Archive for October, 2006

Not News

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Not News

Oh yeah…I’m good with this (link requires registration). Hopefully it’s the first raindrop of a flood, long overdue.

At 2 TV Stations in Maine, What Al Gore’s Movie Says Isn’t News
By JOSEPH B. TREASTER

How important is global warming in Maine? Not important enough for local television.

Michael Palmer, the general manager of television stations WVII and WFVX, ABC and Fox affiliates in Bangor, has told his joint staff of nine men and women that when “Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories.”

“Until then,” he added. “No more.”

Mr. Palmer laid out his policy in an e-mail message sent out during the summer. A copy was sent to The New York Times. Mr. Palmer did not respond to a phone message left with an employee of the stations nor to an e-mail message. But a former staff member confirmed the e-mail message that went out during the summer after the stations broadcast a live report from a movie theater in Maine where Al Gore’s movie on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was opening.

Mr. Palmer began his e-mail message: “I was wondering where we should send the bill for the live shot Friday at the theater for the Al Gore commercial we aired.”

Mr. Palmer said he wanted no more stories broadcast on global warming because: “a) we do local news, b) the issue evolved from hard science into hard politics and c) despite what you may have heard from the mainstream media, this science is far from conclusive.” Mr. Palmer said in his e-mail message to his operations manager and two women who served as a news anchor and a reporter that he placed “global warming stories in the same category as ‘the killer African bee scare’ from the 1970s or, more recently, the Y2K scare when everyone’s computer was going to self-destruct.”

H/T: Boortz.

Article goes on to cite Dr. James Hansen as a neutral, authoritative source. Good for Dr. Hansen. And therein lies the trouble with things like neutrality, objectivity, centrism: Someone has to define these things. A lot of people are walking around, bragging about how well-informed they are because they read NYT. Not only will they stop short of saying they let the Old Gray Lady tell them what they’re supposed to think, they’ll vigorously argue against that very concept — and yet — the Paper of Record sticks a microphone into the face of James Hansen, not bothering to collect any other dissenting scientific opinion or counterpoint, and hey it’s all good.

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… VII

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… VII

Like they say. “They’re at it again.” In January I had recorded some thoughts about the exchange between Bill O’Reilly and David Letterman…in which I think both sides would agree, the following sums things up accurately. O’Reilly shared some coherent thoughts after accumulating a serviceable knowledge about the given subject, and Letterman responded by freely admitting his ignorance, and being a smartass. Five months later, I had opined grandiloquently about what heap-big trouble we had made for ourselves, now that we had a discourse going in which half of us were irreversibly convinced Letterman had somehow won this thing. I mean, I was just stunned. Like I said, I come from Earth…a place where keeping the argument going, after ‘fessing up “I’m not smart enough to debate this with you point by point” is unthinkable. Keeping it going is unthinkable — calling victory on it is even moreso. Silly me. That’s the way things are on Earth. My home. Guess I should be more tolerant of people who come from other places.

Well. Everything that was old is new again. O’Reilly asked Letterman, point-blank, if Letterman wants the United States to win the war in Iraq. Simple question — Letterman can’t answer it — and woontcha know it, the weird purple-blooded aliens out on Planet “You Win An Argument By Talking Around The Issue,” otherwise known as Planet-Blue-State, think — once again — Letterman handed O’Reilly his own ass.

Well, very impressive. But if it’s not clarified what, exactly, the goal is — what does it even matter if Letterman “won” by whatever definitions his deranged fans may choose to put in place? Who CARES? Do you want the United States to win, Dave, or don’t you?

My thoughtfulness demands an answer before pursuing your argument any further.

Bumper Sticker

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Bumper Sticker

Being “pithy” is a real challenge for me. At an age when most kids were learning how to give off the right “vibe” with each other, I was reading the encyclopedia to pass the time. When it came time to get a job, when other kids were learning the fine points of customer service at the fast food restaurant or the shoe store, I was a software developer.

As a result of that, I may have some strengths figuring out what must be communicated, but I’m handicapped in figuring out what could be left out. I look at such things the way a software developer looks at them: If something’s in need of definition, and it goes undefined, that is a “bug” waiting to happen.

So I get a lot of criticism for the length of what I have to say. Most of it’s deserved. In fact, the high compliments that go with it about “good writing” or “great writing” or whatever…I’m mostly convinced that’s undeserved. A writer is supposed to know something about his audience’s mindset. And in the final analysis, I really haven’t got a God damned clue. I’m always the last to know.

So I can’t write pithy stuff. And if, somehow, we escape a Democratic Congress next year, a fate which we richly deserve…and Republicans can hang on to control of Congress, which they do not deserve…whoever makes that happen, will have written some pithy stuff. Which I can’t do.

Not often.

But I did think of something.

The situation is summed up nicely, I think, by the border issue. The Republicans in Congress have approved building a third of the fence we should have had all along. Just a third. Seven hundred miles. They have authorized it…the funds are not there to pay for it. In short, they’re paying “lip service” to the fence, and to border control in general. They say they’re dedicated to it, they pass stuff that kind of goes in that direction, but they will not actually get it done.

Democrats are dedicated to “immigration reform.” They won’t even say what that is, let alone actually do some stuff consistent with whatever they’d say it is. But they’re completely united on one thing: Republicans are screwing it up, and we need to put them in charge.

And thus it is with every issue on down the line. Republicans are dedicated to an idea, and their performance in moving toward that idea is a) good b) lackluster c) poor d) disasterous e) bass-ackward. Democrats are dedicated to…some cool catchphrase that will get people a) energized b) pissed-off c) energized and pissed-off. On all issues, the catchphrase is supposed to communicate an idea, but which idea it communicates varies from noggin to noggin among the people who are getting energized and pissed-off. Nobody knows what a Democratic Congress would do about immigration, or the War on Terror, or even the finer details of any of the issues Democrats like: Universal healthcare, minimum wage, rolling back tax cuts, abortion on demand.

Democrats and the mainstream media — but I repeat myself — command us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Don’t worry about what they’d do. The status quo is so bad, we need to communicate our anger…by putting them in charge.

Well, in charge of what? What they want to lead, is so massive, so important, that this whole argument makes sense only to those who tune out of the whole process. They’re talking to the folks who are so “overwhelmed” driving to soccer practice, picking up six-dollar foo-foo drinks at Starbuck’s, and bellyaching about not having enough cash for gas. They’ll just clear out that half-hour on Tuesday morning to vote how angry they are about gas prices, and couldn’t give a shit about politics.

But those are the people who decide things. People out of the reach of windbags like me, who don’t know how to express pithy ideas. And because of that, the country is about to be run by people whose agenda is…who knows what. The best information to be gathered, is that the plan for fighting the War on Terror, is going to be for our leaders to command us proles, to stop thinking about it. And almost certainly, that will be done by means of bright shiny objects. Increases in minimum wage, bold new plans for healthcare…each of them calculated to address a social issue, never quite solving it for good. It’ll be more about the noise, less about actually addressing anything. Just like the good ol’ days.

Two words for Starbuck’s-slurping, soccer-momming, gas-price-bitching myrmidons: “Congressional Material.” With a question mark afterward, and placed over this picture.

That’s what it’s all about. Most people would agree, an election isn’t about registering your angst about things. It’s about selecting leaders who are going to make important decisions about things. Most people would agree with that…even Democrats agree with it, when they try to make the election all about Mark Foley. It’s just, the folks who are going to put Democrats in Congress, aren’t following through on it. They’ll say they are voting for someone to bring about “change.” But if you ask them what the change is going to be, only 10 out of 100 will have an answer for you — and those ten answers will be all different.

Congressional Material. That’s what this election is all about. Make the candidates spell out what they plan to do, and we can have an election about who’s congressional material and who isn’t. For the challengers to say “I’m all pissed off and you should be too!” and let them get away with that…that’s not leading to an election about congressional material. That is what’s called a bitch pitch.

And it’s not the candidate’s job to prevent that. It’s the electorate’s job.

Memo For File XXXI

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Memo For File XXXI

Quoth our 32nd President, our “A Little Dab (o’Socialism)’ll Do Ya” President, the guy who locked up all the Japanese-American citizens — lemme repeat that, citizens — in camps simply because of the blood in their veins. The guy who prepared America for the modern world by, of all things, transforming it into a collectivist utopia; God only knows how good things could have been if it was a supply-sider carrying us across that critical bridge. We learn of this via some starry-eyed left-wing douchenozzle, via the much more venerable Fetching Jen.

President Roosevelt argues that his hybrid-socialist revolution is simply a continuation of the American Revolution; it’s the natural next-step. In fact, I think the douchenozzle hit the nail on the head here: “Our Founding Fathers had either not anticipated that need when they wrote our Constitution, or else they had felt that our fledgling country was not yet ready for that concept. But as FDR pointed out in his speech, many things had changed since then.”

And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own Government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

Since that struggle, however, man’s inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution-all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers-the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor-these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age-other people’s money-these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities. [emphasis mine]

Now if you’re sharp, you can already see the circuitous route that is being set up. Till the soil for small measure of gains decreed by men in distant cities; have a revolution to declare your independence; exploit your opportunity to the fullest by starting a business and employing several of your peers; make a profit and incur capital gains. Then…after the natural next-step revolution, the socialist upheaval — once again, see the measure of your gains decreed by men in distant cities.

Roosevelt says the circle has to do with the industrial revolution. We’ve exchanged one tyrant for another — the magnate. It’s ironic that what he’s set up here, is a situation where the government becomes the new tyrant…”small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.” How is the minimum wage determined? How is the marginal income tax rate determined? How is the capital gains tax rate determined? Who decides if we have a death tax or not?

Cyclical. Roosevelt agrees with me on this…we simply disagree as to how it’s cyclical — who the modern George III and House of Commons really is.

