Archive for May, 2009

Ten Terraces of Liberalism

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

I must cleanse my soul, for I am about to re-tell a glorious, scrumptious tale of someone backpedaling. But in the last few hours, I have had to backpedal too, so let us tell that story first. I tossed in a quart when a pint was the correct dose.

It happens.

Daphne’s place is being buzz-bombed with a charming, snarky liberal gadfly — which also happens. There seems to be a great epidemic of snarky liberals showing lots of “wit” without saying anything anyone, even anyone sympathetic to their side of things, would find too funny. Daphne had her fill of it but, having a heart of gold, decided to play the Three Ghosts to my Ebenezer Scrooge and whispered the words of wisdom to me –

Morgan, I think most of them are truly well meaning and decent people…its just that they’re stupefied. They can’t see the forest for the trees or make the leap from A to Z without a linear finger tracing of every letter. They’ve been taught to think in a particular groove and never bother to poke their heads out for a glimpse of another side of the equation.

The smart liberals are dangerous, but they aren’t in the majority. Unfortunately, they have too many quislings, thanks to the cesspool of mediocrity known as public education.

The latest example of liberal nastiness still plying its aftertaste upon my palette, I was less than completely receptive, although deep down somewhere in the recesses of my subconsciousness I knew the lady was right:

Daphne, with most of what they’re taught that might be true. To a weak and feeble mind, you say “pass a law to raise the minimum wage” and my goodness, who with a decent conscience could ever oppose that?

However, some of it wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance of taking root, if there wasn’t some internal nastiness in the host to keep it nourished. I’m speaking here of some of the liberal policies that are, overtly, about trying to destroy things. Like the Boy Scouts for example. I am well aware of the euphemisms — but I call bullshit on the idea that anyone, anywhere, in their heart-of-hearts thinks it will make life more bearable for anyone else if a wedge is driven between the Boy Scouts and the United Way. That right there is a desire to destroy something — period, full stop. That’s a “we’ll show you.”

All of these might start with benign intentions (or, to be more accurate about it, an obsequious effort to showcase decency that possesses only a remote chance of actually being there).

There have been lots of folks who started out liberal, and then when the liberalism inevitably twists and mutates into a perverted form of its former self and starts to become evil, becomes all-concerned about destroying whoever doesn’t fit in — leave. Charlton Heston did it. Ronald Reagan did it. That means anyone can.

But when Napolitano put out that DHS report, the only folks I saw protesting, were the ones who called themselves conservatives. If liberals were really about decency, that would have been the point of an irreversible mass exodus.

Now, I’m not going to completely renounce this. There is much truth in it. But some of it needs to go, or at least, to be polished down. I can’t sit here and say, show me a hundred liberals and I’ll show you a hundred people with dark souls. I can’t even say, show me a hundred liberals that have gotten snarky and mean on someone’s blog, and I’ll show you a hundred mean people. There is an overwhelming temptation to play Let’s-Pretend on that one. But it isn’t true. Falling for a bunch of stupid shit doesn’t make you necessarily stupid, let alone evil. Perhaps less than fully attentive, and perhaps incurious. But that’s about all that can really be said.

The problem really is — there are certain milestones on this short, quick bunny trail between the start of the hike, which is “I’m reading a liberal snot-rag newspaper and believing every single word,” and the final destination which is “I hope Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail.” From the one point to the other…from “I think I got both sides of the story when I really didn’t,” to “I can’t believe George W. Bush could have ever done anything right, even by random chance, or Barack Obama can ever make a mistake.” There are gradients between these two extremes; there are degrees of corruption. And that’s important to keep in mind. We should work at keeping it in mind because it’s easy to forget.

The reason it’s easy to forget this, is that the hike isn’t quite so much along a level dirt road, as down a sleep, slippery icy slope. Those of us who’ve been paying attention have seen so many turn to the Dark Side, that it all seems inevitable.

But we should recognize the levels. There is an absolute verticality to them; if you’ve slid (or ascended) past this one, but not that one, then you likewise may be safely assumed to have not hit that-one-or-that-one-or-that-one. So by recognizing them, maybe some of us can save some friends.

And to recognize them, we need to identify them.

So here they are.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number One
What I Call Them: Goo-Gooders.
What They Cannot Understand: The Natural Consequence.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they have compassion.
How to Spot Them: They think Thomas Jefferson had the right idea but they also think Earl Warren had the right idea. The truth of the matter is, if you could invite both of these gentlemen to your dinner table on the same night, plates would be broken.
Where They Go Astray: They tend to think there’s a certain level of pain that should not be felt by anyone without some artificial intervention to make everything better; then they lower that limit as time goes on. It starts out with a legitimate protest against slavery. Next thing you know, everyone has a “human right” to wait five minutes for a bus instead of ten. There’s no limit to how far the pain threshold can be lowered.

Purple Is LifeLiberal Dimwit Terrace Number Two
What I Call Them: Cutie-Pies.
What They Cannot Understand: Some Cute Things Are Wrong.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: They’re cute.
How to Spot Them: All the things they own, from cars, to furniture, to the stuffed animals on their beds, to their pens, notebooks, and party invitations they hand out, are cute, sassy, round wherever possible, and purple.
Where They Go Astray: They start to systematically buy into any and all ideas that can be articulated or displayed more concisely and adorably than their opposites (which as a general rule, are expensive, unworkable, and not only errant, but profoundly embarrassing to anyone who starts to apply some responsible thinking to their content).

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Three
What I Call Them: Pamphlet Readers.
What They Cannot Understand: You Can’t Believe Everything You Read.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they have read something about the issue(s).
How to Spot Them: Having studied up on such neutral and encyclopedic resources as The New York Times, the AARP newsletter, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and e-mails from the chairman of the DNC…they start conversations about politics that it turns out they cannot handle. Because they weren’t expecting their viewpoints to be intelligently challenged, by someone inclined toward and capable of doing so. (More often than not, they recall the conversation later as if the other person started it — which makes them somewhat dangerous.)
Where They Go Astray: It’s the “OJ Simpson Trial” situation. They fail to see someone else might have command of the same facts, and come to a different conclusion about what happened or what should be done about it.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Four
What I Call Them: Secularists.
What They Cannot Understand: That There Just Might Be a God.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they don’t go to church.
How to Spot Them: The “Darwin” fish on the back of their car.
Where They Go Astray: They start to believe that non-believers are morally superior, because they do good things just-because, whereas religious people do the same thing to try to appease a judgmental, omnipowerful being.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Five
What I Call Them: Small-l libertarians.
What They Cannot Understand: Drugs Aren’t Good.
Not Men!What They Want to Prove About Themselves: They want to legalize drugs.
How to Spot Them: They really don’t care too much about anything besides legalizing drugs.
Where They Go Astray: They want to legalize drugs.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Six
What I Call Them: Non-Discriminators.
What They Cannot Understand: Men Shouldn’t Be Hooters’ Waitresses.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: They are blind to class membership — which isn’t even close to being true.
How to Spot Them: They talk about “laws that end discrimination,” which, when you think about it responsibly for a little while, you can see is some of the purest nonsense.
Where They Go Astray: Simply put, they start discriminating.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Seven
What I Call Them: Nanny-Staters.
What They Cannot Understand: The Nature of Government Makes Self-Restraint Impossible.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they don’t trust “corporations”.
How to Spot Them: They claim the death tax is not a double-tax, using the “it’s the first time that guy saw the money” argument. Also, we always seem to be, as the saying goes, one regulation away from total bliss.
Where They Go Astray: Their arguments start to rest on an unstated premise that government is capable of a balance, a wisdom, and a sense of ethics that is somehow unattainable to anyone who isn’t in government.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Eight
What I Call Them: Peaceniks.
What They Cannot Understand: Sometimes, War is the Answer.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they are dedicated to ending violence and conflict (the violence part may be true, but the conflict part sure as hell isn’t).
How to Spot Them: They refuse to acknowledge any problem in human history that was ever solved by a war.
Where They Go Astray: They start to see themselves as enmeshed in a conflict with imaginary ideological antagonists who actually like war. Much in the same way that liberals who are opposed to pollution disease and hunger, seem to start believing that someone, somewhere, enjoying significant power or numbers, is actually in favor of pollution, disease and hunger.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Nine
What I Call Them: Finger-Pointers.
What They Cannot Understand: Not All Tragedies Have a Villain.
Angry, Finger-Pointing HillaryWhat They Want to Prove About Themselves: Their capacity for anger. Typically, they used to be peaceniks, and one day they realized their peacenik-ism left them unfulfilled, and with something they needed to prove.
How to Spot Them: One, and only one, bad guy (or class) for everything about the world they don’t like.
Where They Go Astray: They probably always were astray; they have a thunderhead of frothy rage on hand that finds a convenient lightning-rod in whoever or whatever they’ve identified as the villain. The storm is always there. When the lightning strikes, is the only question, and it’s definitely a “when” and not an “if.” These are crazy, angry people. Keep clear.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Ten
What I Call Them: True Believers.
What They Cannot Understand: Liberal Positions Are, or Should Be, “A La Carte”.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: Their devotion.
How to Spot Them: They think convicted murderers have a right to life, but unborn babies don’t.
Where They Go Astray: These people have crossed the fourth milestone on the way to complete insanity. They don’t think anyone with conservative recognition can ever have a good idea, or that anyone with proper liberal credentials can ever have a bad one.

Update 5/22/09: I wasn’t aware of the content of this promo for the new V series until this morning when I saw it on IMAO. FrankJ compares the reptilian aliens to Obama.

When the lady in the trailer says the aliens’ weapon is “devotion” — the same word, coincidentally, I used in the final terrace — this helps to capture how the ten terraces work in concert with each other as parts of a simple machine. Like the threads in a screw, or the teeth on a gear.

You say “I want to run everything. Be devoted to me!” You’ll net yourself very, very few takers. But you carve up the mission into lots of smaller incremental tasks and it’s easy. Now go back over those terraces again. Notice how the very first ones, the ones that invite people to climb aboard the bandwagon for the first time, all have one thing in common: They have to do with the new disciple proving something about himself. He’s compassionate, he’s adorable, he’s informed, he’s a critical thinker. This is the point of the screw that is supposed to pierce the hardwood first.

When you get a person’s ego involved, you can get him to do whatever you want; if you don’t, then you can’t.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Americans Work Too Much

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Americans Work Too MuchWe’re celebrating a not-so-new journalistic trend, and oh is it ever a hot one. Lazy journalist hunts down lazy egghead researcher willing to fasten his good name to the idea that…drum roll please…Americans work too much.

