What makes me squirm in all this is that withdrawal (as Canada has basically done) leaves so many worthy Afghans with great hopes for their country utterly screwed because of the backward Islamism that will take centuries, likely, to eradicate.
But Newt likely understands that and my guess is that the clown does not see it as a problem.
My previous post linked you to a Sun News Network post.
I should disclose that I rather like watching Sun News network during those times unfilled by a CSI or Criminal Minds episode.
So this is a great little video combining Ezra Levant, the Sun News lightning post, and Krista Erickson, who stunned one of our rent-seeking artists in an interview recently by asking her how much of the taxpayers' money she had sucked over the years of her obscure dance career, and got the standard Canadian lefties' undies tied in some major knots to the point where they petitioned the bureaucracy to condemn any such question (the petition failed). Of course the Canadian left has sadly fallen into a reflex desire to censor rather than engage the argument, for one pretty obvious reason.
So there is something wonderful finding myself called an uncultured baboon by a government-subsidized Quebecer! No doubt he is worried we baboons might cut off his subsidies.
But what amuses me most if his hope that this year's Quebec foreign-language nominee would refute us all by getting an Oscar; what a joke.
Denys Arcand got an Oscar. And he made two great movies (surely highly subsidized by Canadian taxpayers) documenting in terrible ways what exactly awful effects were produced by the '60s. I doubt these guys analyze this any deeper than saying it was a Quebecer who did it. And ironically, the film Arcand won with was ruthless in showing the corruption in our wonderful Medicare system in Canada (that some idiots say defines our identity - dear God!), though I am sure the Quebec press was dead quiet about that back then, though of course now it is exploding with extensive reports of bribery and corruption to beat the queues.
Go watch the short discussion. It captures much of what I think. And please, if you can, throw me some banana. This uncultured baboon would love that!
I have long considered the foundation of the Conservative majority in the last election to be the work of Jason Kenney over many years, and particularly over the last couple of years, in winning the vote of the newer immigrant communities.
I have pretty much stopped paying much attention to the clown president of the USA but as we prepare to see him re-elected again, and as a result not facing the discipline of needing re-election, it may be worth looking at his character again. Like many, I was late to recognizing how deficient it was, but this frightening Ed Lasky article goes some way into analyzing the problem.
Of course the summary is we are looking at an empty suit but it is really scary how empty it is and how so many people in key positions know this.
First a short review of history:
Americans should have been alert to the paucity of his own record of accomplishment. As a state senator he showed little interest in learning the intricacies of legislation. Instead, his political mentor, Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones, allowed him to "bill-jack" the legislative work of others and claim it as his own. This was a practice he continued as a U.S. senator. He was unprepared to do the homework and heavy lifting -- that was for others to toil over.
Look we wanted to vote for him on an aspirational basis, not because of anything he had actually done or could even do.
If there is one constant to Barack Obama's life, it is his lack of a work ethic. I never doubted that the Barack Obama had stellar grades in college and law school. He surfed the wave of grade inflation that has probably always been a factor in his success. This is pure speculation, but the reason why he never released his transcripts was probably because they would have revealed that he took easy left-wing courses that would have reflected poorly on his work ethic. The laziness has persisted.
This is especially noticeable with his lack of concern for fact-checking in his loony speeches. His major Cairo speech early in his 'reign' turned me pretty much off listening to him ever again; he has his own priorities but getting facts right is a small piece of it. I am pretty sure also that he never took a course in economics or has even bothered trying to understand some of its more interesting byways.
I think the reference to education is interesting; I know I was forced to go through six drafts of my PhD thesis and called 'stupid' by my advisor because I had failed to consider and really understand edge cases. I doubt this lad's education ever featured anything like that.
For example, when Obama's experts assembled to discuss the scope and intricacies of the stimulus bill, Barack Obama was out of his depth. He was "surprisingly aloof in the conversation" and seemed "disconnected and less in control." His contributions were rare and consisted of blurting out such gems of wisdom as "There needs to be more inspiration here!" and "What about more smart grids" and -- one more that Newt Gingrich would appreciate -- "we need more moon shot" (pages 154-5).
Members of the team were perplexed...for the first time in the transition, people started to wonder just how prepared the man at the helm was.
