Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (8/31)

This week was the Republican convention. The goal was to show Romney’s personal side--not something he is particularly good at doing himself. So the convention called in others to do it: Ann Romney, political associates, business leaders, olympians, and others he has helped over the years. PowerLine reviews:
On the whole, the Republican convention was spectacular. To the extent that voters watched, it achieved multiple objectives: great speeches by Republicans from Paul Ryan on down fired up party members; women and minorities were showcased effectively, not as tokens but as conservative Republican leaders; and at key moments, most notably Romney’s acceptance speech, the convention took on a softer tone that implicitly refuted the Democrats’ shrill claims to the effect that Romney is some kind of extremist. So I consider the convention an unqualified success, with one caveat: the networks’ ratings were low, significantly lower even than 2008.
What did you think of the convention?

And of course, stories like Romney’s decision to turn down a $30 million job don’t hurt this effort. In fact, I would not be surprised if more conservatives follow Andrew Ferguson’s path:

Almost every personal detail about Romney I found endearing. But my slowly softening opinion went instantly to goo when The Real Romney unfolded an account of his endless kindnesses—unbidden, unsung, and utterly gratuitous.
And now the campaign season is beginning in earnest. And we’re still learning what is in the healthcare reforms: a 15 member Independent Payment Advisory Board that is accountable to no one. And of course, everyone will be closely following the market ramifications of the election.

Turning to culture, the Atlantic examines the appeal of the left and right revisionist histories of Zinn and Barton:

Adapting this gripping storytelling approach, Barton and Zinn offer audiences the illusion that they have been hoodwinked by undisclosed authorities -- Ivy League academics, textbook authors, theNew York Times, eighth-grade social studies teachers, parents. They give readers the intellectual self-assurance that accompanies expertise without the slog of unglamorous study required to attain it.  
The message is that you, dear reader, know something that the vast majority of unenlightened chumps do not. For devotees of Barton and Zinn, it's as though a switch has been flicked and everything in a darkened room illuminated. (Barton compares his labors to those of a soldier who discovers an IED and then alerts others.)
It also explores some favorite books of politicians.

With the passing of Neil Armstrong, Slate reexamines what his first words on the moon actually were.

Public service announcement: Pyrex baking dishes do explode. (My wife and I discovered this last week. Fortunately nothing was damaged--except, of course, the dish.)

And finally, a lesson in budgeting from Bill Cosby.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (8/24)

Today is the anniversary of the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre. And 200 years ago today, the British captured and burned Washington DC.

The Obama campaign has to be worrying a little bit right now. In swing states, the race just keeps getting tighter. A historically accurate economic model has predicted Romney will win most of the swing states. And a poll this week in Michigan put Romney ahead (it remains to be seen whether this is accurate or just an outlier). Newsweek ran a cover article entitled: “Hit the Road Barack: Why We Need a New President.” (The author subsequently defended his premise.) The left-leaning Atlantic also had a story entitled “Liberals Need to Start Holding Obama Responsible for His Policies.”

If liberals are going express horror at the GOP agenda as they enthusiastically support Obama's reelection, it's time for them to own his policies and stop trying to blame them on George W. Bush, or intransigent Republicans, or the financial crisis, or corporate campaign donations, or the desire to compromise, or an electorate that wasn't ready for the allegedly "knighted" Obama.
And this article considers Romney’s debate strengths and weaknesses for the upcoming presidential debates: “if Obama is taking anything for granted about these encounters, he is making a mistake.”
[Romney’s] strengths, again, are faultless preparation, crisp and precise expression, a readiness both to attack and to defend, and an ability to stay purely on message. His weaknesses are thin factual knowledge on many policy issues, a preference to talk in generalities—and a palpable awkwardness when caught unprepared and forced to improvise.
And of course, this story doesn’t put the President in a positive light eitherdespite talking about his fundamental belief that “I am my brother’s keeper,” President Obama’s actual brother turned to conservative author Dinesh D’Souza when he faced unexpected medical expenses.