Americans work too much (from 1902!).

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Americans work too much.

Here, Google it yourself. Fun for the whole family. Just don’t work too hard at it.

Oh and by the way, now that we’ve started our second century of oh-so-fashionably carping away about what know-nothing spiteful chubby workaholics the damn yankees are, and we’ve elected a new Hope-and-Change iPresident Replacement Jesus who’s gonna be fixing all that and making us a lot more like Europe — this just might be a good time, doncha think, to examine how Europe’s economy is doing?

Europe’s Economy Worse Than Expected
Europe’s souring economy will soon affect its social systems.

New economic data released on Friday shows that Europe’s economy is actually doing far worse then many economists originally thought. Germany is now in the deepest recession of any major economy. Italy, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands are suffering the worst slump since World War ii.

During the first three months of this year, Germany’s economy shrank by 3.8 percent, the largest drop since Germany began keeping gdp data in 1970. Austria and the Netherlands shrank by 2.8 percent, Italy by 2.4 percent, Spain by 1.8 percent and France by 1.2 percent.

Across both the eurozone and the whole European Union, gdp fell by 2.5 percent in the first quarter. Comparing year-on-year data, the eurozone’s gdp fell by 4.6 percent, and the EU’s by 4.4 percent.

These numbers caught many economists by surprise. A Reuters poll of 45 economists predicted that Germany’s economy would contract by only 3 percent. Dominic Bryant of bnp Paribas said that the actual fall of 3.8 percent was a “truly terrible number.” Both the German government and economists are predicting that the economy will shrink around 6 to 7 percent in 2009—the biggest fall since World War ii. Year-on-year data shows that Germany’s economy shrank by 6.7 percent in the first quarter.

Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands have experienced four consecutive quarters of economic decline. And these numbers are causing analysts to rethink their predictions on the economy. The recession in Europe began earlier and has become deeper than many originally expected.

One last thought. There is an undertone permeating some of these linked articles, I mean the snotty ones about Americans working way too much, that — not only do we work too much but we’re cranky and mean toward those who do not.

Anyone seen any of that? My observations have been mostly the reverse, actually…people who don’t believe in a solid work ethic, aren’t even willing to say they don’t believe, they just heap all this constant criticism on Americans who “work too much.” Anyone see, lately, a sanctimonious preachy doofus-dad movie in which the small-dee dad figures out at the end, “I’ve been such a dumbass, I need to work more“? I’ve seen much of the reverse, wherein small-dee dad figures out working is what makes him a dumbass. Small-dee dad needs to goof off more. Anyone see some egghead articles heaping derision on the Europeans for not working hard enough? Anywhere? Anything like that?

For the most part, when I see people telling other people what to do with regard to a work ethic, it’s to tone it down. Folks who work harder, don’t spend too much time yakking at other people who don’t work hard, to work harder. They’re generally too busy…working.

All for now. I gotta get ready to go to work.

Poptub Retro

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Poptub must have gotten an idea or two from my comments about my video collection. Out comes Poptub Retro…I am not a crook…Merv Griffin…Lipsmacking Pepsi Cola…

If you aren’t up on the thing about the little boy in the back seat of the car, it’s from a video making the rounds called “David after dentist.” The little guy is all strung out on the anesthetic following his oral surgery.

If you’re thinking that would spawn a whole series of parodies, you’re right. My favorite two follow:

The Story of Stuff: The Critique

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

No, no, no, no, no! You don’t come here yet. You go back and watch the original herethen you watch the critique.

I’ll wait.

Back yet?

Okay…

Stop Eating So Much

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

The Melbourne eggheads have figured out the reason we yanks are so pudgy, is because we eat lots of food.

The amount of food Americans eat has been increasing since the 1970s, and that alone is the cause of the obesity epidemic in the US today…”The food industry has done such a great job of marketing their products, making the food so tasty that it’s almost irresistible, pricing their products just right, and placing them everywhere, that it is very hard for the average person to resist temptation. Food is virtually everywhere, probably even in churches and funeral parlors.” [said the lead researcher]

Seems rather obvious. Like a case of real life imitating The Man Show.


Best Way To Lose WeightFunny home videos are a click away

But there is another side to this that raises red flags with me. I think we’ve either got some eggheads that aren’t up to the task of eggheadery, or something must have gotten horribly lost in the translation as the eggheads discussed their findings with the reporters –

Physical activity—or the lack thereof—has played virtually no role in the rising number of expanding American waistlines, according to research presented at the 2009 European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam last week.

The finding is contrary to the widely held assumption that decreased physical activity is an equally important driver of overweight and obesity in the US, said lead author Dr Boyd Swinburn (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia).

Okay now, if this is all because of something Dr. Boyd Swinburn knows that I don’t know, that would have to mean I’m incorrect in something I learned decades ago: Fat people really do get hungry. Actually, here I would now have to claim superior experience over the doc. I wouldn’t mind chowing down on a chicken drumstick right this very minute — and it’s not because chicken drumsticks are yummy, it’s because I’ve got a little bit of a rumbling in my gut. Which, by rights, I really shouldn’t have because last night’s dinner was scrumptious and wonderful. So in this case, I’m the hungry fat dude. Now, why am I hungry even though I’m eating? Lessee…last night I drove a car home on a 2 mile commute…after doing some stuff on a computer in a cubicle for nine hours…after driving my car 2 miles to work…after blogging.

This weekend I’ll be riding my bike. But most Americans don’t even do that much. Just a few of us go to the gym, and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk about how we went to the gym.

Very few Americans really sit around on their asses all of the time. Here’s the problem, though. You eat one cheeseburger, you’ve got to work and work and work to get your digestion process back to normal. Not to get rid of the calories, which would require even more work. Just to get your body back into the “frame of mind” that okay, that was a treat, we aren’t built to eat cheeseburgers, we’re built to do physical things…so pump up the muscles accordingly and spend that fat.

The typical workout regimen for us, though, is one that would work dandy if things were directly upside down. You do four miles on the Stairmaster, and then you need to put away cheeseburgers all week to get that energy back. Life would be pretty neat if things worked that way. That isn’t how it works.

Physical labor, and lack thereof, affects your appetite. That’s because it determines the environment to which your body is trying to adapt. The type of food you shovel down your gullet, likewise, is part of the environment to which your body is trying to adapt. If it’s rich in starch and salt, your body gets the message that hey, we’re not gonna get the vitamins and other nutrients we need unless & until we consume several gallons of this garbage. So let’s send a nerve impulse to the lardass upstairs that we’re hungry again.

Work makes you fat. Or rather, to be more accurate about it, the time you spend doing work…by which I mean, not physical exercise, but things that need to be done, because nobody else will do ‘em and they’ve gotta get done…depletes your ability to determine what kind of body shape you’re going to have. It also determines how much food you’re going to be eating. It all comes back to your body being a marvelous chameleon, designed to fit into whatever kind of work/eating regimen you’ve set up for it. And America does more work than most countries. We must, because you haven’t got that long to wait before some other snotty European/U.N. study comes out saying we do.

What are you doing when you get hungry? I’m pretty much always “working” in the worst way possible — with my brain and not with my bod. Day-to-day, when the thought occurs to me that it’s time to eat something…I’m either figuring out why something doesn’t work, writing code to make it work, or writing something else designed to be read by humans. You’d better believe that when the craving hits, I’ll be eating a lot more than someone who got just a little bit peckish by sitting around. More hours working means fewer hours doing something that would deliver the body shape you really want. We’re the chubby, barrel-shaped hubby clocking in at the coal mines eighteen hours a day, so his beauty-queen wife with the perfect figure can go jogging and sunbathing all day long.

One more thing worth pointing out: There is a pretty consistent correlation between the cost paid for a meal, and the meal’s delivery of nutrients your body needs on a per-dry-ounce basis. We tend to forget this because the correlation between cost, and the meal’s ability to kill that “I’m hungry right now” impulse, is all over the map. And it is that helter-skelter correlation that is of greater concern to us. You can fill your gut for twenty bucks, you can fill it up for $3.50. You can fill it for a buck.

But the less money you pay to fill up your gut, the richer the gut-filling will be in the salt, grease and starch. Which means you’re back to screwing up that delicate assembly line made up of your digestive tract, your brain, the blood sugar delivery to it, and the “I’m hungry” nerves. The strength here is the weakness. Your system is designed to adapt to the environment, and what you eat is part of that environment. So it’s easy to screw it all up.

But of course, I’ve used a great many more words to nail this stuff down, than were available to poor Dr. Swinburn. I don’t think any of what I’ve said would be news to him, and I don’t think he’d even disagree. This, I think, is a textbook case of lazy reporting. It just isn’t even a thought worth pondering, that “physical activity or the lack thereof has played virtually no role” in turning us into a nation of lardasses. There’s very little physical activity being done anymore. I have some company out on the bike trails, but really not that much considering the population density of my area; over the years, I’ve come to think of it as one of my opportunities to get away from people. If I walk someplace — in Folsom — I get funny looks from the motorists sitting way up high in their nice big cars, like gee I’m dressed nice for a homeless guy, and I must be some kind of homeless guy if I’m out walking.

So what are people doing? Going to the gym?

The gym that “everyone” attends is right next door to the recycling station “everyone” uses. Neither one is really a day-and-night hotbed of bustling activity.

Our asses are getting fat because we sit on them a lot. I’d love to be proven wrong on this, but it doesn’t seem to me like something that’s even open for question.

Twins Have Different Dads

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Hmmm

A Texas mother of twins got the shock of her life when doctors revealed that her 11-month-old boys do not have the same father.

Mia Washington decided to get some expert advice when she and her partner noticed that twins Justin and Jordan had different facial features.

Paternity tests then revealed what had happened — two eggs had been fertilized by two different sperm and there was a 99.99% chance the twins had different dads. Doctors at the DNA lab in Dallas, Texas had never seen such a result.

Washington later admitted she had had an affair and got pregnant by two different men at the same time.

Memo For File LXXXVII

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Knight Rider.

Battlestar Galactica.

Wonder Woman.

The Dukes of Hazzard.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

The Fall Guy.

The Lovely Catherine BachI got ‘em all. If it was on the idjit box, somewhere around the time John Lennon was gunned down, and it was something you pleaded with your parents to watch, because on a Friday night there wasn’t anything else for you to do — I’ve got it. And…here’s the funny thing…I don’t really understand why. This was not the “golden age” of inspiring, thoughtful, deep or enjoyable television shows. But I got ‘em. Several pounds of ‘em. It’s like quicksand. You step into it, and some force that wasn’t there before, just kinda pulls you in.

