” The salient feature of America in the Age of Obama is a failed government class institutionally committed to living beyond its means, and a citizenry too many of whom are content to string along. ”
Mr Alton Nolen … aka Jah’Keem Yisrael
” Moore is a municipality that lies between Norman, where a dear friend of mine lives, and Oklahoma City, which I know reasonably well. I can’t claim to know Moore other than to drive through, but I do remember the water tower emblazoned with “Moore – Home of Toby Keith”. Can’t get more American than that, can you?
Colleen Hufford was born in 1960. Life is full of grim twists and cruel vicissitudes, but in mid-20th century America it would not have occurred to anyone that one needed to worry about going to work and being beheaded by a colleague. Yet that’s what happened to Ms Hufford on Thursday: She turned up for her job at at the Vaughan Foods food processing plant in Moore, and Alton Alexander Nolen decapitated her.
Why would he do that? Well, as the initial reports were at pains to assure us, it’s nothing to do with terrorism. That’s true, in the sense that Mr Nolen is not a card-carrying member of an officially credentialed state-recognized terrorism-provider such as ISIS or al-Qaeda. It’s true in the sense that he’s not on any official US Department of Homeland Security terror watch list, because, under the geniuses running American national security, that honor is reserved for my fellow Hillsdale cruiser Steve Hayes. And, of course, it’s also true in the sense that Mr Nolen is a recent convert to Islam and, as David Cameron and Barack Obama and many others are ever more eager to emphasize, terrorism is nothing to do with Islam. Mr Nolen had the Muslim greeting “As-salamu Alaikum” – “Peace be upon you” – tattooed upon his abdomen. And he’d tried, without success, to persuade his co-workers at Vaughan Foods to convert to Islam. So he wasn’t just mildly Islamic in the nothing-to-do-with-terrorism sense, he was super-Islamic in the really-totally-no-terrorism-to-see-here sense.
So Colleen Hufford’s death was, as Jim Hoft put it, just “a random workplace beheading“. Indeed, many commenters at KOCO-TV seem more outraged by the mentioning of Mr Nolen’s religion than by the beheading:
Truth is, Islam has nothing to do with it. And Christians are far from innocent.
What does his religion have to do with this tragedy???
What does his religious faith have to do with this story?
Why would you even through in anything about terrorism in this story? The writer of this story is a true DUMBASS! “
As always Mr Steyn’s column is today’s Must Read
” The “narrative” of Ferguson, Missouri changed somewhat today. But, amid the confusion, the blundering stupidity of the city’s police department remains consistent.
This morning the Police Chief, Thomas Jackson, released security-camera shots of the late Michael Brown apparently stealing a five-dollar box of cigarillos from a convenience store. So the 18-year old shot dead by Chief Jackson’s officer was no longer a “gentle giant” en route to college but just another crappy third-rate violent teen n’er-do-well.
This afternoon, the chief gave a second press conference. Why would he do that? Well, he’d somehow managed to create the impression in his first press conference that the officer who killed Mr Brown was responding to the robbery. In fact, that was not the case. The Ferguson policeman was unaware that Brown was a robbery suspect at the time he encountered him and shot him dead. Which is presumably why Chief Jackson was leaned on to give his second press conference and tidy up the mess from the first. So we have an officer who sees two young men, unwanted for any crime, walking down the middle of the street and stops his cruiser. Three minutes later one of them is dead.
On the other hand, Jackson further confused matters by suggesting that he noticed Brown had cigars in his hand and might be the suspect.
It’s important, when something goes wrong, to be clear about what it is that’s at issue. Talking up Michael Brown as this season’s Trayvonesque angel of peace and scholarship was foolish, and looting stores in his saintly memory even worse. But this week’s pictures from Ferguson, such as the one above, ought to be profoundly disquieting to those Americans of a non-looting bent. “
Mr Steyn addresses the mess that is Ferguson , Missouri . Read it all .
