Wednesday, December 31, 2014

America: please stop moving Forward

Aleksey writes a guest post for Doug Ross @ Journal comparing growing up in Russia with her life now in the United States.
It was painfully obvious to everyone just how low the desire of the average person is to produce goods for other people. Without competition or opportunity to get ahead, with the state controlling production and paying equal salaries to workers regardless of their contributions, we had no concept of abundance.

With our "free" services, we regularly experienced water and electrical outages and sometimes went to a nearby forest to get water. Once you fill that bathtub with water, you can't use it for anything else.

The first time I entered an American food market at the age of seventeen, I froze.

Older Soviets who visited American stores for the first time, got hit harder -- all the lies they were taught from childhood through the decades of their lives -- until that last moment, they expected them to be at least partially true.

Sure, they heard stories from overseas, but come on, those were just the Potemkin villages, mirages created to make the Soviets jealous. How can one imagine the unimaginable?

"They told us in Odessa, that in San Francisco it's hard to find milk."

This is the typical Soviet mentality, and they were used to it, and they bought into it, and then they entered that American supermarket and saw the rows upon rows of milk of different brands and kinds and fat percentages.

I now live in Northern California, in the heart of the Bay Area, thousands of miles away from my homeland.

And yet the poison of Soviet propaganda seeps through college dorms just as it did in Soviet classrooms.

Stop a random youth on the street and you'll find out what he thinks about capitalism (bad!) and communism/socialism (good!). Their favorite news programs are the "Daily Show" and the "Colbert Report," where comedians reinforce their brainwashing via short, catchy clips.

Walk through Berkeley and you will see wall graffiti of the same hammer and sickle that adorned the big red flags of the Soviet era.

This doesn't extend to just youths. People of all ages, even acquaintances that I otherwise respect and admire, are like this. They support the "progressive" leader Barack Obama, worship the nanny state, and believe in equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.

Americans leave school to go home and they drop by a mall to buy something from an incredible selection of wealth and choice afforded by capitalism. They drop by a small corner store, which could probably feed a savvy Soviet village for a month (dog food is food, too, you know), and they pick up some "entertainment food" that did not exist in the USSR, in quantities that weren't affordable for an average Soviet family.

Then they go home and write essays on their expensive iPads about how they don't have the American Dream.

Now, most American news sources are no different than Pravda and Izvestia. Now, the government used the IRS to stifle political opposition. Now, ObamaCare is a wealth redistribution platform disguised as a common good. Now, Obama is being portrayed in academia and the media alike as a charismatic, messianic, "progressive" figure, fighting for the "underdog." He would feel right at home as the General Secretary of the Communist Party. Now, Obama Youths are me, from decades ago. Leninist academia has had its way with them. Now, just like Soviet leaders, American leaders give lip-service to "social justice" while stocking up on personal wealth for their families.

Dear beautiful America, please, stop moving Forward.
Read more here.

Five more terrorists set free by Obama

Fox News is reporting that Obama released five more terrorists from Guantanamo.

Brave dissidents arrested in Cuba

The Guardian reports:
Cuban police have detained at least three leading dissidents ahead of a planned free-speech demonstration in the Plaza de la Revolución.

The arrests of Antonio Rodiles, Eliezer Avila and Reinaldo Escobar look set to be the biggest test yet of diplomatic relations with the US since they were restored earlier this month after 53 years of tension.

The crackdown came around lunchtime on Tuesday, just hours before local performance artist Tania Bruguera was due to stage an open-microphone event in Havana’s most politically sensitive square.

Police had denied Bruguera a permit for the “Yo tambien exijo,” [I also demand]” demonstration and warned activists not to participate, but several had indicated their willingness to participate in this test case for public dissent.

The authorities did not give them a chance.
Read more here.

Reaching out?

Drudge links to a Bloomberg story that Obama is using Henry Kissinger secretly to reach out to Putin. Henry does not look good in this photo. If a man cannot take care of himself, how can he be trusted to take care of his countrymen?

Merry New Year!

Some advice for Jeb Bush

W. James Antle III has some advice for Jeb Bush:
The best way to run for president without conservative support is to seek the Democratic nomination.
Read more here.

Walking on sand is not easy

The Washington Free Beacon staff has nominated Hillary's service dog as Man of the Year.

Thanks to Ace

Our new vending machine overlords

A bunch of raging individualists

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

AirAsia passengers' dead bodies recovered from Java Sea

From the Daily Mail:
Rescue workers searching for the doomed AirAsia flight 8501 have recovered six bodies from the Java Sea, Indonesian search and rescue teams have confirmed.

Bodies were discovered alongside luggage, a plane door and an emergency slide in the water 100 miles off the coast of Borneo Island earlier today, following three days of searching.

Officials have confirmed that the bodies and debris found in the Java Sea off Indonesia are from flight 8501, and a naval spokesman said the rescuers remain 'very busy' retrieving the victims.
Read more here.

North Carolina cop thwarts assassination attempt

Media has been nearly silent about the latest NYPD-like assassination attempt against a cop in North Carolina. Bob Owens has the story here.

Thanks to BenDegrow

The Pope's ignorance

John Hinderaker writes:
Pope Francis has already caused consternation among knowledgeable Catholics with his criticisms of economic freedom. Some have tried to defend him or reinterpret his words, but it is hard to sugarcoat the fact that he is instinctively hostile to free enterprise. Perhaps this is because, as a native of Argentina, he has never seen free enterprise at work and doesn’t understand what it can do for the average citizen.

Now Francis has taken on the global warming cause. Again, it is hard to interpret his words as representing anything but ignorance of the relevant science.
Read more here.

Get your spiffy protest signs here

Andrea Shea King decided to click on the internet web site of the spiffy signs anti-police protesters were carrying in New York. This is what she found.

Win the war against seeing

Are you good at paying attention? Rob Walker at Medium has twenty ways to win the war against seeing. They are:
Conduct an overlooked-object scavenger hunt
… or just a single-color scavenger hunt
Spot something new every day
Change Perspective
Reframe the familiar
Walk with an expert
Talk to a stranger
Let a stranger lead you
Take a day-long walk through an unfamiliar part of town
Poeticize the irritating
Look slowly
Look really, really slowly
Look repeatedly
Repeat your viewpoint
Just Listen
Follow the quiet
Look at anything besides your phone
Misuse a Tech Tool
Care for something
Go here to get the full description of each idea

They just want to die sooner

National interests

Daniel Greenfield writes:
What we must have is an end to empires and the rise of nations. Only nations that answer to the national interests of their people can stand against the savage barbarian migrating tide.
Read more here.

Choice versus Control

Andy Peth tells the GOP not to rush.
Remember, it’s not enough to undo something; we have to convince the country the thing should be undone. So frame each step, carefully exposing Obama’s love of Control while touting our love of Choice. Give the nation time to absorb our message. Besides, watching the Democrats dread each issue will be much more fun, and I want to enjoy this. I want to savor every tyranny-exposing dish.

I’m the meanest Conservative around, for I want Democrats to feel every ounce of the pain they’ve inflicted on America. No short cuts. No racing ahead of the American People. Oh no, I want 2015 to be one long, grueling Enhanced Interrogation of the Left. Let’s put them under the bright light of Choice versus Control, then watch them perspire. After all they’ve done these past six years, they deserve no less.

Take it slow, Republicans. This isn’t a One Day Sale. I want to enjoy every…delicious…bite.
Read more here.

Thanks to Kris Cook

People with a cause in need of a narrative

Robert Tracinski points out that 2014 was the year of really convenient narratives.
It may not actually be true that Michael Brown had his hands up and was saying “don’t shoot” when a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot him—the bulk of the eyewitness testimony and physical evidence indicates otherwise—but “hands up, don’t shoot” is still a great slogan because it’s such a good “metaphor” and captures a “larger truth.”

Gruber didn’t get in trouble for stretching the truth, he got in trouble for being just a little too truthful about the dishonest way ObamaCare was drafted and shoved through Congress.

Then there was
the University of Virginia, where everybody forgot about Charlottesville’s real-life rapist and serial killer and spent weeks in a frenzy over a rape accusation that was not only false but had its corroborating details plagiarized from “Dawson’s Creek.”

There was also
an unbelievable tale about a high-school whiz kid who made $72 million trading stocks during his lunch hour. That’s “unbelievable” is in literally “not believable,” and the kid later confessed to a prank that got out of hand, all the way into the pages of a prominent mainstream magazine.

