Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Ammo Ban

Have you heard the government is considering banning sales of certain ammunition fired in the AR-15 rifle, and wondered what was going on? Non-enthusiasts should know the AR-15 rifle is the civilian version of the M-16 infantry weapon, and unlike the military version cannot fire in machine gun mode.

John Hinderaker of Power Line blog has a good, short tutorial on the issues involved. I learned something from what he wrote. Namely, that just about any rifle bullet will penetrate a police armored vest. If that is so, I wonder why our infantry who mostly operate against people armed with rifles wear them?

Cry for Venezuela

Worldcrunch takes a look at the current deterioration in Venezuela, with opposition politicians including the mayor of Caracas, under arrest and the government increasingly unpopular. The decline in oil prices has done wonders to rein in their "21st century socialism."

The article opines President Maduro wants to provoke violent attacks against the government to create a pretext for a military crackdown, with which he can sweep aside what little remains of democracy in Venezuela. Latin America seemingly never tires of caudillos.

Lying with Statistics

Huff Post carries an article with the shock title, "Who Gets Food Stamps? White People, Mostly." Saying nothing provably wrong, it provides a classic example of how to lie with statistics.

The article reports USDA figures on the race or ethnicity of SNAP, aka "food stamps," recipients. The numbers are as follows:
40.2%   White
25.7%   African-American
10.3%   Hispanic, any race
02.1%   Asian
00.7%   Multiple races
12.8%   Race unknown
07.0%   No household head listed
Meanwhile the table below reflects the percentage of the total U.S. population represented by each group, found here:
63.7%   Non-Hispanic White
12.6%   African-American
16.4%   Hispanic, any race
04.8%   Asian
02.9%   Multiple races
Note the Census lists no categories for "race unknown" or unlisted household head.

Is the claim made in the article that white people get more food stamps than any other group true? Yes, if the measure is total value of SNAP received.

The only identified group that gets more than their fair share of food stamps is African-Americans, something the Huffpo article specifically sets out to disprove. African-Americans make up an eighth of the U.S. population and receive a quarter of the food stamps.

Every other identified group receives a smaller percentage of total food stamps issued than their proportion of the U.S. population. Clearly, HuffPo believes that comparison is incongruent with the prevailing biases of its readership.

Off the Radar

Christopher Chantrill writes for American Thinker a review of Jill Leovy's book, Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America. Leovy writes to inform about the mostly black-on-black murders that happen daily in the inner city. These are rarely reported in the press and are seldom prosecuted.

This brought back a memory from my childhood. My father, while never a sworn police officer, worked closely with SoCal law enforcement in the 1920s and 1930s. Two decades later he told me what Leovy writes, many inner city murders are never reported by the media nor prosecuted.

I remember being shocked and asking for reasons. He replied that newspaper (the media of that era) readers weren't interested as they weren't involved. "Crime in black neighborhoods isn't reported," he said. 

Dad told me the police rolled on ghetto murders nearly "every night," but the press ignored them and nobody thought anything amiss. I was amazed then, before the civil rights movement, I'm even more amazed it is apparently still true 60 years later.

Bag Ban Postscript

The rural northern CA area in which the DrsC spend spring and fall is near the college town where we were employed for decades. That town, at which we do our shopping, is the classically liberal pastiche of students, aging hippies, civil servants, rural pot farmers, tree huggers, meth cookers, and lefty profs. Plus people who arrived from urban CA as undergraduates, fell in love with small town/university chic, reluctantly graduated, but refused to leave the area.

As reported earlier, a referendum to repeal the statewide ban on plastic grocery bags has been qualified for the 2016 CA ballot. Independently of the now-suspended CA ban, our hippy-dippy town has had its own ban in effect since Jan. 1. Repealing the statewide ban will leave the local ban in force, unfortunately. 

The Murphy of Murphy's Law famously works overtime and weekends. How else to explain this folly? Talk about a pain!

N.B., Our "small" town in CA has more population per the Census Bureau than Cheyenne, the largest city in WY.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

Character actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, has died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Nimoy famously portrayed Mr. Spock, the half-Vulcan science officer on the iconic TV series Star Trek, and in several films which extended the franchise.

Arguably the best-known of Star Trek characters, Spock was the favorite of nerds and geeks everywhere. Requiescat in pace, Leonard.


The finest compliment I received in 30+ years as a professor was the following, quoted verbatim from an anonymous student evaluation of a long-ago class:
He has a mind like Spock.

Dilbert Redux

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, writing about the non-infallibility of corporations:
There's a lot of Dilbert even in the best organizations.
DrC - a retired Management prof - wishes it were not true.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coulter: Illegal Aliens the Immediate Threat

Ann Coulter writes that while we focus on ISIS, which has killed maybe 4 Americans total in Syria, illegal aliens kill that many or more of us inside the U.S. every week. Somehow our government is helpless when it comes to protecting us from this immediate threat. Coulter's column is found at Patriot Post.

Wood: What ISIS Really Wants

Graeme Wood, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, has written an article for that magazine that bids fair to become a classic. It is entitled "What ISIS Really Wants." You owe it to yourself to read the article.

Wood reports ISIS believes that the apocalypse is near, that ISIS is God's protagonist in that battle, that God's plan involves killing many, perhaps most of the world's people, and that ISIS is on board with that goal, is in fact the chosen instrument of God's will.

ISIS's murders, immolations and beheadings are in fact religious acts, "sacraments" a Christian would call them. One is reminded of the worship of Kali, goddess of death, by the Thugs of India who also killed as many as they were able.

Reasoning with people sincerely holding such views is futile, killing them in wholesale numbers is not. They deserve Adolf Eichmann's fate, the gallows.