From London's Daily Mail, the embryo Caliphate arises
” In May 2011, in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria wrote a column headlined “Al Qaeda Is Over“:
The truth is this is a huge, devastating blow to al Qaeda, which had already been crippled by the Arab Spring. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the end of al Qaeda in any meaningful sense of the word.
Al Qaeda is not an organization that commands massive resources. It doesn’t have a big army. It doesn’t have vast reservoirs of funds that it can direct easily across the world.
Zakaria is famously a confidant of Obama’s, but there are limits to the horse manure even devoted courtiers swallow. Three years on, just one malign al-Qaeda progeny, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now commands more territory than ever – from Aleppo in western Syria to the gates of Baghdad. It has all the tanks and weaponry abandoned by the Iraqi “army” we trained. It has control of the northern oil fields, the cash reserves of the second largest city in Iraq, and is now “the world’s richest terrorist group“.
Meanwhile, the White House has apparently canceled its cable subscription and daily newspaper. On Tuesday, as half-a-million Iraqis were fleeing Mosul, Administration flacks were talking up Hillary’s Greatest Hits:
Earnest was asked by a reporter at the daily press conference to describe Clinton’s accomplishments while she was Secretary of State.
“Ending the war in Iraq and winding down in a responsible fashion the war in Afghanistan, and doing that after the success of our our efforts to dismantle and destroyed Al-Qaida core that had established a base of operations in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Earnest answered.
Obama and Clinton ended the war in Iraq by losing it. They “pivoted” from Iraq to Afghanistan, and wound up losing both. Hillary crowed over Gaddafi’s corpse – “We came, we saw, he died” – and then sat by as her ambassador and best friend “Chris” was devoured by the mob: He died, she sat by, we’re gone. The Arab Spring that Zakaria claims “crippled” al-Qaeda delivered Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood and a military coup, Tunisia to soft Islamists, Libya to ever harder Islamists, and much of Syria and Iraq to jihadists too hardcore for “mainstream” al-Qaeda.
Events are moving fast on the ground. As I said on Fox News on Tuesday night:
In Iraq, the al Qaeda flag flies in Fallujah on buildings American troops built. And as we have just heard, al Qaeda has taken hold of Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, earlier today. “
Read about Obama/Clinton/Kerry’s latest foreign policy triumph here
” In Dennis Sullivan’s photograph above, a landing craft from HMCS Prince Henry carries Canadian troops toward Juno Beach in the early hours of D-Day. Many years ago, I spoke to someone who’d been aboard the Prince Henry’s sister ship, HMCS Prince David, who talked about the subtly different dynamic among the guys on those landing craft. The Royal Canadian Navy men at the front are concerned to make their rendezvous on time: They’re in the middle of the mission, and they want to complete it. The infantrymen behind them are waiting for theirs to start. As the Prince Henry recedes behind them, they know they’re leaving the best-laid plans, and that what awaits them on shore is about to go agley.
A lot went wrong, but more went right – or was made right. A few hours before the Canadians aboard the Prince Henry climbed into that landing craft, 181 men in six Horsa gliders took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset to take two bridges over the river Orne and hold them until reinforcements arrived. Their job was to prevent the Germans using the bridges to attack troops landing on Sword Beach. At lunchtime, Lord Lovat and his commandos arrived at the Bénouville Bridge, much to the relief of the 7th Parachute Battalion’s commanding officer, Major Pine-Coffin. That was his real name, and an amusing one back in Blighty: simple pine coffins are what soldiers get buried in. It wasn’t quite so funny in Normandy, where a lot of pine coffins would be needed by the end of the day. Lord Lovat, Chief of the Clan Fraser, apologized to Pine-Coffin for missing the rendezvous time: “Sorry, I’m a few minutes late,” he said, after a bloody firefight to take Sword Beach.