He repeated a similar sorry performance when he had a conference call with Speaker Pelosi and her staff to discuss the details of the planned stimulus bill. He shouted into the speakerphone that "this stimulus needs more inspiration! Pelosi and her staff visibly rolled their eyes."
Presidential exhortations more befitting a summer camp counselor will evoke such reactions.
Anyone who considers this guy particularly intelligent or capable of careful thought has a lot of work to do to convince the rest of us.
Republicans should not fret, though, since Democrats are also frozen out. Barack Obama does not reach out to them for their ideas or input. Liberal Washington Post columnists noted his refusal to touch base with fellow Democrats. In her column "The Where's Waldo Presidency,"Ruth Marcus noted the "startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action -- unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issues of the moment." Memo to Marcus: check the links, the basketball court, or the East Room jazz club.
His having remained aloof from budget negotiations and his absence from supercommittee talks made for such an abdication of leadership that they earned a rebuke from Erskine Bowles. And so it goes -- the Invisible Man hiding in the Oval Office or reveling in adoration showered on him at expensive elite fundraisers.
And he is so vain! It is now so clearly visible watching the teleprompter eyes and the upturned head.
His vanity leads to an aversion to showing how unprepared he is to be president.
The best ticket in town would be a debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and Barack Obama regarding the huge deficits and debt Obama has imposed on us and our children. Ryan has a fluency and knowledge of these vital issues that dwarf those of Obama. Instead of cooperating with Ryan, he ambushes and insults him in public and for good measure later insulted opponents of his job bill for being unable to understand the "whole thing at once" so "we're going to break it into bite-sized pieces."
Psychologists would call this "projection."
This refusal to do the homework necessary to make good decisions is worrisome on several levels. It led to not only legislation being outsourced to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, but also to foreign policy decisions that seem to come from either the Arab League or the United Nations, or from some sudden inspiration of his disconnect from reality. After all, the path of least resistance is just to do nothing, "lead from behind," or let others do the work. At times, he appears to have adopted a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach that may conflict with the facts and with statements made by his own officials but has the virtue of avoiding the mere prospect of having to make a decision.
And as for vanity, the quote about being the smartest guy in the room is really frightening:
Despite his early boast that "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors," the reality is far different than the claim. That might explain why he just decided to stop receiving daily economic briefings early in his presidency, despite the pain and suffering that millions of Americans have experienced during his reign, and why he would just walk out on Stephen Chu, his energy secretary, after only a few slides had been shown (the rudeness punctuated with "Steve, I'm done") that explained the complexities of the BP oil spill? After all, when one "knows more about policy" than mere mortals, who needs to waste one's time with experts -- even Nobel Prize-winning scientists?
Why should taxpayers even fund experts when we have an omniscient president making up fact-free policy? Perhaps we should just lay off thousands of people who toil away in the federal government trying to find facts. American taxpayers can just rely on Barack Obama.
The final section of the article is an analysis of the briefings he likes to get - basically multiple-choice exams. Lasky has some grim fun with that:
Can't the presidency be a multiple choice exam? Those are always the easiest tests especially for unprepared people in over their heads -- as President Obama has proven himself to be.
The dreadful prospect of this idiot being re-elected looms larger each week.
Nobody would express this patronising thought in quite such brazenly explicit terms, but I have concluded that it is the subtext of a great deal of the woolly, liberal accommodationism that we saw at the time of the fatwa and the Bradford burning of the books, as well as during the Danish cartoon affair. The closest approach to it that I know was the German judge who, in 2007, denied the divorce application of a Moroccan-born woman on the grounds that the Koran permits husbands to beat their wives.
I love that word 'woolly' but one should read the whole review, and go buy Cohen's book (I have it on hold at the library, not quite the same).
There has been much fuss about the Obama administration's strictures about insurance and contraception, and some entertaining sugestion that there is a controversy about religion involved in their proposals.
John Cochrane points out that the REAL problem is that this is an area where insurance should play NO role.
Insurance is a bad idea for small, regular and predictable expenses. There are good reasons that your car insurance company doesn't add $100 per year to your premium and then cover oil changes, and that your health insurance doesn't charge $50 more per year and cover toothpaste. You'd have to fill out mountains of paperwork, the oil-change and toothpaste markets would become much less competitive, and you'd end up spending more.
He continues to point out how this ridiculous situation has been created by the very stupid idea of making health insurance contributions by employers tax-deductible, a sorry distortion.
