Archive for November, 2004

The Day After The Day After Tomorrow: A Sequel

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

The Day After The Day After Tomorrow: A Sequel

Just finished watching The Day After Tomorrow. Normally when a movie makes a profound effect on me I write up a quick review, but to be realistic this movie didn’t make any profound effect on me. That could be because of my mental handicap that compels me to get my science stuff from scientific things and my entertainment stuff from entertainment things; I’m not like these enlightened “nuanced” movie audiences who mix the two together.

However, I was inspired to write up a quick synopsis for a possible sequel. This probably would make only a limited amount of sense to someone who hasn’t seen the Emmerich movie.

(May Contain Minor Spoilers)

The events of the first movie, it is discovered, have killed off all the vegetation in the western hemisphere and therefore left that part of the world permanently uninhabitable. The United States of America is subordinated to a mere province of the “third world country” from which President Becker was speaking at the end of the film. The American dollar is devalued, discontinued, and replaced with scrip which Americans earn by making shoes, toiling in rice patties, and milking cows for the third-world people.

Global starvation ensues. The United Nations triples the annual dues that are requested of America, from 25% of the U.N. budget to nearly all of it, and sends the bill to the last known address of Congress. Naturally, it goes unpaid. Dennis Quaid is forced to move into a mud hut with his son Jake Gyllenhaal, ex-wife Sela Ward, Jake’s girlfriend, and Sela’s boyfriend who is played by Russell Crowe. He must beg and borrow, and pawn his pick-axe, until he can buy enough equipment to continue his research. Years roll by as he continues this terrible, demeaning process within a global society that no longer has an economy. After decades of building sophisticated instruments from natural resources like the Professor from Gilligan’s Island, he makes a startling discovery: The flash freezing from the first movie had NOTHING to do with any human activity whatsoever!

Starvation, and starvation-related diseases, sweep over the entire human race. Sela Ward runs off with her boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal dies of starvation in the arms of his father. In one of the dreariest, darkest endings of all time, Dennis Quaid finds himself in his deathbed, his ribs poking painfully through his skin, dying of black lung, gangrene and scurvy in the same room as President Becker who is in the same final stages. The two men commiserate about how terribly wrong they were to blame natural climate changes on the most productive people and corporate entities, which, on reflection, throughout history, have done so much to ease human suffering and so little to cause any of it. Both men wish they could go back and repeat history to avoid the terrible mistakes they have made. Reading the Bible that the atheist guy saved from the library, they come across the passage about coveting your neighbor and realize this is where they went wrong. They wish they had not been jealous of these corporations. They wish they had not been so quick to believe the scientists who chased federal research dollars with politically correct prejudices in their research, and so slow to believe the scientists who did not. They wish they did not base so much of their “science” on glossy Hollywood productions. Belatedly, they realize there WAS indeed a money-grubbing, greedy industry in Old America that was truly bad for humanity, which went completely unregulated. This was the movie industry. But it’s too late for any of this now.

The doe-eyed cancer patient from the first movie is sworn in as the new President. The poor fellow who was flash-frozen from the helicopter accident, is thawed out, and he becomes the Vice-President. Nobody cares very much now though, because the United States is made into a non-entity. The rest of the world rejoices about this, for a brief time, until somebody remembers there’s no food, no foreign aid, and no military strength to protect anyone from the gangs of thieving marauders who roam the wasted planet at all hours of the day and night. “Day After The Day After Tomorrow, The” is hailed by critics as deep-thinking, poignant, dark, moody, and thought-provoking. It is also the most depressing story ever told right after “Grapes of Wrath”.

Hey…Roland Emmerich can have an agenda, so can I. ;-)

We’re Not Not Not Sorry You’re Sorry?

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

We’re Not Not Not Sorry You’re Sorry?

Nov. 16 I had an update that the “We’re Not Sorry” page, in which real Americans show their pride that the best man won the presidency, is no longer working. So at that time, the current situation was that the liberal dickholes had their “Sorry Everybody” page, where they photographically apologize to the rest of the world for the fact that there are less of them than there are of real Americans, and the real Americans had a “We’re Not Sorry” page that was out of commission while the dickhole page worked just fine.

Since then there are at least two interesting developments of which I’m aware…

…the foreign dickholes joined in the game with our domestic dickholes and put together an “Apology Accepted” page.

The good guys have redirected the defunct website to a brand-spanking new “You’re Welcome Everybody” page. Check it out.

Bashing the Boy Scouts

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Bashing the Boy Scouts

All you lawyers out there, this is why your profession is not liked. Look what is going on here with the Boy Scouts, which tend not to be lawyers, and the ACLU, which are exactly those.

I’ll make it real simple, okay?

There are good reasons to like the Boy Scouts.

There are good reasons to like the ACLU…I suppose.

There are reasons…perceptions, really…to dislike the Boy Scouts. Some canard flying around about it being a hate group. I’ll debate that below.

There are good reasons to dislike the ACLU.

Which organization has to constantly defend itself?

And what is the ultimate effect of each. I know, out there in left-wing-nut land you can go on about the ACLU defending civil liberties, and the Boy Scouts fostering hatred and intolerance. But that’s left-wing spin and I don’t think anyone, even should they agree with the spin, would argue that. What happens when you consider both sides of each? The good and the bad done by the ACLU? The good and bad done by the Boy Scouts?

Come to think of it, to debate what I promised up above that I’d debate, what factual evidence do we have about any harm done by the Boy Scouts? I’ve heard the arguments, the theories, the hurtful invective about “hate groups” — which is an especially wicked moniker to attach to this venerable organization. What is the foundation? How would you argue this in court, you lawyers? I know you maybe get much more popular, and get invited to all kinds of more left-wing cocktail parties when you spread this hurtful propaganda about the Boy Scouts being a hate group — more of your left-wing Earl Warren thinking, “I said it’s a hate group now prove me wrong.”

Does it pass the “left nut” test?

Drop ‘em, and put your left testicle on an anvil. Are you willing to bet your left nut you can prove that the Boy Scouts fosters hatred?

Are you willing to bet your left nut that they do?

Of course not. It’s just a crazy, whack-job left-wing idea that gives you a hard-on when you go around thinking it.

But know this. A lot of people are willing to bet their left testicles that the ACLU does substantial harm. Some of them would be able to do this with the utmost confidence, since they have personally suffered the harm. Not just a few Boy Scouts officials, I am sure.

Some of our very most effective and benevolent historical figures in our nation’s history have been former Boy Scouts. Some of the most hurtful and disastrous ones have been lawyers.

Now the ACLU has achieved a widely reported “victory” by forcing the Department of Defense to issue a memo. The effect is much more pronounced in terms of P.R. than in terms of actual policy change, but that doesn’t stop the press from playing it up. And the lawsuits go on. To what end? Are you ACLU people just terrified of more young men learning to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent?

What’s the matter? Would this cut into the ranks of future ACLU recruits and left-wing nazi politicians?

Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the Scouts’ First Amendment right to bar Scoutmasters who are openly gay, the ACLU has looked for softer targets. The suit against the military is one of a series aimed at getting communities to deny access to public facilities. The original lawsuit also challenged the city of Chicago’s sponsorship of troops in public schools, another venue where sponsors aren’t always easy to find. The city settled.

In Connecticut the ACLU has succeeded in getting the state to remove the Scouts from the list of charitable institutions to which public employees may make voluntary contributions. And earlier this year it settled a suit against the city of San Diego, which agreed to evict the Scouts from a public park they have been using since 1918. The Scouts countersued, lost, and the case is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

The question no one seems to be asking is, who’s better off as a result of these lawsuits? Surely not the 3.2 million Boy Scouts, whose venerable organization is part of the web of voluntary associations once considered the bedrock of American life. If anything, the purpose of the ACLU attacks is to paint Scouts as religious bigots. Other losers are communities themselves, which are forced to sever ties to an organization that helps to build character in young men.

You ACLU hacks either enjoy doing the work you do, or you can’t find a better way to earn a paycheck. Either way, you make me sick.

Economic Turkey

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Economic Turkey

The nice thing about Thanksgiving is that it’s a time for us to be thankful for the love of friends & family, and on top of that, to be thankful for the more material things we have. Of course that is what Christmas is all about, but during Christmas we attach a stigma to the acquisition and possession of material largess, even while we celebrate having it. That’s why Thanksgiving kicks ass. There’s a certain sincerity about it. We don’t gather around and say “We have wonderful friends and hot food in our bellies and we feel really guilty about it” which would really be a crock of bullshit. Instead, we are thankful. We don’t feel like we’re better people than others who lack such essentials, but we don’t feel like we’re worse people either. The message is simply that we are blessed. It is one of the few holidays where we promote an attitude that is truly healthy, and from which we could learn much during the other 364 days of the year.