Quoth Eric Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, writing as “Emmanuel Goldstein” in Nineteen Eighty-Four…about which we learn via me.

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed one way or the other.
:
The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim…is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.
:
Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High.
:
Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. [emphasis mine]

I see a connection.

We’re All Such Independent Thinkers IV

Friday, October 27th, 2006

We’re All Such Independent Thinkers IV

From One Good Move: Katie Couric interviews Michael J. Fox.

Double-irony. Michael J. Fox says he couldn’t give a damn about pity and just thinks he’s got a right to air his opinion like anybody else. “Just have a discussion about it, and see what happens.” Great idea. And yet the whole point of the interview is that if somebody is suffering, you’ve got to let them have the last word or else you are a COCK.

Actually, that’s Limbaugh’s position too. We aren’t really having a free and open discussion, we’re just pretending to do that. The new rule is that Mr. Fox has to have the last word, end of story. Make it happen, you are a Cool PersonTM. Keep it from happening, by voicing a contrary opinion, you’re a cock.

The other irony is that while the argument “these cells aren’t going to become a person anyway” is logically valid, and thus a good point, whether it is the end of the issue or not is a matter of personal belief. Well, now. It’s just awfully tough for me to comprehend the idea that as taxpayers, we have a right to stop a huge marble cross or Star of David or Crescent or statue of Buddha from being erected in our state’s Supreme Courts, simply because it contradicts our personal beliefs…but taxpayers have nothing to say about it when government is doing something they see as tantamount to murder. I’m not talking about something that can be proven to be murder, or something that can be proven not to be murder. Just something that’s up to one’s personal belief. I don’t see how this rule pertains to the cross-in-the-capitol situation, and not the embryonic stem cell situation.

The only other thing I’d have to say, and this is probably a bigger concern to me than those other two, is: If we’re going to “have a discussion about it and see what happens” let’s have a discussion about things that are true. There’s no such thing as a “embryonic stem cell research ban.” Oh, and to the best knowledge I have about the situation, Limbaugh hasn’t prevented anyone from speaking out with viewpoints contrary to his. Ever.

Update 10/28/06: As is usually the case, what I find interesting about this is not so much what has happened, and not even what is being said about it, but how these things are being said.

There’s something about the extreme left wing. They have so much to say about how things are and what should be done about those things. And it seems some among them can’t ever tell you any of it, without instructing you on what to think. Ever. How you should come to think the thing they want you to think, seems to be beyond their capacity. It seems the concept of “skepticism” is something completely foreign to them, and they’re completely, utterly, unprepared for it.

Rush Limbaugh may not be this country’s most disgusting human being, but he surely ranks among the top 10.

You’re undoubtedly familiar with his latest outrageousness – claiming that Michael J. Fox was really faking those Parkinson’s disease palsied shakes when he cut campaign ads for candidates who, like Wisconsin’s Jim Doyle, favor embryonic stem cell research.

Fox, who came down with Parkinson’s about 15 years ago and was forced to essentially retire from his acting career, thus became the latest victim of the well-honed Republican attack machine made famous by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential election.

Limbaugh, with his audience of like-minded flame-throwers, is a key player in the well-organized cabal that uses innuendo and, more times than not, outright lies to savage anyone who dares to disagree with the right-wingers who long ago took the Republican Party hostage.

In a response to charges by conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, Michael J. Fox defended his appearance in recent political campaign ads, saying he was neither acting nor off his medication for Parkinson’s disease.

You have to hand it to them – they’re very clever.

Although few of them ever served in the military themselves, they’ve been able to turn war heroes into cowards. Just ask Democrat Max Cleland or even Republican John McCain – one lost his legs and an arm because of an enemy grenade, the other was a prisoner of war for more than five years – who were targeted by a well-organized campaign that started with Karl Rove in the White House and was spread by Limbaugh and his right-wing imitators on talk radio.

And, of course, there was John Kerry, a decorated and wounded Vietnam War veteran, who was made out to be a wimp by a propaganda machine whose favorite candidate hadn’t even shown up for National Guard drills.

This year they’ve characterized an Illinois congressional candidate, Tammy Duckworth, an Army pilot who lost both legs in Iraq, as a “cut and runner.”

So Michael J. Fox is only the latest to be the target of the cruel attacks that have nothing to do with the issues, but everything to do with planting seeds of doubt and fueling the whispering campaigns.

Limbaugh, of course, always tries to leave himself a way out.

“If this was not an act,” he said of the Fox ad, “then I apologize.” All of which is nothing more than a joke, of course, since to raise the issue at all accomplishes the mission.

The pity of it all is that all too many Americans fall for these tactics of character assassination. It will never end until the people stand up and say “enough.” [emphasis mine]

I have to chuckle at that implied litmus test involving service in the military. I don’t remember things being that way at all in 1996…the year a Republican “decorated and wounded veteran” ran for President against an incumbent Democrat with lackluster military service credentials.

These people don’t communicate ideas. They tell people what to think and when to think it. They figuratively pop open the cranial cavity of the “listener,” stick the idea in, and sew things shut again, bypassing any critical inspection whatsoever. It’s not just their preference. They simply can’t do it any other way.

Beccy Cole

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Beccy Cole

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler and Brutally Honest, and probably a whole lot of others, have provided me with a valuable education about that country music stuff in which you plebes like to immerse yourselves up to your necks.

Beccy Cole. An Aussie who just might inspire me to give the genre another listen.

What kinds of people have been tearing her “posters off the wall” anyway? Well, we know the answer to that of course. Anti-war people…who shy away, Kerry-like, from the question of whether the job needs to be done, and then go on to “respect the troops” by repeating anecdotes and urban legends about rapes, naked people, flushing the Koran, over and over again — only rarely can be found to say anything else about the soldiers closest to the danger.

Well now. Since anti-war people have shown so much reluctance to arguing about whether the job needs to be done — they go right up to the “Saddam Hussein was not dangerous” thing, but not one step further — let’s use an analogy to take the emotionalism out of it. Let’s think of a job we all agree needs to be done. Um…changing a flat. Yes, that’s it. Changing a flat.

It’s a JOB, okay? The driver, or car-owner, or a gentleman, is going to take on the job upon which the other three passengers depend. It’s the left-rear tire on a busy freeway, so there’s some personal danger involved with this. Pitch-black, raining like a sonofabitch.

What would we all think of the sullen, cantankerous passenger in the back seat who is opposed to tire-changing…but whenever confronted with this realization, denies that he is opposed to tire-changing?

How seriously would we take him if he insisted — insisted! — that he’s a big fan of the guy changing the tire, but whenever the guy outside drops the lug wrench, pisses and moans about the sound it makes when it strikes the pavement?

Demanding that everyone inside the nice comfy, cushy car, get a big ol’ noisy debate going about the proper way to tighten the lug nuts, and whether the guy outside, whom he supports so much, is doing it right?

Whether the guy is changing the right tire.

Oh and he won’t let you express any opinion that changing the tire is the right thing to do — if you’re in the warm, comfy, cushy car with him. No, you should be out there if you think it’s such a swell idea, while the loudmouth “holds court” inside with his ideas left unchallenged by anyone still inside with him.

The decision has been made that the tire needs changing. The changing is underway. As of December 2003, the flat tire has been removed.

The tire-changing critic won’t EVER shut the fuck up.

How seriously would we take that guy?

How about the notion that those of us who support the tire-changing, are in the wrong place, being inside the car? Would that be a good argument? Because it seems to me, not only would it be unnecessarily dangerous to all concerned having more people outside than the job demands…not only that…but if anybody’s out-of-place sitting in the car, it’d be the tiresome complainer in the back seat who wants to talk about all the stuff the tire-changing-guy is doing that doesn’t meet his approval.

In fact, next time we go anywhere, it seems obvious the one guy who insists we should just keep on truckin’, nobody ever performing any repairs of any kind on the car, under any circumstances whatsoever, no matter what’s going on…I dunno. Seems really, really obvious that if he’s still coming with us next time, he’s riding in the trunk with duct tape over his mouth. Maybe after the tire’s changed we can get that arrangement going on the way home.

Anyway, I’m rambling. I do that when my horizons have been expanded.

Passing Up Tips

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Passing Up Tips

Via Boortz (you need to scroll down to “NOT SERIOUS ABOUT THE MEXICAN INVASION”, since as of right now his permalinks aren’t working for this). We get to find out how incredibly serious the feds are about illegal immigration.

A national backlash against illegal immigration has many police chiefs squirming behind their badges. They’re the faces of law enforcement in a country that doesn’t always enforce immigration laws. But Roswell Police Chief Edwin Williams has found an unlikely ally to help him feel true to his duty: the fax machine.

At least once a day his jailers fax the names of inmates suspected of being in the country illegally to immigration agents in Atlanta. It’s a practice Williams started a decade � and roughly 10,000 names � ago, long before illegal immigration grew into a front-burner issue.

Today, Roswell stands alone in the area covered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) regional office in Atlanta. No other jurisdiction in the Carolinas or Georgia sends such a list, said Kenneth Smith, the office’s special agent-in-charge.

The north Fulton city of 100,000 has faxed the booking sheets of 1,396 detainees to ICE in the past nine months alone, according to police department records. Immigration agents have picked up three of them, Williams said, or one out of every 465.

Don’t forget to check out the chart at the bottom of the article.

Okee dokee, I’m sure during an interview to explain this impressive lack of diligence, the feds are going to say something to the effect that this is the wrong approach, they’d follow up much better if Chief Williams followed the proper channels. Whatever. I’d just like to ask a hypothetical question about this.

What if the electorate took this much, much more seriously than whoever is on the receiving end of these faxes?