In the end it is clear Obama and his team want to subsidize contraception; I think I would be a lot happier if they just did that, rather than hide this in silly regulations.
... and get to enjoy this stunning new generation with songs like these: (I have already posted the Grammy song, but this one is stunning too, with such a great Puccini moment as she belts into "Never mind ...'. What great songwriting and great singing):
And it made me go watch all the CBS stuff on Anderson Cooper's interview(s) with her; the best thing was Cooper's total bafflement at her lack of concern about looking perfect all the time (not natural to a Cooper).
She seems a delightful force, and served as a great antidote to the fatuity of almost all that went on during those ceremonies.
Surprisingly, another person who made the Grammys reasonable was Lady Gaga, who simply sat in her spider-encased seat.
I wish so many of the other performers had been so restrained. As I said a while ago on this blog, it is mostly vulgarity. Adele is so refreshing, as were some of the old coots.
I have the book on hold at the library; all the descriptions I have read seem to me to show that Murray has a very interesting analysis of class in the USA. My own views lean to Murray's, and I do think the sixties have a lot to answer for.
SillyWife and I attended last weekend. The UWO music department is just incredibly reliable at producing utterly great shows and they did again with some wonderfully funny slight variances on Johann Strauss Sr.'s "Die Fledermaus". In some ways this review is useless as nobody can make a decision to see a run that has ended.
This is intended to be a goofy musical, and all I can say about Ted Baerg and his team at UWO is that they did a GREAT job on this show.
This is my usual experience; everyone did a very nice job.
Well, I want to say one thing more.
Never ever in my life have I seen a performer who was so in her element and so having so much fun, and so transmitting it to all of us in the audience, as Karine White in the show we saw Sunday Feb. 12 where she played Adele. It is decidedly not that anyone else was so deficient but she was utterly amazing, stealing scenes (well, I think Strauss meant Adele to steal those scenes but she did it fearlessly).
I post this only in the hope that in 10-15 years (or less ) I will find her as a UWO grad playing in some Opera I want to see.
She was pretty good with gestures and clearly is interested in baroque opera. Maybe Opera.Atelier. (My favorite.)
I was hardly surprised to hear she had been found dead as I do like in a way to follow celebrity gossip and she had frequently been out of control.
I am hoping the media coverage settles down; I understand that when this happens on a weekend, coverage at least has to continue in the media through the Monday shows. But my reactions are now back into the 'Franco is still dead' region (you may not get this if you are too young - pity).
But what has really bothered me is that the media stuff so far focuses on only ONE song, "I Will Always Love You".
I can barely stand the Whitney Houston version, and its failure for ME has nothing to do with Houston's singing, which was magnificent. If your producer asks you to take a simple sad love song and turn it into a bombastic anthem, you do that, unless you understand the song The whole problem with that version is the thing that has almost never allowed me to enjoy a David Foster production (yeah, I know he is a Canadian). He wants the producer to be the show, and he gets that most of the time.
Listen to Dolly's original, so simple, and so fitting at a point in her life where the young Dolly is making a professional split with Porter Wagoner, and agonizing a little over what that means (I have no idea what their personal relationship was, but you can hear a bit of it).
And if you wonder how genuine this is, check this Grand Ole Opry version out, with Wagoner, and with that wonderfully sad brush of his cheek; amazingly he was OK being there. I suspect he respected her tough decisions. He does not look happy but loves that small contact.
Foster strips this song of all its bittersweet, and was so lucky to have Houston as a vehicle for doing it. Why people like that hyperbolic empty anthem better than Dolly's original I do not get, but then I have been a country music fan for 50 years, and it is exactly things like this that keep me there.
Whitney Houston for me was diminished by her excellence on this desecration. Yeah, Dolly herself has said she (i.e. Foster) created another song. They did, a song of no interest to me.
Imagine what my weekend has been like.
Nothing so bad or apparently unavoidable, obviously, and so sadly, compared to the last years of such a talent as Houston.
Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier analyze the possibility that (American) football ceases to be a viable sport. This is driven largely by the natural concern about concussions (which has reached popular media and is being reflected in TV drama), and this concern should hit ice hockey as well as the rest of the world football (heading a ball looks utterly asinine to me, especially when two players try to do it simultaneously).
