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Friday, August 29, 2014

Cruising the Web

Gosh, Obama sure makes it look like amateur hour, doesn't he? All those aides who had to scramble to try to say that Obama really does have a strategy for going after ISIS and didn't mean to say what he actually said must be wondering why they let him go out there without a teleprompter. So he finally decided to be the most transparent president ever and tell everyone in the world that, despite all that ISIS has been doing all summer, he doesn't have a strategy yet. But maybe he'll get one soon right after the fundraisers that he has for this weekend. Who would expect him to have made sure his security advisers kept working on it even while he was on vacation for a few weeks.

I mean it's not as if the White House wasn't warned about the growing threat that ISIS represented for four years even while the President was describing them as the JV team of terrorism just a few months ago. Oh, wait.

And then he threw Ukraine under the bus all the while saying that Putin was weaker now because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Huh? Has Obama missed out on what is happening right now in Ukraine? Charles Krauthammer expresses some well-earned derision towards that fatuity.
But even worse than the president’s statement that he had no strategy to defeat the Islamic State, Krauthammer said, was his comment about Ukraine. Krauthammer summarized Obama’s comment on his strategy in Ukraine by saying Obama acknowledged that he had a strategy in Ukraine, which was “to do absolutely nothing.”

“He basically said, “We’re going to do nothing. I’ll wait until I chat with the allies next week.” I thought he had a phone,” Krauthammer said. “How about picking up the phone and talking with the allies? You know the phone is a way to communicate rather rapidly.”
Mollie Hemingway points out that the really significant statement coming from Obama was that it wasn't our policy to defeat ISIS, but just to reverse their gains in Iraq.

But apparently, all that people cared about from his press conference was that he was wearing a dang ugly suit. Hey, the world is falling apart so it's obviously time to discuss the President's suit.

We're now learning terrible stories about mass rapes of children in Rotherham in England. The stories are absolutely horrifying.
It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
As Ian Tuttle summarizes the story, the numbers over the past decade and a half of children being sexually exploited are astounding. And the authorities did nothing about it because the men were Pakistani.
An estimated 1,400 children were victims of child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, according to an independent inquiry commissioned last fall by Rotherham’s Metropolitan Borough Council. But because the perpetrators were overwhelmingly “Asian” — for the most part, Muslim men from Pakistan — local authorities, from social-services managers to law enforcement, regularly neglected reports of rape, assault, and sex trafficking for fear of being deemed racist.

Today, a U.K. newspaper illustrates in ghastly detail what young girls in Rotherham have faced for nearly two decades. The Mirror reports that a Rotherham teenager, “Emma,” was raped daily for two years and subjected to a mock execution. When she went to the police with the names of 250 of her attackers, law enforcement did nothing.
I guess that is the sort of war on women that feminists don't care so much about since it can't be blamed on Republicans. And then there is the whole problem of not wanting to single out a single ethnic group and sound politically incorrect. As Andrew McCarthy writes, this is the type of flabby cowardice that allows such horrific behavior to continue. And the use of rape as a tool of jihadist terror is growing more common. They're told by their leaders that the women deserve it because they're not wearing the proper headdresses and clothes, but that doesn't matter since they're raping young girls in their own communities. And European governments seem helpless before it.

And then there is this story of Muslim men breaking into a convent in Bangladesh to attack and rape the nuns there
who had devoted their lives to helping poor Muslims in that country.

Behavior such as we've seen with ISIS, Russian invading Ukraine, or these stories about rapes in Rotherham tell us that evil truly does exist in this world. And, as Noemie Emery writes, we are seeing a real world refutation of Obama's vision of a world when all he had to do was reach out to our nation's enemies and be the unBush and all would be well.
We don’t have Middle East chaos despite the fact that "restraint" is his policy. We have it as the result. The more Obama retreats from forcible measures, the more force pursues him. The harder he tries to avoid the suggestion of violence, the more people horribly die.

