Mystery Solved

Mystery Solved?

You know why we're having a financial crisis now -- Social Security, Medicare, Federal pensions? Why Europe is falling apart? It's because people stopped having kids. Birth rates have fallen across the Western world.

Why? A new study says: because the pill doesn't just block fertility: it makes women want something other than a real man. Even when women are wanting children, the altered hormones have turned them aside from the natural markers that would point to a strong man of great virility. Birth control was the problem all along.

If that is right, two lessons:

Lesson one: Mess with your hormones at peril.

Lesson two: The Church was right again.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck:

This guy is something else.

I've only watched one episode of his work, so I don't know that much about him. He is not what we've come to expect from the media, or the world. "They were talking at people, they weren't listening. They don't understand that people actually care about things -- can actually believe in things. Can be genuine, can weep for their country, can love something so much that they're willing to set everything aside for that: that the country and the Constitution mean something deeply to a lot of people."

The guy is dangerous.

"Dangerous!" cried Gandalf. "And so am I, very dangerous... and Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin, for you are dangerous yourself[.]
"Dangerous" is not a negative quality. Dangerous merely means that you are serious, that there are things you will not let go. The question is whether you are benevolent, or malevolent.
That key is being turned. And I fear an event. I fear a Reichstag moment, God forbid, another 9/11, something that will turn this thing on: power will be seized and voices will be silenced. God help us all.

Q: And if it happens, what should Americans do to fight it?

Read the Constitution. Act Constitutionally. Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
But that is no more than my oath. Indeed, many of us have sworn that oath. What will matter most is how we interpret the Constitution, and how we define its enemies.

Blue Stonehenge

Blue Stonehenge:

Earthquakes seem to come regularly, these days:

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of what they believe was a second Stonehenge located a little more than a mile away from the world-famous prehistoric monument.

The new find on the west bank of the river Avon has been called "Bluestonehenge", after the colour of the 25 Welsh stones of which it was once made up.

Excavations at the site have suggested there was once a stone circle 10 metres in diameter and surrounded by a henge – a ditch with an external bank, according to the project director, Professor Mike Parker Pearson, of the University of Sheffield.

The stones at the site were removed thousands of years ago but the sizes of the holes in which they stood indicate that this was a circle of bluestones, brought from the Preseli mountains of Wales, 150 miles away.

The standing stones marked the end of the avenue that leads from the river Avon to Stonehenge, a 1¾-mile long processional route constructed at the end of the Stone Age....

"I think we have found incontrovertible proof that the river was very important to the people who used Stonehenge. I believe that the river formed a conduit between the living and the dead and this is the point where you leave the realm of the living at the river and enter the one of the dead at Stonehenge."
That's the big question. What did they believe, and so strongly that they found a way to transport megaliths hundreds of miles to erect in these monuments? What a gift it would be to know.

For My Sister

For My Sister:

...who has been spending a lot of time out Jackson way:

Bomb the Moon


NASA prepares to bomb the moon.

Close, but no cigar, boys.

Free Speech

Free Speech:

The administration has declared against free speech at the UN:

The new resolution, championed by the Obama administration, has a number of disturbing elements. It emphasizes that "the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities . . ." which include taking action against anything meeting the description of "negative racial and religious stereotyping." It also purports to "recognize . . . the moral and social responsibilities of the media" and supports "the media's elaboration of voluntary codes of professional ethical conduct" in relation to "combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."
Quite a statement, given the regularity with which the President's critics are said to be racist. The media is hereby charged with a "responsibility" to produce a "voluntary code" to "[combat] racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

Oh, bloggers' free speech will now also be regulated. This first entry into the field is mild, just the camel's nose probing its way into the tent.

Those actions by the Obama administration are almost certainly unrelated. This is not a conspiracy to undermine free speech. It's just the result of a commonly-felt hostility to it among the kind of people that Obama appears to appoint to important positions. There may also be some top-down pressure in certain cases, but I doubt it's being done in a coordinated way. It's just a reflection of who he is, and what kind of people he employs to do his work.

