Thursday, September 18, 2014
Dr. Marc Siegel explains why we shouldn't be losing sleep over Ebola:
Dr. Osterholm must be counting on the fact that the news media have a very short memory when he discusses Ebola in the New York Times in the same way that he once discussed bird flu. He must know that we have all seen enough catastrophe movies such as Contagion and Outbreak to get our collective heart rate and blood pressure up any time we so much as hear the word "mutation." But science fiction is not science, and Ebola Zaire, which was first identified in 1976, has been essentially stable since then, with no sign that it is about to become airborne. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is considered by many to be the top expert in the country on emerging infections, told me during two interviews last month that he thought it was extremely unlikely that the Ebola virus would mutate into an airborne pathogen.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Jonah Goldberg reflects on words and their meaning:
The disconnect between names and the named becomes most pronounced in totalitarian societies where words become weapons of the State. When language ceases to be a tool for labeling reality and higher truths and becomes one for upholding the agenda of a regime, the society rots and invites revolt. Try as they might, tyrants rarely have much success at persuading miserable people they are happy or hungry people they are full. As a result, regimes feel required to tighten their grip on society even more. Use of the wrong word - or the right word the wrong way - becomes ever more damning evidence of disloyalty or treason. And you know what? The tyrants are right: It is disloyalty and treason to an evil regime to accurately tell the truth.
This is how we can bomb the living daylights out of ISIS and not be at "war." It's just a major counter-terrorism operation, because the left wing is too peaceful to ever go to war. Goldberg points out some of the President's euphemisms:
In his heart the president just doesn't like words like "war" or "win." That's why he "ended" the Iraq War. That's why when asked to explain what "destroy" means he said it meant to reduce to a manageable problem. That's why the administration keeps talking about mitigation. That's why they long ago replaced the "War on Terror" with "overseas contingency operations" and rogue states with "states of concern." Hey, maybe we should just start calling it "the Islamic State of Concern"?
Only in the miasma of progressivism is the opinion of a lesbian basketball player taken as gospel on the subject of "raising men." And, unironically, she wants the men to be raised to be more like women. Not much sports or entertainment there!
Ms. Fagan opined that people should stop focusing so much on whether Commissioner Roger Goodell should get fired or how long Rice's suspension should be. That's too "reactive," and Fagan says it's time to be "pro-active."
How? By working to undo our "culture" of "raising men to want to not be like women," a culture that tolerates the teasing of boys who "throw like a girl." The way to do that, she said, was to "hold the NFL's feet to the fire" until the league ponies up "millions of dollars" for a domestic-violence fund. The extorted treasure would then be doled out to grass-roots community organizations, who could then send their trained experts to middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Boys would be instructed that differentiating men from women breeds domestic violence.
As Fagan put it, the goal must be "reprogramming how we raise men." That, she said, is how we're finally going to get - all together now - "change."
Friday, September 12, 2014
Howie Carr wonders what happened to the anti-war movement:
It's all very confusing. When George W. Bush considered invading Iraq without a declaration of war, the Democrats wanted to try him for war crimes in The Hague. When Obama does the same thing ... crickets. [. . .]
Whatever happened to Cindy Sheehan? Where is Code Pink? I haven't seen an "EndLESS War" bumper sticker in years, since 2009 to be exact.
The anti-war movement is MIA as this war, er counter-terrorism operation, begins. Back when Bush was waging war, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Now it's "racism." If you speak truth to power in the Obama era, they call it hate speech. The IRS will audit you.
Some large corporations provide free lunches to their employees. It's a way of attracting good workers, keeping them on campus during lunch hour, and encouraging productive interraction between employees. Deroy Murdock tells us that the IRS wants a piece of the pie.
What a disgrace! As Murdock goes on to note, President Obama has a tax-free personal chef. And he calls corporations "greedy."
According to the Wall Street Journal, "IRS auditors are now flagging the issue and demanding back taxes from companies amounting to 30 percent of the meals' fair-market value." So if an employee eats three $25 lunches per week at work, then after 50 weeks, the 30 percent Obama Lunch Tax would cost that worker or his company $1,125 in new taxes.
It would be bad enough to inflict the Obama Lunch Tax prospectively. But applying this as a back tax - likely with penalties and interest - is tyrannical and unconstitutional. America's founding document forbids ex post facto laws. How can businesses operate in fear of new taxes that may erupt, and then be applied retroactively? What's to stop the IRS in 2017 from declaring a photocopying tax and docking companies for employees' personal use of Xerox machines . . . from 2009 through 2016?
Here's evidence that college students have way too much time on their hands. Who has time to worry about this stuff, much less write about it and challenge others to waste their time worrying about?