How would the electorate be behaving now, right before a midterm election? Suppose this issue was in the top-two or top-three on the minds of nearly all voters. What kind of a climate would we have…

…well. We’d have a decidedly anti-incumbent mood. We’d have a fever mildly expressing a bias toward the minority party, and suggesting that there will be a bloodletting in twelve days. But something that, at the same time, presents some resistence to being translated to a party preference. We’d have something just nodding toward the marginal possibility that Republicans might keep both houses…but if they do, boy howdee, they’d better watch their P’s and Q’s. Just a throw-the-bastards-out kind of thing. An “If you keep your seat it’s only because we decided the other guys are worse” kind of thing.

Both parties would be worried about their respective bases staying home. Democrats would be campaigning on “we are not the other guys,” they’d slam us all with eleventh-hour sex scandals and work overtime on agitating and mobilizing the grown-up hippies. Oh and of course, they’d vigorously oppose any attempt to verify ID at the polling place. Republicans would be campaigning on “don’t forget what the issues are,” and they’d tip-toe around the observation that they’ve been negligent in standing for things, promising to do better. They’d find new and creative ways of making this pledge without going on record agreeing that things are screwed up.

Rare, of course, would be the mainstream news story that would actually talk about this.

Right? Isn’t that what we’d have?

Well. What exactly would you say is going on right now?

Best Republican Commercials

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Best Republican Commercials

Right Wing News has a top-ten list, for the 2006 season, with honorable mentions.

My favorite is this one by Larry Elder.

He…Needs To See This…

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

He…Needs To See This…

Once again, Michael Savage made me wish I had a longer commute home.

He was opening his phone lines to a question based on two premises: 1) Republicans are far, far better than Democrats when it comes to national defense; and 2) in his personal opinion, this by itself is not an adequate reason for him to get out and vote for them. Maybe he figures it’s an adequate reason to pick Republicans over Donks, but it’s not good enough to get him off his ass over to the polling booth, to actually punch the ballot. So he was asking his listeners for a few more reasons.

I live 1.75 miles from work (of COURSE I have measured it). If I were to ring in to his switchboard the very second I turned my ignition key, I’d still be waiting to talk to him by the time I was home, cold bottle of St. Pauli Girl in hand. So…he’ll have to find a way to keep on pluggin’, without my input.

Well, he needs to see this latest ad by David Zucker.

You see, it’s not about the actual amount of money that is taxed, or that is spent. If that is the case, we need to put Democrats in charge because the Republican Congress has spent more money per year than has ever spent before. And then, we need to plan on replacing the Democratic Congress with a new Republican one in 2008 or 2010, since that Congress will surely have broken all records as well…seems like a pretty futile exercise, right?

No, it’s not about the actual dollar amounts. It’s about the relationship between the government, and the governed.

To the Democrats, the taking of the money is every bit as important as the giving of that same money. It’s not so much about gifting those stolen assets to the poor, downtrodden — um, actually, to those who live their private lives in ways upon which the bureaucracy smiles, whether those lifestyles are productive or not. No, it’s not really about that. It’s about the infliction of pain upon those groups that do not merit the approval of the bureaucracy. Smokers. Working stiffs that make more than 100k a year. Investors. Small business owners.

Republicans are all drunk on the elixir of “Buy More Votes With Public Funds.” That is true. In this sense, they are no better than Democrats. But at least, the act of taxing is a real necessity. It is a necessary evil. A means to an end.

Democrats…have become intoxicated on a wholly different elixir. And they’ve remained in their drunken stupor for a generation, or more. They’re all about…if we tax the right people, the act of taxation, has a certain nobility to it. We should work on taxing them even more.

Saving money for the taxpayer? Screw that! We’re Democrats. We’re all about targeting the correct people for taxation. We tax people who are evil…people who are evil because the “majority” has voted them that way. The more we can tax them, the better. If we can tax them into nonexistence, that’s better still.

Of course that raises the question…from whence do we get our tax revenues?

We are Democrats. We believe in big people telling little people what to think. So you are commanded, Wizard-Of-Oz style, not to worry about that.

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… VI

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… VI

Via Best of the Web: Why do we tolerate candidates like this. Even if you agree with them, and even if you think the other guy is so terrible. Why does anyone tolerate them?

You punch the hole next to these guys’ names, and you are part of the problem. It’s a carbuncle on the ass cheek of American politics, and it reflects poorly on us all.

Inquirer: Let me ask you to shift gears to the anti-terrorism initiatives. Last night in the debate, I think you said that you’d support warrantless wiretapping. How does that square with your suspicion about this White House? Why would you be willing to let them do that without judicial oversight? And on the Military Commissions Act, would that have been something you would have supported? In general, your outlook on anti terrorism initiatives.

Casey: Yeah, I think going backwards the, with regard to the detainees and interrogation, look, we’ve had people like John McCain, and you could give other examples as well, but people who have looked at this for a long time who have been very serious about making sure that we are very tough in our interrogation, that we get as much information as possible from those we detain and interrogate and also John McCain, showing the kind of independence that Rick Santorum never seems to show, took on the administration and I think they, based upon their experience, I think they got it right and I think I would have support that.

Secondly, on the question of wiretaps, my position all along has been we’ve got to do everything possible and give every tool that government agencies need, intelligence, law enforcement, give them the tools they need to fight this war on terror. And I think we, in terms of wiretapping, whether its terrorists, known terrorists, or suspected terrorists, we’ve gotta give this government all the tools it can. And I think what we’ve seen in the past is the system that has been set up when its operated according to the law, and when the administration goes and puts a wiretap in place and then comes back later and gets a warrant after the fact, the system that has been set up is a pretty solid system, but they often don’t comply with it. You can support having a lot of tough wiretapping, but also support the kind of tough oversight of the administration, which I think has been lacking. And I think we can have the two in balance at right.

Inquirer: Well, it might have been misreported this morning, but it certainly seemed to me as if you were endorsing the NSA program which is warrantless wiretapping without court oversight.

Casey: Well, I think, look, my position all along has been you’ve got to have the ability to wiretap known or suspected terrorists, and I am going to make sure that everything I do in this area is focused on anti-terrorism and making sure that we are being as tough as possible to ferret out any kind of plot or and kind of terrorist activity.

Inquirer: Bob, it’s real simple, and it seems to me you are dancing around it. Either you believe that the President or his designees need to go to the FISA court and provide some probable cause for the wiretapping, or you don’t. They say they don’t. They say they can do it on their own say so and there’s no oversight of whether the person they’re wiretapping is actually credibly a terrorist suspect or not. That’s the issue. Do they have to go through the FISA court or not? Nobody’s debating that we need to wiretap suspected terrorists.

Casey: You know very well that Senator Specter has worked very hard on this to try to get this right and I think with bipartisan cooperation, working with people like Senator Specter, as I know I can, that we can get this right. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t see what the…

Inquirer: It’s a real simple question. Do they need to go through the FISA Court as the FISA law has said since 1973 or don’t they? They say they don’t. We say they do. What do you say?

Casey: I think it’s worked well.

Inquirer: What has worked well?

Casey: I think it’s worked well when you use that system and you use it in the context of making sure that we are doing everything possible to, to…

Inquirer: So, are you saying that the president has been breaking the law since 2002, or whenever the NSA program started?

Casey: I’m saying that people like Senator Specter have a lot of questions about whether or not the law was broken. I don’t think anyone has made a determination about that. I think that’s pretty clear.

May I address the Bob Casey, Jr. loyalists for just a few seconds.

This asshole wants to make life-and-death decisions about protecting your family from terrorists who would cook their own weiners on a big hot plate just to blow your kids into so many bite-sized McNuggets.

And if you went out to buy some crummy five thousand dollar car on a Friday night, and the greaseball used-car salesman was only a quarter as evasive as the Senate hopeful is being in this interview, you’d walk the hell out of there and not look back. On the principle of the thing. To protect a crummy, stupid little five thousand dollar investment.

Versus — your…childrens’…LIVES.

Oh yeah, I know that makes me some kind of Republican scare-monger. Yeah, I get that. Well guess what. “Global Warming” is not a proven threat just yet…terrorists blowing themselves up to take out a few thousand of us, randomly-selected, IS a proven threat. Remember?

This Is Good XXVII

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

This Is Good XXVII

Via Boortz: Very Funny Ads.

Professor: Faculty SHOULD Be Liberal

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Professor: Faculty SHOULD Be Liberal

Just something to remember next time someone forcefully denies the liberal bias in the academia. And it should lead to a question: Does the denier agree with the position of this person who says this is the way things should be? And if so, are these positions to be taken seriously? That the liberal bias ought to be existing, and the educational institution is derelict in it’s duty to bring it about?

Professor: Faculty SHOULD be liberal

Donald Lazere, a University of Iowa visiting professor, will present a lecture and discussion entitled “Two Cheers for Political Correctness: Why Higher Education SHOULD Have a Liberal Bias” from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, in Room S401 in the Pappajohn Business Building.

Lazere’s presentation, sponsored by the UI Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI), will be free and open to the public.

Lazere will make the case that daily life in America is so saturated with conservative conventions that the resulting biases are not even perceived as such but simply assumed to be the norm of neutrality.

“It is a legitimate role for professors in liberal education to make students aware of liberal or leftist viewpoints that challenge the biases in these conservative conventions. The frequent unfortunate result, however, is that many students — as well as conservatives in the larger society, in media, and in government — are inclined only to stigmatize the challenging views as biased, not the conventions they challenge,” said Lazere.

Mmmkay. Well, look. Colleges and universities are already getting a bad rap from the business community, for failing to prepare graduates with the selection of skills needed to present resumes, pass through interviews, etc. etc. “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” goes the maxim. I wouldn’t want to see this situation deteriorate any further. And yet, the guy does have a point. If the students graduate without a sampling of diverse points of view, the educational institution could be said by some to have failed in its mission.

