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What Odysseus’s misery on Ogygia teaches us about happiness

Seems it’s Happy Friday at diva Ann Althouse’s blog.  She led off this morning at 8:20 AM related Robert Louis Stevenson’s thoughts about the underrated duty of being happy, then 19 minutes later quoted La Rochefoucauld’s quip about happy people rarely correcting their faults (guess that means Bill Maher is one happy fella. Dan, he said, “rarely,” not “never.” –Ed.).

Just six minutes after that, she asked, if there were a “happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful” and answered with a link of her own.  Later, she referenced a happiness bank before quoting my friend David Boaz to answer the question whether Rick Santorum hates freedom and happiness.  Her next piece led with the quotation, “I think he showed me a cover of a magazine that said ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun.’”  She then proceeded to contrast, “Romney’s Religion of Happiness” to “Gingrich’s Religion of Grievance.

And soon would lament “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.”  As compensation perhaps, she cited a Gallup poll finding “that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older…”  “Happiness,” she offered in a subsequent post, “is more like knowledge than like belief.”  And listed, “5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won’t).

She would soon furnish a clever quip, “I have told myself a hundred times that I would be happy if I were as stupid as my neighbor, and yet I would want no part of that kind of happiness.”  Finally, she found “the secret of happiness and virtue — liking what you’ve got to do.”

It was most serendipitous that I would linger on Ann’s blog today.  Perhaps the happiness drew me in.   You see, I’ve been re-reading the Odyssey and today revisited Odysseus’s misery on the island of Ogygia, by conventional wisdom a straight man’s paradise, beautiful beaches, distant from the outside world, his wife far away, an eternally youthful and nubile nymph eager to bed him.  And yet when first we see the hero, he suffers terribly amidst all these sensual pleasures, “his sweet life flowing away/with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home”. (more…)

Maybe these numbers (help) explain
the Obama Democrats declaration of a Republican War on Women

Recall that contraception kerfuffle came to the fore the Friday before the president released his FY 2013 budget. Even then, the White House numbers forecast deficits in 2018 higher than the “astounding” figure Bob Schieffer cited in 2008, leading the then-Democratic nominee to reiterate his pledge of a “net spending cut” and vowing, not “to go back to our profligate ways.”

Well, it seems that Miss Rosy Scenario crafted those bleak figures in the White House budget:

President Obama’s 2013 budget would add $3.5 trillion to annual deficits through 2022, according to a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

It also would raise the deficit next year by $365 billion, according to the nonpartisan office.

The CBO estimate is in sharp contrast to White House claims last month that the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $3.2 trillion over the next decade.

No, wonder his team is trying to drag out the Democratic narrative of an Republican War on Women.  Only “32% of women say they will definitely vote for Obama in 2012“.  And since 36% of women plan to definitely vote against them, they need to try to sway the remaining 32%.  And demonizing Republicans is a lot easier than defending an irresponsible federal budget.

Obama speechwriters don’t know much about history

When George W. Bush got a fact wrong, our friends in the legacy media highlighted it as a sign of his stupidity.  If Barack Obama makes a mistake, well, if they get around to covering it, they’ll just see it as a sign of human imperfection.

Last night, before bed, I read that, in his speech yesterday offering up anecdotes from American history for “examples of ignorant incredulousness“, the Democrat, well, got his facts wrong about one of his Republican predecessors, claiming that “Rutherford B. Hayes couldn’t understand why anyone would want a telephone”. But, Nan Card Nan Card, curator of manuscripts at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Ohio, corrected Mr. Hayes’s successor:

“He really was the opposite,” she said. “He had the first telephone in the White House. He also had the first typewriter in the White House. Thomas Edison came to the White House as well and displayed the phonograph. Photographing people who came to the White House and visited at dinners and receptions was also very important to him.”

While often cited, Card said Obama’s cited quote had never been confirmed by contemporary sources and is likely apocryphal. A contemporary newspaper account of his first experience with telephone in 1877 from the Providence Journal records a smiling Hayes repeatedly responding to the voice on the other line with the phrase, “That is wonderful.” You can read the full story here.

By the time I woke up this morning, conservative bloggers were all over the story. Steven Hayward offered an image of the former president and linked the page where I found the above images.

Glenn linked a Washington Post fact-checker scolding the president, “It’s bad enough for one president to knock another one for not being on Mt. Rushmore, but it’s particularly egregious to do so based on incorrect information.

Mr. President, in the age of all this new technology, when it’s easy for your critics to check your facts and publicize your errors, don’t you think your speechwriters could do a little fact-checking?

On the failure of the legacy media to investigate Palin’s gubernatorial record as it failed to look into Obama’s campaign self-promotion

If, back in 2008, our legacy media had taken the time to look into Sarah Palin’s actual record in Alaska politics, three names of corrupt politicians would forever be associated with her, Frank Murkowski, Greg Renkes and Randy Ruedrich.  And the reason we would associate their names with hers was not because she turned a blind eye to their double-dealing, but because she exposed it.

She stood up against corruption in her own party.  Each of those men is a Republican.  As she put it in her post yesterday on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government:

Barack Obama and I both served in political office in states with a serious corruption problem. Though there is a big difference between serving as the CEO of a city, then a state, and regulating domestic energy resources, and being a liberal Community Organizer, bear with me on the comparison. The difference between my record and Barack Obama’s is that I fought the corrupt political machine my entire career (and I have twenty years of scars to prove it) on the local, state, and national level. But Obama didn’t fight the corruption he encountered. He went along with it to advance his career.

Read the whole thing.

And yet our friends in the legacy media bought into the claim that that career Chicago poll was some new kind of politician.  They neither asked nor looked for any evidence to buttress his claims.

Sarah Palin, by contrast, had a real record of reform.  It’s just that some journalists thought her tanning bed of greater interest.

But, we’ve been through this before.  That said, it serves as an important reminder about necessary battlefield preparation for the coming presidential contest.

NB:  Tweaked the title to make it less clunky

WofWW (Watcher of Weasels Winners)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - March 16, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging

Maybe it’s time I started voting for myself.

The Council Winner was The Mellow Jihadi’s Me and a Pakistani Captain Chat while, in the Non-Council category Victor Davis Hanson took him the laurel for We Give Up.  The rest of the results are below the jump: (more…)