While a jihadist held hostages at a downtown Sydney coffee house, leftist activist Rachael Jacobs saw a “presumably Muslim woman” on the subway take off her headscarf, which Jacobs further presumed was out of fear of being targeted by “Islamophobes” as news of the siege broke. Jacobs then recounts approaching the woman, urging her to put her headscarf back on, and offering to walk with her to her destination to make her feel more comfortable. The story inspired the Twitter hashtag #illridewithyou (as in “I’ll ride with you”), which was dreadfully popular among those who thought the real victims of the siege were Muslims who might get dirty looks on the subway.

Except that the original story wasn’t true. It was “editorialized,” and it’s unclear from Jacobs’s current version of the story whether she even spoke to the woman at all, for fear of seeming “tokenistic and patronizing.”

Climatologists were caught omitting 80 years of data in order to support a bogus claim that global warming is causing deadly acidification of the oceans.
Read more here.

'Tehran is a large, sophisticated country.'

That is what President Obama said in an interview with one of his favorite media arms, NPR. NPR conducted the interview on December 18, but held its release until now, I guess for an end of the year impact. Read more on the interview here.

Thanks to Betsy's Page.

GOP Establishment attacks Senators Lee and Cruz

Ronald Reagan governed with bold colors, pointing out the differences between Republican and Democrat visions, and liberty versus Communism visions. Jeffrey Lord writes:
Reagan politics are nothing but the politics of the happy warrior – optimistic, upbeat and determined.

Lord points out that we are now seeing
the opening round in the next two years’ worth of assaults on Reagan Republicans by status quo Ford/Bush Republicans. These are the representatives of what Reagan used to call the “fraternal order” Republicans, the people who prefer for reasons as much social as political to advocate for the Democrat-lite position that has wound up over the decades proving itself to be both a governmental and political disaster.

He shows how defeated Republican moderate Senators Sununu and Bennett are attacking Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee:
The Cruz action last year that led to the Obama shutdown was, claimed one Establishment Republican after another, a disaster from which the GOP would not recover. Yet this fall conservatives swarmed to the polls electing the biggest House GOP majority since 1928 and re-taking the Senate with nine new GOP senators. The Reagan-style message Ted Cruz has been sending was received by voters. But not by John Sununu.

This is the exactly the same mentality that Ronald Reagan himself challenged throughout his political career. In the day, as with Ted Cruz and Mike Lee now, Reagan was pilloried as an extremist. As late as March of 1980, ex-GOP President Gerald Ford, the epitome of the Establishment Republican, was telling the New York Times Reagan was too extreme ever to be elected president. Suffice to say, he was not just wrong but humiliatingly wrong. It stung, too. Ford insisted in 1976 only a GOP moderate like himself could defeat Jimmy Carter. Ford lost. Four years later in 1980 Reagan conservatism carried 44 states. As would later surface in a posthumous book of interviews with Ford by former Newsweek reporter Tom DeFrank, Ford had “contempt” for Reagan. Shades of Jon Huntsman Sr.’s feelings for Mike Lee.

So as America heads into the Christmas holidays, here we go again with attacks on Reagan conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee by the GOP Establishment. One would think that by now the Sununus, Bennetts and Huntsman Srs. of the world would have learned that the politics of timidity and defending the status quo are, as mentioned, not merely political losers but devastatingly bad government. Embarrassingly, apparently not.
Read more here.
Thanks to Christopher Buckley

He tells the truth: why does everybody hate him?

Jonathan Gruber has a way of speaking that is blunt and clear. Here is a link to a pdf of a policy brief he wrote in 2009, admitting that The Affordable Care Act has no cost controls.
"That’s why I say, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Let’s get the bill done now that covers people for health insurance, and then let’s move forward to cost control as we can do it, as we go along."

Thanks to Christopher Buckley

Don't accept every invitation

To do what you may ask? But this MILF is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which makes them the MILF. Perhaps it’s time for a name change?
Posted by Paul Gallagher at Dangerous Minds.

13 years at number one

Here are a couple of graphs showing how the cable news networks did in day viewers and prime time viewers.

Read more here.
Thanks to Christopher Buckley

Fighting for people

How has the Obama presidency worked out for us in the 99 percent?
According to University of California, Berkeley, economist Emmanuel Saez, 95 percent of all recovery gains have accrued to the much-vilified “top 1 percent.”

At the same time, the poor have become even more desperate. The number of Americans receiving aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as food stamps) has increased by almost 50 percent since January 2009, from 32.2 million to 47.7 million. One in six citizens in the richest country in the world now rely on food aid from their government.

Today, a lower percentage of Americans are in the workforce—63 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—than at any time since the infamous days of Jimmy Carter.

Arthur C. Brooks suggests the need for transformation: personal moral transformation, and four pillars:
faith, family, community, and work.

His second recommendation is material giving:
As I found in my 2006 book Who Really Cares, the average conservative household contributes significantly more to charity than does the average liberal household despite earning less income. According to the 1996 General Social Survey, those who strongly agreed that “the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” gave away $140 on average to charity. Among those who strongly disagreed, the average gift was $1,637.

Of the 10 most charitable states in 2012, as ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, nine went for Romney over Obama. Three times as many red states as blue states placed in the top 20 states in giving. And all but one of the 10 least charitable states swung President Obama’s way.

But we have learned three lessons from our material giving:
First, there is nothing inherently wrong with safety-net programs, be they SNAP, housing support, or Medicaid. Second, they must be designed and administered in ways that fight fiercely against dependency. And third, the safety net’s ultimate goal cannot be the perpetual subsistence of poor Americans in barely tolerable lives. We can aim at nothing less than real human flourishing.

Brooks proposes a third plank in a "social justice agenda:" opportunity.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has shown that in 1980, 21 percent of Americans in the bottom income quintile rose to the middle quintile or higher by 1990. But those who started off in the bottom quintile in 1995 had only a 15 percent chance of becoming middle class in 2005. That is a one-third decline in mobility in under a generation. Other analyses tell a similar tale. One 2007 Pew study measured relative mobility in Canada and Scandinavia at more than twice America’s level.

How can a conservative social-justice agenda reverse these trends and expand opportunity for all? An opportunity society has two basic building blocks: Universal education to create a base of human capital and an economic system that rewards hard work, merit, innovation, and personal responsibility. So opportunity conservatism must passionately advance education reform and relentlessly defend the morality of free enterprise.

So, how are we doing in education?
Public schools in Washington D.C. spend more per pupil than all but one U.S. state (New York), yet only about 56 percent of children graduate from high school. In our nation’s capital, a city flanked by six suburban counties that rank among America’s 10 richest, only 15 percent of eighth-graders read at grade level.

But, while our education system has failed so many, our free enterprise system has
saved billions from poverty by giving them their first opportunity to rise in history. Truly, this is America’s gift to the world. Conservatives can and must champion this truth without apology or compromise. For the sake of all people, our end goal must be to make free enterprise as universally accepted and nonpartisan as civil rights are today.

So what should conservatives do?
For too long, conservatives have identified themselves as fighting against things, perpetually making war on the left’s mistaken priorities. They fight against punitive taxes, creeping overregulation, wasteful spending, licentious culture, and ruinous national debt.

The central, motivating purpose of conservative philosophy is not fighting against things. It is fighting for people.
Read more here.
Thanks to Kris Cook.

Cheer up!

Dan Hannan is a British Conservative member of the European Parliament. He does not share Ace's gloomy outlook as excerpted in my last post. He writes:
The next generation of Americans will lead healthier, happier, more fulfilled lives than the present one.

That sentence could have been written at any time since the Mayflower landed. It would always have been true (for the settlers, at any rate; it was a different story for the indigenous tribes). And it would always have prompted skepticism. No doubt, had opinion polls existed at the time, 76 percent of Puritan emigres, their faces grim and thunderous over their lace ruffs, would have prophesied damnation. And I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if 76 percent of Americans in 1776 weren’t hanging their white-wigged heads in despair at the debt level (or whatever the fashionable panic of the day was).

In 1948, George Orwell was fretting about being watched through massive screens by an all-powerful state. A generation later, we carry our own screens with us — and they place more information in our hands than an entire government department could have managed in Orwell’s day. Foods that were recently exotic and expensive are available on every shelf. We buy clothes so cheaply that we rarely bother mending them. Household appliances do in minutes what might take our grandmothers days. Globally, poverty is being eroded. By any metric — longevity, literacy, infant mortality, calorie intake, height — the human race is improving.

