Thursday, October 30, 2014

The natural conclusion of the "pro-choice" position is starting to reveal itself:

Anecdotal evidence by leaders of prolife groups such as Created Equal and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust said in interviews that not only do they see more college students willing to say they support post-birth abortion, but some students even suggest children up to 4 or 5-years-old can also be killed, because they are not yet "self aware."

"We encounter people who think it is morally acceptable to kill babies after birth on a regular basis at almost every campus we visit," said Mark Harrington, director of Created Equal. "While this viewpoint is still seen as shocking by most people, it is becoming increasingly popular."

Three months, six months, nine months, five years. What's the difference, right? It's just a "choice."

David French calls out the left for their childish, sophomoric approach to governing:

Next, there's the sophomoric, malicious style of campus rhetoric, where stigma is the preferred method of argument. It's hard to overstate the propensity towards name-calling even of "elite" academics, and the culture of the academy is one where groupthink is enforced and reinforced through vicious rhetoric. Their opponents can't be merely wrong. Instead they are racist, bigoted, homophobic, or - despite professed love of the disabled - "Aspergery." The arrogance is overwhelming, and the fake tough-guy posture of name-calling elitists is laughable to everyone but themselves.

(By the way, have you noticed how much the elite drop profanity into conversations and commentary to signify how darn angry and serious they are? There's nothing like a cursing nerd to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies - or friends.)

Jay Nordlinger, in Part IV of his series on the Oslo Freedom Forum, identifies what it will take to "fix" Africa:

There is such a thing as oversimplifying. There is also such a thing as overcomplicating. What do Africans need? The same things everyone else needs: the rule of law; property rights; an independent judiciary; accountability in government; economic freedom; other freedom. Then they will zoom. They are not born to be poor and desolate. The systems that control them make them that way.

Mankind knows pretty well what leads to prosperity and what leads to the opposite. Our experience has been ample - redundant. The road to prosperity is blocked by collectivists, tyrants, and spoilers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I came across this blog post today, showing gas for 18 cents a gallon in 1939. Curious, I went to BLS CPI Inflation Calculator to see what that looks like in 2014 dollars. Answer: $3.08. So, with gas locally at around $2.80, it's cheaper now than it was in 1939. Interesting.

Heather MacDonald points out how ridiculous it is to expect the CDC to be effective at fighting real disease, when it is instead steeped in social justice concerns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Communities Program, for example, focuses on "unfair health differences closely linked with social, economic or environmental disadvantages that adversely affect groups of people." CDC's Healthy People 2020 project recognizes that "health inequities are tied to economics, exclusion, and discrimination that prevent groups from accessing resources to live healthy lives," according to Harvard public-health professor Nancy Krieger. Krieger is herself a magnet for federal funding, which she uses to spread the message about America's unjust treatment of women, minorities, and the poor. To study the genetic components of health is tantamount to "scientific racism," in Krieger's view, since doing so overlooks the "impact of discrimination" on health. And of course the idea of any genetic racial differences is anathema to Krieger and her left-wing colleagues.

Dennis Saffran notes that the New York Times has apparently discovered its support for the second amendment. It seems it's not easy enough for mentally ill persons to keep and bear arms, and this is anathema to the Times.

The tone and prominence of Sunday's article suggest that the Times has decided that its support for expansive rights for the mentally ill trumps its support for expansive gun-control legislation. Speaking favorably for what must be the first time of "the right to bear arms" (without a single harrumph about a well-regulated militia), the Times frets that the provision has denied this right to 34,500 "people with mental health issues," though it notes that only 278 of them actually had gun permits. Trotting out its usual talking points about the rights of the mentally ill (rather than its usual talking points about gun control), the Times quotes unnamed "advocates" and "experts" who warn that such laws "stigmatize people with mental illnesses" and "discourage patients from seeking help." They lecture us that "the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent." [...]

