Saturday, November 30, 2013

Attempting to box in Israel

Mark Steyn writes about the American surrender to Iran in Geneva:

Many pundits reached for the obvious appeasement analogies, but Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argued that Geneva is actually worse than Munich. In 1938, facing a German seizure of the Sudetenland, the French and British prime ministers were negotiating with Berlin from a position of profound military weakness: It’s easy to despise Chamberlain with the benefit of hindsight, less easy to give an honest answer as to what one would have done differently playing a weak hand across the table from Hitler 75 years ago. This time round, a superpower and its allies accounting for over 50 percent of the planet’s military spending was facing a militarily insignificant country with a ruined economy and no more than two to three months’ worth of hard currency — and they gave it everything it wanted.

Obama and Kerry have not only taken a U.S. bombing raid off the table, they’ve ensured that any such raid by Israel will now come at a much steeper price: It’s one thing to bomb a global pariah, quite another to bomb a semi-rehabilitated member of the international community in defiance of an agreement signed by the Big Five world powers. Indeed, a disinterested observer might easily conclude that the point of the plan seems to be to box in Israel rather than Iran.

Outrageous!

A Canadian disabled woman purchased tickets for a flight to New York and a Caribbean cruise sponsored by the March of Dimes. But a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent with the Department of Homeland Security denied her entry into the United States, because he had access to her medical records, which showed that she had been hospitalized in 2012 for treatment of depression. She is paraplegic. How the hell did the United States have access to her medical records? Read the whole disgusting story here.

Thanks to Instapundit for providing the link to this awful story.

A pampered, unchallenged mind

Ed Rogers writes,

The president’s belief that little of what he does is ideologically driven suggests he is living with a pampered, unchallenged mind. He has been told he is so smart for so long that he sees only clarity in his actions and unchallengeable reason in his conclusions. The president’s belief in his own intellect makes him think that whatever he does is simply the only thing a thinking person would do. Nothing ideological about that. And as president, he is constantly flattered, and his confidence that his analysis and conclusions are superior to others is readily reinforced. Presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett tells us that Obama has been “bored to death his whole life.” Perhaps she is onto something. I guess there is something ho-hum and tiresome about being right all the time.

After about five years as president, it is unlikely he will change his modus operandi. In fact, given all we have observed about Obama, it is safe to say that he cannot adapt and will never be able to produce win-win outcomes among competing interests and ideologies. For anything to get done, others must manage around him, rather than think he can become the conductor of our political symphony.

Krauthammer: Bush won the Iraq war; Obama squandered away the fruits of the victory

Wildly flourishing, or just grinding along?

Megan McCardle writes about the widening distance between the elites and the rest of us.
This widening distance hits us in an uncomfortable place. We are okay with there being a top and bottom of the ladder -- but it should be a ladder, with plenty of rungs to climb, and places to rest if you’re tired of climbing. Most of us don’t want to live in a country that has only two classes, top and bottom. Especially if the top is wildly flourishing, while the bottom is just sort of grinding along.

The greatest Gift

Friday, November 29, 2013

Al Gore: In the top one percent of carbon footprints

I am glad to see that Scott Ott has revved up his writing production at Scrappleface. Today he has the scoop on Al Gore's decision to become a vegan:

Former Vice President Al Gore’s decision to become a vegan because of the impact of meat production on global climate change has apparently worked, according to scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

“Recently, we have observed massive growth of Antarctic sea ice,” said an unnamed climate researcher, “and the decades-long warming trend has stalled, or perhaps reversed itself. Until now, we assumed these were part of ordinary solar or jetstream cycles, but the news that Al Gore has stopped eating meat fully accounts for these observational phenomena.”

Although his switch to a vegan diet has halted the global warming trend, Mr. Gore acknowledges that giving up meat has been difficult, “like an amputee experiences pain in a ghost limb.”

“The most important thing after quitting meat,” Gore said, “is to find something to do with your hands, which have become habitually accustomed to grasping cuts of beef, and other sorts of rich, tender, succulent animal flesh.”

The Oscar, Nobel and Grammy-winning author and film-maker said his personal suffering is “all worth it, now that I know that I’ve actually saved Mother Earth, and that this isn’t just an empty gesture by a guy whose mansions, limos and jet travel still ranks me in the top one percent of carbon footprints on earth.”

Is this where we in America are headed?

Gawker has an article that is just breathtaking.

A mom who thought she was properly parenting by sending her two young kids to school with a homemade, whole-food lunch was shocked to find a penalty note from school officials informing her that the lunch of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, oranges and milk she provided was "unbalanced" and therefore had to be supplemented with Ritz crackers.

She was also fined $10.

Thanks to Moonbattery for linking to the Gawker article.

In defense of Black Friday

Recently I have excerpted articles by Peggy Noonan and Fred Reed. Noonan writes in that (former?) bastion of capitalism, the Wall Street Journal, lamenting the fact that Black Friday now begins for many large retailers at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Fred Reed laments the impact of advertisers on families and individuals.

As I look back on the events of the last two days, I would like to write something counter to their criticisms. I work in one of those big box stores. What I saw last night and today were many, many people who were very happy with the bargains they were able to obtain. Our store was well organized, customers were very orderly, and people were able to find great bargains.

Personally, I am in agreement with Fred Reed that advertisers have way too much impact on our society. Like I imagine Fred would do, I can and do turn off talk radio during the ads, rarely watch t.v., and avoid print newspapers. The newspapers are biased, and they sensationalize. If there were disorderly crowds in five Walmarts nationwide, what about the other one thousand Walmarts? Not newsworthy.

Peggy Noonan laments the fading away of religious and patriotic aspects of Thanksgiving. I have news for you, Peggy. as soon as the meal is eaten and the dishes washed, people have been watching football or movies on t.v., or playing video games for the last several years. Now mom and dad can actually do something fun and adventurous together, and save money on Christmas presents. It's a win-win. Retailers and their employees are better able to meet their financial obligations after this day and one-half of sales. Customers had a fun night, and are proud and happy with the bargains they obtained.

Peggy felt it was unfair that employees had to come in to work on Thanksgiving. She doesn't mention the bonuses and increases in wages paid during the two day sale. I don't need the sympathy of Peggy Noonan or any other bleeding heart liberal. What I need, and what I have, is a job!

Why did so many retailers move the beginning of Black Friday back to 6 p.m. on Thursday? Because the old system, requiring customers to get up at 4 a.m. to come in for the best bargains, was not convenient for either customers or employees. Under the scenario we saw this weekend, people could finish their meals and come out for some fun and adventure at the 6 or 8 p.m. sales. Shoppers who had saved money and planned their purchases by reading ads came away delighted at what they had purchased.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Do you really know anything about the turkey you are about to eat?

Since Americans will eat 46 million turkeys today, shouldn't we want to know something about turkeys? Here is a list of their characteristics, written by Jesse Hirsch at Modern Farmer:

Using the combined wisdom of an Ohio turkey farmer named Bill Karcher, a poultry researcher named John Anderson and some 4H essays written for children, let us provide you with some armchair insight into today's dinner.

Loneliness

It’s well-documented: Domesticated turkeys always want to hang out. Even if they have lots of space to roam, they’ll stick tight; Anderson calls it “flocking up.” Remove a turkey from his friends, he’ll squawk and make a scene. They’re not real choosy — Anderson has seen turkeys latch onto dogs or sheep in a pinch. He even has a turkey at home that trails him like a trained pooch.

Fear of Death

In the poultry industry, stories make the rounds about turkeys suffering heart attacks when their brethren head to slaughter. True or not, Karcher says that when a turkey dies in front of his flock, everyone else gets spooked. They all mope for awhile, eating less and avoiding the death site. Luckily they get over it after a few days. “They’re either really resilient, or they’ve got bad short-term memory,” Karcher says.

Growing Pains

Right around the age of adolescence, male turkeys start acting like punks. They seek attention in the most desperate ways, shoving each other around and generally being obnoxious. “It’s like teen humans,” says Karcher. “They don’t have the good judgment that comes with maturity.”