Hillary "Knowingly Lied" About Benghazi

National Review reports State Department emails, obtained as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests by Judicial Watch, show the following:
From the very first moments of the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides were advised that the compound was under a terrorist attack. In fact, less than two hours into the attack, they were told that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility.
The article contains a minute by minute tick-tock of what happened when and who knew when. It continues:
Despite this evidence that her top staffers were informed from the start that a terrorist attack was underway and that an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group had claimed credit for it, Secretary Clinton issued an official statement claiming the assault may have been in “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Gregory Hicks, Ambassador Stevens’ deputy who was in Tripoli at the time of the Benghazi attacks, (snip) further testified that the video was a “non-event” in Benghazi.
The article concludes by quoting the Judicial Watch president:
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton asserted that the e-mails left “no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers knew the truth about the Benghazi attack from almost the moment it happened.” Mr. Fitton further opined that “it is inescapable that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly lied when she planted the false story about ‘inflammatory material being posted on the Internet.’ The contempt for the public’s right to know is evidenced not only in these documents but also in the fact that we had to file a lawsuit in federal court to obtain them."
Notice the September 11 date, less than 2 months before the 2012 election. Her lie was in support of the President's false campaign claim that he had al Qaeda on the run.  The suppressed facts about Benghazi directly contradicted Obama's claim and supported the alternative narrative of opponent Mitt Romney.

Documented lying in high office, about matters of life and death, should entirely disqualify Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Unfortunately it will do no such thing, a sad commentary upon her party.

Trouble in Brazil

Carnival is almost done for 2015; Rio de Janeiro is sobering up and looking forward to autumn, arriving in three weeks. Sadly, The Economist reports the Brazilian economy is a mess.

When a strong president is needed, Brazil has a weak leader in President Rousseff. During much of the period when Petrobras corruption has been alleged, she chaired the Petrobras board.

Permeating Latin America, Iberian culture has great charm. However, it is only rarely associated with clean government or economic rationality.

In lectures I've given on Latin America, I formerly said Brazil was one of the strong nations of the region, along with Chile and Peru. These were places I might consider investing or living.

Today, I wouldn't mention Brazil in that group. Brazil does remain stronger to varying degrees than Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay or Venezuela.

A New (to Me) Usage

Like Jay Nordlinger - whose work I enjoy at National Review - I am interested in the evolution of our mother tongue, English. So it was with some interest that I read research abstract at the Urban Institute's website which used the term "survival sex."

Reading further, it wrote of young people (often runaways)
Who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter.
Survival sex is certainly not a new behavior, but perhaps the label is a relatively new usage, at least outside the sex trade and social worker fields, for whom it is described at Wikipedia.

A Credible Threat

The New York Times reports an Argentine judge has thrown out the complaint against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. This after the prosecutor who filed the complaint was found shot in the head, in what was supposed to look like a suicide.

Do you suppose the judge concluded he risked death by allowing an investigation into the charges? In his shoes I might reach the same conclusion - without looking at the facts in the case.

Bad Company

The Independent (U.K.) reports ISIS burned thousands of rare books and manuscripts in Mosul. Apparently these were insufficiently Islamic.

The action plus mass murders puts ISIS in the same category with Mao's Red Guards, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge and Hitler's Nazi brownshirts, all of whom engaged in similar acts of cultural genocide now universally detested.

Quote of the Day

Monica Crowley, writing for The Washington Times about how little we know of Obama:
Digging into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s college years is called “vetting.”
Digging into Mr. Obama’s college years is called “racism.”
The MSM is certainly in the tank for Obama. Thus he remains a stranger in a strange land (hat tip to Robert Heinlein for loan of the book title).

Why Build Sprawl?

CityLab carries an article the title of which is an intriguing question, reflecting the puzzlement of urban planners who prefer dense urban living spaces:
Why Are Developers Still Building Sprawl?
The article goes on at some length but the short answer is because sprawl sells. Most people still want a suburban ranch house or McMansion on a cul de sac, with a 2-3 car garage. Every time gas prices drop people go back to buying their preferred SUVs and pickup trucks, too.

This is obviously related to what we wrote yesterday about most Americans driving to the grocery store, and wherever else they go within 100 miles.

Why Women Vote GOP

Amanda Marcotte, writing for Slate, examines a question that bemuses feminists: why do many women vote Republican? Citing several data points, she concludes:
There's been an increased interest in recent years in what motivates Republican women, particularly as the party has amped up its assault on reproductive rights. This data, which jibes with countless studies have shown that women are more likely to be religious than men, helps answer that question: It's religion.
Other studies have shown that married women are likely to vote Republican, unmarried women - not so much. Perhaps a Venn diagram of married women and religious women would show a large area of overlap.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Unwarranted Assumption

John Hinderaker, blogging at Power Line, reports on the arrest of three men, two of whom wanted to leave the U.S. to join ISIS in Syria. Two were Uzbeks and one a Kazak. Hinderaker labels them "non-Muslims" but provides no evidence of their faith.

An Associated Press story on the arrests says nothing about them being non-Muslim and infers strongly that at least one was very involved in Islam. Checking the CIA's World Factbook online, I find that Uzbekistan is 88% Muslim and Kazakstan is 70% Muslim.

I expect what Hinderaker meant was that these men were not Arabs. Most people from both countries are considered Turkic - not precisely Turkish but members of the same ethno-languistic group.

Ukraine Invasion a Laugh to White House

The Washington Free Beacon reports on White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice being interviewed by PBS host Charlie Rose, their site also has the video:
The National Security Adviser for President Obama laughed uncontrollably when asked about how humiliating it was to have Ukrainian troops retreat. Rice accused Charlie Rose of trying to get her off track while still laughing.
Rice demonstrates what President Obama privately assured Russian President Dmitry Medvedev two plus years ago, courtesy of Fox News:
This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.
In this case, the flexibility to laugh off a Russian invasion of Ukraine. This laughter must scare the crap out of people in Kiev, also those in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

More on Rudy's View links to a Mediaite article which references a HuffPost/YouGov poll asking people if they believe Obama loves America. Unsurprisingly, 85% of Democrats said yes and roughly 70% of Republicans said no. Independents split basically evenly, 42% yes vs. 38% no.

Lumping all three groups together, less than half (47%) see clear evidence Obama loves America. Some 35% believe he doesn't, and 18% have no opinion or refuse to answer.

In addition to the question about Obama's feelings, respondents were asked about their own personal love of country, or lack thereof. The poll's most interesting finding is that 15% of respondents under 30 say they do not love America. Given the large number of unemployed or underemployed Millennials still living with parents, we shouldn't be surprised.

