Archive for June, 2006

This Is Good XI

Friday, June 30th, 2006

We don’t discuss just politics here. Over in the sidebar you will see “Building A Timberframe Home,” as in, “From Scratch.” This guy over in Kentucky, he’s blogging about building his house. He’s been doing it since 2003.

The frame is done now. Throughout the process, he’s been documenting all the technical details, well, a lot of them anyway. What tools he used, where he got the wood, how he built the computer model, how he selected the timberwood company, etc.

I think this may very well be the most under-rated site on all the “innernets,” I really do. If you’re surfing out of boredom…and if you’re here at The Blog Nobody Reads, you probably are…head on over. You don’t need to find more pictures of Erica Chevillar, nobody knows if Sherry Argov is married or if there are pictures of Sheri Doub’s red bikini. Yes, I know what your Google searches are. (Mine aren’t much different.) Head on over, and look at something wholesome and edumacationable. The swimsuit sirens will be waiting for you when you’re done.

That Weird Show

Friday, June 30th, 2006

That Weird Show

I continue to be told by friends and acquaintances that I need to get into the habit of watching The West Wing (1999), that I would really enjoy it, it’s so well written that it’s natural to form an addiction to it regardless of one’s party affiliation.

Huh.

Lookee what I found, clips and everything.

I’ll have to agree, it’s “well-written” in the sense that whoever wrote it, clearly enjoyed writing it. It’s “well-acted,” too, in the sense that the actors really enjoyed doing the acting. But how do you get addicted to this?

What a colossal amount of mental masturbation on the part of the people producing this strange show. It’s like, if I made a habit out of watching it, the producers should be digging into their pockets for some money they can pay to me.

I’m sure some will think the above is a critique against the show for failing to uphold my personal beliefs. Well, guess what. I just got done watching a clip of some Dr. Laura Schlessinger doppleganger being picked apart…by the designated picker-aparter, President Jehosephat whatzisname. And, ideologically, I was on the President’s side, never having had much sympathy for bible fundamentalists, or for Schlessinger for leading people astray with her degree in Physiology. The clip soundly addresses these two of her vices. But guess what? I didn’t find it satisfying, in any way, shape or form.

The problem seems to come up, when I actually think.

Does anyone think the real Dr. Laura would sit there like a quaking wallflower, wilting beneath the stern and oh-so-witty — and non-stop — lectures of President Jezebel whozeewhatzit? Does anyone seriously envision such a thing even for a moment? Yeah, sure…a lot of people would like to see it. But if you don’t really think it would go down that way, I fail to see what’s fun about it.

This show seeks to elect Democrats, something that apparently was easy to do before 1999, when it came out. Since that year, it doesn’t seem to be possible. Hmmm. You know, maybe it doesn’t matter whether I can bring myself to appreciate it or not. I’m like the hog farmer feeding the swill to the pigs. I don’t care what the pigs see in it, just keep the crap comin’.

Update 7/2/06: The West Wing may very well have the funniest thread on all of Jump The Shark, at least, a close second to Dukes of Hazzard. A few examples (to the implied question of “When, if ever, did this show ‘jump the shark’”)…

  • So far, so good. I rarely watch one-hour shows but this one has got great pace and a good balance of drama and humour to tie it together. I plan on riding this show out until it hits the ramp.
  • What a leftist, liberal, unfunny piece of shit this is!All anybody does is talk at a jackrabbit pace w/o saying anything noteworthy, while racing down halls or around a room. SHUT THE F**K UP and say SOMETHING!!!Also, even tho I’m a fan of Martin Sheen the actor, I dont want a real life left wing libby running my country-its bad enought we have two faced f**kin Clinton there, and god forbid we have red Gore taking over! Plus this show sucks a big one, as Kirstie Alley used to say about what she did to her husband! Of course, this is by the same assholes who gave us Sports Night, which sucks MAJOR wad! All this needs is Fat Rosie O’Donuts appearing, and since she agrees to all this damn propaganda shit on here, its only a matter of time til Masive JTS moment!
  • It’s a well written and well thought out show that brings out the ire in folks like the gentle person above. It’s real enough that the haters of righteousness are as offended by it as they are by real politicians who don’t share their prejudices.
  • To the previous poster, this is the same guy who posted the one before yours. I’m standing by my assessment of this show as “The LEFT Wing”, cause I still say this is a bunch of left wing, pinko liberal crap that Hollywood likes to shove down every Americans ass each and every week! Of course, your butt buddy Clinton loves this and its producers, so all must be fine with network TV! As Rob Lowe’s movie character,the young no#2 in Austin Powers, he should “Liquidate” this piece of SHIT ASAP! I’ve said my piece!-for now!
  • This show will likely NEVER jump the shark. Some episodes have been less than stellar, but in general, the writing, storylines and the ACTING cannot be beat. Rob Lowe has acquitted himself of everything bad anyone’s ever said about him; I’ve always been mad for Martin Sheen (ever since “The Execution of Private Slovik”); Allison Janney is wonderful; I could go on… The only character I’m not crazy about is Josh. He’s smart, but he sometimes comes off as smarmy and obnoxious and he treats his secretary like crap… This week’s episode that featured Stockard Channing was WONDERFUL. The last scene with her and Martin Sheen battling in the Oval Office was brilliant.
  • May I correct myself as to what my previous post said. I was NOT insulting Rob Lowe the movie actor-he’s done many fine roles, but I was merely praising his finest role, as the young Number 2 in Austin Powers 2-the Spy Who Shagged ME! Him, as that role, should have begged Dr.Evil to liquidate this piece of Shit for… one Million Dollars! And then I would have said “Yeah, Baby!!!”
  • To the insult slinging repeat poster above: Your confusion about your sexual preferences (and your transference to others about same) aside, this show is a wonderfully written drama that repeatedly takes unexpected and interesting twists in the name of both reality and good storytelling. Check your politics at the door and you might recognize this show for the class act that it is.
  • To the previous poster, I cant help not checking my politics at the door when I watch this show because..its a political show, DUMBASS! And its still a liberal, leftist piece of shit! Anytime the networks want to put on a funny, conservative point of view, Hollywood shuts it down faster than you can say Jack Robinson. But when an unfunny piece of shit lik this comes on, the liberals in H’wood praise the shit out of this boring assed shitfest! But enjoy it anyways, cause not many others are, as the ratings point out!
  • Previous poster: It’s responses and writings like yours that make what was once a fun web site about television into one of far too many places on the web where typed anonymous insults become far easier to come by than a rational defense of an idea. You don’t like the show? Don’t watch it. You want to insult me? Come over to my house and say what you have to without the cloak of anonymity. Anything else isn’t worth the time of day.
  • I like The West Wing. Even though I don’t agree with the politics I enjoy the stories. The guy who plays Josh does an outstanding job. I hate that bastard! Or should I say I love hating him. The only character I really dislike and would replace is Josh’s secretary. I don’t like the writing for her and I don’t like the actress. She talks too fast and just doesn’t add anything to the show. Can’t believe I actually like Rob Lowe’s acting now… whodathunkit!?
  • To the poster two before this-Yes, I’m the poster three before this! You dont like my rantings, DONT f**kin read them! You still got a problem, I will GLADLY come over to your house-just leave your email and address to the home site of this webpage, and if you live near me, I will DEf stop over for a little “Chat” I live in NJ, and if you’re far from me, you can send me a plane ticket, cause I’d LOVE to do some “Convincing” about this fuckin totally shitty show! Otherwise, respect my opinion of this crappy program. I have a right to voice my opinion, and if it differs from yours, then thats all the better-I’m sure you dont like quality, funny comedies that I like, and thats what makes the world a better place! So, unless you’ve learned to accept a varied view then yours, I guess we’ll be doing some dancing soon! Cant wait to meet you!
  • To the New Jersey Nothing; I respect you’re opinion only slightly more than I respect the person belching it, which is astounding when you try to quantify not at all. You’re just another inadequate person who prefers hating life to living it, so good luck on your meager existance.
  • To the poster who is insulting NJ-bug off! Just because someone has a different view of yours about this show, doesnt mean you have to insult him AND NJ! I dont like this show at all, and I do think its a tad leftist for me and my tastes, but I wouldnt threaten saomeone or insult his state! Why dont you “Bug off!”
  • And it just goes on and on like that. It seems these two guys, it should be obvious who I’m talking about, are authoring between them maybe 90% of the posts on the thread, in places. Oh, and in fair disclosure, neither one of them is me.

    I do find it additionally amusing the idea that anyone would try to turn anyone else on to this show by saying “check your politics at the door.” What the hell could that mean? How do you check your politics at the door, when the people making the show are willing to do anything but?

    A Hilarious Truth

    Friday, June 30th, 2006

    A Hilarious Truth

    People ask me why I don’t believe in MMGW (man-made global warming) when so many scientists say it’s a done deal, I’m not a scientist, and I haven’t seen Al Gore’s movie. Certainly, by my own rules my opinion of the movie is worth a lot less than someone else who has seen the movie, so maybe I should shut up. On the other hand, the doomsayers say they are really concerned about people like me. They say people like me, are holding up the whole show. So maybe my opinion isn’t unimportant after all. Why don’t I just drop the skepticism and become a true believer?

    Well, I’m relatively old by now, at least compared to a lot of “Inconvenient Truth” viewers and fans. This stuff isn’t new to me. Back when I was a kid, this is what liberalism was: political agendas advanced through impending doom. Agent Orange, Mutually Assured Destruction, Second Ice Age, plastic in the landfills, flaming rivers, and, yes, the ozone. I’m sure your perspective changes when you’ve dropped the nine bones per scalp to see the movie, and maybe your perspective changes when you’ve sat through the movie. But kiddies, perspective changes when, within your lifespan, the “Vote Democrat Or We’re All Gonna Die” thing goes into its second and third lap. If you were born after 1972, you may not fully appreciate that, and if you were born after 1979 you almost certainly won’t. That’s one reason. But an even bigger reason, is crap like this: The former Vice-President’s appearance on the Daily Show, with host John Stewart. Go on, watch it. It’s eleven minutes long. Watch.

    Consider: Our continuing survival, together with the planet’s ability to sustain any life form, is being threatened. We are failing in our “moral obligation to our children.” In ten years we will cross the point of no return, and nobody can get our President to educate himself about what’s happening, darn it. Al Gore comes along to show us what is happening, and he has no other agenda, political or otherwise. In fact, he honestly fails to understand why anyone would think such a thing. Just consider all that.

    Is it appropriate to crack these kinds of jokes when you’re discussing the issue?

    Would you be acting this way?

    I’ve addressed this peculiar behavior before. I’m supposed to believe someone really, truly, honestly, believes we’re five steps from Ragnarok, and it’s our fault, and time is running out on any effort to prevent certain doom. And this guy is jolly and giggly about it. Guffaws at every joke. Just his incredible optimistic vision, I guess. Sorry, I can’t sign on to that.

    At about the three-and-a-half minute mark, Gore and Stewart have a good ol’ gut-laugh about the idea of Gore making royalties off things melting. Oh, how droll. Gore is finding this all so very amusing, finishing off by saying “well, there is a lot of melting going on…” then screeching to a halt in mid-chortle, looking very dour. “Unfortunately.”

    That just encapsulates the problem I have with movement. It’s so political. I suppose all grassroots movements must be, but this is a little too much. We’re all gonna die, so let’s get some yuks out of it? This is simply not how people behave when universal armageddon is at hand, and they’re having trouble raising conciousness about it.

