Archive for April, 2009

Post Turtle

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Just go here…and read.

Share it with a tender-ego Obamaton you know & love. Today!

Souter Out

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Yech. I’m just thinking about who the replacement’s gonna be. Oprah Winfrey? Tickle-Me Elmo?

This is a good reminder, though. Bush II did not completely destroy his own conservative credentials. As far as Supreme Court nominees, he remains in good standing…in fact, he solidly out performed his old man — who was responsible for nominating that abomination Souter in the first place — as well as the great icon Ronaldus Maximus, who signed off on O’Connor and Kennedy.

So show a little gratitude to that village idiot down in Crawford, if for no other reason that you know it’s gonna get a whole lot worse.

You Knew When You Saw the Word “Racism” in the Headline…

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

…that the meaning of that word was going to be expanded. Explosively, beyond all linguistic usefulness. Par for the course, for the Huffington Post.

Its responsible liberal editors need to speak out IMMEDIATELY against their liberal contributors in their own ranks using this awful “ism” word as an excuse to provide cover to lawbreaking illegal aliens.

Responsible members of the Republican party need to speak out IMMEDIATELY against the conservative commentators in their own ranks using swine flu as an excuse to spew out racist hatred.

Radio, TV and newspaper personalities have jumped on the illness as a platform to attack “illegal aliens” for being responsible for carrying the disease across the Mexican border and infecting innocent Americans.

Despite the fact that there is no evidence to support such claims, talk radio hosts Michael Savage and Neal Boortz, radio and Fox TV personality Glenn Beck, and columnist Michelle Malkin are spreading them faster than the contagion.

“Illegal aliens are bringing in a deadly new flue strain. Make no mistake about it,” blares Michael Savage.

“I’ve blogged for years about the spread of contagious diseases from around the world into the US as a result of uncontrolled immigration,” writes Michelle Malkin.

“What happens if there’s a rash of deaths in Mexico… and if you’re a family in Mexico and people are dying and Americans are not, why wouldn’t you flood this border?” announces Glenn Beck.

What color, exactly, is “America deserves to have a border”?

More to the point — if America can’t have a meaningful border right now…then when can she?

And do you really think, Ms. Fuller, that this country’s citizens are so dull-witted and stupid that they can be lulled into holding their own nation’s laws as meaningless — just because they’re afraid someone will think they’re racists? Only if they already have reason to cling to this kind of fear; some kind of skeleton to keep shackled up in their closets.

And what kind of guilt trip keeps you imprisoned in its invisible gilded cage, for that matter, that you feel compelled to demonize others this way. Simply for insisting our immigration laws ought to matter? That our border should mean something? The more I see of your ugly words, the more it looks like a guilt trip, laid down for those who are already guilty, by those who are similarly guilty. What are you hiding? Does it have something to do with your perception that all those who illegally cross a border must be of one special race, and all those who would rise up in support of that border must be some other race?

The rest of her essay is far less offensive…but no less ignorant. It all rests on this flimsy foundation: Ms. Fuller thinks of germ warfare as a brand-new, untested, and fanciful technology. It’s the usual left-wing claptrap: She’s formed her own opinion about how likely or unlikely something is, although she can’t really substantiate it — and you’re required to share your opinion or you’re a stupid racist hick moron. And she has nothing to say to such morons. For surely she must realize, if you do not buy into her mistaken beliefs about germ warfare…completely…if you show the least little bit of skepticism, or pause just a little bit before accepting it uncritically…her entire argument is, shall we say, rent asunder. And that includes her ugly slur toward Savage, Beck and — hah! — Malkin.

These liberals calling Michelle Malkin a racist bitch crack me up. Haven’t they seen a picture of her? Seriously. I know they put pictures of Malkin in the sidebar. But those are editors doing that. For all I know, the people who actually write this drivel must picture her, in their minds’ eyes, as Ann Coulter’s twin sister or something. And they probably do. Not a single one of them has ever impressed me as being particularly knowledgeable or well read, about their chosen subject matter or about anything else.

It’s worth an eyeball-roll and nothing more. Until, that is, you recall that people just like her, are the ones who won the elections and run our entire government, including our immigration and defense services, now.

It’s not just stupid. It is that, plus exceedingly dangerous.

Update: You see the little game being played here?

Thing I Know #272. When people accuse you of doing something or being something and it isn’t true; when it comes as a surprise to you that anyone would think such a thing about you; I’ve found it is a mistake to put any effort into proving them wrong. If they’re sincere, something is coloring their perception, and whatever it is, it’s outside of your control. If they’re not, then they’re trying to get you to do something that’s probably contrary to your interests. Either way — you aren’t going to change their minds. Don’t try.

Thing I Know #273. This is the flip-side to TIK #272. When you want someone to do something, and you don’t have the authority to force them to, it’s contrary to their interests, and they’ve figured out it’s contrary to their interests or they’re plenty bright enough to figure out it’s contrary to their interests — accuse them of something. It’s your only option. Make sure they aren’t guilty of it. If they’re guilty, they’ll resign themselves to the fact that you’ve figured them out; if they’re not guilty, they’ll do anything you want to prove it. Then you just tie that in to what you want them to do.

Accuse people of something. Make sure they aren’t really guilty of it. Get this one message across to them: I haven’t made up my mind you’re absolutely guilty, but I haven’t made up my mind you’re absolutely innocent either — I am in a state of doubt about you. Act like you care about this, just a little bit less than they do…and don’t forget to fasten the things you want them to do, however laughably and however nonsensically, to the things you think they will want to prove to you. This is how every single unscrupulous-but-effective salesman does his mental gymnastics. I think you are, or have done, something bad…but I’m just not sure…so here is your chance to prove your worthiness to me.

This is not how we became as great a nation as we are. We need to stop falling for this garbage.

Update 5/1/09: Thing I Know #248 is even more apropos:

Guilt is the final refuge of really bad ideas. When somebody accuses you of something and you have no idea why they’d think this of you, look at what they’re trying to get you to do. And you’ll realize, not only is it a bad idea, but there’d be no way to get a man to do it, if he felt good about himself.

The thing-to-get-people-to-do, in this case, is to offer up the United States of America as the one single, solitary sacrificial lamb on the face of the globe — the one country that cannot have a meaningful border. Russia can have one. Everyone in Scandinavia can have one. Each country in Europe could have one, if it wanted one. African countries can certainly have one. Only America shall be denied this basic attribute of sovereignty.

Like the TIK says — no man would sign on to this if he felt good about himself. Without guilt, the product cannot be sold.

Now, Everyone Wonders About Republicans

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The New York Times must have been reading the pages of The Blog That Nobody Reads yesterday (or, far more likely, John Hawkins’ fine column which got us onto the subject).

More of the New York Times big-lie about Republicans. The schism is supposed to be exactly what got President Garfield assassinated in 1881, between the moderates and the “stalwarts.”

A fundamental debate broke out among Republicans on Wednesday over how to rebuild the party in the wake of Senator Arlen Specter’s departure: Should it purge moderate voices like Mr. Specter and embrace its conservative roots or seek to broaden its appeal to regain a competitive position against Democrats?

To even ask the question, is to answer it. To stand for nothing…to sacrifice everything for the sake of whatever the latest poll numbers say is important today…to sail the seven seas in a raft without any oars, just heading wherever the tide takes you, rather than in a sailboat or a motorboat with a destination, a map and a plan. Why, exactly, does America need two political parties doing that? What would be the point?

I can only think of one: Competition for its own sake. A whole lot of screaming and yelling and finger-pointing and blaming, when in reality there “ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two of ‘em.” In other words, exactly what people most often complain about the status quo right here and now.

Just plain stupid.

No, here’s what the difference should be. Here’s what the difference really was, back in the old days when the democrat party was about as popular as ferret farming.

This party, over here, is all about what’s hip and cool right now. They’ve got a bunch of plans that don’t work, that they’re trying to sell. Plans that have been tried before, throughout modern history, by many countries, and have always failed. That party is going to make all these plans popular, by giving away taxpayer money to whoever might otherwise remember the plans suck so much. If they give away enough taxpayer money, or if enough people forget history and traipse off to the polls thinking about whoever’s younger-lookin’ and sexier, they just might take the place over for two-to-four years.

That other party, over there, is more concerned with what works. They get accused of doing “favors” for their “rich buddies” a lot, but that’s because — well, all that stuff Party #1 says about “getting a tax code going that works for everbody“? This other party actually lives up to it. It isn’t out to punish success. It’s not going to force you to pay for everybody else’s hangnails, dandruff, octo-kids, halitosis, new radiators, crotch-rot, learning disabilities and big-screen television sets just because you happen to have worked hard to build a successful small business.

That’s the divide: What’s cool versus what works. American Idol versus Dirty Jobs.

