Archive for February, 2009

Let’s Run a Rich White Guy

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Dumbass…stupid…idiotic…dumbass, dumbass, dumbass…

I need to update my list.

“Republican Party Activists” choose Mitt Romney as #1 contender for 2012. Did I mention this is stupid? Stupid as in — why even bother to have an election at all?

Conservative activists on Saturday named former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the winner of a poll for best 2012 GOP presidential candidate.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won 20 percent of the vote in straw poll for presidential favorites.

The poll marked the third consecutive year Romney came out on top.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal placed second in the annual poll, conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Romney received 20 percent of the vote and Jindal got 14 percent.

Close behind were Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who each received 13 percent of the vote.

Okay, you know I want Palin. And I know “most” of you “party activists,” thinking “independently,” are going to march in lockstep and tell me she doesn’t come off well when she’s interviewed by perky Katie. And of course that means everything.

Here, let’s not have this argument. Neither mind is going to be changed. Instead, just ponder my litmus test…

Interview asks Candidate X the following: “What is your position on torturing detainees by means of waterboarding?” Candidate X can reply…

1. I think it’s wrong, wrong, wrong, although we’ve never done it.
2. It’s just terrible, and on my watch it will never happen again.
3. I don’t have a personal opinion about it but the experts tell me that’s torture, and I believe them.
4. Mister Interviewer, what the f— is your idea for getting information out of these guys?
5. When you think about it, a “civilized” society will do whatever it takes to fight these a**holes, and a “savage” society will sit around doing nothing so it can fool itself into thinking it’s “civilized.”
6. I would like you to define “torture”; we can agree, can we not, that it’s a useless word if it applies to anything you personally wouldn’t want to have done to you…right?
7. Peace is possible if we can get other nations to like us, or at least stop hating us.
8. It’s unconstitutional!
9. That question is above my pay grade.
10. I’ll have to get back to you on that, I don’t have an opinion yet.

My litmus test: Huge plus points for the candidate that answers with 4, 5 or 6 (in fact, MEGA points for the candidate that answers with 5). Enormous minus points for a candidate who answers with any of the others.

And I don’t think Romney would pick 4, 5 or 6.

As God is my witness, if there is one single thing about 21st-century American politics I simply don’t understand and simply can’t figure out, it is: Why is this such a tall fucking order? Seriously. Pardon my french, but this has long ago gotten just a little bit on the aggravating side. I want a candidate that will — for the benefit of all Americans, conservative and liberal — keep the conversation fixated on whether conservative ideas are better than liberal ideas, or vice-versa. Isn’t that what we want our elections to be about? Isn’t that what they’re supposed to be about?

McCain did quite a few things right. But he did a lot of things wrong…and my confidence is sky-high that Mitt would repeat each mistake, faithfully, like he was painting-by-numbers. And those mistakes have to do with reassuring people, people who figure out what offends them before they’ve really noodled out what’s a good idea and what isn’t a good idea, that he won’t be responsible for such offense…even if, in pursuing such an implied pact, he’d be implementing a lot of bad ideas and forsaking a lot of good ones.

Granted, I don’t think Palin is going to pursue the intricacies of cause-and-effect in foreign policy, money supply, unemployment, interrogation techniques, et al, any better than Romney or McCain. But if there’s one thing the conservative movement needs right now, it is representation by someone who will not apologize for believing in it.

Example:

Tax cuts work. You can cut the tax rate and in so doing, raise more revenue. It can be done — logic says so, history says so, and when logic and history agree we need to be paying attention. And the reason logic agrees with history, is that when it’s cheaper for people to do things, they’re more likely to do ‘em.

You people who want to argue that point, no matter how many letters you have after your name, can piss off. And you people who want me to apologize for believing in it, you can piss off too.

There. Like that. Clean up the language for television and so forth…but there it is. See how easy it is?

I swear to God, it’s like ordering a chocolate milkshake in a burger joint, waiting twenty minutes for it, and then finding out they forgot the order.

What in the hell is so hard about this??

This male chauvinist pig says — let’s recognize strength, and likelihood of success, in a woman when it’s really there. And this time, it’s really there. We need fidelity to principles, and unwillingness to apologize for having them, before we need ability to ingratiate with the Manhattan blue-blood crowd. We already tried the ability to ingratiate. It doesn’t fly. So stop it already. Just. Knock. It. Off. Now.

Update 3/1/09: Okay once again we’re reminded, it all depends on whom you ask. I’m all calmed down now. Cheesy YouTube clip is linked behind the screen cap below…

You Can’t Be My BFF Anymore

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

As I sail into an Obama-free weekend…one last thing. Because this really made me kind of chuckle. It’s a comment left over on Gerard’s blog from one Mike NTH.

This is trite, but the press crush on Obama is like the crushes teenage girls have, and they don’t realize that everyone else around them is sick and tired about hearing how awesome ‘Jason’ (or Jeremy, or David, whatever) is.

And then someone will tell the press they are tired of hearing about the crush.
And then the teen-queen media will go into a hissy fit about how ‘jealous’ the detractor is.
And the detractor will say they aren’t jealous, just tired of hearing about him every day.
And the teen-queen will say how they aren’t ‘BFF’ anymore.
And the detractor will say ‘fine’.

And two weeks later the crush will be over.
And in three weeks the teen-queeen will be telling the detractor what a pig ‘Jason’ (or Jeremy, or David, or whatever) is.

And the cycle will begin.

N.B.: I substitute taught for four and a half years and also worked in a youth camp. I have heard this drill before.

It brought a smile to my face because, believe it or not, I’ve seen men in their mid-thirties go through this kind of cycle. More than once on the stupid little merry-go-round. And, as our society becomes softer and softer, I’m reasonably sure the containment mechanism that confines this behavior to the pre-teen female set, will deteriorate further.

Seventy years ago men just barely old enough to drink were dropping bombs on Germany. Now they snark at each other about Obama’s awesomeness, and how you can’t be my BFF anymore.

There’s hope somewhere, right?

Police Chase Hits 15 mph

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Don’t run from the cops if the manufacturer of your car is an automaker called “Tonka.”

Call it a low-speed chase.

A brown Buick sped past a Madison police officer who was using a radar gun to check for speeders Thursday morning in the 2200 block of Pennsylvania Ave.

When the officer tried to get the Buick to pull over, the driver floored it, according to a police incident report.

Apparently, the car’s engine didn’t like that.

“The suspect’s car did not handle this tactic well and experienced a significant mechanical problem,” the officer’s incident report says. “It turned the pursuit into a very low speed affair – about 15 miles per hour.”

The driver and passenger jumped out of the car about a mile away from where the chase started. The driver was found hiding on someone’s screen porch. Police later tracked down the passenger.

The driver, a 19-year-old Madison man, was arrested on preliminary charges of speeding, resisting, eluding and trespassing, police said. A passenger, who is a juvenile, was tentatively charged with resisting, according to police.

I love the way cops talk sometimes…”car did not handle this tactic well and experienced a significant mechanical problem.”

I Made a New Word XXV

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Bar•a•tio (n.)

Fractional number between zero and one.

The number of people who, back in November, wanted “to be a part of this” and were all filled with “hope,” talking and talking and talking about how they wanted “change”…goes on the bottom.

The number of people now willing to admit that was a mistake, goes on the top. Then you divide. The resulting quotient is your Baratio.

Now approaching one, I daresay.

And here, I learn via a whole bunch of e-mails, is the bumper sticker that captures it very nicely. Wherever the Baratio needed to go in order to make this a viable commercial venture, it would seem…it is now there.

Link behind the pic goes to where you can place an order.

Financial Aspects of the SotU

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Like all dopey ideas, the State of the Union is dealt the most devastating damage when it is taken seriously. Rather like a beached whale suffocating under its own weight — its rib cage simply wasn’t designed to withstand the force.

This is going to be some trick. Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can’t possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama’s new spending ambitions.

Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and “the wealthiest 2%.” Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That’s about 7% of all returns; the data aren’t broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% — about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 — paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.
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A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010.
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The bottom line is that Mr. Obama is selling the country on a 2% illusion. Unwinding the U.S. commitment in Iraq and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire can’t possibly pay for his agenda. Taxes on the not-so-rich will need to rise as well.

Call me nutty, but this has just the whiff of inspiration for a rather cagey sort of optimism. President Obama, clearly, has meant very little of all the things He has said up until now. Changing America, it would seem, is about the only thing His rhetoric has had in common with His deeds. If He’s just promised to spend money on all these programs He obviously can’t afford, with His track record that’s pretty much the same as not having promised anything at all.

Again: The fault does not rest with President Obama. The fault lies with the rest of us. It’s a non-partisan position that we shouldn’t pass on debt to the next generation, but it’s a blisteringly partisan position to take that we should write to our congressmen or to the White House telling ‘em to stop spending so much goddamned money.

