Critics have slammed Wikipedia, the crowdsourced online encyclopedia, saying its lack of professional editors makes it an unreliable source.
Well, that’s true when Congress gets involved.
It seems our hardworking representative(s) and/or their hardworking staffer(s) devoted time, on the public dime, to altering Wikipedia pages to accuse the Cuban government of faking the moon landings (when everyone knows it was the U.S. government that did that), and to name Donald Rumsfeld as an alien wizard.
It seems that those edits were the final straw for Wikipedia’s administrators, who implemented a 10-day ban on any changes coming from one particular IP address within the US Congress, “due to disruptive editing originating from that address”.
Don’t expect a Congressional investigation into this misuse of public funds, because…
a) It’s Congress, and
b) there’s no physical evidence, because government hard-drives never survive these sorts of incidents.
And stop laughing at us, Great Britain. Your MPs have been caught doing the same…a lot.
A plan to evaluate refugee status for Hondurans in Honduras currently makes the rounds in D.C. – apparently backed by some in the Obama administration, it resembles a recent bill from Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona. The idea is to protect people, especially youth and children, from a dangerous trek across coyote-infested lands.
No one knows the details of this plan to set up, in effect, refugee immigration kiosks in Honduras, and the White House says no decision has been made, but already there’s pushback. This raises the question: Do Republicans, conservatives and libertarians need to shoot it down immediately because…
1) It might increase immigration from Honduras, and
2) might spread to other countries, and/or
2) it’s backed by McCain and Obama?
After all, we’re talking about facilitating legal immigration, and this might keep potential immigrants from piling up in U.S. border towns, jeopardizing public health and straining social services.
Regardless of the eventual shape of this plan, it’s time for folks on the Right to take the moral high ground on immigration. Oddly enough, if we’re serious about that, we’ll find that the issue isn’t immigration at all.
I know that even in whispering this, I may run afoul of my friends who think that it is the tide of immigrants — some unwilling to assimilate — that’s destroying our country. They’re stealing American jobs, or bearing contagions, including radical Islam. Seal the border.
Before our knees jerk in opposition to the latest proposal, we need to ask: Will the tide stop anytime soon under any plan which can actually pass Congress, and be implemented efficaciously?
No. The tide will stop when America stops being the beacon of liberty. I contend that one who wishes to stem the tide of immigration, inadvertently wishes American demise.
One can’t help but compare today’s New York Times’ dispatch from Raqqa, the “capital” of the new Islamic caliphate, with previous Times reports highlighting the troubles afflicting U.S. efforts in Iraq.
While sturm und drang prevailed in the latter, the leaders of the Caliphate seem to make the figurative trains run on time (something even Mussolini didn’t do).
More pragmatically, ISIS has managed to keep food in markets, and bakeries and gas stations functioning.
“What I see in Raqqa proves that the Islamic State has a clear vision to establish a state in the real meaning of the word,” said a retired teacher in the city of Raqqa. “It is not a joke.”
Many said that they received official receipts stamped with the ISIS logo and that the fees were less than they used to pay in bribes to Mr. Assad’s government.
“I feel like I am dealing with a respected state, not thugs,” said a Raqqa goldsmith in his small shop as a woman shopped for gold pieces with cash sent from abroad by her husband.
In fairness, the story also notes that Muslim Sharia law leaves the hands of thieves disarmed, smokers without a break, drinkers dry and women cloaked.
But there is a darker side to Islamic rule, with public executions and strict social codes that have left many in this once-tolerant community deeply worried about the future.
Of course, mentioning “a darker side” indicates the reader should weigh the relative merits of the coming Muslim dynasty with an open mind. Take the good with the bad.
O, and by the way, all three of Raqqa’s Christian churches have been shuttered, stripped of crosses, black flagged and converted to Islamic suicide bomber recruitment centers.
Nevertheless the story ends on a high note.
After ISIS’s advance into Iraq last month, the Jordanian went to Mosul to help organize a hospital there before returning to Raqqa.
“He talked with an eager shine in his eyes, saying that the caliphate of the Islamic State that began in Raqqa would spread over the whole region,” one of his employees said.
There was a time when the Left pooh-poohed theories that jihadis would establish a caliphate from which to launch their conquest of the rest of the earth.
Now, it seems, the caliphate exists, but it’s not as bad as those radical Right-wing scaremongers said.
Shortly after touching down in Tel Aviv today (7/23), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the press why he had come to the region.
The goal, Mr. Kerry stressed, was not only to obtain a cease-fire but to map out a “sustainable process going forward” that would address some of the long-term grievances of the Palestinians in Gaza and prevent the fighting between Hamas and Israel from erupting every few years. [emphasis added]
His jet landed at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s front door, which had already been slammed shut by U.S. and European officials banning flights in and out. One can only imagine the comfort Kerry’s words brought to the mothers of Israel, whose sons crawl through tunnels attempting to flush out Hamas terrorists.
After all, what long-term grievances might the Palestinians harbor that Mr. Kerry could address?
How about the fact that Israelis live on land that Palestinians will forever claim as their own?
Well, he might address that by agreeing with Hamas and Fatah that a Jew can no longer have an address in the former, and ephemeral, state of Israel. Then he could get back on his plane at Tel Aviv’s new Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin International Airport and enjoy a ticker-tape parade down Broadway.
That might encourage Hamas to stop lobbing thousands of missiles into the area. Although history shows that if radical Muslims don’t have Jews or Christians to kill (or even if they do), they’ll kill each other. Even Bill Maher knows that.
