Wednesday, August 31, 2011

“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.” Ken Keyes.

No one likes having to endure the company of disrespectful hood rats, anywhere. People who know a little something about east Asia understand and appreciate how ingrained public courtesy is in their cultures. So the sight of Bruh-Man here abusing an elderly Korean couple in a very public place is doubly shocking and disgusting. And, for Americans, embarrassing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More thoughts on the British riots

It was Voltaire who described the English thus: "They are like their beer -- froth at the top, dregs at the bottom, the middle excellent." Of course mob violence, apolitical mob violence, is not new in British society. What is new is the assumption on the Left that a cradle to grave welfare state, taking over all responsibility from people to mind their affairs, reducing them to human livestock in government barns, would thereby remove any cause for violence. Earlier ages would have spotted such naivete straight off. But British policy makers today live in a world where all the good solid short words are considered hopelessly simplistic and insensitive, and "sinful" is only encountered on the dessert menu.


"Oh, tell me, who was it first announced, who was it first proclaimed, that man only does nasty things because he does not know his own interests; and that if he were enlightened, if his eyes were opened to his real normal interests, man would at once cease to do nasty things, would at once become good and noble because, being enlightened and understanding his real advantage, he would see his own advantage in the good and nothing else, and we all know that not one man can, consciously, act against his own interests, consequently, so to say, through necessity, he would begin doing good? Oh, the babe! Oh, the pure, innocent child!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lambertville vandalism turns life-threatening

Lambertville vandalism turns life-threatening

Nothing on the MSM yet, other than a local TV station, but the conservative blogs are all over this, and rightly so. Forty-eight hour rule and everything, but I'll be very disappointed if this doesn't become national news. Thuggery by unions is unacceptable, and should not be taboo in the news.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ruth Padawer on The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy in The New York Times Magazine

Selectively aborting all but one fetus in a multiple pregnancy. Is this wrong? Answer: If abortion is not wrong, then this is not wrong. Nor is female-specific abortion wrong, as happens in Asian countries nowadays. Nor will abortion to eliminate fetuses of a particular sexual orientation be wrong, once that becomes possible. "Without God, everything is possible", as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote.

Ms. Padawer has included a few tear-jerking stories of women wrestling with this difficult choice. (Though she does refer to a doctor receiving calls from a stream of women who don't seem to find it so difficult at all.) The article is not as disgusting as the one last time the NYTM discussed selective abortion. That piece, by abortion rights activist Amy Richards as told to reporter Amy Barrett, was appalling in its callousness. A no-longer young woman, still doing the co-habitation thing with a boyfriend, becomes pregnant with twins and a stand-alone. There's nothing wrong with them, although she alarms herself with the possibility that something "might" happen. The stairs are steep, the city is expensive, and she, like, reeeeally doesn't want to give up her urban hipster lifestyle, and go live in the icky-poo suburbs. So, death for the unborn twins it is.

I am appreciative that these procedures exist, and have become as safe as they are. I know that not every woman who aborts is just a selfish flibbertigibbet. I also acknowledge that this is one of the mercifully few issues where our ideals of liberty and morality are in direct conflict. So, it seems, with this medical advance we've crossed another Rubicon:

Marking what he called a “juncture in the cultural evolution of human understanding of twins,” Evans concluded that “parents who choose to reduce twins to a singleton may have a higher likelihood of taking home a baby than pregnancies remaining with twins.” He became convinced that everyone carrying twins, through reproductive technology or not, should at least know that reduction was an option. “Ethics,” he said, “evolve with technology.”

One might also argue for the existence of an inverse relationship between the progress of the two.

Britain's riots: what to do in the aftermath?

I've been reading the British newspaper punditry in the past week, and the arguments fall along two main lines. The liberals say "Public order must be enforced, but...", while the conservatives say "Public order must be enforced, therefore..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy birthday, Herbert Hoover

Finally, a piece which lauds this man for his forgotten humanitarian achievements. As an international humanitarian first and a failed president second, Hoover was Jimmy Carter in reverse. Hoover also had a big hand in famine relief in Russia and Armenia in the 1920s; we are living through the 90th anniversary years of it. American citizens across the country volunteered by the hundreds to organize donation drives. A book published in 1930 about these efforts still makes the breast swell with pride at being a citizen of such a generous nation. (One section describes how the Armenians weren't just dumped into a camp with tents and sacks of food, as nowadays. They were given work to do, the remoralizing effects of which still went without mentioning back then.) When the American Relief Administration expanded into Kiev, the local wits said that ARA stood for "Amerike Ratevet Aleman", meaning "America Rescues Everyone."

Thomas Friedman envisions a grand compromise

Here. In brief, he imagines Republicans, including the Tea Party laying aside their principles and going along with the Democratic program, all in the name of bipartisanship. And his Obama lays down yet another cloud of rhetorical squid ink, while promising to do a better job of explaining himself to the thick American public. Well, at least Mr. Friedman isn't dabbling in The Totalitarian Temptation this time.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Happy Birthday, Instapundit!

