Archive for December, 2007

Paleofeminism

Monday, December 31st, 2007

I hope 2008 sees the end of this brand of feminism, I really do. The subject of the link in question is Page 8 of possible reasons Home Improvement jumped the shark, and “Guest” writes in with…

The show jumped with the “sandwich episode” where Jill really started to assert her own special brand of aggressive feminism. It was angering to watch Jill call her son a sexist because his girlfriend did his housework; the problem couldn’t possibly be on the girlfriend’s end, it must be the EVIL MISOGYNIST BRAD at fault because he LET her do his housework. In the end, everything was resolved, of course, when Jill converted everyone over to her point of view, aka the right one, including dimwitted Tim, who, of course, buckled under his wife’s demands yet again. Was there ever a single episode where Tim said, “Tough crap, Jill, this time it’s my way”?

I was watching this episode with my ten-year-old son, and found myself answering some complicated questions.

See, here’s the deal: Brad’s new girlfriend makes him sandwiches. Sometimes he (politely) asks her, and sometimes she offers. Jill the Mom is having a hissy-fit about it. Everybody else thinks it’s just fine. Girlfriend included.

I recall vividly at about the halfway mark, the point of view that I know to be the “right” one, was nailed…perfect bulls-eye…and then ritually abandoned. The son reminded his mother, in quite a civil manner, that if the objective was to uphold and respect the individual preferences of women, it should be noted the individual preference of his girlfriend was to make him a sandwich. So by interfering with that, Jill cemented her position as the one person who was interfering with womens’ choice, when everybody else, was not. She didn’t have a comeback to that one. The scriptwriters solved that in short order by simply abandoning that train of thought and pursuing some whacky slapstick courtesy of Husband Tim.

Of course the lone hold-out Jill is in the “right.” Should the long precedent of Home Improvement episodes not be sufficient to convince someone of this, the episode’s conclusion pounds the final nail into the coffin holding any doubts. She does, as “Guest” says, convert everyone to her point of view.

I do think there’s something amiss when Brad starts to count on his girlfriend making sandwiches. But when you’re insinuating something evil and wrong is happening whenever a lady does something to lighten a gentleman’s heavy load, a line is being crossed. If she’s serving some ideal higher and more noble than helping her fella out for the sake of helping him, well, I would just hope that ideal is higher and more noble than sitting on the couch watching her favorite soap opera munching on a sack of chips. And regardless of what that ideal is, I’d say they’re just about finished as a couple.

And that goes for him too.

There simply isn’t anything glorious or morally pristine about refusing to help people, especially people with whom you’re supposed to be sharing your life. Sorry, but I have to agree if we’re looking for points at which the show jumped the shark, I’d say 6×23 is a great place to start.

Sorry if I’m taking this way to seriously. Hey, looks to me like they did. Here it is just eleven years later, and this paleofeminism has a dated feeling to it already. Hyper-dated. Like Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore sleeping in separate beds…that kind of dated. So maybe we’re past this already.

God, I seriously hope so. My sweetheart can run circles around me in the sandwich-making department.

Dave Barry’s Year in Review

Monday, December 31st, 2007

These are always good. Here’s this year’s installment.

Seven Things That Only Make Sense When You’re Drunk

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Oh, I’d like to think we’ve all been there

On Ambition

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Sometimes, the nature of a complaint is much less important than how the complaint came to be. Some complaints materialize because they’re so important you can’t avoid them…some complaints come under consideration because someone was looking for a complaint to have. Imagine yourself as half of a married couple buying a car. You’re ready to sign and your spouse says hey — we discussed doing something we can’t do in this vehicle. Maybe it’s going off-road, and this isn’t a four wheel drive model. Maybe it’s driving the kids somewhere, and you can’t have a DVD player in the back seat. That’s in a completely different light, regardless of the substance of the complaint, than something like “I was looking for a complaint to have, since I have a hidden agenda I’m not willing to admit to you, and finally I stumbled across this thing I’d like you to take seriously even though I don’t.”

…which is exactly the nature of complaints against my favorite candidate. They’re all stupid complaints. They exist simply for the purpose of being there…because someone flailed around, looking for bad things to say about Fred, and finally settled on something that might be silly, but at least is better-n-nothin’. He entered late. He looks tired. He isn’t a Senator anymore. His wife is too hot. He made some bad movies.

This election has, among other candidates, an antisemite who regularly opposes things because they’re ostensibly contrary to the “Constitution,” without ever offering anything resembling an argument about how such things are in any way incompatible with the Constitution. Among those things, are efforts to safeguard the national security. So indirectly, this campaign has turned into a debate about whether national defense is constitutional…do we really give a rat’s ass whether one of the other candidates has a much younger wife or made some mediocre movies?

But the one complaint against Thompson that might possibly have some relevance to it — and in conceding that, by no means am I abandoning my contention that it has been vastly overplayed — is this assertion that he lacks ambition. Well if he does, then ambition must be defined as something short of ambition to pulverize. Because time after time, when Fred engages something, he engages to win. To beat. To maul. To grind into the ground. And then beat some more…eviscerate…rip the sinew from bone, grind the whole thing into dust to butter his bread…finis. No need for a tie-breaking rematch. The man has a long fuse, but he simply doesn’t believe in warning shots, and that makes him the very picture of what the country needs now.

Fred’s peace plan is to wait awhile before engaging the fight. Once the fight is engaged, it’s a quick one. He’s done this time after time; it is his style.

And in this column, he takes on the whole “lack of ambition” argument. It’s like watching a stick of butter gobbled up by a high-powered kitchen blender. Really high powered. Like some Tool Time contraption powered by a 10HP Briggs & Stratton ripped out of a rider lawnmower.

Just watch this guy go to work, and imagine this kind of dignified calm coupled with “in it to win it” in the Oval Office — exactly where it belongs.

My only problem with you and why I haven’t thrown all my support behind you is that I don’t know if you have the desire to be President. If I caucus for you next week, are you still going to be there two months from now?
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I don’t know that they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don’t know that they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. But nowadays, it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure in the world we live in today it’s a good thing if a president has too much fire in the belly. I approach life differently than a lot of people. People, I guess, wonder how I’ve been as successful as I’ve been in everything that I’ve done. I won two races in TN by 20 point margins in a state that bill Clinton carried twice. I’ve never had an acting lesson. I guess that’s obvious by people who’ve watched me…

When I did it, I did it. Wasn’t just a lark. Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing well. But I’ve always been a little more laid back than most. I’m only consumed by very, very few things. Politics is not one of them. The welfare of our country and our kids and grandkids is one of them.

If people really want in their president super type-a personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about for years how they win the presidency of the united states, someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning, I ain’t that guy. So I hope I’ve discussed that and didn’t talk you out of anything. I honestly want – I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances [than] achieving the Presidency of the United States under false pretenses. I go out of my way to be myself.

Ambition, it turns out, is a word that benefits from a variety of different definitions. According to some of those definitions, Fred’s got none of it; according to others, he’s got all of it. We need as much as we can get of what Fred’s got, and none at all of what he has not.

The Latest Assault on Capitalism

Monday, December 31st, 2007

…involves replacing an iPod, right out of its box, with a note.

If you thought the war on capitalism died with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, you’d be wrong. Agitators are still hard at work at bringing down capitalism, but now they have a new weapon, the Apple iPod.

When a little girl in Maryland recently opened her Christmas presents, she thought she’d received exactly what she’d been hoping for, an iPod. Unfortunately, when she actually opened the box, instead of an iPod, she received a very strange note instead:

RECLAIM YOUR MIND FROM THE MEDIA SHACKLES. READ A BOOK AND RESURRECT YOURSELF.

TO CLAIM YOUR CAPITALISTIC GARBAGE GO TO YOUR NEAREST APPLE STORE.

The girl’s father, Joe Ellis, returned the box and note to the Walmart store where he had originally purchased it. According to Fox 5, he was not the only customer to have had his iPod switched for anti-capitalist propaganda.

I really wasn’t aware until now there was some kind of inimical relationship going on between our free-market way of life, and PEOPLE WHO USE CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE DAMN TIME. I’m going to update my “reasons to support capitalism” file accordingly.

Infant Skeleton Found in Suitcase

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Pretty creepy story from Pittsburgh…

An infant’s skeleton was found in a suitcase by adult siblings cleaning out their elderly mother’s house after she died, state police said.

The siblings did not recognize the suitcase as their mother’s, but said clothes found inside belonged to her, Trooper Lisa Jobe said.

The suitcase was found under a bed Saturday. The woman, who lived about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh in Hempfield Township, died earlier this month. She was in her 80s and her surviving children are in their 40s and 50s.

Police did not immediately release the dead woman’s name. They hope that a forensic pathologist can determine the infant’s gender and how and when the child died.

The woman’s husband died about three years ago, police said. The surviving children could not give police any information about the remains or how long they may have been under the bed.

The Fourth Most Important Issue

Monday, December 31st, 2007

The most important issue of the 2008 elections is: Who is going to bring me, in discharging the duties of President of the United States, the biggest pile of crispy smoking terrorist carcasses, hopefully with agonized and horrified expressions frozen onto their damn dirty dead terrorist faces? Two thousand a month is inadequate if another candidate will deliver three thousand.

The second most important issue is: What is up with that strange, surreal, self-obsessed political party supposedly named after democracy? Are they stupid or just plain crazy? Millions of people may sacrifice much to avoid admitting it, but I think the question is troubling to everybody, even the most loyal supporters. And it’s relevant. We know this political party must go away, for the continuing survival of the country, we just don’t quite understand how urgent this is.