Now, how does that win elections? How do you get cool and stay cool, if you aren’t concerned in the first place about what’s cool?

Answer: And it’s a big stinky dirty secret nobody wants to discuss. Hard work is cool. Yes it’s tiring, and the time always comes when you don’t want to think about it anymore. That’s where we are right now. But that’s always a pretty short recess…all people have to do, is put up with the natural consequences of screwing-around for a little while…and it always turns out the same. Hard work is cool again, and people are much more interested in what actually works. That’s when “reality” teevee shows start getting canceled.

By coincidence, blogger friend Buck put up yesterday a cartoon that captures this extraordinarily well.

So keep spewing your venom and your confusion, New York Times. Deep down, people understand when they’ve chosen strong leaders and when they have not. When all the rhetoric is about “that isn’t my deficit” and “I won” those other guys at the other side of the ring are just so awful…I think most folks understand. This isn’t how strong leadership talks. The time has come to revisit this choice we thought we made half a year ago.

But…we can’t. We have to wait another eighteen months. At that time, people will still be happy with their little vacation-from-reality, like they were before? Really?

Conclusion: Republicans don’t need to do a damn thing. They don’t need to change a damn thing. They don’t need to broaden their appeal. They need to wait, and that’s all. Time is on their side. If they are so stupid as to do something above & beyond that, then the time will come for a third party.

Here’s your new Republican motto: “I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, if you’re male or female, what color your skin is, or if you drink booze or smoke pot. Just help me chisel this government down to a sane size. Here’s a hammer.” That message would bring out a Reagan-Mondale blowout. Not years from now. Tomorrow.

Bring Out Some More Fake Greek Columns

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Via blogger friend Rick, we learn of a different take on The Chosen One’s standing after the first hundred days of His rule:

President Obama’s media cheerleaders are hailing how loved he is. But at the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years.

According to Gallup’s April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969. The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton, who got off to a notoriously bad start after trying to force homosexuals on the military and a federal raid in Waco, Texas, that killed 86. Mr. Obama’s current approval rating of 56 percent is only one tick higher than the 55-percent approval Mr. Clinton had during those crises.

Perhaps, now, we learn the real reason why the 100-day benchmark is so artificially important: It affords the media a high zenith of latitude in massaging truth. I’ve watched a lot of Presidents take the oath now, and never once have I ever heard any official news agency say anything even similar to: “Okay, on Day One Hundred, we’re going to go after this poll, over here, look at this statistic, and read it this way…” Nope. The 100-day thing, itself, is most often phrased as a question. Or a bunch of questions. What’s The Boss worried about for His second hundred days? What’s He learned? How does it make Him feel when people say nasty things about Him? The approval ratings He has or hasn’t earned…that really was never anything more than one more bludgeon to use against Republicans.

His policies, at a thirty thousand-foot level? Some Americans feel obliged to murmur empty words of support, having bragged just a few weeks earlier about having voted Him in. But our country is generally not too enthused.

Sixty percent (60%) of Americans say the federal government has too much power and too much money, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Just nine percent (9%) say the government has too little power and money. Twenty-four percent (24%) believe the government has about the right amount of both.

Not surprisingly, the Political Class sees things a lot differently. While 85% of Mainstream Americans say the government has too much power and money, just two percent (2%) of the Political Class agree. Nearly one-ou[t]-of-four members (24%) of the Political Class, in fact, believe the government has too little money and power, but 68% say it has about the right amount of each.

While slightly more than half of those working for both the government and private industry say the government is too big, 79% of entrepreneurs feel that way.

Republicans and adults not affiliated with either major political party are far more concerned about the government’s size and wealth than Democrats are. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Republicans and 62% of unaffiliateds say the federal government has too much power and money. Among Democrats, however, just 35% agree, while 44% think the size of government is about right.

The Republican campaign slogans for 2010 and 2012, they write themselves. I can see the lawn signs now: “Forty-four percent of democrats think government is the right size!” Hey, waitaminnit…what’s a hundred minus 35 minus 44? That means 21% of democrats want more?

Back to the President: Blogger friend Daniel Summers gives the President a charitable D- overall, having failed Him in all the “courses” save for national security. (The pirate head-shot thing…saved His Holy Ass.)

Blogger friend Buck and I have a disagreement about the failed photo op in NYC, the one with the 747 scaring the bejeezus out of Manhattan folks still shell-shocked from the 9/11 attacks all these years later. Buck, and folks like him, are in the “not a news item, move along” camp. They all forget: This was a stupid, sub-rookie, albeit honest mistake — made by folks who are actually pretty smart — and not an isolated incident. So you can’t blame stupidity, you can’t blame insincerity and you can’t even blame chance. How is it that this stupid, stupid thing was done? The political climate. And I’m not talking out here where we’re fighting about conservatives and liberals all week every week. I’m talking about inside the White House…where no mistakes can be made…ever…because the guy at the tippy top is just so wonderful, He has that shimmering halo over His head.

In government as well as outside of it, such a situation leads to brains in the lower echelons that aren’t shut off or dulled down, quite so much as shifted into idle and left there. The Boss has this immunity from criticism, you see, and you’ve inherited some of that. Besides, you aren’t actually owning any one of the chores you’re doing. If it works out great, Mister Wonderful will be there to take all the credit…refer back to the Somali pirate situation, above…and if it goes to crap, some scapegoat will be found somewhere — maybe you, maybe not. Scapegoat-searches are random by nature. They’re just avalanches of crap. They can hit anything or anybody, and there’s nothing deliberate about them.

So the incentive to do a job well, or even adequately, disappears entirely. What vestigial amounts of accountability remain, don’t even match what pulses through your noggin as you make a batch of spaghetti sauce on the stove. You have the presence of mind to say “I’d better not leave the saucepan handle sticking out over the edge of the stove, or someone might come by and knock it off.” Scapegoat Calderon — if, indeed, he really is the poor stupid bastard who should’ve taken the fall for this debacle — didn’t even have that much happening. Check out that film clip one more time. Look at those people. That was happening inside all the buildings, as well. It’s amazing no one got killed, let alone hurt.

And it isn’t an isolated incident. It will happen again and again. If I prepared one of these detailed report cards, that would definitely go in…because to even be on par with our historical barely-adequate presidents, President Obama needs to get a radical new culture-shift going in His White House. And at this point, I doubt it can be done. The problem is inextricably connected to His Greatness. It’s a weakness against which His predecessors have not had to struggle — but it’s also been a campaign asset they haven’t been able to enjoy. And He’s never been shy about exploiting it to the hilt when it suited His purposes.

How else can we gauge His success, or lack thereof, after the first one hundred days? Blogger friend Cassy embeds a video from The NRSC that spells out an important issue: Accountability. On this particular point, student Obama requires some specialized instruction. He simply cannot be relied-upon to perform on this metric independently.

BBC UK embeds a graphic that highlights something interesting: The words used to describe President Obama, upon Inauguration, and in the month of April. “Intelligent”: Down three points. “Honest”: Down four points. “Confident”: Holding steady. “Hope/Hopeful”: Fourteen points before, no longer there. And one particular word I would personally find the most embarrassing, for it’s got “moving goalpost” written all over it. “Trying”: Non-existent in January, now earning twelve points!

Red Shirt Frenzy

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Late to the party again…this one’s almost a year old.

But I have to embed this, it’s just my sense of humor.

“Spock…Scotty…Bones…Uhura…and you, crewman Pnobscott. Transporter Room Three, on the double, phasers on stun.” Aw gee, poor sonofabitch Pnobscott. Not an if, but a when-and-a-how.

GOP Psychologically Out of Whack

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Hawkins has a new article up, Why the Republican Party is Psychologically Out of Whack. He cleverly kicks it off with two quotes that showcase the party’s deep split:

“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” — Jim Demint

“(Arlen Specter) is what the party needed to be. They need to cultivate more Specters instead of deriding him as a RINO.” — Michael Smerconish

I agree emphatically with Hawkins about what he says about the Smerconish sentiments:

…I think they’re indicative of what’s wrong with the David Frum, Ross Douthat, Meghan McCain, Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, David Brooks wing of the party. Arlen Specter isn’t a RINO and the GOP needs to emulate him? Not only is Arlen Specter to the left-of-center, he just left the Republican Party. How in the world can any sane Republican say that’s what we need to be copying?

The split, ironically, is the reason why the Republican party is somewhat deserving of support: It is a manifestation of principles. The unprincipled will always be among us, after all. If you don’t have principles, their attitude will be everlastingly unanimous, just as a boat without an anchor is never conflicted about where it wants to drift in any given moment.

That’s one way to look at things. To those who have weak minds, it’s tempting to ignore time and view the entire universe through a snapshot. Once time enters the equation, it is the unanchored boat that lacks direction, and the anchored vessel that possesses it. The tension on the line is simply a “price” to be paid for having an anchor.