Furthermore, Paul Ryan is appealing to younger voters—that very bloc that went overwhelmingly for Obama four years ago.

Education keeps getting more and more expensive, while at the same time schools are relying more and more on underpaid adjunct professors. Someone between the teacher and the student must be making an amazing profit. (It’s not me, in case anyone was wondering.)

Although it is a rough economy, some people are still succeeding. Take, for example, this 14 year old who is now collecting rent from the home she purchased with money from dumpster diving.

On a lighter note, here are some tongue in cheek FAQs about Christianity for those otherwise unfamiliar with the religion.

Mark Mitchell has another excellent piece on culture.

The problem is obvious: Liberalism denies limits. Culture is, at its heart, a complex array of limits, both positive and negative. Thus, a liberal culture is a contradiction in terms. Pure liberalism is simply incompatible with a coherent culture. Liberalism seeks to erode and overturn all limits while a coherent culture continually affirms and reinforces the outlines that both limit and direct action. Liberalism is, then, inherently anti-culture, and to embrace liberalism in its pure form is to actively undermine one’s culture.
And for our Michigan readers, Professor Mitchell (and other speakers) will be in Holland, MI on September 15. I recommend going.

Speaking of culture, here’s an article on some of the cultural problems in China, including its property bubble and its educational problems. As a result, China’s strong economy may have week underpinnings.

But despite problems, China and Singapore may have created better retirement models than our Social Security system.

And finally, imagine a world where movie scripts were written by children. (Actually, on second thought, there’s probably more plot here than in some recent blockbuster releases.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Right Question (Blair’s Lessons, part III)

I am still making headway through Tony Blair’s memoirs. Today’s thought comes from Blair’s writing on Neville Chamberlain, who thought he could prevent war by appeasing Hitler. Blair reflects on that mistake: 
Chamberlain: denounced by history. A comparison to Chamberlain is one of the worst British insults. Yet what did he do? In a world still suffering from the trauma of the Great War, a war in which millions had died including many of his close family and friends, he had grieved; and in his grief pledged to prevent another such war. Not a bad ambition; in fact, a noble one. 
One day, meandering through the bookcases, I had picked up his diaries and begun to read the account of his famous meeting with Hitler prior to Munich … He recounts how Hitler alternated between reason--complaining of the Versailles Treaty and its injustice--and angry ranting, almost screaming about the Czechs, the Poles, the Jews, the enemies of Germany. Chamberlain came away convinced that he had met a madman, someone who had real capacity to do evil. This is what intrigued me. We are taught that Chamberlain was a dupe; a fool, taken in by Hitler’s charm. He wasn’t. He was entirely alive to his badness. 
I tried to imagine being him, thinking like him. He knows this man is wicked; but he cannot know how far it might extend. Provoked, think of the damage he will do. So, instead of provoking him, contain him. Germany will come to its senses, time will move on and, with luck, so will Herr Hitler. 
Seen this way Munich was not the product of a leader gulled, but of a leader looking for a tactic to postpone, to push back in time, in hope of circumstances changing. Above all, it was the product of a leader with a paramount and overwhelming desire to avoid the blood, mourning and misery of war. 
* * * 
Chamberlain was a good man, driven by good motives. So what was the error? The mistake was in not recognizing the fundamental question. And here is the difficulty of leadership: first you have to be able to identify the fundamental question. That sounds daft--surely it is obvious; but analyze the situation for a moment and it isn’t. 
You might think the question was: can Hitler be contained? That’s what Chamberlain thought. And, on balance, he thought he could. And rationally, Chamberlain should have been right. Hitler had annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia. He was supreme in Germany. Why not be satisfied? How crazy to step over the line and make war inevitable. 
But that wasn’t the fundamental question. The fundamental question was: does fascism represent a force that is so strong and rooted that it has to be uprooted and destroyed? Put like that, the confrontation was indeed inevitable. the only consequential question was when and how. 
In other words, Chamberlain took a narrow and segmented view--Hitler was a leader, Germany a country, 1938 a moment in time: could  he be contained? 
Actually, Hitler was the product as well as the author of an ideology that gripped several countries, of which Germany was one. By 1938, fascism was culminating in a force that was not going to act according to Chamberlain’s canons of reason, but according to the emotions of the ideology. He misunderstood the question and so answered wrongly.
But, my God, how easy to do. By contrast, Churchill spotted the right question and answered it correctly.
Notice what Blair turns to in determining the question: history and political context. It has made me wonder what is the question in today’s divisive issues. Is abortion about the right of the mother or the right of the child? Is homosexual marriage a question of equal rights or special rights? Should economic solutions be focused on meaningful work or on poverty alleviation? Is healthcare about availability or expense?