Motherly Love

Turkey hens are like most mothers in nature — mess with their babies and they’ll totally freak. Karcher says it can be no easy task to collect eggs during laying season. Typically docile hens have no problem rearing up and attacking a human. He says the male turkeys (toms) will also get in on the action. “You take an egg, they’re going to flog the crap out of you with their wings,” he says.

A Need to Be Heard

Do not mock the comical-sounding gobble — it’s a basic form of self-expression. It’s also only one of the noises turkeys make in a fairly complex arsenal of turkey communication. Turkeys possess a vast range of gobbles, clucks and yelps, with meanings ranging from “I’ll take you on, big boy” (Acker’s words) to “I’m lost” or”I’m just waking up for the day.”

A Tidy Mind

You’ve surely heard this one before — in a rainstorm, turkeys will supposedly crane their necks up and drown. This myth has been roundly disproven, yet it endures. Some claim it is the necessary folklore we use to justify mass turkey slaughter (i.e., it’s okay to kill dumb things). Dr. Karl Nestor suggests that turkeys aren’t dumb, but they do like a good rainstorm. It’s like a natural shower — Nestor says they want the rain to wash them clean. He may just be speculating, but turkeys are always preening and tamping down their feathers, and a not-quite-OCD display of hygiene.

Be thankful unto Him

Gerard Vanderleun posts today's Bible verse:

Psalm 100:4-5

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Blowing up Thanksgiving

Peggy Noonan remembers when Thanksgiving was

a national day of commonality, solidarity and respect.

Doesn't she realize Thanksgiving is the beginning of Black Friday? Yes, she does.

At least shoppers have a choice. They can decide whether or not they want to leave and go somewhere else. But the workers who are going to have to haul in to work the floor don't have a choice. They've been scheduled. They've got jobs they want to keep.

It's not right. The idea that Thanksgiving doesn't demand special honor marks another erosion of tradition, of ceremony, of a national sense. And this country doesn't really need more erosion in those areas, does it?

The rationale for the opening is that this year there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and since big retailers make a lot of their profits during that time something must be done. I suppose something should. But blowing up Thanksgiving isn't it.

Black Friday—that creepy sales bacchanal in which the lost, the lonely, the stupid and the compulsive line up before midnight Friday to crash through the doors, trampling children and frightening clerks along the way—is bad enough, enough of a blight on the holiday.

But Thanksgiving itself? It is the day the Pilgrims invented to thank God to live in such a place as this, the day Abe Lincoln formally put aside as a national time of gratitude for the sheer fact of our continuance. It's more important than anyone's bottom line. That's a hopelessly corny thing to say, isn't it? Too bad. It's true.

Oh, I hope people don't go. I hope it's a big flop.

Stay home, America.

Thanks to Gerard Vanderleun for the link to Peggy's column.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tomorrow is the beginning of Black Friday

You thought tomorrow was Thanksgiving day? How did we get to this point? Let Fred Reed explain.

Who is going to buy all the junk? Used to be, “production” meant making stuff that people needed. You know: food, clothes, hovels, corn whiskey. There was more demand than supply. Then production in these things, agriculture for example, caught up and everybody had enough to eat. Consequently production went into things people didn´t so much need as want: refrigerators, telephones, Model Ts. Of course pretty soon they came to think that they needed the things they wanted, but never mind. Still, there was more demand than supply. For a while.

Then production again caught up with demand, chiefly through automation. Since people now had everything they needed or wanted, the economy needed to sell them things they didn´t want. There was now more supply than demand, so industry demanded more demand, and advertising stepped in to supply the demand for more demand, the demand for advertising supplying…(this sentence may be getting out of control, but you see what I mean).

The main product of the economy soon became advertising. Twenty minutes of every television hour hosannahed the virtues of indistinguishable shampoos and miraculous toilet paper. Ads turned radio insufferable. Billboards made the big roads hideous. Computers groaned under the weight of spam and pop-ups and buses carried ads on three sides. Buy, buy, buy.

Ten ways to advance the Kingdom of Christ in this world

David Warren, devout Catholic and Canadian, has

ten specific practical suggestions, on how to advance the Kingdom of Christ in this world.

The first is, absolutely refuse to give obeisance to the various idols which the “politically correct” specially define, and then demand that we worship, such as “equality,” “fairness,” “human rights,” and the other specious abstractions to which they attribute a gnostic and mystical power. And symmetrically, refuse to worship in the temples of the gods of money and power and coolness.

Second, make conscious, reverent references to God — even to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — an audible part of our lives in the world, and love God in our hearts. Conversely, carefully avoid speaking of any divine thing in a cute or irreverent way.

Third, unfailingly attend the Mass, each Sunday, and daily where we can; and let the Mass do its work upon our souls. (Non-Catholics should likewise be punctilious in their own religious observances.) Let the enemy see our churches filled. Observe and participate in all other sacraments, which includes, for Catholic Christians, the crucial one of making a good Confession, frequently. In any event, prayerfully ask God’s forgiveness when we fail.

Fourth, defend our families, by keeping as aloof as possible from the bureaucracies of Nanny State. Do not neglect the needs of our parents in their time of sickness and old age; do not fail to instil in our children, by our own upright and sincere behaviour, the respect they owe to us as their parents.

Fifth, do not participate in any way in what a recent pope so eloquently described as “the culture of death.” Do everything in our power to streetproof ourselves and our children against its demands, and do not hesitate to spell out the basic facts of life, behind all life issues. Be sure our children understand them, and that they grasp the sanctity of all human life.

Sixth, reject sexual liberation in all its insidious forms. Do not even think about fornication and adultery. Truly respect and accommodate the opposite sex.

Seventh, be consistently honest and honourable in all business and social transactions, with everyone, regardless of race colour or creed, even when it must be at some cost to ourselves. Do not play with temptations to corruption. Yet, assiduously avoid being “holier than thou.”

Eighth, be truthful in speech, fair and even charitable in speaking of other people, and look constantly for whatever good we can find in them. Be encouraging rather than discouraging by habit, and most important, do not spread personal gossip and lies, even against our worst enemies, and even when we think they deserve it.

Ninth, be content with what we have in our family and religious life, make ourselves happy with the homes we have to return to, and do not look covetously upon the Joneses. Accept with humility our station in life; have ambitions, but make them unselfish.

Tenth, be content with our fate more generally, and trust in God to deliver His justice in the fullness of Eternity: “Thy will be done.” Take only what comes our way, including all knocks, and use what we have been given, including all talents and skills, generously to God’s glory. Indeed, give, according to our means, a little wildly. See and sympathize with need. And rejoice, always, in the life we are given, and in the knowledge that what we leave upon the face of time can only be our example.

What is the cost of being Christian?

David Warren, as it happens, is also thinking about Christians who deny Christ. He points out that 11 of the 12 disciples of Christ made themselves scarce during Christ's crucifixion. Only John and Christ's mother, Mary, remained at the foot of the cross. Yet, something happened to cause all of the rest of the apostles to die as martyrs in the name of Christ. The only one, in fact, to die of old age, was John!

What was the reason for their change of heart? The resurrection of Christ.

Warren made a journey to the Holy Land. He writes about it.

In Jerusalem, on the Dome of the Rock — sited very conspicuously right on top of what is almost certainly the Holy of Holies, within the ancient Temple precincts — is an inscription, in their earliest angular Kufic script, on what was also the earliest monument the Arabs caused to be erected in a conquered land, by impressed Byzantine labour. This inscription reads in its most significant part: “Praise to Allah who begets no son and has no associate in power and who has no surrogate for humiliations.” The point is sustained by repetition, together with the contrary assertion that Muhammad is God’s envoy and can alone provide intercession on the day when the Muslim community is resurrected; and the Muslim Jesus comes to throw all us stubborn Christians into Hell.

That is on the outside of the Dome. On the inside there is a further long inscription, which mentions Jesus and Mary by name; states that Jesus, too, was an envoy, and therefore no Son of God; declares that the religion of God is Islam, and that God will reckon with those who dissent. Nearly fourteen centuries have passed, since this direct challenge was laid down to the existence of Christianity; and indeed, we are living in the fallout of it today.