Hawkins seems to see things this way:

Make no mistake about it, the GOP needs moderate voters and moderate politicians. We cannot expect a hard core conservative to win a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to-2. We can’t expect a Republican senator from Vermont or California to be as conservative as a Republican senator from Oklahoma or Georgia. Yes, people like this can make conservatives pull their hair out at times, but it’s impossible for us to have a majority or get things done without them.

However, the flip side to this is that moderates are not the majority of Republicans, they’re not ideologically coherent as a group, and they simply don’t bring enough manpower, money, or energy to the table to drive a successful political party. What that means is moderates have to be the Robin to our Batman. Conservatives, who have stronger beliefs, more numbers, and just bring so much more to the Party are not going to happily fall in line over the long haul in a moderate Republican Party. Conservatives have to be in charge — and this can work.

I’m not too interested in this fantasy about winning elections. That’s quite a wait, for one thing; for another thing, it really can’t be done without telling people what to think. I think right now people know what they want: that wonderful, hip and edgy liberal goodness. I say, let them have it. But at the same time, while people may be spectacularly uninterested in the substance of ideas right now…they still hate to be deceived.

And that’s the position the Republican party needs to take right now. The democrats are the bosses — the GOP is the conscience of the democrats.

Like, for example, the democrat President said we shouldn’t pass debt on to the next generation. We need to make the economy work for everyone. Republicans need to agree in substance with the empty meaningless platitudes, then appear before the cameras and demonstrate the opportunity for improvement in sticking to the meaning of the platitudes.

The task that would confront the Republicans, then, would be to go out in search of these discrepancies between what the democrat-bosses say they’re going to do, and what they really do.

The task that would confront the democrat party would be to deny these opportunities to the Republicans. This would all be for the benefit of the country itself. How would it not be? How could utter and then substantiate a syllable of protest against it?

The job done by the democrats, so far, in sticking to their knitting: Medium to shitty.

The job done by the GOP, so far, in calling it out: Much shittier.

Fix that.

The Bitter Conservatives

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I see the “Republicans Throwing Tantrums Because They Lost the Elections” talking point is still out there in full force. I briefly entertained the idea that it was reverberating so strongly because there was an element of truth to it — until I realized, to date, the most impressive tantrums I’ve seen lately came from Perez Hilton and the rest of the No-On-Prop-8 crowd.

But it’s our nation’s leaders telling us this; they’re even putting out official Department of Homeland Security reports about it. So it must be true. In this country, when we have elections, we are voting on what’s true — and those other guys won the elections. So you have to believe everything a left-winger says. So let us entertain no further doubts. The report is out, it is official, it must be true.

Besides, who can doubt the wisdom of the Garofaloracle?

Now, how did it work. Us bitter right-wingers, already clinging to our Bibles and our guns, and driven half-crazy because of the “global climate change” Karl Rove made happen with that giant machine he used to cause Hurricane Katrina, became even more unhinged when a black guy became President. So we formed our extremist groups, recruited some veterans who were just returning from The Iraq and Such As, and because of their youth, lack of experience, the trauma they’d been through, found them to be extremely pliable. We dressed them up as Somali pirates, ordered them to abduct Captain Phillips, but that plan fell through when Barack Obama bravely ordered the head-shots. So we took the gullible veterans we had left, had them spread some swine flu down by the Mexican border to try to force the government to close it down, and then we had them buzz-bomb people in New York City in Air Force One and an escorting F-16 fighter jet.

We’re just so bitter, you know.

It’s got nothing to do with the Treasury being forced to borrow an unprecedented $361 billion just for the second quarter of ’09, or what completely unpredictable things that is going to do to our inflation rate. It’s got nothing to do with leaving post after post unfilled in the executive branch, when dealing with perhaps the most friendly Senate in modern times…just because the executive is so busy with granting interviews and appearing on magazine covers. It’s got nothing to do with approaching tyrants on foreign soil, appeasing them, giving them the photo-ops they want, initiating conversations with them about American culpability — when said tyrants haven’t even asked for apologies yet. It’s got nothing to do with what all this says about dedication, or lack thereof, to forming a coherent and sensible plan, or to a true love of this country. It’s just black skin, that’s it. If it was a white guy signing off on all this stuff we’d be completely cool with it.

And so we’ll continue to slowly poison this country to death…with our toxic suggestions that, if it really is so awful to pass debt on to future generations (refer to State of the Union Speech, 2009)…maybe we should make a better effort to avoid that. And, that when people run companies that earn money, they ought to be able to keep some of it.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XXX

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

But one of our sidebar-resources, IMAO, is running a promotion of sorts. Other blogs give awards to IMAO, and if all the stars line up, IMAO gives awards back.

IMAO has won numerous awards around these parts already, most often the prestigious Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) awards. Like here…and here…and here and here and here.

But we are The Blog That Nobody Reads, so we don’t go out of our way for this kind of thing. We’re giving IMAO a crappy-original-artwork award because it’s the least we can do, and they deserve it. (The award, not the crap.) Although, it must be said, this “190 pixels wide” rule seems to be something nobody else is following…but hey…we’re sticklers for procedure. Even when it’s a raging pain in the ass, like this one was.

“Plane Stupid”

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

New Yorkers received an unwelcome trip down memory lane yesterday, courtesy of the “Change We Can Believe In” crew.

A perfect storm of idiocy led to a frightening 9/11 flashback for thousands of New Yorkers Monday when a jumbo jet and an F-16 fighter jet buzzed lower Manhattan without warning.

A “furious” Mayor Bloomberg denounced the dunces who dreamed up the stunt – and the NYPD officials and bureaucrats who never told him about it.

By day’s end, an obscure City Hall deputy named Marc Mugnos, who makes $60,000 a year, was taking the fall for not telling Bloomberg that the low-flying planes were coming. He was reprimanded.

But there was plenty of blame to go around.

Louis Caldera, the director of the White House military office who sent Air Force One and the fighter jet on an “aerial photo mission,” got slammed by an angry President Obama.

“I approved a mission over New York,” Caldera said in a hastily prepared statement. “I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.”

Under the bus you go.

Yeah, Obama wasn’t on the flight, He wasn’t aware of what was being done, and He was properly “furious” after the poop hit the fan. (Just like He would’ve been if the Somali pirate thing happened to turn into a crap-fest.) For reasons best left unexplored, the “Big We” will keep on buyin’ it.

But President Palin would’ve been able to get just as testy and screechy as she cared to get…she’d never for a split-second get away with this. It’s a double-standard created for, perpetuated by, and enforced by, our weakest thinkers. This is why, back during the presidency of Obama’s predecessor, the only planes that flew this kind of trajectory really were taken over by bad guys and really did want to hit the buildings.

It’s a Jar Jar Binks administration. Nobody in the hierarchy really owns a decision, because the credit for any good decision is going to straight up to the guy at the top, and the blame for any poor decisions will be systematically scattered down to scapegoats at the lower levels. And so anybody with the authority to decide things that really matter, just kinda does…whatever…and then does their very best to hippity-hop out of the way if there’s a boulder of crap rolling down the mountain. The crap-avalanche is quasi-random, virtually disconnected from the conscious decisions that occasionally cause it.

As for when the Big Guy At The Top makes a bad decision — well, it’s just more of the same. And the prospects of anyone in the room saying “Eh, boss, that just might not be a swell idea…” Don’t make me laugh. Hasn’t happened before. Why would it start now?

Better than even odds He was behind this one. Maybe not. But we’d never know, would we? The decision simply cannot be defended, so bring out the spear-catchers…not the first regime to function in such a way…but wasn’t that part of what was supposed to be — uh — “changed”?

You can’t change that when The Boss is a religious figure. Harry Truman’s “The Buck Stops Here” sign is in a closet somewhere, gathering dust. An unused relic from the past, a casualty of the hopey-changey goodness. Say what you want about Sarah Palin not making the best appearance of her career before Perky Katie — but if this call happened on her watch, there would be no spear-catchers. That idiotic stupid dimwit redneck hick from Alaska would’ve taken the fall.

Which is why it wouldn’t have happened.

His Most Spectacular Achievement

Monday, April 27th, 2009

…in His first one hundred days.

Sales of this book have been going through the roof. It’s a little bit of an old and moldy story — seven weeks — but an accomplishment is an accomplishment.

Reviled in some circles and mocked in others, Rand’s 1957 novel of embattled capitalism is a favourite of libertarians and college students. Lately, though, its appeal has been growing. According to data from TitleZ, a firm that tracks bestseller rankings on Amazon, an online retailer, the book’s 30-day average Amazon rank was 127 on February 21st, well above its average over the past two years of 542. On January 13th the book’s ranking was 33, briefly besting President Barack Obama’s popular tome, “The Audacity of Hope.”

He is our very first hip President.

