Joel and I tackle the so-called "War on Christmas" in this week's Scripps-Howard column. Joel thinks the whole business is a construct of the theocon-Fox News-Industrial Complex, and urges everyone to chill out. I think the whole business is a construct of ACLU provocateurs abetted by lily-livered bureaucrats, and urge everyone to chill out.
It's the least plausible column we've done in quite some time.
My favorite Thanksgiving story involves a drunken man, his son, a plate glass window, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. This year, the Los Angeles Times recounts tales of Thanksgiving excess from local emergency rooms.
“If you thaw a turkey wrong or cook a turkey wrong ... it’s an opportunity for turkeys to get even with the human population.”
That bit of creative animation is a bit gruesome, meant to represent the 400 kg of greenhouse gasses for each passenger in a commercial flight — the weight of an adult polar bear. (By that count, private-jet-fan Al Gore has quite the pile of polar bears on his conscience, eh?). But the video below is even better.
From Portugal comes a video portraying a chimp, a polar bear and a kangaroo who commit suicide rather than try to eke out a life on a world despoiled by humans. Call me cold, but I found it hilarious.
The worst part about this video? It presumes chimps — chimps! — are stupid enough to not only buy into the global warming scam, but take their lives over it. Maybe so. But we orangutans come from smarter stock.
It was inevitable, wasn't it?
From The Daily Mail of London:
Makers Mattel are backing the exhibition which is the work of Italian designer Eliana Lorena.
The auction is part of Barbie celebrations for her 50th anniversary this year. The UK's biggest Barbie fan Angela Ellis, 35, has a collection of more than 250 dolls.
So far, it appears this new version of the iconic American doll is for "collectors" only. But, c'mon! What girl wouldn't be excited by the prospect of spending hours with friends on a rainy day playing with these fetching numbers. Oh, the fun you can have!
Burkha Barbie has been a bad girl. She's been seen with
Ken Khaled at the goat market without a family escort. So let's bury her up to her waist in the sandbox and call in the neighborhood kids for a stoning.
What's that? Burkha Barbie wants to go to school? Grab the acid out of Rahman's
terrorist training chemistry set and throw it in her face.
Burkha Barbie has moved with her family to Arizona and wants to date an American boy? Blasphemy! Let's put
Ken Khaled in the Malibu and run her down for shaming the clan.
Of course, Kerry was too dense to notice that he torpedoed the reasoning for his own bill — and contradicted earlier rhetoric that was useful in bashing the Bush administration's environmental policies. But I'm getting ahead of myself in this story. Let's start at the beginning.
One of my Heartland Institute colleagues forwarded me an email about an enlightening exchange between Kerry and Ken Green of the American Enterprise Institute, who was a witness at a Senate Finance Committee Hearing this week. To bolster the case for his "cap and trade" energy bill, Kerry said America needs to get moving because "China has said they are going to do a specific energy intensity reduction. It’s a 20 percent target." We don't want to be slackers, do we?
But Green noted, rightly, that committing to an "emission intensity target" does not mean "that your emissions go down." It means that a country will continue to increase its carbon emissions, but at a slower rate than the old, inefficient way of burning unicorns and kittens (and sometimes coal) to produce energy. As Green said: "You can become more energy-efficient and your emissions can still grow as your economy grows." ...
Click "Read more" beneath the icons below to read more.
Joel and I tackle the Fort Hood massacre in this week's Scripps-Howard column, specifically this notion that Major Nidal Hasan's killing-spree could inspire a backlash against Muslims in the military and in society. Joel thinks there might be something to it (so does Montel Williams, although I don't think Joel is worried about concentration camps). But I think it's all hooey. We need to confront facts, not phony fears.
For certain, 43 people wouldn't have been shot by him, 13 fatally. But what if, as Jonah Goldberg wonders, we had "connected the dots"? This is not an insignificant question, because if the dots were connected, we'd have been spared this Fort Hood massacre — but we'd have set the stage to ensure that the stage would be set for the another Nidal Hasan to emerge. I hope we can learn a dearly paid-for lesson from this incident and prove my thesis wrong.
