Linky, Linky – Boudreaux, Whittle, and Iowahawk

Stuff I’ve found ’round the interwebs:

More Weather Deaths? Wanna Bet?
by Donald Boudreaux @ WSJ

Writing recently in the Washington Post, environmental guru Bill McKibben asserted that the number and severity of recent weather events, such as the tornado in Joplin, Mo., are too great not to be the result of fossil-fuel induced climate change. He suggested that government’s failure to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will result in more violent weather and weather-related deaths in the future.

And pointing to the tragedy in Joplin, Mr. McKibben summarily dismissed the idea that, if climate change really is occurring, human beings can successfully adapt to it.

There’s one problem with this global-warming chicken little-ism. It has little to do with reality. National Weather Service data on weather-related fatalities since 1940 show that the risks of Americans being killed by violent weather have fallen significantly over the past 70 years.

The longer lead times are probably the biggest help as far as survival rates go. The other night, the NWS issued a tornado warning for Dale City/Woodbridge for a storm that was speeding up the I-95 corridor, and sure enough, that warning preceeded any actual bad weather by about twenty minutes. Hooray for technology!

(By the way, there was no confirmed tornado, though conditions did get rather hairy for a bit.)

*****

Meanwhile, while I was away, Bill Whittle put out another vid, this time on Obama’s foreign policy:

*****

And lastly, in case you missed it, here is Iowahawk on our higher education bubble:

So You Have a College Diploma

He is, of course, responding to reports that recent college graduates have had a lot of trouble finding jobs lately despite Obama’s glorious economic “recovery.”

Luckily, my teenaged students are smart. All of them are entering pre-professional programs and minoring in any passion that won’t guarantee them a job.

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, VII

I’ve got a few doozies to slam today.

First of all, remember the professor who continued to insist that Wisconsin’s education system is one of the best in the nation because of its powerful unions despite my pointing out that the statistics he was citing were deeply, deeply flawed? Well, here’s what he has to say about the 2012 presidential race:

“Who in their right mind would want to be the GOP nominee in 2012? They should wait until they have an open field in 2016.”

I See What You Did ThereTM. You believe Obama – your Messiah – should be granted a second term without a fight, so you’re doing your best now to demoralize his opponents.

Yes, why would anyone seek to run against Obama? Could it be because of the high gas prices which are a direct result of Obama’s energy policies? Could it be because of the “economic recovery” which is, as far as most people can see, anemic at best? Could it be that people finally – finally – want the chance to elect a president who won’t run up the balance on our national credit card?

V., I love your taste in science fiction and superhero pulp, but you can be an unaccountably arrogant ass when it comes to politics. Sure, the current GOP field hasn’t impressed me so far. Personally, I think somebody should kidnap Chris Christie’s kids and set “running for president” as the ransom. (I kid! I kid!) But it is still too early to declare Obama’s victory a foregone conclusion.

*****

Next up, I have another Facebook friend who’s been doing an excellent job revealing his total ignorance in re: Christianity.

In one recent post, for example, he mocked Harold Camping (who deserves to be mocked, truth be told) and in the process called him a priest. When one of his other friends tried to politely correct his blunder, he replied:

“Priest, preacher. It’s all pretty much the same thing.”

No, it isn’t. Stop being an asshat. There is a world of doctrinal difference between the Harold Campings of the world and the Catholic Church. We Catholics don’t believe in a secret Rapture, for one. While I was going through RCIA a few years ago, my spiritual advisor, Father D., was pretty clear about this fact. He stated unequivocally that “when Jesus comes again, the whole world is going to know it.” He also noted that Jesus Himself discouraged guessing when it came to the date and time of His coming. As Jesus teaches in Matthew 24:

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

Unfortunately for my blood pressure, my friend didn’t stop at blurring the lines between crack-pot fringe Christians and the rest of us. He also posted a link to a HuffPo article which declares that Christians – evangelical Christians in particular – actually hate Jesus. Well, I’m going to go to bat for my evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ and take apart the claims said article makes one by one:

Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture.

