Saturday, December 06, 2014

After more than 12 years of living in France, one expat is still trying to figure out exactly how to properly master driving

One thing every […] expat needs to master in France is how to drive on the country’s roads
writes Mark Johnson, the Daily Telegraph contributor who, after more than 12 years of living here, is "still trying to figure out exactly how to do it properly."
The most famous […] roundabout is, of course, the [large – and scary –] roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe on the Place de l’Etoile in Paris. I’ve had that experience a couple of times and would not recommend it to any expat driver.
It’s like being on a chaotic merry go round that never stops, but somehow, despite all the erratic movement of vehicles, the system appears to work most of the time. I’ve asked my city dwelling French friends why the system is constructed this way, but they simply shrug and say ‘that’s just the way it is’.

Tailgating is another anomaly to me. I’ll be driving along, in my comfy little DS3 at a fairly decent speed, on the autoroute only to be startled by the fact that a French driver has appeared out of nowhere and is so close to my automotive rear end that I can almost smell the lunch time garlic on their breath. Yet, when they’re in front of me they seem to be in no hurry at all.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Highly Recommended: "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" Dispels One Myth After Another

In The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress offers an "alternative environmental philosophy to America, one that is antipollution but prodevelopment."

Used to publicly debating leading environmentalists, he asks the following question:
Could everything we know about fossil fuels be wrong?

For decades, environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet at the same time, by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better.

How can this be?

The explanation, energy expert Alex Epstein argues in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, is that we usually hear only one side of the story. We’re taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives—their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people. And the moral significance of cheap, reliable energy, Epstein argues, is woefully underrated. Energy is our ability to improve every single aspect of life, whether economic or environmental.

If we look at the big picture of fossil fuels compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. We are morally obligated to use more fossil fuels for the sake of our economy and our environment.

Drawing on original insights and cutting-edge research, Epstein argues that most of what we hear about fossil fuels is a myth.

For instance . . .

Myth: Fossil fuels are dirty.
Truth: The environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. Fossil fuels don’t take a naturally clean environment and make it dirty; they take a naturally dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a naturally safe climate and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous climate and make it ever safer.

Myth: Fossil fuels are unsustainable, so we should strive to use “renewable” solar and wind.
Truth: The sun and wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels. There are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we have plenty of time to find something cheaper.

Myth: Fossil fuels are hurting the developing world.
Truth: Fossil fuels are the key to improving the quality of life for billions of people in the developing world. If we withhold them, access to clean water plummets, critical medical machines like incubators become impossible to operate, and life expectancy drops significantly. Calls to “get off fossil fuels” are calls to degrade the lives of innocent people who merely want the same opportunities we enjoy in the West.

Taking everything into account, including the facts about climate change, Epstein argues that “fossil fuels are easy to misunderstand and demonize, but they are absolutely good to use. And they absolutely need to be championed. . . . Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous—because human life is the standard of value and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.”

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Homo Scandals? Reporters are quick to self-censor when they have reservations about the damage their stories might do to beloved causes

Terrence Bean [the] 66-year old co-founder of the radical homosexual outfit known as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—a misnomer if ever there was one—was arrested in late November on charges that he and his ex-boyfriend raped a fifteen year old boy in a hotel room in Eugene, Oregon.
Is Benny Huang a bigot? One with "wrong ideas" about the gay movement? The Patriot Update writer has the nerve to challenge homosexual apologists and other "doubters to look a little closer at the seedier side of homosexual subculture." Meanwhile, one wonders whether it isn't obvious that Matt Barber also has "wrong ideas" and, indeed, is nothing less than homophobic; imagine, the WND author has the gall to speak of "the undeniable interplay between homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse" (while linking Terrance Patrick Bean to Barack Obama).

Update from Instapundit: ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO IGNORE: Also no coverage at the New York Times of the arrest of Obama bundler Terry Bean for child rape. It’s like they have an agenda to distort the news for partisan reasons or something.
Bean maintains his innocence.

The organization Mr. Bean founded is the largest “gay” “rights” pressure group in the United States. Its logo—a yellow equals sign on a blue background—is rapidly becoming the internationally recognized symbol of a political movement. In Massachusetts, where I hail from, the symbol is ubiquitous on car bumpers.