But let's set the scene. Based on reliable reporting, this is what we know Maj. Nidal Hasan had been up to for the last couple of years:
He explained that those who do not convert to Islam should be burned alive, beheaded, and have boiling oil poured down their throats. And he argued that all Muslims should be discharged from the military, honorably, of course. One of the slides in that PowerPoint presentation stated: “We love death more than you love life!”
“It was really strange,” one staff member who attended the presentation and requested anonymity because of the investigation of Hasan. “The senior doctors looked really upset” at the end. These medical presentations occurred each Wednesday afternoon, and other students had lectured on new medications and treatment of specific mental illnesses.”
Under the “Conclusions” page, Hasan wrote that “Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please God, even by force, is condoned by the Islam,” and that “Muslim Soldiers should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly — will vary!”
The final page, labeled “Recommendation,” contained only one suggestion: “Department of Defense should allow Muslims [sic] Soldiers the option of being released as ‘Conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.”
Hasan did not so much present "dots" to be connected, but pixels in a pretty clear picture that he was a dangerous enemy of the United States and should not be in the Army — let alone promoted to the rank of major, which happened after much he did much of the above. And this doesn't even include Hasan reportedly not wanting to be pictured with women, and other general misogyny — which would have been troublesome for anyone other than a Muslim in today's military.
Fear not American Muslims, or Americans in general. In the wake of the bloodiest terrorist attack on U.S. soil in a little more than eight years, the Obama administration is working hard to make sure something that has never happened in the United States — a "wave of anti-Muslim sentiment" — doesn't happen this time around. From the pie hole of our Homeland Security secretary, who, fate would have it, was visiting the UAE this week:
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- The U.S. Homeland Security secretary says she is working to prevent a possible wave of anti-Muslim sentiment after the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas.
Janet Napolitano says her agency is working with groups across the United States to try to deflect any backlash against American Muslims following Thursday's rampage by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim who reportedly expressed growing dismay over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If there was no "wave of anti-Muslim sentiment" after murderous Islamists slaughtered 3,000 people (including Muslims) on American soil after 9/11, are Americans really going to unleash a "wave" of dangerous "sentiment" when an American Muslim shouts "Allahu Ahkbar" while murdering American soldiers at Fort Hood? Here's a suggestion for our government: How about working a bit harder to keep Islamists bent on jihad out of our military? Shouldn't protecting the "homeland" from disturbed, dangerous-mosque-attenting, anti-American monsters like Nidal Malik Hasan be on the front burner right now?
As Mark Steyn put it in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, after it was known that Hasan has survived his attack:
Non-Muslims 13, Muslims 0.
Like Steyn, I expect that scoreboard to remain lopsided. As John Hinderaker wrote at Powerline: "The Arabs must think we are stark, raving mad--a proposition that, as to the administration, is hard to argue with."
Ben and Joel are joined in this episode by National Review columnist and contributing editor John Derbyshire, author most recently of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism (Crown Forum). Derbyshire is nothing if not candid and doesn't skirt controversy in this wide-ranging interview about his book.
Among the questions we discuss:
• Are we doomed?
• Can politics save us?
• Should women have the right to vote?
• Is the culture irredeemable?
• Should people conceal their biases?
• What's this business about Ice People and Sun People?
• Can religion save us?
• Should conservatives be anti-war?
• But seriously... are we absolutely, positively doomed?
Music heard in this podcast:
• "Bad Times Are Just Around the Corner" - Noël Coward
• "I'm Against It" - Groucho Marx
• "Nineteen fifty-three: Ha ha ha ha... (paper chase)" from the opera "Powder Her Face" - Almeida Ensemble/Thomas Ades
• "Prelude in C Minor, BWV 999" (J.S. Bach) - Andres Segovia
• "Symphony No. 6 in A minor: First movement" (Mahler) - San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas
• "Beautiful World" - Devo
Despite its reputation, the regime at the Pentagon facility on Cuba's southern coast offers privileges that would not be enjoyed at the federal "supermax" prison at Florence, Colorado, the likely alternative for the most dangerous al-Qaeda suspects. ...
