Monthly Archives: July 2009

A Great Day For the Irish!

John Kass, expert on the Chicago Way, discusses the Irish beer fest to be held at the White House today:

…President O’Bama is Irish in the way that counts.

As Chicagoans have long known but never shared with outlanders from the Washington Post or The New York Times, O’Bama was found as an infant, floating in a reed basket along the banks of the Chicago River, two great serpents strangled in his tiny fists.

He was rescued by the women of the Daley clan who took pity on the babe, and protected him on the orders of our own great and terrible king, Richard II, also known as Mayor Shortshanks.

And when O’Bama was ready, Shortshanks sent dozens of retainers from City Hall to guard and watch over him in Washington and run the capital The Chicago Way ™, men such as the magical wizard David McAxelrod, and skillful knife fighters like Rahm O’Manuel and the valiant warrior Princess Valerie McJarrett.

The beer of choice for the O’Bama White House is Budweiser…the perfect brew to sip while talking about racism.

Several years ago, Rev. Jackson led a boycott against Budweiser, denouncing the company for discriminating against black people. TV cameras flocked to him, excited as puppies, as he poured Bud onto the street with a sneer, pronouncing (I kid you not) “This Bud is a dud!”

Budweiser stopped being considered racist by Jackson the moment his sons were given the exclusive Budweiser distributorship for the North Side of Chicago. Then, Bud was not a dud. Bud had experienced its own teachable moment, and Bud passed the test…

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Did Jesus Ever Promise You Free Health Care?

Frank J. Fleming has a solution for Barry’s dropping poll numbers: poll only the really smart people:

…Polls show majorities of people now doubting Obama’s policies on health care and the economy, but if you polled only really smart people, one hundred percent of them would say that everyone who doubts Obama is an ugly, stupid moron who should choke on his own vomit and die. Obama came to save you, and you ungrateful simpletons now wish to stop him? Obama is a man so obviously smart that all smart people know he’s smart, yet dummies like you now think you know better? It’s like everyone has suddenly become racist again and decided to hate Obama.

Let me tell you something: You people elected Obama on few specifics. His nifty catch phrases and elegant teleprompter reading were all you needed. And you didn’t care that he had no real previous experience because you knew he wasn’t some fool who would fritter away his accomplishments before becoming president and was instead smart enough to save his accomplishing things until after becoming president. So what happened? Where did your blind faith go?

I guess once again it’s time to explain things simply to you easily panicked idiots: Obama will still solve all of your problems just as he promised. He will get you jobs and free health care and stop other countries from being mean and hating us. All he asks of you is that you not question him. That’s all. Nothing more. Except maybe some of your money, but it’s just money you hillbillies would have spent on stupid things you don’t need like NASCAR races and chewing tobacco.

Yes, right now things may not look so good. Joblessness is still on the rise, huge debt threatens us, Iran and North Korea are going after nuclear weapons unmolested, and now racist children-haters are trying to convince you that health care reform will be a huge, horrible boondoggle. But if you get worried, you just need to remind yourself that Obama is really, really smart. Everyone who is smart says so. So if things he does, like support the re-installation of a socialist proto-dictator in Honduras, seem strange and confusing to you, that’s just because you’re trying to understand it with your stupid brain. If you had Obama’s smart brain, you’d understand how this will all work out in the end.

Many of you have blind faith in your invisible sky fairy, which science proves does not exist, so why can you not have faith in Obama (who is real) and all the things that smart people believe in? And did Jesus ever promise you free health care? Sure, some claim that Jesus healed a few people, but Obama is going to heal everyone with his free health care. And he also promises the new health care programs will somehow lower debt and create jobs. As any smart person using logic will tell you, that’s way more miraculous than anything Jesus did. So why not give Obama your unquestioning devotion?

You don’t need to understand how increased spending will help a country in debt or how increased taxes on energy will help a failing economy, you only need to know that Obama is much, much smarter than you. So obviously his solutions will work much better than anything you troglodytes would think he should do. If you could just have blind faith in Obama’s brilliance, you wouldn’t have to worry anymore…

Why do I even try to explain these things to you idiots! How about this: If Obama is as dumb and inexperienced as you think he is, then how did he get elected president? Ha! Explain that one, dummy!

Bill Maher ain’t no dummy.

Is There A Sensitivity Trainer in the House?