By now you’ve heard that a federal three-judge panel ruled that the Affordable Care Act does not permit federal subsidies to help people buy insurance through HealthCare.gov. This cuts the heart from the redistributive scheme by essentially pricing young, healthy people out of the market.
But scrolling down in The New York Times story, I found the stunning argument that the Obama administration offered in a vain attempt to rescue the president’s sole accomplishment.
Basically, the law says only the states can help people pay for their Obamacare policies. So, here’s how the all the president’s lawyers tried to get around that.
Obama administration officials said that an exchange established by the federal government was, in effect, established by a state because the secretary of health and human services was standing “in the shoes” of states when she established exchanges.
Imagine how Obama and his cronies might apply that principle.
Federal executive branch officers can act on behalf of the legislative branch in each of the states. This is a shocking coup attempt against federalism, republican governance, the separation of powers and the Constitution itself.
No, it’s not the first time he’s tried something like this, but forgive me if I never grow accustomed to the audacity of these would-be transformers.
This morning’s email bag included a news release with quotes from officers at Union Theological Seminary and Auburn Theological Seminary, in celebration of President Obama’s executive order effectively requiring religious organizations with government contracts over $10,000 to hire homosexuals.
Religious leaders across the country declared victory today as the president honored their request to leave out a religious exemption in an executive order banning LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.
This follows a “grassroots campaign” to gather signatures begging the president to force them to hire homosexuals — or in politically-correct parlance, to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In exultant language, the news release goes on…
Present at today’s signing ceremony was Rev. Fred Davie, Executive Vice President of Union Theological Seminary and a member of the LGBT community. “Today at the White House I witnessed the arc of history bend toward justice,” said Davie. “This is a tremendous victory for those of us who believe that as people of faith we should be exemplary, not exempted. Leaving out a religious exemption is simply the right thing to do, both theologically and civically. It is my obligation, and desire, as a Christian and a member of human community to love my neighbor and it is my obligation as a citizen to treat all my fellow citizens equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
It’s a peculiar locution — “leaving out a religious exemption” — akin to “leaving out the leaving out.” The authors of the press release preferred double negative to a plain assertion, like: “the president commanded faith-based organizations to violate the tenets of their faith if they want to serve as a federal contractors.”
But why all of this unseemly lobbying?
Sounds like a simple enough way to cure poverty: Form a partnership between donors and leaders of government. Get a set of measurable goals and diligently track progress toward those goals. There’s nothing we can’t do when we put our minds to it.
It’s a technocratic solution to a human problem that plays to our sense of confidence as scientific problem solvers.
That’s been the basic approach to economic development of the so-called “third world” by the “first world” since the middle of the last century.
But not only is it a failure, it actually props up dictators and stomps the rights of the poor, while allowing wealthy donors, like Bill Gates, to feel good about themselves as they monitor the “measurable” progress.
I love the [United Nations'] Millennium Development Goals. I think they’re the best idea for focusing the world on fighting global poverty that I’ve ever seen….Thanks to these goals…the world at large knows the key measures of poverty, hunger, health and education. Some of the numbers are good and some are not. But the fact that the world is focusing on these numbers is excellent….The Millennium Development Goals can guide the search for new discoveries by showing us where innovation can bring the biggest returns. This is their genius.
– Bill Gates, speech to U.N. General Assembly, September 2008 (video below)
Sounds great. But is it true?
The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, by William Easterly, demonstrates how a toxic stew of arrogance, altruism and racism has led “the West” to positively hinder “the Rest” from achieving the very thing we value most — equality under law. Easterly has produced a rarity among serious books — page-turning readability, with even-handed scholarship and careful documentation.
Easterly says the problem with well-meaning fellows like Bill Gates is multi-pronged.
1) We don’t have accurate data, we ignore contrary evidence, and we misinterpret the faulty data, attributing apparent growth to the activities of autocrats and bureaucrats when the evidence points to factors beyond their control.
2) We ignore history and the actual needs of the people, as if we could write our own solutions upon a blank slate, that we decide is framed by modern national boundaries.
3) We idolize strong leaders who can implement programs funded by donors, but ignore their autocratic repression of individual rights, and so we often use charity dollars to pay for pogroms via programs.
4) We think of innovation as something a few elite scholars and captains of industry bring to the poor, rather than something that springs from decentralized problem-solving by people who have freedom, property rights, equal justice under law and profit motive.
In the video below, Bill Gates speaks to the UN General Assembly — history’s greatest congregation of thugs and tyrants. For more than six minutes Gates praises the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), without even hinting that people might need more than food, medicine and education. He never mentions self-governance, liberty, or capitalism.
The best spin on this is that Gates think if we take care of health, learning and economic survival, then republican governance and its protection of person and property will come later.
The vector of history collides with, and obliterates, that notion.
The worst-case scenario is that Gates cravenly kowtows to the world’s oppressors because he needs their cooperation to reach his beloved development goals. Like a geek with an MS-Excel spreadsheet, he has lost sight of the human impact behind the columns, rows and formulae. All that matters is the data, not how you get there.
The other day, I wrote a “fake” news story at ScrappleFace.com about the Centers for Disease Control’s “discovery” of a lot of highly-infectious stuff — hundreds of vials of small pox, influenza, dengue, etc. — that they had misplaced…for decades.
When I write satire, I try to make it sufficiently “over the top” (OTT, in apropos text parlance), so it won’t be mistaken for an actual news story. And so, under the headline “CDC Urges Calm After Finding Lost Cache of Cooties,” I “reported” that the CDC was “fairly sure” it has avoided exposing its staffers to the Cooties contagion.
