. Wal-Mart could research that, have the cash register price the items according to that research and at the end the Wal-Mart associate could say to the person, “and you over-paid by $53.00, have a nice day.”

"Wal-Mart would then promise to take the difference between their prices and the premium prices and apply it to the pay of all Wal-Mart associates."

"How’s that for fair? And people in that line wouldn’t have to feel like hypocrites when they diss Wal-Mart for it’s presumably low pay while they continue to buy at the store."

"Of course, that particular line would likely to look like something out of a Halloween display, all covered in cob-webs and the like."

Read more here: http://www.qando.net/?p=14379

Walmart: a threat to continued employment (at competitors' stores)

Bruce McQuain asks at the Questions and Observations blog, "So, how did the Walmart "walkout" go? According to the Bentonville-based company, roughly 50 people who are actually on Walmart’s payroll joined today’s “walkout” nationwide. The protest organizers say “hundreds” participated. Even if 1,000 took part, that’s still less than 1/10 of 1% of Walmart’s 1.4 million associates."

"If you can’t find 50 disgruntled employees in an organization of 1.4 million, well, you’re a refugee from the real world."

"But look at that last number. 1.4 million people have jobs because of Wal-Mart. Then there’s the downstream effect – suppliers, etc. My guess is you’re looking at an organization responsible or at least partially responsible for 3 to 5 million jobs in this country."

"OUR Walmart was listed as a subsidiary of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCWU) in a 2011 Department of Labor filing. While the union disputes that the two organizations are one and the same, one thing is certain: The organizers of today’s protest represent not Walmart employees, but employees of grocery stores that compete with Walmart."

"And, watching these shenanigans, you can’t help but believe that unions are desperate – very desperate. Here’s a company which is offering the same products as their union stores offer at significant discounts and that’s an obvious threat to their continued employment. So they think nothing of starting a “movement” that is union backed and likely union financed to undermine that company by enticing workers, who apparently aren’t at all as disgruntled or as upset as this group has claimed, into a job action that’s guaranteed to be against their best interests and that would likely get them fired."

Read more here: http://www.qando.net/

"Hamas will see to that"

Charles Krauthammer's latest column in The Washington Post traces the history of the Hamas aggression toward Israel. "Israel wanted nothing more than to live in peace with this independent Palestinian entity. After all, the world had incessantly demanded that Israel give up land for peace."

"It gave the land. It got no peace."

"The Gaza Palestinians did not reciprocate. They voted in Hamas, who then took over in a military putsch and turned the newly freed Palestine into an armed camp from which to war against Israel. It has been war ever since."

"Interrupted by the occasional truce, to be sure. But for Hamas a truce — hudna — is simply a tactic for building strength for the next round. It is never meant to be enduring, never meant to offer peace."

Read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-why-was-there-war-in-gaza/2012/11/22/c77582e8-3412-11e2-bfd5-e202b6d7b501_story.html

Flash mobs for safety of children

Here's a good idea. Can we create flash mobs for safety when we see a parent about to lose it with his or her child? Maggie McCann Pike writes in The Denver Post that a stick of gum may be a starting point to get a parent to relax.

"A short time later, at dusk, I was walking to my car outside King Soopers. Suddenly, a sharp screech pierced the air. "Get over here, you [expletive] brat." The child protested, the mother screamed louder. She yanked his arm and threw him into the car before reaching for the second child, fury warping her face.

My heart was pounding, but I planted myself in the middle of the parking lot and faced her dead-on, furtively slipping the gum from my purse. Soon, another customer got out of his car and positioned himself in plain view. Then another and another appeared out of nowhere, like a hallelujah flash mob.

Within minutes, a posse of seven people encircled this woman, each one of us ready to use whatever "gum" we had to rescue a child if needed. There was not a word spoken among us, but it was clear this woman was not going to get away with hurting her children as long as we were around. Regrettably, we weren't able to change the core problem; all we could do was our best in that moment. And we did.

Talk of remaking our social service agencies to better protect our children abounds. But how about this: Can we gather together as humankind and serve as an important branch of protective services for kids?"

Read more: A flash mob for safety - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_22045100/flash-mob-safety#ixzz2DH8BpJ7P

Americans' "relentless pursuit of obesity"

Rich Tosches writes a hilarious column today in the Denver Post about the possibility that Americans may be losing the aid of Twinkies in their "relentless pursuit of obesity."

"When Twinkies hit the news last week — the chilling possibility that Americans' relentless pursuit of obesity might suffer a setback — it took me back to a day long ago, a stifling hot summer day in southern New England when I jumped off my bike and ran happily into my boyhood home, a slingshot in my back pocket, a live frog in my left hand, and half of a yellow sponge cake in my right hand, the telltale white creamy filling clinging to my lips and nose."

"My mother was in the kitchen creating her meatloaf masterpiece for supper that night as I burst in and shouted in childish excitement, "Mommy, mommy! Me getted some Twinkies at the store!"

"I can still see with great clarity the look on my mother's face that day as she turned, slowly wiped her hands on a dish towel and said to me, "For the love of God, you're 42 years old. Do you have any idea how disappointed we are with you?"

Read more: Tosches: Aren't Ding Dongs in Congress? - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_22045104/arent-ding-dongs-congress#ixzz2DH4oRWN4

It's about intensity, execution, and people, as well as principles

Are you a sore loser? If so, you truly are a loser, says John Andrews today in the Denver Post. "Political party animals who rebound from a loss with humility, humor and honesty. Happy warriors who take a setback in stride, undaunted yet undefensive. Those are the comrades I'll share a shell-shocked foxhole with. The authors of anguished obituaries for America and the GOP need not apply."

"But at no point in this perspective-recovering process, the instructions warned, should a shaken GOP entertain the temptation of abandoning its 150-year fidelity to individual liberty and personal responsibility, limited government and rule of law, free enterprise and private property, human rights and moral truth as gifts from God — the principles in America's founding documents — first voiced by my party in behalf of the African slave."