I’m thankful for the rare snippets of commentary like this one. It’s a little known fact that today, our perception of each of the 43 presidents our country has had, is mostly tradition. We have some really widely-disseminated common perspectives of some of these presidents, that are woefully out of step with historical reality. One of these perspectives is that the guy on the fifty-dollar bill was a bad president. Ulysses Grant was a great leader, wildly popular and for good reason, whose contributions to our country very likely saved it from ending altogether. Another far-flung perspective is that the guy on the dime, was a great president, who turned everything he touched into gold. Hey, great at some things, maybe. But some of his mistakes lengthened the depression, and were the result of misguided economic policy as well as vacillating leadership & lack of vision.

FDR�s �Thanksgiving economics� turned out to a real turkey. But it was emblematic of the misguided economic thinking put forth throughout his administration. FDR�s economics was about putting more control and resources in the hands of politicians and government bureaucrats. His policies and often his rhetoric attacked the businesses, investors and risk takers that create economic growth and jobs. That simply led to a deeper and more prolonged economic downturn. Rather than engaging in pointless efforts like changing the date of Thanksgiving, it would have been far more productive for FDR to roll back the enormous tax and regulatory burdens that he and his predecessor (Herbert Hoover) had placed on the private sector.

Ever since FDR�s time in the White House, too many people view the government as the driving force in our economy. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Government has an important responsibility to protect life, limb and property, but then it largely needs to get out of the way. It is the innovators, the inventors, the investors and the entrepreneurs who produce economic growth and create jobs, and freedom allows them to do so. That is how we produce such a great bounty in this nation, and is something to be thankful for on the fourth Thursday of this month.

The simple fact of the matter is, the “Brain Trust” wasn’t responsible for creating the wealth that would ultimately end the Depression. The businesses that the Brain Trust was choking to death, get that credit.

SUVs To Get Tobacco-Style Warnings

Friday, November 26th, 2004

SUVs To Get Tobacco-Style Warnings

Do-gooders in the United Kingdom, which is a country in Europe, which is that continent that doesn’t like America and which we’re supposed to be fabulously worried about because they don’t like the way we do things here in the U.S., are recommending that SUVs be required to carry health warning stickers.

Without having any access to irrefutable proof of the theory of man-made global climate change, since none exists, and lacking the authority to force SUV owners or manufacturers to carry these disclaimers around, the propeller-heads nonetheless blossomed forward with their proclamtions about what everybody should do and the British press gobbled it up. I’m glad they ran the story because it is wonderful entertainment.

Gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, the increasingly popular all-terrain cars, should be forced to sport labels just like cigarette packs announcing their terrible health and environmental impact, a British think tank said Thursday.

Just like smokers in the European Union buy tobacco marked with “Smoking Kills” and other dire warnings, New Economics Foundation (nef) offered its own slogans for super-stickers which they said should be slapped onto the hoods and sides of cars.

“Global warming kills,” “Climate change can seriously damage your health” or even “Driving seriously harms you and others around you” were among the list of warnings proposed by the London-based think tank.

“SUVs are dangerous, fabulously polluting and part of a wider transport problem that is, according to the World Health Organization, set to be the world’s third most common cause of death and disability by 2020,” nef policy director Andrew Simms said.

There is something in the water in Europe and we do not want to borrow any more cultural values from this continent than we absolutely have to. Think about what is going on here. Person A is a white-coat-wearing-pinhead, Person B is not. Person B does something Person A doesn’t like. Here in the good ol’ U.S.A., Person A is required, by social customs if not by statute, to like it or lump it…get used to it, baby. Sure, a lot of times it gets way out of hand, but think about the alternatives. Over there, the social expectation is that Person A gets to waggle his Person-A-finger in the face of Person B, through their powerful nationalist agencies and the dictates & proclamations these agencies come up with hand-over-fist. Person A gets to make Person B do things. Person A gets to stop Person B from doing things. Person A gets to regulate every li’l thing Person B does and generally become a painful carbunkle in Person B’s ass.

Put this warning on your SUV. No drinking after dark. No guns. No swearing. No sandwiches. Ninety percent income tax after fifty thousand dollars a year, or something. Register. Apply. Apply. Register. Notify. Must. Should. Ought. Prohibited. Are not to be. Should, ought, must, ought, should, should, must, ought, should.

Remember this the next time some high-minded Birkenstock-wearing gray-ponytail hippie over here in the Land of Freedom and Plenty gets on his high horse about “in Europe, they don’t have our hangups & they let women sunbathe topless” or some such. Hey, bub, you want to talk about hangups. Why don’t you move there and then you can talk about hangups.

Don’t forget…politically powerful forces over here in USA, want us to do things here the same way those things are done over there. Scary stuff.

Control Freaks

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

Control Freaks

Essay Completed June 27, 2004:

The older I get, the more aware I become of a salient fact: Most people are control freaks. It seems we find the decisions that concern things under our own control, decisions for which we�re responsible, boring. We like to decide things for the other guy. Our neighbor may have handicaps we don�t have; he may be accountable to other people to whom we don�t need to answer, under any circumstances. It doesn�t matter. We want things done by other people, done the way we think we would do them if we were they. Each year, I�m more convinced than I was the year before that all the world�s problems come from people like this.

In fact, watching people make decisions that affect a lot of other people, I see one common factor in the decisions that are most universally regarded, later, as bad ones. The factor is not poor judgment; it�s ignorance. Once our interest is piqued in how a thing is done, and we know someone�s doing it differently than the way we would do it, we all have this tendency to issue statements & commands when the wisest among us would be asking questions. If, that is, the wise would see fit to poke their noses into the matter at all. Lilliput wants Blefescu to open eggs on the little end. Left unasked is �exactly what catastrophe will ensue if they don�t?�

This is Kerry�s one shot at getting into the White House. Islamic terrorist thugs want us to do things the Islam way; Europe wants us to do things the European way. We have a bizarre political environment thriving right now, in which it�s perfectly okay to pontificate �Bush should have done this� and �Bush should be doing that.� And these statements at least have the makings of perfectly legitimate campaign issues. To evolve to that point, however, those statements have to mature into arguments, and before they can be reasonable arguments there are questions to be answered. What happens if he doesn�t, and why? What misfortune befell us when he did something, how do you link it to what he did, and where was the opportunity to avoid the misfortune? To say nothing of, Mr. Huffer-Puffer, how do you know all this?

In this way, the President�s most vocal detractors share some characteristics with the people our troops are fighting. This war started because Lilliputians don�t like the way we open our eggs. To them, words like �dominion,� �bailiwick� and �jurisdiction� are foreign concepts. They want things done their way. It matters not at all who�s doing them, or why, or how far-reaching the effect is.

Now admittedly, Iraq affects everybody � it is certainly not the President�s private breakfast, and the consequences of his worst decisions would be far-reaching. But the point stands, whether it�s a private affair or not, it�s still his job, and the respect for presidential authority in military matters has sunk to a depth I find rather shocking. The decisions we argue about interminably belong to the President. He heads up the Executive Branch � not the �Agent Branch�.

I�ve heard since before the invasion of Iraq, from many directions, that the President �rubbed nations the wrong way� when he didn�t �build a coalition.� That was all fine and good so long as it didn�t interfere with doing the job. But now, such military endeavor is made at the behest of several factions with disparate interests, and we�ve really hurt ourselves.

To start with, we�re losing momentum through the perception that we�ve changed the goal in invading Iraq. Weapons of Mass Destruction; Collusion with Al-Qaeda and other organizations; liberating the people of Iraq � which is it? This is a valid criticism. It�s a myth, however, that the goal has changed across time � the goal has changed across the several factions in the coalition we did build. The correct response is �of course we have several goals, what do you expect?� That�s the price of building coalitions. This seems to be one of the reasons why decades ago, wars were fought and won with clearer definitions of success. Back then, we installed a team � an executive team � and trusted them to do the job.

This is a political cost, not a tactical one. But the benefit of building a coalition was supposed to be entirely political to begin with, and although some may not be clear on how it�s so, a political misfortune can cost lives. Bush has incurred anger not through his failure to build a coalition, or to put it under the control of the UN, but from capitulating � successfully � to those who would require a coalition to begin with. The demands for a coalition belied underlying control-freakishness. I say that because, to the level of my own satisfaction, the �plan� leading from a coalition to a greater likelihood of tangible success, was never really demonstrated and I have serious doubts that it existed.