The 221 remaining inmates receive between four and 20 hours outdoor recreation in the Caribbean sun and anything from weekly to almost unlimited access to DVDs and receive three newspapers (USA Today, plus one Egyptian and one Saudi Arabian title) twice a week. Every bed has an arrow pointing towards Mecca and every cell a prayer rug.
Adm Copeman said "generally speaking the rules are about the same" for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, and the 15 other "high value detainees", who are held at Camp 7, which is out of bounds to the media.
So ... even the "worst of the worst," KSM, has it pretty good. Free DVDs? I pay Netflix $20 a month for my movie fix. Damn. How good is it over at Club Gitmo? Read on:
CLICK ON "READ MORE" BENEATH THE ICONS BELOW TO ... ER ... READ MORE.
My musical tastes tend to be quite varied -- you might say ecumenical -- but Christian rock is not a favorite. For some reason, Kathryn Jean Lopez has been posting a great deal about Christian rock at the Corner over the past day. I found myself nodding in agreement with one of her correspondents, who wrote "I prefer my decadence pure."
In what Lopez promises will be the last word on the subject, she quotes an e-mailer who makes an excellent observation:
(T)here is a great body of Christian Rock out there by bands who don’t try to market themselves as “Christian Rock” .... Heck, even Ozzy Osbourne, once you get past the flamboyant stage act, actually has a message that is quite consistent with Judeo-Christian values -- take a serious listen (to) “Iron Man,” “The Ultimate Sin,” or “Crazy Train.”
Quite right. I'll go one better. I contend that the greatest "Christian Rock" album of the past 35 years is Black Sabbath's "Master of Reality." Apart from "Sweet Leaf," the album features some of the most explicitly religious -- and, indeed, Christian -- music you'll find from a hard rock band.
And if you don't believe me, you can go to straight to the Devil.
Because we haven't argued enough in the comments of this global warming post, why not hit the subject again? Yet another green weenie from Not So Jolly Old England, Lord Stern of Brentford, says we need to give up eating meat if we're going to save the planet.
That's right. It's not enough to give up our cars, our industries, our economies, our light bulbs, and even the freedom to have as many children that God may bless upon you. Because of all the water and grain necessary to produce meat — not to mention the methane cows emit from their arse, which is 23 times worse than carbon dioxide emissions — we need to give up the freedom to eat red meat, too.
In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”
Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.
Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.
That would be the same Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that Obama and the Democrats in Congress want the United States to adhere to as a binding treaty. Rejecting Kyoto was an insult to the "international community," and that's just not going to be repeated on Obama's watch. If we have to see enormous increases in the price of food — not to mention destroying the beef industry in the United State and worldwide — that's just too bad. Individual freedom must be sacrificed for the "common good," based on the myth that we're going to make the planet uninhabitable within our lifetimes.
There seems to no area of life that the environmental movement does not want to control, and we seem to be moving slowly but inexorably from mere encouragement to be "responsible" to outright coercion by the force of government. It's been said that "green is the new "red," and it's hard to argue with that.
I get the sinking feeling that the green movement will not be satisfied until civilization is rolled back to the "sustainable" Dark Ages, where at least everyone shared misery rather evenly.
Jennifer Anniston says: "I take a three-minute shower.” And she's so green, she even finds time to brush her teeth in that quickie shower, as well.
Either she's lying to one-up her Hollywood green-weenie friends, she's joking, or she has super-human speed going from shampoo to soap to toothbrush. Me? I spend at least 5 minutes just enjoying the hot spray of water on my skin. But since I don't travel on private jets, I can do that every day if I live to be 328 years old and have a smaller carbon footprint than the private-jetting Jen. Continuing ...
"Entourage” star Adrian Grenier has lived in an apartment insulated with old pants.
Not only is that weird in the extreme, it's lame. I insulate my house with live homeless guys standing shoulder to shoulder between my drywall and the stucco. Once they are too thin to be effective, I let them out for a couple of weeks to fatten them up ... then the pattern continues. Beat that, Adrian! I practice the ultimate in recycling!
