I'll bet you thought I was done speaking glowingly of the city of lights...
Saturday, January 07, 2012
According to One (Disgusted) Leftist, 90% of Frenchmen Support the 18-Year-Old Mother's Killing of an Oklahoma Burglar
Friday, January 06, 2012
On the One Hand, a Dictator Who Starved His People; on the Other, a Freedom Fighter Like Walesa — And Whom Does Le Monde Choose for Its Main Headline?
Le Monde of December 20: huge headline on the death of Kim Jong-il, along with his photo. Only a modest column a fifth of a page wide is allocated to the day's other passing, Vaclav Havel. On the one hand, a dictator who starved his people while enriching his clan by putting his country under an iron fist. On the other, a freedom fighter of the same mettle as a Mandela, a Walesa, a Lula. And whom does my newspaper choose for its main headline? The North Korean tyrant! Is Le Monde's mistake not obvious to everyone?!...
Fifty years from now, who will remember this obscure North Korean "son of"? By contrast, the name of Vaclav Havel will remain a universal reference for all those who still believe it possible for man to change the course of events when these become unbearable and contrary to dignity.
His is the photo that we would have liked to see on the front page, not that of a character who will end up in the ash heap of history, as will his Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, and Syrian comrades tomorrow!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
It is unconscionable to recommend marriage to any man under a legal regime in which he has no protection under the law
Nancy French asks what marriage has to offer men and decides that some major changes have to take place if young men are going to start considering marriage part of the normal and anticipated process of adulthood:[P]arents have to stop getting divorced for less than dire reasons. …Changing both of these things won't accomplish anything. It's not true that men have no idea what to look for. They know what they want, they're just not finding it as easily anymore. And it's not being branded "a sexist pig" that turns men off to marriage, it is the guarantee of severe economic liability and the unacceptably high possibility of losing his house, his children, his savings, and reducing his future net income.
Second, we must retract the message Boomers sent young women about female empowerment. Indeed, it isn’t a coincidence that marriage rates have plummeted alongside America’s fascination with the feminist movement. Empowerment for women, as defined by feminists, neither liberates women nor brings couples together. It separates them. It focuses on women as perpetual victims of the Big Bad Male. Why would any man want to get married when he’s been branded a sexist pig at “hello”? In the span of just a few decades, women have managed to demote men from respected providers and protectors to being unnecessary, irrelevant, and downright expendable.
It is unconscionable to recommend marriage to any man under a legal regime in which he has no protection under the law and can be forced out of his own home by a single false charge. While this state of affairs is fair to neither individual men nor individual women, the lamentable fact is that very, very few women, even conservative, politically minded women who are correctly concerned about what low marriage rates will do to American society, are willing to speak out against Marriage 2.0 because they still wish to retain the legal benefits it affords married women in the event of divorce.
Marriage is extremely important for societal stability and survival. But the current legal form of marriage is evil and is not only deleterious to society, but to men, women, and children alike.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
A Nuremberg-scale trial for all the corporate agents and treasonous capitalisto-fascist architects of our democracy’s current and most pressing misery
“The scale of Right Wing sociopolitical sabotage necessitates a Nuremberg-scale trial for all the corporate agents and treasonous capitalisto-fascist architects of our democracy’s current and most pressing misery. From the blatant Republican policy doublespeak emanating from think-tank sponsored word doctors to the outright obstruction and lies expectorated by Republican congressional representatives and senators, the very concept of governance can only be considered once the culprits are removed. Driven to real madness by unadulterated greed they have embraced an ideology, the success of which hinges upon the very ruin of this nation.”
taken to their/to its logical conclusion…
…then Americans should go through some sort of reeducation centers to be made to understand the good they are being bestowed, and to be made to refrain from criticizing (at least, not too much) the Spiritual Guide who is benevolently bestowing them upon us;
…then democracy should be curtailed and elections banned (polls as well, probably), at least temporarily, so that the benevolent Great Helmsman can implement his (benevolent) policies in the absence of obstacles from clueless idiots— be they common citizens or the unpatriotic naysayers in the opposition;
…in fact, then Barack Obama should be allowed to dictate his (benevolent) policies to the nation (the nation of clueless clods who are preventing him from carrying those dashing avant-garde ideas of his through to completion).
While there have always been differences about how proactive government should be, few Europeans question the basic premise of a welfare state
Most Europeans associate democracy with a social safety netwrites Katrin Bennhold in The Female Factor in an International Herald Tribune article in which the German reporter manages to mock "the bellows of nostalgic 'bulldog' conservatives in Britain" while shrugging off memories of World War II as "this fixation with 1945 [which] has long been easy to dismiss as island mentality, empire nostalgia or perhaps compensation for repeated defeats by Germany on the soccer field." (That's the left for you — they hate to be reminded of the good the West has done (and enjoy dismissing memories thereof), but they adore "commemorating", ad infinitum, the West's sins, alleged or otherwise, and even when they are far older, like slavery and colonialism.)