I blame some of it on the kid. For someone born in 1997, he asks profound, insightful questions about this stuff. And he notices things I didn’t notice. Things, like Arsenio Hall used to say, that make you go “Hmmmm.” Like, for example — whenever The Incredible Hulk takes on a bad guy, the only thing he ever does to them is throw ‘em. No hitting, no kicking, no gouging, no biting. And he never throws ‘em into a brick wall, either. Or a plastic shredder or a vat of molten steel or a bottomless pit. Nope. It’s always a pile of squishy stuff. Raaaarrr!!! Aaaaiiigghh!! (Zoop!) Plop, into the pile of squishy stuff. The stagnant swamp water, the pile of foam rubber, the empty cardboard boxes in the warehouse.

Whenever Bill Bixby gets angry, there’s gonna be ugly middle aged white guys in leisure suits with muttonchop sideburns flying through the air like hackey sacks, yodeling, sailing headlong into piles of squishy stuff. And a big green guy.

Much of what is unexpectedly addictive, has to do with what is eerily consistent. The women are always docile but have lots of fashion sense. They’re gorgeous but don’t think about sex very much. They really, really do dream of settling down with a truly nice guy. I blame these television shows for the genesis of my miserable misadventures with girls and women, as I suspect most men my age do; it cost me serious money to figure out the hard way that women aren’t really like that. As for the guys — the footwear is always pointy. That’s a rule. The pants are flared at the ankles, up to the size of a basketball hoop. The butts are tight, tight, tight. Size 26. Size 24. Smaller still…which, by today’s standards, look a little silly when paired up with a flowy cowboy button-down shirt open down to the navel, with a shirt collar bigger than your dining room table. Back then, men didn’t shave their chests; quite to the contrary, they wore chest-toupees. If they really looked like that in real life, they’d have had to scrub their chests every other day to keep from getting dandruff. They could smuggle sandwiches in there. And another thing — they were amateur psychologists. They used unnecessarily extravagant magic-words like “self-esteem,” even if the most complex or exotic thing they’d ever done with their young lives was to smuggle moonshine past Roscoe P. Coltrane for their kindly uncle…and they recited canned pysch-babble phrases like “you can’t bottle up all your emotions inside,” and “you need to confront him with all this rage you’re feeling,” and “you mustn’t blame yourself.”

Princess ArdalaEveryone had to rescue a Russian gymnast. Everyone. This was a rule nobody even thought of bending. It was like taking your turn on KP duty in the army, everyone had to do it at some time or another. Coy and Vance Duke had to do it. Buck Rogers had to do it. Yup, Buck Rogers rescued a Russian gymnast in the 25th century. Even James Bond had to do it. Twice. I do believe The Bionic Woman had to do it too, I just haven’t nailed down exactly the right episode yet. Goddamn, it was just raining doe-eyed whiny Russian gymnasts. There were more Russian gymnasts in need of rescuing than there were flattened rodents on the highway.

It was a time of transition. Toward the beginning of the era, the bad guys who you could tell were bad, because they were male, white, over 45 years old and they wore nice three-piece suits even at night — worked for government agencies. That was the Watergate influence. After Reagan was sworn into office, the bad guys were still male, still white, still over 45 years old, but now they worked for “corporations.” Nobody put a lot of trouble into figuring out why the corporations wanted to kill the good guy and the charmingly waifish but plucky single-mom he was constantly rescuing. The consensus that eventually emerged was that the corporations wanted to dump some toxic waste into the river. Yup. A complicated, fiendish plot to dump goop in a river. That must be quite the lengthy corporate income statement. Hit men, paid by the hour, to rub out anyone who gets in the way of us dumping our toxic waste into the river. And the hit mens’ suits, and moustache wax.

You might not have all this wonderful cultural decadence on your own DVD shelf, because you’ve been spending all your money and energy building up some silly iPod music collection, or some such. But don’t agonize over it. You mustn’t blame yourself.

Best Sentence LXI

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

This morning’s Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL), the sixty-first one, goes to Michael Lewis, author of Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood. We learn of this through the delightfully titled Wall Street Journal article From Patriarch to Patsy (hat tip: Dr. Helen). I’m not so sure I’m that big of a fan of the overall message. Mr. Lewis zeros in on the issue of men losing their voice in society and in the family, and thereby losing their wives’ and childrens’ respect. On that whole thing, I’m on board. It is the plague of our times. Men being harnessed as beasts of burden, valued only grudgingly and only for their muscle. Household decisions made dictatorially by the matriarch while the man does what is “expected” of him. Everyday married life looking, just a little bit too much, like the planning of the wedding that started it — women somehow knowing exactly what needs to be done, the only indecision involved being the egotistical competitions with other women, while the men stand around with hands in their pockets trying to stay out of the way, until they’re told what needs to be moved where. Man-haters being given exactly what they wanted, and ending up angrier.

From Patriarch to PatsyI just have some reservations about the tone; it seems to me to be whiny, and unlikely to accomplish much of anything in terms of getting a message out. My beef is — you’re not going to get too far arguing for “the rights of men.” It’s kinda like highlighting the plight of an endangered species of beetle or spider. The cute furry things with the great big eyes will win out every time.

No, the central issue, to me, doesn’t have to do with what men need, but with what others need. Not only what they need, but what they want. Here is the ugly truth nobody wants to admit anywhere: We want the patriarch. We need the patriarch. Kids are programmed to respond to his benevolent guidance, and women are programmed to co-exist with him, and to the extent it is required for shared responsibility in the household, I’ll go ahead and say it — even obey him. Women who rankle at that, whether they know it or not, by rankling at it are demanding all of the responsibility for making decisions in the household. And by demanding that, they demand something that will thoroughly exhaust them — it’s not an “if” but a “when.” I’ve not yet seen it fail.

So there is no need to crusade for “equal rights” for men. There is no need to crusade for “fairness.” This is all unnecessary and a losing argument.

But this may very well be unfair criticism. Home Game itself, going by the product description, does not appear to be provided to us as an instrument of advocacy for social change; it appears, more, like something tossed out there for laughs. With perhaps just a dollop in the stew of something more serious –

When he became a father, Michael Lewis found himself expected to feel things that he didn’t feel, and to do things that he couldn’t see the point of doing. At first this made him feel guilty, until he realized that all around him fathers were pretending to do one thing, to feel one way, when in fact they felt and did all sorts of things, then engaged in what amounted to an extended cover-up.

Lewis decided to keep a written record of what actually happened immediately after the birth of each of his three children. This book is that record. But it is also something else: maybe the funniest, most unsparing account of ordinary daily household life ever recorded from the point of view of the man inside. The remarkable thing about this story isn’t that Lewis is so unusual. It’s that he is so typical. The only wonder is that his wife has allowed him to publish it.

This has societal implications. The consequences of this man-as-beast-of-burden family configuration, are not limited to under the roof of the household. It has a bearing on how all of society functions. And that is the point. It shapes and molds how future generations develop — and not in a good way. What child, boy or girl, can possibly come to maturity in a healthy way, after spending a childhood perceiving the cleansing, creative power of raw masculinity only as a toxic agent, as a contaminant, something to be abhorred and avoided? It just isn’t possible. Masculinity is important. It is essential to life. It’s gotta come from somewhere — even if it comes from the ladies.

Which it certainly can if that’s what is necessary. But the girls aren’t built to provide this. The beverage being served is a poor fit to the vessel, and the vessel doesn’t come out of the experience whole. Ever quaff down some hot coffee out of a cold-soda cup? It’s a painful mess, isn’t it? That’s why they’re so stressed out over the last generation or two. The feminists pitched something overboard, and after they got it pitched overboard we figured out it wasn’t the dead weight we were told it was. It seemed like it at the time…because what we were pitching overboard, didn’t bother to fight back. That would have been unmanly.

And that brings me to the sentence that is pure gold. This sums up, nicely — as in, Bingo! — exactly what the state of male-female relations is, in 2009:

Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight.

Thing I Know #157. If a man and woman are really “together,” the woman can’t be unhappy when the man is happy. The man can’t be happy, if the woman is unhappy. But for the man to be unhappy while the woman is happy, is very possible. There are people who have understood this difference between men and women, and gambled on it, and won, for generations. They’re called “salesmen.”

Dr. Freeberg’s prescription for this household disease is to make the man happy, so that the happiness of the other inhabitants naturally follows. Not send him off on an “all guy camping” weekend. That doesn’t work, because that’s exactly what you do with a horse, a mule, a yak, or any other beast of burden — board him up in a stable to sleep, feast on oats and recharge. No paradigm-shift there. Nope, the man has to plan things. Be treated in some way other than how a barnyard animal is treated.

I’m convinced, from what I know about how people function in their households now, that a lot of families live day-to-day and year-to-year in crisis mode. And a lot of angst would be cured and done-away-with if only a weekend was circled on the calendar, and the man was given free reign to plan it, right down to the mile and the minute. I would estimate easily half the households where I live, in Soccer-Mom-Central Folsom, would draw an enormous psychological benefit if this proceeded like General Grant planning the next day’s battle: In solitude. He disappears into his tent at midnight with a bagful of cigars, some grease pencils and a hunk of parchment, and even his most trusted aids are not allowed inside.

Do it before the kids become teenagers. That’s too late.

The wife is not allowed to say “Honey, when we drive through X, can we hit Y?” Absolutely not. General Grant in his tent. Too many women seem to have walked down the aisle without learning to trust their men.

Everyone’s allowed to comment on how it could’ve been better — a big part of our problem is that soft, squishy men are avoiding criticism by avoiding any opinions — but no sloppy, generalized, vague criticism is allowed. “Next time, let’s check the weather” — good. “That trip sucked” — out-of-bounds.

In 2009, my plan would be unworkable for a lot of families. And this is a sad thing. Because these are families that never should have become families. Also, they’ll only remain families so long as the man remains docile. As soon as he expresses an opinion, never mind whether it has any tangible effect on anyone, it’s all over. See ya in court pal. He’s the villager who didn’t put up a fight.

The Story of Stuff

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Embedded without comment.

Michelle Obama’s Graduation Advice

Monday, May 18th, 2009

She talks about giving back:

Michelle Obama“Many of you may be considering leaving town with your diploma in hand, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable,” Mrs. Obama said before a crowd of 12,000 wilting in the afternoon sun. “By using what you’ve learned here you can shorten the path perhaps for kids who may not see a path at all. I was once one of those kids.”