    Reviewing back in the nineties, things get even more bollywonkers. Al Gore says he’s been making this movie, in some form or another, for 20 or 30 years. He’s been giving the presentation since before he became Vice-President. Okee dokee, so Bill Clinton is President, we’re “trashing the planet” as they say, the Veep knows what huge trouble we’re in but very few other people do. Vice President is a pretty high position; how does it come to pass, that the Clinton adminstration doesn’t become the Climate Crisis Presidency? Why were we so spun up on hate crimes, hiking the minimum wage, and Hillary healthcare?

    On a planet that is doomed to become a barren rock, who gives a rat’s ass about extra prison time for Nazi skinheads, and free medicine for old people?

    Someone has instructed Al Gore that he should fight his reputation as a boring guy, by giggling whenever he talks about right-wing idealogues, right-wing talk radio, right-wing Republicans, and anything else right-wing. He really needs to reconsider this. If I’m talking about the world coming to an end, I can see a chuckle slipping past my lips maybe one time — if someone cracks a joke that is completely unexpected, and outrageously funny. One time. Any more than that, is pushing it. You can’t say “let’s put politics behind and solve this thing” — especially when you’re a politician — giggle twelve times in eleven minutes, and look credible.

    Not to anyone outside of those who decided to agree with you before you even stepped out on the stage.

    Noonan II

    Thursday, June 29th, 2006

    Noonan II

    Peggy Noonan writes about our former First Lady, current junior senator from the state of New York, and God help us, maybe someday President. Pure gold.

    Media people keep saying, as Hillary gears up for her presidential bid, that her big challenge in 2008 will be to prove that she is as tough as a man. That she could order troops to war. That she’s not girly and soft.

    This is the exact opposite of the truth. Hillary doesn’t have to prove her guy chops. She doesn’t have to prove she’s a man, she has to prove she’s a woman. No one in America thinks she’s a woman. They think she’s a tough little termagant in a pantsuit. They think she’s something between an android and a female impersonator. She is not perceived as a big warm mommy trying to resist her constant impulse to sneak you candy. They think she has to resist her constant impulse to hit you with a bat. She lacks a deep (as opposed to quick) warmth, a genuine and almost phenomenological sense of rightness in her own skin. She seems like someone who might calculatedly go to war, or not, based on how she wanted to be perceived and look and do. She does not seem like someone who would anguish and weep over sending men into harm’s way.

    Makes me giggle like Butthead. Hit me with bat…huh-huh, huh-huh-huh.

    Net Neutrality Rejected

    Thursday, June 29th, 2006

    Net Neutrality Rejected

    The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has rejected, on an eleven-to-eleven tie vote, a Net Neutrality policy amendment.

    A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday, with a tie vote, rejected a proposal that would have required broadband providers to give their competitors the same speeds and quality of service as they give to themselves or their partners.

    The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee�s 11-11 vote means the net neutrality amendment will not be added to a wide-ranging broadband bill as it goes to the Senate floor. The amendment, offered by Sens. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, and Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, would have prevented broadband providers such as AT&T and Comcast from charging extra based on the type of content transmitted by Internet-based companies.

    Late Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said he�ll place a hold on the broadband bill because it lacks strong net neutrality requirements. By placing a hold on the bill, Wyden is saying he may object to the Senate beginning debate on that legislation. A hold on a bill can lead to a filibuster, if Senate leaders aren�t able to fix the senator�s objections.

    “If [broadband providers] get their way, not only will you have to pay more for faster speeds, you�ll have to pay more for something you get for free today: unfettered access to every site on the World Wide Web,” Wyden said on the Senate floor. “To me, that�s discrimination, pure and simple.”

    The reporter went on to challenge Sen. Wyden on why the senator thought that was going to come to pass. Oops, well, no he didn’t. Or if he did, the question and the accompanying answer failed to make it in to print.

    I’m wondering if bottled water is discrimination? Is cable TV access to the local channels, is that discrimination? Those used to be free.

    This thing is a crock, and it reaks like one. My thoughts on Net Neutrality, are here.

    On Titties and Terrorists

    Thursday, June 29th, 2006

    On Titties and Terrorists

    The FAQ mentions it (Question #11), and I have discussed it repeatedly, like here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. I just can’t, it seems, shut my cakehole about it.

    What is “it”?

    “It” is a pair of things, actually. Here at The Blog That Nobody Reads, we like to critique the prevailing viewpoint, that all-important Conventional Wisdom. We blossom forward with unsolicited opinions, when that Conventional Wisdom is most opprobrius to old-fashioned common sense. And the pair of things that “It” is, would be the two subjects that repeatedly inspire comments, design to influence the unspoken orthodoxy, that are…well, let’s just call them what they are. Bull squeeze. Moose feces. Wombat-rabites bollywonkers crazy codswallop.

    Where these two subjects rise up, it seems the more impressive the office held by the person speaking out about them, the more nonsensical is the crap coming out of that person’s mouth. People say stuff with regard to these subjects that, if life & limb were depending on the verity of the stuff they’re saying, they’d stop in mid-sentence and then start mentally spanking themselves for the foolishness of the comments they’re passing through their voice boxes, or placing in ink over their signatures.

    The two subjects are terrorist attacks, and young ladies who aren’t wearing very much clothing.

    I’ve commented before on my complete lack of success trying to figure out what these two subjects have to do with each other. I still don’t understand what the common ground is. But there must be some.

    Cox & ForkumWe have people in positions of power, prestige, and public trust, who say people in our executive branch should be blamed for — hurricanes! Yes! And yet, when evil men conspire for years at a time, taking lessons in how to fly a plane but not to land it, go to one last stripper show on September 10, say their prayers, bathe in their martyr’s cologne, do their holy fasting, rent cars, catch planes, slash the flight attendants’ throats with box-cutters, hijack the plane, say some more prayers, and then with a hearty “Allah Ackbar!” steer the aircraft into buildings…this whole event is something that happened. You can’t describe the event while mentioning the word “Islam” or “Muslim,” not unless you’re talking about hate crimes unfairly perpetuated in the wake of the event…or pontificating with dread about how some of our airport security people may be thinking about some racial profiling. Oh, no, never speak about those who did something that was done. You only speak of our (Republican) President, and the cause-and-effect influence he may have had on the freakin’ weather.

    Yes, acts of God are blamed on men, and acts of men are blamed on…well, these speakers won’t say what. Oopsie, look what “happened.” It “happened.” What “happened on September 11, 2001.” It’s gotten bad. It’s gotten to the point where I’m harboring some real misgivings against that H-word. Nobody did it, per se. It “happened.”

    Flashback…

    And regarding the other article, the young ladies wearing immodest cheerleader costumes, or bathing suits, or waitress uniforms, there is a much greater assortment of effluence. Some of the statements seek to assert that when a waitress job involves wearing a uniform that leaves a significant patch of skin uncovered, and a young lady takes it upon herself to apply for that position, somehow she’s being “exploited” even though she’s initiating the application process herself. Stupefyingly, some among us will seek to deprive the lady of that choice, while holding themselves up as paladins of the “womens’ choice” cause. Some of the other comments seek to disassociate the lady from other positions she might hold, which have nothing to do with dressing immodestly, are not affected in any way by her choosing to do so — in effect, culminating to her dismissal from various “day jobs” when she’s caught wearing a bikini in a completely unrelated and unassociated setting. And, on occasion, even under an assumed name.

    All of these cognitions, sentiments and proclamations are fecal in nature. They are worth nothing, save for fertilizing qualities. No one in their right mind, would actually consume them, since they’re simply a waste product from something else. You wouldn’t bet your own life, limb, treasure, or esteem on the idea that the September 11 attacks simply “happened,” or that when a cheerleading squad including girls as young as 6 or 7 years old is required to cover up their bellies with some fabric, the prohibition against bare midriffs has nothing to do with proper dress for 6-year-old girls, and is intended to prevent “eating disorders.” These ideas are all absurd. They are articulated, by people who hold positions of high honor and trust, with the expectation that the comments will be remembered among a narrow, fanatical audience that happens to like them, and soon be forgotten by everyone else. To the public at large, you can expose what’s ludicrous about these statements, simply by repeating them two or three times. They are not constructed for the purpose of being inspected critically. They are constructed with the explicit expectation that the subject must be changed, irreversibly, entirely, before the last syllable of the statement has echoed off the farthest wall.

    And yet, all too often, the effects of these haphazard remarks, are enshrined into public policy. Pretty soon you have candidates for President of the United States, running on platforms that say terrorism is just a “nuisance.” And pretty soon you have teachers and bank managers, being fired because pictures were taken of them wearing bikinis somewhere else, on their personal, private time.

    We indulge in “modest” bullshit about why we were late for work; why we aren’t wearing the sweater Grandma gave us for Christmas; that our wives’ asses aren’t fat; being from the Government and being here to help you; that the check is in the mail. But on the subject of dangerous international criminals who would give their very lives to take a few of us down, and on the unrelated subject of good-lookin’ young women in skimpy clothes, logic takes a complete, pure, undiluted, five-star don’t-even-page-me holiday. “Modest” bullshit, on those two subjects, isn’t good enough for us. We wade in neck-deep into triple-A grade, twenty-four-karat, 99+44/100 percent pure platinum bullshit. We use this high-grade quality bullshit, it seems, on no other subject save for those two…and on those two subjects, we haul it out with a reliability and with a punctuality we display nowhere else.

    Women Are Not For DecorationSo I’m calling this “titties and terrorists.” The subject of titties comes up, and the subject of terrorism comes up. And, before you wait too long, people are lending their good names to complete and utter bullshit — not utility-grade bullshit, but the premium, ultra-high-Nitrogen-content bullshit. We can’t have a family-friendly sports bar in my neighborhood, because the waitresses wear little orange shorts. We must pass a global test before we do anything about terrorists. Your wall calendar is oppressing me. “Waterboarding” is torture. The jokes created a hostile work environment. Saddam Hussein was no threat. Women are not for decoration. Blah blah blah…crap, crap, crap. An endless stream of crap dribbling out of people’s mouths. Makes you want to take a shower when you’re done listening to them.

    What’s frustrating, is these people are saying these absurd things, which no sane man can possibly believe or find legitimate for even a fraction of a second, to salvage their own reputations, not to ruin them. For the purpose of building their credibility up, not to tear it down. And…can we really fault them? It must work, this process of spewing-crap-to-get-a-good-rep-going. It must work, because if it did not, people wouldn’t keep doing it over and over and over again.

    Courtesy of today’s Best of the Web, we have a fascinating tidbit about an anti-war dove, Philip Slater, departing the plane not only of common-sense, but of reality. Ironically, he wants to “Get Real About Atrocities,” and then he proceeds to do anything but.

    Perhaps the reason Americans seem so comfortable about bombing and invading little countries around the world is that the United States, unlike Europe, has never experienced “collateral damage”. If we had ever been bombed and invaded ourselves, had our infrastructure demolished, been subject to foreign soldiers breaking into our homes at night, seen our children slaughtered and our houses destroyed, we would be, I suspect, less gung-ho about war and less cavalier about inflicting these horrors on other people.

    Now I have to ask: What is going on in Philip Slater’s head? Did he think James Taranto wouldn’t be picking this up and running with it?

    There’s a giant leftist movement going on, which seeks not only to enshrine and codify a leftist agenda into law, but to deny reality. It seeks to offer solutions to problems, life-threatening problems at that, by prevailing upon the public-at-large to stop thinking about the problems.

    They must be opposed. They must be defeated. The survival of our country may very well depend on it. Even if you buy into the idea that terrorists are soft, cuddly and harmless…and many do, and you have to deny a lot of reality just to get to that point…it’s quite another thing to say that said terrorists can be safely ignored for years at a time.