So how about a disclaimer for all the liberal points of view that are presented behind the ivy walls, for diversity’s sake and for diversity’s sake alone. “Your instructor has worked hard to offer you a smorgasbord of conservative ideas that work in the real world; now, for diversity’s sake alone, we are going to give you an offering of liberal ideas that DON’T.” Just put that little preamble on the beginning, and then let the left-wing love-fest commence in that context. I’d be down with that.

Come to think of it, so should Prof. Lazere.

Oh and this other silly back-and-forth discussion on whether there’s a liberal bias in our universities, or not. That can stop now. Right?

On Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

On Embryonic Stem Cell Research

It’s thrust into the news once again, as Rush Limbaugh is in hot water — somebody’s definition of “hot water,” somebody, somewhere — over his “insensitive” comments about Parkinson’s Disease sufferer Michael J. Fox.

His body visibly wracked by tremors, actor Michael J. Fox appears in a political ad that was the subject of widespread discussion on Monday after conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh claimed Fox was “either off his medication or acting.”

A victim of Parkinson’s disease, Fox speaks out in the ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, who supports embryonic stem cell research.

“I think this is exploitative in a way that’s unbecoming of either Claire McCaskill or Michael J. Fox,” Limbaugh said on his syndicated show.

On his Web site Tuesday, Limbaugh appeared to back away from his accusation.

“All I’m saying is I’ve never seen him the way he appears in this commercial for Claire McCaskill,” says Limbaugh. “So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances.”

In response to this CBS news story, I did something really funny and strange and weird. Hey, this is the House of Eratosthenes…it’s named after a guy who ran around peeking in water wells, eventually figuring out the earth is round, and how round the earth is, in an age where conventional wisdom said the earth was flat. House of Eratosthenes. Not “House of Some Guy Who Believes Everything He’s Told.”

So I did my funny thing. I clicked the button on my trackball. I clicked open Rush Limbaugh’s website to see what he had to say for himself. Yeah that’s right…I went to the place CBS said they got their information, and gave it a gander. Silly me.

Michael J. Fox Is Not Infallible;
He’s Just the Latest Victim Used by the Democrat
October 24, 2006

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT
RUSH: One of the big issues in the Missouri Senate race — as you know, we touched on it yesterday — is the Michael J. Fox commercial which is entirely misleading and which is in itself an attack ad, and it is filled with disinformation about embryonic stem cell research and how Jim Talent wants to criminalize it. Embryonic stem cell research — and, by the way, Fox is doing similar commercials in Maryland now for Ben Cardin against Michael Steele. But embryonic stem cell research is currently legal and completely unrestricted in both Maryland and Missouri and in the vast majority of other states. It’s largely personal and institutional ethics that keep scientists from cloning research.

The debate we’re having is almost always about governmental funding or radical measures like the one currently on the ballot in Missouri, which is Amendment 2, which would write a right to cloning into the state constitution of Missouri, and it’s one of these cleverly worded things that makes you: if you vote yes, you’re voting no, and vice-versa. So we’ll talk more about the Michael Fox situation because, as I knew yesterday, the Drive-By Media, including things like Inside Edition, are all panting (panting) to make something out of this that isn’t. We will address that, but Michael J. Fox entered the political arena long ago. He became a US citizen in 2000.

He’s from Canada. He was active in the Kerry campaign in 2004 and he’s entered the political arena again with this series of commercials for Ben Cardin in Maryland and Claire McCaskill in Missouri. One of the tactics the Democrats have — and they’ve used this consistently. They bring forth people who they think are victims for the purposes of exploiting them, and when you bring forth — for example, if you’re talking about embryonic stem cell research, and you want to convey the notion that the Republicans are opposed to it, and in effect they’re for people having Parkinson’s Disease. Make no mistake that’s what the intent is.

None of that, so far as I can tell, directly contradicts what’s been presented to me in the CBS piece.

But it makes some great points worth noting.

Not that any of it changes my position on stem cell research. I have no religious objections to it whatsoever, nor do I have any personal beef with using up taxpayer dollars on the research. But at the same time, I fully appreciate there are other taxpayers, who do.

Nobody, with any scientific credentials, or with a name and reputation worth defending, is willing to put their nuts on the block and say “Michael J. Fox needs stem cell research to cure his condition.” Nobody is willing to say Michael J. Fox is doomed forevermore, to anything, without that kind of research. Nobody’s willing to say Michael J. Fox enjoys some kind of hope for his future condition, that is dependent on this kind of research.

So the way I figure it, people like Michael J. Fox need this kind of research, just about as much as your average Catholic needs a statue of the Virgin Mary erected on the steps of City Hall. Right? Oh sure, if the research does work out, it would mean a whole lot more to him than that…but nobody’s willing to say that’s the way things will go, or even that there’s a decent chance that’s the way things might go. Scientifically, this research is nothing more than a political prop.

And a statue of the Virgin Mary on the steps of City Hall, while it would be pleasing to the Catholic voter, it would be deeply offensive to the Jewish, Muslim or Atheist voter. (Do Atheists get a capital “A”? Do they want one? I dunno.) Except…I’m really not quite so sure Jews and Muslims hold it as a sacred belief, that they’d be committing some kind of mortal sin by tolerating the statue.

The Judeo-Christian voter who values prenatal human life for religious reasons, is being asked to look the other way while babies are being ground up. Oh yeah, reality is a little more scientific and refined than that crude metaphor. But not meaningfully so.

And that’s how I see it. Use a sick person like Michael J. Fox to stump for Democrats who support embryonic stem cell research…or use Christopher Reeve…or anybody else. It’s no different from saying “So-and-so is a Catholic, and he’d really like to see a big marble cross in the rotunda of the Supreme Court.” It’s no different. Not unless someone wants to insinuate Michael J. Fox actually needs the research to take place. And nobody’s willing to come out and say that. They only imply it.

The Don’t Show Me State

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

The Don’t Show Me State

I am a registered Republican and I am what I am told amounts to a “conservative” blogger.

I take the security threats — the hypothetical security threats — with regard to the Diebold machinery, seriously. If someone wants to propose a plan to fix this threat, or legislation to ban the machines until the threat is addressed, I will support them. In fact, insisting on a paper trail is not good enough for me. I would support a reasonable plan to address this…even before anybody brings me concrete evidence of such a compromise having ever taken place.

This is a left-wing hot-button issue. I’m crossing over the aisle by lending my support to said issue. If I’m supposed to be running my blog to promote Republican-friendly causes, in this particular installment I’m doing a pretty shitty job of it.

So I am calling on all left-wingers and Democrats who might trip across this blog. Which, of course, as has been repeatedly noted, nobody actually reads anyway. Will you support me in insisting on measures to authenticate voters at the polls, and to ensure their eligibility to vote in our elections?

People in the good state of Missouri need photo identification to cash a check, board a plane or apply for food stamps. But the state Supreme Court has ruled that a photo ID requirement to vote is too great a burden on the elderly and the poor. Go figure.

Public polls consistently show that an overwhelming majority of Americans–regardless of age, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status–favor voter ID laws. And nearly half of the nation’s states have passed them. Yet a string of recent court decisions has blocked their implementation in some places, thus siding with Democrats and liberal special interest groups who would rather turn a blind eye to voter fraud.

A Georgia judge ruled a voter ID law unconstitutional in September. Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of a similar law in Arizona, only to be unanimously reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. (While the Supremes didn’t decide on the merits, their willingness to let the ID requirement be enforced in next month’s election suggests some encouraging deference to state officials who want to protect the integrity of the ballot.) Also this month, a Seventh Circuit appeals panel heard arguments in a case concerning Indiana’s voter ID requirements. And the Michigan Supreme Court will consider a voter ID challenge in November.

Not holding my breath…

Um, Hey, That’s Illegal

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Um, Hey, That’s Illegal

This tactic we see with regard to Julia Wilson, the foolish girl who threatened President Bush on her MySpace page, is nothing new. She committed a federal crime by threatening the President. That’s not my interpretation of things, that’s just things the way they are. And as far as any relevant question you’d care to pose about the whole stupid affair, that just about settles it. Up is that way; down is that way; Julia Wilson committed a crime.

Now, can you commit a crime and still be a victim? Absolutely. And in what we consider to be the “modern” era, you can advertise your victimhood to the point where a substantial number of people will forget all about the crime you committed. And if you can create enough noise about it, you’ll rock the boat so much that the crime you committed, doesn’t even matter anymore. Only a few of us are in power, you see. All the rest of us, our opinions don’t matter in the final analysis. And people who are in power — for reasons that are mostly unexplained to me, still — are beholden to those among the rest of us who are easily distracted, if the powerful are not easily distracted themselves. In other words, we live in a time where any decision made that really counts for something, is easily swayed toward forgiveness of that which ought not be forgiven. Not forgiveness, really. Forgetfulness is more like it. This bizarre kind of authoritarian Attention Deficit Disorder. Criminal-as-victim: “Hey look! A bright shiny object!” And quicker than you can say “whiplash,” suddenly no crime was committed at all…save for the treatment of the person who committed the crime.

Now if you’re the person who committed the crime — why not give it a try? Why not play a round of bright-shiny-object-roulette? Or three rounds, or more. You have nothing to lose!

But as this intrepid blogger reminds us…Julia Wilson committed a crime.

The girl was quoted as saying that the Secret Service agents were rather harsh in their questioning and were “unnecessarily mean.” Okay, and threatening their boss and our President isn�t mean? I wonder how the girl would feel if her life was threatened. Would that not be mean?

The Secret Service take threats against their President very seriously. No fourteen year old girl � nor anybody in the U.S. for that matter � is going to get in their way of protecting the President. The Secret Service probably wanted to find out if the girl was involved in any terrorist groups, had like-minded friends, and possibly if she contacted others to aid in an assassination attempt. Age doesn�t really matter when a threat is made.