"This country doesn't need, in other words, two liberal parties. Nor does it need a quixotic third party, a neo-Confederate secession craze, or a John Galt-dropout movement. It needs the Republican Party to continue our historically indispensable and resiliently effective role as the conservative party for these United States."

"Had the GOP, me included, often forgotten that politics is about people no less than principles? Was the other side's edge in intensity and execution, securing re-election for Obama, baggage and all, partly our fault? Who could be to blame for the tarnished Republican brand but us?"

"I'm betting that 2014 and 2016 will prove the reports of conservatism's demise, like that of Mark Twain, to have been greatly exaggerated."

I, for one, would really like Andrews to expound further on his comments that it's about people, as much as about principles, and about his comments that the other side had an edge in intensity and execution.

Read more: John Andrews - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/andrews#ixzz2DGwXlfVe

Holmes is a pitiful victim

James Holmes may be talking with other inmates about his massacre of innocent movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado. He allegedly told one inmate that "he felt like he was in a video game" during the shooting, that "he wasn't on his meds" and "nobody would help him." He says Holmes also mentioned NLP -- presumably, neuro-linguistic programming, a much-scorned and outmoded approach to psychotherapy -- and claimed to have been "programmed" to kill by an evil therapist.

"I didn't know who he was," (inmate) Unruh explains. "I could hear some black dudes yelling from the other side, 'You're a piece of shit! Kill yourself!' I had been in prison before, so they said, 'Tell this dude he's not going to be all high and mighty on the prison yard.'"

Unruh says he began talking to Holmes, explaining how poorly child killers are received in prison. Jail staff quickly covered the window in Holmes' cell door with a tarp, but Unruh says he heard him pounding on the wall with his fists -- and then running, slamming his body and his head into the wall. (Unruh described this action in an interview that took place several days before Holmes reportedly engaged in similar headbanging last week.)

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/11/james_holmes_inmate_confession_suicide_aurora_theater_shooting.php

Social workers removed children from family who belongs to the wrong party

Social workers in Britain have removed children from a family that belongs to a group that wants Britain to withdraw from the European Union and favors immigration curbs. "Social workers said they were concerned that the children's "cultural and ethnic needs" may not be met in the foster family."

You think it couldn't happen here?

Read more: UK political dispute over foster kids' removal - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_22059369/uk-political-dispute-over-foster-kids-removal#ixzz2DGlLx0NW

Don't try to run, pass, or kick it against this guy!

The next Dick Butkus has arrived! My grandson Ryan plays defensive tackle for the un

defeated Georgetown, Texas Eagles football team. In college he'll probably switch to linebacker and follow in the Butkus tradition. I am very proud of him and of his mom, who had her own outstanding achievements in basketball and volleyball, as well as being an outstanding human being.

Here are some of Ryan's stats: Height: 6'1" Weight: 240 Age: 17 Prim. Position: DT 40 Yard Dash: 4.8 5-10-5 Shuttle: 4.21 Bench Press: 305 Squat: 505 Vertical: 33

Update: Here is something Ryan has recently written: "How I am involved in service in my community and why these efforts are important to me: Football is not only a sport, it is a way of life and almost a religion in Texas! It brings the community together by giving us a common cause, and it can heal cities where there are dividing lines. I give back to my community every chance I get through serving in Meals on Wheels deliveries, Merry Christmas with Love, mission trips to help the poor, and cleaning local apartments for the elderly. I serve through my local youth group at church, which is it like a second family. I am in PALS at school which is a mentoring program for elementary school students. My community is important to me because there are hundreds of little kids that look up to me.

Athletes are often leaders on and off the field. One example of how I have demonstrated leadership in both areas: The various responsibilities and leadership roles that I hold in my school, team, church, family life, and community have molded my people management skills. For instance, it takes a great deal of time and planning to put together a Monday night service at FCA. Learning how to motivate people and tap into their strengths for the betterment of a program is a valuable skill. People management skills are essential, especially when involving a team. My various leadership roles off the field have helped me be a better team captain this year as a Senior.

How I pursue "healthy athletic performance" as a student-athlete: One of today’s major impediments to the successful development of young student athletes is underage drinking. Underage drinking imposes significant risks to young adults’ physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being. I have seen many personal examples of young adults from strong families who fall victim to alcohol abuse. Underage drinking can cause physical damage to the person, a poorer quality of life, and sometimes even death. The risk of addiction is also a very real threat with substance abuse of any sort. These are all reasons that I, as a young adult, have committed to avoid alcohol completely."

Now do you see why I am so proud of this young man?

Obamacare: private doctors becoming a thing of the past?

Dr. Peter Weiss writes at PJ Media about the effects of Obamacare on doctors. "If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud."

"Obamacare has a 23% cut in Medicare reimbursement to doctors and hospitals. These lower payments won’t cover the cost of staying in practice to take care of the patient. Private doctors are becoming a thing of the past. By 2014, less than 25% of physicians will be in private medicine. Obama was right in stating you can keep your doctor if you want to — the problem is he or she will rarely be available."

Read more here: http://pjmedia.com/blog/a-physicians-new-reality-patients-ask-me-to-break-the-law/?singlepage=tru

hat tip Darleen at Protein Wisdom

Now racial discrimination is okay?

Hans Bader writes at Open Market that "On Thursday, a federal appeals court, dividing along ideological lines in an 8-to-7 ruling, struck down a provision of the Michigan state constitution prohibiting racial preferences in state college admissions, in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Michigan."

"Voters added Article 1, Section 26 to the Michigan State Constitution in 2006, to ban racial discrimination and preferences in government contracts, employment, and education. The appeals court declared that it violated the federal Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause for a state to require its state universities to treat students equally regardless of race, and to drop racial preferences in college admissions. (The University of Michigan has a history of discriminating against whites and Asians in admissions; in 2003, the Supreme Court struck down its undergraduate admissions policy, while upholding its law school admissions policy.)"