    We have been attacked. Liberalism, as we know it today, eventually prevails on even a fairly capable mind, to come to the conclusion this never took place. It’s dangerous stuff.

    Update 7/1/06: Since this one post is receiving unusually high visibility across the “innernets,” I feel it appropriate to give credit for the cartoon with actual fanfare, rather than with the modest HTML link behind it I usually provide. If you click the image you will be taken to the website of Cox and Forkum, whose wonderful work is a must-see for whoever may not already be so acquainted. Do take the time to check them out.

    Welcome Pajamas Media fans.

    Memo For File X

    Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

    Memo For File X

    It appears that in this movie I have not yet seen, An Inconvenient Truth (2006), words are tossed out that leave the impression there is perfect agreement from all credible scientists: Earth getting warmer, disaster looms, man is the cause. The only debate remaining about this, concerns “dirty” scientists, if you will, who have been bought off by coal and oil interests. This may be the thing captured by film reviewer Roger Ebert:

    Gore says that although there is “100 percent agreement” among scientists, a database search of newspaper and magazine articles shows that 57 percent question the fact of global warming, while 43 percent support it. These figures are the result, he says, of a disinformation campaign started in the 1990s by the energy industries to “reposition global warming as a debate.”

    This strongly implies, and is indeed being interpreted by the pro-global-warming folks who have seen the movie (or else something else is?) as saying, all global warming skeptics are either non-scientists or else bought off by the energy companies.

    The word “all” makes the statement an absolute. So this conflicts with the following:

    SourceWatch is a Wiki-powered repository for notes about sources. It’s used for gathering dirt on sources who achieve recognition, while articulating viewpoints contrary to the interests of those who maintain SourceWatch. SourceWatch has an exhaustive list of “Climate Change Skeptics,” and seems to have done a meticulous job of gathering newspaper articles, journal articles, and other evidence against global warming skeptics — especially anecdotes about money changing hands from the energy industry.

    The SourceWatch list of climate change skeptics, includes the following. Some have documented ties to coal and oil concerns. Interestingly, some do not.

    Individual Skeptics
    1. Dennis Avery
    2. Sallie L. Baliunas
    3. Robert C. Balling
    4. David Bellamy
    5. Bob Carter
    6. Ian Castles
    7. John R. Christy
    8. Ian Clark
    9. Paul Driessen
    10. Bill Gray
    11. Andrei Illarionov, chief economic adviser to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
    12. Aynsley Kellow
    13. William Kininmonth
    14. Richard S. Lindzen
    15. Bjorn Lomborg
    16. Stephen McIntyre
    17. Ross McKitrick
    18. Patrick J. Michaels
    19. Alan Moran
    20. Alan Oxley
    21. Garth Paltridge
    22. Tim Patterson
    23. S. Fred Singer
    24. Carlo Stagnaro
    25. Philip Stott
    26. Wolfgang Th�ne
    27. Jan Veizer
    28. Lord Lawson

    Organizational Skeptics
    1. Scientific Alliance (UK)
    2. George C. Marshall Institute (US)
    3. International Policy Network (UK)
    4. Institute of Economic Affairs (UK)
    5. Competitive Enterprise Institute (US)
    6. Institute of Public Affairs (Australia)
    7. Friends of Science (Canada)
    8. Lavoisier Group (Australia)
    9. New Zealand Climate Science Coalition
    10. The United Kingdom House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs
    11. Australian APEC Study Centre
    12. Cooler Heads Coalition

    Throughout all of the 28 individuals listed above, if any one amongst them can be tied to the energy industry economically, I would expect SourceWatch to make the tie and get it documented. And indeed they do, where they can. But the tie isn’t always there…even though I have been told, by many global-warming proponents, that the tie should always be there.

    Will check this out line-by-line myself.

    Gore continues to sacrifice large chunks of his personal time, to head off the oncoming weather crisis. Interestingly, though, all of the things he’s doing, are things that increase his reserves of political capital — he does nothing, so far as I know, to deplete that political capital. No demands that anybody actually do anything that would inconvenience anybody. No accelerated timeframes for converting to solar power. No proposals to get eighteen-wheeler diesel trucks off the road. No proposals to relocate the nation’s financial center out of Manhattan, away from water’s edge. In fact, to the best I know, all year long he hasn’t done anything outside of P.R.

    Odd, since one has to doubt movies and photo-ops are going to save our planet.

    What if a global warming skeptic received money from the energy industry? Is it possible they could have deposited this money, and subsequently, articulated some skepticism that turns out to be correct? Definitely possible; in fact, unless one is trying to assert some out-and-out skullduggery is going on, it’s difficult to ascertain what any one scientist’s source of income has to do with anything.

    Update 6/29/06: In an intellectual exercise of Devil’s Advocate, I’ve picked #2 as the lucky girl: Sallie L. Baliunas. Her Wikipedia Entry contains an impressive assortment of information; nothing derogatory, not even the much-talked-about energy industry funding. In fact, the only negative statement on the page that I can see, is this: “However, her viewpoint – that solar variation accounts for most of the recent climate change – is not widely accepted among climate scientists.”

    This just goes to show what a problem science is having nowadays. Real “science” stands mute on what viewpoints are widely accepted and what viewpoints are not. Real science constructs a viewpoint out of the available facts, calls it a “theory,” tests the resilience of the theory through the failure of repeated efforts to tear it down, and invites assistance from colleagues in trying to tear it down. Only fake science is in the business of “accepting viewpoints.”

    My own viewpoint is, this statement shows why Wikipedia is not-quite-official.

    Regarding Baliunas’ energy-industry funding. I do not doubt for a single second that the funding history is there. But if I were more accepting of the MMGW (man made global-warming) ideas, and enthusiastic about making other people more accepting, it would be critically important to me to be armed with this anecdotal evidence about Dr. Baliunas. So where is it?

    Curiouser still: This website purports to document “How ExxonMobil Funds The Climate Change Skeptics.” Their profile on Dr. Baliunas calls an abrupt halt to this topic, after proclaiming “A darling of the anti-climate movement, Baliunas has been a central scientist in the fight against action on climate change. She is used by virtually all of the Exxon-funded front groups as their scientific expert.” So we do have backup…in aggregate. The sole specific pertaining to Dr. Baliunas, in this profile anyway, is a citation on a Seattle PI story from the summer of 2003 which says,

    The energy industry provides significant funding for groups that employ some of the authors or promote their new study. Soon’s co-authors were Sallie Baliunas, also from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center; Sherwood Idso and his son, Craig Idso of Tempe, Ariz., who are the former president and the current president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change; and David Legates, a climate researcher at the University of Delaware.

    What an interesting article this is. It makes reference to a “worldwide storm of e-mail among climate scientists, some of whom have proposed organizing a research boycott.”

    Boycott? Scientists inflict assault on other scientists through boycotts? I thought scientists inflicted assault upon theories, with facts. Now, why would a scientist rely on a boycott, when it would be so much more scientific to rely on facts?

    You know, it’s not that this questioning of energy industry funding isn’t healthful. I think it is. And I would go so far as to say, if the scientists who are skeptical of the emerging orthodoxy of climate change, and MMGW, are interested in promulgating their skepticism — I would look to them to take the initiative in producing a study that can be held up high, as utterly clean, sanitary and pristine, untouched by energy industry funding.

    Legitimate questions are to be raised by the lack of such a study.

    I would chastise the other side, too: A question is not an answer. Even if the absolutism stands that any & all credentialed climate-change skeptics are tied to the energy industry — and I have strong doubts that it will, since it appears to exist only in rhetoric — this would not be proof, nor would it even be circumstantial evidence, that the ecosystem is in a catastrophic or irreversible slide into oblivion.

    As it is briefly touched-upon in the FAQ (Question #10), I have a bristling disagreement with the prevailing viewpoint about what “science” is. I agree with this prevailing viewpoint that science is sealed into a pristine environment, to be untouched by the “unwashed masses.” And I further agree with the prevailing viewpoint that once science has done its work, the “unwashed masses” have a role to play in what to do with what science has found out. And it seems to just naturally follow that if science says our environment is being harmed by our actions, and our continuing survival is placed in doubt by the unchanged continuance of those actions, it’s up to the “unwashed masses” to change the actions.

    Where I disagree, is the point of hand-off between the intellectual elites sealed into that pristine envrionment, and the unwashed masses. Scientists are testifying about…stuff. In my mind, it’s their place to testify about facts. And it’s also their place to testify about what the facts mean. If you lack the proper education, you lack the reliable faculties to figure out what it means when Star A is 1’13″ from Star B on June 21, and the distance between the two is 1’06″ on December 21. Certainly, if you come up with an idea of what this means, and a “real scientist” comes up with a different idea, the real scientist’s idea is going to be a great deal more credible.

    But let it be noted, that the above example dealing in parallax involves simple math, in which there is one legitimate answer and an infinite number of illegitimate ones. I use the term “illegitimate” to describe an assertion that is made with an irreconcilable contradiction to available facts.

    Tainted with the stench of energy industry funding, or no, climate change dissent doesn’t fall within this boundary. Climate-change skeptic scientists are “testifying” about their opinions…and that in itself is a perversion of science…and we, the unwashed masses, are being instructed to ignore what they have to say — not because their theories are irreconcilably offensive to empirical facts, but because of funding issues. Funding issues which are not always specifically stated, and are often simply suggested. Funding issues, plus the testimony of other scientists, with other opinions, who are also perverting science by testifying about their opinions.

    This is a fine line. As a layman, I do not need a scientist to say “I think X.” It is critically important to me, for the scientist to say “I think X because in order to think !X, you would have to explain Fact A, B and C.” I do not have the expertise to realize that, reliably, on my own. Once Explanation W comes along, to reconcile !X with Facts A+B+C, it means very little to me when the scientist stands on his scientist-podium and says “I still believe in X, because I think Explanation W is bollywonkers.” That means nothing…or at least, nothing more than a layman saying the same thing. You find a Fact D to make new problems for Explanation W, and we’re having a different conversation. But if a scientist has an article of belief that he doesn’t like W, when he’s already invested himself against it politically, what it basically comes down to is, I don’t care.

    And here, we’ve descended far, far beneath that. We’re being told Explanation W is to be discounted…because Explanation W has the fingerprints of energy industry funding.

    I think there’s a saying that touches on this issue. If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table. Nobody’s given me any reason, to regard the corporate-funding slander against the climate change skeptics, as anything outside of that. None whatsoever.

    Thing I Know #129. Leaders; votes; clergy; academics; pundits; prevailing sentiment; political expediency. Wherever these decide what is & isn’t true, an empire will surely fall.

    Update 7/26/06: Significant overlap between the list above, and the sixty scientists who called on Canadian PM Stephen Harper to re-visit the science of global warming this April.

    Also more overlap between those, and the table of names at Envirotruth.

    Every Cloud Has

    Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

    Every Cloud Has

    It may be hard to believe, but some people have been known to interpret my attention to what they say, as an unfair attack on them — even if I simply quote the exact text of what they said, word-for-word, paragraph-for-paragraph, changing nothing.

    Those more sympathetic to my point of view, have criticized me — rightfully so, I think — for allowing my software-development roots to show up a little too much, when I write for the benefit of people. I’m accustomed to a discipline in which, if you leave something out, you create a “bug” — risking the Blue Screen Of Death, null pointer assignments, passing data to a subroutine in an uninitialized state, etc. — so, a good “programmer” leaves nothing out. Consequence: Once my comments are digested, there is nothing more to be said. The better I do my job, as I have applied myself to it, the shorter will be an ensuing discussion amongst people who have read my work.

    Let’s address both of these critiques…although, for obvious reasons, I think much more of one of them than the other.