Clothed in a long black robe and academic regalia, Mrs. Obama spoke of her own drive to get ahead despite tough odds, recounting the challenges her working-class family faced on Chicago’s South Side.

“You will face tough times. You will certainly have doubts, and let me tell you because I know I did when I was your age,” she said. “Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back. You must reach back and pull someone up. You must bend down and let someone else stand on your shoulders so that they can see a brighter future.”

The First Lady then went on to say something about using reason, intellect, logic, tenacity and a strong work ethic to make it a sound business decision for people to hire you. With just the right combination of energizing optimism and scrutinizing skepticism, you can make it.

Nope, actually that last part I made up.

Ah, my mind wanders into fantasy…what if, just once, this nation is blessed with a First Lady who is such a slobbering disciple of Ayn Rand that she finds it impossible to give a speech without quoting from her. That First Lady would, like all First Ladies, stand as a shining beacon of what a smart, resourceful woman can achieve in our society. But then she would go on to say, “Remember: The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” Again and again, she would lapse into a cocktail-napkin biographical sketch of the young Alyssa Rosenbaum, how she fooled the communist officials into thinking she was visiting a relative in Chicago and would be right back. How she fell in love with the United States and its (at the time) fearless and unabashed embrace of capitalism. She would recite, from memory, these tiny missteps in the twentieth century in which our country strayed from its roots and began to slouch toward yet another faux-European, individual-rights-denying, achievement-envying, collectivist-minded socialist mudpuddle.

She would be outspoken about this, using her female-ness to give some provocative speeches her husband, the President, would not be able to. Questioned about this, the President would say something like “yes, she’s very opinionated” and then change the subject to the wonderful things he’s seen his wife do over the years. But not leave her out there just twisting in the wind. Support her…just a little. “Actually, she’s completely right, you know. In the name of helping the poor, we’ve tried all kinds of ways to belittle the accomplishments of the individual, to nurse some simmering resentment toward him, to tax him to death…throughout it all, our poor people have never been remarkably helped by these efforts, and the record is rather consistent in that. I’m so proud of my wife for coming out and saying so.”

In real life, every First Lady has had some kind of pet project which is, in turn, connected to making our society a better place to live. It’s become kind of a momma-and-poppa thing: The President is responsible for the overall health of the economy and the First Lady is responsible, for those who are into seeing things this way, for refining our sensibilities and our values, making sure we put some thought into how we treat each other. With the Bush wives the big passion was literacy. Common theme? Whatever it is the First Lady likes, it’s got to do with making the President’s improvements to the overall national condition into something cyclical. She introduces a set of personal values for the rest of us to follow, that draw upon the successes that were realized in getting the economy going again, and offer a prize of making that economy even more robust. The illustration is one of a resourceful, determined woman making it her personal project to inspire our society to become truly advanced.

Wouldn’t a First Lady who respects and treasures the accomplishments of the individual, fit right into that? That’s exactly what a good momma does, isn’t it? Chastises her “children” to stop looking in their siblings’ cereal bowls, stop bitching about how unfair life has been to them — and use their energies to mind their own business and become better people. Which would mean doing right by whoever signs their timesheets…not necessarily the officials of their local union.

Hey now that I think on it. What’s Michelle Obama done to “give back,” since, unlike most of the rest of us, she’s enjoyed the luxury of a job that never was a real job? In fact, that seems to be an enduring trend, too. Whether they’re First Ladies or not, these “alright now you have to give back to society” people, more often than not, seem to have resumes filled with jobs that aren’t really jobs. And the giving back they seem to be doing, more often than not, seems to be thick on symbolism and thin on substance. Like, for example, just telling the next generation they need to “give back.” Is sowing the seeds of socialism in next season’s crop, Michelle Obama’s idea of giving back?

You think I’m being mean? Get a load of what Neal Boortz had to say about this. Whew.

We’re seeing a civil war, of sorts, take place here. A culture conflict between people who see individual personal experiences to be riveted to what those individuals have chosen to do…which talents they chose to develop…which friends they chose to make…how much goofing off they chose to do — and other folks who see life as nothing more than a rolling tapestry of random stuff. Good stuff. Bad stuff. But always random stuff. From their point of view, it actually makes good sense that when you’re “lucky” enough to come into some good things, you have a “duty” of sorts to spread it around.

Trouble is, their way is just plain wrong. It doesn’t matter if the “rolling tapestry” people happen to be in charge right now. It doesn’t matter if the rest of us have never managed to install a vocal and forceful member from our own side, into the Office of the First Lady. The fact remains that if you always do whatcha always done, you’ll always get whatcha always got. And if the stuff you got happens to be good stuff, not only is it extremely likely that you had to do good stuff to make it happen, but there is an overwhelming likelihood that you’re going to have to do a whole lot more good stuff because it happened even if you’re not that concerned about “giving back.” Like, for example, when your business is successful — hiring lots of people. There. That’s giving back. You gave at the office. Boortz is right to be nauseated by this kind of talk. It is preachy, ignorant, sanctimonious, uninformed, far more self-interested than it pretends to be…and as useless as it is toxic.

Help for Cheerful People

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Some language not quite safe for an environment that contains work colleagues, supervisors, Human Resources officers or sissies.


FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

Hat tip to Westsound Modern.

Apologies to Silverstein

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The Libbing Tree. Props to Cranky at Six Meat Buffet, by way of Gerard.

Preakness

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

(Some language NSFW.)

Hat tip to LauraW at Ace of Spades who adds:

Hubby said to me tonight (with an edge of masculine pride in his voice): “MEN invented that. That idea would never occur to a woman.”

Indeed.

Yup. All the inventing’s up to us. Chicks come up with windshield wipers, elevators and Polonium, we have to take care of everything else.

Never Trust a Woman

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Memo For File LXXXVI

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The untoughening of our society — typically accomplished by lowering the pain threshold of our children, through an ever-expanding glut of useless, redundant, pain-in-the-ass regulations — is gratifying to some, reprehensible to others. Whoever comes by to read The Blog That Nobody Reads, and has been for awhile, likely knows full well what my feelings are about it. I do not wish to carp about it any further here, but I do intend to carp about how rare it is for it to be decided by those who ought to be in charge of it: The people who live in the state and therefore contribute to its culture, or lack thereof. Not serve in its legislature. Just live inside the borders, work, pay taxes, vote. The “Big We” do not get to decide what bloated, easily bruised pussies our kids become. We delegate that authority to our betters.

You know — maybe it’s time that one had a serious re-think. Maybe we’re past the point of no return, and I’d just get outvoted again. But let’s find out.

Total BlissI Had yet another “I’ve Lived Too Long” moment when it was called to my attention that my son may very well be forced to take the bus when he attends middle school next year. Over a certain distance, bike-riding is not an option. Google Maps reports the one-way trip to my own middle school, all those years ago, to be 3.35 mi. I’m sure others my age rode further and over more challenging terrain. Never once, up to now, have I heard of some nanny-state law bursting forward intoning “Aw, da poor li’l boo boo” forcing kids onto the bus so that their greatest challenges in life can be putting up with bullies and getting off at the right stop. So that they can confront second-grade problems right up to their first year of high school. No, I still have vivid memories of that afternoon when I figured out my headgear was inadequate. The temperature was thirty-something, the winds rolling in off Bellingham Bay were turning my ears into ice and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it but pedal faster.

I wouldn’t want to subject a child to the same thing. But I wouldn’t want to deprive him of the experience either, because there is something else that concerns me about this. Someone, somewhere, is making decisions about this — I know not who — and they are not similarly concerned.

I’ve realized something about the Golden State, and I think it means something in other states too. California has more than its fair share of laws on the books that confuse “Kids Shall Not Be Forced” with “Kids Shall Not Be Allowed To.” Our children have to wear helmets, elbow pads and knee pads on their rollerblades. On their bicycles. Skateboards. Razor scooters. Swing sets. When walking up stairs. On a windy day. All right, some of this I’m exaggerating, but it is a tenderizing elixir from which we have been imbibing deeply. It seems to me…and I doubt I’m the only one…to be a good idea carried way too far, constrained by absolutely no mechanism whatsoever to ensure it won’t be carried still further.

Meanwhile, I’ve lived here for over sixteen years now. I vote whenever I can. Seven o’clock in the morning on election day, in the springtime and in the fall, I’m always there. I do believe I have seen every single ballot.

On which questions am I allowed to exercise my sacred right and obligation to participate in a democratic republic? A whole fistful o’ crap. Things that ought properly be decided by an executive who’s in charge of, or involved in, the process. Is two billion dollars over ten years too much to spend on a levee project? Should we issue this water bond? Medicinal marijuana. Gay marriage. Every now and then they’ll toss us a bone involving mandatory sentencing. It has the taste and feel of some real meat; but I’ve got a feeling it’s just bone.

In sixteen years I have never been presented with an opportunity to decide whether it should be legal for a fourteen-year-old to work four hours a day, or anything like that. A couple years ago we just did it again, to the grown-ups: Between your fourth and fifth hour at work, you’re required to clock out for lunch. Or your employer is required to force you to. Or something. We’ve got some bizarre overtime law that says overtime-exempt employees aren’t really overtime-exempt, and their employers can be sued for thousands of dollars retroactively — clearly functioning as, and I think intended as, a “gotcha” to punish those who had the audacity to risk their life-savings providing employment for others. And we wonder why we’re in financial trouble. Laws against making work too hard…legislated by those who’ve never known “hard work” a day in their lives. By the way, if you work in a high tech field, nobody really knows how this law impacts the agreements between you and your employer. It’s very much like the nation’s tax code: Vague by design.

Containing BabySo while we keep our kids carefully encased in sterilized and disinfected styrofoam mummy suits for their tee ball games, and clock out for our state-mandated lunch breaks, I’m given cause to wonder. How come my referendum-crazy state never seems to bring the untoughening laws to the referendum process? How come nobody knows what “The People” of California, whose word is supposed to be sanctimoniously final on so many other issues on which they/we don’t really know what they/we are doing…would say about this suffocating, hydroponic bubble in which our little ones are spending their childhoods? That seems strange, to me. I’m told I was born too late. I’m told I’d be outvoted. But I don’t really know that and neither does anyone else.

Instead I’m left to constantly ask the question every time I’m told about yet another thing California kids can’t do: Who decides this stuff? Where is this star chamber of pussies making rules for everyone else? Is it our legislature? I would think, if these rules are thought to make such a positive difference in who lives to see adulthood and who doesn’t, then someone would be popping up somewhere, more prominently than they are, to claim credit. “Yeah, I wrote that.”

