Archive for August, 2008

In the Tank

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Okay, bandwagoneers, you win. They’re in the sidebar, up at the tippy-top. See?

Let’s just be clear though, that party support is pencilled in. And the record should show my support because of her. NOT him.

Having said that though…I’ve never disagreed with any of you on the point that if The Messiah wins, we are screwed. SCREWED. We’ve got to do whatever it takes to keep that from happening.

More Interested In Her Policies Than Her Periods

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Gerard Van der Leun, a man I deeply respect, is a professional in the editing/publishing business; he is a man of few words, who dispenses praise rarely. Nevertheless he has bestowed on The Anchoress the coveted Finest Fisking Award — richly deserved — in her dealing with the left’s “Palin Talking Points.”

Which is rather like lancing an abscess after it’s swelled to a pint-and-a-half or thereabouts. Not pretty. But now the healing can begin.

Except, that is, for my reputation as an awful, insecure, knuckle-dragging sexist. The long weekend is still young, and now I’ve said flattering things about two women, without even a sign of doing so reluctantly or grudgingly. What can I say? I love classy women. But how do I make up for this transgression against my chauvinist brethren? Maybe after my girlfriend gets done with her job at ten o’clock tonight and stumbles through the door all bleary-eyed, I can yammer at her to get me a beer as long as she’s up. And not say please. Perhaps that will restore my good name.

But seriously. Go read every single word of Anchoress’…handling. And most especially, hang on for that final uppercut at the end. Fantastic stuff.

Cynical and Condescending

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Anytime you see anyone, anywhere, using either one of those two words to describe John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate — if that person didn’t say exactly the same thing about the democrat party choosing Nancy Pelosi as the incoming House Speaker, and that person probably did not, then you’re reading the words of a partisan hack. Whether the partisan hack wants to admit it or not.

And that garbage is all over the innerwebs this weekend. It seems the left has an exclusive license to put the names of women on things, even the names of highly ineffectual, lazy women, to suck up votes. It is their private dominion.

I stand by my words at Brutally Honest:

They run up a woman, they act like they invented womens’ rights. Hell — they act like they invented women. Republicans put a woman on the ticket, and suddenly that’s a sign the Republicans “know they’ve lost.”

The only possible conclusion to draw is that liberals feel they own women. Not at all unlike the guy who cheats on his girlfriend, and then when she gets tired of him and hooks up with someone new, says “If I can’t have you nobody can.”

Come to think of it — exactly like that.

Like Diogenes searching for an honest man, I’m looking for the liberal who wants to engage in an honest, free-form, even-playing-field discourse examining, with intellectual sincerity, the achievements of the Governor of Alaska who’s been in office nineteen months, versus the achievements of the House Speaker who’s been in office nineteen months. Leave the bumper sticker slogans and sound bites from Howard YEEEEEAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! Dean at home, and just compare those two stewardships. Problems fixed…people unified…approval ratings sustained. Then get back to me on which female-selection was cynical, desperate, bald-faced, sneaky, pandering, deceptive, superficial, cheap, calculated and condescending.

Had I not already been inspecting their behavior for a few years, I’d start to seriously think that liberals are simply opposed to solving problems. As it is, this is just frosting on the cake, for I’ve had that figured out for some time now.

An Ignorant Conversation

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Becky says this is a thoroughly ignorant conversation…

…and on that statement, she gets an approving nod outta me.

In fact, what the GOP campaign managers really should do, is sit down in front of this one clip and see how many chinks in the left-wing armor they can find. These “gentlemen” are not just speaking for themselves.

My favorite? The thing at the beginning is tempting — it’s cute when liberals believe in God so selectively, as in “proof there is a god,” small-g, and then tacking on afterward as an afterthought, oh yeah, right, hope nobody gets hurt — but my mind wanders closer to the end. There’s a contradiction between choosing a woman as a running mate, and chuckling in tacit approval when Hillary is called a bitch? There’s hypocrisy there? How so? Where lies the logical contradiction in proffering the notion, presuming McCain did so proffer (which he didn’t), that Hillary’s more of a bitch than Sarah Palin?

I’m tempted to defend the notion just to make a show of how big a heap of evidence there is to legitimize it; but of course, in so doing, I’d be legitimizing the attack.

Instead, I’m inspired to think of an occasion yesterday in which I was called out by a leftward-leaning gentleman in Canada, for another one of my crass generalizations: “Liberals are sexists.” The usual retort — I know of more than a few liberals that aren’t. He does have a point, since it’s always an invitation to re-think when individual attributes are ascribed to aggregate entities.

But can it not be denied, that there is something to the liberal mindset that treats men and women differently? With men, I get to pick and choose where to fling my criticism, with surgical precision, and our liberals won’t utter a peep of protest so long as I don’t say anything nasty about liberals. That guy is a jerk; this guy over here is an asshole; that other guy over there is a slob. Liberalism, being the modern embodiment of all breezy, casual, weak and lazy thinking, sees all of womanhood as part of a common unicellular construct — and so by implication McCain called Sarah Palin a bitch when he chuckled along with someone else calling Hillary one.

Future generations of younglings will wonder why, in our day & age, there was something wrong with calling certain women “bitches” after they had labored for so long and hard to be thought of that way. I’m not talking about children-of-children-yet-unborn, or anything. I think the children asking that question at some future point, are already breathing and suckling and filling diapers right now.

And among the “ladies” who have renounced any right or privilege of indignantly demanding “how DARE you call me a bitch??” by laboring long and hard to be thought of in exactly that way…Hillary Rodham Clinton ranks sky high. It is her political identity. It is her schtick. It is what she brings to the table in politics. It has been her persona since Gennifer Flowers’ face was on the tabloids. In sixteen years, she really hasn’t had too much else to say about things or too much else to demonstrate to us about herself.

And don’t even ask which one, between Clinton and Palin, I’d prefer to hear talking about something for a couple hours at a time. The former First Lady makes my head hurt. Whoever’s been coaching her that she should talk like that all the time is probably responsible for saving the country.

Thing I Know #58. To insult a man says nothing about other men, but for some reason, anything said against one woman is perceived to be said against everything female who ever lived.

Update: Cassy has an excellent roundup at Right Wing News as well as at her own site, of some more leftist idjits jumping on this “wonderful that Gustav hits when it does” bandwagon. Including this.

And others.

It would appear a talking point got faxed out from some central location.

She offers a hat tip to Michelle, who adds,

God is not on your side, gloating sleazeballs.

And you should just see how, over the years, I’ve seen people work their cackles up when I dare to suggest that perhaps when liberal politicians measure their own policies in terms of how those policies would “help the least among us,” they’re setting themselves up to have a stake in more people falling into the demographic of those “least” — miserable…dependent…perhaps even endangered, or terminally sick. Supposedly “non-partisan” people just fly off the handle at the suggestion. How dare I imply that politicians and journalists might actually want people to suffer?

I’m pointin’ on up to the video clip…and I’m a-restin’ my case.

VPILF

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Oh Dear Lord, I wish I’d thought of that.

H/T: Rachel.

Pam in San Bernardino Has Never Seen High Noon

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Via Rick, a discussion taking place on Desperate Preacher, kicked off by Pam with some comments that are truly asinine noteworthy:

In John McCain’s recent commercials, he calls himself the Original Maverick. In our household, we’ve had some different responses to this. I’d like to know how you hear it and what you think he’s trying to communicate.

First time we heard the commercial, both my husband and son started yelling “Goose!”, much to my amazement. I didn’t understand it at all. They said it was a reference to Top Gun, and that Maverick was a character in the movie, as was Goose.

I pictures guns and cowboy hats, and a swagger down a dusty street.

Neither of these images work for me as an appeal for Presidential Character.

Any thoughts?

My comment at Rick’s place speaks for itself. (DP, by banning Rick, has indicated that the place desires to be an echo chamber above all other things, so I’ll keep my silence there out of respect for their wishes.)

Rev Pam wishes to broadcast to the world wide web that she has never seen High Noon before.

Very well. Noted.

You remember High Noon, don’t you. It’s a movie where the bad guy is coming to Hadleyville on the noon train, and the Sheriff understands a confrontation is in order. All the citizens of Hadleyville go hiding behind doors and shutters, leaving him to face the evil alone. The “consensus” of the town seems to be that evil, in fact, doesn’t really exist — or if it does, it’ll just go away if it’s ignored. Only the Sheriff understands this is wrong, and in his solitude he is not deterred.

Arguably, if this is not the best western movie ever made, it could very well be the western movie with the strongest connection to the unsettling conundrums that surface from time to time in real life.

In fact, I would argue that this is what makes a western movie. Clarity of moral definition…coupled with ambiguity about what to do. Personal safety placed in the corner directly opposite from the “make sure good prevails over evil” corner.

That’s why our leftists hate cowboys so much. Well, it’s true. High time someone said so.

Fuquod, being a keyboard-building fool, chimes in with the discredited chickenhawk argument:

…and rick…did you even attempt to serve?

We call them “keyboard builders” here because their argument is predicated on the notion that if you aren’t personally doing something then you have no business thinking positive thoughts about anybody else who is doing it, nor are you permitted to so much as to acknowledge, audibly or in silence, that what they do needs doing.

The argument they seek to make, depends completely on this nonsensical premise. Not just a little bit. Completely.

So I figure every time I read this argument, and it was typed into a computer somewhere, whoever said it must build keyboards for a living. I mean, the accusation they’re leveling is one of hypocrisy, so I know no way could those guys be hypocrites. They have to be building keyboards.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Twelve Thoughts (Plus Some Miscellany) on the Palin Pick

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Just some stuff I’ve been noticing since the news broke about Sarah Palin. Apart from sharing blogger friend Phil’s sense of alarm that my age is very close to that of one of our fifty state governors. And training my brain to remember, when the eyeballs see “Palin” in written form, that the name rhymes with “sailin’.”

1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Hold-outs, like me, are vindicated. If we all “banded together” and “showed our support” as my right-winger brethren were telling me, today we’d have a McCain/Lieberman ticket. I guaran-damn-tee it. When people who own decisions are sleeping restlessly, or not sleeping at all, good things happen. And, in politics, if you want to decide things…DON’T. Nobody gives up anything to make friends with someone who is already thought of as a friend. Especially a devoted, loyal friend. It just doesn’t make strategic sense to do that. Loyalty is not rewarded here, and that’s why people don’t like politics very much. Nervous nellies and nay-sayers, like me, gave you Sarah Palin. You’re welcome.

2. No question about it, the chicks are excited. It’s Easter Sunday in the Church of The Goddess. This was a very smart move for McCain. We’re talking millions, maybe tens of millions, of votes. Dare I hope California will turn RED? Yeah that’s still far-fetched…in fact, Obama still might win…but it shows the scope of what an advantage this is, that California going for McCain has become a possibility worth pondering. I just hope with all this estrogen lathering up, the shirts are still being ironed and the samriches are still being made.

3. There is some consternation about the real possibility that history will be made by a pro-life conservative Republican woman. Being from a planet called “Earth” and having warm blood, I’m naturally inclined to accept there was something insincere, from the very get-go, about the whole “Get A Woman In There” thing. Otherwise, Palin’s ideology would inspire no such squeamishness. People who face this conundrum need to examine their own motivations and examine them hard. They are NOT quite so much in favor of “equality” as they’ve been fooling themselves into thinking.

