Friday, September 27, 2013

Interesting and haunting: Abandoned Places.

Jim Geraghty neatly identifies what I have long believed to be the fatal flaw of big government leftism: the hubris of thinking that some team of uber-bureaucrats is all we need to guide humanity to paradise.

Obama, Kathleen Sebelius and his crew thought they could make this work, and successfully manage the overhaul of one-sixth of the nation's economy, implementing a system of new taxes, new exchanges, new required coverage, subsidized premiums, penalties for not purchasing insurance, penalties for "Cadillac coverage" plans, elimination of low-cost catastrophic care options, thousands of "navigators" handling people's personal health information, new incentives to move workers to part-time, new incentives to limit the number of workers at a business... and now we're starting to see the parts fly off.

It's not that Team Obama is incapable of running such an unwieldy contraption. NOBODY'S TEAM could have pulled it off. But the left continues to believe they possess some sort managerial genius that will allow them to succeed where nobody could possibly hope to succeed. It's nothing but hubris and narcissism.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog of the Week: September 25

In an effort to expand horizons around here, I am going to begin featuring a "Blog of the Week." Sometimes it will be a new blog, others it will be a blog from the sidebar that I think deserves some special attention. Each new blog will be added to the sidebar for future reference.

This week's featured blog is My Science Academy, a collection of interesting science articles spanning topics of Astronomy, Biology & Chemistry, Culture, Environment, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology & Heath, and Technology.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Victor Davis Hanson points out the mythology of the left.

Legends now become facts in America at almost lightning speed. Often when lies are asserted as truth, they become frozen in time. Even the most damning later exposure of their falsity never quite erases their currency. As Jonathan Swift sighed, "Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it."

VDH cites Aaron Alexis, George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, Matthew Shephard, Sacco & Vanzetti, the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Che Guevera, Bill Ayers, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angela Davis, Tawana Brawley, and the Duke lacrosse team as examples of real people that have been assigned mythological facts in order to promote the leftist world-view. He concludes:

What difference does it make what actually happened between shooter Wesley Cook and slain officer Daniel Faulkner, when the Mumia myth serves larger agencies of social change?

Like Orwell's dead souls, we live in an age of statist mythology, in which unpleasant facts are replaced by socially useful lies. So we print the legend that better serves our fantasies.

Elsewhere, the very same VDH remembers a time when Californians actually built things:

Envision a California infrastructure project that put tens of thousands of people to work and finished ahead of schedule while using private financing. Suppose that it made a profit without government guarantees or taxpayer liabilities. Imagine, moreover, that this project did little harm to the environment while producing massive quantities of renewable energy. Almost all the project's machinery would be hidden underground or housed in elegant classical buildings. It would radically reengineer nature, yes, but the most obvious evidence of change would be scenic alpine lakes where dry canyons had previously stood. And instead of facing endless lawsuits from aggrieved parties, the project would enjoy nearly unanimous support.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Noodles & Company

Awesome! I've only eaten at this chain once, but it was such a welcome change from the usual fast food fare that I remember it very well.

Noodles & Co. plans rollout in South Hampton Roads

Men on Strike

Here's an interesting interview with the Instapundit's wife, Helen Smith. Her new book is called Men on Strike.

I am surprised how many women have no or little empathy for men. It is important to understand where men are coming from, how they think, and what they fear when it comes to marriage. The law and culture tend to protect women and to harm men. Men are starting to realize this, and women need to understand that men have few reproductive rights, have few legal rights in divorce, and are seen as the bad guy in marriages that go wrong. It is not immaturity for men to be reluctant to marry, it is a rational choice not to place oneself in a harmful legal contract that gives them no safety net.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Here's some food for thought on the second anniversary of the Occupy movement, from Atlas Shrugged:

"When you live in a rational society, where men are free to trade, you receive an incalculable bonus: the material value of your work is determined not only by your effort, but by the effort of the best productive minds who exist in the world around you.

"When you work in a modern factory, you are paid, not only for your labor, but for all the productive genius which has made that factory possible: for the work of the industrialist who built it, for the work of the investor who saved the money to risk on the untried and the new, for the work of the engineer who designed the machines of which you are pushing the levers, for the work of the inventor who created the product which you spend your time on making . . .