Lovat had asked his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe his men ashore. Private Millin pointed out that this would be in breach of War Office regulations. “That’s the English War Office, Bill,” said Lovat. “We’re Scotsmen.” And so Millin strolled up and down the sand amid the gunfire playing “Hieland Laddie” and “The Road To The Isles” and other highland favorites. The Germans are not big bagpipe fans and I doubt it added to their enjoyment of the day.”
” I write often about the paramilitarization of American law enforcement, while always vaguely assuming it will never get too near my own corner of rural New Hampshire. But who knows? Reid Smith writes today about his particular hometown in Pennsylvania:
Haverford straddles the border between Delaware and Montgomery Counties, some ten miles west of Philadelphia. According to Wikipedia, it’s most notable for being home to the renowned Haverford College and the Merion Cricket Club. The former is best known for its intellectual rigor and Quaker antecedents; the latter for its beautiful grass tennis courts.
The local geography gets a little tricky, but a portion of the unincorporated town of Haverford is part of greater Haverford Township in Delaware County (affectionately known as “Delco”).
Today a friend sent me an article from a local webzine. This is the sort of digital publication that usually leads with headlines about “Cast-Iron Cookware Restoration with Apple Cider and Elbow Grease” and heartfelt features on do-gooding business leaders.
But not today. Instead The Haverford-Havertown Patch’s editor Alison Smith is enthusing over the local constabulary’s purchase of a 2014 Lenco “BearCat” ballistic-engineered, armored-response vehicle (see picture). Everyone’s happy. The County Council:
” As businesses continue to expand here in Delaware County, we are continually committed to making sure that our police have the ability to address new threats,” said Delaware County Council Chairman Thomas McGarrigle.
Who knew a thriving business community presented such a threat to the security environment? Hey, it’s not just businesses, it’s also the local grade-school:
” We now have the ability to protect our police officers as they approach homes, businesses and schools while taking direct fire,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan.
The SWAT ONE can “carry up to ten people, and has night-vision optics, a gas-injection system and a battering ram. It can withstand hits from a .50-caliber projectile”. Why would anyone buy anything so superfluous? Ah, well:
The vehicle, a 2014 Lenco “BearCat” ballistic-engineered, armored-response vehicle, was purchased with Homeland Security grants under FEMA’s Urban Area Security Initiative program.”
Oh, right. Maybe the Afghan war only makes sense if you look on it as a dry run for Pennsylvania… As Laura Rosen Cohen says:
“This is not a police force, it’s a bloody army and the guns are being turned against you.”
As usual read it all
” 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.” “
” Indeed. The “First Amendment Area” is supposed to be something called “the United States“. If the Bureau of Land Management gets to determine which sliver of turf you can exercise your right to freedom of expression in, then it isn’t freedom of expression at all, is it? I’m less impressed by the First Amendment then I used to be, mainly because I’m having to spend a half-decade in court and a seven-figure sum for the privilege of hearing some judge years down the line inform me that my 270-word blog post is, in fact, permitted under the US constitution. (If you’d like to help lessen the toll of that seven-figure sum, I’d be awfully grateful.) But even so it’s extraordinary that even twerp bureaucrats from the Department of Compliance feel comfortable setting up an “orange plastic pen” labeled “First Amendment Area”. If an anonymous pen-pusher in the permanent bureaucracy can confine the Bill of Rights to tiny enclaves where it will be entirely ineffectual, then there is no Bill of Rights.
By the way, what’s depressing about this is, if the issue worked its way in front of a judges or judges, the genius jurists would undoubtedly rule that, while an 11-foot wide free-speech zone is too narrow an interpretation of the First Amendment, it would be acceptable if you widened it to 17 or 18 feet.