Victor Davis Hanson on Gates-gate:

…almost everyone (minorities included) I talked with could recall one or two personal incidents of some criminal action committed by a minority male against their person or property. Call that profiling or stereotyping. I could attest at least four… : 1976, walking to the 7/11 in East Palo Alto and being attacked by an African-American male; 1978 riding down university avenue in Palo Alto near 101, and having two black males ride by in a truck, get out and try to steal my bike with me on it; 1990 having three Mexican nationals burst into our home intent on robbery; 1998 having three police cars rush into my driveway in pursuit of fleeing Mexican national local drug lords, 2006 having an African-American burglar break into my house, waking my daughter as he ran out with her purse. And so on–all incidents of no statistical import, but the sort of anecdotal remembrance that millions share and which unfairly or not make them at least understandable of why individuals make choices in where they drive, live, and work.

Is such recitation racism? Were not, after all, those who depleted my AIG 401(k) account probably wealthy whites on Wall Street? Was not the broker who took my fruit and shorted me $1000 most likely a white professional? Perhaps.

But my point is only the public’s perception (born out by crime statistics) is that while financial and business elites may rob more from one, minority males in urban contexts engage in violent crime at higher than national averages and are more likely to use violence against one than the suspicious fruit trader or stock broker. That is an empirical fact, not a racist slur. Again, like it or not, crime soared in the 1970s-1990s and millions of Americans were the victims of robberies, break-ins, and assaults, and they have made the necessary adjustments in the way they shop, walk, visit, and drive–often all concealed beneath a veneer of denial.

And that unspoken fact too was in the background, when the President lectured us on the injustice of police supposedly profiling by race. (I think the President took one look at the Washington DC public school system, and made the necessary profiling and generalizations to put his kids in the exclusive Sidwell-Friends prep school, as do many of the DC liberal elites.) All in all, a sensitive issue, made worse by the sort of uninformed presidential grandstanding that we have witnessed all too much in these last six months. (Since assuming office, the president has managed to slur in generic fashion those in the Special Olympics, surgeons, the elderly, vacationeers to Las Vegas, and the police (more no doubt as well), building on his campaign stereotyping of “typical white people” and the middling classes of Pennsylvania–is there not a sensitivity trainer somewhere?)…

And Andrew Breitbart:

…Much of America is [indeed] petrified to bring up race, especially in public forums – the media, in particular. But for exactly the opposite reasons [Attorney General Eric] Holder, the Obama administration and the brain trust of modern liberalism assert.

Americans, especially nonblacks, are deeply fearful that the dynamic is predicated on an un-American premise: presumed guilt. Innocence, under the extra-constitutional reign of political correctness, liberalism’s brand of soft Shariah law, must be proved ex post facto.

Think not? Ask the Duke lacrosse team, which had 88 of the school’s professors sign a petition that presumed their guilt before their side of the story was known. Even though the white athletes were exonerated and the liberal district attorney who pushed the case was dethroned, disbarred and disgraced, the professoriate that assigned guilt to its own students still refuses to apologize.

Those signatories constituted 90 percent of Duke’s African and African-American Studies Department, the subject-matter domain of Mr. Gates, Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West and other tenure-wielding, highfalutin, iambic-pentameter-filibustering race baiters, and 60 percent of Duke’s women’s studies department, another hotbed of victimology posing as intellectualism.

While the media was front and center in preparing for the public executions of the three Duke lacrosse players, they scurried away when they were proved innocent. The Democratic Media Complex, in its pursuit of Orwellian hate-crime legislation, reparations and sundry non-ameliorative resolutions to America’s troubled racial past, pursues its victims with blood lust. But it cannot act in good faith to redeem those it has destroyed in countless rushes to judgment. (Richard Jewell, R.I.P.)

The mainstream media choose to flaunt story lines that make white America appear guilty of continued institutional racism, while black racism against whites is ignored as an acceptable disposition given our nation’s history. This double standard provides a game board on which the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can thrive in perpetuity and ensures racial progress is slowed.

And that is why the Case of Sergeant Crowley vs. Professor Gates is so important. As is expected from professional race baiters, Mr. Gates instigated a public brouhaha over race. And Mr. Obama, a man who attended the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s racist sermons for 20 years, used the bully pulpit to grant his friend a national platform to condemn a man for doing his job.

Sgt. Crowley, a proud and defiant public professional, played the moment perfectly and stopped his own assassination by media. Talk about a postmodern hero. Whether he likes it or not, Sgt. Crowley is a potent symbol of how the union has managed to become more perfect, a Rosa Parks of rush-to-judgment “reverse racism.”

Now that the facts of the case show that his friend the professor was the man doing the racial profiling, the president wants to end the discussion.

Now we see what the attorney general meant when he spoke of [America as a nation of] cowards.