One suggested scenario is far from implausible:
This slow death march could easily take 10 to 15 years. Imagine the timeline. A couple more college players — or worse, high schoolers — commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE. A jury makes a huge award of $20 million to a family. A class-action suit shapes up with real legs, the NFL keeps changing its rules, but it turns out that less than concussion levels of constant head contact still produce CTE. Technological solutions (new helmets, pads) are tried and they fail to solve the problem. Soon high schools decide it isn't worth it. The Ivy League quits football, then California shuts down its participation, busting up the Pac-12. Then the Big Ten calls it quits, followed by the East Coast schools. Now it's mainly a regional sport in the southeast and Texas/Oklahoma. The socioeconomic picture of a football player becomes more homogeneous: poor, weak home life, poorly educated. Ford and Chevy pull their advertising, as does IBM and eventually the beer companies.
I love the positive pitch:
Outside of sports, American human capital and productivity probably rise. No football Saturdays on college campuses means less binge drinking, more studying, better grades, smarter future adults. Losing thousands of college players and hundreds of pro players might produce a few more doctors or engineers. Plus, talented coaches and general managers would gravitate toward management positions in American industry. Heck, just getting rid of fantasy football probably saves American companies hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
And they hit the point that college sports in general would be the big losers:
Other losers include anything that depends heavily on football to be financially viable, including the highly subsidized non-revenue collegiate sports. No more air travel for the field hockey teams or golf squads. Furthermore, many prominent universities would lose their main claim to fame. Alabama and LSU produce a large amount of revenue and notoriety from football without much in the way of first-rate academics to back it up. Schools would have to compete more on academics to be nationally prominent, which would again boost American education.
Like the authors, I hope for great growth in tennis!
And what was with graduating in the top third of his class at Harvard Law School and going into business? He should have parked his butt in Chicago thanks to a two-book deal and a handsome advance and written a couple of autobiographies. Practicing one’s faith by spending 2 1/2 years as a missionary? That’s for suckers. Write about it instead of living it. As “The Audacity of Hope” shows, that is where the money is — and best of all, the press treats you like a living god when you write instead of do.
It's pretty hard to think of a life history among major politicians that is as exemplary, or should be as exemplary, as Mitt Romney's.
Exemplary lives seem to leave the media establishment unhappy.
As I watched this ad (not this ad, but the one being rightly lampooned) I was baffled; I know Eastwood is a sensible guy, and here he was shilling for the guys who will never pay back their TARP funds, unlike the Wall Street guys hated by the Occupests, who largely have (AIG FP the outlier).
And shilling for Chrysler is rather like shilling for Obama, and I do not think Eastwood wants to do that. Obama may be only the second-worst president in his lifetime (like me he lived through Carter) but I am pretty sure Clint does not think Obama is making his day.
The saddest thing is that Eastwood cannot claim total ignorance; he has been a politician himself, and should have known beter. Even as I watched it, and could hardly here what was being said over a moderately raucous party, I was beginning to feel dismay.
I have never watched a single episode of 'American Idol'.
But after watching finally the full 'Smash' pilot, I can only endorse it even more. I was already a fan of Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler, but Wow! Katharine McPhee!! Would she have been discovered some other way/ Maybe. But it was American Idol that got her here.
It's funny - as I was reading promotional materials for the show to come, her name meant nothing to me, while Jack Davenport's augured very well! I utterly loved that UK series 'Coupling', and may have to go back to watch it all again sometime soon. He lieved up to my hopes in the pilot.
But McPhee! Wow - just a little the way Lea Michele hit me in the first episode of 'Glee', on which this is clearly to a degree modelled. I sure hope this series does not go into the sinkhole of stupidity where Glee now lives. Such a promising start, turned into a witless PC torture, and on a Murdoch channel!
One advantage of long flights is you may finally get driven to watch a movie you would never otherwise watch.
As the sparse pickings on my flight ten days ago were exactly matched by those on tonday's return flight, I resorted to searching Canadian films and picked 'Breakaway'.
It could have been called 'My Big Fat Sikh Hockey Tournament' and I think it had many of the same merits of the movie so alluded to. A Bollywood movie about ice hockey!
Except it is not Bollywood, it is Canadian, but what fun I had watching it. The Bollywood parts were my favorites, I think, as I have no taste really for hockey.
