Nothing starts arguments like published lists, which is why the final days of any year are filled with delicious arguments about what received too much or too little attention in the previous 12 months.
That air strike Israel made in 2007 that was rumored to have destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor did, in fact, do just that, according to a confidential memo from Condoleezza Rice to State Department representatives worldwide, a cable leaked to WikiLeaks says.
Because the United Nations has devolved into an openly anti-Semitic, anti-Israel waste of prime New York real estate, several countries will boycott a meeting there to mark the 10th anniversary of the so-called Durban conference on racism.
I’m not sure why The American Thinker decided to defecate on Serbs for Christmas, but that’s what it did. As if Serbs had had a chance to catch their breaths from the last pile dumped on them. I guess not everyone takes Christmas off, and this lawyer — a “deputy political advisor to the commanding general, Multinational Division (North)” in Bosnia — certainly wasn’t about to.
When I started writing these columns many years ago, I often identified little things I called ‘truisms’ or ‘Perry’s law’. These are just little quirks in life that we all seem to encounter from time to time. What’s amazing is how true they are and how often they do actually happen.
The school board at Evanston Township High School, near Chicago, voted unanimously to eliminate a separate freshman honors track in humanities, because too few minority kids qualify. There will be humanities — “English” and “social studies” to us old-timers — honors, but students will pursue it within a general course. That is the idea, as best I can determine — conversations with ETHS officials tend to devolve into education theory jargon, and I hold a small candle of hope that this might be the best idea in the world — that it will, as they believe, inspire more students to do better work, and I just don’t understand it. But it seems predicated on the belief that a teacher instructing a room of excited students can operate the same as a teacher with a roomful of less inspired students. Is that so?
I can’t recall another New York City mayor who matches Michael Bloomberg for arrogance and disregard of the rules of the game. The list of his self-serving reversals started with his switching political parties from liberal democrat to ersatz Republican, then back to Independent. His changes of heart continued with his arm-twisting the City Council to extend a third term for him to be able to lead our city through our national economic crisis without regard for the two previous referendums in which New Yorkers clearly voted for term limits and his adamant support of that. At first, Bloomberg welcomed the advent of a local trial for Khalid Sheik Mohammed in the same downtown part of the city so devastated by KSM’s handiwork, claiming that this would show the superiority of our legal system. After several other politicians changed their minds with the realization that this would be a security nightmare costing the city hundreds of millions of dollars, the mayor too jumped ship, arguing that this was too expensive and disruptive to contemplate. Bloomberg seized the opportunity to grandstand his support for the Ground Zero Mosque before the Landmarks Preservation Commission had an opportunity to evaluate the project for themselves. Of course since the members are appointed by the mayor, there may not have been a good chance of an independent ruling but one should at least give committees the benefit of the doubt. That was precluded once Bloomberg, posed before the Statue of Liberty, proclaimed with maximum fanfare that building the mosque precisely at its Ground Zero location was essential for the preservation of the values American hold true. He added that contrary popular opinion could only be interpreted as religious bigotry against Muslims. As expected, the Landmarks Commission found no redeeming landmark status in 45 Park Place, the Italian Renaissance Palazzo built in the 1850’s and bought by Muslims to serve as the Cordoba Mosque.
My piece on of how well-meaning efforts to use the Holocaust as an object lesson in moral education makes us tactically vulnerable to the “totalitarian temptation” of dictators like Castro - as poor Jeffrey Goldberg was in Havana recently - and is now making the morale of democratic countries like the US, Israel and Britain strategically vulnerable to a concerted leftwing campaign to delegitimize our defense against deadly enemies.
It’s Christmastime, which is a time for joy and celebration—and for stepped up Islamic terror plots against the United States. Last Christmas Day, a Nigerian Muslim tried to detonate an explosive in his skivvies onboard an aircraft that would have rained down 300 dead bodies over Detroit. Terrorist chatter always increases this time of year. Everybody knows it.
President Obama has found a new way to deal with the difficult political situation he is facing as a result of the midterm elections. He recently unveiled a major policy move that cannot be easily boxed in as left or right, and hence serves his tendency to seek common ground. However, unlike previous moves, it does not seek to do so by splitting the difference or compromising. When this was done, as is all too clear in the case of the tax bill, the GOP got all they wanted and the Democrats got rather little. (A two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts costing $544 billion over the next two years, and – for the richest of the rich—a very low tax on estates —in “exchange” mainly for a 13-month long extension of unemployment benefits, of an estimated value of $56 billion). This time, President Obama is calling for a major tax reform that would greatly simplify the code, close many loopholes, and thus allow reducing the rate without increasing the deficit.