The third most important issue is: What are illegal aliens up to when they come here? Not the visa-overstayers; the turnstyle-hoppers. Are they really after a better way of life for themselves and their kids? Are they here to pursue that way of life by working hard? And if so, at what exactly? Manual labor that “Americans won’t do?” Or milking the system? A combination of both? If they’re here to do the work Americans won’t do, is it possible some of those hard workers are one and the same with the illegal aliens who kidnap and molest our children, and kill our innocents on the backroads and highways while driving drunk? Should I stop worrying about any of this once I’m assured they “work hard and follow the law”? How do you know someone follows the law when you know he broke it by coming here? And when you don’t even know for sure who he is and have no way of finding out? Most perplexing within the third issue…what in the world does a candidate for a high political office, know about any of this? And how irresponsible is it to form such a crude and clumsy stereotype, even if it’s a flattering one, about twelve to fifteen million people?

And the fourth most important issue…

Is this thing called “identity politics” not just the biggest old bucket o’ crap to hang around humanity’s neck since the constitutional republic was invented?

Elaborate efforts are afoot on the Democratic side to convince Iowa women to ignore the popular phenomenon that is Barack Obama, to dismiss loyalty to familiar favorite John Edwards, and to caucus for the woman who is running for president.

With Hillary Clinton’s dream steeped in uncertainty, her campaign and other backers are banking on women to carry her through Thursday night.

“I think most women, our internal research shows, they’re not-fly-by-nights, they’re strongly enthusiastic: ‘We’re going to show up in the sleet, snow, the ice, we’re going to be there,’ ” said Clinton’s campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle. “I know the strength of our support.”

The campaign is expecting women to dominate the caucus by as much as 60 percent. To recruit more into their sisterhood of politics and to bump up the urgency for backbone supporters, an army of Clinton volunteers logged more than 10,000 house calls and 8,500 phone conversations on Saturday alone.

But some female Democrats are rejecting the message they’re hearing about Clinton, long a controversial political figure. And some men are turned off by what they see as an estrogen-soaked campaign.
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Des Moines Democrat Marc Wallace, 40, said he thinks Clinton’s gender-based campaigning is a mistake. He intends to caucus for Obama,he said today.

“The Clinton campaign has not reached out to me in any real way beyond automated calls, bulk mail and having a local volunteer call to see what my candidate preference might be,” said Wallace, a John Kerry caucus campaign volunteer and a Polk County Democratic Central Committee member.

West Des Moines Democrat Mike Boltz also questions an apparent lack of attention to men.

“I think she’s been targeting women too much,” said Boltz, 44, who works in the insurance industry. “Her commercials are very female-centric. I think she needs to cater to the male population, too.”

You know, just putting aside all of the candidates, I think that’s a great debate we can have now. Form the issue first…and then let the candidates address it. Is it possible to represent someone in a high political office, such as President of the United States, who is not part of your personal demographic group? Or is a woman guaranteed superior representation from someone else who is a woman, compared to what she’d ever get from a man?

I personally favor the first of those two options. I know if Condoleeza Rice was running, as a straight white man who is a parent and has been married before, I’d put her ahead of a lot of married-and-divorced straight white fathers who are in the race now. I’d vote for her over Giulliani, McCain, definitely over that crackpot Ron Paul. She’d come in behind Thompson, because Thompson has actually been consistent and stalwart on things that I think are important. I’d put her on par with Romney, I think. Maybe a little bit ahead of Mitt.

That’s the fourth most important issue right there: Is this something I’m not supposed to be doing? I just stacked Condi in behind Fred but ahead of Mitt and Rudy and John and Ron. White guy, black girl, white guy white guy white guy. Hey, I’m a white guy and I put a black lady in as #2. Is there a “Stick To Your Own Kind” police coming over to put me under arrest now? Or am I simply betraying my own interests, with my readiness to vote for someone who’s a woman when I’m not one myself?

There, that’s the issue right there…for surely whatever answer applies correctly to me, applies to everyone else right? Okay, so now that the question is defined, will someone please pose it to Hillary — and everybody else running? Just to get their opinions on the record. Let’s just stop tip-toeing around this thing, and finally address it head-on.

America deserves to know.

Superman is for Obama

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Superman Obama…and is “excited” by Barack’s ability to unite the country.

There must be some telescopic-vision power I’m lacking here — it had completely escaped me that Obama was a uniter. Yeah sure he’s “Mister Positive” but that’s not necessarily a uniter.

And who’d have thought Superman and Obama had anything in common with each other whatsoever? Can you imagine a Superman movie in which the Last Son of Krypton handles a crisis according to principles and methods associated with Obamamania? Try to envision it…a huge killer robot is attacking Metropolis. Clark Kent disappears, and in his place is — SUPERMAN! He, um…well, it’s obvious what the first step would be. He’d blame George W. Bush for the killer robot. When American troops arrive on the scene and start firing bullets and rockets at the killer robot he “redeploys” them somewhere else. Gives a rousing speech about health care. Points out how he’s for stem cell research and the robot isn’t. Uses his super-charisma power to…uh…you know, be charismatic.

Boy, that’d really show that killer robot.

Casual Nudity Perplexes Neighbor

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Aighh…I’m missing something here

DEAR ABBY: I have lived next door to the “Smiths” for 18 years. They’re nice people. When problems have arisen, they have helped me out, and I have done the same for them. We’re good neighbors and friends.

I have known the Smiths’ children their whole lives. Their daughter is now 17. Their son was born a year later.

My question: Is it normal for a 16-year-old boy to walk around the house naked, in plain view of family members? No one seems to notice or care. There are no looks or comments.

In the morning he gets up around 6:45. He walks into the kitchen and fixes a bowl of cereal. Then he stands at the counter, watching the morning sports shows while eating his breakfast in the nude. There is absolutely no evidence of arousal of any kind. When the bathroom becomes available, he goes in for a shower.

I have never seen any of the other family members naked. This boy has no compunctions about being seen by his father, mother, sister or next-door neighbor. He’s been nude in my presence dozens of times. I know it’s common for little boys to run around without clothes on sometimes, but, Abby, he’s not a little boy anymore. — CLOTHES-MINDED IN WISCONSIN

DEAR CLOTHES-MINDED: Standards regarding nudity vary from family to family, and obviously the Smiths are casual and open-minded on the subject. It’s possible that you have been their neighbor so long that the young man considers you part of the family.

Because he has matured sufficiently that his nudity now makes you uncomfortable, you should hang curtains on your windows that face the Smiths’ kitchen — and before dropping over there, call to ask whether he’s presentable. If he’s not, then don’t go over.

So the neighbor is physically there at 6:45? Or, is she back at her own place, watching the Smith’s kitchen through binoculars or telescope.

It’s one of those things were not much seems amiss, until you try to reconstruct it in your mind and then you run into problems. Lessee…I’m a sixteen year old boy who walks around the house naked. It’s 6:45 and I’m lumbering around my parents’ kitchen with my dongle dangling, pouring myself some cereal. Now, the bathroom is not yet available so I’m waiting around…in my birthday suit…neighbor watching me, somehow, the entire time. Actively? Passively? “There is absolutely no evidence of arousal of any kind.” That’s just disturbing. I can just see her removing her eye from a powerful telescope and turning to a camera, a la Marvin the Martian, and commenting “No evidence of arousal of any kind” and then plastering her face right back on the telescope again, twiddling the focus dial for a sharper view, licking her lips maybe.

Ya gotta love Dear Abby. It seems so boring until you stop and ask yourself seriously, “Waitaminnit, who writes to Dear Abby about this?”

Is Global Warming Over Already?

Monday, December 31st, 2007

“Global warming has temporarily or permanently ceased. Temperatures across the world are not increasing as they should, according to the fundamental theory behind global warming — the greenhouse effect. Something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what or else we may spend hundreds of billions of pounds needlessly.”

Update: Well, there’s another problem associated with globular wormening, and that’s Green Fatigue. That’s where you get tired of doing something to fight it, as if you have been doing something to fight it, even if you might have been doing absolutely nothing at all.

British people are now convinced about the dangers of global warming but are either baffled about how to stop it or are ignoring the issue.

Analysts say few people are taking action to deal with the threat of climate change, although over the past 12 months the vast majority have come to accept that it poses a real threat to the world. Opinion polls reveal much confusion among the public about what Britain should do to combat the problem.

What a sad construct humanity has become. To paint an accurate picture, I have to depict someone who drives to work…shuttling nothing, absolutely nothing, over those five-to-twenty-five miles save his own ass and a lunchbox, in a gasoline powered vehicle that gets — what? Eighteen miles a gallon? Fourteen? Eleven? And is terribly concerned about the earth heating up. Says so constantly. But is sick of sacrificing to help solve the problem…in spite of doing nothing.

Put aside this little scam called “global warming” and look at the rest of what’s going on, you learn something interesting about human nature. We have a unique and intriguing situation where sacrifice is demanded, for the well-being of us all — but nobody ever, ever, ever talks about how the sacrifice will lead to salvation. It’s very rare that anybody even pretends to understand such a thing, and nobody ever defines how it all works. And really, nobody in any position of authority has even put a reputation at risk in saying “if we make sacrifices, the problem will be solved.” People imply that all the time, but that’s different from coming out and saying it.

And the effect this has, ultimately, on the globular-wormening True Believers? Sacrifice is perfectly acceptable for the next guy. Only for the next guy. For our own sacrifices, we demand to see just a little bit more of an actual plan, than we want to see for the sacrifices of others. That’s human nature for you, in a nutshell.

Long Live Closed-Source Software

Monday, December 31st, 2007

“An honest empiricist must conclude that while the open approach has been able to create lovely, polished copies, it hasn’t been so good at creating notable originals.”

Not sure I agree, but he makes some good points and inspires some thought that might not otherwise take place.