The answers depend on what the question is, and the question is usually not as obvious as to our political opponents as it is to our political allies. But, and of primary importance, policy debate is about much more than framing the question to our own advantage. One also needs to frame it correctly. Chamberlain shows us this: he framed and analyzed the question successfully, but it was the wrong question. And the result was tragic.

Also in this series:
Reforming Political Parties (Blair's Lessons, part I)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Inception" in practice

The film Inception explores what it takes plant an idea that a target’s mind that the target believes is his own. The process involves infiltrating dreams, and the story itself blurred fiction and reality. By the end, both the target and the audience could no longer distinguish between the two.

The film itself is a work of fiction. But showing that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, British intelligence pulled off the same concept in WWII (minus the dream part). The target was Adolf Hitler. The event was the Normandy Invasion. And the exercise was a smashing success: large numbers of German troops did not move to repel the Normandy landing. Instead, they waited for an assault that would never come, tied down by a force that didn’t exist. The story is told in Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies.

Earlier in the war, British intelligence (MI5) had come to the startling conclusion: they had captured every single German spy in the entire nation. Many were locked up or executed, while a smaller number were persuaded to turn double-agent. They would continue to pose as spies, but would only report what MI5 told them to.

At first, the spies were used to confuse the Germans and monitor what German intelligence wanted. But as the war progressed, the MI5 expanded their horizons. Would it be possible, they wondered, to use this network of spies to plant a false idea in Hitler’s mind? And so a major part of Operation Fortitude was born. The mission was to convince Hitler that Calais, and not Normandy, was the target for invasion.

The plot was layer of falsehood upon layer of falsehood to a degree that makes Inception look straightforward. It involved real generals commanding fake armies, and look-alike actors taking tours as real generals. There were entire rings of spies that didn’t exist, as well as inflatable tanks (they had a tendency to want to blow away) and wooden decoy airplanes. Part of the plan was infiltration of Germany’s carrier pigeon network, and for a while the spies were demanding so much money from their German handlers (which MI5 promptly pocketed) that MI5 turned a profit on the operation.

But it was not all fun and games. Freelance agents who saw profit in selling fake stories to the Germans invented their own rings of fictional spies, and there was always the danger that an independent report would accidentally hit on the truth. And the spies themselves were a motley crew, with divided loyalties and a warped sense of morality. Outside of war, the entire group would have likely ended up in prison.

And of course, there was always the German side. The information presented by the spies needed to be straightforward enough that the Germans would arrive at the desired conclusion, but not so obvious as to raise suspicions that the spies were controlled. Some German officers had a great gift for not scrutinizing any information—often for personal reasons. Many were corrupt or just downright lazy. Others were harder to fool, either out of a desire to win the war or to cover the fact that they were simultaneously plotting against Hitler as part of the Stauffenberg conspiracy.

Ben Macintyre does not disappoint in telling this story. As in all his books, he highlights how history is driven by people, their quirks, and their responses to the planned and unplanned events in their lives. He also revels in the absurdities of counterintelligence. We now have the advantage of knowing that the Normandy invasion was a success, but the planners in this book had no such knowledge. Reality was often lost during the spy-game of double and triple crossing, and they were ultimately not sure if Hitler had taken the bait until the invasion started.