I can’t wait for the White House Obama-Gates-Crowley “beer.” Crowley must understand that this is being orchestrated to promote Barry’s interests and not to promote racial harmony or understanding. In order to repair the damage done by his moronic comments, Barry will have to get Gates to refrain from lecturing Crowley about “racial profiling” and all the other stuff he claims to be a “scholar” of. I can’t imagine that Gates will cooperate.

If Gates insists on doing his shtick, the question is whether Crowley will then go along with what will certainly be a White House effort to portray the event as all lovey-dovey.

In other words, this damage control event could back-fire big time.

Given Their Crime Rate, Blacks Are Understopped

Unlike Barry, the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald actually knows something about crime and the police.

An excerpt:

…Obama does not seem to understand the power of his office. If he is going to weigh in on something as crucial to the health of cities as policing, he had better get his facts straight. But everything that he said about the Cambridge confrontation was untrue. He presents a highly telescoped version of the events that echoes Gates’s implication that he was arrested on the burglary charge: “The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama intoned. But Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct; his being in his own home is irrelevant.

Obama then decided he was going to give us a history lesson: “What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

This statement has many possible meanings, all of them untrue.

The ACLU and other anti-police activists have alleged for years that blacks are the victims of disproportionate and unjustified traffic stops, a charge that has become received wisdom among large swathes of the population. It happens to be contradicted by drivers themselves. The Bureau of Justice Statistics regularly polls tens of thousands of civilians about their contacts with the police. Virtually identical proportions of white, black, and Hispanic drivers — 9 percent — report being stopped by the police, though in 2005, the self-reported black stop rate — 8.1 percent — was nearly a percentage point lower than the self-reported white stop rate (8.9 percent). The stop rate for blacks is lower during the day, when officers can more readily see a driver’s race.

As for urban policing — where the police have victim identifications and contextual and behavioral cues to work with — blacks are stopped more, but only in comparison with their proportion of the entire population. Measured against their crime rate, they are understopped. New York City is perfectly typical of the black police-stop and crime rates. In the first three months of 2009, 52 percent of all people stopped for questioning by the police in New York City were black, though blacks are just 24 percent of the population. But according to the victims of and witnesses to crime, blacks commit about 68 percent of all violent crime in the city. Blacks commit 82 percent of all shootings and 72 percent of all robberies, whereas whites, who make up 35 percent of the city’s population, commit about 5 percent of all violent crimes, 1 percent of shootings, and about 4 percent of robberies.

These figures are not police-generated; they come from the overwhelmingly minority victims of crime in their reports to the police. Such crime reports mean that when the police respond to community demands for protection against crime, information-based police deployment will send officers to minority neighborhoods where crime is highest. When the police respond to a call about a shooting, they will almost never be told that the shooter was white, and thus will not be searching for a white suspect.

National crime patterns are the same. Black males between the ages of 18 and 24 commit homicide at ten times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. Such vastly disproportionate crime rates must lead, if the police are going after crime in a color-blind fashion, to disproportionate stop and arrest rates. To criticize the police for crime-determined enforcement activity is to blame the messenger…

And Mark Steyn:

By common consent, the most memorable moment of Barack Obama’s otherwise listless press conference on “health care” were his robust remarks on the “racist” incident involving professor Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge police. The latter “acted stupidly,” pronounced the chief of state. The president of the United States may be reluctant to condemn Ayatollah Khamenei or Hugo Chávez or that guy in Honduras without examining all the nuances and footnotes, but sometimes there are outrages so heinous that even the famously nuanced must step up to the plate and speak truth to power. And thank God the leader of the free world had the guts to stand up and speak truth to municipal police Sgt. James Crowley.

For everyone other than the president, what happened at professor Gates’ house is not entirely clear. The Harvard prof returned home without his keys and, as Obama put it, “jimmied his way into the house.” A neighbor, witnessing the “break-in,” called the cops, and things, ah, escalated from there. Professor Gates is now saying that, if Sgt. Crowley publicly apologizes for his racism, the prof will graciously agree to “educate him about the history of racism in America.” Which is a helluva deal. I mean, Ivy League parents remortgage their homes to pay Gates for the privilege of lecturing their kids, and here he is offering to hector it away to some no-name lunkhead for free.

As to the differences between the professor’s and the cops’ version of events, I confess I’ve been wary of taking Henry Louis Gates at his word ever since, almost two decades back, the literary scholar compared the lyrics of the rap group 2 Live Crew to those of the Bard of Avon. “It’s like Shakespeare’s ‘My love is like a red, red rose,'” he declared, authoritatively, to a court in Fort Lauderdale.