What we�re seeing here, is a lesson. Our most strident liberals, those so entrenched in the liberal mindset that they engage passionately in trying to sell it to people, hurt themselves when they use this situation to damage Bush. He has created a possibility of failure for himself this November, by behaving in a way that, according to them, is always correct. As resentment and recalcitrance rose to greet him, from out of nowhere came the idea that negative feelings could be mollified if he modified his methods. The lesson � and I really doubt Bush is learning it for the first time � is this. When people constantly criticize what you do, a lot of the time it has little to do with what you do, they just don�t like you. They�ve already made up their minds they want you gone.

This is true of most control freaks. It�s true of the people we�re fighting right now, and when John Kerry talks about what Bush should have been doing, keep in mind it�s true of Kerry as well.

Separation of Declaration-of-Independence and State

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

Separation of Declaration-of-Independence and State

A principal in Cupertino has stopped one of her fifth-grade teachers from handing out exerpts of documents from the founding of our country, including the Declaration of Independence, because these papers mention God. The teacher has filed a lawsuit asserting he has been singled out for censorship because he is a Christian.

I hope this principal starts returning phone calls soon so we can know what her side of the story is. Unfortunately, I’m fairly sure I know exactly what she’ll say. How long have we got before the Constitution is ruled unconstitutional?

A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God � including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

“It’s a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful,” said Williams’ attorney, Terry Thompson.

“Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country,” he said. “There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence.”

Vidmar could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose and claims violations of Williams rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

The Smoking Gun has the actual complaint here. On page 6 item 40, there is a list of materials Mr. Williams has been prevented from handing out, which is the following:

a. Excerpts from the “Frame of Government of Pennsylvania” by William Penn;
b. Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence;
c. Excerpts from various state constitutions;
d. A handout entitled “What Great Leaders Have Said About The Bible”;
e. “The Rights of the Colonists” by Samuel Adams;
f. Excerpts from George Washington’s journal;
g. Excerpts from John Adams’ diary;
h. Excerpts from “The Principles of Natural Law” by Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui;
i. A handout entitled “Fact Sheet: Currence & Coins — History of ‘In God We Trust.’”

It would appear from items (d) and (i) that perhaps the teacher is pursuing an agenda of promoting his personal feelings about separation of church & state or lack thereof. Liberal web sites such as Seeing The Forest, Raw Story and The Blue Lemur have siezed on this, calling banning of the Declaration “bogus” and “a lie”. As posted on Forest and echoed on Lemur –

The school did not “ban the Declaration of Independence” — that is just a lie. This story is like when you hear that a man was “arrested for praying” and you find out he was kneeling in the middle of a busy intersection at rush hour and refused to move.

I would have to agree with that, if the Declaration of Independence was not included on the list of banned materials. At this point, it seems pretty clear that whether or not the teacher abused his position and gratuitously handed out prosyletizing materials, thereby bringing down on himself this “short leash” list of contraband that pertained only to him, the fact is he was so restricted, and the restrictions included prohibition against handing out legitimate copies of founding documents.

So as usual, when the left bandies about the word “lie” they’re doing it a little bit too loosely.

Like I said, it would be good if we could hear from the other side to figure out what’s going on. Based on what we have now, we seem to have a situation where a teacher is being stopped from educating his students about the Declaration of Independence, because it mentions God, which is exactly how the situation was first promoted. To me, anyway.

Interestingly, item #60 in the original complaint, p. 8 (see link above) pretty much seems to nail this whole thing shut. Unless there’s a big piece of information somewhere I don’t have, the teacher’s case against the principal is air-tight:

60. California Education Code � 51511 states:

Nothing in this code shall be construed to prevent, or exclude from the public schools, references to religion or references to or the use of religious literature, dance, music, theatre, and visual arts or other things having a religious significance when such references or uses do not constitute instruction in religious principles or aid to any religious sects, church, creed, or sectarian purpose and when such references or uses are incidental to or illustrative of matters properly included in the course of study.

Letter From A New Yorker

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Letter From A New Yorker

My thanks to Democratic Underground for making this frustrated lady’s thoughts visible by putting them in a prominent place where we can find them, and for providing me with such entertainment. My response to this misguided soul comes in this post, following the text of her letter:

I am writing this letter to the people in the red states in the middle of the country — the people who voted for George W. Bush. I am writing this letter because I don’t think we know each other.

So I’ll make an introduction. I am a New Yorker who voted for John Kerry. I used to live in California, and if I still lived there, I would vote for Kerry. I used to live in Washington, DC, and if I still lived there, I would vote for Kerry. Kerry won in all three of those regions.

Maybe you want to know more about me. Or maybe not; maybe you think you know me already. You think I am some anti-American anarchist because I dislike George W. Bush. You think that I am immoral and anti-family, because I support women’s reproductive freedom and gay rights. You think that I am dangerous, and even evil, because I do not abide by your religious beliefs.

Maybe you are content to think that, to write me off as a “liberal” – - the dreaded ‘L’ word – - and rejoice that your candidate has triumphed over evil, immoral, anti-American, anti-family people like me. But maybe you are still curious. So here goes: this is who I am.

I am a New Yorker. I was here, in my apartment downtown, on September 11th. I watched the Towers burn from the roof of my building. I went inside so that I couldn’t see them when they fell. I had friends who were inside. I have a friend who still has nightmares about watching people jump and fall from the Towers. He will never be the same. How many people like him do you know? People that can’t sit in a restaurant without plotting an escape route, in case it blows up?

I am a worker. I work across the street from the Citigroup Center, which the government told us is a “target” of terrorism. Later, we found out they were relaying very old information, but it was already too late. They had given me bad dreams again. The subway stop near my office was crowded with bomb-sniffing dogs, policemen in heavy protective gear, soldiers. Now, every time I enter or exit my office, all of my possessions are X-rayed to make sure I don’t have any weapons. How often are you stopped by a soldier with a bomb-sniffing dog outside your office?

I am a neighbor. I have a neighbor who is a 9/11 widow. She has two children. My husband does odd jobs for her now, like building bookshelves. Things her husband should do. He uses her husband’s tools, and the two little girls tell him, “Those are our daddy’s tools.” How many 9/11 widows and orphans do you know? How often do you fill in for their dead loved ones?

I am a taxpayer. I worked my butt off to get where I did, and so did my parents. My parents saved and borrowed and sent me to college. I worked my way through graduate school. I won a full tuition scholarship to law school. All for the privilege of working 2,600 hours last year. That works out to a 50 hour week, every week, without any vacation days at all. I get to work by 9 am and rarely leave before 9 p.m. I eat dinner at my office much more often than I eat dinner at home. My husband and I paid over $70,000 in federal income tax last year. At some point in the future, we will have to pay much more – - once this country faces its deficit and the impossible burden of Social Security. In fact, the areas of the country that supported Kerry – - New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts – - they are the financial centers of the nation. They are the tax base of this country. How much did you pay, Kansas? How much did you contribute to this government you support, Alabama? How much of this war in Iraq did you pay for?

I am a liberal. The funny part is, liberals have this reputation for living in Never-Neverland, being idealists, not being sensible. But let me tell you how I see the world: I see America as one nation in a world of nations. Therefore, I think we should try to get along with other nations. I see that gay people exist. Therefore, I think they should be allowed to exist, and be treated the same as other people. I see ways in which women are not allowed to control their own bodies. Therefore, I think we should give women more control over their bodies. I see that people have awful diseases.

Therefore, I think we should enable scientists to try to cure them. I see that we have a Constitution. Therefore, I think it should be upheld. I see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Therefore, I think that Iraq was not an imminent danger to me. It seems so pragmatic to me. How do you see the world? Do you really think voting against gay marriage will keep people from being gay? Would you really prefer that people continue to die from Parkinson’s disease? Do you really not care about the Constitutional rights of political detainees? Would you really have supported the war if you knew the truth, or would you have wanted to spend more of our money on health care, job training, terrorism preparedness?

I am an American. I have an American flag flying outside my home. I love my home more than anything. I love that I grew up right outside New York City. I first went to the Statue of Liberty with my 5th grade class, and my mom and dad took me to the Empire State Building when I was 8. I love taking the subway to Yankee Stadium. I loved living in Washington DC and going on dates to the Lincoln Memorial. It is because I love this country so much that I argue with my political opponents as much I do.

I am not safe. I never feel safe. My in-laws live in a small town in Ohio, and that town has received more federal funding, per capita, for terrorism preparedness than New York City has. I take subways and buses every day. I work in a skyscraper across the street from a “target.” I have emergency supplies and a spare pair of sneakers in my desk, in case something happens while I’m at work. Do you? How many times a month do you worry that your subway is going to blow up? When you hear sirens on the street, do you run to the window to make sure everything is okay? When you hear an airplane, do you flinch? Do you dread beautiful, blue-skied September days? I don’t know a single New Yorker who doesn’t spend the month of September on tip-toes, superstitiously praying for rain so we don’t have to relive that beautiful, blue-skied day.