In fact, it is possible that those with the greatest advantage were the spies themselves. They simply invented their own reality. Were one to consider moral fiber, character, or loyalty, these men and women were not heroes in the ordinary sense of the word, but then there was nothing ordinary about them. However, in the time of crisis—especially for one of them—they did something truly heroic. It is quite possible that, but for the false ideas they planted in Hitler’s head, the Normandy invasion would have failed.

Click here for more book reviews.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Lego!

This year marks the 80th Anniversary of Lego, one of the most ingenious toys ever invented. I spent hours upon hours building when I was growing up: castles, ships, castles, submarines, cities, western towns, and more castles (I built a lot of castles). In honor of their anniversary, Lego has created a video telling the company’s story.

What makes Lego so genius, as the video mentions, is that it is an entire system. Every set adds to the total collection, and is therefore more than an individual set. There are really no limits to the possibilities—the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I remember lying awake at night constructing structures or solving engineering problems with Legos. I can still visualize how the pieces go together and occasionally find myself building models in my head. Even now, my Google Reader has a “Lego” category, with blogs that upload pictures of new creations. And yes, I even lament how the sets aren’t nearly as good as they used to be, even if there are so many more types of pieces. (What happened to “castle” and “pirate”?) Although I’m not such a purist that I stay away from BrickArms and BrickForge.

In fact, I partly credit Lego for my success in law school. Building with Lego required me to solve difficult problems. The challenge was how to construct the visualized finished model with the given number of pieces, which often involved using pieces in unorthodox ways. (Shout out to my younger brother here: he built a three-story pirate ship with a hull that was partly sideways and partly upside down.)

Law is the same way, except that instead of little plastic bricks, it uses concepts and words. It still builds one upon the other, and the higher you get the more you discover if your foundation was sound. When it’s not, you have to take it apart and start over just to fix a little problem way down at the bottom. When I mentally visualize arguments, they sometimes even have a faint resemblance to Lego bricks.

Many law students get to law school and need to learn this new way of thinking. Thanks in part to Lego, it was not a difficult transition for me.

So Happy Birthday Lego! And may you have many more.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (8/17)

The Olympics are over, but have you ever wondered why India doesn’t win more medals? And why does the US win so many?

But that means we can turn our attention back to politics. And wow, it’s been quite the week for Vice Presidents.

Saturday Romney announced that his running mate was Congressman Paul Ryan. Commentators are going crazy. Some see it as a declaration of war. Others contrast him with Sarah Palin. And, of course, the inevitable examination into how his suits are different than Romney’s. It says Romney is serious about conservative economic theory. And others have compared the Romney/Ryan ticket to the successful Snyder/Calley ticket in Michigan. Even Democrats have had nice things to say about him. Of course, that doesn’t keep some liberals from going hysterical.

Larry Kudlow even called Romney “the most fiscally conservative Republican standard-bearer since Ronald Reagan.”

Not to be outdone, Vice President Biden seized the spotlight back.

Tuesday he told a mostly African-American audience that Romney “gonna put y’all back in chains.” And forgot what state he was campaigning in. And guaranteed that Social Security was not in trouble.

Wednesday a Virginia bakery declined the opportunity to be used as a photo-op visit because the owner disagree with his policies (although I like this businessman’s response to the job of catering an Obama event: he did it in a Romney T-shirt). And Biden forgot what century it was. And called Congressman Ryan “Governor Ryan.”

Any chance President Obama will replace him? Or is this just increasing signs of falling apart. Maybe, just maybe, we’re seeing the early signs of Tony Blair’ description of the Tories in Labour’s 1997 victory: “[T]he Tories fell apart. Every time [John] Major tried to get the on the front foot, someone in his ranks resigned, said something stupid, got caught in a scandal and frequently all three at once and occasionally the same person.” Oh well, at least one can always hope, right?

