Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond....
That's right. Reuters reports that scientists have discovered a new planet that is "far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon."
Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.
And Obama just cancelled America's space program. That decision, coupled with this discovery, could very well loss him the entire female vote! Perhaps Obama's encyclopedia entry will mirror Jimmy Carter's, commencing with the excuse, "Barack Obama was an unlucky president...."
Michael New writes at NRO:
pro-lifers were given a lot to think about by last Sunday's New York Times Magazine article about women who, after simultaneously conceiving multiple children, chose to have all but one of their children aborted.
Will Saletan's Slate article on the same subject tackles the
puzzling unease among abortion-rights supporters [who are] uncomfortable with the notion that in a single pregnancy, one twin is wanted and another with an identical genome can be discarded.
New suspects a more self-interested and pragmatic rationale.
Supporters of legal abortion typically do not argue that they want abortion to be common or widespread. They make the case that it should be a legal option for women facing unique or difficult circumstances.
Child-reduction abortions would not be good for the PR campaign.
Consider a related issue. "Humane" methods of administering the death penalty were a bittersweet victory for those who oppose capital punishment, since more acceptable methods have the effect of softening public opposition to the act itself. Inversely, the more barbaric forms of abortion, such as partial-birth and sibling-reduction, tend to aid the pro-life movement's greater goal by souring public opinion toward abortion in general. One hopes that examples of abortion's moral pollution have the effect of further awakening public sentiment to this peculiar institution - that good can ultimately come from evil.
Reading the tea leaves, I suspect that the Tea Party Republican transformation I observe in the post below in Wisconsin and Washington will eventually shift the entire culture and balance of political power in America. I mention a single example today in my home-away-from-home at Intellectual Conservative.
Noting that "the U.S. Postal Service is a barometer of big-government, socialized policies," I find it unsurprising that it is "a failed business." What is surprising is the Postmaster General's strong stance against the congressional regulations and labor unions which are crippling the USPS's ability to compete in the free market (despite monopolistic advantages awarded by Congress).
the postmaster general threatened on Friday to break labor contracts in order to lay off 120,000 workers and to revoke employee health and retirement plans in favor of cheaper alternatives. These measures are "threatened" because they do not represent the postmaster general's hopes, but rather his Tea Party inspired strategy to coerce Congress into loosen its strangling regulations and labor unions into reasonable compromise.
Apparently, the postmaster general took notice of the Tea Party's debt-ceiling strategy and concluded that the only way to get Congress to act on a crisis is to propose an even worse ultimatum. . . .
The Postal Service is also taking a cue from the Tea Party's influence in Wisconsin by staking out an opposition stance to public sector unions. Breaking union contracts would have been unthinkable in the pre-Tea era.
As they say, please RTWT.
Refine & Enlarge
Will compares Wisconsin's liberals to Woodstock hippies, but I'd suggest they are only a few steps from the London rioters. They show a frightening propensity to resort to "revolution" and anarchy. The gang assembled outside (and inside) the Capital threatened violence, destroyed property and attempted to bring down the democratically elected government (with trespassing mobs disrupting legislative sessions and politicians abandoning their duties by fleeing in the night to another state). All because liberals The Democrats should still be apologizing in shameful contrition for the behavior of their thugs in Madison.
Nevertheless, Will explains that union attempts to extract vengeance through extravagantly expensive, yet unsuccessful, recall elections have actually fiscally crippled their power even further. Unions just seem unable to appreciate that money is a limited commodity and that there are limits to what money can buy.
Leaving unions aside (as Americans seem to be doing with increasing frequency), Will turns to Walker's broader success:
Walker has refuted the left's sustaining conviction that a leftward-clicking ratchet guarantees that liberalism's advances are irreversible.
Peter Schramm made a similar observation in reference to John Boehner's success in shifting the national conversation to "fundamental constitutional questions."
Boehner and his Republican troops have disproved an assumption held by progressives and liberals since the New Deal: that government will always grow in size and scope, that all spending increases are permanent.