~ I was on The John Oakley Show in Toronto yesterday, and, noting my reference to Magna Carta, a handful of American listeners emailed to ask why I only mention laws eight centuries old. Yeah, I’ve noticed that, too – not just Magna Carta, but the Assize of Clarendon and the Charter of the Forest:
In 1217, King Henry III signed the Charter of the Forest, which despite various amendments and replacement statutes remained in force in Britain for some three-quarters of a millennium, until the early Seventies. If Magna Carta is a landmark in its concept of individual rights, the Forest Charter played an equivalent role in advancing the concept of the commons, the public space. Repealing various restrictions by his predecessors, Henry III opened the royal forests to the freemen of England, granted extensive grazing and hunting rights, and eliminated the somewhat severe penalty of death for taking the king’s venison. The [National Park Service] have not yet fried anyone for taking King Barack’s deer, but it is somewhat sobering to reflect that an English peasant enjoyed more freedom on the sovereign’s land in the 13th century than a freeborn American does on “the people’s land” in the 21st century.
And so, as happened to Japanese and European tourists at Yellowstone, you can be arrested for photographing the King’s deer. That’s why I quote this stuff: if a 13th century peasant enjoyed rights a 21st century American doesn’t, something’s gone badly wrong.”
” 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 .
” We’re told that the presidency is important because the head guy gets to appoint, if he’s lucky, a couple of Supreme Court judges. But they’re playing catch-up to the culture, too. In 1986, in a concurrence to a majority opinion, the Chief Justice of the United States declared that “there is no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy”. A blink of an eye, and his successors are discovering fundamental rights to commit homosexual marriage. What happened in between? Jurisprudentially nothing: Everything Chief Justice Burger said back in the Eighties – about Common Law, Blackstone’s “crime against nature”, “the legislative authority of the State” – still applies. Except it doesn’t. Because the culture – from school guidance counselors to sitcom characters to Oscar hosts – moved on, and so even America’s Regency of Jurists was obliged to get with the beat. Because to say today what the Chief Justice of the United States said 28 years ago would be to render oneself unfit for public office.”
Spot on as usual … read it all
” Just a few weeks ago, Pete Seeger featured over at our Song of the Week department for his quite discreditable role in the intellectual-property heist of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight“. Seeger lived long enough to go down and join the Occupy Wall Street protesters a year or two back. I believe he sang “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” to them, although “Where Have All The Showers Gone?” might have been more appropriate with that crowd. He died on Monday at the age of 94. Here’s what I wrote about him upon the occasion of his 90th birthday:
This week marks not only the first hundred days of King Barack’s reign and the 30th anniversary of Mrs Thatcher’s arrival in Downing Street, but also the 90th birthday of Pete Seeger. The celebrations of Mr Seeger’s tenth decade are extensive. If he seems a remote figure from the pop culture back catalogue, not so fast: He played at the Obama inauguration. Which, when you think about it, is quite something.
One must congratulate the old banjo-picker on making it to four score and ten, which is a lot older than many “dissenting artists” made it to under the regimes he’s admired over the years. Two years ago in The New York Sun, you’ll recall, Ron Radosh had a notable scoop: Hold the front page! Stop the presses! Grizzled Leftie Icon Repudiates…
Who? Castro? Chávez? Al-Qaeda?
Whoa, let’s not rush to judgment. No, the big story was: Grizzled Leftie Icon Repudiates . . . Stalin.
A couple of months earlier, there’d been some documentary or other “celebrating” the “spirit” of Pete Seeger, the folkie colossus, with contributions from the usual suspects – Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, one or more Dixie Chicks, two-thirds of Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. Mr Radosh had also been interviewed but his remarks about Seeger’s lifelong support of Stalinism had not made the final cut. No surprise there. In such circumstances, the rule is to hail someone for his “activism” and “commitment” and “passion” without getting hung up on the specifics of what exactly he’s actively and passionately committing to.”
” A few weeks back, I wrote:
At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ‘em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores.
Dangerous Minds has now assembled a collection of these photographs – not just Kabul coeds and teenyboppers but scientific researchers, too – from the Seventies, Sixties and Fifties, and they’re well worth taking a look at, if only to understand the totality of our failure there.”