As you would guess, liberals are more likely (13%) to say they don't love America compared with moderates (5%) or conservatives (4%). Fortunately for our country, large majorities of all parties and groups do love America, even liberals and the young.
----------o--0--o---------- also links to a Breitbart Big Government story which references a post on the Facebook page of Rev. Franklin Graham, son of and successor to Rev. Billy Graham. Graham writes concerning whether Obama doesn't love America:
I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that the president defends Islam and chastises Christians, rebukes our allies and befriends our enemies, and fully supports gay marriages and abortion but denies the religious freedoms of those who don't agree.
In other words, Obama's behavior is that of a person who does not much love America.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bag Ban Interrupted

Yahoo News carries an Associated Press story reporting that the ban on plastic grocery bags, scheduled to go into effect statewide in California in July, will be put on hold. A group opposed to the ban has qualified a referendum for the 2016 ballot aimed at overturning it and allowing the continued use of these bags.

The bag ban isn't widely popular with Americans, we don't shop like Europeans. They normally carry their own shopping bag to market, shop almost daily, and often do so on foot or by bicycle.

Americans often purchase more than one can easily carry home in a single bag. Most of us shop weekly by auto. Our homes and refrigerators are 2-3 times as large as theirs and most of us drive to the market.

I hope Californians vote in 2016 to overturn the bag ban, any defeat of the nanny state is a victory for individual liberty. And there is no reason those who choose to use their own bags cannot do so.

Meanwhile, our household reuses plastic grocery bags to take out garbage and trash. If we didn't get them with groceries, we'd have to purchase garbage bags. Net benefit to the environment: zero.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rudy Is Right

Blogging for The Washington Post, Ed Rogers comments sensibly on Giuliani's Obama-doesn't-love-America trope. Rogers catalogs a number of Obama shortcomings, both stylistic and substantive, and concludes:
There are plenty of reasons that suggest Obama might not love America as it is or in the traditional sense.
It is no mystery. I remember Mrs. O famously saying how unproud of America she was during the 2008 campaign.

If he were candid, Barry O. would probably tell you he loves what America could become, not what it is. You and I will love America less if he gets his way, that's one of his goals for this zero-sum game.

Greece Blinks

COTTonLINE has been following the conflict between Greece and the euro zone. When we last looked at the situation an agreement had been reached but it was unclear who gave in to whom.

Now we know the answer - the euro zone yielded little, Greece caved in to their demands. See a New York Times story for details.

One wonders how the Greek electorate will view the ruling Syriza Party's betrayal of its very recent campaign promise to dump austerity, regardless. Since only weeks have elapsed, Syriza can hardly claim the circumstances have changed dramatically. My guess: Greek voters will be furious.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Two Great Cartoons

The guys at Power Line collect and anthologize cartoons and funny pix for the week. Here are URLs for two I particularly liked. The first they subtitled "Separated at birth?" The second is captioned by the cartoonist. Enjoy my two or select your own favorites.

The Peter Principle Lives

The President has appointed the entirely ineffectual State Department spox Jen Psaki to the job of White House Communications Director. This is the well-known Peter Principle on steroids.

You'll remember the Peter Principle argued people are promoted until they reach a job the difficulty of which is too much for them. Since they do a poor job at that level they are stuck there and go no higher. To those of us with extensive bureaucratic experience the "principle" always made a perverse sense.

How then to explain the promotion to a more important job of a woman who did a laughably poor job in her prior role at State? Perhaps she was promoted for having demonstrated at State an ability to deliver outlandishly improbable twaddle with an earnest straight face. See a Power Line article for more.

Too Precious An Army

First, imagine you are the Chairman of the Chinese Communist government. As such you command the planet's largest army, and one of its largest military establishments.

Second, imagine you would like to deploy that vast military capacity in an activity other than defending China against attack. Perhaps you'd like to enlarge the Chinese sphere of influence in the Senkaku Is., on Taiwan or elsewhere in the region.

Third, you realize that any government remains in power only if it's people, at some level, acquiesce in what it does. You also realize that your enormous army is staffed almost exclusively with men who are what we call "only children," because the official one child policy was in effect in China for decades until recently.

Does that huge army make you powerful? Do you dare undertake elective military activities which put tens of thousands at risk of death or dismemberment? Each who is killed leaves his family with no progeny, no future.

I speculate China's leaders militarily feel their hands are tied by the unintended consequences of the one child policy, as far as adventures beyond China's borders are concerned. This explains why the government has put so much effort into convincing people that various islands in the China Sea are historically part of China, so Chinese parents can rationalize the nation spending irreplaceable young lives in their capture.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

Fyodor Lukyanov writing in The Moscow Times about ISIS and Ukraine. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.
A medieval spirit reigns, with its internecine wars and in which the only great strategy, if one exists at all, is to indulge the passion for blood. This desire to repay the enemy a hundredfold — even if he is yesterday's neighbor or friend — is often mixed with religious fanaticism or blind nationalism.
Lukyanov sees what is happening worldwide as a replay of the Thirty Years War, in that he agrees with Daniel P. Goldman, who channels Spengler.

NR: To Him It's All Bigotry

The editors of National Review have written about the administration's failure to identify Islamic terrorism as relatively mainstream.They explain Obama's unwillingness to so describe it in an interesting way.
The worst thing that one can be in Barack Obama’s world is a bigot. Racism is the original sin, and other forms of discrimination, from the genuine to the superficially similar, are corralled into the same moral category.

To Obama’s mind, the frank acknowledgment that the world has a problem with savagery rooted in a particular religion is an invitation to invidious discrimination — an invitation to becoming something even lower than al-Qaeda. And so the endless cheerleading for Islam and the search for comparable acts of barbarism by Christians or others, the purpose of which is to make sensitive people feel that we aren’t singling out Islam for criticism and scrutiny.
They appear to see it as an unfortunate unanticipated consequence of electing an African-American as president.

Noonan on ISIS

The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan writes about the hideous mess that is ISIS, the medieval madness they embrace whole-heartedly, the belief that they are the agents of the end times - God's avenging army on Earth. She quotes the President as saying:
When peaceful democratic change is impossible, it feeds into the terrorist propaganda that violence is the only available answer.
To which she replies:
Yes, sure. But the young men and women ISIS recruits from Western nations already live in peaceful democracies. It’s not enough. They want something else. It is, ironically, disrespectful not to name what they are, and what they are about.