Six years after Obama's historic transformation of just about everything, he has proven his antagonists right in their major assumptions: Evil exists, not in a relative manner, and cannot be reasoned with.
And don't assume that we're safe here in the United States. We already have had murderous jihadist terrorism on our soil since 9/11 even though the Obama administration classified it as workplace violence. Remember the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people and injured more than 30 while shouting "Allahu Akbar"? Well, it seems that he sees something he likes in ISIS and has requested that he be allowed to "be made a citizen of the Islamic State." But that was just simple "Workplace violence." Nothing to see there, move along.

But of course. Eric Holder's Justice department negotiated a $17 billion settlement with Bank of America and a part of the deal was to create a slush form for Democratic activist groups. IBD writes,
All told, Holder has shaken down the nation's largest banks for a whopping $128 billion, more than a 10th of a trillion dollars, and counting. Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo are reportedly in talks with Justice to settle additional mortgage cases.
In effect, lenders are bankrolling the same parasites that bled them for the risky loans that caused the mortgage crisis. With new cash, they can ramp back up their shakedown campaign, repeating the cycle of dangerous political lending that wrecked the economy.

These settlements have little, if anything, to do with "justice" or restitution for innocent victims. In its 30-page "statement of facts," Justice couldn't provide a single shred of evidence of fraud against BofA. Nor could it ID a single "victim" by name.

The attorney general is actually perverting justice by extorting billions of dollars from the largest banks in the country and giving it away to the president's political friends and favorite political causes.
Just part of the corruption that Eric Holder has brought to the Justice Department as detailed by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky in their comprehensive book, Obama's Enforcer: Eric Holder's Justice Department. They paint a dismaying picture of how Holder has not only corrupted the department but installed people of his ilk in career positions so they'll be there perverting justice long after Eric Holder and Barack Obama are no longer in power.

Oh, how quaint. It seems that Senator Mary Landrieu doesn't actually live in Louisiana. She claims to live in her parents' home but the neighbors have never seen her there. Mary Katharine Ham does find one benefit of this arrangement for Landrieu.
On the upside, Landrieu could certainly argue she better understands the hardships of the Obama economy because she’s living in her parents’ basement.

The Republicans are now claiming that they finally, really, actually do have a state-of-the-art get-out-the-vote program that will rival the Democratic one that killed GOP efforts in the past two presidential elections. The proof will be in the electoral pudding, but I'll hold off on congratulations until we see how it operates in 2016.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cruising the Web

Congratulations to the school where I teach which was ranked 15th in the South and 20th nationally by the Daily Beast based on data from the Department of Education. I have felt very lucky to teach at a school with such a thoughtful and caring administration and faculty. And the students are just lovely. I still look forward to every day at work even though it's exhausting.

And this is no surprise: "Charter schools spend less than public schools, but achieve better results." I can certainly testify that this is true of my school:
Why are charters so cost-effective and productive? “It appears to be likely that much of the basis for the higher productivity of public charter schools rests on the fact that they receive less funding and therefore are highly disciplined in their use of those education dollars,” the authors surmise.

“Our analysis indicates that charter schools are consistently more productive than traditional public schools across both cost effectiveness and return on investment calculations for all the states in the study,” Wolf and his coauthors conclude.
For example, several years ago, we decided to buy a building instead of renting our location. North Carolina doesn't give us money for our infrastructure so we have to pay for our building out of our per student allotment. We finally found an ideal location but it needed to be rebuilt from the studs up to be changed from an office building into a school. In order to save money, we depended on parent, student, and faculty volunteers to paint the new building and move us from our old building. Over a couple of days with dozens of volunteers, we moved all the furniture and boxes from the old to the new building. All our furniture is either donated or bought used. And we do just fine. My students don't suffer from using tables and chairs that came from a regular public high school library that was remodeling. We don't need spiffy furniture or professional painters and movers when we have good sweat equity from our own students and families. And everyone felt they had a much deeper stake in our school because they had been involved in bringing it to life. How many regular public schools can say that?

Liz Sheld points to this disturbing result from Pew Research when respondents were asked about libertarians: When asked "Which of these terms best describes someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government?" 57% knew the answer was Libertarian, but 6% thought it was Authoritarian and 20% thought it meant Progressive. It demonstrates that a significant portion of the American populace doesn't know much about politics. Candidates need to campaign on what they believe and stay away from labels since so many people don't understand what the labels mean.