Read more here: http://www.openmarket.org/2012/11/19/liberal-judges-equality-is-unconstitutional/

Hat tip: Maggies Farm

"No Sex? Permission to speak freely, sir"

Laura Cannon writes in the Washington Post about West Point, and her deployment to Iraq in 2003: "I had no idea that a combat zone would be such a sexually charged environment. Blame it on amped-up testosterone pouring out of aggressive, athletic men. Or blame it on combat stripping even the strongest of men and women down to their core, raw emotions. Combine that with forming special bonds with comrades who promise to do whatever it takes to ensure your safe return home, including sacrificing their life for yours. What do you think happens?"

"Beneath the heavy combat gear and impressive uniform, we’re human, just like you."

Read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/no-sex-permission-to-speak-freely-sir/2012/11/23/c0232650-3433-11e2-bfd5-e202b6d7b501_story.html

Hat tip: Maggie's Farm

Purple mountain majesty

Dr. Mercury at Maggie's Farm does a re-post today of a trip he made to Colorado. The place he describes is very near where I live. From the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where I took Greg, Jon, and Sara this year, he writes of the view: "The red mountains burn to a deep purple majesty in the sunset. You look down from six thousand feet upon the heart of the continent, the great food belt from Kansas to the Mississippi; the fruited plain. The Bald Eagle, king of birds, soars above it all. He lands, and with a great rustling of feathers from his huge wingspan, settles down in front of you. All the power and wisdom and strength of America is right there before you."

"Colorado Springs is in a beautiful, natural basin surrounded by true purple mountain majesty. As in the song."

I live on the high plains northeast of the area he is describing. I do just have one quibble with his description of the area. In contrast to Pikes Peak, it does look like the plains are flat as a pancake. They aren't though. The area where I live is more accurately described as rolling hills; lots of them!

If you have never been to Colorado, I urge you to do so. I hope I never take for granted its amazing beauty.

Read more about Dr. Mercury's trip to Colorado here: http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/13904-Colorado-Travelogue.html#extended

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Who the f#ck are you?"

Penn and Teller perform in this video documentary about Walmart hatred. They strip bare Walmart's critics, although Penn claims to be sort of a Target guy himself. Warning: some rough language and partial nudity. found here: http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/2012/11/penn-teller-on-wal-mart-hatred-video.html

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grace and gratitude

Ann Voskamp quotes Karl Barth: "“Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.

Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo.

Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening.”

Read more here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/11/the-one-holiday-that-god-demands-is-all-of-our-days/

Thankful for my job

There are union-organized efforts underway this week to boycott Walmart, Papa Johns, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Applebees, and Red Lobster. I am thankful I have a job at one of those places, and I am leaving for work in a few minutes.

Suppressing free speech in the name of civil rights

Eugene Volokh has written a wonderful paper on freedom of speech. Here are some excerpts.

"As I said at the outset, I firmly support the free speech, religious freedom, and property rights of Muslims. My concern is simply that all speakers and religious observers be protected, whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim, or pro-Islam or anti-Islam. Nor does this need to be difficult: The government should tell Muslims (as it tells other groups), “We respect you and your rights, and we will defend you and your rights from violence and government oppression, but if you find certain kinds of speech offensive you should respond with speech of your own; we cannot respond by trying to suppress such speech.”

But the government ought not try to define political and religious speech as “discrimination” or “harassment,” and then suppress it in the name of civil rights. Nor should the government conclude that the speech is stripped of protection because it is supposedly constitutes “hate speech”; the Supreme Court’s precedents solidly reject the view that there is a “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment. Nor should it surrender to the threat of violence, a course of action that only encourages more such threats in the future. Instead, the government should protect the civil rights of all, regardless of their religion or ideology.

Some foreign countries, to be sure, do indeed seem to prohibit speech that is perceived as blasphemy or undue criticism of religion — not just Islam but also, for instance, Christianity: Consider, just over the last two years, foreign incidents involving Jesus Christ Superstar, a parody of the venerated Greek Orthodox monk Elder Paisios, mockery of the Bible, and a painting of Jesus with a Mickey Mouse head. But in America, such speech is of course fully protected against government suppression. That must remain so, whatever religion is targeted.

Read much more here: http://www.volokh.com/2012/11/09/u-s-commission-on-civil-rights-testimony-on-the-first-amendment-and-anti-muslimanti-islam-speech/

Getting High on the Tenth Amendment and Federalism

Jon Caldera sees some reasons to be happy that Coloradans voted to legalize pot smoking. "I am looking forward to owners and customers of pot businesses opening their eyes (if they can pry their baked eyes open) to how abusive regulation destroys what they are trying to build.

First, we finally have a state-rights issue that the Left can, must and will understand and fight to preserve. Here’s the second little prize in Amendment 64. Legalized pot MIGHT force some on the Left to face their hypocrisies, like their confusion on property rights and freedom of association.

Let’s channel our best Voltaire: I disagree with your decision to legalize pot, but I’ll defend to the death your state’s right to do it.

Read more here: http://www.peoplespresscollective.org/

Did you remember to wash the cat?

found here: http://callofthepatriot.blogspot.com/

Greta VanSustern to Obama Administration: "Grow Up!"

Greta VanSustern thinks the Obama administration should GROW UP! Furthermore, she says on Benghazi they are "cagey and not giving the straight story." Greta adds, "The American people deserve the facts, they deserve the truth. The Administration is acting in a disgraceful manner." Read the whole thing here: http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/2012/11/21/time-for-obama-administration-to-grow-up-they-are-trying-to-punish-fox/

Thanks-LIVING

Ann Voskamp reminds us today that the "giving" in giving thanks is a verb, something that we do: that our thanks-giving might literally become thanks-LIVING. She is the author of the book, One Thousand Gifts, and the blog, A Holy Experience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rubio and Jindal first out of the gate

Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal make moves with an eye on 2016: http://pjmedia.com/blog/2016-rubio-jindal-reach-for-lead-position-in-the-first-lap/2/

Turkeys seeking revenge!