Officially, the CDC urged the public to “remain calm,” but during a media tour of the Atlanta laboratory, journalists saw several scientists and technicians rubbing spots on their arms where associates had inadvertently touched them. A spokesman assured reporters that the wiping motion was strictly a precautionary measure.
How droll, I thought to myself (which is my favorite way).
However, after reading Tammy Bruce’s latest column, I confess I’ve fallen far short. If you thought the newspaper business was headed rapidly toward the recycle bin of history, imagine trying to write satire in times like these. Witness this snippet from Tammy’s column…
The institute’s problem of carelessness apparently isn’t limited to the one unfortunate incident of 80 CDC workers becoming exposed to anthrax after an incautious lab-to-lab transfer.
In fact, New York magazine reported results of a separate audit of the CDC, which found the lab had been “transferring dangerous materials in Ziploc bags, storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators in an unrestricted hallway, and misplacing anthrax containers.”
As a satirist, I cannot compete with material like this.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write my Congressman to request a government bailout for my dying industry.
Full disclosure: Tammy Bruce is my colleague on the PJTV show ‘After Hours with John Phillips.‘
The Australian Parliament yesterday repealed its punitive tax on carbon emissions, following through on a promise from Prime Minister Tony Abbott to get rid of the measure he said, back in 2009, was based on “absolute crap” climate science.
The unpopular job-killing levy has reportedly felled at least two prime ministers, and one of Abbott’s colleagues said the same fate awaits candidates who campaign to revive the carbon tax, including Labor Party leader Bill Shorten.
“I can tell Bill we will hang this around his neck like a rotten, stinking carcass, right through to election day at the end of 2016,’’ [Education Minister and Liberal Party leader Christopher] Pyne told Parliament…“Because we can now tell the Australian public, with great confidence, that if they vote Labor at the next election the carbon tax will be reintroduced – the job-destroying, price-rising carbon tax that cost Julia Gillard her prime ministership, Kevin Rudd his prime ministership the first time, and arguably the second time. And it is going to cost you the prime ministership of Australia,” Mr Pyne said.
All of this, on the eve of Australia’s hosting of the next G-20 summit of industrialized nations whose leaders hope to institute a global carbon tax, or at least a formal U.N. agreement among 190 nations by 2015. Prime Minister Abbott can look forward to a lot of finger wags and tongue clucks, not to mention vitriolic rants, from the defenders of the planet who will, doubtless, arrive at the G-20 summit this time by kayak and bicycle, rather than by charter jet and limo.
If nothing else, this episode proves that elections matter.
Abbott won a landslide election victory last year for his Liberal-National coalition that he said gave him a mandate to throw out the “toxic tax” on carbon, which was triple Europe’s carbon price. The government estimates the repeal will save the average family A$550 a year in lower electricity prices and make Australian companies more competitive.
Perhaps I should say “elections can matter,” if you elect candidates who do what they say they will.
Memo to GOP 2016 presidential hopefuls: Skip a trip to Iowa, and stop by Canberra for a weekend, if only to touch the hem of Abbott’s garment.
The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) apparently punches below its weight these days, if the response to its new Mitch McConnell attack ad on YouTube, and the outcome of a Senate vote, are any indicators.
NARAL made the ad to push a bill aimed at reversing the effect of the Hobby Lobby abortifacent case, in which the Supreme Court freed closely-held corporations from a government mandate that violated the religious conscience of some.
The black-and-white :30 second spot with a sound-track reminiscent of the Halloween movies had attracted all of 1,009 views and four comments as of 7:16 CDT on Wednesday (7/16/14), hours after the Senate voted down the bill that NARAL favored.
The ad says, in part, that Sen. McConnell…
..supports the corporate bosses of Hobby Lobby who deny their workers insurance that covers birth control.
Of course, as everyone, including the lying Democrats know, the Hobby Lobby case had nothing to do with insurance coverage for ordinary contraceptives that stop Mr. Sperm from meeting Ms. Egg. Hobby Lobby employee insurance covers a variety of those. At issue were chemicals that destroy fertilized eggs, typically by expelling them from the womb.
NARAL repeats the demonstrably-false Democrat talking point. Or perhaps the Democrats have been repeating the NARAL-composed talking point. Nevertheless, the ad got no traction on YouTube, and the NARAL lobbyists failed on the Senate floor.
Perhaps some congressmen should rethink their strategy of cowering before the retail abortion industry. (BTW, at what what point in the gestation of a congressman does the spine develop?)
Do you want to appeal to women? Talk to the many millions who profoundly love their babies, especially to Moms of babies that Democrats most want to abort — special needs and poor children of color. Talk about their future, their opportunity, their safety in a dangerous world and a parent’s freedom to choose an excellent education.
Women deserve a right to choose a prosperous future for their children. Those kind of women far outnumber NARAL’s supporters.
It’s the Constitution, Stupid!
That’s the de facto cry as Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, Tea Partisans and others slam President Obama for ruling by executive order and bureaucratic regulation, bypassing the legislature and accruing unchecked power to the executive branch and its apparatchiks in the bureaucracy.
But this alarm falls on deaf ears, because the average American attended Democrat-union-run schools and all he knows of the Constitution consists of a jingle of the Preamble from Schoolhouse Rock.
The sum total of all living Americans who have both read, and understood the purport of the Constitution, could meet today in the room where Freedom’s Charter was drafted and hold a Pilates class without rubbing elbows or bumping exercise balls.