Bill Cosby’s Speech

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Learn it, live it, love it. It doesn’t have that much to do with skin color, in the final analysis. Nothing at all, really.

“Why you ain’t where you is go, ra.” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with, “Why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.

Regrettably, the audio clips are edited, somewhat. But you get the idea.

I work in Information Technology…a field in which we look to professionals to solve problems. But it turns out when you work here, you can solve as many problems as you want to solve, and nobody’s going to give a crap about it until you have the right sheepskins on your wall.

I didn’t think that was a serious problem until I met some “skilled” engineers who had all the coveted “sertifikayshuns” and therefore enjoyed career portability I didn’t have…who could not write and could not spell. Now, is this still not quite a serious problem? Hey. These are our problem solvers. These are our technology-bringers. These are our make-things-work-ers. They think “affect” and “effect” are interchangeable words…and trust me on this, it goes sharply downhill from there. Many of them can not type. Why on earth should they have to know how? The median birth date is about 1976, or later. If you’re my age, which is just a decade senior to that, you think a mouse is a luxury item. Well yeah, have you really worked at re-thinking that lately? You also probably know what an eight-track is, GRAMPS.

It should be mentioned that my complaint is different from Mr. Cosby’s, although when you get down to it, we’re both a couple of old men grousing about the next generation, with a mixture of sour grapes and some other stuff that is not just sour grapes. Stuff that might be thought of has having real legitimacy to it. Stuff that could be thought of as a real wake-up call. Cosby is talking about a culture in which intellectual achievement is frowned-upon, in which people actually channel their energies — vast sums of energy — into staying stupid and keeping their kids stupid, and then blame their problems on other classes of people with lighter skin. Yeah that’s pretty foolish alright…I’m talking about a culture endemic to a universality of skin colors, in which intellectual competence is thought to be synonymous with the seals and signatures which are imposed simply for the purpose of manifesting it. To the extent that we end up buried in a tidal wave of “knowledgeable” professionals who are supposed to know everything, and in actuality when it comes time to getting things done, can’t really be counted on to do any of it. I’m griping about paperwork being treated as an acceptable substitute for skill — paperwork treated with greater respect than skill. To the point where those with the authority to do so, reject skill, replace it with paperwork, think the exchange to be a costless one, and then coast along in blissful ignorance of the fact that this is what was just done. If we were talking about installing seat belts or brake pads, we’d have to wake up to what we’re doing…but we don’t have to…and what we’re talking about, is all the stuff in our lives that is supported by technology. Which is pretty much everything, lock stock & barrel.

The overlap between these two old-guy complaints, is broad, deep and significant. It is a seductive cultural spirit antagonistic toward simply knowing how to do things. The shoving of the nearest nerd into the handiest garbage can. The pretending you don’t know the answer to the question so you can avoid being typecast as a “geek,” and therefore get along with your pals. The wearing of the clothes backwards. The ass crack sticking out of the pants. Ain’t. You is. Let me ax you. The Idiocracy.

Deep down, I think we all understand we can afford this nonsense because…well, we can afford it. Got a hungry belly, you take it to Taco Bell with $3.15 and the problem is solved. Boss fires you for goofing off too much, you take it up with your local union and you’ll make the sonofabitch sorry his momma ever met his daddy. Laziness…all kinds of laziness, the intellectual, the spiritual, the physical…carries no consequence as 2008 finds us. None at all. None. And so — we work hard at getting lazy. It is the one thing toward which we channel our truly dedicated, sweaty-forehead, all-other-priorities-are-trivial, white hot energy.

Because we must put that kind of energy somewhere, and there are no other challenges, dangers or problems left to absorb it. We work at staying stupid. At not speaking English. At using improper grammar. At mumbling. We are very much like the battery with one paper clip attached to both terminals. Zero resistance…and we’re overheating and melting down because zero resistance is a situation outside of our intended design.

Happy new year!

Online Geography

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Highly addictive.

H/T: Boortz.

Edwards Leads

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

We are big Fred-Heads here. And in our case, that means we get a lot of e-mail from others who we consider very close to us on issues and principles, exhorting us to change our minds. The one recurring theme to these off-lines, aside from Fred having made some movies that aren’t that good, is how much more important it is to promote a winner than it is to promote principles.

Well, we’re “hip” to the argument, or at least the logic involved in it — having been briefly sympathetic to H. Ross Perot’s candidacy for President in ’92, and after that debacle having been jaded on third-party junkets of others. We’re not about to reject the “don’t throw away your vote” platform after having used it ourselves over the years.

But we see Fred as a winner. If he has a weakness now, his weakness is that there are too many candidates. He makes a much stronger impression sharing a stage with three others than with six others, and I’m probably ready to admit at this point that his late arrival hasn’t helped him much. Fred is living proof of the multi-point perspective of this apparently-simple thing we call “charisma”; he’s got quite a lot of some of the stuff that goes by that name, and suffers a glaring lack of other such stuff. Not a lively guy, that Fred.

Our hope for Fred is that he prospers once the field starts to get whittled. Obviously, such a plan depends on him not being among the whittled. We’re optimistic about that. It’s clear to us the media establishment hates him, and that is a problem, but for the last eight years the media establishment has been pretty far away from deciding everything…or for that matter, anything.

To our reasons for being optimistic, add this. No, it really doesn’t say anything good about Fred…other than him being ahead of John McCain by a good healthy margin. But it is a reminder of the cruel shake-up going on in these caucuses.

On the donk side, Edwards is in front. Barely.

And on the Republican side, this guy who is consistently mentioned by the folks lecturing at me that I should be voting for a winner…is not mentioned here. We find this amusing. Four months ago, we would not have, because we had substantially greater fondness for the former mayor of New York than we have now. Back then, we saw him the way our lecturers wanted us to see him: As a Republican powerhouse agreeing with us on the important issues, demanding compromise only on the trivial ones. Now, we see that candidate as an apologist for the corrupt businesses that have manufactured the problem we have today with illegal immigration, exacerbating it to the point that it ultimately threatens to bring the very concept of law and order to a complete standstill. And we don’t see that candidate as a winner either, with or without this poll.

We’re still in the primary process. Once the nominations are finished and the general elections are underway — and we’re convinced that across the nation, a lot of opinionated people on both sides of the conservative/liberal divide are forgetting this — the debate will change dramatically. It’s impossible to say how at this point, because the change will be a calculated consequence of the outcome of the primaries. A Clinton/Giuliani match-up would be a disaster. It is the only way, at this point, that we can see Hillary Clinton becoming our next President. Rudy Giuliani could probably beat any other democrat. Hillary Clinton would go down in flames running against any other Republican.

But Rudy Giuliani cheated on his wife.

Hillary Clinton is a wife who got cheated-upon.

My point is not that philandering is sufficient for a candidate to lose my support. Although it most certainly is…but no, the point I wish to make is that we are not yet in a position to see any evidence of how the debate would be shaped if Hillary got the donk nomination and Rudy got the Republican nomination. But we really don’t have much need for such evidence. One can guess. We would be commanded by those who have no faces or names but can direct what conversations people have nevertheless, for three or four months, to solemnly contemplate the gloom and doom and wreckage in the wake of our serious social problem of…adultery. You can bet your bottom dollar the Sunday-evening “newsy” television shows will have an anthology of “specials” about this terrible, terrible problem. Each episode of which will contain a twenty-second tangent, presented as an after-thought bunny trail but you’d better believe it’s central to the exercise, mentioning our former First Lady, the former Mayor of New York, or both. Probably both of them.

You’ll hear about adultery in those four months, as often as you’ve heard about Britney Spears’ little sister in the last two weeks.

Hillary would kick his cheating, unfaithful ass from here to Timbuktu and back again. It would be the first truly overpowering democrat victory since 1964. It would dwarf the electoral margins achieved in 1992 and 1996 by her husband…and oh Lord, you’d better believe you’re going to hear about that in the long winter ahead.

It’d be no small irony. Her husband would have been elected because adultery didn’t matter to us, and she’d have been elected because it did. About that paradox, you won’t hear a single peep. Maybe “conservative” blogs like the one you’re reading now. George Will might take notice of it. Other than that you won’t hear butkus.

So there’s quite the shake-up going on, and thus far it seems to be a healthy one. I like that the donk candidates are in a statistical dead-heat. It just goes to show what everybody paying attention already knows: donks have nothing to say. Nothing. If they could be somehow restrained from using the words “Bush’s fault,” in sequence, or from using merely the first of those two words, they’d be robbed of about 95% of the arguments they’ve made. About anything. Not just in this election campaign — in this century.

Biggest SOB Fish

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

I’m ashamed to say that before this showed up in the e-mail, I had never before seen it or heard of it. Afterward I found copies of it here, here, here and here. It ranks pretty high on my jokes list. Maybe good enough to put a cap on 2007. Maybe. As always, it’s all in the telling of it.

Language AdvisoryA priest took a vacation to a fishing lodge. On the last day of his trip, he hooked a monster fish and began fighting it. A few minutes later the guide, holding a landing net, yelled, “look at the size of that Son of a Bitch!” “Please, my son, I’m a priest. Your language is uncalled for.” “No, Father, you don’t understand” explained the guide, “That’s the species of fish you have hooked; it’s called a ‘Son of a Bitch’ fish!”

“Really?” asked the surprised priest, “Well then, would you please net the Son of a Bitch?”

Once the fish was aboard, the guide marvelled at its size.

“Father, that’s the biggest Son of a Bitch I’ve ever seen!”

“It really IS a big Son of a Bitch” the priest beamed, “What should I do with it?”

“Why, eat it of course. I promise, you’ve never tasted anything as good as that Son of a bitch.”