From the victory in Wisconsin against liberal unions to success in Washington curbing liberal tax-and-spend policies, Republicans seem to be riding the Tea Party wave to political transformation. This is a profoundly important lesson for the next Republican presidential candidate to keep in mind.
On this one occasion, a Left Turn is permitted on NLT. Tim Groseclose is the author of Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. Scott Johnson contends that "it may be the book of the year."
Professor Groseclose measures media bias with social-scientific methods and concludes that: (i) all mainstream media outlets have a liberal bias, and (ii) while some supposedly conservative outlets--such as the Washington Times or Fox News Special Report--do lean right, their conservative bias is less than the liberal bias of most mainstream outlets.
None of this is new, of course, but Groseclose provides fresh evidence and methodology to support the obvious conclusion. Peter Robinson interviews the author here.
What caused the quake?
A. Global Warming
D. George W. Bush
There isn't much that is more more crazy and self-destructive than the Republicans supporting tax cuts for high earners while at the same time demanding tax increases for those workers whose incomes cluster just below the median. It is just as bad to advocate tax cuts for the high earners while publicly bemoaning the light tax liabilities of those whose earnings put them in the second quartile (and usually failing to mention that these workers pay the regressive Social Security payroll tax.)
Do you remember when making the Republicans look like the party of interest group politics for high earners used to be the job of the Democrats?
Pope Benedict XVI announced Saturday that he will name Saint John of Avila as the 34th Doctor of the Church. I try not to hold it against John that he gave up the career in law to study philosophy and theology with the Dominicans. He was preparing for a mission to the Americas when the Archbishop of Seville prevailed upon him to remain in Andalusia in order to preach to a Spanish population newly liberated from Islamic occupation.
The Doctors of the Church are ecclesiastical authors by whose doctrinal writings the whole Church derives great advantage. They are distinguished by great learning, great sanctity and proclamation by the Church. Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome and Pope Gregory I are the original Great Doctors of the Western Church. To this list, names have been added very sparingly - until today, only 33 in two milenia. The Apostle of Andalusia is now counted among a litany of the most profound thinkers in history.
I'm not readily conversant in the works of John of Avila, but it will be interesting to learn whether a particular aspect or theme of his writings commended his inclusion to Pope Benedict. The announcement was fittingly made in Spain during World Youth Day. The last saint to be honored with the title of Doctor was St. Theresa of Lisieux, also on World Youth Day, in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
This Sunday the Martin Luther King memorial officially opens, though beginning yesterday the grounds were open to the public. I am skeptical--it seems too grandiose--but I withhold judgment on the 30-foot sculpture until I get a chance to view it:
The design gave form to a line from Dr. King's "Dream" speech -- "With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope," said Mr. Jackson. In the memorial, he noted, Dr. King is seen emerging from the stone of hope. The two towering mounds set slightly behind him, forming a sort of passageway to the statue, are mountains of despair.
Some visitors said they did not like the fact that Dr. King was facing the Jefferson Memorial, not the Lincoln Memorial, but Mr. McNeil said he did not mind.
That Dr. King looks at Jefferson raises a few questions: Is he acknowledging Jefferson's good start? Is he reproaching him for the incompleteness of his achievement? Is he recognizing the thralldom of blacks to FDR's memorial and the Democratic party?
There is another angle on Dr. King that demands reflection:
A bizarre paradox in the new secular order is the celebration of Dr. King's birthday, a national holiday acclaimed as the heartbeat of articulated idealism in race relations, conscientiously observed in our schools, with, however, scant thought given to Dr. King's own faith.
Peter Schramm brings good things into my life. The first time I met him, as a college freshman who had already figured out all there was to know in the world, he threw Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice my way (literally - I had to duck). He later introduced me to "Madison and the boys" (as he comradely calls them), the political science of horsemanship and the art of reading poetry aloud. So when he off-handedly throws something my way, I still duck - but also give whatever it is its due attention.