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/11/21/turkey-complaints-on-the-rise-in-brookline/

via http://pacoenterprises.blogspot.com/2012/11/an-oppressed-minority-fights-back.html

Confronting anti-America protesters

vwbug at One Happy Dog Speaks offers this for her Humor for Wednesday column:

Here’s a quote from a government employee who witnessed a recent interaction between an elderly woman and an antiwar protester.

There were protesters at the grocery store handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. There was an elderly woman behind me and a young (20-ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined. The young protester put her hand on the old woman’s shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice the young lady said, “Lady, don’t you care about the children of Iraq?”

The old woman looked up at her and said: “Honey, my father died in France during World War II, I lost my husband in Korea, and a son in Vietnam .. All three died so a witch like you could have the right to stand here and badmouth our country. If you touch me again, I’ll stick this umbrella up your rear and open it.”

~ God Bless America ~ I love getting old

http://onehappydog.us/2012/11/humor-for-wednesday-204

"What moral universe do we live in?"

Andrew McCarthy writes at The Corner, "It’s amusing to read (in Patrick’s update) that the Israeli government has agreed, as part of the “ceasefire,” to stop the “targeting of individuals.” What moral universe do we live in where Hamas launches hundreds of missiles and sets off bombs the intent of which is the mass homicide of civilians, yet what the world is whipped up about is Israel’s targeted assassination of the jihadist leaders who direct the mass homicide of civilians?"

"If you’re actually concerned about human rights, Israel’s approach, targeting the terror chiefs in order to minimize civilian casualties (notwithstanding that Palestinian civilians are the ones who voted to put Hamas in charge), compares quite favorably to Hamas’s intentional targeting of civilians and its storage of military assets in and around civilian infrastructure — guaranteeing that there will be Palestinian civilian casualties when Israel inevitably reacts to Hamas’s relentless provocations. If Israel is not going to target the terrorist leaders — who then have license to orchestrate mass-murder attacks with impunity — what is it going to target?"

"There are no ceasefires other than in the diplomats’ Islamophilic imaginations. Hamas is at permanent, existential war with the Jewish state. So are the region’s other Islamists. These “ceasefires” are just periodic lulls that allow Islamists to catch their breath and rearm for the jihad’s next round, while the diplomats browbeat Israel into more concessions — assuring the jihadists that their barbarism works. The war will continue until one side decisively wins, meaning the other decisively loses. With all that is stacked against them, with the perverse way the supposedly civilized world averts its eyes from the unabashed savagery of Israel’s enemies, it is a marvel that Israelis remain so strong and so decent."

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/333882/ceasefire-andrew-c-mccarthy

Nixon's tapes, Clinton's semen, Obama's ?

Neo-Neocon asks, "By the way: are there any White House tapes? No one’s ever asked, although it would be an interesting question. I doubt the answer would be “yes.”

What’s more, Democrats would never turn on Obama, even if there was a literal smoking gun and it was discovered that Obama murdered the ambassador himself. Yes, I know he didn’t (that’s for the trolls among you), but just try to imagine what sort of offense would be enough to get the Senate to vote to convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors. Difficult, isn’t it?

http://neoneocon.com/2012/11/20/who-changed-the-benghazi-talking-points-smoking-guns-then-and-now/

The media's role in the Benghazi scandal

Add Peter Wehner's voice to Victor Davis Hanson's in assessing the state of affairs re: Benghazi. Wehner focuses more on the role of the media. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/11/20/the-medias-benghazi-scandal/

"We witnessed a massive failure at three different stages. The first is that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and others asked for additional protection because of their fears of terrorist attacks. Those requests were denied—and Mr. Stevens became the first American ambassador to be murdered in more than 30 years, along with three others. The second failure was not assisting former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty when they were under attack (both were killed). The third failure was that the administration misled the American people about the causes of the attack long after it was clear to many people that their narrative was false."

Yet with a few honorable exceptions—Fox News being the most conspicuous—the press has shown no real appetite for this story.

Bill Whittle for President!

Watch the whole thing. It gets better and better!

http://blip.tv/davidhorowitztv/bill-whittle-6444929

Preposterous, but preferable to the inconvenient truth

Victor Davis Hanson sums up what we have learned so far about Benghazi, and what will likely happen next. "Unlike in the cases of Watergate and Iran-Contra, there is no investigative press, given the media’s worry about endangering the second-term agenda of a progressive president. There is no special prosecutor salivating after a government official, as there was with Scooter Libby. “The fog of war” and accusations of “Conspiracy theory!” should be enough to bury the scandal and discredit those who seek the truth. Modifying a CIA analysis for political purposes is probably no crime. Quid pro quos are simply the polite, everyday — and legal — Washington version of blackmail. In the end, the only casualties in this sordid tale were the sterling career of David Petraeus — and four murdered Americans whose deaths were preventable."

Read the whole thing here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/333696/oh-what-tangled-web-victor-davis-hanson

War in Gaza and Israel

https://twitter.com/MzRebecca06/status/271256193106849792/photo/1

A liberal rabbi responds to criticisms of Israel

Rabbi Bill Berk is a liberal Jew who retired from his large Reform congregation in Phoenix to lead educational cultural tours in Israel. He received a letter recently from a friend who had the following criticisms of Israel: "1. Israel has its boot on the neck of Gaza in too many ways; 2. Nothing will stop Hamas rockets--you can’t kill your way out of the mess in the Middle East; 3. Netanyahu is like George Bush—a thoughtless bully. He is jerking us like “political poodles on a leash.” In other words he is manipulating the Israeli people including thoughtful people like me; 4. Israel is losing all its friends except for right wingers and the “Christian Tea Party.”

