Archive for February, 2007

By Which Others Shall Be Gauged

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Ya just gotta see this. It is a new standard for hypocrisy, inveigling, and obfuscation. I award it a hundred points out of a possible hundred, and vow to protect it and display it and bring it out again, each time I wish to measure another example.

It starts with a revelation Monday that the palatial digs of Al Gore, that pied-piper of global warming, the twenty-first century’s Chicken Little, chews through — get this — twenty times the energy consumption of the average home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

This may come as quite a shock to folks who loudly advertise how much they hate blogs, and get all their news from the alphabet-soup cable channels and the Daily Show. To “neo-cons” like myself, it’s all par for the course. For a generation or more, the “environmental movement” has diminished into nothing but a two-tiered set of rules for us all, one tier for the “ordinary” folks and one tier for the elite millionaire grown-up hippies like Mr. Gore. We are to apologize for our existence while scuttling about in our little plastic-aluminum sedans that look like lightswitches, and they are to move freely around the world in their Gulfstream jets whenever they want. Ah, but what if you share the political leanings of the glitterati without sharing their status? Then you get to buy a hybrid, and start closing your eyes when you talk and smelling your own farts. Then the glitterati will smile upon you…but kindly move your wretched wrinkly wage-slave ass out of their way when you see ‘em coming, thank you.

Our liberals have become exactly what they call conservatives, whenever the subject of tax breaks comes up.

Well now. I was rather interested when I discovered this little statistic about our Former Next President of the United States, via Captain Ed Morrissey’s fine resource, and as is the case with everything I knew there was bound to be another side to the story coming down the road. And there was. First: It turned out the numbers were bogus.

Ha ha! No, that’s what I was waiting to see happen. You know, it could very well turn out that the numbers were bogus and Gore’s grandkids do their homework by candlelight when they come visit. But a lot of angry liberals have had their crack at this thing, and nobody’s stepped forward to say such a thing. No, the thing that happened first was that Drudge started reporting it — and so the lefties began to present it as a story from that nonsensical no-account conservative hobgobblin Matt Drudge. Y’know…like, it wasn’t actually from him, and even if it was, that by itself doesn’t mean it’s untrue…but if you want to conclude such a thing, the angry leftie telling you about Matt Drudge won’t utter a peep of protest. So don’t think about the numbers. Think about Drudge.

That was the first spin. I dunno if it worked. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in it because as far as anybody can tell, the numbers are accurate. You light up your house all day, and you’ve burned up all the energy that Mister “Global Warming Will Kill Us All” needs for one single hour.

So it’s still a problem…demanding the Frankensten Monster of solutions. I mean, of P.R. solutions. Something that will put all other P.R. solutions to shame.

Well. Wait no more.

Gore Responds To Drudge’s Latest Hysterics

The right-wing is angry that Al Gore has won so much public attention and goodwill for his work on global warming. Determined to smear his efforts, Drudge writes in a screaming headline:

POWER: GORE MANSION USES 20X AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD; CONSUMPTION INCREASE AFTER ‘TRUTH’

Responding to Drudge’s attack, Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.

This is a masterpiece. Really. There are only so many things they can do to change the subject and divert blame from their revered High Prince of impending doom. And they have hit all the notes, as if someone had a paper-and-clipboard in hand with a bunch of checkboxes on it.

Carbon Offsets 5cOne. They missed the point. Completely. The point is, Al Gore is saying our continuing survival has been placed into question — Manhattan getting flooded, etc. — because we’re having too big of an impact on the environment. Al Gore, through household energy consumption alone, has chosen to have twenty times as big of an impact as everybody else. Carbon offsets or no, he’s simply not taking his own proclamations seriously.

Two. They accuse the other side of missing the point, defining the other side as…anyone who would have a harsh syllable or two for their oh-so-put-upon High Prince Gore. How are Gore’s critics missing the point? Something to do with the carbon offset program…which bring us to…

Three. They get to make money for their friends off of Gore’s hypocrisy. Don’t criticize Al Gore! Buy some carbon offsets instead, like he is! Where’s the money go? Who knows? Who cares?

Four. When you start to read “Gore Responds,” the issue is Al Gore’s hypocrisy. When you’re finished with it, the issue is now “…and what are YOU doing to help the environment, like Al?” You have to admire it. They’ve been caught with their hands right in the cookie jar — or their buddy Al has, anyway — and they’ve turned it into a guilt trip on everybody else.

Five. This is just in the “frosting on the cake” department: The verbs and adjectives. Angry. Smear. Screaming. Desperate. You need to sprinkle these in, densely, as they’ve done, when you rely on spin instead of reason and common sense.

This is far too good to let go. You really don’t have to wait very long at all, in this politically charged climate, for The Left to come out with a scolding expose or rebuttal that hits two, three or even four of those. It is an occasion to bump into a single crown jewel covers all five so thoroughly, and that’s why this is a new yardstick by which similar scolding screeds will be measured.

One thing though. And a reasonably intelligent seventh-grader should be able to understand this. If you buy into the idea that Gore’s purchase of carbon offsets somehow vindicates him from the charge that he’s gulping through twenty times as much juice as the rest of us, then necessarily, you have to take it as proven that wherever the carbon offset revenue is going, it’s doing some good. Not only that, but that it is a hundred percent effective. And, that the offset-for-offset computation, weighed against the ecological-footprint size upon which it is based, is accurate. Pinpoint-accurate. Verifiably so. Remember, Al Gore is using up ten times two times You…the numbers stand unchallenged as his toadies and mooks have showered us with their predictable fury and spittle and righteous indignation. The numbers have not been disputed. Presumably, barring the arrival of new information, the numbers are accurate.

Gore is indeed using up all the power of a sorority house with hairdriers running full power, in all rooms, day and night. And yet — he stands blameless. Because of the carbon offset purchases. Which we must know, therefore, work every bit as reliably and as effectively as they’re supposed to…

…why and how, then, is there a global warming crisis? I mean, I don’t pretend to understand how the carbon offset program works, but it must work pretty well. Let’s just buy up enough carbon offsets to choke a horse, and pollute as much as we want. I mean, Al Gore has shown us how, and it must be okay if he’s doing it, right? By this logic, the situation is well under control. Where’s the crisis?

Makes Special Sense

Monday, February 26th, 2007

So after the democrat party got all the kinks wound out of their Six for ’06 platform last year, sanded off those burrs, buffed out those streaks, ironed out those wrinkles — how much sense did the result make to those who were, and are, ostensibly the beneficiaries of it?

Not much, when you weigh the words of former paratrooper Michael Fumento regarding Bullet Point #1, which told us they’d “Double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda.”

First, doubling can only be accomplished by going a disastrous route – making special ops no longer special. Second, false solutions crowd out real ones. Much can be done to improve the quality of our armed forces, but this Democratic proposal doesn’t make the grade.

Just as it’s disturbing that in 31 pages the Democrats couldn’t devote a single line to how they plan to achieve their lofty goal, it’s unsettling that they can’t get their definitions right. “Special Forces,” properly speaking, refers to U.S. Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. But, as Drew Hammill in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office confirmed to me, what the Democrats want to double is the much broader group of “Special Operations Forces” – SOF in military shorthand, or just “special ops.”

Further, just as they don’t seem to know what special ops are, it’s doubtful the concocters of this soundbite know what goes into creating such troops or what a doubling would entail. But in consulting with special ops leaders, trainers, and members – indeed, by merely looking at the numbers – it quickly becomes clear that this “plan” is pie in the sky.

Hat tip to blogger friend Buck, who credits Chapomatic, and also achieved an early nomination for our Best Sentence award:

“Special,” in the Dem lexicon, has more to do with things like the Special Olympics than Special Forces. I despair of the Dems ever understanding the difference.

What Is A Liberal? V

Monday, February 26th, 2007

What is a liberal? Many things define what the word has come to describe nowadays…few of them good. And a big chunk of them fall under this brief essay by Gary Kamiya, which was linked at Jawa, which in turn was linked by Good Lieutenant.

In a nutshell: Yes, they know they’re whacked-out wombat-rabies bollywonkers crazy. That’s why they’re high-fiving each other and calling everybody else stupid.

Make sense now? Wonderful. Ice cream has no bones, turn on the radio I want to fly a kite, they’re coming to take me away haha.

Is there life after Bush?
We’ve been hating him forever, but he’s leaving. Now we have to decide what to do with the rest of our lives.
By Gary Kamiya

Hating George W. Bush sometimes feels like a full-time job…I’ve been forced to deal with this wretched president for so long that hating him has virtually become part of my identity…Pretty soon, we won’t have Bush to kick around anymore. And I’ve started wondering: What are we going to do then? …Maybe we Bush-haters are extreme and obsessive. But Bush made us this way.

You can tell from the ellipses sprinkled in there like raisins, I’m facing a challenge teasing it in a way that it makes sense. Kinda like making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But Mr. Kamiya demonstrates that all things do not have to be sane, to be revealing.

I’m not using Dowdisms to change the meaning of anything. Go read the whole thing.

One more time: These people want to decide what our public policies are going to be, foreign and domestic. And when they talk about “dissent == patriotism” they aren’t talking about dissent against them or their compatriots; they want blind obedience in that area. Once we’ve had a chance to inspect what they think and what they want to do, the more responsible folks among us wouldn’t trust them to walk the dog. Want proof? You only have to click.

Update: You know, I’m doing some more thinking about this and, as I attempt to find out anew what makes these people tick, a thought occurs to me that raises far more questions than it answers.

If I hate somebody or something…let’s just strip all the emotional turmoil out of it and call the thing “X” instead of “George Bush.” If I hate X, and I’m accepted into a community wherein all others present similarly hate X, there really isn’t going to be a lot to be said when you discount all the marginal conversations that could be fairly categorized as off-topic. “Hate to threadjack, but…” type-stuff, “when is this feature on your blog going to be available again,” stuff like that. Maintenance issues aside, there isn’t going to be much call to exchange ideas.

I mean to put it more concisely, if I hate X and you hate X, what more is there to be said? I suppose we could come up with new and creative ways to express our hatred of X, turning the whole pointless exercise into a more stimulating vocabulary-building experience. Loathing X, pontificating grandiloquently against X, for hatred’s sake spitting my dying breath at X, et al. Or, we could compare notes on what widely-visible fountainhead of opinion strikes us as being unfairly biased in favor of X, and resolve to ensure nobody ever drinks from that wellspring without a large grain of salt. Or, we could have some extremely brief conversations about “this is my reason for today for hating X.” And I would expect once we agree that this is a valid reason, the conversation would shift to something else.

Or…I suppose we could come up with personal priority lists about reasons for hating X. I could offer the opinion that “Reason #43 on your list is significantly weightier than Reason #27, which I consider to be a tangential issue” — and then we could debate that.

I see very little of the above on DailyKOS or other left-wing resources. I think it’s fair to say most of what is actually offered therein, is a lot of bloviating about how much smarter the people in there, are compared to the rest of the normal folks out here.

Which is remarkable in itself. Since, a few personal entanglements aside, they don’t appear to know a great deal about one another, apart from their shared dislike of George W. Bush. It’s almost as if…I would say, exactly as if…the hatred of George W. Bush is some kind of litmus test for intelligence. If you share it, you pass, even though your facts can be wrong, your grammatical construct can be atrocious, and your spelling looks like you’ve been letting a cat walk on the keyboard, and your logical arguments have more holes than your average kitchen sponge.

But if, by process of elimination, we’re down to just a lot of huffing and puffing about how much smarter our blue-staters are compared to our red-staters — or mostly down to just that and nothing more — how much liberal stuff could be uploaded on a daily basis? I mean, anywhere? What’s the point of mentioning it over and over again? If there was truth to it, of the self-evident variety or otherwise, the contributors themselves should be able to see they’ve crossed into the “doth protest too much” territory at a breakneck pace, and move on to something else.

I suppose that criticism might have merit wherever it is directed. Even here, to some extent, some might say. But good heavens. In all of human literary history, has any medium of written communication become so voluminous, so repititious, about so little, as the left-wing blog during the Bush II presidency? I suspect Mr. Kamiya has correctly identified a “future hangover” concern that is entirely meritorious, but severely underestimated just how much of a problem it will be.

Snookered?

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

It’s in the entertainment section of Yahoo News, but apart from that there is no evidence that the editors understand this is satire. Certainly nothing offered to the more gullible amongst the readership.

…transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing conversations between Messrs. Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the Magic 8-Ball make it clear that the ball had the deciding vote when it came to the administration’s pre-war planning.

At one point of the transcript, Mr. Bush asks the Magic 8-Ball flat out, “Does
Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction?”

The ball responded equivocally — “Reply hazy, try again” — prompting the president to repeat his question.

Once Mr. Bush asked the question again moments later, the Magic 8-Ball was more definitive: “Signs point to yes.”

At the White House today, spokesman Tony Snow defended the Magic 8-Ball’s role in gathering pre-war intelligence but said that the ball had left the administration in 2004 to spend more time with its family.

Tolerance and Intolerance

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

In early 21st-century America, we have a disturbing predilection for calling out tolerance as intolerance, and vice-versa. It seems to start when we observe someone going out of their way to announce their beliefs and values, and indulge in using the lengthier of those two intangible nouns to caption that. “Intolerance.” Of course we do that for the express purpose of smacking it down, from scolding it to proscribing it. And the irony is, that to spring in to such action provoked only by the evidence of that other person’s belief systems — and nothing else at all — is the very definition of intolerance.

Now, I’m undecided about whether this is a good example of what I’m talking about. It seems the infraction is more along the lines of intended offense, rather than the mere manifestation of personal belief; the intent certainly does appear to be there. So perhaps a better illustration can be found elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I maintain the principal of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School is on a treacherous and slippery slope.

A Catholic school principal has organized sensitivity training for students who shouted “We love Jesus” during a basketball game against a school with Jewish students.

The word “Jew” also was painted on a gym wall behind the seats of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School students attending the Feb. 2 game at Norfolk Academy, said Dennis W. Price, principal of the Virginia Beach school.

Price who also watched the game, said the rivals exchanged chants, “Then, at some point, our students were chanting, ‘We love Jesus.’”

“It was obviously in reference to the Jewish population of Norfolk Academy; that’s the only way you can take that,” he added.

Price said he sent a letter of apology to Norfolk. Dennis G. Manning, the academy’s headmaster, declined to comment.

Several Sullivan students met with Norfolk Academy’s cultural diversity club Thursday as part of a series of events aimed at promoting tolerance, Price said.

Thus far, I have not yet seen the trend fail: Whenever someone in a position of authority uses those four words in sequence, “aimed at promoting tolerance,” something that had previously been tolerated, no longer will be, and it is soon to be subjected to intolerance.

I think our use of these words could use a little work.

Cheating Wife?

Sunday, February 25th, 2007



The Hole – video powered by Metacafe

Fans of Gore

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Former Vice President Al Gore has the backing of Jimmy Carter (we learn via Hot Air and we learn that via Karol).

And, he has the support of communists too.

I repeat myself, huh.

Would The United Nations Stop An Asteroid?

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Ben Shapiro has really hit his stride. That, or I’ve finally learned how to appreciate him.

Either way, this is exactly what a column should be. Thinking outside-o-the-box, but just a little bit; adhering to and commenting on the current state of affairs; offering a sound but unstated reason why we should pay attention; devastating a silly idea by taking it seriously.

Masterful work.

Scientists reported this week that on April 13, 2036, an asteroid has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting Earth…An entire city or region could bite the dust.

“We need a set of general principles to deal with this issue,” explains former astronaut Rusty Schweickart. To that end, scientists are calling on the United Nations to take action. The Association of Space Engineers will present a plan to the UN in 2009 involving the construction of a “Gravity Tractor,” which would alter the course of potentially threatening asteroids.

You can just imagine what the UN member states will have to say about this idea.

IRAN: “Space is a decadent Western lie. It does not exist. Asteroids are no more real than the Zionist Entity. It is possible, however, that the 12th imam is riding this so-called space rock. In that case, we can only hope that he steers it into a large building in a major American city.”

CHINA: “Such use of space simply escalates the global arms race. Who is to say that America will not construct such a ‘Gravity Tractor’ in an attempt to nullify our missile capabilities? Of course, we were never thinking of using such missiles anyway, but it’s the principle of the thing!”

Amid all the hubbub about the way President Bush and his administration have handled the whole Iraq thing, for the last four years I have yet to hear anyone of any political stripe step forward and begin to defend the way the U.N. has handled it. And that’s just a little surprising to me because here in 2007, I don’t have to wait very long to hear the U.N. advanced, rather breezily and empty-headedly, as the sure-fire solution to…whatever perplexing conundrum pops up. Asteroids to Malaria to hangnails to crazy tinpot dictators to nuclear weapons to — just name it.

Shapiro’s question, sarcastic as the artful delivery may be, is a good one for everyone regardless of their leanings. What do we really expect the United Nations to do? About anything?

Are Democrats Americans?

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

There are a lot of people walking around amongst us, apparently generating all the brainwave energy needed to get dressed in the morning and put one foot in front of the other as they walk around, who nevertheless think Democrats are more “American” than anybody else. I’ve never understood it. I’ve always taken it as a given that they have a vision for what America is supposed to be, which is different from my vision…but okay, we can “agree to disagree” as they say. And, I’ve been taking it as a given that if I could have insight on their personal background and the things that happened to them, then perhaps their different vision would make some sense to me.

I’m referring here — mostly — to being raised in a very strict religious environment, and nurturing a rebellious streak that just didn’t gel with it. There is some stuff in America’s history having to do with freedom to worship has one individually chooses, and not being told what to think about things. Issues like that, make this an easy thing to entertain.

Issues like this, do not…

The [Texas] state House on Thursday rejected a Democratic amendment that would have banned splash guards with images that are “obscene or hateful.”

Tempe Democrat Ed Ableser sponsored the amendment. He said he’d seen a splash guard that used a derogatory term for black children and said he wanted to make sure that people with hateful motives didn’t inflict them on others.

Democratic Rep. Theresa Ulmer of Yuma supported the amendment and said it fit with lawmakers’ other efforts to crack down on pornography and sexual predators.

DEMOCRAT is supposed to have something to do with freedom of expression, and thinking for onesself, right? And yet…this is hardly an isolated situation, is it? Democrats come along and say, hey, if someone sees this symbol or that symbol, such-and-such a thought is going to go through their head and we can’t have that now, can we? And I know they’ll have these contraband thoughts since, being a registered Democrat, I’m an expert amateur psychologist and I know better than anyone else what people will think when they see this thing.

I suppose both parties do this at some time or another.

But Democrats do it far, far more often.

And they’re supposed to be about freedom of expression. Freedom of speech. Thinking for yourself.

They have that “rep”; and sometimes, for reasons I think should be clear now, I fail to see how they got it or why they’re thought by so many to be worthy of hanging onto it.

Generation Z

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

On the subject of child-raising, fellow Webloggin contributor The Otto Show has been noticing what we’ve been noticing.

Between ADD, ADHD and forms of autism, that because of supposed advanced diagnosis, we are discovering that tens of thousands of children have medical conditions that, when we were kids, would have just been chalked up to a kid being a little ‘different’.

One condition, called Asperger Syndrome, is sold as a mild form of autism. Yet, in a publication (PDF) by the Yale Child Study Center, it is described as “a severe developmental disorder characterized by major difficulties in social interaction, and restricted and unusual patterns of interest and behavior.”

A website devoted to Aspergers states that “many in the field believe that there is no clear boundary separating [Asperger Syndrome] from children who are ‘normal but different.’”

The Yale study goes on to say, in describing a diagnosis: “The actual diagnostic assignment should be the final step in the evaluation. Labels are necessary in order to secure services and guarantee a level of sophistication in addressing the child’s needs. The assignment of a label, however, should be done in a thoughtful way, so as to minimize stigmatization and avoid unwarranted assumptions. Every child is different.”

I’ve been noticing a few other things about this whole thing.

As a parent myself, I know a lot of other parents roughly my age whose kids are roughly my son’s age. Everybody I know, personally knows at least one other person, whose kid has been “diagnosed” with something. Everyone has a story. There seems to be a “two degrees of separation rule” at work and when you think about the mathematics involved in two-degrees…you know, that is a lot of kids. Lots and lots of kids. A huge chunk outta all of ‘em. Like, we should be out looking for the enormous radioactive meteorite responsible for messing up all these kids, it’s gotta exist somewhere. That — or, maybe it’s the “normal” kids who are screwed up. It’s getting to the point where the non-screwed-up kids are on the brink of being outnumbered.

I also notice something about this word “diagnose.” It is used as such a concretely objective verb…like, you could be a reasonable skeptic about a kid having whatever-it-iz, right up until the kid is “diagnosed” and then you can’t disagree without being just a whackadoodle. As in, last year, little Tommy wasn’t “diagnosed” — he died. Nobody but a crazy person would insist Tommy is still alive, when he obviously isn’t. Like that.

And yet this Yale study…it seems to be giving instruction in how to form an opinion…which is my conventional understanding of what a diagnosis is. Even after it’s formed, you can still sensibly disagree with it, am I right?

Seems we’re losing track of that. We still have folks running around using it to describe some hard, undeniable event, like cutting the umbilical cord, or losing a tooth, or death. “Two years ago, my son was diagnosed with…”

A third thing I notice is captured in Thing I Know #179: Children seem to be “diagnosed” with lots of things lately. It has become customary for at least one of their parents to be somehow “enthusiastic” about said diagnosis, sometimes even confessing to having requested or demanded the diagnosis. Said parent is invariably female. Said child is invariably male. The lopsided gender trend is curious, and so is the spectacle of parents ordering diagnoses for their children, like pizzas or textbooks.

Where are all the little girls being diagnosed with things? How come the population of screwed-up kids seems to be so overwhelmingly male? Come to think of it, where are the stats about all the kids being diagnosed with this-thing or that-thing, so that such gender ratios are available to us unwashed masses for extrapolation?

What’s up with these crusading parents who are pushing to have their kids diagnosed with these things? How come it’s thought to be in good harmony with professional ethics, to even listen to them? And where are the dads? How come all these parents pushing the docs to diagnose their kids, and talking and talking and talking about the diagnosis thereafter…how come they’re almost always mothers?

Gee, if I didn’t know better I’d say the moms nowadays were confused about how to relate to their little boys — unable to cope with the tidal wave of energy that every grown man knows is charging through every cell of a young boy’s body, having once been at that age himself. If I didn’t know better, I’d say we have an unexplored gender thing going on…wherein medicine is being used to shoehorn the complicated psyche of a budding male, into a simpler form that a female can understand, in ways nobody ever said she was supposed to be able to. I mean, that’s what I would think…if I didn’t know better.

But, eh, come to think of it I do know better. I’m personally involved in some of this stuff, and I’m sad to say what’s written above makes perfect sense.

We can only speculate about whether it is even so, essentially arguing in a vacuum about it…until someone provides the statistics I commented that I would like to have.

Rather curious that nobody’s done so, isn’t it? I mean, y’know…since we’re all supposed to be so worried about it and everything.

Spanking Bill Stuck In Corner

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Take a look at this.

Spanking bill is introduced, which is exactly like what it sounds like…the nanny-state wants to stick it’s big fat nose into how you raise your kid in California. Bill is introduced, it’s little itty-bitty news. Gotta be in the right place at the right time to find out about it. Bill gets dropped, and it is heap-big news. You hear about it over and over again. At least that was my experience with it.

Kind of funny in a sad way. Everyone wants to be oh so vigilant against “government taking away our constitutional rights,” chomping at the bit to find out what kind of potential abuse is about to take place, so we can hit the road with our pitchforks and torches. Yeah. Right.

We think of ourselves that way, but we don’t act like it. Government was about to tell us how to raise our kids. And they’re going to try again, count on it. We were instructed to start paying attention when the bill died, and not a minute before; the threat to our “civil liberties” arose when the bill first came up.

Update: It would seem they did try for it again, the very same day.

When it comes to disciplining California children, an open hand is in but belts and switches are out, according to a bill introduced Thursday by Democratic San Jose area Assemblywoman Sally Lieber.

Assembly bill 755, designed specifically to protect children from overzealous discipline methods, rules out some traditional forms of discipline like the use of a switch or a belt.

“The vast majority of child abuse victims and fatalities are young children,” Lieber said. “Too often the abuse begins as some form of discipline. Existing law is clearly not doing enough to protect the youngest, smallest, most vulnerable members of our society.”

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, of Irvine, had expressed concern for early drafts of the bill and said he intends to keep a close eye on the new bill.

“I’m going to remain a skeptical observer and watch it very carefully,” DeVore said.

The Republican assemblyman said his concerns stem from what he said were parents’ rights to privacy and whether this new law would actually protect children or put otherwise good parents in trouble with the law.

I see there’s apparently some kind of rule in place with this new bill, which allows the spanking with the open hand. The rule is that when you list the things that the new bill would still penalize, you have to mention these two present-tense verbs: “burning” and “kicking.” Those two are particularly potent in inspiring the desired response.

But that isn’t the real issue. Shoot down this new bill, and then go home and burn your kid or kick your kid. Tell the cops about it. You think nothing will happen, just because this new law didn’t pass? Those are already against the law; they are just big fat red herrings. The real issue is where the line is being drawn. And the line is being drawn with the wooden spoon.

This is such a slick hoodwinking job. The situation is unchanged — some hippie flower-child doesn’t approve of parents disciplining their kids, and she’s gone through all the motions of “listening” and “revising” when all that’s really happened, is she’s watered down her nanny-state law to the point it has an excellent chance of passage.

Sure it allows spanking by open hand. That’s this year. Sure, there’s no conflict at all between the things I did to discipline my kid, and what this law addresses. My kid never got spanked with a “foreign” object, not once. So the new bill doesn’t prohibit anything I actually used. Not this year. But it’s the camel’s nose in the tent. Like I said, we enjoy running around saying we’ll be on-guard against surrendering our freedoms to the government — but we don’t follow through on that.

Friends and Family

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

The House of Eratosthenes, otherwise known as “The Blog That Nobody Reads,” has changed it’s policy.

The policy has been unchanged from the very beginning and is recorded…um…to the right of my left ear, and to the left of my right one, somewhere. Anyway. Those things you get in the e-mail from friends and family with funny stuff? Sometimes with that thing on the bottom telling you of the awful stuff that will happen to you if you don’t forward it to ten people you know?

We get as much of that stuff as anyone. And we haven’t been running it. The rule has been, since it always seems to have come off a website somewhere, in order to give credit to the original author we put out a good-faith effort to find out who created it. And until such a good-faith effort comes to fruition, we don’t post anything. Which up until now has meant, for the most part, nothing gets posted.

The reason we have to change it, is — well, this is just too good. And it only took a little bit of searching to discover it seems that everyone has had a hand in it, and if there is any one single author who can claim credit, it may very well be the act of e-mail forwarding itself. You know, working in kind of a Darwinese type of evolution survival-of-the-fittest thing.

That would mean if anyone comes along later and says “Hey, I’m the guy who wrote that first” the correct answer would be…well yeah, you are, kinda. And so is that guy over there, and that other guy, and…anyway. Like I said, it’s too good to ignore. And for the reasons above, I can’t provide a link.


WORDS WOMEN USE:

1. Fine:
this is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes:
If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five Minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. Nothing:
This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. Go Ahead:
This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It!

5. Loud Sigh:
This is not actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. That’s Okay:
This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks:
A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you’re welcome.

8. Whatever:
Is a women’s way of saying FUCK YOU!

9. Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it:
Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “what’s wrong”, for the woman’s response refer to # 3.

10. No:
This is the most complicated word a woman can use with a man. This is because she will say no, and mean no, or she will say no but mean yes. You will never get this right no matter what, so it is best not to try. Just remember, if she has salad and you have fries or pizza and you offer her some and and she says no, allow her to eat off of your plate without questioning her, or better yet, just give her half. This may also mean she is upset when she says she is not, and if you dare to ask “why” she will either respond with “nothing” — refer to # 3, or I’m “fine” — refer to # 1.

Yin and Yang VIII

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

I see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got very upset with Vice President Cheney when he made some public comments about her plans to pull the troops out of Iraq. She was so upset that she called up President Bush and told him to…

Well, that right there is the whole question I think. What did House Speaker Pelosi want the President to do.

She specifically asked him to distance himself from the remarks of the Vice President. No information has come to me about what it is she will do in the event he should fail to do this, or what undesirable consequences should follow from some other source if he fails to do this. She did say something about how he “can’t…” engage in what she perceives to be a contradiction, and on this point I’m having a little trouble following her logic.

“You cannot say as the president of the United States, ‘I welcome disagreement in a time of war,’ and then have the vice president of the United States go out of the country and mischaracterize a position of the speaker of the House and in a manner that says that person in that position of authority is acting against the national security of our country,” the speaker said.

Now, I happen to know from reading this and re-reading it, that when you diagram this sentence out it appears the “person in that position of authority” is a reference to herself, not to Vice President Cheney. Once you understand that, it’s a little easier to figure out her meaning.

But it’s a little tougher to take an assessment of her criticism and how valid it might be. She’s in a position of authority; therefore, when she says something ought to be done, you are not supposed to entertain any thoughts about how this thing might be deleterious to our national interests. Since, after all, the thing-to-do came from her.

Of, if you are to ponder such a thing, you are in logical contradiction with yourself after you have previously gone on record saying you “welcome disagreement in a time of war.”

Well, I’m having trouble with both aspects of this. I don’t think there is anything wrong with postulating how any plan on the table, might help the enemy, or cause injury to some things we have taken pains to accomplish, or cause some other unintended things to happen. This seems to me just like the basis of sound planning.

Nor do I see how it contradicts any previous statement about welcoming disagreement. You may declare your own strategies to be open to inspection and criticism…you may declare the alternatives of others, to be elevated above that scrutiny and therefore immune from it. Those are two different things.

Cheney PelosiAnd it impresses me that the chasmatic divide between those two things, is not something easily missed. Surely someone with the mental acumen needed to become the first woman Speaker of the House in 218 years, would be able to see it.

But of course, Nancy Pelosi is a politician just like Bush and Cheney. What she can see, doesn’t matter; what matters is the constituency she’s addressing, and what they can see.

But are they really this dense? Pelosi’s entire argument rests on two perceptions being identical. Not just similar, but identical. And in the discipline of puzzling things out and figuring out what they mean, it requires far more energy to penetrate the armor of her tangled grammatical construct, than to grasp this flaw that devastates the entire argument. Regardless of the wishes nurtured by whoever is doing the puzzling.

Pelosi has handed down a new rule. I, Speaker Nan, am in a position of authority. I can say we should do this thing, or not do that other thing…and don’t you dare say it’s bad for us to do what I want. The issue is not whether or not you’re correct, the issue is following rules. You’re not supposed to say such a thing. You’re not supposed to think it. Not s’poseda.

Pelosi represents millions of people who have been telling me, for years, that “dissent is patriotism.” Logic would say they conferred upon her some goddess-like status, in which patriotism is dissent against every authority figure except Speaker Nan, and it has something to do with blind obedience to everything she says. That, or else they’re going to start flooding her office with faxes and telephone calls complaining that she no longer speaks for them. One or the other.

Well. I don’t think there are too many of them who knew her name this time last year. And I don’t think they’re going to complain much.

Behold, we find yet another conundrum…an enigma which is exlained by my Yin and Yang theory, when nothing else does.

Yin and Yang solves this in the most effective way possible. By looking at the children.

Think about the very small ones; the very most emotionally mature among those. The two-year-olds with a grasp on the language that would rival that of dimmer children two, three times their age — they have the phonetics down cold, the syllable emphasis, the lilting, and all that. They’re usually girls, although there are exceptions to this. When they speak, they deliver the first two or three syllables in such a way that all the people in the room want to know what comes next.

Now, why is that exactly? The people in the room, themselves, do not know. They just want to know. People like me certainly can’t figure it out. I’m forty; the two-year-old child of which I speak, has forgotten more about how to get attention, every day, than I’ll ever learn in a lifetime. And I’m not alone. I’ve spent a lifetime telling people how to do things with their computers that they desperately want to get done, and I know this subject well if I don’t know anything else well. I could be describing how to get the data back from a carelessly erased file, which means everything to them and not a damn thing to me — hell, I could be describing to someone how to put out their pants when they’re on fire — and you’d be surprised how little it takes to put the conversation on hold. It’s absolutely astonishing. A dancing three-year-old yelling “hey, look at me!” A ringing cell phone. A fax machine clicking on. A Barry Manilow cut coming on the radio. Any ol’ bright flashing object will do the trick. Clearly, it’s not their problem, it’s mine.

It doesn’t have anything to do with not wanting to know what I have to say. These are often people who get ticked off at me for not telling them things…for which they can’t quite manage to make the time to be told what it is they want to know. The little-girls-grown-up who are so practiced at saying the right things in the right tone to hold everybody’s attention, I see they often arouse resentment and jealousy after they pass the age when they’re no longer cute. We saw this with those videos about MacKenzie, the girl who threw the big ol’ fit about her car being the wrong color. People get pissed. They see someone who knows nothing…who can’t do anything without asking someone else to do it for them…who, nevertheless, gives the appearance of carving through life like a sizzling hot knife through butter.

I suspect it is not that simple. These are people who want to be liked. I’ve seen them sacrifice meaningful things for this, things I would never dream of giving up. The first thing to go is the sense of individuality. Teacher asks the class to do something — poorly — and the entire class sits mystified, wondering what it is the teacher wants. One student might think she has an idea. But if she’s a gift-of-gab type, and has therefore taught herself to be that way practically from infancy, she’ll discard this thought as quickly as she found it. She’ll scan the room, like everybody else, waiting for that all-important consensus to emerge so she can follow it.

Now, I’m no neurologist. But I have a brain of my own, and I notice the same things about my brain I suspect everybody else notices about theirs whether they have some letters after their names or not. It works pretty much the way my muscles do; whatever I use becomes agile, and whatever I don’t becomes atrophied. This is where Yin and Yang comes in. It’s the mutual exclusivity between figuring out what the consensus is, or is going to be…and solving puzzles. Real life presents us with a never-ending panorama of vexing problems that demand some applied cognitive skills. But only if you lack the ability and resources to derive a group consensus so you can follow along. If you have that, you can solve the problem — at least socially — without any cognitive skills whatsoever. And in most situations, if you have the cognitive skills, you can marshall those to solve the problem at hand, thus rendering the group consensus practically meaningless.

Now, I see the neurologists are in a state of nascent understanding about the Orbitofrontal Cortex (OFC) and how exactly it works, and aren’t even in complete agreement about it’s purpose. But there are some things about this particular brain region that have come to be generally accepted, such as the direction of impulses into this region when the brain tries to anticipate reward and punishment. You might call the OFC the “not-s’poseda” part of the brain. You can feel it working. Just as Yang and Yin actions are mutually-exclusive by nature, impulses directed toward the OFC are directed away from the Cerebral Cortex (CC) and vice-versa. You see a hundred dollar bill. You postulate that if you take the hundred dollar bill, you will be able to buy things you currently cannot buy. That’s the CC talking, because you can’t comprehend the benefit of having the money without creating a strategy. However — if someone starts to give you electrical shocks every time you reach for the money, the OFC kicks in, and the strategic line of thought drains away. You’re simply not engaging it anymore; you’re no longer routing the impulses through that part of the brain. You’re working on reward-and-punishment, which more directly involves the OFC.

So is it as simple as the Yang “living in” the OFC and the Yin being similarly cemented into the CC? I dunno. When pressed into it, I notice people can “reach across” and do things that are not, shall we say, quite their cup of tea. But even among very bright individuals, if you get to know them well enough and study what they do on a day-to-day basis, you can see these things they do are a little bit like a right-handed person writing with their left hand. Very much like the people like me, when we address large crowds of people or present our agenda items during a teleconference. We may do a competent job fulfilling the task at hand, and if we do very well we may give an impression that we’re feeling at home, making it up as we’re going along.

But we’re not. We planned each step beforehand, because we had no choice but to do so.

And this is what Nancy Pelosi is trying to do; which, I suspect, may explain why her sentence structure comes out as some kind of a jumbled mess. She’s trying to argue about logical contradictions, saying “you cannot say (something) and then mischaracterize a position (etc.).” This is not her turf. Nancy Pelosi is a bright politician, who wouldn’t know a logical contradiction if it swam up and bit her in the ass. She’s done a dandy job of making her way in the world, but detecting such contradictions and calling them out, has very little to do with how she’s been doing it. She’s a pure-bred Yang, who works according to group consensus. She follows that consensus when it suits her purposes to do so, and she dictates what it is going to be when it suits her purposes to be doing that. And, of course, whenever she does the dictating it’s always according to what she thinks is going to be the most easily accepted. I think if you carved up her noggin, you’d find the ingress and egress from her OFC to be slicker than hog-snot on a doorknob…whereas the ductwork in her CC has a cobweb or two.

After all, she just made a grand show out of calling out the White House on a contradiction that doesn’t really exist.

Now, what makes Yin and Yang so important that we’re going to stop discussing the war in Iraq to talk about it for all these paragraphs? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Yang like Nancy Pelosi, thinking with their OFCs, “feel” that they are right about things. After all, that is one of the few functions of the OFC that science has been able to substantiate — it produces a course of action, and gives off a vibe that it’s correct. For that reason, the Yang are often observed to harbor animosity toward the Yin, that the Yin seldom reciprocate. The OFC has handed off to them this sense of “belonging,” and anybody who thinks in non-Yang-like ways, simply doesn’t belong. Anywhere. And I’m pretty sure with the Pelosi/Cheney melee, that’s exactly what we’re seeing play out. Cheney argues, Yin-like, from the standpoing of cause-and-effect…“I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we’ll do is validate the al Qaeda strategy.” Pelosi responds, with no small amount of righteous indignation, commanding the White House to do this thing and not do that other thing. With a generous side order of intellectual bullying, truly worthy of a pushy little girl telling her friends at the tea-party to extend their pinkies, or dishing out commands in her later years to her cohorts during an outing at the mall.

[White House Chief of Staff Josh] Bolten said he was certain no one was questioning her patriotism or commitment to national security, she told reporters.

“I said to him perhaps when he saw what the vice president said he might have another comment,” Pelosi said.

Bullying, plain and simple. I’ve seen what the Vice President said. I’m supposed to equate this with questioning-of-patriotism? Only if I’m really grasping at straws, trying like the dickens to resuscitate and re-invoke the tired left-wing litany.

But you see, that’s what I get for thinking things out with my goofy little Yin-head, running those thoughts through my Cerebral Cortex like a guy accustomed to coming up with the best plan for things, or trying to. This is not the way Nancy Pelosi wants me to think when she tells me things, and it isn’t the way she thinks herself.

It’s all about the things you say that can draw applause, versus boos, versus yuks and guffaws.

Another Liberal SpeechWell, I think we might have an explanation here for why our liberals say so much spirited stuff, without ever talking about how our side can win. And you know it really doesn’t have to do with them being unpatriotic, or having questionable patriotism. They just don’t plan for victory, or achievement. During the six years they just spent getting their asses kicked, their own voters and fans said as much. They’re too busy trying to ingratiate themselves — with each other, with illegal aliens, with people in Europe — to give a damn about coming up with things that achieve the desired outcome through cause-and-effect. It ain’t their bag, baby.

Note: This is the eighth installment of a continuing series. Previous installments are available behind the following links: VII VI V IV III II I.

I Just Hate It When That Happens

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

A Poll I’d Like To See III

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Part of the reason for my unfriendly reaction to the latest “girls and young women traumatized by sexy pictures” thing is that it is tired. It is gawdawful tired. Tired, and unsolicited. I didn’t wake up the last three mornings in a row thinking “gee, I wonder if girls and young women get traumatized when they look at sexy pictures.”

Everybody who does polls and studies, likes their polls and studies to be read by someone. And yet, once again, the researchers at the APA did the study they wanted to do. Ostensibly to sound the alarm about something hitherto ignored…and yet…the study said what many studies before have already said.

How about finding out what people want to know, and then going and figuring out whatever that is?

Here’s a hint, researchers and pollsters. Listen up.

I would like to see a study conducted on Democrats. Democrats who use the phrase “Swift Boat” as if it is a verb. I can’t help but notice when you do a pinpoint-precise Google search, you get back an impressive number of results and each and every single one of those results, seems to have something to do with a Democrat being all big-n-bad.

You know, that thing they call “swaggering” when President Bush does exactly the same thing.

Well. I would like a poll to tell me what this phrase means when you use it as a verb. Does anybody really know? If you ask a hundred Democrats in serial fashion in an isolated setting what this means, do you get back one single answer?

The Antares Paradigm

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

If you think you have a really big problem on your hands, or you’ve done something just incredibly weighty and influential to solve it, maybe you’d like to go here for just a spell.

Imus Puts Liberals In Their Place

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I feel sorry for our liberals, really I do. They’ve achieved a sense of cohesion across the American landscape, about something they oppose…but all they can do with that cohesion is barely touch it, they can never quite grasp it. They certainly can’t translate it into something they support.

In fact, how many words can they get out about this thing they oppose, and why they oppose it, and how they oppose it, before the cohesion slips away from them like a slippery fish? About…four or five, tops.

Don Imus nails them to the wall about it.

In the final analysis, they’ve managed to champion this American ideal, and none other: Being at war sucks, and we don’t like it. That’s it. That’s all.

The minute they embark on anything else, like “…and we wouldn’t be in this one if George W. Bush didn’t lie to us,” they’ve lost whatever audience they’ve had.

50 Mistakes Women Make

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Okay, you can get a list like this out of any one of those glossy magazines that stare you in the face when you’re paying for your groceries.

What sets this one apart, is that it’s for women…about how to please men…written by a woman…who practices what she preaches. And no, I don’t know that from personal experience, it’s just an assumption I’m making. A fairly solid one. And, when she uses vulgarities, there is a point to her doing so. She’s not out to prove much of anything.

50 Mistakes Women Make When Having Sex.

1. Assuming he can get a raging hard on when it suits you. Contrary to popular belief, men can’t just flip a switch and get it up because you decided to stop being a frigid bitch. Getting it hard is your job. I suggest you figure it out.

2. Thinking that kissing needs to be this sweet romantic thing all the time. Sometimes pressing your lips against your partners mouth while you get off is the hot. It depends on the situation.

3. Leaving him responsible for your orgasm. You know what gets you off. Tell him. If you don’t, it’s your own fault when he’s snoozing and you’re all wound up.

4. Expecting him to cuddle. Men and women are wired differently. Sex makes most women want to talk and bond and all that shit. It makes men pass out. It’s a biological thing. Stop fighting it, and stop holding it over his head, it’s not his fault.

5. Expecting him to fall asleep with you in his arms. That shit is uncomfortable after awhile. A little snuggling isn’t unreasonable, but when it’s time to actually sleep? An arm draped over you should suffice.

There are certain other things floating around out there that give me cause to think the lady should be joining the American Psychological Association. She’s probably just what they need.

Flesh! Oh, No! X

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Well, here we go again.
Bikini Party

Inescapable media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents can cause psychological and even physical harm to adolescents and young women, a study in the US has warned.

The pressure of what experts call “sexualization” can lead to depression, eating disorders, and poor academic performance, said the report, released Sunday by the American Psychological Association.

Inescapable…images. Psychological…harm.

You know what this calls for? Some brand of 21st-century McCarthyism. Guilt by association. This study, and everybody who touches it, and every political movement connected to it, and every study resembling it and every political movement connected to a study resembling it, should be branded.

Why not? I mean, what are you trying to do, that you don’t really want to talk about? How appealing would your real agenda be to the rest of us, if you have to cover it up with talk of some demographic being “harmed” or victimized in some way. Some demographic…almost always female, but invariably something appealingly disenfranchised according to some traditional line-of-thought. Something cute, something adorable, something wounded.

And then this thing you’re trying to warn us about, that’s all around us and we’re taking it for granted. That, invariably, is something viewed by selection, something that can be tuned-in and tuned-out…and it seems the sales pitch always concerns the ability of this object or message to seize upon a a captive audience — something we intuitively know is not the case. “Inescapable” images. Really?

Once you’ve failed to escape them, you have to embark upon this tragic eating disorder? So…the same thing does not happen to young men with arms the size of rake handles whose girlfriends make them watch Baywatch, or Xena, or …I dunno…whatever’s out there on cable with male pecs and biceps and what-not.

Haven’t kept up on it, I don’t swing that way.

Point is, those guys don’t suddenly have eating disorders. Maybe they’re doing something right? Or maybe when they have workout disorders, which society views as a generally healthy thing — isn’t that exactly the same thing? Or, if it’s different, what should we be doing to get our gals to rewire their brains so that they think more like men? For their own good.

Somehow, I think we’ve got awhile to wait before we see a study put out with that kind of slant.

But really. What is up with these studies. They get published, and then they get published again, and again, and again. The message is always the same. The studies implore us to believe that a healthy human can be transformed into an unhealthy human, by looking at a picture. But it demands the privilege to select for us, who should be the target of our pity and our sympathy and our concern.

For example, as a parent I can’t get any momentum behind my declaration that “Japanese cartoons encourage kids to talk back to their parents, and turn them into holy terrors.” I have freedom of speech to say that, of course, and lots of parents will agree with me about it. But where’s the “study” that just begins to look in to it?

Seems we have a lot of “scientists” walking around who think it’s really cool and fashionable, to say things that lots of scientists have already said, about targeted groups of people being victimized.

I found this snippet to be particularly entertaining.

The fashion world has been in turmoil since public authorities in Madrid banned under-weight and under-age models from catwalks last year.

Really!

Gosh, that’s not how I remember the thing being talked up ten months ago when I was noticing it. I remember the litany going something like this:

Shop window mannequins should have the figures of “real women”, campaigners said yesterday.

They fear the unrealistic proportions of models in shops could be contributing to the rise of eating disorders.

Over the past 50 years, the average dress size has increased from 12 to 16. The average woman’s weight has gone up from eight to 11 stone.

No, I don’t see anything in there about “campaigners are currently seeking to throw the fashion world into turmoil that may last well into next year.” I would imagine that should a press writer choose to word his story that way, his editor would have asked him to re-word it in a way more pleasing to the campaigners, and had he refused his career would have been short-lived.

But really. Advertising images holding captive audiences…and the ladies, after looking at the pictures, embarking helplessly upon their eating disorders. If this is a valid idea demanding action, why restrict the principle to the problem immediately under discussion? Superman and Wolverine have bulging biceps, and little boys with skinny arms are constantly looking at those. Is that not an equally “damaging” problem? And if not, why not?

And once we take the emotionally-tempestuous sub-issue of selected gender out of it, the question has to come up: What is our vision for young people and the lives they will lead as adults, anyway? Should they become adults who have viewed these awful, dirty pictures and formed the psychological constitution necessary to deal with said images, or are they to become protected little waifs whose fragile eyeballs have been protected from such contraband throughout childhood?

I’m trying to visualize the second of those two coping with the Gomorrah we’re watching unfold at our feet right now. It’s a tough thing to picture.

You know, I don’t have any daughters, but if I did have one and I wanted to make sure she had an absolutely miserable life, I’d teach her how to do this: Eat as much as she wants, let her body get as chubby as she wants it to get, never look at any women who might be better looking, and carp and yell at her husband until he can’t look at anybody better-looking either. At least when she’s not around. Great formula. Hey, I’d have five ex-sons-in-law and a zillion-and-one stories from my little girl about “why do men cheat all the time?” by the time I was sixty. Would I be raising my own grandchildren? COUNT on it.

This isn’t a male/female issue. Someone is deeply into the lowering of standards for the next generation — their ethos can be summed up in the famous Homer Simpson line, “trying is the first step to failure.” Maybe the American Psychological Association would like to look into that.

Morgan No Function Either Beer Well Without

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Via Boortz, we trip across this list of 50 particularly stupid Homer Simpson quotes.

Spiders On Drugs

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

If you haven’t hit The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, you’re missing something.

Probably something mighty silly…like Spiders On Drugs. Or, something equally worthy of your attention. Go on, drop in.

What The Record Says

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Now that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released the summary of it’s fourth assessment report, we’re all back to arguing about global warming. Just when everyone coast-to-coast is freezing their asses off. But of course an isolated weather pattern has nothing to do with global climate change. Really, it doesn’t. Except…six months from now when it’s too hot to go outside and do anything, and you’re tempted to connect your local discomfort to “global warming,” your nearest global-warming alarmist will utter nary a peep of scientific protest about this false connection you’ll be making. He’ll just rock back on his heels, smile, and whistle a happy tune.

But for now, they’re right. Global climate change is something you can’t see or feel for yourself.

Well while we’re back to arguing about it constantly, I can’t help but notice something. When we talk about long-past records, global warming skeptics would like to discuss temperature. Global warming alarmists, on the other hand, would like to talk about carbon dioxide. Because of this, for the most part neither one of the two camps will introduce any evidence that actually contradicts anything introduced by the other camp. And if you’re willing to accept what they both have to say, then this utterly devastates the connection made between carbon dioxide and the earth’s mean temperature.

Anyway. The article that appeared this morning by Pete du Pont in Opinion Journal nicely summarizes the argument for skepticism. It starts off with a rough overview of the history of earthly climate, at least what we know about it, but you should really go read the whole thing. Not a demanding reading assignment by any standard.

…looking back in history we see a regular pattern of warming and cooling. From 200 B.C. to A.D. 600 saw the Roman Warming period; from 600 to 900, the cold period of the Dark Ages; from 900 to 1300 was the Medieval warming period; and 1300 to 1850, the Little Ice Age.

During the 20th century the earth did indeed warm–by 1 degree Fahrenheit. But a look at the data shows that within the century temperatures varied with time: from 1900 to 1910 the world cooled; from 1910 to 1940 it warmed; from 1940 to the late 1970s it cooled again, and since then it has been warming. Today our climate is 1/20th of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than it was in 2001.

Another thing I like about this article is it nicely summarizes the (uncontested) facts about Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring and the DDT scare it caused. I found out during an impromptu horseshoe-arrangement water-cooler debate that Silent Spring has not lost any of its luster over the years as a golden calf among the environmentalists, and those inclined to give radical environmentalist causes undue amounts of attention and reverence. There are a lot of fairly intelligent and well-read folks walking around who don’t realize there’s even any disagreement about it.

Well look…it’s understandable that when half of us think the world is in imminent danger, and the other half of us do not, the half of us that are fearful are going to react emotionally. Fear is the most powerful emotion there is, and the quickest one to derail logic and common sense. So I don’t begrudge them that. But I’m awfully concerned about this new debate-within-the-debate about whether “the science is settled” or not.

It’s silly just on the face of it. Here we are debating about whether something’s unanimous. Now if we’re debating, that contradicts unanimity. A second-grader should be able to understand that.

And the other thing is this whole thing about science. Scientific methods are being claimed as the exclusive domain of those among us who do our arguing out of fear.

Most disturbing of all…those who come to the conclusion that the earth is in some kind of danger, and claim to have used scientific methods in arriving at that conclusion…if they find out about someone else who agrees with them, I notice they figure that person must have also used scientific methods in reaching his conclusion. Just because it’s the same one. The newcomer might have decided to agree just because the tea leaves told him to…and they don’t even consider this as a possibility. The conclusion reached, is being used as a litmus test for determining what methods were used, and the soundness of same.

Is that science? Hmmm?

Speaking For Everyone

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Another good link from blogger friend Rick: Do the donks speak for America?

By a 53 percent – 46 percent margin, respondents surveyed said that Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw troops from Iraq.
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Also, by a 56 percent – 43 percent margin, voters agreed that even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.
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By a wide 74 percent – 25 percent margin, voters disagree with the notion that “I don’t really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home.”

Democrats to shout in unison “It doesn’t matter because it’s from Drudge” and “You are mischaracterizing our position and questioning our patriotism” in 5…4…3…

Poignantly True

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Via Midnight Blue, via Flopping Aces, via Brutally Honest.

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

It’s not going to be difficult to find some people who would think of this as a dream come true:

If Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the presidency, some top Democrats would like to see her husband, former President Bill Clinton, appointed to serve out Hillary’s unexpired Senate term.
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“President Clinton would excel in the Senate,” said Paul Begala, who helped Bill Clinton get elected and served in the White House as a top aide.

“Why not?” Begala added. “He excelled as attorney general and governor of Arkansas, he excelled as president and he’s been a model of the modern Senate spouse.”

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, agreed.

“Clinton is a natural for the Senate,” Sabato said. “He loves to talk and schmooze. He could be a great vote-organizer. Majority Leader Clinton?”

You know what would be far more difficult? Finding someone, besides a paid Democrat party hack, who can tell you why this would be such a great idea. Clinton in the White House, Clinton leading the Senate. It’s clear someone thinks if a little of something is good, more of it is better. The “it” is Democrat-party leadership…which does what for us, exactly?

LiberalismI ask because lately when the Democrat-party tells me what it’s all about, it doesn’t seem to be about adding things in to anything; it seems to be about taking things away. “Re-deploy” and all that. Two Clintons for the price of one, again. Eh, you can’t really impeach President Bush twice, or end a war twice. So, what exactly is the nutty topping to this sundae?

Struggling to reconcile this with the negative campaigning the Democrat-party has been doing, I can only think of one thing we would get “more” of with Clintons at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, which would justify twice-the-excitement: More assurance against certain things. One Clinton would kinda-sorta keep Republican things from happening, and two Clintons would really, really keep them from happening.

So I guess we’re talking about…tax cuts? Two Clintons would boost our taxes twice as high, whereas just one Clinton would stop at eliminating the 2003 tax cuts? Or perhaps…gun control. One Clinton would make it illegal to own an assault rifle, and two Clintons would send a potential rape victim to jail for trying to defend herself with a .25-cal automatic?

Oh wait oh wait, I know what it might be. Support the troops twice as much, and oppose their mission twice as hard? Or oppose twice as many terrorists and support their mission twice as much?

I’m just not coming up with any answers that make good sense. I wish someone else would step up and tell me what this is all about. I’ve been told for six years now that the Republican position on things is extremism and involves some “cowboy mentality” and the Democrats are all about being centrist and moderate so the rest of the world will like us a little bit better.

How do you drum up a whole lot of enthusiasm and excitement…about twice as much centricism and moderation?

The Top Three, Huh?

Monday, February 19th, 2007

The United States stands opposed to racism, so I’m told.

According to Wikipedia, whenever we sit down to figure out who the best Presidents were, this asshole consistently ends up in the top three.

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt—are consistently ranked at the top of the lists.

This makes no sense to me. None at all. For two reasons.

1. We don’t give a flying crap who our best Presidents were at any other time of year, except for “Prexie’s Day”, which is very close to today, if not on it — February 19;
2. February 19, 1942, is the day Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese-American citizens … for…being…Japanese.

Does the United States stand united against racism? Or doesn’t it? Roosevelt’s face is on our money.

We could remove his face from the dime, any time we choose.

Why don’t we?

For The Anti-Death-Penalty Types IX

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Mmmkay, one more time just to re-instill that sense of perspective. The New York Times reported on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal on Page A-1 above the fold, 34 times over 37 days. They did it 32 days in a row. Our oh-so-objective and oh-so-unbiased free press at work there…not in the business of telling you what to think, nosiree.

How many times in the days ahead will you see a mention of this

Two women are accused of soaking a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute with gasoline and burning her to death after she reported that one of them had robbed her.
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On January 11, [Mia] Sagote allegedly slammed [Leslie "Jill"] May into a wall, threw her down and punched her because she had not collected a $150 debt from May’s boyfriend, police said. Witnesses said they saw Sagote drag May behind a trash container later that day, strip her clothes off and take her cash.

May reported the crime the next day. After Sagote found out, she and [Leslie] Siliga forced May into a car; the two women stopped to buy gasoline, then drove to the parking lot of the stadium where the San Francisco 49ers play and set her ablaze, police said.

We won’t be hearing about this thirty-two days in a row. Trust me on that one.

Let’s explore for a few paragraphs why I think this is the case.

See, I have this theory about journalists. They become journalists in the first place, because they want the world to be better. They want to become reporters for the same reason Clark Kent did…except they don’t have any spandex on under their clothes and they can’t fly. They don’t want to be liberals, they just want to make things better.

Make things better, by telling The People what’s going on, so we can make better decisions. Perfectly logical.

But then they start to think differently from “real” people. And when they realize that, this weird relativity sets in. They think the people on the outside, are the ones with a different mindset. Like when a large boat shoves off from a dock, it seems like the dock is moving; just like that. They become separate from us. And they know it. But they think the non-journalists are the ones who’ve changed, while they have stayed the same. Relativity at work.

Why do they start to think differently?

Part of it is they are inclined to, because of artificial selection. This is something Rush Limbaugh has talked about, and I think he’s got a great point here. They became journalists to make the world better; if you are conservative-minded, you don’t imagine journalism as having a lot to do with making the world better. It is simply a profession where things are seen as they really are. If you want to make the world better, you should go into something where you have the authority to change things. So…by the process of selective induction, journalism leans left as more new journalists are recruited into it.

The other part of it is something I’ve not heard Rush or anyone else discuss too much. It’s an artificial sense of danger. Journalists are the source of our information, and on occasion they persevere through imminent danger to life and limb in order to fulfill that role. Now, I don’t know how often they do this — maybe they’re all a bunch of adrenaline junkies traipsing through Baghdad, or maybe the embedding-with-infantry thing is an occasional thing that very few of them do, and only rarely. I don’t know the answer to that, and it really doesn’t much matter. The point is, there are some hardships to be endured — or the illusion of hardships. Or some combination of form and substance of hardship. And this leads the person who learns information, to the conclusion that his version of information is the best version of information. If he brings that information to someone else, and that someone-else comes to a different conclusion, then something must have been lost in the translation. After all, the first-hand information guy is the one enduring hardship, he must know best.

It’s easy to see the appeal of that logic. And yet…if it held, every time our elections came around our journalists and our cops would be pushing the same candidates and initiatives. Cops are exposed to danger much more often than the rest of us, too. And yet, it doesn’t happen that way. Whenever the police and the newspapers push the same candidates, you’re not hearing from the “police,” you’re hearing from the police unions. I’ve been following this for a few years. The pattern holds. Cops back conservative candidates, cops’ unions back liberal ones…and the journalists go with the liberal candidates.

So either our journalists are exposed to a different brand of danger, or else they’re not exposed to danger at all…or else, if they’re exposed to the same danger the cops get to face every day, that danger doesn’t have the same effect on both of them. One profession or the other isn’t quite soaking up what they’re being dunked in. All of those things are viable possibilities; like I said, I don’t really care which one is correct. I don’t need to.

Journalists don’t have to be journalists for every long, before they start to see the world differently. And they fall into this trap of thinking the boat is standing still, while the dock is moving. If the readers have different opinions from the journalists, the journalists must work harder at communicating more effectively. There’s no way they can be wrong about what’s happening, and what should be done about it.

This has a lot to do with something I’ve noticed about people in general. How to absorb facts and translate them into opinions about the state of affairs — it’s a personal process, and it is shaped mostly by the dangers to which one is personally exposed. By the time we’re about twenty-five years of age, we’ve settled on some methods for doing this that we’ll take to the grave, and those methods have been shaped by the dangers that have confronted us and the things we value. Now then. What kind of dangers confront journalists who are less than twenty-five years old? Well…I think when we exclude folks twenty-five years old and better, you can pretty much forget about the embedded reporters in Iraq. Maybe, just maybe, there are some specialists in there. Photographers. People who don’t make decisions about how news is reported…and probably won’t. But it’s probably a fair generalization to make that a journalist who is still deciding how to draw inferences from facts, forming the habits he will one day use as an editor to decide what millions of people in a city are supposed to be thinking…suicide bombers and IED’s don’t have very much to do with the dangers that will mold and shape those habits.

What does?

I’m taking it as a given we’re talking about ingratiating onesself, versus being ostracised. Young journalists who are just learning how to see the world, worry about one thing. And that one thing is staying good with the “in” crowd.

That is practically liberalism defined.

And so there you have it. They don’t go to journalism school to become liberals. They don’t graduate from it wanting to be liberals. They just end up that way. By the time they are confronted by a personal danger that might inspire a different way of thinking about things, the way a beat cop might be so confronted — they’re past that critical age of twenty-five, and they’ve molded their intuitive instincts around the objective of going along to get along.

Once that happens, there is this fallacy that whatever biases they might have personally, might “taint” the substance of what they report to us. That is a falsehood. A personal bias on the part of the reporter doesn’t taint the news; what it does, is give the news a good shove in the direction of the bias, at which bearing the news coasts endlessly, picking up speed, until the personal bias is just a mooncast shadow compared to the result. Over time, the contaminating effect on the news becomes more and more pronounced, and still the journalist can’t see it. He still thinks the dock is moving while the boat stands still.

After all, he has a job to do. His job is to “inform” us.

And he can tell how good of a job he has done, by the opinions we have after he’s given us information.

And if our opinion doesn’t match his, why, he must not have done a very good job. He’ll just have to try harder next time. And the next time after that, he’ll have to try harder still.

Getting back to this poor drugged-out hooker who was burned to death. I’m pretty confident we’ve heard the last of this. Journalists, after all, on balance don’t approve of the death penalty. Most of us are a) in favor of the death penalty, or b) would overcome any objections we have to the death penalty, if we were made aware of more stories like this one. I’ve commented on this several times before: People who oppose the death penalty, are simply people who forget — usually consciously — the limitless capacity of people to inflict atrocities upon each other.

Our journalists know this. But they don’t like the death penalty, and if the news was brought to us, we’d be less likely to agree with our journalists. And so, you see, the profession of “news” becomes a discipline in which — ironically — secrets are kept. And there you have it. The profession of journalism rises in the morning determined to set the standard to which other supposedly noble professions can aspire. And it retires for rest that evening, having thoroughly corrupted itself in a way few other professions ever will. The rest of us, rather than tolerating the misinformation and non-information, opt for alternative ways to get our information, and in this way the industry commits a slow suicide. Suicide by being the opposite of what it genuinely wanted to be. It’s a real tragedy.

Abu Ghraib we gotta talk about night and day. “Jillie” the prostitute screaming in agony as the flames leap off her body…that’s something we don’t need to know. It might incline us toward ideas our journalists would not like us to have.

What to do about these perpetrators who took the time to buy gasoline for an obviously pre-meditated crime of such unimaginable cruelty? Were I in charge, we’d be pondering once again the meaning of the Eighth Amendment. Thanks in no small part to our journalists, we’ve formed a habit of “reviewing” the prohibition against cruel-and-unusual punishments, selectively, in circumstances where the outcome is likely to be an expansion of the prohibition and a restriction of the punishments. If the immolation of Jillie the prostitute were to inspire such a review, the outcome would likely be the opposite — punishments thought unconstitutional beforehand, are allowed in the aftermath. Wouldn’t it be more balanced if the pendulum was to swing the other way once in awhile?

We like to wring our hands and whine endlessly about whether murderers can feel their organs shut down during a lethal injection procedure. These evil hags covered a woman with gasoline and lit her up. Ever see gasoline burn?

The word “useless” doesn’t even begin to cover some of these whimpering doubts we’ve been convinced to nurture about our justice system.

Three Light Bulbs

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

While we’re on the subject of global you-know-what, don’t miss Phil’s excellent fisking of Lady Goodman.

It occurs to me that President Bush could truly become a uniter & not a divider, on both Iran and Iraq, by sending some white-coat propeller-beanie scientists guys out there to take measurements of carbon footprints. Once those numbers hit the press, I imagine our most strident liberals will want him impeached for not using military action against Iraq quickly enough…WMDs be damned.

Best Sentence IX

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Goodness gracious, what is it about this time of year? Perhaps the Oscars and Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day give us a triple-whammy of being told what we’re supposed to be thinking about things, and just get the creative juice stirred up. Best Sentence IX, it would seem, is going to have to be chainsawed in half and shared, for there are two contenders and they are both far too good to be ignored.

Blogger friend Buck at Exile in Portales has been — heh — “on fire” with this whole silliness about anthropogenic global warming, in which the Good Lord or some other omnipresent and omnipotent deity decided us bloggers didn’t have enough late-night-comedy material and snowed out a press conference about GW. Yeah that’s right. “Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?” was going to be held in the Rayburn House Office Building on February 14th, and they’re just going to have to reschedule…because…well, it was just to freakin’ cold.

You can’t ignore that. It’s like walking right up to Beavis and Butthead and congratulating them on their efforts to “entertain us.” Huh huh, he said…

But on to the best sentence award. On Tuesday, he had a post up that linked to an article in the Times Online UK, which starts off with the candidate for Best Sentence IX itself…

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works.

And from there, things just remain…enlightening. Straightforward. Obviously true. Things we all know to be the case, but that very few people talk about anymore, like “enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages.” Go read the whole thing.

Next up…Ann Coulter has an explanation for what makes Barack Obama “the real deal,” and I shall have to rely on her since I’ve yet to meet a single Democrat ready, willing and able to tell me why this is the case. (Google hits as of this writing: 156,000.) She says it’s white guilt. She’s come to this through a process-of-elimination, since “his speeches are a run-on string of embarrassing, sophomoric Hallmark bromides.”

But that is not the contender for Best Sentence. Coulter hits her stride when she starts to defend the Real Deal Man, and she does so thusly…

There was one refreshing aspect to Obama’s announcement: It was nice to see a man call a press conference this week to announce something other than he was the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby.

Once again, she must have been up half the night cooking up that one. Whatever. It still works.

On Dagny

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

The Atlas Shrugged page has a lot of interesting detail lately.

The screenplay is nearly complete, and production is scheduled to begin this year (2007).

Angelina’s name is on it, Brad’s is not. They’re both talented people, but on balance I think this is a good thing. Because if ever there was a “gotta make a boat payment” movie, this was it. In fact, I don’t think Angelina’s right.

Dagny hasn’t had sex since she was seventeen. Now yes, she’s gorgeous…which means she doesn’t look like Ms. Rand…and her celibacy is supposed to inspire a sort of “what the hell is going on here?” kinda thing. Jolie does fit that. But there’s a reason why Dagny hasn’t been having any fun — she hasn’t been settling. She’s hungry for men of ability, outside of the bedroom, and within. She will not settle for anything less, and if that means there are some dry times then so be it.

I just don’t see it in Ms. Jolie. She’s talented enough to be whatever she wants to be. But…surely we can do better.

KreukIn order of my preferences, here are the alternatives I’d consider if the decision was mine to make.

1. Kristin Kreuk
2. Lucy Liu
3. Brooke Burke
4. Leann Tweeden
5. Kelly Brook
6. Kari Wuhrer
7. Nell McAndrew
8. Vanessa Marcil
9. Maria Bello
10. Kelly Hu

Hair colored jet-black, if need be, and tied up into a bun right up until Henry Rearden’s anniversary party. She despises television, reads books every night while listening to Richard Halley’s concerto, and wears eyeglasses everywhere she goes. Conspicuous ones. Stylish, but plain, and conspicuous.

She’s not a “hottie.” She could be one if she tried to be one, but she’s not trying.