So why the gloom? As Lord Macaulay asked a century and a half ago, “On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

The private sector will always, over time, grow faster than the government, because entrepreneurs are smarter, collectively, than bureaucrats. Vast new wealth will be created from 3-D printing, driverless cars, advances in biotechnology and other sectors that we can’t now imagine. State regulators will always be playing catch-up. Free enterprise will outgrow the state, as the jungle swallows up Mayan ruins.

Take just one measure. Cheap energy is a pretty reliable forerunner of growth, lowering production costs, boosting competitiveness and increasing disposable income. Which is why it is so important to pessimists to keep predicting a looming price rise. Well, who called that one right?

Cheer up: Life keeps getting better.
Wouldn't it be nice to have an optimist like Daniel Hannon as President of the United States? Read more here.

working for Them

Ace writes:
Saudi Arabia is refusing to cut production -- which they would ordinarily do, to prop up oil's price -- because they want to send oil prices low enough to punish American frackers, and maybe drive them from the market. (Fracked oil and gas is more expensive than easily-pumped fuel, and can only be sold at a loss at low prices.)

So all of these goods flow from expanded American energy production -- the Russian bear hobbled, the American economy growing, Middle Eastern tyrants with less money to spend on religious terrorism.

So of course Obama, the Shit-Fingered Midas, is stepping in to put a stop to all this.

Ace quotes from an Amy Harder story in the Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration is planning to release in the coming months a series of regulations on the oil and natural gas industry, a response to the nation's energy boom that also is aimed at burnishing President Barack Obama's environmental legacy in his final two years.

The coming rules--at least nine in total--would include the first-ever federal standards addressing methane emissions, stricter controls on hydraulic fracturing, drilling requirements in the Arctic, new rules governing oil shipped by trains and tougher standards on offshore drilling technology.

The repercussions for the industry could be higher operating costs and fewer incentives to drill on public lands. Mr. Obama and his environmental backers say new regulations are needed to address the impacts of the surge in oil and gas drilling and production.
Back to Ace:
Get this: Obama has blocked the Keystone XL pipleline for years, and this has resulted in more oil being transported by rail.

Obama's coming "solution"? Regulate the shit out of rail transport of oil and drive the price up.

And of course he's doing this without Congress.

So the frackers causing all these wonderful secondary effects are going to be hit by a double misfortune: The low prices they've caused will drive many of them out of business, and meanwhile a walking catastrophe named Barack Obama is going to ramp up regulatory costs on them as well.

250,000 energy workers may lose jobs because of the improved energy outlook they themselves created. And that's before Catastrophe Obama deliberately punishes them further.

It's almost as if he's working for Them, huh?

Moving forward - in gratitude

What list do you have playing in your head today? The list of all the things you messed up this year? Or the list of all the things you are grateful to God for? Ann Voskamp writes about what her daughter learned about playing music - that the important thing is to move forward to the next bar, not to get stuck worrying about a note you missed. Go here to read Ann's beautifully written piece on moving forward.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rudy Guiliani sticks to his guns

Who controls Hollywood?

Maetenloch asks, who really controls Hollywood? His answer: The overseas market.

Jeffrey Gedmin & Martha Bayles write:
North Korea, with its paltry population of 28 million and its impoverished, closed society, is not a tempting market for U.S. companies. Nor does Pyongyang have a team of lobbyists defending its image in the United States. China, on the other hand, has more than a billion consumers hungry for everything that America produces, and its lobbyists, if you can call them that, are everywhere.

Two-thirds of the revenues for Hollywood blockbusters are generated from overseas markets. China is far from being the most lucrative of these—according to Ben Fritz of the Wall Street Journal, it is fifth on the list, after the UK, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. But it is already a cash cow for Hollywood, with revenue hitting $3.55 billion this year, up 32 percent in the first nine months of 2014. Transformers: Age of Extinction took the lead with $320 million in profits.
Read more here.

After 13 years, the war ends in Afghanistan

As the war is officially ended in Afghanistan, the toll is 2,224 American soldiers killed, according to the Associated Press. Maetenloch writes:
If the goal was to build Afghanistan into a viable secure nation-state, then the mission was a failure. But if the goal was to disrupt Islamic terror groups and keep them from establishing safe havens for training and preparations in Afghanistan, then it was a success. And whatever politicians have said over the years, I've always viewed the latter goal as the only real reason why we were in Afghanistan.
Read more here.

Burdens of feminism

Okay, you say you didn't find that last post to be controversial? How about this one:
Feminists appear to be burdened with the worst of each sex: The aggressive posturing of men combined with the emotional irrationality of women. Not unlike misbehaving children. And what do you do with misbehaving children? You set boundaries and punish them when they act up.
Read more here.

Another reason women favor badboys

Today's most controversial post I have read so far comes from a dependable source for such fare: Chateau Heartiste:
When a race and its culture are pushed to the brink, its women will begin to favor men who, in myriad ways, offer the chance of resistance against their annihilation. If women are choosing jerks and rascals, it may be that on a level beyond their conscious appreciation they are helping to birth an army of selfish pricks capable of saving them from themselves.
Read more here.

Deceiving our children about Islam

Carol Brown writes:
Muslim Brotherhood front groups have been, and continue to be, integrally involved in the development of Common Core curriculum. They make sure a false picture of Islam is integrated into lessons, from K – 12. Our children are exposed to all manner of “educational” activities that amount to Islamic propaganda, which is now endemic in the school system.

Factor in political leadership that is clueless (at best) or willfully collaborating with the enemy (at worst) along with an electorate that has been marinating in politically-correct-multicultural-moral-equivalence “thinking,” and you’ve got a powerful force mangling the minds of our youth.

I wish I could call what is going on a battle. Or a war. But I can’t. Because thus far America has hardly put up a fight. And so, Islam advances. Marching through the halls of our schools.
Go here to read many examples of what our kids are being taught.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Angelina Jolie comments about overcoming obstacles and the message of forgiveness in her film Unbroken

Louis Zamperini's faith

Louis Zamperini's son Luke writes about the movie Unbroken, which Angelina Jolie played for 97-year-old Louis on her laptop in his hospital bed as he lay dying last summer. Luke says that Louis loved the movie and loved the way it handled his faith and conversion. Read Luke's movie review here.

Thanks to Scott Ott

Obama is not the only politician who loves Jonathan Gruber

Thanks to Michael Walsh

He likes his farm


Federal government policy: anti-police

J. Christian Adams writes here about wicked mobs, cop killers, the attorney general, and the lawyers Eric Holder has hired to harass cops.

Israel, where Arabs have a future

Here is an extract from a speech by George Deek, an Israeli Arab, speaking recently in Oslo: - See more at:
In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights. Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees? Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere.

And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations.

Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.

While there is one U.N. agency in charge of all refugees in the world – the UNHCR, another agency was established to deal only with the Palestinian ones – UNRWA. This is no coincidence – while the goal of the UNHCR is to help refugees establish a new home, establish a future and end their status as refugees, the goal of UNRWA is opposite: to preserve their status as refugees, and prevent them from being able to start new lives.

The International community cannot seriously expect the refugee problem to be solved, when it is collaborating with the Arab world in treating the refugees’ as political pawns, denying them the basic rights they deserve. Wherever the Palestinian refugees were granted equal rights – they prospered and contributed to their society – In South America, in the U.S., and even in Israel. In fact, Israel was one of the few countries that automatically gave full citizenship and equality for all Palestinians in it after ‘48. And we see the results: despite all the challenges, the Arab citizens of Israel built a future.

Israeli Arabs are the most educated Arabs in the world, with the best living standards and opportunities in the region.

Arabs serve as judges in the Supreme Court; Some of the best doctors in Israel are Arabs, working in almost every hospital in the country. There are 13 Arab members of parliament who enjoy the right to criticize the government – a right that they exhaust to the fullest – protected by the freedom of speech; Arabs win popular reality shows; and you can even find Arab diplomats – and one of them is standing in front of you.

Today, when I walk the streets of Jaffa, I see the old buildings and the old port, But I also see children going to school and university; I see flourishing businesses; and I see a vibrant culture. In short, despite the fact that we [Arabs] still have a long road ahead of us as a minority, we have a future in Israel.
- See more at:
Read more here.