In any case, in this postmodern era, the argument from principles (argumentum super capita sua) has been supplanted by the argument from emotion (ifita fils güd du itum). So, my readers in ye olde tricorne hattef, might want to attempt a different tactic.
Listen, we could get all lathered (rinse & repeat) about the yawning ignorance of our founding documents, lamenting that the Constitution lies dormant among the dust-bunnies of history under the futon, or we could face reality and figure out a way to communicate that connects with who people are, what they feel, and even what they think, when the rare occasion arises.
It’s no longer enough to believe that the climate is changing, and that man’s activities may have a role in it. In order to avoid an Amish-caliber shunning by the AGW cabal, you must set your hair on fire.
This comes from that great slayer of trees, the New York Times, which profiles Prof. John Christy of the University of Alabama, a pariah in his profession because he thinks many of his colleagues have overstated the case, and the potential consequences, of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
Dr. Christy was pointing to a chart comparing seven computer projections of atmospheric temperatures above the United States with measurements taken by satellites and weather balloons. The projections traced a sharp upward slope; the actual measurements, however, ticked up only slightly.
Of course, the test of any theory is its utility in making predictions. But pointing out the discrepancies between theoretical predictions and actual data is just the kind of thing that gets Prof. Christy in hot water with those who think we’ll all be under water someday soon (or at least that Atlantic City may be renamed Atlantis City).
Christy, a heavily credentialed veteran climate scientist, actually edited a section of the famous 2001 UN report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Now fellow academics rebuff his handshake offer.
“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”
Big Mother is watching, thank goodness.
Here are the facts: Debra Harrell works at McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald’s has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead.
I’m sure you see the problem already. Apparently Ms. Harrell couldn’t afford a helicopter drone with live video to her smartphone, so her nine-year-old daughter ran the risk of having fun outdoors without parental witness.
Fortunately, a concerned parent at the playground intervened, interviewed the girl, and then notified the authorities who arrested the Mom.
To fully appreciate the seriousness of this situation, you have to watch the local news report. Face it, any crime that would force professional TV journalists to express this degree of shock and dismay must be egregious. It’s so bad, that the journalists actually gave contact information for government-run childcare so that other parents could avoid legal jeopardy and rapidly get their kids under government supervision.
Of course, we all know it would have been far better for the Mom to forego employment entirely and to get herself in some government programs. That way, she could have squatted on a park bench and noodled on her ObamaPhone while her darling played on the monkey bars (and tried to avoid contact with strangers). Better yet, she could have used some of her government allowance to buy another laptop so that her daughter didn’t have to risk the outdoors at all.
But this is all hindsight.
This alarming story makes me regret the countless thousands of hours that I, and my brothers, spent unsupervised somewhere in the hundreds of acres of woods and fields near my childhood home. In those less morally-evolved times, we’d disappear for hours after breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’d walk or bike or ride horses miles away from the security of my Nan’s watch-care. In case of emergency — like when somebody shot my finger with the BB-gun, or when Troy and I caught a groundhog and the varmint latched onto my brother’s thumb and wouldn’t let go — anyway, in case of emergency our only car was with Pop at work an hour away. Nan never had a driver’s license anyway. Our only phone was screwed to the wall in the kitchen.
We’d swim in creek, pond or canal. We played tackle football without helmets or pads. We’d cross fields where menacing cattle grazed, and climb the highest trees we could. We built dams, panned for “gold,” caught salamanders, snakes, turtles, crayfish and eels. We cracked spherical rocks searching in vain for geodes. Sometimes, in our early teens, we’d carry firearms, but way before that we always carried weapons — bows, spears, cudgels, rocks and slings that we fashioned from natural materials. Often we reenacted Robin Hood’s cudgel fight with Little John on a log over a stream. For a few years, we tended a trap-line before school in the morning, toting a .22 caliber rifle in the dark and facing some very annoyed raccoons and possums.
We’d swing from vines, engage in brutal snowball fights, toboggan through a stand of trees and bail out just before the barbed-wire fence. A pack of us would skate the unreliable ice of a farmer’s pond — when the farmer wasn’t looking — slapping frozen hockey pucks at the unpadded goalie who trembled between the boots that formed the goal.
These activities could involve children as young as six — often accompanied by our neighbor Jim and his little sisters, and all shockingly unsupervised by adults.
As I read this New York Times story – ‘Fertility Clinics Scan for the Strongest Embryo — about chromosomal testing of in-vitro fertilization embryos, I kept waiting for the counterpoint to the idea that scientists could help create a purer race.
Finally, the opposition arose:
Still, critics say, if the test is at all inaccurate, some good people might be thrown out or defective ones chosen.
I’m sorry, the actual sentence said “good embryos might be thrown out.”
I don’t know how I made that mistake.
In any case, embryos get “thrown out” whether the test is administered or not.
Don’t let your mind drift as you read the story about the science of producing better offspring by weeding out the bad conceptus.
Try to think about all that great people we’ll create, and the time and money we’ll save by not having so many defectives among us. After all, shouldn’t people have the right to create the kind of offspring they wish when they’re spending so much money to do so? You can customize your car or your computer — why not your little Cassie or Kyle?
NOTE TO READERS: I tried to call Senator Harry Reid this morning, but couldn’t get through. I know he must read PJMedia.com, so forgive me as I use this site to pass on crucial information to Sen. Reid.
The evil Koch brothers have done it again!
Their track record of corrupting people has reached a new low. This time, the Kochs have forced AFSCME to openly discriminate against the black leadership of the United Negro College Fund. That’s right: the government workers’ union just announced they’re cutting off the $50,000-$60,000 per year they gave UNCF for scholarships, allegedly “in protest.”