Yet we have today, at least in the more progressive and nominal Christians of North America and Europe, the curious notion that Christianity is compatible with Islam. That it is likewise compatible with all other religions. That it is compatible with a Darwinian cosmology, and therefore with atheist materialism. And that the Church becomes ever more “relevant,” the more we admit she is defunct. Defunct — and yet still outwardly turning over, and available at a discount, in the post-modern spiritual flea market. For she still has a certain decorative and nostalgic value.

The Church makes, for such people, a nice venue for a wedding; it may offer a bit of formal “closure” for a funeral. The building may be worth including on the architectural preservation list, since no one is ever going to build another like it. And that is all very nice, and it goes with sentimental thoughts on the teachings of that religion.

The whole thing may now apparently be reduced to a “bottom line.” It comes down to being nice to people, and trying not to notice if anyone is mean. It is about being open-minded, and accepting people as they are, unless of course they happen to be religious. Indeed, whatever else Christ may have done, according to this view, he reduced all the Ten Commandments to just One Commandment: that “you mustn’t judge people.”

It is true that moral relativism is a threat, that multiculturalism is a threat, along with feminism, homosexualism, environmentalism, repackaged socialism, and various other isms of the past and future. Each constitutes an attack upon, and implied alternative to, the Christian civilization that tickles under its exponents’ feet. But the reassuring thing about all of these quasi-religious belief systems, is that they are asinine. They can be used to attack, and to destroy; to express anger, and demand redress; but they cannot be used to build anything. They offer no credible inspiration; no excuse for being good or brave or honest; and finally, no truly convincing reason to get up in the morning.

To be shockingly brief, Islam suffered a major defeat some centuries ago, when it lost its superior military power. The religion has not been without real merits, and is still competitive against the atheist ideologies I have listed. Against an entirely de-Christianized West, it might well prevail, for it presents an account of the world, and a moral order, that is at least more plausible than anything the atheists have thought up. It has, for the moment, the demographic advantage of higher birthrates, and until recently fairly open immigration to a Europe which, for its part, has been intent on committing demographic suicide.

And it is quite reasonable to argue, that in the longer view of things, the very existence of anarchically violent forces within Islam, such as the death cults of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and revolutionary Iran, are a symptom of steep decline. When little is left to hold your religion together except the threat of death for apostasy, you are not, after all, in such a good position. There are diminishing returns as you hike up the threats; but if you withdraw them you may lose everything. Bad as things may seem for Christianity, when we look at the contemporary world from the least attractive angles, things look worse for the Muslims.

Our understanding of God is such, that we expect to find causation and order and sense, wherever we look in nature. And having looked for it, we have always found it.

Christ himself goes where he is wanted, and moves on from where he is unwanted.

The purpose of politics should be entirely negative — to provide remedies against specific evils that afflict all men. We may need police, we may need courts, we may need defences against potential invaders, we may need a few by-laws, especially in towns, and some readiness to cope with natural disasters. We need laws to prevent men from enslaving each other. We most certainly do not need laws to tyrannize and goad us towards some crackerjack plan for an earthly utopia.

The politics in Christian societies of the past were minimal. They will be minimal again if a Christian society is restored. The basic scheme is to keep the government out of people’s faces, and let them get on with their lives; while similarly preserving the independence of the Church, and the sanctuary she offers. These are the politics of “live and let live.” In the well-ordered commonwealth, the State is reduced to something almost decorative, and the ancient Catholic principle of subsidiarity — that problems are to be resolved by the smallest, lowest, and least centralized competent authority — becomes a way of life.

It is to an otherworldly Kingship we owe our deepest loyalty; not to a nation, nor to a race, nor to an ethnicity, let alone some jackboot punk, “dressed in a little authority.” The Church in her nature can represent no particular worldly interest. She serves no Caesar, and answers to no Parliament — only to Christ the King.

Through history the common people have often been vexed by tyrants; and in our time the ever-growing and ever-more-intrusive powers appropriated by the Nanny State have stripped us of many ancient freedoms. Each in turn is replaced with some novel, intrinsically dubious, and invariably non-Christian so-called “right” or special privilege: ranging from a mother’s right to kill her unborn child, to the pornographer’s right to corrupt public morals, to the fanatic’s right not to have his delicate feelings hurt. Indeed, all these new rights have required Orwellian inversions of language, to make an unambiguous evil smell like a plausible good. And, each is a “group right” — the essence of true fascism — designed to obviate hard-won individual rights, often going back beyond that very medieval Magna Carta.

Will our adversaries prevail?

I am fairly optimistic, however, that they lack both the opportunities and the skills to prevail in this. Ratcheting requires the virtue of patience, and confidence in uninterrupted power. It requires that you never push too far or too fast: for the most complacent frog will begin to react, if the temperature of his water rises too quickly. Our tormentors today are too impatient. Their tactics are unsound.

Under which circumstances, all that is required of us, is to stand our own ground, with greater patience, and greater courage, than our tormentors. A Catholic Christian civilization can be restored, over time, by the same methods that were used to create one in the first place — not by violence, and not by usurpation, but by consistently refusing to deny Christ. That is the trick the disciples used, at a time when Christians numbered only in the thousands. They recognized Christ as their King, and served like soldiers.

We must stop denying Christ in our lives; stop ignoring his Resurrection; stop recognizing any spiritual authority that is not Christ’s. Stop refusing to act at His command. Stop encumbering His way.

Words that shock

Remember when the first pope, Peter, denied that he was with Christ? Today Rush Limbaugh was reading an interpretation of recent remarks by Pope Francis, in which it is alleged that Francis was critical of "unfettered capitalism." That is not the same as denying Christ, but it is enough to get the attention of Rush Limbaugh, the world's greatest defender of capitalism. Later in the show Rush said that he was getting a lot of emails from listeners, saying that the Pope was being misquoted. Rush is going to look further into the matter and return to the subject at a later date.

Back to the issue of denying Christ. When you hear someone curse and say, "Jesus Christ," what do you do? Do you speak up and let the speaker know that you are with Christ? I cringe, but I don't usually confront the person.

What about when you hear someone say the word "nigger?" I heard someone do that recently. I find the term despicable. I was so shocked, but I didn't confront the person. The person was Jewish, and I had asked him what he thought of the deal with Iran. To my shock, he expressed hatred for Obama, and used the "n" word to refer to him. If Obama loses the Jews, he is losing his second most solid voting block, next to blacks.

Another friend of mine used the "n" word about a month ago. I did confront him and tell him my daughter is black, and that I was deeply offended by the term. He seemed shocked to be confronted. He is someone I had always thought of as having a good heart. He used the term as he was telling a joke. It is not a joke. It is shockingly stupid and insensitive.

State Senator resigns. Democrats stay in control of Colorado senate for now.

State Senator Evie Hudak is the woman in green in this video at a state senate hearing in Colorado. A rape victim argues for concealed carry on college campuses. Hudak tells her "statistics are not on your side."

Hudak became the object of a recall effort. You may know that two other Democrat gun control advocates have already been recalled this fall in Colorado, because of their roles in pushing new gun control legislation.

Recall organizers had until next week to come up with 18,000 valid signatures on a petition to recall Hudak. By resigning today, she beat them to the punch. If she would have been recalled, Republicans would have gained the majority in the state senate. Now, because she resigned, a Democrat committee will name her successor. That successor will have to face election in November, 2014.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that independent voters in Colorado oppose the new gun control laws 61% – 33%. Independent voters comprise one-third of Colorado voters. Democrats have one-third, and Republicans one-third. Nevertheless, Democrats control the legislature and the governor's office.

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Have you heard of the term "butt dialing?" I hadn't. Drudge has a story about a man who was butt dialed and heard his employer hiring a hitman to kill him!

Wikipedia describes butt dialing:

refers to the accidental placement of a phone call while a person's mobile phone or cordless phone is in the owner's pocket or handbag. The recipient of the call typically hears random background noise when they answer the phone. If the caller remains unaware, the recipient will sometimes overhear whatever is happening in the caller's vicinity. A pocket-dialed call can continue for many minutes, or until the recipient's voice mail system ends the call.