As it happens, “My luv’s like a red, red rose” was written by Robbie Burns, a couple of centuries after Shakespeare. Oh, well. 16th century English playwright, 18th century Scottish poet: What’s the diff? Evidently being within the same quarter-millennium and right general patch of the North-East Atlantic is close enough for a professor of English and Afro-American Studies appearing as an expert witness in a court case. Certainly no journalist reporting Gates’ testimony was boorish enough to point out the misattribution.

I hasten to add I have nothing against the great man. He’s always struck me as one of those faintly absurd figures in which the American academy appears to specialize, but relatively harmless by overall standards…

But what of our post-racial president? After noting that “‘Skip’ Gates is a friend” of his, President Obama said that “there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.” But, if they’re being “disproportionately” stopped by African American and Latino cops, does that really fall under the category of systemic racism? Short of dispatching one of those Uighur Muslims from China recently liberated from Gitmo by Obama to frolic and gambol on the beaches of Bermuda, the assembled officers were a veritable rainbow coalition. The photograph of the arrest shows a bullet-headed black cop – Sgt. Leon Lashley, I believe – standing in front of the porch while behind him a handcuffed Gates yells accusations of racism. This is the pitiful state the Bull Connors of the 21st century are reduced to, forced to take along a squad recruited from the nearest Benetton ad when they go out to whup some uppity Negro boy.

As professor Gates jeered at the officers, “You don’t know who you’re messin’ with.” Did Sgt. Crowley have to arrest him? Probably not. Did he allow himself to be provoked by an obnoxious buffoon? Maybe. I dunno. I wasn’t there. Neither was the president of the United States, or the governor of Massachusetts or the mayor of Cambridge. All of whom have declared themselves firmly on the side of the Ivy League bigshot. And all of whom, as it happens, are African American. A black president, a black governor and a black mayor all agree with a black Harvard professor that he was racially profiled by a white-Latino-black police team, headed by a cop who teaches courses in how to avoid racial profiling. The boundless elasticity of such endemic racism suggests that the “post-racial America” will be living with blowhard grievance-mongers like professor Gates unto the end of time…

Why Not Universal Food Coverage?

Ann Coulter gets to the heart of “universal health care”:

…We already have near-universal health coverage in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ hospitals, emergency rooms and tax-deductible employer-provided health care — all government creations.

So now, everyone expects doctors to be free. People who pay $200 for a haircut are indignant if it costs more than a $20 co-pay to see a doctor.

The government also “helped” us by mandating that insurance companies cover all sorts of medical services, both ordinary — which you ought to pay for yourself — and exotic, such as shrinks, in vitro fertilization and child-development assessments — which no normal person would voluntarily pay to insure against.

This would be like requiring all car insurance to cover the cost of gasoline, oil and tire changes — as well as professional car detailing, iPod docks, leather seats and those neon chaser lights I have all along the underbody of my chopped, lowrider ’57 Chevy.

But politicians are more interested in pleasing lobbyists for acupuncturists, midwives and marriage counselors than they are in pleasing recent college graduates who only want to insure against the possibility that they’ll be hit by a truck. So politicians at both the state and federal level keep passing boatloads of insurance mandates requiring that all insurance plans cover a raft of non-emergency conditions that are expensive to treat — but whose practitioners have high-priced lobbyists.

As a result, a young, healthy person has a choice of buying artificially expensive health insurance that, by law, covers a smorgasbord of medical services of no interest to him … or going uninsured. People who aren’t planning on giving birth to a slew of children with restless leg syndrome in the near future forgo insurance — and then politicians tell us we have a national emergency because some people don’t have health insurance.

The whole idea of insurance is to insure against catastrophes: You buy insurance in case your house burns down — not so you can force other people in your plan to pay for your maid. You buy car insurance in case you’re in a major accident, not so everyone in the plan shares the cost of gas.

Just as people use vastly different amounts of gasoline, they also use vastly different amounts of medical care — especially when an appointment with a highly trained physician costs less than a manicure.

Insurance plans that force everyone in the plan to pay for everyone else’s Viagra and anti-anxiety pills are already completely unfair to people who rarely go to the doctor. It’s like being forced to share gas bills with a long-haul trucker or a restaurant bill with Michael Moore. On the other hand, it’s a great deal for any lonely hypochondriacs in the plan.

Now the Democrats want to force us all into one gigantic national health insurance plan that will cover every real and mythical ailment that has a powerful lobby. But if you have a rare medical condition without a lobbying arm, you’ll be out of luck.

