Todd & Obama

Todd & Obama

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I, Robot?

“…Socially, the devices purporting to keep us in touch in fact serve as a wedge separating people from people. Digital intermediaries keep humans away from each other and hypnotized by screens. Facebook Friend is another way of saying stranger. Tweets announcing visits to the grocery store, a bad hair day, or the mood swings of a pet really announce loneliness. YouTube, like its idiot-box antecedent, broadcasts loud cries for attention. Social media fills a void created by social media…”

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Robin Williams and Depression

Ben Stein on depression:

I never worked with Robin Williams. Once in a great while I would see him at a Hollywood watering hole, but that was a long time ago. And he always made me extremely uneasy when I saw him on the screen, large or small. He had a frantic, wildly manic quality to him, like toy soldier that had been overwound and would walk into walls and fall down and just keep walking. Hyper beyond sanity.

He was — from what I heard — a deeply thoughtful and sad man. His thoughts made him sadder, so he turned to alcohol and drugs. His appetite for both was the stuff of legend. Like almost all alcoholics and drug addicts and many, many, many comedians, he had powerful feelings of self-hatred and self-loathing and suicide. I see it in my colleagues here. I have seen it work its evil way into killing three of my best friends.

I no longer even remotely believe in psychoactive anti-depressant meds for suicidal thoughts. I’ve taken them long ago and they made me suicidal beyond any other times in my life. I strongly suspect that overuse of psychoactive anti-depressants and the contrary effects they often seem to have is a factor in military suicides. Any drug strong enough to change your basic mood is going to be dangerous.

I just feel sick about Robin Williams, though and I feel sick about all of the good men and women led to self-destructive thoughts by their inner demons, fueled into merciless rage by alcohol and drugs.

In my own life, I have found that prayer, intense rest, fresh air, and above all, 12-step programs for helping persons who want to get off the suicide express before it reaches its final destination in hell, work miracles. I have never known a person injured by prayer. I have never known a person driven to suicide by going to 90 meetings in 90 days and maybe 180 meetings in 90 days.

Having good friends treading the path of recovery is also a gift from God. Talking to them, eating with them, praying with them saves lives.

Turning every problem over to God saves lives.

Telling yourself over and over that feelings come and feelings go and feelings are not facts helps me a lot.

I carry with me a gift from a friend who said it had saved his life many a time. It is a simple piece of paper that reads, “NOT TODAY.” It has brought me peace and salvation many a time. Anyone can get through just one more day and by tomorrow you might feel completely different.

Know this: Just for me, the 12-step programs are not really about keeping the drink or the drug out of my mouth. They are about keeping the gun out of my mouth. They work and they work wonders.

How I wish Mr. Williams had come to our little meetings every day. Mr. Keating, you didn’t have to go so soon.

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Conservatarianism?

“…is “conservatarianism” a new, tech-minded branch of libertarianism, or is it the same old philosophy with a shiny new buzzword? The term seems to be just another addition to the lexicon of political flavors—are you a techno-utopian, a Randian idealist, or a run-of-the-mill nihilist?…”

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Cheer Up!

“… little kiddies … we need to cheer up. You and I can’t curl up in the fetal position and wet our big diaper since things seem bad right now, because that’s exactly what the enemies of our nation would like us to do, namely … check out. Give up. Lose heart. Instead, we must realize the historical pattern of things usually gets real frickin’ bad before it gets better…”

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PULP FICTION FOR A DIGITAL AGE

“…Conservatives’ discovery of Liberty Island comes at a good time. The online publisher of “right brain” fiction embraces conservatism in the best sense; not a series of policy prescriptions but a preservation of that worth keeping.

The relegation of stories to the big screen, the theater stage, and the book page strikes as a less serious offense than the widespread confusion of fiction as an extension of journalism (the reverse is another column). Perhaps the best thing about the emergence of a site of conservative fiction is that many of the stories featured don’t bear a politicized message. An English lit professor might call this irony…

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Krauthammer on Moral Clarity in Gaza

Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire;Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Charles Krauthammer writes a weekly political column that runs on Fridays.

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.

And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Why? The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leaderMahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

It makes no sense. Unless you understand, asTuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

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A New Feint by the Environmentalist Wacko Left

You are really going to love this one…

“…Rather, it’s pretty terrifying. It’s not as though the plastic we put into the ocean is simply resolving itself. Instead, it’s likely that as it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, fish are eating it. Which, thanks to the magic of the food chain, means we’re eating it too…”

Fear the plastic! Surely we will be called upon to do “our part.”

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Why I Do Not “FaceBook”

“…The same math that researchers use to control swarms of drones can be used, in theory, to control you on social media…

Military social network research has been ongoing over the past decade as part of the DOD’s efforts to leverage “open source intelligence” and use social network analysis (using mobile phone records, other electronic relationships, and physical-world relationships) to target manufacturers of improvised explosive devices and leaders of insurgent cells. Along the way, the research has shifted more toward “hearts and minds” goals than “search and destroy” ones…”

Food for thought.

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Indignity Heaped

“the recent surge has so overwhelmed officials that they are cutting corners in background checks, meaning some children are turned over to parents who cannot provide for them or, in the worst of cases, could be endangering them…

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