Typically, the call is caused by objects in a person's pocket or bag poking buttons on the phone. Because of typical sequences of button presses, the accidentally dialed number is often one that has been recently called from that phone, or one near the beginning or end of the phone's contact list.

Police have arrested the man who was trying to hire a hit man. The person who was arrested is a used car dealer in Arkansas.

What news stories shall we cover today?

Remember when a stripper hired to perform at a party of Duke University Lacrosse players in 2006 claimed that she was raped at the party? Sure you do. There were 160 television news stories. All charges were eventually dropped against the athletes.

On the other hand, in 2013, when that same stripper was convicted of murdering her boyfriend, there were only three televison news stories. That is a difference of 5,233%.

Michael W. Chapman reported these figures for CNS News.

Far fewer people watching cable t.v. news.

What are people watching on t.v.? Noel Sheppard reports at Newsbusters that far fewer people are watching cable t.v. news broadcasts.

Data released Tuesday show CNN shedding 48 percent of total viewers since last November and MSNBC dropping 45 percent. Fox News is down 18 percent.

So, what are people watching? Football? Yes, certainly here in Colorado, where Peyton Manning toils away in orange and blue, trying to avoid tacklers aiming for his ankles.

What are the programs you watch each week?

The world as it is, or as we would like it to be?

Victor Davis Hanson writes his most brilliant column yet for National Review. I have only excerpted bits of it:

At some critical point, everyone makes choices based on incentives and his own perception of self-interest. Somehow the Obama administration has forgotten that natural law.

The theme of the present administration is that it possesses the wisdom and resources to know better what people should do than they do themselves. From that premise arose most of catastrophes that have befallen this administration.

Did administration explanations about Benghazi and the IRS scandals help reassure the American people that what the president said about Obamacare was likely to be true? Does serial disingenuousness finally ensure remorse and a return to veracity?

Do we operate on the T-ball philosophy that effort and happy talk can substitute for achievement? Does continuously blaming a prior president drive home the message of his culpability, or appear tasteless and reveal a sense of inferiority?

Do the unemployed more eagerly seek employment when they are provided increases in food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and assorted housing, legal, and education subsidies, or are they more likely to remain on public assistance, to become more indifferent to full-time employment, and to augment their subsidies with off-the-books cash income?

If Americans receive essentially zero interest on their passbook accounts, are they more or less likely to save? If they do save, are they more or less likely to rush into the stock market seeking any return over 1 percent? And will that desperation make stock offerings more or less accountable? Are zero-interest-earning savers in their 60s more or less likely to stay on their jobs? If the former, will that more or less retard employment of younger others?

Does ignoring provisions in the law — such as the individual mandate or legal requirements for insurance plans in Obamacare, or details of immigration law — persuade Americans in their own lives to follow the letter of the law?

If someone makes profits in business or a profession, can he expect to be praised for his success or targeted as making too much more money than others? And what effect on the general economy does such an attitude portend? Would it be better to succeed without government or to fail in partnership with it? Do we more greatly admire a private fracking company, or Solyndra?

Does announcing serial amnesties and praising the DREAM Act during an election campaign encourage a larger or smaller number of foreign nationals to risk entering the U.S. illegally? And would they do so with more or less conviction that their immigration problems were largely political rather than legal? Is amnesty seen as proof of a nation’s tolerance and thus a reason not to abuse immigration law, or proof of its moral confusion and paralysis, which encourages still more illegal immigration?

Does the employment of therapeutic euphemisms — workplace violence, overseas contingency operations, man-caused disasters — reassure Islamists that the United States is now their friend, and recognizably so by our extreme sensitivity in our choice of language? Or does our new vocabulary suggest to enemies that a country that won’t identify them by name will not punish them?

Did consideration of watering down U.S.-induced sanctions against Iran in order to initiate discussions with Teheran reassure allies that they had been right to follow the United States’ lead and ratchet up the embargo on Iranian oil and commerce? Did it encourage the Iranian government to negotiate in good faith? Will Iran now cease its nuclear program, given that the United States is dropping sanctions, providing incentives, and showing its eagerness for a settlement? Will Israel and Saudi Arabia sigh in relief that Iran is now postponing its program in exchange for the end of sanctions — thereby cooling down tensions in the Middle East?

There is a difference between the way we wish the world would work and the way it unfortunately does. We should know that tragedy from our own often-selfish lives in which we make decisions based on our perceptions of advantage. The problem with ignoring the role of unchanging human nature is that usually someone other than the utopian gets killed, runs out of money, or must live with the chaos brought about by the actions of the better-off, who are permitted by their money, leisure, power, and influence to dream that we are something that we are not.

Too risky to let the real Obama show

Rich Lowry writes pretty much the same thing about the Obama presidency as Jonah Goldberg, but uses different words.

The salesmanship for Obamacare represents in microcosm the larger Obama political project, which has always depended on throwing a reassuring skein of moderation on top of left-wing ideological aims.

Both Lowry and Goldberg refer to the book Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The book details how Obama hid his true ideological agenda as he campaigned for reelection in 2012.

Halperin and Heilemann write, “He believed that over the past three years his progressive impulses had too often been trumped by the demands of pragmatism. That he had trimmed his sails in just the way his critics on the left had charged.”

Can he be honest?

Jonah Goldberg realizes that Obama's ideology is limited only by his pandering.
The president means to suggest that his policies are simply the only right and smart way to achieve good things. That’s why he’s so fond of saying — and so hypocritical for saying it — that his opponents are ideologues who can’t “put politics aside” to do what’s right.

Clinically proven to regrow hair!

Just in time for I don't know what, Manhatten Infidel has posted the Socialist, Redistributionist Obamacare version of your Horoscope! Go here to see what is in store for you.

While at that famous website, be sure to sign up for the Turkey Liberation Army.

Manhatten Infidel misses very few things. It is even clinically proven to regrow hair!

Thanksliving

Ann Voskamp knows the secret to happiness. It is to thank God always, every day, for everything that happens to you. She and her farmer husband practice that philosophy every day of the year. That is why I check her blog every day for wisdom and inspiration.

Does it mean that we cannot be angry about what is happening to our country? No! It means that we can be thankful to God that our eyes have been opened, that we have been given the tools and wisdom to fight the good fight and be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. We know which direction to go. We know Whom to ask for guidance, and Whom to praise.

You can listen to Ann today at 1 EST here and at 3 EST here.

Gratitude with an Attitude?

Guest post by Suzann Darnall

At this time of year my thoughts naturally turn to thoughts of gratitude, religion, and patriotism. I guess it is because one thing I am most grateful for is that America was founded upon the idea of religious freedom. I cherish this. In part because I am a Mormon . . . and let's face it, we haven't always been the most tolerated of church-going communities in the world. But, now Christianity has become a target for intolerance throughout the world. Even within the borders of our own country!

I am also thankful for freedom of speech, although I sometimes fear that is slowly being leeched away with government and societal intrusion into our lives with ever-increasing political correctness.

I am grateful for the right to bear arms. I look at history and realize that an armed citizen is a free citizen. Those nations which have taken away the right to bear arms are those countries which eventually have people without rights. Gun control is nothing more than a way to enslave a population bit by bit.

I am grateful for freedom of the press. It allows me to learn what is happening throughout my country and the world. It allows me to have WoolyMammoth.Org and express my opinions in a way that can spread across multiple states and even the world, if people choose to access the website. But, I fear, that like so many rights, it too is being eroded. Censorship is becoming more prevalent. The liberal press has become chained to the Left as is a dog on a leash, seemingly doing what its Progressive masters want, without any real thoughts of telling either the truth or both sides of the story.

So, while I am extremely grateful for much about our country, I am also extremely concerned for those same blessings. The blessing of liberty comes with an obligation. An obligation to be vigilant. Ever vigilant. Lest our liberty be stolen away by the despotism of greed. Greed for political power. The kind of power that does not allow anyone to live outside the box of what is deemed best for the greater good. The sort of greater good that has been tried over and over in places like France during their bloody revolution, Russia under the Communists, Germany under the Nazis, Iran under the Mullahs, and far too many other places and dictatorships to list.