Here, the writers of my friend’s cited article make the classic liberal/leftist mistake of confusing “mercy and forgiveness” with “leniency.” Allow me to explain the difference this way: I know someone – someone very close to me – who was sexually abused by her father. This person was raised a Christian, has taken Jesus’ teachings to heart, and has therefore forgiven both of her parents. She still maintains contact with her mother and sends her father birthday and Christmas gifts — and when her father fell seriously ill a few years ago, she spent several weeks in her hometown taking care of him and serving as a knowledgeable intermediary between her mother and her father’s doctors. And yet – and yet – there is still no way in hell that she would ever let a young woman like me spend time alone with her father because she knows that’s not prudent.

Yes — Jesus teaches that the victim of a crime should forgive her victimizer. But Jesus absolutely does not say that the state should therefore refrain from protecting the public from further victimization. That cannot be what Jesus meant because the real-world consequences of lax law enforcement are manifestly disastrous. Some people do need to be put away for a long, long time for their own good as well as ours.

And by the way, did you notice that these anti-Christian writers don’t bother to define what they mean by “draconian sentencing,” “punitive punishment,” or “torture”? Did you notice too that they don’t provide any real evidence that evangelicals support these three things? The Pew survey they cite certainly doesn’t indicate anything of the kind.

Moving on:

Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world.

The fact that a person owns a gun does not make that person more violent, you idiots. Guns are simply tools. While they can be used in a criminal and violent manner, they can just as easily be used for one’s daily subsistence or self defense. The first American colonists would not have survived in the New World without their weapons; the same goes for the pioneers who headed west in the nineteenth century. And I think it’s arguable that in many contexts today, owning a gun is still an eminently wise choice. In a failing urban neighborhood where the police may be hesitant to intervene, a gun can mean the difference between being brutally murdered and staying alive.

As for the activities of the American military, again, I think it is stupid in the extreme to declare categorically that war is in violation of Jesus’ teachings. Peace should always be our first choice — and if a conflict should commence despite our best efforts, we should make war justly. But if a state holds to an ideological brand of pacifism, it is in essence failing to discharge its primary responsibility: the protection of its citizens. Jesus surely did not mean that we should leave ourselves and our children vulnerable to the predators and monsters who populate our fallen world in relative abundance. Individuals can martyr themselves for “peace” if they choose, but they have absolutely no right to make that decision for everyone else. Crimeny! I thought you guys were against forcing one’s religious beliefs on others.

Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor.

Typical leftwing pseudo-Christian drivel. Jesus did not teach that the rich should be condemned. He did note that personal wealth can be a stumbling block when it comes to one’s salvation, but that is not because wealth itself is evil. Rather, wealth can often lead a person to forget that his or her good fortune ultimately comes from God — and consequently, such a person may neglect to give God His due. Idolatry is the issue here, not mere affluence.

And as for giving one’s money to the poor, where is the proof that evangelicals don’t do this? Because when I look around, I see a lot of evidence to the contrary. When evangelical Christians head out on their various missions, they don’t just spread the Gospel; they also try to help the people they encounter. They bring clothes and food with them; they help build houses and dig wells; they set up schools; etc., etc., etc.

And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children.

They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do.

For the 1,549,163rd time: Jesus did urge us to care for the vulnerable among us. But nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if you do not support a large welfare state, you will not enter the Kingdom of God.” Indeed, He offers no policy prescriptions of any kind; He leaves the specifics entirely to us because He respects our free will. It is one of the lowest forms of political bullying to declare that because conservative evangelical Christians don’t unreservedly embrace federal poverty programs, that means they are ignoring Jesus’ preferential option for the poor. That is such bull****, and every honest American knows it.

See, what the left is trying to do here is shut down any sincere disagreement over which poverty programs work and which don’t — whether a large federal bureaucracy can competently handle all the needs of the disadvantaged among us or whether smaller, more local entities would be better suited to the task. And even though many leftists don’t even believe that Jesus is the Son of God and despise those who do, they are perfectly willing to stoop to the despicable tactic of using Jesus as a bludgeon to cow the Christian Right.

