January 01, 2010

IN SILENCE



We will never know who these "CIA employees" were who were killed in Afghanistan.  They will never be publicly recognized.  Their families will not be openly lauded for their sacrifice.

They served in silence and have died in silence.

But I am thinking about them today, and silently thanking them for their service to our country.

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December 16, 2009

PAGING HEALTH CZAR STARNES

(Via Bookworm Room)  Zombie has a good post up about why universal health care is bad for us...morally and socially.  His gist: "it turns each of us into a little fascist. A nagging nanny who tells other people what to do and how to live."

The fictionalized version of his post is the tale of the Twentieth Century Motor Company, of course.

And someday, someone in our new American health care system is gonna smash in Millie Bush's teeth too...

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December 13, 2009

SYNOVA IS DEAD ON

Althouse has a post about how CNN seems to have a broken English-to-English translator.  In the comments was this gem from Synova.  (I am copying the whole perfect comment because I can never get Althouse's permalinks to jump down to the right comment.)

In Iraq they did not *accidentally* wait until American soldiers were surrounded by Muslim children to attack them. And then, without irony, they *themselves* say that those children would not have died if the Americans were not there.

Then someone like Wright explains that the violence would not have happened if the Americans were not there.

Here's a clue.

The enemy knows what they are doing.

They are not simple or child-like brown people who don't know better or who are being tossed, to and fro, by events that are beyond them.

They may or may not believe their own propaganda, but they do understand psychological warfare and engineer the massacre of children with the explicit knowledge and understanding of just *how* they can jerk *our* chains.

So... "We are sorry that there are dead Muslims, that we shot into a crowd of them, that we planted IED's, that we blew up that Mosque, that we were forced to go through your village and dispense justice and left the bodies in the street to be found."

And the thing is... America and the West has NOTHING to combat this with because we simply refuse to do so. We have no one who's job it is to broadcast our side of the story, to put the information out there over and over that by far the most Muslims killed are not killed by us but are killed by those we are fighting. And it's the truth! It's the truth, so why doesn't our media push it voluntarily? Why don't they make certain that every person knows the atrocities committed by Muslims on other Muslims. Why don't they?

When we have found and documented rooms with shackles and blood on the walls...

The response to a dead and *gutted* woman in Iraq who had spent her life working to help people there was an insipid "oh, dear" followed by... "but they made a prisoner at Gitmo look at pornography."

The response to butchered and defiled Americans was "screw them". The response to defiled, dismembered and tortured to *death* American soldiers was "OMGAWD we poured water on someone's FACE!"

Someone is enabling this sort of thing, abetting, and participating.

And AQ is *sorry* that Muslims asked for it, oh well... lets blow up more Muslim kids and blame it on America.

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December 02, 2009

TERRORISM THAT'S PERSONAL

When I was 21, a boy asked me to marry him.  He wasn't the right person for me, and I had to politely decline the surprising offer.  I'm sure it hurt his feelings, but that was the extent of it.

And that's what I thought of when I saw Terrorism That's Personal.  (Warning: graphic content that will make you cry.)  No one threw acid on me or tried to kill me.

I was allowed to not marry him.

Many women in this world are not allowed to make that choice.  Or when they do make that choice, they must live with the consequences of wanting some control over their own lives.  Blindness, disfigurement, even death.

My heart is sick for these women.

(via Cass)

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December 01, 2009

GLOBAL WARMING FLOW CHARTS

There's a good post at The Devil's Kitchen (via The Corner) with flow charts explaining how we ought to make decisions on global warming vs how we do. I have debated this with real-world friends and have always tried to steer it towards the Ought flow chart, but it always ends up skipping right ahead to the "We're all going to die" box. Laymen, especially quasi-treehuggers, don't want to talk about cost-benefit analysis; I've been told that we need to err on the side of caution and try to prevent climate change from happening no matter the cost because it's For The Children™.  And even when I try to play Bjorn Lomborg, as I've said I always try to do to concede some ground in the debate, and say that there are things we can do to save The Children right now instead of in 100 years, it never seems to have much effect.

If anything, Climategate can at least give me another talking point to get us off the bozo flow chart and back onto the Ought one.  The science is most certainly not settled, so any decisions you make For The Children based on the "consensus" are flawed.

But what do I know, I don't even recycle.