Elated, the priest headed home. While unloading his fishing tackle and prize catch at the church’s back door, Sister Mary appeared and Inquired about his trip.

“Take a look at this huge Son of a Bitch I caught!” the priest gushed, opening his ice chest.

Sister Mary gasped and clutched her rosary, “Father, such language from a priest!” “It’s Okay, Sister. According to my guide, that’s the species of fish this one is: it’s called a ‘Son of a Bitch fish’.” “Oh, well then…what are you going to do with that huge Son of a Bitch?”

“Eat it! My guide said they’re great!”

Sister Mary then informed the priest that the Pope was scheduled to visit in a few days. “Why don’t I clean that Son of a Bitch for you, and we’ll cook it for this special occasion,” she volunteered.

On the night of the Pope’s visit, everything went perfectly. The wine was fine, the fish excellent.

The Pope leaned back from his plate and said, “This is absolutely marvellous fish — where did you buy it?”

“We didn’t buy it, Your Holiness; I caught that Son of a Bitch!” proclaimed the proud priest.

The Pope’s eyes opened wide, but he said nothing.

“And I cleaned and cooked the Son of a Bitch!,” exclaimed the Sister.

The Pope looked silently at each of them. Glancing around the dining room, he saw they were alone. A big grin spread across his face as he leaned across the table and whispered, “Go get us some more wine. You motherfuckers are my kind of people”.

Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Uh oh. This is going to lead to some bad things, I think.

Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack

Pakistan Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has died after a suicide attack at a political rally. “At 6.16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

“She has been martyred,” said party offical Rehman Malik.

The explosion went off just after Ms Bhutto left the rally in Rawalpindi, minutes after her speech to thousands of people. Her support[er]s have smashed windows at the entrance to the hospital where she was being treated, some calling “Dog, Musharraf, dog,”.

It is the first major attack since President General Pervez Musharraf lifted emergency rule two weeks ago. At least 15 people died in the attack in the heart of Pakistan’s military and parliamentary district.

Other headlines say different things, though.

Benazir Bhutto ‘badly injured’ in bomb attack

Another headline says she was unhurt

Another headline says no, she was killed

And another

Malkin says Bhutto was Assassinated

Update: Do not miss the FARK thread on this. Do NOT miss it…even if you haven’t bothered to start a “Rogue’s Gallery of Inane Stupid Leftwing Moonbat Bullshit Conspiracy Theories”…but most especially if you are among the ones who have. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s got everything — some of which will make you laugh, some of which will be sure to make you cry. And best of all, a whole googleplex of facepalms.

And, as you might guess, the stupid deranged crap that inspires facepalms to be put on display.

Vindu Talks Costs

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

They’re at it again.

Except for a few persistent naysayers, there’s a broad public consensus that we need to take action against global warming. We’ll see how well that resolve holds as we start learning about the upfront costs of changing our carbon-spewing lifestyles.

I chose to link to the FARK thread instead of to the article itself, since the thread was green-lit and from there the actual San Jose Mercury News editorial is one click away.

And also, I agree with what the guy said at 2007-12-26 04:58:51 PM EST.

That’s funny; most of the people I see with their panties in a bunch over global warming don’t have any children. And most of us who have children would prefer to conserve what freedom we have left in this country for them.

There are exceptions to every trend, but now that he mentions it I see this one is pretty strong. And I find the explanation to be reasonable.

Well now that we have this “broad public consensus” here are some ideas for the next thing I’d like solved. I haven’t seen these questions answered anywhere as of yet.

How much carbon dioxide do we want to remove from the atmosphere? Or rather, prevent from being exuded into it.

What — exactly — do we think this non-saturation of carbon dioxide is going to do to the “mean global temperature”?

Will this do something to maintain whatever control we think we have over the global climate?

In other words…let’s have less talk about costs, and more talk about benefits. What are we hoping to get out of this? It’s impossible to say whether it’s a worthy enterprise or not, if we aren’t going to discuss that.

And to date, I’ve not seen so much as a suggestion of any evidence whatsoever, that 1) we have control over the global environment; 2) we are in danger of losing that control; 3) we can keep that control if we take steps to lower carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

I’ve seen a lot of factoids that make people want to think those things. But nothing to give people one or several logical reasons for thinking them. And, please note, all three have to be proven true, or at least strongly suggested to be true, to make any investment of money and other resources, something even close to a good idea. Even the seemingly-rugged “just in case, since we don’t know who’s right or who’s wrong” argument collapses under its own weight if all three of those things are not shown to be probable.

It’s a crock, folks. It’s Tobacco Litigation II. Obscene amounts of money, flowing from people who produced things, to people who just talked about a lot of stuff. The billions of dollars will be handed over, nothing will change, and the administrators and lawyers and pencil-pushers will laugh all the way to the bank. There’s nothing new about any of this.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XIV

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

…but we’ve been nominated for a “Fallaci” out on the world-famous Little Green Footballs site.

The nominations for the Idiotarian (Fiskie) and Anti-Idiotarian (Fallaci) Awards for 2007 are now open!

…Remember, the Fiskie Award is for the most moonbattish, obtuse, deranged, or duplicitous person or group of the year. Past “winners” of the Fiskie have included Jimmy Carter, Rachel Corrie, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, and Kofi Annan.

The Fallaci, on the other hand, goes to the person or group who best exemplified the fight against the heartbreak of moonbattitude. The Fallaci was just introduced last year and our first winner was former UN ambassador John Bolton.

Just to be clear, it’s the second of those two for which we’ve been nominated.

Don’t know if this will go anywhere, but we’re plum pleased to have made the list.

Let’s Re-Commercialize Christmas

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

I upgraded our new television package to the next step up. You know how all these things work, right…they start out with some number of channels that sounds like a lot when you say it out loud, but the basic package just includes Fox and CNN and Cartoon and local and a big ol’ bunch of jewelry on sale at 1 in the morning…and On-Demand…but if you spend another $20 you can have some of the good stuff. Well, we spent the $20. I was teasing my lady about how wonderful it was to put out just a little bit of cash, and be able to surround the love of my life with a bunch of man-bashing crap to remind her what towering assholes us guys are. No WAY can this turn out to be a mistake. She knows I don’t really mean it, that I understand she has the intellectual wherewithal to filter that crap out when she sees it. She also understands my feelings about television in general — I think it’s fair to say that since the 1950′s, it’s lost its luster as a “hub” in the living room, around which family members can gather and share a common experience and grow closer together. It’s become more of a wedge, in my opinion, that drives families apart if they allow it to.

It’s the programming. It’s just plain hostile. And not by accident. Men are idiots, unless they wear neckties at night, in which case they’re evil and might still be idiots. Women are only concerned about one thing, and that’s getting what they want out of life, hell with everybody else. Girls are concerned that everybody isn’t paying attention to them all the time, and boys are aspiring to grow up into sad, angry, sullen men with dirty consciences. Those are the straight people. The gay people are whining about how oppressed they are by the straight people, when they aren’t showing off how much more fun they are than those stiff-assed straight people. Ethnic minorities, well, they live in a whole different world. They seem a lot less integrated in the boob tube than they are in real life. I’ve come to see television as a hundreds-of-channels endless menagerie of different classes of folks, just spoiling for a fight, but presenting themselves as if they aren’t. As un-integrated as different classes of people can possibly get without heading for the hills away from each other as fast as their little legs can carry ‘em.

That’s what I’ve come to expect. But during my one marathon of television, nodding off and waking up and nodding off and waking up like a real December-25 lazy-man…I saw something else. Maybe this isn’t as bad, but I dunno. What I described above, you can escape. This stuff you can’t.

I’m referring to the de-commercialization of Christmas. I think it’s gone too far. Way too far.

ChristmasTime after time after time, I saw these modern “Christmas stories” as having something to do with how evil material things are. Oh, I understand what is intended here, and I still think highly of the motives involved. But it seems there is a terrible misinterpretation taking place, perhaps even a usurpation.

The common thread I keep seeing is that there is a regrettable evil involved in simply earning the money. When I was a little kid we delighted in observing Ebenezer Scrooge to be a pitiful man on an errant path; we understood financial solvency was the least of his problems. But he was a parsimonious miser. He got his money by making people suffer, and he renegotiated his contracts with just as much ruthlessness as an independently-wealthy old man as he did when he was a skinny kid just getting started. And as that wealthy old man, his life was unhappy. He didn’t know what to spend the money on; he was just an empty shell, going through the motions.

And now? Every new Christmas story I see — someone needs salvation, a kick in the butt from a wiser all-knowing ghost, or simply to do some growing up. Because they made a life choice involving money. It can be something that doesn’t hurt anybody. Just taking a high-paying job. Our modern Scrooges are scolded, and then put through some melodramatic spiritual-cleansing process, after having indulged in a purely victim-less crime of getting rich.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. But it bothers me tremendously when I see the same old story, but this time it appears someone’s been very careful to trim away any collateral damage. The whole point to “It’s A Wonderful Life,” for example, was not the welfare of George Bailey, but rather the welfare of everyone around him. People he spent his entire life helping, not even fully understanding how awful life would have been without him. The spoiler to Frank Capra’s classic is that the titular “Life” is not his at all, it’s everybody else’s.

I believe we are in the process of losing that. One made-for-TV that disturbed me greatly had to do with a gorgeous young red-haired lady who ditched her fiance and got a high-paying job in New York City, ending up spending Christmas alone because she had started an affair with her boss who it turned out wasn’t as quick to divorce his wife as she was led to believe. At the story’s conclusion she was able to mend her ways and ended up married to her boyfriend after all. Except — without any consequences. She was still rich. Richer than before, if I read the ending right. Everything was good now because she was the center of attention, and at the beginning, was not…and what about everybody else? Looked to me like all their lives were the same, one way or t’other.