Sigh. I think I’m going to have to deploy my blurred out middle finger once again:


If you spend your life bloviating about a religion you clearly don’t understand, you are an ass.
Sit on this and rotate.

Again?

Tornado Kills Dozens in Missouri

Rescue workers Monday searched for survivors of a massive tornado that killed at least 89 people and leveled schools, businesses and churches in the southwest Missouri city of Joplin.

“We are just in shock and disbelief,” said Trisha Raney, a city councilwoman in the town of about 50,000 people. “We feel like we were in a bad dream.”

The tornado roared through Joplin on Sunday evening, destroying some 2,000 buildings and damaging 25% to 30% of the city, officials told the Associated Press.

The death toll was expected to climb Monday as search and rescue workers continued their efforts, said city councilwoman Melodee Colbert-Kean, who serves as vice mayor. She said severe thunderstorms Monday were hampering efforts. “It is utter chaos. It’s like a war zone,” she said.

The Joplin twister was one of 68 reported tornadoes across seven Midwest states over the weekend, from Oklahoma to Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. At least one person was killed in Minneapolis and another was killed in Reading, Kan.

This has definitely been a bad year for tornadoes so far.

On the other hand:

Mr. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town, adding that tornado sirens gave residents about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down on the city’s west side.

Our warning system is definitely getting much, much better.

Adult Baby Syndrome

Adult Baby Syndrome
by Michelle Malkin

The nappies may be extreme, but let’s face it: Thornton Jr. — let’s just call him Junior — is a symptom of our Nanny State run amok, not an anomaly.

Junior came to Washington’s attention this week when Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn challenged the Social Security Administration to probe into how the baby bottle-guzzling 350-pound man qualified for federal disability benefits. A former security guard, Junior is handy enough to have crafted his own wooden high chair and playpen.

Junior can drive a car and has sense enough not to go out in public in his XXL footie pajamas. Yet, welfare administrators treat him as an incurable dependent. Also collecting taxpayer-subsidized paychecks: Thornton’s adult roommate, a former nurse, who has indulged Thornton’s baby role-playing for the past decade.

Junior, naturally, threw a tantrum when his government teat-sucking was called into question. He wiped his nose and un-balled his fists long enough to type out an e-mail to The Washington Times: “You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care,” Junior threatened. “I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

I’m sorry — if this individual is getting SSDI, then our standards are way too lax.

Heh.

Dear Congress,
Your Credit Application Has Been Turned Down

by A. Barton Hinkle @ Reason

The Honorable _________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable _________
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. or Ms. _______,

Thank you for your interest in the American Public Trust’s Gold Card credit program. Rest assured your application has been given thorough and careful consideration by the American people.

After reviewing the information provided in your application as well as your credit report, we regret to say that we are unable to extend you further credit at this time.

Member of Congress, please understand that the American people’s decision was based on information obtained from a report from one of the following three consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, or Trans- Union. The reporting agency did not make the credit decision.

You have the right under the amended Fair Credit Reporting Act to request a free copy of your credit report once each calendar year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies listed above. You can order your report from annualcreditreport.com or the Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

You may also wish to contact a consumer credit counseling agency. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help you locate a reputable counseling agency in your area. You may also wish to visit the NFCC’s website for helpful tips on such subjects as

•drawing up a budget
•living within your means
•saving during tough economic times
•steps to take when your finances get out of control

In the event that you can provide documentation of changes to your credit status, we will be happy to evaluate another application for credit from you at that time. We hope to have the opportunity to meet your credit needs in the future.

Cute.