Thanks to PowerLine

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Who bagged the big bucks?

Big money donors: who are they, and to whom did they give their money in the recent mid-term elections? The biggest donors are teachers who belong to the National Education Association union. They gave $22 million to Democrats. In fact, a Republican doesn't appear on the list until number fourteen!
Democrat hedge fund billionaire and global warming activist Tom Steyer blew at least $74 million on the 2014 midterm elections, making him the cycle’s largest individual donor.

The libertarian Koch Brothers came in tied for the 23rd spot of largest spenders, according to the Associated Press.

Out of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors to outside groups, Democrats hauled in $91 million or 71% of donations.
Read more here.

The Obama revolution

victor Davis Hanson writes:
In part the Obama revolution is linguistic. Words have been reinvented to mask unpleasant reality. Executive orders are “presidential memoranda,” to disguise their ubiquity. Costly Obamacare is an “Affordable Care Act.” Treaties are mere “accords” that do not need to be ratified by the Senate. Deportations are redefined to create a false sense that immigration law is enforced. Terrorism is disassociated from its Islamic roots through euphemisms like “man-caused disaster.”

In part the Obama revolution is bureaucratic. Old agencies are reinvented for new progressive missions. The NASA director promised to pursue Muslim outreach. The IRS went after political opponents. The actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are selective, and predicated on politics that are deemed favorable to the long-term Obama agenda. Whether the Department of Justice under Eric Holder intervened in a case was predicated on race, class, and gender criteria rather than just the legal merits.

In part the Obama revolution is a war to divvy up the nation by race, class, and gender. Differences are all stoked through various made-up wars. Incendiary presidential advisers like Al Sharpton, inflammatory rhetoric such “nation of cowards” and “punish our enemies,” and presidential commentary on controversies such as the Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown cases inflame and divide.

Obama’s promised new legislation — gun control, climate change, Obamacare — was either rejected by Congress or passed but found to be both unpopular and nearly unworkable. Positive changes — such as lower gas prices brought on by new American oil and gas discoveries and innovative new methods of extraction — came despite, not because of, Obama.

Yet the president presses on with his unpopular agenda, believing, as did Napoleon, that he alone is the revolution — intent to ignore popular opinion, the rule of law, and Congress. He assumes that his mastery of the teleprompter and iconic status as the first black president exempt him from congressional censure or outright public revolt.

In the next two years, we will see presidential overreach that we have not witnessed in modern memory.
Read more here.

Questions for Ashton Carter's confirmation hearing

Austin Bay suggests some confirmation questions Senators should ask Ashton Carter, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense:
The Islamic State Fills a Power Vacuum, Part 1: Knowing what you know now, Ash, was President Obama's failure to back up his "redline" threat to punish the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons a mistake? Syrian nerve gas killed some 1,500 civilians, Ash. Did our enemies see our president as being weak and indecisive?

The Islamic State Fills a Power Vacuum Part 2: Was the Obama administration's failure to maintain a residual military security presence in Iraq strategic error? Obama himself praised Iraq's stability. Vice-president Biden called Iraq an Obama administration success -- on CNN. What do you say to Iraqi political leaders who contend that in oder to obtain a new Status of Forces Agreement they needed U.S. political cover? Obama needed to be the adult in the room, and by damn, say U.S troops would stay because everyone benefited. Are these Iraqis just weak and inept and are making belated excuses, or do they have a point, one adults understand? Ash, does a superpower sometime have to play "bad cop" for the sake of peace and stability?

Russia Fills a Vacuum: After invading Crimea, Vladimir Putin annexed it. Putin has shredded the post-Cold War diplomatic framework for stability in Eastern Europe. Before he reneged on his Syrian redline, in 2009 Obama unilaterally decided that the U.S. would not deploy ground-based anti-missile interceptors to Poland. It was part of his "reset" of relations with Russia. The Poles felt sold out. Putin continues to wage war in Ukraine. Ash, can Poland rely on security guarantees from Obama? Should the U.S. Army station a tank brigade in Poland? The Poles want one. What do you think? By the way, how did Obama's Russian reset go? Wasn't that really nothing more than domestic political theater to try and blame the Bush administration for the Russo-Georgia War?

Iran's Nuke Quest: You understand nukes, Ash. Is Iran's theocratic dictatorship going to get The Bomb? This prospect concerns Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Europe. Those Polish GBI's Obama nixed were designed to stop Iranian missiles. Have you talked to Valerie Jarrett about Iranian nukes? Over the next two years, will her opinion of Iranian nuclear aspirations carry more weight than yours? If the mullahs do acquire nukes, would you support action to destroy those weapons?
Read more here.

Some questions for Hillary

National Journal has nine questions for Hillary Clinton. Actually, Glenn Reynolds writes that they left out the big one:
How do you reconcile your history of attacking Bill’s female accusers with your “war on women” rhetoric?

When party politics take precedence over the laws of the land

Kevin Williamson writes that
The characteristic feature of a police state is that those who are entrusted with the power to enforce the law are not themselves bound by it.
That's what has happened to the IRS during the Obama administration.
The most important question that must be answered in this matter does not involve the misbehavior of IRS officials and Democratic officeholders, though those are important. Nor is it the question of free speech, vital and fundamental as that is. The question here is nothing less than the legitimacy of the United States government. When law-enforcement agencies and federal regulators with extraordinary coercive powers are subordinated to political interests rather than their official obligations — to the Party rather than to the law — then the law itself becomes meaningless, and the delicate constitutional order we have enjoyed for more than two centuries is reduced to a brutal might-makes-right proposition.
Read more here.

Blue Wall of Resentment

This Reuters photo will be prominently shown everywhere. It shows cops turning their backs as New York Mayor addresses those gathered for the funeral of officer Ramos.

Read more here.

Do the math

Will the Obama Justice Department ever report accurate statistics on the incidences of sexual assault on campuses? It appears not, as the Political Calculations blog does the math here.

Thomas Sowell speaking plainly

Thanks to Mike Miles.

The man who interrogated KSM, the 9-11 mastermind

They (Senate Democrats) put our lives in danger. We saved lives. No opportunity to defend ourselves.

Climate Breakthrough: World Unites Around Agreement to Agree Later On

Why don't liberals care about the rape allegations against Bill Clinton?

Matt Walsh writes about rape, Bill Clinton, and Bill Cosby:
It’s got nothing to do with rape, really. Liberals don’t care that Cosby raped someone (allegedly) because if they did they’d care that Clinton raped someone (allegedly). What they care about is the opportunity to finally avenge their politically correct sensibilities, after Cosby spent several years audaciously telling black people to be accountable for their actions and stop blaming the white man for everything. If he’d never exposed himself as an apostate of the Church of Liberalism, and instead stuck to Clinton’s strategy of exposing himself to White House volunteers, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Liberals have seized on the opportunity not to discuss rape itself, but to prove that Cosby’s thoughts on race are illegitimate because some women accused him of it. I’m not quite sure what one has to do with the other, but this is logic only accessible to those inside the Church of Liberalism.

Liberalism doesn’t care about rape. Rape is a convenient way to prove a point sometimes, that’s all. Rape is an insidious, morally outrageous act of violence, but Liberalism doesn’t necessarily condemn things just because they’re insidious, morally outrageous acts of violence (see: abortion). It condemns those acts when they’re committed by heretics and traitors to their cause, but rarely otherwise.
Read more here.

Want to get away from the crowds?

Tired of the crowds? Want to get away from it all? Here are a few secluded places where the neighbors are nowhere to be seen. They are from this post at Distractify, where there are many other choices.This first one is in Serbia, on the Drina River.

This one is from Norway.

Thousand Islands, Canada

For a view of the sky, try Holmur Reykjanes, Iceland

The grass is always greener on the Faroe Islands

Thanks to Ann Voskamp

2014 statistics

Robert Samuelson has published the best statistics of 2014:
● Nine percent of Americans carry no cash, and half carry $20 or less.

● China’s government estimates that by 2020, about 30 million eligible bachelors will be unable to find a wife.

● First-year enrollment in law schools has dropped 30 percent in four years, falling from 52,488 to 37,924 — the lowest level since 1973.

● On average, children run a mile 90 seconds slower than their counterparts 30 years ago.

