Saturday, December 31, 2011

Diana West:
Freedom of speech no longer exists in Austria, as definitively proven by the Vienna high court. This week, a judge upheld the conviction against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff on the following charge: "denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion." In simplest terms, this means that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff speaks the truth about Islam, and in Austria, as in other nations across the Western world currently transitioning to sharia (Islamic law), speaking the truth about Islam is not tolerated, and, more and more, is against the law. . . .

Where, exactly, does this leave all of the rest of us in that community of nations whose calendars, despite the press of Islamization, still culminate in Christmas? I offer in response a clarifying quotation . . . from Afshin Ellian, a Dutch columnist, law professor, and professor . . . who in 1983 fled Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution in Iran.

In early 2010, Ellian, commenting on the trial of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders for allegedly anti-Islamic statements, had this to say:

"If you cannot say that Islam is a backward religion and that Muhammad is a criminal, then you are living in an Islamic country, my friend, because there you also cannot say such things. I may say Christ was a fag and Mary was a whore, but apparently I should stay off of Muhammad."

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nice understatement from Max Boot, on Obama's use of drone attacks:
The fact that a liberal Democratic commander-in-chief is ordering such strikes gives them political and legal insulation that they may not necessarily enjoy in future administrations.

Monday, December 26, 2011

From where he stood he could see the girl plainly, and she was, he tells me, the absolute ultimate word, the last bubbling cry. She could not have looked better to him if he had drawn up the specifications personally.
P. G. Wodehouse, "Trouble Down at Tudsleigh" (in Young Men in Spats)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Excellent short post from Frederick Kagan on Iraq:
“End this war” was never a policy, still less a strategy. The president has accomplished that campaign promise. Now he must face an even harder question: What is our strategy for pursuing and achieving our vital national security interests and objectives in Iraq in the absence of a military presence? So far, the silence from the White House on that issue—apart from bromides about economic activities and friendship—has been deafening.
One immediate concern voiced by Charles Krauthammer:
[W]e are now going to have 16,000 people in the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. . . . And without our own military for protection, do we really want that many Americans out there relying on protection of others? I think they’re going to be sitting ducks.
Let's hope he's wrong.
Definitely worth bragging about:
Hamas celebrated its 24th anniversary this week, and like any organization, it used the occasion to issue a press release detailing its achievements. So here, according to its own press release, are what Hamas considers its most notable achievements: It has killed 1,365 Israelis and wounded 6,411 since 1987. It has carried out 1,117 attacks on Israel, including 87 suicide bombings, and fired 11,093 rockets at Israel.

Friday, December 16, 2011

From the introduction to "Dave Barry’s Gift Guide" for 2011:
The holiday season is a time of traditions. Here in America, the most popular holiday tradition, observed by millions, is to celebrate the birth of Jesus by going to a Walmart at 4 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving and getting into fistfights over steeply discounted TV sets.
But many other nations around the world have equally colorful holiday traditions of their own. For example:

In Spain, on Christmas Eve, children traditionally fill their parents’ best shoes with yogurt, then hide in the woods for two to three weeks.

In Austria, instead of Santa Claus they have “Father Wurmwerfer” — a man dressed in a duck costume who rides a unicycle around tossing earthworms to everyone he sees. Legend has it that if you catch one, you will soon wash your hands.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Charles Krauthammer:
In Kansas, Obama lamented that millions “are now forced to take their children to food banks.” You have to admire the audacity. That’s the kind of damning observation the opposition brings up when you’ve been in office three years. Yet Obama summoned it to make the case for his reelection!
This week's Goldberg File (named for its author, Jonah "Goldberg" File)* is exceptionally good. I'll post a long excerpt from it because 1) the excerpted passage deserves wide distribution, 2) it might induce readers to subscribe (free) to Goldberg's newsletter, and 3) it's way better than anything I could write.
The reviews from Obama's Kansas speech are in. People who heard what they wanted to hear loved it. Everyone else . . . eh, not so much.

The consensus among those who loved it was that Obama has finally "found his voice." Here's the
Newark Star Ledger: "In Kansas, Obama finally found his voice to make that case." By the way, the "case" the editors are referring to is the same case we've heard for a long time: spend piles more money on education, infrastructure, etc., and tax the wealthy to pay for it. You know, the same "new ideas" liberals have been touting for more than ten decades now.

Howard Gleckman -- yes, that Howard Gleckman! -- of the Urban Institute agrees that Obama has found his voice. He tells
Politico, "It is hard for me to believe Republicans are still making a fight of this. This is a total political loser for them. President Obama has finally found his voice on this. It is even hard for Democrats to screw this up."