While the Times blasted the Heller decision as "wrongheaded and dangerous" (and sure to "cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country") for recognizing a limited individual Second Amendment right, it now appears to lament the failure to fully extend to the mentally ill what it would deny to everyone else. Such are the perils of knee-jerk orthodoxy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The micromanagement of the college student's love life has now reached this level:

A SUNY school is teaching students how to properly end a relationship as part of an initiative begun this year in response to increased Title IX reports dealings with post-breakup harassment.

SUNY Delhi implemented the training at this year's freshmen orientation but says it will continue to offer workshops concerning the issue of healthy relationships throughout the year . . .

That's right. Breakup Training.

Democrat Joel Kotkin documents the Democrats surge to the left:

The new left Democrats have little interest in embracing Obama's clever meme of portraying himself as a moderate, bipartisan figure, something that helped him both win suburban voters and raise a ton of money from parts of the corporate elite. Instead of expanding crony capitalism, which has been the Obama default, but the new Left openly seeks to reshape the economic system itself.

This leftward shift has been intensified by the growing geographic bifurcation of our political culture. Just as the Republican's rightward shift reflected the domination of the traditionalist South and, to some extent, the socially conservative Great Plains, the Democratic march to the left similarly mirrors the party's growing reliance on its urban Northeast and West Coast base. [. . .]

In the new Democratic calculus, greens, wealthy venture capitalists, Hollywood producers, feminists and ethnic warlords matter much more than coal miners, factory or construction workers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ann Coulter takes down the illusion of government competence in dealing with Ebola.

Unfortunately, everything the government says about this disease keeps being proved untrue - usually within a matter of days.

They told us that you'd basically have to roll in an infected person's vomit to catch the disease. Then, nurses at two first-world hospitals in Spain and the U.S. contracted Ebola from patients.

With no evidence, the CDC simply announced that the nurses were not following proper "protocol." The disease didn't operate the way CDC said it would, so the hospitals must be lying.

The government told us that national quarantines won't work, but then they quarantine everyone with Ebola - or who has been near someone with Ebola, such as an entire NBC crew. To me, this suggests that there's some value in keeping people who have been near Ebola away from people who have not.

What a disgrace.

As part of a plan to close a $2.4 billion gap in the two-year budget, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has directed the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to hike the costs of liquor.

The Commonwealth of Virginia operates a monopoly on the sale of liquor, and the governor (who I didn't vote for) has unilaterally declared that prices be raised across the board. And it is illegal for Virginians to purchase alcohol elsewhere. If a private company tried such a thing, McAuliffe would rightly drag them into court.

Heather MacDonald has a lengthy essay on the increasingly bizarre state of sexual relations on college campuses.

It is impossible to overstate the growing weirdness of the college sex scene. Campus feminists are reimporting selective portions of a traditional sexual code that they have long scorned, in the name of ending what they preposterously call an epidemic of campus rape. They are once again making males the guardians of female safety and are portraying females as fainting, helpless victims of the untrammeled male libido. They are demanding that college administrators write highly technical rules for sex and aggressively enforce them, 50 years after the proponents of sexual liberation insisted that college adults stop policing student sexual behavior. While the campus feminists are not yet calling for an assistant dean to be present at their drunken couplings, they have created the next best thing: the opportunity to replay every grope and caress before a tribunal of voyeuristic administrators.

The ultimate result of the feminists' crusade may be the same as if they were explicitly calling for a return to sexual modesty: a sharp decrease in casual, drunken sex. There is no downside to this development.

Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes thinks ISIS will eventually implode:

As in every other aspect of life, the Islamic State unabashedly and brutally applies premodern Islamic law, making no concessions whatsoever to modern mores. It seeks to establish a universal caliphate as though it were again the seventh century. Beheadings and enslavement being among the most shocking Koranic injunctions to a modern sensibility, the group most exults in precisely these and imposes them on those it considers infidels.