All about her, her, her.

And it wouldn’t be fair for me to look that one up so I could single her out. It seems every single modern effort to re-tell “A Christmas Carol” makes the same, of what in my view is, a mistake. Something has been sacrificed for wealth, and with the help of some spiritual adviser a “new way” is found that undoes the sacrifice. The wealth remains. Nobody else is hurt; nobody else is helped.

It’s like the necessity to trash capitalism came first, and within that framework all the holes were filled in. To as scant an extent as could be possible. It’s like the television networks want to tell us the story of Scrooge, and at the same time, show us what he looks like.

There is another angle to this that I think needs to be considered. We happen to be living in an age in which we enjoy a number of opportunities to bring injury to one another, by capitalizing our various efforts inadequately. Yes, if you don’t spend enough on Christmas presents you might see some long faces when it comes time to open them. But there are other things. Drive without car insurance, you might change someone else’s life for the worse for a very long time. Grow old with debts and no coverage plans to take care of them, you make problems for your heirs. Fail to cover your burial costs, someone suffers. Get a divorce, your kids will have to grow up in a broken home.

And so to define poor spiritual health as a willingness to generate money, that and nothing more, in an age where spiritual health has so little definition — seems to me a recipe for disaster. We need money to survive. Money is supposed to be…and it seems to me, for the most part still is…a measure of what kind of help we are extending to our neighbors. Because whether we like to admit it or not, our nature is to take care of our own stuff — write blogs, watch television, go shopping, whatever. We’d just do what we want all day long, not helping others, if we could get away with it. If only someone would make us sandwiches and put a roof over our heads. But we aren’t here to do that, so sooner or later we need to go to work and do something FOR somebody else.

And get paid to do it. Well, hey — there’s a fine line between observing what people do when they aren’t paid to do it, and observing what people do when they think nobody’s watching. If we’re going to be so quick to judge each other, and I have many reasons for thinking that an unwise thing, I’d much rather see us judge each other according to the second of those two things than according to the first.

I guess what it all comes down to is, we’ve left ourselves open to manipulation for making Christmas into a season for the boob tube to be preaching at us. And as a middle-aged man, I’m just doing what middle-aged men do, which is to carp away about how much better things used to be. But in this case, I find it hard to sympathize with any other viewpoint. We’re being preached at by our television sets to not make any decisions that might result in money for ourselves…through programs that, I suspect, generated no small amount of money for the folks who put ‘em together for us. But the message from yesterday, had more to do with a lesson that we shouldn’t be dickholes to each other.

Maybe it’s because I like money, but I liked the lesson of old a lot better. Don’t make money…don’t be a dick. I wish, nowadays, there were some recently-made productions offering the lesson to potential viewers that they shouldn’t act like dicks. Maybe this is closing the barn door after the horse has left, but my Christmas television viewing has left me with the impression this is a lost art. It’s put something of a damper on my holiday, if only for a minute or two. Maybe my Christmases should all be television-free from here on in.

So I say, Happy 2008. Say please and thank you, even to people who are paid to be doing things for you. Hold doors open for people. Donate to worthy causes, put heavy suitcases in overhead bins for other people, pull over and help jump-start that guy’s car. And make as much money as you want, as long as it’s through honest means, and you aren’t taking advantage of people in their unfortunate economic circumstances or lackluster intellectual abilities. Just don’t screw people. They’re your brothers. Is that message so hard to get across that we have to simplify it for new generations?

I’d really like to think that is not the case. I’m convinced there are people who disagree with me about that…I’m just hoping that I’m right and they’re wrong…

Your Dad Answered All Those Letters

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Nativity of ChristI thought the best way to link this would be just to link it. The FARK thread was green-lit, which means you don’t have to take out a subscription to TOTALFARK in order to access it. The actual article has been “farked,” which means you can’t access the original location (usually because the traffic resulting from FARK’s link overwhelmed the web servers or some resource that supports them). But the text of the article was replicated in whole in the first post.

You should go read quick before the Christmas spirit runs off and hides under the covers for another year. Polish off the last of the eggnog, and have a box of tissues ready.

As a young boy, I sometimes traveled the country roads with my dad. He was a rural mail carrier in southwestern Michigan, and on Saturdays he would often ask me to go on the route with him. I loved it. Driving through the countryside was always an adventure. There were animals to see, people to visit, and freshly-baked chocolate-chip cookies if you knew where to stop, and Dad did. We made more stops than usual when I was on the route because I always got carsick, but stopping for me never seemed to bother Dad.

In the spring, Dad delivered boxes full of baby chicks. Their continuous peeping could drive you crazy, but Dad loved it. When the peeping became too loud to bear, you could quiet them down by trilling your tongue and making the sounds of a hawk. When I was a boy it was fun to stick your fingers through one of the holes in the side of the cardboard boxes and let the baby birds peck on your finger. Such bravery!

On Dad’s final day of work on a beautiful summer day, it took him well into the evening to complete his rounds because at least one member of each family was waiting at their mailbox to thank him for his friendship and his years of service. ‘Two hundred and nineteen mailboxes on my route,’ he used to say, ‘and a story at every one.’ One lady had no mailbox, so Dad took the mail in to her every day because she was nearly blind. Once inside, he read her mail and helped her pay her bills. And every Thursday he read her the local newspaper.

Mailboxes were sometimes used for things other than mail. One note left in a mailbox read, ‘Nat, take these eggs to Marian; She’s baking a cake and doesn’t have any eggs, and don’t stop to talk to Archie!’ Mailboxes might be buried in the snow, or broken, or lying on the ground, but the mail was always delivered. On cold days Dad might find one of his customers waiting for him by the mailbox with a cup of hot chocolate. A young girl wrote letters but had no stamps, so she left a few buttons on the envelope in the mailbox; Dad paid for the stamps. One busy merchant used to leave large amounts of cash in his mailbox in a paper bag for Dad to take to the bank. On one occasion, the amount came to $32,000. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

The story winds up to an ending you’ll not soon forget.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and a Happy New Year.

On Stepping

Monday, December 24th, 2007

StepfatherI was thinking of my own experiences as a stepdad, when a certain family member’s household started dissolving into that sickening puddle of goo into which households sometimes dissolve, just as this year’s holidays were coming into full swing. I came up with a statistical overview of my failures — eight stepkids, four women, three of the kids “real” stepkids by one marriage. I feel pretty terrible about it. That’s a lot of little kids I’ve probably hurt…maybe helped in some way just by exposing them to general experience, happy and otherwise, at an early age. I’d like to think so. But my conclusive view is that my retirement from stepfatherhood came too late, that I’m just not cut out for it and I never should’ve done it at all. I also think a lot of other people who are stepparents aren’t cut out for it. Some are. It demands a whole lot of patience, flexibility and maturity. And oodles and oodles of humility. “Alpha Males” aren’t very often stepdads; the few times they are, they are very distant, uninvolved stepdads.

This raises the question, am I qualified to speak? You don’t get advice on how to quit smoking from someone who’s done it a whole lot of times. Marriage? The argument could be made that someone who’s been married four or five times, might know a thing or two about marriage…but only in the sense of now-and-then having something worthwhile to say. You certainly wouldn’t take “advice” from them about it, not without a large grain. But I notice something about the stepparents: The ones who have made a successful go of it, are pretty damn quiet, while the folks who haven’t got all the information they need, are flailing around helplessly. So the successful folks aren’t chattering away about what can be done right. This is consistent with what I found the job of stepparenting to be, while I was failing at it. It’s got an awful lot to do with keeping your opinion to yourself, or deferring the discussion until a later time.

And so, it seems to me, a crisis has been brewing. Stepparenthood is regarded by many as a rather breezy and casual challenge. There is nobody around to say anything different, since we have a cultural taboo on any implication that blended households might possibly have inherent structural weaknesses. There is also the matter of the situation one is in when one thinks about becoming a stepparent — this is critically important, because until the prospect presents itself, most of us don’t give it a passing thought. Once the option is open, it’s hard to see all the challenges on the horizon. We tend to crystalize it into something unrealistically simple, like “learning to life together as a family,” when it’s much more complicated than that.

Maybe we think about it some more. A lot of people are doing it now, and if there’s an “average” success rate, it seems to be little better than mine, which I only reached by hitting rock bottom and then digging. Now, I’m in the other seat — The Babe is the stepmom, and I’m the blood parent. This seems to be working out much better, so far. It’s probably because she’s not nearly as much of a pig-headed jackass as I was in that position. And I’d like to think the boy gets some credit. She seems to be happier as a stepparent than I was.

I absolutely despise giving people instructions. It’s like the proverbial herding-of-cats…people will do what they will do, you know. So much more fun to sit on the sidelines and watch ‘em screw up. But with what I’ve learned over the years and with what I see now, it’s simply high time someone started jotting this stuff down. So take what follows, not as sage advice, but as sort of a partially-complete “launch pad checklist” from a flawed man seasoned in the things that do NOT work.

I’ve gotten all the entertainment from watching people make my old mistakes, that I’m ever gonna get. So here’s what I see missing.

PRECONDITIONS

1. All kids, and both parents, have to be mature and open to compromise

The blended family is not for brittle people. And it may not even be an option. If everyone’s pliable and inclined to listen to the viewpoints and concerns of others, and you have only one tough nut who the good Lord just didn’t build that way, even if it’s one of the kids, maybe it’s a meritorious idea to just sidestep it altogether. Give it some thought. Everyone has to bend now & then or it isn’t going to work, and that doesn’t mean just the grown-ups. It’s not a costless process, for anybody.