The HRC is the homofascist mothership and Bean is its queen. The organization published the illegally obtained donor list of the National Organization for Marriage in order to harass and intimidate its opponents. Its efforts also brought about the downfall of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich who made the mistake of making a small donation to supporters of California’s Proposition 8. The HRC supports forcing private citizens to participate in homosexual weddings. As long as anyone anywhere still maintains the rights of free speech and free exercise of religion, the HRC will not rest.
The high profile of the accused within the homosexual movement demands an answer as to why all three major networks have thus far completely ignored the story. Yet to ask the question is to answer it. Reporters are quick to self-censor when they have reservations about the damage their stories might do to beloved causes. In this instance, they worry that people might get the “wrong idea” about homosexuals, namely that their community has a special predilection toward pedophilia. Only “bigots” talk that way.

But what if the “bigots” are right? Homosexuals, particular the male variety, engage in kiddy-diddling at a rate far beyond their numbers. No, not all child molesters are homosexual, and not all homosexuals are child molesters, but the overlapping between the two groups is too large to ignore.

About one third of pedophilia victims are boys and nearly one hundred percent of the offenders are men. That means that male homosexuals, who represent about 1.5% of the population, account for approximately 33% of pedophilia incidents. In other words, male homosexuals molest children at a rate twenty-times greater than their share of the population. Homosexual apologists dismiss these basic facts by employing a lot of sophistry intended to demonstrate that men who have sex with boys aren’t really “gay.”

 … Even if every member of the homosexual community isn’t a child molester, the aggregate seems to embrace an attitude of see no evil, hear no evil. It wasn’t that long ago when America’s premiere pedophile rights organization, the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), marched in “gay” pride parades. According to journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis, an open and unapologetic homosexual, NAMBLA became outcasts at pride parades around 1994, and only because the Religious Right began calling attention to the diddlers’ presence. It was almost as if the non-pedophile marchers at these parades failed to notice, for the better part of fifteen years, that their parade had been infiltrated by self-identified child rapists. The non-pedophiles obviously weren’t particularly ashamed of the association and would probably still include a NAMBLA contingent today if “bigots” hadn’t raised a stink about it. …

 … It doesn’t bother [homosexual activists] that their movement is infested with perverts like Harry Hay or Walter Lee Williams. It bothers them that other people notice it and make connections.
Related: What If Someone Told You That "Homosexuals" Do Not Exist? And What If They Were Right?

Monday, December 01, 2014

In a sane world, Sharyl Attkisson would be recognized with the highest commendations in journalism—the Peabody, the Pulitzer

Appearing at number five this week on the New York Times’ bestseller list is Sharyl Attkisson’s much anticipated debut “Stonewalled,” the tale of a renegade reporter who was forced out of her job at CBS because of a supposed “anti-Obama bias.” (Quick: name one reporter ever canned for having an anti-Bush bias.)
 Benny Huang discusses Fox News while quoting Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Attkisson’s real crime was to engage in actual journalism, which didn’t sit well with the president of CBS News, David Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes’s brother Ben happens to be a spin doctor at the White House, so you can see why stories critical of the Obama Administration might perturb him. Attkisson covered the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal that cost countless Mexicans and at least one US Border Patrol agent their lives. She also delved into the Benghazi scandal, refusing to accept the administration’s initial yarn about the attack being a spontaneous reaction to “Innocence of Muslims,” a Youtube video that ridiculed Mohammed.

 Judicial Watch recently obtained, via FOIA request, the smoking gun that proves that Obama Administration officials were trying to silence Attkisson. Tracy Schmaler, top press aide to Attorney General Eric Holder, complained in an email to White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that Attkisson’s coverage of Fast and Furious was not reflecting well on the administration. I’m also calling Sharryl’s [sic] editor and reaching out to [CBS anchor Bob] Schieffer. She’s out of control.” Schultz replied: “Good. Her piece was really bad for AG.”

Well, it’s good to know that there’s absolutely no collusion between journalists and officials associated with the Obama Administration.