The editorial board of a college newspaper has declared that bras are racist because they come in colors named "nude," since non-white people's skin isn't that color when they're nude.
"How would it make you feel that the fashion industry and society at large has based its ideal of nude on Caucasian people? That the color of your skin doesn't count as 'nude'?" asks the staff editorial, published by the Oklahoma Daily, the official newspaper of the University of Oklahoma.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Here's and interesting essay describing the world of Competitive Rock Paper Scissors.
The Rock Paper Scissors enthusiast is Jason Simmons, and on the count of four, he makes his fist into the sign for rock. The man in the cowboy hat throws scissors, and Simmons wins. You may believe that Simmons got lucky and that he had an equal chance of winning, tying, or losing. Simmons - who goes by the nickname Master Roshambollah and the honorific the greatest player in Rock Paper Scissors history - does not. That is why he is in a shopping mall with a camera crew, challenging strangers to play a game usually used to decide who rides shotgun, in order to promote the USA Rock Paper Scissors League.
With September 11 one day away, Michelle Malkin has a helpful reminder:
Never forget: Eternal Muslim hatred of infidels didn't start with George W. Bush. Or George H. W. Bush. Or Ronald Reagan. Or the creation of Gitmo. Or the birth of Israel. Or the Twin Towers. Or the Khobar Towers. Or Lockerbie. Or the U.S.S. Cole. Or Fort Hood. Or the Beirut Marine-barracks bombings. Or the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, the bombing of U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
Allah's animals can't stop. They won't stop. Sura 9:5, the verse of the sword, commands them to "slay the idolators wherever you find them, and take them, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush." No "pagan" throat is safe: American soldiers, worldly journalists, innocent schoolgirls, Jewish teenage boys, and Christian missionaries alike are all targets of Sura 47's call to "smite the necks" of the unbelievers.
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Kevin Williamson advocates for abolition of corporate income taxes.
We need a better, simpler, more predictable environment for businesses and investors to operate in - and, as citizens, we should demand that our government not play favorites in the marketplace. Instead, we have a grotesque swamp of legalized corruption that doesn't even do a particularly good job of raising tax revenue. If this is how our so-called leaders are going to treat their corporate tax code, they don't deserve to have one.
Dartmouth University, a prestigious Ivy League institution, assembled a 560 person student group to assemble a list of ideas aimed at reducing "high risk drinking, sexual assault, and exclusivity on campus." Without guessing what "exclusivity" means to an Ivy Leaguer, here's a sampling of some of their deeply unserious ideas for combating high risk drinking, sexual assault, and exclusivity.
The National Review piece that pointed me to it this is here.
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
While backing out in my 11 year old Jeep Liberty, I waited as a real estate agent passed in a new Corvette. Another agent nearby drives a Mercedes convertible.
I don't begrudge real estate people their money, the market bears it so it is theirs. My question is this:
Why does a market that happily provides agents a 3-6% commission for selling a home (again and again) cringe from providing architects the same commission for designing a home from scratch and overseeing its construction (just once)?
The only answer I have is that the real estate industry has marketed itself far more effectively than the architecture industry. Obviously, the market assigns far more value to facilitating the sale of a house than to actually designing and building one.
President Obama thinks the brutal, oppressive, head-chopping terrorists of the ISIS can be "managed" with . . . wait for it . . . COMMUNITY ORGANIZING!
"If we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL's sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities, to the point where it is a manageable problem...what we've got to do is make sure that we are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community, to isolate this cancer," Obama stated.
Yeah, that'll fix everything up. Start a few chapters of ACORN in Baghdad and Damascus and PRESTO! No more terrorism. The Arabs just need some "organizing" help from the Americans. Incredibly, he goes on to claim he saw all this coming!
He further claimed that the US knew that terrorist groups outside of al-Qaeda such as ISIS were a threat, saying "one of the concerns that we have had is the development of terrorist networks and organizations, separate and apart from al-Qaeda ... we've seen ISIS to be the first one that has broken through, but we anticipated this a while back, and it was reflected in my West Point speech."
Here's the West Point speech. I am not sure how predictive and anticipatory the speech is, since it offers no more than a series of obvious generalities. But, giving the President the benefit of the doubt, If this has been anticipated since May, why do we still have no strategy to deal with it? In fact, though, Obama didn't seem to be anticipating more violence and terrorism, he seemed to be criticizing those who claimed his policies would encourage it.
In his speech, Obama also said there are those "interventionists from the left and right" who argue that "America's failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations. invites escalating aggression in the future."
