Saturday, November 27, 2010

A look ahead to the week in Bruxelles

Never forget, the show must go on...

The Idefatigable Kate Smith

- A guest post by Jack

I don’t know if you remember, or ever heard Kate Smith, but she was one very special woman. Here is her story and her song.

In case you don't know it, this is the person that is referred to as "The Fat Lady" in the trite verbalization of "It's not over till the fat lady sings". Kate Smith was born and grew up in Columbia, Missouri.

In early 1940, Kate Smith, a fiercely patriotic American, and the biggest star on radio, was deeply worried about her country. She asked Irving Berlin if he could give her a song that would re-ignite the spirit of American patriotism and faith. He said he had a song that he had written in 1917, but never used it. He said she could have it.

She sat at the piano & played it and realized how good it was. She called Mr. Berlin and told him that she couldn't take this from him for nothing. So, they agreed that any money that would be made off the song would be donated to the Boy Scouts of America . Thanks to Kate Smith and Irving Berlin, the Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties.

This clip is from the movie "You're in the Army Now". You will see a familiar face (near the very end) in this one that we are all very proud of. This “familiar face” was quite patriotic himself and went on to inspire the whole country and could be touted as changing the world with his dedication to freedom and the “American Way”. We digress.

Frank Sinatra said that when Kate Smith, whom he considered the greatest singer of his age, first sang this song on the radio, a million guys got 'dust' in their eyes and had to wipe the tears the 'dust' caused.

Obama is hoping to capitalize on our ignorance of the men and women in uniform who defend this country and of the phenomenon known as forced intimacy

It is a sad, and potentially fatal, fact that most Americans know virtually nothing about the United States military
writes Frank Gaffney, Jr.
That astounding reality is all the more incredible given that our very survival ultimately depends on the men and women in uniform who defend this country.

Such ignorance is, ironically, a testament to the success of what is known as the All Volunteer Force. It is also a national defect, one that may soon be the undoing of a system based on the willingness of a few to protect the rest of us at great risk to themselves.

…President Obama is hoping to capitalize on our ignorance of these folks and the reality of their lives in uniform — notably, the phenomenon known as "forced intimacy" that is inherent in communal bunkrooms, showers, latrines, shipboard sleeping compartments and foxholes. He is insisting that the United States Senate accede during the post-Thanksgiving lame-duck session to his demand for the repeal of a 1993 law prohibiting homosexuals from serving in the armed forces.

In 2010 civilian America, the idea of self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals being entitled to equal job opportunities and social treatment has become widely accepted. Polls are endlessly cited that suggest most civilians are sympathetic when LGBT activists demand that the military must conform to this practice.

Suddenly, however, just as the Obama-led campaign to foist the radical homosexual agenda on the U.S. armed forces is reaching its denouement, the American people are getting a taste of forced intimacy — and they don't like it. In airports around the country, they are being subjected to intrusions on their personal space by people and machines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Being forced to submit to a privacy-rending body scan or pat-down — unpleasant as it may be — is not likely to compare to the trauma that can flow from being forced to submit to showering or sharing a bunkroom with someone who finds you sexually attractive. Still, as the traveling public is now beginning to understand, "virtual strip-searches" and officially sanctioned groping is offensive. So is the TSA response that those who don't want to "submit" to it can always elect not to fly.

The question occurs: How many of our servicemen and women will decide they also don't want to submit to a "zero-tolerance" enforcement of the new homosexual- friendly regulations that will be promulgated if the present statute proscribing LGBT service is repealed?