The wild, reactionary impulses of the Islamic State appeal to a minuscule number of observers, while its messianic zeal has carried it very far, very fast - from the borders of Turkey to the outskirts of Baghdad. But its actions appall the overwhelming majority, Muslim and not, which will lead to its inevitable collapse while it does irreparable damage to Islam.

Let's hope he is correct.

Victor Davis Hanson points out the absurdity of racial identity these days:

We still live under antiquated, 50-year-old ideas that grant some ethnic groups privileges over others. Because these racial rubrics can be advantageous for things like college admissions and employment, and because the idea of racial purity is becoming ever more problematic, fantasy becomes inevitable.

That is why the charlatan Ward Churchill, a noted activist, tried - and succeeded in - fabricating a Native American identity to land a job at the University of Colorado. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren invented a Native American pedigree and so became Harvard Law School's first recognized Native American professor. When other elites hyphenate their last names and accentuate first names, they remind us that without such IDs, one might not otherwise learn - or care about - their particular racial pedigree.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Here's a recent tweet from Jim Geraghty @jimgeraghty:

"For too long, the Ebola- American Community has been subject to public discrimination by those who seek to isolate them."

Ben Shapiro goes for the jugular:

With the Democratic machine revving up to install its selected X Chromosome Queen Hillary Clinton as president in 2016, the media have revved up the most hackneyed narrative of the last six years: the war on women. Once again, Democrats and media members proclaim from the highest rooftops that women are victims of a brutal and uncaring American society that pays them less, rapes them on college campuses, and abuses them in the home. None of that is true - women who are young, single and childless earn 8 percent more than men in 147 out of 150 major American cities, and rape and abuse are down dramatically over the last two decades.

It has never been better to be an American woman.

Unless you get in Hillary's way. Then, the war on women comes directly to your front door.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

So, Patrick Cannon, the mayor of Charlotte, NC, has been sentenced to 4 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in a bribery scheme that went on for over a year. Here's the Associated Press story. And here's television station WCNC's report. How many times in these two rather lengthy reports is it mentioned that disgraced former mayor Cannon is a Democrat? ZERO.

From Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column comes this tidbit:

I know that today is a better day, because we have the Internet. This is true in a thousand ways, or a hundred thousand ways. I know that books, newspapers, and magazines will be a thing of the past - I mean, in their physical forms. I don't regret it that much.

But I must say, I find it increasingly difficult to read things on the Internet. I click on an article, and I'm not taken to the article: I'm taken to an ad instead. Then there is this experience: Loud music will suddenly start playing. Or loud talking will suddenly start. Often, my screen looks like an old pinball machine, with lights flashing and boxes shaking and music blaring. I just want to read an article.

I think of an old expression: "It makes my eyes go yuck."

Again, I know that the Internet is a better day. I would not go back. But lately, I've been annoyed.

I couldn't agree more. And for good measure, here's some more Nordlinger:

The topic of gay marriage came up in the vice-presidential debate. Joe Biden and Sarah Palin said they had the same position. They were against gay marriage. So, the moderator said, "Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy."

Two days before the election, Obama reiterated, "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage."

Running in 2012, of course, both Obama and Biden sang a different tune. They had had an epiphany or something. (Is "epiphany" too religious a word for our modern society?)

Here's the grating thing: They scorn people who are against gay marriage as, basically, Klansmen and Nazis. The blink of an eye ago, they themselves were against gay marriage (officially)! But now the people who hold that same position - the Obama-Biden position until May 2012 - are Klansmen and Nazis?

More than grating, that is galling. Obama should be embarrassed. (I'm not sure that Biden is capable of embarrassment.)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kevin Williamson demolishes the political posturing about the minimum wage:

The purpose of this fight is not to hash out economic questions related to low-income people. The purpose of the fight is the fight: There is no minimum wage high enough to keep the Democrats from introducing an increase next year, because the point of bills hiking the minimum wage is to force Republicans to vote against them, which provides Democrats with a moment of cherished political theater. They do not give a fig about poor people — as everybody knows, the real minimum wage is $0.00, and more Americans today are making that than at any time in recent memory, which is what is meant by “record low workforce-participation rates.”