Here's Krauthammer's reaction to the very same speech Obama claims demonstrates his incredible grasp of world affairs:
Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that President Obama's attempt to lay out his foreign policy vision during his commencement address at West Point was "literally pointless. It didn't have a point, it was a defensive speech."
Here are twelve words or phrases that have been deemed sexist by feminist activists. See the article for complete explanations as to why these are sexist. It's worth it just to see the precious and self-absorbed "intellectual" arguments these people advance.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Here's a somewhat frightening article, written by one the sister of one of the NOW founders, detailing the intellectual grounding of the National Organization for Women.
We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back-and-forth recitation, like a Litany, a type of prayer done in Catholic Church. But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:
"Why are we here today?" she asked. "To make revolution," they answered. "What kind of revolution?" she replied. "The Cultural Revolution," they chanted. "And how do we make Cultural Revolution?" she demanded. "By destroying the American family!" they answered. "How do we destroy the family?" she came back. "By destroying the American Patriarch," they cried exuberantly. "And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?" she replied. "By taking away his power!" "How do we do that?" "By destroying monogamy!" they shouted. "How can we destroy monogamy?"
Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears. Was I on planet earth? Who were these people?
"By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!" they resounded.
They proceeded with a long discussion on how to advance these goals by establishing The National Organization of Women. It was clear they desired nothing less than the utter deconstruction of Western society. The upshot was that the only way to do this was "to invade every American institution. Every one must be permeated with 'The Revolution'": The media, the educational system, universities, high schools, K-12, school boards, etc.; then, the judiciary, the legislatures, the executive branches and even the library system.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Jay Nordlinger on the overamplification of American life:
You'll be in a little restaurant with a flat roof. Say it's by the sea. A small musical ensemble will be setting up. You are probably looking forward to it. And then they use enough amplification to fill Yankee Stadium, and maybe the entire Bronx.
Why? Don't they realize they're in a little seaside restaurant with a flat roof? Why do they need any amplification at all? And why don't patrons rise up and say, "No!"?
The shooting of the unarmed white man has the entire Dallas white community enraged. To protest, thousands of Texans got up early and went to work today. Some of the more angry protesters made a point of being a few minutes late to the office.
Local secretary Laurie Johnson said: "No overtime, no peace! Hey hey, ho ho, it's 5 o'clock and I have to go.to pick up the kids from soccer practice."
Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman notes the over-coverage of news from Israel:
The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives-that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America's safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.
News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
If you live outside of a troubled, poor community with failing schools, broken homes, high crime rates, few jobs or other economic opportunities, racial tensions, and high crime rates, you may have noticed that you are the eternal scapegoat.
If you notice the problems of these communities and discuss them, you're demonizing the residents and fear-mongering. If you ignore them, you're sweeping them under the rug and guilty of malign neglect.
If you make recommendations about how to solve the problems in these communities, you're condescending and fail to understand the "root causes" of the problems there. If you move into these communities, you're part of the gentrification process, driving up housing prices and driving out the poorer residents, culturally supplanting and replacing what came before.
As Kevin D. Williamson noted, the only individuals who seem to escape blame for the conditions of America's poorest, most crime-ridden, opportunity-deprived, and despairing communities are the elected officials who actually govern these communities.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Enter Matthew Colbert, a former campaign and Hill staffer, who has built a new app for smartphones that allows users to scan the barcode of products in the grocery store and immediately find out what political party the company and its employees support. [...]
The goal of the company, he said, is make "every day Election Day" through "spending choices."
Or, as Jim says, "That is, unless there's something I really want or need anyway. In that case, I'll just buy it, because I'm not a miserable leftist who can't even make a food run without turning it into a goddamn political statement."
Ian Tuttle says "Feminists have made feminism frivolous."
For all of its convention-flouting, glass-ceiling-shattering exhibitionism, contemporary feminism has not served to individuate and personalize; it has served to create a yattering mob of indistinguishable activists whose defining characteristic is their obsession with their own genitalia.
And now memorizing The Vagina Monologues and dismissing as "a**holes" males who watch Family Guy is the intellectual output of an advanced scholar at a major university.
Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven take down Hamas:
What the world never gets is the full picture of Hamas. There is very little in the media about what Hamas is, what it has been, and what it wants to become. There is very little about its vision of the world - its vision of the future for the people of Gaza.
What we know is only that it doesn't believe in a future for Israel.
If that context were provided, the world would know that the battle in Gaza is not a land dispute, or a battle of moral equivalents. The ongoing battle in Gaza is not a case of the Hatfields and the McCoys, a senseless blood feud over a patch of land that, over the years, just goes on for no good reason.