2. Realize that the deck is stacked against you

Your household will have to stand up for what is important to it, and first and foremost that is the household’s own continuing survival. Don’t count on help from any exterior party with this. Even well-meaning friends will be inclined to show what good friends they are, by taking one parent or the other aside and whispering something about getting out — at the most insignificant trifling inconvenience. Those are your well-meaning friends. It goes downhill from there. As far as movies and television, forget it. Best to get rid of it altogether. Somebody in Hollywood really hates stepparents, a lot. It started in the 1940′s with Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, and it’s gotten worse ever since. The people you count on to write stuff to entertain your stepkids, HATE you. Do your research before going to see “family” films. And read books together.

And then there’s the kids, themselves. They’ve been going through a real rocky patch of road, and have some more ahead of them. They aren’t always going to be cheerful and pleasant. Chalk it up to “Intelligent Design” or natural selection…whatever your beliefs, there is wiring and programming there. Kids are built to be raised by both parents. That is what they are built to expect, and they are going to have an inherent hostility toward anything that challenges that. It won’t be easy sailing.

3. All rules of discipline, household traditions, systems of reward-and-punishment, are now up for re-negotiation

The good news is, that until the holidays this isn’t much of an issue. The bad thing is, when it bites, it bites hard. It’s pretty tough on the kids. The whole “that’s the way we always do it at Christmas” ship has to sail, or at the very least, encounter a stiff headwind. Just realize there are no guarantees here — something’s always been done a certain way, that doesn’t mean it’s going to keep on that way now. This is an occasion for re-thinking old family customs, some of which might have different levels of sanctity to different family members. Discuss.

4. Demand things out of the kids

This is a big one. I see most blended households don’t do this — there’s too much guilt over what happened to make the blended household an option in the first place, whether it was death or divorce. Yes, the kids have been through a lot already, but life isn’t fair. And the biggest mistake you can make is to proceed with this mindset that all the tough spots have to be in the past, and from here on out it’s a fairy-tale ending. Life just doesn’t work that way, and for the sake of the household there are going to be certain things expected from the kids — just because. Just realize that it’s too late to spare the kids from impact, and that kids weren’t designed in the first place to be spared from impact. Life has hard knocks, and more are on the way.

5. Remember, the union is more important than any one single person, or what that person wants

“I’ve had that cat longer than I’ve known you.” “My kids are more important to me than you.” “She’s been my friend since long before I met you.” These words are not allowed in your house, and neither is the mean spirit that underlies them. You’re making a commitment here to not think that way, not ever. If you’re not up to it then don’t waste the other person’s time.

IF THE KIDS ARE HERS

6. If the “real” daddy is around, make sure you get support

If the stepdad doesn’t want to do this because it’s an afront to his manhood, then the stepdad is the problem. If the mom doesn’t want to do this because she’s learned how futile it is to try to impose responsibility on that jackass who never took any on, then she’s the problem. Either way. A household stands for the value of obligations, or it doesn’t stand at all. And households that survive, don’t throw money away. Go after it.

7. The kids do not call the stepdad “Dad”

The one exception to this is if the stepdad is a virtual-dad, one who stepped in before the kid(s) reached an age of awareness. That scenario aside, even if the real dad has split the scene, stepdads aren’t dads. The problem has to do with a re-definition of men, into disposable appliances. We live in a society that, for a number of reasons, wants to make that easy. This does terrible things to kids. It’s a direct assault on a boy’s sense of self-worth, and for a girl, it is a threat to her eventual well-being after she has matured into a woman. No matter what the future holds, women who see men as expendable have never had an easy time of it before, and it’s going to remain a tough row to hoe for them. Don’t allow your household to become yet another instrument of assault on manhood and fatherhood.

Calling the stepdad by his first name isn’t that good of an idea either. If the stepdad makes a kid with the mom, then it is completely unacceptable. So what’s the right approach? That is a question with no good answers. One of many. Welcome to stepfatherhood.

8. Play with the kids

It’s your damn job, man. And gravitate toward the things the kids have not done before — don’t shy away from them. Those are the real opportunities.

9. The mom doesn’t presume her man is doing something wrong, if she’s previously seen it done a different way

Actually, that’s a good rule with or without a step-situation. Men aren’t here to do things a certain way. We’re here to get things done. Like my east-Indian boss used to tell his wife, “don’t worry, if you see me doing it you know it must be for the best!” I like that. It sounds unforgivably sexist, but when you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world. A woman should presume her man knows what he’s doing, just as a man should presume his lady knows what she’s doing. C’mon gals. We don’t tell you how our mothers and ex-wives made our pies. You don’t tell us how that other guy fixed the car. ZIP it.

10. The kids and mom do not have grip sessions about the stepdad

If they try to get one started, mom changes the subject. If it’s something with substance, she takes note of itJust like Tom Hanks said in Saving Private Ryan…gripes go up, they don’t go down.

11. The mom should not use the inertial value of her kids to caboosify the stepdad

Women, in the modern age, seem to be pre-condition to make their men come last in all things. Her blood children provide further temptation to do this, and since they possess inertia in the family, they make for a handy tool for getting this done. Household harmony is endangered if this is not sworn-off at the outset. A family presents a man with a lot of obligations; that’s a completely different thing, however, from saying obligation is all that a family is. It’s supposed to be much more than that, and if it isn’t, then it won’t be around for long.

IF THE KIDS ARE HIS

12. Everybody treats the birth mom with respect…

…and if it is absolutely impossible to do that, then with silence. Nothing bad is said about the birth mom when the kid is around. Or the things she does. Not until the kids reach majority age, and even then it should be left to the kids to start it…and it remains a bad idea. A change-of-subject is a much better idea.

13. The kids are not allowed to express a preference vis-a-vis how the stepmom cooks or arranges furniture, vs. the birth-mom

Here we are back at expecting things out of the kids, giving the poor little toe-heads some more rules. Well, that’s the way it is, and this is a good one. Remember what I said about the wiring and programming in kids. Well, women have some too. They don’t like to be compared to each other. So lay off it. Don’t even give out compliments. It’s not worth it.

14. The dad plays with his kids with the stepmom not around, before the kids ask him to, which they eventually will

This is something I kind of “biffed” and I understand it to be very common. I see, looking back on it, it was entirely avoidable and if I was the kid I would have asked for the same thing. Take off with your kids and play with them. It’s not like you’re getting a divorce, you’re just disappearing for an hour or two. Don’t tell me your woman won’t be grateful. The most loving woman appreciates the break…probably a lot more than you think…as awesome a stud as you are.

15. The stepmom discusses rules with the dad before implementing them

Not because he’s an all-mighty patriarch, but if both parents don’t agree on a rule, you might as well not have it. And don’t discuss possible rules for the kids, in front of the kids. Ever.

16. The stepmom is a helpmate and someone who shares life’s experiences — not a “trinket” or an everyday nuisance

Look at her as a hassle, and in short order she will become one. Your kids are wonderful, of course, but it still takes something to “put up” with them. Show her some respect. A lot of respect.

IF IT’S A “BRADY BUNCH”

17. With “culture conflict,” in general, the higher standard is the one that “wins”

Peter, Bobby and Mark are used to sleeping in on Saturday, Marcia Jan and Cindy are used to getting up and doing chores. That means the whole household now gets up and does chores. In one household it was okay to put your feet on the coffee table, in the other one, it wasn’t. That means it isn’t.

The point is, where these blended households fail, when you trace the reasons back it all starts with an excess of efficiency and comfort rather than from a lack of those things. So elbows off the table. Sit up straight. Wipe your mouth with a napkin. And nobody ever says “but that isn’t the way we had to do it BEFORE…” It all comes back to that item about it being okay to expect things from kids.

And that way, no one single sub-family is guaranteed to “win” at these things all the time. Compromise. Live it, learn it, love it.

18. It is a cardinal sin for either parent to show less enthusiasm toward the accomplishments of “those” kids, than toward the accomplishemtns of “their” kids

Should go without saying, huh? So the trophies all go in one room.

IN GENERAL

19. Kids do not move back-and-forth between households

When they decide they want to live at a certain place, BOTH households also have to agree to it.

If the brat is laying down conditions on where s/he is going to choose to live, it’s time for a prolonged discussion to take place. Kids do not do this. They aren’t allowed to. If they’re making decisions about where to live based on this, their approach to life has become all skewed and it needs to be fixed right now. Make it a priority.

Parents do not coerce their kids to cast his or her “vote” a certain way. Also, the kid’s vote is a vote, that and nothing more. It does not have the final say. It becomes relevant when, and if, it emerges that each of the households presents the opportunity for a permanent home. If the kid is using that vote to get material things, or to send messages, the kid isn’t using the vote right and the vote is lost.

And bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball is absolutely, positively, forbidden.

20. No one person can be accustomed to getting “their way” all the time

It’s been said already, but it bears repeating. And again, this goes for kids too. It is forbidden for kids to get ideas in their heads, and ask repeatedly until they get the answer they want. No means no.

21. Under no condition does anybody “hand off” child discipline to someone else who is “better at it”

Stepparenting is not a supplement for weak parents who fail at disciplining their kids. If a parent needs that kind of help with discipline, he/she should stay out of the dating/marriage field and concentrate on parenting exclusively.

22. Blended households acquire pets with greater caution than other households, not less

No one person gets a pet because they “deserve something nice.” Pets are evaluated carefully with regard to their ability to learn and adhere to rules. Also, a blended household can use all the help it can get with anything that might be destabilizing, so stick to pets that are already housebroken.

This part is even more important: Once a pet is acquired, you don’t get rid of them. Remember, children that are taught to discard pets at the slightest inconvenience, will certainly shed marriages the same way later on. Why in the world wouldn’t they?