Berk's response: "As to the weeks leading up to this mess see Ethan Bronner’s New York Times piece (November 19, 2012) on Israel needing to stop the supply chain from Iran to Gaza. We cannot live with a hostile entity on our border—right on our border—that is receiving and using bigger and deadlier weapons from Iran. The United States couldn’t live with a nuclear armed Cuba 90 miles away from Florida. What a relief it would be if Gaza was 90 miles away! Tel Aviv is 52.9 miles from Gaza. Jerusalem is 51.5 miles from Gaza. A million Israelis are less than 40 miles from Gaza. Regardless of whether Israeli foreign policy is liberal or conservative, creative or stupid, having people on our border, that incredibly close, who are up front about seeking to destroy us and who are shooting bigger and bigger weapons at us—this is not intelligent. The threat of course exists of even deadlier weapons coming into Gaza as it gets easier and easier for Gaza to import weaponry directly from Iran. The United States was willing to risk nuclear war to eliminate the Cuban threat! Israel is willing to risk a little political capital to eliminate the Hamas threat. So it doesn’t matter how intelligent or sensitive Jabari was—he was in charge of this weapons pipe line."

As for your other arguments:

1.

Israel has its boot on Gaza. In a symbolic sense this is correct—the Palestinian people are under occupation and life is not pleasant. Gaza Palestinians, however, are free to do anything except fly out of an airport, travel to Israel, and import weapons by sea. With Egypt now opening up to Gaza they have free access to Egyptian controlled Sinai. When we pulled out of Gaza we hoped they would build a paradise, build up what could be an incredible tourist industry, create farms and factories, and build a new paradigm for Palestinian life. Needless to say this has not happened. Hamas took over in a violent coup. It is one thing to call Hamas a bunch of thugs (as you do in your letter) but it is another thing to draw conclusions from that fact. Israel speaks and acts from the place of Western democratic values. Hamas speaks and acts from the place of a fanatic Islamic ideology which interprets every Israeli kindness as a sign of weakness. In the last few days we have been sending trucks into Gaza full of food and medical supplies and to Hamas this is proof of our softness and vulnerability. Were we to respond to Hamas from the place of thuggery we would have by now killed tens of thousands of Gazans. That is not who we are.

2.

Nothing will stop Hamas rockets—you can’t kill your way out of the mess in the Middle East. It may be true that ultimately political, diplomatic, and perhaps even spiritual activism will be the only thing that can stop the rockets. However, in the meantime, military action can reduce the pain and suffering that comes from Hamas shooting rockets at us. It may be that the call of the hour is for great diplomatic creativity. I, myself, think Israel should offer a 30 year cease-fire that cannot be broken by Hamas. (Some Hamas activists have argued for a short cease fire that can be broken if they offer a verbal warning.) In the absence of such creativity I cannot in good conscience disagree with a policy that seeks to destroy the rockets and those who fire them at us. Furthermore it is not clear that military action won’t do the trick. Military action worked against the Germans and the Japanese. Sometimes military action does work. Our 1962 naval blockade disarmed Cuba.

My biggest criticism of my government here is its abysmal failure to be creative—creative with Hamas, creative with the Palestinians, creative with the settlers. But that does not mean I cannot support what might turn out to be short-term solutions. Since it is obvious, and you admit it, that no creativity will come from Islamic thugs, it must come from us. But that is no guarantee that such creativity will be successful. Prime Minister Barak and Prime Minister Olmert both made incredible, bold, creative diplomatic moves to end the occupation and Arafat and Abu Mazan refused to even take the offers seriously. I wish our current Prime Minister would be as creative but in the meantime we have to defend ourselves, even if that defense is short-termed.

3.

Netanyahu is like George Bush—a thoughtless bully. He is jerking us like “political poodles on a leash.” In other words he is manipulating the Israeli people including thoughtful people like me. This argument is the most cynical and painful, especially as it is personal (directed at me as well as the rest of my fellow stupid Israelis). I did not vote for Netanyahu. I do not like Netanyahu. But to suggest that he is manipulating the 86% of all Israelis who support what we have done in Gaza over the last week is a bit much. It is certainly possible that there is some political calculation in his decision to hit Hamas hard. But you need to know that Israelis are not easily manipulated. They are famously independent minded. Furthermore Netanyahu has not been trigger-happy in the last four years of leading the country. This is his first war and so far it has been waged with great care. So far there are very few civilian casualties. We have not turned off Gaza’s electricity. We have sent food. These are not the actions of a thoughtless bully. Some of his advisors are smart and compassionate people. He has acted modestly. Furthermore one can ask the question if sometimes manipulating a reluctant population into a war isn’t a good thing. Many accuse FDR of manipulating Pearl Harbor in order to drag Americans, kicking and screaming, into a war they didn’t want. Netanyahu didn’t have to drag us at all—we were all tired of hearing our friends and relatives in the south of the country complaining about living in shelters and stairwells.

4.