Peter has recently passed along a couple sites relating to European happenings which I thought might be of interest to RONLT (Readers of NLT). The first is Open Europe, a think-tank proposing EU reforms from a pro-business perspective, including "economic liberalisation, a looser and more flexible structure, and greater transparency and accountability." Also of note is Eurozine, a "network of European cultural journals" which provides "a Europe-wide overview of current themes and discussions." These are just a couple gems which might fly just below the casual reader's radar.
Obama is having a hard enough as it is, so one must ask if Biden has ever been anything but a liability? Did he deliver any votes in 2008, was he a boon as the debt-reduction czar and are his public statements a net positive for the administration? I think not, on every count.
Biden is now in China, where Obama was previously chided like a schoolboy and shamefully equated China's human rights record with that of Arizona. One might hope the administration would send Biden with stronger sentiments, in the wake of our previous posture of timidity. But that would be a silly hope in the Age of Hope and Change.
Biden not only failed to speak sternly to China's human rights abuses, but deliberately stated his indifference while responding to a question from the audience.
Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I'm not second-guessing -- of one child per family.
It's difficult to express the moral depravity of Biden's expression of moral relativism. Does the Vice-President of the United States "fully understand," without "second guessing," the forced abortion, infanticide, sterilization and gendercide that is China's horrific one-child policy? Is it possible that an American - any American, let alone our second highest-ranking political leader - lacks the moral clarity or personal character to recognize and denounce the most blatant human rights violations in the modern world?
But Biden's cowardice didn't end there. China's state-controlled Xinhua news agency reports:
Biden also said the United States will firmly stand by the one-China policy and will not support 'Taiwan independence,' adding that the U.S. fully acknowledges that Tibet is an inalienable part of China.
The U.S. has tried to back-track this report, saying that Biden didn't use the precise language quoted later in Xinhua's article. But there has been no statement on the part of the U.S. that Biden opposes China's oppression of would-be pro-Western nations. In truth, Biden didn't speak at all about Taiwan or Tibet in his prepared remarks. His conciliatory remarks must have been made in the sort of negotiations best left to principled statesmen.
As Biden represents a president who voted in favor of infanticide and has shown shockingly little concern over the massacres of pro-democracy advocates around the world, one is forced to entertain the unimaginable when it comes to progressive morality and principles. This is the reason Obama rarely speaks without a teleprompter, and cringes when Biden goes off-script. During a quick-fire Q&A session, someone might accidentally say what Obama and his ilk actually believe.
"And as far as I'm concerned, the tea party can go straight to hell."
- Rep. Maxine Waters (D - CA), August 20, 2011
Just pile it on to the growing list of slurs, such as "terrorist" and "hostage-takers," aimed at the Tea Party by Democrats in the New Age of Civility.
Do you think Ms. Waters has any clue that the Tea Party is synonymous with mainstream America, that the Tea Party's fiscal policy is the overwhelming preference of American economists and that her vulgar disparagement is actually an insult to the majority of American citizens? Even California isn't so insular an echo chamber that Waters is incapable of recognizing that her views, not those of the Tea Party, are "outside the mainstream." That's why Democrats like Waters use coded language when explaining their ideas: tax hikes = revenue; spending = infrastructure; redistribution = equality; abortion = choice; censorship = fairness. If Democrats had the courage of their convictions - or really believed the American people shared their views - they would speak as clearly and honestly as the Tea Party.
Not to sound like a Haywardian troglodyte, but Steve is on his game today. 10 paragraphs to make you wiser on the last three years of American politics. Read it and tell me if I'm lying....
Only yesterday I premised that an obvious distinction between the London looters and Madrid missionaries was traditional, religious education and rearing. NLT's ever-faithful Cowgirl brought to my attention Walter Russell Mead's excellent article on the dwindling religiosity of the poor and uneducated (which would aptly describe the lot in London) and the comparative rise in faithfulness among the rich (many of whom undoubtedly flew into Madrid for their celebration with the Holy Father). I believe that I wrote on this same theme some time ago, but these trends - and the dire consequences - seem obvious to a casual observer of moderate intellect and powers of perception.
Enter the liberal discontents and their airs of smug superiority, lacking both knowledge and prudence. They have discovered the true devil beneath the shallow culprits fingered by "dumb moralisers" such as myself.