This is a battle between good and evil, the battle in Gaza - and the battle throughout the Middle East. It's a battle between modernity and religious feudalism. Between freedom and totalitarianism. Between moderate Muslims and extremists hell-bent on imposing their will on the majority of peaceful followers of Allah.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Check out ESPN "commentator" Colin Cowherd's moronic rant:
ESPN's Colin Cowherd partially blamed what he described as NASCAR's southern "eye-for-an-eye culture" for the tragic death of driver Kevin Ward Jr., who was run over by three-time champion Tony Stewart Saturday at the Canandaigua Motorsport Park dirt track. [...]
Saying NASCAR had a "unique culture" that was almost exclusively a "southern delicacy," the ESPN host linked the sport's emphasis on displays of masculine aggression to what he said was the "eye-for-an-eye" culture of the South . . .
So, in summary here's Cowherd's thesis: Tony Stewart, a race car driver from Columbus, Indiana accidently hits Kevin Ward Jr, a race car driver from Port Leyden, New York at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York at about the same latitude as London, Ontario. And somehow this is symptomatic of the "culture of the South." I wonder what Cowherd would have said if Stewart had been driving an Indy car or a Formula 1 car.
Update: Daniel Flynn, writing at Breitbart, noticed the same thing:
But it's still silly to blame the South for New Yorker Kevin Ward Jr.'s death under a Hoosier's wheel in the Finger Lakes region of the Empire State. All serious people know it's George W. Bush's fault.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Kevin Williamson offers a clear, concise summary of life in the middle east:
The Jews mean to live, Hamas means to exterminate them, and there will be war until Hamas and its allies either weary of it or win it and the last Israeli Jew is dead or exiled. It is Hamas, not the Israelis, that stashes rockets and soldiers in schools and hospitals, but it is the Israelis the world expects to take account of that situation. Every creature on this Earth, from ant to gazelle, is entitled to - expected to - defend its life to the last: The Israeli Jews, practically alone among the world's living things, are expected to make allowances for the well-being of those who are trying to exterminate them. No one lectures the antelope on restraint when the jackals come, but the Jews in the Jewish state are in the world's judgment not entitled to what is granted every fish and insect as a matter of course.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Victor Davis Hanson notes the perverse nature of the current Israeli - Hamas conflict:
Once again neighboring enemies are warring in diametrically opposite ways.
Hamas sees the death of its civilians as an advantage; Israel sees the death of its civilians as a disaster. Defensive missiles explode to save civilians in Israel; in Gaza, civilians are placed at risk of death to protect offensive missiles.
Hamas wins by losing lots of its people; Israel loses by losing a few of its own. Hamas digs tunnels in premodern fashion; Israel uses postmodern high technology to detect them. Hamas's missiles usually prove ineffective; Israel's bombs and missiles almost always hit their targets. Quiet Israeli officers lead from the front; loud Hamas leaders flee to the rear. Incompetency wins sympathy; expertise, disdain.
The middle east is an upside down place, a bizarro world where good is evil and evil is good. Hanson thinks, though, that if Israel remains decisive and finishes the job the world, including even the Palestinians, will come to its senses:
In the supposedly lose/lose world of Middle Eastern warfare, Israel must ensure that Hamas nevertheless loses far more than Israel itself does, not because the world will publicly sympathize with the cause of the Jewish state, but because, for all its ideological chest-pounding, an amoral world still privately gravitates to the successful and distances itself from the failed. Only if Israel finishes its ongoing dismantling of Hamas will the current war end. In six months, long after MSNBC and CNN have gone on to their next psychodramatic stories, long after John Kerry has moved on to his next Nobel Prize quest, those in Gaza who now yell into cameras encouraging their leaders to kill the Jews will quietly agree not to try another such costly war with Israel - and that fact, and only that fact, will lead to a sort of peace, at least for a while.
We can only hope and pray at this point.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Thomas and his friends, Van Slyke griped, "toil away endlessly on the Isle of Sodor - which seems to be forever caught in British colonial times"; they are overwhelmingly male, which sets "a bad example for girl wannabe train engineers"; and they are ruled by a fat, "imperious, little white" man called Sir Topham Hatt, who acts as the "Monopoly dictator of their funky little island." All in all, she deduced, the program is a hive of "classism," "sexism," and "anti-environmentalism bordering on racism," and "the constant bent of messages about friendship, work, class, gender and race" are all but guaranteed to send her "kid the absolute wrong message." "Look through the steam rising up from the coal-powered train stacks," Van Slyke opined, and you quickly "realize that the pretty puffs of smoke are concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages." Okay then.
This sort of thing deserves relentless mockery.