Perhaps they are. But if so, it’s only within a select audience somehow screened to make sure all those in attendance have some appreciation for this systematic removal of toughness. They don’t want to shout it from too high of a mountaintop.

The untoughening laws have to realize universal effect. They have to impact all of us. This is by design. And yet, to make sure they are actually passed, only some of us are allowed to know about them when they are in the process of being ratified. After the laws are in effect, only a few of us are allowed to know who thought it was a great idea to get ‘em written. Only those among us who would approve.

I think, on any other topic, it would be generally understood that this is not a way to pass good laws. On the ongoing pussification of our society, somehow, we tend to be blind to this. We tend to continue allowing this star-chamber of soccer moms, whoever they are, keep on keepin’-on — the commoners decide what bond issues might result in a lowered credit rating for the state, and then the nameless faceless busybody elites decide what our evolving mores of decency have to say about kids losing their training wheels at too young an age. We’ve got it all a hundred and eighty degrees backwards.

I Made a New Word XXVIII

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Goodperson Fever (n.) is an obsessive-compulsive disorder involving the demonstration of certain positive attributes to strangers, for purposes of self-validation. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle if these positive attributes don’t really exist, or if there is a great need to achieve this validation for purposes of acquiring social status, contrasted with a much lower level of confidence that these attributes really exist.

The fever has one distinguishing symptom, the recognition of which provides a conclusive, undeniable diagnosis that the fever is in its advanced stages: The more that has been achieved as far as getting the word out that the patient is a Good Person, the greater the impulse to do it again.

Eco CupLesser symptoms include: Expressing one’s political beliefs about something when the topic of conversation is different or unrelated, and when nobody inquired; isolating classes of people as targeted beneficiaries of one’s helpful efforts, for purely obsequious purposes, such as “women” and “minorities”; excessive concern about the environment, but purely as a social issue and without any regard to cause and effect — such as drinking coffee out of a “green” eco-cup, but then commuting to work in a Ford Explorer or Toyota Tundra. The litmus test is that the incentive to do these good things that good-persons do, suddenly dissipates when it is perceived that nobody is paying attention.

In government and in other positions of authority, Goodperson Fever is the cause of nearly every bad law in human history. Someone, somewhere, wanted to demonstrate to strangers what a good person he or she was.

There is very little that can be done to treat Goodperson Fever, since ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, and providing the validation that is so desperately craved by the patient, just makes things worse. Experts say there are lots of things we can do to prevent it though. Some significant responsibilities for potential victims in the childhood years, will give them an opportunity to measure their self-worth from within and therefore mitigate the need to go seeking such validation from total or near-total strangers later on. Also, Goodperson Fever epidemics take hold most often in social circles and in geographic regions where there is little work to do, or what little work there is, is done by “everybody” with little or no opportunity for individuals to distinguish themselves. It seems to be a natural consequence of propagating the “Together We Can Do This” meme with a little too much zeal. People start to hunger for ways to establish an identity and ultimately fall into the trap of proving themselves to be the “Most Extraordinary Ordinary Person” around.

Some say our susceptibility to this may be a holdover from thousands of years of evolution, from when man lived in villages that operated as a commune. The theory is that after a bleak harvest season, when food and other resources became scarce, people began to look for ways to prove themselves worthy in case the sustenance on hand was insufficient to accommodate everyone, and some villagers would have to be cast out for the survival of the rest. According to this, those who were less inclined to engage this vicious cycle of proving themselves, were the ones who were ostracized. They died off, and were thus removed from the gene pool. Those who are alive today, therefore, are descended from the sycophants who managed to straddle that illogical line: Everything that is worth doing, is worth doing by everyone, and nobody should go off and do anything by his lonesome — that would imply a specialty, and we can’t have specialties because everyone is worthy and everyone is equal. But oh, by the way, just in case the hunting is bad and the crops are withered, here are the reasons why I’m more worthy than most.

Whatever the cause, it is responsible for a great deal of damage, although, it must be said, no hard scientific correlation has yet been found between Goodperson Fever and global warming.

But — for the good of society — we’re sure as hell going to try to come up with one.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Bad Week For San Fran Nan

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Fellow Right Wing News contributor William Teach brings us up to date, as of yesterday:

If the Democrats thought the Central Intelligence Agency was out to get them over the past few weeks, they ain’t seen nuttin’ yet after this little bit of insanity

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today accused intelligence officials of giving her “inaccurate and incomplete information” on the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics by the Bush administration, saying that CIA officials are guilty of “misleading the Congress of the United States.” [emphasis Teach's]

That should go over well with the folks in Langley and the CIA employees around the world, eh? Here’s a partial transcript, via Powerline (which also wonders how long Nancy P. will survive as speaker)

QUESTION: You say that Mr. Sheehy did tell you, your staff did tell you.

PELOSI: He informed me that the briefing had taken place. … When — when — when my staff person — I’m sorry, the page is out of order — five months later, my staff person told me that there had been a briefing — informing that there had been a briefing and that a letter had been sent. I was not briefed on what was in that briefing; I was just informed that the briefing had taken place.

So — so let’s get this straight. The Bush administration has conceived a policy, the CIA comes to the Congress, withholds information about the timing and the use of this subject. They — we later find out that it had been taking place before they even briefed us about the legal opinions and told us that they were not being used. …

QUESTION: Madam Speaker, just to be clear, you’re accusing the CIA of lying to you in September of 2002?

PELOSI: Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States, misleading the Congress of the United States. I am.

She repeats it several more times, and, like all the children in the Democrat Party, can’t take responsibility, and tries to deflect to Bush.

It gets much better. Teach supplies an update from Politico, this morning, that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is less than enthused in supporting Pelosi’s version of events…assuming he’s supporting that version at all. Which he isn’t.

Liar, Liar, Pants on FireHoyer — a polished floor debater — was drawn into an extended exchange with Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the issue this afternoon and said he didn’t have enough information on the briefings to draw a conclusion — and wasn’t inclined to doubt the CIA anyway.

Still, Hoyer said he regarded the entire matter as a distraction that the GOP was using to take attention off of their support of questionable interrogation procedures.

Rep. Cantor: “I share with the gentleman the notion we need to follow the law. But if there is somehow a belief, and I’d ask the gentleman whether he shares this belief, that somehow the CIA or others have intentionally misled this body, because that seems to be some concern that has been raised today? And I yield.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “I have no idea of that, don’t have a belief of that nature because I have no basis on which to base such a belief. And I certainly hope that’s not the case. I don’t draw that conclusion.” [emphasis Politico's]

Ah, but Ace had another update today about Nan’s stories. It seems someone’s gotten to her and told her the CIA makes a much better friend than enemy. So Nan wants a mulligan:

Apparently she mistook her CIA briefer, who introduced himself as such, for Vice President Dick Cheney. Which isn’t as impossible as it sounds; I see Dick Cheney’s face everywhere — in rainbows, in curve of a baby’s smile, on my girlfriend’s back as we tenderly fornicate.

I assume she similarly has a bad case of Cheney obsession.

UPDATE: Pelosi’s office has responded with a gentle statement supporting the work of the intelligence community, saying she was criticizing the Bush administration, not the bureaucrats at the CIA:

“We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people. My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe. What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward.”

Seems to me a pretty clear attempt to walk back yesterday’s fresh new story that she had been lied to. She doesn’t want the documents coming out that prove her to be a liar, so she’s attempting a “Let’s just call it a draw” withdrawal of the claim.
:
And now, now that the CIA is calling her a liar and further damaging her dwindling authority, she decides she really meant it was the Bush Administration, and not the CIA at all.

Unbelievable.

As happy as Speaker Nan must be to see Friday get here — long regarded as the best day of the week to get embarrassing news out there, so the damage can be absorbed with the least harmful effect possible — the hits are keepin’ on comin’. James Taranto at Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web was positively amused before it was all over for the day…

Pelosi Reaps the Whirlwind
Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference yesterday, and it was a memorable performance. We’ll leave the memorial duties to Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, the Beltway’s Sultan of Snark:

The speaker of the House had just read a statement accusing the CIA of lying and was trying to beat a hasty retreat from her news conference before reporters could point out contradictions between her current position and her previous statements.

“Thank you!” an aide called out to signal an end to the session. Pelosi walked, sideways, away from the lectern and, still sidling in a sort of crab walk, was halfway to the door when a yell from CNN’s Dana Bash, rising above the rest of the shouting, froze her in the aisle.

“Madam Speaker!” the correspondent called out. “I think there’s one other question that I would like to ask, if that’s okay.”

“Sure, okay,” Pelosi said, in a way that indicated it was not okay. Pelosi had no choice but to sidle back to the lectern.

Over the next few minutes of shouted questions–”They lied to you? Were you justified? When were you first told? Did you protest? Why didn’t you tell us?”–the speaker attempted the crab-walk retreat again, returned to the lectern again and then finally skittered out of the room.

Everyone knows by now what happened: Pelosi was encouraging the Angry Left as it demanded retribution against Bush administration officials for their efforts to protect America from terrorist attacks in the wake of 9/11. Now that she has been exposed as complicit in those efforts, she is reaping the whirlwind of hatred that she helped stir up. And she is going to war with the CIA–a war in which even someone with much more intelligence than Nancy Pelosi would be vastly outmatched.

This Reuters dispatch on the Pelosi performance gave us a big smile:

The troubles of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to divert Democrats from President Barack Obama’s economic agenda when many Americans would like to put Bush-era controversies behind them.

In journalese, many, like some, is a first-person singular pronoun. As it happens, we agree with Reuters that many Americans would like to put Bush-era controversies behind them. But we thought so even before one of those controversies reached the verge of consuming a leading Democrat.

All in all, not a good week. It is the experience of a high profile official who is decidedly out of her depth. Lying, in the beltway, is nothing new. Lying when everyone with a working brain knows, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that you’re lying — likewise, that’s nothing new.

Pelosi’s lack of elegance is something of a surprise, and it would seem to be a nearly-fatal flaw. She possesses all of the slippery, filthy characteristics of a greasy old engine part dragged into a finely decorated dining room, unceremoniously dropped onto a priceless linen tablecloth. But she retains none of the lubricating qualities of such an artifact. There is a pretense of sincerity in her words, but it is all for nothing because there is nothing inviting about the prospect of believing in it, or of even pretending to believe in it.

She’s simply a bad liar. Only by becoming her willing accomplice, and advertising to all who pay attention that you’re becoming her willing accomplice, can you even go through the motions of buying off on even a tiny part of it.