I am lonely. I feel that we, as a nation, have alienated all our friends and further provoked our enemies. I feel unprotected. Most of all I feel alienated from my fellow citizens, because I don’t understand what you are thinking. You voted for a man who started a war in Iraq for no reason, against the wishes of the entire world. You voted for a man whose lack of foresight and inability to plan has led to massive insurgencies in Iraq, where weapons are disappearing into the hands of terrorists. You voted for a man who let Osama Bin Laden escape into the hills of Afghanistan so that he could start that war in Iraq. You voted for a man who doesn’t want to let people love who they want to love; doesn’t want to let doctors cure their patients; doesn’t want to let women rule their destinies. I don’t understand why you voted for this man. For me, it is not enough that he is personable; it is not enough that he seems like one of the guys. Why did you vote for him? Why did you elect a man that lied to us in order to persuade us to go to war? (Ten years ago you were incensed when our president lied about his sex life; you thought it was an impeachable offense.) Why did you elect a leader who thinks that strength cannot include diplomacy or international cooperation? Why did you elect a man who did nothing except run away and hide on September 11?

Most of all, I am terrified. I mean daily, I am afraid that I will not survive this. I am afraid that I will lose my husband, that I will never have children, that I will never grow old and watch the sunset in a backyard of my own. I am afraid that my career — which should end with a triumphant and good-natured roast at a retirement party in 2035 — will be cut short by an attack on me and my colleagues, as we sit sending emails and making phone calls one ordinary afternoon. Is your life at stake? Are you terrified?

I don’t think you are. I don’t think you realize what you have done. And if anything happens to me or the people I love, I blame you. I wanted you to know that.

And here is my response:

I am writing in response to your letter to the �people in the red states in the middle of the country � the people who voted for George W. Bush.� I am one of the latter, not one of the former. I cast my vote for Bush out of California. Before I lived in California, I lived in Michigan, and if I lived there now I would vote for Bush. Before I lived in Michigan I lived in Washington State, and if I lived there now I would vote for Bush. Kerry won all three of those regions.

The angry words you have written cause me to worry about you, as well as the many people whose sympathetic feelings are inflamed by your letter. I know there are many people like you, albeit not enough to sway an election. What causes me to worry about people like you most, is the way you think. How you think. Your ability, or what is left of it, to think. How your strengths and weaknesses in that area affect your ability to conduct a happy life. Let me explain.

Six hundred and eighty-one words into your 1,576-word screed, you begin to show some promise by articulating exactly what it is you have seen and how this affects the opinions you hold. This is a healthy sign, although you go nowhere with it. Example: �I see that we have a Constitution. Therefore, I think it should be upheld.� I agree with you in that regard. What has this to do with casting a vote against Bush? What parts of this Constitution are you afraid would not be upheld? Looking up those parts and seeing what they say, what do you think they mean? How do you think they should be interpreted? Based on your introduction, I figure your education and your profession, have something to do with law. It should therefore come naturally to pose an argument substantiating that Bush is some kind of enemy to the constitution, if such an argument can be posed. But you managed to avoid doing this. Why would that be?

You say, �I see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Therefore, I think that Iraq was not an imminent danger to me.� New Yorker, perhaps it will help express my sentiments to you, and resolve some of the questions you have, if this time I tell you what people like me have been seeing. I saw that in the late winter of 2003 we argued, not about whether Iraq posed an imminent threat, but whether it was proper to take action against Iraq before it posed an imminent threat. You may have lost track of what exactly the hubbub was about; red voters, living in red states or in blue ones, did not. We know danger when we see it.

Did you know it is beyond any dispute that Iraq was armed, and it possessed munitions it was not allowed to have under international law?

Did you know it is beyond dispute that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before, and was trying to get them again?

You say, �I see that gay people exist. Therefore, I think they should be allowed to exist, and be treated the same as other people. I see ways in which women are not allowed to control their own bodies. Therefore, I think we should give women more control over their bodies.�

You should read that Constitution that you say you see. Gay people are already guaranteed equal protection under the law. And our government is not authorized to �give� people control over their bodies. What has this to do with a vote for the President of the United States? You do not say.

In fact, much of your letter deals with bad feelings you have, resentments, grudges, and blame � while going very light on any connection between these issues and who is to be our President. Eleven hundred and seventy-nine words into your lengthy dissertation, you abandon the promising thread about things you see and what you think, and lapse into the more comfortable region of what you feel. Lamenting the lack of safety that you feel, you say you �feel that we, as a nation, have alienated all our friends and further provoked our enemies.� New Yorker, what is the difference between a provoked enemy and an unprovoked one?

You personally witnessed the destruction caused by men who were willing to die for their cause, for their own feelings of anger, anger not unlike your own. They were provoked? Tell me please, you who are so finely tuned to your feelings of impending doom, that you keep running shoes on your desk: Let us say these deranged men are still present but no longer provoked. Let us say we mollify them instead. Appease them. Find out what it is they want, and give it to them. How safe does that make you feel?

You ask, �Why did you elect a leader who thinks that strength cannot include diplomacy or international cooperation?� I elected him because that is precisely what I think. Again, let�s spend a couple seconds thinking about what I have seen in my lifetime. I have seen our messiest wars, the wars that dragged on the longest, the wars that resulted in the most inconclusive, fragile and tenuous times of superficial �peace� � fought with the fingerprints of �international cooperation� all over them. Did you know the United Nations issued seventeen resolutions against Iraq, which Saddam Hussein then ignored, with little to no consequence? Did you know that the United Nations refused to enforce their own resolutions until George Bush castigated them for becoming irrelevant, and even then stood fast against doing anything about Iraq?

Did you know the United Nations member nations were bribed against enforcing these resolutions? Bribed with dirty �Oil For Food� money that was supposed to help poor Iraqis?

What do you suppose Saddam Hussein was doing that justified parting with billions of dollars in cash to bribe officials to look the other way? He probably didn�t spend billions of dollars just for fun. Does that make you feel safe yet?

You�re right; you don�t know us. I know you can form an opinion. But by failing to demonstrate any connection between the facts you have collected, and the opinions you have reached, you left yourself unable to assign any value, any weight, to those opinions. Faced with a choice where you find two opinions conflict, and you must maintain fidelity to one opinion while becoming an apostate of another, you�d be absolutely lost. Yet such a choice is something real adults must face all the time. This is the essence of making tough decisions, when you know valuable things are depending on the outcome of the decisions you make. By maintaining only a �collection� of cherished opinions, nursing ignorance regarding how much foundation each opinion enjoys, you have alienated yourself from this mindset and therefore the ability to think like an adult.

This I know, from reading what you have written.

Yet when you said �You think that I am immoral and anti-family� � and �You think I am some anti-American anarchist� � you had not yet read anything I wrote. You spun these beliefs about my thoughts out of whole cloth. Again, you formed an opinion without foundation. The opinions I have formed about you, I have formed as a result of the foundations that support those opinions.

That is why you don�t know us.

Even like-minded liberals chafe at the blistering close of your letter, in which you lay blame at the feet of voters such as myself for some future attack. May I assume then that logically, you are extending to us the credit that thus far you have not been attacked?

I hope your fears continue to pass into the ether of history, never having been realized. I hope you and everyone you love, enjoys a long, full, happy life. And to make sure that happens, since I know I haven�t a scintilla of hope of ever changing your mind, about anything, I hope every election you see disappoints you. I would so much rather see you inflicted with post-election depression, than killed.

And THAT is why I voted to re-elect George W. Bush.

Turn Your Back On Bush

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Turn Your Back On Bush

I just subscribed for e-mail updates to the “Turn your back on Bush” website, which is all about a synchronized about-face during the re-inauguration ceremony so that lots of people face away from the President as he drives past.

I just love liberals. They win by 50,000,000,001 to 49,999,999,999 and it’s “The Will Of The People”. If it goes the other way, you get this…

The election is over. The fight is not.

Bush’s election is bad for the US, and even worse for the rest of the world. But elections are only one part of democracy. We need to think strategically about direct action, learn from a rich history of nonviolent activism, and develop new tactics to take on this administration.

Let’s start from the start: Inauguration Day.

On January 20th, 2005, we’re calling for a new kind of action. The Bush administration has been successful at keeping protesters away from major events in the last few years by closing off areas around events and using questionable legal strategies to outlaw public dissent. We can use these obstacles to develop new tactics. On Inauguration day, we don’t need banners, we don’t need signs, we don’t need puppets, we just need people.

