CHARLES MURRAY’S “Coming Apart,” the book that’s launched a thousand arguments this winter, is a brilliant work with an exasperating conclusion. What’s brilliant is Murray’s portrait, rich in data and anecdote, of the steady breakdown of what he calls America’s “founding virtues” — thrift and industriousness, fidelity and parental responsibility, piety and civic engagement — within America’s working class, and the personal and communal wreckage that’s ensued.
What’s exasperating is what the author suggests policy makers can do about the social crisis: in essence, nothing.
Or at least nothing realistic. Instead, Murray argues that our leaders should embrace his own libertarian convictions, scrap all existing government programs (and the dependency and perverse incentives they create) and replace them with a universal guaranteed income. This is a fascinating idea; it’s also fantastically impractical, and entirely divorced from American political realities. Which means that it’s divorced from any possibility of actually addressing the crisis that Murray so vividly describes.
That said, much of the criticism that “Coming Apart” has received from liberals is exasperating as well. Murray’s critics accuse him of essentially blaming the victim: the social breakdown he described may be real enough, they allow, but it’s an inevitable consequence of an economic system that Republicans have rigged to benefit the rich. In the liberal view, there’s nothing wrong with America’s working class that can’t be solved by taxing the wealthy and using the revenue to weave a stronger safety net.
SCOTUS To Rule On Affirmative Action Might be nice if they said no more affirmative action, not just for colleges, but for everything in the USA.
NATO Commander Apologizes for Soldiers’ Handling of Korans in Afghanistan Why are we always apologizing to the freakng islamics? Screw them and the hell with their book! These are people who burn churches, crosses and bibles and NEVER apologize to anyone!
(Daily Mail) — It is the fear of every party guest, turning up in an outfit not suited to the dress code.
And unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, her slip up was witnessed by top government officials from across the globe.
Wearing a lime green shirt, the Secretary of State was placed in the middle of the foreign ministers – all dressed in crisp white shirts – for a G20 ‘family photo’ in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The word RACISM has no meaning if this is NOT racist!
Can you imagine if George Bush, or some other white president, had created an ad like this asking all whites to join together to help him get elected. The left and blacks would have gone ballistic and screamed racism. This is certainly the same thing only in reverse. And this is from an individual that is supposed to be the president of everybody!! What a joke.
(again, the republican party should be ranting and raving and making damn sure this is kept in front of ALL people! IMHO)
“Propulsion,” the nine-year-old says as he leads his dad through the gates of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “I just want to see the propulsion stuff.”
A young woman guides their group toward a full-scale replica of the massive Saturn V rocket that brought America to the moon. As they duck under the exhaust nozzles, Kenneth Wilson glances at his awestruck boy and feels his burden beginning to lighten. For a few minutes, at least, someone else will feed his son’s boundless appetite for knowledge.
Then Taylor raises his hand, not with a question but an answer. He knows what makes this thing, the biggest rocket ever launched, go up. And he wants—no, he obviously needs—to tell everyone about it, about how speed relates to exhaust velocity and dynamic mass, about payload ratios, about the pros and cons of liquid versus solid fuel. The tour guide takes a step back, yielding the floor to this slender kid with a deep-Arkansas drawl, pouring out a torrent of Ph.D.-level concepts as if there might not be enough seconds in the day to blurt it all out. The other adults take a step back too, perhaps jolted off balance by the incongruities of age and audacity, intelligence and exuberance.
As the guide runs off to fetch the center’s director—You gotta see this kid!—Kenneth feels the weight coming down on him again. What he doesn’t understand just yet is that he will come to look back on these days as the uncomplicated ones, when his scary-smart son was into simple things, like rocket science.
15 Secrets the Emergency Room Staff Won’t Tell You
This insider information from doctors, nurses and paramedics will astonish you–and could save your life.
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She knows we are not the Land of the Free!
Japanese fart scrolls prove that human art peaked centuries ago
Approximately 200-400 years ago during Japan’s Edo period, an unknown artist created what is easily the most profound demonstration of human aesthetics ever committed to parchment. I am referring to He-Gassen a.k.a. ??? a.k.a. “the fart war.” In this centuries-old scroll, women and men blow each other off the page with typhoon-like flatulence. Toss this in the face of any philistine who claims that art history is boring.