Israel is losing all its friends except for right wingers and the Christian Tea Party. We may be losing friends. It may be that the American left will go the way of the European left. It may be that Israel goes against the grain of American politics. After all, the results of this November’s presidential election seem to indicate that the power of the Christian right wing (which is very pro- Israel) is beginning to decline. Many look at Israel as a society stuck in primitive tribalism while the rest of the world becomes ever more like a global village. I would suggest another narrative. In a neighborhood that hates the global village, in a neighborhood that abhors pluralism, Israel is a thorn in the side of Arabs who hate this modern idea of tolerance for minorities. Please remember we are the minority in this part of the world. And what a colorful minority we are! Despite the racism that has seeped into our body politic in recent years this society is remarkably into the very values that the left supposedly stands for. We have a former President of our country in jail for sexual harassment. We have Tel Aviv voted the best city in the world for gay life. Following the earthquake in Haiti our army built a field hospital there in three days—it took America a couple of weeks to build another one. The world is a tough place. The good guys are not always rewarded. Look at how America bends its values and keeps its mouth shut in order to keep the Chinese happy. I’d like to be liked by the left. But long ago I learned that they may not always like me. As my mom put it when Black left-wing anti-semitism emerged in the late 60’s—“I have not changed but the country has changed.” What is left is not always so left. In the meantime, let’s do what we can to save life and to make our lives livable.

http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/21042-Dispatch-From-Israel-Liberal-Rabbis-Rebuttal-To-Criticism-Of-Israel.html#extended

A saving lifeline

Are you having a hard time with Thanksgiving this year? Ann Voskamp asks, "Who doesn’t breathe through wounds and grieve for what was or dreamed and isn’t? How do you sit around a table and bow your head in thanks when parts of this world and bits of you are somewhere crushed?"

And in the midst of genocides and suicides, the divorce and disease, the death and dark, we understand the yada all around us, the holding up of fists at God instead of extending the hand in thanks and we empathize with the unbeliever’s confusion, because it’s our own confusion, and in this struggle to be grateful to God for always and for everything, we pray with humble earnestness for the unbeliever: because before a Good God haven’t we all been been momentary unbelievers?

We won’t stop confessing He is good and we won’t stop thanking Him for grace and we won’t stop holding out our hands — and taking His hand. We won’t stop believing that “God is good” is not some trite quip for the good days but a radical defiant cry for the terrible days.

That “God is good” is not a stale one-liner when all’s happy but a saving lifeline when all’s hard.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/

A Thanksgiving memory

The Denver Post has an article today about pheasant hunting in N.W. Kansas. It brought back a wonderful memory.

Few things were more important to me as a teenager than getting my driver's license when I turned sixteen. Usually, when my dad asked me to go hunting with him, especially when it involved crawling on my hands and knees on snow-covered, wind-whipped ground in North Dakota to get to a slough, I had an important basketball practice for the next vitally important game, and, sorry Dad, I couldn't make the trip.

One time, though, Dad asked soon-to-be sixteen-year-old Bob to drive him and my Uncle Bud on a local pheasant-hunting trip on a dirt road through nearby Iowa cornfields. My Uncle Bud had been a tail gunner in World War II. He sat in the back seat of the family Buick. Dad was in the passenger seat.

Suddenly, Uncle Bud shouted at me to stop this go#*amn f#*king car NOW! He pointed his shotgun out the window at a poor helpless pheasant minding his own business on top of a cornstalk. BOOM! We had the beginnings of a Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, Bud had "issues," as the saying goes today, but wouldn't you have had "issues," too?

photo from Rick Dykstra, Special to The Denver Post

Happy Thanksgiving!

Come Clean, Mr. President!

The Denver Post, in the height of hypocrisy, today has an editorial urging the Obama regime to "Come Clean on the Events in Libya." The Post was silent on those events through the November 6 election, so no one would think ill of President Obama, and, therefore, cast a vote for Romney, whom the Post dubbed as "Me-too Mitt." http://bobagard.blogspot.com/2012/10/me-too-mitt.html

Update: Ace of Spades today has an outstanding essay entitled The Other Benghazi Scandal: The Media's Performance. Read it here: http://minx.cc/?post=335126

The Clueless Channel

Got a t.v.? Tonight the Discovery Channel will air a documentary entitled My Brother the Serial Killer. Mark Fuhrman tells Megyn Kelly in a Fox interview that in the future The Discovery Channel may be known more accurately as The Clueless Channel. Allegedly, Simpson paid the painter $20,000 to enter Nicole's house and steal two diamond earrings, and "kill the bitch" if necessary. Fuhrman asks how the serial killer was wearing O.J. Simpson's Bruno Magli shoes, Simpson's blood, cut Simpson's finger, took a glove that had everybody's blood on it, etc., etc., while Simpson is unable to account for where he was at the time of the murders.

Watch the Fuhrman interview here: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/11/21/source-oj-simpson-absolutely-loves-documentary-claiming-didnt-kill-ex-wife-ron/

A real go-getter

Today's Denver Post has a story about a man named William Costello, who has close ties to top Democrats. Under Katie's Law, he has been arrested on charges he is a serial rapist. Former Governor Richard Lamm had this to say about the man: "It just makes you shake your head," Lamm said. "He was the kind of guy that mothers would be so pleased to see their daughters walk off with on a date. He was tied in with some very prominent Colorado names who mentored him. We are in shock around here."

Lamm said Costello, as a young man, always seemed to be a go-getter, smart and articulate.

Do you know about Katie's Law? According to Wikipedia, Katie's Law, also known as the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2010, is a proposed federal law to provide funding to states to implement minimum and enhanced DNA collection processes for felony arrests. The proposed legislation encourages states to collect a sample through DNA profiling from individuals who are: arrested for, charged with or indicted for crimes involving murder, manslaughter, sexual assaults, and kidnapping or abduction. The collected samples are included in CODIS [1] which contains more than 5 million records and used by law enforcement agencies. DNA profiling is not the same as full genome sequencing and contains no genetic information. There are over 3 billion markers in the DNA molecule and only 13 of these markers go into CODIS. Wikipedia says that 24 states have passed Katie's Laws or similar statutes. Wikipedia says Katie's Law has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, but not Harry Reid's Senate.

But wait, the U.S. Supreme Court may soon rule on the legality of Katie's Laws. Watch this brief video:

Supreme Court may put Katie's Law in jeopardy

Costello story found here: http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_22038466?source=commented-

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missile defense systems

Remember how Ronald Reagan was ridiculed by the left when he espoused building missile defense systems? Israel is living proof of the worth of missile defense missiles. Here is a video of Israel's Iron Dome at work in their current defense against the terrorist rocket launchers in Gaza.

via Maetenloch at Ace of spades

A sign of progress...or of decline?