So, now we know the Kochs’ nefarious purpose in donating $25 million in scholarship money to the UNCF earlier this year. They must have known it would convert our union-boss friends into a bunch of hideous racists.
Don’t let AFSCME leaders justify their racism by telling you that they’re still going to do the scholarships, just not via the United Negro College Fund. That’s just saying that ‘whitey’ knows best how to distribute funds to black students at our historically-black colleges.
Please do something now — perhaps make a speech about the Koch brothers on the Senate floor! If we let them go on like this, giving money to minorities, pretty soon our whole Democratic coalition will become a bunch of bigots.
Your Faithful Friend,
As a Mother’s Day gift, 9-year-old Spencer Collins built a cute little box and put it on a pole in front of his house, stocking it with books. He attached a little sign “Take a Book, Return a Book.”
To you and me, it’s a “Little Free Library,” of which there are some 15,000 nationwide. To government bureaucrats, however, it’s another unconscionable act of rebellion, with a subject rising up on this hind legs to challenge the authority of the rulers.
The government of Leawood, Kansas, ordered him to take it down. You see, Leawood doesn’t allow private property owners to build structures in their front yards — not even a little box on a stick.
On Monday, Spencer appealed to the City Council, perched upon a milk crate so he could see over the podium. And, amazingly, the council unanimously ordered a temporary moratorium, through October, allowing little lending libraries in Leawood. What politician wants to tell a kid he can’t promote literacy?
So, Spencer will put his library back in the front yard. But that’s not all.
He says he’s installing a reading bench too.
Uh-oh. Look out, Spencer!
When the taboos start to fall, who’s to say that yours will stand?
An Australian judge suggests that a 1950s court would have found sex between two men “unnatural,” and sex outside of marriage a violation of English Common Law.
So, now that more nations and states have declared what was taboo to be not just normative but a civil right, Judge Garry Neilson asks, why not incest? He then deals with the objection that birth defects may occur in the spawn of close relatives by noting that contraception is widely available and abortion socially acceptable.
The comments were labelled misogynistic and “completely disgraceful” by Sally Dowling, the crown prosecutor, who has asked an appeal court to appoint another judge.
“The reference to abortion is particularly repellent,” she said.
Dr Cathy Kezelman, an advocate for preventing child sex abuse, said incest was horrific, regardless of the ages of those involved.
“The relational betrayal of the horrors of incest between a brother and sister of any age is abhorrently criminal,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.
But why the outrage in our postmodern, progressive era? Let’s think it through for a moment based on our spinning moral compass.
For the sake of this legal exercise, let’s assume society continues to condemn sexual acts involving the use of threats and violence, against the will of at least one party. Beyond that, who’s to say that sex, and/or marriage, between consenting members of a nuclear family is impermissible under law? On what principle can we continue to forbid it?
And if, as we’ve been told, the only significant question regarding marriage is “who do you love?”, then it seems that all other societal sexual restraints (beyond those on nonconsensual coercion and compulsion) must be lifted.
However, human experience shows that sexual relations need not involve “love” at all.
Mere momentary pleasure, with no commitment, has become the accepted standard for many people. Since we’re not willing to jail (or judge) people who engage in consensual one-night stands — even if one of them is married to a third party and thus in breach of contract — then the question really has nothing to do with “who you love,” does it?
As you follow that thread, you quickly arrive at the end where you must admit: The law should be what I feel it should be, at least for me. If you’re particularly democratic, you might amend that to say, the law should be what the majority decides from time to time.
This is tantamount to the statement: there is no law.
Now, some of my libertarian friends would have said “Amen” to that, if they didn’t fear it might sound too religious. (But, oddly enough, most libertarians are not so libertine nor antinomian.)
I’m actually encouraged that we might soon find the whole cache of missing emails of top IRS officials in the Tea Party extra-scrutiny scandal. This hope springs from another news story that broke this week.
After all, if the government can find 60-year-old vials of small pox virus in a forgotten storeroom that were supposed to have been destroyed 35 years ago, can the discovery of the rest of Lois Lerner’s emails be far behind?
In 1979, when the World Health Assembly announced victory over the global scourge called small pox, the call went out to gather and destroy all remaining samples of the variola virus from every laboratory in the world.
Small pox is the only human disease ever declared eradicated.
Until now, the only known samples of the virus were at high-security labs at the C.D.C. in Atlanta and in Russia. — The New York Times
But somehow they missed six vials of the highly-infectious agent that slaughtered 300-500 million people in the 20th century; the contagion that, as late as 1967, killed two million people worldwide. Those who didn’t die were often left scarred and blind.
On July 1, 2014, our government stumbled upon Pandora’s box in a laboratory storeroom.
The vials appear to date from the 1950s. Responsibility for the laboratory where they were found was transferred to the F.D.A. from the National Institutes of Health in 1972. The vials were discovered when scientists were preparing to move the lab to the F.D.A.’s main campus.
What happened next may be standard operating procedure at the Centers for Disease Control, but to the layperson this sounds insane: They opened the vials.
That’s right. The just had to confirm that the vials labeled variola, in fact contained the small pox virus. Stranger still, they’re doing additional testing to determine if the virus in the vials is viable — after which they plan to destroy the samples.
This looks like one of those movie scenes that has the audience shouting at the screen: “Destroy it! Destroy it now, before it grows!”
Such movies rarely end well. But don’t worry, your government has everything under control. It’s very unlikely that the recent anthrax exposure incident would repeat itself with the small pox virus.
