Category: Steyn


Descent Into Barberism

 

 

 

 

 

” I often joke with my hairdresser Amanda about the number of state permits she requires for the privilege of cutting my hair. As I point out on page 49 of After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc):

  In the Fifties, one in twenty members of the workforce needed government permission in order to do his job. Today, it’s one in three.

  That’s tyrannous – which is bad enough, albeit not unique to America: The entire developed world has massively expanded the hyper-regulatory state. But only in America does the Department of Paperwork command lethal force:

  On August 19, 2010, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order: All of the barbers working there were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Two days later, even though no violations had been discovered and even though the DBPR is authorized to conduct such inspections only once every two years, the inspectors called again, this time accompanied by “between eight and ten officers, including narcotics agents,” who “rushed into” the barbershop “like [a] SWAT team.” Some of them wore masks and bulletproof vests and had their guns drawn. Meanwhile, police cars blocked off the parking lot.

  The officers ordered all the customers to leave, announcing that the shop was “closed down indefinitely.” They handcuffed the owner, Brian Berry, and two barbers who rented chairs from him, then proceeded to search the work stations and a storage room. They demanded the barbers’ driver’s licenses and checked for outstanding warrants. One of the inspectors, Amanda Fields, asked for the same paperwork she had seen two days earlier, going through the motions of verifying (again) that the barbers were not cutting hair without a license (a second-degree misdemeanor). Finding no regulatory violations or contraband, the officers released Berry and the others after about an hour. “

 

 

As usual , read the whole thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nationalization Of Childhood

 

 

 

 

” ~When I was a kid and watched sci-fi movies set in a futuristic dystopia where individuals are mere chattels of an unseen all-powerful government and enduring human relationships are banned and the progeny of transient sexual encounters are the property of the state, I always found the caper less interesting than the unseen backstory: How did they get there from here? From free western societies to a bunch of glassy-eyed drones wandering around in identikit variety-show catsuits in a land where technology has advanced but liberty has retreated: how’d that happen?

  Well, the current Planet of the Apes prequels have also figured out that’s the most interesting part of the story. (I liked Rise of… immensely, Dawn not so much, but it would be a foolish man who would attempt to compete with Steve Sailer’s brilliant analysis. If American monodailies weren’t determined to die as the most boring papers in the English-speaking world, The New York Times would hire Mr Sailer as their movie critic.)

  But who needs to go to the multiplex when the prequel to all those glassy-eyed serf dystopias is taking place on the news pages? Megan McArdle writes today about the spate of American mommies charged with and, indeed, jailed for leaving their pre-teen children unsupervised. For example, NBC reports from Connecticut:

  Police arrived at 60 Middle Street in Bristol to find the girl alone in the car with the windows rolled up. She was alert and responsive and told officers she had asked to stay in the car while her mom ran inside, according to police.

  Police said the outside temperature was about 85 degrees and the car’s interior “was not excessively hot.”

  The girl’s mother, 30-year-old Christina Williams, was issued a misdemeanor summons for leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle.”

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Handle A Woman

 

 

 

 

 

” THE WAR ON WOMEN …in New York:

  An elderly Pakistani immigrant beat his wife to death with a stick after the doomed woman made the mistake of cooking him lentils for dinner instead of the hearty meal of goat meat that he craved, according to court papers.

  Noor Hussein, 75, was so outraged over the prospect of eating the vegetarian fare that he pummeled his wife, Nazar Hussein, 66, inside their Brooklyn apartment until she was a “bloody mess,” prosecutors said in opening statements of his murder trial Wednesday.

  Mr Hussein used “a stick that the family had found in the street and used to stir their laundry in a washtub”. So, aside from a new wife, the poor guy now has to get a new laundry stick. His attorney says we need to be more culturally sensitive:

” He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife,” Clark said in her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial. “He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.”

~THE WAR ON WOMEN …in Quebec:

  A father will serve 60 days in jail for a slap that killed his teenage daughter.