No such dichotomy can be embraced by a sane mind. But that’s the mindset of our culture right now. So what’s this little dance people are going through, pretending to be trying to make sane decisions? Who do they think they’re kiddin’?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XXVII

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Today was kind of an interesting day. This is what our Sitemeter summary looked like, right before lunchtime…five digits before midday.

For perspective — “Today,” that field filled in with the 10,000, is reset at 0 every day at midnight. It goes up by one every time we get a visitor. If memory serves, The Blog That Nobody Reads previously had a record of 2,100+something, midnight-to-midnight.

We beat that today somewhere around 5:30 a.m. By the time I became aware of what was going on, it was approaching 6,000 and the sun hadn’t yet come up. And now? Our 30-day recap looks something like this –

Hope that doesn’t cause global warming.

So what happened? Some guy who claims to be married to one of our favorite bloggresses, Dr. Helen*, linked to us. It was the Venn Diagram. It got Inst’d, and then things took off from there…guess it must have hit a nerve. Instapundit is pretty much the capitol of blogs. You’ll see we got linked behind the word “heh” and that was enough to get the meters exploded.

Hopefully, we make some more friends out of this. We’ll see.

*Let it be clearly understood, that’s a tease, not a slam. We’re big fans of both husband and wife — they’re both on our short list of Google Reader subscriptions, and have been for awhile. She thinks, he links. Great stuff. And it’s good to see they’re scouring for their material at all levels…even way, way down here.

Heh.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Other Art Forms

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

On the subject of President Obama turning fearmongering into an art form — this is a great time to take some notes on how gargantuan numbers of people are swindled into dumbass things. True, you can see these methods at work any ol’ time just by sitting in a committee meeting, or watching someone buy a used car.

But we get an especially clear vantage point when the democrat party has a lock on the government, a situation that has not existed since 1994.

Hey, if you had a solar eclipse every fifteen or sixteen years you’d still be taking pictures, right?

So I’m keeping a running list of what I’ve seen President Obama do to make dumb ideas look like smart ones. Note, very few of these items have anything to do with democrats or Republicans. In fact, they have very little to do with looting the public treasury. Rather, they make use of flaws we all have in our programming, flaws that make it harder for us to think logically.

You could take this as a timeless list of How To Make Large Numbers Of Some Reasonable People Do Dumb Things, Without Taking Any Responsibility For Telling Them To Do Any Of It.

1. Every tactic you use, should exploit the gap between the flawed human genome, and logic — the one most people aren’t willing to admit is there;
2. Socially stigmatize whatever is the opposite of what you want done;
3. Switch moderation and extremism with each other, by using the words “always” and “never” to describe any alternatives to your idea;
4. Make a big show out of conceding points that don’t really mean anything;
5. Talk a great deal about everybody “coming together to do this” without describing “this”;
6. Talk a whole lot about sixth-grade-math, while ignoring third-grade rules of logic;
7. Find out what people want that they do not have, and find a way to connect it, however nonsensically, to what you’re asking them to do;
8. Accuse your audience of something, taking special care that they aren’t guilty of whatever it is, so they have something to prove;
9. Inject a Snidely Whiplash into the situation, even if it doesn’t really have one;
10. Most important of all, inject a victim into it as well. Who-rightfully-owns-what decision, is the first thing people forget when there’s a victim.

And I would say with the SotU Tuesday night, the one item I saw kick into high gear was #6. That meme, repeated over and over again, about “ninety-five percent of taxpayers” seeing their taxes go down…

…I am simply amazed that all this time has passed on by, and not one single time within the pool of knowledge that has come to my attention (I think I’d have found it by now) has anybody nailed The Annointed One down on whether His use of 95% is intended to be figurative or literal. It’s more than reasonable to interpret it as figurative. How many times have you said to yourself “I need to pitch that thing, it takes up lots of space and when I need it, 95% of the time I end up using something else“? It’s a popular phrase. It means, not all, but might-as-well-be all. And that would fit in with Our Holy Savior’s intended meaning just fine. He’s going to ratchet up taxes on some people who don’t really count.

So throw some numbers out there, is what #6 means. Throw out numbers, make people feel like they’re making good use of that middle-school education in mathematics — and forget about whether the numbers make any sense. When people see you’ve given them the “respect” involved in throwing fractions and decimals at them, they won’t bother to check up on whether your figures make sense or not. They won’t even stop to think if you’re trying to say “not all but might as well be all,” or whether you really do mean nineteen-out-of-twenty.

Sometimes, you watch people, and you wonder how it is we ever got out of caves. Actually, a lot of the time. Think about it: Resolving our problems without passing on debt to the next generation, is truly a bipartisan concern. Telling Saint Obama to stop spending so much goddamn money, is not. Doesn’t that pretty much sum up the problem?

The Shortest Commentary on the State of the Union Address You’ll Ever See Anywhere

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

There is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children. And that is the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay.

– President Barack Obama, during the State of the Union Address, after promising a litany of February-Christmas goodies that would have embarrassed Clinton, Carter, LBJ and maybe even FDR.

Update 2/26/09: Welcome, Instapundit and Lucianne readers. Take off your coats, pull up some chairs, and stay awhile.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Womens’ Armpit Hair

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The point of the commercial (aside from to sell the product) is that you shouldn’t look down on it.

You’d think the feminists would be jumping for joy. Well, nope. Silly you. When’s the last time you saw a feminist jumping for joy…when a man wasn’t rolling around on a floor in agony clutching his nuts?

Men’s armpit hair does not grow that long, why would a woman’s? It kind of reminds me of the movie Without a Paddle (specifically @ 1:20) and how women’s body hair, when we allow ourselves to have it, is greatly exaggerated in the media. Because we’re supposed to be hair free, otherwise we’re masculine. *rolls eyes*
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Screw you for enforcing gender stereotypes and body issues.

People fighting for men and women to be exactly the same. And feedin’ on their own, like sharks at a frenzy.

I think “Maeve” has language issues. Doesn’t exactly strike me as virginal to the college-curriculum of Entirely Useless Skills. I mean, real people, who get real things done…don’t talk like this. “Screw you for enforcing gender stereotypes”?

The word “feminist” is gradually devolving into something that has to do with crusading for bits and pieces of a world in which most people do not want to live. I mean, think about it. Women with hairy armpits. Men and women exactly the same. Men not allowed to have opinions. Women acting like Dr. House. No one has a gun except the bad guys.

Nothing really going on to reign them in, is there? So expect to see a whole lot more of it.

But it can still get a whole lot worse. When I was coming of age, it was the early 1980′s…and whatever feminists wanted, they got, no questions asked. I wonder if we’ll go that far this time.

Bourgeois Bohemians

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Via Gerard: Review in Frontpage Magazine about Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, by David Brooks. Must be a great book, since it notices what I’ve been noticing for a while; that’s long been one of my favorite litmus tests.

Bobos, or bourgeois bohemians, are, to put it bluntly, the new establishment. Bill Clinton is a bobo. So is anyone else who has the income and power that only fat old men in oil paintings used to have, but who also has the mores, personal tastes, and culture of a 60′s radical college student. This is easy to laugh at, but it is not a superficial phenomenon. Brooks has put his finger on the central weirdness of our current ruling class: they have blithely combined the power and wealth of the old establishment with the cultural and intellectual trappings of its supposed mortal enemy, the counterculture. The two camps that have seemed to be warring for America’s soul since the 60′s have not just reached a detente, they have merged. This is, of course, exactly what you get when you send your best and brightest to universities where bohemian ideals are taught and then release them into a world where the realities of material life inexorably impel them into moneyed positions. As the author puts it,

“This is an elite that has been raised to oppose elites. They are affluent yet opposed to materialism. They may spend their lives selling yet worry about selling out. They are by instinct anti-establishmentarian yet somehow sense they have become a new establishment.”
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The essence of the bobo lifestyle is being rich while pretending you’re not. Bobos love luxury as much as anyone else with five senses, but because they have been educated in a leftist critique of it, they would suffer damage to their self-image if they openly and honestly imbibed it. Therefore their lives are a peculiar dance, whose subtle application of abstract rules to everyday life would boggle the mind of an ultra-Orthodox Jew, in which they seek to indulge luxury in ways that somehow, according to the bobo code, don’t count.

What this ushers in to our society with disturbing alacrity, is self-loathing, and up there among our highest echelons of private and state authority. The self-loathing comes out in bizarre, secularist but cultish rituals indulged to cleanse some kind of a “soul” — to manifest some inner goodness that isn’t really there.

The Holy One managed to touch on quite a few of these last night.

An American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, notorious for carrying much pork and little beef, held aloft as an emblem of victory nevertheless — even though it isn’t fooling anybody anymore. Tax cuts for “working households,” democrat code words for people who don’t work and don’t have taxes to cut. Oversight led by the Vice President “because nobody messes with Joe.” Renewable energy. Caps on carbon pollution. Socialized health care. Socialized education. Closing down Guantanamo.

