September 30, 2009

The sleuth is on the trail...

"Bishop Hill" has done it again. He's posted another tale, understandable by laymen, of a scientific detective at work. It's similar to his classic Caspar and the Jesus paper. Nowadays, alas, the job of a scientific truth-seeker is often to uncover the deceits of scientists themselves...

(It's probably hard for most people to even understand how shocking this stuff is. Scientific fraud used to be almost nonexistent. Scientists were really truth-seekers, once upon a time. To see the words "smoking gun" used routinely of scientists is truly calamitous.)

The Yamal Implosion:

...Having had his requests rejected by every other journal he had approached, McIntyre had no great expectations that the Royal Society would be any different, but there was no harm in trying and he duly sent off an email pointing out that Briffa had failed to meet the Society's requirement of archiving his data prior to submission and that the editors had failed to check that Briffa had done so. The reply, to McIntyre's surprise, was very encouraging:
We take matters like this very seriously and I am sorry that this was not picked up in the publishing process.
Was the Royal Society, in a striking contrast to every other journal in the field, about to enforce its own data availability policy? Had Briffa made a fatal mistake?

Summer gave way to autumn and as October drew to a close, McIntyre had still heard nothing from the Royal Society. However, in response to some further enquiries, the journal sent McIntyre some more encouraging news -- Briffa would be producing most of his data, although not immediately. Most of it would be available by the end of the year, with the remainder to follow in early 2009.

The first batch of data appeared on schedule in the dying days of 2008 and it was something of a disappointment. The Yamal data, as might have been expected, was to be archived with the second batch, so there would be a further delay before the real action could start. Meanwhile, however, McIntyre could begin to look at what Briffa had done elsewhere. It was not to be plain sailing. For a start, Briffa had archived data in an obsolete data format, last used in the era of punch-cards. This was inconvenient, and apparently deliberately so, but it was not an insurmountable problem -- with a little work, McIntyre was able to move ahead with his analysis. Briffa had also thrown a rather larger spanner in the works though: while he had archived the tree ring measurements, he had not supplied any metadata to go with it -- in other words there was no information about where the measurements had come from. All there was was a tree number and the measurements that went with it. However, McIntyre was well used to this kind of behaviour from climatologists and he had some techniques at hand for filling in some of the gaps. Climate Audit postings on the findings followed in fairly short order, some of which were quite intriguing. There was, however, no smoking gun....

* Update: Charlene says, "I guess we now know where the "anthropogenic" in "Anthropogenic Global Warming" comes from!"

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

September 29, 2009

A lie gets halfway around the world before ....

Apparently the lie that Sarah Palin banned books when she was Mayor of Wasilla is still being circulated, this time at a school library "Banned Books Week" display. You can read about it (and get the truth) here.

The whole censorship/banned books theme is just a bunch of crap. When I owned a bookstore back in the 90's, there would be a big annual brouhaha from the ABA about how we should all be aware of this shocking situation, and put up displays of "banned books."

It's bullshit; no country on earth is more open in making books available than this one. There is no book on those "banned books" lists that any American can't get easily. No one is deprived of information because we're too Fahrenheit 451'ish.

It's just anti-Americanism. Lefty excuse #992 to despise our country. (While continuing to suck in all the good things she provides, like spoiled children sneering at the parents who support them. And NEVER moving to one of those worker's paradises they extoll.)

Meanwhile, in communist countries you can be sent to a prison camp for circulating books. Do any "liberals" care? No. "Progressives?" No. Do librarians put up displays about the librarians in Cuba who were jailed? Jerks. Frauds.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 PM

Ignore that elephant...

The latest Orwellian* garbage from the usual suspects seems to be that we "already have" health-care rationing, so why not put it in the wise hands of government?

In Rationing Health Care, More Not Always Better, Experts Say -

...A dirty word in health-care reform is "rationing," a term that conjures up the image of faceless government bureaucrats denying lifesaving therapies in the name of cutting costs.

But what if the real issue is not the specter of future rationing, but the haphazard, even illogical, way in which care is delivered today?

Medical professionals say the fundamental problem in the nation's health-care system is the widespread misuse and overuse of tests, treatments and drugs that drive up prices, have little value to patients, and can pose serious risks. The question, they say, is not whether there will be rationing, but rather what will be rationed, and when and how....

"Haphazard and illogical" are code words for "not controlled by government experts." Of course there's not one of us who has not experienced "haphazard and illogical" treatment by bureaucrats, eh? BUT, this time socialism is going to work! Experts will be in control. What could go wrong?

The big stupidity of the article is to completely ignore the reason WHY the current system is wasteful. It mentions people asking for CT scans because they have a headache. But it doesn't mention that those people aren't paying for their scan! Their "plan" is paying. If they had to pay out of their own pockets for routine care, their behavior would be different. A possible answer to these problems is consumer-driven health care. But that isn't even mentioned.

And of course tort reform isn't considered as a possible way to reduce costs. The trial lawyers bankroll the Dem Party, so that's off the table....

*It's Orwellian, because the intent is to destroy the meaning of the word, in order to prevent thought. In this case it's like saying the we have "rationing" of caviar, since some can't afford it, and some live where they don't even sell the stuff! If that's rationing, then the word has become meaningless.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:36 AM

Who they really fear...

Mark Steyn :

....But, if we're talking about letting the left "set the rules", Mr Marcus' column reminded me of a larger point: Don't take your opponents at face value; listen to what they're really saying. What does the frenzy unleashed on Sarah Palin last fall tell us? What does Newsweek's "Mad Man" cover on Glenn Beck mean? Why have "civility" drones like Joe Klein so eagerly adopted Anderson Cooper's scrotal "teabagging" slur and characterized as "racists" and "terrorists" what are (certainly by comparison with the anti-G20 crowd) the best behaved and tidiest street agitators in modern history?

They're telling you who they really fear. Whom the media gods would destroy they first make into "mad men". Liz Cheney should be due for the treatment any day now.

Sad to say, many who should know better go along with it. Our old comrade David Frum wrote a piece called "Whose Side Is Glenn Beck On?" Well, in the space of a week Beck claimed the scalps of Van Jones, Acorn and that Yosi Sergant guy at the NEA, none of whom should ever have been anywhere near the corridors of power but who'd still be there if it weren't for Beck. So whoever's side he is on, it seems pretty clear he's not on the Obama Administration's. Hence, Media Matters' sudden obsession with such pressing concerns as Glenn's mom's three decade-old suicide.

The media would like the American right to be represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. Last time round, we went along with their recommendation. If you want to get rave reviews for losing gracefully, that's the way to go. If you want to win, look at whom the Democrats and their media chums are so frantic to destroy: That's the better guide to what they're really worried about.

I'll bet he's right about Liz Cheney being next to get slammed. But this NYT piece on her is quite good. Here's an old shot of the amazing Cheney family. That's Liz on the right.

Vice president Cheney and his wife and daughters
Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 AM

September 28, 2009

Speaks for itself...

ThreatsWatch.Org: Commentary: General Silence:

...David Martin, CBS: How often have you talked to the President?

Gen. McChrystal: I've talked to the president since I've been here once on a VTC [Video Tele-Conference via secure satellite communications].

David Martin, CBS: ...You've talked to him once in 70 days.

Gen. McChrystal: That's correct.

David Martin, CBS: Do you expect to be talking to him more than that? It seemed the theater commander spoke with President bush on a weekly basis.

Gen. McChrystal: Well I don't think I lack for guidance or an understanding of his intent, but it would certainly be up to him on the frequency. ...

McChrystal is an honorable officer who won't criticize the Commander in Chief if he can possibly avoid it. But we can fill in the dots. And we can remember those foul lying leftists, including Obama, who excoriated Bush for supposedly neglecting the "central front" in the WoT. Just 'till they got power, of course. Now their true natures are coming out, in horrid betrayals of our troops and those countries who made the mistake of trusting us...

Rush Limbaugh: Better He Should Fail

Posted by John Weidner at 12:52 PM

September 27, 2009

Catholic Mass in 155AD

(Just in case you have heard Protestant codswallop about the Mass being invented in the Middle Ages.)

Justin Martyr:

Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 PM

Best Death Panel tip this week...

Progressives! This is hot! Naturally you would prefer to just decide who lives and who dies, but this is the next best thing...

EDITORIAL: Death panels by proxy - Washington Times:

Yes, there are death panels. Its members won't even know whose deaths they are causing. But under the health care bill sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, death panels will indeed exist - oh so cleverly disguised as accountants.

The offending provision is on Pages 80-81 of the unamended Baucus bill, hidden amid a lot of similar legislative mumbo-jumbo about Medicare payments to doctors. The key sentence: "Beginning in 2015, payment would be reduced by five percent if an aggregation of the physician's resource use is at or above the 90th percentile of national utilization." Translated into plain English, it means that in any year in which a particular doctor's average per-patient Medicare costs are in the top 10 percent in the nation, the feds will cut the doctor's payments by 5 percent.

Forget results. This provision makes no account for the results of care, its quality or even its efficiency. It just says that if a doctor authorizes expensive care, no matter how successfully, the government will punish him by scrimping on what already is a low reimbursement rate for treating Medicare patients. The incentive, therefore, is for the doctor always to provide less care for his patients for fear of having his payments docked. And because no doctor will know who falls in the top 10 percent until year's end, or what total average costs will break the 10 percent threshold, the pressure will be intense to withhold care, and withhold care again, and then withhold it some more. Or at least to prescribe cheaper care, no matter how much less effective, in order to avoid the penalties....

The neat thing about this is that the top 10% get slammed, and then they will cut back on care. But that means there will be a new top 10% the next year, to be punished for the crime of caring too much for people who aren't worth saving. It will be an endless ratchet!

AND, when granny dies for lack of this-or-that, you blame the greedy doctors!

Posted by John Weidner at 2:58 PM

September 25, 2009

I have a busy weekend coming up...

So I may not do any blogging...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:59 AM

"de facto leader of the free world"

Dr Zero , on Sarah's speech in Hong Kong:

...These remarks were made in Hong Kong, not the United Nations building. The speaker was not the current President of the United States, who is sadly irrelevant to the cause of freedom. It was Sarah Palin - who is, for the moment, the de facto leader of the free world.