Margaret Thatcher is the reason for London's riots.
Pankaj Mishra writes: "London's rioters are Thatcher's grandchildren." Polly Toynbee's Guardian article ridicules that "small-staters blame the collapse of moral values, school indiscipline and feral beasts without fathers or consciences." She sees beneath the veil: "Grab what you can, winner takes all, no wealth is ever too much, this neoliberal amoral creed has reigned unquestioned since Margaret Thatcher."
What exactly do they mean? "Neoliberalism," explains Brendan O'Neill.
This claim, the outrage-heavy but evidence-lite argument that the rioting is a product of the unleashing of market forces into every area of life, captures what the term 'neoliberalism' represents in modern public debate: not a serious attempt to analyse or describe events, but an expression of political exasperation, a borderline childish belief that a bogeyman, in a Thatcher mask, is responsible for every terrible thing that happens. The screech of 'neoliberalism!' is meant to sound assertive, radical even, but really it speaks to an extraordinary intellectual passivity and unwillingness to face up to the true forces laying waste to British communities.
So the same liberal social engineers who cringe at the sound of words like "moral," "good," "evil," "religion," "God" and the like - preferring "diversity," "multi-cultural," "faith-tradition," "values," "relativism" and so on - are now claiming that the decay in public virtue is not the result of having banished virtues from the public, but rather the economic policies of free-markets advanced by Hayek and Friedman in response to the failures of Keynes' quaint socialism.
Politics is full of absurdities like this. Sometimes just making the claim that your opponent is responsible for your own most egregious fault is an effective tactic. The truth is so obvious to rationale observers that it seems ludicrous to mount a defense. But these attacks aren't aimed at the rationale - they target the ignorant and gullible.
During John Kerry's run for the presidency, Democrats identified themselves as the "Catholic party" and insisted that their platform was the most consistent with Catholic social teaching. Partial-birth abortion advocates accuse pro-life prayer groups of condoning violence. Obama repeatedly promised that Obamacare and stimulus spending would reduce the deficit - whereas the Republicans secretly wanted deficit spending. And, of course, liberals call conservatives "terrorists" while admonishing them as the party of heated rhetoric.
The use of such elusive academic-sounding terminology as "neoliberalism" is also purposeful. Few people would go along with the claim that a lack of government interference in private business is the reason young people do drugs and commit violent crimes - and even fewer would agree that Eastern European / Latin American socialism is the solution to this generational decay. So, capitalism becomes the unintelligible "neoliberalism" and socialism becomes "social democracy."
This is a common trend among liberals - who themselves have now evolved out of their "liberal" cocoons and emerged as "progressives." For the party of "No Labels," liberals seem to have no shortage of appellatives to cast about. Christians have pretty much been calling themselves the same thing since Rome and the Middle Ages - there's a valuable lesson in conservation there.
Leftists who liken themselves "academics" will never admit the banal truth observable by the unwashed masses. Truth, in the minds of these modern-day Gnostics, is their enlightened reserve. And like Tertullian, they believe it because it is absurd - only their object is not unfathomable divinity, but their own self-righteous conceit.
A beautiful letter from George S. Patton to his son, June 6, 1944:
At 0700 this morning the BBC announced that the German Radio had just come out with an announcement of the landing of Allied Paratroops and of large numbers of assault craft near shore. So that is it.
This group of unconquerable heroes whom I command are not in yet but we will be soon--I wish I was there now as it is a lovely sunny day for a battle and I am fed up with just sitting.
I have no immediate idea of being killed but one can never tell and none of us can live forever, so if I should go don't worry but set yourself to do better than I have.
All men are timid on entering any fight; whether it is the first fight or the last fight all of us are timid. Cowards are those who let their timidity get the better of their manhood. You will never do that because of your blood lines on both sides. I think I have told you the story of Marshall Touraine who fought under Louis XIV. On the morning of one of his last battles--he had been fighting for forty years--he was mounting his horse when a young ADC [aide-de-camp] who had just come from the court and had never missed a meal or heard a hostile shot said: "M. de Touraine it amazes me that a man of your supposed courage should permit his knees to tremble as he walks out to mount." Touraine replied "My lord duke I admit that my knees do tremble but should they know where I shall this day take them they would shake even more." That is it. Your knees may shake but they will always take you towards the enemy. . . .