If a person is old enough to make a credible threat against the President, then that person is old enough to take the intense verbal questioning that the Secret Service has.

The blogger’s masthead makes the statement that he writes logically. Well, we try for that objective here too…as to whether we succeed, we’d rather leave that up to the readership to decide for themselves. But if it is to be decided by me about this fellow’s writing, if I am to confine my verdict just to this post alone…I’ll give him a passing grade. Actually, I’m favorably impressed.

He’s twenty-five. I’d like to monitor him and see what he puts out when he’s twenty-six. Good work.

Ms. Wilson, herself…well, there’s still some time to straighten out. I can’t give her advice without getting in back of a long, long line anyway, and I’m not sure just one or two well-thought-out tidbits would do the trick. I’d start with, next time, let the facts about the issues sink in first, and then let the passion follow. And choose the hills upon which to die (not a threat). And know what a public forum is and what a private sanctuary is. And be slow to accept compliments your elders give you, just because they lean in the same direction ideologically. And, and, and…yeesh. Well, the poor girl’s just a mess. But a young mess. There’s time.

Memo For File XXX

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Memo For File XXX

I never get tired of watching Fargo, and I’m not entirely sure why. It could be the oddball Scandinavian slang and dialect, it could be that it’s only an hour and a half, it could be that it’s one of those “Nobody’s what you’d call ‘NORMAL’” type movies.

Or, it could be that even when you place it alongside a comprehensive listing of the “Hero’s Journey” events, it does a very nice job of following them all. The Campbell H.J. works on a subconscious level, so it could be that. Surely, much of the credit has to go to the script. It’s one of the cleanest film noir scripts ever written. Or greenlit, anyway.

Don’t Repeat 1974

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Don’t Repeat 1974

Via News Blog Central: Don’t Repeat Mistake of 1974.

In early 1973, the Dow approached new highs in a booming economy. In the 1972 election, the new left was rejected in almost every state. The Paris Peace Treaty was concluded with North Vietnam memorializing its pledge not to interfere militarily in the affairs of South Vietnam. The nation was prosperous and at peace.

Within a short time, the mainstream media were able to dismember and destroy the Nixon Administration, using as their sword the Watergate affair. In the congressional elections of 1974, Republican candidates were pounded, losing 48 House seats and five Senate seats.

Until the 1990s, the so-called �Watergate Babies� (i.e. left-wing Democrats) ruled Congress. As its first act after the 1974 election, the new Congress cut off all aid to South Vietnam. Within a short period of time, this led to Communist conquest of all of Indochina, the massacre of at least 4 million of our friends in the killing fields of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and the displacement of millions of “boat people.”

What was it I was just saying about truth, and it’s well-established right-wing bias?

Democrats Are Dangerous

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Democrats Are Dangerous

Via Webloggin: Just Why Democrats Are ‘Dangerous’ When It Comes To America’s Defense.

Here�s the Democrats� national defense record for the last 40 years:

A. Democrat President Johnson misjudges the Gulf of Tonkin incident, pursues the Vietnam War until a liberal CBS TV announcer thinks we�re losing and says we should quit. So we quit and lose. The victorious communists then kill 2 million innocent civilians.

B. Democrat President Jimmy Carter during the Cold War withdraws U.S. support for our longtime military ally, the Shah of Iran. Carter doesn�t like his human rights treatment of Soviet spies in prison. The shah is overthrown, and Ayatollah Khomeini returns, seizes power and creates an Islamic nation. Opponents are killed, the idea of suicide bombers is introduced to the PLO, and Iran�s oil wealth is used to spawn and support Hezbollah, a terrorist militia that killed 241 Marines in a Beirut bombing and that lately attacked Israel. Iranian radicals storm our embassy, taking 52 American hostages for 444 days. Carter fails in an amateurish attempt to rescue them. Eight military personnel and eight aircraft are lost in a desert foul-up.

Democrat Carter, self-assured and well-meaning but dangerously naive, was responsible for bringing into power an Iranian Islamic regime that�s now creating nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel and blackmail the U.S. and Europe. Iran has further provided weapons and support to Shiite militia and death squads in Iraq and could provide nukes to al-Qaida, with which it has a working relationship.

After the Soviets meet the inexperienced Carter, they invade Afghanistan. Then the communists capture Ethiopia, South Yemen, Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, Grenada and Nicaragua. The Afghanistan invasion attracts young Osama bin Laden, who raises money and recruits other Muslims to fight the anti-Soviet jihad. After the Soviets leave, this band becomes al-Qaida.

The mini-history goes on for awhile from there…and there’s a lot leading up to it.

I remember Stephen Colbert drawing a lot of approving yuks out of left-wing hippy land when he made a comment to the effect that “the truth has a lot of liberal bias to it” or something like that. Heh. Step back and look at the BIG picture. The truth does seem to have a bias, but not in that direction.

Religious Scientist Taints Science With His Faith

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Religious Scientist Taints Science With His Faith

That’s a more accurate headline than anything else you’ll read about this guy, anywhere.

Yes, atheism is a religion. And as a religion, when it comes to scientists who “practice” it, it gets away with a lot more crap than any other religion could.

Does Bush check the Rapture Index daily, as Reagan did his stars? We don’t know, but would anyone be surprised?

That right there is some brilliant “scientific” reasoning, Dr. Dawkins.

He’d Have Questions II

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

MazoFrom the early 1960′s with “My Favorite Martian” into the next decade, and with a brief resurrection in “Mork and Mindy,” we used to have this interest in the shipwrecked space alien. The mini-genre limped along by exploring facets of our lives “earthlings” took for granted, but that a developed intellect from another environment would find stange for a number of reasons.

Liberals, nowadays, have me convinced that perhaps bringing the mini-genre back would be a worthy exercise. We do far too many strange things, that are normal to us only because we’ve become acclimated to them over time. They wouldn’t…couldn’t…make any sense whatsoever to someone visiting from beyond who was not so acclimated.

And here, I’m referring to the arguing conservatives and liberals do over what’s a good social idea, versus what is not. Liberals say whatever a conservative thinks is good, sucks ass, and whatever the conservative doesn’t want to do, is great; and vice-versa. This is all part-and-parcel of a two-party system. Thanks to The Otto Show, we get a great example of this kind of whining over here, where a lefty guy struggles to make sense out of his own beliefs.

If not for the liberals in the world, we would still be living in caves. Neo-Cons have no imagination. Because of this they fear change of any kind. The only thing that ever remains the same is that things change. A Neo-Cons, will never willingly explore new avenues. They discover nothing except by chance, and never take chances unless forced by unavoidable circumstances. Liberals ask questions, and find new and better ways. They embrace change and innovation. They believe in the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” But Know to try a different way each time to avoid the same mistakes that kept them from succeeding, this way, they learn from their mistakes. Neo-Cons are afraid of the future because the don’t learn from the past.

Huh. I wonder what kind of past that guy’s been looking at. My recollection is, “learn[ing] from their mistakes” means to make sure liberals never run things.

Perhaps I, and that liberal guy, are showing how a personal bias works. I remember some things, he remembers different things.

The dispassionate-but-intelligent-and-interested space alien would be down with all this, I think.

But here’s where he’d have the problem.

Certain ideas, such as freezing the minimum wage and the cutting capital gains taxes, would illuminate the effects of not only those policies, but their opposites as well. They would also illuminate the effect of personal decisions, good and bad, on personal destinies. In other words, if the free market has a greater role in determining our standard of living, it becomes much easier to see what works and what doesn’t. If our standard of living is determined by something other than the free market, the contrast is injured and this distinction becomes much more difficult for everyone.

And without exception, I notice, liberal policies tend toward this difficulty. In fact, that seems to be the definition of a liberal idea. Pumping more money into a failing public school district and requiring parents to continue sending their children there, doesn’t have very much to do with punishing productivity by rolling back tax cuts. Taxing people after they’ve died, doesn’t have very much to do with making it illegal to hire people for less than some arbitrary “minimum wage.”

There is no common thread running through those ideas — except one. It is the erasure of the contrast between good ideas and bad ones. The confusion. Liberal policies confuse. They make it harder to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.

And so I think the dispassionate-but-reasonable space alien would want to know this:

How come you earthlings spend so much energy arguing about what ideas are good for everybody and what ideas are bad for everbody — and yet, only half of you support policies that would prove what’s good, and the other half of you seem to be resolutely opposed to ever finding out for sure?

You earthlings seem to agree on what would highlight the differences and erase the uncertainty forever. You also appear to be weary of arguing. Why not just spend, let’s say, a decade or so, putting aside the arguments and just doing these things that highlight the differences? Then you’d know.

Come to think of it, I’m not even a space alien. And this has had me befuddled for quite awhile.

The More Things Change…

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

The More Things Change…

From George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four:

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed one way or the other.
:
The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim…is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.

High == Republicans in Congress

Middle == Democrats in Congress

Low == Liberals who want to vote for Democrats

Am I right, or am I right?

Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High.

Aw gee, no way could that possibly happen after the glorious midterm revolution of 2006 right?

I mean gee whiz, we’ve only been promised Social Security is going to be “shorn up” for, like, I dunno, two generations now.

Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.

This Is Good XXVII

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

This Is Good XXVII

Via The Absurd Report, via Webloggin’.

Summit VI

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Summit VI

Barron’s has an interesting way of calling it.

We studied every single race — all 435 House seats and 33 in the Senate — and based our predictions about the outcome in almost every race on which candidate had the largest campaign war chest, a sign of superior grass-roots support. We ignore the polls. Thus, our conclusions about individual races often differ from the conventional wisdom. Pollsters, for instance, have upstate New York Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds trailing Democratic challenger Jack Davis, who owns a manufacturing plant. But Reynolds raised $3.3 million in campaign contributions versus $1.6 million for Davis, so we score him the winner.