Things Have Changed

Things Have Changed Back Home:

A story from Forsyth County, Georgia, where I grew up:

An effort to crack down on prostitution in Forsyth County’s massage parlors has resulted in the arrests of three women, including one who faced the same charge last year.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office charged Mi Suk Yang, 47, of Marietta and Kil Cha Hurst, 65, of Jonesboro with prostitution on Wednesday....
There were probably prostitutes in the old days, but I don't recall having heard of any such arrests. Everybody knew each other then, before the explosion of the Atlanta suburbs caused the county I knew to cease to exist. Apparently prostitution arrests are now a regular thing.

(H/t FARK, who was amused by the lady's name. In general, it's always depressing to see your hometown mentioned in FARK.)

Mack the Knife

Mack the Knife:

My taste doesn't run to jazz, but I still enjoy Mark Steyn's writings on the history of 20th century music. The story of 'Mack the Knife' is unusually interesting even by his standard. Apparently the original was a 1728 London opera...

A Good Article

A Good Article:

National Affairs has a short, comprehensive look at the problems facing America's middle class. Indeed, the problems listed are a good definition of "middle class," one of the most difficult to understand concepts in American politics. If you share these problems, being neither too wretched to participate in the troubled institutions, nor too rich to have to worry about them, you're somewhere in the broad middle class.

It's a good frame for discussing the business before us: the collapse of Federal entitlements, the collapse of employer-provided entitlements, the demographic dangers, and so forth. In a seven-page article, there isn't much by way of solutions, but the sketches do offer some helpful advice: for example, that the worst way to deal with the entitlement crisis is with new taxes, but rather to use the government to encourage fertility rates and ease the raising of children.

Smart Diplomacy

Smart Diplomacy:

This is what comes of forgetting that you are not President of the World.

Quirk of Fate

So Close To Agreement:

By an odd quirk of fate, the last time we talked about Bernard-Henri Levy, it was in combination with today's topic, which is Garrison Keillor. The last time was about trying to reach out to our left-leaning brethren and explore a way in which we might be able to both have the America we want.

Something like that appears true again today. Much is made about Keillor's mean-spirited joke that we could solve the national debt if we eliminated Republicans (an unlikely proposition, given that only half of Americans pay income taxes, and most of those people are Republicans; seventy-five percent of income taxes are paid by married people, and being part of a married couple is perhaps the strongest indicator for membership in the Republican party. Heck, half of my marriage is Republican).

However, take a look at this earlier section of his piece, about the roots of the financial crisis:

...the disaster in the banking industry that ate up a lot of 401(k)s, and all thanks to high-flyers in shirts like cheap wallpaper who never learned enough to let it discourage them from believing that they had magical powers over the laws of economics and could hand out mortgages to people with no assets and somehow the sun would come out tomorrow.
Wow! That's perfect agreement between right and left about the cause of the disaster: reckless loans to people who couldn't pay it back. The only problem is that he prefaces and follows this assessment with a loopy way of blaming "the anti-regulation conservatives," rather than the anti-regulation liberals.

But let's not look a gift horse in the mouth! Reagan said that there was no limit to what could be accomplished if you didn't care who got the credit; the same is true if you don't care who gets the blame. So long as we're all agreed now that we can't be letting people borrow money who will not be paying it back, we can proceed. We can argue for years to come about whether the blame falls mostly on conservative "nihilism" about governance, or the alliance of some liberal politicians with corrupt inner-city predators. If we agree on a solution, we can set it in place, and have the fight about blame after.

Not a Joke

No Joke At All:

A commonplace of American humor is the joke taking the form, "Did you hear the one about the farmer's daughter?" This time, however, there is no joke: just a proud woman who has done a mighty deed.



Stabbed in the back, man. I mean, who got this guy elected?

Seriously, a wise call by the administration on this issue. Given that it does put them crosswise with an important part of their base -- one whose continued goodwill they need very much -- it was a brave as well as a wise decision.