Much of it is, of course, what has come to be the traditional “Christmas in February” from democrat Presidents to constituency groups — teachers’ unions, global warming scammers, aparatchiks of the ballooning single-payer healthcare movement. (The unintentional comedy is that in the days ahead this will be referred to as something new and bold, although there is very little in Obama’s first SOTU that isn’t recycled.)

But it’s something else. The euphemisms are carefully chosen. Chosen to make the upper-crusters feel better about themselves, as they toss those crusts to the rest of us. As if they were doing that, at their own expense instead of at the expense of our children. And as if we needed it. Obama, I’m afraid, doesn’t get it…just like any one of the other bobos doesn’t get it. He says “…even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres; a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.” Somehow, in the bobo mindset, that rugged determination that perseveres, mighty a fire as it may be, requires kindling. It needs to be actuated. It first requires a leviathan government to take our money away from us and give it back to us again.

The “credit crunch” demands more borrowing.

We’re all out of money; the solution is to spend it.

We aren’t living life the way we were intended to; the answer to the problem is a cap-and-trade carbon exchange system, so we can live less life.

It isn’t confined to the federal level either. Cities enact needle-exchange programs. They build skateboard parks, not because of exemplary behavior on the part of the skateboarders, but because of atrocious behavior. Violent thugs are paroled who don’t deserve or merit parole. Once Congress raises the minimum wage, several states raise it still higher — all to show what good people we have in charge running the show. See how good we are! Tomorrow we’ll show you again!

We are buried in bad laws, because a certain generation can’t live with itself.

Sony Releases…

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

…well, ya just gotta watch. The language is unsafe for work. Not just a little bit, either; a WHOLE lot.

But it’s well worth it, if you’ve been putting your time getting these things to work, or if you’ve just been watching someone else do that.

D’JEver Notice? XXV

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

A little bit less of the “Once they come together, Americans can do anything!” tonight…from both sides…

…a little bit more of “Once Americans are left to solve problems as individuals, using their own best judgment, they can do anything!” …or… “Once Americans are restored the freedom and liberty God intended for them to have, they can do anything!”

– that would have been like a long, tall, cool drink of water after weeks of wandering in the desert.

I guess this just isn’t the right time for that kind of message. Oh well. Just a little bit of waiting, I’m sure being able to do things will come back in style. A little bit of waiting and a little bit more suffering. No point wondering about any of it. It’ll happen. The longer we stay enamored of “coming together” as opposed to actually doing constructive things…the more suffering we’re going to do…we’ll do just as much of it as we have to, to learn. Not one speck less. Guaranteed.

Update: Yeah, if you’re bright you already got this figured out. I’m trashing Jindal some more; that was his central point, the die-hard liberal-lefty tagline “Together We Can Do This!!” Thought he’d take a page out of their playbook, get the Manhattan boob-tube blue-blooders to like him for a few minutes. Poor dumb bastard.

They’re trashing him. On Fox.

We already held a vote on whether we like imitation-democrats with the letter “R” after their names, Bobby. The guy who tried that got creamed. It’s gonna stay that way for awhile.

America!You make the Republican party the party of individualism, can-do, real-freedom, kick-bad-guys’-asses, individuality-and-reason…the Party of Eratosthenes…the Party of Aristotle…it’ll be like Lincoln to Hoover without Wilson in-between. With much better results.

I promise. Really. It’s woven into our fabric. This country is just a whole lot of individualist bedrock with just some flimsy phony flibbertigibbet socialist topsoil.

Be the leader this country craves, and it’ll beat a path to your door. Yeah maybe people won’t admit their mistakes. But they’ll fix ‘em once given an opportunity.

If it wasn’t in our genetic makeup, we’d have a Prime Minister by now, we’d be running on the metric system, our “football” players would be kicking a round white ball around in their short pants, nobody would have guns including the cops, and we’d probably even be driving on the wrong goddamned side of the road.

And don’t even ask what would be going on in Iraq right now. Yeah. I said it, I went there.

This is America, a .44 magnum revolver in a pellet-gun world. People are all cluck-clucking that we went and brandished the sidearm…there was a robbery in progress, it was more than called-for…but contrary to the blue-blood talking points, nothing’s been discharged — and meanwhile, we’re getting shaken down. We just got driven to our bank machine, to yank the last $300 out of our checking account, at knifepoint…when our credit cards are already maxed. That happened. Tonight. In fact, it’s worse than that, we’re expected to thank the guy who just robbed us. No, more than that, join a cult that worships Him as if He were some kind of God.

The sleeping giant will awaken. At some point, it has to. My prayers, and my bets, are on-or-before 2012. Let it be.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

And One More Thing About Palin…

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

…I think if she’s paired up with Jindal in ’12, she should stay up at the top of the ticket.

It’s not because she has nicer looking legs, although I’m sure she does. And to some extent, both she and Bobby have something going on that is a tad — theatrical. A little bit too much inunciation. Like they’re talking to morons. Kind of Al-Gore-ish.

Bobby’s high-school-debate-club veneer is just a little bit thicker than Sarah’s, though. She should take top. Nevertheless, that story about requiring insurance and registration from the people in the boats rescuing the homeowners on their rooftops…that’s horrifying. Pretty much captures what’s wrong with the country right now. Well, half of it, anyway.

Being a Dictator, Being a Bitch…What Else is Left for Feminists?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Speaking of “Buck,” our good blogger friend down in New Mexico by that name is taunting us, ridiculing our favorite Presidential (Vice) candidate in the title of his latest post.

Yeah good one, Buck. Like you wouldn’t give up some teeth to see her sworn in right about now. In hot pants, Supergirl cape and go-go boots. Hey…for the next three years, ten months and three weeks, that last part is about as likely to happen as the former part…a fella might as well dream.

Well, Californians know how to be snarky too. So I sent him a link to Cassy’s place. In which a feminist is demanding her rightful status, not as a flesh-burning, head-chopping brutal dictator, but rather as a more modest generically-unpleasant female person. A rhymes-with-rich.

As if we’ve had some kind of shortage of those.

Speaking of delusions of supply-and-demand, I hear PrezBO is going to descend from his cloud tonight to tell us the best way to balance the budget is to spend money we don’t have like crazy. Oh yeah, Obambi! That’s exactly the way my household does it! Phone’s about to be shut off and there’s a cardboard thingy from the power company on my doorknob…only one thing to do…run up the charge cards on a whole lotta crap!

That doesn’t seem to make an awful lot of sense, does it?

And yet…there our elected representatives go…the ones whom, I’m told, are so much smarter than the rest of us. Doing that very thing.

You figure this shit out, drop me a line explaining it. Okay? I’ll be snoozing away, dreaming about a certain Governor of Alaska being sworn in, in some kind of getup that would make Stacey Keibler blush.

Another Homemade Bumper Sticker

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Just fiddling around with my poor-man’s Photoshop tools…again…

That goes for the opposition, too. You own both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Barry. Knock off that compromising…nobody wants you to do it anyway, tighty righties or lefty-loosies…just do stuff. Do all the things that you know are swell ideas.

Own the next four years. Make ‘em yours. We know you’ve got the balls for it.

Thanks For Doing Everything My Way, Now You’re All Dead

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Within the list of guys in world history who got everything done their way, George Soros is my nominee for all-time champion Gloomy Gus.

At Columbia University last Friday, legendary hedge fund manager George Soros shocked his audience, proclaiming …

”We witnessed the collapse of the financial system. It was placed on life support, and it’s still on life support. There’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.“

Soros went on to say that …
The crisis is actually more severe than the Great Depression …

It’s like watching the demise of the Soviet Union, and …

There is no prospect of a recovery any time soon.

Kind of reminds me of Eric Holder’s speech…you know, the “Thanks for electing a President of color who appointed an Attorney General of color, and by the way, you’re all cowards.”

Why are people so adamant about having everything done their way, and then just sit around and squawk that things are so bad, once it happens?

More on Soros

Regulators are in part to blame because they “abrogated” their responsibilities, Soros, 78, said. The philosophy of “market fundamentalism” was now under question as financial markets have proved to be inefficient and affected by biases rather than driven by all the available information, he said.

“We’re in a crisis, I think, that’s really the most serious since the 1930s and is different from all the other crises we have experienced in our lifetime,” Soros said, adding that the Federal Reserve had created several by lowering interest rates.

I’ve heard all these talking points before. With weaker regulation, people looked after their own selfish interests and ruined things.

Trouble with that is, what are we hoping will revive, exactly? Something called “the economy,” right? Can anyone tell me what an economy is…other than a bunch of people looking after their own selfish interests?

In fact, since these greedy selfish people are just people, and regulators are just people — it’s a little like arguing what color to paint a bomb you’re going to drop on a city, isn’t it? I mean, what exactly is it about regulators that makes them wise and un-greedy?

