Links for 1-18-2015

  • Kevin Williamson writes on James Taylor diplomacy:

    We’re responding to barbarism from the 7th century with soft rock from the 1970s.

    James Taylor may in fact be the quintessential man of his generation. He is the son of two highly accomplished parents, his father a physician and dean of the University of North Carolina medical school who served in the Arctic with Operation Deep Freeze, his mother a soprano who studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. A child of affluence bringing up the rear of the Age of Aquarius, he was in a mental institution by the time he was of high-school age, and then tried to launch a musical career but launched a career as a full-time junkie instead. His fortunes turned around when he inherited money and used his new status to move to London and exploit his social connections to link up with Paul McCartney and become rich and famous with a catchy song about what a complete screw-up he had been his entire life. At some point, this man who is so colorlessly country-club that he makes the Fox News weekday lineup look like the original cast of Hair declared himself a “churning urn of burning funk.” For the next few decades he proceeded to burden the world with a burgeoning catalog of insipid mediocrity until, finally, he descended to the lowest point a musician ever reaches, three steps down from busking in subway stations: He became a hired hand for politicians, playing with’s “Vote for Change” tour through swing states on behalf of — small world! — John Kerry, our national personification of vanity, a kept man, dilettante, and Democratic time-server whose career was both launched and sustained by self-serving accounts of his service in the Vietnam War, a conflict that Taylor avoided by being declared mentally unfit to serve.

    In our hour of need, the French gave us Lafayette. In theirs, we sent them the guy who drained all the sugar out of “How Sweet It Is” and substituted saccharin.

    A word of advice: Next time, send Slayer.

  • President Obama will use the State of the Union speech to propose redistributing $320 billion over ten years, ostensibly to benefit the middle class. One of the tax increases involves taxing withdrawals from 529 savings plans, even when a withdrawal is for college expenses.

  • A study by the University of California at San Diego concluded that increasing the minimum wage decreases the employment rate.

  • The mainstream media hyped a press release from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies claiming that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880. Somehow they failed to mention that NASA scientists were only 38% certain that it was the warmest year. Even if it was the warmest year, it was only 0.02° C warmer than 2010.

  • An American citizen named Mozaffar Khazaee was arrested for trying to ship 44 boxes of F–35 technical documents to Iran.

  • The founder of the French Front National Party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, told a pro-Putin Russian newspaper that the West’s intelligence agencies were responsible for the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

  • Israeli helicopters attacked vehicles on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, killing a senior Hezbollah commander named Jihad Mughniyeh and an Iranian field commander named Abu Ali Tabtabai.

  • Israel broke up an ISIS cell operating within the country.

  • ISIS released 200 Yazidis, mostly elderly and infirm people who were probably a burden. They showed signs of abuse and neglect.

  • Suspected Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria kidnapped around 80 people in northern Cameroon.

  • Ukraine’s army launched an offensive at the Donetsk airport, retaking much of the ground they lost to “pro-Russian separatists” over the past few weeks.