This is not, I think, the lofty height to which the experienced beltway politician with her finely honed people-skills aspires — when she seeks to deceive. There’s simply no getting around it. We’re seeing an exceptionally bad execution here. A freshman in Congress should be well beyond this n00bie level of error.

Dayum, it’s a good thing we didn’t get that tundra dimbulb from the igloo-trailer in our nation’s capitol isn’t it? Ain’t it great having these sophisticated metropolitan types in charge of things?

Credit for the picture goes to Barack Obama’s Teleprompter’s Wall Photos page, via blogger friend Rick at Brutally Honest.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Heather Mitts

Friday, May 15th, 2009

The woman is breathtakingly gorgeous.

Pro-Lifers in the Majority for the First Time

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Normally I am skeptical over these “This Line-on-the-Graph Just Went Past the Fifty Percent Mark” stories. I think they are generally much ado about nothing, since when you read them, the swing is something close to the margin of error. I also tend to think on some issues, people have an unrecognized need for conflict with balance. They want to be fighting. In two camps — not in three. And they want that line somewhere around fifty-fifty.

But it is really hard to assert this wouldn’t mean anything. The numbers strongly indicate there is something significant taking place here.

GallupA new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

The new results, obtained from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

What could it mean? Can Republicans find some new life by putting the abortion issue at center-stage again?

Not so fast. It would be a welcome change from talking about gay marriage. But I think the issues involved are more philosophical and more primal…even moreso than abortion.

Think about it: What is the abortion issue really all about, anyway? It’s about, when liberals-in-charge form their highly arbitrary talking points and settle on the idea that something “must” be a certain way — and make it look like they’ve just gotten done “listening” to what “The People” has to say, because hey, someone somewhere is always willing to agree with just about anything — an entire class of human loses the right to live.

This is something Main Street USA might find comfortable, but only under the right set of circumstances.

Now look what’s going on. Liberals are running things. They say something “must” be a certain way…so…our grandchildren have to be born into a staggering, debilitating debt.

A terrorist who would vaporize a crowded town square, suddenly has a right to be interrogated only gently. Three hots and a cot with a nice comfy pillow, and if he doesn’t feel like telling you anything, he doesn’t have to.

For the sake of “embryonic stem cell research,” humans can be grown like silicon wafers, or grass seeds, or vaccines. How many lives are saved with the embryonic variety, that can’t be saved with the non-embryonic — is something we simply aren’t allowed to discuss in public.

If a burglar breaks into your home, you have to dial 911 and wait. If that’s ten minutes, then too bad for you. You aren’t allowed to defend yourself.

If we work hard and we are rewarded with a bonus, Congress will work against our right to keep it.

The guy who is tasked with enforcing the tax code against us, judging by his actions — and not judging altogether too recklessly — doesn’t appear to think this is a tab he should be compelled to pay.

We are “free” to do whatever we want — but — pretty soon we’ll have to pay for “cap and trade,” which is a tax on anything we do that emits carbon, or involves a machine that emits carbon, or uses power that was produced through the emission of carbon. Or anything that involves breathing. Because the world is ending and it’s because of “human activity.”

Our sons and daughters willingly sign up to do…isn’t this a kicker?…exactly what liberals say they want to do. Sail off to the farthest corners of the world, where people are facing problems with blight, famine, plague and warfare, and help those folks out. We are called hypocrites for “sending” them there. The charge is a killer of two birds with the proverbial stone. It robs us of our sacred right to support an action in the private domain between our ears, and it robs our children of their free will.

When those children of ours are in school, they must behave in certain ways and not in other ways. They must not pray anywhere, or in any way, that they can actually be seen. They cannot counsel other students to share their beliefs — even as the secularist types can call them “stupid,” publicly and loudly, for believing in “The Sky Fairy.” Atheism has become a sort of softly-official state religion now; government cannot possess an understanding of how the universe was created, save one single explanation lacking in a deity. Life in school carries special restrictions for the boys: They can do whatever they want, so long as they don’t act like boys. If they display the male strength anywhere outside the gym, they will be punished as “threatening.” If they display the male weakness anywhere on campus, they will be medicated for their inattentiveness. In both sexes, whatever is unique and special is now contraband. The only exceptions are those cherished weaknesses that enhance the sense-of-purpose of government and all its special programs, like mythical learning disorders, phobias and allergies.

Life is even more restrictive, in certain ways, for our daughters. Just look at the treatment of Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean. The message is clear: Women are allowed to believe in traditional, conservative values; to be powerful; or to be pretty. They are exposed to a mild, patronizing sense of irritation of they do one of those three things. If they do two of them, then they will be acquainted with a white hot omnipresent dangerous rage, to which homely straight white guys like Yours Truly will remain an everlasting stranger. And if any one of them does all three — meltdown!

See what all these things have in common? They trivialize humans. They reduce humans to an entity of non-sentience. Like cattle that are to be herded around. Or the oh-so-sensitive stuff that lines your sinus passages, and must not be disturbed even a little tiny bit.

People get tired of this treatment quickly. That’s the point.

This fifteen-point swing from last year’s poll, minus-six to positive-nine, proves out that people have a pressing need to mean something. To be significant. It is a vacillating instinct, and in recent years has been a fleeting, occasional thing, visible as often as a moonshadow. But it is something intrinsic to our being, and when the conditions are right the protest flares up, predictably, unwaveringly. In fact it seems there is no hunger that settles in with greater speed. Now that it is here, the questions are: How much passion? How enduring?

So here’s another winning slogan, not quite so much for Republicans, but for anyone who would rally against the democrats in ’10 and ’12. It speaks directly to what people have in mind, to the hunger that was left unfilled by last year’s hope-n-change:

Humans Matter

Get that issue out there, front-and-center, before you start making noises about abortion. Do that, and people will understand how important it really is. If you don’t do that, you hand the task of definition to the opposition. And then they make it all about “controlling a woman’s body.” But that isn’t what it’s really all about. That’s never been what it’s really all about.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

“The Honeymoon is Over Starting Now”

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

So says one deranged KOSsack, by no means the only one, reacting to the news that Obama is backpedaling on releasing detainee abuse photos.

Obama Shifts on Abuse Photos
Releasing Images of Detainee Mistreatment Would Endanger U.S. Troops, President Says

President Obama says the detainee abuse photos he wants to block from release are “not particularly sensational” but would endanger U.S. troops if publicized.

A month after making public once-classified Justice Department memos detailing the Bush administration’s coercive methods of interrogation, President Obama yesterday chose secrecy over disclosure, saying he will seek to block the court-ordered release of photographs depicting the abuse of detainees held by U.S. authorities abroad.

Obama agreed less than three weeks ago not to oppose the photos’ release, but he changed his mind after viewing some of the images and hearing warnings from his generals in Iraq and in Afghanistan that such a move would endanger U.S. troops deployed there.

“The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals,” Obama said yesterday. “In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”

DaveW is honked off about it:

All Obama is doing here is endorsing the unitary executive crap that was the hallmark of Bush/Cheney. It’s ridiculous to argue that more photos will harm Americans more than demonstrating to the world that their hopes for for an America they could respect again were in vain.

I’m sure the pressure from the military was intense, but OF COURSE they don’t want any more outing of their malfeasance. That has nothing to do with American security. This looks like nothing more than caving to the worst elements in America in a clumsy attempt to make some political points — an attempt that will fail miserably. The honeymoon is over starting now.

Lots of discussion in that thread, and it’s interesting stuff. National security issues, threats against soldiers still out there, et al…suddenly, now that a President with a D after His name is arguing about such things, these make sense to the deranged leftist mind. DaveW is actually in something of a minority in saying the honeymoon is over — for now.

It’s a fascinating window into human psychology. We’ve seen before that when two tribes are fighting each other, and a third tribe enters the picture imposing a threat on those two, the two former enemies are suddenly best buddies, and ultimately meld together as one. Conversely, if two tribes are fighting and one of them bites the mat hard — Republicans, in this case — the one tribe that is left standing, splits in half and nurses a brand new fetid rotting open-wound schism.

It seems there is something in our programming that is hard-wired for the number two.

As far as the Republicans…well, that’s interesting. There is a spectrum of “death” in politics, you know. You can be kinda-sorta dead, you can be really-really dead. The “dead” where you’re like the Whig party, never comin’ back again, is way the hell out there. Political parties are like live coals, always ready to ignite again. The far more convenient kind of dead, where you’ve been placed in a position of dissent and nothing is your fault, is a lot more commonplace.

The wish that has emerged as a unifying and primary one over at the slobbering-lefty places, is that conservatives in general could be the fantastical-never-happens-really-extinct kinda dead, but that everything that goes wrong could still be their fault. This is why, although they may prevail in this election or that one, they’ll never be completely sane. This is a wish that won’t happen, anywhere in human politics, for as long as the sun rises and sets. They’d be far better off abandoning this wish. But they won’t.

Reality is not on board with it. “Can’t blame Republicans; there aren’t any” is the motto in every single city, and every single state, that is running into financial, cultural and logistical trouble. And, this year, slowly but surely, bit by bit, it is becoming the motto over the nation overall, as well. We were supposed to be so happy and full of hope when we put the lefties in charge. And all we seem to have is the shattered remains of a honeymoon, tainted and ruined from the very beginning, that is “over starting now.”

Thus ends our experiment with putting the kids in charge of things. They can’t even agree among themselves about what’s wonderful anymore, let alone come up with a workable plan — they’re ready to do their one-tribe-split-in-half thing. Now we have to spend a few years following through.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

First in Family to Coast Through College

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The Onion (that means it’s satire, for those who are unacquainted):

“My grandpa wasn’t able to afford school until he came back from the war and got help with his tuition through the G.I. Bill,” says [University of Minnesota senior Daniel] Peterson, reclining on a futon. “He studied hard and took a job at night so he could support my grandma and dad while he finished his degree.”

“Listening to his stories, I promised myself that, no matter what, I would do everything in my power to take it real easy through college,” Peterson adds.

His father a successful engineer, his mother a dedicated social worker, this Rochester, MN native grew up dreaming of an education more painless than the one his parents had known. At 17, he received a letter of acceptance from UMN, and at that moment committed himself to five years of sleeping late, drinking often, and sneaking by with a 2.7 GPA. After scuttling plans to major in video game design, Peterson enrolled in the school’s American studies program, vowing never to sign up for any class that met before 11 a.m. or required him to write a term paper over five pages.
:
“My father, my father’s father, and all those before them—they struggled and gave it their all so I wouldn’t have to,” Peterson says. “Sure, I could do what everyone else my age does, studying really hard because my parents spent 20 years carefully setting aside money for my education. But I won’t do that to my mom and dad. Not when I can blow off class and do just enough cramming at the end of the semester to pull a B-minus.”