It's very unusual to see the position occupied by a private citizen, with no official power to back up her words. I doubt Mrs. Palin likes the situation any more than I do. It's a position with absolutely no tenure, outside of high office - a new standard bearer could speak with greater clarity and passion tomorrow. Someone with power must soon fill the role... but for now, a voice pouring the right words into hungry ears will have to suffice. The free world holds ideals above power anyway. It cannot be led through force. It uses power to defend its ideals, not to impose them....

Well, if not her, then who? Hmmm? (You can read her remarks here, by the way. Good stuff. Given with notes, not teleprompter)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:16 AM

September 24, 2009

Subsidiarity. Something all conservatives should be for...

From a column by Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis...

....Reading the commentaries of my brother bishops, I realized that I did not mention another essential Catholic principle that should have been included in my last column: subsidiarity, which posits that health care ought to be determined, administered and coordinated at the lowest level of society whenever possible.

In other words, those intermediary communities and associations that exist between the federal government and the individual must be strengthened and given greater control over policies and practices rather than being given less and less control. [have this sentence tattooed on your arm.]

To usurp this "hierarchy of communities" is terribly damaging in the long run, both to society as a whole and the individual citizen (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1883, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 185 ff).

Papal insights

Two quotes from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI are instructive in this regard:

Pope John Paul II has written:
"By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending" (Pope John Paul II, "Centesimus Annus," No. 48).
Pope Benedict writes:
"The State which would provide everything, [That sounds familiar somehow] absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person — every person — needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need . . . . In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) — a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human" (Pope Benedict XVI, "Deus Caritas Est," No. 28).
To neglect the principle of subsidiarity inevitably leads to the excessive centralization of human services, which leads to higher costs, less personal responsibility for the individual and a lower quality of care...

Leftism always tends toward increasing the power of the state, and decreasing that of individuals, families, communities churches, and organizations of mutual benefit. In this, and in many other things, Leftism is profoundly anti-Christian. (Also anti-American) It is materialism, it is living by bread alone.

A Christian (or conservative) health care plan would put power into the hands of individuals and families. How to do that? Easy. Put the money in their hands, and let them choose how to best spend it. Then health care organizations and providers would bend their efforts to serving the people, the same way businesses work tirelessly to satisfy and keep customers. (Here are examples. Link. Link]

But that's what you will never see in a Leftist health-care proposal. Instead you get thousands of pages of rules and laws and fines and criminal penalties. And that's just the laws themselves. Those are always supplemented by the regulations. They will end up being tens-of-thousands of pages of the CFR. Just as with the tax laws and regs, no one will know them all, so everyone will be a criminal in having violated some regulation they've never heard of. Which is precisely the point.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 PM

Beyond worst of the worst...

Microsoft is—I kid you not—suggesting "Tupperware parties" to promote windows 7.

AND, urfff, they've created a pukey chirpy video to show you how!

AND, Cabel Sasser has made a wicked improved version. It's very funny, but ugh! How did I come to be living in such a train wreck of a world? So far from God, so close to Redmond. It's all too painful. If I ever use Windows please just shoot me.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 AM

September 23, 2009

Obama explained... National Review Online

This is from a great piece by Victor Davis Hanson, Barack Obama, College Administrator. He shows how Obama's weirdness makes perfect sense, if you understand that he's known little except academic life, and is acting like the president of a college...

...Some wonder where Obama got the idea that constant exposure results in persuasion. But that too comes from the talk-is-everything mindset of a university president. Faculties are swamped with memos from deans, provosts, and presidents, reiterating their own "commitment to diversity," reminding how they would not "tolerate hate speech," and in general blathering about the "campus community." University administrators instruct faculty on everything from getting a flu shot, to covering up when coughing, to how to make a syllabus and avoid incorrect words....

....Czars are a university favorite. Among the frequent topics of the daily university executive communiqués are the formulaic "My team now includes . . . ," "I have just appointed . . . ," "Under my direction . . . " (that first-person overload is, of course, another Obama characteristic), followed by announcement of a new "special" appointment: "special assistant to the president for diversity," "acting assistant provost for community affairs and external relations," "associate dean for curriculum enhancement and development."

Most of these tasks are either unnecessary or amply covered by existing faculty, department chairs, and deans. Czars, however, proliferated on campuses for fairly obvious reasons. First, they are spotlights illuminating the university administration's commitment to a particular fashionable cause by the showy creation of a high-profile, highly remunerative new job. When loud protests meet the university's inability to create a new department or fund a trendy but costly special program, administrators often take their loudest critics and make them czars — satisfying the "base" without substantial policy changes.

Second, czars are a way to circumvent the usual workings of the university, especially faculty committees in which there is an outside chance of some marginalized conservative voting against putting "Race, Class, and Gender in the Latina Cinema" into the general-education curriculum....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:00 PM

At least this guy's honest about his party's dishonesty...

Matthew Hoy:

...Which brings us to this revealing admission from a lefty blogger I've never heard of but who will stand in for much of the left because what he said is obviously true. (via Ace)
Escalation is a bad idea. The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides [when] they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat the time, including me. But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

There have been many campaign promises "adjusted" since the election. There is no reason that the administration should feel any more bound to what they said about this than all the other committments [sic] it has blithely turned aside in the interest of "pragmatism." [emphasis added]
While American men and women have been fighting and dying half a world away, Democrats were only supporting them because it was politically convenient....

What personally annoys me is remembering the Leftie bloggers who attacked people like me, with unctuous self-righteousness, for supporting President Bush while he was supposedly "neglecting the real enemy in Afghanistan." Now they have the chance to do what they wanted. Are any of them urging Obama to get going, and find Bin Laden? Ha!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:11 AM

September 22, 2009

Satire no longer possible...

Obama's message to Abbas, Bibi: 'I'm losing patience':

President Obama's central message to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York today was simple, a U.S. official said: He's running out of patience.

"The President of the United States is impatient," said the senior U.S. official. "That's what he told them."

"There's a limited window of opportunity here, and he's determined, but he's also impatient and we need to get going," the official said....

Posted by John Weidner at 10:28 PM

September 21, 2009

One of life's mischievous pleasures...

...Is following Anthony Watt's blog, and seeing the Arctic Sea Ice Extent creep slowly up. Here's the the latest. (Or you can go direct to the source.)

Just follow the red line. And think of all the Lefty hopes of gaining power that are invested in dying Polar Bears. (Which are of course increasing also, but you are not supposed to know that.) Ha ha! all those lovable pacifists and anti-imperialists, drooling over gaining global power and forcing the little people to obey them and worship them. And yet......... and yet......... the ice isn't shrinking......

Perhaps Global Cooling will afford them some opportunities to be the big bosses.....

Though I have to admit this is very funny...

Melting Ice Caps Expose Hundreds Of Secret Arctic Lairs | The Onion:

..."This is no longer conjecture," Lorenzen added. "This is a full-blown crisis."

According to oceanographers, the Arctic Circle has been devastated by the effects of global warming in recent years, threatening hundreds of men and women who use the frozen tundra as a place to conduct bizarre experiments in human-animal grafting, carry out massive government cover-ups, or simply as a hidden headquarters from which to battle the forces of evil and fight crime.

"Last week a giant ice sheet broke off and split my prized underground complex nearly in half," said Dr. Raygun, a self-described psychotic mastermind best known for his diabolical thought-control experiments. "Now millions of dollars in state-of-the-art doomsday devices are gone—all because of the environmental carnage wrought by the human race."

"You spend your whole career concocting a brilliant scheme to wipe out all of mankind, and what happens?" Dr. Raygun continued. "They bring about a major global catastrophe completely on their own, those fools!"

Evil Scientist Dr. Raygun has begun the expensive task of moving his entire mutant staff to their Titan moon base.

Scientists predict the problem will only get worse as rising temperatures release methane trapped in Arctic permafrost, perpetuating the warming cycle and threatening the habitats of those who depend on the ice caps for safety from the prying, meddling public.

Earlier this week a flying saucer surfaced and is reportedly still pulsating with increasingly intense, unearthly colors. And late last month, a mystical order of Nazi occultists emerged from an underground bunker where they had spent decades communing with the Hyperborean gods and attempting to breed a new Aryan super-species destined to destroy Homo sapiens and rule the earth for untold millennia.

The 12 elderly Germans were detained by local law enforcement in Wainwright, AK....
(Thanks to Dave T.)
Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 PM

September 20, 2009

"Inextricably intertwined"

Why Should America Support Israel? -- Spengler:

...But there is a far more fundamental reason for America to support Israel. Israel is part of America's DNA. As Michael Novak showed so effectively in his book On Two Wings, America's founding drew on the uniquely Hebrew concept of holiness of the individual and divine love for the weak and powerless, as much as it did on the natural law tradition of Grotius and Locke. The destiny of the United States of America and the people of Israel are inextricably intertwined for that reason, and America's affinity for Israel and deep interest in the welfare of the Jewish people are bred in American marrow.

From this point of view, what is sacred about America is a reflection of the holiness of Israel. If America succeeds in banishing the sacred from public life — and that is the broader agenda of the liberal Democrats [precisely so.] — there will be little reason for America to have a special relationship with Israel except for military convenience. And if this banishment of the sacred from public life were to coincide with a demoralized retreat from the exercise of power in Western and Central Asia, there would be little reason at all for a special relationship.

America's Jewish leadership has failed on all counts.

The liberal left with its smarmy universalism has demanded that Israel make any concession required to appease the paranoia of the Arab world. But this is a paranoia that cannot be appeased, for the patient really is dying. [See Spengler here.]

The secular right argued that because Israel is the region's only democracy, it deserves a special relationship, and argued further that imposing democratic governments on other countries would lead to cheer and goodwill everywhere. But Americans never cared enough about whether other countries were democratic to make it the criteria for a special relationship (how about Iceland?), and project of imposing democracy on the Arab world came to a horrible end. [I disagree on both points. And if Iceland were beleaguered we would discover that the Icelanders are our cousins, and their democracy emerged from the same Dark Ages germanic WALD as did the "Rights of Englishmen," for which we fought our revolution.]