UPDATE:

Slightly related, I enjoyed this comment on Althouse's post (via Boxenhorn).

He easily could've made an argument that Republicans are sceptical of anything which tries to paint Capitalism in as bad a light as possible, or that we are not idealistic so much as pragmatic, and realise that academia (who fired the first AGW volleys) are mostly left-wingers intent on hounding corporations for their multiple "crimes".

But no, he goes for the "Republicans are dumb and don't like science [read, because they are religious and therefore are all creationists]".

We're even better at making their arguments for them!

And here's a great summary of Climategate itself.  (I just discovered that the link doesn't go directly to the comment, so I am reposting it here.)

The reason why people say it has warmed at all in the last 100 years is because the CRU told them so. How did CRU come to that conclusion? Well, NASA gave the raw temperature readings for however many years such things existed. CRU then proceeded to "adjust" those readings. Clearly, some adjustment and almalgamation was needed to get the proper global temperature measurements. But were CRU's adjustments done correctly?

Understand, this is a really hard question. We don't know what the actual global temperature is. We are supposed to figure that out by looking at the temperature data and adjusting it accordingly. But if you don't know the final answer how do you know the adjustments are correct? That is a hard question.

But we will never know if the adjustments were done properly because the CRU destroyed the raw temperature readings. They only have their adjusted or "value added" readings. But there is no way to tell now if those readings are correct.

The whole proposition that the world warmed over the last 100 years is now in question. For all we know, the world could be cooler now than it was in 1900. We have only CRU's word and adjustments to go on. And CRU has been revealed to be a complete fraud. Basically, climate science has to start over from square one.

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November 17, 2009

POLITE SOCIETY

Related to the granting the premise idea, here's Roger Kimball on Lou Dobbs and what the media deems acceptable:

The English critic William Hazlitt once spoke disparagingly of "common place critics" who pretend to put themselves "in the middle, between the extremes of right and wrong." Something similar could be said of the rancid, illiberal liberalism of commentators like Krugman and Burns. They look upon their own opinions less as opinions than as universally applicable observations that reflect the state of nature. Their opinions are just what any enlightened, virtuous member of "polite" society believes. Only those who disagree with them have "fractious," line-crossing opinions unacceptable to such polite company as represented by Krugman, The New York Times and Media Matters. Here's what's really at stake in the controversy of Dobbs and CNN. It's not only Dobbs who's been rusticated: It's also the robust liberalism that thrived on disagreement, argument and polemic.

Read the whole thing.

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November 15, 2009

TRUTHS OF A DIFFERENT HUMAN ORDER

I am closing in on the end of my 2009 Reading Challenge. Unfortunately, all I want to do is read Atlas Shrugged again, but I ain't tackling a 1200 page book when I'm up against Karl Rove. So I was happy to pick up For the New Intellectual, a gift from Amritas. I have long wished I had access to a searchable Atlas, but this has the next best thing: excerpts of some of the best monologues from the book. I read them on the plane and got all embiggened yesterday.

And also nervous:

And, paving the way for Attila, the intellectuals are still repeating, not by conviction any longer, but by rote, that the growth of government power is not an abridgment of freedom -- that the demand of one group for an unearned share of another group's income is not socialism -- that the destruction of property rights will not affect any other rights -- that man's mind, intelligence, creative ability are a "national resource" (like mines, forests, waterfalls, buffalo reserves, and national parks) to be taken over, subsidized, and disposed of by the government -- that businessmen are selfish autocrats because they are struggling to preserve freedom,while the "liberals" are the true champions of liberty because they are fighting for more government controls -- that the fact that we are sliding down a road that has destroyed every other country, does not prove that it will destroy ours -- that dictatorship is not dictatorship if nobody calls it by that abstract name – and that none of us can help it, anyway.

Quite nervous:

Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

Reading Rand always reminds me of this Daniel Quinn quote: "We know that the pious don't go to church every Sunday because they've forgotten that Jesus loves them but rather because they've not forgotten that Jesus loves them.  They want to hear it again and again and again and again. [...] there are truths, of a different human order, that must be enunciated again and again and again -- in the same words and in different words: again and again and again."

I like to be reminded that someone like Rand lived, and wrote, and thought.

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November 04, 2009

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

This is fantastic: Daily Kos sounds just like Glenn Beck.