Beauty Queen4. The child born with Downs Syndrome. I didn’t mention it for two reasons. Nobody would be mentioning it if she was a man; and if I was the child, I wouldn’t be too pleased, years down the road, with all these archives of articles about how my mom is the second coming of Florence Nightingale just because she didn’t kill me. C’mon, she’s pro-life, and she isn’t a damn hypocrite. Good on her, but some things don’t need to be talked about ad nauseum.

5. A lot of gals are saying what Hillary said. Some are considering voting for the McCain ticket even though “[Palin's] policies would be terrible for the country.” What a bunch of disgraceful, embittered old cows. I hope they vote for McCain/Palin, and then never vote in anything again. They just admitted to wanting to hurt the country to support a woman! It’s a national disgrace. Oh, and yeah, Hillary still can’t stop talking that way ALL THE TIME.

6. A lot of references to Palin’s speech, which, frankly, I found offensive. And not just a little bit. Glass ceiling, shmass shmeiling; yes, it’s irritating when you are judged by your class membership, because you have no control over that. You rise above it by running on your individual attributes. And people aren’t actively keeping you out of things when they’re being mentally lazy — it’s a passive obstruction, not an active one. Men run for office because in order to run for office you have to leave yourself open to confrontation, attack, and ridicule. Women are up to enduring ridicule, occasionally, like an occasional cat is willing to go for a swim. Palin, I believe, understands this was a load. I see it as something she had to say. She had to hit a “home run” on this, and that was the magic elixir. It reflects on the rest of us, not so much on her. I’ll look past it.

7. I do NOT see anyone falling for the “inexperienced” talking point. Just a handful of DailyKOS folks…that’s about it. I’m still surprised the Obama camp had the big brass balls to trot that one out.

Palin8. I do NOT see anyone falling for the “town of 9,000″ talking point. Not at all. And this idea of having everyone who lives in a town with 9,000 or fewer people call & fax the Obama campaign, is a fantastic idea. I’ll be paying close attention to that one.

9. A lot of guys “would hit that.” Interesting that this prurient desire sports just a hint of the “forbidden fruit” about it; when childish schoolgirls squeal around Obama as if he were the reincarnation of Johnny Fontaine, there’s a slightly different connotation involved. Anyway, I think Gov. Palin is pleased with what she’s got at home. I’m happy with what I’ve got at home too, so I’ll follow her lead. But NO question, the lady is a looker.

10. If I didn’t know one thing about Sarah Palin or any of the other players, and didn’t give a rat’s ass about conservatives and liberals, I’d vote McCain/Palin because there’s someone on that ticket who isn’t a senator. I’m a little surprised McCain hasn’t been talking that one up.

11. I’m looking forward to seeing Palin repeat some of what George W. Bush said about defending the country vs. appeasing foreigners — following up “the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others.” That line drew APPLAUSE. So take that “Bush’s third term” thing, and shove it down Obama’s throat. Something along the lines of “yep, that’s our goal.” You’ve got the political capital to do that now.

12. I do NOT see any conservatives expressing newfound reluctance now that they have to have to vote for a girl. I have not seen so much of a speck of evidence for that. C’mon guys, we’re supposed to be a bunch of damned sexists here. Doesn’t living up to a reputation mean anything to anyone anymore?? Well, I’ll live up to mine — I’m an equal-opportunity sexist. Palin’s a good running mate for McCain, but if somewhere there was a man who would make a better one, I’d say he made the wrong choice. There isn’t. She was, as I said before, the best choice he could’ve made, and being a woman has nothing to do with being a good Vice President. I hope, while the Republicans gulp this intoxicating elixir of identity politics by the gallon, they don’t get punch-drunk on it like the democrat party has been since the 1950′s. But…they probably will. That’s bad for the G.O.P., over the long term, because it diminishes what distinguishes them from the democrats. But good for the country if Palin shows the kind of leadership she’s been showing in Alaska. That’s a trade I’ll take.

I have a dream, that one day our children and our children’s children, will judge each other by the content of their character…and not by the configuration of their genitals.

I wonder if my “girlfriend” from third grade has ever thought of me. Probably not. But chicks-in-glasses have meant something completely different to me over the last 34 years, than they did in the eight years that came before. That’s just an added plus for Sarah.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

A More Serious Voter Test

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

About a week ago I put out a voter test, because contrary to popular belief, the United States Constitution does not guarantee a right to vote. That test was tongue-in-cheek; it didn’t make much of a point about anything, other than that we have a lot of extreme dimwits walking around voting.

That seems a perfectly innocent state of affairs — until you stop and realize everyone gets one vote and only one vote. So when a mouth-breather goes out and casts a vote without knowing what he’s doing, it cancels out your vote, along with all the research you might have conducted behind it. You might as well not have engaged in any of it.

But anyway. What follows is a far more serious test. It raises a point for each of the ten questions on it…along with an eleventh point. And the eleventh point is, we have a lot of people walking around who are not stupid, not dimwits, in fact are perfectly productive and intelligent people. But they don’t put too much thought into voting. That problem is worse than the problem with dimwits voting, because these folks understand they’re not stupid, and they’re right. They’re intelligent. But thoughtless.

So give it a try, to make sure you’re not one of them.

1. When the minimum wage is increased from a lower rate of X to a higher rate of Y
a. Everybody who previously earned something between X and Y, now earns Y
b. All jobs that pay between X and Y, are outlawed

2. When it is illegal to own guns
a. Guns disappear
b. People who follow the law can’t have guns, but people who don’t follow the law, might

3. When the tax rate on a commodity is raised 10%, you can count on collecting 10% more revenue from this tax
a. True
b. False

4. People hurt and kill other people because
a. They’re impoverished
b. They are lacking in respect for human life

5. What we know about illegal aliens is
a. That they’re here to work hard, follow the law, and take care of their families
b. We don’t know anything about them, including who they really are, because they’re illegal

6. If you run an office with ten black women working in it, and two of them quit, and you hire two white guys in their place, you have
a. Decreased the diversity of the office
b. Increased the diversity of the office

7. If you inherit money from someone who paid taxes while they were earning it, and estate taxes are collected, that money has been taxed
a. Once
b. Twice

8. If your husband asks you nicely to bring him a beer, and you refuse to do it, you are
a. Standing up for the rights of women everywhere
b. Being an obstinate, irascible bitch

9. When people engage in discrimination, the rest of us have to
a. Force them to stop doing it, until the day discrimination is gone forever
b. Draw our own conclusions about their judgment and character

10. American values are
a. Separation of church and state, equal protection under the law, womens’ right to choose, fair and equal distribution of wealth, diversity
b. Privacy of religion, free exercise thereof, inalienable rights granted by a Creator, equal protection under the law, freedom over security

Scoring:
Ten percentage points for every question answered with “b”.

90-100: Go ahead and vote
70- 80: Vote with caution
50- 60: Discuss issues with friend or relative who got higher score, then vote
40 and lower: Don’t vote; there are wonderful reruns on the idjit box on Tuesday nights

How About Letting the Taxpayers Keep It?

Friday, August 29th, 2008

A mystified taxpayer writes into the Sacramento Bee on August 26.

Let us buy things, not pay taxes

Would the Democratic Assembly please tell citizens why paying taxes is more important than spending one’s money as one chooses? Why are government programs more important than consumer items that actually generate tax revenue?

When tax revenues fall, hello, there is a reason. Why should we, and especially those on limited incomes, be forced to pay higher taxes rather than on goods and services of our choice?

Just asking for clarification.

– Cynthia Van Auken, Chico

An eyeball-rolling fan of big government responds with mock patience, today. Like, what the hell is the matter with this beleagured taxpayer, is she stupid or something?

Tax dollars benefit the economy

Apparently, Cynthia Van Auken is the product of private schools, uses an autogyro for transportation, has a private security guard and a superior fire retarding system for her home. Otherwise, like most of the rest of us, she has benefited from the taxes we all, including the employees of civil service systems, pay (“Let us buy things, not pay taxes,” letter, Aug. 26).

When we build roads, the private sector, under the supervision of civil servants, makes money that goes directly back into the economy. When we hire teachers, our children grow up able to make a decent salary, and the teachers’ salaries go to purchase products and pay taxes. These tax dollars benefit the economy just as much as the dollars spent by those who don’t pay taxes. I suggest Van Auken could benefit from a short course in economics. We must pay for services we want to use, be they airports, highways, police departments or fire departments.

– Joy M. Doyle, Sacramento

I couldn’t resist adding to the melee. Being evil, and all.

Lady,

Just what do you think people do with money when they are allowed by their gracious and benevolent state government to keep it? Stick it up their butts, or something?

Whereupon I yanked that virtual draft out of my virtual typewriter, crumpled it into a virtual ball, and tossed it in the virtual wastebasket.

Rolling a fresh virtual sheet of virtual paper under the virtual platen, I began anew:

Cyntha Van Auken was “just asking for clarification” but Joy Doyle bit her head off. I hope she enjoyed doing it.

Ms. Doyle, can your argument take on merely the appearance of merit, if it’s presented in a civil tone? I think it could; evidently, you disagree. That’s a shame. I’ve found ideas consistently presented in haughty and condescending tones tend to be bad. I also notice Keynesian theory is often presented this way.

One other question: On your next job interview, when your prospective employer asks why you should get the job, do you intend to say something like “when you pay me money, I spend it, and that benefits everybody”? If so – that, of course, would be very silly. If not, then I’m afraid I need some enlightenment: Why should our state government get credit for spending money, when individuals don’t?

I think that’s the issue Van Auken was trying to raise. I see you pretty much sidestepped it. That’s probably because you felt the need to.

I should add that today’s letters section carried another letter making the same point as Ms. Doyle’s, but exhibiting an exception to this rule about advocating Keynesian economics in snarky, snotty tones.

Paying for our quality of life

Allow me to answer Cynthia Van Auken’s question of why paying taxes is sometimes more important than spending one’s money as one chooses.

There are things that can’t be bought but instead require the ongoing investment of all of society. The basics include roads, police and fire protection.

Then account for the fact that bad things can happen to good people. If your spouse has a stroke or your child has a disability, do you want there to be programs so that you can work, go shopping and have respite from caregiving? If you get cancer and your insurance doesn’t cover all the bills, should you face bankruptcy and foreclosure? Do you really want the kids down your street to lack quality education and job opportunities, leaving them so hopeless that they’re willing to shoot each other over the color of a jacket?

Government services to address those needs are not charity but investments in our quality of life. We can argue about which investments and how much, but let’s stop pretending that we can have something for nothing. Part of being a responsible citizen means being willing to pay for the quality of life we want.

– Kathy Campbell, Sacramento

However, I have a bone to pick with Ms. Campbell too (although I’ll not further burden my poor local letters-to-editor guy with it today).

I keep seeing the same bullshit used to defend our ravenous state government’s insatiable apetite for money.

Roads.

Schools.

Police & Fire.

Educating our chiiiiilllllddddrrreeeeeennnn…

I’ll not tear into the entrails of our state’s budget to demonstrate how off the mark this is. For one thing, I don’t have a budget I could inspect in such a way just yet! That’s part of the reason, I’m sure, Van Auken wrote her letter in the first place; there are few state-level boondoggles bigger than California’s annual clown-puppet show.

Just take it from this Golden State citizen — take my word for it.

This state spends money on a lot of other things besides schools, roads and fire departments.

Palin

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Via Wizbang: NBC is reporting Palin is the pick. It’s coming up on the idjit box right now, channel 31 or whatever.