Vegetarian and planetary crusader Tobey Maguire reportedly has banned all leather products from his house. He also “makes everyone take off their leather belts and shoes and leave them by the door!”
Got him beat, too. Inspired by one of Hollywood's greatest productions, why not make human skin into leather ... which I can then make into clothing and put on animals to raise their self esteem? Hey Toby: "Now it places the lotion in the basket. ... PUT THE F*&^ING LOTION IN THE BASKET!!!!
Leonardo DiCaprio “stays green at home, too—with his $3,200 eco-friendly toilet!”
And how much carbon did it take to make that stinky-ass toilet of yours, Leo? Oh, never mind ...
To read the whole green-weenie Hollywood story, go here.
Jonathan Turley writes in USA Today about the Obama administration's wrong-headed decision to sign on to the U.N. Human Rights Council's efforts to restrict free speech.
"The public and private curtailment on religious criticism threatens religious and secular speakers alike. However, the fear is that, when speech becomes sacrilegious, only the religious will have true free speech," Turley argues. "It is a danger that has become all the more real after the decision of the Obama administration to join in the effort to craft a new faith-based speech standard. It is now up to Congress and the public to be heard before the world leaves free speech with little more than a hope and a prayer."
So much for my get out of debt plan.
I remember taking part in a patriotic pageant in grade school as a kid around Independence Day some time in the late 70s. I was honored with exclaiming Patrick Henry's historic line: "Give me liberty, or give me death."
Such exercises are essential to instilling in our youth the spirit of the Revolution and the Founding Father's notion of liberty. It is not an exaggeration to say that moment in my youth, as well as being a Boy Scout, helped instill a sense of patriotism that has not yet left me — and never will.
It seems there is a new version of patriotism being taught in our public schools. And it centers on the Cult of Obama. If you're not creeped out by this, then there is something wrong with you. I actually got chills hearing these moppets shout in unison:
CHANGE HAS COME! CHANGE HAS COME! ...
STUDY! WATCH! LEARN! KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN! ...
EDUCATION IS THE KEY! EDUCATION IS THE SECRET! EDUCATION IS THE WAY! EDUCATION IS THE PATH! ...
YES! ... YES WE CAN!
YES! ... YES WE CAN!!!
Watch for yourself.
What the hell is going on in this country?
Ralph Peters minces no words in the New York Post today:
We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.
We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.
We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.
We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.
We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.
Over at the Corner, Father Robert Sirico, the Catholic priest who heads the libertarian Acton Institute, shares a charming reminiscence of a brief encounter with the late Senator Kennedy and ponders how the politician's public policy stances square with his religious beliefs. Apart from the lead anecdote, non-Catholics may find the piece mystifying. But Sirico offers a careful and thoughtful take on a touchy subject.
The invaluable anti-climate-alarmist site Globalwarming.org alerts us to how far Val Kilmer's star has fallen. Not even "gratuitous nudity" can save his stinker of a global warming film, The Chaos Experiment. (And, no — Thank God! — the gratuitous nudity did not involve Kilmer.)
According to William Yeatman:
I saw Val Kilmer’s new feature the other day. It’s called “The Chaos Experiment,” and it’s about a deranged scientist (Kilmer) who traps “six sexy strangers” (according to the plot synopsis on the back of the DVD) in a room and slowly turns up the heat to demonstrate the deleterious effects of global warming on the human condition. In a nutshell, the “six sexy strangers” get naked before they go crazy and start killing one another.
And you want a bad review? Here's a bad review from Yeatman:
My girlfriend thought it was awful — she was put off by the nudity. That was the only part I enjoyed, in what was otherwise a real snoozer.
Ouch. The film, apparently once titled "The Steam Experiment," was (shockingly) released in two theaters before quickly heading for the discount bin at your local video store. And, according to IMBD, the plot is even worse than Yeatman describes. Kilmer plays, essentially, a slightly better looking Ted Kaczynski:
A former professor concocts a brutal experiment in order to get the word out on the effects of global warming. By trapping six people in an urban Turkish bathhouse, he vows to overheat his hostages unless his global-warming hypothesis is published on the front page of his local paper.