Tonight proved conclusively that we're not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We'll turn out if we feel it's worth our time and effort to vote, and we'll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.

The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home.

Read the whole thing.  I promise I am not being snarky.  I think this is great.  I want both parties to say what they mean and mean what they say.  I hate how everyone runs as a moderate and tries to tweak their message so it doesn't offend anyone.  Or conversely, when they pretend to have principles and then get in office and abandon all their promises.  I want both parties to stand for different principles and then voters can decide which one they align with, not this election trickery where they all try to out-center each other.

I am 100% certain that I don't agree with Markos on any of the issues that he brings up: "health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform."  But he wants a candidate who represents his views and doesn't just pretend to represent them in order to get elected.  I completely agree with this.

Wouldn't it be nice if both parties stopped hiding who they really are and started standing for principles?

Imagine if we really had two distinct choices on election day...

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November 01, 2009

"HER INNER VOICE BECAME HER OUTER VOICE"

I actually found myself cheering Hillary Clinton on...

"Her inner voice became her outer voice," Martha Raddatz, a veteran NBC correspondent said on the network, explaining that while many in the administration believed what she said to be true (that Pakistan is coddling terrorists), it was rare for America's top diplomat to say it publicly. Officials in Washington were trying to keep a straight face, but there were a few gasps, she added.

Clinton's blunt remarks came during a pow-wow with half-dozen combative senior Pakistani journalists who harried her about US policy in the region.

"Al-Qaida has had safe haven in Pakistan since 2002," she finally asserted when challenged about Washington’s tough prescriptions for Islamabad. "I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to."

After having publicly doubted the bona fides of her hosts, she added, as an afterthought: "Maybe that's the case; maybe they're not gettable...I don't know. As far as we know, they are in Pakistan." At one point during the exchanges, when a journalist spoke about all the services rendered by Pakistan for the US, Mrs Clinton snapped, "We have also given you billions."

It's about time somebody told it like it is.

But I also giggled at Mark Steyn's take:

Good thing those arrogant swaggering Texas cowboys aren't blundering around the world screwing up America's global relationships anymore.

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October 26, 2009

"MAKING SOMEONE ELSE PAY"

My husband and I have paid for car insurance for over seven years.  We have never once filed a claim.

My dental insurance costs about $140 per year.  I have never had any dental work done besides cleanings, twice a year at $70 each.

These two insurances work in remarkably different ways.  The dental insurance covers every time I walk in the door, even just to have some nice lady floss my teeth for me.  The car insurance doesn't cover anything routine and doesn't even cover some big things, like when my windshield broke last year. 

And yet, I think about the dental insurance so much more often, for some reason.  I am always irritated about breaking even.  I keep telling myself that it will pay off once we have kids, or once I need a root canal or something.  In the meantime, I get annoyed every time I break even.  I start to think that I could get by with one cleaning per year and save the remaining $70.  I want to feel more in control of that money, as if I am paying directly for a service instead of paying for insurance.

Maybe, with the car insurance, it's the fact that I don't have a choice to cancel it.  I don't often imagine all the money we threw down that hole, but it's a lot.  What if we could have it all back?

And don't even bring up all the money we've spent in life insurance...

But that's what insurance is: paying small amounts up front so that you will be eligible for the windfall payment at the end if bad luck strikes.  It's a gamble.  In the case of our vehicles, we have lost the gamble so far.  All the money we've paid in has gone to fix other people's cars for the past seven years.

Such is life.

Health insurance seems to be a misnomer then, because it doesn't seem to work like other insurances, at least not car or life insurance.  People seem to want to pay a small amount every month but get a large amount of benefit out every month too.  They want to pay $100 and get $300 worth of prescriptions.  That's not insurance, that's just redistribution.  That's just "making someone else pay", as Patrick McIlheran titled his recent article.  He explains why the proposed Obamacare system won't work:

Some companies noted last week that Congress' plans to mandate that everyone buy health insurance include only weak penalties. The plans also make insurers take on customers who are already sick. If you're young and daring, you pay the low penalty and go insurance-free until your doctor says you've got cancer. You then apply and pay $800-a-month premiums for $10,000-a-month care. Sweet, until the industry inevitably collapses, say insurers.

When stated so succinctly, it should be obvious that this system cannot work.  You cannot pay $800 for $10,000 worth of benefit without having someone else paying $800 for zero, for a long time.  That's how the gamble works in life insurance.