Jeffrey Goldberg writes about the disturbing increases in anti-Semitism in Europe. He talks about a local grocery store that was targeted by protesters calling for a boycott of Israeli-made goods. So the manager emptied out the kosher food section. As Goldberg writes, this indicates that anti-Israeli feeling is conflated with anti-Jewish sentiments.
And yet, the Sainsbury’s incident is disturbing not so much for what it says about the nature of European anti-Israelism, but for what it says about the broader response within Europe to forces of intolerance and hatred. Employees of the Sainsbury’s branch in central London seemed to have understood, based on an accurate reading of recent events, that anti-Israel activists posed a threat to their store, and perhaps to their own physical well-being. And so the manager made a decision to surrender to the mob and engage in what could only be called an act of self-preservational, but objectively anti-Semitic, preemption.

Cowering of this sort is a sign that a country is losing the ability to stand for the values it professes to maintain. In the U.K., it is also a sign that a society hasn’t fully grappled with the radical intolerance exhibited by some of its citizens.

The Sainsbury's incident happened in the same city in which recruiters for Islamic State, the too-radical-for-al-Qaeda group that executed American photojournalist James Foley, have been seen openly passing out propaganda. It happened in the same place where what appeared to be a jihadist flag flew outside a housing estate. As many as 1,500 Britons are apparently fighting for Islamic State's cause. There are said to be more British Muslims fighting on behalf of Islamic State than for the U.K.'s military. Foley’s executioner, currently the world’s most infamous terrorist, is widely believed to be a British subject.
It's these casual surrenders to anti-Semitic intimidation that have brought Europe to the frightening position it is now as we can see from the blog "The New Antisemite" which seeks to cover "Jew hatred in Europe, one isolated incident at a time." Seeing incident after incident around all of Europe is so very discouraging.

David Harsanyi ridicules how liberals were freaking out at the thought that Burger King might merge with a Canadian company and base its HQ there in order to gain the benefit of Canada's lower corporate tax rates. First of all, Burger King is owned by a Brazilian company. So why haven't people freaked out about that? And people shop for quality and price, not on the basis of where the company HQ is located.
It’s doubtful there will be much of a real backlash despite much wishful thinking. Most obviously, the majority of fast food customers are probably less inclined than the editors of the New Republic or the petitioners of to mistake high tax rates with patriotism. This kind of distorted understanding of national loyalty may work in populist politics, but not so much in markets. Few reasonable humans will meditate on Burger King’s corporate tax “inversion” or its fiduciary duty to stockholders – or even its Brazilian owners – as they wait for the frozen French Fries to be dropped into the deep fryer.

Nor should they. The four best selling cars in America so far in 2014 are the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla. One of the best-selling cell phones brands is South Korean. And so on. Does a Whopper taste like a Whopper? That’s all that matters. And it’s all that should. Nothing really changes for the consumer.

Josh Kraushaar travels to Minnesota to try to ask Al Franken questions as Franken runs for reelection. It's not easy.

Obamacare - death by a thousand rate hikes.

So will Obama sacrifice red-state Democrats in order to appease those in his parties demanding he take executive action on immigration? But at least he's given those Democrats running for reelection an opportunity to separate themselves from his policies. Or maybe the hope is that the GOP will shoot themselves in their collective feet by their reaction to whatever the President decides to do.

The federal government is trying to convince us that it really isn't all that unreasonably expensive to try to live in San Francisco or New York City.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cruising the Web

Professors at my alma mater, GWU, staged a rebellion for the right to tell kids that they could buy textbooks cheaper online.

Here's a cool invention from NC State researchers to help women identify drinks laced with the date rape drug. But, for some reason, several liberals are against it. They don't want males to market something to prevent date. Figure that one out.

Well, of course the media have a double standard in how they approach telling the stories of victims killed by the police. Without double standards, they'd have no standards at all.

Can a New Hampshire politician survive if she refuses to do town hall meetings? Isn't that kinda rejecting the culture of the state?

Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of how much of what is now criticized about President Obama today was clear back before he was ever elected president.
The antidote to the great madness of 2008 would have been, instead of focusing on what Obama claimed or hedged, simply to recall what he had done before he ran for president and to notice what he did during the campaign. Had America done that, there would never have been a President Obama to surprise us now.

The racial animosity characterized by Obama’s editorializing about Skip Gates, Trayvon Martin, and, now, the Ferguson, Mo., hysteria, or his call to Latinos to “punish our enemies,” or the tenure of Eric Holder is simply a continuation of 2008’s “typical white person,” the clingers speech, Michelle Obama’s America as “just downright mean,” “They raise the bar,” and “For the first time . . . I’m really proud of my country” commentaries, and of Obama’s earlier boast that he never missed services at the Trinity Church of the hate-mongering and anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright. If Obama had not proved to be a racial divider, we should have been surprised — given what we learned of his past in 2008. After all, it’s from Jeremiah Wright that Barack Obama got the title for his campaign brief, “The Audacity of Hope.”

We are now shocked at the current spate of alphabetic scandals — IRS, AP, NSA, VA. But why are we surprised, given that Obama never told the truth about his relationships with the old terrorist Bill Ayers and former PLO ad hoc spokesman Rashid Khalidi, or about the creepy land deal with the crook Tony Rezko? If the Obama White House demonized the Tea Party as tea-baggers, or compared the Republican House opposition to terrorists and arsonists, why should we be astonished, given how he was elected to the U.S. Senate? Quite mysteriously, his primary opponent, Blair Hull, and his general-election opponent, Jack Ryan, both of whom were favored to win, had their confidential divorce records leaked. Their campaigns subsequently imploded.

Obama has played fast and loose with ethical rules, from promoting crony capitalists to attending near-constant fundraisers among the pay-to-play 0.0001 percent. Again, why should we be surprised, given that he was the first presidential candidate who refused in a general election to accept federal campaign financing, with its accompanying rules curbing mega-fundraising? Obama was the largest recipient of Goldman Sachs donations in the company’s history, and raised more cash in 2008 and 2012 than any other presidential candidate in history.

We are terrified of the chaos that is spreading across the world: Egypt, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Putin’s Russia, and the Chinese–Japanese tensions. But was there any evidence in 2008 that rookie senator Obama had any foreign-policy experience or even knowledge of the world beyond Chicago, other than as a boy in Indonesia or a teen on a jaunt with buddies to Pakistan? We knew in 2008 that his opportunistic trashing of Guantánamo, renditions, tribunals, drones, and preventive detention was permitted only by the fact that the Bush–Cheney protocols he was criticizing had prevented another 9/11-like attack — and thus gave him the leeway of easy second-guessing. If we are now worried about Obama’s equivocation, there was plenty of evidence, as Hillary Clinton pointed out in 2008, that Obama as a state legislator had voted “Present” as a matter of habit.

Polarization? Partisanship? The National Journal warned us in 2008 that Obama was the most partisan of the 100 U.S. senators. Did we assume that he would revert to something that he never had been?

Critics are angry that Obama seems disengaged, or that as a man of the people he is inordinately obsessed with golf, a sport that the Left used to despise as a fixation of the rich in their lime-green pants and bright pink polo shirts. But again, can we point to any landmark legislation that Obama accomplished as a state legislator or U.S. senator? Was not Obama golfing during the 2008 campaign?
Read the rest. All that conservatives had warned about Barack Obama back in 2008 is now being borne out and so many in the political world act as if this is something new or as if he's changed and lost his mojo. This was always who he was. But people were too drunk on the fairy dust that made them think that this man was some sort of savior for the country.

matthew Kaminski looks at the historical parallels in how Europe treated the partition and subjugation of Poland in the 19th century and to how Ukraine is being treated today.

Now this is truly impressive.

Another Obamacare website not working. Shocking, isn't it?

is this what feminism has come to - panting in excitement over Beyoncé humping and bumping during a song about all sorts of sex, but doing it in front of the word "feminism" while getting panties all in a twist about Sofia Vergara on a turntable? How ridiculous is all this? Apparently some women thought Bey's VMA performance was "one of the most powerful pop-culture messages" imaginable. And women are getting enslaved and murdered in the Middle East and feminists can't be bothered.

did you know that whites and other non-native races are being banned from registering and voting in a plebiscite in Guam? And, of course, the Holder Justice Department doesn't care.