The religious leadership should have had the most to say about Israel's holiness and the American character. Not only did it fail to make this argument, but it stuck its fingers in its ears and turned its back when Christians made this argument—Michael Novak, for example. Rather than make common cause with the Christians who sought Jews out in friendship in the clear belief that the welfare of the Jewish people was of existential importance for the United States, the religious community for the most part dwelt on past injuries. That, perhaps, is the most disappointing of all.

Obama's betrayal of Israel forces a reconsideration of Jewish policy in general. It exposes the left the rage of the majority of the Jewish organizations (weighted by donors), although younger secular Jews will continue to pursue their pipe-dreams....

Israel is us. America and Israel are the only countries that are, in their essence, ideas. Not "nations," not a volk, not a language, not a history...but an idea. Therefore they are the only two countries one can easily join, just by accepting the idea. (Technically an Israeli Jew needs to be born Jewish, but in practice one can convert. But even without that, Jews from long-isolated regions, who have almost entirely forgotten Jewishness, can still be Israelis.)

And Israel and the US were both founded by escapees from domination by European elites. (That's one of the reasons Leftists are so anti-) They are countries of the self-made, of pioneers who started with nothing, fought savages and reclaimed the land. The first Israelis had much more in common with Sarah Palin than Barack Obama.

And both are The Chosen People. The Jews of course. And Americans symbolically, in virtue of America being a Christian refuge and project, for Christians are God's New Israel. And because we see ourselves as a"City on a Hill." A light unto the nations. That's the biggest reason why our Leftists and fake-pacifists hate both America and Jews, and cling lovingly to any supposed sin by either, and repeat them gloatingly for generations. They hate God.

Or rather, they hate the demand to serve God. Not themselves. (It's not really a demand's just the obvious thing one should do given the situation. If the guy who created a universe of at least 100 billion galaxies cares about—loves—little me....there is no other reasonable response.) The self-worshipper feels imposed-upon by Jews and Christians and American and Israeli patriots, even if he or she doesn't have any contact with them at all. It's really their conscience speaking, through Jews and Americans as symbols.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 PM

September 19, 2009


Carl E. Olson has a funny piece, an "interview" with GK Chesterton on the subject of Dan Brown's fiction. GKC's answers are actual quotes from his writings. I liked this bit especially, having been tormented too often by slippery Lefty types who won't declare themselves in a frank and manly way...

G. K. Chesterton on Dan Brown: The Interview:

Chesterton: There has arisen in our time an extraordinary notion that there is something humane, open-hearted or generous about refusing to define one's creed. Obviously the very opposite is the truth. Refusing to define a creed is not only not generous, it is distinctly mean. It fails in frankness and fraternity towards the enemy. It is fighting without a flag or a declaration of war. It denies to the enemy the decent concessions of battle; the right to know the policy and to treat with the headquarters. Modern "broad-mindedness" has a quality that can only be called sneakish; it endeavours to win without giving itself away, even after it has won. It desires to be victorious without betraying even the name of the victor. For all sane men have intellectual doctrines and fighting theories; and if they will not put them on the table, it can only be because they wish to have the advantage of a fighting theory which cannot be fought...

(Quote from "Rabelasian Regrets," in The Common Man.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:05 PM

Because, you know, he's this amazing "communicator"

Hilarious. Right after the trumpeted speech to a Joint Session of Congress! His own party is scratching their heads and wondering what he means...

Dems find what Obama wants on healthcare still anything but clear -

Democrats hope President Barack Obama will use his multiple Sunday show appearances to clarify his demands for healthcare reform....

Didn't Obama keep talking about "my plan" in the big speech? I think some Republicans leaders ought to file a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of Obama's plan! I mean, there has to be one. We've been told in no uncertain terms that calling the President a liar is "racism." So his claim to have a plan can't be a lie, therefore he actually has a plan...

So let's see it!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:06 PM

September 18, 2009


I'm not, as who should say, a huge fan of J McCain. But I gotta give him kudos for this! Blunt! I love it. Thank you, Senator.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 PM

My response to the notion that opposition to Obama is "racism"...

Obama poster

Posted by John Weidner at 4:54 PM

September 17, 2009


I recently got into an online argument with a leftisty over a particularly slimy item which equated the 9/11 attack with the takeover of Chile by Gen. Pinochet. A twofer of anti-Americanism! Arguing was a waste of electrons on my part, but I'll reprise some thoughts here, just for personal satisfaction.

I pointed out that the end result is that Chile is now a strong democracy, with the highest GDP per capita in the region, low unemployment, etc. In fact, probably the best place for people in Latin America. And the possible alternative that was avoided in overthrowing Allende is the hell-hole that is Cuba, where cell phones are status-symbols of the rich, and writers are thrown into labor camps. Where prostitution and sex-tourism are the only growth industries

Of course Mr D (I'll call him D for Denigrator) doesn't care a whit for brown-skinned people in far parts of the globe. They aren't real. (Unless they are harmed by the US or Israel. Then suddenly human suffering matters.) And of course the torture and suffering inflicted by the Castro regime is especially invisible.

Mr D accused me of worshipping force and empire, etc. And violating Catholic moral law, which does not permit doing evil so good will come. Which is true, and that is something I care about. But moral reasoning always exists in a context. It's not a simple set of norms that can be applied automatically.

So for my own satisfaction I'll place the situation in what I think is its real context, and any experts out there may feel free to correct me.

Imagine that I have a friend whose life is falling apart. Joe has lost his job, and is sliding into indigence, or crime, or addiction—something ghastly. So I steal some money and use it to help Joe pull himself together and get a job. And the end result is that his children are fed, and he becomes a solid citizen.

And then suppose that Mr D spends the next forty years, with smug self-satisfaction, accusing me of being a thief. And preening himself on his moral superiority. And never once expressing the slightest pleasure that Joe has escaped poverty. Suppose he is obviously ice-heartedly indifferent to the actual suffering human beings in the case.

AND, imagine that I continue on helping many other people escape the traps of poverty. AND, I find a better way [LINK!] to do so without needing to steal anything. And yet Mr D shows not the slightest interest in this, even when It's been pointed it out to him in the past.

Who's the Christian here? And who's the whited sepulcher?

Jesus told a story about a guy who helped a man who had been beaten and robbed. And the sharp point of the story of that good Samaritan was that Samaritans were despised heretics to the Jews! They were hated sinners, loathed worse than pagans. And, for the Jewish priest to pass by the injured man was probably a moral thing to do by Jewish standards. Pious Jews, especially priests, had to avoid all kinds of contaminations, like touching corpses, or touching non-Jews. But Jesus cuts through the crap with a brutal logic that it is hard for us to even appreciate now, and sides with the mucky yucky guy who jumps in to help those in need. If Jesus came back now he might tell the story of the Good Atheist, or the Good Mormon, who helps someone when supposed Christians pass on the other side of the road.

And think a moment about a person who spends decades repeatedly pointing out a particular sin someone committed. As if that ere the only thing that happened. Cherishing his moment of moral superiority. What does it tell you about the state of his soul? What does it mean? I think it was Augustine who defined the root of sin as being incurvatus est. That is, curved in on yourself. I think of that phrase when I see Leftizoids cherishing and caressing their little moral-superiority gotchas that in fact occurred when I was a boy! They keep them like oysters making a pearl. And their little ice-chip hearts curve in and in and inwards.

Life isn't like a series of neat binary moral choices. It's a struggle on a darkling plain. You can either jump into the maelstrom, and make mistakes, and try to do better. Or you can sit on the sidelines and sneer.

I think a lot of Lefties are like updated versions of the Cheshire Cat. They seem to be slowly fading into nothingness, until all that's left is the sneer.

Virtue is not, like riches, power or glory, a privileged or exceptional thing; it is the reign of order in every soul that wills it, the spontaneous fruit of love, which is the common fund of our nature, and the most lowly hut is an asylum as open to it as the palace of kings. A thought followed by a resolve, a resolve followed by an act: such is virtue. It is produced when we desire it, it increases as quickly as our desires, and if it costs much to him who has lost it, he has always in himself the ransom which will bring it back again...
-- Lacordaire
Posted by John Weidner at 10:26 AM

September 16, 2009

So well put...

Will Collier on Carter's latest vileness:

For everybody old enough to remember what life was like under Jimmy's stupefying mixture of sophomoric self-righteousness, boundless naivete and gobsmacking incompetence, shoving Mr. Peanut back under the spotlight in his bitter dotage does nothing to help Obama, who's been looking like Carter II since a few hours after his inauguration.

And for those too young to remember history's greatest monster (thanks, Glenn), Jimmah's empty slander is just another sign of the unbecoming moral vanity at the heart of the modern Left, to say nothing of its overweening intolerance for any hint of dissent. People know good and well that being opposed to socialized medicine or trillion-dollar deficits doesn't make them racist. Calling them ugly names isn't going to make them cower away in fear--it's going to make them more convinced than ever that they're in the right.

And John Galt:

I realized that McCain didn't really want to be president when he allowed Obama to call him "Bush's 3rd term" without referring to Obama as "Carter's 2nd Term." That's something Lloyd Bentsen, Ann Richards, and Ronald Reagan all would have said
Posted by John Weidner at 4:08 PM

If your "god" orders you to kill a million people...

What happens?

I recommend this piece by Gregg Easterbrook in WSJ, The Man Who Defused the 'Population Bomb', about Norman Borlaug, whose lifetime of work increasing agricultural yields in Third World countries has saved perhaps a billion lives!

But I have my own special field of blogging interest, which is the change that is coming over the Western world as the "faiths" that substituted for fading Christianity have themselves started to fade. To drain away, leaving only the worship of the most terrifying god of all- — the self. "But wait," you say, "I'm not like that! My 'self' is a pretty good guy." Well, it probably is, but only because you've imbibed habits of morality derived from religious faith. And habits drain away over generations, when their source is forgotten. We see it all around us.

You are not intrinsically one of the good guys. None of us is. And if you think I'm just kooky, ponder the following....