That, and seventy-three cents, might get you a glazed doughnut.

Don’t Bother Me, Charles

Monday, April 27th, 2009

This has got to be the saddest thing I’ve ever read, by far (hat tip to Boortz). And yes, I’m including the closing pages of Of Mice And Men in that.

It’s about a woman who thinks highly of herself because she’s “always a fighter” and campaigned tirelessly for Barack Obama…for reasons that, if she can explain them at all, she doesn’t bother. Things aren’t working out too well for her or for anybody else in her town, which is dying. She pulls in seven hundred bucks a month or so, blows it on everybody else’s bills — for reasons that, likewise, are left unexplained — and then lies her ass off to her poor husband, explaining to him that their savings account is diminishing because she’s buying herself new outfits.

[A]s Obama nears the 100-day milestone of his presidency, [Edith] Childs suffers from constant exhaustion. In a conservative Southern state that bolstered Obama’s candidacy by supporting him early in the Democratic primaries, she awakens at 2:30 a.m. with stress headaches and remains awake mulling all that’s befallen Greenwood since Obama’s swearing-in.

On Day 4 of his presidency, the Solutia textile plant laid off 101 workers. On Day 23, the food bank set a record for meals served. On Day 50, the hospital fired 200 employees and warned of further job cuts. On Day 71, the school superintendent called a staff meeting and told his principals: “We’re losing 10 percent of our budget. That means some of us won’t have jobs next year, and the rest should expect job changes and pay cuts.” On Day 78, the town’s newly elected Democratic mayor, whose campaign was inspired partly by his admiration for Obama, summarized Greenwood’s accelerating fragility. “This is crippling us, and there’s no sign of it turning around,” Welborn Adams said.

On Day 88, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that South Carolina had set a record for its highest unemployment rate in state history, at 11.4 percent. Greenwood’s unemployment is 13 percent — more than twice what it was when Childs first started chanting.

“We have a lot of people who live in cold houses, with no jobs and no food,” Childs says.
:
A message near the end causes Childs to wince. It is from Evon Hackett, her younger cousin, who has always reminded Childs a little of herself. Hackett has “never wasted a lazy hour in her life,” Childs says. But now she is desperate and unemployed, and her voice barely registers above a whisper as it plays on Childs’s machine.

“Hey Edith. How ya been? Just calling again to see if you heard from anybody who was hiring. . . . You know me. I’ll do anything. It doesn’t really matter what the work is.”
:
Just before 1 p.m., she pulls into Greenwood’s normally deserted downtown for a few more errands and notices a large crowd gathered in front of the courthouse. More than 200 people are dressed in red, white and blue and are waving miniature American flags. Childs asks a friend for details and learns that it is a “tea party” to protest Obama’s economic policies, one of about 1,000 similar events coordinated on Tax Day across the country.

“Of course it’s going to be a lot of white Republicans, and mostly men,” Childs says as she walks through the crowd and finds a spot alone at the rear of the plaza. “I want to see this, but I’m keeping my distance.”

In a state that voted 54 percent for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Childs has heard plenty of anti-Obama rhetoric. “Most people around here know where I stand and let me be,” she says. “People are too polite to be nasty.” So she shakes her head in disbelief as she reads the angry messages scrawled on the poster boards in front of her.

“Say NO to Obama and Socialism!”

“OBAMA’NATION.”

“Who cares what Obama says? America IS a Christian nation.”

Childs puckers her lips and listens as Greenwood residents take turns stepping to the podium and shouting through a megaphone. Their speeches revolve around the same themes Childs hears in her phone messages, except what she identified as the solution to Greenwood’s problems is what these speakers now disparage as the cause.

“We all know this president is the major problem,” David O. Davis III says. “I’ve got friends with families who are losing their jobs, getting laid off.”

“We’re struggling to pay our bills and get by,” Cathy Heitzenrater says. “We’re feeling disenfranchised from our own country and disappointed about who’s running it.”

“Vote the bum out,” R.J. Fife says.

After each speaker finishes, Childs retreats a few steps farther from the crowd. A part of her would like to go grab the bullhorn and tell these people to “keep their mouths shut and give Obama a little time,” she says. But she woke up at 3 a.m. again this morning, and she can’t go home for a nap until she pays $100 on a constituent’s bill at the water company and stops by a city office to inquire about possible job openings for Hackett.

“Let them have their tea party,” Childs says. “They’re just looking for somebody to blame. My ears are full.”

She walks away from the courthouse as the crowd joins into chorus to sing the national anthem.
:
Later that night, inside the house on Old Ninety-Six Highway, Childs sinks into the armless chair in her living room. “Don’t bother me, Charles,” she tells her husband. She picks up the cordless phone, where 17 new messages are waiting. One is from Hackett.

“Hi, it’s me,” she says. “Hope you had a good day…No luck over here yet. I’m just wondering if you’ve heard about anything.”

I have a lot more sympathy for that poor cousin than I do for the nurse, the horrible wife, the liar, the thief, the racist. Yeah, I said racist. She’s allowed her disappointments and her exhaustion and her disparaging comments about others, but whoever disagrees with her about who should be President — an issue on which, plainly, she hasn’t bothered to gather any factual information at all, or very little — has to pipe down and shut up because of the color of their skin.

That poor husband. Other than sleeping with someone else, which she more-than-likely is, in what ways can a wife possibly blow it, in which she isn’t already blowing it?

It’s the same old crap from the die-hard radical Obama fan community. I’m a “worker” and a “fighter” because I believe this might-as-well-be-fictional guy is going to solve all my problems. And every week that goes by, wherein real life teaches me this isn’t the right way to go — it’s just all the more justification for my self-righteousness. A little bit of extra license to steal money from my husband and distribute the loot to “poor” people I barely even know.

Meanwhile, the hopey-changey goodness isn’t working out. So when does the time come to admit to a mistake? If the answer is “never”…then who in their right mind wants this kind of person to make a decision about anything?

You Don’t Know What You Want

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

This is exactly what’s been happening to the Obama supporters.

WE HAVE all heard of experts who fail basic tests of sensory discrimination in their own field: wine snobs who can’t tell red from white wine (albeit in blackened cups), or art critics who see deep meaning in random lines drawn by a computer. We delight in such stories since anyone with pretensions to authority is fair game. But what if we shine the spotlight on choices we make about everyday things? Experts might be forgiven for being wrong about the limits of their skills as experts, but could we be forgiven for being wrong about the limits of our skills as experts on ourselves?

We have been trying to answer this question using techniques from magic performances. Rather than playing tricks with alternatives presented to participants, we surreptitiously altered the outcomes of their choices, and recorded how they react. For example, in an early study we showed our volunteers pairs of pictures of faces and asked them to choose the most attractive. In some trials, immediately after they made their choice, we asked people to explain the reasons behind their choices.

Unknown to them, we sometimes used a double-card magic trick to covertly exchange one face for the other so they ended up with the face they did not choose. Common sense dictates that all of us would notice such a big change in the outcome of a choice. But the result showed that in 75 per cent of the trials our participants were blind to the mismatch, even offering “reasons” for their “choice”.

With some of these issues in which President 44′s policies are identical to, or insufficiently distinguished from, the policies of President 43…they’ve been thrown into exactly that kind of tailspin. “Oh, uh, well we need to scale down from Iraq in a responsible, intelligent way…” “We need to get past the issue with aggressive interrogations, and prosecution of the Bush administration officials would be a distraction…”

As we’ve mentioned in these pages before: They live in a universe in which the worthiness of an idea is determined not by its content, but by who authored it. And so they get taken in by this double-sided card trick, over and over again.

Longoria

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Just like Alyssa Milano, her politics suck but good heavens she’s easy on the eyes.

Hat tip: Daley Gator, via The Other McCain…the latter of whom, by the way, has an insatiable desire for (and is well worth) some more blog hits.

Capturing the Cognitive Dissonance on Torture

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

…as concisely as I have ever seen it done — right here (TOTALFARK subscription required, and you can get one here).

Axias 2009-04-26 05:49:13 PM
Just shows you they ARE STILL LYING. Seriously, we are the USA: no farking torture.
I don’t farking care who you are, from the president to the guy who filled the water buckets. If you are a US Citizen, YOU KNEW BETTER THAN TO TORTURE. If you went ahead and ‘followed orders’, well, tuff shiat. Do your time and be happy if we don’t have you shot or hung.

And seriously, this ain’t over til some people are ‘shot or hung’. If we don’t do it ourselves, the international community is compelled to step up to bat. And when a majority of Americans are willing to back these foreign powers in doing what is right, this is gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better if we don’t clean up our own mess..

We don’t torture, seriously. And seriously, this ain’t over til some people are shot or hung, if we don’t do it ourselves, the international community is compelled to step up to bat.

Awesome!