  Moussa Sidimé, 74, says he just wanted to correct 13-year-old Noutene for doing a bad job of washing the kitchen floor.

  If that 60 days in jail sounds a bit stiff, not to say culturally insensitive, don’t worry, Mr Sidimé is already a third of the way through it:

  Sidimé will not have to serve the 60 days consecutively. He will serve his time on Mondays and Tuesdays starting next week.

~THE WAR ON WOMEN …in British Columbia:

  The mother of a B.C. teen who died of suicide after being tormented online told a federal justice committee Tuesday that proposed anti-cyberbullying legislation doesn’t do enough to protect the privacy rights of Canadians.

  Carol Todd, whose 15-year-old daughter Amanda Todd died in 2012, was in Ottawa to speak before the Commons Justice committee about Bill C-13, also known as the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act.

  Todd said she was “troubled” by portions of the bill, telling the committee that parents shouldn’t have to “sacrifice” their children’s privacy rights to make them safe from “cyberbullying, ‘sextortion’ and revenge pornography.” “

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Out On the Farm?

 

 

 

 

 

” ~As I’ve had cause to remark many times before, American government is corrupt. The IRS scandal is Ground Zero for the corruption of the republic, and, if you want it in a nutshell, the invaluable Judicial Watch just provided it. (Incidentally, the fact that an outside group gets more useful results than Congressional oversight does is itself testament to the diseased state of American institutions: the executive branch treats the legislative branch with ever more open contempt.) Here is Lois Lerner’s email explaining the BOLO (“Be On the Look-Out“) criteria for identifying and scrutinizing what it regards as “Tea Party’ groups:

1. ‘Tea Party’, ‘Patriots’ or ‘9/12 Project’ is referenced in the case file.

2. Issues include government spending, government debt and taxes.

3. Educate the public through advocacy/legislative activities to make America a better place to live.

4. Statements in the case file that are critical of the how the country is being run.

  That last gets to the nub of the matter: Supposedly impartial agencies of the state are explicitly targeting the ruling party’s political enemies. In other words, it’s the merging of the state and the party in order to criminalize opposition: the very definition of a banana republic.”

 

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BringBackOurBalls

 

 

 

 

 

” It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture at right (ed. above) is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared – on social media! – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

  Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn’t actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn’t require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama’s hashtag is just a form of moral preening.

  But then what isn’t? The blogger Daniel Payne wrote this week that “modern liberalism, at its core, is an ideology of talking, not doing“. He was musing on a press release for some or other “Day of Action” that is, as usual, a day of inaction:

  Diverse grassroots groups are organizing and participating in events such as walks, rallies and concerts and calling on government to reduce climate pollution, transition off fossil fuels and commit to a clean energy future.

  It’s that easy! You go to a concert and someone “calls on government” to do something, and the world gets fixed.”

 

As always Mr Steyn is right on the mark. Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Now White Cowman?

 

 

 

look-a-squirrel

 

 

 

” Like everyone else, Gavin McInnes has weighed in on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s observations on “the Negro”. Mr McInnes concludes:

  This isn’t about some old guy’s views on slavery. It’s about government control. We’re not saying Bundy is the messiah and we accept him as our personal savior. We’re saying the government is wrong.

  Let’s stipulate that Cliven Bundy is a racist. Let’s also assume, if only to save time, that he’s Islamophobic, homophobic and transphobic. So what? Does that make criticizing the Bureau of Land Management “racist” or “homophobic”?

  During my battles with Canada’s “human rights” commissions, defenders of the racket liked to point out that the people it targeted were generally pretty unsavory. And I’d respond that the reason the standard representation of justice in statuary is a blindfolded lady is because justice is supposed to be blind: If you run a red light and hit a pedestrian, it makes no difference whether the pedestrian you hit is Nelson Mandela or Cliven Bundy. Or at least it shouldn’t: one of the basic building blocks of civilized society is equality before the law.