...After his triumph in India and Pakistan and his Nobel Peace Prize, Borlaug turned to raising crop yields in other poor nations especially in Africa, the one place in the world where population is rising faster than farm production and the last outpost of subsistence agriculture. At that point, Borlaug became the target of critics who denounced him because Green Revolution farming requires some pesticide and lots of fertilizer. Trendy environmentalism was catching on, and affluent environmentalists began to say it was "inappropriate" for Africans to have tractors or use modern farming techniques. Borlaug told me a decade ago that most Western environmentalists "have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists in wealthy nations were trying to deny them these things."

Environmentalist criticism of Borlaug and his work was puzzling on two fronts. First, absent high-yield agriculture, the world would by now be deforested. The 1950 global grain output of 692 million tons and the 2006 output of 2.3 billion tons came from about the same number of acres three times as much food using little additional land.

"Without high-yield agriculture," Borlaug said, "increases in food output would have been realized through drastic expansion of acres under cultivation, losses of pristine land a hundred times greater than all losses to urban and suburban expansion." Environmentalist criticism was doubly puzzling because in almost every developing nation where high-yield agriculture has been introduced, population growth has slowed as education becomes more important to family success than muscle power....

The "environmentalists" mentioned are certainly all "Liberals." They consider themselves better people than "greedy capitalists" and American "Imperialists" and "heartless conservatives," like me. And yet, after the problem of starvation in India was solved, they can coolly sit and condemn millions of African to likely death by...... starvation! Because tractors would be "inappropriate!"

Think about it! Why should we consider such "Liberals" to be any better than Stalin, who deliberately condemned millions of Ukrainians to death by starvation? Why should they be considered any batter than Hitler? WHY?

What's going on in these people's heads? And it still goes on today; there is, right now, intense resistance to introducing genetically modified crops into Africa.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 AM

September 15, 2009

This kind of faux-objective* snippiness sure angers me...

*I call this style "faux-objective" because the terms of the debate are always Leftish. For instance, "bi-partisanship" never means Democrats seriously considering Republican ideas such as CDHC's, or tort reform. And "even-handed" debate on climate change starts with assuming that the theory of anthropogenic Global Warming is settled science (it's not) and then even-handedly debating how much more power to give to leftists to get rid of Capitalism and surplus human beings.

The Palin Republicans - John Parisella -

...Ever since Obama's inauguration, the Republicans have struggled to gain any traction as a viable alternative. [Actually that's normal in American politics. Dems were just a "party of protest" during the Bush years.] Since then, Obama's approval numbers have gone down sharply, but the Republicans have not benefited in any noticeable way. [Sure they have, but it takes an election to make this manifest.] Last week's silly outburst by Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, may have made him a hero to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the lunatic right. But it did little to make his party seem like legitimate counterweight to the Democrats. [Maybe in the Maclean's newsroom it doesn't. But you don't vote here.]

Similarly, this Saturday's Tea Party protests seem grassroots enough, but the rhetoric emerging from its spokespersons leaves the impression that the Republican party is now just a party of protest. It is no longer playing the role of the guardian of conservatism. Consider, for instance, how Sarah Palin's false [You Canadians frequently send premature babies to the US for care because bureaucrats decided not to spend on facilities to save their (worthless) little lives. Your whole medical system is a @#$%&* Death Panel! ] charges of death panels did little other than derail [start] a legitimate debate on health care reform. [In July Obama was insisting that the bill MUST be passed before August. And you accuse Sarah of derailing debate?] As a result, the battle over health care is now an intra-party contest within the Democratic party. [95% (at least) of Republicans DON'T WANT government health care. We don't have ANY responsibility to debate this issue. Zero. None. Nada.]
What is astonishing is how the Republican leadership seems oblivious to all this. It is now obvious the Democrats have given [they never really tried]up on getting any bipartisan support regarding healthcare reform [SO, how much space has Maclean's given to reporting on Republican health-care proposals and bills, Mr Bi-Partisan? Yeah, I thought so. Frauds.] or on climate change legislation. [Your definition of "bi-partisan" is that Republicans must support Left-wing policies they hate. I've been hearing that malarky from "journalists" all my life.] You would expect more support from the GOP on the economy considering that many of the initiatives were started by George Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, a Republican nominee. Same goes for Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. Even John McCain, a moderate Republican and the co-author of an immigration reform bill with Ted Kennedy, voted against her. Sotomayor was not a controversial choice [Assuming that you believe that people should be judged differently depending on skin color] and represented an opportunity for the GOP to make inroads with Hispanics. On health care, according to many observers, some of the GOP's ideas will make their way into the final package and there is a real possibility that the dreaded public option will be dropped. At the end of the day, the image conveyed at Obama's speech last week was that of a bunch of grumpy white men [Republicans are ALWAYS portrayed as grumpy white men. Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas are grumpy white men.] sitting on their hands and contributing very little to the debate. [The image conveyed to me was Obama's desperation. Mr Journalist somehow didn't notice this.]

Is it too late for the Republicans? No, not if the Senate Finance committee comes up with a proposal that has potential to garner some bipartisan support down the road. [This guy is SO blinkered. He just assumes that political success means going along with death-panel liberalism. And if Republicans crush the Dems in 2010...which is becoming a real possibility...he WON'T LEARN! He'll just write another article on how Republicans must now start moderating their positions and accommodating to the Culture of Death.] Still, Sarah Palin's missive I referenced above has come to symbolize the shallow, oppose-at-all-costs approach to public policy that has dominated the public discourse since last January. Quite frankly, Palin energizes a base that talk radio hosts like Limbaugh and Beck use to exploit fear and misinformation. Even McCain, who keeps defending Palin, sometimes with apparent discomfort, contradicts her view on the death panels. And yet, Palin leads many polls for the 2012 Republican nomination and will draw huge crowds once she hits the speech circuit this fall—this, despite how pathetic she was in interviews with Katie Couric of CBS and Charles Gibson of ABC when tasked with explaining policy. [CLING to that hope.] As long as her views drive the debate away from any reasonable proposals coming from Republicans in Congress, [Republicans have made MANY proposals. Why don't you report on them, Mr Fake-journalist?] the GOP will remain marginal in the debate over any policy direction...

* Update: Funny how so many Lefty pundits are writing with concern and sympathy about the imminent demise of Republicans and conservatives...... unless...... and somehow it is always the same unless...... unless we get rid of PALIN! Perhaps it is too negative of me to suspect that perhaps these kind and helpful creatures are not being quite sincere? To suspect they may be urging us to do the opposite of what frightens them? I guess such thoughts mean I'm just a Republican hate-monger.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

None Dare Call Them Death Panels...

I recommend this piece by Fred Barnes, An Unnecessary Operation:

...Even if you're not seriously ill, American doctors have more to offer. The two most significant innovations for patient care in the past decade are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT), according to Dr. Scott Atlas, chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School. The United States has 27 MRI machines per million Americans. Canada and Britain have 6 per million. The United States has 34 CT scanners per million. Canada has 12 per million, Britain 8.

And utilization of MRI and CT technology has become routine in America. My wife had an X-ray after injuring her ankle last spring and the diagnosis was she'd broken a bone. When it was slow to heal, she had an MRI, which revealed she'd actually torn a tendon. Now her ankle is healing.

Our share of the cost was minimal. Health insurance pays for tests, and you don't need a Cadillac policy to be covered. A little-known fact: Out-of-pocket expenses by American patients amounted to 12.6 percent of total national health spending ($2.24 trillion) in 2007.

That's one of the lowest percentages of private out-of-pocket spending among the world's advanced countries--lower than Germany, Japan, Canada, and most countries in Europe, including those with government-run health care systems. Why do Americans get more and pay less? Because their insurance policies provide broader coverage than most government plans, says Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute....

Remember those stats: "The United States has 27 MRI machines per million Americans. Canada and Britain have 6 per million." Who decides how many MRI machines there will be in the US? Can anyone tell me that? (We know who decides in Canada and Britain; death panels.) Of course there is no easy answer for the US, because there is no "central command." That's how markets work. They self-organize. (Yes, I know, health care is far from a perfect free market. But market forces are at work.)

And that's a lot of why Leftists always want "single payer." They don't care about human beings, they want the power.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 AM

September 13, 2009

Wacky long-hair impresses Mr & Mrs Random Jottings....

Charlene and I subscribe to the performances of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, which we recommend highly! Awesome music performed on period instruments. We went last week to a splendid program of Haydn, and Beethoven's 7th.

But what was really amazin' was the Haydn Concerto for Violoncello in C major, with soloist cellist Steven Isserlis. My first thought was that Isserlis was some kind of spoof, he was so funny-looking and odd. Like Harpo Marx pretending to be a soulful musician. But then he started playing, (on his Strad) and even a dull and un-musical guy like me had to just say, Wow!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 PM

Having an appendix removed should be like buying a refrigerator....

You can already get your eyes checked or your prescriptions filled at Costco. The possibilities for cheaper medical care are enormous, if people are buying it themselves, rather than having it bought for them by insurance companies. (And if we could have tort reform, that would shave 20% off right there.)

The Best Health Care Plan You've Never Heard Of:

Washington is in the midst of yet another scandal -- but not the kind you'd read about in a gossip rag. Congressional dilettantes are willfully ignoring health-care reform ideas that would cut costs and provide high-quality care to all.

Sound nuts? It shouldn't. By refusing to even consider consumer-driven health care (CDHC), congressional leaders are proving that they're more interested in putting the government in charge of Americans' health care than in actually improving patient outcomes. Decades of evidence show that CDHC-style reforms can achieve the stated goal of would-be health reformers: high-quality care at low cost.

All the reform plans under consideration in Congress fail to address the biggest problem with our health-care system: third parties, like insurance companies or the government, pay for just about everything. Consequently, Americans have no idea how much the medical services they consume cost.

How much is a visit to a primary care doctor? Or a trip to a specialist? The average patient has no idea. Third-party payment shields people from the truth about how much they're spending at the doctor's office. As a result, most folks have no incentive to manage their health-care expenditures, so make little effort to do so.