The whole piece is quite compelling. And Williamson's conclusion is priceless:

The real scandal is that so many Americans have labor that is worth so little. But that’s an indictment of the public schools and the welfare state, not of the mean meanies at Walmart.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Victor Davis Hanson on the dithering White House:

Official stories change to fit larger agendas. One day the White House has full confidence in Secret Service director Julia Pierson, the next day she is gone. One day leaving Iraq was the president's stellar achievement, the next day someone else did it. We are at war and not at war with the Islamic State - both a manageable problem of some jayvees and an existential threat. The Free Syrian Army is both a fantasy and plagued by amateurs and yet the linchpin of our new strategy on the ground against the Islamic State.

We are back to the daily revisionism of the Affordable Care Act, keeping and not keeping your doctor and health plan, with deductibles and premiums going down and going up.

With this sort of thing going on in public schools, I am thrilled we are able to home school.

If teachers still find it "necessary" to mention that genders exist at all, the document states, they must list them as "boy, girl, both or neither."

Furthermore, it instructs teachers to interfere and interrupt if they ever hear a student talking about gender in terms of "boys and girls" so the student can learn that this is wrong.

"Point out and inquire when you hear others referencing gender in a binary manner," it states. "Ask things like . . . 'What makes you say that? I think of it a little differently.' Provide counter-narratives that challenge students to think more expansively about their notions of gender."

Jonah Goldberg has a cutting piece taking down the obsessive, intrusive nature of progressives. Here are some prime excerpts:

You can't be "agents for change," "forces for progress," or whatever the current phrase is, and simultaneously deny that you're the aggressors in the culture war. For instance, just in the last decade, liberals have redefined a millennia-old understanding of marriage while talking as if it were conservatives who wanted to "impose" their values on the nation. [...]

Liberals, meanwhile, are quite open about their desire to use the state to impose their morality on others. Many conservatives want to do likewise, of course. The difference is that when conservatives try to do it, liberals are quick to charge "theocracy!" and decry the Orwellian horror. [...]

The upshot of this defense is that the state is justified in regulating sex - and "deprogramming" people - because some feminist writers are convinced some people are doing it wrong. One doesn't have to take a position on that claim to wonder whether it's the government's place to tell people how to do it right, never mind insist that doing it wrong is synonymous with sexual assault.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

John Hawkins notes that there isn't very much "elite" or "intellectual" about today's elites and intellectuals:

That means the talented actors, programmers, and investment bankers may be geniuses at what they do, but once you get outside their field of expertise, they're not "elite" in any other area. Is there any reason to trust Warren Buffet's opinion on immigration? Is Al Gore really smarter than other people when it comes to global warming? Should Sean Penn really be anyone's "go to" guy on which economic system is best for America? They may have fame and wealth, but outside of their narrow little areas of expertise, there's nothing "elite" about any of them.

Even worse are the legions of "elites" and "intellectuals" who haven't accomplished anything of note, truly proven their intellect or shown that they're particularly good at anything.

Sarah Hoyt recently saw this tweet come across her twitter feed:

Wouldn't it be nice if the point of education wasn't to make a more useful workforce, but to make happy, imaginative and empathetic humans?

Ms. Hoyt proceeds to systematically dismantle this sort of moronic thinking, and it's worth the read:

This person is so unimaginably comfortable and cossetted that she believes that work is an icky necessity and that learning the skills of workaday laboring is not just unnecessary but somehow undesirable. She believes it would be best instead if schools tried to fix all sorts of metaphysical things that as far as I can tell have always been wrong with humans.

She believes, in fact, that paradise has arrived - whatever she says - and that we no longer need to spin nor sow.

She's so far removed from every day necessities, that she thinks that learning a profession is a strange twisting of the purpose of education.