  Likewise, if what the Bureau of Land Management is doing is wrong, the fact that Cliven Bundy is a racist sexist homophobe whateverphobe doesn’t make it right – any more than at Ruby Ridge FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shooting Vicki Weaver in the back of the head as she was cradling her ten-month-old baby and running away from him is made right by the fact that she allegedly had “white supremacist” sympathies. As I wrote last week, I’ve little doubt that, in the era before cellphone video, the bureaucratic enforcers would have been happy to off Bundy and then come up with a reason why it doesn’t matter. At Waco, there were supposedly children being abused. So Generalissimo Janet Reno killed them all, and now they’re not being abused. In that sense, Mr Bundy is a lucky man: He got to live, and to trash his own reputation rather than having the feds do it for him.”

 

 

Mr Steyn knows a “squirrel” when he sees it … Read The Whole Piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Conformity!

 

 

mozilla brendan eich

 

 

” On Wednesday, I wrote about the Mozilla CEO in trouble for a five-year-old donation to Proposition Eight, the successful California ballot measure that banned gay marriage – if only until America’s robed rulers declared the will of the people to be “unconstitutional”. Brandon Eich is a tech genius: Aside from co-founding Mozilla and creating Firefox, he also invented JavaScript. Apparently, the disgusting homophobic hatey-hatey-hateful belief that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman is not incompatible with knowing your way around a computer.

  Nevertheless, unlike Hollywood director Brett Ratner, Mr Eich declined to eat gay crow. And so yesterday he was fired. Mozilla’s chairwoman Mitchell Baker issued the usual tortured justification:

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech,” Baker said. “And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

  I heard a lot of this stuff during my free-speech battles in Canada. The country’s chief censor, the late Jennifer Lynch, QC, was willing to concede that free speech was certainly a right, but it was merely one in a whole range of competing rights – such as “equality” and “diversity” – that needed to be “balanced”. What the “balancing” boils down to is that you get fired if you are an apostate from the new progressive groupthink. Underneath the agonized prose, Mitchell Baker is a bare-knuckled thug.

~ It’s the thuggishness and bullying that ought to disgust people, even those who support gay marriage. My final appearances at National Review Online were a spat with my editor, Jason Lee Steorts, over “two jokes one can no longer tell on American television” that I quoted in a column on Phil Robertson’s suspension for “homophobia”. First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:

“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

Second, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on stage in Vegas throughout the Sixties and Seventies:

Frank: “How do you make a fruit cordial?”

Dino: “Be nice to him.”

 

 

 

As usual Steyn’s take is priceless and a do not miss read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twerking Your Way Through College

 

 

Miley Cyrus "Bangerz Tour" - Tour Opener - Vancouver, BC

 

 

 

” Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs has a new academic discipline for America’s scholars:

  The course, called The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media, is a 251-level special topics course taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Carolyn Chernoff. The professor encourages students to look past the colon in her course title and see what the class is really about.

In the photograph at right, it’s actually not that difficult to see past the colon.

  Skidmore junior Layla Lakos, a sociology/philosophy major, first heard about the new Miley course on Facebook. Lakos laughed, but was intrigued all the same.

” You can study a lot of things based on Miley,” she said. “She represents how transient wealth and fame can be, and shows how possible it is to change your image.”

  One of the easiest ways to understand how transient wealth is is to invest a six-figure sum in Twerk State University. The Atlantic reports on “the least valuable colleges and majors in America“:

  The self-reported earnings of art majors from Murray State are so low that after two decades, a typical high school grad will have out-earned them by nearly $200,000. “

 

~ Since we’re talking about The Atlantic, a few years ago, back when I was the magazine’s obituarist, a New Hampshire neighbor of mine called me up and said they were considering mortgaging the family homestead because their daughter wanted to go to Columbia Journalism School. Her ambition was to be an editor at The Atlantic and, as I wrote for the magazine, they thought I might have some useful advice for her. I don’t have a degree from Columbia Journalism School or even Murray State University; I don’t have a high-school diploma. Apparently, that’s fine if you want to write a column for the magazine, but to copy-edit the same column, and to correct any Canadian spellings I may have slipped in, your parents need to mortgage the home your family’s lived in for the last two-and-a-quarter centuries.”