Awesome. I love everything about her. Almost everything. I still think identity politics are reprehensible, but it is what it is. Millions of people make their decisions according to this…and not just a few of them, are in the support base on which The Messiah was counting.

PalinFor those who are not in the know: Palin is young and inexperienced, in a good way. She’s roughly my age, and offsets a resume that is thin like The Savior’s with common sense, which His Holiness has demonstrated over and over again he does not have. She’s up to her armpits in kids — five, including one in the Army, eighteen-year-old son Track, being deployed to Iraq next month. And get a load of this — she goes by a name different from her maiden name, because she happens to be married.

Let me clarify the comments about her resume. Her net (political) resume is thin, but her gross (all of it) resume is not. She’s actually done stuff. Sports reporter. Commercial fisherman. Husband Todd, a Native Eskimo, was Sarah’s high school sweetheart; he works for BP on Alaska’s North Slope and is a champion dog racer. In other words, she is not a career politician. She is a three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood real person.

Pro-life. Lifetime NRA member. Used marijuana once, didn’t like it.

Ran on a clean-government campaign for Governor two years ago — won, based on that — and followed through. Shelved pork projects, opposed other Republicans in doing so; passed an ethics bill; fired a whole bunch of people; took on Ted Stevens. So aside from sporting anti-corruption credentials that are battleship-steel tough, this woman, personal-character-wise, has some real balls. And yet, somehow, she finds it possible to be in love with men…one man…and conduct herself as if she’s pleased to be married to him. So, you see, it can be done.

And what is it about chicks in glasses?

Great move, Maverick. I think you just won this thing. Now tweak your platform in a few places here & there, and who knows you may even get my support. I’m speaking specifically of firing Juan Hernandez. “Immigrant rights” has nothing to do with it and is not an accurate description of this issue. Hernandez is an open-borders whack-job. And, ejecting that whole climate-change thing. Palin does not deliver a hint of change here. She’s drunk some of the kool-aid herself.

But I can get past that.

Palin, in modern times, is the absolute best walking-breathing argument we have for allowing women to continue to vote. There are other walking-breathing arguments for taking the vote away from them…Oprah…those four dingbats on The View…The Pantsuit…my two flibbertigibbet senators…Barbra…

Gov. Palin renews faith. That is exactly what’s needed; this is about the best you could’ve done, Mac. By a long shot. I’ll have to take back some of that bad stuff I said.

Update: Forgot to read the fine print. The cover is ‘shopped, and credit is due to Kodiak Konfidential. Thanks to Gerard for pointing it out.

Update: The man who would have made the very best Next President possible this year, that the powers-that-be didn’t want us to be able to choose, weighs in. Fred Thompson on the Palin pick:

I am absolutely delighted by this selection. Once again, John McCain has shown that he is an independent thinker who paints in bold strokes. Sarah Palin is a conservative reformer with executive experience who will bring a breath of fresh air to Washington. She will be an ideal running mate for John McCain, and will make a major contribution to our country’s future.

Why Healthcare is Not a Right

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Right Wing News had a contest for the best “anti-socialized” post in the blogosphere, with a $50 prize for first place.

What will happen is that bloggers will write posts about socialized medicine. They can write them specifically for the contest or just because that’s what they happen to want to write about today, but once they write the post, they’ll send me an email letting me know that they want it entered in the contest (Yes, I do have to get an email. Sorry, but these are the rules I am working under).

Then, at the end of the week, I will select the best articles from that week on socialized medicine, will rank them, and then will link all the top posts on RWN. Furthermore, all the bloggers that rank will have the satisfaction of getting their work recognized and will get traffic from RWN — but first place will also receive $50.

We didn’t enter in this one…we are The Blog That Nobody Reads, remember? Anyway, we doubt like hell we could’ve done a better job than what took the top honors this week. Richly deserving, IMHO.

Rights really only make sense in the context of a lawful society. Governments are instituted, as a basic matter, to determine where one person’s rights end and another’s begins. For example, you have a right to free speech, but others have a right against defamation. If you say something untrue and defamatory about someone, the government can determine whose right trumps.

From the perspective of the government, a right is something that can be ensured to one citizen without taxing (in the broadest sense) another citizen. For example, the government can ensure your right to free speech without any cost to anyone else. No one has to listen (you do not, for example, have the right to be listened to). Nor does anyone have to publish your work. You do not, however, have the right to a full-page spread in the Wall Street Journal. If, however, you can afford to, you can purchase one and say pretty much whatever you want.

In a (mostly) free and (mostly) just society like ours, rights are plentiful. You have, to name a few, the right to bear arms, the right to your life, your liberty, the pursuit of your happiness. To be sure, however, this does not mean the government must buy you a gun. Nor does it mean government must purchase the things that make you happy. It only means that government cannot restrict these rights without due process of law.

Basic points which draw universal agreement — or damn well should — then, the writer goes in for the kill:

Consider a small society of 100 people, with laws not too dissimilar to ours. Let’s assume 2 of these people are unable, for whatever reason, to afford their own home. Among the other people are a carpenter, a logger, a blacksmith, a painter and a plumber. If the government is to provide those two people with housing, it has to either (i) tax everyone to pay the workmen to build the house or (ii) compel the workmen to build the house for free. Either way, the government must take something of value to provide this need to those who cannot obtain it on their own.

A masterful job of explaining the point from beginning to end. I intend fully to link back to this one in the future…liberally.

Don’t Talk About William Ayers

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Via Rick, we learn of more tales of hopey changey Savior/Messiah don’t-you-dare-call-it-censorship as cobbled together in one convenient place by Confederate Yankee:

Is This Hope Or Change?Obama’s campaign has previously threatened broadcasters who would carry an ad linking Obama to Ayers, and has also asked the Department of Justice to shut down the group that made the ad.

The intense campaign to silence dissenting voice has also included a recent campaign email asking Obama supporters to deluge Chicago-based broadcaster WGN with complaints to pressure the radio station to cancel an appearance by Stanley Kurtz, a writer with National Review who is researching the documents of the Chicago Annenburg Challenge.

The e-mail sent by the Obama campaign is awfully thick on instructions to call in and participate in a populist protest, and remarkably thin on facts & details. It reads like this:

Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse.

Call into the “Extension 720″ show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200

(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)

Then report back on your call at http://my.barackobama.com/WGNstandards

Kurtz has been using his absurd TV appearances in an awkward and dishonest attempt to play the terrorism card. His current ploy is to embellish the relationship between Barack and Ayers.

Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack’s connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has been disproved in numerous press accounts.

Only half a dozen paragraphs in, we finally get to a point of disagreement…or something that looks like that, anyway. Wonderful! Researching that, I came across a post which I think Obama would also like to remove from public view. Maybe some hoard of liberal bloggers would like to angrily e-mail the author and then report back to the Obama campaign on their progress.

Some history of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge:

Having secured Annenberg funding for Chicago, the working group would soon evolve into a more formal organization, albeit with strong ties to the groups that wrote the grant proposal. Initially run out of shared space in the offices of the Cross-City Campaign and administered through an existing philanthropic organization called the Donors Forum, the Chicago Challenge soon became its own new foundation with status as an independent fiscal agent. By late 1995, Ken Rolling had been named executive director, a board of directors had been established, and the first round of grants had been awarded. Rolling lacked experience in education but came from the foundation world and was well-versed in community organizing. The board, which was intended to set policy, raise matching funds, and hire an executive director, included prominent educators and business leaders. A second entity, the newly-created Chicago School Reform Collaborative, was also established. Its twenty-plus members were elected from the group of educators and advocates who had helped shape the grant proposal. Initially, at least, this offshoot of the working group functioned as the operations arm of the Chicago Challenge. However, this situation created procedural and ethical concerns and in time the Collaborative was transformed into an advisory body.

Ayers was one of the three original leaders of the working group and eventually co-chaired the Chicago School Reform Collaborative (see his resume). His early involvement:

When three of Chicago’s most prominent education reform leaders met for lunch at a Thai restaurant six years ago to discuss the just-announced $500 million Annenberg Challenge, their main goal was to figure out how to ensure that any Annenberg money awarded to Chicago “didn’t go down the drain,” said William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ayers, who was at that lunch table in late 1993, helped write the successful Chicago grant application.

The point is that Ayers led the way in securing the Annenberg grant, then co-chaired the Collaborative, which was instrumental in the operation of the Chicago Challenge. It is not likely Barack Obama, as chair of the Board of Directors of the Challenge, was not working closely with the co-chair of the collaborative. At any rate, it is not at all plausible that he could have been unaware of Ayers’ role and later forgotten it.

I see trouble in paradise as “Hope and change” morphs to “Hope we can change the subject.”

Well, I’m sure Obama’s pitchfork and torch bearing mob is researching all this information before they make the informed and educated choice to call Milt Rosenberg.

This all underscores the major problem with Candidate Obama, apart from the fact that he’s woefully underprepared for the office of President of the United States. He is, and I don’t think even his most ardent supporters would have the big brass ones to contest this — a populist candidate. Populism is, ultimately, a form of “might makes right”; the might is some product of the number of people who support a movement, multiplied by the average level of enthusiasm they have for it. It all sounds wonderful until you take into account that according to the underpinnings of populism, this is supposed to trump other things. That’s what populism is. It will take no back seat to equal protection under the law, whatever you might feel like calling “civil liberties” today, your right to raise your children as you see fit, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness…

Populism is a doctrine that all of these things, and more, can be subordinated to the whim of the mob. That is what Barack Obama truly represents.

In this case, today’s victim is the right to debate issues like this out in the open. The mob won’t have it. They’ll call in and stop it. Tomorrow, something else that’s supposedly sacred, will slide under the spikey wheels of the populism juggernaut. The day after that, something else.

Just to make this a little more spooky, let’s take a quote from C.S. Lewis that seems to apply quite handily to the situation at hand:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

I hate to say it — but these questions about whether Obama has the experience to at least know what in the hell he’s doing from one minute to the next…what they represent, is almost a non-issue. This man is an omnipotent moral busybody who will torment us without end, for he does so with the approval of his own conscience.

HOPENCHANGE!!!

Update: Fellow Webloggin contributor Bookworm has put together a very decent round-up of other bloggers who have noticed what we’ve noticed…namely, that in the pantheon of written admonitions to designated persons that they should separate truth from falsehood, the memorandum from the Obama camp stands alone as noteworthy for its breezy and casual (read: nonexistent) concern with matters of fact.

What struck everyone on the Right who has blogged about the Obamaniac’s attack is how free of substance it was. [Guy] Benson has this to say:

One female caller, when pressed about what precisely she objected to, simply replied, “We just want it to stop!” Another angry caller was asked what “lies” Kurtz had told in any of his reporting on Barack Obama. The thoughtful response? “Everything he said is dishonest.” The same caller later refused to get into “specifics.” Another gentleman called Kurtz “the most un-American person” he’d ever heard. Several of the callers did not even know Stanley’s name, most had obviously never read a sentence of his meticulous research, and more than simply read verbatim from the Obama talking points.

One of Michelle Malkin’s readers, who heard the show as it was being aired, noted exactly the same information vacuum when it came to the attack against the radio show and against Kurtz:

The callers claimed that everything Kurtz is stating is fabricated, so Kurtz then read verbatim from the documents!

And lefty-loosies ritually, chronically and reliably spew their venom at the tighty-righties, with terms out of George Orwell’s novel — with straight faces. They show not one scintilla of evidence that they comprehend the irony. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

Truth is fiction, fiction is truth.