    Hat tip to IMAO: Kevin Drum comes up with a hitherto-un-commented-upon benefit for the War on Terror, to be realized from the New York Times’ outing of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. Kevin Drum’s opinion is reproduced, without augmentation, deletion, or any kind of molestation whatsoever…and in spite of overwhelming temptation, without any subsequent comment from me. At all. None. Zero.

    As long as I’m asking dumb questions, here’s another one. No one is going to believe me when I say that I’m not trying to grind any particular axe here, but….I’m not trying to grind any particular axe here. I’m just curious.

    OK. So the New York Times has now exposed two anti-terrorist initiatives: the NSA’s domestic spying program and the Treasury Department’s financial tracking program. The administration says that exposing these programs is bad because terrorists will stop using telephones and international credit transfers now that they know the U.S. government can monitor these activities. Thus, we have fewer ways of catching bad guys.

    Fine. That’s true. And yet, isn’t there an upside too? If the bad guys stop using telephones and bank transfers, doesn’t that reduce their effectiveness considerably? No phone calls, no wire transfers, satellites watching you, drones attacking out of nowhere, websites hacked, no one who can be trusted � at some point their whole operation grinds to a halt out of sheer paranoia.

    Now, I assume that the people running these programs aren’t idiots. If they think that keeping them secret is a net positive, they’re probably right. But nobody even mentions the upside of exposing them. Surely there is one, isn’t there?

    Morals In My Throat?

    Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

    Morals In My Throat?

    “Republicans just want to shove their morals down everybody’s throats.” How many times have you heard that? How many times have you heard “Republicans are just pandering to the Religious Right, and the Religious Right wants to shove their morals down everybody’s throats”?

    And yet…here we are on June 28, 2006. We drive to work, we have lunch wherever we want, we buy booze, we go home, we surf the “innernets” looking for “pr0n,” we have sex with our women. What, exactly, could we do without having someone else’s morals shoved down our throats, that we can’t do?

    Hang on, the Republican-bashers tell us. It’s coming.

    Well, Jon Stossel is kind enough to remind us of something that has come and gone, and a decade ago was not only coming, but was hovering perilously. Perilously and non-sensically. And the nonsense didn’t make quite as much of an impression back then, as it would have now. Remember, it was Bill Clinton’s America. Faux-Europe America. Everything anybody did, was everybody else’s business.

    So it just made sense, only ten months after the Gingrich Revolution when the tempering effects of Bill Clinton’s Big Spanking had not quite set in, that a nanny-state government agency started telling Hooters to hire male waitresses.

    The firm now employs more than 30,000 people. Some would consider this a success story, but our government didn’t. Not because Hooters is using sex to sell — but because its waitresses are — get ready — women!

    “Discrimination!” cried the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

    The business of Hooters is food, said the government, and “no physical trait unique to women is required to serve food.” EEOC lawyers demanded Hooters produce all its hiring data, and then grilled Hooters for four years. Mike McNeil, Hooters’ vice president of marketing, told “20/20″ the EEOC bureaucrats demanded to look at reams of paperwork. “Employee manuals, training manuals, marketing manuals — virtually everything that’s involved in how we run our business…”

    The EEOC then issued a set of demands. First, it defined a class of disappointed males who had not been hired by the company. The EEOC said, according to McNeil: “We want you to establish a $22-million fund for this mythical ‘class’ of dissuaded male applicants. We want you to conduct sensitivity training studies to teach all of your employees to be more sensitive to the needs of men.”

    I have something smarmy and pithy I could staple on to the end of this thing, but Stossel’s article lapses perilously close to “Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself” territory; for he neatly covers exactly the thing I would have said, had it been left up to me to make the comments.

    I suspect Hooters’ customers are mostly men who think the firm is quite sensitive to their needs, thank you — and that there would indeed be a class of disappointed males if the government insisted men do the jobs of Hooters girls.

    Indeed. Some things are just obvious.

    So on to the next sub-topic: Between the dreaded Religious Right, and the fanatical anti-discrimination zealot lawyers, just who is it, chomping at the bit to “shove their morals down my throat”?

    I grew up in the eighties. I’ve spent twenty years waiting for the Religious Right to come along and get a law passed that will stop me from doing something I want to do. I’ve been told, pretty much the entire time, not to worry and that it will happen Real Soon Now. I’m still waiting.

    Where would we be, I’d like to know, if Hooters had not chosen to fight back during the Clinton regime? Well of course, it would be a liberal’s quasi-Europe wet-dream: Everything everybody does, is everybody else’s business. To start a restaurant featuring good-looking women parading around in skimpy shorts, you would have to hire an equal number of men to parade around in equally skimpy shorts. Ewww…

    …what do you say to a guy who wants a job like that? How about “people wonder if you’re crazy, but now I can plainly see your nuts.”

    If that doesn’t seem like a matter of serious concern, one must wonder how many other facets of life would be open to this kind of regulation. Not rule-making, I hasten to add. The making of rules, implies universal compliance with those rules, a kind of rule-adhering absolutism. Regulation is not that. All regulation really does, is put the bureaucrats in the driver’s seat. It gives them the power to say “you are in violation of Public Law Number blah-blah-blah…now I can make this thing go away, if you will do X.”

    So with that critical distinction made, now ponder all the other entirely legitimate things in our society that are equally discriminatory, if not moreso, compared to hiring good-looking women to be good-looking woman waitresses. Good heavens. Like Hooters says themselves, in the commentary on their official website: “Claims that Hooters exploits attractive women are as ridiculous as saying the NFL exploits men who are big and fast.” Mmmkay, so there’s one example. Big fast men in the NFL. Where are the petite, slow, brittle women? It’s discrimination! Now, think of some more. Not hard.

    Republicans, if you’re concerned about winning the midterms, maybe this would be a good thing to talk about. In America, when you start your own business you’re supposed to be left alone, so long as you pay your creditors, pay your employees, pay your taxes, deliver what you promised to your customers, and don’t kick dogs or babies. That makes America a great place to get a business started, and this…nobody with a brain, or a reputation worth defending, disagrees…is why we have come to kick international ass, economically.

    Not the nanny-state rules. Not government-mandated parades of hairy chests beneath white tank tops, and nutsacks in orange spandex. If that’s what it took to kick ass, Europe would be kicking our ass. Well, guess what; they’re not. They’re bellyaching about how rich and powerful we are, and what a big bully we are. Or at least, that’s what some of them say.

    Memo For File IX

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

    Memo For File IX

    The Dissident Frogman‘s nifty chart, which long ago became an Internet legend, is linked from the picture below. Self-explanatory. Makes a sloppy hash of a number of anti-war arguments which, now that it’s two or three years later, are probably deader than Anne Boleyn anyway. Still not refuted or challenged in any way whatsoever, so far as I am aware.

    Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

    Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking

    Reuben, Reuben I’ve been thinking
    What a fine world this would be
    If the men were all transported
    Far beyond the northern sea

    Campfire song, orig. author unknown

    The question is left in an uncertain state as to whether Lisa Arnold, 63, member of the Finance Committee of Westport, MA, thinks much of the more pumped-up male members of that city’s police force. Going by this article I have in front of me here, it seems the best thing she can find to say about them, is that if/when she’s in trouble, she’d want them to be there. I’m just sure the male cops find that quite flattering.

    “If I was in trouble, I’d want one of those big moose to be there,” she said.

    The bad part of the whole thing, though, is that Arnold is in trouble for a comment she was foolish enough to put in the e-mail. The comment in question speaks for itself.

    [Arnold] said she was just joking when she used the remark in message to the town’s selectmen to suggest police administrative assistant Nancy Braga be recognized for her long service.

    “Lord, that girl has sat over there with those testosterone gushers for 37 years and lived to tell about it,” Arnold wrote in an e-mail dated June 16.

    Sgt. Thomas Plourde, president of the Police Officers of Westport Alliance, said Arnold should step down. He told the Standard-Times of New Bedford that he would ask town selectmen to look into her remarks.

    Should Lisa Arnold be forced to step down? I don’t think so. I understand the nature of making jokes, and it’s unfortunate when someone chooses to do so in the e-mail forum and then gets nailed on it. What is the benefit of getting her separated from her post? None that I can see. Just continued promulgation of that asphyxiating environment wherein everybody’s afraid of saying the wrong thing in front of the wrong people, for fear the wrong advocacy group will get pissed off. I don’t believe in promulgating that environment, even when I agree with the cause for which it is promulgated — which, in this case, I do. My experience up to now with such things, suggests that this is the kind of thing that makes an agency more secretive in matters where the public would benefit from more transparency.

    Do I think Westport would benefit from the investigation mentioned by Sgt. Plourde, I mean, investigation in the literal sense, not in the “get someone fired” sense? Yes, I do. If there’s an anti-cop climate in city hall, city hall owes it to the cops to look into it. Especially, to those male policemen with the huge pumped-up biceps. You know, the moose-like ones.

    What if the investigation makes things so uncomfortable for committeeperson Arnold that she chooses to step down? Hey, that would be fine…so long as it remains clear that it was her choice to do so. In fact, that outcome would be ideal. Message: Jokes in the e-mail won’t necessarily get you fired, but if you have something against our manly cops, maybe you should get on a committee somewhere else.

    Let’s take a look at our own houses before getting too hard on Westport. Anti-male bias…it would be more accurate to call it an anti-masculine bias…permeates so much in our national discourse. Anti-military, anti-Hooter’s, anti-meat, anti-beer, anti-might-makes-right, anti-gun. Anti-good-guy-bad-guy.

    No question about it, it’s a culture war. When my dad was the age my son is now, good guys wore white hats and bad guys wore black hats, the two would meet in the main thoroughfare of a ghost town, while frightened townsfolk peeped out at them from between closed windows and drawn shutters — and the two combatants would “draw.” The bad guy would be really quick with the draw, and the good guy would be just a little bit quicker.

    This classic scenario has become a unifying caricature, bundling together all the elements that are under assault now. Everything about it must be debated: the good guy’s goodness, the bad guy’s badness, the notion that victory should really go to the guy who could draw fast and shoot straight. And of course, the very notion that both of them should be “guys” at all.

    Look around. Things have gotten so bad, that a good guy can be a good guy by making his living being a cop…that doesn’t mean eating doughnuts, what that means is pulling a car over, walking up to the driver’s side window and not having a freakin’ clue what’s going to happen next. And doing that all day long…and the next day, and the next day. This, to a sensible mind, is the very definition of “heroism.”

    But Lisa Arnold doesn’t have such a sensible mind, it appears. And she is not alone here. Masculinity, in its rawest form, even as it makes our lives possible, is offensive to a lot of people — that is, a lot of people who can afford to be offended by things, thanks to the life and luxury masculinity has brought them. So many amongst us should be thankful, would help themselves a lot if they were thankful…and are anything but.

    Thing I Know #130. The noble savage gives us life. Then we outlaw his very existence. We call this process “civilization.” I don’t know why.

    Imitation is the Sincerest Form X

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

    Imitation is the Sincerest Form X

    Yesterday morning, I expressed my desire for…

    …a national debate on the following question: At what point, if any, does unauthorized leaking do more harm than good? Is there a point? How many people think there is no such point…and are they allowed to vote?

    I don’t know if David Limbaugh reads my blog. I would suspect hardly anybody does. But how else do you explain this gem which appeared this morning in Townhall? The subject, in his article as well as my earlier one, is the whole Bill Keller New York Times Financial Transactions, uh, well, what better word…SNAFU.