I am afraid my gratitude has become increasing tinged with an attitude of skepticism and concern. Concern for what the future holds for me, my family, my neighbors, and my country. Concern that far too many of the things I am grateful for will disappear into the giant abyss where the Liberals are throwing all those freedoms of which they do not approve. Let us make preparations not just for tomorrow's feast and celebration, but for the coming fight to save our rights. Rights important enough for the Pilgrims and pioneers to leave their homes, travel across the seas and the land, and eventually establish communities and a country all across what became a great nation. A nation we must not allow to fade into the obscurity of the failure of socialism.

So, on this most American of holidays, please let us give thanks for what we have, while making a promise to both defend and regain those rights which have allowed us to prosper. As we celebrate this November, let us prepare for all the Novembers to come, when we must vote to oust those who would oppress us and deny us the liberties that some of our forefathers came to America to achieve. As November 2013 winds down, we are facing many trials that will be forced upon us by those who misuse their power, ignore our laws, and deride our traditions. Let us be strong, band together, and find strength in the Lord. God bless America and may all y'all have a happy Thanksgiving!

© Suzann C. Darnall, NOVEMBER 2011 UPDATED © Suzann C. Darnall, NOVEMBER 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Saying a prayer for his governor

Sippican Cottage writes,

I was raised a Catholic, though that upbringing has done me precious little good for a long time. But I recall that I was taught, as the Bible says in Luke, to "pray for those that abuse you." So, here goes: This is me, saying a prayer for that rat-faced, greedy, grasping, porcine, boorish, gibbering, moronic stuttering clusterfark of a troglodyte pedlar we have for a Governor.

It's times like these that make me wish I had been raised by Evangelical Christians, instead of Catholics, so I could proceed directly to the "laying on of the hands."

Go here to see what the Maine governor did to piss off Mr. Sippican.

Appeasement, or Collaboration?

Bookworm Worm has a different take on Obama's deal with Iran:
So why did Obama give away everything when he didn’t have to give away anything? This is not appeasement; this is collaboration. As Obama made clear from the beginning of his administration, he wants to side with the mullahs and he doesn’t like Israel. Obama has now given free rein to the Obama doctrine: the elevation of Islamic totalitarian dictatorships to the detriment of anything that stands in their way. This manifestly awful agreement isn’t a desperate mistake, it’s an intended outcome.

Random thoughts by Thomas Sowell

I took the advice of Bookworm Room and read Thomas Sowell's "random thoughts on the passing scene." These were my favorites:

One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s -- by Adolf Hitler! He knew that peace speeches would keep the Western democracies from matching his military buildup with their own, or attacking him to prevent his buildup from continuing. Peace speeches by Iran today serve the same purpose of buying time -- until they can create a nuclear bomb.

President Obama really has a way with words, such as calling the problems that millions of people have had trying to sign up for ObamaCare "glitches." When the Titanic sank, was that a "glitch"?

No one seems as certain that they know what the Republicans need to do to win presidential elections as those Republicans who have lost presidential elections, such as Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole. Moreover, people take them seriously, and seem not to notice that what the losers advocate is the opposite of what won Ronald Reagan two landslide election victories.

Those who want to "spread the wealth" almost invariably seek to concentrate the power. It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence. Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?

Writing about the Habsburg Empire, distinguished British historian Paul Johnson said, "Every reform created more problems than it solved." That was not peculiar to the Habsburg Empire. The same could be said of modern welfare states, and especially our own ObamaCare.

Because many of us make mistakes that can have bad consequences, some intellectuals believe that it is the role of government to intervene and make some of our decisions for us. From what galaxy government is going to hire creatures who do not make mistakes is a question they leave unanswered.

One of the reasons it has taken so long for some people to finally see through Barack Obama is that people do not like to admit, even to themselves, that they have been played for fools by a slick-talking politician.

Go here to read more of his random thoughts and see which ones you like best.

I consumed 14 walnuts while writing this blog post

Michael Tennant asks,

Seen any walnuts in your medicine cabinet lately? According to the Food and Drug Administration, that is precisely where you should find them. Because Diamond Foods made truthful claims about the health benefits of consuming walnuts that the FDA didn’t approve, it sent the company a letter declaring, “Your walnut products are drugs” — and “new drugs” at that — and, therefore, “they may not legally be marketed … in the United States without an approved new drug application.” The agency even threatened Diamond with “seizure” if it failed to comply.

Diamond’s transgression was to make “financial investments to educate the public and supply them with walnuts,” as William Faloon of Life Extension magazine put it. On its website and packaging, the company stated that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts have been shown to have certain health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. These claims, Faloon notes, are well supported by scientific research: “Life Extension has published 57 articles that describe the health benefits of walnuts”; and “The US National Library of Medicine database contains no fewer than 35 peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk.”

“The FDA’s language,” Faloon writes, “resembles that of an out-of-control police state where tyranny [reigns] over rationality.” He adds:

"This kind of bureaucratic tyranny sends a strong signal to the food industry not to innovate in a way that informs the public about foods that protect against disease. While consumers increasingly reach for healthier dietary choices, the federal government wants to deny food companies the ability to convey findings from scientific studies about their products."

Walnuts aren’t the only food whose health benefits the FDA has tried to suppress. Producers of pomegranate juice and green tea, among others, have felt the bureaucrats’ wrath whenever they have suggested that their products are good for people.

Fire this City Manager!

Border Patrol agents attacked

Christina London reports for NBC7SanDiego that

A crowd of more than 100 people pelted Border Patrol agents with rocks and bottles as they tried to cross into the U.S. illegally, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The incident happened Sunday in the Tijuana River channel, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

According to CBP, a Border Patrol agent ordered the Mexican nationals to stop, but they continued walking into the U.S.

Officials said the agent fired a PepperBall Launcher, but it did not deter the crowd.

“They had their phones out so this group was out to spark an incident. That's what they wanted to do, “ Border Patrol Union representative Gabriel Pacheco said.

Had cooler heads not prevailed it could have ended much worse, he said.

Even with reinforcements, agents were outnumbered, dodging threats, rocks and bottles.

More agents responded as the crowd became “unruly,” even hitting one agent in the head with a full water bottle, officials said.

According to CBP, the agents used “intermediate use-of-force” devices, and the group retreated back to the Mexican side of the border.

No one was arrested.

Tens of millions more Americans to lose their current health care coverage

Jim Angle reports for Fox News that

Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.

Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, "at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well." There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.

Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute added, "the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act."

Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.

According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.

In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

Iran says White House is deceiving the American people!

Adam Kredo writes in the Washington Free Beacon that

Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva.

Iran and Western nations including the United States came to an agreement on the framework for an interim deal late Saturday night in Geneva. The deal has yet to be implemented.

The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced.

However, Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House’s version of the deal as “invalid” and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Executive Director David Brog said he fears that the White House may have been “played by the Iranians.”

“This may prove to be yet another worrisome sign that the Obama Administration was played by the Iranians,” Brog told the Free Beacon in a statement. “Their concessions were either illusory or meaningless, while ours will resuscitate the Iranian economy.”

The White House said in its fact sheet on the deal that it could release up to $7 billion dollars to Iran during the first phase of the agreement.

The United States additionally agreed to suspend “certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran’s auto sector, and Iran’s petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue,” according to the now disputed fact sheet.

Iran could earn another $4.2 billion in oil revenue under the deal.

Another “$400 million in governmental tuition assistance” could also be “transferred from restricted Iranian funds directly to recognized educational institutions in third countries to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students,” according to the White House.

An egregious slap in the face to the Vatican

Cheryl K. Chumley reports in the Washington Times,

The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See — a free-standing facility — and relocate offices onto the grounds of the larger American Embassy in Italy.

And while U.S. officials are touting the relocation as a security measure that’s a cautionary reaction to last year’s attacks on America's facility in Benghazi, several former American envoys are raising the red flag.