…Every American who finds themselves bridling at the invasion of their privacy by TSA should think long and hard about forcing our all-too-often unsung and unrecognized heroes to submit to far worse. And their elected representatives, who often know little more than their constituents about our military, should refrain from imposing such hardships on those who keep us safe and free — especially in a lame-duck session that leaves no opportunity for deliberation and debate about the predictable, real and toxic repercussions of such actions.
I am reminded of the episode recounted by James Mitchener in his autobiography (for the record, Mitchener was a gay-rights friendly progressive and, obviously, the episode is a — highly — unusual one), in which a Marine captain's authority over his detachment on a tiny Pacific island (Matareva) during World War II is slowly but surely entirely undermined by a "confirmed homosexual", a "vicious" staff sargeant who, it is true, had a particularly "malignant power" and who "began a systematic campaign to entice the younger marines into his net", persuading "one after another of these young men to engage in sexual acts with him" and turning the base into "a homosexual riot".

Friday, November 26, 2010

France's Brain Drain: "The notion of competition, the acceptance of competition is more in harmony with the American culture than the French one"

Academics are increasingly leaving France for the United States, which carries the risk of a “brain drain” in France, according to a report this month by an independent study group.
Thus starts Maïa de la Baume's article in the International Herald Tribune, which points out that many French scientists say that the "French lifestyle, which puts a higher value on quality of living and less emphasis on competition and getting ahead, is no longer sufficient to keep talented researchers in France".
The report, by the Institut Montaigne, a leading independent research group in Paris, found that academics constitute a much larger percentage of French émigrés to the United States today than 30 years ago. According to the report, between 1971 and 1980, academics represented just 8 percent of the departing population; between 1996 and 2006, they represented 27 percent of the departing population.

“The acceleration of French scientific emigration to the United States is recent and worrisome,” said the report, called “Gone for good? The expatriates of French higher education in the United States.”

… The number of French scientists who leave France for the United States remains limited, but the exodus of the country’s most talented scientists could hurt the economy, the report suggested.

“Those who leave France are the best, the most prolific and the best integrated on an international scale,” said the report, which surveyed about a hundred French researchers and professors who studied in France’s top universities and elite schools like the École Normale Supérieure and the École Polytechnique.

… “The notion of competition, the acceptance of competition is more in harmony with the American culture than the French and Latin one,” … said Gérard Karsenty, a professor of genetics and and development at Columbia University in New York.

… The brain drain in French academia has been observed in other arenas, as well. The field of musical composition, for example has been hurt by the trend, and composers are few, training offers scarce and jobs rare. “We are in the process of killing contemporary music in France,” said an unidentified composer cited in the report.

Today, many French academics working in the United States say their choice to leave their country was largely motivated by an American system “where universities are larger, richer and more flexible than in France,” said … Thomas Philippon, a French economist who began teaching finance at New York University Stern School of Business in 2003.

… Upon moving to France after nine years in the United States, [said Rava da Silveira, a physicist who teaches neuroscience at the École Normale Supérieure and collaborates with researchers at Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford], his salary was cut by about two-thirds.

Like many other researchers, he agreed that the rigidity of the French higher education system and a lack of financing, infrastructure and administrative help have prevented France’s scientific talents from reaching their full potential in France.

Well, you can't say nobody told you so

Courtesy of England Expects:

The Next Boondoggle

EU says joint-up energy grid will cost €1 trillion
I’m just waiting for the “hooking all of our windmills up together” fallback argument. As to large suspicious-looking “targets”, this has become a requirement in EUtopian bombast:
"Making the EU target to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 binding will be crucial if it is not to be missed," said French Green MEP Yannick Jadot.

Parliament's Green group was disappointed by the commission's new energy strategy however, saying it showed a "shocking pro-nuclear bias" and dubbed its energy efficiency targets as "vague."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Congress's Lightbulb Ban — The Perfect Reason That Fred Upton Should Never Head a House Committee

The man who banned Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb wants to serve as chairman of the House Energy & Commerce committee, no less…

A Handful of Terrorists Arrested in Paris; By Some Incredible Coincidence, All Four Are Young Middle Eastern Males and Sport Muslim Names