Hold the Greece, Dump Russia

CNBC reports the euro zone and Greece have reached an interim agreement which extends current bail-outs by four months. The article doesn't make clear which side blinked, possibly neither.

In America, we call such actions "kicking the can down the road." In Europe it is called "diplomacy."

Supposedly Greece will come forward with a list of "reforms" they are willing to undertake. It is probably too much to hope for that these will be substantive changes in the direction of Greece living within its admittedly limited means.

In another story, CNBC reports that Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Russia's sovereign debt to "junk" status. Moody's cited "the crisis in Ukraine and the falling price of oil." And they add:
Russia is expected to experience a deep recession in 2015 and a continued contraction in 2016.

Political Humor Alert

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. writing in American Spectator about presidential myopia regarding the Islamic roots of most modern terrorism.
George W. Bush couldn't always speak clearly. His successor can rarely see clearly.
Mr. Magoo in the White House, eh?

Rudy: No Love

Politico reports that in a speech to a group of conservative donors and executives, Rudy Giuliani stated the obvious non-PC conclusion:
I do not believe that the president loves America.
It explains so much of his behavior, so many of his biases. Is it too much to ask that a black president love the country that elected him, twice?

Groucho Marx famously said he wouldn't want to belong to any club whose standards were so low they'd have him as a member. Maybe Obama feels unable to love a country dumb enough to elect someone so unqualified for office, and then compound its error by reelecting him four years later. I get that.

Weird Weather

The local TV weatherman reported tonight that last night's low in Miami was one degree colder than the low in Denver. I define that as strange. 

Washington, D.C., was down to 8 degrees last night, they aren't accustomed to such. It must be that famous global warming we're experiencing all over the eastern U.S., what else explains record cold? 

Another Little Ice Age anyone? The sun is slacking off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Greece, Again

Bloomberg View reports that Greece and the euro zone led by Germany continue on a collision course. To date neither has shown any significant flexibility. The Germans are said to prefer Greece leaving the euro zone as it will force France, Spain, and Italy to shape up.
Commerzbank today puts the chances of Grexit at 50 percent, double what it was predicting last week. (snip) We may be on the verge of finding out whether a Greek exit from the euro is a self-contained explosion, or an existential threat to the single currency.
It could be we're about to learn what happens when a nation's politics won't allow it to do what is expected of it. If grexit happens and Greece prospers, watch others follow. If grexit happens and Greece enters an economic death spiral, austerity will become more palatable.

Population Decline

See an article for RealClearWorld, written by George Friedman of Stratfor, about the economics of population decline. His explanation of the way urbanization is causing population decline is perhaps the clearest and most convincing I've seen.
In agricultural and low-level industrial societies, children are a productive asset. Children can be put to work at the age of 6 doing agricultural work or simple workshop labor. Children become a source of income, and the more you have the better. Just as important, since there is no retirement plan other than family in such societies, a large family can more easily support parents in old age.

In a mature urban society, the economic value of children declines. In fact, children turn from instruments of production into objects of massive consumption. In urban industrial society, not only are the opportunities for employment at an early age diminished, but the educational requirements also expand dramatically. Children need to be supported much longer, sometimes into their mid-20s. Children cost a tremendous amount of money with limited return, if any, for parents. Thus, people have fewer children.

Love That Cheap Labor

Surprise, surprise! Wealthy guys like open borders and plenty of cheap labor. What else is new? Any other response might actually be news.

See a Tampa Bay Times report about top GOP donors praising Jeb Bush's roll-over-and-play-dead stance on immigration reform. Influenced by his Hispanic wife and in-laws, and half-Hispanic son - George P. Bush, Jeb favors amnesty and citizenship for all. 

Jeb we don't need as president, his immigration stance is a deal-breaker.

Review: Command Authority

I finished Clancy's Command Authority yesterday, in a word it's good. If you've enjoyed the earlier Clancy books, his final novel will not disappoint. The Ryans, father and son, are again in fine fettle as are Clark, Chavez, and the rest of the gang.

The two Ryans are followed along tracks thirty years apart, until at the end when the two tracks converge. It's an example of fine storytelling, the pace never lags. Some of the action takes place in today's warring Ukraine.

Models Favor GOP

Sorry if you got your hopes up; it's not about supermodels but rather predictive models.  National Journal reports on academics who model presidential election outcomes statistically, likely after they examine the predictive power of various variables using regression analysis.  As the author notes, these worthies don't see eye to eye with Washington's commentariat.

The pundits seem to think Hillary has a good chance of being nominated and elected. The academic modelers don't agree.

The modelers note it's quite difficult for a party, in this case the Democrats, to get a majority of the vote after eight years in office. It rarely happens; normally the public is ready for a change, ready to give the opponents a chance. Hat tip to for the link.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Lack of Will

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, cracking wise about the Obama folks' refusal to come clean on  the roots of terrorism.
It's not that the Obama Administration doesn't understand. It's that they don't want you to understand. Because then you'd want them to do something, and they don't want to do anything.
Anything about terrorism, that is. They mostly want to do things you don't want done, like Obamacare or amnesty for illegal immigrants or banning wood stoves. Long live the nanny state, custodian of the perpetually immature.

Obama Rated So-So

The Washington Examiner reports the conclusion of a Brookings survey of the members of the American Political Science Association concerning President Obama.
Those who view Obama as one of the worst American presidents outnumber those who view him as one of the best by a nearly 3-1 margin.
Brookings tends to be a liberal think tank. The respondents are mostly liberal profs, too.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It Is Both

Blogging at Power Line about the White House refusal to condemn radical Islamic terrorism as anything more than random violence, John Hinderaker writes:
Whether Obama's behavior is due to animus or cluelessness, you can decide for yourself.
I believe it is a toxic mixture - "clueless animus" - the worst of both worlds.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Spengler: Swamp-Draining Time

David P. Goldman, aka Spengler, writes in his pseudo-eponymous blog about Europe's efforts to control Islamic extremism among its populace.
The lesson of Copenhagan is the same as the lesson of Paris: the fragile social peace that European governments have maintained with their Muslim immigrant communities requires a fundamental revision. In the past, European security services let jihadists blow of steam while quietly culling potential killers. That has failed.