As unaccompanied children pour across the southern U.S. border, bringing a melange of needs and potential threats with them, folks once again ask if this could be ”Obama’s Katrina moment.” The phrase conjures George W. Bush’s handling of rescue and relief after the 2005 hurricane that pummeled New Orleans and the Gulf coast.
Regardless of the desire, among some, to shrug a Bush-era slur onto Obama’s shoulders, the current crisis at our border — and Obama’s refusal to visit the border during a fundraising junket in Texas — is actually much worse that “Obama’s Katrina moment,” and here’s why…
#1. Immigration is, constitutionally, a federal responsibility. Disaster relief is not. President Calvin Coolidge actually refused to travel to the disaster region after the Great Flood of 1927 — a move he viewed as political grandstanding, accomplishing nothing. Coolidge resisted efforts to make flood control a federal issue, believing private property owners were responsible. But immigration, unquestionably, belongs in the federal arena.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives the Congress power: “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization…”
Article II, Section 3 says of the president, “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…”
As if the constitutional locus of control were not specific enough, the Obama administration and the federal courts have repeatedly slapped the wrists of state and local officials who tried to take the matter into their own hands.
Last November, a six-term Democratic congressman responded to a “whisper campaign” by publicly revealing his homosexuality. He’s running for governor of Maine now, and one of his opponents, an Independent heterosexual, cried foul when an LGBT political activist group backed the newly outed Democrat, instead of him.
Independent candidate Eliot Cutler, an attorney and entrepreneur, says Democrat Mike Michaud, a card-carrying union member, has a weak record compared to Cutler’s on LGBT issues.
Cutler supported same-sex marriage when he ran for governor in 2010, two years before Maine voters approved it. He and his wife have raised and contributed thousands of dollars to LGBT causes over decades. Yet Maine’s largest gay rights group has endorsed the Democrat.
Cutler notes that Michaud, while in the state legislature, voted against civil rights for homosexuals 19 times.
“You know, I don’t care what your sexual preference is and I don’t care whether you’re out or not,” Cutler said. “That was a moment, those were 19 moments, when principle was important and he voted no.”
“It pained me … because I had been committed to these issues for as long as I can remember in my life” Cutler said. “And to lose the endorsement to someone who hadn’t, just because he is a) a Democrat and b) gay.”
And that’s the heart of the matter, isn’t it? The big special interest groups under the big party tent are less committed to their issues than they are to the Democratic Party. The party cares about those issues only so long as they generate contributions and votes.
The Democratic Party has managed to sleep around with everyone, gaze into his/her eyes and convince each that he/she is truly loved…not merely used.
And now Eliot Cutler knows that he, too, has been used.
UPDATE: Upon seeing the initial comments, I’m concerned that folks read the headline, but not the story. So, I added a few words to the headline, in hopes of earning a reading. Let me know if it’s still unclear. — Scott Ott
Republicans should work hard to make President Obama look good.
Perhaps you’re thinking: “That’s not ‘work’ for Republicans. They do that effortlessly. Everything the GOP does seems to make Obama look good.”
That’s not what I mean.
Let me give you an example: Republicans fought the extension (of the extension) of unemployment benefits on the principle that when you reward something, you get more of it. They didn’t want more unemployment.
Democrats predicted that, if the benefits were not extended, America would look like the first 98% of Will Smith’s movie The Pursuit of Happyness, where he’s sleeping on the men’s room floor in the subway with his son.
Republicans, goaded by the fiscal conservatives among them, ended the president’s emergency extension of unemployment benefits. But wait. There’s more…
The scientist whose findings environmentalists used to shame us into bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store now says that his estimate of one hundred million (100,000,000) tons of plastic floating in the ocean may have been off by a factor of perhaps 14,285. His latest estimate ranges from 7,000 to 35,000 tons, and even most of that has biodegraded into granules.
Cózar’s team didn’t find country-size islands of plastic bags strangling baby birds and sea turtles. It found “micro plastics.” What people think of as a dump doesn’t look like floating junk. Instead, ocean current “convergence zones” are swirling with flecks of plastic – like a snow globe half a minute after shaking – and with considerably less plastic trash than expected.
Also doubtful: The environmentalist claim that 1.5 million marine animals choke to death each year on plastic bags that ran away from home for a life at sea. They’ve revised their estimates downward to 6.6 percent of that, but even the new figure has no empirical support.
In California, many cities have actually banned single-use plastic bags as a result of the successful PR campaign conjuring islands of floating plastic and animals who desperately need a Heimlich maneuver.
And let me add that I’ve never believed the tales that birds frequently gag to death on plastic bags and balloons.
First of all, growing up in the woods, I saw just how fussy birds are about what they’re willing to swallow. They pick up all kinds of detritus, but they eat only the food.
Secondly, at the Wal-Mart near our home in Texas, the birds have actually tidied up the parking lot by recycling discarded plastic bags as nesting material, no doubt reducing moisture incursion and boosting the R-value of their insulation in the process.
I’m all for following President Obama’s inaugural exhortation to “restore science to its rightful place.”
In this case, that place is Fantasy Island.
Here’s what it’s all about. Gather the children around the iPad. Listen. Remember. Rejoice.
Well, after 238 years it’s tough to find a fresh angle on Independence Day.
That’s the best excuse I can make for NPR’s story noting that Jehovah’s Witnesses, “some American Indians” and the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, back in 1852, don’t/didn’t celebrate the Fourth of July like most of the rest of us do, here in this God-blessed America.