Consumer-driven health plans address this problem by putting medical decisions in the hands of patients and doctors, not insurers or the government. Typically, CDHC arrangements couple high-deductible insurance plans for catastrophic care with either health savings accounts or employer-funded health reimbursement accounts....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:56 PM

We can all learn from the politesse of the Left...

President Obama says the angry scenes on televised town halls represents a "coarsening of our political dialogue." [link]

Go HERE to see examples of the comity and general un-coarseness of our esteemed opponents on the Left...

Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flag

Posted by John Weidner at 3:23 PM

September 12, 2009

Solvitur ambulando...

Wilfrid Ward, in Witnesses to the Unseen, 1894...

...and while the intellect, when moving in mere speculation, and as a spectator of the riddle of life, tends to lose itself, to become morbid and paralyzed, and reach no conclusion, we are reminded with equal power of the light shed by a living practical faith, which brings us into the action of life, and gives knowledge and experience which cannot be translated into language intelligible to purely passive speculation, any more than the glow of the hunting field or the wild excitement of the field of battle can be known by those who have always lived an inactive life.

To this extent faith is its own evidence, and establishes itself by a solvitur ambulando. The doubt is seen by him who has shaken it off to have been in great part the result of hesitation and inaction, due to the absence of perceptions which action alone can supply; and faith justifies itself to the mind which is aroused from undue passivity.

Faith sees further and more truly, just as the confident rider sees clearly, and acts promptly, and clears the fence successfully, while the man who hesitates fails to see with precision, and fails in gaining the additional experience and perception which prompt action on that first rapid vision would have brought. The whole being moves together, and sight, action, experience, and knowledge are inseparably linked. Hopefulness, promptness, decision, affect mental perception as well as moral action...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 PM

You will need a "government permit to live."

James Taranto:

...Most criticisms of ObamaCare have focused on its cost in terms of money and lives, but it's worth noting that in exchange for spending trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to set up a system that will inevitably ration care, President Obama proposes a fundamental curtailment of your individual freedom.

In his speech to a joint session of Congress last night, the president offered what presumably was meant to sound like an innocuous, or at least reasonable, analogy:
Unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek--especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions--just can't be achieved. And that's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance--just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.
In fact, no state requires individuals to carry auto insurance. The owner of a car, which may be either an individual or a corporate entity, is required to carry insurance as a condition for a government permit allowing the car to be driven on public roads. Individual drivers, of course, are also required to obtain a government license, which requires fulfilling other conditions.

Driving is such a central part of most Americans' lives that the cliché that "driving is a privilege" seems a bit nonsensical. It feels like a right. There even is a constitutional right to travel--an unenumerated one, but one whose existence is not in serious dispute. Yet here is how Justice John Paul Stevens described that right in Saenz v. Roe (1999):
The "right to travel" discussed in our cases embraces at least three different components. It protects the right of a citizen of one State to enter and to leave another State, the right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than an unfriendly alien when temporarily present in the second State, and, for those travelers who elect to become permanent residents, the right to be treated like other citizens of that State.
The right to travel is not a right to drive, but if a state were to require visitors to provide proof of insurance when arriving by train, plane or bus, on foot, or as a passenger in a private car, this would clearly violate the first two components of the right to travel.

Obama's proposal to coerce all Americans into buying health insurance is even more intrusive than our hypothetical state requirement would be. The ObamaCare mandate would violate not only the right to travel but the right to remain at rest. The implication of the auto-insurance analogy is that the president believes Congress has the authority to require Americans to obtain a government permit to live.... [Thanks to Bookworm]
Posted by John Weidner at 10:27 AM

September 11, 2009

Re-posted from 2004...

fireman at the WTC

Lots of people want you to forget. The message is insinuated in a thousand subtle ways, by those too dishonest to say what plainly they mean. Kerry and the Democrats want you to forget. Dan Rather and the mainstream media want you to forget. Pat Buchannon and the Libertarian Party and Ralph Nader want you to forget.

Don't forget

They won't say it plain, instead they say we should be flexible, should watch the budget, should focus on "first responders," should consult with "allies" before doing anything, should not overextend ourselvs, should not "overstretch" our fragile military, should conserve our strength for later...

Don't forget.

They make blandly dutiful references to fighting the War on Terror, but their cheeks only glow when they criticize our troops or the administration. Talk of liberating 50 million, or breaking the pattern of despotism and ignorance in the ME, and their eyes glaze over. But Abu Ghraib, ahhh...they savored that like wine.

Don't forget.

[link to photos]

Posted by John Weidner at 11:52 AM

September 10, 2009

It's been Palin v. Obama since 8-29-08...

...Biden and McCain were just the comic sidekicks...

David Horowitz:

...But perhaps the most remarkable moment of the speech — and certainly the most politically bone-headed — was to single out Sarah Palin and call her a liar because she has dramatized the indisputable fact that when you have government-controlled health care you have rationing, and when you have rationing you inevitably create a government bureaucracy which will encourage and then force elderly and infirm people to premature deaths. Palin's image of "death panels" to capture what is the undeniable truth about the Democrats' plans (Greta Van Susteren actually read, on-camera, the passage from the bill which justifies Palin's claim) was a politically brilliant stroke. In singling her out and defaming her tonight, the president made her the symbol of the opposition to the steamroller he is driving. And that's the fight she wants and anyone opposed to the Democrats' socialized scheme should want, too.... (Thanks to C4P)

It's hard to realize how strange this is. Sarah was unknown a year ago. She lost as VP, quit as governor (for good reasons, but most people don't know them). She's a private citizen, who made a post on FaceBook. To which the President of the United States has just replied in an address to a joint session of Congress! Incroyable! Stupefying! What an amazin' time to be alive, if you are a conservative! The collectivists have WON! They control the White House and Congress. We should be in despair. They should be on cloud nine. And yet they are flummoxed! By a chick from Alaska no one had heard of one short year ago! Sweet. Sweet! SWEET! Sarah Palin, I love you forever! If only for the pain you are inflicting on those frauds!

And there was a recent quote from one of these Obam guys—Axelrod or Emmanuel—claiming they don't sit around in the white House worrying about Palin. HAH! How many times has Obam defended himself against Romney, or Steele, or Pawlenty or Gingrich?

By the way, It's not just old people that are nudged over the edge. I've read at least three news stories about Canadian women being sent to the US to get care for prematurely-born babies. The Canadians have far fewer neonatal ICU beds than we do (per capita).

WHY? Because some government committee decide not to spend money on such a low-return investment. And what do you call that committee? Well, "death panel" is a logical fit, is it not?

Charlene and I know about this subject because our oldest son was born with a lung problem, and spent 7 weeks in the ICU. If he'd been born in Canada, well, who knows?

Posted by John Weidner at 11:24 PM

September 9, 2009

"The Movement" doesn't get you off the hook...

There's an interesting piece in PJ Media, by Ron Rosenbaum, Why Are Jews Liberals?:

...But if you want a simple answer to why Jews are liberal, ask where were conservatives during the civil rights movement of the 60s, the social justice movements of the 40s. Aligned with Father Coughlin and Charles Lindberg, not so secret fascist sympathizers.

I'd say : the civil rights movement. Jews who find the most important part of the religion (I'm not observant so this may not apply to all) the injunction to care about social justice, to care for the oppressed because we were were oppressed, slaves in Egypt, etc.

Ad then came the civil rights movement, the most important social movement in America since the Civil War (if you consider that a social movement).

And while the Democratic Party was, yes, made up of a bizarre alliance of Southern racists and northern liberals, the support of Northern liberal democrats for the civil rights movement earned liberalism, for me, a lifelong allegiance.

The most important problem here is the way liberals have been coasting on the civil rights movement for 60 years. For them it's always Selma, and therefore they are always the good guys. But the world has changed. And there are new civil rights movements.

One of them is the fight to free inner-city children from the killing environment of wretched government schools. (Killing both in the literal sense, and in the sense of lives destroyed by bad education and a lack of good guidance and discipline.) And in this new civil rights war, liberal Jews are mostly on the dark side. I don't know what Mr Rosenbaum feels personally, but the Democrat Party is owned by the corrupt teachers unions, and most liberal Jews are perfectly happy to feed the little pickaninnies down the sewer if it makes for political victories for their side.

A good example is the Washington DC program of vouchers that let thousands of poor children go to private schools. That program was dead the minute Obama got in. Where are our "liberal" Jews? Hmmm? Where are the civil rights protests over that? Where are the marches? Who's singing We Shall Overcome now? There's a new Little Rock going on right now, and I don't see any of our fake-liberals standing up for the blacks who are being cruelly discriminated against. Standing up against today's Bull Connors! Of whom Barack Obama is supremacist number one. Supremacy of liberal elites over the poor and the helpless. [Connor, FYI, was a member of the DNC]

Another civil rights crisis is the slaughter of unborn babies. The insane fact right now is that one second after it is born, a baby is a human being with full...... civil rights. And one second before it is born, it has fewer civil rights than a slave, who at least could not be killed out-of-hand because he was inconvenient to somebody! Mr Rosenbaum, why don't you use a time machine to go back and ask any great rabbi of the past what they think of that particular "liberal" policy?

And Planned Parenthood and the abortion "right" were born out of the Eugenics Movement, with people like Margaret Sanger openly working to have fewer "inferior" people born. With blacks near the top of the inferior list. "Liberal" Jews are mostly OK with this. In fact, they support abortion more ardently than non-Jews!

Remember that little experiment recently, where people called Planned Parenthood, pretending to be offering to donate money to help have fewer blacks born? And how PP was happy to accept the dough? SO, "liberal" Jews, where do you stand?

And I don't have the time to get into the whole subject of "peace-movement liberals" ardently fighting to keep Third-World slaughters and genocides going, because those are defined as "peace," and intervening to stop the slaughters is "neo-con war." And sometimes "liberals" are even causing the slaughters--here's a good example.

And I don't have time to write an essay about the way the civil rights movement was itself morally ambiguous. But imagine if I proposed that we should invade a foreign land, and have lots of fun laughing and sneering at the primitive locals, and then we should bully them into adopting our superior culture. And then patting ourselves on the back for the next hundred years, and continuing to make those people the butts of our jokes. Does that not have a certain resemblance to a certain famous "movement?" Hmmm?