Gassy competitions weren’t limited to the scenes of He-Gassen (which is hilariously named in retrospect). Fart wars were also used to express displeasure at the encroaching European influence in Edo Japan — artists would depict Westerners being blown home on thunderous toots.
Know that the below scenes contain more than a few disrobed body parts, but it’s nothing worse than what you see in your average art museum (save for the roiling cyclones of rump mist, that is). You can read the full He-Gassen at Waseda University. And for more old-school blue humor, see these examples of ancient graffiti.
“Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit that we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.” — President Barack Obama, February 23, 2009
Three years ago, Barack Obama promised to cut the deficit by half. He has failed. Not only has he failed, he has made it worse.
First, let’s address Obama’s claim that he “inherited” the deficit. As you can see in the numbers provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the deficits under President Bush peaked in 2004, and than began to decline. The budget deficit in 2007 – the last budget approved by the Republican Congress before Nancy Pelosi became speaker – was $160 billion. When the Democrats took over, the deficit exploded. So, yes, Barack Obama inherited a huge deficit from the Democrats in Congress.
Show them this: When those lefties say it is Bush’s Fault!
One thing I’ve learned in the year I have spent tracking General Motors cum Government Motors (GM) – and all its Crony Socialist, green non-energy “energy”, flammable absurdities – is the fact that the car media are every bit the Leftist open-channel steno pool as are the political media.
And with President Barack Obama running for reelection in large part on the utterly failed “success” of the $85 billion auto bailout, the car and political media have by now achieved fully melded fusion.
The examples are myriad.
The press in parrot-unison hail Obama for having “saved” the auto industry.
But always somehow fail to report that we have lost (at least) $23.6 billion on the (mis-ad)venture.
Or that Obama handed an additional $68 billion of our coin – to two companies with a combined market value of around $8 billion. How’s that for new math?
The press in parrot-unison back Obama’s excoriation of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for suggesting GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
But always somehow fail to report that Obama…had GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy. Just as Romney recommended. But Obama did so only after handing them an additional $68 billion of our money. Which is not at all like what Romney suggested.
Correct me if I (and Romney) are wrong, but GM and Chrysler could have gone bankrupt – for free. Companies and people do it all the time – with especial frequency here in the Age of Obama.
Read the article here.
Yes, CATS do rule the internet!
The UK woman who has two vaginas has attracted the attention of a Los Angeles-based film production company. Hazel Jones, 27, has the condition uterus didelphys, where she has two wombs and two cervixes.
Vivid Entertainment CEO Steven Hirsch, wrote to Miss Jones offering her $1 million and a flight to Los Angeles with first class accommodation if she decided to star in one of Hirsch’s movies. The blonde High Wycombe woman told ITV’s This Morning programme she was comfortable with having the condition, despite the fact she had to effectively lose her virginity twice.
Mr Hirsch’s Californian-based company became the first studio to introduce celebrity sex films, showing footage of Pamela Anderson and then-husband Tommy Lee and Kim Kardashian. They have even offered reprieved Amanda Knox a career in the porn industry as well as Casey Anthony a part in the industry almost as soon as she was found not guilty in the murder trial of her daughter Caylee Anthony.
Some interesting events have been transpiring in Georgia over the last few weeks. At least, that is, in the right wing blogosphere’s view — the mainstream media orchestrated a complete blackout. And it wasn’t because big media missed the show, since I personally saw them holding the spotlights and cameras. The footage was simply left on the cutting room floor.
Georgia is home to some brave citizens who dared to challenge, under state law, President Obama’s constitutional eligibility to run for a second term. The three cases stipulated that Obama was not qualified as a “natural born” citizen because his father was not a US citizen. As reported here on American Thinker in a series of columns, the administrative judge found for the defendant, and last week, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp upheld the ruling — that Obama’s name should appear on Georgia’s 2012 ballot.
That decision was rendered even though Obama and his attorney, Michael Jablonski, failed to respond to a valid subpoena, and neither appeared at the January 26 hearings. In the initial stages of the challenges, Jablonski filed motions to dismiss, which were denied. The day before the hearings, Jablonski delivered a defiant letter, over Judge Michael Malihi’s head, to the secretary of state, warning that neither he nor Obama would attend. Neither the judge nor Kemp seemed to mind, however. Nor did the media.