We’re calling on people to attend inauguration without protest signs, shirts or stickers. Once through security and at the procession, at a given signal, we’ll all turn our backs on Bush’s motorcade and continue through his speech and swearing in. A simple, clear and coherent message.

Join our mailing list to get updates on this action.

The stuff we’d be least likely to see, had the election gone the other way, is in bold.

I used to try to tell these people to get a clue, we hada referendum on this it’s called an “election,” there are more people like me than there are like them. I did that until, I think, the first weekend after election day or so. Now I just sit back and laugh…yes by all means, keep me posted on your “demonstrating.” We know what your opinion is, we know there are a lot of you but not enough to sway an election…so I’m curious as to what you think you’re accomplishing. But send updates my way. Please. Should be hilarious.

Anybody got any updates on “public dissent” being “outlaw[ed]“?

Michael Moore Is Uninspiring

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Michael Moore Is Uninspiring

Director Michael Moore, whose anti-Iraq war film “Fahrenheit 9/11″ sparked a firestorm of controversy before becoming a post-election footnote, topped an annual list on Monday of Hollywood’s “coldest” celebrities.

The outspoken documentarian, who seemed to be everywhere during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, urging defeat of President Bush, ranks No. 1 on this year’s “Frigid 50″ roster of lackluster stars published by online movie magazine FilmThreat.com.

The Web site, known for an anti-establishment take on the entertainment industry, said its list names the stars it found to be the “the polar opposite of the hottest celebrities: these are the least powerful, least-inspiring, least-intriguing people in Hollywood.”

Well, now this is a little more like it. I’m tellin’ ya, the end of the world is at hand. I’m running out of things to wish for that aren’t already going my way.

I know, there’s much more serious stuff…Iran’s nukes come to mind – but I’ll certainly accept seeing Michael Moore knocked off his holy pedestal just this once. Note, the link doesn’t go to the filmthreat web site, as I post this it is having some kind of problem. But let me make a quick comment on what kind of intellectual damage Moore has done to our national ability to think. Yes, I do believe to some extent it is nationalized…I’m winding up a long year of having the following conversation over, and over, and over again…

LIBERAL: So…

MORGAN: ?

LIB: Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet?

MKF: No.

LIB: I just saw it this weekend. Man, you really should go see that. You really should.

MKF: I hope you liked it.

LIB: There is a lot of information in there that you really ought to know about. It has a lot to do with the issues in this election, which I know you have some strong opinions on. I just think you ought to know all the facts.

MKF: If any “facts” come along, by all means let me know. You didn’t really buy into it that that was a “documentary” did you?

LIB: No, I’m not saying everything he says is a hundred percent correct…but it’s like…why won’t you see Michael Moore’s stuff?

MKF: Oh, I’ve seen some of his stuff. I’ve watched Bowling For Columbine from beginning to end. Have you seen that?

LIB: Ah…no.

MKF: It’s kind of interesting to get an overview of what Michael Moore’s tactics are. I’m pretty sure at this point I have a good handle on what he’s all about, how he works, and based on that I’ve made a decision that the work he puts together doesn’t bear an adequately strong relationship to the truth to interest me very much.

LIB: Well I’ve already said I know what he says isn’t 100% true…it’s just that the Fahrenheit movie makes certain points, which…well like for instance. There’s this scene where President Bush is commenting on the war while he’s playing golf…this isn’t commentary by Moore, it’s actually footage. Ya just gotta be there, man.

MKF: Columbine had “actual footage” in it too.

On and on it goes. I emphasized the passages that impress me most deeply, which, it seems, I’ve heard over and over again more than anything. What he says is not necessarily true. But he said this thing that you really ought to know about. What is up with that mindset.

Let’s try projecting that out & seeing what we come up with shall we?

My uncle lies like a rug but he says Ed McMahon handed him a check for 10 million dollars.

My grandfather is schizo but he swears he heard voices.

My brother never takes responsibility for anything but he says his debts are not his fault.

The neighbor’s kid always blames things on my kid but he says my kid broke the window.

My aunt doesn’t know what she’s talking about but she’s pretty sure she saw a UFO.

My speedometer is busted but it’s telling me my car isn’t moving.

You’ve got to wonder about the mental health of someone who will refuse to vouch for the dependability of an information source, and in the same breath right after the word but, assert that that very same source came up with some nugget of “information” and assign some kind of weight to the information. You know what this comes from? Decades and decades of partisan, unreasonable thinking. This is something I could write on all day, so I won’t go deeply into it here, but let’s summarize.

If you form opinions, and solidify them into conclusions, based on intellectual reasons you have found for doing so, that is reasonable thinking. I walked into the kitchen thinking I had earlier turned everything off. Facing away from the stove, my face felt cooler than my back. Facing toward it, I noticed my back felt cooler and my face felt warmer. I have an opinion now that I might have left the stove on and I didn’t have this opinion earlier. I look at the light on the stove and it’s on, now I have a conclusion that I have left the stove on.

Unreasonable thinking comes mostly from the grandfather of all unreasonable ideas, which was formed with the best of intentions. A man must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The stove can be on or the stove can be off. Since my prejudice is that the stove is off, I must maintain that opinion until it is proven that the stove is on. That means while I’m feeling this warmth come from the stove, I must maintain the opinion against reason that the stove remains off, since that is my stated position. I will not flip-flop on this until I look down and see the light is on. Until that very microsecond when I have proof that the stove is on, I must maintain fidelity to the premise that the stove is off.

Just as until I get a videotape showing a man firing a bullet into the chest of a murder victim, I must maintain my established opinion, against reason, that he didn’t kill him. Powder burns, several witnesses, fingerprints, motives don’t matter because they are not “proof”.

This kind of mindset was formed to protect the innocent from false imprisonment, but it doesn’t logically follow that today it is maintained through such altruistic motives. No, what the motive really is, is a childish fear of being the only guy in a crowd to have a certain opinion. If you adhere to a set of rules – “the stove must be presumed to be off until it is proven to be on” – you have assurance that a large number of other people, properly adhering to the same set of rules, will always have the same opinion at any moment in time that you do.

There really isn’t too much that can go “wrong” and leave you with an opinion that is the polar opposite of what your peers hold. You can disagree about where to assign your initial prejudices, of course – you may settle on “A” as the desirable prejudice and your brethren may settle on “Not A”. But that’s usually resolved through partisan politics: President Bush says the stove is on, you & your dorm roommates all hate President Bush, so it’s kind of a given that we’ll all assume the stove is cold as a tomb.

You may disagree on the standard of proof. But that’s about it. Once a roomful of people has refused to gather the courage to think as individuals, they’ve pretty much made a “pact” without even knowing about it, that they’ll all have the same opinion at any moment in time and that can be very comforting. This is the essence of un-reasonable thinking – thinking things without having a reason to think them, and without pondering the degree of certainty we feel justified in investing in those opinions.

If you rely on reason to form your opinions – engage in reasonable thinking, form opinions you have found reasons to support – then you are relying on your observations, and necessarily, on your ability as an individual to conduct and evaluate those observations. The payoff is realized when you begin to take on adult responsibilities and therefore must place a personal stake on the conclusions you have reached. I am responsible, therefore I stand to lose something if my home burns down, therefore, I shall form an opinion I have reason to support about whether the stove is on. I am looking for reasons to think that it is hot and reasons to think that it is cold. My initial assumption, until I have proof one way or the other, is…nothing. I shall maintain knowledge of what it is I do not know.

That is very frightening to some people. To them, if you engage in this “reasonable” thinking, presuming nothing, just noticing things & evaluating what this could mean about what you do & don’t know, you are exposing yourself. Several times in one day you leave yourself open to the likelihood that a lot of people will think one thing, and you’ll think something opposite. Then maybe you’ll have to defend it, with your own ideas.

I understand why Michael Moore makes a lot of money, and I understand why many of the people who pay good money to see his movies come away believing they have seen a “documentary”. I understand why there are millions of such people.

What I don’t understand, is why I’m having this conversation with people who are actually very intelligent, assertive, and shouldn’t be the least bit afraid of having an opinion with which large numbers of others may not agree. Why they are in my face telling me the narrator is unreliable and untruthful, but his movie has something in it, and this something has some kind of meaning. Would Fahrenheit somehow manage to clear this question up for me this if I chose to see it? I don’t know. Having not seen it, I will not comment on what is in that work, only on Moore’s general style.

But if it cannot be widely recognized that when Michael Moore says something or puts something in his movies, this doesn’t mean very much…even when it is widely recognize that he is a deceptive piece of editorial pond scum…I’m glad that, at the very least, it is widely accepted that he is un-inspiring which is why I find his inclusion in this list to be such a refreshing change.