And they conclude what, now?

Our analysis…suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber’s 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party’s loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three.

Well, I respectfully disagree. Republicans should hang on to the Senate, I think. Last I checked, the worst-case scenario was a 50-50 split with Cheney breaking any ties. I think we’re headed for that scenario. It’s become increasingly difficult to imagine the Republicans hanging on to the House.

But what if it shakes out this way? Good for the War on Terror; and I suppose we really don’t have any more important issue than that. But — what about presentation? What are the Republicans going to do to mend their rickety connection with the electorate, and demonstrate why it’s so important to keep the Democrats out?

The way things are going, even if the Republicans win, it will just mean our poiltical climate remains unchanged. You get immediate, and undeserved, respect if you huff and puff about the “dangers of global warming” — a threat unproven, and at this point, not even credible. Should you pontificate, instead, about dirty little bearded men who want to kill us so badly, they’ll piss bloody pulp to do it — a threat which has been demonstrated — you get from your fellow countrymen a bunch of ridicule and derisive snears.

Should Republican politicians go on the offensive and take on this unthinking, mechanical, lock-step code of mindless taboos and Newspeak? Should they risk that kind of political capital? If they emerge, tattered but intact, after the 2006 midterms…they most assuredly won’t do this. They’ll allow the silly blue-state Hollywood culture to remain in place, unchallenged and therefore authoritative: We should all be worried about Chicken-Little threats, and pay no attention to the genuine threat behind the curtain.

Not that I want the donks to win. It just seems like a no-win proposition either way. The soldier-slandering baby-killing global-warming-alarmists control the glittery entertainment world…or they control Congress. If our Republican leaders are lazy, and the voting public is also lazy, then what’s the difference really?

More Joyful

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

More Joyful

Heh.

Scary Peace-People III

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Scary Peace-People III

Jim Moose is the father of Julia Wilson, the highschool-freshman class Bush-hater who was pulled out of class and questioned by the Secret Service for threatening to kill the President.

Now, a lot of people wouldn’t like the way I worded that. What I’m supposed to say to describe Julia’s predicament, has been established long ago. I’m supposed to decorate my description of Julia with meaningless platitudes like these (link requires registration)…

The latest Sacramento resident to be questioned by federal agents in possible threats against President Bush is a 14-year-old girl with a heart on her backpack and braces on her teeth, a freckle-nosed adolescent who is passionate about liberal politics and cute movie stars.

Her name is Julia Wilson, and she learned a vivid civics lesson Wednesday when two Secret Service agents pulled her out of biology class at McClatchy High School to ask about comments and images she posted on MySpace.

Beneath the words “Kill Bush,” Julia posted a cartoonish photo-collage of a knife stabbing the hand of the president. It was one of a few images Julia said she used to decorate an anti-Bush Web page she moderated on MySpace, the social networking Web site that is hugely popular among teenagers. [emphasis mine]

The name of the anti-Bush web page, according to the article, is “‘People who want to stab Bush’ — Julia said she doesn’t remember the exact name because she soon changed it.” Gee, how adorable. Like a heart on a backpack, or freckles or something. Anyway, I’m supposed to just ease you into all this stuff. She didn’t “threaten to kill the President,” she posted some kind of photoshop caricature of the President being stabbed with a knife, and insinuated that a passion for stabbing the President is a prerequisite for joining her group. Threatening to kill the President…that’s just a concise summary of the situation that’s utterly compatible with all known facts. How unfair of me.

Julia has become something of a martyr for a whole anthology of liberal concerns: Our vanishing civil liberties that nobody anywhere can put into a meaningful list, President Bush’s contempt for cute freckle-faced children with hearts on their backpacks, the rapidly declining level of discourse in the country for which they blame everyone except themselves, etc.

Julia’s father, Jim Moose, had this to say yesterday about the brouhaha his daughter has stirred up in an op-ed:

Sadly, I had expected such highly partisan reactions, which were completely predictable in the currently poisonous political atmosphere in this country. My wife and I agree that Julia’s behavior was wrong, and deserved to be sanctioned. Believe me, she has learned her lesson. As to the charge that we should have carefully monitored her MySpace page, we respectfully disagree.

We know our kids better than anyone else, and because they are all good kids — Julia has two siblings — we have chosen to respect their personal privacy on such matters, although we have been diligent in warning them that human predators inhabit the Internet. Had we realized that the Secret Service was reading her MySpace page, perhaps we might have paid more attention.

To my mind, our policy of giving our kids some “space” in which to learn from their own mistakes does not make us “neglectful parents.” The charge is particularly absurd as directed to Kirstie, who despite great intelligence and talents that could have launched her into a successful professional career, has instead chosen to stay at home the last 21 years to devote all of her energies to raising our children. I am intensely grateful to her for these efforts. She and I have the strong belief that we ought to treat our children as though we trust them, until they give us reason not to (which has happened on occasion). Thus, until this incident with the Secret Service, we saw Julia’s MySpace page as akin to a personal diary. We respected her privacy.

Now, this is just wombat-rabies bollywonkers crazy, assuming Jimbo really believes in it. But I don’t think he does. His command of the English language is at least adequate; he’s taken the time to anticipate the response of fellow Bush-bashing liberals, and cherry-pick the facts that would most assuredly get some kind of a rise out of them. Not exactly rocket-scientist stuff, but it takes something to do all that.

I just see knowing the difference between “private” and “Internet” as far, far below that. As in, being “shocked!,” Captain Renault like, that the Secret Service would be reading something posted on the web for all the world to see.

Local blogger “Fetching Jen” has written about this time and time and time again. But I thought her original post, about the October 13 story, was most interesting.

Yesterday when my son came home from school, he told us that a rumor was floating around the school that a freshman was pulled out of class by Homeland Security. Then we heard that the rumor was true:
U.S. agents question teen

The latest Sacramento resident to be questioned by federal agents in possible threats against President Bush is a 14-year-old girl with a heart on her backpack (blah blah blah)…
:
The couple are disturbed, however, that federal agents questioned a child at school — without her parents present. And First Amendment lawyers question whether the Secret Service over-reacted to a 14-year-old’s comments on a Web site made for casual socializing.

“I don’t condone what she did, but it seems a little over the top to me,” said Julia’s father, Jim Moose. “You’d think they could look at the situation and determine that she’s not a credible threat.”

Excuse me… not a credible threat? That she even made the threat is outrageous, beyond poor judgment and illegal. Yes, it is against the law to threaten the President.

Where does a 14-year-old high school freshman get this level of anger? From her parents, of course. Hey, great parenting folks. She must be a really nice kid. And according to my son, she’s a piece of work, exhibiting frequent outbursts at school whenever she disagrees with something a classmate says or does. And her parents are neighbors and vocal supporters of the uber-crazy liberal Steve and Virginia Pearcy (WorldNetDaily: New effigy: Bush lied, I died) who hung the dummy soldier from their roof in an anti-war effagy with the sign, “Bush Lied, I died” on the uniform. [emphasis mine]

Jim Moose says his daughter has learned her lesson. I’m just wishing someone, somewhere, was discussing exactly what lesson it is the girl needs to learn. Don’t threaten people? Try to get into the other person’s shoes before you go off the handle and bully them? Takes all kinds to make a world?

Or…us poor, poor little anti-war liberals need to watch what we say in that evil George Bush’s Amerika because the First Amendment doesn’t exist for us?

I’d just like to know what has been learned from all this. Mr. Moose has exhausted his opportunity to write an op-ed for his local paper, just recycling a cherry-picked assortment of factoids from the whole sorry episode. Throughout his opinion piece, what opinion he would like to proliferate from these factoids, or what he thinks is notable about them, is rather unclear. The point of it seems to be that we shouldn’t worry about his daughter and what danger she may pose to herself or to others. He agrees what the daughter did was dumb; he thinks the Secret Service was out of line in questioning her without a parent present. What, exactly, does he think was dumb about what she did? What does Julia think was dumb about what she did?

My concerns are aroused, in no small part, by the second-to-last paragraph of Mr. Moose’s piece:

As some people commenting on the story have noted, at least Julia has passionate beliefs and cares deeply about politics. One of the Secret Service agents had similar comments after talking with her. The things about Bush that Julia dislikes the most are his bigoted attitude toward gays and lesbians and his know-nothing attitude toward global warming. Though we share these perceptions, she has reached them independently, and she feels them with fervor.

The most disillusioning thing about our recent experience is that it has proved to us all too starkly how ready, and even anxious, many people are to judge others harshly without sufficient evidence to form thoughtful opinions, and how truly mean some people are. I attribute these revelations in part to human nature, and in part to the degraded status of our political culture. I note that President Bush uses the verb “kill” all the time with respect to “evildoers” whose humanity he refuses to acknowledge. I note, too, that our governor achieved his fame through a series of movies in which he methodically slaughtered seemingly hundreds of one-dimensional enemies.

This, to me, is just stunning. “…it has proved…how ready, and even anxious, many people are to judge others harshly without sufficent evidence to form thoughtful opinions.”

Uh…yeah. You know Jim, maybe that comes from growing up in a household wherein you learn that your mindset is the only mindset worth having, and anybody who disagrees is something less than human. Deserving of the receiving end of a good, healthy outburst. Or to have their picture put on the Internet with a dagger photoshopped next to them, and a good old-fashioned hate group set up dedicated to their personal destruction.

Gee, I guess any among us can step into Julia’s crosshairs by disagreeing with her about any one of a number of things. Global warming and gay marriage will do the trick nicely.