Ross Douthat writes in the New York Times that many Democrats assume their newly emerged majority is a sign of progress rather than decline. Douthat begs to differ.

"Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear."

"Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems."

"Douthat also writes about the growing number of unmarried mothers, the secular voters, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of their disconnection from community in general, and the fact that both parties are failing to understand the ecomonic difficulties we Americans are facing."

Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/opinion/sunday/douthat-The-Liberal-Gloat.html?hp&_r=2&

Risking an honest self-inventory

Christie Wampole writes in The New York Times about cultural changes in today's America.

"Prioritizing what is remote over what is immediate, the virtual over the actual, we are absorbed in the public and private sphere by the little devices that take us elsewhere."

"While we have gained some skill sets (multitasking, technological savvy), other skills have suffered: the art of conversation, the art of looking at people, the art of being seen, the art of being present. Our conduct is no longer governed by subtlety, finesse, grace and attention, all qualities more esteemed in earlier decades. Inwardness and narcissism now hold sway."

"What would it take to overcome the cultural pull of irony? Moving away from the ironic involves saying what you mean, meaning what you say and considering seriousness and forthrightness as expressive possibilities, despite the inherent risks. It means undertaking the cultivation of sincerity, humility and self-effacement, and demoting the frivolous and the kitschy on our collective scale of values. It might also consist of an honest self-inventory."

Read much more here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/how-to-live-without-irony/

Victims now outnumber oppressors in America

Victor Davis Hanson writes at PJ Media about our increasingly tribal society. The victims now outnumber the oppressors, says Hanson.

"Beneath all the pseudo-healing rhetoric, this is the divisive tool by which Barack Obama ran twice — the hyphenated African-, Latino-, gay-American re-election committees for Obama, the son who might have looked like Trayvon Martin, the people of color who had “the president’s back,” the nation of cowards, the country where we punish our ethnic enemies and fight against the police who all stereotype, in which Joseph Lowery tells us what particular race belongs in hell and Rev. Wright identifies whose chickens must come home to roost and the Rev. Jesse Jackson names the real segregationists who long for the Confederacy. Only in the hyper-racialist America can we take quite distinct Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and Chinese third-generation citizens and create from them the artificial rubric “Asian” in their shared antithesis to “white,” or take disparate Cubans and Mexicans and likewise reinvent them as identical Latinos, or take Jamaicans, Ethiopians, and American blacks and call them all “African-Americans” on the similar logic of not being something equally artificial like white — which I guess covers Americans who used to be Greeks, Irish, Armenians, Jews, Poles, and Danes."

Read more here: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/too-few-oppressors-too-many-victims/?singlepage=true

Monday, November 19, 2012

The culture war (or, more accurately, the war on culture)

Some excerpts from a Veterans Day post by Dr Bob at One Cosmos: "It's much easier to achieve the goals of the left by simply hijacking the educational system, the media, and the Supreme Court. Then, after having produced a couple generations of educated idiots and tenured apes, you will have won the culture war -- the war on culture -- without firing a single shot. No body is killed by a hostile enemy, and only the soul dies by its own hand."

"For there is, so to speak, a “left hand” faction of horizontality, groupishness, and rebellious pseudo-indvidualism; and a “right hand” faction of verticality, inwardness, and individual development.

Many consequences flow from this initial bifurcation of mankind. Right hand man, because he sees his earthly vocation in the journey toward vertical transcendence, masters himself and loves doing so. Because of this (super)natural vector, he doesn't require a heavy-handed government to compel him to do the right thing.

Vertical Man believes that our primary obligation is to defend man from himself -- that our greatest enemies and obstacles are from within -- whereas Horizontal Man believes that his primary obligation is to generate social conditions that allow a man to indulge his desires while remaining beneath himself. The burden of personal responsibility is mitigated, because one's being is determined by accidental factors such as race, class and gender, rather than one's owns values, decisions, and actions.

The left cannot help aligning itself with movements -- no matter how vile or evil -- that further this goal of overturning Western Values, which is to say universal virtues.

Ultimately, radical secularism fails as a religion because it has no God, only demons: George Bush, Christian fundamentalists, Israel, tax cuts for the rich, waterboarding, Halliburton, Fox News, Abu Ghraib, corporate profits, disparities in wealth, strict constructionists, parental notification, talk radio, and so many more.

So long as there are free individuals endowed by their Creator with an orientation toward the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, there will always be upward frontiers, not just horizontal edges. And there will always be something worth dying for. But only if we live up to the ideals worthy of such sacrifice."

What's going on with the Jesuits?

After banning Ann Coulter, a Jesuit college (Fordham University) invites a professor from Princeton to speak on a panel. He calls sex with animals "potentially satisfying." http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/17/after-barring-ann-coulter-from-campus-fordham-university-welcomes-infanticide-advocate-peter-singer/

Is homeschooling superior to public education?

Megan Fox writes at PJ Media, giving eight reasons why homeschooling is superior to public education. Here are some excerpts:

Almost all of our Founding Fathers, the most brilliant authors and orators of all time, were home-schooled. George Washingon, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt were all educated at home by a parent or a tutor. George Washington was taught by his older brother for a while before embarking on a self-taught course that led him to become a surveyor by the age of 16 and eventually the greatest general and leader in the nation.

Claude Monet (impressionist), Leonardo da Vinci (inventor and artist), Daniel Boone, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark (explorers), Robert Frost (poet), Helen Keller, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder (authors and lecturers), and Bach and Mozart (composers)… were all home-educated. They are just my favorites from a very exhaustive list of home-educated human beings who not only turned out okay, but changed the world.