    The paper’s exective editor, Bill Keller, said, “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial date, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

    So what might be a matter of public interest is sufficient to outweigh what will certainly be a detriment to the public interest? Under Keller’s definition, would any classified information coming into the press’s hands ever be off-limits from public disclosure no matter how damaging to the national interest or dangerous to American lives?

    And he encapsulates his point even more concisely, in fact masterfully, with the very first sentence.

    Would the New York Times pub[l]ish our nuclear launch codes if it acquired access to them because it “may be � a matter of public interest”?

    I’ve been robbed, but I’m not calling the police. I’m quite flattered.

    Keller Kartoons

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

    Keller Kartoons

    Over at the Rottweiler’s site, some amusing and fairly high-quality, for me anyway, Photoshop jobs of World War II “slip of the lip will sink a ship” posters. Updated, of course, for the whole Bill Keller International Banking New York Times situation. I’m still trying to figure out which one is my favorite. The one about running over the dog might be it.

    Check ‘em out.

    You Go First III

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    In November, and again in December, I made reference to my “You Go First” policy. It applies to activists, which, strictly speaking, are people who like to tell other people how to live.

    Activism, by nature, exists to tell everybody how an elite class of people has decided they all should live, and if they don’t want to live that way, well that’s just tough. It is coercion. Activism is the antithesis of democracy. It is a policy of “You Do This.” We could call my policy the “You Go First” policy.

    Gun-grabbing activists get to live in a place where burglars burgle wherever they want, because they know nobody has a gun. Anti-death-penalty activists get to live in a place where murderers walk the streets, secure in the knowledge they’ll never be executed. Anti-capitalists get to live in a place where money is nonexistent, and anyplace you can get a bite to eat, looks like your elementary school cafeteria where you wait in line endlessly to get a big scoop of colorless glop.

    James Taranto has furnished another anecdote relevant to my “You Go First” policy. In today’s Best of the Web column, he writes

    When billionaires back the death tax, keep in mind that they have no intention of actually paying it. They are being “generous” with other people’s money. This is the way in which the superrich wage class warfare against the merely affluent.

    He makes an interesting case. The event that has inspired his snarky encapsulation, is the bequeathment of billions of dollars of Berkshire-Hathaway stock owned by pro-death-tax activist Warren Buffet, to the billionaire pro-death-tax activists who run the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. With strings attached, of course: The foundation “must continue to satisfy legal requirements qualifying my gifts as charitable and not subject to gift or other taxes.” Do what you have to do: Mr. Buffet does not want to pay the same taxes he wants other people to pay.

    A week ago I had observed that some elitist scum writing for The Economist, were lamenting the statistic that 70% of Americans wanted to end the death tax, but only 1% of households actually pay it. Good. When you defend people from unjust treatment that, no matter what happens, is unlikely to fall on your own head personally, that’s called being “principled.” Things like that make me feel good about being an American. Frankly, I’d like to know what the other 30% are doing here.

    Of course any among those 30% who have last names like “Gates” or “Buffet,” it’s a pretty easy call to figure out where they’re coming from.

    Shut Your Mouth

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    Shut Your Mouth

    Via Malkin, a little dose of added perspective for those who are hooked on the media leaking that has become commonplace. Private Snafu, produced during World War II, scripted by Ted “Doctor Suess” Giesel and voiced by Mel “Bugs Bunny” Blanc.

    It’s about time someone started pointing out that this desire for transparency, when dealing with real life honest-to-gosh enemies, isn’t always a good thing.

    More Private Snafu images here. A brief write-up with further info is here. List of episodes is here, and the Wikipedia entry is here.

    I’d just like to have a national debate on the following question: At what point, if any, does unauthorized leaking do more harm than good? Is there a point? How many people think there is no such point…and are they allowed to vote?

    America Thanks You

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    America Thanks You

    Via YouTube, via Move America Forward, an ad thanking the armed services for their achievements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    On a related note, from the moonbat detector system, referenced in an earlier post, I came to learn of this cartoon which offers a decent counterpoint to the video referenced above. Only fair to include both sides, you know.

    Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XIII

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XIII

    Via David Drake, James Lileks defines Kos. I have nothing to add to this.

    Lileks Defines KoS

    Sunday evening, listening to the weekend rerun or best of the Hugh Hewitt radio program of last week’s broadcasts, Hugh was talking with James Lileks.

    Hewitt asked Lileks what he thought of Markos Zuniga and KoS.

    Lileks replied: “KoS is [nothing but] undisciplined and omnidirectional rage.”

    Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Lileks hits a Grand Slam!

    Buy Her A Drink, Land In Jail

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    Buy Her A Drink, Land In Jail

    Via The Barking Moonbat Early Warning System, we see the great state of Wisconsin is considering a bill to legally strip the capacity to consent from otherwise-willing bed partners who have imbibed too much alcohol.

    Prior to the change, which took effect in June, a victim who had been drinking typically had to be unconscious to be deemed incapable of consenting to sex. The law applies to alcohol-related sexual assaults committed by anyone anywhere in the state. But it may have particular resonance on hard-drinking college campuses such as UW-Madison, which was named the country�s No. 1 party school by the Princeton Review last year.

    Scary when one thinks about the partners one has had throughout one’s time, who could not only hold their liquor just fine, but became a lot more “fun” after a night out on the town. Hmmm…naw, this is a sensible rule. Sure it is. What could possibly go wrong?

    Flesh! Oh, No! VI

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    Flesh! Oh, No! VI

    People like to watch The Daily Show with John Stewart, which discusses current events, and then injects a unique brand of humor into the process of reporting them. If those people were approached by someone who said “I’m pleased as punch that you like the Daily Show, but I’ve decided you should like it because of the news, not because of the jokes…and since I have authority in this matter, I’m going to enforce my decision by forcing John Stewart to not be funny anymore.” Those people would say screw you, I’ll watch the show for whatever reason I want to watch it. We’ll get you fired Mr. Authority Person, and if we can’t do that, we’ll probably stop watching.

    People like to listen to Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s radio show for a number of reasons. Some of them like to hear Dr. Laura’s words of wisdom, some like to gather dirt on Dr. Laura so they can bash her somewhere else, and other people just like to listen to stories of airheaded sluts cheating on their boyfriends and husbands. If Dr. Laura were to come on the radio and say “I’m glad you’re all tuning in, but I’ve decided you shouldn’t be tuning in to take prurient delight in these stories, so I’m going to get rid of them.” People would stop listening, of course. Just before they tuned out, they would bear a lot of rage, and probably express it, at the attempt to control their very preferences.

    People like to listen to the President of the United States give speeches. Some like to hear what the President has to say so they can make up their minds on whether to support his initiatives; others simply wait for the President to screw up on pronouncing something, so they can make fun of him. Consider what would happen if a radio/television network announced “We know some of you are tuning in just to add on to your lists of ‘Bushisms,’ and we don’t want to give you any ammunition, so just know in advance that if the President makes an embarrassing slip-up we’ll bleep it out with the benefit of our ten-second delay. But we think you should still tune in, and listen for the reasons we think you should be listening.” Gawd, can you imagine the backlash that would take place then. The backlash…and the futility.

    Well, Wimbledon has figured out people like to watch tennis matches just to watch good games of tennis…and to look at good-lookin’ women in skimpy outfits. What was just a silly hypothetical, in the above three recitations, is reality in this fourth one, according to this brief snipped from The Sun.

    KILLJOY tennis chiefs have outlawed skimpy outfits at this year�s Wimbledon, which starts today.

    They want spectators to keep their eye on the ball, not on the athletic figures of the gorgeous female players.

    So they have issued a strict new dress code banning gear deemed too sexy or low-cut.

    That means a bevy of babes must cover up. What a glaring fault � especially when you check the form of stars like former champ Maria Sharapova.

    The Sun has put a prohibition on using their images without licensing, so I got the above graphic from somewhere else. Hope that’s okay, The Sun does not own Wimbledon so far as I know.

    Awhile ago I said something about the European mindset, and this mostly-European tendency to make rules about things without regard to whether those rules can be expected to be effective. The author of a not-very-readable comment, appeared to take offense, although I’m not sure about this. Well…this is a great example of what I’m talking about. What is going on in your head when you tell someone “come on over, bring the kids, watch our tennis matches…but only for the reasons we think you should be watching them.”

    It’s enough to make you want to throw tea in the harbor all over again.

    Here is what I want to see before we get too much farther into the summer “Fire Women For Wearing Bikinis” season. Let’s get a woman, dressing modestly, who fainted…then maybe another one, maybe a couple more. Three total. Add to this, some ruminations on global warming, and about how this is the hottest year ever recorded in human history. Somewhere, someone is willing to say so, I’m sure. Then, let’s get some egghead college professor who makes a living being quoted, to add a sound bite about how women are feeling intimidated by social pressures to wear more clothes, and running into a disproportionate number of health problems because of it during this hottest-year-on-record. Like dehydration, and fainting.

    In other words, let’s get the public-policy goo-gooders to feed on their own. Our egghead propeller-beanie clipboard-and-white-coat goo-gooders are forcing women to wear more clothes, and our global-warming propeller-beanie goo-gooders and our female-health-malady and unfair-cultural-pressures propeller-beanie goo-gooders say it’s high time something was done about it.

    I’d pay money to see that.

    Like I’ve said many a time before…we are all here, because a lusty man thought a woman’s body looked good. Red-blooded straight guys who like to look at young ladies in skimpy outfits, are doing the Lord’s Work. If anybody’s looking for an apology, don’t look here.

    Slate’s True Colors

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    Slate’s True Colors

    Slate Magazine shows us what it’s all about, and William F. Buckley calls them out on it. Slate’s dubious achievement is not so much to publish an article about President Bush being dumb, but to include the article in a package of vanguards that are supposed to represent the best of what the online magazine has to offer. So I guess it makes sense to, as the web site admonishes you to do, “Make Slate Your Home Page” if the whole point of the Internet is to give you daily reassurance that your President is a raging idiot — and everything else you can surf is just so much miscellaneous stuff.

    No, I’m not surprised. I know there are people like that.

    Side-point: Why is it when a web site or an application or a java script program has some idea about what should be my home page, the idea seems to always be one with very little to recommend it?

    Back to the subject at hand. Who better to take up the clarion call to inspect this putrid boil of Bush-bashing, now that it has festered into a bright angry tenth-anniversary-thingy, than William F. Buckley. By the way, your Buckley “Word Worth Knowing” for this column is derogation:

    v. der�o�gat�ed, der�o�gat�ing, der�o�gates
    v. intr.

    1. To take away; detract: an error that will derogate from your reputation.
    2. To deviate from a standard or expectation; go astray.

    I shall not quote from Buckley’s column, for his task is light: To demonstrate how, and why, that which is silly, is silly. The way he goes about it is more art than science, and he does it well. Have fun.

    On The WMD

    Monday, June 26th, 2006

    On The WMD

    Great column in the Wall Street Journal, an editorial by Sen. Santorum and Congressman Hoekstra. Now, you get their side of what’s been happening.

    Saddam’s WMD
    Why is our intelligence community holding back?
    BY PETER HOEKSTRA AND RICK SANTORUM
    Monday, June 26, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

    On Wednesday, at our request, the director of national intelligence declassified six “key points” from a National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) report on the recovery of chemical munitions in Iraq. The summary was only a small snapshot of the entire report, but even so, it brings new information to the American people. “Since 2003,” the summary states, “Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent,” which remains “hazardous and potentially lethal.” So there are WMDs in Iraq, and they could kill Americans there or all over the world. [emphasis mine]

    What’s that now? Saddam had no WMD? Saddam was not a threat to us?

    Facts, it turns out, are stubborn things, just like John Adams said.