● Global life expectancy has increased by about six years since 1990, reflecting gains in rich countries against heart disease and in poorer countries against diarrhea and malaria.

● On English-language Web sites, you can choose from 466 e-cigarette brands and 7,764 flavors.

● In 2013, more than 40 percent of American births were to unmarried mothers for the sixth consecutive year. (In 1997, the share was 32 percent.)

● Only half of American men shave daily.

● The median amount of student borrowing to pay for college — adjusted for inflation — has doubled in the past two decades to about $27,000.

● The suicide rate for Americans 45 to 64 rose 40 percent from 1999 to 2011, making this group more suicide-prone than the young or old.

● The average teen processes 3,700 texts per month.

● Two years after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, 52 percent of Americans support gun ownership, up from 32 percent in 2007.

● Since the financial crisis, money flows between countries have dropped nearly two-thirds, from $8.5 trillion in 2007 to about $3 trillion in recent years.

● U.S. health spending remained at 17.4 percent of the economy (GDP) for five years, from 2009 to 2013. (Since 1960, there’s been one comparable period. From 1993 to 2000, spending stabilized at 13.4 percent of GDP.)

● There were 232 extra-inning baseball games in Major League Baseball this year, up from 185 in 2006.

Samuelson includes links to the sources of each of these statistics at the Washington Post website where I read his column.

Gasoline prices dropping fast

In case you haven't noticed, gasoline prices are dropping fast throughout the US. AAA reports that prices were at $3.27 a year ago, $2.81 a month ago, $2.45 a week ago, and $2.35 Friday.

Going to pot

A federal study indicates that 42% of Coloradans between the ages of 18 and 25 have used marijuana in the past year. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is the source for this information. The data comes from 2012 and 2013. The state with the highest percentage of marijuana users over age 12 was Rhode Island, followed by Colorado, Washington, Distict of Columbia, Oregon, Alaska, Vermont, Montana, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Although the Denver Post article tpday where I read this information did not provide specific numbers, it reported that use of alcohol and illicit drugs were also on the increase.

Stop killing milkweed!

A monarch butterfly alights on a milkweed. (Susana Gonzalez, AFP/Getty Images)

Bruce Finley writes:
Schoolchildren and seniors are pushing to undo an ecological catastrophe threatening monarch butterflies — by planting the milkweed that monarchs need.

The dwindling of migrating monarchs has been so swift that federal scientists say farmers, utilities, homeowners and public-land managers also must get involved. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials estimate monarchs have declined by about 95 percent since 1996, to 33 million from 1 billion.

While monarchs draw nectar from many flowers before laying eggs, their caterpillars can survive only on milkweed. Monarchs' 3,000-mile migration from Canada through the United States to wintering sites in Mexico requires multiple generations of butterflies because each can fly only about 100 miles.

The butterflies are victims of prairie conversion and increasing use of glyphosate herbicides. These herbicides, sprayed on crops genetically modified to withstand them, kill other plants, including the milkweed that once served as habitat for pollinators such as butterflies, bats and bees.

In addition to students at about a dozen schools, senior citizens along the Front Range have mobilized to plant milkweed, said horticulture director Amy Yarger at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster.

"The real impact is going to come when all the individual gardeners encourage municipalities not to spray milkweed and kill it," Yarger said. "We should allow milkweed along roads and in ditches, not mow it down, not spray it. This absolutely can be done."
Read more here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Beethoven's Symphony Number Nine performed by ten thousand Japanese!

Such unity and discipline! How did we ever defeat them in World War II?

thanks to Maetenloch

Sara Mora is awesome!

Watch this fearless woman clobber a robber with a napkin dispenser!

thanks to Inherent Craige

Satan, your kingdom must come down!

thanks to Inherent Craige

George W. Bush (Santa) visits sick children (no media)

Did you know that former President George W. Bush showed up without media this Holiday season dressed as Santa to visit sick kids at Dallas Childrens' Medical Center? Read about it here. He does the same with wounded veterans.

Thanks to Inherent Craige

Jet Blue flying police to attend funerals in New York

Major US Airliner Jet Blue is doing something really cool. It is offering two tickets to any police department in any community served by Jet Blue to fly to New York to attend the funerals of the two policemen. Read more here.

Thanks to Inherent Craige

Some guys really know how to jazz up a room

From The Onion:
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Noting that the sad little seasonal addition really seemed to “pull the place together,” local resident Jason Uhlir, 28, was reportedly pleased Tuesday by the way his newly purchased 3-foot-tall Christmas tree completed the unbelievably depressing look of his one-bedroom apartment. “I had this bleak, empty corner between my stained secondhand futon and the slanting bookshelf where I keep my six DVDs, so I thought it might be nice to put a misshapen, pathetically under-decorated Christmas tree there,” said Uhlir, noting how the shabby miniature pine with its two ornaments and single pitifully draped strand of colored lights really “tied together nicely” with the ratty, soiled towel he placed beneath the tree and the nearby blinking internet router and tangle of Ethernet cords in the middle of the floor. “I kind of had my own vibe going on in here with my completely blank, bare walls and oppressive fluorescent overhead lighting, so I didn’t know how a Christmas tree would look. But I have to say that this miserable little decoration and the pile of needles accumulating around it have really put the utterly dispiriting atmosphere of my apartment over the top.” Sources noted that Uhlir’s living room was only one embarrassing, shoddily wrapped Christmas present away from pulling off that hands-down, blow-your-brains-out wretched look.

Thanks to Inherent Craige

Do you think it is true that Jesus had wicked abs by the end of the Christmas season?

Thanks to Open Blogger at Ace of Spades

Selma and American Sniper

It looks like the two movies to see in January will be Selma and American Sniper.

thanks to Inherent Craige

Our backs are turned

From The New York Post:
John Cardillo, a blogger and former NYPD cop, tweeted that he was contacted by a “coalition of NYPD cops, Detectives, and supervisors” and asked to release their statement:

“As a large and unified group of current and retired NYC Police Officers, Detectives, & Supervisors, we are outraged by the mayor’s incendiary rhetoric, and for facilitating the current hostile climate towards the NYPD. We understand that the department and even our own unions can only go so far in their public condemnation of the mayor as to not irreparably damage the working relationship with the city, or future contract negotiations.

“It is our opinion that Mayor de Blasio’s dangerous and irresponsible comments about his and his wife’s concern for their son’s safety at the hands of the NYPD fueled the flames that led to civil unrest, and potentially to the deaths of PO Wenjian Liu and PO Rafael Ramos, as well as the continued threats against NYPD personnel. The Mayor shows us no respect, and encourages the public to follow his lead.

“Mayor de Blasio clearly doesn’t understand nor care that every man and woman of the NYPD would give their life to protect his son, his family, and every other resident of New York City. Tragically, two of our Finest made that ultimate sacrifice days before Christmas.

“We no longer have confidence in Mayor de Blasio, nor in his ability to lead New York City and promote the values that both the NYPD and the good law abiding citizens of the city hold dear. Mayor de Blasio turned his back on us long before we turned our backs on him. “
Read more here.

Thanks to Inherent Craige

It feels like rain

(Actually, it is seven degrees and snowing outside, but this is such a cool song and performance!)

Thanks to Inherent Craige

Same Old Lang Syne

thanks to Inherent Craig

People with a political agenda

John Hinderaker writes,
These stories about the killings of African-American men by police officers (or by a "neighborhood watch captain," in Trayvon Martin's case) are all what my long-time radio and podcast partner Brian Ward calls "stories of choice." They are plucked from a nearly endless supply of sad events that occur daily in a nation of 315 million, and are promoted because they further a political narrative. An unholy alliance of activists and newspaper reporters and editors tries to distort our perception of reality by giving undue emphasis to them. Then, of course, reality begins to catch up with perception, and we have riots, murders of police officers, and so on. But understand that the decision to promote these stories, in preference to others that are equally or more newsworthy, is a choice that is consciously made by people with a political agenda.