Congratulations! Back in those days I mostly got my daily commentary fix by surfing the websites of conservative magazines. One of them, James Taranto at the WSJ's Opinion Journal, started linking to Instapundit. I clicked over, liked what I saw, and branched out into the blogosphere from there. Many major blogs have come and gone since then, or changed their character. Even blogging itself has now passed beyond its frontier days, with the solid bloggers prospering and the less compelling ones vanishing, or contenting themselves with seeing their own scribblings onscreen. But Glenn Reynolds blogs on, remarkably even-keeled, his place in internet history secure as the man who discovered that repeatedly sending traffic away will bring traffic back ten-fold.

An Era of Left-Wing Shibboleths

The Chronicle of Higher Education invited a number of academics to muse on various themes in connection with 9/11. I read a few & then gave up. None of these people whose articles I read, excepting Victor Davis Hanson, wrote as if they believed 9/11 happened to them. Have you ever been threatened by a terrorist? If you've read any of AQ's communiques, yes you have, acknowledge it or don't.

I left a number of comments, for as long as I lasted. You might enjoy this one, which in truth I've recycled in a number of forms over the years:

One of the lessons of 9/11 was what we learned about the Left. 9/11 proved, perhaps once and for all, that there is no attack that America can suffer that will induce the Left to take up her cause, against whatever enemy might be out there. Progressives' standing hatred--however disguised--of America must filter and trump any attack on her. I'm disappointed and actually rather surprised that Dr. [Todd] Gitlin seems to have reverted to channeling his inner 1968. I thought he had made a firmer peace with America over the years than this piece indicates. Guess I haven't been paying close enough attention.

The flaw of acting as if you believe that "ideas are the only homeland" is that one's actual physical homeland is always measuring up short by comparison. Richard Fernandez some years back said that progressives forbid themselves to find value in the present, only the any-day-now Golden Future that they're all working for is worthy of prizing. ("I pledge allegiance to the United States that can be.") At what point do fair weather foes of their American here-and-now home turn into foul weather friends? If the answer is "never", then they have no right to bang on about their "dissent" being the highest form of patriotism. It is instead just the weasely-est form of self-congratulation. And yet America receives them, protects them, rewards them, without a murmur. V. S. Naipaul put it very well:

"Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Helicopter downed in Afghanistan, 31 special forces killed

This is utterly awful, in addition to the loss to their families. These spec warriors and their accumulate­d battlefiel­d savvy are not going to be replaced anytime soon. Just awful....

At one point during the '04 campaign, John Kerry declared that he would double the number of our special forces. How? The graduation rate of those training courses is about 30%, I've heard. This is truly a terrible loss for America's military. I just hope that this was some peasant who got off a lucky shot with an RPG. If the Taliban was able to interdict a spec-op mission, in revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden, that's scary.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Muslims apologize for attacking Christians

From the "catch 'em being good" file.

Two Muslims have apologized for an anti-Christian rampage in the Punjab city of Gojra two years ago that left 10 Catholics dead.

At an interfaith seminar at the Sacred Heart Church in Gojra on Monday to mark the second anniversary of the incident, two Sufi masters expressed regret for the violence, saying it went against the “spirit of Islam.”

In August 2009, more than 800 Muslims went on the rampage against Christian communities Gojra and a nearby village, torching buildings and attacking inhabitants. The anti-terrorism court in Faisalabad in June acquitted all 70 people arrested in connection with the attacks.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Deal

Haven't had a chance--and probably won't--to read through it. But I've heard people on talk radio slamming it, and the libs at Huffington Post slamming it. So, it looks like a typical government consensus monster, tossing a bone to all the factions, who were insisting on steak.

As for how we got here, in truth the U.S. has been broke since World War II. IMO the fight to reign in federal spending was fought and lost in the Reagan years. The two-year period in the mid-Aughties when Republicans controlled everything was wasted, because not enough of them were serious about the public debt. The Tea Party candidates have fought as single issue representatives--they are only there to reduce spending. They are probably right when they say that if they don't fight now, they will have no standing to fight later, and they will be voted out. But the fickle public will probably vote them out even if they succeed, if certain programs are affected. So, they are probably single-use reps, in addition to being single issue.

The stimulus? It failed, drag it out back and bury it. But we will probably instead fall victim to the usual Washington logic: Did the government program succeed? Expand it to ensure future success. Did the government program fail? Expand it to ensure future success. Galvanizin­g frogs legs will make them jerk, but it won't bring them back to life. So it is with the zillions wasted on the stimulus. Better to let the economy revive and strengthen on its own, rather than be stuck with a zombie economy, which collapses as soon as the electrodes are removed.