All I can think of is motivation. Those filthy robber barons are motivated toward a healthy bottom-line. Huh. You know, if what we’re bitching about is unhealthy bottom-lines, I don’t see how their objectives are different from ours. People like Soros have had many chances to explain this to me, and I must be too dense to figure it out because it remains a mystery. Regulators, on the other hand, aren’t really motivated toward any one thing…their job, when you get down to it, is to get in the way when decisions are made too quickly for the benefit of the bottom line. To be a fly in the ointment, a pain in the ass. They represent everything-else. They’re the opposition.

But getting back to the subject of this post. How decisively does an election have to culminate in a triumph for Mr. Soros’ interests, before he stops being such a depressing little gnome? This is a guy who has ruined national economies for his own personal benefit. The more I think of it, the more his lecturing us about greed, seems one and the same as Eric Holder lecturing us about cowardice.

I think this needs to go in the memory file, for the next time we’re presented with an opportunity to do things the way these gentlemen want us to. You know, it’s true throughout all of life, anytime someone demands you do something rather than asking nicely…

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

Memo For File LXXXII

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

ONCE upon a time, there was a shipwrecked sailor. He had been knocked out in the storm that sank his ship. He was lucky to wake up on the beach. But he had nothing. Not even his memories. He didn’t even know his name. His only possession aside from the clothes on his back, was a pet duck pelican. The pelican’s name was Hope.

The man subsisted on coconuts for a time, and then he decided he needed to explore the island that was his new home. After walking for a day and a night, he saw a modest little house next to a small wharf. In the house he found a friendly old man who liked to fish. The old man was kind enough to lend the sailor some of his gear, and his bait. The sailor loved fish after living on coconuts, and he and the old man became fast friends. Every day they’d go down to the end of the wharf, the old man, the sailor, and Hope the pelican.

The old man had three daughters. Their names were History, Logic and Rhetoric. One day, the old man announced he would like the sailor to be his son-in-law. Nobody knew too much about the old man’s finances, but he had put away a tidy sum, and thought it would be just enough to buy a new house. He would be pleased to offer it to the sailor as a dowry.

But one problem remained. Which daughter would the sailor marry? And so it was agreed he would date each one of the daughters, starting with the oldest, and working his way down to the youngest. That night, he spruced himself up just as well as he possibly could, and he, his pet pelican Hope, and the oldest daughter History went walking down the beach in the moonlight.

The sailor found History to be a very sensible lady. She had a decent, working memory and used it to great aplomb. However, the sailor noticed History had a strange relationship with his pet pelican Hope. Sometimes History was very kind to Hope. Othertimes…not so much. He wasn’t always sure if History had a problem with Hope, or whether Hope had a problem with History.

And so it came as a surprise to the sailor when History started to talk seriously about the future. She sensed his concern and asked him to excuse her…she got that way a lot of the time. It was a habit she formed after many long years of noticing most people didn’t think about the future very much.

History continued: “Have you heard of that new housing community on the far side of the island?” No, the sailor had never heard of it. “Taxcutland,” said History. “It’s a wonderful place to live. I know of many people who have bought their houses in Taxcutland, and it has always worked out well for them.” “Is that so?” said the sailor. “Absolutely,” she replied. “In all the time I’ve been around, I’ve never known it to work out poorly for anybody.”

The sailor tossed and turned that night, thinking about his date with History. She did seem to be a very sensible lady, and he got the impression he should pay more attention to her than he did. But her looks bothered him. Sometimes she looked pretty, othertimes rather homely. Occasionally, when the light hit her really wrong, she could be downright ugly. And then there was that thing with Hope the pelican.

The sailor decided he would start dating the middle sister, Logic.

Logic was even more sensible than her older sister, History. Like most middle-children, she had often been neglected in her childhood. In large crowds, when she was ignored completely, she tended to stay by herself and find ways to stay entertained, alone. Logic was most capable; she was able to do amazing things, whereas History had a tendency to leave things more or less exactly the way she found them.

In spite of her personal tendency to stay away from people, Logic seemed to be somewhat more experienced in dating than History. The only problem was, for some reason, men tired of her quickly. She was accustomed to rejection.

The sailor, being the practical type, was favorably impressed with all the things Logic could build. But again, one thing put him off: Logic had a sweet-and-sour relationship with his pet pelican Hope. It wasn’t bad all the time; sometimes Logic and Hope got along great. But when they didn’t, the tension ran high.

The sailor thought he’d try and talk about the future, with Logic, just to see what would happen.

“Your sister was telling me about a new housing community called Taxcutland.” “Oh, yes!” said Logic. “I know all about it! It only makes sense that the community is doing so well, you know; the people who live there are free to do as they like.”

Again, that night, the sailor tossed and turned, wondering what to do. He was intrigued by the possibilities involved in a future spent with logic. And she was beautiful in her own way. But there were many fun things he thought he might not be able to do with her. He got the impression she was a bit of a killjoy…and, again, there was that matter with his pet pelican Hope.

The sailor decided he would date the youngest sister, Rhetoric.

Rhetoric was different from her sisters — passionate, carefree, spirited, bubbly, vivacious. The girl never stopped talking! She raised the sailor’s spirits in a way no one had before. But best of all, the pet pelican Hope just loved Rhetoric. They got along wonderfully, ALL the time. He was especially pleased to see how often Rhetoric talked about the pelican. Sometimes it seemed she had nothing else on her mind…just Hope, Hope, Hope.

The sailor had one question on his mind: What would a future be like, in which he turned his back on History and Logic, and gave his devotion to Rhetoric? He decided to try and find out. “Have you heard of this housing community from your sisters?” “Oh, that dreadful Taxcutland,” sighed Rhetoric. “It’s a fool’s dream, you know. Tax cuts. Same old story…the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” “Well if you had your choice, where would you buy a house?” “Oh I have no question about that at all,” said Rhetoric. “Stimulusville, that’s the way to go! I just think, when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody!”

The sailor had never heard of Stimulusville. But Rhetoric’s voice was so dulcet and sweet, if she liked it, he was sure it would be a fine place to live. He made up his mind. He would marry Rhetoric.

It was a wonderful wedding, the weather perfect for it. Hope the pelican served as ringbearer. The old man gave the sailor the dowry, as promised, in gold bars. And the sailor used it to buy a house in Stimulusville. He would pin all his dreams on this community, just as his new wife, Rhetoric, wanted him to.

The house in Stimulusville cost a lot more than the sailor thought. But he, Hope and Rhetoric were so happy, he figured it was worth it. Rhetoric told him to think of it as an investment.

But then the bloom wore off the rose. Stimulusville, it turned out, was leaking money pretty fast. Every year, it seemed the city council ran a serious budget deficit. They raised the taxes to cover it, but then all the businesses would pack up and leave — usually to Taxcutland.

The sailor’s taxes went up, and up, and up. Rhetoric would always say it made perfect sense — the money had to come from somewhere, and where else would the money come from? The city elders used the money for “stimulus” packages for chronic welfare queens, druggies, carjackers, perps, and other losers. Then they’d run their budget deficit, raise taxes, and drive more businesses out to Taxcutland.

Worst of all, his new wife Rhetoric seemed to be sleeping with every other guy in town. She was a flirtatious, precocious young lady, not at all unpleasing to the eye. Everyone liked hearing what Rhetoric had to say; she made a lot of friends, and there was no limit to how friendly she’d become with them. That was always the problem with Rhetoric; she never seemed to know where to stop with things.

Eventually, Rhetoric ran off. The sailor’s house, now mortgaged two and three times over, anchored him to Stimulusville for the rest of his life.

After a good cry, he realized he hadn’t seen or heard anything from his pet pelican in awhile. He searched all over the yard, and finally found the pelican, drowned, by the pond. His pet pelican Hope was dead. How he’d miss that pelican! He realized, he’d chosen his wife mostly out of concern for the pelican’s welfare, and that one single act seemed to have been exactly what killed it.

One day, a while after he buried his precious Hope, but not too long after, Logic came to his doorstep with a casserole. She heard he’d been having a tough time of it. He told her how much he missed her, how much he regretted turning his back on her. He should have bought a house in Taxcutland and married her. Logic agreed that was quite sensible. Why, she wanted to know, did he marry Rhetoric and move into this awful place? I don’t know, said the Sailor; it seemed to make good sense at the time.

No, Logic said; it didn’t, and you always knew that deep down. The sailor realized she was right.

You know, said Logic, nobody’s ever told you this, and you didn’t have too many chances to figure it out for yourself. But I disagree with my older sister almost as often as with my younger one. When you saw Logic and History both found the same plan appealing, that really should have told you everything you needed to know.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Obama’s Bold New Plan to Wreck the Economy

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Treacher.

I’m very proud to announce the establishment of a new government agency called the Monetary Uniformity Group. This agency will put people to work performing a simple but effective task: Americans who are currently [mimes scare quotes] “earning” too much money will be relieved of all excess cash — by force only if necessary — after which it will be gathered up, bundled into thick, heavy bales, and thrown into a wood chipper.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, but please keep in mind that this plan is flexible. It could be some sort of industrial shredder instead. Or the money might be incinerated with flamethrowers, or weighed down with lead and dropped into the deepest part of the ocean. There are any number of options. The whole idea is to get that money moving away from people who don’t deserve it.