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 PM

Just fisking another Lefty who's terrified of Sarah. Not important.

I shouldn't waste time on this, but it's too much fun... Marc Ambinder:

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, has every right to submit an opinion piece on health care to the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page, and they've got every right to print it. [It's gracious of you, Oh Wise Elder Statesman, to make that clear.]

But Palin's existence in this debate does not (a) lend her voice any credibility [so why are you writing about her?] and, beyond that, even if you believe that her experience as a state governor does give her at least a modicum of credibility, [well, it gives her FAR more credibility than Obama, who's never accomplished anything in his life! To date.] it does not follow that, because her voice is credible, it ought to be influential. [Why not? Why does Palin bug you? And not other Republicans?] Newt Gingrich is influential by rights; he's done the work, come up with original ideas, and been in the trenches. (Replacing Medicare with vouchers...not new or remotely plausible, even if GOPers do well in the next two elections. Quoting Ronald Reagan talking about that type of proposal...not new. Etc.) [You WISH Gingrich was the face of the party! Ha ha. No way, sucker.]
The media -- by which I mean the cable news networks, primarily, will determine whether Palin's view on health care becomes influential. [As if the issue were in doubt!] There are many Republican, conservative health care spokespeople who have earned the right to speak for their party's principals, [Hey, dimwitski! She IS a principal. She was our VP candidate a few months ago, remember?] and, truth be told, can recite the talking points (complete with Ronald Reagan quote) better than Palin and her writer can. They're the ones who should be offended if Palin's op-ed becomes the voice of the opposition tomorrow, [So you are telling us Republicans what ought to offend us? Gee, thanks for the help.] because Palin isn't seen by most Americans as a particularly trenchent [sic] analyst of policy. Indeed, the reason why Palin's team wants to get her pieces in publications like the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal is that, in this next phase of her political career, Mrs. Palin has to burnish her policy skills. [Yeah, yeah. We get it. She's just a pretty face managed by "a team." We'll cry all the way to the bank.] And the Journal is all too willing to lend some space to this project, because plenty of people will see the piece.

So here's a challenge to the media: if you want to do justice to conservative ideas [The media wants to do justice to conservative ideas? Who'da thunk!] and find some balance in your coverage tomorrow, [AND they're eager to be "balanced?"...Wow! Amazin'!] book serious [ie: Dull] Republicans with original ideas [New ideas are always better than those moldy old conservative ideas. Ask any liberal.] on your programs. If you don't, Palin is giving herself a voice at your expense and through little effort of her own.

By implying, incidentally, that Palin gets help from a speechwriter, I mean to make an observation. Barack Obama didn't draft his op-ed, either. But, reading Obama, it's not a leap to believe that the ideas are truly his. ['cause they lead to bigger government, less freedom, and higher taxes.] Palin has no chops and no experience talking about health care [she has more than Obama has] and isn't participating in this debate; [Dream on, dweeb,] the content of her op-ed piece isn't original, and the points are points that Republicans make every day. [SO, if Republicans make these points every day, WHY is it hard to imagine that these are her ideas? She's a Republican, and she writes like a... *gasp* Republican! But she's a GIRL! Must be speechwriters doing it for her.]

This is the reality. Palin has policy credibility problems. [Repeat that over and over. Like a mantra.] Big ones. A few op-eds aren't going to help her. [But two words on FaceBook made the Senate jump through hoops! Ha ha.] But if the media ["the media." Still able to fog a mirror? I doubt.] treats her as as a legitimate and influential voice today, she won't need to do the hard work that will result in her learning more about policy and actually becoming conversant in the issues that she, as a potential presidential candidate, will deal with... [So GOOD of you to help Sarah by keeping her in kindergarten where she belongs. I'm sure it is selfless idealism on your part, and has nothing to do with the way Leftists seem to find Sarah, umm... somehow... THREATENING.]
Particularly STUPID here is the idea that political leaders should be the people who "come up with original ideas." Good ideas are a dime a dozen.. Internet pundits are full of them. BUT, a political leader's job is to LEAD. She can hire people to have good ideas. But it is a rare person who can say, "Follow Me," and have people follow her (or him). That makes Sarah worth a thousand Ambinders.
Posted by John Weidner at 2:17 PM

A pet peeve of mine...

Thanks to Joshua Livestro for this:

...One more thing before I chuck his sorry behind into my spamfilter: cut the cr*p about Palin's use of speechwriters somehow being evidence that the ideas in her pieces aren't truly hers. As a former speechwriter (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) I think I'm reasonably qualified to tell him that this is total baloney. Any speechwriter worth his salt will have read every scrap of paper ever produced by his boss, as well as every biographical sketch ever written about him/her. That way, he is able to write with confidence from the politician's perspective, using their ideas and - where possible - even their language. Any speech writer that doesn't do this, will be an ex speech writer before he knows it....

Every major public figure uses speechwriters. Even if they are quite capable of writing a great speech themselves. Why? Because an important speech might take days or weeks of work, that's why. Important people have all sorts of things done for them that they could do themselves. Because their time is very valuable, and needs to be used for their essential business. Somebody washes their socks, too, and fills out their tax-returns. doesn't mean they are incapable.

I've heard the "uses-a-speechwriter" criticism leveled against Republicans all my life. Stupid. And it is actually a sure sign of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left. The cowards can't fight us with facts or logic, so they snipe at trivial issues.

I long ago read a memoir by William Safire of his time as a speechwriter for Nixon. President Nixon had three speechwriters, and he would review speeches, annotate them, and pass them on to a different writer for whatever that man's particular strength was. I remember that Pat Buchanan was his go-to guy for toughening up a speech, and making it more pugnacious! Nixon was using them as tools, to get the speech he wanted.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

September 7, 2009

"It will send us back to the Middle Ages"

Good stuff on health care, from Clark Judge:

...In recent weeks I have talked with people on the cutting edge of health delivery. There is a tremendous amount of experiment going in health care delivery. At least some of these experiments will transform health delivery and, if public policy allows it, solve the problem that is driving health overhaul: inflation of costs.

One such experiment is with what is called direct primary care. Think of Minute Clinics, only bigger and broader. For a modest and fixed monthly fee ($40 to $80/month), these facilities assume responsibility for all of a patient's routine care. Appointments can be same day. Time allotted per patient is extensive.

How? By taking fees directly from the patent not the insurance company or the government. These firms estimate that 40 percent of the costs of health providers (not insurers, providers) are incurred in the processing the paperwork that government and private payers demand. Much of the productivity boost allows higher care for a lower price is derived from cutting out these costs.

Another set of experiments is with a new approach to pharmaceuticals. I asked a former senior official at the Food and Drug Administration what he thought of Obamacare. It will send us back to the Middle Ages, he replied. His reason? The administration's embrace of comparative effectiveness standards would cut off the most promising experiments in medical science.

Comparative effectiveness standards are, he explained, based on population averages — greatest good for the greatest number. But born of the mapping of the genome and other biochemical advances, the changes he saw coming would lead to medicine that is specifically tailored to each patient's unique makeup. Comparative effectiveness panels, he said, would effectively end the ongoing research and development in patient specific care.

The widely understood alternative to the president's government-centered reforms is patient centered reform — including giving the consumer the same tax preferences when buying insurance for themselves as companies now receive and expanding Health Savings Accounts.

HSAs put those receiving care in charge of all normal health choices, cutting out both government and insurance companies. With HSAs, the usual questions consumers ask — in particular how much value am I receiving for the money — consumers are now asking for the first time in decades in the American health world. ......
Posted by John Weidner at 9:50 AM

Interesting charts...

Just in case you are alarmed by those stories about the Arctic ice disappearing, here's a link to some graphs of the actual data. Looks rather like the trend is in the opposite direction, with sea ice increasing after a low point in 2007...

From Anthony Watts:

...It looks like we'll see the 2009 Arctic sea ice melt season bottom out in a few days and it won't be a record setter. Even NSIDC admits this. Here is a magnified graph of the IARC-JAXA AMSRE sea ice extent plot that is linked in the sidebar of WUWT....

This you might also find interesting, from a few months ago...

Here's a description of the movie...

This movie is to show the complete 30 year history of the NSIDC satellite derived arctic sea ice extent in a single video. Brown is land, black is shoreline, blue is water except for the large blue dot in the center of the plot. The movie plays double speed at the beginning because the early satellite collected data every other day. Youll see the large blue circle change in size flashing back and forth between the older and newer sat data just as the video slows down.

After staring at the graphs above you think you understand what is happening as ice gradually shrinks away. Well the high speed video shows a much more turbulent world with changing weather patterns in 2007 and 2008 summer blasting away at the south west corner of the ice. Ive watched it 20 times at least, noticing cloud patterns (causing lower ice levels), winds, water currents and all kinds of different things. Im not so sure anymore that were seeing a consistent decline to polar bear doom, with this kind of variance it might just be everyday noise.

Note that despite some mainstream media reports, our Arctic Sea ice has not melted away, but comes back every year as it has done for millennia..This is the normal season cycle.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 AM

September 6, 2009

I'm just amusin' myself here...

I've added some comments to an article by a midget in our local rag. Palin and America's paranoid-style politics, by Geoffrey Dunn:

..."I call it the paranoid style," Hofstadter wrote, "simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind." [You're referring to Jeremiah Wright, I presume?]

In many ways, Hofstadter's prescient essay anticipated the entree of Sarah Palin into contemporary American politics, that last month marked the one-year anniversary of her failed candidacy as the Republican vice presidential nominee. [Failed to become VP. Succeeded hugely in becoming a national leader.] During the past year, the former governor of Alaska has tapped into a narrow, albeit tenacious, strain in the national polity that stretches back to the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. [Geez, you mean we STILL haven't extirpated those witches? Try harder, folks!]