It’s no longer enough to patrol the edge of the swamp and kill mosquitos with fly-swatters. There’s no alternative to draining the swamp.
I doubt European nations have the stomach for what is required.

Quote of the Day II

John Hinderaker writing for Power Line blog about President Obama's fitness for office:
There are many reasons why Barack Obama is unfit to be president, but one of the most basic is, he just isn’t smart enough to handle the job.
See the Ramirez cartoon at this site, too.

Argentine Update

Maybe you should cry for Argentina. Bloomberg View reports on the latest comic opera antics of Argentine politicians. Conspiracy charges abound, as do counter charges by the President's supporters.

Meanwhile, it's deep summer in the southern hemisphere. President Kirchner has decamped to her lakeside place at El Calafate in southern Patagonia near the Chilean border,

Do you suppose she has a getaway bag packed with benjamins? In her situation, I would have the bag, a blonde wig, a valid passport in another name, and an anonymous car ready for a sprint to the border.

Greece a Squeaky Wheel

The Economist reports Greece and the 18 other Eurozone nations appear to be at an impasse over the Zone's demand that Greece continue austerity in order to get further financial help and Greece's refusal to continue the mandated austerity. Prime Minister Tsipras' Syrzia Party won the recent election on a promise to end austerity so he doesn't have much wiggle room.

To date, the other 18 nations aren't showing much flexibility either. It may be that Greece really doesn't belong in the euro zone. Unfortunately, several other economically weak member nations may also not belong.

An economist will tell you it's unlikely a group like the euro zone can make monetary policy in Brussels and fiscal policy at each national capital and have the whole thing work over time. The two policies need to be coordinated.

Quote of the Day I

New York Times' snarkmistress Maureen Dowd, writing about the 'lovely' Clintons - horny Bill and bitter Hill:
What Republicans say about government is true of the Clintons: They really do believe that your money belongs to them.
It's true of the government too, MoDo.

Balz: Let It Play Out

The Washington Post's Dan Balz, arguably dean of the Washington commentariat, writes a perceptive column about the current standings among Republican presidential aspirants. His advice: it's way too early to be getting serious about any of them.

Likely one of them will emerge as the eventual nominee. Guessing which one wins the nomination is probably a chump's game at this juncture. He proves this point with several good examples from recent presidential races.

Still More Dry Land Diary

Sunday:  This is a three day weekend for those workers whose employers recognize President's Day, celebrated tomorrow, Feb. 16. Given the 80 degree late-spring-like weather we've been having, it's no wonder the campground has filled up.

Three days earlier the park was nearly empty. Because we only winter camp here we have never seen the park anywhere near this full.

The other DrC has posted photos illustrating this sudden wave of occupancy on her blog at We drove around taking said pix Saturday afternoon after an "emergency" trip to the library for a couple of books to read over the weekend.

I borrowed what is probably Tom Clancy's last novel, containing the further adventures of the Jack Ryan/John Clark/Ding Chavez cast of characters. Written by Tom and coauthor Mark Greaney, it is entitled Command Authority.

Clancy died in October of the year it was published, 2013. I'll miss him, he could sure spin a good yarn. Less than halfway through, this book is a good read with lots going on. When I finish it I'll write a review.

Let me wish all COTTonLINE readers a belated Happy St. Valentine's Day. I hope you got to spend it with someone you love.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Odd Oregon

Have you seen the news that Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon is resigning in the face of a scandal generated mostly by his "fiancée." His mistress has been the state's "first lady" (sic) for several years but seemingly has little regard for the law. 

Oregon has some of the oddest politics you'll find. Remember Sen. Bob Packwood, who hit on most women he met? Or Sen. Mark Hatfield who tried to stop the Vietnam war singlehanded?

I spent three years in grad school at UO and found the state had a Twin Peaks vibe, very surreal. The weather is depressing, wet and gray for eight consecutive months every year, like Seattle. The Lewis and Clark expedition diaries are full of complaints about it.

On the other hand, a fellow grad student from western Minnesota by way of Montana thought Oregon was nearly Palm Springs because he didn't have to shovel snow. He'd sit around studying wearing shorts in mid-winter. Go figure.

Weird Cosmological Science

Phys Org reports an alternate model which applies quantum corrections to Einstein's general theory of relativity, after which the so-called "big bang" no longer seems likely. Rather the new formulation suggests the universe has always existed.

An eternal universe seems infinitely more rational to me than one resulting from an explosion. I've always wondered what existed before the singularity went "bang."

I'd be more comfortable with this new theory if it came from MIT, Cal Tech or Princeton instead of Egypt, Canada and India. It's more than academic snobbishness, the name schools get the top physicists. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Answer Is Clear

Paul Mirengoff blogs at Power Line, here about our President's murky past:
It's still not clear how Obama got into Harvard Law School having graduated from college apparently with no honors.
Nonsense, Paul, it is absolutely clear Obama was a classic affirmative action choice. He was a twofer - black with a foreign pedigree - selected not for his demonstrated ability but rather to quiet the gripes of race hustlers by increasing student diversity.

More Dry Land Diary

Friday:  For the last few days we've had blue skies and afternoon temps in the mid-80s. This is what draws winter tourists to the region.

It reminds me of a common dilemma when I was a kid here in SoCal many years ago. Waiting for a school bus on a winter morning could be quite chilly, a coat definitely needed. By the time afternoon arrived the coat was much too warm and got stuffed in my elementary desk or high school locker. 

The day was still plenty warm when the bus took us home in the afternoon, so it was easy to forget the coat, which meant I didn't have a coat to wear the next day. Mostly I remembered to drag my coat home but I often ended up carrying it instead of wearing it. 

Northern CA is just enough colder that this problem occurs much less frequently, shirtsleeve days in winter are rarer there. Oddly, the first few days of Feb. in SoCal have resembled much of the summer in our part of WY. 

At 6000 ft. in the Rockies we don't get much hot weather; highs in the 80s are typical as are cool nights. Our growing season is very short, about 60 days.  Stubborn locals who want to grow vegetables have a greenhouse, most don't bother. Irrigated hay is the crop of choice for farmers, as it is less susceptible to damage by a light frost.

Straight Talk

FBI Director James B. Comey is reported by The New York Times to have said some forthright things about relations between black Americans and the police. Bluntly, Comey talked about black and white Americans, and the different experience police have with members of each group.