The Clint Eastwood Problem

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

The Clint Eastwood Problem

Lately Bill Clinton is making something of an ass out of himself, and I’m afraid he won’t realize until it’s far too late that the only reason his comments appear reasonable at the time he’s making them, is because nobody is close enough to offer him criticism save for those loyal followers who will criticize nothing.

This brings to mind a situation that came about in Hollywood during the late seventies. Clint Eastwood had started to shack up with his Josey Wales co-star Sondra Locke, and soon after that began churning out some mediocre-to-terrible movies with her, including: The Gauntlet (1977), Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Any Which Way You Can (1980), Bronco Billy (1980) and Sudden Impact (1983). In all fairness, these movies weren’t half as bad as some of the rigli awful and sigli (pronounced “really awful and silly”, what could I be thinking of) movies before & since showcasing real-life love duets. But Sondra’s acting ability, screen presence and hotness, along with the on-screen chemistry she shared with her leading man…let us just say it was obvious why she was picked.

The point is that a punk kid in the seventh grade doesn’t know that much. Next to nothing, really. But at the time, it was abundantly clear to me that all of the following events were going to happen.

1. Clint and Sondra would make a lot of movies together.
2. The movies would be kind of bad.
3. The duo would not spend the rest of their lives together, they’d split after just a few years.
4. Sondra would take Clint to court and win a lot of money out of him, trying to win even more.
5. Sondra wouldn’t do an awful lot in Hollywood after the break-up.
6. Sondra would nurse a grudge that Clint Eastwood had ruined her life.

Hey, I’m no Oracle of Delphi. But it all happened. And you know what, it’s not that I’m especially smart or even that Clint Eastwood is dumb. The lesson is that when you’re too close to a situation, some fairly obvious things aren’t that obvious.

Right after Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the House, he began to say some things to show off how unintimidated he was by The Press. Had Newt picked up the phone and asked me what to do, I would have warned him this would be his undoing later. Once again – I’m not that smart. Newt’s probably a lot smarter than I am, but the fact that several mere mortals could see this coming, and he couldn’t, goes to show: Behold, with trembling fear, the power of the Curse of Clint.

There’s a reason Bill Clinton looks like a self-pitying ass right now. It’s because he is one. But go easy on him, he can go a whole lot further in self-pity mode, at the moment, than the rest of us without having anyone correct him.

You Stupid Citizens

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

You Stupid Citizens

You’re using grocery bags. Thank Goodness the San Francisco City Council has the good sense to change your behavior, or try to.

City officials are considering charging grocery stores 17 cents apiece for the bags to discourage use of plastic sacks.

Plastic is the choice of 90 percent of shoppers, but the sacks are blamed for everything from clogging recycling machines to killing marine life and suffocating infants.

Paper is recyclable, but city officials propose to include them as well to help reduce overall waste.

“One thing we’ve learned is that sending a financial signal to the marketplace tends to modify behavior much better than voluntary approaches,” Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“We all have a responsibility to promote a healthy and sustainable environment, and by doing that, it means we need to help change people’s patterns, and that even means their shopping patterns,” said [Supervisor Ross] Mirkarimi, who will take office in January.

This is why you can’t depend on the media to define for you what is “liberal” and what is “conservative”; what is “this side” of an argument and what is “that side”. Scrounging around for a dissenting viewpoint, I guess, the Associated Press found this gem from one Tim Shestek, spokesman for the American Plastics Council.

This tax is going to hurt those who can least afford it.

Great Jumpin’ Jehosephat. That’s the reason they should think about maybe not doing this, huh. Nothing about setting a bad precedent having elected officials dictate the behavior of citizens rather than the other way around. Naw…c’mon, I must be dreaming.

The obvious implication is that, gee whiz, if they could find a way to herd the citizens around like cattle, without taxing those who least afford it, nobody would object right? What planet are these people from.

Notice…they want to include paper bags too. I guess you’re taking your pet carrier to the grocery market or something. Maybe dump Grandpa’s ashes out of the urn so you have something to carry your toilet paper and canned green beans home in.

Gnome Body Parts…Or Something

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Gnome Body Parts…Or Something

BERLIN (Reuters) – Thieves have stolen scantily clad garden gnomes from a gnome peepshow in an eastern German amusement park, park manager Frank Ullrich said on Thursday.

“The gnomes display naked body parts — the same ones you’d expect to see in a human peep show,” Ullrich said of his missing stars.

The adults-only attraction at Dwarf-Park Trusetal, where visitors peep through keyholes to see the saucy German miniatures in compromising poses, was smashed open early on Thursday morning.

Ullrich said he feared the gnomes would not be traced.

“I doubt they’re standing in someone’s garden, they’ll have to have been hidden inside.”

Whitewashing Whitewater

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Because We Can

Now this is interesting. In the Clinton presidential library there is an “Impeachment Exhibit” which has been roundly criticized by the former President’s opponents and questioned even by his allies for the self-pitying overtone playing out therein. Surprisingly, nowadays much of the “Move On” argument rests on this quote from Newt Gingrich. This Washington Times piece gives as good an overview as any other I can find:

The former president, in exhibits he approved, repeatedly castigates Newt Gingrich…assert[ing] that the former House speaker led a cabal of radical right-wing “revolutionaries” bent on destroying Mr. Clinton for one reason: “Because we can.”

This is new stuff. I remember a lot of arguments from six years ago about how President Clinton’s transgressions were not such a big deal, it was time to “move on”, he lied in response to a question about private matters that were nobody’s business so it didn’t count, etc. etc. etc. Newt Gingrich’s incriminating statement, as I recall, was mentioned briefly in some glossy magazine article. Maybe it was Newsweek. Certainly, the bulk of the “Move On” school of thought was not resting on this, as it apparently does today.

Maureen Dowd brings to this situation a delicious piece of irony, and I don’t know if she’d be willing to do so if she understood the ultimate effect of the irony. Mister Clinton had started this crisis in the first place, thereby placing himself in the situation he was in, because he himself had done something – for no other reason than because he could.

In his “60 Minutes” interview, Bill Clinton calls his intern idyll “a terrible moral error,” illuminating “the darkest part of his inner life.”

“I did something for the worst possible reason,” he told Dan Rather about his march of folly with Monica.

“Just because I could. I think that’s just about the most morally indefensible reason anybody could have for doing anything.”

Just because he could. What a world of meaning is packed into that simple phrase.

His “could” reflects a selfish “Who’s gonna stop me?” power move, stemming from a droit du seigneur attitude, as opposed to “should,” signifying obligation, or “must,” indicating compulsion.

The former president engaged in a relationship of choice, not necessity. As a friend of mine explains:

“It’s a guy thing. We’re not likely to get up off the couch if we don’t have to. We might cheat with a chick who just happens to be there if we feel we could get away with it.”

In his memoirs, Clinton complains about Republican droit du seigneur, writing that impeachment was driven neither by “morality” nor “the rule of law” but, as Newt Gingrich said: “Because we can.”

I don’t think Dowd is trying to be ironic — just yet anyway. The quotes all belong to others, her narrative is minimal at this point and what she’s trying to do is build a recognition of what all is going on before she uses the last part of the column commenting on it. But I find it interesting that Speaker Gingrich is supposed to be engaging in something “immoral” for doing something just because he could, when what he’s doing is prosecuting a higher authority figure who got in trouble for doing something just because he could.

A President can do a lot more things than a House Speaker. If it’s wrong for the Speaker to do things just because he can, isn’t a greater danger posed when our President is doing things just because he can? Mr. Clinton’s argument as I understand it, which Ms. Dowd apparently supports, is that you should have a moral red flag of sorts being raised when you find out about someone in a position of power doing things just because they can. The Jurassic Park theory, okay I can buy into that. All right then…if you buy into the argument that Newt Gingrich is some kind of force of cosmic evil, and the “because we can” comment is representative of this, doesn’t the whole affair then seem like a case of just desserts? Blaming Newt suddenly becomes about as morally high-handed and well-advised as blaming…something like gravity.

There is something else however. The Clinton/Dowd moral red flag test, itself, is something I find to be problematic especially when we discuss authority figures within & the constitutional structure of the United States. People should not do things just because they can. There has to be some kind of higher calling. What’s this?

You might say the pilgrims left England and fled to this continent because they had to, but that would be a matter of opinion. It would be just as legitimate to say they did it because they could.

You might say the Founding Fathers declared our independence because in the situation they faced they had no choice. It would be just as legitimate to say they did it because they could.