Yes, absolutely! Now that Obama has found his voice, it's like he's found the One Ring to Rule Them All and nothing can stand in his way!

Tom Brokaw -- who, as we all know, spends his days slipping sawbucks to his vast network of shoeshine boys, newspaper hawkers, drifters down at the docks, soda jerks, and other snitches to keep his finger on the nation's pulse -- saw all this coming. He said on
Meet the Press way back on October 30, "I think he's beginning to find his voice. For the last nine months or so we have not known which Obama would show up from week to week. Now they seem to be on track to what the campaign strategy is going to be." So that was it. After all, Brokaw is always the first to spot a political trend. I believe it was just days after the Tet Offensive that he was saying how public opinion was moving against the Vietnam War.

But . . . whoah, what's this?
U.S. News on September 20, 2011: "Obama appears to have finally found his voice in terms of dealing forcefully with the Republicans."

And it appears that
U.S. News was simply echoing the Washington Blade, which proclaimed in a headline five days earlier: "President Obama finally finds his voice." That blade cuts deep!

Now, hold on, this is strange. Margaret Carlson announced in
Businessweek in April that "Obama Finds His Voice on Cuts That Matter."

April? Feh! Historian H. W. Brands noted that Obama had located his political chi back in January, after his speech in Tucson. "Barack Obama has found his voice again," he announced on CNN.com.

This is getting ridiculous. Maybe Michelle should pin Obama's voice to his sleeves like a little kid's mittens, because that guy apparently loses his voice more than Jon Corzine loses billions of dollars.

On October 26, 2010, the
Washington Post, reported that "in the final weeks leading up to Election Day, Obama has found his voice." This voice was going to turn around the midterms -- you know, the ones that turned out to be an electoral hot-tea enema that psephologists are still marveling at and which even Obama conceded was a "shellacking." Ah, yes, but as Alec Baldwin might say, "Imagine how much worse the shellacking would have been if he hadn't found his voice."

More than a month earlier, Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute was sure that Obama had already found his voice. On September 24, 2010, he proclaimed: "Obama Finds His Voice -- And America's." Twelve days earlier, the
St. Petersburg Times spotted the same trend. "President Barack Obama found his voice last week," the editors insisted. "In a speech in Cleveland and at a news conference Friday, he fought back against Republican demands to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts and resisted election-year pandering to antsy voters."

I mean, who among us can forget Obama's famous Cleveland Speech? Barely an hour passes on cable news without someone referencing that watershed moment in American politics.

But that's not where the trail begins in the hunt for Obama's voice. "So Julie," NPR host Jackie Lyden began a conversation with health-care reporter Julie Rovner, "a lot of people are saying Barack Obama has found his voice on [Obamacare], quite a shift in strategy."

Who was saying that? Susan Estrich, for one! "Democrats like me steeled ourselves for the bloodbath to come, wondering only how truly bad it would be," Estrich wrote twelve days earlier. "But something seems to be happening on the way to disaster: Barack Obama has found his voice again."

Okay, you get it already. All this represents a fraction of a fraction of the times the press and liberal pundits have proclaimed Obama has "found his voice." (I didn't even include David Gergen's bold proclamations in this regard!) It's amazing how hearing what you want to hear amounts to proclaiming everyone else has heard the same thing.
*Yes, I borrowed that joke from Dave Barry. I have excellent taste and little shame.

Friday, December 9, 2011

John Derbyshire:
A liberal is always a totalitarian at heart, though half of them don’t know it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mark Steyn:
In 1975, Milton Friedman said this: “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

Just so. Every time Barack Obama stands at his teleprompter and is forced to pretend that he’s interested in deficit reduction, we have taken a step toward that Milton Friedman reality. You have to create the conditions, as the Tea Party and the town hall meetings did, whereby the wrong people are forced to do the right things.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mark Steyn:
We have got used to the fact that Egypt is now a land without Jews. Soon it will be a land without Copts. We’ll get used to that, too.
Andrew Ferguson:
Reporters and columnists who cover business may be the most ideologically motivated journalists in any large newsroom. Various explanations have been advanced for why this is so. One possibility is envy: If you’re of a certain cast of mind, few experiences are more embittering than watching people who are dumber and less sophisticated than you make a lot more money. Whatever its cause, we shouldn’t question the hostility that most business reporters express toward buying, selling, marketing, investing, and every other underregulated activity that a businessman uses to create wealth that the reporters can’t get their hands on.