” Yes, yes, just to get the obligatory ‘of courses’ out of the way up front: of course ‘weather’ is not the same as ‘climate’; and of course the thickest iciest ice on record could well be evidence of ‘global warming’, just as 40-and-sunny and a 35-below blizzard and 12 degrees and partly cloudy with occasional showers are all apparently manifestations of ‘climate change’; and of course the global warm-mongers are entirely sincere in their belief that the massive carbon footprint of their rescue operation can be offset by the planting of wall-to-wall trees the length and breadth of Australia, Britain, America and continental Europe.
But still: you’d have to have a heart as cold and unmovable as Commonwealth Bay ice not to be howling with laughter at the exquisite symbolic perfection of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition ‘stuck in our own experiment’, as they put it. I confess I was hoping it might all drag on a bit longer and the cultists of the ecopalypse would find themselves drawing straws as to which of their number would be first on the roasting spit. On Douglas Mawson’s original voyage, he and his surviving comrade wound up having to eat their dogs. I’m not sure there were any on this expedition, so they’d probably have to make do with the Guardian reporters. Forced to wait a year to be rescued, Sir Douglas later recalled, ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips.’ Now there’s a man who’s serious about reducing his footprint.
But alas, eating one’s shipmates and watching one’s extremities drop off one by one is not a part of today’s high-end eco-doom tourism. Instead, the ice-locked warmists uploaded chipper selfies to YouTube, as well as a self-composed New Year singalong of such hearty un-self-awareness that it enraged even such party-line climate alarmists as Andrew Revkin, the plonkingly earnest enviro-blogger of the New York Times. A mere six weeks ago, pumping out the usual boosterism, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that, had Captain Scott picked his team as carefully as Professor Chris Turney, he would have survived. Sadly, we’ll never know — although I’ll bet Captain Oates would have been doing his ‘I am going out. I may be some time’ line about eight bars into that New Year number.”
Not exactly comedy , but funny , in a sad kind of way . Steyn is always a joy … to watch , to read and to listen to .
” When an attempt was made to railroad George Zimmerman into prison for defending himself when assaulted, most conservatives fell silent, and some joined the lynch mob — and, to the best of my knowledge, not a single public official stood up to denounce what was going on.
More recently, when A&E suspended Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty for having the effrontery to repeat age-old Christian doctrine in an interview with GQ, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz let A&E have it. But the Republican establishment was present and accounted for only in its absence from the scene.
Moreover, when Mark Steyn blasted GLAAD in his inimitable way for trying to shut down public discourse, his editor at National Review Online took offense and went after him. Mark, being Mark,knew how to respond, and others at NRO have since rallied to his support. But I am nonetheless struck by the timidity on the right.
Even more to the point, however, I am really struck by the silence of the clergy. We can debate whether what Phil Robertson said was right or wrong, but the priests and ministers of the various Christian sects profess precisely what he said, and they have been ostentatiously silent. “
” What is the future of conservatism? Which voices should define the priorities of the movement in the coming decades? Who are its most skilled proponents today? How should the movement evolve to face the threats most endangering America?
This list is my effort to advocate for both my favorite writers contributing to answering these questions and the ideas they champion.
5 quick ground rules first:
– I’m being strict with the “columnist” title – no bloggers, journalists, or feature writers. A “columnist” is one who writes a 700-1400+ word polemical article on a regular basis for an established publication or syndication.
– I’m likewise being strict with the “conservative” title – other various right-of-center ideologies (neoconservatism, libertarianism, Christian theocrats, and paleo-con conspiracists) warrant their own lists. (Which perhaps they might get next year as I continue mapping out today’s most important ideological advocates in the contests of politics, ideas, and culture…)
[UPDATE: Confused why some of your favorites aren't on this list? See: 3 Basic Differences Between Conservatism and Neoconservatism]
– In selecting these individuals, I am including them and the ideas they champion in what I’m calling Conservatism 3.0. This isn’t just a stand-alone list, it’s part of the bigger, ongoing project of my attempt to encourage ideological debate and dialogue. The columnists on this list each write books too and I’m adding their titles to my reading lists at the Freedom Academy Book Club. In next year’s installment of my “radical reading regimen” I’ll blog through their titles too.