Fetching Jen’s original question, “Where does she get the anger?,” seems apropos. In fact, from absorbing all the material that has made its way to me about this girl and her appalling lack of judgment, Julia doesn’t seem to be burdened by anger quite so much as an inability to recognize a different opinion as potentially worthwhile. Worthwhile, or…even if it isn’t, you know, if that other person with the different idea is allowed to have the last word just one time, things will still be okay. About the sufficient evidence to form thoughtful opinions: Am I to believe she really knows that much about gay marriage or global warming? She can’t know too much more about climate change compared to anyone else, and what everybody else knows about it is damn little. So what we have here, is a girl who sees nothing wrong with organizing on-line hate groups, inspired by motives that amount to…very, very little. She simply wants to eliminate people who don’t think the way she thinks.

Oh yeah, and as an afterthought if she gets in trouble and is confronted by the concern that someone might actually be hurt, she’ll do some backpedaling.

That right there is the trouble with peace people. What opinions they have — these opinions demonstrate their benevolent nature, so nothing else needs to. They “gave at the office,” you might say. Words, deeds…if any of these are interpreted by some to be poorly-mannered, or malicious, or even dangerous — what is the problem with that? They’re good people. It’s proven. They have peaceful opinions. And they’re willing to kill for them.

Julia said it best herself: “I mean, look at what’s (stenciled) on my backpack � it’s a heart. I’m a very peace-loving person…I’m not going to kill the President.” Yeah, of course, the Secret Service should have known that. Can’t you just see Secret Service Agent Columbo, apologizing to Julia for having taken so much of her valuable time?

Some of the scariest people we’ve got in our country right now, are our scary, scary peace-people.

Thing I Know #70. Courage has very little to do with being outspoken.

Memo For File XXIX

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Memo For File XXIX

Last winter I had a family council with my son about movies that have “Doofus” Dads in them. The reason for this, was that we had just seen such a movie and I had come to appreciate, over time, that this was part of a trend. I had no idea how big a trend it was, until we were finished. We found something, like, 50 or 60 movies like this.

Movies are not trivial. Movies are important. During their formative years, our children come to form their opinions about the world around them…through movies. Nobody wants to admit this, since if the person admitting it is a kid, he makes himself look like a dolt, and if that person is a parent, he looks like he’s abdicating his responsibility. Well, the truth of the matter is you can’t stop this.

Maybe there’s an opportunity available if you’re still married to the kids’ mom. Maybe not. I don’t care. I found a way to turn lemons into lemonade. I’m not in a position to fully control what my son can see, but I’m in a great position to instill healthy habits about how to process it. So that’s exactly what I did.

But wow. Sixty movies? I had no idea.

Since then, I have come to learn something else about movies with “Doofus Dads” in them. My resentment toward this mind-numbed, silly movie-making habit isn’t so much as a Dad; although it is partially about that, since it makes my job as a Dad much harder than it should be. No, most of my resentment is as a consumer of movies. I figure, when I spent money on a movie, I’m paying someone to be creative. Going solo, going on a date with “She,” going as a fam and paying through the nose for overpriced candy and popcorn. Or renting. Or catching on cable. I figure, there’s some huge money going toward someone to render the service of showing a ilttle bit of Goddamn creativity. That is the advertised service, it’s paid-fer in advance, so let’s see it.

The “Doofus Dad,” I have come to realize, isn’t simply a father-figure who is a doofus. There are three rigid, rock-hard, uncompromising, distinguishing characteristics for the Doofus Dad.

  • He is unintentionally funny, such that while your appreciation of the humor may involve sympathy with the actor, it must also involve salient disrespect to the character himself;
  • He is dysfunctional in a way that creates problems for himself and those around him, usually this is in the area of time management, wherein his balance is tilted toward work and away from family;
  • He is oblivious, or at least quiet, about his dysfunction, until the last ten to fifteen minutes of the movie when he has his sickeningly predictable “OMYGAWD!!” moment.
  • Pretty structured, huh? But let’s concentrate on that second bullet about the dysfunction. There’s a lot going on just within that.

  • The trope about spending too much time away from the family is recycled in cookie-cutter fashion, way out of scope of anything that could represent real life problems in any numerically proportional way.
  • Spending time away from family may involve not being absent from the family itself, quite so much as missing out on special occasions.
  • The attribute of honor often figures prominently in this. Broken promises and all that. The filial characters do a lot of bellyaching and pissing and moaning about “you proooooooomised to come to my sooooooooccer game!” and crap like that. (Side note: When my son is being intellectually lazy as all nine-year-olds are going to be from time to time, I really appreciate the crap out of being held to promises I didn’t make. Piss up a rope, you lazy Hollywood people who are probably childless yourselves. Assholes.)
  • I notice a common theme in the “dysfunction” of actually caring about what the family actually achieves and desiring to hold the family membership, individually or as a whole, to some standard. In Cheaper By The Dozen II, the two dads are competing with each other and, toward this end, demanding effort from their wives and offspring. It is implicitly understood that these guys are assholes. Not because they’re ruining what should be a fun recreational activity, but because of their expectation of effort. Which, back in my day, was exactly what Dads were supposed to do. (Those were the Dads that deserved the capital “D”.)
  • The repeated failure to uphold promises, leads to a tragic fracture of trust with the children. This is usually exploited by means of having the adorable moppet-kid flash a melancholy expression at the camera the minute the Dad makes a promise, so the audience can see the poor little tyke doesn’t know what to believe anymore.
  • The act of instilling values in the kid, or even showing an interest in the kind of values the child should learn to respect as he matures, is repeatedly assaulted by the movie inustry for no reason whatsoever. Often a Dad comes to occupy the “Doofus” role for the sin of simply expressing a personal opinion, other than the most politically-correct, about anything. Anything at all.
  • Usually, it’s left unresolved just from where the tyke should learn “Dad” type things — right and wrong, how to change a tire, what’s wrong with the world & what individuals should try to do about it, etc. etc. One thing is for sure: It isn’t Dad. Most of the time, it’s the space alien or strange animal responsible for the main plotline of the movie; nearly as often, this question is left completely unresolved. One other choice is an unstated implication that after the closing credits scroll by, the Dad will indeed bear the responsibility for teaching “Dad” type stuff to the tyke, but only after he has cleared up his glaring problems — invariably, by abjuring himself of being a “Dad” at all, and instead evolving into a position of some weird older best-friend type guy.
  • Long list, huh? And yet…out in our highly-creative “Hollywood” land, we got an awful lot of product being pumped out that conforms to it, every word of it, hand-in-glove.

    I was noticing that about, of all movies, this one. Claire Danes is on the phone with her father at the beginning of the movie, which is a clever way of establishing that Claire Danes is in the movie and so is her character’s father. Subject of the phone call? The father, a general in some unspecified branch of the military, has work related obligations and can’t make something. Wedding, or something. And Claire Danes whiiiiiiiiines away, in perfect allegiance to the tired ol’ trope, “You prooooooooomised!!!”

    Now I don’t want to spoil the movie for any who may have not seen it. But this has nothing — NOTHING — to do with the plot. It is completely detached, unrelated, even awkward.

    ASSHOLES. It’s like, when the script is being written, someone’s in the room ready to bust kneecaps if the “Doofus Dad” cliches aren’t religiously tossed in.

    Like I said, I really resent this as a Dad. I resent it even more as a person who pays big money — well, big money to me, anyway — for what are supposed to be highly imaginative and creative intellectual products, meticulously sculpted to make one or several memorable experiences for my family, such that we end up closer to each other for having sat through it together.

    That’s what movies used to be. I don’t think they even want to be in that business anymore. Well, as the customer it’s up to me to define what the job is, and they impress me as not really wanting my money that badly.

    Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… V

    Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

    Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… V

    Quick. Name a news service that is oh so unbiased or, at least, has a sterling reputation for same. A news service that takes great pains to remain objective no matter what the subject matter. Mainstream as mainstream can possibly get, entrusted with the noble endeavor to inform those who…

    Oh, stop laughing already.

    Anyway, the answer would be “Reuters.” That hard-hitting news organization that doesn’t even use the word “terrorist.”

    Reuters, which needs kneepads and a bib whenever it “interviews” Democrats.

    If Democrats win control of the U.S. Congress in the Nov. 7 election, it would turn the Capitol upside down and create a political nightmare for the already embattled President George W. Bush.
    :
    “In some ways it would be a nightmare for Bush, but in other ways it could be an opportunity,” said Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Zowie! We’re already off to a great start in this analysis. The “scholar” explored how a Democratic party victory next month would be bittersweet for the President, presenting him with both a “nightmare” and with “opportunity”; our unbiased news service decided to pick up on the negative intangible, which plainly was not intended to receive the emphasis — and teased the story with it. Great move! No agendas here!

    What did the scholar mean by the “opportunity” angle?

    Ornstein said Bush, who denounces Democrats as soft on terrorism, could move toward the political center and reach out to Democrats in his final two years in office to overhaul U.S. immigration laws and the Social Security retirement program, two goals he has failed to accomplish.

    But Ornstein said that was unlikely. “I’ve talked to a lot of people who know him well and are really close to him. I have yet to find one who thinks he will change his modus operandi dramatically,” he said.

    Okay, here’s the money question, since we’re all a bunch of voters who are thinking of voting for Democrats next month. This is what it’s all about: What does “overhaul” mean in that context? What are you doing when you “overhaul” the immigration system? What are you doing when you “overhaul” Social Security? Let in more illegal immigrants? Throw the doors wide open? Slam them shut for good? Something in between? What? Make Social Security pay out more? Put more people on the receiving end of the program? Maybe tie Social Security and immigration together, so that illegal immigrants can get a whole lot of Social Security money? What are we talking about here?

    I need to know! I’m thinking of voting for Democrats! I need the information!

    Silly me. You aren’t supposed to want an answer to that question. I guess…I have the “opportunity” to go looking for it in some other article. Reuters doesn’t think it’s relevant.