Heather McDonald writes:
Police killings of blacks are an extremely rare feature of black life and are a minute fraction of black homicide deaths. The police could end all killings of civilians tomorrow and it would have no effect on the black homicide risk, which comes overwhelmingly from other blacks. In 2013, there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the U.S.—almost all killed by black civilians—resulting in a death risk in inner cities that is ten times higher for blacks than for whites. None of those killings triggered mass protests; they are deemed normal and beneath notice. The police, by contrast, according to published reports, kill roughly 200 blacks a year, most of them armed and dangerous, out of about 40 million police-civilian contacts a year. Blacks are in fact killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. In 2013, blacks made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The percentage of black suspects killed by the police nationally is 29 percent lower than the percentage of blacks mortally threatening them.
Read more here.
Thanks to Maetenloch

Tough love

Today's hero is a monkey. Another monkey got electrocuted on subway train wires, and, after 20 minutes of trying everything, his friend revived him. Here is a video from The Guardian.

Thanks to BenK at Ace of Spades

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Needed: a national enhanced oil recovery initiative

Samuel Thernstrom writes about the astonishing promise of enhanced oil recovery:
Expanding EOR markets could arguably do more to improve American energy security​—​in both transportation and electricity-generation fuels​—​while simultaneously moving us closer to a zero-emissions energy system than any other single policy we could pursue. Even small-government conservatives should be willing to consider policies that leverage such significant outcomes out of limited federal interventions, particularly when the alternative is an expensive and ineffective regulatory approach to these issues.

This last point bears emphasizing: Industrial sources of carbon dioxide such as power plants would no longer be just electric generators in this context; they would become an integral part of the oil production process. There are places in America where there’s a lot of oil to be had​—​if we had carbon dioxide to extract it. An EOR initiative would mean that the impetus to install carbon capture on power plants would no longer be a politically contentious pollution control measure imposed by Washington; instead, it would be a profitable way to harness an essential chemical for oil production.

Given that America’s oil consumption is just under 7 billion barrels a year and domestic production is projected to top 3.1 billion barrels in 2014, the opportunity for federal policy to unlock access to 85 billion barrels of economical oil​—​potentially producing as much as an additional 2 to 3 million barrels of oil per day for the next 50 years​—​seems worthy of serious consideration to say the least.

The EOR opportunity is much bigger than Keystone XL​—​and it’s American oil, not Canadian tar sands. It’s bigger than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge​—​and it involves extracting additional oil from existing fields; even the Natural Resources Defense Council approves of enhanced oil recovery as a pragmatic alternative to drilling new fields. And it could arguably do more for decarbonization than EPA regulations, yet it remains at the margins of the national conversation about energy and climate.

The metric of success for a climate policy should not be just the tonnage of avoided annual emissions; the more important question is whether we are making decarbonization possible and practical on a global scale.

A national enhanced oil recovery initiative wouldn’t entirely protect America from the vagaries of global oil markets or fully eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from our electric power plants​—​but it would make genuine, important progress on both fronts, and that would be no small feat.
Read more here.

Getting through hard times

Marc and Angel have a post listing ten truths to help you get through tough times:
1. Pain is part of life and love, and it helps you grow.

2. Mindset is half the battle.

3. Your biggest fears don’t really exist.

4. You are growing through experience.

5. You can’t change situations you don’t take responsibility for.

6. The present is all you really have to deal with.

7. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

8. Great things take time.

9. Other people cannot validate you.

10. You are not alone.
Read more on each of the ten points here.

A dead-end road

Obama approval rating 15% among active-duty service members

Brian Hughes reports that
President Obama’s approval rating among active-duty service members has plummeted to 15 percent this year, according to a new poll, which showcases the military’s high level of distrust of the commander in chief.

A new Military Times survey of those now serving in the military found that Obama’s approval rating has dropped from 35 percent in 2009 to just 15 percent today.
Read more here.

The lava-like love of Christ

From Conservative Treehouse:
For more than two years, Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held unjustly in an Iranian jail, simply for meeting with Christians in a private home.

Despite his ordeal, Abedini has maintained his strong Christian faith. Never has that faith been more evident than in an inspiring Christmas letter that he sent his family:
Read the Pastor's letter here

We're as paralyzed as cave men frozen in fear with our eyes closed

It's guilt, over the original sin of slavery... and also fear.

Stop listening gullibly to the intelligentsia

Thomas Sowell writes:
It so happens that the police officers killed were both members of minority groups — Officer Rafael Ramos, Hispanic, and Officer Wenjian Liu, Asian. It so happens that a substantial part of the New York City police force are members of minority groups.

But you might never know that from the story told by demagogues who depict the black community as a “colonial” society being “occupied” by white policemen who target young blacks. Mayor de Blasio joined the chorus of those saying that they have to warn their black sons how to cope with this situation.

Many in the media and among the intelligentsia cherish the romantic tale of an “us” against “them” struggle of beleaguered ghetto blacks defending themselves against the aggression of white policemen. The gullible include both whites who don’t know what they are talking about and blacks who don’t know what they are talking about either, because they never grew up in a ghetto. Among the latter are the President of the United States and his attorney general.

Such people readily buy the story that ghetto social problems today — from children being raised without a father to runaway rates of murder — are “a legacy of slavery,” even though such social problems were nowhere near as severe in the first half of the 20th century as they became in the second half.

You would be hard pressed to name just five examples from the first half of the 20th century of the kinds of ghetto riots that have raged in more than a hundred cities during the second half. Such riots are a legacy of the social degeneracy of our times.

Calling this social degeneracy “a legacy of slavery” is not just an excuse for those who engage in it, it is an excuse for the ideology of the intelligentsia behind the social policies that promoted this degeneracy.

Let those who have laid a guilt trip on people in our times, for evils done by other people in past centuries, at least face their own responsibility for the evil consequences of their own notions and policies. If they won’t do it, then the rest of us need to stop listening gullibly to what they are saying.

The race card is nothing to play with. It can ruin us all.
Read more here.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown

Thanks to Christopher Buckley

Stand fast in liberty

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Read the rest here.

How could they sleep at a time like this?

Go here to view the video of Scott Ott's Christmas story.


Steve Sailer introduces us to Megaphonics.
Last week, in the wake of the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson and the ensuing night of undocumented shoppers, I was planning to write the definitive essay on why the engineers of conventional wisdom—the holders of the Megaphone—always seem to get their big stories so ludicrously wrong.

For example, why would you stick with Michael Brown as your Exhibit A of the viciousness of the white race when, by August 18th, the public had both the autopsy report and the convenience store video demonstrating that Brown wasn’t the “gentle giant” of inane journalistic cliché, but instead was a one-man crime wave?

The coordinated tag-team efforts of the Obama Administration and the media to encourage blacks to riot for more political power and feminists to frame innocent men for rape has led straight white men increasingly to defend themselves … in the comments.
Read more here.

Hate hoaxes

Steve Sailer explains that:
if the underlying engine of your politics is hate (as suggested by all these hate hoaxes that are the KKKrazy Glue of the Obama coalition), you are going to attract and excite a lot of psychologically fragile fringe personalities. And they tend to repel the normal and healthy.

Chaos in Democrat-run cities like St. Louis and Oakland does little to burnish the Democratic brand with voters. In Pat Buchanan’s recent memoir The Greatest Comeback, he recounts how at the Democratic Convention in August 1968 he and Norman Mailer stood together watching the liberal ruling party destroy itself as hippies battled Mayor Daley’s cops in the streets of Chicago. As part of the 1964 Democratic ticket, Hubert Humphrey had won 61.1 percent of the vote. In 1968, he earned only 42.7 percent.
Read more here.

Whom do you blame your problems on?

Gavin McInnis writes: "We are living in a culture where educated people and even police officers would rather get dominated by extremist Islam than make anyone uncomfortable. While the oppressed scream from their cribs and blame their problems on us, we run around frantically looking for a pacifier." Gavin does, however find someone he considers a hero. It is Gabourey Sidibe, star of the 2009 movie Precious, which I have not seen. Go here to read why he chooses to admire Gabourey.

If you are like me, and know nothing of Gabourey Sidibe, you might want to read this speech she gave at the Gloria awards, taking responsibility for being an asshole!

The latest feminist lie

Kathy Shaidle writes: “It’s easier to fake being a loser than a winner, and the rewards are much greater, too.” Kathy would further be willing to undergo one of those sex-change operations if it would mean that she would no longer be of the same gender as the Australian woman who pulled off the latest random act of kindness that actually didn't happen. Read more here.

Any of these apply to you?

Matt Walsh decided to write a blog post on how guys can ruin their marriages. He lists four things guys can do that will ruin their marriages.

