More on Obama’s Speech

Der Spiegel is more blunt than any domestic publication:

Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.

The inestimable Paul Rahe, professor of Hillsdale College also has a take on Obama’s speech. After quoting at length from Der Spiegel Professor Rahe says:

To this one can add that President Obama has given his adversaries — both within his party and outside it — plenty of rope with which to hang him. It is most unlikely that the US military can accomplish the end that he seeks within the timetable that he lays out. If they fail to do so by 2011, mark my words: everyone will pile on.

Please be sure to read all of Professor Rahe’s excellent analysis at Powerline.

Republicans Getting in the Game: Finally

Republican Congressman John Carter of Texas and Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia yesterday introduced the “Geithner Penalty Waiver Act.” Congressman Carter is a former Texas judge. He says he is introducing the Geithner Penalty Waiver Act to grant all taxpayers currently seeking penalty relief on foreign deposit back taxes the same zero percent penalty rate as Geithner was assessed for failure to report or pay taxes on IMF income.

Finally, at least some Republicans understand that politics is a sport and you have to take the field and play to win, or you lose.

Of course, this will never become law but that is not the point. Exposing Democrats as the party of special privilege for the few is the point.

More at Tax Prof Blog

And even more at jr deputy accountant

Obama’s Speech

Redstate has an SOS on Obama’s speech.

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline has a good analysis.

Charles Krauthammer and Stephen Hayes on Obama Speech, at Gateway Pundit

Comments are mostly that it was “strange”, “too little too late,” and that most of it was about Obama not
Afganistan. Of course, Bush is too blame for everything and it would all be a lot worse if not for Obama the Messiah, savior, and knight in shining armor.

The Corner on National Review Online has more reaction.

A Believer is Stunned

This is a stunning response from Clive Crook in The Atlantic regarding the corruption of science by the “scientists” at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit.

Mr. Crook remains a believer, but an honest one. I don’t how he squares that circle, but he has written an excellent piece that will be widely read, I think.

Here is a brief sample:

The closed-mindedness of these supposed men of science, their willingness to go to any lengths to defend a preconceived message, is surprising even to me. The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering

And then there is this:

I’m also surprised by the IPCC’s response. Amid the self-justification, I had hoped for a word of apology, or even of censure. (George Monbiot called for Phil Jones to resign, for crying out loud.) At any rate I had expected no more than ordinary evasion. The declaration from Rajendra Pachauri that the emails confirm all is as it should be is stunning. Science at its best. Science as it should be. Good lord. This is pure George Orwell. And these guys call the other side “deniers”.

There is much more and it is good to see that someone from the “warmist” side seems to be equally as concerned as those who have always been skeptics. Clive Crook is from the U.K., a former editor of The Economist. I think he would be classified as a believer in man-made global warming which puts him at least partly on the left but he has been fair in his comments in general, in my view.

Do yourself a favor and read his excellent article on Climategate.

The Open Mind?

A blog I visit frequently, Shrinkwrapped, is a favorite for the insightful comments on the nuttery of some people by the psycho-analyst who owns it. Mr. Shrinkwrapped is a good guy in all respects and I guess for that reason he believes that we can and should open a dialog with lefties who disagree with us, and for the large part hate our guts as well. So he has opened up a series on his blog called “The Open Mind” in which he intends to engage a liberal by the name of Jay Adler who has a blog called the sad red earth. The third in this series is here. I am not sure what Shrink believes this will lead to but he apparently hopes it will lead to some sort of detente between liberals and conservatives, at least the ones who read his and Jay Adler’s postings on a regular basis.

For anyone not already aware of this, or for anyone who would be surprised to hear it, I am the guy who brought home my very first report card from kindergarten with a message to my mother from the teacher which said, “Kenny does not play well with other children.” With that in mind I invite you to go to Mr. Adler’s site and view his 25 principles of liberalism, and my comment to his liberal principle Number 24. I used the screen name “Flash Gordon.”

My reaction to the whole idea was negative right out of the chute. Liberals have principles? Since when? Oh well, Mr. Adler believes they do and he has listed 25 of them for us to consider. My comment under the screen name “Flash Gordon” to Mr. Adler’s liberal principle number 24 takes serious issue with the idea that liberals believe that “terror and tyranny must be opposed and freedom and democracy must be supported.” No one who believes those things could ever be a liberal, almost by definition.