If the curriculum you choose doesn’t work for your child, you can try something else, in the middle of the year if necessary. There are so many options for creative learning. If a child shows an interest in planes, for instance, she can learn about flight, the scientific principles of flight, and the history of planes. She can write about famous pilots, learn to fly a flight simulator, learn about birds and hollow bones, study Icarus, build a flying machine, visit a plane museum, talk to Airforce pilots …and that can last all year. During that year she would still be reading, writing, doing math, and learning history, science and art, but she would be immersed in a subject she loves and wants to know about instead of glossing over a paragraph about the Wright brothers in a textbook. This is true learning. I wish I had been able to learn like this! But here’s the best part: I get to do it all over again, and this time I’m going to enjoy it!

Read much more here: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/10/24/8-reasons-homeschooling-is-superior-to-public-education/

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"One of the biggest cover-ups of all time"

Judge Jeanine Pirro stays on task. No one is going to be able to get her off the track. Someone is going to be held accountable. The truth must be learned. "You either sent help, or you did not. You are either telling the truth, or you are not."

Ronald Reagan was the Peyton Manning of political quarterbacks

Thomas Sowell contrasts Ronald Reagan with the candidates Republicans have put forth since Reagan.

"The most successful Republican presidential candidate of the past half century — Ronald Reagan, who was elected and reelected with landslide victories — bore little resemblance to the moderate candidates that Republican conventional wisdom depicts as the key to victory, even though most of these moderate candidates have in fact gone down to defeat."

"One of the biggest differences between Reagan and these latter-day losers was that Reagan paid great attention to explaining his policies and values. He was called “the great communicator,” but much more than a gift for words was involved. The issues that defined Reagan’s vision were things he had thought about, written about, and debated for years before he reached the White House."

"Reagan was like a veteran quarterback who comes up to the line of scrimmage, takes a glance at how the other team is deployed against him, and knows automatically what he needs to do. There is not enough time to figure it out from scratch, while waiting for the ball to be snapped. You have to have figured out such things long before the game began, and now just need to execute."

"Very few Republican candidates for any office today show any sign of such in-depth preparation on issues. It seems unlikely that Governor Romney had time to learn about such things during this year’s busy election campaign. He was like a rookie quarterback with just a few seconds to try to figure out the opposing team’s complex formations before the ball is snapped."

"One of the secrets of Barack Obama’s success is his ability to say things that will sound both plausible and inspiring to uninformed people, even when they sound ridiculous to people who know the facts. Apparently he believes the former outnumber the latter, and the election results suggest that he may be right.

Iron Dome "locks in"

"The canary in the West's coal mine"

Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review, "Understand: This is not Hamas’s war of extermination against Israel. It is Islam’s." He points out that four of five Egyptians have voted to put Islamists in charge of their government, "just as Muslims have chosen to empower Islamists in Turkey, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Tunisia, as well as in Lebanon and Libya to a lesser but still consequential extent."

"This is how the Middle East’s Muslims see the situation. They are not Palestinians, Egyptians, Saudis, Iraqis, and so on. They are the ummah, the “Islamic nation.” For them, Gaza is not a regional dustup over parochial grievances. It is a civilizational struggle to be fought to the finish — the finish being when the enemy is vanquished. We used to fight wars that way, too. The fact that we’ve decided total victory by force of arms is a quaint concept does not mean everybody else has. Islamists define victory in the Middle East as the annihilation of Israel. That is the ambition of the region, not just of Hamas. Our government’s decades-old claim that the aggression results from a “perversion of Islam” weaved by a fringe of “violent extremists” is dangerously delusional."

"Delusion, of course, is nothing new. For 30 years, ever since the Carter administration hailed Ayatollah Khomeini as a “saint,” willful blindness has been the order of the day. It induced the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations to insist that Islam was a “religion of peace” even as scripture-citing Islamists repeatedly mass-murdered Americans. But Barack Obama is something else again. This president has supplanted conscious avoidance of our enemies’ ideology with empathy. Our government no longer just ignores Islamist goals; it affirmatively empowers Islamist factions."

"It has been only eleven days, but we’re already seeing the wages of November 6. The world has become a much more dangerous place, and not just for Israelis."

Read more here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/333595/along-comes-hamas-andrew-c-mccarthy?pg=2

Contrast 2012 with 1980

Remember when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and Iran immediately released the hostages? Contrast that with 2012. As soon as the election results are in, Hamas, using weapons supplied by Iran, begins attacking Israel.

May you have joy in your life today!

An Ode to Joy flashmob!

I found it here: http://mostlycajun.com/wordpress/?p=19472

Haughty hater of American troops

John Kerry is being considered for a cabinet post in the second Obama administration; Secretary of State, perhaps, or perhaps even Secretary of Defense! Here is an interview conducted with him by Jason Mattera of the Young Americans for Freedom.

found here: http://moonbattery.com/?p=21172

"Never give in. Never, never, never!"

Some advice for people who voted for Romney. Winston Churchill: "Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." (1941)

found here: http://www.michaelbrowntoday.com/2012/11/where-do-we-go-from-here/

2012 Election Results

found here: http://www.michaelbrowntoday.com/2012/11/america-balkanized/

In it for the duration

Bill Whittle discusses our catastrophic election.

Now guaranteed: Obamacare, more political hacks appointed to the Supreme Court, rising taxes, unimaginable debt, useful idiots to cover up misdeeds, socialism, cannibalism.

I found it here: http://www.michaelbrowntoday.com/2012/11/cannibals/

The Reagan Diaries

This picture of Ronald Reagan pardoning a turkey, who shows its appreciation by fluffing its wings, reminds me to write about how much I am enjoying reading The Reagan Diaries edited by historian Douglas Brinkley. I am finding it a fascinating glimpse into the man, Ronald Reagan. Every once in a while his sense of humor catches me by surprise, and I laugh uproariously for a few minutes. He was a true man of faith and convictions, who loved his God, his country, and his wife. I am glad he decided to keep a diary.

photo found at http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/107104