Maybe we’re not that far away. In addition to Biden’s comments, we have politically motivated national security leaks, increasing disregard for the separation of powers, and squandered funding. ($2 million and 1 intern to show for it? Seriously? I just finished an internship with the federal government, and am pretty sure they didn’t spend that much on me. If they did, I certainly didn’t see any of it.)

Turning to social issues, Christianity Today points out that the conservative Christian abstinence and courtship movements seems to be neglecting...marriage. Early marriage, that is. And coincidentally, the liberal magazine Salon also had an article on early marriage this week.

Pastor Kevin DeYoung has the Three R’s of the culture wars: no retreat, no reversal, and no reviling.

And just when you thought the David Barton story was over, it develops further. Glen Beck’s website (Beck wrote the foreword for the book in question) addresses the substance of several of the claims. While it doesn’t come to a definitive conclusion, it does reveal that Barton’s critics have correctly pointed out omissions in his use of historical sources. And Dr. Alan Snyder wrote a second part to his thoughts on the matter.

And finally, there is this field of law known as “administrative law.” It’s the law of agencies (of bureaucracy). I’ve taken a class in it. So I can say that this is the best description I’ve ever heard.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (8/10)

The new healthcare reforms keeps children on their parents' plans longer. But it apparently doesn’t cover pregnancy.

George Will tells the story of when the Republican Party sacrificed its chance of winning to preserve its constitutional stance.

The Bachmann for President campaign is now in a lawsuit involving an allegedly stolen list of homershoolers’ email address in Iowa.

It is well known that major portions of the religious community oppose homosexual marriage. But this column suggests a secular case against it. It sounds similar to the argument presented by Robert George. And a federal district court in Hawaii upheld that state’s marriage amendment.

This week I ran across a blog post on how working in a ultra-conservative Christian organization can harm your career. Then I saw one from the Harvard Business Review about how schools are teaching bad habits. Both make several overlapping points.

I wrote last week about the problems with David Barton’s new book on Thomas Jefferson. Either his publisher reads this blog (unlikely, but we can always hope) or lots of other people were saying the same thing. Anyway, Thomas Nelson has pulled the book. This comes right after both World Magazine and NPR ran stories on it. It also prompted John Locke expert Greg Forster to examine Barton’s writing on Locke. (Update: this morning my undergraduate history professor weighed in as well.)

The Democrats keep trying to demonize Romney, calling him a reverse Robin Hood, a tax cheat, and even blaming him for the death of the wife of a former Bain employee. But the reports of the people Mitt Romney has directly helped are also coming to light. Like people with mortgage problems. Or missing children. Or even bees.

Obama’s speech writers need to pay a little more attention--this time they wrote a speech where the President referenced his sons. Not that any of that matters to President Obama’s shifting perception of reality. And minor signs are indicating that the campaign may be in trouble. Others are even seeing the possibility of a landslide.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia has locked the pages of Romney’s possible VP choices.

Here is an interesting article on translating the Old Testament and the contributions of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

There are a small number of Democrats who seem to be wanting their party to revisit its pro-choice stance. Unfortunately, it is unlikely they will achieve any change.

And finally, in honor of the Mars landing, sometimes you just have to wonder: what if it really is all fake?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bristol Palin on Christian Love

There has been a lot of talk about hate recently and Bristol Palin (is anyone else surprised) seems to be the voice of clarity on the topic. Yesterday she published an article that balances truth and common sense.