To put it in terms someone like you might be able to understand: Look at your neighbor. Is it fair that he has a nicer car than you? A bigger TV? A younger, more physically fit wife or girlfriend? Well, then, let’s see how he likes it when I grab his wallet and throw it in the wood chipper.

[Smiling, Obama mimes taking a wallet from someone's pocket with his thumb and forefinger, tossing it over his shoulder, and cringing slightly at the imaginary roar of the machine.]

Just picture that. Doesn’t it feel good? A minute ago he thought he was soooo great, and now he’s all mad because he doesn’t have his iddle-widdle wallet. Look at him, he’s actually crying. Got something to say, Richie Rich? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Only by following this plan can we restore America to the greatness it has yet to achieve. Remember: You deserve better, which means everybody else deserves worse.

Thank you.

Good satire resembles real life. I’m afraid this bears more than just a passing similarity. And just remember, Obamatons, this does nothing to break a campaign promise. There were very few made. You weren’t that insistent on finding out what Chosen One was gonna do. All that mega-awesomeness to be celebrated.

Hat tip: Gerard.

Yet Another Question

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Melanie Sill, Sacramento Bee Editor, has a column out this morning saying it is “Time to look at newspaper roles and woes.” I lightly skimmed over it, but it would appear there is no point in the column in which she attempts to blame the “newspaper woes” on the Bush Administration. I must say, the title really grabbed me. I could’ve sworn it was just last month we had an inauguration ceremony, and if it was time to do anything, it was time to celebrate the end of all problems and the dawn of a new age of sweetness & light. Here it is five weeks later, and it’s time to look at problems again. Wha’ happened?

Why newspapers are hurting, I’m going to leave unexamined. After all, she did. Also, it seems the entire management layer at The Bee, and at other newspapers, is leaving it to outsiders to declare what the newspapers should do in order to save themselves. That was the point of her column, to announce “The Conversation,” which can be found at www.sacbee.com/conversation.

The trend continues. No one, so far as I know, is blaming failing newspapers on the Bush Administration. No one, so far as I know, is saying Obama’s gonna fix ‘em. Not unless you want to count this Connecticut newspaper-bailout-guy.

So my question is this.

If George W. Bush caused just about all of our problems…but not quite…and Barack Obama can fix just about all of our problems, but not quite…

Can Obama fix problems that George Bush didn’t create?

Kind of a “If God is all-powerful, can He create a rock so big that even He cannot lift it?” sorta thing.

Update: Off-topic, somewhat, but I had to clip out that comment from folsomboy in the forum linked above. The subject is Should California lead the nation in the fight against global warming?:

Although I would give SOME credit to balanced reporting in the article, one line stood out when I read it: “… and the general public all in support …” This comment board is proof that this is not so. Very common in global warming articles, being told that we all support action, being told that all scientists agree, that there is a concensus, that the debate is over. All fabrications. Ed mentioned the global cooling hoax in his post. I’m in possession of several articles from that period, and they include the phrases “all scientists agree”, “an avalanche of evidence”, and other fictional remarks. I hope it’s not too late for our naive and impressionable society.

To revisit this other question, about why newspapers are in trouble: LOTS of reasons! But one that shouldn’t be discounted, I believe, is that they are poisoning their own food supply. Their fantasy-game that Iraq was a “quagmire,” well past the point where it clearly wasn’t one, is a testament to their “If It Bleeds, It Leads” mindset that will be embarrassingly preserved for generations in journalistic history.

They’re forced to do that because they cover up other news we want to know — by pretending we’re more unified than we really are.

If you’re a left-leaning libby, you think I’m a knuckle-dragging neanderthal posting garbage on his tighty-righty blog, about to destroy the planet by encouraging people to own guns, go to Hooters, believe in God and emit that terrible, terrible carbon. I, in turn, think you got your Replacement Jesus in the White House and far from being satisfied, you’ll never be happy no matter what.

Each of us is interested in what the other one is doing. We’re divided and will probably continue to be so for generations.

Newspapers could report on that. But instead, as folsomboy points out (by the way, take my word for it, I’m not him) — every popular idea, no matter how fanciful, no matter how extravagant and ramshackle, has to be presented as if “everyone” agrees on it.

If you believe in that…you’re forced to ask yourself, why should I buy a newspaper?

This is more than just lazy reporting. It’s bad business.

A Weird and Evil Commercial

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

I know Christmas is over, but I just found this thing and it is a wonderful, albeit warped, specimen of art. At least in my twisted mind, it is.

“The Government Is Promoting Bad Behavior”

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

It’s become an “Everyone Else is Blogging It, I Might As Well Do It Too” thing.

Santelli wants to know if President Obama is listening. Sen. Boxer, I’d like to know if you’re listening.

Paying your mortgage has become a moral hazard.

Update: Blogger friend Rick is following this back-n-forth — two additional installments as of now, more to come, fer sure.

Looks like there is a “bullying issue.” Not sure I agree with that. Propaganda Minister Gibbs is being not quite so much a bully, as a snot. Same ol’ fluff and nonsense from the Obamaton camp: If you disagree with our wonderful remedies, you’re a dolt and we have some reading for you to do. If you agree, on the other hand, we’re not even going to inspect your level of intellect let alone ridicule it. Even though you might think President Obama is gonna put gas in your car.

It’s a case of making complicated things simple and simple things complicated…which is what you have to do to make left-wing ideas look good. In this case, this doesn’t even involve reading anything. Not so much as a page. It’s human behavior: If people are entitled to wealth without working for it — or if they are no longer entitled to the property for which they did work — guess what? People don’t feel like working for wealth anymore.

And other than people working for wealth, what is an economy?

Now the ball’s in your court, Mr. Gibbs. Do tell me what I should print out and read, that will shed new light on the situation, as it exists today in the way I’ve summed it up.

Why We Have Gun Control

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Make sure a gun-grabbing goo-gooder you know & love, sees it. Today. Many times.

Super-Useless Superpowers

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Read, maybe submit some ideas of your own.

Hat tip: My newer favorite silly-blog, Busty Superhero Chick. Even without superpowers, she’d be awesome! Check her out.

Taboos

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

The observation made by Dr. Melissa has me thinking more about that oldest of societal artifacts, the taboo. Taboos are fascinating because they have maximum effect on all of us, while involving an absolute minimum of cognitive thought.

I thought I’d start some lists:

Ten Societal Taboos I Can Get Behind:
1. Men don’t hit women.
2. Men hold out seats for women, open doors for women, hold umbrellas over womens’ heads.
3. A preposition is not something you end a sentence with.
4. You don’t say anything bad about someone’s race, because it’s intellectually lazy, and there’s nothing they could do about it if they wanted to.
5. Say “please” and “thank you.”
6. Don’t use George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words in a blog post…or at least, the headline of a blog post.
7. Take your hat off when you’re indoors.
8. Don’t do anything, or say anything, to old people you wouldn’t want said to you when you’re an old person.
9. Drive with your high beams turned off, when you see a car approaching.
10. Put your goddamn apostrophes in the right place. Don’t use them in front of the “S” letter when it’s used for plurals.

Ten Societal Taboos I Cannot Get Behind:
1. Keep your kids away from anything that might be dangerous.
2. You can’t say anything bad about single moms, and that includes pointing out the disadvantages kids have in single-parent households.
3. Men shouldn’t go to Hooters because it’s a “strip bar.”
4. Reporters are better than bloggers.
5. You have no standing to expect to make a living, if you don’t 1) join a union, 2) go to a college, 3) have a house/wife/kids.
6. Men shouldn’t even want to do things women wouldn’t want to do…let alone actually do them.
7. Don’t say anything bad about someone’s religion…unless they’re Christians then it’s quite alright. After all, they’re not cutting anyone’s head off.
8. Don’t own a gun, fire a gun, look at a gun, tell your kids about guns.
9. Don’t hunt.
10. Don’t talk like a real, full-grown man in front of little kids. Use a phony voice that starts out an octave above middle-C, and goes up from there.

Ten Societal Taboos I Would Like To See:
1. Wear your goddamn ball cap on your head front-wards, and make sure your pants cover up your ass crack.
2. Don’t speculate on someone being a clueless idiot if you haven’t personally met ‘em. Let’s call this the “Sarah Palin rule.”
3. Wives, I don’t wanna hear about it when you gave your man a bunch of guff about nothing. If he asked nicely for you to bring him a beer, bring him one.
4. Jocks don’t pick on nerds. You’ll have to kiss their asses later on when you work for them. You really might as well start now.
5. Drive the same speed when there isn’t a cop, as when there is one. Keep it reasonable and you don’t need to care about whether he’s watching.
6. Girls and women who wanna date the “bad boy,” are stupid and nobody respects them. That’s the situation anyway. Might as well say so.
7. Don’t get your news from The Daily Show. You’re telling people this isn’t true. So make it not-true. Get your news somewhere else.
8. Expounding upon #7: Don’t watch the teevee, read a book instead.
9. Taking your kids to see a “Doofus Dad” movie is tantamount to child abuse.
10. Making a “Doofus Dad” movie is sexist. Because it is.