Sorry, Val. No room in the paper for your screed. But no worries. Life imitates art. A UN apparatchik is out there saying we have but four months to save the planet ... then we're all DOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMED! No matter that the global warming scare is a fraud, and the useless bill the House passed this summer will cost at least 2 million jobs. I'm sure taxpayers will soon be subsidizing your glorious sequel, The Jaccuzi Experiment, in which you put six comely underwear models in a hot tub and slowly turn up the heat until ... well ... things really start heating up (wink, wink ... nudge, nudge).
Instead of going straight to Skinemax, we'll be required to watch your
propaganda blockbuster to collect our carbon ration cards. Ticket-takers, organic popcorn vendors and movie ushers leading drones patrons to their seats by candlelight will be some of the "green jobs" our government will soon create.
I'm sure Henry Waxman already has the Leave No Hollywood Hack Behind Act printed up and ready to go.
I posted this yesterday at The Heartland Institute's blog, and share it here because I suspect our regular readers would be interested. (I'd appreciate a click to the original post, as the additional hits would make me look good to my bosses).
The Heartland Institute promotes and defend free markets and individual liberty — and believes that these principles are essential to maintaining the freedom we take for granted on the Internet. But many of the pundits who specialize in technology issues, and blog about it, lean to the left. They are, in general:
Among the leaders in promoting this anti-market view is an organization called Free Press, which is not well known by the general public but familiar to tech watchers like me, the Federal Communications Commission and the Obama administration. I've been reluctant to characterize Free Press as a socialist outfit — though its criticism of my recent piece on the dangers of "net neutrality" certainly had some socialist characteristics. But as we see from this interview with Free Press founder Robert W. McChesney in The Bullet, a Marxist publication in Canada, I was being too cautious in withholding that dramatic moniker.
Though Free Press has co-opted the language of freedom — starting with its very name, its calls for a "free" and "open" Internet, its stated advocacy on behalf of "the public," etc. — it is no ally of American traditions of freedom and liberty. McChesney is an avowed socialist/Marxist. Through Free Press, he is promoting an agenda that would replace the free market system that has led to once-unimaginable advances in information technology — including freedom of communication — with a state-controlled system directed by government on behalf of "the people." In short: McChesney and Free Press see the Internet as the last, best realm to finally usher in the long-dreamed socialist utopia.
I wish I was exaggerating. This McChesney interview from August 9, 2009 with The Bullet's Tanner Mirrlees lays bare the agenda — and, more troubling, the Free Press founder's belief that the stars are finally aligned to bring about "revolution" on the Internet and elsewhere. Here starts Part 1 of several breaking down this remarkable interview. ... (click on "Read more" below the tiny icons beneath these words to continue, or CLICK HERE).
One line of thinking on Sarah Palin's departure holds that she is abandoning the governor's office to pursue the presidency or, less ambitiously, a U.S. Senate seat. If that is what Palin's camp is thinking, they're nuts. Another line suggests that she's abandoning politics to pursue a more ordinary life. Reihan Salam argues at Forbes.com that "Palin's collapse represents the end of a certain kind of politics. If the culture war really is ending, culture warriors like Palin will fade from the scene."
I'm not sure the culture war is ending; I'd say, rather, the battle space is shifting and the battle lines are altering. But in general, I think Salam is on to something.
Update: Daniel Larison offers an excellent summation of the entire Palin phenomenon, with which I concur for the most part. I like this in particular:
Palin was never as threatening to the left nor as wonderful for the right as both sides imagined. Her resignation will prove to be a good thing for her, her family and Alaska. Her tenure as governor has been so lackluster that it might be fair to say that Palin never demonstrated her worthiness for the office so much as in her departing from it.