Britney Designers Put Together Barackopolis

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Ed Morrissey, via Cassy. It’s an “everybody else is blogging it, I might as well do it too” thing. Or it’s bound to become one. If it doesn’t, it richly deserves to.

Team Obama complained when John McCain’s “Celebrity” ad compared Obama and Spears to define Obama as a celebrity without any substance. So why did they turn to the Spears team to design their Greek temple of a set?

Democrats will kneel before the “Temple of Obama” tonight.

As if a Rocky Mountain coronation were not lofty enough, Barack Obama will aim for Mount Olympus when he accepts his party’s nomination atop an enormous, Greek-columned stage – built by the same cheesy set team that put together Britney Spears’ last tour. …

“We’ve done Britney’s sets and a whole bunch of rock shows, but this was far more elaborate and complicated and we had to do it in far less time,” said Allen, of RDA Entertainment.

Money quote:

Who gets more temperamental? Allen: “I better not answer that.”

Morrissey goes on to state the obvious:

The ads just write themselves…

They do indeed, they do indeed. This post ends here; I’m pretty sure I could sit here, on my butt, from sunup to sundown, doing nothing but thinking of something I could add to this — and I’d never be able to.

HOPENCHANGE!!!

That’s a Load of Bull

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Comcast To Cap Internet Usage

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Yeah they’re going to be sending angry schoolmarms right into your home office to rap you across the knuckles with heavy wooden rulers. Well, virtually anyway:

Comcast said it was setting a monthly data usage threshold of 250 gigabytes per account for all residential high-speed Internet customers, or the equivalent of 50 million e-mails or 124 standard-definition movies.

“If a customer exceeds more than 250 GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast’s Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use,” according to the company’s updated Frequently Asked Questions on Excessive Use.

Customers who top 250 GB in a month twice in a six-month timeframe could have service terminated for a year.

Not to worry, this is the United States. Of course there’s still a right way and a wrong way to do this. The right way would be to do what cell phone companies do, which is to offer plans selected by the customer, to project their usage. If you want to sign up and you think you’ll be using more than 250 GB, you pick a different plan and pay extra.

And, being this is the United States, and Comcast made the wrong decision, the competition of the marketplace will fix this fine and dandy. We don’t need me or one of my friends to take over this place and make these companies do things the right way. We believe in freedom of the customer to wear the Internet out, as long as he hits himself in the billfold and nobody else; and we believe in the freedom of companies to make boneheaded decisions about how to treat their customers, and succeed or fail by those boneheaded decisions. Freedom all around, that’s our motto!

Or is it.

As Web usage has rocketed, driven by the popularity of watching online video, photo-sharing and music downloading services, cable and phone companies have been considering various techniques to limit or manage heavy usage.

But Comcast has come under fire from a variety of sources for its network management techniques. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission investigated complaints by consumer groups that it was blocking peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent, and earlier this month ordered Comcast to modify its network management.

Comcast has said that by the end of the year it will change its network management practices to ensure all Web traffic is treated essentially the same, but has also been exploring other ways to prevent degradation of its Internet service delivery. [emphasis mine]

Hey Founding Fathers! I’m a time traveler from 2008! In my time we’ve modified this government you’re putting together now, into a predatory leviathan that gives orders to private entities about how to sell commodities to each other, like molasses, leggings, silk, tobacco and sugarbeets.

What would they say?

Ah well, being a bunch of clueless old dead white guys & all, they wouldn’t understand the nuances of our nation’s history, most notably the Red Lion v. FCC ruling from the Supreme Court back in 1966.

Before 1927, the allocation of frequencies was left entirely to the private sector, and the result was chaos. It quickly became apparent that broadcast frequencies constituted a scarce resource whose use could be regulated and rationalized only by the Government. Without government control, the medium would be of little use because of the cacaphony of competing voices, none of which could be clearly and predictably heard. Consequently, the Federal Radio Commission was established to allocate frequencies among competing applicants in a manner responsive to the public “convenience, interest, or necessity.”

As is the case with a lot of the SCOTUS rulings from the 1960′s, generations later we’re only now beginning to appreciate the full scope of damage done by them. Radio is a “scarce resource” (the phrase is used extensively throughout Red Lion); therefore, some centralized office is needed to assign the frequencies and prevent this “cacaphony”; the Federal Government’s authority is conferred entirely on the basis of that logistical need for coordination.

From that we had the Fairness Doctrine. You own a radio station, you interview Al Franken for half an hour, maybe I can petition the FCC to force you to let me come on for thirty minutes and offer a rebuttal. And maybe the FCC will say yes. You’ll stammer “B-b-but I was just interviewing him about the weather in Minnesota and how things are going in general” and maybe the apparatchicks will say — We don’t care, Mr. Franken is a political figure, therefore you put out political content.

The First Amendment protects you from that kind of meddling if, for example, you splashed a transcript of your interview of Al Franken on a billboard by the side of the freeway. Not a scarce resource, you see. But there are only so many radio channels to be parceled out; this is what separates the radio from the billboard and, for that matter, from leggings and sugarbeets.

Nation of veal calves. We’re becoming a nation of veal calves. The story of Comcast’s bad policy is a story of an encroaching nanny state, and quite a frightening one at that — for the cure is just as bad as the disease. Both involve “oversight” from some supposedly wise and beneficent authority, which in turn is qualified to be neither wise nor beneficent. And, we’ve neglected to go through that obligatory hoop-jumping by which the Internet is supposed to be somehow categorized as a “scarce resource” subject to regulation, more like radio and less like sugarbeets. We didn’t even ponder the question. This is the most alarming thing of all; a commodity is subject to possible depletion, and the debate’s over. Right away, we’re putting some wise, all-knowing demigod into some capacity in which he can tell others when to jump, how high, and when to come back down again. And after we’ve done that, we won’t even care about what his name is. Just another nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrat with power over life and death.

And so I know what the Founding Fathers would say.

The same thing they’ve said, in my dreams, every time I’ve traveled back to tell ‘em what’s going on.

“Uh, two thousand eight minus seventeen seventy-six equals two hundred thirty-two…gee…well, that kind of sucks.”

Devastating Ad

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Althouse, via Insty.

Gonna have to go ahead and agree with that one. Powerful enough to make even the most slobbering and spellbound Obamamaniac think a few more times.

I’ve got an e-mail address or two of some folks to which I’d like to send a link. If, that is, we were still on speaking terms. But…these are fragile people. They bring up politics — they accuse the other guy of doing it — and if they get anything besides complete agreement on who’s fabulous and who sucks, they just want to pick up their marbles and go home. They suffer from exceedingly thin skin because their candidate leaves much to be desired.

Ambiguous Test Questions

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Question 1

Which is the odd one out and why?

a. CHIS
b. DENC
c. PORL
d. PERL
e. FRAP
f. SPAD

As reader davee123 points out…

“CHIS” is the only one whose letters are arranged in alphabetical order
“DENC” is the one with the lowest sum of its letters
“PORL” is the one with the highest sum of its letters
“PERL” is the only one that has a corresponding O’Reilly book
“FRAP” is the only one that begins with a letter that is only used once
“SPAD” is the only one that could be changed into a real word if its vowel were replaced with a “U”.

Question 2

Tick one box to show a disadvantage of using a software package to help work out the budget rather than using a calculator, pen and paper.

The four options are:

1. The formulae could be wrong
2. The wrong prices could be input
3. A virus may corrupt the information
4. Multiple printouts could be produced

As the linked article goes on to clarify,

Answers 1 and 3 are both valid answers in our opinion, but the marking scheme insists that only answer 3 is valid.

Question 3 is one from my son’s math homework…

…write out in decimal form, the number one hundred and seventy-seven thousandths.

It fell to me to explain what the test-maker probably wanted when the boy started writing “100.077″ over and over again.

These are not, I stress, the same as trick questions in which the test-maker methodically endeavors to deceive the test-taker, and assembles a trap that can be escaped only by those with a robust command of the concepts involved.

These are questions on which the test-maker remains blissfully ignorant of the fact that a question can be reasonably interpreted in a plurality of different ways. In order to answer the question correctly, with a potential greater than random chance, there must be a virtual empathy between the test-taker and the test-maker. At that point, the test-taker is being assessed for his ability to anticipate what people want him to do, and not for his command of the concepts.

In fact, in that situation, a robust command of the concepts can interfere with passing the test, creating the possibility that on average the people successfully passing the test may have an inferior understanding compared to some of the people who failed.

Looks Like McCain Is Going To Blow It

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Romney, Pawlenty, Lieberman. One of those guys. Of course I don’t really know what “speculation is increasingly centered” means.

Bad on you, Yahoo News. Even the National Enquirer has the balls to use active voice.

ALSO revealed in The ENQUIRER’s new issue are the shocking intimate details of the Edwards- Hunter Affair from First Encounter to numerous secret rendezvous even after Edwards admitted the affair to his wife Elizabeth!

A friend of Rielle’s told The ENQUIRER that when Edwards and Rielle met, “She wanted to pick him up. According to her, the chemistry was instant. They ended up sleeping together that night!”

See? Completely unverifiable tidbits that make up a story lacking in any accountability whatsoever. But at least I understand why I’m supposed to believe these details. “A friend of Rielle’s.”

But regarding McCain: He blew a sizable opportunity here. A Palin pick would have been a guaranteed win. Yes, that would be two strongly pro-life candidates and I know pro-choice people are out there…and they do vote…but show me the woman who makes pro-choice an issue, who does not also place emphasis on the identity politics thing. Really, identity politics is just super-late-term abortion, when you get down to it. It says “Now that I’m safe and I’m where I want to be, I want people who are just like me to have power and I want everyone else to go away.” It says you have to have a Hispanic representing you if you’re Hispanic, women representing you if you’re women, black people representing you if you’re black.

I’d have been completely in favor of encouraging it through Sarah Palin. Those who believe in it, for one thing, you’re not going to be able to discourage them. Ever. They just hate straight white men, especially straight white men who are part of the same ol’ same ol’ beltway crowd. And Obama just picked one of those. This was a golden opportunity for McCain, and he seems to have passed it up.

So now we get to hear about old-white-guys looking out for their rich friends, and “I want to be part of this thing” with electing Obama. And just for the next two months, it’ll be quite alright to make fun of old people, just like in ’96. Screamin’ Dean will spout his nonsense about the Republican party being a party of white people…and it’ll work. This stuff always works.

McCain’s ticket needs credentials. His pro-life credentials are looking very good, with him up there just all by himself. That’s about all he’s got going for him, and he can eject even that by picking the wrong V.P. His immigration credentials are in tatters. Lieberman would do absolutely nothing to help that. Pawlenty, from what I can see, would be a decent choice…but the Governor of Minnesota is on record saying he’s going to be the Governor of Minnesota and nothing else through 2010. I think we can rule that one out.

I wish I had more faith in this guy. When he’s about to make a decision, I don’t have any confidence. I start to worry.

Update 8/29/08: WELL, now. You ask me any day of the week “which of the thousands of posts at The Blog That Nobody Reads would you prefer to have to update, even if it meant eating a few words?” This would be the one. Hands-down.

I’m very happy to be forced to update it.

I wonder if His Maverickness is actually reading it? Hmmmmm…

Regarding Hillary’s Call for Unity and Support

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I have questions about this…

1. Let me start off with basic unfairness and pick on her for things on which Republicans share guilt, since I just have to get this off my chest about conventions in general. Why are these speeches always set up as if they are appeals to the opposition? I think if I could fly to Denver and ask everyone there, “what is the one thing on which you ALL agree?” it’s going to be “that Obama should win the election and McCain should lose it.” These are delegates after all; party loyalists. And yet, every single speech I’ve heard thus far, every word within, exists to substantiate that point and for no other purpose. At about 1:50 you say every single one of us can “recite the reasons” why Obama must be elected. Well hey…you’ve got time.