The results of the 2010 Census are in, and as of April 1, the official population of the United States was 308,745,538. Over the past decade, we grew by 9.7%, slower than the 13.2% growth rate of the previous decade. But the growth didn’t happen equally across America. Some parts of the country lost people; other parts gained them. Interestingly, deep blue (that is, heavily taxed and unionized) states lost big numbers of folks. Red states picked them up. This means that when congressional districts are reapportioned based on the new population numbers, GOP-leaning states will pick up more seats. According to the Associated Press:
ESPN is trumpeting their new toy. “UConn Women chasing history! One more game and they pass UCLA’s 88 game winning streak!” I have seen absurdity in my lifetime but this ranks at the top of the heap. Women breaking a MEN’S record? Please. There is no basketball record here. Nothing that is recognized by a legitmate and documented sports data base. This is a contrived record initiated and promoted by the basketball media, spearheaded by its favorite prostitute, ESPN.
The toy collection of Malcolm Forbes was auctioned off Friday in New York City. Toy boats, mostly, glorious pre-World War I dreadnaughts, their decks festooned with flags and turrets, and triple-stacked ocean liners with clockwork mechanisms.
Poor Youtube editors they just cannot get their act together. Not only have they emerged as a prime outlet for Jihadi propaganda but they have repeatedly fallen into the trap of identifying hate speech exposure with hate speech. They ask readers to flag entries they consider offensive and then fall into the trap set for them by those who wish to limit the audience of their hate speech. In October it suspended the translated video clips posted by MEMRI, The Media Middle East Research Institute. It has since realized its mistake and not only instituted the account. Now they have made the same mistake and canceled the account of the Palestinian Media Watch. Itamar Marcus writes
Two different representations of American college girls have made their respective impressions in the media recently. One is in the movie Tiny Furniture, created entirely by Lena Dunham and acted by her and some family members along with other actors. This is a movie that has been generally acclaimed and apparently stimulated interest by HBO for a series to be written by Ms. Dunham and produced by Hollywood’s Judd Apatow. The protagonist of the movie, played by Ms. Dunham, is a just-graduated young woman leaving the cocoon of college and returning to her family with no concrete plans for the future, no boyfriend and a heightened sense of entitlement in place of a sense of reality. Aura, as she is called, is a plain Jane, overweight exhibitionist whose sense of daring is first manifested by her willingness to show us her chubby thighs and cascading midriff. That’s hardly a shocker nowadays when plump girls are finally on t.v. ads for Playtex bras and in numerous sit-coms where their size is not their only talent. As the movie progresses, we witness a series of domestic scenes in which Aura regresses not to adolescence but to genuinely infantile behavior such as knocking things off a kitchen counter and crawling into bed with “mommy,” played by Dunham’s real-life mother, a sophisticated, successful artist in fact and film. The squabbles with her younger, taller and ostensibly brighter sister descend to the level of pre-pubescent tantrums and her relationship with her childhood friend is characterized by a flood of “omigods” and stereotypical valley-speak. Though this is both dull and insipid, it’s not the worst offense the movie has to offer. In a climactic scene, Aura has unprotected, robotic sex with a guy who has a live-in girlfriend; they each avow that they don’t have AIDS or herpes and proceed without a condom inside a vacant pipe on a desolate street. Aura later confesses this to her mother who barely reacts except to suggest that Aura take better care of herself. What’s most troubling about this movie is that Aura’s increasingly aberrant behavior is seen as a sociological comment instead of a sign of psychological disturbance. Somehow, we are meant to see her as a budding artist constrained by a society where her size and aptitudes preclude an easy fit. Though this might have been the case in Kansas some generations ago, it’s both bogus and risible in the wealthy lofts of Tribeca and the movie remains a sophomoric attempt to epater le bourgeois.
To understand one of the major reasons for American economic decline, one has to come to terms with the dangerous appeasement policies practiced by those amongst the American governing class known as “reasonable moderates.” It is an appeasement policy based on the arrogant assumption that America is so rich and its democratic system so invulnerable that it can afford to pay any price to buy off vocal minorities opposed to democratic capitalism. Amazingly, the obvious recent difficulties of the American economy caused them no second thoughts as demonstrated by recent waste laden compromise tax bill and the Fed’s insistence on continuing with the already failed policy of quantitative easing.
Every boy growing up throwing a baseball dreams of being the pitcher whose blazing fastball can strike out any hitter. Cub fans are familiar with young phenoms with great fastballs, just as they are accustomed to the disappointment those phenoms bring. 20 year-old rookie Kerry Wood threw a one-hitter, tying the single game strikeout record with 20. Gone now from Chicago following Tommy John elbow surgery, Wood was last spotted in the Yankees’ bullpen in New York. Mark Prior, his erstwhile teammate and fellow phenom, dominated the National League when young. In the notorious year of Bartman, he brought the Cubs tantalizingly close to the World Series. Following injuries, Prior is now a distant memory, out of baseball.
The Economist argues that the “best card in a bad hand”—the one the U.S. holds—is to get China to reign in North Korea. Indeed, American pleading seems to have convinced Beijing to coax North Korea some. However, a much stronger effect might be achieved if the U.S. addressed China’s core interests in the matter.