Never has a major political candidate been so poorly served by her own supporters. To quote that Russian proverb again, “The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.” Palin was surrounded and cheered on by almost nothing but yes-men, because once anyone tried to offer any kind of criticism that person seemed to become persona non grata in her circle and in the wider conservative world pretty quickly. That is why a reasonable column offering advice and encouragement to Palin could be met by so much insane fury from so many of her supporters. It will be very difficult to explain to later generations what it was that the Palinites saw in her that made them so fervent and enthusiastic. The Palin enthusiasm of 2008 will not end up making much sense a few years from now. At least the excitement about a Jack Kemp presidential campaign after 1996 was based in a record with some accomplishments in it.
The Stoning of Soraya M. is a "Schindler's List" for a new generation — a film that starkly exposes the brutality of a regime that is almost impossible for the modern Western mind to comprehend, but is true nonetheless. It won't be seen as that, I fear, by the elites in modern American culture.
If you read my review — which is more of a commentary on the larger issues the film raises than a critique — you'll see that my fears have largely been validated. I have some real problems with Roger Ebert's morally vapid review. Anyway, more excerpts:
If The Stoning of Soraya M. has one enduring message, it is that Iran under Sharia Law is as savage, brutal and unfree as any society in modern memory. And the fact that this is happening to women (and men) in Iran, even today, should be an international shame. These atrocities have to end. And it is perhaps divine providence that this film debuts in the same month that young Iranians are taking to the streets and enduring the bullets of their oppressors to topple their barbaric regime. ...
This movie is the most profoundly feminist film I've ever seen. Iranian-born actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in The House of Sand and Fog and gave an unforgettable turn in Season 4 of 24, should be nominated again for her performance in this film. The moral center of the film — expressing the shock, fear, outrage and heartbreak of the audience — she landed and delivered the performance of a lifetime for an actress. (She has also been an activist for women in Iran and defeating the Islamofascist regime, having escaped the country during the revolution).
Kindly read the whole thing, and feel free to leave comments both at The American Culture and here at Infinite Monkeys. Reading what Monkey friend Christian Toto has to say about this film is also highly recommended.
John Hinderaker at Powerline alerts us to a quote by long-time MSM potentate and "Newsweek" pooh-bah Evan Thomas' comments on Obama-crazy MSNBC's "Hardball" about Obama's latest trip into the breezy fields of the international community.
THOMAS: ... Obama is 'we are above that now.' We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial. We stand for something - I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above - above the world, he's sort of God. He's-
THOMAS: He's going to bring all different sides together.
Good Lord! Or, should that be Good Obama! ... blessings be upon him. Standing "above ... (gulp ... gasp ... wipe forehead to fend off the vapors ... ) above the world!" saying ... well ... America sucks. Some "god." And I love that "yeah" from Chris Matthews. I'm surprised he could utter an intelligible word with his lips around Obama's ...
Sorry about that. Evil, sinful thoughts! Must pray and repent to The One for forgiveness. Now, where did I leave my Obama iconography ... Oh yeah ... here it is ...
This is all getting just a little out of hand on the left/MSM. As much as I admired Reagan, and still do, Reaganites didn't worship him and consider him "sort of God." Maybe it's because many on the left largely reject God and organized religion? Gotta latch on to something, eh? Organize something else to fill the void? This obsessive adulation of Obama is starting to defy any other rational explanation.
Yes. Newsweek has shed its decades-long objective pretenses and "rebooted" itself as a partisan, liberal magazine. It is no longer a serious magazine. But I defy anyone to find a quote in National Review as sycophantic, and just ... well, creepy as Evan Thomas' comment. This is beyond Beatlemania wailing and panty peeing. It's something else — something that should be a international embarrassment to an American press corps that likes to think of itself as the best — or at least the most important — in the world.
Can't wait for that issue of NR to hit my mailbox.
(HT to the original source: Newsbusters, where you can see Evan Thomas utter that nonsense for yourself. I can't bear to embed the video.)
Ronald Reagan died five years ago today. Most conservatives will remember where they were when they heard. Monkey Ben shared with me on Twitter a little while ago that he got a call at his son's second birthday party. I don't remember where I was when I heard the news, I must admit. But I do remember being on a dinner date with friends in Alexandria, Va., when Reagan's casket made it to his final resting place on June 11. I remember looking at the TV in a bar, the sun approaching the horizon of Pacific Ocean as the last of his eulogizers paid their respects.
Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause - what Arnold Bennett once called 'the great cause of cheering us all up'. His politics had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation - and ultimately from the very heart of the evil empire.
Yet his humour often had a purpose beyond humour. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria, one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.
And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery 'Whatever time I've got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs'.
And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.
Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.
Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.
Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War - not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.
I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on his words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit: 'Let me tell you why it is we distrust you.' Those words are candid and tough and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust.
We live today in the world that Ronald Reagan began to reshape with those words. It is a very different world with different challenges and new dangers. All in all, however, it is one of greater freedom and prosperity, one more hopeful than the world he inherited on becoming president.
The freedom and prosperity (yes, even in a global recession, Americans live better than most people even of the Western World) are the birthright of every American. And as Reagan well knew, that inheritance must be constantly cultivated, lest it wither and die.
As Reagan said in the great "Time for Choosing" speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater on Oct. 27, 1964:
(Click "read more" at the end of the string of words just below the little icons)
I'm sure we monkeys will have lots to say about Obama's "historic" speech to "the Muslim World" in the coming days. I hope to. The speech (full text) was typical Obama, meaning it was the empty "hope and change" message slightly tweaked for a different audience. Build up straw men, knock 'em down, and pat yourself on the back for being such a reasonable, smart, sage man. Yawn.
I was most annoyed, however, at Obama's shameful passage about women in the Islamic world.
The sixth issue — the sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.
I know, and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal. But I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.
Who the hell in "the West" thinks a woman who covers her head in observance of her faith is "somehow less equal?" Seriously. This is just moronic, and probably the worst straw man Obama has ever propped up. But it's easier, I suppose, to blame "the West" for phantom offenses than to upbraid Islamist countries that routinely subjugate women, force them to wear not a mere scarf but a head-to-toe burka, and stone them to death for (often trumped up) charges of adultery.
No. Let's simply create a wholly new myth about how "the West" discriminates against Islamic women. Like there aren't enough destructive myths floating about the "Muslim Street."
And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now let me be clear, issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we've seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead.
Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life and in countries around the world. I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons.
Awesome. Obama doubles down on his lie about "the West" with his utterly irresistible urge to point the finger of shame at his own country. To equate — and that's what he's doing, make no mistake — the idea that women are not fully equal in America (a bald lie) with even the gentle and merely implied criticism that women have a bit of trouble getting a proper education in many Muslim countries is a malicious slander.
Nice going, "Mr. Nuance." No wonder his audience clapped so heartily. Obama stood before them and all-but excused the lack of freedom and physical danger independent-minded women experience in large swaths of the Islamic world. After all, Islamic countries have elected a handful of female politicians! Yea! Give yourselves a hand. And when I get back to the States, I'll work to correct the horrible inequities women still experience in the United States. Once we set that great example, because we haven't really done it yet, take your time catching up.
But since America's lefty feminist groups could give a flying fig for oppressed women in the Islamic world, why should Obama care very much? Oh, yeah. He's president. The leader of the free world. The holder of the torch of liberty.
I was too busy today to post this awesome video earlier (Mrs. Zaius stumbled upon it early this morning), but since Earth Day is still here, it's not to late!
The great Lewis Black crystallizes in a hilarious four-minute, 30-second comedy routine the absurd propaganda surrounding this faux holiday and the environ-indoctrination of our children. (Via the free-market, anti-globalwarmism heroes at OpenMarket.org)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Back in Black - Kids' Earth Day|
Or you could succumb to a massive dose of deadly gamma radiation from a dead star. Writes Luke McKinney at the Daily Galaxy:
The EM-burst travels the speed of light so the only warning we'd have is dying - which most people will accept is a little too late. The dinosaurs certainly did (some scientists believe historical mass extinctions were caused by similar intergalactic "life reset button" gamma bursts). Even better, this Earthicidal explosion may have already happened with the lethal radiation already speeding its way right at us. On the other hand, the big boom might not happen for hundreds of thousands of years -- and might do so without a peep of gamma radiation.
(Hat tip: Ace of Spades)