2. What — exactly — is being yelled at the teevee screen over the last eight years? Why is she tip-toeing around that? She wants party unity, so maybe she should define what the grievances are. “Nine One One Was An Inside Job”? Our troops are rapists and babykillers? We have to have more abortions? Burn food for fuel and leave our oil in the ground? If you’re clamoring for party unity, and your party agrees on what it wants, besides getting a democrat into the White House; SAY what those things are. You’ve passed the point, long ago, where you’ve taken on the appearance of not being able to afford putting this into words.

3. What is up with that adverb responsibly? The year’s halfway over, and to date I’ve not heard any democrat of any importance talk about “ending the war” without using that word. It’s obviously been disseminated from some central point of authority, with regard to this one issue. Why is that? Aren’t all issues handled by our nation’s executive branch, to be handled responsibly? Is there some other major political party somewhere, of which I personally have yet to learn, that has taken the position that the war in Iraq is to be ended irresponsibly?

4. When you make the economy work for hard-working middle class families again…does this mean a person has to be working in order for the economy to work for them? I’ve found through the years that with democrats, “working” is an opposite word. You talk about people who are doing it, more often than not what you’re really talking about is the people who aren’t doing it and have no intention of doing it. So this (about a minute in) is another place in which your speech could benefit from more specificity.

5. Do we have people uncovered for health care because our politicians haven’t been talking about it loudly enough?

6. “Every single American” implies “everyone,” which is another opposite word. Do you want quality health care for everyone, really? All democrats are united on this? Should rich white males be covered? Conservative Republicans? Bible-thumpers? Gun-toting rednecks? I’ve not yet seen a democrat use the word “everyone” and mean it. Not once; not yet. So is this the first time?

7. It doesn’t look to me as if conservatives have any problem at all standing up and saying, loud and proud, “WE WANT MORE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES LIKE SAMUEL ALITO AND JOHN ROBERTS.” How come liberals can’t say the same about — wait, no. I’m not going to name them. Their initials are SB and RBG. The initials of the other two, whom your husband did not nominate, are JPS and DHS. You liberals think it’s so important to nominate people like these. How come most of you, even the most well-educated and politically involved among you, not only can’t call out these justices as defining the template for the kind of justice the nation needs on the Supreme Court — but you’re going to have to open a new browser window and go running off to Wikipedia to find out what their names are?

Update 8/29/08: Dr. Melissa Clouthier has — at least — five good reasons why government-controlled healthcare wouldn’t be such a hot idea. For those among us who need to be told.

Morgan Freeberg, democrat

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The democrat party wrote me a letter, with Joe Biden’s signature at the bottom of it.

Morgan –

The past two days have been truly extraordinary. I received such a warm welcome as the newest member of the Obama campaign.

Now that our team is complete, it’s time for our party to unite — as Democrats, as voters, and as Americans committed to change.

I recorded a short video message about what we need to do in the weeks ahead, and how I plan to help.

Please take a minute to watch the video and join the movement…

Barack has built an incredible movement over the past 19 months, and I’m so honored to be part of it.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and joining the work that thousands of people all across the country are already doing — reaching out day after day in neighborhoods and communities, connecting with people who are hungry for the change we need.

This is no ordinary time, and this is no ordinary election. I plan to do everything I can to help Barack take back the White House.

I don’t need to tell you that John McCain will just bring us another four years of the same. You can’t change America when you supported George Bush’s policies 95% of the time.

Barack has the vision and the courage to bring real change to Washington. But even he can’t do this alone.

Please watch this video and join this incredible movement:

http://my.barackobama.com/BidenWelcomeVideo

Thank you,

Joe

To which I replied, since I’m evil, and couldn’t resist…

So Joe,

Tell me, please. Has the presidency, lately, begun to “lend itself to on-the-job training?”

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/08/23/new-mccain-ad-biden/

The democrat party must have liked my response a lot, although I still don’t have an answer forthcoming to the question I asked. But they did write me another letter, this time from that guy who Joe Biden pointed out was so clean and articulate, Barack America. I mean Obama.

Morgan –

The Democratic convention starts today, and my new running mate Joe Biden and I recorded a message about what we all need to do next.

When we started this campaign, very few people thought we would make it this far.

But we put our faith in the power of ordinary supporters like you coming together and building a movement for change from the bottom up. And that’s exactly why we’re here.

I’d like you to watch this special message — and I have a request.

We have our team, and this week the eyes of the entire country will be on our movement. Now is the time to take the next step and own a piece of this campaign.

Watch our video message and make a donation of $5 or more today…

Over the next four days, the Democratic convention will define what change means and highlight our differences with John McCain to every voter who’s tuning in.

We’ll show the change we will be bringing the country on the economy, health care, energy, foreign policy, and the issues that affect all Americans.

But make no mistake about what we’re up against. John McCain has embraced the same old politics of fear, division, and Karl Rove-style attacks — which makes sense coming from someone who’s voted with George Bush literally 95% of the time.

From the very beginning, this campaign has been in your hands. Now more than ever, we’re counting on you to see it through.

Watch the video Joe and I recorded and make a donation of $5 or more now:

https://donate.barackobama.com/messageofchange

Thank you,

Barack

I thought it was peculiar that a movement built from the bottom up, like this, would make a choice about the number two guy in the manner that it did. It’s traditional to pick the guy out in secret and make a flashy announcement with absolutely no leaks, if you can get that to happen. I understand that. But the Obama campaign stands alone in its unique ability to piss off lots of its own supporters by doing so. PUMA and all that. I suppose I can cut ‘em some slack for this, since it was unavoidable that large numbers of someone to be annoyed no matter what happened, given the situation they were in.

But it takes some balls to come in right after that and say you’re running a grassroots campaign.

I wrote back,

Wonderful video.

This one is EVEN BETTER. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoJUcsaptW4

I’m afraid that must have gotten someone’s cackles up. I received no follow-up e-mail wondering where my five dollars was. I didn’t hear from them at all, in fact. For several days.

I was worried that maybe I’d been kicked out of the democrat club. I wouldn’t be the first guy…

But then, I found out this morning much to my relief that my name’s still on the list. Screamin’ Dean himself wrote in, giving me helpful pointers on how I can get more involved. Thanks, Howie!

Morgan –

What an amazing convention this has been already — and how inspiring it is to see Democrats from all 50 states united as one party.

As Hillary Clinton pointed out in a rousing call to action last night, “We are on the same team, and none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines.”

Barack and Joe are going to defeat John McCain and transform Washington.

But there’s no way they can do it alone.

We all need to reach out to our friends, family, and neighbors and work to get every single vote we can — even in places where Democrats haven’t competed in a generation.

Our moment is now — sign up to get involved.

Tomorrow night, people all over America will come together at Convention Watch Parties to see Barack accept the Democratic nomination.

These parties are a great opportunity to come together with fellow supporters, watch Barack’s speech, and plan for the next 10 weeks. This Labor Day Weekend, we’re going to kick off the biggest voter registration drive in the history of politics.

Sign up for a Convention Watch Party and find Weekend of Action events in your community:

http://my.barackobama.com/organizeforchange

Millions of Americans are tuning in to the convention this week and paying attention to this election for the first time.

As Democrats, we need to seize this opportunity to stand united and let them know what is at stake.

John McCain has voted with George Bush 95% of the time and pledged to continue the same disastrous policies that have damaged our economy, ruined our reputation in the world, and left millions of middle-class families without jobs and health care.

We need to register new voters, reach out to people who haven’t voted in years, and work to get out the vote like never before.

Attend a Convention Watch Party and host or sign up for a Weekend of Action event near you.

Our party has never been stronger. Let’s keep this momentum going through November.

Thanks,

Howard Dean

I wrote back,

Is there someone advising Hillary Clinton, telling her it’s somehow a good idea to talk that way ALL THE TIME? You know what I mean.

I dunno if I’m going to hear back again.

Rumspringen

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Me, eleven months ago, trailing off on a new train of thought after pondering Barack Obama’s Social Security plan:

I’ve written probably tens of thousands of words, in this blog alone, about the Yin and Yang theory which says mature humans have exactly two fundamentally different ways of accumulating the aptitudes necessary to come to what passes for maturity, and end up spending their entire lives in two different villages, trying to communicate across a monstrous chasm with the other half. You know what inspired the Yin and Yang theory to begin with? Yeah, it had something to do with a string of Yang-y ex-girlfriends and ex-wives…that was the personal side of it. But the public-issue side of it was Social Security.

We can’t fix it, you see. Not to the satisfaction of everybody. It is viewed in two fundamentally different ways. When we talk about whether or not it was an experiment that we should have attempted in the first place, we discuss it in the terms under which it was marketed to the Yin: As a retirement vehicle. You get out of it what you pay into it, not one penny more. And supposedly, nobody’s scamming anybody else out of anything through this noble system, since they only recoup their “investments.”

And then when it comes time for us to make good on that promise we made to ourselves, we tend to get all Yang-y. Yes, people can get out of it what they put into it, plus a whole lot more…assuming they put anything in to begin with, which maybe they didn’t. And that’s perfectly alright. It’s all about the “social justice”…Comrade.

And that’s the whole point of this Yin and Yang wall. Most fractious episodes of the human condition seem to occur when the two halves come into contact with each other; when someone who believes in personal responsibility, comes into proximity with someone else who does not.

Over at Rick’s blog, Mommynator is having similar thoughts about the democrat national convention:

…somehow, my mind went to the Amish idea of Rumspringen – where they allow their 16-year-olds about a year of secret rebellion – dress like worldly teens, listen to the music, go out and get drunk or stoned, whatever, and at the end of that year, each young man or woman decides whether to stay in Amish society or leave. There was a reality show based on that a couple of years ago and it was very interesting.

We are in the television age of reality TV. Most of it is dreck, but there have been some interesting experiments. So let’s take it to the next level.

The synapses fired again and I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to take an assortment of these folks and drop them in the middle of nowhere with minimal resources and let them live out their dystopian dreams?

And I couldn’t resist entering the comment…

The ultimate irony to this is the denizens of the state of mind that is Rumspringen, in order to matter, have to take on a celebratory mood regarding their chosen lifestyle. And in celebrating their chosen lifestyle, what they’re really celebrating is that it is possible for them to be this way — that they have not been dropped in the middle of nowhere to face Darwin’s cleansing fire. And when they celebrate that, what they’re really celebrating is all the other folks; for their chosen lifestyle is parasitic.

That’s the real danger to our society. We have reached such a dizzyingly high level of comfort in our modern society, that our parasites are allowed to act, without consequence, like hosts; and they are allowed to treat, without consequence, the real hosts as if they’re the parasites.

The most disgusting, reprehensible, provable lie told in politics today, is that people on the ideological left are in favor of setting up systems and policies “for everybody.” That is not what they want; it is not even what they openly discuss. What they really want is to build a virtual Yin and Yang wall by getting rid of the Yin, and making everybody Yang. Absolutely everybody. Until nobody has a lifestyle or a livelihood that is not dependent on everybody else. Nor does anybody have an education that is not connected to and made possible by everybody else. Until every thought anybody has in their head, anywhere — except for the dictators in their ivory towers — is formed socially, by process of elimination, all the “bad thoughts” chiseled away by social stigma and political correctness.