    What do they think is relevant. Well, the next few paragraphs tell us…

    Democrats deny Republican claims they would try to impeach Bush and remove him from office. Instead, they plan to push their own agenda, “A New Direction for America,” which includes raising the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, ending some tax breaks to oil companies and making college more affordable by reducing federal student loan interest rates.

    Democrats also promise to implement recommendations from the 9/11 Commission to bolster security, ease the threat of global warming and, in response to influence-peddling scandals on Capitol Hill, clean up the way Congress does business.

    Reuters went on to demand answers as to how this was going to be done. How are Democrats going to change the global climate?

    Eh…no. No, they didn’t. They didn’t ask a single question about this stuff, or if they did, it didn’t make it into print. Yeah, that’s right. All you get is the crappy promises made. No plan. Just free advertising, that’s all.

    Reuters, great job…you can stand up now. Don’t forget the breath mint, and you need to wipe that slime from your chin.

    I’d just like to go back in time, let’s say, twenty years and say Hey everybody! Guess what’s going to be unbiased, objective, hard-hitting news in 2006? Well believe it or not, one of our major political parties is going to pledge to change the freaking weather and our centrist, unbiased, agenda-free mainstream news organizations are going to not ask a single critical question about it. I’m not kidding! That’s really the way it’s going to be in twenty years.

    Would they believe me? Well, I was around in 1986…no way would I have believed me. I would think this would be much crazier than the boasting about the time machine in the first place. And yet…here we are.

    Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… V

    Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

    LogoOn Friday this blog, which nobody actually reads, was discovered by Webloggin’ and now we are listed. With an impressive fanfare.

    Webloggin Welcomes Morgan Freeberg, New Author of Blogging Excellence!
    By the Webloggin Editor
    October 20, 2006 at 1:33 pm in Feature Article

    We are very proud to announce that Morgan Freeberg from �House of Eratosthenes� has joined the Webloggin Community of Blogging Excellence!!!!

    Morgan calls his blog �the blog that nobody reads� but in reality he has developed a following of regular readers.

    So why is it called the blog that nobody reads? Morgan explains this best.

    So the question has naturally arisen from that readership, why does it persist in calling itself �the blog that nobody reads�? Yeah, subtitles can be cool. Superman is the �Man of Steel,� and Hooters is �Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined.� But what�s up with a subtitle that is starkly at odds with the truth?

    And what�s going on with that name? House of Erato- What? Who?

    Here it is, the long-awaited FAQ that explains all. However, it�s a Bill Clinton flavor of �all� � it depends on the meaning of the word �all.� Unlike our 42nd President, however, I�m not going to deliberately lie to you and then send my cronies out to appear on Sunday morning talk shows, intoning that the lie was okay because it was never your business to begin with. I�m taking the initiative in telling you, so it�s automatically your business, and it�s true.

    So there you have it. Well actually there is quite a bit more. My favorite is �This blog is meant to be a monologue, but a dialogue is always better.� You can read Morgan�s FAQ here.

    While you are at it please stop by his blog and check out everything he has to say!

    Webloggin’ editor is way too kind. Three exclamation marks? Well, I’ll take ‘em.

    So is it really The Blog That Nobody Reads? Well…kinda, yeah. But as I’ve noted, the subtitle has a lot more to do with intent than with achievement. We don’t say outlandish things around here to generate more hits, like…foolish nonsense insinuating our elected officials are starting wars to get revenge for attempted hits on their daddies, or for oil profiteering, or crap like that.

    No sir…when we spout craptacular nonsense of that sort of magnitude, it’s because we believe it to be true.

    When you go the other way, allowing what’s “true” to be affected by your desire for more traffic, you replicate a problem that currently infects, not only the “blogosphere,” but the mainstream media as well. You begin to say things to get people to look at you, and lose your dexterity in dividing what’s proven from what is not — and what’s unproven one way or t’other, from what’s blatantly false.

    And so we have global warming. This blog, which nobody reads anyway, keeps in mind that “global warming” is proven or is pretty much proven…but at the same time, the idea that technology is contributing meaningfully to it, is in serious doubt. There is a significant likelihood that the importance of the human technology, may one day be proven as well — and that, even then, the prognostication that our actions may have a deleterious effect on our continuing survival, is mythical. The supposition about looming extinction at our own collective hand, is complete balderdash. There’s never been a serious reason to believe it, ever. To the contrary, gloomy omens of our self-destruction are every bit as old as written communication itself, perhaps older — they have never faded away into dormancy. Ever. Not for long.

    But The Blog That Nobody Reads is always open to new information.

    Point is, that is just not the kind of idea that’s going to get you a lot of traffic. So we’re way down the list of the blogosphere ecosystem, #8244 right now, on a list which places DailyKOS at #3.

    That’s the way thinking is. You may reach a conclusion based on what you heard that will get you a lot of attention, which is the way other editorials and blogs do it. Or, you may reach a conclusion upon which you, personally, would be willing to bet something important. Like a body part or the life of a loved one. That’s what we do here at The Blog That Nobody Reads. We think — sensibly. You will see, here, repeated references to “on your left nut thinking,” or the prospect of taking your left testicle and putting it under a sledgehammer while swearing…to the opinion you reached. Being more willing to bet the family jewels on the idea you have reached, than to bet ‘em on the opposite. It’s a way of thinking most people don’t do nowadays.

    And yet, everything we use to communicate our ideas to each other, every device, every protocol, every little thing that powers those other things — without exception — was invented and put in production by men who thought that way. Would I bet my personal fortune that I can use this generator to light a city without any gas? That I can use a packet header to tell the network what peer should receive the payload? That this page will display properly in a browser lots of other people have? People who think that way, build things…and then we use those things they built, to communicate stupid, silly, crazy ideas that don’t make a lick of sense.

    And…pictures of girls in skimpy clothes. Well, the Blog That Nobody Reads doesn’t fault men for being men. We cast our jaundiced eyeball, instead, on the silly stupid ideas. Or to be more precise about it, upon the people who genuinely believe them, simply because someone’s taken the trouble to communicate them. It reflects poorly on our generation. Our children will look back on us and regard that as the hobgoblin of our times. We place credibility on the idea most likely to get attention, ignoring the ideas least likely to do this — we’d be a lot better off doing the opposite.

    So that’s why this is The Blog That Nobody Reads (although you need to read the FAQ to get a detailed explanation). As for traffic, since labor day we’ve declined from a lethargic, sleepy state into a catatonic one. We’re showing a few signs of heading back up upward into “sleepy,” a trend which will be almost certainly be reversed as we head into the holidays. On average, we’re more-or-less hovering around the century mark, a hundred hits a day or just shy of that. It’s not a very “happenin’” blog at all.

    But our “following,” what there is of it, is very loyal. We’re pretty pleased about that. And the “linkage” throughout the blogosphere is on the upswing, partly because of networks like Webloggin’. It would appear based on the timeframe involved, that because of the listing on Webloggin’ Friday afternoon, the Blog That Nobody Reads was promoted from a “Flippery Fish” to a “Crawly Amphibian“. We used to be number nine-thousand-something…now we’re number eight-thousand-something.

    If that does turn out to be part of a long-term trend, I believe it would say a lot more about people-on-average than it does about this blog. I think people are tired of all the bullshit. I think they’re ready to go back to thinking the way television-inventors thought, rather than the way television-watchers think. Several times a day, we are asked to believe that an invasion of Iraq is still up to some meaningful referendum. Deep down, we all know it isn’t. Deep down, I think everybody understands this was a decision made by the White House in the spring of 2003 — after that, it was a done deal. No point debating it, unless you want to discuss what we are to do “next time.” Well, if it’s all about what to do next time we have a lunatic like Saddam Hussein — and you’ll notice, this isn’t something that ever involves a lot of waiting — I think most people understand that whole business of “Doing Nothing” isn’t a really swell idea.

    These are just sensible conclusions. They’re opinions you end up forming when you think as if your left testicle depended on the tethering of your thinking to the plane of reality…not when you say crazy crap to get attention.

    As for whether people are titillated by it, my only hope is that when they spend the time reading it, they get something back that’s worth their investment. I’m not out to sell advertising and I’m not out to sell newspapers. You will read things here, though, that you won’t read in any newspaper. The two sentences immediately preceding, have a connection with each other…which is a sad, sad thing. But I think it’s changing.

    Factory Blowing Up

    Friday, October 20th, 2006

    Factory Blowing Up

    Via Galley Slaves, video of a fireworks factory blowing up.

    Cool.

    Unless you’re the owner of the factory, I s’pose.

    Why Do Black Americans Still Vote For DemocRATS? II

    Friday, October 20th, 2006

    Why Do Black Americans Still Vote For DemocRATS? II

    Via Bullwinkle Blog: There’s a radio ad out that seems to be inspiring some controversy. Not disagreement, but controversy.

    In the battle for the black electorate, liberals, who make up the overwhelming majority of black voters, have long disagreed with conservatives over ideology, public policy and economic strategies to better the lives of African Americans. But when conservatives placed the civil rights movement in a Republican context, black liberals said, they crossed a line.

    I have no explanation as to why this would be controversial. None. Well actually, just one.

    And it comes from the Bullwinkle Blog itself:

    Ever since then [anecdote involving "Daddy" King and President Kennedy] Democrats have considered the black vote their personal property. [emphasis mine]

    Yes, it does seem to be a touchy issue.

    Left completely unexplained, by everyone, is why it’s a “touchy issue” which party will get some individual’s vote…because of the color of that individual’s skin. Another ad will give me, a white guy, reasons to vote for a Republican…that’s not “controversial.” Another fellow may be targeted by another commercial, and this commercial “crosses a line.” His skin is a different color, but his vote counts exactly the same way mine does.