The second best excuse I can make is: What do you expect from NPR?
The 1852 Independence Day Douglass oration is a classic moment of speaking truth to power. In its time and context it must have shocked, and invigorated, the abolition movement.
But in our day, the Left likes to read it as if its message applies equally to 21st century America. See Danny Glover’s rendition of excerpts in the video below, just 11 months before the election of Barack Obama as president. Note the reaction of the crowd, as if Glover had dreamed up the speech yesterday.
The Left lives, so it seems, in an ante-bellum world.
Face it, our National Anthem (“The Star Spangled Banner,” for those of you educated in government schools) is just hard to sing.
The range of notes spans 1.5 octaves, which is about all the average human can do. But even then, your ability to sing it well depends on the key, and the midpoint of your range.
For all practical purposes, nobody in America — not one person — can actually sing the national anthem in a way that others want to hear. That’s why we all sing it together — to drown out the horrid screeching and croaking, and to make ourselves feel better about our middling talents.
So rather than sustain this incessant assault on our self-esteem, I think it’s time we pick a new National Anthem. And before you protest about tradition or law, let me also suggest that the National Anthem has become a cultural anachronism.
Written by a white guy, held prisoner on a ship by other white guys, the words ramble on and on about a piece of fabric, and some war somewhere fought over something. But nobody knows what it means. Francis Scott Key’s poem, later put to music, isn’t even called “The Star Spangled Banner,” but “Defense of Fort McHenry.” I’m sure that’s in every Kindle at the Army War College.
There’s a difference between antique and vintage. The latter is cool. There’s a difference between old school and old timey. The former is cool. Our National Anthem is antique and old timey.
And one last thing. The song starts with a question (“O, say can you see?”) , and we never get the answer — at least not in the only verse that anyone has memorized. Everyone who’s ever watched a sit-com knows that you have to resolve the conflict in 22 minutes or less.
(SPOILER ALERT: Three additional verses of Key’s original poem all indicate that the flag still waved above the fort after sunrise. BTW, the British troops went back home and we got to keep our country. I’m sorry if you hadn’t heard about that yet. I warned you.)
For all of those reasons, and Roseanne Barr, I propose we change the National Anthem, and offer two possible alternatives.
First, I suggest James Brown’s “I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing” (see video below). I think the dancin’ jam and sax solo in the middle will be particularly popular at ball parks and middle school classrooms. I recently read an article speculating on why there aren’t more Black libertarians. IMHO, it’s because folks haven’t heard this song enough. So, here’s my #1 option.
Steve should be happy.
Tech pundit Farhad Manjoo gives us this reason, among others, to rejoice.
Facebook’s latest study proved it can influence people’s emotional states; aren’t you glad you know that? Critics who have long argued that Facebook is too powerful and that it needs to be regulated or monitored can now point to Facebook’s own study as evidence.
This is like telling a woman who was startled by a Peeping Tom while she disrobed, “Aren’t you glad you know that men can see you naked through those venetian blinds? After all, there are some creepy men out there who would love to get a peek at your birthday suit.”
The voyeur could tell the judge, “I was just peering into her bedroom to confirm that she’s at risk of being seen in the buff. I was going to call her the next day to inform her of the threat, which is now much more than conjecture.”
After reading Steve’s piece, and then Farhad’s, I’d plunk down $59.99 on a pay-per-view bout to see Green v. Manjoo in a no-holds-barred debate on this topic…and then I’d put all the rest of my nickels on Green in 3.
When’s the last time you heard a president of the United States attempt to sell his ideas as “not crazy…not socialism” and not a sign of “the imperial presidency.” In the video below, President Obama does just that, on the banks of the Potomac yesterday in front of a friendly audience of staffers, supporters and media (forgive the redundancy).
Watching this brief clip convinced me that when President Obama leaves office sometime in the next decade or two, he can make a smooth transition to giving sales-training seminars.
I’ve studied the video, and culled from it…
Barack Obama’s 3 Secrets of Successful Selling
Background: The president wants to make up a budget shortfall in the highway trust fund by hiking taxes on gas companies. Here’s how a master salesman goes about it.
1. Deal with Objections: You often have to deal with the prospect’s legitimate objections — and sometimes with his irrational, emotional objections. Apparently the president felt that Americans need assurance that the highway bill is sane, capitalist and democratic. By echoing what their conscience tells them about him, Obama offers affirmation, while subtly suggesting that he might not be what their experience shows that he is.
By the way, in a one-on-one setting, the president would have used the “feel-felt-found” formula to defuse the situation, like so…
I can understand how you feel this is a socialist, imperialist plan to punish producers and reward my union cronies. In fact, others have felt that way too. In the beginning, even I felt that way. But as I studied the talking points prepared by my staff in cooperation with the AFL-CIO and Sierra Club, I found that it’s not crazy, not socialism and not the imperial presidency.
This was the end-of-game post on the New York Times’ live blog of the USA v. Belgium World Cup game moments ago.
Apparently it’s a phrase that just comes naturally at the New York Times.
The 750 U.S. military advisers in Iraq are part of the contingent of up to 300 (three hundred) advisers that President Obama, 11 days ago, said “will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but…will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well.”
Politics ends at the waters edge, so we should make every effort to respect our president and take him at his word, even if that requires what Sen. Hillary Clinton once called “a willing suspension of disbelief.”