Nobody has a gun, nobody is taught in childhood how to use one, nobody knows where the sustenance came from when they buy a shrink-wrapped package of food in the supermarket.

What they don’t want to discuss is that such a human condition would be conducive to — and made possible by — a complete and total loss of independence.

On the way down that road, our young people naturally experience pangs of pain as they come to a drunken, sluggard awareness of what natural aptitudes they’re forcefully ejecting from their psyches. And so we have freak shows like what’s going on in Denver right now, to help renew the anesthesia.

Mommynator’s word fits the situation. And it fits well. Except, of course, as she pointed out there is one gap…the real Rumspringen is designed to come to a close. The other frenzy she seeks to describe, is simply a prelude to something much bigger.

“Not All Men Are Annoying. Some Are Dead.”

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

I hope people are noticing, before they complain too much, that all these “stand up for men for a change” posts are sourced on material I’ve found linked from lady bloggers. Hope they notice that before they do that cute feminist thing, whining about “men whining” about things. I’ve always adored that trait among feminists. A classic case of being what one calls others.

The latest comes from Rachel, although thinking back on it, I think I found out about Rachel’s from Dr. Helen. Or vice versa. Dunno. The month of August is always like this; we’re about to celebrate womens’ suffrage, and Barry O has just added a guy to his ticket who seems to be sworn to destroy divorced men and therefore the children those men support. Anyway — this one is about anti-male merchandise. For which, it would appear, there is a robust market:

Michele went to a store in the mall this weekend and because she is an oppressed woman obviously in denial about what pigs men are, she didn’t squeal happily and whip out her credit card when she saw a collection of sassy, non-nonsense, finger-snapping, girl-power mugs with captions like:

I only fake it so he’ll buy me stuff.
I love sensitive men. they’re easier to take advantage of.
Platinum digger… when gold just ain’t enough.

And Michele’s personal favorite…

You go girlfriend! Want another glass of Shiraz? Sex And The City is coming up in a few minutes.

Well, time to retreat back into those stale old platitudes and cliches that don’t mean anything at all. Like, for example, “All Women Aren’t Like That.”

No, seriously. Not only are all women not like that, but I think this stuff is finally starting to go out of style. Maybe. I dunno. Anyway, I was thinking so…then I found out about all this lovely, astringent pink merchandise you can buy. Now I’m not so sure.

Time will tell.

Isn’t it funny how, when a fad or fashion starts that encourages us to be nice and considerate of each other, it’s uncool before the year is out — but when it encourages us to blame things on each other and become a nasty bunch of inter-fighting, back-biting curmudgeons and bitches, it just seems to go on and on forever?

An Epiphany, Too Late

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Via Dr. Helen (who picked it up through Glenn Sacks), we learn of a lady who has been smacked upside the head by reality. And you have to feel a little bit sorry for her, between your tirades of “you stupid bitch.” And “Duh”…

When I made the decision to divorce my children’s father and move to Portland when our twins were age 2, I thought I was the only parent my sons, Alex and Zavier, would ever need. I was mistaken.

No matter how much love I poured into my children’s hearts, my sons were starving with “father hunger” for the man named Lee, who named them and held them when they were just a few seconds old.
:
I share this journey with readers because I know men aren’t always the only ones to blame when Daddy isn’t a part of his children’s lives. Women have a larger role in that than we’d like to admit — before and after conception.

I’m reading through this and wondering “who’s having a tough time admitting this, exactly?” After all, throughout my life, all you have to do is string together those chemically charged words: “Women” and “Choice.” The subject being discussed need not be abortion. It can be hospital vs. home birth, it can be holistic medicines vs. clinical, it can be formula vs. breast feeding, it can be the new family car, what color to paint the kitchen, etc. etc. etc. All present must genuflect before the goddess’ choice.

I’ve lived in a time in which women were encouraged to “stand up for themselves” — and what it really has meant, from what I can see, is “everyone should just find out what she wants to do and find a way to get it done.” The confusion is between compromise and dictatorship.

Could it be, that those who have insisted on such a sorry state of affairs, are one and the same as those who express bewilderment and surprise that “men aren’t always the only ones to blame when” something turns to crap? Could such a diseased mind exist…and get out of bed and get dressed in the morning…and find a way to function in other walks of life?

I suppose, looking back on it, it’s quite possible. I know there are those who are always sticking up for “womens’ rights” even in situations where it makes little sense to do so, even when the “right” in question is a right that cannot be expressed, for it is a phantom right enjoyed by nobody else. Like, for example, the right to stop anybody from forming a bad thought in their noggins about you; or if they do manage to form it, to keep it from being expressed. In the case of separating from a child’s parent, occasionally it is pointed out that the “father” in question has been nothing more than a sperm donor, and it was logically impossible for the situation to turn out any other way — the lady, when available, shoulda done a better job doing her pickin’. I know there are those who puff out their chests and spew our their bile as the conversation takes that unpleasant turn, and can be counted upon to haughtily intone, “So HE can screw around, and when the marriage crumbles it’s HER fault? How DARE you!”

It is a good point, or it has the glimmerings of logic; just the makings of something that might be worth mentioning.

The truth is that it’s an impossibility to tear down one life and begin another, without rocking the foundation of those around you — therefore, both sexes have the responsibility to build lives that will endure. And that means picking out people who will work for them long term. For those destined to reach maturity with working sets of sex organs, and thus blessed with the ability to create new life, this responsibility is all the more sacred and binding.

And there we get to the heart of the matter: We tend not to teach this to our little girls. It is thought to be roughish and thuggish to instill in our little girls a responsible skepticism about intra-human compatibilities. We tend to allow them to blossom into womanhood without telling them any of the things children should be told, about people, while they’re still children.

Worst of all: Once we see feminism is making an attempt to infect their young minds with all of its negativity, our medicinal balm for this is to encourage our young girls to “respect” life by making it more abundant. Nothing is more adorable and irresistible than that elfin cherub just begging you to let her keep the flea-bitten creature that followed her home, or the bird with the broken wing she nursed back to health…or please, oh pretty please, can she please have a puppy?

The result is a budding adult with “Single Mom” written all over her DNA. Her Will Be Done in all things — no compromises — and when the choice to be made is something on which she has no opinion, the social burden rests on her to form one. Once the choice is made, it is well outside socially-accepted norms to criticize her oh so sacred choice, for that is to criticize her; and if you criticize her, of course, you must be criticizing everything female that ever lived.

Similarly, if a bad choice has an origin that traces back to the depths of her noggin, even partially through a shared, intertwined pedigree that trails off to other places — society has stigmatized our readiness, willingness and ability to point out that it was a bad choice. And if that’s unavoidable, then somewhere there has to be a man who is at fault.

It’s a recipe for disaster. We shouldn’t blame the women for it, because anytime you have someone who owns all of a decision insofar as the authority to make it, and none of a decision insofar as the burden of accepting ownership of it, the endeavor is doomed. This poor lady, by confessing her surprise that some of this might actually have been her doing, reveals that she was never taught this basic principle of responsibility in childhood. And in revealing that, she reveals she was raised to be a single mother almost from birth.

I wonder how many share her plight. Ponder with me, if you want; but if you come up with an answer, don’t dare say it out loud — for you are not allowed to. You are only allowed to do and say things that have contributed to our skyrocketing single-parent household population in the first place.

Superheroes

Monday, August 25th, 2008

What an interesting coincidence. Yesterday, “Kidzmom” wanted to talk to the boy, and found out he wasn’t in a very conversational mood. And so she went on from that to reminding me of pressing parent-type business we needed to talk over, and from there we went to this flash drive I (for some reason?) have to get him for school. And that brought us round, somehow, to superhero movies.

And she found herself staring right down the barrel of my theory about superhero movies vs. superheroINE movies. Which leads to my prophecy: In the next decade or two, and probably beyond that, we will never, ever, ever, EVER see a Wonder Woman movie. Why? Because heroines are not developed in movies the way heroes are.

I didn’t like either one of the Tomb Raider movies, because when there’s too much time consumed on screen to develop too little by way of characters or story — it is BORING. And female superheroes are not developed. They are, rather, what I would call “templated.” Let’s see…she is strong-willed, assertive, loaded with really cool skills, athletic, not dependent on a man, confident with her body, stands up for the rights of the oppressed, capable of doing lots of things at the same time, doesn’t take crap from anybody, blah blah blah blah blah. Right? Well, that just isn’t fun to watch, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a dame.

Lara Croft, through a radio headset, tells a guy to keep driving his jeep in a straight line out in the middle of the African plains. And then she drops in on him from a hang glider. Wow! Who coulda seen that coming? Well…since what you’re defining is that Lara always has a plan and she has lots of skills doing things, and that was already defined, again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again…the scene really exists for no purpose insofar as developing the story, or a character within it. Actually, the character that was supposed to be defined was the guy driving the jeep. When the scene’s over, we know absolutely nothing about him other than that he’s capable of driving a jeep in a straight line, and following orders, and — since he was taken by surprise by Lara doing what she always does — he must be a little bit of a likable dope. Probably not what the producers of the movie intended.

Consider the case of James Bond, notorious for defining the same character attributes over and over again, across generations. Generations. You would think it should be equally boring to watch him, right? But no. We can’t wait to see what he does. The reason: There’s always a twist, even if it involves exposing Bond’s few weaknesses. The masseuse is a Chinese spy…and Bond knows it although the audience does not. His conquest last night is secretly working for the villain, and while he slept she reached under his pillow and took the bullets out of his P99. Goldfinger does not want to steal the gold, he wants to blow it up. Andrea Anders was responsible for sending the golden bullet with “007″ engraved in the casing to MI6 headquarters. Even if the central character has been developed to all the depth he is ever going to be developed, there is always something to guarantee this is a bad time to take a potty break. That’s how you make a good action movie.

But that has to do with playing the cards. Superheroine movies are dealt bad hands of cards that can’t be played well in any way.

In the case of Wonder Woman, the problem is audience sensitivity. Just the star-spangled shorts make this an impossible task. If she wears them, you’ll tick off half the audience; if she wears something else, you’ll tick off the other half. Then there is the matter of who Wonder Woman is. Is her alter ego really Diana Prince? If so, how many people know that? If a bullet happens to get past her bracelets, can it break her skin? If that’s the case, then is she just as strong as Superman? It seems to logically follow that she must not be. What’s up with that invisible jet, anyway? Can she fly without it? If she can, then why does she have the damn thing? And, being made out of clay, can she go into outer space in nothing but a bustier and bikini briefs like she does in the comic books?

The problem that confronts any superheroine here, is that while the superhero is inspired by the desire of young men to be more powerful, his female counterpart is inspired by populist rage. Once you are the champion of populist rage, you are at the mercy of that rage as well. We just saw it in the Obama/Hillary face off — the angry mob is always ready to say, once its grievance list receives representation, “Hey this is NOT the representation I had in mind!” And mobs do not have any way of communicating dislike or dissatisfaction, other than through injury and destruction. There is no other rhetorical device available to them.

And so female superheroes are beholden to delivering to their populist mob fan base, whatever it may be, exactly what that fan base expects. Precisely. Nothing more, nothing less. For Wonder Woman, it simply isn’t possible to define what this is. She’ll be boycotted if the costume designers simply change the cut or color of her boots, never mind whether the question is settled about how the magic lasso works.

Those are my thoughts.