Here is what she wrote:
While I’m excited and thankful to be returning to Dancing With The Stars, not everyone is thrilled I’m coming back. When the new contestants participated in a panel discussion for the Television Critics Association’s summer tour, the critics’ disdain for me was obvious.  While they asked many questions (or, really, just a few questions over and over), only one stands out in my mind: Would I mind dancing with a gay dance partner?
Frankly, I found the question silly.  Of course, I’d most like to dance with Mark again, but that’s up to the producers! If I can’t dance with Mark, I’d love to dance with a gay partner, a straight partner, or anything in between.  I’m not looking for romance at Dancing With The Stars, but I do want to do as well as I can, make as many friends as I can, and maybe – just maybe – walk away with the mirror ball trophy.
But the media can’t seem to figure this out.  In their simplistic minds, the fact that I’m a Christian, that I believe in God’s plan for marriage, means that I must hate gays and must hate to even be in their presence.  Well, they were right about one thing: there was hate in that media room, but the hate was theirs, not mine.
Let me explain through a real-life example.  A friend of mine interviewed several years ago for a faculty position at an Ivy League law school.  When the interviewer saw that he was a conservative Christian, she asked him:  “Do you think you can teach gay students?”  (See the similarity to my question?)
Here was his response: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect, so I’ll treat all my students fairly.  But I can’t promise they’ll treat me with the same respect when they find out I’m a Christian.”
That’s exactly right.  What do a person’s sexual preferences and practices have to do with dancing ability?  In fact, in most jobs a person’s private life has little or no bearing on their ability to do their job unless they lose sight of boundaries and ethics.  Does the fact that a guy sleeps with his girlfriend mean that he can’t sell coffee?  Should we fire a car salesman who’s divorcing his wife?
Look, my responsibility is pretty darn clear: to treat people as I would like to be treated, to be gracious, and – yes – to uphold and advance my Christian principles in all that I do.  Would I want a gay dancer to refuse to dance with me because of my beliefs?  Why would I refuse to dance with a gay man because of his?
To the Left, “tolerance” means agreeing with them on, well, everything.  To me, tolerance means learning to live and work with each other when we don’t agree – and won’t ever agree.  So if I have a gay dance partner, we may have some interesting discussions about morality, marriage, and whether the government made him a great dancer because it built the roads that he drove on to dance practice.  But I can promise you that I’ll give it my best effort, I’ll learn all I can learn, and I’ll be proud to hoist that elusive mirror ball trophy right by his side.
Do you want to be a part of my DWTS journey? Then, e-mail me so I can add you to my mailing list.  (My address is BristolsBlog @, without the space! Make sure to use the subject line: DWTS.) I’d love to give you the latest up-to-the-minute reports about the show!
Also, follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Michael Farris recently reminded me that the left is clambering for "tolerance" from Christians. But Jesus gave us a higher standard than that: He calls us to love. That doesn't mean we pretend like we agree with everyone on everything. It is bigger than that. We can love people we disagree with. In fact, that is when love can be most clearly seen.

In the Bible (Matthew 5:45) Jesus talks about how everyone loves those who love them back. But we need to love people we disagree with.

Post by Jeremiah

Saturday, August 4, 2012

One should always have a conjurer on staff...

Yesterday I received my copy of Double Cross, the new book by Ben Macintyre, who is one of my favorite historical writers. This book tells the story of the group of spies (and the counterintelligence efforts) who successfully convinced Hitler that the D-Day invasion would land at Calais, rather than Normandy.

I plan to write a review after I have finished the book. In the meantime, here's a sample of Macintyre's writing from one of his other books on WWII spies:
When he first offered to contribute his magical skills to the war effort, [professional conjurer Jasper Maskelyne] was dismissed as a showman (which he was) and put to work entertaining the troops. But eventually General Archibald Wavell, the imaginative commander of British forces in North Africa, realized that Maskelyne’s talents might be applied to the battlefield. Maskelyne was sent to the Western Desert, where he assembled “the Magic Gang,” possibly the most eccentric military unit ever formed, whose members included an analytical chemist, a cartoonist, a criminal, a stage designer, a picture restorer, a carpenter, and a lone professional soldier to fill out the military paperwork. The gang set about bamboozling the enemy. They built fake submarines and Spitfires, disguised tanks as trucks, and successfully hid part of the Suez Canal using a system of revolving mirrors and searchlights that created a blinding vortex in the sky nine miles wide. 
For his greatest trick, Maskelyne helped win the Battle of El Alamein by creating an entire array of “tricks, swindles, and devices” to convince Erwin Rommel that the British counterattack was coming from the south, rather than the north. In 1942, the Magic Gang built over two thousand dummy tanks and constructed a bogus water pipeline to water this phony army. The half-built pipeline was easily spotted from the air, and the slow progress of its construction seems to have convinced the Germans that no attack was possible before November. Rommel went home on leave, and the attack started October 23.  
~Ben Macintyre, Agent Zigzag, 152-53