Parisian police have unraveled an attack aimed at, among other things, assassinating the rector of the Grande Mosquée de Paris. Apparently, Dalil Boubakeur was targeted because he represents an Islam that is "too moderate". Haing said that, in no case must we make facile judgments or devolve into political incorrectness. It is only by an amazing coincidence that it turns out that the four accused — they were arrested in Paris and at Roissy's Charles de Gaulle airport (one woman picked up with them was later released) — are all young males of Middle Eastern origin, that they all have Muslim names, and that a couple of them had recently made trips to Pakistan and Egypt.
Ibrahim Ouattara, 22 ans, né à Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis), Ymad Bilel Benouahab, 21 ans, né à Villeneuve-sur-Lot (Lot-et-Garonne), Hakim Soukni, 24 ans, né à Aubervilliers lui aussi, et Arnaud Barotteaux, alias Abdelkarim, 25 ans, né à Paris, sont incarcérés et mis en examen pour "association de malfaiteurs en vue de préparer des actes de terrorisme", depuis le 12 novembre.
Related: In a nutshell, "Israelification" is a system that protects life and limb without annoying passengers to death

Another Exhilarating Dispatch from the Fake-Crisis Management Center

Another reason that so many Europeans need to get a life:

Last week Google Street View went online in Germany, after which isolated Google fans threw raw eggs at pixelated buildings in Essen. Enno Park defends people's wish to protect their private sphere in Blog Carta. "Street View is Google, no more and no less. Google can manipulate the service as it likes, make it payable or even take it off the Web. Of course building facades are public and can be seen by everyone, but that doesn't change the fact that these images may lead people to draw true or false inferences about my person - especially in small towns and detached house neighbourhoods. ... Now the pixelators are under general suspicion of having something to hide and are already being called crackpots, squares, sticks-in-the-mud and even fascists. Nevertheless it is precisely in its dealings with such Street View opponents that our Web culture shows itself for what it is. ... If we netizens can't come to terms with the Street View 'dissidents', then we are the ones who aren't ready for Street View."
That’s what dissent and argumentative debate have now boiled down to in the strange little world of their zeitgeists.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After decades of the sexual revolution, the pill, abortion on demand, "no-fault" divorce, "Friends" and "2 1/2 Men," marriage is still the ideal

…while [the latest Pew Research Center report, "The Decline of Marriage and the Rise of New Families"] reflects growing acceptance in practice of the radical feminist view that marriage, family life and sexual morality are just "evolving," many people are uneasy
writes Robert Knight.
They should be. Even many who have chosen unconventional paths admit that the timeless model of a married dad and mom with kids is optimal. And the wreckage of "no-fault" divorce, particularly its impact on children, is all around us.

… After several decades of the sexual revolution, the pill, abortion on demand, "no-fault" divorce, "Friends" and "Two-and-a-Half Men," we might take some solace that marriage is still the ideal.

And why not? It was created by God before any other human institution, it is universally practiced, and it remains, as the U.S. Supreme Court once noted, the "sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization."

Birds of a Feather

Aged, self-absorbed, and committed to being a evolutionary dead end:

The European Commission has launched a probe into an Elton John concert in Italy after it emerged officials spent €720,000 of EU money organising the event.

"A concert has been held ... from which the EU was paying money from the regional development fund," commission spokesman Ton van Lierop told a regular news conference in Brussels on Friday (12 November).

"A claim was made by the managing authority [in Italy]. We're looking into this. We want to know why this ... will fall under the operational programme," he said.
Do they really need to pay people to see an Elton John show? Of course not. But they know no other way of being:
"Cultural projects and cultural infrastructure can fall under the scope of the regional development fund but there are rules for eligibility," added Mr Van Lierop.
”Culture” as they broadly refer to it that requires funding and management, is not a sign of vibrancy, but of its’ stagnancy. It’s a natural progression for pasty old tarts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From Each According to His Ability: In France, Google Learns that Marxist Welfare Mentality Also Covers the Internet

The Connexion (France's English-language newspaper) is reporting that
POPULAR websites such as Google, Facebook and YouTube should be made to pay for the amount of traffic they generate in France, France Telecom has suggested.