As a witness to the hearings, I fully expected the mainstream media to report on the events with the usual “birther” ridicule, but I was astonished to find virtually no coverage at all. Perhaps because the challenges highlighted the less sensational points of statutory construction, judicial precedent, and constitutional law — aspects of “birtherism” that do not fit the mainstream narrative of crazy “birthers” and conspiratorial theories of a Kenyan birthplace.
Or maybe — the media did not want to draw attention to the disconcerting fact that Obama and his defense team turned their backs on legal procedure and the judiciary of a state.
Read the article here.
FBI Director Mueller secretly met on February 8 at FBI headquarters with a coalition of groups including various IslamoFascist and militant Arabic groups who in the past have defended Hamas and Hizballah. At this meeting, the FBI revealed that it had removed more than 1000 presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices around the country that was deemed “offensive to Muslims.”
Investigative Project The FBI did not reveal what criteria was used to determine why material was considered “offensive” but knowledgeable law enforcement sources have told the IPT that it was these radical groups who made that determination. Moreover, numerous FBI agents have confirmed that from now on, FBI headquarters has banned all FBI offices from inviting any counter-terrorist specialists who are considered “anti-Islam” by Muslim Brotherhood front groups.
Read the article here.
Does Michelle Obama really over-satiate herself on adipose-inducing feasts while lecturing kids to clean up their diets?
Yes, according to the most scientific study to date.
Obviously intending to counter Michelle’s critics, food writer Marian Burros, working for POLITICO, treated herself to lunch and/or dinner at “the 33 or more restaurants in the Washington area” where Michelle has grazed in Washington since her husband took office.
Can you imagine? Such diligence and sacrifice.
The result is a classic unintended scientific finding. Burros appears to have set out to prove that Mrs. Obama eats like an undernourished wild rabbit, citing the “vitriol” poured on her concerning her food habits by “anti-Obama blogs.”
In fact, Burros finds – though she doesn’t acknowledge it – that the excess weight Michelle is usually carrying around was not put there by a mysterious and unwelcome Act of God.
She eats poorly.
Burros discovers and celebrates that Michelle does eat vegetables. But that’s like saying a murderer sometimes commits burglaries. The problem is with Michelle’s core diet, much of which seems to be fried, sitting on a bone, or infested with sucrose.
Here at White House Dossier, we have a little fun with Michelle’s marked proclivity to overeat and overeat and serve unhealthy food to guests again and again, while pointing out the hypocrisy of her simultaneously telling others how to eat.
Not since Richard Simmons’s paunch protruded over his skimpy shorts has a worse Apostle of the path to health presented themselves to the public.
Here is something that the republican party should run, replacing the phrase “the Bush Administration” with the “Obama Administration.”
Went to the gym this morning (that is now a normal thing for myself and my wife, go each morning, excepting sundays) and I will tell you, there is nothing at that gym remotely like the following:
Drinking and Drugging
“Crack is Whack”
Remember that phrase? I heard many people repeat it last week as they appraised the waste of Whitney Houston’s later years and flashed back to her 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, when she uttered those immortal words. She was bristling not at rumors that she abused drugs but at insinuations that she turned to cheap ones. With album sales like hers, you didn’t have to suck on a pipe.
Sawyer wanted to know what Houston was on. Everyone wanted to know what Houston was on, and news reports after her death took unconfirmed inventory of the pills in her hotel suite, wondering if they represented the extent of her indulgences.
No. By many accounts, Houston also drank. More than a little. In fact one early, leading theory about the cause of her death, which won’t be known until toxicology tests are finished, was that a mix of prescription drugs and alcohol did her in.
But while the drugs leapt immediately to the foreground, with questions raised about which doctors and pharmacies had provided them, the alcohol receded from focus, as it too often does. Wrongly, perilously, we tend not to attribute the same destructive powers to it that we do to powders, capsules and vials.
We don’t talk of its abuse in quite the same titillated, scandalized, censorious tone. Vodka isn’t wack. Beer, certainly, isn’t wack. It has adorable mascots — remember Spuds MacKenzie, the Bud Light bull terrier? It’s advertised during the Super Bowl and on the sides of municipal buses. It even comes in cloying fruit flavors and brightly colored cans, with fun names. Four Loko, anyone?