 

 

Make this your mandatory Saturday morning read … Mr Steyn is spot on , as usual .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Christmas approaching we thought our readers might enjoy this review of a fine starter rifle for their children .

Truckers Shutdown DC Highways & Demand Obama Leaves Office

 

     This single four minute video from Russia Today/America offers more information on the trucker’s protest than one could glean from all the rest of the mainstream media coverage combined .

A Dagger At The Heart Of Justice 

 

 

 

” Just when I thought the George Zimmerman “trial” couldn’t sink any lower, the prosecutorial limbo dancers of the State of Florida magnificently lowered their own bar in the final moments of their cable-news celebrity. In real justice systems, the state decides what crime has been committed and charges somebody with it. In the Zimmerman trial, the state’s “theory of the case” is that it has no theory of the case: might be murder, might be manslaughter, might be aggravated assault, might be a zillion other things, but it’s something. If you’re a juror, feel free to convict George Zimmerman of whatever floats your boat.

Needless to say, even in a nutso jurisdiction like Florida, the crime of “child abuse” was never intended to cover a wizened old granny kicking the ankle of the punk who’s mugging her a week before his 18th birthday. But, if Aggravated Pedophilia is what it takes to fry that puffy white cracker’s butt, so be it. If, for the purposes of American show trials, an Hispanic who voted for a black president can be instantly transformed into a white racist, there’s no reason why he can’t be a child abuser, too.”

 

Read The Whole Thing

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Elijah Cummings Claims One Republican Mastermind Behind IRS Scandal

 

Elijah_Cummings_Repub_Did_It

 

 

” The Democrat Rep. from Maryland let loose on what was sure to be the final piece of the Orwellian puzzle that made everything ‘suddenly make sense’ at Media Matters. From the Daily Caller:

Rep. Elijah Cummings has yet to reveal the name of the “conservative Republican” IRS agent he claims started the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups, despite evidence that the targeting was overseen by a registered Democrat working out of Washington, D.C.

Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and the top Democrat on the House oversight committee, claimed this week that an unnamed Republican manager in the IRS’s Cincinnati office started the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, and that “the case is solved” with no evidence of White House wrongdoing.

Cummings claimed in a letter to Republican Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa, dated June 9, that his staff had interviewed a “conservative Republican” manager from the IRS’ Cincinnati office who took the blame for the improper targeting.

After finishing his letter to Chairman Darrell Issa of the House’s Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Cummings apparently slapped his hands together, rubbed them back and forth a bit, and said to himself, “well, that’s that.” Because on CNN, he effectively told extremely credible guy Al Sharpton that the case is “solved” and there’s no there ‘there’:”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The All-Seeing State

” I thought of those Canadian Liberal “integrity provisions” passing a TV screen the other day and catching hack bureaucrats from the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division reassuring Congress that systems had now been put in place to prevent them succumbing to the urge to put on Spock ears and moob-hugging blue polyester for the purposes of starring in a Star Trek government training video. The Small Business/Self-Employed Division had boldly gone where no IRS man had gone before — to a conference in Anaheim, where they were put up in $3,500-a-night hotel rooms and entertained by a man who was paid $27,500 to fly in and paint on stage a portrait of Bono. Bono is the veteran Irish rocker knighted by the Queen for his tireless campaign on behalf of debt forgiveness, which doesn’t sound the IRS’s bag at all. But don’t worry, debt forgiveness-wise Bono has Africa in mind, not New Jersey. And, as Matthew Cowart tweeted me the other day, he did have a big hit with “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which I believe is now the official anthem of the IRS Cincinnati office.”