Torture is not gonna happen, no matter what the guy did; but because these other guys did something I don’t like, someone is required to shoot or hang them.

People like this have a sense of justice that they think is static. But stasis requires strength of convictions and they simply don’t have it. They want, desperately, to convince all those within earshot that this is something they’ve got going on. And maybe the desperation to prove it’s there, is directly connected to the fact that it is so lacking.

With sufficient skill, I’ll bet you could have them bouncing back-and-forth like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Can’t hurt ‘em, gotta hurt ‘em, can’t hurt ‘em, gotta hurt ‘em…

But this is serious. What about the innocent people who would be (or would’ve been) injured or killed in an attack? Should our fellow citizens even be participating in decisions about that, however indirectly, if they’re so weak and vacillating on the subject of what protections should be available to any-and-all humans, regardless of what they have or haven’t done?

Winston Churchill said something that addresses this pretty soundly: “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” In this case, it’s a couple of paragraphs from the average FARKer.

Update: You know what captures it even better?

“No offense against humanity shall carry unavoidable consequences…except for this one.”

That’s it in a nutshell.

Moral reasoning is not synonymous with logic, but it does have to comply with some of the same rules. And this little nugget fails the test.

Obama Worship, One Year Ago Today: April 26

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

This is why they’ve been hungering — hungering! — for a Replacement Jesus. Because when the merit of an idea is decided by the authorship of the idea rather than by the content of the idea, then the content of the idea need not be inspected. Which renders all critical thinking obsolete.

Lots of people don’t like critical thinking. They think it’s a pain in the ass.

Far easier to invent a whole new god.

Obama looks pretty good when we pretend we had to make a decision about whose ideas were best for the country. The truth is, we just made a decision about whether ideas matter at all. Real life, of course, consistently counsels us that they do matter…sometimes, we get tired of seeing that…right now, we’re tired. And so we’ll cling to the vision of fantasy and phony new religions, as long as that vision is more effervescent and vivid.

Right now, it’s important to pretend that isn’t what we’re doing. But a year ago it wasn’t nearly that important, and the dimbulbs spoke out unabashedly, and forcefully.

People have always regarded comets as “messengers of the gods”. The meaning ascribed to a comet’s appearance is comprised of many factors, including the mythological story of the constellation that the comet’s path highlights. This past autumn (2007), a remarkable comet, Holmes, appeared in the nightime sky, as a huge blue sphere (larger than the diameter of our sun). It’s path of maximal brightness carried it through the constellation of Perseus, crossing in front of two of that constellation’s stars in particular- Mirfak, and Algol. Pleases join me below the fold to explore this myth’s relevance for our own time.

The constellation Perseus pictures the story of the Hero Perseus, holding the head of Medusa, which he had just severed with his sword. Perseus was greatly aided by the gods in his quest to destroy the Medusa, whose very glance could turn a person into stone. He was given a magic sword, Athena’s shield, winged sandals with which he could fly, a magic cap which rendered him invisible, and the guidance for him to not directly look into Medussas face as he battled her, but to look at her in the reflection of his shield.

There were two stars that were highlighted by the comet’s passage, Mirfak, and Algol. Mirfak is the elbow of Perseus’s sword hand. Algol, Medusa’a eye, has long been seen as one of the most malifec and evil stars in the heavens.

Obama was born with his sun in Leo, and his story exemplifies the quest of the Solar Hero. His father, who joins with his mother on an island, conceives a child, and soon thereafter leaves the child and mother to continue his own journeying. Obama, a ‘special ‘child, left to create his own internal image of ‘father’, and related meanings of strength, protection, leadership, etc.

The Holmes comet appears just as the presidential race is kicking into high gear, illuminating the concept of the hero vanquishing the monster, a monster that turns people into stone if they gaze upon her. Does it not seem as if our country today is all locked up, constricted, restricted, with ever shrinking mobility and freedom of movement?

Perseus had help from the gods. Does it not feel as if some special hand is guiding Obama on his journey, I mean, as he has said, the utter improbability of it all?

The instruction is to not directly look at her, but to look at her reflection in his shield. What is Obama’s shield, in essence? I propose it is his belief in hope, redemption, and his ability to channel the essential goodness of the American people. The Perseus myth clearly indicates he should not confront his opponent by face-to-face, tit-for-tat combat.

Of special significance for me is the star Mirfak, the elbow of Perseus’s sword arm. At some point, he does need to utilize his elbows, and when the moment comes, cut strongly and swiftly.

And lastly, let us not forget that the comet is BLUE.

So let us have hope, the gods are on our side, and the Hero will prevail.

Is this healthy?

Hat tip: Is Barack Obama the Messiah?

Olbermann and Hannity: Both Unmoored

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Olby and Hannity, I think, have both lost track of their respective arguments and I’m pretty sure neither one of them realizes it. Hannity has taken the rather absurd position that waterboarding is effective and something we ought to be doing — and he thinks he can take it.

Olbermann’s position is even more ridiculous: Waterboarding is stupid, ineffective, unlikely to yield results, because nobody can tolerate it, and he’s willing to bet thousands of dollars Hannity can’t.

How did our nation ever become a superpower? One guy intends to demonstrate waterboarding is unbearable by bearing it, the other guy intends to demonstrate it’s bearable by betting someone can’t bear it.

NeoCon Blonde points out that Obama’s own adviser freely states aggressive interrogations do work. Of course they do. If their effectiveness is rooted in their unbearability, and they’re supposed to be so “wrong” for us to do because they’re so unbearable…then what, exactly, is supposed to make them not-work?

The Nice-Guy-Eddy argument?

If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he’ll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don’t necessarily make it fucking so!

It’s a valid argument. Trouble is, all valid arguments aren’t necessarily correct.

I had a lefty-guy hit me with the Nice-Guy-Eddy argument about these aggressive interrogations, last night at dinner. It wasn’t the first time. But this time, I decided to respond with a parable about bringing someone from the pre-Civil-War era back to our time to check out this thing called the “automobile.” Someone skilled in engineering who would understand all of the basic concepts, but of course, someone who had never actually seen a car before.

He’d have all kinds of Nice-Guy-Eddy arguments wouldn’t he? Like…from what you’re telling me, stranger-from-future, all that metal rubbing on metal? No way! And his points would be completely valid, just as it’s valid to say someone is inclined to make up bullshit to get you to stop beating him with nickels-in-a-sock. But in both cases, there are ways to make the process just a little bit more helpfully complicated. Muck around with the body somewhat, screw with the mind somewhat, go back to the body again, mess around with the mind a little bit more…it’s a skill, just like any other.

So when you and that engineer from the 1850′s get here — do you find cars, or do you not?

I entered this reply at NeoCon Blonde’s place, which I don’t know will be approved or not…

Like so many other discussion[s] about the Obama administration’s policies, I notice this often degenerates into parallel monologues:

“It’s unlikely to work, and here are the reasons why.”

“Yeah, but it makes lots of people feel great…here are all the people who think it feels great.”

“But it isn’t likely to work.”

“But it makes people feel great.”

“But it isn’t likely to work.”

The torture debate is this situation in reverse: It makes us all feel kinda lousy to even think about doing some of these things. But if you threaten to put my balls in a vi[s]e until I tell you something, I don’t care what anyone else says. That is extremely likely to work.

The people in Olbermann’s camp illustrate their own inability to say what’s right-and-wrong, and not only that, but also their weakness in existing on this plane of reality at all. Their position is that we shouldn’t do anything too rough to save the lives of the innocent — because it just might work, and they don’t even appear to understand that this is what they’re arguing. They’re poised to declare a victory, if & when someone from the other side ‘fesses up that this thing we’re counting on the bad guys not wanting to have done to them, would indeed be an unpleasant thing, that most people wouldn’t want to have done to them. That’s the whole point.

It becomes a little bit scary when you realize their vision with regard to civilized-versus-uncivilized, is just as clouded as their perception of what-will-and-won’t-work.

A civilized society, knowing full well that the bad guy won’t be able to bear an aggressive interrogation, but by engaging it they just might learn something that will save innocent lives…because of all this…wouldn’t do it? Since when? Based on what?

A savage, brutal society would do it? And in so doing, save the lives, or at least make a decent attempt to do so? This would make it a bad one? How? Such a society would be unable to look at itself in the mirror…compared to a companion society in the same situation that would just let the clock run out, and allow the innocent civilians to meet a horrible death? How ya figger?

What Makes Liberals Smile

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Smiling at TyrantsToday is April 26, 2009; my Things That Inexplicably Make Liberals Laugh and Smile list has just been modified, to include the following.

The pattern that seems to emerge, is that when you hear a liberal politician giggle you should worry about things. A whole lot.