Essentially, he said what we understand to be true: based on their field experiences, police (of any race) can (and do) expect more criminal behavior per capita from blacks than from whites. Most of that crime is directed at, or at the expense of, other blacks. Comey also wrapped his straight talk in the expected liberal pieties to soften the blow, and keep his job.

Being more cautious around Rottweilers and pit bulls than with cocker spaniels and golden retrievers is sensible, normal even. Why doesn't the same profiling reasoning apply to various subsets of people?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Quote of the Day

Silvio Canto, Jr., writing in American Thinker about the dysfunction in Argentina:
Argentina has sadly turned into a country where no one trusts the government and everyone knows that justice is for sale.

Not a Fatal Flaw

There is talk about WI Governor Scott Walker not finishing college, it's apparently true. I spent my career in higher education, so of course I believe in it.

Parents who push children to finish college know the statistics, the odds of having a good career and a comfortable income go up with a degree. It can make success easier, more probable, less of a struggle. Earning a degree in a field in which there are actually job openings is an order of magnitude better. 

On the other hand, I recollect both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were dropouts who rose above this handicap. Like them, Scott Walker has proven his ability on the job, arguably a better "test" than any I administered in 30+ years in the classroom.

That said, there are people with degrees who by any objective measure are failures and those without who succeed in spite of the handicap. Life gives no guarantees.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Trouble in Brazil

Recently reelected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is in trouble over a lousy economy and rampant corruption charges at Petrobras, the government-owned oil company. See the Bloomberg View story for details.

On top of everything else, it's major cities are running out of water. As Brazil tries to become a consequential player on the world stage, such "banana republic" antics are very unhelpful.

"Peace" President Asks for War Authority

This afternoon President Obama went on TV to ask Congress for authority to pursue military action (short of ground combat) against ISIS, which I believe he called ISIL. He asks for a three year authorization. I watched it on CNBC.

It must be galling for him to feel forced to go to war against what he once called "a JV team." It appears no particular change is anticipated in actual attack intensity, now ongoing.

By this action he formally takes "ownership" of our latest war. It's a war against an enemy the nature of which he continues to muddle and obfuscate. 

Like Neville Chamberlain in the late 1930s willfully misunderstanding the Nazi menace, Obama refuses to name radical Islam as our foe. The times demand a Churchill figure, maybe Bobby Jindal?

Jihadi Recruiting

CBS News reports as many as 20,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Syria to join those fighting for the Islamic State, aka the Caliphate. At least 3400 are from the West. The article treats this as a problem.

It can, however, be viewed as an opportunity. By concentrating jihadis in one area far from us, it should make them easier to target and kill.

Both the Europeans and the U.S. should revoke the passports of those who leave our countries to join the jihad. Instead of a revolving door it should be a one-way trapdoor, a permanent, irrevocable choice to live in the Near East's medieval squalor and depravity.

Thus accomplishing what my elderly relatives called "good riddance to bad rubbish."

A Bifurcated Party

Jay Cost writes in The Federalist about the split in the Republican Party. A too-brief summary of his views is that the pro-business or establishment wing of the party doesn't particularly favor smaller government and loves both corporate welfare and illegal immigration as a source of cheap labor.

The Wall Street Journal's OpEd pages exemplify this view. It was most succinctly stated by "Engine Charlie" Wilson who famously said, "What's good for General Motors is good for the United States." 

Cost makes a good point about current congressional dysfunction - much of it reflects internal dissention among GOP House members. As a COTTonLINE reader, you care about conservatism and very likely will find Cost's article worthwhile.

Political Humor Alert

Friend Earl sends the following conservative humor; a web search indicates multiple sources:
An elderly man had a massive stroke and the family rushed him to the hospital.
After a bit the ER doctor came out with a long face and said, "Grandpa is brain-dead but his heart is still beating."
"Oh, my God," Grandma replied.
"We've never had a Democrat in the family."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Religious Belief Declines in Latin America

There is a tendency among norteamericanos to stereotype Latin Americans as religious or even as Roman Catholic. The latter hasn't been true for some years, and even the rapid growth of evangelical Protestantism is yesterday's news.

RealClearWorld reports the rise of atheism and agnosticism in the region. The article alleges that free thinking is the most rapidly growing belief category in the region, particularly in liberal Uruguay. Chile and the Dominican Republic also have many nonbelievers. The struggle to get governments to separate church and state, to protect the rights of those with atypical beliefs, continues.

Of course, church non-affiliation is very old news in Europe. Its beautiful churches and cathedrals are effectively museums of religion and medieval architecture today. Yes, services are held in many, but these tend to be sparsely attended by a few old women in black. In fact, modern Europe has been described as post-Christian.

A Further Blow to Public Employee Unions

On last Thursday we wrote about our opposition to public employee unions. Today brings news via the Washington Free Beacon that Bruce Rauner, the Republican governor of Illinois, has made union membership optional in his state, by executive fiat. He gave First Amendment reasons for his action.

The article continues with a discussion of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which attempts of get the courts to strike down a similar provision requiring membership in CA unions. I am hesitant to become optimistic about this issue, but it is possible good things are in store.

What Is "Hispanic?"

The New York Times editorialized about Sen. Cruz and Rubio not being true Hispanics, clearly untrue of course. What NYT really means is that they aren't the heavily Indian mestizos of Latin America for whom the protected class of Hispanic was established.

There have been purely European individuals in Central and South America beginning in the sixteenth century, and they have often been the few wealthy, the ricos. Yes, their language was Spanish but a downtrodden minority they were not.

When our government chose to establish a "protected class" for Latin immigrants, the issue of how to describe its members was finessed by calling them "Hispanics." The extremely unattractive alternative was to try to describe who is and isn't a mestizo, how much or little Indian ancestry would qualify for protection.

Unwillingness to grasp the nettle of defining exactly who is discriminated against and needs protection leads to odd situations. I know a university faculty member, hired to meet a sub rosa Hispanic quota, whose parents were from Spain and who therefore had a Spanish name. 

The lady had zero Indian ancestry, and no one in the family ever lived in Latin America. But she was truly Hispanic and claimed as such to (falsely) demonstrate the university's "diversity." She was no more diverse than the other DrC whose father also immigrated from Europe (but not Spain).