Here's a handful of links from today's National Review Online.

Victor Davis Hanson thinks Obama makes Warren Harding look good.

The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized - or both - largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency's mission.

The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding's Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison.

Kevin Williamson warns Connecticut homeschoolers. Here's a snippet, but the whole piece really needs to be read to be fully appreciated.

Malloy's committee on the Newtown shootings is recommending that Connecticut require home-schooling families to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction. For anybody even passingly familiar with contemporary government schools, which are themselves a peerless source of social and emotional dysfunction, this development is bitterly ironic. [. . .]

If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living "on tarps in fields or parking lots" and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: "Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants." The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling - that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state - is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel. That this is now being framed in mental-health terms, under the theory that Lanza might not have committed his crimes if he had had the benefit of the tender attentions of his local school authorities, is yet another reminder of the Left's long and grotesque history of using corrupt psychiatry as a tool of politics.

Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven report that a government lawyer is about to destroy the entire franchise business model.

And that's what the latest missive from the NLRB is all about: making it easier for labor unions to turn hundreds of thousands of individually owned small businesses into one giant union hall - and making it easier for trial lawyers to sue the deep-pocketed parent company for the mistakes of individual owners.

That's good news for the union bosses and trial lawyers, but bad news for franchisors, franchisees, and a big chunk of the American economy.

Franchising supports over 18 million U.S. jobs and adds more than $2 trillion to the national economy. Millions of jobs would be put at risk by this ruling, and the value of hundreds of thousands of small businesses could potentially be harmed.

John Hart on how much power Harry Reid has accumulated as Senate Majority Leader:

Pryor's private complaint and public inaction points to the real story of 2014. The reality is that there are no red-state Democrats in the Senate. There are only Reid-state Democrats. Reid alone sets the agenda of every state represented by a Democrat or liberal independent. He is, in effect, the third and most senior senator in each of those states. The implication for voters is this: If you want Harry Reid to be your senator, vote for the Democrat or independent (i.e., in Kansas, Greg Orman). [. . .]

Reid is concerned with power, not progress. He believes he has the right to pick not only the minority's amendments but his own party's amendments as well. He has caged or tamed the old liberal lions and ridicules his supposedly moderate colleagues who flirt with bipartisan deals. When a group of senators tried the revive the Simpson-Bowles debt-commission report, he derided the bipartisan discussions as "happy talk."

Friday, October 03, 2014

Thomas Sowell has one of his periodic "Random Thoughts" columns out.

The fatal weakness of most clever people is that they don't know when to stop being clever. The past cleverness of President Obama is finally starting to catch up with him.

Jonah Goldberg takes down that awful phrase so beloved by the progressive left: "You're on the wrong side of history."

(On) the home front, liberals insist that opponents of same-sex marriage should give up now because they are sure to lose eventually. And on the international stage, when Barack Obama castigates Vladimir Putin for being on the wrong side of history, what he's really saying is, "Don't worry, we don't need to do anything, History and her long moral arc will do the heavy lifting for us." No wonder the British historian Robert Conquest complained that the phrase has a "Marxist twang."

One irony is that although a slogan that glorifies history, it is a statement about the future, not the past. That's because history is full of episodes that would, with a moment's retrospection, illuminate the vacuity of the phrase.

Here's an example of just how unserious modern feminism has become:

A group of female Canadian soccer players have sued FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association, claiming that the plan to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf is a sexist “human rights” violation.

The lawsuit argues that since men’s World Cup players are scheduled to play on natural grass at least through 2022, the current plan violates Section 1 of the Canadian human-rights code, which states that “every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination.”

According to the suit, the current arrangement is a serious violation of that principle because being forced to play on artificial turf amounts to “devaluing [the players’] dignity, state of mind, and self-respect . . . before tens of thousands of stadium spectators and a global broadcast audience.”

It's almost they want to be laughed at.