Even two decades after the collapse of liberals’ beloved Soviet Union, they can’t grasp that it’s easier and cheaper to obtain any service provided by capitalism than any service provided under socialism.

You don’t have to conjure up fantastic visions of how health care would be delivered in this country if we bought it ourselves. Just go to a grocery store or get a manicure. Or think back to when you bought your last muffler, personal trainer, computer and every other product and service available in inexpensive abundance in this capitalist paradise.

Third-party payer schemes are always a disaster — less service for twice the price! If you want good service at a good price, be sure to be the one holding the credit card. Under “universal health care,” no one but government bureaucrats will be allowed to hold the credit card.

Isn’t food important? Why not “universal food coverage”? If politicians and employers had guaranteed us “free” food 50 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the “food crisis” in America, and you’d be on the phone with your food care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries was covered under your plan.

Instead of making health care more like the DMV, how about we make it more like grocery stores? Give the poor and tough cases health stamps and let the rest of us buy health care — and health insurance — on the free market.

And Michael Meyers on Gatesgate:

The most famous black professor at Harvard lives in a very safe neighborhood because, in part, residents look out for and report suspicious activities, and because cops respond quickly to reports of possible break-ins. Yet that’s not how Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, took it when cops showed up at his door after a neighbor reported two black men (Gates and his driver) seemingly pushing into a vacant residence, which turned out to be Gates’ home.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct, and the rest is now histrionic history. (The charges have since been dropped, but the incident is not going away.)

Gates was returning from a trip to China, and he couldn’t get in through a jammed front door, so he apparently went around the back, shut off an alarm and worked with his driver to get the door open.

In any neighborhood – especially one of the safest in America – that kind of behavior would be cause for suspicion and a call to the cops, no matter the color of the guys “breaking” in.

But when police showed up, the “he said, he said” has Gates indignant and, according to the cop, refusing to present himself and his ID, then complying and at some point getting loud – with Gates saying, according to the police report, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”

Had I been the cop, I would have probably gotten suspended for saying to Gates: “No, stupid, because I need you to step outside so that I may do my job. I need to know that you are who you say you are.”

The cop’s job is not the most famous black professor at Harvard’s concern. Yet Gates’ automatic reflex was racial – that of a victim rather than a property lessee. The man with all the brains did not have the common sense of the average citizen who appreciates good and effective police work.

Calling the cops when one sees suspicious activities underway is exactly what good neighbors do. It is what a woman who works nearby did – and all indications are she acted in good faith. When cops follow up on such a report by asking suspicious persons who’ve seemingly gained entry to a vacant house to present ID, they are doing their jobs.

Nevertheless, Gates and the race industry spokesmen who’ve rushed to his defense have leaped to the fast conclusion that this was an incident of racial profiling – and that one of America’s most famed black academics was a victim of police misconduct…

Give me a break. Why isn’t it enough that the charges of disorderly conduct have been dropped against Gates? The question answers itself: The race activists need to posture that the nation has to pause and contemplate and endure yet another round of guilt around their “truth” and constant observation of racism by cops. “See,” they exclaim, “in postracial America, the black man with a Ph.D. can’t get into his own home without causing suspicion and getting arrested.”

The real truth is that Gates did not get arrested for being black or even for being suspicious or for breaking into his own home. He was arrested for disorderly conduct – for failing to do what civil rights activists and race experts always advise innocent black men, and all others who come into contact with the police, to do: cooperate.

It makes sense to repeat this message now, especially for the benefit of young black men. If the police confront you, don’t go demanding badge numbers and reading the cops the riot act. Be courteous and calm. Explain yourself and, if asked, present ID.

If there has been a constitutional violation of some kind by the cops, that can be taken care of once the police have left you alone, moving on – let’s hope – to investigate other suspicious behavior.

I assume that Meyer’s column was written before Barry’s preposterous dilation last night where he called the Cambridge cops “stupid.” That he would do so without any knowledge of what actually occurred ought to be a warning that he will play the race card whenever he can.

Here’s the police report.

You Made Out During Schindler's List?!!!

Every time I think Frank Rich couldn’t possibly write a more shallow column, he (with apologies to Seinfeld) takes a little more water out of the pool.

Today he expelled this gem:

…when Tom Coburn of Oklahoma merrily joked to Sotomayor that “You’ll have lots of ’splainin’ to do,” it clearly didn’t occur to him that such mindless condescension helps explain why the fastest-growing demographic group in the nation is bolting his party.