The telecoms operator said it was only fair that Google and other big content providers that use up a lot of bandwidth should pay some of the cost of maintaining and upgrading the network.

Director-general Stéphane Richard said France Telecom was investing heavily in improving the internet infrastructure in France and had a 10 per cent operating margin, while Google made no contribution and had an operating margin of about 33 per cent.

He singled out video-sharing website YouTube, which he said hosted the equivalent of 2,000 years of clips and consumes a large amount of bandwidth.

Mr Richard told a telecoms industry conference in Montpellier that there needed to be "a billing system at the heart of the internet whereby the big traffic-generators must support the costs of the network".

He said: "Using the network should be subject to a charge. Those who generate a lot of traffic should contribute according to the traffic they generate."

Stick it in your Fundament

If you buy this argument, somebody needs to check your freezer for human heads.

"What is the greatest threat to our way of life and democracy in the years ahead?” asks Anatole Kaletsky. For the Times columnist, the growing problem is inequality. “(T)he widening gap between the very rich and everybody else, now threatens the social consensus and political stability, not only in Britain but also in America and Europe, to a degree not seen since the terrible era before the two world wars.”
Remember, this is RELATIVE poverty that they’re talking about. In other words, no matter how much the conditions of absolute poverty improve, it will always exist as long there is anyone left who is successful to exist in “relative terms” to.
The burgeoning wealth of the rich squeezes out the middle class, who are “priced out of desirable neighbourhoods and cannot enjoy the comforts their parents took for granted, from good schools to eating at the best restaurants.
Despite their humbler tastes, lack of automobiles, Wiis, multiple flatscreen TVs, their crushinh work schedules, and without the false memories your nostalgia is feeding you.

Our latest information indicates that the poor still aren’t hiring, so as far as poverty alleviation goes, we’ll stick with giving those icky rich people a chance.

So if the best you can come up with is some idea that our REAL problem is that we suffer from aspirational hopes for the future, or affluenza, let’s hope your passive ass isn’t in charge of anyone else’s fate.

So, was it worth it?

What a difference a day makes...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When American expatriates boast that Obama's election makes them proud to be Americans again

I really like visiting France, even if the expats get on my nerves
writes Joe Queenan in a Wall Street Journal article entitled Mon Dieu ! You Like the New Speaker?! (merci à Gary Zuercher).
If you travel to France, as I did last week, a French dinner companion will eventually tell you: "We were all so proud of America when you elected Barack Obama president." It's a condescending thing to say, but the sentiment springs from an affectionate place, and I myself am proud that my native land two years ago affirmed its vigorously multicultural character, repudiating, if only by proxy, its racist past, something no one is likely to do in France, Italy, Germany or England anytime soon.
After that brief introduction, regarding foreigners, Joe Queenan turns to the subject of American expatriates (aka "all those America-hating left-wing expats"), and that's when he truly lets his anger show.
What I don't like is when American expatriates tell me that Mr. Obama's election made them proud to be Americans again. This not only implies that Mr. Obama's predecessors were wicked or incompetent, but that patriotism is an exclusively partisan activity. It's like only loving baseball the year your team wins the World Series. My love of country has nothing to do with who's running the government at any particular time

Last week, just for chuckles, I had a couple of Parisian tête-à-têtes with expats about American politics. As soon as they started in with their generic Obama-pride spiel, I told them that I had never been prouder to be an American than when John Boehner got tapped to be Speaker of the House.

"He smokes, he drinks, he has a tan and I'm pretty sure he golfs," I exclaimed. "For me, he's the complete package."

Expats are incredulous when you say things like this. Their idea of America is derived entirely from YouTube clips of Rachel Maddow. Expats always repeat the vacuous cliché that they get their news from "The Daily Show," because the mainstream media cannot be trusted. To them, it is almost criminal to say anything nice about a public figure like John Boehner. No, it is criminal.