– I’m excluding writers that I edit. All of PJM’s columnists and freelancers have been going on a separate list of my favorite writers, which I’ve been accumulating over the last six months and you can read on the last page of this post. And as an extra mention I have to go out of my way to recommend Instapundit Glenn Reynolds’s USA Today columns too. Blogging isn’t the only medium that Glenn’s mastered.
– I’m including excerpts from some of my favorite columns. Fair warning: this article today is over 13,000 words, highlighting some of the year’s best op/eds. (UPDATE: And apparently that means it’s too big for the view-as-single-page or print-this-post feature to work. I’m sorry. I assure you that was not intentional.) It’s really more of a free online e-book — a late Christmas present to all the readers, writers, activists, and patriots who have inspired and encouraged me in my own journey across the political spectrum… “
” As Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s classic “Turkey Lurkey Time” puts it:
Let us make a wish and may all our wishes come true
A snowy blowy Christmas
A mistletoey Christmas
A Turkey Lurkey Christmas to you…
But in the British Christmas there’s not much snow outside of Richard Curtis movies, and in these days of sexual harassment suits and orientational diversity the mistletoe is an imperilled tradition. So that leaves the turkey, which doesn’t so much lurk as squat over the Brit Christmas, its poultry penumbra casting a pall over the season. As Bacharach and David urge:
Ev’rybody gather round the table
Eat all the turkey you are able…
Easier said than done. From my side of the Atlantic, where Christmas is a one-day holiday called “Christmas Day”, the interminable two-week British Christmas seems to have been fixed by some EU health agency as the safest minimum time in which to polish off the big bootiful British butterball, as the vast carcass slowly shrivels from Christmas Day through Boxing Day, Christmas Bank Holiday Tuesday, Hogmanay, the first Hogmonday after Hogtuesday, until the last relatives leave and you can put your feet up and enjoy a nice decaf turkey latte.
Indeed, one cannot help noticing that the traditional Christmas delicacy seems to have fused with Britain’s vaguely parodic approach to the holiday season. “Turkey” means a large North American gallinaceous bird but also, in American showbusiness vernacular, a flop. Yet these days the latter usage is far more prevalent in Britain. The last time I spent the holiday season in the auld sod I motored down from London to the country on Christmas Eve and, instead of jingly versions of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland”, every single radio station from Thames Valley Supergold to Clwyd FM had some sour disc-jockey counting down “Your All-Time Worst Christmas Turkeys”. “
” The syndicated columnist likened Robertson’s suspension from his A&E television program to something out of post-World War II Eastern Europe under Communist rule.
“ This is one of the biggest stories of our time – the strange need by the bureau of gay compliance or whatever the gay lobby group is calling itself these days and similar groups to enforce the most tedious ideological compliance,” he said. “It’s like something out of Milan Kundera’s Eastern European novel about post-war communist Europe, The Joke, where you make one little comment and your life is over. And we’re getting to that stage.” “
” What does Dan Pfeiffer know of this thing called “the private sector”? To say there is less private-sector experience in the Obama administration than in any other of the last century hardly begins to convey the particular pool of smarts on which this president has drawn. Nearly 60 percent of Eisenhower’s cabinet appointments had private-sector experience; Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes scored well over 50; FDR and Truman smack on 50/50; in Obama’s cabinet, fewer than 10 percent have real-world business experience. None of Obamacare’s begetters have ever created anything — certainly not a dime of real wealth.