Coburn wouldn’t know that behind the fictional caricature Ricky Ricardo was the innovative and brilliant Cuban-American show-business mogul Desi Arnaz. As Lucie Arnaz, his and Lucille Ball’s daughter, told me last week, it always seemed unfair to her that those laughing at her father’s English usually lacked his fluency in two languages. Then again, Coburn was so unfamiliar with Jews he didn’t have a clear fix on what happened in the Holocaust until 1997, when he was 48. Party elders like Bill Bennett had to school him after he angrily berated NBC for subjecting children and “decent-minded individuals everywhere” to the violence, “full-frontal nudity and irresponsible sexual activity” of “Schindler’s List.”…

With all due respect to Lucy and Desi’s kids, they seem to have forgotten that making fun of Ricky’s Cuban accent, along with Lucy’s harebrained schemes, was I Love Lucy’s main running joke, a joke which Desi Arnaz mlked for every laugh he could get.

I also remember reading long ago that Desi’s term of endearment for his sometimes buddy Frank Sinatra was “Dago” and that he and Sinatra had a public falling out over Desi’s hit TV show The Untouchables, which some Italians found very offensive.

As far as Tom Coburn’s alleged anti-Semitism, I once again refer to Seinfeld. You probably remember the episode where Jerry couldn’t get “make-out” time with his girlfriend because his parents were staying in his apartment and thus he had to go to the movies with his girlfriend to get some relief. Unfortunately, Newman attended the same showing of Schindler’s List and told Jerry’s mother who uttered the famous line: “You made-out during Schindler’s List?!!!”

Some Jews consider Schindler’s List a great movie. And some Jews consider those, like me, who aren’t sufficiently in awe of Schindler’s List to be sacrilegious. Like Coburn, I didn’t see why NBC had to suspend its usual decency standards (such as they are) for Schindler’s List either.

Sorry Frank, Schindler’s List isn’t a sacred document and dissing it doesn’t qualify as prejudice.

Not For the Multiculturally Squeamish

Mark Steyn questions one of the arguments for Canadianizing our health care system:

…Proponents of government health care like to point out that in the United States life expectancy is 78.11 years, whereas in Ireland it’s 78.24 years, Germany 79.26, New Zealand 80.36 and Canada 81.23 years. For a while now, I’ve taken to responding that, once a society gets childhood mortality under control and observes basic hygiene, it’ll swing through its three-score-and-ten with the bonus of a few frequent-flyer miles at the end, and then I’ll usually cite a less obvious comparison: Libya? 77.26 years. Albania? 77.96 years. Bosnia and Herzegovina? 78.5. Boy, nothing like civil war and ethnic genocide to ramp up those life-expectancy numbers! And any American approaching his 78th birthday and minded to emigrate to Canada or, better yet, Macau (life expectancy 84.36 years) should bear in mind that these variations likely owe more to factors other than the health system—i.e., the high homicide rate among the African-American community, and other subjects from which the multiculturally squeamish would rather avert their gaze…

Excellent column by Canadian columnist David Warren.

Hmmm, why might that be?

Jonah Goldberg wonders what would’ve happened if a white (Republican) guy had said what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said:

Here’s what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine: “Frankly I had thought that at the time (Roe v. Wade) was decided,” Ginsburg told her interviewer, Emily Bazelon, “there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

The comment, which bizarrely elicited no follow-up from Bazelon or any further coverage from the New York Times — or any other major news outlet — was in the context of Medicaid funding for abortion. Ginsburg was surprised when the Supreme Court in 1980 barred taxpayer support for abortions for poor women. After all, if poverty partly described the population you had “too many of,” you would want to subsidize it in order to expedite the reduction of unwanted populations.

Left unclear is whether Ginsburg endorses the eugenic motivation she ascribed to the passage of Roe v. Wade or whether she was merely objectively describing it. One senses that if Antonin Scalia had offered such a comment, a Times interviewer would have sought more clarity, particularly on the racial characteristics of these supposedly unwanted populations…

And Ann Coulter also examines liberal racial hypocrisy:

Every time a Democrat senator has talked during the Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor this week, I felt lousy about my country. Not for the usual reasons when a Democrat talks, but because Democrats revel in telling us what a racist country this is.

Interestingly, the Democrats’ examples of ethnic prejudice did not include Clarence Thomas, whose nomination hearings began with the Democrats saying, “You may now uncuff the defendant.”

Their examples did not include Miguel Estrada, the brilliant Harvard-educated lawyer who was blocked from an appellate court judgeship by Senate Democrats expressly on the grounds that he is a Hispanic — as stated in Democratic staff memos that became public…

Indeed, Sen. Patrick Leahy lied about Estrada’s nomination, blaming it on Republicans: “He was not given a hearing when the Republicans were in charge. He was given a hearing when the Democrats were in charge.”