” It took Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina to get to the heart of the matter: “With all due respect, this is not a training issue,” he said. “This cannot be solved with another webinar. . . . We can adopt all the recommendations you can possibly conceive of. I just say it strikes me — and maybe it’s just me — but it strikes me as a cultural, systemic, character, moral issue.”

” He’s right. If you don’t instinctively know it’s wrong to stay in $3,500-a-night hotel rooms at public expense, a revised conference-accommodations-guidelines manual isn’t going to fix the real problem.

So we know the IRS is corrupt.” 

 

 

Scribd_IRS_Report

 

 

 

As always read the whole thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lois Lerner Defense

 

” We have the president of the United States’ word as a gentleman that he knew nothing about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of his enemies until he “learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.”

Furthermore, although the commissioner of the IRS, Douglas Shulman, visited Obama’s White House no fewer than 157 times, which is 156 times more than his predecessor Mark Everson ever visited the White House, we know that this was for legitimate Easter-egg rolls, as he testified to Congress, and meetings to discuss Obamacare. The Easter Bunny, one should note, visits the White House two to four times as often as the average IRS commissioner did before Mr. Shulman came along. But you can’t make a health-care omelet without breaking Easter eggs: It is one of the many distinctive features of Obama-style “health” “care” “reform” that, while it has not led to the hiring of a single additional doctor, nurse, or hospital janitor, it did require the biggest expansion of the IRS since the Second World War. So, when he wasn’t rolling Easter eggs and advising the moppets on whether they needed to declare the luxury Belgian white chocolate balls with praline filling, he was participating in vital meetings on how many extra SWAT teams he was going to need to enforce the new colonoscopy non-compliance penalty.”

 

 

 

 

As always , read the whole thing

 

 

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Mark Steyn: An Unstable Truce With The Axis Of Crazy

 

 

” Meanwhile, back at the GOP, Sen. Rand Paul is no Dick Cheney, either: At CPAC this week, the narrow bounds of his smash-hit filibuster – questioning drone assassinations of Americans in America – broadened somewhat, not just to questioning drone assassinations of Americans anywhere, nor to questioning drone assassinations of anyone, nor even to questioning the “war on terror” or war in general, but to questioning the very assumptions of American global order, starting with our bankrolling of Mohamed Morsi in Cairo. The Egyptians send mobs to torch the U.S. embassy, the Saudis wage ideological warfare against Western civilization, the Turks call Israel a “crime against humanity” and threaten a cultural and demographic takeover of Europe, the Pakistanis are ramping up nuke production to sell to any loon in town – and those are just our “allies.” With friends like these, who needs foreign policy? There are fewer and fewer takers for the burdens of global superpower, and whoever wins the nomination in 2016 will be considerably less Cheney and more Randy.

 

As the CPAC crowd suggested, there are takers on the right for the Rand Paul position. There are many on the left for Obama’s drone-alone definition of great power. But there are ever fewer takers for a money-no-object global hegemon that spends 46 percent of the world’s military budget and can’t impress its will on a bunch of inbred goatherds. A broker America needs to learn to do more with less, and to rediscover the cold calculation of national interest rather than waging war as the world’s largest NGO. In dismissing Rand Paul as a “wacko bird,” John McCain and Lindsay Graham assume that the too-big-to-fail status quo is forever. It’s not; it’s already over.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Panopticon State

Where the government can see, it can send a drone.

 

 

 

” I’m a long, long way from Rand Paul’s view of the world (I’m basically a 19th-century imperialist a hundred years past sell-by date), but I’m far from sanguine about America’s drone fever. For all its advantages to this administration — no awkward prisoners to be housed at Gitmo, no military casualties for the evening news — the unheard, unseen, unmanned drone raining down death from the skies confirms for those on the receiving end al-Qaeda’s critique of its enemies: As they see it, we have the best technology and the worst will; we choose aerial assassination and its attendant collateral damage because we are risk-averse, and so remote, antiseptic, long-distance, computer-programmed warfare is all that we can bear. Our technological strength betrays our psychological weakness.