Maybe I should make some kind of blogger game out of this. As in, “Come up with your own and tag five others.”

But thinking on that again, if I heard of a new taboo against inventing games like those, I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to it. So tell you what, if you like my idea and you want to make such a game out of it, tag away.

On Hitting Women

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Dr. Melissa Clouthier is concerned that our social codes are being eroded. I agree. She brings some solid evidence to the table:

Exhibit A:

If you’ve watched the news at all (I don’t, but I saw the cover of the National Enquirer and other weeklies at the grocery check-out on Sunday), you know that the pop singer Rihanna (featured on this blog in the song Life Your Life) got tuned up by her boyfriend Chris Brown. And by tuned up, I mean her face was severely beaten and she was choked and had to go to the hospital for chronic and persistent head aches (I’m guessing a concussion.)

Now, the reaction by the guys at the counter at H.E.B., one black two white, was this: Rihanna must have done something horrible like give Chris an STD or something because a dude just doesn’t hit the face of a woman because he’s angry.

Exhibit B:

A friend of a friend got tuned up by her husband (who is, by the way, a worthless slug, but that’s another story) because she cheated on him. The person who relayed the story to me defended the husband’s behavior and said that it was understandable that he would beat her like that because of how she disrespected him.

There used to be rules governing this sort of thing. Women stayed virginal and prized that virginity because it gave them great power. Men knew that in order to get nooky from a respectable woman, he’d have to make a commitment and then, once the commitment was made, he received, in return a woman who would more likely be faithful to him and who would be a good mother to his children, etc. She knew that he had self control and respect for her.

Another rule: A man simply would not hit a woman. Period. Ever. These days, though, women are portrayed in movies, on TV, in books, etc. as equal to men in physical strength which is simply not true. So you have guys beating on women and women winning, when, in real life the likelihood of that happening is slim and none. In addition, people possess less conflict-resolution skills and resort to unhelpful behaviors like yelling, screaming, name-calling, physical aggression and sometimes ending in physical violence. This used to be unacceptable. These days, three guys in a grocery store and an acquaintance can spend time arguing to me that it’s acceptable for a guy to beat the heck out of his woman when he’s “disrespected”.

This is what happens when there is no honor and there is no shame and there are no rules for engagement.

I think things are a bit more complicated than this though. I’ll just echo my own words in her comment section…

I suggest this excuse-making be diagnosed as a mental disorder, and then inspected as such. There are many factors going into it.

First off: It would be absurd to argue our society suffers from a shortage of taboos. We’re up to our armpits in taboos. Where to begin…the N word…ridiculing the dialect of any ethnic minority individual or group…emitting carbon. I don’t need to flesh out that list, the point’s made. We certainly understand, and act upon, the concept of social stigma for certain behavior.

It’s the timelessness that is missing. Everything’s gotta be re-invented. If daddy puffed away at cigars and bitched away about the evils of smoking pot, you have to switch ‘em around to show your “independence.”

Second off: As you point out, the flawed fantasy that a woman is likely to hold her own in a physical contest with a man, causes the damage to the taboo against hitting women. Which was invented, eons ago, out of concern that men can bring down far more damage.

Third: Our new library of stigmas — this psychological need to come up with a new library with each generation — is the real root cause. Who, with a voice that many can hear, has been allowed to insinuate that a typical man is more powerful than a typical woman?

Fourth, and this is what you’ve overlooked, I think: Feminism has also inspired a quest of sorts, by faithless women, to acquire a sort of license to cheat on men. I’m pretty sure these yahoos had that in mind when they made their comments, because they were brought up on…

Fifth: Another thing you would have done well to explore. Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there was a pop-psych movement taking place in which the solution to every problem that came along was a visit to a “psychiatrist.” The psychiatrist would then tell you to go home and do something that had to do with “confronting.” Confront a thing, confront a person. It was presented as a panacea, something that would bring “closure” which was a complete lie — the opposite was true. So everyone knew someone who was in “therapy,” and everyone in therapy was put on this endless-loop of confronting. Unhappily, that tradition has endured to such an extent that “gentlemen” who weren’t even born at the time, now have this woven into their genes. A woman who cheats is no longer some vile beast fit to be cast aside into a ditch, where she can meet the lower life forms that deserve her; she has to be confronted. Back in the olden days, sure some guys hit women who cheated on them, but society didn’t legitimize it because, while fracturing the protocol against hitting females, it was also looked upon as silly. Giving her more credit than she was worth. Like hitting garbage.

Sixth, and this goes with fifth: Sometime after this movement to psychologize every li’l problem, was another movement in which you had to “speak truth to power” anytime someone said something politically incorrect. Rolling your eyes, saying “what a dummy,” and going about your business, was no longer acceptable. You had to get in people’s faces about things — “Excuse me, I don’t think that’s an appropriate expression to use to describe persons of color.” So of course when your woman cheats on you you have to let her know what you think of it. With your fists.

Isn’t it funny? The effort was to make society more civilized. We did every single thing the “progressives” asked us to do. And here we are, at least the “big we”…punching women. Wouldn’t it be great fun, trying to explain that to a Knight from Arthur’s Round Table who’d been frozen for 1,500 years, how this makes us more civilized? Better yet, watching one of the new-agers try to explain it. Fie, fie, forsoothe ye be to blame.

Men and women being different — this is more of a keystone to the structure that is our civilization, than one might initially think. And that isn’t a knock on women, either. Yes, men are stronger, and have traditionally been regarded as such; women are closer to “God.” Glory, if you prefer. The knight cannot be a knight without a lady to defend, and defending her, he invests all of his notions of decency in her. She becomes the embodiment of all the things on this earthly plane that are worthy of defense.

When the handle of the crank is brought in to the center of rotation, the machinery cannot be operated and there is little point in attempting to do so. Our modern feminism movement, consciously or not, has been crusading toward the premise that women are no longer worthy of defense. A man hits a woman in the face, the same way as he’d hit another man just as strong as he — that is a bad thing, but not a new thing. Men have been doing that. What is especially bad, and new, is that other men do not see an urgent need to distance themselves from him, to show, for the sake of their manly honor, why they are different from him.

Nope, the new litmus test is were you willing to vote for an under-qualified Chicago machine-politician for President just because his skin is black. Answer yes to that, and all’s good. You’ve risen to the new cultural expectations of “civilization.”

As for what to tell that thawed-out 1,500-year-old knight, you’re on your own; I can’t help you there. In fact, if you figure that one out, let me know.

Update: Under this general heading of yanking the crank handle in closer to the center-of-rotation and thereby making the machinery inoperable…making men and women the same…deplore l’difference. Thought I’d toss in this entry from Locutisprime at Rick’s Place concerning the boy who became homecoming queen.

This is sick, folks. It’s an unconscionable attack upon, and humiliation of, women. It’s an assault upon civilized society, and it’s high time it was treated as such.

Most of what we’ve built, was built by men. Most of what men built, they did for women…women who were different from them. On a higher level. Worthy of impressing and defending.

It’s not an attack on the talents, capabilities and intelligence of women to point this out: If we started out as a unisex society, with non-existent or negligible differences between the sexes — the handle of the crank close to the center of the shaft — we wouldn’t have squat. We’d be living in caves. Probably wouldn’t have figured out how to cook meat over a flame by this time.

The Tragedy of the Commons

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

The wireless connection is up & down like a whore’s drawers. We’re arguing with the broadband company about it, and I must say this morning the experience has sapped my creative energies somewhat. It’s not so much that I’m exhausted, it’s more like I don’t feel like writing things if it’s just an exercise in frustration to get them posted.

But there’s one thing I want to make damn sure I preserve for posterity.

Neo-Neocon on “Tragedy of the Commons” (from Wednesday), whose words I’ll just suck in here verbatim, without editing nuthin’. Besides, I got a feeling these wireless woes represent a great example of what she’s talking about.

The economy, bubbles, and the tragedy of the commons

The current economic crisis exhibits characteristics that illustrate the tragedy of the commons:

“The Tragedy of the Commons” is an influential article written by Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968. The article describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared limited resource even where it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long term interest for this to happen.

Central to Hardin’s article is a metaphor of herders sharing a common parcel of land (the commons), on which they are all entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin’s view, it is in each herder’s interest to put as many cows as possible onto the land, even if the commons is damaged as a result. The herder receives all of the benefits from the additional cows, while the damage to the commons is shared by the entire group.