In fact, because I can strikes to the very heart of motive for any profit-making venture, and America has been built on these, one at a time, as a house is built on bricks.You might say Alexander Graham Bell had to invent the telephone or he did it to help people. You might say Thomas Alva Edison invented electric lighting on an altruistic quest to promote the public good. You might say Henry Ford invented the automobile simply to help his fellow man. I’d lay even odds, though, that if you could bring these guys back from the grave they’d say they did it because they could.

In fact, without bothering to research the issue too deeply I’d speculate that a lot of what is good about America, would be washed away in a heartbeat if we were to repeat history solemnly dedicated to ensuring that nobody ever undertook any task, large or small, if they were doing it just because they could. The Dowd/Clinton red-flag test, from where I sit, looks decidedly un-American and, well, more than a little bit red. Come to think of it, in my own personal life, things I did because they were the right things to do, have simply kept a bad situation from getting worse. Things I did because someone told me to do them, simply preserved my reputation as a can-do guy on whom people can depend, when the chips are down. It’s not that I’ve done much stuff that is overwhelmingly positive or has made life significantly better for myself or somebody else – but those few things, are things I did because I could, every single one of them. All…um…six, or four, or three or whatever.

My gut feel is that anyone who examines the past events in their own life, if they do it honestly they’ll have to come to the same conclusion. Something deep to think about.

Beer can insulation

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Beer can insulation

A Russian man who collects beer cans has turned his collection to practical use.

He is using them as insulation after his wife told him: “Either the cans go or I do”, reports Pravda.

Anatoly Tupitsin, from Davidovka, said: “I suppose she was right, every room was full of cans and there was not much space for us.

“But now I have solved the problem by using them to cover the walls of the house and they have proved excellent insulation.”

Marine Rushes From Iraq After Wife Shot

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Marine Rushes From Iraq After Wife Shot

A Marine serving in a war zone in Iraq rushed back home to be with his pregnant wife Friday after she was wounded in an apparent random shooting in a supermarket parking lot

Authorities said Julia Cook, who had been living with her parents in Mannsville, N.Y., while awaiting the birth of her son, was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was visiting high school friends Sunday night when someone opened fire with a shotgun, then drove away.

Noel Gomez, 19, arrested six hours later, told detectives he decided ahead of time on a location where he wanted to kill someone, according to his arrest affidavit. He is jailed without bond, charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Mothers, Cover Your Childrens’ Eyes!

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Mothers, Cover Your Childrens’ Eyes!

Horror of horrors! Did you know Hooters was not the only one? “Hooters earns more than $750 million a year from nearly 400 restaurants and that success has inspired a host of copycats.” Who knows how many sports bar establishments there are out there, parading around their nice-looking young females in clothes that don’t cover them from head to toe? It’s a plague! Texas has a whorehouse in it, Lord have mercy on my soul! We got trouble right here in river city! Your precious little babums who will be plenty old enough to lift a glass of beer, rent a moving van, get sued and get his ass blown off in Iraq two years from now, might see a pretty girl.

Don’t just sit there, do something!

Goodbye Ted Rall

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Goodbye Ted Rall

Get ready for a whole bunch of weeping about the First Amendment by liberals who can’t even begin to understand it. The Washington Post has fired Ted Rall.

Different Rules

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Different Rules

Two weeks ago we had an election in which The American People re-elected their Democratic President and overwhelmingly rejected the Republicans, and the whole bible-thumping, conservative, hate-mongering agenda, which has no respect for people as individuals and your right to personally manage your life as you see fit. Republicans have responded like the little boy who is told he can’t bring his pet frog on the family vacation, and responds by torching the car – sailing into the Thanksgiving vacation venting their spleen with righteous anger, calling the electorate “stupid” and coming up with unflattering stereotypes about the people who turned out to vote against them. To top it all off, now that our Democratic President has shown his bravery and integrity by nominating a black woman to be Secretary of State, the Republicans have come out with vicious, racist attacks, reminiscent of Reconstruction era, against both the President and the nominee.

Oops, sorry. I got my parties backwards again. You can tell this because if it was the Republicans who were acting like racist pukes, you wouldn’t need a web log to read about it. The story would be everywhere.

Radio host calls Rice “Aunt Jemima”

Abridged text follows…

MILWAUKEE — A radio talk show host drew criticism Thursday after calling Condoleezza Rice an “Aunt Jemima” and saying she isn’t competent to be secretary of state.

John Sylvester, the program director and morning personality on WTDY-AM in Madison, said in a phone interview Thursday that he used the term on Wednesday’s show to describe Rice and other blacks as having only a subservient role in the Bush administration.

Sylvester, who is white, also referred to Powell as an “Uncle Tom” – a contemptuous term for a black whose behavior toward whites is regarded as fawning or servile.

He said Thursday night that he was referring to remarks by singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte that the price of admittance for blacks to the Bush White House was subservience.

The station’s corporate office received about 100 calls about his comments, Sylvester said.

He added that he has a long history of commitment to civil rights and has supported Madison’s black community.

He said he was planning a giveaway on Friday’s show of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup. “I will apologize to Aunt Jemima,” he said.

This stuff is unbelievable. It just goes to show when you think your cause is righteous, never again do you have to be “right”. I mean, you know, correct. I don’t understand why any minority, or anyone who seeks to advance the causes of minorities, ever puts up with it.

Sacramento News & Review on Hooters

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Sacramento News & Review on Hooters

Same comments as the one I made, more or less, put in a different way. This commentary was printed back in June in our local free liberal nutbag rag, Sacramento News & Review.

See? Tighty-righties and lefty-loosies can find common ground after all.

For the record, the readership of SN&R had a lot to say on the subject as well. Most of their letters can be found in the issue that appeared the following week.

The common theme about “it’s right next to a school” is something I find terribly disturbing. A great multitude of parents out there, it would appear, are much more concerned about bringing up their children in a sheltered environment, than they are about educating their children about the world around them & making sure the kids have what it takes to be an adult when adulthood comes around to knock the kids on their asses. It brings to mind a conversation I heard yesterday morning in my commute, regarding the trouble ABC has gotten into for airing “Saving Private Ryan” uncut.

Saving Private Ryan, uncut, is pretty rough stuff so I can understand the concern. But play this conversation (paraphrased) in your mind. Mother calls up and says ABC is squarely in the wrong; she tries to keep an eye on what her kid watches on TV, is extremely vigilant about this. Nevertheless, Private Ryan flew under her radar. Now the boy has nightmares.

Yeah, that’s right, it could be a significant problem. How old are we talking about here?

Fifteen.

Okay, say the hosts…well, your point is well taken but, uh, fifteen is a little bit seasoned to be waking up with nightmares isn’t it? Has your son had what we would call a sheltered life?

Mother giggles. Yeah. Tee hee.

The subject changed and the hosts of the program did NOT pursue this like a pit bull on a pant leg, as I would have. As long as we’re all getting terribly concerned about things that are rightfully decided in private, like, shall I have a cold brew and eat a bucket of wings & look at some orange shorts – let’s get terribly concerned about THIS. Your kid watching a movie is cause for concern. Your kid not being able to handle minor jolts like this, at FIFTEEN, is a “tee hee.”

Excuse me. Fifteen is between 25 and 36 months away from eighteen. That’s signing up for enlistment if he should so choose…enrolling in Selective Service whether he chooses to or not…taking out loans, writing checks, moving away, getting lost, getting sued, and so on.

I think my childhood was pretty damn sheltered. But by twelve I was delivering newspapers and mowing lawns for money, going on LONG hikes way up in the mountains. WAY up. As in, yes, kids sometimes get lost and die. My scoutmaster was the outdoor type; fortunately, he knew what he was doing and the worst never befell us in all those years. My point is, we really didn’t have room for kids who inwardly lacked the natural mechanisms to cope with unseen adversity. It would have been potentially fatal. Candidates showed up for hikes of this duration, and WERE turned away if they were thought not tough enough.

What the very young men are doing in Fallujah, fills me with hope about the generations coming up. But mothers like this, and the writers of these letters to SN&R, fill me with dread.

In parenthood, when exactly did “filtering” become so much more important than “seasoning”?

The Making of the Christian-Jihadist Myth

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

The Making of the Christian-Jihadist Myth

Not that I’ve stopped to measure, but I’d be willing to bet important appendages I’ve heard the words “Christian” and “Evangelical” several times more in the last two weeks than I did in the ten months before that. I know exactly why that is, but it’s always helpful to understand a little bit more about how this squares with the truth.

Gonna Need Some Help On This One

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Gonna Need Some Help On This One

The headline is “Right-wing moralists launch censor war”. The most striking passage from the article is “There�s a climate of intimidation, especially in response to the election. It�s a new kind of cold war, and it comes from the top, from George Bush and Karl Rove.”