It’s a “massive downgrade of U.S.-Vatican ties,” said former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson in the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy. The Holy See is a pivot point for international affairs and a major listening post for the United States, and … [it’s] an insult to American Catholics and to the Vatican.”

Mr. Nicholson — whose views were echoed by former envoys Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn and Thomas Melady — also called the justification for closing the existing facility a “smokescreen,” Breitbart reported.

“That’s like saying people get killed on highways because they drive cars on them,” he said in the report. “We’re not a pauper nation … if we want to secure an embassy, we certainly can.”

Moreover, the existing facility has “state of the art” security, he said.

Mr. Flynn, meanwhile, said the administration’s announcement reflects a hostility toward the Catholic Church.

“It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See,” he said in the National Catholic Reporter. “[There’s no] diplomatic or political benefit to the United States” from the relocation at all, he added.

Catholic Vote, a publication for the Church community, called the move “an unmistakable slap in the face” that clearly communicates that the United States cares little for the diplomatic facility.

And Mr. Nicholson went on, as Breitbart reported: “It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican — and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”

Thanks to Curt Dale for the link.

It is not progressive

Cheryl K. Crumley reports in the Washington Times that

Pope Francis said Tuesday in his first apostolic exhortation that no matter how progressive-minded the world turns, the Catholic Church can never compromise on its “no abortion” rule — it’s a matter of human dignity.

“I want to be completely honest in this regard,” he said, Catholic News Service reported. “This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations.’ It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”

He wrote: “This defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.”

Thanks to Curt Dale for the link.

And that's the Senior League!

It's not easy being in business these days.

After losing money for years and the guy was ready to close up and shut it down, he tried one last thing, and now business is booming, Wonder why?

Bowl-O-Bama in Clearwater, Florida is doing record business despite a bad economy. The alley also reported a record number of 300 games. Since opening in November 2010, 963 patrons have bowled a perfect game, including strikes in the warm-up frames. This alley also has the highest bowling league average in the country, with a 237. And that's the senior league.

Sent to me by Curt Dale

Monday, November 25, 2013

Understanding the scheme helps us to understand the fraud

Andrew McCarthy believes it is important to understand the scheme behind the Obamacare fraud. McCarthy was the prosecutor in the first World Trade Center attack, which took place during the Clinton administration.

To be sure, it is the fraud — the individual false statements, sneaky omissions, and deceptive practices — that grabs our attention.

Still, to show that politicians lie is like pointing out that it gets dark at night. The lie, the fraud, does not tell us why they lied in this instance. The fraud does not tell us what the stakes are. To know that, we must understand the scheme — the design.

In 2003, when he was an ambitious Illinois state senator from a hyper-statist district, Obama declared:

I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health-care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. . . . Everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately.

That is the Obamacare scheme.

It is a Fabian plan to move an unwilling nation, rooted in free enterprise, into Washington-controlled, fully socialized medicine. As its tentacles spread over time, the scheme (a) pushes all Americans into government markets (a metastasizing blend of Medicare, Medicaid, and “exchanges” run by state and federal agencies); (b) dictates the content of the “private” insurance product; (c) sets the price; (d) micromanages the patient access, business practices, and fees of doctors; and (e) rations medical care. Concurrently, the scheme purposely sows a financing crisis into the system, designed to explode after Leviathan has so enveloped health care, and so decimated the private medical sector, that a British- or Canadian-style “free” system — formerly unthinkable for the United States — becomes the inexorable solution.

Once you grasp that this is the scheme, the imperative to lull the public with lies makes sense. Like all swindles, Obamacare cannot work if its targeted victims figure out the endgame before it is a fait accompli.

McCarthy goes on to lay out the scheme in detail.

Cannibalizing Thanksgiving

Are you getting ready for Black Friday, which is now on Thursday? Matt Walsh has some things to say about this new trend:

A holiday created by our ancestors as an occasion to give thanks for what they had, now morphs into a frenzied consumerist ritual where we descend upon shopping malls to accumulate more things we don’t need. Our great grandparents enjoyed a meal and praised the Lord for the food on the table and the friends and family gathered around it. We, having slightly altered the tradition, instead elect to bum-rush elderly women and trample over children to get our hands on cheap TVs.

For a while, Black Friday and Thanksgiving coexisted. We thanked God for His blessings on Thursday, and then jumped into the consumer mosh pit at Best Buy on Friday. But this Black Friday-Thanksgiving marriage was tenuous and rocky from the start. It was doomed to fail. Thanksgiving offers tradition, family and contentment; Black Friday offers smart phones at drastically reduced prices. In America, we all know who wins that battle. So Black Friday, like a black hole, violently expanded; it absorbed the light that surrounded it and sucked everything into its terrifying abyss, where all substance is torn to shreds and obliterated. Black Friday could not be contained to a mere 24 hours. It is Consumerism. It wants more. It always wants more. Nothing is sacred to it; nothing is valuable. So, now, Black Friday has eaten Thanksgiving alive. Thanksgiving let out a desperate cry as Black Friday devoured its soul, but we barely noticed. It’s hard to hear anything when you’re wrestling 4,000 other people for buy one get one free cargo shorts at Old Navy.

Why give thanks for what you have when there’s so much you don’t have? That’s the new meaning of Thanksgiving: count your blessings, and then buy some more blessings and count them again.

You can't possibly mean that!

“Well, I’ve become an octogenarian and if I have acquired any wisdom at all, it consists of taking at face value the threats of one’s enemies. There’s a kind of pathology at work in the world that refuses to believe. Somebody says “I want to kill you,” you say, well, you can’t possibly mean that.” — Norman Podhoretz Thanks to American Digest

Maybe with luck I can make it

Thanks to American Digest

The path is now set

Frank Soto summarizes the deal with Iran:

The Iranians will do whatever they want, and America will pretend that whatever they do is exactly what we wanted them to do.

The path is now set: Israel will at some point attack Iran’s nuclear facilities without U.S. aid.

Neville Chamberlain arrives in Munich in 1938 to make a deal with Hitler.

Here is an article explaining what is a uranium centrifuge.

Who organized those turkeys?

Thanks to Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated

Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro Overture (K.492) performed ably by the Wiener Symphoniker:

Provided by Mostly Cajun

I was struck by the fact that it appears that only two of the musicians were women.

Joyous music as we head toward Thanksgiving.

Ignored in Muslim countries

Mostly Cajun, All American and opinionated tells us that on this day in history...November 25, 1999:
1999 – The United Nations establishes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to commemorate the murder of three Mirabal Sisters for resistance against the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship in Dominican Republic. Of course, violence against women in Muslim countries is roundly ignored, because it’s, like, their CULTURE, you know…

You don't believe in evolution?

Found here

Lying? Who, us?

Scott Ott has a new post at Scrappleface.

The new poll shows that for the first time, most Americans (53%) don’t think that Mr. Obama is honest or trustworthy.

“What this poll really shows,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, “is that 53% of Americans can’t be trusted when it comes to the president’s credibility. And if they’ll lie about something so important, what else are they shading the truth about?”

Carney said the president is “deeply disappointed in the majority of the American people,” yet remains hopeful that they will “consider how their dishonesty reflects upon this country, and take the earliest opportunity to confess that they lied, and to issue a class-action apology.”

Batman has a hoarding problem

Did you know that Batman has a hoarding problem? Click on the image to enlarge

Found here on a link by Morgan A. Freeman

Visiting totalitarian Cuba

Michael J. Totten crosses another border. This time it is Cuba. He writes,

Freedom House ranks Cuba as the sixth worst country in the entire world for journalists. The Castro government creates a more hostile working environment than even the Syrian and Iranian governments. The only countries on earth that repress reporters more ruthlessly are, in order, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, and Belarus. All are either communist or post-communist in-name-only.

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara overthrew the squalid and bloody dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 with support from a broad swath of Cuban society. I would have supported the revolution, as well, if I were living there at the time because here’s the thing: it wasn’t communist. Castro described himself as a freedom fighter and promised political liberalism.