Obama’s Policy on Israel

President Obama, the ‘Winds of Change,’ and Middle East Peace
by Robert Satloff @ The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

President Obama did a great service in sketching out a new paradigm for U.S. engagement with the Middle East in his State Department “winds of change” speech this afternoon, in which he raised the goal of reform and democracy to a top-tier U.S. interest. Nevertheless, after critiquing Arab regimes that have used the Arab-Israeli conflict to distract their peoples from the important business of reform, he undermined the potency and effect of his own message by unveiling a new — and controversial — set of principles guiding U.S. efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Specifically, the peace process principles he articulated constitute a major departure from long-standing U.S. policy. Not only did President Obama’s statement make no mention of the democracy-based benchmarks injected into this process by President Bush in his June 2002 Rose Garden speech (which might have been appropriate, given the overall theme of his speech), he even included significant departures from the “Clinton Parameters” presented to the parties by the then president in December 2000…

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it does seem like our president is throwing another ally under the proverbial bus.

In Defense of the Catholic Church

Priests, Abuse, and the Meltdown of a Culture
by George Weigel @ NRO

The American narrative of the Catholic Church’s struggles with the clerical sexual abuse of the young has been dominated by several tropes firmly set in journalistic concrete: that this was and is a “pedophilia” crisis; that the sexual abuse of the young is an ongoing danger in the Church; that the Catholic Church was and remains a uniquely dangerous environment for young people; that a high percentage of priests were abusers; that abusive behavior is more likely from celibates, such that a change in the Church’s discipline of priestly celibacy would be important in protecting the young; that the Church’s bishops were, as a rule, willfully negligent in handling reports of abuse; that the Church really hasn’t learned any lessons from the revelations that began in the Long Lent of 2002.

But according to an independent, $1.8 million study conducted by New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and released on May 18, every one of these tropes is false…

…But if the Times, the Globe, and others who have been chewing this story like an old bone for almost a decade are genuinely interested in helping prevent the crime and horror of the sexual abuse of the young, a good, long, hard look will be taken at the sexual libertinism that has been the default cultural position on the American left for two generations. Catholic “progressives” who continue to insist that the disciplinary and doctrinal meltdown of the post–Vatican II years had nothing to do with the abuse crisis might also rethink their default understanding of that period. The ecclesiastical chaos of that decade and a half was certainly a factor in the abuse crisis, although that meltdown is not a one-size-fits-all explanation for the crisis and the way it was handled.

A must read.

For what it’s worth, before I could begin to teach religion at my local parish, I had to attend a four hour workshop on how to prevent the sexual abuse of minors. In the Diocese of Arlington, at the very least, the Church is taking this issue extremely seriously.

Oh, Snap!

Stephen Colbert’s Free Speech Problem
by Steve Simpson & Paul Sherman @ The Wall Street Journal

Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert, like most of his friends and allies on the left, thinks that last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC is, literally, ridiculous. To make his case that the ruling invites “unlimited corporate money” to dominate politics, Mr. Colbert decided to set up a political action committee (PAC) of his own. So far, though, the joke’s been on him…

…Campaign-finance laws are so complicated that few can navigate them successfully and speak during elections—which is what the First Amendment is supposed to protect. As the Supreme Court noted in Citizens United, federal laws have created “71 distinct entities” that “are subject to different rules for 33 different types of political speech.” The FEC has adopted 568 pages of regulations and thousands of pages of explanations and opinions on what the laws mean. “Legalese” doesn’t begin to describe this mess.

So what is someone who wants to speak during elections to do? If you’re Stephen Colbert, the answer is to instruct high-priced attorneys to plead your case with the FEC: Last Friday, he filed a formal request with the FEC for a “media exemption” that would allow him to publicize his Super PAC on air without creating legal headaches for Viacom.

How’s that for a punch line? Rich and successful television personality needs powerful corporate lawyers to convince the FEC to allow him to continue making fun of the Supreme Court. Hilarious.

Of course, there’s nothing new about the argument Mr. Colbert’s lawyers are making to the FEC. Media companies’ exemption from campaign-finance laws has existed for decades. That was part of the Supreme Court’s point in Citizens United: Media corporations are allowed to spend lots of money on campaign speech, so why not other corporations?

I despise Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, so this just makes me laugh and laugh.