Dignitaries and ordinary-folks on the political left, are known to laugh and smile…

1. When meeting dictators who are known to oppress the basic rights of their people;
2. When talking about hostage crises that involve pirates;
3. When spending good taxpayer money on worthless “toxic assets” to bail out the banks;
4. When talking about how unpopular the auto bailout is;
5. When portending severe injury, or doom, to all life on the planet due to global climate change;
6. When attending ceremonies that “mark” (not celebrate) the <n>thousandth casualty in Iraq.

I have yet to understand what they think is so darned funny. This is one of those mysteries of life I doubt I’ll ever be able to figure out…

Community Organizer Logic

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Okay class, what is wrong with the logic used here. What’s going on is our new President using the Everything’s-a-meetin’ brand of diplomacy to get something done…or undone…I’m really not sure what and I don’t think anybody in the administration knows, either…with Venezuela’s boss, Hugo Chávez. James P. Rubin wrote a column defending it — so what exactly is wrong with Rubin’s logic. That’s your assignment. Hint: Think “back-to-basics.” Plans versus goals.

Despite the results of November’s election, Mr. Obama’s critics are judging him on the basis of the old Bush calculus. Whether it is Venezuela or Cuba, they assess Mr. Obama’s actions based on whether or not they immediately contribute to the downfall of a regime. If not, then they go off in high dudgeon.

Worse yet, Mr. Obama’s critics are using the same logic that contributed to early failures in Iraq. They say the president’s politeness to Hugo Chávez, for example, should be judged by the standards of the Cold War. They point to the fact that dissidents in Eastern Europe were heartened when President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” But that truth doesn’t always translate to other parts of the world. If Iraq has taught us anything, it is that not all countries respond the same way when a dictator falls. Unfortunately, many heirs to the Reagan tradition haven’t learned that policy by analogy is a risky business.
:
If the president’s critics continue to judge him by Bush-era standards of diplomacy and regime change, they are going to have a lot to shout about over the next four years. But the majority of Americans who supported Barack Obama will withhold judgment and give the administration the opportunity to implement its initiatives on climate change, nuclear proliferation, Afghanistan and Iran. They may even give the new policies time to work.

First of all, there is the question of time. It is used here, consistently, and as nothing but, an agent for implementing Obama apologetics. Let us borrow, here, a page from Tom McMahon’s 4-block world. Imagine a matrix of four blocks arranged two-by-two: President Bush succeeds, President Bush fails, President Obama succeeds and President Obama fails. James Rubin’s recognition of time, then, is consistently implemented in the following way…

If President Bush has succeeded at something, it will take time to recognize all the ramifications.

If President Bush failed at something, the verdict is IN!

If President Obama has done something that might lead to success, we can go ahead and declare victory right away.

If President Obama failed at something, you’re being premature, reckless, and a bit of an oaf by pointing it out at this early date. Give him a chance fer cryin’ out loud.

Another issue raised with regard to time, is this notion that there are “eras” and “chapters” in diplomacy. This is a very silly notion, considering that even today the wise diplomat finds it prudent to quote from Aristotle, Machiavelli, Cicero…et al. This “old Bush calculus” said the imprimatur of the United States should not be lent to the likes of Chavez and other thugs, because they’ll use it as a prop to achieve their goals, and their goals are inimical to us. What is Rubin’s response to this, exactly — that Chavez is not an enemy once you get to really know the guy? Or, rather, that the photo-op with the current United States President is of insignificant value to him? Perhaps both? But neither supposition is meritorious enough to be tangibly fastened to Rubin’s good name — he won’t come out and spell out either one.

This is the trouble with Barack Obama. It seems, to even defend his new policies, necessitates a rather vicious assault upon logic and common sense; there is a wedge driven rather cleanly between the desired outcome of a plan, and a plan itself.

This is measurable. Easily. Imagine yet another four-block matrix, with Bush-era logic on the top, current logic on the bottom, desired outcomes in the left column and implementation plans in the right column:

Top row: Regime change in Iraq…is achieved by…getting that s.o.b. out of there. With our 2009 wisdom, we look back on that and say, that there didn’t work…was stupid…was a failure. Although the objective was completed. Certainly, it worked a lot better than disarming North Korea in the ’90s, or getting the hostages back from Iran in the early ’80s. And, a cool, dispassionate, reasonable mind with a robust command of the historical record, would have to nurture some strong doubts that any other method ever would’ve or could’ve worked.

Bottom row: Stronger United States economy…is achieved by…unprecedented, extravagant deficit spending. That’s supposed to be “smart” — and solely because of the identity of the idea’s author. Nobody can even explain how it has a greater-than-50-50 chance of working. Simply spelling out what exactly is to be achieved, and placing it in juxtaposition with a summary of how we’re going about doing it, is sufficient to deal it a devastating rhetorical blow. Not my idea of a great plan. Sorry.

But I’m in the minority today. This is the logic by which it seems to be a swell idea to send our leader down to pal around with Chávez. With this kind of modern logic, we really shouldn’t expect success, though, without somewhere along the line fundamentally re-defining what it is we’re trying to do. Because this logic demands that we try to do something, we don’t really try to do it. In sum, it really isn’t logic at all. Simply keeping in mind, as the project is underway, what you had hoped to accomplish at its inception — is coloring outside the lines. So this modern logic is really nothing more than raw emotion when all’s said and done. It is a strange and surreal form of anti-logic.

To make this look like a cool idea, that’s the style of thinking you must embrace. Everything is judged by a current and instantaneous emotional state, history always began this morning, and if we ever knew what it is we were trying to achieve here, we forgot it a few minutes ago. Kumbaya.

Nailing Jello

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

There are two kinds of liberals, I’ve noticed: The kind that demand answers out of you for questions that are of convenience to them, and then do everything they can to make damn sure you can’t get a full sentence out. Blah, blah blah, blahblahblah, blah blah blah blah blah. Talking point talking point talking point talking point. They seem to think it’s a contest regarding who can get the most words out in the shortest amount of time.

And then there is the kind that learned just enough about logical fallacies to attach labels to things, often incorrectly. You point out they’re using questionable logic and they say you’re using an “ad hom.” You recite a list of things liberals seem not to want anyone to be able to do, and they call it “begging the question.” Their college professor, you see, has taught them these magic phrases they get to use when they’re backed into a corner and just want out. They labor under a misconception that these tags are interchangeable; it works like “Shazam!” or something.

Neo-neocon, from here on in, is my candidate to deal with that second type of liberal. For reasons that the picture below should make abundantly clear…

Well done!

Regarding the former type…well, that’s far more common. Ultimately, right now, it comes down to reminding them that this is a discussion about what ideas actually work, and with regard to theirs, since their folks are the ones in charge — sadly, just waiting.

Best Sentence LX

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Beer SquirrelFrankJ has already won more than his share of these…nevertheless, he takes the sixtieth Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award for this entry in his “Random Thoughts” yesterday:

If torturing a terrorist could save five squirrels, I’d torture the terrorist and then kill the squirrels myself.

Damn straight, and I agree a hundred percent.

Squirrels are assholes. Rats of the woodland. Vile, vile squirrels.

The Great Big Validation Hole

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

The most wonderful thing an adventure movie can ever do — other than make sure the good guy wins — is to offer a fleshed-out psych profile of the BigBad, or, even better, of The Dragon. Tombstone would’ve been a better movie if it spent a few more minutes doing this. But the few seconds it offered was plenty good enough

Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? What makes him do the things he does?
Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.
Wyatt Earp: What does he need?
Doc Holliday: Revenge.
Wyatt Earp: For what?
Doc Holliday: Bein’ born.

This week, I notice, the democrat party has gotten itself into a fit. And they really shouldn’t have. They’ve won an election and a clear mandate for their ideas — which they have yet to carry out, even to such a cursory extent as the rest of us can stop arguing over what those ideas are. Maybe they want us to keep arguing about it; they’ve always behaved as if the longer this uncertainty can be carried out, the better it is for them.

But that doesn’t explain why — now, at the end of Barack Obama’s first hundred days — the time has come to convince the electorate that democrats are the right people for the job, and conservatives & Republicans suck so much. Polls, more polls, opinion pieces by Bill Maher, et cetera. What’s the occasion? What’s the point? I thought all this stuff was settled and it was time for that change-we-could-believe-in.

It’s like that boorish woman’s-vision of a worst-ever blind date: “But enough of me talking about me; you talk about me for awhile.” Now that it’s settled that Republicans suck so much and should be driven from power, let us say a few words about how Republicans suck so much and should be driven from power.

Perhaps this is a natural consequence of building a political party around the concept of seeking external validation for one’s virtues. Perhaps it truly is the “Ringo Party”; they’ve got a hole, right in their middle, that they can’t ever fill. They can’t ever seek or find enough approval or validation.