"John Boehner?" one expat demanded. "John Boehner makes you proud to be an American?"

"I didn't say Eric Cantor or Jim DeMint," I replied, somewhat sheepishly. "I didn't say Sarah Palin. But John Boehner really does it for me. I just love his Midwestern, salt-of-the-earth stolidity."

"How can you say that?" one sneered. "He's the head of the party of no."

"I've always liked people from the Buckeye State," I replied. "They've got their finger on the pulse of America. Ohio is the pulse of America. But I also like Boehner's maverick quality. The smoking. The drinking. The tan. He reminds me of the guys on 'Mad Men.'"

I usually waited until dinner was over before I expressed my burgeoning Boehner pride; otherwise I might never have gotten dessert.
From the comment section, we get these gems:
• I can usually forgive the French. They are a product of their culture. The expatriate Americans who CHOOSE to embrace that particular brand of snobbery and condescension have no excuse.

• I am … eternally ashamed of the ugly Americans. You know them. They’re the ones who frequent Paris. restaurants and are obnoxious with their loud jokes. They are also the social climbers who take anti-American positions at foreign dinner parties and portray genuine proud Americans as traitors. Or they are the ones on short-term contracts who socialize only with fellow Americans. Then they come home and speak with authority on their foreign non-experiences. But you should also know that their gracious hosts are not fooled, They know them for whom they are.

• I don't have a problem with all those America hating left wing expats. If we could just get 80 million more of them to move out we would be well on our way to fixing what is wrong with America.

Building (Another) Bridge to the19th Century

The Problem with western-Europe’s faux Wagnerian notion of itself in diplomacy is that a) it doesn’t work, and b) it does a hell of a job of selling the EU member states who actually NEED security up the river.

A study recently published by the European Council on Foreign Relations already speaks of the new architeture of European security that will be determined within the framework of a trilateral dialogue between the EU, Russia and Turkey. NATO does not enter into the equation. But the EU does not really mean Europe’s 27 member states. Merkel made promises about European policy to Medvedev without consulting her European partners, and there is no denying the symbolic importance of the Russian President’s refusal to accept an invitation to the Lisbon summit addressed to him by the General Secretary of NATO, before finally agreeing to turn up on the behest of Sarkozy and Merkel.
Writes România liberă international affairs editor Cristian Câmpeanu. It describes very nicely what the leaders of the European anthill imagine is power and brinksmanship.

Decades of buffoonish mewling by the decrepid and aging quarters of western Europe about how they “deserve” power, and if they didn’t, well, then we need a multipolar world to triangulate some power, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. Guess what: this is what you get for your obsession with signing anything that will look good on tonight’s news, making summitry have about as much depth as the goings-on of a gossip magazine, and the like.
Romanians should get used to the idea of living in a Europe where NATO will no be longer able to guarantee their security. The Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis has left us with only one option: the United States.

Hello and welcome to the 19th century! From now on — now being the first day of the "historic" NATO summit in Lisbon — we will be living in a new historic reality and a new geopolitical era. The summit is "historic," but not for the reasons cited by NATO officials and political leaders.
Then there will be the question of “who killed NATO”. Here’s a hint: it’s whoever took a entity structured as a military deterrent and tried to turn it into just another talking shop for continental political grandstanding.
The wars in the Balkans highlighted Europe’s military weakness, and the war in Afghanistan created a rift between the US and its European allies. Their inability to make a significant contribution to victory over the Taliban or to the stabilisation of the country, and the fact that some members of the alliance seemed to be incapable of joining in the fight while others were forced to take most of the casualties, resulted in the gradual crumbling of the alliance.
To those for whom pointless never-ending summitry IS the point, I have a suggestion: move yourselves and your families to an EU member state that’s forever in play over things like energy shut-offs, manipulation of border states, and possibly even threats of force.

Then tell me just how it is that Europe’s next feeble, irritating lecture about “world peace” being some vintage that only they have the wits to know about, is anything other than selling out their brothers for their own vanity?