Friday, December 9, 2011

Top 10 Reads of the Week – December 9, 2011

The Terrorists Have Won – Mark Steyn [NRO, The Corner Blog]

Yesterday, we learned that the crack operatives of the TSA had prevented a teenage girl from boarding her flight to Jacksonville because her handbag has a gun design on the front of it. But don’t worry, after she’d been put through the wringer, SouthWest were able to get her on a later flight to Orlando, a mere 300-mile round-trip detour for her distraught mother and, in the scheme of things, a relatively modest transfer of man-hours from the productive class to the great sucking statist behemoth.

Today brings the news that, fresh from that triumph, TSA agents decided to strip-search an 85-year old, 4′11″, 110-pound grandmother in a wheelchair… Read the Rest

Must See Vid of the Week

Fast & Furious Lies – Michael Walsh [New York Post]

It was all a lie. The angry denials, the high dudgeon, the how-dare-you accuse-us bleating emanating from Eric Holder’s Justice Department these last nine months.

Operation Fast and Furious — the “botched” gun-tracking program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — did, in fact, deliberately allow some 2,000 high-powered weapons to be sold to Mexican drug cartel agents and then waltzed across the border and into the Mexican drug wars — just as Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, who are leading the congressional investigations, have charged all along… Read the Rest

Vetting Newt Gingrich – Editors [Washington Post]

VOTERS MUST ASSESS every presidential candidate’s character, including his or her propensity to exploit public service for private gain. It’s not always easy to judge. Newt Gingrich, though, comes pre-vetted; he has a long record both in and out of office. And while the former House speaker insists that he never stooped to lobbying per se in his 13-year post-congressional career, he clearly did cash in on his status and connections, whether as a high-priced speechmaker or as an “adviser” to Freddie Mac — the ill-fated “government-sponsored enterprise” (GSE) in housing finance that is now sucking up taxpayer bailout money. All told, Freddie paid Mr. Gingrich a reported $1.6 million.

How forthright will Mr. Gingrich be about this now that he has surged to the front of the GOP pack? So far, not so good. At the Nov. 9 Republican debate, Mr. Gingrich claimed his job at Freddie was speaking truth to power: “I said to them at the time this is a bubble. This is insane.” But former Freddie officials told Bloomberg News they hired Mr. Gingrich in 2006-07 “to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.” Indeed, Mr. Gingrich proclaimed, “I like the GSE model,” on Freddie’s Web site in 2007. He added that “making homeownership more accessible and affordable is a policy goal I believe conservatives should embrace.” He likened Freddie to the Homestead Act and suggested a health-care GSE… Read the Rest

‘Tis the Season to Cut Down P.C. – Jennifer Braceras [RedMom-BlueState]

What do you call an evergreen tree adorned with decorations and lights? Is it:

A) A Christmas tree.

B) A Holiday tree.

C) A Hanukkah bush.

The answer, it seems, may depend on where you live… Read the Rest

Meanwhile, in Paul Krugman’s model society…

The Xinjiang Procedure – Ethan Gutmann [Weekly Standard]

To figure out what is taking place today in a closed society such as northwest China, sometimes you have to go back a decade, sometimes more.

One clue might be found on a hilltop near southern Guangzhou, on a partly cloudy autumn day in 1991. A small medical team and a young doctor starting a practice in internal medicine had driven up from Sun Yat-sen Medical University in a van modified for surgery. Pulling in on bulldozed earth, they found a small fleet of similar vehicles—clean, white, with smoked glass windows and prominent red crosses on the side. The police had ordered the medical team to stay inside for their safety. Indeed, the view from the side window of lines of ditches—some filled in, others freshly dug—suggested that the hilltop had served as a killing ground for years. 

Thirty-six scheduled executions would translate into 72 kidneys and corneas divided among the regional hospitals. Every van contained surgeons who could work fast: 15-30 minutes to extract. Drive back to the hospital. Transplant within six hours. Nothing fancy or experimental; execution would probably ruin the heart… Read the Rest

The Two Left Coasts – Editors [Wall Street Journal]

New York and California were once America's economic growth engines, but their political leaders seem determined to keep them sputtering. Their Democratic Governors are now pushing big new tax increases in the name of soaking the rich and balancing their budgets, as if that same strategy hadn't put them in their current fiscal straits.

In New York, Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that he's agreed with legislative leaders to rewrite the state's tax code to create four new tax brackets and rates. Mr. Cuomo is pitching this as "tax reform," but that's a ruse to disguise the fact that he's repudiating his 2010 campaign pledge not to raise taxes on anyone while letting a previous income-tax surcharge expire on schedule at the end of this month… Read the Rest

When Obama Music Ends, Class Warfare Begins – Michael Kinsley [Bloomberg]

“This isn’t about class warfare,” President Barack Obama said this week, in his speech at a high school in Osawatomie, Kansas.

But in fact, the president dived into many of the themes that have been urged on him by left-wing class warriors: the disappearing middle class, “the breathtaking greed of a few,” “insurance companies that jacked up people’s premiums with impunity,” “mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford,” and so on. We can’t “go back to business as usual”: a universally endorsed principle at all times… Read the Rest

The Chump Effect – Andrew Ferguson [Weekly Standard]

Lots of cultural writing these days, in books and magazines and newspapers, relies on the so-called Chump Effect. The Effect is defined by its discoverer, me, as the eagerness of laymen and journalists to swallow whole the claims made by social scientists. Entire journalistic enterprises, whole books from cover to cover, would simply collapse into dust if even a smidgen of skepticism were summoned whenever we read that “scientists say” or “a new study finds” or “research shows” or “data suggest.” Most such claims of social science, we would soon find, fall into one of three categories: the trivial, the dubious, or the flatly untrue… Read the Rest

Gingrich is Inspiring – and Disturbing – Peggy Noonan [Wall Street Journal]

I had a friend once who amused herself thinking up bumper stickers for states. The one she made up for California was brilliant. "California: It's All True." It is so vast and sprawling a place, so rich and various, that whatever you've heard about its wildness, weirdness and wonders, it's true.

That's the problem with Newt Gingrich: It's all true. It's part of the reason so many of those who know him are anxious about the thought of his becoming president. It's also why people are looking at him, thinking about him, considering him as president.

Ethically dubious? True. Intelligent and accomplished? True. Has he known breathtaking success and contributed to real reforms in government? Yes. Presided over disasters? Absolutely. Can he lead? Yes. Is he erratic and unreliable as a leader? Yes. Egomaniacal? True. Original and focused, harebrained and impulsive—all true… Read the Rest

Do Democrats Face More Trouble from Occupy Wall Street? – Stuart Rothenberg [Roll Call]

It’s hard to say exactly when the Occupy Wall Street movement fizzled, but so far it has failed to become the politically potent force that the tea party was during the 2010 election cycle.

But even if the Occupy movement has not yet broadened its appeal or redefined our politics, it could still be a factor in 2012. The question, of course, is what kind of factor?… Read the Rest

The Funniest Thing I Saw This Week

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Matzorian Candidate
www.thedailyshow.com
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