Subprime mortgages began with Congressional acts that ordered banks to make bad loans in order to bring housing opportunities to the poor. But, although we can blame that for opening the door to the practice, the mortgages made under Congressional fiat were but a small percentage of the final total of bad real estate paper. Over time, mortgage companies and other lenders ran amok with the notion. Ultimately, the toxic paper was spread throughout our entire financial system.

Why? Why did so many people violate the most obvious standards of prudence, and endanger us all?

It’s the tragedy of the commons, stupid: there was money to be made from these loans in the era of ever-ascending housing prices that constituted the real estate bubble. The lenders and borrowers involved in such loans not only profited from the rising housing prices, but they also helped fuel them. And all homeowners liked seeing the value of their homes increase, especially those who took out second mortgages counting on that figure to remain the same or to continue to go up. Many people seemed to benefit.

In the short run, that is—although in this case, the “short run” lasted many years. Those involved in the deals were betting either that housing prices would never come down (a truly insane assumption, but it seems that many otherwise rational people convinced themselves it was true),—or that, when the decline did happen, they themselves would still have come out ahead.

What was ignored was that, despite individual benefit, such gains would be temporary for most. The fact that the risk was so thoroughly spread throughout the entire financial sector that it poisoned everything was either not understood, or ignored. In addition, even among those who did see a downturn coming in a general sense, most did not foresee that there would not necessarily be enough warning when the bubble burst to get out safely.

After all, that’s the nature of bubbles—they get larger and larger, and while that is happening, their outer surfaces become thinner and thinner, stretched finally to the breaking point.

Where exactly will that breaking point be? Hard to predict, but when it happens it happens suddenly and dramatically. Poof! The bubble is gone, and all that’s left behind is a tiny bit of slimy foam.

[NOTE: And don’t think government can rectify the situation. Not only does Congress lack the tools to foresee and correct the problems, but it is an excellent example of the tragedy of the commons in action.]

Memo For File LXXXI

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” — Ayn Rand

When I see how politicians behave — especially last year, during the contentious elections — I see reason to believe the distinction between conservatives and liberals, is being irreversibly eroded. But then I read the news. The pattern that emerges is that there is a clear difference between conservatism and liberalism when I decide what it is that interests me about what’s going on, and the difference melts away when the politicians start making the decisions about what I’m supposed to look at.

Nadya Suleman, the octo-mom, is about to be homeless. Her own mom hasn’t been making payments on the mortgage, since last spring. That’s probably due to a combination of factors including genetic irresponsibility, and the burden of providing for a sociopath daughter who just lies around the house thinking of more ways to get pregnant.

Nadya Suleman and the eight babies she gave birth to last month could soon be homeless, according to reports from the US.

The octuplets mum, who gave birth to the babies after receiving IVF treatments, could risk being out of a home after repayments on the house she is living in have fallen into default.

People reports Ms Suleman’s mother, Angela, who owns the family home, hasn’t paid the mortgage in 10 months.

The bank filed a default notice on February 6 after Ms Suleman’s mother failed to pay the $2358 monthly repayment due since April 2008.

Now, it seems to me in a “civilized” society there would already be talks underway about when the younger Ms. Suleman is going to be sterilized. We were plenty civilized and technologically advanced to get her octupally-pregnant, weren’t we? But no. If talks are to be underway, they will be about how to keep the Sulemans in their beloved home and tell that mean old bank not to foreclose.

The arctic sea ice, we’ve lately discovered, hasn’t been shrinking like we thought. Faulty sensor. Whoops.

A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

The error, due to a problem called “sensor drift,” began in early January and caused a slowly growing underestimation of sea ice extent until mid-February. That’s when “puzzled readers” alerted the NSIDC about data showing ice-covered areas as stretches of open ocean, the Boulder, Colorado-based group said on its Web site.

“Sensor drift, although infrequent, does occasionally occur and it is one of the things that we account for during quality- control measures prior to archiving the data,” the center said. “Although we believe that data prior to early January are reliable, we will conduct a full quality check.”

But of course that won’t stop our liberal democrats from “acting” to “save the planet.” Together we can do this, you know.

Democratic leaders in both the Senate and House want to take action this year to stem global warming, but the imploding economy and balking Senate Republicans are likely to make that difficult.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he plans to take up the contentious climate issue by the end of the summer.

“We have to take a whack at it,” Reid told The Associated Press. He said failure to act “would be neglectful.”

Right on, Harry. Take a whack at making a planet cooler. How I’d love to see a goal associated with that: Earth mean temperature down to 68.6 degrees Fahrenheit; carbon saturation 344 ppm. You know, and I know, I’ll see nothing of the kind. The objective will be stated as, simply, “to act.” What they mean by that, is act — to get in the face of businesses and hard-working people. Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree.

The CEO of the Senate wants to take a look at it by the end of the summer. How convenient. Not much chance of inconvenient snowdrifts messing up your publicity tours in the last two weeks before labor day, huh Harry? Mark your calendar folks, there’ll be a lot of talk about “It’s hot lately, that’s irrefutable proof of GLOBAL WARMING.” The earth is gonna die if you don’t pay higher taxes.

But while you’re coming up with ideas, Harry, look to Massachusetts to lead the way.

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick (D) will unveil his transportation plan today, which may feature what the governor himself calls a “Hummer tax.”

The measure, the Boston Globe explains, would feature “higher registration fees for gas-guzzling cars and offering discounts for those that do less harm to the environment. One industry opponent said it would be the first such fee in the nation on the state level.” Backers say “saying it would encourage people to buy smaller and more fuel-efficient cars, which are increasingly seen as key to curbing global warming.” Representative William Brownsberger, co-sponsor of a similar bill, told the Globe, “The social costs of larger vehicles include not only the additional pollution, but also higher crash risks to other vehicles.”

Guantanamo is just dandy. Obama the Holy President ordered a review to see if it’s a terrible thing that defies international law, and it isn’t. The Chosen One will be working hard, now, to come up with some more excuses to close it down.

The Pentagon has concluded that the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay meets the standards for humane treatment of detainees established in the Geneva Convention accords.

In a report for President Obama on conditions at Guantanamo, the Pentagon recommended some changes — mainly providing some of the most troublesome inmates with more group recreation and opportunities for prayer — said an administration official who read the report and spoke on condition of anonymity, citing its confidential nature.

The lengthy report was done by a top Navy official, Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, in response to Obama’s Jan. 22 executive order to close the U.S. military detention facility in Cuba within a year.

Conservatives and Liberals, Individuals and SocietyI could pile on to that list all day. But if you’re smart, you already see the common theme.

The common theme is that in each of these, the rights of the individual is set against the broader needs of society as a whole.

Conservatives favor the rights of the individual over the rights of the many, when the individual has demonstrated a readiness, willingness and ability to accept the responsibilities that go with those rights.

Liberals favor the rights of the individual over the rights of the many, when the individual is a jackass. Ironically — society has an opportunity to prove how civilized it is (and this will never be completely accomplished) by accepting the liberal’s ultimatum. So a “civilized” society willingly subordinates its social contract to the whims of uncivilized people.

This is a good definition to throw in the file folder marked “how to tell conservatives and liberals apart”; you are not likely to ever have to yank it back out again, no matter what happens. When an individual has “rights” that liberals think are worthy of triumph over society’s needs, you can safely assume this is not an individual you want to be, or want to even personally know. He’s a kiddie-diddler, a whacked-out druggie, a convicted murderer facing the death penalty, a homeowner who hasn’t been paying the mortgage, or a terrorist being held at Guantanamo.

If the individual was acting civilized, they’d be leaving it to the conservatives to defend that individual’s rights. It isn’t that they’re opposed to responsible people retaining rights that actually mean something. The truth of it is far uglier: This is a struggle that they believe to be unworthy of their time.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Monster in the Closet

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Looks terrible.

I’m gonna have to get ahold of it as soon as I can.

Diploma Inflation

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Two great items about one of my favorite subjects, diploma inflation. It’s one of my favorite subjects because 1) there’s so much denial in the air about it, 2) it’s had a great effect on my professional life over the last few years (interestingly, not too much before then), and 3) it has more potential to rock your world than any other current event taking place right now…or just about. And that includes the swindle-us bill that just passed. Diploma inflation is a stink in the air that will get in your furniture, hair and clothes and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Over the short term, anyway.

It has to do with degrees, licenses, certificates; any piece of paper that acts as a symbol for having gotten some work done, and/or having learned a few things. And the problem is that not everyone agrees that is what they are for. Quite to the contrary. It is amazing how much energy and effort, at all walks of life, is cranked into the mission of keeping these pieces of paper from actually meaning anything.

Captain Capitalism talks about his experience at a degree-mill (hat tip to Kate at Small Dead Animals). Fascinating stuff.

I first started teaching at this “business” school where the “campus” was a rented out, brown, 1970′s style office building located in the inner suburbs of St. Paul/Minneapolis. The school didn’t even rent out the entire building, but let that be a lesson to you kids, highly ranked schools lease out their HQ in suburbanite strip malls.