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (8/3)

With the Audit the Fed bill being voted on in the house, my inbox was getting a steady stream of solicitations from the Ron Paul advocates (I signed up for his email list lase election, and apparently they just dusted off an old list). What I haven’t heard is any real criticism of the measure. Until, that is, the National Review examined it:
Before we give Congress more authority over monetary policy, let’s consider how it’s doing with fiscal policy: The federal government has annual deficits running in excess of a trillion dollars, a $16 trillion national debt, endless partisan fights over the tax code, the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, special-interest loopholes to help favored businesses at the expense of everybody else — none of which suggests that Congress is likely to do a better job with monetary policy than the Fed. And that’s with a Republican House.
After reviewing their book on marriage, Tim Challies has turned his attention to Michael and Debbi Pearl’s book on child training.

So with the Olympics taking place this week, NBC has its work cut out for it. Between the number of events and the time zone difference, I don’t envy their technical team. (They did, however,
omit the tribute to London’s terror attacks from the opening ceremony.) What I didn’t realize was the amount of sound editing that goes into the broadcasts.

And speaking of the Olympics, have you heard about the blind South Korean archer who is breaking records? Or the badminton players who got expelled for trying to lose their matches (video here)? If they had been US athletes, one could speculate that they were simply to avoid the taxes that come from winning. Fortunately, none were from North Korea, where it is suspected that losers are penalized by more than taxes.

And as for mistakes, it’s hard to beat the White House’s response to a journalist who wrote about the return of the Churchill bust to Great Britain (which was on loan after the 9/11 attacks). But one researcher tried—he thought he hit the jackpot with some incriminating photos of a female journalist and a male Senator. What the researcher didn’t know—but does now—is that the two are married to each other.

Mark Mitchell weighs in on the culture wars:

Culture war suggests a battle to the death. But the metaphor is wrong and therefore fosters poor thinking. A culture is not something with which to do battle, either as an offensive weapon or an object of attack. A culture is a living thing, an inheritance, passed on from generation to generation. It is preserved by loving care not militant brow-beating. It cannot survive as a merely negative opposition to something perceived as its opposite. It is a creative, developing expression of a people’s view of the world that reaches ultimately to the highest things: to the good, the true, and the beautiful. To weaponize culture is, therefore, to destroy the very thing for which the battle is ostensibly waged.
Art of Manliness is doing a series on Leadership Lessons from Dwight Eisenhower. I didn’t realize that he had minimal leadership for his first 30 years in the army, and wasn’t promoted to leadership until he was 52 years old.

On the Romney’s campaign’s
Anglo-Saxon comment—someone has been playing too much Britannia.

“Anglo-Saxon” is acceptable shorthand for “English” or “British.” I suppose the Normans figure in there too. But they were imperialistic, colonialist oppressors, so the left shouldn’t mind their non-mention.
Perhaps the Jutes have a complaint for not being included with the Angles and the Saxons. I always said that Romney doesn’t look Jutish. There goes the Danish-American vote, I suppose.
Thomas Sowell explores the much talked about one percent.

A left-leaning think tank is calling for entitlement reform.

The next round of litigation in the health reform debates has begun and a federal court halted the application of the contraception mandate pending the outcome.

Liechtenstein, where abortion is illegal, has been facing its own abortion debate. After the prince vetoed the popular referendum to legalize abortion, another effort was started to strip the royal family of its veto power. That effort failed miserably when the prince announced that,
if the veto power was taken away, the royal family would renounce the throne.

Peter Jackson’s two-part Hobbit is becoming a three-part Hobbit.

And finally, here are some other possible slogans for the Obama campaign (which show, if nothing else, what can happen when all regard for context is lost).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...