23. Forsake all others

That doesn’t mean “don’t sleep around.” Any movies that make the stepparent’s job more difficult, do not come into your house in any form. That includes all movies with an adorable moppet who schemes to get his parents back together. They don’t cross the doorstep.

24. Corporal punishment is the responsibility of the blood parent

Why invite trouble; if corporal punishment is that frequent of an issue, you’re doing it wrong anyway.

25. Blood-parents and kids do not have conversations about experiences that pre-date the stepparent when the stepparent is around

It’s like speaking Japanese around the one guy in the room who doesn’t speak Japanese. This is just one of many things that makes the difference between a melting pot and a salad. Don’t be a salad.

26. Blood-parents and kids should place a high value on what the stepparent thinks of things

27. Stepparents should place a high value on what the blood-parents and kids think of things

28. Think of reasons every day why you are happy you met these people and how lucky you are to make a family with them

Your family is a blessing, not a curse. If everyone is truly committed to that, the results will follow.

29. Put aside trivial squabbles, after a decent interval if you can’t do it immediately

Just as you would with any “real” family member. This one is overlooked probably more often than any of the others.

Wow, 29. An odd number, and a prime one. That’s a sure sign I missed some…but again, I never claimed to be the voice of success, only of past failure.

Winter Solstice

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Credit for finding this goes to Texas Scribbler.

Dick, that is some major coolness there.

Yup, I was out on my eastward-facing balcony, 7:28 this morning, using my thumb to measure the angular distance between the rising sun and the nearest landmark. Hot steaming coffee in hand, of course. Wasn’t everybody? Kind of wishing I put some more things on my Christmas list…sextant…telescope…maybe another GPS receiver…oh well. You snooze you lose.

McConnell on Poverty

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Heading out to the dreaded shopping malls yesterday I was listening to Mike McConnell’s show and I heard an interesting take on poverty. What poverty is, McConnell asserted, is a collection of natural consequences that spring from a single action. And the action is, when one is unable to afford to have kids, or to have a certain number of kids, to go ahead and have ‘em anyway.

He was adamant that it worked the other way as well: If one seeks to end poverty, all one has to do is find a way to stop people who can’t afford to have kids, from having them.

If those both hold true, then this is a virtual definition.

It seems at first blush a bit simplistic, but when I think on it, it does make more sense than the various ways we more conventionally confront the problem. Some childless guy can’t get a job and ends up homeless — that isn’t really what we call “poverty,” is it? And if our various social issues were limited to that and nothing more, it would be solved pretty easily. People multiplying in localities unable to support the population with the natural resources immediately available…that is poverty. We solve it by means of mass communication. Somebody goes out with expensive television equipment, and it’s always a guy or a gal with a double-chin and a waist size of at least 40. Talks into the camera with a barely-alive little girl in his arms with a bloated belly and bones sticking out of her skin and uses the words “won’t you please” in some sentence or another. Some guy like me looks at that and says “well, I suppose I should, but I just can’t get past how well fed this guy is; no matter how I try to explain what’s going on here, it boils down to someone not dealing straight with me.” But someone sends in the checks — nobody says anything about the overpopulation problem that is the cause of this poverty, and next year the problem is even worse.

Sounds a lot like Nazi dysgenics principles, to say such a thing. But it isn’t. “Grandfather” in everybody who’s made it past the birth canal. Then go ahead and reproduce in whatever numbers you want, regardless of race color or creed. Just be able to afford it, that’s all — or else, don’t. Poverty gone.

Is it? I think so. Maybe with that, and Sam Kinison’s rule about living where the food is.

I dunno, maybe this does make me a big ol’ meanie. But the more I think on it, the less sense I think our conventional strategies make. There is no human activity more worthy of what we typically call “planning,” than making a family. But when we talk about “family planning” what we are usually talking about is putting more money and political power into family clinics, which then hijack our systems of justice so our laws can be twisted around and keep it legal to have abortions. It ends up being an exercise in making sure every abortion that can possibly happen, happens — having a lot more overlap with dysgenics than anything McConnell said that I paraphrased above.

And then when poor women produce large numbers of children, we move things around to make it all work so that every mouth is fed. And we should. But the next baby is coming, and the next, and the next…in households that, for whatever reason, simply can’t afford it. We’re told we become a more civilized society when everybody looks out for everybody else, and we believe it — with absolutely no reason provided to us to think such a thing. All incentive for closing up the baby factory, is gone, and so the babies continue to be pumped out where nobody can afford them…and so we all end up taking care of each other’s problems, a little bit MORE than we did the year before.

America has a very high standard of living. Those countries that live in poverty, by definition, have much lower standards. The other countries don’t end up emulating America — quite the reverse. America has installed a system in which un-poor people provide for the poor people, who then crank out more babies because no worries, someone else is taking care of the babies. So the well-off country is emulating not-well-off countries, dismantling the capitalist system that has made the higher standard of living possible in the first place. The not-well-off countries do not emulate the well-off country.

If a space alien landed here from a distant galaxy, or a man frozen in time 2,500 years ago was thawed out and reawakened, with the new arrival sufficiently strong in cognitive thinking and communication skills but completely unaccustomed to the events of recent generations…would you be able to explain it to him in a way that makes some sense? Because I wouldn’t. And if you can’t either, and the new arrival somehow manages to reconcile the information with people just being…kinda strange…what follows next has a better shot at leaving him absolutely flabbergasted.

We have this canard going around that the “root cause of terrorism” has something to do with this stuff we call poverty. There is some anecdotal evidence to support this, and a lot of people believe it, even though they recognize it as political agitprop. If that is really the case, it would make it even more urgent to fight poverty in a logical manner. But…we don’t. We just keep writing checks, in so doing, paving the way for more babies to come into the world. We find ways to feed the babies using socialist practices and economic models that history has shown to be more of a precursor to poverty rather than any kind of scourge. And in so doing, make it possible for more babies to be born into families that can’t afford them. We call this eradicating poverty, even though nobody who thinks on it for more than a couple minutes will conclude that it really is.

We recognize cognitive dissonance as something that may be a problem for us from time to time, but when it comes to making sure terrorism doesn’t happen, we’re immune. That issue is just too important. And so on that, if on none other, we are cool-headed, rational thinkers. No cognitive dissonance here. Well…au contrair. When one presumes poverty causes terrorism, in whole or in part, one is forced to conclude we’re really not giving the terrorism fight our all.

Tagged

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

St. Wendeler at silver-icon blogroll resource Another Rovian Conspiracy has reached out and tagged me. Never defy the words of a Saint. So here are my responses.

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Prefer wrapping, since a manly man knows how to do stuff normally left to the women, like folding laundry and sewing. Wrapping presents is no exception. But once the gift is ready to slide under the tree…yeah, you can tell a man wrapped it. You can tell that pretty easily.

2. Real or artificial tree?
Real. A manly man always goes out and saws down the tree with his own two hands. Which takes less than thirty seconds, but it’s still manual labor and makes a 364-day computer jockey feel like a big tough man. Hmmm, I’m starting to detect a pattern here.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Within a week after Thanksgiving. Usually on Black Friday, occasionally the following weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down?
About the time we start shopping for Easter supplies. No, just kidding. January 4 or 5 at the very latest. If the tree isn’t drinking water like I want it to, it goes out no later than 12/26.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Love it, but prefer it virgin because otherwise I end up sucking down more brandy or rum than I think I’m sucking down, and I’m more of a beer-and-wine guy. My G-rated eggnogs are always half skim milk.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I’m going to have to go with that scale plastic model of the original Enterprise NCC-1701. The original show was still on the air in its third season when I got it. In ’71 or ’72, my brother smashed it with a suitcase.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
My girlfriend has one, but I think it’s staying in the box because there isn’t room on the platform over the fireplace.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Now, that’s not a nice question is it. Well, Grandma’s dead, so it’s probably okay to say the ten plastic coathangers. It was the one gift we were allowed to open before church services on Christmas Eve. I honestly don’t know what in the world she was thinking.

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
I hate to see traditions die, but I’m going to have to go with e-mail. Otherwise, it’s so awkward, here it is 12/21 or 12/22 and a card rolls in from someone who wasn’t on your list…no good way to handle that.

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
Scrooge (1970) with Albert Finney. It’s a family tradition. And it’s actually a british production. All the others are substandard. Which is a real shame, because aside from my family it seems very few people have actually seen this. It’s a musical, but kids are more likely to sit all the way through it than they are likely to watch a non-musical version. Even today.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I have not done any substantial Christmas shopping before Dec. 22, since about 1980. I expect that should narrow it down as much as anybody wants.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
My Mom took them all to the grave with her. Norwegian cookies with sliced cherries and a granola/almond paste dough, something called “Oslo Cremla” which even Google doesn’t seem to understand, Yule Log confection, Fattigman, Lefse with the sugar-cinnamon-butter spread. None of this stuff even got put together before 12/23.

As you might have gathered, up until the last couple days or so Christmas was pretty much just going through the advent calendar, whatever had something to do with the tree, and spraying holiday-scented room freshener. The really cool stuff was on the home stretch.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Red and green, of course.

14. Favorite Christmas song?
Messiah. I suppose I should narrow that down. “For Unto Us a Child is Born.”

Paying it forward, I tag:

Pamela at Patriotic Mom
Six Meat Buffet
Yolo Cowboy at Roughstock Journal
Hatless in Hattiesburg
Daniel J. Summers
Alan at Seablogger
Lynn at Violins and Starships

Rules are…:

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season, good health to you & all close to you, and long life to everybody who loves it and respects it in others.

GR-5A

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Aw, hell yeah

…check out the video, just after 5:00 he starts showing how the ECU works. That is way cool.