I intuitively knew this wasn’t going to be Harvard, but it was a nice part time job and I got to teach my passion; economics – so I didn’t much care.

However troubles immediately started to occur.

The first sign of trouble came when I issued the first quiz, of which 85% of the students failed. It wasn’t an issue of the quiz being difficult or hard. It wasn’t an issue of me being a mean teacher. The quiz was of an average difficulty and any student paying attention would have passed it. However, upon grading the quizzes I realized just what a low caliber of students I was dealing with and made the egregious error of deciding not to LOWER the standards to them, but to have them RISE to my standards and thereby teach them something.

Complaints flooded into my boss about the test being too difficult, they didn’t have enough time to study, “by god I have two children and can’t study this much” etc. etc. And sure enough, at the age of 27, I was called into the office.

My boss explained to me that we are here to challenge the students, but not too much. That my test was unfair and I should consider tailoring it more to their skill level. Of course with hindsight I now see what the charlatan of a dean was telling me; “Dumb it down because we’re fleecing these kids for their money for a worthless degree and if you rock the boat we’ll lose some of them.” But he couldn’t come outright and say that, ergo why he was feeding me a line of bull.

The next quiz I dumbed down, and this time a whopping 30% of the students passed. Naturally there was the same cacophony of complaints which resulted me landing in the dean’s office once again. This process continued until I had more or less realized that not only were the students dead set against learning or trying to feign some semblance of being a scholar as well as the complete lack of back up from management to hold some level of standards to these kids. And so, choosing the path of least resistance, I decided I would not only make the quizzes and tests insanely easier, but skew the grading curve so greatly it would put affirmative action to shame.

To avoid any more criticism that I didn’t test the students on what we studied I made them make their own “study guide” for the tests. This consistent of each student writing a multiple choice question on a piece of paper, me taking all those questions and photocopying them into a guide for each student. We would review the questions and the correct answers, and then I would take the EXACT SAME PHOTOCOPIED questions, photocopy them again, insert 4-5 questions of my own and then give it back to the students as the official test.

Even then, with no more than 4-5 question of my own to give those who deserved an A and A, I would still get students to flunk the test. So idiotic and genuinely stupid, or perhaps galactically lazy, were these students, they couldn’t pass a test where they had the answers the day before.

Regardless, the majority of the students did pass, but with less than 40% of them earning A’s.

It gets much better. Go read it all, every single word.

Inspired by a story from the New York Times about some “real” colleges and the problems encountered there with diploma- and grade-inflation, James Taranto in Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web contributes some worthy comments that make you go hmmm…I can’t see a way to whittle them down so I’ll just read them in, in full.

The New York Times has an amusing piece about the frustrations of college professors:

Prof. Marshall Grossman has come to expect complaints whenever he returns graded papers in his English classes at the University of Maryland.

“Many students come in with the conviction that they’ve worked hard and deserve a higher mark,” Professor Grossman said. “Some assert that they have never gotten a grade as low as this before.”

He attributes those complaints to his students’ sense of entitlement.

Another prof, Ellen Greenberger of the University of California at Irvine, has published a study called “Self-Entitled College Students”:

Nearly two-thirds of the students surveyed said that if they explained to a professor that they were trying hard, that should be taken into account in their grade.

Jason Greenwood, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Maryland echoed that view.

“I think putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade,” Mr. Greenwood said. “What else is there really than the effort that you put in?”

“If you put in all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point?” he added. “If someone goes to every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.”

Anyone who works for a living is immediately struck by the contrast between this attitude and the real world. When you hire someone to do a job, you look for results, not “effort.” Someone who works effectively and effortlessly is much more valued than someone who tries really hard and produces mediocre results. Why should schoolwork be any different?

The answer is that, except at the highest levels of higher education, school “work” is the opposite of real work. Students do not work for professors; professors work for students–or, to be precise, students (in combination with their parents and the government) contract with institutions of higher education, which in turn employ professors to deliver services to students.

If students have a sense of entitlement, it is a sense best captured in that old saying: The customer is always right. They’re spending tens of thousands of dollars to get a degree so they can go out and find a job, and they’re working hard on their assignments to boot–you’re darn right they feel entitled to good grades!

Professors, quite understandably, see it differently. To the best of them, their calling is to impart knowledge and intellectual refinement. The degree is merely a symbol. The real “product” that colleges produce is educated young people.

What we have, then, is a mismatch between what customers are buying and what institutions are selling. Colleges and universities have had great economic success marketing themselves as sellers of job-hunting licenses. If they embraced instead an old-fashioned vision of learning as an end in itself, the quality of their product doubtless would improve immensely–but their market would shrink correspondingly.

Professors may be unhappy to be working for institutions that, to a large extent, have degenerated into mere diploma mills. Many of them, however, owe their jobs to that degeneration. [emphasis mine]

I think Taranto nailed it with the “mismatch” comment. A man’s ego is the most convincing prospectus; nothing will get us to believe in a new currency, quite like a past event in which some of our personal treasure has been converted into it. These hard-working mediocre students are simply displaying a well-known human emotion — they paid the money for this job-hunting “license,” and dammit, they want it. Naturally, once they get it, there should be no further challenges down the road. Very much like buying a ticket to a sporting event, and, being able to present it, sitting in exactly one seat, to which you can now lay claim.

Part of the modern-day “your job is your personal property” mindset.

How did it come to impact me, then? It seems these knuckleheads with diplomas that they worked really, really hard at getting, while simultaneously working really, really hard to keep them from actually meaning anything, fancy themselves as enjoying an exclusive, personal license to dilute currencies by printing up counterfeit things. It comes down to this: They can’t do things. But they paid their money, argued with troublesome professors who tried to make ‘em learn things and do things, wrote to their deans, threatened their lawsuits, and they got their piece of paper. They aren’t competent but they have the paper.

They come to find out someone is applying for a job, and that someone can do the job but doesn’t have the piece of paper, and this bizarre hypersensitivity erupts like Mount Pinatubo. Moderation would be: Fine and good, let’s staff this data center with a mixture of people who make their living by knowing how to get things done, and other people who make their living by waving pieces of paper around. That would be moderate. But there’s no room for moderation. Emotions are impacted by this. The folks who don’t know how to do what they’re doing, who got their pieces of paper by harassing people like Captain Capitalism, dumbing down the currency that is the certification or diploma — are suddenly just now concerned about inflation. They’re concerned that this guy has a counterfeit stadium ticket. It comes down to that.

In short: Getting a job by knowing how to do it? There’s no room for that here. I got my job by having a ticket to it and not knowing how to do the job; you might make me look bad.

True, true, some folks have the piece of paper and also know how to do the job. They’re in the minority. If they weren’t, this wouldn’t be such an emotional issue. They’d simply say “well, let’s see what you can do,” as job candidates have been told for over a hundred years, perhaps for centuries. And that’d be the end of it.

But the “I got a ticket to my seat” mindset prevails. And as a direct result of that…in a society in which you have to have a four-year degree to have any job, nevermind the information-technology and engineering ones…it’s getting so hard to accomplish just basic intellectual work, such as communicating verbally with someone when you place a food order…this robust, information-based super-technological society is just about to grind to a halt. We can’t get food now. We have such little respect for information making things work, that we can’t eat. No, I’m not going to sit here and type in some words to the effect that we’re starving to death. I will not say that. We’re fat as hell. But a techno-industrial society is losing its ability to accomplish basic things, and does that not become undeniable when we run into strange, arcane, unnecessary and sometimes insurmountable difficulties acquiring the staples of life?

This “Got My Ticket, Want My Seat” mindset does not yet enjoy complete unanimity in the academic circle, or in the professional one. But it does enjoy dominance in both. And that should be of concern to us, if the United States is moving away from a manufacturing economy and into a service-oriented one — which it seems to have done, a generation or two ago. Is that still up for discussion?

No? Then, if we are in a service-oriented economy, and with the passage of time we’re only becoming more and more enmeshed in a service-oriented economy…my suggestion would be that we concentrate a bit more effort into performing some services. This “ticket-seat” thought model isn’t going to do much to enhance that, and seems to have already done a dandy job of having gotten in the way. If we continue to let it, we might not be so fond of the future we’ve made for ourselves, down the road when it’s too late to reverse course.

Now, do what I say, dammit, I worked hard on typing that stuff.

Ten Easy Steps to Better Pictures

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Coming AliveOne-eyed Flickr addict with a penchant for Nikon equipment gives the low-down on how to stock some better inventory into Immortality’s liquor cabinet.

The tips are simpler than you might think:

1. Think About The Brain
2. Engage In The New Global Salon
3. Get Rid Of Your Toy Camera
4. Carry A Tripod For Those Beautiful Sunsets And Sunrises
5. Admire Impressionism
6. Practice With HDR
7. Take Your Camera Everywhere
8. Understand The Fantasy/Reality Membrane
9. Learn To Draw
10. Make Mistakes

Hat tip to Gerard.