    Like any chronicling with some good lean meat, this one packages some new questions in with the answers we’ve been wanting. We have been lied to, for years, and the lies have been allowed to run, roam, blossom and bloom, helping many of the enemies of America. Those would be Al Qaeda; Saddam’s old regime which has nothing to do with Al Qaeda (oopsie, though, maybe we should re-think that too); other regimes chomping at the bit to develop their own WMD programs, and curious to see what we would do about it; and Democrats.

    Our enemies have been helped by bad intelligence. Not intelligence from out in the field being disseminated to the classified community, but intelligence from within the classified community, being leaked to the declassified community-at-large. The “facts,” as we had been getting them, are just plain false. Santorum and Hoekstra are to be congratulated for cluing us in on what’s going on — but at the same time, we’re owed a better explanation than this…

    The president is the ultimate classifier and declassifier of information, but the entire matter has now been so politicized that, in practice, he is often paralyzed. If he were to order the declassification of a document pointing to the existence of WMDs in Iraq, he would be instantly accused of “cherry picking” and “politicizing intelligence.” He may therefore not be inclined to act.

    In practice, then, the intelligence community decides what the American public and its elected officials can know and when they will learn it. Sometimes those decisions are made by top officials, while on other occasions they are made by unnamed bureaucrats with friends in the media. People who leak the existence of sensitive intelligence programs like the terrorist surveillance program or financial tracking programs to either damage the administration or help al Qaeda, or perhaps both, are using the release or withholding of documents to advance their political desires, even as they accuse others of manipulating intelligence.

    We believe that the decisions of when and what Americans can know about issues of national security should not be made by unelected, unnamed and unaccountable people.

    Like Adams said, facts are stubborn things. They determine everything, in the sense that an opinion formed on a “fact” that isn’t true, ends up being an invalid opinion. Such an opinion has a shot at leading to a strategy for success, in the same way a hunk of toast has a shot at landing on your rug butter-side up. Americans need good facts, not bullshit-facts. That holds true whether said Americans are cleared to work in the classified community, or not.

    Let me put it more succinctly, using the half-dozen words of boilerplate always guaranteed to get attention: Our government has lied to us. A Republican government, Republican in theory, has been telling lies to get Republicans thrown out and to get more Democrats elected.

    I would like an investigation into that. Why is an American government, all three branches of which are supposed to be somehow unfairly controlled by Republicans Americans, working overtime to get itself toppled and sold out to Democrats the Enemy? Oh that seems so harsh, but what is there to contradict it? Democrats have had two solid years to tell us what they’d do to protect us, and they’ve give us butkus except some kind of nonsense about “global test” and “respected around the world.” They don’t want to protect us, they want us ignoring national security entirely so we can quibble about medical benefits for old people. Now, it emerges that when most of us can figure this out, and make sure Democrats don’t run anything, they still get to decide what we are allowed to know.

    If things have become so politicized that the President can’t bring the truth out even when its continued concealment is career suicide for him and everyone upon whom he relies, and this continued concealment doesn’t appear to be protecting the safety of anyone, then what hope do we have?

    Who is running this government, anyway, if it isn’t the President and it isn’t anyone whose interests are aligned with his? I got an idea. When the highest levels of our government are not working overtime to get that very government toppled, maybe they could spare a little bit of that midnight-oil for finding us an answer.

    TLA

    Sunday, June 25th, 2006

    TLA

    The FAQ (Questions #8 and #10) makes reference to the wicked things, or at least the very insincere things, being done by what we today call “science”.

    Science has been engaging in a bunch of ugly habits lately. I’ve already adequately covered how this works, I think. It says “we are the scientists and we think this is so, now unless you’re a scientist, go away.” That’s an entirely valid scientific exercise when the subject of discussion is a fact. Not when it’s an opinion. Lately, science has been doing this with opinions. Well, that isn’t really what we call “science.”

    One of the ways this is pulled off is to come up with a TLA — a Three Letter Acronym — to describe behavior and then start compiling observations about how that behavior works. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong in doing just that by itself, it’s perfectly consistent with what science is supposed to do. But I notice established science, right then and there, will start pulling rank.

    In other words, the opinions of lay-persons are worth jack-squat. Such-and-such is a scientist, so-and-so is not a scientist, so such-and-such knows all and so-and-so doesn’t know anything. Even if it’s a behavioral disorder, and so-and-so actually lives with the person being discussed, so-and-so still doesn’t know shit.

    Down the road, maybe that’s an appropriate thing to do.

    Science starts this rank-pulling, however, generations before science has a prayer of figuring out what the behavioral disorder is.

    I mean, even fundamentally. Is it physiological? If so, is it genetic? Or could it be a non-physiological, purely personality-driven developmental disorder pertaining to environment? Could it be chemical? Before science even makes a stab at forming a theory around one or some of those, before it even tries to build some theories up or tear other theories down — in other words, before it even “does science” — it’s telling the little people what to do and how to think.

    Well, Beth Wheeling of Miami has just decided to drop the act. Of course, she’s obviously being tongue-in-cheek about it, but I submit what she’s doing blatantly is no different than what “scientists” have been doing subtly. She’s gotten peeved about something, and decided to start building a file on it. With a TLA.

    Obnoxiousness seems to be a contagious affliction

    In light of news that road rage is caused by a psychiatric illness — Intermittent Explosive Disorder — I would like to share my own findings. I am a clinical psychologist and have come up with a new syndrome — obnoxious personality disorder.
    :
    You have OPD if:

    � You have ever realized that you missed your exit on the Palmetto Expressway, come to a stop and put on your turn signal.

    � You have tried to persuade people behind you in the speedycheckout lane that you only have 10 items because yogurt is on sale at three for $5, therefore the 30 items in your cart count as only 10.

    � You have ever asked to go ahead of me in the checkout line because you “only have a couple of things,” then proceeded to stop the line when you realize that you forgot to get Brussels sprouts or you proceed to write a check.

    You know what I’d like to call into question? The necessity of having a degree when you make up these TLAs. What happens if I do this? I have a high school diploma…it’s better than nothing. I wouldn’t mind making up some TLAs to describe things that may or may not be contagious. Why on earth not? Scientists, I have long suspected and now suspect even moreso, are just people with grudges. I can do that. I have grudges.

    We could define PES to be Party Equivalency Syndrome, which is what the Dime People have; I discussed them here, here and here. Symptoms include denying any difference whatsoever between Republicans and Democrats, and noisily insisting people give you credit for being an “independent thinker” while running around babbling “not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties” all the time.

    SIS could be Subcompact Inferiority Syndrome, which is described in Thing I Know #28: People who drive great big cars don’t mind following other great big cars, but they absolutely have to get out from behind a little itty-bitty car even if it involves passing over a double-yellow line. You have it if you’ve ever consumed more fossil fuels than said itty-bitty car will consume in an entire week, in the blink of an eye, flooring it to get your hummer in front of the little rice rocket because boy howdee you can’t stand looking at his little tiny aluminum-plastic japanese-import ass.

    HCD is Hillary Combat Disorder, wherein the subject is aroused with a great adrenaline rush to do a lot of arguing to defend the reputation of the junior senator from the state of New York, without understanding why.

    Hey, this is getting kind of fun.

    How about BSM for Blue State Malady, in which the subject protests that John Kerry was supposed to have won the 2004 presidential election, and is ready to call for one recount after another so that the Long-Faced One can finally be installed in the Oval Office — without having the slightest clue as to what, exactly, a Kerry Administration would do, about anything.

    ITD is Inconvenient Truth Disorder, most noticeable when a hot summer comes right after the release of a certain movie. Symptoms include gloating on days when the temperature goes up a degree or two, followed by sullen pouting when the temperature goes back down again.

    Let us not forget QPS for (Un)Questionable Patriotism Syndrome, a mental disorder afflicting people who babble endlessly about their patriotism while blaming everything on their country, saying absolutely nothing good about anything their country has done lately, to the extent where they change the subject if they can’t find anything to criticize. Example: America helped the Tsunami victims in Indonesia — this leads to “America could have donated more than it did,” or, “yeah, and we squandered the goodwill by blah blah blah.” To say the USA done good on something, and leave it at that, is somehow out of the question. Oh yeah, and nobody had better question your patriotism.

    GHS would be Gun Hating Syndrome. Self-explanatory.

    SGD would be Second-Guessing Disorder…for when you come to learn about soldiers signing up to serve in Iraq, knowing full-well what they’re doing, and you chalk it up to the density and naivete of those young kids, failing to understand they’re being sold down the river for Halliburton’s oil. You know this, they don’t, because you’re oh so smart.

    DSD is Daily Show Delusion…a mindset where you watch a certain entertainment program on a regular basis, and from this gather the impression that you’re becoming knowledgeable about news and world events.

    INC is Impeachment Narcissism Complex, in which the subject becomes resentful when he doesn’t personally get to decide which U.S. President should be impeached by the House of Representatives, and which President should not be. “But this one told a lie that got thousands killed, where that one told a lie about a blowjob!” is the common refrain. Symptoms include a complete inability to figure out when the lawbreaking being investigated is based on sex acts, and when it is not.

    Golly. Those didn’t take any effort at all. Maybe this will be my first book.

    ACLU, Otherwise Known As Democrats

    Sunday, June 25th, 2006

    ACLU, Otherwise Known As Democrats

    Along the lines of the discussion between Good Lt. and the Two Girls mentioned below, we look into the source of all this disagreement. There is this lingering controversy on which many would like to express an opinion one way or t’other, but few would like to actually engage in a prolonged discussion of the controversy itself. The controversy is, does the American Civil Liberties Union exist to protect the rights of you and me, and stand by to safeguard our freedom during the darkest of times when no one else will?

    Or do they exist simply to stir up talking points against Republicans and get Democrats elected?

    Well if ever the day comes when we’re interested in engaging that discussion, maybe now it will be a short one. From the ACLU website, via Don Surber, via Stop the ACLU, via News Blog Central:

    The ACLU today condemned the U.S. government for gaining access to vast troves of international financial data with no judicial or Congressional oversight nor definition of how the information is being used.

    The program, revealed this morning the New York Times, outlines how the government received the cooperation of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, more commonly referred to as Swift, to monitor financial transactions. Swift is a Brussels-based consortium that serves as a clearinghouse for transactions worldwide. It was reported this morning that tens of thousands of records gathered by Swift have been turned over to the CIA, the FBI and the Treasury Department at the request of the U.S. government.

    The following statement can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

    “The revelation of the CIA’s financial spying program is another example of the Bush administration’s abuse of power. The invasion of our personal financial information, without notification or judicial review, is contrary to the fundamental American value of privacy and must be stopped now. It seems the administration feels entitled to flip through all of our checkbooks. How many other secret spying programs has the Bush administration enacted without Congress, the courts or the public knowing? We need a full accounting of what information has been demanded by the U.S. government, how they have used it, with whom it was shared, and how they intend to repair this grave breach of trust. This program is a glaring example of how this government thinks nothing of widespread abuse of power.

    “The government contends that the program is legal since Swift is ultimately a messaging service and not a bank, exempting it from U.S. banking laws. However, Swift is established and owned by banks to assist directly in banking activities. Swift is subject to both U.S. and European law, and it is wrong for the U.S. to demand information without following the established channels.

    “Once again, this administration has performed an end-run around the legislature, allowing for no Congressional approval or oversight, and violating the freedoms Americans falsely believed they could take for granted. Congress should call them to account.”

    I suppose reasonable minds may disagree about this. But I just don’t understand how it’s necessary for a party-neutral private organization tasking itself with the preservation of our civil liberties, regardless of the direction from which threats to those liberties may from time to time arise, to discuss “another example of the Bush administration’s abuse of power,” or to instruct us to believe “this government thinks nothing of widespread abuse of power.”