Because drinking is legal for adults, safe in moderation, the rightful font of epicurean reveries and the foundation of a multibillion-dollar industry with lobbyists galore, it gets something of a pass. Many of us like it — no, love it — too much to survey the damage it can do, look at ways in which our society could work to curb that and acknowledge that the effort isn’t so very vigorous.
Read it all HERE.
(CNN) — In Syria’s cyberwar, the regime’s supporters have deployed a new weapon against opposition activists — computer viruses that spy on them, according to an IT specialist from a Syrian opposition group and a former international aid worker whose computer was infected.
A U.S.-based antivirus software maker, which analyzed one of the viruses at CNN’s request, said that it was recently written for a specific cyberespionage campaign and that it passes information it robs from computers to a server at a government-owned telecommunications company in Syria.
Supporters of dictator Bashar al-Assad first steal the identities of opposition activists, then impersonate them in online chats, said software engineer Dlshad Othman. They gain the trust of other users, pass out Trojan horse viruses and encourage people to open them.
Once on the victim’s computer, the malware sends information out to third parties.
This shows how our government loves to waste money! And enrich other countries.
There once was a plan to turn over the main U.S. detention center in Afghanistan to control of the Afghans in 2011. That’s out the window. Instead, the military is offering millions to vastly expand the center’s inmate intake.
Specifically, $35 million will fund expansions necessary to house “approximately 2,000 detainees” at the Detention Facility at Parwan on the outskirts of Bagram Air Field, an hour’s drive from Kabul. The Army Corps of Engineers wants to expand “detainee housing, guard towers, administrative facility and Vehicle/Personnel Access Control Gates, security surveillance and restricted access systems,” according to a recent solicitation. A Turkey-based company received the contract in late January.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. As far back as summer 2010, senior military officials in charge of the detention center boasted to Danger Room outright that by January 2012, they wouldn’t be running the square-mile sized prison. They considered handing the detention center to the Afghans a mark of their own success at fostering a culture of law and order within the Afghan government.
Nope, nothing like this at the gym this morning. And I doubt I will ever see such a thing. Because going to the gym in the morning? Just like my wife and I, only the older set appears. But at least there is no competition, as in I can run faster and longer on the treadmill than you can. So far anyways!
In Chenzhuang Village, China, about 20 miles northwest of central Beijing, the ruins of a partially built amusement park called Wonderland sit near a highway, surrounded by houses and fields of corn. Construction work at the park, which developers had promised would be “the largest amusement park in Asia,” stopped around 1998 after disagreements with the local government and farmers over property prices. Developers briefly tried to restart construction in 2008, but without success. The abandoned structures are now a draw for local children and a few photographers, who encounter signs telling them to proceed at their own risk. Reuters photographer David Gray visited the site on a chilly morning earlier this month and returned with these haunting images of a would-be Wonderland. [21 photos]
A number of folk stories and a few divisive rumors have surrounded the office of the U.S. presidency, and skeptical folks like us check a few of them out.
In the United States, February brings “Presidents’ Day” and some familiar stories, such as George Washington chopping down ye olde cherry tree, circulate anew. Sweet as it may sound about not lying to one’s father, this story is not true. Nor, to bite into a story of more recent vintage, did he have wooden teeth.
Let’s skeptically consider a few of the many fables that regularly appear about current and past presidents, and critically think about the purposes they may serve.
First, we need to address the initial fable of a “Presidents’ Day.” Yes, Martha, there is no such legal designation. Once upon a time there were two presidential holidays in February: Lincoln’s Birthday on the 12th and Washington’s on the 22nd. (Never mind that Washington was actually born on the 11th, based on the Julian calendar in effect in 1731.
June 1941. Erie County, Pennsylvania. “Each group of ten trailers in the FSA camp at Erie has a trailer service unit, water faucet, slop sink, and garbage pail.” Photo by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration
Shorpy . Interesting site to enjoy.
And prior to another fine dinner prepared by my lovely wife, arguably the best damn cook in Iowa, how about some butt?
Or better yet, this butt?