Geez, if it’s that bad, this raises questions about whether these people should own pets, let alone run anything. But why is it especially bad now? The elections are over. Isn’t now right about the best time to, y’know, get some actual work done? I imagine, in a sane universe, the following exchange:

Editor: You again. Whaddya want?
Bill Maher: You’re gonna die over this. I spent all night on it, and it’s so hip and edgy!
Editor: What’s it about?
Bill Maher: (Squealing a little) Republicans suck a whole lot!
Editor: Pass.
Bill Maher: WHAT??
Editor: You heard me. Pass. The elections are over. Where ya been?
Bill Maher: But-but-but…
Editor: Bring me something with meat. Bring me a list of reasons why Congress should pass Obama’s latest proposal. The democrats are trying to fix stuff right now, they’re not running anymore. Republicans suck? What the hell, like I was planning to put them in charge of something? Kid, you’ve gotta learn to figure out what people are thinking, before you write stuff. Now go away, I’ve got an electronic news-zine to get out.
(Maher’s lower lip trembles as he is led out of the room.)

Like that. That would be sane. A time to tell everyone how much the other guy sucks, and a time to show everybody how wonderful you are.

But no. Campaigning is always current. The time never quite arrives to actually achieve anything. It’s always time to talk about it, instead.

In fact, lately the need to champion liberal thought over conservative dissent, has peaked. This creates a mystery, and it is one not resolved by the Ringo Hole. This need for affirmation is an endless, constant thing. It is inspired by a colossal vacuum, and vacuums do not pulse. This is a pulse. What caused the pulse?

I was thinking on this, in my mind’s eye skimming back over the headlines of the last week…and suddenly, it hit me.

The Miss California and Perez Hilton thing.

To an audience in the Miss America community, Miss Cali really blew it. But to the broader electorate as a whole, Mr. Hilton managed to showcase everything that is wrong with the party that just won the elections five months earlier. He’s a piece of degenerate filth — by which I mean, not that he’s gay, not that he’s openly gay, not that he’s out of the mainstream, not that he’s a rebel. But that he’s an intolerant, rude dimwit.

No, not rude; cultured people can be rude. Uncouth. And a few steps beyond uncouth. More than one uncouth person has had it pointed out to him that he lacks manners, he ought to change, people would like him better…and as a direct result has made up his mind to learn them.

Perez Hilton is not in that camp. He’s unrepentant. Worse than unrepentant, even, for unrepentant people frequently desire to be left alone, and in return leave others alone. Perez Hilton exists outside of the mainstream, as one who seeks to re-define that mainstream. He’s a rude, uncouth asshole the same way he’s gay: He aspires to change all the others. The scathing, angry intolerance is simply a consequential outgrowth from that.

I think that answers the question of why it has become, lately, unusually necessary to showcase the supposed dysfunction of those Republicans who aren’t making any decisions about anything anyway. I think Mr. Hilton has dealt the democrat party a severe injury. He’s taken all these things people don’t really trust about the liberals, all the ugliness, the dysfunction, the intolerance, the bad manners, all that hidden, churning anger, and he’s put a great big bright spotlight on it all.

Contrasted with that: Carrie Prejean’s attitude — which, as is evident to everyone paying attention and that’s just about everybody — neatly captures the spirit of conservatism that was so handily defeated at the polls last fall. This question is cultural, therefore the jurisdiction in which it is settled, should be territorial and not global. I not only respect, but support and celebrate the right each man and woman has to decide this according to his or her value system…but…for myself, this is what marriage means to me.

Courage and class. Vividly contrasted against Mr. Hilton’s control-freakishness, meanness, childishness, and schadenfreude. Which one would you like making important decisions about things in our country?

It really hurts, because the liberal’s perception of his own righteousness doesn’t come from within. Deep down, I think they understand they want the same governmental structure as the most despotic regime: Our way or the highway, you don’t have the right to disagree, if you say the wrong things we’ll throw you in jail…et cetera. And deep down, I think they understand the only thing separating them from those despots, is being “right.” All these left-winger Hollywood movies about the hero living in fear of becoming the very thing he has sworn to oppose — that’s projection. Our hole-in-the-middle leftists live in fear of that every day.

That’s why the hole is there. They are godless. Their entire moral code depends on their nobility…and in their world, nobility is unmeasured, or measured only by popular decree. How else could it be done? There is no moral compass, no scripture, no deity, no organized set of values.

Send Cheney Home!And so they always have to campaign. Like the teachers’ pet that is given the job of helping to grade papers — and doesn’t even trouble herself to uncap the pen, instead, continues to sit there chirping away about how she’s the right girl for the job, and how right the teacher was to pick her. While the teacher does all the grading.

This is the supreme embarrassment. We didn’t have an election about who can solve the nation’s problems; we just had an election about who ran the best campaign.

Update: Related: The democrat party just sent me — since I’m on their mailing list — a pitch to contribute some of those Obama-economy bucks their way, so they can buy a bus ticket home to Wyoming for Dick Cheney.

These are the people who made fun of George Bush because one of his generals thought it would make the troops feel good to have a “Mission Accomplished” banner flying on the USS Abraham Lincoln. I never understood what was wrong with that. Now I think I get it: There’s something within what passes for liberal value-systems, within liberal thought-canon, that is stridently opposed to ever declaring a job done.

They live out their entire lives on a turning point. A revolution is always taking place. Today, it’s that our former Vice President is out there…powerless…but sayin’ stuff, and in so doing exercising the very rights as a private citizen that The Angry Left claims to be dedicated to defending and championing. So they want to raise $200 to get him a bus ticket. One simply can’t help but wonder, once that’s done, what comes next. They behave, in victory, exactly the same way a sane man behaves in defeat. Because of that colossal hole.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

I Submitted That FARK Headline

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Nobody reads this blog…certainly not those kollege kids on FARK, they’re just way too smart.

So don’t tell them I submitted this, whatever you do. It’ll get in the way of that…that…you know, it’s Friday night, I don’t even want to think about what they’re doing, while they log in with their FARK accounts and yell “Shut Up!” and “Out The Submitter!” It’s got something to do with hitting the “refresh” button on the web page every few minutes and debating with conserva telling non-liberals how stupid they are, whatever it is. Quantity of alcohol, and quality, to be determined by the “tuition-and-textbook” budget.

The great tragedy here is that the meanings of “gullible” and “skeptical” have been switched around — a perfect 180-degree angle, as if with a surgical-precision instrument. I wouldn’t dread what’s coming nearly as much, if the cream of tomorrow’s leaders showed off for each other clinging to the same tired old ideas, ideas far older than their teeth…and irreversibly infected with CBTA with regard to the newer ideas…if only they admitted that this is what they’re all about.

Smoking Hot WaitressBut they cling to the tired old ideas, never once re-evaluating them. And dismiss anything new, before they even examine it to a cursory detail. And show off for each other as they do it. Then, when they’re done, they pat themselves & each other on the back for being “open-minded” and “thinking for themselves” as they open another bottle of Jagermeister.

A few years down the road — and that’s your boss. Filling out your reviews, deciding based on which testicle itches that morning whether your name is on “retention bonus, whatever it takes,” or the “that asshole’s making photocopies until he quits” list.

So don’t laugh too hard.

Update: Still lots of activity but it’s degenerated into three things. Calling each other morons over comparisons between carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide; uploading pictures of nice looking women not wearing too much by way of clothes; telling me to out myself and/or to shut up.

I have unkind feelings toward 67% of those.

I swear, it’s just like having an aquarium. Except it doesn’t take up quite as much room, the fish are actually entertaining, and there’s no fish shit to be cleaned out twice a week.

Update: Forgot to go back and link the article itself. There were so many comments within just a few minutes, I thought I’d check back & see if it would “go green” which means no TOTALFARK membership needed to read it…and therefore to open the linked article…I labored under no delusion that this was a likelihood, but I forgot to do the necessary housekeeping.

Your linked article is here. Quite good, although the real entertainment is those drunken college kids in the thread I can’t show you.

101 Freedoms and Rights the Progressive Left Doesn’t Want You to Have
:
1. The Freedom to keep what you earn and spend it as you please.
2. The Freedom to take risks, and live with the consequences.
3. The Right to participate in the political process by donating money to causes you support (like Proposition 8 in California) without being harassed by radicals
4. The Freedom to work in a shop without belonging to a union.
5. The Freedom to use a secret ballot when voting to unionize.

Et cetera.

Hat tip for that one to Moonbattery.

Thanks to Gerard for pointing out my error.

Priestap Takes Meghan McCain Apart

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Kim Priestap rips Meghan a well deserved new-one in Pajamas Media this morning. Her comments resonate with my own natural frequency, right from the very opening line:

“I love you. Now, please change.”

That is the message Meghan McCain has for the Republican Party.

(Shudder.) Oh! The level of suspicion and skepticism I have for people with this message…which translates to “I’ve flung the right bromides your way, now you have to listen to me, you must diminish yourself.”