And in a certain sense they’re right: Afghanistan is winding down, at best, to join the long list of America’s unwon wars, in which, 48 hours after departure, there will be no trace that we were ever there. The guys with drones are losing to the guys with fertilizer — because they mean it, and we don’t. The drone thus has come to symbolize the central defect of America’s “war on terror,” which is that it’s all means and no end: We’re fighting the symptoms rather than the cause.

For a war without strategic purpose, a drone’ll do.”

 

 

Mark Steyn: Magical Fairyland Budgeting

 

 

“I’m also issuing a new goal for America,” declared President Obama at his “State of the Union” on Tuesday. We’ll come to the particular “goal” he “issued” momentarily, but before we do, consider that formulation: Did you know the president of the United States is now in the business of “issuing goals” for his subjects to live up to?

The State of the Union is the opposite. The president gives a performance, extremely animatedly, head swiveling from left-side prompter to right-side prompter, continually urging action now: “Let’s start right away. We can get this done. … We can fix this. … Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to get it done.” And at the end of the speech, nothing gets done, and nothing gets fixed, and, after a few days’ shadowboxing between admirers and detractors willing to pretend it’s some sort of serious legislative agenda, every single word of it is forgotten until the next one.

In that sense, like Beyoncé lip-synching the National Anthem at the Inauguration, the State of the Union embodies the decay of America’s political institutions into a simulacrum of responsible government rather than the real thing, and a simulacrum ever more divorced from the real issues facing the country. “Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion,” said the president. Really? Who knew? “Now we need to finish the job.” Just one more push is all it’ll take.

What’s he on about? The annual “deficit” has been over a trillion for every year of Obama’s presidency. The cumulative deficits have, in fact (to use a quaint expression), increased the national debt by $6 trillion. Yet Obama claims Washington has “reduced the deficit” by $2.5 trillion, and all we need to do is “finish the job.” “

 

In the Absence of Guns

 

 

 

 

 

In Britain, defending your property can get you life.

 

 

” Celebrity news from the United Kingdom: In April, Germaine Greer, the Australian feminist and author of The Female Eunuch, was leaving her house in East Anglia, when a young woman accosted her, forced her back inside, tied her up, smashed her glasses, and then set about demolishing her ornaments with a poker.

A couple of weeks before that, the 85-year-old mother of Phil Collins, the well-known rock star, was punched in the ribs, the back, and the head on a West London street, before her companion was robbed. “That’s what you have to expect these days,” she said, philosophically.

Anthea Turner, the host of Britain’s top-rated National Lottery TV show, went to see the West End revival of Grease with a friend. They were spotted at the theatre by a young man who followed them out and, while their car was stuck in traffic, forced his way in and wrenched a diamond-encrusted Rolex off the friend’s wrist.

A week before that, the 94-year-old mother of Ridley Scott, the director of Alien and other Hollywood hits, was beaten and robbed by two men who broke into her home and threatened to kill her. “

 

Read On , That Was Just The Prelude

 

” A few months ago, Shirley Best, owner of the Rolander Fashion boutique whose clients include the daughter of the Princess Royal, was ironing some garments when two youths broke in. They pressed the hot iron into her side and stole her watch, leaving her badly burnt.

“I was frightened to defend myself,” said Miss Best. “I thought if I did anything I would be arrested.”

And who can blame her? Shortly before the attack, she’d been reading about Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer whose home had been broken into and who had responded by shooting and killing the teenage burglar. He was charged with murder. In April, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment—for defending himself against a career criminal in an area where the police are far away and reluctant to have their sleep disturbed.