The first is porn.
It’s definitely not an easy time to be a virtuous man. Everywhere we look there are words and images trying to grab our attention and send us into a spiral of lust and sexual greed. You really can’t even scroll down a Facebook newsfeed anymore without seeing blatant or borderline pornography. The entire world, it seems, is out to exploit our weaknesses.

The second is laziness.
Families take effort, so when I refuse to exert it, I am to some extent refusing to be a part of the family. It makes sense that our wives get upset about that attitude. It make sense that something as ‘small’ as not ‘helping around the house’ could ultimately destroy a marriage. It destroys it because we aren’t participating in it. We have no right to be lazy husbands. Family is work, marriage is work, life is work, and it’s our job to do it all without complaint.

The third is passiveness.
What I’ve come to understand is that leadership is a responsibility, not an entitlement. It’s something we are called to do with humility and love, as servants, not as emperors. I’ve learned why men are tempted to pass the buck on to their wives or even their children, and I’ve learned why that can be such a devastating choice. But I’ve also learned the joy of embracing that leadership role, however imperfectly, and accepting the vocation that all husbands and fathers are called to.

The fourth is immaturity.
A child’s life might be dominated by a desire to play with their toys and other frivolous pursuits, but as men we need to develop interests in deeper things. Our tastes should mature right along with the rest of us. Is it fair to our wives when we put her in a situation where her husband is just as obsessed with toys as her children are? Is she supposed to feel a great desire for a man who ignores her in favor of TV and Xbox?
Read more here

Professor Alan Charles Kors fights for free speech

Freedom is an extraordinary medium! Students are paying a terrible price now for comfort. The political correctness police are no in charge on our college campuses. We are treating young adults on college campuses as helpless infants in the name of comfort.

I believe in free speech, but. The problem is everyone has their own but exemption that they would put on free speech.

How do we plan to enable these students to become adult members of a free society?

Thanks to Bird Dog

An ideology that elevated coercion over freedom

The defining ethic of socialism is not equality, but coercion. Do you think the way to go is to suck up to those in power, or do you believe in serving the rest of your fellow citizens in a capitalist system? Socialism takes away freedom to make choices as autonomous individuals.

Thanks to Bird Dog at Maggie's Farm

Giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present

Did you know that seventy years ago today American troops
spent Christmas breaking the advance of the German army in one of the most storied fights in American history.
Rich Lowry brings us the story.
Adolf Hitler had launched a desperate counteroffensive against the allies in the West in December 1944. As described in the book No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle for Bastogne, the town became a linchpin of the Battle of the Bulge.

Hitler hoped to split the Allied armies and retake the crucial harbor at Antwerp. His attack through the Ardennes forest, accompanied by a withering artillery barrage, caught the Allies by surprise and met with initial success.

But he needed Bastogne, a crossroads that General Dwight Eisenhower quickly decided must be held.

It is Bastogne that gives us some of the great statements of American military defiance. When the Germans demanded surrender of his forces, General McAuliffe shot back with his famous rejoinder, “NUTS!” A soldier’s quip captured the spirit of the American defenders: “They’ve got us surrounded, the poor bastards.”

Then German armor and infantry massed for an attack early on Christmas morning that punched through American lines and came within a mile and a half of Gen. McAuliffe’s headquarters.

But it was blunted and ferociously chewed up, leaving a devastated landscape of dead bodies and burned-out German tanks, the wreckage of the Germans’ last chance to take the town. With the worst seemingly past, General McAuliffe enjoyed a makeshift Christmas dinner of canned salmon and biscuits, complete with a Christmas tree fashioned from spruce branches.

The next day, General Patton finally arrived to relieve Bastogne. The siege had been broken, and so had the Ardennes offensive. Hitler’s grand gambit had failed.

In his message on Christmas Eve, General McAuliffe had continued: “We’re fighting — it’s cold — we aren’t home. All true.” But when the Germans had surged ahead at the start of the Battle of the Bulge, “the Eagle Division was hurriedly ordered to stem the advance. How effectively this was done will be written in history; not alone in our Division’s glorious history but in world history.”

“We are giving,” it concluded, “our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a merry Christmas.”
Read more here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Chinese building a rival to the Panama Canal in Nicaragua

Merco Press reports that
Nicaragua on Monday announced the start of work on shipping canal designed to rival Panama's waterway and revamp the economy of the second-poorest country in the Americas, behind Haiti. The project is backed by China as it attempts to reshape its influence in the region currently dominated by the United States, which built the Panama Canal a century ago.

“This project will bring no benefit to the people of Nicaragua, it will only benefit the Chinese,” the South China Morning Post quoted 24-year-old protest leader Danilo Lorio as saying. “The compensation offer for our lands is ridiculous.”

There have been 17 such demonstrations against the canal in recent months with the largest on December 10 drawing a crowd of 5,000 to the capital Managua. Nicaraguans are angry over what they charge are illegal land seizures by the Nicaraguan government in order to pave the way for the massive and controversial infrastructure project.

The proposed canal is set to intersect Lake Nicaragua, known locally as Lake Cocibolca, sending cargo ships and tankers straight through the largest source of freshwater in Central America. Further, the canal is expected to displace tens of thousands of mostly rural and indigenous landholders and would likely devastate over 400,000 acres of rainforests and wetlands, which scientists say are critical to local and regional biodiversity conservation efforts.

According to Ohio State University doctoral candidate Chris Hartmann writing for Foreign Policy in Focus, “Farmers and residents near the lake are concerned that the proposed canal will disrupt subsistence agricultural practices, further pollute the lake, and decrease water for personal consumption and irrigation. Both farmers and residents worry they will be evicted from their lands, and many will refuse to leave willingly.”
Read more here.

Favorite genres blowing up in liberals' faces

Noemie Emery writes:
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the liberals’ narrative outlook on life. One after another of their favorite genres has blown up in their faces as they have been caught telling and promoting stories that were too good to be true.

There was the gender-based theme, as the Rolling Stone tale of the horrendous gang rape at the University of Virginia went the way of the Duke lacrosse story — an elaborate hoax put on by the self-styled victim with no connection whatever to fact. A feminist student complained that "to let fact-checking define the narrative" would be a "mistake." But a narrative without facts is simply a fiction and a lie that does damage to innocent people.

There was no fact-checking around Ferguson, Mo., in August, because the story itself was so good. A 300-pound thief who picked a fight with a cop was turned into a "child" who was cruelly gunned down by a Bull Connor cutout. The incident became the excuse to loot and burn buildings, and then the excuse for the underemployed in large urban centers to lie down in crosswalks and block major arteries.

Alas, this narrative of a racist police force suppressing "the other" exploded for good on Dec. 20, when two officers, Hispanic and Asian, were shot in their patrol car, mourned by the police and most of the city, and memorialized in a press conference translated in Spanish and attended by people of varying colors whose demeanor was a lot more refined than that of the protest community. The narrative may now never recover, mourn the liberal bloggers, varied race hustlers and many people at NBC News.
Read more here.
Remember the 1960s? With the exception of the four years of Jimmy Carter, they resulted in 20 of the next 24 years being Republican Presidents.

Poor victims

Have you heard of the Bronx Defenders? Since Obama and Holder took over in Wasington D.C. they have funneled $1.5 million to the organization. New York City has funded the organization to the tune of $47 million. The group has a cameo appearance in a video depicting blacks as victims of the police. Watch the sickening video below.

Thanks to the Daily Signal, where you can read much more here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Let's not sit out the culture wars

This was the year that Robert Tracinski
discovered that while I might not be interested in the culture war, the culture war is interested in me. It’s interested in all of us.

This is the year when we were served noticed that we won’t be allowed to stand on the sidelines, because we will not be allowed to think differently from the left.

How did we find this out? First, they came for the Christians, in legal cases meant to force conservative believers to provide funding for abortifacient contraceptives and to participate in gay marriage ceremonies.

This year saw the launch of a whole new wave of “political correctness,” heralded by a bizarre little incident known as “ShirtStorm.” This was the brief controversy over a British scientist who was harangued for his “misogyny” because he supervised the landing of a space probe on a comet—a huge scientific achievement—while wearing a shirt that was considered offensive to feminists.

So first they came for the Christians, then they came for the geeks, then for the hipsters. Moreover, “The new orthodoxy is total.”

And they’re going after your kids, too, complaining about “gendered toys.” Which brings us to the crazy new frontier of modern feminism, including a prudish new code of sexual conduct for University of California campuses which seems “as if it were drafted by celibate monks.”
Read more here.