These people could go deer hunting, leave the rifles at home, and talk the animals into committing suicide. The lowest forms of human life are congressmen, used car salesmen, environmentalist whack-jobs, psychiatrists who write prescriptions for Ritalin because a single-mom asks them to, public school teachers that hate their jobs and make sure their students know about it…trial lawyers…environmentalist whack-jobs who drive big cars…whale poop, and then them.

Grrr.

Corona Ad

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Hat tip to blogger friend Buck.

Psychotic Earth Day Spokesman

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Hat tip to Boortz.

President Borat

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Frank J from IMAO, writing in Pajamas Media:

Something is odd about President Obama. I don’t mean the usual silly political stuff that he’s a crypto-socialist. I mean he is somehow different from any other politician. I think I began to notice something was a little off when he first started campaigning to be president — but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just odd to have everyone so excited about him and no one was sure why. Then there are all the weird mistakes and goofs he’s made, which only seem to keep multiplying since he’s become president. On one side you have people trying to blow those mistakes up to show what a liberal politician he is. On the other side you have people defending all his actions. I think both sides are getting fooled here.

BoratI finally had an epiphany when Obama, reacting to the public outcry on runaway spending, ordered that $100 million in cuts be made from the budget. The $4 trillion budget. With a projected deficit of $1.8 trillion. That’s like suddenly gaining a thousand pounds and trying to offset the weight by trimming one fingernail. If Obama’s people can find $100 million to cut every year, they’ll have the budget balanced in the year 20,009 AD, by which time the human race will probably have flown to distant galaxies in an attempt to escape the massive debt that has consumed their home planet.

So why would Obama propose something so pathetically silly? I haven’t heard anyone defend this one, but the usual explanation that he’s politically tone deaf doesn’t quite cover it. This is beyond tone deaf. There is, in fact, only one rational explanation for it: it’s a joke.

There’s a conspiracy theory out there that because Obama hasn’t released his real birth certificate, that proves he isn’t a natural citizen and is thus not eligible to be president. I was dismissive of that, but now I think it’s true. If we found his real birth certificate, my guess is that it would say that he was born in England and that his name is Sacha Baron Cohen.

That’s right; we elected Borat president.

Borat?

Hmmm…yes, it does make sense, and it seems to make more and more sense the more I think about it. It’s a toss-up between Borat, and Chauncey Gardner from Being There. “Arugula.” “Omigawd!! How incredibly profound!!” “Can’t I just eat my waffle?” “He’s a Lightworker!!”

The idea that Obama’s more-or-less making it up as He goes along, involves far less speculation at this point. It’s all-but-proven. The idea that the whole thing is a joke…well…suffice it to say, at this point I’d like to see someone provide some firm evidence that it isn’t. It would be reassuring.

Image shamelessly swiped from Gerard Van der Leun at American Digest.

EPA Holding a Gun to Congress’ Head

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Wall Street Journal:

President Obama’s global warming agenda has been losing support in Congress, but why let an irritant like democratic consent interfere with saving the world? So last Friday the Environmental Protection Agency decided to put a gun to the head of Congress and play cap-and-trade roulette with the U.S. economy.

The pistol comes in the form of a ruling that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant that threatens the public and therefore must be regulated under the 1970 Clean Air Act. This so-called “endangerment finding” sets the clock ticking on a vast array of taxes and regulation that EPA will have the power to impose across the economy, and all with little or no political debate.

This is a momentous decision that has the potential to affect the daily life of every American, yet most of the media barely noticed, and those that did largely applauded. When America’s Founders revolted against “taxation without representation,” this is precisely the kind of kingly diktat they had in mind.

The data have performed a mediocre-to-craptacular job of supporting the fairy tale of “global climate change” lately. Public support is not there, and is not likely to come back. But we did get a pro-global-warming crew elected.

The rocket-car’s fuel has been exhausted, it is moving on impetus alone, and we’re about to see if it can make it all the way across the canyon. Whether it works or not, there is no do-over.

The irony is such that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Democracy, the great moderator, is about to reward us with a result that is integral on this issue: A one or a zero. No moderation about it. And, you can rest assured that whatever we decide about whether human activity is putting our global climate in some kind of danger…the truth will be utterly disconnected from it. If it’s right, it’ll be like the stopped clock being right. It will be purely random.

Thing I Know #129. Leaders; votes; clergy; academics; pundits; prevailing sentiment; political expediency. Wherever these decide what is & isn’t true, an empire will surely fall.

Should President Palin Bring the Obama Administration Up on Charges?

Friday, April 24th, 2009

AOL News editor is having some fun…or not.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TO FACE PROSECUTION
:
At the White House, Press Secretary Adam Brickley said that President Sarah Palin stands firmly behind the decision. “It’s not as if we relish the thought of prosecuting members of the previous administration,” Brickley said, “but, at this point, there is a clearly established precedent – set in place by the Obama Administration themselves – which says that government officials must be held accountable if they contributed in any way to major breaches of the law. In this case, the individuals under investigation do appear to have purposefully allowed these terrorists to continue their actions – prioritizing international public opinion over the lives of the American people. So, while this may be a politically charged issue, there is a real need to prosecute.”

Best of the Web, yesterday, spelled this out as nothing less than a constitutional crisis — and, toward that end, made an unexpectedly strong case:

If officials pay for policy mistakes not only by losing elections but by losing their freedom, that would amount to a fundamental change in America’s form of government. As The Wall Street Journal notes in an editorial:

At least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

What Obama is offhandedly contemplating, then, amounts to a step toward authoritarian government. The impulse behind the push to prosecute is an authoritarian one as well. Matthew Yglesias of the left-liberal Center for American Progress writes that “large-scale punishment for the perpetrators of Bush-era war crimes is less important than establishing some form of political consensus that torture is wrong for the future.”

Yglesias blames this lack of “consensus” on “the existence of a large and powerful conservative media apparatus,” including the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, and he quotes approvingly from a blogger called Neil Sinhababu:

I don’t think that we’re going to be able to establish any such consensus anytime soon. It used to be that we were worried about Fox News defeating us in elections, or beating the drums for another Bush Administration war. Winning by big margins is nice, because we don’t have to worry about those particular horrors for at least a little while. But now we have to worry about how Fox and the rest of the right-wing noise machine are going to continually sustain a substantial minority of crazy people, preventing the formation of an anti-torture consensus, an anti-war-of-aggression consensus, and anti-warrantless-spying consensus. Even if there’s majority support for these views, anybody scrapping for power within the Republican Party will find reason to oppose them, just to get a majority of Republicans.

I think the impossibility of consensus on these issues is part of why nobody thinks about consensus and there’s so much left-wing attention to judicial punishments for the perpetrators.

What troubles Yglesias and Sinhababu, then, is the existence of disagreement and debate–the essence of democracy. They seem to imply that prosecution is a method by which to force the consensus they would like to see. But a forced consensus is no consensus at all. If those now in power yield to the temptation to use authoritarian means–however well-intentioned their ends may be–they will set a precedent that their opponents, perhaps equally well-intentioned, may one day use against them.

To be sure, most of what we have written is speculative. Perhaps we will make it through the Obama years without being attacked, so that the dire consequences we imagine will never materialize. Perhaps, too, the current frenzy will blow over and will prove to have been only a distraction. But the president’s noncommittal words have fueled the Angry Left’s demands for recriminations.

It may be that the president can put out this fire only through bold and irreversible action–to wit, by issuing a blanket pardon of former officials and intelligence agents for their actions in the war on terror.

Obama, on this issue, is the perfect illustration of the hazards involved in confusing mediocrity with excellence, especially when investing power in candidates who are ideologically strangers to us. He looks — or at least, looked last year — like a walking triumph of order and reason over weirdness and chaos. But the theory that Obama is the triumph of order over chaos, is based entirely on the premise that a sensible Captain’s hand is upon the tiller of the ship-of-state. Whatever decision He makes about this issue, or that one, is bound to be sensible. This has to be the case. The dude talks kinda like Walter Cronkite, how can it not be true?

But nobody really knows what He’s going to decide. We don’t even know if, behind closed doors, the decision really belongs to Attorney General Eric Holder, as President Obama has said out in the open.

Our walking triumph of over-over-chaos, on this issue if on none other, is a loose cannon. We’re literally waiting to see if we still live in a representative democracy, or a banana republic. And it comes down to the itches one or two guys have between their ears.

Why Tech Support Sucks

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Cracked. Some language not appropriate for a work/family environment…

Maybe it’s you. Is your problem really so stupid? Not really. If it seems like the level two tech is barely even able to feign interest in what you’re saying, it is because he’s barely able to feign interest in what you’re saying. But it’s not you. They just hate their jobs and, by the transitive properties of unfocused job place hatred, they hate you too.