But I found Whiskey had a lot more to say on the same subject. I found this out when I was taking delight in how well Katie Allison Granju was getting her man-and-boy-bashing wrinkly misandric ass handed to her in the comment section under the “Teenage Boys Are Stupid” thing…and upon finding Whiskey was the most thoughtful commenter there, decided to look and see what else he has to say.

The secret to comics is who created and read them, back when they were popular, first in the late 1930′s and early 1940′s, and again in the 1960′s (the “Golden” and “Silver” age respectively). The Comics creators were mostly Jewish, nerdy-smart guys, who liked the pretty girls who had no time for them, and preferred the wealthy athletes in High School and College. In wish fulfillment, these mostly Jewish artists and writers, who in the 1930s and early 1940s lived at a time when actual, real Nazis were active in America (the German-American Bund), created (almost exclusively male) characters that provided wish fulfillment to every young man and boy who was not a high-status, wealthy athlete, liked by guys and pursued by girls.

Which is about 90% of the male population, at one time or another. That’s what comics were, and the reason for the characters success. Superman is the most globally recognized fictional character. Because of that secret.

Yes, it’s really that simple. Male wish fulfillment is the secret to Superhero success.

Why does this work for male wish fulfillment and not female wish fulfillment? Therein lies the mystery. Part of it could be the destructive energy involved in the angry populist roar, that seems to engulf everything when the agenda shifts to showcasing how powerful and strong a woman can be.

There is much left undiscovered here, particularly with regard to that gender gap. Personally, I’d find it exquisitely frustrating if I was a gal. Perhaps it’s a conundrum that defies solution, since boys and girls are fundamentally different, and as Whiskey points out, male wish fulfillment has been inextricably intertwined with superhero success since Day One.

Great blog, albeit a young one. When I get some more time, I shall make a point to read every page.

Lights Out on Liberty

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Excerpts from a lecture delivered by Mark Steyn at Hillsdale College, five months ago. The subject under discussion is the awful, guileful danger involved when, in the name of tolerance, intolerance itself is tolerated:

After the London Tube bombings and the French riots a few years back, commentators lined up behind the idea that Western Muslims are insufficiently assimilated. But in their mastery of legalisms and the language of victimology, they’re superbly assimilated. Since these are the principal means of discourse in multicultural societies, they’ve mastered all they need to know. Every day of the week, somewhere in the West, a Muslim lobbying group is engaging in an action similar to what I’m facing in Canada. Meanwhile, in London, masked men marched through the streets with signs reading “Behead the Enemies of Islam” and promising another 9/11 and another Holocaust, all while being protected by a phalanx of London policemen.

Thus we see that today’s multicultural societies tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, while refusing to tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance. It’s been that way for 20 years now, ever since Valentine’s Day 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie, a British subject, and shortly thereafter large numbers of British Muslims marched through English cities openly calling for Rushdie to be killed. A reader in Bradford wrote to me recalling asking a West Yorkshire policeman on the street that day why the various “Muslim community leaders” weren’t being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer said they’d been told to “play it cool.” The calls for blood got more raucous. My correspondent asked his question again. The policeman told him to “Push off” (he expressed the sentiment rather more Anglo-Saxonly, but let that pass) “or I’ll arrest you.” Mr. Rushdie was infuriated when the then Archbishop of Canterbury lapsed into root-cause mode. “I well understand the devout Muslims’ reaction, wounded by what they hold most dear and would themselves die for,” said His Grace. Rushdie replied tersely: “There is only one person around here who is in any danger of dying.”

Sharpened steel, coming into contact with glass, will scratch the glass while the glass will not make any imprint whatsoever upon the steel. Diamond, impressed on the steel, will scratch the steel while the steel will not alter the diamond. It does nothing to slander or derogate in anyway, the glass, the steel, or the diamond to point any of this out. It is a direct consequence of the relative hardness of things.

And the radical Islamic culture is much harder than the pansy phony-tolerance multi-culti politically-correct culture.

The question that remains to be pondered, is whether the western civilizations would have been allowed to keep some of their liberty if some doctrine of equal-enforcement were observed and upheld, with sincerity. This would mean the constables would have received no such instructions to “play it cool,” and the Muslims marching for the head of Salman Rushdie would have been brought before a tribunal to explain themselves. That, or Mark Steyn and his publishers would be just as free as you & me.

I don’t know if equality of enforcement by itself would do the trick — anything goes when intolerance is tolerated. But since our Canadian and European friends are not placing much value on equality of enforcement and the situation is even worse still, it isn’t too tough to predict what happens next. For the tempered steel has been sharpened, as on the business edge of a surgeon’s scalpel, and is now being pressed into…something like room temperature butter.

How concerned should we be?

Stupid Men in Commercials

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Inspired by a comment made about the Wives Scolding Husbands post, I went out searching for a certain Yoplait commercial and landed on this great site, commercialsihate.com. I’ll let them speak for themselves about the “Stupid Husband” genre of commercials.

I know why they do it.

They do it because the woman is the consumer of the household.

But men make buying decisions too, ya know.
And we don’t LIKE to see ourselves portrayed as glazed-eyed, mouth-ajar helpless MORONS.

Daddy can’t cook. Daddy can’t clean. Daddy can’t discipline the child.
Daddy can’t control himself in Circuit City.
Daddy runs in circles holding a baby at arm’s length.
He has absolutely no idea what it is or why it makes that noise.
Daddy takes the kids to McDonalds because Mom’s Not Home.

And the fat single woman watching at home laughs heartily “Ha! It’s so true!”

Yeah, we’re making wonderful progress at learning how to live together…when the best way to sell a product to one class, is to call people belonging to the other class complete dimwits.

And, a great deal of the time, remain completely silent on whether or not your product is any good.

Oh well. You certainly can’t level that charge at the yogurt commercial. She does talk about the yogurt being delicious. Although I have to wonder about the necessity of getting permission from my wife before rummaging around in the refrigerator…for…uh, the key lime pie in the meat drawer??

There are way too many “He Uses Brand X” commercials to even count. Most of them take place conveniently in front of the household medicine cabinet, where we can see his half of the cabinet is filled up, and her half is all empty except for the one box of wonder-drug. Stupid dolt. What did he ever do before he met her.

And of course…nobody can ever forget this classic.

Funny thing about women. When we “objectify” them, that usually amounts to looking at them when they aren’t wearing (by choice) too much in the way of clothes, and admiring their lovely lines. When it comes back the other way they’re calling us stupid morons. Or buying something from someone else who did.

Oh dear. I feel so victimized. I think I shall start an activist group and launch a protest. That…or, pop open a beer and make myself a sammich. Hope I can find my way around the kitchen.

The Coolest Thing: Sacrifice

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Jonathan Brink was pretty impressed, last week, with something Sen. Obama had to say about sacrifice.

If we pretend like everything is free and there’s no sacrifice involved, then we are betraying the tradition of America. I think about my grandparents generation, coming out of a depression, fighting world war 2. They’ve confronted some challenges we can’t even imagine. If they were willing to make sacrifices on our behalf, we should be able to make some sacrifices on behalf of the next generation.

And I agree with every single word of what Obama said. That’s what makes Obama’s remarks truly despicable.

You see, in my eyes this is just another example of liberals using words loaded with deep meaning, in such a way that they look like they’re saying something that’s the opposite of what they’re really saying. Notice how I put my response together: I agree with every single word. With the text as written, I have no quarrel; I’d even agree with it. Enthusiastically.

Trouble is, you have to inspect Obama’s behavior to figure out what he really means by this. And with our most popular leftist policies, lately, I can’t help but notice: Just when we’re about to get a payoff for our sacrifices, a payoff that will help the people we intend to be helped when we’re making our sacrifices — that’s exactly the point at which our left-wing politicians lose interest.

I was a little bit more wordy on this point when I replied to Mr. Brink:

The question that comes up with that word “sacrifice” is a divisive one, and is seldom explored: Is sacrifice the point?

It seems people like Barack Obama never directly address this, and from that, it seems like they cannot afford to. T[o]o many rhetorical questions have the potential to expose the platitude as the empty promise it is.

You mention abortion. Would that not be a virtuous sacrifice, if the Supreme Court were to overturn it? Sacrifice the convenience to people who want to exercise this “choice”…for the sake of the future generation being allowed to live, and have opportunities. That might be the best example possible. But Obama says it’s above his pay grade. How about affirmative action with quotas in hiring and college admissions? Sacrifice grudges and personal crusades for tit-for-tat nonsense…to finally realize this equality everyone says they’ve been wanting for decades, and really make racism a thing of the past, at least, institutionalized racism.

How about sacrificing the global warming campaign? Sacrifice millions of dollars to be made by Al Gore and other holders of stock in fraudulent carbon-exchange mercantiles…so that the future generations can realize their opportunities in full, and the message can be sent to other countries that they need to stop being jealous of America’s prosperity. Or…sacrifice that guy who raped and killed little kids, to make sure he can’t ever do it again. We used to call it executions, we could just call them sacrifices.

I could go on like this all day.

The point is — it seems with people like Barry O, whenever there’s a real payoff to the sacrifice that would be meaningful, and precious to the people who would be in a position to benefit from it, inevitably, that is the point where they stop believing in it. And that leads me to my conclusion: The sacrifice is the point. They don’t want an exchange of lesser-for-greater. They just want pain.

Last month, I droned on about this for quite some time, exploring how this fit into the treatise about the virtues of sacrifice, as discussed by John Galt in that dreadful speech of his.

I think liberals like Carl are confused on the concept of sacrifice. There are two definitions to it: There is the outcome-based sacrifice, in which the “sacrifice” itself is just a negligible and unpleasant side effect in the process of upholding what truly matters. The narrower definition, in which the pain is the point, is what John Galt was talking about in that monstrously long speech of his:

Sacrifice is the surrender of value — of a higher value to a lower one, or of the good to the evil.

The code is impossible to practice because it would lead to death, and thus moral perfection is impossible to man.

The Doctrine of Sacrifice cannot provide man with an interest in being good.

Since man is in fact an indivisible unity of matter and consciousness, the sacrifice of “merely” material values necessarily means the sacrifice of spiritual ones.

The self is the mind, and the most selfish act is the exercise of one’s independent judgment. In attacking selfishness, the Doctrine of Sacrifice seeks to make you surrender your mind.

The Doctrine of Sacrifice commands that you act for the good of others but provides no standard of the good. And it requires only that you intend to benefit others, not that you succeed.

The Doctrine of Sacrifice makes you the servant and others your masters –and adds insult to injury by saying you should find happiness through sacrifice.

Somewhere in there Galt made a mention of the mother who went without eating so that her infant could eat; that would not be a sacrifice, according to Galt who was using the pain-based definition of “sacrifice.” That mother would be upholding an ideal important to her system of values, simply paying a price necessary to acquire it. Sacrifice, Galt said, would have been giving up her child for the sake of something not important to her…That is what is meant by surrender “of a higher value to a lower one.” It entails a net loss, because the pain is the point of the exercise.
:
This is why [liberal] ideas are unfit for implementation in the real world. Out here, if you have a job to do, and you get it done but it didn’t cause you pain, that’s a success. If it was such a painful experience that it injured you, it’s still a failure if you didn’t meet the stated objectives. Reality says it’s all about getting the job done, not what you give up to do it. Our liberals don’t agree. They think, if you’re suitably diminished that you can’t do anything else, and your intentions were noble, then that’s all that matters. Whether the job got done, is just a side bunny-trail to them.