And much more. Read the whole thing.
Pundits have gotten a case of the vapors over Sarah Palin's latest youtube video. Take a look below. It does seem to be a campaign video - but then again, if it's just Palin's way of staying relevant and in the news, it's working. As long as people are talking about whether she'll run, she has a platform from which to speak. I hope Palin is just staying in the spotlight. Her candidacy would be problematic (to say the least), but her message is a good one.
In the apparent absence of any worthwhile scandals to report, the Grey Lady is running one substanceless hit piece after another on Perry. Today's paper leads:
Over three terms in office, Gov. Rick Perry has doled out state aid to his most generous supporters and their businesses.
In the wake of Obama's unprecedented stimulus spending - which did nothing for the economy, but lined the pockets of union bosses and other liberal interest groups - as well as Obamacare waivers for generous liberal donors, it seems ridiculous that the Times would have the audacity to accuse Obama's opposition of political favoritism. And yet, New York Times, shamelessness be thy name.
The Times sneers at Perry for "enacting policies that have benefited allies and contributors," as well as,
helped Mr. Perry raise more money than any politician in Texas history, donations that have periodically raised eyebrows but, thanks to loose campaign finance laws and a business-friendly political culture dominated in recent years by Republicans, have only fueled Mr. Perry's ascent.
Again, the implication that raising record campaign funds is somehow wrong, coming from the same paper which praises Obama for the same acheivement, is absurd. The Times simply states that Perry has done nothing wrong, but asks the reader to conclude malfeasance on the part of the governor and Republicans nonetheless. It likely never occurs to the Times that Perry's "allies and contributors" may be business-minded individuals who recognize that Perry shares their interests: growth, job creation and wealth.
The article goes on ad nauseum listing people who have benefited from Perry in some manner, and then revealing their political donations to him as a form of scandal. One will wait in vain for a similar roll call article on union donors to Obama's campaign.
This sort of hit job relies on low-hanging fruit. Politicians surround themselves with like minded-people, and people contribute to like-minded politicians. It is a symbiotic relationship typical to every politician in America. There is no scandal unless donors receive illegal or unethical favors - such as waivers from general laws, as unions commonly receive.
The Times' desperate attacks on Perry imply that he is a strong candidate, and the shallowness of their attacks imply that he hasn't given them much ammunition. Both are fine indicators that Perry is a serious candidate for the Republican nomination.
One should not miss the comparison over the last week of youth descending on the cities of two European nations. In England, hundreds of young thugs spent the week rioting with aimless violence and general impunity in cities across the nation. Meanwhile, in Spain, over a million young pilgrims arrived in Madrid to celebrate the Catholic Church's World Youth Day. Two more stark profiles of today's youth would be difficult to produce. I would just as readily entrust our future prosperity to the latter group as I would commit the former to prison sentences excluding them from any participation whatsoever in the future of planet Earth.
A social scientist somewhere should observe a representative share of both communities over the next several decades and report on their respective contributions to civil society. A subsequent report on the comparative methods of rearing employed during the tender years of these sample populations, including values instilled and disciple-enforcement, would provide a interesting - though predictable - social commentary.
The way to avoid scenes like those in London is rather simple. Madrid is presently full of one million examples. When the parenting methods which produce this latter sort are rejected, it's no great mystery why they turn out as little more than prison fodder. Simply because a publisher will print the latest breakthrough in child developmental theory, it does not follow that human nature will respond favorably to such progressive nonsense.
On this day in 1968, the Soviet Union led a Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring. In January of the same year, Slovak reformer Alexander Dubček had begun a decentralization program in Czechoslovakia, focusing on the economy and democracy. He liberalized regulations on personal freedoms and orchestrated the country's peaceful division into the Czech and Slovak Republics. Russia would not accept these reforms and used military force to restore soviet order. Czechoslovakia would remain under Russian control until the 1989 collapse of East Germany spread across central and eastern Europe in the following year.