Instead, we have government by people who read Thomas L. Friedman and use words like “interconnectedness” and give commencement addresses where they rave about how our world is changing so fast — and assume that just being glibly au courant is a substitute for being able to do, make, build. There are lessons here beyond the abysmal failure of one misconceived government program, lessons about what our esteemed (if not terminally self-esteemed) elites value as “smart,” and about the perils of rule by a poseur technocracy. As for Obama, he’s not Jay-Z, nor even Justin Bieber: He can’t sing, or dance, or create a government bureaucracy that functions any more efficiently than a Soviet supermarket. He broke the lifelong rule that had served him so well — “Don’t just do something. Stand there” — and for the first time in his life did something, terribly. It will bear his name forever.”
” “Work” and “purpose” are intimately connected: Researchers at the University of Michigan, for example, found that welfare payments make one unhappier than a modest income honestly earned and used to provide for one’s family. “It drains too much of the life from life,” said Charles Murray in a speech in 2009. “And that statement applies as much to the lives of janitors — even more to the lives of janitors — as it does to the lives of CEOs.” Self-reliance — “work” — is intimately connected to human dignity — “purpose.”
So what does every initiative of the Obama era have in common? Obamacare, Obamaphones, Social Security disability expansion, 50 million people on food stamps . . . The assumption is that mass, multi-generational dependency is now a permanent feature of life. A coastal elite will devise ever smarter and slicker trinkets, and pretty much everyone else will be a member of either the dependency class or the vast bureaucracy that ministers to them. And, if you’re wondering why every Big Government program assumes you’re a feeble child, that’s because a citizenry without “work and purpose” is ultimately incompatible with liberty. The elites think a smart society will be wealthy enough to relieve the masses from the need to work. In reality, it would be neo-feudal, but with fatter, sicker peasants. It wouldn’t just be “economic inequality,” but a far more profound kind, and seething with resentments. “
Illustration by Chip Bok
” In Geneva, the participants came to the talks with different goals: The Americans and Europeans wanted an agreement; the Iranians wanted nukes. Each party got what it came for. Before the deal, the mullahs’ existing facilities were said to be within four to seven weeks of nuclear “breakout”; under the new constraints, they’ll be eight to nine weeks from breakout. In return, they get formal international recognition of their enrichment program, and the gutting of sanctions — and everything they already have is, as they say over at Obamacare, grandfathered in.
Many pundits reached for the obvious appeasement analogies, but Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argued that Geneva is actually worse than Munich. In 1938, facing a German seizure of the Sudetenland, the French and British prime ministers were negotiating with Berlin from a position of profound military weakness: It’s easy to despise Chamberlain with the benefit of hindsight, less easy to give an honest answer as to what one would have done differently playing a weak hand across the table from Hitler 75 years ago. This time round, a superpower and its allies accounting for over 50 percent of the planet’s military spending was facing a militarily insignificant country with a ruined economy and no more than two to three months’ worth of hard currency — and they gave it everything it wanted. “
As usual Mr Steyn is right on the mark regarding a societal lack of restraint …
” Restraint is an unfashionable concept these day, but it is the indispensable feature of civilized society. To paraphrase my compatriot George Jonas, punching a spinster’s lights out isn’t wrong because it’s illegal, it’s illegal because it’s wrong. But, in a world without restraints, what’s to stop you? If a certain percentage of your population feels no moral revulsion at randomly pulverizing fellow citizens for sport, a million laws will avail you naught: The societal safety lock is off.”
He continues with the corresponding lack of restrain oozing from the world’s “greatest deliberative body” as embodied by it’s ersatz ringleader , Dingy Harry Reid …
That’s “visceral man.” What about Lewis’s “cerebral man”? In free nations, self-restraint is required not only of the underclass but of the rulers, too. Harry Reid is an unlikely gang leader, but, for a furtive little rodent, he landed a knockout punch on America’s governing norms. Like the lil’ old lady, Mitch McConnell never saw it coming. One minute, the time-honored practice that judicial appointments required supermajorities was there; the next, it was lying on the ground dead. Yes, yes, I know Senate procedural rules aren’t quite as gripping as “polar-bearing.” But, as I said, a free society requires self-restraint at all levels. Forget the merits of Reid’s move to simple majority rule, and simply consider how he did it. “