“Democracy is my ideal, really,” he said in 1959. “There is no doubt for me between democracy and communism.” That first sentence was a lie, but the second sentence sure wasn’t.

Even after he took power and formed a new government, even as Che Guevara lined thousands of men and boys against the blood-soaked walls of La Cabaña and had them executed by firing squad, Castro kept his communist designs to himself. Later, however, he boasted about it with a terrifying ferocity.

Private Internet is banned. You can only get online in hotels, Internet cafes, and government offices. Regular citizens are effectively prohibited from accessing the Web by the price. It cost me seven dollars an hour to use a dial-up connection. The government caps Cuban salaries at 20 dollars a month, so it costs a citizen ten days of income just to get online for an hour. Once they do get online, the connection will be so slow that surfing around is impossible. It took me the better part of my hour to get connected, to open my inbox, and to send a single email to my wife telling her I had arrived safely and without incident.

Havana? Totten writes,

The city feels languid, slow, inert. It is eerily quiet all the time as if it has been partly depopulated. You hardly have to look before crossing the street because there is so little traffic. Every day feels like Sunday used to feel in the United States when more people went to church and fewer establishments were open.

But Havana’s establishments are not closed. There just aren’t very many of them. You cannot go shopping. There’s nothing to buy. If you had millions of dollars, you would not be able to spend it. The city would be horrifying if were in a cold climate with dismal architecture like much of the former Soviet Union, but it didn’t strike me as horrifying. It’s just static. And vaguely post-apocalyptic.

This will enrage you, unless you are a racist.

Thanks to Curt Dale for the link to this video.

Giving thanks always brings you home to the heart of God

Ann Voskamp writes about what she and her farmer husband have learned:
Because the people living plain and down to earth knew it— if you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength.

Clapping for "a man on his way out"

Bill Cosby gently admonishes Jon Stewart about his cursing.

Noel Sheppard gives us this background at Newsmax:

Early in their interview, Cosby commented about a benefit show he and Stewart recently did in New York City for wounded warriors called Stand Up For Heroes.

“You were out there and you used some words,” Cosby said to laughter from the audience. “And you said.” Cosby then spoke some gibberish indicating a vulgarity. “And I said to myself, ‘Oh my.’”

“And then the people were laughing so hard,” Cosby continued, “because you were swearing and cursing.”

“I’m 76 years old,” Cosby scolded. “What you have to understand, Jonathan, from whenst I cometh, when people cursed, the next thing is somebody was going to hit you. See, now there's a whole new culture. People curse and they laugh. But for me, when you were cursing, I started crying.”

Stewart’s response?

“I wasn’t cursing. It was Yiddish.”

Excuse me, Jon, but I know some Yiddish. When Comedy Central is regularly censoring your words on the Daily Show, it’s not Yiddish.

As for Cosby, he’s so right.

I long for the days when comedians such as himself could do a two hour routine without any gratuitous sexual references or vulgarity.

That’s when comedy was truly special. Today, it borders on pornography.

Bravo, Bill! Bravo!

A President with a readiness to forgive

Scott Ott linked to BizPacReview.com:

Real Clear Politics conducts what it calls its “Morning Commute,” where they give a mover and shaker a ride to work in exchange for an engaging conversation with that person. Wednesday morning was Perino’s turn.

In her limousine conversation, she revealed not only Bush’s readiness to forgive, but also Perino’s fierce loyalty to Bush.

Credit George W. Bush's Christian faith.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Incomprehensible

In an interview with The Times of London (paywall) Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi ambassador to London, said Saudi Arabia "will not sit idly by," and "all options are available." Robert Spencer reports that
Prince Mohammad also voiced unusually abrasive criticism of the West for what he said was a too-soft approach to Iran, calling Washington’s “rush” to engage with Tehran “incomprehensible.”

Roger L. Simon: The new Iran deal is Obamacare II, only worse, a thousand megatons worse.

More from Simon:

The most egregious part indeed comes down to centrifuges. Iran has some 19,000 of them — more than three times the amount of longtime nuclear armed Pakistan. The agreement forbids the Iranians to build anymore, but, much more importantly, it allows the Iranians to fix any of their centrifuges that may be broken and get them working again.

The Iranians came to the table because of sanctions. We are now lifting them and, simultaneously, encouraging others to think proactively about doing business with Iran, a potential gold (or oil) mine. We are also ratifying the hellacious Islamic regime of the mullahs that oppresses women, murders homosexuals and imprisons and tortures all those who oppose it. Forget human rights. What are they? America (really Obama in this instance) just wants a deal.

This is the desperate move of a president in free fall, only it’s a move being made with millions of lives at stake. If the sanctions in place brought Iran to the table, why wouldn’t ratcheting up the sanctions, as Congress sought to do, get Iran actually to agree to dismantle its program, to shrink back the extraordinary number of centrifuges we know them to have, a number vastly higher than any peaceful nation could possibly need?

Now we will never know.

So we have left it all to Israel and, incredible as it may seem, Saudi Arabia to put a stop to this madness. What will they do? I wouldn’t want to be them. It’s no fun at all Perhaps a new prayer should be added to the Jewish liturgy. “Thank G-d I wasn’t born Benjamin Netanyahu.”

David Mamet

Peter Robinson interviews David Mamet: essayist, playwright, poet, director, screenwriter, and conservative!

Mamet:

God has got a problem. What is His problem? Human beings. The Bible is a divinely inspired book about human nature.

Hollywood is a liberal business. It has always been a Jewish business, and the Jews have always been liberal, because Jews believe in justice, and sometimes we get it wrong!

The government is only interested in trading favors, raising taxes and getting more power.

We've got to still be talking to each other here in America. We've swung very, very far towards socialism, and now, with Obamacare, the American people are seeing that it doesn't work. The answer has to be that the American people are in charge; not Obama. If you go back and read the Declaration of Independence and the abuses of King George, it sounds like it was written today, about our government!

I love this man's anger. I love his love for America, freedom, and the Constitution.

The electronic monitoring seems to be working well

Saturday Night Live takes jabs at Piers Morgan, George Zimmerman, Zimmerman's girlfriend, the Florida police chief, and Mens Wearhouse spokesman George Zimmer.

Thanks to Red Alert Politics for linking to the video.

Distrust

Neoneocon notes that distrust that Iran was negotiating in good faith

ran across political parties that are otherwise deeply divided. And ready-to-go sanctions seemed to have rare bipartisan support across both of Congress’ chambers.

Why the difference between the president and Congress? Well, members of Congress still have to answer to the American people, whereas a second-term president does not. Would it not be ironic if one of the very few bipartisan bills passed in Congress were to be one where the parties united against Obama? It would be interesting to see whether Obama would veto it, or would just go around it in some administrative manner, if it were to be passed. And if he vetoed it, it would be interesting to see whether Congress would have the votes to override his veto. I doubt there are that many profiles in courage around.

Collating events

Victor Davis Hanson writes,

The Iranian agreement comes not in isolation, unfortunately. The Syrian debacle instructed the Iranians that the Obama administration was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than actually achieving it. The timing is convenient for both sides: The Obama administration needed an offset abroad to the Obamacare disaster, and the Iranians want a breathing space to rebuild their finances and ensure that Assad can salvage the Iranian-Hezbollah-Assad axis. The agreement is a de facto acknowledgement that containing, not ending, Iran’s nuclear program is now U.S. policy.

Collate reset, lead from behind, “redlines,” “game-changers,” ”deadlines,” the Arab Spring confusion, the skedaddle from Iraq, Benghazi, the Eastern European missile pullback, and the atmosphere is comparable to the 1979–80 Carter landscape, in which after three years of observation, the opportunists at last decided to act while the acting was good, from Afghanistan to Central America to Tehran.

There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements.

The Arab states in the Persian gulf are silent about the deal with Iran

Aaron Klein reports

that Israeli personnel in recent days were in Saudi Arabia to inspect bases that could be used as a staging ground to launch attacks against Iran, according to informed Egyptian intelligence officials.

The officials said Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and other Arab and Persian Gulf countries have been discussing the next steps toward possible strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites.