While I have practically unlimited respect for pinhead liberal college professors at U of W, simply put, I defy anyone to find any evidence to support what is being claimed by the pinhead quoted here, or for that matter the thesis of the overall article. The FCC, I’m led to believe, is awash in complaints about this that & the other, because George W. Bush has been re-elected. Hey, pinhead article-writer guy. George Bush has been the President for four years now…Janet Jackson just had a scandal involving her boobie. You don’t think the boobie scandal could have kicked something off here do you? Something partisan-neutral perhaps? No, that wouldn’t fit your prejudices very well.

I wonder if you’ve got something to support this train of thought…maybe some memorandums from 1973 written in Times New Roman font perhaps?

How To Protest

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

How To Protest

Yeah I have a real life, with a job & everything, but I still think I’m fairly well connected to what’s going on in the world. Nevertheless, if someone has figured out what this bozo was protesting about, it’s news to me. I have no clue what his beef was. None.

So if you’re going to protest, I wouldn’t suggest going for the “setting yourself on fire in front of the White House” route. It doesn’t seem to pan out too well.

To Do

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

To Do

We’re Not Not Sorry?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

We’re Not Not Sorry?

The “We’re Not Sorry” web page I mentioned on November 13, see below, is no longer working. It’s a liberal conspiracy, I tells ye.

Just kidding.

The Book That Was Never Written

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

The Book That Was Never Written

It pleases me greatly that this carries a creation date of April 3 and a posting date soon after that. The subject is that Kerry’s candidacy was doomed, from at least the timeframe I wrote this up if not long before, owing to his failure to sell us anything. That’s essentially the same thing Mr. Miniter (see below) is writing about today.

Give it a once-over. In April it looked, to some, kind of silly. Nowadays, dare I say so myself, it looks…kind of…spooky. No applause, just money.

————

George W. Bush�s poll numbers are doing well. You can tell this because very few news outlets are talking about polls anymore. From here on, his approval ratings may go up or down. But I�m done questioning what will happen this year. His re-election has been won; I�ve known this for some time.

It�s not because of the War on Terror, which sometimes goes well and sometimes doesn�t. It�s not because of the economy, which sometimes looks good and sometimes doesn�t. It�s because of what John Kerry has not done yet. What he can�t do.

It�s a book he hasn�t written.

Each man, successfully toppling a sitting U.S. President in this century, has written this book. Indeed, you could make the argument you can�t become President under any circumstances without writing this book. The book need not be published; it need not be put down on paper, let alone bound, copied or distributed. But it must exist. This is vital.

The Table of Contents looks like this:

1. We have a problem.
2. You will elect me.
3. I�m going to do this thing.
4. The thing I�m going to do will have this effect�
5. Problem solved.

Some Democrats, who make a great deal more money than I ever will by handing out advice I�m not smart enough to conceive, fail to grasp this. George W. Bush is popular because he�s written this book. Democrats have countered this move, overly confident that their defenses are adequate, by simply disagreeing. No, tax cuts do not stimulate the economy. No, taking Hussein down has not made the world a safer place. No, Al Qaeda has not weakened since September 11, 2001. No, no, no.

To the suggestion that they are overly cozy with the academic world and with the printed news media, liberals respond the same way: No. They are oblivious to the morsel of solid logic stating that if they weren�t so drunk on the elixir of media partnership, they would not be so drunk on the elixir of No. The �N� word offers no potential whatsoever as a logical argument or counter-argument, but it offers all the potential in the world as ammunition for propaganda machines, surrounding an enemy, firing rapidly from multiple directions at once. That is the only effective purpose of an argument consisting entirely of the word No; to disseminate it with the �Big Lie� technique. There is no other purpose for it, no other use.

Jimmy Carter, now recognized universally as a spectacular failure as our 39th President, by getting elected in the first place succeeded in one area where even Bill Clinton failed. He wrote the book, cover to cover. He had strong statements for all five chapters of the book. Clinton is widely recognized as a political Rudolph, lighting the way for the Democrats to figure out how to get into the White House at a time when they didn�t even know how to do it. History may record him as more of a lemming than a reindeer.

Clinton�s plot holes in Chapter 4 left the story a little thin. �I�m going to raise taxes on the wealthy and make new programs�the economy, now the worst in fifty years, will do better.� Conservatives and moderates protested incredulously, their sentiments echoing Churchill�s remark about the man standing in the bucket. How, Gov. Clinton, can that man lift himself by the handle? Democrats, to the best I can remember today, did nothing to intellectually counter this, although Churchill�s metaphor has stood the test of time and makes good logical sense. Clinton won, so they must have known best, right?

Chapter 4 is disposable? Candidates can connect their proposed actions to any outcome they want, willy-nilly? Clinton did it so everyone can do it?

That�s what the Kerry campaign appears to think, but if I worked there, I�d be scared. Clinton had personal charisma. I�ve never met the man; but I�ve never heard of anyone who did meet him, failing to comment in superlative ways about his personality. He is larger than life. He lights up the room. He makes you feel like he cares about you. When he talks to you, you feel like you�re the most important person in the world.

Has anyone ever said this about John Kerry? Anything even remotely like that?

Ah, but Kerry has the War on Terror to crusade against. Some people are very angry about the War on Terror. Doesn�t that give Kerry a chance?

It could�but here�s why he�s going down. It�s not even going to be close. I don�t care if the Dow tumbles by 1,000 points, or if gas soars to nine dollars a gallon. Kerry will lose, and here is why.

Clinton left some holes in Chapter 4. With regard to the War on Terror Kerry hasn�t even written anything after Chapter Two!

That�s right. The Kerry campaign�s message is �we are engaged in a war that is illegal and unethical, vote for Kerry.� That�s it. President Kerry will do�what, exactly? Withdraw? I don�t know that for sure. Seek a bigger role for the United Nations? Is that really doing something? What will that do? Is the strategy really to compete in a �popularity contest� so that those who are willing to die to take out Americans will start liking us? Or at least not hate us so much? Is that the plan? I don�t know.

Does anybody know?

The Bush campaign has raised the specter of a Massachusetts Senator who is as reliable in his convictions as a bouncing football. That has been a shrewd and effective strategy for the White House, but the capricious, fickle positioning day-to-day of Senator Kerry is simply a side issue. On what to do with our domestic and foreign-relations challenges, Kerry really hasn�t issued a position about which he could change his mind. He�s running on �This really sucks; vote for me.�

Nobody in modern times has become our President on such a platform. This election�s over.

Don’t Look Back

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Don’t Look Back

Brendan Miniter writes, today, in OpinionJournal on the reason why Democrats got PWN3D in this election:

What Americans will not tolerate is pessimism, defeatism and stagnation. It’s not for nothing that Jimmy Carter’s presidency ended amid an era of “stagflation.” When Mr. Carter put a sweater on in the Oval Office and told Americans to get ready to start accepting less, he might as well have resigned. Ronald Reagan won the presidency in a landslide in 1980, promising a brighter, better and stronger America. Four years later he won in a walk talking about “morning in America.”

He sounds a lot like me about eight months ago. Republican or Democrat, you cannot win the Presidency unless you sell something. Many a time over the last eight months it looked like the pattern was going to be broken. I was never worried. I bet my hair on Bush. A lot of Bush supporters started cheering for the other guy just to see what I’d look like bald, but they came away disappointed and I knew they would, because Kerry hadn’t sold anything.

A man with a plan…versus…a man with a sweater. It’s no contest. That’s American politics for you. Open your case of goods and show us what you got, Mister Salesman, or get off our porch.

Know Your Nobel Peace Prize Winning Terrorist Thugs

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Know Your Nobel Peace Prize Winning Terrorist Thugs

Muhammad Abdel Rahman Abdel Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini was born in Egypt in 1929, the fifth child of a well-to-do merchant. He was educated in Cairo. After his mother’s death when he was four, he lived at least part of the time with an uncle in Jerusalem. Yasser Arafat, this is your life.

Secretary of State to Resign

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Secretary of State to Resign

Top State Department officials say Secretary of State Colin Powell has announced his resignation from President George W. Bush’s cabinet. Officials say Powell has told his aides that he intends to leave once Bush settles on his successor.

The White House is preparing an announcement on Powell. Powell reportedly handed in his resignation Friday. But the president has not yet accepted his resignation.

More…

I’m so sorry…

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

I’m so sorry…

You’ve heard of the Sorry Everybody web page?

Help is on the way. There is a We’re Not Sorry counterpart to it. Hat tip to Neal Boortz.