When he’s finished with school, the 23-year-old plans to continue honoring the Peterson name by living off his graduation money for a few months and then maybe temping for a while until he figures out what he wants to do next.

His attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed by his parents.

“I don’t think Daniel is taking his studies seriously,” Peterson’s father says. “When he comes home, I never see him crack a book. He’s always out with his friends or on the Xbox. And now he’s talking about maybe going to grad school.”

“This is everything a father could want for his son,” he adds. “I am so proud.”

Good satire has to have an element of truth to it. The more, the better.

The Onion is known for providing good satire.

I really do wish I could say this was an exception to the rule…but I can’t. I’m afraid it is excellent satire.

Moral Outrage With No Source for the Morality

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Mike Adams is delivering his thoughts about some of the protesters he encountered during a speech he gave at UMass.

Socialists are morally outraged without any source of morality. Finally, there is the brunette girl in the black shirt seen throughout the video. She got up and gave her own speech after mine was over. She was angry and I asked her why. She replied by admitting she was angry because she found my opposition to abortion to be morally “reprehensible” – and she actually did use the word “reprehensible.” It is interesting that socialists believe that God needs to be done away with. Yet they still claim to have a basis for moral condemnation.

I’ve been noticing for awhile that this is a particularly weak spot in whatever argument the leftist types choose to present at any given time. Such-and-such…is…WRONG! And there’s nearly always some other thing conventional thinking would say is wrong, that the leftist insists is not-so-wrong. There seems to be a spectrum of magnitudes of wrong-ness, that is sufficiently complex that the lefty himself doesn’t understand it.

Waterboarding is WRONG! When the bad guys catch our guys they do much worse things than waterboarding…blowtorches to the testicles…amputating limbs…et cetera. And that’s wrong “too,” but not so wrong as to arouse an equivalent quantity or quality of outrage. More like wrong in a tiresome, obligatory, boring sort of way.

They rankle at the idea that a deity might be needed or desired, by anyone, for whatever reason, as a sort of an anchor to such a moral code. As the “N” on the compass. They insist — always angrily — that they don’t need such a thing. And yet they’re left sputtering away that if your family is kidnapped, buried in an airtight bunker, running out of air, and you’ve caught the guy who knows where they are…the morally superior decision is to keep the bad guy comfortable, and let your family suffocate. They’re certain of this. Just like anyone would be, with a mighty moral compass of sorts that doesn’t have the letter “N” on it anywhere.

All we like sheep have gone astray… — Isaiah 53:6

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

The Bailout Saved the Economy!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Melissa Clouthier is complaining about that mindless repetitive dirge from the left, “The Mess That Obama Inherited” and gives concrete, detailed reasons, for those who require them and are somehow not yet aware of them, why exactly it is the minstrels can go stick it. Along the way she says “this piece is really, really good” and drops into our laps a rock of pure gold. Or, rather, a litany of reasons to think we probably won’t see gold for awhile. It’s a response from Brad Warbiany at The Liberty Papers to Richard Posner’s apologia and insistence that Hey, wouldja lookit that, capitalism failed, and the bailout worked!! Well, not so fast –

[President Hoover] was rewriting the rules of the game surprisingly similar to the way that Obama is today, showing all investors that their gains or losses were due to their ability to play the political markets. He was disincentivizing investment by constantly changing the rules, and thereby the odds of success in any given market play.

So Barack Obama’s policies are antithetical to investment, antithetical to sound business planning, and ensured to kneecap any attempt at recovery that our economy hopes for. If you’re looking for reasons to worry about the future of this economy — looking for justification that this is not a recovery and a bear market rally — you simply have to combine a few facts:

1. Fundamentally, the bull market of the late 90’s and early 00’s was partly due to an extraordinary increase in financial system leverage.
2. This bull market was pumped up by fractional reserve banking and a completely unsustainable rise in asset prices that fueled the above leverage.
3. We are now at a point where leverage is unwinding and asset prices are still declining.
4. Government props have supported a rise in financial sector stocks, but fundamentally the stress tests prove that banks need to raise capital based on even mild financial shocks.
5. Any continued weakness in the economy will skewer this current rally.
6. Asset prices, foreclosures, and jobs data show no signs of getting better, only (at best) signs of slowing their decline.
7. Obama’s financial system meddling (auto bailout, TARP shenanigans, etc) is sure to provide more weakness than expected.

One More Word on Those Angry Liberals

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

…whose anger, inexplicably, is on the rise still even as their power has now become dictatorial and uncontested. It defies all reason, common sense, rationalization, explanation — this is exactly the flavor of anger normal people might have when they lose control of things. After a slow and steady buildup throughout the last eleven years, the bile now runneth over…and their glorious revolution did nothing to stop its bubbling up, or even to slow it down. Instead, somehow, due to mysterious engimatic factors that will be studied by social scientists for generations, I think — the bubbling accelerated.

I came up with the words. Blogger friend Phil supplied the labor. Now we have a bumper sticker:

Update 5/13/09: As if the point had not quite yet been made…along comes Karol, and look at what she found (hat tip to Conservative Grapevine).

As that cute old adage says, there are two kinds of people in the world; those who divide us all into two kinds of people and those who don’t. Liberals seem to be unable to make up their minds about it. One minute they want to make a health care system and a tax code that will “work for everyone,” the next minute they want to annihilate half of us.

Update: Back on Cinco de Mayo, Amity Shlaes summed this up very well:

In the past, politicians and policy thinkers tended to be magnanimous in victory. They and their friends focused, post- victory, on policy and strategy — not on trashing individuals.

It ought to be especially true this time, given what wonders are befalling the Democrats. Between Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Al Franken in Minnesota, it looks like the Democrats are in the process of making their Senate majority filibuster-proof. Then there’s the president’s new opportunity to mold the Supreme Court, with the resignation of David Souter.

Still, somehow, the magnanimity isn’t there. Indeed, the closer the Democrats get to total power, the nastier the commentators friendly to them have become.

Now to be fair about it, liberals worked just as hard to tell us how much their opponents suck, when the opponents were in power and the liberals were out of it; and although their tactics were childish, there was a certain logic in the strategy.

But, as I’ve said before: I perceive a measurable up-tick in the urgency, the drive, to clue us all in on how much conservatives suck — now that it doesn’t matter. I perceive a certain perpetual-motion device operating on a cyclical current flow. Get the word out that conservatives suck, get more power; get more power, spread the word that conservatives suck to try to get more power.

It seems to be a primal urge, almost a sexual thing. Meanwhile, isn’t there a cockpit at the front of this plane, a place where things have to be done to keep things under control? How come you’re back here in the coach section, Mister Pilot, jabbering away not quite so much about what a wonderful pilot you are, but about how much the other pilot sucks? Who’s flying this thing?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

An Ass Whose Approval is Gold to a Smaller Ass

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

The prophecy:

A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties–the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety–the one which can’t bear to be outside the pale; can’t bear to be in disfavor; can’t endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, “He’s on the right track!” Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his lifelong principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances….

Rap WannabeMr. Clemens was really hardly going out on a limb when he wrote “Corn-Pone Opinions,” an essay not published until well after his demise. But it is a ballsy prophecy nevertheless. You can extend your gratitude to our blogger friend Gerard for the history lesson (he has ours).

Back to the subject at hand: fulfillment of the prophecy. Say hello to the smaller ass.

Meet Steven Gilmore. The wannabe rapper tried to rob a Florida convenience store Friday night and shot an employee in the head with a BB gun in a bid to establish “street cred” for his nascent hip-hop career. The 21-year-old Gilmore…admitted his harebrained scheme after he was arrested Saturday night, according to Gainesville police. Gilmore, who also copped to a stickup of the Hungry Howie’s restaurant, told police that he thought the robberies would provide him the kind of reputation he apparently believes is required in the rap world. According to a Gainesville Police Department report, Gilmore, wearing a bandanna over his face and carrying a BB gun, fled empty-handed from the Super Store convenience outlet after struggling with a store clerk over the weapon. During the encounter, the clerk, Dharmedra Patel, was shot in the temple and suffered a laceration and bleeding. The Hungry Howie’s heist netted Gilmore about $900, records show, and he departed the crime scene on a moped driven by a 16-year-old accomplice. The aspiring rap performer’s career is now on hold as he faces attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault charges.

Prophecy and reality enjoy an overlap that is so perfect, that on reflecting on the two of them, I realize not a single pertinent word has been left unsaid. OUT.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Stimulative?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

The money doesn’t seem to be going where it’s needed most.

Lieberman: We’re Not Less Safe

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Sen. Joe Lieberman is defending President Obama’s administration against former Vice President Cheney’s charge that we’re less safe as a result of the new policies:

“We’re not less safe,” said Lieberman, who was one of Obama’s leading critics on national security during the presidential campaign.

“Our guard is up. In fact, I’d say that when it came to Afghanistan, obviously, this Obama administration has put more resources into the fight against terrorism than had previously been the case,” Lieberman added in an interview on MSNBC. “On balance, we remain as safe as we can possibly be in a world in which there is Islamist extremists who want to attack us.”
:
On Monday, Lieberman said he still disagrees with some of the president’s national security policies but made clear that he believes the new administration is determined to protect the country.
:
“This administration has done everything it could, even in those areas that I disagree with them,” Lieberman said.

Ugh. I hope, somewhere, there is an Obama supporter who can still call out the nonsense in this. The Obama administration is to be given credit for policies with which you disagree, Sen. Lieberman? Is that because it was wrong of you to disagree with them? Or because, as they exercise these disagreeable policies, they are to be given credit for trying because their heart is in the right place?

The closing of Guantanamo, or not-closing-of-Guantanamo, has turned into a fustercluck in every single way it possibly ever could have. The President has been on both sides of the net on this thing, back and forth, about as many times as a tennis ball. Not one single proponent of the closure has deigned to step forward and explain how it would make our country safer; the prize to be won is that someone, somewhere, nobody ever explains who exactly — is supposed to like us better. This issue stands as an eminent example of a policy which is most disagreeable. It is easy, simple and practical to explain how a thinking person might dissent from it. How, then, would that thinking person go on to utter the absurd platitude that, while I might disagree with it, I have to give ‘em credit for trying? Trying to do what??