SBS News reports that

Arab states in the Persian Gulf have greeted the interim nuclear deal struck between Iran and the West in Geneva with sullen silence.

Despite their muted response, however, the Gulf states have watched the growing signs of reconciliation between the US and Iran with undisguised horror. As the Geneva talks rolled into Saturday night and a deal edged closer, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah summoned the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar to Riyadh for talks on how to respond.

The world's largest oil producer and a staunch American ally for decades, Saudi Arabia has led the Arab world's diplomatic push for the US to crush the Iranian nuclear program. In a US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks in 2010, Abdullah was quoted as urging Washington to "cut off the head of the snake", in reference to Iran.

Paying our enemies to manufacure the rope

Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post,
Reaction to the announced interim deal between the “P5+1″ and Iran that allows Iran to continue enrichment up to 5 percent, does not require dismantling — let alone destruction — of centrifuges, leaves all fissile material in Iran and allows it to continue violation of multiple U.N. resolutions bodes ill for West. We are in essence paying Iran $5 billion to $10 billion, which it can use to continue enriching and of course sponsoring terrorists. The communist adage that capitalists would sell them the rope to hang the capitalist is turned on its head; we are now paying our enemies to manufacture the rope.

How long before Iran tests a nuclear explosive device?

Are we within four to six months of Iran testing a nuclear explosive device? That is what Ephraim Asculai, a veteran of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, says. Christa Case Bryant writes in the Christian Science Monitor

A central fear behind this attitude is the European appeasement of Nazi Germany that ended in the death of 6 million Jews.

In a deal that echoes loudly in Israel today, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain heralded the 1938 Munich Agreement as securing peace in exchange for allowing Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia. But Winston Churchill recognized the grave mistake, which soon paved the way for Hitler and his allies to take over much of Europe.

Israel condemns agreement with Iran as "historic mistake"

Bloomberg News says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the agreement between world powers and Iran as a ‘historic mistake’ that doesn’t bind his country.

Israel has “the right and obligation” to defend itself and won’t allow Iran to develop the capability to build atomic weapons, Netanyahu said today at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

Israel’s rejection of the agreement puts it at odds with its closest ally, the U.S., which led the efforts to reach a deal with Iran. An administration official said President Barack Obama would call Netanyahu today to discuss the accord.

John Bolton argues for an Israeli military strike against Iran

John Bolton believes the deal with Iran is an "abject surrender" by the United States:

The more time that passes, the harder it will be for Israel to deliver a blow that substantially retards the Iranian program.

Israel still must make the extremely difficult judgment whether it will stand by as Iran maneuvers effortlessly around a feckless and weak White House, bolstering its economic situation while still making progress on the nuclear front, perhaps less progress on some aspects of its nuclear work than before the deal, but more on others.

So in truth, an Israeli military strike is the only way to avoid Tehran’s otherwise inevitable march to nuclear weapons, and the proliferation that will surely follow. Making the case for Israel’s exercise of its legitimate right of self-defense has therefore never been more politically important. Whether they are celebrating in Tehran or in Jerusalem a year from now may well depend on how the opponents of the deal in Washington conduct themselves.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Men without chests

Mark Steyn has up a post about C.S.Lewis, "polar bearing, the knock out game, and Harry Reid's nuclear option. Of the latter, Steyn writes,

If a transient party majority can change the rules on a single, sudden, party-line vote, then there are no rules. The rules are simply what today’s rulers say they are. After all, banana republics and dictatorships pass their own rules, too — to deny opposition politicians access to airtime, or extend their terms by another two or three years, or whatever takes their fancy.

Steyn also writes about Obama:

Brazen and unrestrained, Obama and Reid are also, in Lewis’s phrase, “men without chests.” Cleverness, unmoored from Lewis’s chestly virtue of honor, has reduced them to mere tricksters and deceivers. So the president lied about his law for four years, and now lies about his lies.

JFK and C.S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963. So did Aldous Huxley, who wrote Brave New World. Steyn writes,

Written in 1931, Brave New World isn’t as famous a dystopia as Orwell’s 1984 — because it posits tyranny not as “a boot stamping on a human face” but as a soft, beguiling caress of a human face, a land in which enslavement takes the form of round-the-clock sensory gratification: drugs, sex without love, consumer trinkets, sensory distractions . . . Crazy, huh? Like that’d ever happen.

Don't watch this while getting ready for work!

Gerard Vanderleun posted this video this morning. Can you figure this out? (It made me late for work).

Was Harrison Ford in on the trick?

"Wrong ball!"

A high school football player pretends to have the wrong ball, then cuts down field for a touchdown.

Thanks to Proof Positive for providing the video.

Recognizing a man who saved many lives

Right before WWII, Sir Nicholas Winton organized the rescue of hundreds of Jewish Czechoslovakian children destined for the Nazi death camps.

Forty years later, those children gathered to honor the man who saved their lives.

Thanks to Ann Voskamp for linking to this video.

Doing the right thing

Thanks to Ann Voskamp for linking to this video.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Conspiracy a go-go

Keeping up with all the assassination theories.

Thanks to Ann Althouse for posting this video.

Stones that remain unturned

Andrew McCarthy pulls no punches:

On Tuesday, a branch of al Qaeda executed atrocious twin suicide bombings against Iran’s embassy in Beirut, killing at least 23 people, with more than 140 wounded. Those of us who have urged that the United States should stay out of the Syrian civil war have contended that, deprived of our lightning rod effect, America’s mortal enemies on both sides of the conflict would turn on and thus degrade each other. That is precisely what has happened: al Qaeda, the terror network that is aligned with its fellow America-hating Sunni supremacists, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the effort to oust the Assad regime, has now effectively declared war on Assad’s main Shiite backers, Iran – the world’s chief state sponsor of terrorism – and its Lebanese jihadist militia, Hezbollah.

McCarthy chronicles the record of Iran's record of mass murder, then concludes,

In late 2005, when he was among the leading Senate Democrats to join the hard Left’s campaign against the American war effort in Iraq, John Kerry slandered U.S. troops: accusing them of “terrorizing” Iraqi women and children. Now, when Kerry looks at the jihadist regime in Iran – actual terrorists who have for three decades made mass-murder their tactic of choice in both foreign and domestic policy – his reaction is empathy.

What a disgrace.

Is anybody listening to Andrew McCarthy? Who is more knowledgeable about jihad? Who tells the truth more fearlessly? Few, if any.

The need to support the vast Iranian oppositon to the rule of the mullahs

Whenever the subject of Iran comes up, as it is now with the negotiations in Geneva, I turn to Michael Ledeen. Today Ledeen notes that an Israeli supporter of Obama is blaming George W. Bush for our failure to deal effectively with the Iranian mullahs.

One doesn’t have to admire Bush’s strategy–like Obama, he negotiated with Iran and was ready to sign a deal in 2006–to excuse Obama, who came to office believing that Iran’s hostility to us was our own fault, and that once the ayatollahs saw they had a friend in the White House, all would be well. That hasn’t worked out well for him, or for the United States, or for the millions of Iranians he abandoned in 2009, or for the thousands of American soldiers killed or maimed by Iranian killers and their proxies in the region.

Bush’s Iran policy was a feckless disaster, to be sure. He thought he would deal with Iran after Iraq and Afghanistan had been brought under control. He failed to realize that the Iranians (and Syrians) could not tolerate American victories on their borders, and that it was folly to postpone a serious strategy against the tyrants in Tehran. Just look at Iraq today, where the slaughter exceeds that in Syria. Is that the result of “too little, too late?” Hardly. It’s the result of Obama’s “turn tail and run” in Iraq and Afghanistan, elements in a broader retreat from the region.

Hard to blame that policy on Bush.

Mr. Shavit is right to say that Iran, not Iraq, should have been Bush’s primary target after 9/11. But the central mission should have been the Iranian regime, not its centrifuges. He’s also right that we didn’t have to send armies into Iran, but he never once talks of supporting the vast Iranian opposition. That strategy worked against the Soviet Union, and might well have worked–indeed it might still work, even at this late hour–against the Iranian theocracy.