So, to accomplish this, and to square the president’s words with his actions, I offer what I call…
Scott Ott’s 5 Secrets for Squaring Obama’s Words with His Actions in Iraq
1) Part-time advisers: Because the president said he’d send up to 300 advisers, some of the 750 advisers he actually sent must be part-timers. What President Obama meant by “up to 300″ was 300 full-time equivalents (FTE). If we assume a 40-hour work week, then each of the 750 advisers is putting in roughly 16 hours per week for a total of 300 FTE. In the coming days, should the president order the deployment of more advisers, you can do the math to figure out how many hours each will work to maintain his commitment to 300 FTE.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or the Levant) has officially declared the establishment of a caliphate, a Muslim state, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the “imam and caliph for Muslims everywhere,” according to a spokesman.
This, of course, was prophesied years ago by Glenn Beck (peace be upon him).
But what would happen if moderate Muslims rose up with one voice and rejected the incipient caliphate, its insipid caliph and the insufferable tactics of violent jihad itself?
I got to thinking that perhaps it’s not the will to reform Islam that’s missing, but the proper public relations firm.
Now, I’m not a PR professional, but I know what I like.
So, in the public interest, I offer the following bumper sticker at no charge to moderate Muslims everywhere. Just click it, print it and tape it to the bumper of your car.
It’s the least I can do…really it is.
“Corporations are people.”
The famous Mitt Romney quote has just been deemed Constitutional…again.
As in the Citizens United decision, the high court ruled today in the ObamaCare vs. Hobby Lobby case that closely-held, non-public business entities — that is, corporations — are persons worthy of Constitutional protection for their God-given natural rights.
While some in the obsolete media have already portrayed Hobby Lobby as a narrow ruling, and not a major smackdown for President Obama, about 90 percent of corporations are “closely-held.”
As Vice President Joe Biden would say, “This is a big fracking deal.”
I was not a Romney supporter (and I’m already weary of the anti-Romney comments which will soon appear under this item).
But give the man his due.
Aggressive pricing strategy, or the worst fundraising gimmick ever? You make the call.
While conservatives and Republicans have mocked the weak performance of Hillary Clinton’s ballyhooed policy tome, Hard Choices, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) thinks there’s gold in that thar Hill.
The DSCC today ran an ad on the front page of NYTimes.com offering a personalized, signed copy of Hillary Clinton’s new book. It’s FREE, if you win the drawing. (Second prize: A set of steak knives.)
Of course, the real purpose of the ad is to induce you to make a contribution to the DSCC to help elect Democratic senators. If you read the fine print, you’ll see that you’re not required to contribute in order to win a book. But if you enter your name, zip code and email address and hit the “Add My Name” button, you’re whisked to a contribution page, just in case.
In the interest of science, I entered my name and email address, then read the fine print at the bottom of the page. The value of the prize, if I win, is allegedly $35 (although I can get it for $21 at Amazon, with free shipping).
I don’t know if Madame Clinton donated copies of her book to the DSCC, or if the DSCC bought copies to use in the raffle as an irresistible inducement to contribute to their candidates. But what did surprise me was the quantity of “grand prizes.” The small print says there will be five (5) winners of a free, signed copy of the book.
The word parsimonious came to mind, but perhaps I should credit them with frugality, a less pejorative word. And perhaps they thought offering seven or 13 grand prizes would cheapen the perceived value of the prize.
Given the popularity of the book and how busy she is promoting it, I suppose I should be grateful they offered even one.
The Left is apparently on the warpath to expunge all references to Native American peoples from our lexicon. And it’s not just the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians and other sports franchises under threat of this ethnic cleansing of our language.
Now, a Washington Post op-ed calls for scrubbing tribal names from U.S. military hardware — Apache, Chinook, Black Hawk helicopters, Tomahawk missiles and mission names like Operation Geronimo (which got bin Laden), for example.
If successful, the Left’s war on Native American words will remove practically all verbal evidence of the people who occupied these lands before the invasion of the English, Germans, Dutch, Irish, Mexicans and others. Their legacy will survive only in textbooks, museums and casinos — and most Americans completely ignore two out of three of those.
Call the White House today and tell President Obama that he can scrub the mention of Islam from reports on terrorism, but he can’t take away our Native American names.
Matt Lauer ran afoul of the unofficial speech code yesterday (see video clip below):
During the interview, which aired Thursday on NBC’s Today, Lauer brought up a recent statement made by [GM CEO Mary] Barra about missing her son’s junior prom: “My kids told me the one job they are going to hold me accountable for is ‘Mom.’ ”
Lauer followed up: “Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?”
Twitterers and pundits want to know if he would have asked that question of a male CEO, because if not, he’s sexist. Lauer points out that Today has actually done a series on the challenges of working fathers, and that he was merely following up on Barra’s remarks on the topic in a Forbes article, which he would have done for anyone.
But, Matt, what you don’t seem to understand is that you violated the speech code because you suggested that motherhood is a full-time job, and this is not tolerable in a post-gender society.
Of course, as any Mom (or Dad) knows, it is more difficult for a mother to maintain a full-time career. There’s a sense of fulfillment and wholeness that comes from engagement with her children, because of a primal bond that men can never fully comprehend. When that is interrupted, it creates tension, and pain, and worry and a sense of loss.
None of this means that women should be restricted to quarters after childbirth. But let’s be honest, the challenge for her is greater than for her husband.
And this is not denigrating to women — in fact, it’s elevating.
Motherhood is heroic, and crucial, and desperately essential. It is the most important work on earth. Being the CEO of GM is secondary. And there’s nothing wrong with saying so. In fact, failing to recognize that, and trying to elevate extra-domestic careerism above Motherhood, is dehumanizing to women everywhere.
See the video on the next page.