Norfolk is a remote rural corner of England. It ought to be as peaceful and crime-free as my remote rural corner of New England. But it isn’t. Old impressions die hard: Americans still think of Britain as a low-crime country. Conversely, the British think of America as a high-crime country. But neither impression is true. The overall crime rate in England and Wales is 60 percent higher than that in the United States. True, in America you’re more likely to be shot to death. On the other hand, in England you’re more likely to be strangled to death. But in both cases, the statistical likelihood of being murdered at all is remote, especially if you steer clear of the drug trade. When it comes to anything else, though—burglary, auto theft, armed robbery, violent assault, rape—the crime rate reaches deep into British society in ways most Americans would find virtually inconceivable.

I cite those celebrity assaults not because celebrities are more prone to wind up as crime victims than anyone else, but only because the measure of a civilized society is how easily you can insulate yourself from its snarling underclass. In America, if you can make it out of some of the loonier cities, it’s a piece of cake, relatively speaking. In Britain, if even a rock star or TV supremo can’t insulate himself, nobody can. “

 

After America , What ?

Steyn: Congress Spent 2 Months Arguing for 10 Hours Worth of Spending Cuts

 

Steyn On Spending

 

 

 

 

 

” Conservative columnist Mark Steyn unleashed a torrent of pithy thoughts on the mercifully ended theater-of-the-absurd that resulted in a measly few billion dollars a year in spending cuts under the fiscal cliff deal. In the video above, the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon stated in his cheerfully sardonic way that “the American era is over“:

“In a sense America voted for big government in November. What it didn’t vote for is the willingness to pay for it. We have the biggest gap between revenue and spending of any nation on Earth. So people have got to get real about this. If you want Swedish-style government, you have to pay Swedish-style taxes. And if you don’t, you have to grow up and learn to live within your means.” “

 

 

With ‘Deals’ Like Fiscal Cliff, Who Needs Societal Collapse?

 

 

 

 

” No epiphanies in Washington: the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the latest triumphant deal includes $2 billion of cuts for fiscal year 2013. Wow! That’s what the government of the United States borrows every 10 hours and 38 minutes. Spending two months negotiating 10 hours of savings is like driving to a supermarket three states away to save a nickel on your grocery bill.

A space alien on Planet Zongo whose cable package includes “Meet The Press” could watch 10 minutes of these pseudo-cliffhangers and figure out how they always end, every time: Spending goes up, and the revenue gap widens.

This latest painstakingly negotiated bipartisan deal to restore fiscal responsibility actually includes a third of a trillion dollars in new spending. A third of a trillion! $330,000,000,000! Fancy that! In most countries, a third of a trillion would be a lot of money. But in the U.S. it’s chump change so footling it’s barely mentioned in the news reports “

 

 

 

Illustration By Eric Allie

 

 

From Mark Steyn:

 

Happy Christmas Bank Holiday Thursday!

 

 

 

” In America, the Christmas holiday is what it says: a holiday to observe Christmas. If it happens to fall on a Saturday or Sunday, tough. See you at work Monday morning. But across the Atlantic, if Christmas and New Year fall on the weekend, the ensuing weeks are eaten up by so many holidays they can’t even come up with names for them. I see from the well-named “Beautiful Ireland” calendar this newspaper sent me in lieu of a handsome bonus for calling the US elections correctly that January 3rd 2005 is a holiday in Ireland and Britain – the Morning After The Morning After Hogmanay – and the lucky Scots get January 4th off too – the First Hogtuesday After Hogmonday? Eventually, the entire Scottish economy will achieve the happy state of their enchanted village of Brigadoon and show up for one day every hundred years.