    It seems to me an organization ready to stand vigilant watch over our civil liberties, would fancy itself to be an indispensable resource in a free society regardless of who’s running what. And here they are coming perilously close to saying, although not quite articulating it outright, that if we can just get rid of the current administration then the rivers in civil-liberties-land will flow with melted chocolate, the clouds will be made of marshmallows, and everybody’s farts will smell like cinnamon toast.

    And among those with long-term concerns about what we call “civil liberties,” a general consensus has been achieved, rightfully so I think, that this just isn’t how it works. Power is vested in an administration that doesn’t care about civil liberties, and then power is vested in another administration that cares passionately about civil liberties. Power is then vested in a whole bunch of other administrations that are somewhere in between the first two mentioned…administrations come and go, falling anywhere they will in the spectrum of civil-liberties-respecting administrations.

    Nothing changes as far as how closely the liberties must be watched, in order for them to be kept. Doesn’t the ACLU get it? The liberties are in danger ALL THE TIME. Our elected leaders don’t actually earn our “trust,” in the conventional sense of the word, no matter what they do. Not over the longer term, they don’t.

    Director Romero, pointedly, fails to offer a reason why the information-gathering of the international records is unacceptable. This is why we have what are called “civil liberties” — the term has been abused to the point that it’s nothing more than a figure of speech. If he were to say “this is unconstitutional” then he’d be offering an argument that would be quashed, the minute someone experienced with law explained how the holders of international accounts aren’t protected by our Constitution. If that refutation were not to be forthcoming, for some reason — and it certainly would have to be — it would then be up to Director Romero to provide the citation of what Article, or Amendment, was being violated.

    And then it would be up to the legal community to articulate what had been going on with that Article, or Amendment, since the day it was ratified. Every precedent within that timeline, conflicting with the excoriation that Director Romero wants to indulge, would be problematic.

    And so we don’t use the word “unconstitutional” about situations like this anymore. Not very much. We like to talk about “civil liberties” instead. It lets us tell everybody else what to think, while sounding like we’re resting our case on some Master Document somewhere, when there really is no such thing.

    Why should the Bush administration not be gathering these records, exactly? The ACLU pronouncement of angst and vituperation, quoted above in entirety, does not say. As Surber pointed out, not only would this be a brand-new right, if it is to be asserted that some shenanigans are going on here, but according to the status quo we emphatically do not have any variation of the right being discussed because of the procedures followed regularly by the Internal Revenue Service, if by no other agency. In other words, in its haste to condemn the Bush administration which can’t wait for anyone to actually look anything up in a rulebook — the ACLU has, in Surber’s words, “minted a brand-new right.”

    Good Lieutenant Gets Into It

    Sunday, June 25th, 2006

    Good Lieutenant Gets Into It

    Good Lieutenant, who runs Mein Blogovault you see in the sidebar, gets into a back-and-forth with Two Babes And A Brain. The issue is the financial records of overseas transfers.

    I think the Lieutenant has the better-thought-out position. According to what I read, he caught them forming extravagant opinions outside the perimeter of what available facts would warrant, and called them on it. However, to be fair he did misspell “intracacies.”

    Memo For File VIII

    Saturday, June 24th, 2006

    Memo For File VIII

    Note to self:

    Dumbass, would you quit ignoring Atlas Shrugs? The woman is gorgeous, she names her blog after your favorite book, and although it’s an obvious photoshop job she looks freak-o-nature fantastic in a Supergirl outfit.

    Besides, her VLOGS are hilarious. Sure, she shouldn’t make them while she’s driving, but what the hell. She’s 3,000 miles away.

    Update: Via Little Green Footballs, a Pajamas Media profile on Pamela from October, with over 170 comments from interested LGF participants.

    More than one of whom have made the same observations as myself. She’s as pleasing to the eye as she is to the brain.

    Flesh! Oh, No! V

    Saturday, June 24th, 2006

    Flesh! Oh, No! V

    It’s a little too long and windy to become a “Thing I Know” but it’s still something I know, and know very well. When the subject of young ladies in skimpy outfits comes up, very few of the things anybody says on the subject, make any sense whatsoever. There’s something about this time of year, wherein young female teachers and young female bank managers start getting fired for wearing bikinis. Well, it just happened again.

    A New Orleans artist who began working as a teacher in Lafayette after Hurricane Katrina filed a free speech lawsuit Thursday against the Lafayette Parish School Board, alleging she was unjustly fired because of adult-oriented art on her Web site.

    Heather Weathers, whose Web site features images of partial nudity and declares that her art “addresses stereotypes and taboos about women�s bodies,” is seeking unspecified damages in a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.

    According to the lawsuit, Weathers had been teaching at Comeaux High School one week when Principal Joseph Craig told her that parents had brought the Web site to his attention.

    Craig “then informed Weathers that she could not continue to teach at Comeaux or any other Lafayette Parish school,: according to the lawsuit.
    :
    Weathers is active in the New Orleans art scene and has previously worked in New Orleans and New York as an art teacher.
    :
    Work exhibited on her Web site spans from performance art, to sculpture, photography, painting and video.

    One performance piece detailed on the Web site involves her donning a bikini fashioned out of meat, a statement on objectification of women.

    Now, what I get a kick out of, here, is the kind of thing that makes Erica Chevillar look much better — ahem, I mean, the merits of the case — than Heather Weathers. Let’s review.

    Erica Chevillar posed for the website of something called the “National Bikini Team” under a pseudonym, one “Erica Lee.” Heather Weathers could have done the same. It’s not that “Heather Weathers” is a terribly unique name, although it somewhat is, but it’s a thoroughly memorable name. That some busybody parent would come to notice the naked chick wearing the meat, was one and the same with the precious bubbins’ schoolteacher, was just a matter of time. It would be a cause for concern if such a thing never happened.

    Heather Weathers runs the website, or at the very least, is responsible for some of the content and arrangement of same. The diligence with which she has restricted the naughty portions to the over-eighteen set, has been called into question. This issue doesn’t pertain to Ms. Chevillar.

    The irony is not lost on me, that the intellectually vapid tidbits tumbling out of Weathers’ mouth, dealing with “objectification of women,” are identical in verbiage to the talking points of people who so regularly stir up trouble about women in bikinis presented where excessive bare flesh is thought to be inappropriate. This is a case of the prudish feeding on their own. Although I would like Ms. Weathers to ultimately prevail, I’m torn on the issue because she’s made it clear she’s an activist for the very people who are trying to cover her up. In effect, she’s teetering on the brink of becoming a martyr for the opposing side.

    Last but not least, there is the question of time. Erica Chevillar’s pictures were taken before she became a schoolteacher — at least, that’s what she’s said, and nobody to my knowledge has taken the trouble to contradict her. The summary of Weathers’ case is that she’s taken the time and energy, on her own, to put up a provocative website, in her own name, while simultaneously subjecting herself to the rigorous inspection awaiting any schoolteacher by the parent community. Even if she were to emerge legally victorious in the conflict, by engaging so much of the initiative to cause that conflict to arise in the first place, she’s opened the quality of her judgment to legitimate question. The same doesn’t apply to Chevillar.

    And as a straight male, I freely confess it means something to me that Chevillar looks much better. I like her curves.

    Legally, I think there’s enough fresh meat (har!) involved in Weathers’ termination, that it will probably stand. Personally, I’m inclined to side, as always, with the right of good-lookin’ women to bare their bodies if they choose to, and I’m not going to be pleased with the precedent when Weathers’ is, after all’s said & done, thrown to the dogs. But I do hope the “Cover ‘Em Up” brigade takes note when it comes to pass — this is not a victory for them, as the head on the pike came off the shoulders of one amongst their own.

    The lesson here is that when some of us lose freedom, even the freedom to wear a bikini, the loss of freedom hurts all of us. Each and every single one of us. Er…not that I’m anxious to see men wear bikinis. But, you know, the principle stands.

    Update: There is an article here about Chevillar and Sheri Doub, the bank manager referenced in the first paragraph. It appears in some kind of atheist column and tries to tie religion into the whole thing.

    Whatever, dude. I believe in God, I think people who don’t are just plain nuts, and as far as I’m concerned women can wear bathing suits whenever they want to. Within reason. I’ll just look over the ones I like and ignore the ones I don’t.

    Straight men looking at good-looking women in skimpy clothes, are doing The Lord’s work. We are all here because somewhere, a guy thought a woman’s body looked good.

    On Net Neutrality

    Saturday, June 24th, 2006

    On Net Neutrality

    Like most other people both within and outside of the technology industry, I have slowly become cognizant of “Net Neutrality.” From talking with nameless faceless voices across the “innernets,” I have come to gather the sense that most geeks are in favor of it and think we really need it badly.

    This is curious. I’m a geek myself. A geek may be hardcore right-wing or hardcore left-wing, but as a geek, he is not motivated by political movements. His geek desires are motivated purely by anecdotes. A wise, experienced geek may have worked in all kinds of environments, perhaps consulted, or perhaps worked in development on the cutting-edge of some technology, and have some personal knowledge that Novell is dead-and-buried or that USB is the way to go. Anecdotes, divulged or not, determine everything. Likewise, a foolish geek may push for something, and commit the sin of forming his preferences on far too narrow a range of experiences — but they’re still experiences. They’re anecdotal.

    I would say it is not too far off the mark, to uphold this as the definition of a geek. Preferences borne from anecdotes. And so this was a red flag, albeit just a tiny one: Geeks say “we need Net Neutrality” the same way geeks say “we need Bluetooth.” Where are the anecdotes? Now to be fair, it’s not out of the ordinary that an anecdote may be important, without my hearing about it. It’s commonplace. Geeks don’t go around talking about all the problems their network had with Layer 2 collisions, which would have been avoided if they had used Token-Ring instead of Ethernet. Contrary to popular belief, we’d much rather talk about that funny thing John Stewart said on his program the other night, just like anyone else.

    But consider what the anecdotes about Net Neutrality would be. Just consider this. I’m a geek, I think we need Net Neutrality, and I have an anecdote. That means I, or someone I know, surfed the “innernets” and couldn’t get somewhere. I, or the other person, chalked it up to a server being down, or a router being down, for a few days, and then come to find out the evil corporation that owned my ISP, was blocking me. And as a somewhat responsible geek, I have proof.

    Now, what topic of conversation would be more enticing and stimulating, than an anecdote like that?

    So in a brave new digital world swimming in proponents of Net Neutrality, proponents who are supposed to be geeks, I would expect to see us also swimming in anecdotes. Not just one or two. Hundreds. Thousands. Hundreds of thousands.

    I’m told “we need Net Neutrality.” Consider the hypothetical that we need, and we lack, “road neutrality.” Roads are paved by private corporations instead of by the federal government, state departments of transportation, and county agencies. Private corporations do everything. Consider the idea that these private corporations drag their heels about laying down asphalt leading to places the corporations don’t want people to go.

    How many anecdotes would we have, about people not getting to places they want to go? Great googely moogely, there’d be millions every year. Old people would talk about it, the way old people talk about strip malls right now. And the damn kids who won’t stay off my lawn.

    Yet here we are, “needing Net Neutrality,” and we have no such thing.

    Red flag number two is the notion that technology, by offering us options that we did not previously have, creates a need for legislation that would have been previously moot. This is not unprecedented by any means. People must weigh their own pesonal scruples against what RU-486 does, and should they find said scruples violated, we have a problem with the clash between public policy and personal ethics. Some do feel so violated, and so we do have the clash. Embryonic stem cell research is another example. The sprawling nature of civilization itself, creates all kinds of ethical conundrums. If Township X was inhabited by Bambi, his mom, and all their friends, then what right has man to encroach? The list goes on and on.