Reagan understood the "big tent" concept of the Republican Party and reached out to moderates and disaffected Democrats. For better or worse, he forged a majority coalition that defined American politics for a quarter century. Even Obama paid homage to it in "The Audacity of Hope," in which he acknowledged Reagan's appeal to "the traditional virtues of hard work, patriotism, personal responsibility, optimism and faith." [Hmmm. Why does the word "Wasilla" pop into mind? Just my twisty paranoia no doubt. Of course those are the virtues found in SF and Santa Cruz, not in Neanderthal enclaves like Alaska..]

Palin is all about small ball....
Palin is all about small ball. While she has big personal ambitions, her political vision is both narrow and attenuated. She knows nothing about reaching out, and everything about cutting off. Expand the GOP as Reagan did? [SO, when Reagan "reached out" to all those "Reagan Democrats," he was lauded by Lefties like Dunn, right? Liberals are honest, right? Ha! No, they said about Reagan just what they are saying about Palin now. Probably including quoting Hofstadter!] Hell no. She's all about shrinking it. During her campaign for vice president, she actually refused to appear with Republican leaders who were either pro-choice or differed with her position on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. [WHAT! She refused to appear with John McCain? What a bigot! And wait a minute? Don't I remember her hugging Joe Lieberman? And appearing with Olympia Snowe? No doubt I'm hallucinating...] The paranoid style is constrictive. [Sure. Just compare the refulgent sunbeams of that "happy warrior" Hillary Clinton with the pinched tight-lipped peevishness of Sarah Palin.]

"Catastrophe or the fear of catastrophe," Hofstadter declared, "is most likely to elicit the syndrome of paranoid rhetoric." [The President's "Green Jobs Czar" just resigned for being a 9/11 Truther, and saying white environmentalists and polluters steer poisons into minority communities. Perhaps that's what Hofstadter has in mind?] Recall Palin's recent Facebook delusions of "death panels" and her characterization of Obama's proposed health care reforms as "downright evil." [Funny how the Senate scurried to remove various Death Panels from their bill immediately after Ol' Small Ball mentioned the nonexistent things...]

While right-wing radio hosts and cable news commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh give voice to the new millennium's paranoid impulse, Palin not only personifies the style, she has franchised it. She is the only political figure in the conservative movement with electoral gravitas. The likes of Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee are mere wannabes. They have neither Palin's mojo nor her charisma. [So how can you "personify paranoia" AND have "electoral gravitas?" Somebody's confused.]

Since her emergence on the national political stage, Palin has forged a formidable presence in the American political arena fueled by fear and anger, as when she accused Obama of "pallin' around with terrorists" [Which is exactly what he did.] and not being "a man who sees America like you and I see America." [Which he obviously doesn't.] That there is a racist undertone to the paranoid style quite nearly goes without saying. [Must be true. No Leftist would throw accusations of racism around carelessly, would they?]

In his essay, Hofstadter was careful to distinguish clinical paranoia in an individual from "paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people." In the case of Palin, this distinction becomes blurred. Ever since her political debut 17 years ago in Wasilla, Alaska, she has embraced the paranoid style as not only a form of communication but, even more importantly, as a means to power. The style has both shaped and defined her entire political career. [Typified by her working with Alaska Dems to fight entrenched corruption in her own party. You can't get more crazy-paranoid than that, right? ]

The paranoid tendency, Hofstadter contended, is "aroused by a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise." [Sounds like Lefties talking about President Bush.] Palin is an absolutist. Hers is a win-lose world of political Manichaeism. Everything is black and white, good and evil. [Projection.]

Palin's inability to negotiate political compromise [So how did that pipeline happen? Tooth Fairy?] was definitively confirmed last month in Anchorage when the Alaska Legislature - a body largely composed of Republicans - overrode Palin's veto of an energy component included in the federal stimulus package. It provided a perfect coda to Palin's failed and abandoned governorship. In true paranoid style, she blamed the outcome on everyone else but herself. [And if she didn't stick to her position he'd claim she has no principles!]

The silliest thing is that this guy is apparently writing a book about Palin. He'll sell a bunch of copies around here, you can be sure. Of course he'll have sold his soul by deliberately attempting the personal destruction of another person by spreading lies. But then he knows he doesn't have an immortal soul, because, like, you know, everybody in Santa Cruz knows that!

* Update: Also, this style of Lefty why-can't-today's-horrid-Republicans-be-like-our-great-Ronald-Reagan comments is total crap. When Reagan was actually on the rise people like Dunn said exactly the same sort of stuff about him they say now about Palin. They said he was a far-right fringe kook, and why couldn't he be like the great unifying Republicans of the past.

Actually Palin is more like Reagan than anyone since Reagan. Not in her specifics, but in the ability to talk to ordinary Americans, and remind them of the simple truths they tend to forget under the barrage of life, and the barrage of nihilist propaganda they receive from the news media and the academy. That's why lefties are obsessing over her right now. They know where the danger lies.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 PM

If a man desert the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church was built....

Thanks to Jeffrey Steele...

If a man desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?
      -- St. Cyprian of Carthage
Posted by John Weidner at 9:39 AM

Believing impossible things before breakfast...

I wasn't going to mention l'affaire Van Jones, since everyone is doing it this morning. But this bit made me think about my own conjecture, that leftists are (unconsciously but intentionally) lowering their own IQ's, in order to not see the contradictions in what they believe.

Mark Steyn:

...Traveling through the Middle East about six months after 9/11, I was struck by the number of Arabs, from Egypt to the Gulf, who simultaneously believed (a) the Mossad were behind the attacks and (b) it was a great victory for the Muslim world. Van Jones would seem to be an American variant of the same phenomenon: a man who believes 9/11 was (a) blowback for the actions of the US government's war machine and (b) an inside job by the US government's war machine.

No wonder the left derides those boorish enough to bring this stuff up: Why, surely all sophisticated persons know these positions are little more than lifestyle accessories or fashion hemlines. One season, everyone on the catwalk is agreed 9/11 was blowback by Jihadists for Social Justice. The next, everyone is equally agreed that Bush called up the White House Steel Melting Czar and buried the whole thing under "miscellaneous" in the budget....

"Jihadists for Social Justice." I like that!

I suspect the same "IQ lowering" thing is at work in some of the traits we see in the Islamic world. They are trying to believe a faith that does not quite make sense (Islam is a Christian gnostic heresy, and like all heresies it takes a portion of Catholic Truth and tries to make it the whole.)

Also the Islamic realm needs to ignore the huge fact that their religion is an utter failure civilizationally.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:36 AM

September 4, 2009

I second this: Afghanistan Is Not "Obama's War"

I have utter contempt and hatred for the scoundrel dogs who claimed that the Iraq Campaign was "Bush's War." The Iraq Campaign was voted for by Congress. That makes it America's war! No American citizen has the right to stand aside and sneer. All Americans owe a solemn duty to give warm-hearted, generous-hearted support for our troops and our country's objectives. (NO, I'm not saying that one can't make constructive criticisms.)

Likewise with Afghanistan. It is America's fight. No Republican has the right to oppose it just to hurt Obama or the Democrats. That would be despicable.

Dan Senor and Peter Wehner: Afghanistan Is Not 'Obama's War' -

...We also believe supporting the president's Afghanistan policy is politically smart for Republicans. For one thing, isolationist tendencies don't do well in American politics. Even in a war as unpopular as Vietnam, George McGovern's "Come Home, America" cry backfired badly. So has every attempt since then. There is no compelling evidence that the congressional GOP was politically well served in the 1990s by opposing intervention in the Balkans.

In addition, indifference or outright opposition to the war would smack of hypocrisy, given the Republican Party's strong (and we believe admirable) support for President Bush's post-9/11 policies, its robust support for America's democratic allies, and its opposition to rogue regimes that threaten American interests. Republicans should stand for engagement with, rather than isolation from, the world. Strongly supporting the president on Afghanistan would also be a sign of grace on the part of Republicans. We know all too well how damaging it was to American foreign policy to face an opposition that was driven by partisan fury against our commander in chief. Republicans should never do to President Obama what many Democrats did to President Bush.

Mr. Obama's policies shouldn't be immune from criticism; far from it. Responsible criticism is a necessary part of self-government. And we are particularly concerned about reports that retired Marine Gen. James Jones, Mr. Obama's national security adviser, told Gen. McChrystal earlier this summer not to ask for more troops and that the Obama White House is wary to offer what Gen. McChrystal says he will need to succeed.

We do believe, however, that Republicans should resist the reflex that all opposition parties have, which is to oppose the stands of a president of the other party because he is a member of the other party. In this instance, President Obama has acted in a way that advances America's national security interests and its deepest values. Republicans should say so. As things become even more difficult in Central Asia, it's important to keep bad political patterns we have seen before from re-emerging.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 PM

Sarah one year ago today...

Can she call 'em, or can she call 'em? (Thanks to C4P)

"This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word 'victory' except when he's talking about his own campaign...........

"But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed.....when the roar of the crowd fades away.....when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot.....When that happens, what is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?
  • "The answer is to make government bigger.......
  • "And take more of your money..........
  • "To give you more orders from Washington...........
  • "And reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world...........
  • "America needs more energy...........our opponent is against producing it.
  • "Victory in Iraq is finally in sight.........he wants to forfeit.
  • "Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay..........he wants to meet them without preconditions.
  • "Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America........he's worried that someone won't read them their rights?
  • "Government is too big........he wants to grow it.
  • "Congress spends too much money.......he promises more.
  • "Taxes are too high........he wants to raise them. His taxes are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes.......and raise payroll taxes........and raise investment income taxes.......and raise the death tax.......and raise business taxes.......and increase the tax burden on American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

Toldja. And remember, Obama ran as a sort of moderate. Orrin Judd has a great post on how Bush as President worked to pass the very things he campaigned on. And how Obama in office is not at all like Obama on the campaign trail.

Here's an ad from the lying Obama presidential campaign:

Can we say "bait and switch?" Tooooo bad, all you "independents" and "moderates" who voted for hopey changey. You were suckered. You were played for fools. You should have been reading Random Jottings. [Link, link, link, link.] But NOOOOO. That would be tacky. Fad and fashion and wishful thinking are much more important than truth.

