The Cliffhanger, Feb. 8

Ever since the language of the ???fiscal cliff??? was appropriated to describe the political battle over a tax increase, it???s become increasingly clear that every issue is a ???cliff??? now.  Here are today???s snapshots from the edge???

** Snowpocalypse descends on the Big Apple: Determined to prove that you can too have hurricanes in the winter, Mother Nature is sending a blizzard with wind gusts of up to 75 miles per hour to New York, following the same track as Hurricane Sandy (which has once again been upgraded to “Super Storm Sandy” in news reports of the impending blizzard.)  Power outages and flooding in coastal areas are anticipated.  Stay safe, everyone.

** Mobile missiles of North Korea: In its tireless quest to make what it commands its people to dream into reality, the North Korean dictatorship plans to test not only a nuclear weapon in the immediate future, but also a mobile ICBM launcher.   This would give them a launch platform that is very difficult to detect or target, with range reportedly good enough to hit the American West Coast.  The new warhead they plan to detonate might use enriched uranium instead of plutonium, a first for the Norks.  Enriched uranium warheads are smaller, so they can be mounted in ICBMs, giving the psychotic Communist state a realistic capability to nuke the continental United States.

The Norks promise “all-out action” in response to a new resolution from the UN vowing “significant action” if they don’t knock off all the apocalypse practice.  “We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by [North Korea] one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people,??? said the regime’s spokeslunatics.  ???Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival.”  Looks like somebody’s got a wee bit of envy over radical Islam’s tendency to rail about centuries-old grievances.

** To arm, or not to arm, the rebels of Syria? It turns out that everyone in the national security apparatus except President Obama wanted to arm the Syrian rebels, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Joint Chiefs chairman General Martin Dempsey.  The White House said no because they were “worried  about the risks of becoming more deeply involved in the Syria crisis, including the possibility that weapons could fall into the wrong hands,” which the New York Times says is an illustration of “the degree that foreign policy decisions have been centralized in the White House.”  Except when Americans are under fire in terrorist hotbeds like Benghazi, evidently.  Then Obama takes a walk, and everyone is on their own, until the post-disaster meeting to design an alibi is convened.  It’s actually rather impressive that President Obama has achieved 100 percent control over foreign policy with absolutely zero percent accountability.  He’s hard at work bringing the same managerial genius to the American economy.

** Brennan cruises through confirmation hearing for CIA: Remember when Barack Obama and his vice-president, Joe Biden, were furiously blaming our hopelessly inept intelligence community for tricking them into peddling a ridiculous lie about “spontaneous video protests” in Libya?  Remember how those miserable so-and-sos in the intelligence apparatus supposedly messed up the wonderful Administration talking points by inserting all that malarkey, causing poor UN Ambassador Susan Rice to make a fool of herself on national television?  Remember how we were never told who, precisely, was responsible for all this?  Well, it apparently wasn’t counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, because he’s Obama’s nominee for CIA director, and he just sailed smoothly through his confirmation hearings.  He sailed right past the fiery wreckage of the S.S. Hagel, which was on course for the office of Defense Secretary before it ran into the same rock 47 times.  Brennan did get some tough questions, mostly about President Nobel’s secret drone strike kill lists and waterboarding, which he may or may not think is an effective means of gathering intelligence, depending on which year you ask him, and what his boss thinks of enhanced interrogation at the time.  But he handled these questions adroitly enough to make his confirmation seem likely.

** Left-wing spree killer remains at large: The manhunt continues for ex-L.A. cop Chris Dorner, a left-wing gun-control zealot and strong supporter of the Obama Administration who has murdered three people so far, and vowed to continue killing police officers for as long as he can.  The burned hulk of his pickup truck was found a hundred miles east of L.A., but the killer himself has disappeared.  Massive searches continue across southern California, although it’s possible he has fled the state.  An as-yet-unconfirmed report suggests he may have tried to hijack a boat.

The media’s attempt to bury his political leanings – a very sharp contrast with how they would have handled a nut who said he loved Fox News and the Tea Party – failed spectacularly yesterday.   Curiously, CNN host and gun control extremist Piers Morgan – cited by name as one of the killer’s inspirations – has not yet apologized to the families of Dorner’s victims, even though he point-blank demanded Sarah Palin apologize to the families of the Tucson shooter’s victims, and she was not even tenuously connected to the fevered ravings of Jared Lee Loughner.  A great many liberals besides Morgan are desperately hoping that nobody remembers a single damned word they said back in early 2011.

** Just say no to algebra: Another triumph for our fantastically expensive, heavily unionized education system is being celebrated as California joins 45 other states and the District of Columbia in giving up on trying to teach algebra to eight-graders.  The kids can still study it if they want to, but they can elect to postpone algebra classes if they don’t feel like they’re ready.  Never mind that early proficiency in algebra is considered a strong predictor of college graduation rates, and allegations that some minority students are incorrectly treated as having failed Algebra I even though they passed.  Why the parents of American continue to put up with this nonsense, instead of demanding massive education reform and an end to the teachers’ union stranglehold, remains a mystery.

** A special tax on violent videogames? Connecticut state representative DebraLee Hovey, a Republican whose district includes Newtown, has called for a special “sin tax” of 10 percent on violent videogames, specifically those rated “M” for Mature.  The money from this tax would be given to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services “for the purpose of developing informational materials to educate families on the warning signs of video-game addiction and antisocial behavior,” as well as educating the public on “the danger of violent video games.”  The videogame industry is understandably less than enthusiastic about funding an education program designed to convince potential customers that their products are dangerous.  They’re also understandably tired of being scapegoated by grandstanding politicians as the source of society’s ills.  Wouldn’t such a tax logically need to be applied to all forms of mature entertainment?  Should we require the production of at least one study that actually proves some sort of connection between videogames and violent behavior before we start treating them like cigarettes?  What we really need is a sin tax on people who propose sin taxes.  It’s a heartbreaking addiction all too common for politicians in the Nanny State, but with proper treatment, they can hope to lead normal lives.