The IRS scandal keeps growing scandals on top of scandals. It's hard to keep track. At some point, incompetence becomes an insufficient explanation.

I give full-throated cheers for these Hollywood stars.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cruising the Web

Oh, what a surprise - the DOJ is now saying, oops, those Lois Lerner emails haven't disappeared after all. Just as so many people said must be true, there is a back-up system so those emails all exist. But the Justice Department is whining about how inconvenient it will be to access those emails. So what's the use of a back-up system if the government can't access the emails it has backed up?

Michael Barone reaches back to Elihu Root for some good advice.
“About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.” So supposedly said Elihu Root, New York lawyer and secretary of war and of state, and U.S. senator from 1909 to 1915.

Today it seems that many liberal “would-be clients” are in desperate need of what Root called “a decent lawyer.”

This explains how the diaspora from blue states has helped Democrats do better in red states, ironically voting for the politicians who would enact the sorts of policies that made their original blue states so desirable to leave.

Noemie Emery looks at the excuses that liberals make for Obama.
The reasons offered for why bad things aren’t his doing fall into three different categories: (1) The system is broken, the country is polarized, and the Republicans have become too insane to deal with; (2) stuff happens, and no one at all can do much about it; and (3) people think that the president ought to be Superman and solve all their problems, which is really expecting too much. As Joshua Keating wrote on July 21 in Slate: “There’s a tendency to judge U.S. foreign policy on the condition of the world at any given moment rather than the success of actual actions taken,” as if the condition and the actions can have no conceivable link.
She then goes through each excuse and demonstrates how lame they all are. But these are the sorts of excuses that are trotted out for Democratic presidents and buried away when the president is a Republican.

Bryan Preston details the eight times that Democrats have "used court shenanigans against Republicans they couldn't beat at the ballot box."

William A. Jacobson explains perhaps the worst of these examples of how Democrats drummed up phony charges for something that wasn't even illegal to go after supporters of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. As Jacobson writes, "We are in a dangerous place when prosecutors can identify the target first, and then try to find a crime."

Michelle Nunn refuses to tell Georgians whether or not she'd vote for Harry Reid for Senate Majority Leader if she were elected. Should voters really have to buy a pig in a poke? Why won't she tell them? And would it matter if she did? As the Washington Post's Jaime Fuller writes, this is very silly since the vote for leader will be in secret so she can continue to keep her vote secret. And it doesn't matter how she votes; if elected, that takes a vote away from Mitch McConnell which would help Reid get elected. And Harry Reid doesn't seem too worried about her support since his leadership PAC donated $10,000 to Nunn.

How typical. One of the representatives that Obama sent to the Michael Brown funeral is one of his get-out-the-vote operatives. Because nothing says true sympathy in a time of grief like exploiting it for electoral positions.

John Hinderaker points to something I'd been wondering about. Why haven't we heard Officer Wilson's side of what happened with Michael Brown? There have been leaks and comments from his friends, but nothing from either the police department or his lawyer. Usually a lawyer would be out there defending his client and at least hinting that there was another side of the story.

Quin Hilyer notes that two proposals that conservatives have long backed are responsible for greatly reducing Israeli vulnerability from terrorist attacks.
Despite enduring thousands of Hamas rockets in the past ten weeks, the whole of Israel is far safer now than it was a decade ago, and safer than many American cities. Indeed, two initiatives long favored by American conservatives, namely missile defense and a border fence, have made the current unpleasantness with Hamas little more than an unfortunate distraction from the true existential threat, which is Iranian nukes.

Oh, the pain of having to appear in the same place that President Obama will be speaking if you're a Democrat facing a tough reelection campaign.

Well, it looks like we won't be having voting in January for the 2016 nomination. It's cute how every four years they tinker with the calendar to get the supposedly ideal schedule.

Do we really need the federal government to create a database to track hate speech and "misinformation" on Twitter? And who decides what is misinformation?