A Misleading Childhood

As regular COTTonLINE readers know, we have observed on several occasions that the President won't criticize Muslim extremism because he knew Muslims who were nice people, not extreme. I've wondered when this logical connection would show up in the media, and it finally has.

RealClearPolitics reports the comments of Bob Beckel, cohost of Fox News' The Five, speaking of Obama:
He had friends who were Muslims. I think he doesn't want to make himself believe they can be a nasty group.
Historically the people of Indonesia, where Obama went to elementary school, are among the world's most moderate, least fundamentalist Muslims. Quite simply, his was an experience custom-made to create a false impression of Islam.

Unfortunately U.S. foreign policy suffers because Obama had a childhood in Indonesia. His experience is like knowing Massachusetts RINOs and therefore assuming you understand real Republicans, from Utah or Texas.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dry Land Diary, cont.

Friday: Our "winter quarters" location is beside a reservoir in rural SoCal. Stop that giggling, there truly are rural areas in SoCal. I grew up in one, this is another one farther west where many of the homes are weekend places for the Los Angeles wealthy. Much horse property and many vineyards exist hereabouts too.

The region has a semi-plantation economy with wealthy owners, a mostly immigrant Latino working class, and a dwindling legacy group of Anglos. Plus tourists - bus loads from Japan or China, day trippers of every hue from L.A., and us snowbirds escaping the northern cold. Even a few cruise ship passengers now that Princess treats SB as a tender port for its coastal CA itineraries.  The mix sounds volatile but is congenial.

We learned today that our reservoir is not at a record low, the low happened in 1993 when the water level was down 92 feet below completely full. Today it's down about 67 feet and that looks bad enough. If it drops much more, the water will no longer flow to where it's used by gravity alone, as designed. They'll have to pump it up to the inlet, after which it will flow normally.

We are supposed to get rain later tonight and tomorrow, we might get an inch if we're lucky. It is already raining hard in the Sacramento area. 

Sadly, the storm is almost certainly too little and very nearly too late. The press has been reporting that San Francisco got no measurable rainfall in the entire month of January. We had hoped for an el niño-driven wet year, apparently in vain. See what Bloomberg writes about the "missing in action" el niño.

Saturday: It has rained, is raining in fact, but it's so gentle I'm almost sure it won't amount to much inches-wise. Still, any is better than none, eh? This should be a nice day for a drive in the rain.

Monday: It turns out we locally got maybe 0.60 inches of rain this weekend. The local TV weather guy says the region is at 40% of normal so far this year. Considering now is what passes for a "rainy season" in these arid parts, we've had dang little rain.

Anchors as Wankers

Blogging, Mark Steyn cracks wise about Bryan Williams' exaggerated "war stories:"
Maybe Williams is delusional. Maybe he is to anchors as Anthony Weiner is to wankers - a guy so cocksure he figures he can push it a little further each time.
Trust Steyn to turn a memorable phrase in rhyme. Hat tip to for the link.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Intentionally Medieval

Our President makes an interesting point when he notes awful things are often done in the name of religion. He mentioned the medieval Crusades and Inquisition in the same breath with today's beheading and immolation by ISIS.

Typically for hapless Obama he made a point he never intended to make. Specifically, that radical Islam is medieval in outlook, still operating by choice in the Dark Ages. Their rampant brutality is a fine modern reminder of why we consider those long-ago centuries in Europe "dark."

Review: Les Miserables

Visiting friend Phyllis brought a DVD of the musical film Les Miserables and we watched it last evening. Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe plays his nemesis, policeman Javert, and Anne Hathaway plays Fantine, the tragic mother of the little girl Cosette whom Valjean adopts and raises. The crooked innkeeper and his slatternly wife are played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.

While none of these worthys has much singing voice, the whole shebang is put to music. I don't believe there are a half dozen words spoken (as opposed to sung). 

Les Miserables is a depressing story about no-hopers struggling with doom and doom mostly wins, as it does in life. The characters are often their own worst enemies, also true to life.

It is a good film, if seldom a fun one. The film is intentionally moving; the audience is supposed to empathize with poor Frenchmen and women being ground down by a system that has no heart and too many rules. Despite the artificiality of a bunch of "gutter rats" singing about their sad plight, it works. You end up caring about the characters, whose acting is far superior to their singing in most cases. If the singing voices aren't much, much of the music they sing is extraordinarily powerful.

I have the same problem with this story I had years ago with One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest. Its audience is intended to end up hating the bossy head nurse who labors to keep order in the loony bin. In this film the "bad guy" is policeman Javert who pursues plucky parole violator Valjean for nearly two decades.

I can't hate either supposed villain. It is an unfortunate byproduct of a lifetime spent teaching business management. I empathize with the difficulties faced by authority figures trying against all odds to impose order upon chaos. 

In both films I end up seeing the situation from the perspective of management, understanding their frustrations and challenges at least as much as those faced by the downtrodden protagonist who unrealisticly expects a bureaucratic system to respond appropriately to his individual, unique and atypical circumstances. Of course it cannot, therefore it does not, and furthermore it should not.

Sen. Cotton on Gitmo

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaking in the Senate Armed Services Committee about our terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as quoted in Power Line. As far as I know, we are not closely related. 
In my opinion, the only problem of Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now. We should be sending more terrorists there for interrogation to keep this country safe.  As far as I'm concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell, but since they don't do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.
Those are my sentiments exactly. I consider Guantanamo inmates to be prisoners of the Long War, to be released if the war ever ends. That's an outcome I don't expect in my lifetime, or in theirs.

The Enemy of My Enemy....

I'm not over the moon about a presumptive Rand Paul candidacy for president. On the other hand, his condemnation by the Congressional Black Caucus suggests I should take another look at his qualifications. Anything or anyone they don't like is generally something or someone I do like. See the story in The Hill.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Public Unions Threatened

The In These Times website - determinedly pro-union - carries an article which views the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case before the Supreme Court as potentially very threatening to public employee unions, including teachers unions. It uses First Amendment issues to argue that  agency shop agreements, which require non-members to pay what the article calls "fair share" fees in lieu of union dues, should be unlawful.