Gorbachev credited the Prague Spring for inspiring glasnost and perestroika. The only difference between the Prague Spring and Gorbachev's reform movement has been described as "nineteen years." While not ultimately as successful as the Polish Solidarity Movement, the Prague Spring was a watershed moment for political freedom - and its defeat by Russian militarism was a critical blow to Communism's moral and intellectual standing.
The Washington Times reports that "consumer advocate" Elizabeth Warren has filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee for a possible challenge to Mass. Sen. Scott Brown in 2012. If you don't recognize her name, Warren was the architect and first czar (since Republicans opposed for appointment as director) of Obama's latest bureaucratic boondoggle, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is the latest attempt to massively expand the federal government's (and, particularly, the executive branch's) regulatory power over everything, since the agency's authority is very broadly defined and it operates largely beyond the reach of Congress.
The CFPB provides an insight into Warren's political philosophy as a czar, shall we say, of big-government liberalism. However, she - like all liberals - has attempted to masquerade as a moderate conservative (the prevalence of liberals pretending to be conservative, and dearth of examples in the opposite direction, is an interesting topic for another time). In a Weekly Standard article, "Elizabeth Warren, Closet Conservative: The Most Misunderstood Woman in Washington," Christopher Caldwell praises Warren's 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap.
Todd Zywicki, blogging for The Volokh Conspiracy, chides Caldwell for falling for Warren's ruse. Zywicki observes that Warren intentionally hides the impact of higher taxes on middle-class families by using a different calculation with regard to taxes than other expenses.
What this means is that once taxes are converted to an apples-to-apples comparison-percentage change in dollars instead of percentage change in percentage-household spending on taxes actually increased 140%, not 25% [as Warren misleads].
Conservatives often note that the MSM never seems to make a mistake which disadvantages liberals or Democrats - "mistakes" are reserved for conservatives and Republicans. Is it mere coincidence that Warren's "mistake" conceals the disastrous role of taxation as the central culprit in her thesis problem?
Warren has now resumed her post as a Harvard Law professor, where here views are very likely regarded as conservative. And in Massachusetts, it may be likewise. But in the nation as a whole, she seems to be a liberal wolf in sheep's clothing. Scott Brown's senate seat is a boon for the GOP which cannot be surrendered lightly.
It would be a full time job monitoring all of the partisan bias and factual-errors peddled by the New York Times. Consider yesterday's story, "Climate-change science makes for hot politics," in which the Times plays scientist and concludes:
Human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is pumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and warming the planet.
As I write this, CNN's international broadcast is running a pre-Durbin UN climate change conference, shame-on-America special about global attempts to reduce carbon in order to fight climate change - and the science of man-made global warming, don't you know, is settled.
The Times can be excused for its ignorance of the immense damage done to global warming alarmists by both skeptics and their own revealed dishonesty and politicalization, since the Times rarely bothers to cover news harmful to one of their golden-calf platforms. The same is true for CNN and the whole lot of the derisively-labeled MSM.
At least, the Times reminds readers that Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and the on-again (since he lost the presidential election) media doll John McCain have toed the liberal line and accepted the media narrative on global warming. The Times delights in reporting that Huntsman actually ridicules conservatives on the issue of global warming, having recently branded the GOP as "the anti-science party" and "a bunch of cranks," as well as tweeting, "I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." John Hinderaker at Power Line rights ponders why in the world this guy is running for president as a Republican.
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann continue to strongly pronounce the science of global warming as bunk. While the Times' story is ostensibly about the GOP's political division on the issue, it doesn't even actually bother to quote Perry - but it does provides a link on the side of the webpage to "Rick Perry's made-up 'facts' about climate change." So the story continues the Times' proud tradition of fair and balanced news coverage.
This is just one of many issues which will separate Perry and Bachman from Romney in conservative circles. While climate change will not emerge as a hot topic in this election, it is a useful litmus test for conservative credentials and isn't an issue upon which conservatives should retreat.