BTW, Mr. Adler, as every other liberal in the world, states that he is not a liberal. He says if I want to argue with “liberals” I’ll have to go somewhere else. He won’t be there. Oookay. Elsewhere he agrees that liberals and conservatives must first define how they are different before they can reach common ground. Let’s see if Mr. Adler and I can reach common on this. A major difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives proudly proclaim themselves to be conservatives. Liberals, on the other hand, deny that they are liberals. They insist they are “progressives,” or “moderates” or whatever they come up with next. But of course, as soon as they stink up any new name the same way they have the term “liberal” then they will have to deny those names as well. Conservatives will still be proudly proclaiming to be just what they are.

Mr Adler has a beautiful website. I’m jealous. I need to buy some software and learn how to use it.

NOTE: I have recently decided that it is cowardly to post comments on websites using an anonymous screen name but I’ve been using Flash Gordon for too long to give it up entirely. I always list my real email address so I am not anonymous to the owner of the blog I’ve commented on. Now that I also show my website I’m not anonymous to anyone. But I like the name and I’d give that name to this blog except there are more Flash Gordon’s out there than there are Ken Willis’s. Notwithstanding my feelings on this, I invite anyone to comment here under anything they want to call themselves. I did it for so long and still do to some extent so I can’t criticize you for it.

Random Thoughts of Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell’s random thoughts on the passing scene are the sort of gems most of us have to dig deep for. Here are just two from his latest:

Sometimes we seem like people on a pleasure boat drifting down the Niagara river, unaware that there are waterfalls up ahead. I don’t know what people think is going to happen when a nation that already sponsors international terrorism has nuclear bombs to give to terrorists around the world.

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about “fairness” and “social justice,” what is your “fair share” of what someone else has worked for?

There are 12 more where those two came from.

Name Change

I’ve changed the name of this blog because I found that it is used by some other blogs which, upon perusing them, I don’t think much of them and don’t want to be confused with them. I thought that T-JAW was a clever abbreviation for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” As usual I’ve found, clever has backfired. Continuing to use “T-JAW” will detract from rather than promote my slogan because of the ugly ways it seems to be used by others. So I’ll just go by my own name from now on. I hope I won’t find out there is some ax murderer out there with a name the same as mine.

Judaism: A Way of Being

Judaism: A Way of Being
The “Look Inside” link won’t work, but this one will.

My commitment to liberty and my belief that we’re all different and as free citizens (as opposed to mere subjects) we make our own decisions usually keeps me from telling other people what they should do with their lives, but here and now I would like to tell you to get this book and read it. It is nothing short of great, and greatness is always scarce and much appreciated when it is found.

If you are already familiar with Yale computer science professor David Gelernter but were not yet aware of this book you’ve probably left this page by now and gone straight to Amazon to order it. But for anyone not acquainted with Professor Gerlernter you will find this Powerline post to be a wonderful introduction. And there’s this from the Weekly Standard:

“David has written a spectacular book. It’s at once short and deep; it’s a fun and easy read with many stop-let-me-think-about-that moments; it’s both scholarly and inspiring. David’s exploration of the role of images, or what he calls ‘image-themes,’ in Judaism is fascinating, and his explanation of how Judaism’s ‘multi-layered images’ reveal and explain ‘the unique beauty and truth of the Jewish worldview’ is extraordinary.

“Gelernter writes that his is a book primarily for Jews, and I’d think that will prove to be the case. But his account of ‘Judaism at full strength, straight up; no water, no soda, aged in oak for three thousand years’ will I suspect prove fascinating to many serious people of other faiths, especially Judaism’s little brother or cousin, Christianity. For David has written a book that, in its exploration of Judaism, tells us something-tells us a lot-about the human condition.”

You need not be Jewish to read this book, although Professor Gelernter says he wrote it mostly for Jews. That’s because he counsels Jews to give up their hostility to Christianity and Christians. He says, in a letter to the Powerlineblog:

My book argues in closing that Judaism must relax its traditional (and understandable) hostility towards Christianity: this prodigal son wants to return, and Judaism must forgive injuries and rise to the occasion–as Jews must, also, take their place as the senior nation of the Western world–and frankly acknowledge Judaism’s role (a mixed blessing) as the most important intellectual development in Western history.

But even if Gelernter wrote this book mainly for Jews I think it’s for anyone because it’s about Judaism in human civilization.

Quote of the Day

Wise, cultivated, genial conversation is the last flower of civilization. Conversation is our account of ourselves. It is, in a word, how we search for and discover the truth. And truth, that which is right and just, ultimately is what propels us to work as engaged citizens in ways that have real, tangible impact on the future direction of our Republic.

—Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson