Archive for April, 2007

On the Man Code

Monday, April 30th, 2007

So in late January San Francisco was rocked by a scandal: The Mayor, Gavin Newsom, dorked his best friend’s wife. Here’s what piqued my interest. Name the issue: In San Francisco, things play differently than they do anywhere else. Name an issue that has something to do with men screwing women, or vice versa, or men screwing men or women screwing women. Something to do with fornicatin’. San Francisco becomes an even more different place.

And yet, every paragraph of this story, apart from city & person names, could have been applied to anywhere else. It comes down to this — the gals, single or married, say if the potholes are all filled what do I care about the Mayor’s personal life? It’s all good. And the guys say…wait, what?

Poked his buddy’s wife? That’s WRONG! It’s a betrayal of the man code!

But a funny thing happened after the headlines hit and the buzz began: Many women said they were ready to forgive and forget.

Not men, though. No way. Many said they would never trust Newsom again as long as they lived. Some were livid; many were incredulous. The difference? Apparently it is the Man Code, a set of rigid but unwritten boundaries over which no man may step. Break the Man Code, and you’re toast.

“It’s a huge betrayal,” sputtered Jason Mundstuk, 67, a business owner from Oakland who got upset just talking about it. “It’s big. It’s mythical.”

C’mon, you say, what is this, a TV beer commercial? Evidently not. These guys were dead serious. Make no mistake — having an affair with the wife of a trusted male colleague is an irrevocable Man Code violation.

“Hello?” wrote Mike Mulholland, 43, who grew up in the Bay Area before moving to San Diego County. “Newsom slept with his friend’s wife. What if he stole from a friend? Or tried to frame a friend? Would that also be nobody’s business?”

This clip makes pretty much the same point, offering the same evidence and drawing the same conclusions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3E-7JcS1Jc

But this brings me to the meat of it. I was digesting all this information, and on a whim I did a Google on “Man Code.” There’s a lot of stupid crap out there with man codes. But I was surprised to see the longest “code,” was the one that made the most sense. Worth bookmarking. I’m a little wishy-washy on Nos. 7 and 14, and maybe No. 8 as well, but everything else on the list makes perfect sense. For the most part.

For those wondering, the subject of the beer commercial is covered in #12, and Mayor Newsom’s transgression is mostly addressed by…well, it’s not in there. Some things are just too hideous even for the Man Code.

What I Learned From Casino Royale

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Casino RoyaleFor this weekend, my son’s obsession was Casino Royale which, after the very first viewing at the real-live theater, he had previously condemned as “kind of boring for a Bond movie.” Having skimmed through a sampling of the previous twenty installments, he seems to have come to the conclusion that this rebooted Bond is far more interesting and substantial. After repeat viewings, the story begins to make sense and kind of grows on you. I agree.

There is a reason why it’s taken over half a century to put this on the movie screen properly, so all the excitement of stealing money from bad guys in a card game can be captured in full. It’s got to be a very tough thing to do.

I consider myself to be an authority now — when ten-year-old boys like something, they don’t want to see it just once. With the weekend now gone, I could probably recite every line in the movie, and here is what I learned from watching it. Warning, some could be considered spoilers:

1. If it’s a place you need to film with a surveillance camera, don’t store propane there.
2. If the bitch is good-lookin’, she’s ALWAYS got a boyfriend.
3. The CIA doesn’t need the money.
4. Keep track of the metal suitcase.
5. If M thinks you’re bent, she’ll send a double-oh after you. You just might be the second kill.
6. If the first step of your interrogation is the removal of testicular support, just stop everything right there and tell him what he wants to know.
7. Don’t bet against the market.
8. Double-oh agents dress appropriately for action adventures, until they get betrayed by their girlfriends. After that they wear suits and silk ties all the time.
9. Money isn’t as important as knowing who to trust.
10. Trust no one (which is somehow reconciliable with the above?).
11. Land Rovers suck. Drive Ford.
12. Don’t get grouchy with your wife just because you lost your car and all your money in a game.
13. Send text messages through a network that DOESN’T track your GPS location. And if you fall for this once, don’t do it again or you might lose a kneecap.
14. Don’t let anyone know where you keep your gun.
15. When your new girlfriend’s cell phone is ringing constantly, find out why.
16. Don’t leave your drink unattended when you’re playing for millions of dollars.
17. Don’t hide from a man with a gun, in a building that’s being kept afloat by pressurized air pontoons.
18. Shoot the camera first. They don’t care what you do, they care what you’re filmed doing.
19. Double-oh operatives don’t have to breathe hard after sprinting, even endlessly. But their life expectancies are very, very short.
20. Don’t break into the boss’ house.
21. Don’t gamble in the futures market when your customer demands “complete security,” because a hundred millions dollars buys a really, really big knife.
22. Just because she’s guilty, doesn’t mean he’s innocent.
23. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But don’t forget to watch the friends.
24. Double-check the account number before the funds are transferred.
25. Just because he’s younger and thinner than you doesn’t mean he’s a valet.

As a Movie Character

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

As a movie character, I promise to…

1. Reject any assigned phone number for my house or cell phone that does not begin with 555.
2. Leave the keys in the ignition of whatever I own. All the time, no matter what.
3. If the lights go out and I try to figure out why, I will always walk backwards. If female and good-looking, I will first take a long slow shower.
4. I will not be slowed down by a punch to the nose, or even by a kick in the face. I will keep swinging, virtually begging for more. Even if precariously balancing on a thin girder a thousand feet above the sidewalk.
5. However, if someone gives me a good karate chop to the back or the neck, I faint immediately and stay asleep for hours.
6. As a man, I will scold my female colleague to go home. As a woman, I will insist on tagging along with those four timeless magic words, “I’m going with you!”
7. I will meet all my work obligations instead of flaking out to go to my kid’s baseball game or school play, but later confess to being a big jerk and resolving to be much flakier from now on, while tear-jerking music plays softly in the background.
8. If my wife sleeps with someone else, I will begin a vigorous soul-searching session to figure out what I did to make her want to.
9. Listen unquestioningly to the words of self-appointed amateur psychologists who know nothing about me, as they describe my most intimate personal problems and what to do about them, especially if they’re half my age and good-looking.
10. Use incredibly lame passwords on my computer, and keep obvious visual clues to said passwords within line-of-sight.

Update:
The FARKLibs were generous enough to help tack on the following…
11. I promise to get a parking spot in front of whatever building I need to be in, regardless of time or day or how busy the area is.
12. I promise never to actually pay for anything.
13. I promise to talk to my children about my sexual antics as casually as my friends.
14. I will keep my gun holstered while checking to see if my nemesis is dead.
15. I will spend an inordinate amount of time explaining the happenings of the last two hours to my victim before I kill him.
16. I won’t say hello, when I begin telephone conversations, and I won’t say goodbye when they’re over.
17. I promise to leave the headlights on when I get out of car.
18. I promise to wear my tightest and most revealing clothes at all times, regardless of how practical or impractical they may be for the task at hand
19. I will also never wear the same outfit twice, unless it’s a uniform, in which case I will wear it nonstop
20. Also, should my clothing ever be torn or ripped, it will tear or rip in such a way as to bare nothing but my toned midriff, shoulders, or thighs.
21. If a friend goes missing, I will insist that everyone split up to look for them.
22. If in a gun fight, I will insist on a perfect headshot rather than targeting any body part in view. If there is a car between us, I will peek over the top rather than looking underneath and shooting my opponent in the ankle.
23. I promise to win the big game on some crazy, hare-brained, million-to-one play rather than skill.

A Hero Sleeps II

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Millions upon millions upon millions of my fellow citizens want this war to be over. Like…yesterday.

Could it be they just don’t like the body bags pouring in? They have so much respect for human life they want it to stop, whatever the price may be?

Or…do they not like to be reminded of the distance between the true potential of human courage, and what they themselves show on a daily basis?

I leave it to the reader to decide.

Rest easy and God Bless, noble warrior. This is your world, the rest of us just live in it.

Snotty Indignation, and Truth

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Ruth Sheehan’s offense was deplorable in the extreme, easily worth fifty Don-Imus-Nappy-Hair-Ho repeats, perhaps more. She’s learned her lesson, and I think it’s a good lesson for the rest of us whether we’re similarly guilty, potentially guilty, or saintly innocent.

Her original article went like this:

Members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team: You know.

We know you know.

Whatever happened in the bathroom at the stripper party gone terribly terribly bad, you know who was involved. Every one of you does.

And one of you needs to come forward and tell the police.

Do not be afraid of retribution on the team. Do not be persuaded that somehow this “happened” to one or more “good guys.”

If what the strippers say is true — that one of them was raped, sodomized, beaten and strangled — the guys responsible are not “good.”

It turns out that snotty indignation, and verifiable truth, don’t have an awful lot to do with each other. Certainly, the sulphurous fumes of the former make a poor substitute for the latter. In the common-sense lobes of our brains, we all understand this. Our recurring sin is our failure to send a good amount of current through the synapses.

And so, a little over a year later, via Sister Toldjah we get to read about Sheehan’s mortified apology. Beware! There but for the grace of God…

Members of the men’s Duke lacrosse team: I am sorry.

Surely by now you know I am sorry. I am writing these words now, and in this form, as a bookend to 13 months of Duke lacrosse coverage, my role in which started with a March 27 column that began:

“Members of the men’s Duke lacrosse team: You know. We know you know.”

That was when Durham police and District Attorney Mike Nifong were describing a “wall of silence” among the men who attended the now-vaunted lacrosse party at 610 Buchanan Blvd. Nifong, now described by the state attorney general as a “rogue prosecutor,” was widely respected as solid, even understated.

Though wrong, my initial column was cheered by hundreds of readers.

Last weekend, our public editor, Ted Vaden, laid me low for that first column, and the second, which called for the firing of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. According to Don Yeager, a former Sports Illustrated staffer who is writing a book about the case, Pressler blames me for his dismissal. I’m sorry he ended up coaching at a Division III school.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming…maybe it has something to do with puttin’ the hate on the rich people, in which case you’re just asking for more of the same sorry episode. Maybe it’s something else.

Either way, this obviously seems a good lesson to keep tucked away in your noggin.

Noonan V

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Once again, Peggy Noonan turns in something that scuttles straight toward the “Required Reading” folder:

We are scaring our children to death. Have you noticed this? And we’re doing it more and more.

Last week of course it was Cho Seung-hui, the mass murderer of Virginia Tech. The dead-faced man with the famous dead-shark eyes pointed his pistols and wielded his hammer on front pages and TV screens all over America.

What does it do to children to see that?

For 50 years in America, whenever the subject has turned to what our culture presents, the bright response has been, “You don’t like it? Change the channel.” But there is no other channel to change to, no safe place to click to. Our culture is national. The terrorizing of children is all over.

Click. Smug and menacing rappers.

Click. “This is Bauer. He’s got a nuke and he’s going to take out Los Angeles.”

Click. Rosie grabs her crotch. “Eat this.”

Click. “Every day 2,000 children are reported missing . . .”

Click. Don Imus’s face.

Click. “Eyewitnesses say the shooter then lined the students up . . .”
:
I would hate to be a child now.

I don’t agree with Noonan on everything, and I certainly don’t agree with it all here. I see it as part of a much larger arc. People like to scare kids nowadays — in the second half of the article, she nicely covers this — because people have noticed, when children are scared by something, they have a tendency to blow money and votes on whatever crap you’re selling when they grow up. It’s a chance to step in and perform the vital values-instilling assembly routines Mom and Dad are supposed to be performing. Scare a kid for a couple of seconds, and then let that kid go home and masticate his evening meal with Mom and Dad all week long. Make it a whole year. At the end of the year, if you ask the child what’s important to him, will he comment on something he learned at home, or on something he learned from you?

You. Of course. You scared the crap outta him.

And so our politicians, advocacy groups, 527s, and just about anyone else capable of grabbing a spot on the boob tube, have figured this out. Therein lies the motive — as for how long it’s been going on, with nobody saying boo about it, you’d have to look to the options available to people who set out to scare our kids. Those options are limitless, because our kids are easily scared. This is a problem that’s been going on even longer, and Noonan doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The expectancy our kids have out of their day-to-day security — the expectancy their parents have — is sky-freakin’-high. It was not ever thus.

Since feminism came on the scene, shamed everybody, demanded equal-pay-for-equal-work, got it, and then went searching for some other things to point out to shame everybody again…we have been raising babies. Every childhood should be less and less threatening. Except when a child isn’t scared by his childhood at home, he learns little…then he goes out into the big scary world, gets scared by something, and learns far more from whatever scared him than whatever he learned in his “harmlesss” home.

So you see, it’s very simple. When we set out to make sure our babums can go from the cradle to the graduation podium never having been jolted by anything, it’s like parking a solid-gold plated Lamborghini curbside with the keys in the ignition. Parents make sure their kids are never ever threatened, in substance or in form. As a direct consequence, parents, whether they realize it or not, teach their kids very little. Mannerisms, mostly. Things like how to answer the door with the cordless phone pressed to your ear; very little about right-and-wrong. And so it falls to the outside forces to teach the kids what is scary.

Which means, their values. It turns out there is very little different between what’s-right-and-wrong, and what-is-scary. In a secular society that becomes antagonistic toward the notion of any kind of Higher Power, this fusion between right-and-wrong and what-is-scary becomes even more solid.

As a parent, I’ve been guilty of some of Noonan’s complaints. But — and I’m sure Noonan would be receptive to this, and if she isn’t then nuts to her — this is different. I’m a parent. That’s my job. I tell my kid what I wish someone had told me, when I was a kid, about what is scary or what should be scary. I do this, or someone else does; and if someone else does, that is a usurpation.

And it’s been a uspurpation going on unopposed for generations. Look around, ask a grown-up what scares him or her. What comes out next, nine times out of ten, is a regurgitation of exactly what’s been coming out of the idiot box during the insipid morning “news” programs. The bitter irony is, post-WWII, we’ve been struggling to become a scare-free society. Here it is deep into the next century, and other than the things that scare us, we think about very little except Starbuck’s and iPods. In a sense, we live to be scared from cradle to grave. And, in a society that has been laboring endlessly to be more and more sensitive…nobody cares. Noonan, here, melds her own sentiments with mine, in a delicious parting-shot. The final sentence to her essay is priceless.

So what’re you still doing here on a blog nobody reads anyway? Go!

Prudish?

Friday, April 27th, 2007

ShettyJust as the weathermen are forecasting our first spike of temperature of the year, I came across an interesting piece of news concerning Richard Gere. Now as most Americans are aware, every year when the weather starts to get warm, sometime between that first spike and Memorial Day, you can count on hearing someone, somewhere, indulge in a litte bit of — what else should I call it — putting the hate on good ol’ U.S. of A. They don’t admit to hating America…and of course they’ll snarl (yawn) peevishly at anyone having the big brass ones to say that’s what they’re doing. And they are not — repeat, not — saying anything bad about the country.

They are saying something bad about American culture. And mean to. Entirely.

The snark comes out as something like this…

“Of course, we here in America aren’t as mature about sex as some other countries.”

Or this…

“Of course, we’re a little bit prudish in America compared to the way they do things in other countries.”

Or…

“Of course, there are other countries that are a little more mature about sex and the naked body than we are here in America.”

And these comments are, in my opinion, very poorly thought-out. They are derived, first of all, from factual evidence that must remain undiscussed in order to leave the veneer of legitimacy in place on this idea being tossed around. This is necessary. To formulate an argument, and state for the record why it is you think the things you think — would, in the course of construction, fracture the argument under the force of its own weight.

It would look something like…My litmus test of a sexually mature society is whether that society allows women to talk around topless, and America doesn’t do this so it fails the test. To reconcile this with the available evidence would, at some point, necessitate some kind of study of our indecency laws state-to-state, which would pose all kinds of problems.

And then there’s the matter of the sensibility of the litmus test. Purely a matter of personal taste, of course. But I have difficulty seeing anyone standing behind it, and taking pride in doing so.

But anyway. These “other countries” are, like…although few ever say so out loud…countries in Europe. A few little mud-puddles sprinkled with nudist colonies. And France, which I’m told still considers it tasteful for a cabinet minister to — well, yeah, those who know him understand he has a mistress, but in polite society we don’t discuss it, and you’d better damn sure believe l’press is not allowed to mention it because the country is so damn “mature” about sex. Sexual maturity showing up as double-talk, in other words.

Here in the U.S., we’re juvenile because we figured out somewhere between Camelot and Watergate that this was silly. The President is dorking Marilyn Monroe, or else he isn’t. Not that Lewinskygate was the pinnacle of civilization and good judgment. But at LEAST we evolved to the point where, fer Chrissakes, something either happened or else it didn’t happen. At least people agreed that when something happened, and the Big Guy said it didn’t happen, he was lying. Our silly juvenile argument was over whether it was anybody’s business to begin with and whether the liar deserved a timeout. But our conservatives and liberals all deserve credit over l’Europeans, for treating a fact as a fact.

Meanwhile — recognizing that India is not in Europe — lookee what we have here.

A court issued arrest warrants for Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Thursday, saying their kiss at a public function “transgressed all limits of vulgarity,” media reports said.

Judge Dinesh Gupta issued the warrants in the northwestern city of Jaipur after a local citizen filed a complaint charging that the public display of affection offended local sensibilities, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
:
Such cases against celebrities – often filed by publicity seekers – are common in conservative India. They add to a backlog of legal cases that has nearly crippled the country’s judicial system.

How would you define the characteristics of a prudish, overly-conservative and sexually-immature society? Wouldn’t they have something to do with filing case after case against people embracing in public the wrong way, to the point that the country’s judicial system is “crippled”?

I haven’t heard such a complaint against the U.S.A. or any state within it. Sure there are some brain-dead laws. But from what I’ve seen, before we get to the part about crippling the justice system, we first bump into the problem with laws everyone knows to be stupid and unenforceable — not being enforced. Which is a serious problem I think, but still a different one.

Gere, meanwhile, has apologized.

I just wanted all this bookmarked. Our “America is kind of prudish and immature” people, I can’t help noticing, like to brag about being “worldly.” It’s been my experience that if anyone dares disagree with them, they challenge the opposition with the “how many countries have you been to?” line.

And it just seems to me, if that’s what the discussion is all about, India ought to be worth a mention. They’re part of the world too. And this Gere thing, for reasons on which I’m not clear, and I wouldn’t mind being educated someday, continues to be big news. Because it seems they have “publicity seekers” over there who can’t stand watching a smooch.

Also, I’m gathering the sense that Shetty is in as big a peck of trouble as Gere over the deal, if not more. Even though when you watch the clip, it doesn’t look like she’s entirely into it. This injects at least the flavor of a human-rights issue into things. Among the Americans who view cultural sensibilities along the singular dimension, travelling from primitive-to-sophisticated along a spectrum, one step at a time from, the The Flintstones to the U.S.S. Enterprise, I think we would all have to agree: If a woman can be minding her own business — get groped — and end up facing legal consequences for not fighting the guy off hard enough, that place probably has a ways to go.

How Friendly Do They Need To Be

Friday, April 27th, 2007

The subject just now was ugly liberal women and good-lookin’ conservative women. Which just naturally inspires a glance at Karol’s page, where we find a link to this:

Dean: Bar Media and Candidates Will Talk

The head of the Democratic Party said Wednesday that the best way to get presidential candidates to talk frankly about issues is to lock out the media.

During the Mortgage Bankers Association conference, a banker expressed frustration with candidates who only talk in sound bites and wondered how that could be changed. Howard Dean, once a presidential candidate, offered a simple solution.

“I suggest you have candidates in to meetings like this and bar the press,” Dean said.

The Democratic National Committee chairman criticized media coverage, arguing that networks such as CBS used to put content first and didn’t mind losing money for the prestige of delivering a quality news report. Dean said the days of Walter Cronkite are gone and the corporatization of the media has led to a desire to boost profits.

“The media has been reduced to info-tainment,” Dean said. “Info-tainment sells, the problem is they reach the lowest common denominator instead of forcing a little education down our throats, which we are probably in need of from time to time.”

Now I imagine there is nothing ominous about this, if you’ve had your head stuck up your ass so far you can nibble on your own uvula. Those of us who’ve been paying attention, understand questions beginning with “How does it make you feel” are reserved for our donks, while questions along the lines of “How much does a gallon of milk cost?” are reserved for politicians who are not donks. It’s been that way for a very long time. Nobody even pretends to be able to explain why anymore. It’s just something we’ve slowly come to accept, and that’s the way it is.

So Howard.

How friendly does the media have to be to you, before you’ll let them back in again?

Ugly Liberal Women

Friday, April 27th, 2007

It’s been called to our attention that Wednesday’s post was an example of poor marketing in the blogosophere. We believe this is true, and furthermore that we commit this sin quite regularly, which is one of many reasons why we call ourselves The Blog That Nobody Reads. The subject of the post in question was Michelle Malkin making fun of the Democrats by pretending to cheer them on, with white flags instead of pom-poms. But from reading our comments, you wouldn’t have figured that out…you had to go to Malkin’s web site and watch the video clip. Only then would you see what’s going on…

MICHELLE MALKIN IN A CHEERLEADER OUTFIT
MICHELLE MALKIN IN A CHEERLEADER OUTFIT
MICHELLE MALKIN IN A CHEERLEADER OUTFIT
MICHELLE MALKIN IN A CHEERLEADER OUTFIT
MICHELLE MALKIN IN A CHEERLEADER OUTFIT

That, right up there, is how we would have played it up if we were true web-traffic-whores. Which we are somewhat — only to such an extent as we’ve developed as unhealthy an addiction to Sitemeter as any other blogger. Ooh, twenty hits in the last hour instead of ten. What did I do? From where did they come? It’s an intriguing question. But apart from a mouse-click or two of poking around, nothing is done about it. Life goes on.

When it comes to implementing all these tried-and-true techniques for boosting traffic, we rank below the folks who suck at it. We’re just not trying. Malkin herself is dancing around in a cheerleader costume, and we’re playing it up by analyzing the intellectual/sociopolitical merits of what she’s saying, and not even bothering to scrape any pictures. One can almost envision Malkin herself reviewing the finished product, wondering why we didn’t take the bait. Come on, I even had pigtails.

It’s in keeping with our mission. As we’ve pointed out before: Say things to get attention, pretty soon you’re saying things that make no sense, save for your objective of getting attention. And then you’re saying stupid crappy things like “there is no terrorirst threat” or “Bush went to Iraq to prove to his daddy he’s tough.” We’d rather stick to things we know to be true or genuinely believe to be true. That is the priority. Don’t be snookered — say things that, if you read them a year later, you won’t think to yourself “man, I really got fooled.” Let others troll for attention…and the web traffic will do whatever it will do.

Liberal WomenBut the timing was pretty good. We managed to link ourselves to a FARK thread in the moment as it was greenlit. This caused something of a spike. Maybe we’ll meet some interesting new folks because of that.

Anyway. We already have a new thought to ponder…although it is not completely an unblazed trail. FARK user juiceman_eyebrows would like to know…

Why are conservative women pundits so much prettier than than the Liberals? Seriously, what is it? Is it because they shave their legs? Wear deodorant? Keep the armpit hair to a minimum? Im just curious.

Well, I’d like to try to tackle this one. (Credit Six Meat Buffet for the picture.)

First of all, there are some exceptions. The left does have Alyssa Milano. But by-and-large, the trend does seem to hold true. Liberal women, now forty years into a movement of trying to find something unfair in society, and in the opportunities it offers them, so they can do some screeching…they don’t seem to want to be attractive.

At no time was this more evident than in the administration of Bill Clinton. Clinton was held up as the key to doors long bolted and sealed shut, imposing with a stuffy cobwebbed Victorian authority between strong, resourceful women and the opportunities that righfully should have been available to them. A messianic figure out to save women from oblivion in an unfair, patriarchal society that, but for him, would have relegated the best and brightest among our sisters and daughters to obscurity. And in the women came. Reno. Shalala. Albright. Bader-Ginsburg. And so on.

Did the message really stop at “you shouldn’t deny women opportunities just because they’re women?” It seems impossible to opine so. None among the gruesome foursome even remotely resemble the lovely Alyssa.

Oh yes, I understand — just as you shouldn’t promote someone just because he’s a man, you shouldn’t promote women just because they’re pretty. That argument would make a lot of sense — if two among the previously-named four resembled other-worldly creatures. But this was four-for-four. Women, by their nature, are beautiful. The average-looking woman looks a damn sight different from the average Clinton female appointee. No one’s ever bothered to explain this. Not to my knowledge.

So let’s face facts: Juiceman is on to something here. Something’s going on. You do not need to bribe me with booze and money to get me to sleep with Condoleeza Rice. Or Linda Chavez. Or Bo Derek or the lovely Michelle, or Peggy Noonan or Laura Ingraham. These women all have currency. Regarding their counterparts, especially the ones who achieved prominence in the Clinton cabinet — if you don’t mind, I think I’d rather just skip that part of the exercise.

Perhaps, among female persons who embraced the principles Clinton was trying to sell us, Janet Reno happened to be the best qualified to run the Justice Department. And given that, perhaps, Albright was best qualified to run the Department of State. But four-for-four, fugly-for-fugly?

Shenanigans, I say. There was another message there. There had to be. The Alyssa Milanos, you will note, remain safely confined to their Hollywood gigs. Our liberal politicians don’t even promote them to so much as spokeswoman-for-a-day in some fundraiser, political junket, million-whatever-march, or anything of the like. The pattern is clear: A genuinely gorgeous woman would cloud the message. The limelight is for…others.

Even in our movies, when we’re supposed to be appreciating women for being beautiful, our liberals still don’t think women should be appreciated for the gifts they naturally have. When the business at hand is to be “sexy,” their answer to it is Julia Roberts — a woman straight men don’t find sexy. Not in the way we find Ms. Milano sexy.

There seems to be something wrong with appealing to us, or being caught trying to. Clearly, there is some pipeline of support in the liberal community, and that pipeline is available to women who want to become famous — provided said women are not good-looking.

I Support MalkinAnd there’s something else going on, too. The subject-at-hand is Michelle Malkin: funny; smart; beautiful; enchanting; conservative; Asian. Just as I can stump even the most seasoned politics-watcher by asking “Quick! Who’s the sexiest female political appointee or spokeswoman for the left wing?” — I can achieve the same results by asking, in the same urgent manner, who is the most prominent female minority among the left wing. Now, why is that? Our liberals are supposed to be all about diversity. Opportunity for the under-privileged members of designated minority groups. The non-WASPy, non-caucasian, non-euro-centric. Stickin’ it to Whiitey, if you want to think of it that way. And, at times, that last one does seem to be the most accurate description of what they want done…

…so where is the spokesgal? I’ve noticed a favorite leitmotif of the left is that Malkin lacks talent — she’s not as smart as people give her credit for, and she’s just plain mean. Some of them say this as if in a concentrated effort to convince themselves. Others behave as if they’re already convinced. Okay, if there’s nothing extraordinary to Malkin, then where is the left-wing counterpart? One would have to expect, if Malkin is so extraordinary in her mediocrity, it shouldn’t take long to answer this at all. Just find any ol’ liberal Asian chick, and mission accomplished. Give her something to do, maybe debate the real Michelle somewhere. Should be easy. So why hasn’t it been done?

How come these female-persons whom The Left would wish could demand more of my attention, are not only butt-ugly, but so consistently white?

I’ve been repeatedly instructed to believe that Rush Limbaugh was “mean” when he said the purpose of feminism was to make sure ugly women can get dates. Just going on the evidence that has come to my attention over the years — it was mean. He should have said it was to make sure ugly white women can get dates.

Hot Women Not WantedI’m sure that sets off lots of righteous indignation…but if anyone can get over it and catch their breath for a second or two, I’d really like an answer. It seems a fair question, and I have to think if it causes any offense in anyone, it can only do this until some quality thought is applied to it. The point of it is, after all, someone wants to get a message out and thus far, has only managed to get out a piece of it. How offensive can it be, to figure out there is more to be added? Our liberals have a beef with being too closely associated with women that straight men find pleasing, in face, body and mind. They’ve been encouraged to say a lot of things — some of it outlandish, some of it petty, almost all of it in some way hostile. On this matter, they’ve not yet fully opined. There’s something here that arouses shame in the shameless. PLEASE, liberals. Don’t keep your silence any further on my account. My curiosity is like an itch beneath a cast, with not one coathanger or chopstick in sight.

And there’s the matter of opportunity…still unaddressed. There are only so many ugly white women in the world. And I have to believe, if I were to start a company and staff it with ugly white liberal women with such remarkable consistency, with all the charter positions as well as the positions that become available from time to time, I’d eventually get busted for it. Because of some federal law that our liberals insisted we put on the books and keep in the books. To put it simply, I can’t do as a private citizen what these left-wing power brokers appear to have done for quite a long time with our taxpayer-supported advocacy positions and our positions of public trust. With nary a soul, outside of the conservative talk show hosts and bloggers, batting an eyelash about it.

No, I run a company with my own money…a liberal bystander who can’t show me two nickels he has to lose, in any decision I make, detects a lack of “diversity” and he can bring the whole operation to a screeching halt. Said lack of diversity is supposed to be compelling evidence of something awful and ugly. Well, I’ve noticed the same thing in the things our liberals like to do. I’m pretty far from the first guy to notice it. And hey, gorgeous women have to eat too.

So is it really all about equal opportunity?

Or is being liberal all about exchanging one form of prejudice, for a different one? It is possible for a woman to be charming, sexy and smart. I know this for a fact. Our liberals appear to be convinced it is not so.

L-O-S-E-R

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Well done, Michelle. The raw cheerleading talent…well, it could use some work. But you’ve captured what’s going on. Precisely.

Just take three steps back and look at the BIG picture. Socialism and eugenics…our liberals are in favor of taking control of matters that deal with those two. Nothing else. That is what stays consistent across issue after issue. Take charge of what the little people are allowed to make, take charge of what the little people are allowed to be. That’s it.

On all other issues the name of the left-wing game is to be passive. Passive, passive, passive…and there’s no limit to how evil you are if you want someone to take control of something. Someone breaks into your house. Someone steals your car. Someone runs around killing little kids. Radical Islamic whacko people want to kill us. Just toss around bromides and platitudes, sit back and let things happen.

Neutralizing bad guys? FUHGEDDABOWDIT. Whether it’s a terrorist blowing up a plane or a compulsive child-murderer who belongs on death row, there’s something about putting a bad guy down that makes liberals cringe. Nothing’s worth defending; nothing is worth it. The consistency is just amazing.

And they say the Republicans have absolutely nothing going for them in ’08. If that’s true under present circumstances, some Republican campaign advisors need to find another line of work. Defeat the left wing? Just force it to admit what it is. It’s the “Nothing Worth Defending” wing.

Credit TheSaloon.Net for the picture.

Update: It’s necessary to save this link from Monday and you’ll see why when you peek. To bottom-line it, Harry Reid does have a defense for his comment about the war being lost. He says his statement is fair because…hope you’re sitting down…he’s “stick[ing] with General Petreaus.” The war “cannot be won militarily,” Reid knows this because Petreaus said it. Yeah. Gen. Petreaus and Harry Reid are on one side of this thing, and President Bush is on the other side…all alone, I guess.

Just goes to show. When a donk tells you someone said something, the last thing the donk wants you to do is check things out. I notice that’s been pretty consistent, too.

Funny that Reid would call Bush a liar, when Reid himself is mischaracterizing Gen. Petraeus’ comments about military victory in Iraq so egregiously that it rises to the level of a despicable lie. Here’s a statement from General Petraeus that more accurately characterizes his position on Iraq (given during a US Armed Services Committee hearing on 1/23/2007):

It is, however, exceedingly difficult for the Iraqi government to come to grips with the toughest issues it must resolve while survival is the primary concern of so many in Iraq’s capital. For this reason, military action to improve security, while not wholly sufficient to solve Iraq’s problems, is certainly necessary. And that is why additional U.S. and Iraqi forces are moving to Baghdad.

And then there’s this exchange between Gen. Petraeus and Senator McCain during the same hearing:

SEN. MCCAIN: “Suppose we send you over to your new job, General, only we tell you that you can’t have any additional troops. Can you get your job done?”

GEN. PETRAEUS: “No, sir.”

Lying, in the same breath as calling others liars. Characterizing a war as having been lost when it has been anything but. Caught red-handed.

Just disgusting.

The Governor’s Press Release

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Regarding the Governor of Oregon living on $3 per person per day for food for a week, to show us how incredibly in touch he is with those lowly poor people, here is his press release:

“I challenge all Oregonians to experience first-hand what thousands of Oregon families go through everyday,” said Governor Kulongoski. “Budgeting just $1 a meal each day for food, and trying to make that food nutritious, is a difficult task that sadly is a reality for too many Oregonians and their families.”

Thing I Know #82. You need to be careful when helping desperate people, because there’s a fine line between finding out what it is they need, and borrowing some of the habits they had just before they got desperate.

All About Food Stamps

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Did you know half of all food stamp recipients have been receiving the aid continuously for 8½ years or more?

There is a common misperception that the Food Stamp program provides mainly temporary, short term assistance. This is untrue. The majority of Food Stamp recipients at any given point in time are or will be long term dependents. The overwhelming majority of Food Stamp spending is received by individuals who have been or will be participants in the program for multiple years or even decades.

Neely’s Wet BBQ Ribs

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Ming The Merciless (not his real name) tipped me off to Neely’s barbeque sauce, of which I had not heard before just now. Found this recipe on the web, which I’d like to try sometime.

Yet More Quiz Results

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I must have taken dozens of these over the years. One of my projects is to gather all the results and put them into a WordPress page. I haven’t even figured out how to get started on that just yet…but anyway…


You Have A Type A+ Personality

You’re driven to succeed every single second of the day
And you don’t let up on your goals, no matter how tired you are
You’ve already acheived a lot in your life… but it’s not enough for you

Always on the go, you tend to get things done quickly and effectively
You have the personality to be a successful enterpreneur
Just remember to play a little too, even if play is the most difficult thing for you!


You Are 55% Left Brained, 45% Right Brained


The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

In Other News, Water Is Wet

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

The democrat Governor of Oregon has been snookered into some church program to prove that being poor sucks. I think that statement just about captures it…

Governor to Try a Food Stamp-Size Budget
Article Tools Sponsored By
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 22, 2007

SALEM, Ore., April 21 (AP) — Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski and his wife, Mary Oberst, are used to eating the best their state has to offer: salmon, huckleberries and mushrooms foraged from the Cascade mountains.

The coming week will be different. They will spend just $3 a day each on their meals, $42 in all, to match the amount spent by the average food stamp recipient in Oregon.

Mr. Kulongoski, a Democrat, and Ms. Oberst are the most prominent people yet to take part in a “food stamp challenge,” a trend sponsored by religious groups, community activists and food pantries across the country.

Those who have done the challenge say shopping on such a tight budget requires plenty of planning, a reliance on inexpensive staples like legumes, beans, rice and peanut butter and a lack of more expensive protein and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Meeting friends for a slice of pizza or a cup of coffee becomes a nearly unaffordable luxury.

“On the spiritual side, when I did eat, I was more present,” said State Senator Jonathan Harris of Connecticut, who just finished three weeks on food stamp funds. “Usually I’m watching TV, shoveling things in, not thinking that I am blessed.”

It is a politically delicate time for the food stamp program. The Bush administration has proposed several cuts, among them taking food stamps from about 185,000 people because they receive other noncash government assistance.

The Department of Agriculture budget, as proposed, would also eliminate a program that gives boxes of food to about half a million elderly people each month.

The administration has proposed some changes hailed by food stamp supporters, like excluding retirement savings from income limits and encouraging recipients to buy more fresh produce.

Mr. Kulongoski plans to lobby Congress to restore the proposed cuts.

Neal Boortz is having some fun with this.

Wow! What a great idea! If the governor would permit me, I would like to suggest how he can enhance his illustration of the plight of the poor during this week on food stamps:

1. Adopt — just for the week — a few children you cannot afford to raise.
2. Completely abandon your work ethic for the week.
3. If you do have a job, show up late, leave early and don’t hit a lick at a snake while you’re there.
4. Smoke cigarettes. After all, a higher percentage of poor people smoke than rich people.
5. Become uneducated.
6. Buy lottery tickets.

My suggestions would have more to do with producing a family locked in to living on food stamps. I like the complete lack of education, it’s a good start. Let’s see…

Someone once said as women go, so goes society. If you have a daughter, pay close attention to the prospective son-in-law. No talent allowed. Her boyfriend’s tallest ambition in life, should he have one, ought to be to get the band back together.

In your extended family, designate a White-Knight and a chronic screw-up. Everyone should agree that nothing is ever the screw-up’s fault. They should all plunge their life saving’s into bailing him out of his latest pickle, and if any work remains to be done it ought to be the job of the White-Knight. And if there’s blame to be cast, it should go to the Knight.

If nobody can agree who-is-what, it should fall to the screechiest, most irrational woman to designate those roles. That seems to be the way most families do it.

Oh yeah. Nobody’s allowed to learn anything from the way the White Knight does things. For a role model, everyone should be looking at the screw-up. Kids should be taught to pay him lots of attention. Worship him. Do everything the way he does it. He’s bound to be the “fun” one, after all.

Watch lots of movies with Doofus Dads. Kids should be taught that during that narrow band of years, where they feel like they know everything — they really do.

Do a lot of screeching, bellyaching and kibitzing about “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

Oh, I almost forgot: Nobody ever talks to their kids anymore about the ethics involved in missing work. Take advantage of that. Miss work when you’re not sick. Take your kids to the beach, or to the park. Be sure and let them know what you’re doing — how you have to be sure wherever you go, you can’t be filmed or photographed, and why that is. Find out how many sick days you’re allowed, and let your kids in on that arithmetic. The lesson is that work is the last priority.

That goes for everyone. If anyone waits around until they’re really sick, before they take time off work, show your kids that he’s the bad guy and he doesn’t really love anyone. If he’s male, spend your sick day watching a Doofus Dad movie with your kids.

Ah! That reminds me…spending money. That’s love, you know. No money spent, nobody loves anyone. Paycheck comes in, bills are paid, groceries are bought — if there is some money left over, it should be spent on fun things. If it stays in the bank, someone’s being mean and greedy.

The breadwinner should be constantly harrassed. Show your kids that this is a life of misery. Life is not about providing for anyone or doing the things other people need to have done or fulfilling responsibilities…show your kids that the purpose of life, is to have fun.

Embrace militant feminism. Make sure your daughters and your sons are clear on this point: Nobody has spent their energy well if they’ve sought out any direction in life — they should be rejecting direction in their lives. Sons should be taught that nobody needs them for anything, they aren’t there to facilitate, to coordinate, to organize, to prioritize, to produce, to defend, to protect. If they want to go after something out of whatever’s left, with whatever time they have on the planet, they can go right ahead. Daughters, similarly, are taught not to direct, to nurture, to feed, to clothe, to educate, to chaperone, to supervise. Again: If they want to go after something out of whatever’s left, go right ahead. Pointlessness to existence is the name of the game.

Teach your kids to make fun of nerds. Ideally, any class-mates they have who pull down better grades, are “teachers’ pets” who “brown-nose” the teachers for their superior grades — they didn’t work any harder, certainly! And your kids should be wondering why we still have a patent office. Anything that needed to be invented, has already been invented.

Pointlessness. Drive it home. We’re here to go to work late, come home early, do nothing in between, and take as many sick days off as we can so we can “love” each other by spending all the money.

And when the cupboards are bare and there’s nothing to eat and no money to buy it with, make sure your kids understand: They don’t need to pay any attention to other families who have food and money, to find out what’s been done differently. There’s nothing to be learned there. Other families with food and money, instead, should be paying attention to you. After all. You’re the guys who have it really tough.

Fantastic Machine

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

What I Learned From Porn

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Ideas That Get Attention

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

This is why we call ourselves The Blog That Nobody Reads. You say things to get attention — it isn’t long before the reason you’re saying things, is to get that attention.

And then you’re saying things that get more attention. Some other guy says something else to get attention, and you say something assured to get you more attention for yourself than he got for himself.

And invariably…by this time, you’re saying a bunch of stupid crap. The cost of not doing the thing you want done — you yourself do not know. The benefits to be realized if the things you want done, get done — you have no idea. How it’s all supposed to work…nobody…knows…

Gun controlAnd what a shining example of this we have thanks to the Bemidji Pioneer, courtesy of Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler reader Xystus (Pioneer link requires registration).

What. The bloody. Hell.

I would be the new sheriff in town if I were an elected government official. I would propose legislation that would ban the sale of hand-guns. Of course, I would never be elected with that political platform so don’t worry. Oh, I would let the collec-tors keep their Colt 45s and other old collectible handguns. (I own a few old rifles.) But forget about ever buying a new handgun or any semiautomatic and automatic assault type weapons. If you wanted to turn your handgun or assault weapon in, my legislation would pay you for it. I would even invite you to the party where we would toss them into a fiery furnace.
:
If we ranked countries by size according to the amount of money spent, the Pentagon with its Department of Defense would be the world¹s 11th largest country. What if we built a big building like the Pentagon, hired as many people and spent the same amount of money to promote peace as the Pentagon does to fight wars. It’s just an idea. Let’s do things differently.
:
Al Gore was devastated by los-ing the election to President Bush — maybe even humiliated. But now look at him. He’s Mother Nature’s adopted son and an Oscar winner to boot. Let’s see, who would stand a better chance of winning the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts at improving our quality of life, Rush Limbaugh or Al Gore? If you had to think for more than a nanosecond, I know a bridge for sale.

Here’s what I don’t get. Twenty-nine percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that create our greenhouse gas that causes global warming comes from the United States. This is more than any other country. Yet, we cannot sign the Kyoto Protocol which is designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It also has been signed by 141 countries. China and India have not signed it, but so what? Let’s sign it and do what is right. Let’s do things differently.
:
Here are three things. (1) See Al Gore’s film. That’s all, just see it. (2) Send an e-mail to your friendly politician in Washington and suggest, “How about creating a Department of Peace? What do we have to lose?” (3) Ask yourself, “How many lives could we save if there were no more handguns?”

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

Mr. Eggers, your attention please…although I have the feeling that’s easier said than done. People have seen Al Gore’s movie, believe it or not. They drive in to see it in something that gets six miles a gallon or less, drive home again, talk about it for awhile, feel really good about themselves, and then go back to what they were doing before. So does Mr. Gore, by the way. The idea of a DoP has been around as long as the country’s been around. What we have to lose, is money. We’d have a Pentagon-sized department (that was part of your idea) full of people who are supposed to do…people wouldn’t really agree on exactly what. In short, we’d have yet another agency in our leviathan government doing vague things and burning through money. That’s certainly been done before.

And as for banning handguns and trying to figure out how many lives saved — ah. We do have an answer. For about a week now…the answer is minus-thirty-two. Next question.

Credit goes to Rottweiler for the pic, which says it all. Monday last, as informed readers already know, this is exactly what happened. Had Mr. Eggers done a little old-fashioned research instead of trying to figure out how to grab attention, he’d have already known.

So you see how whoring for attention clouds one’s judgment. This stuff is so obvious and simple to understand. Paintball. Whack-a-mole. In which one, can you score thirty-two points? If you need to think on that for more than a nanosecond, I know a bridge for sale.

Rimfire

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Just some small-caliber stuff about guns, specifically Second-Amendment type thoughts as they relate to the Virginia Tech shooting Monday.

Professor Nicholas Winset has been fired from Emmanuel College. Not for soaking up perfectly good tuition dollars teaching about the antiquated male patriarchal oppressive blah-blah-blah involved in potato chips and chaw tobacco…or anything like that…but instead…

“If there were more guns in society, the response time to the (rampage) might have been much faster,” said Winset, an adjunct professor of financial accounting. “Someone might have been able to do something to stop it.”
:
Winset, 37, of Newton called the college’s decision to fire him “pathetic,” and said it will have a “chilling effect” on professors’ willingness to engage in open discussions about controversial issues.

“A classroom is supposed to be a place for academic exploration,” he said. “It’s just gotten so politically correct. It’s sad that we have come to this point.

”Winset said he gave students a disclaimer before he started his Virginia Tech re-enactment, which involved him pointing a Magic Marker at students and saying, “Pow.” He then had another student shoot him with an imaginary gun to make the point that Cho could have been stopped by another student with a firearm.

See, that’s the thing about gun-free zones. They work great. As long as nobody brings a gun.

Try playing paintball some weekend. Go out with a few of your buddies, make some new friends on the range, try to get 32 people on the course. Then try this…”kill” all 32 of them without getting splattered yourself. Not even once. You would have to play in “gun-free-zone” mode, with your 32 pals all leaving their paintball equipment in the truck while you go after them.

What if, say, 25% of them are allowed to keep their paintball hardware? Heh. Tell you what…if you try this, be sure and e-mail me the results. With pics.

And that’s the point I believe the good Professor was trying to make. And he’s not only fired, but express fired.

Administrators at the college apparently did not appreciate Winset’s classroom message. They quickly fired him via a one-page letter delivered by courier yesterday.

“You are hereby directed not to enter the College campus or any College owned property at any time for any reason,” the letter states. “Also enclosed . . .is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts form, How to File for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.”

Holy cats, I don’t even know of anyone who’s been fired like that. It would do my heart good to see someone busted for slandering Catholics, or holding forth a bunch of venomous spew about “Bush went to war to avenge his daddy” as some kind of vital bedrock principle of — I dunno — economics. Linguistics. Home economics. To see someone do that, get busted for it, and get fired that way. “You are hereby directed not to enter…at any time for any reason,” by courier letter. Not holding my breath.

So. Next item. I read this in the newspaper, while waiting to pick up a package that is to be my son’s tenth birthday present. What did I get him? I think he needs something more sophisticated than the pellet gun…but it’s not quite up to the hand-cannon Dirty Harry was toting around. Something in between. Let’s just say the gun-grabbing Nazis aren’t going to be happy with my choice. So it arrived, and I have a bit of a wait in collecting it. There’s a newspaper sitting here so I’m reading the letter’s section — hope you’re sitting down. Look what people had to say (registration required)…

The challenge is here at home

Re “Horror, outrage at campus killings,” April 17: So where was the mighty triumvirate — President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff — while our children were being slaughtered in Virginia? Is this what they call homeland security?

Not all the terrorists wear turbans. Maybe it’s time the White House spend some time thinking about the United States and the people who pay the taxes to support its daydreams abroad.

Get a clue and concentrate on America. Here is where the challenge lies.

- George Peasley, Sacramento

Violence is never the answer

My deepest sympathy goes out to the family, friends, the students and faculty who lost loved ones, were wounded or had to witness the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

My wish is that Americans take a really hard look at what we have become in the last six years. Are we a nation our children can be proud of? Or have we created a society that accepts violence (and deceit) as the only answer, as long as it doesn’t make it beyond the gates of the wealthy?

I hope America can reclaim its dignity, heal the minds of our children so engrossed with violence and have a future. War and violence are never the answer.

- Susan Wallior, El Dorado

The innocent victims

In the next weeks, we Americans will grieve for the deaths of the students at Virginia Tech, we will try to make sense of this senseless tragedy and will pray for those affected — the murdered and their families.

Let us also offer a prayer for the Iraqi people, the families and friends of countless innocent victims and the American troops stationed there, who for four years have lived with parallel grief and random violence.

- Edith Thacher, Carmichael

Before we attack again…

The shootings at Virginia Tech are another horrifying wake-up call that the current administration needs to start taking care of this nation. This needs to serve as a tragic reminder to President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other like-minded supporters of the failed policies in Iraq that until we can protect our own people in our own land, we cannot hope to make the people of Iraq (or any other nation they plan to attack) safe and secure.

- David Van Gee, Sacramento

Why this dad is jittery

Two weeks ago, a man was murdered 20 yards from my doorstep on Lerwick Road in Sacramento in broad daylight with 100 children around.

Five U.S. soldiers are killed in action the other day in Iraq.

My eldest son, Sgt. George Heath — a two-tour combat vet of Iraq — accidentally calls me from Kentucky at 3 in the morning Pacific time. My wife and I are in near panic because one of our twin sons, Specialist David Heath, is part of the surge in Baghdad. More stress because David is in the same ‘hood his twin, Staff Sgt. Joseph Heath, was four years earlier on Joe’s first tour. Joe’s second tour was outside Baghdad.

Six tours for these parents are quite enough.

Excuse the old man as my cynicism asks, “With trillion dollar wars, who needs safe American streets or schools or to be able to rest at night without trepidation?”

- George W. Heath, Sacramento

They’ve been there, done that

The April 17 editorial, “Death on a campus,” eloquently captures the grief and despair we feel when confronted with the violent deaths of 33 innocent people who could be our friends, relatives and neighbors.

We should imagine what it would be like to live in a place where this happens twice a day, every day. That place is Iraq.

- Stephen Barnett, Woodland

Mmmkay. Got it? The theme is pretty consistent…now that we’ve been dumb enough to suspend students for carrying sidearms they’re legally allowed to carry, and declare our colleges “gun free zones” so that the outlaw with a gun can mow the innocent down at his leisure — rather than take this opportunity to learn something valuable about our individual right and obligation to defend ourselves when need be, let’s do some more navel-gazing about Iraq.

A couple of the letter writers tried valiantly to make a more tangible connection between the two issues. Iraq has somehow deluged us with a culture of violence, and that’s why this deranged fellow had a gun in the first place. Hey, when you write a letter you’re limited to 200 words…it’s not very convenient for someone to respond, and if anyone does you don’t have to counter-respond. So you get to write garbage. What’s the connection? I dunno. I don’t know if the letter-writers themselves know.

So from yesterday’s paper this fellow writes in

How a newspaper can be helpful

Monday evening as my wife and I sat solemnly discussing the events of the day, namely the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we got into a lively debate. Mostly, it was the usual stuff: gun control, the incompetence of the Virginia Tech police, the number of nuts in the world.

Then I said something that really got her hackles up (I have an uncanny ability to do this). I said, “You know, there are people who are going to blame the president for this.”

“Don’t start with that,” she said. “No one’s that crazy.”

I’d just like to thank The Bee and each of the writers of the first six letters (“In memorial”) in Wednesday’s paper for helping me to win my first debate with my wife.

- David L. Beasley, Rocklin

priceless.

Of course when it comes to arguing with one’s wife, the happy fellow is the one who lost. Or fooled the missus into thinking he lost. But whatever…Beasley’s the last man standing in that one, no question about it.

Speaking of last man standing, this all reminds me of a quiz I filled out this morning. Now, now, calm down…just a quiz…


What Type of Killer Are You? [cool pictures]


You are a Samurai.
You are full of honour and value respect. You are not really the stereotypical hero, but you do fight for good. Just in your own way. For you, it is most certainly okay to kill an evil person, if it is for justice and peace. You also don’t belive in mourning all the time and think that once you’ve hit a bad stage in life you just have to get up again. It’s pointless to concentrate on emotional pain and better to just get on with everything. You also are a down to earth type of person and think before you act. Impulsive people may annoy you somewhat.

Main weapon: Sword
Quote:“Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest” -Mark Twain
Facial expression: Small smile
Take this quiz!



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Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler reminds us how stunningly useless some apologies can be and says no thanks. I agree. In fact, I would add that any human emotion that would lose value if the person feeling it was to be placed in complete solitude — never had any value to begin with. None whatsoever. And that is why guilt is something just about as precious as a bag without a bottom.

Think about it. What’ve you done in your life because you felt guilty? Are you glad you did it?

Rottie is on fire, actually. He captured a great quote from Fred Thompson…

Whenever I’ve seen one of those “Gun-free Zone” signs, especially outside of a school filled with our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, I’ve always wondered exactly who these signs are directed at. Obviously, they don’t mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people just a few days ago.

Can we get a big fat DUH on that one. Amazingly…some people still don’t get it.

Gun-free zone. Pfeh. Like repealing the law of gravity with a signpost.

Omigaw-Free

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

I’m afraid Mr. Hasson has completely lost me.

He started off on a high note, making a point I know to be sensible because I agree with it: Things that are a certain way, have no need to announce they are a certain way. So he doesn’t like 300 because the men are all strutting around communicating to the audience how manly they are, by acting manly. The “doth protest too much” thing.

Okay, it’s a fair point…not without its share of problems. For starters, how come the “doth protest too much” cudgel is only swung around with regard to manly men? If I explore the Storytellers blog for a few minutes will I find another screed about…Rosie O’Donnell being outspoken and having opinions? How about Bill Clinton being compassionate, or Hillary being intelligent and strong-willed? Right off the top of my head, there are three loudmouths not known for missing opportunities to demonstrate to everybody that they are a certain thing — whose sense of purpose to the rest of us, would be forever lost if it was to be demonstrated they were something else.

But he’s a storyteller. So how about…Raymond on “Everybody Loves Raymond” being an insecure, cowardly, incompetent boob? Hey — there’s twenty-two minutes per episode, spend ‘em wisely. And the minutes are spent defining the character attributes of this guy who, having sat through the episodes already, I already know to be that way. Got anything to say about that Mr. Hasson?

Another problem with that point. It simply isn’t enough to make a movie bad. That’s just a simple fact. Characters are defined a certain way, and certain devices are deployed in order to inform me that these characters have these traits. If I don’t like the device — and I very often don’t, in movies nowadays — the story is still advanced, I still have an understanding of what this character is supposed to be. It may be an entirely legitimate nitpick, but a nitpick is what it is. Nothing more significant than that.

But then we spiral downward…

The movie could so easily have been good. Here are a few options:

The movie could have been about what a hero is. We would have seen how real men become real heroes, by showing us how much they overcome hardships and sacrifice. And then, as the plot progressed, and as the heroes overcame unbelievable obstacles, they would actually achieve superhuman feats. There really have been superhuman feats in history – even in the last few decades – in which real people did the impossible. But if you don’t show real people doing something real to achieve something heroic, then you’re not showing heroes. Had the movie been done this way, it would have been a true epic yarn about heroism.

I’m taking it as a given that his point is not “why, oh why, does nobody ever take the initiative and do this.” What he wants carried out here has already been done, here and here and here and here and here and many other places as well. What is his point, that these things are never done and he wishes they were? Surely it can’t be that. So many other examples I’ve not mentioned. This is where he’s lost me. What’s his beef?

The movie could just as easily have been about the bad side of being heroic. There are times in human history in which it became necessary for a group of good men to become inhuman monsters, efficiently programmed with the fight and nothing more. Although people actually do this to survive, once it is done, it cannot be easily reversed. In addition, if you release the testosterone monster in men and make it all-important, there would be an immediate price to pay (more in-house violence, rape, and so on). Had the movie been done this way, it would have punched its audience in the gut.

…which was also done before, here and here and here and here and here.

The movie could have been an examination of what it is to be a man lost to war. It would have taken a normal man, and seen how each human part of him must be put aside so that the fighting machine can exist. Had the movie been done this way, it would have been tragic.

And that’s been explored with a great deal of exuberance, here and here and here. The hero dissolving into a reflection of the very thing he sought to defeat, I daresay, is one of the oldest memes in storytelling history. It has no problem with underexposure or even with wearing out it’s welcome anytime soon.

The movie could have been about real men who had left real lives behind, and then were killed on the battlefield.

Oh, pul-leaze. The young puppy-faced corporal who turns to his buddy, flips open a locket and yells over the mortar explosions, “That’s Louise! She’s the girl I’m gonna marry just as soon as I get home!” was a tired old saw when my Dad was taking my Mom out to the movies, over fifty years ago. It’s like being the guy in the red shirt beaming down to the planet with Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Some young kid is foolish enough to tell his squadmembers about a telegram relaying the happy news of his wife’s new pregnancy…you crack open a cold one. Just try and shotgun it while the kid’s still breathing. You probably can’t. Kid might as well have dug his own grave, hopped inside and pulled the dirt down over him. Announcing your wife’s pregnancy in a war movie is the dumbest thing you can do if you want to live. It’s like being in a horror slasher-flick and yelling “I’ll be right back!”

The movie could have been about how men choose how to die. Knowing they would lose if they fought and lose if they didn’t fight, real decisions would have to be made. Had the movie been done this way, it would… well, it would have been a great movie.

I hate to keep picking on you, but Lordy this is getting tiresome. It’s like that time they re-designed Superman’s costume and started taking away some of his powers and giving him other ones…why not just make a new superhero? Why don’t you write your own movie? We have this…and if you ask me, it was ruined because it was way to predictable. There is this, which completes a mutually-destructive coupling because those two movies were released the same summer, were about the same thing, and surely brought in less revenue because of the unfortunate timing. That pairing was not only bad for business, it lifted the lid on the absolute lack of creativity going on in Hollywood. Now that 300 has fixed that, here you are saying you want more of the same-ol’ same-ol’. Well, this certainly counts, and so do a bazillion James Bond movies and Star Trek episodes. C’mon.

The movie could have been about the power of women over men. If the queen had sent the king to a war he didn’t want to go to using her womanly wiles, that would have made a good movie, too.

Okay, I think now we’re getting to the bottom of things.

300Guy Hasson, if I’m understanding him correctly, is not demanding a greater supply of imagination, creativity, variety and good storytelling; he’s asking for less of these things. A tough, hardy, intelligent, skilled and disciplined band of brothers have been portrayed as intrinsically understanding the most noble course of action, and then taking it upon themselves to hunker down and get it done. They laid down their lives and endured agonizing death in order to protect the weaker — and at the moment the final arrows hit, they were exactly what they were when the opening credits rolled by. No transformation. No loss of innocence. No “Omigaw, I just screwed up.” No “Omigaw, I was sure I’d make it back again.” No “Omigaw, I became what I went to fight.” Complete omigaw-free. Just manly men in the purest sense, doing what manly men do, understanding from start to finish what that all entails.

It’s too much. Where’s the petulant, pissy snarking at the manly-man? I’m just so used to seeing it, it seems to be missing here.

This is very telling. As the box office performance of 300 shows, we’re living now in an age where people are hungry for heroes. Resourceful, capable men who can look at something bad going down, and say to themselves — if I do nothing, X will happen, and if I do something Y will happen even though I’ll get hurt. X simply cannot be, so in we go.

We’re pretty evenly divided on this thing. The audience eats it up and begs for seconds, and the critics are rolling their eyes, waiting for the subject to be changed.

I don’t really care which side eventually prevails. Movies come out every year, and if I don’t like them I don’t pay to see them. But I’m endlessly fascinated with people who are hostile toward, and recoil with disgust from, manliness. Courage — untempered by ironics surprises later on that shake all the moral messages to the core. Resourcefulness. Ability. Individuality. Good old-fashioned rugged determination to protect those incapable of protecting themselves, and if possible to vanquish evil so it can never see the light of day again.

What is so wrong about that? Why does it rub so many people the wrong way? Honest to Pete, I’d really like to know.

Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking II

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

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

Campfire song, orig. author unknown

Fellow Webloggin contributor Bookworm Room has a post up about passivity, and how it meanders as a common theme from the British hostage sailor incident from last month into the shootings at Virginia Tech.

It is an absolute must-read. In fact I don’t wanna say another word until you’ve read it. Go. I’ll wait. La dee da…dum dee dum…

I’m hoping you took the time to go over to Mark Steyn’s article from Wednesday, the crux of which is the wrong-headedness with which some among us tend to view the Virginia Tech bystanders as “children.” He makes a compelling case. Now, in reviewing this situation with the British hostages I come under easy assault by the Vietnam Vet paradigm (“You weren’t there, man!”) — but at this time, no clear wedge has been driven between that international incident, and this global conditioning decried by Bookworm and Steyn. That global conditioning amounts to this: Raise your hands, do what the bad man says, and live to fight another day.

When Frank Miller’s train reaches Hadleyville, close your shutters, hide in the closet, and have your wife tell Marshal Will Kane that you’re sick with the flu or out of town.

Maybe the British hostages embarrassed their native country by not bothering to fight, because they were conditioned this way. Maybe surrendering was not the only course available to them. Hasn’t been proven. Hasn’t been disproven either.

Steyn does not make that connection. But he identifies this “shutter-peaking” credo, this widespread abrogation of manly responsibilities, as a global sickness, a fever that even now is just setting in and bound to get worse over time. He tacks on an interesting historical event, and makes it relevant in a way I find telling and ominous…

The cost of a “protected” society of eternal “children” is too high. Every December 6th, my own unmanned Dominion lowers its flags to half-mast and tries to saddle Canadian manhood in general with the blame for the “Montreal massacre,” the 14 female students of the Ecole Polytechnique murdered by Marc Lepine (born Gamil Gharbi, the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, though you’d never know that from the press coverage). As I wrote up north a few years ago:

Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate — an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The “men” stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and type in something to the effect of “If I was in that class, I’d show those limp-dick cheeseheads what a real man does.” I’m not going to say anything like that. That would be tough to say — Lepine/Gharbi, after all, had an automatic gun. And in that hypothetical, of course, I would not have one. The canucks would never let me.

But — I have another hypothetical for you. If you were one of the women in that class, it wouldn’t have been any fun.

Here’s another. Jump out in front of some of the feminists up in Canada who insist Canadian manhood is saddled with guilt every sixth of December, and ask them this: “Pop quiz! What are some of the good things about testosterone?” …and you probably won’t get much of a substantial answer. A sneer. A snarky comeback. A litany of self-righteous, snotty complaints. And you’ll get back the same thing down here, south of the border, at a democrat party caucus. Or from Katie Couric or any of the less-prestigious blow-dried airheads who deliver us our news. Or from the elitist editors who decide what that news is going to be.

Testosterone, I notice, hasn’t been in vogue. In a very long time…but here’s yet another hypothetical. Drop your pop quiz in the engineering class with the nine doomed women right after Lepine sent the “men” out of the room; see what they say.

Hell, don’t even go that far. Just ask a woman with a flat tire who — somehow — was sent out on the roadways without the knowledge or skill needed to change it herself. See what she says.

My point isn’t that testosterone is always a good thing, or even that it’s been somehow unfairly maligned. I’m just saying that when we don’t have problems, things look expendable to us. And once problems arise — from flat tires to crazy gunmen — those things quickly become anything but. So go ahead. Rip the fire extinquisher off the wall and hang a “Vagina Monologues” promotional poster in the empty space left behind…when the house is not yet on fire, it looks like just a swell idea. Is it really such an extravagant notion to suppose maybe, just maybe, someday that might change?

And here’s something else. Do some digging on the massacre referenced by Steyn, on the event itself and the perpetrator of it. It’s pretty interesting. It reads as the saga of a super-civilized, super-homogenized infantilized society that, when confronted with a problem of it’s own making, is spurred into action to crank out more of what caused the problem in the first place:

In response to the killings a House of Commons Sub-Committee on the Status of Women was created. It released a report “The War against Women” in June 1991. Following its recommendations, the federal government established the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women in August 1991. The panel issued a final report, “Changing the Landscape: Ending Violence – Achieving Equality”, in June 1993.

Lepine, according to available information, seems to have been a little bit more clear in his thinking than his recently-joined comrade-in-arms Cho Seung-hui (then again, nearly all of us are). His mindset emerges as one developed into a state of instability, far too fragile to handle contradictions — and then burdened with one. His suicide note, kept secret by the police but leaked to the press a year after the killings, is surprisingly lucid. I mean, y’know, apart from that giant logical leap between his identified problems and his proposed solution involving hostages & gunfire:

Even if the Mad Killer epithet will be attributed to me by the media, I consider myself a rational erudite that only the arrival of the Grim Reaper has forced to take extreme acts. For why persevere to exist if it is only to please the government. Being rather backward-looking by nature (except for science), the feminists have always enraged me. They want to keep the advantages of women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventative leave, etc.) while seizing for themselves those of men.

Thus it is an obvious truth that if the Olympic Games removed the Men-Women distinction, there would be Women only in the graceful events. So the feminists are not fighting to remove that barrier. They are so opportunistic they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men through the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can. Thus, the other day, I heard they were honoring the Canadian men and women who fought at the frontline during the world wars. How can you explain then that women were not authorized to go to the frontline??? Will we hear of Caesar’s female legions and female galley slaves who of course took up 50 per cent of the ranks of history, though they never existed. A real Casus Belli.

Now, let’s be clear on this: Hate is hate, and a crazy person is a crazy person. Lepine, deprived of this excuse, would undoubtedly have found a different one.

But people are asking what’s up with all these school shootings lately. We had the Bath Township bombing in the 1920′s, and in that era we had — what else? Unrelated prohibition-era urban violence, and…lately, it’s become commonplace. Every year, another mad gunman, sometimes more than one. What’s going on? It’s clear something is. Copycat killings? Sorry, not buying it. “Copycat” describes an echo, and an echo dissipates over time. This is more like some Ten Plagues of Egypt kinda thing.

So what’s up?

Well, any man who’s ever had some responsibility for the development of one or more boys, should be able to tell you. The truth is that masculinity is an incompressible solvent. It is cranked out as a boy becomes a man, and then it must be given a place to go or else it will find one. Lepine, an antisocial and unstable loner who simply snapped, has this in common with Cho, who emerges from lately-arriving verifiable tidbits of information, as a more jagged unsettled mess. They had a surge of masculinity brimming over from delayed adolescence, and had neither the background or the environment needed to figure out what to do with it.

We’ve always had crazy people. And the dirty little secret is our crazy people always had access to firearms. This tendency of our super-homogenized infantilized societies to help bring out the craziness, by slandering masculinity and trying to wish it away, is a relatively new innovation. And the surge in violence? It seems to be reaching a crescendo that is strikingly parallel to the “make all men into little boys” super-civilized fever.

You know what it reminds me of — is Christian fundamentalists who are “anti-homosexuality.” I’ve noticed there are many among the super-religious who are opposed to people being gay. Only a tiny portion among those, however, are willing to step up and state a belief that homosexuality is learned behavior that can be unlearned. Which raises the question: If homosexuality cannot be unlearned — or if there are doubts being entertained that it can be — given that the opinionated person is anti-gay, and there are a hundred gay people somewhere, what are those gay people supposed to do? The answer that comes back is “Not get married”…and after that, all certainty suddenly vanishes. Only confusion remains.

Our militant hardcore feminists, both in Canada and here in the U.S., seem to suffer from the same confusion about men. They do have their strong opinions about certain things being good and other things being bad; no confuson there. And they do want to keep running everything. Hooters is bad; football is bad; war is bad; guns are bad. Confusion-free zone. But what are our men, given that they are men, supposed to do? Like the song says, “you just can’t shoot ‘em.” If it’s a dubious prospect for one to stop being gay, it’s certainly an extravagant and expensive notion that one should cease to be a man. Our feminists don’t seem to have an answer. The default answer is that the defining body parts may be kept, if the budget does not permit the necessary hormone treatments and surgical procedures, but the associated behavior should be expunged. At the behest of those who aren’t quite ready to admit they “hate men,” but are eager to show that they do.

We have molded our super-civilized societies into exactly what our feminists want. Really. Quick, name something that even the most shrill and rigid feminists wanted, that they didn’t get. And now, if you round up a hundred eighth-grade boys and ask them what a man is supposed to be, you’ll probably get back a hundred different answers. It was not always that way. In times past, eighth graders would be able to tell you — more than a few of them would already have taken on some of the burdens. And their answers, from what I can gather, would have been surprisingly friendly to those who, in the day, were respected, cared-for and called “ladies.”

Mission accomplished; manhood destroyed. Into the vacuum left behind, rush a bunch of crazy gunmen eager to prove their manhood and not quite sure how to do it anymore. To say nothing of the far more numerous, and somewhat less newsworthy, thugs and hoodlums engaged in different missions of violence but motivated by the same agents. The testerone’s gotta go somewhere and they don’t know where to put it. Nobody agrees on anything there, except that the hoodlums should feel guilty for having it.

When you’re made to feel guilty for something you didn’t decide, how guilty should you feel about things that you can?

So some people have to die. And by the dozens they fall, since real men who will defend those in danger are now a rarity. Our feminists found manhood offensive, after all, and discouraged it. We aren’t supposed to “demean” women by caring for them, remember? Out went the fire extinguisher. And those of us who still see manly values as values worth having, and see it as a noble thing when women are defended from those who would harm them, can’t have the guns we would use to neutralize the threat anyway…yeah, that’s right. Our feminists won’t let us have them.

But don’t worry if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your demise will inspire our super-militant feminists to put out some whitepapers on how such a violent event was a war on feminism, and the thing to do now is to let hardcore feminists decide more things. And as Steyn pointed out, whenever the anniversary of your premature exit rolls around every year, they’ll be happy to repeat the message again and again.

When a Head Has a Crown On It

Friday, April 20th, 2007

This blog, which nobody actually reads anyway, is frequently targeted for advice on how to mold and shape the writing so that more people will read it. By far the most common tip that is e-mailed to me, is to pick up a copy of Strunk & White. I consider that to be an “umbrella” category though, because Strunk & White cover a lot of different things, and the folks who say I need to use it very seldom elaborate on where I failed to follow it.

Occasionally someone will offer a little more detail and tell me I’m comma-crazy (rule 5). Guilty. Repentant. Working on it.

Other folks tell me I need to confine myself to active-voice (rule 11). I plead not guilty. Passive-voice is something that, now and then, I do drag out of the tool drawer and crank up, and perhaps the nerves of some readers are gotten-upon by such a thing. I can see everyone has their own idea of what a healthy active-passive quotient would be. One hundred percent passive voice would produce a migraine in the noggin of the most patient consumer. We, here, hold the ideal ratio to be somewhere around seventy-thirty active-passive. Maybe eighty-twenty.

Faithful Strunk & White scholars insist on nothing less than one-hundred-zip, it seems. Passive-voice, the oracle has decreed, must go the way of the dodo bird.

We hold the use of active-voice, here, to be a somewhat parallel experience to being a nice guy and trying to get yourself a date. Everyone understands there’s an old cliche about nice guys finishing last; some of us uphold it as a serious fact, and others regard it as a joke and nothing more. There’s a rather clean gender-division along that line, by the way. But the wisest and most reasonable among us, regardless of our plumbing, understand it to be a humorous chestnut with more than a grain of truth to it. If you want to be competetively nice, you must defer. If you want to be competitively deferential, you must withdraw your preferences and opinions. If you wish to competitively withdraw your preferences and opinions, you decide nothing; and if you aren’t deciding anything, why does the object of your affection need you around?

Beyond a point of dimininishing returns, being a nice guy deprives your lady of your personality. And then you become boring. Well, active-voice works the same way — and “one-hundred-zip,” by definition, is beyond any point of diminishing returns you’d care to pencil in.

But there’s something else. In the same way that nice guys often end up not breeding, active-voice seems to be burdened by a consistent gelding-like failure to establish any kind of legacy. Memorable quotations, more often than not, use passive-voice. Ralph Waldo Emerson never said “Simple minds have a hobgoblin, and it is consistency.” Oscar Wilde didn’t say “The artist paints a portrait of himself and not of the sitter when he paints with feeling.” Within the pantheon of immortal quotations, there are remarkable exceptions but the ratio seems to be inverted overall. Maybe sixty percent passive-voice, in violent rebellion against Strunk & White Rule 11. Maybe more than that.

I view it as a metaphor, an icon representing other things we do in the human condition. We seem to have a predilection for holding each other to rules, which in turn are designed for no higher purpose than to keep any one person from becoming distinguishable.

Another thing I notice is that when we give advice, we’re prepared for only two outcomes: The advised follows our instruction, or else proves himself incapable of following advice. The middle-of-the-road possibility — that the person advised is open to advice, or is even searching for advice, but it turns out your tidbit somehow didn’t make the cut — is something for which it seems very few are prepared. We expect to miss the mark when we apply for jobs, or spit at floating leaves from a high bridge, or take a lady out on a first-date. But not when we offer advice on things other people have written.

Having said that, however, I hope people don’t stop offering advice. The revelation that the advisor is, himself, being observed and his behavior is being used to refine some theories and help support others, can have a chilling effect.

For The Anti-Death-Penalty Types XI

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Hey I’ll say this for Alec Baldwin (see earlier post). He’s a better dad than this guy…so far as I know…

Let’s set it up: It’s two winters ago. Someone hears some crying in an air shaft. They find a baby. Someone does some digging to find out how the baby got there, and it turns out Lucila Ventura chucked the baby down the air shaft.

Then, they find out her father, Jose, told her to do that. Yeah, you guessed it. Daddy is the daddy.

And the kicker? There was an older, mummified baby next to the one that was louder and luckier.

The boy survived but the next day investigators found a second, mummified baby in the shaft and DNA testing determined the baby girl was also the child of Jose and Lucila Venture. Homicide investigators said the baby girl’s body had been in the shaft more than a year before it was discovered, officials said.

And here you have the kind of thing you need to ignore to oppose the death penalty. Opposition to the death penalty, it turns out, is based on hope that the human species is better than it really is. Better and purer. At some point, hope becomes ignorance; dangerous ignorance. We have people like Jose Ventura. It’s simply a fact. Approve of it or disapprove of it, reality will just trudge on in complete apathy toward your thoughts.

But we can protect the innocent from people like him. And any argument that there’s some noble purpose for continuing to let him burn oxygen and use up good vital organs, is doomed to enjoy somewhat less promising lifetime ambitions than a baby stuck in an airshaft. Such an argument can come from nowhere and go nowhere. It’s simply a self-supporting assertion some people prefer to support because they don’t want to confront truth.

Really. People who are opposed to the death penalty, entitled to their personal opinions as they may be, shouldn’t vote. They really shouldn’t.

Worthress

Friday, April 20th, 2007

What a dick.

Maybe I shouldn’t judge him so harshly. There is, after all, a brotherhood among men who have split with the mothers of their children and are trying to make the best of things. I got my laminated membership card, and so does Alec Baldwin.

But I wouldn’t say this shit, especially to my kid. Especially about his Mom…that’s just over the line. And Lord knows, I’ve been put in the same situation. Which is to say, once in awhile, now and then, I get a reminder that some other people have other things to think about on this great big planet besides li’l ol’ me. Perhaps that isn’t quite as enormous of a surprise to someone like me as it is to someone like Baldwin.

But he’s entitled to his privacy, is he not? If our situations were reversed, Baldwin would respect my privacy, would he not? Perhaps. Unless I was important enough to stand in the way of something Baldwin wanted to have happen, politically. And then he wouldn’t. Take it to the bank. What if Rush Limbaugh yelled at a little girl this way and his ravings were caught on tape, what would Alec do about that?

Come to think on it — as gifted as an actor as I regard Alec Baldwin to be, the thought occurs to me. His most shining contributions to his chosen craft seem to have something to do with the angry monologue. Can’t think of an exception to this. Real talent would have given him a respectable range, but maybe he’s just been using the tried-and-true Leonardo DiCaprio “accept roles similar to what you are in real life” ploy. Which might explain why his characters are almost always assholes. Maybe Henry Hyde should take out a restraining order.

To Make Liberal Ideas Look Good

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Our liberals and our newspaper editors, but I repeat myself, have thrown themselves with great gusto into a mission to get the gun control debate back into the headlines, with no small amount of bullying force applied to the popular will. Once again, they’re going to tell the rest of us what to think. They’ve tried this before, and failed. Columbine happened, they tried again, they failed. This time they’ll try harder still.

New York Times, April 17:

Our hearts and the hearts of all Americans go out to the victims and their families. Sympathy was not enough at the time of Columbine, and eight years later it is not enough. What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.

Cherry-picked reader responses to the editorial, April 18:

How many mass shootings, how much loss, how much grief will it take before our legislators are finally willing to stand up to the National Rifle Association and pass meaningful gun control legislation?
:
How many more people will have to die before our leaders will have the sense and the guts to take on the National Rifle Association and honor the wishes of a majority of Americans who want gun control?
:
When will America join the civilized world and realize the absolute stupidity of its gun laws? Your leaders are not brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby; therefore, shootings like Monday’s will continue to occur.

Sniff…sniff…smells like…coordinated phony “grassroots” talking points being circulated. How does the old maxim go? “When the facts are on your side, pounds the facts; when the law is on your side pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.”

Tables beware!

Our democrats have been alternating between beating their chests that “The People Have Spoken,” and huddling together to try to figure out what The People said. They’ve spent all year not knowing what to do — and now they think they’ve been handed an event on a silver platter and they can leverage it to get more gun control. There are several reasons for wanting to do this, and not a single one of them have to do with making anyone safer. Hint: The scene of Monday’s tragedy already had gun control. There was an attempt last year to fix that, and it failed. That bill could’ve saved some of the thirty-plus victims who are now dead. The New York Times editors and all others who greet that notion with some skepticism, are invited to ponder: In which activity do you think yourself more likely to score thirty points? Laser-tag, or whack-a-mole? In an environment with strict gun control, the carrier of semi-automatic pistols and multiple magazines is engaged in the latter. You might say he’s implementing the ultimate “point-and-click” user interface. It’s a miracle he didn’t take down even more.

Well, if the gun-grabbers don’t want to protect anyone, what do they want to do? Once you can get the United States to become a progressive Euro-pansy nation, you’ve shown you can get the same thing done anywhere else. It’s a political message. The United States is the king of the mountain. The One To Beat. Besides, our democrat Congress is badly in need of political messages to send. We have our first female House Speaker…and democrats and smarter-folks all the nation over are asking — so what? What’s she done? Getting a gun-grabbing bill on the President’s desk would go miles toward answering that.

It’s certainly a daunting task. Like any other liberal idea, gun control doesn’t look good and there aren’t many ways to make it look good. We should all keep in mind what a stiff challenge these gun-grabbing liberals have taken on for themselves.

How do you make a liberal idea look sensible? It turns out there are really only three ways.

Obfuscation. This is the offering that all solutions to the given problem, save the most liberal one, are products of overly simplistic ways of thinking. It exploits an interesting facet of human psychology. If you offer anything else intellectual in nature, people would look to you to provide substantive support to what you offered — but when you offer this, you can claim yourself exempt from such an expectation. The expectation itself, you can argue, is a manifestation that your point hasn’t been fairly considered. Regarding the problem at hand, anytime someone comes back to it and produces a conclusion you don’t like, you can simply accuse them of thinking in overly-simplistic terms.

You would think, then, this tactic would be available only to the geniuses among us. Isn’t it necessary to not only think in those complex terms, but produce a real solution to the problem at hand and then defend it against attack? Au contrair, whoever said such a thing. This is just “Emperor’s New Clothes” stuff in its purest form. Look at the September 11 attacks and the immediate aftermath…”what is it we could have done, to make people around the world want to do such an awful thing to us?”

Is it really simplistic thinking to say “men killed thousands of innocents in a horrible way, they are dead but belong to an organization, that organization needs to be squished like a bug”? Is that really simplistic? Perhaps, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is overly-simplistic. Speaking for myself, over five years later I’m still waiting to hear what these complicatedly-thinking geniuses have to say about what to do. I know what we’ve done that they don’t like…I know who they don’t like…that’s about all. Therein lies the benefits to obfuscation, you never really have to say what’s going on or what you’d do about it. You just criticize others.

That’s probably why Sen. John Kerry used it so much during the election of ’04 with such phony words as “nuance,” going from one end of the season to the other without ever saying specifically what he’d do about things — and address why, in a medium receptive to intrusive questions from oppositional forces, the things he would do were likely to achieve success.

Misrepresentation. Simply misstate what the problem is, or what the proposed solutions are. It is exceptionally potent, especially when the misrepresentation is supported by phonetics. Gun control falls into this category since it is frequently summarized as legislation “to get rid of all these guns lying around.” As I noted above, Monday’s rampage took place in a gun-control environment. It stands as a splendid example of what gun control does, and does not, do. It does not “get rid of all the guns.” It ensures that everyone who owns or uses guns, by process-of-elimination, is a law-breaker.

Minimum wage is another example of the phonetics lending support to the effort to misrepresent. The phrase “raise the minimum wage” carries a concise, and strong, suggestion that something is being increased. Who but the most heartless bastard can resist doing that? But in fact, an increase to the minimum wage increases nothing except a statutory parameter. Minimum wage laws, both in design and in effect, simply define a subclass of transactions and make all qualifying transactions illegal. Increasing the minimum wage simply changes the way this definition is done, by declaring more transactions illegal. Will those jobs be changed so they can become legal again, in other words, have their compensation increased? Perhaps. Sometimes. It’s not up to the Congress or to the state legislatures to decide that though.

Some insist there are studies that say the unemployment rate goes down when the minimum wage goes up. (Invariably, my own ability to call this into question is attacked since I don’t have an accounting degree and I’m not any kind of labor analyst.) And yet I can’t help noticing. If I am to accept this, I must accept the following as well:

You can have lots and lots of representations of something. You can define a subset within that thing, and declare the subset illegal. And as a result of you declaring that subset illegal, where the subset was not illegal before (or the subset was narrower before)…you now have more of the thing. Maybe it’s my lack of education talking, but it seems to me if you can collect data to support that, there’s something wrong with the way you’ve collected the data. That, or the rules don’t have quite as much of an effect on what’s being done, as you have presumed.

Carping. It’s not hard to gather an example of this. Just get in an argument with a liberal and use the names “Bush,” “Rove” or “Cheney” in any context you wish save for a negative one. Leave some sneering undone, let the other party respond…presto.

Liberals, you see, are to snarking and carping about Bush/Cheney/Rove, as straight men are to staring at a beautiful woman’s ample bosom. They behave as if they don’t take the opportunity, and someone catches them, they’ll get in trouble.

But once the carp-fest has started logic is invariably abandoned. Our liberals all know this. It’s their way of taking a “breather.” Except when you take a buddy to the gym, who isn’t quite as in-shape as you are, when his breather’s done he’ll get back into the game again. The carping liberal, I’ve noticed over time, is done for good. And that’s always struck me as a bit funny, because you don’t have to wait long before our liberals tell us their ideas would make a lot of sense if “given a fair hearing.”

And then they’re almost always the first to storm out of the room with a bunch of name-calling and snarking about Bush/Fox-News/Halliburton etc.

Just speaking for myself, I’ve filed all of the liberal arguments into those three buckets. I’m going to be accutely interested in the first argument I hear or read that demands a fourth file-folder to be fetched and labeled.

We’re talking about the lives of innocent people here. If liberals have something to say in support of gun control that doesn’t fall into Obfuscation, Misrepresentation or Carping, let’s hear it.

Forty Reasons to Support Gun Control

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Discovered this list right after a Googleswivel, during a discussion about how existing gun control restrictions might have applied to the Virginia Tech shooting. Good illustration of the weak logic that is at work with such policies in general.

I don’t understand how people don’t get this. Seung Hui Cho took down over thirty people because he was engaged in an activity somewhat resembling popping the bubbles in bubble-wrap. What would the death toll have been if it was more like a weekend jaunt at the paintball field? North of thirty? North of five? Does anyone anywhere really think so?

The gun grabbers are not just intellectually atrophied; lately, they get awful quick. It’s at the point where the rest of us are just barely beginning to comprehend the magnitude of a shooting event, and they’re already out there reciting everything they heard from one of Michael Moore’s movies.

Anyway, on with the tease.

40 Reasons to Support Gun Control
(Apparently derived from the essay by Michael Z. Williamson)

1. Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, and Chicago cops need guns.
2. Washington DC’s low murder rate of 80.6 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Arlington, VA’s high murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.
3. Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are “just statistics.”
4. The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994, are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.
5. We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.
:
(35 more)

One more thing. Via Boortz, a list of events with relatively happy endings — because, and only because, someone was equipped for self-defense. Since 1/1/07, and given that, the list is longer than you think.

For The Anti-Death-Penalty Types X

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Okay as a science fiction writer, how would you set this up. How would you write the ultimate parable about a dystopian society with a confused, irrational opposition to the death penalty.

How about…how about this.

A rapist and butcher of young girls, who has been spared the death penalty due to his traumatic childhood on previous occasions — has wearied of the exercise and now taken the initiative to bar his boyhood exigencies from his latest trial. Let us say — he says this: “If they sentence me to death, I’m good to go.”

Write that up. Whatsamatta, you afraid no publisher would accept it? Too unrealistic?

Behold.

James Leslie Karis Jr. said neither his tormented childhood nor his severe psychological problems could lessen his responsibility for what he called a cold-blooded attack on two women 25 years ago.
:
Karis was 27 when he kidnapped two county welfare workers on their morning break and drove them to a remote spot five miles north of Placerville.

He ordered the women to undress, tied them up and raped one. Afterward, he made the women dress and turn around. They pleaded for their lives and prayed aloud, but Karis shot them in the back and neck. Peggy Pennington, 34, died. The other woman survived to identify Karis.

He was caught during another kidnapping and attempted rape in Sonoma County.

Despite his second chance, Karis has dismissed the experts’ assessments as “psychobabble.” He said he’d rather be executed than spend the rest of his life in prison.

“If they sentence me to death,” he said Thursday, “I’m good to go.”

Sacrameto Bee has a more beefed-out story with a good bit more detail:

One of the women died, but the other, who had pretended to be dead, later identified Karis as her assailant. His trial was moved from El Dorado County to Sacramento Superior Court, where he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1998, appellate lawyers persuaded U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton to overturn Karis’ death sentence, and Karlton’s decision was upheld by the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Karlton concluded the jurors who sentenced Karis to death might have ruled differently if his attorneys had presented evidence of his abusive childhood.

Leaving the convictions in place, the judge ordered Karis resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole unless a new penalty phase was initiated by prosecutors.

It was, and preparations — including an intensive jury selection process — have been under way for months.

But Thursday morning, just as proceedings were about to start, Karis asked Judge Trena Burger-Plavan for permission to dismiss his lawyers, Michael Bigelow and Steven Bailey, and to represent himself.

Karis said he did not agree with Bigelow’s strategy to present evidence of his childhood traumas.

“He’s going to drag out the defense for two months with all this garbage about my family history, my background, and all that stuff which doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans, in my opinion,” he said, according to a transcript of the session. “And that’s why I choose to defend myself.”

Karis said he would rather return quickly to death row at San Quentin Prison than spend more time in the Sacramento County jail.

“I want to get out of Sacramento as fast as possible,” he told the judge. “I want this trial to be as short as possible.”

“I just want to get back to the row and do my time until they execute me,” he said. “I don’t really care if I get the death penalty.”

So we got here a situation where someone’s guilty as sin, and we use bullshit to keep him alive. To the extent that the guilty person tires of the bullshit and it’s up to him to say…just knock it off.

Because, hey. We can’t recognize that internally without him pointing it out. Our justice system is just too…enlightened.

Google Makes Me Feel Old

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Every now and then, I get a reminder that I’m more than halfway between the crib and the crypt. Sometimes, it’s something else that’s responsible. Tonight, it’s Google.

Hors d’Oeuvre Imus

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Man I’m sick of reading about and hearing about Don Imus. In fact, as far as Imus being an entree, I’m just about done. I really don’t give a rat’s ass if the man never works another day anywhere in his life.

As an appetizer for something bigger to come later, though, this remains an important story. Imus has done a lot of good for a lot of people who aren’t well-off at all. So…it stands to reason, when the race-pimps come after someone else next, they’ll be dang-nigh unstoppable. Like say it’s me. I haven’t donated millions of dollars to charity. I’ve donated some. I’ve helped out folks when my own situation wasn’t that good. I’ve donated money when my own income was zero. But compared to wrinkly-old charity heavyweight Imus, I’m not going to look good at all.

And what if the day comes I make great big huge eff-yew money, and throw so much of it at charity that I match Imus? I’ll just fit the mold better, that’s all.

And I’ve pointed out already a few times — the Imus story breaks some brand-new ground. This wasn’t rabble-rousing. There wasn’t any rabble. Sharpton and Jackson marched by themselves, mostly. So don’t worry about pissing off zillions and zillions of people. Just worry about pissing off Al and Jesse.

We work for them now.

So Florida Rep. Donald Brown had better watch his back.

An e-mail implying that illegal immigrants drain tax dollars circulated its way through the Florida Legislature, and discussion quickly turned to the national debate on anti-immigration policy.

The e-mail, forwarded by Rep. Donald Brown from his state-issued account, had a clip-art cartoon and read: “Reminder: April 15th. Don’t forget to pay your taxes…12 million illegal aliens are depending on you!”

Offensive.

Inaccurate.

Inappropriate.

Ignorant.

All these words were used by Miami-Dade lawmakers to describe their thoughts when they — like other House members and staff — received the e-mail from the DeFuniak Springs Republican.

An outraged Hispanic Caucus even said Thursday that it’s considering filing a complaint. The caucus meets Monday. If they decide to do so, Brown could face a reprimand.

Yeah. Well, as the Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller deftly pointed out, the word “inaccurate” best be considered and reconsidered during that hearing. Accuracy, it turns out, is an attribute better fulfilled by this “offensive” e-mail than by the haughty, snotty Miami Herald editorial that vented away about it.

So…I have to wonder how that “caucus” meeting is going to go. This would be your salad course; illegal aliens are aliens, and illegal, and they suck away at our lifeblood through the public charity. Just saying so, now — JUST SAYING SO — that’s enough to bring down some punitive measures?

Where’s the highly-offended spokesman somewhere saying “hey, we don’t care if you tell the truth — just do it non-offensively from now on”? Where’s that? Where’s the spokesguy reassuring us that their punitive measures are on the side of truth…and aren’t out to promote a pack of lies, by calling everything outside the lies “offensive”?

They won’t even bother to speak those words. So how concerned should everyone else be?

Our Picket Signs Will Tell You How Warm It Is

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Here we go again.

More than two dozen demonstrators braved cold, wet weather Saturday in Reno to attend a rally designed to draw attention to global warming.

The event was cut short by heavy rain and sleet, said organizer Lisa Stiller of the Northern Nevada Coalition for Climate Change.

“It’s kind of disappointing that the weather kept people away,” Stiller said. “But we still think it (climate change) is something that people should talk about.”

Yeah, gotcha covered there. I’ll think about it a couple times. And grin.