The Republicans were “in charge” for precisely 14 days between Estrada’s nomination on May 9, 2001, and May 24, 2001, when Sen. Jim Jeffords switched parties, giving Democrats control of the Senate. The Democrats then refused to hold a hearing on Estrada’s nomination for approximately 480 days, shortly before the 2002 election.

Even after Republicans won back a narrow majority in 2003, Estrada was blocked “by an extraordinary filibuster mounted by Senate Democrats” — as The New York Times put it.

Memos from the Democratic staff of the Judiciary Committee were later unearthed, revealing that they considered Estrada “especially dangerous” — as stated in a memo by a Sen. Dick Durbin staffer — because “he is Latino and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.”

Sandy Berger wasn’t available to steal back the memos, so Durbin ordered Capitol Police to seize the documents from Senate computer servers and lock them in a police vault.

Led by Sens. Leahy and Chuck Schumer, Democrats ferociously opposed Estrada, who would have been the first Hispanic to sit on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. They were so determined to keep him off the Supreme Court that Leahy and Schumer introduced legislation at one point to construct a fence around Estrada’s house.

In frustration, Estrada finally withdrew his name on Sept. 5, 2003.

At the time, liberal historian David Garrow predicted that if the Democrats blocked Estrada, they would be “handing Bush a campaign issue to use in the Hispanic community.”

Alas, today Democrats can’t really place Estrada — James Carville confuses him with that other Hispanic, Alberto Gonzales. On MSNBC they laugh about his obscurity, asking if he was the cop on “CHiPs.” They also can’t recall the name “Anita Hill.” Nor can anyone remember African-American Janice Rogers Brown or what the Democrats did to her…

So when Republicans treat Sotomayor with respect and Sen. Lindsey Graham says his “hope” is that “if we ever get a conservative president and they nominate someone who has an equal passion on the other side, that we will not forget this moment,” I think it’s a lovely speech.

It might even persuade me if I were born yesterday.

But Democrats treat judicial nominations like war — while Republicans keep being gracious, hoping Democrats will learn by example.

Sen. Teddy Kennedy accused Reagan nominee Robert Bork of trying to murder women, segregate blacks, institute a police state and censor speech — everything short of driving a woman into a lake! — within an hour of Reagan’s announcing Bork’s nomination.

To defend “the right to privacy,” liberals investigated Bork’s video rentals. (Alfred Hitchcock, the Marx Brothers’ movies and “Ruthless People” — the last one supposedly a primer for dealing with the Democrats.)

Liberals unleashed scorned woman Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas in the 11th hour of his hearings to accuse him of sexual harassment — charges that were believed by no one who knew both Thomas and Hill, or by the vast majority of Americans watching the hearings.

But when the tables were turned and Bill Clinton nominated left-wing extremist/ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republicans lavished her with praise and voted overwhelmingly to confirm her, in a 96-to-3 vote. (Poor Ruth. If Sotomayor is confirmed, Ginsburg will no longer be known as “the hot one in the robe.”)

The next Clinton nominee, Stephen Breyer, was also treated gallantly — no video rental records or perjurious testimony was adduced against him — and confirmed in an 87-to-9 vote.

As Mrs. Sam Alito can attest, the magnanimity was not returned to Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. She was driven from the hearings in tears by the Democrats’ vicious attacks on her husband’s character. The great “uniter” Barack Obama voted against both nominees.

Even Justice Ginsburg recently remarked to The New York Times that her and Justice Breyer’s hearings were “unusual” in how “civil” they were.

Hmmm, why might that be?…

And the Weekly Standard speculates on what would have happened if Sarah had made the malapropisms Sonia made:

Ed Whelan writes:

Judge Sotomayor says “eminent” when she means “imminent,” “providence” instead of “province,” “story of knowledge” instead of “store of knowledge,” and so on. Does the fact that she is a Latina immunize her from attention to that sort of (admittedly not uncommon) foible?

To answer Whelan’s question: These malapropisms would only be noteworthy and revealing if they were spoken by a certain country bumpkin Republican governor of Alaska. When a wise Latina accidentally says “vagrancies of … the moment” instead of “vagaries of … the moment” during the oral argument of the Ricci case, we’re supposed to ignore the slip-up, as the Wall Street Journal did, but make sure to inform readers that they should be impressed by the fact that “The Catholic-school-educated judge clearly knew the Latin plural of ‘forum.'”…

Shocker: They Were Planning To Kill Bin Laden!