I should warn that the guy isn’t wearing a crash helmet when he’s taking it out for a spin, but this reckless daredevil is nevertheless wearing ear protection. Just like the kind airplane mechanics wear around jet aircraft, which are powered by engines very similar to what he’s showing you. That means something…if the volume is up high enough that you can hear him talking, you need to make a grab for it when he turns that key.

Blogroll

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

On the MetalsThe Blog That Nobody Reads (oops, I guess you’re reading it now, aren’t you) has a funny “blogroll” off in the sidebar. It is hundreds and hundreds of items long, and classified according to a short list of categories. We’re obsessive-compulsive filers/categorizers over here at The Blog Nobody Reads. We make lists and we categorize them. It is how we see the world.

Now, in the blogger world it has become commonplace to get hold of tools that will do all this for you, but such tools usually lack this filing-by-color-code feature so we opt to do it ourselves. The color codes are patterned after precious metals. They are important…although very few people understand what the scheme is, how it works, and what the vision is behind it.

Which has brought forth an onslaught of inquiry, usually by e-mail. The questions stack up and stack up, so at some point we decided we’d go ahead and provide some answers. And point to a “creme de la creme” layer in that monstrous, snaky blogroll so that those with a demanding time schedule will know what is really worth clicking. So you will find all is answered here…see, again, it turns out there is a method to our madness. Bronze, silver, gold — things, one learns when one takes the time to inspect, have meaning.

Poor Person With Big TV Sighting

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

The lovely Michelle called out what we’ve been noticing for awhile now. No, not that we’re bragging about being oh so much smarter, since we doubt like hell this is the first time Ms. Malkin has noticed what’s going on.

This Sharon Jasper is the same Sharon Jasper profiled in the New Orleans Times-Picayune sulking in her government-subsidized apartment with hardwood floors and HUGEtastic flat-screen television and complaining that it’s a “slum:”

Well, yeah. There’s kind of an inversely-proportional relationship going on between the diagonal measurement of television sets, and the net worth and annual income of the people who own them. It breaks down when you rise above the level of self-sufficiency, since I see that wealthy people can have television sets of any size, or none at all. But at the sub-dependent levels, where public assistance is needed…

Thing I Know #87. In the past few years I notice the people with the largest television sets are the ones we are supposed to call “poor”.

Worship of the Zero

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Mike over at Mike’s Eyes came across that silly book about what the world would be like without humans. Mike is a decent Ayn Rand fan, so he was appropriately horrified.

It’s all about the fear of responsibility. I reach that conclusion by the method of durable thinking that is a method of last resort, the process of elimination. Something makes this appealing to a large selection of people. Not just acceptable. Appealing. How can you have some genuine passion for this, when the point isn’t that your existence is genuinely toxic, it’s simply that you aren’t getting anything worthwhile done and lack even the distant potential to make the world a better place. How do you nurture passion for pointlessness? Fear of responsibility is the only thing that makes sense.

Well, it’s more than process of elimination that points to that. Some diligent thinking about what kind of folks we’re dealing with here, will also point in the same direction. These can’t exactly be shakers-and-movers can they? The go-get-em type? If that were the case, they wouldn’t be here. We don’t need to ponder suicide directly in order to think on that awhile. You sit around on your ass and say “the world would be much nicer if…” and no matter what comes after the word “if,” when all you do about it is just talk about it a lot more and buy or sell books that talk about it some more, it can be safely concluded that you’re something of a slug. A carping whining little nancy-bitch. So with that kind of character defined, fear-of-responsibility, you see, just kind of naturally falls into place.

In 2007, it’s safe to say, it is much tougher to die off from lack of ambition than it ever has been in the history of the human race. And with Christmas right around the corner, your bookstores are brimming over with treatises about atheism, which is essentially the randomness of life on earth, especially mankind; global warming, which is the next step, a study about how earth’s ecosystem is glorious, sacred and pristine — except for us. And, thinly disguised dysgenics movements, such as Les U. Knight’s crackpot group and this strange “world without us” item.

Yes, we’re up to our eyeballs in it lately. But it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a sequence of natural consequences.

Western civilization lacks predators. Visible ones, anyway. There are no day-to-day threats. You just avoid traffic accidents until you get to your little cube farm, stay there for eight hours, and avoid traffic accidents until you get home — that’s about it. Just as houseflies are a lot easier to swat in climates that are lacking in frogs and spiders, through our lack of everyday survival challenge we have become fat and lazy and dumb. So it just stands to reason we have fat, lazy dumb books to read. The dumb books tell us everything is pointless, there is no good and there are no evil acts, save one, and that one evil act is standing up for yourself and defending your property, and those who are depending on you.

After thousands of years of natural culling of the apathetic from the herd, suddenly nihilism is affordable. The gene pool suffers.

Taco Town

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

A Saturday Night Live skit…one of the funny ones.

How to Handle Illegal Aliens

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

One of our very best blogger friends objected, predictably, when I said

And then we’ve developed this unfortunate mode of thinking in which we say the issue is “complicated” when it isn’t. And we know the issue isn’t complicated at all. We just use the c-word to try to shake things up a little, to produce a different outcome for selected individuals and groups of people. Almost always, to help those individuals and groups of people.

The subject under discussion, specifically, was illegal immigration. I think the subject that was generally under discussion, is far more important though: our national confusion between simple things and complicated things. We call complicated things simple, and simple things complicated.

We’re laboring under this national delusion that Osama bin Laden caused 9/11, therefore we should kick Osama’s ass and nobody else’s. See? Simple. Simple, simple, simple. Well, it isn’t so simple. Anybody who ponders it for a little while will realize it isn’t so simple…but the democrat party thinks it’ll win some elections if it can be made to be simple, so they do exactly that, and everybody else clambers on board the stupid-wagon.

Illegal immigration, on the other hand, is against the law. And you know what? That is simple. But noooooo…we continue to hear about what a complicated issue this is. How so? Nobody will say. Because there are twelve to fourteen million of them here already?

That is a crock. I jaywalk all day every day, and aver a year and a half finally get busted for it — the judge isn’t going to care one bit how long I’ve been doing it. He won’t care that everybody does it. He won’t care that jaywalking is a “victimless” crime and he really won’t give a rip that I was doing it to feed my family. You break “stupid” laws and you get away with it if you don’t get caught. When you get caught, you stop getting away with it.

And that, my friends, is simple. It is no more complicated than that. What makes it faux-complicated, is that there are unscrupulous businesses that have a vested financial interest in keeping up the status quo. Those businesses buy politicians. Those politicians then do a lot of talking that confuses people.

But I get to break laws until I get caught. And then I don’t. Because I don’t have a license to break laws. That means I don’t want anybody else to have one either. The situation is really no more complicated than that.

Buck, love ya to death and everything, but Phil’s right. A one-stage “Night of the Long Knives” type of round-up is decidedly off topic. We aren’t discussing a one-night sweep or a one-week sweep, the subject under discussion is whether a designated class of people should be given a license for breaking a law. And to address your frightening hypotheticals, to the extent this designated class has been granted such a license, when it is revoked it turns out beautiful things happen.

Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, immigration crackdowns, Arizona’s new employer-sanctions law and a sluggish economy have combined to create a climate families…no longer find hospitable.

The number returning to Mexico is difficult to calculate, but there is no question that many families are leaving, according to Mexican government officials, local community leaders and immigrants themselves. “The situation in Arizona has become very tough,” [an illegal alien] said minutes after driving into a Mexican immigration and customs checkpoint south of the border on Mexico 15.

Dozens of immigrants are leaving the U.S. daily, and even more are expected to leave once the sanctions law takes effect in January, provided the law survives a last-minute legal challenge, said Rosendo Hernandez, president of the advocacy group Immigrants Without Borders. “If people can’t find work, they won’t be able to pay their bills, so they will leave,” Hernandez said.

H/T: Malkin.

Does this cause pain? I’m sure it does. I’m sure the families feel pain going back to their place of origin, which the law says they must…and I’m sure an infrastructure of shady, nefarious private enterprises has grown around them like ugly despicable dark spots of mold on wet warm bread.

But long term, this has to be a good thing. America is a place where we are all, regardless of group-identity, equally accountable to the law. That doesn’t necessarily mean all classes of people get equally harassed by the law, or equally incarcerated, or equally fined, or are hired on to jobs in equal proportion. It doesn’t mean all classes of people get busted for committing crimes, or can commit crimes in equal numbers and get away with it in equal proportion.

It just means all classes are equally accountable. Just that…and nothing more. The minute you can’t say that anymore, we’re no longer living in America.

And why is that? Well the people who defend illegal immigration, and illegal other-types-of-things on the basis that the laws are “stupid” should take especially careful note. This is from where the stupid laws come. Laws that are enforced selectively…tend to be stupid. You see, when you have that going on, it’s all okay. The law can afford to be stupid. It’s only enforced when the agent in charge of enforcement, decides that is what is going to happen.

This illegal-immigration thing has brought America perilously close to that cliff of lunacy. If this is really a retreat from that brink of disaster, it is cause for celebration.

If not, it is cause for a revolt.

When you get busted for something in this country, even for breaking a law EVERYBODY thinks is stupid…we do not check to see what groups you are part of, before making the decision to bust you or let you off with a warning. We make that decision blindly. Or, at the very least…for God’s sake, we pretend to do that. If we lose that, that is the final indignity. We might as well just tear down every flag, every statue, every emblem in our nation’s capitol if we’re at that point.

Illegal aliens. They don’t belong here, there are legitimate ways for them to get in if they think they should be in. And they can be sent home. If you want to argue with that, fine, I would ask you simply withdraw your name from the race for United States President. POTUS is the highest office in the Executive Branch, and the Executive Branch exists to enforce laws. Show a willingness to do the job, American-style, or don’t run.