Change!

If the president is so big on change (and hope) here, why is he so seemingly averse to it in Iran? And why was he so quick to declare the Honduran regime illegitimate, but remains unwilling to do so for the Tehran tyrants?

Does anyone imagine that regime change in Iran would give us something worse? Other than, of course, the president won’t get to continue to futilely show his diplomatic chops by naively negotiating with this one?

“Because We Can”

Christopher Hitchens:

Why do we fail to detect or defeat the guilty, and why do we do so well at collective punishment of the innocent? The answer to the first question is: Because we can’t—or won’t. The answer to the second question is: Because we can. The fault here is not just with our endlessly incompetent security services, who give the benefit of the doubt to people who should have been arrested long ago or at least had their visas and travel rights revoked. It is also with a public opinion that sheepishly bleats to be made to “feel safe.” The demand to satisfy that sad illusion can be met with relative ease if you pay enough people to stand around and stare significantly at the citizens’ toothpaste. My impression as a frequent traveler is that intelligent Americans fail to protest at this inanity in case it is they who attract attention and end up on a no-fly list instead. Perfect.

It will continue until we demand our rights again. And unfortunately, this is a bi-partisan problem. This idiotic philosophy applied in the last administration as well. It’s a natural tendency of bureaucrats of any stripe.

Also, I was listening to some talk radio today in the car (Prager) and it occurred to me that people have this strange notion that “safe” is a binary condition. Something is safe or it is not. But it’s not. As I’ve said in other contexts (what a mess the human spaceflight program is), there is no safety this side of the dirt. Every decision you make, every action you take, carries some level of risk. Each one must be balanced against the expected benefit. When someone asks the president if it’s “safe to fly,” he should use it as a teachable moment. But he won’t.

Laugh

…so you don’t cry. Dave Barry reviews the year:

It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense of “I feel hopeful!” and later in the sense of “I hope this year ends soon!”

It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting “business as usual,” finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.

He goes through it month by month.

Cross The River

burn the bridge:

We were told we had to do it because of the however many millions of uninsured, yet this bill will leave some 25 million Americans uninsured. On the other hand, millions of young fit healthy Americans in their first jobs who currently take the entirely reasonable view that they do not require health insurance at this stage in their lives will be forced to pay for coverage they neither want nor need. On the other other hand, those Americans who’ve done the boring responsible grown-up thing and have health plans Harry Reid determines to be excessively “generous” will be subject to punitive taxes up to 40 percent. On the other other other hand, if you’re the member of a union which enjoys privileged relations with Commissar Reid you’ll be exempt from that 40 percent shakedown. On the other other other other hand, if you’re already enjoying government health care, well, you’re 83 years old and, let’s face it, it’s hardly worth us giving you that surgery for the minimal contribution you make to society, so in the cause of extending government health care to millions of people who don’t currently get it we’re going to ration it for those currently entitled to it.

Looking at the millions of Americans it leaves uninsured, and the millions it leaves with worse treatment and reduced access, and the millions it makes pay significantly more for their current health care, one can only marvel at Harry Reid’s genius: government health care turns out to be all government and no health care. Adding up the zillions of new taxes and bureaucracies and regulations it imposes on the citizenry, one might almost think that was the only point of the exercise.

Uncharacteristically, I think that Mark Steyn is too optimistic.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!