In a sane world, Attkisson would be recognized with the highest commendations in journalism—the Peabody, the Pulitzer. She did what good journalists are supposed to do—she dug, and dug, and discovered that there’s a lot still untold about the Benghazi and Fast and Furious scandals. So much has gone untold, of course, because the administration refused, and still refuses, to answer basic questions. In the “most transparent administration in history,” the truth is always under wraps. National security, my dear. National security.

What exactly ails the fabled “fourth estate” that would cause it to toss aside a gem like Sharyl Attkisson? For the answer to this question I would refer to the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the dissident writer and thorn in the Soviet Union’s side. Solzhenitsyn’s most famous work, “The Gulag Archipelago” is an indictment of the Soviet labor camp system in which he was himself imprisoned for producing “anti-Soviet propaganda.”

Upon arriving in the West in 1974, Solzhenitsyn hungered to read newspapers and periodicals that only an ostensibly free press could produce. How disappointed he was to discover that so much western journalism had little redeeming value. Speaking at Harvard in 1978, he remarked: “Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable: nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals…”

I might object to the “without censorship” part. When a press aide to the attorney general can call upon editors and reporters to squelch a story that doesn’t flatter the administration, I’d call that government censorship. But the rest is spot on.

The problem with our media is their tendency to conform. No, they do not deliver “all the news that’s fit to print” as the masthead of the New York Times boasts. Their selection of stories is guided more by current fashions than any obligation to tell the truth. Their stifling conformity can and should be called soft censorship.

 … The end result of most media outlets marching to the beat of the same fashionable drummer is that some newsworthy stories are ignored while others that seem rather flimsy become the focus of the news cycle for a day or two, maybe longer. Who can forget the picture of the empty press box at abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s trial? The man who ran a filthy abortion mill in Philadelphia, who killed children even after they had emerged from the birth canal fully alive, did not seem to pique the interest of most news agencies, as evidenced by the empty benches reserved for reporters at his trial. Dozens of little Michael Browns and Trayvon Martins died, but the media didn’t care because they couldn’t pin it on a supposedly racist white cop, or even a “white Hispanic.”

When the estimable Mollie Hemmingway asked The Washington Post’s “health policy” reporter Sarah Kliff why she covered the Susan G. Komen row, Todd Akin’s comments about rape, and Sandra Fluke’s petulant demands, but failed to cover Gosnell’s house of horrors, Kliff responded: “I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mentioned.”

As if Gosnell’s case were just a routine mugging in Central Park! If Kliff were honest, she would admit that the reason she didn’t cover Gosnell’s trial is because she serves as Planned Parenthood’s go-to gal for all things abortion. Planned Parenthood wanted to strangle the Gosnell story in the cradle and Kliff was eager to assist.

That’s the state of our media today. Great reporters like Sharyl Attkisson find themselves unemployed because they pursue stories that powerful people don’t like, while abortion industry shills like Sarah Kliff get to keep their jobs. One knew how to march to the beat of the proper drummer; the other did not. …

Sunday, November 30, 2014

With all this money Valérie Trierweiler’s earning from her book sales, she’ll probably be moving to London to escape her ex-boyfriend’s tax laws

 … the delicious irony is that with all this money Valérie Trierweiler’s earning from her book sales, she’ll probably be moving to London to escape her ex-boyfriend’s tax laws
Thus quips The Daily Telegraph's Stephen Clarke after  learning that "the French bought 650,000 copies [of her revenge book], making her an instant millionaire."
Chantal Jouanno … wants to end the whole fiasco of having First Ladies in France. No more private hairdressers, no more chauffeurs, office staff, foreign junkets. She’s head of the French Senate’s delegation for women’s rights, and seems to want women to have real political jobs rather than just being glorified political housewives (does the word palacewife exist? It should.)

You can’t chip away at French polticians’ privileges, especially not at the president’s own imperial lifestyle. And now that France has become accustomed to having its regular doses of presidential reality TV, the public wants all the scandal it can get. And in a way, it’s the best antidote to austerity there is. For the last few days at least, no one has been talking about the economy at all. Except to note that at least one French person is making a fortune by selling Frenchness overseas. Vive la France, non?