The assimilationist message is in a way encouraging to someone like me who worries about our Sharia-loving new residents. After all, the greatest terrorist act in Canadian history was the outcome of an internal Sikh battle, just as the degree of accomodation to sensible values is the point of a great struggle amongst various Muslim groups in Canada. Can they develop sensible principles? The court is out today as it surely was for Sikhs thirty-odd years ago.
So watching this movie made me feel really good.
But then it is fiction.
On a side point, I was really impressed with the acting talents on display. How do these guys get more exposure? And no, taxing me to get there is the wrong answer.
I had forgotten what a weird thing SFO airport WiFI access for the hoi polloi is. One of your options after actually connecting and firing off an http packet is 'free sponsored' access, for which you must suffer running an ad on your screen (they cannot yet figure out whether you watched it) or filling in a survey. So there is one small cost that balances against the monetary 'freeness'.
The other cost, that has really been bothering me, is that you need to renew your commitment every 45 minutes, so you need to watch what you save and when.
The one thing I will say is that anyone who shows me an ad as part of the pricefor this is someone whose products I will studiously try to avoid in the future.
Toronto airport now has 'free' service provided by Rogers at the cost of the overall display of their name all over the airport and on the screen as you connect, but that is pretty damned humane compared to this utter annoyance.
There are lots of things I like about our current government, but when it gets ridiculous and goes off the rails, it just looks ugly. So this Kady O'Malley post, which I read as I await a flight back to home, is a real disappointment. A minister and the 'interim' opposition leader manage to give speeches in praises of Havel. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May rose to pay tribute on behalf of her party, only to have her attempt to do so blocked by unnamed Conservative MPs who spoke out to deny her the necessary unanimous consent to do so:
OK look I am out of country but what the hell?
Havel seems awfully blighted by history. Had I any respect for the Nobel Peace Prize I would feel some outrage that he never got one; talk about real peace and real change for the better! Not, I guess, in what seem to me the strange little minds of those Scandinavians who hand them out to an achievement-free Obama, or Islamists in Yemen.
Havel at home is no controversy-free character (I got some fasconating feedback from locals when I visited Prague) but he was sure an improvement on the utterly godawful lefty paradise created in Eastern Europe by the Soviets and their useful Western idiots. Perhaps the idiots cannot forgive their exposure, and hence no Peace Prize. It PROVES how wrong the useful idiots are and they sure won't give you a prize for that.
Walesa could win one in 1983 for just resisting the monsters, but win that fight and you are in a different category.
Very true, Gisele. Tom cannot pull the Bugs Bunny-esque move of throwing the ball and catching it, but he can make the receiver's job easier by not throwing the ball behind him. He also could have helped by not intentionally grounding a ball from the end zone, which gave up a safety on New England's first offensive play.
Let's see; Manningham ran out of bounds on a very nice Eli pass at one point. He did make up for it in the closing drive.
I actualy loved that first penalty for a safety; the pass was so egregiously not thrown near anyone, from the pocket, and my guess is Brady never thought anyone would call him on it.
Yes I woke up a little after midnight to watch, and watched the whole thing, with the result that I had two almost sleepless nights in a row.
It was exciting, but it left me thinking that men's tennis has to fix this problem. It was also just plain exhausting.
Is there another sport that allows six-hour matches? (Yes, people have mentioned cricket to me.)
But all the football versions have a reasonable length, baseball could go on forever, but usually is around three hours (I suspect games are longer than when I was young, part of why I hardly watch it). Of course a round of golf is several hours, but the TV people are generally too smart to show full rounds except in general in very special cases.
The five-set tennis match was not such a problem in the serve and volley area but it seems training and technology have terminated that epoch. And to be honest twenty-shot rallies just bore me in the end.
The post merely raises the question and really comes to no conclusion.
My guess is that the answer goes beyond Econ 101. Political economy enters the picture. Why does FIFA play the World Cup in South Africa and not only endure but sometimes seem to promote faking. (FIFA: Money, Control, or Both). Yes, the FIFA aristocrats like money (that’s obvious) but they have other interests and internal disputes between, for example, the English Football Association and continental associations. Four different associations organize the tennis grand slam events. All of them care about money, but all are also subject to a variety of internal politics and by somewhat aristocratic organizations, with the exception of the Australian Open.
This is sort of pointing at a public choice explanation without actually providing one.