    When people desire legislation where none had previously existed, citing dilemmas presented by technology that, similarly, had not previously existed, the sincere activist wants something out-and-out banned. It may be a narrow prohibition or it may be a sweeping one. But he is able to point to something being done, which he wants to not have done anymore.

    In the case of Net Neutrality, that is supposed to be “discrimination.” This has the distinctive effect of not actually banning anything, but rather transferring the technology from the private sector which brought the technology into being in the first place, into the public sector. Hmmm. You know, that’s not unprecedented either. But history presents a dearth of good results blossoming forward from such a thing.

    That’s Red Flag #2. But I chalked this up to being a red flag against NN being a good idea, rather than a red flag against the sincerity of the NN movement.

    Red Flag #3 was not long in coming, and this one ran against the sincerity. It was a one-liner from that not-quite-official source, Wikipedia.

    In April 2006 a large coalition[4] of political bloggers and citizen/consumer-oriented lobbying groups such as Free Press and MoveOn created Save The Internet, a political-action lobby endorsing network neutrality regulations.

    Now, it’s possible MoveOn could be involved in something that has beneficial ramifications for everybody, not just left-wingers. It’s possible. Personally, I doubt this. MoveOn was formed for the purpose of keeping a Democrat from being thrown out of office, and that is their mission. They get Democrats into office, and get Republicans out. Making the “innernets” into a better communication medium, would be a bunny-trail for them, a poorly advised one, unless they needed the net to be a better medium so they could get a Democrat elected.

    No, this is about creating a climate for more regulation. And that’s something that a “coalition of bloggers” wouldn’t want, not if they knew what they were doing — a government that can more easily regulate ISPs, can certainly more easily regulate the consumers of those ISPs. It’s the camel’s nose in the tent. You’re worried about typing “Hate America” into a search engine on a Monday evening, and having the FBI show up at your door Tuesday morning. If the government can tell the ISPs how to shovel bits around, then start worrying about your search engine phrases — in spades.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts about Net Neutrality. I’m deeply suspicious because while the concept is a good one, the movement is not about the concept, it’s about the regulation that would enshrine the concept into law. It’s an insincere movement. And the movement doesn’t behave the way a sincere movement would. Not when the movement rising up standing on the shoulders of The Geek.

    Not that MoveOn can’t support a sincere movement. But the honest advocate would have provided that in fair disclosure, so that all recruits to the movement would have known who their new bedfellow was. It’s just the honest thing to do.

    What is written above captures most of my thoughts, where they come from, and where they’re going, although I do have some basic conceptual stuff I’ll discuss further down. What is written below, excerpts what others have to say.

    Wall Street Journal has a great op-ed on the subject…which, it seems at first, provides the anecdote for which I was seeking. But you better keep reading…

    A Net Loser
    Google and Moveon.org say they want to help you. Look out.
    Saturday, June 24, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

    Chances are that by now readers have heard the term “Net neutrality,” even if they haven’t figured out what all the fuss is about. This week, the controversy reached the Senate, with Net neutrality proponents attempting to write a whole new layer of Internet regulation into law. Support for regulation of the Internet is also looking more and more like a litmus test for Democratic Presidential hopefuls.

    A recent incident may illuminate the controversy for those wondering what both sides are after. Several weeks ago, users of Cox Communications’ broadband Internet service found that they could no longer access Craigslist.org, the free classifieds site. Some bloggers immediately smelled a rat–Cox’s parent company also owns newspapers, which compete with Craigslist for classified ads.

    In a letter to this newspaper last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D., Oregon) cited the Cox incident as an example of why we need Net neutrality rules. Without them, supposedly, Verizon, Comcast, Cox and other Internet access companies would control users’ Internet experience to the detriment of consumers.

    Well, not quite. It turns out Cox had installed another company’s security software to protect its users, and a bug in that software inadvertently cut users off from Craigslist. But don’t take our word for it. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, no enemy of Net neutrality, said this about the incident on his blog: “The whole thing was exacerbated by folks talking about Net neutrality,” adding for good measure: “None of this was deliberate” by Cox.

    I’m going back to Red Flag #1. Let’s have an anecdote that actually pans out. Let’s have tens of thousands of them, before we even think about inviting the heavy hand of regulation into this corner of our lives, where freedom has given us so much.

    Is there anything you can find so much good to say about, as what you can find to say about the Internet? Try to think of something. You can’t. Oh, sure, you can find some old prudes who don’t quite understand it, and are suspicious of it, and have sinister things they heard about children abducted by their brand-new “chat room” pals. There are wives who have left their husbands because of some guy they met over the Internet. There is credit card fraud and theft of personal information, made possible by the Internet.

    And yet, such evils serve to demonize the new technology only in the most awkward, logically unworkable ways. No sane man can stand on the soapbox of logic and common-sense, and propose that the new communication medium be stymied to keep the children from being abducted, to keep the treacherous wives with their husbands, to keep the credit card numbers and social security numbers safe. This would be sheer lunacy. The child would still have the habit of recklessly engaging strangers, the wife would still be an unfaithful whore, those tasked with responsible stewardship of the personal information, would remain habitually negligent. Reckless, unfaithful, negligent…and undetected.

    And so, the Net is good. It is not “Net Good,” as no benefit can offset the profound tragedy of a trusting child being carted off somewhere by a pervert, and chopped up into bits. It is, I submit, “Gross Good,” because I place responsibility for such tragedy on the human element, not on technology. The technology is nothing but better communication, an increased capacity for searching out those amongst us who share our interests. History is mute on any benefit arising from the suppression of such a thing, and the Internet specializes in nourishing it.

    The Internet’s mother is technology…and it’s father is freedom. Freedom, that thing we all say we want, although very few of us really seem to. Those who love government and regulation and nanny-state rules, are now saying the Internet should go and live with them. They presume, I guess, that the Internet has reached majority age and is ready to be transplanted. They already say the Internet is an out-of-wedlock bastard conception of that studly back-door man Al Gore. Now, it appears they think parentage should be subjected to a vote.

    But freedom is the real father. You can tell. The Internet has it’s father’s eyes.

    It Explains Stuff

    Friday, June 23rd, 2006

    It Explains Stuff

    Transparency Now.

    It explains things like Groundhog Day, Gilligan’s Island, Logan’s Run. What’s the bigger picture here?

    My kinda thing. Cool.

    Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XII

    Friday, June 23rd, 2006

    Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XII

    Prof. Mike S. Adams just out-and-out calls the UNC administrators a bunch of bigots and liars. He raises an important point, which I can’t state any better than he does, but I do have a few things to add to the end. Let’s let him go first.

    Recently, a local Wilmington, North Carolina news station (WWAY) ran a news story on my satirical column “My new contribution to educational racism.” Local news stations like to run news stories on my satires because the proliferation of crack, heroin, methamphetamines, prostitution, and illegal immigration in my town is not sufficiently newsworthy.

    In the midst of important business negotiations (money talk), I declined to do a recorded TV interview for the WWAY Top News Story of the day, which was my satire. Instead, I offered the following statement intended to make things more exciting in the workplace when I return in mid-August:

    “North Carolina’s most notorious bigots, racists and segregationists are no longer found within the leadership of the KKK. They are found within the leadership of the UNC system.”

    The comment, which was expected to produce a blanket denial of racial discrimination by UNCW officials, appears to have had the intended effect. Here�s what WWAY reported as my employer�s response:

    “UNCW officials deny any preferrential [sic] treatment of minorities.”

    While WWAY carefully avoids “preferrential” treatment for serious journalism, UNCW officials are guilty of avoiding preferential treatment for the truth about the school�s racial policies. In a letter posted on the UNCW website, Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo had this to say to those who want to do business with the university:

    “As a contractor seeking to conduct business with the University, it is my personal expectation that you will exhaust all possible means to meet or exceed the minimal 10% minority participation goal that has been established through the North Carolina General Assembly.”

    Despite the “all possible means” language, I assume that DePaolo would stop short of asking employers with only 9% minorities to kill a couple of white employees in order to exceed the 10% quota. Nonetheless, the point is established. UNCW uses racial quotas and meets them via the “preferential treatment of minorities” they so blandly deny.

    My comments:

    This has become a widespread tactic anywhere an employer, or educational institution, or accrediting authority has a deep pockets and/or a critical mass in their payroll and/or medium-to-high visibility: Claim to not participate in, or to be aware of, or to sanction “any [preferential] treatment of minorities,” on the record. And then, when it’s time to actually engage in the hiring or contracting or graduating business that was just put under the inspection, go ahead and engage in the practice that was just denied. Go ahead and discriminate, in ways that any reasonable person could observe and comment “no ifs ands or buts, that right there is discriminatory.”

    In other words, like Dr. Adams said, lie.

    There is danger in this kind of hair-splitting, in which what’s been asserted on the record may be lexicographically correct, but is nonetheless conceptually wrong. The danger is that it’s an official line, and the vital ingredient of deception is already there. Once the process is re-articulated, people who have to do the job of articulating it but have that basic instinct of “gee, I don’t want to out-and-out lie about anything,” end up lying anyway. They aren’t introducing that vital ingredient of deception — it was already put in there, by the next layer up.

    And so they end up saying things that are in stark contradiction with one another. We don’t engage in preferential treatment of minorities…and in the same breath…make sure you meet or exceed the ten percent requirement for minority representation.

    Adams makes no mention of what the UNC system’s response is going to be to his charge of lying. I would expect they’ll say something along the lines of, this isn’t preferential treatment, Chancellor DePaolo is simply complying with the requirements of the state law. That’s the problem. The buck is always passed. So “no preferential treatment” doesn’t mean no preferential treatment, even if it’s misspelled. Fact is, we’re up to our armpits in preferential treatment.

    We’re also up to our armpits in reverse-racists, reverse-segregationists, people who just don’t get it. As I had the pleasure of pointing out yesterday.

    Mineta STWF’d

    Friday, June 23rd, 2006

    Mineta STWF’d

    Instapundit has a write-up on Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta getting STWF’d. We like to use the four-letter acronym of STWF, since August 15 when I explained why, to describe high-level official who are leaving to Spend Time With the Family. Because, you know, at that level nobody ever gets just-plain-fired.

    About God-damned time. Mineta is a nut, and every day he served in that capacity is an embarrassment to the Bush administration. President Bush built up a huge reserve of credibility with me, by simply having the balls to say Saddam’s gotta go, and sticking with the decision. And, I’d say by simply tolerating Mineta’s wombat-rabies bollywonkers crazy utterances about racial profiling, President Bush spent about three-quarters of what he’d built up.

    Norm represents something that is extremely broken in our society, to me, anyway. His heightened sensibilities about the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II, had a lot to do with his antipathy about profiling and anything that might possibly resemble same. And yet, I’ll bet some good money that this fucker would be first in line to nominate Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mister Japanese Internment himself, as one of our finest Presidents. Certainly, I’ve never heard Mineta utter an unkind word against the guy. Why, oh why, may I ask, is Japanese Internment something “we” did wrong, and not something that some racist President did individually? History strongly supports the latter of those suppositions over the former.

    Like I’ve been saying for years, if you’re really sorry about this awful thing “we” did, and want to pay homage to our renewed commitment to never doing anything like it again…and I think that’s a great idea…put Ulysses Grant’s face on the dime. Otherwise, it can be said that we elected a President four times who locked people up for the color of their skin, and we love him to pieces because we got him on our money. Because we did. And we do.

    But I digress. Ding, dong, the witch is dead. Don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass, Norm.