And all you "Progressives" and far leftists who assumed that Obama was a vicious liar who would say anything to get elected, but would then come home to his real self, taught by Ayers and Wright? You were right! You win! Your prize will be big "Democrat" Party losses in 2010! And maybe a President Palin in 2012. Ha ha ha. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of commie creeps.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:11 AM

September 3, 2009

Can we get equal time?

The obvious conservative objections to this have already been made by bloggers, I'm sure. [Link] But I have a few other thoughts...

ADF: NH court orders home-schooled child into government-run school:

...The parents of the child divorced in 1999. The mother has home-schooled their daughter since first grade with curriculum that meets all state review standards. In addition to home schooling, the girl attends supplemental public school classes and has also been involved in a variety of extra-curricular sports activities.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl "appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith" and that the girl's interests "would be best served by exposure to a public school setting" and "different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs."

Marital Master Michael Garner reasoned that the girl's "vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view" and then recommended that the girl be ordered to enroll in a government school instead of being home-schooled. Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the recommendation and issued the order on July 14...

But think of the possibilities! I'm surrounded here in SF with children raised with rigidity in the faith of secular humanism. Surely we should be able to take them away from their parents and the government schools, and give them exposure to "different points of view at a time when they must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief..." I can think of quite a few "points of view" I'd love to see little lock-step liberals exposed to.

Also, the article makes no mention of a specific faith. But we all know that it is Christianity. This could be considered yet another item of evidence of the truth of Christian faith. No Lefty judge would care if a child is raised rigidly Buddhist or Baha'i. None of them hate Unitarians or Quakers.

And it would be hilarious if a similar case had been presented just after to the same judge, with the parent being a Moslem, and raising a child as a rigid little jihadi! How funny to watch some cowardly Lefty weasel judge squirm and sweat, and then declare that we must consider all cultures equally valid!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 AM

Just what you expected when you voted for Hope n' Change, right?

Health care reform means more power for the IRS | Washington Examiner:

...Under the Democrats' health care proposals, the already powerful — and already feared — IRS would wield even more power and extend its reach even farther into the lives of ordinary Americans, and the presidentially-appointed head of the new health care bureaucracy would have access to confidential IRS information about millions of individual taxpayers.

In short, health care reform, as currently envisioned by Democratic leaders, would be built on the foundation of an expanded and more intrusive IRS.

Under the various proposals now on the table, the IRS would become the main agency for determining who has an "acceptable" health insurance plan; for finding and punishing those who don't have such a plan; for subsidizing individual health insurance costs through the issuance of a tax credits; and for enforcing the rules on those who attempt to opt out, abuse, or game the system. A substantial portion of H.R. 3200, the House health care bill, is devoted to amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in order to give the IRS the authority to perform these new duties....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 AM

September 2, 2009

The leader is going to speak to the children!

On September 8! (Here's the scoop.)

chinese children with portraits of Comrades Mao and Stalin

...On the "Activities for grades PreK-6" document, the Department of Education has lined up some ideas on what teachers can do with their 4-14 year olds in the classroom. What is odd about the list is that all of the ideas revolve around Obama, not about the students or the country.

"Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama..." is the tip for what to do before Obama's speech. Why is it so important to know about him? Is is really appropriate for schools to have students read all about Obama as a standalone project and not encourage and more in-depth civics lesson as part of the curriculum? Teachers should be careful with the suggested reading and make sure their 2nd grade class doesn't get to read all about how Obama tried cocaine, as he admitted in "Dreams From My Father."

Throughout the speech, teachers are asked to encourage students to think about many things... mostly relating to Obama himself:

"As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following: What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?" (emphasis added).

"Students could discuss their responses to the following questions: What do you think the President wants us to do? Does the speech make you want to do anything? Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us? What would you like to tell the President? "...(emphasis added).

Stephen Green: It's not mere education — it's learnyness!

Posted by John Weidner at 11:58 AM

The gal from Harvard (Glacier)....

This piece is good, and funny. Every "Czar" should get such a smack-down: American Thinker: Sarah Palin vs. Dr. Death:

Ezekiel Emanuel is upset. The president's health care czar sees the growing resistance to his vision, to his brave new world of government-run "communitarian" health care in which politicians and bureaucrats control one-sixth of the economy and 100% of our bodies. He doesn't quite understand how it all came apart on him, but he does know who started the unraveling: Sarah Palin.

Where does she get off attacking him? Sarah Palin, it seems forever Sarah Palin. And he wonders, as have so many others, what it takes to put a stake through her heart? People should listen to him, not Sarah Palin. He is the philosopher king of Democrat health care. And he went to Harvard, you know.

One day he was vacationing in the Italian Alps, a top-level government bureaucrat and Democrat insider enjoying the fruits of his labors on behalf of the common good. Government health care was cruising and Zeke was the guy Time magazine predicted will build the most "equitable and ethical" health care system north of Cuba. Marty Peretz, his friend and publisher of The New Republic, described him as quintessential Harvard, "very impressive" and stuffed with "gravitas."

And then he got the call: Sarah Palin had done the unthinkable. She had read the health care bill. Mainstream journalists hadn't read the bill. Congress hadn't read its own bill. But Sarah Palin did. Sarah Palin! He has a medical degree and doctorate in political philosophy from Harvard. The only Harvard she's knows is the chunk of ice off Prince William Sound, Harvard Glacier....

I'm just holding my breath waiting for "communitarian" health care!

Posted by John Weidner at 11:53 AM

September 1, 2009

Clever ideas don't matter. Philosophy matters...

Robert Reich, On healthcare, Democrats need to be like GOP | Salon:

... What we learned in August is something we've long known but keep forgetting: The most important difference between America's Democratic left and Republican right is that the left has ideas and the right has discipline. [No, you just pretend our ideas don't exist.] Obama and progressive supporters of health care were outmaneuvered in August -- not because the right had any better idea for solving the health care mess [We have LOTS of ideas, often in bills that have been introduced in congress. Where the Dem leadership won't allow them to come up for a vote. Because you are COWARDS.] but because the rights' attack on the Democrats' idea was far more disciplined than was the Democrats' ability to sell it. [So whose demonstrators get off the chartered buses with pre-printed signs?]

I say the Democrats' "idea" but in fact there was no single idea. Obama never sent any detailed plan to Congress. Meanwhile, congressional Dems were so creative and undisciplined before the August recess they came up with a kaleidoscope of health-care plans. The resulting incoherence served as an open invitation to the Republican right to focus with great precision on convincing the public of their own demonic version of what the Democrats were up to -- that it would take away their Medicare, require "death panels," raise their taxes, and lead to a government takeover of medicine, and so on. [Notice he doesn't engage with those accusations...just waves them away.] The Obama White House -- a veritable idea factory brimming with ingenuity -- thereafter proved unable to come up with a single, convincing narrative to counteract this right-wing hokum. Whatever discipline Obama had mustered during the campaign somehow disappeared. [Ideas are NOT THE POINT. The ground is thickly strewn with interesting ideas—you can pick them up by the bushel. So having "ideas" is WORTH NOTHING. It is your philosophy that matters, because that tells you WHICH ideas to value. We who oppose Obama are OPEN about our underlying philosophy. Obama and his supporters HIDE their philosophy. WHY? ]
This is just the latest chapter of a long saga. Over the last twenty years, as progressives have gushed new ideas, the right has became ever more organized and mobilized in resistance -- capable of executing increasingly consistent and focused attacks, moving in ever more perfect lockstep, imposing an exact discipline often extending even to the phrases and words used repeatedly [Projection] by Hate Radio, Fox News, and the oped pages of The Wall Street Journal ("death tax," "weapons of mass destruction," "government takeover of health care.") I saw it in 1993 and 1994 as the Clinton healthcare plan -- as creatively and wildly convoluted as any policy proposal before or since -- was defeated both by a Democratic majority in congress incapable of coming together around any single bill and a Republican right dedicated to Clinton's destruction. Newt Gingrich's subsequent "contract with America" recaptured Congress for the Republicans not because it contained a single new idea [What it contained was OLD ideas, of the sort that Americans have always resonated to. Alas the execution was flubbed, so Republican gains could not be sustained.] but because Republicans unflinchingly rallied around it while Democrats flailed....

What's horridly dishonest here is that Reich is pretending that he thinks that health care is just a technical problem, like, say, designing a bridge. In fact any "solution" here involves decisions that say profound things about what this country is, and where it is going. Decisions that will SHAPE Americans.

And Reich, and Obama, and their whole crew know where they want to go—but are not about to avow it honestly or openly. They don't dare; Americans would reject them instantly. They snuck Obama under America's guard by a vague campaign of hope 'n change, and even stuff like tax cuts! If Obama had been honest about his intentions he'd have been lucky to take Massachusetts!

Posted by John Weidner at 1:54 PM

Cool! In fact, very very cold...

Astronomers find coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth: (Thanks to Alan)

The search for the best observatory site in the world has lead to the discovery of what is thought to be the coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth. No human is thought to have ever been there but it is expected to yield images of the heavens three times sharper than any ever taken from the ground.

The joint US-Australian research team combined data from satellites, ground stations and climate models in a study to assess the many factors that affect astronomy – cloud cover, temperature, sky-brightness, water vapour, wind speeds and atmospheric turbulence.

The researchers pinpointed a site, known simply as Ridge A, that is 4,053m high up on the Antarctic Plateau. It is not only particularly remote but extremely cold and dry. The study revealed that Ridge A has an average winter temperature of minus 70C and that the water content of the entire atmosphere there is sometimes less than the thickness of a human hair.

It is also extremely calm, which means that there is very little of the atmospheric turbulence elsewhere that makes stars appear to twinkle: "It's so calm that there's almost no wind or weather there at all," says Dr Will Saunders, of the Anglo-Australian Observatory and visiting professor to UNSW, who led the study.

"The astronomical images taken at Ridge A should be at least three times sharper than at the best sites currently used by astronomers," says Dr Saunders. "Because the sky there is so much darker and drier, it means that a modestly-sized telescope there would be as powerful as the largest telescopes anywhere else on earth."...
Posted by John Weidner at 11:35 AM