And while we all hate the stories of people who lose their jobs and then get cancer -- and trust me, I hate them pretty bad right now -- the solution, in my opinion, is not that insurers need to cover pre-existing conditions.  The solution is to have health insurance that is independent from your job, just as your car or life insurance is.  Then it doesn't matter when you get cancer; if you've paid in, you have "won" the gamble.

Mandatory insurance coverage is not, by definition, a gamble.  If you can wait to apply until after you have cancer, then why would you ever pay in beforehand?

It seems obvious to me that that system can't work.  So why are we trying to implement it?

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October 23, 2009

OBAMA VS D'ANCONIA

Lawrence Auster postulates:

As for the stunning laziness he has showed in certain matters such as the stimulus and Guantanamo, here's another theory: that Obama is like Francisco D'Anconia in Atlas Shrugged. That is, he keeps screwing up, because he doesn't give a damn if things get fouled up or not. He's not putting his intelligence into the system, because he doesn't care about the system, even if his failures make him look bad as well. In other words, in some instance he causes damage deliberately, as with his healthcare plan, and in other instance he causes damage by simply not putting his mind into what he's doing.

Via Amritas, that has kept me thinking all day.  Because you know I'm always up for comparing Atlas to real life.

First, I am not sure I agree with Auster's summary of D'Anconia's strategy.  I do indeed think he "gave a damn."  His actions were deliberate and his method was calculating.  He lost everything to bring about the collapse of the system, including the woman he loved.  His sabotage was intensely personal and heartbreaking.  But it was a deliberate choice because he DID give a damn.  And yes, his failures made him look bad, but the trashing of his reputation was deliberate as well.  He sacrificed everything he was in order to stop participating in a system he abhorred.  At least that's the way I remember D'Anconia. 

Conversely, I don't think Pres Obama would ruin his reputation to achieve his ends the way D'Anconia did.  I think all Obama has is his reputation.  I don't think he would give up money and power and his good name to bring about...whatever it is he is working towards (and there is much debate about that.)  In short, I don't think he has half the integrity or fortitude as D'Anconia did.  What Obama wants is wealth redistribution, which is the moral equivalent of stealing from one man and giving it to another, and then patting yourself on the back for helping, as CVG once said.  He's not sacrificing anything of his own for his goals.  Hell, how many times have people pointed out that he could start by helping his aunt and brother if he cares so much about all people living equally?

My opinion is that Pres Obama doesn't have the moral conviction that Francisco D'Anconia did, and that he wouldn't sacrifice one iota of his own wealth or reputation for his worldview.

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October 19, 2009

YAY, GIVE HIM ANOTHER PEACE PRIZE!

Finally, an Obama move I can applaud:

Federal drug agents won't pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.

It makes no sense to have a state law that makes something legal and a federal law that trumps it.  For me, it's a simple Tenth Amendment issue and a fight or flee issue: if you need medicinal marijuana, move to a state that offers it; if it offends you, move away.  I don't think it should be a federal law at all.

So good job, for now, of clarifying a ridiculous conflict in laws.  Let the states decide.

Now to work on teasing apart inter- and intra-state commerce...starting in Montana...

UPDATE:

But a very good point is made by Wesley Smith...

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October 18, 2009

HAVE YOU EVER LISTENED TO A WORD HE'S SAID?

David Frum is absolutely wrong.  I would bet anything you'd ask of me that Glenn Beck would rather be penniless than to sell out on his values and principles.  I would guarantee it.  Frum is dead wrong, which makes me wonder if he's ever even listened to Beck in the first place.

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October 03, 2009

ROOSEVELT'S WAGER

A great paragraph from my book The Forgotten Man.  I think it applies to today just as easily, and I think it captures my frustration with why the system is not what I believe it should be:

But the critics had another reason to be loud -- their own frustration at the genius of Roosevelt's wager.  Roosevelt, they saw, had understood something that the Republicans had not.  The contest now was not Democrat versus Republican but rather this classical republic versus the classical democracy.  Government was less a representative republic than it had once been, more directly controlled by the people.  The change had started back in the 1910s with the constitutional amendment to permit the electorate to pick senators directly, rather than through their state legislatures.  Suffrage for women had accelerated it.  And the Depression had accelerated it again -- people who might not have had an interest in government before now found that hunger concentrated their minds.  Instead of asking what government was doing on behalf of the general welfare, voters were asking in a very democratic way what Roosevelt was doing for them.