"In proportion to the mental energy he spent, the man who creates a new invention receives but a small percentage of his value in terms of material payment, no matter what fortune he makes, no matter what millions he earns. But the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him. And the same is true of all men between, on all levels of ambition and ability. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the 'competition' between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of 'exploitation' for which you have damned the strong."

From Kevin Williamson:

"Government is what government does, and what government does is what government spends. Our government is a corrupt HMO with an underfunded pension plan attached, and a few aircraft carriers in tow."

Andrew Malcolm notes Barack Obama's tin ear:

"(W)hen four Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Obama appeared after a good night's sleep, bemoaned the loss, vowed to deliver justice to the killers (still unfulfilled), then flew off for fundraising parties in Las Vegas. [...]

"When a 133-foot-tall wall of tsunami water rolled 10 miles inland to kill 16,000 in Japan two years ago, Obama expressed his sorrow, then went golfing. When bad weather canceled his trip to the funeral of Poland's president, Obama paid his respects by golfing.

"As the Gulf coast economy struggled back from the nation's worst environmental disaster ever, Obama urged all Americans to vacation there. Then, he took his family to the New England coast.

"Or our personal fave, his 2012 Virginia campaign speech when the audience began fainting from the heat. So, instead of cutting it short, Obama offered advice on hydration and how to stand properly while he finished reading his prepared text.

"So, it should not be surprising that as heavily-armed SWAT teams combed the Washington Navy Yard Monday for at least one deranged killer, Obama took the occasion to proceed with one of his harshest partisan speeches in months."


Charles C.W. Cooke on the AR-15

The pro-gun side loves it because it is a commercially available, easy-to-use, well-built "tactical" weapon that looks like a "military style" machine gun; conversely, the other side hates it because it is a commercially available, easy-to-use, well-built "tactical" weapon that looks like a "military style" machine gun. To its fans, it is the emblem of a liberty-obsessed people and a reminder that the citizenry is sovereign and may choose for itself how to manage its defense; to its critics, it is the sign of a liberty-obsessed people, and a reminder that the citizenry is sovereign and may choose for itself how to manage its defense.

I can say for sure that my level of interest in owning a so-called "assault weapon" correlates directly with the left's level of interest in making sure that I can't do so.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

With 12 dead at the Washington Navy Yard, it's time to revisit this editorial, which followed the Fort Hood massacre: End Clinton-era military base gun ban.

Time after time, public murder sprees occur in "gun-free zones" - public places where citizens are not legally able to carry guns. The list is long, including massacres at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School along with many less deadly attacks. Last week's slaughter at Fort Hood Army base in Texas was no different - except that one man bears responsibility for the ugly reality that the men and women charged with defending America were deliberately left defenseless when a terrorist opened fire.

Among President Clinton's first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection. For the most part, only military police regularly carry firearms on base, and their presence is stretched thin by high demand for MPs in war zones.

[ . . . ]

All the public shootings in the United States in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where concealed handguns have been banned. Thirteen dead bodies in a Texas morgue are the ultimate fruit of gun-control illogic - in which guns are so feared that government regulation even tries to keep them out of the hands of trained soldiers. With the stroke of a pen, President Obama can end Mr. Clinton's folly and allow U.S. soldiers to protect themselves. Because we clearly cannot protect our soldiers from harm, the least we owe them is the right to protect themselves.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Classless and Disrespectful

The desk in the Oval Office is called the Resolute Desk. It is so-named because it was built from the timbers of HMS Resolute, a British ship. A plaque on the front reads:

H.M.S. RESOLUTE forming part of the expedition sent in search of SIR JOHN FRANKLIN IN 1852, was abandoned in latitude 74 degrees 41 minutes N longitude 101 degrees 22 minutes W on 15th May 1854. She was discovered and extricated in September 1855 in latitude 67 degrees N by Captain Buddington of the United States Whaler "GEORGE HENRY."

The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England as a gift to HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA by the PRESIDENT AND PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the "RESOLUTE."

Unfortunately, the current occupant of the White House doesn't have much respect for history or tradition:

That is an official White House photo. Not only do they lack class and respect, they don't know even realize it, or worse, are proud of it.