I’ve spent Christmas on both sides of the pond and, on the whole, I prefer the intensity of the American version – the big build-up, non-stop seasonal favourites on the radio between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and then at midnight on December 25th, it all stops. No more “Winter Wonderland” or “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”: the entire sleighlist (as it was called back in my disc-jockey days) turns into a pumpkin, and the party’s over, and December 26th is a perfectly normal working day. Whereas the last Christmas I spent in rural England is as near as I hope I ever get to experiencing my own hostage crisis. “Is it Christmas Bank Holiday Thursday yet?” “No, it’s still Boxing Day.” “

Vain Search For Meaning In Massacre

” For those untouched by death this Christmas, someone else’s bewildering, shattering turn of fate ought to occasion a little modesty and circumspection. Instead, even by its usual execrable standards, the public discourse post-Newtown has been stupid and contemptible. The Left now seizes on every atrocity as a cudgel to beat whatever happens to be the Right’s current hottest brand: Tucson, Arizona, was something to do with Sarah Palin’s use of metaphor and other common literary devices – or “toxic rhetoric,” as Paul Krugman put it; Aurora, Colorado, was something to do with the Tea Party, according to Brian Ross of ABC News. Since the humiliations of November, the Right no longer has any hot brands, so this time round the biens pensants have fallen back on “gun culture.” Dimwit hacks bandy terms like “assault weapon,” “assault rifle,” “semi-automatic” and “automatic weapon” in endlessly interchangeable but ever more terrifying accumulations of high-tech state-of-the-art killing power. As the comedian Andy Borowitz tweeted, “When the 2nd Amendment was written the most lethal gun available was the musket.”

Actually, the semiautomatic is a 19th century technology, first produced in 1885. That’s just under half-a-century after the death of Madison, the Second Amendment’s author, and rather nearer to the Founding Fathers’ time than our own. And the founders were under fewer illusions about the fragility of society than Hollywood funnymen: on July 25, 1764, four Lenape Indians walked into a one-room schoolhouse in colonial Pennsylvania and killed Enoch Brown and ten of his pupils. One child survived, scalped and demented to the end of his days.”

Saturday Steyn

William & Kate Have Nothing On Obama

 

 

 

 

 

” Great! Maybe Kate could return the favor and give Snooki and her fellow Americans some advice. About fiscal prudence, for example. Say what you like about a high-living, big-spending, bloated, decadent parasitical, wastrel monarchy, but, compared to the citizen-executive of a republic of limited government, it’s a bargain. So, while the lovely Duchess of Cambridge nurses her baby bump, the equally radiant President of the United States nurses his ever more swollen debt belly. He and his family are about to jet off on their Christmas vacation to watch America slide off the fiscal cliff from the luxury beach resort of Kailua. The cost to taxpayers of flying one man, his wife, two daughters and a dog to Hawaii is estimated at $3,639,622. For purposes of comparison, the total bill for flying the entire Royal Family (Queen, princes, dukes, the works) around the world for a year is £4.7 million – or about enough for two Obama vacations.

According to the USAF, in 2010 Air Force One cost American taxpayers $181,757 per flight hour. According to the Royal Canadian Air Force, in 2011 the CC-150 Polaris military transport that flew William and Kate from Vancouver to Los Angeles cost Her Majesty’s Canadian subjects $15,505 per hour – or about 8/100ths of the cost”

Sunday Steyn

America Not Paying Its Fair Share

 

 

 

 ” So now we have the latest cliffhanger: the Fiscal Cliff, below which lies a bottomless abyss of sequestration, tax-cut extension expiries, Alternative Minimum Tax adjustments, new Obamacare taxes, the expiry of the deferment of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, as well as the expiry of the deferment of the implementation of the adjustment of the correction of the extension of the reduction to the proposed increase of the Alternative Minimum Growth Sustainability Reduction Rate. They don’t call it a yawning chasm for nothing.

As America hangs by its fingernails, wiggling its toesies over the vertiginous plummet to oblivion, what can save her now? An Even More Super Committee? A bipartisan agreement in which Republicans agree to cave, and Democrats agree not to laugh at them too much? That could be just the kind of farsighted reach-across-the-aisle compromise that rescues the nation until next week’s thrill-packed episode when America’s strapped into the driver’s seat of a runaway Chevy Volt careering round the hairpin bends on full charge, or trapped in an abandoned subdivision overrun by foreclosure zombies. “

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