There are other policies to be discussed, perhaps some of them more representative of what Sen. Lieberman might have had in mind; but there’s really not much point involved in listing them. The point remains unchanged, that if you think policies are inclined to have an ultimate effect on things, it is patently silly to say what he said. Such an utterance only makes sense in that cloistered sub-dimension inside the beltway, that smaller subset stately pleasure dome in which criticism exists solely for the purpose of being directed at other criticism.

It’s Not Angry Liberals

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Liberals being angry and nasty, is Item #12 on my list of thirty things I’d like blamed for global warming.

It started in ‘98 when Bill Clinton got in all that trouble, and someone established moveon.org. Isn’t that our record-warm-year lately, 1998? Hmmmm…

But I’m going to have to eliminate that as a possible cause. The mean global is leveling off and going down. Like a lawn dart, some evidence says.

The liberals were voted down in ’04, and they got really mean and nasty and angry about it. It’s those Diebold machines! In 2006 they took over Congress, and got the first woman Speaker of the House out of that deal. Which, somehow, made them even angrier. Then Hillary and Obama competed in ’08 to see who would be the party’s nominee. That made them angry. They couldn’t blame any of it on Republicans, and I always got the impression that made them angrier still.

And now they’ve got everything they want. Both houses of Congress. Their guy in the White House is running auto companies, evaluating “empathy” as a qualification for His Supreme Court picks, and doing all kinds of other things the Constitution either doesn’t say He can do, or explicitly comes out and says He can’t do. They’ve got a Department of Homeland Security defining their ideological opponents as potential terrorists, just for disagreeing with them.

Through it all, their anger becomes more pressurized, hotter, steamier, ripe, rancid, sweating, oozing.

And the mean global temperature goes down. I think it’s time to cross off Potential Cause Number Twelve.

As far as the liberals, I really don’t know how they can get angrier about things. I don’t know if that’s possible. It’s not just a quality thing, it’s quantity too. For the last few years we’ve kind of gotten to the point where “angry liberals” is like a product you can order by the palette. “Yeah Bob? Got a problem down here. We need two truckloads, maybe three, of Angry Liberals and we need ‘em pronto! that last case you sent down here got dropped and they exploded.”

I almost wish there was some way to put them in charge of more stuff, so we could find out if even more anger is a do-able deal; it seems the more decisions they’re allowed to make about things, the angrier they get. Is it a parabolic curve that has some cresting point, perhaps? Give them enough authority and eventually the anger level drops back down again? The Senate is almost certain to be filibuster-proof the way things are going. I think we’ve trotted about as far out on the X-axis of that graph, as we can possibly get. Liberals are unchallenged, and their resentment has boiled over at a record high.

Or, as Frank says

They have their inexperienced president dismantling America both domestically and abroad, so shouldn’t they be unhappy instead of still all unhinged and deranged? I think they realize, though, that them getting power is a freak accident and is just going to lead everyone to really really hating them and trying to throw them into the sea where they will be Aquaman’s problem.

We’re going to hate liberals? Are we allowed to hate liberals? From what I can see, now that the liberals are in charge of things it is they who are allowed to hate everyone else because they’re such cool people…and the rest of us aren’t allowed to hate anything, least of all the liberals, because we’re just not cool enough to run anything. We put them in charge to do their hating.

I know that seems like a rather strange thing to be writing out there…but hey…I’m just calling it out as I see it. If there’s a more sensible way to sum things up, let me know. But these guys are spending a lot more time and energy hating people, than I thought they would as of January 20. I’ve found it all rather surprising, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

I Made a New Word XXVII

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Malveauxism (n.)

An impetuous utterance, in pursuit of the objective of demonstrating some extreme inner personal decency and extraordinary abundance of compassion that doesn’t really exist — that wishes such a loathsome injury upon a third-party that it immediately betrays the pulsating, rippling, ripening anger and savage, cruel spirit that was supposed to remain hidden.

Named after USA Today columnist Julianne Malveaux, who in 1994 said of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas,

I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease…He is an absolutely reprehensible person.

The true paradox of the Malveauxism is that it is supposed to demonstrate a superlative desire to construct a modern, perfect Utopian society in which no dweller thinks any but the most beneficial thoughts about any other dweller, or for that matter, any other human being. And yet, in their desperation to showcase this desire that doesn’t really exist, they not only cross the line into sadism, but gulp hungrily from that bitter tonic and become drunk on it — making sure they are as visible as possible as they do. The “reprehensible person” line proves this. Malveaux sought to prove her decency as a human being by showcasing exactly how much she detested Clarence Thomas. It is a game of one-upmanship. If you think Clarence Thomas is a “bad” person, you are bested by the fellow who is convinced he is an “awful” person…and Malveaux, in turn, outranks him by using the adjective “reprehensible” and wishing for his premature death. And so their initial objective is ultimately imploded through this silly game of leapfrog.

They seek, not only to become hateful, but to become publicly hateful. So that everyone knows how full of love they are.

The latest example of the Malveauxism is the Sykes incident over the weekend, in which obscure actress and comedienne Wanda Sykes showed off her dedication to the modern Obama-era perfect peace-and-love hope-and-change society by criticizing a certain popular conservative talk show host…

“Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails, so you’re saying, ‘I hope America fails,’ you’re like, ‘I don’t care about people losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq.’ He just wants the country to fail. To me, that’s treason,” Sykes said.

“He’s not saying anything differently than what Usama bin Laden is saying,” she continued, before addressing the guest of honor, President Obama. “You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight.”

The crowd groaned, Obama smiled and Sykes may have noticed a little discomfort in the room.

“Too much?” she asked.

But then she piled it on:

“Rush Limbaugh, ‘I hope the country fails’ — I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? … He needs a good waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

Obama joined the crowd in laughing at the crack about Limbaugh’s “kidneys.”

What makes the Malveauxism possible is that liberals don’t really want a more peaceful, tolerant, loving or harmonious society.

They hate. Just as often and just as efficiently as any human being ever has. So dedicated are they to the Two-Minutes Hate of Orwell’s 1984, that in a society that was genuinely stripped of any & all hostile thought, they’d be truly lost.

Empathy

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Thomas Sowell writes with some interesting thoughts about the replacement for retiring justice David Souter. Said thoughts inspired by a snippet from the Holy Lips of our Divinely Inspired President Himself…in keeping with what we have come to expect from Him, polished to a mirror finish, but reckless and poorly-thought-out nevertheless.

“I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives,” [President Obama] said. “I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.”

Wow, what a great deal! Who can argue against justice?

Not so fast. Out here in the world of grown-ups, there’s a little bit more to a “just outcome” than this Alan Shore tactic of figuring out who the “good guy” is and then giving him everything. Professor Sowell reminds us what maturity is by going back over a piece of American history.

Part I:

That we are discussing the next Supreme Court justice in terms of group “representation” is a sign of how far we have already strayed from the purpose of law and the weighty responsibility of appointing someone to sit for life on the highest court in the land.

That President Obama has made “empathy” with certain groups one of his criteria for choosing a Supreme Court nominee is a dangerous sign of how much further the Supreme Court may be pushed away from the rule of law and toward even more arbitrary judicial edicts to advance the agenda of the left and set it in legal concrete, immune from the democratic process.

Would you want to go into court to appear before a judge with “empathy” for groups A, B and C, if you were a member of groups X, Y or Z? Nothing could be further from the rule of law. That would be bad news, even in a traffic court, much less in a court that has the last word on your rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Part II:

Like most people, Justice [Oliver Wendell] Holmes had empathy for some and antipathy for others, but his votes on the Supreme Court often went against those for whom he had empathy and for those for whom he had antipathy. As Holmes himself put it: “I loathed most of the things in favor of which I decided.”

Justice Holmes thought like a grown-up. It is a type of diligent thinking that often escapes those who enjoy the luxury of bringing about a revolution, and thus to think about justice in purely black-and-white terms.

Part III:

Barack Obama’s vision of America is one in which a President of the United States can fire the head of General Motors, tell banks how to bank, control the medical system and take charge of all sorts of other activities for which neither he nor other politicians have any expertise or experience.

The Constitution of the United States gives no president, nor the entire federal government, the authority to do such things. But spending trillions of dollars to bail out all sorts of companies buys the power to tell them how to operate.

Appointing judges to the federal courts– including the Supreme Court– who believe in expanding the powers of the federal government to make arbitrary decisions, choosing who will be winners and losers in the economy and in the society, is perfectly consistent with a vision of the world where self-confident and self-righteous elites rule according to their own notions, instead of merely governing under the restraints of the Constitution.

Part IV:

This process of “interpreting” the Constitution (or legislation) to mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean, no matter how plainly the words say something else, has been called judicial activism. But, as a result of widespread objections to this, that problem has been solved by redefining “judicial activism” to mean something different.

By the new definition, a judge who declares legislation that exceeds the authority of the legislature unconstitutional is called a “judicial activist.” The verbal virtuosity is breathtaking. With just a new meaning to an old phrase, reality is turned upside down. Those who oppose letting government actions exceed the bounds of the Constitution– justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas– are now called “judicial activists.” It is a verbal coup.

Our vocabulary is being assaulted. With that, our tethering to reality is likewise under assault; and with that, our sense of justice as well.

As I reflect on the wisdom of Dr. Sowell’s words, I realize something: Of all the privileged victim-groups that now enjoy the benefits of stylish empathy, very few of them do so in any modern or revolutionary way. It comes down really to just black people. Nobody can say no to a woman, of course — but that’s been true for an exceptionally long time. Back in the Middle English years, in the days of Chivalry, it was thought to be ungentlemanly for a dude to even somehow become intertwined in a battle of wills with a female, let alone to try to prevail in one. Five, six, eight or ten centuries later, men still wait, without Obama’s “empathy,” to enjoy one day in court on an equal footing with the mothers of their children. In many cases, with the mentally-imbalanced, drug-addicted, larcenous or gold-digging mothers of their children. Justice needs to show more empathy there? Justice has already shown an excess of it.

What about the poor? It’s very fashionable now to root for the underdog. But this has always been the case. How many centuries have people said Oh, look at me, I’m the good guy because I’m doing something for poor people. And that includes judicial officers. Obama wishes to start something new here? Something new would be empathy toward corporations that are targeted with obviously baseless lawsuits, and are compelled to settle out of court because of the anticipated costs involved with fighting.

What other group needs some empathy, that hasn’t already gotten it?

It’s a very sad thing to realize, this late in the game, that a blind Lady Justice is a novelty. That it should be so far out of “mainstream” thinking to expect two parties should appear in court, with the expectation that they’re taking their conflict to something resembling a level field.

But hey. This is the era of hope and change. So get ready.