Researchers Say Long-Term Memories Could Potentially Be Restored

The coming data deluge

Peter Diamandis writes:
We’re heading towards a world of perfect knowledge.

Soon you’ll be able to know anything you want, anytime, anywhere, and query that data for answers and insights.
How will this happen? First, because of
An explosion of ubiquitous, omnipresent cameras

Imaging from our streets: Fleets of autonomous cars will image everything in and around our roads, constantly.

Imaging from space: Today there are three private orbital satellite constellations with two more being planned soon. These near-real time imaging services from space are offering 0.5 meter to 5 meter resolution of any spot on the planet, with video and multi-spectral options.

Imaging from our skies: Beyond orbiting satellites, we will soon have armies of drones flying above our streets imaging the ground at centimeter resolution.

Imagine from our sidewalks: Whatever Google Glass becomes, we’ll see a future where people walk around with always-on, active cameras that image everything on our streets, at millimeter resolution.

NOTE: These are examples just from the realm of ubiquitous imaging sensors. Beyond this, there will be an explosion of audio/vibration, genomics and biometrics sensors, to name just a few.

In the decade ahead, we’re heading towards a trillion-sensor world. In 2013, we generated 4 zettabytes (4x1021bytes) of data. Data generation is doubling every two years and accelerating. By 2020 we’ll be up to 44 zettabytes (i.e. 44 trillion gigabytes).

Then, with the power of machine learning, data science, increased computational power, and global connectivity we can process, learn from, explore, and leverage that information to ask and answer almost any question.
Read more here.


In 1994 Richard Hill wrote:
“It seems safe to report that dude has supplanted totally as the word most often uttered by American youth.
Here is a map showing what parts of the US you are most likely to hear young people saying the word dude.

Any ideas of a word that might replace it? I'm thinking it might be "um, yeah."

Wasting time

Michael Walsh has come out and said it: spending hours watching NFL games is a waste of time. I wasted several hours watching my first full NFL game last night, so I couldn't agree more with Mr. Walsh. I'm completely on board with his advice:
Get a life, get a job, or just read a book.

Now let's hope the Broncos do us all a favor and avoid making it to the Super Bowl this season.

What might happen if Joseph and Mary tried to reach Jerusalem today?

David Bernstein writes:
Since Joseph and Mary were Judeans, i.e., Jews, from Nazareth, they wouldn’t need to be afraid of Israeli roadblocks needed to combat Palestinian terrorism, but of being murdered by terrorists from Hamas or Fatah.

As a woman pregnant out of wedlock, if Mary was a Palestinian she’d have a lot more to fear from a potential honor killing than she would from having to traverse and Israeli checkpoint; twenty-seven Palestinian women were victims of honor killings in the West Bank and Gaza in 2013 alone.
Read more here.

To your health

Peter Hajek writes:
Electronic cigarettes (EC) are a consumer product appealing to smokers looking for a safer way to obtain what they want from their cigarettes. From what we know about EC ingredients, toxicology and the chemical and physical processes involved, they can be expected, outside pregnancy, to be at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes [1]. There is now a sufficient body of evidence available on several aspects and effects of EC for recent reviews to conclude that health care professionals and public health bodies should encourage smokers who cannot stop smoking using available treatments, or do not want to do so, to switch to EC [2],[3].

Yet at the same time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have labelled EC a threat to public health, issued a strong advice to smokers not to use them [4], and urges policy makers to limit their use by prohibition or strict regulation [5]. This and other negative campaigns are starting to have an alarming effect of persuading smokers that EC are as harmful as cigarettes [6] and discouraging them from making the switch [7],[8].

This commentary argues that EC have a potential to generate substantial public health benefits and that discouraging smokers from using them and regulating EC as severely as cigarettes, or even more severely, is detrimental to public health.

Today’s e-cigarettes appeal to only a fraction of the smoking population, but if they are allowed to carry on competing with cigarettes as a consumer product and innovate and evolve, there is a good chance that they will continue to improve in offering smokers what they want, cigarette sales will continue to fall, and over the next 10 years, in countries where EC are available and competitively priced, the use of combustible tobacco will virtually disappear. The public health benefit would be huge, even if recreational use of nicotine carries on. If, on the other hand, misleading public health messages discourage smokers from switching and drastic regulations stop EC evolution and make them uncompetitive, the opportunity for a dramatic reduction in smoking related disease and death will be postponed by many years or even missed altogether. Future commentators are likely to consider attempts to remove safer alternatives to cigarettes from the market unethical, however virtuous the missionaries of the nicotine eradication gospel may feel. In the meantime, clinicians facing smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking and who follow evidence and common sense rather than ideologically and commercially driven agendas should recommend that their patients try several types of e-cigarettes to see if they can find one meeting their needs.
Read more here.

Scrooge was a liberal

John Merline has conclusive proof that Scrooge was a liberal:
A major clue comes early in the story, when two men collecting for charity arrive at Scrooge's office. After asking Scrooge for a donation to help the poor and needy, Scrooge responds: "Are there no prisons? And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operation? The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor?"

He goes on to say, "I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

Modern translation: I pay taxes to support the welfare state, why should I give money to you?

Turns out, that's a decidedly liberal viewpoint.

Studies have consistently shown that big-government liberals donate far less money to private charities than conservatives. In his book "Who Really Cares," Arthur Brooks notes that households headed by conservatives give 30% more to charity than households headed by liberals. Another study found that even poor conservatives donate more than rich liberals .

There are other facets to Scrooge's character that line up better with modern liberals.

During that same conversation, Scrooge says it might be better for the poor who are unwilling to go on welfare to die "and decrease the surplus population."

Cold and heartless, yes. But which side is always bemoaning overpopulation? From Paul Ehrlich in the late 1960s to environmentalists today, it's been a fixation of the left, not the right.
Read more here.

Top ten feminist fiascoes of 2014

Charlotte Allen looks back at 2014, and brings us the top ten feminist fiascos of the year:
The “gang rape” hoax at UVA: A three-hour serial sexual assault atop a pile of glass shards as a fraternity-initiation ritual?

Wendy Davis: Even though Davis’ bedazzled supporters threw almost $40 million at her feckless campaign, she still lost by 20 points to Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott.

Rotherham: Now there was a real rape culture: nearly two decades of sexual assault, exploitation, and trafficking of teenage girls, mostly by British-Pakistani men, that had been covered up by British authorities for fear of stirring up anti-Islamic sentiment.

#Shirtstorm: In mid-November scientists managed, for the first time in human history, to land a robot on a comet hurtling through space some 25 million miles away from Earth. But the reaction of feminists was: Who cares? They were fixated on the fact that one of the physicists, Matt Taylor, wore a shirt printed with ladies in lingerie during a live screening of the feat.

Hobby Lobby: The Supreme Court ruled on June 30 that a federal religious-freedom law permitted the crafts-store chain to refuse to pay for certain kinds of birth control for their employees on the ground that they could be abortifacients.

The Nine West shoe ad ragefest: Nothing inflames a feminist more than the idea that women primarily want to be wives and mothers. So when Nine West launched a series of ads for stilettos over the summer with such slogans as “starter husband hunting” and “first day of kindergarten,” feminists clutched their pearls so tightly over the supposed damage to women’s “self-esteem” that they nearly decapitated themselves.

The Great Spider-Woman Sexist Derriere Scandal: Feminist ire detonated after the leaking of Italian graphic artist Milo Manara’s comic-book cover showing Spider-Woman clambering over the top of a skyscraper with her behind stuck up in the air. “A male hero would never be placed in the same physical position,” sniffed one commentator. Then it turned out that a male hero -- namely Spider-Man himself -- had been placed in the exact same position, with his behind stuck up in the air, on the cover of one of his comic books.

F-Bombs for Feminism: Someone actually thought it would help the cause of women to dress up little girls in princess costumes and video them as they dropped the f-word more times than Leonardo di Caprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Amanda Marcotte: This Slate XX regular and overtime tweeter was the feminist gift that kept on giving throughout 20014. Top Marcottism of the year (on Dec. 5): Calling the people who disbelieved Rolling Stone’s now-debunked UVA rape yarn “rape apologists.”

“Ban Bossy”: Whatever happened to that? In March, celebrity Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was making the media rounds to promote her plan to encourage girls to be leaders by making sure no one ever used the b-word around them.
Read more here.