Jonathan Tobin on the ultra-ultra-secret CIA plan that Dick Cheney “hid” from Congress:

…alas for the Left, today’s Wall Street Journal eliminates some of the mystery behind [the New York Times’ stories about a secret CIA operation not revealed to Congress]. It turns out the super secret program wasn’t so controversial after all. That is, not controversial if you thought the 9/11 attacks were bad. The “secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.”

A plan to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, you say? Wasn’t this what the CIA and the rest of the government were supposed to be doing? And if they weren’t pursuing such a project, the apt question here would be why not?

Reading further into the story we discover that what this particular idea consisted of was putting together some sort of combined commando team that would hunt down 9/11 plotters much in the same manner that Israel is believed to have pursued the perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre. But as it turned out, little if anything was done to push the plan along. According to Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, only around $1 million was spent exploring this option, which by Washington’s standards might mean that the idea was discussed over a few catered lunches. As to whether an idea that was never actually put into motion and for which little planning was done ought to have been reported to Congress, I don’t know. But I doubt this amounts to much.

As for the project itself, I suppose such a “revenge” scenario might offend the sensibilities of some Americans — Steven Spielberg’s cinematic atrocity “Munich,” which sought to discredit Israeli counter-terrorism, represented that point of view — but I doubt it would bother most of us even today long after the shock about 9/11 has worn off. After all, hasn’t the failure to capture bin Laden been a source of continuing embarrassment for the Bush team? But even if you thought this project was daft, how does any of this constitute a blow to our liberties?

While this particular dog certainly won’t hunt, the Times and its cohorts on the Left must hope that the accumulated weight of accusations will ultimately lead to the appointment of special prosecutors to settle these partisan scores. The real villain here isn’t Cheney or others thinking about stopping al Qaeda; it is a partisan press that seeks to criminalize the efforts of those who were trying to protect us from our enemies.

The real scandal is that, in the many years after 9/11, the Bush administration hadn’t actually come up with a viable plan to capture or kill bin Laden and company, not that nobody told Pelosi about it. And why did Panetta terminate it?

I hope the Democrats are foolish enough to promote this “scandal.”

And Liz Cheney on the Brilliant One’s shaky grasp of history:

There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week.

Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: “The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”

The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not “competition in astrophysics and athletics.” It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet “sphere of influence” was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.

It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended. One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push “reset” — or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said…

With Her Brainpower, Gravitas, and Finely Tuned Imagination…

David Harsanyi speculates on the horrors of a Palin presidency:

… where would we be if a bumpkin like Palin were president? With her brainpower, we probably would be stuck with a Cabinet full of tax cheats, retreads and moralizing social engineers.

If Palin were president, chances are we’d have a gaffe-generating motormouth for a vice president. That’s the kind of decision-making one expects from Miss Congeniality.

The job of building generational debt is not for the unsophisticated. Enriching political donors with taxpayer dollars takes intellectual prowess, not the skills of a moose-hunting point guard.

The talent to print money we don’t have to pay for programs we can’t afford is the work of a finely tuned imagination, soaring gravitas and endless policy know-how.

Palin is so clueless she probably would have rushed through some colossal stimulus plan that ended up stimulating nothing.

If Palin were president, no one doubts this nation would have continued the Bush-era policy of indefinite detention of enemy combatants and the CIA’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights. Be thankful you have a president who makes you think this nation doesn’t.

If Palin were commander in chief — and, again, can anyone imagine anything so preposterous? — the United States still would be fighting endless and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s true that Palin’s first veto as Alaska governor was of a bill that would have blocked state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples, but does anyone doubt her true intentions?

If she were president, brave American soldiers still would be living under the dark specter of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Palin even might have instructed her Justice Department to file a brief in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. Such is the depth of her depravity.

Does anyone believe that Palin possesses the competence to nationalize entire industries without the consent of the people? A housewife from Wasilla isn’t equipped with political brawn to shake down banks and bondholders.

Palin never would be able to convince Americans that a trillion-dollar government-run health care plan would save taxpayers money or have the rhetorical ability to convince even a single person that a European-style cap-and-trade scheme has any benefit at all.

Palin is such a goofball that she probably believes oil will continue to be a vital American energy source…

For Palin, though, there is hope.

Just because you’re the target of a revolting elitist hit job doesn’t mean you’re ready to be president. I don’t believe Palin has thought deeply enough about serious issues. She certainly has proved to be unable to defend herself adequately on intellectual grounds.

To this point, at least, Palin hasn’t offered much more than populist sloganeering. Her popularity often seems fueled by charisma alone.

So, judging from Barack Obama’s success, she has all the makings of a future president.