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September 28, 2009

I JUST WANT TO STAY HOME

On the plane on the way home, I horrifiedly figured out that by the time my baby is born, she will have already been in 18 different states.

That's WAY too much travel in nine months.


Create your own visited map of The United States

But seriously, I think I have to drive to Kentucky just on principle.

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September 15, 2009

BORLAUG CARRIED A WATERMELON

I'm a few days late, but I was finally prompted to say something because of Patrick Swayze. I don't mean to denigrate him at all; he was a fine actor and probably a fine man. (He was in Red Dawn, for pete's sake, so that automatically makes him OK in my book.)  But a couple days ago, Deskmerc was the only one of my Facebook friends to salute the passing of Norman Borlaug. As of last night, dozens of people were saluting Swayze. I think that's exactly backwards, and while everyone is touched that Johnny won't dance again, myself included, we all missed the fact that the greatest man who ever lived passed away this week too.


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September 12, 2009

WHY IS THERE STILL A HOLE?

Like Glenn Beck, my anger has been more focused lately on my own government than on the enemy.  Even with my husband in Afghanistan, I have spent the majority of my time fretting over the 10th Amendment.

I thought this was worth watching and thinking about yesterday...


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August 09, 2009

I HEART DANIEL HANNAN

I could've listened to another hour...
Daniel Hannan speaks to The Heritage Foundation

Great bit comes at the end, in response to a question about why we'd pass cap and trade if it's failed in Europe:

The purpose of these things is not to do anything; it's to show that you're a nice man.  The worst aspect of modern politics is this belief that legislation should somehow be proportionate to public outrage, rather than proportionate to the need to get something done.  [...]  The global warming thing...is an elevation of the moralistic over the moral.  It means you place more emphasis on holding the right opinions about big corporations than on actually doing the right thing in your own life.  Little example of this: Do people in this room know who I mean by Irena Sendler, who was a Polish Catholic who smuggled babies out of the Warsaw ghetto during the war?  Incredibly heroic woman who died a few months ago.  She was captured and tortured and, then this is the amazing thing, changed her name and went back to doing it.  She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and do you know who the Nobel Peace Prize went to that year instead of her?  Al Gore!  Al Gore!  Just stop and ponder that for a moment, think about what that says about society's values: that it is more important to have made a film having the correct opinions than to have risked your life day after day rescuing children.

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August 06, 2009

"THE LEPER'S BELL OF AN APPROACHING LOOTER"

BigD said she hasn't yet found time to read Atlas Shrugged. She also said that she is sometimes so surrounded by lefties that she forgets that there are other people out there who think like she does and have the same values she does.

BigD, you are not alone. This is for you...

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Anconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money?...

keep reading

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July 30, 2009

AL GORE'S BIGGEST FAN

An inventive counterpoint to anthropogenic global warming (via Amritas):

In a way I am happy to accept AGW as real, because if you do then it becomes highly illogical to

-send tonnes of food to low carbon footprint 3rd world countries leading to a population boom (Daniel Quinn has written some good stuff on this - more food, more people);

-then subsequently invite them to high carbon footprint countries (my country having the highest immigration rate in the world).

This provides a handy excuse to call for a stop foreign "aid", and to stop immigration, while retaining moral highground versus the left. If they really cared about AGW and really believed it to be the greatest threat to humanity, they would stop feeding "surplus" carbon producing humans, and also stop transferring them from low carbon footprint societies to high carbon footprint societies.

It's a fun argument to make against AGW freaks; public policies must mesh together; in my country's case we committed to reducing total carbon emissions to 6% (I think) under the Kyoto accord while simultaneously increasing our population through immigration by about 7% during the implementation phase. You can have the world's highest immigration rate while also fueling a population explosion in the third world, or you can fight AGW, but you can't do both, not at the same time. Public policy debates with leftists rarely present such easy rebuttals to what is so dear to them.

Hey, if AGW gets us off the hook from foreign aid and gets us zero immigration, I'll be Al Gore's biggest fan, but for some reason I'm quite certain that's not their end game.

I think it would be hilarious to hear that brought up in a global warming debate.

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