And a couple of weeks later I had applied this to — as an example — the “climate change” issue.

It’s supposed to be all about cause and effect, but nobody ever puts it that way. As in, “if we make these sacrifices the temperature will go up 0.6 degrees over the next fifty years instead of 8.5 degrees and here is why 0.6 degrees will be manageable…”

In fact, nobody comes out and says we’re going to LIVE if we make these sacrifices. They say “we can do this” all the time. It’s the “this”; nobody says what exactly that is.

[Tom] Brokaw speaks for perhaps hundreds of well-known luminaries in his prattle. He doesn’t think “anyone doubts that we have to make some profound changes in this country,” and yet he has to throw out his meaningless bromides about self-sacrifice four times. Why repeat it four times if everyone already understands this is the case?

Getting back to Obama’s verbiage: It is powerful. His voting record has very little potential to win converts to his side, especially from the conservative bloc — this is where he makes up for it. Our country is filled with folks who nurture and labor to reinforce traditional values, and we are sick to death of the overly-materialistic, narcissistic, borderline-hedonistic culture that threatens to consume all of us. Obama mixes his honeyed words with bile, and it sounds like when he talks about “sacrifice” he’s talking about caring for each other instead of for ourselves.

He never actually comes out and says that, though; it isn’t what he means. When he talks about “sacrifice” he’s talking about that narrower, pain-based definition. The one that has to do with getting rid of ourselves, and the things upon which we place priority. About working ourselves into a state of non-existence. He doesn’t really want us to do what people of our grandparents’ generation did. That would be: identifying evil; saying to oneself “dammit there’s gotta be something I can do about this!”; marching down to the recruiter’s office; shipping out to Iraq, and killing as many evil people as possible, until our country won the war. That is what our grandfathers did. And Obama will have none of it.

No, he means what Tom Brokaw meant about climate change. FORGET the goal. Just coming together as part of a crowd, forgetting about your hopes and dreams as an individual. Report to your post and await your orders; leave it to your village elders to define what is important to you.

It is these two definitions of sacrifice that are critical to the method by which Obama seeks to confuse. There is sacrifice for an ideal, in which a commodity representing a lesser value is given up in exchange for a commodity representing a greater value. I throw out a disc in my back to pry a car off my girlfriend or my son, so they can live. I take a bullet for someone.

And then there is sacrifice of the ideals. The sacrifice not only of body, but of mind as well. The sacrifice that brings a human being, as a guardian of objectives and principles, to an inglorious end. That, it has been shown, is what Obama really has in mind when he talks about sacrificing “on behalf of the next generation.”

This is proven, easily. Let’s put a proposal on the table that all spending in the federal government be brought down, across the board, to 1985 levels. Just find a way to get along with that. Sacrifice! For the children. After all, we don’t want the next generation to inherit a government chock full of debt they’ll have to pay. If you take Obama’s comments at face value, he’d be all in favor of that wouldn’t he? Surely, he’d have to be?

But no; that inference is far too logical. He means the opposite. When he talks about sacrifice, he’s talking about increasing taxes.

Too many among us throw around that word “sacrifice” — not as the exchange of a lower value for a higher one, but rather, as the forceful expulsion of individuality. What the rest of us need to keep in mind, is that for them, this isn’t a sacrifice at all. Individuality carries with it some heady personal responsibilities, and a lot of us aren’t in any hurry to take them on. The conundrum they face is that in order to expurgate individuality from their own lives, they have to do the same for everyone else.

And with Obama now the presumptive nominee, that’s become one of the most central issues to the election this year…sadly enough. Obama’s hope is that most of the voters will never figure this out, and he has reason to maintain high hopes.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Wives Who Scold Their Husbands in Front of Perfect Strangers

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I was interested in this post which revisits a familiar topic, namely, the wife who doesn’t treat her husband with the goddamned common courtesy you’d extend to a drunken bum pounding on your front door at one o’clock in the morning. I think we can all admit, it’s a situation far more familiar in day-to-day living, than it is in conversation; we tend not to discuss it. Even when confronted with it directly, we still don’t audibly notice it, or comment on it.

I met a young couple the other day with three little boys. The father, who was in the military, was getting ready to leave in a couple of days for Iraq. As I chatted with them, I tried to think of a way to convey my thanks to him for putting his life on the line in the service of our country; I tried to think of a way to express my concern and my empathy for him and his family. As I was half listening to the conversation and half trying to decide the best way to express my gratitude and concern to virtual strangers, something happened that really made me sad. I was speaking to the wife and the youngest son, barely a toddler, decided he wanted to try and tackle the staircase. As he attempted to go downstairs, his oldest brother got in front of him and stopped him. The toddler got upset at this impediment and started crying. The mother saw what was happening and began reprimanding her older son for upsetting the baby. Upon this, the father stepped forward in defense of his son and explained to his wife that he’d told the boy to watch his brother and not let him go downstairs. His wife’s response was to roll her eyes and yell, “Hello! Who’s the adult here? You don’t put your six year old son in charge of the baby, you do it yourself. My gosh! Am I the only adult around here. Can’t I trust you to handle anything?” Then she turned back to me, rolled her eyes and apologized (I’m sure for the alleged stupidity of her husband and not her own behavior) and politely continued our conversation.

There are lots of reasons for this behavior running rampant today. One of them is confirmation bias:

In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions and avoids information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs. It is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference, or as a form of selection bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study or disconfirmation of an alternative hypothesis.

Confirmation bias is of interest in the teaching of critical thinking, as the skill is misused if rigorous critical scrutiny is applied only to evidence challenging a preconceived idea but not to evidence supporting it.

In this case, the bias to be confirmed is that the hubby is just another one of the kids. It’s very fashionable to think this, and a lady who wants to think it will find a way to believe it.

Another causative factor seems to be that society pressures women into certain things. Among these, acquiring the proper accessories…cell phone…purse…dog to carry in the purse…husband. Meanwhile there is no opposing pressure for women to partner up with a good Joe, and really share a life with him. So it’s easy for a dude to fall into that trap of becoming an accessory. And every noun has a verb. You talk a phone, you carry a purse, you cuddle a dog, and the fella…well, if your girlfriend is scolding her fella and talking down to him, and you’re treating yours with some measure of respect — why, that’s just uncool on you. And so, there is this race among the fashion-minded. A race to be nasty, condescending, and rude. A race to bark out orders the fastest.

She DevilAnd familiarity, of course. Familiarity breeds contempt. The crazy bag lady pounding on your door in the middle of the night, she’s still entitled to some please-and-thank-you. Husbands, not so much.

We shouldn’t forget protocol. Women excel at learning protocol, at incorporating and becoming acclimated to a new social custom. And protocol is really nothing more than stigma. It should come as no news to anyone over the age of thirty, that our modern society has been subject to a battery of social changes in the last few years — which are new stigmatizations. Treating a man with courtesy, decency and deference has become one of the stigmatizations. It’s supposed to be all about equality. But it really isn’t, is it?

On this point, the woman henpecking her husband in front of strangers, or near-strangers, is a discredit to society in general. She demonstrates that we have elevated rudeness to a fundamental of some misguided new form of etiquette. And she proves that those among us who have not actively promoted it, have passively accepted it.

Substantial numbers among our ladies, it would appear, would rather stand accused of being impolite and even uncultured, than of being known as a Stepford Wife:

Stepford Wife

1.) Used to describe a servile, compliant, submissive, spineless wife who happily does her husband’s bidding and serves his every whim dutifully.

2.) Can also be used to describe a wife who is cookie-cutter & bland in appearance and behavior. Subscribes to a popular look and dares not deviate from that look.

This term is borrowed from the fictional suburb of Stepford, Connecticut in Ira Levin’s 1972 novel, The Stepford Wives, later made into movies (in 1975 and 2004). In the story, men of this seemingly ideal town have replaced their wives with attractive robotic dolls devoid of emotion or thought.

1.) She’s such a stepford wife, I’ve seen her greet her husband at the door after work with a beer and a kiss 4 days in a row!

2.) I just got back from the pta meeting, I’ve never seen so many stepford wives.

2b.) The SNL skit “Mom Jeans” features women dressed to earn the SW distinction.

I have never quite grasped the complete picture on what exactly is so wrong about the Stepford Wife. I’ve seen the Katharine Ross movie and I’ve seen Nicole Kidman’s version. Both of them looked, to me, like movies with happy endings in the middle, with events taking a downward tailspin toward the closing credits. I never did get the impression I was tuned in to the desired mood in either one of those; the middle events seem dark, like I’m supposed to read some kind of tragedy into a situation where a man is relaxing in a comfy chair and his missus is bringing him brandy and cigars. What’s the problem?

I mean yeah, maybe it’s not an ideal situation to have your lady replaced by a robot. But perhaps asking the question remains worthwhile, because the story that is being told, on an emotional level, strikes me as vague. I mean, what’s the problem that our heroes are supposed to solve here? That the wife has been abducted? That her role has been displaced by a robot? Or that the husband’s expectations might be raised here insofar as what’s supposed to happen in his marriage? Because I can’t help but get the feeling, things are at a low nadir because there’s something repugnant about doing nice things for your husband. Why, we can’t have that; those husbands might start talking to each other, and getting ideas!

If that wasn’t the intended message, perhaps there needed to have been some clarification. In both movies.

But the real problem, it seems to me, is that some of these wives are cultivating relationships with other women, that are more important than the relationships they have with their husbands. Even with women who are complete strangers.

I remember years ago when I was still living in Seattle, some of the other computer nerds who lived there had a joke they liked to tell. A young software engineer was being considered for a job, and he wasn’t able to set up an interview during working hours so he agreed to meet his prospective new employer at the Space Needle. He ordered an ice water for himself, and then he looked over at the next booth and saw none other than Bill Gates. He was so excited, and even moreso when he realized what a decent and approachable guy Mr. Gates was. They talked for a few minutes, and finally he worked up the nerve to ask Bill Gates for a favor. “I have a job interview, here, in a few minutes,” he said. “I’m terribly worried about how to make a good impression, and I was wondering if you could pop by a few minutes into it, and act as if you know me.” Bill Gates thought for a minute and said, “why, sure. I’m sure I could handle that.”

The interview proceeded as planned. About ten minutes in, Bill Gates was getting ready to go. But he made good on his promise, politely broke in and said to the young man, “Hey Jack, didn’t want to interrupt. Wonderful seeing you again.”

The young man said, “Gates! Piss off. I’m in a meeting.”

Seems to me to be an apt illustration of what’s happening in marriages like the one described in the above-linked article — the trashing of a person who’s supposed to be a compatriot, for sake of ingratiating oneself with strangers. It is, essentially, an exercise in making new friends — an exercise that, if it succeeds, befriends those who probably don’t make very good friends. It isn’t a problem with women being “uppity” or forgetting their place, or failing to show the proper subservience the Good Lord intended. It isn’t a matter of becoming a Stepford Wife. It’s an issue of simple human decency, good manners, and sharing your life with a person the way you said you were going to. And not wasting theirs. Socially, it really doesn’t take very much at all to make the point. A good-natured, cheerful smile, with a friendly “I don’t think that’s appropriate” can do wonders.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Inventions By Women

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

An impressive list here.

Not feeling quite so smug now, huh gents?

Showoff Goes Down Hard

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Rick is hoping this is the way the election goes, borrowing the idea from The Greek at Small Dead Animals:

I’m gonna have to go ahead and agree. Guess that makes me a racist. Whatever.