Still, Katrin Bennhold's observations on the differences between Europe's health care systems are interesting, not least because they are based on personal knowledge, i.e., her "recent experience of pregnancy and birth in Europe’s three biggest economies". The most interesting observation? Perhaps the fact (or the alleged fact — I have tended to get skeptical over liberal observations over the years) that the "higher the birthrate, the higher the proportion of women in work — and the degree of state support for working mothers."
While there have always been pronounced differences about how proactive government should be, few Europeans question the basic premise of a welfare state.
… As the past three years of financial and economic strife have made plain, Europe does not have a common narrative for the 21st century. There is no European Union of welfare states, no common philosophy on how to run one’s economy or manage public finances, let alone European public opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to make all Europeans more German have borne some fruit, but also rankled those who felt lectured and stymied.
Partly as a result, nationalism is increasingly prevalent across the 27-country bloc. A familiar fault line has emerged: “The euro crisis has sharpened the focus on old divisions over the role of the state in the economy and in people’s lives,” said Ute Frevert, director of the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.
This fault line runs across society. Just how differently the state treats one of the most basic experiences — motherhood — has been plain in my recent experience of pregnancy and birth in Europe’s three biggest economies.
In London, where I just had my second daughter in a public hospital by Caesarean section, I was sent home after three nights. Midwives who were supposed to check up on me and my baby at home in the days after never showed up.
In early 2009, when I had a first Caesarean section in Germany, I was in the hospital for more than a week. Pediatric nurses gave me one-on-one lessons on how to pick up my baby, bathe and even massage her. A specialized physiotherapist exercised with newborns every morning.
Meanwhile in France, where I spent most of my two pregnancies and the time between, I was offered months of physiotherapy to get abdominal muscles back into shape after giving birth.
The differences do not stop at the degree of pampering.
In Britain, more than one midwife evangelized about the benefits of giving birth at home, breast-feeding and drug-free “natural” birth. In France, when I inquired about waiting on an epidural, the doctor brushed me off by saying that 97 percent of French women have epidurals — “and for a good reason.” The same doctor informed me about hormones to stop the milk flow if I preferred not to nurse.
… as Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, chief executive of 20-first, a gender management consultancy, points out: “You can tell the different approaches to motherhood in Europe by looking at birthrates.” The higher the birthrate, the higher the proportion of women in work — and the degree of state support for working mothers.
“There are the countries that get it, like France and the Scandinavian countries, and the ones that don’t, like Germany, which has been losing population since 2003,” Ms. Wittenberg-Cox said.
Monday, January 02, 2012
In Iraq, once-dead streets now bustle with Thursday night shoppers and acres of razed buildings have been replanted with palatial new houses
In Iraq, the [war's] legacy will be lived, day by day, with fatalism and frustration at the country’s intractable political criseswrites Jack Healy somberly in an article that accompanies photographer David Gonzalez's Portraits of Iraqi Pride.
But it will also be lived with an undercurrent of optimism, particularly among the young, and a broad Iraqi resilience that predates the arrival of any American soldiers.In Jack Healy's New York Times article, it is almost as an aside that we learn that the hellish nightmare that Iraqis have gone through since George W Bush sent the US Army to flush out Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in "an unpopular war" (aka a disaster) was perhaps not that bad after all.
… if the war gouged Iraq’s soul, it left lighter fingerprints, too.
… Soldiers or journalists returning for the first time since the depths of civil war sometimes marvel at the transformation of public and private life, how once-dead streets now bustle with Thursday night shoppers and acres of razed buildings have been replanted with palatial new houses. The muffled report of car bombs is startling, not inevitable.
Perhaps two million people have fled Iraq, but Iraqis like the ones pictured here have lived through the painful and terrifying gap between then and now. One raised two daughters. Another built a library of cookbooks and opened a pastry shop.
They are living and working and getting engaged and bringing up a new generation. They are more than a postscript to an unpopular war. For Iraq, they are what comes next.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
That Old Meme: We WOULD Support You, You Understand, exCEPT for Your "Set of ideas" ("That are Cranky, Extreme, and Backward-Looking")
It is a sad commentary that this late in the day “the right Republican” does not even seem to be running yet.
Again, The Economist — which just happened not to support George W Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008 — proves it has taken a hard turn towards the left as it castigates "compassionless conservatism" in its search for The right Republican.
Rather than answering the call for a credible right-of-centre, pro-business party to provide independents, including this newspaper, with a choice in November, it is saddling its candidate with a set of ideas that are cranky, extreme and backward-looking.