The author argues that the court could effectively "enact" a nationwide right-to-work law, by making agency fees unlawful. When union fees are truly optional, many workers choose not to pay them, greatly reducing union resources and power.

COTTonLINE believes public employees should not be unionized. Civil service regulations provide broad protection against mistreatment and abuse, leaving their unions mostly involved in influencing legislatures to raise wages and improve benefits.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bankrolling al Qaeda

Convicted terrorist Zacharias Moussaoui has claimed under oath that highly placed members of the Saudi royal family gave financial support to al Qaeda. The press is treating his allegation as something new, although I am unclear just why this should be so. See a Vanity Fair story about it.

We have known since shortly after 9/11 that wealthy Saudis gave money to al Qaeda. Talk about old news, I'm tempted to title this post "Move Along, Nothing to See Here."

Saudi Arabia is virtually the textbook example of a "frenemy." They fund madrassas around the globe teaching Wahabi Islam which is fundamentalist, anti-West and jihad-prone. And they routinely abuse the human rights of their guest workers. On the other hand, they don't like the Iranians or ISIS and that's good.

If the stories are at all accurate, wealthy Saudis live thoroughly sinful lives, seen from an Islamic perspective. They assuage their consciences by giving fistfuls of dollars to fundamentalist imams in the hope of buying their way into paradise.

One is reminded of "selling indulgences" by the pre-reformation Roman Catholic Church. It's the same fundraising scam, trading on the same forlorn hope.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Obama Foreign Policy Explicated

Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution guru and sage of the San Joaquin, explains in National Review the four principles underlying the Obama foreign policy. I think he has them right, and as you would assume, they are entirely wrong-headed.

You should read the entire article but here are the four, in summary:
1. Readjustments in the global order are long overdue. Change is always misinterpreted and mischaracterized by reactionaries whose interests abroad are imperiled by any progress that leads to greater equality and fairness and to the end of unwarranted hierarchy and privilege.

2. All nations and interests act rationally — if given a chance. Ideals, persuasion, feelings, and intent are now the stuff of foreign policy, not archaic and polarizing rules of deterrence, balance of power, military readiness, and alliances.

3. Do abroad as we try to do at home. Contrary to popular opinion, the Obama legacy will not be found at home but abroad, in reordering the global role of the U.S. from an establishment power to a revolutionary force for change.

4. Don’t sweat the details. Prophets are not like us and have no responsibility to articulate details or insist on logical consistency, much less to worry about how others of less talent implement their grand visions.
As we've noted for several years now, an Obama foreign policy is what you get when you elect someone who has U.S. citizenship but an anti-American mindset. Oddly, Obama believes about U.S. foreign policy what Reagan believed about domestic policy - namely, that our government has been the problem, not the solution.

Vaccination Endorsed

There is much talk about vaccines and whether they should be mandatory or parent-option. This article in The Federalist is an example.

Normally I prefer optional but in the case of vaccination, the choice affects us all. If sufficient numbers of people avoid vaccination, yearly waves of disease will be the result.

While vaccines provide substantial protection, they are not 100% proof against catching the target disease. So your decision not to vaccinate increases my likelihood of catching a disease for which I have been vaccinated.

Thus, society has an interest in getting a maximum number of its residents vaccinated, making us all safer. Are there risks associated with vaccination, certainly. Are they smaller risks than getting the disease, likewise certainly for all but a tiny few.

COTTonLINE endorses vaccination and the DrsC practice what we preach in this regard.

Gallup: Actual Unemployment Remains High

The CEO of the Gallup polling organization has a hard-hitting article in which he calls the official government unemployment figure "a big lie." Of course he is correct that it is extremely, perhaps intentionally, misleading and disingenuous.

CEO Jim Clifton points out that the "official" rate doesn't include discouraged workers who've stopped looking for work, part-time workers who'd rather work full-time, and the underemployed - college grads flipping burgers or walking dogs. Also omitted: the millions on Social Security "disability" whose primary problem is the inability to find an appropriate job. He concludes:
I hear all the time that "unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren't feeling it." When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth -- the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real -- then we will quit wondering why Americans aren't "feeling" something that doesn't remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.
Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Drudge Matters

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes that Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report are politically consequential, especially among conservatives, but also more broadly. The wide open GOP race gives opinion molders like Drudge more clout. Cillizza concludes:
All of the Republican campaigns (and maybe even the Clinton campaign) will fear him — and have a strategy on how to deal with him. That, in my book, is real influence. And Drudge has it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

An Emerging Republican Advantage

Writing in National Journal, John B. Judis points to indicators of an emerging Republican political advantage. Basically, it involves the Democrats' declining ability to attract white blue collar and middle class voters. See his conclusion:
In some form, the Republican era which began in 1980 is still with us. Reagan Republicanism—rooted in the long-standing American distrust of government, but perhaps with its roughest theocratic and insurrectionary edges sanded off for a national audience—is still the default position of many of those Americans who regularly go to the polls.

It can be effectively challenged when Republicans become identified with economic mismanagement or with military defeat. But after the memory of such disasters has faded, the GOP coalition has reemerged—surprisingly intact and ready for battle.
Full disclosure: Judis has been wrong before so he may be wrong this time too.

Recurring Dreams of Empire

The New York Post military affairs columnist Ralph Peters writes about ongoing attempts to resuscitate three empires of old: the Persian, the Caliphate, and the Russian. Today's Shia Iranians are the Persians of old, the one time masters of Central Asia. 

The ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State represents an attempt to put the Sunni "band" back together, in parts of Syria and Iraq for starters, with glances cast toward Libya and Jordan. Putin's Russia harks back to the Tsars and the Soviet Union spanning two continents. 

These embryonic empires will be troublesome for the U.S. See what Peters writes about all three. Hat tip to Power Line blog for the link.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quote of the Day II

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, writing about the nature of feminism:
Feminism has always been a movement of the upper middle class, which is very eager to distinguish itself from the lower middle class.
Wonderful snark: an accusation of snobbishness.

Quote of the Day I

Oliver North on Fox News about the Charlie Hebdo march in Paris, as quoted by RealClearPolitics:
Why didn't Misters Obama, Biden, Kerry, or Holder attend the unity rally in Paris? Because it was only for world leaders.
Hat tip to friend Earl for spotting it.